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Local people, places, travels and simchas

Special to the AJP

The 14th annual Brandeis Book & Author lun­cheon held on Feb. 11 at Skyline Country Club was kicked off the night before with a festive soirée at the elegant home of Ruthann Pozez. Event chairs Bertie Levkowitz Herz, Harriet Kronman and Sheila Rothenberg greeted guests at this sellout reception.  A musical program featured a chamber duet performed by retired Cleveland Symphony cellist Harvey Wolfe and Tucson violinist Rose Todaro, who played selections from Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. 
Among the guests who dined on braised brisket and salmon fillets smoked for this occasion by Leonard Kronman were Meg Sivitz (past president of the Tucson Chapter of Brandeis National Committee), Zelda Aaronson, Monique Steinberg Busby, Doris and Larry Chapman, Bev Fine, BJ and Martin Kass, Amy and Malcolm Levin, Elaine Lisberg, Doris Roland, Sandra and Arthur Rollin, Rica and Harvey Spivak, Caryl and Aaron Starobin and Rabbi Thomas Louchheim (moderator).
 The four award-winning authors (and their books) included Joseph Finder (“Vanished”), Chris Gall (“Dinotrux”), Lisa See (“Shanghai Girls”), and Steven Winn (“Come Back, Como: Winning the Heart of a Reluctant Dog”). At the following day’s luncheon, they spoke of their inspiration and backgrounds for penning their respective tomes, signed copies, and rounded out yet another exceptional book and author event.  Proceeds from these two days support the Tucson Brandeis Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides an opportunity for talented and deserving Tucson area students to attend Brandeis University.

In February, Tucson native Mary (Levy) Peachin and her husband David attended their first Olympics.  Taking in the many Vancouver venues, they attended the women’s and men’s (quarterfinals) hockey, ice dancing and figure skating, curling and speed skating. Over the President’s Day weekend, the couple was joined by their daughter Suzie, of Portland, Ore., and son Jeffrey, of San Francisco, and grandchildren Zachary and Benjamin. Highlights included watching U.S. speed skater Shani Davis win silver in the 1500m, and sharing wonderful family time at this once-in-a-lifetime event. Mary added that the first week’s glorious weather brought out 100,000 visitors to the Olympic host city.
Tracy, David, and their 15-month-old son Jacob (“Coby”) Jeck greatly enjoyed their XXI Winter Olympic experience.  Although Tracy had attended the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, the Vancouver Olympics was a first for David and Coby. They loved seeing Team USA beat Switzerland (3-1) in hockey, but did not witness any other events, for, as Tracy put it, “a 15-month-old is not a very patient observer!”  The family took in the whole 2010 Olympiad atmosphere and also commented on the week of perfect weather in one of their favorite cities.
On Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C., Tucson attorney Heidi Rib Brent joined 14 colleagues from Hadassah’s National Center for Attorney’s Councils as they were sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. Brent practices law as corporate counsel for VisionQuest, a U.S. organization serving at-risk youth.  She said, “I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet fellow Hadassah women who are as passionate as I am about Israel, First Amendment rights and women’s health.”
The admittees participated in the official swearing-in ceremony before the entire court, and then heard the reading of court decisions and oral arguments in the two cases on the docket.
The group had the distinct privilege of a personal session with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. “I will never forget this amazing experience, meeting and speaking with these two justices. I have great respect for each of them as jurists and as leaders and role models for women everywhere,” said Brent.
The Hadassah swearing-in program commenced the previous evening with a dinner and presentation by Kenneth Feinberg, Esq., special master for TARP Executive Compensation and former special master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Preceding the ceremony, the clerk of the court addressed the group, and following the swearing-in, the marshal of the Supreme Court, Pamela Talkin (a Hadassah life member), spoke to the group over lunch.  The chief  librarian escorted the group on a tour of the court library.
While in D.C., Heidi and her husband, Wayne Brent, enjoyed tours of the Capitol and Pentagon, courtesy of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (also a Hadassah life member).     
  Keep me posted for my April column — 319-1112.  L’shalom.