STYLE Jewish Atlanta’ Atlanta ’ s Stylish Simchas and Celebrations
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Celebrating Against the Odds
The pandemic continues to create challenges for us when it comes to interacting and socializing with each other, yet we still find a way to celebrate our milestones. In this fall issue of STYLE magazine, the AJT reveals how Jewish Atlanta’s simchas are evolving during this crisis. As we explored how to stay 6 feet apart and personal, we discovered just how creative and resilient our community can be. We’ve got the life cycle covered, from baby namings to a post-centennial birthday. You will read how matchmakers and matchmaking sites help singles find ways to meet and mingle, sometimes leading to the perfect mate. It’s no easy feat to pursue love in the age of COVID. Turn the pages of this special fall celebration and simcha issue and you’ll learn how some congregations are allowing highly restricted b’nai mitzvah and weddings inside their sanctuaries or outside on synagogue grounds. Take away tips from educators and moms along with party and event planners on how to jazz up your celebration and make it memorable – even in a health crisis. The AJT discovers the origins of the baby naming ceremony for girls and how some families are toying with tradition to create a meaningful experience to welcome their new daughters into the community. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and most are finding that opting for a smaller celebration is key at this time. Still, the benefits of persistence reaps big payoffs and satisfaction in knowing you can plan around even the largest obstacles. In the b’nai mitzvah category, we share a double simcha that brought two generations together at a local nature center. We’ve got birthday parties from young to old, a neighborhood engagement celebration, and the 69th anniversary of a journey from Europe to America. Our Roving Reporter discovers how couples met and found their soulmates. We also share a few “Bubbe-Approved” pickup lines and the many happy announcements of milestone simchas that won’t be deterred. You’ll laugh, maybe shed some tears of joy, and surely be entertained while gaining valuable insight into how the celebration continues regardless of the challenges. ì
Kaylene Ladinsky Kaylene Ladinsky Editor & Managing Publisher
13 • STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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16 ‘Matchmaker, Matchmaker’ 18 Dating During COVID 22 Roving Reporter: Do You Believe in Bashert? 24 Bubbe-Approved Pickup Lines 26 Elle’s Bat Mitzvah Plan B 28 How to Celebrate Pandemic Style 30 Ways to Add Festivity to Virtual Celebrations 32 Simchas at Shul?
36 Curbside Engagement 38 Baby Naming During COVID 40 Serenade Honors Immigrant Anniversary 42 Habif Goes All Out for Princess Soiree 44 Fall Simcha Announcements 50 Advertisers Directory 54 Marketplace 15 • STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
MATCHMAKING By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Heaven makes all shidduchs, and we are merely facilitators.
JDate, Match.com and similar online dating sites boast legions of successes while Netflix is trending with “Indian Matchmaking” to which some Jews are glued. Then there’s the Hater app from “Shark Tank,” which matches couples based on things they do NOT like. Meeting through friends to hiring a five-figure professional matchmaker, Jews share the art and mitzvah of making a match. Even in Nepal. Moishe Shemtov was sent by Chabad to prepare a seder in Manang, north of the Annapurna mountain range, used as a mid-base for scaling Mount Everest. “I was dating others and ready to meet someone special when I got an email from my mom describing the sister of a camper
I met at a Catskills camp. Running out of money as a backpacker, I flew back to the U.S., drove to Montreal and bought new clothes to meet ‘super compatible’ Mushkie Fine.” Shemtov appreciated the matchmaker’s efforts in that he found Mushkie to be attractive, kind, smart and fun-loving. Three months later, he proposed. This past Passover, their third child was born at home in Atlanta with a fireman cutting the cord. (That last part was not part of the plan.) Shemtov noted, “In addition to the classic matchmaker portrayed in the shtetl, family members can be the ‘in between’ instead of the Tinder app.” Some boldly take the initiative. Intown Jewish Preschool Director Dena Schusterman recalled, “My husband [Chabad Rabbi Eliyahu] was our matchmaker. He told his Dad he wanted to date me. He was best friends with my brother and
Joe and Michelle Koufman met on JDate and now have twins. Joe is CEO of marketing company Setup.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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through mutual friends, the match was suggested, we dated, and got engaged.” Dena was amused by the eight-part Netflix series “Indian Matchmaking.” I found it to be similar to frum matchmaking in superficial ways: matchmaker and resume, which they call ‘bio data.’ In my world, the highest priority is shared values. Marriage is about a shared purpose creating a loving home based on the eternal Torah values and practices. In the show, the pettiness, in different variations, is something about which we can get a good laugh. The show underscored how every culture has its own prejudices. We all have to work harder on eradicating that.” Leah Rubin Lewis focuses on helping older Jewish singles find their bashert (soulmate). She and her husband Andy met as college students at Washington University. Lewis has been making
individual introductions and advocating for “all levels of observance” programs such as hosting a Jewish older singles weekend in Atlanta (which ultimately failed) and trying to get each synagogue to send one representative to a committee to implement local mingling events. “Older Atlanta singles are under-assisted. It can be tricky executing programs where women are more inclined to respond.” Her best advice for finding a mate: • Don’t get set in your ways. Have one to three nonnegotiables. After that, it gets too picky. • Don’t focus on what you want, rather concentrate on what you need. • When projecting that you seek a “perfect 10,” ask yourself, “What kind of mate would that person seek? And does that match me?” Lewis does not charge for
Leah and Andy Lewis married in 1986. Today in Atlanta she is devoted to helping older Jewish singles meet.
her services and can be emailed at email@example.com. Founder of Jewish dating service Saw You at Sinai, Tova Weinberg was a dentist before she sought to fulfill her dream of full-time matchmaking in 2004. She has still not completed her mission. In a recent interview with the AJT from her Jerusalem home, Weinberg, 66, states that she’s never going to stop matchmaking, and does not charge for her services, which are needed now more than ever because “during the pandemic, singles are much lonelier.” SYAS continues to thrive with about 164 marriages a year. The name is inspired by the midrashim (Jewish commentaries) teaching that every Jewish soul stood at Sinai with his or her soulmate at the giving of the Torah. Now the challenge is finding the bashert, that one you saw at Sinai. Over 42 years Weinberg personally has made 350 matches. SYAS uses “volunteer” matchmakers (who must be married). “After a successful match, although there is no set charge, we may ask for a charitable donation.” She also is very keen on the “Indian Matchmaking” series. “Many of these could be Jewish people that I have worked with – uptight, not flexible.” Weinberg, who appeared in The New York Times’ religion section, shares her observations: • Some girls are super picky and reject suggested matches. When the right time comes, they marry whoever is running after them. Maybe he’s shorter than they wanted originally. A wonderful personality wins hands down. • It’s ok to hedge a bit. I don’t lie and tarnish my reputation. But if it’s my judgment, I may subtract a few age years or call someone “chunky” versus obese.
• Address the real issue. A man told me he would marry XXXX if she got rid of her dog. I said, “I’ll take the dog.” Today
1 4 1 Tova and Joel Weinberg married in 1997. She
founded SYAS in 2004 and continues to make matches from her home in Jerusalem.
2 Moishe and Mushkie Shemtov met through a former camper and Moishe’s mother, who emailed him to come home from Nepal.
3 Professional Indian matchmaker Sima Taparia, in an eight-part Netflix series, has Jewish viewers buzzing about their caste system and pushy parents. Some of the “clients” express some similar requests to those Jewish singles might have. 4 Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman initially worked through family and friends in his quest to date now-wife Dena.
they are happily married.
Marketing entrepreneurCEO Joe Koufman speaks from experience about his company Setup™, the marketing matchmakers, where he contrasts business networking skills with romantic compatibly. Joe met his wife Michelle on JDate. He said, “I knew that night that she would be my wife! I bought the ring four months later, two years later we married at Frogtown vineyards in Dahlonega. We are now happily married with twins.” He added, “Romantic matchmaking is about compatibility (on paper) and chemistry (sparks). Business matchmaking is about capability and chemistry. We can make a good match by ensuring both parties
are compatible (fit “on paper”) but it is up to both parties to lay the groundwork for good chemistry. You would never go
on a date without combing your hair and putting on a nice outfit. You have to set the stage for great chemistry.” ì
Koufman laid out a lighthearted romance networking chronology: 1700 First personal ads appeared
1920 Scientific matchmaking with now primitive metrics 1959 IBM’s 650 computer dating model
1971 “Fiddler on the Roof” gives us Yenta 1980 Cheesy dating videos
1995 Match.com enters the market 1997 Founding of JDate
2000 eharmony, Ashley Madison appear
Heaven makes all shidduchs, and we are merely facilitators. 17 • STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Dating During COVID During non-pandemic times, Atlanta Jewish Singles 40s & 50s holds several events a month.
By Paula Baroff
Adapting to the socially distanced dating scene, Jewish singles are finding ways during the pandemic to meet and kick off romance. Beth Friedman and Jenna Shulman began their matchmaking business, juLuv, as a passion project around seven years ago, and since then have stopped charging clients entirely. “We just do it to bring together more Jewish couples in the Atlanta area and promote Jewish longevity and Jewish children,” Friedman said. “I love helping people; I love connecting people.” At the beginning of the pandemic, people stopped ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
STYLE MAGAZINE • 18
reaching out. But around April, people started contacting juLuv, asking to be matched up, saying they were feeling lonely and isolated. Since then, the database has grown to over 800 people. “We get new people every single day,” Friedman said. To accommodate social distancing safety requirements, Friedman and Shulman asked people how they would feel meeting someone over FaceTime. Some people were hesitant about meeting others in public and agreed to speaking virtually, but most wanted to get out of the house and meet in person, Friedman said. They’ve suggested places for people to meet where they’ll be able to social distance.
