Columns

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 »

Judaism values quest for truth, not endless arguing

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Which of the following makes you the angriest: • Arguing with someone when you know you are right? • Arguing with someone when you know they are wrong? • Arguing in general? One of the comments I hear all too often is, “The thing I love most about Judaism… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Seven lessons from Ruth

Jewish communities have a custom of reading the Book of Ruth on the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It is not an obvious selection. The Talmudist Rabbi Zeira asked, “This scroll does not contain the laws of impurity or purity, prohibitions or… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: New view of current ‘exile’

Rabbi Israel Becker

As I was praying alone in my study this Passover, words I had been saying my entire life suddenly popped out of the siddur: “We have been exiled from our land. We are unable to serve you in your Holy House.” We also are experiencing an exile, from our… 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 »

This new reality brings our focus inward

Have you ever been engrossed in your phone, and then your phone dies, leaving you feeling at a loss? The office we run out of the door to in the mornings no longer needs us there. The big dinner we are getting a babysitter for has been postponed. The vacation… 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 »

Purim fun should not eclipse message on education

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Two thousand five hundred years ago, Haman — then prime minister of the Persian Empire — succeeded in convincing King Ahasuerus to issue a decree to destroy the Jews throughout the land.  Following the issuance of this decree, Haman and his comrades went strolling with jovial hearts and encountered the… 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 »

Tu B’Shevat should cultivate responsibility to sustain world

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

I am not a fan of “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, although I used it in my teaching for years around Tu B’Shevat, needing a story that features trees. Every time I taught with the book, it made me uncomfortable. Designated the birthday of the trees, Tu B’Shevat… 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 »

Winter trips take locals to Israel, Poland — and fur babies bring Jewish joy

Thomas Sayler-Brown and John Linder at the Bahai Gardens in Haifa

Destination: Israel From Nov. 20-Dec. 5, Thomas Sayler-Brown and his husband, John Linder, traveled as first-timers to Israel. Sayler-Brown, chair of the University of Arizona Hillel Foundation board, planned their itinerary, and did research for a future JPride group trip. The pair are drawn to urban settings, with Thomas… Read more »

On Hanukkah, like a moth to the flame

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

It began as a typical Jewish Christmas Eve. To borrow a quote from Elana Kagan: “Like most Jews, I was at a Chinese restaurant.” As I walked through the restaurant, I passed table after table of Jewish friends and acquaintances happily sharing fried rice and eggrolls with family and… Read more »