Columns

Seniors celebrate a century and intergenerational friendships

Centenarians unite On Friday, May 3, the Pima Council on Aging and Tucson Medical Center sponsored the 32nd annual Salute to Centenarians event at TMC’s Marshall Conference Center. This gathering, the largest known convergence of centenarians in the United States, attracted close to 50 attendees, ages 99+, accompanied by… Read more »

Yiddish motto explains the counting of the Omer

Every day during the month of Iyar, we observe the mitzvah of Sefirat HaOmer, or counting the Omer. This mitzvah begins on the second day of Passover and continues until the eve of Shavuot. The counting is practiced daily after nightfall with some counting from a Siddur (prayer book),… Read more »

Broadening our scope: Trends in millennial giving

We may find it convenient to believe that because young adults in our community are not exhibiting the same historically Jewish behaviors as their parents, they do not feel a strong connection to Jewish life. Nevertheless, consistently, when polled, millennial Jews report having strong, positive feelings about being Jewish.… Read more »

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… Read more »

New wave: The changing face of Jewish philanthropy

We live at a turning point in the history of Jewish philanthropy. Over the next few decades, more than $30 trillion will be passed down from the baby boomer generation to their children. As these considerable assets change hands, so too will the power to shape the philanthropic sector.… Read more »

Composing prayers as a response to the world

Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Do you get frustrated from reading the news? If you are like me, you find it difficult to restrain yourself from posting and reposting on social media in response to the stories that upset you. It’s good, though, to have other ways to answer the irritations that come with… Read more »

Finding ourselves in familiar, unfamiliar places

With a name like Batsheva, I also have a Starbucks name, “Beth,” for ordering in person. I know that the name Batsheva is not easy for people. It might be the first time that they encounter the name and that it is hard to spell if you are not… Read more »

Youth group conventions and a home turf visit for a Stanford b-ball player

Breanna Yalen (left) and Maya Levy at NFTY convention (Courtesy Maya Levy)

Way to go, Maya! Maya Levy was elected 2019-20 North American Federation of Temple Youth president at the NFTY convention, held Feb. 15-18 in Dallas. She was NFTY Southwest regional president before attaining this role as head of the North American board. Maya, a University High School senior, was… Read more »

Many people hazy on what Messianic era will bring

Not too long ago I was at Tucson Hebrew Academy doing a couple of guest presentations for the third, fourth, and fifth graders, and what unfolded while doing so was rather exciting. The topic was the Jewish view regarding the Moshiach (Messiah) and the Messianic era. Essentially, my goal… Read more »

Tucson to Israel to Oregon, celebrating with cake, music, truffles, and movies

Newly-minted septuagenarian When Andy Kunsberg turned 70 in mid-December, his wife, Linda, planned a late December celebration. The party wasn’t a surprise but the guest list was. Relatives — daughter Rebecca Goodman, her husband Ted and their three children, plus Andy’s brother, brothers-in-law, nieces, great niece and nephews, from… Read more »

Gifts from the heart

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Tzedakah is usually translated as “charity” but a distinction is often made between the meanings of these two words. “Tzedakah” comes from the Hebrew root that means righteousness or justice.  “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof” — “Justice, justice you shall pursue” — is often quoted in support of financial contributions that… Read more »

Mount Sinai: revelation or inspiration?

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

It was the greatest moment in our people’s entire history. But what the heck actually happened? This week we read the Torah portion of Yitro, including the revelation at Mount Sinai. This climactic section includes the enormous experience of receiving the Ten Commandments through the theophany at Sinai, the… Read more »

Three crack, eight bam, seven dot … mah jongg!

A mojito toast from Young Women’s Cabinet members (L-R) Simone Krame, Jennifer Selco, Kathy Gerst, Jenny Rothschild, Katie Stellitano-Rosen, Rachel Jarrett

Mah jongg, the centuries-old tile game of Chinese origin, is a favorite pastime for American Jewish women. A fad in the United States in the 1920s, it regained popularity in 1937 when a group of Jewish women formed the National Mah Jongg League based in New York City. Each… Read more »

In 1944, she performed an opera at a concentration camp. 70 years later, I got to meet her.

Annie Cohen, right, met Holocaust survivor Ela Weissberger when the teen appeared in a New Orleans production of "Brundibar" in 2016. The children's opera by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása was performed by the children of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, including Weissberger. (Courtesy of Cohen)

NEW ORLEANS (JTA) — Ela Weissberger, though tiny and elderly when I met her, was the strongest woman I have ever known. Her energy was indefatigable, her personality vibrant and sunny, her wit sharp and charming. Her magical rapport with children was undeniable. Ela was a Holocaust survivor, sent… Read more »

Whether in U.S. or Israel, voting is vital duty

Amir Eden

Some of our community members and lay leaders are involved in the Nov. 6 elections. As an American citizen, I plan to cast my ballot, as voting, in my eyes, is one of our important civic duties. I had my first political experience in the Israeli general elections campaign… Read more »

Israel travels, fantasy camp, Sukkah squads and sisterhood inspire Tucsonans

A special Israel visitor From Aug. 9-Sept. 3, Linda and Shelby Silverman traveled to Europe and Israel. They saved the best for last, spending two weeks with their four Israeli grandchildren and their parents. Three generations of the Silverman-Levin family enjoyed a delightful surprise when they visited Rishon LeZion,… Read more »

NY meeting not chance but divine providence

Some people believe we live in a world where everything can be seen and touched. They buy into scientific explanations and find it hard to believe we live in a complex world where there’s much we can’t explain. Here is a true story of divine providence or in Hebrew,… Read more »

Fifth annual Ride for the Living affirms Jewish vitality today — in Poland

Tucsonans Boaz Cohon (front left) and Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon at the Ride for the Living in Krakow, Poland, June 29 (Rabbi Samuel Cohon)

This summer my son Boaz and I traveled to Poland for the great pleasure and privilege of participating in the Ride for the Living, a 55-mile bicycle ride from Auschwitz-Birkenau to the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, Poland, from the scene of the greatest destruction of our people to… Read more »