Local | Mind, Body & Spirit

Tucson J plans virtual day of learning

Jennifer Selco

The Tucson Jewish Community Center will present a virtual Yom Limmud, a day that celebrates Jewish learning, on Sunday, May 17.

“While we cannot be together in person due to the current health crisis, we must create opportunities to gather virtually as a Jewish community,” says Jennifer Selco, the J’s director of Jewish life and learning.

Yom Limmud will take place from 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m., with all sessions, presented via Zoom meetings, free of charge.

The event is a preparation for Shavuot, the holiday that celebrates the receiving of the Torah, which begins on May 28.

“Just as the Jewish people stood together at Sinai and each heard the words of Torah as they needed to hear them, we have an opportunity to learn and embrace these ancient messages that can add meaning to our lives today,” says Selco. Rabbis and laypeople will present sessions.

Most sessions are geared toward adults, but there will be a 30-minute PJ Library Jason Mesches Family Concert at 11 a.m. for families with children ages 1 through 7 with musician Jason Mesches (www.jasonmeschesmusic.com) and a session later in the day for PJ Our Way participants (ages 8.5 through 12).

Teachers for the adult sessions include  Rabbis Robert Eisen, Helen Cohn, Avi Alpert, Yehuda Ceitlin, Batsheva Appel, Samuel Cohon, and Denise Handlarski; Gila Silverman, Ph.D.; and Paul Tumarkin. Other presenters are being confirmed.

Eisen will present “If It Is ‘Down Here,’ How Do I Get ‘Up There’?” He will explore the sometimes contradictory ideas of doing Torah in the here and now or, focusing on what is yet to come.

Cohn’s  session is “In the Valley of the Shadow.”

“Psalm 23 is traditionally recited during times of grief, fear, or emotional turmoil,” Cohn explains. “We will consider how the themes and images of the Psalm can offer comfort during these unsettling times.”

Silverman will present “The Torah of Grief.” Jewish tradition prescribes a detailed set of mourning rituals to guide us after a death. She will discuss where these rituals come from, and how they are designed to help us grieve.

Tumarkin will present “Music and Memories: A Virtual Campfire.”

Handlarski, the Toronto-based rabbi of SecularSynagogue.com, originally planned to visit Tucson to present a program to the Secular Humanist Circle as well as at Yom Limmud. She will present “Flip the Script: Intermarriage and Joy.”

Registration is required for all sessions. The full schedule and links to register are at https://tucsonjcc.org/yom-limmud-a-day-of-learning/. “Recognizing that there have been challenges with the Zoom platform, we are taking precautions such as requiring registration and meeting passwords so that Yom Limmud is a safe and enjoyable experience,” says Selco.

Yom Limmud is supported by the Elinor and Yale Palchick Family Foundation Fund held at the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, and Marilyn Einstein and Steve Sim. PJ Library and PJ Our Way are programs of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and are sponsored by generous local supporters. For more information, contact Selco at jselco@tucsonjcc.org.