Columns

Inspiring Jewish identity: politics is not the answer

Guy Gelbart

In June 2010 Peter Beinart published his famous article in The New York Review of Books, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment,” in which he concludes that young American Jews have checked their Zionism at the door of liberalism. Based on Beinart’s assessment, I arrived in the United… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 3.25.11

Stuart and Marianne Taussig aboard “Kosherica” cruise

Cantorial cruise For a week in January, it was smooth sailing for Marianne and Stuart Taus­sig aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines. The couple celebrated their 17th anniversary on Jan. 16 on board their Western Caribbean-bound ship. Their itinerary was billed as “Kosherica: Glatt Kosher Jewish Music Festival At Sea.” Their… Read more »

Readers answer: ‘What drives the Jews?’

Several months ago I asked a question in one of my columns and invited readers’ input. Answers came from all over the country and were as diverse as Jews are themselves. The question was originally posed to me by my 23-year-old daughter: What drives the Jews? In keeping with… Read more »

Beyond animal sacrifice: At heart, Leviticus is timeless moral guide

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Impenetrable, irrelevant, boring. These are some of the descriptions I’ve heard about the Book of Leviticus, which we begin reading this week during the annual Torah cycle. Even the great Israeli teacher Nehama Leibowitz called the laws of Leviticus a “closed book to us” — which did not prevent… Read more »

Our best hope: real democracy in Arab world

Guy Gelbart

A wind of change has been blowing through the Middle East. What this wind will bring us is yet to be seen. Will it bring democracy to the Arab world? Will it push the Arab world into the hands of dark fundamentalist Islamic movements? Will extreme ideological regimes like… Read more »

Words of wisdom never grow old

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I grew up in a house where words were the currency by which my brother and I gained recognition. Unlike most of our peers’ parents, whose approval was dished out for making the varsity team or getting straight A’s, my dad’s highest form of praise came as a result… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 2.11.11

Abby, Jordan, Joel and Jane Herz at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv

“This year in Jerusalem” When Joel Herz recently visited Israel after a long hiatus, he was astounded by the growth and progress of this small country. In 1988, as a recent law school graduate, Joel spent three months in Israel, living and working on a kibbutz, studying Hebrew, and… Read more »

Tucson trauma and civility

For a while last month we here in Tucson were the epicenter of the world, thanks to the brutal act of the deeply disturbed man who murdered six innocent people and wounded 13 others, including our congresswoman and friend, Gabrielle Giffords. She is a kind, intelligent, principled, Jewish representative… Read more »

Tucson sister city, Kiryat Malachi, wins Israel Education Prize

Guy Gelbart

On Jan. 13, Israeli Minister of Education Gideon Saar awarded Kiryat Malachi the Israel Education Prize for this year. Kiryat Malachi, a town of 23,000 residents linked to the Jewish Federations of Tucson, Phoenix, and Seattle, was one of 14 municipalities considered in the final selection for the prize.… Read more »

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 »