Atlanta Jewish Times, VOL. 99 NO. 10, May 31, 2024

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VOL. 99 NO. 10 MAY 31, 2024 | 23 IYYAR 5784 Professionals and Real Estate NEXT ISSUE:SIMCHAS, FATHER'S DAY AND GRADUATION
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Lubin Loses Bid for State Senate Seat

After the party primaries on May 21, the possibility remains that when the General Assembly reconvenes in January there could be more than one Jewish member.

If that happens it will be in the House, as Democratic Sen. Sally Harrell won nearly 71 percent of the vote to defeat David Lubin in the District 40 Democratic primary.

Lubin, whose 20-year-old daughter, Rose Ida Lubin, was killed on Nov. 6, 2023, in Jerusalem while serving in the Israel Defense Forces, challenged Harrell after she abstained in March from voting on a bill to add the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism to the Georgia code.

“I want to thank the Jewish community for supporting my campaign,” Lubin told the AJT. “It was inspiring to see Jews and people of other faiths, across both the religious and political spectrum, come together to support our 40th

district community and my advocacy against antisemitism. We must continue to stand against leaders who are not supportive of the Jewish community in America, Israel, and across the world. We have a duty to ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren to protect them. To achieve this, we must put aside our differences and unite for our safety and our survival.

Harrell will face Republican challenger Amelia K. Siamomua in the Nov. 5 general election.

District 40 stretches from Brookhaven in the southwest to Peachtree Corners in the northeast and includes Chamblee and Dunwoody.

In the 2023-24 cycle, Esther Panitch, a first-term Democrat representing House District 51 from Fulton County, frequently was referred to as “the only Jewish member of the legislature.”

Panitch, who is seeking a second term, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. She is being challenged in November by Keith Gettmann, who faced no Republican primary opponent.

Susie Greenberg ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in House District 53 and in November will face incumbent Republican Rep. Deborah
Several Jewish candidates for the legislature either won their primaries on May 21 or advanced unopposed to November’s general election.


Though neither faced opposition, Greenberg drew several hundred more votes in the Democratic primary than Silcox did in the Republican. Greenberg posted on X (formerly Twitter): “I am energized by yesterday’s primary results and all those who cast a ballot for our campaign. The numbers send a clear message: we HAVE the momentum and, together we WILL flip HD53 in November.”

Greenberg, an attorney and cofounder of Campus Concierge Service, has served on the board of Temple Sinai and is co-vice president for advocacy of the National Council of Jewish Women chapter in Atlanta.

District 53 includes Roswell, Sandy Springs, and the Buckhead community in Atlanta.

Debra Shigley won 66 percent of the vote to defeat Anthia Carter for the Democratic nomination in House District 47. In November, Shigley will face incumbent Rep. Jan Jones, the secondranking Republican in the House.

Her campaign says that Shigley, a member of The Temple, is the first African American Jewish woman to seek a seat in the General Assembly. She is an attorney and co-founder of a company called Colours, a technology-based hair care service for women of color.

“I am very proud to be the Democratic nominee. As a Jewish woman my faith guides me to advocate for my neighbors and that means fighting for reproductive freedom, gun safety, and strong public schools,” Shigley told the AJT.

Jan Jones won 81 percent of the vote to defeat Republican primary challenger, P. (Phoebe) Eckhardt.

District 47 is made up of sections of Alpharetta, Mountain Park, Milton, and Roswell.

In House District 25, incumbent Republican Todd Jones, who does not identify solely as Jewish though his mother is Jewish, received 75.7 percent of the vote to defeat Carey Lucas in the GOP primary and will face Democratic challenger Elaine Padgett in the general election.

Republicans currently enjoy a legislative trifecta — holding 101 seats in the 180-seat House and 33 seats in the 56-seat Senate, along with Brian Kemp in his second term as governor.

By one estimate, the Jewish population of Georgia may now number about 141,020, nearly 1.3 percent of the state’s population, pegged by the Census Bureau in 2023 to be 11,029,227. Historically, Jews vote in percentages far greater than their representation in the population. ì

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In House District 25, incumbent Republican Todd Jones, who does not identify solely as Jewish though his mother is Jewish, received 75.7 percent of the vote to defeat Carey Lucas in the GOP primary and will face Democratic challenger Elaine Padgett in the general election. David Lubin lost to Democratic Sen. Sally Harrell in the District 40 Democratic primary. Esther Panitch, who is seeking a second term, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. She is being challenged in November by Keith Gettmann, who faced no Republican primary opponent. Susie Greenberg ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination in House District 53 and in November will face incumbent Republican Rep. Deborah Silcox. Debra Shigley won 66 percent of the vote to defeat Anthia Carter for the Democratic nomination in House District 47. In November, Shigley will face incumbent Rep. Jan Jones, the secondranking Republican in the House.

The Epstein School’s 50th -- A Golden Celebration

Marking its 50th anniversary, The Epstein School hosted special events and programs for its supporters throughout the school year. The grand finale was the school’s annual gala, aptly named, Celebration. The 50th Anniversary Celebration Chairs, Sara Kogon and Alli Halpern shared, “Celebration 2024 was a raging success – we hosted over 600 guests, our annual fundraising campaign far exceeded our anniversary year goal, and the night-of-the-event endowment fundraiser, Funding our Future blew past its goal in less than five minutes. To date, we have raised over $1.245 million this year.”

“What an evening we shared with our Epstein parents, faculty, grandparents, alumni, and school leaders, along with past parents, grandparents, faculty, board presidents, trustees, and so many other supporters,” said Ronette Bloom Throne ‘84, The Epstein School Chief Development Officer. “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our Epstein community. Our fundraising committee worked diligently throughout the school year talking with donors, sharing our anniversary story, and discussing plans for the future. As an alumna and past parent, it is truly so moving to watch the community continue to invest in our mission as it has for over 50 years; we are excited to focus on the next chapter in Epstein’s story.”

“Our year-long anniversary has certainly provided an opportunity to nurture the connections we have with families across our 50-year history; equally, it has provided an opportunity for us to bring our community together, allowing us to showcase our school, and for everyone to experience the magic that is Epstein,” David Abusch-Magder, PhD, (Dr. D) Epstein Head of School said. “Hosting our Celebration at Ahavath Achim Synagogue (AA), where our school was founded in 1973, brought the entire year of celebration full circle,” he continued. “Among our exceptional faculty and staff today, we have several school professionals who have been with Epstein since our AA days. It was nostalgic to go back to our beginning, and it was meaningful to honor our past. As I mentioned the night of Celebration, Epstein has always remained true to its mission and values since its founding. Challenging minds, nurturing hearts, and making mensches have been central philosophies to Epstein since 1973, and they still guide us today.”

“What a privilege it was to have Rabbi

YES Event Designs and A Kosher Touch brought the Epstein50 theme to life through Studio54 inspired décor, furnishings, and accessories, delicious menu selections and spectacular food station presentations, a roving electric violinist, an internationally acclaimed mentalist, dessert on a rotating album, and so much more.

Harry and Reva Epstein’s granddaughters with us at Celebration,” said Alana Sonenshine ’94, Epstein’s first alumni board of trustee’s president. “Debbie Fertel and Rachel Lavin traveled from Chicago to share this milestone with us and to honor their grandfather’s legacy. What a special moment to watch the emotion on their faces as they listened to the many accolades showered on our founder, their grandfather, during the program.”

“Celebration included a silent auction that raised more than any other year in school history,” said Lori Miller, Director of Annual Giving at Epstein. “The items auctioned ranged from unique Epstein experiences like ‘Head of School for a Day’ or

‘Learn to Ride a Bike with Coach Carlos’ to fine jewelry pieces, pasta making and dinner for 10, sports memorabilia, travel excursions, art, and so much more. The auction chairs worked tirelessly for months to gather items that would be enticing to our guests, and we are so grateful to the donors of our auction items for their generosity. I have worked on Celebration for 20 years and this year’s event was special in every way. We honored our rich history and truly had a great time commemorating our anniversary.”

Miller added, “We worked with Bluming Creativity, who brought together a wonderful team of talented professionals and vendors, and who created ‘Epstein50,’ a spin on a Studio54 vibe, that was ex-

ecuted flawlessly. From the bar designs to the lounge areas, every corner of the synagogue welcomed our guests with flair and fun! The food stations and menu selections were creative and incredibly delicious and had everyone raving! There were so many partners who played a vital role in making the evening the spectacular moment it was for our school community.”

Throughout the venue, decade vignettes depicted an era in the school’s history with original photos and accessories illustrating the time period. The 1970s included photos of friend groups, class photos with teachers, Rabbi Epstein with students during their milestones, and more. The décor included a lava lamp, disco ball,

Debbie Fertel and Rachel Lavin of Chicago, granddaughters of Rabbi Harry and Reva Epstein, joined the anniversary gala while honoring the legacy of their grandfather, the founder of The Epstein School. In celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary, Epstein alumna and parent of two Epstein graduates, Cathy Weinstein Schiff ’81, created a beautiful mosaic to be displayed at school depicting its history and most treasured traditions while highlighting its milestone anniversary. Head of School David Abusch-Magder, PhD (Dr. D) and Alana Sonenshine ’94, Epstein’s first alumni board president, delivered remarks during the anniversary program, recognizing past presidents, dignitaries, and special guests, and reflecting on the rich history and tradition of Epstein.

In an effort to create engaging displays that shared the broad strokes of the school’s history, there were four vignettes in various spots in the venue depicting the school’s longevity. The 1970s included original images from school archives and alumni, there were directories and yearbooks from the '70s, and the dedication plaque with the founders was on display. Each vignette also included accessories to illustrate the time period and emphasize what that era meant to the school, ie: the '90s vignette included the original shovel that broke ground when the second building was built on Colewood Way in Sandy Springs.

yearbooks from the 1970s, and other fun memorabilia.

The '80s was a pivotal time for the school, moving to Sandy Springs and branching out into its own space. The photos and accessories highlighted the shift to digital pop culture, the prevalence of music videos, personal computers, cell phones, and more. During the '90s, Epstein built a second building at its new home in Sandy Springs which elevated the trajectory of the school. The theme of construction for this vignette included building supplies, tools, and even the original shovel that broke ground on Colewood Way almost 30 years ago. To illustrate the 2000s, nearly 100 pictures accented the illuminated chain-link display wall with photos from classrooms, milestones, Shabbat, school plays, Maccabiah, and so many other special moments for the Epstein community.

“There are so many people to thank for making our 50th anniversary year and Celebration such a success,” Throne said. “Our generous sponsors and donors were joined by so many community supporters who are committed to our school. Many of them have been our donors and partners since our founding. We cannot say thank you enough to everyone who has supported Epstein through the years and helped make it the special place it is today. To honor those supporters, our families, our teachers, our alumni, and our leaders, we worked with a local cinematographer, Meaningful Media, to compile our 50-year history in a retrospective video. It encapsulates our story, beginning with our founding, our two campuses, and our role in Atlanta Jewish education through the years. It is historically interesting, beautifully sentimental, and incredibly inspiring as we position ourselves on the shoulders of those who came before us and prepare for the next 50 years of Epstein.”

Abusch-Magder unveiled a large mosaic created by Epstein 1981 alumna and past parent of two Epstein graduates, Cathy Weinstein Schiff. The mosaic was dedicated to the school in honor of its 50th anniversary.

“I made this mosaic to be a vibrant tapestry of symbolism and spirit, capturing the essence of the school’s ethos and community,” said Schiff. “Interwoven within the mosaic are elements deeply rooted in Jewish tradition and learning.” The mosaic, which will be displayed at the school with a detailed artist’s statement, illustrates the academic, athletic, artistic, and spiritual features of Epstein.

As a piece of the evening’s program, internationally renowned mentalist, Wayne Hoffman, mesmerized the audience with his predictions and illusionist talent. His performance was followed by a live fundraiser.

“The goal for the evening was to raise $50,000 before dinner and silent auction shopping,” said Throne. The Epstein Advancement Chair, Jeremy Greenstein, joined Hoffman on stage, shared his family’s story with the audience, highlighted special moments in the ‘Epstein Experience’ for various stakeholders in the room to connect with, and he lauded the school’s faculty and staff for creating a life-changing experience for students. The needle on the fundraiser surpassed its goal in less than five minutes, landing at $67,000 when everyone in the sanctuary shared a hearty Mazel Tov to Epstein, followed by head of school, Dr. D, stepping on and breaking a glass in celebration of the school’s anniversary milestone and bright future.

For more information on the Celebration gala, additional photos, and the retrospective video, please visit https:// ì


During the program, Sonenshine and NOAR SUNDAY •

Lani Ashner contributed to this report.



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Fenves Addresses Emory Campus Occupations

Like so many presidents of large, prestigious universities, Emory University’s Gregory Fenves has, in recent weeks, been at the center of the controversy over how best to handle pro-Palestinian demonstrators who disrupt everyday campus life.

Fenves, who came to Emory in 2020, dealt quickly and decisively last month with campus protesters who decided to set up camp on the university’s grassy central quadrangle. On the morning of April 26, he directed Emory’s campus police force, which is said to number just eight full-time officers, to clear the encampment from Emory property.

Emory police, in turn summoned help from the George State Patrol and the Atlanta police department. In a prepared statement Fenves described why he called in law enforcement.

“Early yesterday evening, a large group of protesters left the Quad and gathered outside the Candler School of Theology. Some protesters pinned police officers against the building’s glass doors, threw objects at them, and attempted to

gain access to the building. These actions against officers prompted an increased law enforcement presence on campus.”

He went on to say that “the fact that members of our community were arrested upsets me even more and is something that I take very seriously.”

The arrest of 28 persons on the campus on the morning of April 26 and the criticism Fenves has endured from students and faculty has put him on the

defensive, but in the weeks since, Fenves has held firm.

He told a meeting of Emory’s University Senate on May 7 that the decision to call in law enforcement soon after the protesters set up their tents was the right one. In the past year he noted, Emory has seen at least 70 protests in various forms, all of which were handled without incident, but the pro-Palestinian takeover of the quadrangle just before commence-

Hment ceremonies there was something entirely different.

“The longer it went on,” Fenves emphasized, “the more difficult it would be to end the encampment, so that was my decision. In terms of negotiations, negotiating to end conduct that’s not permitted, that’s something I’m concerned about doing because of the precedent that it can set.”

In the week following the action,

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Gregory Fenves, Emory’s president, has had to defend his decision to allow law enforcement in late April to clear the campus of protestors.
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Fenves said he met with the Emory Senate Executive Committee and held large webinars to answer questions from students and faculty. His discussion with Emory’s faculty and staff on May 7 came just a day after he announced the decision to relocate commencement ceremonies from the Emory campus.

Graduation ceremonies, instead, took place in Gwinnett County, 16 miles away, where the exercises were held at the Gas South Arena, a large convention and concert venue that seats 13,000. The hasty and unprecedented move was done because of what Fenves termed “concerns about safety and security.”

He didn’t elaborate but he did point out that this year the crowded quadrangle and the university campus generally was not the right place to say farewell to the class of 2024.

“It was just going to be very challenging.” Fenves said, “to provide that environment for tens of thousands of people on campus. So that is an example of how we’re taking safety as a paramount consideration.”

Fenves, who is Emory’s first Jewish president and whose father was a Holocaust survivor, suffered a vote of no confidence by both students and faculty following his action to end the pro-Palestinian occupation of the campus.

In the days leading to the encampment, antiIsrael graffiti was spray painted on university buildings and scrawled on restroom walls. When the university’s maintenance department tried to deal with the damage they were occasionally harassed by protesters.

For his part, Fenves indicated that he has no intention of bowing to the protesters’ demands to divest their investments in companies that do business in Israel. Emory has a lengthy history of support for its Center for Israel Education. On May 29, the center held an online discussion moderated by Emory professor Ken Stein on “Israel’s 9/11 - AntiZionism, Anti-Semitism and Academic Unease.”

Fenves’ immediate goal, as he indicated to the university’s Senate earlier this month, is to begin to repair some of the damage that has occurred by the faculty and student votes of no confidence in his leadership.

“I heard the voices of the faculty who have voted, and I’ve heard the voices of the students. I’m disappointed that it has come to that. My goal, as I mentioned earlier, is to begin to rebuild their trust. It won’t happen soon, and it won’t happen quickly, but that is my goal.” ì



Anti-Israel graffiti was spray painted on Emory buildings near the campus quadrangle.

Dickens and Berg: State of the City

On May 21, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Business and Professionals Breakfast Series featured Temple Rabbi Peter Berg in conversation with Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. The lively interview, entitled “The State of the City,’ examined Atlanta’s past, present, and future.

While introducing Mayor Dickens, Atlanta real estate mogul Norman Radow said, “Dickens grew up here as a poor little boy with the sole mission of wanting to help. I would say ‘the greatest mayor of all’ … and here we are in a city that’s robust, dynamic, and fluid.”

Radow also glowed about Rabbi Berg serving as “Atlanta’s rabbi in the largest synagogue of all.” Radow made note of Berg’s leadership shortly after Oct. 7 in a speech to the Rotary Club where “there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.”

Prior to Radow, Federation Campaign Chair Seth Greenberg explained why Federation was so pivotal to the Jewish community as “a collective, central hub that makes us all stronger … even when things happen in D.C. or Europe, we stand up!”

Ever cordial, Berg warmed the crowd by commenting how so many people got up at 7 a.m. to have lox “just to see the rabbi.”

Mayor Dickens began by explaining his relationship with the Jewish community, though it was the first time he visited this building on Spring Street. He said that he was introduced to Judaism from Old Testament Sunday school experiences which became more real when he formed bonds [with Jewish students] while attending Georgia Tech. He recognized his eight years on the Atlanta City Council and his relationship with A.J. Robinson, President of Central Atlanta Progress. In 2015 he traveled to Israel with AIPAC for a 10-day trip.

Dialoguing with Berg, Dickens explained that he went to public school and was raised by a single mother as a “child of the village, taking karate, playing sports, and introducing himself as ‘future mayor of Atlanta’. Now at 48, here I am,” to which Berg replied, “At 16, I was not going around saying that I was going to be a rabbi.”

During the Q and A, Berg and Dickens talked about focus. Dickens relayed, “In 2021, our conversation was about crime, then onto affordable housing. My job is to manage competing interests and 50 opinions on what to do this very mo-

ment.” To which Berg replied, “I too have crises even while in the car,” followed by Dickens quipping, “Yes, but you can say ‘Bless you’ and exit the room.”

Dickens’ vision by 2030 is to have the city serve as a North Star and be “the best place for raising a family” … building upon Money Market’s 2022 selection of Atlanta as the Best Place to Live. Dickens has made known his passion for alleviating homelessness with projects like The Melody downtown where 40 self-sufficient units were constructed from old shipping containers and more to come. Dickens also surprised some with the fact that the Beltline has changed the economy “around Ponce de Leon where the cost of living has increased.” He stated that the city, too, is buying up land there for “inclusive zoning” where affordable housing must comprise 10 percent in any new development with those units mixed

in with the same amenities.

Berg asked a general question about anything new that might affect the Jewish community.  Dickens listed the four new proposed MARTA stations and urged nearby Gwinnett and Cobb counties to vote on rapid transit.

Dickens painted no gray area when condemning the “Defund the Police” and “Stop Cop City” movements by stating, “Anarchists want to destroy … there are no victimless crimes. The pendulum has swung too far after George Floyd. Make no mistake, we need the police. I have lived in seven houses, and five of them have been burglarized.”

The mayor then shared that the new police training facility downtown will have parks and jogging trails open to the public.

