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Cover photo: Ready, set, go: Among the carnival games at the outdoor bat mitzvah of Marion Kogon was a tricycle race. She’s pictured here, center, surrounded by her family.
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12 Brickman Celebrates
75 Years Since Bar Mitzvah
14 Marion’s Fun Factory Bat Mitzvah 16 Potts Boxes Up Joy in Mitzvahs 18 Why Bother Celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah? 20 Love Was Just Around the Corner 24 Love Among the Flowers 26 Planner and Doctor Combine
Skills for Wedding Plan
30 Welcome Little Lyla Rose
32 Cooking Up Simchas in the Kitchen 34 You Are Cordially Invited 36 Putting Judaica On the Gift List 38 Health Experts Caution
Against In-Person Simchas
40 Happiness is a State of Mind 42 Jewish Wit and Wisdom 44 Advertisers Directory 46 Marketplace
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Life of the Party
The simcha landscape has certainly changed in the past year of the pandemic. What hasn’t changed is Jewish Atlanta’s ability to part-ay however we can. With alterations, ingenuity and imagination, young and old are celebrating their milestones. From a baby naming to an 88-year-old bar mitzvah, we spotlight simchas that go beyond the traditional, as many Jewish celebrations seem to do these days. We start with community leader, author and retired dentist Perry Brickman, who recently celebrated the 75th anniversary of his bar mitzvah at age 88, reciting his entire Torah portion and haftorah outdoors in a mask. He recounts some of his family history from Chattanooga, Tenn., through World War II to his pandemic simcha in Atlanta. Next up in our issue is the bat mitzvah of Marion Kogon, who had a little family history of her own. She’s the third generation to share the same Torah parshah. Later, Marion took her celebration outdoors with a carnival twist. Learn about an event planner who creates themed care packages delivered to guests to create a festive mood even through online celebrations and make guests feel included. In our wedding section, we share a story about the boy and girl next door, well sort of. A wedding planner and her OBY-GYN doctor husband combine their skills for a safe celebration, complete with a personalized greeting from a celeb client. When it comes to colorful outdoor celebrations, a prime locale is the Atlanta Botanical Garden, one newlywed couple in this issue tells us. Talking about flowers, Lyla Rose’s baby naming included an explanation of her first name’s Hebrew origins and her middle name’s connection with multiple generations of family members with a similar blooming moniker. As simchas move from grand hotels to Zoom screens and intimate homebased options, we visit with a chef who offers in-person and online cooking classes for special occasions with a focus on one of the main attractions of any party – the food. We also have stories on the latest styles in invitations and popular Judaica gifts for all occasions. Lastly, we consult with health experts about simchas during the pandemic, and we bring you contributor Allen Lipis’ latest on how to find happiness, along with a little “Wit and Wisdom” he shares to leave us with a smile. ì
Kaylene Ladinsky Kaylene Ladinsky Editor & Managing Publisher
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Brickman Celebrates 75 Years Since Bar Mitzvah
1 2 3
By Chana Shapiro
Perry Brickman leads by example. However, in December, he achieved a rare, and too often inimitable accomplishment. If there are other elders who have matched his recent milestone, we have yet to find them. At the venerable age of 88, during the raging pandemic, Brickman celebrated the 75th anniversary of his 1945 bar mitzvah by perfectly chanting his entire Torah portion and haftorah outdoors at Congregation Ohr HaTorah. This was while wearing a mask. Brickman’s contributions to Jewish life in Atlanta and beyond are great in number and even greater in impact. The thread that unites his far-reaching acATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
complishments is that all address essential Jewish needs: support of Israel, community-building, rectification of injustice, funding day schools and launching university scholarships.
Perry Brickman was born on the first day of Chanukah in 1932, in Chattanooga, Tenn. His family called him their “Chanukah baby.” Perhaps he was destined to shine light where it is needed, emanating from his home and spreading beyond. Both sides of his family were active members of B’nai Zion synagogue, an Orthodox congregation established in the late 1800s. Perry went to its
5 rigorous cheder (Hebrew School), and he took it to heart. “I led a dual life,” he explains. “I attended a public elementary school until 3 p.m., crossed the street and got into a black sedan, which picked up more passengers and delivered us to our cheder across from the shul. After cheder, I walked eight blocks to my parents’ Dixie Coal Company yard and came home with them. One of very few Jews in my elementary school, I made many lifelong nonJewish friends, yet I totally identified as Jewish. Being Jewish was a big part of my life and becoming a bar mitzvah was a natural religious step.”
Chattanooga bar mitzvah
Brickman’s Shabbat morning bar mitzvah celebration was typical of the era. The synagogue chazzan (cantor) chanted the majority of the weekly Torah portion, and he, like other bar mitzvah boys at the time, recited the blessings and maftir (the last portion) from the Torah and the haftorah (a related passage from the prophets). Brickman still has the speech he delivered, typed by his father on five pages of Dixie Coal Co. stationery. “It was Dec. 1, 1945. World War II was over, and we were ex-
7 vah readings began at Ahavath Achim, and over the years continued at Congregation Beth Jacob and followed at Congregation Ohr HaTorah.” Since that time, Brickman has shared his skill many times in many settings, including the 2012 annual meeting of Alpha Omega dental fraternity in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was privileged to read Torah at four Council of Jewish Federations General Assembly meetings (New York, Washington, D.C., Denver and Atlanta.) He explains, “For me, reading Torah is like maintaining a direct contact with God.”
a ‘shehakol,’ [the blessing made over non-grape-based spirits], but I wasn’t aware of any special libations.”
Torah reading era
9 cited about the possibility of a new land for our people,” Brickman remembers. “There was a big crowd of family and friends. After the service, everyone walked downstairs to the social hall for the Kiddush. My great aunt Gertie Albert, a kosher caterer from Syracuse, N.Y., supervised the reception. In addition to the usual chopped herring and kichel, she prepared taiglach, strudel and other fancy desserts. Maybe the older men shared
In the early 1980s, when Perry and his wife Shirley were members of Ahavath Achim Synagogue, Assistant Rabbi Marvin Richardson taught a Torah reading class, which Perry eagerly joined. A visit to Israel immediately following the Six Day War in 1967 had rekindled his religious commitment and learning the trope (cantillation) for the Torah and haftorah appealed to him. “I had played clarinet and saxophone in my high school orchestra and band and could read music; therefore, I read the notes and learned the trope without much effort. The 38th anniversary of my bar mitzvah was coming up, and with Rabbi Richardson’s encouragement, I was able to layn [recite] the entire Torah portion and haftorah. My annual bar mitz-
2020 could have been a year in which Brickman was unable to read Torah in a communal setting because of strict age limits on shul attendance, and he and his family were disappointed because they had been looking forward to the significant 75th anniversary of his bar mitzvah. “Three weeks before my ‘due date,’ I was walking for my daily exercise. My neighbor Daniel Wenger, Ohr HaTorah’s gabbai, oversees the Torah readers. He greeted me and respectfully made me an offer. ‘Rabbi Starr and I want you to know that, if you wish, you can read Torah on your bar mitzvah anniversary. We will observe strict rules to avoid COVID transmission.’ I readily ac-
cepted and was blessed to be able to read Torah in celebration of my 75th anniversary. “My family was not able to attend the special service, but after services Rabbi Starr, Daniel Wenger, Jay Cinnamon, Hillel Glazer, Jonathan Sadinoff and others came by our house and serenaded Shirley and me with ‘Yismachu,’ one of my favorite songs from the Shabbat Musaf service.” Even though photographs couldn’t be taken during the Ohr HaTorah bar mitzvah ceremony, the occasion was recorded in the Brickman family history. The close-knit family members preserve and share their experiences with each other and are building their own family archive of photographs and ephemera. Brickman concludes with this message about the importance of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum’s archives. “I urge everyone to collect family records and make them available to the community archives, as our family is doing.” ì
1. Perry’s bar mitzvah photo with his family: Perry, mother Ida, sister Rita, and father Myer.
2. Perry and Shirley at a party in the 1990s.
3. Perry and Shirley Brickman,
center, honored by Israel Bonds in 2012, pictured here with son and daughter-in-law Jeff and Susan, daughter Lori, grandson Joseph and daughter Teresa.
