IJSS Has Much to Be Thankful for and More to Come

Our final Shabbat services until High Holidays were held on April 22. Rabbi Laura Harari officiated. Cantorial soloist Sarah Boltt offered prayers in our tradition. David Mancini-Conway was our accompanist. The service was a warm and caring one given by our clergy, none of whom will be returning next year.

We are thankful for the guidance, caring, Jewish tradition, and knowledge given by Rabbi Harari. Her journey to us was mired with adjustments due to COVID. She carried on and made herself known with her open spirit and huge smiles. Rabbi Harari’s discussion groups on Saturday morning were dynamic, full of lively conversation, and opened us to knowledge and thought. Sarah Boltt will be following other pursuits. Her enthusiasm and traditional presentation of Judaic prayers and music will be remembered for a long time to come. David Mancini-Conway learned our prayers and music fervently. Although with us a short while, David provided melodies familiar to our ears and hearts.

In recognition, IJSS wishes to thank Mike and Wendy Jacobson for hosting Rabbi Harari whenever she visited Tucson. This act of generosity is sincerely appreciated by the community.

Our Oneg Shabbat took on a different look this past Shabbat. We gathered at Brenda McBride’s home to enjoy each other’s company. There were two tables—one for Passover and the other for customary desserts. Congregants were happy to socialize and spend time together.

Oneg Shabbats are a time to gather, enjoy each other’s company, and celebrate while enjoying a nibble or two. Please think about sponsoring an Oneg Shabbat in the future to honor, celebrate, or remember an event.

On Saturday morning Rabbi Harari conducted a class reflecting on Passover: “Four New Questions!” Examining “What does it mean to be free?” or “Would you have left Egypt?” and “Have you ever seen a miracle?” brought our history to us. How we related to these questions and our paths to our thoughts were challenging, reflective, and thought provoking.

More to Come

Rabbi Sandy Seltzer, our rabbinic clergy of several years, is returning to the IJSS pulpit. I spoke to him to discuss the why and what of his decision. Below is a part of our conversation:

What made you decide to return to the IJSS pulpit?

Rabbi Seltzer said he was asked if interested in returning to the IJSS pulpit. Rabbi feels that his experience is important with the congregation. He wants the opportunity to renew significant ideas and experiences. Rabbi Seltzer looks forward to greeting old friends and meeting new ones.

What direction/message do you have for IJSS?

The Rabbi sees this period of our history as a troubling and difficult time for all of us. Rabbi Seltzer wishes to provide some form of spiritual hope and enlightenment. That as we face the future together, he can help those seeking guidance.

What do you wish to accomplish?

Rabbi Seltzer’s personal goal is to be meaningful and insightful—that he be able to help the congregation as a strength of insight and guidance.

Volunteers Needed: The board wishes to create a Search Committee, as we seek to hire a cantorial soloist and accompanist. For those of you who wish to volunteer, please contact Joan Elder.

Shavuot 2022June 4 to June 6, 2022, was the celebration of when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai more than 3,000 years ago. Candles were lit, we stayed up all night learning Torah and other subjects of interest, we read the Ten Commandments, and ate dairy foods. Cheesecake, anyone?

IJSS is a small, active, and welcoming congregation. If you have questions or wish to join our congregation, contact Joan Elder at 520-360-1478 or Seth Eisner at 520-818-6340 for information.

Happy Spring to everyone. Welcome, summer.