Rabbi’s Corner

Letting the land and people rest and grow

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Can a land require a Sabbath, too? The Jewish answer is yes. This calendar year of 5775 is a special time in our tradition: it marks the sabbatical year, the shmittah. In Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy we are commanded to harvest crops only for the first six years of… Read more »

React or respond? A lesson for the New Year

Rabbi Robert Eisen

What a summer this has been! It began with an unprecedented number of congregations sponsoring missions to Israel, and then spent most of its days holding us captive to the news, wondering just what might be. Thoughts of falafel, shawarma and coffee like no other in the world gave… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Reevaluating the youth sports juggernaut

Rabbi Batsheva Appel

Participating in sports is an important part of our children’s lives. When Bruce Feiler recently wrote in The New York Times about how the “youth sports juggernaut” is taking over the lives of families, I think he touched a nerve. His article, “There’s No Off in This Season,”  shares… Read more »

In Tucson, as in Jewish tradition, everyone counts

Rabbi Ben Herman

We have now reached the series of Torah portions that is a mathe­matician’s dream. After all, this section of the Torah is called Numbers! In Parshat B’midbar, a census is taken of the Israelite men of military age who would later conquer the Land of Canaan. The total count… Read more »

Outreach to ‘fifth son’ vital beyond Passover

Rabbi Yossi Winner and his wife, Naomi, set up a Chabad tent on the University of Arizona mall each week.

Every Tuesday, my wife, Naomi, and I sit on campus under a tent meeting with students as they pass by in between their classes. One such Tuesday, a few weeks ago, I encountered an individual holding a big sign that read, “You all deserve hell.” After about an hour,… Read more »

In a world of names, searching for meaning

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

When asked, “What is your name?” we generally respond with our first name or perhaps our full legal name. But each of us has many names, and occasionally it is worthwhile to consider what they are and what they say about us. Our names reveal something about our origins… Read more »

Jewish history: improbable yet true fulfillment of prophecy

Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman

Our Jewish history is extraordinary. According to the laws of nature, the course of our nation should have been drastically different. (You’ve probably gotten an email or two about this topic with the subject line reading FW: FW:). What is even more fascinating is that this incredible story was… Read more »

Celebrating on the I-80 — literally

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin [Britta Van Vranken)

There’s television footage currently going vi­ral on the web showing a group of Chabad yeshiva students dancing on Interstate Highway 80 during a traffic jam. “I’ve been covering weather stories for 20 years now and never have I seen what we are about to show you,” said WPXI-TV/ Channel… Read more »

Another chance for New Year’s resolutions

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

Happy New Year, my friends. I know that some of you are saying to fellow Jews, “Happy secular New Year,” as if perhaps we are unable to distinguish between Jan. 1 and Rosh Hashanah. And yet, I tell my congregants, we are fortunate to have two calendrical opportunities to… Read more »

Chanukah celebrates serenity amid turmoil

Rabbi Israel Becker

Names are very important in Judaism. When parents give a name to a child it should be carefully chosen. The names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all the 12 tribes of Israel were specifically chosen not only to commemorate an event but to trigger a response within us… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: My line, and Mitch’s, in the Gettysburg Address

Rabbi Stephanie Aaron

On Nov. 19, 1863, with 270 words and in slightly more than two minutes, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Although he stated, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here,” those words were only… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Judaism is not just for special occasions

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Back when I was a student at UCLA my college job was working part-time as a cantor, leading services Friday night and Saturday morning and all festivals. I was in a “Jewish fraternity,” AEPi, where I also lived. But that did not mean that all members of the house… Read more »

In month of Elul, G-d gives us the gift of a second chance

Rabbi Yossi Winner

After watching countless students graduate with honors in their respective academic departments, I’ve found that above all the studies, perhaps the single most integral technique they’ve acquired is how to cram for an exam. A study I saw recently on time.com found that most students who cram typically only… Read more »

Tucson can go from strength to strength

Rabbi Jason Holtz

  When I arrived in Tucson three years ago, I found synagogues filled with learning, service and community. I found Jewish agencies and nonprofits devoted to turning Jewish values into Jewish action. I found a compelling Federation centered on tzedakah, righteous giving, and tikkun olam, repairing the world. And… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Swords into plowshares

Rabbi Ephraim Zimmerman

Looking at the big picture, we may see a world where wars and hate are intensifying, homicides and suicides are on the rise, and peace is something humanity just can’t seem to figure out. Let’s look a little deeper. Let’s compare today’s day and age to a bygone era… Read more »

Rabbi’s Corner: K’dushah in same sex marriages

Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

The central idea of the book of Le­viticus has to do with k’dushah — separating things from other things — creating a holy boundary. Inside the Mishkan (tabernacle) are the holy things — those vessels and sacrifices the priests are taking care of. Outside are those things, animals and… Read more »

Passover means freedom. Really?

Ahh … Passover: • Chag HaMatzot — The Festival of Matzah • Chag HaPesach — The Festival of the Passover Offering • Chag HaAviv — The Spring Festival • Z’man Cheiruteinu — The Time of Our Freedom Z’man Cheiruteinu — The Time of Our Freedom. This is freedom? Cleaning… Read more »

Month of Nissan time for renewal

Rabbi Ben Herman

Surprise: It’s Happy New Year time again! Did you know that there are four Jewish new years, one of which, Rosh Chodesh Nissan, will occur this coming Tuesday, March 12? According to the first Mishnah in Tractate Rosh Hashanah: “The first of Nissan is the new year for kings… Read more »

Where did Esther find courage? Where do we?

The Book of Esther may be a completely invented melodrama, yet under the buffoonery we find a deeply human challenge. The heart of the story — both physically and emotionally — comes at the moment that Mordecai asks Esther to approach the king and plead on behalf of the… Read more »

Tucson rabbis respond to gun violence issue

Rabbi Jason Holtz

It has been a bit more than one month since the Newtown tragedy, where 26 people, including 20 children, were killed. It has been a bit more than two years since the tragic shooting here in Tucson. The sad reality is that the amount of violence involving guns in… Read more »