As you probably noticed, last week’s issue introduced a new design, reflecting a new chapter of the Jewish News after last year’s change in ownership.

This month also marks a new chapter for me, bringing a close to more than 17 years as a staff member of this newspaper.

I am grateful for having had the privilege to help document the Greater Phoenix Jewish community’s story – the community I grew up in and that my children are also growing up in.

When I started at the paper, the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center was a “center without walls,” holding its programs at multiple locations. I attended the groundbreaking ceremony and took a hardhat tour during the construction of what is now the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus in Scottsdale, where the VOSJCC now resides.

I attended the groundbreaking and grand opening of the Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Chandler and the moves of the East Valley JCC (which was personal to me as I had attended JOT Camp as a child at what was then called the Tri-City JCC). I also covered the acquisition of the site of Phoenix’s first synagogue by the Arizona Jewish Historical Society and the development and renovation of what is now the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center.

When I started at the newspaper, there were nearly 30 synagogues in the Greater Phoenix area and Northern Arizona; now there are more than 50.

In the past 17 years, I’ve written about the launch of numerous initiatives and programs – some having longevity, others short-lived – and about the lives of countless members of the community. Those were my favorite type of stories.

Thank you to Flo Eckstein, publisher emeritus, for giving me that opportunity after I called in response to a small classified ad in the Arizona Republic.

And thank you to all of you who have read and supported the paper through the years and made yourself available for quotes and information – usually requested on a tight deadline. I’m grateful for all the people I’ve met, including all the wonderful colleagues I’ve worked with through the years.

Thanks also to my husband, Ron, who was so supportive as I covered weekend and evening events and worked late nights to meet deadlines.

I’m also very appreciative of the support from the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix and Mid-Atlantic Media during this past year’s transition and for bringing the Jewish News into its 70th year.

When I first started at the paper in January 2000, I had recently moved back to Arizona from California and the paper soon became an integral part of my life.

I shared my dating journey for two years in a monthly singles column, then got married and continued working after three maternity leaves, bringing each infant to work with me until he was 8 months old.

My sons are now 7, 8 and 10, and I’ve decided that I wanted to adjust my schedule to be able to spend more time with them – while they are still interested in hanging out with their mom.

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