News

Oscar nominee ‘Ida’ traces void left by Poland’s murdered Jews

Agata Kulesza, left, and Agata Trzebuchowska co-star in the Polish film "Ida," an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film about an aunt and niece looking for family lost in the Holocaust. (Opus Film)Agata Kulesza, left, and Agata Trzebuchowska co-star in the Polish film "Ida," an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film about an aunt and niece looking for family lost in the Holocaust. (Opus Film)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — For the past few decades, Holocaust films have been common — and often victorious — fare at the Academy Awards. But this year, the Polish nominee in the Foreign Language Film category ventures into the less frequently explored territory of the Holocaust’s aftermath. “Ida,” writer-director… Read more »

Meet the voters transforming Israel’s political landscape

RAANANA, Israel (JTA) — Chani Lerner-Mor’s political activism began on a street corner here in 1993. The landmark Oslo Accords had been signed recently, ceding parts of the West Bank to Yassir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization. The daughter of a Likud Party activist, Lerner-Mor, then just 9 years old,… Read more »

Why there is no Chabad house in Havana

Chabad emissaries won't set foot in Havana's Orthodox synagogue, Adath Israel. (Josh Tapper)Chabad emissaries won't set foot in Havana's Orthodox synagogue, Adath Israel. (Josh Tapper)

HAVANA (JTA) — On the freshly painted, salmon-colored walls of Alberto and Rebeca Meshulam’s apartment, two portraits of the late Lubavitcher rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, frame the entranceway leading to a wide, airy vestibule. Miniatures of the same portrait sit atop a glass-covered countertop near an image of the… Read more »

Despite Speechgate drama, U.S.-Israel defense relations stay solid

Ashton Carter, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary, at his confirmation hearing, Feb. 4, 2015. The hearing had none of the sharp exchanges over Israel that were featured in the confirmation proceedings of the last defense secretary, Chuck Hagel. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)Ashton Carter, President Obama's nominee for defense secretary, at his confirmation hearing, Feb. 4, 2015. The hearing had none of the sharp exchanges over Israel that were featured in the confirmation proceedings of the last defense secretary, Chuck Hagel. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (Washington Jewish Week) — American-Israeli relations may be enduring a challenging period due to the political drama surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, but you’d never know it from the recent confirmation hearing for defense secretary nominee Ashton Carter. Carter’s appearance on Feb. 4… Read more »

Coming to JFSA Connections: ‘Strength to Strength’ is personal

Sarri SingerSarri Singer

Sarri Singer has always been closely connected to her Jewish community, whe­ther in New Jersey, New York or Israel. On Sept. 11, 2001, at age 28, she was director of recruitment for the National Conference of Synagogue Youth summer programs, two blocks from Ground Zero. Since that date surviving… Read more »

Denmark synagogue attack seen as ‘wake-up call’

Copenhagen's main synagogue, where a guard was shot and killed early Feb. 15, 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)Copenhagen's main synagogue, where a guard was shot and killed early Feb. 15, 2015. (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — From the window of the Jewish Community of Copenhagen’s crisis center, Finn Schwarz can see his country changing before his eyes. Hours after the slaying of a guard outside the Danish capital’s main synagogue early Sunday morning, two police officers toting machine guns were on patrol outside… Read more »

Le’Or aims to put marijuana legalization on the Jewish agenda

Roy and Claire Kaufmann, the founders of the nonprofit Le'Or, with their children. (Courtesy of the Kaufmann family)Roy and Claire Kaufmann, the founders of the nonprofit Le'Or, with their children. (Courtesy of the Kaufmann family)

(JTA) — “You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them?” That was President Richard Nixon speaking to his top aide, H.R. “Bob”… Read more »

In Japan, the Holocaust provides a lesson in dangers of nationalism

The entrance to the core display of the museum of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, with its replica of the infamous Auschwitz gate, Dec. 27, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)The entrance to the core display of the museum of the Holocaust Education Center in Fukuyama, with its replica of the infamous Auschwitz gate, Dec. 27, 2014. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

FUKUYAMA, Japan (JTA) — In the auditorium of this country’s main Holocaust education center, a teenage actor explains the dilemma that faced a Japanese diplomat during World War II. “My conscience tells me I must act a certain way, but doing so means defying my commanders,” says the actor… Read more »

Michael Oren lends foreign policy bona fides to new Israeli party Kulanu

Michael Oren, a former diplomat and noted historian, may be the only American-born member of the next Israeli parliament. (Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90)Michael Oren, a former diplomat and noted historian, may be the only American-born member of the next Israeli parliament. (Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90)

