A NEW DEAL?
Meet the five leading Republicans in the race to keep a GOP governor in Georgia. Pages 30-34
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US
Thousands party at Park Tavern for Israel@70. Page 6
Building Families www.jewishfertilityfoundation.org
VOL. XCIII NO. 18
MAY 4, 2018 | 19 IYAR 5778
Health & Wellness, Pages 14-29
MAN + MACHINE Robotic arm transforms amputee into different drummer, Page 14
INSIDE Candle Lighting�������������������������� 4 Israel News�����������������������������������6 Opinion���������������������������������������10 Politics���������������������������������������� 30 Obituaries�����������������������������������35 Marketplace�������������������������������36 Business��������������������������������������38 Education������������������������������������38 Crossword�����������������������������������39
Zalik Set to Take GreenSky Public Sandy Springs-based financial technology company GreenSky filed paperwork Friday, April 27, for an initial public stock offering. The value of the stock sale hasn’t been determined — a figure of $100 million was used in the filing just to set the $12,450 fee — but Renaissance Capital estimates that the company could raise
$1 billion. You might not know the company’s name, even though it was named one of CNBC’s 50 disruptors of 2017. But if you’ve instant-financed a home improvement project booked through Home Depot or an independent contractor, there’s a good chance GreenSky did the deal, meaning you did business with Sandy
Springs resident and Israeli native David Zalik, the company’s CEO. Zalik founded GreenSky in 2006 and owns about half the company, which was valued at $3.6 billion (making it a tech unicorn) when Fifth Third Bank paid $50 million for a piece in September 2016. Read more about Zalik and GreenSky on Page 38. ■
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When Jewish Workplaces Stray From Jewish Values a respectful workplace, everything else will follow. In other words, living our Jewish values in the Jewish workplace is good at every level. The Good People Fund and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York brought Sepler to train 12 Jewish
Taking Root By Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder email@example.com
professionals so that we in turn could go out and work with boards, supervisors and employees in schools, synagogues, camps and other nonprofits. Over the course of our training, we went over and over the challenges that come up in workplaces. We learned skills for having difficult conversations. We honed our abilities at coaching people to do their best. All participants in the training were veteran Jewish professionals. Even as we focused on the best ways to build safe and respectful work environments, stories emerged of lessthan-perfect experiences. There was the board member who berated someone for being too fat, the supervisor who used a slur, the co-workers who drank too much and were overly familiar. Years of experience have taught Sepler that creating spaces for conversation about what a positive environment looks like empowers people to live up to the better versions of themselves. Working with businesses and organizations, she has seen proof that having an overall commitment to respect is essential for limiting hurt and damage if things do get out of hand. Now that I am certified in Sepler’s approach, I want to facilitate discussions that remind us about the power of kindness and consideration in Jewish spaces in Georgia. Without a doubt, there will be those who do not see a need to have conversations about a topic that should be self-evident and others who feel that we should focus exclusively on the hard legal lines. But I am hopeful that in the coming months, many organizations in our community will take on what I see as a very Jewish approach and begin to tackle these difficult issues by talking about how to live our Jewish values. ■
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
A young Jewish professional recently confessed to me that her husband, not nearly as engaged in Jewish life as she is, does not understand why she has chosen to work in the Jewish community. For her it comes down to living her values. There are lots of reasons to work in Jewish life. But I have to agree with her that high among them is the opportunity to work for organizations that share Jewish values and a commitment to a higher communal good. In an ideal world, those values also translate into healthy and happy work environments where derech eretz (everyday kindness) and kavod (respect) are the norm for the people who do the work. Not only are these the ideals of Jewish behavior, but these values have been shown to help elevate creativity and productivity in the workplace. I recently spent a few days with a team of dedicated Jewish professionals and philanthropists in New York, talking about just how important it is to make Jewish workspaces safe and respectful. We were gathered to discuss sexual harassment in the Jewish workplace. In preparation for the workshop, I steeled myself for several days of sordid tales and legal ins and outs. Instead, I found myself deep in thought about what makes for a good or even great workplace and just how well poised Jewish organizations are to make that happen. In the past year there has been much discussion of sexual harassment in the workplace. Sensational cases make national headlines, and the #MeToo movement has highlighted the breadth of experience women have had, from unpleasant to violent. Fran Sepler has been working to ensure safety in the workplace for decades. She has trained employers, employees, and boards of large corporations, universities and major Jewish organizations. Many times she has had the difficult job of having to report behavior that steps beyond the line of unwise to illegal. But illegality is never the starting place for Sepler. Over and over, she stressed to us that if Jewish organizations, their boards, their supervisors and their employees focus on creating
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World War II science. Sy Goodman, a professor of international affairs and computing at Georgia Tech, speaks to the Edgewise group about Jewish scientists in the war at 10:30 a.m. at the Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Admission is free for members, $5 for others; www.atlantajcc.org/ knowledgewise or 678-812-4070. Lag B’Omer. Chabad of North Fulton, 10180 Jones Bridge Road, Alpharetta, celebrates with music, a bonfire, barbecue, pony rides and a petting zoo from 5 to 7 p.m. Free (charge for food); www. chabadnf.org or 770-410-9000. Lag B’Omer. Chabad of Cobb holds a picnic at East Cobb Park, 3322 Roswell Road, East Cobb, with barbecue, games, music and an animal show from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is $12 per adult, $6 per child or $36 per family; www. chabadofcobb.com or 770-565-4412. Lag B’Omer. Congregation Beth Tefillah, 5065 High Point Road, holds a cookout with music and a grand bonfire at 5:30 p.m. Free (charge for food); www.bethtefillah.org. Israeli comedy. Benji Lovitt presents “What War Zone,” about the immigrant experience in Israel and the differences between Diaspora and Israeli Jews, at 7:30 p.m. at the Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Tickets are $18 for JCC members, $24 for others; bit. ly/2HhUDe9 or 678-812-3798.
SUNDAY, MAY 6
Dream Run. The Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly
Emor Friday, May 4, light candles at 8:06 p.m. Saturday, May 5, Shabbat ends at 9:05 p.m. Behar-Bechukotai Friday, May 11, light candles at 8:11 p.m. Saturday, May 12, Shabbat ends at 9:11 p.m.
A Disciplined Evening
Intown Jewish Preschool is playing host to a Conscious Discipline master instructor to help make parenting easier and more fulfilling for anyone caring for a child from birth to age 21. Mindy Becker is the founder and CEO of Miami’s Grow With Us Academy preschool and has worked with Conscious Discipline since 2001. She has been certified as a Conscious Discipline instructor since 2007. Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based approach to social-emotional learning that helps parents and teachers manage children’s behavior and teach them self-control and confidence with the skills to discipline themselves. Becker teaches a series of linked steps to help families move from turmoil to tranquility and enable parents to stop policing and pleading. IJP is holding Becker’s session at the new Chabad Intown BeltLine facility at 730 Ponce de Leon Place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 7. Tickets are $18 and are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/conscious-discipline-tickets-45132436332. ■ Mill Road, Dunwoody, holds the Harris Jacobs Dream Run at 8 a.m. Entry is $30 in advance or $35 race day for adults, $15 for children; www.atlantajcc.org/HDR or 678-812-3981. Blood drive. Jewish War Veterans and other organizations sponsor the quarterly community blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 600 Peachtree Battle Ave., Buckhead. Free; register at www.redcrossblood.org and use the code JWV. Kickball. The Sixth Point holds a bagel brunch at 11:30 a.m. and plays ball at noon at the pavilion at Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Brookhaven. Registration is $5; thesixthpoint.org.
10 Years Ago May 2, 2008 ■ Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel had high hopes for humanity when the Allies liberated the Nazi concentration camps 63 years ago, but “here we are, still at war, racist, anti-Semitic,” he told a crowd at the Georgia State University Sports Arena on March 27. “If Auschwitz didn’t cure anti-Semitism, what will?” But Wiesel focused on the importance of hope in building a moral society, which he said must be continually rebuilt. ■ The bat mitzvah ceremony of Mariah Pearle Kazlow Friedland of Alpharetta, daughter of Lance and Susan Friedland, was held Saturday, Jan. 19, at the St. Thomas Synagogue in the U.S. Virgin Islands. 25 Years Ago April 30, 1993 ■ A reception welcoming new Israeli Consul General Arye Mekel on April 27 at The Temple had a deeper purpose: reconciliation between two Zionist organizations that have often been at odds in recent years. The Association of Reform Zionists of America and Hadassah are the two biggest American Zionist organizations but have seen dramatic
Interfaith picnic. InterfaithFamily/ Atlanta, the Marcus JCC and partners hold a picnic for East Cobb and Roswell families at noon at Riverside Park, 575 Riverside Road, Roswell. Free (bring your own food); www.atlantajcc.org or Amanda.VeazeyFlaks@atlantajcc.org. Kosher Day. The Atlanta Kosher Commission hosts the annual visit to a Braves game with kosher food for sale at noon and first pitch at 1:35 p.m. against the Giants at SunTrust Park, 755 Battery Ave., Cumberland. Tickets are $12; kosheratlanta.org/kosher-day. Camp Barney open house. Camp Barney Medintz, 4165 Highway 129 North, Cleveland, holds an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. for new and returning fami-
differences play out internationally and hurt both, said Rabbi Stanley Davids, ARZA’s national vice president. ■ Janet and Alan Molleur of Silver Spring, Md., announce the birth of twin daughters, Alexa Jane and Emily Sara, on March 24. 50 Years Ago May 3, 1968 Elie Wiesel’s hope is ■ The Atlanta Jewish Welfare that world leaders will turn away from violence Federation and its affiliated and bloodshed. organizations, together with the Israeli Consulate General, Southeast Region, have extended an invitation to the entire community to join Israel and Jews around the world in the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Israel’s statehood at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, at the Progressive Club in Midtown. ■ Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Rich of Atlanta announce the engagement of daughter Judy Ellen Rich to Gary George Altman, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Gustave Altman of Atlanta. The wedding will be June 9 at the Standard Club.
CALENDAR lies. Free; RSVP (optional) at www. campbarney.org/open-houses. Chesed awards. Federation CEO Eric Robbins is the guest speaker at Hadassah Greater Atlanta’s annual Marian F. Perling Chesed Student Awards for 21 students of day and religious schools at 2 p.m. at Congregation Dor Tamid, 11165 Parsons Road, Johns Creek. Free; email@example.com or 678-443-2961. Survivor speech. Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat, born in Ukraine in hiding during World War II, tells his story at 2:30 p.m. at the Alpharetta Public Library, 10 Park Plaza. Free; michael. firstname.lastname@example.org. Show time. The Callanwolde Concert Band performs tunes from Broadway and Hollywood at 3 p.m. at Congregation Beth Jacob, 1855 LaVista Road, Toco Hills. Free; www.calcb.org. All that jazz. Oran Etkin performs as part of the Molly Blank Concert Series at the Breman Museum, 1440 Spring St., Midtown, with a reception at 4 p.m. and the show at 5. Tickets are $50 for museum members, $60 for nonmembers ($30 for ages 21 to 35, $20 for under 21); www.thebreman.org/Events/05-062018-Oran-Etkin or 678-222-3700.
Pizza and bowling. Chabad of North Fulton’s CTeen Jr. offers both for sixthto eighth-graders at 6 p.m. at Bowlero, 6345 Spalding Drive, Norcross. Entry is $5; RSVP to email@example.com. Infertility support. The Jewish Fertility Foundation provides support for couples at 7 p.m. at the Cohen Home, 10485 Jones Bridge Road, Johns Creek. Free; www.jewishfertilityfoundation. org/couples-support-.html. AIPAC event. Gil Troy, author of “The Zionist Ideas,” speaks at Young Israel of Toco Hills, 2056 LaVista Road, at 7 p.m. after a 6:30 reception. Free; advance registration required at www.aipac. org/youngisrael.
FRIDAY, MAY 11
Shabbat, Me and Rabbi G. Rabbi Brian Glusman leads families into Shabbat with music and an activity at 5 p.m. at the Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Free; www.atlantajcc.org. Special service. Members of First Presbyterian Church present a sesquicentennial gift and participate in the Lynne and Howard Halpern Reform Heritage Shabbat at 6 p.m. at The Tem-
ple, 1589 Peachtree St., Midtown. Free; www.the-temple.org/event/halpern.
SUNDAY, MAY 13
Camp Barney open house. Camp Barney Medintz, 4165 Highway 129 North, Cleveland, holds an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. for new and returning families. Free; RSVP (optional) at www. campbarney.org/open-houses.
MONDAY, MAY 14
FIDF gala. Friends of the IDF honors the men and women who have defend-
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ed Israel for 70 years with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and a dinner program at 7 featuring Rep. Brian Mast at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, 3315 Peachtree Road. Admission is $250 ($118 for ages 35 and under); fidfse. wixsite.com/atl70/event-details. Flower arranging. The Kehilla Sisterhood, 5075 Roswell Road, Sandy Springs, celebrates Rosh Chodesh Sivan with a class at 8 p.m. Admission is $18 by May 4 or $24 by May 11; www. thekehilla.org/rosh-chodesh.
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Etz Chaim gala. Congregation Etz Chaim, 1190 Indian Hills Parkway, East Cobb, honors retired police Maj. Jerry Quan at its annual gala at 6 p.m. Tickets are $250 over age 40, $100 for 40 and younger; etzchaim.net/celebrate2018.
TUESDAY, MAY 8
AJC dinner. American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris speaks at AJC Atlanta’s Selig Distinguished Service Award gala, honoring Lauren and Jim Grien, at the Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St., downtown, with drinks at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7. Tickets are $180; www.ajc.org/Selig2018 or 404-233-5501.
Lunch and learn. Congregation Shearith Israel Rabbi Ari Kaiman leads a discussion at noon at the Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Free (bring or purchase your own food); www.atlantajcc.org or 678-812-4161.
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
THURSDAY, MAY 10
Soldier and lawyer. Vietnam War veteran Cary King speaks about his path from the military to the law for a meeting of the Edgewise group at 10:30 a.m. at the Marcus JCC, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. Admission is free for members, $5 for others; www.atlantajcc.org/ knowledgewise or 678-812-4070.
A Perfect Day for a Birthday Party
A young member of the crowd plants his flag in Piedmont Park.
Meital and Tehila Bernstein fit the day’s blue-and-white color scheme.
Jeremiah, Heather, Ariella, Zipporah and Davinah Jarmin wish Israel a happy birthday.
Hagar Sides takes flag waving to a new level.
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Conexx makes sure Israeli technology gets proper attention.
At least 4,000 people piled into Park Tavern at Piedmont Park on Sunday, April 29, for Jewish Atlanta’s communal celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday. The sunny spring day was perfect for the celebration, which drew a crowd representing the depth and breadth of Jewish Atlanta. The size of the crowd was clear from the lines to get through the necessary security checks and the heavy demand on the kosher food vendors — for example, LiquidXCream ran out of ice cream with about two hours to go, Keith’s Corner BBQ seemed to sell out of food as fast as it was cooked, and the line for Dolce never seemed to get shorter. But the event never felt overcrowded because all the indoor and outdoor spaces and activities, including the AJT Chill Zone, encouraged people to spread out. The AJT recorded videos of people wishing Israel a happy 70th birthday; see the results on our YouTube channel and at atlantajewishtimes.com, where you’ll also find more photos. ■ Photos by Sarah Moosazadeh and Michael Jacobs
Young artists decorate a fence with messages of love for Israel.
Or Shaham (left) and Lior Bar, Atlanta’s first shinshinim through a Jewish Agency program, combine work and play at the community celebration.
Henna from the AJT Chill Zone supplements the look of the frequently seen Congregation Dor Tamid T-shirts. Some 50 members of the Johns Creek congregation attended as a group.
The party planning included entertainment to keep kids occupied during the long lines at security.
Jewish Atlanta Is Cooking Up a World Record Photo by Sarah Moosazadeh
The Israel@70 celebration provides a taste of the feasting on blue and white cookies expected in June.
The Atlanta plan calls for a cookie mosaic flag almost 50 percent larger — 3,700 square feet — composed of more than 135,000 blue and white cookies. The more than 10,000 baker’s dozens will be assembled Sunday, June 3, at Beth Jacob at 1855 LaVista Road in Toco Hills. A judge from Guinness World Records will be there to certify the record. A kosher factory in New York is supplying the cookies, Rabbi Tendler said, and Atlanta donors have agreed to cover all expenses involved in the rec ord attempt. Thus, every dollar raised will go to one of three Israeli nonprofit organi-
NOW thru JUNE 3
zations: United Hatzalah, a volunteerled emergency response organization; OneFamily Fund, which supports victims of terror; and a special Jewish National Fund program to help disadvantaged people in Israel’s north. The northern region is a priority for JNF as it tries to encourage people to live in Israel’s periphery. It also is the home of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Israeli partnership region, Yokneam-Megiddo, and Sandy Springs’ Israeli sister cities, the Western Galilee Cluster. Because Guinness requires the distribution of the cookies for consumption after the record attempt for it to
be valid, the project will have local beneficiaries as well. Organizers expect to donate many of the cookies to schools and homeless shelters. The money will be raised from people sponsoring, or virtually purchasing, cookies for the flag mosaic for $10 each. Supporters of Israel anywhere in the world can contribute to the project at www.cookiesforisrael.org. If all the cookies sell, more than $1.35 million will be raised for the three Israeli charities. Federation CEO Eric Robbins launched the campaign with the ceremonial purchase of the first cookie at Jewish Atlanta’s Israel@70 celebration at Park Tavern on April 29. The diverse volunteer committee of Toco Hills residents overseeing the project had a table at the big birthday party, which marked the start of a fiveweek dash to sell the cookies. The Spicy Peach’s Jodi Wittenberg, one of the volunteers, said, “This flag is such a feel-good way to unite such a diverse group of Israel supporters. I mean, how can you argue with cookies?” ■
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Atlanta’s Jewish community launched an effort at the Israel@70 celebration Sunday, April 29, to set the Guinness world record for the creation of the largest cookie flag mosaic. In the process, the community aims to send a strong message of support to Israel and raise more than $1 million for three Israeli charities. “This project is about supporters of Israel around the world sending a giant hug to the Israeli people,” said Rabbi Yitz Tendler, the executive director of Congregation Beth Jacob, who came up with the idea. “By setting this new record on their behalf, we are showing them that their celebration is our celebration, and by raising these funds, we are also providing them with real, tangible support which will enhance their society in so many ways.” A cookie flag mosaic is the assembly of small cookies of different colors to form the image of a large flag. The record was set in 2017 in Pakistan with the formation of a flag covering almost 2,500 square feet in green and white cookies to commemorate that nation’s 70th anniversary.