When asked about the City of Atlanta’s participation in the Georgia In-

ternational Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program, which facilitates leadership training between Georgia law enforcement executive agencies and Israeli police counterparts, Mayor Dickens said he fully supports the educational exchange.

Berg closed by saying, “We have the right mayor at the right time.”

Kenny Silverboard, Senior Director, Federation’s Business & Professionals, closed the program by contrasting the mayor and himself as “both having a public-school education and wearing a dark blue suit -- one of us works at the Federation, and the other is Mayor.”   Before the program, Board Secretary Michael Kogon told the AJT, “the Business & Professionals group broadens the Jewish community along with the community-at-large, all focused on Jewish ethics.” ì

Real estate developer Norman Radow introduced Rabbi Berg and Mayor Dickens. Rabbi Peter Berg engaged Mayor Andre Dickens by examining many of the city’s goals. Stacey Fisher, Campaign Vice Chair, chatted with Lindy Radow. Jerry Draluck and Howard Wertheimer networked with Michael Kogon Campaign chair Seth Greenberg extolled the benefits of the Federation being strong as a collective force.

Craine Receives Commission Education Award

Sandra Craine, a second-generation Holocaust survivor, is the first recipient of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s Education Legacy Award in recognition of her commitment to Holocaust education in the State of Georgia and dedicated service to the community of Holocaust survivors.

Craine received the award at the GCH Days of Remembrance event, a Holocaust commemoration program, at the Georgia State Capitol in the House Chambers, on Friday, May 10, with State School Superintendent Richard Woods presenting her the honor. Just days before Mother’s Day, this year’s Days of Remembrance program was themed “Honoring Mothers in the Holocaust: Sacrifice and Valor.” Participants lit candles in honor of the brave mothers or grandmothers of many Georgia Holocaust survivors who protected their families in the most difficult of circumstances.

the Holocaust. In 1949, the family immigrated to the United States to start a new life. Craine grew up in Detroit, Mich., surrounded by caring aunts and uncles, all Holocaust survivors, but no grandparents, as they had perished in Europe. As a second-generation survivor, Craine says she learned at an early age the impor-

After a teaching career in Detroit, Sandra and husband, Lew, an architect,

and their two children moved to Atlanta in 1982. Craine worked at Jewish Family & Career Services as an employment counselor, then eventually transitioned to the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, where she worked for more than 20 years, rising to the position of assistant executive director.

In 1986, Craine began realizing her life-long vision of preserving the history

at the newly established Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, a secular, nonpartisan state agency. In her 37- year tenure at the Commission, she made impact by both enabling many of Georgia’s community of survivors to tell their stories to students and other audiences around the state and by sharing her own family’s story, as she continues to do.

According to Craine, “Education is a core value for me, and joining the Commission also fulfilled my passion for working with Holocaust survivors. In this work, I have been privileged to work with a dedicated staff and volunteers.”

GCH Executive Director Sally Levine said: “Sandra Craine has dedicated her life and career to teaching about the Holocaust. Providing guidance and support to our Georgia survivors, liberators and rescuers and their families, Sandra has brought their powerful stories to audiences throughout the state. Sandra has always understood that Holocaust education can be transformative, encouraging engaged citizenship, empathy, and responsibility. Her work has left a legacy

Sandra Craine (center) with Georgia Commission on the Holocaust Executive Director Sally Levine and State School Superintendent Richard Woods, is the first recipient of the Commission’s Holocaust Education Legacy Award. // Photo Credit: Harold Alan

FIDF’s Solidarity Night Draws Sold Out Crowd

Yom Ha’zikaron mirroring Yom Ha’aztmaut was the backdrop for the third Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event since Oct. 7.

Seth Baron, Vice President of the FIDF Georgia & Southeast States, noted that past events featuring former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and more recently media star Montana Tucker, built upon this annual gala on May 13 at the Westin Buckhead. With 650 attendees, Baron commented that the venue had to be adjusted to accommodate the sold-out crowd.

Channeling his father, Baron stated that Jews have “to stand up.” Noting the direct attack on Israel by Iran in April where 99 percent of the incoming weapons were destroyed, he thanked the IDF, the U.S. military and FIDF Atlanta Board for their exceptional passion for the soldiers along with Karen Shulman, local chair, and Garry Sobel, past chair and national board member.

He recognized Stephanie and David Lubin (family of Fallen Lone Soldier Rose Lubin), along with current and former Lone Soldiers. He ended, “Gaza is a stark reminder of the cost we all bear, 641 [soldiers] have lost their lives.”

An IDF video was shown with former Ambassador Ron Dermer explaining how on Oct. 7, “reservists were pulled away from their jobs and put under the stress of doing open heart surgeries 24/7.”

Jeris Hollander, Associate Director FIDF Georgia & Southeast States, stated, “The world is incredibly small. This is a punch in the gut … so much of the world’s potential was lost as mothers sent teenagers [to war] with fear and pride.”

She introduced an emotional recital where Justine Cohen, Renee Evans, Tracy Seitz, and Samantha Trief read letters that IDF soldiers entering dangerous Gaza wrote in selfless prose: “Don’t sacrifice for me,” “I am happy I chose this life,” “I didn’t die in vain.” A riveting video was shown of Rose Lubin, hand on heart, singing Hatikvah at a previous FIDF function.

Into her fifth year as Chair FIDF Georgia & Southeast States, Shulman was compelled to visit Israel in December, and shared, “Israel has survived and thrived against all odds … as we at home fight the cycle of hatred.”

Shulman has particular interest in helping PTSD sufferers and rehabilitation. She said, “We were on the phone

raising money for blood plasma and field hospitals. We deliver what they need, not what they think they need … Atlanta established a connection with a brigade unit, some of whom were murdered and still held hostage today.”

A video was shown of Ori Megedish, who was kidnapped in her pajamas, and ultimately rescued. She said, “23 days in captivity seemed like years.”

Two new faces, board members Wendi Aspes and Samantha Schoenbaum, introduced IDF soldiers. Christian female Captain “H.” grew up amidst Muslims and Jews a half-hour from a Hezbollah post. The IDF is not mandatory for Christians. Eighteen female soldiers volunteered from her village. At first, she was worried about her Arabic accent, until her IDF unit welcomed her with hugs. Her role was to represent Israel to the

Arab world, like describing Syrian children being helped in Israeli hospitals.

She said, “Two of my friends were murdered. I had to remain focused to stay alive. What if someone was to stab me? The world needs to understand the history of Israel.”

Next, Master Sergeant Peled left his executive job and fiancé to re-enlist. “The Oct. 7 attack was like a horror movie … blood everywhere like loops in my mind … I’m only doing live interviews because the media edits, putting out hate and lies.”

Sobel stated that he hasn’t stopped worrying since Oct. 7. On his recent trip to an attacked kibbutz, he saw a face down doll and pictured to whom it belonged. He later said, “I told the soldiers, ‘We are 6,000 miles away, but we are one family.’ They need to know they are never

alone and need to take time to recharge, as we hosted a barbeque for 500 soldiers.”

He spoke of brave helicopter pilots who transported hostages home or to the hospital quickly for critical treatment. The FIDF has been by soldiers’ sides for 43 years … when you attack us, you unite us. Never again.”

Featured speaker Major (Res.) Yadin Gellman described his very elite unit where only one percent qualify. “Oct. 6 was my 30th birthday. On Oct. 7, I was saving hostages and killing terrorists.”

The audience was chilled as he recounted how his comrade, David, and himself were shot and continued to fight. “I had no air in my lungs. I thought I had lost an arm. An hour passed. There were terrorists all around. The tank came and saved me. David died in the helicopter. I lost 10 friends.” ì

(From left) Seth Baron, VP FIDF Georgia & Southeast States; Garry Sobel, FIDF National board member; Jeris Hollander, FIDF Associate Director Georgia & Southeast States; Shahar Peled, IDF Master Sergeant; Yadin Gellman, IDF Major (Res) FIDF; and Jessica Sobel // All photos by Jon Marks FIDF Southeast Chair Karen Shulman spoke of her trip to Israel. Representatives from the US Army came to show support. Justine Cohen, Renee Evans, Tracy Seitz, and Samantha Trief emotionally read letters from IDF soldiers who perished. FIDF Board member Wendy Aspes introduced Captain H. FIDF Board member Samantha Bank Schoenbaum introduced Master Sergeant Shahar Peled

Breman Auxiliary Touted as Best in US

The Auxiliary of the William Breman Jewish Home held its annual Spring Luncheon and Board Installation at Tempe Sinai on Monday, May 13, with 143 dedicated members.

Surrounded by her family, Sally Kaplan was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Ahavath Achim Synagogue Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal for her decades of good deeds and fundraising.

Cheryl Schwartz, Vice Chair of Special Events, told the AJT, “The luncheon is an opportunity for the Auxiliary to come together to install the incoming board, honor lifetime achievement recipient Sally Kaplan, hear from Jewish HomeLife CEO, Jeff Gopen, and HR Generalist, LaShunda Anderson. The Auxiliary provides funds and events for the residents. Atlanta’s Auxiliary is the largest and strongest of all the Jewish aging services in the country.”

Schwartz and Elizabeth Glass, Vice Event Chairs, welcomed the crowd. Schwartz focused on the Hebrew word “Yahad,” with the group “as one together united for a cause dear to our hearts.”

Eponymous Stephen Berman gave the traditional Hamotzi after explaining that his Davis Academy student granddaughter deferred, “Bubah, you gotta do it on your own.”

While mingling before the event, Berman told the AJT, “This is an important time for us. This Friday, we are showing the residents the refurbished Tower; and Sunday is its official dedication made possible by Barbara and Ron Balser in honor of his parents.”

Nominating Committee Chair Shirley Bernes and Robyn Tanenbaum recognized board members for their service and the committee for their efficient and thoughtful process in selecting board members. Sheryl Eisenberg and Mindy Sard joined the stage as 2024-2025 Auxiliary co-chairs. Eisenberg spoke about her striving for new ventures -- one being a partnership with One Table which brings people together for Shabbat meals where Atlanta is the pilot.

Gopen expressed that the luncheon represented “new beginnings” for the Auxiliary, especially for their staff in the final push of their physical year. He complimented the Auxiliary for their sacred work, saying, “You serve as an extension of our team, creating events and making residents feel cared for. And props to Steve Berman for never missing a luncheon and wife, Candy, who will take

over as Chair of the JHL Board.”

He shared that renovations to the 45-year-old Tower building have completed phase one -- 200 apartments and its infrastructure, and phase two will begin later in the summer and will upgrade the common spaces.

“The Tower is among the nicest HUD facilities in the U.S. JHL is a major player. Also, Berman Commons is offering a kosher-style menu option to expand its base,” Gopen said.

Rabbi Rosenthal rose to recognize Kaplan’s modesty in “doing good behind the scenes, not seeking attention.” He referred to a summary provided by her daughter, Rebecca, detailing various “Sally-isms.”

“If you are not five minutes early, you are 10 minutes late” … “If you have your phone stuck to your head when your husband comes home, he can’t kiss you.”

Also, Kaplan’s grandson explained that if they traveled with a group, most people get other’s names, but “Sally leaves with everyone’s occupation, favorite color, birthday, and an invitation to visit.”

In terms of Atlanta’s annual Hunger Walk, Kaplan has been the single largest fundraiser over the past 25 years. Rosenthal praised Kaplan’s efforts in providing breakfast for the AA minion birthday club (starting at 7 a.m.), in addition to her good work for JNF and The Epstein School as she so highly values education,

“both the spiritual and physical wellbeing of children.”

Anderson, HR Generalist at JHL, shared her wonderful experience working for the organization and about her upcoming enrollment in nursing school.

Phil Van Gelder served as auctioneer for the raffle by noting the “fancy cars” that drove up to be able to bid vigorously on donated prizes like a diamond necklace, catered dinner for eight by a private chef (sold for $2,100), and floral artwork by past Auxiliary President Jody Goldstein.

Zest Catering served a plated salmon/salad lunch with cream of asparagus soup. ì

Sally Kaplan (front left) poses with Jeffrey Gopen (right) with her family behind. (Center) Ellen Goldstein, past Vice President, and incoming President Sheryl Eisenberg, chat with Renay Levinson, one of the original Auxiliary presidents. Former Auxiliary President Jodie Jackson readies the raffle items before bidding. Nancy Lebovitz, Amy Alterman, and past President Nancy Baron believe in contributing to the wellbeing of the senior community. Special event co-chairs Elizabeth Blass and Cheryl Schwartz spoke about how the organization is “united as one” in its efforts.

Levy Concert Reflects Lifelong Love of Music

When he was just a small boy Howard Levy would sneak out of his bedroom to listen quietly to the musical soirees that his parents would regularly create in their New York City home.

His mother was a talented cellist who had gone to the High School of Music and Art in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem. His father was a baritone in New York musical theater who gave up his dream of starring on Broadway for a regular paycheck in one of the family’s businesses.

But his parents never lost their love of music and from an early age Howard fell in love with the tunes he heard while secretly listening at night in his pajamas.

“They were always playing classical music. They were huge opera fans, but they liked Broadway tunes, too,” he recalls. “I only realized much later that a lot of the jazz standards that I ended up playing were originally written for Broadway musicals, which I had heard when I was a kid. My ears were attuned at a very early age to those types of harmonies. So, my

parents’ musicality was a very important part of how I grew up.”

In the more than six decades of his musical journey, he has touched on an exceptional range of musical forms and genres. They were all on display when the Howard Levy 4 played last month at the Weber School in Sandy Springs.

There was some music inspired by Duke Ellington’s jazz compositions, some improvisations from Bach. There was also a tribute paid to the rhythms that reflected the influence of his Puerto Rican bass player, Joshua Ramos, his drummer, Luiz Ewerling, who hails from Brazil, and guitarist Chris Siebold.

“I really try to plan my sets in a way that draws the audience into, that where the set has a contour and I like to make sure that each of the band members are featured as soloists as well. So, I think that the skill of putting together a good set, which I learned from playing with some people who are absolute masters of

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Howard Levy is a virtuoso of one of the least expensive and most portable musical instruments, the diatonic harmonica.

that, really helps.”

The inspired arrangements were but one indication that he’s lost none of the deep passion for music he first developed as a child. Even though he has toured the world with such greats as Kenny Loggins and John Prine and won two Grammys during his years as a founding member of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, he still works hard at creating magic with his sharply honed musical craftsmanship.

Not only is he a keyboard jazz virtuoso, but Levy has pioneered and championed the humble diatonic harmonica as a respected member of the instrumental jazz family. Until Levy began playing it seriously in the 1980s, no one thought that this simple instrument -- one that can still be purchased for a few dollars -could do what he can make it to do.

“I realized also that the harmonica -- it’s the only instrument that is totally invisible to the person playing it. So, you know, I play it when my eyes are closed … I’m seeing a piano keyboard. And that’s my frame of reference to play all the things that I do with the visualization of the piano keyboard.”

Levy has written a chamber suite for harmonica, and a concerto for diatonic harmonica and orchestra that he’s performed over three dozen times all over the world. He’s at work on a second concerto that has been commissioned by Florida’s Gulf Coast Sinfonia for a performance next year.

But the most unusual work the group performed at the Weber School was a blue number based on the blessings over the Torah that are recited each time the sacred scroll is read. They are also an integral part of the preparation for each bar or bat mitzvah.

“I’ve always loved that melody. It’s got a natural bluesy twist to it. Blues and Jews seem to go together, they just flow naturally into each other.”

Sitting in the front row of the performance were Howard’s father and mother, still going strong at 101 and 97, respectively, and still very committed to music as a lifelong inspiration.

A reminder, if one was needed, of the moments so long ago when he first peered out of the nighttime darkness into the bright light of the music making in his family’s living room.ì

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The Howard Levy 4 spent an hour discussing the rigor of a professional musician with music students at the Weber School. Howard Levy (second from right) won two Grammy awards as part of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Teens 4 Repro Health Keeps Students Informed

Fifteen students from 11 different Atlanta high schools met monthly during the school year as participants in Teens 4 Repro Health, an innovative program in which they gained information from medical experts about reproductive health.

The National Council of Jewish Women-Atlanta Section spearheaded the program, which was chaired by NCJW volunteer, Laura Kurlander-Nagel. Kurlander-Nagel’s commitment to the novel program reflected NCJW’s interest in helping teens gather accurate and useful information about reproductive health, understanding their bodies, and making informed decisions as they mature.

JumpStart, the Atlanta Jewish teen initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, joined NCJW in generously supporting the first-time project.

The students themselves developed the curriculum for the series. The monthly meetings featured doctors and other experts who offered facts and, importantly, answered questions. One month’s program featured a visit from members of Medical Menches, a group of Jewish Emory University medical school students who volunteer in the Atlanta area.

The culmination of the monthly series was an outreach event through which the 15 students wanted to give others an opportunity to learn important information about reproductive health. The high schoolers held a free event on Sunday evening, May 5, at Congregation Or Hadash; the synagogue worked along with the group to provide a welcoming space. The teens named the event ReproFest, and the PR for the occasion was encouraging and candidly to-the-point. Part of the Repro-

Fest flyer, created by teen Sela Sokol, read: “Are you uncomfortable about contraception, legalities around abortion, and making good choices? We know it’s not always easy or comfortable to talk to your parents about this. That’s why we created an event by teens for teens.”

The host group endeavored to create a comfortable experience for everyone.

Attendees at the free ReproFest event

were able to meet with a representative from Planned Parenthood and an ObGYN, from whom they learned facts and could get answers to questions about reproductive health, the issue of consent, the Jewish view on abortion and other related subjects. They played fact-exploring games and trivia, enjoyed pizza, and gathered to make “period bags” for homeless women and teens.

The thoughtfully planned evening was fun and meaningful to the planners and the diverse group of attendees, which included teens of all genders and mothers and fathers of a few of the teens.

Chair Kurlander-Nagel, representing NCJW, affirmed, “We are hoping to expand the program next year with the help of some of our prior participants who are excited to continue the program.” ì

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A medical student of Medical Menches is pictured with Laura Kurlander-Nagel of NCJW. ReproFest hosts with signs indicating planned activities Teens 4 Repro Health teens greet guests.
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Attendees pack “period bags” at ReproFest.

Jewish Tower to be Renamed

In honor of one of its founding families, The Jewish Tower has been renamed The Meyer and Roslyn Balser Tower.

Jewish HomeLife hosted a ceremony on May 19 for the 200-apartment, high rise independent living community in Buckhead.

The renaming of the 46-year-old building follows a transformational renovation undertaken by Jewish HomeLife after assuming ownership in 2019. The goal is to provide older adults living in the HUD-subsidized independent living communities the ability to age in place. Some significant supports include a kosher restaurant – Helen’s, Eckstein Home Care, The Aviv, and lastly, a bus that takes residents on outings.

In 1978, the Jewish Tower opened with Meyer serving as president for the first 20 years, creating a legacy that ensures high quality housing for seniors at any income level will be available for generations.

A fundraising campaign has been quietly underway to help Jewish HomeLife underwrite the cost of phase two renovations. Atlanta business icons and philanthropists Ron and Barbara Balser recog-

nized an opportunity to fund the work in honor of Ron’s parents, Meyer and Roslyn, who identified a need in the Jewish community for independent senior housing.

