After Israel’s deadly fire, mourning, vows to rebuild and finger pointing

At least 40 Israelis have been killed in a forest fire in northern Israel described as out of control, Dec. 2, 2010. (Flash 90)

In the aftermath of the deadliest fire in Israel’s history, Israelis this week set to the task of burying the dead, cleaning up and figuring out what exactly went wrong — and who is to blame. Even before the blaze in the Carmel Mountains near Haifa came under control… Read more »

WikiLeaks reveals secrets, backroom dealmaking — and cluelessness

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit on May 27, 2009. Leaked State Dept. cables reveal that diplomats advised Clinton to defer to Gheit's aggrandized notion of Egypt's importance. (State Dept./Michael Gross)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A careful reading of the WikiLeaks trove of State Department cables — which is laying bare some 250,000 secret dispatches detailing private conversations, assessments and dealmaking of U.S. diplomats — reveals a notable if perhaps surprising pattern: how often they get things wrong. Again and again… Read more »

Fire that kills 40 brings new tragedy to Israel

At least 40 Israelis have been killed in a forest fire in northern Israel described as out of control, Dec. 2, 2010. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — In a country always on guard to prevent the next tragedy born of terrorism or war, an out-of-control forest fire was the culprit in a tragic bus incident that left some 40 people dead in northern Israel. The bus, carrying police cadets from Israel’s prison service,… Read more »

Counselor who is former addict to share story of recovery

Jewish Addiction Support Services will present “Addiction: A Story of Recovery” with Dan Stone, LCSW, LISAC, CT, on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2-3:15 the Dusenberry-River Library, 5605 E. River Road, Suite 105. Stone, a licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor, will share his personal journey of recovery. Like… Read more »

Emergency medicine in Israel is focus of Maimonides event

The Tucson Maimonides Society will hold a dinner next month highlighting “Emergency and Disaster Medicine in Israel and the American Physicians Fellowship for Medicine in Israel,” with APF president Norton Greenberger, M.D. The APF was founded in 1950; twice yearly emergency and disaster preparedness conferences with hands-on training are… Read more »

Arabs’ decline topic for NW Division kickoff

Asher Susser

Professor Asher Susser, a visiting Israeli scholar at the University of Arizona, will present “The Middle East in the 21st Century: The Decline of the Arabs” at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Northwest Division Kickoff Event next month. The kickoff will be held Thursday, Dec. 9, from 5… Read more »

Patai lecture to probe Genesis creation story

Mark S. Smith, a professor at New York University, will present the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies’ Raphael Patai Memorial Lecture, “The Priestly Vision of Genesis 1,” on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The first words of creation have inspired and intrigued people… Read more »

Inspired by mountains, composer/folksinger scores liturgical triumphs

Lori Sumberg

When Lori Sumberg sings her original composition of “Esa Eynai” at the Fourth International Jewish Music Festival on Dec. 5 in New York City, she will take a bit of Tucson with her. Out of more than 350 pieces submitted by composers around the world, Sumberg’s piece was one… Read more »

Activist for Ethiopian Jews to get Cohon award

Barbara Ribakove Gordon with some of the Ethiopian children she has helped.

Barbara Ribakove Gordon, founder of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry, will receive the Rabbi Samuel S. and Irma Cohon Foundation Award for 2010. Rabbis Baruch J. Cohon and Samuel M. Cohon will present the award, which includes a cash prize of $25,000, at Temple Emanu-El’s Shabbat Chanukah… Read more »

‘When Bad Things’ author Rabbi Harold Kushner to speak at Temple Emanu-El

Rabbi Harold Kushner

Everyone knows people who are less happy than they might be. Rabbi Harold Kushner doesn’t have the all-purpose antidote, but “Conquering Fear: Living Boldly in an Uncertain World,” his new book, suggests ways to live more fully. Kushner, author of the international best-seller “When Bad Things Happen to Good… Read more »

Tucsonans get taste of Talmud during Global Week of Jewish Learning

(L-R) UA students Meryl Press, Rachel Pergamit and Karin Finkelstein study ‘shmirat haguf’ (protecting the body) with Hillel Program Director Laura Etter.