Herzl, Ha’am and Uncivil Zionist Discourse Each day, it seems, new stories and discussions in traditional and social media concern the lack of civility in political discourse. This is also true in conversations, both within the Jewish community and among people of all faiths, regarding Israel. Despite our tendency to dwell inside our echo chambers, there is value to be had in listening to and engaging with each other. Jewish history shows that this type of engagement not only is critical to advancing many causes and issues, but also is not a new phenomenon. One hundred fifty-eight years ago this week, on May 2, 1860, Theodor Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement, was born in Pest, Hungary. While he was not the first to call on Jews to create a state, his organization, drive and vision gave the idea the impetus to become a movement. Paul Goodman, a prominent British Zionist leader, wrote in 1929, “Theodor Herzl and his diplomatic activities raised the resettlement of the Jews in Palestine from a romantic idea fostered
by some well-meaning, if influential, persons into the realm of international interest and practical politics.”
Guest Column By Rich Walter
After the First Zionist Congress, which he convened in the summer of 1897, Herzl wrote in his diary, “If I were to subsume the Basle Congress in one word — which I shall not do openly — it would be this: at Basle I founded the Jewish state. If I were to say this today, I would be met by universal laughter. In five years, perhaps, and certainly in fifty, everyone will see it.” Herzl wrote these words on Sept. 3, 1897. On Nov. 29, 1947, 50 years and 87 days later, the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 181, the Partition Plan for Palestine, paving the way for the birth of Israel the next spring. Herzl, it seems, was also prophetic. Despite his achievements, what is often lost in the mythology surround-
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ing Herzl is that he faced bitter opposition from the outside and from within his movement. Among his most vocal critics was Asher Ginsberg, the Russian writer and thinker better known by his pen name, Ahad Ha’am. In 1902, after Herzl published the utopian novel “Altneuland” (Old New Land), Ha’am wrote a vicious criticism, claiming that Herzl’s vision for a Jewish state had nothing discernibly Jewish about it. The public disagreements between Herzl and Ha’am are an important reminder that there has never been Jewish consensus when it comes to Zionism and Israel. Public discourse has been central to the development and growth of the Jewish state. We must remember at this time of heightened discourse over settlements, religious pluralism and the location of the U.S. Embassy that there is value in disagreements and conversation. Additionally, there is still importance in the mythology around Israel and Zionism, just as there should be an imperative for us to learn the real story. Ha’am wrote after Herzl’s death in 1904, “The actual, living Herzl said and
In the composite photo of attendees at the First Zionist Congress in August 1897, Theodor Herzl is placed in the center with Ahad Ha’am to his lower left.
did much that was open to question. … But the ideal figure of Herzl, which is being created before our eyes in the popular mind — what a splendid vision it will be to whet its desire for a real national life! … As time goes on, and the ideal picture of the national hero attains its perfect form, he will perhaps become for our day what the old national heroes were for our ancestors in days gone by: The people will make him the embodiment of its own national ideal, in all its radiance and purity, and will derive from him strength and courage to struggle onward indefatigably along the hard road of its history.” ■ Rich Walter is the associate director for Israel education at the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org).
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The Horrific Deaths of 10 Outstanding Youths
The Knoxville Jewish community welcomes Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to Tennessee in 1951. (Photo courtesy of the Breman Museum)
Today in Israeli History
Items provided by the Center for Israel Education (www.israeled.org), where you can find more details. May 4, 1994: The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area, the first accord to grant Palestinians a measure of autonomy, is signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat in a ceremony in Cairo. May 5, 1985: President Ronald Reagan, seeking reconciliation with Europe, follows a visit to Bergen-Belsen with a stop at the German military cemetery in Bitburg, which has the graves of 2,000 Nazi SS troops. The Bitburg visit, announced April 11, angers Jewish leaders in the United States and Israel. May 6, 1951: During the first visit to the United States by a current Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion
About 20 years ago the headmaster, a rabbi, at a pre-army yeshiva in a town called Eli created a program that has had wide ramifications in Israel. Many of us know the name “gap program.” Your children and grand-
Guest Column By Rabbi David Geffen
children may have attended one. My cousin Peter, a noted Jewish educator in New York, founded a gap program called Kivunim, which is about to enter its 12th year. There are today many Jewish gap programs with various orientations. In Israel, the rabbi at Eli led the way. He received funding from the government for a one-year pre-army program in which religious high school graduates would study, develop leadership skills and hike throughout the country. After being raised to a new level of knowledge and confitours Tennessee Valley Authority hydroelectric and water projects in Tennessee and Alabama. May 7, 1983: During the First Lebanon War, five senior Palestine Liberation Organization officers, led by Abu Musa, declare a revolt against the leadership of Yasser Arafat, accusing him of not being militant enough. Despite living in exile in Tunis, Arafat maintains control of the PLO. May 8, 1936: Exiled because of Italy’s invasion, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie arrives in Haifa before spending a few weeks in Jerusalem to think about how best to gain global support for his country. May 9, 1942: An extraordinary Zionist conference begins at the Biltmore Hotel in New York. The conference sets the framework for Zionist policy in the years during and after World War II. May 10, 1948: Golda Meir has a second secret meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman in a lastditch effort to persuade Transjordan to stay out of the Arab war against the soon-to-be-declared state of Israel.
dence in themselves, they would enter the army. The religious groups that followed the rabbi’s lead and created programs for religious young men and women found great success. These programs were fiercely competitive and were held throughout the country. My version of what happened next is my opinion. Israel’s secular population understood that the gap year was a wonderful idea, so the number of these prearmy programs grew in the religious and secular arenas. They have succeeded because all the candidates are screened and the parents have to pay full price for the 12 months in which their children are enrolled. The program in Tel Aviv that these 10 teens of blessed memory were to enter is highly competitive for admission and has religious and secular students. Throughout the country, wise leaders have realized that teenagers of both orientations could interact positively in this atmosphere. The Tel Aviv program is considered one of the best
of the 150 gap year options in Israel. During the past year participants have hiked throughout Israel on trips they planned with one of the teachers. They have been volunteers in institutions helping people of all ages. They have brought to fruition innovative ideas of various types. Pre-army programs like the one in Tel Aviv have inspired Israeli youngsters and created friendships for life. Our own granddaughter was in such a program, based just outside Eilat, before she entered the Israeli navy. By now, I am sure all of you have experienced the joy of Israel’s 70th birthday at the excellently planned community celebration in Piedmont Park. We all pray that Israel will have many more birthdays. The country continues to grow with all it has to face. I hope you will pause and direct your thoughts and prayers to the parents of these 10 of blessed memory, whose lives were snatched from them. We cannot bring them back, but may their lives be for an eternal blessing now and forever. ■
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MAY 4 ▪ 2018
The week after Israel’s Independence Day was filled with weather aberrations. A few days, it was beautiful. Other days, torrential rains exploded. The outcome of one heavy rainfall produced tragedy of the worst level Thursday, April 26. The water streaming down from the Judean Hills toward the Dead Sea overwhelmed 10 Israeli teens on a hike. They drowned as the powerful flash flood raced through the wadi, catching them before they could get to safety. By the time you read this, many of you will have heard prayers for the 10 at Shabbat services. I know the news tugged at your hearts, especially at your celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday on Sunday, April 29. You may wonder how 10 high school students on a hike in the desert were permitted near where two Palestinian boys drowned the day before. The police will have to decide who was at fault. I would like to explain the year study program these 10 students were about to begin in the summer.
9 8/31/17 12:54 PM
Iran Deal Redux
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
We learned a lot from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s televised presentation about Iran’s nuclear weapons program Monday, April 30, and almost all of it is bad. The half-ton of files, smuggled out from a secret Tehran facility, show that, despite its repeated denials, Iran has long sought to develop nuclear weapons. We can’t say how much is new information and how much just confirms what was always obvious about Iran’s military ambitions. Anything truly revelatory wouldn’t be exposed on prime-time television before going through exhaustive study and confirmation by the Mossad’s allied intelligence agencies. But we do have confirmation, in case there was any doubt, that Netanyahu has no international credibility. Like the boy who cried “Ayatollah Wolf” before a joint session of Congress, his claims about Iran have been too frequent and too urgent. No one who matters is listening anymore, with the possible exception of President Donald Trump. We also have confirmation, in case there was any doubt, that regardless of the terms, once the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed and Europe began to roll back tough sanctions against Iran, the game was over. Our European allies like doing business with Iran far too much and are far too tired or too fearful of commitments in the Middle East after nearly two decades of numbing levels of death and destruction to get tough with Tehran now. Netanyahu’s presentation was derided as soon as he spoke, long before any serious analysis of the evidence, and it was dismissed in a way that indicates the messenger wasn’t the only problem. Leaders such as the European Union’s Federica Mogherini were quick to rationalize anything as a reason not to reconsider the deal, but to be reassured of its value. It doesn’t matter that Iran just confirmed advances in refining technology that demonstrate its enrichment research goes on, preparing for the day the deal’s limitations run out. It doesn’t matter if the windfall Iran received through the JCPOA, none of which is benefiting Iran’s people, is being used to accelerate that research. It doesn’t matter how many armed drones Iran flies over Israel or how many bases it establishes in Syria or how many missiles it ships to Hezbollah. It all somehow justifies the value of a decade’s delay, and nothing short of a nuclear missile launch is going to change our allies’ minds. The one ray of sunshine is that the Mossad demonstrated its ability to pull off an intelligence coup. Unless this was a clever plot to confirm that it has nothing to fear from Europe, no matter the revelations, Iran didn’t want 100,000 documents about its nuclear program exposed to the world. Israel’s ability to find and spirit away such a treasure-trove should prove again to the CIA, MI-6 and other Western intelligence agencies they need a strong Israel as their forward listening post in the Middle East. So if push ever truly comes to shove and Iran unveils a shiny nuclear arsenal mounted atop ballistic missiles that can reach London if not New York, we can expect most of the nations that signed the accord to say the right things about standing with Israel. We can only hope it’s not too late. ■ 10
Cartoon by Yaakov Kirschen, Dry Bones, Israel
Israel@70: Just a Start for Atlanta It would be a lie to say Jewish Atlanta’s IsraBut this day was different from most other days. el@70 celebration was perfect. Israelis turned out to join the rest of us in celebratIn a perfect world, the kosher food vendors, ing our shared homeland’s biggest birthday yet. with no basis for estimating how many hungry Great credit goes to everyone at Federation and mouths would be wandering around the Park Tavpartner agencies for planning such a vibrant range ern, nonetheless would have exactly balanced supply of activities and food and music. There was not and demand. The ice cream would have lasted until something for everyone; there were multiple things 4 p.m., and no one would have needed to stand in for everyone. line for more than five or maybe 10 minutes for a In addition, people who had every reason not to burger or shawarma. spend the day at the park because of other big events In a perfect world, Midtown traffic would have in the community still joined the celebration. After melted away, enabling rapid transit for people who all, one of the dangers of activating the potential of a decided midafternoon Sunday, April 29, to join the growing community is that party. No one would have there aren’t enough days in run into gridlock around the year to go around. Piedmont Park and decidIt would have been Editor’s Notebook ed in frustration to reverse understandable if the By Michael Jacobs course and head home to Temple Kol Emeth crowd, email@example.com watch the Braves on TV. for example, struggled to In a perfect world, make it down Interstate 75 we wouldn’t have felt the after the congregation’s big need for such thorough if friendly security checks annual gala, the Avodah Awards, the night before. to ensure the safety of the thousands of people who And the nearly 400 people preparing hours later thronged together in a vulnerable, confined space. to mark Congregation Beth Jacob’s 75th anniversary That perfect world isn’t Earth in the 21st cen— yes, the Toco Hills stalwart is Israel’s big brother tury. as well as the older sibling to much of Atlanta’s But we came about as close to perfect as anyone Orthodox community — couldn’t have been blamed could have hoped for. for passing on an afternoon in the sun. Start with the weather. Sunny, 70 degrees, But they were there in force and used the modest humidity and a gentle breeze make for a opportunity to launch what could be the next big pleasant combination any time of year, but after our communal celebration, the creation of a worldseemingly endless streak of rainy weekends, it felt record cookie flag mosaic on Sunday, June 3, with a heaven-sent. potential windfall of $1.35 million for three chariThen there was the crowd. It’s rare when the table organizations in Israel. (See more about the true strength of our community — our diversity in effort on Page 7.) all meanings of the word — is on display. The cookie fundraiser may be the best sign of Even on the rare occasions when the full range all to come out of the Israel@70 event. Not because of religious observance comes together and we get of the impact of the money raised or the excitement Sephardim and Ashkenazim in one place — as hapof getting our community some Guinness notoriety, pened in August when Federation, the Marcus JCC, but because it’s an immediate effort to build on the Jewish Family & Career Services, Jewish Home Life momentum. Communities and the Atlanta Rabbinical AssociaUltimately, Israel@70 will be nothing but a tion combined to bring us The Collective — few of nice memory if it proves to be a one-off opportunity the 10,000 to 15,000 Israelis in metro Atlanta turn to come together. But if it’s just a start of the great out. And not enough of the non-Israelis join the things to come in the Front Porch era, we might look event that’s most important to the Israelis, Yom back one day and smile at how excited we got about HaZikaron. such a small, imperfect, albeit fun party. ■
Filing Change of Address Counting the Minutes For Home of Jewish Life As Well as the Days Congress to oppose the Iran nuclear deal and backing away from a pledge to expand egalitarian prayer at the Kotel. That indictment does not take into account that a less Israel-centric, non-Orthodox Judaism was making inroads in the United States well before
From Where I Sit By Dave Schechter firstname.lastname@example.org
Netanyahu became prime minister. The word “diaspora” — from the Greek for “across” and “scatter” — is defined by the Oxford Dictionaries Online as “the dispersion or spread of any people from their original homeland.” Over two millennia, the word primarily described the dispersion of Jews from the historic land of Israel. Deuteronomy 28:25 carries this admonition of the penalty for defying the Almighty: “Adonai your G-d will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will advance on them one way and flee before them seven. You will become an object of horror to every kingdom on Earth.” “Object of horror” here means being made an example to others. Eisner wrote that the “disequilibrium” over the authenticity of Jewish life inside and outside Israel poses “a challenge to those North American Jews who over the decades have substituted worship of a mythical Israel — what Donniel Hartman (president of the Shalom Hartman Institute) calls ‘the endangered fairy-tale land’ — for real engagement and commitment to our own Judaism at home.” I asked, and my brother the rabbi offered three suggestions to increase that engagement and commitment: Expand scholarships to make Jewish summer camp more affordable; grow a generation of non-Israeli Hebrew teachers for congregational Sunday schools; and attract unaffiliated and unattached Jews by embracing the “seeker-sensitive” approach employed by some evangelical churches. In the meantime, American Jews have every right to take offense at the notion that their home address makes them any less Jewish. Jewish life in America is different from Jewish life in Israel — but is of no less value because it is in America. ■
For those who observe the ritual of Sefirat HaOmer — counting the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot — as a period of semi-mourning and reflection, the opportunities for celebration can be quite limited. For day school teachers, this season entails another kind of countdown, from spring break to graduation. I’m counting the number of papers and tests in my “to be graded” folder, readying myself to begin writing report card narratives. Attempting to ward off the end-ofschool-year blues, I accept invitations to attend a few celebrations during Sefirat HaOmer and welcome the opportunity to spend time with a friend and Rabbis Without Borders colleague, Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, at the AIB Network Allen Awards ceremony. Despite the traffic on Interstate 285, or because we account for it, we arrive early and enjoy visiting the gallery in the Southwest Arts Center and meeting board members and other guests at the reception. I notice someone I know I’ve met — I never forget a face — but I can’t place where or when, and before I can greet him, we are ushered into the auditorium. Rabbi Ruth is offering the invocation, so we are directed to sit in the VIP section, close to the stage. After the opening musical performance, welcome speeches and invocation, the nominees for the AIB Community Spirit Award are announced in a brief video. The instant Second Helpings Atlanta fills the screen, I realize that guest at the reception is none other than the agency’s executive director, Joe Labriola. It has been nearly a year since we met, and I’ve thought often about how I could help him recruit Weber students to work with this incredible organization. The video ends, and the winner is announced, and I see Joe making his way down the aisle to accept the
award. He speaks for a few moments about how much this recognition will help raise awareness in the community about Second Helpings’ mission to fight food waste and food insecurity. Their volunteers rescue surplus food from restaurants, grocery stores, cor-
From the ARA By Rabbi Pamela Jay Gottfried
porate dining halls and school cafeterias and deliver it to agencies that feed the hungry throughout metro Atlanta. Before he concludes his speech, Joe highlights their 90 Minute Model, which enables volunteers to make an impact in just 90 minutes a month. As we applaud and congratulate Second Helpings, I find myself invested in yet another counting this Sefirat HaOmer — not of weeks or days, but of minutes. Perhaps I should call it an accounting: 90 minutes is the equivalent of one class block plus five minutes before and five minutes after to travel between classes. As the introduction for the next award begins, I resolve to continue my search for 90 minutes in the coming month — once final exams are graded and report card narratives are written — to volunteer with Second Helpings Atlanta. The rest of the evening flies by; it is time well spent, recognizing the strength of our diverse, interfaith community. The 2018 John Houston Allen Awards ceremony will be broadcast the week of May 6 on AIB. Check with your television provider for times, or watch on the AIB website or on YouTube. ■ Rabbi Pamela Jay Gottfried is the dean of Jewish studies at the Weber School and a Rabbis Without Borders fellow.
