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Lee Levin


Lee Levin: With decades of experience in the field and expertise in the online sources that provide the keys to our not-so-hidden past, Lee will help us unearth fascinating facts about our families. The program will demonstrate how to carry out genealogical research, record facts and share our findings.




Saturday, January 18, 2014, 1-3 PM

(Open to the public)




The Dusenberry-River Library, 5605 E River Rd




Susan Rubin, 577-7718,
or Becky Schulman, 296-3762,



Please bring a snack to share and a food donation for the Community Food Bank.


We Hope You can Join Us!! You Might Win A Door prize!!






Marshall Rubin


As we start 2014 it is hard to realize that the past year has gone so fast. It has been a busy and productive year in which we enjoyed many activities. For me the highlight was our High Holiday celebration, stimulated by enthusiastic leadership and participation of our own membership. We showed that we have the ability to draw inspiration from within.  I would like to express special recognition and appreciation to my eight fellow board members who have worked diligently throughout the past year and have all consented and been re-elected to serve another year.  In addition, I am very happy to welcome two new board members who have been elected. They are Sandee Binyon and Hafez Ward.  Once we received the election results in October, our board voted and they both accepted to fill the two empty board slots for the remainder of the year.  Both have become very actively involved in planning.  It is great to have a full board!!  There are still many needs for members to become involved and volunteer in planning during 2014. Please feel free to contact me to learn how you might help make our SHJC community grow by volunteering your own time.  We need your help!  I encourage our total membership to join us at our Annual Meeting on February 15th to formally install our board, learn more about how you can help, and have fun socializing.  My best wishes for a very happy and healthy new year to everyone. 


Jewish Genealogy

Saturday, January 18

1:00 p.m.

(Open to the public)


Rabbi Eva Goldfinger  

Humanistic Judaism Today

Sunday January 26,

 10 a.m.

(Members/prospective members only)


Annual Meeting

Saturday, February 15

11 a.m. 

(Members/prospective members only)


Board Meeting

Saturday, February 15

1:30 p.m.

(Members welcome)


Lecture Program
Sunday, March 9

3:00 p.m.

(Open to the public)


Board Meeting

Monday, March 31

2:00 p.m.

(Members welcome) 


Passover Seder

Saturday, April 19

(Open to the public)


High Holiday Observance

Saturday, September 27

(Open to the public)  




(Article by Hafez Ward)


High Holiday service took place at the peaceful St. Francis of Assisi Church on Sept. 7, 2013. Susan Rubin, a longtime SHJC member and one of the founders, was the service leader. She made us welcome with her warmth and humor.


Traditionally the High Holidays encourage us to look into ourselves and consider how the past year has been.  These thoughts and emotions provide guidance to us in continuing the process in the coming year.  We are asked as well to consider those in need. 


Candle lighting enhanced this reflection and symbolized the freedom we enjoy as American Secular Jews. The Tashlikh ceremony helped us to ease pain in our lives.


High Holiday Shofar 2013

As the shofar blew in its traditional manner, many of us were "blown away" by Stu's increasing talent as a shofar blower.



The beautiful Kol Nidre carried us to a profound space where we could meditate on issues of our past and search for truth and strength within ourselves. 

High Holiday  Flower ceremony
By placing flowers in a vase we acknowledge the love we have for individuals in our lives who may have passed.



Anyone Missing a Bracelet?

At the close of the High Holiday celebration a bracelet was found at the church hall.  If someone is missing such an item, please contact Becky Schulman.

for members and invited guests was held on September 21st




(Article by Kent Barrabee)


On October 20, more than 80 people attended a lecture/program featuring David Silverman, president of American Atheists. The audience included Circle members, Free Thought Arizona members and other interested parties from the general community. His topic was "I am an atheist and so are you."


As an experienced debater, he insisted on a paradigm: If all Jews do not share a particular characteristic, then that characteristic is not part of the definition of what makes a person a Jew. Since all Jews do not share the same culture (cuisine, dress, music, language, history, values, etc.), racial background, matrilineal decent, geographic location, etc., not one, nor a combination of these characteristics makes a person a Jew. 


To Silverman, being Jewish requires accepting Jewish theistic religious beliefs. According to him,  calling oneself a secular Jew is a form of self-deception; secular Jews are really just atheists, like himself. As he has said in the past, "secular Jews should really call themselves atheists." Some in the audience who considered themselves to be Jewish disagreed with Silverman's all-or-nothing paradigm. Some found his generally dogmatic tone to be disrespectful. Others found his views to be stimulating. Note: If our organization were to agree with his conclusions, we would have to consider changing its name to the Secular Humanist Atheist Circle or the Humanist Atheist Circle, since the word secular would be redundant.






Lots of light and lots of tradition were the focus of our Hanukah celebration. To ensure the sun does not die as the days get shorter (belief of ancient people of Israel), lit menorahs made a spectacular glow throughout the room.
Menorahs 2013 Susan Marshall

Menorahs 2013 











The festivities took place in the afternoon of  Saturday, December 7th.    Traditional food were augmented by a variety of salads and fruit. Once again there was a gift exchange - a fun time as a number of the items were popular that they changed hands repeatedly. 


Hannukah 2013 Hannukah game

Once again, the clubhouse at Fairfield in the Foothills was used by our group. We thank Shirley and Sheldon Silverman for facilitating making this room available to our group. 





 Carolyn Simon, one of our longstanding members and frequent contributor to this newsletter, submitted this article about genealogy - a pursuit dear to her heart. 




