More than 100 people gathered at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging on Thursday, Oct. 25, to celebrate Tucson’s oldest Jewish residents. Craig Sumberg, executive director of the Fox Tucson Theatre, served as the master of ceremonies.
Representatives of the Jewish Federation-Northwest visited Irving Olson on Sunday, Oct. 14, to thank him for being the platinum sponsor of the northwest site. They presented him with an obelisk with a mezuzah attached, similar to the mezuzah placed at the new Northwest office. Glass artist Daryl Cohen of Oro Valley created the mezuzot.
Nearly 120 people attended the Kosher Pickle Factory workshop organized by Chabad of Tucson and held at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Oct. 21. Rabbi Mendy Margolin walked participants through the process of making classic pickles like the ones made on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
About 40 people brought family pets, including dogs, cats and two rats, to Congregation Anshei Israel’s “Blessing of the Pets”on Sunday, Oct. 21. Rabbi Robert Eisen held a brief service of thanks and blessing for our animal companions.
Members of Temple Emanu-El’s adult confirmation program celebrated their confirmation on Saturday, Nov. 3. The framework for the two-year seminar is “Moments of Revolution in Judaism,” with each semester exploring the relevance of one such central moment. “In the course of the two years of study, each adult confirmand created his or her own Jewish theology, exploring and explicating his or her own beliefs about God, Torah and Israel, as well as leading a Shabbat morning service,” said Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, who led the seminar.
About 40 people visited the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix on Wednesday, Nov. 28, on the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Northwest Division’s annual bus trip. Cantor Avi Alpert of Congregation Bet Shalom treated participants to a musical prologue on the ride up to Phoenix.
Rabbi Menachem Bialo, a sofer (Torah scribe) from Florida, recently visited Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging to repair Torah scrolls and teach staff and residents about how to care for and preserve Torahs properly. Bialo was able to identify the provenance and approximate age of each Torah at Handmaker.
Hundreds of passers-by, Jewish and non-Jewish, stopped to partake in Hanukkah Mall Madness from 1 to 3 p.m. at Park Place on Dec. 2, the ninth annual event of Outreach Connections’ sharing of the holiday. There were 13 tables of activities for children and their parents, staffed by Jewish volunteers from synagogues, organizations and agencies. The adult choir, Kol Shira, led by Cantor Janece Cohen, sang holiday songs. Hanukkah Mall Madness is a program of Shalom Tucson, cosponsored by the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.
Participants in the PJ Library program received an extra gift with their books last month: a cardboard tzedakah box and decorative stickers. PJ Library founder Harold Grinspoon, who grew up with tzedakah boxes in his home, gave the boxes to encourage PJ Library children to cherish the value of charitable giving.
Staff and volunteers with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona spent the morning of Dec. 14 packing boxes and bags of food for the Jewish Community Relations Council’s Making a Difference Every Day: The Homer Davis Project. Cool Box donated an 8×8 storage shed that was filled with food donated, in part, by the Tucson Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood Education program and Congregation Or Chadash. Abba and Sons Moving LLC provided a van to transport the bulk of the donations to the school. The holiday food packages were provided to 62 students for the 17-day winter break. The Homer Davis Project provides food packages to these students every weekend and holiday throughout the school year.
Elana Goldberg, 9, a fourth-grade student at Tucson Hebrew Academy, is a winner in a PJ Library national poster contest. Hundreds of children ages 7-12 submitted entries based on the theme of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Elana’s drawing, which shows “a world that was incomplete and needed finishing,” is part of a composite poster of 50 entries that will be featured in federation and Jewish community center lobbies throughout North America. Elana is the daughter of Lisa Sisk Goldberg and Benjamin Goldberg.
Temple Emanu-El hosted “The Greatest Hanukkah on Earth! XIV — 8 Nights, 8 Lights” celebration on Sunday, Dec. 9. About 600 people joined together for the lighting of the outdoor chanukiah, followed by a program of traditional and new Chanukah songs from around the world, stories, theatricals, dance and comedy, under the direction of Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon, featuring the Avanim Rock Band and special guest appearances by the Desert Voices Choir and singer Sam Golden. At the conclusion of the entertainment, everyone was invited to light his or her own menorah. Afterward, more than 150 stayed for a brisket and latke dinner prepared by the men’s club, and kids enjoyed a fair with games, crafts, face painting and prizes.