4. Brickman at home after publication of his book “Extracted.”
5. Perry became a bar mitzvah at Congregation B’nai Zion in Chattanooga.
6. Perry and Shirley Brickman in 2018.
7. Celebrating Chanukah last year
were Perry Brickman, Jason Morse, Lori Freeman (holding Cody), Jeff and Susan Brickman, and Shirley Brickman.
8. Perry’s confirmation class in
Chattanooga in 1947. Perry is second from right in the back row.
9. Brickman’s speech: The first page of Brickman’s bar mitzvah speech on his father’s coal company stationary with Hebrew speech corrections in Brickman’s handwriting. 13•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Marion’s Fun Factory Bat Mitzvah
By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Epstein School student Marion Kogon made her October bat mitzvah weekend a special series of smaller events in contrast to the mega gala originally planned. Mother Sara recalled, “We started on Marion’s bat mitzvah well before COVID. We have a large family and were planning to host a whole weekend of festivities at the InterContinental [Buckhead] Hotel, where we were married. When COVID hit, we had to pivot! “Planning a simcha in the middle of a pandemic can be hectic, especially when you had envisioned a huge, fun, celebratory
weekend. We made the best of it with smaller festivities throughout the weekend.” The Saturday morning service was at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue with Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal and Rabbi Sam Blustin. Marion was the third generation to have the Bereishit parshah alongside grandfather Marty Kogon and dad Ross. In her d’var Torah, Marion spoke about how, before COVID, people took too many things for granted as opposed to her newer appreciation for even the small things. Her parents’ charge to her was focused on the “to do list for life” that she wrote at age 10:
■ Make women’s rights all around the world ■ Create a professional women’s softball team ■ Solve Atlanta’s parking problems ■ Make it to the NBA ■ Make people believe in unicorns.
Marion’s mitzvah project was Creating Connected Communities, which provides lifeenhancing programs to children in need by empowering teens to become engaged volunteers. She created over 100 packages with toys, activity kits and school supplies. The Kogons worked with
Tara Kornblum of Bluming Creativity. Sara said, “Tara must have planned and replanned this event four times. She worked with the hotel to negotiate various contracts, then helped us manage cancellation of existing contracts and planned the new event. We wanted to have a celebration in a very safe way and decided on an outdoor carnival with food trucks. Tara worked with Factory Atlanta in Chamblee to use their parking lot – never done before.” Sara noted that Kornblum saved them stress while they were homeschooling four children in the spring of 2020. The details began with artis-
Patti Covert at Scenesations Photography // Marion is surrounded by her parents and siblings Gerald, Morris and Freyda.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
5 1. Marion’s father Ross and Uncle Michael customarily dress in identical gag outfits.
4 tic Marion designing her logo, starting with pastels and then creating a carnival twist. Sara said, “It was important to feel Marion’s personality while being young and feminine. The central piece of the décor was huge white letters ‘Marion.’” Monte Carlo Productions set up the carnival and provided a sanitizing team that wiped down the games after each person played. The Kogons wanted safety to be first and foremost. Everyone was asked to wear a mask at all times. The games were virtual skiing, skee-ball, a life-size Operation game, carnival ring toss, strong man, tricycles in a course – a huge hit – plus a dance floor. The food was fun and plentiful.
2. Marion shows off a carnival game. 3. Marion wore a white party dress paired with a denim jacket and matching Nike Air Force sneakers before changing into a black jumpsuit. 4. Tables set up outside. 5. Marion designed her own logo and signage.
Raising the Bar, a mobile bar truck, was fully stocked with wine, beer and liquor. The signature drink for the adults was apple spiced bourbon, and for the kids, a Marion-tini (Shirley Temple).
Other food trucks
Willy’s – nachos, quesadillas, burritos;
Flatbread Bistro – assorted vegetarian pizza, macaroni and cheese; Bishoku – sushi boxes (vegetarian, California roll, spicy tuna);
YummY’s Funnel Cakes – ice cream, fried oreos; Ash Sweet Creations – candy
bar – color-themed candies with logo; Cakeology – cake pops.
Having fun with fashion, Sara exclaimed, “I have always been into matching kids’ outfits, so I wanted to make sure that all of our outfits were color-coordinated. I wore a white jumpsuit and comfortable wedge sneakers. Ross and his brother Michael are very into wearing costumes and decided to match in cosmicthemed suits. The bright purple/ magenta colors coordinated with the party theme. These outfits were a big hit!” Marion donned two outfits: a white party dress paired with a denim jacket and matching Nike Air Force sneakers. She changed
into a black jumpsuit for dancing and game playing. The lineup was Shabbat dinner at Judy and Marty Kogon’s (Added Touch Catering), Saturday backyard Kiddush (Breadwinner Café), Sunday brunch theme “Spacecats,” all in addition to the carnival night. Sara has no regrets. “I only wish that we could have had all of our friends and family there. We just had to keep the party small due to health and safety concerns. My parents Naomi and Jeff Stoneberg were able to fly in from Boston, which made it special along with Judy and Marty – all four grandparents!” ì 15•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Potts Boxes Up Joy in Mitzvahs
1 By Marcia Caller Jaffe Laura Potts has been planning events for 14 years, the past nine of which were in her own firm Sugar Event + Design. Along with the tide of COVID changes, Potts dove into the creativity by home delivering themed b’nai mitzvah boxes. She recalled, “We began moving and postponing events on March 13. By April 1, we had successfully moved all events through June to dates further into 2020 and 2021. Little did we know that all of our events from then on would be further postponed, downATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
sized or cancelled altogether. “The concept of Zoom bar and bat mitzvah services was a hard one for many of my clients to wrap their heads and hearts around. How would they be able to connect with grandparents, cousins, college and camp friends across the country and around the world?” Potts pitched the concept of sending guests that were only able to attend via Zoom a box of items they would have given in welcome bags or as favors to the guests along with items they had already ordered and produced, kippot, programs, branded boxes and
2 items with logos. Some even included fresh-baked challot or monogrammed sweatpants for staying home. Potts strove to connect and use vendors that were in her local small business circle. Nancy Joffre from Celebration Concierge and Suzanne Simkin from Imprint Theory assisted with branding. Yummy Delicious Cookies produced sweets that matched the theme and logo for each box. Poppa Corn’s provided custom flavored popcorn in bags topped with personalized logos. Potts continued, “Boxes reached the guests amidst the
joy of receiving something unexpected, coupled with the note from the child, promoted text messages and phone calls that helped the family get excited for the coming week and the service that would be shared virtually.” The boxes range in cost from $12 to $60 depending on the size and contents. Shipping ranges from $8 to $42 and up for some of the international packages.
Here are some of the mitzvah celebrants and their boxes:
Laura Pollock Parents Libby and Jeff Pollock
Laura’s theme was “This Girl is on Fire.” Each box included a candle, matches, Havdalah spices, kippot, gumballs, cookies, face masks, pom poms and the bat mitzvah program. The family was allowed 10 inperson guests at Temple Emanu-El. As the first family to leverage Zoom for a mitzvah there, they set up a big screen so Laura could see all of her guests. Then the same
1 & 2. Laura Pollock’s theme was “This Girl is On Fire” with orange, yellow and hot red colors. 3 & 4. Levi Perlstein’s theme was “Game On” with a University of Texas Longhorn feel.
5. Local event planner Laura Potts strove to include local vendors in her themed boxes with fun swag, goodies and more importantly, prayers and kippot.
