Beineinu - January 2020

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Beineinu The newsletter of Ahavath Achim Synagogue • January 2020 •


havath Achim cultivates a Jewish community of purposeful belonging. We inspire and support spiritual journeys by deepening relationships with one another. We believe it is at the crossroads of our spiritual paths that life’s purpose and God might be found. Ahavath Achim creates a vibrant, inclusive, spiritual community that empowers individuals to connect Jewishly beyond themselves.

f AhavathAchimSynagogue l @aasynagogueatl t @AASynagogueATL y Ahavath Achim Synagogue D V 404.355.5222 ] 600 Peachtree Battle Ave NW

AA embraces interfaith families who desire to be part of our Jewish community. Our spiritual community serves all who wish to connect with us. Learn more about our interfaith values at

WEEKLY SERVICE SCHEDULE Morning Minyan (Monday - Friday)

7:15 am

Morning Minyan (Sunday)

9:00 am

Evening Minyan (Sunday - Thursday)

6:00 pm

Shabbat Evening Service (Friday)

6:30 pm

Shabbat Morning Service (Saturday)

9:30 am

Atlanta, GA 30327

CLERGY Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal Rabbi Neil Sandler Rabbi Arnold Goodman Senior Rabbinic Scholar

STAFF Barry Herman Executive Director Miriam Habif Director of Outreach & Engagement Jackie Nix Director of Youth & Family Engagement Chris Carr Director of Facilities Beth Arnold Helmey Ahava ELC Director Investigator Joe Jones IV Director of Security Jill Rosner Executive Assistant to the Rabbis Catherine Ficke Executive Assistant to the Executive Director Heidi Herman Ahava ELC Administrator Susan Goff Ahava ELC Bookkeeper Lauren Dube Marketing Coordinator & Graphic Designer Stan Vogel Finance Manager Fern Schorr Receptionist Wesley Coney Facilities Anika Johnson Facilities Ken Johnson Facilities Ian Madge Facilities Marcus Thomas Facilities

OFFICERS OF THE BOARD Mark Cohen President Gerry Benjamin Executive Vice President Michael Plasker Financial Vice President Gary Alembik Vice President Stacy Fialkow Vice President Betty Sunshine Vice President Allison Feldman and Rachael Joseph Sisterhood Co-Presidents Ethan Povlot USY and Kadima President

1 • January 2020

Beineinu… between you and me The Newsletter of Ahavath Achim Synagogue

Funded by a grant from The Center Family Foundation

From the Rabbi A

s our unequaled biblical leader, Moses, prepares for his death and appoints Joshua as his successor, he charges Joshua, “Chazak V’ematz” – “Be strong and of good courage” (Deuteronomy 31:7). Not incidentally, the Torah adds that Moses offered these words to Joshua “b’eynay chol yisrael” – “in the sight of all the Israelites.” Moses knew what kind of character and leadership qualities it would take to bring this community into the Promised Land and for it truly to become what the Torah earlier describes as a “mamlechet Kohanim v’goy kadosh,” a genuinely holy people committed to serving God (Exodus 19:6). What a challenge Moses established for the leader who would succeed him! Not by accident then did Dennis Ross, a diplomat who served in the Middle East under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and David Makovsky, a Ziegler Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute, entitle their latest book, Be Strong and of Good Courage. Ross and Makovsky have effectively written four profiles in courage, one each for four Israeli prime ministers, all of blessed memory, David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon. In detailed fashion, the book describes the fortitude each of these Israeli leaders displayed as he navigated challenges to Israel’s existence and well-being. Each leader understood the magnitude of the challenge. He knew that many did or would disagree with his response. But with strength and resoluteness, each prime minister knew he must move forward on behalf of the state and the Jewish people. In their final chapter, entitled “Israel’s Fateful Choice,” Ross and Makovsky take up the mantle of Moses. In Dennis Ross’ final meeting with Prime Minister Sharon, Mr. Sharon expressed a concern, “My generation [of Israelis] is the last one that is not afraid to make big decisions. I fear that the next generation will be led by politicians and they won’t decide.” Those sentiments permeate the final chapter of the Ross/Makovsky book as the authors seek to prod Israel’s leadership to follow

