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Israeli partners connect with Tucson peers; Passover preparations begin

(L-R): Marlyne Freedman, Steve Silverman, Stuart Mellan (Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona president and CEO), Shelly Silverman (JFSA board chair), Hila Yogev-Keren (Partnership2Gether director), Hila Kordana, Vered Hengali-Maschiach, Deborah Oseran (incoming JFSA board chair), Isaac Amar, Shneor Katash, Edit Asor, Yedidya Green, and Steve Caine at a post-budget meeting dinner at the Silverman home [Oshrat Barel)

Reciprocal hospitality

The Weintraub Israel Center’s Partnership2Gether Israeli and Tucson teams gathered here March 3-8 for the P2G 2019-20 annual budget meeting. Since 1996, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has participated in P2G, a Jewish Agency for Israel program connecting Jewish communities around the world.  One year the delegation meets in Kiryat Malachi/Hof Ashkelon; the next year in Tucson. Asher Amar, Marlyne Freedman, Eric and Sarah Laytin, and other local folks hosted the visitors in their homes for a cross-cultural experience. “As a former JFSA professional and now a volunteer, it has been exciting to watch the growth of our relationship with our partnership region — in budgeting, programming and developing interpersonal connections,” Marlyne says. 

The seven visitors had an action-packed itinerary with presentations from the Hebrew Free Loan Association of Tucson, Cradle to Career Partnership, JFSA National and Overseas allocation committee, and the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona grants steering committee.  Along with budgetary allocations for partnership projects, the group also discussed expanding P2G programming with the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Funding comes from JFSA, JCF, and the Tucson J.

Ongoing Tucson-Israel partnership programs include school twinning and fellowship for educators; the shinshinim program bringing youth ambassadors to Tucson; and Israeli initiatives such as Art City (a youth music, dance, theater, and production company for more than 200 youth), Enrichment Scholarship (after-school programs), Open Door (counseling and social support for Ethiopian immigrants), Acharai (a pre-army program), and Sports4All.

Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (left) talks with members of the Israel P2G delegation in his City Hall office.

Offsite, the Israeli delegation met with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild at City Hall. They also visited Homer Davis Elementary School, beneficiary of the JFSA Jewish Community Relations Council’s “Making a Difference Every Day” project.







Yuri Rabayev displays a halibut fillet fit for making homemade gefilte fish.

Fishing for gefilte fish

One of the traditional Passover seder foods is gefilte fish. And beyond the Four Questions is: Made from scratch or purchased in a jar? If homemade, what fish to use and what recipe to follow?

For answers to these questions, we turned to Yuri Rabayev, seafood department manager at Rincon Market, and Rebbetzin Feigie Ceitlin, program director for Chabad Tucson.

Yuri, a Russian-born Jew who fled the Soviet Union with his wife and children and arrived in Tucson in 1992, has worked at Rincon Market for over 20 years. He rattled off a plethora of available kosher fish to use for homemade gefilte fish — walleye pike, white fish, red snapper, grouper, sole, halibut, salmon, orange roughy, cod. 

Feigie dug through her Passover boxes to share her traditional gefilte fish recipe:

Bubby Goldie’s Gefilte Fish

6 eggs

1 ¼ cups of sugar

3 teaspoons salt

¾ cup of ice water

1 large Spanish onion grated

(Optional: 1 finely grated carrot)

2 1/2 pounds of ground white fish

1 ¼ pounds of ground carp

1 ¼ pounds of ground pike

Mix ingredients for 10 minutes. Shape into football-shaped balls about the size of your palm. Add to boiling broth for about an hour and a half.


Water (about three inches deep)

1 large onion cut in chunks

2 carrots peeled and cut in chunks

2 stalks celery

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup of sugar

Time to share

Wishing everyone a kosher and happy Passover.  Keep me posted at the Post – 319-1112. L’shalom.