Columns

Drawing the distinction between right and wrong

Suppose your daughter, upset about not making the 2017 high school varsity cheerleader squad, reacts with not-so-nice language on Snapchat to 250 of her friends. The school suspends her from any cheerleading squad for a year. She is not at school when she does this. What if your nephew,… Read more »

Purim and Passover: A tale of two tables

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

The experience of celebrating Jewish holidays has been dramatically altered since the onset of the pandemic over a year ago. From solitary Passover seders to attending High Holiday services in our pajamas on Zoom, we have tried our best to stay connected to tradition despite the precautions and restrictions… Read more »

Pursuing justice for all those who are hungry

Should a child go to bed hungry in this country of abundance? Should working parents with two children have to go to a food bank to supplement their ability to provide meals? Should an elderly person have to choose between filling a needed prescription or buying food for the… Read more »

Relationships are the essence of Judaism

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

Human beings are born into relationship. It is our natural way of being – a state of need coupled with desire – without which we languish physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In the Jewish tradition, being in relationship is regarded as one of the highest and most sacred of… Read more »

Examining justice: Introducing the Tzedek Project

What is justice? Equity? Fair treatment? The blindfolded woman holding the scales? What would the perfect world, filled with justice,  look like? Deuteronomy 16:20 tells us: “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof l’maan tichyeh.” Justice, justice you shall pursue, that you may live… In the months of 2021, we will explore many… Read more »

Letting go is all we have to hold on to

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

If you had told me a year ago that I would change my life by selling my Tucson home to be closer to my Mom in New Jersey or that I would spend the winter bundled up in Boston rather than hiking in the sunshine, I would have responded:… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Upon whose shoulders are we standing?

rabbi-stephanie-aaron

We have just completed the cycle of what Rabbi Kerry Olitzky calls “the Fall Holidays of Memory.” During the month of Elul that leads into the Days of Awe, we spent many hours remembering this past year, doing cheshbon hanefesh, taking an accounting of our souls. This involves tallying… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Despite social distancing, work toward a Sukkat Shalom for our community

Rabbi Norman T. Roman

I remember the dialogue session well, although it took place more than 45 years ago. Two respected, learned Jewish scholars, who been study partners (chevruta) at the yeshiva in New York, came together in Cleveland, where I grew up, for a Shabbat afternoon presentation during the Festival of Sukkot.… Read more »

Gratitude: an antidote to emotional distancing

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

Since March of this year, we have been forced to reassess and restructure how we think about and interact with the world. From empty calendars and stockpiled closets to work, family, and social lives that resemble nothing we have ever known, we bear witness to living in a COVID-19… Read more »

Pride in leadership: Pursuing a world inclusive and just for all

Graham Hoffman

As I have recently assumed the mantle of the president and CEO of both the Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, I am humbled by the responsibility that I now bear as the leader of these agencies and this remarkable community. Authenticity is central to… Read more »

Celebrating Passover in a corona world

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

Passover is the holiday when Jews come together for Seder with families, friends and community to retell the core Jewish narrative which goes like this: We were slaves for over 400 years in Egypt, then God  brought us out of Egypt “with a strong hand and an outstretched arm”… Read more »

A Pesach recipe and a slew of centenarians are cause to celebrate

Passover prep Due to the coronavirus, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy Lion of Judah Society canceled a pre-Passover cooking demonstration featuring Marianne Banes. Tucson has a vibrant food scene and Banes is one of its most popular professional and pastry chefs, with a 43-year culinary career.… Read more »

I’m a pediatrician who sees kids with coronavirus every day. It’s changed my whole way of life.

Health care providers wear protective equipment, like gloves, but some still get the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — I am a pediatrician who for 15 years has practiced in a medical office in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We serve the local Hasidic community and see a variety of other patients from Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Queens. When the coronavirus emerged… Read more »

Celebrating resilient Israeli women

As these words are being written, the entire world is looking anxiously toward the future, and the effects of the coronavirus. We can’t avoid it — people in supermarkets are stocking up, and news from all over the world arrives on our screens with alarming updates, political debates on… Read more »

Preparing for elections, for the third time

As I go around the community in Tucson, many people ask me what I think about Israeli politics. Who is going to “win,” what will the future look like, plus questions about how our political system with its many parties works and how it relates to the world and… Read more »

Fresh from visit home, teens to bring ‘spice’

Shay Friedwald and Danielle Levy, Southern Arizona’s shinshinim (Israeli teen emissaries), in San Francisco, where they stopped before heading home to Israel during their winter break.

Hello Friends, We have just returned from our vacation at home, in Israel. Our vacation was great, but it’s good to be back! We are excited to start again and see all of our friends. In this second half of our year in Tucson, we have so many fun… Read more »

I’m done passing as a matrilineal Jew

(We Are via Getty Images)

This story originally appeared on Alma. “Your Hebrew name?” the head of the yeshiva asked, pencil and paper poised to take it down for my aliyah, the honor of reciting Torah blessings. It was my third week at his school, a place where I’d reluctantly agreed to study for… Read more »

An integrated approach to charitable giving

Graham Hoffman

Donor centrism has become a rallying cry in the Jewish philanthropic giving space. For many modern donors, the ability to see the impact of their funds is essential to their charitable involvement. This results-driven mindset marks a shift from the more hands-off approach taken by prior generations, in which… Read more »

‘Shtisel’ watch party, lecture to give insight into Israel’s ultra-Orthodox

The ultra-Orthodox make up some 13% of Israel’s population. The main cities in which this largely secluded population lives are Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, with large ultra-Orthodox communities in Elad, Betar Illit, and Modi’in Illit. There also are ultra-Orthodox communities in mixed cities such as Sefad, Ashdod, and Tiberius.… Read more »