NEXT ISSUE: HEALTH & WELLNESS
VOL. XCVII NO. 24
DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 27 TEVET 5782
2021 Year in Review & Resolutions
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Updates, Reruns & Resolutions As you’re well aware, it’s been a wild, weird, unpredictable ride of a year, to say the least. But, before we say goodbye to 2021 forever, we invite you to come along with us as we recall the best, the most, the biggest — and all the other superlatives of the year. To find out what the new year may have in store, we look back at the mostread stories covered by the AJT over the last twelve months. This was a banner year for Jewish sports, crowned by our hometown Braves winning the most Jewish World Series ever. David Ostrowsky guides us through the highlights of this and other big sports events in his comprehensive Jewish sports year in review. Dave Schechter looks back at the changing political landscape, from Georgia’s political redistricting and the mayoral race, Congressman Hank Johnson and his Iron Dome vote, to a local attorney representing the former president in an impeachment trial. We have Jan Jaben-Eilon revisit the tragic Surfside building collapse, Israel electing a new prime minister, QAnon and the latest on Israel’s travel and vaccination requirements. Ahead of the college football championships, Marcia
Caller Jaffe checks in on the colorful Grants, a family whose loyalties are divided four ways, among the competing semifinal teams. And, last but not least, ring in the new year with sparkling recommendations from David Aferiat, the president of Avid Vines. Along the way, Allen Lipis provides an in-depth look at the Jewish funeral business with Eddie Dressler, and Jan Jaben-Eilon digs in to find out how local congregations are partnering with organizations to welcome refugees from Afghanistan, while David Ostrowsky gets the scoop on Weber School athletes soon to be competing in the 2022 Maccabiah Games and Marcia Jaffe brings the community up to speed on AA Synagogue’s new renovation progress. Speaking of progress, the AJT wishes all our readers a Happy New Year and shares some of our resolutions and personal goals for 2022. Read on to learn what all of us are hoping to accomplish, avoid and improve upon in the new year. Wishing you all the best! Stay tuned for our next issue, as we help you bring Health and Wellness to the forefront on Jan. 15. ì Happy New Year!
Cover Photo: The year in a snapshot: These are the stories that defined 2021 — and our resolutions for 2022
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NEWS HIAS Launches New Refugee Resettlement Program By Jan Jaben-Eilon
rarily on U.S. military bases, she said. Still, Zak hopes that “one or two” Atlanta Jewish groups will sign up When the Jewish for what are nationally American nonprofit called Sponsor Circles, organization HIAS — known as Welcome Cirfounded as the Hebrew cles at HIAS. Launched in Immigrant Aid Society in October, this new initia1881 — held a conference tive is a U.S. governmentcall Nov. 4 with nearly private sector partnership 300 synagogues and orthat seeks to connect comganizations around the munity sponsor groups country about a new with Afghan refugees. model of “adopting” and Rabbi Peter Berg, of The Temple, HIAS is one of nine agenresettling Afghan refusaid, “We are excited to meet cies approved by the U.S. gees, about one dozen Atour family soon and know that State Department to help lanta synagogues particithey will become a part of the resettle refugees coming pated in the recruitment greater Temple family.” into the country. pitch. According to U.S. Secretary of State “I was heartened that every single synagogue” expressed interest in helping Afghan Antony Blinken, the new program will create families recently displaced from their homes new opportunities for individuals and comafter the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan in Au- munity groups across the country to directly gust, said Merrill Zak, vice president of com- support Afghans who have been relocated munity engagement for HIAS. “Some of the to this country under Operation Allies Welsynagogues were already working with local come. The program will enable groups of inresettlement agencies” to adopt or assist the dividuals to form sponsor circles to provide tens of thousands of Afghans living tempo- initial resettlement assistance to Afghans as
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Congregation Bet Haverim collected welcome bags to deliver to families who evacuated Afghanistan.
brand-new program,” she points out, partly they go about building new lives here. The HIAS Welcome Circle model differs because of its large immigrant population, somewhat from the Sponsor Circles concept. but also because she knows that the Atlanta Jewish community is To become a Welcome extremely enthusiastic Circle, the group must about helping Afghan consist of five to eight refugees. people who will have Still, Zak knows she close contact with the refhas her work cut out for ugees they are sponsorher. She has followed up ing, although others can with the synagogues who contribute to the resettleparticipated in the rement process. All sponcruitment call in Novemsors will be vetted, includber and found out that ing background checks, “Within 24 hours of the news many local synagogues and approved by HIAS. breaking” that Afghan refugees were had already signed up to They must be at least 18 fleeing their country, Nancy Gaddy adopt Afghan families years old. Welcome Circle said New American Pathways had with local resettlement participants must comreceived “over 1,000 phone calls.” agencies. (www.atlantamit to a minimum of six months of support, which includes greeting jewishtimes.com/atlanta-jewish-groups-welAfghan arrivals at the airport, finding them come-afghan-refugees/) “It is the best ‘no’ I have ever received,” housing, furnishings and jobs, registering children for schools and signing up families laughed Zak. “It is not a ‘no’ based on xenofor public benefits. Depending on the local phobia or racism. For me, this is an enormous cost of living, Welcome Circles are expected win around the country.” She still hopes that to raise a minimum of $2,275 per refugee one or two Welcome Circles will be launched in Atlanta. they welcome. Nationwide, Zak said that about 15 This model differs from traditional refugee adoption through an agency and is more synagogues have already signed up to form hands-on. However, Zak, who is responsible Welcome Circles. “We hope to have at least 30 for the Atlanta area, says HIAS will help Wel- launched by the end of January and keep gocome Circle participants every step of the ing as long as a need is there,” she said. The November call was the organization’s “first way. HIAS “will vet the circles and has hired wave of recruiting.” The Temple’s senior rabbi, Peter Berg, Welcome Circle liaisons to guide the circles all over the country,” said Zak. “We will have told the AJT that his synagogue decided to HIAS best practices training and resources, partner with New American Pathways, a loas well as set up peer-to-peer networks” so cal resettlement agency, to adopt an Afghan that synagogue members who are experts family. “This is part of the Family Friend in law, schools, housing, etc. can share their Program. We want to directly help a family who fled Afghanistan to be successful here experiences. “Atlanta is an interesting place for this in Atlanta. Our volunteers will help teach
NEWS English, furnish an apartment, show them but that it is “still in the exploring options around Atlanta and welcome them home to mode.” The need for sponsors to help Afghan America. We are excited to meet our family soon and know that they will become a part refugees is not diminishing anytime soon. In of the greater Temple family. We are in the addition to the tens of thousands of displaced early stages of organizing this relationship persons still temporarily housed on U.S. military bases around this and look forward to makcountry, Zak said there ing a difference.” are many sheltered in Similarly, Congregasafe countries around the tion Bet Haverim particiworld, called “lily pads.” pated in the November reTechnically, those cruitment call by HIAS. It who fled Afghanistan are looked into the possibility not “refugees,” but “huof becoming a HIAS Welmanitarian parolees,” accome Circle, but the concording to Nancy Gaddy, gregation was “already chief advancement ofhooked into New AmeriCongregation Shearith Israel is ficer for New American can Pathways, so we prob“still in the exploring options Pathways in Atlanta. The ably won’t do HIAS,” said mode,” said Rabbi Ari Kaiman. U.S. has a special visa Kim Goldsmith, a 20-year member of Bet Haverim. Congregants have program for people who worked for the already been collecting items for welcome country in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Many baskets and clothing for Afghan refugees. of them would normally have been pro“People are really touched by” the plight of cessed through the system already, Gaddy the Afghanistan families, she said, noting explained, but the U.S. refugee program had that Bet Haverim plans to dedicate the first been stymied during the Trump administration. Shabbat in March to the resettlement issue. Each year, presidents determine how Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Ari Kaiman said that his congregants have many refugees will be allowed into the counalso been discussing their potential involve- try. During the Obama administration, the ment in the resettlement of Afghan refugees, peak was more than 100,000. “Almost im-
mediately with Trump, that number was 1,000 phone calls. Everyone wanted to adopt: lowered as he imposed the Muslim ban,” said churches and synagogues. At first, we didn’t Gaddy. In 2020, the limit was set at 38,000. In know our needs.” Soon, her agency helped to organize 2021, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it the few remaining local resettlement agenwas set at 12,000. Because the Trump administration cut cies into The Welcome Co-op. Staff members from each agency parthe infrastructure necticipate in the nonprofit, essary for bringing in handling all the logisrefugees, many normal tics for all the agencies, benefits — such as food including housing and stamps and Medicaid clothes, explained Gaddy. — were not in place for “No other city has this those fleeing Afghanistan. model.” Last month, Congress Gaddy emphasized ruled that these displaced that there are many volpeople could, in fact, acunteer opportunities for cess those benefits. Merrill Zak hopes that “one or two” Atlantans to help support During the last Atlanta Jewish groups will sign up families from Afghanithree years of the Trump to form a HIAS Welcome Circle. stan and elsewhere. Weladministration, 128 local resettlement agencies around the coun- come baskets are helpful, but, given that the try had to close their doors permanently needs of each family are so varied — from because no refugees were coming in, said diapers to shoes to groceries — her agency is Gaddy. “One agency in Atlanta closed com- suggesting that those who want to help purpletely. Two had to reduce staff. We’ve been chase gift cards. “We want to give each household at least building capacity” since Joe Biden became $1,000 on a gift card,” she said, recommendpresident. ing cards from Target, Macy’s, Walmart and “Within 24 hours of the news breaking” Sam’s Club. Smaller amounts can also be dothat Afghan refugees who had helped the nated and combined to help the families, she American military were fleeing their counsaid. ì try, Gaddy said her agency received “over
Happy New Year!
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 7
Jewish Atlanta Remembers Isakson as a Friend By Dave Schechter Johnny Isakson knew that his name caused confusion. “I have a Jewish-sounding last name,” Isakson, a Methodist of Swedish descent, told the Rotary Club of Atlanta’s annual interfaith prayer breakfast several years ago. Isakson then recalled being in a car with people who stopped themselves from making an anti-Semitic comment because they thought he might be Jewish, according to the Saporta Report. The 76-year-old Isakson, who resigned his seat in the U.S. Senate at the end of 2019 because of Parkinson’s disease and other ailments, died Dec. 19. Throughout his political career, Isakson positioned himself as a friend of the Jewish community and of Israel, and that was the theme of the reaction to his death. “Johnny was quite frankly the best public servant I have ever met. He truly cared, about his community, state and country. Despite his illness, he flew several times to bring back hostages in hostile lands without ever seeking recognition. His leadership to improve the lives of our veterans and efforts to strengthen ethics in Congress is the gold standard. Never afraid to go after bullies, he criticized [former President Donald] Trump when he attacked former Senator [John] McCain upon his death,” said Sam Olens, former Georgia attorney general and Cobb County Board of Commissioners chairman. “Our friend Johnny Isakson always sought to do what is right, making us a better nation. You could not have a better mentor. And if you look in the dictionary under public servant, you can find his photograph,” Olens said. After the Oct. 27, 2018, massacre of 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Isakson said, “I am outraged and saddened by the horrible act of terror that took place at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. I condemn any such act and stand in solidarity with our ally Israel and all Jewish Americans. This type of hate and bigotry has no place in America.” Isakson co-sponsored legislation objecting to the December 2016 United Nations Security Council resolution that declared Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem” to be a “flagrant violation” of international law with “no legal validity.” The U.S. abstained from the 14-0 Security Council vote, a controversial de8 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
cision by the administration of President Barack Obama. Isakson supported Trump’s decision to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. “Israel has been a reliable and valuable partner to the United States in a volatile region. For nearly seven decades, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel and the seat of its democratic institutions. Two decades ago, Congress passed bipartisan legislation recognizing the same reality. Today’s news solidifies that the United States is steadfast in our commitment to Israel,” Isakson said in a December 2017 statement. As an opponent of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, Isakson cosponsored the Israel AntiBoycott Act, allowing U.S. states to enact laws that require contractors to sign a pledge that they will not boycott Israeli goods. Several such laws, including Georgia’s, have been challenged in federal courts. The American Jewish Committee honored Isakson in November 2020 with its annual National Human Relations Award. “I am honored to have worked for decades with the Jewish community and so many good friends to help bring together Atlanta’s and America’s diverse religious and ethnic communities and to help build bridges of understanding and promote democratic values,” he said then.
During the ceremony, held online because of COVID-19, Dov Wilker, AJC Atlanta’s regional director, told Isakson, “You are an incredible example of the importance of finding common ground and mutual respect.” Isakson was a frequent guest at Congregation Etz Chaim, whose Rabbi Emeritus Shalom Lewis told the audi-
ence that Isakson merited recognition for “his goodness, his vision, his decency, and his service to our community and to our country.” Democratic state Rep. Mike Wilensky, the only Jewish member of the General Assembly, reacted on social media to Isakson’s death. “It was an honor to get to meet Senator Isakson on the state House floor in 2020. While we had some opposing views, I always thought highly of him because he was able to work with both sides. He was a giant in Georgia politics and is a tremendous loss,” Wilensky said. Chuck Berk, co-chairman of the Atlanta chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, praised Isakson: “Johnny Isakson was a statesman in the mold of Paul Coverdell, who worked with both sides to build consensus. A strong supporter of Israel, our veterans and military, Johnny had the unique ability to gain support from liberal and conservative Jews. He helped propel our state forward to prosperity. Every Georgian and American, including the Jewish community, benefited from his service and we’ll miss his leadership.” ì
Weber Athletes to Compete in 2022 Maccabiah Games
Seventeen-year-old Caleb Ouanounou looks forward to competing for the USA’s 18U Boys basketball team this coming summer during the Maccabiah Games.
By David Ostrowsky Last summer, for the first time since World War II, the Maccabiah Games did not go on as scheduled. But now, after having to wait an extra year due to the pandemic, three students from the Weber School — Aaron Bock, Caleb Ouanounou, and Harry Kitey — will finally get their chance to compete for the USA Junior teams when the contest resumes this July in Haifa, Jerusalem, Netanya and Tel Aviv. Established in 1932, the Maccabiah Games are traditionally held quadrennially throughout Israel to glorify modern Jewish culture through spirited athletic competition. When they’re not busy competing, the young athletes have ample opportunities to engage with Israeli society by partaking in cultural events and sightseeing tours. Atlanta, in particular, has historically exerted a strong influence on the Maccabiah Games, as 14 young athletes and coaches represented the city during the last iteration of the Games back in 2017. “I personally can’t wait to play this summer,” says Bock, a middle infielder from Sandy Springs, who will be representing the Weber community as a member of the Maccabiah USA 18U Baseball Team. (The U.S. has often fielded strong baseball teams in the Maccabiah Games. Back in 2009, a young Max Fried was the ace pitcher for the USA Juniors baseball team that took home the gold.) “It will definitely be a slight adjustment since we will be competing together after only practicing for about a week, but I know for a fact that we will take care of business and bring home the gold for our country,” Bock said. “Without a doubt, I am most excited to play in an environment that combines my two worlds: baseball and Judaism. I can’t wait to play ball in one of the most amazing places, represent my country across my chest, and compete against some of the best Jewish athletes in the world.” The Maccabiah Games weren’t always the third largest multi-sport event in the world, trailing only the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. When the first Maccabiah Games were held in Ramat Gan in 1932, there were only 390 athletes from 18 countries participating. Today, the Games draw in over 10,000 young athletes from 80 countries, hence the moniker “Jewish Olympics.” “I’m really excited to represent my country in Israel along with a great and talented team,” said Weber junior Caleb Ouanounou, who will be playing for the 18U basketball team. “I look forward to competing for a gold medal in a place that’s really special to me. I’m most looking forward to
Weber School senior Aaron Bock will serve as the anchor of the infield defense for the USA 18U Baseball team this summer in Israel.
Sophomore Harry Kitey will represent Weber this summer as one of the youngest players in the USA Juniors basketball program.
bonding with my teammates and playing at a very competitive level.” Rounding out the triumvirate of Weber athletes representing Atlanta in Israel this summer is sophomore Harry Kitey, who will be holding down the frontcourt for the USA 16U hoops team. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity to bring together all the sides of my world — my love of basketball and Israel,” says Kitey. “Having the chance to wear U.S.A. across my chest while representing my country and community is something that will stay with me for my whole life. Having had the chance to talk with other players and coaches who
participated in past Maccabiah Games, one of the things I’m most excited about is the chance to build a connection in Israel with Jewish athletes from all over the world. I know those connections will last me my entire life.” After last summer’s cancellation, to say that this field of athletes is ready to compete would be quite an understatement. “I am so unbelievably grateful to be able to experience the opportunity with a really good group of talented guys,” adds Bock. Barring any further setbacks, the 2022 Maccabiah Games are scheduled from July 12 through July 22. ì
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College Football Rivalry Pits Grant Against Grant By Marcia Caller Jaffe As January approaches and the muchanticipated college football championship games come into view, fans must once again assess their loyalties and pick a side. With Cincinnati set to take on Alabama in the Cotton Bowl and the Georgia Bulldogs facing off against the Michigan Wolverines in the Orange Bowl, local CPA Adrian Grant and his wife Ilene find their household divided in spectacular fashion: split in four, that is, against itself. Three of the Grant sons and a daughterin-law are graduates of Georgia. Another daughter-in-law went to Michigan. The softspoken Adrian Grant, never a man known to brag, is a proud product of the University of Alabama. Oh, and Ilene got her undergraduate degree from Cincinnati. Enter sports expert David Cohen, who conceived of this story. Cohen is a former TV sportscaster who became one of the very first play-by-play announcers on ESPN, followed by the NBA, the Mets, and all-sports radio WFAN in New York, before moving down to Atlanta to work for CNN. “The Grants were the first family we met when we moved to
Georgia in 1994,” Cohen recalled. “Through B’nai Torah.” In 1995, he became the TV voice of the Yankees. (Cohen later worked with the Braves and Hawks on FOX Sports and WSB Radio before switching to voice-over and acting.) The Grant boys were thrilled to learn that Cohen had been in the presence of Michael Jordan and had even called Bulls games. Adrian became Cohen’s accountant. As their sports connection grew, Cohen said, “Daily minyan attendance, where I often lead services, brought us together often. Adrian became a grandfather first and now our grandkids know each other.” Cohen said, “As the Grants weigh in, the bluebloods of college football were forced to include Cincinnati in this year’s 4-team playoff after a 13-0 perfect season. Ilene, a math professor, and Adrian, an accountant, know something about numbers. Having just celebrated their 50th anniversary, they assessed the long odds to get here and longer odds for the Bearcats not to drown in the Crimson Tide?” Ilene is confident in her Bearcats. “It’s very exciting, the first time my school’s ever been involved with Alabama, and we’re go-
The Grant household has avid fans of all four semifinal teams: Cincinnati, Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan.
ing to beat them. They (Cincinnati) have a great coach, who won Coach of the Year by one of the polls, and the quarterback’s real good!” Adrian puts his faith in one man: “Nick Saban ... every year it’s Nick Saban ... he’s the difference.” Sons Sammy, Andy and Jonathan grew up fans of Alabama until they went to UGA. All are hoping to be at the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Eve as Georgia faces Michigan for the second time ever. Sammy’s wife, Tracie, from Greensboro, N.C., always wanted to be a Bulldog: “So I came from North Carolina and here I am. There’s a lot of North Carolina people coming down to Georgia.” The most conflicted Grant would probably be Andy, who took his Georgia degree to Michigan for a master’s in accounting: “I’m pulling for the Dawgs,” he said. “At the end of the day, one of my teams will win. I’m
just hoping it’s my home-state, Georgia. Yes, we did get the Braves in the World Series, but we’re tired of finishing second or saying, ‘there’s always next year.’” If Georgia wins, Andy wants another shot at Alabama. Then there’s Andy’s wife, Dara Plasker, who was born and raised here but was not allowed to go to Georgia: “I have two parents who went to the University of Florida, and they said, ‘do whatever you want as long as you do not go to the University of Georgia.’” There is a growing consensus among the six that someone else besides Alabama should win their first national title in a real game, not a poll. “All the Grant kids feel Zayde Adrian has enough championships. It’s time for mom to get her spotlight,” said the youngest son, Jonathan. So, on New Year’s Eve, you can take one thing for granted: the Grants can’t lose! ì
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AA Synagogue Restarts Renovation By Marcia Caller Jaffe Congregation Ahavath Achim is undergoing a major renovation, including important improvements to infrastructure like the HVAC system, new flat roof and replumbing. AA President Gerry Benjamin said, “7 years ago we began the capital campaign, which has now well exceeded its goal. This represents broad support spanning 300 donors. The overall project will also include renovation of the social hall (Srochi Hall) and the Cohen-Kogon entry Pavilion in addition to the main sanctuary.” Benjamin also assured the AJT that the meaningful symbols already in place won’t be altered: the Torah Ark opening and the elaborate gold back wall (which will actually expand into the ceiling) will remain. The ability to host 3000 at community-wide events will remain. The central section pews will be replaced with individual chairs for flexibility. Both side areas will have pews with new cushions. “By lowering the bimah, and leveling the sanctuary floor, we won’t be looking up,” Benjamin continued. “The refurnished lobby area also will provide a more intimate and modern environment.” COVID threw a temporary wrench into the process, delaying initial plans by a year. Demolition has now officially begun, and plans are to complete the build prior to the 2022 High Holy Days. The synagogue recently held a sentimental “last service” in the main sanctuary, as the Torot were relocated to the Ellman Chapel, where services will continue throughout construction. Architect Elihu Siegman, of design firm SAI and Associates, had just completed the renovation of a synagogue in Asheville when he signed on for the AA project. “The design strategy is to craft a new, inclusive, and centrally oriented space within the existing sanctuary,” he explained. “A room within a room. The new, lower bimah and leveled floor will be clad in wood, extending out from the iconic ark wall. Above, a new wood slatted ceiling will complete the newly enveloping, intimate space. The fixed pews will be replaced with more flexible individual chairs. The spaces between the wood millwork ceiling will be equipped with new acoustical treatment, mechanicals, LED lighting, and sound system.” Longtime congregant and oft-quoted historian Doris Goldstein said, “Change of any kind and circumstance is hard. The current space is iconic in its own way and clearly articulates the style of post-WWII America. I like the pews. I sit in some form of a chair everywhere I go. When I enter
The new sanctuary will replace some of the existing pews with individual chairs. The renovated sanctuary will retain the iconic gold back wall and torah ark.
