In this issue:













An Evening of Music & Conversation

with Allan Naplan

Executive & Producing Director of Arizona Musicfest

Join us for Music, Conversation and Dessert

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Doors open at 6:30 pm for a Dessert Buffet

Program begins at 7:15 pm

Assumption Greek Church,

8202 E Cactus Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Allan Naplan is the driving force behind Arizona’s Musicfest and has been called the Valley of the Sun’s own “Music Man.” Following a career as an operatic baritone performing nationwide, he then served in senior management roles with several major opera companies. As a composer, his works have been performed in over 40 countries and featured in concerts at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the White House. Allan is also a well-known cantorial soloist, performing locally and in California.

Piano $40 ~ Violin $50 ~ Harp $65

Register Here

Any amount over $28 is considered a charitable contribution and is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Proceeds benefit the Brandeis National Committee’s campaign, 

The Legacy of Louis: Inspiring Inquiry.

The Phoenix Chapter’s Covid-19 Vaccination Policy has been suspended.

Anyone choosing to wear a mask will continue to be treated respectfully.

Presidents' Message

Dear Friends,

For those of us who were able to attend our Fall program, Brandeis Alumni Making a Difference in Arizona, we traveled on the journeys of six remarkable Arizona change makers.

While reminiscing on the lifelong effects and influences Brandeis University gave them, they each took a different path after graduation.  Using their considerable talents, collectively they have addressed the challenges in Arizona of healthcare, pandemic relief, social justice, developing vibrant spiritual and religious communities and meeting the needs of Jewish students on campus. 

Coincidentally and timely, in a recent edition of the online magazine, Brandeis NOW, the lead story was the university’s celebration of First-Generation Student Day. Damien Preciado, one of our panelists, represented Gen One. He described his experience of being a first-generation student from a poor family in Mexico. His family worked in the grape fields, the restaurant service industry and clothing factories to make their way in the United States.

Through an academic scholarship, Damian obtained a BA in both Philosophy and Latin American Studies. He shared his story of transcendence and assimilation as he learned about individual freedoms, social justice, community service and academic excellence.

According to the Office of Institutional Research, ‘first generation students made up 16 percent of the undergraduate population at Brandeis in 2021.’ The University’s academic services program, called Generation One, often called ‘Gen One,’ ensures support for students who are the first in their family to attend college.

“Generation One aims to bring together this community of students who identified as first generation, low income, or children of immigrants, offering them a place to find supportive peers, educational resources and academic support.”

The success of Gen One was attributed to their ability to seek out mentors with similar experiences. Damian asked to be put in touch with National staff to help him connect to current and potential students he can mentor.

Every program you attend, every study group you enjoy and every volunteer opportunity you take on helps Brandeis University make our world a better place.

Our program, Brandeis Alumni Making a Difference in Arizona, was an entertaining and dramatic example of the many benefits of supporting Brandeis University.

Thank you for your membership and your current and future leadership in BNC. We hope to see you at future Events and Study Groups.


Ellen and Leith

Upcoming Events

University on Wheels is back in person!

Please join us
 as Rosalind Kabrhel, Associate Professor and Chair of the 
Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative (BEJI), discusses
From Prison to Promise: Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration
and innovative criminal justice education
Monday, January 9, 2023 
Breakfast and Program
9:30 am ~ 12:00 pm

Embassy Suites by Hilton

2630 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix

From Prison to Promise: Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration

The United States incarcerates more of its population than any other country in the world. Though most people who are incarcerated leave prison and reenter society, the retributive sentencing outcomes of our legal system, along with the collateral consequences from the negative stigma of incarceration itself, prevent many from achieving success upon reentry into the general community. This doesn’t just impact individuals; it impacts their children, their families, and their communities by preventing their full engagement with civic life.

You can read more about Professor Kabrhel and the work she is doing in this area on our website.

Registration details and the link to register are coming soon

For more information, contact: Michelle Fischler and Barbara Stern, Event Chairs


Burning with “Dance Fever” and Ready for Fun?

Mark your calendar for Saturday, January 28 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm

A dance party like no other at Arizona’s most prestigious dance studio,

The Imperial Ballroom.

Put on your dancing shoes while a DJ spins your favorite tunes from the 60s-80s.