 Making sense of often closely held family secrets is an endeavor that too many of us do not undertake until we have time that is not swallowed up by studies, work and family. Too often older family members who hold the key and may (or may not) be willing to divulge the facts are no longer with us.

 Fortunately, there are a few experts around to direct us on the right path. One of them, Lee Levin, of the Southern Arizona Jewish Genealogy Society will be our speaker on Saturday, January 18, at 1:00 p.m. at the River Library. He has decades of experience in the field and expertise in the electronic tools that provide the keys to our hidden past.  In fact, he hopes that one or two of our members will come forward with a family mystery they hope to solve. We promise you a fascinating afternoon. Lee oversees the group's blog:


             Once people are gone, descendants are forced to turn to research to find answers. My own background as a reference librarian made me very prejudiced toward the ancestor hunters who haunted the library, eager to have us do the work of helping prove that their forbears, if not Eleanor of Aquitaine or Increase Mather were at the very least Abe Lincoln or some other peasant who made good.


              Even bigots want answers. For a long time, I was embarrassed to admit this to myself. My uncle talked frequently about his great-grandfather, a minor Prussian official, who had fled in the wake of the 1848 troubles and eventually emigrated to Koenigsburg and later sent his issue to the US. How much of this was true? And what about my grand-father's disinherited sister who became an actress? And there was the story about the ancestor who robbed a Polish shrine and wound up with a fortune. Where is it now?


              This led to the Internet and, the mother of all Jewish genealogy sites, and eventually to the local organization. Jewish genealogy is special and often must be approached by different routes. Results can be golden. The search is addictive. Not all the answers are found and sometimes they are not what we sought. Sometimes it leads us to explore cemeteries, libraries, DNA and foreign shtetls. We meet interesting people.


Proving some legends true continues to elude me. I have learned many other things about my family's past. Census records showed that a great-grandmothers was ten years older than her husband and had lost six of her nine children. While she was once considered stupid, we now understand she had a learning disability. She had a reputation for being grouchy. No wonder! And I have connected with several cousins who have provided new facts and even a couple of old documents, including my great-great grandparents Russian marriage certificate.

 And I did find hundreds of articles and on the web about the actress. In one interview, she talked about her Hungarian childhood, which, of course, was my grandfather's.

 We hope this article wets your interest for our January 18th program on GENEALOGY.


NEW MEMBERS (since early summer)




Liz Betts

Sandee Binyon

Jane and Merlin Cohen

Linda and Richard Sampliner

Roberta Zelikow


To those of you who have been ill or have had accidents, we warmly wish a speedy recovery and a health New Year.

Speedy recovery  





Currently, our website is up and running. Susan Rubin has assumed responsibility for this venture and coordinates with the webmaster.

Please visit the website. Among other items, there are lots of pictures and copies of early newsletters.


Congratulations Susan - you're doing a great job.


Visit our website:





Become a part of a caring, compassionate community reflecting the values of secular humanist Judaism


Help build a new organization that meets your needs and interests.


Minimal financial costs.  Members pay reduced fees for those events that have an admission cost.


Opportunity to join a committee


Affiliation with the national organization opens up a wealth of resources to individual members and the chapter as a whole.





For 2014, dues are the same as in 2013, $110 for one member for the calendar year and $160 for a family. This includes the member payment for affiliation with The Society for Humanistic Judaism, the national organization.   


For more information about membership, please contact Cathy Becskehazy, 293-3919 or 


Renewal for everyone was January 1.

But, it's not too late. 

Please send in your check to Secular Humanist Jewish Circle.  

Address to SHJC c/o  930 S Goldenweed Way  Tucson, AZ 85748




At our recent election for new and continuing Board members, two additional members were voted to the Board:  Hafez Ward and Sandee Binyon.  


Sandee has a social service and administrative background. She has been involved with numerous non-profit boards.  


Hafez also has a social service background and she has been involved with special needs populations.  We welcome both of these new board members and are delighted by their energy, creative ideas and enthusiasm.  


The continuing Board members who were elected for an additional 2 year term are: Hal Safron, Judy Teitler, Kent Barrabee, Cathy Becskehazy and Susan Rubin.







Name or Names _____________________________________________________________

Address           ______________________________________Zip______________________

Phone  ___________________________Email ______________________________________


Types of Programs which interest you _____________________________________________


Talents or skills you would be willing to use on behalf of SHJC (e.g. lead a discussion, art or graphic design, music/singing, desktop publishing, etc.)_______________________________________


Comments or suggestions_______________________________________________________


Make your check payable to Secular Humanist Jewish Circle and mail to :  


c/o 930 S Goldenweed Way   

Tucson, AZ 85748


Amount Enclosed $______________________Date_______________



Board of Directors


Marshall Rubin  



Judy Teitler

Vice President

529 0595  

Hal Safron  


722 5652  

Jacqui Saltz


723 5652  

Susan Rubin


577 7718

Becky & Martin Schulman


296 3762   

Cathy Pintek Becskehazy


293 3919

Kent Barrabee


609 6103  

Hafez Ward


797 5622

Sandee Binyon


232 0226












Celebration/ Holiday/

Educational Events










Organizational Structure



 Marshall & Hal









This Newsletter was prepared by the

Publicity Committee: Judy Teitler and Kent Barrabee. Additional content was provided by Carolyn Simon, Hafez Ward, and Marshall Rubin.