BNC Phoenix Chapter Vaccination Protocol applies to all study groups and events - attendees must submit proof of vaccination in advance to Masks are required indoors.
Presidents' Message
Dear Fellow Brandeis Phoenix Chapter Members,

We hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving with family and friends. 

It’s hard to imagine that we are closing out 2021 – where has the year gone! As we are all getting out more, we continue to be careful. Most of us are beginning to venture out to restaurants, theaters, travel and able to do many of our normal activities, but with masks ever present.
Our membership is growing – we had our first in-person Membership coffee since January 2020. We had 28 people in attendance and it was a joy to see everyone! Thank you to Carol Kadet, Gale Gradus and their committee for a warm and informative get-together.

We are so excited with our incredible array of study groups – over 90 and more coming in January. Most are in person, but some will stay online because of convenience, group size or preference. Thank you again and again to our amazing Study Group VPs, their committee, and all Facilitators and Chapter members who are participating.

We have many exciting events coming up – University on Wheels (virtual), a Game Day on January 27 and our Annual meeting on February 16 - The Face of Ballroom Dance: A Multimedia Presentation.

Our wonderful Book & Author cocktail party and dinner with the authors will be on March 17, followed by our fabulous Book & Author luncheon on March 18. Thank you to Iris Wigal and Nancy Sacks for chairing this event and for all of their subcommittee chairs and members who will be volunteering – it takes a village to make this event happen. Please sign up to be a table captain at the luncheon and invite everyone to join us – members, friends and family. 

In April, we will have our spring event - April in Paris – a luncheon and installation of the new Board. 

More information will be coming out about these exciting events. Huge thank you to our Fundraising/Program VPs and their very busy committees – it is so exciting to have our calendars full again!

Our Phoenix Chapter is one of a kind. We are a fundraising organization connected to Brandeis University, but we want to have fun raising money and we DO know how to have fun!! In order to have all of these terrific activities in our Chapter, we need you to step up and become more involved. It’s easy to say “no” when asked to become involved on committees or on the Board, but we can both tell you that when you say “yes,” you truly have the opportunity to meet and really get to know so many wonderful people.

We both moved to Arizona five years ago. We wanted to make friends and have a busy social life. Thanks to Brandeis, we have experienced the best that life can bring and have met so many who have become lifelong friends. 

Whatever you celebrate, we wish you a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas and a very happy and healthy New Year!!!

Best regards!
Linda & Jan
Our chapter's leadership team is having fun while working on succession planning.
We need you! Consider becoming a part of our Executive Committee!
Book & Author
March 18, 2022
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Book & Author - Bios
Peng Shepherd
Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet, and has lived in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York. Prior to receiving a Master of Fine Arts from NYU, she earned an MA in International Studies at the University of London. Her first novel,The Book of M, won the 2019 Neukom Institute for Literary Arts Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and was chosen as a best book of the year by Amazon, Elle, Refinery29, and The Verge, as well as a best book of the summer by the Today Show and NPR On Point. Peng is the recipient of a 2020 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Elizabeth George Foundation’s emerging writers 2016 grant. The Cartographers has been called “a vastly rich experience,” as well as “an exquisitely written, brilliantly plotted, absolutely fantastic novel... Be prepared to be swept away on an incredible journey.”
Thrity Umrigar
Thrity Umrigar is the bestselling author of The Space Between Us, which was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, as well as six other novels, a memoir, and three picture books. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and published in over fifteen countries. She is the winner of a Lambda Literary Award and the Seth Rosenberg Prize and is a Distinguished Professor of English at Case Western Reserve University. A former prize-winning journalist, she has contributed to the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, the New York Times  and Huffington Post. Honor has been called “a powerful, important, unforgettable book” as well as “an intense and spellbinding novel, ricocheting between fear and hope, and betrayal and redemption.”
Photo:Eust Kavouras
Lin Sue Cooney, Moderator
As director of community engagement at one of the largest not-for-profit hospices in the country, Lin Sue oversees marketing, fund development and volunteers. She is passionate about helping our community understand the full-spectrum care Hospice of the Valley provides - including support for chronic illness and dementia.
Prior to her work with hospice care, Lin Sue spent 31 years as a newscaster for 12 News. She graduated cum laude from Willamette University in Oregon and received her MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Lin Sue is a voracious reader! When she’s not buried in a book, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their blended family of 7 kids. She and her very spoiled standard poodle also love bringing cheer to patients and families as a pet therapy team for Hospice of the Valley.
Become a Table Captain!
It is fun to be a Table Captain and invite your friends to sit with you (8-10 per table). Table Captains may enter the ballroom early in order to distribute place cards at their table(s). In addition, we will be hosting a Table Captains brunch on Friday, January 7, at 10:30 am. You will receive an invitation prior to the event.

