New synagogue to open in Northwest Tucson

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Congregation Beit Simcha (House of Joy), a new synagogue based in Northwest Tucson, will open later this month. 

Established by a group of congregants and Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, Beit Simcha will hold its inaugural Friday night Shabbat services on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Harvey and Deana Evenchik Center for Jewish Philanthropy, 3718 E. River Road. Along with weekly Shabbat services, Beit Simcha will offer youth and adult education, social justice opportunities, outreach and cultural Jewish programming, says Cohon.

Youth education and b’nai mitzvah classes will begin Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the classroom location, 7493 N. Oracle Road, Suite 131.  Adult Education Academy courses will begin with the first session of “The Zohar: the Kabbalistic Crown” on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 11:45 a.m. A Shabbat morning hike and service with Cohon will be held Saturday, Oct. 20, departing from Catalina State Park at 8 a.m.  

“We are thrilled to begin our new temple, and are dedicated to building a warm and welcoming congregation with strong connections throughout the community,” says Beit Simcha President Craig Sumberg. “Rabbi Cohon is an inspirational leader with an innovative approach to contemporary Jewish life.”    

Congregation Beit Simcha’s first Torah scroll is one of the Holocaust-era Czech Memorial Scrolls, which Cohon and his son Boaz received from the Czech Memorial Scrolls Trust at Westminster Synagogue in London, England, on Oct. 10. Using this scroll will connect the congregation to Jewish history and heritage in powerful ways, says Cohon. His late great-uncle, Rabbi Harold Reinhart, the founding rabbi of Westminster Synagogue, was instrumental in the rescue of the scrolls and their refurbishment and redistribution to synagogues throughout the world.

For more information on services, adult classes and lifecycle ceremonies, visit www.beitsimchatucson.org or call 276-5675. For youth education information, contact Education Director Lori Riegel at youthed@beitsimchatucson.org or call 276-9244.