“We’ve gotten a lot of interest. People really want to connect with other people and continue dating now more than ever,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people going out on patios. Nobody wants to meet in a restaurant. People are open to meeting in a dog park, sitting by some water, bringing a bottle of wine.” The age range of people in the juLuv database spans the early 20s through people in their 80s, with clients from all across metro Atlanta. The online form includes detailed questions about hobbies and interests, political views and Jewish practice so as to better match people with those who are compatible. “Any age, any stage,” Friedman said. She
added that they currently don’t match gay couples, but only because there aren’t enough people in the database. “We would love to expand it.” Friedman said they have a girl in her early 20s who really wants their help meeting someone. “She says she just trusts in the old-fashioned system. These people are tired of the apps,” she said. “These are people who want something serious. They want a long-term relationship; they’re looking for partners.” People have also become less picky during the pandemic, she said, and more open to meeting a wider variety of partners. This socially distant dating situation is as close to traditional Jewish dating as you can
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Marc Horvath runs a group for Jewish singles in Atlanta.
get, Friedman said. “Basing it all on conversation and not intimacy. Because of the pandemic, you’re really focusing on getting to know them and talking about things you have in common and values.” Marc Horvath, who runs the group Atlanta Jewish Singles 40s & 50s, previously averaged between five to eight events per month. These included dinners, trivia nights, and other social gatherings, attracting over 50 people at an event. “That went completely out the window with COVID. He said there were many people who wanted to be social, but he decided against having in-person events for a while so he wouldn’t put his members at risk and switched to Zoom. There were activities such as virtual cooking classes and home scavenger hunts that allowed singles to meet and socialize safely. Eventually, people really wanted to meet in person, so Horvath planned outdoor events that were relatively safe with small groups of fewer than 10 people. “That’s sort of where we’re at now. We had a peachpicking event this weekend; canoeing a few weeks ago. The group itself is trying to find a way to function in this environment. We just can’t do it the way we used to,” he said. Some members have “come to appreciate online dating more than they did before,” Horvath said. “The friends I have spoken to who have gone that route have taken things much slower, spending more time on the phone or video.” Some first dates have been walks around the neighborhood instead of meeting over coffee. Horvath said his group is keeping in touch as best as they can, and that a lot of
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
1 Atlanta Jewish Singles 40s & 50s went canoeing as an outdoor event. 2 Collage by Emily Burack/ Alma via JTA // Zoom University Hillel.
3 Beth Friedman says that people feel lonely and isolated and are eager to meet other singles. 4 Illustrative: Detail of the CoronaCrush group icon.
people are looking forward to getting back together in person. On the younger end of the spectrum, Jewish dating groups have popped up on social media during the pandemic in addition to online dating. The Facebook group MeetJew University Dating was founded by Aaron Raimi in response to colleges sending kids home, The Times of Israel reported. It has over 41,000 members filling out the 50-question ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
STYLE MAGAZINE • 20
survey and posting comedic personals about themselves and their friends to find their #CoronaCutie. There are even a couple of spinoffs due to the success of the group, catering to older post-grads and people just trying to make friends. One 20-year-old college student named Jackie Abrams said she met a “really cute” guy through a Zoom meetup that was hosted by one of MeetJew University’s members. “Besides
the fact that he’s cute and he’s Jewish, he’s also a stoner like me, which is important but not a defining characteristic. He’s smart, he’s pre-law,” she said. CoronaCrush is another Facebook group that skews more religious and was cofounded by Ian Mark after he and his friends saw Raimi’s group. “Don’t isolate … it’s time to iso-date! Picture it now… your eyes meet across an empty room ... and before you know it,
you’re sanitizing hand in hand,” the tongue-in-cheek group description reads. Mark told The Times of Israel the way MeetJew University was implementing its service, “it wasn’t only for Jews and it wasn’t for serious dating. It seemed like a lot of college kids posting bikini pictures and stuff like that, so we wanted it to be more wholesome and family values and serious dating-oriented.” ì
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Dating Site Lets Jewish Moms Be Yentas Before COVID-19 and social distancing, online dating usage was pervasive. Nearly 135 million Americans use dating apps. For our millennial generation, the singles using dating apps spend on average more than 10 hours per week scrolling and swiping on profiles. Even more surprising is that the average user is bouncing between four dating apps at the same time. From a simple economic perspective, there is more supply than demand on popular dating apps, which leads to snap-judgments, and a perspective that you aren’t looking at a person, per se, but almost an item on Amazon. Don’t like it, just trash it and move on. That’s why less than one in five matches ever becomes a date on these apps. The seemingly endless supply of faces and names also leads to numerous negative results, including misogyny and harassment. Across all these dating apps, over 60 percent of women have been sent “unsolicited nude pictures.” In the real world we call that “flashing.” Three-quarters of users have had to block another user for rude or insulting behavior.
Prior to online dating becoming the most common way people met romantic interests, being set up through friends and family led to the most successful relationships. Realizing the business oppor-
CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Kaplan
tunity that parents who traditionally spearhead matchmaking for their kids are completely left out of this new dating landscape, a new entrepreneurial venture emerged from a nice Jewish boy in Asheville, N.C. JustKibbitz.com is a new dating site launching this fall that does just that. JustKibbitz lets parents play matchmaker. As the company tagline states, JustKibbitz exists to “help someone you love find someone they’ll love.” “We want to bring the oldest form of dating online,” said CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Kaplan. “And we’re starting with Jewish moms.” Why Jewish moms? Kaplan jokes, “I have a brother who is single, and if I can’t find him a nice Jewish girl to date, my mom is going to plotz.” Jokes aside, Kaplan, who himself is married and has a 1 year old, takes a data-backed approach to this go-to-market strategy.
His team surveyed over 100 single millennials and 100 moms inquiring about family structure, dating app usage, and likelihood of going out on a date set up by a parent. When asking millennials, “Would you go out on a date set up by your mom?” they say “Yes” only 50 percent of the time. Next the JustKibbitz team asked, “What if that date was pre-paid?” To this, millennials responded “Yes” 92 percent of the time.
If you’re still not convinced, survey respondents reported: • “The hard part of dating is done for you. All you have to do is show up.” • “My mom probably knows me better than I know myself.” • “Because moms are involved, you know he can’t show up and be a jerk. If he does, it’ll get back to his mom!”
Kaplan clearly enjoys leaning into this trope. Discussing what differentiates JustKibbutz, he said, “Other dating sites are investing in algorithms and artificial intelligence. You really think a robot knows you better than your own mother? That’s meshugenah. Our site is powered by Maternal Intelligence!” The dating site is basic, but effective. The parent logs in through Facebook, completes some profile basics, adds information about their single adultage child, and voila, they are ready to start matching and messaging with other moms. You can set your parameters by distance, level of observance, and by hobbies and interests. As the mom running the profile, you actually match and message with other moms, not the daters. And if the two of you think your kids would get along, you set them up on a “Kibbitz,” the platform’s patented pre-paid date feature. “We emphasize the impor-
tance of getting your child’s buy-in early.” Kaplan reminds us. “Tell your kid you are joining this community to meet other moms with single kids and you might find someone you think they should meet. But remind them, again and again, it’s no pressure, just kibbitz.” Get it? Kaplan wants to be clear this is not an arranged marriage site, simply a tool to help parents extend their network to help set up their kids on dates. Just weeks from going live, JustKibbitz is open for pre-signups. If you’d like to join the waitlist, visit www. justkibbitz.com. By signing up, you will be one of the first to know more about the launch date and will have exclusive founding-member pricing.
Another way to support JustKibbitz is to sign up to be a Mombassador. These women will help spread the word about JustKibbitz to all of their friends, at their synagogues, JCCs, and mahjong games. To learn more about the JustKibbitz Mombassador program, email firstname.lastname@example.org. “We hope you’ll join us to be the yenta you were born to be. We can end with that or ‘Warning: JustKibbitz may lead to adorable grandchildren.” For additional information go to www.justkibbitz.com.
Paid Content by justkibbitz.com. 21 • STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Do You Believe in Bashert?
By: Chana Shapiro
An automobile accident caused Nata and Miriam Saslafsky to meet.
Miriam and Nata Saslafsky Miriam: Graphic designer Nata: Loan officer
2007 was the first year of college for Miriam Kessler at Lynn University in Boca Raton and Nata Saslafsky at Miami Dade College. Once they met, they dated only each other, traveling regularly between Boca Raton and Miami. Nata transferred to Cornell University after two years, and Miriam visited him ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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once a month in New York until she graduated in 2011. They married and moved to New York, until Nata completed his studies. While at Cornell, Nata started a longboard club, the longboard being his chief means of transportation. The Saslafskys now live in Atlanta with their daughter Isabella and pets Leena and Mia. Nata, who is from Florida, was in an automobile accident the night before his first day of college. He headed to Boca Raton to borrow his parents’ car but stopped to visit his childhood Chabad Rabbi Boruch Shmuel Liberow. Nata stayed for Shabbat dinner. Before settling into her Boca Raton dorm, Miriam, who is from Atlanta, opted to spend a Shabbat weekend with her parents, who had driven her to school and were staying with Rabbi Liberow and his family. The stage (or in this case, the table) was set! Miriam describes that first meeting: “Nata walked in and we spoke for a little while as we waited for Rabbi Liberow to come home from services. During dinner Nata and I weren’t seated near each other, so when one of the other dinner guests left, Nata came to sit across from me. We started talking, and we’ve been talking ever since. We love outdoor sports, hiking, longboarding and socializing with friends.” Nata says, “Miriam’s a real ‘balabusta!’ She’s a cook, advisor, planner. Our friends call her, ‘The Mom.’” Ironically, Miriam and Nata could have met while in high school. Nata did not go on the March of the Living trip with his class; Miriam did participate in that year’s trip. Georgia and Florida are both in the United States Southern region March of the Living program, and their
buses toured together. Therefore, Miriam met all of Nata’s friends before she met him.
Phyllis and Joe Arnold went to his senior prom together.
Phyllis and Joe Arnold Phyllis: Community volunteer Joe: Retired physician
Joe Arnold and Phyllis Gershon were among the many Jewish teens who met regularly at the Jewish Educational Alliance on Washington Street and Atlanta Avenue in the ‘40s. Phyllis, who went to Grady High School, was Joe’s date at his senior prom at Hoke Smith High School. However, their paths dramatically diverged when Joe accepted a fouryear scholarship to the University of North Carolina as a math major and joined the ROTC. That decision required his active duty on a naval destroyer in Norfolk, Va., continuing through the Panama Canal to Long Beach, Calif. He served in the Korean War, thereby entitling him to benefits of the GI bill, which financed his attendance at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. He then interned at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, S.C. In the meantime, right after graduating from high school, Phyllis married and gave birth to two children. That marriage end-
ed in divorce, and Phyllis stayed in Atlanta where she worked for the Colgate Mattress company. After his internship, Dr. Joe Arnold returned to Atlanta and opened his own medical office. It had been many years since he had seen Phyllis, and they had not kept in touch. Joe said, “I was dating different women, and the word got out that Phyllis was back on the market. That’s all I needed to hear.” The couple soon married and had three children, who blended with Phyllis’ young daughters. Joe built a popular medical practice, they played tennis at the Briarcliff Woods Beach Club, and Phyllis became active in many community organizations, especially Ahavath Achim Synagogue, where Joe was a baritone in the choir for 25 years. Joe and Phyllis, while homebound during COVID-19, enjoy playing gin rummy, listening to symphonies on YouTube and being visited by their five children and seven grandchildren, who live in Atlanta (two other grandchildren live in Oregon and Maryland). They have been happily married for 58 years.
