Local

New Israeli ‘shinshinim’ bring youthful energy to Tucson

Chen Dinatzi (left) and Tamir Shecory (Courtesy Tamir Shecory)

The Tucson Jewish community’s new shinshinim arrived July 31, and the two teen emissaries from Israel couldn’t be more excited. Chen Dinatzi and Tamir Shecory, both 18, were among 115 Israeli high school graduates, out of more than 2,000 applicants, selected for the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Shinshinim Young… Read more »

Mission to Ukraine, Israel shows power of JFSA giving

Incoming Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Campaign Chair Ronnie Sebold with Sonia, a teenage Ethiopian immigrant, at the Ben Shemen Youth Village in Israel on July 13 (Courtesy Ronnie Sebold)

A few months ago, I accepted the daunting responsibility to chair the 2018 campaign for the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. I have been a staunch supporter of the Federation since I moved to Tucson 37 years ago, and having recently retired from Tucson Hebrew Academy as their director of… Read more »

In Tucson, JAFI partnership director discusses new P2G programs, Jewish unity

(L-R) Andrea Arbel, partnership director at the Jewish Agency for Israel; Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona; and Shelly Silverman, JFSA chair, at a lunch meeting in Tucson July 19 (Oshrat Barel/JFSA)

The Tucson/Kiryat Malachi/Hof Ashkelon partnership “is amazing,” says Andrea Arbel, director of the partnership unit at the Jewish Agency for Israel. “It has grown and developed over the past five years in ways, I would say, that I never dreamed of.” Arbel spent a day in Tucson last month… Read more »

Spirituality at heart of Congregation Or Chadash Israel trip

The Congregation Or Chadash group at the Mount of Olives June 21. Front row (L-R): Alex Putnam, Jacob Louchheim, Alan Kalmikoff; second row: Joan Morris, Marcia Louchheim, Marcia Katz, Pam Drell, Ashley David, David Hazan, Rabbi Thomas Louchheim, Arlene Kutoroff; third row: Elliot Framan, Andrea Davis, Daniel Louchheim, Grace Kolack, Soozie Hazan, Benny Louchheim, Katie Louchheim, Evan Adelstein, Renee Adelstein, Keith Trantow (Courtesy Congregation Or Chadash)

Friday, close to sunset in Jerusalem, a siren sounds heralding the start of the Sabbath. The Muslim call to prayer and Christian church bells echo across the city. Rabbi Thomas Louchheim, his wife, Marcia, and members of their family, along with members of Congregation Or Chadash, were awed by… Read more »

Tucson J to host citizenship ceremony

 The Tucson Jewish Community Center (the Tucson J) will be the host of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony on Wednesday, July 26 at 10 a.m. in the Tucson J’s Ballroom. One hundred new U.S. citizens will participate in the naturalization ceremony and originate from the… Read more »

Grants from Foundation and Federation connect Tucson to Israel

Members of the student-led ‘Puzzle’ youth program in Kiryat Malachi (Courtesy Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona)

Leah Avuno has spent the last year in Tucson as one of Tucson’s first pair of shinshinim, teen emissaries from Israel. Three years ago, Avuno was a 15-year-old immigrant to Israel from Ethiopia living with her mother, aunt and siblings in Kiryat Malachi, a city known for its diversity.… Read more »

Tucson J’s program variety is boon for seniors

‘Chair Yoga’ is an ongoing class at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. (Courtesy Tucson Jewish Community Center)

From “Painting the World Jewish” to “Senior Shimmy Belly Dancing” to kosher cooking, the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s Arts & Culture, Fitness & Wellness, and Jewish Life & Learning departments will offer a wide array of programs for seniors this fall. The Tucson J will partner with Ballet Tucson… Read more »

Southwest Torah Institute’s Spirit study program returns

Rabbinical student Harry Kleinerman, left, and Robert Nye of Green Valley study together at Congregation Chofetz Chayim in 2016. (Courtesy Southwest Torah Institute)

