NEXT ISSUE: REAL ESTATE & PROFESSIONALS AND YOM KIPPUR
VOL. XCVI NO. 16
AUGUST 31, 2021 | 23 ELUL 5781
Happy Rosh Hashanah
Jewish Atlanta Shares Opportunities Seen For 5782 New Year
SHANA TOVA FROM CHABAD INTOWN
LEAP WITH US AS WE MAKE HISTORY
TAKE A LEAP FOR CHABAD INTOWN! TRIPLE YOUR DONATION AND LEAP WITH US TO CLOSE OUT THE CAMPAIGN! The bonds and warmth of community are more cherished now than ever before. This past year has challenged the world in unimaginable ways, but we stand firm in our faith that the future is bright! Together we are taking One Giant Leap For Chabad Intown. We are fortified with hope and resilience as we take off on our mission to build a physical and spiritual oasis. We’ve never stopped believing in a better future. And that begins today.
LEAP FOR HOPE. LEAP FOR RESILIENCE. LEAP FOR INTOWN.
$3.1 MILLION GOAL
WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US AS WE TAKE ONE GIANT LEAP FOR CHABAD INTOWN. Urban Atlanta is in
the midst of a revival and Chabad Intown is at the heart of it. As the world emerges into a post-pandemic reality, Chabad Intown is leaping to the frontline, fortifying all those who call Intown Atlanta home, with hope, faith, and resilience. Chabad Intown has taken upon itself to radically rejuvenate the soul of Jewish Atlanta. A donor has stepped up to donate $2.1 million dollars, challenging us to raise one million dollars of our own before the donor completes their pledge! This process will effectively triple every dollar raised over the course of the campaign.
Launched August 1, Chabad Intown will launch a unique fundraising campaign, with the goal of raising $3.1 million. Achieving this goal will complete this phase of our Vision 2020 campaign and will secure our future at the BeltLine. It is a leap forward we will take together.
TOGETHER, WE ARE TAKING ONE GIANT LEAP FOR CHABAD INTOWN. It is your partnership and support that inspire us to leap forward/bound back as a community. We are honored to grow alongside you, bringing unity and light to all who walk through our doors. Join us now and help Chabad remain a beacon of hope and resilience for the entire Intown community.
WILL YOU LEAP FORWARD TODAY?
Please join these generous donors who have made the Giant Leap in supporting this amazing Jewish community BeltLine Project! Elaine Alexander Jack & Zoya Arbiser Hal & Dorita Arnold Harold & Dolores Arnovitz Eliot & Phyllis Arnovitz Billie & Juli Bauman Dean & Kimberly Benamy Paul Benamy Frank & Gloria Ana Berenson Michael Godin & Ally Berman Sid & Laurie Besmertnik Andres & Sofia Bibliowicz Tomer & Jennifer Bitton
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NEWS The Future of Jewish Journalism By Jan Jaben-Eilon Just over two years ago, Mike Leven — then chairman and CEO of the Georgia Aquarium — became alarmed when he read that family funds estimated as high as $60 trillion would soon be transferred from the baby boomer generation to the millennial and Gen Z generations. He was afraid that the younger generations would not contribute a sizeable portion to the Jewish community. So, he co-founded the Jewish Future Pledge, calling on fellow Jews to leave at least half of their charitable funds to support the Jewish people and/or the State of Israel. The initiative was launched in Atlanta but has expanded around the country. On Monday, Aug. 16, Leven credited founding editor of Jerusalem-based Times of Israel, David Horovitz, for being his inspiration to initiate the pledge. The acknowledgement was made during a virtual panel discussion on “Jewish Journalism and the Jewish Future.” In addition to Leven and Horovitz, other panelists included Ami Eden, CEO and executive editor of 70 Faces Media, David Suissa, president of Tribe Media/Jewish Journal and Kaylene Ladinsky, AJT editor and man-
Mike Leven launched the Jewish Future Pledge in Atlanta two years ago.
According to Times of Israel founding editor David Horovitz, “the noblest aspect of journalism is to give people information, not just anger.”
aging publisher. “We know that Jewish journalism is extremely critical to the Jewish community
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“I love to publish writers who have an inner struggle,” said David Suissa, president of Tribe Media/Jewish Journal.
70 Faces Media CEO and executive editor Ami Eden said, “We’re telling the stories that define us as a people, as a community.”
and has great insight into where we are and where we may be headed, by nature of reporting on so many facets of Jewish life,” Leven said. “The aim of this panel was to share this message with our audience.” That audience of about 300 listened as the journalists examined the role of Jewish journalism, as well as its challenges. “Our role as journalists is to keep people informed, making sure we all understand what we’re grappling with,” said Horovitz. Included in that challenge is the fact that the younger Jewish population, according to several surveys, have less of a commitment to Israel and involvement in Jewish life. “The key word for me is balance, and integrity,” said Suissa, referring to the role of Jewish journalism. He stated that, “whatever will get you the most readership is not always sound. We must resist the temptation. We need balance of the whole Jewish picture.” Ultimately, Suissa said, “We’re storytellers and we’re keeping the great story of Judaism going.” Eden agreed with the role of storytellers. “We’re telling the stories that define us as a people, as a community.” He also called Jewish journalism a mirror. “We are the engine of self-reflection in the community.” Referring only to the North American Diaspora, Eden added that “if the media 100 years ago was teaching Jews to be American, now it’s helping American Jews how to be Jewish.” Ladinsky zeroed in on the Atlanta Jewish community, emphasizing the importance of keeping it connected with each other, especially in the last year and a half during the pandemic. “It’s important that they know the community is still connected and that we support them,” she said. The panel moderator, Nathan Miller, founder and CEO of Miller Ink, a Los Angelesbased strategic communications firm, raised the challenge of political and religious polarization in today’s world. While Ladinsky stated that she tries to publish both sides of an issue at the same time in order to launch a discussion, Suissa said he tries to find voices
Kaylene Ladinsky, AJT editor and managing publisher, said it’s been important to keep the Jewish community connected during the pandemic.
that have an inner struggle within them. “I love to publish writers who have an inner struggle,” Suissa said. “The idea is to provoke thought, rather than anger. Getting people angry turns me off.” According to Horovitz, “the noblest aspect of journalism is to give people information, not just anger. It’s important for democracy and humanity that there are journalism enterprises that try to be fair minded and try to report news fairly.” Suissa picked up on Eden’s idea of Jewish journalism being a mirror to the community, but said he also wants it “to be a window.” He believes that Jewish journalism should expose its readership to what they don’t do as Jews. “It’s part of building the Jewish future.” At 70 Faces, Eden offers a multi-brand strategy. “We try to hit a balance between being accessible and not talking down to our readers. We respect the different levels of knowledge,” Eden said. Leven said he is most concerned about the 25 to 40-year-old gap that “Jewish organizations haven’t spent time on.” He noted that organizations like Moishe House and One Table reach thousands of people, “but how does Jewish media reach them? That’s where we lose a lot.” Noting that many local Jewish newspapers have folded or gone only to online editions, Suissa said his fantasy is to see a comeback of Jewish newspapers. But “Jewish donors need to invest” in these newspapers, he said. Leven appeared to support that plea. “Jewish journalism is the lifeblood of a healthy Jewish community and ensuring a strong Jewish future. The Jewish Future Pledge was proud to share this message with our community around the world as part of a panel with several of the leading Jewish publications, which are strongly aligned with our mission.” He concluded the panel by noting that “this is a moral pledge, not a legal one.” ì
Family Decides to Mourn Jenna Van Gelderen By Fran Putney A memorial service for Jenna Van Gelderen, who was 25 years old when she went missing four years ago, was held at Shearith Israel on Sunday evening, Aug. 29. Without so far finding her, it is the first time Jenna’s family and the community have formally mourned her. In August 2017, Jenna was house sitting and caring for the beloved family cat at the Druid Hills home of her parents, Leon Van Gelderen and Roseanne Glick, while they vacationed. On the morning of Aug. 19, when Jenna’s brother Will came to the house, he found no sign of his sister or her car. Her purse, cell phone and strangely an Egyptian tapestry that had hung on the wall, were also missing. The front door was locked. Will filed a missing persons report, but days went by with no sign of Jenna, until a few weeks later, on Sept. 5, her car was found unlocked with her purse and a suitcase containing clothing in a northwest Atlanta neighborhood. There had been signs that someone else had likely driven the car, but no other evidence was discovered. “Four years ago, we gathered with candles and the shofar to call Jenna home. We believed with the help of God, law enforcement and the power of community, Jenna would return to us,” said Rabbi Ari Kaiman at the memorial service. “Our hope has grown diminished.” While there have been no confessions or arrests in the case, the family feels certain that Jenna was murdered and last week made a statutory petition to declare Jenna dead. The family continues to plead for anyone who has information to come forward and bring closure to the case. At the service, Jenna was remembered as a kind, loving, bright and funny young woman who cared about others and was well known among family and friends for her constant questioning. Jenna had been diagnosed with an Autism disorder that caused learning disabilities, and her family feared she was often too trusting in her eagerness to make friends. In 2019, Oxygen.com interviewed the Van Gelderens, as well as DeKalb County Police Captain Anthony Ford for a “Searching For” episode about Jenna’s case to spur interest and new information in the case. Eventually, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation took over the investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investogation lent additional expertise.
Jenna Van Gelderen has been missing since Aug. 19, 2017.
A 1935 family photo with Jenna’s namesake, Jennetta Van Gelderen. (photo courtesy Leon Van Gelderen)
At the memorial service, Leon Van Gelderen told the story about Jenna’s namesake, his Aunt Jennetta Van Gelderen, who, like his daughter Jenna, was also a caring person and died at a young age. (photo by Fran Putney)
Jenna’s mother Roseanne Glick remembered her daughter during the memorial service with warm stories about Jenna’s funny and caring personality. (photo by Fran Putney)
However, even a $50,000 reward produced no useful leads. At the service, Leon Van Gelderen spoke of his frustration with the police
investigation, but gave his sincere thanks to the Shearith Israel congregation for their support and Rabbi Kaiman in particular, who he said “has been a source of comfort and inspiration during this ordeal.” In addition to her bat mitzvah in 2004, Jenna’s baby naming ceremony took place at the shul in 1991. Leon explained that Jenna was named for his father’s sister (his Aunt Jennetta) who died during the Holocaust. Jennetta Van Gelderen was a nurse and caring for a disabled relative where the family lived in the Netherlands when she was captured by authorities. It was Jenna herself, several years ago, doing research, who found records showing that Jennetta had been taken on the same transport to Auschwitz as the famous young Holocaust diarist, Anne Frank. Leon discovered the rest of the mystery of what happened to Jennetta in the last few years, while the family has been searching for the answers to Jenna’s disappearance. Thanks to records discovered on the Dutch Red Cross website,
Leon learned that Jennetta had survived Auschwitz when the Russians liberated the concentration camp in January 1945. However, Polish authorities helped the Van Gelderens find a death certificate showing Jennetta died a few months later in May 1945 at a Polish hospital of encephalitis. The parallels between Jenna and her namesake are strong, said Leon. Both women loved helping others, and both endured tragic deaths at young ages. In a community e-mail, Rabbi Kaiman wrote: “The case is still open, and we pray for justice for Jenna, but we no longer expect Jenna to return home.” He added: “Until we know for certain what happened to Jenna, there will be an open wound in our community. We will create the space for her family to grieve what they have lost, and we will pray for certainty to come quickly.” The investigation remains ongoing. Any tips or information should be directed to the GBI at https://gbi.georgia.gov. ì ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 11
Local Leaders Plan for an Uncertain COVID-19 Future by Bob Bahr As COVID-19 infections rapidly escalate and the threat of virus variants causes renewed concern, the leaders of Atlanta’s most important Jewish institutions are having to take a second look at their current plans for High Holy Days services and other activities. At The Temple in Midtown, one of Atlanta’s largest congregations has had to rethink plans that, just a few weeks ago, had seemed all but certain, said Senior Rabbi Peter Berg. “Things are changing daily. Even our plans for the High Holy Days will be changing, as the world around us is changing. So that means we are prepared for whatever comes. And that could change any day now.” Over the last year and a half, though, Berg has become more certain about one thing: the role that technology will play in the coming months, regardless of the threat posed by a resurgent virus. The Temple, which once had a simple camera and microphone set-up mounted high in the balcony, far from the worship services that took place on the bimah, has a professionally installed control board and
Videoconferencing is expected to play a big role in The Temple’s High Holy Days services this year.
new cameras that have helped turn the historical sanctuary into what amounts to a kind of television studio. More technology is on the way, with one of the building’s conference rooms being dedicated exclusively to teleconferencing. Berg sees it as one of the lessons that the pandemic has taught The Temple leadership. “Last year for much of the year we were 100 percent virtual. We were pretty much
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The National Council of Jewish Women hopes to continue its tutoring project in eight metro schools this fall.
on lockdown last year. We had no choice. But this year people will have an option. We have really different equipment now. Most people want to be here in person, and that may be their preferred choice. But when they can't be here because there's a health risk, they adapt to it.” The Breman Museum plans to use more technology to present exhibits that can be viewed in-person or online. Meanwhile, the Breman Jewish Heritage Museum is preparing for the gala opening cover all those bases.” And the Atlanta chapter of the National of an ambitious new exhibition celebrating Council of Jewish Women is beginning to its 25th anniversary. While it’s still planned deliver donations of school supplies to help as a red carpet in-person event, technology disadvantaged young students. has given the museum’s executive director, It is also preparing its volunteers this Leslie Gordon, some flexibility once the exmonth for the possibility of personally tutorhibit opens. ing students in eight metro public elemen“With the new technology we have batary schools. A decision on whether the COsically seized the moment, if you will, and VID-19 vaccine is safe for children under the turned it around to our advantage. Because age of 12 is expected later this fall, but masks of the pandemic we may lose people walking in the door, which means we will lose in many schools have become mandatory. Sherry Frank, who is the co-president admission money, but with our technology of the organization, says that many in her we have expanded our reach not just in Atgroup are eager to get back to personal conlanta but all over the country. So whatever tact with students, though she is also mindhappens, I feel like we're ready for it.” ful of the risks. Gordon, who took over the Breman just “In person, we can do a lot more bridge a little more than a year before the pandembuilding, a lot more team building, a lot ic hit, believes that her experience coping more open discussions. We think everybody with the constantly shifting demands of the is anxious for that person-to-person contact, last year and a half have shaped the way she so our goal is to try to provide that as much sees the role of virtual programs. as we can, being tied to science guidelines in “And it actually has a lot of advantages concert with our medical advisors.” to being able to do this virtually, and that But as much as she is concerned about we can reach more people at once than we those working and learning in schools, she is could fit in the gallery. And we can focus on just as concerned about a future where large one aspect, for example, of the Holocaust numbers of Georgians will still choose not to and not feel the need to take people through be vaccinated. every single area within the gallery. So it's “I'm just hoping that with this very congoing to require hybrid models. Where tagious and dangerous Delta variant, that there's both a piece that you can access from there's a rush to get vaccinated. People need your living room or a piece that can happen to realize that this is more than serious.” ì in person. So we know we're going to have to
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The Breman Is Losing Its Archivist By Bob Bahr The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum’s archivist, Jeremy Katz, who has helped to bring a renowned public records collection to a broader audience, has resigned. After eight years as the head of the Ida Pearl and Max Cuba Archives for Southern Jewish History, he is leaving to become the archivist of Hamilton College in upstate New York. Hamilton is among the oldest colleges in America, tracing its beginnings back to 1793, just after the Revolutionary War. “I will miss working at the Breman Museum and with our amazing community members,” Katz said. “I accepted the new position after careful consideration. It came down to growing professionally and relocating close to family.” In his time in Atlanta, Katz initiated the complete overhaul of the Cuba Archives, which is considered the largest such collection in the southeastern United States. He described the online accessibility of the collection today as rivaling those of some of the leading educational institutions in the
The archives of the Breman Museum are expected to play a major role in their 25th-anniversary exhibition.
United States, such as the archives of Yale and Harvard universities. However, he pointed out that the Breman has also integrated the hundreds of oral histories in their collection with the catalog system they've used for paper archives, photographs, and other materials. Katz pointed out that they are one of only two archives in the country that have made it so easy to access their complete collection. "The software that we are using is a great tool that allows for an oral history, for example, to be displayed alongside a transcript so people can jump to any point in
Jeremy Katz has put most of the Breman’s visual archives and oral histories online.
the interview. They can search across it for keywords and jump right to that point in the interview. It's really powerful stuff." His book, “The Jewish Community of Atlanta,” drawn largely from the Breman’s photo archives, was published in March. The museum’s executive director, Leslie Gordon, described Katz, who was chosen as one of the AJT’s exceptional 40-Under-40 in 2017, as an invaluable member of the museum’s team.
Katz’s historical book, “The Jewish Community of Atlanta,” was published earlier this year.
“Jeremy has attracted new collections to the museum; expanded our presence nationally; and provided leadership in his field that has catapulted us to the forefront of the Jewish archives field.” The archives are expected to play a central role in the Breman’s 25th anniversary exhibit, “History With Chutzpah,” which opens on September 19th. ì
Keisha Sean Waites - Candidate: Atlanta City Council Post 3 – Citywide Waites Offers a Legislative Track Record of Proven Results and Experience
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What makes you qualified to hold this office? KW: In Feb 2012, I was elected to the Georgia General Assembly as State Rep. for district 60, where I served 3 terms. I had the privilege of serving on the Public Safety, Transportation, and Juvenile Justice committees, and was responsible for vetting legislation and policy. I am the only candidate in the race that has successfully served 3 terms in a legislative capacity. Given the challenges we are facing citywide, we must have a representative that has the experience to navigate the volatile political current. Secondly, given the adversarial role between the state of Georgia and the City of Atlanta, I have the capacity to serve as an olive branch and conduit to improving relations. I have been a small business owner in Atlanta for over two decades, providing affordable housing to veterans and working families. For 19 years I worked at the local, state, regional and federal levels, developing relationships and learning how to move important policy issues through all levels of government. 14 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
I believe that my diverse qualifications and experience, decades of community involvement, service in the state legislature, and my proven background in crisis management and problem solving uniquely qualify me to serve. Why are you running for this seat? KW: As a native Atlantan, I am outraged by the spiking crime and violence. Our city is at a crossroads, and there is a real opportunity to equitably manage and capitalize on the growth that’s coming. I can help the most people by influencing future legislation that ensures that growth benefits all areas of the city.
One of the biggest challenges our city faces is the need to eradicate the “Pay to Play” culture that has permeated for many decades. Until we put an end to nepotism and cronyism city hall will remain toxic and plagued with scandal. We must change the existing culture at City Hall and create a focus on openness, service, and stewardship of public resources.
What is your vision for Atlanta? KW: COVID changed the way people live, work and play. One of the results is that our mix of commercial, office, industrial and residential needs have changed. One of the most important tasks for the Mayor and Council is to assure residents that their tax dollars are being spent wisely, with a focus on providing quality services. These services include public safety: fully staffing our police department, infrastructure planning and maintenance
What are your views on the Buckhead cityhood movement? KW: Quality of life issues such as public safety, effective use of taxpayer money, and the future of Atlanta as a cohesive city affect everyone. The Buckhead cityhood movement exists because residents and business owners do not feel their concerns are being heard or addressed. This is a communication problem. As a citywide representative, I would make it my priority to be an effective conduit between Buckhead residents and city government. What do think are the top issues facing our city?
We are elected to deliver results. Public trust and integrity are essential for our city to thrive, attract new industry, new commerce and new residents.
KW: Public safety and violence prevention, restoring public trust, and regional transit solutions for traffic congestion. For additional information go to www.keishawaites.com Paid Content by Keisha Waites
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COVID-19 Booster Shots Are Already Available By Jan Jaben-Eilon Any day now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will issue guidelines detailing who should get a COVID-19 booster shot and when. Until that time, it’s like the wild, wild West with everyone shooting from the hip in nearly every direction. Amid surging numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths — mostly among those who are unvaccinated — as well as continued sparring between some politicians and medical professionals about vaccinations, face masks and social distancing, the Federal Drug Administration finally gave full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Aug. 23. The FDA has promised full authorization for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August. Both vaccines had previously only been approved on an emergency-use basis. Dr. Harry J. Heiman, clinical associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Behavioral Sciences at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, said that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC has already recom-
Andy N. Siegel CPCU, CIC, AAI Sheldon Berch
Dr. Harry J. Heiman said, “There are more questions than answers” about the booster shot.
mended a third shot — often called a booster — for those who have received either the first two Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Speaking just days before the FDA gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine, Heiman anticipated that it would grant approval to the booster soon afterwards. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced that Americans who had received the first two vaccines would be eligible to receive the booster shots eight months after receiving their second doses, beginning Sept. 20.