Architect Elihu Siegman, of SAI and Associates, is overseeing the renovation.
President Gerry Benjamin notes that infrastructure improvements, as well as design elements, will leave AA in good stead for many decades to come.
a sacred space, I want to be in a different frame of mind. Sitting in the pew helps me to leave my ordinary life behind and to focus on ideas that transcend. I like being able to squeeze one more person into the row and rubbing shoulders with a fellow congregant. If someone close by is grieving or celebrating, I can touch them to show support or share their simcha. That may not be possible when each person is confined to their designated chair.” Some of the pews are physically uncomfortable, Goldstein said, “which inhibits [congregants] from focusing on the service, so it will certainly benefit them. Our clergy and leadership feel the chance to reconfigure will make the space more user-friendly. I like the idea of a central reading platform from which to read the Torah instead of the current lofty distance. The officiant will be closer to the congregation. Will these and other changes make a difference to those committed to membership in Ahavath Achim? I’m willing to go along as everyone tries to navigate the future.” Gastroenterologist Mark Stern was asked to head the renovation committee three years ago. “Beginning over a decade ago, the seeds were planted for the eventual renovation,” Stern said. “Acknowledging the history within the walls of this sacred space, the idea was to create a new way in which to observe together. Rather than praying at each other from a high traditional bimah, the intention was to change the aesthetic to one where we pray with each other, with a lower bimah surrounded on all sides by congregants.” Stern also acknowledged the other members of the committee, composed of
builders, designers and real estate experts, who contributed to the process: Michael Habif, Michael Kogon, George Nathan, Greg Paradies, Jill Von Tosh and Mark Cohen “have enabled us to be successful in
creating a new space that will bring us all closer together,” he said. Looking to the future, Benjamin said, “This renovation should leave us in good stead for the next 125 years.” ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 11
Eddie Dressler and the Jewish Funeral Business By Allen H. Lipis Can you imagine a good Jewish boy becoming a Jewish funeral director? Well, that’s what Edward Dressler became. Dressler is the president and owner of Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, the only Jewish funeral business in Atlanta. I spent time with Eddie recently to understand his business. (I call him Eddie because I’ve known him a long time; he grew up with my children.) Dressler entered the business in a rather straightforward way. “I attended Drexel University in Philadelphia, and my dad's cousin was in the funeral business in New York,” he recalled. “While in college, I started working for him parttime, and drove 2 hours to New York on the weekends for the work. This led to working at other funeral homes, so I gradually learned the business.” After finishing college, Dressler attended a funeral school in Atlanta for a year and a half, worked in the funeral business as an apprentice for another year and a half, and then passed the exam to obtain his funeral license. He then worked for a funeral home for another four years, and in 2001 he convinced a bank to loan him the money to buy
Eddie Dressler is the president and owner of Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care.
the house that became his funeral business. As Dressler says, “School can teach you the basics of the business, but there are so many Jewish customs and so many details to the business that you only can only learn it by being hands-on.” I asked Dressler when his business begins and ends. “A lot of people approach us to preplan a funeral for either themselves or a close relative,” he said. “They do that to make
The pandemic has led to delays and shortages, especially of the granite used for gravestones.
proper arrangements for the funeral. The family may even pay for the funeral in advance of a death with that money being kept in an individual escrow account. The family has complete control of the money.” Regarding a funeral plan, Dressler says, “We discuss where the burial ground will be, its cost — if required or requested — the need for a tahara to prepare the body for burial, the Chevra Kadisha group that will perform
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the tahara, or our own staff prepares the body in the manner requested, arranging for people who can watch the body until burial, the rabbi that will perform the burial service, the selection of the coffin and any transportation that will be needed if the burial is outside Atlanta.” He adds that Dressler’s can handle a military funeral, including honors and burial in any military cemetery, including in North Georgia or Arlington National
Temple Sinai Eddie Dressler attended Drexel University and funeral school in Atlanta before becoming an apprentice.
Dressler uses the soft-sell approach, talking at retirement centers, hospice locations and placing a few small advertisements.
Cemetery. When a person dies, the hospital, nursing care facility, or hospice can release the body to the funeral home, but a death at home without hospice requires the medical examiner’s approval. In some cases, an autopsy is performed to verify whether there has been foul play. For each funeral, the staff removes personal items and returns them to the family at their request. About 90 percent have a standard burial and about 10 percent have the remains cremated. For a regular burial, 70 percent have a tahara, and 30 percent don’t think it is necessary. “We handle 200 burials in Atlanta, and send another 80 outside of Atlanta, usually by plane,” Dressler said. “About 5-6 times a year, the body is shipped to Israel, where there is no coffin; only a shroud is used.” While Dressler’s offers wood caskets (which contain no metal), about 50 percent of their customers select a traditional plain pine casket, 15 percent choose a more ornate casket, and 35 percent choose something a little more finished than just plain wood. Then there’s the death certificate. Dressler says, “This is an important issue, and it has to be done correctly. It requires personal information, the social security number, the county of death, and must be signed by a doctor. It has to be absolutely accurate.” A typical funeral will cost $8,000 including incidentals, and the cemetery usually charges from $6,000 to $12,000, excluding the headstone. The cemetery’s price includes purchasing the plot, digging the grave and installing a grave box to hold the coffin. Dressler’s also includes a page on their website for the deceased, which may include the funeral and shiva information, Zoom link, and a photo. The headstone can run anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000. Lately, Dressler has had problems sourcing headstones for a few reasons. Because of COVID, there’s been a 20 percent increase in the number of deaths nationwide, and Jews are no exception. The granite comes from a quarry in Elberton, Ga.,
and often there aren’t enough staff on hand to do the work. Each headstone needs a design, an inscription, and then the inscription process has to be proofed. Once approved, which can take time with the family’s involvement, the manufacturing process can begin. Nowadays, this can take six to eight months instead of the usual three. All of which has meant a significant delay in obtaining headstones. On top of this, each cemetery has its own rules regarding headstones, and different sections in the cemetery may have different rules, too. There may be size and other restrictions. Some cemetery sections, for example, require the headstone to be flush with the ground, using a bronze plaque. As a result of the pandemic, Dressler’s now streams its funerals over Zoom, with authorized family approval. The recordings are made available to authorized family members and, with their permission, posted on Dressler's website for public viewing. Dressler also owns Fischer Funeral Care, a totally separate, nondenominational funeral home located next door to Dressler's. It has a chapel that they share, which can handle up to 150 people for a funeral service. When it comes to marketing, things can be touchy, so Dressler uses a soft sell, speaking to staff at retirement centers, hospice locations and publishing a few small advertisements, such as in the Atlanta Jewish Times. Often, business comes through recommendations from the Jewish community, including synagogues and by word of mouth from previous customers. The funeral business is complicated, Dressler says. It’s a very physical business. Dealing with family issues can be trying. In this sense, Dressler has the right character for the job: a gentle, sensitive personality with lots of experience in dealing with family and friends who are grieving. The staff is trained to be knowledgeable and kind. The best strategy, Dressler says, is to do a good job, remain as quiet as possible and deal with each person’s requests. ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 13
NEWS FROM OUR JEWISH HOME
Ilana Fox-Fisher led a team that developed a novel method to monitor immune processes within remote tissues and organs. // Credit: Hebrew University
Blood Test Developed at Hebrew U Detects Immune Activity in Tissues
Immune system activity is vital to our health. But, currently, the main way to test our immune system’s health is a blood test that often fails to catch activity in remote tissues or invasive biopsies and expensive imaging tests such as PET/CT scans and MRIs. Even then, such advanced testing doesn’t always detect the problem. Now, a group of scientists, led by Hebrew University of Jerusalem MD/PhD student Ilana Fox-Fisher and Professor Yu-
Today in Israeli History Dec. 31, 1973: Israelis elect the eighth Knesset. The Alignment wins 39.6%, keeping Prime Minister Golda Meir in power. The election was postponed by the Yom Kippur War, whose backlash forces Meir to resign in April 1974. Jan. 1, 1837: An earthquake estimated at 6.8 on the Richter scale starts a landslide that kills thousands and causes extensive damage in the Jewish and Arab sections of the Upper Galilee mountain city of Safed (Tzfat). Israel displays weapons seized from the Karine-A, a ship bound for Gaza, in January 2002.
Jan. 2, 2002: Israeli navy commandos leave Eilat in helicopters at night to intercept the Karine-A, a ship carrying 50 tons of Iranian weapons to Gaza. The Israelis seize the shipment before dawn Jan. 3 without firing a shot. Jan. 3, 2004: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon orders the IDF to remove two illegal Jewish outposts, Tal Binyamin and Havat Maon, from the West Bank. The decision reflects Sharon’s shift from total support for the settler movement. 14 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
val Dor, has developed a novel method to monitor remote immune processes within remote tissues and organs. “Our research suggests that, in principle, doctors could monitor remote but critical immune processes by measuring the immune battle’s casualties, that is, immunederived DNA fragments circulating in patients’ blood,” explained Fox-Fisher. “Our new non-invasive blood test could go a long way in helping diagnosis and monitoring this disease.” The team found success with lymphoma, a type of cancer that usually doesn’t show up in blood tests. However, the new blood test does pick up DNA fragments left by the immune system’s fight with lymphoma, without the need for bone marrow aspiration and further imaging. Currently, Fox-Fisher is conducting a study of people who’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 to see whether the levels of DNA released from antibody-producing B-cells increased after they received the vaccine. “We’re hopeful this new blood test will give clinicians a more accurate picture of the state of their patient’s health, beyond the standard blood counts which often do not tell the whole story and frequently necessitate invasive follow-up tests and biopsies,” Fox-Fisher concluded. The western terminus of the Mosul-Haifa pipeline is seen at Haifa’s harbor in 1938.
Jan. 4, 1935: A pipeline spanning 590 miles from Kirkuk, Iraq, to Haifa begins carrying oil from the Mosul fields to the Mediterranean Sea. The pipeline, vital for the British navy, operates until Israel’s independence in 1948. Jan. 5, 1930: David Ben-Gurion and Joseph Sprinzak merge their competing, socialist-leaning political movements into Mapai, which quickly becomes the dominant political party in the Yishuv (area of Jewish settlement). Jan. 6, 1909: Moshe Sneh, a doctor known for left-wing politics and resistance to British rule, is born in Poland. He serves in the Knesset all but four years from 1949 to 1972, mostly representing the Communist Maki party. Jan. 7, 2010: University of Haifa’s Gershon Galil announces that he has deciphered a pottery shard inscription found at Khirbet Qeiyafa from the 10th century B.C.E., the earliest-known Hebrew writing yet discovered. Jan. 8, 1978: Rose Luria Halprin, a national president of Hadassah and a Mandateera Jewish Agency official, dies in New York
Inspectors from the Robbery Prevention Unit examining the stolen artifacts. // Credit: Yoli Schwartz, Israel Antiquities Authority
Israel Antiquities Authority Believes Seized Artifacts Related to Bar Kokhba Revolt Investigators from the Israel Antiquities Authority suspect that remarkable finds seized by police in Jersualem last week are actually battle spoils captured from Roman soldiers by Bar Kokhba rebels. Detectives on a routine patrol noticed
at age 83. She played a liaison role in the construction of Hadassah’s Mount Scopus hospital. Jan. 9, 1952: The Knesset ends three days of debate by voting 61-50 to accept more than $800 million in Holocaust reparations from West Germany over 14 years. The payments prove vital to the new state’s economy. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. President Bill Clinton and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk alShara talk during a walk in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, on Jan. 3, 2000. // Avi Ohayon, Israeli Government Press Office
Jan. 10, 2000: Seven days of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara, focusing on trading the Golan Heights for peace, end without resolution in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Jan. 11, 1961: The Egoz, leased by the Mossad to secretly carry Moroccan Jews to Israel, sinks a few hours after leaving the Moroccan port of Al Hoceima on its 12th immigration voyage. Forty-four would-be Israelis drown. Jan. 12, 1989: In the first competition for Israeli athletes in the Soviet Union since the
a vehicle driving in the wrong direction up a one-way street. The vehicle looked suspicious, so they stopped and searched it. They were amazed to find the trunk filled with unusual archaeological artifacts. Inspectors from the IAA’s Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit soon realized that the remarkably well-preserved finds date from the Roman period. The discovery prompted the IAA to launch a criminal investigation and reinforced suspicions that the items were brought to Jerusalem with the aim of selling them to an antiquities dealer. The Robbery Prevention Unit believes that the ancient items were taken from a hiding complex dating from the Bar Kokhba Revolt that has been under surveillance in recent months. IAA Director Eli Eskozido said, “The IAA is working day and night to combat illicit excavations at antiquities sites around the country, in cooperation with the Israel Police and other law enforcement agencies. These ancient finds embody the country’s history, but for robbers and dealers they are merely a commodity, sold to the highest bidder for pure greed. It is tremendously important to prevent any attempts to deal in illegal antiquities, to recover valuable finds and to return them to the public and the State.” Six-Day War in 1967, the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team beats CSKA Red Army in Moscow, 97-92. Soviet Jews make up much of the crowd. Jan. 13, 1898: L’Aurore publishes a 4,500word front-page letter from acclaimed writer Emile Zola under the headline “J’Accuse” (“I Accuse”), charging the French government with antisemitism in the Dreyfus Affair.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sees off his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, at Ben Gurion Airport in July 2017. Six months later, Netanyahu paid a return visit to India. // Haim Zach, Israeli Government Press Office
Jan. 14, 2018: Aiming to expand trade, Benjamin Netanyahu pays the first state visit to India by an Israeli prime minister in more than 15 years, reciprocating a trip to Israel by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2017. Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
ISRAEL NEWS Israel Closes Its Borders to U.S. Flights for First Time By Jan Jaben-Eilon American Jews have found it more challenging to be lovers of Zion, or Israel, lately. It’s not because they don’t like Israel. On the contrary, they want to feel welcome there. First, the Israeli government extended its Nov. 28 ban against non-citizens traveling to Israel until Dec. 29. That angered many Atlanta Jews wanting to travel there to visit family, friends and the country they love. The ban was the Israeli government’s attempt to limit the entrance of more COVID-19 omicron cases into the country. When Eve and David Adler’s planned trip to Israel last month was detoured because non-citizens were not allowed to visit the country, they said they were “thinking of getting Israeli citizenship.” Days later, the Israeli government for the first time placed the U.S. on its donot-fly list because nearly 10 percent of arriving passengers from Miami tested positive for COVID-19, many of them with omicron. Many of those infected had attended the Israeli American Council summit in Miami. The U.S. thus joined Israel closes its borders to U.S. fights for first times. // Nati Shohat/ Flash90 dozens of countries on Israel’s “red” list from which travel is specifically forbid- in on June 13, 2021, the American Jewish mise between the GOI [government of Western Wall, which is believed to be a reden, unless special permission is granted. community breathed a sigh of hope. The Israel] and the [religious] denominations. taining wall remaining from the Second That means even Israelis with American coalition government did not include Although we have a clear majority in the Temple. Israel’s Minister of Religious Sercitizenship would need permission to fly any of the ultra-Orthodox parties which cabinet, it seems that the strong opposito the U.S., and upon return would need had nixed the Western Wall agreement, tion by Bibi [former prime minister Benja- vices Matan Kahana acknowledged to the Times of Israel that the after approving it a year min Netanyahu] and the to quarantine for at least 2017 freezing of the Wall earlier. Bennett had pre- Knesset opposition built seven days, even if they agreement “was a major viously supported the a public camp made up are fully vaccinated. breach [in our ties] with 2016 agreement and sev- of the right and the ultraThe addition of the U.S. U.S. Jews.” eral members of his new Orthodox. For the time to the no-fly list was anAnd Israeli newsgovernment announced being, some logistic steps nounced on Dec. 20, efpaper Ha’aretz quoted that they would quickly will be done in the presfective at midnight the Foreign Minister Yair Lamove to approve the ent egalitarian pavilion, next day. An end date pid, who is also alternate compromise arrange- but the major changes wasn’t named. prime minister, of telling ment. This would allow have not been approved American Jews fellow Yesh Atid Party mixed-gender pluralistic yet.” have also felt enormous members Dec. 18, “We are Shai, who was an prayer areas just south of frustration and rejecpushing very hard for the traditional, gender- Emory University visittion since a previous this deal and will not give separated prayer space. ing professor for a year Israeli government, in Israel’s Minister of Religious As diaspora affairs minister, up on it. But there’s a proJust as importantly, the and until recently was 2017, froze an historiServices Matan Kahana said former Emory professor Nachman cess, and such processes compromise agreement a board member of the cal agreement – reached the 2017 freezing of the Wall Shai said he is doing his best to are sometimes difficult. Center for Israel Eduwas to allow representain 2016 after years of agreement “was a major breach return to the 2016 compromise And there is an attempt pain-staking negotia- between the government of Israel tives of the non-Ortho- cation in Atlanta, has [in our ties] with U.S. Jews.” being made to turn this tions – that supported and the religious denominations. dox streams of Judaism strong ties with the access and prayer at the Western Wall in joint responsibility for the oversight of the American Jewish community. He was also into a religion-and-state war in Israel.” Lapid added that it is “inconceivable a senior vice president and director genJerusalem to progressive Jews. The major- Wall, along with the Orthodox. In the last few weeks, however, mixed eral of what later became the Jewish Fed- that Israel would be the only country in ity of American Jews who affiliate with a the world without freedom of religion for religious stream do so as Reform, Conser- signals emitted from various ministers in erations of North America. “My position is to go forward as soon Jews.” vative or Reconstruction Jews. At the time, the eight-party coalition. As Diaspora AfPerhaps by the time the pandemic president of the Union of Reform Judaism, fairs Minister Nachman Shai wrote in a as possible, but without fighting with each Rabbi Rick Jacobs, said, “North American Dec. 17 email to AJT, “It’s quite a complex other in the Kotel area,” he said, referring eases and the Israeli government permits situation. In short, as Diaspora Affairs to the actual physical attacks by ultra-Or- American Jews into the country, they will Jews see this as a betrayal.” When the current government of Minister, [I am] doing my best to return thodox groups against women who tried also be able to pray at the Western Wall Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was sworn to the 2016 outline, based on the compro- to pray with a Torah or wear tefillin at the according to their wishes. ì ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 15
F R O M YO U R R E A LTO R ®
OPINION What Would You Have Done?
EYDIE KOONIN “A name friends recommend”
Dave Schechter From Where I Sit
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My previous column — “The Necessity of AntiSemitism Rallies” — was set for publication when a friend texted me about what she and her husband had experi-
enced the night before. Their “very strange encounter,” as she called it, became the basis for this column. As you read on, ask yourself: What would I (probably) have done? What might I wish later that I had done instead? We’ll call the wife “M” and her husband “A.” On a recent Saturday night, these long-time friends of ours attended a musical performance on the campus of a large performing arts center in Midtown Atlanta. (I am not naming the venue because what transpired had nothing do with that facility, though it should be noted that admission requires proof of vaccination and wearing a mask.) The couple — both have been vaccinated for COVID-19, including booster shots — waited in the arts center’s parking garage for an elevator. When the door opened, none of the four people already inside were wearing masks. “M,” who has asthma, was masked and reminded “A” to wear his. They stood in the front of the elevator car, facing the doors. Another passenger, a woman, spoke up and said that she had a mask in her pocket. “M” replied that she was concerned that “A” wear his. At which point, as “M” recounted the encounter, “One of the men in the elevator made a comment about Nazis and then commented that he had his ‘Jewish papers.’” The woman, whom “M” concluded was elevator man’s wife, told him to stop spouting off. (Maybe this is something that he has heard from her on other occasions and on other subjects.) “M” and “A” remained silent and facing front. When the doors next opened, they walked off, leaving behind elevator man — but not the ugly memory. “M” had no doubt that the remark was antisemitic. Perhaps being generous, “A” suggested that maybe elevator man meant only to equate the requirement to provide proof of vaccination to Nazi Germany requiring Jews to carry identity cards listing their religion.