Sergey and Michelle Barskiy prove that opposites really do attract.
Michelle and Sergey Barskiy
a miniscule snicker. We’ve been married 22 years, and we don’t waste time fighting. I am the taxi mom, the room mom, the PTA mom, the get-it or make-it mom. Sergey works full time, yet, if there are dishes or other chores, he just does them. He loves to cook. We often cook together and our three kids join in. I know Sergey’s a gem, and he knows that I know it! I think of our life in “Barskiy Land” as an amusement park, with steep ups and drastic downs, but we just take things one day at a time.
Michelle: Mother-of-all-trades Sergey: Software architect
Serious-minded, Ukranianborn Sergey Barskiy and allAmerican, easy-going Michelle Herzfeld were urged to meet by mutual friends, Sergei’s cousin, Alex, and his wife, Sara. During Michelle’s third year of college, she came home for a weekend and Sergey took her to a movie. Michelle returned the next weekend, then the next. They spent all of Thanksgiving and winter break getting to know each other. Michelle fills in the details: Early in our dating, I jokingly explained to Sergey that we had to get married because he was the only Jewish guy I had dated. He said OK! Sergey lived with four generations of his family in one house, and he was working full time while going to Georgia State in the evenings. (He worked his way to the top tier in his company). I saw him six times during Thanksgiving break, and he brought flowers each time, decorating my room with six bouquets in six vases. Nowadays he buys me new flooring and house paint. Sergey proposed to me the night before I graduated college, and I spent every second of graduation focused on my ring! We got married one year later, and the next year started our family. Our marriage is strong because Sergey is peace-loving and I am designated as the one who is always right. He’s excellent at, “Yes, dear,” with
Jan got his marriage proposal to Rachael right the second time.
Rachael and Jan Siegelman Rachael: Communication and laughter coach, author Jan: Life coach, dog trainer, tree surgeon Jan and Rachael met on North Highland Avenue. Jan was with a friend who knew Rachael, and introductions were made. Rachael wanted to know more about tall, handsome, bearded Jan. A few days later Rachael visited Congregation Beth Jacob for the first time, as Jan walked past. Was he meeting a woman? Was he wearing a wedding ring? Rachael recalls the encounter. Rachael: Hi, remember me? Jan: Yes. (I wasn’t sure if I believed him.) R: Do you come here of-
ten? (I wanted to learn about the singles’ scene in this new place.) J: Yes, I come here every day. This is where I pray. R: Do you live around here? J: I live a mile up the road, behind the A&P. R: You live behind the A& P? J: Yes, There’s a street behind the A&P with houses on it. I live in a house. R: And how far did you say it was? J: Are you fishing for an invitation? R: Are you offering one? “Jan was full of adventure and fun. On our second date, I joined Jan in his six-seater plane, during his flying lesson. Our courtship included martial arts lessons, dance lessons, hiking, whitewater rafting, biking, reading to each other, and lively discussions. Jan was into communication and personal growth. He was divorced with three children, so I had two questions. Did he want more children, and could he make me a priority?”
Jan’s story: “I wanted to marry Rachael when we were whitewater rafting with her twin sister Sarah, and Sarah’s husband. Sarah jumped off a rock but wasn’t able to ma-
neuver to a certain point to avoid being pulled downstream by the current. I was about to dive in, when I saw Rachael already in the air, jumping in to save her sister. I said, ‘That’s the woman for me!’”
Rachael hoped to move the relationship forward, but Jan thought she wanted the opposite. The issue resolved via a therapistcoach. Jan sent a dozen roses to Rachael’s office with a card that he forgot to sign, asking, “Will you marry me?” Rachael preferred a “proper” proposal, and Jan obliged by re-proposing in the therapist’s office. Rachael was a lawyer, but they both wanted their children to be raised by a stay-at-home mom. She left her position when their first child was born. They had two more children (all three born at home), resulting in six Siegelman brothers and sisters. “We are committed to healthful food, personal growth, children, grandchildren. We play guitar, sing, read to each other, take walks, toss a football, love guests for Shabbat meals, and meeting new people.” The Siegelmans practice what they preach: “Hold your commitment to each other above your feelings; dare to be vulnerable; laugh together.” ì 23 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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Bubbe-Approved Pickup Lines
10 actual personal ads in Jewish newspapers, including cultural brain teasers and plays on words. By Allen H. Lipis
Several years ago, I had to give an introductory speech at a synagogue dinner. I looked for something cute and funny, and found some actual personal ads from singles that ran in Jewish newspapers. Here are 10 of them:
1. Shul gabbai, 36. I take out the Torah Saturday morning. Would like to take you out Saturday night. Please write.
4. Jewish male, 34. Very successful, smart, independent, selfmade. Looking for girl whose father will hire me.
2. Couch potato latke in search of the right applesauce. Let’s try it for eight days. Who knows?
5. Jewish princess, 28. Seeks successful businessman of any major Jewish denomination: $100s, $50s, $20s.
3. Divorced Jewish man seeks partner to attend shul, light Shabbos candles, celebrate holidays, build sukkah together, attend brises and bar mitzvahs. Religion not important.
6. Orthodox woman with get, seeks man who got get, or can get get. Get it? I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.
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7. Nice Jewish guy, 38. No skeletons, no baggage, no personality.
8. Female graduate student, studying kabbalah, Zohar, exorcism. Seeks mensch. No weirdos, please.
I will end with a quote from the clever mind of George Carlin. He asks: “If a man is standing in the middle of the forest speaking and there is no woman around to hear him...is he still wrong? ì
9. Jewish businessman, 49. Manufactures Shabbos candles, Chanukah candles, Havdalah candles, yahrzeit candles. Would like to light your candle.
10. Eighty-year-old bubbe, no assets, seeks handsome, virile, Jewish male, under 35. Object: matrimony. I can dream, can’t I? 25 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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Elle’s Bat Mitzvah Plan B
CELEBRATIONS By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Elle Kaufmann and family were headed for the Haas Promenade, the Tayelet, in Jerusalem for a July 20 bat mitzvah ceremony and festivities. As COVID evolved in May, the family decided to redirect and execute the event at the lush Roswell Chattahoochee Nature Center. A sentimental addition to the event was Elle’s maternal grandmother Annetta Kornblum sharing the b’not mitzvah ceremony. Elle, a seventh grader at The Lovett School, observed, “In a way I was disappointed because the thought of being in Israel was very ancestral and spiritual. As long as I was surrounded by Bubbe and my family, I was happy.” Kornblum added, “Growing up in Dayton
[Ohio] in an Orthodox setting, girls were not encouraged to have a bat mitzvah. When Elle exclaimed, ‘You have to do this with me,’ I was thrilled.” Kornblum was familiar with prayers and services but had never read Torah. They both studied with tutor Linda Weinroth to perfect their parts. Elle did two segments and Kornblum did one in parsha D’varim. On Monday, July 20, a small group of immediate family, uncles and aunts, Craig and Sheri Kornblum and Josh and Tara Kornblum joined Elle’s parents Paige and Rocky Kaufmann, and brother Aidan, at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Great Aunt and Uncle Rachel and Jack Rosenberg were special guests. Kornblum
recalled, “In the original plan in Israel, family was coming from New Jersey, California and Florida, which obviously was not happening.” Others were invited to Zoom. “By renting the CNC pavilion, we were secure in unpredictable weather, and every family member had a part.” Elle noted, “It was certainly hot and humid there, but we had sunny skies and beautiful scenery. I was a little nervous, but everything flowed.” Kornblum’s speech was sentimental. She said Elle is her youngest grandchild to have a bar or bat mitzvah. “Where has the time gone? I am blessed to be in this beautiful setting wrapped in Zayde’s tallis, which he wore so proudly.” Mom Paige focused on
Elle’s resilience and role as a trailblazer – a female wrestler and fishing enthusiast. “I cried when I learned we were having a girl, and we named you Ahava, which means love. ... All of you here today have contributed in various ways and stepped up when we had to completely switch gears. This was not something we could have done ourselves and we are truly grateful for every detail. Dealing with one Bat Mitzvah girl is enough, let alone two!” Paige praised her mom for her role as an educator, world traveler and community volunteer, in addition to being a devoted ‘Bubbe-dutied chauffeur.’” Star Elle spoke about Moses’ instructions to the people as a reminder of the advice she gets from her parents daily. De-
Photos by Laura Tarquino of Vosamo Photography // Elle and Annetta shared parsha D’varim.
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1 1 Craig, Micah, Justin, Sheri, Annetta Kornblum, Elle Kaufmann, Rocky, Paige, and Aidan Kaufmann with Josh and Tara Kornblum in the back, all celebrating with Elle.
2 Rabbi Brian Glusman was appreciated as a pinch-hitter when plans changed in May.
3 Pre-COVID pose shows Annetta and Elle looking forward to the Israeli experience. Note Annetta’s T-shirt for 2020.
4 Elle exudes joy in her Converse high tops.
tailing her community service project, donations to the Atlanta Humane Society, she recalled that her mom always adopted the most pitiful creatures into their home. Elle also described her relationship with her older brother, Aidan. A rising Lovett 10th grader, he celebrated his bar mitzvah on Masada two years ago. “Thank you for always standing up for me and allowing me to sleep in your room when I found a bug in mine.” Lastly she acknowledged the best friendship shared with Bubbe, “And please don’t cry as I know you must be doing now.” Rabbi Brian Glusman explained to the AJT, “We just completed Bamidbar, the book of the wilderness. In the concluding portions, Moses records each of the 42 places where the Hebrews camped on the way from slavery to the Promised Land. “Our rabbis ask, ‘Why is it
necessary for the Torah to list all the encampments throughout the wilderness?’ The stops serve as a reminder that life is not about the destination, but the journey. We are taught to appreciate the beauty and the treasures accumulated along the way. “While this was not the original destination for Elle and her Bubbe’s b’not mitzvah, this day was an important stop on their journey. They will always remember it and appreciate the love and support that made it all possible.” To set the scene: Elle wore a Ted Baker layered white-on-white shortsleeved dress with navy Converse high tops. Bubbe wore a navy outfit with a periwinkle bottom. Zest Atlanta Catering laid out a luscious traditional “Jewish brunch” of bagels, tuna, fruit and French toast casserole. The cake by Cakeology had cheerful Mazel Tov icing. ì
Event planning: Bluming Creativity
Photos: Laura Tarquino of Vosamo Photography Décor: Let’s Celebrate
Bar: Complete Beverage
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Jesse and Molly Medeiros get ready for their drive-by birthday party.