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test case because it has more active surveillance. The U.S. is also looking at who is being hospitalized or dying in this country and elsewhere.” Although the first two doses are considered effective for fighting COVID-19 infections, data indicates a waning of effectiveness over time, especially because of new variants like the highly conThe CDC recommends that immunocompromised people tagious Delta variant. Research not wait until late September to get their booster shot. indicates that booster shots boost efficiency against severe illness from the virus to 97 percent anyAt the same time, though, the CDC where from 10 to 16 days following immurecommended that moderately to severely nization. immunocompromised people not wait unThe Biden Administration said its rolltil that plan launches in late September, as long as the booster shot is administered at out plan for booster shots would follow the least four weeks after the second dose of original immunization plan, starting first either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. The with those in nursing homes, front-line CDC considers people immunocompro- healthcare workers and the elderly. But Heiman said people are already mised if they have: ■ Been receiving active cancer treat- playing the system, meaning that even those who are not immunocompromised ment for tumors or cancers of the blood. ■ Received an organ transplant and are standing in line and rolling up their are taking medicine to suppress the im- sleeves for the booster. Every pharmacy appears to have its own guidelines, often with mune system. ■ Received a stem cell transplant no requirement of proof, while doctors are within the last 2 years or are taking medi- reporting that they are still awaiting CDC guidelines. cine to suppress the immune system. JHL Medical Services, which is part of ■ Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syn- Jewish HomeLife’s network of at-home caregivers and residential communities, said it drome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome). ■ Advanced or untreated HIV infec- is “following CDC recommendations with regard to boosters.” tion. “We are setting up clinics in our com■ Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may sup- munities for residents, families and team members who meet the criteria,” said Shari press immune response. Heiman added that immunocompro- Bayer, chief marketing and communicamised patients are not required to present tions officer for Jewish HomeLife. “Our public clinic is open Wednesday any documentation to receive the booster and Friday afternoons for first and second shot. According to the CDC, there’s still not shots, and also for the third shot for those enough data to determine whether immu- who meet the CDC’s recommended critenocompromised patients who received the ria,” she added, noting that it is offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also have Moderna vaccine. Walk-ins are welcome, an improved antibody response following a but appointments are preferred. Heiman said he’s been particularly imbooster of its one-time shot. Heiman acknowledged that currently pressed with several Jewish organizations “there are more questions than answers” as far as vaccines are concerned, noting that about the booster vaccines. What is known staff at the Jewish Federation of Greater Atis that people should receive the same vac- lanta and the Jewish Family & Career Serviccine – either Pfizer or Moderna – for their es are “essentially 100 percent vaccinated.” But Heiman emphasized that, even boosters as they did for the first two doses. Based on data from countries – including among the vaccinated, people should avoid Israel – that started their booster programs high-risk crowded settings. Indoors, he said, before the U.S. did, reactions have been simi- people should wear masks. And he warns lar to the two-dose series, including fatigue that the timing of the High Holy Days this year “is looking dramatically worse than and pain at the injection site. The U.S. is basing its decisions not only last year” as far as the spread of COVID-19 on Israel, which Heiman said is a “critical is concerned. ì
AT L A N T A C I T Y C O U N C I L P O S T
L A R G E
Happy Rosh Hashanah! While our days have been filled with great uncertainty during the past year, I celebrate the hope of brighter tomorrows with you and my own Jewish family members. The High Holy Days of our beloved traditions call us to introspection and reflection. Let us reflect on the calls for justice, peace and a world where all humanity can work together to resolve even our most daunting challenges. And as your citywide representative, I still believe in an Atlanta where families thrive in safe communities, businesses prosper, and youth can build the future of their dreams. You have my pledge to fondly remember our best days of the past and to solemnly strive for better days ahead. I wish you a happy and healthy New Year! Yours in service,
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ADL Embroiled in Alabama Controversy By Dave Schechter Drive west on Interstate 20 from Atlanta for about two hours, take exit 132 and follow Montevallo Road southwest, and you come to Mountain Brook, Ala. Danny Cohn, CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, estimates that 60 to 70 percent of the roughly 5,000 Jews who live in the metro area reside in Mountain Brook and nearby Homewood. Southern Jewish Life magazine recently recounted that “… when families started moving ‘over the mountain’ into the suburbs in the 1950s, there was an ‘unwritten understanding’ that Jews moved to Mountain Brook but ‘did not’ move to neighboring Vestavia. Even in Mountain Brook, at first there were some neighborhood developments to where Jews were urged not to move, and Jews were not members of the Birmingham or Mountain Brook Country Clubs until recently.” Mountain Brook, known locally as “The Tiny Kingdom,” is 97 percent white, has a median household income of $130,000, and is home to a school system that sends more than 90 percent of its graduates to college. This is where the Anti-Defamation League found itself embroiled in controversy. A video posted online in May 2020 showed young men laughing as a black marker was used to draw two swastikas and write the word ‘Heil’ on the back of a shirtless Mountain Brook student. Local news media
Danny Cohn is CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation..
Rabbi Adam Wright of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham
reported that some of those involved in the incident — which took place away from school grounds — were from Mountain Brook. The Mountain Brook district sent parents a letter saying that, “The conduct exhibited in the video is in direct conflict with the values of the school system.” After the video appeared, “many Jewish students and alumni recalled swastikas and slurs at school that
were brushed under the rug, and overt Christian missionizing in the schools and by fellow students, going back over the decades,” SJL reported. Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of the ADL’s Southern region, told the AJT that, “Well before the swastika incident we had been hearing concerns from Jewish families in Mountain Brook about antiSemitism.” Rabbi Adam Wright of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, told the AJT that while Jewish families in Mountain Brook have faced “intolerance at a religiosity level” in the predominantly Christian region, there have been small, but noticeable, changes in recent years. “It’s a lot of nuance,” he said. When the video surfaced, Cohn told the Birmingham News, “I think this is going to be a valuable lesson not only for the children involved, but the Mountain Brook community in general to take a hard look at the community internally and say how did we get to where these children — and they are children — would have even thought that putting a swastika on their back with the word ‘heil’ was appropriate?” Cohn was a member of a diversity committee formed in June 2020 in response to not only the antiSemitic incident but also tensions stemming from the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Committee members who are not Jewish recommended involving the ADL, he said. Padilla-Goodman said that the ADL previously had sought to introduce its “No Place for Hate” program, an educational framework to combat bias and bullying, in Mountain Brook. The program has been instituted in some 1,600 schools nationwide. A long-simmering pot boiled over this summer when a group of Mountain Brook parents linked the ADL to one of this summer’s hot-button issues. Depending on your view, Critical Race Theory is either the idea that the teaching of American history should acknowledge the role of racism in the legal and political systems or it is a leftist plot to denigrate white Americans and divide people by race. CRT is not taught in Alabama schools, and a bill before the state legisla-
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“I think the way the school district handled severing its ties with the ADL was unjust and perhaps a knee-jerk reaction,” Cohn told the AJT. A rebuttal letter signed by 2,000 Mountain Brook alumni accused the district of backing away from the ADL to “appease an extremely vocal minority of community members.” The alumni said that their education had not been “neutral” on the subject of race and that “the curriculum and culture of MBS, intentionally or not, obscured historical facts about race and racism and avoided addressing racial Allison Padilla-Goodman is vice president discrimination as an ongoof the ADL’s Southern region. ing reality.” In a June 29 open letDisgruntled parents published a ter, Padilla-Goodman wrote: “In these 12-page pamphlet in June 2021 that said challenging times, ignoring our differthe ADL had become “a highly partisan ences and avoiding hard conversations group that promotes views like Critical about them is antithetical to preparing Race Theory, unfettered late-term abor- Mountain Brook students to live in an tion rights, and expansive immigration ever-changing and more diverse society. policies,” as well as the rights of trans- Mountain Brook Schools’ failure to congender students. sider implementing anti-bias education The ADL’s definition of racism — in schools could serve to allow antisemi“The marginalization and/or oppression tism and other forms of hatred to fester of people of color based on a socially con- in the school community.” structed racial hierarchy that privileges The district responded to questions white people” — also proved problem- from the AJT with an email that cited a atic. The pamphlet’s authors translated strategic goal to “Develop or enhance it to read: "only white people can be rac- structures and practices to ensure that ists.” They worried that children would the school district honors individual difbe reported to the ADL for using such ferences, diversity, and the dignity of all, phrases as “all lives matter” or “build the and that all members of the school comwall,” and that the school system “must munity are treated with respect.” fully comply with the ADL’s rules and/or That email said: “Mountain Brook demands.” Schools intends to complete anti-bias Padilla-Goodman told the AJT: “I training for any remaining untrained think these parents are struggling to employees by choosing another provider understand the future of the nation and that we believe meets the needs of our their own futures and are taking it out schools and community.” on their own children and their future.” Acknowledging the anti-Semitism She called the pamphlet “a bright piece experienced by some Mountain Brook of propaganda that twists and turns our students, Cohn placed it in a broader conevery word.” text. “I don’t know that I can say that just After a standing-room only school because you’re Jewish, you’re going to board meeting, some 625 parents signed have a problem. It’s a factor. When you’re a letter opposing the “politically contro- looking to bully anyone, you find what versial” ADL. An email from the school the easiest thing is to push at,” he said. district on June 18 informed parents that As the new school year began, PadilMountain Brook “will be disassociating la-Goodman told the AJT: “I’m very confrom the Anti-Defamation League.” That cerned for the Jewish kids in Mountain included halting the ADL’s “World of Dif- Brook. I’m concerned that they are going ference” anti-bias training sessions that to be in situations where they don’t feel the district had contracted at a cost of comfortable, where they don’t feel sup$3,750. The workshops began in Febru- ported, and where they don’t have anyary, but after at least 500 educators had where to turn if an anti-Semitic incident attended, the remainder were canceled. were to happen.” ì
“To save one life is to save the world entire.” — The Talmud
This High Holiday season, as we seek spiritual and physical renewal for ourselves and our loved ones, let us also remember those in Israel who nurture and renew life every day. Whether it’s treating civilians wounded in terror and rocket attacks or vaccinating them against Covid-19, no organization in Israel saves more lives than Magen David Adom. Magen David Adom is not government-funded. Its 27,000 volunteer EMTs and paramedics and 4,000 full-time professionals rely on support from people like you for the vehicles, supplies, and equipment they need to perform their lifesaving work. No gift will help Israel more this coming year. Support Magen David Adom by donating today at afmda.org/rosh or call 800.626.0046. Shanah tovah.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 19
Hillel Collaborates with ADL on Campus Initiative By Stephanie Nissani According to the Anti-Defamation League, during the academic year 2020-21, Jewish students have been subjected to more anti-Semitic harassment than in prior years when school was physically in session. As a result, Hillel International has joined forces with the ADL to protect Jewish students more effectively and to educate university administration officials, as well as the broader community on appropriate responses to anti-Semitic incidents. Leading this project is Adam Lehman, CEO of Hillel International, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO and national director. Matthew Berger, vice president of strategic action programs and communications of Hillel International, said the plan includes a series of videos that “will explore the history of the Jewish people, the origins of anti-Semitism, how anti-Semitism has evolved and how it manifests on college campuses today and on social media.” He added that they expect to train 500 new Hillel professionals to utilize these videos during the upcoming academic year in order to “equip students [on ways to] respond to antisemitic activity and engage with students and the university community when it occurs.” Their sole function is to protect, empower, and educate Jewish students while addressing the soaring number of anti-Semitic incidents across the country. Hillel International said on its website that the pro-
Matthew E. Berger is vice president for strategic action programs and communications at Hillel International.
David Hoffman, associate regional director at ADL Southeast.
Elliot Karp is the CEO of Hillel of Georgia.
In the classroom, off campus, and around the world.
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gram is “based on the premise that key administrative leaders play an essential role in effecting broad-based educational and policy change on campus.” Unfortunately, anti-Semitism isn’t limited to campuses; it also takes place on social media platforms. Berger said he believes that “the best way to prevent and mitigate anti-Semitism on college campuses is to build strong, engaging Jewish communities…” As part of this effort, “Hillel is educating the full campus community about who Jews are today, the history of anti-Semitic tropes and how they manifest in our culture, on campus and on social media. By educating students and university professionals alike, we believe more people on campus will understand anti-Semitism, recognize it when they see it, and speak out against it.” The new Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) is not an academic program, but rather will be offered through Hillel. Elliot Karp, CEO of Hillel of Georgia, said that all of the university administrators that he met and spoke with “have an intellectual understanding of anti-Semitism and recognize that Jews are a minority.” He added that what school officials must understand is “the modern manifestation [of anti-Semitism] and how it truly affects Jewish students on campuses.” Karp believes that there are two kinds of incidents. The first one is overt, which faculty members typically know how to respond to; while the second includes “the more insidious forms of attacks on students,” which he refers to as “micro-aggressions.” Karp says these types of incidents have inspired the organization to launch the new program on campuses, as he believes that “anti-Semitism is on par with racism, and anti-Asian sentiment.” But Hillel is not advocating Jewish exceptionalism, he says, rather, “we are protecting the interests of the university and all of the communities within the university, because hatred has no place for anyone!” Karp also recommends that each incident be observed carefully to deduce whether it should be considered freedom of expression and therefore protected under a school’s free speech policy, or whether it can be investigated as a hate crime. David Hoffman, the ADL’s southeast associate regional director, said that it is imperative that we train students to resist anti-Semitism on campuses and online. He said that the ADL is continually working with social media platforms “to urge them to take meaningful action to prevent hate and harassment online.” He also said that the organization “recommends that [social media platforms] enforce policies on anti-Semitism and hate consistently and at scale, incorporate expert review of content moderation training materials, provide greater access to data for researchers, and develop more transparency at the user level.” But that’s just half the problem. The ADL urges students to comply with this recommendation and report any anti-Semitic attacks that occur online and on-campus. “The more people speak up, the louder our collective voice will be, and hopefully that will gain more attention from the platforms. It is also imperative to help this next generation of leaders develop a balance between protecting free speech and ensuring safety in their communities, online and in-person, as they will be leading these companies and their communities going forward.” ì
Rabbi Charyn Departs Snellville Shul By Roni Robbins Rabbi Jesse Charyn will be leaving Temple Beth David in Snellville after the High Holy Days for a new opportunity in Miami. He will serve as rabbi and director of spiritual care for Miami Jewish Health, a retirement community. Charyn has been in the position for two years. That’s less time than the three years the Reform synagogue searched for a rabbi before he came on board. Synagogue president Judi Kern said Charyn is parting on good terms. “He’s going to leave a big hole. Overall, the members love him and his wife. As a small congregation, it is financially difficult for us to support full-time rabbinic leadership.” About his departure, Charyn told the AJT earlier this month, “Temple Beth David will always hold a special place in my heart as my first congregation. I have learned and grown so much since my installation. I want to thank each and every one of our Temple Beth David members for being part of my rabbinic journey.”
For the immediate future, after
have been around for 40 years. We will
Charyn leaves in late September, synagogue services will be led by lay leaders, Kern said. “We are going to try to find a part-time rabbi to be our spiritual leader.” She explained further, “It’s always a financial struggle and hard to support a full time spiritual leader. We’ve had parttime rabbinic leaders periodically. That’s the cycle of a small congregation. … We
come through this again.” Temple Beth David has about 60 member units, including singles and families. The search for a new rabbi will be more of an informal recruiting effort than the kind that typically involves a formal committee, Kern said. Charyn brought his diverse rabbinic training to the Gwinnett synagogue. He studied at the Conservative Ziegler
Rabbi Jesse Charyn brought his diverse rabbinic training to Beth David.
Rabbi Charyn with one of his three daughters; twin girls were born last year.
School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, then transferred to the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, and ultimately was ordained at the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute in 2018. He left these parting words to the congregation in an email shared with the AJT: “Even though Rebbetzin Shira, Rayna, Navah, Zivah, Mr. Shimmy [the family dog] and me will be leaving TBD and Georgia, know that the connections we have made transcend distance. “The legacy I have worked to impart is the importance of ongoing Jewish learning. I am so proud of the new members that have joined the TBD Family and the volunteer spirit that is pervasive at TBD,” he continued. “This year TBD celebrates 40 years as the Jewish spiritual home of Gwinnett County. I have been honored to serve with an amazing President and a dedicated Board of Trustees.” While expressing gratitude to the synagogue, he concluded, “I look forward to visiting TBD on future trips back to the Atlanta area.” ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 21
‘The Magnificent Meyersons’ Arrives Just in Time By Bob Bahr Watching “The Magnificent Meyersons,” a new film opening in select theaters and available online, is like sitting at a holiday table while exchanging thoughts — high and low — with those you know best. The story plays out mostly in a series of one-on-one conversations between the members of an accomplished, uncommon Jewish family which, according to the film’s director, Evan Oppenheimer, may be more common than we might initially think. “They are supposed to be an extraordinary family each in their own way. They’re uncommonly bright, uncommonly philosophical. Maybe I should say for New York Jews, maybe they’re average, I have a very high opinion of New York Jews. But they do seem to have a strong bond that hopefully is evident in the film.” This story of a New York family held together by a strong maternal figure played by Kate Mulgrew has a loose narrative structure that cloaks a final dramatic secret. The film was shot almost entirely on the streets of New York, not far from director’s home near Union Square and 14th Street in Manhattan. Shooting was completed two years ago, just before the pandemic began and film production became much more difficult. The natural, almost documentary quality so evident in the production is not accidental, according to Oppenheimer. “As a lover of dialogue, I tend to accumulate thoughts
The Magnificent Meyersons stars the veteran Jewish actor, Richard Kind.
Much of the production was filmed with a small crew on the streets in and around Union Square in New York City.
and themes and characters that pop into my head and I write them down. In a sense, I wanted to put some of the biggest thoughts I’ve had into a dialogue-driven movie that could be made with as small a crew as possible, that I could make without the burden of a big crew.” While the camera rolls, an occasional police siren can be heard in the background, traffic continues to flow through the streets, and frequently a real pedestrian appears to stroll by. To bring his imaginary, magnificent family to life, Oppenheimer has assembled a strong ensemble led by the veteran character actor Richard Kind. The performer is a familiar face, having visited Atlanta frequently in recent years to par-
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ticipate in producThe themes of the film reflect many of tions filmed here. the concerns of the High Holy Days. Kind may be best remembered for his performance as Uncle Arthur in the 2009 film “A Serious Man,” the Coen brothers’ successful and very loose adaptation of the biblical story of Job, set in Minnesota. That production was also heavy with serious dialogue and challenging family situations that sprang from the fertile imaginations of the producing and directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen. Kind’s sensitive portrayal of Morty Meyerson, the family patriarch, drives much of the new film’s dramatic tension. But while Kind grew up Jewish on the East Coast, his upbringing wasn’t fundamental to the way he saw his character in “The Magnificent Meyersons.” “I first and foremost accepted him as a human being. And that’s how I saw this guy who happens to be Jewish. I know it’s probably important to the film that he had that background, but I saw my character as a family man who had problems with himself and could see that the effect that had on his wife and then on his children.” Kind also sees himself in the psychologically challenged character at the heart of the film. “I think about how my issues affect my children. You know, I’m a man filled with anxieties. I’m an actor. And I sometimes wonder what effect my neuroses have on my kids.” The film debuted in outdoor screenings during the third week of August at the large Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Named in honor of Marlene Meyerson — the prominent philanthropist whose $20 million bequest was one of the largest gifts ever given to a JCC in America — the center, coincidentally, is unrelated to anyone in the film. Whether by design or accident, the film release comes at a time when family ties are once again renewed and strengthened — and challenged — at the start of a new Jewish year. Oppenheimer, who also wrote and produced the film, likes to think of this as a fortuitous intersection of life and art: “It’s a new year, a good time to reflect upon the past year. It’s a time for looking back and looking forward. And that really is what the movie is about. And really, it’s about memory. It’s about looking at the past, about reevaluating the past. It’s about responsibility for your actions in the past. And it’s about how the past that is always with us and that informs the future. So it really does play into what we as Jews are thinking about this time of year.” ì
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Janice Rothschild Blumberg Takes on New Challenges By Bob Bahr When Janice Rothschild Blumberg was born in 1924, George Gershwin had just performed his “Rhapsody in Blue” for the first time. In Atlanta, the old synagogue building belonging to The Temple was still located at South Prior and Richardson Streets, near the future site of the main stadium for the 1996 Olympic Games. Ninety-seven years later, Blumberg is an accomplished historian and has been described as “a living Atlanta treasure.” The widow of famed mid-century Atlanta rabbi, Jacob M. Rothschild, she is about to publish the story of her long and memorable life. Growing up in Atlanta, as a fifth generation Jewish Georgian, she was advised by her mother and grandmother to marry not for material possessions but for the wealth of accomplishment. She found that in Rabbi Rothschild, who had arrived in Atlanta in 1946 to become the first new rabbi at The Temple in 51 years. He had impressed her during his first High Holy Days sermon, which she says was mostly about not only becoming a better Jew but also a better American.
At 97, Janice Rothschild Blumberg has led a long and interesting life.
