For Judy and Nathan Laufer, supporting Jewish causes is part of their DNA. As the children of Holocaust survivors who were assisted by their Jewish communities, they know firsthand how a helping hand can make a difference.
The Laufers met and married in Montreal and then moved to Phoenix in the mid-1980s, where Nathan had already set up a medical practice. Judy, who was born in Budapest and grew up in Montreal, worked as a kindergarten teacher and eventually became president of the boards of Solomon Schechter School and King David School, where their son, Andrew, was in the first class. She became actively involved in the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix and served as the chairperson for B’nai Tzedek Youth Philanthropy Program and for FIDF Phoenix. Recently, she joined the Arizona board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Together, the Laufers have co-chaired many Jewish events, including the 2015 Phoenix AIPAC dinner and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tribute dinner. In addition to supporting Jewish Arizonans on Campus (JAC) since its inception in 2008, they also support Jewish National Fund, Friends of the IDF, ASU Chabad and several Valley synagogues.
Nathan, a cardiologist, currently serves as president of the Arizona Medical Association and is the past president of the Maricopa County Medical Society as well as the Phoenix board of the American Heart Association.
While Judy remains busy volunteering in the Jewish community, she also runs Little Egg Publishing Co., a company she founded to publish children’s books. She is the author of “Where Did Papa Go?” and “Last Night I Had a Laughmare.”
On Feb. 29, JAC will honor the Laufers for their support. In light of this honor, Jewish News asked them four questions.
What is your connection to JAC?
We have supported the JAC event for many years and we believe in the work that they do. We appreciate all the time and effort that JAC puts in to connect Jewish youth to Judaism and to each other. The Laufer Family Scholarship is being established to provide the opportunity for Jewish students to explore their heritage. Making the journey to see their Eastern European roots should create a richer understanding of their Jewish history. We hope this experience will solidify their Jewish identity and help them understand the need for the Jewish State of Israel.
What does the Phoenix Jewish community mean to you? We have supported the Phoenix Jewish community since we arrived 30 years ago. We feel incredibly lucky and fortunate to be able to support others. We are both children of Holocaust survivors and their Jewish community helped our families when they left Europe. It is an honor and a privilege for us to be able to give back.
How did you meet each other?
We both come from Montreal, Canada. Montreal has a very cohesive Jewish community and we knew each other through groups of friends. We re-met through mutual friends several years later when neither of us was attached. We knew almost immediately that this was “beshert!”
How and where would you spend free time? In our favorite place, Coronado, California, it would be reading, walking, biking or visiting with friends at the clubhouse. We also love to travel to new places, made even more special when our son, Andrew, joins us.
Who: Jewish Arizonans on Campus
What: Comedy Night featuring comedian Dan Naturman and honoring Dr. Nathan and Judy Laufer
When: 6:30 p.m. reception; 7:30 performance, Monday, Feb. 29
Where: Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas, 6333 N. Scottsdale Road
Cost: $54; $25 students