Columns

Rabbi’s corner: ‘Walking with the wind’ is motto for our times

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

Congressman John Lewis shared this story about his childhood. He called it a little story that has nothing to do with a national stage or historic figures or monumental events. It’s just a simple true story, about a group of young children, a wood frame house and a windstorm.… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: ‘Renew our days’ prayer gains new meaning

Rabbi Robert Eisen

This past August, while sitting shiva for our son, Ricky, the liturgy at our daily minyan took on new and important meaning for me. Passages that were once a source of comfort and strength became burdensome, and caused me to ask more questions than I knew I could. Other… Read more »

Reflections: Learning to embrace uncertainty

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

In 1980, I began my career as a law clerk working at the Arizona Court of Appeals. My job was to research issues for the judge and work on draft opinions, which would then be fully reviewed, analyzed and edited until he was satisfied with the result. I spent… Read more »

Figuring out what Shemini Atzeret is. Finally.

I know something about most Jewish holidays. I can tell you that Hanukkah is about miracles, Passover is about slavery and freedom, and Shavuot is about cheesecake. (I have no idea why, but when it comes to matters of cheesecake, it is not mine to question.) The one holiday… Read more »

Tucsonans share Israel summer experiences

Gila (Gail) Ben-Jamin credits her many years on the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Partnership2Gether committee for having made lifelong friends in Israel. She has hosted people from the P2G region at her home in Tucson and has been hosted by those folks in Israel. She stays in touch… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Tzedakah saves from death

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Tucked away in two places in the Book of Proverbs is a brief, cryptic statement: “tzedakah saves from death” (tzedakah tatzel mimavet) (Proverbs 10:2 and 11:4). Surely this can’t mean if we give tzedakah (that is, charitable contributions) we will be immortal! After all, those who give generous amounts… Read more »

German heritage kindles journey of healing

Carolin Haase Atchison

For more than three years, I have been researching my family’s history — and I’m still at it. When I received the results of my DNA test a couple of years ago, I was surprised, like the actors in the Ancestry TV ads. Instead of being of mainly German… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: ICS partnership success could be example to emulate

Rabbi Hazzan Avraham Alpert

Every segment of the Jewish community in America is busy working to better engage people. Synagogues and agencies want to do whatever they can to connect with us and serve our needs. We’re all in this together. I believe that most of our organizations have their hearts in the… Read more »

Mission to Ukraine, Israel shows power of JFSA giving

Incoming Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Campaign Chair Ronnie Sebold with Sonia, a teenage Ethiopian immigrant, at the Ben Shemen Youth Village in Israel on July 13 (Courtesy Ronnie Sebold)

A few months ago, I accepted the daunting responsibility to chair the 2018 campaign for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. I have been a staunch supporter of the Federation since I moved to Tucson 37 years ago, and having recently retired from Tucson Hebrew Academy as their director of… Read more »

Email unlocks treasure chest of family history, new possibilities

Family members in Paris in April 2017 (L-R): Lauren Lederman, Amy Lederman, Ema Nachmani, Bella Bernard and Mariyam Nachmani (Courtesy Amy Lederman)

It all began in 2001 with my mother’s insatiable desire to discover more about her background and family.  I had heard stories since I was a young girl about her parents who had tragically died within a month of each other, leaving my mother an orphan before her third… Read more »

FIRST PERSON The time Israeli security strip-searched me at their embassy in Jordan

During a 2006 visit to the Jordanian capital of Amman, JTA's Uriel Heilman underwent some invasive security checks when he visited the Israeli Embassy there. (Uriel Heilman)

  (JTA) — “Drop your pants.” The order came curt and clipped, and it caught me by surprise. What?! “Drop your pants,” he repeated sternly. I had been subject to the indignities of Israeli security before, but never this. I was in a holding area of the Israeli Embassy… Read more »

I gave my child the Jewiest name

(Kveller via JTA) — I took a poll of my friends when I was pregnant. We run in an observant crowd in Manhattan, and most of our friends have the kinds of names you’d find multiple times over at your Jewish summer camp: Adams and Davids, Elianas and Yaels. My… Read more »

8 things I learned in my first year as a mom

  (Kveller via JTA) — My baby is 14 months now, talking like a maniac and taking very halting first steps (his development pattern echoes his highly verbal and unathletic parents). And in many ways so far, the past few months have been more challenging than anything I encountered… Read more »

The spirit of the vine: lessons from travels in Burgundy

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I recently spent five days hiking and biking through the Burgundy region of France, where my appreciation for the vineyards and vintners of that region was nothing short of inspirational. The two main grapes of Burgundy, pinot noir and Chardonnay, generate hundreds of varieties of wine for all of… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Lighting the world

Benzion Shemtov

I would like to share with you a thought on a mitzvah that recently took on a particularly dear meaning to me. As my daughter turns 3 years of age today, she begins to light her very own Shabbos candle, brightening the world each Friday evening. Married women have… Read more »

Young at heart: Saluting Tucson’s wise and vibrant centenarians

On Friday, May 5, at Tucson Medical Center’s Marshall Conference Center, the Pima County on Aging and TMC hosted their 30th annual Salute to Centenarians. Held to coincide with Older Americans Month, the event celebrates our community’s elders aged 99 and older. There were 43 such senior citizens in… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Blossoming through the cracks

Rabbi Ruven Barkan

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s law is wrong It learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when… Read more »

My Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Mom Day

(Kveller via JTA) — It is one of those days. I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. To every question posed to me in the morning, I immediately answer, “NO! No I can’t help you!” Even when it makes no sense, even when my children aren’t… Read more »