Regardless of whether “A” was correct, “M” certainly was. Comparing prudent public health requirements to Nazi oppression, while specifically expropriating Jewish suffering to support that linkage, is antisemitic. In hindsight, “M” was upset with herself because, having been so “absolutely flabbergasted,” she did not rebuke elevator man. She was upset, furthermore, by the realization that we live in an environment where someone can be comfortable spouting off in public about carrying his “Jewish papers.” This type of claptrap has become all too common, whether it comes from the mouth of some proud boy wallowing in the gutter of civil discourse or from that of an unrepentant member of Congress. So, in the same situation, would you have . . . Stood silently facing the elevator doors, swallowing your anger, not wanting a potentially ugly confrontation? Turned around and smacked elevator man across his mouth. Momentarily satisfying as that might have been (and you may find the thought of doing that momentarily satisfying), it also might have sparked a physical altercation in a small, enclosed space. Glanced over your shoulder at elevator man’s wife and, looking her in the eye, said thank you? Turned and calmly explained to elevator man that the Nazi law requiring those identity cards was a step toward the eventual extermination of several million men, woman, and children only because they were Jewish? Turned and told elevator man that, being Jewish, you were offended by his remark? (You may want to consider two versions of this question, one where the doors are open and the other with the doors closed.) Waited until you stepped out and then, just loud enough for elevator man to hear, told your spouse/partner that you couldn’t wait to tell the rabbi about the antisemitic remark you heard? I would like to think that elevator man was insensitive out of ignorance, that he thought he was being funny by parroting something that he had seen on the internet, heard on radio, or watched on cable television. I would like to think that he has scant knowledge of the Holocaust and has had little contact with Jews. I would like to believe that because the alternative — that he doesn’t like Jews and doesn’t mind who knows it — is more difficult to address. So, what would you have done? ì
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YEAR IN REVIEW
Read highlights and updates to some of the most popular stories covered by the Atlanta Jewish Times during 2021.
Electoral History in the Eye of the Beholder By Dave Schechter Georgians made a historic choice on Jan. 5, 2021, when Jon Ossoff became the first Jew elected to the U.S. Senate from the state. Ossoff defeated Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue in a runoff, winning with 50.6 percent of the vote. Ossoff had won the Democratic primary the previous June. Votes garnered by a Libertarian in the November 2020 general election prevented either Ossoff or Perdue from winning a majority, requiring the runoff. The 34-year-old Ossoff (who was 33 when elected) is serving a six-year term that expires in January 2027. The runoff victories by Ossoff and Sen. Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, gave Democrats 50 seats and with Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaker, nominal control of the Senate. Based on available histories, Ossoff, who was a bar mitzvah at The Temple, is the first Jew elected to represent Georgia in the Senate. In 1932, John Sanford Co18 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are making history in their own rights as the seeming winners of the recent runoff elections.
hen, whose father was descended from Portuguese Jews that settled in Savannah, was appointed to fill a Senate vacancy resulting from the death of William J. Harris. Cohen, who served for a year and did not seek election to the office, identified with his mother’s Episcopalian faith. In a December 2020 letter to the Jewish community published by the AJT, Ossoff said that his Jewish upbringing “instilled in me a conviction to fight for
the marginalized, the persecuted and the dispossessed.” On Jan. 20, 2021, the day he officially became a senator, Ossoff posted on Twitter: “Today, as I was sworn in, I held in my jacket pocket copies of the ships’ manifests recorded at Ellis Island when my Great-Grandfather Israel arrived in 1911 and my Great-Grandmother Annie arrived in 1913. A century later, their greatgrandson was elected to the U.S. Senate.”
As he took the oath of office, Ossoff raised his right hand and in his left held a Hebrew Bible that once belonged to the late Rabbi Jacob Rothschild of The Temple. During his campaign, Ossoff occasionally mentioned having family in Israel. In May 2021, Ossoff said that a message from fearful relatives in Israel moved him to call for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. “Over the weekend I got an email update on the safety of my family in Jerusalem. With the constant sirens, my three-year-old cousin has been very afraid and very upset, and they told me they were fervently hoping for an announcement of peace by the end of Shavuot,” he told the AJT. Ossoff previously was managing director and CEO of Insight TWI: The World Investigates, a London-based company that produces news documentaries. In 2017, he ran for Congress from Georgia’s 6th district. In what may have been the most expensive House race in history, his fell just short of a majority in an allcomers primary, then was defeated in a runoff by Republican Karen Handel.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Israel Ranks Highest in Jewish HomeLife Begins COVID-19 Vaccination Rate Vaccinations By Dave Schechter
Former PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu gets the COVID vaccine.
By Jan Jaben-Eilon
gram was due to its universal healthcare system, according to Dr. Harry Heiman, While the U.S. technically launched clinical associate professor in the Departits mass COVID-19 vaccination program ment of Health Policy & Behavioral Scijust days before Israel initiated its vac- ences in the School of Public Health at cine roll-out, Dec. 20, 2020, the Jewish Georgia State University. According to Israel’s 1995 National state achieved a higher rate of injected vaccines much quicker. And as the coro- Health Insurance Law, 100 percent of the navirus pandemic has continued to sick- country’s population is entitled to comen, hospitalize and kill people all over the prehensive health coverage, ensuring world, the Israeli experience has been that no citizen could be denied coverage watched by international experts as the on the basis of lack of funds. Each person chooses to become a member of one harbinger of what may be coming. In the first few weeks of its vacci- of four kupat cholim, or sick funds. In nation program, per capita, Israel beat American terms, these are government every other country in the number of Is- funded health maintenance organizaraelis vaccinated. As of Jan. 9, 2021, about tions, or HMOs. Israel was also among the first countwo million Israelis had been vaccinated against COVID-19, amounting to some 16 tries to initiate the third shot, or booster shot, as studpercent of its ies indicated a population. waning of efAs of early fectiveness of February, at the first two least 90 pervaccines. cent of IsraeAs relis over the cently as midage of 60 had December, received at U.S. epidemileast one dose ologists were of the Pfizer quoting an vaccine. By Israeli study late February, that indicated at least 4.8 Per capita, Israel is inoculating its 9.2 million that two Pfizmillion Israecitizens faster than any other country. er shots do lis received at least one dose. The country’s population not neutralize the new variant, Omicron, but that the booster is effective. The Sheis about 9.3 million. Early on, Israel purchased millions ba Medical Center study was expected of Pfizer vaccines, reportedly in return to appear in the New England Journal of for the pharmaceutical company to Medicine, after peer review. At press time, however, Israel is restudy its experience with the vaccine. Evidence quickly showed that the Pfizer porting a lagging vaccination rate among vaccine worked to curb transmission of children. Israel has reported more than 8,200 the virus, including asymptomatic infeccoronavirus-related deaths since the tions and deaths. Israel’s successful vaccination pro- pandemic began.
In the last days of 2020, residents of The William Breman Jewish Home and Jewish HomeLife staff received the first in a two-shot series of the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer pharmaceuticals and BioNTech. Frances Manheim, a 96-year-old resident of the Breman Home, wanted to be vaccinated for the best of reasons. “It’s the hardest thing in the world not to be able to see my family,” she said in a video clip provided by JHL. Seeing family through a screen has its limits. “I want to touch them. I want to feel them. I want to hold ‘em. I miss that.” After receiving the first dose on Dec. 29, the second was administered three weeks later, on Jan. 19, 2021. JHL’s goal was to vaccinate all the residents at the facilities it operates, as well as all of its employees. Vaccinations were seen as a key step thwarting the virus that had hit Georgia’s long-term care
Jeffrey Gopen, COO of Jewish Home Life Communities, receives a vaccination for the Covid-19 disease at the Breman Home in Atlanta, Georgia.
facilities hard, accounting for 37 percent of the state’s COVID-related deaths. “Definitely, this vaccine is truly the next step in protecting residents, our residents’ families, our staff, our staff families, and in essence we’re doing what’s right by the community. This is how we are going to move from this world of COVID,” Jeff Gopen, JHL’s chief operating officer, said.
Let’s stand together against hate.
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YEAR IN REVIEW
Blank, Marcus and ‘Lt. Dan’ to Aid Veterans
Actor Gary Sinise poses with Bernie Marcus.
By Dave Schechter A partnership announced in February 2021 teamed actor Gary Sinise with Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank to care for veterans and first responders suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and substance abuse. Though not a veteran himself, Sinise — known for his portrayal of Lieutenant Dan in the film “Forrest Gump” — is revered in the military community for his work on behalf of veterans. Sinise credits his awareness of the psychic and physical trauma experienced in combat to his wife’s brother, a Vietnam veteran. Billionaires Marcus and Blank each contributed $20 million from their personal foundations to support the Gary Si-
nise Foundation Avalon Network, which will build on work done by the Marcus Institute for Brain Health and the Boulder Crest Foundation’s Warrior PATHH (Progressive and Alternative Training for Healing Heroes). The plan called for establishing 20 sites nationwide to serve veterans, first responders and their families. Avalon is the island where the legendary British King Arthur was taken to heal after his final battle. Marcus said of Sinise, “He’s been a great and enthusiastic supporter of these people, who put their lives on the line, and he recognizes, along with us, that this invisible demon of post-traumatic stress and brain injury has one in three [veterans] suffering this malady, along with first responders. I can’t think of a better person to have out front.”
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Davis Academy Coping with COVID Outbreak
The Davis Academy had experienced 18 positive COVID-19 cases among students, faculty and staff during the first half of last year's academic calendar.
By Dave Schechter A COVID-19 outbreak at The Davis Academy in early February 2021 prompted administrators to scold parents who may not have been truthful in reporting exposure or in following the school’s protocols to prevent exposure and spread of the virus. The outbreak, which most affected middle-school and first grade students at the K-8 school, at one point also sidelined 20 percent of the faculty, forcing scheduling changes that included sending students home for online instruction. A Feb. 2 statement to Davis Academy families said that “The circumstances surrounding the most recent positive cases reported to the school confirm continuing activity and exposure outside of
school as well as unreliably reported information . . . We rely on the honesty and integrity of our families to help us stay in school, yet we have indications that some parents may not be tracking and reporting accurately and honestly.” A follow-up on Feb. 19 said that “many individuals in the Davis community participated in social gatherings including group meals, celebrations, sleepovers, and/or sports activities which has resulted in increased cases especially among Middle School students.” By Feb. 24, Davis Academy reported no new cases. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced Feb. 25 that teachers and staff in public and private K-12 schools, pre-K programs, and daycare centers would be eligible to receive vaccinations beginning March 8.
YEAR IN REVIEW
QAnon Attracts Jews Despite its Anti-Semitic Leanings By Jan Jaben-Eilon Members of the Jewish community – even in Atlanta – are not immune to the conspiracy theories spread by QAnon, a social media phenomenon full of anti-Semitic ideas, according to several experts. “There were Jews wearing kipot in the riots in the U.S. Capitol,” which also included Q flags and shirts, noted Arieh Kovler, a British-born corporate communications specialist who has long studied extremism on the Internet. Some Jews, he said, entered the QAnon world through support for former President Donald Trump. “The Jewish believers are usually strong Trump supporters who slipped into Q,” he told the AJT QAnon is a “very anti-Semitic movement. Its text of drops [messages] are full of
anti-Semitic tropes that have been around for millennial,” said Mike Rothschild, a Los Angeles area-based researcher who wrote a book this year about Qanon, entitled The Storm Is Upon Us. It was President Trump, early in his administration who made a puzzling comment about the “calm before the storm” in front of a gathering of military officers. He refused to clarify what he meant when, afterwards, journalists asked for an explanation. On Internet message boards, however, someone called “Q Clearance Patriot” began to appear. QAnon was initially considered a fringe phenomenon. Now, especially since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the Federal Bureau of Investigation warns that QAnon poses a domestic terror threat. “Q” has claimed to be a top intelligence officer with knowledge of
Jewish Atlantan Takes Lead in Impeachment Trial By Dave Schechter David Schoen had quite a year. In February 2021, the Atlanta attorney played a leading role defending then-President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial before the U.S. Senate. In November, Schoen took on as a client former Trump aide Steve Bannon, who is charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the committee investigating the violent breach of Capitol Hill on Jan. 6. Schoen, an Orthodox Jew, told the AJT that he “could do without all of the publicity and the circus-like atmosphere” and “the vicious hate mail … that apparently comes with the territory.” Taking on Bannon brought him another wave of vitriol. “The hate mail this time around is almost all directed to me being Jewish in one way or another. The writers tell me to take my kipa off, that I am not really a Jew or that I am a phony Jew, and most call me a Nazi,” Schoen said. During the Trump impeachment trial, news coverage and social media took note of when Schoen, who turned 63 in late December, did or did not wear a kippah on the Senate floor and, when not, how he placed a hand atop his bare head and said a prayer before drinking from a water bottle. Reflecting on his defense of Trump before the U.S. Senate — which he described as “an interesting experience” — Schoen said, “I would do it again because I do believe that strongly in the constitutional principles underlying” the case. Senate leaders initially granted a re-
One of the more memorable participants in the notorious Capitol insurrection Jan. 6.
Trump’s war against a global cabal of pedophiles, sex traffickers and wide-ranging conspiracies that suggest the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States was a hoax and that the Mossad killed President John F. Kennedy. So, how are Jews attracted to QAnon? According to Marilyn Mayo, senior research fellow with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, there are two main ways Jews – especially women – are pulled into the QAnon community. One is through the anti-vaxxer movement which is “prevalent in the Orthodox
community,” Mayo said. She describes them as vegan, or extremely health conscious. “The pandemic makes people more prone to conspiracy theories. When there are worldwide crises, people want to know why this is happening. They are looking for answers.” The second way Jews are enticed by QAnon is through the belief that children are being kidnapped. “The hashtag Save the Children used by QAnon folks brought many Jews [and non-Jews] to the conspiracy community,” notes Mayo.
Celebrate Safely at Sonesta Though he was defending the president in an impeachment trial, it was Schoen’s prayer before drinking water that sparked discussions on social media.
quest by Schoen, who worships at Congregation Beth Jacob and Ohr HaTorah, to pause the trial during Shabbat. A few days later, Schoen withdrew that request, writing to the leadership, “I very much appreciate your decision; but I remained concerned about the delay in the proceedings in a process that I recognize is important to bring to a conclusion for all involved and for the country.” Several months later, Schoen said that he was “really honored” by the response from other observant Jews to his appearing on the Senate floor wearing a kippah and his placing his hand over his head and saying a silent prayer before drinking water. Those actions “at least made a difference to some people who felt limited at work in exploring their religious observance,” he said. Away from the courtroom, Schoen was elected in October to a three-year term as president of the Zionist Organization of America, where he has served on the board for 20 years and helped found ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice.
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Dunwoody Murderer Loses His Latest Appeal By Jan Jaben-Eilon In March, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upheld the 2016 murder and illegal firearm possession convictions against Hemy Newman, more than a decade after he shocked the Atlanta Jewish community by fatally shooting Russell “Rusty” Sneiderman on Nov. 10, 2010. Sneiderman was killed outside a Dunwoody preschool where he was dropping off his child. As heinous as the actual murder and the scandalous background that surrounded the murder was, the impact on the Atlanta Jewish community continues to reverberate. One prominent Jewish leader at the time told the AJT that “it was a painful episode in the history of the Jewish community. It divided the whole community.” People took sides as details emerged
about Sneiderman’s widow, Andrea, who worked for Neuman at GE Energy. Both the Sneiderman and Neuman families were active members in the Atlanta Jewish community. The story darkened when Andrea Sneiderman was accused of helping Neuman kill her husband because of an alleged affair between her and the Israeli-born Neuman. She eventually served 10 months of a five-year sentence after being found guilty of perjury and obstructing the apprehension of a killer. But murder charges against her were dropped. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, some hoped the community could finally heal. Attorney Esther Panitch, who represented Neuman’s ex-wife, Ariela, told the AJT, “It is time for Hemy’s victims to have peace and never have to hear his name again.” (Both Sneiderman’s widow and
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Neuman’s ex-wife have since changed their names.) The March ruling followed a Sept. 2020 hearing, after Neuman’s public defender had claimed that his client deserved a new trial. In his first trial in 2012, Neuman had been found guilty but mentally ill of malice murder. Three years later, Georgia’s Supreme Court reversed that conviction after finding evidence which violated his attorney-client privilege should not have been admitted. Hemy Neuman lost his latest appeal of his In 2016, Neuman was retried murder conviction of Rusty Sneiderman, and again found guilty. who was shot in Dunwoody in 2010. Neuman was sentenced to According to Panitch, “this is the end life in prison without parole. Now a resident of Augusta State Medical Prison, he is of any direct appeals” about trial issues by Neuman. not denying the murder.
Kemp: Georgia Vaccine Priorities on Target By Dave Schechter In March 2021, one year after the first COVID-19 cases were identified in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp defended his handling of the pandemic. Kemp rejected criticism about Georgia’s poor ranking among the states in the percentage of its adult population vacci“I believe that we have done more than most any nated. “I think we’re doing very state to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19,” Gov. Brian Kemp said March 3. well for whom we’re targeting,” he said during a March 3 briefing. Kemp touted how, at the time, at least as in pre-K programs and day care cenone dose of vaccine had been adminis- ters, adults with intellectual and developtered to nearly 60 percent of Georgians mental disabilities and their caregivers, and parents of children with complex aged 65 and older. As of March, Georgia had recorded medical conditions. In mid-March the more than 823,000 confirmed cases of eligibility age was lowered to 55-years-old COVID-19, 56,000 hospitalizations, and and added those with “high-risk” condimore than 15,300 deaths with a con- tions as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. firmed link to the virus. Limited vaccine supplies sent GeorThe state initially approved vaccinations for frontline medical personnel and gians scrambling. As of March 5, more first responders, then added adults 65 than 11,000 people had gone to a crowdand older. Next came teachers and staff sourced Facebook page that provided tips in public and private K-12 schools as well on where appointments are available.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Marlene Colon’s Murder Suspect Is a Local Israeli
A special tribute to Marlene Colon was shown at a recent Braves game.
UGA Jewish Students Back Anti-Semitism Definition
Murder suspect Chelci Chisholm has an arrest record in Gwinnett County.
By Jan Jaben-Eilon Nearly a year after the brutal murder of Sandy Springs resident Marlene D. Colon, the Israeli-born woman charged with that crime will be arraigned in Fulton County Superior Court on Jan. 31, 2022. Chelci Chisholm has been charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Colon, 73, a popular Zumba instructor, was killed in her home, allegedly by Chisholm, who Sandy Springs detectives said had been renting a room from Colon for about one month. Chisholm was arrested April 5 and was denied bond in her first court appearance two days later. She has been held in Fulton County jail since she was arrested. Court records show that Chisholm was also known as Malka Padalon. According to Chisholm’s Israeli driver’s license, provided by police, she had lived in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa area and was born in 1962. But she had lived in the Atlanta area on and off for years. Colon was known for teaching water aerobics and aqua Zumba, as well as yoga, at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and the Breman Jewish Home. She also taught classes at the Concourse Athletic Club, to disabled children and for the American Diabetes Association. Colon, who is survived by two sons, Loren and Jonathan, and grandchildren
Kara Litwin, studied on this UGA campus and called the student government’s approval of the resolution a “proactive step for the Jewish community.”
By Dave Schechter
Police have completed their investigation at Marlene Colon’s house in Sandy Springs where she died.
Matthew and Julianne, was honored in a special tribute at a Braves game on May 23. A scoreboard message in left field read: “In Memory of Marlene Colon, Taken Away From Us Too Soon.” A “celebration of life” Zumba dance class near the pool in the Spalding Lake subdivision where she lived was held on June 5, to which the public was invited. At her funeral, Colon was eulogized by Rabbi Scott Colbert, rabbi emeritus of Temple Emanu-El, and The Temple Senior Rabbi Peter Berg. They recounted her well-known hospitality and popularity. Colon was “always looking out for everyone else,” said Berg. “We’re not supposed to be here today. Death like this is not supposed to happen to someone we love, not to Marlene.”
A pair of Jewish students at the University of Georgia authored a resolution — unanimously approved in January 2021 by the Student Government Association — asking UGA to employ the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism when it evaluates claims of discrimination. The third-year students Kara Litwin, a psychology major from Sandy Springs who grew up at Temple Sinai, and Sarah Martynov, an international major from Marietta and the daughter of emigres from the Soviet Union, were co-presidents of the campus group Students Supporting Israel. The 38-word IHRA definition states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” “We view this resolution as a proactive step for the Jewish community,” Litwin said.
Martynov said, “We were surprised it passed unanimously and we are hoping that the university sees this as a push in the right direction.” The pair also wanted the IHRA definition adopted by the Board of Regents to cover the 26-school University System of Georgia. Gregory Trevor, UGA’s associate vice president for marketing and communications, said, “The University acknowledges the importance of the IHRA definition. This acknowledgment will be reflected in the Equal Opportunity Office’s consideration of the working definition in its evaluation of discrimination claims and during the development of training provided to the faculty, staff, and students.” Hillels of Georgia backed the resolution. “We’re very proud of the students who took this leadership role and felt very passionately about this and did what they thought was appropriate in making this resolution,” said Hillels of Georgia CEO Elliot Karp. Critics contend that the IHRA definition could be used to stifle debate, particularly around the Israel-Palestinian issue. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 23
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Photographer Finds True Self By Marcia Caller Jaffe As part of the SJT's May 31 business and professional issue, an article announced the gender transition of welknow community photograper Duane Stuart, who now presets as the female Diane Crow. Since then, Crow states, “All of my clients, without exception, accept me as I am and are so happy for me. Since the AJT article appeared, I have so many wonderful experiences with my clients. In an event I’ve shot for years, everyone was so very happy for me and at the end of the evening presented me with several dozen roses. I cried in happiness.” On another job, Crow was live streaming a professional choir that she had worked with for years. Before the
livestream, she addressed the 80-person choir saying, “I know that many have said that since COVID some things will never be the same, I am a perfect example of that!” They laughed and shouted congratulations. Community wise, Crow says she has felt nothing but love. After asking Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman of Chabad Intown if she could attend services, he replied, “You are always welcome here!” When asked what side of the Mechitzah she would sit on, he continued “Since you are wearing a Sheitel and observing modesty in your clothing, then on the women’s side would be fine.” In terms of fashion Crow stated, “All my wardrobe has been purchased at Goodwill. I call it ‘Goodwill Hunting’. Because of Goodwill, I have been able to dress like a million bucks for a few dol-
Far left, male dressed Duane Stork from left to right to Diane Crow “en femme” // Courtesy of Duane Stork Photography
lars, … in Calvin Kline, Steve Madden, Ann Klein, Doony Burk, Coach, and every high-quality brand name you can mention. High quality clothes in outstanding condition for pennies on the dollar. My friends call me the “Goodwill Fashionista”.