“In 1946, he said something about racial integration that many people didn't remember. He was so appalled by the separate black and white water fountains and bathrooms and things like this that he said something about it. Nobody remembered it because the rest of the sermon had to do with bringing them more into Judaism. Of course, then, they didn’t connect the other part with the Judaism, which was about the message of the ancient prophets, but as time
שנה טובה Best wishes for a happy, healthy and fulfilling New Year! May you be inscribed for blessing in the Book of Life!
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Rabbi Jacob Rothschild presents the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. with an engraved glass bowl designed by his wife, Janice, on the occasion of his winning the Nobel Prize.
went on he got them into that. It was a longterm process.” The following year, at the age of 23, she married the new rabbi and set off on a lifelong adventure that she says would not have been possible if she hadn't been his wife. Standing by the side of Rabbi Rothschild, as she describes it in the book, was not only to be an eyewitness to history but also to help make it, particularly after The Temple was bombed by white supremacists in 1958. She and Rabbi Rothschild became close friends with the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta. They hosted a banquet in Atlanta honoring the couple after King won the Nobel Peace Prize. As the rebbetzin at The Temple in Midtown, she was at the epicenter of efforts to bring about social change in Atlanta and the American South. Today, she is one of the last surviving links to that tumultuous civil rights period of the 1950s and 1960s. But this is only one part of the story that Blumberg relates in her book, “What's Next?: Southern Dreams, Jewish Deeds and the Challenge of Looking Back While Moving Forward.” Two years after Rabbi Rothschild’s untimely death, she married David Blumberg, the influential head of the International B'nai B’rith. During the marriage, she met many of the political and religious celebrities of the world, both high and low. Sections of the books read a bit like the 1983 Woody Allen film “Zelig,” in which the title character seems to show up everywhere either by accident or design. So it is with Janice Rothschild Blumberg. Here she is touring Atlanta in her convertible with the great violinist Isaac Stern; there she is bumping into the Dalai Lama in the Washington subway. At a coastal Italian villa, she’s introduced to Pope John Paul II. Then it’s off to Jerusalem to gaze across the city’s historic skyline with Yitzhak Rabin.
Blumberg's new book is scheduled for publication in November.
They’re all here, Presidents Carter and Ford and a promising young governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton. There’s even Janice with Monica Lewinsky at the Cosmos Club in Washington and with former secretaries of state Madeline Albright and Henry Kissinger. Today, Blumberg lives comfortably in her condo on Peachtree Road, surrounded by framed photographs and reminders of all the history she has witnessed. On the crowded bookshelves is a critically acclaimed volume she has written about her great-grandfather, a prominent Reform movement rabbi of the late 19th century. She published it when she was 88. Nearby is the Plaut chumash, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, used in most Reform congregations today. The book of biblical commentary was written by Rabbi Gunther Plaut, with whom she had an intimate relationship after her second husband died. There is probably little that Blumberg hasn’t seen or done in her 97 years that is not in this book. But the question for the still-active, still-opinionated author of a book titled “What's Next” is, of course, obvious. “Maybe I'll do another book,” she suggests. “I have some ideas. Maybe I can get it together for my 100th birthday.” Janice Blumberg Rothschild is featured in the 25th-anniversary exhibit at The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum on Sept. 19th. Advance orders for "What's Next" can be made at www.amazon.com or your local bookseller. ì
AJFF Takes A Cautious Step Back To Theaters By Bob Bahr The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival brought a mini-festival weekend of films to Roswell's Aurora Cineplex on Aug. 28 and 29. The event, AJFF North was aimed at drawing in north metro residents in Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Roswell, and East Cobb. These residents have generally had to travel to Sandy Springs for the annual AJFF screenings. For those who wanted to The AJFF’s mini festival in Roswell Atlanta Jewish Film Festival’s longtime watch the films at the theater in was said to have been lightly attended executive director, Kenny Blank. Roswell, there were several health safety requirements. That's in line with trends that are rapidly reshaping the Ticket buyers had to produce a record of their COVID-19 future of movies. According to a study released at the end of vaccination, which had to be done at least two weeks prior to last year by Deloitte, the international business consulting the AJFF event. If there was no vaccination record, they had firm, Americans in recent years, even before the pandemic, to bring a negative COVID test result, that had been done no have stayed at home to be entertained. longer than 72 hours before the screenings. Once inside the Because of that, the industry is trending toward developtheater, everyone had to wear a blue wrist band issued by the ing even more extensive streaming services, particularly for festival. Face masks were required for AJFF employees and those entertainment providers with deep pockets. Compawere encouraged, along with social distancing, for theater nies like Disney, HBO, Amazon, Paramount and Netflix have goers. ambitious plans to shift films they produce away from theAccording to the festival's longtime executive director, ater showings to online platforms they control. Kenny Blank, the rules were AJFF's response to a rapidly changing pandemic. "I think we've all learned with COVID that we need to avoid wishful thinking and simply go where circumstances, the facts and the realities take us. Earlier this summer all of us, obviously, were very optimistic that the pandemic was starting to move into our rearview mirror. Clearly, that's not the case, at least where we stand today." The program included a documentary, "The Meaning of Hitler," straight from the Doc Aviv Film Festival in Tel Aviv, the recently released Hollywood drama, "Lansky," and two independently produced films from previous years, "The Samuel Project" from 2018 and "The Yankles" from 2009. According to AJFF workers at the theater, attendance was light. At a Sunday afternoon showing of the 2006 Hollywood classic, "Keeping Up With The Steins" there were many empty seats. Despite the lure of a filmed introduction from Hollywood by the movie's director, Scott Marshall, less than two dozen patrons were in the theater. Still, the mini festival was a chance to gauge how audiences might respond to the gradual reopening of theaters during the next AJFF, that Blank is beginning to plan for early in 2022. "This is really a first opportunity to welcome audiences back to the theater. We know it's going to be a gradual process to return to movie theaters. But we want to make that available for those audiences who feel protected and are ready to get back out. We know the realities of the situation," said Blank. With COVID virus infection rates, and hospitalization rising in the Atlanta area, most who watched the AJFF mini festival, did so online. Two programs of short films could only be viewed virtually. For now, there seemed even less interest in a theater experience than last February when the AJFF staged its annual festival, when only a few films were available in a drive-in theater setting.
Among the mini festival films was the Hollywood classic, "Keeping Up With The Steins."
The study pointed out that with the future of the pandemic so uncertain, it's still too soon to know how much of our future entertainment will come to us directly at home and how much we will want to experience in theaters. According to Blank, as the AJFF plans for its next festival in early 2022, they could face some difficult choices. "We've had to completely reinvent ourselves in response to the pandemic. Now, I think people are trying to figure out what that balance is, to what extent are they ready to get back to the movies, and also still have the flexibility of consuming the films in the virtual cinema.” ì
From Our AJA Family To Yours Wishing You A Happy, Healthy and Sweet New Year! שנה טובה ומתוקה
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BUSINESS Atlanta-Based Genexa Is Kirk Halpern and Ellen Cleaning Up the Over-The- Stern Elected to Goodwill Counter Industry of North Georgia Board Genexa, an Atlanta-based company founded by two dads, Max Spielberg and David Johnson, has made a significant presence in the consumer pharmaceutical space by producing the first clean OTC medicine products in the industry. Using Genexa’s patented preservation system, the company’s Genexa cofounders David Johnson (left) and products deliver the Max Spielberg (right). (Credit: Genexa) same active ingredients as other OTC medicine, but for the first time ever they are without common allergens like lactose and gluten, artificial dyes, parabens, polyethylene glycol, talc and many other, potentially harmful and unnecessary inactive ingredients. According to Genexa cofounder Spielberg, “We did not accept the feedback we got from countless manufacturers who told us that artificial binders and fillers were necessary in OTC medicines to keep them shelf stable, so we set out to bring together the leading medical experts and business minds in the industry to create a better solution.” Johnson adds, “Through the innovative products we are creating and the breakthroughs we’ve made with OTC medicines, we hope to inspire others in the industry to further our mission to clean up the medicine aisle and offer cleaner, healthier solutions for everyone.” Last month Genexa closed a record-breaking $60 million Series A funding round, which further substantiates that a shift is under way toward clean medicine not unlike the pervasive consumer trends that have been affecting the food and beverage industry, beauty and personal care, and all other major segments over the last ten years. Some of the best-regarded venture capital firms and a large roster of A-List celebrity investors participated in the latest round of funding, and are committing to cleaning up the industry, educating consumers and making clean medicine more readily available. Today, Genexa’s products can be found at 45,000 retailers, including Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid.
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Kirk Halpern, founder and CEO of Farmers & Fishermen Purveyors, was chosen to serve as chair of the board of Goodwill of North Georgia.
Ellen Stern, senior vice president at CBRE and member of The Temple, will serve as the board’s secretary.
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Goodwill of North Georgia (GNG), one of the oldest and largest metro Atlanta nonprofit organizations, announced its officers board for the 2022 fiscal year. Kirk Halpern, founder and CEO of Farmers & Fishermen Purveyors, will serve as board chair and Ellen Stern, senior vice president at CBRE — and a member of The Temple — will be the board’s secretary. Keith Parker, president and chief executive officer of GNG, announced the new appointments. Board members for 2022 were selected from a pool of community leaders and have been appointed to advance the organization’s commitment to workforce development and economic mobility. GNG serves a 45-county territory with more than 100 stores and donation centers, and operates 13 career centers to support free job training and placement services to tens of thousands of local job seekers. Through the career centers and job training programs, GNG assists veterans, people with disabilities, youth, single parents, the under-employed, people with criminal backgrounds, and anyone else looking for work.
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Creative Rodbell Cans Cocktails
Andrew Rodbell is “killing it” with his Post Meridiem line of canned cocktails: Margarita, Old Fashioned, Mai Tai, Gimlet and Daiquiri. Third-generation native Atlantan Andrew Rodbell left corporate America — leadership roles include The Coca-Cola Company and Turner Broadcasting — to follow his passion for brand building, entrepreneurship and cocktails. He co-founded Post Meridiem Spirits with the ambition of making full-strength cocktails with authentic ingredients as accessible as beer and wine, with the first line of cocktails in 3.4-oz. cans. Post Meridiem is the first canned cocktail company in Georgia and the
only canned cocktail made in the Southeast. “While crafting delicious cocktails packaged in cute cans seems obvious and effortless,” Andrew said, “it was a challenging process with intentionality in every decision to develop the unique drinks.” Andrew and his business partner, Charles Sain, committed to only using real, non-engineered ingredients “just because” they taste better. They wanted to elevate the ready-to-drink category, which typically uses fake ingredients and artificial colors. Post Meridiem is the only canned cocktail that uses 100% real lime juice because it is crisper and more refreshing than lime flavoring and citric acid. To shape the brand, they chose familiar cocktails and followed traditional recipes, hence the cocktail-appropriate size (100 ml) and strength (+50 proof). The lineup includes a Margarita, Old Fashioned, Mai Tai, Gimlet, and Daiquiri. Cans were chosen as the best container to protect the quality ingredients, and the company built their own canning line in West Midtown to ensure “hands-on” quality control. Post Meridiem launched in Georgia in April 2019. Cocktails are available in over 300 liquor stores, hotels, country clubs and music venues across Georgia. The brand has recently expanded to South Carolina, Tennessee, and the Maryland-D.C. area, with additional states lined up. Also, their cocktails are now available for online purchase in 33 states. According to Andrew, “Great taste, recognizable cocktails, real ingredients, novel packaging, ingredient transparency at a low price point of $3.99 per cocktail are some of the reasons Post Meridiem has been successful. I’m proud to have created a way for people to mark that time of day when work turns to play with an effortless, bar-quality cocktail anywhere, anytime. Shaking the can and pouring a cocktail over ice is the perfect ritual to mark the moment when shifting from work to play. Post Meridiem’s name spells out the “long form of p.m., as in afternoon, as in time for a drink.” Now raising the fourth generation of Rodbells with 3 children — 9, 8, and 5 years old — of his own, Andrew is a graduate of The Westminster School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. ì
Compiled by AJT
KENNY HILL - HUSBAND, FATHER, INFLUENCER, AND POLITICAL OUTSIDER THE NEW KIND OF LEADER WITH THE PLAN FOR PEACE IN ATLANTA In 2018, Kenny and his wife, Clarisa prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem (see picture to the right). They prayed for the Peace of Jerusalem and Atlanta and left their prayers in the wall.
PAID FOR BY COMMITTEE TO ELECT KENNY HILL
With these prayers of peace heavy on their hearts, they came back to Atlanta and continued to invest their lives into their community and city. Kenny is running for Mayor of Atlanta because he is tired of seeing Atlanta in a pit. Unfortunately, crime and corruption go hand-in-hand. Atlanta cannot rely on the same people who got us into this pit to get us out. Atlanta needs a new kind of leader because a change agent has to come from the outside. Old keys will never open new doors. .
Kenny Hill is uniquely qualified to serve as Mayor of Atlanta. Kenny believes in Faith, Family, and Giving Back to the Community. He has invested his life into serving others, including a 30-year career at The Home Depot, providing support to homeless single mothers and their children and community activism. As a Political Outsider, Kenny is not a Career Politician nor a Party Operative. You can view Kenny’s Plan for Peace in Atlanta @ www.electkennyhill.com … • • • • •
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ISRAEL Today in Israeli History questions.
essayist, novelist and poet, he experiments with techniques such as blending languages. He is killed in Arab riots in 1921.
September 4, 1985 — The new Israeli shekel becomes the official state currency. It is worth 1,000 of the old shekels, which became Israel’s currency only five years earlier but are being replaced under an economic stabilization plan.
Courtesy of Idan Raichel Idan Raichel has recorded albums with the Idan Raichel Project collective and as a solo artist.
Photo courtesy of Jacob Cohen Sculptor Jacob Cohen’s memorial to the victims stands near the site of the Aug. 31, 2004, dual bus bombings in Beersheba.
August 31, 2004 — Bombs explode on a pair of buses 100 yards apart along Beersheba’s Ranger Boulevard shortly after they leave the central bus station. Sixteen Israelis, including a 3-year-old, are killed, and 100 others are injured. September 1, 1967 — The Arab League summit in Khartoum, Sudan, ends with the signing of the Khartoum Resolutions, best known for the “Three Nos”: no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel and no peace with Israel.
U.S. National Archives Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin greet each other at Camp David as President Jimmy Carter watches.
Library of Congress While trapped in Europe during World War I, Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook wrote persuasively for British Jews to support Zionism.
September 5, 1978 — President Jimmy Carter convenes Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and their teams at a Maryland retreat to hammer out what become the Camp David Accords.
September 8, 1908 — Liberal Orthodox theologian Eliezer Berkovits is born in Nagyvarad, Transylvania. He serves as a rabbi and teaches in Germany, England, Australia and the United States until he retires to Israel in 1975.
Photo by Avi Ohayon, Israeli Government Press Office Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signs the Oslo Accords on Sept. 13, 1993, while (from left) Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. President Bill Clinton, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and PLO official Mahmoud Abbas look on.
September 2, 1953 — Israel starts work on a project to divert some of the water of the Jordan River at the B’not Yaakov Bridge in the north to irrigate the Negev and generate electricity. Syria’s protests halt the project within weeks. Photo by Gidi Orsher Alon Garbuz organized retrospectives of leading filmmakers and launched specialty film festivals during his four decades leading the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.
A Moritz Daniel Oppenheim painting depicts a rabbi preparing his defense during the 1840 Damascus Affairs.
Jewish Agency for Israel Nechama Leibowitz was a nationally treasured Torah scholar and teacher.
September 3, 1905 — Scholar and biblical commentator Nechama Leibowitz is born in Riga, Latvia. She teaches at yeshivas, seminaries and Tel Aviv University and is known for her weekly “Pages” dispatches of Torah 28 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
September 12, 1977 — Singer, composer and producer Idan Raichel is born in Kfar Saba. His music incorporates Israeli, Middle Eastern, Ethiopian and other sounds through the award-winning Idan Raichel Project.
September 6, 1840 — Under international pressure, the Ottoman pasha frees the nine surviving Damascus Jews of 13 who were arrested and falsely accused of killing a Franciscan Capuchin friar and his servant for their blood. September 7, 1865 — Rabbi Abraham Isaac HaCohen Kook, who promotes religious Zionism and writes acclaimed religious books, is born in Latvia. He serves as the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Palestine from 1921 to 1935.
September 9, 1948 — Alon Garbuz, the director of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque for four decades, is born in Givatayim. Under his leadership, the cinematheque establishes a permanent home and becomes Israel’s top film society. September 10, 1923 — Three-time Knesset member Uri Avnery, the founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement, is born in Beckum, Germany. He fights in the 1948 war, then advocates a partnership with the Arab national movement. September 11, 1881 — Yosef Haim Brenner is born in Ukraine. He publishes his first story collection in Hebrew in 1900. As an
September 13, 1993 — President Bill Clinton holds a White House signing ceremony for the Oslo Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat famously shake hands. September 14, 2014 — Abdel Rahman Zuabi dies at age 82. A judge on the Nazareth District Court for 20 years, he becomes the first Arab judge on the Israeli Supreme Court when he is chosen to fill a nine-month vacancy in 1999.
Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Bennett Called Meeting with Biden ‘Successful’ By Jan Jaben-Eilon For the first 40 years of his life, until he became a member of Israel’s Knesset, Naftali Bennett was a dual, American Israeli, citizen due to his birth in Haifa to American-born parents in 1972. On Aug. 27, Bennett sat in the Oval Office of the White House as Israel’s prime minister, conversing with the president of the United States – a historic development for someone who had also spent several of his childhood years in the U.S. There was a lot weighing on this meeting for Bennett, who has only been prime minister for a few months, and who had succeeded a prime minister known for attracting the spotlight in Oval Office meetings. “Bennett was completely untested,” prior to this meeting, according to Eli Sperling, the Israel specialist for the Center for Israel Education at Emory University, now also a postdoctoral associate at Duke University. The meeting had been delayed a day due to the tragic terrorist attack at the Kabul airport which occupied much of President Joe Biden’s attention, which may have been an advantage for Bennett. “In many regards, the postponement and amount of attention on the bombing in Kabul probably took off pressure on Bennett,” said Sperling. Bennett called the top-level meeting successful. “We had a particularly warm and helpful meeting,” said the young prime minister. “Biden and I have developed a direct and personal relationship built on trust.” Other than the specific agenda items on each leader’s list, the rapport between the two men was of utmost importance, especially for Bennett. Israelis see the relationship between the leaders of the two countries essential for their security. The previous prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was known for making friends or enemies with the American presidents. “We never know how the U.S. president and Israeli prime minister will do together, but they did seem to get along well,” observed Sperling. “Biden told Bennett to call him directly and Bennett invited Biden to Israel. This was a big win for Bennett and his domestic political optics.” Bennett heads perhaps the most diverse government in Israeli history, encompassing left, right and center parties – including for the first time, an Islamist Arab party. Biden is not only aware of the precariousness of keeping that coalition government together, but he also shares the goal of keeping Netanyahu from returning to the premiership. “There’s an understanding on both sides that the coalition is fragile and it’s in the interest of the United States to prevent another Israeli election soon. The U.S. wants stability on all fronts,” said Sperling. The agenda items were clear from the beginning. Israel asked for Biden’s support to replenish the missiles for its Iron Dome defensive system and for Israeli citizens to be included in the visitor visa waiver program. “Israel expended a large amount of rockets for the Iron Dome in May during the fighting with Gaza,” noted Sperling. Although Biden appeared to respond positively to the visa waiver question, Sperling said it wasn’t a “hard promise from Biden that will continue to remain unresolved.” He said the White House might keep that as leverage in the future. The biggest item and concern on both leaders’ agendas was whether the United States will rejoin the multi-national nuclear agreement with Iran that former President Barack
“Biden and I have developed a direct and personal relationship built on trust,” said Prime Minister Bennett.
