Articles by Melissa Hirschl


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Blockbuster authors to benefit Brandeis

A literary event extraordinaire, the Brandeis National Committee Phoenix Chapter Book and Author Luncheon will take place on March 14. Co-chairs Sara Leopold and Marcy Strauss have joyfully collaborated to produce an affair to remember with blockbuster authors such as Paula McLain, Steve Martini, Linda Hirshman, Ed Tarkington and Barbara (B.A.) Shapiro. Attendees will have…

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Gert the Joke Lady Laughs through Life

At age 94, Phoenix resident Gert Schuster, aka “Gert the Joke Lady,” is ready for prime time. Don’t let her soft-spoken and gentle persona fool you. This seasoned comedian and actress possesses a razor sharp wit, combined with the impeccable timing that made Borscht Belt comedians like Henny Youngman and Don Rickles legendary in the…

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Jewish Yoga

Unity of body, mind and spirit is an ancient concept manifested in many cultures. In Judaism, an ideal conduit between the two can be found in Jewish-themed yoga (sometimes referred to as Aleph Bet yoga), which integrates spiritual approaches to physical and spiritual well-being. In this mystical modality, Hebrew letters have deep spiritual meaning, and…

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Changing Hands, changing lives

Book-adoring Phoenix denizens who crave a warm, inviting ambiance to explore their favorite pastime, take heart. A touch of intoxication awaits at the Valley’s two Changing Hands bookstores, one in Tempe (Guadalupe and McClintock) and one in Phoenix (Camelback and Third Avenue). Touting itself as being a socially responsible bookstore and gathering place, each store’s…

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Susan Price: Journaling for the Soul

Pens move and thoughts flow the fourth Saturday of every month at Congregation NefeshSoul in Chandler when Susan Price leads “Journaling for Spiritual Growth.” The class gives participants a chance to explore the myriad benefits associated with writing from the heart, while seeking new heights in self-discovery. They also mine experiences, hopes, dreams and Jewish…

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Andre Ivory helps young adults ACT

Andre Ivory has had a fire in his soul for Judaism since his teens. That fire, coupled with an intense curiosity, set him on a course of self-discovery that dramatically altered his life. Since converting at age 20 and becoming a bar mitzvah at age 33, Ivory has fine-tuned his passion for Judaism into a…

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A Friendly Approach to Music

Broadway show tunes and cantorial music roll off senior’s tongue Music makes the world go round for Scottsdale virtuosa Sharon Friendly. The classically trained performer has been singing professionally for most of her life and relishes every opportunity to belt out a tune. “I love the challenge of performing and making people laugh or cry,”…

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