Rabbi’s Corner: Celebrate Passover in your heart and soul

Rabbi Robert Eisen

The holiday of Passover that many of us are eagerly anticipating is known by many names, each of which reflects a different dimension of what we will be celebrating. While we are usually more concerned with who may or may not be present at our seder table (finding the… Read more »

Shlicha’s view: Contemplating Israeli election, family politics

Even if a donkey will be at the head of the Likud, you will vote Likud,” I laughed with my father, and he said, “Yes,” smiling, “because I am a man of ideology.” I was raised in a pluralistic home in terms of political approach. My beloved late father… Read more »

A transformed Berlin beckons to Jewish Federation representatives

Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin on Feb. 19. “The photo,” he says, “does not even begin to capture the power of walking through and finding the pillars dwarfing you as they grow to 15 feet in the center of the installation.”

I sat between Grandmother and Aunt Etta. I never had a chance. Grandmother would point to her forearm, the numbers tattooed there … and that’s how I learned to count.   I sat between Grandmother and Aunt Etta. Between spoonfuls of regret they fed me: “From this you shouldn’t… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas 2.20.15

Michael Goldman and actress Gwyneth Paltrow at the White House Chanukah Party

A coveted invitation Tucsonans Gloria and Michael Goldman were among the approximately 500 guests at the White House Chanukah party on the evening of Dec. 17, the same day Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison. The Goldmans secured the email invitation through a friend’s son, Matthew Nosanchuk,… Read more »

Our present determines our future

Rabbi Israel Becker

Two weeks ago, we read that Moses’ father-in-law Yisro’s life changed forever when he heard of the massive miracles that occurred for the Jewish people as they left Egypt. At our Pesach seder, we remember these miracles, the 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea, etc. But one dimension… Read more »

Needs of others, and of G-d, at root of performing mitzvot

Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman

Picture this: The day at work is almost over and, remembering that you need to pick up some groceries, you mention to your coworker that you’ll be stopping at Sprouts on the way home. Her ears perk up and she asks you for a favor. She’s been wanting to… Read more »

As elections near, Israelis seek new way forward

Oshrat Barel

Elections in Israel — why now? During my recent visit to Israel, many of the conversations I had with family and friends were about the upcoming elections in Israel. The fact that the elections are being held prematurely did not come as a surprise, especially given that Israel has… Read more »

An uplifting Birthright trip, two holiday bashes and memories of Super Bowl I

Tucsonans Elyse Pincus (currently a Masa Israel teaching fellow in Rehovot) and Birthright participants Tanya Hetlinger and Adam Knox at the Path to Peace mosaic wall

Birthright update The Birthright Israel Foundation asks: “What has four wheels and takes 40 young Jewish adults on the experience of a lifetime?” Answer: A Taglit-Birthright Israel bus. During this winter season, Birthright brought more than 14,000 young Jews, ages 18-26, from 21 countries to our homeland for the… Read more »

Mayim Bialik’s reflections on the Paris attacks

Actress Mayim bialik reflects on what it means to be Jewish today and is grateful for the existence of Israel. (Shutterstock)

(KVELLER/JTA) — I grew up in a public school that had enough Jewish kids that I felt represented. I went to Hebrew school twice a week and had a chavurah, or fellowship, through my Reform synagogue with kids my age. A portion of my family was Orthodox. I was… Read more »

At White House Chanukah party, Obama emphasizes freedom and food

President Obama speaking at the first of two White House Chanukah parties in Washington, D.C., dec. 17, 2014. (Steve Sheffey)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — I’ve been JTA’s Washington bureau chief for 11 years, but this was the first time I scored a coveted invitation to the annual White House Chanukah  party. A Washington tradition started by President George W. Bush, the party has actually expanded (to meet demand) to two:… Read more »

At Chanukah, kashrut reminder of miracles

Rabbi Israel Becker

There is a specific kosher law pertaining to sirloin steak and filet mignon that contains a hidden message about miracles and survival. This law actually dates back to a dramatic episode recorded in the Torah, when our patriarch Jacob, returning to Israel with his young and large family, was… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas 12.19.14

Jewish travel abroad In their travels, Marcia and Michael Zaccaria seek out Jewish venues, observances and connections. In 2010, it was Turkey; in 2011, India; and 2013, Morocco. From Aug. 26-Oct. 14, the couple flew to South Asia to visit Ladakh (India), Bhutan, Nepal, and Tibet (China). The Zaccarias… Read more »

Two writers’ views of Israel and a sad goodbye

Oshrat Barel

  Israeli culture Every year there is an Israeli book or two that tries to shed new light on the complicated situation in Israel. I found two recent books very interesting and in a way even complementary.  “The Industry of Lies” by Ben-Dror Yemini explores the mechanism that causes… Read more »

Bring your light into the world at Chanukah

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

Chanukah is a holiday with many names. Some call it the Festival of Lights, while others refer to it as the Feast of Rededication or the Holiday of Miracles. Its multiplicity of names suggests a variety meanings. The historical version of Chanukah, recorded in the Book of Maccabees, chronicles… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 11.7.14

Bill and Wendy Fishkind with the Cessna 182 at Lanseria Airport in South Africa

Bucket list check-off For Bill and Wendy Fishkind, African travel has always been on their radar; however, for two weeks in September, they traveled on the African continent without radar. Bill and Wendy are both licensed pilots. They flew commercially from the United States to Johannesburg. Once there, they… Read more »

Terror demands appropriate, careful response

Oshrat Barel

Terror in Israel, again Since the recent escalation of terror in Israel, I have been asked about one of the latest incidents in which a young Israeli Arab from Kafr Kana ran toward an Israeli police car and stabbed at the car. Several policemen stepped out of the car… Read more »

At Thanksgiving time, an exercise in mindfulness

Cindy Sher

CHICAGO (JTA) — Last year, for a month before Thanksgiving I jotted down one thing for which I was grateful every night before I went to bed. Here are some of the 30 blessings I recorded: • A warm bed. • Airplanes that fly me to visit my family… Read more »

At Thanksgiving time, making a leap to feed the needy

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — As we prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts, a 90-year-old Jewish man named Arnold Abbott is stirring the pot in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., about hunger and homelessness in America. Or is it that Abbott, who in defiance of a controversial new city ordinance has been cited… Read more »

Taking a cue from the midterm elections

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

By the time you read this column, results of the 2014 midterm elections in the United States will already be announced, reported, chewed over and, depending on your political affiliation, celebrated or bemoaned. “Every single thing that a person sees or hears, is an instruction to him in his… Read more »

For mom, now is always the perfect time

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

My mother called last night when I was out. Her voice on the answering machine sounded somewhat depressed but the message belied her tone. “Hello darling, this is mom.  I’m calling with some good news.  We’ve turned the clocks back an hour, so there’s only a two-hour time difference… Read more »