Register for Spark 2024 HERE

Archie Gottesman – Keynote Speaker

Archie Gottesman
Archie Gottesman

Archie Gottesman is the co-founder of, a groundbreaking organization and web- based platform originally focused on rebranding Judaism to make it more warm, relevant, and welcoming for all, no matter where they are on their Jewish journey! Since May of 2021, JewBelong has also been raising awareness about the evils of antisemitism through their billboard and digital campaigns. JewBelong’s bright pink billboards, with messaging like Let’s be clear: Hamas is your problem too and I need to be able to tell my children I did not stay silent have appeared in over 27 states, and are laser focused on getting out of the Jewish echo chamber and speaking plainly in memorable sound bites to the 98% of Americans who are not Jewish. Archie resides in New York City.

Belle Latchman Community Service Award

The Belle Latchman Community Service Award is presented in recognition of an outstanding current contribution to the enhancement of the quality of life in the Greater Phoenix area by a local non-profit Jewish agency, organization, institution, or committee.

This year, two organizations, Fruitful and Friends of Israel Scouts (FIOS), were selected to receive the award. Both of these organizations applied Jewish values to create programs that address growing needs both within and outside of the Jewish community.


Fruitful Logo

Fruitful AZ is a local Jewish support group that provides a safe space for sharing the pain, joy, concerns, and struggles along the fertility journey. Rooted in Jewish values and shared experiences, Fruitful offers ongoing comprehensive support through diverse programs that encompass social, emotional, and educational aspects. Their offerings include educational workshops, monthly support groups, social and awareness events, buddy programs, care packages, lots of helpful local resources and social action projects. Importantly, these services are offered at no cost to the community, emphasizing our commitment to inclusivity. Their commitment extends to fostering a supportive and inclusive community for everyone, with a particular focus on serving Jewish or interfaith families in the Metro-Phoenix area. Their doors are open to all, providing a supportive network for those seeking assistance and connection in their path to building a family.

The program stands out through its innovative approach rooted in both cultural sensitivity and a deep understanding of the emotional and practical aspects of fertility challenges. As a Jewish fertility organization, they pride themselves on offering a diverse range of programs tailored to the unique needs of their participants. What sets Fruitful apart is their commitment to being grounded in reality and companionship. Their team, composed of dedicated staff and board members, shares a common bond – they have all personally navigated the challenges of fertility. This shared experience allows them to provide not just empathy, but genuine understanding and support. By combining cultural sensitivity, lived experiences, and proactive support, Fruitful strives to create an innovative and comprehensive program that goes beyond traditional approaches.

Friends of Israeli Scouts (FIOS) Tzofim – “Shevet Shemesh” Arizona

Friends of the Israeli ScoutsFriends of Israeli Scouts has been running programs in the Valley for eight years with over 100 kids in grades 2-12 participating on an annual basis. It’s primarily a volunteer-led organization with the help of one Shalich. The mission of FIOS is to empower kids and youth in Phoenix Metro through fun and meaningful activities, connect them to Israel, Hebrew, and Judaism, and provide them with a sense of belonging and pride.

The program is mainly geared toward secular Jewish families who would like to provide their kids with Jewish and Israeli culture and help connect the next generation to Judaism and love for the land of Israel. The majority of participating families are not members in local shuls or other Jewish centers so it is not likely their kids will get this type of education or experience elsewhere. Many FIOS graduates have gone on to leadership positions in colleges and universities across the nation, and they are currently at the forefront of the fight against antisemitism. They are informed, they are confident, and they have a community to support them.

The group meets weekly on Sundays on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus. Their programs run the gamut including producing and participating in community-wide events such as Israel Memorial Day and Israel Independence Day celebration and collaborating with a wide range of Jewish community organizations.  Since October 7, 2023, FIOS has been helping to bring awareness to the hostages in Gaza as well as providing education and resources so that children learn the truth about the situation and feel proud to be Jewish.

