Religion & Jewish Life

In Amsterdam, the world’s priciest menorah gets a new life

The Rintel Menorah on display at the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (Courtesy of the Jewish Cultural Quarter/JCK)

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — For the Amsterdam Jewish Historical Museum, Hanukkah this year entailed the stressful chore of assembling the world’s most expensive menorah. Last week, the Rintel Menorah, a 266-year-old menorah valued at over a half-million dollars, was put back on display at Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum following the… Read more »

McDonald’s public menorah is Hanukkah symbol in Brazilian Amazon

MANAUS, Brazil (JTA) — A large menorah at a McDonald’s branch has become the only Hanukkah symbol in the streets of Brazil’s largest city in the Amazon region. In a first, the 7-foot-tall, nine-branched candelabrum made of iron in the front yard of the Jewish-owned fast-food restaurant has become… Read more »

10 years after the founding of the first Orthodox school to train female clergy, what’s actually changed?

Rabbanit Jenna Englender dances with the Torah during her graduation ceremony from Yeshivat Maharat in New York, June 17, 2019. (Shulamit Seidler-Feller/Maharat)

NEW YORK (JTA) — Growing up in a Modern Orthodox community in South Africa, Sara Hurwitz never imagined that she would one day become a clergy member. The Conservative and Reform movements have been ordaining female rabbis for decades. But in the Orthodox world, women are barred from many… Read more »

Inside the biggest American Shabbat service of the year

Friday night prayers at the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial featured a 78-person choir and screens projecting the words of the service, Dec. 13, 2019. (Rob Dicker/Union for Reform Judaism)

CHICAGO (JTA) — Josh Nelson sat onstage in front of 5,000 people, accompanied by eight other musicians and perched next to a ginormous video screen bearing the words to one of Judaism’s central prayers, the Shema. It was the largest Shabbat service in America and the apex of the… Read more »

Crafts, volunteering, variety make Hanukkah meaningful for children

Hanukkah’s proximity to Christmas can complicate the holiday. For those who try to make Hanukkah more like Christmas, it inevitably seems to fall short. Yet while Hanukkah traditionally was not one of the most central holidays of the Jewish calendar, it can offer many opportunities for fun and joyous… Read more »

Author to share insider look at widowhood in local talks

Sula Miller

Tucson resident Sula Miller will discuss her recent book “Welcome to … The Widows Club” (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2017) at two local venues next week. Tucson is the last stop on Miller’s seven-state book tour that began in Florida. The novel was inspired by her mother-in-law, Bernyce, who became… Read more »

Hallmark Channel to broadcast its first Hanukkah movies

Brittany Bristow, center, plays Brooke in the first of two new Hallmark Channel Hanukkah-themed features, ‘Holiday Date.’ Photo courtesy Crown Media

The Hallmark Channel will premiere its first two Hanukkah-themed movies this month in honor of the holiday, which starts this year on Dec. 22. “Our audience is very vocal, and they tell us when they’d like to see more of something,” says Michelle Vicary, Crown Media’s executive vice president… Read more »

M’kor Hayim joins URJ

(L-R): Carol Weinstein; Janice Brumer, a member of the Union for Reform Judaism national board; and Rabbi Helen Cohn Photo courtesy Congregation M’kor Hayim

Congregation M’kor Hayim has joined the Union for Reform Judaism, the association of nearly 900 Reform congregations in North America.  “Our congregation began in 2008. Now that we are fully established locally, we felt it was time to connect with the wider Jewish community,” Rabbi Helen Cohn said. She… Read more »

Tiffany Haddish’s celebrity-filled bat mitzvah, in photos

Rabbi Susan Silverman, left, with Tiffany Haddish at Haddish's bat mitzvah at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., Dec. 3, 2019. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix)

(JTA) — Tiffany Haddish celebrated her bat mitzvah Tuesday night surrounded by an array of Jewish celebrity friends, including Billy Crystal, Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman. The comedian, who celebrated in Beverly Hills on the occasion of her 40th birthday, released her Netflix standup special, “Black Mitzvah,” on the same… Read more »

CAI scholar-in-residence to animate Shabbat with song, story

Rabbi Cantor Hillary Chorny, left, and Cantorial Soloist Nichole Chorny

Update 11.22.19: This scholar-in-residence weekend is supported by The Rabbi Marcus Breger Fund at Congregation Anshei Israel. Rabbi Cantor Hillary Chorny of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles will bring new music and innovative, interactive Shabbat services to Tucson as Congregation Anshei Israel’s scholar-in-residence, Dec. 13 and 14. Her… Read more »

Through JFCS, national fund boosts safety net for local Holocaust survivors

Tucson Holocaust survivors (L-R) Sidney Finkel, Wolfgang Hellpap, Walter Feiger, and Pawel Lichter (Photo: John Pregulman)

Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona recently partnered with a national initiative that provides emergency funding to local Holocaust survivors. Assistance from the Seed the Dream Foundation and KAVOD-Ensuring Dignity for Holocaust Survivors now is available for any Holocaust survivor through the new KAVOD Survivors of the… Read more »

Pozez lecture will tackle ‘Aliyah of the Mind’

David Hazony

David Hazony, Ph.D., will present “Aliyah of the Mind: Zionism as Jewish Emancipation” on Monday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, as part of the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies’ Shaol & Louis Pozez Memorial Lectureship Series. Most people think Zionism is about supporting… Read more »