I am buying homeless signs for Sukkot this year

LOS ANGELES (Jewish Journal) — I started building my sukkah in December. To those of you who are sukkah DIYers, you know how ridiculous this sounds. A sukkah is the ritual hut that Jews build each year on the holiday of Sukkot, which begins this year on the evening… Read more »

For Tucson teen, March of the Living trip is heartwrenching, empowering

Michaela Davenport at the Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. (Courtesy Michaela Davenport)

                      Walking through the famous gate “arbeit macht frei” at Auschwitz, I felt sick to my stomach. I’d seen that gate, with its infamous Nazi inscription, “work makes you free,” in history textbooks, photos and movies, but seeing it… Read more »

Coming out, a young gay man finds self-acceptance

Isaac Lobel

NEW YORK (JTA) — For my Bar Mitzvah, my parents got me a laptop. For what I searched for on it, they got me a shrink. CyberSitter informed my computer-savvy parents that their son was searching gay porn. On the ride to my first therapy session, I stuck my… Read more »

Loving the storm: lessons from my father

Miriam “Mimi” Furst, age 4, with her father, Irving Boruchow

Crack! Boom! The sound of big fat pebbles pounding the roof and rattling windows. Maybe it’s the Nazis coming to get us! That afternoon my brother Stan and I saw a war movie at a theatre near our home in the Bronx, N.Y. We watched as mighty John Wayne,… Read more »

Faster than a speeding bagel: Super Jewish dad

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — As the new Superman movie “Man of Steel” flies to an opening on Father’s Day weekend, we earthbound Jewish men have the superhero’s creators — Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Jewish teenagers from Cleveland — to thank for setting such a super high bar. Especially… Read more »

Celebrating birthdays with Israel, honoring centenarians, seeking a cure

Sue Ross with her grandson Aiden Glesinger at the Green Tie Gala.

Happy 65th Birthday, Israel! Israel was not created in order to disappear — Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. —John F. Kennedy Tucson celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, with extra flair this year. Besides highlighting Israel’s innovations… Read more »

After years in Tucson, seeing Jewish identity differently

Guy Gelbart

It is time to say shalom, the He­­brew word for hello, goodbye and peace. We came in peace, we go in peace. How does one summarize three years? Do you list all the events you created or took part in? Do you make a list of achievements? What was… Read more »

Teens and veterans in D.C., women in Israel and mishpocha across the U.S.

(L-R) Michelle Goodman, Ital Ironstone and Jessica Setton (of Phoenix) at the BBYO International Convention

Area BBYO teens at D.C. convention Michelle Goodman, 16, a junior at St. Gregory College Preparatory School, and Ital Ironstone, 18, a senior at City High School, attended BBYO’s International Convention in Washington, D.C., from Feb. 14-18. BBYO comprises AZA (Aleph Zadik Aleph) and BBG (B’nai B’rith Girls). Joining… Read more »

The healing power of neighbors and pastry

Wendy Wiener

Like any longstand­­ing havurah, or Jewish friendship group, my neighborhood has celebrated the cycle of Jewish holidays together for 20 years. We laugh, bake, eat and recount tales of past holiday celebrations. There’s no worrying about whether the house is clean or how many people are coming, when the… Read more »

Israel at 65: Remembering the price of Israel’s freedom

Guy Gelbart

During the recent Passover holiday, we celebrated the ending of our slavery and becoming a free people. After fleeing Egypt, we were liberated but not yet free. Even after receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, we were not yet free. It took more than 40 years, a full generation,… Read more »

ISRAEL AT 65: Despite challenges, after many visits, Israel still inspires

(L-R) Nancy Mellan, Diane Weintraub, Israeli artist Tzameret Zamir, Stuart Mellan and Ron Weintraub at Zamir’s mosaic of peace project on the anti-sniper wall at Netiv Ha’asara. The mosaic will spell the world ‘shalom.’

At my age (closing in on 60), I often tell myself, in a reassuring tone, that “age is just a state of mind.” Now that the State of Israel is turning a ripe old 65, I wonder, what is Israel’s state of mind? And how do we, American Jews,… Read more »

Stumbling Stones ceremony in Germany is link not only to past but to future

Stumbling stones honoring Jill Ranucci's great-grandparents, Rudolf and Laura Lowenthal, who died in the Sobibor death camp. (Courtesy Jill Ranucci)

In October, I attended a Stolpersteine (stumbling stones) ceremony in Magdeburg, in the former East Germany, to honor my great-grandparents, Rudolph and Laura Lowenthal, who died in the Holocaust. My sister and two cousins, the other surviving family members, accompanied me. The first Stolpersteine were created by German artist… Read more »

The great debate: Is Judaism a religion?

Guy Gelbart

Is Judaism a religion or is it not? This is the question I posted on my Facebook page, Tucson Shaliach Guy Gelbart, with the intention of creating a thought-provoking discussion. I shared a link to a YouTube video of a talk by my friend Avraham Infeld, president of the… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Sarah and Leonard Schultz ride an elephant bareback in the water at Luang Prabang, Laos.

Travel odyssey Around the world in almost 80 days. From Aug. 19 to Nov. 2, Sarah and Leonard Schultz boarded 15 flights to 10 countries in 76 days. Booked online through AirTreks, the couple traveled from west to east, taking only carry-on luggage, and chronicling their journey with an… Read more »

Seeking Lithuanian roots, finding insight

Old Town in Kaunas, Lithuania (Courtesy Sandra Katz)

The iron curtain has risen, but it has left behind a thick and dirty rust ring. My paternal grandparents, Sol and Helen Katz, left Lithuania in 1905 and 1910. They never talked about their lives there and I have always been curious about my roots. Recently, I decided to… Read more »

Gelbart: What kind of Palestinian state can we expect?

Guy Gelbart

Is creating a Palestinian state truly in the best interest of hu­man rights? This fundamental question is often ignored. Many, including myself, refer to a two states for two peoples solution as the best possible option. I personally tend to support this approach, yet I have some significant concerns.… Read more »

Winter Israel travel: Birthright, a Bar Mitzvah and reunions with family and friends

The Collier Bar Mitzvah group at the Davidson Center in Jerusalem: (L-R) Jack Aaron, David Aaron, Carol Collier, Naomi Present, Rosalie Rellin (back), Rabbi Stephanie Aaron (front), Maya Collier, Randie Collier, Joel Collier, Shelby Collier, Roger Collier

Winter Birthright Israel After finishing final exams, 30 University of Arizona students embarked on the Winter Taglit-Birthright Israel Hillel experience. Nine of the participants hail from Tucson — Michael Evenchik, Allie Healy, Emily Healy, Lauren Katz, Daniel Millstone, Benjamin Offenhartz, Nathan Sacks, Zachary Sattinger and Alyssa Silva. “The reasons… Read more »