Rabbi’s Corner

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 »

Chabadniks proud of ‘criminal’ past

Rabbi Yehuda Ceitlin [Britta Van Vranken)

On Dec. 3, corresponding to the Hebrew date of Kislev 19, Chabad followers around the globe celebrate the release from prison of the founder of Chabad Hasidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. A few days earlier, Kislev 10, is named by Hasidim the “festival of liberation” as the day… Read more »

The secret to Chabad’s (and your) success

Rabbi Yossie Shemtov

Despite the devastation wrought by superstorm Sandy, close to 4,500 Hasidic rabbis, community lead­ers and activists hope to pack a warehouse-turned-ballroom at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on Sunday, Nov. 11, for the grand banquet of the International Conference of Chabad-Lubavitch Emissaries. Seated in the crowd will be me and my… Read more »

After High Holidays we ask, ‘And then what?’

According to history as I was taught, during World War II, when the leaders of the Japanese armed forces presented their plan to attack Pearl Harbor to the emperor for approval, after all the parties involved had stated their case and guaranteed the success of the mission, the emperor… Read more »

A fresh start or a September song?

Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

The great beauty of the Jewish High Holy Day season is the wonderful opportunity it provides for each of us to start over. Whatever it is that we have done in the past year, whoever we have offended, however we have failed, we now have the chance to begin… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Protas story reveals power of human spirit

Rabbi Helen T. Cohn

Those who knew Ruth Protas would not be surprised to learn how much laughter there was at the shiva minyan held last month several days after her death. Every story about Ruth revealed her love of life, her laughter, her sense of humor and her spunk. Several pictures at… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: Journey to Promised Land not without pitfalls

Rabbi Ben Herman

This week marks one year since my move to Tucson from New York City. Entering my first full-time job after 24 straight years of being a student, I was apprehensive about this transition. Although I previously had held student pulpits and rabbinic internships, I wondered what life would be… Read more »

Rabbi’s corner: A new read on one of the 10 commandments

Rabbi Shair Lobb

We are coming up on the traditional time for celebrating the giving of the Ten Dibrot or utterances (usually translated as commandments). Naturally, much has been written about these instructions, utterances, mitzvot (many names because they are not well understood at all) as we struggle to pattern our lives… Read more »