Atlanta Jewish Times, VOL. 99 NO. 7, April 15, 2024

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VOL. 99 NO. 7 APRIL 15, 2024 | 7 NISAN 5784 NEXT ISSUE: SPA & BEAUTY, STAYCATION AND MOTHER'S DAY Happy Passover Let Our People Go!


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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES APRIL 15, 2024 | 5 THIS WEEK PUBLISHER MICHAEL A. MORRIS MANAGING PUBLISHER & EDITOR KAYLENE LADINSKY EDITORIAL Associate Editor & Website Editor SASHA HELLER Staff Writer & Proofreader FRAN PUTNEY CONTRIBUTORS THIS ISSUE BOB BAHR CHERIE AVIV RABBI DAN I. DORSCH DAVE SCHECHTER DAVID OSTROWSKY DEBBIE DIAMOND MARCIA CALLER JAFFE RABBI RICHARD BAROFF DD ADVERTISING Senior Account Manager & Team Supervisor MICHAL BONELL Account Manager ILYSSA KLEIN Account Manager SUSAN MINSK CREATIVE & DESIGN Creative Director LILLI JENNISON COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Events and Public Relations Coordinator KATIE GAFFIN Atlanta Jewish Connector Coordinator DIANA COLE GENERAL OFFICE Administrative Assistant REBECCA LABANCA 404-883-2130 The Atlanta Jewish Times is printed in Georgia and is an equal opportunity employer. The opinions expressed in the Atlanta Jewish Times do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, Ga. POSTMASTER send address changes to Atlanta Jewish Times 270 Carpenter Drive Suite 320, Atlanta Ga 30328. Established 1925 as The Southern Israelite ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES (ISSN# 0892-3345 IS PUBLISHED BY SOUTHERN ISRAELITE, LLC © 2024 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Printed by Walton Press Inc. MEMBER Conexx: America Israel Business Connector Atlanta Press Association American Jewish Press Association National Newspaper Asspciation Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber of Commerce Please send all photos, stories and editorial content to: CONTENTS NEWS 6 ISRAEL 24 SPORTS �������������������������������������������� 26 OPINION 28 BUSINESS 32 PASSOVER ���������������������������������������� 38 ARTS & CULTURE 82 CALENDAR 84 KEEPING IT KOSHER ���������������������� 86 BRAIN FOOD 87 OBITUARIES 88 CLOSING THOUGHTS �������������������� 92 MARKETPLACE ������������������������������� 94 Cover Photo: Lilli Jennison used AI Technology to create a Passover image including flags that represent nations of the hostages' origins. From Our Family To Yours

World Watches for Israel’s Response to Iran

Already the subject of global scrutiny as it wages war against Hamas in Gaza, the world waited Monday to see, not whether, but when and how Israel will respond to Iran’s unprecedented aerial assault over the weekend.

The fanfare with which Iran announced the launch of explosive-laden drones and then cruise and ballistic missiles appears to have been greater than the success of what the Tehran government labeled “Operation Honest Promise.”

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that Iran fired 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles, and that 99 percent of the total had been intercepted by air defenses. The IDF said that the Arrow 3 system, designed to counter long-range missiles, knocked down the “vast majority” of the ballistic missile.

Israel’s missile defense systems — the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3, developed with financial support from

the United States ($3.4 billion since fiscal year 2009) — combined with air support from the U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Jordan to minimize the impact of Iran’s attack.

The most severe injury known was to a 7-year-old girl living in an unrecognized Bedouin village near the Israeli town of Arad, not far from the Dead Sea.


in Beersheba.

In the absence of anti-missile technology, the casualties in Israel might have been incalculable.

The Iranian attack, which included missiles fired by Iran-allied Houthi reb-

els in Yemen, was launched about 11 p.m. Saturday, Israel time. The Times of Israel website reported that sirens sounded throughout Israel beginning about 1.45 a.m., Sunday, Israel time, and explosions resulting from missile intercepts were heard throughout the country.

The Nevatim airbase in southern Israel incurred “slight damage to infra-

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al-Hassouni, who suffered critical wounds when she was struck in the head with shrapnel, was transferred to the Soroka Hospital People take cover in a stairway in Jerusalem, as a red alert is sounded when drones and missiles fired from Iran neared Israel, April 14 // Photo Credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90/JTA Iranians attend the funeral procession for seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike in Syria, which Iran blamed on Israel, in Tehran on April 5, 2024. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

structure” in a missile strike, but the IDF said that Israeli warplanes continued to operate from the base.

Just days after the end of Ramadan, video showed Israeli missile defenses shooting down rockets launched by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the airspace over the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, among Islam’s holiest sites.

Networks that monitor the spread of disinformation found Iranian television showing video falsely purported to be explosions and fires in Israel, some being of fires in Chile.

The Reuters news agency reported that U.S. forces operating from bases at undisclosed locations in the region shot down Iranian drones in provinces of southern Syria near the Jordanian border.

Jordan has been critical of Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza, but its air force reportedly downed dozens of Iranian drones crossing through its airspace.

Flights were halted at Ben Gurion Airport for several hours but resumed at about 7.30 a.m. Sunday.

U.S. President Joe Biden cut short a trip to Delaware and, after returning to the White House, posted Sunday on the social media website “X”: “Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

Meeting in the Oval Office on Monday with Prime Minister Shia al-Sudan, Biden told reporters: “Iran launched an unprecedented aerial attack against Israel. And we mounted an unprecedented military effort to defend Israel. Together with our partners, we defeated that attack.”

Statements of support for Israel were issued from across the political aisle in Washington, as the U.S. House of Representatives readied another debate over providing emergency military aid to Israel.

Iran had vowed to avenge the death of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two generals, killed April 1 in a suspected Israeli airstrike on

a building near the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

The government in Tehran warned Israel against retaliating to Sunday’s drone and missile attack.

According to his office, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant informed U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about Israel’s developing plans.

Israel Channel 12 reported Monday, without identifying its sources, that the war cabinet had decided to respond “clearly and forcefully” to Iran’s missile and drone attack, sending a message that Israel “will not allow an attack of that magnitude to pass without a reaction.” Channel 12 reported that Israel would coordinate its response with the United States.

Speaking Sunday to Atlanta television station Fox 5, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeastern United States, Anat Sultan-Dadon, called the Iranian attacks “a threat to us all, it is a threat to the entire free world."

The Atlanta Police Department issued a public safety alert Sunday following the Iranian attacks, saying in a social media post that APD “is actively monitoring the developments between Iran and Israel. While there are currently no credible threats to our city, our dedication to protecting houses of worship and sensitive areas in all communities remains steadfast.”

The Georgia Israel Legislative Caucus said in a statement Sunday that it “strongly condemns Iran’s attack on Israel today. Georgia stands firmly with Israel and with the Israeli people. Iran and its terror proxies are a threat to us all, not only to Israel, but to the entire free world.”

Monday was Day 192 since the Oct. 7 terror attacks led by Hamas, an Iranian-backed group, in southern Israel in which 1,200 people (the vast majority Israeli) were killed and some 240 (the vast majority Israeli) were kidnapped. At this writing, 133 Israelis remain hostage, though the Israeli government believes that 30 or more already may be dead. ì


As we celebrate the seder, we remember those who should still be with us. Some of those seats belong to Magen David Adom medics, who gave their lives trying to save others. Your donation provides the equipment MDA needs so that next year only Elijah’s seat may be empty.

Join the effort at or call 866.632.2763.

President Joe Biden meets with his top Cabinet and National Security officials to discuss Iran’s attacks on Israel, at the White House, April 13 // Photo Courtesy of White House/JTA

‘Barbie and Ken’ Dish Purim Fun at Chabad Intown

Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman, founder and director of Chabad Intown, made his stand-up comedy stage debut on Sunday night, March 24, amid Purim revelers on his BeltLine stage prior to a performance by professional comedian Benji Lovitt, currently on tour in the U.S. from Israel.

What came before that was a rousing Megillah reading, cocktails, and appetizers before a seated dinner in the intimate, brick clad social hall. Stunning brunette Dena Schusterman, founder of Intown Jewish Preschool and Hebrew School, was clad in a pink cowboy hat trimmed in silver glitter, gold boots, and a long flowing blonde wig as Barbie, opposite the rabbi in his blonde Ken wig. On a more serious note, their back sides supported the yellow symbol for release of the hostages.



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Rabbi Eliyahu and Dena Schusterman celebrated Purim as Ken and Barbie. The Schustermans’ backs held yellow symbols to call attention to the plight of the hostages.
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Benji Lovitt, who grew up in Dallas, moved to Israel, and now travels as a stand-up comic.
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After a full family style meal, Schusterman shared the basics of celebrating a true complete Purim: reading the Megillah, feasting, drinking until you don’t know the difference, giving money, and gifts of food. He explained the power of impurity and the role of concealment with clothing, “When evil is exposed, we see it only when evil puts on a moral equivalent. When a king asks a queen to get drunk, it’s not a good thing.”

The rabbi then called to the stage sets of couples to play a guessing game to warm up the crowd. Husbands and wives had to wear a word on their head that the spouse had to give hints to reveal … some more quickly than others.

Schusterman then rolled out his jokes and riddles. “What was Esther’s gown made of … polyester. How do you know if a Jew or non-Jew would answer, “How’s Biz?’ Answer: ‘Biz is great.’ Gotta not be Jewish … Oiy this is a slow night.”

He then reminisced about his recent stay at a Pennsylvania retreat with classmates who all turned 50 years old and dealing with midlife crises.

“With no spouses, seven of us slept in one room … you could hear all the CPAP machines, and we had ‘bladder security’ with a bathroom on the bus.”

Warning about a “hamantaschen hangover,” he took a more serious mo-

ment of pride to recount that, in 2023, Chabad Intown had more than 1,000 donors.

Next up, the headliner was an energetic Lovitt, who made Aliyah in 2006. Alternating between English/Israeli accents, he spoke of living life large in Israel.

“Going to see the ‘Barbie’ movie in Tel Aviv results in Kain Kain Kain! I hear there’s a Mob Museum in Vegas. We have that in the Knesset … all the criminals in one place … Despite the horror of Oct. 7, we have to laugh on Purim to keep from crying … Then in 2020, COVID stopped everything … cancelled all my shows, and I learned the metric system on Zoom.”

He kept rolling, “Israelis have voted 45,000 times by stuffing ballots into the Kotel. Like Americans who threaten to move to Canada if they don’t get their way, Israelis similarly threaten, ‘If Bibi wins, I’m moving to Lebanon.’ How many here learned Hebrew in Ulpan? Gazans are learning perfect Hebrew in prison … and we learned only Hebrew nouns in summer camp … like at Barney Medintz, we couldn’t even say a sentence, maybe nouns ‘counselor, ‘cabin.’”

Lovitt, who grew up in Dallas, learned prayers he did not understand like blessing bread from the land. “But now,” he explained, “Chabad gets it … the whole experience.” ì

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Robbins Resigns, Federation Searches for New CEO

Eric Robbins announced that he will leave his position as president and CEO of Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta after seven years at its helm. Navigating the ever-changing, ever challenging landscape and carrying forward the mission of growth and cohesiveness, and sometimes emergencies, Robbins’ tenure included the obvious horrors of Oct.7, and reached back to events like the 2018 shooting in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which happens to be his hometown.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta CEO position is considerable in scope. It leads an umbrella organization that supports a plethora of issues grounded in philanthropy, including resources for healthy aging, those in need, Jewish education, inclusivity, pathways for families, leadership development, and community innovation and planning, in addition to supporting Jews globally. It is estimated that the Federation employs around 60 people.

Before joining Federation, Robbins’ foundation for social work was enhanced working for the Jewish Community Center MetroWest in West Orange, N.J., and as the CEO of Camp Twin Lakes in Rutledge, Ga., for children with

serious illness, disabilities, and other life challenges, while his early connection to Judaism was shaped as a camper at MJCCA’s Camp Barney Medintz in the North Georgia mountains.

Robbins recently chronicled his February trip to Israel with various rabbis and community leaders where the goal was to gain insight and formulate action plans upon returning home. There, he noted that the group met with Holocaust survivors whose grandchildren

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Eric Robbins will step down as CEO of Federation on June 30. Debbie Kuniansky will head Federation’s search for a new CEO.

were held hostage in Gaza, and met with IDF front line reservists, visited terrorist sites, and the Supernova music festival grounds, along with having to shelter themselves during blaring sirens as the Iron Dome charged into action.

Renee Safra Kutner, Federation COO, told the AJT, “Eric has greatly strengthened Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta as an organization, but more importantly he has strengthened our Atlanta Jewish community. Under his leadership, we are raising more money than ever before; our impact has grown in terms of grantmaking, engagement and programs; and perhaps most importantly, the relationships and collaboration of organizations across the community are at their strongest. Eric has navigated us through multiple crises to leave us in a position of strength, and we have a tremendous professional team that is committed to building on this strength so that Eric’s legacy is truly “from strength to strength.”

Beth Arogeti, Federation board chair, relayed, “We are grateful for Eric’s leadership through some of the most challenging times for the Jewish community. The Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta has been the philanthropic heart and soul of the Atlanta Jewish community for more than a century. A national search is underway for our future CEO who will help innovate and accelerate our mission and vision and help to build the infrastructure needed for a thriving Atlanta Jewish Community for the next 100 years.”

On April 2, Arogeti announced that Federation’s Board of Trustees approved the hiring of David Fisher as acting interim CEO effective June 1, as Robbins will

depart Federation on June 30 after assisting Fisher with the transition. Fisher comes to Federation with several years of leadership experience in both the profit and nonprofit sectors, including serving as Federation National Cabinet chair from 2003 to 2004, National Campaign Chair from 2007 to 2009, president of a local investment advisory firm, and President and CEO of the Birthright Israel Foundation.

Arogeti put into place a search committee headed by Debbie Kuniansky, vice-chair of the Board, and Matt Bronfman, Immediate past chair of the Board, who will assemble a team to provide support in the new CEO search. Arogeti stated, “We [also] welcome input from the community regarding prospective candidates.”

Kuniansky told the AJT, “Eric Robbins has made an indelible impact on our Jewish community, and we certainly have big shoes to fill. Currently, we are in the early stages of organizing our search committee and selecting a firm to assist us in a national CEO search for Eric’s replacement. Jewish Atlanta is fortunate to have a strong team of professionals and lay leaders at Federation, and we are confident we will attract top talent for our vibrant and growing Jewish community. As our interim CEO, Fisher’s … leadership gives us the time to be thoughtful and comprehensive in our process. We are excited about the future of Federation and Jewish Atlanta.”

Bridge builder Robbins concluded, “I think David is the perfect person to keep the ship sailing, and I look forward to working closely with him through the transition and beyond.” ì

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Board Chair Beth Arogeti welcomes input from the Jewish community regarding prospective CEO candidates. David Fisher will act as interim CEO for Federation beginning June 1.

Hillels of Georgia chose March 28 to call upon the community to take a stand against antisemitism and honor Steven Cadranel with the prestigious Billi & Bernie Marcus Visionary Award at Stand With Hillel 2024 at Temple Sinai.

The Marcus Visionary Award is presented annually to a community member who has demonstrated a strong commitment to Jewish life in Georgia, dedication to students, and shown philanthropic support to Hillel to increase the organization’s growth and meaning -- especially important now considering the recent wave of anti-Jewish hate on college campuses.

With acts of antisemitism on the rise across Georgia and the nation, Hillels of Georgia shone the spotlight on Cadranel, a native Atlantan who grew up at Congregation Or VeShalom, as slides of his bar mitzvah flashed across the big screen.

After a buffet, the program began with comments by co-chairs Avery Kastin and Doug Ross. Kastin charmed the crowd with humor that landed just perfectly and ended on a serious note, proclaiming that the students were the reason for the evening.

Cadranel Receives Hillel’s Marcus Visionary Award Happy Passover!

“You can’t build an ark while it’s raining outside,” he said. Ross focused

on the challenge of the current mission, “children facing age old hatred,” and pointed to an empty chair on stage, bearing an Israeli flag, representing the hostages.

Rabbi Daniel Dorsch, of both Congregation Etz Chaim and the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, related a Talmudic tale about a rabbi at a wedding throwing broken glass, in “how much responsibility we have in putting the pieces back together.”

Co-chair Doug Ross, Robyn Ross, chat with Mark Goldfeder, Hillel’s Legal Councel. During the reception, Steven Cadranel posed with wife, Janet, and Tim Cohen, Senior VP of Hillel International. Co-chair Avery Kastin posed with Rabbi and Hillel CEO Larry Sernovitz and Billy Bauman, Hillel board member.

Hillel CEO Larry Sernovitz spoke about the impact of Hillel in aiding students with events like Shabbat dinners in giving them a familiar place. He also sadly relayed that a student from Agnes Scott College was experiencing deep antisemitism and harassment and was missing a full-time Hillel presence on her campus. He shared about the recent antisemitic affronts at Georgia Tech and a BDS referendum at Emory, saying “Our students are fighting a war!”

Hillel is in the process of creating new generational social media content to change the narrative. “Turn the ‘oiy’ into joy” through events like bagel breaks and bridge building unity initiatives, like meeting with Spelman College students.   “Students are worried that they could be the next one assaulted … KSU students are wearing bold hostage dog tags to be seen.”

Next up were the student voices: Sophie Kalmin, Emory class of 2026; Ron Tsur, UGA class of 2025; Zoe Glickman, Georgia Tech class of 2026; and Sarina Amar, KSU class of 2025, who gave impactful talks about their own motivation and connections to Judaism, ranging from how their cousins are still being held hostage to volunteering in Israel post-Oct. 7, and hiding their jewelry (Star of David or chai necklaces).

Amar said, “I feel like I have a target on my back. My friends are aligned with terrorists. There is no use in hiding or being silent.”

Kastin was back on stage relating his own father’s advice to him about years-

old Ivy League antisemitism. He said, “I’m not embarrassed to ask for money. We need $75,000 to augment the $75,000 match provided by Mike Levin and Norman Radow. Get a young person to show you how to use the QR Code to donate.”

A video played featuring Cadrenel’s wife and daughter, who spoke of his Jewish soul. The latter said she thought everyone’s dad was “equally strong in his Jewish foundation,” and the former commented that “he hardly ever says ‘no,’ and was active in getting Hillel on the KSU campus.”

Another video showed Sernovitz and Jay Kaiman referring to Cadranel as “a general in this war” and how Bernie and Billi Marcus set the bar for community leadership and giving.

A humble Cadranel took the stage with, “Now that was a lot.” He shared that antisemitism was no longer “just a moment considering the unimaginable evil forces today. There are no consequences for twisting the truth.”

Cadranel ended the evening by recognizing David Lubin, candidate for Georgia State Representative, and whose daughter, Rose Lubin, was recently killed in action while serving as a Lone Soldier.

Earlier in the reception hour, Hillel board member Billy Bauman told the AJT, “I hung out at Hillel because my father emphasized that it was so important years ago. And more recently, my children were involved in Hillel at Wisconsin and Indiana. Today, Hillel is a wonderful place for students to learn and become productive community members.” ì

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UGA college student Ron Tsur spoke about how his Israeli relatives and cousins are still being held hostage.

MJCCA’s Capital Campaign Surpasses $36M

Officials with the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta at its annual meeting on March 26 announced that the center’s capital campaign netted $36.4 million in donor contributions and, in doing so, eclipsed the campaign goal by nearly a half-million dollars.

This campaign constitutes a significant phase in the MJCCA’s history, enabling the organization to serve a broader audience and deliver an even greater impact for the next generation of Jewish Atlanta and beyond, according to a news release.

“This campaign represents a pivotal moment for the Marcus JCC, reflecting the tremendous support from donors and community philanthropists,” said MJCCA CEO Jared Powers.

Powers added that while he was thrilled with the outpouring of financial support from the community for the MJCCA, he acknowledged that the facility still has “many unmet needs.”

“There remain many opportunities for individuals, companies, or founda-

tions to make gifts that will have a tremendous impact. As more people flock to our upgraded facilities, we will continue to need funds to grow our innovative and inspirational offerings,” he said.

Lee N. Katz, former chair, MJCCA Board of Directors, said the fundraising campaign speaks to the MJCCA’s legacy

as a center of Jewish life in Atlanta and is a testament to its expansive role in the community going forward.

“This accomplishment ensures that the MJCCA will continue to be at the center of Jewish life in Atlanta, offering innovative and transformative programs that will benefit the community for decades

to come,” Katz said.

Bernie Marcus, founder of The Marcus Foundation and co-founder of The Home Depot, also shared his thoughts about the facility’s historic fundraising haul.

“The Marcus JCC of Atlanta is essential for building community and en-

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Construction of the Eva G. Lipman Pickleball Complex, featuring eight covered pickleball courts with rain-protection siding allowing for all-weather play; to the left, the Zaban Family Sports Pavilion, a large covered multi-sport court with high-efficiency fans // Photo Credit: MJCCA Construction of expanded campus parking, adding more than 100 new parking spaces conveniently located by the Zalik Outdoor Aquatic Center, and increasing parking capacity for the Zaban-Blank building // Photo Credit: MJCCA

hancing Jewish life,” Marcus said. “Opportunities to gather at places like the JCC are important now, and especially for our children and young adults. We are proud of our longstanding partnership and look forward to these improvements strengthening Jewish engagement even further for decades to come and hope it inspires future generations to invest in our community.”

MJCCA officials said the funds raised will go toward transforming the Zaban Park campus and Camp Barney Medintz, the JCC’s sleepaway summer camp in Cleveland, Ga. “These strategic investments in MJCCA facilities will not only provide necessary upgrades but also expand the breadth and depth of programs offered, ensuring a lasting impact on participants and the broader metro Atlanta community,” according to a news release.

The Zaban Park campus will receive a series of upgrades and physical improvements, including:

Zalik Outdoor Aquatic Center: will

feature three pools – Dinerman Medeiros Pool, Samsky Pool, and Alterman Pool –and the Barbara and Ed Mendel Splash Park; pools will feature easy entry access, multiple shallow areas, in-pool sundeck, water slides, sections with shaded decks, and picnic areas (opening summer 2024)

Eva G. Lipman Pickleball Complex: featuring eight covered pickleball courts with rain-protection siding allowing for all-weather play, plus four additional uncovered courts; will also house Cadranel’s Corner, a café with extensive social and viewing areas and TV’s; complex will also include the new Zaban Family Sports Pavilion, a large covered multi-sport court with high-efficiency fans (opening summer 2024)

London Feldman Field: converted to high-end turf with a new parking lot and improved security resources (opening summer 2024)

Camp Barney Medintz: will receive new cabins, bathrooms, a dining hall extension, and an adult housing structure. ì

Future Zaban Park projects:

* Renovating the Brill Family Fitness Center

* Renovating locker rooms

* Renovating the main building

* Reimagining the courtyard and adding a pedestrian walkway

* Updating the preschool playground

“I am very grateful. So much deep-felt thanks from the bottom of my heart.
If you have money - donate money. If you have timedonate time. If you are smart and knowledgeabledonate that.
Tomorrow, any of us could need help. I wish for you that you will get back more than you put in.”
Miriam Rose

Israeli Recipient of Basic Needs Assistance

Post-October 7th

Construction of the new Zalik Outdoor Aquatic Center, featuring three pools -- the Dinerman Medeiros Pool, the Samsky Pool, the Alterman Pool -- and the Barbara and Ed Mendel Splash Park // Photo Credit: MJCCA The London Feldman Field, converted to a high-end turf field for year-round use // Photo Credit: MJCCA

Sigma Delta Tau ‘DAWG-ettes’ Reconnect

While Sigma Delta Tau, the largest historically Jewish college sorority, was founded in 1917 at Cornell University, the organization’s University of Georgia chapter hails back to 1924. But no more recent years were lost on the spirited, social, and successful UGA Sigma Delta Tau (SDT) alums who convened in Atlanta on March 16 with 39 SDT DAWGS from 1968, 1969 and 1970 classes.

Credit goes to Helena Solodar who realized that her SDT class would celebrate 50 years and hatched the plan. She spun into action to round up a committee to execute the Sunday event which began at Zafron Restaurant and concluded at Solodar’s home.

Acquiring names, addresses, emails, and phone numbers brought many memories to the planning committee – comprised of Raye Coplin, Diane Ornstein, Marguerite Mitchell Merlin, and Sharon Cornblum (all from Atlanta) plus Susan May from Jasper, Ala.

As the guests arrived, they received a

nametag for easy recognition (hopefully no one changed THAT much) with a special yellow tea rose insignia. From Texas to Boston, these college friends laughed, cried, told stories, and were amazed at all that had been accomplished for this day of remembrance which consisted


of viewing old photos that Helene had arranged on stand-up boards. Guessing who was who brought roars of laughter.

Martha Jo Katz, although not a sorority member, attended the function and contributed to this story as a volunteer and photographer. She said, “I value how

important lifetime friends are and how these sorority sisters from Athens are connected for life. I have known many of these women for years … some all my life like cousins, Raye Coplin, Susan May, and almost cousin, Judy Landy. Carol Chanin and I share a first cousin.”

From your friends at JF&CS

16 | APRIL 15, 2024 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Wishing you a meaningful Passover. | @jfcsatl
Pesach Sameach
Nearly 40 “sisters” had to stop talking long enough to pose for a group photo // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz Nancy Leffler Sonenshine and sister, Ann Leffler Davis, whose mother was a Charter Member of SDT ETA.

