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When my husband and I retired to Arizona 12 years ago, we realized that we had time to volunteer in the Jewish community. Volunteering is a way to give back to the community, but it’s also a wonderful way to get to know one’s

At Temple Kol Ami we have a decades long tradition of participating in social action activities and organizations. We see ourselves as a force for good, “doing Jewish” across Greater Phoenix with unique social programs. One of the things I love about Temple Kol Ami is that as a member, if th…

I have a friend who only watches Jewish Broadcasting Service. Doesn’t matter the time. Doesn’t matter the program. He watches the JBS channel incessantly. If it’s midnight, he’s catching Rabbi Mark S. Golub on “L’Chayim.” On Fridays, he welcomes Shabbat with televised services from Central S…

A multi-sensory banquet awaits those who dare to take this earth walk, irrespective of one’s ability or station in life. Whether we encounter a fragrant, noxious or a bland path could depend upon the fellow who accompanies us, the fellow we accompany or how well we partner ourselves.

One of my favorite things about this season is tuning into National Public Radio’s Chanukah Lights, one of the most successful NPR special programs over the past 30 years. The concept is simple: an hour-long program of stories about Chanukah broadcast during the Jewish holiday. As many of yo…

Are we up to the task to live each day with spiritual awareness? Are we prepared to live morally, ready to be called upon? Are we ready to struggle to achieve a higher ethical calling?

Many of us love eating potato latkes during Chanukah to celebrate the miracle of the oil. But did you know there is another special holiday ingredient, which often goes overlooked? You aren’t alone if you didn’t know that cheese, and more specifically fried cheese, is a symbol of Chanukah.

A few weeks ago, a package arrived from my aunt. I opened it to find presents wrapped in a light blue wrapping paper with white dots. The words, “Just a little care package for your first Chanukah! I’m glad you’re in our family!” were written beautifully in cursive.

Have you recently looked for a job? Do you remember the first time you searched for employment?

This week’s parshah contains the famous story of the beginnings of Jacob and Esau. Many commentators focus on the nature of sibling rivalry and the question of who is to blame for all of the tsuris in the family. Maybe we should blame Jacob? He is cunning and conniving as he manipulates a vu…

Shabbat services in Temple Chai’s courtyard

In this week’s Torah portion, we read of the passing of our matriarch, Sarah, at the age of 100 years + 20 years + 7 years. You are probably thinking, “What is wrong with this Rabbi? Why can’t he just write ‘127?’” The answer is simple: That is how the Torah enumerates them in the opening of…

Now that we are squarely in the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, we eagerly re-read the stories of Bereshit, the first book of the Torah. This is the story of a family. We count the toldot, the generations that lead from one to the next as each family fulfills the mitzvah of pru urvu, the commandme…

With 2020 lost to lockdowns, Congregation Beth Israel decided to hold off celebrating its centennial anniversary last year until 2021. The party may be a little later than expected, but the memories of the oldest synagogue in Phoenix are flowing and a vision for the future is bright, said Ra…

Most people, of any age, in Jewish and Christian cultures can recite the basics of the Noah story: God regrets how corrupt humanity has gotten and decides to destroy the entire earth with a flood. But because of Noah’s righteousness, God chooses to save Noah his family, and enough animals to…

Let us learn the parshah according to Nachmanides commentary:

I was always taught that a sanctuary had to have a window in it so we could see outside. Only then would we be able to understand our Judaism in the context of greater creation.

The architecture of our lives begins with a basic anatomy lesson, which features the intersection of the evanescent and the eternal. Our corporal body is a complex environment, magnificently designed to be multi-functional and time limited. Our spiritual body is always present, but invisible…

A group of adventurers arrived at Morgur’s Mound, an archaeological site ringed with dragon bones. They found a treasure, scooped it up and made a run for it — but suddenly the ground began to shake.

What’s the best way to say something meaningful that is important and needs to be communicated?

I am a Jewish educator at Pardes Jewish Day School, and my husband, Seth, is the cantor at Congregation Beth Israel. If you were to drive by our house during the month of Kislev, two things would become apparent: We’re the only Jews in our neighborhood and we really like large Chanukah decor…

“And now write for yourselves this song and teach it to the children of Israel, put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me among the children of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 31:19)

While we’re going through the Days of Awe, here are some delicious recipes to enjoy. They include ingredients with significant meaning this time of year. Happily, they’re also easy to prepare for smaller gatherings, since it looks as if our tables might still be on the small side this year.

As the Jewish High Holidays near, we begin to take the time to reflect, recharge and renew ourselves for the year to come. Last year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, for many of us, were observed at home as the pandemic prevented us from being in-person at our congregations. We experienced a d…

It is Erev Rosh Hashanah and you’re in Israel, 6,000 miles away from home. It is the first year that you are not having dinner with your extended family at your aunt’s house before going to temple and you are fondly remembering those evenings with your parents, your brother and your closest …

Being a brand-new mom who has spent most of her mom-life quarantined with a new baby, my daily routine has been about as smooth as my son’s sleeping schedule. Keeping the stress down to healthy levels is hard enough without a pandemic. With the High Holidays just around the corner, I can fee…

Holiday time is no stranger to stress. The anticipation of seeing friends and loved ones in person again, preparing traditional meals and keeping the strength up to last through lengthy services can create some anxiety. As a seasoned rebbitzin and nationally-certified Pilates teacher I have …

“For a little while I forsake you, But with vast love, I will bring you back. In slight anger, for a moment, I hid my face from you; but with kindness everlasting, I will take you back in love.” (Isaiah 54:7-10)

Each year as the Days of Awe approach, many of us may struggle with the reality that is upon us. We all want to reach out and make genuine strides toward our Maker, but we are caught up in the whirlwind of daily life. Somehow, however, by the time these days pass us by, we may be able to pul…

Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Arizona’s largest African-American Baptist church, located in downtown Phoenix, will be opening its doors to members of Paradise Valley’s Congregation Beth Israel for its High Holiday services. The large, airy 2,500-seat church easily can accommodate the synagogu…

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