NEXT WEEK: CAMP
VOL. XCV NO. 2 | ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
JANUARY 17, 2020 | 20 TEVET 5780
Festival Returns to Atlanta January 26
AJFF PREVIEW PARTY ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS 2020 LINEUP.
ANTI-SEMITISM ON CAMPUS HILLELS OF GEORGIA FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST GEORGIA TECH.
SOMETHING FISHY RABBI TAKES DEEPER DIVE INTO AQUATIC LIFE AT THE AJLF.
2 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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Life of Jewish Atlanta What makes Jewish Atlanta so unique? You can learn all about it at the upcoming Atlanta Jewish Life Festival Jan. 26 at the Georgia Aquarium. Presented by the AJT, the second-annual festival, the largest single-day community gathering of its kind, returns with more entertainment, food, sponsors and partners. In this issue we highlight some of what you’ll experience at the AJLF this year, from bands to barbecue. There are interviews with Hannah Zale, who will perform with her band Zale at the festival, and one of the founders of the band Webster. We also feature the boy band Friction, which was hugely popular at last year’s festival, and Steve Grossman of Steve’s Live Music fame, who will serve as master of ceremonies. You will meet Ruby the Clown, among the roving entertainers this year, and learn about the new chairman of the aquarium and the relationship between the Jewish community and one of the world’s largest fish displays. Talking about fish, an Australian rabbi will lead tours of the aquarium and teach about Jewish connections with the aquatic creatures you can view there.
Following on the heels of the AJLF, there’s another festival coming to the Jewish community. We recapture the tastes, sights and sounds of the preview party for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and share the lineup of films you can expect to view during its two-week run, Feb. 10-27. The AJT will continue coverage of the film festival as it gets closer. In other news, we inform you about a federal complaint alleging anti-Semitism at Georgia Tech involving the Hillel director there and two Jewish students. Remembering the struggles of the past, take note of a local observation of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and sign up to volunteer at the community’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Monday. Because inequity and societal struggles still exist, our art story involves photos of abandoned mattresses and the stories they tell. Bunkbeds, cabins, campfires and the great outdoors are among the subjects we will cover in our camp issue next week, with registration underway for the summer. It’s enough to envision the warm weather ahead. ■
Cover photo: Take a peek at the talented entertainers, vendors and attendees at the upcoming Atlanta Jewish Life Festival.
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 5
LOCAL NEWS AJFF Unveils Diverse 2020 Lineup
The opening night film is about Jewish and black Americans that helped shape the civil rights movement. It was partially financed and filmed in Atlanta.
By Bob Bahr The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival has unveiled plans for its 20th anniversary year with the usual broad lineup of documentaries, real life dramas, shorts and feature films from around the world. Kenny Blank, executive director of the festival, and the festival screeners and staff have chosen over four dozen feature length films for this year’s lineup and four programs of short films. Ticket sales begin Jan. 27 and the festival opens its 18-day run on Feb. 10. The diversity of the films is reflected in the opening and closing night presentations. The festival will debut at the Cobb Energy Centre with “Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance.” As its title suggests it’s about how Jewishs and black Americans shaped the civil rights movement in the last 65 years. It was partially financed and filmed in Atlanta. The festival will end with “Saul & Ruby, To Life!” a documentary about how a pair of elderly Holocaust survivors use music to help bring healing and understanding to audiences around the country. To come up with its impressive list of finalists, the AJFF screening commit-
The closing night film is a documentary about two elderly Holocaust survivors using music to help bring healing and understanding to audiences.
tee of over a hundred volunteers viewed nearly 700 films that were submitted for consideration. Blank, who shapes the final schedule, looks to the recommendations of the volunteer committee as a kind of test audience that helps guide him in crafting the final schedule. “That committee is really a crosssection of our community and of the audience,” he said. “The people represent all kinds of different taste in movies and life experiences.” Volunteers and staff, alike, have labored to present a balanced program of films that look at contemporary and political life in Israel as well as Jewish life in America and elsewhere. In their subject matter and presentation, the many films reflect the diversity of interests and demographics of the Atlanta community. Flipping through the program guide and scrolling on the website, ticket buyers will find works on Arab-Israeli relationships, the arts, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and films about World War II. There will even be a free seminar, toward the end of festival titled “What Makes a Film Jewish?” A question that Blank seems to have partially answered in the AJFF schedule for 2020. “There are some 200 of these Jew-
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The Mover My Polish Honeymoon Oliver Sacks: His Own Life The Operative The Painted Bird The Passengers Picture of His Life The Rabbi Goes West Rewind Saul & Ruby, To Life! Serial (Bad) Weddings 2 Shared Legacies: The African-Ameri can Jewish Civil Rights Alliance Standing Up, Falling Down Those Who Remained Underground Ballet When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey Into The Arms Of A Shiksa
ish film festivals around the world and all of them have a little bit different take on that,” he pointed out, ”but the Jewish theme has got to be front and center in the film and really covering a lot of the expected topics from Jewish life.” The Atlanta festival will use the theater at City Springs on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs as its flagship presentation venue. New theaters among the seven that are hosting the event are the historic Plaza Theatre in Virginia-Highland and the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema across from Piedmont Park. The films showing at the 20th AJFF are: #AnneFrank. Parallel Stories Abe Advocate Africa After Class Alan Pakula: Going for Truth The Art of Waiting Aulcie Back to Maracanã Black Mercedes Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive The Bronx, USA Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn A Cantor’s Head Crescendo Dolce Fine Giornata Exodus Flawless The Glass Room Golda The Great Dictator Hollywood’s Second World War Holy Silence The Humorist Incitement Jay Myself The Keeper Keeping the Faith Last Week at Ed’s Ma’abarot: The Israeli Transit Camps The Mamboniks
The 2020 short inclusions are: Shorts Program One: A Jew Walks Into A Bar The Fiddle The Collection Dina Malul Fights Back
Shorts Program Two: Kippah Home Grey Zone Butterflies in Berlin: Diary of a Soul Split in Two Shorts Program Three: Last Game Our Way Back Absolutely No Spitting No Pork on the Fork Shorts Program Four: Offspring Curl Purity Mum’s Hairpins
The full schedule of films for 2020 is at www.ajff.org ■
Putting the ‘Party’ in Preview for Film Enthusiasts
Mother Sharon Hochdorf and daughter Meryl Miller flank Tom Asher – all avid movie fans.
Steven Eisenstein of Classic Tents, along with Bernie and Susan Eisenstein, chat with Kenny Blank, director of the AJFF, about the night’s line up. Steven’s company helps AJFF events with the set up.
Sponsor Sheri Labovitz connects with Ingrid Saunders Jones, who committed to Coke’s first AJFF sponsorship 20 years ago.
Ever gracious Martha Jo Katz enBy Marcia Caller Jaffe ticed the audience to attend the upcom ing “best party of the year” opening night It’s a panoply, buffet, smorgasbord Feb. 10 at the Cobb Energy Center. Katz of choices that only Sundance revelers shared the list of gourmet restaurants could mimic. and vendors committed, along with some As they ask at the Varsity, “What’ll you special new ones. have?” Romcoms, drama, documentaries, The “party” continued as patrons classics, shorts, narratives, dancing, or munched on goody boxes of popcorn chasing a polar bear under water. The creand chocolate, not to be outdone by huge scendos of Jewish life will soon be exposed bouncing world globes tossed about in for our viewing pleasure at the 2020 Atlanthe auditorium to mirror a scene on the ta Jewish Film Festival Feb. 10-27. The Jan. Lynne Sir Louis, Carlos Pimenta, Macquarium CEO, and sponsor Marc Adler, screen from the Charlie Chaplin 1940 9 preview party for the 20th anniversary Macquarium chairman, mingle with Phil Kent, retired CNN CEO. film portraying “The Great Dictator,” one film festival, “Years of Storytelling,” was of the classic films in the lineup. original mission of the AJC.” teased at the Sandy Springs Byers Theatre, that make me cry.” The steaming hot highlight of the Moving into the auditorium for the one of the main venues of the festival. Director level sponsors Linda Schear, The atrium lobby was alive with Add- attending with husband Abe, said, “We program carried over the party atmo- show was a mambo dancing couple in ed Touch Catering food complexity. For started sponsoring years ago when our sphere. Jason Evans, film evaluation co- tandem with the movie “The Mambocomfort food, there was macaroni and children were young. We wanted them to chair, was a cordial and animated host. À niks,” a documentary where Jewish soul cheese, passed hot beet borscht, mashed be proud of being part of the Jewish com- la Oscars, he reached into the audience for and Cuban song meet on the dance floor. potatoes and grilled salmon. Israeli “com- munity and see that on the screen.” AJFF spotlighted comments from Blank, who This was described in the program as” hot fort food” included humongous, artfully Board Member and Coca-Cola Olympic recognized the staff, Max Leventhal, Dr. blooded, sultry and infectious, … with the arranged falafel bowls atop quinoa salad Executive Dina Gerson claimed, “There Matthew Bernstein and eponymous Ken dances’ popularity in neon-splashed New alongside colorful raw veggies, cheeses, is something for everyone, but I like the Byers. Music emoted as Joe Alterman’s York and the art deco hotels of Miami trio played a touching “Bridge Over Trou- Beach and the resorts of the Catskills.” berries and nuts, with more passing such sports and rom-coms.” Who can resist that? as Turkey Cubans. Steve Labovitz, bled Water,” which Other “mustArtistic conversation along with wife Sheri, complemented a dissees” are “Abe,” the always accompawere each chair for cussion about race story of a young boy nies eating with this three years in a row and religion with with one Muslim and crowd of patrons and beginning in the sec- former U.N. ambasone Jewish parent as sponsors. ond, then the fifth sador Andrew Young he navigates his bar Longtime AJFF year of the festival. He and retired rabbi Almitzvah and passion fan Tom Asher said, remarked, “I’m proud vin Sugarman of The for cooking, Billy “My wife and I are of what the festival Temple. The film for Crystal in “Standing some of the best amhas become for the opening night was Up, Falling Down,” ateur movie experts Atlanta Jewish com- announced, featurthe Young Professionand major fans. I munity. I’m amazed ing locals Rabbi Peter als Night feature, “The can’t wait to see this at what the staff and Berg, Sherry Frank Keeper,” about a decoCongressman year’s highlights.” Kenny Blank have ac- and rated ex-Nazi turned Opinions blossomed complished beyond John Lewis, “Shared soccer superstar, and and multiplied. From my wildest dreams in Legacies: The Afri“Picture of His Life,” a the Alexanders: Sam, terms of educational can American Jewish documentary about a Civil Rights Alliance,” who saw 23 movies and cultural growth AJFF Board Member Dina Gerson Sam and Gary Alexander admire compares notes with Danielle Added Touch’s display of falafel, daring Israeli underas a screener, said and the building of a documentary and Tanzman. Gerson leans towards mac and cheese and salmon. water photographer. “The best movie I community. Cer- world premiere, also sports and rom-coms. This just scratches the surface. Truly recall was ‘The Caketainly, having these including actor Lou Gossett Jr., members like a box of chocolates. ■ maker.’” Gary said, “I only like movies dialogues stemming from film is part of the of the King family and many others. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 7
Hillels of Georgia Seeks Anti-Semitism Probe of Georgia Tech By Dave Schechter
“Teach-in: Palestine 101” as part of Israel Apartheid Week. “As an American Jew, the world we Lawyers representing Hillels of live in right now is really Georgia contend that scary,” Blazofsky told the Georgia Institute of Atlanta Jewish Times. “I Technology “has willnever anticipated dealfully ignored” anti-Seing with something like mitic activity and have this. I was definitely asked the federal Defrustrated when it first partment of Education happened, but I think to conduct a civil rights I’m even more saddened investigation. by how the university In a Dec. 27 letter has handled it and not to Assistant Secretary acknowledged that antifor Civil Rights Kenneth Lauren Blazofsky is director Semitism happened.” Marcus, attorneys from of Hillel at Tech. ACLJ alleged that the American Center for Law and Justice said, “We write to respect- “Georgia Tech allowed blatant anti-Semitfully urge you to investigate and deter- ic exclusion and harassment at a campus mine whether Georgia Tech has engaged group event, attempted to conceal the ofin discrimination, in permitting a hostile fense, repeatedly and systemically stoneenvironment, and other violations of Title walled Jewish student and faculty efforts to address the incident; ignored two out VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The complaint centers on an April of the three complaints arising from said 1 incident in which Lauren Blazofsky, event; and after a student conduct board director of Hillel at Georgia Tech, was finally found the campus group guilty on barred from entering an on-campus the one complaint they did hear, violated room where the Young Democratic their own policies and issued a decision Socialists of America were holding a on appeal reversing that guilty ruling –
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allowing the anti-Semitism to continue gled out and harassed at the event,” the ACLJ letter stated. unchecked.” “Ms. Blazofsky was denied entry On Dec. 11, President Donald Trump issued an executive order expanding en- because Ms. Blazofsky is Jewish and afforcement of Title VI – which specifies filiated with a Jewish organization on Georgia Tech’s campus,” discrimination based the letter said. “After an on “race, color, or naunacceptable five-month tional origin” – to indelay,” a hearing on Blazofclude anti-Semitism. sky’s complaint was held There are 500in September by the OSI. plus Jewish students No hearing has been held at Georgia Tech, a on the complaints by the small fraction of the two Jewish students. campus population. OSI’s student justices Most are undergraddetermined that YDSA viouates. lated the Student Conduct The lead attorThe lead attorney on behalf Code Policy, which prohibney representing of Hillels of Georgia is Atlanta its “objectively offensive Hillels of Georgia resident Mark Goldfeder. conduct directed at a parpro bono is Mark Goldfeder, ACLJ’s Special Counsel for In- ticular person or persons” for reasons ternational Affairs. Formerly a fellow at that include religion. An associate dean Emory University’s Center for Law and accepted the finding and, according to the Religion, Goldfeder also is an ordained Georgia Tech newspaper, the Technique, rabbi, religious court judge, and Hillel’s sanctions imposed on YDSA “included a general counsel. “We reached out in good nine-month disciplinary probation, creation of an action plan faith to try and get the to host events with ‘othschool to rectify the siter on-campus clubs to uation and clarify what discuss differing viewhappened. They were points on subject matnot willing to do what ters,’ creation of a risk was necessary and so management policy and we informed them that a required meeting with we would be moving the Office of Student Enforward,” Goldfeder gagement.” told the AJT. YDSA appealed, ACLJ describes itself calling itself the vicas “an organization dedKenneth Marcus is assistant tim of “an open-ended, icated to the defense of constitutional liberties secretary for civil rights at the U.S. opaque, politically-moEducation Department. He founded tivated, and ultimately secured by law.” Its chief the Louis D. Brandeis Center. unlawful investigation counsel is Jay Sekulow, a of our organization and our individual Jewish convert to Christianity who is wellmembers,” the Technique reported. known from cases he’s argued before the The sanctions were overturned in U.S. Supreme Court and his television and November. radio appearances. He’s currently assist“I think that I always anticipated ing Trump’s impeachment defense team. that it always would be handled by the After the April 1 incident, Blazofsky university and, maybe naively of me, I filed a complaint with Georgia Tech’s Ofassumed that the university would recogfice of Student Integrity, as did two Jewnize what took place and the wrongdoing ish female students who were allowed to of YDSA,” Blazofsky said. She added that attend and felt “that they had been sin-
LOCAL NEWS she learned of the reversal not from the university but from a YDSA Twitter post. ACLJ was dissatisfied with the explanation it received from the university. “The only indication Georgia Tech would give the undersigned ACLJ counsel was that it had something to do with the fact that since other Jewish people were allowed into the event, there could not have been anti-Semitism after all. This classic trope, in the vein of ‘some of my best friends are ____,’ is itself anti-Semitic, so much so that it has become shorthand for weak denials of bigotry – a punch line about the absence of thoughtfulness and rigor in our conversations about racism,” the letter stated. A YDSA chapter co-chair (who asked to be identified by his first name, “Harry”) sent the AJT a statement: “The allegations in the complaint are total fabrications. These allegations erase the many Jewish YDSA GT members, Jews who serve in YDSA GT leadership like myself, and Jewish attendees of the event in question, who oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. No discrimination has ever taken place. The only harassment during the event in question was orchestrated by the complainant . . . and carried out by two students affiliACLJ’s chief counsel is the well-known Jay Sekulow, ated with Hillel who went to high school in of Georgia Tech, DeKalb County and received who disrupted his undergrad and law school our event to yell degrees from Mercer University. racist remarks at the Palestinian speakers that we invited to tell their stories. This is an attempt to censor and intimidate critics of the far-right racist Israeli government, plain and simple.” An Education Department spokesman told the AJT that “as a policy, OCR [Office of Civil Rights] will not confirm the receipt of complaints publicly.” A Georgia Tech spokesman told the AJT: “We are aware that the American Center for Law and Justice has requested that the Department of Education investigate Georgia Tech’s handling of the matter involving YDSA and Hillel. The Department has not contacted us about that request, and we will cooperate fully if it does. Georgia Tech maintains a strong anti-discrimination policy, as well as policies that support our community’s First Amendment rights to free speech.” ACLJ’s letter to Marcus concluded, “The clear message that Georgia Tech is communicating is that they are deliberately indifferent to the concerns and wellbeing of its Jewish population. … Without prompt and appropriate action – including requiring Georgia Tech to evenhandedly enforce its own rules and procedures and comply with Title VI – Jewish students will continue to be victimized by Georgia Tech’s implied consent for anti-Semitic discrimination and racism; will be unable to participate at additional campus functions; and will continue to be harassed and excluded.” ■ ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 9
News From Our Jewish Home
Kobi Harati, City of David archive // Excavations
continue for the Stepped Street.
