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Commencement marks new beginnings for Hebrew High, Melton grads

Hebrew High Class of 2010 (L-R), front row: Sharon Glassberg, director, Coalition for Jewish Education; Andrew Irving Berger; Brianna Paige Finkelstein; Jenna Brynn Langert; Ashley Robert Brio. Second row: Bryan Davis, Hebrew High Principal; Jeremy Fenn; Erica Esther Bee; David Richelson; Yonatan Meir Twena. Third row: Jacob Sheldon Kotz; Samuel B. Silverman; Carly Levy; Erin Olitzky. Fourth row: Sam Rubin; Nate Sacks; Bonnie Segal; Ron Grant, senior class faculty

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Coalition for Jewish Education held two graduation ceremonies last month, for Hebrew High and the Tucson Melton Adult Mini School.… Read more »

JCC art gallery goes abstract with Ginny Tompkins exhibit

“Dawning of One Hundred Days,” acrylic by Ginny Tompkins

Paintings by Ginny Tompkins will be featured in the Tucson Jewish Community Center Fine Arts Gallery through Aug. 24. Specializing in very large abstract art in acrylic, Tompkins was the subject of “Ginny Tompkins: A Retrospective” by France-Marie Haeger, Ph.D., published in 2005 with 101 color plates. Haeger’s descriptions… Read more »

Temple Emanu-El welcomes new assistant rabbi, Jason Holtz

Rabbi Jason Holtz

Temple Emanu-El’s new assistant rabbi, Jason Holtz, will take up his duties June 21. Holtz received his rabbinic ordination earlier this month from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Since 2006, he has served as a student rabbi at Congregation B’nai Abra­ham in Portsmouth, Ohio; Temple… Read more »

Modern Jewish pioneers flock to Patagonia

(L-R) Seth Grossman, Sol Lieberman, Janet Winans and Adrienne Halpert, gathered in Halpert’s store, Global Arts Gallery, have found varied ways to express their Jewish identity in Patagonia, Ariz.

Whether engaged in traditional religious practices or celebrating the High Holy days at the “temple of nature,” for the dozen or so Jewish residents of Patagonia, Ariz., identification with Judaism runs deep.… Read more »

Yizhar Hess with Rahm Emanuel

Zach Emanuel,  the son of  White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem. The ceremony took place May 30 at the Davidson Center, located  near the Western Wall.  About 50 people, mostly family members, participated.  Security was heavy for the family and guests;  there… Read more »

Musician Sam Glaser will hail fathers at Congregation Anshei Israel

Singer/songwriter Sam Glaser will be in Tucson to celebrate a local friend, his own father, and fathers everywhere this Father’s Day. The acclaimed Jewish pop musician will perform at a fundraiser suggested by his friend Michael Deitch on Sunday, June 20 at 1 p.m. at Congregation Anshei Israel. Deitch,… Read more »

Israeli teens to perform at JCC

The Israel Scouts (Tzofim) Friendship Caravan will return to Tucson on Tuesday, June 15, with a free song and dance performance at the Tucson Jewish Community Center at 6 p.m. Four performing groups, consisting of five male and five female 17-year-old Israeli Scouts, travel across North America each summer.… Read more »

‘Win at Work!’ reflects conflict resolution guru’s lifelong quest for peace

Diane Katz

The key to changing an organization or workplace is not to ascribe blame, says Diane Katz, organizational psychologist and author of the newly published “Win at Work! The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution.” Katz founded her consulting company, The Working Circle, in 1995, the same year she moved… Read more »

Tucsonans learn leadership skills for changing world

“The world is changing so fast, that none of us feels completely prepared for leadership. Engaging with very bright thinkers helps position us,” Stuart Mellan, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, said during the 5th Saul Tobin Jewish Community Leadership Institute, held in April and… Read more »

JCRC, Reform rabbis decry Arizona immigration law

The Jewish Community Relations Council, the public affairs and social justice arm of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, has adopted a position statement in response to Gov. Jan Brewer’s recent signing into law of SB 1070, Immigration:  Law Enforcement; Safe Neighborhoods Act and its potential impact on human… Read more »

University of Arizona community responds to new immigration law

Passage of SB1070, the state law that requires local police to enforce federal immigration law, has prompted boycotts of Arizona because of possibilities for racial profiling and civil rights violations. The law has not yet gone into effect, but its reach is already being felt at the University of… Read more »

Jewish Community Foundation 2010 grants emphasize self-sufficiency

“When Doris and Bill Rubin thought about what their legacy would be, they realized that they wanted to help those in need move towards self-sufficiency,” says Jewish Community Foundation Executive Director Carol Karsch. Since 2003, the Rubins’ vision has resulted in 76 grants totaling $788,870 through their endowment fund… Read more »

Tucsonans join in guarded optimism at Jewish funders’ gathering

As more than 200 major funders of Jewish nonprofits gathered here last month, signs of the economic carnage of the past 18 months appeared to be waning. The funders were in Phoenix for the annual conference of the Jewish Funders Network, held April 11-13 at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.… Read more »

Young Israeli choreographer brings hot dance group to U.S.

Israeli choreographer Shlomi Elimelech, center, rehearses with Tzuza Dance Troupe members

Israeli choreographer Shlomi Elimelech, 21, started Tzuza Dance Troupe, which performed to a standing-room-only crowd at Tucson’s Israel Festival on April 25, when he was just 16. Tzuza now has schools in two cities with more than 500 students and recently took second place in an Israeli dance competition… Read more »

At Shavuot, Or Chadash to dedicate orphan Torah scroll

Herb Cohn reads from Or Chadash's new Czech Torah scroll.

When Congregation Or Chadash formally received a Czechoslovakian Holocaust Scroll in December 2009, a once vital Czech Jewish community “was brought back to life,” says Rabbi Thomas Louchheim. Scroll MST-1408, an orphan scroll that survived World War II, is on long-term loan to Or Chadash from the Memorial Scrolls… Read more »

Wounded days after nuptials, Israeli soldier gets plastic surgery in Tucson

Wounded Israeli soldier Aharon Karov lights the memorial torch at the Israel Center's Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) ceremony April 18.

The morning after his wedding on Dec. 25, 2008, Aharon Karov, a 2nd Lt. in the Israel Defense Forces Paratroopers Brigade, was called up for service in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Twelve days later, the 22-year-old platoon leader was critically wounded as his unit entered a booby-trapped building.… Read more »

Immigration bill thrusts Arizona into national spotlight; Tucsonans react

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070, the Safe Neighborhoods; Immigration; Law Enforcement Act on April 23, opening the floodgates to torrents of criticism and discussion of state vs. federal immigration policy. The debate has ranged from outrage about potential racial profiling, to legal opinions about the new… Read more »

THA tidbits: SMART boards rule

“We want to have SMART boards in every classroom,” says Ronnie Sebold, director of admissions at Tucson Hebrew Academy, which currently has two such devices. The big whiteboard in front of the 6th grade literature class, taught by Jordan Hill, takes the place of a traditional blackboard. But its… Read more »

Stand-up comic/rabbi to do his shtick for Bet Shalom

    Many rabbis tell jokes during their sermons, but Rabbi Bob Alper makes his living primarily as a stand-up comic. And he still conducts High Holiday services at Temple Micah in Philadelphia “so I don’t have to listen to other rabbis preach, because I’m funnier,” he says.  … Read more »