How to Celebrate Pandemic Style
By Amy Seidner
COVID-19 has changed the way Jewish Atlanta behaves socially and will continue to do so. Meanwhile, community members are discovering their inner creativity, especially when it comes to having fun. We have seen phenomenal ideas to not just pass the time, but to enjoy celebrating life’s biggest moments within the COVID-19 restrictions, even while respecting the new rules of pandemic etiquette. Our new isolated lifestyle makes safely living life to its fullest without excluding our loved ones even more important, albeit more tricky to accomplish. That’s why we consulted Sharon Estroff, a parenting and education consultant, mother of four and author of “Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah?” to give us some pointers. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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The health and well-being of children and their families should be the most important concern. After months of sheltering-inplace, families are attempting to somewhat cautiously emerge. Even though you might be allowed to have an in-person party, the question remains how to do so without placing you and other families in danger. You have a unique opportunity to safely create celebrations your child will remember forever; they will not have another like it. Even as your child gets older, they will never forget that time they celebrated during a pandemic! You are creating a special memory. But acknowledge this is a celebration during a pandemic. Protect your guests, whether they are there virtually or in-person. Anything that can be touched (in-
cluding party favors and crafts you drop off to guests) should be in its own package, with an individual package for each guest. Estroff suggested a great keepsake for the birthday child, regardless of their age or the type of party you choose, is to ask all the guests to video a short message and send it to the child, who will then have a personal, meaningful collection of birthday wishes to save forever and remember their pandemic birthday. If you are a guest to a party, bring a gift for the birthday child. It is their special day. Also respect your host’s rules and requests.
Keep it Simple Don’t get caught up in the hoopla and extra noise. What your child needs is to feel special, to be the center of attention and to con-
nect to their friends and family. It isn’t necessary to make their party into an over-the-top gala. Remember, you are part of a community. Being part of this Jewish community means that you, your friends and family are connected. It’s important to feel bonded and special. We may be isolated, but we are not alone. Have confidence in your ability to pull off a meaningful event. Nothing can replace true social interaction, but you can make the day special. Kids are adaptable. It is natural to want to give your child the best you can during this time to make up for what you feel they have missed. But there is no reason to feel guilty about not having the party your child imagined. It’s OK for that celebration to be different this year. Emphasize the distinction. Lifestyle writer and mother
1 Leah Medeiros celebrates her 13th birthday with a socially distanced backyard party.
2 Leah Medeiros’ party included individually packaged goodies.
3 Lia Picard and daughter Abby celebrate Abby’s 1st birthday via Zoom. Lia Picard advised that if your child is old enough, ask and find out what they want and expect. She suggested having the conversation and explaining this is not going to be a typical birthday. Let them know they are special and will be celebrated, just in a nontraditional way. Estroff shared several different types of parties and suggestions for making each one safe, memorable and fun.
Zoom Party with Interactive Activity Make sure all devices are charged or plugged in. Before the party, drop off cupcakes, birthday candles, goody bags and craft or project supplies for each guest, enabling them to participate together. The birthday child feels they are all sharing in the party and activities, including blowing out the candles. Everyone can even attend the party in costume. Choose a theme with perhaps craft projects, virtual face painting or virtual scavenger hunts (finding treats in guests’ backyards or home). Scavenger hunts need to be planned with the guests’ parents in advance, but keep them simple. Depending on the child’s age, movies could also be streamed as a group activity. You can even host a
virtual sleepover with snacks, spa treats and other goodies dropped off for the guests to share.
Drive-By Party Parade For a drive-by party, decorated cars drive by the birthday house either at one time, scheduled times or in a parade format. As the host, you can decorate the yard and play music. You can even have a special chair decked out just for the birthday guestof-honor. Have treats such as individually wrapped cupcakes, drinks and a goody bag ready for your guests. Have favors and treats on a table or hand to the guests as they pass. Jennie Medeiros held a driveby parade for her twins who turned 10 during the pandemic. Molly and Jesse were treated to a drive-by parade and their guests got to enjoy treats from the King of Pops, who had a cart set up for the parade. Drive-by parties are perfect for those who want a themed party and love the attention of a parade. For a great keepsake, create a large poster in the yard that guests can personalize using bagged markers or crayons. Each guest draws or writes their special birthday message. If the child would like to open gifts with friends and family on a Zoom call later, that is an additional way to make the day momentous, to see their friends and feel special.
3 Virtual Tours and Escape Rooms For this year’s party, your child and friends can visit places from Mount Everest to the Great Wall of China. While touring in real life is not allowed, a party in many famous historic venues, museums, zoos and more are open and available for visiting virtually. Imagine exploring the canals of Venice with your child’s friends! For a more interactive adventure, you can plan a virtual escape room party with many free themed parties.
Backyard Party If you are planning to host a backyard party, Picard said “be realistic and plan as carefully as possible. Make sure your guests know what precautions are expected” and understand generally that younger children will not socially distance. She advised hosting five people for backyard parties, not 15, and don’t give your guests the opportunity to congregate around the food. Have individual ready-
made baskets of food and drinks on each table. Communicate carefully ahead of time about social distancing and mask requirements. “Fun in a pandemic means preparation and thought.” Medeiros had a birthday yard party during the pandemic for her 13-year-old Leah. She was supposed to be celebrating her bat mitzvah this summer, but settled for a fabulous gourmet s’mores party instead. Leah’s milestone birthday was open-house style. Understanding that each guest and their family had unique levels of comfort, mom Jennie asked each to wear a mask. While guests were seated, they could remove their masks, but if someone was moving around or cooking their s’mores, masks were worn. Because of the open-house style, only a handful of people were together at one time. There was a firepit for the s’mores and the guests were seated in a circle at least 6 feet apart. All the s’mores ingredients were individually wrapped, and each had their own supplies. Recognizing birthdays and other simchas pandemic-style are bright spots to be celebrated. Enjoy the moment and observe the occasions – together and apart. ì 29 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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Ways to Add Festivity to Virtual Celebrations
Photo credit: Chuck Robertson Photography // Arianna catches air in front of a background spelling out her name in balloons. Balloon columns by Legendary
By Paula Baroff
As some people have opted to hold small, socially distant parties, others have chosen to do theirs virtually. Atlanta event planners offered many tips for people who decide to go this route, and emphasized that both planners and party vendors know how to pivot in the fluid environment of the COVID-19 pandemic. Event planner Melissa Miller of MMEventsAtlanta said people are understandably disappointed about postponing events and family being unable to travel. “Thank G-d for Zoom, but you’ve got to make it as special as possible for these kids and their parents. They have grief for this. It’s a loss they’re entitled to. I think people are just trying to make lemonade out of lemons right now.” Tara Kornblum of Bluming Creativity said the most important aspect of shifting to a virtual or distant event is figuring out what really matters to whoever’s party ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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it is. “Talk to your child about what really matters to them and create something that works for what they want instead of guessing,” she said of b’nai mitzvahs and other celebrations. “Something different matters to each child and it’s about making that child’s day special.” Here are some ways to add some excitement and festivity to online events.
Virtual Entertainers If you choose to hold your life cycle event or party over Zoom, vendors have the ability to be flexible. You can hire many companies to do live entertainment virtually, as well as specialists to set up the Zoom or livestream professionally. “DJs now can do virtual games and trivia and stuff online that’s really cool,” Miller said. “A lot of the vendors — photographers, videographers, DJs — have pivoted
their businesses to offer Zoom services. They’ll come and in addition to taking photos — because you should still use your photographer and videographer even if you do a small virtual ceremony — they pivoted, they know how to do Zoom. That’s really advantageous.”
Yard Signs One way to make an isolated day feel more like a celebration is to set up a yard sign to surprise the person of honor. One company that can do this is Sign Greeters. Stacie Francombe launched her business in the middle of the pandemic, and it has been a big hit for people who want to make event days special. To add to the excitement of someone’s birthday, baby naming, b’nai mitzvah, or any other occasion, you can hire Sign Greeters to come set up a fun and elaborate yard sign with bright graphics and festive balloons. “Our tagline is delivering smiles one yard at a time
and the truth of the matter is that’s what it does,” Francombe said. Sign Greeters does the installation at night or early in the morning and then takes it down the next day. “For the most part, they are a surprise, a fun surprise at that,” Francombe said. “It’s a positive thing in an environment that’s not so positive.” www.signgreeters.com/
Create T-shirts As a surprise for b’nai mitzvah kids, graduates, and other life cycle events that have needed to go virtual, consider ordering specially made T-shirts to send out to guests before the Zoom call. For her sons’ college graduation, Melissa Miller planned a daylong celebration that included Zooming with family and friends. Beforehand, she made T-shirts and sent them out so that when her sons joined the call, everyone was wearing the
same graduation shirts to honor the boys. “One of my clients sent their logo that they had made to all of their relatives and friends and asked them to print it out in color and pin it to their shirts,” Miller said.
Gift Boxes Out-of-town family that is unable to travel can still be included in a bar or bat mitzvah. Kornblum said she’s been putting together b’nai mitzvah boxes with personalized items, similar to what guests would pick up at the in-person event. “They get a kippah and other little things so they feel like they’re part of the weekend,” Kornblum said. Care packages can also be sent to guests for other types of events. “A really nice curated box that has a personalized mask and hand sanitizer, branded cookie, a bag of monogrammed candies – not chocolate because it will melt,” Miller said. For b’nai mitzvah and birthday parties, “They’re sending all the party favors to the kids who would have come,” she said. A copy of the photo montage can be sent in the gift box, and also can be showed on Zoom.
Zoom Honors Another way to make virtual guests feel included in an event is to make it interactive. For a b’nai mitzvah, honors can still be given out to family: “Either an aliyah or to read one of the English prayers or something like that,” Kornblum said. Karen Segal of Your Party by Karen mentioned that any online event that involves guest interaction should be monitored to make sure it’s all done professionally, and that people are muted or unmuted at the right times.