Discovery Reveals Site of Ancient Market
Archaeologists have recently found what seems to be an ancient Jerusalem market in the City of David with the discovery of a stone measuring table that would likely have been used to measure commodities in a market, The Times of Israel reports. Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Ari Levy said the stone measuring table would have belonged to the market’s
Today in Israeli History
manager who was in charge of the weights and measures of traded goods, a role welldocumented during this time period. The market was discovered along what archaeologists call the “Stepped Street,” also known as the “Pilgrim’s Path,” that connects Siloam Pool to the Temple Mount. Most of the path is currently 16 feet underground and is around 600 meters long. It was built beginning in 20 C.E. by the Romans and was completed around 30 C.E. Archaeologists have been working on excavating the street for the past decade. There have only been two other similar measuring tables discovered in the region; one in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter and the other in Shuafat in East Jerusalem. Archaeologists speculate that the large open area found in the middle of the Stepped Street served as “the focal point of trade and commerce” during the Second Temple period, according to the IAA. The City of David’s underground Stepped Street is still being excavated, in two shifts a day, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will not be fully open to the public for several years, Levy said.
dawn hours. Seven people are wounded and several residential buildings are damaged in Haifa and Tel Aviv. The Scuds are the first of nearly 40 missiles Iraq fires at Israel in an effort to spur retaliation and thus fracture the coalition against Saddam Hussein, but Israel holds its fire.
Herzog accepts the credentials of Spain’s new ambassador to Israel, Pedro Lopez Aguirrebengoa, in Jerusalem on April 14, 1986.
Jan. 18, 1991: The morning after U.S.led allied forces launch airstrikes on Iraq at the start of the Persian Gulf War, eight Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israel in the pre10 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
with packages in Jerusalem.
Amazon Offers Free Shipping from U.S. with New Online Store Amazon has launched a Hebrewlanguage online storefront that includes free shipping from the United States, leading to a recent surge in Israeli orders of American products. “I have noticed that they prefer lower-priced items like Kleenex tissues and Contigo water bottles,” Avi Parshan, the administrator of the Israel Deals on Amazon Facebook group, told JTA. At the moment, free shipping only kicks in when shoppers spend at least $49, but orders over $75 are taxed at Is-
er and formed Rafi in 1965 as a breakaway from Mapai, decides not to join Labor.
Photo by Amos Ben Gershom, Israeli Government Press Office // Accompanied by Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Israeli President Shimon Peres reviews troops during a visit to Astana, Kazakhstan, in June 2009, almost five years before the two countries sign an agreement on defense cooperation.
Photo by Nati Harnik, Israeli Government Press Office // Israeli President Chaim
Jan. 17, 1986: Spain becomes the last Western European nation to open formal diplomatic relations with Israel, which previously Spain has not officially recognized. Establishing ties with Israel is a condition for Spain to gain admission to the European Community, the precursor to the European Union. Spain keeps the Arab League informed of its plans, pledges continuing close ties to the Arab world and denounces Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Jessica Steinberg/The Times of Israel // Israeli post truck being laoded
Photo by Christian Kloeppel via Wikimedia Commons // Mahmoud al-Mabhouh
was killed in a room like this in the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai.
Jan. 19, 2010: Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas military commander and the founder of its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is suffocated in his hotel room shortly after his arrival in Dubai. A police report blames a “professional criminal gang” that flees before the body is discovered. The killing is widely attributed to the Mossad, and investigators identify more than two dozen people who are involved after traveling to and from Dubai on forged passports.
rael’s 17 percent value-added tax. “It has only one purpose in my opinion,” Nir Ben Yona Shein, an Israeli consultant who runs tech sites including an Amazon deal aggregator, told JTA. “What they wanted to do is get the Israeli audience to know the platform well and buy more so they wanted to educate them to buy on the platform.” It is possible Amazon is considering opening a warehouse in Israel, Shein said. Israel’s online purchases have grown 20 percent each year recently, according to Globes, and more than $3 billion in valueadded tax-exempt products are shipped to Israel annually. Either way, the local market will be forced to adapt to Amazon’s increased presence, said Renana Peres, a researcher at Hebrew University’s Jerusalem School of Business Administration. “The market will have to adapt and change as is already happening, but it’ll be on a much larger scale,” Peres said. “It won’t be the end of local business, it will just change the local market. “We feel like we are living in [a] small turning point in Israel,” said Mordy Rapp, an American immigrant living in Beit Shemesh. “Amazon means access to those American products that we would otherwise never buy.” ■
Jan. 20, 2014: Israel signs a security cooperation accord with Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic with a Sunni Muslim majority, during a meeting between Defense Ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Adilbek Dzhaksbekov in Tel Aviv. Aiming to boost Kazakh security while increasing Israeli defense sales, the agreement builds on pacts covering telecommunications, technology and science signed over two decades of strengthening ties. Jan. 21, 1968: Mapai, the dominant political party during Israel’s first two decades, joins with two smaller left-leaning parties, Ahdut Ha’avoda and Rafi, to form the Labor Party at a conference chaired by Mapai’s secretary-general, Golda Meir. David Ben-Gurion, who helped found Ahdut Ha’avoda in 1919, served as the first prime minister during his tenure as Mapai’s lead-
Jan. 22, 1979: Ali Hassan Salameh, the flamboyant chief of operations for the Palestinian terrorist group Black September, is killed by a Mossad car bomb in Beirut in revenge for the killing of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Israel’s Operation Wrath of God, launched to eliminate the terrorists responsible for Munich, had failed in an attempt on Salameh in Norway in 1973, mistakenly killing a Moroccan waiter instead. Jan. 23, 1922: Tuviah Samuel Friedman, a Holocaust survivor and Nazi-hunter involved in the search for Adolf Eichmann, is born in Radom, Poland. In the months after World War II, he and other survivors roam the Polish countryside, capturing and torturing Nazis, and he gathers evidence of atrocities for Soviet and Polish authorities. He works with the Haganah in hunting Nazis across Europe, then carries on the work alone after moving to Israel in 1952. ■ Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org), where you can find more details.
ISRAEL NEWS ‘If You Will It, It Is No Fairy Tale’ By Suzi Brozman
number of gene mutations causing hereditary diseases, including autism. The region Theodor Herzl convened the First Zi- is especially well-suited to study autism. It onist Congress in 1897. Five years later, in has the only hospital in the area, Soroka Medical Center, where doctors 1902, he said, “If you will it, it can follow a patient through is no fairy tale.” This ambitious their medical life. call to action became the motto Researchers at BGU have of the Zionist party. In 50 years, recently shown in a new study a forbidding, arid wasteland that brain waves of children bloomed into one of the world’s with autism are weaker during premier societies. sleep than those of typicallyAtlanta native and Emory developing children. This shalUniversity professor Jack Arbislow sleep keeps them from er has adopted Herzl’s motto as deeper sleep, which is critical his own, and he’s looking to IsIlan Dinstein, a for adequate rest and rejuvenarael to help him achieve his goal BGU professor, is tion. The children have a hard of international cooperation. To head of the National time getting to sleep, wake up that end, he began a relationship Autism Research frequently during the night and between Emory and Ben-Gurion Center in Israel. rise early in the morning. University of the Negev that has BGU professor Ilan Dinstein, head of evolved with the two schools working tothe National Autism Research Center of gether to solve autism. Dr. Arbiser, a dermatology professor Israel, has shown that there is a direct corat Emory’s School of Medicine, has been relation between these sleep difficulties working on autism therapy and possible and autism. The researchers are looking at cures for many years. “Contrary to what behavioral therapies and pharmacological some people believe,” he said, “vaccinations alternatives, and hope for, someday, a cure. Dinstein came to Emory in October, do not cause autism. Genes do, and this [misstatement of] fact has been exhaus- and a group of Emory faculty visited Bentively debunked over and over by leading Gurion last week in what Arbiser sees as first step in a general pattern of working toexperts.” In fact, he believes this so strongly that gether in the future, with a number of studhe says of anti-vaccination proponents, “If ies in departments across both universities. BGU, where desalination was inventyou, as a non-medical person give medical advice, you are guilty of malpractice and ed, is conducting water research, turning this scarce resource into clean, drinkable should be sued.” water in places such as China, For some years, Arbiser India, Kenya and even the U.S. worked in the lab of Dennis LiIn other innovations from otta in Emory’s chemistry deBGU, robotic llamas haul equippartment. He introduced Liotta ment for soldiers in war zones. to Ray Schinazi. That led to the On campus, you can charge development of a drug taken toyour cellphone at a solar-powday by the vast majority of HIVered cell station. Researchers positive patients in the country. are working on therapies for a Last year, Schinazi sponwide range of diseases includsored a trip to observe work being cancer and diabetes, and for ing done in Israel. The group Dr. Jack Arbiser those on the autism spectrum. visited a number of sites, insaid vaccinations In just 20 years, BGU has cluding BGU, Hebrew Univerdon’t cause autism, grown from 5,000 students sity and other colleges. genes do. to over 20,000, with enrollees Dr. Arbiser was particularly impressed with what was happening from many nations, said Limor Aharonson-Daniel, the university’s deputy director at BGU in Beersheba. The contacts developed there resulted of international affairs. It is a place where in faculty and students from each school Jews, Arabs and others live and learn tospending time at the other university gether, each group respecting the others’ learning and conducting research. Emory beliefs and practices. “People in Israel want to win with inwas already investigating autism and Atlanta is known as the home of the Marcus novation. They want to strive, and spreadAutism Center devoted to helping autistic ing that spirit is important to them.” Looking into the future, Arbiser sees children. The Negev is home to a large Bedouin the road to innovation as long and risky. population, which, as a result of family “It takes years of hard work, but pays off in intermarriage, shows a larger than usual the end.” ■ ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 11
OPINION Letter to the Editor: For your consideration I submit the following brief essay describing the recent funeral [Jan. 6] of Leon Asner (z”l) at Greenwood Cemetery and the way it reflects the greatness of the Jewish people at large and the Atlanta Jewish community specifically. Yesterday I witnessed the glory, the eternal life, of the Jewish people. Not at a rally or a march. There were no journalists or politicians, no striving of any kind. No one sought to cure anti-Semitism or get donations or convince people to move to Israel. There was no hashtag. Leon Asner was a Holocaust survivor, an ex-tailor “to the stars” who passed from this world with no living relatives. He was eulogized by his friends and social workers. They recounted his final wishes: 1) Not to die alone. 2) Not to die in pain. 3) To be buried as a Jew, in the Orthodox tradition. It began to dawn on me that the Jewish people are remarkable once the call went out on Facebook and WhatsApp for 10 men in the Atlanta area to make a minyan at the Greenwood Cemetery at 10 a.m. this Monday. I not only read this message on my own Facebook account. It was sent to me by friends in Philadelphia and Jerusalem. “You’re in Atlanta! Can you go?” I had never been to Greenwood Cemetery before, but the name was apt. Its departed rest in sprawling fields dotted with gnarled, lonely, white-barked sentinels, naked in the January breeze. The grounds bear that silence that hangs over hallowed ground, the one that seems to pull at the feet, asking them to shuffle rather than stride. And all around in every direction, a barrier
against the living residences, the green woods of Georgia. This is the glory of the Jewish people: There were not 10 Jews present to carry Leon, Leibel ben Reuven, to his final resting place. There were 80. This is the glory of the Jewish people: No one came because they were socially compelled, because of their alignment with a cause, because they were afraid or because they were proud. This is the glory of the Jewish people: There was no one synagogue represented, no trite labels that could capture the crowd, not Orthodox or Reform, not Chasidic or Mitnagdic, not religious or secular. This is the glory of the Jewish people: It did not really matter, and few of us knew, what Leon Asner did in his life, how “Jewish” he lived. The Jewish people heard that a Jew with no living family, no reward to offer, and no identifying traits (except ‘Holocaust survivor’) was to be buried. And the Jewish people did not let it pass quietly by, not without performing a mitzvah, not without doing what is right and true. This is the glory of the Jewish people: We heed the request of our father Jacob when he was near death, requesting “chesed v’emet,” “kindness and truth.” Comments Rashi: The kindness to the dead is the true kindness, for there is no expectation of reward. This is the glory of the Jewish people: Those who judge us from the outside believe our story is one of oppression and triumph over oppression. But this is superficial, a means to our true purpose. Our story is not merely one of struggling to stay alive, but rather of the very transformation of death. I realized it at my first tahara, the first time I helped prepare a Jewish body for
burial. Death is not the inscrutable and unknowable edge of Judaism, a place we despair of knowing, a source of pure sorrow. We do not return to nothing. We return to the embrace of our people and our Creator, and it is the same embrace. This is the glory of the Jewish people: The true kindness Jacob begs from Joseph is to please not bury him in Egypt. “Let me rest with my fathers,” he asks. The Jewish people can still listen. The Jewish people across the world came together to send Leibel ben Reuven on his way. Exalted and sanctified be His great name. Tzvi Kilov, Atlanta
Letter to the Editor: It should be not be hard (even for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office) to understand that a physical attack accompanied by taunts of “you f**king nasty-ass Jew,” on a young Jewish woman who was speaking Hebrew, was a hate crime. At least that was the initial thinking. “We have confidence that once the District Attorney’s office gets all the facts and completes its investigation, it will prosecute this crime as the hate crime it is,” said Lihi Aharon’s attorney, Ziporah Reich, who is with The Lawfare Project, a Jewish civil rights advocacy group that provides legal assistance to members of the Jewish community who have been targeted because of their faith. Confidence in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office was misplaced. “We spoke directly with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and they informed us of their initial decision to not pursue hate crime charges. They wouldn’t even present the case to a grand jury to determine whether such charges were merited.” [According to The Lawfare Project as quoted Jan. 3 in HotAir.com] Note that the DA’s office made this decision after the hatecrime murders of Jews in Jersey City and in Monsey, in a rabbi’s home. Hmm. “Ignoring the clear anti-Semitic speech caught on tape in an indictment decision was strange enough. Even stranger was the initial refusal of the DA’s office to even present the opportunity to the grand jury. Regardless whether we think hate-crime legislation is a wise idea, it’s the law. Either it has to get applied equally to all offenders regardless of ethnicity or creed, or it shouldn’t get applied at all.” [HotAir.com] Clearly action was needed, and The Lawfare Project knew what to do. Two weeks after the Dec. 18 “incident,” the DA’s office confirmed to the Lawfare Project that it had reversed course and would be presenting this attack to a grand jury, as a hate crime. Something to think about... Julia Lutch, Davis, Calif.
