Handmaker lecture to explore community’s future from a rabbinic perspective

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim (Robert Weintraub Photography)

Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging continues its annual Three Rabbis Lecture Panel next month, exploring “The Future of the Tucson Jewish Community.” Rabbi Yossie Shemtov of Orthodox Congregation Young Israel, Rabbi Robert Eisen of Conservative Congregation Anshei Israel, and Rabbi Thomas Louchheim of Reform Congregation Or Chadash will share their perspectives at this Sunday, March 22 lecture.


Rabbi Robert Eisen

“Given the tensions that exist between the sacred and the secular — on a personal and communal perspective — there is much that might, could, should, or will change over the near and far future,” says Eisen, the originator of the first lecture panel five years ago.

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

“The future of the Tucson Jewish community is no different than the one in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or San Diego,” says
Shemtov. “It’s what our families and our commitment are to, true education. This does not mean Jewish children aren’t very educated, it’s all about how much Jewish education they have. Fortunately, Tucson is small enough and has the means to redirect all their resources toward Jewish education to become leaders.”
The Three Rabbi Lecture Panel continues to receive a strong and positive response from the community, says Nanci Levy, Handmaker’s community outreach coordinator. “Each year the rabbis seem to have more and more fun and have really gotten into a great groove with one another. Our residents love having them come and talk here and seeing so many people from the community attend. Often they have a chance to catch up with people that they knew from before they moved into Handmaker.”

Handmaker also has a series of smaller monthly lectures from October through May with other community rabbis and Jewish educators. “Our residents love having the opportunity to learn with them,” says Levy.

“With Rabbi Eisen leaving Anshei Israel and maybe Tucson this spring, I am not sure what this panel will look like next year,” she adds. “I hope to continue it, but that will be up to the rabbis. If it were up to me, I would have the three of them come back and do it again for as long as they like. And I know that everyone at Handmaker feels the same way.”
Light refreshments are included. For the concluding question and answer session, participants should submit questions in advance to Levy. The free, public lecture is from 3:30-5 p.m. at Handmaker, 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd. RSVP to Levy at or 322-3632.