Columns

Supporting worshippers at Phoenix mosque, local Jews met with gratitude

Sarah Johnston, center, a Jewish woman from Tucson, with other proponents of religious tolerance who gathered May 29 outside a Phoenix mosque to counter an anti-Muslim protest. The photo includes representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, says Johnston. (Marty Johnston)

Recently, Jon Ritzheimer, a former Marine and self-described “patriot” announced on Facebook that he was holding a “protest” and a “draw Muhammed” contest at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix during their May 29 Friday night prayers. He invited bikers whom he encouraged to come armed. My husband heard… Read more »

Tucsonan celebrates festival of freedom in Nepal

At an impromptu Passover seder in Nepal, ginger chutney took the place of horseradish and traditional flat chappati bread was a substitute for matzah.

In April, I spent three weeks in Nepal as a volunteer for Elephant Aid International. Life for captive Asian elephants is a miserable existence of slavery, including painful iron chains around their legs. In cooperation with the government of Nepal, EAI and volunteers from all over the world built… Read more »

What to do when your daughter believes in God and you don’t

Evelyn Becker (Courtesy Evelyn Becker)

My daughter’s first-grade class hosted a Mother’s Day tea last week. Coffee, pastries, an adorable booklet titled “All About My Mother” written and illustrated by mine truly, and two poems about how I am the best mom ever. Pure fabulousness. So what’s there to write about? Well, before I… Read more »

Profiles in longevity

Marian Lupu

A new nonagenarian Guess who just turned 90? Her birthday invitation, using the numbers “9” and “90,” gave some clues: 1) She advised 9 U.S. presidents on how to improve aging services. 2) She has collected more than 90 giraffes. 3) 9 is associated with the Chinese dragon, a… Read more »

Ethiopian aliyah stories resonate amid protest

Oshrat Barel

Ethiopian protest in Israel It’s been more than 30 years since the first immigrants came from Ethiopia to Israel. As a young teenager I remember the new immigrants coming to the merkaz klita (absorption center) in Revaya next to my hometown. My mother volunteered as the chair of the… Read more »

Mother’s Day gifts from mom that money can’t buy

Edmon J. Rodman shared his mother's taste for Impressionist art, thus the purchase of this umbrella as a Mother's Day gift. (Edmon J. Rodman)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) — What gifts do our mothers give us? Not the kind we see in the mirror. Like me, you’ve probably already accounted for where your eye color, nose shape and eyebrows that seem too close to each other come from. I’m talking inner gifts, those money… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Eight words that changed Jefferson’s mind

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin

It took only eight sincere words to rekindle the close connection between two American luminaries that had been shattered by political wars and opposing ideologies. Those eight words helped restore the bond of two Founding Fathers, both of whom served as presidents of the United States. Thomas Jefferson and… Read more »

Ask the Concierge – 5.1.15

Dear Jewish Community Concierge, I’ve always felt fairly connected to my Jewish heritage. Now that I’m a mom, how do I get my kids involved and bring Judaism into our family? Thank you, Rebecca Dear Rebecca, Mazel tov on this exciting new chapter in your life! There are many… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas 4.3.15

Lola Maas (left) and Lindsay Migdal at the Flo Rida, Aer and Kap Slap concert at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta during the BBYO International Convention.

BBYO International Convention Over Presidents Day weekend, more than 2,200 Jewish teens from across the globe gathered in Atlanta for the largest BBYO International Convention ever. Lola Maas, a freshman at Tucson High Magnet School and member of Kadimah BBG, and Lindsay Migdal, Tucson BBYO city director, participated in… Read more »

Unsure about new practices? Think ‘not yet’ instead of ‘no’

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

I recently read a long document about how to make a kitchen kosher for Passover. The work involved at that level of detail took my breath away. Transforming a kitchen to the highest level of observance is on one end of a continuum.The Jews who can’t be bothered to… Read more »

Ask the Concierge – 4.3.15

Ori Parnaby

Dear Jewish Community Concierge, I just found out about you and I was wondering what is it exactly that you do? Sincerely,  Jonathan Dear Jonathan, Great question! The Jewish Con­cierge is a brand new position created by Tucson’s Jewish Com­munity Roundtable, a group of representatives from the Board of… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: Celebrate Passover in your heart and soul

Rabbi Robert Eisen

The holiday of Passover that many of us are eagerly anticipating is known by many names, each of which reflects a different dimension of what we will be celebrating. While we are usually more concerned with who may or may not be present at our seder table (finding the… Read more »

Shlicha’s view: Contemplating Israeli election, family politics

Even if a donkey will be at the head of the Likud, you will vote Likud,” I laughed with my father, and he said, “Yes,” smiling, “because I am a man of ideology.” I was raised in a pluralistic home in terms of political approach. My beloved late father… Read more »

A transformed Berlin beckons to Jewish Federation representatives

Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin on Feb. 19. “The photo,” he says, “does not even begin to capture the power of walking through and finding the pillars dwarfing you as they grow to 15 feet in the center of the installation.”

I sat between Grandmother and Aunt Etta. I never had a chance. Grandmother would point to her forearm, the numbers tattooed there … and that’s how I learned to count.   I sat between Grandmother and Aunt Etta. Between spoonfuls of regret they fed me: “From this you shouldn’t… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas 2.20.15

Michael Goldman and actress Gwyneth Paltrow at the White House Chanukah Party

A coveted invitation Tucsonans Gloria and Michael Goldman were among the approximately 500 guests at the White House Chanukah party on the evening of Dec. 17, the same day Alan Gross was released from a Cuban prison. The Goldmans secured the email invitation through a friend’s son, Matthew Nosanchuk,… Read more »

Our present determines our future

Rabbi Israel Becker

Two weeks ago, we read that Moses’ father-in-law Yisro’s life changed forever when he heard of the massive miracles that occurred for the Jewish people as they left Egypt. At our Pesach seder, we remember these miracles, the 10 plagues, the splitting of the sea, etc. But one dimension… Read more »

Needs of others, and of G-d, at root of performing mitzvot

Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman

Picture this: The day at work is almost over and, remembering that you need to pick up some groceries, you mention to your coworker that you’ll be stopping at Sprouts on the way home. Her ears perk up and she asks you for a favor. She’s been wanting to… Read more »

As elections near, Israelis seek new way forward

Oshrat Barel

Elections in Israel — why now? During my recent visit to Israel, many of the conversations I had with family and friends were about the upcoming elections in Israel. The fact that the elections are being held prematurely did not come as a surprise, especially given that Israel has… Read more »

An uplifting Birthright trip, two holiday bashes and memories of Super Bowl I

Tucsonans Elyse Pincus (currently a Masa Israel teaching fellow in Rehovot) and Birthright participants Tanya Hetlinger and Adam Knox at the Path to Peace mosaic wall

Birthright update The Birthright Israel Foundation asks: “What has four wheels and takes 40 young Jewish adults on the experience of a lifetime?” Answer: A Taglit-Birthright Israel bus. During this winter season, Birthright brought more than 14,000 young Jews, ages 18-26, from 21 countries to our homeland for the… Read more »