Lesniak’s unsuccessful bid for governor is the last election in a long career

For state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, whose career at the Statehouse has spanned four decades, primary night was like a last hurrah. But the Union County Democrat says he isn’t slowing down.

“I’m not ready to just play golf,” Lesniak told a small crowd of supporters at La Catena restaurant in Roselle Park after he finished fourth in the Democratic primary for governor.

Read the entire NJ.com article here.

Pima County court reporters locked out of statewide contract

For almost three decades, Kathy Fink has never had trouble securing a portion of Arizona’s statewide court reporting contract for her local firm—until last year.

“Even though our bids were lower, and even though we’d been doing it for 25 years and had the experience, we were eliminated,” Fink said. 

The Arizona State Procurement office awarded 11 firms, which are mainly located in Maricopa County, its revised statewide certified court reporter and transcription services contract on May 31, 2016. The contract is good for one year with the option to renew for four additional years, which the state extended to May 31, 2018. 

The state didn’t award any portion of this contract to vendors based in Pima County.

Read the entire Inside Tucson Business article here.

Originally published on May 26, 2017.

In Tucson talk, journalist will examine media bias on Israel

It’s very important to understand who is feeding you information and why they are doing so, says Matti Friedman, an award-winning author and former reporter for the Associated Press’ Jerusalem bureau.

“We all need to be critical consumers of media, not just where Israel is concerned,” says Friedman. “The hostility to Israel expressed in mainstream media coverage is not dissipating. If anything, it’s growing – the story becomes more and more hostile as time goes on, and seems unaffected by other events.”

However, the proportion of biased and unfavorable coverage of Israel being published has somewhat improved, he says, because of newsroom cuts and the media’s shift towards other parts of the region as the Middle East continues to destabilize.

As an author, journalist and former soldier for the Israel Defense Forces, it’s his duty to help people better understand the world, says Friedman.

“I’m not writing about my experiences as a journalist or a soldier because they’re about me, but because those experiences contain helpful information for people trying to figure things out,” he says. “If someone walks out of a lecture, or puts down my book with a better grasp of a complex reality — I’ve done my job.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on April 27, 2017.

Jewish Latino Teen Coalition marks 13 years of advocacy, diversity

Lobbying in Washington, D.C., for an increase in protections for immigrant families was an invigorating experience, says Nicolas Rios, a high school student and member of Tucson’s Jewish-Latino Teen Coalition.   

Rios, 16, a junior at BASIS Tucson North, heard about the JLTC from his college preparatory counselor.

Growing up in Southern Arizona sparked Rios’ interest in politics, as well as immigration and border-related issues, he says. Having the opportunity to engage with another dominant ethnic and religious group in Tucson piqued his interest in the JLTC.

“I had a very positive experience overall and there’s not too many opportunities like it, so I was really excited to be able do this sort of program,” says Rios.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on April 27, 2017.

Blending two loves: hoops and helping others

Why shouldn’t we care about other people, Michael J. Rosenkrantz asks rhetorically, adding that he refuses to live a selfish lifestyle. 

“I feel like it’s really important to think about the larger community, and it’s not just the Jewish community — it’s bigger,” says Rosenkrantz. “But in the Jewish faith, there’s a lot of talk about giving back, and I definitely try to do that.”

Rosenkrantz, 60, is a Los Angeles native who moved to Tucson in September from Nepal to teach alongside Peter Hughes, head coach of the University of Arizona Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team, and learn the intricacies of wheelchair basketball.

He chatted with the AJP on Friday, March 31, in between games at the National Wheelchair Basketball tournament in Louisville, Ky., saying he hoped that the Lobos could turn around their 1-2 record with one game left in the series.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on April 14, 2017.

Greenberg of ‘one and done’ fame to offer inspiration at MNO

The key to overcoming obstacles is setting a goal, says Adam Greenberg, a former major league baseball player and motivational speaker.

“No matter what’s going on, always persevere and always get up, because that’s why we were given the opportunity we have to live and have the life we have,” says Greenberg.

Greenberg, 36, dedicated his life to becoming a major league baseball player, and on July 7, 2005 he stepped up to the plate for the Chicago Cubs. During his debut at-bat, he was struck in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball, effectively ending his career in the majors.

He’s the guest speaker for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s “Men’s Night Out” fundraising event on Thursday, April 20.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on April 14, 2017.

Lecturer says Trump’s dealmaking could work in Middle East

Shai Feldman, a professor of politics at Brandeis University, believes President Donald J. Trump could broker a deal that ends the Arab/Israeli conflict, because the most contentious issues contradict a golden rule of negotiation.

“In the Arab/Israeli conflict the devil is not in the details, in the Arab/Israeli conflict the devil is in the principles — the details are bridgeable,” said Feldman.

Feldman was the keynote speaker at the fourth annual Jeffrey Plevan Memorial Lecture series presented by the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies on Tuesday, March 21.

It’s unclear whether the reason for more U.S. troops in Syria is to topple Daesh, or prevent a violent confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds following their defeat, he explained. The greatest concern, for countries like Turkey, is not defeating Daesh, but who replaces them when they fall and how to assure this terror group doesn’t simply reconfigure.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on March 31, 2017.

Holocaust expert explores difference between religious hostility, anti-Semitism

From the Catholic Church, to occupied Europe and the United States, the world failed to prevent the Holocaust because they were too vested in their own interests, Peter Hayes, a former professor at Northwestern University, told about 40 people who packed the Holocaust History Center at the Jewish History Museum on March 13.

“Everyone else always had something more important to do, and everyone else always had an interest that to them was more important than protecting Jews,” Hayes said.

Hayes discussed some of the major factors that lead up to the Holocaust in his lecture, “The Holocaust: What Do We Need To Know Now?”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on March 31, 2017.

Israeli Partnership2Gether delegates get inside look at Tucson community

Hosting the annual Partnership2Gether leadership mission in Tucson this year was ambitious and quite successful, says Oshrat Barel, director of the Weintraub Israel Center.

The partnership among Tucson, Israel’s Hof Ashkelon region and the Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi began in 1996. This year there are 651 children taking part in its school twinning program, which pairs 15 Tucson classrooms with their Israeli counterparts.

The local enterprise is part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether Peoplehood Platform, formerly known as Partnership 2000, a global initiative that connects Jewish and Israeli communities. The program links about 450 communities, creating a global network of more than 350,000 participants annually.   

Isaac Amar, Israel chair of the local partnership, says its annual leadership mission helps grow the partnership network as well as strengthen the bond between Tucson and Israel.

Amar is a school principal in Rishon LeZion, so visiting Tucson Hebrew Academy and various Jewish afterschool programs in Tucson was a highlight of this year’s mission. “It warmed my heart to see children from the community,” he says, “come to study Hebrew and Jewish identity,” especially after their regular academic day.

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on March 31, 2017.

Journalist David Gregory to speak on spiritual path at JFCS event

David Gregory, political analyst for CNN and author, says reconnecting with Judaism centered his life in the right way.

Gregory’s book, “How’s Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey,” is an autobiographical tale about his return to faith in adulthood. Simon & Schuster published the book in September 2015.

“The path of faith can be very meaningful — for anybody,” says Gregory. “I think there’s a lot of people asking themselves, ‘How do I live life with more meaning and more purpose?’ And I think a lot of people are looking for that, and not always finding the way in.”

Read the entire Arizona Jewish Post article here.

Originally published on March 17, 2017.