On Dec. 20, the first night of Chanukah, newly elected Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild recited the blessing and kindled the flame on Chabad of Tucson’s menorah at El Presidio Park. It was Chabad’s 28th annual lighting of the menorah, which at 13 feet is the tallest in the city. Rothschild reminisced about attending the first lighting in 1983 as “an attorney and community activist who helped get the menorah established in the park.” Along with members of the community, the ceremony was attended by 70 children from Chabad’s winter camp in Oracle, Ariz., for the sons and daughters of Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis living outside established Jewish communities around the world.
A group of Tucsonans visited the Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem in Jerusalem in October during a Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona mission. Nancy and Stuart Mellan, CEO of the Federation, were delighted to learn that a room at Hadassah was donated in memory of Nancy’s great-grandparents, Rosa and Louis Deutscher.
A ceramic star on the Jewish History Museum memorial wall was dedicated Tuesday, Dec. 27, in honor of the Holocaust survivors who have lived in Southern Arizona and worked with the Jewish community to teach the history of the Holocaust. The star was purchased with funds raised through the survivors’ 6 million pennies campaign.
On Jan. 7, metal artist Tidi Ozeri led the “Community Garden of Metal Flowers” project at James D. Kriegh Park in Oro Valley as part of the “Beyond” events commemorating the anniversary of Tucson’s Jan. 8 shooting tragedy. About 200 adults and children made flowers, hammering various pre-cut designs (based on drawings by survivors and victims’ families) into shape before welding the elements together. The flowers will be painted by art classes in local schools and will be gathered into a commemorative sculpture at a site to be named.
The Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s Super Sunday phone-a-thon on Jan. 29 brought in $161,480 in pledges to the 2012 Annual Campaign, exceeding the day’s goal of $150,000, with 69 new gifts recorded. More than 150 volunteers contacted 6,000 members of the community to raise funds to support humanitarian, social and educational programs in Southern Arizona, Israel and around the world. As part of Super Sunday’s Mitzvah Day activities, 43 units of blood were donated to the American Red Cross and 40 people registered as potential donors with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. Super Sunday was held at the Tucson Jewish Community Center.
Temple Emanu-El Women of Reform Judaism led a Sisterhood Shabbat service on Saturday, Feb. 4. Inspired by the Torah portion, B’Shalach, in which Miriam leads the women in singing and dancing to celebrate their freedom from Egypt, the women led a processional. They honored the memory of singer/songwriter Debbie Friedman by singing her composition, “Miriam’s Song.”
Almost 100 people attended Beth Shalom Temple Center of Green Valley’s Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration and Holocaust memorial dedication at Green Valley Mortuary and Cemetery on Jan. 29.
The Secular Humanist Jewish Circle held its first annual meeting on Feb. 5 at a board member’s home. The group recently became an affiliate of the national Society for Humanistic Judaism; representatives from the Or Adam Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Phoenix, Miki Safad and Pauline Staples, attended to help celebrate.
About 175 people celebrated Purim with a Mexican-themed party at Congregation Young Israel on March 8.