Columns

Reflections: Flying high and judging fairly

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

I travel by air quite a bit and to be honest, it isn’t fun. Besides the stress of getting to the airport in sufficient time to remove half the clothing I put on just hours before, I generally arrive at my destination half-starved and sleep deprived. But the real angst… Read more »

Yom HaShoah service sparks tears — and hope

Tucsonan Wolfgang Hellpap, a Holocaust survivor from Berlin, Germany, lights the sixth candle at the Yom Ha- Shoah Commemoration held Sunday, May 1 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Jasmin Rendon, a student at Pima Community College, served as his escort. (Courtesy Christians United for Israel-Arizona)

They killed us — just because we were Jews. It didn’t matter if we were babies, or children, mothers or fathers; it didn’t matter if we were secular or religious, observant or not; they killed us — in camps, in forced labor, in resistance. They killed us because we… Read more »

Being Jewish: It’s not just for holidays, milestone moments

Almost every person can recall the myths they accepted as fact as a child, until a knowledgeable adult, dictionary or Google has proved them otherwise. I used to believe that bats are blind. (While they do use echolocation at night, they still have functioning eyes.) Another myth I believed… Read more »

FIRST PERSON At Passover, cherishing the freedom to help others

Shelly Silverman

As we finish up the week of Passover, I feel especially aware of what freedom means. Freedom is a word that encompasses so much. But for me, the freedom to have choices in so many arenas in my life is almost overwhelming. I can CHOOSE to do almost anything.… Read more »

P.S.: Local people, places, travels and simchas

Joan Elder (left) and Esta Goldstein on the bus to Patagonia.

Jewish Patagonia Patagonia, Ariz., that is, not Argentina/Chile. On Tuesday, March 29, a busload of 54 Tucsonans traveled to Patagonia. The trip was co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Northwest Division and the Hadassah Southern Arizona chapter. The tour group learned that there are between 8 and… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Our partnership in the Lord’s ministry

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

Back in March, I had two possible meetings to attend, occurring at the same time. One was a Jewish Federation meeting and the other was a zoning hearing at City Hall. I told representatives from both that I would be out of town visiting family. Both times I hung… Read more »

FIRST PERSON: When Brussels meant freedom from fear for an Israeli

A man walks in an empty tunnel of the closed subway central station in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 21, 2015. (Nicolas Maeterlinck/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Growing up, trips to stay with my Jewish family in Brussels were a taste of freedom. In my native Israel, waves of Palestinian terrorist attacks kept me under constant maternal surveillance. Fear of regular bus bombings limited my excursions to biking distance. On the tranquil streets of… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Anne Romanelli (left) and Kara Cartin at a women’s event at the Taipei Jewish Center

Former Tucsonans in Taiwan From mid-January to mid-February, Lee Surwit visited her daughter Kara Cartin and family in Taipei. Kara and her husband, Josh, both former Tucsonans, moved to Taipei with their two daughters in 2013 for Josh’s diplomatic assignment. Kara recently met up with former Tucsonan Anne (Miller)… Read more »

How we respond to sorrow

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Two consequential decisions were made by Ahasuerus, King of Persia in the 4th century BCE. Both elicited the same crisis management, as told in the Book of Esther, which we will read on the upcoming holiday of Purim (Wednesday night, March 23 and Thursday, March 24). The first was… Read more »

New space lets Tucson J programs grow

Todd Rockoff

The Tucson J is growing! The expansion and renovation of the new health and wellness area in 2015 stimulated a wonderful growth in membership (more than 200 units) and an increase in program participation. This investment created a wonderful buzz in our community about our great fitness facility and… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Centenarian plus one Shabbat dinner on Jan. 15 was a little different at Madeline and Barry Friedman’s house­­hold. The couple hosted a 101st birthday celebration for Madeline’s dad, Murray Rosenbaum. Fifteen family and friends gathered from Tucson, Connecticut, New York, and New Mexico to join in this simcha. Local… Read more »

Eternal light not just symbol of God’s presence

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

A key feature of a synagogue tour is the ner tamid, the eternal light. We explain to people unfamiliar with synagogue symbolism that the light represents God’s eternal presence. But is it that simple? The Torah describes in detail the menorah, the seven-branched lamp stand, which was one of… Read more »

REMEMBRANCE The Supreme Court’s Jewish gentile: My memories of Justice Scalia

From left, Nathan Lewin, Sima Soumekhian, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and Marc Zweben at the Char Bar in Washington, D.C., the kosher restaurant owned by Soumekhian and Zweben, May 2015. (Alyza Lewin)

  WASHINGTON (JTA) – “When there was no Jewish justice on the Supreme Court,” Antonin “Nino”Scalia told me, “I considered myself the Jewish justice.” After Abe Fortas resigned in May 1969, there would be no Jewish justice on the court for nearly a quarter of a century, until President… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas – 1.22.16

(L-R) Leslie Glaze, screenwriter Pamela Gray, Janet Lang and Marcia Abelson on Lion of Judah mission to Los Angeles

A roaring good time In early December, 24 Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Lions of Judah flew to Tinseltown. In Los Angeles, the group explored the Jewish influence on the entertainment industry, while strengthening their bonds with one another. According to Marcia Abelson, Tucson Lion and JFSA Women’s Philanthropy… Read more »

Preserving history, moving forward at JHM

Bryan Davis

This past year, 2015, has been an historic year for an institution whose focus is the preservation of history. In December 2014 the Jewish History Museum received a lead gift that propelled our organization and our community into a yearlong effort to transform the Jewish History Museum campus. On… Read more »

Ask the Concierge 12.18.15

Ori Parnaby

Dear Jewish Community Concierge, My parents are retiring and moving to Tucson. I want to help them keep busy and make friends. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you, Linda Dear Linda, Great question. These are common issues for many seniors. Luckily, Tucson has plenty of options. Don’t forget… Read more »

At Thanksgiving, joy and terror in Israel

Jacob Ezra Schwartz

Last week, I celebrated Thanksgiving in Israel in the most unusual yet meaningful way. We had a regular day filled with Gemara and Torah learning, but in the evening, I had the honor of attending both an azkara (memorial service) for American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz (no relation) and… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas

Helene (Levkowitz) Goodman with niece Ella Levkowitz at Beit Shmuel in Jerusalem

Israeli mitzvah project From Sept. 22 through Oct. 2, Bertie Levkowitz and Tom Herz were in Israel for Bertie’s youngest granddaughter’s bat mitzvah. Ella Levkowitz, the celebrant, is the daughter of Howard and Elaine Levkowitz, of Los Angeles. The Levkowitz clan with native Tucson ties included Howard’s sister, Helene… Read more »

In Vienna, bearing witness on the frontlines of Europe’s refugee crisis

Roberta Elliott, a Tucson winter resident volunteering to help refugees in Vienna, Austria, last month, sorts through piles of donated shoes. (Courtesy Roberta Elliott)

The U.S. Passport Control agent greeted me with uncustomary warmth as I returned to Newark Liberty Airport on Nov. 2. “Was your trip business or vacation?” he asked. For a split second I hesitated, but answered firmly “vacation.” How could I tell him that the time I had just… Read more »