Grab your gal pals or favorite partner and dance like you haven’t danced in years!

Registration will open in late December and will be limited to 125 people. 

Be There or Be Square!

Have questions? Contact Carol Mangen • carolmangen2@gmail.com • 480-560-4136

Marcia Langer, Harriet Schwartz and Andrew Tievsky, Event Chairs

Book & Author

The 33rd Annual Book & Author Event

Sunday, March 12 - Bookmark Donor Cocktail Reception with the Authors

Monday, March 13 - Luncheon/Authors/Boutiques

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch

See our website for the Book & Author event overview,

with continuing author news, book reviews and updates about this wonderful event!

Book & Author 2023 is proud to announce that proceeds from the event, as well as a portion of the proceeds from every book sold at the event, will benefit the BNC’s new campaign, The Legacy of Louis: Inspiring Inquiry.

Scroll down for more information about the campaign.

Book & Author 2023 Event Chairs

Carol Kern • Jan Lebovitz • Linda Ullman

phxbookandauthor@gmail.com • 480-389-6502

Celebrating the 75th Anniversaries of Brandeis University and the Brandeis National Committee

Author and Moderator Bios

Wanda M. Morris

Wanda M. Morris is the award-winning author of All Her Little Secrets, which was named one of the “Best Books for 2021” by Hudson Booksellers and selected as the #1 Top Pick for “Library Reads” by librarians across the country.

As a corporate attorney, Wanda M. Morris previously served as President of the Georgia Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and is the founder of its Women’s Initiative, an empowerment program for female in-house lawyers. She is an alumna of the Yale Writers Workshop and Robert McKee’s Story Seminar. Wanda is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Crime Writers of Color, and serves on the Board of International Thriller Writers.

Her newest book, Anywhere You Run (10/22), has been called “wise, riveting, and full of surprises” that “will keep you up past your bedtime and stay with you long after the book is closed.” It has been said that its “finely sculpted characters and crisp dialogue help make this a standout” and it has been named one of “Fifteen Standout Historical Fiction Books to Read this Year” by Oprah Daily.

Dani Shapiro

Dani Shapiro is a bestselling author of five novels, including Family History and Black and White and five memoirs, including Hourglass and Inheritance. She is also a screenwriter, who is currently working on an adaption of Sue Miller’s 2020 novel, Monogamy, to star Holly Hunter, and is the creator and host of the popular iHeart Radio podcast Family Secrets (now in its seventh season).

Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue and Time. She has taught at Columbia, Wesleyan and New York University, and is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy.

Her previous book, the memoir Inheritance, won the National Jewish Book Award and has been optioned for TV by Killer Films (Boys Don’t Cry, Still Alice, Carol). Her new book, Signal Fires (10/22)—her first novel in 15 years—is a “riveting, emotional, impossible -to-put-down, literary and commercial tour de force, and a work of haunting beauty by a masterly storyteller at the height of her powers.”

Olivia Fierro, Moderator

Olivia Fierro is a professional broadcast journalist whose impressive communications skills allow her to effectively connect with an audience through all media landscapes: television, podcasting, social media, and as a host/speaker/moderator for in-person events.

Olivia anchors 20 hours per week of live television as co-host of Good Morning Arizona, which includes interviews with newsmakers, lifestyle segments and breaking news (for which she earned a Regional EMMY Award in 2021).

Beyond the news desk, Olivia is the founder and host of Olivia’s Book Club, an online book community, and is the host and producer of a weekly podcast of the same name. She also lends her time, voice and creativity to a variety of organizations and causes (Valley of the Sun United Way, Dress for Success, Chicanos Por la Causa, March of Dimes AZ, GOTR and HonorHealth Foundation, among others), helping these non-profits raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Olivia Fierro is a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles, and earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in both History and Women’s Studies.

Become a Table Captain!

The Phoenix chapter of the Brandeis National Committee is gearing up for a fantastic Book & Author Event on March 13, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort at Gainey Ranch. This is year 33 of this event!

We thank you so much for being a Table Captain in previous years. With this in mind, we are hoping you consider joining us once again. 

In preparation, we are hosting a tea for all previous and prospective Table Captains on January 20, 2023, at 2:00 pm at a private home in Paradise Valley.