“This magnanimous donation truly demonstrates the generosity of a historic Atlanta family. Ron and Barbara Balser and the entire Balser family will help

make a dream come true for hundreds of seniors in Atlanta,” said Jewish HomeLife President and CEO Jeffrey A. Gopen.  Jewish Home Life Communities supports every stage of the aging journey through its network of seven at-home care services and residential communities. Open to all, Jewish HomeLife

Explore Like a LOCAL

Get the scoop on everything from cuisine, shopping and arts to beautiful parks and festive events. The latest free issue of the Guide to Brookhaven is now available at our office in Town Brookhaven or scan the code for the digital version today.

includes The William Breman Jewish Home, Aviv Rehabilitation Center, Berman Commons, The Zaban Tower, The Balser Tower, Eckstein Home Care, and Weinstein Hospice. For more information visit ì

Mural by Artist Roberto Hernandez Brookhaven Farmers Market Petite Violette Compiled by AJT Staff In honor of one of its founding families, The Jewish Tower has been renamed The Meyer and Roslyn Balser Tower. Pictured are Meyer and Roslyn Balser The 200-apartment, high rise independent living community Buckhead is receiving a transformational renovation.

Israel placed fifth at this year’s Eurovision music contest behind a rousing performance

Israel Places Fifth at Eurovision

— Despite steep backlash including protests from other competitors,

Today in Israeli History

May 31, 1665: Shabbetai Zevi declares himself the Messiah after meeting with a mystic, Nathan of Gaza. Ottoman officials arrest him in 1666 and let him choose conversion to Islam or execution; he picks Islam.

June 1, 1948: The first convoy of 17 trucks takes the Burma Road, built along a mountain animal trail, to aid besieged Jerusalem residents. By the end of June, the road is carrying 100 tons of supplies per night.

June 2, 1948 : The United States lays out three Middle East assumptions in a policy memo to the United Nations: Israel will continue to exist; an Arab state also will exist in Palestine; and cordial relations benefit both sides.

June 3, 1948: David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister and defense minister of the provisional government, reports on the status of the War of Independence and accuses the British of aiding the Arab war effort.



Israel’s Eden Golan placed fifth in the Eurovision Song Contest after delivering a rousing final performance of her song, “Hurricane.”

The competition’s winner is determined by a complex system in which juries for each participating country allocate half of all votes, while the public contributes the other half. Golan’s success — which exceeded expectations set in betting markets before the competition — was fueled by the popular vote, which Israel won in 14 countries plus a new category for voters not located in any of the participating countries. Israel did not win any country’s jury vote.

Golan’s strength in the popular vote came in contrast to the intense protests against her and Israel’s participation in the song contest amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Tens of thousands of people protested in the streets of Malmo, Sweden, during the competition held there, and Golan was reportedly advised to remain in her hotel room under the protection of security.

Ya’akov Hazan, shown in 1952, supported close ties to the Soviet Union during Israel’s early years. // By Fritz Cohen, Israeli National Photo Collection, CC BY-SA 3.0

June 4, 1899: Ya’akov Hazan, a socialist member of Israel’s first seven Knessets, is born in Russia. He urges a pro-Soviet policy and calls the Soviet Union the Jewish people’s second homeland but shifts in the early 1950s.

June 5, 1967: Israel launches a pre-emptive strike on the Egyptian air force at 8:15 a.m., destroying 204 aircraft within an hour. Ground troops roll into the Sinai, and the SixDay War pulls in Jordan and Syria.

June 6, 1944: U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower orders the largest amphibious assault in history, sending Allied troops onto the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, as the ground war to liberate France from the Nazis begins.

June 7, 1930: Magen David Adom (Red Shield of David), Israel’s Red Cross affiliate since 1950, is relaunched as the emergency medical service for the Yishuv, the Jewish community of Palestine, after the Arab riots of 1929.

Yael Dayan gives a lecture at Haifa University to the Women’s Studies and Gender program, Nov. 12, 2014 // Photo Credit: Hanay/Wikimedia Commons

Yael Dayan, Israeli Writer, Dies at 85

June 8, 1963: Chaim Boger, a member of the second Knesset, dies at 86. He helped bring the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, launched in Jaffa in 1905, to Tel Aviv in 1909 and taught at the high school from 1919 to 1951.

June 9, 1959: Benny Gantz, who rises to be the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff in 2011 and emerges as a candidate for prime minister in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu in 2019, is born on a moshav, Kfar Ahim.

June 10, 1964: The 81-mile National Water Carrier begins pulling water out of the Sea of Galilee for drinking and agriculture. The system of pipes, canals, tunnels, reservoirs and pumping stations can carry 19 million gallons per hour.

Waze leaders meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014. // By Haim Zach, Israeli Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0

June 11, 2013: Google agrees to pay roughly $1 billion for Israel-based social mapping service Waze, which came from a program launched in 2006 called FreeMap Israel. Google wants Waze’s tech and team, not its user base.

of a famed Israeli military and political leader who charted her own course as a champion of peace, gay rights, and women’s rights in Israel, has died. She was 85.

A journalist who wrote novels and memoirs, Dayan also served in the Israeli Knesset for three terms between 1993 and 2002 representing the Labor Party and a centrist coalition, the One Israel Party. She later served as chair of the Tel Aviv City Council, representing the dovish Meretz party.

She was a daughter of Israel’s founding Ashkenazi royalty: Her father was Moshe Dayan, an architect of Israel’s victories in the 1967 and 1973 wars, and her grandfather, Shmuel Dayan, served in Israel’s first government.

In her 1986 memoir, “My Father, His Daughter,” written and published approximately 30 years after the events it describes, she remembered the lessons she learned from her soldier father as she herself joined the battle in the SixDay War.

June 12, 2014: Three Israelis ages 16 to 19 are abducted while hitchhiking near Alon Shvut in the West Bank and are shot dead. The two attackers are believed to be Hamas members. The bodies are found 18 days later, leading to Operation Protective Edge.

Yizhar Harari represented the Progressive Party in the first Knesset. // By Teddy Brauner, Israeli Government Press Office, CC BY-SA 3.0

June 13, 1950: The Knesset adopts the Harari Resolution, sponsored by Yizhar Harari, which stipulates that Israel will adopt a series of Basic Laws instead of crafting a single constitution as promised in the Declaration of Independence.

June 14, 2009: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays out his vision for a two-state Israeli-Palestinian solution. It includes a demilitarized Palestinian state, no Palestinian refugee return to the State of Israel and no more Israeli settlements.

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

from Israeli singer Eden Golan A convoy returns to Tzrifin after a Burma Road run during the War of Independence in 1948. // Palmach Archive

JNF Speaker Energizes with Hope & Synergy

Yom Ha’atzmaut could not have landed on a more meaningful day than the Jewish National Fund’s Women for Israel lunch at Temple Sinai on May 14. The program celebrated contributions to JNF as members were honored, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeast gave a rousing charge, and the keynote speaker received a standing ovation.

Event co-chair Amy Lewis began with a prayer for the release of the hostages. Natasha Lebowitz, Women for Israel Steering Committee member, introduced Anat Sultan-Dadon, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeast. Among her many appearances that day, her speech at the luncheon was about shining a light on real-life superheroes since Oct. 7, in which “ordinary people stepped up.” She spoke of women who lived through kibbutz massacres and have come forward to bear witness to the sexual abuse.

She also spoke of the bravery of fallen Lone Soldier Rose Lubin in her tough role as a border policewoman. She stated, “Women must play a crucial role in every field, as they have in establishing the foundation of Israel … while we are still mourning ... we will continue to write history and see brighter days ahead.”

Miriam Haviv, Campaign Chair of Women for Israel, complimented Atlanta women for being part of the surge of the city’s (JNF) giving. She introduced women who contribute $1,800 (Chai) or more, and then those who gave $5,000plus (Sapphire Society). Guests were then asked to take a blank card from the table centerpiece and write a message that would be delivered to IDF soldiers. Justine Cohen, JNF-Atlanta board member and Chair of the Sapphire Society, honored Michelle Horesh and Marlene Sukiennik, who “found a home through Beth Gluck,” JNF Executive Director, Greater Atlanta, after her move here from Arizona.

Additionally, Horesh shared that she felt like she had just won an Academy Award, and said, “My eight years working with JNF has brought me to these kind and passionate women in furthering the positive impact JNF makes on trauma victims, food delivery, art therapy, and wellness checks for the elderly.”

Event co-chair Caryn Berzack made the “Call to Action” where Israeli music was played among flag waving and fundraising cards.

Keynote speaker Olga Meshoe Washington, CEO of Defend Embrace Invest

Support Israel, an attorney who recently became a U.S. citizen, spoke about her role as a Christian Zionist from South Africa. Washington, whose slides showed her family marching for Israel in D.C., carried the theme of hope and what that means to Israel’s success.

More than a political science and geography lesson, she spoke of Africa’s long history with Israeli leaders and current reciprocity. She stated, “Africa is not poor. We have 50 percent of the world’s resources, like gold, and gives seven times more than it receives in aid. The [Black] Queen of Sheeba brought wealth to King Solomon.” Washington also noted that Africa has 60 percent of the world’s arable land and a huge youthful labor force.

She quoted notable men from Hertzog to [Black] scholar Edward Blyden where the relationship between the two countries was intertwined, especially in understanding slavery and the plight of indigenous peoples. She continued, “We have the common enemy in Hamas on Oct. 7. Our girls have been kidnapped and abused, and still held; and in Kenya, gunmen shot 147 Christians.”

She continued that although the U.S. has been Israel’s strongest ally, Africa may be its most strategic. “The U.N. voting is

just strutting like a peacock. We must reclaim the truth, Israel is not a colonizer, nor apartheid! Israel is a scapegoat ... Africa was the biggest block of nations recognizing the Jerusalem embassy.”

The room was silent when she concluded that some of today’s student protestors are “children that don’t understand their identity vis a vis Israel. Maybe kids who have been to Alexander Muss High School abroad can articulate this.

But if you don’t know who you are, others will tell you who you are.”

She closed after quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriett Tubman, and the movie, “The Matrix,” about hope and identity,

“We have to find the sun on a cloudy day. Don’t ask, find it ... terrorists are not freedom fighters. Israel is light chasing after darkness. We won’t be silenced! The demarcation is crystal clear!” ì

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Amy Fox, Laurie Kogon, Justine Cohen, and Julie Oshins show support for JNF. Christian South African Olga Mashoe Washington (center), CEO Defend Embrace Invest in Support of Israel, got a standing ovation after her presentation. Ivory-clad Hedi Toub poses with restaurateur Tal Baum before the luncheon. Linda Goldstein (Esther Panitch’s mother visiting from Miami), Esther Panitch, Sandy Craine, and Amy Friedlander enjoyed the program.

Blank Foundation Funds Girls' Flag Football

Over the past half-decade, it’s been well documented how no corner of America has been immune from the teenage mental health crisis. But nowhere has the epidemic been more severe than in Montana, where – due to a confluence of devastating sociological factors -- many teens grapple with barriers to mental health care.

Coincidentally, Atlanta Falcons principal owner Arthur Blank owns multiple ranches in Montana and has established a considerable footprint in the massive western state. Over the past few years, as the gravity of the aforementioned situation has come to light, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has earmarked grants to launch girls’ flag football programs in a dozen Montana high schools in an effort to provide teen girls with an opportunity to enjoy athletic competition that they would otherwise not have. This initiative marks the continuation of a now yearslong campaign by the Falcons to champion girls’ flag football throughout Montana high schools – one that has come on the heels of a successful push to spark interest in the sport among Georgia and Alabama high schoolers.

“Everywhere Arthur goes that he has a footprint, he loves to have a philanthropic presence,” explained Danielle Renner, Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Manager, when speaking to the Atlanta Jewish Times earlier this month. “This is a great way to impact the mental health space out there. Montana, unfortunately, has one of the highest suicide rates for teenagers and we have really heard from girls out there who said flag football saved my life.”

Among the dozens of powerful Montana stories shared with Renner, two stand out. There was one young athlete who was devastated upon being unable to crack the girls’ volleyball team. Lacking direction and self-esteem, she was encouraged to try her hand at flag football; within weeks, she was flourishing on the gridiron and developed a new circle of friends. Then there was the case of another young Montanan, one who was very introverted and experiencing severe mental health issues and in need of a healthy outlet. Her athletic director

also encouraged flag football. By season’s end, this young woman was the team’s starting quarterback and after having spent months dedicating her time toward something productive -- honing her football skills behind the support of teammates/new friends -- started feeling better emotionally.

“He [the athletic director] says to this day, it’s the best thing he’s ever done as an administrator,” noted Renner.

As alluded to earlier, the Falcons and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation’s commitment to championing girls’ flag football did not originate in Montana. Back in 2017, the two entities noticed a disturbing pattern among amateur athletes in Georgia: By the time they reached high school, a disproportionate number of girls were dropping sports compared to their male counterparts. And for those female athletes interested in continuing their flag football careers beyond middle school, hardly any avenues were available to do so.

Subsequently, the Falcons and Blank’s foundation initiated talks with high school athletic departments in Gwinnett County to get programs up and running before branching out across the state. Eventually, after 19 schools initiated programs, Georgia became just the fourth state to recognize girls’ flag football as an official high school sport.

“There was an inequality when it came to offering sports for girls and boys in Georgia,” Renner went on. “We really wanted to make football accessible for all.”

After seeing how popular the sport grew in Georgia – and later Alabama – the Falcons committed themselves to expanding into Montana where so many young residents were in desperate need of a new diversion. But, as Renner is quick to point out, Montana, with its wintry climate, presented a unique challenge as most high school athletes were accustomed to participating in indoor sports, particularly volleyball and wrestling.

“We were shocked at the amount of interest that girls [in Montana] had,” said Renner when further detailing the cathartic effect flag football has had on the state’s teenage population. “People who played soccer, basketball, volleyball were coming out. But what was even better was girls who had never played a sport before came to try out, found a natural athletic ability for it, and have picked the game up so quickly. It’s really changed

As part of the Falcons’ now yearslong investment in promoting girls flag football, Mercedes-Benz Stadium recently hosted a showcase for some of the best high school players in the region // Photo

the trajectory of their course and their passions.”

As flag football has had such an indelible impact on thousands of girls across America in such a short amount of time, Blank’s foundation earlier this month promised grants to 42 more high schools across Georgia so they, too, could launch girls’ flag football programs. Meanwhile, 20 new Alabama high schools and 12 in Montana will also be receiving grants.

It’s never easy choosing which schools receive grants as there are countless ones that express interest in starting a program, but simply don’t have the financial wherewithal to put something in motion. Undoubtedly, the financial outlay to cover new equipment, uniforms, and facility rental can seem insurmountable. Meanwhile, in addition to the hefty financial investment, deft operational management is paramount to long-term sustainability.

“He [Blank] is very big on not just writing a check and saying, ‘OK, we’re good,’” explained Renner. “He’s big on, ‘How can we make an impact? How can we make that impact first-class and gen-

uine? And how can we make sure that doesn’t go away in the years to come?’

“He is just so invested in the things that we do. He backs us 100 percent, not only financially, but just from the support, too. He’s seen the impact that it has had.”

In conjunction with the recent string of grants, the Atlanta Falcons High School Showcase in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the Women’s Flag Finals Championship Game took place on May 9-10 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In the largest college showcase to date, more than 250 flag football players from Georgia and Alabama had a platform to display their skills in front of NCAA representatives and college coaches, some of whom were presenting scholarship opportunities for players talented and dedicated enough to pursue their passion at the collegiate level.

Even just a couple years earlier, a flag football scholarship would have been a pipe dream for the sport’s participants. Added Renner, “It’s been amazing to see the growth.” ì

Credit: Kaleigh Bauer

Horwitz Eyes Big League Success

In baseball parlance, a “4A ballplayer” is by no means a dreaded designation, but it is far from an enviable identity.

It is someone who produces in the highest levels of the minors, so much so that they earn a brief call-up to the big leagues every now and then (“a cup of coffee” as they say in the industry) before getting sent back down for good. They become agonizingly close to establishing themselves in major league baseball . . . but ultimately spend the vast majority of their career riding minor-league buses and lodging in roadside motels.

Spencer Horwitz does not want to go down as a “4A ballplayer.” Not after the way he has been tearing up minor-league baseball this spring for the Buffalo Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

“I want to be in the big leagues,” Horwitz emphatically stated when speaking to the AJT. “There’s no doubt about that. I think everyone that’s here would be lying if they said they didn’t.”

Last year, his first full campaign at Triple-A, Horwitz flashed serious bigleague potential as he hit a remarkable .337 and drove in 72 runs in only 107 games. Numbers that warranted not one, but two stints up in Toronto, first in late June and then again in September when MLB rosters annually expand. The first baseman out of Timonium, Md., selected in the 24th round of the 2019 draft (the draft no longer has that many rounds), held his own in his first taste of the big leagues and went into spring training this February knowing he belonged on the Jays’ Opening Day roster.

For Horwitz, a member of Team Israel during last year’s World Baseball Classic and a likely candidate to reappear on the 2026 team, it was hard not to press, not to get distracted, when he was on the cusp of forever leaving behind the drudgery of minor league ball and becoming a full-time big leaguer.

“Going into camp, I was trying to make the team,” acknowledged Horwitz, a first baseman/DH by trade who has dabbled in second base and left field recently to expand his versatility in the lineup. “That’s what my goal was and that’s what I was thinking about. I think I did a poor job of thinking about it too much, honestly.

“It [minor-league lifestyle] has honestly gotten a lot better since I first got into pro ball in 2019. It is still that dayto-day grind that people don’t see. Like

when I got called up for the first time, everyone’s reaching out and saying how amazing it is. But those people weren’t reaching out when I was hitting .240 in Buffalo [Triple-A]. It’s non-stop. You’re in there every day. Sometimes you have a great mindset and you’re very optimistic that your dream will come true and other times it’s hard to keep that motivation and that dream alive.”

After a frustrating spring training camp, Horwitz quickly returned to form for Buffalo this spring, as his average has consistently hovered over .300 while he’s been driving in runs at a steady rate.

With the parent club in Toronto having a down year thus far – they’re currently in last place in the American League East – it is quite possible, likely even, that the young slugger will get another chance to impress at the big-league level for a club that may be unloading veterans and taking a long look at prospects such as Horwitz.

“There’s so much out of my control and I learned from my spring training experience of ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to make the team, I’ve got to make the team’ that it doesn’t help me play better,” he continued.

When reliving his two major-league experiences, those fleeting moments of nirvana, it is hard for Horwitz to keep his

emotions in check. It was almost a year ago, in fact, that he got called into his Triple-A manager’s office and was given the life-altering news that he was headed to Arlington, Texas, for the Blue Jays’ weekend series against the Rangers. That coming Sunday was Father’s Day, which, as it would turn out, would be Horwitz’s major-league debut.

“It blew my expectations out of the water,” recalled Horwitz about his first MLB game, one in which he started at DH, cracked a run-scoring single, and drew a pair of walks (he’s a big on-base guy).

“I wasn’t that nervous until I got on deck and then when I got on deck, I looked around for a second and I was like, ‘holy crap.’ My knees definitely got a little shaky, but once I stepped into that box and saw that first pitch, it really calmed me down.

“It’s everything I’ve dreamed of times a hundred. It was amazing. I had my family there. It was on Father’s Day. My dad’s a very important part of my life for everything -- for baseball and not baseball. It was very emotional.”

A couple months later, he was recalled for the stretch run of the regular season, during which Toronto was gunning for a postseason berth. (They were eliminated by the Minnesota Twins in

the Wild Card round; Horwitz did not see any action.) On a lazy Sunday afternoon during Labor Day weekend at Denver’s Coors Field, Horwitz launched his first big-league homer, a mammoth 442-foot blast over the right-centerfield fence. After retrieving the keepsake ball from the Rockies’ bullpen, Horwitz immediately gifted it to his big brother, Ben, who, as a remote employee for an insurance company, often travels to Spencer’s games and happened to be in the stands for his most impressive bigleague feat to date.