And so on, in Jewish geography.

A group photo was taken among the noise and excitement in attempting to round everyone up. As the ladies sat down for a Persian bill of fare for which Zafron is so well known, Helena welcomed the group, thanked the committee, and read an original poem she had composed.

Raye Harris Coplin said, “Even though 50 years has passed, it’s nice to turn back the hands of time to reflect on the memories we have.” One special memory Raye recounted was the “Sleeping Porch” that everyone “slept” in.

Solodar mentioned, “Particularly in light of our fast-paced lives and all the world turmoil that surrounds us, it’s such a beautiful and meaningful concept to bring old and special friendships back together.”

Susan May emoted, “I don’t have any Jewish friends in Jasper, so I couldn’t wait to reconnect with my sisters.”

Patti Stein, from Sandy Springs, exclaimed, “I feel so guilty to have not seen so many wonderful friends in so long and couldn’t wait to see everyone!”

Ellen Lewis stated, “Excited to see these beautiful women I shared the ‘sleeping porch,’ and bathroom with. AND I remember everyone one of them naked!”

Cheryl Issacs added, “It’s been excit-

ing to see these women; some of whom I haven’t seen in 50 years!”

Sisters Nancy Sonenshine and Ann Davis were in attendance. Nancy exclaimed how unbelievable it was to see all these women after five decades.

Carol Chanin said, “I knew it would be fun to see happy faces that I hadn’t seen in so long.”

Susan Brourman commented on the success the years had brought. “To see everyone doing so well was heartwarming.”

Marguerite Merlin made a resonating statement, proclaiming, “Those were the best years of my life -- and today brought back memories of a comfortable place to live, be yourself and be Jewish!”

After the luncheon, the sisters made their way to the Solodars’ where they splurged on homemade desserts. The décor was in SDT colors -- yellow and blue -- down to the bracelets. Attendees received yellow chocolate roses (SDT’s official flower). A touching memorial poster and small framed photos were displayed to remember the sisters who were no longer living.

After a long day of reconnecting and reminiscing, the world seemed a better place for the sisters. More memories were made. Fifty-plus years may have passed, but some friends truly are forever.  ì

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Planning Committee members (from left) Suzan Wall Brourman, Raye Harris Coplin, Marguerite Mitchell Merlin, Helena Stern Solodar, Diane Rauzin Ornstein, Susan Spielholz May // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz A blue and yellow bracelet, made by Helena and her daughter, Lauryn, was given to each attendee. The first part of the event started at Zafron Restaurant in Sandy Springs // Photo Credit: Martha Jo Katz

Sinai Program Tackles Schoolyard Antisemitism

Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs recently welcomed Rachel Fish, PhD as a scholarin-residence for a weekend of discussions around the current challenges of antisemitism in America and particularly, how they are affecting young Jews.

Fish is a historian of Israeli history and Zionist thought who has taught at Brandeis University, Harvard University, and George Washington University, respectively. She has led the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies -- a leading institute to train the next generation of academics in their studies of Israel. She is also the founder of what she describes as a think/action center based in Boston called Boundless that is focused on re-imagining Israel education and combating Jew-hatred. She also led an initiative at Brandeis that focused on countering antisemitism in K-12 educational institutions and in higher education.

The AJT asked her what her experience had been in working with young people at Temple Sinai.

Fish: Most young people were very eager to share. They feel that those who have had experiences at school and have gone to their school administration that for the most part, the school administrations have been unwilling to do anything. Most have not been accountable, and some have been negligent. I think these students are looking for spaces in which they can actually process what they may be encountering, what they’re hearing, how it impacts them and their identity and their connections to people they thought were friends with them but may not be. I think they’re looking for specific skills. And we talked about some of those skills.


Bahr: What would you say that young people need to remember about confronting antisemitism?

Fish: So, one is I think that we have to remember as Jews that most people truly are “don’t knows.” Meaning they actually have very little interactions and encounters with Jews, with Judaism, and with the Jewish state. It doesn’t excuse their ignorance, but it does mean that the way in which you address it is different because you need to be able to have some education so that they can become “knows” and have more information.

The second is that I prefer to use the term “Jew hatred” specifically when I do encounter acts of antisemitism coming from non-Jews, because Jew hatred is a much more clear understanding of what they are doing.

The third is when those individuals are acting in a way where it is clear they are engaging in a form of Jew hatred, you can expose them for exactly who they are.

Number four, I think, is we have to be very particular with word choice. And that means we need our own community to be knowledgeable enough about those words and the history of those words, and the intent of those words, so that they feel they can actually use them. And use them appropriately.

Bahr: How is the experience of young people different from their parents?

Fish: Well, I think that the parents of basically a generation of American Jews … grew up during an exceptional period of American Jewish life. That generation of American Jews does not have practice in confronting antisemitism. They don’t know how to talk about it, how to engage with it, how to navigate it. And that poses a very real challenge when their own children now are encountering it because when their children come to them, they don’t know what to do. And they typically have outsourced this work to others -- whether it’s rabbis, whether it’s Jewish educators, whether it’s Jewish

communal organizations. And this can’t be outsourced. The students, the young people, need to see their parents having the moral courage and model for them how you address these issues.

And I think we are now in a moment in which there is a reckoning that we aren’t as comfortable as we thought we were. We aren’t as accepted as we thought we had been. And because of that it has shaken many American Jews because they don’t feel like they have the friendships, the allies, or the political homes that they used to feel they had.

Bahr: Anything else to add?

Fish: I guess I would only just say, when it is clearly a form of antisemitism, we should not be afraid to address it. Too often, I think the American Jewish community is reluctant to actually say what needs to be said. And that’s a problem. And I would argue that this is when we need individuals and leaders of the community to be willing to stand with clear moral clarity and moral courage to speak truth to power. ì

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The Family Business Every Home. Every Time. Happy Passover!
Temple Sinai’s scholar-in-residence program featured Rachel Fish speaking in the temple’s outdoor learning center. Parents, according to Rachel Fish, need to take the initiative to teach their children about antisemitism. Rachel Fish has been an important advocate nationally for a more aggressive approach to confronting antisemitism in the schools.

Antisemitic Vandals Target Decatur Jewish Center

The shock and dismay of shattered glass brings a rash of emotion -- especially just a few days after Decatur Jewish Center’s Torah dedication, or maybe because of it.

On Monday, March 18, a large rock was thrown through the window of the Decatur Jewish Center. The exact time of the incident is unknown. It was discovered by Rabbi Avremi Slavaticki early Monday afternoon as he was approaching the center with a newly printed weekly message poster in hand.

He first noticed the large gash in the window directly looking into his office. When he entered the building, he saw shards of glass all over his desk with a substantial rock lying among the glass on the floor.

“It was awful to think of someone wanting to harm our community,” Slavaticki said. “I thought about the message on the sign I was holding in my hand –‘Tracht gut vet zein gut,’ ‘think good and it will be good.’ I realized that there’s an opportunity for growth and spreading positivity even in this situation.”

This act of antisemitism came during a streak of beautiful, uplifting events at the new center. Slavaticki said “We are determined to celebrate our Judaism proudly, even more than before.”

Staying on message, the community continued with the planned schedule of classes and services, even as they dealt with police reports, media requests, and

emergency security meetings. Less than a week after the incident, the community gathered for a joyous Purim celebration. “We asked the police to return our rock once it’s processed as evidence, and we


Our vibrant Cobb community has so much unrealized connectedness. I’ll be a leader who actively listens and creates opportunities to come together as we build a future we can all be proud of.

saved many of the glass shards, too,” Slavaticki said. “We’re going to turn them into a piece of Jewish art. This is what we do – we turn ugliness into beauty. Darkness doesn’t stop us – it reminds us that

our mitzvot have tremendous power to add light.”

To donate for building repairs, upgrades, and security expenses, please visit ì

The Decatur Jewish Center plans to retain the rock and glass to create a significant piece of representational art.
MAY 21,
A large rock was thrown in the Decatur Jewish Center’s office window.

Pride Weekend Conflict Won’t Deter Supporters

Every year, hundreds of Jewish Atlantans who identify as LGBTQ+ participate in Pride Weekend. But unfortunately, the City of Atlanta scheduled this year’s festivities the same weekend as Yom Kippur, leaving many community members and alternative lifestyle-oriented social organizations to workshop ideas on how to celebrate in their own way.

Atlanta Pride 2024 is scheduled for Oct. 12-13, which conflicts with Yom Kippur, as the High Holiday begins at sundown on Friday, Oct. 11, and ends at sundown on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Officials with the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN) reported that Atlanta Pride “did everything in their power to change the date but due to the needs of such a large event, there were scheduling constraints on the part of the City of Atlanta which resulted in being unable to find another weekend that works.”

SOJOURN Communications Associate Rose Kantorczyk explained, “Since Atlanta Pride is such a large event, Piedmont Park

is the only space that is capable of hosting it, and Atlanta Pride organizers worked extensively with the City of Atlanta, which owns the park, to find another weekend for the festival. However, Piedmont Park has a full event calendar, and the City of Atlanta has extensive buffer time requirements for large events held in the park. As a result, no alternate dates were available.”

Kantorczyk noted that SOJOURN typically hosts an Atlanta-wide Pride Shabbat on the Friday night of Pride Weekend, a booth at the Pride Festival on Saturday and Sunday, and a float in the Pride Parade.

“Participating in these events is a meaningful way for the Jewish community of Atlanta to engage with and show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, and for queer Jews to feel supported in all facets of their identity,” Kantorczyk said.

SOJOURN administrators, along with more than 40 Jewish LGBTQ+ representatives and allied community leaders met with Atlanta Pride to discuss the situation and brainstorm ideas on how the Jewish members of Atlanta’s LGTBQ+ community could celebrate Pride this year.

“Atlanta Pride is committed to working with us to host other Pride events for the Jewish community throughout the year, connect us with supportive peer organizations, and create a meaningful space for us in Sunday’s celebrations,”

Kantorczyk said. “We hope that a year in which our connection with Atlanta Pride looks different will not diminish the ties of deep support between Atlanta’s LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities.”

To engage the community for feedback, SOJOURN has issued a survey that indicates alternatives to the traditional Pride Weekend, including a proposed community-wide Pride seder in a nonsynagogue location on June 30. Kantorczyk noted that the June 30 date was selected to coincide with National Pride Month in June “but the possibility of that event is still being worked on.” Other ideas in the survey include a paradewatching event and hosting a booth at the festival on Sunday, Oct. 13.

To complete the survey, please visit the following link: com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfS4NKagcAdt X10Gy7ZFKdT8o1yNom6Pq2N9WuVi4vL Aeiv3Q/viewform

Kantorczyk reported that SOJOURN has received some early feedback from the survey, noting that “Jewish communities are anticipating having pretty limited capacity around the weekend of Oct. 11-13, even on Sunday once Yom Kippur is over. The things people were most excited about engaging with were having an informal parade watching party along the route and gathering in the park after the parade.” ì

Atlanta Pride 2024 is scheduled for Oct. 12-13, which conflicts with Yom Kippur leading many Jewish supporters to brainstorm alternative plans on how to celebrate this year.

Paid for by Keisha Waites.

Waites Challenges Alexander for Fulton County Superior Court Clerk

The Political Landscape Heats Up in Fulton County Amidst Trump Georgia Election Case ADVERTISEMENT

The political atmosphere in Fulton County is becoming increasingly heated, especially with the progress of the Trump Georgia election case. This backdrop sets the stage for a notable electoral contest for the position of clerk of the court. In May 2023, the former Fulton County Superior Court Clerk Cathelene Tina Robinson retired after serving for 16-years as Clerk. The interim appointed Clerk, Che Alexander, took office in June 2023, succeeding her predecessor as the appointed interim Clerk of the Superior and Magistrate Courts of Fulton County. Alexander, whose resume boasts a wealth of experience from various leadership roles within the Fulton County Government and a broad history of public service, is now up against a formidable challenger: Keisha Sean Waites.

Keisha Sean Waites enters the race with substantial legislative and administrative experience. Having served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2012 to 2017, is marked by significant political engagement and a dedication to public service. While serving as a citywide Member of the Atlanta City Council, Waites Championed impactful initiatives and legislation, including Erica’s Law, which aimed to increase penalties for habitual dangerous drivers involved in drag and street racing, and Miriam’s Law, named in memory of a victim to ensure dangerous predators are closely monitored and risk accessed before parole release.

Waites has expressed her deep concerns about the current state of the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s office. Highlighting the current challenges within the Fulton County Superior Court Clerk’s office, Waites criticizes the leadership under Alexander, pointing out issues of low employee morale, disarray due to high turnover, and a hostile working environment. Further, she condemns the premature disclosure of charges against Donald Trump by Alexander’s office as a breach of duty. The interim Clerk’s lack of experience and careless actions could potentially call into question the integrity of the judicial process.

Before her role on the City Council, Waites served in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 60, encompassing southeast Atlanta and several neighboring cities. Her legislative work included contributions to public safety, transportation, and juvenile justice, showcasing a broad understanding of the state’s multifaceted policy landscape. Notably, Waites was instrumental in authoring House Bill 54, the “Fallen

Hero” Bill, which aimed to provide tuition assistance to the children of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, further emphasizing her commitment to community support and public service.

In addition to her credentials, Waites has significant experience in emergency management, having held senior leadership positions at the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Her contributions to disaster recovery and resilience planning, particularly in response to hurricanes Maria, Harvey, and Katrina, further underscore her crisis management capabilities.

The intricate nature of the Trump Georgia election case, which has significantly heightened public and media scrutiny of the clerk of court race, becomes even more convoluted with recent developments surrounding the premature disclosure of charges against former President Donald Trump. As the case continues to command national attention, the role of Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts, Ché Alexander, has come under the spotlight following an inadvertent leak of charges prior to grand jury approval.

In a candid admission to WSB-TV, Alexander acknowledged the responsibility for the “mishap,” which saw a list of 13 counts against Trump posted on the court’s website hours before the grand jury’s formal annoucement. The document’s premature appearance was subsequently retracted, but not before its capture and publication by Reuters, which led to an initial mischaracterization by Alexander’s office, describing the document as “fictitious.” Alexander later clarified this description, noting the absence of an official stamp as a factor in the document’s initial dismissal as unreal.

The eventual confirmation of the charges by the grand jury, mirroring those prematurely posted, ignited a furor among Trump’s supporters and defense team. Attorneys Drew Findling and Jennifer Little accused the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office of disrespecting the grand jury process, suggesting the leak was not merely an administrative error but indicative of deeper constitutional issues within the case. They argued that the proposed indictment, by virtue of its premature assignment of a case number and judge, highlighted systemic flaws and a disregard for procedural integrity.

Alexander’s explanation of the circumstances leading to the leak sheds light on the interim clerk’s office’s operational pressures.

She described an attempt at a “dry run” to ensure the swift posting of any potential indictment, which inadvertently led to the document being saved to a press queue rather than remaining internal. As Alexander admitted, this error stemmed from a misclick that escalated into a significant procedural controversy.

The premature leak and its fallout not only spotlight the Fulton County Clerk of Court’s role in such high-stakes environ-

ments but also reflect on the broader narrative of election integrity and the legal system’s capacity to navigate the delicate balance between political actions and criminal accountability.

Against this complex backdrop, Alexander and Waites’s roles become even more critical. Their leadership and administrative skills will be closely scrutinized in the context of Fulton County’s ongoing legal and political developments.

Paid Content by Keisha Waites

Chabad of Cobb Unites Community at Gala

Transforming darkness into light was a powerful theme reiterated several times throughout Chabad of Cobb’s Champions Gala & Auction, held on March 14 at the East Cobb synagogue.

Speaking before a record number of more than 300 attendees, Rabbi Ephraim Silverman emphasized the importance of courage, fortitude, and Jewish pride in addressing adversity and antisemitism. He recounted the grassroots efforts by Chabad of Cobb congregants to hang more mezuzot, do more mitzvot, and become more involved in Jewish life following the Goyim Defense League demonstration in front of the synagogue and after the violent Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

He recounted the outpouring of support the synagogue received throughout the state from both government officials and local ministers after both incidents. A testament to the power of positive thinking, Rabbi Silverman found the proverbial silver lining in both situations, explaining, “If the neo-Nazis and antisemites’ goal was to help increase Jewish pride, they well surpassed their intentions.”

Throughout the evening, Rabbi Silverman shared his inspirational message of turning the “oy into joy,” as he describes it, by becoming champions for Israel and the Jewish people. “Everything comes from G-d. We can acknowledge the challenges that face us, but we cannot let them paralyze us or cause us to wring our hands in distress. We must transform negativity into a force for good. There are still so many bright spots in our world. Attitude and perspective make a huge difference,” he stressed.

Following an inspiring video about the synagogue and the challenges faced by the Jewish community over the past year, the honorees or “champions” of the evening were announced and recognized for their contributions to Jewish life and continuity. Aviva and Eyal Postelnik were recognized for their commitment to strengthening the Jewish community. According to Rabbi Silverman, “The Postelniks’ dedication and generous philanthropic contributions to Chabad of Cobb, Jewish Learning Institute, and many other non-profit organizations throughout the United States and Israel have been integral in expanding Chabad of Cobb, helping Israeli families affected by Oct. 7, and turning many great ideas into action.”

Two young adults, Zach Olstein and

Josh Asmarow, were recognized for leaving their “comfortable lives in the United States” to volunteer and fight as part of the IDF. Both young men grew up at Chabad of Cobb. Olstein was present to receive his award, and Asmarow was in Israel during the event with his unit.

Georgia State Rep. Brent Cox, who attended and spoke at the gala fundraiser, was recognized as a cherished, special friend of the Jewish community and one of the foremost advocates for Israel in the State House. Speaking before the large crowd, he said, “Do not compromise the gift of being chosen as the Jewish people. Stand for all you can be. As a Christian, my foundation comes from Judaism.” Rep. Cox was one of the sponsors of House Resolution 4EX, which condemned Hamas for the Oct. 7 attack and indicated support for Israel.

The evening’s activities also included separate silent and “Chinese” auctions where attendees bid on fine art, jewelry, household appliances and trips. The syn-

agogue met its financial goal for the evening, though the primary objective for the night, according to Rabbi Silverman, was to inspire unity and pride in the Jewish community, where he believes all are champions, each in their own way.

Roni Wolk and Carole Salzberg were chairs for this year’s gala, which raised funds for the synagogue and Magen David Adom. With many of her family members living in Israel, Salzberg was encouraged by Rabbi Silverman’s decision to proceed with the event even as the war continues in Israel. “Rabbi Silverman’s resolve to move forward reinforced the Jewish community’s refusal to succumb to fear or allow acts of violence to dictate our next steps. As we came together to honor this year’s champions, 300 people stood united -- stronger than ever -- honoring and praying for our IDF soldiers and the hostages, showing resilience and compassion, and feeling uplifted and encouraged.”

Chabad of Cobb has doubled in size

over the past year, with the addition of a new social hall, Israel Hall, for communal gatherings. In the fall, the Cobb Jewish Preschool will officially open its doors. Other programs experiencing growth include Camp Gan Izzy, Smiles for Seniors, CTeen, Chabad Women’s Circle, Cobb Hebrew School, and several adult learning programs.

As the event wound down toward the end of the night, Rabbi Silverman and his wife, Chani, beamed as they surveyed the room and interacted with their many congregants. Their longtime vision to create a strong, vibrant, and proud Jewish community, even in the face of adversity, had certainly come to fruition. And if the sentiments expressed by the attendees that night are any indication, this Cobb community is feeling energized, empowered, and ready to display their Jewish pride. Rabbi Silverman’s optimism seems to have rubbed off on several hundreds of people who were in attendance that night. ì

Rabbi Ephraim Silverman presented an award for courage and sacrifice to two Chabad of Cobb soldiers in Israel, including Zach Olstein, who was present at the event. Josh Asmarow, the other recipient, was with his unit in Israel. Aviva and Eyal Postelnik were recognized for their dedication and philanthropy. Rabbi Ephraim and Chani Silverman beamed with pride. Event chairs Roni Wolk and Carole Salzberg made the magic come to life that night with all the right touches, including beautiful decor and lively Israeli music. Georgia State Rep. Brent Cox received an award from Rabbi Silverman during a moving tribute about Rep. Cox’s dedication to the Jewish community.

Eclipse Mania: Local Professor Weighs In

At 2 p.m. on Monday, April 8, the world stopped while eyes hid behind colanders and plastic glasses. Some traveled to the direct arc of the solar eclipse while envisioning Carly Simon’s lyrics, “flying Lear jet to Nova Scotia … to see the total eclipse of the sun,” or Bonnie Tyler’s, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

Four minutes -- where everything went dark. One observer commented, “At least it was a reprieve from war and politics as a brief show of unity.”

Local Georgia Tech professor Morris B. Cohen, of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was all in for the eclipse, and was quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for his expertise in the natural electricity of the earth including lightning, the electrically charged upper atmosphere, and the radiation-filled space environment.

When asked by the AJT about how he technically evaluated the 2024 eclipse, he explained, “The ionosphere is the border of Earth and space, and it is electrically charged. When the sun sets, its properties drastically change. In 2017, we were recording the type of radio waves that come from lightning, and we found that they bounce/reflect off the totality zone, much the way a radar reflects off an airplane, and this happened because we have a small spot of nighttime surrounded by daytime, which doesn’t otherwise happen. In 2024, we are trying to go deeper, and use this rare opportunity to determine whether the ionosphere is ‘smooth,’ like a polished mirror, or ‘rough,’ like a shaggy carpet. This is a surprisingly fundamental question that affects how we calculate radio waves crossing through the ionosphere between satellites and ground.”

Interestingly, in 2017 he took a team of students to Camp Ramah Darom for an eclipse retreat weekend where they launched a high-altitude balloon.

His day-to-day research falls into three areas:

• Trying to better predict and respond to space weather, which has the potential to wreak havoc on society.

• Improving the reliability of satellite communications, and certain long-range communication systems that are used by the aviation industry and the military.

• Trying to build a novel type of antenna that would allow for antennas to be small yet perform well.

Cohen currently spends one-third of his time in the classroom, and the

rest doing research or working with students who are engaged in research.

Ever the scholar, Cohen grew up in Baltimore, before a 13-year stint in the Bay Area where he earned a PhD from Stanford University and worked as a research scientist. His interest in science was likely inspired by his mother, who holds degrees in electrical engineering, and was one of only two female engineers at UCLA upon graduation. She was also the first female with a graduate degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She served as an actuary for the government until she retired. Cohen’s father was an accountant. Both parents grew up in a Karaite community (once a larger sect in Judaism) and fled

Egypt to the U.S. as refugees. Here, his young family attends Ohr HaTorah in Toco Hills, and are associate members of Congregation Shearith Israel.

A dare-devilish Cohen said he would go into space travel (if asked) and counts sky diving and bungee jumping among his hobbies. On a more grounded note, he’s an avid chef based on his “woodfire oven for pizzas, bread, kabobs, plus a lot of Middle Eastern food.”

On a different eclipse mission, Peachtree Corners resident and Wharton Business School grad, Jay Bear, ended up in Rushville, Ind., after consulting with experts on minute-to-minute weather conditions, departing Lexington, Ky., in the wee hours for clearer skies. Seven

years ago, he ventured to Sky Valley, Ga., for eclipse viewing and made a promise to himself that he would witness the next one because at that time the eclipse was unfortunately obscured by the only cloud in the sky.

His notes on April 8 to the AJT included: “Totally unbelievable! At 98 percent, it feels like early dusk. Getting a bit cooler … At 99 percent, somewhat darker and noticeably cooler. At 100 percent, it’s entirely magical! In the dark, the stars came out, and it got chilly … Then two bright red spots appeared at the bottom of the darkened sun. It stayed ‘total’ for us just under four minutes. I planned this for weeks, and thankfully I was able to keep that promise.” ì

Periodontist Bruce Edelstein, also a landscape photographer, took these two eclipse photos from his driveway in Decatur. Chuck Couch and Jay Bear had a magical viewing experience in Indiana after departing Kentucky for just the right spot. As a sidebar, eclipse enthusiast Morris B. Cohen recently traveled to Egypt with his parents and visited their original synagogue.

Almost 6,000 Run in Dead Sea Marathon

In a show of resilience and unity amid Israel’s ongoing war against Hamas, approximately 6,000 runners took part in the fifth annual Dead Sea Marathon on Friday, Feb. 2.

Among the participants and onlookers were the families and friends of some 136 hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

Today in Israeli History

April 15, 1936: An Arab uprising begins when 10 cars are attacked in what appears to be a robbery near Tulkarm. Violence lasts until 1939, and the British shift toward pro-Arab policies and partition.

April 16, 1983: In what may be the costliest heist since modern Israel’s founding, watches, clocks and paintings worth tens of millions of dollars are stolen overnight from the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

April 17, 1948: Commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, the Harel Brigade delivers a convoy of supplies to Jewish residents of Jerusalem who have been blockaded since February. Arab forces again cut off the city April 20.

April 18, 1955: Physicist Albert Einstein, who declined an offer to serve as Israel’s president in 1952, dies at 76. He was drawn to Zionism after World War I, raised money for Hebrew University and first visited the Land of Israel in 1923.


Shaul Levy, 78, whose granddaughter, Naama Levy, was taken hostage by Hamas, said: “During this run, we transferred crazy energy to the captive — hold on a little longer, don’t lose hope. We will bring you home.”

Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz said the marathon “symbolizes more than ever the victory of the body, soul, and spirit. It is a symbol of the willpower and the tremendous love of life of the State of Israel and its citizens. The Dead Sea is a wonderful natural phenomenon in the lowest place in the world. From here, you can only go up. I hope that also on the national level, the huge crisis of Oct. 7 will be followed by great light, beginning with the return home of all the hostages.”

The course offered runners a unique experience, along an embankment built into the sea that serves as a border between Israel and Jordan and is closed to the general public during the rest of the year.

Compiled by AJT Staff

April 19, 1956: Gadi Taub, a leading academic interpreter of modern Zionism, is born in Jerusalem. A Hebrew University instructor and newspaper columnist, he also writes novels and works on films and TV series.

Pompeo Tours Gaza Border

The vast majority of Americans stand with Israel in the war against Hamas, and the military response against the Islamist terrorist group has been both “perfectly appropriate” and necessary, former U.S. Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo said during a recent tour in Israel.

Pompeo spoke during a solidarity visit to communities along Israel’s border with Gaza, days after U.S. President Joe Biden said that the military response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack was “over the top.”

The former secretary of state, who served in the Trump administration, said that the current U.S. president should take care in choosing his words so as not to encourage both Hamas and its Iranian backers to “hang in there.”

“Israel has a duty and responsibility

The reconciliation does not last but does end U.S.-facilitated Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

April 24, 1924: Hapoel Haifa, a charter member of the Israel Football Association in 1928, is founded during Passover as the first labor-led soccer club in Mandatory Palestine. Its branches include worker movements and other sports.

April 25, 1920: Herbert Samuel is asked to serve as Britain’s first high commissioner for Palestine the same day the San Remo Conference accepts the Balfour Declaration as part of the plan for the former Ottoman Empire.

no matter what the rest of the world says to do its level best to ensure that something like this [the Oct. 7 massacre] never happens again,” he said.

Compiled by AJT Staff

group Gush Emunim, are arrested before they can sabotage five Arab buses in eastern Jerusalem.

April 20, 1965: The Shrine of the Book, built to house the Dead Sea Scrolls, opens as a wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Its white domed roof is inspired by the lids of the jars that held the scrolls in Qumran.

April 21, 1947: Moshe Barazani, 20, of Lehi (the Stern Gang) and Meir Feinstein, 19, of the Irgun kill themselves with a grenade smuggled into their prison cell to prevent the British from hanging them the next morning.

April 22, 2013: A high-level Israeli delegation visits Ankara, Turkey, for reconciliation talks mediated by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down after the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.

April 23, 2014: Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, controlled by the Fatah-led PLO, announce an end their seven-year rift.

A drawing depicts the violence of Russian pogroms against Jews.

April 26, 1881: Anti-Jewish violence since the assassination of Czar Alexander II in March sweeps into Kyiv. Rioters loot and destroy Jewish shops and homes. Authorities warned Kyiv’s Jews a day earlier to stay inside.

April 27, 1984: Fifteen members of the Jewish Underground, an anti-Arab terrorist group formed by members of the settler

April 28, 2008: Israel Aerospace Industries launches the Amos-3 communications satellite, based on the Affordable Modular Optimized Satellite platform. It reaches orbit 80 minutes after liftoff from Kazakhstan.

April 29, 1979: Five recently release Soviet Jewish prisoners arrive at Ben Gurion Airport. They were convicted in 1970 of hijacking a plane to escape the Soviet Union. Their story catalyzes the movement to free Soviet Jewry.

Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (, where you can find more details.

Approximately 6,000 runners participate in the fifth Dead Sea Marathon // Photo by Oren Alon Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks with Natalie Sanandaji, a New Yorker on vacation who survived the Supernova massacre // Courtesy Photo A fire damages Jerusalem’s Armenian Quarter during the Arab uprising in 1936. // G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress The roof of the Shrine of the Book is inspired by the lids of the clay jars in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. // Israel Museum The Amos-3 satellite, shown during construction in 2007, has provided communications services since 2008. // Israel Aerospace Industries

Interfaith Panel Talk Religion and Warfare

Approximately 50 members of Temple Sinai joined an equal number of congregants of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church last month at the Protestant church in Sandy Springs to discuss how each of their faith’s traditions views war. The two congregations are within a half mile of one another and over the years have had numerous interfaith programs.

To help facilitate the discussion, Rabbi Brad Levenberg, who is a senior rabbi at his congregation, prepared a fivepage handout on Jewish perspectives on war that quoted often from Jewish scripture on the types of war permitted by Jewish tradition, the rules of warfare, and the admonition that peace is always preferable to war.

Warfare, within the Jewish tradition is permitted in self-defense, or as is the case of war that is described in the Hebrew Bible, war that is waged at the behest of G-d. The war against the Amalekites, that was fought in the early history of the Exodus and the wars against the seven Canaanite nations, after the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River, are examples of wars fought with G-d’s support. These wars, known in Hebrew as Milhemet Mitzvah, are in contrast to wars that are optional, known as Milchemet Reshut

Levenberg cited the contemporary Jewish theologian Rabbi Elliott Dorff, noting the Talmud teaches that self-defense is always a justification for violence against another. Dorff inferred from a teaching in the tractate of Yoma of the Babylonian Talmud that if “someone comes to kill you, rise up to kill him first.” According to Jewish law, a nation has an obligation to defend itself against actual attacks and against anticipated attacks.

The Temple Sinai rabbi was part of a group of two dozen Atlanta rabbis and Jewish community leaders who visited Israel in February to learn firsthand about the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, to talk with survivors of the violence that day, and to visit one of the sites where the murder of Israeli civilians took place. The justification for retaliation in Gaza by the Israeli army, for example, is grounded, according to Levenberg, in Jewish tradition.

“Judaism has never been a tradition, religious or national or communal or any way about Judaism that has said we are explicitly pacifists,” Levenberg said. “While Judaism most certainly affirms that the goal is peace, Judaism also recognizes that there are degrees of peace, and sometimes, sometimes war has to happen.”

The Holy Innocents pastor, the Rev. Bill Murray, described how Christianity was transformed in the fourth century of the Common Era, when the Church allied itself with the Roman Empire. What had started out as a religion with a strong pacifist tradition became one that suppressed dissent and heresy with violence. The Rev. Murray pointed out that it was the North African Christian leader, Augustine of Hippo, that formulated the concept of a just war.

According to the Episcopal church leader, Augustine wrote that “good men undertake wars, when they find themselves in such a position as regards the conduct of human affairs, that right conduct requires them to act, or to make others to act, in this way.”

War, according to the teachings of Augustine, who is one of the important saints of the Church, can be a moral obligation.

“Augustine actually came up with the term that de-

Rabbi Brad Levenberg of Temple Sinai and the Rev. Bill Murray of Holy Innocents Episcopal Church led a discussion about religion and war.

scribes that moral obligation,” Murray said. “It’s first used in this book, ‘City of God,’ and its’s called a ‘just war,’ or ‘justified war.’ And so, suddenly Christianity was thrust into a position where, with armies on its side, it had to make decisions about whether it was an appropriate time to use force and when it was not an appropriate time to use force.”

On Jan. 30, the Union for Reform Judaism, of which Temple Sinai is a member, issued a statement that described the Israel-Hamas war as “just” but at the same time the movement, which is the largest single Jewish religious organization in America renewed its support for a two-state solution to the conflict. It opposed a suggestion by Prime

The Episcopal Church’s national leader, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, called for an end to military aid to Israel.

Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Jews might resettle the Gaza Strip, as has been done on the West Bank.

“Ongoing West Bank occupation without a willingness to seek an end through a peaceful resolution of the conflict will condemn future generations to endless strife,” the statement read. “Reestablishing settlements in Gaza will have a similarly detrimental impact. Denying the Palestinians’ right to self-determination is an impediment to peace.”

At the end of March, 140 Christian leaders -- including the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in America -- went even further. They called for a permanent ceasefire and an end to all military aid to Israel. ì

Rabbi Rick Jacobs leads Union for Reform Judaism and backs a two-state solution for Israel.

AJA Hosts 3rd Annual Flag Football Classic

This year, it just felt a little different.

The first two iterations of the AJA Flag Football Spring Classic (2022, 2023) were largely deemed a success with Jewish athletes from around the country descending on the Atlanta Jewish Academy to participate in a Shabbaton, sandwiched between two rounds of a weekendlong flag football tournament.

But late last month, the third edition of the flag football/Jewish culture festival, one that involved over a couple hundred participants, coaches, volunteers, and hosts, resonated particularly strongly given the global context.

“Given the state of the world right now where Jews are feeling a lot of pressure and there’s obviously a lot going on, it’s wonderful that we have this opportunity to bring kids together from different backgrounds, different locations across the U.S. to feel united together as one,” said Justin Katz, the tireless organizer of the AJA Flag Football Spring Classic and a coach himself of flag football at AJA. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity to come together if everything was just normal, but the fact that everything is heightened on top of that makes it that much more special for us.”

While the tourney and accompanying Shabbaton festivities, hosted by Congregation Ohr HaTorah, galvanized young football enthusiasts from Atlanta to Seattle -- Northwest Yeshiva High School was one of the five schools represented, along with AJA, which had both varsity and JV teams, David Posnack Jewish Day School, Flatbush Yeshiva, and Katz Yeshiva -- this year’s slate of activities was highlighted by a keynote speech from Texas A&M running back Sam Salz, the only known current Orthodox Jewish player in Division I college football.

A native of Philadelphia who invariably wears his kippa and tzitzit with his uniform and refuses to play on Shabbat, Salz, featured in the Atlanta Jewish Times last autumn, spoke to the participants as well as their younger siblings about his dual commitment to football and Judaism and how he spent over a year fulfilling his dream of suiting up for a D-I program by getting in shipshape condition and mastering the game’s intricacies, all while maintaining an unwavering devo-

For the third consecutive spring, Atlanta Jewish Academy hosted and participated in the AJA Flag Football Spring Classic, with the school having both a varsity and junior varsity team in the mix // Photo Credit: Atlanta Jewish Academy

tion to his faith. This was exactly what Katz had in mind – an inspiring Jewish role model – when he caught wind of Salz’s journey on social media several months ago and subsequently reached out to him.

“Every year, we tend to try to bring in somebody to speak,” explained Katz, whose wife and kids are also part of the AJA community. “What a perfect opportunity to bring him in and let him tell his story to kids. I think it’s just a very cool story -- especially in this current climate that we’re in -- to show your Jewish pride in an environment that may not see that many Jews.”

Meanwhile, the actual events themselves proved to be a success yet again. Shortly after they arrived from all corners of the country on Thursday, March 28, the dozens of participants toured Mercedes-Benz Stadium before enjoying that evening’s opening ceremonies. The next morning, the competition kicked off

with pool play before giving way to full Shabbat programming, a Torah Bowl that Yeshiva Katz ended up winning, Salz’s speech, Havdalah service, Saturday evening pizza party that offered bull-riding and inflated axe throwing, and the resumption of games the following morning with single-elimination bracket play (both for the championship and consolation prizes) and a punt, pass, and run skills competition.

When the final whistle blew on Sunday late afternoon at Ratner Field in front of hundreds of spectators, including, of course, Freddie Falcon, Katz Yeshiva took home gold by posting a 4-0 record while Posnack was the runner-up with a 3-1 mark. The AJA Varsity went 2-2 while the JV team finished with a 1-2 record in the tourney.

Katz, who is now a veteran of organizing such tournaments (he’s also overseen a similar volleyball competition at AJA in the fall) benefited from special-

ized groups of volunteers, some of whom were students, ensuring that everything from marketing to meals to indoor entertainment options went smoothly for the event’s first-ever six team edition.

“I think I’ve learned to delegate more,” acknowledged Katz. “I took on probably a little bit too much in year one, but I didn’t know what to expect. It was a lot to balance coaching and this.”

It may be hard to top this year’s event given the record turnout, slate of activities, and presence of Sam Salz, now an icon in the Jewish athletic community, but plans are already underway for the fourth AJA Flag Football Spring Classic, what promises to be another fun-filled weekend of football, Shabbat observance, and social networking amidst (hopefully) more pleasant weather.

“I think the Atlanta community has always been that way in my mind,” Katz added. “And this is just an extension of who we are as a community.” ì


Israel Baseball Opens U.S. Training Facility

When discussing the impetus for the brand-new Baltimore-headquartered organization known as Israel Baseball Americas (IBA) that seeks to broaden Israeli baseball’s influence in the United States and keep up the momentum that Team Israel generates every few years between the Olympics and World Baseball Classic, two of its bigwigs, CEO Nate Fish and COO Adam Gladstone, draw on former Jewish big league pitcher Josh Zeid’s mantra: “When you get a group of Jewish baseball players together, the conversations are just a little bit different.”

Indeed, it is more than just a sense of comity among Jewish ballplayers; it is a brotherhood, a globally connected network of athletes, one ranging from amateur players on kibbutzes to borderline Hall of Famers, that is united in a mission to propel Israeli baseball to further success in international competition. What better way to achieve said goal than to bring Israeli baseball stateside, where a nation of up-and-coming ballplayers is inspired by an unprecedented number of Jewish big leaguers plying their trade at the same time, a crop of ballplayers that one day could include Assaf Lowengart, the first-ever Israeli-born baseball player to be signed by the MLB.

With nationwide clinics, showcases, overnight camp programs for elementary school-aged children, and even fantasy camps for adults, the IBA aims to develop a pipeline of American Jewish ballplayers who could potentially contribute to Israel’s national team while also supporting the Israel Association of Baseball, the volunteer-led organization that runs the national team and works to promote the sport in Israel. The emergence of the IBA marks the first time that Israel will have an outlet in the United States supporting its national squad with scouting, player development, and branding.

Though plans for its launch have ramped up over the past year, the IBA has really been over a decade in the making with a groundswell of interest in Israeli baseball among teens and young adults growing incrementally stronger each year.

“I realize I have all these messages from guys that are actually now on the team, when they were like 15 or 16 and they were just discovering us or reaching out to introduce themselves,” noted Fish, who also serves as a coach for Israel’s national baseball program. “It’s fun to see that generation of guys grow up to actually be national team players now.”

It is a national team of players gunning for a deeper run in the next World Baseball Classic in 2026 (Israel went 1-3 and was eliminated in pool play during last year’s WBC), and is now backed by an IBA board of advisors including former big league All-Stars Ian Kinsler, Kevin Youkilis (Tom Brady’s brother-in-law and Fish’s college teammate at the University of Cincinnati about whom Fish remarks, “has really stepped up as a leader for our team and for our staff and the Jewish community in general”), and Brad Ausmus, all of whom have maintained prominent roles in Major League Baseball, as well as Team Israel legend Shlomo Lipetz. Among other Jewish baseball luminaries on the IBA masthead are Director of Scouting Alex Jacobs, a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks who currently works with the Philadelphia Phillies under General Manager Sam Fuld, and Zeid who will serve as the organization’s pitching director.

“We’re really fortunate that across the playing level, the coaching level, the PR and marketing level, the front office

level, we have incredibly talented human beings in every single part of that ecosystem,” noted Avi Miller, IBA’s director of communications.

“For us, the excitement is there. It allows us to produce a lot more intriguing content for our fan base and to engage with people. It allows us to have a lot more legitimacy around the game. We know that the Jewish players are active in MLB and even in the high-level minors. A lot of them are in touch and a lot of them talk about their Judaism, their Jewish heritage. We are beyond thankful and excited about the opportunities that will come from that.”

Though the IBA’s reach spreads far and wide across America – there will be quite a few clinics and showcases throughout New York and California as well as one at Rice University – the Baltimore base serves an important twofold purpose. First, it is where board member David Warschawski, who runs a globally recognized PR firm, and advisers Dan Wahlberg, Adam Zarren, and Adam Neuman, along with Miller, are all situated.

Secondly, Judaism runs deep through the ranks of the hometown Orioles between new principal owner David Rubinstein, assistant general manager Eve Rosenbaum, and starting pitcher Dean Kremer, who holds Israeli citizenship and competed for Israel during last year’s World Baseball Classic. For good measure, Gladstone was formerly employed by the O’s and has many contacts throughout the franchise, one that could very well square off against the Atlanta Braves in this year’s World Series.

While the slate of activities for the balance of 2024 and beyond has yet to be finalized, it seems safe to say that the IBA will be stopping through Atlanta at some point very soon. Just last month, in fact, IBA Director of Camps Nate Mulberg (he’s also an assistant coach at Richmond University and was Team Israel’s first base coach during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics) was working out at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and left so impressed that he’s now determined to host a future clinic at the popular Dunwoody facility.  ì

As it prepares for the next World Baseball Classic in 2026, Team Israel hopes that it will have its strongest recruiting class ever now that Israel Baseball Americas is off and running // Photo Credit: Avi Miller/Israel Baseball

o r

A c h i e v

h u n d r e d s o f g u n s o f f t h e s t r e e t


S E R V I C E S f o r d e t a i

Living in the Present

April 20

will be my/our 39th wedding anniversary (thank you).

April 21

will be the first anniversary of my/our heart attack. Yes, I suffered that heart attack — a “widowmaker” the cardiologists call it — the morning after our 38th wedding anniversary.

Had my wife left for work five minutes earlier that Friday morning, there might not have been a 39th. Given the intensity of the pain I experienced as I gripped our dining room table, I don’t know that I would have made it back to the bedroom to retrieve my phone and call 911.

and a decades-long habit of swallowing work-related stress.

The heart attack was an effective diet plan, but I don’t recommend it. I never looked particularly heavy, but what weight I carried had redistributed over the years. In the past year, I have purchased new suits, sport coats and slacks, all slimmer, and jeans a waist size or two smaller.

After the first bag of grass I cut this spring, one of my neighbors, a doctor, looked at me as if to ask, really? So now I am contracting that work. (By the way, whatever happened to the high school kids who used to cut grass?)

As I’ve written in this space previously, I try to make a practice of, as early in the day as possible, stepping outside and saying “Good morning, world. I’m still here.”

But she was there and bundled me into the car and drove to Emory University Hospital. [Yes, we could have/should have called 911, but we chose not to wait. We were fortunate.]

A stent was inserted in the left anterior descending artery, but that proved to be only a temporary fix. A robotic bypass in early June at Emory Midtown Hospital was required.

The scars from that procedure have healed and faded a bit, but the memories of last spring’s crisis remain. I say “our” heart attack because of the way it impacted my wife and our children and the importance of my wife and our children in my recovery.

The week before the heart attack we had been in Chicago, visiting with my mother and one of my sisters and attending the EXPO CHICAGO international art show. I had experienced twinges of chest pain the previous two weeks but attributed those to exertion when cutting the grass and high pollen counts (I know, not smart). That weekend in Chicago I walked some 40,000 steps, ate at my favorite deep-dish pizza parlor, and enjoyed the art show.

A week later, I was being fed nitroglycerine pills and prepped for surgery.

I do not blame the deep-dish pizza (or the ice cream I ate the night before the heart attack). What happened was going to happen, a combination of occasionally questionable eating habits dating back to my earliest days as a newspaper reporter

And I’ve not forgotten the words of a nurse in the cardiac intensive unit at Emory Midtown Hospital, who visited me twice and both times told me, “Try to find some grace in your life.”

More sobering is the occasional thought that I should not be here, which leads me to think of what I would have missed in the past year.

Walking with my wife (sometimes being walked by our dogs). Dancing with my wife (she very well, me not so well). Video calls with my mother and siblings. Our daughter’s engagement last November (and wedding in late September this year). The pending self-publication of a book I’ve carted around for 30 years, continuing work on another book that I sketched out 15 years ago and recently picked back up, and another idea percolating in the back of my brain. Not to mention a variety of jazz concerts and soccer games.

I appreciate those who see me and ask, how are you doing? So many of us face challenges that we would not wish on another. I have learned that there is value in just asking, how are you doing?

One of my sons occasionally presses me to appreciate moments in the present. I do a better job of that now than I did before the heart attack and recognize the importance of that practice.

I am finishing this column the morning after returning from our latest trip to Chicago. We had lovely visits with my mother and sisters, the weather was great, and EXPO CHICAGO was wonderful, but I ate no deep dish pizza. And I really like deep dish pizza. ì

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Passover is About Freedom

As Passover approaches, I am reminded again, after some 2,300 years, Jews are still not safe in this world. Alongside of the Jews, I am not sure democratic, freedom loving Americans are particularly safe either. For millennia, tyrants and dictators have wanted to take over other peoples. What has become scarier is that many tyrants and dictators today just want to kill people they do not like. In fact, some feel it is their right, responsibility or even obligation to murder others who do not think the same way, pray the same way or just live the same way as they do.

Today, there is an axis of evil that has weapons and technology that far overshadows the capabilities of previous era’s maligned rulers. Drones, satellites, GPS, nuclear weapons all are being

watched carefully as they are being used (or threatened) in warfare for the first time (or in new ways). And through the Internet, social media, and iPhone cameras, we all get to participate in real time with these wars, strategy, bloodshed, intent, terror, and propaganda.

Even though Russia’s war in Ukraine and Hamas and Iran’s war against Israel are thousands of miles away, we are in their crosshairs. As Tom Clancy would say, they represent a clear and present danger. First, neither Putin nor the Ayatollah will stop if they are successful in their current campaigns. Why do we know this? Because they have told us, year after year, their plans, goals, and aspirations. Second, they consider our freedom, democracy, and capitalism abhorrent and the linchpin to our downfall. Today, as I write this, they both are using these basic tenants of our life in America (freedom, democracy, and capitalism) against us, and they are hoping we do not notice. These wars are not coming to our shores, they are here and have been for decades.

Freedom is not free. The Haggadah

Chag Samech!Pesach

May blessings, safety, and joy cover you in this season.

teaches us this. Our American forefathers taught us this. We learned again in World War I & II. In every instance in which we have learned this, we have also learned that it is cheaper to bring the fight to our enemy rather than fight in our own home; and, that the longer we wait to stand up to tyranny, the costlier it is in terms of life, liberty, and resources. Anyone who studies history will tell you that history repeats itself. The question is, when will we have the awareness to spot it and fortitude to act? I am no historian, politician, or strategist, but these trends are so glaring I find it virtually impossible not to notice.

With all this said, I have not even mentioned China. Xi Jinping, another authoritarian tyrant who is waging a very quiet war against us in America and his neighbors closer to home. He is following in Putin’s and the Ayatollah’s footsteps. The only difference might be that he is better equipped than Russia and Iran together, significantly stealthier and has not, as of yet, begun a physical assault. Make no mistake, however, China creates a trio in the axis.

This Passover, the world is in the most precarious position it has been in 80 years. America and our ideals are under assault more now today than any other time in our 250-year history. Worldwide antisemitism is at a peak and Jews are less safe than at any time since the Holocaust. As I look at the world around me today, I almost feel like as I read the Passover Haggadah, I should be remembering the good ‘ole days. ì

Cobb County Sheriff Craig Owens


Letters to the Editor

The AJT welcomes your letters. If you would like your letter to be published, please write 200 words or less, include your name, phone number and email, and send it to

Letter to the editor,

Dual loyalty.

“All new news is old news happening to new people.”

- Malcolm Muggeridge

Alas, antisemitism, in all its guises, is not new news, and antisemites don’t tire of scapegoating an “old” people, namely, us.  Moreover, they seem to have dropped their masks.

On the eve of Purim, they parade their poison in town squares, over the world wide web, on university campuses, and on the political stump. Indeed, we take serious note of the upsurge in the double standards applied to our people hither and yon. The deliberate blurring of lines by which victims are labeled perpetrators while perpetrators are labeled victims. A fragile political climate made more fragile by scurrilous and baseless accusations totally devoid of nuance, rife with vileness and venom.

To wit: “Former President Donald J. Trump accused Jews who vote for Democrats of hating their religion and Israel, reviving and escalating a claim he made as president that Jewish Democrats were disloyal.”  ---NYT 3/18/24

Donald Trump may be no Haman, but his vitriol is hamanesque in the ears of his courtiers, some of whom take his garbage as gospel and have no clue what makes America great. “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces . . . whose laws are different from those of any other people . . ..” [Esther 3.8]

The old-new accusation: We don’t march in lock step to someone’s drumbeat; we won’t grease someone’s ego. God, forbid we have sechel and chutzpah to determine for ourselves what is in our best interest and in the best interest of Zion, even if it does not accord with the party line promulgated at Mar-a-Lago. As far as I can make out, we Jews, Republicans, Democrats or Independents, vote our values.  I would hope that one of those values is a modicum of tolerance.

If so, that tolerance is being imperiled both in Israel and in America. In either case, Jews and Zion are endangered.

Oh, yes. The Book of Esther never suggests that Haman has an antisemitic bone in his body.  His scheme to foster a blood bath stemmed from Mordecai’s refusal to feed his egomania.

Rabbi Dr. Scott B. Saulson, Atlanta

Disclamer to our readers:

This section of the newspaper is a forum for our community to share thoughts, concerns and opinions as open letters to the community or directly to the newspaper.

As a letter to the editor, we proof for spelling and grammatical errors only. We do not edit nor vet the information the letter contains. The individual signing the letter is accountable for what they share.

Letter to the editor,

Unlike the rabbi mentioned in Dave Schechter’s column, I have no problem grieving for Palestinians who’ve been killed in Gaza and recognizing that Israel has no choice but to seek total victory over Hamas. Hamas is responsible for all deaths in this conflict and has sworn to inflict October 7 atrocities on Israel again and again.