The Diane Crow Show is going well. Every Sunday at 7 p.m. she interviews people from all over the world, talking about hair, makeup, walking in heels, mental health, body, hair, and much more.
Abes Pops Up with Entertainment Vision By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Hospitality guru David Abes, a well-known restaurateur and head of Dash Hospitality Group, made headlines with elaborate plans to create a town center in Dunwoody Village, including a communal courtyard with a stage for live music, four cleverly themed David Abes plans for Dunwoody to have a variety restaurants and an inof fun outdoor meeting venues and entertainment door/outdoor bar. choices. // Photo courtesy of Regency Centers Bar(n) opened in early November to rave reviews — including flatbread and the Batter Cookie Dough his own. “Things have been incredible! Ev- Counter bread pudding. Abes, who lives ery night has been busy, and we had great nearby, said, “We have been very lucky weather, so the courtyard has been the with staff, and they have become family. place to hang out around the fire pits,” Abes All have them have a great attitude and are said. “Dunwoody has come out in force, guest focused. The most novel additions and the neighbors have reconnected with are the outdoor screen and stage being ineach other after so many years. A guest the stalled and ready for New Year’s Eve.” other night told me this has turned into the Stay tuned to see what Abes has up Dunwoody ‘Cheers.’” his sleeve. Hint: It could be food trucks The most popular items are wrapped or Morty’s Meats, Cucos Cantina or Yoffi. dates, pigs in a blanket, chicken lettuce Also, the space could be rented out for corwraps, “The Catch” board, the BBQ chicken porate events and private parties. 24 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
YEAR IN REVIEW
Meet Israel’s New Prime Minister
Naftali Bennett replaced longtime prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
By Jan Jaben-Eilon After four elections, beginning in April 2019 and ending in March 2021, a new Israeli government coalition was formed without Benjamin Netanyahu – the longest-serving prime minister in the
country’s history. He had led the government for more than 12 consecutive years. But Netanyahu was unable to cobble together a majority government despite his party, Likud, taking 30 of the 120 seats in the Israeli legislature, or
Knesset. In June, the 36th government of Israel was sworn in with Naftali Bennett becoming Israel’s 13th prime minister and Yair Lapid serving as alternate prime minister, as well as foreign minister. Lapid is scheduled to take the top position in August
2023. As the first of the rotating prime ministers, Bennett is the country’s lone religiously observant, kippa-wearing leader. As head of the seven-member Yamina Party, Bennett is also leader of the smallest party to ever be appointed prime minister. In contrast, Lapid heads a 17-member party. The new government is a coalition of eight parties ranging from the right-wing to left-wing, and will include, for the first time, an Israeli Arab party. It also is comprised of the largest number of female ministers. This is the first government since 2015 without the inclusion of an ultra-Orthodox party. Political pundits predicted that the new government wouldn’t survive the year, with the passing of a national budget expected to bring down the young government in the fall. Under Bennett, however, the Knesset passed the first national bud-
get in more than two years, assuring this government’s viability – at least for now. Other issues continue to test the government’s long-term survival. According to coalition agreements, controversial issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be avoided. Without an ultra-Orthodox party partner, however, religious concerns such as kashrut laws, control of conversion and a potential agreement to provide the Conservative and Reform movements with improved prayer space at the Western Wall for egalitarian services could finally be implemented. Recently, though, coalition members have been at odds about whether to reinstate a deal that had been approved by an earlier Netanyahu government but was canceled in 2017 due to the ultra-Orthodox parties. Under that agreement, there was to be equal visibility and accessibility to the existing gender-segregated Orthodox areas.
Greenberg Launches Flagship Illuminarium By Marcia Caller Jaffe The world’s first Illuminarium opened July 1 on Atlanta’s BeltLine, featuring a one-of-a-kind Wild Safari Experience and an immersive adult bar experience on weekend nights. Through early December, over 120,000 visitors stopped by the Illuminarium. “Our numbers are pretty amazing, considering we launched shortly before the Delta variant and mask mandates arrived in our fair city,” said CEO Alan Greenberg. “During the Delta wave things slowed a bit, but we have seen signs of a nice rebound since November.” Greenberg and his crew are always thinking up unique creative programs. On Black Friday, the Illuminarium launched Winterland, an interactive holiday experience. And larger private parties can rent out the 14,000-square-foot space, which can be customized to create their own canvas in sight and sound. WILD Safari will return in January for a final 2-3 month run, with one major addition. Illuminarium sent film crews to Rwanda to film one of the rarest
Illuminarium opened in Atlanta this Summer 2021.
of all mammals, the majestic mountain gorilla, including the famed silverbacks. (Atlantans may recall Willy B., a western lowland gorilla, who lived at the Atlanta
Zoo for 39 years.) Fewer than a thousand mountain gorillas remain, all residing in Africa’s Volcano National Park. Through a relationship with the Rwanda Develop-
ment Board, the Illuminarium received special access to these amazing species, which will be projected some 22 feet high. “They will absolutely take your breath away!” Greenberg predicts. This spring, three new Illuminarium “Spectacles” will open in Atlanta. Georgia O’Keeffe’s 100 Flowers, its first arts-based experience, will debut in March. O’Keeffe, perhaps America’s most prominent female artist, was known for her extraordinary flowers and the monumental scale on which she presented them. The O’Keeffe experience will be followed by SPACE, a multimillion-dollar CGI production, created by Radical Media, one of Illuminarium’s partners. The first experience designed for children, “Waking Wonderland,” will debut in 2022. The Illuminarium has been working with Canadian company Secret Locations, a division of Hasbro and Entertainment One, to bring this interactive production to Atlanta and beyond. “It’s going to be great fun for children and their parents and grandparents,” Greenberg concluded. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 25
YEAR IN REVIEW
Legislators Vow to Rename Cynthia McKinney Parkway By Dave Schechter When the General Assembly reconvenes in January 2022, an effort will be made to remove Cynthia McKinney’s name from Georgia roadways. In June, the former six-term Democratic congresswoman posted an image of the final piece being added to a puzzle that showed smoke billowing from the World Trade Center towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. McKinney’s comment read: “The Final Piece of the Puzzle …” The puzzle pieces read: “Zionists did it.”
is chosen, “it won’t be In July, Demoanything partisan.” cratic Rep. Mike As for McKinWilensky, the lone ney’s remark, WilenJewish member of sky said, “This isn’t, the General Assem‘Oh, it could be inbly, said that when terpreted as antithe legislature meets, Semitism.’ On a level he and Republican of one to 10 of antiSen. Cecil Terrell Semitism, this is an “Butch” Miller will 11, as horrible as it make their effort Cynthia McKinney Parkway is a part could be.” part of a larger bill of Memorial Drive, which runs from The Cynthia dealing with the Stone Mountain to downtown Atlanta. McKinney Parkway naming and renamcovers state Highway 154 from Candler ing of roadways. Wilensky said that whatever name Road to state Highway 10 in DeKalb
County and a portion of Highway 10 from its intersection with Highway 154 to U.S. Highway 78 in DeKalb County. McKinney was elected in 1992 to represent Georgia’s 11th district. She was re-elected in 1994, but after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the district’s borders to be unconstitutional, McKinney was elected in 1996 to represent the newly drawn 4th district. She was re-elected in 1998 and 2000, before losing in the 2002 Democratic primary. McKinney won the 4th district seat again in 2004 but was defeated by Hank Johnson in the 2006 Democratic primary. She was the Green Party’s 2008 presidential candidate.
Surfside Disaster Hits Home
Rabbi Yossi New’s friends, Tzvi and Itty Ainsworth, were among the victims.
By Jan Jaben-Eilon The geographical distance between Atlanta and Miami, Fla. may be close to 700 miles, but the emotional distance between the two Jewish communities narrowed dramatically after the June 24 partial collapse of a 12-story beachfront condominium in the suburb of Surfside. Relatives and friends of Atlantans were among the approximately 100 killed in the overnight disaster, as well as among those who miraculously survived. While Jewish communities in Atlanta and around the world held their breaths in anticipation of the naming
26 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
of the victims, authorities eventually reported that no survivors had been found. Seven members of Israel’s National Rescue Unit, who had arrived at the site three days after the Champlain Towers South collapsed to assist in trying to locate survivors, went home without finding any. By then, Atlantans had heard both good news and bad. The bodies of close friends of Rabbi Yossi New, founding rabbi of Beth Tefillah and regional director of Chabad of Georgia, were among those eventually uncovered in piles of cement, steel and rubble. New had known Tzvi Ainsworth for more than 50 years, along
The Surfside building collapsed in Miami Florida.
with Tzvi’s wife, Ingrid or Itty. Chabad of Cobb Rabbi Ephraim Silverman was a nephew of another woman who was killed in the tragedy. The daughter of Atlanta criminal defense attorney Esther Panitch lost fellow Camp Judaea alumni, staff and best friends Deborah Berezdivin and Ilan Naibryf. Miriam had been staying in another part of the condo complex the night of the disaster. On the other hand, there was good news, too. Former Atlantan Sara Nir lived with her two children in a ground-floor condo at Champlain Towers South. All three were able to evacuate the falling
building safely. Atlantan Esther Lubel’s sister and brother-in-law, who lived on the 10th floor of the ill-fated condo complex, also survived. Betty and Jimmy Coiffman had fortunately lived in the section of the building that didn’t collapse, although it was later demolished. Lubel said she had awakened at 3 a.m. and saw the news about the 1:30 a.m. disaster on her smartphone screen. From that moment until 6 a.m., Lubel said she stayed on the phone with her eldest sister “to make sure she was okay.” The Coiffmans had rented the condo just two weeks before the collapse.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Lipstadt Nomination Hailed Locally By Dave Schechter As of the second week of December, the nomination of Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt to be the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism remained stalled in the U.S. Senate. Lipstadt, who is renowned for her work on Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, was nominated July 30 by President Joe Biden. Five months later, she had yet to receive a confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Republicans had voiced objections to her social media postings, including one critical of a committee member. In a Nov. 4 letter to the committee’s Democratic and Republican leaders, the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federa-
tions for North America, and Union of Orthodox Jewish North America Congregations of America, said: “The global Jewish community needs the United States to be a leader in the fight against antisemitism and we must not waste more time leaving our lead official in this fight off the field.” That portfolio takes in anti-Semitism anywhere in the world, except by statute, in the United States. If confirmed, the 74-year-old Lipstadt will take a leave of absence from Emory, where she has been on faculty since 1993. “Should I be confirmed by the Senate and have the opportunity to accept this position and take on this awesome responsibility, I will miss one thing: Being in the classroom with my Emory students,” she said in a release published
by the university. Lipstadt is a member of Congregation Ohr HaTorah, where “There is a real sense of excitement and pride within our congregation that Dr. Lipstadt was chosen for this role,” Rabbi Adam Starr said. “She is an expert communicator both in the spoken word and in her writings. Dr. Lipstadt is so well versed in Jewish Rabbi Adam Starr and Deborah Lipstadt at a January tradition and practice, 2020 march against anti-Semitism in New York. which is unique for a person in a position of such public prom- work are a Kiddush Hashem [sanctificainence in secular society. She and her tion of God’s name].”
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 27
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Georgia Congressman Explains Iron Dome ‘Present’ Vote By Dave Schechter When the U.S. House overwhelmingly approved $1 billion to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system on Sept. 23, Democrat Hank Johnson, who represents the 4th District in metro Atlanta, voted “present.” The bill passed by a vote of 409 to 9, with two abstentions: Johnson and New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who initially voted “no” and then changed her vote to “present.” Eight of the nine “no” votes were cast by Democrats, and one by a Republican. In a statement to the AJT, Johnson, an eight-term congressman from DeKalb County, said: “I supported the $3.8 billion in military assistance to Israel as agreed to by
President Obama. An additional $1 billion on top of what U.S. taxpayers have already paid for Israel’s Iron Dome defense constitutes about 60 percent of what the United States has provided for that specific defense allocation over the past decade. I don’t think the additional $1 billion is justified, particularly given the assessment that the former Israeli Prime Minister was the driving force behind the conflict, which gave rise to this exorbitant emergency request.” Johnson did not explain why, given his opposition, he did not vote against the measure, rather than abstaining. The other 13 members of Georgia’s congressional delegation — eight Republicans and five Democrats — voted in favor of the spending. According to the Congressional Re-
Congressman Hank Johnson of the 4th district of Georgia.
search Service, through fiscal year 2020, Israel had received more than $1.65 billion from the U.S. to fund Iron Dome batteries, interceptors, co-production costs, and maintenance. The additional $1 billion would be used to replace interceptors expended during Israel’s war in May, when Hamas fired
an estimated 4,360 rockets toward Israel from Gaza. However, as of the second week of December, Republican Sen. Ron Paul of Kentucky had stalled a Senate vote on the $1 billion, as he sought to have the money removed from proposed aid to Afghanistan.
No Mask, No Class for UGA Professor By Dave Schechter
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University of Georgia psychology professor Irwin S. Bernstein — an 88-year-old, “retiree-rehire” who returned to teach two classes — suddenly re-retired during an Aug. 24 class, after a student refused to wear a mask, despite his explaining why it was critical for his health. In keeping with the policy directives of Gov. Brian Kemp, the University System of Georgia mandates neither vaccination nor masks. USG instead “urges all students, faculty, staff and visitors to get vaccinated” and encourages everyone “to wear a mask or face covering while inside campus facilities.” On the first day of the upper-level, 25-student class, “I had put a notice on the whiteboard — ‘No mask, no class’ — and afterwards, was told that I could not do that and took it down,” Bernstein, an expert in primate behavior, told the AJT by email. “I had explained to the class that my age and co-morbidities would make COVID life-threatening for me,” because of such underlying conditions as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and age-related issues, Bernstein wrote. “All had agreed to cooperate on the first day. The student who refused was
Bernstein made national news when he suddenly re-retired during a class at UGA, after a student refused to wear a mask.
absent on the first day and when she came to class, I explained my situation. She had no mask, but another student gave her a spare. She started to put it on but said it was uncomfortable and removed it.” That was the last straw for Bernstein, who already was concerned about the COVID-19 situation on campus. UGA’s student newspaper, The Red & Black, reported that Bernstein was aware that two students absent the first day of class had tested positive for COVID-19. “At that point I said that whereas I had risked my life to defend my country while in the Air Force, I was not willing to risk my life to teach a class with an unmasked student during this pandemic,” he told the newspaper. “I then resigned my retiree-rehire position.”
YEAR IN REVIEW
Biden Nominates Atlantan Israel May Finally to U.N. Human Rights Open Up to Tourists in Council November By Jan Jaben-Eilon
Michèle Taylor has been nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
By Dave Schechter The White House announced Oct. 21 that Atlantan Michele Taylor had been nominated to serve as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. “Michele Taylor has served in a number of roles advocating for protection of fundamental human and political rights,” the White House said. The nomination requires confirmation by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate. As of the second week of December, a committee hearing had not been scheduled. The Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, was created in 2006 and is comprised of 47 U.N. member nations. In recent years, the body has been criticized as being anti-Israel. Taylor, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, serves on the board of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and is an alumni member of the of the United States Holocaust Memo-
rial Museum Council, to which she was appointed in 2014 by then-President Barack Obama. On the council, she served on the Committee on State Sponsored Antisemitism and the Committee on Holocaust Denial and State-Sponsored Antisemitism. In her political life, the 55-year-old native of Palo Alto, Calif., formerly served as vice chair of the national finance committee of the Democratic Party, as co-chair and campaign vice-chair for Michelle Nunn’s 2014 Senate campaign, and as co-chair of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s 2013 re-election campaign. Taylor was a founding member of Congregation Or Hadash. President Biden directed that the U.S. rejoin the U.N. Human Rights Council, effective with its 2022 term, reversing the June 2018 withdrawal ordered by then-President Donald Trump. U.S. participation on the Council has followed political lines, active under Obama, a Democrat, but not during the administration of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush, a Republican.
2021 has been a bumpy year for travel to and from Israel. In late January, Israel banned all international travel, including for Israelis, for almost two months. For non-Israelis, the on-again, but mostly off-again travel to Israel was enough to give travel agents and Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel. tourists alike motion sickness. The COVID-induced travel restric- relief. Both Chanukah, for Jewish traveltions designed to curb the spread of ers, and Christmas, for the larger number various variants of the virus were often of Christian tourists, were around the imposed by the Israeli government from corner and airlines, hotels, restaurants one moment to the next, causing stom- and tour guides were hopeful. Then the Israeli coronavirus task ach-lurching changes in plans. During parts of the year, non-Israelis force met after Shabbat Nov. 27 and dewith first-degree relatives could receive cided to prohibit tourists again as the special permission to travel to Israel, new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, was assuming they could figure out how to confirmed in a small number of cases in apply and jump through all the hoops. the country. The new rules went into efSpecial accommodations were made – fect at midnight the next day local time sometimes – for those traveling for a and were to last for two weeks. That birth, marriage or funeral. Yet even these left Atlantans forced to risk taking their occasions did not always grant authori- flights to Israel and being turned away at the airport because their flight was to zation to all prospective travelers. Requirements for COVID testing, arrive just hours after the cut-off time. including quarantining upon arrival in Many chose to stay home. Just before the end of the two-week Israel, also changed frequently during closure for tourists, the Israeli governthe year. Once allowed to actually move ment decided to extend the prohibition around in Israel, visiting the sites, against travelers for another 10 days, unfriends and relatives, non-Israelis had to til Dec. 22. Meanwhile, in a letter to the heads figure out how to navigate the Green Pass requirements given to fully vaccinated of Jewish Federations of North America, people for entry into museums, restau- Prime Minister Naftali Bennett apologized for causing “severe hardship and rants and other public places. But what upset most Atlanta would- disruption” for Jewish tourists wanting be travelers to Israel occurred during to travel to Israel. And Diaspora Affairs the final months of the year. Israel an- Minister Nachman Shai acknowledged nounced that it would open up Ben Gu- that Israel’s decision to ban non-citizens rion Airport to non-Israelis as of Nov. 1. from the country was damaging ties to The tourism industry breathed a sigh of diaspora Jews.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 29
YEAR IN REVIEW
Rabbi Berg Delivers Vice President’s Mezuzah
Buckhead’s Future: To-BeDetermined
Rabbi Berg (right) with Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, who is Jewish.
By Dave Schechter When Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple received the initial telephone call, he thought it was a prank and nearly hung up. The person on the other end said they were calling on behalf of a highprofile couple who recently had moved to Washington, D.C. Berg was assured that the inquiry was legitimate, and that the couple were seeking a mezuzah for their new home. “They want it to be meaningful. They want it to have historical significance,” the caller told Berg, who related the story to the AJT. He guessed, correctly, that the couple was Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, the “Second Gentleman,” Douglas Emhoff, who is Jewish. After hearing nothing for a while, Berg was invited to speak with Harris during her June 18 visit to Atlanta to promote COVID-19 vaccinations. At the close of the conversation, which included discussion of Israel and anti-Semitism, the rabbi asked, “What about the mezuzah?” Berg quoted Harris as replying: “If I’ve told my husband once, I’ve told him a hundred times, we have to pick the mezuzah already.” The Temple has loaned the vice president and her husband a mezuzah. “I was told that The Temple had been selected because of our history. Because Leo Frank was a member. Because The Temple was
30 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
bombed by white supremacists. Because of our commitment to social justice. Because of our support for Israel. Because of the work we do combatting anti-Semitism,” Berg said. On Oct. 7, The Temple’s senior rabbi officiated as the mezuzah was affixed to a front doorpost of the Naval Observatory House, the vice president’s official residence. “It was a small private ceremony, a really personal moment,” Berg said, including just Harris, Emhoff, and Emhoff’s parents, Barbara and Michael Emhoff, who had not seen their son throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Berg led the blessing for the mezuzah and the Shehecheyanu prayer, which recognizes the importance of the moment. Emhoff nailed the mezuzah to the doorpost on a diagonal, in keeping with a thousand-year-old rabbinic determination. This is the first time that a mezuzah — which contains a tiny scroll with texts from the Book of Deuteronomy, denoting the house as a sacred space — has hung at an American executive residence. The injunction to post a mezuzah — “inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” — is found in Deuteronomy 6:9. “It was great to do something in Washington that was not political. It was just a beautiful private, religious ceremony. It was an honor to be able to do it,” Berg said.
Atlanta, Buckhead area: The question that would appear on next November’s ballot would ask: Should we stay, or should we go?