By Rabbi Neil Sandler

the example of their predecessors. Specifically, they put forth a convincing argument that Israel’s leadership must act decisively (“Be strong and of good courage”) today in handling the future of the West Bank/Judea and Samaria in order to ensure Israel’s well-being. I leave consideration of the Ross/Makovsky conclusions and recommendations to those who are experts in the areas of demography and security. However, I do wonder about and fear for the spiritual ramifications of Israeli leadership inaction in this realm and other areas of Israeli life today. While Israelis know they have few choices given the “cards” the Palestinian worlds have “dealt” them, many Israelis, especially those who have served in the “administered”/“occupied” areas during active or reserve military service, have grown weary and troubled by what Israel is forced to do there. Having responsibility for a people that does not welcome one’s presence diminishes the vision of Zionism and obscures the prophetic image of the Jewish people and its sovereign state as “or lagoyim,” “a light unto the nations.” Apart from the Palestinian issue, I fear the longterm consequences of the Israeli leadership’s apparent lack of concern for constraining the power of Ultra-Orthodox political parties. Instead, it seeks their support for short-term political gains. What will be the impact on an Israeli society which becomes more resentful of the Ultra-Orthodox “hand” that reaches into its life when it comes to issues of personal status like marriage and death? What will be the ultimate impact on the Jewishness of the state when Jewish religious pluralism is constantly shunted aside by the political leadership? What will be the Jewish character of the Jewish state, and how will we in America, the single greatest center of Jewish population outside Israel, relate to Israel, especially in difficult times? Do you like to read about Israel’s history? Would you like to explore some of the questions I have raised? Then read the Ross/Makovsky book, Be Strong and of Good Courage.

January 2020 • 2

The Listening Campaign, Sh’ma Yisrael By Betty Sunshine


havath Achim cultivates a Jewish community of purposeful belonging - inspiring and supporting spiritual journeys by deepening relationships with one another. We create this vibrant, inclusive, spiritual community by empowering individuals to connect Jewishly beyond themselves. To further this vision, the AA has launched a Listening Campaign, at the directive of Mark Stern MD, Chair of the Engagement Committee. The goal of the Listening Campaign is to bring members together to learn and laugh, while deepening connections to one another and to the synagogue. On November 7, 2019, this campaign was launched with the first small group meeting in our home with 15 congregants of diverse demographics in attendance. Sharing of thoughts and feelings, in response to questions regarding Jewish situations that had been meaningful, was, not only informative, but served as a bond among the participants. Trends began to emerge including: the warmth of being in someone’s home, Israel and global Jewish connections, multigenerational Jewish connections, discovering Jewish roots, ruach and prayer through musical participation, Jewish life cycle events, and symbolic items that unify around a Jewish theme. After the synthesis of all the information derived from the Listening Campaign meetings, the Engagement Team will identify common interests, passions, and concerns and begin to invite members together to form small groups. These groups will serve to: focus on the lives and significant concerns of our members; organize around shared interests, life stages, and geographies; feature shared Jewish experiences, learning, and celebration; and will be self-led by lay leaders working in a group dynamic. When invited to attend your Listening Campaign meeting, please respond to the call of the Sh’ma - and hear - and be heard!

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LIFE CYCLE ENGAGEMENTS Mazal Tov to the newly engaged couple!

Stacey Light and Joshua Fisher

Kol Hakavod

Kol HaKavod (good job) to our congregants celebrating simchas and achievements!

Married on June 27, 2020 Stacey is the daughter of Wendy and Steve Light and the granddaughter of Shirley Rich and Arnold Rich (z”l) and Estelle and Arthur Light (z”l). Joshua is the son of Ilene and Marc Fisher.

Baruch Dayan Emet May God comfort their loved ones along with the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Leonard Chill

Neal Cohen was featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times for his business venture, Tip Top. Tip Top already can be found in roughly 120 liquor stores, bars, music venues, bowling alleys, hotels, and other establishments across Georgia, in Atlanta, Macon, Savannah, Augusta, Athens, Columbus, St. Simons Island and Hiram.