All the Palestinians in Gaza have been living under the administration of Hamas for the past seventeen years. Hamas has done nothing to develop the economy in Gaza or build the infrastructure needed by a viable state. Its claims that an Israeli blockade prevented work on building a state do not ring true, considering that Hamas spent $1,000,000,000 to build its extensive network of terror tunnels and to acquire missiles and armaments used to attack Israel and Israelis.

Instead of building a state in which the Palestinians could become productive citizens while coexisting with the nation-state of the Jews, the leaders of Hamas enriched themselves by embezzling monies donated for the people’s benefit and diverted humanitarian aid to efforts to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state. Even while spreading claims of Palestinians’ facing starvation, Hamas is continuing to commandeer 60% of the aid being sent into Gaza by Israel and other Western nations.

Nor is it true that Israel is deliberately targeting innocent civilians or bombing Gaza indiscriminately. Professor John Spencer of the Modern War Institute at West Point has praised Israel for achieving a ratio under 2:1 for civilian deaths to combatant deaths in Gaza, noting that ratios of 9:1 are not unusual in the kind of urban fighting that is occurring in the densely populated enclave. The sad fact is that Hamas’ hiding weapons and munitions in homes, hospitals, mosques, and tunnels built under residential buildings guarantees that Israel’s exemplary efforts to avoid killing civilians simply cannot be completely successful.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has outlined a program for the demilitarization of Gaza and the deradicalization of the Palestinians living there. No one should expect these changes to be accomplished overnight. But all people of goodwill should support the effort.

Toby F. Block, Atlanta


Righteous Among Georgians

Deborah was first elected to the General Assembly in 2016. A Riverwood High School graduate, she received her college degree from UGA and her law degree from Emory. Deborah serves as Chair of the MARTOC Committee in the Georgia House, Vice Chair of the Non-Civil Judiciary Committee, and is also on the Judiciary Committee and Public Health Committees. She has also served as a Deputy Whip. Deborah was originally appointed to serve on The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust by former Speaker David Ralston and volunteered to continue serving on the Commission when her term expired. Deborah has proven to be a strong advocate for families and children in Georgia, even when it has meant that she needed to speak out and vote against party lines. When the Georgia Legislature was debating the notorious “Heartbeat Bill”, Deborah voted against its passage and went to the well to speak out against it. Deborah was a lead cosponsor of the Hate Crimes bill that the Governor signed in 2020 which laid the groundwork and made it possible to pass HB 30, the Antisemitism bill, which defines antisemitism according to the IHRA definition in the Georgia code this session. She was also a lead cosponsor of HB 30. Deborah took it upon herself to introduce, lobby, and get approval from the General Assembly and Governor Kemp this year for $1,550,000 for The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust to create new exhibits in addition to getting their annual budget raised to $629,000 to cover additional staffing. While testifying before the Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee, Deborah said,” Of all the things I will ever do in the Georgia Legislature, the passage of these funding appropriations will be the most important.” These amounts represent the largest investment by the State of Georgia in The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust since its inception in 1986.

For years, Rep. John Carson has proudly defended and fought for Georgia’s Jewish community. Over the past two years, John was the author and lead sponsor of HB 30, which defined antisemitism in accordance with the IHRA definition. Before this, John also successfully led efforts to update and defend Georgia’s anti-BDS statute. As a result, he is one of the most respected advocates for Jewish Georgians.

John Carson continues to serve his constituency in northeast Cobb and southeast Cherokee counties, even in the face of criticism from political foes who use his pro-Jewish/pro-Israel stance against him. He has repeatedly stated, “My faith and specifically Genesis 12 guides me to do the right thing, and the right thing is to always stand with Israel and the Jewish people.”

John & Beverly Carson and their children have been members at Johnson Ferry Baptist church in East Cobb for over 14 years. Read more about him at:

Rep. Scott Hilton proudly stands in solidarity with the people of Israel and our Jewish community. As a supporter of H.B. 30, Rep. Hilton fights back against any form of antisemitism and bigotry. His work in the Georgia Legislature is deeply rooted in his faith and family values. Rep. Hilton is a trusted advisor to nearly every member of the House and is often asked to co-sponsor legislation due to his integrity. During his tenure, he has authored legislation to strengthen schools, support special needs and keep Georgia’s economy strong. Scott was the first Representative to appear at the Sandy Springs rally for Israel and the Jewish people in October 2023. Rep. Hilton demonstrates his unwavering support of his Jewish friends and neighbors representing the communities of Johns Creek, Peachtree Corners, Roswell and Alpharetta. For more information on his impactful work, visit: or @ScottHiltonGA on social media.

John Flanders Kennedy can “out small town anyone.” Born in Adrian, Georgia and having graduated from Mercer University in Macon (undergraduate as well as law school); Senetor Kennedy has represented the Macon area since 2015. He still owns and maintains the family homestead that his father built 50 years ago in Emanuel County. Senator Kennedy is currently President of the Senate Pro Tempore. During a trip to Israel last May, he asked Anat Sultan Dodan, Israeli Counsel General for the southeast, “what can I do to help fight antisemitism?” She replied “We need more non-jews to speak up for us.” After HB 30 stumbled in the legistlature for two years, Senator Kennedy took it the lead on in the Senate as a member of the Judiciary Committee. He lobbied for, argued for, and negotiated so that it passed the Committee by a unanimous vote. He then sheparded it through the Senate fielding questions with honesty and integrity of the bill’s merits; and even fending off an assinine proposed amendment. Without his leadership, it is likely HB 30 would have never left the Committee status once again. Senator Kennedy has been seen in attendance at Temple Beth Israel in Macon with Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar.


Among Georgians is a designation awarded by the V 'Al KOL YISRAEL FOUNDATION, Inc. to non-jewish Georgians who have demonstrated extraordinary courage in supporting Jewish Georgians and Eretz Yisrael.

#EndTheSilence Campaign Sparks Global Movement

Hadassah Greater Atlanta members and supporters on International Women’s Day gathered to speak loudly against the weaponization of sexual violence by Hamas and other organizations in different countries against women of all creeds, races, nationalities, and political beliefs.

The event here in Atlanta was part of a greater effort, as simultaneous events were held in 17 countries around the world and 32 states in the U.S. Hadassah members were seen at the Knesset, on Capitol Hill, and at the United Nations.

“As part of Hadassah’s largest-ever global campaign, we are thrilled to announce that Hadassah exceeded its goal of the #EndTheSilence petition of over 100,000 signatures. Hadassah will continue to exert all our power to demand justice,” stated Simone Wilker, Hadassah Greater Atlanta Zionist Affairs Chair.

“Hadassah sent letters and the petition to U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres demanding an independent, unbiased investigation of Hamas’ use of rape and gender-based violence as weapons of war on Oct. 7 and beyond,” explained Nancy Schwartz, President of Hadassah Greater Atlanta.

Since launching the #EndTheSilence campaign, Hadassah voices have

been leading the way, including at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York. More than 3,000 Hadassah members and associates in Atlanta refuse to be silenced as the organization makes an impassioned plea for justice.

Visit to read about the campaign and sign the ongoing petition.

Compiled by AJT Staff Simone Wilker, Hadassah Greater Atlanta Zionist Affairs chair, visited the site of the Nova Music Festival in Israel as part of a Jewish National Fund volunteer mission to view and condemn where Hamas committed acts of sexual violence against women. Hadassah Greater Atlanta members met at Congregation B’nai Torah on March 8 to support “#EndTheSilence. Pictured, from left: (front row) Linda Hakarem, Barrie Treger, Phyllis M. Cohen, Terry Nordin, Nancy Schwartz; (middle row) Ronelle Genser, Shirley Michalove, Joan Solomon, Stephanie Pure, Faith Schatzman; (back row) Julie Lakric, Katie Kroder, Sophia Schwartz, Mindy Cohen, Judy Bart

Auction Features TV Writers’ Prized Collection

Ahlers and Ogletree’s calendar of events features an exciting array of upcoming sales, inviting bidders and collectors to experience the thrill of the buy and an opportunity to acquire a masterpiece or valuable treasure. Coming soon is the splendor of their “Spring Fine Jewelry & Timepiece Auction,” which will please every jewelryloving bidder with a sparkling auction that’s not to be missed

Robert Ahlers, CEO and founder with his wife, Christy, commented, “On Thursday, April 25 and Friday, April 26, we are privileged to present for auction a line-up of curated pieces, along with the recent estates and beautiful private collections of jewelry, from internationally esteemed iconic soap opera television writers Jerome and Bridget Dobson.”

The single owner sale on May 16 is a treasure trove of opulence and awaits bidders with 110 lots of carefully curated items to reflect the Dobsons’ discerning taste and appreciation for the finer things in life. Each piece tells a story, weaving together a tapestry of glamour and sophistication that mirrors the drama and intrigue of the couple’s celebrated career.

Among the highlights of this extraordinary collection is a breathtaking 6.85-carat GIA certified diamond ring, a “La Panthere” diamond and 18k yellow gold Cartier watch, and stunning pieces by David Webb, Harry Winston, and David Yurman. The allure of the Dobsons’ collection extends beyond these show-stopping pieces, encompassing an array of treasures

from renowned jewelry houses such as Van Cleef and Arpels, known for their innovative designs and unparalleled craftsmanship.  From dazzling diamond necklaces to intricately detailed brooches, each item bears the hallmark of excellence, reflecting the Dobsons' unwavering commitment to quality and beauty.

As the jewelry auction concludes, next up on Thursday, May 16, will be prized items from the Dobsons’ art and antiques which will be presented at a single-day sale. Enthusiasts and connoisseurs are invited to join Ahlers & Ogletree for an unforgettable experience. Mark your calendars as this exclusive event will feature a collection of furniture, collectibles and works of art from the Dobsons’ estate by renowned artists such as Raoul Dufy, Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Marc Chagall, and more.

There will be opportunities to preview items from these auctions on April 22-24, for the jewelry and timepieces and May 13-15 for the art and furniture from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.  Whether you choose to participate in person at the gallery located at 1788 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, 30318, or prefer the convenience of online bidding via, the opportunity to acquire a piece of television history or a prized possession awaits bidders. (www. Ahlers and Ogletree is now accepting consignments for fall 2024. Email photos of your items to consign@ for review.

Compiled by AJT Staff

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GA Tech, State Celebrate Shabbat 360

The Jewish communities of Georgia Tech and Georgia State University recently celebrated Shabbat 360 together, featuring 360 students gathering together for Shabbat.

Georgia Tech and Georgia State recently celebrated Shabbat 360 with 360 students gathering together for a night connected to Israel and Jewish unity.

Compiled by AJT Staff

13th Annual Daffodil Dash at Brook Run Park

Nearly 850 community members gathered at Brook Run Park on a chilly Sunday to take part in the 13th annual Daffodil Dash.

Approximately 850 community members gathered at Brook Run Park on April 7 to take part in the 13th annual Daffodil Dash. The annual event is held in honor of the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust as daffodils are

planted in their memory.

The event, which featured a 5K run, and a 1K or 5K walk, also supported local refugees by accepting donations to families in need.

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Purim Festivities at Etz Chaim

Congregation Etz Chaim celebrated its annual Purim carnival on March 24. The theme of this year’s carnival was, “Kocheynu BeAchdutaynu,” meaning, “We are Stronger Together,” and was done in solidarity with the State of Israel.

In addition to Israeli food for purchase and Israel-themed activities, the carnival featured a train that traveled around the synagogue, as well as various inflatable obstacle courses. Following

a family-friendly megillah reading that morning, the carnival was run by Etz Chaim’s Sababa USY chapter, who had spent the previous evening setting up after Shabbat. In addition to widespread community participation, the carnival also received nearly 100 family sponsorships from members of the synagogue and the local extended community.

Etz Chaim remains grateful to its many parent and teen volunteers, as well as to the community for its continued support of this exceptional Jewish experience.

The Blake family // Photo Credit: Clifford Martin Rabbi Adler, Debbie Deutsch, and Rabbi Dorsch during Purim “Jewpardy” // Photo Credit: Clifford Martin Bob Frohlich, a.k.a. “Balloon Guy,” and Etz Chaim congregant // Photo Credit: Clifford Martin
Temple Sinai 5645 Dupree Dr. NW Sandy Springs, GA, 30327 (404) 252-3073 Happy Passover Wishing you a from Temple Sinai
The Vexler and Peskins families came dressed for the occasion // Photo Credit: Clifford Martin The Bolton family // Photo Credit: Clifford Martin

Hebrew Order of David Raises $214K for United Hatzalah

Shalom b’Harim Seeks New Spiritual Leader

Shalom b’Harim, the Jewish community of the North Georgia mountains, is seeking a new spiritual leader. The unaffiliated synagogue serves Hall, Habersham, White, Forsyth, Dawson, and Lumpkin counties along with the surrounding areas. The congregation meets in Gainesville for Shabbat services once a month as well as High Holiday services and special occasions.

members, with greater participation for holidays.


The Atlanta Lodges of the Hebrew Order of David International presented a check for $214,000 to Gavy Friedson, director of International Emergency Management for United Hatzalah Israel at a recent meeting of Lodge Magen David.

The amount represents a fundraising effort by HOD’s North American Lodges, which is continuing and has grown in response to the Hamas attack on Israel.

Compiled by AJT Staff

Shalom b’Harim is looking for a rabbi who can lead Friday evening and/or Saturday morning services and will engage warmly and compassionately with members. The congregation pays generous stipends per service. It is oriented toward Reform/Conservative worship. There is a core membership of approximately 40 actively engaged

in the North Georgia mountains is seeking a new spiritual leader. Pictured here is the temple’s ark.

Someone who is passionate about Judaism and willing to play a role in social and civic Jewish-related projects in the community is desired. The rabbi should be available for occasional lifecycle events, which will be compensated individually, separately from regular services.

More information about Shalom b’Harim is available at

Interested individuals should send a resume, background, and a cover letter to: Shalom b’Harim Rabbi Search Committee c/o Sharon Guttman, For more info, contact (678) 641-0775.

Compiled by AJT Staff


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Shalom b’Harim congregation Making the donation presentation were David Joss of Lodge Carmel, Alan Smirin and Mario Oves of Lodge Magen David, and Ryan Simmons of Lodge Bezalel. Accepting the donation is Gavy Friedson, Director of International Emergency Management for United Hatzalah Israel.

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PASSOVER Galanti Family Seder Tops 100 Guests

When the Galanti family sits down for their dinner on the first night of Passover, it won’t be in the dining room of anyone’s home. The family, which traces its roots back through more than 10 decades of Atlanta Jewish history, long ago outgrew a domestic setting. This year, as they have for at least the last two decades, the outsized family will have their seder in a rented clubhouse near the banks of the Chattahoochee in North Atlanta.

Having everyone in the family come together at least once a year, no matter where in the country they live, was a tradition started by Lisa Galanti’s grandparents, Rabeno and Louisa Galanti, who came from Turkey in the early 1920s to raise a family of five boys and a girl. Lisa Galanti was part of a second generation of the original descendants.

“We were blessed that all five of their children remained in Atlanta,” Galanti said, “and pretty much lived within miles of each other. They each had three children so there were 15 first cousins. That’s how these gatherings started. It was just tradition that we got together, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Everything about the seder, except for the brisket and chicken that are main dish items, is prepared by family members. The work has evolved into two teams of cousins, each numbering about seven or eight, who take responsibility for organizing the seder meal and the religious ritual.

The family has its own traditional Haggadah, with the four questions in Ladino, the Spanish-based language of Jews who fled Spain during the Inquisition in the 15th century and settled in the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa.

The bountiful harvests of the warm climate of the region produced a rich cuisine that is particularly strong on seasoned rice dishes that follow the Sephardic tradition and roasted and fried vegetables. On the Galantis’ table, there are special places reserved for the squash and leek dishes, or prasa, as they’re known in Ladino.

Leek cuisine is popular in Turkey, where Sephardic Jews were a part of the national cultural fabric. Because of that close connection, early Jewish immigrants to Atlanta, before for World War I, were often called “Turkinos.”

But after the war, in which Turkey was allied with Germany against Britain, France and the United States, they preferred to call themselves Sephardic. A favorite dish, which is often served at festive occasions is quahado, a kind of Sephardic vegetable kugel, made with spinach. It has a soft texture, with a crusty outside. For hundreds of years, it has been a signature dish of Jews who trace their history back to medieval Spain. It’s served year-round, either as a vegetarian dish or with meat. At Congregation Or VeShalom, the historic Sephardic synagogue that was founded in 1914, quahado is on the menu at the synagogue’s highly successful Chanukah bazaar.

But food is only part of the appeal that brings the Galantis’ together in Atlanta, no matter where they live the

Passover in 1948 with Galanti family members gathered in the Virginia Avenue neighborhood. The large Galanti family seders are held in a clubhouse near the Chattahoochee River. Passover is a time for matzo lovers of all ages in the Galanti family.

rest of the year. This Passover, family members will travel from the northeast and northwest corners of America, as well as Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Lisa Galanti believes that all the work the family puts into their yearly gathering is worth the effort.

“It’s a labor of love. And it’s really a labor of ensuring that our children and grandchildren stay connected, stay rooted in the importance of family and tradition.” ì

Keftes de Prasa -- Passover

Sephardic Leek Patties


2 medium size leeks (about a pound) well cleaned 2 large eggs

1/2 cup matzo meal

fine sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup olive oil for shallow frying


Halve the leeks lengthwise then thinly slice the white parts.

Place the chopped leeks in a medium saucepan, add water to 3/4 up the height of the leeks and bring to a boil.

Cook over medium-high heat 40-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the water has evaporated, and the leeks are very tender. The leeks should be dry.

Combine cooked leeks with the eggs, matzo meal and salt to season.

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Shape a large, heaped tablespoon of the mixture and form a small thick round patty shape.

Fry patties 2-3 minutes on each side until brown. Don’t crowd the skillet.

Serve hot with tahini or tomato sauce, if desired.


Unity Becomes Timely Theme of AJC Seder

There was a strong emphasis on the importance of unity at the American Jewish Committee’s annual Unity Seder this year. The signature event, which was held on April 8 at The Temple in Midtown, brought together a broad cross section of the Atlanta community.

The interfaith and racially diverse gathering included many religious leaders, politicians, educators, business executives, and community activists, who have been supporters of the work of the AJC. Almost three dozen of those who attended led readings from the 40-page Haggadah that was edited for the gathering.

In a greeting that was written for the event, the evening’s co-chairs, Elissa Fladell and Debbie Neese, stressed the importance of creating common communal goals and taking action together.

“Tonight, we come together under the banner of unity,” they wrote. “Unity is central to the work of AJC, whose mission is to enhance the wellbeing of the Jewish people and advance pluralism and democratic values for all.”

For the AJC, that goal of working for a greater sense of common purpose has taken on special meaning this year. According to the AJC’s National Director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations, Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish community approaches this year’s Passover holiday with a profound sense of loss. His prayer, which prefaced the seder ritual, points to the pain that he believes Jews everywhere share.

“At this seder,” Rabbi Marans’ open-

ing prayer reads, “the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust remains a fresh, open wound which continues to bleed. The October 7th massacre is indelibly seared in our hearts and minds.”

One of the tables at the Unity Seder

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Pablo Picasso Chope Visage (A.r. 434) Pottery Jug One table at the Unity Seder was left empty to honor the hostages still held in Gaza // Photo Credit: American Jewish Committee/Jacob Ross Dov Wilker, Southeast Director of the AJC, believes the reaction to the Oct. 7 attack is still very much with us // Photo Credit American Jewish Committee/Jacob Ross

was intentionally left empty, in remembrance of the hostages still held in Gaza. That sense of loss was echoed in the remarks by the AJC’s Southeastern Director, Dov Wilker, who described his personal struggle to come to terms with the Hamas attack. He was part of a group of two dozen rabbis and other Atlanta community leaders who visited Israel in February in support of the nation and to experience personally what had occurred there.

He told the capacity crowd in The Temple’s spacious social hall that the last six months have, in his view, taken an enormous toll on the Jewish community.

“We have been struggling over these past six months to find the language of empathy, of unity, of belonging. For us in the Jewish community, never before have we experienced a time like this. Never before have we been so afraid, so scared, so anxious. For we’ve been looking at the news, trying to see who are our friends, who are our partners.”

In his comments, Wilker voiced his gratitude to those who attended the seder event, particularly in view of the security concerns that Wilker believes has affected us all.

“I can tell you that over the last six months every single Jewish person has thought about what the impact of being in a Jewish space would have. But what tonight demonstrates is the belonging that we have, frankly, always felt. This is why it’s so important for us to be here tonight.”

In February, the national office of the AJC released a survey of American

Jews finding that many have felt less safe than the year before. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed felt less secure than a year ago, almost double what it had been just two years earlier, compared with just 31 percent of Jews who reported feeling less secure two years prior.

Increasingly, Jews have been less public about identifying themselves as Jews. Nearly half of American Jews, according to the AJC, said they have either avoided identifying themselves as Jews in online posts or by their clothing choices or have forgone places or events out of concern for their safety or comfort as Jews. That’s up from 38 percent who said in 2022 that they did at least one of those things.

The AJC’s chief executive officer Ted Deutch said, at the time, that the statistics are part of a trend in American life.

“We’ve seen that antisemitism has been increasing,” Deutsch pointeded out, “even before the horrific Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. This isn’t a new problem, but the explosion of antisemitism since Oct. 7 demands that we take collective action now.”

In a closing prayer, led by the Temple’s senior associate rabbi, Loren Filson Lapides, the attendees at the Unity Seder were encouraged to carry on in the spirit that the evening was intended to encourage.

“Let us leave here determined to nurture the friendships that began tonight. We celebrate the ancient promise of G-d’s redemption, as told through the Exodus story. Let us leave here tonight ready to write the Exodus story of our time, standing up to oppressor’s forces.” ì

The Unity Seder at The Temple attracted a broad cross section of the Atlanta community // Photo Credit: AJC/Jacob Ross

PASSOVER Szyk’s Haggadah is a Modern Masterpiece

More than 90 years ago, as Hitler was first coming to power in Germany and discrimination against Jews was starting to spread, Arthur Szyk began work on his Haggadah. Syzk, who by then was already a well-known artist and illustrator with a keen political sense, quickly saw the dangers ahead for European Jewry.

As Stewart Luckert points out in his book, “The Art and Politics of Arthur Szyk,” the artist immediately sensed the rise of a new kind of Pharaoh and a story about freedom that was developing in Europe, where he lived. His vision of the Haggadah that he began to illustrate both in picture and text was one of immediate relevance. He is quoted in Luckert’s book of a comment he made in 1934

to an American reporter.

“An artist, and especially a Jewish artist, can not be neutral in these times. He cannot escape to still lives, abstraction and experiments. Art that is purely cerebral is dead.”

As he worked on the complex figures in his illustrations of the ancient text, he branded each one of the Egyptians he drew with a swastika. Although his publishers, first in Czechoslovakia and then in England, forced him to remove the Nazi symbols from his work, he remained convinced that the parallels of the story of the Exodus more than 3,000 years before were being played out again in the Europe in which he lived. What particularly resonated, for him, was the Haggadah’s traditional reminder of the hardship the ancient Israelites suffered,

how they overcame their oppression, and eventually triumphed with a homeland of their own.

He gives special prominence to Jewish heroes like King David and Judith, who, in her Biblical story saves her people by murdering the despotic General Holofernes.

Moses, in particular, is represented as a Jewish freedom fighter who battles Egyptian tyranny and later leads his newly forced nation of Israelites against the Amalekites. According to the account in Exodus, the weary leader’s arms are held high by his nephew, Hur, and by his brother, Aaron, in support of the divinely inspired battle that is taking place.

Syzk also populated his drawings of the Passover story with references to the Zionist dream that was beginning to take

root, particularly among those in Eastern Europe who had long been denied their freedom. He portrays the Jewish youth of those persecuted lands waving goodbye to their aging parents as they go off to find a new life in Palestine.

In the English dedication page, a forlorn group of Jews are looking toward the locked and fortified gates inscribed with the word “Zion” as modern naval vessel stand guard. The unmistakable message to the British was a plea to allow the besieged Jews of Europe to take refuge in a Jewish homeland.

The original drawings of the Haggadah were completed in 1939 and went on display in London, just as the British were declaring war again Nazi Germany. A reviewer for the British Jewish Observer publication praised the work for its

Happy Passover!

The original edition of Arthur Szyk’s Haggadah sold in 1940 for $11,500 each, the most expensive book of its time. The contrast between youth and age runs throughout Szyk’s Haggadah, as in this illustration that was part of the four questions. Moses, during the battle with the Amalekites, had to have his arms supported by his nephew, Hur, and his brother, Aaron.

contemporary relevance.

“It is completely modern in conception … a permanent monument of the reaction of the Jewish spirit against the brutalities that have disgraced the twentieth century in Central Europe.”

In its initial publication in 1940, only 250 copies of the work were made available. There were 125 copies in England and 125 copies in the United States. The famous Jewish historian, Cecil Roth, wrote a translation and commentary to complement Szyk’s Hebrew calligraphy and illustration. The printing was on parchment, the same material used for Torah scrolls. The cost of each copy was $520, which in today’s dollars comes out to over $11,500 for each book, the most expensive publication of its time.