Obama joined, and former President Donald Trump withdrew from. Israel hopes the U.S. will remain outside that agreement. Sperling pointed out that unlike in his meeting with the recent Israeli President Reuven Rivlin two months ago, Biden told Bennett that if diplomacy fails, the U.S. would “pursue other options.” Sperling also noted that it was clear that the “Palestinian quesPrime Minister Naftali Bennett was “completely untested” before tion was put on the he met with U.S. President Joe back burner,” without Biden, said Eli Sperling. the two leaders calling public attention to it. “The U.S. is in a difficult position right now because there’s a lot of divisiveness in the U.S. about Israel. So, everyone was on their best behavior. And, at the end of the day, the relationship between the president and prime minister is what matters,” said Sperling. “Bennett had to ensure that the meeting went well.” ì
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OPINION Withdrawal from Afghanistan: Lessons for Israel In August 2021, the U.S. withdrew its military from Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war. Necessarily, twenty years earlier, the Kenneth Stein U.S. retaliated against Muslim terrorists and their sanctuaries in Afghanistan because America was brutally attacked on 9/11. We killed Bin Laden and invested heavily in trying to remake Afghanistan into a country where western values might matter. We and our allies spent exorbitant amounts in human treasure and more than a trillion dollars during our Afghan engagement. What lessons to take from this experience? Correctly, we needed to prevent another 9/11 on our doorsteps. We still have that imperative. With American withdrawal, the jails in Afghanistan are being opened and
unpoliced borders will allow a flow of additional jihadists to assemble and execute more attacks on the U.S. and its allies. U.S. presidents and their administrations naively believed we could grow Jeffersonian democracy and nurture civic responsibility in a state where tribal, family, ethnic and sectarian identities still magnetize societal cohesion. President Bush wanted regime change. President Obama refused to embrace publicly the reality of Islamic extremism. Forced domestic changes from foreign countries are doomed to failure. In February 2020, President Trump signed a “deal” with the Taliban. According to two of his national security advisers, John Bolton and H.R. McMaster, Trump signed a “surrender” agreement with the Taliban, legitimizing their rule. When Trump left office, he left President Biden with fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan. Biden promised to be out of Afghanistan by September. Both presidents made unnecessary public promises that locked each into definitive policy actions in specific time frames.
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Afghanistan and its Middle Eastern neighborhood (University of Texas, Map collection)
Why do presidents have to make significant policy intentions public? How needless was President Obama’s 2013 public announcement that the U.S. was not interested in regime change in Tehran? I would wager that when the Iranian clerical leadership heard his remarks, they found whatever appropriate beverages were available, and collectively said, “L’Chaim!” Each presidential administration failed to realize that for Afghan political culture, as for other Middle Eastern states and political insurgencies, success is determined by staying power. Resilience is often measured by buying time for some undefined period until the adversary may be worn down into weary submission. Sometimes the objective is to negotiate, that is, not to achieve an outcome but to gain legitimacy. To one degree or other, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, elements within the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Assad family in Syria all subscribe to the premise of ideological staying power. Every match for them can go into limitless extrainnings, never bounded by clock or calendar, or finalized by a last at-bat. It is the last country or entity standing.
Lessons for Israel’s Presence in the West Bank
There are lessons for Israel to learn from America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. In its own history, when Israel withdrew unilaterally from both Lebanon in 2000 and from the Gaza Strip in 2006, it 30 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
handed security duties over to the UN and to the PA, respectively. More than 8500 Israelis were displaced from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In both cases, those withdrawals did not work out well for Israel. Hamas brutally removed the PA from control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving a hostile Palestinian insurgency on Israel’s southern border. Israel cannot withdraw unilaterally, if at all, from the West Bank or from the West Bank’s borders, leaving it in the hands of another political entity. The Israeli columnist Ben-Dror Yemini made a very strong case that the fall of Kabul is a warning sign for Israel. Jerusalem must control those boundaries while maintaining active intelligence operations there. Second, the Afghan army’s complete or partial disintegration in the face of a determined group of jihadists has implications for Israel. Highly influential Arab and Palestinian analysts proclaim the PA is inept, dysfunctional, and corrupt; they roundly criticize the PLO for its blatant failure to move from a liberation movement to building effective state institutions. The Palestinian Authority Security Services in the West Bank are a police force trained to handle counterterrorism; they are not an army trained to quash a rebellion that might emerge from a dedicated group of jihadists bent on overthrowing a weak PA. For a decade, our CIE staff has chronicled statements and plans made on behalf
OPINION of a two-state solution. No matter how dedicated advocates of a twostate solution are, their incessant prompting should not determine what happens on the ground. Every Israeli prime minister since June 1967 has understood the geographic realities of the West Bank, sandwiched between Israel and Jordan. Each prime minister has postponed the devolution of any foreign sovereignty for the West Bank, allowing for implementation of confidence-building measures to evolve between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel can get out of the lives of the Palestinians without getting out completely from the West Bank. At present, the PA and the PLO are not viable institutions that represent the interests of the Palestinian people. In fact, many Palestinians still believe in the Hamas ideology that Israel’s very existence, and not merely its presence in the West Bank, is the ‘occupation.’ Yasser Arafat, former head of the PLO, recognized Israel in 1993 because he wanted and needed international legitimacy from the U.S. when he was openly challenged for command of the Palestinian leadership. Arafat said as much in a private meeting in Washington, D.C., with President and Mrs. Carter and me the night before he signed the Oslo Accords. In 2020, the Taliban sought similar legitimacy from the Trump administration. Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that begin before the PA is thoroughly reformed will only entrench a corrupt Palestinian leadership and doom any longlasting agreement.
Building on the Abraham Accords
Teen Israel Leadership Institute Presentations and content provided by CIE Founding President Ken Stein and a team of experienced teen and young adult Israel education specialists. TWO VIRTUAL SESSIONS
SEPTEMBER 19 & 26, 2021 | 12:00 — 3:30 PM EST LEARN MORE & APPLY AT WWW.ISRAELED.ORG/TEENS APPLICATION DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 5 Evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, August 2005 (Moshe Miller, Israel GPO)
The CIE Teen Israel Leadership Institute will enhance Israel knowledge among Jewish teens and provide valuable skills for sharing that knowledge with others. Participants will engage in a wide variety of learning activities and have an opportunity to hear from college students. Teens with all levels of background knowledge of Israel are welcome to apply.
Near Kfar Giladi where 12 Israeli soldiers were hit by Hezbollah rockets in August 2006 (Creative Commons)
Israeli Culture and Politics through Music • Identity and Religion in Israeli Society • Israel’s Jewish and Democratic Origins • Building the State from 1882 to 1949: Examining the British, Arab and Zionist Texts • Arab-Israeli Relations and Negotiations Since 1948 • Being a Critical Consumer of Media • Israel on Campus In partnership with:
Signing of the Abraham Accords, September 2020 (U.S. State Department)
A year ago, the Abraham Accords were signed. During the previous decade, the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel played nicely. Trust formed between people and the elites. It was top-down and bottom-up diplomacy. Common strategic and economic national interests were and are shared; geographically proximate Iranian toxicity remains a common threat to be stifled. In case anyone forgot that the Palestinians had major issues with Israel, Hamas fired rockets into Israel in May, sending Israelis into shelters and into a justifiable military retaliation. The Abraham Accords did not break. They remained alive as a strategic scaffolding to be built upon. By the end of 2020, agreements with Morocco
and the Sudan followed those with the UAE and Bahrain. Relationships were not based on ideology but on enhancing mutual strategic interests. Every country that made peace with Israel also received something from American coffers: economic assistance, weapons, recognition or restoration of rights and guarantees. The U.S. footprint need not be physical; it can be substantial if consistently supportive of common objectives. We should evolve further an effective if not loose alliance system of Middle Eastern friends. ì Professor Kenneth Stein is the founding president of the Atlanta-based Center for Israel Education.
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Transcending Differences, Stronger Together This past year has been characterized by various challenges, for Israel and for the Jewish people. A global pandemic impacted us all. Israel faced Anat Sultansignificant seDadon curity threats and ongoing attempts to delegitimize the Jewish state. Jews across the globe have faced a very concerning rise in antisemitism, including here in the United States. Yet, despite these significant challenges, we have also witnessed the powerful force of positive change, including the extraordinary beginnings of unique and authentic relations between unlikely bedfellows. This past August, The Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast had the remarkable opportunity to host a delegation of young Emirati, Saudi and Israeli leaders from the NGO [Non-Government Organization] Sharaka. Sharaka was born out of the Abraham Accords, as one year ago Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed historic agreements normalizing the relations and further promoting the vision of peace for our region. Since then, Morocco and Sudan have followed, and we look forward to many more joining in choosing hope and peace, for the benefit of all our peoples. “Sharaka”, meaning ‘partnership’ in Arabic, was founded by young leaders from Israel and the Gulf, to promote the vision of peace on the ground – people to people. Two Muslim Emiratis, one Muslim Saudi, one Arab Israeli and one Israeli Jew came to Atlanta for a two-day visit. The delegation spoke to a variety of audiences around metro Atlanta including interfaith leaders, elected officials, heads of HBCUs and members of the Jewish community. Their message was strong and clear - the next generation is not afraid to break through barriers. The next generation can be educated and exposed to “the other” with great success. Despite our differences, there is much that we have in common, and our relations allow us to better address common challenges and pursue mutual interests. In this same spirit of bringing peoples together in peace, the Israeli Consulate launched a new program fostering educa-
tion and understanding of the deep seeded relationships between African-Americans, Jews and Israelis. Covenant is a cooperative partnership of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast and the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. Our work commemorates the rich history of African-American and Jewish collaboration and mutual support, which is of great relevance and importance today. Our dialogue, events, and academic programs draw upon the legacies of Henrietta Szold, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Constance Baker Motley, Yitzhak Rabin, Samuel DuBois Cook, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. These leaders, each in their own way, courageously strived to ensure a better future for their communities and across communities. Continuing the theme of “unlikely bedfellows,” Israel’s new coalition government is another such example. Like the United States, Israel is a multicultural and politically complex country. This year, we saw the formation of the most diverse coalition government in Israel’s history. Parties from the far left and the far right came together to form Israel’s new government including, for the first time, an Arab Israeli party. Gender equality has also made strides in the new government’s makeup. Its nine women ministers mark the highest number to date, as do the three women ministers included in the more exclusive Security Cabinet. Also a first, one of the women ministers has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair. As in previous governments, Jewish ministers represent a broad range of backgrounds, including an openly gay minister, and reflect Israel’s tradition of successful immigrant integration: North Africa, Ethiopia, Europe, the former Soviet Union and more. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s family immigrated to Israel from the United States. Diversity coming together is the essence of the State of Israel and its citizens. While it has been a challenging year for Israel and for the Jewish people, there is much to be celebrated and much to look forward to. Whether in Israel, in the Middle East, or here in the U.S., coming together beyond differences makes us all stronger. May we all keep our eyes on the horizon as we journey toward a brighter and more peaceful New Year together. Shana Tova! ì Anat Sultan-Dadon is Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast U.S.
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How One Jewish Family Shaped My Views The American Jewish community’s strong support of Israel has always helped steer a strong United St a t e s -I s r a e l alliance. Unfortunately, as Vernon Jones Zionist loyalties have started to dissolve among newer generations, politicians are starting to consider support for Israel detrimental to their political careers. This is shameful. These politicians are afraid to take a stand against anti-Semitism, while other politicians fully embrace it. Ignorance of the importance of a strong relationship with Israel is reaching its boiling point and the onus to speak out against this downward spiral is on public servants like me. Jewish communities have positively impacted my life for as long as I can remember. It started when I was just a child. I was raised with my siblings in the small town of Laurinburg, North Carolina. My parents were farmers who did their best to provide for us. We never had the best luxuries in life, but they ensured that we had food in our bellies and shirts on our backs. Laurinburg was also home to the Risks, a kind Jewish family that settled down near us. The Risk family owned a merchant store in town, which was common for small rural communities at the time. Despite my parents being simple farmers, Mr. and Mrs. Risk always treated them with the utmost respect. Our church clothes were usually hand-me-downs, but when we grew out of those and my parents had to buy new dress clothes, they would take us to the Risk family’s store. When Mr. Risk would take my measurements, he made me feel special. And when our parents couldn’t afford the clothes, Mr. Risk would tell them to just pay their debts when they could afford it. This generosity meant so much to us, and I have never forgotten the Risk family’s kindness or the moments we shared. In fact, my bond with them is one of the reasons why I pushed to recognize Jewish heritage in my time as Chief Elected Official of DeKalb County. Soon after I was elected to the office, I established an annual Holocaust commemorative service in DeKalb County to honor our Jewish communities and the journeys that they made to reach the United States. We must recognize the atrocities that occurred in the
past and ensure that similar events never happen again. Too many Americans in the 21st century have no idea of the true horrors that Jewish communities suffered under the terror of Nazi occupation, and we must educate future generations so that history does not repeat itself. And before I stepped down as the top executive of DeKalb County, I worked to introduce an Anne Frank exhibit in an effort to educate my constituents on the Holocaust, along with the trials and tribulations that Jewish communities faced in the early 20th century. When organizing the exhibit, the owners of the building where the exhibit was originally intended to be located turned me down because they didn’t want it located there. I refused to let that deter me, and instead had the exhibit showcased at the Historic DeKalb Courthouse. The interactions I had growing up around the Risk family have been a catalyst, but not the sole motivating factor for my determination to speak up for Jewish Americans. This determination is becoming rare. The radical Democrat lobby no longer values our Jewish allies overseas. I am surprised and quite frankly taken back by how the Democrats have cut and run on our nation’s Jewish communities and Israel. Do they not realize the national security implications of their actions? In May earlier this year, Democrats in the House of Representatives successfully blocked legislation that would have imposed sanctions on foreign entities providing assistance to Hamas. To put that into perspective, the U.S. government officially recognizes Hamas as a “Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” and the terrorist group has made a habit out of frequently targeting Israel. Hamas reportedly fired thousands of rockets at Israel earlier in the summer, but Democrats appeared perfectly fine with allowing the terrorist organization to remain unscathed after such a vicious and disgusting attack. Rather than support Israel, several prominent Democrats attacked the nation for daring to fight back after the Hamas barrage. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) called Israel’s retaliation “an act of terrorism.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) even appeared to tweet that Israel was an “apartheid state.” And Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) attacked her fellow Americans for simply defending Israel. This is the Democratic Party that America is dealing with today, and I cannot tolerate this bigotry any longer. When I am elected governor, I won’t be cutting and running on Israel and the Jewish community.ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 35
Shmitah and the Climate
Rabbi Jonathan Crane
During the month of Elul, Jews blow the shofar daily in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. This year, the shofar’s distinct cry also heralds the beginning of another cycle, the shmitah year. Shmitah is a biblically mandated agricultural rule to let the land lie fallow every seventh year. The land’s rest, as the great medieval philosopher Maimonides reflected, makes the earth more fertile and stronger. Moreover, he says that observing the shmitah helps make people more compassionate, it makes civilization better. This may be because the shmitah year is like a sho-
far, a chance for the land, air and water to cry out, awaken us both to our vital dependence on and cruelty toward the natural world. The advent of a shmitah year, like Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, provides us a chance to take stock of our behavior. Every seven years Judaism encourages us to inquire about our “agricultural report card.” By all accounts, we merit a failing grade. Most credible evidence points to the overwhelming conclusion that our environment is worse off now than it was seven years ago. And scientific consensus confirms that it is human activity that is responsible for this global environmental deterioration. The science is simple. The implications are serious. Sea level rise, longer droughts, more flash floods, more fires, slower moving and stronger hurricanes, more intense cold air outbreaks while the poles warm faster, hotter temperatures overall, increased desertification (including parts of Israel, many areas
already fraught with tension over water rights), food and water resource challenges leading to climate refugees. It’s a serious list. And Judaism tells us we may not ignore this problem. We do not have that luxury. Just as the Jewish new year holidays instruct us to acknowledge the harms we cause and to commit ourselves to doing better, so does the shmitah year. We are not at liberty to justify the environmental harms we have caused, or to downplay, deflect or disavow them. On the contrary, Jews are to muster the courage to be honest in our self- assessment. This is true in regard to the ways we treat each other and especially in regard to the way we treat the natural world. It means exercising more restraint when it comes to using disposable plastic, taking a hard look at the amount of carbon we consume in the form of gas and electricity, considering the sources of the food that we eat, and reducing how much we discard. It means demanding better sustainable practices from our companies and
stronger environmental protections from our governments. We still have a chance to preserve the natural world and protect the health and lives of our neighbors, and by coming together as a community we can do just that. As Hans Jonas, a great 20th century Jewish philosopher, put it: “Our descendants have a right to be left an unplundered planet.” This shmitah year, let us do what is necessary to make good on that right. We have no time— and no environment—to waste. ì Joanna Kobylivker is the Community Organizer for the Jewish community at Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) and the Founder and Chair of the Jewish Climate Action Network of Georgia (JCAN GA). Rabbi Jonathan Crane currently serves as the Raymond F. Schinazi Scholar in Bioethics and Jewish Thought in the Center for Ethics at Emory University. He is a Professor of Medicine, and is the founding director of the Food Studies and Ethics initiative at Emory.
Shana Tovah wishing you a healthy, happy, and sweet new year!
