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Weintraub Israel Center

Israel Engagement

The JCC is home to the Weintraub Israel Center, a joint project with the Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona that is dedicated to bringing a little piece of Israel to Tucson. From cultural programs to community conversations, the Weintraub Israel Center is Tucson’s resource for all things Israeli. The mission of the Weintraub Israel Center is to engage the Jewish and broader communities of Southern Arizona in building a living bridge to Israel, its people, culture and history. The Weintraub Israel Center invites community members of all ages and stages to create and nurture a self-propelled, personal relationship with Israel and Israelis.

In our work we rely on the three core operating principles of Z3:

Unity, not uniformity

Engaging as equal partners

Diversity of voices

In light of the current situation in Israel, we wish to provide you with thoughtful updates and ways to get involved.

Upcoming Events

Friday December 1 and Saturday December 2
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Please join Jenna Herder for a FREE Community Introduction to Krav Maga. Jenna began her Krav Maga journey of training and teaching in 2005 under Krav Maga Worldwide and achieved her 3rd degree black belt under the United States Krav Maga Association. These are heartbreaking times that can leave one feeling helpless and vulnerable. Empower yourself with Krav Maga, the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israeli Military. It is not a martial art; it is a self-defense system. 

Sundays Nov 5, 12, and 19 | 12:15-1:30pm at the Tucson J

Friday night, December 1 at 5:45pm: Kabbalat Shabbat Service on Zoom (contact CAI for the zoom link)

And Saturday morning, December 2 at 9:30am in person (and hybrid) for Shabbat morning services, followed by kiddush lunch with our community.  

Both services will include added readings and songs showing our love and support of Israel.


Friday, December 1st 6:30pm services with Israeli melodies, special prayers for the State of Israel, the IDF and for all being held captive, as well as an Oneg Shabbat of Israeli foods following services.  

Saturday, December 2nd at 10am services with Israeli melodies, special prayers for the State of Israel, the IDF and for all being held captive, as well as a Kiddush of Israeli foods following.


Friday night, Erev Shabbat worship service on Friday, December 1st, at 7:00 pm, will include special readings, prayers and songs reflecting our deepest feelings about Israel.


Communal Shabbat Dinner and services at 5:30pm. Please be sure to register by Tuesday, November 28 HERE.

Saturday, December 2nd Shabbat service at 9:15am


Friday, December 1st at 5:30pm, Shabbat will begin with a dairy veggie potluck. At 6:00pm there will be an early Family Shabbat Service.


*Open to University of Arizona Students* Friday, December 1st at 5:30pm.


Friday, December 1st Services will be held on Zoom, need to write for the link.

Saturday, December 2nd 5:30pm-7:00pm, join THA for seudah shlishit (the third meal of Shabbat), havdalah, and activities to support Israel. RSVP to

Rosh Hashanah Fall Festival for Families

Sat, Sep 24 6:30-8:30pm in the J's Sculpture Garden
Cost: FREE! Registration is required.

Bring in the New Year with community. Join together for a bring your own (dairy) picnic dinner, a kosher, dairy apple dessert bar, Havdalah (ceremony to end Shabbat), games for kids of all ages, inflatables including everyone’s favorite bounce houses, face painting, a petting zoo, and crafts. This event is especially for families with children ages 4-10. Free and open to the public; registration is required.

6:30-7:15pm – Bring your own dairy picnic dinner and enjoy Shabbat-friendly activities including a petting zoo, field games, and build your own apple dessert bar
7:15-8:30pm – Havdalah, face painting, inflatables/bounce houses, arts + crafts and more


In partnership with local synagogues and agencies including: Congregation Anshei Israel, Congregation Beit Simcha, Congregation Bet Shalom, Congregation Chaverim, Kol Ami, PJ Library, PJ Our Way + Weintraub Israel Center

An Evening of Jazz with Itamar Borochov + Quartet

Sat, Oct 22 6:45-9pm in the J's Sculpture Garden
Cost: $25 per person
*Student tickets are available; contact Abbii at for more information

The concert is made possible with thanks to presenting sponsor, Deanna Evenchik-Brav and supporting sponsors Beth and Mike Kasser, and is proudly hosted in partnership between the Tucson Jazz Festival, Tucson J, Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona, and the Weintraub Israel Center.

Raised in the cosmopolitan port city of Jaffa, now a significant presence on the international jazz scene, Borochov is creating a new musical hybrid – bringing the sacred sounds of his upbringing to a jazz quartet setting. His deep knowledge of these various musical disciplines is incorporated organically into his original jazz writing, building a bridge between the near-East and the modal styles of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and others. Borochov won the prestigious 2020 LetterOne ‘Rising Stars’ Jazz Award European edition, which was presented to him by vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.

