Columns

Tucsonans on Israel Missions Witness Devastation and Unity

Sadness, anger, hope, and resilience. Todd Rockoff, president and CEO of the Tucson Jewish Community Center (JCC), felt all these emotions and more on a JCC Association Board Solidarity Mission (JCCA) to Israel in January. “I felt a great pull to be there,” he says, to bear witness and… Read more »

First Person: I Won Gold in Argentina at an Inspiring Maccabi Pan-American Games

David Tannenbaum, with gold medal

The Maccabi Pan-American Games recently concluded in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some 4000 Jewish athletes from 24 countries competed for medals in 20 sports in an expression of Jewish pride through athletics. I was fortunate to be among the 650-member Team USA and competed as a cyclist in the 60-69… Read more »

Op-Ed: Awareness and Diligence Save Lives

This article was first published in the October 2023 issue of DesertLeaf magazine. My Aunt Jan saved my life. The overall risk of a woman developing breast cancer during her lifetime is approximately 13%. My risk was much higher—55%-72%—due to a genetic predisposition known as a BRCA1 mutation. I… Read more »

A Letter to the Community from Yuval Malka, Shaliach

Dear Community Member,    As a new member of the Weintraub Israel Center team, it is with great sadness that this has to be my first letter to the community.   Friday evening, October 6, we returned from Shabbat dinner and arrived home. Suddenly, I received a message from one of my friends:… Read more »

Weintraub Israel Center Welcomes Shaliach Yuval Malka to the Community

Yuval Malka, Southern Arizona community Shalicha

The Weintraub Israel Center, a partnership between the Tucson J and Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona, is thrilled to share some exciting news: Tucson is once again bringing back a community Shalicha to foster a strong bond between our community and Israel. For those who may not be familiar… Read more »

It’s Human to Want to Give

Arizona. California. Israel. Peru. Boston. No matter what state, country, time zone or zip code, I call my mother every day. And at 97, she still answers the phone with energy and excitement. Calling home was a decision I made over two decades ago to intentionally stay connected to… Read more »

Lions of Judah Conference Celebrates Women’s Philanthropy in Phoenix

Over 1,200 women philanthropists from 80 communities around the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Israel came together at Jewish Federations of North America’s (JFNA’s) three-day International Lions of Judah Conference in Phoenix, where they raised a collective $24.2 million supporting Federations’ mission to build flourishing Jewish communities. The conference… Read more »

The Sharif Family Arrives in Tucson: A Refugee’s Story

The JFCS Refugee Resettlement Team

Note: The names in the story have been changed. The Sharif family arrived to Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) in early January of 2022 after months of upheaval and uncertainty. JFCS’s Reception & Placement Case Manager, Omed, met them at the airport upon their arrival. He helped the… Read more »

On the Ground in Krakow: Assisting Ukrainian Refugees in Poland

Dr. Jacobson in front of the Krakow JCC

I recently returned from two weeks in Krakow, Poland, volunteering with the team at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Krakow in their terrific effort to assist Ukrainian refugees. I traveled to Poland with my brother, Bruce Jacobson, who lives in South Carolina. Our contact was Jonathan Ornstein, Executive… Read more »

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 »