Write to Us The AJT welcomes letters and guest columns from our readers. Letters should be 400 or fewer words; guest columns are up to 700 words. Send submissions to email@example.com. Include your name, your town and a phone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit submissions for style and length.
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Do you consider Israel to be your Jewish “homeland”? Does living in the American “Diaspora” make you a less authentic Jew? I suggested in my last column that a significant percentage of American Jews may regard Israel “as a primarily Jewish country, but not one they consider their own.” Jane Eisner, the editor of the Forward, recently opined that “there remains an expectation that Israel is the central address for real Jews, and the rest of us live in the outer exurbs.” David Shneer, the director of Jewish studies at the University of Colorado, told Eisner, “Seeing the global Jewish community as multiple centers, with Israel as one center, better describes how Jews actually live.” Not everyone agrees. “No, we are not just a religion. We are a people, one nation scattered throughout the world. No, Washington is not our Jerusalem. Jerusalem is our Jerusalem. We only have one land that belongs to us and one ‘center’ of gravity — the Land of Israel. Everywhere else, we are guests,” reads an online retort to Eisner’s column. Daniel J. Elazar, the founder of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, wrote nearly 20 years ago that Jews active in communal life “like to proclaim ‘we are one’ and that ‘the mystic bonds of Jewish unity hold us all together.’ ” Those bonds may be fraying. “The ‘distancing’ discourse is gaining currency; today’s prevailing opinion, particularly in the Diaspora, is that Israel and Diaspora Jewry are growing farther apart. Surprisingly, this view is more common among older Jews than among younger Jews,” read a report issued in April by the Jewish People Policy Institute. Daniel Gordis is an AmericanIsraeli, a well-known author, and the Koret distinguished fellow and chair of the core curriculum at Shalem College in Jerusalem. A year ago he warned, “Increasingly, the orientation of many American Jews toward Israel is one neither of instinctive loyalty nor of pride but of indifference, embarrassment or hostility.” Politically liberal American Jews may point a finger at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose perceived sins include cozying up to President Donald Trump, addressing
We Must Keep Hope in Holocaust Memorials
Holocaust memorials must look beyond what was lost.
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
A few weeks ago I received an invitation to speak about the Holocaust at Washington University in St. Louis, my alma mater. I was pleased to do so, with certain requirements. They had to do with the subject matter. In 1948, when I arrived in St. Louis from Germany, I was asked to come to a Friday evening service at the Hillel house and speak about my Holocaust experiences — a topic of great interest and importance at that time. Let me interject that the Holocaust is still an important event, but I have been telling and retelling my story for 73 years. On May 2, I will mark 73 years since my liberation from Muhldorf Wald Lager by a squad of soldiers led by Lt. Schwartz of the 14th Armored Division of the U.S. 5th Army. My memories of the events are still fresh, and although they should be retold, nonetheless it has come time to evaluate the experiences. I informed the university that while I would like to speak about my experiences, at the present stage of my life — age 92, soon to be 93 — I would prefer to speak of the ideas and perspectives that are rooted in those Holocaust experiences and in my Judaism. Those ideas have become central to my worldview. Namely, I wished to present a set of perspectives that helped me overcome the negativism and cynicism that led many survivors to judge the world as a negative place. As a child, long before the Holocaust, I was taught this adage by my grandmother: Money lost, nothing lost; hope lost, all is lost. Judaism, at least as I was taught it, is a religion of hope and, even more important, a religion that teaches human perfectibility. 12 Judaism proposes that in spite
of selfishness and self-centeredness, mankind can change, and the road to the future lies in the moral teaching in the Torah as summarized by Hillel: “If I am only for myself, then what am I?” Judaism is different from the Christian perspective of Dante Ali ghieri, who proposed that once humans fall, all hope is lost. There are no places in the world, nor are there any conditions, from which we can rise as
One Man’s Opinion By Eugen Schoenfeld
better people than before. We survivors of the camps entered purgatory and even worse, but, armed with Jewish principles, we ascended into the world with the words of Hatikvah — of hope in the future. At least every Rosh Hashanah I read Jeremiah’s hopeful prophecy in Chapter 31. He observes a much earlier Holocaust: Jews form a long line as they are being led into exile from their homeland by the Babylonians, and as they pass Rachel’s Tomb near Ramah, G-d hears Rachel’s cry. But instead of considering Ramah as an earthly place, I translate it as a high place, G-d’s abode in the heavens. And so the passage reads: “A cry is heard up high in heaven, a wailing, a bitter weeping. Rachel (the quintessential Jewish mother) is crying for her children. She refuses to be comforted, for her children are gone. Thus said the Lord (to Rachel): Restrain your voice from crying, keep your eyes from shedding tears; for there is reward for your labors, for they (your children) will return from the enemy’s land, and (above all) there is hope for their future, and they will return to within the
land between their borders.” The prophets have instilled into us a faith in the future. We have faith that in the end of days, as described by Micah and Isaiah, we will create an idyllic world. I believe in the prophets’ dreams, and I wish to believe in the perfectibility of human beings and the world in which we live. Hopeful positivism is built into our belief in tikkun olam. When I was introduced to this concept in my youth, it was translated as completion of the world rather than repair. Unlike faiths that argue that G-d created the world in perfection but human beings ruined it, we propose that G-d, by design, did not complete the act of creation but assigned that task to human beings. We do not believe that people are faulty simply by the act of birth. Instead, as human beings, we were assigned an important task: We were given the duty to complete the world. Can you imagine believing that we, the people of the world, do not have any tasks to accomplish? How utterly boring would life be in a perfect world? It would be a world that could not be improved. Because we cannot improve that which is perfect, all we could do is make it worse. From a Jewish perspective, the human task is to complete the world, and this completion starts with self-improvement. G-d created us as humans and assigned us the task of adding an “e” at the end to change ourselves from merely human to humane. The Holocaust reminds us that we failed in our task of completing the humane world. The central theme of Holocaust remembrance should be that the elimination of human suffering can be accomplished if we accept G-d’s task not only to improve the physical world, but above all else to start our task of self-improvement. I wish to share one of my Holocaust experiences, an event reaffirming that there is hope in this world and that we can, if given the right education, become humane people. We arrived in Birkenau, and I and
my transport of men spent about 10 days there before we were put back into the cattle cars, bound for Warsaw. Cattle cars have three distinct areas: the spaces left and right of the doors and the space aligned with the sliding doors, reserved for the two SS soldiers assigned to guard us. One SS man was an ethnic Ukrainian who clearly hated Jews and often pointed his rifle at us and threatened to shoot us. The other guard was also a TotesKopf SS man, with the insignia of the skull displayed on his coat. He was well over 6 feet tall with deep-blue eyes and, of course, blond hair. He could easily have been the poster image of Hitler’s vision of the true Aryan. Every time the Ukrainian threatened us, the other soldier defused the situation and kept telling us not to worry. This alone would have made him memorable to me. But his sense of benevolence went much further. Every time the train stopped, he rushed out to the station. When he returned, he was loaded down with all kinds of containers filled with coffee, which he handed us. Imagine an SS soldier with this sense of empathy. Three times that morning he brought us coffee. The fourth time was in the afternoon. He came back with the containers and apologized to us because there was no coffee to be had. He brought us merely water. Can you imagine that in the Third Reich a young SS man apologized to us — to Jews? Of course, I could dismiss this event as unique, and it was rare. But I could not then and cannot even today dismiss the enormity of his empathy. Surely there must have been other such experiences by camp survivors. But to me this event reaffirmed human perfectibility. All my life I have held to the hope that I was right. In the Zionist gymnasium I attended in the 1930s, each classroom displayed a large picture of Theodor Herzl on a balcony looking over a beautiful Israel. Under the image, the following statement was also displayed: If you wish it, this image is not a dream (ihm tirzu eyn zoth agadah). I wish to add this slogan also to the image I described above. If we but wished it, we could make this a better world. That is my tikvah, my hope. Moreover, I also hope that my story and others like it are recalled at Holocaust memorials so we can reaffirm the Jewish belief in the perfectibility of mankind. ■
MAY 4 â–ª 2018
HEALTH WELLNESS Robotic Arm Helps Drummer Beat Disability
After a work accident forced the amputation of his right arm below the elbow, drummer Jason Barnes received a robotic prosthetic designed by Georgia Tech professor Gil Weinberg.
By Sarah Moosazadeh firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Georgia Tech professor Gil Weinberg has worked on musical robots for years, but after drummer Jason Barnes asked him to create a prosthetic that would help him perform again, Weinberg began experimenting with new technology. Six years ago Weinberg received an email from Atlanta Institute of Music instructor Eric Sanders, who introduced Weinberg to Barnes. Sanders and Barnes were searching for someone who had experience with musical robots, and, after viewing videos of Shimon, a musical robot Weinberg developed using algorithms, Barnes and Sanders knew they had found the right person. Weinberg had only developed robots that were separate entities, meaning the machines were not attached to or embedded on human bodies. But after meeting Barnes, Weinberg began experimenting with new forms of hu14 man augmentation.
Barnes was burned in an electrical accident, and his right arm was amputated below the elbow. The drummer made a makeshift prosthetic. But he felt that the prosthetic lacked proficiency, and he sought some kind of robotic control that would enhance his muscles, replicate movements his wrist used to make and produce more expressions. Weinberg agreed to the challenge but encouraged Barnes to follow him one step further to incorporate two sticks instead of one. While one stick would allow Barnes to replicate music, the second would allow him to improvise or use artificial intelligence. “It’s called a stick with a mind of its own,” Weinberg said. Barnes agreed, and Weinberg installed an application that enables a second stick to emerge as soon as Barnes lifts his arm. Initially, Weinberg used EMG, or electromyography, which sends electric signals from Barnes’ muscles to the robotic arm. Depending on whether his muscle contracts or relaxes, Barnes can generate a hit from the stick and change how tightly or loosely the stick plays. Yet the prosthetic was not able to provide more accuracy or replicate the finger-by-finger control that drummers use with both hands. Weinberg tried to achieve greater precision by using needles similar to acupuncture, but he didn’t know exactly where to place them until he used an ultrasound machine to trace the muscles. “That was a eureka moment for us,” Weinberg said. “We noticed a direct correlation between where the muscle moved and the different fingers.” As a result, Weinberg could just
examine the ultrasound signals to determine which muscle correlated to which phantom finger as opposed to using needles, a process that Weinberg said was a bit invasive anyway. Weinberg has multiple patents on the ultrasound technology, which he describes as revolutionary. He said, “All of the prosthetics in the market use EMG, but we created something that allows for more ambidextrous control, which can change the life of amputees in a way that is new and exciting.” Each of the sticks on the prosthetic, Weinberg said, can play 20 hertz. With Barnes’ other arm, the stick can hit 40 hertz. Barnes also has the capability to play with one arm, which Weinberg calls “polyrhythm.” While one stick plays 20 hertz, another plays 18, creating different polyrhythms. In addition to the sticks, Weinberg developed a system that allows Barnes to play the piano. Barnes can move his muscles as if he is moving fingers, and a signal then transfers from his brain to the muscles
and the prosthetic to carry out the performance. But Georgia Tech, where the prosthetic was developed, does not allow Barnes to travel with the prosthetic or own it. As a result, Weinberg started a Kickstarter campaign that aims to raise $70,000 to create the prosthetic and an additional $20,000 to create products from the music. A large portion of the money, Weinberg said, will be used to create a prosthetic that Barnes can own and use to become the musician he always wanted to be. Donors will receive tickets to Barnes’ shows, merchandise and downloadable music and videos from his performances. “The arm has not only given me back my ability to play, but also made me more creative in the way that I play,” Barnes said. “It’s opened opportunities that I never thought were possible. So glad to have met Gil and his team, and I look forward to working with them much longer.” ■
Gil Weinberg helped develop an additional program for his robotic prosthetic that enables Jason Barnes to play the piano.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Trust Your Judgment on Autism, Mother Advises By Kevin C. Madigan email@example.com
Photos courtesy of Whitney Ellenby
Whitney Ellenby says her son, Zack, will never be independent, but now he can go anywhere without fear.
Published April 15, “Autism Uncensored” received extensive criticism even before its release. An excerpt in The Washington Post in February spurred calls for the book to be banned after readers said Ellenby’s motherly methods were tantamount to abuse. Of particular concern to some was an episode in which Ellenby took Zack to see a “Sesame Street Live” show. “Nothing else had worked for Zack — flashcards, photos, play therapy, gradual exposure to feared indoor spaces. That is how, very much against his will, I ended up physically dragging Zack into Verizon Center one day 10 years ago to see his favorite character, Elmo,” she writes.
Whitney Ellenby’s son, Zack, was diagnosed on the autism spectrum at 19 months old.
Though some of her strategies for Zack eventually proved valid, Ellenby was derided as evil, self-serving, shameless and offensive. In the interview, she addressed her critics: “If you can absorb the diagnosis of a lifelong incurable disability with a smile, good for you. You’re not going to shame me into silence for the way I felt or the fact that I chose to share it in an uncensored fashion with what I believe is a majority of parents who also feel the way I felt. You all don’t have the monopoly on pain.” Ellenby is the founder of Autism Ambassadors, a nonprofit in Maryland that hosts recreational events for hundreds of families with children who have autism. She is not a representative
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MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Parents of autistic children are routinely ripped off by vendors out for a buck, says Whitney Ellenby, an author and the mother of Zack, now 17, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 19 months. Ellenby’s new book, “Autism Uncensored: Pulling Back the Curtain,” is an unbarred look at the travails of raising Zack and the unusual steps she took while navigating, and ultimately rejecting, numerous costly treatments that did little to help her son. “Autism is its own universe and, as I’ve come to discover, a mercenary one. The range of medical and behavioral cures available to rid our children of what ails them is vast,” Ellenby writes, adding: “Hope predicated on the rarest of outcomes is not hope at all but a mirage dangled to induce payment.” In an interview with the AJT, the Jewish mother said: “The house always wins. The merchants are getting rich; whether your kid improves or not, they get paid … selling us on this fairy tale of mainstreaming. Even the very best that money could buy did almost nothing. The best intervention came when I stopped hemorrhaging money and took matters into my own hands and started getting him out into the world. And that was free.” She added: “The odds are enormous that you’re wasting your money. Ask questions and demand answers before you lay out your hard-earned cash because the answers might be simpler.”
of the autism community, she insists, and speaks for no one but Zack. “I want every parent who is in pain to not feel ashamed of their kids and get them out into the world. Our challenges are real, and we have a right to make our situation as good as we can make it and to make our kids as functional as we can,” she said. “It can get better. The only way I have credibility is if I tell you how bad it was.” Zack eventually grew less fearful and combative. “He is doing great,” Ellenby said. “By that, I mean he can go anywhere — the beach to snorkel, into a dark theater, get on an airplane, go to a Springsteen concert — whereas before he couldn’t do anything. It’s changed our lives enormously. He’s still autistic, but he’s joyful. He’s unafraid, a great companion. He’ll never be independent, though, and will always need an aide.” She writes that there are interventions and therapies that did not exist when Zack was a child and that parents should use common sense in assessing them. “No medical opinion, no matter how competent or research-based, can supplant a parent’s intuition based on careful observation.” ■
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Riverwood Girls Back War Against DIPG Tumors By Sarah Moosazadeh firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Riverwood seniors Sophie Yagoda and Lily Schneider didn’t just want to make a difference when their friend Brantley Dobbs died of DIPG, a malignant pediatric brain tumor. They also sought to apply the lessons they learned at the Epstein School. Lily and Sophie were introduced to Brantley through Ian’s Friends Foundation, which funds research dedicated to overcoming pediatric brain cancer. Brantley died in December. To honor his memory, Sophie and Lily sold bracelets with “Be a Warrior” etched in the bands for $3 each. The bracelets remind people to be brave, Lily said, and raised money for a bench in memory of Brantley. The fundraiser was initially part of a school volunteer project that asked students to support a venture close to them. Sophie is the sister of Ian from Ian’s Friends Foundation, but she noted that the fundraiser is separate from the nonprofit. “While my parents have been involved in the foundation, the project was something Lily and I
Lily Schneider (left) and Sophie Yagoda sold rubber bracelets to raise money for a memorial bench in Brantley Dobbs’ honor.