Workshop: Stories for The Sake of the Argument

Session dates: Tuesdays 6:30-8pm Oct 25, Nov 1, Nov 8, Nov 15, Nov 29, Dec 6, Dec 13
Cost: $65 (includes the cost of the book)

Stories for the Sake of Argument emerged from a realization that the field of Israel education has changed. The Co-authors found that the fear of getting into an argument was obstructing real conversations about Israel.

The authors, came to believe that no deep learning can happen without healthy arguments. This seven week workshop is designed to spark disagreements about key issues facing Israel and the Jewish world. From religious freedom to identity politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to COVID-19, gender equality to Israel-Diaspora relations, each story tackles a different issue, sets up a powerful clash of values, and leaves you with an unresolved dilemma to discuss. We will use the book, Stories For The Sake of Argument to help guide our conversations and introduce the weekly topics for argument.

Through this workshop and the book, you’ll:
-Develop the tools to talk to people with whom you disagree
-Express and grapple with other viewpoints and voices
-Deepen your understanding of yourself, others, and Israel

Day of Chesed Collection Drive:

Now - Monday, January 16

The WIC is a proud partner in the Day of Chesed, which will be taking place on Monday, January 16. Leading up to January 16, we need your help collecting everyday essentials so children and adults have the basic items to stay clean and feel better. All items will be distributed at the new Interfaith Community Services mobile food pantry. Drop off goods at the Tucson J


• Small bars of soap

• Toothpaste/toothbrush as a small set or individual items

• Small deodorants (any kind)

• Small container hand or face wipes

• Chapstick

• Small jars of Vaseline or lotion

The 2023 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival

January 12 – 31

The 2023 Tucson International Jewish Film Festival is multi-access, running with a limited number of in-person screenings and post-film programs from January 12 – 22, and all films available to stream online on the Eventive platform from January 12 – 31. Most in-person screenings will take place at the Tucson J, located at 3800 E River Road. Only one ticket is required to view all the shorts. All in-person post-film programs will also be available on Zoom for ticket holders. Click here to view the trailer.

The following films are supported by the WIC:

Love and Mazel Tov: Virtual screening; in-person screening, Fri, Jan 13 1 pm at The J

Berenshtein: Virtual screening; in-person screening, Sun Jan 15, 11 am at The J

Exodus 91: Virtual screening and post-film program, Monday, Jan 16th 7 pm via Zoom

*Marry Me However: Virtual screening and post-film program, Thu, Jan 19 via Zoom

*Brown/White (short documentary): Virtual screening

*From Jerusalem With Love (short hysterical comedy): Virtual screening

*Naomi (short drama): Virtual screening

*Reflection (short Dramedy): Virtual screening

*Ugly Swan(short drama): Virtual screening

*Something Blue (short drama): Virtual screening

The New Jew: Virtual screening

*only one ticket is required to view all shorts

Day of Chesed

Monday, January 16, 1-3 pm at the Tucson J

Mark your calendars. There will be several opportunities for people of all ages to give back in honor of MLK Day. Projects include: a Habitat for Humanity build, volunteering at Handmaker, a PJ Library book read and painting rocks of encouragement, an American Red Cross Blood Drive, and packing hygiene kits that will be donated to Interfaith Community Services. Registration for this event will be launched shortly.

Family Cooking Class

Sunday, February 26 4pm-5:30 pm on Zoom
Cost: $35

Parents and kids of all ages are invited to join the Weintraub Israel Center and the J Arts and Culture for a fun and interactive cooking class. In this cooking workshop we will learn to make some classic and delicious Israeli dishes, Shakshukah, pita from scratch, Fatush (a Lebanese salad), and chocolate balls. Dorit Chasnoff will leading our workshop, from Israel. Dorit Admony Chasnoff grew up in a Yemenite-Persian family in Israel and began cooking as a child. Professionally, Dorit has developed recipes and taught cooking for more than ten years. She is also the mother of three.

Persian Cooking Class

Sunday, November 13 at 3-5pm
Cost: $65 (includes ingredients and refreshments)

The Weintraub Israel Center would like to invite anyone between the ages of 25-45 to join us for a fun and interactive cooking workshop. Dorit Chasnoff will leading our workshop, from Israel. Dorit Admony Chasnoff grew up in a Yemenite-Persian family in Israel and began cooking as a child. Professionally, Dorit has developed recipes and taught cooking for more than ten years.