“My brother’s my best friend,” said Horwitz about his older sibling, who dropped baseball when he was a sophomore in high school but to this day regularly throws batting practice to and plays catch with Spencer. “He’s supported me endlessly throughout not just pro ball, but throughout my life. I’m super grateful to have a brother and best friend that I can talk to about anything in the world and someone who I know is in my corner no matter what happens.”

As the 2024 season drags on, Horwitz continues to crank at Triple-A, waiting ever so patiently for another chance to hit Ben’s iPhone up with great news.

“As long as you keep putting up good numbers, typically more opportunities continue to come from it.” ì

For the second consecutive season, Spencer Horwitz has established himself as one of the top hitters in Triple-A. He now hopes to become part of the Toronto Blue Jays’ long-term plan // Photo Credit: Buffalo Bisons Baseball


More Important Topics than the Garden

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Recipient of Basic Needs Assistance



I would prefer to update readers on the progress in our garden, but Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza is more important.

I would rather talk about the plum tree in our back yard and how its branches are bent to the ground from the weight of fruit growing on them, but there are men, women, and children held hostage in Gaza who likely have not eaten fresh fruit since Oct. 7.

I would tell you about the lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, basil, and cucumbers growing in our garden box, but the line between legitimate criticism of Israel’s government and expressions of anti-Jewish hate has been blurred too often and feels a more pressing issue.

I would tell you about blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, and the evidence of figs finally growing on that tree, but the American Jewish community is fracturing over how much is too much when it comes to war, while large numbers of Israelis have resumed marching in the streets, demanding accountability from their government.

I would tell you about my ongoing struggle to trim back “the kiwi plant from hell,” but we are a bit more than five months away from an election and my inbox already is filled with speculation about how issues related to Israel will play into the vote for president and other offices.

In short, I would rather talk about anything — even Atlanta United’s miserable form of late — other than Israel, the war, the hostages, tensions in the Jewish community, and politics, but those are what a columnist for a Jewish newspaper probably should discuss.

I have lost count of how many times I have written the following: On Oct. 7, 1,200 people were killed and 240 kidnapped in Hamas-led terror attacks on kibbutzim, towns, and a music festival in the “Gaza envelope” in southern Israel.

Shoshan Haran reminded a United Nations panel on May 16 why it remains necessary.

Haran, an expert in seed development, is the founder and president of Fair Planet, a non-governmental organization that has over a decade supported thousands of impoverished farmers while also providing an

estimated million Africans with a reliable source of food.

On Oct. 7, at Kibbutz Be’eri, her husband was murdered, along with her younger sister and her sister’s handicapped husband. Haran — along with her daughter, her son-in-law, her two young grandchildren, her sister-in-law, and a niece — were taken hostage. The Haran home was burned, apparently by incendiary devices detonated by the terrorists.

At Be’eri, an estimated 10 percent of 1,100 residents were murdered and some 30 people kidnapped and taken to Gaza.

Haran and the other five women and children were freed as part of a Nov. 25 exchange for a larger number of Palestinians held in Israeli jails. Her son-in-law remains a hostage — one of 125, though upwards of 40 are feared dead.

She told the U.N. panel how, for weeks after being freed, her then 3-year-old granddaughter spoke only in a whisper and would not go outside, fearing that she would be kidnapped again. Yahel, now 4, and her 8-year-old brother, Naveh, “have experienced a lifetime of trauma, all before the age of 9 and need all the support they can get,” Haran said. “Adi, their mother and my daughter, is psychologically a mess. The thought of her husband in captivity is terrifying but she must be strong for her family.”

Speaking on day 223 of the ordeal, Haran said, “We are all walking on air and cannot heal ourselves until he [Tal] rejoins our family. Only then we will be able to start coping with the long-term trauma.”

Haran concluded by saying: “If you care about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, like me, who dealt with humanitarian aid in all my professional life, use all the leverages and political power and do everything you can to bring all the hostages back home as soon as possible. Only this will enable the rehabilitation of the people in Gaza.”

I don’t mean to sound callous, but when the suffering of the hostages’ families ends, I’ll have more bandwidth to devote to broader issues, such as how Israel is waging this war, the role of the United States, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the depravity of Hamas, the influence of rightist elements in the Israeli government, and concerns that the prime minister’s is prioritizing of his own future.

In the meantime, I keep an eye on the plums, the crops in the garden box, and the various berries. I continue to trim the kiwi. The elephant ears along the driveway wave nicely in the wind. But for now, there are more relevant topics for this column.ì


Letters to the Editor

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

Letter to the editor,

Imagine for a moment, that there was a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) encampment on the Emory quad. This rally would be peaceful, but the protestors would be chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, such as “Hitler was right ” To our dismay, we would discover that the encampment was made primarily by Emory students, whom we thought were free of these prejudices. Emory police would ask the encampment to disband, but they refused. Emory would then call in Atlanta police to take down the encampment, as Emory has the right to regulate its own private property. Such a move would not be controversial among Emory faculty. The reason that this is different from the current situation is Palestinian liberation is within the big tent, while the KKK is outside the big tent. Both are examples of free speech.

A little about my background. I am an alum of Emory 83C,83G. I introduced my MS chemistry thesis advisor, Dennis Liotta, to Raymond Schinazi, for whom I worked for the summer after graduation. They developed Emtriva, which has turned HIV from a death sentence to a chronic disease. I served as Emory faculty in the SOM for 25 years, and was the inaugural Thomas J Lawley Professor of Dermatology. My mother was hidden by a righteous Gentile during the Holocaust, and my father fled the Nazis and spent WW2 in Siberia. My wife and I were in Israel on October 7, and saw Iron Dome in action, intercepting Hamas missiles. If Hamas had succeeded in killing us, they would have seen it as a great victory.

After our return from Israel, we see slogans at Emory and elsewhere saying “Free Palestine” and “Globalize the intifada”. One Emory faculty oncologist glorified the Hamas attacks and to Emory’s credit, she was dismissed quickly. When I hear and see “free Palestine”, what that means to me and most Jews is “free Palestine from the Jews ”  When I hear and see “Globalize the intifada,” I and most Jews interpret this as “attack Jews wherever they live ” Just as the swastika has a certain meaning to my parents, the kaffiyeh has the same meaning to me. I don’t see a difference between anti-Israel protests and a KKK rally.  Both want me dead. What is disappointing is that a certain number of students and some faculty share these sentiments. While these sentiments are Constitutionally protected, so is private property. For those students and faculty who support the aims of Hamas, I give them a vote of no confidence. I support the actions of President Fenves.

Jack Arbiser, MD,PhD, Emory Atlanta

Disclamer to our readers:

This section of the newspaper is a forum for our community to share thoughts, concerns and opinions as open letters to the community or directly to the newspaper. As a letter to the editor, we proof for spelling and grammatical errors only. We do not edit nor vet the information the letter contains. The individual signing the letter is accountable for what they share.

Letter to the editor, A Good Heart

The ba’alei ha-mussar note that in Pirkei Avot, the thirty-second out of the fortyeight steps to acquire Torah is “to love people.” This symbolizes the day before Lag BaOmer where the students of Rabbi Akivah died out because of lacking respect for one another. Indeed, loving others is the antidote to not respecting them.

Taking it further, the midrash notes that stinginess can also refer to a refusal to teach others Torah. Reb Yochanan Ben Zakkai, whose yartzeit is on Lag BaOmer, was the tikkun to this because he re-disseminated the Torah of Rabbi Akivah.

The gematria of lev tov is forty-nine. This is in fact the key to surpass the fortyeight levels of what’s needed to acquire Torah. It’s the Sine qua non to have all blessings.

Rabbi Akiva famously said that the great rule of the Torah is to love your neighbor. We may say if you want the Torah like Rabbi Akiva had, work on achieving a lev tov.

Steven Genack, Clifton


JIFLA Celebrates Edelston’s 10 Years of Leadership

On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Hammond Park, Jewish Interest-Free Loan Association of Georgia (JIFLA) volunteers, board members, donors, family, and friends celebrated Merrie Edelston’s 10 years of Leadership as JIFLA Loan Committee Chair and board member.

As a consumer loan officer, Edelston put her professional expertise to work in the community by volunteering countless hours helping people in difficult situations achieve financial stability. Past JIFLA Board Chair Laura Kahn spoke about Merrie’s work, pointing out that during her tenure, 420 loans were approved having a tremendous impact on the lives of those individuals and their families.

“Armed with our compassion and giving, we offer loan applicants dignity and help them any way we can, whether it’s through loans, budget counseling, or other resources. Working with JIFLA has been extremely rewarding for me,” said


More than 60 people gathered for fun lawn games, friendly cornhole competition, a craft project for the kids, and a delicious Israeli-style dinner catered by The Kosher Gourmet.

JIFLA is grateful for all the generous donations honoring Edelston. Event sponsors included: Melanie and Danny Frank, Congregation B’nai Torah and Rabbi Joshua Heller, Judy and Jay Kessler, Terri and Stephen Nagler, and SouthState Bank. Event supporters included: Adina and Jeff Jagoda, Jennifer Edelston, Merrie Edelston, Rebecca Edelston Skoryanc, and Adrienne Litt-Bishko. Sponsorships and donations for this special event support JIFLA interest-free loans throughout the Jewish community for a wide range of needs including unexpected medical bills, emergency home repairs, fertility treatments, trips to Israel, and Jewish life cycle events.

Compiled by AJT Staff

Shalom b’Harim Engages in Tikkun Olam

Shalom b’Harim, the Jewish community of the North Georgia Mountains, recently participated in two community service activities in support of the congregation’s commitment to Tikkun Olam (repairing the world).

Since January, the congregation has collected approximately 100 pounds of food as well as financial donations for the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, the Gainesville-based agency that serves 65 partner organizations in Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Lumpkin, and Union counties. Donations are requested at each Shabbat service and other gatherings.

In addition, congregants participated in a bowl-painting event in support of the Food Bank’s annual Empty Bowl Luncheon fundraiser, which takes place in September. The group will gather for another bowl-painting event on July 13.

On April 25, six individuals from Shalom b’Harim took part in the North-

east Georgia History Center’s “Homeschool Day” for homeschooled children from around the area. The theme of the event was World War II. Congregants talked about family members’ experiences during the war and invited students to draw pictures of things that made them happy – inspired by artwork created by children during the Holocaust. Displays about Shabbat, bar and bat mitzvahs, and Passover were on hand, and everyone had an opportunity to taste matzo. Shalom b’Harim, which has served the Jewish community of North Georgia for more than two decades, meets monthly in Gainesville for Shabbat services as well as for Passover and the High Holidays. To learn more and find a calendar of upcoming events, visit or send e-mail to beit.sbh@gmail. com.

Handel Among Hadassah’s 2024 ‘18 Voices for Israel’

Hadassah Greater Atlanta announces that Jennifer Handel, Director of Israel Engagement for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, has been named to the list of Hadassah’s 2024 “18 Voices for Israel.”

Handel was recently recognized as one of Atlanta’s “Jewish 40 Under 40” and has had the privilege of speaking on various panels related to antisemitism and Zionism. Participating in Birthright Israel in 2010 changed the course of Jenn’s personal and professional life.

National Hadassah’s 2024 Annual List (  consists of 18 American Zionist women; both Jews and non-Jews; American-born women, American immigrants and Americans who have made Aliyah.

“These special women will help see us through the current crisis and shape the future of Zionism and Israel. They have made Zionism an integral part of their personal

and professional lives,” stated Simone Wilker, Zionist Affairs Chair for Hadassah Greater Atlanta.

“Zionist women here in the United States are a strong force for Israel today,” explains Hadassah Greater Atlanta President Nancy Schwartz.

Handel is in great company among these 18 women. From TV star Debra Messing, who is executive-producing “Primal Fear,” a documentary about the post-Oct. 7 eruption in antisemitism, to Hadassah Zionism-education star Diana Diner,  from Christian Zionist Destiny Albritton, to LGBTQ+ progressive Zionist, Toby Klein, from Black Jewish poet/digital content creator Tova Ricardo to constitutional scholar Sam von Ende – these women and the others on the 2024 list represent the diversity of Zionism today.

Compiled by AJT Staff

(From left) Beth Valenta, Fred Brasch, Elaine Brasch, Murray Siegel, Adrienne Litt-Bishko, Debbie Kalwerisky, and Aaron Valenta
Shalom b’Harim participants in the Northeast Georgia History Center’s recent “Homeschool Day” included (from left) Joshua Peck, Melanie Vaughan, Miriam Rosenberg, Kaye Schwartz, and Steve Schwartz. (Not pictured: Leon Rubin) Simone Wilker, Zionist Affairs Chair for Hadassah Greater Atlanta (right), congratulates Jennifer Handel on being chosen as one of National Hadassah’s 2024 “18 Voices of Israel.”

NFI Grants Tzedek Award to Rabbi Sugarman

justice for all.”


The New Israel Fund announced that at its seventh annual Atlanta Tzedek Awards, NIF’s Atlanta Regional Council will honor Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, a longtime leader in the Jewish and Atlanta community. The event will be hosted at The Temple at 7 p.m., Sunday, June 2. The New Israel Fund Atlanta Tzedek Awards annually honors members of the Atlanta Jewish community who embody the New Israel Fund’s commitment to justice, equality, and democracy.

Shai Robkin, the Chair of the New Israel Fund’s Atlanta Regional Council said, “The Atlanta Regional Council of the New Israel Fund feels incredibly blessed that Rabbi Alvin Sugarman has honored us by accepting the Tzedek Award. For over four decades, NIF has been the leading Israeli organization advocating for human rights. Rabbi Sugarman has similarly acted as a leader in Atlanta’s struggle for equality and


Rabbi Alvin Sugarman said, “What a distinct honor it is for me to be receiving the NIF Tzedek Award. During these extremely difficult times for the people of Israel and her neighbors, the enduring efforts of the New Israel Fund are needed more than ever. How blessed we all are to have such an endeavor, that embodies the highest ideals of what it means to be Jewish, and to live our faith.”

This year’s Atlanta Tzedek Awards will also feature Shira Ben-Sasson Furstenberg, the Associate Director of NIF in Israel, who will delve into the ever-evolving situation in Israel and NIF’s impact on the ground. For more details, to sign up for the event, and make a gift in honor of Rabbi Sugarman, visit

Oracle is Moving to Nashville

Larry Ellison, the chairman and chief technology officer the Oracle Corporation and one of the founders of the company 47 years ago, has announced the company is moving its international headquarters to Nashville.

The firm, which is the world’s third largest software company, plans to build a $1.35 billion campus and bring 8,500 jobs to the Tennessee city. Three years ago, the company paid $254 million for a 60-acre site downtown and offered another $175 million for improvement to the city’s public infrastructure.

In addition to offices, plans for the campus include a park along the city’s Cumberland riverfront, a concert venue, and a hotel.

The company sells database software and cloud computing applications. In recent years, it has moved aggressively into the marketing of its health care record keeping system. Two years ago, it bought Cerner, a health information technology company, for $28.3 billion in cash, its largest acquisition ever.

The acquisition made Oracle the second

largest electronic health recorder company in the nation, with a market share of almost 29 percent. In Atlanta, the large Northside Hospital system uses the Oracle products for its record keeping.

When asked why he was moving the company from Austin, Texas, Ellison indicated it was being done because Nashville is a health care center.

According to the Nashville Healthcare Council, the city has 900 companies with over a half million employees in the health care industry. Among those companies is HCA Healthcare, which operates 186 hospitals in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Nine of those hospitals are in Georgia. Also headquartered there is Change Healthcare, which operates the largest financial and administrative information systems in America.

The 80-year-old Ellison was born in New York City to an unwed Jewish mother. An aunt and uncle, Lillian and Louis Ellison, raised him in a Reform Jewish home from the age of nine months and he took their family name. According to Forbes Magazine, he is the fifth wealthiest person in the world, with a fortune estimated at $154 billion.


The Israel will honor Rabbi Alvin Sugarman on June 2 at The Temple.
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Larry Ellison, chairman and chief technology officer for the Oracle Corporation, recently announced that the company is moving its international headquarters to Nashville.

GA Tech Students Lead Speaker Series

A pair of computer science master’s students at Georgia Tech recently led an informative speaker series featuring several Turing Award winners who are Jewish. The Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing,” is awarded annually to individuals for their contributions of lasting and major technical importance to the field of computing.

Five such award winners joined sev-

eral other distinguished speakers for the series. The Turing Award speaker series was created by Georgia Tech students, Zachary Axel and Parsa Khazaeepoul, with support from Zvi Galil, creator of the online master’s in computer science program at the university. A12 Incubator, out of Seattle, sponsored the series.

The AJT recently sat down with Axel as he spoke about the significance of this first-of-its-kind series.

AJT: Please describe the concept for

the speaker series. Where did the idea originate? And how did you go about bringing the series concept to life?

Axel: The concept of the speaker series was to bring together some of the most accomplished computer scientists to teach the next generation of students and faculty, as well as anyone else in the community who wanted to tune in – it was open to the general public. Listeners could hear stories and the instrumental work and contributions these scientists have brought to society.

The idea originated after I met with the creator of the C++ programming language, Bjarne Stroustrup, in December of 2023. Bjarne is one of the most accomplished computer scientists in the world, notable for his invention of the C++ programming language and also my professor, Zvi Galil’s, office mate. I had this creative idea to reach out via cold email to Turing Award winners and see if they might be willing to speak to us students via Zoom about a lecture they had given before.

Georgia Tech students, Zachary Axel and Parsa Khazaeepoul, led an informative speaker series featuring several Turing Award winners. A pair of computer science master’s students at Georgia Tech recently hosted a speaker series featuring several of the world's top computer scientists, many of whom are Jewish.


Dr. Nir Shavit discussed issues surrounding the future of deep learning hardware and software.

To my astonishment, not one but five Turing Award winners kindly offered to speak: Dr. Leslie Lamport, Dr. Edward Feigenbaum, Jeffrey D. Ullman, Dr. Barbara Liskov, and Dr. Jack Dongarra. We even have our sessions recorded on our website,, for anyone who wishes to watch – it’s free to the community. We really brought the series to life when we invited students and faculty from all across the country to listen to our speakers. Since we hosted speakers via Zoom, students from all over the world joined our sessions. We had students and faculty from Israel, Italy, Switzerland, and many other countries, and we regularly had more than 100-plus audience members tune in per session.

Dr. Barbara Liskov spoke about how data abstraction changed computing forever.

Axel: This is extremely important because it serves as a testament to the kindness (kavod in Hebrew), generosity, and highlighting the significant contributions to which Jewish scientists have contributed to scientific progress. I am extremely proud of the achievements and instrumental scientific contributions of my fellow Jewish colleagues. Our event also was about community (kehila in Hebrew). We successfully brought together Jewish and non-Jewish scientists and students to celebrate scientific progress and inquiry. I hope that Jews across Atlanta can be inspired by the efforts our community took to come together for the sake of scientific inquiry and progress.

We were also advised on our initiative by my professor, Galil, Emeritus Dean of the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, and Bjarne Stroustrup, his insanely accomplished office mate. Finally, I shared our recordings with my mentor, Dan’l Lewin, President of the Computer History Museum in Palo Alto.

AJT: You mention that four of the five speakers were Jewish. Rhetorically speaking, please explain why this is important.

