News

Local quilt artist coming to Tucson J

"Left Turn Lane #1" by Thelma Scudi"Left Turn Lane #1" by Thelma Scudi

Thelma Scudi, a self-trained artist from Tucson, works in cloth and mixed media and credits her talent to her ability to see wonder and beauty in spite of reality. An exhibit of her art quilts, “The Left Turn Lane,” will be on display at the Tucson Jewish Community Center… Read more »

Arsenio Hall, UA Hillel benefit performer, believes in power of laughter

Arsenio HallArsenio Hall

Arsenio Hall, a comedian, actor and television star, believes in the healing power of laughter, and he surrounds himself with like-minded people. “The greatest thing in the world is laughter, from my son to my friends, laughter keeps you young and it keeps you alive,” says Hall. Nothing impedes… Read more »

UA Hillel director continues to grow Jewish community

Michelle BlumenbergMichelle Blumenberg

Michelle Blumenberg, executive director at the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation, has spent her career helping to secure and expand a vibrant Jewish community in Tucson and beyond. “I feel that it’s important to give what I can to help ensure that we have a Jewish community in the… Read more »

Exhibit on hunger informs, moves Tucsonans

René and Anya Schaap visited the ‘This Is Hunger’ exhibit in Tucson. (Courtesy  Denise Uyehara)René and Anya Schaap visited the ‘This Is Hunger’ exhibit in Tucson. (Courtesy Denise Uyehara)

The statistics are disturbing, but it is the faces and the stories of “This Is Hunger” that remain with viewers. The double trailer that houses “This Is Hunger,” a multimedia exhibit created by the national nonprofit MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, was parked at the Tucson Jewish Community… Read more »

Consul general on hand to thank firefighters

Nogales firefighter Marcela Donovan Hammond and 
Israeli Consul General Sam Grundwerg at the Tucson 
Jewish Community Center on Jan. 8. (Marty Johnston)Nogales firefighter Marcela Donovan Hammond and Israeli Consul General Sam Grundwerg at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Jan. 8. (Marty Johnston)

At a ceremony on Jan. 8 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center honoring local firefighters who helped battle fires in Israel in November, Sam Grundwerg, consul general of Israel to the Southwest United States, commended the volunteers on being their “brother’s keeper,” comparing them to Judah, who, according to… Read more »

Cohon awards honor leaders in rescue, unity

Rabbi Yechiel EcksteinRabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, says as his career began he realized creating a partnership between Jews and Evangelical Christian had huge potential. “I looked at it in terms of the Jewish people, and the need to have relationships between… Read more »

Tucson shlicha’s late father honored in Israeli ceremony

Mayor Rafael Ben-Sheetrit, left, and Rabbi Joseph Lasry unveil a sign that renames a Beit She’an street ‘Derech Hashisha’ or ‘Road of the Six.’ (Courtesy Oshrat Barel)Mayor Rafael Ben-Sheetrit, left, and Rabbi Joseph Lasry unveil a sign that renames a Beit She’an street ‘Derech Hashisha’ or ‘Road of the Six.’ (Courtesy Oshrat Barel)

Oshrat Barel, who serves as director of the Weintraub Israel Center and Tucson’s community shlicha (Israeli emissary), visited her hometown of Beit She’an last month for a memorial ceremony marking 14 years since the murder of her father and five others in a terrorist attack on the Likud party… Read more »

‘Accidental actor’ to speak on award-winning film, Holocaust

Geza Rohrig in "Son of Saul" (Courtesy Jewish History Museum)Geza Rohrig in "Son of Saul" (Courtesy Jewish History Museum)

Despite receiving critical acclaim for masterfully portraying the lead role in the Academy Award-winning film “Son of Saul,” Hungarian-born Geza Rohrig does not identify as an actor. “I’m an accidental actor. I’m a writer, that’s what I do. It gives me much more freedom, because I can write whatever… Read more »

Children’s hospital benefactor and community volunteer Joan Diamond dies

obit-joan-diamond

Joan B. Diamond, 87, philanthropist and Jewish community volunteer, died Dec. 28, 2016. Diamond was an early supporter of the University of Arizona Steele Children’s Research Center, which opened in 1992, and joined her husband, real estate developer Donald Diamond, in providing the lead gift to establish the Diamond… Read more »

