High Holidays

HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE Hugging a chicken and other twists on High Holiday rituals

Sarah Chandler leads a twist on the kapparot ritual in which participants hug chickens rather than swinging them over their heads. (Courtesy Chandler)

Picture services for the High Holidays: A roomful of congregants sitting with heavy books in their laps listening to a rabbi sermonize or a cantor chant is what likely comes to mind. Baking pizza? Embracing a chicken under a tree? Not so much. But those are some of the… Read more »

Building a sukkah is the ultimate family DIY project, but do make safety a priority

Children help to build a sukkah, Oct. 1, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90

Sukkot, the Feast of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is an eight-day holiday that marks the end of harvest time in the Land of Israel. Celebrated five days after Yom Kippur beginning on the 15th of Tishrei (Oct. 5 this year), Sukkot is filled with family-centric… Read more »

Fall pruning is perfectly timed for covering a sukkah

Pruned olive tree (Pixabay)

With Sukkot approaching, I’m here to let you know that you can easily cover your sukkah with schach (sukkah roof material) made with plants in your own landscape. There is an array of plants that grow in Southern Arizona that should be pruned in early fall — meaning now… Read more »

Figuring out what Shemini Atzeret is. Finally.

I know something about most Jewish holidays. I can tell you that Hanukkah is about miracles, Passover is about slavery and freedom, and Shavuot is about cheesecake. (I have no idea why, but when it comes to matters of cheesecake, it is not mine to question.) The one holiday… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Bob Feinman

Bob Feinman

In 1967, Bob Feinman, an 18-year-old Jewish kid from New York City found himself in Tucson, enrolled in college, knowing no one. He could speak Spanish, but had never heard of a taco. He ended up with a 40-year career in Spanish language radio and became an advocate for… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Steven Tofel

(L-R) Brad Tofel, Trinh Tofel, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Sallie Tofel, and Steven Tofel at the grand opening of Sister Jose Women's Center on April 20.

Helping Sister Jose Women’s Center renovate a 9,000 square foot warehouse on South Park Avenue took far more of Steven Tofel’s time than he’d anticipated. But he has no regrets. “I’m 100 percent glad I did it,” he says. Tofel, 75, the founder and president of Tofel Construction, ended… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Justice Stanley Feldman

Stanley Feldman

Stanley G. Feldman, LL.B., has been a leading champion of civil rights in Arizona, and beyond,  for 60 years and counting. He served as an Arizona Supreme Court justice for 21 years, from 1982 to 2002, including five years as chief justice. Born in the Bronx in 1933, and… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Deborah Howard Jacob

Deborah Howard Jacob

Deborah Howard Jacob keeps a relatively low profile. For someone so involved in the Tucson community, her name doesn’t ring a lot of bells with Google. But to the people she helps and to those who know her work, Jacob’s name looms large. “She is kindness and caring personified!,”… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Sherrie Kay

Sherrie Kay at the Sister Jose Women's Center

For Sherrie Kay, giving back to the community and helping those at risk is simply a way of life. “Growing up, my family was always involved in Jewish life and tikkun olam and all the different avenues that represents. Somehow that transferred to me. The more injustice I saw… Read more »

Tikkun olam: Gail Birin

Gail Birin

No matter where she’s lived, Gail Birin says being tapped into the Jewish community has always been an essential part of her life. “I feel I’m just continuing my life’s work, the work I grew up with and the culture I grew up with,” says Birin. “The ones who… Read more »

Five new kids’ books for the High Holidays

"Big Sam: A Rosh Hashanah Tall Tale" (Apples and Honey Press)

(JTA) — A challah-baking Jewish giant, a young baseball champ and an endearing boy in a pumpkin patch are among the stars of five delightful new books for kids published just in time for the High Holidays. This year’s crop includes new stories by two of the country’s most… Read more »

HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE How can we forgive the unforgivable

(Flickr Commons)

(Rabbis Without Borders via JTA) — The month of Elul is the season of repentance and forgiveness that culminates with Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. In the rabbinic imagination, Elul is an acronym for “Ani L’Dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”… Read more »

These Christians celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

A Living Church of God congregation in San Diego celebrates the Feast of Tabernacles -- the church's name for Sukkot -- in 2016. (Courtesy of the Living Church of God)

  NEW YORK (JTA) — On the night of Rosh Hashanah, thousands of people will leave work, gather in congregations across the globe and worship God, the ruler of the world. Ten days later they will begin a fast and gather again to pray, this time atoning for their… Read more »

Ma Nishtanah: How different will this year be?

Rabbi Robert Eisen

Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol halailot  …?  How do we read that phrase? How is this night different from all other nights … or, How different this night is from all other nights! The first is what we are taught, the latter is how it could be better (more… Read more »

HIGH HOLIDAYS FEATURE For celebs like Donald Trump and Lena Dunham, ‘sorry’ may be the hardest word

Donald Trump addressing the crowd at a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 6, 2016. (John Sommers II/Getty Images)

    WASHINGTON (JTA) – Yom Kippur, despite its solemnity and self-abnegation, seems almost anti-climactic if you’ve spent the 10 days since Rosh Hashanah engaging in person-to-person apologies. We would never admit it to non-Jewish friends, who stand in awe of our 25-hour fast, but Yom Kippur is a dodge, an… Read more »

Making Time for Rosh HaShanah

I went out, Lord. People were coming and going, Walking and running. Everything was rushing: Cars, trucks, the street, the whole town. People were rushing not to waste time. They were rushing after time, To catch up with time. To gain time. Good-bye, excuse me, I haven’t time. I’ll… Read more »