The AJT welcomes your letters. We want our readers to have an opportunity to engage with our community in constructive dialogue. If you would like your letter to be published, please write 200 words or less, include your name, phone number and email, and send it to editor@ atljewishtimes.com. 12 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Your Status as a Jew Is Not Dependent On … tzitzit and payos, and OrThank you, Rudy Giuliani, thodox women with their for playing “Who is a Jew?” sheitels and large families, As you leave the stage, while some Orthodox sugplease take with you the gest online that many of home version of our game, the non-Orthodox are less which should provide you authentic Jews because they with hours of amusement or do not live according to halaggravation. achah, or because of their For those who might varying degrees of support have missed it, in a recent infor Israel. terview with New York mag- Dave Perhaps there is a hopeazine, Giuliani – the former Schechter From Where I Sit ful sign in the numbers mayor of New York, former of Jews of all stripes who U.S. attorney for the Southern district of New York, and now person- marched in New York City Jan. 5 in real attorney for President Donald Trump sponse to an increase in assaults there, – had this to say about George Soros, the primarily against Orthodox Jews, and Hungarian-born Jewish financier and bête attended the Atlanta gathering the next day. As Rabbi Yossi New of Chabad of noire of the American political right: “Soros is hardly a Jew. I’m more of a Georgia said at the Atlanta event, “I look Jew than Soros is. I probably know more like many of the victims in Brooklyn and about — he doesn’t go to church, he New Jersey. I know I’m stating the obvidoesn’t go to religion — synagogue. He ous, but it’s not how Jewish you look that doesn’t belong to a synagogue, he doesn’t causes anti-Semitism. The way one looks is merely the canary in the coal mine.” support Israel, he’s an enemy of Israel.” Violence perpetrated against a Jew Giuliani may fancy himself a philoSemite, someone favorably disposed to- because they are Jewish is violence perward Jews (in general, if not individually). petrated against all Jews. “Denomination, affiliation, observance While likely intended as hyperbole, his comment made a contribution to under- levels and ethnicity seem monumental to standing the meaning of klal Yisrael, He- us. We should take a cue from our enemies, brew that translates to “the Jewish people.” who believe that a Jew is a Jew is a Jew,” VictoThough we Jews – and I’m generaliz- ria Raggs cautioned the Atlanta rally. Your status as a Jew is not dependent ing here – are prone to questioning each other’s bona fides, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew. on your ethnicity or race. Raggs, for exThat truth was at the core of remarks by ample, is African American. Families that trace their Ashkenazic several speakers at the recent Jewish Atlineage to the shtetls of Europe, or their lanta Solidarity Event. Your status as a Jew is not dependent Sephardic roots to Spain and Portugal, or their Mizrachic past through the lands on your political beliefs. A member of the Republican Jewish of the Middle East and North Africa, or Coalition and a member of the Jewish Dem- whose African American grandparent ocratic Council of America may disagree converted to Judaism three generations vehemently, but both are Jewish. A right- ago, or those of Hispanic, Asian or other wing Jew and a left-wing Jew are both Jews. ethnicities – all are Jewish. “No matter how one choses to make Your status as a Jew is not dependent on your opinions about Israel (or its Shabbat or how one defines their Judaism, whether one is a Jew by choice or prime minister). A Jewish supporter of Israeli settle- by birth, Sephardic, Mizrachi, Ashkements in the West Bank may revile and nazi, African, Asian or Latin American, be reviled by a Jew who opposes the Zion- Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative or Orthodox, it is imperative that we not ist enterprise, but both are Jewish. Your status as a Jew is not dependent demean, critique, or marginalize one another,” Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner on your religiosity. Orthodox Jews may adhere more of Temple Beth Tikvah told the solidarity strictly to religious law in their daily lives rally. No doubt, some of Rudy Giuliani’s than the secular Jew who goes to synagogue only on Rosh Hashanah and Yom best friends are Jewish. But no matter the definition employed, he is not “more of a Kippur, or not at all, but both are Jewish. Less observant Jews sometimes Jew than Soros.” A Jew is a Jew is a Jew. sound uncomfortable talking about And you, Rudy, are not a Jew. But thanks Orthodox men with their black coats, for playing. ■
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 13
Emily Zaghi is the first director of JFF-Atlanta.
Jewish Fertility Foundation Hires First Director Emily Zaghi is the first director of the Jewish Fertility Foundation-Atlanta. She joins the organization after serving in a variety of roles within the nonprofit sector. Her experience includes finance, accounting, development and operations. Most recently, she was an asset management accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. JFF provides financial assistance, educational awareness, and emotional support to Jewish people who have medical fertility challenges. Zaghi will manage the day-to-day operation of the JFF-Atlanta office. Some of her duties include fertility grants management, accounting, overseeing emotional support services, and developing local community-based educational events. The position is funded through a grant from The Marcus Foundation The hiring of a director comes as JFF expands its programs and vision nationally with the start of a second office in Cincinnati. Zaghi lives in Toco Hills with her husband, Moshe, and daughters Aura and Yaelle. ■
Amy Saul was promoted to partner of Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery
Amy Saul Promoted to Partner Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery announced last week that it promoted Amy Saul to partner effective Jan. 1. Following a Cobb County Superior 14 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Court judicial clerkship, Saul has exclusively practiced family law at the Atlanta divorce and family law firm. She handles all types of family law matters, with a focus on complex divorce and custody litigation. She also handles legitimation, paternity, child support, contempt, modifications and stepparent adoption actions. She is a trusted advisor and advocate for her clients. She also works as guardian ad litem, advocating for the best interest of the child. Saul is cochair of the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division family law committee, a barrister with Charles Longstreet Weltner Family Law Inn of Court, and a member of the junior board of directors for Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. ■
Jennifer Babbit Bodner is CEO and founder of Babbit Bodner.
Babbit Bodner Expands into Hospitality Industry Babbit Bodner, a Jewish-run communications agency, is expanding into the hospitality industry with two major new client partnerships. They are The Hub, a family-friendly food hall and music venue in Florida, and Tailgate Guys in Alabama, which offers tailgates at stadiums nationwide. The agency’s founder and CEO is Jennifer Babbit Bodner. She has represented such high-profile brands as Starbucks, Tiffany & Co., Nestle, Microsoft and eBay for over a decade as an executive vice president with Edelman and Grayling before starting her own agency in 2015. “We are thrilled to announce these strategic client partnerships that expand our focus into the hospitality sector,” she said. “Our mission is to launch these brands of today into the world of tomorrow, and each client offers unique value propositions that are poised to change how we envision hospitality-focused services.” The agency’s specialty areas include media relations, communications strategy, community management and brand development. ■
Bagels& Bands& Belugas
Kosher Eats • Live Music • Artist Market • Community Partners • Israeli Wine Tasting • And More!
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 10am - 3pm | Georgia Aquarium Celebrate Jewish Culture and Community at the 2nd Annual Atlanta Jewish Life Festival
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Israeli Wine Tasting
Atlanta Jewish Theatre Co
Ruby the Clown
Caricatures by Lindsay Henna Art by Enrapturing Entertainment Kool Kids Face Painting
Steve Grossman of Steve’s Live Music
Friction Webster Spring Street Band Mango Rabbi Jake Atlanta Jewish Boys Choir
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ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL Atlanta Jewish Life Festival in a Hot Minute By Roni Robbins The Atlanta Jewish Life Festival Jan. 26 at the Georgia Aquarium promises to have more of what made it successful its first year in 2019. That includes an expanded lineup of entertainment, partners, sponsors, food and all that makes the Atlanta Jewish community so special. The festival, presented by the Atlanta Jewish Times, is Atlanta’s largest single-day gathering promoting and celebrating Jewish and Israeli arts, food, music and culture while connecting the community to local synagogues, nonprofits and social action groups with the hope to further strengthen the bonds and understanding of Jewish beliefs, traditions and family. The AJLF was the brainchild of AJT owner-publisher Michael Morris, who saw a need to unite the Jewish community and teach its members about all its communal partner organizations have to offer. It had been several years since an Atlanta Jewish festival had been held and Morris thought it was time to revive the concept. While he believes year one was a success, he said the way to know if year two will follow suit: “If thousands of Jews show up to enjoy Jewish food, camaraderie, family fun, and visiting community partners, then it’s a success.” To prepare for the sequel to last year’s festival and ensure your visit flows swimmingly, we bring you the AJLF from bands to bagels. For starters, the nitty-gritty. The festival runs from
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The team behind the festival includes Karen Isenberg Jones and Aparna Sharma of Changers and Makers, Sarah Parrish and Gayle Rubenstein of Balloons Over Atlanta, and Kaylene Ladinsky, Jen Evans, Jodi Danis and Michael Morris of the AJT.
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and your ticket includes access to the entire aquarium ‘til closing time, 9 p.m. The entrance to the festival is through the Oceans Ballroom on the first level of the aquarium parking deck at 246 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd. Note that the parking deck and main aquarium entrance are at 357 Luckie St. This year the festival will have double the community partners as last year and four times as many sponsors, said AJT Managing Publisher and Editor Kaylene Ladinsky, festival director. To help participants set up and break down their displays, the AJT hired shlepers this year, Ladinsky added. “We worked hard this year from a logistical standpoint to try to make the load in and load out smoother for our partners, sponsors and vendors.” She said the goal was to “make the festival as enjoyable as possible
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for participants as well as attendees.” To that end, the AJT is rewarding its loyal readers and those who engage with the paper by offering a 10 percent discount promo code to those who respond by Jan. 24, LOYALTY2020. What a deal! What else is new this year? There are different artists in The Shuk, which also features Judaica gifts and children’s books, said Jen Evans, AJT community relations director who is director of festival entertainment and logistics. Also at the festival this year is free face painting and more magicians, Evans said. Plus, all the food is strictly kosher, overseen by the Atlanta Kosher Commission. For Your Entertainment “This year’s entertainment is very eclectic and quite diverse,” Evans said, with “bands ranging from fearless edgy rock to energetic hippyfolk-rock, an acoustic rabbi accompanied by a boys choir, Israeli folk music, songs and dancing. … I am very excited about the energy these live performances are bringing to Paul Sponaugle of Magic & Mirth the festival.” will entertain audiences. Steve Grossman of Steve’s Live Music is the master of ceremonies. Among the musical headliners are Hannah Zale, the frontwoman and songwriter for the group Zale. She has headlined well-known venues such as the Georgia Theatre and Eddie’s Attic. Zale will be wandering the festival playing her guitar and singing Jewish songs for children. Atlanta boy band Friction, a crowd-pleaser at last year’s festival, returns for a reprise performance. Another featured group is Webster, a band performing classics from the Grateful Dead to Van Morrison. Webster opened for Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes and Drive-By Truckers. The Atlanta Jewish Theatre Company will perform a short rendition from “Fiddler on the Roof.” Rabbi Jake, who travels around the globe entertaining children, will
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
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Steve Grossman, of the former Steve’s Live Music, will emcee the festival.
