Rabbi Albert Plotkin
Rabbi Albert Plotkin, age 89, passed away in Phoenix on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010. He was born in South Bend, Ind., into a large and loving family of Russian immigrants. His mother was eager for him to be a cultured American, and he was trained in music and dance. His talent was so obvious that his mother had to stop him from running off to vaudeville. Instead, he graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1942. In 1948 he was ordained at the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati.
Rabbi Plotkin served as a rabbi in Seattle, where he met his wife Sylvia, and in Spokane, where his two daughters, Janis and Debra, were born. In 1955, he came to Phoenix to become the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel. He served the Valley and his congregation for 34 years.
His name is synonymous with the Jewish Studies Program at Arizona State University, and his persistent efforts have been instrumental in making the interdisciplinary program a reality. Through the support of the Jewish Chautauqua Society, Rabbi Plotkin taught the initial Jewish
Studies course in the ASU Center for the Humanities, and he continued to lecture in the Department of Religious Studies until last spring.
Rabbi Plotkin's leadership in the community earned him the respect and admiration of citizens concerned and involved in areas as diverse as the arts, state and city public policy. He was a chaplain at the Phoenix Veterans Hospital and only retired last year at age 88. He continued to pursue his interest in music and sang professionally in his first opera in 1994 at the Arizona Opera's production of "Turandot." Rabbi Plotkin has been widely honored by community and professional organizations across the country. He earned a Doctor of Hebrew Letters from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles in 1967, and in 1973 he accepted an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from that institution.
Following his "retirement" from Congregation Beth Israel, he and Sylvia were invited to start a congregation in Sedona. Rabbi Plotkin served the Jewish Community of Sedona from 1993 until they hired a full-time rabbi in 2005. Upon his retirement they named the sanctuary after Rabbi Plotkin and his late wife.
Rabbi Plotkin is survived by his daughter Janis Plotkin, of Oakland, CA, and was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 47 years, Sylvia, his daughter Debra and his loving brother Robert. He is survived by many nieces and nephews and the Plotkin Cousins Club.
Funeral services are Friday, Feb. 5 at 10:00 a.m. at Congregation Beth Israel, 10460 N. 56th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85253. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory are suggested to Congregation Beth
Israel, the Sylvia Plotkin Judaica Museum or the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, 122 E. Culver St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. Arrangements by Sinai Mortuary.
Rubin E. Harris
Rubin E. Harris of Scottsdale died Jan. 29, 2010. He was 91. He was born in Medway, Mass. He was a dentistry technician.
Survivors include his daughter, Ruth Hilliard of Paradise Valley; sons, Paul of Phoenix and Arthur of Nashua, N.H.; sister, Bertha Lindheimer of Columbus, Ohio; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Services were at Paradise Memorial Gardens. Arrangements were made by Sinai Mortuary.
Contributions are suggested to Temple Chai, 4645 E. Marilyn Road, Phoenix 85032.
Belle S. Swartz
Belle S. Swartz of Phoenix died Jan. 15, 2010. She was 93. She was born in Pittsburgh. She was a legal secretary and notary.
Survivors include her husband, John; son, Stan of Phoenix; one grandchild; and one great-grandchild.
Services were held at Sinai Mortuary. Arrangements were made by Sinai Mortuary.