An eblast will be coming your way shortly with sign-up details, but do not hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Patti Grossman • Terriann Kleiner • Ruth Lerner


Read about our Boutique Vendors in the January Bulletin!

Study Group News

Spotlight on Midyear Study Groups

Two New Groups will Begin in January

PARTICIPANTS: If you registered for study groups after October 10 and have not heard from your facilitator(s), please contact them and make sure you are on their group list.

FACILITATORS: If a participant informs you that they registered for your group after the group lists were sent, please verify with the Study Group VPs.

This season of Brandeis Phoenix study groups is in full swing as more and more groups have had their first meetings!

There are still many study groups that have space available for more participants. For details and to sign up for

available study groups, see the Study Group Guide and Registration links below and on our website.

Bridge Study Group

This monthly recreational bridge group is for intermediate players.

We will be playing in the game room at The Luxe, located at 5250 E. Deer Valley Road. Further instructions will come once the group is formed. Our first meeting will be on Thursday, January 5th. NOTE: participants must eat lunch on their own before arrival. We look forward to having relaxing games with friends. Minimum 4, maximum 20.

First Thursdays, 1:00 pm -3:30 pm (January - April)

Facilitators: ...............................................................................Fee $20

Nan Waldman nanlarry46@gmail.com 602-410-5639

Marcy Strauss mss29@comcast.net 612-710-6291

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese art combining body & mind. Tai Chi's slow and relaxed movements are sometimes referred to as "meditation in motion." There are many benefits, including, but not limited to: stress reduction, improving balance, endurance and agility. This group, for both beginning and

continuing students, will meet on consecutive Wednesdays for six weeks at a Scottsdale

location; participants will be emailed the location after registration. The first meeting will be

January 25, 2023. Minimum 3, maximum 10.

Consecutive Wednesdays, 10:00 am -11:00 am, (January 25 - March 1)

Facilitator: ................................................................................................Fee $20

Dave Burns bogieb4@aol.com 520-444-1255

Study Group Information:

The 2022-2023 Study Group Guide

How to Register for Study Groups

Registration Link - First time 2022-23 registrants only*

*If you have already registered for 2022-23 Study Groups, use the link in the

confirmation email you received when you registered.

Study Group Vice Presidents 

Stephanie Klopper, Joyce Steinberg and Barbara Stern


Men of Brandeis

Wednesday, December 14

1:00 pm at the JCC

12701 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale

On Dec 14th at 1:00 pm at the JCC, the Men of Brandeis will have Sarah Ferrara as our guest speaker. She has over nine years of experience in the aviation industry as the Aviation Planning and Outreach Coordinator for Scottsdale Airport. Her responsibilities include planning and outreach efforts related to the city’s airport and aviation department. 

Her presentation will bring us up to date on recent airport projects, economic benefits and operations. With the city’s

Super Season around the corner, featuring Super Bowl LVII, she will share some of the ways the airport is preparing

to handle the increased operations.

For additional information or to attend, contact the facilitator:

Leith Baletin lbaletin@gmail.com 480-874-9434

Study Groups Out & About

The Leisure Hiking group on the VOAZ trail in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.

Photo: Simon Burrow

The Leisure Hiking group hiked to the Brown's Ranch Amphitheater.

Photo: Simon Burrow

The Wine Connoisseurs group enjoyed the wine and the company.

Photo: Nyles Gradus

The new group, Touring the Valley Treasures, visited the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix.

The Neighborhood Walks group walked along Marguerite Lake in McCormick Ranch.

Photo: Sara Leopold

Strategic Planning

Our chapter is holding a working leadership session from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm at The New Shul (7825 E Paradise Ln, Scottsdale, AZ 85260) on Wednesday, December 7th for current Board members. We also welcome all members who might be willing to help in this working session.

There will be no pressure to commit to any activity or position. The work will focus on two related areas:  

  • What does leadership in the BNC Phoenix Chapter look like and how do we interest members to get involved?  
  • We have committed to being a mentoring culture. What does that look like and how do we implement it?

Please let Joellyn Pollock (joellyn_pollock@yahoo.com) know if you will be able to join us on December 7th.

We hope to see you there.

