Ask the Concierge

Ask the Concierge 8.28.15

Dear Jewish Community Concierge,

Ori Parnaby
Ori Parnaby

I’m new to Tucson and thinking of joining a synagogue. I’m not very religious and am not sure if a synagogue is really the right place to connect, but I want to do something to connect with the Jewish community here. Do you have any ideas?

Thank you, Martin

Dear Martin,

Great question!

There are many ways to get connected in the Jewish community and a synagogue can be a big part of that. Synagogues don’t only serve people who are religiously observant. They also serve those who are looking to get together with other members of our tribe. They support us through lifecycle events and holidays. They make us feel like we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

Every synagogue has a unique personality and we are lucky to have many wonderful congregations to choose from in Tucson.

A good place to start is to ask yourself where you might feel most at home. Were you raised attending a Reform, Conservative or Orthodox synagogue? If so, do you feel an affinity to one or the other? If you didn’t grow up going to synagogue, what are the things you imagine you’d like from your community?

The best way to get to know a synagogue is to attend a few times. Often, it can be overwhelming the first time we visit someplace new, so visiting several times will help you get a sense of whether or not it feels like home to you. I also recommend reaching out to the clergy or staff before you go. Let them know you will be attending and ask them to introduce you to members of the congregation. Additionally, it is a good idea to try several different events at a synagogue: a service, a class and perhaps a holiday party or event.

Tucson synagogues are all listed on our website, This is a great place to start.

Finally, reach out to me. I’d be thrilled to help you find the right synagogue for you. Contact me by phone (520-299-3000, ext. 241) or email ( You can also find me on Facebook at www.face B’Shalom!

Ori Parnaby,

Your Jewish Concierge