Virtual Backgrounds For corporate events, webinars and parties, it could really boost the ambiance to implement a virtual background. Segal said anyone can upload a photo as a Zoom background, but she recommends using professionals like
Active Production and Design. “The key is to create a background that’s professional,” she said. “If you’re talking to a group of people, I’d have books in the background, a company logo; keep it simple and not distracting,” Segal said. “If it’s a caterer, you can set up some food.”
Keep it Professional If you’re running an industry or corporate event, it’s important to stay as professional as possible. Segal, who has been involved in a number of such events, said that even with industry happy hours, there is a way “to be energetic, to be in a party mode, but still be professional. …The host or hostess for the happy hour will ask a question like how’s everybody doing during this pandemic, current problems or solutions since the last happy hour, and they talk about the state of the industry with drinks in hand.” For larger webinars, the host can still keep it interactive by having guests send in questions via chat. “It’s also key that they are professionally dressed, wearing pants and everything because people have been busted without that too!” Segal added.
Splurge a Little In lieu of a large party, virtual events can allow some wiggle room for splurging on more extravagant decor while still spending far less money. Miller said some families have opted for buying more elaborate decorations and cakes. “Some of the bakers make the most beautiful cakes,” Miller said. “One of those custom cakes can cost $300. A lot of parents might not want to do that when they’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars on a party, but now they can.” Some people who had been planning a large party are repurposing their centerpieces as well. “They’re using them on the bimah when they do their at-home virtual service,” Miller said.
4 5 1 Food trucks are a fun way to make a socially distant event more exciting. 2 Melissa Miller said vendors know how to adapt to a virtual landscape to add some fun interaction and entertainment to online parties.
3 Photo credit: Chuck Robertson Photography // A small bat mitzvah by Your Party by Karen that included a handwashing station set up by Added Touch Catering, and personalized masks. The event was livestreamed by Dewitt Smith Video Productions.
4 Sign Greeters can set up huge, customized yard signs to make b’nai mitzvah, birthdays, and graduations festive.
Photo credit: Chuck Robertson Photography // Individually pre-prepared
bagged lunches by A Kosher Touch stand ready for guests.
Distribute Food Whether events are done fully online or small celebrations are held in person as well, food can be distributed to local guests. Caterers now have the option for no-contact dinners. “Many caterers are providing Shabbat dinners now for pickup,” Segal said. Guests
could pick up their meals and bring them home for a virtual event or eat socially distant from one another at small outdoor gatherings. Another way to make this more fun is to hire a food truck. Miller mentioned Paige Nathan’s Atlantabased food truck company called Food with Purpose. “Even people who are just doing [a small event with] their family might get a food truck,” Miller said.ì 31 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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Photos by Jamie Reichman, Reichman Photography // Arthur Oysgelt and Alyse Finkel surrounded by their family under the chuppah June 14 in the garden
Simchas at Shul? next to B’nai Torah.
By Roni Robbins
After months of delaying simchas during the pandemic, hoping for a return to the typical year-round schedule, some Atlanta synagogues began offering limited and restricted wedding and b’nai mitzvah ceremonies on synagogue grounds late this summer. And participating families tired of waiting and delaying, rescheduling and readjusting, opted for smaller gatherings either in the sanctuary, small chapel or outdoor facilities. At least one synagogue had to rethink its plans for opening up the synagogue to simchas earlier this month after a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. At Congregation B’nai Torah, more than 10 simchas have ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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been held since the pandemic shuttered synagogues in March. The Conservative synagogue used four different approaches for the ceremonies: remote; in the Sandy Springs synagogue’s outdoor garden; in the sanctuary with everyone masked; and with the rabbi in sanctuary and family in the chapel, no masks, communicating through Zoom. “We’re trying a few different ways of maximizing meaning and safety,” said Rabbi Joshua Heller. The first in-person simcha during COVID was a wedding held in June in the synagogue’s outdoor gardens with a minyan socially distanced around the chuppah, Heller recalled. B’nai mitzvah have been held in the sanctuary with everyone
wearing masks or if they prefer, the rabbi in the sanctuary and the family in the chapel without masks. Within two weeks in June, Heller conducted a wedding, two outdoor b’nai mitzvah, one in the sanctuary with masks and another in the chapel, no masks. The ceremonies included challah, grape juice and the traditional candy throw after the b’nai mitzvah finishes reading the Haftorah, plus all the usual rituals, but no kiddush or party at the synagogue. “One issue we’ve had to deal with is we made a lot of plans over the summer when things were getting better in Georgia. Unfortunately, it got much worse and we were holding our breath where
things were going until the numbers started to go a different way.” Earlier this month, B’nai Torah had to rethink its b’nai mitzvah protocols, Heller said. “With the recent sharp increase of cases and deaths here in Georgia, we are reversing course on in-person celebrations at the synagogue. We had a bar mitzvah family test positive shortly before their simcha, and aside from their being worried about their health, we had to scramble to switch at the last minute from at the synagogue to remote. They were happy and relieved, but it was still not what I would want anyone to go through.” Meanwhile, the synagogue had simchas set up through August. “We’re still looking at what
options we are going to leave open for in-person, but we would rather have families have time to prepare and practice at home with some peace of mind rather than have to switch everything at the last minute. We will go back to doing more in-person when things calm down a little bit,” Heller said. “For fall, we are continuing to revise our options with what the committee tells us is safe and what works best for the needs of the particular family. As we do each service, we learn what works well. There are things that are clearly easier to do when we are in the same room or the same building, but we’ve learned how to accomplish the same things even when people are in different places. Basically, we are just learning and reinventing as we go.”
Plexiglass Barriers Several bar mitzvah and aufruf (pre-wedding) ceremonies, in which the 13-year-old boy or the groom is called to the Torah, have been held at Congregation
Beth Jacob this summer since the Orthodox synagogue in Toco Hills switched from outdoor services to indoor ones. Rabbi Yitzchok Tendler, Beth Jacob’s executive director, estimated about seven simchas had been held by Aug. 1. He said the same social distancing rules that apply to prayer services apply to simchas. Those health precautions include wearing masks and standing 10 feet apart, even further than the 6-foot distance rule that has become the norm elsewhere. The synagogue had plexiglass shields installed to divide the Torah reader and the person receiving an aliyah to prevent the spread of virus, Tendler said. So far no weddings have been held at the synagogue, which is urging any “non-prayer services or life-cycle events” to be held privately because of the “limitations we have in place on this,” he said. “Even in the main social hall, which is over 5,000 square feet, only 45 family units are allowed at a time.” In addition, everyone has to be masked, including the people leading the prayers, the chazzan and the Torah reader, he said.
1 Father Craig Marbach receives an aliyah as Noah prepares to read from the Torah at his bar mitzvah June 25.
2 Livestream screenshots // Daniel Barchichat is joined by his parents Allison and Tanah and brother on the Etz Chaim bimah Aug. 8 during this livestreamed service.
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2 3 4
1 Extended family at Noah Marbach’s bar mitzvah included grandparents, two aunts, an uncle and two cousins. The initial plan to hold the bar mitzvah in St. Thomas was derailed because of COVID. Family members able to watch the service by Zoom included great-grandparents, one of whom is a Holocaust survivor. 2 Jonah Leifer and his mom Adina show how they are masked at shul.
3 Jonah Leifer and his father, Ari, after putting on tefillin at Congregation Beth Jacob.
4 Noah Marbach’s grandparents Roberta and Robert Aronson open the ark at his bar mitzvah June 25 in the garden outside Congregation B’nai Torah.
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“Things can change, of course.” Tendler said the simcha families have been “very understanding. Everyone is extremely eager to work with us and comply with the health guidelines based on what our advisers say we need to have in place. They see the glass half-full,” he explained. “They are happy to be able to do something. Some enjoy the more intimate ceremony. It can be nice in some ways. It’s very meaningful to them to be able to maintain some semblance of a normal lifestyle. It reminds them of more normal times and better times ahead. It’s always good to look for something to celebrate.”
Perimeter Around Bimah Earlier this summer the AJT reported about the first wedding – also the first simcha –held in Congregation Etz Chaim’s remodeled sanctuary. The first b’nai mitzvah was held Aug. 8, with several more scheduled throughout the fall. The synagogue is following social distancing guidelines from the CDC and will open up its sanctuary to include the renovated social hall and library, as is typical for high holidays gatherings, so that up to 30 guests can attend the simchas, said Rabbi Daniel Dorsch. Every-
one will wear masks and have their temperature checked at the door, submitting their names in advance for contact tracing purposes. Etz Chaim is also maintaining a 30-foot perimeter around the bimah with no one permitted to sit in the first few rows so those on the bimah can sing without using their masks, Dorsch said. The service will include all the traditional elements such as the parents presenting the b’nai mitzvah tallit, the b’nai mitzvah d’var Torah and the rabbis giving the b’nai mitzvah a charge based on the parshah. But as few people as possible will be in contact with the Torah and the podium will be disinfected between uses, Dorsch said. A new professional-grade livestream camera system that was donated and tested during Shabbat July 25 enables extended family and friends to view the service on Facebook instead of Zoom, the video and audio quality of which weren’t as clear, he said.
Finding Meaning Rabbi Ronald Segal of Temple Sinai said the Reform synagogue is allowing b’nai mitzvah, wedding and baby namings with a limited number of attendees allowed – up to 20 – “strict social distancing observed, masks required, and temperatures checked.” Segal added that “Families are able to specify who is attending. We will continue to evaluate decisions based upon societal trends and our own experiences.” The rabbis interviewed for this story say the families with simchas affected by COVID have found ways to make the experience more meaningful to them. Holding simchas during difficult times helps focus the ceremony, to “get back to what really matters in terms of the family and ritual. Kids are thinking as an adult, making tough decisions about what’s important to them and their families.” In addition, “families have to be very flexible,” Heller stressed. “People had plans for parties and all kinds of gatherings that did not happen the way they planned.” For those that opted not to delay any further and have a small gathering at the synagogue or remotely at home, “They are finding the final experience is joyous and meaningful. People are appreciative of how the experience turned out.” The reactions of families about changing their plans have been varied, Dorsch said. “Many feel a sense of loss having to make plans about families coming in for the b’nai mitzvah. We’ve been checking in with them emotionally. They’ve expressed a wide variety of feelings having to do with this. The most prevailing sentiment is loss at the sense of what they hoped and this having to be different.” “One thing I’ve heard in the time of COVID is that it clarifies what’s important. … It speaks to the enduring spirit of Judaism, even in challenging times.” ì
Come face-to-face with the majesty of the deep in our two large observation windows in the Oceans Ballroom. Our flexible space can be customized to create a unique setting for any simcha. Guests will love the delicious cuisine served from the kosher kitchens of Wolfgang Puck Catering. Email email@example.com, visit georgiaaquarium.org/amazing-events or call 404.581.4126.