Dr. Moshe Vardi

Dr. Leslie Lamport

Dr. Noel Capon

Dr. Barbara Liskov

Dr. Nir Shavit

Jeffrey D. Ullman

AJT: Do you have any plans to continue this speaker series? Maybe with different topics? Or different speakers?

Axel: Probably not. I do not think we can realistically beat the lineup we achieved this semester, and I would rather end on a high note. I am proud of the speaker series we conceived, and I am grateful to share news of this series with my community. I also just want to say a big thank you to my professor, Zvi Galil, for his constant support and guidance in my running this series. It was an absolute blast. ì

Featured Speakers

Dr. Assaf Schuster

Dr. Jack Dongarra

Dr. Edward Feigenbaum

Dr. Nachum Dershowitz

Dr. Anthony Leggett

Dr. Assaf Shuster conducted an “ask me anything” style interview for the speaker series.
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Argentinean Architect Lands in Atlanta

Native Argentinean Ariel Czesler embarked on a U.S. journey where he shed his architectural career to realize a dream of working at Disney -- all before meeting his wife on JDate and landing in Atlanta as an urban landscape artist.

Czesler explained, “Architectural drawings are pieces of art. Cities and

buildings have become the stage and background to human life. Like art, architecture is also an expression of the era in which we live.”

With Buenos Aires as a source of inspiration, his approach to painting evolved into two main styles: free form architecture -- for his building fantasies and architectural puzzles; and urban perspectives -- for his city images interpret-

ing city dynamics and the complexity of urban life.

Czesler also dips into morphology, the study of form. He stated, “Architectural drawing and drafting means studying volumes and shapes, lights and shadows, perspective and composition, all of which contribute to the overall design and aesthetic appeal of a structure.”

As an urban expressionist artist,

his goal is to capture the essence of the urban landscape of native Buenos Aires, which Ariel describes as “a colorful city that feels gray, confusing but organized at the same time. I invoke its endless buildings, rooftop TV antennas, water tanks and power lines that grow almost organically. Other times, I create architectural stories, fantastical buildings assembled like puzzle pieces [that] become

“Jerusalem” (2019), oil on canvas, 12x36 inches
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Czesler digs deeply into morphology to craft his structures in oil or acrylics.


fascinating structures. Windows, stairs, balconies, and doors inspire me to compose a geometrical symphony, where perspective intersects light and shadow.”

Czesler operates out of his Decatur home and studio which is filled with paintings of all sizes and stages of completion. He works primarily with oils on canvas, but also paints with acrylics and experiments with new techniques. In terms of completion time, he can execute a piece in anywhere from a few hours to a few days or weeks. His work is sold in galleries and art fairs, or directly on his website ( Prices vary and depend mostly on size, time it took to complete, and other variables. He describes his price points as affordable.

Czesler uses social media to attract students to his seminars which are hands-on approaches to different art movements aimed at helping discover one’s inner artist.

Czesler said, “Everybody can create art. Children know this. Adults have forgotten. We use a variety of art-related activities and materials, encouraging the participants to discover different art concepts and learn how to relate to them. I don’t teach art techniques. I lead you in a journey of self-discovery through art.”


Relating the history of Jewish life in Argentina, the country’s Jewish population was about 400,000 in the 1980s. However, due to emigration to other countries, mainly Israel, the United States, and Spain, the population decreased to around 330,000 by the 1990s.

He went to one of several Jewish elementary schools, but the only one that taught Yiddish. As a family, they spent weekends at a Jewish community center and sports club. Ariel’s mother was an accomplished artist, painter, and sculptor. Art was always present in his house. He also studied art history and photography in secondary school and graduated as an architect from the University of Buenos Aires.

Before immigrating to the U.S., and for several years, he worked as an architect in different construction companies. However, he did not recertify his architectural degree in the U.S. and went on a different path following a childhood dream of working at Disney World.

Czesler exclaimed, “Pardon the cliche, but it was a dream come true! Something I had wanted since my first visit when I was a child. Not everybody can say their workday ends with fireworks! It was incredible to be part of all Walt Disney World for 20 years. I worked at all four parks and at 10 different resorts. I helped hundreds of families make their dream vacations come true.” ì

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Ariel Czesler paints fantastical buildings assembled like puzzle pieces that become fascinating structures.

Israeli Couple Match Form, Function in Wood

Craftsmen/entrepreneurs and husband-and-wife team, Ester and Kobi Shamba, created Gratitwood, specializing in custom cabinets, fireplace walls, built-ins, vanities, entertainment centers, banquettes, mudrooms, kitchen cabinets, and bookcases.

Kobi stated, “We take on different and interesting projects and recently completed custom nightstands, a beautiful accent wall and a game table. This is why our job is so exciting — we do not have a classic catalog. We do custom work according to the taste and needs of each client. One customer may request a simple cabinet, while another may ask for several large projects. We ask for an ideal budget, and options start from $1,000 to $20,000.”

Ester impassions that, “It’s not just about cabinets, but also about helping people express themselves making their homes more functional and organized.”

Early on, Kobi was recognized for his artistic talent and “golden hands.”    Ester said, “When we came to the U.S, he decided to pursue his woodworking dream, being self-taught through YouTube and consulting with other experts. He has a remarkable ability to learn quickly and is incredibly passionate about woodworking. In a short time,

he began attracting clients, and that’s how the business started.”

Now they make a strong team. Kobi handles the carpentry, from design to construction and project management, and Ester manages marketing, customer service, and the back office. She also learned graphic design, traditional marketing, and social media marketing, and said, “We’ve built our entire business from scratch with our own hands—quite literally. I designed our logo, website, and took photographs of projects. Kobi learned to sketch, create quotes, paint, and install.”

Three years later, they expanded to include a local photographer, virtual assistant, and cabinet designer. They work with five outsourcers in woodworking and installations. They have a 3,000-square-foot industrial workshop and office in Marietta.

Technically, Kobi said, “The most important tools we have that a homeowner wouldn’t typically have access to are industrial machines,” for example, a planer, jointer, drum sander, and a computer numerical control, a technology that uses computers to control machines in manufacturing processes. It’s a hightech way to automate and precisely control the movements of tools and machinery in industries such as metalworking, woodworking, and even 3D printing.”

Gratitwood primarily uses wood, occasionally incorporating glass. The most popular types include plywood, MDF (medium density fiberboard), solid maple, and oak. They work closely with local wood and lumber suppliers, most of whom are domestic, and also import ma-

terials from Canada and Indonesia.

Ester stated, “While we haven’t used exotic woods from Brazil or Zebra yet, we are open to exploring new materials based on client preferences and project requirements. We encourage designers to contact us with specific requests.”

In terms of trends, most clients prefer traditional styles, particularly white classic shaker-style cabinet doors. The Shambas are noticing requests for more colors, flat modern doors, and more natural looks with coated white oak or walnut.

Affiliated with Congregation Ariel in Dunwoody, they had the honor of being part of a tallit stand donation. Ester said, “We charged a symbolic amount just for the materials and did everything else for free, happily. While we haven’t yet made an ark, it’s not quite our niche.”

For background, Ester grew up in Bat Ayin, a settlement near Jerusalem, and Kobi is from Jerusalem. Both served in the IDF and met while working a security job after the Army. Kobi’s mother, Cyndy, an American, emigrated at 18. Her family, the Shtinbachs, immigrated to the U.S. after the Holocaust from Lithuania to Norfolk, Va.

In considering the company name, Ester said, “Gratitude is one of our core family values, bringing us happiness, optimism, and a positive attitude. Gratitude fosters more miracles. The moment Kobi suggested ‘Gratitwood,’ we knew it was perfect. ‘Gratitude’ and ‘wood’ encapsulate who we are in just two words!”

For more information, please visit ì

Ester and Kobi Shamba make a great team in Gratitwood’s workshop. Kobi made this tallit rack from solid maple.  This custom blue game table is a “stunner,” made of maple, painted with SW 6783 Amalfi.

Meet the Real Mah Jongg Mavens

Debbie Levin Katz and Leslie Fox claim their business union was bashert as the new owners of popular website and eCommerce destination Mah Jongg Maven.

As experienced players for over 30 years, they both grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, went to the same high school, and did not know each other. They both moved from Chicago to Florida, and then came to Atlanta for work. And that’s when the hot tiles started clacking. They discovered through friends that Stacey Frankel, who is now deceased, was selling this business.

In describing Mah Jongg Maven, Katz said, “Our eCommerce retail store sells everything you need to play Mah Jongg. We are known for the quality and uniqueness of our hand-painted engraved sets. We take the classic suits of Mah Jongg and add color and artistic flair to all the tile faces. We sell racks in various colors and different types of cases. We like to think of ourselves as All Things Mah Jongg.”

They sell learning tools and official National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) official cards as well and carry all the fun tchotchkes -- great for entertaining and hosting games like serving dishes, napkins, mugs, spreaders, tumblers, gifts, jewelry, and apparel. They also sell canasta, backgammon, and dominoes. Everything is eCommerce and shipped out of their homes separate from where products are stored in a warehouse. Tiles start at $285 and more than 50 styles are featured on the website.

Chicklett/Rainbows are the most popular Mah Jongg sets as are customized jokers with fun sayings, images or names. Quantifying the Mah Jongg craze, Katz stated, “We know there are about half a million cards sold a year through the NMJL -- although, there are now lots and lots of new players; so, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number is closer to 750,000. The Facebook group, Mah Jongg That’s It, has over 67,000 members, one of the largest groups on Facebook. More and more men are learning how to play. Both of our husbands play.”

We have seen old movies of Jewish women playing Mah Jongg in the Catskills and assume it’s a Jewish game. “Not exactly so,” says Katz, “Mah Jongg started in the Jewish community in the U.S., however, more and more people are playing in their communities, so, it is not

as primarily Jewish as it used to be. “

Some get cultish about the game taking Mah Jongg cruises or at least meet up with others at the designated Mah Jongg game on generic cruises. Katz and Fox encourage players to add their own tournaments to the Facebook group: Mah Jongg Maven- All Things Mah Jongg, and their Instagram account: Mahjonggmaven. They also go to tournaments to meet players and hosted their first Mah Jongg social play weekend retreat on Feb. 16 at Stone Mountain with much success.

Even though the duo has been playing since they were 20 years old, they feel that there is always room to learn and grow strategically. Here is Katz’s advice for great playing: “Have fun, don’t play hands with pairs if you do not have the pairs to start, and be open to pivoting based on the Charleston (passing) and what you pick.”

Fox concluded, “We want to focus on having the highest quality and best selection of Mah Jongg tiles available.”

Outside of Mah Jongg, Fox plays canasta and works crossword puzzles. Katz plays pickleball, reads, walks, and attends art festivals. They both are both members of Congregation Dor Tamid where Fox was past president.

As a side bar for a real Jewish connection, local community activist/volunteer Gabrielle Spatt started Mah Jongg for Israel where she is raising funds for charitable causes.

Spatt said, “I have created several Jewish/Israel-themed Mah Jongg items to help keep the connection with Mah

Jongg and the Jewish community and raise funds for Israel. It’s been really nice to see all these new Mah Jongg businesses run by non-Jewish women wanting to support the history of the game and con-

nection to the Jewish community.”

An example would be napkins that say, “Pass-over the Tiles” and a lively Mah Jongg card with all Jewish-themed categories.  ì

Debbie Levin Katz and Leslie Fox claim their business union was bashert, as the new owners of popular website and eCommerce destination Mah Jongg Maven. This black set features an unusual and exotic look.


Baron Aims to Clarify Real Estate News

Recent headlines surrounding changes in the real estate industry have many consumers and media outlets going ga-ga: “Class Action Settlement Will Make Home Buying Cheaper” … “Realtor Commissions to go Away Clearing the Way for Lower Prices” … “Seismic Changes to Real Estate Industry Will Turn it Upside Down.”

Admittedly, this is intriguing and exciting news to someone entering the home buying/selling market but, alas, it is essentially clickbait and, in many cases, misleading. In fact, the new rules (scheduled to go into effect in July) are likely to make the process more complex and more expensive for home buyers, according to local real estate expert Jimmy Baron.

Baron says, “To bring you up to speed, a class action lawsuit (still to be approved by the Department of Justice) against the National Association of Realtors resulted in a few key rulings that have caused a lot of conversation and confusion for consumers, the media, and real estate professionals themselves. Most notably

in a few key rulings that have caused a lot of conversation and confusion for consumers, media, and real estate professionals.

is the resolution that sellers will no longer be required to pay the buyer’s agent commission. However, what many don’t realize is that this has never been law in the first place. Sellers have always had the option of paying their agent a negotiable commission and determining how much of that would be shared with the

buyer’s broker. They’ve simply chosen to do so because it was the smartest way of getting the greatest number of buyers in the door. The new regulation simply dictates that if the seller does decide to also offer a buyer’s agent commission it must be separate and not part of the listing agent commission. But the effect is pretty

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much the same.”

Baron continues, “In that vein, there’s lots of chatter about sellers simply paying their own agent and buyers separately paying their own agent, which sounds perfectly sensible and reasonable, except to home buyers who ultimately dictate the market."

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Buying a home is obviously an extraordinarily expensive endeavor. In addition to obtaining a mortgage, the buyer must come out of pocket for a down payment, closing fees, inspections and, of course, moving costs, according to Baron.

“This is literally tens of thousands of dollars in most cases,” Baron said. “So, if Mr. and Mrs. Homebuyer are now going to be asked to pay a broker commission as well, they may very likely instruct their agent to simply not show them homes that don’t cover the buyer’s agent commission. And this, of course, does not bode well for sellers who benefit from the greatest possible number of showings.”

Baron suggests readers frame the situation as such: If you’re selling your home would you pay people to simply come see it? Doubtful. But what if you let people see your home for free and then just offered to pay the one person who brought you an actual buyer? Makes a little sense, doesn’t it?

Baron continues, “But why use a buyer’s agent at all? Isn’t that why G-d created Zillow? Well, would you enter a court room representing yourself? If you’re smart, probably not. Nearly 90 percent of all home buyers still use agents when making the biggest purchase of their life because they realize the value a good agent brings when it comes to writing a competitive offer to beat out others in a bidding war, negotiating with the seller’s agent (whose fiduciary duty is to look out

for the best interest of the seller, not the buyer), how to insure all the proper inspections are performed, navigating the complex world of terms/contingencies/ deadlines/special stipulations/lengthy inspection reports/low appraisals/handling mold or Radon and the list goes on.

“These are things you don’t learn on ‘Million Dollar Listing.’ Buyers simply have too much to lose and are not likely going to risk exposing themselves by ‘going it alone’ without experienced representation. They also realize that a seasoned agent will have an advantage in finding out about off-market homes or properties that have not yet been listed.

“And lastly, the notion that these new commission regulations will lead to lower home prices is absurd. Sellers will not be reducing their asking prices if they aren’t paying a buyer’s agent any more than McDonalds would lower the price of a Big Mac if the cost of pickles went down. They’ll just enjoy a bigger profit.”

Baron concluded, “The NAR settlement essentially scratched an itch that never existed. The system may not be perfect, but it has worked reasonably well for years and, while there’s likely to be some added confusion when these new regulations kick in, sellers will soon realize that making their home easier to purchase – rather than more difficult –will only benefit them in the end.” ì

Compiled by AJT Staff

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Jimmy Baron feels there is a great deal of confusion surrounding recent changes in the real estate industry.

Real Estate Roundup Spring 2024

Marc Garfinkel, Prosperity Home Mortgage LLC

It’s full speed ahead in the home buying and selling landscape. As mortgage rates rise, smart strategies for buyers and sellers are important to understand and take into consideration. Seasoned mortgage expert Marc Garfinkel, a highly regarded mortgage consultant and lender with Prosperity Home Mortgage LLC, shares positive news for sellers who strategize proactively. Even with today’s lack of inventory, Garfinkel reports that buyers are still offering top dollar for a well listed home, and despite the higher interest rates, there’s important information to consider.

Garfinkel commented, “For buyers, the best guidance I can give is to not wait for rates to come down if they are in a position to buy now. There are no guarantees that rates will see a significant drop anytime soon. Back in 2022, when 30-year fixed intertest rates rapidly increased from the low threes to the fives, I remember buyers pausing their home search saying they wanted to wait for rates to drop. Fast forward two years and rates have climbed up over 7 percent in some cases.

“At the same time, home values have continued to increase. Rates dropping back down into the five percent range would represent a huge shift in the market which would likely result in a massive increase in buyer demand. When buyer demand increases, prices increase as buyers will likely have to forfeit all their negotiating power. However, if you purchase in the perceived higher interest rate market today, you can take advantage of the lower interest rates and lower payment with a refinance if/when rates fall. It is much easier to time the interest rate market if you own your home with a refinance, then trying to buy a home when you and anyone else who has waited starts to see the rates come down.”

Informed sellers also know that buyers are struggling with these higher interest rates. He added, “One way to help attract buyers is to offer a financing incentive as part of your listing. Before lowering a price on a listing that has not had the showering or offers that a seller was expecting, talk to a loan officer and explore financing incentives. For example, a seller could offer to pay for a temporary or permanent interest rate buy down. Often, buying down an interest rate for a buyer can lower the monthly payment more than if you reduce the price. If it costs $5,000 to reduce an interest rate by .5 percent that will save the buyer much more over time than reducing a purchase price by $5,000 for the buyer financing 80-97 percent of the home value. This creates a win-win for the buyer and seller.”

Regarding expendable funds and when you should put down more money if you are able to for a mortgage, Garfinkel suggests, “Your loan officer, and a financial advisor will assist you in formulating a budget for your new home. The obvious advantage to putting more money down is a lower monthly payment and things to also consider. Do you have any other higher interest/higher payment debt? Sometimes you can increase your overall monthly cashflow by putting less money down on your house and use the additional funds to pay off other debt. A $10,000 lower mortgage amount may save you $60 to $75 a month, while you may also have a $10,000 credit card or auto loan balance with a payment of $500 to $1,000.”

Next, Garfinkel shared light on considering the value of liquid of funds. He said, “Once you put money down on your house, those funds are not easy to access. You would either need to sell your home, take out a HELOC, or a cash out refinance to access those funds should you ever need them. Fixed mortgages can also end up lower than the return on investment in the market. Talk to a financial advisor before making the decision to put down a large down payment. Mortgage debt is typically the lowest and cheapest way to borrower money – take advantage!”

In addition, he added, “To a seller, the all-cash buyer is seen as less risky than the buyer who needs to obtain a mortgage to close on the house. I try to have my buyers fully underwritten prior to going under contract on a house. That means having an underwriter review a buyer’s application and sign off on their income, assets, and credit history. If a buyer has already received a commitment letter from a lender’s underwriter, then they would not need to have a financing contingency as part of their offer. This is the best way to compete with the cash offer. Another advantage to being fully underwritten prior to going under contract is that the buyer can offer a quick closing, just like a cash buyer.

“Buyers should also start working with their loan officers weeks prior to looking at house. A good loan officer will have a buyer comfortable with the purchase range they can qualify for and what the payment and cash to close requirements are. They will also start the underwriting process so that buyer can offer the most attractive terms to the seller, giving them the best chance to get their offer accepted.”

And lastly, Garfinkel reminds buyers, “After a closing on a mortgage, many lenders allow for a buyer to make a large chunk principal reduction payment ($10,000plus) and modify the mortgage to reduce the payment by keeping the same terms of the loan (interest rate and amortization time). This is a great option for buyers who are selling a home after they purchase the new home. They can roll over the equity from the sale of the departure property to the new mortgage to lower the payment.