Solomon Littman, journalist, scholar, author and Nazi hunter, dies at 96

obit-sol-littman

Solomon I. “Sol” Littman, 96, a journalist, scholar, author and hunter of Nazi war criminals, died Jan. 2, 2017. Littman was born in Toronto and educated at the University of Toronto, State College of Washington and University of Wisconsin. After 14 years as a director of the Anti-Defamation League… Read more »

BLOG 6 Israeli startups that want to change your everyday life

A commercial for Sensibo, a “smart” air conditioner. (Screenshot from YouTube)A commercial for Sensibo, a “smart” air conditioner. (Screenshot from YouTube)

(JTA) — As any pro-Israel activist will tell you, innovators from the Jewish state have invented products and technologies you use all the time, from instant-messaging technology to Waze, the crowdsourced traffic app. Israel’s tech scene is famously thriving, with about 5,000 startups across the country. Nearly 1,500 of those are in Tel Aviv… Read more »

In Israel, religious single moms gain greater acceptance

Jerusalem resident Alexandra Benjamin and her son at his bris in 2016. (Yitz Woolf)Jerusalem resident Alexandra Benjamin and her son at his bris in 2016. (Yitz Woolf)

  JERUSALEM (JTA) — When Alexandra Benjamin was pregnant recently with her son, she went shopping for appliances for her new apartment in Jerusalem. At the store, the religious salesman asked about her husband. Benjamin explained that she was having the baby on her own. “That’s so great!” she… Read more »

ANALYSIS Obama was, for better or worse, the face of liberal Zionism

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

    (JTA) — During his campaign for president in 2008, I wrote a column suggesting that Barack Obama was struggling to connect with Jews because they weren’t sure that he supported Israel’s cause in his gut — that is, in his kishkes. I may have been the first… Read more »

Facing inauguration and women’s march, DC synagogues split on entering the fray

Sixth and I, a nondenominational synagogue, has planned a Shabbat of programming around the Women's March on Washington, including meals, lectures, meditation and yoga. (Courtesy of Sixth and I)Sixth and I, a nondenominational synagogue, has planned a Shabbat of programming around the Women's March on Washington, including meals, lectures, meditation and yoga. (Courtesy of Sixth and I)

  (JTA) — On Friday, the United States will inaugurate a new president and usher in an era of new policies and rhetoric. But at the Sixth and I synagogue in Washington, D.C., eyes are on the day after, when some 200,000 marchers will gather to reassert support for… Read more »

Britain again breaks rank with Europe — this time over Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during the Middle East peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during the Middle East peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

  (JTA) — Two days after delegates from more than 70 nations attended the Paris summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong to label the meeting “useless.” Admittedly the France-initiated event, which neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority attended, did… Read more »

Obama won the Jewish vote without winning over the pro-Israel mainstream

Adas Israel Congregation's Rabbi Gil Steinlauf greets President Obama, May 22, 2015. (Ron Sachs)Adas Israel Congregation's Rabbi Gil Steinlauf greets President Obama, May 22, 2015. (Ron Sachs)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Fraught record on issues of race and anti-Semitism? Check. Much-hyped meeting to get Benjamin Netanyahu’s hechsher? Check. Stirring speech at AIPAC to quiet the naysayers? Check. Jewish validators galore? Check. Administration top-loaded with Jewish staffers? Check. Welcome to Inauguration Day 2009. President-elect Barack Obama walked into… Read more »

Marvin Hier says he’s ‘proud’ to be Trump’s inauguration rabbi

Rabbi Marvin Hier speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2015 National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)Rabbi Marvin Hier speaking at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's 2015 National Tribute Dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., March 24, 2015. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — Rabbi Marvin Hier has known Charles and Seryl Kushner — Jared Kushner’s parents and Donald Trump’s in-laws — for decades. The Hiers and the Kushners have gone to the same kosher for Passover resort, the Arizona Biltmore, over the years. The Kushner family, prominent real estate… Read more »

The Auschwitz museum has a Twitter account, and this ex-journalist runs it

Pawel Sawicki guiding journalists through the so-called central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)Pawel Sawicki guiding journalists through the so-called central sauna of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dec. 1, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

  OSWIECIM, Poland (JTA) — Long before he moved here to become the spokesman for the Auschwitz museum and lead its social media effort, Pawel Sawicki’s life was intricately connected to this sleepy town near Krakow. A Warsaw-area radio journalist, Sawicki used to visit Oswiecim as a boy on… Read more »