In later editions of about 10,000 copies, published in Israel in 1956 and 1967, the price was about the same as for any fine, illustrated book. In 2008, digital technology was used to bring Szyk’s drawings to their original brilliance and a new English translation and commentary was prepared and published by Abrams in the United States.

Arthur Szyk concludes his Haggadah with a verse from Psalm 14 that expresses the hope that Jews will finally achieve the ultimate freedom of redemption in the Land Israel. It is in keeping with Szyk’s notion that freedom will be achieved by the strength that only a strong spirit and a strong body can achieve.

On the final page are found the Hebrew words, traditionally recited on the completion of the yearly Torah cycle or, in some synagogues as each book of the Torah are completed: “Chazak! Chazak! V’neet-chazeik! — Be strong! Be strong! And let us be strengthened.” ì



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Szyk designed and executed both the sumptuous illustrations and text in his Haggadah.

3G Passover Connects Holocaust Survivors, Descendants

Passionate grandchildren of Holocaust survivors gathered at Congregation B’nai Torah on Sunday, April 7, to make Passover bags to be given out to survivors at the monthly Café Europa program hosted by Jewish Family & Career Services or delivered to their homes by their case manager to help make Passover a special holiday.

The event was sponsored by Cherie Aviv, Chair of the Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (HSSF) convened by Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “Passover feels extra important this year with all that is happening in the world. We wanted to put these bags together to provide fun food for the holiday as well as to connect grandchildren of survivors to this important generation.”

Aviv worked with Emily Yehezkel, a granddaughter of a survivor, to create this special event. Congregation B’nai Torah graciously offered space to store the items and assemble the bags.

The tables were filled with Passover goodies like matzah, chocolate hearts, chips, chocolate pretzels, honey pretzels, macaroons, almond puffs, pomegranate tea, and much more. The volunteers quickly got to work, putting everything on the tables, creating an assembly line, filling the bags, and tying on a Happy Passover card.

“It was so heartwarming to see the grandkids of survivors create these Passover bags, linking to the past that is part of who we are,” noted Aviv.

Yehezkel recruited the grandchildren of survivors to be part of this program. She shared, “Bringing together the third generation to make Passover bags for survivors allowed us to learn about each other’s stories and connect with each other on a deeper level, while also helping a community we care so deeply about.”

Kevin Metzger is the oldest grandchild in his family. His grandmother recovered the family’s kiddish cup after the war, which now resides in his home. Metzger said that “The kiddush cup is not just a vessel for wine. It is a connection to family lost during the war.” His grandmother’s family buried the cup prior to being rounded up and recovered the cup after the war.

in Europe. Jennison continues to search with the hope that some family members or their descendants are around.

Yehezkel shared, “The fact that we are able to convene grandchildren of survivors, proud descendants of survivors, and live Jewish lives is something to celebrate!”

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Carrie Leavitt’s grandparents were from Germany. After enduring the inhumanity there, they were finally able to leave the country in 1938-1939, and were only permitted to bring furniture. Leavitt’s grandparents disassembled a piano that had been in the family since the early 1900s. The piano now proudly sits in Carrie’s home. The music that emanates from the piano at family gatherings honors those who remained in Europe and lost their lives.

Lilli Jennison shared a beautiful portrait of her family members from pre-World War II. The family portrait connects Jennison to her heritage. Jennison and her family still do not know the fate of many family members who were

Aviv added, “Creating this special moment for survivors for the Jewish holidays, caring for Holocaust survivors in need today, and carrying stories forward is what HSSF is all about.”

To learn more about the Holocaust Survivor Support Fund (HSSF) at Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, to help Holocaust survivors in need or to make a donation (click Holocaust survivor funds to designate to HSSF), contact Cherie Aviv at or visit

To learn more about connecting with other descendants of survivors contact Emily Yehezkel at emilybyehezkel@ ì

A contingent of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors created Passover bags at B’nai Torah to be distributed to survivors at the monthly Café Europa program. Carrie Leavitt’s grandparents brought this piano out of Germany before the war. Kevin Metzger’s grandmother recovered this kiddish cup after the war. Lilli Jennison continues to search for information about the fate of her family.


Rabbi Norry’s Verdant, Vegan Pesach

Noted vegan chef Rabbi Hillel Norry has provided a guidepost for observing Passover without the traditional use of meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

He stated, “Passover is the perfect Jewish holiday for vegan eating. Highlighting the return of green and growth to the Earth, the Torah calls Passover, ‘Chag Ha’aviv,’ the festival of spring, an ideal time to lean into fresh vegetables and to center them in your seders. A lot of recipes can be modified to meet the kashrut rules for the holiday, though I like to keep it simple.”

Those of us who shop for Passover staples and luxuries from balsamic vinegar to “bagel” and do-nut mix, and duck sauce, equivocate over balancing price and taste. While Norry appreciates the convenience of these products, he has a different slant, “Passover is a return to simpler, more natural eating, and a way to reconnect with G-d and nature as the Earth returns to spring and verdure. I buy what I need, but I spend more time and money in the farmers market than in the kosher aisle at the supermarket.”

and they are permissible for Passover. In addition, products that do not have any chametz, if bought before the holiday, may be used during Passover if you burn/cancel your chametz (ask your rabbi how to do it.)”


Passover has several dietary rules and stringencies, but there are some leniencies that Rabbi Norry recommends.

“First, I eat kitniyot (beans, lentils, rice, and their derivatives). Many Ashkenazim don’t, but they are not chametz,

In this writer’s Caller household, items like orange juice, raisins, EEOV, and honey were bought fresh for Pesach, but not with a “P” heksher

In terms of passed-down family and more traditional non-vegan dishes, Norry’s mother, Sharon, made both chopped liver and gefilte fish.

Rabbi Norry recalled, “While my preference used to be for her homemade gefilte fish, I inherited her recipe for mock liver recipe.”

At the beginning of the holiday, he prepares it and makes a large pot of tomato sauce from scratch, vegetable stock, and apple sauce also from scratch as staples that last the entire holiday. As far as commercial matzo (versus making his own), Norry does use it but sparingly.

He summarized, “We have all the traditional symbolic foods -- green vegetables, charoset, maror (made by the Chrayn Gang previously featured in the AJT). I always highlight the fresh vegetables for dinner.”

This year, Norry plans to serve mushroom stackers, potato gratin or rice, and oven roasted beets and carrots (his “take” on tsimmes). He makes a potato bread pizza crust, to

Happy Passover

add to his homemade red sauce, this year adding a kosher for Passover cashew cheese.

“I’ll let you know how it comes out,” he proffers.

Norry is often asked about the egg (non-vegan) and shank (meat) bone on the seder plate. The seder plate has those two cooked dishes that are symbolic of the meaning of the holiday. The egg is a symbol of spring and new beginnings. He uses lentils instead, as they are also a symbol of renewal. For the bone, he roasts red beets and explains, “The redness hints at the blood of the Passover sacrifice, and beets are mentioned as the preferred dish of one of the Talmudic rabbis. Part of our family’s Passover is to tell the story of liberating animals, too.”

Norry announced that he will wind down his rabbinical position at Temple Beth David after Passover, before starting as Rabbi at Beth Shalom in Columbia, S.C., in July.

For mushroom stackers, see https://www.facebook. com/1467666558/posts/pfbid02KqY9gS4EbPa71f2m35U9WwGJtJ3ujgZ5KDHaS3Kztk7qPetURedqStpsay3UgvZpl/? ì

Norry’s Vegan Recipes

Mock Liver

1 cup browned onions

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup button mushrooms

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Add all to the food processor and chill before serving.

Sharon’s Passover Granola

2 1/2 cups farfel

1 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup almonds

-On a cookie sheet, combine and bake at 325 for 15 minutes till toasty (not cooked)

- Mix, heat on stove, and add to farfel:

1/4 cup margarine or oil

1/4 cup brown/white sugar

1/4 cup honey

1/2 salt

Cinnamon to taste

- Spread on a jelly roll pan. Bake at 250 until golden, stirring regularly. Add raisins, chopped dates, or other dried fruit after removing from oven.

- Cool quickly on a second tray of ice cubes. Cool completely before storing.

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Hillel Norry has long been an outspoken advocate of a vegan diet. During the warmer months, he can be seen working in his garden of plenty in his backyard. This colorful vegan lunch exemplifies Rabbi Norry’s bill of fare.

Marochinos (Sephardic Almond Cookies)

Cooking with ground nuts and nut pastes was popular in medieval Jewish and Islamic cultures across Iberia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. Jews became known in Spain for the wonderful, sweet confections made with almonds that grew well in Spain.

At the time, beaten eggs and egg whites were the primary way to leaven baked goods. These cookies, sometimes called marunchinos, are based on a recipe carried by the women when the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion forced Jews to leave Spain and Portugal. A bit crispy outside, chewy inside and totally addictive any time, they are pareve and perfect for holidays such as Passover and Tu B’Shevat.


Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups almond meal*

1/3 cup granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

5 large egg whites

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

About 24 whole raw almonds or almond slices

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

*Almond meal can be purchased already prepared, usually from unpeeled almonds. It is not as finely ground and powdery as almond flour, but still has a little texture to it which gives the marochinos a good texture. You can make your own almond meal by grinding whole raw almonds (peeled or unpeeled) in your food processor to a texture a bit like fine sand.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make sure the oven racks are in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease the pans.

Use a whisk to combine almond meal, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, if using, in a mixing bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg whites and extract about 20 seconds just until foamy. Add the almond mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon for about 10-15 seconds just until the mixture is well blended, being careful not to overmix.

Drop the mixture by the teaspoonful about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets, using another teaspoon to help drop each cookie. Use the back of a spoon to gently round the edges and just slightly flatten the top of each cookie. Gently press one whole raw almond or an almond slice onto the center of each.

Bake for about 15 minutes, then switch the baking sheets to the other rack, also turning each around 180 degrees for even cooking. Bake about another 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown on bottom. Don’t overcook or the cookies get too dry. Cool on the baking sheets a few minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely. Marochinos keep up to a week in an airtight container in a cool, dry place with the layers of cookies separated by waxed or parchment paper. They also freeze well when packed this way. If desired, dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. ì



“Let Our People Go! Passover is about freedom, justice, redemption and leaving our struggles behind — just as the Jews in Egypt did. How do you relate to this aspect of the holiday?"

For our Passover holiday issue, we invited members of our community to share their responses.

Rabbi Peter Berg

The Frogs Came Up and Covered the Land There is a strange grammatical inconsistency in the Hebrew Bible that has always fascinated me. In connection with the Ten Plagues in Egypt, the text says: One frog came up. And then, one sentence later, we read: The frogs came up and covered the land. Was it one frog or many? The sages say that first one frog came up and nobody reacted, so he gave the signal and the other frogs followed. Soon they covered the whole land of Egypt. I suspect our sages of old were talking about much more than frogs. They were teaching us that when one destructive force arises, those who would join him, those who would be like him, wait to see what will happen to him. If nobody minds, he climbs out of the mire. And, if nobody chases him away, the other frogs join in and soon they cover the land.

This is what happens in our world today. For we live in a world that is filled with hatred and antisemitism and discrimination. Pharaoh decrees the first-born Israelites should be thrown into the sea, Hitler gasses six million Jews in Nazi Germany, Hamas brutally terrorizes, rapes, kidnaps, and murders thousands of Israelis. It takes one person to stand up and spread filthy untruths about both Israel and the Jewish people. One frog comes out of the mud first, and if everybody in the world is indifferent, it gives the signal that the others should feel free to follow. The message goes forth that nobody minds. We have seen it time and again, others see, and they follow. That is what I believe the sages meant when they said one frog came out of the mud first, and when nobody minded, when nobody protested, it gave the signal, and soon many more followed.

Passover comes each year to remind us that moral choices require strength and conviction and risk. We cannot look back at history and go with the flow as a social reflex, but rather, we must make thoughtful and informed decisions that sometimes require protest, dissent, and principled opposition. As we celebrate the heroism of Moses, let’s remember that it was more important for Moses to do the right thing than to be seen with the right people. For him, right and wrong was a matter of conscience, not convention.

Just as the Pharaoh of the Exodus ordered a Holocaust, the Pharaohs of our time are Hamas and Hezbollah. How is it that when they come out of their holes, the world stands silent? Passover celebrates those who are willing to be outsiders. The ones who will protest evil, even if it means not being invited to the party.

This year, let us recapture the meaning of Pesach. Today’s Pharaohs – no matter by what names they are called – still do not understand it. They, too, are headed toward doom unless they implement the Divine imperative: “Let my people go!”

Peter S. Berg is the senior rabbi at The Temple.

Rabbi Michael Bernstein

Every year on Passover we are told to see ourselves as if we were the ones coming out of Egypt. Most of the time we are imagining, or trying to imagine, what slavery was for our people thousands of years ago.  This year, at seder tables around the world, the image will be more immediate. Hundreds were taken hostage in Gaza on October 7th and, achingly, we do not even know how many remain alive in their captivity or their state of wellbeing in mind or body. They are like slaves. What would it mean to think of myself in that place at this time? To not need matza to remind me of what the bread of affliction is like or maror to summon a feeling of bitterness? To have no need for four questions because this night has been the same as all other nights? To have no door to open for Elijah? What would it mean to be enslaved like the parents, children, siblings, and dear friends of those who were abducted? To pray for their immediate release yet resign myself to counting another day like counting the Omer but without knowing an end date?

How could I begin to answer these questions? Or even ask them in the first place in any meaningful way?

Perhaps this was also on the mind of Maimonides when he shifted the words from: a person must SEE themselves so they must SHOW themselves as if they were the ones coming out of Egypt.  In other words, the seder can’t make us feel like we were really slaves in Egypt, let alone that we have any idea what kind of ordeal is being experienced by those enslaved in Gaza. But we are not left off the hook because we can commit to show up as if the fate of the hostages were our own.  That Let My People Go! is also Let Me Go! Because as long as they are not free, neither are we.

Rabbi Michael Bernstein is the spiritual leader of Gesher L’ Torah in Alpharetta.


Terri Bonoff

Approaching Passover knowing that the hostages are in captivity, families are ripped apart and so many loved ones have been lost, makes this year’s holiday different and more painful than any I have faced in my lifetime. One of my guiding principles is the importance of and the power that comes from uniting and standing together in good times and in bad. I wear the necklace that has, “Bring them home”, written in both Hebrew and English, finding comfort in seeing that same necklace or other symbols that reflect this similar intent worn by members of the Jewish community. It’s as if we are part of an order, or a club--a club with a unique shared history whose members have been vilified by the world and whose struggle to protect, defend and obtain justice endures against all odds. I find comfort in leading JF&CS, a faith-based agency, knowing we are guided by Jewish values, serving the Jewish and broader community at a time when support for people’s mental health and well-being, their ability to make ends meet and care for loved ones is more important than ever—honored that Jews and non-Jews in this community stand shoulder to shoulder in partnership and solidarity. This is not something to take for granted and I am most grateful. I stand proud in this fight for justice and redemption, yet also able to understand that others might see things differently. Reading the onslaught of media outlining the plight of civilians who have lost their lives is painful and devastating. These are human beings too--Like any mother, I OPPOSE war. Someone’s wife, son, daughter, brother, or sister dies. We are all G-d’s children. Life is sacred.

I am praying for a miracle. Let my people go has never been more apt. Literally, Let the hostages go! Figuratively, let my people go, means let the world embrace the Jewish people and give grace to the suffering and struggle we are living because of watching our loved ones and our beloved country brutally attacked by a terrorist regime and a rampage that goes unanswered by the world community and without universal demand to free the hostages.

On this Passover holiday, may we use the sacredness and shared community of our Seders to affirm the right for Israel to exist and defend itself, to pray for the safe return of the hostages, and to extend an olive branch to those citizens of the world who stand for peace, liberty, family unity and religious freedom. May our souls be blessed and the memories of those who have died be for a blessing.

Terri Bonoff is the chief executive officer of Jewish Family & Career Services.

Rabbi Daniel Dorsch

Let Our People Go.

Never has such a refrain remained truer this year than it has for the past six months.

As Jews, we continue to wait expectedly alongside our brothers and sisters in Israel for parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, to return to the loving arms of their families.

As the Jewish community of Atlanta, our thoughts turn this Pesach to Israeli families living in our city, as well as families with soldiers proudly serving in the IDF. You are an integral part of our family. We know how your every thought is directed toward your family in Israel. Know that ours are too.

As president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, our communities and our synagogues are open to all seeking solace and comfort this Pesach. Kol Dichfin Yetay VeYechol. Let all who are hungry for comfort and nourishment come and eat. We must rely not only on Aveinu Shebashamayim, our Father in Heaven, but on one another to grant us the support to endure.

At our congregational seder this year, we will be leaving an empty chair as we recall the hostages in Gaza who will be unable to celebrate Passover with their families. I hope those of you reading this column will consider doing so as well. It is a small way for all of us to join together as a community in solidarity with Am Yisrael, the people of Israel, as we wait for our brothers and sisters to go from a fate that is worse than slavery to celebrating freedom with their families.

As in the days of Pharaoh, this Pesach, may we also pray that God vanquishes the petty tyrants of the world–the Putins, the Sinwars, and the Khomeinis–bringing the long-sought redemption that is the promise of Pesach to our world once again.

Daniel Dorsch is the rabbi at Congregation Etz Chaim in Marietta. He is also the president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.

Cheryl Dorchinsky

Zionism is a civil rights movement. It embodies ideals of freedom, equality, self-determination, and human dignity that resonate deeply with the dreams of our ancestors.

The yearning for home is profound, encapsulated in the timeless phrase, next year in Jerusalem. Each year, we recount our story, cherishing moments with loved ones.

Yet, this year, the cry of “Let My People Go” echoes with heart-wrenching urgency. The hostages, the valiant soldiers, some scarcely older than our own children, and the families shattered by the events of Oct. 7 weigh heavily on our hearts. The stark reality of our enemies is before us, demanding strength, and unity.

This Passover, I implore you to stand with me, to take meaningful action. Make room at your table for those who cannot be home and spread awareness that Hamas must release our people.

Our liberation is not a passive hope but an active pursuit. Despite attempts to silence us, we must follow in the footsteps of those who came before, who fought for the freedom and dignity of all Jewish people. Let us declare “next year in Jerusalem” and strive to embody that journey in body, mind, and spirit.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Cheryl Dorchinsky is the executive director of Atlanta Israel Coalition, and a social media junky who is just trying to save the world.


Happy Passover!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Pesach I Office closed 9:00 am Shacharit (Light Kiddush) 8:57 pm Candlelighting (2nd Seder)

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Pesach II

Office closed 9:00 am Yom Tov Morning Services (Light Kiddush) 7:00 pm Mincha

Ma’ariv by request* 8:46 pm Havdalah

Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Shabbat Chol Hamoed 9:00 am Morning Services Ma’ariv by request* 8:48 pm Havdalah

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Chol Hamoed/ Erev Yom Tov 9:00 am Morning Services 7:00 pm Mincha/Maariv 8:01 pm Candlelighting

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Pesach VII/ Yom Tov Office Closed 9:00 am Morning Services (Light Kiddush) 7 pm Mincha/Maariv 9:02 pm Candlelighting

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Ma’ariv by request* 8:51 pm Havdalah

Chametz can be eaten

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Sherry Frank

The familiar Passover refrain, “Let my people go,” has special resonance this year as we join Jews around the world in a cry for the hostages: BRING THEM HOME!

When we pose questions at our Seder tables, we will have new ones to ask this year:

• Why did Israel suffer an unprovoked terrorist attack by Hamas, the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust?

Why did the world turn a blind eye to the rapes and sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls on October 7?

• Why has antisemitism reached an unimaginable peak, threatening our children and grandchildren on college campuses around the world?

• Why is the news coverage of Israel so filled with misinformation and double standards towards the only democracy in the Middle East?

When we read about the four children at our Seders, we will have new messages for them:

To the “wise child” we will thank them for being a proud and knowledgeable Zionist.

To the “wicked child” we will urge them not to separate themselves from our Jewish community.

To the “simple child” we will guide them in understanding the history and traditions of our people.

To the “child who does not know what to ask” we will tell them about the wonder and resiliency of the Jewish people.

When we dab drops of wine onto our plates and recall the plagues in Egypt, let us call out the plagues of our day:

Opioid and fentanyl addiction. Mental health. Domestic violence. Conspiracy theories. Human trafficking. Hunger. Homelessness. Gun violence. War. Attacks on abortion access.

When we end our Seder with the refrain, “Next year in Jerusalem,” let us pray “Next year for peace and security in Israel.”

Sherry Frank is the immediate past president NCJW Atlanta Section.



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PASSOVER Rabbi Nachi Friedman

Bring Them Home NOW - a unique Passover 2024 opportunity

As I write this message, I pray that the situation in Israel has changed significantly by the time it is published. It is a strange year to “celebrate” Passover. As we near day 200 since October 7th and still over 100 of our brothers and sisters are still awaiting their own exodus (may it come speedily in our days) we are asked to drink wine and be happy on Passover. Jewish law demands our resilience and flexibility for the holidays. We must be happy on holidays even if a close relative died a few days ago or if someone lost their job. Jewish law recognizes grief as shown by instituting a mandatory shiva but limits grief when in tandem with the joy of the holidays. The reverse is true as well. One must alter one’s emotional output if a happy occasion conflicts with Tisha B’av. One can be coming home from the hospital with their new born baby and still have the requirement to be sad. Living a Jewish halachik life demands resilience, flexibility and a heightened emotion regulation.

One way to approach Passover 2024 is to utilize this year as a emotional workout of our emotional regulation and flexibility. Our Passover seder begins with a paragraph in Aramaic called Ha Lachma Anya, this is the bread of affliction. This paragraph invites everyone to join our meal and concludes with a prayer to spend the next year in Jerusalem. One line in this paragraph really supports the idea above: Hashasa hacha leshana haba baraah deyisroel Now we are here, next year we will be in the land of Israel”. While there is hope and faith in G-d for the future redemption, right now we are where we are. Right now we have to “celebrate” Passover in the here and now. Despite everything going on in the world, we must be flexible and have a meaningful, inspiring and spiritual Passover Seder. [Perhaps as we read about the Jewish people’s journey from slavery to freedom we can envision our own journey as we are all navigating our current ongoing trauma with this war. While we are not at the ending stage yet where we can look back and see the hand of G-d in everything, our seder can provide us the hope and faith in G-d to know that anything can happen and how everything can change drastically in our favor.]

I’d like to suggest another approach that will hopefully invigorate all of us and propel our sedarim forward. Some versions of the hagaddah (See the haggadah of the Machzor Vitri) write instead of Hashasa hacha (now we are here) to Ha Shasa (now is the time). I’d like to suggest that in this prayer we are alluding to the power of our Passover seder night. Right now is our ability to pray and make a significant impact in the world. Our sages teach us the importance of stopping everything to have our seder and focus on the story of our exodus. As we say two paragraphs later in the hagaddah “even if we were all sages, all discerning, all elders, all knowledgeable about the Torah, it would be a commandment upon us to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt”. Even if we know this story backwards and forwards we must spend time tonight discussing the miracles. This requirement includes those unfamiliar with the entire Exodus story to those who wrote a PHD dissertation on it. This action taps into the unique ability of Passover that allows us to transcend and elevate ourselves and the world. This paragraph alludes to the unique opportunity TONIGHT to activate our salvation as we read about G-d’s ability to save us in the past. May our powerful Passover seder this year be the seder that Brings Them Home! May it be a seder that allows us to see the Hand of Hashem! May it be a seder that brings open miracles in this world and return all of us to Israel for the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple!

Rabbi Nachi Friedman is the Rabbi at Anshi Sfard in Morningside/Virginia Highlands and a therapist at JF&CS/Torah Day School.

Nancy Gastel

This year I went to a Women in Real Estate Investing in Real Estate. Successful ownership lets you invest in yourself and helps you grow personally and professionally all by hopefully increasing your income, increasing your choices where and how to spend your time and money (e.g. investing in Jewish causes and Israel). I see such an investment as a pathway ... so to speak a splitting of the sea to a new you.

Nancy Gastel Realty is a Broker in Commercial Real Estate Sales and Listing of Property.

Robyn Gerson

Let My People Grow

Decades ago, we found my beloved Grandfather Morris Freedman’s seder book and it was passed down to me as I have kept it safely and soundly. This week I opened it up and read; “Property of M. Freedman, 1945.” I treasured seeing my grandfather’s handwriting, the matriarch of our family. The Haggadah was a beautiful illustrated over-sized Haggadah telling the story of Passover.

This large book was clearly a prized possession my Grandfather used for a lifetime of seders, though I faintly recall it. I do remember the seders that went on for hours, and my younger cousin Steve Cohen and I played with the sterling silver array of utensils and occasionally slipped into the kitchen where we snuck Grandma’s sweets lovingly made for Pesach. Nothing was store bought. Grandma Freedman made it all from scratch and strictly kosher. The seder table trailed from the dining room into the living room where the furniture was moved so the table could fit the entire family.

The illustrations and story of Passover in the over 75-year-old Haggadah touched my heart. One illustration read: “Jacob and all his sons and their families started from the land Canaan to go to Egypt.” The word families moved my awareness to another height. The story of Passover began with an emphasis on families. And still does. Not only our own families and a world of individuals who are like family, but families around the world who are impacted at this time by a challenging journey that will be etched into history.