Husband of Valerie Saxe Chill

Fred Filsoof

Husband of Terasa Filsoof; brother of Mimi Siegel

Miriam Fishkin

Mother of Sonia Fishkin

Estelle Rose Handler Mother of Nancy Levine

Sharon Leibenhaut Tievsky Sister-in-law of Karla Tievsky

Hans Marx

Husband of Norma Marx; father of Judy Marx

Operation Isaiah collected a total of 33,006 lbs

of food during this year’s food drive, making them the leaders of the Atlanta Jewish community! Thank you to all who donated and made this initiative a huge success.

January 2020 • 4

Events & announcements Rededication of Ozorkow Holocaust Torah Scroll

Sunday, January 5 | 1 pm: Please join us for a unique moment when we welcome back and rededicate the Ozorkow Holocaust Torah Scroll. This special Torah Scroll was entrusted to us in 1977 by Rubin and Lola Lansky (both of blessed memory), parents of AA member Karen Lansky Edlin. We are grateful to Karen and Andy Edlin for their commitment to renewing this Scroll which now enables us to read more frequently from it. Come join us as we rededicate the Ozorkow Holocaust Torah Scroll, embrace it as a precious legacy, and reaffirm its place in our flourishing future. Reception to follow.

Naomi’s Book Club

Monday, January 6 | 10:15 am | Koplin Borochoff Library: Join Sisterhood one Monday a month for a lively book discussion. January’s book is Heidi by Johanna Spyri, and the discussion will be led by Janet Snider.

mAAc Shabbat

Saturday, January 11 | 9:30 am | AA Synagogue: Join AA’s mAAc (Mature Active Adult Community), in participation with United Synagogue, for a retro Shabbat! Services will be led by many of our very own mAAc members and other mature adults. Our retro Kiddush will feature gefilte fish and herring (in addition to the normal tuna) from the good ol’ days. If you would like to participate in the service, please contact the mAAc Chair: Gail Solomon (; 404.456.6171). We look forward to celebrating with you!

5 • January 2020

Lock-In with USY and Kadima

Saturday, January 11 - Sunday, January 12 | AA Synagogue | $25 per person: Calling USYers and Kadimaniks! Join your friends for a sleepover at the synagogue for a night of movies, games, food, and more!

Sisterhood’s Latte and Learn

Thursday, January 16 | 10:30 - 11:30 am | Panera Bread 4531 Olde Perimeter Way, Atlanta, GA 30346: Join the rabbis and fellow sisters every third Thursday of the month for a morning of coffee (or tea), conversation, and learning at Sisterhood’s monthly study group.

HomeBeis@AA Youth Services

Saturday, January 18 | 10:30 - 11 am | Koplin Borochoff Library: As part of our new Shabbat programming, we are excited to introduce Youth Services! Parents and their children (K - 2) are invited to join us once a month for a taste of Shabbat morning services specifically designed for this age group.

HomeBeis@AA Groove Shabbat

Saturday, January 18 | 11 11:30 am | Paradies Hall: As part of our new Shabbat programming, we are excited to continue Groove Shabbat! Parents and their children (0 - Pre-K) are invited to join us one Saturday a month for stories and interactive songs celebrating Shabbat and upcoming Jewish holidays. Snacks, play time, and Kiddush lunch to follow.

Mahloket Matters: The Beit Midrash Way

Wednesday, January 22 | 7 pm | AA Synagogue | Registration Required: The Atlanta Rabbinical Association is bringing our synagogues and organizations across Atlanta together with one goal in mind: agreeing to disagree. Presented in partnership with the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and the Atlanta Jewish Federation, and numerous community partners, this program will be held simultaneously in multiple locations throughout the greater Atlanta area. Wherever you find yourself in Atlanta, or inside the Jewish community, there is a place for you in this conversation. AA is a proud partner of this program.