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Mira Bergen and Michael Mann pose inside an empty frame, among the curbside engagement party decorations.
By Allen H. Lipis
Michael Mann arrived in Atlanta from Los Angeles and a career in the entertainment industry. He fell in love with the Toco Hills Jewish community and decided to stay. Mira Bergen has been a longtime Toco Hills resident, choosing a wonderful life with her friends and spiritual family. She told me once, many years ago after her divorce, that she was waiting for her “bashert,” her divinely destined soulmate to marry. Well, he showed up. What makes this special is that both of them are vibrant, happy seniors over 65, and neither expected to marry again. When they started looking for an engagement ring together, Bergen found one she liked, but Mann said he wasn’t enamored with it. The next day, he went back and bought the ring. When he presented it and proposed, Bergen said in jest, “Get down on your knee.” Mann happily complied. When Ruth Goldstein, a close friend, heard about the engagement, she met with several friends to create a party. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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The entire neighborhood came together to wish mazel tov to the new couple.
The question was what could be done for the out-of-town families and the large Jewish community in the neighborhood in the middle of this pandemic? While a Zoom event would work for the out-of-towners, it didn’t seem personal enough for all the many family and friends of this couple. The result was a two-prong solution: First, there would be a GoToMeeting private event online for family and outof-town friends. The organizers arranged for about 50 to 60 people for a half an hour on this videoconferencing site with the understanding that most of them would not be able to attend the wedding. Some of the family and friends on this virtual call were from all over the country, with even a few in Israel. Some were Mann’s friends in the entertainment industry. For the friends in the neighborhood, the idea of a drive-by curb engagement party June 21 quickly took on a life of its own. If well-wishers could stay in their cars and drive up in front of Mira’s home, the engaged couple could position themselves at the curb to accept Mazel Tovs and
other good wishes. Goldstein had more than just a regular curbside Mazel Tov plan. An engagement had to have a toast to the kallah and chatan (bride and groom) so Goldstein purchased 1-ounce scotch bottles, the kind you get on an airplane, and gave one to each car. Bergen called these “quarantinis.” Some drank it right in the car to honor the couple. It also occurred to Goldstein that some kind of food for the well-wishers would be important too. The answer was small packages of M&M candy for their names, Mira and Michael. The small packages were also safe from virus concerns, symbolizing a sweet marriage. The next issue was how to present the couple at the curb. Goldstein found another friend in Yelena Hertzberg, who took on the task of decorating the curb event. A large picture frame was used that allowed the couple to position themselves inside. There were also balloons, and a wedding veil was hung on the tree. Then there was the marketing effort. Planners posted an ad of the event on Facebook for
three days and enlisted Congregation Beth Jacob to include the occasion in its Shabbat flyer, and to send the announcement by email to all its congregants. The couples’ many friends were also notified by email. The cost of the event was supported by four sponsors: Goldstein, Hertzberg, Randee Goldberger and Leah Hiller. The turnout was impressive, with an estimated 75 cars driving by to see the couple. With several family members along, each car took about two to three minutes, with so many cars waiting for their turn. If you do the math, even for 2 minutes, the event went on for more than two hours and probably much longer. During that time, Ely Landman came by with his guitar and serenaded the couple with his young children. Then Paul Shenk showed up with his juggling act. He and his wife Ilana, both dressed as clowns, added to the festive occasion. Mann and Bergen will be married in September in the Beth Jacob sanctuary with only a small intimate group. Masks and social distancing will be observed. ì
Illustrate a picture about What you have learned in 5780 that you will take with you into 5781! ONE ENTRY PER PERSON, PLEASE. To Submit, please visit www.atlantajewishtimes.com/rosh-hashanah-art-contest
Deadline to submit is September 1st All ages are welcome! Top 10 editor’s choice to be featured in Atlanta Jewish Times’ September 15 Rosh Hashanah issue. All submissions will be published online. Size: Standard 8.5” x 11” Materials: Anything that’s bold and bright, such as markers or cut paper. We suggest taping your artwork to cardboard to protect it. Do not fold artwork. Digitally produced art is accepted. Artwork may be submitted as JPG or PDF file. To enter: Artwork must be mailed to the AJT office, 270 Carpenter Drive, Suite 320, Atlanta, GA 30328, ATTN: Art Contest or emailed to lilli@ atljewishtimes.com (One entry per person, please.) All artwork must have an entry form attached to the back or filled out online: first and last name of the artist; title of artwork; age; grade (if applicable); school (if applicable); artist’s city; phone number; and email address. Only original artwork will be considered.
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Thea, at 11 days old, enjoys getting outdoors with her parents at Anderson Sunflower Farm.
Baby Naming During COVID
By Flora Rosefsky
In early March, as the pandemic roared across Georgia and the country, plans for newborn daughters’ baby naming celebrations abruptly changed course for many of Atlanta’s Jewish parents. The baby naming is also known as a simchat bat (joy of the daughter) or brit bat (covenant of the daughter). With flexibility built into this newer tradition for Jewish baby girls – as opposed to the more traditional and biblically based brit milah or circumcision for boys eight days after birth – a number of Atlanta baby naming ceremonies were postponed with the hope families could reschedule for a future date. Modern baby namings, with roots in the 1970s feminist movement, reveal a wide range of inventiveness when it comes to welcoming a daughter into the Jewish community. These innovative ceremonies go beyond simply explaining the origin of the baby’s name, typically carrying on the legacy of a deceased family member. The ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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ceremony embellishments include setting up a chuppah or special tallit for the family to gather under, or lighting candles. Thea Rose Benson, daughter of Jaime and Eric Benson, was born on July 2, 2020. Jaime always intended to have a baby naming for her daughter to continue a family tradition that included Jaime’s baby naming in 1983 on Long Beach, Long Island. The Bensons planned to have the baby naming for Thea at Congregation Dor Tamid, the couple’s Johns Creek synagogue. The new parents said they were going to rely on Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein at CDT to conduct the baby naming and to offer his suggestions on what to include in the ceremony. However, COVID turned her birth and simchat bat plans on their head, forcing them to delay any decision to proceed. Before COVID, the plan was to have the baby naming before Thea was a month old, but now they were not setting any date because they did not know when an in-person service could take place.
Their current hope is to have the baby naming during Thea’s first birthday weekend next July so that family in New York, Washington, D.C., and North Carolina can travel and attend when COVID-19 is no longer a concern. The Bensons told the AJT that “We are praying it can be sooner (or even at all then!) but it’s out of our hands.” “Family is the most important thing in the world to us, so any future baby naming will absolutely revolve around the generations before us and Thea’s place in a long line of amazing women,” Jaime said. Details about Jaime’s grandmother Dorothy, whom Jamie described as a major influence in her life, will be told during the simchat bat. To honor another family tradition, the Bensons may have two baby namings: one in Johns Creek, and the other in Florida as soon as it’s safe so that Eleanor Benson, Eric’s grandmother, can attend. Because she can no longer travel, the Bensons promised her that
they would bring Thea Rose to her, as “every single one of our six nephews and nieces on that side of the family had namings at her Florida synagogue,” Jaime said. Thinking ahead, this firsttime mother said perhaps she could work with Rabbi Jordan to come up with a way to incorporate into the simchat bat a tallit she had purchased for herself on a recent trip to Israel. The Garfinkel family, who lives in Sandy Springs, also made a decision to postpone their simchat bat, not only one time, but twice. In late June 2019, Poppy Garfinkel was born. But Ali Garfinkel was going through cancer treatment around that time. Once it was in remission, she and her husband Marc started to make new plans for their daughter Poppy’s simchat bat. They confirmed a caterer, ordered personalized napkins, booked the rabbi, and sent out an email invitation. Soon after, the pandemic ascended upon Atlanta and across the world. Celebrating Poppy’s birth
with family and friends was again put on hold. A cancellation announcement went out to await the event with a date to be determined. While the Garfinkels considered a Zoom event, as they did for Poppy’s first birthday in June, they decided to postpone the simchat bat until it was safe to do so in person. Ali told the AJT, “There is something meaningful and magical, a special tradition rooted in Judaism and culture, that Marc and I want to feel and share with the people who will be pillars in her life.” Even with the latest postponement, the couple named Poppy’s godparents but will not announce her Hebrew name yet until the simchat bat takes place. The Garfinkels believe that “While the pandemic continues to change and alter the course of everyone’s life, what is more meaningful in this moment while we wait to celebrate our daughter’s Hebrew name, is the time we are able to spend together bonding as a family and teaching her our new family traditions. How were other Jewish Atlanta parents making plans, if any, to celebrate the birth of their baby daughter born during the pandemic? “The arrival of COVID just after Purim and before Passover, with the holiday’s attendant anxieties added to the pandemic’s uncertainties, left most people and clergy scrambling,” said Rabbi Michael Berger, associate professor of the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies at Emory University. “Attention was understandably being paid to funerals, shivas and mourning rather than births. Circumcisions had to take place on the eighth day after a baby boy’s birth, especially for the more traditional, but I imagine for many, practically speaking, doing something for a baby girl just didn’t feel as urgent.” Rabbi Michael Broyde, an Emory law professor known as an expert on Jewish law and ethics, told the AJT, “There is no firm historical tradition as to how to celebrate the birth and naming of baby girls in the Jewish tradition, even as the birth of every Jewish child has
always been a source of joy to all.” Jodi Eichler-Levine, associate professor of the Department of Religion at Lehigh University, seemed to agree. “If there’s no Jewish law forbidding something, there is more room to innovate.” She said it took some time for the new ritual to be widely practiced which got its start, not in biblical times, but during the second wave of the feminist movement in the 1970s. A simchat bat mainly welcomes the baby girl into the Jewish community. The ceremony can take place at one’s home or at a synagogue during a Friday evening or Saturday Shabbat service where the baby’s Hebrew name would be announced with words about her namesakes. There is no widely accepted rule about when to hold this ritual, according to those interviewed and resources consulted. The day chosen for the baby naming varies from the eighth day, so that the baby has lived through her first Shabbat, to 30 days later, giving the mother enough time to gain back her strength. The latter is the most common, according to the Union of Reform Judaism, www. reformjudaism.org/brit-bat-ceremony-welcoming-baby-girl. Parents and rabbis continue to bring their own creativity to planning a simchat bat, EichlerLevine said. They might use
objects or practices from other rituals like a special pillow for the baby to recline upon, as in a brit milah, or she has seen videos of a simchat bat with a chuppah (as at a wedding) held over the whole family as they welcome their daughter into the covenant. “Singing is common, and absolutely there is a discussion of the baby’s name,” she said. Often a rabbi can offer suggestions for adding new traditions to the baby naming. Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Ari Kaiman had not officiated at a simchat bat since the COVID crisis began, but he said he would be willing to work with a family to create the experience. He shared a common ritual he and his wife developed for their three daughters’ simchat bat celebrations. “A large standing candle is lit, representing the new light that this new life brings to the world. All the attendees light a tealight they are holding from the flame of the large candle, representing the way our light becomes intertwined with one another in community. Once all the lights are lit, he said, “I invited the attendees to offer blessings in their heart before blowing out these candles.” The large candle can then become a ritual object to travel through the life of the baby girl, being used at Bat Mitzvah, wedding, and other
important moments. Kaiman said that if a simchat bat should take place during COVID-19 and Zoom is used, perhaps guests can light their own tea candles at home, and offer their blessings for the baby as part of the ceremony. Guests can also leave well wishes on Zoom, livestreaming or other video platforms used. The Reconstructionist movement, www.ritualwell.org, offers a variety of creative ways to conduct a baby naming that includes traditional and new prayers that include finding unexpected outdoor locations, such by the sea or a river, where one can hold this simcha, in addition to a synagogue’s indoor sanctuary or a home. Eichler-Levine said that Jews have long tinkered with the tradition, and today’s baby namings show how “we are absolutely living in a fascinating moment for creativity around gender and Jewish ritual.” ì
Here are some other resources to learn more about the baby naming ceremony: www.anitadiamant.com/ books/the-new-jewish-baby-book/ www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1158837/jewish/ The-Laws-of-Jewish-Names.htm www.myjewishlearning.com/ article/baby-ceremonies/
Poppy and her parents are all smiles a week before her first birthday in June.
