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 »

It’s past time to rise up against gun violence

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

The bumper sticker on the car in front of me read “my loved one was murdered.” I automatically fill in “by gun violence.” I know the statistics. I want to jump out of my car and say to this person, “I am so sorry.” We are weeping in my… Read more »

Sitting shiva offers a guide by which to live

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

My husband Ray died on June 15, 2015, exactly three years, seven months and six days after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. From the beginning, we were a team and it became “our” cancer. We discussed everything, from chemo and hair loss to how to share difficult news… Read more »

Celebrating Jewish life at UA Hillel

(L-R) Daniel Wolfe, Hila Lamdan, Wyatt Gross, Elyse Pincus (standing), Alexa Schnaid, Elena Bendroff, Julian Wolff, Leah Merrall, Jodie Friedman, Hattie Groskind and Brandon Hellman enjoy a “Chillel” session.

The High Holidays are a meaningful time to reflect and celebrate. For University of Arizona students observing the holidays away from home, Hillel provides a warm and welcoming space. More than 150 Jewish Wildcats attended evening and morning Rosh Hashanah services plus an Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner featuring all… Read more »

Local people, places, travels and simchas 10.23.15

(Clockwise from left): Jane Barton, Lenny Roberts of Los Angeles (Dream Street board member and counselor), Alice Steinfeld and Patty Grubman of Los Angeles (Dream Street founder) at Canyon Ranch

25 years of healing and hope This summer, the Dream Street Foundation, a California-based nonprofit organization, celebrated 25 years at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Thanks to the generosity of ranch founders Enid and Mel Zuckerman, hundreds of Dream Street campers with chronic and life-threatening illnesses have enjoyed activities promoting… Read more »

Playing hide and seek with God

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

When my be­loved husband of 32 years died after battling cancer for three and a half years, family and friends did their best to comfort me. It didn’t take more than a few minutes to realize that, with the exception of a first kiss, there may not be a… Read more »

In JFCS project, ethical wills seen as integral to end-of-life care

Carlos Hernandez

“Ethical wills” began as a Jewish oral tradition and have been a part of Jewish culture for centuries. Traditionally, the purpose of an ethical will was to pass on values such as the importance of charity (tzedakah) from one generation to the next. Today, ethical wills, also called legacy… Read more »

Talking about the end of life takes courage, commitment

The Days of Awe are a pivotal time of year, a time of introspection, of remembrance, and a time to dream anew. We stand on the ground of the entirety of our lives, looking back at the variegated landscape of our past experiences, and forward into the misty mystery… Read more »

In special year, mitzvah 612 fosters faith, unity

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

The Jewish year of 5776 has just begun and we are certain that it will be a wonderful year. In the words of the Kohen Gadol (high priest) during the Yom Kippur service, may it be a year of light, of blessing, of rejoicing, of happiness, of glory and… Read more »

Finding Germany’s bright side amid a tide of refugees

Refugee children visit a fire station in Berlin, September 2015. (Judith Kessler)

BERLIN (JTA) — When supporters of the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement and right-wing extremists in the former East Germany started demonstrating by the tens of thousands this year against foreigners and “American Zionist” policies, I got mad. When the first refugee homes in Germany were set on fire, I was shocked. When… Read more »

Talking to my son about what happens after we die

Jenn Book Haselwerdt (Courtesy of the author)

My 4-year-old son can’t get enough of dragons and monsters, and — as is appropriate for his age — asking questions about dragons and monsters. Books about the topic have completely taken over our library shelf. He loves reading legends and contemporary stories about them, from luck dragons to… Read more »

Israel trips for work, studies, fun — and aliyah

Jenna Langert (front row, fourth from left) with her Brandeis group in front of the Knesset menorah in Jerusalem

Jenna Langert, 23, a 2014 University of Arizona graduate, is currently pursuing a two-year Master of Arts degree in international economics and finance at the Brandeis International Business School. Her specializations are in data analytics and business economics. Jenna traveled to Israel May 18-28 as part of the Hassenfeld… Read more »

Living and loving with no regrets provides lesson for High Holiday season

Amy Hirshberg Lederman

When my husband, Ray, was diagnosed with cancer almost four years ago, we became a team, determined to face the challenge of living with cancer head on. From the onset, we talked openly about risks and probabilities as we aggressively researched and pursued treatments and clinical trials. We sought… Read more »

At new year, have gratitude for God’s latitude

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

We are about to begin the yearly journey of the Jewish fall holidays, examining the choices we continually make and the way our choices have worked out for us in the past year. The last month of the Jewish year, Elul, is bracketed by Torah portions from Deuteronomy that… Read more »

Ask the Concierge 8.28.15

Ori Parnaby

Dear Jewish Community Concierge, I’m new to Tucson and thinking of joining a synagogue. I’m not very religious and am not sure if a synagogue is really the right place to connect, but I want to do something to connect with the Jewish community here. Do you have any… Read more »