Levi Perlstein Parents Deb and Josh Perlstein 10 guests came to the Pollock’s house afterwards for a backyard, socially distant celebration. Mom Libby said, “This was not anywhere near the celebration we had originally planned for May, but she [Potts] worked really hard to make it a wonderful and special celebration. We sent the packages to everyone on the original guest list.”
Levi’s theme was “Game On.” The Perlsteins reached out to Potts because, in “normal” times, they recalled she had done a great job with their daughter’s bat mitzvah. Levi’s party was originally scheduled for the Concourse Athletic Club basketball court. The revised version was 10 family members in October at Temple Emanu-El with 150-plus Zoomers. A week in advance, 25
“Potts designed” boxes were delivered and another 20 were shipped. Mom Deb emoted, “We are University of Texas Longhorn fans and wanted to tie into bold orange. The box was a fun assortment of Big League Chew Bubble Gum, an orange foam number one finger, cotton candy and cookies. Kippahs and prayers importantly included.”
Devin Curtis Parents Binay and Jonathan Curtis Binay Curtis in Marin County, Calif., was impressed
that her friend got a beautiful box all the way from Georgia. She said, “We needed a quick turnaround and we tracked down Laura Potts to whip up 100 boxes with a sports theme. Curtis’ dad is a New York Yankee’s fan, and they used a similar logo and sports theme throughout. Devin’s box scored as “Game ON!” and included stadium popcorn, chocolate baseballs, a postcard greeting, kippot, and fan finger number one. The original bar mitzvah was scheduled for a b’nai mitzvah Israel trip with his first cousin and immediate family before the switch to the Zoom home version. ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Why Bother Celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?
By Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder
Strictly speaking, according to Jewish law, becoming a bat or bar mitzvah is both a much bigger and much lesser deal than one might think from our modern American celebrations. Once a child reaches the “age of majority,” they become obligated in all the ritual responsibilities of a Jewish adult. As Jews know, this is a big responsibility. But even if we do not celebrate the moment of transition, the obligation befalls us. In other words, even without the synagogue service or the party, one becomes a bar or bat mitzvah. So why bother with the ritual? Indeed, in earlier generations, the occasion went generally unmarked for girls and was low key for boys. But in the modern era becoming a bat or bar mitzvah has come to mean a service with a significant focus on the child and a fancy celebration. But it is also much more than that. In earlier times, 13 might have been the true start of adulthood. Today it marks the beginning of the transition into a period of growing up. That means increased responsibility. As exciting as that may seem, with ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
responsibility comes the hazard of making mistakes, having to own the decisions you make and uncertainty about your ability to guide your own destiny. D o n e right, the celebration of a bar or bat mitzvah can help prepare a young person for this transition. One of the most common answers I hear from students when I ask why celebrate, is that we are having a ceremony for my parents or sometimes grandparents. But children on the cusp of adulthood are beginning to understand that they will face choices about what they do in life and do not have to do things just because it makes their parents happy. This is the perfect moment to ask a young person why they are doing it for their elders. In asking, often I learn about how much students love and admire their elders. At this critical developmental moment being able to articulate what is valuable in that relationship. I encourage students to sit down and ask these elders why this ritual and by extension Judaism matters. Not only is the content of the conversation important but learning to have such discussions is valuable. The very act of taking time to talk about big ideas with b’nai mitzvah families models for them the possibility of new forms of discussion within the family that can be helpful as both parents and children learn to navigate this new stage of their
relationship. And sometimes the answers surprise me and even the student themselves. The very first time I asked a group of students this question, a girl broke into tears. “I thought,” she explained, “I was doing this for them. I’m realizing, I’m doing this for me.” Without pausing to reflect, she may have missed this critical truth. The cusp of adulthood can also be a particularly lonely time. As we come away from childhood and begin to explore possibilities of who we may become, the world is wide open but also uncertain. Will we be liked? Will we succeed? Where do we fit in? There are endless answers to these questions and no guarantees, but a bar or bat mitzvah celebration stands as one answer to the uncertainty. The ceremony is a reminder that you are not alone. Family and friends stand with you. And you are the center of your community. While some may decry the fancy parties as moving away from the purpose of celebrating bar or bat mitzvah, I see it as amplifying the sense of self as part of larger wholes that counter the narratives of marginality that are far too common for our young people. This may seem obvious; it is worth pausing and noticing and naming this as valuable. As such it can become a touchpoint to reflect upon when the doubts of adolescence set in. Of course, it is not all about the child. On the contrary. The act of participating in and leading elements of a service place the individual child in the context of an enduring tradition. Even as the child shares their own take on the Torah portion, they are just a small piece of the whole. They are a footnote in an eternal community. Not only is it appropri-
ately humbling, but it is also key for young people to know, especially when they falter, that they are part of something that will endure no matter what. As important as they are, being part of a service is a reminder that they do not need to take on the weight of the world on their own. As adolescents, we begin to wonder if we will be able to actualize our childhood hopes and dreams. Taking on the task of preparing to lead a service and speak to a community demands that most young people step forward well beyond their comfort zone. Every time a student worries that they can’t learn this or that, I encourage them to persevere. I remind them that there is no grade for how well they do it and no consequence if it does not work out as planned. Then in the weeks before the celebration, I ask them to reflect on all they have achieved, which is usually a great deal more than they anticipated. That sense that with support and hard work you can do more than you thought, that, too, is something that every young person should know about themselves. Taking time to reflect on the why of bar and bat mitzvah celebration can add a great deal to the process of learning and to the celebration itself. At a time when a young person is stepping into a new role, the ritual of bat/bar mitzvah offers them an opportunity to reflect, garner support, and build towards the future. And that is worth celebrating. ì Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder is the director of education at Be’chol Lashon, an organization dedicated to racial diversity in Jewish life.
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Love Was Just Around the Corner
1 By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Paige Philipson and Mitchell Alterman grew up in Atlanta, minutes apart. They went to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School and Riverwood High School just blocks apart, attended the same synagogue, became b’nai mitzvah the same month in the same year. Yet they didn’t meet until after college. Paige recalled, “We briefly met at a bar and shared a ‘hello,’ but it wasn’t until we matched on JSwipe that our love story began.” The love story became a milestone on Nov. 21 at the St. Regis Hotel in an all-toonew-normal COVID Plan B. The beauty, emotion and details were all intact. Prior to that, Mitchell, the director of business development at The Icebox, proposed on Sept. 1, 2019, in Hilton ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Head, S.C. Paige, a senior talent acquisition specialist at Tinuiti, recounted the special moment. “Hilton Head is my favorite place in the world. My grandfather (Harry Maziar) takes our extended family on an annual summer beach trip. We stay in the same house; and it’s the absolute best week spent together! Mitchell surprised me and got down on one knee right on the beach in front of my parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and his mom, dad and brother!” The wedding was originally planned for June 27, 2020, but postponed to November with COVID on the rise. As the date inched closer and after much consideration, they decided to keep the new wedding date, changing several details to make it safer. They went from 300 guests down to 70 with
only wedding party and family. The actual ceremony was private and open only to immediate family. Guests watched a livestream of the ceremony from outside the doors while they attended a mini cocktail hour with champagne and canapés. Then all moved to a full cocktail hour with seafood bar, mini stations and safely passed hor d’oeuvres. Dinner was a four-course meal starting with potato leek potage soup. The second course was seafood and the third, a hand-carved beef tenderloin. They finished with a vanilla chiffon cake with Bavarian cream, raspberry jam and fresh strawberries. Paige said, “We are total foodies! The food was incredibly important to us. “ J. Wilbur Smith at EventScapes handled the décor and flowers for the entire
3 1. Mitchell proposed in front of the whole mishpachah on the Hilton Head beach.