wanted to do that was more personal and would allow us to take action upon ourselves,” Sophie said. “We wanted to bring our creative minds together and absorb how Dobbs influenced us.” The girls used social media outlets such as Facebook to raise awareness about the fundraiser and DIPG, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma. Sophie and Lily estimate that they helped raise $1,000. Beyond the cost of the memorial bench, the money will be donated to DIPG research. Researchers at Stanford discovered that immunotherapy could target gene mutations to prevent tumors. Cancer
cells derived from Jennifer Lynn Kranz, who died at age 6 of DIPG in 2014, were instrumental in the research. DIPG also garnered attention this spring because of the Lemon Face Challenge, which was adopted by some Major League Baseball teams and was promoted by Alabama football coach Nick Saban. Whereas the Ice Bucket Challenge encouraged people to pour ice-cold water on themselves to raise awareness of ALS, participants in the lemon challenge must eat lemon wedges and post their best sour faces online. Aubreigh Nicholas, 11, started the movement after her DIPG diagnosis. The Riverwood girls faced more mundane challenges, Sophie said, such as spreading the word and getting people to complete orders. “When we first began the fundraiser, it was a hot topic, but then it suddenly died out, which forced Lily and me to start asking people if they were interested,” Sophie said. “Our friends helped, but it was hard to get people to follow through.” Like Sophie and Lily, Brantley enjoyed walking in nature. Sophie said, “He was an average kid who loved
nature, going to the park and playing outside, and we thought a bench would show his love for that.” Because it has taken longer than expected to get a permit to place the bench in a park, the girls are not sure where the memorial will be located but are considering a park in Sandy Springs. Lily, a National Merit finalist, will attend Georgia Tech, where she plans to study chemistry but is considering switching to engineering. Sophie was accepted to the University of Michigan after she applied to the school’s communications and liberal arts program but is interested in special education. The girls say their desire to give back stems from Jewish principles they learned at Epstein. “Lily and I have watched our parents do all these cool and amazing things, and we are finally doing something ourselves, with the help of everyone, of course,” Sophie said. “We want people who have family members that are currently suffering from DIPG to know that they are not alone.” She added: “Everyone deserves recognition, even after they pass. It doesn’t matter what their age.” ■
MAY 4 â–ª 2018
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In-Flight Heart Attack Doesn’t Halt Israel Trip I reached out to my friend Paul Scheinberg, the retired chief medical officer at Emory St. Joseph’s Hospital, after seeing a Facebook post Wednesday, April 11, that he had experienced a “cardiac event” en route to Israel and had been hospitalized in Tel Aviv. Posts with questions and well wishes came in by the hundreds from all over as Paul and his wife, Suzy, provided reassuring updates on his condition. Jaffe: So, Paul, you are flying on Delta to Tel Aviv and … Scheinberg: About five hours into the flight, with five hours to go, I experienced some epigastric discomfort. Initially I thought it was indigestion, and, knowing our location over the northeastern Atlantic at 39,000 feet, flying at 550 mph — we were still at least an hour from the first European terrain flyover, Ireland — I chose to quietly endure and observe. My peripheral pulse was strong and regular. My symptoms were limited, the pain did not radiate, and I had no accompanying nausea or sweating. An hour later, crossing over Belgium, the pain intensified somewhat, but other indicators were all stable. I notified the flight attendant that I might have a medical problem. She asked if she should ask if there were a doctor on board. Over the years, I’ve responded several times to onboard medical crises but had never directed a medical diversion. In all those cases I was able to reassure the patient and the crew of a safe resolution while proceeding to the destination. In nearly all those cases, the final destination was within 90 minutes. I agreed to a call for medical help, but (no disrespect intended) wasn’t interested in a dermatologist or psychiatrist responding.
Fortunately, the one respondent was an experienced paramedic from Petah Tikvah who has years of experience volunteering with Hatzalah, the organization for which I was returning to Israel. After assuring that my vital signs remained stable, with no
Jaffe’s Jewish Jive By Marcia Caller Jaffe email@example.com
suggestion of arrhythmia, he administered full-dose aspirin tablets to chew to prevent platelet aggregation and clot formation. I was also offered supplemental oxygen. Unfortunately, although long-haul aircraft are equipped with automatic defibrillators, there is no EKG or other diagnostic tool to ascertain a cardiac crisis or assess severity. My options were to insist that the plane make a medical diversion landing somewhere near the Balkan states or trust my medical intuition to risk continuing on to Tel Aviv. I felt I was stable (no arrhythmia, good vital signs) and decided to push on because the chest pain had eased some, and I knew I’d receive better medical care in Israel. Jaffe: What was Delta’s response? Was there scrambling on board? Scheinberg: Airlines balance a hard decision. It costs millions to make a medical diversion. On the other hand, they do not want to land with a dead passenger. They rely on medical professionals on board in consultation with a ground-based medical advisory service when necessary. The crew was most helpful. The captain knew of the problem but with no request for medical diversion. The crew had provided all available medical equipment to me and my supporting paramedic. Jaffe: What happened when you landed? Scheinberg: An ambulance was waiting to ride to Tel HaShomer Hospital. Two Photos courtesy of Paul Scheinberg
His cardiac event over the Atlantic Ocean has given retired Sandy Springs pulmonologist Paul Scheinberg extra time in Israel.
Paul Scheinberg was a visitor at Tel HaShomer’s cardiac center two months before arriving as a patient.
months prior I had visited this same cardiology center with a medical group from Atlanta and visited the CCU (cardiac care unit) and cath lab, in which I was now being treated. The staff doctors and nurses spoke to me only in Hebrew. And although my Hebrew is generally adequate (short of medically fluent), it felt like an intensive ulpan. Jaffe: What is happening with your health insurance? Scheinberg: On all my past travels, I have taken out comprehensive international travel insurance. In this case, I waited and purchased an Israeli “medical only” policy covering, I thought, medical care from day of arrival to day of departure (no hotel, no flight, no extended-stay coverage). Unfortunately, the policy fine print, not disclosed prior to purchase, excludes any and all medical illnesses occurring in the first 48 hours from arrival on an audacious assumption that the cause was pre-existing. (My Israeli attorney cousin is maintaining that this was acute, not pre-existing.)
Jaffe: Some say doctors don’t make very good patients. Scheinberg: Had I been in my home of Sandy Springs when the event occurred and taken to St Joseph’s Hospital, definitive treatment would have been more prompt. There could be grave risk in deferring intervention for several hours. Fortunately, I seem to have won that bet by benefiting from the excellent care in Israel. I am totally overwhelmed with the outpouring of well-wishers on Facebook. Like an expert, I was even posting the Shabbat meal brought to me in CCU by extended family. ■
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Jaffe: What’s next for you? Scheinberg: My cardiologists have strongly advised deferring return travel for at least a month. My son will relieve my wife and join me here in a rental. Although my activity is slightly limited, I hope we can take advantage of the extended stay with the opportunity to travel and experience living in Israel.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Individual Engagement Brings Hope to Dementia By Leah R. Harrison firstname.lastname@example.org “Hope” and “dementia” are rarely used together, but memory care expert and Hearthstone Institute co-founder and CEO John Zeisel has shown it is possible. In an April 8 presentation at the William Breman Jewish Home, “Hopeful Aging: Creating a Life of Purpose and Joy for Those With Dementia,” Zeisel explained his life-changing research and the work of his institute. Zeisel is also the author of “I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care.” Jewish Home Life Communities has partnered with Hearthstone and adopted that philosophy within its system of eight services and care communities on three campuses, ranging from walk-in clinic and at-home private care, to independent and assisted living, to memory care, nursing home and hospice, JHLC CEO Harley Tabak said. Tabak welcomed a crowd of around 75 to hear Zeisel at the ninth
Photos by Leah R. Harrison
John Zeisel explains his Hope Model for dementia care while Sandy and Max London, family namesakes of the AgeSmart Lecture series, listen.
London Family AgeSmart Lecture. He said the series fulfills part of the nonprofit’s mission, to be a resource to the community on aging issues. The JHLC board, chaired by Deborah Maslia, recently adopted a bold strategic plan. By working with Hearthstone, Tabak said, “we have enhanced our own care across the entire system over the last year.” He said JHLC is the only senior
care organization in Georgia to have two I’m Still Here dementia centers of excellence, at the Cohen Home and Berman Commons, and the Breman Home is near certification as well. According to the Hearthstone website, I’m Still Here is based on the belief that “every person living with dementia is truly still there and can experience a high quality of life regardless of the severity of their memory loss.”
Tabak thanked Candy and Steve Berman, whose generosity made it possible to bring the program to JHLC. To drive home the increasing importance of elder engagement and care, Steve Berman offered these statistics: • Average life expectancy for a person born in 1900 was 42. • In 2000, it was 82. • Average life expectancy for a person born in 2030 is expected to be 100. • By 2100, it is expected to be 130 years. Candy Berman told of the impact Zeisel’s I’m Still Here method is having in improving the engagement and subsequent happiness and well-being of Berman Commons residents living with dementia. “It begins with hope,” Zeisel said. “Hope is something that is not often spoken about when we talk about dementia.” He said that there are so many negatives associated with dementia that “hope is out the window.” He spoke about the burden, burnout and hardships when a person tries to care for a loved one with dementia,
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Steve and Candy Berman’s financial support has helped Jewish Home Life Communities roll out John Zeisel’s methods. Steve Berman says he sat on a panel with Zeisel and was amazed by his research and dementia care model.
Engagement is the key to John Zeisel’s method for improving the health and well-being of those with Alzheimer’s.
on and implement activities from beginning to end. Zeisel closed with data gathered in response to a request from Tabak.
Among other benchmarks, the use of I’m Still Here in the centers of excellence produced a higher quality of life and lower anxiety, positive affect, higher engagement, a reduction in dementia and stigma, and even fewer falls per resident.
Whether through music, group classes or field trips, “there’s absolutely no limit to the way we can engage people,” Zeisel said. “It takes a lot of work to do it, but it’s worth it. … Our job is to make a difference in their lives.” ■
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
and he said every survey internationally shows that more people are afraid of dementia than of cancer. Turning the bleak outlook to the positives of his Hope Method for dementia care, Zeisel said, “The goal is to give people their own sense of selves back, their own story.” Through engagement with I’m Still Here, Zeisel showed examples of people “waking up and taking over and running things and teaching other people.” At its heart, the model trains the caregiver, through curiosity, creativity, patience, persistence and kindness, to truly get to know each senior — learning likes and dislikes, background, and preferences — to involve each person in areas of personal interest. “The secret to this I’m Still Here approach,” Zeisel said, “is engagement.” Listing anxiety, agitation, aggression and apathy as “the four A’s,” or states that society considers to be a part of dementia, Zeisel said, “Engagement replaces those.” Does a senior light up when hearing Frank Sinatra, or love to garden? Did a person serve our country or work as a teacher? Is there a special skill that can be used or taught to others? If so, the senior is empowered to listen, reminisce, experience or lead. Residents are given choices that recognize their autonomy and help provide dignity and self-esteem. Do they like scrambled eggs or fried? Would they prefer the blue shirt or the plaid one? Even a person who always picks scrambled eggs is given the chance to choose. When the caregiver taps into the essence of a resident that is still here, at a time that could be frightening and frustrating or overwhelming and demeaning, Zeisel’s method proves it is possible to achieve cognitive improvement and fulfillment. The hallmark anger, fear and withdrawal give way to hope. While the approach cannot change the reality of a diagnosis of dementia, it can encourage the recognition and appreciation of a loved one’s present abilities instead of a retreat into despair. It creates an awareness of what is still there and of activities and accomplishments that are still possible. Zeisel showed that, with engagement, people with dementia can learn, focus, regain a sense of identity, make decisions and experience joy. He told of the Learning for Life program being developed at JHLC, which is giving residents purpose and meaning. For example, through interaction and discussion, the residents as a group decide
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Lawyer: Pain Worth Gain of Giving Bone Marrow By Sarah Moosazadeh email@example.com Atlanta trial lawyer Ben Levy was about to approach the Kotel when his father, Robert, sent him a text, telling him that a relative was accepting the bone marrow Levy had donated weeks earlier. Levy could not think of a holier place to receive the news. When he received a call in late January that a family member had been diagnosed with acute leukemia, he knew he had to help. “It was a pretty easy decision to make,” Levy said. “I figured if this could save his life, there is really not much to think about but to just do it.” It usually takes months to find a match in a bone marrow registry, if it ever happens, so Levy didn’t hesitate when he was asked to get tested. He got some blood work done, and it was tested at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Levy and the relative’s son were both possible matches, but after additional tests, doctors determined that Levy, 29 at the time, was a better can-
didate for the procedure than the son, who is in his early 40s. Levy said he doesn’t know why bone marrow from a younger donor might engraft better, but the recipient’s age can be a factor. Because the recipient in this case is in his early 70s, doctors harvested bone marrow directly from Levy’s pelvis rather than draw and filter large quantities of blood. “For a younger recipient, that may do the trick, but for an older beneficiary, they need the good stuff,” Levy said. Weeks before the surgery Levy flew to Baltimore for chest X-rays and 16 additional blood tests. During the procedure, Levy was placed on his stomach and given anesthesia. Doctors made nine puncture sites in his lower back and inserted needles, 3 millimeters in diameter, to poke into his pelvis about 100 times to withdraw the bone marrow. Levy’s pelvis was punctured 200 times in total, nurses said. “I didn’t want to know how painful the surgery was going to be because I was going to do it no matter what and
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Ben Levy didn’t ask about the pain from the surgery to extract bone marrow but says he was ready to go through with the donation no matter what.
I didn’t need anything to psych myself out,” Levy said. “I thought, ‘If it’s going to hurt, it’s going to hurt no matter what, and I will just deal with it when it happens.’” After extracting the marrow, doctors immediately dripped it into the recipient. By the time Levy woke up from anesthesia, the transfer had been completed. It took doctors about three weeks to learn that Levy’s relative was accepting the bone marrow. Two days after the surgery, Levy flew back to Atlanta to begin the recovery. His mother, Sue, who served as his designated caretaker, accompanied him. He experienced some mild discomfort and had to take iron pills for anemia. But he said the surgery was 100 percent worth it to save a life. “It’s such a small sacrifice that I would strongly encourage everyone and anyone to get their saliva tested to be part of a donor database, and if they ever get the call, they answer it.” Levy said he still hasn’t gone to the gym and feels pressure on his puncture
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sites when lying on his back. “There were days after the procedure where I felt good and was full speed at work, but also days where I felt exhausted,” he said. “I quickly realized every time I feel good, that doesn’t mean I can go about my normal daily life. I still needed to take things a little bit slower, so I don’t overdo it.” Levy attributes his latest soreness around the puncture sites to sitting for 11 hours on a plane for the return flight from Israel. In addition to handling personal injury cases at Morgan & Morgan, Levy is heavily involved with the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and serves on the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces board. Donating bone marrow to save a life “sort of goes along with why I give to the Federation and the IDF. Those are causes I believe in, and giving lifesaving bone marrow is my way of doing tikkun olam,” he said. “It comes from my Jewish values, and it feels good to give. And in the end it’s not just the recipient who receives the gift. I also get a gift because I know I saved someone’s life.” ■
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The Challenges of Israel’s Fertility-Challenged By Stacey (Zebrak) Hess
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
I love seeing pregnant women walking through the streets of my city. Beautiful round stomachs proudly poking blouses, sweaters and dresses forward, announcing to all that while she may just be on her way to the supermarket or to catch a train, an amazing miracle is taking place inside her. I wonder as I watch these women whether they’re having one or multiple babies. Will it be a boy or a girl? Will they look like her or take after her partner, somewhere behind the scenes? But more and more often, since I’ve begun IVF treatment, I find myself wondering about something else: When was this baby made? On a quiet weekend maybe. Or after date night one Tuesday. Or possibly early one morning after he brought her a cup of tea. I am jealous of these scenes that play like a movie in my head as my eyes follow these women to the bus or to the entrance of some building. I am jealous because my babies can only be made in a laboratory between the hours of
Made in Israel With Love
Stacey Hess has succeeded with in-vitro fertilization but isn’t done with her fertility struggle.