In this workshop, we’ll learn to make one of the most exotic Persian dishes around ? Gorma Zizi (a green Persian stew), rice two ways, baba ganoush and almond cookies for dessert. No prior cooking experience required! As we cook, you’ll learn about Persian cooking methods and hear stories from the Persian culinary tradition.

The best part, after we cook, we get to sit and enjoy the delicious food! The WIC will also provide Israeli wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages

The Weintraub Israel Center is a partnership between the Tucson J and the Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona.

Intro Women's Self-Defense Class

Sunday, November 20th from 4pm-6pm
Cost: Cost is $20 and includes a one and a half hour women's self-defense class, snacks, wine and soda.

The Weintraub Israel Center would like to invite all who identify as a women to join us  for a Sunday Funday at Tucson’s Rising Phoenix Fitness and Defense for an intro to women’s self-defense class.

No previous experience necessary! Designed for both beginners and intermediate-level practitioners, this class specializes in teaching and adapting traditional Krav Maga and self-defense techniques to women and girls of all body types, at any fitness level, and of differing abilities.

Stay after class to enjoy some snacks, wine, and soda.

Please note: This event will be held off campus at 4500 E Speedway Blvd #4, Tucson, AZ 85712


Explaining the 2022 Israeli Elections: Winners, Losers, and How the System Works

Tuesday, December 6 from 12-2pm on Zoom
Cost: Free and open to the public

The Northwest Tucson Jewish Community and the Weintraub Israel Center would like to invite you to join us on Tuesday, December 6, from 12 – 2 pm on Zoom for an opportunity to learn more about the Israeli Elections. Assistant Professor, Daniel Arnon, with the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona will walk us through the Israeli Elections and how the political system works, followed by a Q and A.

Please reach out to Abbii Cook at for the link to Zoom

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer with ESRA to help teachers in Israel learn English

Sign up for an orientation Thu, Sep 15

English Speakers Resident Association which is based in Israel, is looking for English speaking volunteers who are willing to devote 30 minutes a week (for 15 weeks) to a Zoom call with an Israeli teacher of English who is not a native English speaker. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me at

Z3 2021: Futures Workshop | Reimagining Israel-Diaspora Relations
Sunday, December 5 9:30am-3:30pm

Prepare for the unexpected at this year’s Z3 Conference with a visionary futures workshop! Inspired by the tools of geopolitics and diplomacy, at the heart of this hybrid virtual conference is a structured simulation. This interactive simulation will ask our speakers and participants to take part in a plausible futuristic scenario that will impact the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

Through this experiment, we will explore potential ways for our communities to come together and ensure our continued sense of Peoplehood and mutuality.

Z3 is a signature experience of the Oshman Family JCC (OFJCC) in Palo Alto. The event takes place every year during Hanukkah — “Making Miracles Here and There” or “נס גדול היה פה ושם” is a wordplay on the two letters that differentiate Israel and the Diaspora’s dreidels. The miracle happened “here”/“פה” to represent Israel’s dreidel, the miracle happened “there”/“שם”, to represent the Diaspora’s dreidel. Rather than continue to have two different dreidels, we envision a future with one dreidel: where we acknowledge and elevate the idea that both the State of Israel and a vibrant Jewish world are essential for the destiny of the Jewish People.

News, Resources + Ways to Support Israel

  • October 7: This website stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of survivors who bear witness to the unspeakable terrors of October 7th, horrors that continue to haunt the hearts and minds of countless souls across the land of Israel.
  • Unholy: Yonit Levi of Israel‘s Channel 12 News and Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian are two of the most prominent journalists in the world today. They are also Jews. Each week, join as they dissect and debate current events shaping Israel, Jewish life – and the wider world. Make every Friday morning Unholy.
  • Congressional Leaders Speak on Support for Israel “On the outside, I don’t look like I have scars … the biggest scar that I have is in my soul,” said Noa Ben Artzi-Pelossof, granddaughter of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who recounted her experience as a survivor of the Hamas attack on the music festival in Israel on October 7. She delivered her remarks, along with congressional and Jewish community leaders and Biden administration officials, during an event in support of Israel hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C.  
  • Israel from the Inside, created by Daniel Gordis, is a news source meant for people who are curious about understanding Israel and Israelis.
  • Resilience and Ingenuity in Crisis Ten days into a brutal new reality, much of Israeli society has picked itself up from the shock of the initial attacks and quickly mobilized toward helping the war effort.
  • JEWISH NATIONAL FUND‘s Daily Israel briefings: Follow JNF-USA’s briefings on Facebook every morning at 9am (AZ time)

NEFESH B’NEFESH, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, is creating a database of international physicians willing to volunteer in Israel during this challenging time. Who can volunteer? This initiative aims to ease the strain on hospitals and clinics during this time of war, specifically calling on doctors with valid licenses from North America, the UK, South Africa, Australia, and the EU. Nurses, and paramedics from abroad looking to volunteer can visit the MOH website and submit their information there.