2. Chuppah ceremony with Temple Sinai Rabbi Ron Segal. Left, groom’s brother musician Joey Alterman.
3. Bride and groom wanted bold and unusual flowers. 4. Dance floor and band stage
vendors for the occasion Band: Big Swing and The Ballroom Blasters Photography: Reichman Photography Videographer: Adam Siegel Invitations: Jenny’s Paper, Ink Dance Floor: Atlanta Dance Floor Audio/Visual: The Magnum Co.
Hair and makeup: Jennifer Nieman
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
7 8 5. The wedding cake was vanilla chiffon with Bavarian cream, raspberry jam and fresh strawberries.
6. The St. Regis ballroom. 7. The estate table was central at the St Regis.
8. The band was Big Swing and The Ballroom Blasters. 9. The full cocktail hour included mini stations. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
weekend. The bride and groom wanted a wedding full of color: roses, hydrangea, dahlias, nerine lilies, peonies, hot pink bouvardia, spray roses and cherry blossom branches. Paige emoted, “Smith made all of our dreams come true.” Terry Saxe at SpecialTevents was the wedding consultant. Paige recalled, “My mom and I would not have gotten through the planning process without Terry. She was faced with so many challenges throughout the process and handled every one of them with poise and grace. During such a trying time, she kept us calm and confident that this day would not only happen, but would be safe and flawless. While faced with the challenges of COVID, she provided innovative and creative ideas to ensure the most wonderful and safe environment to celebrate our marriage.” In terms of handling stress, Paige noted, “Planning a wedding is hard enough; add a pandemic on top of it, and it’s daunting. Mitchell and I had a lot of twists and turns thrown our way, but made sure to always support each other at every single one. We always focused on the fact that we were getting married and starting our lives together as husband and wife – nothing else mattered.” Parents and grandparents present were Hal and Lisa Philipson, Harry and Sherry Maziar, Richard and Marty Alterman. Author and community leader Maziar, aka Pop, made the rehearsal dinner toast: “Marriage is and should be the most important thing in your lives. Absolutely, never forget that. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Mitchell concluded, “I loved how intimate the wedding was. We were able to create a safe space to celebrate becoming husband and wife surrounded by some of the most important people in our lives.” ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Love Among the Flowers
1 By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Valerie Shuping, a senior program manager at Uber, and Sam Hansen, a graduate Master of Business Administration student at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, married at the Atlanta Botanical Garden Oct. 3. Even though both grew up in Atlanta, they did not meet until 2013, as neighbors in Washington, D.C. Valerie noticed ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Sam was wearing an Atlanta Falcons jersey, and the rest is history. Sam proposed in Meridian Hill Park after walking with Valerie through the landmarks of their relationship – where they lived, where they first met, and place of first date. Both Valerie’s and Sam’s parents traveled from Atlanta for the occasion, and Sam planned a post-proposal celebration with friends at a nearby bar.
3 Originally, the couple planned to get married at The Estate in May 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans. When it became clear that a 200-plus person wedding wasn’t feasible, they moved the date to October. Then Plan B also wasn’t go-
ing to work for 200-plus guests, so the couple decided to downsize to 17 people and hold the event at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Legendary Events president Dave Lishness recalled, “They chose Atlanta Botanical Garden for its beauty and
Photography by Garter + Whiskey //
1. Legendary Events pivoted to a fall theme after the wedding changed from May to October.
2. Rabbi Steve Lebow invoked words from Ruth Bader Ginsburg that the couple valued. 3. Valerie and Sam had a spontaneous fun moment inside the Atlanta Botanical Garden lights.
4. The couple opted for a vanilla cinnamon pound cake.
access to the outdoors, which was important for COVID safety. In addition, they could continue to partner with us for catering and florals since we worked so well together during the planning of the original event. “Your Party by Karen was
the wedding planner for both the original and the smaller Atlanta Botanical Garden wedding. Valerie originally loved the classic Buckhead venue The Estate, and she wanted a modern, garden feel. Working with Valerie and her mother Debbie, Robert Hall and Sandi Horgan of Legendary Events designed just that,” Lishness said. “Changing the venue, Legendary created a new look with fall flowers and draped the Alston Overlook arbor to create a modern chuppah. Dinner was also changed to a more fall-inspired menu, but the vanilla cinnamon wedding cake works for any season!”
The ceremony was held in Alston Overlook and was officiated by Steven Lebow, rabbi emeritus of Temple Kol Emeth, where Valerie’s family are members. Rabbi Lebow asked Valerie and Sam to tell each other, “I will support you as you have supported me,” which rings true to their relationship. This appealed to the couple’s dedication to gender equality and also honored the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who wrote that line and passed away shortly before the wedding. Rabbi Lebow followed those vows with, “You may embrace each other for the
first kiss of your marriage.” Valerie wore a Laudae dress from Atlanta bridal boutique The Sentimentalist. She said, “The modern lace pattern was exactly what I was looking for, and we combined the cut of one dress with the fabric of another to create a unique and personalized look.” Bristle + Bride did hair and makeup for Valerie and her mom Debbie. Cocktail hour and dinner were held in the Robinson Gazebo. Though the event was in October, the Atlanta Botanical Garden had already begun setting up for their Garden Lights, Holiday Nights exhibit, so the gazebo featured a bonus of beautiful hanging lights overhead. The menu included appetizers tuna tartare on a wasabi macaron and mini fried chicken and waffles followed by a seated dinner choice filet of beef or halibut with couscous, broccolini and roasted tomatoes, preceded by salad. The wedding cake was vanilla cinnamon pound cake with chocolate ganache, served alongside a scoop of cinnamon ice cream. Valerie and Sam are planning to have a larger celebration this September at The Estate, but much is still uncertain about how the event will be structured. Sam said, “While we are looking forward to hitting the dance floor with family and friends, we are so grateful to have been able to get married in such a special intimate event. We never would have planned a 17-person wedding otherwise, so the fact that this turned out beautifully and memorably has been a silver lining of these tough several months.” ì 25•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Planner and Doctor Combine Skills for Wedding Plan
2 1 By Marcia Caller Jaffe
Amy Ackerman was living in Manhattan while doing business in Atlanta when she met future husband Dr. Michael Randell. “There aren’t any Jewish guys in New York, so I had to fall in love with one in Atlanta,” Amy said, jokingly. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Michael, originally from Miami, popped the question on a sunny afternoon in September 2019 while the couple was walking along Fort Lauderdale Beach. They then set out to arrange a large wedding for 300 guests before COVID-19 upset their plans. Amy, owner of JDV Occasions event planning in
Brookhaven, continued, “We pivoted to a micro-wedding, but that didn’t stop me from desiring the big details I’ve always dreamed of. COVID interfered with a lot of things, but I wasn’t going to let it disrupt my wedding vision.” Michael, an OB-GYN in Sandy Springs, was concerned about the “what ifs” with COVID and examined data daily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine a safe number of guests. The couple settled on 30 guests in a space for 400 at Summerour Studio Aug. 15. They hired Jim White to
design a romantic wedding with inviting warmth and exquisite sophistication. “The décor needed to soften the space and make it feel intimate while keeping things spread out because of COVID,” Amy said. White added sheer floor-to-ceiling drapery and mirrored pedestals between the tables, which contained bouquets of flowers along with votives and multi-level candles. The drapery served to create private dining areas for the guests to feel comfortable. Dramatic floral chandeliers were suspended over the dining tables. The couple sat at a glass sweetheart table containing
3 Photos by Laura Stone Photo //
1. The couple listens to wedding toasts at their sweetheart table in front of Summerour’s iconic staircase lined with votives.
2. Ackerman wore an Enzoani ivory lace gown while Randell sported a classic Ralph Lauren tuxedo.
3. Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple officiated under the flower-laden chuppah. The tallit of Ackerman’s grandfather was suspended above.
