Yearly Archives 2014

Foundation grant applications now online

The Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona has made its three 2015 requests for proposals open to the public. Visit to learn about what grants are available, eligibility, funding priorities, and documentation and submission instructions. The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is partnering with the Foundation to fund… Read more »

Young artists portray Joseph’s ‘Dreamcoat,’ win tickets

"Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors" by Haya Gibly, age 9

An independent panel of judges has chosen the winners of the Arizona Jewish Post’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” art contest, in partnership with Broadway in Tucson. The winners each receive a pair of tickets to the show’s opening night on Jan. 7 at UA Centennial Hall. The… Read more »

Two writers’ views of Israel and a sad goodbye

Oshrat Barel

  Israeli culture Every year there is an Israeli book or two that tries to shed new light on the complicated situation in Israel. I found two recent books very interesting and in a way even complementary.  “The Industry of Lies” by Ben-Dror Yemini explores the mechanism that causes… Read more »

Bring your light into the world at Chanukah

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

Chanukah is a holiday with many names. Some call it the Festival of Lights, while others refer to it as the Feast of Rededication or the Holiday of Miracles. Its multiplicity of names suggests a variety meanings. The historical version of Chanukah, recorded in the Book of Maccabees, chronicles… Read more »

Issues of identity at forefront in Tucson Jewish film festival

Lacey Schwart'z film "Little White Lie" tells of her discovery in adulthood that her father was black. (JTA)

The Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, featuring several international award-winning films, Arizona premieres, and special guests, will run Jan. 15-24, 2015. Now in its 24th year, the TIJFF is one of the longest running Jewish film festivals in the country. This year, it will include 19 films over nine… Read more »

Pozez music events to probe Jewish identity

Israeli cellist Amit Peled with perform on Jan. 12 at the University of Arizona.

                                      The second Shaol and Louis Pozez Jewish Fine Arts Symposium  and Concert will take place on Monday, Jan. 12, and will explore the lives and music of European composers of… Read more »

Tucson doctor’s specialty is a global calling

Tucsonan Kenneth V. Iserson. M.D., a specialist in emergency medicine, with a newborn under an improvised inclubator in Zambia.

Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D., is a doctor, so he’s expected to help people — but he’s also a humanitarian pioneer. “I’m one of the grandfathers of emergency medicine,” Iserson, home from a two-month stint teaching doctors in Argentina, told the AJP. “I completed the first residency in emergency medicine… Read more »

Gross’ release, and changes in diplomatic ties, signals new day for Cuban Jews

Alan Gross, freed from a Cuban prison earlier in the day, waves after concluding his remarks with his wife, Judy, at a news conference in Washington shortly after arriving in the United States, Dec. 17, 2014. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Alan Gross was imprisoned while trying to connect Cuba’s isolated Jewish community to the wider world. The deal that got him released five years later may do just that and much more. Gross’ flight home to suburban Washington on Wednesday with his wife, Judy, was part… Read more »

Will U.S. Jewish groups pivot left if Herzog wins?

Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog speaking in the Knesset in Jerusalem at a memorial ceremony for Yitzhak Rabin, Nov. 5, 2014. Herzog is faring well in the polls since new elections were called in December. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Come early next year, there might be yet another world capital that opposes Israeli settlement expansion and sees Benjamin Netanyahu as principally responsible for Israel’s isolation: Jerusalem. Isaac Herzog, the Labor Party leader, is faring well in the polls since Netanyahu called for new elections earlier… Read more »

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s ‘lower guilt’ latkes

Latkes (@DWSTweets) (Debbie Wasserman Schultz posted this photo on Twitter)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz — South Florida congresswoman, chair of the Democratic National Committee, mother of three school-age children — is also, apparently, something of maven in the kitchen. Wasserman Schultz (aka @cleancookingcongresswoman) maintains an Instagram account devoted to her culinary adventures, and was tweeting over the weekend about,… Read more »

Highlighting campus sexual assault, Jewish groups have taken a lead

Jake Rubin, the director of the University of Virginia Hillel, on Dec. 4, 2014 in front of the Hillel building in the vRugby Road neighborhood of Charlottesville, Va. (Ron Kampeas)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (JTA) – Jewish campus groups were ready for the painful national dialogue that took place in the wake of murky rape allegations at the University of Virginia. That’s because organizations like Hillel and historically Jewish Greek houses such as Alpha Epsilon Pi, Zeta Beta Tau and Sigma… Read more »

Why the RCA’s conversion system is better than the alternative

NEW YORK (JTA) – In a recent JTA Op-Ed, Rabbis Marc Angel and Avi Weiss made a number of claims about the Rabbinical Council of America’s conversion system. While some of their arguments have merit, they paint only a partial picture of what we’re doing in the North American… Read more »

Centralizing authority on conversions hurts converts

NEW YORK (JTA) — The Israeli government recently moved to decentralize the conversion system by allowing local courts to convert individuals on their own. Ironically, as Israel moves away from centralization, here in America the Rabbinical Council of America is enthusiastically embracing it. The modern Orthodox rabbinical organization recently… Read more »

Is she Jewish? Rabbinate says yes, Israel says no

TEL AVIV (JTA) — In 2012, Anna Varsanyi was married in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony conducted through Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. Two years later, the Hungarian immigrant has made a life in Israel, settling with her husband in the central city of Modiin and working a desk job in a… Read more »

Chocolatiers raising the bar when it comes to Chanukah gelt

NEW YORK (JTA) — Sharing their favorite Jewish chocolate experiences recently, a group of about 60 chocolate lovers didn’t even mention Hanukkah gelt. That is, until one woman at the New Jersey get-together shared her thoughts on the subject. “It is sucky,” she said, meaning that the chocolate is… Read more »

Mimosas without menorahs: Brunch jazzes up ho-hum Chanukah

Peanut butter and jelly Sufganiyot: Israeli-style doughnuts with the classic American pairing. (Shannon Sarna)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One of my favorite ways to celebrate Hanukkah is over brunch. Yes, it’s nontraditional — and you can’t enjoy the experience of lighting the menorah together or singing. But it’s a great way to change up the routine, especially if you have young kids and… Read more »

FIRST PERSON: Thoughts of Chanukah applesauce and a bygone era

BALTIMORE (JTA) – Beyond the rusty orange leaves, the sky hugging the orchard flourished in pastel blue – a hue that surprisingly didn’t define my mood while stretched out upon the grass, head nestled in interlocked palms that sweet October day. Surprisingly because the Sunday afternoon outing marked a… Read more »

What makes Chanukah great in America

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (JTA) – As Hanukkah nears, let the grousing begin. Too much is made of a holiday that Judaism ranks as a minor festival — one whose rite takes no more than five minutes to complete each night — some American Jews will say. Some will complain… Read more »

Beyond latkes: Chanukah around the world

SAN FRANCISCO ( — Hanukkah is observed with joy and celebration in Jewish communities around the world. There are eight nights of lights and blessings the world over, but there are also many ways that different communities make the holiday uniquely their own. Here are eight customs and ideas… Read more »

For Americans aiding Israeli soldiers, rules of engagement vary

Yashar Lachayal's Leon Blankrot, in black, handing out aid packages with cold-weather gear to an all-Druze Israeli army unit, Nov. 28, 2014. (Courtesy Yashar Lachayal)

(JTA) — When the season’s first snowstorm descended on Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights a few weeks ago, it didn’t take long before M, a career sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces, received a phone call from Leon Blankrot. “What do you need to keep warm?” asked Blankrot,… Read more »