Columns

Maximizing philanthropic impact: Why capacity building and unrestricted giving matter most

Graham Hoffman

Philanthropy is increasingly a hands-on endeavor. Donors, particularly in making sizeable philanthropic investments, want to understand the impact of their donations on the causes they support. This approach has influenced the philanthropic landscape, resulting in many nonprofits soliciting program-designated or restricted donations rather than unrestricted support in an attempt… Read more »

On visit to migrant detention center, recognizing our collective responsibility

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

I was humbled and inspired to travel Nov. 3-6 with other rabbis and cantors to El Paso and Juarez, along with staff from HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) and T’ruah, a rabbinic organization for human rights, to visit detained immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border. These are my… Read more »

Gaza clash evokes painful memories of rockets, shelters

As these words are being written, an Israel-Gaza truce has been already achieved, after 48 hours of intensive fighting. The attack from Gaza — retaliation for an Israeli action against an Islamic Jihad leader — included over 300 rockets fired at Israeli communities near and far. Eighty Israelis were… Read more »

Israel is a nuanced, complicated country, as JFSA interfaith trip affirms

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I recently returned from a fantastic trip to Israel — an interfaith delegation sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. Our group consisted of 28 dynamic and open-minded people — a vibrant and deeply engaged mix of faiths, ethnicities, and professional backgrounds. Together we walked, climbed, and explored… Read more »

‘Greetings’ and mazel tov — why a nice Jewish boy enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969

Bob Kovitz during his U.S. Army basic training at Fort Ord in Monterey, California, in 1969. Courtesy Bob Kovitz

Fifty years ago, I reported to the U.S. Army induction center in Los Angeles. My father, who was a World War II veteran, later described the experience of driving me to the center as the worst day of his life. Why was a Jewish graduate student from the University… Read more »

After the High Holy Days, what is our focus?

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Finish the sentence: “If not now, _____” I would venture to guess that most of us would immediately call to mind the famous passage attributed to Hillel the Elder (Pirkei Avot 1:14): If I am not for myself, who is for me? When I am for myself, what am… Read more »

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 »