Call for Nominations

Have you considered taking on a leadership position in our chapter, maybe with a friend?

Being a chapter leader is very rewarding - and fun!

The Nominating Committee is looking for nominations to fill the following positions, available now:

Executive Vice Presidents 

Event Planning Vice Presidents

Study Group Vice President - 1 position 

Book & Author Vice Presidents (to begin in April, 2023)

If you are interested, or know anyone who is, or would like more information,

please contact Jan Lebovitz or Linda Ullman,

Nominating Committee Chairs

Save the Date

Winter Event

Sunday, December 11

An Evening of Music and Conversation with Allan Naplan, 

Composer, Cantorial Soloist and Executive Director of Arizona Musicfest

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

7:00 - 9:00 pm • Doors open at 6:30 pm

University on Wheels (UoW)

Monday, January 9, 2023

Professor Rosalind Kabrhel,

From Prison to Promise: Breaking the Cycle of Incarceration

Breakfast • Embassy Suites Biltmore

Dance Fever

Saturday, January 28, 2023

7:00 - 9:00 pm

Imperial Ballroom

Annual Meeting

Wednesday, February 15

2:00 - 4:00 pm

Gloria Christi Federated Church (formerly Palo Cristi Church)

The 33rd Annual Book & Author Event

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 at Gainey Ranch

Membership News

Membership Milestones

  • Best wishes to Iris Wigal for a speedy recovery.
  • Our sincere condolences to the family of life member Elaine Goldberg.
  • Our sincere condolences to Maris Herzog and family on the passing of her father, Irving Abrahamson.

We welcome our new members:

Caroline Harbeck Farkas, Stephen Gay, Barbara Gould, Bob Skerker and

Barbara Smith

To report life-cycle events, please contact:

Marilyn Reinfeld • mkr1227@cox.net • 480-620-5601


To report a change in email address, phone number (cell or landline) or mailing address, please contact:

Carol Kadet • carolkadet@gmail.com 

She will update our membership roster and ensure that you receive Chapter mailings and information.

A Coffee/Tea for New and Prospective Members

We hold these gatherings several times throughout the season to welcome new and prospective members.

The next one will be on Friday, January 27th from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

For more information or to attend, contact Membership VPs

Laurie Burns and Gale Gradus at phxbncmembership@gmail.com.

Join our chapter - participate in study groups!

Study Group registration continues with many groups that haven't met yet, and the addition of 2 new groups!

In order to take part in any Study Groups, your Membership must be current.

If you click on the graphic and renew or join our chapter now,

your membership will be in good standing through June 30, 2023. 

The Membership page of our website has a link to step-by-step instructions for online membership.

If you need assistance in any way, please contact us at phxbncmembership@gmail.com.

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


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.

Order Form

Note: Replacement magnetic backs for existing name tags are available; contact the Chapter at 480-359-7262.

Community Outreach

Community Service is a fundamental part of the Mission of BNC. Throughout the year, we collect items for various non-profits in the greater Phoenix area, and your support is much appreciated. 

Additionally, our Mitzvah Maven Study Group provides participatory activities for our members to volunteer directly with specific agencies.

Many thanks to everyone for our successful school supply initiative. We’re still collecting new socks, all sizes, and pill bottles without labels. You DO make a difference!

Thanks to one of our members, Merri Rubin, we are collecting gently used handbags, totes, purses, etc. She told us about Purse-Impressions, based out of Cave Creek. They collect new and used handbags, fill them with toilet articles and distribute them to women coming out of rehab. You can read about this charity on the Purse-Impressions website.

Let’s clean out those closets!

For more information or collection addresses, please contact us.

Wendy Cohen and Ellen Kirschenbau


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 

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

For more information, please contact:

Ronee Siegel

ronees@aol.com 917-273-0393

Joan Davis

davis6j@gmail.com 602–499-8357


For more information, see our website.

Mitzvah Mavens

Participants in this study group volunteer at a variety of Valley non-profit organizations. We meet at the specific locations of the organizations on various dates, lending helping hands as needed. If there are activities that can be done at home, participants will be notified.

