Our Congregation

Family, tot, young family and teen Shabbat services are conducted in addition to daily minyan and festival services.

Generations of children have gone through CAI’s award-winning preschool, kindergarten, religious school and United Synagogue Youth programs.

Adult education offerings include visiting scholars, holiday and family workshops, weekday and Shabbat Torah study, and more.

Affiliate and social groups provide opportunities to enrich friendships, learn new skills and engage in service projects; a monthly book group discusses books by Jewish authors and/or with Jewish content; and numerous Havurot are formed to help extend synagogue families.

Ongoing social action projects allow participation in Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) through blood donor drives, food and clothing collections and diaper drives, thereby connecting contributors to the greater Jewish community.

“It is important to live Jewishly, to be in the midst of, and as part of, our people,” states Rabbi Robert Eisen. “Active involvement in Jewish life can offer understanding, compassion, courage, and strength; something we all seek at one time or another.”

We come to our synagogue to pray together, to study our sacred texts, to share our lifecycle events, and to find companionship. May you find the understanding, the compassion, the courage, and the strength you seek to meet your needs of the hour and the demands of eternity.

Congregation Anshei Israel is committed to:

  • Promoting Jewish continuity
  • Education of our children and adults
  • Spiritual renewal
  • Making our community a better place to live through social action projects

Our synagogue has two houses of worship: the sanctuary and the Epstein Chapel. The larger sanctuary is usually the site of our Shabbat morning services, which feature the reading of the Torah and frequently involve community celebrations (Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, baby-namings, aufrufs [blessings for an upcoming marriage], and anniversaries), thus attracting many worshippers and visitors. The Epstein Chapel is usually the site of our Friday evening Kabbalat Shabbat services, which offer a worship service only, thus attracting a smaller congregation of worshippers to a more casual and intimate environment. Wherever we are praying, we face east toward Jerusalem, the site of the First Temple.

Our History

Congregation Anshei Israel was founded in 1930 and originally located in downtown Tucson on South Stone Avenue. Under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Marcus Breger and Cantor Maurice Falkow (both of blessed memory), the synagogue relocated in 1946 to 6th Street/Martin, and, as the congregation continued to grow, moved in 1969 to its present location on the corner of 5th Street/Craycroft. Rabbi Arthur Oleisky began a 29-year tenure as spiritual leader in 1970. Cantor Ivor Lichterman joined us 1991-2011, and in 1999, we welcomed Rabbi Robert Eisen where he continues to lead our congregation. From 2005-2011, Rabbi Kelley Gludt served as our assistant rabbi and education director. In June 2011, Rabbi Ben Herman joined us as Director of Congregational Learning, was promoted to Assistant Rabbi in June 2012, and took a pulpit in NY in June 2014. As of June 2014, Nichole Chorny was appointed as Cantorial Soloist. In this role, Nichole is responsible for conducting congregational services, and coordinates and/or conducts life-cycle events and the B’nai Mitzvah program in collaboration with Rabbi Robert Eisen. She also develops and coordinates educational programs and worship services for CAI’s Religious School, youth and young families. From June 2014 to May 2015, Sarah Artzi assumed a new role as Interim Religious School Administrator, handling the day-to-day operations of the school, its teachers and its students. She worked closely with Nichole Chorny to build a strong sense of community and ruach (“spirit”) within our school. We welcomed Rabbi Ruven Barkan as Education and Youth Director in August 2015 to head up the Religious School, to lead our Kadima and USY programs, and to enhance the community of young families around the synagogue.