Biz Ins and Outs

Life & Legacy partners announced

The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, has selected the following 12 Community Partners for the inaugural Life & Legacy program: Arizona Jewish Historical Society; Congregation Or Tzion; East Valley JCC; Hillel at ASU; Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix; Jewish Family & Children’s Service; Jewish Free Loan; Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix; Pardes Jewish Day School; Temple Chai; Temple Emanuel of Tempe; and Temple Kol Ami.

The Life & Legacy Task Force, co-chaired by Mark Sklar and Jonathan Hoffer, received 12 completed applications and was pleased to accept all 12 organizations into the program, says  JCF Life & Legacy Program Director Rachel Rabinovich.

The partners’ first formal training session, “Writing Your Legacy Plan,” on March 18 was facilitated by National Life & Legacy Director Arlene D. Schiff. In her role at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation she provides training and support to communities across North America to secure meaningful after-lifetime legacy gifts. She is currently working with 23 communities across the country.

Life & Legacy is the newest initiative of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which is investing $20 million dollars nationally to secure the future of vibrant Jewish communities through legacy giving. In its first two years, Life & Legacy secured almost 3,000 legacy commitments from 14 participating communities, with an estimated value of more than $107 million.

A highlight of the program is the unrestricted incentive grant the Jewish Community Foundation will award all participating organizations based on meeting legacy commitment benchmarks.

480-699-1717 |

Estate planning firm renamed Morris Hall, PLLC

The law firm of Morris, Hall & Kinghorn, PLLC, the largest estate-planning law firm in Arizona and New Mexico, announces that the firm name has changed to Morris Hall, PLLC.

“We have a new name and a new look, but the firm’s dedication and focus remain the same,” says Senior Partner Dan R. Morris. “We continue to devote our practice to estate planning and helping people preserve their legacies for the ones that they love.”

Morris Hall has offices throughout Arizona and New Mexico, including Tucson, Oro Valley, Phoenix, Mesa, Arrowhead, Prescott, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Carefree, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Cruces. With 45 years’ experience, the firm’s sole commitment to estate-planning matters has helped tens of thousands of families meet their long-term estate and financial goals. The firm is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, the national premier organization of legal professionals concentrating on estate planning. The AAEPA’s comprehensive training, educational programs and state-of-the-art estate-planning techniques foster excellence among its members while helping them deliver the highest-quality estate-planning services to their clients. Morris Hall, PLLC, is also a member of Wealth Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

602-249-1328 |

Attorney Doug Passon turns attention to filmmaking

Attorney and award-winning filmmaker Doug Passon recently left his position of over 12 years at the Office of the Federal Defender to focus on his film-production/creative-consultancy firm, D Major Films.

Doug specializes in helping attorneys incorporate powerful and persuasive moving pictures and storytelling into the litigation process. As long as Doug can remember, there were only two career paths for him: lawyer or filmmaker. About 10 years ago, he started combining his passions by producing short documentary films to use in his cases. As president and creative director of D Major Films, he not only produces these films for other lawyers to use in civil and criminal litigation, but also writes and teaches nationally about how lawyers can use story techniques to better represent their clients.

Doug also has his “passion” projects outside of the law. His last film, the feature-length documentary “Road to Eden,” premiered at the VOSJCC, had a sold-out encore screening at the 2014 Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival and is still playing at festivals and congregations across the country. Doug serves on the executive board of the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival. He lives in Scottsdale where he and his wife, Rachel, are active members of Congregation Or Tzion.

480-326-0677 | | |


Shearim Torah High School adds three to board

The Shearim Torah High School for Girls has added three new members to its board of directors. Joining the board of Arizona’s only Jewish High School for Girls are Eddie Pantiliat, partner at the law offices of Hymson Goldstein & Pantiliat; Jared Elias, human resources executive; and Bayla Neuwirth, community volunteer. The three will help govern the board of the eight-year-old high school for Orthodox girls in Phoenix.