Mitzvah Mavens Facilitators:

Patti Grossman psgrossman717@gmail.com

Ellen Kirschenbaum ellenk102@gmail.com

Ileen Herberg iherberg@aol.com

Nan Waldman nanlarry46@gmail.com

For more information, contact the Community Outreach Chairs:

Wendy Cohen and Ellen Kirschenbaum


The New Campaign

The Legacy of Louis: Inspiring Inquiry

The Brandeis National Committee is proud to announce its newest campaign, The Legacy of Louis: Inspiring Inquiry, as the university nears its milestone 75th anniversary in 2023. 

The campaign will reinvigorate the Brandeis Library's mission to empower its community to become scholars, creators, and innovators through the creation of two interactive additions to the Library. The first will be the construction of a research archive of original letters, photographs, documents and family objects that shed light on the life and the lasting contributions of Justice Louis D. Brandeis. 

The second addition to the Brandeis Library will be the creation of a new Judaica reading room in the library. This space will provide the Brandeis community with a place to engage with Jewish texts outside of the typical classroom and religious environments. By presenting Jewish texts in conjunction with writings from cultural and religious traditions from around the world, the room will serve scholars and students alike. 

In 1948, the BNC (formerly BUNWC) was founded alongside the university to provide philanthropic support and now, nearly 75 years later, continues to support the mission and principles upon which Brandeis was founded.

More information will be coming soon.

About Justice Brandeis

Many people don’t realize that the institution we support with our philanthropic work, Brandeis University, is named for Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941), the first Jewish Justice of the Supreme Court and one of the most brilliant minds to ever serve the court. Louis Brandeis graduated first in his class from Harvard University and began practicing law in Boston. He became known as the “people’s attorney,” due to his passion and work in social justice movements and pro bono work on behalf of the public interest. He made an indelible mark on the law and social justice reforms. His method of arguing cases using fact-based evidence became known as the “Brandeis Brief,” which became a staple of American Constitutional law.

Brandeis University was established seven years after Justice Brandeis’s death, when the American Jewish community decided to build an institution that embodied Justice Brandeis’s values: academic excellence, social justice and service to the community. These are the major tenets today of this great University, and of the Brandeis National Committee, of which Phoenix represents the largest chapter.

So, as you support and attend our chapter events and study groups you can reflect on the legacy of this great man and the values that we hold so dear today.


Recent Donations:

Donation Opportunities




Library Fund

Gail and Les Vinik

Legacy of Louis Campaign

Beth and Jon Messer

Beth and Jon Messer

Joyce Grant

Joyce Grant

Sustaining the Mind Fund

Harriet Schwartz

Arline Salbe

Michelle Fischler

Barbara and Mark Stern

Uri Grauman

Ruth Lerner

Arline Salbe

In honor of her special birthday

In honor of her birthday

In honor of their granddaughter, Micah Mandell

In memory of Rena Selden

In memory of her sister, Marion Gabrlik

In honor of her special birthday

To make a donation online using a credit card, go to giving.brandeis.edu/bnc.

In order to include your online tributes in the bulletin, please email the details - 

Fund, Donor(s), Recipient(s) and Occasion only - to Beth Messer at bethmae721@gmail.com.

Brandeis Happenings

Honoring Indigenous Artists

The paintings of artist Romando Vigil are both abstract and descriptive of Pueblo culture. Two of his works, along with other indigenous artists, are currently on display at the Rose Art Museum. 

November 1, 2022

In honor of Native American Heritage Month this November, which recognizes the significant contributions made by the first Americans to the establishment and growth of the United States, the Brandeis Alumni Association is highlighting Native American and Indigenous artists who have a Brandeis connection.

Artists include Jamie Black, Natasha Frye, Jeffrey Gibson, Noé Martínez, James "Ari" Montford, Romando Vigil and Marie Watt

More about the artists, including photos

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, January 18, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

RSVP: Email Corresponding Secretary Joyce Grant 

at jhgrant35@gmail.com in order to receive the Zoom link.

Chapter Presidents: Leith Baletin and Ellen Widoff

Board of Directors 2022-2023

Report a Change of Contact Information

Privacy Policy

Zoom Protocols

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.

BNC Phoenix Chapter Website

Presidents: Ellen Widoff and Leith Baletin

Editor: Sara Leopold ~ Assistant Editor: Ronee Siegel


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