Leith Baletin and Ellen Widoff

Leith Baletin and Ellen Widoff are the new co-presidents of the Brandeis National Committee Phoenix Chapter.

Brandeis National Committee (BNC) Phoenix Chapter installs leadership

At its Annual Spring Event, the BNC Phoenix Chapter installed Ellen Widoff and Leith Baletin as co-presidents to lead the 1,000-plus member organization, among the largest chapter in the country. Baletin has become the organization’s first male president and today, 25% of the Phoenix membership is male.

The BNC Phoenix board of directors’ term will coincide with the 75th anniversary of Brandeis University; BNC Phoenix began as a founding chapter in 1950. Today, it is acknowledged as the flagship chapter in the BNC community due to regular awards of excellence and its signature program, the Book and Author Event, established in 1991. This event hosted more than 950 participants before the pandemic.

While most of the members are not Brandeis graduates, membership provides an opportunity to support the only Jewish-founded, non-sectarian institution of higher learning in the United States, a premier neurodegenerative disease research campus and to foster an impressive number of alumni who have positively changed our world in a multitude of ways — including involvement in the COVID -19 vaccine.

For more information, visit brandeisphoenix.org.

Larry Moffitt to receive JFL’s Harry Adler Memorial Leadership Award

Arizona Jewish Free Loan (JFL) announced that Larry Moffitt will be presented with the Harry Adler Memorial Leadership Award during JFL’s Gratitude Gathering on May 15, 2022.

The Harry Adler Memorial Leadership Award is given to present or past board members who have followed Adler’s lead by going above and beyond their role to set an example for other volunteers and ensure that JFL will be here for future generations. Moffitt exemplified these ideals in both his professional life as a CPA and in his service to JFL. He served as a board member, board president and accounting advisor.

“I was humbled when I was notified that I was the recipient of the Harry Adler Memorial Leadership Award,” said Moffitt. “I know the significance of the award and the amount of time and deliberation that the board spends in selecting the recipient. It is even more meaningful to me since it was Harry Adler who encouraged me to get involved with Jewish Free Loan. How right he was; it has been an extremely rewarding journey.”

The Gratitude Gathering will take place as a hybrid event and include an update on JFL’s impact, the presentation of the Harry Adler Memorial Leadership Award and installation of the new board of directors. To register, visit bit.ly/JFLGratitude2022.

Up-and-coming artists share productions in development at the Festival of New American Theatre

The Phoenix Theatre Company continues its longstanding commitment to the developing of new works, playwrights and performers with the 24th Festival of New American Theatre held May 6-8 and May 13-15, 2022.

The Festival will feature readings of two new musicals and one play, as well as the addition of the Composer Lyricist Cabaret and Choreography Lab. The Festival is an opportunity for audiences to witness how a production goes from the page to the stage. All three productions are presented without staging, costumes or choreography. It’s not uncommon for parts of a production to be reread and for edits to be made in real time onstage during the workshops.

 “At The Phoenix Theatre Company, we pride ourselves on being a conduit for new stories, new voices and new contributions to America’s theatre canon,” said Michael Barnard, producing artistic director. “We know the value of the creative process and the importance of providing a space for new artists of all kinds to see their work come alive on stage.”

Returning to the festival is the First Draft Series, featuring sit-down readings of three different one-act plays which competed and won Spotlight Youth Theatre’s 2021-2022 Playfest, an annual playwriting contest for young adults. The selections include “Not Driving Ever Summer” by Rebecca Bain, “The Pickpocket’s Lament” by Katie Kloberdanz and “Lost n’ Sound” by Zoey Waller. These new works will be presented May 14 at 11 a.m. and May 15 at 11 a.m.

One of the New American Theatre readings in development includes “A Beautiful Place.” This new musical celebrates the life of artist Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, who was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1942. There, Friedl secretly taught classes to hundreds of children, giving them the ability to escape the world around them by using their imaginations and the remarkable power of art. This musical can be seen onstage May 6 at 7 p.m. and May 7 at 3 p.m.

For more information or to get tickets, visit phoenixtheatre.com.

Israeli college president visits Phoenix Jewish community

When Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) President Prof. Chaim visited Phoenix in March, he reconnected with a Jewish community he has known for nearly 50 years.

“I have family in Phoenix and I first visited there in 1972,” Sukenik said. “Back then, it was a much smaller community centered around fewer Jewish institutions such as synagogues and schools. Today, the growth in Phoenix and also in Scottsdale is most impressive. There are a lot of people in the region who are very Jewishly committed, and the sense of excitement surrounding the community is palpable.”

JCT’s International Program in English offers students who are not fluent in Hebrew a viable opportunity to live and study Torah in Israel while pursuing a prestigious academic degree in computer sciences or business administration. The program’s comprehensive double curriculum combines high-level academic studies, enriching Jewish studies and practical professional training.

While in Phoenix, Sukenik held meetings at the Yeshiva High School of Arizona and recorded two podcasts with Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, president and dean of Valley Beit Midrash.

Regarding the value proposition that JCT can offer international students, Sukenik said, “We offer the opportunity, particularly for students who’ve participated in gap year programs, to stay in Jerusalem and complete a full college degree in English. The religiously sensitive environment in which that degree is completed, and the fact that the degree is certified by Israel’s Council for Higher Education and is respected by employers both in Israel and abroad, are major pluses.

For more information, visit jct.ac.il/international.

JFL student loan application deadline approaching

Jewish Free Loan is proud to offer their biannual interest-free student loan program to incoming and current undergraduate, graduate and technical/vocational school students. To receive funding for the upcoming fall semester, please visit our website (jewishfreeloan.org/apply-now) and submit your student loan application by May 15th, 2022. After the deadline, applications will only be accepted on a first come, first serve basis for fall funding, however, students can also begin to apply for spring semester funding.

To apply, applicants must be 18 years of age, a resident of Arizona and a member of the Jewish community. If you are entering an education program and are not yet 18 years of age, a parent or guardian can apply on your behalf. For a full list of eligibility requirements and to learn more about this interest-free loan program, visit jewishfreeloan.org/student-loans. JN