Lee Amada and Sy Clark Young Leadership Awards

CJP’s Young leadership Awards are presented to individuals who are 45 years of age or younger and who have a minimum of three years devoted to some phase of volunteer community service within or outside Jewish Community. Honorees have demonstrated a willingness to serve, an understanding of the purpose of Jewish communal work and the potential to assume leadership roles in the community.

The Lee Amada and Sy Clark Young Leadership awards are presented to outstanding young leaders who have shown their dedication and passion for Jewish causes and who have given their time and energy to make an impact.

This year, CJP is proud to recognize Ashley Levine as the recipient of the Lee Amada award and Blaine Light and Jonny Basha as the recipients of the Sy Clark Award.

Ashley, Blaine, and Jonny have been actively involved with CJP and other organizations in our community. They embody a new generation of young leaders who are stepping up and assuming positions of leadership in established organizations or launching new initiatives to reach their peers in novel ways.

Ashley Levine, Lee Amada Young Leadership Honoree

Ashley Levine
Ashley Levine

Ashley Rubio Levine is a native Arizonan, born in Lake Havasu City and raised across the state. She resides in the Phoenix area with her husband, Jon Levine, and their three children, Jacob, Elizabeth, and Elena.

While attending UC Irvine, she began participating in pro-Israel and Jewish student organizations. During that time, having witnessed her father’s struggle with dementia caused by heart failure and multiple heart attacks, she joined Sigma Kappa Sorority which works to support the Alzheimer’s Association, a charity she remains passionate about to this day. As an active collegiate member of the sorority, she developed an interest in women’s organizations. She is a former president of the Central Phoenix, Inez Casiano Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a founding supporter of Ruth Place through the National Council of Jewish Women Arizona, and a long-time supporter of the Sojourner Center in Phoenix.

Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in Religious Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Political Psychology from ASU; she works in political finance and as a strategic campaign advisor. Both Ashley and her husband have been involved in AIPAC for several years and have a passion for supporting the election of candidates who believe in the need for a strong relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

Ashley and her family are members of Temple Solel, the Ina Levine Jewish Community Center, and support Pardes Jewish Day School. She is an active member of the Center of Jewish Philanthropy, as a Lion of Judah and a current member of both the local and national Young Leadership Cabinet and a current co-chair for the local Ben Gurion Society. She is involved in JNF as a member of the Sapphire Society and co-chair of the upcoming annual Shabbat in the Desert. Additionally, she serves as a volunteer on the capital campaign board for the upcoming Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center.

Jonny Basha and Blaine Light, Sy Clark Young Leadership Honorees

Johnny Basha
Johnny Basha

Jonny was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the proud grandson of a Holocaust Survivor on his mother’s side and Iraqi refugees on his father’s side. He grew up participating in all kinds of Jewish organizations around the Valley. He made some of his best friends, including co-honoree Blaine Light, in BBYO and Hebrew High during high school. In college as a business student at ASU, he participated in Hillel and Chabad, where he took on leadership roles as a proud “AS-Jew”. He was also in Sigma Alpha Mu (“Sammy”), where he served on both local chapter leadership and as the international representative for students. Throughout college, he served as a Birthright staff member, recruiting for and attending multiple college student trips.

After college, he helped create the Moishe House in Phoenix and planned over 300 events which engaged over 1,000 unique Jewish young professionals in the greater Phoenix area. He served on the board of the Jewish Federation, was involved with NowGen initiatives to engage young professionals, and established a NowGen Giving Circle philanthropic group that empowered young professionals to embrace their philanthropist within and donate over $30,000 to Jewish causes in a “Shark Tank” style annual event.

Always passionate about technology, Jonny moved to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters after getting his MBA to work on their AI team. He expanded the NowGen Giving Circle to Seattle and got plugged into the community through the Seattle Jewish Federation. While in Seattle, Jonny met his future wife, Madeline. They married in 2022 and enjoy living together with their dog, taking frequent horseback rides, and attending synagogue at Congregation Beth Tefillah.

Today, Jonny works for his mentor, Jonathan Hoffer, at SMS Financial and is actively engaged in ongoing Jewish programs like the Federation’s National Young Leadership Cabinet. He also organizes a monthly happy hour for Jewish Young Professionals; text him if you’re interested!

