Welcome to the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona
We bring the Jewish community together to help those in need and to strengthen and preserve the Jewish people at home, in Israel, & around the world.
For more than 50 years, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona has served as our community's coordinating body for fundraising, planning, and communal services.
Through a network of affiliated agencies, we help individuals and families, The old and the young, the unemployed, the homeless, the sick, the poor, and those who are persecuted or oppressed.
Federation strives to meet the community's needs today, while planning for a dynamic and responsible Jewish future. Your participation in Federation and all of its activities will assure that future.
A Message for the Community
Over the course of the past month waves from the past have crashed upon the present.
A 29-year-old claiming allegiance to ISIS opened fire in an LGBT nightclub filled mostly with young Latinos. 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in the attack. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men, were killed by police officers in separate incidents during the same week. The recurring image of police violence against people of color erupted in a retaliatory act directed at white law enforcement officials in Dallas where five police officers were killed at the close of an otherwise peaceful protest. Here in Tucson, hateful threatening messages were posted to the door of a Syrian refugee family.
We look to the past to make sense of the present. These are times of deep division and desperation. How will we respond as a community?
In 1938, Herschel Grynszpan, a 17 year old Polish Jew, shot and killed Ernst Vom Rath, a German embassy official stationed in Paris. Grynszpan had received the news that days earlier his parents, Polish Jews who had resided in Germany since 1911, had been expelled from the Reich and were languishing in a refugee camp in the border region, a no-man’s land between Poland and Germany.
Nazi Party leadership, with Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels at the helm, used the murder of Vom Rath as the pretext for a nationwide rampage against Jews. This nationwide pogrom became known as Kristallnacht.
In a fascist state, violence precipitates greater acts of violence. How will we respond as a community?
Here are some of the ways that we have responded already: The Jewish Community Relations Council recently convened a conversation about Jewish-Mexican community relations with stakeholders in our local Jewish and Mexican communities. That same week the Jewish Federation’s Pride program held a celebration of Marriage Equality at the Jewish History Museum. In the coming months, the Holocaust History Center will convene a series of community conversations based on an exhibit illuminating the elements of genocide. The series will begin with sessions on ‘us vs. them’ dichotomies; hate speech, dehumanization and propaganda. The Southern Arizona Hate Crimes Task Force will initiate a program to send welcoming messages to refugees who are being resettled in our community.
Also, in the course of the past month, Elie Wiesel passed away. President Obama referred to Wiesel as “the conscience of the world.” Let us now respond together in the finest light of Wiesel’s legacy to work through tragedy in order to repair the world. Let’s move together to realize Wiesel’s belief that, “Even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion.”
Executive Director: Jewish History Museum
Director: Jewish Community Relations Council