By Dave Schechter The movement to force a referendum on whether Buckhead will secede from the city of Atlanta gained traction in 2021, heading toward a likely vote in the November 2022 election. When the General Assembly reconvenes in January, legislators will consider bills, sponsored by Republicans who do not live in Atlanta, that would green light a referendum, in which only residents of the proposed Buckhead City could vote. If approved, that legislation would go to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who publicly has been neutral on the issue. The Democrats who represent Buckhead in the Republican-controlled state House and Senate oppose secession. Jewish institutions in Buckhead include the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Jewish HomeLife, and Atlanta Jewish Academy. Buckhead covers approximately 18 percent of Atlanta’s land area. Its estimated 87,000 residents make up about 20 percent of Atlanta’s population. More than half of Atlanta households earning more than $100,000 reside there. Racially, Buckhead is more than threequarters white. Crime and taxes are the issues most frequently cited by secession propo-
nents. Buckhead is part of Atlanta Police Department Zone 2, which includes West Midtown, Lenox Park, and Piedmont Heights. Compared with the same period the year before, homicides, rapes, and aggravated assaults increased in 2021, while robberies and burglaries declined. Bill White, CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, says that a planned 250-officer police force will be three times larger than APD’s Zone 2 deployment. The Committee’s website declares that “A larger police presence that is allowed to do their job will decrease crime dramatically and quickly.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Buckhead accounts for 40 percent of Atlanta’s assessed property — tax revenues, perhaps more than $200 million, that would be lost to the city. Also undetermined is the fate of several thousand Atlanta Public School students living in Buckhead. Sam Massell — Atlanta’s first Jewish mayor, who served from 1970-74 — calls secession an “ill-advised proposal.” In an AJC op-ed he wrote: “I don’t want to see our city cut into several slices, believing that — in the long range — it would degrade the quality of life of the new creations and the remaining citizens. … It would destroy the community brand, which would require decades to rebuild.”
YEAR IN REVIEW
Atlanta’s New Mayor Still To-Be-Determined By Dave Schechter The surprise announcement in May by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms that she would not seek a second term threw open the November mayoral election. A second surprise came on Nov. 2, when former two-term Mayor Kasim Reed finished third among 14 candidates on the non-partisan ballot. City Council President Felicia Moore finished first, but her 40 percent of the vote was short of the majority needed to win outright. City Council member Andre Dickens won the second slot in a Nov. 30 runoff by edging out Reed, 23 percent to 22.4 percent. Between the general election and the runoff, momentum swung in Dickens’s direction. If there was a third surprise, it was the 64 percent to 36 percent margin by which Dickens trounced Moore to become Atlanta’s 61st mayor. Dickens was elected in 2013 to represent At-Large Post 3 on the city council and was re-elected in 2017. He has been an executive with TechBridge, a nonprof-
it focused on issues related to poverty. Dickens received a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and a master’s degree in public administration from Georgia State University in 2013. When he takes office in January 2022, the 47-year-old Atlanta native will lead a city afflicted by a spike in crime, short of sufficient affordable housing, plagued by near legendary traffic congestion, with one of the nation’s highest rates of income inequality and facing the possible secession of its wealthiest enclave. Dickens has said that keeping Buckhead as part of Atlanta will be a priority. Buckhead covers approximately 18 percent of Atlanta’s land area, makes up about 20 percent of its population, and secession could cost Atlanta upwards of $200 million in tax revenues. During the campaign, Dickens said that he would hire 250 new police officers, improve training techniques to include racial sensitivity and de-escalation
Andre Dickens, a 47-year-old Atlanta native was elected the city’s 61st mayor after defeating City Council President Felicia Moore and former Mayor Kasim Reed.
techniques, and engage in community policing. On housing, Dickens told the Atlanta Civic Circle and Saporta Report: “We
need to build or preserve 10,000 units of affordable housing in the next four years, and I will hire a Chief Housing Officer to oversee those efforts.”
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YEAR IN REVIEW
Redistricting Alters Georgia Political Landscape By Dave Schecter Georgia’s 2022 election stew became spicier in November, when the Republicancontrolled state House and Senate redrew the borders of the legislative and congressional districts. The maps, redrawn every 10 years following the Census, await Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature. Pending the outcome of anticipated court challenges, these maps will remain in effect for a decade. The General Assembly will deal with county commission and school board districts when it convenes in January. Georgia’s population has increased by 1 million since 2010, to 10.7 million residents, due largely to minority growth in metro Atlanta. The maps reflect the population shift toward the Atlanta area, and away from middle and South Georgia. Congressional districts will average roughly 765,000 residents: state Senate districts 191,000, and state House districts 59,500. By moving around liberal and conservative sections of metro area counties, Republicans found a way to improve on their 8-6 margin in Georgia’s congressional delegation. The 6th district — a Republican stronghold that Democrats flipped in 2018 and held in 2020 — will again be GOP-
32 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
friendly, while mapmakers ceded to Democrats the 7th district seat, they flipped in 2020. Democrat Lucy McBath, currently representing the 6th district, announced that she would run in 2022 in the 7th district, already represented by Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux, a tilt that could highlight tensions between their party’s moderate and progressive wings. Several Republicans already had filed to run in the 6th and with McBath gone, more may enter the race. The GOP primary winner will be favored to win the general election. The maps suggest that Republicans will maintain their majorities in the state House and Senate, Georgia’s current 14 congressional districts ahead of 2021’s redistricting effort. State Republicans though Democrats may make inmay alter current districts to strengthen their power over the next decade. And, a draft map roads. Republicans currently hold a of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts was released by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan Monday, Sept. 103-77 margin over Democrats in the 27, 2021. // Photo credit: Georgia Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office state House and a 34-21 advantage in House district 80 and look forward to being of the Voting Rights Act that required prethe state Senate. Democratic state Rep. Mike Wilensky, the representative for Dunwoody [except clearance in states with a history of discrimthe lone Jewish member of the General As- for two precincts], Doraville, and a little bit ination against minorities. The Supreme Court further ruled in June 2019 that federal sembly, saw his current 79th district’s bor- of Chamblee,” he told the AJT. Georgia’s maps no longer require Jus- courts cannot intervene in claims of delibders change slightly and given a new designation. Wilensky will run for re-election in tice Department approval. In 2013, the U.S. erately partisan redistricting, sometimes what will be district 80. “I am running for Supreme Court struck down the portion referred to as “gerrymandering.”
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YEAR IN REVIEW
2021: Jewish Sports Year in Review
In only his fourth year in the NHL, Quinn Hughes has emerged as one of the league’s top defensemen. // Credit: Vancouver Canucks
By David Ostrowsky
Following the Vancouver Canucks’
3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Nov. 28 — a game in which the Canucks blew a late lead for their ninth defeat in the past ten games — head coach Travis Green was
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asked to assess the performance of fourth-year defenseman Quinn Hughes. Green was running out of patience with his last place team and knew his dismissal was imminent. Yet, when Hughes’s name was uttered, the coach had to acknowledge the merits of his 22-year-old stud blueliner. “He’s playing well,” Green acknowledged, less than two weeks before he was, indeed, relieved of his position. “He’s a great young player in the league. I thought the last two games his game has come around. He’s trying to improve in his own zone but he’s still putting up some good offensive numbers.” Since bursting onto the NHL scene as a teenager in 2018, Hughes has been a cornerstone player for a struggling Canucks franchise, playing in the NHL AllRyan Braun was one of the premier sluggers in baseball Star Game as a rookie before finin the early 2000s. His retirement from the Brewers ishing second to Colorado’s Cale has left a gaping hole in their lineup. // Credit: Topps Makar for 2019-2020 Rookie of the Year. After the truncated 2019-20 season, Ryan Braun Hughes was limited to 56 games as he After swatting 352 homers — more (along with many teammates) suffered than any Jewish ballplayer in the history through a bout of COVID. But his pro- of baseball — Ryan Braun announced his longed absence and, perhaps understand- retirement on Sept. 14. After being named ably, diminished production last season National League Rookie of the Year in didn’t stop the Canucks from inking him 2007, Braun would go on to earn NL MVP to a $47.10 million, six-year contract this honors following the 2011 season. A lifepast October. time .296 hitter who was named to six There are quite a few Jewish players All-Star teams, Braun played his entire currently in the NHL. Players represent- 14-year career for the Milwaukee Brewers. ing Judaism on the ice include one of While he didn’t play in 2021 after Hughes’s younger brothers, Jack, a former the Brew Crew declined their end of a $15 No. 1 overall pick by the New Jersey Dev- million mutual option last winter, Braun ils — who was recently signed to a mega- waited until the very end of the season to extension — and the youngest, Luke, who make his decision official. Often dubbed was selected by the Devils and currently the “Hebrew Hammer,” he told USA Toplays at the University of Michigan. Both day in 2010, “I do consider myself defiparents were former collegiate hockey nitely Jewish. And I’m extremely proud players, and Hughes’s mother, Ellen Wein- to be a role model for young Jewish kids.” berg-Hughes, played for the U.S. Women’s However, as many baseball fans are national team at the 1992 Women’s World well aware, the slugger hasn’t always Championship. served as the greatest role model for the This winter, Quinn Hughes hopes to younger generation. It was eventually represent the stars and stripes at the 2022 discovered that Braun had resorted to games in Beijing (assuming the NHL par- performance-enhancing drugs to recover ticipates). Certainly, no one in the Vancou- from injuries during the end of his 2011 ver locker room would object. MVP season, a course of action that he “He’s kind of the engine that drives initially denied, before ultimately admitour team,” says teammate Conor Garland. ting to in 2013. “He’s a big piece of our team. He always The PED episode notwithstanding, seems to have the puck a lot, always mov- Braun has been an upstanding citizen, ing it up quickly, and very elusive at the and his retirement last fall was met with blue line. He’s been great for us all year.” well-deserved fanfare considering that
YEAR IN REVIEW he had helped to elevate a traditionally moribund franchise to the status of perennial postseason contender. In a video posted by the Brewers to social media, Braun announced: “While it’s impossible to summarize my emotions right now, what I feel most is one simple thing: gratitude.”
Robert Kraft had his most aggressive off-season this past March, and the results have spoken for themselves. His team is now one of the favorites to win Super Bowl LVI. // credit: New England Patriots
In 2020, the New England Patriots finished 7-9, their first losing campaign since 2001. Once the free agency period started last March, longtime owner Robert Kraft seized the opportunity to reload, shelling out a record $163 million in guaranteed money during free agency to acquire impact players Jonnu Smith, Matthew Judon, Davon Godchaux, Jalen Mills, Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, and Nelson Agholor. His spending spree has been justified. All of the aforementioned rookies have contributed to the Patriots’ resurgent season, and now, as January looms, the franchise looks poised to make another deep postseason run. Since purchasing the Patriots back in January 1994, Kraft, who is Jewish and an active member of a synagogue in the Greater Boston area, has presided over the most successful franchise in NFL
history. A dynasty in every sense of the word, the Patriots have won six Super Bowls this century — an even more impressive feat considering the league has instituted parameters (unrestricted free agency, salary cap) to foster parity. But, after Tom Brady bolted following the 2019 season, even the most ardent Patriots supporters weren’t predicting a turnaround as swift as this, especially going into the season with a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones. But behind Kraft’s deft maneuvering of the salary cap and willingness to spend an outlandish sum, the team struck gold in free agency (this hasn’t always been the case in New England recently), providing the twentythree-year-old Jones with a support system in which he has flourished. A year ago, many pundits around the league were predicting a long and slow rebuild for New England. But at this hour, the team is arguably the odds-on favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVI this coming February in Inglewood, Calif.
was due in no small part to Marpet’s holding down the offensive line. That Brady was sacked only once, for a six-yard loss, served as further testament to the effective blocking from Marpet and Co. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Marpet told his New York hometown newspaper, the Rockland/Westchester Journal News: “I definitely think there’s been a lot of surprises along the way. I feel like, depending on when you ask me — if I thought I’d be here — I never would’ve thought (a Super Bowl) would be on the table.” In a couple months, another one may very well be.
At first sight, it may seem strange to see the principal owner of the New York Mets mentioned here. After all, the Mets, under Cohen’s first year of ownership, finished the year with an underwhelming 77-85 record, good for a third-place finish in the National League East. It also can’t be overlooked that Cohen’s first marquee deal, a mega contract extension to Francisco Lindor worth over a third of a billion dollars, has thus far been a colossal failure. But, in 2021, no team has enjoyed a better off-season (at least on paper) than Cohen and the Mets, who signed three prized free agents (pitcher Max ScherAli Marpet may have not gotten a lot of media attention zer, center fielder during last February’s Super Bowl, but he was instrumental Starling Marte, and in protecting Tom Brady from Kansas City’s ferocious infielder Eduardo Esdefense. // Credit: Tampa Bay Buccaneers cobar) to multi-year contracts literally days before the ongoAli Marpet The narrative around Tom Brady ing lockout commenced. With the newlynever getting hit hard invariably revolves acquired Scherzer, certainly the most dearound favorable rule changes and, per- sirable pitcher on the free agent market, haps, favorable treatment from officials. coupled with ace Jacob deGrom at the But maybe, just maybe, the defending front end of their rotation, the Mets look world-champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers poised to contend for their first World Seoffensive line deserves some credit for ries title since 1986. On a different level, Cohen has keeping Brady upright one Sunday after pledged to drastically improve the heavianother. One of the anchors of the Tampa O- ly-maligned culture of the Mets organizaline is left guard Ali Marpet, a 7-year vet- tion, one that has been rocked by a series eran from tiny Division III Hobart Col- of humiliating sexual misconduct allegalege, who now serves as a team captain. tions. In addition to hiring new legal and Last February, when the Bucs defeated HR executives to rectify the systemic isthe Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl sues plaguing the organization of late, LV, Brady was naturally the center of at- Cohen has promised to streamline the tention. But Brady’s MVP performance process whereby employees report viola(three touchdowns without a single pick) tions and to ensure that such violations
While the early returns have been discouraging, Steve Cohen continues to be willing to spend lavishly on free agents so the Mets can once again contend. // Credit: New York Mets
are investigated and resolved in a timely manner. The underlying goal, according to Cohen, is to “emphasize the overarching value of a safe and respectful workplace.”
Anthony Firkser has represented the Jewish community with dignity over the past couple years by speaking out against antiSemitism while enlightening his teammates about Judaism. // credit: Tennessee Titans
While he hasn’t posted the most mind-blowing stats, Tennessee Titans tight end Anthony Firkser has followed ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 35
YEAR IN REVIEW
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up a career 2020 season with a solid sive linemen in football.) If they are in the season in ’21. Firkser, who grew up in spotlight, it is probably because they are Manalapan Township, N.J., where he at- starting to blow late-inning leads by servtended Hebrew school and had a bar ing up gopher balls. mitzvah, is on pace for over 30 receptions And that certainly hasn’t been the while serving as a key cog in the Titans case for the 34-year-old Bleier, who broke offensive system. into the big leagues in 2016 with the New However, it has been Firkser’s off- York Yankees, following a lengthy minor field actions this year that have endeared league career after being drafted by the him most to the Jewish community. Back Texas Rangers back in 2008. Since his in November, Firkser gave a very candid rookie season, the big southpaw has been interview with the Jewish Telegraphic a model of consistency on the mound, Agency, in which he expressed great posting five sub-3.00 ERA seasons, inpride in his Jewish background, while ac- cluding this past one, when he registered knowledging that, for many of his team- a nifty 2.95 mark for his hometown Marmates, he is the first Jew they have ever lins. come across. After giving up a seventh inning “It’s cool to talk about … to share a homer to Austin Slater of the San Franlittle bit different background than a lot cisco Giants on April 17 (his fourth long of guys are used to in the league,” Firk- ball given up in the opening month), ser told the JTA. “Guys get to learn about Bleier, who played for Team Israel in the [Judaism] who have never kind of experienced it.” While he acknowledged that he has never faced antiSemitism in the NFL, last fall, after star wide receiver DeSean Jackson’s antiSemitic comments, Firkser and other Jewish football players participated in an online forum about Jews and pro football. Soon thereafter, Firkser became an ambassador for “Unity Through Sport,” a nonprofit organization that leverages sports to combat discrimination in sociOne of the most successful pitchers in the history of Florida Gulf Coast University, Richard Bleier received ety at large. the well-deserved honor of being inducted into the ASUN “Unity Through Hall of Fame this past fall. // Credit: FGCU Athletics Sport is an initiative trying to bring everyone together. It’s 2013 World Baseball Classic’s qualifying kinda like a locker room where no one round, reclaimed his penchant for keepsees any differences,” Firkser told the ing the ball in the yard, not yielding a JTA. “We’re all working towards a com- single homerun over his final 59 appearmon goal. That was something good to ances. stand behind and be able to use my JewWhile he continues to carve out his ish background as something that could niche as a reliable late-inning reliever at be seen as different that people don’t un- the big-league level, Bleier’s past accomderstand, but show them how similar it plishments at Florida Gulf Coast Univerall is.” sity received their due recognition this past November, as he became the fifth athlete in the program’s history to be inRichard Bleier Unless you happen to be a fan of the ducted into the ASUN Conference Hall of Miami Marlins or a diehard seamhead, Fame. you’ve probably never heard of pitcher Richard Bleier. Middle relievers such as Bleier simply don’t garner a lot of attention. (It’s a situation akin to that of offen-
World Series — Max Fried
How could a 2021 year-in-review not include a mention of the World Series,
YEAR IN REVIEW Bird — already a four-time WNBA champion and two-time national collegiate champion at UCONN — took home her fifth gold medal at the Tokyo Games, a record for a basketball player in the Olympics. The 41-year-old has not decided whether she is retiring from the WNBA, leaving the door open for potentially returning for a twentieth season.
It seemed only fitting that Max Fried, the winning pitcher of the 2021 World Series, is Jewish.
well-documented as the most Jewish Fall Classic ever? This past October, there were indeed four Jewish ballplayers in the World Series: two on the Atlanta Braves (Max Fried, Joc Pederson) and two more on the Houston Astros (Alex Bregman, Garrett Stubbs). This was unprecedented and, considering the finite number of Jewish major leaguers, a fortuitous event that may never occur again. While Bregman, Stubbs, and Pederson’s contributions were relatively limited, Fried proved to be a key difference-maker in the Braves’ first world championship since Bill Clinton was in office. After a rough start in Game 2, Fried, a member of the U.S. junior baseball team during the 2009 Maccabiah Games, bounced back nicely in the Braves’ closeout Game 6 win. By scattering four hits over six shutout innings, the slender southpaw from Santa Monica delivered one of the all-time great performances by a Jewish pitcher in the World Series. Fried doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. He is only 27 years old (he turns 28 in January) and under contract with Atlanta through 2024. (Once the lockout ends, he will be eligible for his second year of arbitration and should see his 2022 salary bump up to $7 million). It is quite possible that the Braves will sign him to a long-term extension given his track record in the regular season and now his proven ability to deliver in October. But, irrespective of his future career trajectory, the recent World Series Game
6 masterpiece ranks as one of the greatest feats ever accomplished by a Jewish athlete.
After just missing out on the 2016 Olympics, and then
Leading up to the 2016 having to wait another year to compete because of the Games in Brazil, Alix Klineman pandemic, Alix Klineman finally experienced Olympic glory this past summer. // Credit: Volleyball World was hoping to crack a spot on the U.S. indoor volleyball team roster. A former volleyball standout at during the Tokyo Games in August that Stanford University and member of the Klineman, along with partner April Ross, Southern California Jewish Hall of Fame, defeated an Australian duo to earn gold. Klineman had been pining for the Rio “I looked at the beach as a new opporGames for years. Unfortunately, she fell tunity and a chance to chase my dreams just short of her goal to become an Olympi- without anybody having to give me apan when an invitation to join the U.S. team proval or put me on a roster,” Klineman never materialized. told The Times of Israel after her career No problem. This was just an oppor- milestone. tunity for her to switch to beach volley“I still don’t know if I really ever exball, a sport in which she did become a U.S. pected this to come true. It feels like such Olympian this past summer. Indeed, it was a fairy tale.” ì
As Sue Bird weighed the possibility of returning for a 20th season in the WNBA, she took home her fifth gold medal in Tokyo. // credit: Neil Enns/Seattle Storm
Few are aware that Sue Bird, one of the greatest female basketball players in the modern era, belongs to the Jewish community: her father, Herschel, is of RussianJewish descent. But wait, there’s more. In 2006, while starring for the Seattle Storm, she made a purely “basketball-motivated” decision to become an Israeli citizen so that she could play for different European teams (teams across the pond are only allowed to have two Americans). Fast-forward 15 years, to 2021, when ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 37
RESOLUTIONS Champagne Connoisseur Spills Bubbly Sip Tips W h e n asked why he qualifies as an oenophile, a connoisseur of wine, David Aferiat, the president and owner of Avid Vines, replies, Marcia “My passion Caller Jaffe and interest go beyond an exam or initials. Having made wine on two continents, slept in vineyard rows, and spent a good chunk of my life weaving back together my French and American families ripped apart by revolution (in Algeria), and fought fiercely for independence a generation ago, is what matters most.” Aferiat says that America is enjoying a revival of interest in bubbles. “The big trend is drinking organic sparkling wines,” he said. “They are a cleaner experience, which is important as we become more sensitive to chemicals spread on vines or manufactured with fertilizer. Beyond organic, it’s the idea
David Aferiat claims the “best bang for your buck” is a champagne that will not leave you with a headache or regrets the next day.
that what the mass-marketed companies show and tell you to drink is not all there is. Like fast food, it’s convenient and contains no surprises. But there are better ways to live and drink adventurously!”
