New olim celebrate first Shavuot in Israel

Young olim celebrate their first Shavout in Israel.
Photos by Jared Bernstein Photography/courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh

These photos of young olim celebrating their first Shavuot in Israel were just too cute to pass up.

They were taken at an event in Ein Yael, Jerusalem, organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, which works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel, to help new olim prepare for their first Shavuot in Israel.

At the event, the children, accompanied by their parents and Nefesh B’Nefesh staff, prepared for Shavuot by assembling delicious baskets of fruit, which is a customary tradition in Israel during this period, according to a release from Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“I’m so excited to be celebrating my first Shavuot in Israel,” said 7-year-old Nachi Jerozolim, who made Aliyah with his parents from Woodmere, N.Y. last August, in the release. “It is so much fun to be living in a Jewish country where everyone around me is getting ready to celebrate the same holiday.”

To learn more about Nefesh B’Nefesh, visit

See this week’s Jewish News for more Shavuot photos.

This weekend: Shavuot-lots of learning and ice cream

On Shavuot, a harvest festival, we celebrate the giving of the Torah. Shavuot customs include hearing the Ten Commandments, staying up all night learning and eating dairy foods (in Phoenix this time of year, that means lots of ice cream).

This year, the holiday starts on Saturday night. Learn more about it in these articles by Rabbi Barton Lee of Hillel at ASU and Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky of Beth El Congregation.

Shavuot celebrates giving of Torah” by Rabbi Barton Lee.

Torah: Desert, fire, water: Shavuot is available to all” by Rabbi Arthur Lavinsky

In Israel, Shavuot is celebrated on one day and outside of Israel, many celebrate it in two days. For those who celebrate it in one day, the Yizkor memorial service is said on Sunday and for those who celebrate it on two days, it’s said on Monday. (Coincidentally, on the same day as Memorial Day this year.)

To learn more about the Yizkor service, read this article by Rabbi Yossi Levertov of Chabad of Scottsdale.

For a full list of Shavuot programs, visit our Shavuot listings on

Candlelighting is after 8:12 p.m. on both nights.

Chag Sameach!

Congratulations Jewish Free Loan artists

Jewish Free Loan announced the winners of its Yes I Can project at its May 9 annual meeting. The project was the brainchild of Suzanne Parelman, JFL board member and marketing committee member. Through this project, children were asked to submit artwork for JFL’s 2012-2013 tzedakah cans.

In Valley Jewish preschools, teachers received resources on how to teach tzedakah, provided by Rabbi Elana Kanter, director of the Women’s Jewish Learning Center and a JFL board member and Yes I Can chair.

Congratulations to the winning artists: Emma Blackstone, 8, of Temple Chai and Alexander Jacobs, 10, of Pardes Jewish Day School. Annie Barget, 10, of Pardes Jewish Day School, received an honorable mention.

Here are the winning pieces:

Emma Blackstone, 8

Alexander Jacobs, 10

Annie Barget, 10
Honorable mention

Bibi on cover of Time Magazine

Time Magazine puts Netanyahu on new cover

The cover of the newest issue of Time Magazine features Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the title reading “King Bibi” and the caption reading “He conquered Israel, but will Netanyahu now make peace—or war?”

Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel writes in the cover story that Netanyahu “is poised to become the longest-serving Israeli Prime Minister since David Ben-Gurion…His approval rating, roughly 50 percent, is at an all-time high…Like his father, he has an almost mystical belief in the abiding power of anti-Semitism, as though it were more biological than cultural…The question is whether he is a prisoner of that history or he can write a new narrative.”

The 5,000-word profile will appear in the May 28 issue of the magazine, and doesn’t answer the cover’s question directly. The story does, however, address Netanyahu’s acute fear of a nuclear Iran and his skepticism regarding negotiations with Palestinian leadership. “Bibi would like to be a hero, but he will not be one at the expense of Israel’s security,” Stengel writes.

—JointMedia News Service

Jewish News wins four awards

Congratulations to Salvatore Caputo and Josh Sayles on winning Arizona Press Club Awards tonight!

Josh Sayles won first place in the Personality Profile category for “Chasing Truth.”

The judge’s comment: “Interesting subject matter, superior reporting job in this stack of entries, left me wanting more – in a good way.”

Salvatore Caputo won first place, second place and third place in the Editorial Writing category.

First place: “Art of the intractable

The judge’s comment: “Drew upon local reporting and the sour state of the Arizona economy to explain why unemployed Arizonans need help.”

Second place: “The Triangle shanda

Third place: “End class war now

Great job -congratulations!

This weekend: Baseball, Jerusalem Day and more

Here’s a roundup of things to do this weekend in the Greater Phoenix Jewish community.

‘Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story’

1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20, at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, 12701 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale

The Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center presents “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story,” a documentary that explores the connection between Jewish Americans and baseball.

The screening is part of a kickoff for Koach Maccabi, a program to prepare children, ages 10-12, for the Maccabi Games with programs, and team-building activities  Before the film, at noon, there will be a Wiffleball game, and afterward, at 3:30 p.m., an art project about “What Makes You a Good Friend.”

Tickets are free for age 16 and younger and $5 for all others.

Check here for more information and to watch the trailer.

Jerusalem Day concert

7 p.m.  Sunday, May 20: Beth El Congregation, 1118 W. Glendale Ave., Phoenix

Direct from the Galilee in Israel, Diane Kaplan (singer/songwriter/guitarist), who grew up in Phoenix, will present a concert celebrating Jerusalem Day.

Kaplan studied at NAU before moving to Israel, where she has performed acoustic folk and world music for more than 35 years.  Her concerts are a mix of her own compositions, Israeli, Yemenite, Ladino as well as Celtic songs, Bob Dylan and blues that touch on her personal history, told through the music that influenced her and became part of her life along the way.

Tickets at the door are $18, which include the concert, light refreshments and an opportunity to meet with the performer after the show.

Hear a sample of her music here.

Tour de Chai

7 a.m. bike-a-thon check-in, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. festival and vendor fair. Temple Chai, 4645 E. Marilyn Road, Phoenix.

On Sunday, Temple Chai will host its first Tour de Chai, a cycling and end-of-year festival.

Get all the information in this promotional video from the synagogue.

Other things going on:

Sunday, May 20:  The Arizona Jewish Historical Society hosts its annual meeting at 11 a.m. at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center.  AZJHS volunteer archivist Marty Richelsoph will receive the Beryl Morton Award and the event will feature music by the Rural Street Klezmer Band. More details.

Sunday, May 20: Sifyrat Pijama B’America, an offshoot of the PJ Library Jewish literacy program for children that sends free Hebrew books to families with at least one Hebrew-speaking parent , launches locally with a registration event at Pardes Jewish Day School. More details.

Shabbat Shalom!