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Serenade Honors Immigrant Anniversary Gus Garay, his daughter Liz and friend Julia Johnson on flute entertain Paula and Bill Gris in front of their home.
By Bob Bahr
Paula Gris will never forget her first trip to America. It was 1951. She was just 13 and a Holocaust survivor when she, her younger sister and her mother came from Europe on the USS General Stewart, a Navy troop ship that brought displaced persons to America after World War II. It was the music she heard on that ship that made such an impact on her. “The first song I learned coming over was ‘Oh! Susanna,’ which says, ‘I came from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.’ The GIs on the boat wanted to entertain us and to make us more Americanized before we landed. It’s imprinted in my memory.” So it was only appropriate that when the Holocaust surviATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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vors program at Jewish Family & Career Services wanted to commemorate her arrival in America 69 years ago, they did it with music. But because Paula and her husband Bill are confined to their home during the pandemic and couldn’t drive to the performance, JF&CS brought the music to them. On a sunshine-filled day earlier this summer, Paula and Bill put on their face masks and stood on their front porch just off Lavista Road in Toco Hills for the concert that the social service agency put together, with proper social distancing, in their driveway. Gus Garay, who volunteered to play for the couple, provided the music. He remembers “Oh! Susanna,” as well. It was one of the first things he learned to play on the piano when he was six. His mother and father were im-
migrants too. They came from the Philippines, just before he was born in 1970. For the pop-up concert in the driveway, he brought along his 15-year-old daughter Liz, who played the viola, and her friend, 17-year-old Julia Johnson and her flute. Music, he believes, is a way of bringing people together. It helps connect young and old, Jew and gentile, a Holocaust survivor and a son of Philippine immigrants. “There’s something quite remarkable about that for us. I’m Catholic. We’re playing for Jewish people. It’s something that connects all of us, you know. And I think it’s something that, particularly in this time, with the pandemic, there’s something that is peaceful or that is uniting about that. I can’t put a value on some-
thing like that.” The music program is part of an effort to bring more human connection to those Holocaust survivors who are unable to leave their homes. According to Amy Neuman, who manages the Holocaust survivors program at the agency, it’s one way to break the isolation so many of them feel because of a fear of contagion. “Many of our older survivors don’t have access or don’t have an interest in virtual programing. We feel like the pop-up concert is a little way to bring joy to them. Many survivors are cooped up in their homes. So, we’re trying to think of other ways to let survivors know that we’re thinking of them and help them feel connected to the community.” For Gris, there wasn’t much
1 2 1 Paula and Bill Gris watch the concert from their front porch.
3 music while she was growing up in Romania, where she was born just before the start of World War II in Europe. It was no small miracle that she survived at all, when so many children and adults did not. She was 4 when she and her mother were sent to a slave labor camp in Transnistria in the Ukraine. For two years, she took care of her little sister during the day while her mother worked in a rock quarry to help build roads for the Nazis. Later, after she came to America, married and settled in Atlanta, she earned an education degree at Georgia State University. She taught for 18 years at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy, now the Atlanta Jewish Academy, and was actively involved in building Congregation Beth Jacob. She has lectured frequently about her experiences, most recently last fall at The Breman Museum. Her recollections of the war years and her life in America are part of the oral history project at The Breman. In a lengthy interview, the transcript of which is available online, she talked about the gratitude she felt for having come here almost 70 years ago. It was something that was so evident during the concert Garay, his daughter and their friend presented in front of her home in June. “Since I came to America, I don’t think there’s been one day that I have not felt extraordinarily grateful for living in peace, for not being afraid. I say that without exaggeration. The awareness of the blessings of peace have been with me all the time.” ì
2 Informal dancing on the lawn of the Gris home during the concert.
3 Paula Gris, right, and her mother and younger sister survived the Holocaust and came to America in 1951.
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The lower deck was decorated in case of rain. Balloons by Gayle Rubenstein of Balloons Over Atlanta.
By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Habif Goes All Out for Princess Soiree
Event planner Sherry Habif spent the past few challenging months “twiddling her talented thumbs” when the pandemic waylaid her array of events focused on the William Breman Jewish Home and its auxiliary. Habif lamented, “I let my friends know that I was available to socially distance, mask up and decorate small house parties, especially for children, as I was itching to use my creative decor skills!” Then a family approached me to execute their daughter’s fourth birthday princess party. “This was right up my alley, as there were so many decorative “pink” items that I own and stored from baby naming parties spanning the years.” ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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Habif was given the challenge: four guests, the birthday girl and four additional parents, close friends of the family who were socially distanced at separate tables, away from each other and the children. Nothing can keep down a lavish spirit like Habif. The party’s set up: The bottom deck of the home had two shades of pink balloons hanging from the ceiling with two fabulous bouquets of pink and hot pink balloon clusters accented with clear balloons with confetti, pink stars, and an oversized number 4 marking the birthday. The Happy Birthday balloons were hot pink with polka dots and a princess tea cart that held the favors that each child took home, filled with unicorn,
troll and princess candies. The happy balloons were by Gayle Rubenstein of Balloons Over Atlanta. The rain plan was to move everything under the deck of the house onto the patio, as it could accommodate all. The menu: Lunch was presented on a fluffy pink tablecloth with strips of pale pink, white, and hot pink hanging down the table along with fresh cheese pizza, a favorite of the birthday girl and her friends. Following was pink chevron containers of cucumber, carrot and celery sticks, with a side cup of ranch dressing dip. Colorful fresh fruit was served in a clear cup with jumbo blueberries, watermelon sticks, and cantaloupe cubes. For dessert, each child
was offered a cup of vanilla or chocolate ice cream presented with mini pink cups of assorted mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, and sprinkles. Nothing more fun than making your own sundae! The cake was by Instagram star Gretchen of Gretchen’s Bakery, who also made cake popsicles. So the guests could take home a slice of cake, which was moist vanilla with vanilla buttercream. As an additional treat, Elizabeth Schmitt of ATL Boards, made a candy board with cascades of miniature candies matching the birthday cake. Add in the décor: Habif chose a princess tablecloth with fans of the Disney princesses, princess napkins, and multicolored forks and spoons. A Happy Birthday sign
was the tablecloth runner. The birthday princess was adorned in a royal blue gown with coordinating kiddie heels and a jeweled tiara, seated at the head of the table on her royal princess chair enjoying her four friends. A precious princess bear was dressed in a lavender, mauve, purple, hot pink tulle dress adorned with a princess crown and scepter. The birthday girl sat on her throne with a background of a gold crown fence as she overlooked her custom Elsa and Anna princess cake in shades of blue, decorated with characters from the movie “Frozen.”
During the event, guests enjoyed a princess castle bouncy house and the live entertainment featuring performers Elsa and Anna. Habif concluded, “What a fun blast of a birthday party! The child was so excited from the beginning to the end and threw me socially distanced kisses and a big hug with her tiny hands! “I hope to do more of these unique and creative events and am currently helping two clients with weddings for next summer of 2021 and spring of 2022.” Habif should also begin planning this princess’ bat mitzvah in 2029! ì
1 1 One of Habif’s dessert tables features an Elsa and Anna princess cake in shades of blue, decorated with characters from the movie “Frozen.”
2 Children enjoyed a princess castle bouncy house. 3 The menu included healthy fruit and veggies overlooked by a tulle bear with crown and scepter.
4 Performers Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” made a live appearance.
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Fall Simcha Announcements
Have something to celebrate? Births, B’nai Mitzvah, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays and more ... Share it with your community with free AJT simcha announcements. Send info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benjamin Charles Schube
Talia and Jeremy Schube of Atlanta proudly announce the birth of their son Benjamin Charles Schube, on July 31, 2020. Grandparents are Maxine and Keith Schube of Atlanta and Claire and Julian Rachman of Dallas, Texas. Great grandparents are Judy Finkel and Stanley Schube of Atlanta. Benjamin is named for his great-grandmother Brenda Schube and great-grandfather Charles Lagnado.