There is no new normal. We blink and life changes. And at the core of traditions, the seder is a gathering of family and our family’s family and our people’s families and beyond. Hold family, community and our people all over the world close. Hold them in thought, actions, and deeds. Love them largely. Reunite. Remember how you are connected.

At your seder, speak about the matriarchs and the patriarchs of your family. Cherish one other. Support each other. Everyone has a story. Listen. Love beyond measure. Life goes on. Share the words, let our people go. Add the phrase, let our people grow.

Let us stay together and remain united as families. Like Jacob and all his sons and their families, we are family.

Robyn Gerson is a New York Times Bestselling author, writer and media personality appearing in the media for over 35 years. She is devoted to her family and enjoys playing with her grandchildren and family gatherings as the greatest gift of all.



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Rabbi Joshua Heller

At the seder, we say “In every generation, every Jew must see themselves as if they had come out of Egypt.” As we prepare for the timeless rituals of the seder, we realize that the emotions we feel are very much in tune with the generations that come before.

As we drink and celebrate freedom at our seder tables, there will be dozens still enslaved in Gaza. As we remember the plague of destructive hail that rained down ice and fire from above with devastating force, and yet sparing the Israelites, we relate to the feelings of our cousins in Israel who had the miraculous experience of having death rain from above and somehow escaping harm. This is a blessing, but not yet a victory. While we sing “next year in Jerusalem” there will be hundreds of thousands who will still be in exile within the Holy Land, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, waiting to return home to communities ravaged by Hamas or threatened by the shadow of Hezbollah weapons.

We also have cause to be concerned about matters closer to home. The story of Egyptian enslavement begins “vayareiu otanu hamitzrim”- the Egyptians began their path of oppression by making us look bad, by casting us as enemies and outsiders. Throughout the middle ages, the Seder was a time of trepidation, as Passover might be interrupted by a mob following blood libels, fabulously false accusations of murder made against the Jewish community. We relive that experience in the regular media, in social media, and on campuses.

As we break the middle matzah, in Yachatz, we may worry about ways that our own community is divided. As we talk of the four children, we may worry about those among people, perhaps some at our very own seders, who are turned against us, whether through willful opposition or the ignorance of simply not knowing what questions to ask.

With all of this, you may find it hard to sing Dayenu with a full spirit this Passover, but there is much to be thankful for. There are so many of our ancestors’ experiences that we have been spared. We are grateful this year not to have a plague outside our homes. There were years when even a scrap of matzah felt like a luxury. This year we recognize that we have more enemies than ever before, but also greater friends.

At Passover, we will count 200 days since October 7th, and we may not see an end to that in sight. However, counting days is an essential part of our tradition. We count each day from the second seder to Shavuot (beginning at the second sederin a period called the Omer, that lasts until Shavuot. While one would think that the days after Passover , after miracles and freedom, would be joyful ones, the Omer is a time of restraint and refraining from public celebration, because Passover was only the beginning of liberation.

May this Passover be the beginning of our liberation, and may we conclude our count with full joy.

Rabbi Joshua Heller is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation B’nai Torah.

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Meliss Jakubovic

Passover, with its narrative of liberation from bondage in Egypt, resonates deeply with the universal quest for personal freedom. While the historical context may seem distant, the essence of Passover speaks to the enduring human pursuit of emancipation from various forms of oppression and struggle.

In reflecting on the theme of freedom, it’s crucial to recognize that true liberation often begins within ourselves. Setting boundaries and staying aligned with our soul’s desires are powerful steps toward personal freedom. Boundaries delineate where our autonomy begins and ends, safeguarding our emotional and mental well-being. When we honor these boundaries, we assert our agency and reclaim control over our lives.

Moreover, alignment with our soul’s desires entails living authentically and in harmony with our values and aspirations. It means listening to the whispers of our inner voice, which often guide us towards growth and fulfillment. By staying true to ourselves, we cultivate a sense of purpose and direction that propels us towards our own version of liberation.

The parallels between personal freedom and the struggle for justice and redemption are striking. Just as the Israelites endured oppression in Egypt, many individuals grapple with systemic injustices, societal pressures, and inner turmoil. The journey towards freedom requires courage, resilience, and collective action. It demands that we confront injustice, challenge oppressive systems, and advocate for equity and human dignity.

The ongoing conflict in Israel serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring quest for peace and freedom. For over six months, the region has been engulfed in turmoil, highlighting the urgent need for dialogue, reconciliation, and a just resolution. The pursuit of peace in the midst of conflict is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the unwavering commitment to freedom and justice.

As we celebrate Passover, let us draw inspiration from the timeless message of liberation. May we find the courage to set boundaries, align with our soul’s desires, and work towards a world where freedom, justice, and redemption prevail. Let us strive to let our people go, not only from external oppressions but also from the shackles of self-doubt, fear, and complacency. In doing so, we honor the legacy of our ancestors and pave the way for a brighter, more liberated future for all.

Meliss Jakubovic is an online marketing strategist and business growth expert specializing in coaches and healers and she is also Atlanta’s Israeli folk dance instructor.

Rabbi Ari Kaiman

Moses never said simply, “Let my people go!” Moses was speaking for God who said, “Let My people go to celebrate Me in the wilderness,” or “Let My people go to serve Me.” We don’t leave our struggles behind in the Passover story. We substitute the meaninglessness of slavery for the insecurity of the wilderness and the promise of a meaningful servitude.

In this world, we don’t seek a release from struggle, we seek redemption through the struggle to live in meaningful service to the One who unites us all.

The insight of the Passover story is that our oppression prepared us for universal empathy with those who are oppressed. The Haggadah teaches that in every generation arises a force to wipe us out. What is it that we are protecting if not to live in meaningful service to the vision of the world that God hopes we are a part of creating?

Right now in our generation there are forces that seek to wipe us out. Hamas and Iran’s proxies seek to wipe us out by force. Others seek to wipe us out by denying our right to defend our uniqueness.

These forces cause us to narrow our perspective to our self-interest. But we will emerge from this narrowness to the freedom to struggle and serve the interests of the whole world united by universal human dignity and Godliness.

Rabbi Kaiman is the senior Rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel.

As we see a dramatic rise in antisemitism around the world, we must step up now more than ever to help our own. We realize that times continue to be tight for many, but the families helped through the Maos Chitim Fund truly depend on us.

The name Maos Chitim, which means “Money for Wheat” goes back to Talmudic days, when communities assumed the responsibility to provide Passover food to Jews in need.

Your gift allows us to provide food and money so every Jewish family can celebrate Passover with pride and dignity.


Rabbi Micah Lapidus

We don’t leave our struggles behind. Our struggles, like our triumphs and our tragedies, our hopes and our dreams, are part of the sacred inheritance that we carry with us always. A German Jewish philosopher once referred to The Torah as the “portable homeland of the Jewish People.” His words echo in my ears as I write this response. All that we have experienced, both personally and as a people, is part of the Torah that we carry with us, part of the portable homeland that allows us, even demands of us, that we find ways to thrive and flourish in each and every generation.

Rabbi Lapidus is the Director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies at The Davis Academy.

Tiffany Parks

Happy Passover to everybody!

This year, I want to take a different angle. I want to reflect upon good leadership. Moses was a dynamic leader, despite the mumbling of his community. He followed God’s words and led the Hebrews into the Promised Land. There will never be another Moses but today’s leaders should aspire to have more Moses-like qualities, such as humbleness and insight. Moses was not perfect, but he learned from his mistakes. And just like during Moses’ times, we are living in perilous times, and it will take Moses-like leadership to lead us to a better place.

Tiffany Parks is a contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

David Ostrowsky

“For the past six months, I have had to be very mindful of the current situation in Israel when writing sports articles. Some athletes, coaches and other sports figures are comfortable speaking about how the situation affects them; others do not want our conversations to wade into that topic. It’s a delicate balance between recognizing when it’s appropriate to reference the war and when it is not.

As Passover is approaching, and we think about leaving our struggles behind, it is my most sincere hope that the current situation in the Middle East is no longer a potential storyline -- to any degree -- in what is meant to be an inspiring sports article. It is always a thrill to spotlight an Israeli or Israeli-American athlete and write about their cultural heritage and how it relates to American sports. It would give me great pleasure and satisfaction to know that the troubling political climate is no longer a topic of conversation.

I hope all of our readers have a very pleasant Passover with their friends and relatives and wish them all the best during this special time of year.


Jody Pollack

“Wow, this is a Passover story that we did not expect. Thousands of years go by and again we are chanting “Let Our People Go!!!”. This time, it is not a great nation holding our people, it is a bunch of pishikers that no one wants, trusts or respects but has a great PR department. Unfortunately, they count among their minions, way too many useful idiots that have sucked up and spread so much misinformation that they actually believe that if they were to set foot in Gaza, they would be greeted as heroes but would instead be raped and killed within minutes. They also believe that if we lay down our arms, all will be right with the world. Actually, there may be more truth in that than I had intended. Maybe we should offer to trade them for our brethren that are being held hostage. Just a thought.

In the Passover exodus we relied upon the hand of G-D for our protection. Once we escaped, we spent 40 years in the desert training our people for the upcoming battles to return to our promised land. During that time, we learned that peace and freedom only came from faith and strength. This time, we have trained for 75 years and it is the IDF that is our protector. We still have our faith, but Merkava’s and F16s come in handy too.

The world is upside down right now. The closet antisemites have come out of their caves and burrows and exposed themselves. The light of truth and justice is shining but so is the black light exposing the blood on their hands. The politicians that pandered to us have shown their true colors as well. They forsake justice for votes from virulent antisemites and are more than willing to sell us into slavery once again.

While our skepticism has unfortunately been validated, we are a resilient people. We will survive this. And now recognize that our freedom is only in our hands, but if someone has Eliyahu’s number, please give him a call.

Wishing you and your families, peace, freedom and positive thoughts.

Jody Pollack is the Executive Director, Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival.

Ostrowsky serves as the sportswriter for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Happy Passover!

As the Co-Chair of the GeorgiaIsrael Legislative Caucus and the state senator whose district includes the Temple, the Jewish Federation of Geater Atlanta, and the Breman Museum, I wish you and your family peace, joy, and happiness.



Robert Ratonyi

The title of my book “From Darkness into Light” is a metaphor for the Jewish people’s escape from slavery to freedom. We persevere!

Robert Ratonyi is the Author of “From Darkness into Light - My Journey Through Nazism, Fascism, and Communism to Freedom."

Ray Alyssa Rothman

“As an adult with children of my own, I reflect at this time of the year on the memories of my childhood Passover celebrations. Those moments hold a special place in my heart, and now, as a parent, I realize the immense responsibility and joy that comes with carrying on this tradition. I remember the excitement and anticipation that filled the air as we prepared for Passover.

The days leading up to the holiday were filled with cleaning, organizing, and setting the table with the finest dishes and silverware. I watched my mother’s meticulous preparation, banishing chometz from the house, and ensuring that on the night of the Seder, our home was transformed into a sacred space. I listened attentively as my dad retold the story of the Exodus, eager to ask questions and participate in the rituals connecting us to generations past and present.

Now, as the adult, I carry the weight of maintaining these cherished traditions and ensuring their continuity for future generations. It is a responsibility that I embrace with love and dedication. I find myself looking into the eyes of my own children, seeing the same wonder and curiosity that I once had, filling me with joy. I see the torch of Jewish continuity passed down, giving me hope for the future. It is a privilege and a blessing to carry on this tradition, ensuring that the spirit of Passover lives on for generations to come.”

Ray Alyssa Rothman is a commercial real estate veteran who helps raise equity for investments. Her side business is Kibbitz & Konnect, a premier in-person social network for Atlanta’s Jewish singles community (

Gayle Rubenstein

My personal relationship with Passover captures the essence of what makes this holiday so significant. For me, it’s the gathering of family and friends, some of whom we have not seen since Rosh Hashana, it’s a time for connection and love and togetherness. Regardless, there is always a place for all at the Sedar table.

As we begin the seder with a liberation song, so appropriate for what is happening right now, Let my People go! Jews were enslaved by Pharaoh, 3500 years ago, Today we have a different cruelty of kidnapping of our brothers and sisters in Israel. Our prayer now is that Our people will be let go!! How many times can we be persecuted by others, what is the meaning of this? Why do people dislike Jews? We are .2% of the world population and have experienced injustice and antisemitism throughout history. What can we do as Jews to have an impact on this historic hatred? Jews come from all over the world, and regardless of these differences, we share common values and goals to make the world a better place. But we share the same problem, one that is common to Jews across the world and across time, Anti Semitism.

These stories of oppression and hatred are a testament to our resilience and strength and our Jewish spirit.

This is Our call to action for future generations. As a proud Mom of 3 boys (now grown Men) my husband and I taught them (L’dor V’dor) and we hope they have taught their children to never forget and not shrink away with fear, but to proudly stand up as Jews whenever this occurs. In the face of hatred, we should make ourselves bigger and taller.

We have incredible allies that support Jews and we in turn, support others experiencing opression, whether it is due to race, color religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability! Antisemitism must end. Let us work to stop it. We aim for a world where nobody suffers from bias or discrimination. This year at the Sedar table, we will read the text from the Haggadah. We will open the door for Elijah the prophet, who tradition tells us, will announce the coming of the messiah. We will read the questions and share our feelings, our fears, and our hope for peace in Israel and the safe return of the Hostages.

Chag Samaech from our family to yours.

Gayle Rubenstein is the Owner/Designer/Decorator for 30 years at Balloons Over Atlanta.



Rabbi Neil Sandler

Each year I grow older. Each year I add to the number of times I lead the Passover Seder.

And each year I add to the number of times I or someone else in our seder offers the familiar words from the Book of Exodus, “You shall tell your child.” We reflect on those words and consider what it means to share the Passover story with our children and grandchildren. What sentiments are we to share with those who will follow us? What are the generations supposed to take away with them from the seder that addresses our people’s past and enhances its future?

This year a unique pre – Passover experience added a dimension to my understanding. Along with our cousins from Mississippi, Susan and I spent nearly one month in central Europe prior to Passover. On a tour of the Jewish section of Budapest, our guide shared the point of differentiation between the interior and exterior of the ghetto. There, at that point of differentiation, were the familiar Passover words of the haggadah, “You shall teach your child.”

A long time ago, I learned the world can be a difficult place to navigate. Sometimes the world can be a very cruel place that causes harm and pain. At other times, the world can bring comfort and understanding. What does the world bring us at the Passover seder? The answers are not so simple. They may include the recognition of a world that continues to harm us. They may also encourage us to see a world that beckons us to care about the welfare of others even when we have to ostensible reason to do so.

This year I learned that responses to the Passover seder declaration, “You shall teach your child,” lie at the point where the ambivalence of the world meets, where the interior and exterior of the Budapest ghetto meets. “You shall teach your child.” What shall you teach? Not an easy question.

Susan joins me in wishing you and loved ones a very happy and healthy Passover.

Neil Sandler serves as Rabbi Emeritus of Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Buckhead.


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Shaindle Schmuckler

What Would You Do?

I wish I had some photos of me at my six-yearold Pesach seder. I was so farputzed (gussied up).

I am in my velvet Pesach dress with a ribbon and bow for a faux belt, black Maryjane’s and white anklets with lace complementing my shoes.

Before my family walked the three blocks to my Bubbie's and Zaidie's apartment, my sister (baby sister hadn’t been born yet) and I were carefully instructed on the behaviors which were expected of me. My parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents all spoke and scolded in Yiddish. Somehow, these warnings all sounded far more ominous in Yiddish.

I offer you some “What Would You Do” examples to consider:

Upon our arrival, we are to say ah gooten (good) Pesach.

If it was cool outside, and we were wearing jackets, we were to hang said jackets in the hall closet on hooks provided for the kids.

If you must go to the bathroom, do not come running out yelling it stinks. FYI: The cause of the smell was from the fish Bubbie kept in her bathtub, which she saved for creating the delicious gefilte fish for the Pesach seder meal. (Don’t even ask how she must have murdered that poor fish)

Do not crawl under the Pesach seder table to play hide and seek.

Do not check to see who was tall enough to have their feet touch the floor.

Do not make any noises during the reading of the Haggadah.

Do not touch the grandfather clock in the corner.

Do not go into anyone’s bedroom to play.

Do not bounce on their beds.

Do not look in anyone’s closet or dresser draws for buried treasures.

Do not spread your skirt out on the big chair in order to pretend you are a princess. (This was aimed specifically at me.)

Keep your patent leather Maryjane shoes clean, you must wear them to shul.

Don’t play with your hair, your sister’s hair, or your cousins’ hair; do not play with anyone’s hair.

Don’t touch and/or taste the food or candy before seder begins.

Do not open the door to the hallway. (We will open it when Elijah arrives.)

Do not play on the steps in the hallway, the super will get angry.

Do not play with the silverware or napkins.

And these were only the beginning of the litany of our marching orders. So, what would you do? Obey the rules? Choose a few you would take as a challenge rather than warnings? Use your imagination to picture the giggles my cousins and I had making a decision.

Maayan Schoen

The poetry of Yehuda Amichai, an Israeli poet who fought in many of Israel’s wars, has been a source of catharsis to me at points of inflection in my life this year. Fittingly, the following poem was used as a prompt at a Shabbat reunion I attended for my seminary right after a big life change. There are many insights to draw from it; I have been thinking about how it relates to freedom in anticipation of Pesach:

The Place Where We Are Right

From the place where we are right flowers will never grow in the spring.

The place where we are right is hard and trampled like a yard.

But doubts and loves dig up the world like a mole, a plough. And a whisper will be heard in the place where the ruined house once stood.

We are not free, I believe, when we do not allow for doubts and loves to dig up the world. We are not free when we must always be right, must always be certain, nor when we cannot let go of something we thought we were right about but are not.

In our faith, our relationships, our dreams, goals, willingness to take part in community, and other central areas of meaning in our lives, what space do we give ourselves for doubt and to carry on comfortably when we have it, and how quick are we to give up on something entirely because of doubt? From the place where we are right, flowers will never grow: I’d like to suggest that we are not free when we limit ourselves to operating only when we know (or feel) things with certainty. And, aren’t we making a more meaningful choice when we choose to believe, or to love, or to partake when we aren’t able to supply all of the answers like we would on an exam? Acts of faith are such because of the inability to know some aspect of the subject/ object with certainty, and our choice to act anyway.

I am not saying to ignore the little voice in your head that tells you when something is wrong. I am saying not to let that voice dominate and render you unfree. It is important to be a critical thinker and to act with purpose. But, as I have seen with friends who struggle with faith and relationships, you are in more danger when you think something in absolute terms — the total absence of doubt — and then confront a crisis of faith when you find out you were wrong — than when you are flexible with your thinking all along and allow for doubt. It is harder to be rocked by new information when you are free and critical in your thinking to begin with.

One of the reasons I bring up this topic is because I know that many people are instinctively reaching towards practices, communities, and labels in the Jewish world that they might have eschewed before the present crisis of antisemitism, but some might hesitate, not sure if they believe in this or that, identify with every aspect of some label, or are “Jewish enough” to engage in that way. I encourage you not to let that stop you, but to embrace it as a sign to go toward that thing. I think it can be a goal to get to a place where you feel no hesitation to believe, love, or act despite the presence of doubt (as long as there is also love).

Leave your struggles behind — if you want to believe in God, but you have certain doubts that you don’t know how to address, you are free to believe anyway. If you want to love someone, but are plagued by what-ifs, love them anyway. If you want to take on more Jewish practices, but you’re not sure about others, or you’re not sure if that’s “you,” freely embrace these choices that belong to you. If you want to be a Zionist but you’re hesitant about some aspect of Israel’s government or what other people might think, you are free to support Israel. And so on.

Allow doubts and love to mingle together to create the conditions for life — to dig up the world and plant it again.

Maayan Schoen studied in the Migdal Oz Beit Midrash for Women in Israel and recently graduated from Yale University. She now lives in Jerusalem and is chief of staff for Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem and Special Envoy for Innovation Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.

Shaindle Schmuckler is a freelance writer with the Atlanta Jewish Times.
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Dr. Terry Segal

In prior years when I heard or spoke the phrase from the Passover Seder, “Let my people go,” I was reminded of Moses going down to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to free our oppressed people. Each year during the seder, we read from the Haggadah, which means “to tell,” as a way for each generation to remember the story and to tell it as if it happened to us, all of us, Jews. We are the wise children who recount in great detail, the trials and tribulations, as well as the victories, that happened so long ago.

But this year, much of the story is not a recounting of the past. The wounds from the October 7th massacre of our people are still fresh and the oppression, current. At the time of this writing, we don’t know the ending to the story. With approximately 130 hostages still being held, with some believed to no longer be alive, we cry out to “Let our people go!”

Even in the midst of so much devastation and evidence of evil in our world, there also lives the same eternal hope that is the hallmark of our people.

This Passover is a time of recalling the past and taking action in the present. Whether you feel called to volunteer in Israel, donate money, write letters, or speak out, there is one action we can all take. It is to pray to G-d.

Let’s hold a strong image of our people being freed, of wickedness vanishing like smoke, and of peace prevailing everywhere. Replay this image often in your mind and may it be so, soon, soon, speedily in our days.

Terry Segal is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Ph.D. in Energy Medi-

Chana Shapiro

The Home-Centered Jewish Holiday

What I like best about Pesach is that it’s a home-centered holiday. We sit around the table with friends and family to collectively retell the story of our exodus from Egypt and our journey as the Jewish people.

At the Haggadah’s end, we sing cleverly metaphorical and erudite songs. We’re even given prompts along the way to help us think and talk about the Pesach messages. The symbolic items on the seder plate, the four questions, descriptions of the four sons, the four cups of wine, the matzot, the afikomen, anecdotes about our sages, and singing “Dayenu” -- which recounts the heavenly gifts for which we should be thankful -- all serve to guide us. The Haggadah is a pedagogical masterpiece, and it’s meant to be read aloud, an auditory aid to learning.

The communality of the seder is key. It’s a fact that a Jew may find oneself in any synagogue anywhere in the world on a Shabbat or holy day and fully participate in the service. So why is so much emphasis given on Pesach to sit as part of an intentional group, to read, eat, discuss, and sing around a table, in a home? It’s worth mentioning -- and statistics verify this -- that the Passover seder is a Jew’s most remembered Jewish experience. Let’s be especially mindful this year; let’s use the seder to create lasting memories of spirited Haggadah -- reading, great discussions, a delicious meal, and joyous singing!

Our family wishes you a happy Pesach and a memorable seder!

Chana Shapiro is an author, illustrator, and regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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A Somber Seder

This year’s seder has been changed by October 7th. It can serve as a conduit of grieving and healing for the Jewish world. The word Seder itself might be spoken about. It means order or arrangement. For many, this year has been out of order and a sad twist in our lives. Those leading seders could solicit from guests their feelings of disorder.

At my seder, I am leaving one seat empty. This seat is in recognition of those still kept as hostages. If they are freed (my daily prayer) then the empty seat could symbolize the IDF heroes and others who died so prematurely as soldiers or innocents defending Israel.

Almost every symbol of the seder can reflect Oct. 7th.

The Karpas-the green vegetable, reminds me of the many kibbutzim that are now lying fallow. Unharvested crops and unattended animals no longer being cared for. The salt-water reminds us of the tears we have shed since Oct. 7th. When will they end?

Ya-hatz-Breaking the middle matzah. The Matzah breaks so readily. This cracking is symbolic of how many felt after Oct. 7th. Our sense of security and belief in the protection of the Israeli forces against all enemies was shattered. We watched in absolute horror as terrorists flew into the Nova music festival. We are taken aback at how quickly our feelings of safety and security vanished.

The Four Questions-These can serve as a time to discuss the new reality of Oct. 7th and the tidal wave of antisemitism sweeping around the globe. Why is this night different from all other nights? Because we are able to sit together with family and friends, but so many others will never have that opportunity. Why is this night different? Who would have expected the public arguing and major differences between an American president and Israeli Prime Minister who embraced months ago and are now arguing on the world’s stage?

When the Ten Plagues are read, I would add others including Hamas, and antisemitism as modern-day plagues, without any wine being taken from our cups.

The song of Da-ya-nu recounts the many miracles that G-d has brought to the Jewish people. If we will sing it, it will be in muted tunes.

The Bitter herbs are what I feel about Oct. 7th. Bitter about the deaths, savage behavior, loss of innocence and the pain that so many have suffered due to this attack. When the Afikomen is found, I would suggest that any financial rewards be directed to an appropriate Israeli organization.

The 4th cup of wine and the opening of the door for Elijah are especially poignant this year as we think about those who wish us much harm, even death. Do we want the fulfillment of this sentence, “Pursue them in anger and destroy them from under the heavens of the Eternal.” And what about Elijah? Does the reality of Oct. 7th make the arrival of a period of peace more distant?

The evening ends the well-known phrase, L’shanah ha-ba-ah b’ya-ru-sha-layim,” “Next year in Jerusalem.” We can certainly hope that the coming year will be the beginning of some return to normalcy for Israel and the Jewish people.

Rabbi Albert I. Slomovitz is the Rabbi at Large, Congregation Etz Chaim, Marietta, Ga., Assistant Professor of American History, Kennesaw State University, and Founder of the Jewish Christian Discovery Center.

Alla Umanskiy

It’s been over six months. And over 100 Israelis and others are still in captivity, held by Hamas. Six months. In these six months, how many times have young girls been violated? How many women were assaulted? How many men were beaten? How many seniors were denied their medication? In these six months, are the hostages being given proper meals? Are they allowed to shower? Are they chained and bound? Are they allowed to speak to other hostages?

