Columns

Local people, places, travels and simchas

(L-R): Nina Isaac, Randi Levin, Cheryl Wortzel, Shaun Kozolchyk and David Plotkin at JFSA’s Hava Tequila Young Leadership Bash

New JCC artwork Local artist Julie Szerina Stein created the beautiful new mosaic-and-painted mural in the Tucson Jewish Community Center preschool area. Jonathan and Rachel Green conceived of the idea, and Jonathan’s mother, Fay Green, of Texas, underwrote the project in honor of her grandsons — Ryan, 13; Aaron,… Read more »

Shehecheyanu: Committing to a year of firsts

I am a closet card-aholic. It’s true. Some people eat when they get stressed. Others shop. Me? I head straight to the card aisle at Walgreens or CVS. If I’m really lucky and Hallmark has declared a holiday, like National Take Your Pet to Work Day, I can get… Read more »

Finding meaning in the sound of silence

I talk a lot and I can’t deny it. I was one of those babies who didn’t say anything until the age of two, but once I uttered my first word (which my mother swears was “beet”), I never stopped. This was a huge source of embarrassment for me… Read more »

Israel and Diaspora must care for each other

The Carmel fire disaster has raised questions regarding the Israel-Diaspora relationship. While many American Jews choose to support Israel in this time of need through donations and e-mails of encouragement and caring, others have raised tough questions: “Israel is a rich and wealthy country, why should we support it?”… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Jake Levine and the Vilnius Bagel Project

Bagels in Vilnius Native Tucsonan Jacob (“Jake”) Levine can be credited with bringing the bagel back to Vilnius after 70 years. Levine, 25, a Catalina Foothills High School graduate who holds an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Arizona, is living in the Lithuanian capital for a year… Read more »

Being Jewish: seeking, not defining, G-d

Rabbi Shafir Lobb

It started when a friend sent me an article about people leaving structured religion faster than new people are joining, especially 30- to 40-year- olds. The last line in the alter net.org article, “Are We Becoming an Atheist Nation? Three Reasons Young People Are Abandoning Religion,” expressed concern about… Read more »

At Chanukah, remembering Israel’s many modern miracles

Chanukah: a celebration of light, freedom, heroism and courage, the spirit of the Maccabees and the miracle of the vessel of oil. Of all the Hebrew songs we sing at Chanukah, I cherish one above all others: “Anu Nosim Lapidim — We are Carrying Torches” by Aharon Zeev. “We… Read more »

P.S.: Tucson chef creates Guinness world record matzah ball; Israeli’s Israel travels; Pilates guru; Hadassah hears Marquez

Shlomo & Vito’s New York Delicatessen Chef Jon Wirtis (left), deli owner Dean Greenberg (center) and Jim Liebeskind (right) measure the world’s largest matzah ball.

World’s largest matzah ball On Sunday, Nov. 7, Chef Jon Wirtis of Shlomo & Vito’s New York Delicatessen set the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest matzah ball. The massive creation weighed 488 pounds and measured 36 inches across. This extraordinary feat was witnessed (and devoured) by thousands… Read more »

Seeking a good leader? Look for a mensch

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

The other night my husband and I sat down to review the sample ballot in preparation for the upcoming election. It took less than two minutes before a mild depression set in and I started looking for that glass of wine I hadn’t finished at dinner. I was upset,… Read more »

Local talks contrast false, real views of Israel

Guy Gelbart

Demonizing, Delegitimizing, Destroying (DDD), a very clear and simple strategy led by anti-Israel movements across the world, is now gaining power in the United States. On Monday, Oct. 11, Norman Finkelstein, one of the leaders of this hate-spreading approach, was in Tucson to address audiences at the University of… Read more »

What drives the Jews? Your opinion wanted

I opened the e-mail from my daughter Lauren, who has been living in Guatemala for almost a year. I cherish the “conversations” we have in cyberspace because they give us a chance to share differently than we do in our phone calls, where we tend to discuss more immediate… Read more »

Dancing, running, davening: local people, places and simchas

Benjamin Allen Kleiman

Honor for ZBT/UA alum Zeta Beta Tau, the nation’s first Jewish fraternity, which was found­ed in 1898 and became a non-sectarian brotherhood in 1954, held its 2010 national convention July 15-18 in Manhattan Beach, Calif. At the four-day conference, Ron Pardo, a 1988 University of Arizona graduate now residing… Read more »

Hasty judgments can cloud our vision and limit our relationships

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

“I’m ashamed of myself,” she whispered into the phone. “Oh hi Mom, good to hear your voice,” I responded. My mother often begins our phone calls in the middle of a conversation she started before dialing my number. “I played bridge today,” she continued, “and was stuck with a… Read more »

Israel travel … and more

Clockwise from top: THA 8th graders at the Israel home of Carol and Dan Karsch — top row (L-R) Rabbi Billy, Noam Shahar, Itai Kreisler, Joshua Girard, Matan Laytin, Benjamin Louchheim, Devin Hulsey, Shelby Kotz, Avigail Penner, David Rosman; middle row (L-R) Rebecca Slepian, Hannah Karsch Hochner, Dan Karsch, Carol Karsch, David Abraham (IDF commander in the tanks division), Marlene Abraham (THA teacher/chaperone); front row (L-R) Juliet Weintraub, Adina Artzi, Ron (Israeli guide), Eve Stone.

Tucson PNAI (Parents of North American Israelis) members Carol and Dan Karsch spent a month at their home in Modi’in, the city in which their daughter Hannah Karsch Hochner, son-in-law Jacky, and grandchildren Tanya, Hillel and Ayelet reside. During this time, Carol, executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation… Read more »

Inspired by the GPS

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

An 82-year-old Jewish man was recently marveling to me about the wonders of the Global Positioning System, otherwise known as the GPS satellite-based global navigation system. An observation of his got me thinking. “You see,” he said, “a person can go anywhere but if he doesn’t have a destination… Read more »

Rosh Hashanah reminds us that we have the power to change

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

It’s that time of year again. Backpacks and school binders tumble off the shelves at local stores, crossing guards in bright orange vests patrol the roads and parents are bemoaning the frenzied schedules that “back to school” requires. But there’s a positive energy in the air as kids, tanned… Read more »

Got billions? Giving like the other half does

The philanthropic world was titillated recently when 40 members of the world’s wealthy elite — including 13 Jews — announced that they would give away more than half their money before they died. The participating philanthropists were responding to a challenge issued this year by Warren Buffett and Bill… Read more »

Shaliach says thank you and farewell to Tucson, but his mission is not over

(L-R) Sharon, Noya, Hila, Ital and Moshe Babel-Pour

Four years have passed since I began my journey as your community shaliach (emissary) and Israel Center director and now it’s time to say thank you and goodbye. I want to share with you my deepest appreciation and gratitude for this incredible experience. For the past four years, the… Read more »

Visiting the family of the Hamas terrorist who tried to kill my wife

David E.H. Gershon

What should I buy for the children of the Hamas terrorist who tried to kill my wife? I’m sorry, some context is needed. Let me explain. In the summer of 2002 Hamas, targeting both Israelis and Americans, struck a cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The blast, triggered by… Read more »

Small change inspires big changes

It was almost 5 o’clock when Susan realized she didn’t have the fresh basil and black olives she needed for the chicken dish she was preparing for dinner. Guests were arriving at 7 o’clock and she still needed to shower and change. Scribbling the few items down on a… Read more »