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Why People Don’t Want to be Vaccinated I have friends and relatives who are not vaccinated and do not want to be vaccinated. I wondered why, since getting a vaccination Allen H. Lipis was something my wife and I got as soon as it was available. Still, there are millions of people fighting against the covid vaccination, so I thought to put their arguments down, and there are many of them. I begin by summarizing an unsolicited brochure I received in the mail with a strong Orthodox orientation that opposed getting vaccinated. The brochure listed testimonials of people getting sick after being vaccinated, statements from the medical profession that more research is need, potential side effects from the vaccination, quotes from various Orthodox rabbis opposed to being vaccinated, and a recommendation to take a drug given to
cows and horses that the CDC has said is poisonous for humans. Here are their arguments partly based on an article by Jessica Wildfire. I will speak for them just as if they were speaking themselves. For me, it’s that we don’t know much about the vaccine and I don’t feel comfortable with something that could be dangerous for myself or my future children so I’d prefer to be as safe as I can with what I know and what has been studied with consistency/accuracy and time. I have a lot of doubts about the vaccines. The control over telling me what to do about the virus is part of stoking the culture war. I resent anti-vaccine advice that is singling me out for death if I don’t follow their advice. I am not following health guidelines simply because it’s being forced on me. The same goes for masks and social distancing. Putting mandates in place hasn’t stopped the virus from spreading, because people don’t follow the rules. I don’t believe that the CDC or any other government agencies has the truth. Not enough is known about the virus, and
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there is conflicting information. I believe I am physically fit. Even if I get the virus, it in TV stations I listen to and the Internet won’t have a serious impact on me. I know outlets I visit. These outlets agree with my that most of the people who get the virus point of view and I don’t have to consider suffer very little, stay at home and recover another perspective. My opinion is as valid as anyone else’s opinion. I don’t have to accept what science has to offer, because the science on the virus is incomplete and can be wrong. Right now it’s an opinion, and not a scientific fact. I believe that no one should tell me what to do. Just present the informaNo one wants to get vaccinated, just "because". tion and let me decide. I am in charge of my life. I believe that wearing a mask is taking away in a few days. Even if I get the virus, the immy freedom, even if it may be for the health pact on me will be minimal. of the community, but I don’t even believe Take the worst-case scenario that I that. I don’t think masks help. Some fabric catch the virus and get seriously sick. I am masks are poorly made and won’t stop the willing to accept that small probability. virus, and even the best masks have not If it happens, that’s life. We all take risks. proven that they do any good in prevent- We could get killed driving a car, or having you from getting the virus. ing a serious medical condition. That just And if there is a scientific conclusion, life. The virus is just another possibility people will not follow what needs to be that I will live with like all the other posdone. People won’t follow the rules, and sible ways I could die. If it happens, that’s that is the case right now. There’s no point life and I will accept it. Of all of the things in trying to modify anyone’s behavior. If that can kill me, including the virus, they you’re going to try, you should be nice and all have a small probability of happening. I non-confrontational about it. expect to live a long and happy life. Look, I am in good health. I am very As a person that believes in God, I put careful. I do not expect to get the virus. I my life in the hands of God. If I get the vidon’t like vaccinations. I have a doctor rus, then it was God’s will and I will accept who told me that he can take care of me if it. If someone else gets the virus, then it I do get the virus. I am not worried about was the will of God too. getting the virus. In choosing between serving the To sum up, these are my views: community and serving myself, serving ■ If a person gets the virus, it’s myself comes first. I don’t trust the data their problem. If they spread the virus, it’s on vaccines, and I am not sure the vaccina- not their fault. tion works. I want the government to stay ■ If a person dies from the virus, out of my life, leave me alone to live as I they should have taken better care of please, and let everyone else decide how themselves, including unvaccinated chilthey want to live. I believe in the formula, dren. “What is mine is mine, and what is yours ■ The only proof of the virus will is yours.” You do what you want, and I’ll be measured by how many get sick and do what I want. For all of us, it is for the die, and even then I am not sure I can debest. Let me decide without interference pend on the data. by anyone else. It’s my life, and I will live ■ Let’s let everyone do what they it my way. want, and let’s see what happens. I have another argument. No one I ■ If you judge my position, you are know has gotten the virus, so I doubt that being judgmental. It’s only your opinion, they will get it. A lot of my friends have got- and you are being hateful. If you disagree ten vaccinated, so their vaccination is pro- with me, that’s fine, but leave me alone tecting me. If they are protected from the and I will leave you alone. virus, then they are protecting me. I know ■ And if I get the virus, I have the I am depending on their protection, and same right as you to receive good medithat is a good thing. And by the way, I am cal health care. Now let’s talk about other quite healthy myself. I eat well, I exercise, things. ì
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though science makes no claim to knowledge that is absolute, the scientific process has proven to be far and away the most open, direct, and dependable way there is to tell the truth from fiction. And there has never been a time when making that distinction has been more important. Now more than ever we need to recognize that scientific literacy and critical thinking are not just tools for professional scientists: they are basic life skills, as vital to our personal and intellectual growth as reading, writing, and arithmetic.” McIntyre also addressed “the so-called backfire effect, wherein people presented with more facts actually become more entrenched in their false beliefs and misperceptions.” Do you pound your head on a desk or groan in frustration when a friend, a relative, a co-worker, or a social media contact digs in their heels, as you explain why what they are claiming does not correspond with the facts? McIntyre offered this caution: “What should be evident from the studies on the backfire effect is you can never win an argument online. When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are actually making your opponent feel even surer of his position than before you started the debate. As he matches your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.” McIntyre cited an applicable joke: “How many facts does it take to change a person’s mind? Only one, but the person has to really want to change.” Then there is “confirmation bias,” the consequences of which have ruined many a family gathering. “This is the mother of all thinking errors and probably the best known and understood,” McIntyre wrote. “We know if we only seek out and pay attention to information that supports what we already think, we’re unlikely to change our minds. ‘Why be informed, when you can be affirmed,’ as the saying goes.” McIntyre’s thesis is available through the University of Maryland library or at elementsofdisbelief.blogspot.com. Today, he reports for the Washington Examiner and writes a widely read newsletter, “Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense.” Whether he said it himself or was paraphrasing someone else, the last word goes to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author and humorist better known as Mark Twain: “It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we know that just ain’t so.” And that is a fact. ì
Wr i t i n g this column had me stumped. I wanted to reflect on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and also express a measure of exasperation Dave Schechter with certain segFrom Where I Sit ments of society and government over their response to the resurgence of COVID-19. The challenge was finding a connection between seemingly disparate subjects. Then I remembered the master’s thesis written by my former colleague, Jamie McIntyre. On Sept. 11, 2001, McIntyre was CNN’s military affairs and Pentagon correspondent, and I was the national news desk’s liaison with the Washington bureau. His treatise, written in 2014, was titled “Elements of Disbelief: A Case Study of 9/11 Truthers and the Persistence of Misinformation in the Digital Age.” McIntyre is an expert in that subject. A snippet of his reply to an anchor’s question has been, he wrote, “deliberately misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misreported to advance a false narrative,” by “truthers” who reject evidence that hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, killing all 64 people aboard and 125 more working inside the military headquarters. McIntyre has engaged these folks in lengthy conversations, but try as he might, he has not changed even one mind in the course of two decades. “It is self-evident that many widely accepted beliefs today are demonstrably untrue, along with widespread skepticism about things that are demonstrably true. The persistence of far-fetched ideas can be surprisingly enduring and stubbornly resistant to even a frontal assault employing undisputed facts and iron-clad logic,” he wrote. This brings to mind another variety of “truther,” the kind that resist prudent measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some eschew masks and protest any proposed mandates. Others disseminate misinformation about vaccines. The governor says that Georgians “know the right thing to do,” but the state ranks 43rd in its percentage of fully vaccinated citizens. Meanwhile, the unvaccinated fill hospital wards, straining resources and overwhelming exhausted nurses and doctors. As if a portent of our current predicament, McIntyre said seven years ago: “Al-
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A Tie Between 9/11 and COVID-19
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Letters to the Editor Letter to the editor, I was delighted to be included in the recent AJT article, Legacy for Legendary Jewish Georgians” with so many other accomplished Jewish Georgians. I do, however, have one minor correction to make to the recent comprehensive article. In August 2020, while celebrating NCJW‘s 125th anniversary in Atlanta, NCJW the organization partnered with The Breman Museum to present a forum highlighting the work of five of NCJW Atlanta’s past presidents: Marilyn Shubin, Lila Hertz, Nancy Levine, Holly Strelzik, and Beth Sugarman. I’m thrilled that these influential women are being included in The Breman Museum‘s permanent collection. However, in the article, Barbara Sugarman and Michal Hilman were cited as past NCJW presidents. While these marvelous women did not serve in this capacity, they are longtime, treasured members and leaders of NCJW Atlanta. Sherry Frank, Co-president - NCJW Atlanta Section Letter to the editor, It has been common knowledge for years that all major developing countries have pos-
Letter to the editor, Congratulations are indeed due to the nomination of Deborah Lipstadt, by President Biden, for Special Envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. I can think of no one more qualified than her. The comments from all those interviewed in your article confirm this. Kudos especially to Chuck Berk, of the Atlanta chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, for pointing out Ms. Lipstadt’s condemnation of Representative Ilhan Omar’s remarks and by the way, was the only person quoted in the article to do so. Robert Krugman, Atlanta
sessed the ability to conduct germ warfare. The Wuhan crisis is no exception. Was a virus created in the lab and deliberately leaked into the local wet markets for experimentation on the people of Wuhan? This is totally consistent with China’s poor record on civil rights and its complete lack of concern for all of the Chinese people. The virus created in Wuhan is by no means a poor reflection on all Asians especially Asian-Americans. It is simply a reaffirmation of the Communist Chinese Government’s unconscionable disdain for human life. They are the ones to blame. Now we the American people will soon be required by our government to get the vaccine without being told what the short- and long-term side effects are. This is inherently a violation of our civil rights since the vaccine has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The one benefactor from the spread of the virus is the environment. Consider how working from home reduces the amount of carbon emissions caused by the automobile. Why isn’t the Biden Administration and various environmental groups encouraging this? Joe Bialek, Cleveland OH
Letter to the editor, Thank you for highlighting the Taylor Oral History collection at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. As more people learn about history from the internet, it becomes more important to make documents, primary sources, and oral recollections available to others. Part of learning about who we are is learning about our history. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia, with support from The Breman Museum,
OUR ROSH HASHANAH MENU IS FILLED WITH ALL THE HOLIDAY CLASSICS TO HELP YOU BRING IN A SWEET NEW YEAR. ORDERS MUST BE IN BY 12PM ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4TH. learn more ab 40 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
tio nu op ns me
osh Hash ur R an o a out
has indexed all of the interviews in the Tayor Oral History collection. This index is available in the USA Database on JewishGen.org at: www.jewishgen.org/databases/USA/ In addition, The Breman Museum’s Holocaust interviews are also included in the JewishGen.org Holocaust Database at: www. jewishgen.org/databases/Holocaust/ Anyone researching their family during the Holocaust should check this database as it includes a variety of other sources including paper records and the Shoah Foundation interviews. ì Peggy Mosinger Freedman, Jewish Genealogical Society of Georgia
Disclamer to our readers: This section of the newspaper is a forum for our community to share thoughts, concerns and opinions as open letters to the community or directly to the newspaper. As a letter to the editor, we proof for spelling and grammatical errors only. We do not edit nor vet the information the letter contains. The individual signing the letter is accountable for what they share.
This Rosh Hashanah,
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If you believe that we are called to make the world a better place, the answer is clear. Rosh Hashanah offers each of us a unique opportunity to express our gratitude, renew our commitments, and rededicate ourselves to strengthening the Jewish community here in Atlanta and around the world.
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ROSH HASHANAH High Holidays in the Pandemic, Take Two In advance of the High Holy Days, Atlanta’s Reform and Conser vative synagogues were prepping their technology to ensure Roni Robbins that services throughout the month-long period are broadcast to congregants without a hitch. For many, it was a welcome return to the sanctuary after a year of virtual davening. Technology is prohibited during the High Holy Days under strict interpretations of Jewish law, so Orthodox congregations are readying their sanctuaries for services as usual — or at least the pandemic version. Even plans made only weeks ago have been amended in light of the new COVID-19 Delta variant, as synagogues continue to navigate the ebb and flow
42 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Spike Anderson.
Rabbi Joshua Heller of Congregation B’nai Torah.
of a global health crisis with at least a portion of their congregants vaccinated. Atlanta Rabbinical Association President Alexandria Shuval-Weiner summarized the holiday preparations. As of mid-August, “all the synagogues
with ARA rabbis at the helm will be offering a variety of service styles for the community from which individuals may choose, from livestream and Zoom to in-person sanctuary services to outdoor creative options,” she said. “I think everyone is offering some form of an outdoor worship experience for children who are unable to be vaccinated.” The synagogue for which she serves as rabbi, Temple Beth Tikvah, is one of them. “For in-person, it seems that everyone is requiring masks to be worn while inside the facilities. Some, but not all, are requiring proof of vaccination to attend in-door services. “Pikuach Nefesh [saving a life] is the overriding Jewish value that sits at the top of all our safety assessment agendas. As such, everyone is keeping a very close eye on the situation with the Delta variant and will adjust accordingly if safety demands a more stringent response.” In comparison to the 2020 High Holy Day season, she said, “Last year most of us ‘produced’ and prerecorded the services to play at the appropriate times; others of us led services live from empty sanctuaries or Zoom windows from home. A small number held outdoor services in tents. This year very few, if any, will be prerecording; everything will be live with some congregants in-person.” Congregation Ohr HaTorah was set to offer separate services for those comfortable wearing masks and those who prefer not to, with outdoor provisions as well. But, like other congregations requesting that the unvaccinated wear masks in the building, indoor
Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple, which has been preparing its technology for the high holidays.
Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner, president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association.
mask requirements have become the norm, regardless of religious persuasion or vaccination status. The website of the Toco Hills shul details the latest shift: “Masks are once again required indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional outdoors for fully vaccinated individuals.” Multiple services help to stagger attendance, according to Rabbi Adam Starr. Congregation B’nai Torah is “running our usual schedule of traditional services. Masks and proof of vaccination will be required, and we will be at reduced capacity to allow for some distancing,” said Rabbi Joshua Heller. “Right now, registration is open to members only, and we will allow guests on a space-available basis,” he said. “In short, we are offering indoor, outdoor and streamed options. Alto-
ROSH HASHANAH gether, we are offering six different services each day of Rosh Hashanah, and eight different services over the course of Yom Kippur. “We are offering four kinds of outdoor services for each holiday,” Heller elaborated. “These services last 1-2 hours, and are open to the community, pre-registration required.” Family services for those with children in preschool through first grade will be available, as well as for those with children in kindergarten through sixth grade, along with an “enrichment” or interpretive service and a “highlights” service, which will be about an hour of the most important parts of the traditional service, Heller explained. “All of the indoor services, and some of the outdoor services, will also be available as a stream.” Aside from mask-on, mask-off scenarios and multiple services, some synagogues are providing hybrid participation options. Congregation Ahavath Achim has “hybrid study opportunities” throughout the holidays, according to Associate Rabbi Sam Blustin. The synagogue’s main services will be held in the sanctuary and will be made avail-
Associate Rabbi Sam Blustin of Ahavath Achim Synagogue.
Rabbi Adam Starr of Congregation Ohr HaTorah.
able virtually, with family programming outdoors in a tent, he said. Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple said the pandemic led to his synagogue becoming a “multi-access congregation” with virtual and in-person service options. This allows the congregation to “serve our members and the community wherever they may be.” Cantorial soloist Susan Burden of Congregation B’nai Israel estimated inperson attendance to be slightly higher
than virtual this year. At Temple Emanu-El, Rabbi Spike Anderson expects about one-third of the congregation to attend via livestream. That option is available through Facebook or YouTube, according to the synagogue’s website. Services will be both virtual and in-person, with an outdoor option, too. “We have space for 1,500, which we will only put 600 seats [out for], and since we are having more services than
usual, we don’t anticipate more than 400 people at any one of our indoor services.” All of the services from the bimah will be streamed, he explained, “and congregants will have the ability to either pick up their machzor at Temple Emanu-El or download the machzor from a PDF.” Having congregants back in the sanctuary is quite different from 2020, Anderson said. “Last year we were strictly online-only, with the exception of the clergy, and those chanting Torah and haftarah. “The chanters each had their own bimah, well-spaced away from the others. They would come in masked, unmask to chant, and then put their mask back on.” Regardless of whether congregants attend or watch High Holy Days services, Anderson summed up the main goal: “prioritizing meaningful worship experiences despite the COVID safety measures.” Visit the websites of Atlanta area synagogues to learn more about their specific high holiday plans. ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 43
Bringing the Sounds of the Shofar to the Community Hearing the sound of the shofar is a Torah-decreed mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah, which starts on September 7. The Book of NumChana Shapiro bers declares that Rosh Hashanah “will be for you a day of sounding the shofar.” And from this verse, we learn of the obligation to blow the shofar during the day, not after sundown; while our sages determined that the total number of shofar blasts during the service (one hundred) coincides with that of the special blessings included in the Rosh Hashanah prayers. Orthodox shuls do not use virtual programming on Shabbat or High Holy Days; yet, hearing the shofar is an essential commandment. Therefore, Orthodox synagogues bring live shofar-blowing to members who are unable to attend shul services, enabling them to fulfill the mitzvah. To accomplish this, many synagogues will
Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael students will blow the shofar for homebound individuals (L to R): Yisroel Gross, Mikkel Hertzberg, Binyomin Shmuel Leib Hiller, Eitan Zavulunov, Aaron Blanks, and Asher Fleshel.
employ protocols they established during the COVID-19 pandemic, which expanded opportunities to hear the shofar outdoors. Modern Orthodox synagogue Ohr HaTorah in Toco Hills plans to have an outdoor shofar blowing at the end of their Rosh Hashanah services. Congregants who miss
Experience the High Holidays with our warm and welcoming Intown Community! Erev Rosh Hashanah Monday, September 6 6:50 pm - Mincha/Ma’ariv Rosh Hashanah Day 1 Tuesday, September 7 8:30 am – Shacharit 10:30 am – Alternative Outdoor Service 6:30 pm - Mincha 7:00 pm - Tashlich/Ma’ariv Rosh Hashanah Day 2 Wednesday, September 8 8:30 am – Shacharit 10:30 am – Alternative Outdoor Service 7:30 pm - Mincha/Ma’ariv/Havdallah
Kol Nidre Wednesday, September 15 7:00 pm - Mincha 7:30 pm - Kol Nidre Yom Kippur Thursday, September 16 9:00 am – Shacharit 10:30 am – Alternative Outdoor Service 11:00 am - Yizkor 5:45 pm - Mincha/Neila 8:05 pm – Ma’ariv/Shofar/Havdallah
Adult Guest Tickets, which include all High Holiday Services, are available for $82. College students are free with student ID. Visit www.shearithisrael.com or call the Synagogue Office at 404-873-1743. Join us at any of our upcoming programs or classes; including, Sukkot events, Simchat Torah Dinner and Service, Friday Night Live, and many more opportunities to engage. Visit www.shearithisrael.com for dates and details.
Congregation Shearith Israel is rooted in Conservative Judaism and committed to egalitarianism. Relationships are at the center of everything we do: we educate children and adults in Jewish values, Hebrew language and the continuing story of our people; we elevate our spirits and feel God's presence through prayer experiences; we embrace our covenantal responsibility to comfort all who are suffering, and celebrate each other’s joy.
44 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
services can also hear the shofar on the outdoor Ohr HaTorah patio before the start of the Minchah service at 7 p.m. Home shofar visits can be arranged through the shul. Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman of Congregation Beth Jacob in Toco Hills, notes that in addition to shofar-sounding at the end of its many Rosh Hashanah service options, “Additional Shofar blowing will take place throughout the afternoon at Shul and around the neighborhood.” The synagogue will arrange shofar visits for members who will be at home. Rabbi Shmuel Khoshkerman of Sephardic Congregation Ner Hamizrach in Toco Hills says, “We will accommodate everyone. Individuals can receive a home visit, and we will have a special outdoor shofarblowing in the afternoon of the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, as well.” Rabbi Mark Kunis of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, a traditional synagogue in the Toco Hills area, notes, “As we did last year, the final blasts of the shofar at the end of services, will be held outdoors at 1 p.m. on both the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah. We will definitely accommodate those who are not comfortable attending shul.” Six students at Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael in Toco Hills have learned to blow the shofar with the proper cantillations. The combination of acquiring a challenging Jewish skill and being able to help other Jews fulfill a mitzvah is their motivation. They will visit people at their homes, apartments and condos. These young men are among the qualified shofar-blowing volunteers assigned through Congregation Beth Jacob. Chabad Intown’s Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman lists the following options: On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the congregation will blow the shofar and join for the
Tashlich service at the gazebo in Piedmont Park at 6:30 p.m. On the second day, outdoor public shofar-blowing will take place at their location on the BeltLine at 7 p.m. In addition to its full services, Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs, led by Rabbi Yossi New, will offer a 45-minute outdoor “inspirational service” at 10:30 a.m., followed by shofar-blowing. Throughout the afternoon on both days, members of the congregation will blow shofar outdoors for homebound members and groups. Chabad of North Fulton, led by Rabbi Hirshy Minkowicz, trained members to blow the shofar for a “Mitzvah Hike” as a way to reach homebound members and residents of the nearby Cohen Home assisted living facility. The congregation will blow the shofar outdoors on the afternoon of the first day at central offsite locations, including Newtown Park. Chabad of Gwinnett’s Rabbi Yossi Ler-
YOY student Eitan Zavulunov taught himself to blow the shofar.
man will lead a community-wide “Shofar in the Park” shofar-blowing and Tashlich service at the river overlook in Holcomb Bridge Park at 6 p.m. on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. Rabbi Binyomin Friedman at Congregation Ariel in Dunwoody will arrange home shofar-blowing for individuals who are unable to attend services, and the synagogue will host outdoor shofar-blowing at the nearby Brook Run Park Amphitheater at 2 p.m. on the first day of Rosh Hashanah. After services, there will be outdoor shofarblowing at the synagogue at 1 p.m. on both days. The above-mentioned synagogues stress that coronavirus conditions will determine final decisions about services and outdoor shofar-blowing. Individuals are encouraged to visit synagogue websites for the most timely and accurate information, and to contact synagogues to request a home shofar visit.ì
The Temple Is at The Zoo in 5782 By Bob Bahr The Temple’s Rosh Hashanah services for families this year will be held at Zoo Atlanta. The service, which is described as multigenerational, will take over The Ford Pavilion at the zoo, which is a 16,000 square foot tentlike structure on Rosh Hashanah morning, Tuesday, September 7. It’s believed that this is the first time The Temple, which was established in 1867, has ever hosted a High Holy Days worship service at a location other than its own building. The Temple’s Director of Lifelong Learning Rabbi Steven Rau said the relocation of the popular services, which are only open by reservation to temple members, is in response to a desire to reunite the congregation physically. “Our goal was to get our families back together. This is for so many families, even the older generations a very big part of their holiday experience and one of the most meaningful. So we’re just trying to bring a little bit more normalcy into our family’s lives again.” The popular service, which has attract-
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Above, The Temple will hold its family service for Rosh Hashanah at the tent-like Ford Pavilion of the Atlanta Zoo. Left, The sermon at the family service is based on a book by Dr. Seuss, penname of Theodor Geisel.
ed 1,000 or more worshippers before the pan- The Book of Genesis, which is read in many demic, will be conducted in two sections. The synagogues and temples. first is a half-hour service for children who “This is the idea of bringing us a little bit have not learned to read yet that will be con- closer to creation. It’s a wonderful experience ducted with puppets representing characters for our families. We have a long history of Dr. created for public broadcasting’s Children’s Seuss-style sermons. The book has been conTelevision Workshop. troversial in recent years because of some of The second, for older children under 11 the drawings in it, but we’re skipping the conand their families, has been created around troversial parts.” a musical performance and liturgy from the After the service, Temple members will Reform movement’s High Holy Days prayer book for families and youth. Both of the services at the zoo are aimed, according to Rau, at strengthening relationships within the congregation. “It is easy to do everything virtual. Unfortunately, we really can’t touch the lives of our kids when we’re at such a distance. Relationships are everything to Following the service, The Temple's members will us. And so, we’ve been trying to receive free passes to tour the zoo's exhibits. create ways that we can mainreceive free passes to tour Zoo Atlanta, which tain in-person experiences in a safe way.” The sermon planned for these services completed a costly expansion plan prior to is based on the Dr. Seuss book, “If I Ran the the COVID-19 pandemic. The new construcZoo,” first published by Theodor Geisel in tion, which was partially underwritten by 1950. The volume is part of the astonishing Atlanta philanthropists Arthur Blank and public success of the children’s book series Bernie Marcus, includes a multi-story special which has sold 600 million copies and been events facility that once housed the Atlanta translated into 20 languages. Geisel, who Cyclorama. died in 1991, was honored with a Pulitzer The building also contains a kosher Prize, two Academy Awards, two Emmys kitchen, one of the few such facilities at a zoo and a Peabody Award from the University of in the United States. Georgia for his extensive body of work. This is not the first time The Temple His zoo story tells the tale, in verse, of has moved services outside during the panhow a young boy creates his own zoo filled demic. The graduation service for this year’s with wildly imagined creatures from all over confirmation class of teens was held on The the world. For Rau, the book echoes the Rosh Temple’s front lawn. ì Hashanah theme of the creation story from ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 45
Synagogue Membership Dues: A Relic or Remedy? This summer, over 240 of Temple Sinai’s younger m e m b e r s opened their dues statements ahead of the High Holy Days to find Bob Bahr that there was nothing to pay. The members are part of a special program, which the temple calls Atid — Hebrew for “the future” — that began three years ago as a way to open the doors to a new generation of congregants under 32. Temple Sinai’s Atid group works with Rabbi Samantha Shabman Trief, who describes the program as “hugely successful.” Rabbi Trief says the dues initiative is a way to reach out to those for whom the cost of synagogue membership might be prohibitive. “The idea was that the barrier to entry for young adults might be intimidating financially. ... So we wanted to really welcome people into our community
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Senior Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal believes that some comments about synagogue financing are coming from an “embattled” place.
and give them a taste of what we stand for and what we’re about by offering free membership.”
