Bet Shalom Connections in AZ

Cheri Rolnick shares two crazy “small world” Bet Shalom snow-bird stories set in Scottsdale, AZ.

We all have “small world” stories where unexpected connections happen in the most unlikely places. My husband Art and I have two related to Bet Shalom and our time in Scottsdale.

The first is from when we purchased our condo. Like many who consider spending time away from Minnesota winters, we approached snow-birding slowly. We rented a condo initially for one month, the next year for two months and then for three months. This was paradise. We loved the blue skies and balmy air and decided to purchase a place. After checking out several condo communities, we were strongly considering one in the community of Grayhawk. But being big walkers, we wanted to check out nearby paths or trails. We went to the sales office of the place we were considering and asked the sales representative if she could point out where paths were. This kind but clueless woman said that she had no idea, but if we went outside and looked for a sign that said “trail” we could follow that.

So we went outside and noticed a couple in black spandex, clearly walkers or runners who would know where the trail was. We walked up and explained we were considering buying into the community but wanted to check out the walking trials. The woman smiled and said, “ We know who you are, you’re the Rolnicks, you belong to Bet Shalom.” We nearly fell over. We had no idea at that time who Toni and Ron Dachis were. They took us walking with them, had us come by their condo and raved about the community. They had lived there for about 7 years. We signed a contract the next day and gained a condo and new friends.

Toni remembers this happy coincidence well. She says, “Connecting with the Rolnicks on a regular basis and connecting occasionally with other Bet Shalomians while we are here is always a warm and comforting feeling. It helps to connect us to “home” while we are away from home.”

Our other story is about golf and Rabbi Norman Cohen. Art has an old friend from junior high school, Richie Roberts, who moved to Arizona years ago. We reconnected with him when we began coming to Scottsdale. Richie is a huge golfer. As you may know, Rabbi Cohen is also a golfer who spends much of his winter in Scottsdale. In 2012 he happened to be set up in a foursome that included Richie. During the play, Rabbi Cohen mentioned that he was planning an interfaith trip to Israel. Richie had always wanted to go to Israel but would never go without a tour, so he asked if one had to be a member of the congregation to sign up. Rabbi Cohen told him it wasn’t necessary, he could just call the synagogue office. At that point, Richie asked him where he was from. Norman said he was from Minnesota. Richie said he only knew one couple from Minnesota but they are Jewish so maybe he knew them, and he mentioned our names. Rabbi Cohen laughed and told him that we belong to Bet Shalom and had already signed up for the trip. Small world!