Atlanta Jewish Life Festival

Sunday, January 26 | 10 am 3 pm | Georgia Aquarium 225 Baker St NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 | Registration Required: Come celebrate Jewish culture and Atlanta’s thriving Jewish community at Atlanta’s largest single day Jewish festival event! AJLF is a grand showcase of Jewish food, arts and music and a point of connection for the Jewish and Israeli organizations, institutions and businesses impacting metro Atlanta and beyond. AA is a proud community partner of this event.

Blood Drive

Sunday, February 9 | 9 am - 2 pm | Srochi Auditorium: Do the mitzvah of donating blood at AA’s quarterly Blood Drive! Everyday, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer. In fact, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. You can schedule an appointment with us through the Red Cross Blood website by typing the code “JWV” in the “Find a blood Drive” search box located on the top right-hand corner of the home page. You will be directed to the AA registration page where you can schedule your appointment. The Quarterly Blood Drive is sponsored by Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, Congregation Or VeShalom, Jewish War Veterans Post 112, and Fulton Lodge No. 216 Free and Accepted Masons.

Tu B’Shvat Tree Planting

Sunday, February 9 | 12:30 - 4 pm | At the Corner of Woodland Ave and Lenox Rd, 30324 (South of Lavista Rd): Join the Atlanta Jewish community in planting trees for Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year of the trees! Trees Atlanta will provide the trees, tools, and expertise; we’ll spread tree roots into fertile ground, giving them a place to flourish! Refreshments (fruits, nuts, and hot coffee) and special children’s programming offered.

Yom Disney with USY and Kadima

Friday, February 14 - Monday, February 17 | Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World: Calling USYers and Kadimaniks! Join friends from across the southern region at the most magical place on earth! $122 by January 14; $136 by January 15- 30 (does not include transportation or weekend activities). Be on the lookout for more details about transportation, housing and other weekend activities.

mAAc’s Second Annual Kick-Off Brunch

Sunday, February 16 | 11 am - 1 pm | Srochi Auditorium | $18 per person: Join AA’s mAAc (Mature Active Adult Community) for their Second Annual Kick-Off Brunch. Enjoy delicious food and entertainment from the Gray Matters Band.

Jewish Learning Groups Tuesdays@AA - Every Tuesday | 10 am - 12 pm | Fishman Conference Room Rabbi Rosenthal’s Talmud Class - Every Wednesday | 5 - 6 pm | Koplin Borochoff Library Hebrew 202 (Intermediate) - Every Wednesday | 7 - 8:30 pm | Fishman Conference Room Rabbi Sandler’s Talmud Class - Every Thursday | 8:30 am | Cavalier Room Torah Study - Every Saturday | 10:30 - 11:30 am | Cavalier Room Hebrew 101 (Basic) - Every Sunday | 10 - 11:30 am | Cavalier Room

January 2020 • 6

Piedmont Study Group - Every second Wednesday of the month | 2:30 - 3:30 pm | The Piedmont at Buckhead

the Ahava ELC Director: Beth Arnold Helmey (; 404.900.9411).

Lunch and Learn - Every third Wednesday of the month | 12 - 1 pm | Office of Birnbrey Minsk Minsk and Perling

Ahavath Achim’s Backpack Buddies (BPB) provides foodinsecure students at E. Rivers Elementary School and Bolton Academy with backpacks full of satisfying and healthy food for every weekend throughout the school year. Over 25% of children attending E. Rivers Elementary School and Bolton Academy participate in the free or reduced-price meal program. Many children leave school on Friday not knowing when they will eat again. Backpack Buddies provides food for these children on weekends to make sure that they stay nourished for the subsequent week. Questions? Contact the co-chairs: Sherri Wildstein (; Carla Wertheimer (

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Event details are subject to change after publication. For more information about an event (updates, point of contact, registration, etc.), visit our online events calendar at •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Ahava Morning Greeters Needed

Ahava Early Learning Center is looking for a few friendly volunteers to greet families as they arrive in the early mornings. Volunteers will provide a warm welcome as children and their families arrive at school in the morning, take phone messages, and occasionally greet guests or substitute teachers as they arrive at the building. If you or someone you know is an early bird who loves children and is looking for a way to contribute to this growing community, please call the school at 404.900.9411 or talk to Heidi at the front desk or the director, Beth, for more information.


