Emily Ellentuck becomes certified cantor

Emily Ellentuck became a certified cantor through the Cantors Assembly in May 2021. Emily is the Cantor of Congregation M’Kor Hayim, where she has served as cantorial soloist, then cantorial intern, since 2009. Emily is also a teacher at the Tucson Hebrew Academy, where she has taught since 2006.… Read more »

Bar Mitzvah: Sawyer Charles Lazarus

Sawyer Charles Lazarus

Sawyer Charles Lazarus celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on August 7th, 2021 at Congregation Anshei Israel. He is the son of Emily and Adam Lazarus and the grandson of Ellen and Larry Z”L Yasmer and Sandy and Joel Lazarus of Davie, Florida. Sawyer is a rising seventh grade student at… Read more »

A tribute to Uncle Marek

Since my parents died when I was young, Uncle Marek was my link to their shared past. My father’s younger brother, Marek was the only one alive in our family who witnessed the War and the Holocaust in Poland, the only one who could tell their stories. I have… Read more »

Elayna Direnfeld honored for contribution to civics education

Elayna Direnfeld

Elayna Direnfeld, Tucson native and local Jewish educator, received a 2021 Excellence in Civics Education Award and a cash prize of $350 from the Arizona District Court. Ms. Direnfeld teaches advanced placement U.S. government and advanced placement world comparative government at Basis Oro Valley High School in Tucson and… Read more »

Four synagogues join Jewish Community Roundtable and Synagogue-Federation Dialogue

Four Southern Arizona synagogues have recently joined the Jewish Community Roundtable and the Synagogue-Federation Dialogue: Beth Shalom Temple Center in Green Valley, Congregation Beit Simcha, Chabad of Oro Valley, and Chabad of Sierra Vista. The Jewish Community Roundtable and the Syn-Fed Dialogue facilitate unified action, coordinate scheduling and calendar… Read more »

In-person services resume at Handmaker

Handmaker Shabbat

What a blessing it was to welcome back Mel Cohen and Dan Asia to the Great Room at Handmaker Jewish Services for Aging for Shabbat this past month! After over 15 months of Virtual Shabbat Services over Zoom, everyone was thrilled to once again have Shabbat Morning services in… Read more »

A starry night: THA celebrates eighth grade graduation

THA graduates 2021

On May 12th, 2021, Tucson Hebrew Academy’s (THA) eighth grade class celebrated their graduation after a year unlike any other. The ceremony took place from 7 to 9 pm at the Park Place Event Space adjacent to the Park Place Mall. Around 120 attendees gathered to celebrate the twelve… Read more »

Staying for Good

Whenever he called me from the United States, my uncle asked the same question, “Do you think you’re going to stay in Israel?” As the decades passed, the question turned more and more into a jest. And now that I’ve lived in Israel for almost forty years, including marrying… Read more »

Tzedek Project: Voting in pursuit of justice

“I’m too busy.” “I don’t know enough about the candidates.” “My vote won’t count.” We’ve all heard these excuses for failing to vote, some from family, some from friends or acquaintances. The quasi-reasons annoy me or infuriate me, depending on the context. Voting has been around for centuries. Why… Read more »

Harriet Fruchtman Feldman, active synagogue volunteer and gardener, dies

Harriet Fruchtman Feldman

Harriet Fruchtman Feldman was born on February 7th, 1931, in Brooklyn, New York and was preceded in death by her husband Elliott Ivan Feldman in 1989. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Physical Education. In 1996, Harriet was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. This marked… Read more »

JFSA & JCF Statement on Antisemitism in Our Community

Yesterday a devastating act of antisemitism was discovered at the Chabad on River. An entry door was defaced with a swastika and an antisemitic slur. This comes just weeks after vandalism against Congregation Chaverim where a rock was thrown through a window in the front door of the synagogue. These horrendous antisemitic acts… Read more »

Maimonides Society to host “COVID-19: Where we’ve been and where do we go from here?” for Southern Arizona community

Mara Aspinall

With the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccinations and updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, many in the Southern Arizona Jewish community are feeling cautiously optimistic about a summer that looks very different from years past. The Maimonides Society, a fellowship of healthcare professionals who are dedicated to… Read more »

Returning to in-person Chaplaincy

Stacey Tarquinio, LPC

After more than a year providing Chaplaincy services by phone as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to be at the bedside of a patient in the hospital, or sit and visit with a Handmaker resident is such a blessing! Since March 16, 2020, the Jewish Federation… Read more »

Tucson synagogue receives the Maricopa County Chapter of the NAACP Freedom Fund Community Award for Civic Engagement

Marcia Zaccaria accepts the Maricopa County Chapter of the NAACP Freedom Fund Community Award for Civic Engagement on behalf of Congregation M’Kor Hayim Racial Justice Task Force

Congregation M’kor Hayim is a 90-member synagogue located in Tucson, Arizona. One week after the killing of George Floyd, M’kor Hayim member Jane Levin proposed a Racial Justice Task Force to Rabbi Helen Cohn. This proposal was met with enthusiasm by both the Rabbi and the M’kor Hayim President… Read more »

Adventure Bus program resumes after 14-month hiatus

Adventure Bus participants returned to the campus of Handmaker Jewish Services for Aging after 14 months on May 11, 2021. Handmaker residents rejoiced in the reunion with past participants, welcomed new friends, and greeted volunteer coordinator Bruce Pitz. Beginnings Tucson winter visitor Adrienne Drell originated the idea for Adventure… Read more »

Tzedek Project: Comparing trial processes then and now

Watching a TV drama unfold as a crime is committed, the suspect is apprehended, tried, and convicted in one hour (including commercials) has always been unrealistic to those of us who have been participants in both sides of “law and order.” The juxtaposition of watching the entire trial seeking… Read more »