Each of the new board members has a strong commitment to Jewish education. They will join seven other members of the board including Arlene Glazer (president), Richard Lopchinsky, Susan Heller, Lori Brown, Aileen Becker and Paul Block. The school is led by Rabbi Raphael Landesman, who has served as head of school since its founding in 2006.

Shearim has a current enrollment of 31 students. Its mission is to impart to its students the knowledge, strength of character and life skills that will empower them to successfully engage in all aspects of their lives as committed Jewish women. Shearim has been fully accredited since 2011, and in 2013 it received a National Honor Society Charter.
602-324-3406 |

Jacqui Breger new executive director of JGD

Jewish Genetic Diseases Center of Greater Phoenix is proud to announce the appointment of Jacqui Breger as its new executive director. Jacqui will be responsible for taking the center to the next level by enhancing the understanding of the center’s mission, which is to raise awareness in the Greater Phoenix community regarding Jewish genetic diseases and to make available educational opportunities about these often tragic disorders. Jacqui has the equivalent of an M.B.A. in marketing from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with additional majors in business strategy, economics, financial accounting and statistics. Jacqui has experience in many varied aspects of business management, marketing, fundraising, human resources, financial accounting, graphic design, web development and event management. As a marketing professional with almost 20 years of experience in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors, as well as substantial involvement within the Jewish community, Jacqui brings a wealth of experience and extensive expertise to this position. Her most recent position was marketing director of Tesseract School. Jacqui is passionate about working within the Jewish community, saving lives and helping organizations grow and flourish. She is creative and driven and is excited to collaborate with the entire Jewish community toward community development. Jacqui is married to attorney Kevin Breger, and they have three daughters – Chloe, Francki and Racquayla.


Sara Taetle Schwindt new executive director of Or Chadash-Tucson

Sara Taetle Schwindt recently joined Congregation Or Chadash-Tucson, a Reform temple, as executive director.

A native of the Tucson Jewish community, Sara completed her bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Michigan. She then returned home to teach at Marana High School for three years and earn her master’s degree in choral conducting at the University of Arizona. For the last five years, Sara lived in the Boston area, where she taught K-8 music at the Rashi School, a Jewish day school.

Immediately before coming to Congregation Or Chadash, Sara directed the religious-education program at North Parish Unitarian Universalist congregation in North Andover, MA. In this position, she oversaw the budget, hired and supervised the religious-education staff, managed volunteers, and developed an online and social-media presence that contributed to a 13% year-over-year increase in program enrollment and a significant increase in congregational membership and engagement among families with young children. During this time, Sara’s husband, Joel, completed his Ph.D. at Brandeis University. Sara and Joel are the proud parents of 3-year-old Hannah.

Sara is excited to be joining the Or Chadash staff at a time when “the synagogue is undergoing exciting changes and taking strides forward to realize its vision and become a long-term fixture in the Jewish community of Tucson.” | 520-512-8500

OdySea Aquarium breaks ground

Scottsdale’s long awaited OdySea Aquarium officially broke ground on March 5 with founders Amram Knishinsky, PhD, and Martin Pollack officiating. More than 400 people attended including dignitaries from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the City of Scottsdale.

Pictured are, from left: Jim Brandt, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.; Greg Crane, representing the investors; Bernie Deutsch, Deutsch Architecture Group; Martin Pollack, CFO OdySea Aquarium; Amram Knishinsky, CEO OdySea Aquarium; Gene Laws, member of SRPMIC representing the landowners; and Martin Harvier, SRPMIC vice president.

The OdySea Aquarium is slated to open July 2016. It will be the Southwest’s largest aquarium and will offer unrivaled marine adventures with an unparalleled high-tech oceanic educational journey like no other in the industry. The 14-acre attraction with a three-level facility, will span more than 200,000 square feet and will boast a revolutionary design feature that moves visitors to each level via an acrylic tunnel to  view fascinating and unique marine life. A SeaTREK experience will allow guests to descend deep into the “ocean” where they will be completely surrounded by sea life.

480-951-2100 |

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