Robin Blass and Lauren Solomon, The

Robin Blass Group at Harry Norman Realtors

Competition for a well-located and appointed house remains in great demand. This consensus continues as 2024 is still a highly competitive landscape. There are multiple buyers ready to offer rising bids on houses, especially those that are updated or newer with the latest trends in home renovations. While commercial and resident sellers attract buyers quickly, more inventory is needed.

The message we’re hearing reminds us to consult a trusted professional ahead of time for all things real estate. Locating a house even before it goes on the market is a strategy worthy of an expert’s time who will go to work for you and prepare you for what’s available to find the home of your dreams.

Robin Blass, The Robin Blass Group at Harry Norman Realtors, along with her daughter, Lauren Solomon, are two of Atlanta’s premier real estate experts and have a combined 56 years of industry experience and knowledge. Their deep understanding of the market and commitment to excellence sets them apart as trusted advisors in the community. Clients praise their attention to details and appreciate their dedication to each and every individual.

Blass commented on the process of selecting a real estate agent, “In a seller’s market, it’s easier to sell a home and harder to buy one. Building a strong agent-client relationship is crucial and a client should look for an agent who completely understands the current market and has expertise in negotiating. You want a trusted real estate professional looking out for you who is well-connected and a trusted advisor who can competently help you navigate the market even when there are only a few listings when you set out. Every day, new homes are listing and it’s all about knowing what’s coming soon, about to happen and then showing up first or soon as possible.”

Another important consideration Blass stresses is when buying to understand


the neighborhoods. She shared, “A realtor can guide you to make informed decisions based on your needs. This includes information regarding the community, city, schools, parks and so much more. I love being in a large office with other successful realtors, networking, sharing new listings and having the support of the staff at my office adds to my success in supporting my clients.”

An agent can prepare a buyer when there is not a lot of inventory on the market. Blass added, “When I have a lack of inventory in a particular area or neighborhood, I will send drop mailings that “I have a buyer,” call expired listings and cold call when neighbors looking for inventory to show and sell. There are lots of purposeful ways to find houses that are not on the market.”

To be a successful purchaser, Blass continued, “Being prepared ahead of time is also essential. A successful buyer must have made a loan application and get fully approved prior to making an offer. It is crucial to have all financing in order before presenting an offer. The buyer must be able to waive financing and appraisal contingency and find a lender that can fully approve them while the due diligence period is in place. Write a sincere love letter with the offer that tells the seller why you love the house so much and how you can see your family in it for years to come.”

As a seller, she advises that there are a few things that matter like if an “as is” house is still sellable. She believes it is still very important to get the house in perfect show ready condition, painting, new carpet, new light fixtures inside and out where they are dated. A freshly painted home, and pristine clean conditions are how properties sell quickly, achieve multiple offers, and receive over list prices.

If you are selling or creating a bidding situation, Blass suggests, “Every situation is different and there is no rule of thumb on this matter. I encounter both quite often. Recently my seller took an offer from a neighbor so she could be across the street from her grandkids. The buyer was happy with the price she offered after we went over the comparable pricing in the neighborhood. Then there are other sellers who just want to be in a multiple offer situation to get the highest possible price and best terms.”

Blass adds one final note of caution, “No matter what the market brings, I would not forgo a home inspection or routine inspections that are customary in our marketplace.”

David Neimark, Senior Mortgage Banker, Ameris Bank

David Neimark has amassed 28 years of lending experience and a deep understanding of the mortgage industry. Here, he shares his thoughts on the current local housing market.

“In today’s ever-changing economy, mortgage rates are a hot topic for homeowners, prospective buyers, and industry experts. Recently, we’ve seen significant shifts in these rates due to global economic conditions and domestic policy changes. Understanding the current mortgage rate environment is essential for making smart decisions about homeownership and financial planning.”

Neimark first turns his attention to mortgage rates.

“After a period of historic lows, mortgage rates have risen quickly. Between 2020 and 2021 interest rates were as low as 1.875 percent. Lately, they’ve fluctuated between 6.5 percent and 8 percent over the past five months. While these rates are still good compared to historical standards, their upward trend makes timing crucial for those considering buying a home or refinancing existing loans. The Federal Reserve’s decisions, inflation, and market sentiment all play a role in where these rates go, adding unpredictability.”

Neimark continues, “For existing homeowners, this might be a good time to refinance before rates climb higher. However, many current homeowners are reluctant to sell and are staying in their homes because they secured very low interest rates in previous years. This reluctance has affected the number of homes on the market, driving up prices due to a lack of inventory. Prospective buyers need to consider how

higher rates and higher prices affect their buying power and long-term affordability. Real estate agents and lenders like myself must adjust our strategies to help clients navigate these changing conditions.

Neimark noted that rising interest rates can have a domino effect throughout the entire housing market.

“The current mortgage rate environment also impacts broader economic trends, influencing consumer behavior and market sentiment. When mortgage rates change, it affects housing market activity, which in turn impacts economic growth and stability. The housing market drives consumer spending, investment, and job creation, making mortgage rates a key indicator of economic health.”

Neimark also discussed what he refers to as “creative financing options” which may help homebuyers have more success in finding the right place.

“Creative financing options like portfolio loans and first and second mortgage combinations offer tailored solutions for unique financial situations. Portfolio loans, retained by the lender, allow for flexible underwriting, ideal for those with non-traditional income or credit profiles. First and second mortgage combinations enable buyers to finance a home purchase with two loans simultaneously, often avoiding private mortgage insurance and reducing monthly payments. These methods provide customized mortgage solutions for diverse client needs.”

Neimark then turned his attention toward the current conditions surrounding those looking to purchase their first home.

“First-time home buyers are particularly affected by higher rates and rising home prices. Thankfully, several programs now offer down payment grants up to $12,500, which are forgiven over five years. This is making homeownership available to some that are in need of lowering their loan amounts to make the mortgage more affordable. Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have adjusted rates for investors and second home buyers, making it easier for first-time buyers to compete without investor pressure.

“In conclusion, today’s mortgage rate environment reflects a mix of economic forces and policy decisions with wide-ranging effects. By staying informed and planning carefully, you can navigate this landscape confidently and seize opportunities for long-term prosperity.”

Reach out to Neimark at for expert mortgage advice and services.

Jon Shapiro, The Jon Shapiro Group

Local real estate expert Jon Shapiro shared his thoughts about the current housing market and what Atlantans may be facing when either buying or selling a home.

“To understand our current 2024 real estate market, you have to understand where we were in 2023, where we are right now, and where we are going. 2023 home sales were the lowest on record for 30 years. The main reasons were that owners were locked into low mortgage interest rates they did not want to give up, creating very low inventory of listings. The interest rates doubling from 2022 to 2023 also knocked many buyers out of the market which, of course, was also a contributing factor to less 2023 sales.”

He continued, “In 2024, even though prices are pretty steady year over year with about a 5 percent increase from 2023 to 2024, people are starting to act. We are already seeing a 10 percent jump in inventory and closings year over year. The belief is rates will drop to around 6 percent over the next year and inventory will continue to rise. Most people I am working with are ready to go and don’t really see any benefit in waiting any longer. I believe we have all seen the correlation between lower rates and over market pricing. Seems more logical to secure a home with the best possible pricing now and refinance when rates go down. There are many consumers who paid over market in the low interest rate buying frenzy and there will be some folks upside down to where they could owe more than a home is worth. 2025 is predicted to be a record-breaking sales year. Bring it on!”



Shapiro then turned his attention toward some of the current trends that he and his team have recently observed.

“Trends we are seeing in the current market are that fewer consumers are excited with the current pricing of materials and labor to do gut renovations. We are seeing refreshed, updated homes often sell with multi-offers for good prices when the buyer does not have to do a lot of work. HGTV has set our consumer expectations of what homes should look like. I would stay away from anything too bright or flashy as it’s trendy and dates quickly. Any kind of outdoor entertaining space will remain in demand.”

Shapiro also discussed the controversial and still pending lawsuit facing the National Association of Realtors.

“I have never experienced so much incorrect information on one topic. Bottom line is as the year progresses there will be no publication on our multi-list systems like FMLS and MLS to how brokerage fees are paid between the listing agent who represents the seller and the buyer’s agent that represents the buyer. There will be other simple ways to share this information between real estate agents.

“After 33 years of being in business, one thing I know for sure is that sellers want to net the most money and buyers want their best possible terms as well. Realtors will continue to work together as we have been for many decades to make this happen. Buyers and sellers have always had options to venture out on their own and not hire a professional in this and any industry. There’s a reason over 90 percent of consumers choose to work with a realtor. I don’t see this changing anytime soon.”

To reach Shapiro, please call (404) 845-3050.

Amy Barocas, The Barocas & Feldman Team, Harry Norman Realtors

Amy Barocas, a realtor with The Barocas & Feldman Team of Harry Norman Realtors, discussed what’s hot and what’s not in the Atlanta real estate market, including emerging trends, and shared some helpful hints and basic tips for homebuyers and sellers.

Barocas said, “The Atlanta real estate market is experiencing a period of strong growth and resilience as we move through 2024. What’s hot are listings and the need for more marketready homes. Homes that have been well prepared to enter this market are selling fast and for over list price, and listings that didn’t are not. Atlanta continues to attract buyers for all that it has to offer from jobs, affordable cost of living, market stability & our incredible sports & entertainment. Just another reason we are called “HOT-lanta”!

As far as trends, Barocas offered, “Days on market have been a bit higher lately than the years past, but they still remain at slightly above list price. This allows for a more balanced market in Atlanta, but there are still those pocket areas that consistently are stronger and have little or no inventory. The homes that are priced right, in good school districts, and are ‘move-in’ showing condition with little to no repairs or maintenance [needed] are seeing the quickest sales and highest prices.”

Regarding interest rates, Barocas suggested those currently maneuvering the market maintain some historical perspective.

“In 1971, interest rates for a mortgage were 7.33 percent, which is higher than today’s average rate. If you waited for interest rates to go down, you would have continued to rent or stayed in your current home until 1993 – 22 years of waiting – for interest rates to go down. Meanwhile, the value of real estate quadrupled. You cannot time the market on the perfect time to buy your first home, upgrade to your next home, or invest in real estate.”

She continued, “My No. 1 piece of advice … make moves based on when it makes sense for you personally. The market is always going to fluctuate, and as history has shown us, real estate has tangible value and remains an invaluable asset in all of our portfolios.”

Barocas concluded by sharing some helpful hints and tips for homebuyers and sellers.

“Enlist the help and guidance of a market expert and local realtor,” she said. “The real estate market evolves incredibly quickly, and choosing a team to assist you with your next big purchase or sale is invaluable.”

To reach Barocas, please call (404) 790-0913.

The Schiff Team, Schiff Atlanta Fine Homes

Leigh and Michael Schiff, real estate advisors with The Schiff Team and Schiff Atlanta Fine Homes, share their expertise in analyzing the local real estate market and offers some helpful tips for consumers.

“In the Atlanta real estate market, homes that are in excellent condition and priced correctly are in high demand,” the Schiffs said. “When sellers and their listing agents set the right price, these homes often receive multiple offers and go under contract within a weekend. On the other hand, the high-end market (properties priced at $3 million and higher) is currently not as hot. The inventory levels for luxury homes in the intown area are quite high, with some properties sitting on the market for over a year. This abundance of inventory gives buyers an advantage in negotiating offers for the homes they are interested in purchasing.”

The Schiffs then turned their attention to current issues surrounding the real estate industry.

“One of the current challenges in the Atlanta real estate market is the limited inventory across most price points. This shortage of available homes makes it difficult for buyers to find suitable properties. As a result, when a desirable home does hit the market and is priced correctly, it often receives multiple offers and sells above the list price. In order to compete in this competitive market, it is crucial for buyers to be fully approved for their mortgage or be prepared to pay in cash. This shows the seller that the buyer is serious and financially capable, increasing their chances of winning a multiple offer situation.

“Another key factor in competitive negotiations is the absence of contingencies and a shorter due diligence period, typically around three to five days. Buyers who are willing to waive contingencies and complete their due diligence quickly are often seen as more desirable by sellers, giving them an edge in negotiations. Overall, limited inventory in the Atlanta market has made it challenging for buyers. To succeed in this competitive market, buyers need to be financially prepared, ready to act quickly, and willing to make strong offers without contingencies.”

The Schiffs then provided some solid advice for homebuyers and sellers.

For the buyers, they say: “Ensure you are fully approved by an experienced lender before starting your search for a home. This will give you a better understanding of your budget and increase your chances of securing your dream home. And don’t wait until the weekend to look at new listings. As soon as a house is listed, try to visit it as soon as possible. This will give you an advantage over other buyers and allow you to submit an offer promptly if you’re interested.”

For the sellers, they say: “Consider investing in your home before listing it. Most buyers prefer a move-in ready home, where they can simply unpack and feel at home. By addressing any deferred maintenance or necessary repairs, you can attract more buyers and potentially receive higher offers. Remember that visible deferred maintenance can make buyers wary. If they see signs of neglect in the house, they may question what else has been overlooked. This hesitation can deter them from making an offer. So, it’s essential to address any maintenance issues before listing your property.”

To reach The Schiff Team, call (770) 821-1354 or email leigh@schiffrealestateteam. com or Compiled

by AJT Staff
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2024 | 39 A PodcA ewish times don’t miss our uPcoming issues to Advertise cAll: 404-883-2130 Arts & culture And heAlth & wellness bAck to school & college Pets & senior living simchA, grAduAtion And FAther’s dAy best oF Jewish AtlAntA heAlth & wellness And trAvel

Does Wall Street Own Your Dream Home?

If you or someone you know has had trouble finding an affordable home to buy, the problem may not be caused by high interest rates or the population growth in the metropolitan Atlanta market.

The problem may be due to largescale investors swooping in with vast resources of cash to jump to the head of the sales line. A new study by researchers at Georgia State University and Rutgers University in New Jersey details just how rapidly Wall Street has taken a liking to the single-family homes market.

That’s particularly true in Atlanta, which in recent years has led the nation in single-home buyers with deep corporate financial resources. In recent years, corporate investors bought more than 30 percent of homes purchased here. Charlotte was not far behind, followed quickly by fast-growing cities like Jacksonville, Las Vegas, and Phoenix.

The new report, which was authored by GSU professor Taylor Shelton and Rutgers researcher Eric Seymour, shows that in Atlanta three corporate landlords own 19,000 single-family rental homes,

“These companies own tens of thousands of properties in a relatively select set of neighborhoods,” GSU’s Shelton said, “which allows them to exercise really significant market power over tenants and renters because they have such a large concentration of holdings in those neighborhoods,”

Invitation Homes, which is the nation’s largest owner of residential real estate, has its corporate offices in Dallas but is located in Atlanta on Dunwoody Place. At last count, they own just over 7,800 homes here. Pretium Partners, which was started by a former banker at Goldman Sachs in New York, comes in just behind with over 7,100 homes in Atlanta and is the second largest owner in the nation. Third is Amherst Holdings, a Texas firm, which owns just over 4,000 single-family homes.

Profits are up at Invitation Homes, the only one of the three firms that is a publicly traded company and obligated to disclose its financial results. But the money that is pouring into this financial sector indicates business is good. Pretium Partners earlier this year announced it had raised $1 billion to acquire new builtto-rent homes. Last year, Pretium added thousands of homes in a deal worth $1.5 billion with DB Horton, a major home builder.

The firms have been criticized for charging high rental fees while providing a poor level of maintenance. Tenants who fall behind in the rent often face speedy eviction, even during the pandemic years when business operations around the country were upended by the COVID-19 virus.

Renters who have tried to force accountability to their corporate landlords face formidable obstacles. The university report shows that the three firms are protected from legal liability in the metro Atlanta market by what was described as “an extensive network of more than 190 corporate aliases registered to 74 different addresses across the states and one U.S. territory.”

“Layers of interaction that have to happen before you get to the person who’s ultimately making decisions are

increased. You have to talk to your property manager,” Shelton said. “Then, the property manager has to talk to their supervisor, who talks to the local or regional manager. Then they have to run things up. It creates this distance where you don’t actually know who your landlord is, so you don’t actually know who to make demands of.”

One of the reasons corporate ownership in the metropolitan market has grown so quickly is state laws in Georgia that frustrate tenant rights. That prohibits cities and counties from tracking rents and identifying landlords.

The corporate housing buying boom is one of the bright spots in a real estate market that has created big problems for some owners of office buildings and large retail shopping malls. Just last week, Barry Sternlicht, who runs one

of the nation’s largest real estate investment trusts, limited the amount of money investors can reclaim.

High interest rates are creating a cash crunch for even large companies like Starwood, which has about $10 billion under its management. Sternlicht in recent years gave back to the banks that financed his purchase of the Tower Place office buildings in Buckhead after occupancy rates plummeted.

But selling devalued properties is also not an option. In a letter to his investors, Sternlicht advised holding on for now, in the hope that better days are coming.

“We cannot recommend being an aggressive seller of real estate assets today given what we believe to be a nearbottom market with limited transaction volumes, and our belief that the real estate markets will improve.”ì

Atlanta is one of the nation’s fastest growing markets for build-to-rent homes. Real estate investor Barry Sternlicht has had to deal with the rapidly shifting real estate market. Corporate purchasers of single-family homes often snap up properties sight unseen.

Voters Pass Property Tax Exemptions

Voters in Gwinnett and Cherokee counties voted on Tuesday, May 21, to approve sweeping new homestead exemption measures, reducing some of the strain of property taxes for residents.

Homestead exemptions in Georgia apply to anyone who lives in the home they own as of Jan. 1 of the year they file taxes. Georgia’s standard homestead exemption is $2,000, meaning the first $2,000 of a home’s value are not taxed. Additional exemptions, as approved by the state legislature, are granted on a county-by-county basis, but typically require a public referendum first.

The homestead exemptions that were on the referendum last Tuesday in Gwinnett were among the largest in the county’s history. The first measure, which passed with about 74 percent of votes, adds a $4,000 exemption — doubling Gwinnett County’s homestead exemption to $8,000.

Lesli Greenberg, who has worked as an Atlanta-area realtor for five years, notes that this is a necessary change to reflect the higher cost of living.

“Housing prices in Georgia continue

to accelerate, which has made entering the housing market a challenge for many young adults with moderate income households,” said Greenberg, “Gwinnett County, home to the largest school system, has seen their average home sales price increase by 17.4 percent year over year to currently just over $400,000.”

The second measure, which passed with about 64 percent of votes, impacts public service employees living in Gwinnett County, granting them an additional $2,000 homestead exemption. This includes any firefighters, paramedics, peace officers and law enforcement, any teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators employed by the Gwinnett County or Buford City School districts, and any member of the armed forces, including reserves and National Guard. The measure should make it easier for them to live in the county where they work.

“The doubling of the homestead exemption and an additional homestead for public workers may allow those who have sat on the sidelines to now enter the housing market,” said Greenberg.

Both measures were championed by State Rep. Matt Reeves, of the 99th district,

who has been pushing for greater statewide homestead exemptions as well. This included HB 1019, introduced last year, which would have doubled the state’s standard $2,000 exemption to $4,000. However, the bill was vetoed by Governor Brian Kemp, citing legal technicalities.

The homestead exemption voted on in Cherokee County, which passed with over 90 percent of the vote, provided a complete homestead exemption for all individuals meeting specific criteria. The residents must be either above the age of 62 or dis-

abled, must have already been granted a homestead exemption for property in Cherokee County for at least five years, and must make no more than $16,000 a year. Any residents in Cherokee County which meet these criteria will no longer have to pay any Cherokee County School District ad valorem taxes for educational purposes. As all three homestead exemption measures were already passed last year in both the Georgia House and Senate (pending the recent referendum results) they will go into effect Jan. 1 next year. ì

Residents in Gwinnett and Cherokee counties voted in favor of the homestead exemption measures on May 21.