7:30 and 10 a.m. sharp, Sunday through Thursday. For the fertility-challenged, there are no loving Saturday mornings or random Wednesday evenings that turn, weeks later, into moments of hope around a store-bought pregnancy test. Instead, there are pokes and prods and the pills and suppositories I get up
The Jewish Fertility Foundation brings you thoughts from Stacey Hess, a native Atlantan who lives in Jerusalem. She shares what it’s like to struggle with infertility in Israel. Isn’t the infertility experience the same anywhere? As someone who has experienced infertility in both Israel and America, I can tell you that, yes, the emotional ride is comparable in both countries. While I was living in Israel and beginning to experience infertility in all its glory (sarcasm), Stacey was the only person I knew who went through IVF (in general and in Israel). I remember talking to her and feeling awkward sharing that I’d been going through a year of IUIs (think turkey baster method of fertility treatments) and was just told that IVF was our only option. But I felt reassured that she had succeeded in conceiving. It was the first time that I felt like someone got it. Today, we both continue our infertility ride — Stacey in Jerusalem and me in Atlanta. I’m glad she will be participating in our efforts as JFF ventures to Israel. Oh, I forgot there is one main difference between treatments in Israel and in America: the cost. Want to hear more about our exciting idea and what JFF has up our sleeves? Contact me, JFF Executive Director Elana Frank, at firstname.lastname@example.org. at 5 a.m. to take so they’ll have time to soak into my body before I need to get out of bed and start the day. Then, already 10 minutes late for work, I run to the nearest medical center for my daily injection of progesterone (in my rear, no less). Afterward, I try desperately to sit through a two-hour meeting (or even a half-hour meeting) while the welts on the aforementioned rear burn and make sitting all but impossible. Twice a week, I wait in line at the hospital to have my blood drawn and tested, followed by an internal ultrasound. Of course, there are mood swings, terrible headaches and a melancholy that comes with being pumped full of hormones for months on end (without the accompanying pregnancy to explain them away). Amid all this remain many other silent degradations that stay hidden from those around us. There are innumerable humiliations and dashed hopes throughout my attempts to achieve that proud round stomach. Yet I am resentful of only one thing that these women have which I do not: They have the power to choose. They may not get pregnant right away or exactly when they want, and it may not always work out as they had hoped. But they are able to choose the time to try. My friend or colleague can choose to try to start or grow her family at any time that is convenient to her and her partner. She will never have to tell her supervisor that she’s running late because she’s trying to make a baby, that she needs to leave early because she’s trying to make a baby, that she needs to leave now because trying to make a
baby did not succeed this time. As willing as my manager would be to let me work around visits to the hospital and clinic, I feel it’s a violation of my privacy that I would need to ask for her permission. Why should I have to tell anyone that I’m trying to get pregnant when other women have the choice to keep that to themselves? Any woman who has undergone pregnancy and birth understands that she will need to let go of any sense of modesty and even shame through the process. But I cannot stop thinking about this particular aspect, the utter loss of privacy so specific to women undergoing fertility treatment. I do not have any answers to the questions I pose to myself. And I don’t know how much longer I can lie to my supervisor about my mysterious lateness and absences. The pain and isolation that women undergoing fertility treatment feel are so much larger than the simple fact that they are unable to conceive without medical intervention. Those feelings also stem from the complete loss of privacy surrounding such an intimate process. So, until I am numbered among those expectant mothers I see crossing the street in front of me, I try to remain optimistic and gather courage to deal with the shame and the pain I am experiencing. Because I know that somewhere ahead of me awaits a proud protruding stomach with a tiny miracle inside, who may look like me or may look like my partner, but who certainly doesn’t give a darn how he or she got there. ■
HEALTH & WELLNESS
ALS Teaches Rebbetzin To Laugh, Cry and Inspire By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Photo by Marcia Caller Jaffe
Dena Schusterman (left) welcomes Dina Hurwitz to Intown Jewish Academy on April 24.
I gave myself permission to be scared.” She continues to laugh at Yitzy’s humor, such as saying, “You kvetch so nicely,” or changing his computerized voice to a Scottish brogue, making him sound like a “drunk rabbi.” The community support, especially within Chabad, is invaluable. The family moved into an apartment in Los Angeles next to a yeshiva, and the boys come over to help with his care (in addition to a nurse). People bring meals and help with carpool. The chief of police showed up at the door for a visit. The Hurwitzes can get 100 visitors a week, from musicians to the chief rabbi of Israel. The evening at Chabad Intown ended with a video of Yitzy from his bed, mixed with dozens of scenes of Jewish musicians singing from various venues about shining his light. “Learn from the mistakes of others,” Dina concluded. “You will never live long enough to make them all yourself. Try new things. I have a fear of public speaking, and look at me now.” Rabbi Ari Sollish said: “She is an incredibly strong person who radiates love, faith and gratitude. We laughed, we cried, and we were uplifted.” Robin King, a member of Chabad of Cobb, urged others to support and donate to ALS causes and to buy tickets for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Night of Hope gala (www.mdanightofhope.org) to raise money for ALS research Oct. 19 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta. Donations to help the Hurwitz family can be made at www.Hurwitzfamilyfund.com. ■
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How many times each day do we remind our healthy selves to express gratitude? Are we confident we would have the inner strength to deal with long-lasting terrible news? Dina Hurwitz, a Chabad rebbetzin from California whose husband, Yitzy, is battling ALS, delved into those questions with her presentation on “Sharing Light From the Silver Lining” on Tuesday night, April 24, at Intown Jewish Academy. Most of us unfortunately are familiar with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a degenerative nerve disorder that has a poor prognosis for quality and length of life. How much more tragic when it strikes a gracious, happy man in the prime of life who is rearing young children. Wife Dina walked us through the steps of his diagnosis and decline and how she deals with life. Rabbi Yitzy was known for his singing, warmth and energy as the Chabad rabbi in Temecula, Calif., when he began having tongue symptoms in 2012. One of his side jobs was supervising kosher milk on a farm, and Dina recalls catching him playing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to the cows. “That’s how he was — relishing each job, even the roughness of being the chaplain in a state mental facility,” she said with a laugh. “That was probably good for our marriage when we saw how normal our own families are.” The diagnosis and decline came rapidly in 2013, from laughing uncontrollably to losing his ability to daven and sing, moving from wheelchair to electric wheelchair and using his eyes to type as his only form of communication. But he still was an “optimipotamus,” Dina said, cheering others up, writing a blog, welcoming throngs of visitors. Dina’s directives for herself included being honest with the children at their level (then deal with them Googling the disease), delineating between the pain everyone feels and actual suffering, and not beating herself up if the kitchen was not so clean. “Deciding to be happy is like deciding to lose weight,” she said. “Nothing happens until you do something. Embrace being silly. Tell your kids yes for things that can make them happy.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
AJA 8th-Grader Finds Gluten in Cheerios By Michael Jacobs email@example.com
grown nearby. Under pressure from the Canadian Celiac Association, General Mills removed “gluten-free” from its Canadian boxes this year. Shiraz was diagnosed with celiac only two years ago, said her mother, Shoshana Dayanim. Shiraz said she had suffered a range of health problems from age 5, including that she wasn’t growing at the normal rate. Trusting the label, she kept eating Cheerios after her diagnosis until a nutritionist told her not to. “I never really understood why, so I thought a good idea for my project is to explain to myself why and also to prove whether they’re actually safe or not.” But she didn’t just go to Kroger or Publix and buy a box of cereal. She wanted to see whether contamination varied among the plants producing Cheerios, so her mom made a request on a celiac Facebook group for people to send boxes. She got boxes from Massachusetts and Florida, both produced in Covington, Ga.; California and Washington state, both from a plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Kansas and
An Atlanta Jewish Academy eighth-grader with celiac disease applied science to her medical condition and found that Cheerios aren’t safe for her and others who are allergic to gluten. “Even people who are actually gluten-sensitive should not be eating Cheerios because I didn’t just find cross-contamination,” Shiraz Agichtein said in an after-school phone interview. “I found actual pieces of gluten, and that doesn’t just affect people with celiac, but it affects people with wheat allergies or people who are just a little bit gluten-sensitive.” For a science fair project, Shiraz, 13, used a Nima sensor, which detects gluten, to see whether Cheerios lived up to the gluten-free promise on the cereal box. General Mills had recalled the cereal in 2015 because so many people were having reactions to gluten hotspots — places where the mechanical sorting fails to remove gluten that gets into the oats from wheat or barley
New York, both manufactured in Buffalo, N.Y. She tested each box three times, crushing the cereal in its plastic bag, then cutting holes in three places to draw an eighth of a teaspoon of cereal for the Nima sensor. She credits AJA science teacher Suzanne Sears with helping her turn her ideas into a workable project. “There’s never been an experiment like this, so I had no idea whether I would find gluten and from which factories,” Shiraz said. “I assumed I would find gluten because the sorting process has been proven unreliable.” She found gluten hotspots in two boxes — the two from the Georgia plant. She hasn’t contacted General Mills or visited the plant to talk about her findings, but she said she’d like to. “I don’t know if it means that the plant is more heavily contaminated than the other plants,” Shiraz said. “It’s possible that I just didn’t find the gluten hotspots in the other boxes.” What she did find impressed the judges at the regional Fulton County and Georgia science fairs. At the region-
Investigating the effectiveness of Cheerios’ sorting process to remove gluten is personal to Shiraz Agichtein, who has celiac disease.
al level, she was first overall and first in her category of biomedical health sciences, and she was nominated for Broadcom MASTERS recognition. At the state level in late April, she won an award from the University of Georgia’s nutrition department for helping keep families healthy and received an invitation to present her project at the Tellus Science Museum this summer. “The only negative” from the judges, Shiraz said, “was to take off the glue strands on my poster.” ■
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HEALTH & WELLNESS
Restaging Raises Hope Against HPV Oral Cancer Jason Mendelsohn was diagnosed with Stage 4 tonsil cancer from HPV in 2014 after finding just one bump on his neck. He survived thanks to a variety of treatments, including a radical tonsillectomy and neck dissection to remove 42 lymph nodes, seven weeks of chemotherapy, radiation and a feeding tube. But if Mendelsohn’s cancer had been discovered today, just four years later, it would have been classified as Stage 1. That’s because HPV-related oral cancers now have a high survival rate through a better response to treatment, said Meryl Kaufman, a speech pathologist specializing in head and neck cancer management who worked for Emory University’s department of head and neck surgery for 10 years. “Cancer staging is taking into account the HPV-related cancers,” said Kaufman, who now owns her own practice. “It was kind of all lumped together. The survival rates for people who have HPV-related cancers are much higher than the typical head and neck cancers associated with smoking and drinking.” For Mendelsohn, finding out that patients with HPV-related cancers likely face easier treatments and higher success rates made him happy. “If I was diagnosed and I heard Stage 1 instead of Stage 4, while it’s still cancer, it would make me feel like I could beat it,” said Mendelsohn, who made a video for his children a month after his diagnosis with advice for their lives after he was gone. “When I hear Stage 4 to Stage 1, I think people have hope they can beat it. My hope is that it will give people hope that they can beat this.” As a cancer survivor, the Florida resident wants to give hope to other
Jason Mendelsohn is the picture of health four years after his Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.
patients. He talks to people throughout the world every month and is creating a worldwide survivor patient network to connect cancer survivors with patients. “While cancer is scary, Stage 1 is a lot less scary than Stage 4,” Mendelsohn said. “Stage 4 was overwhelming. When I was looking for information, there was nothing out there that made me feel like I was going to be OK. What I’m trying to do is give people hope and let them know that it’s all temporary.” Another way Mendelsohn is trying to reach those affected by cancer is through his website, supermanhpv. com. He shares his story, news articles featuring him and oral cancer caused by HPV, and information for survivors, patients and caregivers. The site also features Mendelsohn’s blog, putting himself out there so people can see that someone who, just four years ago, was diagnosed with Sage 4 cancer is now a Pelotonriding, travel-loving cancer advocate. “People see me and say (they) can’t believe (I) had cancer three to four
years ago,” Mendelsohn said. “I was in bed 18 hours a day for a month. I was choking on my saliva for a month. I was consuming five Ensures a day and two Gatorades a day through a feeding tube in my stomach. If people going through that can see me working out, going on the bourbon tour in Louisville. I’ve been on an Alaskan cruise. I’ve been to the Caribbean. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon.” Mendelsohn, who started his campaign to raise awareness of HPV and oral cancer by raising money for the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Washington, now serves on the board of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance. The organization’s goal is to advance prevention, detection, treatment and rehabilitation of oral, head and neck cancers through public awareness, research, advocacy and survivorship. “I feel like it’s gone from me raising money for a bike ride to me on two boards helping create awareness and raise inspiration and creating a survivor patient network,” Mendelsohn said. “Now it’s not about me and my three doctors. Now it’s about helping people with diagnosis globally. There are great doctors. I think we’re going to do great things.” One way to help prevent children from getting cancer caused by HPV when they grow up is the Gardasil vaccine, which protects against HPV Strain 16, which causes oral cancer. Mendelsohn said 62 percent of college freshmen and three-quarters of adults by age 30 have HPV. But he doesn’t tell people to get the vaccine. Instead, he advises parents to talk to their kids’ doctors about the benefits and risks. “I talk about the importance of oral cancer screenings when they’re at the dentist,” he said. “And if you feel
a bump on your neck, go to your ENT. I had no symptoms and just a bump on my neck, but I was diagnosed with Stage 4. I’ve had so many tell me that they didn’t know the vaccine is for boys. They thought it was just for girls.” Kaufman said Gardasil is used around the world safely, but it’s important for the vaccine to be given before someone becomes sexually active. It won’t work if a person has already been exposed to HPV, as most sexually active adults have been, she said. Men are much more likely to get head and neck cancer from HPV. “Usually your body fights off the virus itself, but in some people it turns into cancer,” Kaufman said. “There hasn’t been specific research that says if you get this, you won’t get head and neck cancer, but if you’re protected against it, you’re protected against getting head and neck cancer.” Treatment for this cancer isn’t easy, Kaufman said. Radiation to the head and neck can affect salivary glands, which can cause long-term dental and swallowing issues. Treatment can affect the skin, taste and the ability to swallow. “A lot of people have tubes placed,” she said. “It’s not easy. It depends on how well you respond to the disease.” While getting the vaccine can help protect against various cancers, awareness about head and neck cancer is the key. And knowing the signs and symptoms — such as sores in the mouth, a change in voice, pain with swallowing and a lump in the neck — is important. “If one of those things lasts longer than two weeks, you should go to your doctor,” Kaufman said. “This can affect nonsmokers and nondrinkers. It’s not something that people expect. The more commonplace it becomes and the less stigma, the better.” ■
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
By Cady Schulman
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Ethics and Health Converge at Dinner Table
SOs Carole Goldberg and Phil Cohen met at Somerby.
Senior Romance Gets A Boost at Somerby
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Love is in bloom at one of Atlanta’s newest senior living facilities. Experienced community liaison Jodi Firestone wanted the residents of Somerby to spice things up a bit, so she sponsored a speed-dating event in the Sandy Springs location. “We recognize that socialization is so important among seniors. We actually invited folks from outside Somerby to participate too. We promoted through social media, which meant that the adult children of seniors provided the connection,” Firestone said. “Basically, we set up 10 men and 10 women (all 70 years old and up), who got four face-to-face minutes each before having to move to the next round. That event resulted in two matches.” Sometimes romance is spontaneous. Phil Cohen from Skokie, Ill., who produced a show called “Artist 2 Artist,” spotted stylish Atlanta native Carole Goldberg coming off the elevator. Each had been at Somerby only a few days. Carole, who was in the first graduating class of the Westminster Schools, said, “We liked each other immediately and are comfortable together.” They both enjoy theater and music. Phil, who was a trombone player, uses Uber so the couple can head out to dinner and other outside activities. Carole said Le Petite Maison, Brooklyn Cafe and Goldberg’s are her favs. Phil joked, “Carole’s real favorite is going to the hairdresser.” Other times Somerby provides a 28 bus for group activities.
“We keep super busy here. Today we have an expert lecturer on humor,” Phil said. Carole added: “We also do exercise classes, yoga, graceful aging seminars and tai chi. We do it together.”