What’s a New Year’s celebration without champagne? One expert said that good champagne should feel like cold pinpricks on the tongue. Aferiat says, “Quality starts with champagne from the region of France, in
Champagne. From there, add quality points if it is Premier or Grand Cru, if it has the ‘Vigneron Independant de A à Z’ symbol indicating an Owner Grower, if it has symbols of certified organic methods and, finally, if it is a
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David Aferiat has managed to integrate his French and American families.
vintage year. I am a fool and a fan of organic grandfather and brother-in-law wanted to champagnes with great acidity that make take their family to Nice. Instead, they chose them excellent when paired with food. If I’m New York City. It took 25 years before he just doing a toast or cocktail, I’ll go with a and his father reunited with the family in Brut Rose. We have NV Brut Rose, which sells France. “Weaving the families and our culfor $60, for example, a blend of Pinot Noir tures back together remains a strong theme in my life’s experiences,” Aferiat said. and Pinot Meunier, in a beautiful bottle.” His recommendation for ringing in the Some of his brands through Andre Tixier & Fils can be found at Canoe, Bilbo- new year? “The best bang for your buck is a chamquet, The Chastain, Dirty Rascal and Le Bon Nosh — the latter two both new in Buck- pagne that will not leave you with a headhead. When it comes to COVID, Aferiat says ache or regrets the next day. If you drink a low-priced Prosecco the pandemic has and get a headache presented both chalas a result, you’ve lenges and opporpaid twice. Drink tunities. As restauan organic, Brut rants shut down, he Champagne with scrambled and went low residual sugar, to virtual tastings that’s Premier Cru with local chefs, pairor higher, and you’ll ing their food with enjoy the experience his champagnes and twice: once when musicians for ambidrinking it and the ence, sipping, samnext day with no repling and enjoying grets. Americans are community with felculturally different low participants. from Europeans in Package stores their approach, esand restaurant Champagne guru David Aferiat calls himself pecially as it relates menus abound “a fool and a fan of organic champagnes.” to wine. In the U.S., with wines from South America, Israel and Australia. Da- what’s inside or printed on the nutrition lavid concentrates on visiting France, go- bel matters most. In Europe what matters is ing deep into the wine-growing regions, provenance — where it’s from.” Avid Vines imports only organic, sparwhere he meets farmers and independent winemakers. Outside of France, he kling wines like champagne via chilled convisits regions producing organic cava in tainers to safeguard the product. In addition to ordering online or locally from retailers, San Sadurni, not far from Barcelona. Aferiat’s enthusiasm for wine is inter- consumers can get lower prices by joining twined with his Sephardic roots, which he the Avid Vines Wine Club. The company traces back to his grandfather, an entre- offers a Wine Appreciation and Lifelong preneur who owned a wholesale company Learning course for students, waitstaff and supplying small retail market shops in what those who appreciate wine culture. Aferiat lives in Buckhead with wife, used to be French Algeria. His father and his siblings lived above the store with genera- Stephanie, and two daughters. They are tions of cousins and family members until members of The Temple and support the revolution broke out in 1957. With inventory Zaban Paradies Center and The Giving on the shelves and cash in the register, his Kitchen. ì
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Atlanta Jewish Times shares our resolutions on what all of us are hoping to accomplish, avoid, and improve upon in the New Year.
Kaylene Ladinsky Understanding the ‘Modern Employee’ From lockdowns to layoffs, the pandemic wreaked havoc on every aspect of daily life. Companies and consumers cut corners to make ends meet — we all hoped that relief would come quickly in 2021, but that was not the case. Microsoft recently found that 30% of general staff and front-line workers say the pandemic has increased their feelings of burnout at work during 2020 and 2021. I’ve talked to many other community leaders and business owners that have voiced the same concerns. Whether it is getting staff to work in office, finding staff to fill positions or meeting the demands in the current job market, the conversations are all the same – this is a different generation of workers that we are dealing with. I am not so sure that it is specific to an age group. I think that this has more to do with the recent challenges we have faced together. Whether the employee is in their late fifties or a kid graduating from high school, I am calling them a “Modern Employee.” Not to say that there is not a difference in employees of a later generation, but the modern employee is becoming our general workforce. My old days of managing as a general manager [I had over 120 employees at any given time], standing by the timeclock shaking my fingers at those that are tardy, are over. This is a new world we are evolving into. Employees want to be empowered; they want to have their responsibilities laid out to them, and to know exactly what they need to accomplish to perform their job well. They want consequences and rewards set up front, flexible work arrangements, improved compensation and benefits. There are many employers who have made clear requests and demands for what they need in the workplace, yet their employees are still not satisfied, and this level of misunderstanding can feel deeply frustrating. But I hear these business owners discussing this issue and they are insisting that this is a generation of entitlement and laziness. Well, I disagree. So, my resolution for 2022 is to understand the “modern employee.” Find ways to compromise with the staff and make sure that I am becoming a better leader. It’s important that I make every effort to understand my team and their needs. Even if I can’t meet all their requests, I need to try to understand them more. I know that I must be more specific when outlining the expectations, rewards and consequences – this will give them the flexibility to decide for themselves what kind of employee that they want to be, the flexibility to increase their own income and for our team to move forward in a productive and respectful professional way. I say thank you 2021 for the challenges I have faced, that will mold me into a better leader, that understands our “Modern Employees” more in 2022. Kaylene Ladinsky is the editor and managing publisher at the Atlanta Jewish Times.
40 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Daniel Elkind My 2022 resolutions are guided by two quotations. The first, which I’m probably paraphrasing, comes from Chapter 2 of the “Bhagavad Gita.” It advises: “do your duty without vanity” and give up the pride of doership — the ego of being the doer. At the same time, it counsels us to not become attached to inaction. Results are important, but they’re not the only measure of success. The other comes from “Pirkei Avot,” in which Shimon ben Zoma wonders, “Who is wise?” And answers: “One who learns from everyone.” I’ve learned a lot this year in my first months at the AJT, though I’m still learning how to write a good headline. I want to thank my colleagues for their patience and kindness, especially for laughing at my jokes. I want to thank the writers I’ve worked with this year for letting me tinker with their beloved drafts. I aspire to learn from each of you and to fulfil my duties without vanity or the pride of doership, letting the work speak for itself. Daniel Elkind is the associate editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Lilli Jennison As the new year approaches, we all create resolutions. Like many people, I plan to drink more water, spend less money and go on more walks with my dog, Bagel. These resolutions create excitement and new routines, but by February they become figments of our imaginations. We make these “promises” to ourselves every year. The ember of our resolutions fizzles as winter ends. Honestly, I don’t remember one resolution I have kept all year. However, this year will be different (famous last words)! Besides the water, walks and budgeting, I have two big resolutions I would like to keep this year. Resolution number one is to get back into drawing. I am the creative director for an amazing newspaper, but I have not picked up a pencil to draw since my freshman year of college. All of my art is digital now. I would like to practice drawing every day, building up the skill level. I bought a book to help me. It is a sketch book with daily prompts. The first prompt will be funny to those of you who went to the Weber School in the 2010s. My art teacher, Ms. Singleton’s first project every year for art class was to draw your hand. Funny enough, that is the first prompt in this book. Going back to high school, I guess! Resolution number two is inspired by Marie Kondo. “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy.” I have so much STUFF taking up space. I will be tossing/donating things that I just don’t need and that don’t bring me joy anymore. This goes hand in hand with my resolution to spend less money. Can’t have things that don’t spark joy if I don’t buy them in the first place. Cheers to a happy, healthy and resolution-full 2022! Lilli Jennison is the creative director of the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Michal Bonell My son asked me what my resolution will be for 2022. I told him that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. He seemed disappointed with this response and didn’t understand why I wouldn’t set a goal that might help me grow into a better version of myself. He’s right! However, he’s 21, so he sees life a bit differently than I do. At 50 years old, I don’t need a resolution to push me to eat healthily, exercise regularly, work more diligently, set time aside to read or paint, travel and volunteer some of my time to those in need. These are already the fabrics of my routine, as they help me reach my goal of doing what I can to stay healthy physically, mentally and enriched. My point is that I want to figure out what’s best to flow in and out of my life on a continuous basis, not just as a new year rolls in. Happy and healthy 2022 everyone! Michal Bonell is the senior account manager and advertising team supervisor for the Atlanta Jewish Times..
Jodi Danis Looking Forward Well, it’s almost a wrap on 2021, and I cannot wait for this year to be over. Although 2020 was difficult on many levels for my family, 2021 brought with it even more challenges and personal loss. My father passed away just days before Thanksgiving, so my “what I am thankful for” reflection for our Nov. 30 Chanukah issue was understandably absent. Although my grief still feels raw a month later, I wanted to find something meaningful and positive to share as I pondered my resolutions for the New Year. Rather than the typical goal to lose weight or get in shape, I have aimed my focus inward instead. Here is what I hope to accomplish in 2022: To find more contentment — by being kinder to myself and more forgiving of my flaws. By surrounding myself with those who bring me up, not down. By discovering ways to embrace more creativity and spirituality in my life. To remember gratitude — although I’m always thankful for the many blessings I have, the pandemic has fueled that appreciation even more. My family, my job and my friendships sustain me and should never be taken for granted. This past month alone has truly shown how many people out there love and support me through both good and bad times. I am so very grateful for that. To spend more time with loved ones — time has never felt as fleeting as when you watch your parents age and your children leave the nest. This year I hope to plan more trips and get-togethers with those dearest to me, find reasons to celebrate even the smallest things in life, and explore new ways to make lasting memories. Whether these goals will be fully achieved remains to be seen, but I certainly plan to give it my best effort. Cheers to 2022! Wishing everyone a year ahead filled with much joy, love, health and wonderful memories. Jodi Danis is the business manager for the Atlanta Jewish Times. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 41
Diana Cole We all have New Year’s resolutions, and they fail by the first week of February. This year I am going to make resolutions I can keep. Cherish the time. My son is a proud member of the class of 2022, and my daughters are 2023 and 2026. As my son likes to remind me, he only has less than 8 months of living at home. 1 Be kind to myself. 2 Have more date nights with my husband. 3 More single dates with my children. 4 Live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or focus on the future. 5 Try something new whether it be restaurant, or activity. 6 Exhibit more self-confidence. 7 Hang out with girlfriends more. 8 Be more independent. 9 Smile at strangers. 10 Stick to healthy habits. 11 Pamper myself. 12 Give out a compliment every day. 13 Learn something new. 14 Change my perspective. 15 Practice gratitude. 16 Do a random act of kindness. 17 Channel my inner child. 18 Accept change. 19 Conquer fear. 21 Practice patience. 22 Stay optimistic. Diana Cole is the content coordinator for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Kyra Goldman Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, I have found that making a vision board is a great way to set my intentions for the coming year. I love to get my creativity flowing! If I set aside time to think about what I really want, then instead of pressuring myself with a list of expectations, it feels like I’m gearing up for an adventure. I like to ask myself, “Who do I want to visit? Where do I want to go? Is there something new I’d like to try? What do I want to learn? What do I want to accomplish?” Thinking about these questions excites my heart and puts me in a hopeful state of mind. I do believe that by working on our own peace and wellbeing, we will naturally project that to others. My ultimate intention is to bring more goodness into this world. I will also be thinking of my Grandma on New Year’s Day as I eat a bowl of lentil soup, since she passed that family tradition on to me. Kyra Goldman is the administrative coordinator of the Atlanta Jewish Times. 42 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
As 2022 rapidly approaches, I continue my theme of getting back to basics. I have already written about spending time joyfully and purposefully. Inasmuch as possible, I find that’s a good guide in deciding what to do and with whom to do it. Along the same lines, my husband and I have started a big project: clearing out all the unneeded stuff in our modestlysized home. As empty nesters, we can now reclaim our kids’ former bedrooms and rid ourselves of decades of useless stuff. A recent attic purge resulted in the trashing of unnecessary paper files, a computer monitor the size of a small refrigerator, old paint cans and so much more. After properly disposing of or recycling these items, we felt immediately lighter! It’s our intent to complete this project throughout the whole house in the next few months. I truly believe my mom was right when she told one of my kids that you can think better without the clutter. Minimalism is my new mantra. On a larger scale, I, like the rest of the world, am wishing for an end to the COVID pandemic once and for all. It would be wonderful if everyone would do their part in making this possible so we can all get back together for simchas and other good or important events without concern. Wishing family, friends and community a happy, healthy and meaningful 2022! Fran Putney is a writer and editor; communications manager for the GA Commission on the Holocaust , as well as a contributor and proofreader for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Arlene Caplan Appelrouth My Thoughts and Hope for 2022 So much about life today seems unprecedented. Politics. The pandemic. Climate change. Life itself has become unpredictable. When I ask myself what it is I want in this new year, many questions come to mind: What do I want to give? What do I hope for? How do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to spend time with? What do I value? What am I sure of? What I know for sure is we all come with an expiration date. I want to spend time with the people who matter to me. I want my life to make a difference. I want to be authentic and give the best of myself to those I love. I want to be mindful, intentional and generous. I want to be accepted for who I am and to accept others for who they are. Most important, I want to stay aware of all I’m grateful for. An attitude of gratitude is essential for serenity and inner peace. Conversely, there are some things that are wrong, and with effort I am capable of effecting change. When I become aware of problems for which there are solutions, I want to do everything I can to help. Last, and very important, I want to keep my self-talk positive. I recently read a book by a neuroscientist whose message was life changing for me. Negative thinking is destructive. My intention for the next year is to stay positive. The way to do that is always look for the good. Arlene Caplan Appelrouth is a contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Flora Rosefsky 2022 — Legacy Book of My Art It was only a couple of years ago when I interviewed a few metro Atlantans to write an AJT article about what was on their bucket list. I actually had my own item, and now wonder why it’s still undone. So maybe in 2022, it’s time to create the legacy book about my art over the years and actually finish it. I was fortunate to have met Rick Stone through our shared interest in the visual arts and his newest project in a book he wrote about story intelligence. Rick encouraged me to start the process and even showed me how to set up a story board with sticky notes to write down the sections and sub-divisions for my book. Daughter Ellen Cohen, a senior art book editor at Rizzoli, told me she would help with the editing of the short statements and layout. So what is holding me back? Is it purely procrastination? Do I need to make a resolution on Jan. 1 to go through the jpeg images of the many series of work like the nine self-portrait “Life Chapters,” the Art+Activism work, the family storytelling drawings and collages that often use ephemera from my husband’s father? When this self-published book is completed, I want each of my children and grandchildren, and some friends to have a copy — to better understand the thinking that went into creating the work. If the AJT asks this same question at the end of 2022, I hope I can offer another resolution, knowing that this legacy book was already completed. Flora Rosefsky is is a contributing writer at the Atlanta Jewish Times and visual artist.
Dr. Terry Segal A Vision of the World Repaired As 2022 approaches, I want to acknowledge how weary everyone is of the challenges that we are facing as we enter the New Year. As Jews, we are lucky to have the opportunity for a reset twice each year to return to our soul’s wisdom. In co-creation with Hashem, we have chosen to be present on the earth at this time, during these circumstances. We have to ask ourselves, “What is my contribution? What skills, personality traits, or G-d given abilities can impact the world in a positive way? How can I take action for Tikkun Olam, repair of the world?” Our world is in need of repair. We need to hold that goal at the forefront and become the salve for the wounds of others, the thread to bind together what’s been torn, and the light to illuminate the path forward. Rising up, beyond the changing laws made by man, are G-d’s Laws, and the Laws of the Universe. Day follows night and the seasons change. The moon waxes and wanes and grows bright again. Let us align our minds and hearts with those laws. May we be mindful in using our gifts of intuition, common sense and learning, as we follow the blueprint of Torah that has been gifted to us. All of its teachings are relevant today and can serve as a foundation on which to keep building the world as we envision it, focused on peace, love and hope. Dr. Terry Segal is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a Ph.D. in Energy Medicine.
Chana Shapiro Thinking About 2022 Possibilities Just about every plan and hope I had for 2021 was dashed, but I still have those hopes and plans! I’ve decided to keep going by following the advice of Viktor Frankl, the late Austrian psychiatrist, philosopher, author and Holocaust survivor, who wrote, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” His advice, honed in the concentration camps, applies naturally today to accepting the restrictions of wearing masks, getting vaccinated and social distancing in the era of COVID-19, or consistently recycling or seriously monitoring our use of fossil fuels. Most of us have changed ourselves to live with the restrictions of the present, but I’m increasingly eager to expand my interactions in the world, rather than to contract them. My 2022 resolution is to respond to the unexpected things I cannot change by choosing to be more compassionate, brave and resilient (if one thing doesn’t work, try another, then another; don’t give up). To approach my goals, here are a few of my 2022 resolutions: greet everyone with a welcoming countenance, whether I know them or not, even if other people don’t like them very much; spend as much time as possible with young people, especially teens; watch the domestic news less and watch more English-language foreign news; when people ask for help, answer, “yes;” and hang around more with people who love and fear Hashem. The difficult situations that come up will be opportunities to build my patience, generosity, creativity and optimism. I like this statement by self-help book author and designer, Karen Salmansohn: “The only person you can change is yourself. But when you change yourself, you change everything.” Maybe not everything, but for sure, my grandchildren are watching. Chana Shapiro is a contributing writer to the Atlanta Jewish Times. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 43
Tiffany Parks As I reflect on my New Year’s goals for 2022, I am frustrated that we are still living through what many people are dubbing the Pandemic Years. As an admirer of history, I love ruminating on how I can use the past to help me achieve my goals. In the new year, I want to have less fear and more faith as to where life will take me. I want to stop worrying about not having all of the details, the road maps, or where all of the curves and pitfalls will be. I am reminded of Ruth in the Old Testament. She went to a new region, and she didn’t worry about what the weather would be like or if she’d make friends. She just had faith, and her faith changed the trajectory of her social and financial life. She even found a new man, Boaz. I can only hope! Furthermore, over 100 years ago, when the influenza pandemic was raging all over the world, many Americans were trying to make the best out of a stressful situation by incubating new thoughts, new ideas and creativity. So instead of incubating fear, I want to take advantage of opportunities that will fuel more productive and creative thoughts and ideas. When the great pandemic finally ended in the early 1920s, life in America changed overall for the better. People’s new ideas and fearless thoughts led to the Roaring Twenties, a more progressive era in a myriad of ways. In Atlanta’s Jewish communities, businesses were booming and the Southern Israelite, the precursor to the AJT, was founded. And we are still writing about the vibrancy and resiliency of the Jewish community, despite the pandemic. So overall, by accomplishing my goals in the new year, not only will I build a more bountiful life, but I will also be able to serve the AJT community in a more creative, bolder way. B’Shalom. Tiffany Parks is a professor in the English department at Gwinnett Technical College and a contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Robyn Spizman Gerson Moving Forward in 2022 When it comes to ushering in 2022, I think about the quote, “The only person I will try to be better than is the person I was yesterday.” It’s amazing that we get lots of chances each year to be better, more thoughtful, to make new year’s resolutions and improve our lives. To understand someone else’s perspective and positively move forward together. We learn that even the grandest of new year’s resolutions are possible and require work. I’m a year-round resolution maker. Even more so, an open book trying to live a meaningful, purposeful life and love out loud. At the end of most days, I reminisce for a few moments, asking myself, “how did I do?” As I replay the utterly irresistible moments that make my heart smile, echoing in my mind are the sweet sounds of our grandchildrens’ voices calling our names, the “I love yous” exchanged within our family, along with those special souls who call often and care beyond measure. Without going into a long list of resolutions, I intend to sustain the values that add up to what a good life looks like. Empathy. Compassion. Understanding. I will do my best to remain self-aware and not self-absorbed. When my mother, of blessed memory, passed, it was her lifetime request that we add to her headstone the phrase, “She tried.” My mother achieved an abundance of volunteer lifetime accomplishments, never tiring of trying to make a difference. We spoke every single day, and if your mother — or father, for that matter — are alive, consider yourself fortunate. After they are gone, there will be many things you will wish you had discussed, asked about or learned, and those moments are irretrievable. On a personal note, I vow to keep the deals I made with God as I negotiated the health and happiness of my loved ones and vowed to do anything if those miracles would come true. I will keep my word and not waiver from those promises, taking nothing for granted. As the new year arrives, I will also continue to speak up when something is not right. To be introspective when I can do better and show up if needed. To remain grateful for the generous hearts of those individuals who have blessed my life and make sure they know often and redundantly. I hope we’ll all have the best year possible, in spite of the hardest challenges we have recently faced. Somehow, if we believe it, I think, I hope, I pray, we can achieve it. Call me a serial optimist or tell me I’m not realistic. But after all is said and done, I was raised to never give up, and 2022, like it or not, I am ready. I hope. My message for the new year? My mother got it right. Try. And if you don’t succeed, you guessed it right. Try, try again. Robyn Spizman Gerson is a New York Times bestselling author and media personality and contributing writer at the Atlanta Jewish Times.
44 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Stephanie Nicole Beigh poses in front of her playroom design. // Photos by Cinthya Zuniga Photography
Chai Style Art
Tamar Levy with their yarn tapestry, inspired by the Jewish pomegranate image.
Young Atlanta Artists Channel Jewish Themes Steffi Beigh, 31, and Tamar Levy, 25, don’t know each other, but both native Atlantan artists are youthful spirits who bring new dimensions of Marcia Jewish represenCaller Jaffe tation to their visual art practices. Levy, who identifies as non-binary, is a print maker, painter and sketcher inspired by Jewish folk art. Beigh said, “Through art, I release the Divine Feminine from exile by channeling Her energy, using uplifting colors and loving affirmations.” Levy, who tends toward florals and natural themes such as snakes and pomegranates, mused, “My end goal is to transform Jewish themes into tattoo art.” Take a look at the latest in hip, Jewish art.