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Cotton Cravings is offering free cotton candy for the first 500 entrants.
be accompanied by the Atlanta Jewish Boys Choir. And both the Atlanta Jewish Academy and The Epstein School will entertain. Not to mention the roving entertainers: magicians from Magic & Mirth, digital pictures by Button It Up and Ruby the Clown. There will also be free henna art, face painting and caricatures. Main Stage Lineup 10 to 10:15 a.m. The Epstein School middle school fifth graders 10:25 to 10:40 a.m. Atlanta Jewish Academy 10:50 to 11:10 a.m. Rabbi Jake and the Atlanta Jewish Boys Choir 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Friction 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Zale 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. Webster 2:40 to 3 p.m. Atlanta Jewish Theatre Company. Food Glorious Food To satisfy your taste buds, The Nosh Pit food area features kosher foods from bagels to falafel. It’s all kosher “so everyone is comfortable eating anything,” said Gayle Rubenstein, vice president of sponsor Balloons over Atlanta. “There is a very large variety.” She and Sarah Parrish, manager of the company, are part of the event management team overseeing logistics. Morris said having kosher food also provides an opportunity for those ven-
Cinnaholic will sell its signature mini buns.
dors to present themselves to the Jewish community, which they don’t always have a chance to do. The food will be easy to eat such as sliders, pretzel dogs and nachos, Rubenstein said. “I think it’s a very good mix,” Parrish added, “from classic Mediterranean to noshing on cold deli foods and kosher Americana,” such as barbecue. Plus, free cotton candy for the first 500 entrants from Cotton Cravings, samples of kosher wine from The River Wine and kosher old-fashioned cocktails from Tip Top Proper Cocktails. Unlike last year, when The Nosh Pit was at the entrance to the festival, this year it will be located beyond the ballroom so attendees can experience the whole festival and visit the aquarium instead of primarily staying in the ballroom, the logistics duo explained. Morris said the move was also to provide an area for visitors to sit and eat after their purchases. “Nothing is terribly expensive,” Rubenstein said. “Everything is affordable [even] for a family coming with five or six kids.” Many of the food vendors are returning for the second year. Some are debuting new food or concepts at the festival, Parrish said. For instance, Toco Grill, formerly Pita Palace, is debuting its new name along with its new pastrami sizzlers. EB Catering Co. is also new to the Atlanta kosher scene, Parrish said.
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ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL Sample Menus Cinnaholic: Signature mini buns EB Catering Co.: Salmon sliders, arayes Lebanese burgers (pita halved, ground meat, tahini, cilantro garnish) For All Occasions: Pretzel dogs, nachos Keith’s Corner Bar-B-Que: Tomahawk brisket sandwich, BBQ beef sandwich, mac-n-cheese (pareve). Kosher Gourmet: Brunch menu including bagels, cream cheese, tuna, egg and whitefish salads. Toco Grill: Falafel, pastrami sliders (debut at festival), curly fries, nuggets, chicken poppers, Israeli salad. Ticket to Adventure Oceans Ballroom entrance, 246 Ivan Allen Jr. Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free for children 3 and under, $8 for children 4 to 12 years old, $22 per adults and children 13 and up, $65 family pass (two adults and four children). All tickets include entry to the Georgia Aquarium for the entire day. Tickets are normally $27 to $36 a day, depending on what time you arrive. So the festival rate is a substantial discount. But you can save even more by buying your tickets online in the next week with the special AJT
18 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
The Oceans Ballroom offers a great view of whales, sharks and more in the aquarium.
promo code LOYALTY2020 for our loyal readers and supporters, at www. AtlantaJewishLifeFestival.com. And don’t forget to save time after the festival and enjoy the aquarium ‘til the 9 p.m. closing time. While there, Morris suggests seeing the sea lion show. “My recommendation is not to miss it if you have time. Check the schedule” so you can work it into your visit, he said. Morris estimated he’s visited the aquarium about 300 times since his father, Bernie Marcus, started it in 2005. If you can only get away for a few
The band Friction was a standout act at the festival last year.
minutes, Morris said, sit in front of the window of the Ocean Voyager gallery. “It’s calming and there’s nothing like that view anywhere else in the United States.” His favorites also include watching the belugas and searching for an octopus because it hides half the time. Morris said the Georgia Aquarium has more water and more fish than any aquarium in the world, with the largest single tank at 6.4 million gallons. It has the second largest collection of whale sharks to one in Japan, which also has a slightly larger aquarium window, according to Morris.
Ruby the Clown is among the roving entertainers.
Park or Ride Parking is $10 for aquarium members and $12 for non-members and you can prepay online in advance for the day. There are 1,600 covered and rooftop spaces in the aquarium’s parking deck. If you choose not to take your own vehicle, it’s a 10 to 15-minute walk from the closest MARTA station, the Dome/Georgia World Congress Center/Philips Arena/CNN Center station on the blue/green line or the Civic Center/ Peachtree Center station on the red/gold line. ■ For tickets and more information, visit atlantajewishlifefestival.com.
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
New Aquarium Chair Koonin Dives Into the AJLF By Eddie Samuels
Marcus himself celebrated his 90th birthday at the aquarium in June of 2019 — where $117 million was As Jewish Atlanta gears up for the second annual raised, surpassing the $90 million goal in honor of the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival, so too does the Georgia birthday — which Leven emceed. Aquarium, behind new chairman “Steve really is an incredSteve Koonin. ible marketer and an advertising “What’s got me the most exgenius, and he has inherited an ited is that it’s the number one incredible staff. … He’s not new ticketed attraction in the state to the aquarium and he has aland that its been the catalyst for ready been a great contributor growth in downtown Atlanta who helped dramatically with our on the Westside,” he said of the marketing work, and he has full aquarium. “Truly, it’s been an ecoknowledge of the aquarium and nomic boon for the city. its operations.” Marcus said. “We Among those developments could not be happier to have him.” since it opened are the relocated Koonin discussed Marcus’ World of Coca-Cola, the Chick-filvision and the role it played in A College Football Hall of Fame, defining the Jewish connection to the Center for Civil and Human the aquarium. Rights and Skyview Atlanta Ferris “It was very important to BerWheel. nie that there was the ability for Koonin is also CEO of the Atkosher catering, and that’s not lanta Hawks, a role he has held always easy for a big venue,” Koosince 2014, and represents both nin said. “It has and will always be the team and State Farm Arena a home for the Jewish community — including its recent renovato come for meetings and celebraHis role as CEO of the Hawks is one of tion. His career spans some of the Koonin’s many responsibilities. Most recently, tions just like the festival we’re most iconic landmarks of Atlanta, he’s taken on the Georgia Aquarium’s top role. getting ready to have.” including Turner Entertainment Speaking of the festival, Koonin was thrilled that Networks and The Coca-Cola Company. He also sits on the aquarium was the venue for the event and referthe boards of the Fox Theatre, GameStop, Rubicon Global and is an executive committee member of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Stepping into the role in December following the departure of Mike Leven, Koonin has been on the board practically since the aquarium’s earliest days in 2005. “Mike and Bernie [Marcus] are the two prior chairmen, so it is certainly a daunting task to try to keep their enterprise going, but I feel very good about the opportunity,” Koonin said. “I very much want to help preserve and grow the incredible gift Bernie Marcus gave our city.” Marcus was very complimentary of both of his successors. “The aquarium has been under Mike Leven’s leadership through some really wonderful years both in terms of growth and in terms of making it the key attraction in the state of Georgia,” Marcus said. “Mike hoped when he retired that he would find someone as effective, if not more effective than he was.” As of the end of 2019, the aquarium celebrated a number of milestones in the decade, including developments in animal medicine, science, and even an Animal Planet series “The Aquarium.” Also in that decade were three new exhibits, “Dolphin Coast,” “Sea Lion SunTrust Pier 225,” and the seabird exhibit. Its largest ever expansion is still in the works and is expected to open in November with a focus on the role sharks play, beyond the fear they’ve inspired through film and TV portrayals. Asked about the Jewish history of the aquarium, including himself and his predecessors, Koonin said, “I’ve never thought about it in those terms, but it was certainly present even in the initial design.”
Eydie and Steve Koonin celebrate Bernie Marcus’ 90th birthday at the aquarium.
enced current headlines, including recent anti-Semitic attacks in New York and New Jersey. “I think now, more than ever, might be the very best time to get together and celebrate our community and continue to grow and reinforce the bonds within our community,” he said. As the festival quickly approaches, he maintained his excitement for its second year. “It’s great that the Jewish Times and Michael Morris have created an event that brings our community together to celebrate the good times, and I’m proud that we’re going to be hosting it,” he said. ■
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 19
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ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
Musician Hannah Zale Faces Challenges Head On By Kevin C. Madigan Singer and bandleader Hannah Zale will be playing two rather different sets at the upcoming Atlanta Jewish Life Festival Jan. 26, as a solo artist – performing for and with children – and fronting her own eponymous rock band. Zale, also a member of The Pussywillows, is busy, to put it mildly. Having signed with Chamblee-based Madison Records a couple of years back, she and her band will be rolling out a series of four EPs this year as a follow up to the 2018 “Eye See You” album. “We’re going to be releasing a video to go along with the EPs,” Zale told the AJT. “The theme is the passing of time. Visualize an hourglass. … It’s the first time I’ve tried to write something conceptual from start to finish. I’m trying to tell really compelling stories about what it is to be human.” She describes the project as a challenge but “I’m really looking forward to going back to my roots in theater.” Those roots include stints in community theater and school shows, she said, and “any opportunity to be on stage including performing later in my teen years in beauty pageants, so any chance I could get for two minutes for a solo, I would take.” Born in Warner Robins and now living in Brookhaven, Zale trained in opera at the Mercer School of Music and then attended the University of Georgia, obtaining degrees in social media theory and music business. Did any of that help in her singing career? “Yeah, you learn how to be a hustler, how to hack it with different personalities, how to be your own best cheerleader, and it’s provided me a solid network of authentic individuals who I really have a relationship with, who do all kinds of amazing things in the entertainment industry,” Zale said. She added, “Music business school for me was where my machete got handed to me, and they said ‘OK, here’s the jungle of the music industry. Now go figure it out.’” Zale recently joined an Atlanta creative agency called Oust with whom she is “launching a huge rebrand,” she said. “We
love to create an intimate connection with our audiences through this joyful, unconventional rock ‘n’ roll. We’ve cut our teeth in bars doing that, and we’re really interested in trying to celebrate the raw beauty of life and championing our own diversity and uniqueness.” The band’s output is for “those who want more
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than the predictable, formulaic, ready-made music of today, … people who feel unlike anyone else and crave music that doesn’t sound like anything else,” Zale wrote in a “brand brief” manifesto issued by the group. The statement continues: “We’re compelled to make this world better by leaving a lasting impression in the lives of those who encounter our energy.” Songwriting is a collaborative process for Zale and her band. “Usually I bring them a skeleton of lyrics and melody that I really believe in, and I try to pitch it to them by telling a transformative story about what I’m trying to say, and we are somehow able to create together something more beautiful than what I started with,” she said. The late Amy Winehouse was a big influence on Zale for her “complete wild abandon on stage and off stage. Her records really got me through some tough times,” she said, citing Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt as artists who became “extremely inspiring to me as a way to present myself as a female in this industry.” Achieving success in the business of music, however, is perilous at best. “The marketplace is really saturated with pretty amazing acts right now. It’s really hard to be seen and heard, and it’s hard to figure out why what you’re doing is not working,” Zale said. “We spent a bunch of money on a radio campaign that went nowhere. A lot of institutions in the music industry that traditionally people would go to for big achievements – or even smaller goals like getting played on the radio – those additional milestones are being eliminated slowly by competition and streaming.” Like many musicians, Zale has day jobs in order to do what she loves. Calling it “working to work,” she has toiled at seven synagogues since 2013, and is currently the youth director at Congregation Beth Shalom in Dunwoody, and a community outreach coordinator and “song leader” at In the City Camps. “This is a trying time in the young woman’s life – I’m in my late 20s – and I’m just trying to figure out who I am, what I am, and why, and I explore those things through music.” ■
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
Boy Band Friction Returns to Festival After Close Call By Kevin C. Madigan A quartet of young musicians that made a big impression at last year’s Atlanta Jewish Life Festival is set to make a return appearance at the event this month. They call themselves Friction, and the group, whose average age is 15, features Jackson Crim on lead guitar, Carson Wolff on bass, Sammy Effron on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Zach Friedman on drums. Friction formed when its members were all students of The Davis Academy. Their music teacher, Robert Michek, was a fan of classic rock and taught the boys a bunch of songs that were popular decades before they were born. Their setlist is replete with material from the likes of Deep Purple, Cream, Otis Redding, The Beatles and Van Halen. The latter’s drummer, Alex Van Halen, is a favorite of Zach’s and one of his influences. “These are classic songs,” said Zach’s mother Beth Friedman. “That’s why people our age love to listen to the band – it’s all our music.” Zach added, “My dad always played classic rock for me and my brothers when we were younger. He used to play in a band, so he had friends that
Friction has been together as a band since they were in sixth grade and 12 years old. Their average age is now 15. The band returns to the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival, where last year they received a great reception.
were musicians and they would come over to our house and just play music.” Friction received an award at the 2018 Atlanta Jewish Music Festival’s teen Battle of the Bands contest and plays numerous gigs around Atlanta, many of them for charity. But things could have turned out very differently. On March 8, 2019, shortly after last year’s AJLF performance, Zach was severely injured in a road accident not far from his Sandy Springs home. “He was on foot, crossing High Point Road, when he was struck by an oncoming car going 30 miles per hour,” his mother recalled. She arrived on the scene to find her son “laying
in the middle of the street and I think they were trying to get him on the stretcher. I didn’t know if he was going to die,” she said. Zach suffered multiple fractures, a ruptured spleen, a punctured lung, and a brain bleed, and spent the next four days in an intensive care unit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “The outpouring from the community was unbelievable,” Friedman said. “The people at the hospital actually asked us if we were famous because they had never seen so many people come and visit. We had meals brought to us every night; people dropped off snacks so my other two boys had food to take to school. The community was amazing.”
