Plant vegetables, herbs now in beds or containers for Passover harvest

EarthBox® with seedlings (Deborah Mayaan)

Even as the lights of Chanukah dwindle, we continue to connect to our ancestors and rededicate our land. It’s not too late to plant a winter garden and enjoy eating greens into the spring, including bitter herbs for the Passover Seder. While seeds have a low germination rate when… Read more »

Young Leaders plan “Hava Tequila” party

The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Young Leadership Cabinet will hold its inaugural party — the Hava Tequila Bash — on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The JCC will cosponsor the event. Hava Tequila will offer a nightclub atmosphere… Read more »

Cirque Dreams, brainchild of a New York yeshiva boy, soars into Tucson

Cirque Dreams founder Neil Goldberg

How did a nice Jewish boy — and Orthodox at that — create a theatrical circus? “Cirque Dreams: Illumination,” featuring swirling acrobatics, dazzling costumes and choreography, will run at UApresents for five shows at Centennial Hall Dec. 10-12. It all started on Broadway for Cirque Dreams creator and director… Read more »

Journalist to bring global perspective to talk

Natasha Mozgovaya

International journalist Natasha Mozgovaya will deliver a lecture, “Israeli-Jewish Snapshot: Trends and Challenges in a Multi-Cultural Society,” on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The event is part of the Israel Center’s “Heartbeat of Israel” series. Mozgovaya was born in the Soviet Union… Read more »

Honoring co-founder Karla Ember, Kol Shirah choir lifts voices in song

Cantor Janece Cohen leads members of the Kol Shirah choir at the Tucson Jewish Food Festival on Nov. 7, 2010. (Photo courtesey of Linda Levine)

Cantor Janece Cohen of Congregation Or Chadash, started a new adult Jewish choir in August with her friend Karla Ember, cantorial soloist at Congregation Chaverim. A month later Ember was brutally murdered. Recently, Cohen was considering a name for the new choir. “I thought of Kol Shirah, which means… Read more »

The Obama White House — and Washington — celebrate Chanukah

From left to right, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the director of American Friends of Lubavitch, hanging onot his hat, joins Jack Lew, the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Rabbi Abraham Shemtov on a crane as Lew gets ready to light the National Menorah on the ellipse in front of the White House, Dec. 1, 2010.

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Chanukah is a story of a people standing alone to keep its lights aflame. This year in Washington, the message was of a people standing with friends — and even the not-so-friendly — to douse terrible flames. President Obama hosted the annual White House Chanukah party… Read more »

At site of Nazi power, a chanukah menorah at Brandenberg Gate

A costumed Maccabee stands at a Chanukah menorah-lighting ceremony at Berlin's Brandenberg Gate, Dec. 1, 2010. (Toby Axelrod)

BERLIN (JTA) — Icicles formed on Rabbi Yehudah Teichtal’s beard as he helped set up the towering menorah in the center of Berlin. It wasn’t just any menorah among the thousands that the Chabad-Lubavitch movement erects every Chanukah in public locations around the world. Teichtal, the Chabad rabbi in the… Read more »

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 »