Breastmilk Donations for Israeli infants in need Save The Milk is partnering with The Haredim Rescue Union to coordinate the delivery of breastmilk to Israeli infants who have been displaced. If you are interested in donating, please fill out the requested info below and we will be in touch with instructions on how you may be able to help. Click Here

Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona’s Israel Relief Fund 2023

This fund supports Federation’s core overseas partner organizations below:

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC):
Within hours of the initial ambush in Israel’s south, JDC activated its emergency response team and action plans. JDC’s main focus has been on vulnerable seniors, people with disabilities, children and young adults at risk, families in financial distress, and the unemployed. Activities have included:

  • Providing emergency support for people with disabilities, including access to a hotline with social workers and psychologists
  • Strengthening the capacity of nursing institutions for elderly Israelis who have fled from the current conflict zone
  • Expanding mental health interventions for children and youth at risk
  • Training front-line professionals to meet the unprecedented needs among the most vulnerable children and families, the elderly, and people with disabilities

The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI):
The Jewish Agency is focusing on the following areas:

  • Operating the Fund for the Terror Victims.
  • Caring for the safety and resilience of employees and staff in the field, especially in areas affected by the fighting. Working with emissaries to provide psychological assistance where needed.
  • Care of program participants in various programs, including sensitive personal situations resulting from the current situation.
  • Taking 2000 Olim from absorption centers in the South for a five day respite period.
  • Providing respite activities for children and teenagers in families who prefer to stay.
  • Supporting 2700 residents of Amigour elderly care facilities in the South.

The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC):
Working in coordination with the Home Front Command, ITC’s Southern Resilience Centers remain on high alert. With staff and residents confined to their homes, services are being provided via telephone and zoom.

Israel’s National Emergency Pre-Hospital Medical and Blood Services Organization.

FREE Community Krav Maga – Sunday, November 5th, 12th, and 19th 12:15pm-1:30pm at the Tucson J: Please join Jenna Herder for a FREE Community Introduction to Krav Maga. Jenna began her Krav Maga journey of training and teaching in 2005 under Krav Maga Worldwide and achieved her 3rd degree black belt under the United States Krav Maga Association. These are heartbreaking times that can leave one feeling helpless and vulnerable. Empower yourself with Krav Maga, the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israeli Military. It is not a martial art; it is a self-defense system.  

Crisis Services:

Arizona crisis resources for all ages:

Southern Arizona crisis line: (520) 622-6000

  • Walk in available 24/7 at Crisis Response Center located at 2802 E District St (South of Ajo and Country Club)

HOPE Warm Line – (not for immediate risk) Pima County: (520) 770-9909, Other Counties: (844) 733-9912

  • Free, confidential, non-emergency phone line with access to Peer Support operators
  • Hours are 8AM-10PM every day, 365 days/year

Arizona crisis resources for Youth:

Teen Lifeline: Arizona’s only teen-to-teen crisis hotline Call: (800) 248-8336 (TEEN) Text: (602) 248-8336

  • Call and Text crisis line
  • Available for calls 24/7/365, text weekdays 12-9 PM and weekends 3-9 PM, peer counseling 3-9 PM daily

National (US) crisis resources for all ages:

  • National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is 988 – CALL, TEXT, OR CHAT 24/7
  • National Crisis Text Line (24/7): Text “MATTERS” or “HOME” to 741741 (texting any word will work)

National (US) crisis resources for youth:

National Teen Line: 800-TLC-TEEN (800-852-8336) or text “TEEN” to 839863

  • Peer supports “teens helping teens”
  • Phone line available 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM (PST); Text line available 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (PST)

The Trevor Project:

Crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth

TrevorLifeline Phone: (866) 488-7386 Available 24/7/365

TrevorLifeline Text: Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200

  • Available Monday-Friday from 3PM ET – 10PM ET/ 12PM PT – 7PM PT

TrevorChat: Online instant messaging with a TrevorChat counselor

  • Available 7 days per week from 3PM ET – 10PM ET/ 12PM PT – 7PM PT
  • Trained counselors provide support to youth who are in crisis, feeling suicidal, or just need a safe, non-judgmental person to talk to

Counseling services:

Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona

  • Provides behavioral health counseling services for all ages
  • Accepts AHCCCS (Medicaid) insurance, Medicare, or self-pay (no private insurance)
  • Call (520) 795-0300 or email to request services

  • This website allows you to search for a therapist in your area and you can filter for providers who take your insurance, as well as other filters to help you find a counselor that is a good match
  • Most clinicians in private practice on the Psychology Today website take various forms of insurance including commercial insurance plans (e.g. BCBS, United, etc.)