She continued, “After he was released, he ended up going to my parents’ house because they have an elevator; he was in a wheelchair, so he was able to get up and down. He was out of school (and away from the band) for a few weeks. We didn’t know what was going to happen.” Although the family wasn’t sure he would be able to go to Israel, he did, and “ended up graduating and taking his finals and everything. It was a total miracle.” Zach said he has no residual effects from the accident and is totally recovered. During his convalescence he received “a really nice message of encouragement” from Billy Joel’s drummer Liberty DeVitto, at the behest of Michek. The band is back in action and gearing up for their upcoming shows. They practice every week and use Sandy Springs Music as a frequent rehearsal space, according to Friedman. David Szikman, the owner, “has been such a great supporter of these guys, and so helpful in helping them stay together as a band and learn new songs, and giving suggestions,” she said. And Zach seems unstoppable. “I’m definitely going to continue doing this and having fun with it,” he said. ■
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 23
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
See Steve Live, Hear the Music By Eddie Samuels Perhaps best known for the nowclosed Steve’s Live Music, Steve Grossman is once again emceeing the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival, which brings together a diverse community he says mirrors his music taste. “I love all kinds of music, everything from klezmer to bluegrass and folk,” he said. “Steve’s live music was holding over 10 shows a week, everything from jazz and Brazilian to flamenco, Cuban, rock and country.” As for how he started his life in music professionally, Grossman says it happened after meeting a songwriter named Michael Levine. “We became good friends and I caught the bug,” he said. “So I retired from UPS and opened a music venue, which is a pretty stupid thing to do — crazy but a lot of fun.” After five years, Grossman’s venue eventually shuttered its doors, but that was certainly not the end of his musical aspirations. “The goal was to build an appreciation of music in Sandy Springs. The music was great, but I realized I didn’t want to run a restaurant, which isn’t something I thought about when I was running a music venue. I ended up being the cook, and that was definitely never the plan,” he said, laughing. Grossman still hosts concerts, though now in his own home rather than at Steve’s Live Music. “Once every six weeks or so I bring in people from around the world and I have a music room that seats about 80 or 90 people,” he said. “I’ve also been booking music and going to some showcases to put some artists in regional theaters.” Sandy Springs has also been a focus for him, particularly with the recent opening of the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. “I’m actually booking musicians for a jazz series next year,” he said. “We also provide live jazz at The Select every Saturday night and have songwriters there every Friday night. Being retired gives me the chance to work the hours I want on the projects I want, if you can call that retirement.” In discussing the state of live music in Atlanta, Grossman noted that some better-known venues have closed their doors in recent years, from his own to The Masquerade (which suffered construction damage at the end of 2019). 24 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Steve Grossman speaks at Steve’s Live Music.
Grossman maintained that music in Atlanta was a powerful force. “New venues are opening up all the time too,” he said. “Venkman’s and The Vista Room opened up right around the time that I closed, and they have really taken off. And the size of Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center is going to allow us to bring live music to people in a much bigger way than has ever been possible in that area.” Grossman, turning his attention to the AJLF, explained that he saw his role as a chance to provide some background information to those in attendance about the musicians featured. “I’m a huge supporter of live music in Atlanta, so I will do anything I can to get people out to see these groups,” he said. “If it ends with you seeing them and don’t know anything about them or where to see them again, it doesn’t help anybody.” This year, unlike last, will only feature one stage, right in the center of the Oceans Ballroom, and Grossman explained that music’s role at the AJLF was key. “It’s central to pretty much everything, I mean, no one doesn’t listen to music,” he said. “It’s the background to life. It really is the core that brings people together. It’s a thing that everyone can enjoy together.” Grossman also shared his advice for those in attendance, which stretched beyond music. “Try to embrace the whole experience; there are so many different things that encompass Jewish life, whether that’s art, music, religion, social action,” he said. “The idea is to embrace the whole concept of Jewish Life.” ■
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
Webster Brings Summer of Love Sound to Atlanta By Eddie Samuels Touring its way through Atlanta since 2005, one of the many musical acts featured at the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival Jan. 26 is Webster, with a jam-band feeling and some classic hits. The band formed when guitarists Bill Chanler and Byron Alterman teamed up. “I moved from San Francisco Bay Area the year before and was looking for other musicians to play with. Through social media I found some like-minded musicians, in particular Byron,” Chanler said. “We were the first two and later that year we found our bass player [Roger Krystopa].” The band’s name belonged to an unusual character they met after a late practice in 2005. “Webster Humpage,” Chandler said. “We dropped the last name after the first year since it sounded a bit weird to people, but he made an impression on us.” From there they tried out a few keyboardists and drummers over the years, but since adding Diane Rabson and Jay Smith respectively, the band has been together in its current iteration for about six years. “We’re a fusion of many different types of music, but at our core we’re a jam band style group,” Chanler said. “We play
Jay Smith, Bill Chanler, Diane Rabson, Byron Alterman and Roger Krystopa form Webster.
Webster is playing at the AJLF for the first time this year.
Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, but we also mix in some R&B and some reggae, whether that’s Bob Marley, Tom Petty, Rolling Stones – we’ll throw in a Prince song here and there.” Chanler added that the band follows the philosophy behind a Grateful Dead performance. “We’ve got two sets of music and like to string together songs and make a show out of it rather than just a bunch of individual numbers,” he said. Their following is also a unique combination, as emcee Steve Grossman described it, “a little bit Jewish and a little bit hippie.”
“Yeah, three of five of us are Jewish, and for whatever reason, as a longtime Deadhead myself, that music tracks and has a strong Jewish foundation,” Chanler said. “It is nondenominational, but just the connections that we have, yeah I think we have a decent Jewish following.” The group, playing the AJLF for the first time this year, is no stranger to festivals. “We’ve played the Candler Park Music Festival since the event started; we’ve opened every Saturday each year,” Chanler said. “We really like the festivals and we tend to get invited back to a lot of those gigs year after year.” The band is especially active intown,
and also plays at the Lake Claire Community Land Trust and several neighborhood events each year. “Every year we get a little bit more in terms of word of mouth and outreach,” he said. “Every year we’re adding more venues in greater Atlanta, and we probably average about 15 to 20 gigs a year.” What about festival atmospheres, in particular, keep the band excited? Chanler said he thinks their music really resonates with a crowd. “It’s a very rudimentary thing, a tangible energy,” he said. “Kids identify with us. The structure of music that we’re playing is verse-chorus. … It’s melodic music and easy to grasp on to. It’s a very organic energy and it’s a fun experience when people come and see us; I love the interaction.” In addition, the chance to reach an audience that may never have heard of them or their music before is a boon at festivals. “We love to expose ourselves to a new audience — I mean we have a decent-sized following of regulars that know us and see us — but the festivals typically allow us to spread our wings and grow organically,” he said. “We love sharing a stage with other musicians and sharing our music with them and vice versa.” ■
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 25
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
Rabbi’s Aquarium Tours Foster Jewish Wisdom By Paula Baroff For most people, Judaism may not be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting aquariums. However, for Rabbi Mordechai Becher, animals are a source of infinite Jewish learning. Becher has given tours all around the world in aquariums and zoos, sharing lessons from the Torah and Talmud with fresh Jewish learning at each exhibit. So it’s no surprise that Becher, Australian senior lecturer for Gateways, which offers continuing Jewish education, will be giving such a tour at the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival Jan. 26, sponRabbi Mordechai Becher leads sored by the Atlanta Scholars Kollel. a Jewish tour around a zoo. Growing up in Australia, he felt a great love of animals from a young age. “I had a dog for 13 years. One of my favorite tral points for bird crossing in the world.” activities was going to the zoo.” That fos- He gave the example of the stork, which tered his interest in zoos and aquariums crosses the land during the month of Nisas he grew older, while san, when the exodus from spending many years Egypt took place. Called studying in yeshivas and a chassidah in Hebrew, rabbinical schools. the stork’s name shares a Drawing from a varoot with the word chesed, riety of Jewish sources, meaning compassion, Becher’s tours connect anigiving its crossing at that mals to people and to Jupoint in the Jewish calendaism. “Let’s say we come dar deeper meaning. across a monkey,” he said. “I often talk about “There I would mention animal life,” Becher said a few things.” Becher deof his rabbinic teaching. scribed cases where it’s reHe works as a tour guide Becher poses with a bird. quired by halachah, or Jewin the summers and has ish law, to wash your hands, for example, done these types of tours at places such before eating a meal. This is supposed to as the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada in be done by human power – with intention, Toronto, the Toronto Zoo, and the Dallas Becher said. “There’s actually an opinion Zoo, and in a number of other countries. that if you train a primate, they’re close Though he’s visited Atlanta in the past, enough to a human that it’s considered to this will be his first time leading Jewish be an intentional action.” tours at the Georgia Aquarium. Rabbi Becher spoke about how the There are many examples Becher land Israel inhabits is “one of the most cen- enthusiastically described of some of the
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Fish can be a source of Jewish learning, according to Rabbi Becher.
fascinating things people may learn during the series of aquarium tours that will be happening throughout the day at the AJLF. One of the more famous examples of how sea creatures connect to Judaism is the blue shade mentioned multiple times in the Torah, known as “techelet,” that was used to dye tzitzit, tallit fringes. “The knowledge of how to produce that was lost in the Roman occupation. There was a Chasidic rabbi in the 19th century who spent years speaking to aquariums,” and eventually came to the conclusion that the sea creature that provided the color was a cuttlefish, a type of squid, Becher said. However, the chief rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yitzhak Herzog, rejected his thesis. “He came to the conclusion it was not a sea squid but was actually a type of sea snail.” There are still ongoing debates about what type of sea animal provided the source of techelet. Another example Becher gave connecting fish and Judaism was about the vastness of animal life in the ocean. “The largest animal to have ever lived on the planet, which is a blue whale – a human could swim through its aorta. An African bull elephant can be up to 12 tons and a whale up to 200 tons,” he said. “King David described the sea as ‘there are creatures without number, massive and small creatures.’ In fact, the sea contains the largest creatures and also the smallest. It’s estimated the number of microorganisms in the sea is actually greater than the number of stars in the universe.” King David’s wonder at the sea was just one reference to animals that can be found in Jewish texts. There is a story Becher may mention from the book of Kings in which King Solomon receives gifts of parrots, monkeys and ivory. The gifts came from a place called Tarshish,
which appears from the types of animals that might be in India or Africa, Becher said. The multitude of animals in existence is intimately connected to Torah and Judaism, he said. “The Tanach mentions about 150 different species of animals. Animals feature a lot in the Torah and different attributes, character traits, are represented by animals.” In fact, the number of animals mentioned in parts of the Tanach such as Song of Songs has many Jewish interpretations, according to Becher. “Some understand that as meaning the animals’ very existence is a song to G-d,” he said. Others say it has more to do with human connection with the animals and G-d, or other various poetic and religious interpretations. “Either way,” Becher said, “it identifies every animal with a different song.” Along with running the tours, Becher has a prolific background in other aspects of Jewish teaching. He co-authored two books and wrote his own, called “Gateway to Judaism,” which gives the reader accessible insights into Jewish practice. “The book is basically entitled the how, what, and why of Jewish life. I try to cover virtually every aspect of Jewish life,” he said. “It’s a text that’s used for converts, but also used by people to study together.” The United States Army even bought a couple hundred copies of the book for their chaplains to learn from, Becher said. From a Jewish perspective, he sees one of the roles of people as protecting and conserving animal life. As Becher’s formative connection to animals began in Australia, the devastation of the widespread bush fires has been difficult to watch. “It’s unbelievably upsetting,” he said. “It’s horrific to see the decimation of koalas and kangaroos.” Though his main concern is the safety of the people in Australia who are suffering from the fires, “there’s a component to the animals in the helplessness of the animals. “We have a stewardship; we have obligations toward the animal world to protect and care for it.” His tours touch on this aspect of life, as Becher draws and cultivates intimate spiritual connections between people and animals. “I’m hoping that it will give people a better appreciation of the incredible world that we live in. We take a lot of things for granted,” he said of the upcoming aquarium tours. “I think it’s an amazing, an incredible world. To appreciate the creatures. The interconnectivity, the fact we’re all connected through the ecosystem. It’s not only physical; there’s a moral ecosystem.” ■
ATLANTA JEWISH LIFE FESTIVAL
Clowning Around Jewish Atlanta By Paula Baroff When Reuben Haller moved to Atlanta in 1994, he had no idea he would end up dedicated to clowning as an art form. Known as Ruby the Clown, Haller was a teacher 22 years ago who didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. He ended up going to Atlanta’s circus camp. When he was asked if he wanted to be a clown, Haller responded that he didn’t know anything about being a clown, but the owner encouraged him to just try it. “When I put on a clown nose the angels sang and that was my destiny,” he said. “I felt this freedom and power and it was magic.” With years of experience working with children and families, Haller is looking forward to entertaining guests at the Atlanta Jewish Life Festival. “You’ll recognize me because I’ll be dressed differently than everyone else,” he said, laughing. Three years after he became a clown, in 1997, Haller was hired by New York’s Big Apple Circus to be a hospital clown. “Oh, that was just the best thing ever,” he said. “I’m still a hospital clown, in my 20th year of doing that. I call it ‘essential clowning’ for children and family and staff.” Haller now works at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals. He is part of a company called Humorology Atlanta, stylized as HA!, which does “essential clowning” for children Reuben Haller is an entertainer, who are sick or injured and their families. musician and clown. Haller is the site supervisor for HA! At Egleston, a CHOA hospital. Haller sees clowning as a very human art form that reflects human flaws back to people in a humorous way. “We highlight foibles in the human character that everyone has, but everyone tries so hard to hide. But clowns make their own foibles glaringly obvious. I’ve never used the word foibles so many times in one sentence.” Clowning is full of its own surprises. Haller described a time he was in a pavilion full of tables. As part of strolling entertainment, he makes sure to carry props around with him. He took out a small toy duck to make a joke about pressed duck. “I put the duck down on the table and pressed down on the duck and the whole table collapsed!” he said. Mishaps aside, his clowning career has been replete with fulfilling opportunities. “I had the great and good fortune to do some special events for Cirque du Soleil, and throwing three dozen enormous beach balls off the World of Coke museum was a lot of fun,” Haller said, remembering his involvement with the museum’s grand opening. Along with clowning, Haller is a musician, entertainer and artist. He creates visual art, including a series of Hebrew calligraphy that comprised of Hebrew words and phrases surrounded by scenes or intricate designs. Originally from San Francisco, Haller was a student Zionist activist at San Francisco State University. He was also an activist in the 1980s for Soviet Jews who opposed the Soviet government and weren’t allowed to emigrate. “Among many other protests I helped organize, I did a 21day hunger strike for refuseniks.”
