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Have You Met?

Have You Met Rabbi Martin S. Scharf?


Although Rabbi Martin Scharf is a counselor and advisor to a large number of people in the Phoenix community, he never loses sight of those he holds most dear, his family. “When we moved here in 1994, we thought this might be somewhere our children would enjoy visiting. But wonderfully, they both have both chosen to live here with their spouses and families, and we get to enjoy having our two grandchildren close by!”

Rabbi Marty’s path to Arizona began in New Jersey, took him to Jerusalem, and then all over the US.  He chuckles, “ The short version is that I grew up in Jersey City,  and went to grad school in Pocatello, Idaho, where I had an assistantship in English. There were no jobs at the time, so I ended up selling insurance! Then  I went to Rabbinic school, first in Jerusalem then in Cincinnati, Ohio. My first congregation was in Amarillo, Texas. I also spent ten years with my congregation in Elgin, Illinois and two years in Duluth, Minnesota. A friend told me about this position in Arizona,  and we moved here to Scottsdale in March of 1994, where I have been Rabbi and Chaplain at Kivel Campus of Care,  a senior living campus in Phoenix, supported by the Jewish community.”

Foremost among his many volunteer activities, Rabbi Marty is vice- chairman of Duet, formerly Beatitudes Center DOAR. “This organization  promotes health and well being through a broad range of services to older adults who need one on one support. We focus attention on the needs of homebound elders and adults with disabilities.  In addition, we minister to family caregivers, grandparents raising grandchildren, and we help congregations establish health programs led by a faith community nurse.  This is a faith based, interfaith organization begun  in 1981. I feel it fulfills an important  role in our Southwest society! ”


Each year Duet provides almost 40,000 hours of volunteer service to 800 homebound adults, offering compassionate help with getting groceries, and providing rides to medical appointments, among other services. Duet also in the past year has given 3,600 days of respite care to grandparents raising grandchildren, and help supporting those who are caregivers to the elderly.


Outgoing and with a humorous take on life, Rabbi Marty is actually an auctioneer for many nonprofits. “ I  got involved when my son was in Cub Scouts, and they needed someone to lead an auction. I found out that I  had a little talent for it! Someone else in Illinois, a professional auctioneer, gave me some tips, and it turned out to be a very positive and rewarding experience for me. Today I host four to six  major auctions a year.” Some of the nonprofits that have benefited from Scharf’s expertise are Kivel Campus of Care, Duet, Pardes Day School, UMOM New Day Center, Leukemia and Lymphoma Association, Hospice of the Valley, American Cancer Society, and Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center.


Pleased with living in the Valley of the Sun, Rabbi Martin loves Arizona: 

“It certainly  gets hot here, but I find it easier to cool off than to warm up! We love the weather,  and love to be outdoors !” Married to Roberta, Rabbi Martin declares that “She is so loving, thoughtful about others, and is my strength.”


Rabbi Marty Scharf sums up his philosophy towards life, and ultimately his dedication to nonprofits : “I try to be a caring and selfless individual, ministering to others; and I believe the most important aspect in my life is my family; I’m definitely a family man!”


What are your local volunteer activities? My extensive community involvements include chairman of the Duet (formerly Beatitudes Center DOAR) Focus Conference Planning Committee. I currently serve as Vice Chairman of the Duet Board of Directors, and have presented workshops at previous Focus Conferences and at American Society on Aging national Conferences, where I have been on the Governing Board of the Forum on Religion and Spirituality in Aging. I have been a keynote speaker at many regional conferences. I am the community chaplain for non-affiliated Jewish people in the Phoenix area and a member of the professional Advisory committee for the Pastoral Care Department at Banner Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. I am a member of the Medical Bio-Ethics Committee of Banner Samaritan Medical Center and also a member of an Internal Review Board at Banner. I co-facilitate a support group that emphasizes ways to care for your aging loved ones, am a Certified Bereavement Facilitator, and have a Certificate of Palliative Care. I have also helped many not-for-profit organizations, using my auctioneering skills. I am married to Roberta, have 2 children, their spouses, and 2 grandchildren, Sam and Tzipporah.


Who inspired you to give back to your community? My parents.

Which fundraising event is your favorite? Any one that I can help to raise funds with my auctioneering skills


Favorite restaurant? Goldman’s Deli


Who do you most admire, and why? My wife because she is caring, hard working, and finds the best in people and helps me cope.


If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Tom Hanks.


When you move, what will your home tell its next owner about you? He’s a very caring person.


What’s the best lesson you’ve learned through the years? To live each day to the fullest.


What was your first job? Selling men’s clothing.


What is your greatest indulgence? Buying gifts for my wife.


What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? A happy marriage and wonderful children.


What is your most treasured possession? My father’s ring.


What is the quality you most like in people? Honesty.


Favorite books/Writers? James Patterson


What is the trait you most deplore in others? Hypocrisy.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Spending time with my family.


What would we be most surprised to know about you? That I sing the Eisley Brothers’ song Shout.


What is the best advice you have ever received? Be yourself.


What are some challenges facing nonprofits? Finding dedicated board members, raising funds in difficult economic times, trying to meet the needs of clients with fewer dollars and staff.


Hi are awesome...your picture looks fabulous. You are a true menche! See you soon. Ellen

What a wonderful piece.
Frank Rader