Columns

Senator Moynihan’s surprise: Lessons from the Rebbe

rabbi Zimmerman_new

U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once scheduled an hour-long meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Towards the end of the consultation, the Rebbe asked if he could request a favor from the senator. “Here it comes,” the senator thought to himself. “Now the Rebbe is looking… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Gary and Marsha Tankenoff flank Itzhak Perlman.  (Courtesy UA Presents)Gary and Marsha Tankenoff flank Itzhak Perlman. (Courtesy UA Presents)

A musical treat On Wednesday, Jan. 11, a sold-out crowd at UA Centennial Hall was treated to a concert by Grammy and Emmy award-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. Sponsors of this UA Presents classical music event were Irene and Ellis (UA Presents board member) Friedman, Carol and Phil Lyons,… Read more »

Current events, ancient query: Am I my brother’s keeper?

Amy Hirshberg LedermanAmy Hirshberg Lederman

I have always loved books. As a child, I treasured my hardcover editions of “Heidi,” “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and “Black Beauty” and loved the nights when my mom and I would snuggle on the couch as she read me chapter after chapter of “Little Women.” And in 1965, at… Read more »

Kindling the divine fire

Rabbi Thomas LouchheimRabbi Thomas Louchheim

We live in a world where we are hard-wired to fit people and actions into neat, perfect little boxes.  Even our scripture seems to do this. We draw from our holy writings that an action is good or bad, a blessing or a curse, and will lead to life… Read more »

Pondering the Tesla dilemma

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

At a recent meal with friends, someone shared that Elon Musk plans for all Tesla electric vehicles to feature fully autonomous driving by the end of 2017. I was asked, “Would you ride in a driverless car?” Good question! Self-driving cars seem to be the way of the future.… Read more »

Small actions beget big changes

Rabbi Batsheva AppelRabbi Batsheva Appel

The story of Naaman in the Book of Kings II has always been one of my favorites. He is a foreign commander who serves the king of Aram and he has tzara’at, which is usually translated as leprosy. Naaman goes to Elisha the prophet to be healed and is… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Michelle Blumenberg and Richard Green at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.Michelle Blumenberg and Richard Green at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation.

High Holiday leader For 35 years, Richard Green led the Conservative service for the first day of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation. A student rabbi from the Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles conducted the Reform service. Growing up in Omaha, Green… Read more »

Tucson program yields glimpse of the Divine

I  recently completed the reading of all 15 volumes of “The Cambridge History of English Literature” by A.W. Ward and A.R. Waller. It took me several years. When it came to the history of religious writing having to do with Christianity and its various forms and manifestations, the authors paid… Read more »

Addressing a Nazi flag on Voting Day 2016

Rabbi Stephanie AaronRabbi Stephanie Aaron

On March 7, 1945, the 104th Signal Company of the U.S. Army 104th Infantry Division entered and liberated Cologne, Germany. They removed the Nazi flag from the German Wehrmacht headquarters. On a bright, hot day near the end of September 2016, this flag was handed to me; it was… Read more »

FIRST PERSON Fear and loathing, but mostly loathing, on the campaign trail

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 9, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the second presidential debate, at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 9, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Some of us are voting for Trump. Most of us are voting for Clinton. But we Jews are all afraid. There are the scandals, yes. There are emails and sexual assault allegations and emails and fraud and racism and anti-Semitism and emails. There are issues like… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Liz Weiner-Schulman with guitarist Misael Barraza-DiazLiz Weiner-Schulman with guitarist Misael Barraza-Diaz

Music to our ears Following Steve Schulman’s passing in 2013, his wife, Liz Weiner-Schulman, established the Steve Schulman Memorial Award in Guitar Endowment through the University of Arizona Foundation. On Sunday, Sept. 25, the UA’s Fred Fox School of Music presented the second annual Steve Schulman award recital in… Read more »

Ma Nishtanah: How different will this year be?

Rabbi Robert EisenRabbi Robert Eisen

Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol halailot  …?  How do we read that phrase? How is this night different from all other nights … or, How different this night is from all other nights! The first is what we are taught, the latter is how it could be better (more… Read more »

Summer Israel travel: Birthright and beyond

Over 30,000 participants were expected to travel with Taglit-Birthright Israel this past summer. Following the University of Arizona graduation in May, 28 UA students traveled on Birthright. Other schools represented on the bus included the University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin, Washington University, and Arizona State University. Elyse… Read more »

The synagogue remains at the heart of Jewish life

Rabbi Samuel M. CohonRabbi Samuel M. Cohon

  What is the most important institution in Jewish life? Judaism has existed for 3,800 years, and over the centuries we’ve had a variety of organizations that have effectively served God and the Jewish people.  Each has played an important role in the continual evolution of our religion and… Read more »

Reflections: Shabbat beckons us to let our burdens go

Amy Hirshberg LedermanAmy Hirshberg Lederman

Recently, I heard a talk on stress management where the lecturer, holding a glass of water, asked: “How heavy is this glass of water?” The audience called out answers that ranged from eight to 24 ounces. The lecturer replied, “Actually, from my perspective, it doesn’t really matter. What matters… Read more »

Take the speech improvement challenge

Rabbi Israel BeckerRabbi Israel Becker

Nearly 2,000 years ago, the Talmud taught us that when a person leaves this world, he/she will be shown their entire life. Our private showing will include audio and video playback of every single conversation of ours. Every single word that we uttered during our lifetime will be presented.… Read more »

Election overload sparks thoughts of G-d

Rabbi Yehuda CeitlinRabbi Yehuda Ceitlin

At a recent political fundraiser, an acquaintance made an interesting comment. He said he was jealous that, although I am an American resident, I had my native country of Canada on which to fall back. My buddy, a political junkie, was referring to the presidential elections in November. If… Read more »

With U.S.-Cuba ties restored, family joins Tucson man on long-awaited homecoming visit

Tucsonan Billie Kozolchyk, right, with Adela Dworin, vice president of the Patronato de la casa de la comunidad Hebrea de Cuba in Havana, the equivalent of a Jewish federation in the United States. (Courtesy Billie Kozolchyk)Tucsonan Billie Kozolchyk, right, with Adela Dworin, vice president of the Patronato de la casa de la comunidad Hebrea de Cuba in Havana, the equivalent of a Jewish federation in the United States. (Courtesy Billie Kozolchyk)

So we went to Cuba. Big deal, you say? Everybody’s going to Cuba. It seems not a single U.S. institution, big or small, isn’t arranging tours and oh yes, cruises, too. But our trip was different. My husband, Boris, had left his native Cuba pre-Fidel in 1956, to continue… Read more »