West Coast Comic Charms in Toco Hills

Jewish Internet sensation Antonia Lassar flew in from Los Angeles for a Saturday night, May 18, performance at Intown Community Church, across the street from Congregation Bet Haverim.

The animated redhead in a denim jumpsuit poured her energetic persona into topics ranging from Jewish inclusion to contrasting differing streams of Judaism. It was raining outside; but inside the audience was laughing, singing, and thinking about her truths that may be said “in jest,” but are well founded through her real-life lens.

Having been raised in a progressive California family where being gay was more “in” than “out,” Lassar told the AJT, “I’m lucky to have grown up in a liberal Reform family, and to have huge queer Jewish communities in L.A. and N.Y. Queerness and Judaism have always gone hand in hand for me. I grew up going to Passover seders where there were 80 different items on the seder plate to

symbolize every single minority identity.

My Jewish idol was Debbie Friedman, so I was very familiar with queer Jewish lead-

ers. I joke that in the Reform community you can’t be a rabbi unless you’re bisexual. So now that I’m a proudly queer, proudly Jewish adult, I’m so honored to be able to represent this community … but like in a funny way?”

Lassar told the AJT that she was a big nerd as a child but dreamed of being the class clown. As a “dorky theatre kid,” she was shy around cool people. She competed in high school speech and debate and did well in the comedy categories. After college, she found her place in the comedy world with sketch and improv in New York, online sketches, then standup.

She shared, “To be honest, I still have to give myself a pep talk before shows to remind myself that I’m funny.”

Her solid hour show is fast paced as Antonia never refers to notes and speaks nonstop with appropriate pauses and audience interaction. And a lot of singing … what an ideal crowd like CBH to assign harmony and have a melodious result. After all, Debbie Friedman is her muse.

Being nonbinary is not as front and center as Judy Gold’s show, for example. Lassar is constantly thinking and contrasting … Wear black hats vs. no hats, Frum maybe cooler or are we ruining their culture? Progressives do tikum olam bake sales … Who’s parsha is about frakking?”

Her magical words are meaningful and Ashke-normative. All over the place? Yes. Well thought out? Yes. Hard to describe? Yes. Flowing well? Yes!

In more references to Friedman, Lassar said, “Here we are singing a Havdalah melody by a lesbian. When I’m singing, my body feels normal … hey, am I losing the room? Chabad also loves singing, just not women singing.”

Then she shares an elaborate bit about being baptized. “Maybe because I am an idiot.”

But then it’s her observant mentor who takes her to the Ohel (Rebbie’s grave in Brooklyn) to leave a request letter about her own medical issues, ending, “even a dead rabbi takes a co-pay.”

Then there’s her take on COVID … “what would Dr. Fauci think if he saw how we wash our hands with the same community towel, hug ‘good Shabbos,’ use our hands to pull a piece of challah.”

The bottom line is that Lassar’s openness to learning and practicing combinations of Judaism do stimulate discussion. Her show is refreshing and well performed. She ends, “These days, I’m obsessed with learning about Judaism, talking s**t about Judaism, and learning about even more things about Judaism that I can talk s**t about. “

Lassar recently headlined “Laugh Boston,” as she’s performed in New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and more. Watch for her show in Asheville, N.C., at the JCC on June 20.

When asked if she composes her own material, she said, “Yes. I wish I had the budget to hire a ghostwriter. But for now, all of this shlock is pure moi.” ì

Antonia Lassar led the audience in a 10-minute round of “Soften Me Up.” She is happiest when singing, while her comedy is thought provoking. Emily Anzalone, CBH Executive Director Hailey Monette, Cantor Jen Duretz-Peled, and Rabbi Nathan Peled, Davis Academy instructor, enjoyed pre-show wine and cheese. (From left) Congregation Bet Haverim Musical Director Rebekka Goodman accompanied Rabbi Mike Rothbaum in Havdalah.

Damsel Wants to Sweep You Off Your Feet

If you are having difficulty coming up with a sophisticated and perhaps even sassy way to add some spice to a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion or celebration, you may want to consider Damsel, the newly opened three story dining and entertainment complex at The Works on Atlanta’s Upper Westside.

With its emphasis on upscale dining, personal service, and quality entertainment the ambitious 10,000-square-foot project by restauranteur Dave Green is aimed at replicating and expanding some of the best features that have made his Select restaurant one of the big hits in Sandy Springs.

The Damsel project, which was conceived by the Smith Hanes Design Studio in the midst of the recent pandemic over 2½ years ago, features a rarity for this part of the country. It’s the Damsel party room with continuous live entertainment, an imaginative menu, and some creative drink choices. Green has given a lot of thought to how best to bring this unique project into being, with an emphasis on his primary goal, a memorable evening out.

“I wanted to create a social experience,” Green says, “where people are connecting with each other and with the high quality of live entertainment, great food, and great cocktails that we offer. What we offer is a classy, sexy, beautiful space, hung with crystal chandeliers and a performance stage that turns into a dance club late at night.”

As Damsel’s creative director, Green tapped veteran showman, Otis Sallid, who has brought to Damsel many of the lessons he’s learned creating theatrical experiences in Paris, Abu Dhabi, and Las Vegas. In Atlanta, he aimed to make it special and fun.

“One of the things I wanted people to walk away with is that the creative work is accessible. Not above them or beneath them. The other thing was that I needed it to be inter-generational so that all ages can come and enjoy. I always, at my age and with my many experiences, want to create a world I would personally want to enjoy.”

The dancers show off a fair amount of skin during their performance but at the mid-week show attended by this writer, it all seemed in good taste. A long table filled of respectful, mature diners seemed to be enjoying the show as much as a group of young women in their party best who were running up an expensive

bar tab. For Dave Green, who has taken an apartment just across the street from his new project to be close to the action, Damsel is designed to be an escape from the city life outside its doors.

“It changes the way you feel,” Green maintains. “It gives you a vacation. It takes you from the mundane, regular, very stress-laden world we live in today and removes that and says we’re here to care about you, entertain you, and make you feel cared for."

In one way or another, that’s the aim of the Damsel experience on offer in the formal dining room that just opened on the second floor with executive chef Julian Parker’s pricy menu of steaks and lobster specials.

Finally, for those who just want to unwind after work or on weekends

there’s an open-air bar serving drinks and an international menu in a lounge setting. The expansive views of the city skyline and an occasionally spectacular sunset are available at no extra cost.

The initial impetus for the Damsel project came from Mindy Selig, Senior Vice President at Selig Enterprises, and a fourth-generation member of the 100-year-old family firm. The property, which has been in the company’s portfolio since 1965, was reimagined by her brother, Scott, who passed away before it could be brought into existence.

Today, the 80-acre, mixed-use site is thriving, with 350,000 square-feet of offices, retailing, and dining. There’s a 300unit apartment project just across from Damsel, and a 16,000-square-foot food court and 9,000-square-foot microbrew-

ery and tap room at the other end of the property. Thousands of visitors crowd into the many restaurants and bars, particularly on weekends. Over the past four years, it has been transformed from a dreary warehouse industrial site in a part of Atlanta that was largely forgotten not so many years ago.

Damsel is sort of a cherry topping off this tasty confection, ironically named after a term used to describe a virtuous, inexperienced, unmarried young woman.

But, for its creator, Dave Green, Damsel is so much more.

“Once you step inside our door, we want you to be transported and enveloped into something that erases the outside world … and embraces you into a better place, even if only temporarily.” ì

Damsel is a unique Atlanta experience, fine dining combined with an evening of live entertainment. The roof bar and lounge offer food and drinks in an inviting outdoor setting. Entertainment is continuous each evening, with dancing on the weekend.


SCAD Show Features Controversial Designer

Cristobal Balenciaga was only 11 when he started helping his mother, a local seamstress, in the summer resort town of Getaria in the Basque country of northern Spain. One of her clients was a rich member of Spain’s nobility who took a liking to the young boy and helped him learn the intricacies of designing women’s clothing. The next year, he made her a dress and his career as one of the greatest couturiers of women’s clothing was launched.

Before he retired in Paris 58 years later, he had dressed some of the most important women of the 20th century. Now the SCAD Museum, which was created by the Savannah College of Art and Design on its campus in Midtown, recalls that era in an exhibit entitled simply, “Cristobal Balenciaga Master of Tailoring.”

The exhibition, which was created with the help of the Azzadin Alaīa Foundation, shows off a carefully curated selection of his designs from the late 1930s to the late 1960s.

Balenciaga first became widely known when he set up his elegant salon at 10 Avenue George V where the clothes were always the star. Balenciaga shunned the press and did only one interview in his long career, but he created a long line of reverent clients known as “Balenciagas” who fell in love with his designs that often combined simplicity with an extraordinary fashion sense.

Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Grace Kelly wore his clothing as did many of the wealthiest and socially prominent women of the time. The American heiress Barbara Hutton and the wife of the very rich American banker Paul Mellon were longtime customers.

Bunny Mellon had four copies made of every design she bought from him. When she looked in her closets at each of the four homes she and her husband owned, the Balenciagas would always be there to wear.

She lived to be 104 and before she died, she gave a collection of 660 of her most cherished dresses, coats, and gowns to the impressive museum that was started in his hometown. She had the sketches for many of her clothes bound in a leather book with gold lettering on the cover that read, simply, “I feel pretty.”

But for all the reverential hero worship that followed Balenciaga through the war years, there was a darker side to his success that the SCAD exhibit barely mentions. During the war years when

many designers had to close their salons because of a shortage of fabrics and other materials, Balenciaga thrived.

He was a favorite of the Spanish fascist dictator, Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain, who had come to power after the Spanish Civil War with the decisive support of another fascist, Adolf Hitler.

Hitler adapted many of the advances in warfare that he used in supporting Franco in his “Blitzkrieg,” or Lightening War, across much of Europe. Hitler was such an admirer of the Spanish born designer that he tried unsuccessfully to move him to Berlin in the 1940s.

While an estimated 77,000 Jews were being rounded up to be sent to their deaths

in Auschwitz, the couturier was creating his silk ball gowns for Nazi dignitaries.

But Balenciaga wasn’t the only Parisian designer during the war who befriended the Nazis. During their occupation of the French capital from 1940 to 1944, a favored designer was Coco Chanel who cozied up to the Germans and profited from it.

She took as her lover a Nazi intelligence officer, Günther von Dinklage. They lived together in the Hotel Ritz in Paris, which was the Nazi headquarters there. In 1941, she even became an intelligence officer herself, Agent F-7124, with the code name, Westminster.

According to “Sleeping With the Enemy,” by author Hal Vaughn, one of the

primary reasons she curried favor with the Germans was to regain control of her profitable perfume business, Chanel No. 5, that she had sold off to the Jewish Wertheimer family in 1924.

But Wertheimer was one step ahead of her, and before she could act he sold the business to a non-Jew, and fled to the United States. She talked her way out of trouble after the war and picked up her life as a fashion icon who lived out her final years in the same Hotel Ritz that she had enjoyed with her Nazi boyfriend.

As his final design job, Balenciaga came out of retirement to design the white satin wedding dress for Franco’s granddaughter when she married into the Spanish royal family in 1972. ì

The SCAD exhibit shows that Balenciaga was a meticulous craftsman who paid particular attention to the construction of clothing. One of the highlights of the SCAD exhibit is this 1964 elegant dress for Elizabeth Taylor made from a fabric woven with gold threads. One of Balenciaga’s most famous design was this Baby Doll dress of 1960. This 1939 wedding dress in silk is from the collection of the Balenciaga Museum in Spain.
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Komesar Makes F&B Even More ‘Merveilleuse’ DINING

You don’t need to pack your bags to soak up a Parisian experience in the heart of Buckhead as F&B fits the bill with the added boost of phenomenal Jewish singer Adam Komesar, who performs in the restaurant Saturday nights and select holidays.

F&B’s billing as a “romantic neighborhood bistro serving gourmet French fare and fine wines in a dimly lit relaxed setting” is short of the bow legendary French chef Fabrice Vergez deserves. F&B is the third ideation of his Atlanta restaurants, including the bedazzled Brasserie Le Coze in Lenox that closed in 2005. One of the reasons Vergez runs such a tight ship is that he has retained most of his staff and chefs from back, in addition to daughter, Claudine.

Francophiles Lynne and Tom Greenfield described their dining experience, “The décor was charming which we thought was more country French Normandy-ish rather than Parisian. The mussels were the best we have ever had.”

The restaurant has more than just a bistro vibe. There are special venues at each turn -- the bar, the intimate yet spacious dining room, the horizontal seafood bar, the outside patio, and the chandelier. Also special is Komesar strolling from bar to table, to his stool’s perch exuding with talent.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., he claims to have only started singing professionally a few years ago when he was compiling a video for his parents’ 50th anniversary. He proclaimed, “I had to follow my own heart and just do it -- singing is what I had wanted to do my whole life.”

His silky yet evocative voice rolls out tunes from Sinatra, Bennett, Steve Lawrence to the more modern Glenn Campbell, Gordon Lightfoot, and this writer’s favorite en Francais, “C’est Si Bon,” made famous by Eartha Kitt in 1954. He’s smooth, he’s soft, he’s electric all at the same time.

Komesar said, “Think of me as a oneman band. As a DJ, with an iPod, microphone, and music box all transmitting through the ‘house sound.’”

Komesar weaves around tables, to and from the bar with, “Fly Me to The Moon,” “Wichita Lineman,” “The Best is Yet to Come,” and, “Just the Way You Look Tonight.” In addition to being a jazz vocalist, Komesar’s background is as a magician, DJ, and entertainer at weddings and mitzvahs. He is also a husband and father of two young adult sons.

Back to the old Pano’s and Paul’s days, solidly run restaurants were usually the ones with the owner on site greeting and managing. To that effect, Vergez’s plating line and kitchen run like a Swiss clock.

We started with bread service, colorful beet salad bejeweled with fresh orange segments, pecans halves, and goat cheese. Dinner entrees were grilled salmon ($28) with eggplant in a Greek preparation. The regular menu features salmon with corn succotash, tomato, zucchini, lemon butter and caper sauce; and seared trout ($29) -- two large filets with a boat-sized side of red bliss potatoes and green beans. Suggested wines are paired with various courses.

A la carte sides (all $10 each) were Brussels sprouts and wild mushrooms, all large portions. Next visit, note to select tuna carpaccio ($22) with shallots, chives, lemon, and EEOV, and salmon tartar ($16) with cucumbers and parsley. Bistro lunch offers any of the two for $15: half soup, half sandwich, half salad. With a nice selection of whites and reds, the vino (57 in total) is carefully curated; plus champagne -- as nothing compares to Veuve Clicquot by the glass.

Just in time for dessert, Komesar burst forth with a rousing “Happy Birthday” and cake for a nearby table where Vicki and Lenny Peal were celebrating the birthday of brother, Bruce Gordon,

all in good cheer.

Today’s Atlanta dining scene can be all about fusion, trends, and raw this or emulsified that. There’s value in triedand-true French cuisine alongside a charismatic singer ... not a lounge in Vegas, or a 4,372-mile plane ride to France ... just Paris in Buckhead. Chanson d’Amour on Peachtree.

F&B is located at 3630 Peachtree Road (free valet parking in the rear). Lunch is served Monday through Friday and dinner from Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday. Happy hour is from 4 p.m. to 7 pm. (404) 254-1797. To reach Adam, email adamkomesar@mac. com.    ì

Fabrice Vergez, longstanding chef/owner in the Atlanta dining scene, is on hand to greet and manage. All things French -- he knows. Two salad choices were the chopped salad with blue cheese and the beet goat cheese salad made special with pecans. The Peal family celebrated a special birthday to Komesar’s serenade. Komesar started singing professionally only after practicing for his parents' 50th anniversary. Adam Komesar charms diners with his Sinatra to Glenn Campbell repertoire. Some patrons opt to dine just off the main room. The outside patio is evocative of European dining.

Chai Style Home

Going Coastal with Vintage Romanticism

Interior designer Candi Miller describes her style as vintage romantic. Her Dunwoody home feels, “warm and layered with personal pieces and items ‘collected along the way.’”

Her romantic style features floral patterns, curves, and metallics. She said, “Vintage is having items with a history, from another time period. I have incorporated it all!”

With the grandeur and nostalgia of hometown Savannah, Miller’s design takes a break from the fast lane to be calm, cool, and collected. Yet, there is a certain sense of intrigue with California Redwood tree trunks formed into a dreamy backdrop of solitude and sociability.

Tour Miller’s home as she breathes modern life into each room and pieces old and new.

Jaffe: When you purchased your

home in 2007, what happened next?

Miller: I knew it had great bones and an entertaining backyard. The kitchen and primary bath were a “nogo.” I brought in my contractor to do the reconfiguration. We moved the laundry room upstairs to the bonus room and made that space our playroom/ laundry. That allowed the creation of a sprawling, open kitchen with an island. Upstairs we removed the huge wall between the kids bathroom and created a large primary bath with shower, soaking tub, and water closet all done in marble and blue slate.

Jaffe: Where do family heirlooms fit?

Miller: My home is filled with them. I have many antiques from my parents, and both sets of grandparents. I have several tables that all have a story. One is a Redwood tree and trunk coffee table that belonged to my parents. On one of their trips to California in the '70s, they had three pieces made: a large dining table, a coffee table, and a side table. Each piece is a large, live edge top and a trunk for the base. I have the coffee and side tables. My sister has the dining table. We had them re-oiled and cleaned. They are exquisite

and rare. I also have a beautiful brass and wood grandfather clock from WWII that belonged to my maternal grandparents and several mid-century pieces from my paternal grandparents. They are all special and will stay in my family for many generations.

Jaffe: Art is ...

Miller: My art is also special and personal as each piece exudes meaning. My father, Robert Segall, is an artist in Savannah and works strictly with oils. He has lived in Savannah his entire life as is revealed by his devotion to painting the ocean. His work is stunning and bright as he isn’t afraid of color. I have many of his paintings throughout my home. They represent the ocean and feature seabirds and boats. My favorite is one he did of a shrimp boat. His work has depth and brings me closer to home.

My other favorite artist is right here in Dunwoody and one of my closest friends, Beth Berss. I have her art in almost every room. She does abstract paintings, but I also have her florals and feathers. Her art brings happiness and inspiration, as art should.

My palette consists of neutral colors with a few pops of blues and teals,

but it’s primarily white, black, gold and silver. There is a “moody” vibe that is comforting and warm. My “go to” white is Marshmallow color by Sherwin Williams, which is my dominant wall.

Jaffe: As a designer, how does lighting “glow” for you?

Miller: Lighting is such an important design element. Having layered lighting adds another dimension to a space. Good lighting creates depth and height and adds a cozy feeling. Lamps are a great way to bring in one’s personality and have some fun. I have several styles of alabaster lamps; and because of the different shapes, they each provide a different feel and style. I bought a broken 1950s brass, five arm lamp at Scott’s Antique Market and had it re-wired with my fingers crossed. Now, it’s a showpiece in my bedroom.

I love “the hunt” for unique pieces for myself and my clients. I love shopping at Scott’s, Westside Market, and Historic Roswell Antiques … all great places to find something distinctive and personalized.

Jaffe: What is it about Savannah that tugs at your heart?