Temple Sinai in Sandy Springs has over 240 members who pay no dues.
But for the other members of the congregation, one of the largest in Atlanta and a leader in the Reform movement nationally, this summer’s dues statement was substantial. The Sandy Springs synagogue has a thriving preschool, a large B’nai Mitzvah and childhood education program, three full time rabbis, and a sizable professional staff. In recent years, the congregation has had a yearly budget of over $4 million. For congregants who can’t meet the high cost of membership, a reduction of their membership dues involves either further negotiation with the temple or, in some cases, giving up their affiliation. In recent years, the discussion over synagogue dues in America has taken off rapidly. According to a 2017 study by the UJA-Federation in New York City, some 60 Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues and temples have stopped charging dues, twice the number of congregations as just two years before. Additionally, the rapidly growing Chabad-Lubavitcher movement, which has institutions in over 400 communities in the United States, does not charge membership dues. At Ahavath Achim, or AA Synagogue as it is known locally, Senior Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal says that during the last year the pandemic has added a note of urgency to the discussion: “It’s a huge conversation for everybody. Every denomination is talking about it.” According to Rabbi Rosenthal, some of those comments are coming from
Father and son, Rabbis Kerry and Avi Olitzky, have written a book about alternatives to a dues-based synagogue.
what he calls an “embattled place.” “By embattled I mean there are people who are really holding on to the dues model, the membership dues model, because they look at the projections and they say, well, if we were to get rid of that, it would mean that 50 percent of our revenue would disappear.” But that’s not what happened at Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis that has gotten rid of dues altogether. Four years ago, the congregation began a program they call a charitable giving model, which provides members the choice of giving whatever
they feel is appropriate. The senior rabbi of the congregation, Avi Olitzky, was a classmate of Rabbi Rosenthal’s at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. Olitzky believes that the “dues model should be done away with” in general. Today, giving is up “significantly” over the dues-paying model his congregation abandoned in 2017. Olitzky says he’s personally advised congregations across the country that dues only detract from the core mission of spiritual growth that synagogues should be focused on. “Instead of being in the business of our mission, we find ourselves falling into the bad pattern of being in the business, of being a business. Our congregation has helped institutions return to their core mission and principles and values instead of focusing on simply doing a bagel and lox sale or a bake sale or if they don’t, just raise dues.” Olitzky and his father, Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, have written a book, “New Membership Models and Financial Alternatives for the American Synagogue,” which guides congregations through various alternatives to the dues-paying model. The senior Olitzky has been a prominent voice in American Jewish life for decades, first as an executive at Hebrew Union College, and later, as an innovative leader of national non-profit organizations. He is also a prolific writer on Jewish issues. He now serves as a consultant at Mersky, Jaffe and Associates, which advises Jewish communities on fundraising initiatives. Olitzky sees a fundamental shift occurring in the way that American Jews relate to their synagogues. “There is a cultural shift away from membership institutions and, therefore, Jewish community institutions have to respond differently to the issues of membership. We have to remember that the membership model in place in the American synagogue and other community institutions was an innovation over 100 years ago. It's no longer an innovation and we have to respond to that change.” His son, Avi, knows the direction he’s headed in. This February, after 14 years as a pulpit rabbi in Minneapolis, he's stepping down to take a more direct role in the restructuring of American communal institutions. It is work that he feels has only gained in importance during this COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic has taught most synagogues to do outreach that we all should have been doing all along. Our institutions should be far greater than the walls, financial and otherwise, that we erect.”ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 47
Jewish Atlanta Shares Opportunities Seen For the 5782 New Year For our annual Rosh Hashanah issue, we asked members of the Jewish community to describe the opportunities they see in the upcoming 5782 New Year. Several commented on the ongoing pandemic, and how it has caused them to change and become more flexible. Many commented on the importance of everyone getting vaccinated. Most submissions simply shared thoughts of inspiration, advice, and encouragement looking to a more promising future without a pandemic to be concerned about.
By Rabbi Spike Anderson As we approach the Jewish New Year of 5782, it behooves us to ask the question: What can I do, Jewishly, that will “matter” in the grand scale of my life, of my generation, and to the world? There is a significant school of thought among rabbis and scholars that the “synagogue,” the word that encompasses the place where Jews worship, study, and gather, has literally been vital to Jewish civilization for (at least) 2,000 years. Even before the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 A.D., there is significant evidence that many Jewish communities created special places to gather in order to communicate ideals, distribute charity, study, and commune with the Divine. In theory, any of this can be done anywhere. But the reality is that a designated place is necessary for this type of aspirational discourse to actually take place. Thus, the synagogue (or shul, or temple) exists to help us live our ideals. The theology behind the Judaism housed in the synagogue is that we have partnered with God to heal our sick world, to take it from where it is to where it needs to be. Tikkun Olam. This is the mission of every individual Jew, of every Jewish generation, and of the Jewish people in every land that we have lived. We do this, quite simply, by intentional actions (mitzvot) designed to bring “light into the world.” Sometimes these mitzvot are big and seen by many, but most of the time they are quiet, private actions done when nobody is looking. Judaism gives us the “charge” and the direction, as well as the inspiration that our life can “mean something.” By this, we imply that we can contribute to this Jewish mission of Tikkun Olam (healing the world) if we choose to make the effort. But, as you know, synagogues do not just happen. They have to be created and nurtured. Healthy ones are constantly evolving, as the vibrant synagogue is almost a living entity. Not because of the synagogue walls — although they indicate the designated space for us to realize our aspirational, best selves — but rather because of the amazing people (our congregants) who think that Judaism, and what the synagogue can do to help change the world for the better, is really important. The proverbial litmus test is for you to imagine what the world and what your life would look like if Judaism and synagogues did not exist. Try it. The Torah that emanates from synagogues through their membership is the front-line of the change that our tradition mandates we try to make through every Jewish life, in every Jewish age. Judaism is not a luxury; it is vital to the world. Synagogues are not an afterthought; they are a cornerstone. Your active engagement, or even your passive support, allows genuine good to proliferate. This Rosh Hashanah, perhaps the most impactful thing that you can do is to recommit to your synagogue, and in doing so, progress your place in the Jewish story. The story that continues to change the world. Rabbi Spike Anderson is the senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El.
By Arlene Appelrouth Approaching Rosh Hashanah I’m grateful the new year offers the possibility for growth and change. Last year, 5781, was riddled with conflict and fear. I wanted life to go back to how it was before the pandemic, for people to work and socialize, for children to return to school, for in-person meetings and classes, for cultural and sports events to take place in a variety of venues, not just virtually on Zoom. Rosh Hashanah invites introspection and provides an opportunity to accept life as it is and to change our attitudes and behaviors that make it difficult to enjoy and appreciate how miraculous life is. The isolation and loneliness created by the pandemic affected me. Instead of discovering things that were meaningful to me and made a difference to others, I wasted time. I was unhappy about all the things I couldn’t do. I spent too much time obsessed with the bad news I was powerless to change. The world seemed shut down and spiraling out of control and so did I. I believe today provides an opportunity for growth and change. In 5782 I intend to stop complaining, to focus on what’s positive and to stop comparing life today to how it used to be. I plan to live with gratitude and appreciation for what's good in my life, and in the world. I pray the new year will bring peace, healing and the inspiration to be grateful for what is. Arlene Appelrouth is a contributor to the AJT.
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By Jane Aronoff As we begin the new year, we look forward to the day when we refer to this pandemic in the past tense. As our community carefully navigates the uncertainty that has become a daily challenge, JELF (Jewish Educational Loan Fund) has remained focused on our mission to help Jewish students in need achieve their goal of a degree with interest-free loans. In higher education, as in so many areas of society, the pace of change is astonishing. Even as the traditional classroom makes a comeback, the virtual learning environment is rapidly becoming a familiar part of the educational experience. One thing about higher education, however, has not changed: the ever-increasing costs. For many undergraduates, graduates, and technical school students, JELF’s loans fill the gap between family resources, scholarships, grants, and interest-bearing loans and the high cost of education. This past year our applicants demonstrated the highest need in our history. We were proud to help nearly all of them close the gap so they could continue their studies. The coming year will bring more of the same. JELF is ready. But 5782, a Shmita year, also presents a unique opportunity. Shmita, which is observed once every seven years, includes many meaningful aspects, but JELF is particularly energized by its call for Jewish lenders to forgive the loans of fellow Jews. Under the direction of our incoming chair, Rob Rickles, and with the help of generous donors and the efforts of our wonderful volunteers and staff, we are raising dedicated funds for a one-time initiative to forgive the loans of JELF borrowers in dire financial circumstances. While we will only be able to help a limited number of borrowers, the intersection of our mission and this beautiful Jewish tradition is inspiring. On behalf of the JELF Board, staff and volunteers, I hope this Shmita year brings you happiness, health and many meaningful experiences.
Wishes for a good and sweet New Year from Temple Sinai.
Jane Aronoff is the chair of JELF (Jewish Education Loan Fund) and is a founder and past president of Temple Kol Emeth.
By Chuck Berk The High Holy Days are a profound symbol of who we are as a people – strong, resolute and undeterred. They are also a reaffirmation of our sentiments for Israel. Across the millennia, Israel, the one Jewish homeland, has touched countless lives in myriad ways. Foremost among the many means through which we have expressed our feelings for Israel is through Israel Bonds. We are profoundly grateful for your continued support in the face of ongoing challenges. As we anticipate the New Year, we do so with collective pride in Israel, and embrace its limitless potential. Together, we will perpetuate the Bonds legacy inaugurated by David Ben-Gurion 70 years ago. Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do. We wish you and your families a prosperous, happy, and most importantly, healthy 5782.
Temple Sinai 5645 Dupree Dr. NW Sandy Springs, GA, 30327 (404) 252-3073 templesinaiatlanta.org
Chuck Berk is chair of the Israel Bonds National Campaign Advisory Council.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 49
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Michael Bernstein Judaism is Personal The High Holy Days are a time for gathering and finding the sweetness in our lives together. No other time draws us so into the same space through intentional prayer and reflection. The entire Jewish world sings the same song even if the melodies vary by custom or region. In the words of one of the poetic flourishes in the machzor: “All on Earth come this day to praise you.” And at the same time, no other occasion places each person in such a unique position. We hear the same words read out of the Torah and think about the same themes. We read from the same book, more or less, but everyone carries with them their own story. That story is a sacred text in and of itself that is open to interpretation but cannot be fully understood. Even by ourselves. Our story is a sacred scripture that is read by G-d. Our rabbis teach that G-d creates us in the divine image like a sovereign would stamp their own likeness on a coin. Yet while the coins minted by rulers are identical, each coin made by the Holy One is unique. No human being appears before G-d like any other one. No voice, even in the same key, is the same as any other one. No matter what the family resemblance or similarity of features across our tribes, none of us is like any other. The beauty of the High Holy Days is that they remind us that being Jewish is neither about the individual nor about the community. Judaism is personal. A personal journey within the communities we live in. A personal story and a personal relationship with G-d. Judaism is the opposite of the famous movie tagline: It's not business, it’s personal. Another year to be ourselves awaits. Rabbi Michael Bernstein is the spiritual leader of Congregation Gesher L’ Torah.
By Terri Bonoff Often in life we are encouraged to have a wider perspective, a longer view of the horizon so that our challenges become minimized in focus. I think this approach needs to be turned on its head at this time. Bring the magnifying glass in as close as possible. Look directly in front of you and make sure every interaction has an impact. Bring love, kindness, and compassion to all whom you greet. When fear and anxiety grip you, lean in and ask yourself, “Am I in danger right now?” Most likely you are not. Then ask yourself, “Who can I touch with a warm glance, a kind word or a note sent?” Recently, we at JF&CS shared our vision to expand the mental health services we provide to children teens, and families. We are seeing pain, fear and instability take hold within the youth in our community. As we shared this vision, the Jewish community responded with incredible generosity. Gifts large and small came our way. These acts of kindness are life-changing. We are proud to share that we are launching the Horwitz Zusman Child & Family Center, in honor of a transformational gift from the Horwitz and Zusman family, operating within the Frances Bunzl Clinical Services. During a webinar, JF&CS therapists spoke about the importance of being present, doing breathing exercises, having meaningful family time, being with nature. As I listened, I did the exercises they were talking about: I breathed slowly in and out, took in the beauty of the trees behind my house, the green leaves in contrast to the beautiful blue sky. I visualized being on the beach with my children. Life came into focus and the fear fell away. As we approach the holidays we all need to breathe and know that our words, deeds, and actions matter. Go slow, savor the small wins, and spread goodness wherever possible. Change starts with you. L’Shana Tova. Terri Bonoff is the CEO of Jewish Family & Career Services.
By Rabbi Jesse Charyn Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the world. I’m not sure how birthdays are treated in your household, but in my home, birthdays are a BIG deal, a day devoted to celebrating how much better the world is for having the beautiful birthday neshama in it! On our secular calendar, New Year’s Day takes place January 1st, the first day of the first month. Rosh Hashanah falls on the first day of the seventh month, Tishrei. Why the seventh? We learn that Nissan, the first month on the Jewish calendar, is the beginning of the year for months, but that Tishrei marks the beginning of years for years. Cleared up? Good! Rosh Hashanah is our opportunity to celebrate the notion of creation, the miracle that is the world and the ongoing process of partnering with Hashem to make our world a better place. I look at the world and see endless possibilities. When my wife and I had our first child, we knew that instilling a deep sense of respect and appreciation for Hashem and our world were foundational values critical to raising the next generation of compassionate Jewish leaders. In the past year I have thru-hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail with my oldest child, and we have completed two cross-country road trips with all three kids under four. We have visited over 22 states and several national parks. I am proud to be a rabbi and honored that my children will grow up understanding that a rabbi does not simply exist in a sanctuary. This Rosh Hashanah celebrate through living your values. Interact with your rabbis. Ask questions. The High Holiday services are not a performance, though the sights and sounds you encounter are impressive and meant to reinforce the importance of these days. Consider buying a Machzor if you do not already have one on your bookshelf. Look through it before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Do not come empty-handed to this birthday celebration! This year find a new way to connect to your Jewish heritage and commit yourself to being a more present partner with Hashem. Rabbi Charyn is the spiritual leader of Temple Beth David in Gwinnett County. 50 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Lauren Cohn I’m not sure why, but I’ve always liked the expression “comparing apples to apples.” However, the only time I ever recall actually comparing apples to apples is when I was in first grade in religious school. We had a class taste test of red, green, and yellow apples and then we graphed them. Once, all I knew about the High Holy Days was apples and honey. And as my Jewish education evolved, my connection to the Jewish New Year deepened. When I was eight, I remember eating my great-grandmother’s matzo ball soup at Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner and thinking just maybe I could love the soup as much as I loved my Nannie. In seventh grade in religious school, I remember learning that the shofar was our alarm clock to make sure we were ready for Rosh Hashanah and to do the work of apologizing to others for our mistakes and wrongs. When I was in high school and learned that God cannot forgive us for sins committed against another; it is those we have wronged from whom we must directly seek forgiveness. I was awe-struck that Judaism could be so reasonable and fair. For all of us and each of us, the High Holy Days are steeped in memories and connections to our younger selves, to Jewish learning, and to our families – past and present. As we eat apples and honey and delicious home-made soup, may we be ever present to all that we have with insight, learning, and love. And a special wish for this year: that we work toward High Holy Days in the future when we have created a world filled with more justice, understanding, and compassion.
WISHING EVERYONE A GOOD AND SWEET YEAR
Rabbi Lauren S. Cohn, RJE, is a community rabbi in Atlanta and the rabbi of Temple Beth El in Anniston, Texas.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Cheryl Dorchinsky How can I begin anything new with all of yesterday in me? Leonard Cohen
As the Jewish communities are getting ready for the High Holy Days, more and more of us are (hopefully) asking ourselves the hard questions: Did I do everything I could do to attain my goals this year? Did my organization do everything it could to fight back against Jew-hatred? Did we, as a community, do everything we could to make the world a better place? Without checking in with ourselves in an honest way, we will fail to see the opportunities the next year holds for us. This is why the message I want to share here starts with checking on yesterday before we turn to tomorrow. Not to dwell on it – but to learn from it. I am sure that I am stating the obvious when I say that we did not have an easy year. It was a year impacted by a global pandemic, hatred, ideological and real wars fused with uncertainties and seemingly uncontrollable circumstances. No, we did not have an easy 'last' year. As a Jewish community in the United States, we've been experiencing the unthinkable — our brothers and sisters being violently attacked on the streets of Manhattan and Los Angeles and in many places in-between. Jews and Zionists are bullied, intimidated, and getting death threats. As a Jewish community, we see how some of us are yearning for unity and mobilization, while others want to keep to the status quo — possibly out of fear. As a Jewish community, we are facing complex questions around our identities. Do we stand up as proud Jews when an angry mob attacks a restaurant (as happened in Los Angeles)? Do we go to the streets and stand up against those who call for our death under the campaign of “Globalize the Intifada?” Do we act? Or do we stay silent? The upcoming year is full of opportunities, but only if we set clear intentions. My intention for 5782 is to stand up against Jew-hatred as an even prouder Jew; not only for myself, but for my children and for my community near and far. Cheryl Dorchinsky is the executive director of Americans United with Israel and a founder of Atlanta Israel Coalition.
Jewish Family & Career Services wishes you a Happy & Sweet New Year! Donate to our food pantry to start the year with a mitzvah at jfcsatl.org/food-drive Artwork created by Noa, age 5 in our PAL Program, Atlanta’s Only Jewish Big Brother/Big Sister Program. 52 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Daniel Dorsch We all know the answer to the question asked of every Super Bowl MVP: “Now that you’ve won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?” (Disney World). Having made it through the worst of the pandemic, the question posed about what opportunities we see in the new year might feel as if it warrants a similar answer. We've all once again been reminded that that life is short. Is now the time to travel somewhere exotic? Disney World, perhaps? For me, the answer is decidedly different: “We are going to Winnipeg!” (Said with Super Bowl MVP enthusiasm). Here’s why: You may not know that when the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, my wife moved to Atlanta (for the record, I think Atlanta won that trade). Part of the trade agreement was the requirement that we travel to Canada several times a year. In the first half of 2019, we had multiple trips to Canada planned and cancelled. By the time we finally get there, it will have meant two years of missed opportunities for family connections: summers at the lake, services at the Winnipeg Beach shtiebel, and family moments for my children to have quality time with their cousins. I’ve always been partial to the words of the great Israeli songwriter Arik Einstein, who remarked that “while there are some who climb mountains ... never satisfied or having had enough, I love to be home with my tea with lemon … with the people whom I love.” Some people will climb to the top of Splash Mountain this year. Alas, for us, Disney World can wait. Reconnecting with our family this year is our greatest opportunity. That’s why, after the holidays, we will be off to Canada to avoid missing another opportunity with the people we love. Rabbi Daniel Dorsch is the rabbi of Congregation Etz Chaim.
