Summer stroll through New York City

Canal1 copy

Why, and how, do you love a city so large, I’ve been asked. Since my first visit, as well as every other proceeding date, New York City’s immeasurable size remains one its most attractive qualities. Anonymity. Beautiful anonymity, how dearly I regard your humility. Disappearing within the ranks. Individualistic invisibility. Anonymity provides such a loving and infinite freedom for people like me — the difference between star gazing and believing you are seeing the world’s ceiling versus just the start of our universe.

DESA

The bustle of Canal Street always gets me lifted. My soul’s artery explodes, clashing with the limitations of my chest, ribs. Heart thunderstorms. A car horn blasts. Humid steam stains your skin. Sun bakes and wets your brow. Then, the light changes and traffic crams the avenue. Packed together we are, body seas. You want smoke, asks a local block-locker. Anything harder, he furthers. Nah, dude, I’m good, without eye contact. No fault either way. It’s just a grind. No different than most we revere in our cutthroat capitalist society.

canal2

Blare, blare. Horns continue their gunfight, ricocheting through the avenue. Ears, other vehicles getting vicked. Twenty years later, it feels like the same people are banging this strip. Knock-off T-shirts, cologne, handbags, watches, gold chains, mobile phones, electronics ranging from clock radios to earbuds, sunglasses, fatigues — name it, Canal’s got you.

By the time I left the five boroughs my dearest friend hit me up, exclaiming, I’m glad you made time for her. Anyone rooted in the City understands the pronoun. A relationship with New York City is a volatile romance with a fierce, living organism. Some days she welcomes you with blistering, lustful warmth. The next, she crushes you and devours your remains, laughing away her smirk.

COPE2

There’s no reason to explain how it feels to leave your first love. But no matter where I’ve lived the City has been my benchmark. I dream about her. On occasion, I find the busiest block in my new town, squint my eyes and imagine the surrounding sounds are home — calling me back. Last night, I was looking into the midnight sky, tracing the facade of the tallest apartments on campus with my agitated eyes. Only glancing ahead, focused on the slashing wind; following a stranger’s tail lights into my dust storm.

caffe-copy

Advertisements

Local thrift store volunteers in vocational program have a 1st Rate experience

Brian Puffer says his volunteer work has made Tucson feel more like home, and his new life here is starting to bloom. Puffer, 19, grew up in Tempe, Ariz., and moved to Tucson after enrolling in a two-year residential program at Chapel Haven West, a school and transitional home that provides support, educational classes and vocational training for young adults with developmental disabilities.

For the last three months, Puffer has worked at 1st Rate 2nd Hand Thrift Store, a nonprofit secondhand store partnered with more than 25 local Jewish organizations.

“And I chose to work here because Chapel Haven West has a good relationship with the store here, and the people here are nice and friendly,” says Puffer. “It’s a good job to have.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Original publication date, Oct. 21, 2016.

Homeless youth spend a day taking ‘Pictures of Hope’

Fourteen children enrolled in Our Family Services, a local program that provides support for homeless families and youth, pack a small conference room on a crisp Saturday morning, listing their future goals, decorating coloring sheets and snacking on cheese sticks.

Linda Solomon, a Tucson native and founder of Pictures of Hope, starts the day with a slideshow of her celebrity photographs and professional tips.

The children have no trouble identifying Beyonce, and they erupt with cheers when a picture of actor Will Smith followed. But how did Solomon get her dog to smile for a photograph, she asks the lively group. She used the age-old industry secret: doggie biscuits.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Original publication date, Oct. 21, 2016.

THA dinner to honor late Don Baker as ‘Developer of Dreams’

Don Baker (Martha Lochert)

Don Baker (Martha Lochert)

Tucson Hebrew Academy’s “Developer of Dreams” Tikkun Olam Celebration honoring the late Donald Baker will be a promotion of visionary ideals, says Deborah Baker (no relation), alumni coordinator at THA. This year will be an intimate community event because of Baker’s untimely death, she says.

“There are people who have a deep connection to Don that have some stories to share, and it’s really sentimental,” she says. “This is like a love letter from our community to Don. And this is about leaving people inspired by his contribution and how he spent his life making a difference.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published Oct. 7, 2016.

For local women, Lions conference is poignant, enlightening

Tucson women at the International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 12, (L-R): Ellyn Gold, Shelly Silverman, Phyllis Maizlish, Leslie Glaze, Karen Katz, Judy Berman, Jody Gross, Melissa Goldfinger and Fran Katz (Courtesy Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona)

Tucson women at the International Lion of Judah Conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 12, (L-R): Ellyn Gold, Shelly Silverman, Phyllis Maizlish, Leslie Glaze, Karen Katz, Judy Berman, Jody Gross, Melissa Goldfinger and Fran Katz (Courtesy Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona)

A delegation of nine Lions of Judah from Tucson attended the biennial international conference in Washington, D.C. to discuss philanthropic programs, ideas and stories of strength.

Judy Berman, a local philanthropist, has been a Lion for about 10 years. She has attended three conferences thus far but this year’s event was life-changing, she says.

“I doubled my pledge this year after realizing what good work the Lions do all over the world,” says Berman. “The conference was so uplifting and amazing, and I loved the fact that each speaker was better than the next.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Orignal publication date, Oct. 7, 2016.