AA and Ahava Early Learning Center are proud to participate in the ALEF Fund Scholarship, a program that allows families to make the dream of a Jewish school experience for their child a reality! Parents with children enrolled at Ahava are eligible and encouraged to apply for an ALEF Fund scholarship, which can provide up to approximately $9,000 of support per child per year! The ALEF Fund, Inc. is a registered Georgia 501(c)3 Student Scholarship Nonprofit Organization that supports Jewish education in Georgia by helping taxpayers receive a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for providing scholarships to students at the Jewish preschools or schools of their choice. This past year, thanks to the many who contributed a portion of their Georgia State Income Taxes to the ALEF Fund, Ahava received more than $100,000 in scholarship funds designated for students in our Pre-K class. Todah Rabah! Please visit for more information about how you can allocate a portion of your taxes to help support Ahava or how your child can receive a financial scholarship for Pre-K. It’s simple to qualify! Questions? Contact

7 • January 2020

Backpack Buddies - Fight Childhood Hunger

Chesed Initiative

Kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear (Mark Twain). The Chesed (Loving-Kindness) Initiative, created in October 2018, has over 35 volunteers who have made positive differences in our fellow congregants’ lives. This Initiative works with our clergy, staff, and leaders to connect AA congregants with members who want to do good deeds. In the past year, we have developed a volunteer training manual, conducted 5 training sessions, cooked and baked for over 30 ill or hospitalized congregants, attended over 11 Shiva minyanim, and sent over 115 personalized notes. The following tribute funds allow the initiative to do its work: the Daily Minyan Fund, the Susie Habif Chesed Fund, and the Bikur Cholim (Visiting the Sick) Fund. Please consider donating to these funds to honor and remember friends and loved ones. If you are a warm, friendly, dedicated volunteer looking to strengthen our community and make a difference in a fellow congregant’s life then this initiative is for you. Caring touches make all the difference in the world to those receiving them. If you know of a congregant who is facing personal difficulties related to health, loss, or grief, please contact Fern Schorr (; 404.355.5222) to let us know. Questions? Contact the co-chair: Nancy Levine (

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee is seeking engaged congregants to serve on the 2019-20 Nominating Committee. This committee will select a slate of Officers and Board of Directors to be elected by the congregation at the 2020 Annual Meeting. This is one of the most important committees of our synagogue. Members of the Nominating Committee should be actively involved in the congregation or familiar with the operations and programs of the congregation and must be synagogue members in good standing. Nominating Committee members are not eligible to be on next year’s slate of elected officers or directors. If you want to be considered to serve as a member of the Nominating Committee, or if you wish to nominate a fellow congregant, please submit your name, or that of your nominee, to Nominating Committee chair, Rob Wildstein ( Nominees to serve on the committee will be elected by the Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees at their upcoming meetings.

Sisterhood - The Centennial Year

Empowering Women from Generation to Generation... Ahavath Achim’s Sisterhood is a dynamic organization of women of all ages with diverse experiences, talents, and interests within our synagogue, community, and the Jewish world.

Your Sisterhood membership will nurture: • Year-Round Programming: Latte and Learn, Naomi’s Book Club, Rosh Chodesh Discussion Group, Mah Jongg, cultural outings to plays, museums, and more • Congregational Enrichment: Rosh Hashanah apples and honey, Worship in Pink Shabbat for breast cancer awareness, Sisterhood Shabbat, and synagogue beautification • AA Youth: Religious school support, gifts for consecration, B’nai Mitzvah, 7th grade graduation, and confirmation; scholarships for Jewish camps, programs, and Israel study; and holiday packages for college students • Community Outreach: Rebecca’s Tent – Shearith Israel, Zaban Paradies Center, William Breman Jewish Home, JF&CS (Jewish Family and Career Services), an active role in the AAACTS (Awareness and Action to Abolish Child Trafficking for Sex) Commitee