Jaffe’s Jewish Jive By Marcia Caller Jaffe firstname.lastname@example.org
A little more in-depth probing: • Do you have any plans to make your romance official? “Nope, we’re content just being SOs,” or significant others, Carole said. • What advice would you offer to seniors about dating in the later years? Carole: “When you get older, your priorities change. I’m simply enjoying today.” Phil: “You can’t meet anyone while sitting home alone. Break the glass; start talking!” You mean “break the ice”? “No,” Carole said, “he is specific about that expression.” Firestone wants the Jewish residents (approximately 45 percent) to feel at home at Somerby. On most Fridays, a rabbinical team comes to conduct Shabbat services. Phil and Carole make it a point to go with about 20 others. “We go out of our way to welcome new people and make everyone feel included, but folks know that we are indeed a couple,” Carole said. Love “is as perennial as the grass,” as Max Ehrmann wrote in “Desiderata.” ■
standard American diet When I moved to (SAD) is in so many ways Atlanta from Canada in an exemplar of eating 2010, first lady Mibadly and suffering the chelle Obama had just subsequent ill health. launched the Let’s Move! Talmudic and medicampaign to promote eval scholars promoted healthier food, better a simple eating strategy labeling and more physithat was holy, healthy cal activity, especially and individually achievamong children. able. I found sources in I was surprised by Eating Ethically Islam and Christianity how little was being said By Rabbi Jonathan K. Crane endorsing the same eatabout food-related issues Columbia University Press ing strategy. and obesity in particular 264 pages, $35 When I consulted in my academic field cutting-edge studies on of religious ethics. I was taken aback metabolism, appetite and nutrition, I when congregational colleagues was surprised that contemporary sciwarned me not to address these topics, ence corroborates this ancient eating lest I unwittingly shame some people. strategy. Philosophy and ethics also As I felt it reasonable that support this strategy. religious leaders should address topics vital to human health, how could I, a rabbi and scholar of Jewish ethWriting on Writing ics, address this subject? By Rabbi Jonathan K. Crane I found talking about body size and shape to be distracting and unhelpful. And I thought that Jewish “Eating Ethically: Religion and views on exercise were meager. Science for a Better Diet” tells this What about food? Judaism is story by integrating these sources with famous for its many rules and regulaart, literature, neuroscience, evolutiontions about what foods to eat and what ary biology and other disciplines. not to, about how to prepare foods and The book first clarifies what eatwhen to serve them. These laws and ing badly is. The second section sepapractices make up kashrut. rates out three interlocking elements: But they hardly answer questions the eater, the eaten and eating itself. presumed by those rules: Why are we Part 3 unpacks the ancient yet uneaters in the first place? What is eatnervingly scientifically supported eating? What is the nature of the eaten? ing strategy. The fourth section looks I dug into the Jewish textual tradiat those three tasty yet dangerous tion and found an incredible array of macronutrients: salt, sugar and fat. sources wrestling with these questions. What I find amazing in this projThe very beginning of the Torah, ect is its simplicity. It empowers each with its two creation stories, situates person to reclaim the fact that each eating as critical for human flourishis an eater. We are each eaters of and ing. The second creation story tells in this world; the better we appreciate us that eating badly — beyond what this fact, the better off we individually is divinely prescribed — leads to dire and collectively can be. ■ consequences. How prescient! Today’s Rabbi Jonathan K. Crane serves as the Raymond F. Schinazi scholar in bioethics and Jewish thought at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, an associate professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, and an associate professor in the religion department. In addition to “Eating Ethically: Religion and Science for a Better Diet,” the books he has written or edited include “Beastly Morality: Animals as Ethical Agents,” “Narratives and Jewish Bioethics,” “The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics and Morality,” and the forthcoming “Approaches to Race and Jewish Ethics.” Rabbi Crane frequently speaks and teaches about food-related topics, Jewish bioethics and ethics generally to professional associations, academic societies and religious communities around the world. He lives in Decatur with his wife, Public Service Commission candidate Lindy Miller, and their three sons.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Jerusalem-Born Doctor, Israel Turn 70 Together As Israel celebrates its 70th birthday, Emory Healthcare cardiologist Yitzchak Hermoni is reflecting on his life as one of eight children born in Jerusalem on the first full day of the first independent Jewish state in 2,000 years. The story of his birth is almost as incredible as the story of the nation itself, but Hermoni, called Yitz by his friends, would rather not brag about that eventful day. “It’s coincidental,” he said. “I really had no part in it.” Hermoni was born at Hadassah University Hospital Mount Scopus on Saturday, May 15, 1948. The night before, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the Israeli independence to a nation eager to take its first steps on the world stage. Fania Tsipora Elkin, Hermoni’s mother, migrated to Palestine from Latvia in 1934. Her parents urged her to return home in 1941, but she stayed in the land of Israel. That fateful decision would save her life and result in her marriage to Dr. David Hermoni and the birth of Yitzchak. “It was 1941, and the concern was the Germans were advancing in North Africa and almost reached Egypt,” Hermoni said. “Her parents, my grandparents, were frantic for her to come home because they were scared that the Germans would go around to Palestine and kill all the Jews there.” The Soviet Union had seized Latvia in 1940, and the Germans occupied it after invading Russia in mid-1941. Fania’s entire family was killed. Seven years later, Fania found herself in active labor while Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria bombed the newborn Israel. What was normally a 15-minute walk to Hadassah Hospital took three hours while she dodged shells, her son said. “The war had started. There was no transportation, and it was a Saturday,” Hermoni said. “The story is, I was born a few hours later. The maternity ward was on the third floor, and one of the nurses said they needed to move the babies to the lower level, and the following day the floor was bombed and destroyed. On top of being born, my mother survived the shelling, and them moving my crib downstairs saved my life.” At 10 years old, Hermoni graced the cover of The Jerusalem Post’s special issue for Israel’s 10th anniversary. The Australian Jewish News wrote
Ronit and Yitz Hermoni enjoy a visit back to Jerusalem.
about him in 2014 after he was contacted by a long-lost cousin, Manny Shadur, who lives in Australia. Shadur is a cousin from his mother’s side, and until then, Hermoni had believed himself to be the last one from her bloodline. He met Presidents Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Shimon Peres. But for Hermoni, who was singled out for recognition at Jewish National Fund’s Israel@70 jubilee at the Buckhead Theatre on April 19, Israel’s impact on his life goes beyond celebrations. “I have very special feelings for Israel. It was the country where I grew up, the country that saved my mother and the country my father immigrated to,” he said. “I feel very strongly about it; it’s basically my homeland.” Hadassah Hospital continued to be a driving force in Hermoni’s life. He described Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School as the “Harvard Medical School of Israel,” where thousands of doctors were trained to practice medicine in the young nation. The cardiologist even attended the medical school right out of high school, which allowed him to enter the Israel Defense Forces as a doctor and save lives. “We are a Hadassah family,” Hermoni said. “My father was a part of the first graduating class at Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School. I studied at Hadassah. I was born in
Hadassah. I went to medical school at Hadassah. My wife went to medical school at Hadassah. We did our internships and residencies there, and my kids were born at Hadassah.” It was during his internship at Hadassah Hospital that he decided he had a strong affinity for the diagnostic side of cardiology. Hermoni was a part of the emergency heart ambulance team during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It was an experience that changed his life. “When I was in the army, I had to do some moonlighting in an EMT ambulance around the city. I was on the emergency heart ambulance or emergency cardiac care,” Hermoni said. “In training I found myself liking the cardiac work.” Unable to find an opening in an Israeli program, Hermoni applied to programs in the United States. He had lived in Chicago from 1953 to 1956, so he was familiar with the English language. He was accepted into Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and jumped at the chance. The idea was to move his wife and two daughters back to Israel upon completion of the program, but fate had other plans. Hermoni couldn’t secure a position in Israel after his residency, and that was a pivotal moment in his life. “I must’ve gone to 20 institutions and asked and begged for a position
and could not get in. It was one of the saddest days of my life in 1985 when I realized I couldn’t go back,” Hermoni said. “I was devastated because the entire idea was to come, train and go back. When I stayed here, it was because I could not return.” Hermoni watched from afar as Israel grew into a developed country. He visited on occasion but never made it his home again. “Israel is 70 years young,” he said as he recalled playing in the streets and dating in a nation building itself from the ground up. There weren’t many cars, so the children played soccer in the streets. When Hermoni began to date, he, like other teenagers, walked to pick up dates and walked back home. “People didn’t travel much. Nobody had cars. This whole culture of traveling is a big deal,” he said. “We had relatives in Haifa. We would visit and go to the beach, and that was a big deal in those days.” To Hermoni, Israel has come a long way in 70 years. The country changed as it became more developed, the doctor said. People identified less with the collective socialist mentality. Israelis were buying cars, traveling abroad and becoming more focused on private property, which was a big change. While Israel evolved into one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East, Hermoni was becoming one of the most reputable cardiologists in Atlanta. He has practiced medicine for 46 years and is described as a cardiologist with a holistic approach to medicine. It’s an attribute patient and longtime friend Leon Pomerance said he appreciates. “We love him,” Pomerance said. “You see the physical manifestation of a wonderful event. The birth of a nation, the development of a nation and the mature nation paralleling the life of Yitz. It’s an outstanding statement and an outstanding individual.” Hermoni and his family plan to visit Israel for his birthday this year, but there’s a duality to his existence. He also considers himself an American with U.S. citizenship. He has lived in the United States longer than in Israel, and the significance of a birthday that coincides with Israeli Independence Day doesn’t hold the same weight as it does in Israel. “Do people know me here for my birthday or my work in medicine?” Hermoni said. “I think they know me 29 better for my work in medicine.” ■ MAY 4 ▪ 2018
By Patrice Worthy
GOP Options for Governor Early voting has begun for the May 22 primaries, in which Georgia voters will pick party nominees for the successor to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal. The choice is simple if not easy for the Democrats: either Stacey Abrams or Stacey Evans, both former state representatives hoping to become Georgia’s first female governor. The AJT examined them in detail in the March 30 issue (atlantajewishtimes.timesofis-
rael.com/2-georgia-democrats-race-onparallel-paths). This week we present the five Republicans who are most likely to get their party’s nomination, although a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be the result if no one wins a majority May 22. For reasons of space and time, we excluded two long-shot Republicans, Eddie Hayes (istandwitheddie.com) and Marc Urbach (www.mar-
curbach.com). The five candidates profiled here are the ones invited to participate in the Republican Jewish Coalition’s jobinterview forum in March. We will have videos from that forum on our YouTube channel and atlantajewishtimes.com. As for additional pre-primary coverage, the AJT profiled state Rep. Deborah Silcox and her Jewish challenger in
the Republican primary, Gavi Shapiro, in the April 27 issue. In the May 11 issue we’ll look at the four Democrats vying to take on Rep. Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District. On May 18 the AJT plans to present two other elections involving Jewish candidates: the Public Service Commission primary with Lindy Miller and the nonpartisan Fulton County Superior Court election with Bobby Wolf. ■
Cagle Emphasizes Experience, Promises 500K Jobs By Sarah Moosazadeh email@example.com
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Seventh-generation Hall County resident and Gainesville native Casey Cagle says the past 12 years as lieutenant governor have prepared him to become the next governor of Georgia as he heads into the Republican primary Tuesday, May 22. Cagle served during Gov. Sonny Perdue’s second term from 2007 to 2011 and with Gov. Nathan Deal since then. During that time, Cagle said, he has witnessed the state go through downturns, including the 2008 recession, but also upturns through public policies that have helped Georgia maintain a strong economic run the past five years. For Cagle, a new vision for Georgia that focuses on building infrastructure and sustaining economic growth is key. He is looking beyond the construction of roads and bridges to align education with industry needs and provide more options and choices for students so Georgia can build a world-class workforce. “My commitment is 500,000 jobs in the first four years, along with streamlining government through zero-based budgeting, which will allow us to create greater efficiency and continue to cut taxes.” Cagle said. “Being a low-tax state is important to our prosperity, and we have reduced taxes from 6 to 5.5 percent on state income, which I believe we can continue to lower going forward.” As lieutenant governor, Cagle has created the College and Career Academies, 46 institutions across the state that serve over 40,000 students. Instead of high school diplomas, which would be worth wages of $16,000 a year, students get industry certifications and two-year degrees, enabling them to earn $40,000 a year, he said. Cagle said he hopes to expand the 30
After serving as lieutenant governor for 12 years, Casey Cagle says he’s ready to face all challengers in the race to become the next governor of Georgia.
academies so that every student in Georgia has similar options, as well as different apprenticeship opportunities. He said he was deeply involved in the passage of House Bill 217, which expands the cap on the tax credit for donations to scholarship organizations supporting private schools, including Jewish day schools and preschools, from $58 million a year to $100 million. “I was happy to lead on raising the $58 million to $100 million,” Cagle said. “Obviously, this is a great tool that gives more choices and options both to parents and our children as well.” Come May 22, Cagle said, voters will have to decide who has the experience and knowledge to govern the state and solve the problems that arise. After 12 years as the No. 2 guy, he said what distinguishes him from the other
candidates is not just his experience balancing budgets and leading on important issues, but also his negotiation of complex policy issues from a legislative standpoint and an economic development perspective. To that end, Cagle said the state can pursue multiple endeavors to strengthen ties between Israel and Georgia, including following the example Deal set in 2014 and leading a business delegation to Israel. Cagle said he also wants to ensure that the Jewish community in Georgia has a strong voice and a seat at the table with his administration. Cagle was a driving force behind the passage of this year’s Senate Bill 356, which aims to strengthen financial and legislative support for the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and to
move toward a state Holocaust memorial, as well as 2016’s S.B. 327, which bans Georgia from conducting business with entities that boycott, divest or sanction Israel. “I think there are multiple ways, both economically and socially, by which we can positively impact our relationship between Israel and Georgia,” he said. “We do not condone businesses and others that hold a grudge toward Israel. Georgia obviously holds a very special relationship and place with Israel we all need to recognize.” Every crime should receive a punishment equal to the crime itself, Cagle said about this year’s unsuccessful push to enact a hate-crimes law. But he also said people should be mindful that crimes against minorities cannot and will not be tolerated in Georgia. “I’m certainly open to the context of finding ways in which we can be more sensitive in the area of hate crimes,” he said. “But by the same token, crime is bad and something we do not want in any way, so I would come down on the side of being very hard on the issue.” Cagle said he would sign religious liberty legislation if given the chance as governor. Deal vetoed such a bill in 2016 and remained a clear obstacle the past two legislative sessions. The bills debated in recent years have raised concerns about discrimination against LGBTQ people, and rabbis have been vocal in opposition to the proposals. But Cagle said Georgia law should match federal law on religious freedom. “This is already the law of the land, meaning the law of the nation, and I think quite honestly it would be the right direction for Georgia to follow,” he said. “I am not for discrimination in any way or any form, which includes discrimination against any person and their beliefs.” ■
Hill Seeks Restoration of Conservative Principles Hunter Hill grew up in Cobb County and served in the state Senate for five years, but the Army Ranger and father of two left the legislature because he believes he is ready to be the governor of Georgia. Hill attended West Point and became an infantry officer. He later traveled to Fort Benning, where he became an Airborne Ranger. He led five teams on three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon his return from his third tour in 2012, Hunter won a seat in the Georgia Senate. Hill said he entered the gubernatorial race because of his frustration with Republicans who failed to stick up for the principles on which they campaigned. “I got tired of watching people campaign like Ronald Reagan and then govern like Barack Obama,” he said. “I have a conservative vision for Georgia, and we are getting around the state sharing it, which is going very well.” Hill is the only candidate that has led in combat, led a small business and fought for values in the Senate, he said. “What has lacked in the past has not been conservative candidates — there has certainly been enough of those — but I am both conservative and have the leadership experience to get our ideals and values implemented into policies.” He wants to eliminate the state income tax, something he said career politicians are not ready to commit to, and seeks to expand choices in education. “I think we need a voucher program and free-market principles in K-12 education, which will help elevate it,” he said. “My plan for education is to make it more student-centered.” Georgia offers a tax credit for donations to scholarship organizations supporting private schools, including Jewish day schools and preschools. The legislature this spring passed House Bill 217 to raise the cap on the credit from $58 million a year to $100 million, a change Hill supports. “I very much support the scholarship and have championed expanding that tax credit for years, so I am glad they did that, and as governor I will support making it even higher.” Hill also said he is for education savings accounts, equitable funding of charter schools and the end of the common core in education. In a phone interview he highlighted the connections between conserva-
Hunter Hill says his conservative values parallel those in the Jewish community.
tive and Jewish ideals. “Our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values and principles, and we can’t let those values and principles be undermined,” he said. “As a Christian, I think I share many similar values if not identical values to Jews, which I have been proud to represent in a portion of Sandy Springs.” As a conservative, Hill said he stands with Israel and thinks politicians can do more to encourage its economic relationship with Georgia. Because agriculture is Georgia’s No. 1 industry, he wants to export produce to Israel while importing Israeli technology. “There is great book called ‘StartUp Nation,’ which highlights the incredible entrepreneurism and innovation that comes out of Israel, and that’s what I want to have in Georgia,” Hill said, “whether that includes partnering from a capital and investment standpoint with Israeli companies or letting people in Israel who intend to move back to the States know that Georgia would be a great spot to start a business and make investments.” Hill added that he fully supported Gov. Nathan Deal’s trade mission to Israel in 2014 and wants to take the Georgia-Israel trade connection to the next level. That’s why he supports the purchase of Israel Bonds, Hill said. “It makes sense to me, and I think people should look at that as a personal investment not only for themselves financially, but because the concept of Israel is such a strong one that needs to be defended. Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East. It’s a nation that shares our values. … We need to make sure that we align ourselves with countries that share our values. … Israel is at the top of that list.” He said that alignment needs to take place at the state and federal lev-
els. “We need to elect leaders that understand that bond that we have for Israel and why it’s important for the longevity of our national interests abroad.” Hill was among the senators who helped pass legislation against the antiIsrael boycott, divestment and sanctions movement and thinks the BDS movement on college campuses should be crushed. Similarly, he believes that a crime against anyone is a hate crime and should be prosecuted to the highest level of the law. “It’s very important that we stand strong on values that help protect life, which is the foundational principle of our country and why I am against any form of discrimination or anti-Semitism.” In the context of religious liberty legislation, Hill regards the law as foundational. “Only religious liberty has been downgraded from the strict scrutiny standard as a constitutional protection,” he said. “Whether a person is Jewish, Christian or whatever their religion is, we need to make sure we protect this foundational principle, and I
support restoring religious liberty to its rightful protection in the Constitution.” Hill has pledged to sign a bill to do just that. But he said he can see how the legislation causes confusion. “The left has candidly suggested that it’s discriminatory, but the legislation was entirely intentional to protect religious minorities, which Jews are, of course, in that category,” he said. “We have to stand up for religious minorities. People always say it’s for Christians, or it’s for this or it’s for that, but it’s for everyone. Everyone in our nation has a faith in something, and religious liberty protects people of all faiths. It’s good for business. It’s good for Christians. It’s good for Jews.” Islamic terrorists will never bring the United States to its knees because we’re too strong and they’re too weak, Hill said. What could bring the country down, however, are weak career politicians who undermine the principles that make America the greatest country in the world, he said. “That’s the fight of our time.” ■
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EYDIE KOONIN c. 404.697.8215 o. 404.237.5000 firstname.lastname@example.org atlantafinehomes.com
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MAY 4 ▪ 2018
By Sarah Moosazadeh email@example.com
Small-Business Frustration Compels Kemp to Run By Sarah Moosazadeh firstname.lastname@example.org Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp considers himself a hardworking Georgian, small-business owner and family man — values he also sees in the Jewish community. Kemp has worked in the private sector for more than 30 years and said support for small-business owners, his family and devotion to Georgia prompted him to enter politics. “Working in the local community and trying to build a business that I literally started with a truck and a couple of shovels in the back for a construction company ended up getting me into a lot of different things.” Kemp is the founding director of a community bank just north of Athens, First Madison Bank and Trust and owns Kemp Property, a stone business, as well as construction, manufacturing and agricultural companies. “I just got really frustrated dealing with government regulations, high taxes and not having someone in office that has common sense of small-busi-
Brian Kemp says he is against all discrimination but favors religious liberty legislation over a hate-crimes bill.
ness owners,” he said. Kemp was elected to the state Senatin in 2002, then was elected secretary of state in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014.
