More than 150 people attended Jewish News' inaugural Best of Jewish Phoenix brunch this morning (Feb. 22), including the mayors of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
The event at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center in Phoenix was held to honor 10 families with a multi-generational involvement in the Valley's Jewish community and to celebrate the publication of the 2015 Best of Jewish Phoenix. The magazine features profiles honoring those families for their contributions to the community through the years, as well as articles about vintage Jewish Phoenix.
The program featured videos of the 10 families, after which each family was invited up to receive a family photograph and a one-night stay at sponsor L'Auberge de Sedona.
The Cutler-Plotkin center, operated by the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, was chosen as the venue because it serves as the Valley Jewish community's historical museum, and because the building originally was the home of the Valley's first synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel.
It was a communitywide event, with Dr. Lawrence Bell, executive director of Arizona Jewish Historical Society, welcoming the event to the building; Jewish News publisher Jaime Stern greeting the audience; Todd Herzog, cantorial soloist of Temple Solel, leading “Hatikvah” and “The Star-Spangled Banner”; Bob Roth, managing partner of Cypress HomeCare Solutions, as master of ceremonies; Rabbi Stephen Kahn, leading Hamotzi; and the families – whose ties stretch from Beth Israel to Beth El Congregation to Temple Emanuel of Tempe to Jewish Free Loan and many more synagogues and organizations – being applauded by all those who gathered.
For more on the honorees — the Eckstein-Newmark, Frazin-Lerner, Goodman, Jalowiec, Levertov, Lewkowitz, Mallin, Schupak-Neuberg, Sheinbein and Taubman-Reuben families — Best of Jewish Phoenix 2015 is online here, and video presentations about the families (used in today's event) have been posted here.
This is an updated version of this report, incorporating additions made in the Feb. 27 print edition of Jewish News.