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Online programs aid Southern Arizona community connections

synagogues and Jewish agencies offer an assortment of virtual engagement programs for long summer days spent sheltering from the heat and the coronavirus. The list below includes some items that have crossed our desks recently but it is by no means exhaustive; check with other local organizations for additional programs.

The Northwest Needlers group meets via Zoom every Tuesday, 1-3 p.m. Register at

Congregation Or Chadash and Temple Emanu-El will present a joint Zoom musical Havdallah program with Rabbis Thomas Louchheim and Scott Saulson, Cantor Janece Cohen, and Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg on July 25 at 7:30 p.m. Register at

The book club co-sponsored by the Ruth and Irving Olson Center for Jewish Life and Hadassah Southern Arizona will hold its next meeting Monday, July 27, 5-6 p.m. via Zoom. This month’s selection is “Moloka’i” by Alan Brennert. To join, register by July 24 at

Rabbi Sara Metz of Congregation Anshei Israel is planning an online game night for Tuesday, July 21; a summer movie and discussion on Sunday, Aug. 2; and a Tot Shabbat on Friday, Aug. 7. Visit for details.

Rabbi Helen Cohn of Congregation M’kor Hayim will present “Tisha b’Av — the 9th of Av: Why Slog Through That Tragedy Again This Year?” as a lunch and learn Zoom session sponsored by the Ruth and Irving Olson Center for Jewish Life on Monday, July 27, 12:30-1:30 p.m. The cost is $6. Register at

To commemorate Tisha B’Av, a fast day on which Jews mourn the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonian Empire and the second Temple by the Roman Empire, as well as numerous calamities that befell our people on this day, such as the outbreak of World War I, Rabbi Israel Becker of Congregation Chofetz Chayim and the Southwest Torah Institute will present events via Zoom or conference call. These include a service on Wednesday, July 29, at 8 p.m., beginning with “Taking Matters to Heart,” an introduction to Eicha, the Book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah after the destruction of the first Temple. This will be followed by the chanting of Eicha and special kinnot (prayers and poems), including one mourning the destruction of European Jewry and the martyrs of the Holocaust. On Thursday July 30, from 6-7 p.m., Becker will present a study session, “Chosen Forever.” To register, contact Becker at 747-7780.

Esther Becker of the Women’s Academy of Jewish Studies is launching “Embracing Creation,” 20 15-minute Zoom sessions for women beginning at 7 p.m., Monday-Thursday, Aug. 3-Sept. 3. “Participants will implement the system developed 1,000 years ago in the classic masterpiece ‘Duties of the Heart,’ turning that which each of us sees in the world around us into a spiritual tool to perceive G-d’s wisdom and love,” says Esther Becker. The free program also is available via conference call.  It is dedicated in memory of Dr. Mina Gillers, who was a physician, a supporter of the local Jewish community, a musician, artist, and lover of nature. To register, call 591-7680.

For those tired of looking at video screens, a radio show might be just the ticket. Upcoming shows on “’Too Jewish’ with Rabbi Sam Cohon & Friends” include July 19, with guest Shuly Rubin Schwartz, new chancellor of Jewish Theological Seminary, the first woman to hold that post as titular head of the Conservative Movement; and July 26 with Rabbi Leon Morris, president of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.  On Aug. 2, the 18th anniversary of the show will feature Rabbi Jennie Rosenn, CEO of the new organization, “Dayenu, A Jewish Call to Climate Action.” “Too Jewish” is broadcast at 9 a.m. on radio station KVOI AM 1030 in Tucson, KAPR 930 AM in Douglas, Bisbee, and Sierra Vista, and KJAA 1240 AM in Globe. For more information, visit