Local historian to speak on “Jewish Pioneers of the Valley”

The wedding of Max Lantin and Lillie Solomon in 1904 was the first recorded Jewish wedding in the Arizona Territory.  (submitted photo)

The wedding of Max Lantin and Lillie Solomon in 1904 was the first recorded Jewish wedding in the Arizona Territory. (submitted photo)

Phoenix resident and renown local historian Dr. Larry Bell will give a lecture on “Jewish Pioneers in the Valley” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11, at Beth Ami Temple in Paradise Valley.

Defying stereotypes, early Jewish pioneers in Arizona were not just storeowners and bankers, but cowboys, lawmen, ranchers and entertainers. Additionally, Jewish pioneers did not just settle in Tucson and Phoenix — they landed in the smaller towns of Yuma, Prescott, Bisbee and Tombstone.

“The presentation will cover the early history of Jews in Phoenix and some of the early pioneers who established our local Jewish community,” stated Dr. Bell in a press release.

Dr. Bell’s speaking engagement will take place during an abbreviated Friday night service. The event is free and open to the public.

Born and raised in Phoenix, Dr. Bell has served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Jewish Historical Society for the last nine years. He has been involved in restoring Phoenix’s first synagogue as the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center, a museum and cultural center open to people of all faiths.

The center now hosts a variety of programs including regular exhibitions on Jewish history, a monthly documentary film series, book discussion group, genealogy society, and community archive.

Dr. Bell is also very passionate about promoting good interfaith relations in the Valley as serves and Vice President of the Arizona Interfaith Movement.

For more information on Beth Ami Temple, visit www.bethamitemple.org. For more information on the Arizona Jewish Historical Society, visit www.azjhs.org.

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