Jaffe: How did your art passion begin? Levy: I grew up in Sandy Springs, completed Epstein and Riverwood. Throughout school, I stood out as “super artsy fartsy,” with markers, paints, watercolors at my side. Later in high school, I advanced to clay, jewelry, and welding. I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and art in nanny and camp jobs. I took courses at Abernathy and Spruell Arts Centers. At one point, I was pursuing welding at Gwinnett Technical College, but it turned out to be too industrial, like rigorous factory work. I was unsure about a career in art, as I attended Kennesaw State and found that their BA program wasn’t vigorous enough. So off I went to Georgia State University for a BA in studio art. Jaffe: How would you describe your genre? Levy: I’m primarily a 2-D artist for printmaking, like my themed set “7 Holy Species from the Torah,” depicting olives, pomegran-
ates, grapes, dates, figs, barley and wheat. With Akua ink, I maximize hues of maroon, teal, mustard, dark purple, deep indigo and forest green. I specialize in painting in acrylic, gouache, with a focus on florals, people, colorful funky folk art, and no realism. I’m super inspired by the folk art book “Jewish Spirit: A Celebration in Stories & Art” by Ellen Frankel. Actually, different projects have different approaches. Often, I start painting straight on the canvas in really pale colors to build shapes and blocks, then go back in later with detail. It takes about 40 hours to complete a piece … maybe half that for a smaller one. Sometimes I take week-long breaks. I work in my downtown studio in an informal setting. I also create black-and-white drawings with micron pens on subjects like hamsas for greeting cards. Jaffe: What’s your end game? Levy: I know that traditional Judaism discourages tattoos, but I think there is a role
for Jewish art in that industry. I am learning how to be a tattoo artist and have about 26 of them, eight of which I did on myself — similar to my art: flowers, plants, candles. I would fill that market void: Culturally relevant Jewish art done by a Jewish person. And no, I didn’t use anesthesia on myself. Jaffe: How did you arrive at spiritual Jewish art? Beigh: After Walton High School, Georgia College (BA in communications/marketing) and SCAD, where I got an MA in design management, I came to love creating art and uplifting people. I am deeply passionate about the Kabbalistic belief in the reunification of the Divine Feminine, the Shekinah, to the Divine Masculine to achieve Tikkun Olam. Combined, these led me to spiritual Jewish art. I also spent most of my childhood watching my mom, Linda, creatively transform ideas into her restaurants, Capo’s and Lindy’s Italian Café. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 45
Beigh in action on the BeltLine, painting Artist’s Cove from a crane. // Photos by Cinthya Zuniga Photography
Jaffe: How did Judaism flow in? Beigh: My birthright trip (2017) sparked my relationship with Judaism. The experience completely transformed me. The energy of Israel woke something deep within my soul, and the Shekinah has followed me since. I quit my job and moved to Tel Aviv. There I participated in a Masa program, Tikkun Olam, working with Eritrean refugees. During a retreat in Tsfat, I was formally introduced to the Shekinah.
Above: Beigh rests in front of her Westview wall mural. Below: Beigh at work on an AirBnb installation. // Photos by Cinthya Zuniga Photography
46 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Jaffe: Elaborate on the “Divine Feminine.” Beigh: Although we welcome the Divine Feminine on Shabbat, She lives in exile during the rest of the week. To achieve Tikkun Olam, we need to find more ways to release her from exile, which is my intention with my work. She comes to me in the form of colors, unbounded energy, uncontainable shapes dancing from one movement to the next. Her words speak with a bluntness while landing with softness. She is reflected
in my art, and I continue to deepen my understanding of Her through my MA in woman’s spirituality from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Jaffe: Describe your media. Beigh: Digital on printed products and clothing and paint on canvas and walls. Commissioned pieces, whether murals, paintings or product partnerships are deeply rewarding as they are uniquely made for the individual or business. I spend time understanding a client’s intentions in how they want to feel or what they need to hear to uplift them and keep them strong. I hold space for those intentions when I create and let that guide the design. Maybe it’s a hospital room infused with hope, comfort, healing or a playroom infused with joy, exploration, unconditional love. It’s a fulfilling and intuitive process for me to create this way. For some pieces, I write custom affirmations after spending time listening to the client while other pieces are infused with private affirmations if shared.
CHAI STYLE Jaffe: Where can we see your work? Beigh: Most murals and paintings have been purchased for private homes. My outside mural is visible off the Beltline at Arts Beacon. Online, www.SteffiNicole.com has some pieces, as well as clothing, prints, accessories like the “Tripping Up” fanny pack for sale. Jaffe: How do you see your work expanding? Beigh: I have a day planner and online course launching in 2022, called “Mother’s Tongue,” which incorporates my art and transformation consulting experience, so others can navigate a relationship with the Shekinah. I foresee partnering with conscious companies as a guest designer, and I would love to paint multi-storied buildings. By staying open, grounded and connected, my work will expand where it’s wanted and needed! ì
Above: Levy also works in black & white, using micron pens to create hamsas for greeting cards.
Above: Levy’s work often features natural themes like animal images and pomegranates. Below: Levy created “The Octopus's Garden” as a lively entrance for an AirBnb.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 47
JANUARY 1-14 vath Achim Synagogue Sisterhood on the first Monday of each month for a lively book discussion. January’s book is “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict, and the discussion will be led by Rene Montaigne. Find more information at https://bit.ly/3sc2Wyr.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 1 Dino Safari … A Walk-Thru Adventure — Select days. Grab a prehistoric passport and join over 30 giant moving dinosaurs on a globetrotting expedition at Dino Safari, a dino adventure for the whole family. Visit https://bit. ly/3qaVkek to purchase tickets.
Atlanta Jewish Bowling League — 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. All adults are welcome! We meet every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and bowl 3 games per night. Visit https:// bit.ly/3yYlEZU to get more information. Dino Safari ... A Walk-Thru Adventure — Select days. Grab a prehistoric passport and join over 30 giant moving dinosaurs on a globetrotting expedition at Dino Safari, a dino adventure for the whole family. Visit https://bit. ly/3qaVkek to purchase tickets.
Still Traveling: Fabulous Finland — 2 to 3:15 p.m. Let Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta whisk you away for an “armchair adventure” on an interesting, educational, fun and live, guided group tour in a destination beyond your front door … even beyond the grocery store! Register and get the Zoom link by visiting https:// bit.ly/3kukqRH.
The second hour of the class will be led by another member of the group. Find out more information by visiting https://bit.ly/2TOx0kp.
Brain Health Bootcamp — 1 to 3 p.m. If you are recognizing symptoms of cognitive changes or have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, join Jewish Family & Career Services’ fun and social class. We can help you strengthen your mind and body to stay sharp, especially during these times. To sign up, visit https://bit. ly/39hGqsM.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5 Rosh Chodesh Society: Well-Connected — 8 to 9 p.m. Well-Connected is just the thing if you’re feeling mitzvah-curious, or if you simply want to find out more about practical Judaism. Intown Jewish Academy’s new seven-part Rosh Chodesh Society series for women reveals the soul of Jewish ritual life by showing how to make each mitzvah personal, and a way to connect to something beyond ourselves. Register at https://bit.ly/3GDiAGW.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 2 Kabbalah & Coffee — 9:30 to 11 a.m. Discuss, explore, and journey through the world of Jewish mysticism and learn how to apply these profound teachings to your daily life. This ongoing class through Intown Jewish Academy probes the esoteric through a unique program of English text-based study. No prior Kabbalistic experience required. Remember: The best part of waking up is coffee in your cup and Kabbalah in your “kop” (“head” in Yiddish)! Get the Zoom link by visiting https://bit.ly/2UJtM2w.
MONDAY, JANUARY 3
Significant Others of Addicts Support Group — 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Join Sally Anderson, MS, LPC from Jewish Family & Career Services for a weekly free support group for spouses, partners and/or significant others of those struggling with addiction. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3t53zr5.
Naomi’s Book Club — 10:15 a.m. Join Aha-
Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at:
TUESDAY, JANUARY 4 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 community relations director Diana Cole for more information at Diana@atljewishtimes.com. 48 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
A Journey-Survey of Israeli Culture and Art — 10:45 to 11:45 a.m. This 10-week course will explore Israeli music, dance, drama, cinema and literature through the years. Register for this course at https://bit.ly/3IM3Gjz.
mAAc Meets — 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Join Ahavath Achim and Mature Active Adult Community (mAAc) on Tuesdays. One of our rabbis will begin the class with a one-hour discussion.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 6 PrimeTimers Coffee with Rabbi Jordan — 10 a.m. Grab a beverage and head over to Zoom to spend time with Rabbi
CANDLE-LIGHTING TIMES Torah Reading Bo Friday, January 7, 2022, light candles at 5:26 p.m. Saturday, January 8, 2022, Shabbat ends at 6:26 p.m.
Jordan and your PrimeTimer Friends from Congregation Dor Tamid. Get the Zoom link by visiting https://bit. ly/3Cg2QZ6.
Torah Reading Beshalach Friday, January 14, 2022, light candles at 5:33 p.m. Saturday, January 15, 2022, Shabbat ends at 6:31 p.m.
to 9:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Jordan from Congregation Dor Tamid for Story Time on Facebook. Visit https://bit. ly/3xfpywO to get the link.
class exploitation, love and friendship through the experiences of an independent Black woman. Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/3E2j8nS.
Frankly Speaking with Sherry Frank — 12 to 1:15 p.m. National Council of Jewish Women Atlanta is excited to continue our women’s discussion group for our members and friends. Moderated by noted Atlanta advocate extraordinaire Sherry Frank, this monthly lunchtime meeting focuses on current events through a Jewish lens. Visit https://bit.ly/3EZPrp3 to get more information.
Think Different — 8 to 9 p.m. Study the single most transformative Jewish spiritual text written in the last three centuries with master Tanya teacher Rabbi Ari Sollish at Intown Jewish Academy. Register at https:// bit.ly/2MGGxq1. Jewish Spirituality and Mysticism — 8 to 9 p.m. Weekly class on Jewish spirituality, mysticism and how to apply it
to your personal growth in a meaningful way. Taught by Rabbi Hirshy from Chabad of North Fulton. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3oJJQhp.
“Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 8 p.m. Actor’s Express continues its 34th season with the production of “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage. Nottage remains the only woman to have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama twice. Set in 1905 New York, the play centers on Esther, a seamstress who crafts beautiful lingerie for the wellto-do women uptown and the ladies of the night downtown. Esther’s world turns upside down when she receives a letter from a mystery man in Panama. “Intimate Apparel” weaves together themes of intimacy, feminism,
FRIDAY, JANUARY 7 Friday Night Tot Shabbat — 5 to 6:30 p.m. Join Congregation Etz Chaim for Tot Shabbat Friday night. There is a potluck dinner, crafts, songs, dances and fun. Find out more at https://bit. ly/396ku42.
Acoustic Shabbat Café, Alon’s Bakery (Dunwoody) — 6 p.m. Join Rabbi Glusman from MJCCA, Drew Cohen and other local musicians for a soulful evening of music, prayer and words of inspiration in celebration of Shabbat. Food and wine available for purchase at Alon’s Bakery and Market. Arrive early to order food and reserve your table. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3FvMGwo.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 8 Story Time with Rabbi Jordan — 9:15
Tot Shabbat and Kiddush Lunch — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Join Congregation Beth Shalom every Shabbat for an interactive Tot Shabbat where we sing, play and engage in fun activities, followed by a wonderful Shabbat Kiddush lunch together. Visit https://bit. ly/3rZrU3J to get more information. “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3E2j8nS.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9 Re-Discovering the Land of Israel with the Atlanta Israel Coalition — 9 to 10:30 a.m. A virtual tour of Israel with tour guide David Sussman. Israel’s port city to Asia has amazing nature, ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 49
modern history, innovative farming and some great museums. Yalla, let’s head south and discover Eilat. Visit https://bit.ly/2XS4XTG to register.
gage in dialogue regarding anti-Semitism and Israel. LFT participants will learn about past and current Israeli affairs, challenges and opportunities facing global Jewry and how to utilize strategic networks in advocacy. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3CTgb95.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 11
Play Tamid — 9:30 to 11 a.m. Play Tamid is led by Rabbi Jordan from Congregation Dor Tamid. Enjoy crafts, songs, fun activities and more. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3BfP8nH.
Atlanta Jewish Bowling League — 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. All adults are welcome! We meet every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and bowl 3 games per night. Visit https:// bit.ly/3yYlEZU to get more information.
MONDAY, JANUARY 10
Building Blocks — 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Come Grow with Us is our new monthly Sunday School program at Congregation Or VeShalom for children ages 3 to 7. Visit https://bit. ly/3k2JcIV to register. “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 2 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3E2j8nS. AJC Leaders for Tomorrow (LFT) Session — 5 to 8 p.m. The American Jewish Committee’s LFT enables young Jewish leaders to develop skills to advocate on behalf of the Jewish people, Israel and human rights around the world, and to serve as positive change agents for their peers and community. Graduates of LFT enter college with the knowledge and confidence to en50 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Peachy Parsha — 12 to 1 p.m. Join Intown Jewish Academy on Mondays as we discuss and explore the weekly Torah portion over a delicious lunch! Get the information to order lunch and RSVP at https://bit.ly/3enslxi.
MJCCA Literary Book Club — 7 to 8 p.m. Join former Atlanta Journal Constitution book reviewer and book club facilitator Greg Changnon for one of Atlanta’s most interesting and thought-provoking book clubs. This group meets each month to discuss a critically-acclaimed piece of literature. Register for the Zoom link by visiting https://bit.ly/3ITlBEV.
Alison Rose Greenberg, Author: “Bad Luck Bridesmaid” — 7:30 p.m. Join the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s Book Festival and welcome Atlanta’s own Alison Rose Greenberg for a National Book Launch. Visit https://bit.ly/3GJ9IiS to get the Zoom link.
Mastering Our New World — 8 p.m. Join the Intown Jewish Academy for a powerful experience as mystic and mentor Rabbi Dr. Laibl Wolf masterfully combines ancient Jewish wisdom with cutting-edge psychology to inspire and change the way you think and feel. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3rYC70t.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12 A Jewish Interpretation of/ Commentary on the New Testament — 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. In this course, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta will examine the first five books of the New Testament: The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. Using “The Jewish Annotated New Testament” by Amy Jill Levine and Mark Zvi Brettler, we will explore the Jewish backdrop of early Christianity that emerged during the Second Temple period and the years following the destruction of the Second Temple. Register at https://bit.ly/320THWM. “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3E2j8nS.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13 Professional Branding 101 — 7 to 8:30 p.m. Join Jewish Family & Career Services for an evening focused on understanding and creating your professional brand. Register for the Zoom presentation by visiting https://bit. ly/33f4IUP.
Neranenah Presents: Michael Feinstein — 8 p.m. Michael Feinstein has built a dazzling career over the last three decades, bringing the music of the Great American songbook to the world. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to his Emmy nominated PBSTV specials, his acclaimed NPR series and concerts spanning the globe — in addition to his appearances at iconic venues such as the White House, Buckingham Palace, Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall and Sydney Opera House — his work as an educator and archivist make Feinstein one of the most important musical forces of our time. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3pQ0TgF.
“Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3E2j8nS.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 14 “Intimate Apparel” by Lynn Nottage — 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3E2j8nS.
Connector Chatter Directory Spotlight www.atlantajewishconnector.com
In conversation with Ilana Schlam, camp assistant director.
Aurora Day Camp
In conversation with Gregory Hill, executive director. How long has your organization been in Atlanta? Aurora Day Camp was launched in 2017 to bring joy to children with cancer and their siblings in metropolitan Atlanta. Aurora Day Camp is a proud member of the Sunrise Association. Where do you see your organization in 10 years? Every year in Atlanta, hundreds of families receive the devastating news: “your child has cancer.” I want every child who needs us to be able to join us at Aurora Day Camp for summer and year-round activities. I want them to feel like a kid again.
How long has your organization been in Atlanta? We are located in Atlanta during the year, but are based in Hendersonville, N.C. We have been around for 61 years! Where do you see your organization in 10 years? Continuing to flourish and provide the best possible camp experience to our over 650 families across the Southeast!
How does your organization help the community? All our programs are offered free of charge. We recognize the extraordinary financial demands that a child’s chronic illness can have on a family. To make this possible, we rely on the generosity of individuals, companies and foundations. All gifts are tax-deductible and can be made at www.auroradaycamp.org.
How does your organization help the community? Camp provides a priceless experience to our youth. It allows them to foster their independence, try new things, make lifelong friends, have fun in nature and gain confidence.
JScreen at Emory University
In conversation with Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, executive director. How long has your organization been in Atlanta? JScreen’s at-home genetic testing program launched in 2013. Where do you see your organization in 10 years? In 10 years, we will have screened tens of thousands of people in Atlanta and across the U.S. and will have given each one life-saving information that allows them to plan ahead. New developments in technology will allow us to predict risk for more and more common hereditary health conditions. Our goal is to make genetic screening a checklist item that every engaged couple has on their wedding to-do list and that every adult has on their personal health checklist. We will grow to serve the Jewish community’s needs, both in Atlanta and across the U.S. How does your organization help the community? Through outreach, education and at-home genetic testing and counseling, our JScreen program helps the Jewish community reimagine a life where no one has to say, “If only I had known that my child was at risk for this devastating disease,” or, “If only I had known about my cancer risk.” We will help people access the testing they need to plan for healthy children and to live longer, healthier lives. We want to make sure that every Jew in Atlanta, every interfaith couple, and anyone who wants to know their genetic risks is aware of this testing and has access to it, regardless of family history, location, personal circumstances or concerns about the cost. More information is available at jscreen.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 51
COMMUNITY What Would You Tell Your 15-Year-Old Self? stances change, and you cannot control everything on your own. Learn from your teachers and make good friends who can advise you, help you make connections and look out for you. Look out for them and help them, as well. Life serves as its own education; remember its lessons and put them to good use. Also learn the teachings of Judaism and connect with new religious acquaintances. Besides thinking about the most important thing in your life, which is learning to earn a living, also think about finding a wife, and later creating a family, everything in its own time. I don’t need to wish you good luck because I know you will succeed and live a life of happiness, overall.
would like an American pen pal. One week before entering the IDF at age 18, I received the first letter from my new pen pal, Jill Friedman of Atlanta, Ga. Writing on a regular basis and finally meeting in person three-and-a-half years later, Jill and I married in Israel nine months after we met. I completed my military service a couple of months later, and we moved to Atlanta. I graduated from Southern Tech and fulfilled my dream of becoming a Mechanical/Quality Engineer, working at Lockheed Martin for 24 years. At my current age of 69, I would tell my 15-year-old self that, while there may be a fork or curve in the road, never stop dreaming, as dreams can come true.
called rite of passage to develop their independent selves. I loved every minute of my life and decisions, but I definitely missed out on some great times with friends and a little less responsibility! With all the excitement of growing up comes pressure and worry, deadlines and responsibility. And here’s a secret: growing up is inevitable! So don’t rush it! Enjoy your youth for as long as possible, live each day to its fullest and appreciate the process ... it’s no wonder every adult wants to be a child again!
By Chana Shapiro
Rachel Silverberg would remind her younger self to assume responsibility.
Yossi and Jill Ovadia were pen pals for several years before they met — and married. Stanley Vogel believes in having plans A, B, C and D.
At the age of 15, you will start relying on yourself, developing your own executive function and learning to survive and thrive in the world. Develop a plan, and always know that your parents are your greatest resources. They have wisdom other people cannot teach you. Take good care of yourself and be resourceful. If plan A doesn’t materialize, there must always be a plan B, C and D, because circum52 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Growing up in Israel, I knew that I would be serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Since I was a young teenager, my dream was to attend the Technion and become a Mechanical/Quality Engineer. My life took a quick turn in 1968, at age 16. It was then that I was chosen to represent the State of Israel in Europe on a youth exchange program. As a result of that trip, I was interested in improving my English. My literature teacher, who was going to the U.S. for a summer program, asked if I
As children, we can’t wait to be adults. Knowing what I do now, I would definitely tell my 15-year-old self, don’t be in such a hurry … adulthood is not all it’s cracked up to be! I married my Israeli pen pal of threeand-a-half years when I was just short of 20. I was working full-time, continuing my college studies and learning the ropes of being a wife. At the same time, friends were traveling to Europe after graduation and rooming together in apartments — travel and craziness and fun. This was their so-
Fifteen was a long time ago. The broad strokes of what I remember are amazing friends, Teen Theatre at the JCC and doing well at school. My parents were supportive and present in my life, and my Orthodox family lived in a close-knit, warm community. If my memory serves, I was a happy teen, but I was far from perfect, so I do have some advice for my younger self: While you are living in a supportive and loving home, take advantage of the next couple of years and learn how to function as an adult. Start to take on more responsibilities. Pay attention to the food you eat, focusing on healthy food and healthy portions. Start a physical fitness routine and find what you enjoy. Talk to your parents about managing finances, saving money, planning for large ticket items like a car. Get a job and start contributing to your car/gas/insurance. Start making your own appointments to go to the doctor. Ask for a clothing allowance and stick to it. Your parents do a lot for you now, so talk to them about handling things that may come up when you are independent and responsible for yourself and others. I’m optimistic about your ability to evaluate what you learn in order to make good decisions. ì
COMMUNITY SIMCHA SPOTLIGHT
Big Firm Legal Work at Small Firm Rates Intellectual Property Counsel, Company Counsel, and Business Strategist Mr. Weinstein is a seasoned attorney with over 20 years of experience providing counsel to companies of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 100 companies in the US and internationally.
B’nai Mitzvah Notices:
Dylan Gnatt, daughter of Kimberly and Josh Gnatt, on December 4. Talia Kraynack, daughter of Michelle and Greg Kraynack, on December 18.