We call them “hostages,” but they have names. Amiram, Guy, Doron, Hersh, Kfir, Ariel, and many others. They all have names, families, stories. Each one of them is loved and missed. Each one of them has quirks, personalities, favorite foods, songs, movies. Most of them have a mother and a father who are desperate to bring them home. As a mother, I’m beyond heartbroken. As a human, I’m beyond heartbroken.

If these were my babies held in tunnels, what would I say to them? What would I think? I would wake up every morning, with their names on my lips. I would think, are you getting your favorite oatmeal? Are you given any books to read? Do you have any internet access? Do you have blankets at night? Are you sleeping alone or around other girls like you, for camaraderie? Are you cold? Are you scared? Have you had a chance to wash your hair and make ponytails the way you like? Are your clothes dirty? Do you know that mama and papa love you? Will you be ok when you get out? What doctors and therapists do I need to make contact with now to have on standby when we get you back? Are you...? Will you...? Do you...?

The way to make this tragedy real is to make it REAL to yourself. To make it personal. As it is. As it should be. To all of us.

This Passover, our community and people around the world need to come together and insist that Hamas let our people go. Immediately, without delay. I pray that these people will get to sit down to Seder with their loved ones. This is my one and only wish.

Alla Umanskiy is a mother, wife, and writer, living, working, and raising a family in suburban Atlanta.


Renee Werbin

The constant refrain of Passover, Let My People Go, spoken by Moses to Pharaoh over 3500 years ago, resonates with a shrill and jarring voice today. October 7, 2023, is a day that will live in infamy. It’s the day Hamas killed over 1200 of our people and took over 250 men, women and children hostage. These powerful four words echo decades of our people’s struggles against regimes and tyrants that intended to destroy us. Passover, Purim and Chanukah are but three of our holidays where we commemorate, remember and reflect on past victories. All of these victories renewed and reinforced our people’s will and determination to survive.

Our time-honored holiday of Passover recounts the miraculous exodus from 210 years of enslavement in Egypt. One of our most revered traditions is retelling this ancient and stirring story at our own Seder where we gather with family and friends to recount this inspirational story of G-d’s redeeming us from Egyptian persecution and slavery.

L’dor V’Dor, from generation to generation we recite the Haggadah. The word “Haggadah” originates from the Hebrew word vehigad’ata, which translates to “And you shall tell”. This phrase is from a verse in the Book of Exodus which states: “”On that day you shall tell your son, “”I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt”. We are commanded to remember the Exodus and thus we do, each year as we follow the order of the Seder.

The Passover chronicle of liberation from oppression to freedom is intertwined with faith for a better future. It’s filled with hope and now, more than ever, it’s important to sustain that hope for our brothers and sisters in Israel who are entrenched in a long, devastating war. There are still hostages in captivity, soldiers fighting on the front lines and the Jewish people are facing a bout of unheralded anti-Semitism from forces throughout the world.



As we usher in the holiday of Passover, we reflect on our past. We survived the Assyrians, the Babylonians, Haman, Antiochus, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Nazis and a host of others who sought to extinguish our way of life. Throughout the ages tyrants have come to destroy us. We will prevail again. Am Yisrael Chai; the people of Israel live.

As we usher in this season of renewal, may your Passover be inspirational, uplifting and enriching. May your Seders be filled with ruach and meaning, instilling the joys of Judaism in everyone around your table. May a light shine brightly upon Israel and our brothers and sisters in captivity. Let the words ring out loud and clear, LET MY PEOPLE GO. Chag Sameach.

Renee Werbin is the President of SRI Travel and the Publisher and Co-Founder of Travelgirl Magazine.
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Rabbi Mark Zimmerman

The story is told that in his senior year of law school, the great Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis was invited to join an exclusive Honor Society. He looked around the room and said: “”I’m sorry I was born a Jew,””. The room erupted in applause. They thought that had finally prevailed in their efforts to convince him to convert to Christianity. Brandeis waited. When silence was regained, he began again. “”I am sorry I was born a Jew, but only because I wish I had the privilege of choosing Judaism on my own.””

Whether we are born Jewish or have converted to Judaism, each of us is a Jewby-Choice today. In this country, it is easy to ignore our Jewishness, and become completely anonymous if we wish it. Our grandparents, on the other hand, could not have imagined not being part of the Jewish community or belonging to a synagogue.

Passover is that moment in time -- the central holiday on the Jewish calendar -- where we decide whether or not to affirm our connection to our people and our shared history.

If we go on a short journey through recent Jewish history with the values of Judaism as our guide, we cannot help but realize how our amazing tradition gives definition to our struggles, adds meaning to our experiences, and helps us to make sense of our fractured world. While Passover is ultimately about celebrating OUR freedom from Egyptian slavery 3,500 years ago, we recognize that we live in a world that continues to be plagued by injustice and struggle.

Especially since October 7th, the Jewish people are keenly aware of the struggles of being a Jew in the world today. And that begs the question that we need to ask ourselves, namely, why do WE personally choose Judaism today? Why do we choose to be connected to the Jewish people our institutions or our community?

In this world where missionaries target us for conversion, where anti-Semitism is growing, where Israel-bashing is an exploding phenomenon, and where the draws of assimilation often prove irresistible – we know that being Jewish and being part of our community is a deliberate choice.

At our Passover seder we will read in our Haggadah that “... in every generation someone rises up against us to try and destroy us…”. Well, the fact that there are some people in this world who continue to hate us is painfully self-evident. But ultimately, that’s not what is important. The important thing is that we love who we are, our history, our values and one another. And if we can’t love our own community nobody else will, or perhaps even should.

So why should we choose to remain Jewish? Because the Jewish experience calls upon us through our rituals, our traditions, and our teachings to live with high ideals for ourselves, and to strive to choose that which is good for our own betterment and that of our larger community. By looking inward to our tradition and practices we discover how we can become better human beings ourselves, and then work to translate that vision to tikkun olam as we strive to repair our fractured world.

May Passover remind us that we cannot afford to take our wonderful Jewish community for granted, or the precious legacy that has been passed down to all of us.”


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Mark Zimmerman is the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom, an inclusive Conservative synagogue in Dunwoody.

We need a new Sheriff to mitigate these issues:

Mismanagement of over $2M Fulton County Tax dollars

Misappropriation of the “Inmate Welfare Fund”

Advocation for a new jail, estimated to cost tax payers $1.7B, without properly identifying and mitigating the current ongoing issues

Ongoing Department of Justice investigation, of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, due to allegations of negligence

Detainee deaths, almost 30 detainee deaths during Labat’s term, which is more than any Sheriff in the last 20 years Paid

for by the Beasley for Fulton County Sheriff Committee
Early voting begins Mon. April, 29th → Happy Passover!
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Atlanta Jewish Times Staff Wishes Our Community Happy Passover From Our AJT Family to Yours Let Our People Go!


Lilli Jennison

As creative director, I host the Atlanta Jewish Times art contests for each major Jewish holiday. The contest for Passover 2024, which you can check out later in this issue, contains many beautiful pieces from all ages.

One of the first art pieces I received was by Michael S. Blaiss. He titled it, “Let My Hostages Go!” It is a painting with the words, “Let my people go,” but “people” is crossed out and in its stead is the word “hostages.” This piece shows so much emotion and is such a beautiful way of connecting the sad past to the sad present.

Jewish people everywhere are thinking of this reality and comparing it to the Holocaust. My grandpa survived the Holocaust but lost the majority of his family. It is a terrifying thought that history is repeating now.

My grandpa would say, “why is he wearing his kippah … why is she wearing a star necklace … why advertise the fact that you are Jewish?" I wear my hamsa and stars with pride. I wear them because I am not afraid of being Jewish. It brings me such pride to see a lot of the community wearing the “Bring Them Home Now” necklaces. We aren’t backing down. We are a strong group and will get through this.

Happy Passover!

Lilli Jennison is the Creative Director for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Sasha Heller

Let Our Social Media Go

This war with Hamas has been brutal. Too much bloodshed. Too much pain. I know I am half a world away from the conflict, but I just want it to be over.

Over the past few months, the Atlanta Jewish Times’ social media pages, particularly Facebook, have been flooded with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel rhetoric. Every day, people (or bots) reply to the AJT’s posts with the most antisemitic hate speech imaginable.

And they aren’t reading the story posts on our Facebook page, thinking critically about the linked article, and then replying with thoughtful, eloquent political discourse. No, they see the name of our publication and … immediately … they reply with “Death to Israel” or “Viva La Palestine” or “Israelis are baby killers.” Baby killers!

They felt it necessary to reply that way to a story about a Jewish high school wrestling team? Or a story about a choir of adults with learning disabilities? Baby killers?

In managing the AJT’s social media, the toxicity can be overwhelming. But I realize my toils are nothing compared to those who are still being held hostage and the families of those who have lost loved ones in the war. I can only imagine as I sift through the vitriol, animosity, and pure ugliness smeared across the AJT’s social media footprint what it must be like for them.

Please let this war end soon and please let the hostages go.

Sasha Heller is the Associate Editor and Web Editor for the Atlanta Jewish Times.



Michal Bonell Ilyssa Klein

Let My People Go


These words I hear.

Calling all victims…

“Come to Me dear”

The cries of His children…

He hears everyday.

He’s sending an army…

To show them the Way.

Moses was sent…

Saving many from abuse.

An army is now rising…

For God to again use.

“Let My People Go!”

Were the words that went out.

“Let My People Go!”

Will again be shout.

For the world is larger, Than it was back then.

So an army of Moses, Will be gathered again.

Moses and Aaron, Walking side by side Teams are building, With God their guide

For the time has come, For people to know…

The Lord is shouting,

“Let My People Go!”

Secret Angel Wordpress

Michal Bonell is the Senior Account Manager and Team Supervisor for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

The Passover holiday is a time to celebrate family, friends, and togetherness. Nothing makes me happier than being with my whole extended family, all the generations, being together and children running around happy.

This year, while my family is together, my heart will be with those families that are incomplete, both here and in Israel. It is hard to celebrate knowing all the pain our brothers and sisters in Israel are suffering and we pray for their safety.

While the story behind Passover took place thousands of years ago, the holiday celebration ensures we will never forget the events of the past. Let us persevere once again, and may we always remember and stand strong together.

Ilyssa Klein is an Account Manager with the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Susan Minsk

Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover is my favorite: a great story combined with an abundance of food shared with family and friends. This time last year, we were moving my in-laws into the next phase of their lives at Huntcliff Independent Living. Excited but also nervous about the move, they were met with warmth by so many new friends and their first event at the new facility was attending the communal seder. The transition was made so much easier by the exuberance of the holiday.

Some of my most favorite Passover memories are the stories my in-laws told of their childhood and their Passover memories from generation to generation! Grandpa leading the seder, hiding the afikomen for my kids, Sophie and Eli, to locate and the joy when found. The love that surrounded the table was felt by all so deeply.

I lost my father-in-law in August, and this will be our first seder without him. It is though we have lost an appendage, but our memories of our times together and the love we shared will sustain us. We will set out his place setting as a remembrance of the importance of family. We also will remember the devastation caused to Israel and the Jewish people on October 7 and we will pray for peace to come in our time. May your seder be a strength to you and your family as it is to ours!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Susan Minsk is an Account Manager with the Atlanta Jewish Times.



Katie Gaffin

Holidays can be rough. I’ve been lucky to grow up with a large, close-knit (and very Southern to boot) family, but lately that family’s been shrinking. I don’t want to count because it makes me sad, but since October 2020 we’ve lost enough people to be in the double digits of empty seats at the table. We remember them and honor their legacy as well as we can, but memories are no substitute for their laughs, their smiles, or their same 10 stories you’ve heard a million times.

It’s hard to not get stuck in the past looking at Frances’ favorite chair being occupied by someone else, or the absence of Shirley’s signature spaghetti she brought to every family gathering, which I used to be sick of but now would give anything to have again. The weirdest little things will bring you right back to the beginning of grief (for me it was a conversation about mini fridges.)

While the loss of so many will never be easy, loving and being grateful for every moment I had with all of them comes naturally. Even when crying about mini fridges at Thanksgiving, I’m glad to have so many memories that keep everyone with me year-round. It’s a reminder that even though the holiday table has empty chairs, the people who used to fill them are still here with us. Even if we can’t see them.

Katie Gaffin is the Events & PR Coordinator for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Fran Putney

Passover’s story of the Exodus and the theme of freedom is especially poignant this year, as every day that passes without the release of the Israeli hostages in Gaza is a tragedy. At our family Seder, we will remember them. And guided by our Jewish values, we will also remember all who are not free anywhere or who are suffering because of wars and natural disasters, and those who are targets of hatred and discrimination. Sadly, that’s a lot of people, and our simply remembering them will be but a momentary awareness.

Earlier this week, I saw a woman and her sweet dog, along with belongings in trash bags, sitting near the entrance of my gym. She wasn’t bothering anyone, but she paced about and seemed in quiet distress. From inside, I noticed a few people speak to her and pet the dog. I hoped perhaps she was waiting for someone. I felt very concerned but had no idea what I could do. I worried if I called the police to help her, it might make her situation much worse, so in the end I did nothing and went home. The next day, I was relieved to learn she and her canine companion were assisted in finding temporary shelter in a hotel.

None of us can solve all the world’s problems, but it did make me think harder about what more I can do in my own small, personal way to make a difference. So much can be done to make our world a more humane and healthier place. On this Passover, my prayer is that we can each be inspired and led by our beautiful Jewish values to do something.

Fran Putney works on the editorial staff of the Atlanta Jewish Times and is on the small but mighty team of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust.

Mazel Tov to the Recipients of the 2024 Hadassah Chesed Student Awards

Come Celebrate these Super Stars!

Join in the FREE Community Celebration

Sunday, May 5, 2024

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Congregation Or Hadash

Avram Eli Rosenthal Alex Bradley Ian Hirsch Avishai Fox Ellie Widis Sari D’Agostino Jacob Summerfield Abigail Streger Ava Satisky Sophia Molinari Ella Jeffres Ethan Sherris Sophia Rose Hannah Levy Leora Frank Grace Engel Reid “Felton” Pruitt Sari Grant Gavrielle Diamant Nate Aronstein Jordan Perlman Ethan Droze Josh Whitehead Isabella Malobe


Diana Cole

Leaving struggles behind can feel like stepping into a brighter future. It is a choice to move forward, to let go of the weight we’ve been carrying, and to embrace the possibility of something better. Sometimes it’s about finding closure, forgiveness, or simply deciding not to dwell on the past. You need to live life to the fullest.

Finding closure is often a deeply personal and individual journey. It involves coming to terms with an event or situation, accepting it for what it is, and finding a way to move forward without lingering emotional baggage. One of my children has a memory like an elephant regarding memories, events, and situations (wish it was school and chores), I keep telling them that they need to forget and let go. Hopefully one day they will listen to me.

Forgiveness can indeed be challenging. It requires a deep internal journey, confronting hurt and pain, and ultimately choosing to release the hold those feelings have on us. It’s a process that often involves acknowledging our own humanity and the humanity of others, understanding that holding onto resentment only continues to hurt us in the long run.

There are times when we need to dwell on the past. That is how we as humans learn from our predecessors’ decisions. Whether it be historical, political, career, friendships, or with family, we hopefully do not make the same choices as they have. History, whether personal or collective, provides valuable lessons that shape our present and future decisions. By examining the choices and experiences of our predecessors, we gain insight into what worked, what didn’t, and why. This understanding allows us to make more informed decisions and navigate similar situations more effectively.

We need to learn to move forward.

Happy Passover!

Diana Cole is the Community Coordinator for the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Rebecca LaBanca

The Jewish people have endured many struggles and have fought to survive. We retell the Passover story every year of when the Hebrews escaped slavery in Egypt. The story of Passover inspires us to embrace challenges and take action. We must always stand up for what is right even if it is difficult. The Hebrews’ perseverance is a continued inspiration for me. I am proud to be part of a people that through history have survived even when their lives were at stake. Fleeing Egypt and going to the land of Canaan took bravery. When one encounters obstacles, it is a time for growth and strength. I hope my friends and family have a wonderful Passover holiday and remember to continue being strong and resilient.

Rebecca LaBanca is an Administrative Assistant at Atlanta Jewish Times.

partnering with

This year Atlanta Jewish Times has partnered with Jewish Mom’s of Atlanta to offer our community an opportunity to SHOW OFF our Mothers.

Submit ‘Why Your Mother Deserves the Best Day’ Here:

Submit 200 words or less, telling Jewish Atlanta why your mother deserves the flowers, candy or a day at the spa. Your submission will be entered in a drawing to win one of 3 prizes and 10 more will be drawn to be featured in the upcoming April 30, 2022 newspaper issue.

All submissions will get posted on the Atlanta Jewish Times website and social media.

Please provide a favorite photo of your mother and complete entry at by 5 p.m. April 19, 2022.

2024 Passover Art Contest

Mazel Tov to our 2024 Passover Art Contest winners! Madison Sheppard won first place! We received so many submissions from applicants as young as five, all the way up to eighty-two years old. The editors' choices are featured below. Check online to see all submissions.

Madison Sheppard

Age: 21

Title: Coming home


Michael Blaiss

Age: 71

Title: "Let My Hostages Go!"

Sheina Kavka, Mushka Kesselman, Ronit Zippel, Raizel Deitsch

Age: 28

Title: Israel


Aliza Gavant

Parents: Yonasan and Esti Gavant

Age: 10

Title: Our Miraculous Redemption - The 10 Plagues Come Alive!

Maya Silver

Parent: Melissa Silver

Age: 6

Title: Open the Sea

Parent: Michael Jonas

Age: 13

Title: Lizmahn Hahzeh

Rebecca Carter

Parent: Andrea Carter

Age: 12

Title: Pesach Freedom Fields


Natania Casper

Parent: Deanna Casper

Age: 11

Title: Seder Night

E. Mattson

Age: 28

Title: Pondering Redemption


Maya Dagmi

Parent: Rachel Dagmi

Age: 11

Title: Leaving Our Struggles Behind

Tziona Caspe

Parent: Deanna Casper

Age: 12

Title: Free at the Sea

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80 | APRIL 15, 2024 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Passover Happy First Night Seder Monday, April 22 @ 6:00pm Open to Temple & Community Members. Limited seating available. PASSOVER WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES Stream online at 1589 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309 • 404.873.1731
Day Passover Festival Service Tuesday, April 23 @ 10:30am Join us virtually for this festival service. It is an opportunity to reflect on the beginning of the holiday the morning after the first seder.
Day Passover and Shabbat Service with Yizkor Monday, April 29 @ 10:30am Join us in-person or online at the conclusion of Passover for a Yizkor service of remembrance. PASSOVER
Title: Moses, The crossing of the Red Sea

Passover remembers the legacy of our people.

Create your legacy with the Atlanta Jewish Foundation.

Hag Sameach!

ARTS & CULTURE Here Come The Asymptomatics

If you haven’t heard of The Asymptomatics, then you’ve been missing out on a world of fun.

The harmonious noise collective, comprised primarily of Jewish members, has garnered a reputation in Athens and Atlanta for boisterous, exuberant shows that engage the crowd via the band’s high-octane “sweaty” energy.

Attempting to categorize The Asymptomatics into a single, defined genre is a fool’s errand. In essence, they are a maximalist indie rock band that fuses elements of ska, funk, and punk and blends the manic energy of The Violent Femmes with the frenetic whimsy of The B-52s. In short, they’re a symphony of stereophonic fire and fury.

The Asymptomatics are set to play a pair of upcoming shows in Athens at the Twilight Festival on April 26 and AthFest 2024 the weekend of June 21. And curious readers can follow the band on Instagram (@asymptomatics) and listen to their music on Spotify (The Asymptomatics).

In coordination with the band having just released their newest single,

“Take It Slowly,” on April 12, the AJT sat down with keyboardist and lead singer, Maxwell Mahieu, to discuss the band’s

origins, its influences, and its future.

AJT: How did you all meet? How did

The Asymptomatics are comprised primarily of Jewish band members // Photo Credit: Nicole Allario
The Asymptomatics released their newest single, “Take It Slowly,” on April 12 // Photo by Sasha Heller

the band form?

MM: All of us were friends (some meeting as far back as elementary school and some in college) that had all been musicians for a while. Over the pandemic, we sort of realized this common love for music and performing and put our spare time in isolation to good use. At that point, it was only four people and my mom on drums, but as soon as we got back to Athens -- after the pandemic started to settle down -- we realized we wanted to make this more than just a hobby, aptly naming ourselves The Asymptomatics.

We had our debut show at a hole-inthe-wall dive called Cozy Bar, and that was exactly three years ago. Our payout was a crisp $50 bill split between the seven of us and a sake bomb for every member. We soon decided to add trumpet, saxophone, congas, and any other instrument that we could get our hands on. Soon enough, we had 10 members (sometimes 13 if the space on stage allowed for it) and realized The Asymptomatics had turned into more of a collective than a band. The size of our group directly

relates to the type of music and performance we want to curate -- an inclusive, sweaty, dancey, crazy fun experience that is open to anyone to be a part of.

AJT: How would you describe your sound? Do you have plans to experiment with new styles?

MM: With the large number of members and a wide range of musical influences and tastes, we are always experimenting with new styles. The one constant we try to hold in our music is to keep it fun and danceable for the live performance, but that does not limit us from exploring different beats, rhythms, and tones while practicing and recording. I think as a still relatively new band, we don’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into one genre.

Also, as we continue to grow and evolve not only as musicians, but as young humans, our tastes and interests change every day. We are just moving with our own flow, polishing our instrumental craft, and taking in the inspiration around us, which will ultimately become a consistent sound. I’ve also got

The Asymptomatics

Maxwell Mahieu: Keys & Lead Vocals

Nick Bonell: Drums

Harris Greenbaum: Saxophone

Zach Negin: Guitar

Chris Natale: Guitar

Justin Janowitz: Guitar

Grant Chernau: Back-up vocals, Synth, and Percussion

Nikki Shotz: Back-up & Lead Vocals

Farida Igbadume: Back-up & Lead Vocals

Sebastian Betancur: Bass

Deb Wall: Percussion

to say -- with half of the band members working part-time at the flagship that is Wuxtry Records (in Athens), there is never a lack of exposure to new sounds that span decades and geographies.

AJT: What are some of the band’s musical influences?

MM: With a large number of members and a wide range of styles, our influences are all over the place, which definitely makes every day sonically exciting when you walk into our band house and listen to what new album is blaring from the living room. Although our listening habits are always fluctuating, I can say that the band started being musically influenced by indie rock, folk, funk, and punk. Performance-wise, we love putting on our own convoluted interpretation of the energy and aesthetics -- and -- antics of The B-52s and Talking Heads.

To sum it up neatly, here is a list of what we are listening to right now:

• Essential '60s groups, specifically Crosby, Stills & Nash, and The Velvet Underground

• '80s obsessions like The B-52s, Talking Heads, and Devo

• '90s/2000s indie staples including

Stereolab, Silver Jews, Wilco, Fleet Foxes, Yo La Tengo, Parquet Courts, and Deerhunter

This decade-spanning influence also comes with a love and spotlight of the Athens music scene of then and now, ranging from Pylon to the Glands to the Olivia Tremor Control.

AJT: I know this is unlikely, but since this is a Jewish newspaper, I must ask … does Judaism factor in the band in any way with eight of the 11 members being Jewish? Maybe in the form of lyrics? Or borrowing inspiration for new tunes from old Jewish melodies?