From generation to generation and from strength to strength, join Sisterhood today! Every woman counts for Sisterhood to grow and thrive. Basic membership dues are $45, but we encourage you to join at a “Chai-er” level. Your generous dues and donations are vital for Sisterhood to continue to offer programs and projects that strengthen and sustain our Jewish values. Z’havah Sisterhood is the young women’s initiative of the AA Sisterhood that offers programs and activities for those who are looking to share common interests. We celebrate and explore our Jewish identities through a series of programs that focus on fun, education, and social action. Questions about Sisterhood? Contact the Membership Co-Chairs: Rebecca Sokol (770.789.1467;; Rina Wolfe (404.561.0749; Questions about Z’havah? Contact the Z’havah Co-Chairs: Marni Goldman (404.697.2996;; Aurélie Weinstein (404.219.7320;

Sisterhood Cookbook

As part of the Sisterhood’s Centennial Celebration, we will be publishing A Century of Sweets, a compilation of sweets recipes from our previous cookbooks: Mind over Platter, Golden Soup, and And It Was Good. Hundreds of women contributed to these books, published in 1966, 1975, and 1994. We invite previous contributors or relatives of contributors to write a brief reflection on one of the recipes. For example, “My grandma’s raisin cake with cinnamon and chopped nuts was the perfect ending for our Rosh Hashanah meal.” If you’d like to submit a reflection, please email it to Donna Newman ( or mail it to AA with attention to Sisterhood and “Sisterhood Cookbook” written in the memo line. Submissions are due by Wednesday, January 15.

January 2020 • 8

Sisterhood's Mah Jongg Card Fundraiser

Order your new 2020 Mah Jongg cards! To order your card(s), please email Barbara Nathan (bgnathan@ with a list of names and addresses of all recipients so they can receive their cards in the mail. To pay, please write a check, payable to AA Sisterhood, and mail to Barbara Nathan (200 Brandon Place, Sandy Springs, GA 30328). Standard card = $8; large card = $9

Shopping on Amazon?

You can do that and support Sisterhood at the same time! Sisterhood invites you to do your online shopping with us on Amazon by clicking on the link on the synagogue’s website Sisterhood page. Up to 15% of your purchase will be donated to Sisterhood! It doesn’t cost any extra, so why not?

Smiling Faces Needed

Everyone who walks through our doors on Shabbat and holidays is greeted with a warm welcome. This is made possible by our devoted members who are part of our greeter team. Being a greeter is an easy and fun way to connect with other congregants, meet new people, and become an integral part of the synagogue. If you can smile and say “Shabbat Shalom,” then you are a fully trained greeter. Greeters stay in the foyer outside Ellman Chapel for approximately one hour on Shabbat and holidays. To join the greeter team, contact the co-chairs: Mildred and Marty Kwatinetz (zaydekw@comcast. net or 404.812.1734).

Summer Camp Scholarships

Summer Camp Scholarship applications are open! We have a variety of scholarships available to help support our AA members’ Jewish summer experiences. If you are interested in applying for scholarships offered through our synagogue, please download and fill out the form, and submit it by Monday, January 27. For more information, contact

9 • January 2020

the Director of Youth & Family Engagement: Jackie Nix (404.603.5743;

Torah Fund

Help to preserve, promote and perpetuate Conservative/ Masorti Judaism by giving to Sisterhood’s Torah Fund Campaign supporting scholarship funds at the Jewish Theological Seminary (New York, NY), Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies (Los Angeles, CA), Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies (Jerusalem), Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano (Buenos Aires), and Zacharias Frankel College (Potsdam, Germany). AA Sisterhood has been recognized as a leader in supporting Jewish education, in our congregation, and for the entire movement. To purchase a card or make a donation, contact the co-chairs: Amy Landrum (; Fran Galishoff (

Tribute Donations

Tribute donations offer the ability to memorialize or honor friends and family through donations to a variety of designated funds. Tribute donations can be made in honor of B’nai Mitzvah, the birth of a baby, a graduation, a wedding, or other special occasion. Donations in memory of loved ones are a thoughtful and meaningful way to remember those who have passed away. Your donation will be acknowledged with a card to the recipient of this tribute. You can make a donation by sending in a check or by completing the online donation form ( Please note that Tribute Donations require a minimum contribution of $18.