Generations Of Giving
This story was published in Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
By Salvatore Caputo
Philanthropy is one of the foundations of Randi and Alan Jablin's marriage. "We promised each other as husband and wife that we would try to do good things together," Alan said, “I think we've done OK so far. We're just kind of starting."
And it's been quite a start. The Scottsdale residents were married in 2012, donated two Torahs in 2015 - one to Beth Joseph Congregation in memory of Randi's parents and the other to Chabad of Mesa in memory of Alan's parents - and in 2016 launched the Friedel Family Foundation Senior Transportation Fund to provide transportation services to homebound seniors.
"That was one of the most wonderful years of my life as far as giving that we were able to give two Torahs and set up the senior transportation program within a year," said Alan, who was born in the displaced persons camp at Bergen-Belsen after World War II and brought by his parents to the United States in 1951. They settled in Detroit, where he grew up and attended Detroit public schools, including a performing arts high school. He earned degrees in accountancy (Wayne State University) and law (the Detroit College of Law, which has since become Michigan State University College of Law), practiced law in his own firm in Detroit for 20 years and later in the San Francisco Bay Area. He landed in the Valley in 1999.
Randi, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, arrived in the Valley after college graduation to take a teaching job in the Paradise Valley Unified School District. She grew up "extremely Reform" in Omaha, where she was involved in BBYO. She went to college at the University of Arizona in Tucson, joined the Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority and led the chapter. After college, she developed a thirst for Jewish knowledge that led to deep involvement in the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, including Women's Philanthropy and the National Young Leadership Cabinet.
Both thank their parents for their philanthropic drive.
Randi said her parents set an example of philanthropy in their "small, but mighty Jewish community" in Omaha. Among their efforts, they endowed the only Jewish day school in Nebraska, now known as the Friedel Jewish Academy, and she and her sister continue to support the interdenominational school attended by Jews of liberal and Orthodox streams.
Alan said that his father taught him that tzedakah meant that "even the poorest person, who had nothing, was still obligated to do something for other people. If they couldn't afford it, they needed to volunteer their time or just do something simple like having someone over for a meal or something like that, just to do something."
Randi said her parents, particularly her father, enabled her to be in a position where she could give of her time and resources throughout the years.
"I have two kids, Mathew and Lyndsi, and I'm trying to instill in them to be thankful for what they have and to give back," she said.
Alan has two daughters, Amy and Erika, both married with children.
"We're ambassadors for the [American Jewish] Joint Distribution Committee," Alan said, noting that his daughter, Amy, was a Goldman Fellow for "the Joint."
"I'm proud of her because she's doing good things," he said, adding that she started The Red Stone, an organization that helps Jewish women with fertility problems.
While the Jablins give to some non-Jewish causes - Alan, for instance, proudly says he is one of the founders of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix - most of their philanthropy is directed to Jewish groups, including gifts to Valley synagogues across the denominational spectrum. They fervently believe in klal Yisrael, that all Jews are responsible for one another.