If you are interested, please contact:
Table Captain Committee co-chair Sue Lawler at
Read about our Boutique Vendors in the January Bulletin!
Volunteer Meeting
October 25, 2021
Photos: Gale Gradus
For more information or to volunteer, please contact the Event Chairs:
Iris Wigal • Nancy Sacks 480-442-9623
Fundraising Programs
Thank you to Susie Sacks and Lyn Walter and their team for planning and carrying out the highly successful Fall event, Phoenix Adventure from A to Z!
We have received many emails from the attendees at the event thanking them for putting it together. It was very successful - from the number of people attending, learning about the city of Phoenix and raising money for Brandeis.
Some photos are included below.
Announcing... Game Day!
Calling all Mah Jongg and Canasta players
Thursday, January 27, 2022
10:30 am - 2:30 pm
Lunch will be provided by Arizona Bread Company and
items will be collected in support of JFCS - Just 3 Things.
Congregation Beth Israel • 10460 N 56th Street • Paradise Valley
Watch your email for more details.
Mark your calendar for the Annual Meeting program on February 16. It will be held at The New Shul and will focus on the transformative aspects of ballroom dancing.
At this event, we will be collecting items for the Sojourner Center Women’s Shelter
as part of our Decorations for a Cause committee efforts.
Fall Phoenix Adventure:
Susie Sacks and Lyn Walters, Chairs
Please Join Us to Plan Events!
There’s always room for more members of the Fundraising Programs committee! If you would like to help plan and implement fabulous programs and events for our BNC Phoenix Chapter, we meet on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Please join us on Wednesday, December 22 at 10:00 am for our next Zoom meeting. Just email or call to let us know you’ll attend and we will send you the meeting link. We look forward to hearing from you!
Fundraising Programs Vice Presidents:
Patti Grossman 602-885-0158 (phone or text) and Terriann Kleiner 314-761-3132 (phone or text)
Study Groups
Study Group Registration Continues!
Study groups are in full swing. There are still many groups that continue into the Spring. If you are looking for new activities or want to meet new people you can join one of these ongoing groups. Use the email confirmation you received when you originally registered for study groups in September and click on the “Edit my Registration” link to open the online registration application. Look for the new study group number and add the group. Once you complete the registration, check the Study Guide and, most importantly, contact the Study Group Facilitator to let them know you registered for their group.

Groups that have not reached their maximum enrollment and are available are listed HERE.

Even a group that has reached its maximum enrollment may have openings from time to time - if you are interested in a particular group, contact the facilitator(s) to see if space is available. Very often there is! Look in the calendar linked below for group details, which include contact information for the facilitators. A $5 guest fee will apply.

Watch for an eblast later this month with information about any new study groups and when you can register. Registration will be done online; spots cannot be reserved in advance by either facilitators or Study Group VPs.

If you have an idea for a study group you wish to facilitate, please contact the Study Group VPs at We will assist you in getting your group started.

*This Link is for your initial registration only. For additional registrations, use the link to "edit your registration information" from your previous confirmation email.
Monday, December 20
12:30 - 2:00 pm
12701 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale

Victoria Shinagel was 51 years old when a dramatic turn of events altered the course of her life. Born in Cambridge Massachusetts, in the heart of Harvard Square to academic parents, She had all the intellectual opportunities at her hand. Educated at the University of Vermont and Harvard University she excelled in physical achievements as a marathon runner, body builder, Black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and competitive down hill ski racer, these accomplishments are not what made her. Her career as an executive in the furniture industry in Asia and the U.S was a turning point for women in business. Only a six by nine foot cell of cinder block and concrete could do for her what her privileged life could not.

ANGEL ON THE INSIDE is a personal account of understanding. It is a memoir illuminating the unlikely places where we find mentors from whom we learn
our most valuable lessons.

From white privilege to prison, it is only through incarceration that Shinagel is gifted her
freedom. In solitary confinement she is alone and invisible; in D Block she is scared and
vulnerable; in C Block she is curious and willing; in minimum she is still scared; she finds
hope; she learns to trust; she begins to understand; and finally she finds freedom.

Guests are welcome with a $5.00 fee at the door.
RSVPs are required so that we will have enough chairs.
Merrill Kalman
Wednesday, December 8
1:00 pm
12701 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale

Have you ever wondered what life on safari is like? Ever wondered where you'd stay, places you'd visit, wildlife you'd see and the people you'd meet? Anatomy of a Safari tells, in detail, the adventure of a safari in Kenya and Tanzania, from the lodges you'd enjoy to encountering the incredible animals that inhabit Africa's iconic parks.

On December 8, at the JCC on Scottsdale Rd, Men for Brandeis Activities (MBA) will host Mat Dry, who will describe his experiences as an African Safari Guide. Mat became qualified as a guide in South Africa in 2007. He has been taking people on safari in eastern and southern Africa ever since, with his company, TIA Safaris. He is the author of two books: THIS is Africa: True Tales of a Safari Guide I and II. He lectures at schools, universities, and organizations of all types, primarily about African conservation.

As always, we will meet for a nosh at Milk and Honey around noon for those who wish to join us. Mat’s talk will begin at 1:00 pm. As a reminder, masks are required in the Great Hall where the talk will occur.

