Book & Author 2023 - Diamond Jubilee

Celebrating the 75th Anniversaries of Brandeis University and the BNC
Sunday, March 12 - Cocktail Reception with the Authors
Monday, March 13 - Luncheon/Authors/Boutiques
Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch

Watch your inbox for the Volunteer Meeting in the Fall!

Looking forward to everyone joining us for Brandeis University and Brandeis National Committee's 75th Anniversary!

Carol Kern, Jan Lebovitz and Linda Ullman
Book & Author Chairs
Presidents' Message
Dear Friends,

Welcome back to a new season for our chapter; we hope you had a great summer!

Like many of you, I did not attend Brandeis University as a student. I support the BNC, in part, because of the many contributions Brandeis alumni make to our world. Happily, my first visit to the Brandeis University campus occurred during Alumni Weekend.
Brandeisians from around the globe came together to celebrate each other and their achievements. At the Alumni Achievement Awards presentation, President Liebowitz acknowledged a timely recent contribution: “There are many points of pride in our alumni,” said President Liebowitz, “such as taking part in medical discoveries having to do with Covid, like Drew Weisman (MA ’81) and the recognition he’s received for this work on the vaccine.”

Leith and I have invited a panel of accomplished Brandeis alumni to share their stories with you. The event, to be held October 30th, is called Brandeis Alumni Making a Difference in Arizona. We want to thank Event Chairs Linda and Stan Burech. Watch your inbox for further details.
Importantly, during my visit I had the good fortune of speaking with current students. Our world desperately needs these future leaders, scientists, teachers, health care professional, human service professionals, and researchers. Our members help to make this possible!
Graduate science student in a research lab
Ellen and an undergraduate pre-med student volunteering to greet graduates during Alumni Weekend
Touring the campus, I saw that our Phoenix Chapter has a presence there. Some chapter members’ names are found on plaques throughout the campus. Newspaper pictures of members of our chapter engaged in BNC activities were displayed in the library, and a Phoenix brick on the pavement provided me with tangible connections to this institution.
Meeting the BNC staff responsible for supporting our Phoenix chapter leadership was also a delight. Alex Glomset and Dora Ocanto-Gomez, among others, work closely with our Summer Camp Chairs (Harriet Schwartz and Ronee Siegel), our Study Group Vice Presidents (Stephanie Klopper, Joyce Steinberg, and Barbara Stern), and our Treasurers (Joan Davis and Bonnie Furst), with registrations and financial procedures.

Left to right: Alex Glomset, assistant director, Marketing and Communications
Ellen Widoff, co-president of BNC Phoenix Chapter, Beth Bernstein, Executive Director of BNC, Dora Ocanto-Gomez,assistant director of Finance and Operations
Kudos to Harriet and Ronee for helping to make our summer special, with August activities yet to come! Thank you to our Study Group VPs as they gear up for another successful year of providing opportunities to learn and connect.

Our Bulletin has everything you need to know to stay updated and engaged in our chapter’s activities. We are so grateful to our editor, Sara Leopold, and assistant editor, Ronee Siegel for their talents and time.

Your Brandeis membership makes a difference!

Thank you,
Ellen Widoff and Leith Baletin, co-Presidents.
BNC Phoenix Chapter's Revised COVID-19 Vaccination Protocols apply to all study groups
and events - attendees must submit proof of vaccination in advance to
Currently, masking is not required, but is an option for anyone wishing to do so.
Study Group News
Study Groups Are Returning!
We are very excited to report that we will have 78 study groups for you to choose from when you register in early September!

To whet your appetite, we have several new and returning BOOK groups, MOVIE and THEATER groups, a few CURRENT EVENTS groups, a variety of SPECIAL INTEREST DISCUSSION groups, ARTS, CRAFTS and COOKING groups, as well as EDUCATIONAL, FITNESS and HEALTH groups. We have some new OUTDOOR ACTIVITY and GAME groups, and a number of DINING groups, where you can meet old and new friends over meals, desserts and brunch, too.
As we emerge from COVID restrictions, some study groups will meet online using Zoom. Other groups will resume in-person meetings and still others will start on Zoom and move to in-person when the group members feel comfortable. We are leaving these choices up to each facilitator. However, all in-person study group participants must be fully vaccinated, with masks being worn upon request.
The Study Group Guide will be arriving in your Inbox in mid-August and you will hear about it by email, in the Bulletin and through eblasts. We will again use the BNC online registration system, so there are no forms to fill in and no checks to mail! Everyone will have an equal opportunity to register and pay with a credit card. As groups reach their maximum participation limits, waiting lists will be generated.
Instructions on how to register will be available in the Study Group Guide and on the BNC Phoenix website on the Study Groups page, prior to registration opening.
The Study Group fee remains at $20 per group. Some may have an additional materials fee. BNC is a philanthropic organization and the revenue generated by our study groups provides the funds for our chapter’s administrative expenses. Any excess study group funds benefit the Brandeis University Library.
Our chapter’s Study Groups are for the benefit and enjoyment of current BNC members.
Please be sure to join or renew your membership, so you will be able to register for study groups!
We look forward to a wonderful Study Group season for 2022-2023.
Stephanie, Joyce and Barbara