Blaine Light
Blaine Light

Blaine Light is proud to be a leader in our Phoenix Jewish Community in service of the CJP. He grew up in Phoenix, was a member of Temple Chai’s youth group and attended BJE’s Hebrew High. In BBYO, he was Vice President and President of his chapter. In college, he was Vice President of his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu at the University of Arizona (Bear Down!), where he helped the chapter grow from 40 members to over 100 members. After college, he and Jonny Basha co-founded the Moishe house in Phoenix, connecting thousands of young professionals to Judaism in a fun/social environment (and getting a few marriage shidduchim along the way). He and Jonny (and others) also co-founded the NowGen Giving Circle, helping dozens of young Jewish professionals to be Jewish philanthropists for the first time. He currently serves as a member of the JNFuture Board for over five years and has been to Israel 11 times.

About Lee Amada

Lee Amada was born about 1910 in Australia. In 1940, she was 30 years old and lived in Newark, New Jersey, with her husband, Leo. In 1961, she and her husband Leo, a pharmacist, moved to Phoenix.

She was a life-long philanthropist. She was passionate about bringing philanthropy and women’s leadership together as evidenced by her roles in both local and national chapters of Hadassah both in New Jersey where she spent the earlier years of her life and then in Phoenix. Also, during her life in Phoenix, Amada was an active participant in the United Jewish Welfare Fund; conducted leadership workshops for Junior Civic Leaders and was a member of Beth El Congregation.

About Seymour Clark

Seymour Clark was born in Brooklyn and moved to Phoenix in 1951.  He was a past president of Lewkowitz B’nai B’rith and a member of Beth El, Friends of Hillel, Jewish War Veterans and the Kivel Home. He was active in the Phoenix Jewish Federation, was a leader and commissioner for the Boy Scouts and received the Shofar Award. He was also active in Phoenix Little theater and the Jewish Community Center theater group. Clark died in a car accident at age 45 in July 1971.

Spark Award

To honor the spirit of community impact, which is at the heart of our new organization, the Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix (CJP) created a new award. The CJP Spark Award shines the light on those whose voice, support, influence, passion, and contributions have made a significant impact on the Jewish community of Greater Phoenix.

The CJP Spark celebrates and recognizes extraordinary individuals and leaders who give, advocate and volunteer for positive change in our community.  They are the trailblazers who go above and beyond for our community and have demonstrated outstanding commitment through financial support, or through encouragement and motivation of others, to take leadership roles toward philanthropy and community involvement. They regularly step up to meet community needs and exemplify the common bonds that connect us.

We are honored to bestow the 2024 CJP Spark award to Barry and Barbara Zemel for their extraordinary philanthropic support to our community.

Barry and Barbara Zemel

Barbara and Barry Zemel have been involved in the Jewish community their entire lives. Barbara assumed a number of leadership positions over the years with the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, Brandeis National Committee, and Arizona State University’s (ASU) Hillel. She was a teacher in Congregation Beth El’s pre-school, and a youth group advisor and board vice president. She left teaching to launch a successful 10-year career in retail, founding one of the first food and gift basket companies, The Basket Case. Barbara is currently on the board of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, and Barry is on its committee for the New Hope and Humanity Building.

Barry was president of ASU’s Hillel and served on the boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Community Center, and was president of the Arizona Jewish Theater Company. He was also a founding funder of PJ Library and LIFE AND LEGACY and is a funder of the B’naI Tzedek program. He continues his long-term career as a real estate investor.

The Zemels are also proud of their philanthropic support for Jewish and non-Jewish causes, such as their sponsorship of a medical outreach van for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In recognition of their many civic and philanthropic endeavors, they have been honored by the Jewish Federation, Jewish Free Loan, East Valley JCC and American Jewish Committee. In January 2022, the Zemels were honored by Magen David Adom for 20 years of service/helping to raise $1MM from the Phoenix Community. In February 2023, they received Hillel’s Rabbi Barton G. Lee Memorial Pillar Award.


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