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MAY 4 ▪ 2018
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He has remained a small-business owner, dealing with payroll, government regulations and taxes and surviving economic recessions. Those skills are essential for the next governor of Georgia, he said. “When I got in office, that is exactly what I did: I fought government regulations, for streamlining and making the government more efficient and doing more with less. Things Republicans talk about but sometimes don’t do, and that’s why I am running for governor,” Kemp said. “We need a governor that continues to make us the No. 1 state in the country to do business, keep our economy rolling and put Georgians first, ahead of the special interest groups.” Kemp has legislative experience, but he said what sets him apart in the gubernatorial race is that he is the only candidate who has run a large executive branch agency. “It’s a very big job and dealing with a lot pf people and critical duties, and nobody else in the race has that kind of experience.” As a business owner, Kemp said he wants to fundamentally reform how the state government spends and taxes. The effort begins by implementing a spending cap, budgeting conservatively and redirecting funding to public safety, education, health care and transportation. “A lot of people in this race are talking about cutting the state income tax, but they are not saying how they are going to pay for it. And many have served in the legislature and were never able to accomplish that.” Kemp supports school choice. He wants to provide parents more freedom to do what is best for their children, which is why he backed House Bill 217 to increase the tax credit for donations to support scholarships at private schools from $58 million to $100 million. He also supports public education. “We currently have too much testing in our schools, are requiring too much government paperwork and mandates on teachers and administrators at the local level, which is part of my plan to cut red tape and streamline government.” One of his first endeavors as governor would be an economic and trade mission to Israel, he said, and he supports the relationship Georgia has with Israel. “Israel is the 33rd largest export market for Georgia, which is certainly important to us from an economic standpoint, and our total exports to Israel are over $250 million a year, which
has incurred a 60 percent increase since 2013,” Kemp said. “Trade has to be good both ways, and I think we have certainly seen that with our relationship with Israel, and I will continue that as governor.” Similarly, Kemp supports 2016’s Senate Bill 327, restricting business with entities that boycott, divest from or sanction Israel. “I will not allow and will continue to fight against businesses who participate in BDS, and I will continue to support Israel in that regard.” As secretary of state, Kemp has been active in Jewish community events and worked with people who have made it easier to conduct business with Israel, including the purchase of Israel Bonds, he said. “Purchasing Israel Bonds is not only good for us economically, but also sends a clear message that we are staunch supporters of Israel,” Kemp said. “Israel Bonds serve a decisive role in the rapid and groundbreaking evolution of technology, such as green tech and biotech, which also is good for Georgia because we can learn from that.” Kemp said he has laid out several plans to dismantle gangs in Georgia. “These individuals are targeting a lot of people, and they are only after one thing, which is money to help with their drug trade and claim their territory, and it is time we have a governor to put a stop to that.” He said he would not allow discrimination against anyone, but, instead of a hate-crimes law, he said any crime that targets people should have equal treatment of the law. He also is a strong supporter of religious freedom legislation. “There have been numerous proposals of the religious liberty bill since it first came out,” Kemp said. “But I would sign a state law which references the federal statute signed by Bill Clinton. That is a right and foundation of our country which I will fight for, but (I) will not allow the state to discriminate.” Kemp said he possesses a strong connection to Israel and the Jewish community. “Israel is a legitimate country, and I completely support their right to exist,” he said. “Similarly, members of the Jewish community are very faithful and family-oriented, which I am as well and is the reason why I believe I should earn their vote and ask for their support as I campaign for governor.” ■
Tippins Puts SEAL, Business Skills Before Politics Former Navy SEAL Clay Tippins has no political experience, but the business executive and consultant still won a Republican Jewish Coalition straw poll in March as the first choice of 42 percent of the people who attended a candidate forum. Tippins said the combination of deep business and military experience may be better than a political background the next eight to 10 years. One area where Tippins said he has used his experience as a SEAL is in the fight against sex trafficking. Metro Atlanta is one of the worst areas for sex trafficking. But some friends who served with Tippins have provided intelligence to police to help take down traffickers. Tippins said he can use the techniques and methods he learned as a Navy SEAL to map out networks and catch criminals. One of the most important challenges Georgia faces, Tippins said, is getting every third-grader to read. “It’s the cornerstone of our future as a state and the cornerstone of every child’s life. You take a child that grows up in a poverty-stricken home; that child hears 30 million words less by the time they are 6, so that child has a 30-million-word crack running through his future,” he said. “You trace that crack out another 15 to 20 years, and it’s insurmountable. We call that prison beds, entitlements and lost tax revenue because that child is underemployed or unemployable.” He said Gov. Nathan Deal has made progress on reading, “but I would seek to carry that forward and make it my most urgent education mission.” Tippins said he supports tax credits for donations to private school scholarships and backs charter schools for bringing parents into the educational decision-making for their children. Tippins stands firm against illegal immigration in Georgia. He said: “America has always been driven by legal immigration. It’s not right and fair for people who came here legally to have a different system from those who seek to come here illegally. We are simply a nation of laws, and that’s how we seek to secure the border, how to defund sanctuary cities. It isn’t an anti-immigrant status. It’s about illegal actions and having a nation-state with laws.”
Georgia is one of five states without a hate-crimes law, and two measures this spring that had the support of the Anti-Defamation League, House Bill 660 and Senate Bill 373, would have increased punishments for crimes motivated by the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, national origin, disability, gender, homeless status or sexual orientation. But neither even reached the House floor for a vote. In a statement Tippins said: “Laws need to be clear for them to be enforced properly. Hate-crimes legislation has the potential for different judicial outcomes based on subjective decisions of prosecutors.” While Tippins was deployed to the Middle East, he saw firsthand the threats to Israel. “Israel is never going to find a better partner than Clay Tippins, whether that is as a warrior, a governor or as a citizen,” he said. “I want to see our already strong relationship with Israel strengthened. As governor, I will work to build on the trading and cultural relationships. That is true of state government, but I also will encourage our local governments to engage in sister city relationships to allow our people, not just our governments, to grow closer.” Tippins said he will build on the business relationships Gov. Nathan Deal cultivated during a trade mission to Israel in 2014. “I’ve built my business career in the high-tech industry. As governor, I will be dedicated to expanding markets for our state’s products but also working with our businesses to build partnerships, especially in the areas of health care, fintech and security, where both Georgia and Israel are already world leaders,” he said. Tippins supported Senate Bill 327, which passed in 2016, and as governor would continue to prevent Georgia from contracting with any companies that discriminate against Israel as part of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, he said. “As a state and as a people, we can never be supportive of these anti-Semitic and antiIsraeli bullying tactics.” Tippins also supports the purchase of Israel Bonds to help maintain ties between the Jewish state and Georgia. “The purchase of Israel bonds is a sound investment that sends a moral message,” he said. “The Israeli economy is one of the strongest in the world. Even during the Great Recession, Israel maintained positive economic growth, even as the other OECD and European
Clay Tippins says his Navy SEAL experience is exactly what Georgia needs now.
economies dipped into negative territory.” He added, “It also sends a statement to the world, using our dollars of support for the state of Israel.” Republican-led efforts in recent years to enact religious liberty legislation in Georgia have run into interfaith opposition and a Deal veto in 2016. While several of his primary rivals have promised to sign such a bill, Tippins said, “I strongly support religious freedom and will do whatever it takes
to defend it, but I won’t take pledges to sign undrafted legislation.” He added, “I will continue to fight for our religious liberty with the same fervor with which I defended our country as a Navy SEAL. I’m a Christian, a man of faith, and believe the government should not trample on our beliefs. I will not sign any pledge regarding future undrafted legislation, including the RFRA pledge, but promise to veto any bill that enables lawsuits against people of faith.” ■
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Williams Touts Support for Trump, Bump Stocks By Sarah Moosazadeh firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
Michael Williams owned 18 barbershops until government regulations such as those under the Affordable Care Act drove him to sell his business. One result was his move into politics. The small-business owner, accountant and father of four with wife Virginia said the growth of government regulations spurred him to run and defeat the incumbent for a seat in the Senate by a 2-to-1 margin in 2014. But Williams said he didn’t know the challenges that awaited him. “I was a bit naïve, and thought I could actually make a difference, but I realized that lobbyists, special interest groups and big corporations controlled our state,” he said. The insight was one reason Williams became the first public official to endorse Donald Trump for president in 2015. “I knew he wasn’t bought and paid for by those same groups.” Williams is the only gubernatorial candidate funding his own campaign
and using donations only to fill the gaps. He said, “People like our message and want someone that isn’t going to be beholden to special interest groups but can actually support them.” Among his many frustrations are candidates who say one thing but do another. “You might not always agree with what I say, but I am consistent and genuine,” he said. He wants to eliminate the state income tax, which he said he can accomplish by expanding offshore drilling and growing hemp. Williams said he recently attended a blockchain cryptocurrency seminar for investors who find different things to finance in the state. “This is going to have a huge impact on the fintech industry, and, coupled with blockchain, we could become the world leader.” He said that eliminating the state income tax would enable the state to get rid of waste in the government. “Our budget has gone from $15 billion to over $26 billion in the past eight years, which is a 76 percent increase. Yet we haven’t seen a 76 percent increase in
Michael Williams says he’s the gubernatorial candidate who was the first public official to endorse Donald Trump in 2015.
government services, our education or traffic, and it’s because we are wasting money, which I would like to reduce.” Williams is an adamant supporter of the Second Amendment and held a giveaway for a bump stock in protest of calls after the Las Vegas massacre to ban the devices. “It’s the Second Amendment that protects all of our rights, not just from foreign invasion, but from our own government,” Williams said. “We can see it in the media and a lot of discussions that the right is being attacked and infringed upon, but people have a right to keep and bear arms, which we do not need to give up.” Williams is a co-signer of the constitutional carry bill. The most important factor leading to a child’s success in education is the involvement of a parent, Williams said, which is why he carried House Bill 217 to the Senate floor and supports an increase in the cap on the tax credit for donations funding private school scholarships from $58 million to $100 million. “We need to empower parents to make the decisions they need,” Williams said. “Whether it is a private or a public school or an educational savings account that can be used to help pay for tutoring, parents need to be in charge.” Williams also said the state should get rid of the common core curriculum. He considers himself religious and believes that America’s foundation was built on Judeo-Christian values, which are being attacked by the left and the media, he said. “I have been the most vocal candidate trying to protect our religious freedoms we have,” he said. “Our Constitution gives us the right to freely exercise our religion not just in our homes, in our churches or in our synagogues, but
in the public square. But that is being taken from us.” Williams co-sponsored religious liberty legislation that passed in 2016 but was vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal, and he sponsored religious freedom legislation this year. “We have organizations that are coming from all over into our state which are filing lawsuits and attacking our schools by trying to eliminate our ability to freely exercise our religion, and we have to fight back or else we are at risk of losing it,” he said. Williams considers all crimes to be hate crimes, and if someone physically harms another or steals property, that culprit should be punished to the highest level of the law. “We should have parities when it comes to breaking the law, but one of the things I’ve noticed is that people try to fragment us and impose identity politics,” Williams said. “Of course I don’t support any form of hate crime, but I don’t want to further fragment our society. We are all Americans. We all need to be seen as Americans and support each other, and if somebody breaks the law, they need to be held accountable to the fullest extent.” Like the other Republican gubernatorial candidates, Williams supports strengthening the relationship between Israel and Georgia and hopes to build on Deal’s 2014 trade mission to Israel. “I think it’s important to have those direct investments in Georgia and to be able to partner with Israel to create strategic alliances that will help strengthen our economies.” As a result, Williams supports the 2016 Georgia law that bans the state from doing business with any contractor that boycotts Israel for political reasons. He said, “If countries or entities boycott Israel, then we need to boycott them.” ■
Rabbi Melvin Glazer
Larry Arnold Cohen, age 80, of Athens died Saturday, April 28, 2018. The world has lost a truly unique, larger-than-life husband, father, brother, friend and physician. He was a truly remarkable man of many talents. Larry was born in Macon in 1937 and attended the University of Georgia, where he was the president of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and graduated early magna cum laude. He went on to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where he studied radiology and again graduated with honors. He served as a captain in the Air Force from 1966 to 1968. He was stationed at Tachikawa Air Base in Japan and worked as a radiologist, attending to the wounded from the Vietnam War. He returned home to set up his own private practice in Athens, where he worked at St. Mary’s Hospital until he retired. Outside medicine, he loved playing tennis, building his own 1937 MercedesBenz, fishing and watching his Georgia Bulldogs. Anyone who knew Larry knows he also loved to collect things like bolo ties, caps, belt buckles, watches and cowboy boots, just to name a few. He never stopped learning and stayed up to date on the stock market and the latest technology. He had quite the sense of humor, and he was a brilliant man who never lost his zest for learning. Survivors include his wife, Edie Fay Cohen of Athens; daughter Robyn Cohen (Jennifer Wall) of Roswell; son Mark (Sara) Cohen of Johns Creek; son John (Lisa) Cohen of Mount Juliet, Tenn.; and grandchildren Elyssa, Jacob, Cayla and Dylan. Also surviving are his sisters-in-law, Rhalda Kahn of Atlanta and Sandy Cohen of Atlanta, and a brother-in-law, Les “Nermine” Rubin of Clearwater, Fla. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, the Jewish Educational Loan Fund (JELF), Congregation Children of Israel in Athens or Jewish Family & Career Services in Atlanta. A graveside service was held Monday, April 30, at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. Sign the online guestbook at dresslerjewishfunerals.com.
Rabbi Melvin Glazer, congregational rabbi and grief specialist, died peacefully Sunday, April 22, 2018, 7 Iyar 5778, at the age of 71. Born and raised in Atlanta, Rabbi Mel earned a B.A. from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1974, and received a doctor of ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1995. Rabbi Mel served congregations in South Orange, N.J.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Nashville, Tenn.; Princeton, N.J.; London, Ontario; Fairfax, Va.; Miami; Stroudsburg, Pa.; Colorado Springs; and The Villages, Fla. He specialized in working with the chevra kadisha (Jewish society that ritually prepare bodies for burial). He trained Jewish communities to establish their own chevra kadishas, hosted a weekly radio show about grief and healing, and counseled hundreds of people experiencing loss, allowing them to lay their grief gently down and find peace. His writings include “The London, Ontario Hevra Kaddisha: A Critical Reflection on the Nature of the Experience to Those Who Perform It” (1995); “When Death Visits a Jewish Home: 99 Actions for Mourners” (2007); “And G-d Created Hope: Finding Your Way Through Grief With Lessons From Early Biblical Stories” (2007); and “A GPS for Grief and Healing: 3 Powerful Steps to Help You Move From Mourning to Morning” (2013). Known for his kindness, quick wit and boisterous sense of humor, Rabbi Mel always encouraged people to find hope for a better future. Survivors include his wife, Ellen (Glanz) Mossman Glazer; his sons, Ilan Glazer (Sherri Vishner Glazer), Rafi Glazer (Lauren Glazer) and Avi Glazer (Debbie Glazer), his daughter, Shoshi Glazer; his stepsons, Jeremy Mossman and Matt Mossman (Jes Skillman); his grandchildren, Baruch, Mordi, Yitzi, Eli, Meir, Rivka and Yehuda Glazer and David and Mitchell Mossman; his sister, Gail Saloff (Barry Saloff); and his brother, Jerry Glazer (Debbie Glazer). The funeral took place Wednesday, April 25, at Arlington Memorial Park. Donations to benefit the new Rabbi Mel Glazer Chevra Kadisha Educational Fund can be made to Kavod v’Nichum at www.jewish-funerals.org or 8112 Sea Water Path, Columbia, MD 21045. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care.
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LOCAL NEWS wherever it was needed. But, because of health reasons, I haven’t been very active in the community in the past few years.” The fee is $30 in advance or $35 on race day for adults or $15 for children. Visit www.atlantajcc.org/HDR or 678812-3981. The Harris Jacobs Dream Run is a qualifier for next year’s Peachtree Road Race.
