Congregations joining in athletic shoe drive

Temple Solel's Social Action Committee and the Scottsdale chapter of Shoes That Fit are partnering with Valley congregations for a "Caring by Pairing" shoe drive benefiting Arizona schoolchildren.

"Caring by Pairing" will provide new athletic shoes for local children whose families don't have the financial resources to purchase them.

According to Sharon Levine, a member of Solel's Social Action Committee, many Arizona schoolchildren must wear ill-fitting or worn and torn shoes to school, making it difficult to participate in school or recreational activities. "Having appropriate footwear, let alone properly fitting athletic shoes, is a luxury for these children," Levine said in an e-mail.

Joining Temple Solel in the shoe drive are Congregation Beth Hagivot, Congregation Or Chadash, Temple Beth Sholom of the East Valley, Temple Chai, Temple Emanuel of Tempe, Temple Kol Ami and The New Shul.

Levine hopes more congregations will want to participate. "The shoe drive is a way for all of the Valley congregations to pair together and give back to the community, help those who are vulnerable and in need of support, and share the notion that the smallest gift or act of kindness can make a difference," Levine said.

To participate in the program, congregations and organizations must choose a month or time frame to hold the shoe drive, and then select a school or agency to assist. After they have finished the drive, Temple Solel Social Action Committee will pick up and deliver all donated shoes.

For more information or to sign up, contact Temple Solel, 480-991-7414.

Merkaz Ha-Iyr plans High Holidays at Cutler-Plotkin heritage center

Congregation Merkaz Ha-Iyr in Phoenix has announced that it will hold High Holiday services at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center. The center is the site of the Valley's first synagogue and housed Temple Beth Israel (now Congregation Beth Israel) from 1922 to 1949.

The Reform congregation will hold Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services led by Rabbi Barb Moskow and Tracy Leonard Warner, liturgical song leader, at the center, located at 122 E. Culver St., Phoenix.

"As far as I know, this will be the first High Holiday service in the facility since 1949," said Lawrence Bell, Arizona Jewish Historical Society executive director. Congregation Merkaz-Ha-Iyr is renting the facility for its services.

Rosh Hashana services will be held at the Cutler-Plotkin center on Wednesday, Sept. 8 and Thursday, Sept. 9. Yom Kippur services will be held Friday, Sept. 17, and Saturday, Sept. 18. For more information, call 602-795-0471 or visit congregationmerkaz.org.

Kollel examines power of prayer

The Phoenix Community Kollel will offer four classes at 8 p.m. on consecutive Sunday evenings about strengthening the power of prayer.

The classes are "What is Tefillah/Prayer?" Aug. 8; "How to Accomplish Prayer and Get Answers," Aug. 15; "What are the Emotional Components of Prayer?" Aug. 22; and "Tefillos of Shabbos," Aug. 29.

The classes, taught by Rabbi Zvi Holland, are for men and women and will take place at the Phoenix Community Kollel, 6516 N. Seventh St., Phoenix.

Call 602-433-0300 or visit aztorah.com.

- Marilyn Hawkes

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