Miller: In addition to the ocean, I

Candi Miller lounges in her primary bedroom suite on a Hollywoodera round sofa purchased at Mitchell Gold. In the background is Miller’s favorite restored 1950s brass lamp // All Photos by Howard Mendel

adore the majestic live oaks draped with Spanish moss. Savannah is a city of beauty, the ocean, and loads of history. Some would say I have a “coastal/nature vibe” going on as well. I decorate with shells, driftwood, and items I found in nature. I love being outdoors and experiencing all things “nature,” so much so that I rebuilt the back porch to accommodate for easier entertaining and better views of the yard. If it’s nice out, that is where you will find me. It’s my happy place and an extension of my interior. It feels like indoor living, but outside.

Jaffe: Being a designer, how does that sway in your own home?

Miller: Decorating one’s own home is difficult, especially for designers. We are our harshest critics, and it takes many hours, and difficult decision making to get it right. Since the 2007 renovation, I am still working. I guess it will always be a work in progress, but I am finally loving what I see.

I enjoy all types of design. I especially love helping clients find happiness in their homes. It doesn’t have to be a full remodel to update and give it a fresh feel. I like working with clients over time and finding special pieces, fun and functional furnishings. I love the challenge of creating a space that tells every client’s story and showcases their

The front living room features one of the Californian Redwood

Right: This old porcelain stove was purchased by Miller’s parents in Italy in 1978. While the stove is not functional, it was originally used for cooking.

Below: The Dunwoody home was purchased in 2007 and totally renovated.

Left: This étagère is an expression of Miller’s ability to arrange and stage art and bric-a-brac.

Above: tree stump tables that the family restored.


style while keeping it functional for every day. I tell my clients to “be true to who they are” and the rest will work itself out!

Jaffe: Last word.

Miller: Sitting on this porch makes us want to sip on something and watch the sunset. ì

Below: Miller poses in front of handmade guitars that her Savannah grandfather, a luthier, crafted.

Above: The dining room builds on metallics from the rug to the painted ceiling in Icicle by Sherwin Williams and features art by Beth Berss. Also, in the back of the room is an antique barber shop chair Miller recovered from Kudzu. Above: The enclosed porch (24 x 15 ft) is among Miller’s favorite entertainment spaces. Below: Miller’s teens like to hang out in the lower-level great room, which doubles as Miller’s office on one side.


June 1 - June 10

Reading a Rainbow of Values - Counting the Omer is a Jewish tradition spanning from Passover to Shavuot, emphasizing personal growth through exploring values such as Kindness and Humility. Reading a Rainbow of Values is an MJCCA family program that enhances this tradition by suggesting a different children’s book to read together every day during this time between the holidays. Each book reflects one or more values, to foster growth and meaningful conversations. Find out more at


Scholar-in-Residence Weekend with Rabbi Francine Roston - Saturday morning Shabbat Service - 9:15 to 11 a.m. Rabbi Francine will give a d’var torah at Congregation Or Hadash on “What Is Our Responsibility In All of This Mess?” Parashat BeHukkotai’s teachings on covenantal community. Learn more at

Tot Shabbat - 11 to 11:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Lauren from Congregation Or Hadash and families of kids ages 0-4 for Tot Shabbat, a magical, musical, playful gathering celebrating Shabbat together. We’ll tell stories, sing prayers and songs, move our bodies, and revel in the wonder of togetherness and love. Stick around for kiddush lunch to follow! Find out more at https://bit. ly/44HZEE6.

Scholar-in-Residence Weekend

with Rabbi Francine Roston - Saturday discussion after Kiddush - 1 to 2 p.m. Join Rabbi Francine in conversation at Congregation Or Hadash about Responding to Antisemitism & Caring for Our Souls. Find out more at https://


Scholar-in-Residence Weekend

with Rabbi Francine Roston - Sunday Brunch and Learn - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Rabbi Francine at Congregation Or Hadash will be sharing Talmudic Wisdom For Today’s World. Get more information at

There’s No Business Like Show Business - A Tribute to Irving Berlin - 4 to 6:30 p.m. Join the Breman Museum on a musical journey to discover the birth of American Popular Song and the incredible life of Irving Berlin. The Flying Carpet Theatre Company brings you a fantastic show where Atlanta’s top musical theater artists will perform Berlin’s timeless songs while sharing his inspiring story. From classics like “Blue Skies” to “God Bless America,” you’ll be enchanted. Purchase tickets at https://

NIF Atlanta Tzedek Awards - 7 to 9 p.m. Please join the New Israel Fund for the NIF Atlanta Tzedek Awards -an opportunity to gather with the NIF community in support of our work for equality, democracy, and a peaceful shared society in Israel. This year, it is our privilege to honor Rabbi Alvin Sugarman. The program will feature our honoree, compelling speakers, and tributes from the community. RSVP at


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


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


Summer Impact Forum - 9 to 10:30 a.m. Be Our Guest! Kick off your summer with JWFA at our Annual Showcase Celebration, featuring an inspiring conversation with our inaugural group of Women’s Leadership Grantees. The festivities will also include an announcement of our newest grantee partners, a tribute to our graduating ACT cohort, JWFA highlights from the past 12 months, and a breakfast buffet. Advanced registration is required at

50 | MAY 31, 2024 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at: Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events three to four weeks in advance. Contact Diana Cole for more information at JUNE 1-14


Knit and Crochet Group - 1 to 3 p.m. Join Dor Tamid and crochet and knit beanies for premature babies from home. Learn more at https://bit. ly/3VY3R1j.


A Night with the Dads II: The Daddening - 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Dads are back at Stage Door Theatre with their award-winning improv comedy shows. All shows contain adult language and themes. Purchase tickets at


Ancient Wisdom For Your Life - 8 to 9 p.m. A weekly journey with Chabad of North Fulton into the Torah’s relevance. Learn more at https://bit. ly/4aprNlg.


Torah Reading: Bechukotai

Friday, May 31 Light Candles at: 8:25 PM

Saturday, June 1 Shabbat Ends: 9:27 PM

Torah Reading: Bamidbar

Friday, June 7 Light Candles at: 8:29 PM

Saturday, June 8 Shabbat Ends: 9:31 PM SHAVUOT

Tuesday, June 11 Light Holiday Candles at: 8:31 PM

Wednesday, June 12 Light Holiday Candles after: 9:33 PM

Thursday, June 13 Holiday Ends: 9:33 PM

Torah Reading: Naso

Friday, June 14 Light Candles at: 8:32 PM

Saturday, June 15 Shabbat Ends: 9:34 PM


Women’s Torah and Tea - 8 to 9 p.m. Weekly women’s with Chabad of North Fulton in-depth and fascinating exploration of the Chassidus book of Tanya. Find out more information at https://


Shavuot Ice Cream Party - 6 to 8:30 p.m. Join the Chabad Intown Community for an Ice-Cream Party celebrating Shavuot and the giving of the Torah (over 3,300 years ago)! Gather at Chabad Intown on the BeltLine at 6:00 p.m. for an Ice Cream Party and hear the 10 Commandments! RSVP at


Brain Health Bootcamp – 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join a Fun, Social Class to Strengthen Your Mind and Body to Stay Sharp! With age serving as the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment or memory loss, JF&CS is taking action with the Brain Health Bootcamp. The first of its kind in Atlanta, it is designed to provide memory enhancement techniques through cognitive stimulation, physical exercise, education, and socialization. Join by visiting


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

Tot Shabbat - 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tot Shabbat at Congregation Dor Tamid is a Shabbat Program geared for children to laugh, meet new children, make new friends, and explore the wonders of Judaism in an exciting fun way! The service is filled with songs, prayers, blessings, stories, snacks, and a place where a kid can be a kid when they pray to God. RSVP at

Driving lessons for teens and adults

DDS approved on-site road testing services

Drivers education/Joshua’s Law

Defensive driving classes

DUI/Risk reduction classes

Call 770-274-4223 or Text 404-590-4570

Mon-Fri 8am–8pm, Sat & Sun 8am-6pm



Disappearing Babka Squares

I did some good digging to find this recipe’s origin. I got the recipe from Devory Brull, who got it from someone, who got it from someone who merged recipes — one from Chana Sara from bakesandsteaks and the other from by Adiah Goodman. Then it was further tweaked by Devory. I love how recipes like this evolve!


Babka Dough

1 cup oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 teaspoons Gefen Vanilla Extract

3 cups Glicks Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Babka Filling

3/4 cup oil

1 3.5-ounce (100-gram) box Gefen Instant Chocolate Pudding

1 egg

1/2 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 cup Gefen Cocoa

Crumb Topping

1/4 cup oil

1 cup Glicks Flour

3/4 cup sugar


Prepare the Babka Squares

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius).

2. Prepare the dough: Mix wet ingredients very well, then add dry ingredients; set aside.

3. Mix filling ingredients in a bowl.

4. Mix crumb ingredients in another bowl.

To Assemble

1. Press the dough into a full sheet pan (or two 9×13-inch pans). You may want to line the pan with parchment paper.

2. Cover with a layer of filling, spreading it with a spatula.

3. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top.

4. Bake for 30 minutes.


Recipe by Chanie Nayman

The Star of David

Two beggars are sitting on the pavement in Ireland. One is holding a large cross and the other a large Star of David.

Both are holding out hats to collect contributions. As people walk by, they lift their noses at the guy holding the Star of David but routinely drop money in the other guy’s hat.

Soon one hat is nearly full while the other hat is empty.

A priest watches and then approaches the men. He turns to the guy with the Star of David and says, “Don’t you realize this is a Christian country? You’ll never get any contributions in this country holding a Star of David.”

The guy holding the Star of David then turns to the guy holding the cross and says, “Hymie, look who’s trying to teach us marketing.”



n. The act of being duped and cheated by a financial transaction on the Internet.

“Poor Aunt Ruth, the first time she made an order online, she was a victim of electroshvindl.”

From the Yiddish shvindl, meaning “scam.”


Side Dish Options

Difficulty Level: Medium


1. Notable satirical publication, with “The”

6. Fictional way to get from place to place

10. Bilko, briefly 13. Model X maker

14. “Not ___ many words...”

15. “My Cousin Vinny” setting: Abbr. 16. Fender guitar, popularly

17. Huge fan

18. Pal, to Wolverine

19. Hand rests for the angry 21. One on the couch, perhaps

23. Trig fig.

26. Home improver Bob

28. Roping event

29. Some Cheerios

32. Machu Picchu’s country

33. Japanese pond creature

34. Gemara option

40. Brown and Jacobs

41. King who was Ahab’s father

44. Feature of a more mature beard

50. It has pavillons for Germany and Morocco, but not Israel

51. Likely rip spot

52. Text format letters

53. Pool toy

55. There might have been one in the High Priest’s breastplate

57. “The Bourne Identity” setting: Abbr.

58. “Gotcha”

60. Big name in health care

64. 63-Down competitor, once

65. One whose work is a bust?

66. Spider-Man foe

67. Israeli broadcaster

68. Dan or Katif

69. Many a side dish found in this puzzle


1. Extra periods, briefly

2. Mosquito barrier

3. ___air

4. Korban option

5. Lifelong resident

6. Osem snack

7. Orc foe

8. Stat relative

9. You can take one to 50-Across

10. Shabbat, to Diego

11. What some baked goods lack

12. Shrimp, in Judaism

20. Little photo?

22. Rival of Peyton

23. Steve Rogers, to allies

24. Not closed, to Coleridge

25. Like Simone Biles

27. Cross of Egypt

30. NBA coach Tyronn

31. Kirel of note

35. Sounding like a clunky engine

36. Major tzedakah org.

37. Employee IDs, at times

38. Do some cleaning up

39. Little rascals

42. Band that featured a Buck and a Berry

43. Return recipient

44. Return co-filer

45. Fall droppings

46. Former Israeli airport

47. Eretz preceder

48. 2002 NBA Rookie of the Year


49. Get going

50. Opposing side

54. Uncle of Zebulun

56. Israelite king who killed two other Jewish kings

59. Stops before ICUs, maybe

61. Comedian Notaro

62. Sderot to Tsfat dir.

63. Nostalgic mail option, for some

ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2024 | 53 BRAIN FOOD What Flows in Israel Solution T 1 K 2 T 3 S 4 L 5 I 6 A 7 D 8 I 9 P 10 I 11 L 12 L 13 S 14 A R A O 15 D O R S A 16 S I A A 17 R O M A 18 C O C O A C 19 R E W A 20 L E X A N 21 A D 22 I A G 23 I L E 24 L I 25 T 26 E C O F F E 27 E 28 I 29 T E M 30 S A 31 H S N 32 I E L S D 33 E D I S 34 S E U 35 N C L I P M 36 A 37 L K A B 38 E E R P 39 A 40 P 41 A C Y T 42 E S I 43 R 44 E 45 S 46 P 47 A R A H O 48 R R D 49 M I N G O 50 S E M V I 51 N E G A 52 R P 53 C T C 54 A A N S R 55 O D 56 E O A 57 R 58 I K B 59 I T 60 T 61 E R E N D S 62 N 63 A S I A 64 T S E A M 65 E E T S 66 T E M L 67 E E D S O 68 D D S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 FOLLOW :


Lois Myrle Baer

95, Sandy Springs

Lois Myrle Baer was born on Nov. 17, 1929, in St. Louis, Mo., the youngest child of Robert and Ida Levine.  Raised in St. Louis, she graduated from University City High School in 1947. She met her charming Jake on a setup blind date in Memphis. A quick courtship and they were married in 1950. They settled with Jake’s family in Turrell, Ark., where in the next nine years, four beautiful children were born. In 1960, the family moved to Memphis where they resided for the next 35 years.  Lois and Jake retired to Atlanta in 1995 to be closer to the family. Jake passed away in 2005 and

Lois spent her remaining years at Hammond Glen Retirement Community in Sandy Springs, Ga., surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Lois was known for her vivacious personality, big sense of humor and love of family. She never knew a stranger and everyone loved her. Even the staff at Hammond Glen said she always made them laugh. While in Memphis when not raising her children, she worked as a teaching assistant at the Jewish Community Center. She also volunteered as a Pink Lady at St. Francis Hospital. Always active she loved to play tennis, walk, and exercise.

She was predeceased in death by her parents, husband, Jake, sister, Eunice Siegel, brother, Norvel Levine, and tragically daughter, Judith Ann, at the young age of 18.  She is survived by daughter, Janie (Sid) Sukloff, son, Billy (Ellen) Baer, daughter Susie (Joey). She is also survived by grandchildren, Jodi (Jay) Murnick, Kenny (Molly) Baer, Jill (Jason) Kaplan, Bryan (Caroline) Baer, Cindy (Andrew) Ackerman, Judy Moskowitz, Neal (Brittany) Moskowitz and Scott (Christine) Moskowitz and 15 great-grandchildren.

Graveside services were held at Arlington Memorial Park on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. with Rabbi Shalom Lewis presiding. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.

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

54 | MAY 31, 2024 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES Expert Knowledge of Jewish Memorialization Helping the Atlanta Jewish Community for over 20 years Bronze Markers • Stone Monuments & Markers • On-Site Engraving Quality, Compassion, & Lower Costs Set Us Apart Brook Bolton Owner 770.757.0330 office 770.289.0982 cell
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My Complaints are Caused by Me or a Computer

I have lots of complaints and most of them don’t last long and are not important. Some of them are a result of my age, some because I am forgetful, and some because I am just plain stupid. I will not bore you with all of them because you shouldn’t have to read that long, and you have your own complaints. But here are a few recent examples.

My wife and I traveled to Amsterdam to see the tulips in bloom, and we stayed at a small quaint hotel. We were given the top floor of the four-story hotel with a very steep and narrow staircase with no elevator. There were exactly 64 steep steps and I had to stop halfway each time going up to catch my breath. I was annoyed and tired each time I walked up to my room. We need to stay in hotels with


I booked a ticket from Atlanta to Amsterdam, and then a second ticket from Amsterdam to Berlin to see our family for Pesach. I tried to connect the two tickets, but the tickets were on two different airlines and apparently it didn’t work. At the airport in Berlin, as we began our trip back home, I was told our luggage would only go to Amsterdam. There was no use complaining to the computer, so we had to go to the Amsterdam baggage area, wait 45 minutes for our three pieces of luggage, schlep them through the terminal to present them again to the second airline. Then we had to go through security a second time and all the time I thought we might miss the connection to Atlanta. I tried to connect the tickets before we left Atlanta, but the computers didn’t do it. I should have booked the entire trip on a single ticket.

I was driving on I-285 and tried to get off the highway by crossing a small work area. My right tire hit something with a bang, and I knew the tire was going to go flat. Why can’t workmen keep the work

area clean? I know I was too late getting off the highway and it was my fault, but couldn’t the workmen clean up better? Anyway, I made it to a car dealer, and they put a new tire on the car for several hundred dollars that I didn’t have to spend. The only one to complain to is ME! Yesterday, the TV was not working, and the system said I might need a new receiver. I tried to fix the TV by rebooting and nothing worked. I called AT&T, and the computer asked me to tell it my problem. When the computer didn’t understand what I said, it hung up. I called again and after a second try I hung up frustrated. After a third try, I was sent to a person who would only discuss my situation by written text. Finally, I was told what to do and it worked, but it took well over several hours before my TV was operating. It took too long, and I had no one to talk to except another computer!

We get too much mail that we didn’t ask for and usually toss most of it into the garbage. Much of the mail asks for tzedakah or tries to sell us something we do not need. We went on a cruise and

now we get brochure after brochure presenting where we can go anywhere in the world. The brochures keep coming, but we’re not interested. There is no way to stop them. Computers have my name and keep sending stuff.

A computer gave me a list of the top 100 great American novels written in the last 100 years. I went to a used bookstore and bought 10 of them. I have tried to read three of them and couldn’t finish any of them. They are too artsy, too flowery, too long, and the stories are not that interesting. I wanted to read what others have decided are novels that are great, but these novels just didn’t cut it for me. Here are the ones I could not finish: “On The Road,” by Jack Kerouac, “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison, and “All The King’s Men,” by Robert Penn Warren. It must be me. I spent a long time trying to enjoy reading them, didn’t finish any of them and gained nothing except to follow my own taste.

Bottom Line: If you have complaints, it will be mostly to a computer, and perhaps they’re mostly your own doing. Just keep moving on and smile. ì

ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2024 | 57 We have the perfect gift! Offering Private Dining or Main Room Seating for Larger Parties 770-512-8888 | Dunwoody’s Signature Steak House owned by Doug & Claudia McKendrick 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. | 770-512-8888 | Lunch Served Mon - Fri 11:00-2:30 pm Dinner Served nightly beginning at 5:00pm


Impeccable English-German translations of

Contact Ken Stein, Professor Emeritus, Emory College, Provide referrals of previous work.

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Tybee Island, GA Year Round/Short Term Rental:

1 bedroom unit that sleeps 4 adults in a gated community with pool and walkway to beach. Watch dolphins at play, freighters, pelicans and fishing boats. Prices vary.

1-bedroom unit overlooking ocean in a gated community with pool and walkway to beach. Sleeps 4 adults and 2 children. Watch dolphins at play, freighters, pelicans and fishing boats. Prices vary. Contact Oceanfront Cottage Rentals at 912 786 4004 or PRINcE

Contact Oceanfront Cottage Rentals 912.786.4004

2-bedroom newly constructed oceanfront cottage that sleeps 6. Sweeping views of the pond, ocean and lighthouse.  Enjoy kayaking, bicycling and beach walking. $900/wk. Contact Scott at 603.254.5032 or

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