Known as Ruby the Clown, Reuben Haller entertains at various events.
When Haller first put on a clown nose, he felt it was destiny.
Haller is now very involved in the Atlanta Jewish community. He is a member of the band at Congregation Bet Haverim and also leads children’s High Holy Day services there. His wife, McKenzie Wren, is a past president of the synagogue and is still involved with the board. Haller views his work clowning as satisfying some intrinsic human experience, challenging artists to make artistic decisions that connect with their audience on a deeper level. “Clowns deal with the real world. We don’t
have set scripts. We just respond to people in as honest and stupid a way that we can,” Haller said, adding that clowning is basically improvisation. “Clowns find great delight in life and great frustration with life. Clowns magnify what everyone goes through so people can look at a clown and laugh at themselves as they’re laughing at a clown. We all stumble; we all fall. Clowns do those things all the time. We recognize our own humanity in clowns.” ■
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 27
ARTS Abandoned Mattresses Represent Homelessness to Galex By Jan Jaben-Eilon Not one to shy away from trying something different, local activist and journalist Audrey Galex, founder of the Abandoned Mattress Project, is displaying her unusual hobby in art galleries this month. About four years ago, Galex was volunteering at a Presbyterian night shelter where she observed people placing single mattresses on the floor for that night’s sleeping. It was that, she surmised, or flattened cardboard boxes on the streets and under bridges where the homeless usually sleep. “I’d see homeless people and I’d see mattresses on the side of the road, and I realized that mattresses were a form of metaphor for what these people needed,” she said. “Mattresses are a symbol of having a home,” she stated. Galex started photographing mattresses wherever she saw them, seeking different angles and contrasts, highlighting fabrics and materials, in close-ups and in wide shots. “A mattress on the side of a road is trash, but you can find art in them,” she said. She realized that “we spend so much
28 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Audrey Galex has collected more than 500 photos of abandoned mattresses.
time on mattresses. We are born on them, die on them, cry, sleep, there’s so much emotional life spent on mattresses. And yet, we don’t repurpose them when we are done with them.” Galex became known for her photo hobby. “Almost every day I receive photos of mattresses from friends. It’s invited people to notice.” Now her mattress collection numbers over 500. When Galex decided to display the photos in art galleries, however, she had
Leon. to winnow down that num“I grew up outside New ber to about 30. The Galeria York City and I was always Regina in Oakhurst held drawn to beauty,” she said. an artist reception for the Elfersey pointed out that Abandoned Mattress Projthe proceeds from the sale ect Jan. 10, and the Aimee of Galex’s framed photos Jewelry and Fine Art Gallery will support the Initiative on Ponce de Leon Avenue, for Affordable Housing, will display the photos Jan. which helps metro Atlanta 23-31. families overcome housing The photos, selling for insecurity with comprehenon average $100, will raise sive social services. awareness of the plight of This is not the first exhihomeless in Atlanta. “The Aimee Jewelry and Fine Art Gallery owner bition Elfersy has held for a sight of an abandoned matAmy Elfersy says the cause important to her, howtress invites us to reflect on Abandoned Mattress ever. She exhibited “art from people who have no place to Project hit a nerve. the heart” that cardiac pacall home because of the high tients painted under the tutelage of master cost of housing,” she said. Amy Elfersy, owner of the Aimee artist and Emory cardiac patient Weyland Jewelry and Fine Art Gallery, said that Moore, with proceeds going to the Emory she usually only exhibits fine art and Cardiology Department. Of the Abandoned jewelry, but that Galex’s project “hit a Mattress Project, she said, “it’s a very tearnerve for me and I want to give back to jerking idea.” As for Galex, mattresses apparently society.” Elfersy, who used to work for the Montreal Jewish Vocational Services, have special meaning. Her family was in said having a gallery was always a dream the mattress manufacturing business for of hers, which she realized six years ago three generations, including her greatwhen she opened her shop on Ponce de grandfather, grandparents and father. ■
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 29
COMMUNITY Repair the World Leads MLK Day of Service A national organization that mobiMore than 700 volunteers and 18 Jewlizes Jews to volunteer is coordinating ish organizations will join with 12 service the Atlanta Jewpartners, includish communiing many in the ty’s Day of SerJewish commuvice Jan. 20 nity, to honor Dr. on the Martin King and his legLuther King Jr. acy Jan. 20. Some holiday. of the #ActNow This year’s projects include: MLK Day of Serbuilding a walkvice in honor of ing trail at The the civil rights William Breman leader is being Jewish Home coordinated by and reading with Repair the World, seniors there, which launched karaoke with seits eighth comniors at Berman munity site in Commons, and Eric Robbins is president and CEO of Atlanta in 2018. creating a Holothe Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, The organization caust memorial among organizations participating creates opportuwith The Daffodil in the MLK Day of Service. nities to show up Project at Brook in solidarity, deepen learning and live out Run Park in Dunwoody. the Jewish value of tikkun olam – repairing “As we celebrate the proud history the world. of the civil rights movement in our city,
30 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
we can’t forget that today Atlanta has the highest income inequality in the country,” said Eric Robbins, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “Atlanta is so alive with the talent and ingenuity of the diverse people that live here. On MLK Day, we can find each other and reflect on the unique contribution each of us can make. Service translates our hope into action. And with collective action, we come closer to Dr. King’s vision of racial equity, economic justice and peace,” Robbins said. The Federation is among organizations that have committed to making Jan. 20 a day “on,” not a day off, according to a press release about the event. “We’re excited that our long-time commitment to service on MLK Day is now being spearheaded by Repair the World through Federation Innovation’s PROPEL grant,” Robbins said. “Federation is here to care for, connect, and strengthen our Jewish community, and we can’t think of a better way to accom-
plish that than by serving together. Giving generously of your time, resources and abilities always brings people together.” In its inaugural year in Atlanta the Repair team met with more than 60 community-based organizations, engaged more than 600 participants and facilitated 55 programs on food justice, education and housing and homelessness in the city. There are more than 700 volunteer slots available during MLK weekend for the Day of Service with opportunities for community members 4 years old and up. Projects take place across metro Atlanta, including Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, Lindbergh, Buckhead, Westside, West End and Grant Park. Volunteers will visit with seniors, prepare meals for those facing food insecurity, clean up local green spaces and provide hygiene items to local shelters, among other efforts. ■ To sign up for a service opportunity, visit werepair.org/mlk-day/?city=atlanta.
Holocaust Remembrance Day Recalls Rescue of Danish Jews By Jan Jaben-Eilon The remarkable story of how the majority of Danish Jews were saved during the Holocaust will be shared by several notable speakers at the annual observance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day sponsored by Am Yisrael Chai 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Byers Theatre at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. Former Danish Chief Rabbi Bent Melchior will be the keynote speaker at the event, entitled “Rescue and Refuge,” recalling how his father, Chief Rabbi Marcus Melchior, warned the Jewish community of an impending round-up and deportation, and encouraged them to hide or escape. With the help of the Danish resistance movement, 7,220 of Denmark’s 7,800 Jews were evacuated by sea to neutral Sweden, where they were welcomed as refugees. “It’s such an uplifting story,” exclaimed Dr. Andrea Videlefsky, president of Am Yisrael Chai. She recounts the tale of how Rabbi Marcus Melchior was alerted of the Nazi round-up scheduled for Rosh Hashanah 1943 and he, in turn,
Gitte Tobin’s father was a member of the Danish resistance movement, which fought the Nazis and helped save the majority of the Danish Jewish community.
Bent Melchior is a former Danish chief rabbi. His father alerted the Jewish community about the impending deportation by the Nazis.
told the Jewish community not to attend services. They listened, and most of the community was saved, including the Melchior family and the family of Cantor Eugene Goldberger, whose grandson, Rabbi Menashe Goldberger of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel, will give the d’var Torah at the event. “I knew my grandfather very well,” said Rabbi Goldberger. The Atlanta rabbi’s father was 9 years old at the time, and the rabbi said he “grew up on those stories.” The Atlanta rabbi added that he is looking forward to meeting Rabbi Melchior. “I want to ask him to share some
memories of my grandfather and my father.” Videlefsky said this year’s focus on the Danish Jewish community becoming refugees in Sweden is very timely. “This theme is so current,” she said. “It’s a story of hope.” She added that the event, which was planned for a year, is expected to sell out. Accompanying Rabbi Melchior in lighting the Holocaust memorial candle will be Museum of History and Holocaust Education docent Gitte Tobin, whose father was a member of the Danish resistance. “He was a boy scout at the
time. The troop leader would listen to the BBC and print the news. The scouts would then throw the flyers from the roof. Later he also helped transport guns and blow up Nazi supply routes,” said Tobin who was born in Copenhagen. It was the Danish resistance movement, along with many ordinary Danish citizens, that helped organize the boat owners who transported the Jews to Sweden. The rescue of the Danish Jewish community is thought to be one of the largest resistance actions of any country occupied by Nazi Germany. Even those 464 Danish Jews who were captured and deported to a Nazi concentration camp were supported by the Danish government and most survived the war. Originally from Germany, Bent Melchior moved with his family to Denmark in 1933 when he was 10 years old. He returned to Denmark after the war. He became a rabbi and after his father’s death in 1969, he succeeded him as the chief rabbi of Denmark. Melchior’s son, Michael, is a rabbi of a synagogue in Jerusalem. He’s a former member of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, and also is chief rabbi of Norway. ■
Torah Scroll Rededicated at Ahavath Achim By Dave Schechter A Torah that survived the decimation of Polish Jewry during the Holocaust was rededicated Jan. 5 at Ahavath Achim Synagogue more than four decades after the scroll from the town of Ozorkow was presented to the congregation. Karen Lansky Edlin was present when her parents, Ruben and Lola Lansky, presented the Ozorkow Torah to Ahavath Achim in August 1977 and again as the sacred scroll was rededicated. Ruben had grown up in Ozorkow and Lola’s grandparents lived in the town. They learned of its survival during a trip to Poland in 1975 and arranged with Tobias Drajhorn, the lone Jew then living in Ozorkow, to transfer the scroll to Ahavath Achim. Lansky Edlin and her husband Andy Edlin arranged for the scroll, thought to be 150 to 200 years old, to be refurbished this past year by a sofer in Miami, who restored its text – letter by letter – to a luster that had worn away over the decades. In rededicating the scroll, Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal linked the departed of Ozorkow and the congregants of Ahavath Achim, saying, “Their souls live on and are now tied with ours.
Ahavath Achim rededicated a Torah scroll from the Polish town of Ozorkow on Jan. 5. The scroll survived the Holocaust and was first presented to the congregation by Ruben and Lola Lansky in 1977.
Karen Lansky Edlin stands with the Ozorkow Torah and its mantle, which she designed. Standing behind her is Rabbi Neil Sandler. The Torah, which her parents presented to the congregation in 1977, was rededicated Jan. 5.
“When we use this scroll, we become the vessel that is sanctified,” Rosenthal said. Lansky Edlin told her fellow congregants about the symbolism of the Torah mantle that she had designed and sewn, including remembrances of the Holocaust and symbols of the 12 tribes of Israel, just as stained glass windows in Ahavath Achim’s sanctuary remember the 12 sons of Joseph.
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Hadassah Ketura’s Eclectic Installation Israel, Mexico and Japan were well represented at the Hadassah Greater Atlanta Ketura group’s 2020 installation of officers and board Jan. 5 at Mo Mo Ya Japanese Restaurant in Buckhead. Sheila Dalmat, Hadassah Greater Atlanta’s immediate past president, discharged the 2019 Ketura board with thanks for their service and installed the 2020 board. The theme of the installation was the Chagall windows at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, Israel. Each incoming leader was given a photo of one of the windows to inspire them in their respective roles. Helene Jacoby, Ketura’s immediate past president, presented outgoing president, Maxine Schein, with a donation from the board in her honor to benefit the Hadassah-sponsored Meir Shfeyah Youth Village in Israel as a token of their appreciation for her leadership. “Matza and Tortillas: Jews South of the Border,” specifically Mexico, was the subject of the talk by Hazel Gold, former chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Emory University. She said that Mexico has the third largest Jewish population in
32 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Helene Jacoby, Ketura past president, presents outgoing president Maxine Schein a donation in her honor to the Meir Shfeyah Youth Village in Israel.