4. Frosted Pumpkin Gourmet designed a towering wedding cake of vanilla genoise with mocha mousse filling atop a floral upholstered column.
5. Added Touch catered a seven-course meal. Individual wedding cakes adorned with mini roses were served to each guest
5 27•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
7 6. Guests dined under floral chandeliers and cascading flowers suspended from the ceiling.
7. The couple share smiles with their wedding party in the Summerour courtyard.
6 a border of flowers and candles. “Even though we were at a table for two, the design made us connected with our guests. It was so uniquely special while also adding safety,” Michael said.
Special touches Guests staying at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta hotel were greeted with large wooden trays with monogrammed hand sanitizer, custom masks and delicious treats. Guests’ names were printed on cards with an individual welcome message and a weekend schedule. For the rehearsal dinner, Michael produced a montage of the couple’s courtship, edited into a music video and containing a ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
personalized congratulatory message from Grammy Award winning artist Ne-Yo. Michael had delivered the singer’s first two children. Before the wedding ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails along with an elaborate sushi station, passed hors d’oeuvres in individual boxes printed with the couple’s logo, and an acoustic guitarist. Espeute Productions operated a Zoom station. “Our virtual guests told us they felt like they were there in person,” Amy said. Viewers were able to watch the couple’s choreographed dance and other special moments. Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple officiated the ceremony, personalizing his messages to the couple and recognizing family and friends who were unable to travel to Atlanta because of the
pandemic. The chuppah featured flowers that tied into the rest of the wedding, including Amy’s bouquet containing garden roses, peonies, ranunculus and eucalyptus.
The menu Added Touch Catering crafted a unique seven-course menu featuring burrata salad with peaches, English pea ravioli and Chilean sea bass. “Having traveled a lot and eaten at unique restaurants around the world, we wanted this to be a one-of-a-kind dining experience to share with our guests,” Amy said. To remain COVID safe, individual wedding cakes were created for each guest echoing the style and elegance of the featured cake. Each was meticulously decorated with fresh floral and set atop a crystal pedestal. “Michael and I love cake and we were excited about this surprise addition for our guests. This was one of my favorite touches of the night,” Amy said.
The couple offered their advice for others planning a wedding during a pandemic:
1. While taking appropriate precautions, don’t let COVID distract from the joy of the day. You are marrying the love of your life, and that is what truly matters.
2. Hire a professional team of vendors that you trust and who understand who you are. They are instrumental in bringing your wedding day dreams to life in a safe manner.
3. Your wedding day should feel like you. You should walk into the room and say, “This is so me.” 4. Small touches everywhere make a big difference in not only the look of your wedding, but the overall guest experience.
5. A wedding is a very special time in every couple’s life and goes by quickly. Enjoy your time being engaged and planning your wedding. ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Welcome Little Lyla Rose
1 3 By Marcia Caller Jaffe
The lights of Chanukah amid a pandemic elucidated the world entry for Lyla Rose Engelhard for an at-home socially distanced baby naming. Parents Chana and Blake Engelhard assembled a spiritual, heimishe and pretty in pink Dec. 15 event. The official naming took place at Congregation Beth Jacob with Rabbi Ilan Feldman as part of the Toco Hills community. New dad Blake addressed the adoring family group at home by explaining the multilayered derivation of Lyla Rose’s Hebrew name Lyla Yehudit. He began by explaining how he and Chana first learned Torah together around the theme of receiving the Torah and in understanding nightfall. (Lyla means night in Hebrew.) “In the secular calendar, ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
first there is day, then came the night. After receiving the Torah, we switched, like Shabbat, where the holiday begins the night before. The Jews flipped it! Night has the potential of youth bringing the light just around the corner in the morning versus the secular vision of day representing youth as we age into the night. “This aligns with Chanukah, based in darkness, where Jews brought light. Being in the shadow of the corona virus’ darkness and difficulty, we have the opportunity to look optimistically and bond over that. A baby born during corona and Chanukah, [the] essence of darkness, ties us together.” He went on to explain how the middle name Rose is obviously a fragrant bloom but connected to multiple generations on both sides of the family with
the name Rose and Rosa. Further, he added, Yehudit was the Chanukah heroine in selecting the name. “I had a wonderful matriarch Judy (Yehudit) who was always pleasant, making jokes and blowing kisses from her wheelchair – even in dark times, always making the best of the situation.” Preparing for the event, family members swept in to help. One major surprise was the arrival of paternal great-grandmother “Grammy,” who flew in from Weston, Fla., while grandfather FaceTimed from home. The food and decorations came together very quickly in under 24 hours by Blake’s mother Suzy Engelhard and her close friends. The kosher cake was from Ali’s Cookies. Pink pearl luster letter balloons were from Party City. Chana, who is from Bergen-
field, N.J., met Blake at a Shabbat dinner in Manhattan. She is a personal stylist and wardrobe organizer, usually for adults. She took time out of her company and clients to style her fashionable little daughter in designer clothing from Montreal. Lyla’s “full-bloomed fabric” headband was a gift from her Aunt Miriam. Fast forward, Blake beams that Lyla has dimples and sleeps for longer stretches. “She is now reacting to us and able to focus on our faces and different objects. She started reactionary smiles this weekend, and it was very exciting. She is very precious.” Blake is in marketing/business development for Goodr, an app that requests unused food pickup and delivery from hotels, restaurants, airports and the like for extra food that would normally be discarded. He is a grad-
Photos by Beth Intro //
1. Blake and Chana chose care-
fully to name Lyla Rose/Yehudit. An outfit in shades of rose fits well with Lyla’s middle name.
2. Leah and Reuven Escott,
maternal grandparents, pose proudly with Chana and Lyla Rose.
3. Paternal great-grandmother Barbie “Grammy” Engelhard, and paternal grandmother Suzy Engelhard kvell over Chana and Lyla. 4. Lyla Rose was peaceful in her
5. Ali’s Cookie’s cake “Welcome to the World” was cheerful and floral.
6. Colorful desserts ended the festive meal.
uate of Riverwood High and The Wharton School. His Smith/Harris family roots extend from Ocilla, Ga., home of special relatives Martha Jo Katz and Raye Coplin. Blake explains that his biological father Lee Harris died very young, and Blake was lovingly adopted by Hadley Engelhard. “I remember raising my right hand at age 7 to legally become his son,” he said. Mom Chana summarized the birth of their new daughter. “Having Lyla was a miraculous experience. The baby naming felt ceremonial in a time where our only opportunity for ceremony is in our small pods. It felt hugely significant having our child enter into our wonderful family surrounded by family members and knowing all of the great people she comes from and bringing her into our beautiful tradition.” ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Cooking Up Simchas in the Kitchen
1 By Stephanie Nissani
A visit to the home of Johns Creek chef Zehavit KaidarHeafetz is enough to understand her inalienable passion for cooking and food. During a recent interview with the AJT, she was busy preparing a blood orange citrus salad with black olives and cilantro for guests. KaidarHeafetz indulged the AJT with her signature extra chocolate babka cake, homemade sweet challah, sesame cookies, and a variety of flavored hamantashen. Kaidar-Heafetz is known for gathering friends around different kitchens where she is invited to deliver her decades of knowledge and recipes. In some virtual cases, she sets up two cameras in her kitchen for people to Zoom from the comfort of their homes.