By Sherry Frank With the clarion sound of the shofar, we are awakened anew to hear the call for justice, equality, and peace. As we enter the new year, it is an especially auspicious time for teshuvah, repentance, a return to the path of righteousness. It is a time to make good our commitment to repair the world. At this moment in our country’s history, the challenge to democracy is acute and the assault on voting rights is escalating. Our sacred texts teach that anyone who sees harm and does not speak out is held responsible. This is our moment to speak out. Our vote is our voice. Judaism teaches that we are all created in the image of God, b’tzelem Elohim. Thus, we believe that everyone should be given equal rights. Voter suppression tactics hurt our democracy and deny equal access to the ballot. This has been a difficult year. COVID-19 has taken the lives of so many and threatened the health of people we love. While Zoom has enabled many of us to stay in touch, it doesn’t replace the longing to be together in person. I am thankful for the creative ways our synagogues, agencies, and organizations have maneuvered through these challenging months. The generosity of our donors has been inspiring and allowed us to serve one another in new and meaningful ways. I will be praying for many things in the upcoming New Year 5782: health, happiness, security, an end to Jew-hating and violence, and a safe return to be together in person as a community. I will also be praying for our country to uphold its basic values of democracy and most especially the right for everyone to vote and have their vote counted. Sherry Frank is president of NCJW Atlanta section.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Robbie Friedmann Jews and Community Safety in 5782
As 5781 is coming to an end I pray that 5782 will be a better year. We have experienced an unprecedented disaster on a global scale. For a short while it seemed to be under control, but the hoped-for comeback is facing the fourth variant wave. News of hospitals flooded with dying patients are alarming, again. If that is not bad enough, the calls to “reform police” have backfired, with police budget cuts, resignations, lower arrests, and a spike in violent crime not seen in years. The sense of personal safety and community safety has worsened this past year. For Jews there is another virus that adds a worrisome dimension. Old blood libels have resurfaced, as Jews were blamed for COVID-19 and then for the defensive operation in Gaza, after Hamas launched more than 4,000 rockets targeting civilian centers in Israel. The Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) reported that in 2020-21 there were 37 anti-Israel resolutions in student governments, half of them submitted after the Hamas attacks. On 152 campuses, student groups and faculty associations issued anti-Israel declarations, and the AMCHA Initiative reported 472 cases of anti-Semitism on campuses. So as the country is getting back to school and to work, the exponential infection rate of the Delta variant, the alarming increase in anti-Semitic incitement and violence against Jews, coupled with a weakening of the deterrent power of police and of police capabilities to provide public safety, are all bringing back days reminiscent of the 1930s. Add to this the mortal threat of Iran approaching nuclear capabilities and we are getting closer to a perfect storm. Against that backdrop there are some encouraging signs with The Abraham Accords. It is heartwarming to see the Sharaka Gulf-Israel Center for Social Entrepreneurship (https://sharakango.com) promoting social and cultural ties in addition to economic ones. This year those relationships should pave the road to a better future, but the Jewish community everywhere needs to be far more proactive in addressing the dangerous rise of anti-Semitism. Shana Tova. Dr. Robbie Friedmann is the founding director of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange.
By Beth Gluck When was the last time you told someone that you are a Zionist? As the new year is upon us, we have an opportunity to revitalize something that faded from our lingo many years ago: the “Z Word.” Here’s a hint: one who aligns with an ideology and a movement; a stand to create and support a Jewish State in the Jewish People’s historic homeland. The “Z Word” is Zionist. When I was in high school in the midseventies, the UN passed a resolution declaring Zionism a form of racism. Since that time, despite other UN Resolutions, anti-Zionist entities have continued to defame and denigrate the word. As a result, we who were once mobilized to action by a vision of a what a Jewish homeland could be, began to shy away from association with the movement and the use of the “Z Word” itself. When was the last time you told someone that you were a Zionist? It’s time. We are reclaiming that word because we own the narratives of both our history and our future. My position is personal. I aspire to normalize the “Z Word” for reasons beyond; “for the sake of the Jews.” My children are comfortable with the complexities that have evolved with the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Debates about Israel have always had a place in our home, and lively conversations, of course, may have gotten a bit heated from time-to-time. This is how it’s been for Jews throughout our history. But many of their millennial peers drank the Kool-Aid of those who deny Israel’s right to exist; and hold the Jewish homeland to unique and untenable standards. We’ve lost far too many to the corruption of the word Zionism. Generations who are lacking the tools to respond, fear retribution for standing up and saying they are Zionists. Let’s use the coming year to reclaim the “Z Word.” As we proudly weave the words Zionist and Zionism into our conversations, we will demonstrate that we support Israel, today and forever. I am a Zionist. Beth Gluck is Jewish National Fund-USA's Atlanta executive director and proudly engages Atlantans in developing the land of Israel for all its people.
54 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Brian Glusman There is a famous story about Albert Einstein, one of the greatest physicists of all time. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he approached Einstein, Einstein reached into his vest pocket. He could not find his ticket, so he began searching through all his pants pockets and the ticket wasn't there. Einstein frantically looked in his briefcase but still couldn’t find the ticket. Then he looked in the seat beside him. Still, no ticket. The conductor said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.” Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle, punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket. The conductor rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.” Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.” Throughout Elul, the Hebrew month that proceeds Rosh Hashanah, we sound the shofar in preparation for the Jewish New Year. The shofar is our daily wake up call, arousing our soul, calling us to repent, and change direction. The call of the shofar is a challenge to each of us, to ask ourselves the same question that Albert Einstein asked — “Where are we going?” — and if we don’t like where we are headed, now is the time to take steps to change the course. Thomas Edison once said, “I make more mistakes than anyone I know. And eventually I patent them.” The call of the shofar also challenges us to stop expecting that our paths will be straight and obvious. To stop feeling badly about mistakes and shortcomings, since they are not only inevitable, they are sometimes a necessary component of the journey. Wishing you and your families a happy, healthy, sweet and meaningful New Year. Rabbi Brian Glusman serves the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and is the visiting rabbi at Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus, GA.
from Hillels of Georgia Learn more about our High Holiday offerings for students and community members at www.HillelsofGeorgia.org | email@example.com
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Arnold M. Goodman ANTICIPATING 5782
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Yom Kippur 5781 concluded with the traditional sounding of the shofar and the congregation’s response, L’shana haba’ah b’Yerushalayim (the coming year in Jerusalem). For close to two millennia of Jewish exile and dispersion, the return to Jerusalem heralded the arrival of the Messianic age. Wherever our people resided and regardless of their social, economic and political situations, the sounding of the shofar and the accompanying prayer were an affirmation of hope, that the coming year would be one of blessings of health, prosperity, family solidarity and peace. Last year the pandemic demanded a myriad of accommodations that impacted upon both the content and venue of our services. I suspect that the vast majority of Jews in non-Orthodox congregations remained at home and participated in Zoom services. Congregations that did convene in their facilities limited the number of worshipers, required masks, and followed restrictions dictated by health authorities. Suffice to say, the shofar sounded with the traditional prayer that the coming year be one in which we are liberated from the pandemic, and we could gather as a congregation, as was our want in days gone by. Sadly, the pandemic and its variants continue to bedevil us. This year attendance at services in synagogues will be limited in number and are required to conform to the directives and instructions of health authorities. Often services will be conducted in tents set up on synagogue property or elsewhere. In some instances, congregations will gather in other facilities. When there is no other option, Zoom services will continue to be provided, as well as for any who prefer to worship individually, or in family gatherings, in front of a television set or screen. Human beings are amazingly adaptable and imaginative, which are strengths that characterize lay and professional synagogue leaders. High Holiday services will be inspirational and our prayers, private and public, will beseech the Almighty for peace, not only within our borders, but throughout the world; for material wellbeing, and above all, for good health. We will pray for strength when we are sadly confronted with life’s trials and vicissitudes often triggered by natural disasters of fire, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Wherever we gather to worship, may we be enriched and inspired by the holy texts that are embedded in our liturgy, and by the inspirational teachings from our pulpits. May 5782 be the year blessed with an ending of the pandemic and a return to normalcy. May it be a year in which our fondest hopes for health, success, personal fulfillment, and shalom within our borders, and throughout the world are realized. Rabbi Arnold M. Goodman was the senior rabbi of Ahavath Achim Synagogoue (1982-2002), and now resides in Jerusalem.
56 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Leslie Gordon At a time when we thought that we might be moving forward and looking at healthier days for all, we find that what we hoped for is not yet the case. Despite this setback, I wish to look at the inspiring, positive moments of the last 18 months as we prepare to welcome 5782. We learned that faster isn’t necessarily better – we can slow down and observe. We learned to treasure our traditions and appreciate that we can celebrate them even if we’re not in person in a shul. We learned that virtual isn’t always bad – because we found ourselves regularly “seeing” and talking with family and friends who we might not often visit. We achieved an acceptable substitute for in-person that maintained and broadened personal “friend” bases. I celebrated a friend’s 81st birthday online and got to see another friend’s daughter read Torah at her bat mitzvah. We found lots of ways to stay connected despite adversity! Yay us! The past 18 months and the still-challenging present have reinforced our sense of resiliency and togetherness. This new, necessary way of connecting has also broadened the sense of community around the Breman Museum. This year the Breman celebrates 25 years. From artifacts stored in a closet and some recordings of oral histories in the old JCC, an actual museum was built on Spring Street that opened in 1996. Now we’ve learned to go beyond these walls and reach out to the region and the world through our virtual offerings. The Breman reached deep into the state of Georgia, and other states, through our online guided tour of the Holocaust Gallery, because the need for Holocaust education never stops. Our archivist Jeremy Katz authored a book on Jewish Atlanta using Breman archival materials. And in September we are opening a new exhibition, "History with Chutzpah," featuring 72 stories from the Ida Pearle and Joseph Cuba Family archives that will bring local Jewish history to life. We even added a dedicated gallery for photography showcasing Jewish photographers and/or Jewish subject matter. We accomplished a lot despite the challenges. We have much to contemplate, both bitter and sweet, as we welcome 5782. As we celebrate the birthday of the world, we will of course focus on reflection and repentance. But it’s important to remember that even when we are by ourselves, we are not alone. Shanah Tovah. Leslie Gordon is the executive director of The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Pamela Gottfried
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Floating in an inner tube on the Delaware River, I think about four rivers I’ve crossed to arrive at this moment in my life: the Hudson, the Harlem, the Delaware and the Chattahoochee. Sometimes I rode above them on high bridges and other times under them in deep tunnels. Mostly I focused on the traffic and how long my commute was taking. Rarely did I reflect on the source of these rivers, our most precious resource, and how critical they are to the survival of all living things on this planet. Riding the gentle rapids of the Delaware, I’m reminded of four rivers in Genesis—the Pishon, the Gihon, the Tigris and the Euphrates—flowing forth from the river in the Garden of Eden and watering the surface of the earth. I’m also reminded of the consequences of not caring for and protecting these life-sustaining waters. This Rosh Hashanah marks the anniversary of the creation of the world; it also marks the beginning of the shmita year, the seventh year in a biblically ordained agricultural cycle. It’s a year of release, a year to allow the land to rest, a year to allow the farms and orchards and vineyards to recover from the human need to cultivate, to till and to tend. Shmita challenges us to reconsider our relationship to the earth and all that is in it. For those of us living in cities and suburbs outside the land of Israel, this shmita year of 5782 is an opportunity to focus on restoring the environment where we are. For me, this year is an invitation to return to the river, to repair it and restore it. In the beginning God gave us water, the source of life. In the year ahead, may we reconnect to all that sustains us in life. Rabbi Pamela Gottfried begins her 23rd year as a rabbi and teacher in Metro Atlanta, and her 2nd year volunteering with JCAN-GA.
Third grade watercolor and ink compositions of pomegranate inspired by the energetic and loose illustration style of Margaret Berg.
By Rabbi Joshua Heller Our Biblical ancestors lived through repetitions of the same experiences. In every generation in Genesis, younger siblings earned the favor of their parents and the jealousy of their older siblings. Consider the rivalries of Cain and Abel, Ishmael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Leah and Rachel. Twice, Sarah was taken from her husband by a foreign king with ill intent, and then Rebecca suffered the same fate. On Rosh Hashanah we read how both Sarah and Hannah struggled with infertility. Abraham went through a total of ten tests. Different commentators wonder why this should be. Our ancient sages said, “Ma’aseh Avot Siman Labanim” — those patterns repeat themselves from generation to generation in a family. Modern scholars point to aspects of narrative and literary style. As we enter 5782, I believe there is another lesson we can learn, which is that life continues to offer us the same tests until we pass. The pattern of conflict between siblings was revisited until Ephraim and Menashe, Joseph’s sons, shared Jacob’s blessing, and then Aaron and Moses worked together to lead the Israelites. The past two years have been marked by increasing fragmentation and isolation in the larger society and in our community, by our inability to agree on the basic realities of what our problems are, let alone how to solve them. We have all faced our own personal challenges and tests as well. It is entirely possible that we will be offered the same tests in 5782 that we faced in 5781. Those tests, as challenging as they are, offer an exceptional opportunity. The essence of repentance is that we are given the opportunity to “re-test” and to improve upon our answers to life’s questions. This is not only true for our Jewish nation, or for our community, but for us as individuals. This year we have the opportunity to do better. Rabbi Joshua Heller is the senior rabbi of Congregation B'nai Torah.
58 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Josh Hearshen It is easy to live our lives on autopilot. It is easy to just do what it takes to survive. For too many years, the Jewish people have been in survival mode. While survival might very well be a very important thing, it is far too low of a bar for a community to seek to reach. We as a Jewish community need to come out of this COVID-19 pandemic with a new vision of what we want from our community and our religion. We all need to seek not to survive, but to thrive. That might sound simple, but it’s much more involved than we think. For far too many years we have worried about our numbers, our size, and about existential threats to our people. With all these concerns we neglected to understand that quality must be more important than quantity. That depth must be more important than breadth. The Jewish people have an incredible gift, that we were either born into or chose to adopt as our own. Judaism is incredible, and it's time that we look for more from our people than merely assurance that there will be a tomorrow. This happens when we seize the opportunity of 5782 to re-invent ourselves as hungry. Hungry for ritual. Hungry for education. Hungry for depth. This happens when we seize the opportunity to do exactly what we need to do. Which is to never be content, and never be satisfied. We should always look to do more and more each day, each week, and each year. In the words of the Torah, “It is not in heaven.” Deut. 30:12. All that we need is right in front of us. This can be the year when we are released from the contentment of the past, and embrace thriving in the future. Rabbi Josh Hearshen is the rabbi of Congregation Or VeShalom in Brookhaven, GA.
By Jan Jaben-Eilon Life is Full of Challenges If nothing else, this past year and a half has reminded us of how precarious and unpredictable life is. It should also have been a reminder that we may think we have control over our lives, but ultimately, we don’t. We have control over how we take care of ourselves, of how we treat others and how we treat our Earth. But, as has become way too clear with our climate calamities, we indeed could die by fire, by flood, by thirst, by famine, by sword or by beast (virus). Over the years, many of us have faced severe illness or death either individually or through family or friends. These are separate challenges, but both, I believe, teach us resilience. Challenges are just part of life. The earlier we learn how to overcome or deal with challenges, I believe, the more resilient we become. We can remind ourselves that yes, that cancer diagnosis or that death of a loved one was wrenching. And, at the time, we didn’t know how we could survive the pain. We cried, we wailed, we buried our heads in our pillows. Then we took a breath or two, or three. And we kept on living. As children we may have thought that life gets easier as we age. I wonder how that mistaken idea ever lodged in our brains. It doesn’t. The challenges are different and more difficult, but if we have learned how to get back on our feet after being struck down, repeatedly, by the slings and arrows of life, we are stronger and tougher. Having supportive family and friends helps, but, in the end, we all die alone. Jan Jaben-Eilon is a long-time journalist and cancer survivor.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Marcia Caller Jaffe Déjà vu All Over Again Yogi Berra said it, and we are living it. I have read and written ad nauseum about how we, as individuals, and as a society will be forever altered by COVID-19 and the events of the past two years. Most of us believed that High Holy Days 2021 would usher in the return to normalcy heading forward, as the streams of Tashlich carry away breadcrumbs to make room for our fresh start. But no so fast in moving forward. I’m now planning to get the third booster shot and sewing pantyhose strips into new masks to be even more impossibly impassable. Going forward, I have been humbled by this experience in expectations and so many things taken for granted. My car broke down in the rain no less, while I called the first dealership who said, “Don’t come here. We are backed up for weeks.” Another said, “We don’t have any loaner cars.” Has COVID-19 affected our necessity for car repair? There was a sign at Chipotle: “We are out of beans, salad dressing, grilled vegetables.” COVID-19 delays transportation routes? Not a biggie, what’s next? What the High Holidays do is give us hope in rebooting, counting on the calendar, processing the moon and stars, grateful to wake up vertically aligned to see the sunrise. A broken car, no grilled veggies, don’t amount to a hill of beans. Going forward, from Yogi Berra to Julio Iglesias’ emotive song, “How Fragile We Are,” I will triplemask, revaccinate, and stand on my head in the canned food aisle at Publix if it will help eradicate these variants or convince “knuckleheads” (as labeled by New Jersey Governor Murphy) to get vaccinated. Marcia Caller Jaffe is a regular contributor to the AJT.
By Meliss Jakubovic It’s another year, another opportunity to selfevaluate, another chance to practice gratitude for who I am becoming, the relationships that I have held on to and formed, and the things that surround me that bring me joy. For some of us, this year has been a challenging one. I lost someone very close to me in June and it still feels surreal. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her only to realize that we will never speak on the phone again. I believe that with every challenge there is a hidden opportunity, and it is upon us to recognize it and make the most of it. How can you find an opportunity through grief? Or pain? Or loss? Or uncertainty? Or regret? The truth is there is a lesson in everything and when we experience things again and again, it is the Universe/G-d’s way of letting us know that we still haven’t learned that lesson and we have some work to do. The opportunity I want to share with you as we move into this next year is that you always have the power to choose. Do you stay or do you go? Do you rise above or do you spiral into the ugly waters? Do you stand up for what you believe in or do you follow the crowd? Do you exude confidence or self-doubt? Do you fight or do you forgive? Do you lift others up or put them down? No matter what you are going through, remember that we have only one life to live, and it is here and now. Be in the present moment and ask yourself, “will this really matter in 5 years?” We all go through challenging times. But the opportunity is in how you handle these circumstances. Don’t take moments for granted. Instead, experience these moments with total gratitude and acknowledge to yourself how special this present moment is while it is happening. Reflect on the positives in your life. That will attract more positives to you. When we focus on our challenges, our worries, anxieties, fears, we only repel what we desire even more. Don’t think about yesterday or even who you are right now. Show up as the person you are becoming and start to form that new mold of this person. This moment forward is your opportunity to make any changes that you see for yourself. The thing is, everything you want to be, do, and have is already here. You just have to show up as the person who is ready to receive it and then you will start to notice how great things really are. Shana Tova. May this year bring you ease, comfort, love, joy, passion, excitement, and a new look on how you want to move through this world. Show up as your higher self and see things fall into place. Meliss Jakubovic is an online marketing strategist to coaches and healers, and an Israeli folk dance instructor.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Ari Kaiman Our collective narrative is inextricably linked with communal tragedy. We are a nation born in slavery and forged in a tradition responding to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The Torah that keeps us together is one story of overcoming adversity and learning from it. Whenever we return the Sefer Torah to the Aron HaKodesh we say the words taken from the book of Lamentations, “Hashivenu Hashem Elecha Ve-nashuva; Chadesh Yamenu Ke-kedem. Cause us to return to You, and we will return; renew our days as before.” 5782 holds within it many opportunities to demonstrate our communal resilience. As we have time and again, we will adapt to the moment while we strive for our best selves. COVID-19 continues to shape the daily reality of our world and keep us from “the way things were.” We know how to grieve the “way things were,” and hold on to the essential principles and values while renewing those values in our new reality. May this year hold for us the opportunity to grieve all that we lost, return to our community and our love of God, and “renew our days as before.” Rabbi Ari Kaiman serves Congregation Shearith Israel.
May the Joyful Sound of the Shofar, Welcome in a New Year of Health, Happiness, Laughter and Love! SANDY ABRAMS HARRY NORMAN, REALTORS®
By Elliot B. Karp The Yamim Noraim provide a unique opportunity to reflect and project. We look back on a remarkable year; how it affected us and how we responded to the challenges. We look forward to making decisions about how we wish to change ourselves and our communities. I am confident our decisions will lead to an exciting New Year at Hillels of Georgia, filled with tremendous opportunities for our Jewish students and communities on campus. I believe this will be a year in which personal relationships and connections with community will be vitally important for our Hillel students, staff, and leadership. I look forward to devoting myself to developing a more open, diverse and inclusive Jewish community at Hillel that is welcoming to every Jewish student. I look forward to recommitting ourselves to dynamic and innovative Jewish life through engagement, awareness, education and celebration. It will also be a year devoted to personal growth and community development as we expand offerings for leadership, service and improvement. It will be a year committed to strengthening Jewish pride, expression, and identity, including connections, education, and travel to Israel. We will ensure our students’ ability to openly express and celebrate their Jewishness free from anti-Semitism, hatred, and discrimination. I see us reaching out within our Jewish communities and beyond to create alliances and collaborations that will benefit ourselves, others and society. I see a New Year celebrating Jewish life, community, pride, Israel, and our beautiful multi-dimensional expressions of Jewish identity. May we and our loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life for 5782, filled with God’s blessings for Amcha and the entire world. Shanah Tovah u'Metukah!
