Columns

Mission to Ukraine, Israel shows power of JFSA giving

Incoming Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Campaign Chair Ronnie Sebold with Sonia, a teenage Ethiopian immigrant, at the Ben Shemen Youth Village in Israel on July 13 (Courtesy Ronnie Sebold)

A few months ago, I accepted the daunting responsibility to chair the 2018 campaign for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. I have been a staunch supporter of the Federation since I moved to Tucson 37 years ago, and having recently retired from Tucson Hebrew Academy as their director of… Read more »

Email unlocks treasure chest of family history, new possibilities

Family members in Paris in April 2017 (L-R): Lauren Lederman, Amy Lederman, Ema Nachmani, Bella Bernard and Mariyam Nachmani (Courtesy Amy Lederman)

I t all began in 2001 with my mother’s insatiable desire to discover more about her background and family.  I had heard stories since I was a young girl about her parents who had tragically died within a month of each other, leaving my mother an orphan before her… Read more »

FIRST PERSON The time Israeli security strip-searched me at their embassy in Jordan

During a 2006 visit to the Jordanian capital of Amman, JTA's Uriel Heilman underwent some invasive security checks when he visited the Israeli Embassy there. (Uriel Heilman)

  (JTA) — “Drop your pants.” The order came curt and clipped, and it caught me by surprise. What?! “Drop your pants,” he repeated sternly. I had been subject to the indignities of Israeli security before, but never this. I was in a holding area of the Israeli Embassy… Read more »

I gave my child the Jewiest name

(Kveller via JTA) — I took a poll of my friends when I was pregnant. We run in an observant crowd in Manhattan, and most of our friends have the kinds of names you’d find multiple times over at your Jewish summer camp: Adams and Davids, Elianas and Yaels. My… Read more »

8 things I learned in my first year as a mom

  (Kveller via JTA) — My baby is 14 months now, talking like a maniac and taking very halting first steps (his development pattern echoes his highly verbal and unathletic parents). And in many ways so far, the past few months have been more challenging than anything I encountered… Read more »

The spirit of the vine: lessons from travels in Burgundy

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I recently spent five days hiking and biking through the Burgundy region of France, where my appreciation for the vineyards and vintners of that region was nothing short of inspirational. The two main grapes of Burgundy, pinot noir and Chardonnay, generate hundreds of varieties of wine for all of… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Lighting the world

Benzion Shemtov

I would like to share with you a thought on a mitzvah that recently took on a particularly dear meaning to me. As my daughter turns 3 years of age today, she begins to light her very own Shabbos candle, brightening the world each Friday evening. Married women have… Read more »

Young at heart: Saluting Tucson’s wise and vibrant centenarians

On Friday, May 5, at Tucson Medical Center’s Marshall Conference Center, the Pima County on Aging and TMC hosted their 30th annual Salute to Centenarians. Held to coincide with Older Americans Month, the event celebrates our community’s elders aged 99 and older. There were 43 such senior citizens in… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Blossoming through the cracks

Rabbi Ruven Barkan

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong It learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when… Read more »

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mom Day

(Kveller via JTA) — It is one of those days. I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. To every question posed to me in the morning, I immediately answer, “NO! No I can’t help you!” Even when it makes no sense, even when my children aren’t… Read more »

FIRST PERSON I’m Jewish and I just became an EU citizen. It feels a little like boarding the Titanic.

Cnaan Liphshiz, his wife and eldest son in a tulip field near Amsterdam, April 3, 2016. (Courtesy of Liphshiz)

  AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Considering Marine Le Pen’s historical gains in the French presidential elections, the Dutch far-right’s rise and the assault on ritual slaughter in Belgium, this spring is shaping up to be a life-changing time for Europe — its religious minorities in particular. In other words, it’s… Read more »

P.S. – 4.28.17

Lauren Brewer (left) and Shelby Roseman before picking up their Hollywood Half-Marathon race packets

Hollywood Half-Marathon On April 8 at 6 a.m., Shelby Roseman and her daughter, Lauren Brewer (Phoenix), ran in the Hollywood Half-Marathon. The race started in front of the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards, and continued down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At the finish line near Hollywood… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Decluttering guru provokes thoughts about gratitude

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Marie Kondo has made her name by helping people tidy up. She has a system for removing clutter from our homes that includes the correct ways to sort things, to fold things, to store things. Kondo’s approach is very different from most de-cluttering experts. She suggests that we hold… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Indian adventure Before Ruth Kolker embarked on a Portrait of India tour, her friend, Tucson philanthropist Neelam Sethi, sent her off with the charge: “Open yourself up to the colors, sounds and smells of my country.” From Jan. 24 – Feb. 13, that’s exactly what Ruth, her husband, Ron,… Read more »

Wooden bowl sparks priceless memories

Rabbi Robert Eisen

My first apartment was decorated in “early attic.” My grandmother was moving into a skilled nursing facility and her house needed to be cleaned out and sold. I was granted first pick of the contents of the attic. There were a number of little things that I quickly scooped… Read more »

In death as in life, the earth is G-d’s gift to mankind

Rabbi Israel Becker

At the recent annual dinner of my alma mater, the Rabbinical Seminary of America, I saw my lifelong friend, Rabbi Elchonon Zohn. He is a world renowned expert on Jewish end of life issues and burial who has been instrumental in guiding communities all over the United States. He… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Tucsonans march in D.C. On Jan. 21, Tucson was represented among the half a million people at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. Attendees marched in solidarity, supporting a spectrum of issues. Here is a sampling of their impressions: Eleanor Jeck: “I traveled to Washington to join thousands of… Read more »

Senator Moynihan’s surprise: Lessons from the Rebbe

U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once scheduled an hour-long meeting with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Towards the end of the consultation, the Rebbe asked if he could request a favor from the senator. “Here it comes,” the senator thought to himself. “Now the Rebbe is looking… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Gary and Marsha Tankenoff flank Itzhak Perlman. (Courtesy UA Presents)

A musical treat On Wednesday, Jan. 11, a sold-out crowd at UA Centennial Hall was treated to a concert by Grammy and Emmy award-winning violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman. Sponsors of this UA Presents classical music event were Irene and Ellis (UA Presents board member) Friedman, Carol and Phil Lyons,… Read more »

Current events, ancient query: Am I my brother’s keeper?

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I have always loved books. As a child, I treasured my hardcover editions of “Heidi,” “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and “Black Beauty” and loved the nights when my mom and I would snuggle on the couch as she read me chapter after chapter of “Little Women.” And in 1965, at… Read more »