Although the owner of Baking Smiles was not formally trained with a culinary degree, she continuously studies the science behind food, the process of cooking and baking, textures and the history of dishes. She said she is determined to share her tricks and tips that will “sharpen your baking skills, techniques and styles.” She directs birthdays, bachelorette and engagement party workshops, whether virtual or face-to-face. Her workshops are not just about baking a quiche, eating it and leaving. They involve learning, observing and conceptualizing the science of food. Zoom workshops are also appealing during the pandemic as an alternative to restaurants. Kaidar-Heafetz supplies workshop kits based on her cli-
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ents’ recipe requests, such as challah, chocolate cakes and shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish composed of eggs, tomatoes and spices. She also began offering gluten-free workshops featuring her fruit sushi, prepared with soy paper, avoiding the use of food coloring, and instead substituting butterfly pea flower, beets powder, pitaya powder and the like. Having an intimate evening with a few close friends can be more exhilarating than finding yourself in a large crowd waiting for your dish to be served, according to those the AJT consulted for this story. “I think I’m most impressed with the depth of Zehavit’s knowledge, especially with breads and doughs,” said Kate Melioris, who used Baking Smiles for her
2 birthday. She said she was also astonished to discover KaidarHeafetz’s ability to bring back a tomato pie, like the kind Melioris’ husband remembers growing up in Utica, N.Y. She remembers failing several times at baking it until Kaidar-Heafetz showed up and presented her dough and saucing skills. Melioris used Kaidar-Heafetz for another occasion: a surprise healthy brunch for which she guided Melioris and her sister in how to bake instead of fry and preparing three types of balsamic dips, olives, cheeses and homemade pickles. For another occasion, Kaidar-Heafetz was called by Daniela Shefler, who used the workshop for her at-home 50th birthday party with 10 of her closest friends. “This workshop was
8 7 amazing. Zehavit arrived with very special recipes, all fresh and high-quality ingredients. She guided us in the process of preparing the food with detailed and easy explanations, humor, laughter and a great atmosphere. She comes very well-prepared and does everything from her heart and with a big smile.” Those interviewed for this story said they used Baking Smiles to create an adventurous and intimate evening. “My friends made it very special,” Shefler said about her party, “and Zehavit’s skills and energy added so much. It made the evening even better. Dancing and singing while cooking is a great way to prepare dinner and have fun all together.” While watching KaidarHeafetz’s precision in chopping and dicing the vegetables in her newly renovated kitchen, it’s easy to see how this is the place she showcases her personality and expresses herself through taste and
7 smell. “I have all these books to choose recipes from,” she said, indicating her large collection. “But the sections I love the most are the introductions that teach you the history of the dish. I am also a fan of The Food Lab books that go in depth with science of all things, temperature, ingredients, portions, etc. It is important for me to acquire as much knowledge as possible, but also, I think that it’s significant for others to know. It’s interesting and creates a qualitative workshop and that’s what I’m all about.” In addition to conducting face-to-face workshops, KaidarHeafetz holds Zoom classes to teach adults and children the art and history of cooking. Before the pandemic, she also led in-person group baking and cooking classes at the Marcus Jewish Community Center in Dunwoody. Melioris said, “I have done lots of online and in-person
classes, and usually learn something. Unfortunately for many [virtual] classes, the instructions tend to be marginal, and the instructor is either passionless or just plain dull. Not Zehavit! She clearly loves what she does, and it comes across in how she interacts with everyone. It’s exciting and entertaining; it’s fun!” The chef-instructor also is strict about following COVID safety, Melioris said. “Zehavit keeps an immaculate kitchen and is extremely conscious of hygiene. I would not hesitate to set up an ‘in-person’ session with her. The fact that she can combine a small in-person session with Zoom to enable larger groups makes her events a perfect venue for gettogethers, even though you have to stay apart.” Chanala Rubenfield, co-director of Chabad of Chesterfield, Mo., collaborated with KaidarHeafetz on a program in which participants prepared seven desserts in 70 minutes. Since then, the two have worked on shakshuka workshops, baking and salad workshops.
Rubenfield believes the Zoom workshops can be more personable than in person. “Everyone is in their home, relaxed, guards down, not all dressed up and feeling like you have to [dress to] impress. I think it gives insight into people, how they are in their homes, which allows for a more authentic connection.” ì
1. Kaidar-Heafetz caters a brunch. 2. Kaidar-Heafetz’s signature challot.
3. Rosh Hashanah basket of breads and goodies.
4. Homemade dough spread out on pebbles.
5. Kaidar-Heafetz seasons her baked cauliflower.
6. A birthday workshop
incorporates homemade tastes of the Middle East.
7. Children participate in a challah baking workshop.
8. One-on-one baking class with Kaidar-Heafetz.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
By Flora Rosefsky
You Are Cordially Invited
Even during COVID, when simchas were put on hold or downsized into a virtual celebration, selecting an invitation is still an important component of event planning. E-mailed invites are popular and easy to send without postage and return envelopes these days, but for those opting for a more traditional invitation that comes in the mail to be saved as a keepsake, a well-designed paper invitation wins out. In some cases, a paper invitation received before the pandemic was followed with postponement or future save-thedate cards. The AJT spoke to two locally Jewish-owned businesses that specialize in making simcha invitations and cards that sparkle with good taste and creativity while manifesting their client’s person-
alities and preferences into the designs. Meet native Atlantan Jackie Garson Howard, owner of Paces Papers by Jackie. Since 1974, she has worked with many Jewish families, some of whom spanned three generations. Customers navigated through her portfolio of designer invitations or collaborated with her or her graphic designers and illustrators to find a favorite look for their simcha invitations. Howard works with the bride or a parent with their bat or bar mitzvah child to select the particular papers, textures and colors they like best, along with the exact envelope lining and even kind of stamp to use for mailing. Although USPS stopped offering custom stamps last summer, Howard continues to work very closely with her clients to select the stamp that, like an accessory, enhances the
invitation. Most importantly, she and her team are very knowledgeable about weight and size and how that affects postage costs. The beauty of handmade papers and ribbons comes through with printing methods such as letterpress, thermography, engraving and lithography. In addition, added touches such as professional handwriting services to address invitations are often suggested. Howard shares a few tips with the AJT: ■ For brides, if you want to have your fiancé involved, he’s got to be there from the beginning, and before decisions are made so you don’t get your heart hurt. ■ Don’t just use black ink for the addressing on the outside envelope; consider the color of the printed invitation and use that color on the envelope’s front. ■ If you plan to hire a
professional to address your envelopes for a bar or bat mitzvah invitation, consider using handwriting services versus calligraphy. ■ Include the child’s Hebrew name under their English name for bar/bat mitzvah invitations. Create a personal logo, a distinctive look that speaks to your personal brand and what you love. Paces Papers is more than a custom design and fine stationery boutique. Because of its close relationship with clients and ultimately generations of Atlanta families, it is often an extension of the event planning team. As Howard reminds her clients, the invitation is your very first impression. This was even more evident during the pandemic. As weddings and other social events that had been months in the planning began to unravel as the reality of COVID
9 10 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
set in, brides and event planners called Paces Papers seeking guidance on the appropriate etiquette to follow to essentially “uninvite” guests to an event that was now either postponed indefinitely or canceled altogether. Robin Zusmann, who has owned Paper Matters for 20 years, specializes in custom- designed invitations. She spends time consulting with customers to learn their style, favorite colors and budget before creating their personalized invitation. During COVID, clients set up on-site consultation appointments at her Dunwoody location using CDC guidelines or met virtually, as needed. In addition to traditional paper invitations, she also prints on acrylic, wood, fabric, and other materials. One of Zusmann’s Atlanta bat mitzvah invitations incorporated a striking black Atlanta skyline in the design while another used a camp theme printed on handmade paper that looked like wood. In addition to invitations, Paper Matters can order the coordinating pieces that go with the event such as napkins, kippot,
thank you notes, favors, programs, and menus. Zusmann said that in our electronic age, it’s encouraging to see that handwritten thank you notes are still being used by those celebrating simchas to show appreciation for their gifts. She recommended sending out “save the date” cards six to eight months prior to big events to let guests plan ahead and make travel arrangements. Another suggestion is to send an electronic replica of your wedding or mitzvah invitation a week prior to your event with the Zoom link if any or all of your service plans are virtual. Regardless of whether your event is smaller than originally planned or had to be postponed because of COVID, there are experienced designers in Jewish Atlanta offering a variety of choices and advice to help make the invitation component of your simcha meaningful and memorable. ì
1. Twin brothers Aaron and Ilan have drinks named after them for the occasion. 2. The twins’ invitation folder includes details about the weekend celebration. 3. A bar mitzvah invitation designed by Paper Matters had a contemporary look. 4. A bold red, white and blue bar mitzvah invitation that coordinates with a sticker that seals the envelope was designed by Paces Papers by Jackie. 5. Two sisters share their bat mitzvah invitation designed by Zussman. 6. Laila Rocks food boxes. 7. Paces Papers designed a logo for the bat mitzvah celebrant. 8. Zussman used rolled gold foil and raised black ink when designing this wedding invitation. 9. Using handmade paper that looks like wood, Zusmann
incorporated a camp theme for a bat mitzvah invitation. 10. Paper Matters took care of designing all the components needed to celebrate a bat mitzvah with a beach theme. 11. Bar mitzvah sports theme signage and accessories at the drink station. 12. Paper Matters custom designed a bar mitzvah save-the-date using a silhouette of Atlanta’s skyline. 13. Paces Papers incorporated a soccer ball motif in the design for the invitation and other cards for the simcha. 14. Using a theme of James Bond, Paper Matters created a bar mitzvah invitation.