Sequoia Springs

  • Counseling provider in Tucson, takes multiple types of insurance, specialize in trauma
  • (520) 838-0918
  • Takes private insurance


  • Counseling provider in Tucson for variety of issues
  • (520) 827-6372
  • Takes private insurance

Aspire Counseling Services

  • Integrated approach to treatment (mind-body connection)
  • (520)981-4547


  • Counseling services for various issues; specialize in trauma, depression, and family conflict
  • (520) 329-1250
  • Takes private insurance

Tucson Counseling Associates

  • Treat variety of issues
  • (520) 524-4757
  • Takes private insurance


  • Mental health platform providing online mental health services directly to clients, up to 6 months of therapy at no cost for individuals who have been impacted by the war in Israel.

  • PJ Library’s Israel Hub: If you are struggling, as many of us do, to navigate conversations about events in Israel with your children or grandchildren, PJ Library has compiled a shortlist of resources.

Sign up for our email list today to know about news, community, and more.

Explore more about Israel

Are you an adult age 18-26? Learn about Taglit Birthright trips!

Traveling to Israel? Check out Israeli chef Michael Solomonov’s restaurant recommendations 

Explore Israel like National Geographic explorer!

Check out the myriad resources found on the Tel Aviv Tourism website

The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland―Then, Now, Tomorrow – The most comprehensive Zionist collection ever published, The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland—Then, Now, Tomorrow sheds light on the surprisingly diverse and shared visions for realizing Israel as a democratic Jewish state. Building on Arthur Hertzberg’s classic, The Zionist Idea, Gil Troy explores the backstories, dreams, and legacies of more than 170 passionate Jewish visionaries—quadruple Hertzberg’s original number, and now including women, mizrachim, and others—from the 1800s to today.

Day After Night by Anita Diamat – Based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than two hundred prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for “illegal” immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp who survived the Holocaust.

Check out SAPIR for news and thought-provoking Jewish Conversations

Activist, actress, and author, Noa Tishby explores Jewish history and politics in Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth

Learn about Israel’s culture of innovation in Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle 

Ever wonder about Hebrew? In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language is a fascinating read

Read about the creation of the modern state of Israel in National Jewish Book Award Winner, Israel: A History 

Find more reading from the National Jewish Book Council

Follow @globaljews for awareness about the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of Jewish identity and experience

Neil Lazarus Helps understand some the complexities of the Israel-Palestinian-Pan Arab conflict

Danny Gordis is an American born Israeli who writes about current political and social issues with an emphasis on Israel- North America relations

Good News from Israel  provides updates of good news stories from Israel

Have your own travels featured on the official @visit_israel’s Instagram through #VisitIsrael or #HolyLandPics

The Z3 Project fosters renewed conversation on world Jewry and Israel relations through learning, engagement, and dialogue

To be up-to-date, check out this evolving Apple Music playlist of current Israeli hits.

Israel has a rich history of beautiful folk music, check it out at this Spotify playlist.

Every month, a leading thinker will join Amitai, Z3’s Executive Director, to discuss the most pressing and interesting topics concerning the dialogue between the Diaspora and Israeli Jewish communities. 

Watch them here.

Our Generative Mission Statement for Israel Engagement:

What do we mean by engagement? What do we want to achieve?

Photo Gallery


Abbii, our WIC Director, and Yuval, our community Shalicha want to meet you!  They  are here to help you create and nurture a self-propelled, personal relationship with Israel and Israelis. Whether you have questions, want to share your interests, or simply wish to connect, Abbii and Yuval are eager to chat with you. Reach out today to schedule a “coffee date” and embark on a journey of discovery and connection with Israel.


Abbii Cook

DIRECTOR OF the weintraub israel center

520.299.3000 – EXT 4120


Yuval Malka

Senior Community Shlicha


Want to connect? Interested in being part of a micro-community?

Thank you to our sponsors and community partners for making Israel at 75 festival a success!