New Clergy, Interesting and Informative Websites, and Remembering

Late spring, as it turns to summer, is supposed to be calmer, restful, and free of excitement. Not so at Institute for Judaic Services and Studies (IJSS). Rabbi Sanford Seltzer, who is rejoining us as our Rabbi, was aware of the need for a cantorial soloist and accompanist. Talk about the cavalry coming to the rescue—Rabbi Seltzer identified a cantorial soloist and accompanist. Both are very talented and versed in Judaic prayers and melodies. Next month we will feature the experiences of Eliyanah Powers, cantorial soloist, and Harrison Sheckler, accompanist.

For some summer enjoyment you may wish to look at a few websites for a bit of fun, inspiration, and thought. strives to inspire people to live more thoughtful, spiritual, and impactful lives through learning and sharing timeless Jewish wisdom. It recently featured “My Visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center” and “Ida’s Classic Cheese Blintzes Recipe.”

Tablet Magazine is an online magazine at The site features Jewish life, news, essays, podcasts, and opinion pieces. Tablet covers myriad subjects, including the arts, pop culture, technology, holidays, sports, and more. An example includes “A Reunion Postponed: As refugees streamed out of Ukraine, an Israeli man offered shelter to the descendants of the people who once saved his ancestors from the Nazis, It wasn’t quite as simple as it seemed.”

Jewish Virtual Library ( is an encyclopedia of Jewish and Israeli history, politics, and culture, including biographies, statistics, articles, and documents on topics from anti-Semitism to Zionism. It is worth the time to browse, learn, and be amazed!

My Jewish Learning is a site about Judaism and Jewish life ( including Torah portions, beliefs, and practices, studies, recipes, holidays, and more. It’s currently running a series “Jews and Ukraine, It’s complicated.” The series is worth a read.

And then there is Jewish Heritage Travel ( Pack your suitcase as you look at tours to Northern Spain, to study mysticism, music, and poetry. Current offerings include “The Jews of Ireland,” “Alsace & the Rhineland, The Birthplace of Ashkenazi Jewry,” and “Jewish Jewels of the Baltics: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia,” among other adventures.

Remembering and Honoring: All of us have experienced the loss of someone dear. A Jewish practice is Yahrzeit (the Yiddish word for “anniversary”) and refers specifically to the anniversary of the date of a person’s passing. We commemorate the event with a candle and reciting of the Mourner’s Kaddish.

IJSS board members Jeff Syden and Joel Wyner created a web page for our congregation who wish to honor the passing of a person. Jeff took me through the learning curve to access and add my loved ones to the site. But, some background information first. The site for IJSS, partnered with the National Jewish Memorial Wall to provide a way that congregants and friends can commemorate and acknowledge their deceased loved ones. Since we don’t have a permanent building, this website augments the plaque and Yahrzeit memorial that would normally be in the synagogue. The site identifies the Yahrzeit remembrance, sends reminders, and has a place where you can store your personal memories of the deceased. Primarily this is a platform for our community to capture family history and heritage through the sharing of stories and pictures.

You can access the site at or Once on the site, you will find many choices you can explore, including online plaques, Yahrzeit reminders, planting a tree in Israel, and other options. We encourage you to take a look and review plans and pricing. If you need assistance, reach out to Joel Wyner at [email protected] or Jeff Syden at [email protected]. They will be happy to assist you.

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

Wishing you a wonderful summer.