14 35•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Putting Judaica On the Gift List
By Flora Rosefsky
There’s nothing wrong with signing a generous check to honor a Jewish lifecycle event such as a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, or milestone anniversary celebration. However, there are times to consider giving a Judaic object or jewelry with a Jewish twist either alone or in addition to a money envelope. The AJT spoke to a few Jewish Atlanta small businesses noted for their personal service that offer the kind of Judaic gift giving that often is treasured for a lifetime.
Israeli silk tallitot
The store’s name alone, Judaica Corner, sums up what owner Janet Afrah sells in her Toco Hill neighborhood shop – just Judaica and Jewish items. With her mother Rena Naghi, the pair help customers make selections. For wedding gifts, think challah boards, embroidered challah cloths, Elijah or Miriam cups, a mezuzah, ceramic painted dish for apples and honey, or a silver and glass honey jar. Afrah says an authentic ram’s horn shofar from Israel is something bar mitzvah boys like. Bat mitzvah girls gravitate to Jewish necklaces, but painted wood, engraved metal and glass dreidles can start a collection for them. Because of COVID, many Jewish families canceled their trips to Israel, where normally they would have picked out the bar or bat mitzvah child’s tallit. Today, those families pick out made-in-Israel hand- painted silk tallitot at the store. What catches your eye if you look closely inside the glass cabinet at the front counter are antique Persian miniature paintings on ivory made into pendants, an art form from Iran. When Afrah, her sister and parents left TehATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
2 1 ran during the Shah’s uprising to start over again in America, her father brought this jewelry with him, making a nice simcha gift.
Broken glass creations
A portion of owner Bob Brourman’s large Sandy Springs gift store, Fragile, showcases Judaic inspired gifts, many from his biggest supplier Michael Aram. Some of Aram’s items include menorot, Kiddish cups, mezuzot, challah boards, and honey pots made of different
metals, woods and other materials. For wedding gifts, Brourman buys colored glass Judaica creations from Shardz, a company in California owned by artist Fay Miller. The bridal couple preselects which colored glass the groom will use at the end of the Jewish wedding for the traditional breaking of the glass ceremony. After the wedding, Fragile ships the broken pieces to Shardz, where Miller uses the pieces to create a mezuzah, Kiddush cup or picture frame. Brourman says the Shardz glass
1. One of these colorful glasses found at Fragile are what a
groom breaks at the end of a Jewish wedding ceremony. 2. Mezuzot come from the studios of American designers, available at Aimee Jewelry. A picture frame for a bride that incorporates Shardz (broken vessel) can be ordered through Fragile as a wedding gift. 4. The Hebrew word Chai, available in gold or silver from H&A, can be attached to a chain for a simcha gift. 5. An authentic ram’s horn shofar imported from Israel sits on a stand by artist Gary Rosenthal at Judaica Corner. 6. In-house jewelry designers at H&A International Jewelry create necklaces appropriate for bat mitzvah gifts.
9 and resulting creation are always one of the first gifts taken off a bride’s registry.
Local jewelry designs
10 7. H&A can provide a necklace made with the Hebrew name of a bat mitzvah girl.
8. Tal Moran, jewelry designer at Aimee Jewelry created one-of-akind menorah earrings using two red carnelian stones.
9. The challah board and knife,
along with an applique challah cloth, make a meaningful wedding gift to last a lifetime, available at Judaica Corner.
10. A gift of a dreidel from Judaica Corner can start a b’nai mitzvah student’s collection.
11. California artist Fay Miller creates a mezuzah with broken glass to fulfill a Fragile bridal registry gift request.
In downtown Decatur, Tal Moran is an Israeli born artist and jewelry designer who works at Amy Elfersy’s Aimee Jewelry and Gallery. With a designated space in the store’s back room, Moran designs and creates oneof-a-kind jewelry in gold and silver, gemstones and pearls, diamonds and even 3,000-year-old pieces of Roman glass found by archeologists in Israel that can be given as bat mitzvah, celebratory anniversary or bridal gifts. By appointment, the designer can also work individually to select which stones and metals to use in a custom-designed order. The store carries other jewelry pieces from a variety of Jewish designers such as Hagit Gorali from Israel or from Georgia: Debra Lynn Gold, Susan Saul, Deb Karash, and Julie Simon, along with other American artisans. During COVID, the store follows CDC guidelines and has limited in-store hours, but can also offer virtual service through Zoom, if needed.
After observing New York City’s 47th Street jewelry district with its wholesale pricing, Haim Haviv duplicated those concepts in Atlanta when he founded H&A International Jewelry. Known for its wide array of fine jewelry and diamond sales in its Dunwoody location, H&A also offers gift items appropriate for bar and bat mitzvah celebrants. Crafted Stars of David, colorful hamsas in silver and gold, and the Hebrew Chai letters become pendants. For bat mitzvah gifts, diamond stud earrings or Hebrew script necklaces are often gifted, while watches are popular presents for a bar mitzvah. For those celebrating a wedding or milestone anniversary, H&A also offers custom jewelry created in-house. Haviv said he occasionally also brings in jewelry from Israel. So when looking for a present for a simcha, consider visiting a local Jewish-owned business, where personal service comes with the purchase, and you can find a meaningful Judaic-inspired gift to honor the occasion. ì 37•STYLE MAGAZINE
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Health Experts Caution Against In-Person Simchas
By Jan Jaben-Eilon
During the last year, the Atlanta Jewish community has learned to adapt their celebrations to the new normal of living in a pandemic. Weddings and bar and bat mitzvah events have been held virtually or socially distanced outside to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Despite an increasing number of people getting vaccinated, healthcare experts say these precautions should continue at least for the next several months. “Frankly, it may be a bit too early to predict when the Jewish community – or any group of individuals – can begin havATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ing in-person simcha events,” said Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky, who works with the division of infectious diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our community is in crisis right now – and not just the Jewish community. We need all – despite vaccination – to continue to practice preventive measures such as mask wearing and social distancing.” According to Kozarsky, who is also an infectious disease professor emerita at Emory University, the vaccine is “not a ‘silver bullet’ nor a getout-of-jail-free card. It will prevent serious illness, hospitalizations and death, and we should all be thankful for
The vaccine is “not a ‘silver bullet’ nor a get-out-of-jail-free card,” said Dr. Phyllis Kozarsky.