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Michael Oren, New York-born and educated at Columbia and Princeton, begins an interview in Hebrew. Though he quickly switches to English, Oren interrupts himself every so often to translate a word into Hebrew for his assistant. It’s a bilingual bridge he has spanned in one… Read more »

Dems’ confronting of Israelis raises Netanyahu speech stakes

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In tense meetings, top congressional Democrats — including a number of Jewish lawmakers — confronted Israeli officials about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned speech to Congress. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, met Wednesday with Yuli Edelstein, the Knesset… Read more »

Jewish Tucsonans expand social activism away from home

Molly Rothschild and Lutheran Volunteer Corps colleague Torrance WinderMolly Rothschild and Lutheran Volunteer Corps colleague Torrance Winder

Both Lonnie Kleinman and Molly Rothschild grew up immersed in Tucson’s Jewish community. But like many college graduates in their 20s, each felt compelled to broaden her life experience by leaving home, working with Jewish nonprofits in other parts of the country. Kleinman, 23, who attended Tucson Hebrew Academy… Read more »

Brandeis used book sale to raise scholarship funds

The Tucson chapter of the Brandeis National Committee will hold its annual used book sale Feb. 13-22 at the Foothills Mall. Admission is free except for a special preview to be held Thursday, Feb. 12, from 5-9 p.m., which requires a $10 tax-deductible donation to the BNC. Proceeds of… Read more »

Scribe to restore UA Judaic studies center’s Torah scroll

On Feb. 10-11, the University of Arizona Center for Judaic Studies will bring master sofer (scribe) Rabbi Gedaliah Druin to campus to resume work on the restoration of its 200-year-old Torah scroll. The scroll was donated anonymously; the center’s Beth Alpert Nakhai, Ph.D., acquired it in 2009. The scroll… Read more »

Shmita classes relate justice to issues of food, land

Temple Emanu-El is holding a series of classes to honor the Shmita, or Sabbatical year. In biblical times the seventh year was a time to let the land lie fallow, for debts to be forgiven and for all who worked the land to rest and rejuvenate. If the Sabbatical… Read more »

Mitzvah club for grades 4-7 to be ‘kid-driven’

Melissa Goldfinger, a volunteer with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, has launched a new club for children in grades 4-7 called Many Mitzvah Makers – 3M for short. The mission of 3M is to engage kids in the mitzvot of tzedakah, tikkun olam and chesed (charity, repairing the… Read more »

JHM ketubah, gown show to highlight local treasures

Tucsonan Arlene Brody’s pearl, rhinestone and lace tiara, also worn by her sisters and sister-in-law (Athol Cline)Tucsonan Arlene Brody’s pearl, rhinestone and lace tiara, also worn by her sisters and sister-in-law (Athol Cline)

The Jewish History Museum’s seventh annual ketubah and wedding gown exhibit will open on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. with a champagne and chocolate reception. Models will wear several gowns from the permanent collection, including new acquisitions, as well as gowns on loan. Some of the local brides… Read more »

JFCS ‘Matza & More’ goes green, seeks help

Nancy LefkowitzNancy Lefkowitz

Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona has coordinated Matza & More, a volunteer-driven program to collect and deliver Passover items to more than 200 local Jewish families and individuals in need, for more than 40 years. Local businesses, syna­gogues and Jewish organizations support the effort. JFCS is… Read more »

Brothers bringing ‘Twintastic’ to Fox Theatre

The Edwards twins, who studied the arts at Tucson’s Rincon High School, surrounded by some of their characters (Courtesy Anthony Edwards)The Edwards twins, who studied the arts at Tucson’s Rincon High School, surrounded by some of their characters (Courtesy Anthony Edwards)

“We were put on this earth to entertain people!” Anthony Edwards exclaims. Twins Anthony and Eddie Edwards, who spent some of their formative years in the Old Pueblo, will return next month for two shows at the Fox Tucson Theatre (Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.), featuring… Read more »

Scholar to parse debate on Israel’s proposed National Identity Law, human rights

Leonard HammerLeonard Hammer

As an Israeli lawyer and legal scholar for more than two decades, Leonard Hammer, Ph.D., is well-equipped to discuss Israel’s complex juncture of religion and democracy. Hammer, the David and Andrea Stein visiting professor of modern Israel studies at the University of Arizona, will speak on “Israel’s Proposed National… Read more »

Photographers’ work to be celebrated at JCF

"Cereusly" by Dot Kret"Cereusly" by Dot Kret

The Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona will host an artists’ reception featuring the work of Mendocino photographer Julie Masterson and Tucson photographer Dot Kret on Monday, Feb. 16 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the JCF office, 3567 E. Sunrise Dr., Suite 143. Masterson’s passion for photography has… Read more »