Mitzvah Magic celebrating 10th anniversary

Mitzvah Magic circle captains and co-chairs celebrate the program’s 10th anniversary, Aug. 5. Standing (L-R): Fran Katz (Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona senior vice president), Andra Karnofsky (co-chair), Linda Tumarkin, Wendy Weiss, Claudia Oreck-Teplitsky, Donna Moser, Iris Posin (co-chair); seated, Elena Boskoff, Trudy Haggard, Anne Lowe (JFSA)

Mitzvah Magic, a program that provides baskets of Jewish holiday goods and everyday basics three times a year for local Jewish families in need, is a win-win, says longtime volunteer Iris Posin, who is co-chairing the program this year with Andra Karnofsky. Not only do families receive items that… Read more »

From darkness to light: Berlin-Budapest trip reveals a new Jewish generation

(L-R) Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Board Chair Shelly Silverman, JFSA 2019 Campaign Chair Melissa Goldfinger, JFSA Senior Vice President Fran Katz, and JFSA Women’s Philanthropy Campaign Chair Leslie Glaze visit the Berlin Wall, July 15. (Melissa Goldfinger)

Each year, the Jewish Federations of North America invites professionals and lay leaders to participate in a mission that highlights the unique challenges, programs and impact of federations’ overseas funding. In mid-July, Melissa Goldfinger, Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona 2019 Campaign chair; Leslie Glaze, JFSA Women’s Philanthropy Campaign chair;… Read more »

High Holy Days food drive will help Tucsonans in need

T he Tucson Jewish community will hold its annual Project Isaiah food drive benefiting the Community Food Bank from Aug. 24-Sept.20. The project, timed to coincide with the High Holy Days, is named for the Prophet Isaiah. When asked why we fast on Yom Kippur, he responded, “Is it… Read more »

Balancing charity, risk topic for food bank CEO

Michael McDonald

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona CEO and President Michael McDonald will be the guest speaker during the annual Taste of Or Chadash, which starts next week. On Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m., McDonald will discuss how nonprofits navigate paradoxes to accomplish charitable missions. “Feeding Tzedakah: Charity and… Read more »

‘Accidental book’ at center of annual brunch

Esther Becker will present the annual Women’s Academy of Jewish Studies women’s book brunch on Sunday, Sept. 16 at Congregation Chofetz Chayim. She found this year’s book by a happy accident. “Several weeks ago in Jerusalem, Rabbi and I were searching for a specific bookshop with the… Read more »

New shinshiniyot bring love of song, theater to Tucson

Tucson host family members greet new shinshiniyot (Israeli teen emissaries) at Tucson International Airport. From left, Joel and Rachel Black, shinshinyot Rotem Rappaport and Ron Benacot, and Marla Handler; front row: Rebecca Black and Amir Eden, director of the Weintraub Israel Center

Recent Israeli high school graduate Ron Benacot’s get-to-know-you video for the Tucson Jewish community is rich with sight gags: see her jump up and down as she plays fetch with her impassive dog, or step up to hefty barbells only to lift the lighter weights they conceal (see www.bit.ly/ronvid).… Read more »

In ‘The Cakemaker,’ a gay lover and straight woman long for the same man

Tim Kalkhof plays a German man who falls in love with a married Israeli man in "The Cakemaker." (Strand Releasing)

LOS ANGELES (JTA) —  “The Cakemaker” has been one of the more successful indie films on the international festival circuit over the past year. Its recipe: a secret gay Israeli-German love affair, a tragic death and another secret affair — between a straight woman and a gay man. The… Read more »

Separated at birth was anything but a joke for ‘Three Identical Strangers’

From an inspiring family reunion to a jaw-dropping “shanda,” the documentary “Three Identical Strangers” offers plot twists and emotional turns that top anything Hollywood has to offer this summer. The New York-area triplets, who discovered by chance in 1980 that they had been placed for adoption with three different… Read more »

For Handmaker resident, conversion to Judaism is part of full life

Elaine McLain displays her certificate of conversion on Aug. 9, 2017, with the members of the rabbinic beit din, from left: Rabbi Dr. Howard Schwartz, Rabbi Avraham Alpert, Rabbi Dr. Bennett Blum.

Before moving to Handmaker in 2015, Elaine McLain lived all over the country, and “did everything imaginable,” she says, including marrying and being widowed twice, raising three children — and, on Aug. 9, converting to Judaism. (See related story, page 7.) Jewish ethics were the first thing that attracted… Read more »

With new programs and staff, local Jewish schools ready to kick off a new year

School days are right around the corner, and community students have much to look forward to in the new school year. Tucson Hebrew Academy students will notice physical changes from the outside to the inside for the school’s 45th anniversary. Refreshing the building exterior, water fountains and restrooms is… Read more »

JFSA drives for Homer Davis Elementary

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is holding drives for school and toiletry supplies through Aug. 31 as part of “Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project,” benefiting students at Homer Davis Elementary School in the Flowing Wells School District. The school supply wish list includes facial… Read more »

Out & About connects Handmaker residents with Tucson’s cultural scene

Out & About participants on a recent trip, starting with front row, (L-R): Ethel Weissman, Ramon Cruz (driver), Carol Zuckert; Debbie Smolen (volunteer), Betty Light, Leah Casey, Doris Wochley; MaryJane Gibson (volunteer); Lois Waldman, Les Waldman, Mort Edberg, Elaine McLain

Elaine McLain, a Handmaker resident for two and a half years, is delighted Handmaker recently created an Out & About program for residents, a series of trips to cultural sites similar to Handmaker’s popular Adventure Bus program, which is for people experiencing the early stages of memory loss. “It’s… Read more »

Childhood vision inspires Tucsonan to be voice for peace

Even as a child, Hana Ripp felt that she had a mission in life. She wanted to be a voice for those who couldn’t speak. Intuition guided her over decades to follow her vision of world peace and harmony through the best vehicles she knew — arts and education.… Read more »

Taste of Judaism returns to Temple Emanu-El for 19th year

Editor’s note: The dates for the classes at Miller-Golf Links Library have been changed to Aug. 2, 9, and 16. Temple Emanu-El is heading into its 19th year of holding free Taste of Judaism classes. Taste of Judaism is a  three-class introduction to the basics of Jewish spirituality, values,… Read more »

PJ Library offers prizes for summer reading program

PJ Library invites kids up to age 8 to join the “Dive into Reading This Summer” program, which runs through July 31. Kids need to read nine books and complete nine activities from the PJ Library calendar, such as “eat some challah” and “compliment someone.” Print a calendar at… Read more »