Study Group Information coming to your inbox:
Access to the 2022-2023 Study Group Guide (mid-August)
How to Register for Study Groups (late August)
Link to Register for Study Groups (early September)
Study Group Vice Presidents
Stephanie Klopper, Joyce Steinberg and Barbara Stern
Note: All attendees must show proof of vaccination in advance and our
Chapter's Revised COVID-19 Vaccination Protocols will be strictly observed.
Summer Camp Update
The Heat Goes On and so does BNC Phx Summer Camp
Keep cool with fun August Activities!!
Summer Camp - in the News
Our Summer Camp program was recently featured in the news!
Summer Camp - Out & About
Intrepid volunteers braved the heat in order to pack school supplies
into backpacks for underprivileged kids.
Many thanks to Patti Grossman, Hillary Kaminsky, Ellen Kirschenbaum, Ruth Lerner, Suanne Neuman and Sharon Pick for supplying 100 backpacks for Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
Photo: Ellen Kirschenbaum
Ice Cream Party at the Sugar Bowl
Front row, left to front: Sharon Nova, Iris Wigal, Wendy Cohen, Linda Ullman, Gail Tenn

Back row, left to front: Ellen Kirschenbaum, Marilyn Reinfeld, Bruce Galin, Laurie Burns, Marcia Langer, Ronee Siegel, Sara Leopold, Ruth Lerner, Beth Messer
Photos: Nyles Gradus
Save the Date
Fall Event
Sunday, October 30 
Brandeis Alumni Making a Difference in Arizona
3:30 - 5:30 pm at The New Shul

Winter Event
Sunday, December 11
An Evening of Music and Conversation with Allan Naplan,
Composer, Cantorial Soloist and Executive Director of Arizona Musicfest
6:30 pm

University on Wheels
Planned to be in person on January 9, 2023
Book & Author 2023 - Diamond Jubilee
Celebrating the 75th Anniversaries of Brandeis University and the BNC
Sunday, March 12 - Cocktail Reception with the Authors
Monday, March 13 - Luncheon/Authors/Boutiques
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Membership News
Membership Milestones
  • Congratulations to Caryn Balaban on the arrival of her newest granddaughter, Millie Bauman. Proud parents are Zackery and Ashlee Bauman.
  • Congratulations to Jan and Mike Lebovitz on the birth of their grandson, Jacob Samuel. Proud parents are Rachel and Brandon Lebovitz.
  • Congratulations to Irene Lubin on the marriage of her granddaughter, Emily Rose, to Luke Oldacre, from Torquay, England.
  • Congratulations to Joan and Michael Schaller on the birth of their grandson, Theodore Morris Chapman. Proud parents are Rachel and Jeremy Chapman.
  • Congratulations to Andrew Tievsky on the marriage of his daughter, Dana, to Brett Jeske.
  • Congratulations to Abby Tucker and John Poremba on the birth of their grandson, Zayn Qais Tucker. Proud parents are Nisa Qais and Simon Tucker.
  • Our sincere condolences to Jeri Benoit on the passing of her sister-in-law, Colette Lormier.
  • Our sincere condolences to the family of Rochelle “Ricki” Fann.
  • Our sincere condolences to Marge Kaplan on the passing of her husband, Harvey.
  • Our sincere condolences to Jan and Mike Lebovitz on the passing of his brother-in-law, Robert Mark Harris. 
  • Our sincere condolences to Barb Jackson and Jeff Lipsman on the passing of his mother, Jeri Lipsman. 
  • Our sincere condolences to Fran Lipsman on the passing of her sister-in-law, Jeri Lipsman.
  • Our sincere condolences to Helen Locke, on the passing of her mother, Esther Jagerman.
  • Our sincere condolences to the family of Honeylou Reznik on her passing.
  • Our sincere condolences to Rona Rosenthal on the passing of her husband, Bob.
  • Our sincere condolences to Susie Sacks on the passing of her husband, Jim Andrews.
  • Our sincere condolences to Tina Sheinbein on the passing of her sister-in-law, Dena Beth Jaffe.
  • Our sincere condolences to Nan and Larry Waldman on the passing of his mother, Rose Waldman.
We Welcome Our New and Returning Members
Lynda and John Boyd, Janice Dinner, Helene and Mark Epperly, Elizabeth Gildar, Judith Goldberg, Naomi Goodell, Bruce Herman, Diann Horn, Jodi Pitta, Rhonda and Marc Ruskin, Ron Siegel, Michael Smilg, Elisabetta Widerhorn, Karen Zaks
New Member Coffee/Tea
We hold these gatherings several times throughout the season, to welcome new and prospective members.
The next one will be on Friday, October 21 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.
For more information or to attend, contact the Membership VPs, Laurie Burns and Gale Gradus.
To report life-cycle events, please contact:
Marilyn Reinfeld • mkr1227@cox.net480-620-5601

To report a change in email address, phone number (cell or landline) or mailing address, please contact:
Carol Kadet • 
She will update our membership roster and ensure that you receive Chapter mailings and information.
Time to Renew!
Online Membership Registration and Renewal is open for the 2022-2023 year - and what a fabulous year we have planned! If you renew or join our chapter now, your membership will be in good standing through June 30, 2023.

