The Jewish Community Association has signed up 43 groups – congregations, agencies, organizations and businesses – to participate in the East Valley Jewish Expo slated for Sunday, Sept. 7, at the Tempe Center for the Arts, Association officials say. 

The first such major Jewish community event to specifically address the East Valley grew out of the East Valley Jewish Community Building Initiative held May 5, 2013. (To clarify, the East Valley in this case primarily means the southeastern portion of the Valley, including municipalities such as Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler, as well as the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix and unincorporated areas such as Sun Lakes, among others.) That initial meeting drew 60 people, including representatives of 14 Jewish organizations, to discuss strategies for collaboration and community-building in that quadrant of Greater Phoenix. The chief programming desire expressed at that meeting was for an East Valley Jewish community event to be held in a public, non-Jewish venue. 

“The purpose and goals of the expo are to house East Valley Jewish organizations and Greater Phoenix Jewish organizations so that the affiliated and unaffiliated of not only the East Valley but all of Greater Phoenix can see what is Jewishly available,” said Sally Oscherwitz, a JCA board member who participated in the 2013 meeting and is chair of the Association’s East Valley Jewish task force, via email.

Participants will include key East Valley groups such as Temple Beth Sholom, Temple Emanuel, Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation, Chabad of the East Valley, Chabad of Mesa, Chabad Jewish Center of Gilbert, the East Valley JCC and Desert Jewish Academy, who will all staff tables where they can reach out to attendees.

The Expo will also feature an “Ask the Rabbi” table, sponsored by the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix and staffed by three area rabbis, to answer Jewish questions, Oscherwitz said. The organizational tables will be in the Lakeside room, a 3,200-square-foot space. The rabbis and a collection area for nonperishable food to be donated to JFCS’ Just Three Things pantry, United Food Bank and the Comfort Pantry, which collects kosher food, will be at the entry to the room.

The JCA will also display the Jewish Community Quilt, made up of emblems from 80 local Jewish organizations, that debuted at this year’s Mega Event.

Wattel & York, a personal-injury law firm based in Chandler, has underwritten much of the Expo costs, Oscherwitz said.

The ad deadline for the event’s program is July 21 (visit tinyurl.com/JNEVexpo). Jewish News is media partner.

The free event will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 7. The Tempe Center for the Arts is located at 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway.

Visit jewishphoenix.org for more details.

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