P.S.: Local people, places, travels and simchas

Prayer book donation

THA second, third and fourth graders with their new prayer books

Congregation M’kor Hayim is a small but mighty synagogue. Comprised of approximately 60 members, the group uses Tucson Hebrew Academy’s Beit Midrash (house of study) for its Friday night services and Shabbat morning Torah study. Discovering that the prayer books for THA second through fourth graders were unusable, with torn, missing pages and covers falling off, the congregation replaced all 60 of them.

At the end of October, MH spiritual leader Rabbi Helen Cohn and board member Marlyne Freedman presented the new siddurim to Rabbi Billy Lewkowicz, THA director of Judaics, and the delighted students. The smiles on the children’s faces spoke volumes! (No pun intended).

Here are several of the thank-you notes from the grateful recipients:

Dear Rabbi Cohn,

It was so thoughtful of you to get us new siddurim. I love the feel of not picking up a siddur and having it fall apart in my hands. Sincerely, Elana Goldberg

Dear Rabbi Cohn and M’kor Hayim,

Thank you for the new siddurim. They are very amazing and it makes us pray better. Where did you get the fantastic idea? There were lots of siddurim in the genizah (depository for worn religious books). Sincerely, Sami Kanter

Dear Rabbi Cohn,

Thanks for the siddurim. They look perfect. I love davening with them. It was a Gemilut Hasadim (acts of loving kindness) to give them. Sincerely, Aiden Glesinger

The Bronx Club of Tucson

(L-R) Rochelle Roth, Sheldon Clare, Vicki Kaplan and Ron Karp at the Bronx Club of Tucson brunch

One learns of the existence of The Bronx Club of Tucson by word of mouth. The group was formed at the millennium by workplace associates and friends who hail from New York’s northernmost borough.

On Dec. 2, the club held its annual holiday party at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Club president Ron Karp announced that the chapter currently has 173 official members who were born or lived in the Bronx, with a total membership of 285 including spouses and partners. (Lifetime membership dues are $10!) Mitch Fox, a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, was instrumental in planning this particular event. Carol Sumner, events committee chair, oversees the group’s meetings held several times a year. These friendly folks convene for social gatherings, from plays to picnics, and business meetings with speakers. The former Bronxites love to share memories of the borough’s neighborhoods, which were reminiscent of the small towns and villages from which many of New York’s Jewish, Italian, Irish and German immigrants had come. Stories ranged from playing stoopball, punchball and stickball in the street to recalling the smells emanating from the Morris Park factory of Mrs. Weinberg’s Chopped Liver. Former Bronx dweller Evan Hersh, who has lived all over the country and has been a Tucsonan for the past 26 years, stated unequivocally, “Tucson is the best place to live.”

Other attendees partaking in Sunday brunch and waxing nostalgic for their Bronx roots included Carol Dibbern, Lillian Essex, Elaine Marcus, Maria Milone, Naomi Nadelberg, Jim Pierale, Larry Rutkowski, Elaine Schneider, Merle Schoolman and Ray Silverstein.

Holiday hospitality

Steve Sckolnik with the empty tray from his prize-winning latkes

The candles shone brightly and Chanukah joy abounded during this Festival of Lights commemorating the ancient miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem.

On the first night of Chanukah, Sara Lindenbaum and Josh Goldfarb hosted the Young Jewish Tucson, YACHAD (Young Adults at Congregation Anshei Israel) and Temple Emanu-El Young Adults at a Chanukah potluck and latke cook-off at their home.

Steve Sckolnik’s prize-winning sweet potato latke ingredients included:

3 large sweet potatoes, grated, with moisture squeezed out using cheesecloth

1 yellow onion, grated

1 carrot, grated

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

5 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Peanut oil for frying


Eddie and Raquel Arriola, William Gray and Sara Lindenbaum light chanukiot.

On the last night, Sara and Josh held their “Sixth Annual Chanukah Fiesta.” They cooked traditional dishes — beef brisket, kugel, latkes and Chanukah cookies (sugar cookies in Chanukah shapes). The recipes were handed down to Sara from her mother and the Jewish community of Wichita, Kan., where she grew up.

• • • • •

Mike, Ed, Fern and Pattie Feder light the menorah.

Fern and Ed Feder’s annual holiday gathering included deli fare — cold cuts and salads, with latkes and fixings. Family, friends and fabulous food were the order of the evening on the fifth night of Chanukah.

• • • • •

Goldie Ceitlin practices lighting the Shabbat candles with her mother, Feigie.

On the seventh night, after lighting the Chanukah candles, Goldie Ceitlin kindled her first Shabbat candle in honor of her third birthday, traditionally the age a young girl can understand the significance of the Sabbath and say the blessing. Her parents, Rabbi Yehuda and Feigie Ceitlin of Chabad of Tucson, explained this age-old tradition and urged their 100 guests to do the same in their homes. A Friday night dinner followed at Congregation Young Israel, with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and his wife, Karen, in attendance.

• • • • •

Julie Feldman, center, with her children, Rachel Dveirin, left, and Haley Dveirin.

Hosting their 14th Chanukah party, Julie Feldman and Kevin Dveirin had a lively household filled with 16 families on the eighth and final night of the holiday. “Over the years, this wonderful group of friends has become like family,” said Julie. She credits her Grandma Minnie and her father for her latke-making skill. Several friends pitched in at the stove to fry many potato pancakes. Even the dogs smelled like latkes! Everyone lined up their menorahs on the living room table and sang the prayers, followed by a the spontaneous singing of a few Chanukah tunes.

 Time to share

That’s a wrap for this year. A happy, healthy 2013 for all. Keep me posted — 319-1112. L’shalom.