In order to take part in any Study Groups, your Membership must be current.
The Membership page of our website has a link to step-by-step instructions for online renewal. If you need assistance in any way, please contact us at

New members: We look forward to having you join our Chapter, meeting and welcoming you at one of our fabulous functions and making your BNC experience extra special!
Membership Vice Presidents
Gale Gradus and Laurie Burns
The New Member Coffee/Tea + Study Group Guide Orientation
Photo: Gale Gradus
Name Tags
Would you prefer not to wear the stick-on name tags used at Chapter functions?
We are offering personalized, magnetic BNC name tags for $15.00, including shipping. You can get your name tag by filling out the order form and mailing it to the listed address.
Note: Replacement magnetic backs for existing name tags are available; contact the Chapter at 480-359-7262.
Community Outreach
Charitable Organizations Need Our Help!
Our August campaign will be collecting school supplies for children in need. You can drop off anything you’d like to contribute at Wendy’s or Ellen’s. If you live in Phoenix, Iris Wigal has offered her home for collection, too.

Upcoming: We will be collecting new shoes and socks for toddlers and elementary school-aged children during September and October. 

For more information or addresses, please contact Wendy.
Wendy and Ellen

Wendy Cohen
Ellen Kirschenbaum
Knit A Mitzvah

Do you Knit?
Do you Crochet?
Help us make Scarves,
Newborn Baby Caps,
Lap Blankets and Chemo Caps

We donate newborn baby caps and lap
blankets to Honor Health Medical
Center, scarves to Sojourner Center
and chemo caps to

For more information, please contact:

Ronee Siegel 917-273-0393

Joan Davis 602–499-8357
Mitzvah Mavens
Participants in this study group volunteer at a variety of Valley non-profit organizations. They meet at the specific locations of the organizations on various dates when possible. If there are activities that can be done at home, participants will be notified.
Mitzvah Mavens Facilitators:
Patti Grossman
Ellen Kirschenbaum

Ileen Herberg
Nan Waldman
For more information, contact the Community Outreach Chairs:
Wendy Cohen ~ Ellen Kirschenbaum
NOTE: There has been a change in procedure, we are no longer accepting checks.
To make a donation online using a credit card, go to

In order to include your online tributes in the bulletin, please email the details -
Fund, Donor(s), Recipient(s) and Occasion only - to the Bulletin editors at
Brandeis Happenings
Recipients Sacha Nelson, Susan Birren,
Eve Marder and Gina Turrigiano
Brandeis scientists awarded $1 million Keck Foundation grant

July 14, 2022

A team of Brandeis scientists have been awarded $1 million in funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation to study how the human brain interfaces with the sympathetic nervous system.
The research could lead to new understandings of how the sympathetic nervous system, which exists outside the brain and spinal cord and controls the fight or flight response, is disrupted in disorders like hypertension and Postural Orthostatic Tachychardia Syndrome (POTS) — a condition that affects heart function and can cause fainting. 

The labs headed by Susan Birren, the Zalman Abraham Kekst Professor in Neuroscience; Sacha Nelson, the Gyula and Katica Tauber Professor of Life Science; Gina Turrigiano, the Joseph Levitan Professor of Vision Science; and Eve Marder, the Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Biology will collaborate on the three-year study. Led by Birren and Nelson, the research will be conducted in their laboratories, with intellectual and technical contributions from Turrigiano and Marder. 
“The nervous system is a key regulator of all bodily functions, yet we have so much to learn about how the sympathetic system bridges the gap between the brain and the heart,” Birren said. “We are grateful to the Keck Foundation for their help in pushing the boundaries of knowledge in this area.”

Did you miss one of Brandeis' virtual events and would like to access a recording of it?
Visit the on-demand Virtual Event Library.
General Chapter Information
Chapter Board Meetings
Board meetings are conducted via Zoom.
Chapter members are welcome to attend all meetings,
which are generally held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 10:00 am.

Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 17 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

RSVP: Email Corresponding Secretary Joyce Grant
at in order to receive the Zoom link.

Chapter Presidents: Leith Baletin and Ellen Widoff
Mission Statement
Brandeis National Committee is dedicated to providing philanthropic support to Brandeis University, a distinguished liberal arts and research university founded by the American Jewish community. Its membership is connected to the University through fundraising and through activities that reflect the values on which the University was founded: academic excellence, social justice, nonsectarianism and service to the community.

Presidents: Ellen Widoff and Leith Baletin

Editor: Sara Leopold ~ Assistant Editor: Ronee Siegel

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