(404) 735-3941 weinsteiniplaw.com
Have something to celebrate? Share your simchas with the Births, B’nai Mitzvah, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays and more ... Share your news with the community with free AJT simcha announcements. Send info to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 53
OY VEY! HAVE I GOT A PROBLEM... Dear Rachel, sonality. Along with est kid with a sunny per eet sw the is , It may Jay , son My he often forgets things. nature is the issue that ing ygo eas picture. us, the icio get del his ignments – you test paper, homework ass ned sig his 10-yearch, ry ng lun hu , his be ture a very sad ing on the counter, I pic sitt ch lun often, d his An see s. I en che Wh ing on their lun friends happily munch his all ing w that tch No . wa cue boy res old d dash off to the I work from home – an – ng doi bling. I’m ena at or e wh p lov sto I if I’m showing r occurrence, I wonder ula reg a ing om bec is s thi l? What’s your take, Rache Signed, A Loving Mom Dear Mom, You certainly are a loving Mom, and what a priceless gift that is for any child. You don’t want Jay to go through a long school day hungry, nor do you want him to get into trouble because of forgotten assignments. So, when do you save him and when do you step back? From your last line, it sounds like you know the answer to your dilemma. But often, knowing the right thing is one thing and implementing it is another. If Jay were typically responsible with only an occasional omission, I don’t think it would be harmful to drive the forgotten item over to school. Anyone can have an off-day, adults included, and he is probably berating himself enough without having to undergo the consequences of his forgetfulness. But in the situation you described this is becoming a regular occurrence. So, let’s imagine what may happen if you allow the natural consequences to unfold. “Everyone please take out your homework,” Teacher says. Jay turns white and fumbles around in his backpack. Unfortunately, his search does not yield positive results. “Jay?” Teacher asks, “Do you have the assignment?” “I forgot it at home,” Jay mumbles. Teacher’s lips purse in a straight, disapproving line. “I understand. During recess, I will give you the sheets and you can complete the work at that time.” Jay slumps down in his seat. A missed recess! How unfair is that?! When Jay comes home, he is on the warpath. “Why didn’t you come?” Jay yells the second he storms into the house. “I waited for you, you saw it on the table, and it’s all your fault that I had to miss recess!” “Oh, wow,” you say with compassion. “Sounds like you had a rough day. You forgot your homework, thought I’d be able to bring it to school, but instead you had to miss recess?” Jay may continue with his rampage, or he may stomp off to lick his wounds in private. Either way, the message you conveyed is clear: you messed up, and there are consequences. Typically, if Jay faces natural consequences for his irresponsibility several times, he will start remembering to bring the things he needs on a typical school day. Isn’t it better to experience small negative consequences now rather than experience large and more painful repercussions as an adult? Remember when Jay was learning to walk, and you stepped back so that he would come towards you? You are doing the same thing at this stage; you are moving away to help him move forward in a productive way. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Often, the older kids get, the harder it becomes. Yet at the same time, it can be so richly rewarding. Pat yourself on the back for having the courage and strength to help Jay in this area. With your help, hopefully he will attain the tools that can lead to a successful and more meaningful life. Wishing you all the best in your parenting journey, Rachel Atlanta Jewish Times Advice Column Got a problem? Email Rachel Stein, a certified life coach, at oyvey@ atljewishtimes.com describing your problem in 250 words or less. We want to hear from you and get helpful suggestions for your situation at the same time! 54 | DECEMBER 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
The census taker comes to the Rabinovich house. “Does Abram Rabinovich live here?” he asks. “No,” replies Rabinovich. “Well, then, comrade, what is your name?” “Abram Rabinovich.” “Wait a minute — didn’t you just tell me that Rabinovich doesn’t live here?” “Aha,” says Rabinovich. “You call this living?”
YIDDISH WORD fetter
n. uncle (also onkel) “When can we visit my fetter, Uncle Dan?”
By: Yoni Glatt, email@example.com Difficulty Level: Challenging 1
1. Frenemy of Saul on “Homeland” 4. City of David activities 9. Wicked one in Tanach 14. Genre of the band JEW (Jimmy Eat World) 15. Angelic glows 16. Cholents, more or less 17. One might be schlepped on stage 18. Xmas carol that was part of the High Priest’s wardrobe? 20. Killer of a city of priests, long ago 22. Cholents, more or less 23. Geese letter 24. Betting parlor letters 27. Iron Butterfly’s “___-Gadda- Da -Vida” 28. Defeat 29. Xmas carol on where to find Balaam’s donkey? 34. Like one living north of Israel 35. Chills on Saturday 38. Bet ___ 39. Unaccounted-for GI 40. Morgenstern of “Rhoda” 42. Day Yom Kippur can never fall on: Abbr. 43. Don Ho’s “Shalom” 45. Sabbatai Tzvi was one 47. Xmas carol calling for Maya to go for public office? 50. The ___ (“I’ll have what she’s having”) 52. Turk’s title of honor 53. They’re not always as professional
as El Al security 54. Olympics powerhouse 55. Bar mitzvahed 57. “Good” singer Lo? 61. Xmas carol about what a dinner with a bunch of yentas certainly wouldn’t be? 65. First name behind the new autobiography “All About Me” 66. Achva product 67. Lambs’ blood locales 68. Some Abrams extras 69. Hebrew topic? 70. Fredricksen in “Up” 71. Daughter involved in a historic inheritance case
19. He’s playing a Jedi again in 2022 21. Francisco who painted “The Inquisition Tribunal” 25. Oz character who might be jealous of Asher “Lev”? 26. ___ Akiva 28. Murder hornet victim 29. “Bridge of Spies” supporting actor 30. Liza of “Gilmore Girls” 31. How the Monster behaves in “Young Frankenstein” 32. Ruling great-grandson of Solomon 33. Chaps (yiddish) 36. Desmond of South Africa 37. Watched 40. Facebook’s was $38 41. Yutz DOWN 44. Tint choice, for Chagall 1. Sea where nothing ever happens? 45. Many sonata parts 2. Nerf insert 46. “Analyze ___”, Crystal film 3. Rappelling need 48. Vessel for little Moses 4. Gibson on the Knicks 49. Locale of Netanyahu’s last stand 5. Opposite of “non” 50. It’s not kosher with unagi 6. They are often filled before the 51. Like 50-Down Sabbath 55. Er’s biblical brother 7. 1975 Doctorow novel 56. He’s central to the plot of “Ghost8. “College grad” that Joan (Rivers) told busters: Afterlife” to shut up about Gaza in 2014 58. Writing on the wall 9. Breaks the 8th Commandment, 59. Higher power? perhaps 60. Lady from Arendelle 10. Hoppy drink 62. Pern of note 11. Medal of valor 63. Occasional oppressor of Jews in 12. The plot of “Lost” had a bunch of the Middle-Ages: Abbr. them 64. Co. that launched Dungeons & 13. An Israel bond, e.g. Dragons
“Terrific Teams” SOLUTION 1 13 16
21 25 28 30
51 55 58
52 56 59
E W E A
O R B A
T W A
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES DECEMBER 31, 2021 | 55
Lilly Gellhaar Gay
AnnRita Levis Hader
Lilly Gellhaar Gay passed away on Dec. 13, at the age of 93, due to heart-related issues. Lilly was born in Germany and moved to America at the age of ten with her parents Herbert and Paula Gellhaar, of blessed memory. Lilly met Jack Gay (of blessed memory) in New York City, where they dated, then she moved to Atlanta for their wedding and wonderful life together for the next 62 years. For over 40 years, she worked side by side with Jack in owning/running Gay’s Men’s Shop, where she was both in sales and the store’s seamstress. Upon the closing of the store in 1990, Jack and Lilly traveled, spent time in Florida and enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Lilly will be remembered for four very special qualities: her giving nature, she never met a stranger, and her love of family and friends. To illustrate her giving nature, Lilly, as a Meals on Wheels volunteer, delivered meals to the Jewish Home for thirty years. Lilly was an extremely friendly person. It was thought that, if she landed on Mars, she would have made friends in minutes. And, at several of her residences, she was asked to sit with the newly arrived residents, acting as a lead contributor on the welcoming committee. Lilly’s handiwork is legend. Her projects included needlepoint, crocheting and any other project that involved yarn. When completed, she gave most away as gifts, whether it was caps or baby blankets. As a dog lover, Lilly spent many years in the company of dachshunds, so in her loving memory, towels will be donated to the various animal shelters in and around Atlanta. She was a member of The Temple, the Atlanta Knitting Guild and was a season ticket holder of both the Atlanta Opera and Atlanta Ballet, getting the love of arts from her mother. Lilly is survived by her three children: Richard (and wife Nanci Gay), Sandy (and her husband of blessed memory, Milton Sarlin) and Cheryl (and husband Stan Shapiro). Grandchildren include Perrin Shapiro, Adam Shapiro, Mitsi Sarlin and Elana Sarlin. Lilly will be deeply missed by friends and family. A graveside service took place at Crestlawn Cemetery, 3:00 p.m. Dec. 14, , conducted by Rabbi Brad Levenberg, Temple Sinai, Rabbi Peter Berg; The Temple and Rabbi Mark Zimmerman, Congregation Beth Shalom. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to The Temple, 1589 Peachtree Street, NE, 30309 or the charity of one’s choosing. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, (770) 451-4999.
AnnRita Levis Hader was born in Evanston, Ill. to Herbert and Jeanette Levis. At the age of seven, Rita fell in love with the violin and played throughout her high school years at Evanston Township High School. When she was fifteen, she won a citywide musical competition to perform as the first soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. As a young adult, Rita entertained audiences at Chicago’s Blue Angel nightclub with her violin and her magnificent singing voice. In 1957, Rita married Jesse Hader, a dashing young dental student. The newlyweds moved to Augusta, Ga., where Jesse was stationed at Fort Gordon. Rita soon was hired as the promotion and music director at WRDW-TV. Shortly thereafter, she was given her own television variety show, titled after her stage name — The Rita Russell Show. In 1959, when Jesse’s tour of duty was over, Rita and Jesse decided to make their home in Atlanta. Rita’s television connections led to an offer as promotions director for WAGA-TV; however, since the position would involve a lot of travel, Rita chose to start a family instead. Her three children — Stacey, Joan and Robert — were born within three years. Motherhood was Rita’s calling. She created a household filled with games, dress-up, crafts, books and an open ear for her children, as well as for their friends. She started a neighborhood kids’ club, The Candy Canes, where kids created handmade get-well cards for the patients at Egleston Hospital for Children. She founded the Creative Dramatics Workshop, an after-school creative theater outlet for children in the Toco Hills area, which taught acting theory, set design, script writing and directing. Its subsidiary, the Children’s Caravan Theatre, was a traveling theater for children. Its young actors performed several times at what was then called Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children. When her children were nearing their teens, Rita went back to school to earn her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in psychology. During those years, she volunteered at and served on the board of the Council on Battered Women. With her Ph.D. in hand, Rita opened a private practice in adult therapy, which she continued for over 30 years. During this time, she hosted an “after hours” radio show on WGST, “For Adults Only,” a no-holds-barred call-in program on adult relationships. Several years after she and Jesse divorced, Rita found love again with her soulmate, Jerry Siegel. The two married in 2003 and spent many beautiful and laughterfilled years together before his death in 2012. Though her life was filled with creativity and professional achievements, Rita saved most of her heart for her children and grandchildren. Her grandchildren — Jenna, Rachel and Elana — could do no wrong! No matter where they lived, she never missed celebrating a birthday of one of her ziskeits (“sweethearts” in Yiddish) in person. Rita’s unbridled passion for her family, her delight in Tropicana Roses, L’Air du Temps, Latin American music, a mean game of Gin Rummy, and her unwavering taste for chocolate chip cookies and York Peppermint Patties will continue to comfort and bring smiles to her family in the years ahead. Much love and gratitude to her caregivers over the years: Vivette, Matelita, Martha, Anne and Kathryn, as well as the extraordinary staff at Sunrise at Huntcliff Summit II, whose dedication, compassion, and love will not soon be forgotten. Survivors include daughters Stacey Hader Epstein (David), Joan Hader (Brian Katz), and son, Bob Hader (Donna), grandchildren Jenna Epstein (Alicia Salvino), Rachel Epstein and Elana Katz and numerous heartbroken cousins and friends throughout the U.S. Donations may be made in Rita’s blessed memory to the Partnership Against Domestic Violence http://www.padv.org/, Ner Israel Rabbinical College https://nirc.edu/ or Camp Ho Mita Koda https://camphomitakoda.org/. Funeral services were held in Atlanta. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.
93, Sandy Springs
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Doris Albert Koplin
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Doris Albert Koplin passed away on Dec. 19 at 90 years old. She is survived by her children, Janis, Kal and Charlene, 4 beloved grandchildren, Amy (Tom), Alex (Tina), Daniel and Haley and 2 great grandchildren, Charlee and Chaz. She was predeceased by her husband of nearly 70 years, Beryl, parents Anna and Louis Albert, brother Joe and sister Adele. Doris was adored by all for her kindness, graciousness and loving nature. She never uttered an unkind word and developed meaningful, longtime friendships from all the different parts of her life. Doris was best known for her mastery in the culinary world. She published three cookbooks, worked as an executive chef, catered events, taught cooking classes and more. Her challahs were legendary, widely known and requested along with many of her gourmet culinary creations. She enjoyed nothing more than sharing her vast knowledge by teaching others. Doris studied at Le Cordon Bleu in London, as well as with many luminaries, including Julia Child, Giuliano Bugialli and Jacques Pepin. One of Doris’s most valued accomplishments was as a founding member and president of the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Atlanta chapter, whose mission is to inspire, advance and support women in food, beverage and hospitality to achieve excellence in leadership and philanthropy. Doris was deeply devoted to her synagogue and community and served as president of the Sisterhood and on the board. Family was Doris’s true passion. Her grandchildren have beautiful memories of Friday night dinners, special birthday celebrations and more. Her home was full of inviting smells and every morsel of her food was delicious, as it was prepared with her love. Graveside service was held on Dec. 21 at 2:30 graveside at Arlington Cemetery with Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal officiating. Donations in Doris’s memory may be made to Lauren’s Run/CURE Childhood Cancer (https://curechildhoodcancer.org/our-events/ laurens-run/), CRPS (rsds.org) or Ahavath Achim Synagogue (aasynagogue.org). Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
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Kathleen Levin 69, Johns Creek
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Kathleen Levin died peacefully on Dec. 12, surrounded by her loving family: husband, Mike, sons Eric and Eliot, her daughters-in-law Keri and Sarah, and grandsons: Lucas and Parker. She was 69 years old and married to Mike for 47-and-a-half years. Kathy was one of a kind. She was the epitome of caring, always putting the interests of others before hers. Every day she showed compassion, empathy and love. Kathy lit up a room with her beautiful face, contagious laugh and infectious smile. She was one of the sweetest people and anyone who met her felt her gentleness and her sense of quiet strength. She was an incredibly supportive wife, devoted mother, and grandmother, who created a wonderful family life for her family. She was a huge fan of Eric and Eliot; attending their basketball and baseball games and school activities, volunteering at Eric’s beer festivals, seeing every movie in which Eliot worked, and attending her grandsons' activities. Kathy retired from teaching to take care of her grandsons shortly after their birth. Kathy received a degree in childhood education from Florida State University and fulfilled her life goal of being an elementary school teacher. She taught her entire career at the kindergarten and first grade levels at private, public and religious schools in six different cities. In Portage, Mich., Kathy and her best friend started their own school: Hillandale Creative Preschool. She served as the first Principal at Temple Bnai Shalom in Burke, Va. She taught at Peachtree Elementary School in Peachtree Corners, Ga. and for 27 years at the Sunday school at Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, Ga. She touched thousands of students over her lifetime and her legacy will persevere for generations. She was an amazing cook and loved to entertain. Kathy won a cooking contest that got her on a local Atlanta TV show, “ATL & Company.” She dealt bravely with Polycystic Kidney Disease for 40+ years. In June 2020, she was diagnosed with Stage 4, inoperable Cholangiocarcinoma, which she endured through COVID and demonstrated incredible strength to keep pushing it down the road until the terrible cancer beast took over. She will be missed by many. A memorial service and celebration of life for Kathy will take place on Dec. 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Temple Beth Tikvah, 9955 Coleman Road, Roswell, Ga. During the service, streaming will be available through the Temple’s website. In lieu of gifts of food or flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the “Kathy Levin Education Awards Funds” at Temple Beth Tikvah: http://www. bethtikvah.com. Click on Donate at the top and select this fund under “type.”
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Alan Marvin Wilensky Marietta
Alan Marvin Wilensky passed away peacefully at his home in East Cobb, Marietta, Ga. on Dec. 15, with his wife, Coralie, at his side. Alan was predeceased by his parents, Ida and Julius Wilensky, and his sister, Rosalyn (Martin) Cohen. He is survived by his wife, Coralie (Scherer) Wilensky, his daughters, Heather (Jeffrey) Pearlman and Anna (Wayne) Blackburn; stepdaughter, Rachel Glickman (Jake Lebowitz) and stepson, Daniel (Miriam) Quigley; grandchildren, Luke, Eleanor and Natanel Pearlman, Elijah, Beckham and Felicity Blackburn, step-grandchildren, Lyla and Josey Lebowitz and Eve Quigley; and sister, Sherry (Pete) Dawkins. Alan loved that he was a native Atlantan, born and raised. He graduated from Druid Hills High School and received a degree in finance from Georgia State University. Except for his three-year enlistment in the Navy, where he served as paymaster on a base outside of Detroit, Mich. and valiantly protected the U.S. from “marauding Canadians,” he worked primarily in sales for the wine and spirits industry. Alan rose to the position of Director of Purchasing at National Distributing Company and counted many as close friends from his over 30 years of employment there. Alan was a physical fitness buff. He was a daily fixture at the gym and was so proud to share, even years later, that he bench-pressed 335 lbs. He even has the T-shirt to prove it! Alan took up running at around 50 years old. He ran 20+ Peachtree Road Races and about a half dozen half marathons, plus other charity races. He inspired a couple generations of family and friends to take up fitness and running. Alan loved sports and was an enthusiastic fan of UGA, the Braves and the Falcons. He liked lighthouses and the funny papers. He was in the Frank Garson chapter of AZA during high school and served as Master of the AEPi Fraternity while attending Georgia State. After retirement, he volunteered at the Northside Hospital Atlanta Auxiliary and was selected to join the Hebrew Order of David. More than anything, Alan was most proud of his Jewish identity and his family. Alan was the ultimate family man. He was so proud of the daughters he and former wife, Gwen Heaton, raised and long after the marriage ended, they shared holidays and family events. He was involved with his daughters’ and grandchildren’s every activity and loved every minute of it. He loved and was loved by dogs and children. To all the grandchildren, he was their beloved Pops. Memorial donations may be to the Emory Integrated Memory Care Clinic, the Parkinson’s Foundation, Little Angels Service Dogs or charity of your choice in Alan’s name. The service was held via Zoom with private family service on Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m., with Rabbi Jason Holtz of Temple Kehillat Chaim officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770-451-4999.
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CLOSING THOUGHTS This I Believe In thinking about my life at 83-yearsold, during the year’s end, I could not see the future much beyond a short period of time and Allen H. Lipis I cannot say The Bottom Line that I had a long-term plan. I did what I knew, what I was good at, utilizing the luck I had – being in the right place at the right time – and old fashioned instinct. There were many roads not taken – speculating on what might have been could be fun, but not very useful. I made the best decisions with the information I had, and I have no regrets. I ended up better than I ever thought I could have imagined way back when. I have outlived my father and my mother, and that is more than I ever thought would happen. I believe that every day I live now is a gift. I believe that doing for others is also doing for yourself. Focusing only on your-
self will create an unloving person. Young people can justify being selfish to build their character and their success, but serving others is the real success in life. Until age 25, focus on getting an outstanding education and building your own character. Education is the secret to survival. Getting good grades in school is the easy part if you are diligent, do your homework and pay attention. Good grades and good schools will get you in the door, but what you know is what gets and keeps the job. Education leads on to experience, and experience leads on to results. Above all, stay productive. I made poor decisions in life, and I tried hard to learn from them. Good decisions are often the result of having made poor decisions previously. Never be afraid to take risks. Your life will be more exciting. You will be pushed to give it your very best; with some luck, help from others, and support from G-d, you can achieve a great deal more than you ever thought possible. The best way to improve your character is to emulate the people you most admire, not for what they know, but for
how they deal with people. There is much to learn by studying people, and by reading great books about the people that achieved success and failure. Above all, speak kindly about others, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Learn to trust people until you know otherwise. You will be amazed at what they can accomplish, if you tell them what they need to do. After age 25, focus on helping others. You make a living by what you know, but you make a life by how you help others. Find a way to benefit the world, regardless of how immature the benefit. Finding a more efficient solution is why we are alive. I marvel at the wheel, at chemistry, mathematics, physics, the human body and the drugs that make the body work better. Your job on this earth is to improve it because you are here, to leave this world just a little bit better. It doesn’t matter how big or small the improvement is, as long as you can say at the end of your life that you made a difference. Most of us generate a small impact on a person, or a small group or even a whole society. It doesn’t matter. Do what you can. If you have children, the test of how
well you did raising them is how well your grandchildren turn out. I believe that fighting creates more fighting, that hate generates more hate, and jealousy creates more jealousy. We are copycats. When we do something good, others will emulate that, and when we do something bad, others emulate that too. Progress in this world is created by not being a copycat, but by following your own path, by believing in yourself and your own self-worth, and by being willing to risk your money, your honor and even your life, in search of what you believe can contribute to humanity. Those in the minority have made the world better, not the majority, because the minority has not been willing to risk being different and thinking differently. I believe there is a G-d, and this G-d cares about me. Science cannot explain everything, and faith is part of living a good and decent life. I believe there is a morality that only G-d can provide. The Bottom Line: Focus on your strengths, but remember your weaknesses, for humility is more important than arrogance. ì
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