Ketura 2020 board, front: Maxine Schein, Suzy Wilner, Betsy Lessans, Dale Millman, Joan Solomon, Fran Redisch, Katie Kloder and Susan Adair. Back: Gerry Taratoot, Bernice Mellman, Sandy Bailey, Peri Rosner, Leora Wollner, and Arlene Glass. Not pictured: Rosalie Agrow and Carol Schneider.
Latin America behind Argentina and Brazil. The majority of Jews are in big cities such as Mexico City, but they also can be found in the smaller areas. In its cities, Mexico has 25 synagogues, kosher restaurants, and 14 Jewish day schools. Population remains stable with a higher proportion of Sephardic Jews to Ashkenazi and American Jews. There is strong affiliation with Jewish organizations. Eighty to eighty-five per-
cent of parents send their children to Jewish immigration. Anti-immigration Jewish schools. Intermarriage is much laws in 1931 were passed during the Great less common than Depression, and in the U.S. Ten persentiment against cent of Mexican Jews increased. Jews marry outA law was side the faith compassed expelling pared to a higher Jews from low-level percentage in the marketplaces such U.S. Chicago has as peddling. This rethe largest Mexisulted in a positive can-Jewish populaoutcome, however, tion outside of the since Jews went Southwest. into more prosperJews in Mexico ous fixed-estabhave a long history lished businesses, dating back to 1492 manufacturing and in Spain and the politics. Hazel Gold accepts a Hadassah certificate public edict of exGold described of appreciation from Helene Jacoby. pulsion in which the Jews of Mexico the Jews had four months to convert to as more of a “salad bowl” than a “mixing Catholicism or leave. The goal was to pot” with the divergent groups not blendpurge Spain of Jews. The edict of expul- ing well but joining together when necession extended to sary. There are sevthe new world as en distinct ethnic well, unless purity groups in the Jewish of blood certificates community based were furnished (for on language and example, no Jewish countries of origin. or Muslim blood). Last year, the AtlanMany Jews were ta Jewish Film Festiable to buy the cerval featured “Leona” tificates when they about a young Jewreached the Ameriish woman from cas, regardless of Mexico City. bloodlines. In closing, Gold Mexico has said, “I think there’s had a history of the something wonderstruggle between ful about talking church and state. about Mexico while Sheila Dalmat accepts trees for Israel in Its first constitution eating Japanese her honor and a Hadassah certificate of appreciation from Maxine Schein for made Catholicism food; is this a great performing the Ketura installation. the official religion country or what?” and no Jews could become citizens. UnPlease visit www.hadassah.org/atder Santa Anna in 1843, this law was re- lanta for more information about Hadaspealed, which opened the door for more sah and the Ketura group. ■
COMMUNITY BEST OF JEWISH ATLANTA
B’nai Mitzvah Notices: December Chloe Kentor, daughter of Lauren and Brian Kentor. Elle Weiner, daughter of Michele and Alan Weiner.
January Samuel Isaac Montag, son of Erika and John Montag, Jan. 11. Hannah Mae Silver, daughter of Jennifer Levine Silver and Adam Silver, Jan. 11.
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 33
CALENDAR annual cycle of Torah reading, consider joining this new class by Rabbi Gedalya Hertz on the weekly parshah. Free. For more information, www.bit.ly/34E5JS1.
Shemot Friday, January 17, 2020, light candles at 5:35 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020, Shabbat ends at 6:34 p.m. Va‘eira Friday, January 24, 2020, light candles at 5:42 p.m. Saturday, January 25, 2020, Shabbat ends at 6:40 p.m.
FRI., JAN. 17 – SUN., JAN. 19
YJP International Shabbaton – Presented by Chabad Intown on the BeltLine, from 10 a.m. Friday to noon Sunday. YJP International invites you to step behind the curtain for an unparalleled weekend of exclusive access into the heart of the Crown Heights Chabad community. Together with hundreds of likeminded young Jews, discover the eclectic culture, entrepreneurial spirit, permeating spirituality, and vibrant urban kosher foodie scene that attracts visitors from around the country. Registration is open. Book your flights early! Tickets from Atlanta are around $135 right now. YJP Intown, let’s represent with a big group. For tickets, location and more information, www.cypshabbat.nyc/rsvp.
Jewish Music Festival and The Weber School. Free. For more information, www.bit.ly/33ToaBw.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 19
ish thriller “Dinner at the Center of the Earth.” We’ll meet at Brash Coffee within the dining area of the Atlanta History Center. Free. For more information, www.bit.ly/38vqrGh.
Kabbalah and Coffee – Chabad Intown on the BeltLine, 730 Ponce De Leon Place NE, Atlanta, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Discuss, explore and journey through the world of Jewish mystical teaching and learn how to apply these profound teachings to your daily life. This ongoing class probes the esoteric through a unique program of English text-based study. No prior kabbalistic experience required. Free. For more information, www. chabadintown.org.
Young Professionals Bureka Baking Night at OVS – Congregation Or VeShalom, 1681 North Druid Hills Road NE, Brookhaven, from 6 to 9 p.m. For young professionals interested in making burekas to learn how to make Sephardic hot pockets. Free. For more information, www.orveshalom.org.
Beth Shalom Mini Movie Festival Presents “The Book Thief” – ConGive the Gift of Life at Beth Shalom’s Blood Drive – Congregation Beth Sha-
FRIDAY, JANUARY 17
Acoustic Shabbat Café @ Crema Espresso Gourmet – 2458 Mt Vernon Road, Dunwoody, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Join Rabbi Brian Glusman, Drew Cohen and teen musicians from The Weber School for an evening of music and Shabbat prayers. Food and wine available for purchase. This interactive Shabbat-themed experience is sponsored by the Atlanta
lom, 5303 Winters Chapel Road, Dunwoody, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Be a hero and make your appointment today. Free. For more information, www. rcblood.org/2PGnUjU or 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Book Club – “Dinner at the Center of the Earth” – Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road NW, Atlanta, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Join The Sixth Point to discuss Nathan Englander’s Jew-
Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at:
Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events two weeks in advance. Contact community relations director, Jen Evans, for more information at email@example.com. 34 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
gregation Beth Shalom, 5303 Winters Chapel Road, Dunwoody, from 7 to 9 p.m. Based on the beloved international bestselling book. “The Book Thief” tells the story of Liesel, an extraordinary and courageous young girl sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. “The Book Thief “is a life-affirming story of survival and resilience of the human spirit. Free. For more information, www. bit.ly/2RGP9xw.
MONDAY, JANUARY 20
Divorce & Separation Support Group – Jewish Family & Career Services, 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, from 6 to 8 p.m. Join this biweekly support group facilitated by Helen Kotler Ph.D., LPC. $25 per session. To join the group, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404210-9571.
Monday Night Parshah – Chabad of North Fulton, 10180 Jones Bridge Road, Alpharetta, from 7 to 8 p.m. weekly. As Chabad of North Fulton begins the new
TUESDAY, JANUARY 21
Jewish National Fund Presents Rick Krosnick – City Springs, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. JNF presents Rick Krosnick, JNF chief development officer, for a talk titled, “Report: Growing JNF Atlanta.” Free, For more information, www.bit.ly/36z1sjR.
Heroes of the Holocaust – Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway NE, Marietta, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. During the dark days of Nazi-occupied Europe, Jewish and non-Jewish men and women took heroic actions to save Jews from extermination. Join Judy Schancupp in examining some of the courageous individuals from various countries, whose acts of rescue and resistance are part of Holocaust history. Judy is a Lerner Fellow of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous and has developed a series of lectures on the Holocaust. Free for members, $5 donation for non-members. For more information, www.bit.ly/2RLARvF.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22
Open Play Games – Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Atlanta, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open play tables are set up every week on MJCCA’s Main Street on Mondays and Wednesdays for you to enjoy popular strategy and skill games while making new friends. Free for members, $5 for the community. For more information, www.bit.ly/2H6mYRt.
One-Woman Play about Domestic and Teen Dating Violence with Shalom Bayit – Temple Emanu-El, 1580 Spalding Drive, Atlanta, from 7 to 9 p.m. “Flowers Aren’t Enough,” a gripping one-woman play about dating and domestic violence by Israeli playwright and actress Naomi Ackerman. Appropriate for high school students, college students and adults of all ages. Pizza and drinks provided. Hosted by Shalom Bayit of JF&CS and NCJW Atlanta Section. Co-sponsored by JumpSpark, Temple Emanu-El, The Temple and Congregation Or Hadash. Free. For more information, www.bit.ly/2R0h6hY.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26
Atlanta Jewish Life Festival – Georgia Aquarium, Oceans Ballroom entrance, 225 Baker St. NW, Atlanta, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Atlanta Jewish Life Festival is Atlanta’s largest single-day festival promoting and celebrating Jewish and Israeli arts, food, music and culture while connecting the community to local synagogues, nonprofits and social action groups with the hope of further strengthening the bonds and understanding of Jewish beliefs, traditions and family. Come out and enjoy live music and great food while connecting with the community. Free for children 3 and younger, $8 for children 4 to 12 years old, $22 for adults and children 13 and older, $65 family pass (2 adults and 4 kids). All tickets include entry to the Georgia Aquarium for the entire day. For more information, www.atlantajewishlifefestival.com.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 25
Havinagala – Sweetwater Brewery, 195
THURSDAY, JANUARY 23
Jewish Spirituality & Mysticism – Chabad of North Fulton, 10180 Jones Bridge Road, Alpharetta, from 8 to 9 p.m. weekly. Join Rabbi Hirshy for a weekly class on Jewish spirituality and mysticism and how to apply them to your personal growth in a meaningful way. Free. For more information, www.bit. ly/2WPA3Gn.
Ottley Drive NE, Atlanta, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Support the PAL Program of JF&CS with 400-plus young professionals at the 31st annual Havinagala, the largest Jewish young adult fundraiser in Atlanta. JF&CS’ PAL Program is Atlanta’s only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister Program. Beer, wine, signature drinks and mocktails with dinner, a silent auction, raffles, DJ and a photo booth. $75 per ticket. For tickets and more information, www.Havinagala.org.
FRI., JAN. 24 – SAT., JAN. 25
Scholar in Residence Program Featuring Rabbi Sid Schwarz – Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway NE, Marietta, from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Rabbi Sid directs the Clergy Leadership Incubator, a program that trains rabbis to be visionary spiritual leaders. He also created and directs the Kenissa: Communities of Meaning Network, which is identifying, convening and building the capacity of emerging new models of Jewish identity and community across the country. For prices and more information, www.etzchaim.net/event/sir2020.
Friday Night Live – Congregation Shearith Israel, 1180 University Drive, Atlanta, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Shearith Israel’s monthly, spirited, song-filled Friday evening service followed by a lovely oneg and socializing. It’s a wonderful way to welcome Shabbat. Free. For more information, www.bit.ly/2Gp5SRI.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30
Frankly Speaking with Sherry Frank – National Council of Jewish Women - Atlanta Section, 6303 Roswell Road NE, Sandy Springs, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. NCJW Atlanta continues their women’s discussion group for members and friends. Moderated by noted Atlanta advocate Sherry Frank, this monthly luncheon meeting focuses on current events through a Jewish lens. Bring your lunch; they will provide beverages. Free. RSVP before the meeting to christineh@ ncjwatlanta.org or call 404-843-9600. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 35
OY VEY OY VEY! HAVE I GOT A PROBLEM... nd and blings to be ki Dear Rachel, her and her si ot m y t for othm ec ed sp is re ts ra clusivity and in of My grandparen e lu va e ized th tions have . They emphas eir political posi Th . le op pe e compassionate os nger th ger and bigarents are no lo ace to one of an gr d an y th pa ers. My grandp nce, em values taught ace of benevole ildren with the ch r ei th shifted from a pl ed is gs ra our views echo r and her siblin recognize that ’t on w ts otry. My mothe en ar andp dparents to r parents. My gr ible for my gran ss po im s It’ to them by thei . st t pa ic or patently a not-so-distan g hateful rhetor in ot rr pa t their words from ou with le conversation engage in a sing to feel close n. rts, but it’s hard hu it at th h false informatio uc heart. I can’t miss them so m that breaks my d an , I love them and em th e se eI to say someafraid each tim I wait for them le hi w g in to them now. I’m el fe rvous ipation, the ne do. stand the antic 16, they always 20 t is who they e nc si d An . us ro I can think abou st l al n he w thing mon p hi ain our relations How do I maint used to be? hild A Jewish Grandc
Jewish Joke of the Week
Dear Jewish Grandchild, Your pain is vast, palpable and real. Your grandparents have shifted from the warm and loving people you knew to virtual strangers espousing strange, hateful ideology. What can you do to transform them? In my humble opinion – not much. The older I get (and this keeps happening on a daily, even hourly basis), the more I realize how powerless we are regarding changing other people. We can praise and encourage attitudes and actions that we appreciate, and we can model behaviors that we hope others will emulate. Then we can hope and pray that they’ll get the message. But changing others? Dare I use the word impossible? And certainly, the older people get, the more set they become. I believe the only person I’m capable of changing is myself – and I think that applies to every one of us. So, what recourse do you have? When visiting your grandparents, can you try to steer the topics away from subjects that are volatile? Look into your grandparents’ eyes and try to see the goodness, to feel their unconditional love. It’s still there, hiding perhaps, under a different veneer that has bubbled up to the surface. Perhaps you can guide the conversations to “the good old days.” Where did they grow up? What did they do? What did life look like for them as children and as young adults? Do they have helpful advice for parents nowadays? What were some of their dreams? Did they achieve them? What were/are their favorite books, music, hobbies? My suggestion is to continue visiting and working on this precious relationship. No one lives forever, and the older generation, especially your grandparents, is truly a treasure. Seniors have learned so much through life experience. There is a Torah commandment to stand up for anyone aged 70 and above – why? Because they have acquired wisdom and understanding, commodities worthy of our respect. It is our job to take the time to listen to them – and learn. In summation, I suggest you try to take charge of the conversations and make them meaningful. If they bring up distasteful issues, try to change the topic. Generally, older people like to talk about themselves. And they certainly feel valued when asked for advice! Who doesn’t? Does your grandmother knit? Ask her to teach you! Does your grandfather play chess? Take out the game board! Some people can get difficult with age – I pray for that not to happen to myself! But if you are armed with the knowledge that a personality shift can be part of the aging process, you will be able to overlook it and still recognize the familiar light shining from your beloved grandparents’ eyes. They are the very same people who successfully raised wonderful parents who, in turn, succeeded in raising a warm, sensitive, loving child – you! I wish you success in molding your visits into priceless moments of caring and sharing. All the best, Rachel Atlanta Jewish Times Advice Column
I’ve Lost My Appetite
Got a problem? Email Rachel Stein 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!
