Biz Ins & Outs

New Valley of the Sun JCC board formed

After three years of oversight through its board, the Jewish Community Association has reinstated a board with a singular focus of providing strategic direction and oversight of the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center.

The new board’s officers include Chair Jonathan Hoffer, who is also vice chair of the JCA board; Vice Chair Bob Silver; Secretary and Treasurer Joel Kramer; and JCA President & CEO Stuart Wachs. Other members include Kristina Brown, Dan Sheinert, Sara Schneider and Gary Weiss.

“We have a beautiful facility and great staff, but we’ve been missing an organized group of lay leaders engaged in setting strategy and goals to make The J the  best it can be,” said Hoffer.  “The formation of this board, and the committees that evolve from it, are a call-to-action for those people with a vision and a passion for The J and the community.”

The board is charged with increasing volunteer involvement, membership and financial support of The J, as well as its relevancy among the Jewish and non-Jewish communities.

“We felt it was time to have a group of lay leaders who are passionate about advancing the vibrancy of The J,” said Wachs. “I look forward to working with the board to create one of the most vibrant JCCs in the country.”

The J serves all ages and abilities and enriches lives through childcare, fitness, education and cultural programming.

12701 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale | 480-483-7121 |

Hadassah Southern Arizona elects Anne Lowe as president

Anne Lowe was elected president of the Hadassah Southern Arizona chapter at the Aug. 6 board meeting. This is the third time that Anne has been elected president of this chapter.

Her 2015 presidency will continue until the end of December. A new board for 2016 was elected during the Oct. 18, 2015, luncheon, and this board will be installed at the Dec. 6 brunch. Installing officer will be Cathy Olswing, president of the Desert Mountain Region of Hadassah and member of the National Board of Hadassah.

Anne has also been president of the Milwaukee, WI, and Princeton, NJ, chapters of Hadassah. In addition, she served on the National Board of Hadassah as president of the Great Lakes Region from 1988 through 1991. She recently retired from working for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, where she had been Northwest Division director and the outreach director.

The new 2016 board for Hadassah Southern Arizona includes the following officers: President Anne Lowe, Organization Vice President Ruth Beecher, Program Vice President Theresa Dulgov, Membership Vice President Lynnda Schumer, Education Vice President Marti Cohen, Development Vice President Debra Jacobs, Treasurer Marcia Winick, Records Administrator Shelley Lipowich, Recording Secretaries Helen Rib and Marlene Zoloto, and Corresponding Secretary Karen Skolnik. | 520-481-3934

Board of Rabbis hires consulting team for new initiative

The Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, in conjunction with the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, have hired consultants Sandra Price and Rhonda Bannard to begin rebuilding the voice of the Jewish community that was lost when the Jewish Community Relations Committee closed seven years ago.

The BOR hired the consultant team to focus on developing a structure for this new organization, defining its governance model, refining the mission and uniting the community around key issues, including social justice concerns. Bringing the diverse Jewish community together, with its different perspectives, has been in the works for several years.

“This effort began in earnest back in 2011 with a Jewish Community Conversation hosted by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix, and many have been working toward this day ever since,” says Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, past president and current secretary of the BOR executive committee. “We’re excited about our ‘team’ approach with two professionals who have strong ties to Phoenix and our community.”

Sandra Price, Ph.D., JD, a former public affairs attorney, has extensive experience in community development, organizational capacity building, dispute resolution and ethics. Price teaches in the School of Community and Resource Development at Arizona State University. She has been part of the Jewish Community Conversation since 2011; she was tapped to facilitate subsequent strategy groups to revive a strong Jewish voice able to step up on behalf of the community and to work with interfaith groups and others to advance the ideas and ideals of the Jewish community.

Rhonda Bannard joins Price in the community and coalition-building work. She is the founder of Inspired Connections, a consulting company that serves a variety of nonprofit, corporate and small business clients in the areas of community relations, strategic planning, fund development, marketing, PR and event planning. Rhonda has helped set up a number of organizations, built coalitions and launched initiatives. Prior to running her own company for the past 15 years, she worked as an executive at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, as well as other nonprofits and in the TV news business. Originally from Montreal, Rhonda came to Phoenix with her parents as a young child and spent time at the
Hebrew Academy.