Sloane Brian Taylor
Amy Koonin Taylor and Michael Taylor proudly announce the birth of their daughter Sloane Brian on July 26, 2020. The overjoyed grandparents are Eydie and Steve Koonin of Atlanta and Vicki Jackson and Robert Taylor of Chevy Chase, Md. The beaming great-grandparents are Carolyn Chayet and Harriet and Bo Koonin of Atlanta, and Theodore Jackson of Chevy Chase, Md. The baby’s name was chosen to honor Amy’s late best friend Brian Waronker. Sloane takes after her namesake already with her contagious energy and sense of humor.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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Zoe Pearl and Levi Myles Gordon
Levi Myles and Zoe Pearl Gordon, children of Shelley and Marcus Gordon, became bar and bat mitzvah Aug. 15, 2020, at their Sandy Springs home, with friends and family joining in via Zoom and with Rabbi Brian Glusman officiating. Levi and Zoe are rising eight and seventh grade students, respectively, at The Davis Academy. The proud grandparents are Eleanor Gordon and Robert Gordon of Atlanta and Burke and Vivian Margulies of Virginia Beach, and Judith Margulies, of blessed memory. They are members of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs. When Levi isn’t playing the drums or mountain biking, he enjoys building his DJ business. Many hours of the week, Zoe, a competitive gymnast, can be found at Perimeter Gymnastics at the Marcus JCC or at home working on her latest graphic art project. Both children’s mitzvah projects promote literacy. Levi volunteered his DJ services at Or Hadash’s Day of Service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. while Camp Ramah Darom had a book drive and a dance-a-thon Jan. 20. Zoe will be sponsoring a new and gently used book drive at the kids’ car parade celebration and plans to donate all collected books to local schools in need.
Mayah Gabrielle Loventhal
Mayah Gabrielle Loventhal became a bat mitzvah Aug. 1, 2020, at Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell with proud parents Gary and Michal Loventhal and equally proud siblings Ellie and Talia, as well as immediate family in attendance. Mayah attends Hightower Middle School in East Cobb where she will begin eighth grade. Proud grandparents are Nomi and Richie Binenfeld of Marietta, Yuval and Dana Harpak of Karmiel, Israel, and Rita and Bill Loventhal of Dunwoody. Mayah’s mitzvah project has been making bracelets with proceeds benefiting the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, as well as being an activist for the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Sharla and Brian Kahn of Atlanta announce the engagement of their daughter Hayley Danielle Kahn, to Adam Jeremy Levinson, son of Jo Levinson Jaffee and Daniel Levinson of Westport, Conn. Hayley is the granddaughter of Joan and Gerald Berger of Atlanta and the late Joan and Bernard Kahn of Atlanta. Adam is the grandson of Marilyn and Herbert Cantor of Norwalk, Conn., and the late Jo Ann List Levinson and Peritz Levinson of New York. Hayley graduated from Vanderbilt University with dual degrees in medicine, health and society and Spanish. She is currently employed as a senior brand manager at Anheuser-Busch in New York. Adam graduated from Vanderbilt University with dual degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics. He is currently employed as a venture capital associate at Millennium Technology Value Partners. An upcoming wedding will be planned in Atlanta.
Maxine and Keith Schube of Atlanta announce the engagement of their daughter Alana Ivey Schube to Brian Samuel Teitell, son of Betsy and Todd Teitell of Dallas, Texas. Alana is the granddaughter of Judy and the late Paul Finkel and Stanley Schube and the late Brenda Schube. Brian is the grandson of Sherley and the late Sidney Teitell and the late Sylvia and Norman Cohen. An October 2021 wedding is planned. The couple will live in Atlanta.
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Beth and Gregg Paradies of Atlanta announce the engagement of their daughter, Katie Dara Paradies, to Bryan Jeffrey Dinner, son of Janice and Dean Dinner of Scottsdale, Ariz. Katie is the granddaughter of Gloria and Myles Haffer of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the late Judy and James Paradies of Atlanta. Bryan is the grandson of Janice and Albert Dinner of Denver, Colo., and Sondra Eastham and the late John Eastham of Albuquerque, N.M. Katie graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and currently is pursuing her MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, Katie plans to join Bain & Company. Bryan graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in public policy and currently is pursuing a JD/MBA at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and The Wharton School. An August 2021 wedding is planned.
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Valerie Kulbersh and Benjamin Myers were married July 1, 2020, in Duluth, Ga. The intimate, socially distanced ceremony took place overlooking the Chattahoochee River in the backyard of Benjaminâ€™s grandmother Dottie Lischkoff. The couple was married by Rabbi Scott Colbert of Temple Emanu-El. Valerie and Benjamin recited their vows surrounded by immediate family, with additional family and friends joining the festivities via the internet. Valerie, a native of Atlanta, runs her own communications strategy business. She is the daughter of Amy Brownstein Mencher and Bill Kulbersh. Benjamin, a Savannah native, is an MBA graduate and second lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve. Benjamin is the daughter of Linda Udinsky and Jere Myers. Benjamin and Valerie look forward to an epic honeymoon at some point in the (hopefully) near future. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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Evelyn Alexander Turns 103
Evelyn Alexander celebrated her 103rd birthday July 23. She was born July 23, 1917, and was raised in Brooklyn by Russian immigrant parents with her brother and sister and three orphaned cousins, whose parents died during the 1918 flu pandemic. They all lived in a one-bedroom apartment. At night the cots came out in the living room! Her father was a tailor and made all their clothes and winter coats. Evelyn’s parents spoke Yiddish and Russian and the family also spoke English. She graduated early from high school and worked at Macy’s. In 1932, she married Frank Alexander.They had been married 72 years when he died at age 96. Every time he got promoted, they moved: Michigan, Kentucky, Atlanta, California and back to Atlanta. When Frank retired, Evelyn went back to work at Georgia Power, answering phones and helping customers. She worked there for 10 years and made many friends among her co-workers who love her dearly and still keep in touch. They have been seeing “Mrs. A” on her birthday every year for a big lunch at LongHorn Steakhouse.This year, there was no lunch because of COVID, but many sent cards and called. On her birthday, her son and daughter-in-law Gary and Sam Alexander visited in her living room for lunch, bringing her requested Chick-Fil-A and a big bouquet of flowers. She FaceTimed with her grandson and great-grandson who live in Los Angeles. Her other son and daughter-in-law Ken and Glenda Alexander brought Chinese food and more flowers for dinner. She has two sons and daughters-in-law, three grandsons, five great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Evelyn has a loud, clear voice, is only 4-foot-7 and has a great sense of humor. She has been living independently, cooking, doing her own laundry and cleaning house until recently, when she needed a caregiver. 49 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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The AJT thanks all our advertisers and asks Jewish Atlanta to support these businesses, letting them know you saw them in the 2020 Fall Simchas and Celebrations STYLE magazine. Alluring Cosmetic Dentistry 770-642-9900 www.alluringcosmeticdentistry.com Amy Barocas/Peggy Feldman – Harry Norman Realtors 404-790-0913 www.barocasfeldmanteamweb.harrynorman.com Atlanta Custom Closets 404-255-0589 www.closetpro.net
Balloons Over Atlanta 404-231-3090 www.balloonsover.com
Belmont Village 404-252-6271 www.BelmontVillage.com
Blue Orchid Productions 678-261-6185 www.blueorchidproductions.com
Atlanta Fever Entertainment 770-998-2338 www.atlantafeverent.com
Bruster’s Ice Cream 404-320-7166 email@example.com
Aviva Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics 678-974-8435 www.avivaplasticsurgery.com
Buckhead Theatre / Live Nation 470-351-3862 www.specialevents.livenation.com/buckhead
B’nai B’rith International – Achim/Gate City Lodge 770-289-8964 www.facebook.com/bnaibrithATL
Cakeology 770-905-4874 www.cakeologyatl.com
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to Advertise cAll: 404-883-2130
Chattahoochee Nature Center 770-992-2055, ext. 250 www.chattnaturecenter.org
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Atlanta Fine Homes, LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each franchise is independently owned and operated.
Georgia Aquarium 404-581-4000 www.georgiaaquarium.org Grbinich Wines www.grbinichwines.com Griller’s Pride 770-454-8108 www.grillerspride.com
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Diamonds!!! 1820 Independence Square # C, Dunwoody, GA 30338 (770) 396-3456 Max Haviv www.hajewelry.com Graduate Gemologist
Owner 51 • STYLE MAGAZINE
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Jim White Designs 404-462-4787 www.jimwhitedesigns.com
Jon Shapiro - Re/Max Around Atlanta 404-735-3855 firstname.lastname@example.org juLuv www.juLuv.com
JustKibbitz 954-205-1352 www.justkibbitz.com
Soiree Catering & Events 404-467-1699 www.soireecateringatlanta.com Spring Hall Atlanta 770-613-9973 www.springhallatl.com SRI Travel 770-451-9399 www.sritravel.com
Keith’s Corner BBQ 404-250-1227 www.keithscornerbbq.com
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Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta 678-624-3121 www.alpharettamarriott.com
The Carlyle 404-351-8835 www.thecarlylevenue.com
Lipsey Mountain Spring Water 770-449-0001 www.lipseywater.com
McKendrick’s Steak House 770-512-8888 www.mckendricks.com Mojave Restaurant 770-858-1720 www.mojaverestaurant.com
Old Edwards Inn and Spa 828-526-1783 www.GlenCoveLifestyle.com
Right Image Company 404-452-2333 email@example.com
Roberts-Shields Memorial Company 678-784-2100 www.rsmemorial.com
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Visit Sandy Springs 770-206-1447 www.visitsandysprings.org
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Sufi’s Atlanta 404-888-9699 www.sufisatlanta.com
The Center for Plastic Surgery at MetroDerm 404-835-4191 www.metroderm.org The Dusty Coin 404-263-2967
The Wedding Dance Napkin Designed by Janet Galanti 404-580-9276 firstname.lastname@example.org Tower Beer, Wine & Spirits 404-881-0902 www.Towerwinespirits.com
Zoo Atlanta 404-624-5650 www.zooatlanta.org/plan-an-event
WE’RE OPEN! MONDAY-SUNDAY 11AM-10PM
Proudly serving the community for 17 years! Now, Atlanta's only FULLY KOSHER Ice Cream Parlor (AKC Certified). We have plenty of space, bring a blanket or a lawn chair and please remember socially distance! Ask about our catering services for your next corporate event (options available), wedding, party, Bat Mitzvah, and other special occasions!
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Learn about our community response to COVID-19. Visit belmontvillage.com/covid19 ©2020 Belmont Village, L.P. | PCH 8036
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Right Image Company 404-452-2333 Dani Weiss Photography
Fun and playful photographer specializing in People and events! New to Atlanta with 30 years as a photographer in Seattle. Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Family Portraits, Corporate events, Parties and Weddings.
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Jewish Atlanta’s Stylish Simchas and Celebrations