Two little old ladies, Gertrude and Zelda, were sitting on a park bench near Golders Green having a serious conversation. “Gertrude,” said Zelda, “I don’t understand something. I simply have no appetite lately. No matter how much I try to eat, I have no appetite.” Gertrude said, “Listen Zelda, my doctor, the lovely Dr. Myers, once told me that if I didn’t have an appetite, I should take a little piece of herring before meals and I would soon get an appetite. So, I tried it and it was true. So, take my advice, Zelda, and try a little piece of herring before lunch and you’ll see, you’ll develop an appetite.” A few days later the two meet again in the park. “Nu, Zelda, how do you feel now? Did the herring give you an appetite?” Zelda sighed, “I took your advice. First, I had a little piece of herring. Then I had a whole herring. I really wanted to give it a chance, so I ate six herrings. But Gertrude, your advice didn’t work for me. Would you believe, when lunchtime came, I had absolutely no appetite?” Joke provided by David Minkoff www.awordinyoureye.com 36 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Yiddish Word of the Week Shtick
A comic theme or gimmick. The word entered the English language from the Yiddish shtik ()שטיק, in turn derived from German Stück and Polish sztuka (both ultimately from Proto-Germanic *stukkiją), all meaning "piece" or "thing."
Pasta People By: Yoni Glatt, email@example.com Difficulty Level: Manageable 1
short 47. Seder shank bone (var.) 48. Pasta for Marvel producer Arad? 51. Conceited smiles 53. Noxious atmospheres 54. "Twelfth Night" heroine 55. "Given the circumstances..." 56. Pasta for Israeli spy Cohen? 59. Wipe from memory 60. Bethlehem to Jericho dir. 61. ___ about (time phrase) 62. Give a value 63. Drilling letters? 64. Stomps on a glass, in a way
13. Popular card game 18. I-95, e.g.: Abbr. 1. Basil or sage, e.g. 21. Machiavellian 5. Vowelless automaker 22. Capt. inferiors 8. Parking lot slots 23. Uncle of Joseph 14. Promise 26. Spartans of the Big Ten Conf. 15. How Rocky ate his eggs 27. He turned the Nile to blood 16. Genre for Nissim 30. Palindromic body part 17. Pasta for actor Perlman? 31. Notable nephew in Genesis 19. Llama kin 32. Former IMing letters 20. Singer Katz 33. Less than forthcoming 21. Smiled like a villain 35. Volunteer 22. Read Torah 36. Nada 24. Pasta for an ancient Jewish 37. Mom of Marty (Mcfly) king? 38. Creature in "The Rise of Sky25. Measurement amts. for Yotam walker" Ottolenghi 42. Vegas preceder 26. Month for Independence Day DOWN 43. 16th-century Spanish fleet in Israel 1. Not exactly a staple at a kosher 44. Employees are happy to get 28. Sara and Stan deli them 29. Took a load off 2. Senora Peron 45. Is of benefit 30. She sings "Into the Unknown" 3. You might need to show them to 46. "Boom bah" preceder 32. Unreturnable smash the 58-Down 47. One place to look for a new 34. Fitting suggestion for how to 4. Zombies dismissed eating home solve this puzzle? Homer Simpsons because he 49. Leaves out 39. Some are paid millions for put- lacked these 50. Does eye surgery, say ting balls through one 5. Vast 51. Fries, rice, salad, etc... 40. Like many chanukiahs and 6. Horace or Thomas 52. TV bartender latkes 7. "1917" is set during it, briefly 54. Peddle (goods) 41. Animal in a classic Tootsie Roll 8. "___ tova!" 56. Agent for the 58-Across, for Pop ad 9. Accumulations on editors desks short 43. Kazakhstan border "Sea" that's 10. Challenged the verdict 57. Silently give the OK really a lake 11. Plug in 58. Org. that audits 46. Where Larry plays Bernie, for 12. Dawn-of-mammals epoch
LAST WEEK’S SOLUTION 1
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Remember When 15 years ago // January 14, 2005 ■ Jewish Atlanta donated more than $100,000 to support victims of the tsunami that devastated Southern Asia as part of a Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s emergency appeal. As of Jan. 10, Federation had received gifts totaling $132,000, part of a nationwide effort to raise money for the victims. ■ B’nai B’rith International recognized the JCC’s ongoing commitment to the Cuban Jewish community Jan. 9, presenting an award to the International Community Builders program for missions to Cuba led by Atlantans Miriam Saul and Shaindle Schmuckler. The B’nai B’rith International Amigos de Cuba Humanitarian Award went to Atlanta’s program because of its emphasis on teen involvement. 25 Years Ago // January 13, 1995
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■ Greenfield Hebrew Academy teacher Vicki Flink’s third grade class undertook an intensive timeline project, detailing their personal histories. Nadav Recca did a massive threedimensional timeline of almost every month of his life, including an abundance of Jewish experiences. ■ Leo and Marianne Cook of Dunwoody invited family and friends to the bar mitzvah of their son, Jeffrey Tona Cook, Jan. 7. The service took place at Congregation Beth Shalom. 50 Years Ago // January 16, 1970 ■ The Jewish Community Center held a special program called “The Hippie Community – Its Effect on Your Suburbia” for the ladies’ day out program. Vicki Flink’s third grade The dialogue explored the effect on suburban youth by the hippie commuclass at Greenfield Hebrew Academy undertook nity in Atlanta. an intensive timeline ■ The second of two missions originating from Atlanta departed for Isproject detailing their rael Jan. 18. Led by the Atlanta Jewish Welfare Federation, the mission went personal histories. on a five-day fact-finding visit that included briefing sessions with high-level Israeli leaders, traveling from the Galilee and the Golan Heights to the Sinai Peninsula, which was under Israeli control at the time. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES JANUARY 17, 2020 | 37
Steven Ezra Marcus
Lynette Kaplan Mazer
Steven Ezra Marcus, 73, of Atlanta, passed away Jan. 5, 2020. Steve was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., raised on Long Island, and moved to Atlanta in 1972. He earned his law degree from NYU Law School and enjoyed a successful career as a worker’s compensation attorney for more than 35 years. Steve was a leader in his community and was a past president of Temple EmanuEl and Israel Bonds, a former Worshipful Master of Fulton Masonic Lodge, served on the board of Congregation Shearith Israel, was a member of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Jewish Family & Career Services, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, the North Atlanta Men’s Club, Indian Hills Golf Club, and was a charter member of Bad Boy Bikers. His hobbies included golf, traveling, jewelry-making, playing bridge, boating, and attending theater events. Steve is survived by his loving wife of 50 years Arlene; children Seth and Peggy Marcus of Atlanta and Myra Marcus of Denver, Colo.; sister Roni Marcus and brother Irwin Marcus, both of Long Island; and grandchildren Ari Schklar, Michael Malady, and Molly and Annie Marcus. Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Emanu-El, 1580 Spalding Drive, Sandy Springs, GA 30350 or JF&CS, 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30338. A funeral service was held Jan. 7 at Temple Emanu-El, followed by interment at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs with Rabbi Spike Anderson officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. Sign online guestbook at www.DresslerJewishFunerals.com.
Lynette Kaplan Mazer was born Dec. 9, 1935, in Atlanta, and passed away peacefully on Dec. 29, 2019, surrounded by family. The only daughter of Ben and Dorothy Kaplan of Atlanta, Lynette was predeceased by her parents, three bothers – Marvin, Sidney and David Kaplan – and daughter Robyn Mazer. Lynette is survived by her husband of 65 years JB Mazer; son Michael (Carole) Mazer; daughter Nancy Mazer (Dennis) Lutz; and grandchildren Adam, Tara and Cori Mazer, and Benjamin and Jeremy Lutz, as well as a large extended family of in-laws, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Lynette was an integral part of Mazer Discount Home Centers in Birmingham, Ala., where she served as an officer and treated every customer like family. A vital member of the Temple Beth-El community, she immersed herself in projects both big and small. Lynette’s smile made everyone feel welcome, and she had a kind word for all. Her generosity and hospitality are renowned throughout her community. Donations may be sent to the JB & Lynette Mazer Temple Beautification Fund at Temple Beth-El, 2179 Highland Avenue, Birmingham, AL 35205.
Allan Frank Ripans 86, Atlanta
Allan Frank Ripans, age 86, of Atlanta, died peacefully Jan. 8, 2020. Allan was born and raised in Flushing, NY. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell School of Hotel Administration and attended NYU Law School. He worked as a food service executive with Allied Stores Corp and Aramark and later owned and operated Crossroads restaurant on Peachtree Street from 1968 to 1988. He was a past president of the Georgia Restaurant Association and Cornell Hotel Society. Among his many accomplishments he helped establish the Temple Night Shelter (now Zaban Paradies Center) and was awarded Georgia Restaurateur of the Year in 1976. He loved travel, cooking, entertaining, classical music, and was a raconteur with a keen sense of humor. He was a longtime member of Senior University and other study groups, The Temple, and Congregation Beth Jacob, and he quietly supported many charitable organizations. He is survived by his wife of 55 years Gail Ripans; children Jill (Bill) Greaney, Jon Ripans, and Holly (Douglas) Witten; brother Martin Ripans; and grandchildren Caroline, Rachel, Hannah, Max, Kevin and Matthew. Graveside services were held Jan. 10 at Arlington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the charity of one’s choice. Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. Sign online guestbook at www.edressler.com, and listen to the StoryCorps interview with his daughter, https://www.wabe.org/storycorps-allanripans-and-holly-witten/.
Jonas “Yonie” Werzberger 83. Atlanta
Jonas “Yonie” Werzberger passed away Jan. 8. He is survived by his wife Bernice, daughter Adina (Elia) Fischer and grandchildren. The funeral was held Jan. 10 in the Beth Jacob section of Crest Lawn Memorial Park. Shiva was observed at the Fisher home. Yonie was for many years an educator in Atlanta’s Jewish community. He had a huge positive effect on generations of students and later in life developed a consulting business. Many in the community will miss his teaching and his consummate knowledge on many topics. Obituaries in the AJT are written and paid for by the families; contact Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-883-2130, ext. 100, for details. 38 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
CLOSING THOUGHTS You Are a Tree of Life The first day of Rosh as I do weather forecasts. Chodesh Shevat is Jan. 27, They help us prepare. Sure, 2020. A whole lot is going you can go outside and be on with the moon in this surprised when you’re sudnew decade. There will acdenly caught in a downpour tually be 13 full moons this and look like you’ve entered year, with four of them bea wet T-shirt contest. Maybe ing lunar eclipse penumbral when you leave the house moons. Normally, they’re it’s sunny and warm and it fairly rare, but it won’t feel doesn’t matter to you if the like it with four of them oc- Dr. Terry temperatures plummet by curring in one year. Two of Segal 20 degrees and you’re freezthem will actually be visible New Moon Meditations ing at your son’s baseball in North America. game. Personally, though, A penumbral eclipse moon happens I don’t care for such surprises. I like to when the moon drifts into Earth’s pen- check the weather forecast each day. umbra, or outer shadow. A penumbral It’s the same with astrological forecasts. eclipse is different from a total eclipse, I want to know if the planetary and cein that these lose brightness, specifically lestial configurations are likely to result in their southern region, where one can in an emotionally challenging time. My actually see the effect of the Earth’s shad- preference is to have a heads up about ow. All of us had the chance to witness conditions that impact us. the full moon on Jan. 10, but only those Given that, the month of Shevat in Asia, Australia, Europe or Africa, got to (best known for Tu B’Shevat, the New see the eclipsed Wolf Moon. Year of the Trees) portends a time in You might wonder what this has which structures of the last 36 years beto do with Shevat and us at all. I’ll tell gin to crumble and fall away. Beginning you. I think of astrological forecasts on Jan. 12, you may have become aware
40 | JANUARY 17, 2020 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
of events that urged you to transform yourself in some way. When there’s warning, we can at least invite space in which to make decisions, rather than be forced into change by others and circumstances. The planetary influences that converged Jan. 12 were created by the meeting of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, which happened for the first time in almost 40 years. It actually ended one 36-year cycle and began another. Most people associate endings with sadness, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s say you’ve always carried around excess weight and you’ve finally decided that you’re through burdening your body with it. That decision can create permanent change and can lead to something that serves you well. As we honor the New Year of the Trees, think about how the deciduous trees, themselves, model change. They have strong roots, a base trunk and branches. They visibly change each season. There’s a cycle that signals the tree to be bare in winter, sprout buds in spring, offer flowers and fruits in summer, transition the leaves to their autum-
nal splendor, and then fall off the trees in winter again. Etz Chaim is the tree of life. Trees offer us healing. They provide shade and comfort. They present us with visual beauty and the bounty of fruits and nuts. Almonds are the first trees to bloom in Israel and the almonds are shaped like eyes and so are called the “watchers of spring.” Tithing protects the trees, allowing them to mature and bear fruit in their own time, making them sweet and nourishing. The original 38 Bach flower remedies, created by Dr. Edward Bach, are used by humans and pets for healing specific emotional imbalances. For instance, aspen helps with fear of unknown things. Elm assists with feeling overwhelmed by responsibility. Meditation Focus: What if you thought of yourself as a tree of life, offering comfort, sustenance and beauty, while embracing change and honoring each season? What change would this require of you? Ponder what beliefs, behaviors and thoughts you’re willing to drop away and which you’d like to blossom. ■
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Atlanta Jewish Life Festival: Festival Returns to Atlanta January 26