In classrooms, auditoriums, restaurants, libraries and conference rooms, more than 600 Tucsonans marked the first Global Week of Jewish Learning as they studied a variety of Jewish texts on everything from miracles to Kristallnacht. This community-wide program, held Nov. 4-11, was based around the Global Day of Jewish Learning… Read more »

‘Renaissance mensch’ inspires at JFSA kickoff

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

More than 600 people attended Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s talk — and laughed at his perfectly delivered jokes — at the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s 2011 Campaign kickoff at Congregation Anshei Israel on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Not only is Telushkin an Orthodox, observant Jew, said JFSA Vice Chair Larry… Read more »

Cocktail party recipes, tzedakah box craft can help get Chanukah glowing

Maccabee Martini and Savory Sweet Potato Sufganiyot

There is something about small lights glowing in the vast darkness that renews our childlike wonder: sparklers, flashlights, birthday candles. And we all remember “Lite-Brite,” the little black box of our childhood with the multicolored plastic pegs that, once plugged in, illuminated our designs. For Jews, there are the… Read more »

Chanukah on Christmas Avenue: Raising a Jewish family in Winterhaven

Gila Silverman’s husband, David, created this 10-foot dreidel the third year that the family lived in Winterhaven.

I live in a neighborhood known for its Christmas displays. No one is more surprised about this than I am. And, to my even greater surprise, I have found living here to be a moving experience. The one thing I have known for certain my entire life is that… Read more »

Timing, noodging advance new push for Jonathan Pollard

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A combination of timing, diplomatic considerations and, above all, good old-fashioned noodging has culminated in the biggest push in years to free Jonathan Pollard. Insiders associated with the push, which resulted last week in a congressional letter to President Obama asking for clemency for the American… Read more »

Lame-duck Congress jeopardizes school lunch program for poor, groups warn

Hillel members from several New York City universities interacting with the homeless community during a resource fair in New York, Oct. 17, 2010. (JCPA)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The framers of an interfaith effort with the grand goal of halving American poverty in the next decade had a small but focused message this week: Keep those school lunches coming. At a meeting Monday on Capitol Hill at an event attended by congressional staffers, the… Read more »

In the lions’ den: Federation women cap week in the Big Easy

One of the "lions" at the International Lion of Judah conference helps a young New Orleans reader during the event's community service literacy project. (Bernie Saul for Jewish Federations of North America)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (JTA) — Just down the road from where the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America had concluded a day earlier, more than a thousand of the federation system’s most generous women found a philanthropic sanctuary of their own. At the Hilton Hotel here,… Read more »

Beck under fire over Soros comments

Some Jewish groups are saying that Glenn beck, above, went too far with his criticism of George Soros. (Gage Skidmore)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Fox News provocateur Glenn Beck spent several days taking aim at billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros, but so far — at least within Jewish circles — the barrage appears to be backfiring. On his radio and TV shows earlier this month, Beck portrayed Soros as… Read more »

Crossword puzzle clue to romance in Invisible Theatre’s “2 Across”

Janet (Maedell Dixon) and Josh (David Alexander Johnston) prove opposites do attract in “2 Across.”

In the romantic comedy “2 Across,” now playing at the Invisible Theatre, two strangers meet on a San Francisco BART train. They’re opposites: she’s a pragmatist, he’s a dreamer. She’s Catholic, he’s Jewish. And she does the New York Times crossword in pen, while he does it in pencil… Read more »

Obstacles on Mt. Kilimanjaro climb bring local woman, family closer to God

Nancy Kumble Fenn (left) and her daughter Melissa, 22, pause about halfway on their ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Nancy Kumble Fenn’s first outdoor adventure was biking up the coast of Maine in 1976 at age 16. Now the mother of three grown children, Kumble Fenn has traveled all over the world with her husband, Richmond Fenn, a mining engineer. In July, with nine members of her family… Read more »