MM: Currently, I can’t say there’s a direct influence creatively. However, the ongoing encouragement and support we’ve received from our friends, family, and fans in our Jewish circle cultivates a strong sense of community at every show. UGA’s Tau Epsilon Phi, the Jewish fraternity that half of The Asymptomatics’ founding members were a part of, built that initial fanbase. We love that everyone in our circle shows up and contributes to the sweaty dance party experience the band has created … especially when we’re playing “Hava Nagila” at a family wedding! ì

Harris Greenbaum and Sebastian Betancur of The Asymptomatics at The Masquerade // Photo by Sasha Heller 9135 Willeo Road | Roswell, GA 30075 770.992.2055 YOU CAN HELP CONNECT PEOPLE WITH NATURE SATURDAY APRIL 20 | 5:30-10PM PURCHASE TICKETS FOR A NIGHT OUT WITH NATURE TODAY » Drinks, Dinner & Dessert » Live Music » Live Auction » Individual Tickets Available cnc 1250 4.66x5.7 ajt ad.indd 1 4/5/24 5:32 PM
The Asymptomatics offer a unique stage presence that often engages the crowd in fun ways // Photo by Sasha Heller


April 15 – April 30

Food Drive - Camp Jenny is NFTY’s Southern year-round Mitzvah corps project, allowing children from Atlanta’s urban schools to receive tutoring and support. Please bring foods that kids can make themselves like ramen, mac & cheese, peanut butter or cheese crackers, granola bars, and more to Congregation Dor Tamid. Learn more at


Mocha Mondays at Etz Chaim - 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. Monthly, coffee, and breakfast with the rabbi, accompanied by the Talmud’s greatest hits! Learn more at https://

Antisemitism with Brendan Murphy6:30 to 9 p.m. Ahavath Achim Synagogue and Cathedral of Christ the King will hold a two-part program on antisemitism presented by longtime educator Brendan Murphy. The presentation is titled "Why the Jews? Understanding the Long and Tragic History of Antisemitism and the Future of Jewish-Christian Relations." RSVP at

IJA Pesach Workshop - 7 to 8:30 p.m. Start off your evening with a wine tasting paired with light snacks, followed by insightful sessions covering the Haggadah, preparing the home for Pesach, and an overview of Pesach traditions. Enhance your understanding and preparation for Pesach. Join Chabad Intown for this informative event by registering at

ORT Atlanta Women’s Seder - 7 to 9 p.m. Please join our potluck Women’s Seder at a private residence to acknowledge the Extra”ORT”inary Women of ORT! RSVP at


Shining a Light on the Transition to College or Gap Year - 7 to 8:30 p.m. Shining a Light on the Transition to College or Gap Year: A workshop for parents of seniors. Join JumpSpark, Atlanta’s Jewish teen initiative, and our community partners for an evening of information sharing, resource collection and connection with fellow parents of seniors. Register at https://


ACT Session - 12 to 2 p.m. Gathering for JWFA’s 5th cohort of the Agents of Change Training (ACT) program. Learn more at



Brain Health Bootcamp – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join a fun, social class to strengthen your mind and body to stay sharp! With age serving as the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment or memory loss, JF&CS is taking action with the Brain Health Bootcamp. The first of its kind in Atlanta, it is designed to provide memory enhancement techniques through cognitive stimulation, physical exercise, education, and socialization. Join by visiting

2024 Distinguished Advocate Award Celebration - 6 to 9 p.m. Please join us on Thursday, April 18 for a reception and seated dinner as AJC (American Jewish Committee) Atlanta proudly presents the 2024 Distinguished Advocate Award to Ilene Engel. Register at


Bim Bom Babies – A Baby and Me Music Series - 9 to 10 a.m. This is a five-week series with Congregation Etz Chaim on Friday mornings for babies and their caregivers. All are welcome to register. There is an option to come to one or more classes or the entire series. For additional information, visit

Shabbat, Me, & Rabbi G - 5 to 5:30 p.m. Join us in the JCC lobby for this fun monthly Shabbat celebration with Rabbi G! Children will enjoy Shabbat songs, blessings, challah, and grape juice with their friends. All are welcome to this free and open event! Learn more at


Garden Faire 2024 - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Vendors with garden accessories and tools, a wide variety of plants, including natives, heirloom plants and vegetables, herb and cut flower starts, and the popular “PassAlong-Plant-Sale” featuring thousands of plants from the North Fulton Master Gardeners’ own gardens. Learn more at

Live in Roswell: An Evening of Music with John Burke - 7 to 9 p.m. TKC is hosting an Evening of Music with John Burke & Friends. John is a Grammy-nominated artist, local to Atlanta. He will be performing a wide range of music with some of his fellow musicians, for what is sure to be an entertaining evening. Purchase tickets at


Joyful Jazz with the Joe Alterman Trio & Ken Peplowski - 4 to 6 p.m. Don’t miss out on an unforgettable evening as the Atlanta-based Joe Alterman Trio takes the stage once more at the Breman, this time joined by the renowned jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist, Ken Peplowski. Get your tickets at for a mesmerizing jazz experience that will leave you spellbound!

Temple Chamber Players Concert Series: Yiddishkeit: A Story of Song & Prayer - 4 to 6 p.m. Audiences at the Temple will gain a more personal understanding of what each musician offers - not just musically - but their influences, their quirks, what motivates them, their professional journeys, their hobbies beyond music, and where they find inspiration. Purchase tickets at


First Night Seder at Etz Chaim - 6 to 8:30 p.m. If you are looking for a community seder, Congregation Etz Chaim will be hosting one on the first night. It will be led by Rabbi Dan Dorsch. RSVP at https://bit. ly/3TJ0oE7.

Community Seder - 7:30 p.m. Join Chabad of North Fulton for a traditional seder on the first night of Passover. Sign up at

Chabad Intown Community Passover Seder - 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Join Chabad Intown and Rabbi Eliyahu and Dena Schusterman for an enchanting Passover Seder. Experience the liberation and freedom of Passover. Relive the Exodus, discover the eternal meaning of the Haggadah, and enjoy a community Seder complete with hand-baked Matzah, wine, and a wonderful dinner spiced with unique traditional customs. RSVP at


Gainesville Passover Seder -7:45 p.m. Relive the exodus, discover the eternal meaning of the Haggadah, and enjoy a community Seder! The Chabad of Hall County community Passover Seder features a gourmet four-course meal, handbaked Shmurah Matza, four cups of wine, personal English-Hebrew Haggadahs and beautiful insights into the festival of freedom. RSVP at


Second Night Seder at The Standard Club - 6 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid for a Second Night Seder at The Standard Club. RSVP at

TKE Second Night Passover Seder - 6 to 9 p.m. Celebrate the second night of Passover with the Temple Kol Emeth. Share in the ritual of the seder meal, complete with prayer, song, conversation and, of course, dinner, dessert and those four cups of wine. RSVP by April 15 at https://bit. ly/3VIncqd.


Jewish Women’s Torah and Tea - 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Join the Jewish Women’s Circle of Decatur for a weekly discussion on the Parsha and contemporary Jewish issues. Find out more at


Knit and Crochet Group - 1 to 3 p.m. Join Dor Tamid and crochet and knit beanies for premature babies from home. Learn more at


Torah Reading: Metzora

Friday, April 19 Light Candles at: 7:54 PM

Saturday, April 20 Shabbat Ends: 8:52 PM


Torah Reading: Acharei

Monday, April 22 Light Holiday Candles at: 7:57 PM

Tuesday, April 23 Light Holiday Candles after: 8:55 PM

Wednesday, April 24 Holiday Ends: 8:55 PM

Friday, April 26 Light Shabbat Candles at: 8:00 PM

Torah Reading: Chol Hameod Pesach

Saturday, April 27 Shabbat Ends: 8:58 PM

Sunday, April 28 Light Holiday Candles at: 8:01 PM

Monday, April 29 Light Holiday Candles after: 9:00 PM

Tuesday, April Holiday Ends: 9:01 PM


Bim Bom Babies – A Baby and Me Music Series - 9 to 10 a.m. This is a five-week series with Congregation Etz Chaim on Friday mornings for babies and their caregivers. All are welcome to register. There is an option to come to one or more classes or the entire series. For additional information, visit

NCJW Atlanta Section Lunch n’ Learn - 11:30 a.m. to 1 pm. Join National Council of Jewish Women - Atlanta Section for a Lunch ‘n Learn: “2024 Georgia Legislative Lookback”. Register at https://bit. ly/3TV4N86.

Community Passover Seder - 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. TKC is hosting our annual Community Passover Seder on Friday, April 26th. We will begin at 5:45 pm with a Kabbalat Shabbat, and then have our Seder at 6:00 pm led by Rabbi Holtz. Register by April 19 at


Tot Shabbat - 11 to 11:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Lauren from Congregation Or Hadash and families of kids ages 0-4 for Tot Shabbat, a magical, musical, playful gathering celebrating Shabbat together. We’ll tell stories, sing prayers and songs, move our bodies, and revel in the wonder of togetherness and love. Stick around for kiddush lunch to follow! Find out more at https://


Play Tamid - 9:15 to 11 a.m. Play Tamid is led by Rabbi Jordan of Congregation Dor Tamid. Enjoy crafts, songs, fun activities, and more. Play Tamid is for kids under 4 years old with their parents/guardians. Register at

Atlanta Interfaith Hunger Seder 2024

- 5 to 8 p.m. Join JCRC Atlanta for the 14th Annual Atlanta Interfaith Hunger Seder, where we will again gather with esteemed clergy and area community members. At our untraditional Passover seder, a festive and bountiful vegetarian meal will be interwoven with a program full of compelling information about hunger and many ways we can all help alleviate food insecurity. Interfaith Atlanta Youth will share insight on ways their faith traditions inform their activism. From local organizations and grass roots food pantries to public policy and advocacy, we’ll learn about the many ways we can all engage in these efforts. RSVP at


Jeff’s Place Cafe - 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Need a place to host your Monday-morning business meeting? Looking to meet a friend for breakfast and coffee? Craving some bagels and lox before heading into the office? Join Jeff’s Place by learning more at https://bit. ly/3IRgve6.


Brain Health Bootcamp – 11 1 p.m. Join a fun, social class to strengthen your mind and body to stay sharp! With age serving as the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment or memory loss, JF&CS is taking action with the Brain Health Bootcamp. The first of its kind in Atlanta, it is designed to provide memory enhancement techniques through cognitive stimulation, physical exercise, education, and socialization. Join by visiting https://bit. ly/451GNDC.

ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES APRIL 15, 2024 | 85 Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at: Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events three to four weeks in advance. Contact Diana Cole for more information at

Roasted Mini Peppers with Basil-Walnut Pesto

If you cannot find those adorable mini peppers, simply cut large ones into bite-size cubes. You can also add two or three zucchini (sliced) for even more variety. Mrs W. wrote, “Thank you for this outstanding recipe. When I made it last Passover, my son asked me to make it more often. He said, ‘Mom, this was worth coming home for.'”


Roasted Mini Peppers

1 pound assorted mini colorful peppers

1/2 cup pearl onions, peeled 2 tablespoons oil

Haddar Kosher Salt

freshly ground Gefen Black Pepper, to taste

Basil-Walnut Pesto

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup shelled whole walnuts

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, lightly packed

1 small clove garlic, optional

Haddar Kosher Salt, to taste

freshly ground Gefen Black Pepper, to taste

1/4 cup Gefen Olive Oil


Prepare the Basil-Walnut Pesto

1. Place all of the pesto ingredients except for the oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade and pulse until the ingredients are combine.

2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil and process until a paste forms.

Prepare the Roasted Mini Peppers

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the peppers and pearl onions on a well-greased baking sheet. Toss with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the center of the preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until the peppers’ skins start to blacken.

3. Cool the peppers slightly. Transfer to a serving bowl; stir in the desired amount of pesto. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe by Estee Kafra


The Phone Call

Maurice and his wife, Sadie, were asleep one night when suddenly, at 2 a.m., the phone rang.

Sadie answered, listened to the caller, and said, “How the hell should I know? It’s 95 miles away.”

She then hung up.

Maurice asked, “Who was that?”


Sadie replied, “Some mad woman wanting to know if the coast was clear.”


n. People who are resistant to making a commitment in a relationship.

“Sure, I’m a hiskhayves-not, but I don’t fear commitment, I just fear wasting my time.”

From the Yiddish hiskhayves, meaning commitment.


Pesach Search

author, informally

12. Had some matzah, e.g.

13. Apt kosher tuna brand

14. Organization that might get your Judaism burning

16. Senator Scott

17. Locates what’s hidden four times in this puzzle

19. Glimpse

Rock singer Snider

Rock” creator 60. Lessen, as stress 61. Lech ___ (var.)

62. Air safety org. 63. Pronoun for Mother Nature 64. Big name in Israeli music 65. Prada competitor, initially


1. Brady got most of his rings with them, for short



Play Ball Solution E 1 R 2 A 3 S 4 M 5 A 6 S 7 H 8 R 9 A 10 Y 11 S 12 S 13 C I H 14 A H A R E 15 T A T C 16 A R D 17 I N A L S D 18 A R A Y 19 E N T A E 20 F R O N R 21 O 22 Y 23 A L S M 24 A 25 R L I N S E 26 M E N D C 27 I L I A M 28 E L S 29 L 30 O A 31 N G E 32 L 33 S 34 A 35 G E D 36 O 37 D O 38 M S 39 T E P P 40 A D R E 41 S W 42 O W 43 H 44 A I A 45 D E A 46 L E 47 R 48 A S E B 49 R 50 E 51 W E R S G 52 I A N T S C 53 H A I N T 54 H 55 O R N H 56 O R N G 57 U A R D I A 58 N 59 S 60 O 61 N E G E 62 T Z E L T 63 I O R 64 E D S N 65 E E D Y M 66 L B 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65
: ACROSS 1. Kitchen spray
Furious 9. “In Cold Blood”
Defensive Rookie of the Year 34. Polluter-busting org. 35. Annual Nissan event...or what one can literally do in this grid 39. Ewe’s “yo”? 40. “Phooey!” 41. Ill-natured 42. More 4-Across 45. Young lady, with sass 46. Third of July? 47. ___-CREF 48. Top pick in the 1992 NBA draft 51. When repeated, a confection 52. Thing in a folder 56. Crossword alternative…which this grid doubles as 59. “30
22. Collection of maps 23. Waze lines: Abbr. 25. Show with a record 200+ Emmy noms 26. Transparent, as fabrics 28. You might ask a Rav one 32. Israeli kiosk in many malls 33. Ndamukong ___, 2010 N.F.L.
“Let me give you ___, pal” 3. Office note, briefly 4. Protector of the Jews, for short 5. One looking for the Ark 6. Seymour Skinner’s mother on “The Simpsons” 7. All’s rival 8. Ambulance inits. 9. With a sharp tongue 10. Cambodian currency 11. Gronk pitches this insurance 15. Most TVs, now 18. “Munich” actor Eric 20. Roman fountain name 24. Durable furniture wood 25. “Quiet!” 26. Beit __, northern Israel town or Valley 27. Nahash of Israel 28. ___ as it is 29. Sinister looks 30. With precision 31. Hard to recollect 32. Great Rav Arika 33. Israeli flag item 36. Notable sibling rivalry figure 37. Where most people live 38. Shabbat prayer 43. One laining 44. Poverty, pollution, and such 45. It’s said after 38-Down 47. Flashlight, to a Brit 48. Be short on a payment 49. One building an ark 50. What some Irish speak 51. ___ Yaakov 53. Touch-and-go 54. Actresses Thompson and Salonga 55. Big name in Israeli music 57. Kohen Gadol in Shoftim 58. Farm fodder


Freda Banks

103, Atlanta

Freda Banks, 103, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 28 after a brief illness. She was born in Atlanta to Harry and Emily Warshaw on July 12, 1920. She married her childhood sweetheart, Irving Banks, and together they raised four children. She loved her life in Atlanta surrounded by family and friends. She and Irving owned a number of businesses in Atlanta. She worked hard into her retirement years. She was always the life of a party with her excellent dancing skills. She also loved participating in many sports activities, including water aerobics in her later years. She was an avid Braves fan and kept up with all their games and players. She loved playing cards and board games with all her good friends at Huntcliff and she usually won! Freda laughed easily and often.

Freda was preceded in death by her husband and her siblings, Hilda Feinberg, Lillian Kaplan, Sam Warshaw and Morris Warshaw, her grandchildren, Ryan, Holli, and Phillip Banks. She is survived by her children, Dr. Sam Banks (Dana), Roy Banks (Raye Lynn), Arthur Banks (Lott), Barbara Schwartz (Sam), and grandchildren Dr. Sandra Banks, Lori Ruderman (Joel), Melanie Metzger (Kevin), Matthew Schwartz, Ricky Schwartz, and Emily Banks. She is also survived by great-grandchildren, Garrett, Hunter, Isaac Ruderman, Eliana Banks, Haley, Abby and Isaac Metzger, Annabelle and Rayden Schwartz and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral service was held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 31, 2024, at Greenwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and the Holli and Ryan Banks Fund for the Maccabi Games. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Obituaries in the AJT are written and paid for by the families; contact Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky at or 404-883-2130, ext. 100, for details about submission, rates and payments. Death notices, which provide basic details, are free and run as space is available; send submissions to

Alan Charles Dinerman 73, Atlanta

Alan Charles Dinerman died peacefully Thursday, April 11, 2024, following a 16-year-long battle with Inclusion Body Myositis. He was born May 29, 1950, to Samuel and Selma Dinerman in Atlanta. Growing up in the Virginia Highlands with his brother and sister, Alan was a proud graduate of Grady High School Class of 1968. In 1974, Alan married Elaine Weisman. Married for nearly 50 years, they spent their lives together in Sandy Springs, where they worked and raised their family.

A profoundly thoughtful and inquisitive person, he received his degree in Philosophy from Georgia State University. Alan loved his family, playing golf, the Atlanta Braves and University of Georgia Bulldogs, and insightful debates about the universe and our place in it with anyone who wanted to sit and chat. Alan worked as a life insurance agent for most of his professional life, ultimately opening his own business, Dinerman Insurance Services, in the 90s. He was fond of quoting Tom Petty in saying “Most things we worry about never happen anyway,” a particularly ironic lyric given his chosen profession (which was not lost on him).

He is survived by his beloved wife, Elaine, his children, Scott and Liz Dinerman, and Jessica and Scott Wiley, and his grandchildren, Owen Wiley, Samuel Wiley, and Lucy Dinerman. He is also survived by his siblings, Marshall and Laura Dinerman, and Lori and Alex Gholson, and numerous nieces and nephews and their children.

A graveside service was held Monday, April 15, 2024, at Milton Fields Natural Burial Grounds at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Atlanta Community Food Bank or to The Myositis Association.  Dressler’s Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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Roslyn Lubel Grossman 88, Atlanta

Roslyn (Roz) Lubel Grossman of Atlanta, Ga., died Tuesday, March 26, 2024, at the age of 88. Roz was born March 28, 1935, in Macon, Ga., and grew up in New Orleans and Monroe, La., with her parents, Ben and Esther Lubel, and sisters, Elaine and Marcia.

Roz graduated from Neville High School in Monroe and then attended University of Texas and Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans where she met the love of her life and married Chuck Grossman in 1954. They raised three wonderful children, Steven, Vicki, and Michael. She also got her business degree at the age of 45 from the University of Tennessee. Roz worked all her life in many businesses and was the ultimate bookkeeper. She loved mahjong, gardening, watching football, and was famous for her sugar and mandel bread cookies!  However, Roz is best remembered for her love of family and tradition – L’dor V’dor.

Roslyn is survived by her sister – Marcia (Carl) of Jacksonville, Fla., children Steven (Heleen) of Atlanta, Vicki Wyrick (Rick) of Knoxville, Michael of Jacksonville, five grandchildren – Shira Dan (Harel), Elan, Rami, Ayreh, and Dov Grossman, and two great grandchildren, Ella and Nathaniel Dan. Graveside services were held on Thursday, March 28, 2024, at The Gates of Prayer Cemetery in New Orleans, La.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Weinstein Hospice, Gates of Prayer Synagogue in New Orleans, La., or Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Ga. May her memory be for a blessing! Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-4514999.

Gerald Hoffman

96, Atlanta,

Gerald Hoffman, age 96, of Atlanta, passed away April 11, 2024.  Gerald was born and raised in Atlanta, where he worked as an Optometrist for 43 years. He was an active member of the Lions Club and a passionate investor. Devoted to his family, he is survived by his daughters, Pam Reynolds (Craig) and Anita Hamilton, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lena Hoffman. Graveside services were held at 3 p.m., April 12, at Crest Lawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

KEEP DeKalb County State Court Judge Ana Maria MARTINEZ Chag Sameach On behalf of my family, I wish protection over and happiness for you and your family. Judge Ana Maria Martinez | Division 6, DeKalb State Court Judge


Anita Reiter

89, Atlanta

Anita Reiter, 89, of Atlanta passed away on April 13, 2024.  She is survived by her children, Amanda (Al) Shams, Perry (Josie) Reiter, Saundi (Adam) Shapiro, and Debbie (Mark) Isbitts; grandchildren, Marissa Shams, Samantha Shams, Patrice (Avi) Robbins, Brittany (Brett) Solomon, Evie (Boris) Shilkrot, Courtney (Jeff) Nattis, Morgan (Adam) Graiser, Harrison Shapiro, Julianna Isbitts, Lily Isbitts, and Claire Isbitts; and 11 greatgrandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Reiter. Anita was the youngest of four to Mary and Isaac Ginsberg, who immigrated from Russia to Montreal, Canada. She married Joseph in 1953 and in 1977 they moved their family and family business, J.A. Woodcraft, to Atlanta. Anita was devoted to her family and tradition.  She established and was active in social organizations, including senior softball, ping pong, stock club, and a chavurah. She was loved by all who met her.

A graveside funeral was held April 15 at Arlington Memorial Park. Donations may be made to the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Marc David Weinberg 69, Atlanta

Marc David Weinberg passed away peacefully on April 2, 2024. He was born on July 17, 1954.  He is survived and loved by his son Alex Weinberg, partner, Belinda Morris, siblings, Dr. Paul Weinberg (Harriet) and Lynn Valentino (Peter), and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He is predeceased by his parents, Barbara Weinberg Riff and Dr. Seymour Weinberg.

Marc was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He attended Sarah Rawson Smith Elementary School, The Lovett School, and Georgia State University. For many years, he was a long-time employee at The Shopping Center Group and served as the Managing Partner. He was a dedicated member of The Temple, serving as a member of the board and an usher, welcoming congregants into the sanctuary. He loved antiques, playing golf, fine dining, practical jokes, and travel.

A memorial service was held on Thursday, April 4 at 11:00 a.m. at The Temple, 1589 Peachtree ST NE in Atlanta, followed by a graveside service at Crest Lawn Cemetery, 2000 Marietta BLVD NW Atlanta. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that those who wish to make a donation kindly consider The Temple, The Seymour P. Weinberg Memorial Fund c/o Office of Gift Records, Emory University or the charity of your choice. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

Got old issues? If you discover old issues of the Atlanta Jewish Times laying around, we want them. To boost our archives, we will come pick up any AJT issues from 2014 or earlier. Please call 404-883-2130 or write kaylene@ to setup retrieval. Subscribe, Support, Sustain. As always, thank you for reading your Atlanta Jewish times.

As we recount the story of our enslavement in Egypt and journey to freedom, we ask: what will you do to help ensure the liberation of our brothers and sisters struggling to be free? For generations, we have supported Israel. This Passover, we ask, how will you continue the legacy and unity of our people? Learn more and donate at: Chag Pesach Sameach! Make a difference today! Donate at or scan the qr code.



Nisan Reintroduces the World to Spring

April 9, 2024, marks the beginning of the Hebrew month of Nisan. Nisan corresponds to the more ancient month of Aviv -- the month of Spring. The Torah speaks of this month as the first of the months, which would make Rosh Hashanah the seventh month a sort of Sabbatical month, more holy than the others as it is set apart for spiritual matters just as the seventh day is set aside from the other six days of the week.

The biblical month of Aviv, and the later Spring month of Nisan, is considered the new year for the counting of the festivals, and for the historical record keeping for the kings of Israel and Judah. Aviv/Nisan also was the time in the land of Israel for the beginning of the har-

vesting of barley because this vital grain would ripen at this time.

The months mentioned in the Torah were, for the most part, numbered simply second month, third month … seventh month and so on, with the exception of the first month -- Aviv. All 12 months were given new names in Babylonia during the sixth century BCE exile. Nisan is a loan word from Akkadian, the main Mesopotamian language for millennia. In Hebrew, based on Akkadian, Nisan refers to the blossoming of a flower -- a powerful reference to new life and hope, themes of the springtime.

Passover (Pesach) is of course the major holiday of this month, when the Hebrews were forged into a nation as they escaped slavery and death, passing through the split waters of the Red Sea into freedom. This seminal festival is a weeklong (or eight days), characterized by the seder ritual, the pascal lamb, and the unleavened bread (matzah). Pesach is known as the “Festival of our Freedom” (Chag zman cheruteinu). Beginning at

the end of the 14th, and the beginning of the 15th of Nisan, Passover continues until Nisan 21 (or 22 for traditional Diaspora communities).

During the second day of Pesach begins the counting of the barley harvest (Sephirat haOmer). This counting which commences on Nisan 16, will continue for 49 days (or seven weeks), concluding only the day before Shavuoth -- the Feast of Weeks -- also the beginning of the wheat harvest in ancient Israel. On Shavuoth, the Ten Commandments, and the entire Torah, were given by G-d to Moses at Mt. Sinai. So it is that Passover and Shavuoth are linked together historically, theologically, and agriculturally.

The Great Sabbath -- Shabbat haGadol -- takes place on the Sabbath right before the week of Passover. Therefore, it is natural to think about the great themes of Pesach. The exact day of the Great Sabbath varies from year to year. Originally, it traditionally occurred on the 10th of Nisan, the same date for Yom Aliya (day of “ascending” into the land of Israel), a

relatively new Israeli holiday. Biblical tradition holds that the Israelites, under Joshua’s leadership, first crossed into Eretz Yisrael on 10 Nisan, and so the State of Israel established Yom Aliya in the last decade. As for Shabbat Hagadol, the Haftarah on that day from the prophet Malachi proclaims that Elijah will return on the great (gadol) day of the Lord -- and so, perhaps, the special name for this Sabbath.

Nisan, and Aviv before it, contemplate the revivifying powers of Spring renewal. Certainly, in this year of great darkness brought about by the Oct. 7 pogrom, the spirits of all of us are in need of revitalization. During this month of liberation, when we were saved from destruction during Passover, spared from the Moloch haMavis/Angel of Death some 33 centuries ago, we call upon the Holy One to help us persevere yet one more time as a people.

May this Passover season -- framed by the month of Nisan -- fill us with hope, courage, and special purpose.  ì

Rabbi Richard Baroff DD


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Pass the plate. Pass down the story. Happy Passover.

Get ready to prepare the feast and share in the seder. And don’t forget the matzo ball soup! Start planning your Passover meal with recipes for traditional favorites.

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