Dr. Harry Heiman is concerned people will become complacent after being vaccinated.
that. We’re not sure whether it will greatly affect transmission right now, and there is such a small percent of our population immunized, it will take months to see changes.” As of mid-February, 33 million Americans had received at least one of the two vaccinations required. Only 10 to 20 percent had received both
vaccinations, according to Dr. Harry Heiman, a clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Policy & Behavioral Sciences in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. In Georgia, 1.2 million vaccines had been given, but only 250,000 people had received two shots, he added. Both Heiman and Kozarsky are among the small panel of experts that the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta have brought together in monthly meetings to advise leaders of the community about the coronavirus pandemic and how the Jewish community should respond. The short answer to when in-person simchas can be held
is not before late summer or fall, Heiman said. “And that’s being optimistic. During the last year, the community has been good in coming up with creative ways to celebrate and be respectful. Even after people get vaccinated, they still need to take precautions. Vaccines are not perfect and now we’re seeing the emergence of new variants.” According to Kozarsky, “in the next few months, we will know more about how these variants (mutations) will affect our community and vaccination.” Moreover, Heiman points out that the community should be particularly hesitant about holding in-person bar and bat mitzvah celebrations because children under 16 are not getting vaccinated for now. “There has been no testing for those under 12,” he said. “I can’t think of a worst scenario than to cause a person to be hospitalized, or worse, dying, as a result of celebrating a simcha.” Heiman said he is “very concerned” that people will become too confident in the vaccination process and let down their guards. “You should not change your behavior even after getting a vaccine,” he said. Vaccinations are “both individual activities and communal activities. They are individual responsibilities and communal responsibilities. Taking care of others is a Jewish value. We want to get to herd immunity, which would be 75 to 80 percent” of the population. Even if in-person simchas could be planned for late summer or fall, rather than having 200 people indoors, perhaps only 20 should be invited for an outdoor event, Heiman said. Kozarsky agreed. “Hold tight for now; keep as optimistic as possible; and get vaccinated when your time comes,” she advised. She added that everyone should encourage friends, acquaintances and family members to get vaccinated as well. ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Happiness is a State of Mind
By Allen Lipis
Happiness is a state of mind. You can have everything and still be miserable, or you can have relatively little and feel great joy. If you focus on what you have, you will be happy. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will be miserable. Your mood affects other people. No one wants someone harping on the negative. When you are unhappy and continue to talk about how unhappy you are, you will bring other people down with your unhappiness. They will talk about their unhappy events too because it is part of the conversation and they want to join in with their problems. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
I once heard that he was looka story about a ing for that night 35-year-old rewas missing. She ligious bachelor was not attracwho wanted to get tive enough, not married. He would smart enough, not go on lots of dates, religious enough. but he always said What was lacking after his dates that was different for he hadn’t met the every date. You right woman. His can find a flaw in friends, trying to almost anyone. be helpful, asked On the other him to describe hand, if you are the “right woman.” cheerful, smiling Allen Lipis He remarked that and friendly, you he wanted: “A playboy playmate, will like people and people will extremely attractive, brilliant like you. Even if you are alone, and so religious that she stud- you can write down all the blessied Torah.” While perhaps in ings you have in your life. If you jest, after every date, the most want to start the next day in a important trait in a woman happy mood, then before going
to bed make a plan to be happy and productive tomorrow. It just might work out exactly as you planned. It is possible to be a happy person most of the time. Happiness is a skill that can be learned. You begin by recognizing that facts are neutral. You have a job, your child is sick, your car needs to be repaired, and hundreds of other facts. How you react to facts is your decision. Thoughts come into your head. Much of the time, a thought just pops up without having control over it. Sometimes, your thoughts can change from one thing to another in a split second. As I am writing, for example, my thoughts jump from what to write, to the weather outside,
to what I heard on TV a short while ago, to how I feel. If you want to improve your happiness, then you have to control your thoughts and organize them. You create what you think. You are your thoughts, not where you are physically. Regardless of the facts out there in the world, you can see most of these facts as positive. You can follow my mother’s advice that: “Things are okay. It will be all right.” You have to ask yourself: How can I change my negative thoughts to positive thoughts? Think of the people who are worse off than you. So long as you have health and the power of sight, you are not poor. You are rich with the vitality of life. If it’s raining, it’s not a lousy day, it is good for the flowers and the garden. If you had a car accident, at least no one is permanently injured. If you are angry about a situation, maybe it’s helpful to suggest that there is a better way of acting in the future. Avoid letting your happiness depend on events beyond your control. You cannot do anything about them. These events are facts. You interpret what these facts mean to you. At first, it might seem fake to do that when your nature is to be more critical. You don’t want to lie to yourself, but you should recognize that you are in charge of how you think, and you can change how you see the world. You can change and it won’t be fake. It’s just that you see the world differently, more positively. The bottom line: The secret to being happy is to accept the facts as they are. Controlling your thoughts to see the positive side of a situation takes practice. That may not seem easy at first, but it is the right way to be happy. ì Allen Lipis is a regular columnist for the Atlanta Jewish Times who often writes about character development.
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
By Allen Lipis
Jewish Wit and Wisdom
I am a huge collector of quotations. I have several dozen books of quotations and I read them from time to time to enjoy seeing how, in only a few words, an important statement can be made about life. I thought I would list some of the best sayings I could find, most from Jewish celebrities or comedians. Enjoy.
To tickle your funny bone
You do research carefully, like a porcupine makes love. – Leo Rosten, writer
A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Show me a man who comes home in the evening, is greeted with a smile, encouraged to take his shoes off, has pillows arranged on the floor for him, and is served a delicious meal, and I’ll show you a man who lives in a Japanese restaurant – Joe E. Lewis, comedian
– Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood magnate
– Alan King, actor
I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better. – Sophie Tucker, singer
When I came to dinner, my mother had only two things on her menu, take it or leave it.
Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your children – Sam Levenson, comedian
There are two things that are infinite: the universe and man’s stupidity,… and I am not sure about the universe. – Albert Einstein, physicist
In New York City, a man borrowed $25 from a bank for six months to travel to Europe and left his expensive car as collateral. The bank thought it wasn’t necessary but did it. The man said to a friend, “Where could I park my car in Manhattan for that length of time for only $1.50?
– Buddy Hackett, comedian It takes 20 years to make an overnight success – Eddie Cantor, actor
– Bentley Drivers Club
Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies.
Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant. – Folk saying
Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are driving taxis and cutting hair. – George Burns, comedian
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Actor Alan King called his doctor saying he was very sick. The receptionist said, “How about next Wednesday?” King said, “Fine, I’ll have the hearse drop me off.”
- Milton Berle, comedian Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot. – Groucho Marx, comedian
At the racetrack, I follow horses, and the horses I follow, follow other horses. – Joe E. Lewis, comedian
Wisdom of the ages If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? – Rabbi Hillel
A salesman has got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory. – Arthur Miller, writer
There is no such thing as a free lunch – Milton Friedman, economist
Against every great and noble endeavor are a thousand mediocre minds. –Albert Einstein
It is not incumbent on you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.
The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any harm and how he treats people who can’t fight back. – Dear Abby, advice columnist
What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to them – Rabbi Hillel
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An angry man is unfit to pray. – Rabbi Nachman Breslov
A half-truth is a whole lie. – Proverb
When I get to Heaven, I will not be asked, “Why weren’t you like Moses, or why weren’t you like Abraham?” They will ask, “Why weren’t you like Zusha?” – Rabbi Zusha ì
– Rabbi Tarfon
You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try. – Beverly Sills, opera singer
It’s not how much or how little you have that makes you great or small, but how much or how little you accomplish with what you have. – Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch To have a friend, be one.
–Viscount Herbert Samuel, British politician
My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
– Benjamin Disraeli British prime minister
Experience is what we call the accumulation of our mistakes. – Folk saying
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
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Jewish Atlanta's Stylish Simchas and Celebrations