Hinei mah tov

Keller Manheim Schneider

Rabbi Rony Keller of Congregation Beth Israel and Rabbi Jeremy Schneider of Temple Kol Ami  – president and vice president respectively of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix – share a photo moment backstage with Camryn Manheim, the featured speaker at the 2014 Mega Event.
Photo courtesy of Rabbi Jeremy Schneider

Getting together at the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix’s Mega Event is sort of a hinei mah tov (behold how good) moment each year, and Tuesday evening’s gathering at the Arizona Biltmore was no exception. The Jewish News publisher and employees gathered together with about a thousand other Jewish community members, equally committed to the good of the Valley’s Jewish community.

How good it was to be together with Abe Meth, nearly 102, who sang “Hatikvah,” ably accompanied by Todd Herzog (who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”) on guitar.

How good it was to celebrate the community quilt, with 80 organizations (including ours) represented. We could tell that participants came from all four points of the Valley’s compass by the yells that each group gave as their organization got an on-stage shout-out from Rudy Troisi, Shari Kanefsky  or Bob Silver.

How good it was for Berry Sweet to remind us of how the Association is carrying on the legacy of the Jewish Federation  of Greater Phoenix. Her memories ranged from the old JCC on Maryland Avenue to Israel to a moment of clarity with her mom at Kivel Campus of Care.

It was a time when we could renew acquaintances, schmoozing with this or that former colleague or frequent contributor (“Yes, Rabbi. So good to see you again”) to our news columns. The catering was excellent, my wife and I  loved the couscous, grilled vegetables and hummus. And, oh, the dessert — chocolate pudding and a mini-cheesecake — was way too tasty for our good.

Kudos to the event co-chairs — Andi and Sherman Minkoff and Donna and Rudy Troisi — and the Association for reaching out to young leaders and featuring them prominently in their video presentation, and for reaching out to the East Valley and giving prominent video spots to Steve Tepper from the East Valley JCC and Sally Oscherwitz, a member of the Association board and a former Temple Emanuel board president.

Camryn Manheim turned out to be quite a hoot, her speech roaming from her own “outside the box” rebellion to her heartfelt story of the way she has been bonding with her son ever since they started to regularly light the Shabbat candles, even if the lighting doesn’t always happen on Shabbat. Underlying it all was her pitch for supporting the good works that are done under the  Association’s umbrella.

Hinei mah tov!

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