The consultants will also work closely with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, based in New York, to understand best practices and trends in this community engagement work.

The Creating Spot Opens in Scottsdale

The official grand opening of The Creating Spot takes place Nov. 11 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 pm by Scottsdale Vice Mayor Linda Milhaven. The event will feature displays of student works and a contest to name The Creating Spot’s teddy bear mascot. There also will be drawings with workshops and art as prizes, plus refreshments and music to round out the celebration.

Jewelry artist Cheryl Senkfor and dichroic-glass artisan Bobby Harr pooled their creative resources to open the contemporary art studio/gallery in downtown Scottsdale.

Cheryl says her hand-woven metal jewelry line was inspired by angels after she suffered a traumatic brain hemorrhage in 2003. “I saw three angels who told me I would survive and touch as many people as possible with my creativity,” she says. She not only survived but developed fine motor skills that allow her to weave precious metals using the lost art of Viking knit, which dates back to 8th-century Ireland. Last year, she won the Ornamental Jewelry Award at the Tempe Festival of the Arts. A portion of the proceeds from The Creating Spot benefit the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (

“I wasn’t inspired by angels, but do share Cheryl’s desire to teach and give back to the community,” Bobby says. Bobby is self-taught and began his journey into the world of fused and kiln-formed glass art in 1998. His work has been displayed in more than 160 galleries and shops across the United States and Canada.

Cheryl and Bobby will teach group or private lessons at the studio. They offer various hands-on classes including wire and epoxy-clay jewelry, fused glass art objects and many fabric arts. In addition to their Fused Glass Mezuzah Workshop, they now offer Fused Glass Menorah and Shabbat Candle Holder workshops in addition to a workshop on making hand-painted silk tallitot.

7127 E 6th Ave., Scottsdale | |

Buffalo Collection named Best Home Accessories/Furniture Store

Buffalo Collection, a boutique furniture and home furnishings showroom in Old Town Scottsdale, was recently named Best Home Accessories/Furniture Store by Phoenix Magazine 2015 Best of the Valley: Reader’s Picks.

Owned by Michael and Laura Levenberg, Buffalo Collection features buffalo leather furniture, which is exceptionally soft, strong and durable. The store’s one-of-a-kind pieces are handmade in America by artists and craftsman using Old World craftsmanship.

“We are honored to be named Best Home Accessories & Furniture Store in the Valley after being here just over three years,” Michael says. “We appreciate all the local support since expanding our business from Colorado.”

The showroom features a collection of fine furnishings including sofas, love seats, chairs, ottomans, bar stools, benches, beds and antiques. The store also offers fine art, unique accessories, pillows, organic tables and lighting, reclaimed woods and handbags. Designs range from classic, contemporary and modern to traditional, transitional and western.

Buffalo Collection works with clients on a personal level of service and specializes in custom orders. Pieces are delivered by white glove service locally and throughout the United States, and worldwide shipping is available.

7044 E 5th Ave., Scottsdale| 480-946-3903 |

Stacey Cohen joins federation as NowGen senior director

The Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix welcomes Stacey Cohen as its new senior director of NowGen programs. She has an extensive background in sports marketing and with the Jewish community as a BBYO advisor.

Cohen will work to expand the JFGP’s NowGen programs and engagement among Jewish young adults.  Her task is to create a robust schedule of programming that spans from mentorship and leadership development to cultural Judaic programming, while maintaining the strong social events that NowGen currently supports.

“Our job is to prepare these young people to serve the community both inside and outside the federation and to create connections to the greater Jewish community,” says Cohen. “When a young Jewish man or woman moves to the Valley, I want the federation to be the primary resource that connects them to the community.”

Cohen grew up in the Valley and received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Arizona. Her work took her all over the West Coast, working with professional sports teams in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Fresno and a sports marketing agency in Seattle. She recently returned to the Valley with a desire to connect to the community.

“I have been interested in nonprofit for a long time and look forward to using my marketing and PR skills to increase engagement among young Jewish adults and to develop a new generation of philanthropists and leaders for our community,” she says. She invites community members to reach out to her and share ideas to increase engagement among the community’s young adults.

480-634-4900 ext.  1141 |

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