25th Dream Run May 6
The Marcus JCC is holding the 25th annual Harris Jacobs Dream Run at 8 a.m. Sunday, May 6. The 5K run/walk starts and ends at the Zaban Park campus at 5342 Tilly Mill Road, where a family fitness fair follows the race. “I encourage runners and walkers of all experience levels to come out and enjoy the Harris Jacobs Dream Run,” said Kitty Jacobs, Harris’ widow. “It is certainly a tribute to my Harris, but also a way for friends and family members to come together and race or walk through beautiful neighborhoods.” The Harris Jacobs Dream Run honors the memory of Harris Jacobs, a past president of the Marcus JCC, and raises money for special-needs programming at the center. “I was married to a super hero,” Jacobs said. “Harris gave so much to the Atlanta community, as well as to every Jewish organization, and he made it very easy for me to lend my hand
Second Helpings, Food Bank Now Partners
The Atlanta Community Food Bank and Second Helpings Atlanta formally agreed to collaborate Monday, April 30. Sandy Springs-based Second Helpings Atlanta has become a food rescue partner of the food bank, one of the largest hunger relief organizations in the Southeast. “We are excited to expand our partnership to reduce food waste in metro Atlanta and get more food into the hands of our neighbors in need,” said Kyle Waide, the president and CEO of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “Second Helpings Atlanta is growing rapidly, and their 90 Minute Model is efficient and effective as we work to end hunger together in our communities.” Founded at Temple Sinai, SHA is a nonprofit food rescue organization with more than 450 active volunteer drivers. The drivers are given routes that enable them to drive their personal vehicles to food donors, such as restaurants; pick up surplus, perishable food;
deliver it to nonprofit organizations that serve the needy; and return home or to work in 90 minutes or less. Under the new partnership, the food bank will refer to SHA organizations that are interested in establishing food rescue programs. Second Helpings then will develop the logistics to pick up the donated food and food-related products and will deliver the items to food bank partner agencies. Second Helpings delivered 85 percent of the food it rescued in 2017 — 1,298,422 of 1,530,976 pounds — to food bank partners, and SHA operates 24 routes per week that were originally referred by the food bank. Those routes accounted for 238,404 pounds of food rescued in 2017. SHA managed 7,384 pickups in 2017, each rescuing an average of 207 pounds of food. The total rescued was 13 percent more than in 2016. “We are proud to be an official food rescue partner of the Atlanta Community Food Bank,” Second Helpings President Sheri Labovitz said. “This is an outstanding opportunity for us to expand our reach.” The food bank and SHA will work closely to identify new food recovery opportunities and develop plans to test, refine and implement better approaches to reduce hunger in the Atlanta area.
Senior Day at JCC
Senior Day returns to the Marcus Jewish Community Center from 10 a.m.
to 2 p.m. Monday, May 14. The program for Atlanta-area residents 60 and older is a combined effort of the Marcus JCC, Jewish Family & Career Services, Jewish Home Life Communities and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Each participant gets to choose three activities and have a kosher lunch. The choice of activities: • Session 1 — Music by Italian trio Il Volo; elder law Q&A with lawyer Chris Brannon; or a lesson on preparing an agave cheesecake for Shavuot. • Session 2 — An education on vitamins; gardening in a Mason jar; Israeli folk dancing with Meliss Jakubovic; or the agave cheesecake lesson. • Session 3 — Israel talk with emissary Tamar Gez; a low-impact BodyVive workout; or a sample Melton class. The fee is $5 for the day; register by May 7 by visiting atlantajcc.org/seniorday or calling Earl Finley, the JCC’s coordinator for active mature adults, at 678-812-4070. That Monday is also the deadline to arrange free transportation through the JF&CS Alterman JETS service by calling 770-677-9339. “We have an exciting day planned with a wide selection of activities so local seniors can spend a meaningful afternoon learning new skills, exercising their minds and bodies, and spending time with friends old and new,” Finley said. “We are happy to bring a great day of superior programs to Atlanta’s senior community.”
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Fintech GreenSky Turns Dropout Into Billionaire
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
An initial public offering that could raise $1 billion for Sandy Springsbased financial technology company GreenSky represents the next step in Jewish Atlantan David Zalik’s path to prominence. Born in Israel to two immigrants to the Jewish state, he moved with his family to Alabama at age 4, started taking college classes at age 12 at Auburn, where his father was a math professor, then enrolled at the university instead of going to high school. He started a business building computers to make money to buy a car, then dropped out of Auburn to focus on that business, MicroTech, which he sold for millions in 1996 at age 22. He started a couple of other businesses that failed before moving on to GreenSky, which he founded in 2006. Forbes reported that he had a deal in the summer of 2013 to sell 20 percent of the company at a $200 million valuation, but it fell apart within days of closing. A little more than three years later, in September 2016, Fifth Third Bank made a $50 million investment that valued GreenSky at $3.6 billion. Zalik, a Sandy Springs resident, still owns about half the company, whose value has only grown. The Securities and Exchange Commission paperwork GreenSky filed Friday, April 27, to prepare for an initial public stock offering had few details about financial terms. It’s not clear how much of the company will be available to the public, what the price of shares will be or how much capital GreenSky hopes to raise, although IPO investment specialist Renaissance Capital estimates that the company could raise $1 billion. Because of SEC rules, Zalik could not talk to the AJT about those details. The filing does explain the planned corporate structure, in which the company selling the stock, Delaware-based GreenSky Inc., won’t have any purpose except to own partnership units in GreenSky Holdings, which in turn is the holding company for GreenSky LLC, which is the active business. You might not know GreenSky’s name, even though it was one of CNBC’s50 disruptors of 2017. But if you’ve instant-financed a home improvement project booked through Home Depot or an independent contractor, there’s a good chance GreenSky did the deal. GreenSky uses a proprietary on38 line platform to arrange instant financ-
ing for home improvement projects, elective medical procedures, veterinary surgery and other purchases for which consumers might otherwise have to arrange loans or carry credit card debt. Stores and contractors connect with GreenSky at the point of sale and can get financing approved for most customers within a minute. GreenSky arranges, approves and services the loans, but the money comes from banks such as Regions, Fifth Third and SunTrust. Home Depot represented about 6 percent of GreenSky’s $326 million in revenue in 2017, according to the filing. The company had a $139 million profit. GreenSky has 11,000 active merchants in its program and has worked with 1.6 million consumers while facilitating $11 billion worth of transactions. Those merchants — the contractors, doctors, vets and retailers such as Home Depot — are crucial to GreenSky’s business model because they connect customers to the fintech company, thus slicing its marketing costs. The speed of the loan decisions (usually made within a minute), the mobile-native nature of the application for phones and tablets (a contractor can complete the function with a thumb, while a consumer needs only to scan a driver’s license and provide a Social Security number, phone number and income estimate), and the flexibility of promotional loan offers help make GreenSky popular with both sides of a business sale. They also have helped make Zalik popular in the business world. He was on the Sept. 5, 2017, cover of Forbes as one of the world’s top innovators for making “$9 billion in loans without a cent of risk.” Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.5 billion, making him one of the 1,000 richest people in the world. He was named the national EY Entrepreneur of the Year in November 2016. His wife, Helen, is a lawyer in Midtown Atlanta and a co-founder of the Jewish Women’s Connection of Atlanta. They’re an Epstein School family. She was part of the search committee that recommended hiring Eric Robbins as the CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. That committee was chaired by Gerry Benjamin, GreenSky’s chief administrative officer and board vice chairman. The company board also includes Jewish Atlanta marketing whiz Joel Babbit. ■
Command Performance Students from Chaya Mushka Children’s House traveled to New York in March for the International Chidon on the Sefer Ha’Mitzvot 613 commandments, and three received plaques and medals for their achievements (from left): Aaron Linder, Levi Charytan and Shraga Charytan.
TDSA tops $260K Online
Torah Day School of Atlanta topped its crowdfunding target and its initial stretch goal, raising $262,774 in less than a day and a half. The Head Start campaign sought donations to support scholarships and to give the Toco Hills school a financial boost before the official arrival of its new head of school, Rabbi Meir Cohen. The campaign began at noon Wednesday, April 25, and the school reached its goal of $250,000 before 8 p.m. Thursday. The first bonus round aimed for a $260,000 total; the campaign was working toward a second bonus target of $275,000 when the clock ran out at 10 p.m. If you missed the campaign, you can always donate to TDSA at torahday.schoolforms.org/donate. “I am excited to bring new programs to Torah Day School, and your gift will make that possible,” Rabbi Cohen said in a promotional video for the campaign on the Pledje platform. As is typical with such crowdfunding campaigns, certain donors formed groups to match every pledge, so that each contribution was quadrupled. According to the Pledje page for the campaign, the following are contributing the matching funds: • Group 1 — Ramie A. Tritt Family Foundation, Allen and Judy Lipis, Jon and Ilene Miller, and an anonymous donor. • Group 2 — Craig and Faye Lefkoff, Woody and Amy Alpern, Nison and Helene Shleifer, Jason and Leanne Kaplan, and Michael and Ariella Yaschik. • Group 3 — Rabbi Binyomin and Dena Friedman, Shimon and Anna Kaminetzky, Sara Robbins, David and Eileen Price, and an anonymous donor. The corporate sponsors for the campaign were Formaggio Mio, FilmTribe, Booker Promotions, Planting Concepts and Solomon Brothers. Almost 350 donors contributed
to the online campaign, reflecting the “culture of collaboration” Rabbi Cohen has said he wants to build at the school.
Chaya Mushka Fundraiser Features Brooklyn Artist
Hendel Futerfas showed his art at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs during the main annual fundraiser for the Chaya Mushka Children’s House preschool Sunday, April 22. Among other works, Futerfas showcased his popular “Formation” series. The sequence is an extension of a wood sculpture series he completed during a residency in South Korea and depicts concepts of growth and evolution. Futerfas was born in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights in 1988 and shares the name of the father of contemporary Hasidic art, Hendel Lieberman. He pledged a portion of his proceeds to CMCH, a pioneering Jewish Montessori school based at Beth Tefillah. The preschool, under the direction of Dassie New, combines quality Judaic and general studies with the warmth and passion of the Chabad philosophy. “Our theme for this year was ‘The Year of Creativity.’ An artist like Hendel, who integrates contemporary art with Jewish experiences, was the perfect choice for our main event,” she said. Attendees circled Beth Tefillah’s social hall, soaking in Futerfas’ work, before hearing from the artist. He described how he grew up in the Hasidic community of Crown Heights and how he found his early inspiration from Lieberman, his great-uncle. “Hendel’s evocative pieces were very well received by the attendees,” said Musha New, who organized and co-chaired the event with Jessica Kraitzick. “His impressions of Jewish life today will enhance many Atlanta homes for many years to come.” See photos from the CMCH event at atlantajewishtimes.com.
An 8th-Grade Problem I grew up in Brooklyn and started my education by going to Chaim Berlin Yeshiva at the insistence of my Orthodox grandparents. I was a good student in secular studies but a complete failure in Judaic studies. The reason was quite simple: The rabbis all were from Europe and spoke only Yiddish in the classroom. My parents spoke Yiddish but insisted on speaking only English to me and my sisters, so I was at a complete loss in the Judaic classroom. I could pick up a word or two in Yiddish but never enough to understand what was going on. I remember in one class, the teacher organized the students by how smart they were, so I sat in the last row with two other boys. During the fourth grade, my mother went to school and spoke to the headmaster. He never would come out and tell her directly to remove her son and put him in public school. My mother often remarked that the rabbi merely said, “Give yourself a good idea.” Well, my father finally decided that enough was enough, and I entered public school in the fifth grade. In the sixth grade, the entire class was asked to enter an American history contest based on our history book. I studied that book for weeks. The contest was in the auditorium, and students dropped out one by one when they couldn’t answer the history question correctly. I won that contest, and I still have that award certificate in a plaque that I hung on my wall at home for years. After the sixth grade, I entered junior high school, which was organized for the seventh, eighth and ninth grades. In the seventh grade, my homeroom teacher was the typing teacher for the school, so every time we had a free moment, our class went into the typing room, and that’s how I learned to type with 10 fingers. I never thought I would need to type because I did not want to be a secretary, and I didn’t have a typewriter. This was in the 1950s, way before
computers, but like Steve Jobs, who learned about various fonts before he built Apple Computer and found an amazing use for the scripts he never though he would use, I eventually put my typing to good use. You never know what knowledge might prove useful. We moved in the eighth grade to a place where there was no junior high
By Yoni Glatt, email@example.com Difficulty Level: Easy
The Bottom Line
By Allen H. Lipis
I remember only one thing from that class because the teacher gave an algebra problem that I solved before anyone else.
1. “Big bad” pig harasser 5. Auto collision safety device 11. Abbr. on a dumbbell 14. “Lion King” villain 15. Peanut butter choice 16. “Exodus” hero Ben Canaan 17. 2014 NL Rookie of the Year on the Mets 19. Droop 20. Efron of “The Greatest Showman” 21. “___ Poetica” (Horace) 22. Spike TV, once 23. Promoted aggressively 26. Costa follower 28. Ein ___, Israel 29. Blessing follower 30. Walter Matthau’s frequent co-star 32. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport’s code 33. Plate needed for scoring 34. Swimming distance 35. Explorer who knew a lot about 50-Across 41. Where Switz. is 42. ___ question (say, part of Ma Nishtana) 43. Slump 44. CNN anchor 48. ___ fide 49. Adoring poems 50. They need to have fins and scales to be kosher 51. Painful experience, often 52. “___ Got Rhythm” 53. Oktoberfest drink 54. Adam, literally 55. Puppy’s bite 56. He won an Emmy
school, so I entered a regular elementary school that finished in the eighth grade. I entered the school in March and stayed there for only a couple of months and then graduated. In the math class, the teacher was teaching algebra, covering topics I had not learned in my other school. I remember only one thing from that class because the teacher gave an algebra problem that I solved before anyone else. In fact, the teacher was so impressed with how quickly I solved the problem that he asked me to sit for the math test to determine the math award at graduation. I never came close, but I remember the problem I solved more than 60 years ago. Here it is: There are exactly 100 coins, and they add up to exactly $100. Some are gold coins worth $5 each, some are silver coins worth $3 each, and some are bronze coins worth 50 cents each. Using exactly 100 coins, how many gold, silver and bronze coins are there that add up to $100? The problem has three unknowns and only two equations, so it cannot be solved normally, but it can be solved because the coins have to be in whole numbers. There are two solutions. Let the Jewish Times know or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org when you solve it. The Bottom Line: It takes only one success early in life to give you confidence in yourself that can last a lifetime. That’s why awards and celebrations are so important. ■
51 54 57
for playing Rabbi Hyman Krustofski 62. Tel Aviv to Jerusalem dir. 63. ___ to an end 64. Cincinnati athletes 65. Actor James Van ___ Beek 66. Changes the color again 67. “Judge me by my size, do you?” speaker
27. Arctic coverings 28. M.B.A. hopeful’s exam 30. Mike’s predecessor 31. Queen in 4-Down 33. Offended 36. “Jeopardy!” response; abbr. 37. Shalom or shamayim predecessor (in song) 38. Black Sea nation; abbr. 39. Rachel to Judah 40. Where Bryce Canyon is located DOWN 44. Became a member 1. NYC financial 45. Provide counsel newspaper 46. Engulfed in fire 2. ___rina (instrument) 47. Assembled, with 3. The Clippers, on the “together” scoreboard 48. Kind of digital code 4. 2013 Disney 51. Emeril Lagasse word blockbuster 53. Slightly open 5. Australia’s most 54. Toddlers often make successful band one 6. Rage 57. “Eloise” creator 7. Gas station abbr. 8. Donald’s predecessor Thompson 58. Suffix with “salt” or 9. Ethically indifferent 10. Bodybuilding buildings “carb” 59. One of its letters 11. 1987 best picture stands for “optimization” winner, with “The” 12. Marlon who famously 60. “Couple” for 30-Across 61. Hush-hush govt. group yelled “Stella!” LAST WEEK’S SOLUTION 13. Add one’s M I S S A A S S E T B I M name to a I S A A C P E E T A R N A guestbook S H V I T Z R E G A L A V I 18. Like Jezebel M A D U A U N C I V I L 23. Islamic M A N A P A C E N O T E R E N A L B U D V A S S E R pilgrimage I L A N E L R I D O 24. Where “it’s S C H M E A R N O F F fun to stay” in a H O E T I E A I D A 1978 hit S H L O C K T O P A R V I T 25. U.N. worker Z E E V O R S O N E V E A G A P E placed between E L I Y A H U N E D M A C H E R S M A R K warring parties P L A I N T O R S O 26. Los Angeles E N E S A N S E N D S S I T E S 39 football team 1
MAY 4 ▪ 2018
I WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT GRADY. I FELL INTO THE ELEVATOR. I immediately recognized something was wrong. My doctor sent me straight to Grady’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center. From the moment I arrived at Grady, I knew I was in the right place. The physicians who are on the faculties of Emory and Morehouse medical schools and the nurses were so professional. These are people who know how to save lives. Today, I feel great and I credit that to the care I received at Grady. Everyone was so kind. I could tell it wasn’t just their job. It’s their mission.
MAY 4 ▪ 2018