Group participants will be sent more details by email.
For additional information, contact the facilitator:
Leith Baletin 480-874-9434
The Just Desserts group went to Churn for ice cream.
The Phoenicians group went on a walking tour of mural art
in Ro-Ro (Roosevelt Row), in downtown Phoenix.
2021-2022 Study Group Vice Presidents
Stephanie Klopper, Joyce Steinberg and Barbara Stern
Save the Date
In-Person Events Planned for this Season

Game Day
Thursday, January 27, 2022
10:30 am - 2:30 pm
Congregation Beth Israel

The Chapter Annual Meeting Program
The Face of Ballroom Dance: A Multimedia Presentation
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
The New Shul • 7825 E Paradise Lane • Scottsdale
32nd Annual Book & Author Event
JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Friday, March 18, 2022

Bookmark Donors Cocktail Reception
Thursday, March 17, 2022

Dinner with the Authors
Following the Cocktail Reception
Spring Event and Installation of the
2022-2023 Board
Spring 2022

Virtual University on Wheels
Membership News
Membership Milestones
  • Congratulations to Karen Bycer on the birth of her fourth grandchild, Elazar Bycer. Proud parents are Elly and Matthew Bycer.
  • Congratulations to Karen and Jay Bycer as they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
  • Congratulations to Joyce and Neil Goldstein on the birth of their grandson, Sam ("Sammy") Partab Prithiani. Proud parents are Meryl Goldstein and Chandan Prithiani.
  • Congratulations to Judy Lohr-Safcik on the marriage of her son, Joshua Safcik, to Holly Westover.
  • Congratulations to Amy and Marvin Richman on the birth of their grandson, Nathaniel Martin Richman-Stern. Proud parents are Jessica Richman and Edward Stern.
  • Congratulations to Vicki Wallach on the arrival of her grandson, Ethan Wallach. Proud parents are Leah Hill and Jonathan Wallach.
  • Best wishes to Alyce Helfman for a speedy recovery.
  • Sending well wishes and good thoughts to Eve Levy.
  • Best wishes to Beth Messer for a speedy recovery.
  • Our sincere condolences to Debra Coopersmith on the passing of her husband, Martin.
  • Our sincere condolences to Cindie Gittelman on the passing of her nephew, Josh Rothstein.
  • Our sincere condolences to Sophia Litt on the passing of her brother-in-law, Marvin Litt.
  • Our sincere condolences to Janet Lottman on the passing of her mother, Lillian Stam.
  • Our sincere condolences to Irene Lubin on the passing of her son-in-law, Maury Feuerman.
  • Our sincere condolences to Nancy Moffitt on the passing of her brother-in-law, Barry Moffitt.
  • Our sincere condolences to Karen Nagle on the passing of her father, Gerald Neiter.
  • Our sincere condolences to Shelly Plous on the passing of her husband, Robert.
  • Our sincere condolences to Nan and Larry Waldman on the passing of her brother, Rick Ridberg.
We Welcome Our New Members
David Appelbaum, Elaine Goodman, Michele Holiday, Shari Lake, Enid Seiden,
Patrice Sposeep, Alan Stein, Linda Zlotoff
To report life-cycle events, please contact:
Susan Sacks at 480-860-5256 or

To report a change in email address, phone number or mailing address, please contact:
Ms. Bruce Galin,
She is our Data Manager and will ensure you receive Chapter mailings and information.
Name Tags
Would you prefer not to wear the stick-on name tags used at Chapter functions?
Here is an alternative.
We are offering personalized, magnetic BNC name tags for $13.00, 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 office.
Membership Vice Presidents
Carol Kadet and Gale Gradus
Community Outreach
Charitable Organizations Need Our Help!
This month, we’re collecting toiletries for transitioning youth through Jewish Family and Children's Services

You can donate items such as:

Hand and bath soap, washcloths, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hand and body lotion, toothpaste and toothbrushes, hair combs and brushes, loofahs, hair accessories, shaving
razors and shaving cream, sanitary products
and anything else you can think of!

Please remember that we’re helping both young men and young women. 

Donations may be dropped off at Ellen’s or Wendy’s house.

Stay safe and stay well!
Ellen Kirschenbaum and Wendy Cohen
Knit A Mitzvah

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

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 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. This year, they plan to begin in January, but 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
Volunteer Opportunities
A wonderful way to get involved with our local BNC Chapter is to share your expertise with us. It’s a win-win! You get to meet some of the other members, maintain your skills and learn new ones, and the Chapter benefits from your experience.
The current skill sets needed are:
Website, Marketing, Publicity, Technology, Study Group Facilitator

If you would like to volunteer in these or any other areas,
please contact our Volunteer Chair, Ruth Lerner
Brandeis National Committee's Honoring Our History campaign supports the digitization of select archives and special collections in the Brandeis Library that highlight social justice.
For more information about the campaign, or to make a donation, see the BNC website.
General Chapter Information
Chapter Board Meetings
Board meetings are conducted virtually, 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, December 15 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

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

Chapter Presidents: Jan Lebovitz and Linda Ullman
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: Jan Lebovitz and Linda Ullman

Editors: Kathleen Witkin and Sara Leopold ~ Assistant Editor: Ronee Siegel