Three is a special number in Judaism. There is a Hebrew and Talmudic word called “Chazakah.” The definition of the word is, “the status of permanence that is established when an event repeats itself three times.”


This year will be our third time holding High Holiday services right here in Vail and South East Tucson.


It is a great honor for Chavie and myself to serve the Jewish community. We are proud to call Vail our home. The wider community has been nothing but accepting, and to that we say thank you!


On Rosh Hashanah the most well-known Mitzvah we perform is blowing the Shofar.


The story is told of a King who had an only son, the apple of his eye. The King wanted his son to master different fields of knowledge and to experience various cultures, so he sent him to a far-off country, supplied with a generous quantity of silver and gold. Far away from home, the son squandered all the money until he was left completely destitute. In his distress he resolved to return to his father’s house and after much difficulty, he managed to arrive at the gate of the courtyard to his father’s palace.

In the passage of time, he had actually forgotten the language of his native country, and he was unable to identify himself to the guards. In utter despair he began to cry out in a loud voice, and the King, who recognized the voice of his son, went out to him and brought him into the house, kissing him and hugging him.

The meaning of the parable: The King is G‑d. The prince is the Jewish people, who are called “Children of G‑d” (Deuteronomy 14:1). The King sends a soul down to this world in order to fulfill the Torah and mitzvot. However, the soul becomes very distant and forgets everything to which it was accustomed to above, and in the long exile it forgets even its own “language.” So it utters a simple cry to its Father in Heaven. This is the blowing of the shofar, a cry from deep within, expressing regret for the past and determination for the future. This cry elicits G‑d’s mercies, and He demonstrates His abiding affection for His child and forgives him.

This year we will join together to hear the shofar at the Cienega High School Library on Sunday, September 17th at 10:30 am.

To sign up or for any questions, visit or email

Rabbi Shemtov, ordained at the Rabbinical College of American in Morristown, New Jersey, has served as a student rabbi in communities across the world. Including in Bulgaria, Wyoming, South Dakota and California where he has led educational and holiday programs. He has taught children through Torah Tutors, an online Jewish studies platform.

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