Columns

Rabbi’s Corner: Sukkot — A holiday of joy and unity

Joy Often repeated during the High Holiday season: “What are you celebrating now?” “Who cares? We Jews always pray, eat, and are merry!” During prayers on every Jewish holiday, we mention “Mo’adim L’Simcha,” a holiday to rejoice. Yet, on Sukkot there is an extra emphasis on being happy and… Read more »

Kindness, generosity, and caring: Celebrating our past in pursuit of our future

Graham Hoffman

Traditionally, Rosh Hashanah is viewed as the birthday of the world. We find ourselves now, in the days beforehand, at the culmination of the month of Elul, a time when we, both individually and collectively, take account of the year that has passed and look ahead, celebrating the opportunity… Read more »

Unveiling reveals more than a headstone

Harold Hirshberg’s great-grandsons painted rocks for friends and family to leave on his headstone. (Photo courtesy AMY HIRSHBERG Lederman)

We gathered together in the warm September sun at my father’s gravesite, just 10 days shy of a year since he died. It was the coming together of the family clan, the manifestation of four generations of the legacy that this almost 100-year-old man had inspired. But the unveiling… Read more »

Easy or not, it’s all about participation

Inbal Shtivi, Tucson’s shlicha, votes in the Israeli election at the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles, Sept. 5. /Courtesy Inbal Shtivi

The dark I-10 road of the Arizona desert was never-ending. Hours and hours of driving, passing dozens of trailer trucks, with both kids sleeping in their seats. Me and my husband, Eran, perfectly awake, fully aware to the dangers of this night ride. We were listening to music downloaded… Read more »

Wandering from the path: A law of return

Rabbi Israel Becker

As Rosh Hashanah approaches and we take stock of our own spiritual lives, it certainly behooves us to dedicate ourselves to expend every effort in reaching out to our fellow Jews, and especially to our own children and grandchildren. In fact, extending ourselves to help inspire our fellow Jews… Read more »

Memorials, music and service: Locals make the most of summer

(L-R): Jane Ash, Gary Kippur, Tandy Kippur, and Bruce Ash at the American cemetery in Normandy on the anniversary of D-Day.

D-Day commemoration cruise Bruce and Jane Ash and Gary and Tandy Kippur traveled together on the National WWII Museum 75th anniversary of D-Day cruise. They were part of a University of Arizona Alumni Association contingent, with other schools also represented. Before boarding the ship in Amsterdam, they visited the… Read more »

Shinshinim’s first weeks in Tucson end with road trip

Danielle Levy and Shay Friedwald, Tucson’s new shinshinim (Israeli teen emissaries) visited Disneyland over the 2019 Labor Day weekend with Congregation Anshei Israel’s B’Yahad madrichim (teen leaders) and USY programs.

Editor’s note: This is a new, occasional column to update the community on the activities of the Weintraub Israel Center’s shinshinim (Israeli teen emissaries). Tuson? Taksen? Tucson? And then we are told that we’re about to live a whole year, in the middle of the desert, with a complete… Read more »

Everything has a season: dealing with change

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

In October 1965, Columbia Records released a hit song by the Byrds called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” While my friends and I loved its beautiful harmony, I never suspected that its words would accompany me through life, spanning decades of historical and personal events from the Vietnam War to the… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Is your faith solid or fluid?

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin (Britta Van Vranken)

There is a tale about a rabbi whose synagogue was infested with mice. When the conventional method to get rid of them didn’t succeed, he turned to a fellow rabbi for advice. “Simple,” said his colleague, “give them a Bar Mitzvah and they won’t step foot in your synagogue… Read more »

Seniors celebrate a century and intergenerational friendships

Ruth C. Goodman with her son, Roy Goodman

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

Graham Hoffman

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 »