Mitzvah 613 Torah dedication
Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday, Dec. 8, to witness the dedication of Congregation Anshei Israel’s new Torah, the culminating event to a yearlong celebration of the synagogue’s 83rd anniversary. The event included learning stations and art projects for all ages, performances by adult and children’s choirs and cantorial soloists, special readings and food. The Israeli scribe, Zerach Greenfield, completed the last letters on the Torah. The Mitzvah 613 Torah Project allowed participants to fulfill the 613th commandment of writing a Torah by dedicating a letter, word, verse, portion or book of the new scroll.
Chanukah at the zoo
More than 500 people attended Chabad of Tucson’s first Chanukah at the Zoo on Sunday, Dec. 2. Trees and railings at the 17-acre Reid Park Zoo were covered in light displays. There were also light sculptures depicting animals and dancing dreidels. Andrew Warsaw, operations coordinator for Arizona Wildcat football, lit the large menorah (Chabad’s 30th annual public menorah lighting). The event included holiday music, jelly donuts and other traditional foods, and activity stations. Participants were encouraged to light candles on personal menorahs provided by Chabad.
Chanukah on campus
More than 600 University of Arizona students took part in various menorah lightings with the UA Chabad’s 12-foot menorah.
Chanukah on campus, part two
Over 110 students attended a joint Chanukah party celebrated by the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation, JAC (Jewish Arizonans on Campus) and Chabad at Hillel on Dec. 5. A buffet included latkes and fixings, pasta and homemade donuts. Nine people took part in a donut eating contest with student Matt Schwartz emerging victorious. Activity stations included edible dreidels, donut decorating and “tacky sweater” making. Philanthropy this year included financial donations to the Jewish Family & Children’s Services Emergency Fund and gifts to the Diamond Children’s Hospital.
This Candle’s on Fire
Over 400 people attended Temple Emanu-El’s Greatest Hanukkah on Earth! XV — “This Candle’s on Fire” on Sunday, Nov. 24. The pre-holiday celebration included Chanukah songs, dance, drama, parodies, and music with Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, cantorial soloist Marjorie Hochberg, the teen and youth choirs and the early childhood education “Dreidel Dancers.” The concert was followed by a brisket and latkes dinner prepared by the Men’s Club. In the photo, Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon lights the 10-foot tall Millstone Family Menorah with members of the Kurn Religious School Youth Choir.
A birthday mitzvah
In honor of her 60th birthday, Amy Hirshberg Lederman gathered almost 30 woman friends on Sunday, Dec. 8 to pack 62 boxes and 62 bags of food for Homer Davis Elementary School as part of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s adopt-a-school program, Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project. Participants also made monetary donations and used Arizona tax credits to give more than $2,000 to the school. The food, which will help students over the winter break, was donated by Temple Emanu-El; Congregations Anshei Israel, Or Chadash, M’Kor Hayim and Bet Shalom;Tucson Hebrew Academy; the Tucson Jewish Community Center early childhood education department; B’nai Tzedek teens; and the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Truly Nolen, a gold Homer Davis sponsor, will transport the food to the school. Lederman (holding cereal) and friends continued the celebration with brunch at her home.
Chanukah, Israeli style
The Weintraub Israel Center celebrated Chanukah with a Heartbeat of Israel party at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Dec. 2. A Chanukah in Israel inspired scavenger hunt was led by volunteers and participants enjoyed latkes and sufganiyot (donuts). As in Israel, a giant sevivon (dreidel) was hung from the ceiling. When the kids sang loud enough, it was lowered and chocolate gelt rained down for all.