“In the Driver’s Seat” is this year’s theme for the Southwest Torah Institute’s Dr. Paul W. Hoffert Spirit Program, which begins Wednesday, July 26 and runs through Tuesday, Aug. 8. Begun in 2000, the program offers two weeks of free learning for Jewish men and boys ages eight and… Read more »

Beckers seek small group for Israel ‘soul’ trip in October

Bernadette Donfeld (left) and Esther Becker on a hill overlooking Shilo, where the Tabernacle was located for 369 years until destroyed by the Philistines. The photo was taken on a 2011 Southwest Torah Institute Israel trip. (Bob Donfeld).

Rabbi Israel and Esther Becker will hold an informational meeting about Southwest Torah Institute’s “Israel: Where the Past Shapes Your Soul” trip planned for October on Sunday, July 23 at 11 a.m. An Israeli-style brunch will be served. “Even if you have been to Israel before, every trip presents… Read more »

JFSA helping synagogues boost youth engagement

Cantorial soloist Marjorie Hochberg guides Temple Emanu-El religious school students in singing the Four Questions at a second night Passover seder in 2015. (Steve Shawl)

Declining youth engagement has been a problem facing synagogues across the country for a decade or more.  To help local synagogues reverse this trend, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is providing them with new allocations for religious schools and family education programs. Each synagogue will decide how to… Read more »

Esther Becker plans women’s book brunch

The Women’s Academy of Jewish Studies will hold its annual Women’s Summer Reading and Brunch event with Esther Becker on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 10:45 a.m. at Congregation Chofetz Chayim. For nearly two decades, this event has been held during the High Holiday season. “This event has become a… Read more »

Darkaynu adds staff, toddler program

Darkaynu Tucson Jewish Montessori is making changes for the new school year, adding a new covered playground, new staff members and a toddler program. The preschool now accepts children ages 1-6. Darkaynu will become the first preschool in the area with Imagination Playground Blue Blocks (as seen at the… Read more »

Free Taste of Judaism celebrates 18th year

This year marks the 18th anniversary — the chai year — of Temple Emanu-El’s outreach and education program, Taste of Judaism. The free course offers an introduction to Jewish spirituality, values and community in three two-hour sessions. Rabbis Samuel M. Cohon and Batsheva Appel lead interactive explorations of Jewish… Read more »

Temple Emanu-El celebrates b’nai mitzvah with a difference

Grey Schwartzberg (left) and his father, Gary, carry Torahs at their b’nai mitzvah ceremony on May 6 at Temple Emanu-El. (Courtesy Gary Schwartzman)

A bar or bat mitzvah brings families together in a special way. In recent months, three Temple Emanu-El members with interfaith backgrounds created new family traditions as they demonstrated their commitment through this age-old rite of passage. A father and son celebrated a joint b’nai mitzvah, and the son of… Read more »

CAI renovation to honor Lynne Falkow-Strauss

(L-R) Rabbi Robert Eisen, CAI students, Lynne Falkow-Strauss, Marianne Langer and Stephanie Roberts at the June 6 groundbreaking for the Lynne Falkow-Strauss Foyer and Courtyard. (Yvonne Ethier)

Congregation Anshei Israel is recognizing Lynne Falkow-Strauss, director of its Esther B. Feldman Preschool/Kindergarten for 45 years, by creating a new courtyard and foyer in her name. The beloved educator, who has welcomed multiple generations of students, will be honored in a unique way that reflects her leadership style.… Read more »

Healthy food, sustainability among new LFA Southern Arizona director’s aims

Michael Peel

Grab your Golden Coupon and gear up to save and celebrate Tucson businesses during Independents Week. Promoted by Local First Arizona, Tucson’s version of this national event will take place July 1-9. It runs through Independence Day to capture the spirit of freedom that local businesses bring to their… Read more »