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 61
ROSH HASHANAH By Susanne Katz
By Mitchell Kaye
Looking back, I am so aware and sorry for lost opportunities in my life. But as the world has turned recently, I am choosing to reposition my appreciation for the people who are in my life. As a young child, my parents would often include their friend, Dr. Jonas Salk, at family dinners. Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine was crucial in the elimination of polio in the United States by 1979, when the U.S. was declared polio free. In my dreams, I occasionally return to my parents’ table and talk with Dr. Salk, wanting to know more, and expressing my appreciation for his huge contribution to our world’s health. In the Ellman’s catalogue showroom my father, Howard Gold, was the vice president in charge of catalogue production. He brought me into the office to be mentored by Yaap Groen. Yaap taught me the ins-and-outs of writing copy, reviewing first drafts at the printer, and selecting photographs for the catalogue pages. Numbers tattooed on his arm were in front of me and yet I never took the opportunity to ask him why they were there. The Holocaust story never was shared with me and to this day I regret being so unaware. I am older now, and I cherish listening to people in my life as they share their life stories. What a wonderful opportunity. Susanne Katz writes for the AJT and has curated exhibitions for the High Museum of Art, Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and the Breman Museum.
We are now at the end of the month of Elul, just before the great days of awe, judgment and forgiveness. I am reminded of the adage “Man plans, G-d laughs!” Approaching the year 5782, we do not know how the latest COVID-19 spike will play out, the timing of an additional vaccine booster shot, or if we will go into another lockdown, with our children missing another year of precious in person schooling. Many are traumatized from the stresses and strains of events out of our control with no apparent end in sight. Before we try and change the world for the better, we should look inward and try to change ourselves and focus on what really matters in life and the relationships important to us. The Second Temple was destroyed due to sinat chinam, baseless hatred. As we usher in the new year, we should double and redouble our efforts and seek a renewed commitment in reaching out to our brothers and sisters in kindness and baseless acts of love. Spreading light, a smile or a good word can dispel much darkness. For each of us, we need to step back and take in the big picture. My mentor, Rabbi Ephraim Silverman of Chabad of Cobb, is fond of saying that the person most responsible for our individual happiness is the one we look at in the mirror every morning! Happiness is a choice, and we must proactively choose! From my family to yours, a prayerful and traditional blessing for a good and sweet new year both materially and spiritually, kesivah vachasimah tovah! Mitchell Kaye served five terms in the Georgia House of Representatives.
By Harold Kirtz Civil Discourse for the Sake of the Community
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We are in the midst of Elul, the final month prior to Rosh Hashanah. This is a month in which to spiritually prepare for the High Holy Days season of reflection and repentance. Elul is traditionally a time of introspection and personal stock-taking, known in Hebrew as cheshbon hanefesh — literally “an accounting of the soul.” This process is conducted in preparation for Rosh Hashanah when, Jewish tradition teaches, all of humanity is called to account and a divine judgment is issued. The customs associated with Elul are all intended to help cultivate the proper mindset for this preparation. The proper mindset during Elul and at other times is often difficult to achieve. We encounter so much conflict and confrontation that the voices of others and our own voice are drowned out. We are unable to hear — really hear — one another. We want to take stock, but we often fail to use the resources available to us. Our Jewish tradition has tools and customs to aid us in taking stock. But how do we access them? We need a willing heart and a receptive mind to listen to the voices of ourselves and others. We must start from a place of acceptance of what those voices have to offer. Once we are in a place in which we can have civil discourse, the benefits from such work can be developed. We can then listen, hear, and benefit from the wisdom that others and we have. As we move forward during Elul and throughout the year, we must assist each other in achieving discourse that is civil and productive. May each of us commit this coming year to engage in civil discourse and have an accounting not just for our own individual soul, but for the soul of the whole community. Harold Kirtz is president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta.
62 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Mitchell Kopelman
Wishing all a Shana Tova!
Each year, as Rosh Hashana approaches, I get very anxious. My father, Kenneth David Kopelman/Kaddish Dovid’s (Z”L), yahrzeit is on the 23rd of Elul 5749, as he passed away the week before Rosh Hashanah. I wasn’t ready to comprehend what had happened and was not expecting the call. I was fortunate that Stacey was with me; and she was supportive beyond belief. Each year, as Rosh Hashanah approaches, I remember my dear father more each day 1701 S 1701 SPRING PRING ST ST SE SE SMYRNA SMYRNA as we approach his yahrzeit. I didn’t read Torah for many years, and about 15 years ago, I decided that I would do a mitzvah in my father’s memory and learned the Torah reading for his yahrzeit. My Dad loved when I read Torah and led services, and each year I feel closer to him when I read this parsha. Mitzvahs are really a gift, and I have found that every new mitzvah I take on brings new blessings in my life. ALL INSURANCE ACCEPTED I would like to encourage you to find a mitzvah that can bring pride to you and NO JOB TOO BIG your family and to make 5782 a better year. We should all strive to be better tomorOR SMALL! row than we are today. Find your way to grow in your Judaism, whether it is lighting candles, putting on tefillin, studying the parsha, giving tzedakah, visiting Israel, atwww.THcollision.com tending a study session, find your passion and embrace it. May you and your family have a good and sweet New Year, and may you find one Proudly serving the Atlanta Jewish Community What if your death you were traveling? new mitzvah in your life that you do once a day,would week, orhappen year, whatever works for occurred while you. What if death occurred at your seasonal residence?
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Mark Kunis 21 Day No Complaint Challenge Undoubtedly, the main character of this past year has been the Coronavirus. After the easing of restrictions following the distribution of the vaccine, the new Delta variant has brought new cases and hospitalizations close to all-time highs. And so there has been a heated debate this summer as to whether shuls should be open for the High Holy Days and under what conditions. I decided to get the advice of the medical community. Here’s what they were saying: The Allergists were in favor of scratching it. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it. The Obstetricians were certain we were laboring under a misconception. The Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted. The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness. The Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say, “No!” In my shul, since just about everyone is vaccinated, we’re planning to mask up and pray for a good year. Since we’ve had so much to complain about during this pandemic, I looked for a way to challenge our culture of complaint. It’s 21 days from Rosh Hashanah till Simchat Torah — the end of the Jewish holidays. I’d like to challenge you to stop complaining about anything — not your children, your spouse, your extended family, your gardener, your mailman, Netflix, Facebook, your friends, and so on. Just stop your kvetching NOW and take my “21-day-no-complaint challenge.”
Wishing you and your family a year of health, happiness and many reasons to smile!
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I got the idea from Reverend Will Bowen, author of "A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted." As Bowen writes: “Complaining is an epidemic that is destroying our happiness, relationships, health, and success.” It’s estimated that on average, we make 15-30 complaints a day and 30-40% of our conversations consist of complaining. Bowen had started a revolution. Eleven million people in 106 countries have taken the 21-day challenge. When we complain, our brain activity is rewired, we find it harder to identify the positive, and so we dwell more on the negative. Unchecked, this can spiral and place us in a world of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. But when we remove the complaints and negativity the opposite happens: we become happier, more content with our lives and find gratitude in what we do have, rather than focusing on what we don’t have. Since Rosh Hashanah is about doing teshuva and changing ourselves for the better, this is a great time to accept this challenge. We Jews are famous for complaining — or, as we say, kvetching. Would it startle you to know that according to our sages, kvetching is a sin — and not just a sin, but a great sin. Rabbi Avraham Pam, z”l, taught that we learn this lesson from the creation of human beings on the 6th day, where G-d said, v’hiney tov m’od, “G-d saw all that He created and behold — it was very good.” Very good? Do you know what happened on the sixth day? The Midrash says Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit and were thrown out of the Garden of Eden; and Cain killed his brother Abel! And yet G-d says it was very good! In other words, G-d was saying, “I could complain, but you don’t build a world by complaining. Rather you do it by recognizing the good, by how wonderful things are.” My son, Rabbi Joshua Kunis, asked his 92-year-old grandmother Tzivia — a Holocaust survivor — how she was handling the pandemic. She said, “After everything I’ve been through to survive the Holocaust, I’ve learned that we have to thank Hashem for everything He gives us.” She proceeded to talk about how difficult things were then and how good they are now: There were stay-at-home orders, but you can stay at home and be in your own bed? No bunker? No ghetto? No sleeping under a pigsty? You can go to sleep at night and expect to find yourself and your family in the same place in the morning? You can take a hot shower and sleep with air conditioning without worrying that Nazis with guns are looking for you? You have shoes? No holes? More than one pair? Really? You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. My friends, sometimes people don’t realize that their complaint is someone else’s dream. People complain about their children — that they don’t listen to them or that they’re having a difficult time at school. I know people … for them just to have a child is a dream. Once someone came to me and complained that he lost $750,000 in one week in the stock market. I asked him, “Do you have $750,000 left?” And when he told me, “Yes,” I told him, “I know of people who dream of being able to lose $750,000 in a week and still have $750,000.” Your complaint is their dream. What are you complaining about? My friends, even good people take blessings for granted. They forget that there’s so much good in their lives. On Rosh Hashanah we must rid ourselves of the great sin of kvetching and serve G-d without complaints. So, unload your complaints on Rosh Hashanah and leave them behind till at least Simchat Torah. Instead, come to shul and count your blessings. Amen! Rabbi Mark Kunis is the rabbi of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim and author of "Dancing With God: How to Connect With God Every Time You Pray."
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Micah Lapidus
Each breath is an opportunity. Each moment. Each sunrise. Each sunset. Each interaction. Each conversation. Each up. And each down. Life is a series of opportunities. To be the kind of person that we strive to be. To learn, to love, to grow, to uncover. Life is less about what happens to us than about what happens through us. May we respond to as many opportunities as we can, as authentically as we can. And may we support our loved ones and community in doing the same. Rabbi Micah Lapidus, Ed.D., is the director of Jewish and Hebrew Studies at The Davis Academy.
By Eti Lazarian What Rosh Hashanah Means to Me It means a new beginning, a fresh start, new hopes and dreams. I always felt like whatever I had to do last year and never got around to because life is so busy is not an issue because I will get to it this year, and every year around this time I reflect on my achievements the past year and set new and stronger goals for the next year. But new beginnings now also mean self-awareness and forgiveness. If there is anything we learned from the past year, it is that making plans is God’s way of laughing. As a little girl in Israel, we celebrated Rosh Hashanah in a meaningful way. My mother used to buy my sister and I a new white dress (that was only white that day). We sat around the table in Jerusalem, the holy city, which was my hometown, and had a traditional meal, but also talked about our hopes and dreams. It seems like my hopes and dreams today stayed exactly the same … I still wish for the world to be a peaceful place, for love, and for everyone to be together. Usually, we find a way to all celebrate at one table, but this year is challenging. It is funny how so much has changed, but at the end of the day it all stayed the same. The most important thing for me today, as it was 30 years ago to that little girl in Israel, is to be with my family and for everyone to be healthy, happy and together. Le Shana Tova U’metuka! May this year be our best one yet!
By Rabbi Joshua C. Lesser This coming year we must advocate for voting rights protections.
A Prayer For Voting Rights Source of Life, we give thanks to you, for breathing us to life and creating each one of us in Your divine image. It is from our moment of creation that every human being is endowed with the inherent dignity of coming from one Source. How we encounter one another is paramount in how we serve Your creation. Our country’s democracy was envisioned to secure the liberty, equality, and free expression of all of its citizens. We pray that we become bearers of that vision as our democracy is being tested. Help us understand that our commitment to a just democracy stems from our desire to manifest the common good. Aid us in taking the actions that foster a nation that nourishes all of its citizens. Once again, the soul of our democracy, the right to vote, is being challenged. We pray for safe, free, and fair elections for all. Grant us the wisdom and the solidarity to ensure that those who are most suppressed and vulnerable are able to cast their vote unobstructed. Remind us of our courage to resist, to persist and to insist on this basic right. May all of the actions that seek to corrupt the right to vote be averted so that we may uplift Your vision of freedom. Today, as we honor the anniversary of the March on Washington, may the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and the message of Amos ring in our ears and guide us as we leave this place: “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.“ We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. And let us say Amen! Rabbi Joshua C. Lesser is rabbi emeritus at CBH, founder of SOJOURN, and spiritual director for The OnBeing Project Fellowship.
Eti Lazarian is owner of the Spring Hall Event venue.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 65
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Ari Leubitz As we approach the Chaggim, I again find myself being increasingly reflective about the past, present, and future. There is much heaviness and unknowns in our world right now, yet, Rosh Hashanah brings with it a sense of newness. We are each surrounded by inspiration — it is our task and obligation as Jews to take notice of it. I am invigorated about embarking on a new year and a new school year with renewed energy and positivity. Let us take note of the inspiration of the day, breathe in the aromatic smells of the special seudah/meal, absorb the sounds in shul, and soak in the beauty and meaning of this day. Let us lean into that optimism and hope! With these inspirations secured in our minds, we can use the mitzvot and customs of Rosh Hashanah as a conduit to bring us back to the time when our optimism and our hopes were at their peak. The Satmar Rav wrote that the purpose of the Chaggim is to allow us to experience G-d and feel inspired so that we will have a goal to strive for during the remainder of the year. It is not only about our own growth. We can harness this energy and inspiration beyond the initial moment of hope we feel in shul. With the help of G-d, we will be able to extend this energy to our families throughout Rosh Hashanah and into the year with our words and actions. G-d tells Isaiah, “Raise your voice like a shofar” (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:2). Did you know that there is a minimum size for a shofar? It must be at least four finger-widths so the shofar is visible on either side of one’s hand. The noise alone is not sufficient; the importance of the hand and its interaction with the shofar is also meaningful. In other words, it is not necessary to use increased volume to get your words across to others. Instead, I offer that we use our choice of words and our actions to be powerful, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting to those around us. !שנה טובה Rabbi Ari Leubitz is the head of school at the only ECD-12th grade Jewish school in Atlanta, the Atlanta Jewish Academy.
By Mike Leven
A food and fund drive during the High Holidays benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
I think it’s most important to use the holiday period to ask yourself and your family members some serious questions. Some of them may sound alike. What is your commitment to the future of the Jewish people? What is your knowledge and commitment to the state of Israel? What do you feel about the United States of America, where Jews have been free for longer than anywhere else and have thrived? How can I be a part of ensuring that we will not be the last Jewish generation here or elsewhere? Can we use this family time not only to take days off but make them a time to discuss our legacy to those that have gone before and to those who will come? Lastly, a personal story. I was raised in an apartment in Boston with immigrant grandparents and my parents. My grandfather was a VP of a small Orthodox shul. My parents sent me to the Conservative temple. Both were in walking distance, but I had a special responsibility on the High Holy Days. My job was to carry my grandmother’s siddur to the shul for her because the tradition was that she could not carry anything heavy. It was not a job but a duty of love! Please ask yourselves at this time: Who will carry the siddur in the next generation and the generations to come? Shana Tova. Mike Leven is the founder of the Jewish Future Pledge.
66 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Bradley Levenberg Considering the limited opportunities with which we were collectively presented in 5781, the hope is that 5782 will bring with it increased opportunities for gatherings, for celebrations, and for travel — to name just a few. While many of us found those opportunities curtailed, perhaps for some of us, 5782 will be the year when those delays finally become realities and we can regale our friends and family and social media feeds with pictures of our most joyous selves. 5782 will present us with additional opportunities as well, opportunities for perhaps significantly different intentionality than we had in 5780 and heavily influenced by our realities of 5781. With renewed understanding of how our individual behaviors impact others, especially those outside of our immediate circles, perhaps we will be more considerate of the health concerns of those with whom we come into contact and behave with more patience and understanding, even altering our own behaviors in consideration of their needs. With renewed understanding of the interconnectedness of our various communities, perhaps we will be more attuned to the needs of our neighbors, realizing that what impacts one in greater Atlanta so often impacts us all. Perhaps we witnessed an organization or individual responding to challenges faced by others and took inspiration in those actions; perhaps we will continue supporting those whose mission is the welfare of others. One thing is for sure: as in years past, 5782 will present us with opportunities to truly shine. May we rise to the challenge, meet it with aplomb, and may our year be better for having done so. Shanah Tova u’Metukah – may it be a good and sweet year for us all. Rabbi Bradley Levenberg is a rabbi at Temple Sinai, a co-chair of AJC's Black/Jewish Coalition and Tzedek GA, and a board member of the ADL and Neranena.
By Rabbi Shalom Lewis A Happy New Year to you and your family. As a nostalgic intro to my thoughts, I share this venerable, dusty cartoon that appeared many years ago in a Jewish publication during the High Holy Days. It is an oft-repeated classic that some might recall. A rabbi is standing in a reception line following Rosh Hashanah services, wishing Shana Tova to his congregants as they file out of the sanctuary. One gentleman approaches the rabbi and asks, “Do you know who I am?” Replies the rabbi: “Of course I do. You were here last year.” With a broad smile the man turns to his wife and proudly says, “See honey, I told you he knew who we were.” I eagerly, but admittedly with some trepidation, anticipate the upcoming Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe. In a typical year they serve as a happy reunion for both the weekly regulars and for the three-day-a-year worshippers. In these few hours in the synagogue, folks reconnect with the clergy. A smile. A handshake. A wave. It is the annual spiritual booster shot that energizes and replenishes the soul. But this year, with an invitation for all to return, my concern is: will I recognize those who are masked? I fear brushing past an unidentifiable veteran member with whom I have shared laughter and tears for decades. I would find such a faux pas an uncomfortable consequence of veiled anonymity. And so, as a suggestion to colleagues and to myself, I have borrowed a January custom from the secular world and have made a New Year’s resolution: I plan to be engaging, chatty, and pleasant to everyone at shul, especially those whose visage is hidden behind a mask. Unless body language indicates otherwise, I plan to embrace all daveners with equal affection. A hug and a kiss. Hopefully, with this strategy, no one will go home feeling snubbed or ignored by the rabbi. To the contrary. They will start the new year off knowing that they are indeed cherished and appreciated. Though my plan is an accommodation to COVID-19, facial cloths and N95s, my gesture echoes back to rabbinic times, when we were taught that Shammai admonished his followers, “hevei mekabel et kol adam besever panim yafote.” That is, “Greet all people with a cheerful countenance.” Though Shammai had a reputation for not being a friendly sage, let us follow the words that are a happy exception to his usually severe demeanor. Mask. No mask. Pandemic. No pandemic. Let us greet all whom we encounter with a kind word and a friendly salutation. It is a nice way to live one’s life, not only during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but throughout the year. A healthy Shana Tova to all. Rabbi Shalom Lewis is rabbi emeritus of Congregation Etz Chaim.
L'Shanah Tovah Happy New Year!
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The Breman Museum Presents
ROSH HASHANAH By Allen H. Lipis Rosh Hashanah 5782
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Opening Sep t ember 2021 1996 - 2021
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When I was in elementary school, I had a choice of high schools. I picked one based on the many decisions I made while growing up. When I had to decide on graduate school, it was based on the values I had established over many, many years. The same was true in deciding whom to marry, and the many jobs I had available to me over my career. The decisions I made over a lifetime, especially the important ones, were all a result of the character I built from all the very small decisions I made beforehand. It was the small decisions, the ones that didn’t seem to matter, that established my character. I followed the advice of my parents and others growing up. I thought they could make better decisions than me when I was young, but I remembered how they decided, and that influenced my decision-making. I regularly did my homework in school. It set a pattern of behavior for many other tasks later in life. I set up a tropical fish tank and studied how fish breed. The research on tropical fish helped me to study other things I did not know much about. I got $5 from my mother, went to the bank, and exchanged the paper money for pennies, then nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars, and looked at each coin for the date and mint mark. It taught me how to build a coin collection by being diligent and staying with a subject for a long time. For the New Year, remember that the small decisions you make, the ones you make every day on insignificant subjects, are the ones that set your character. When an important decision has to be made, it will be determined by the many, many small ones that preceded it. There are no insignificant decisions: they all dictate just who you are. Allen Lipis is a regular contributor to the AJT.
By Rabbi Max Miller Perhaps now, more than ever, I feel the interconnectedness of our world. When someone sneezes in Greece, a surge of illness follows in Georgia. The text I turn to the most these days comes from Midrash, what could best be described as rabbinic fan fiction. In one section related to the Book of Leviticus, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai offers a poignant parable saying, “Once upon a time, there were people aboard a ship. One of the passengers took out a drill and started drilling beneath their seat. Another passenger sitting nearby yelled, ‘what are you doing?!’ The driller said, ‘what do you care? This is my seat. I can do whatever I want here.’ The worried passenger replied, ‘[Even though you’re only drilling under your own seat] the water will rise up and flood all of us on this ship.’” The wellbeing of our community is dependent upon each individual’s care and concern for their neighbor. We should not pretend to ourselves that our actions or decisions bear no consequences for those around us, especially when our tradition emphasizes the care we must give to our neighbor, to our family, to the weak, and to the vulnerable. If we believe the words of Talmud (Shevuot 39a) that say the Jewish people are responsible for one another, then our efforts going forward must be to the protection and betterment not just of ourselves, but of everyone in our community. In 5782, may our actions lead to improved health and wellbeing for all. May we act in ways that ensure the safety and longevity of our Jewish community, of the greater Atlanta community, and all that was created in the likeness of the Divine. Rabbi Max Miller is an associate rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, and leads the NextDor 20s and 30s community. 68 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Rachael Miller Imagine What Comes Next The other day, someone working outside our home accidentally smashed through a window in our kitchen, sending glass everywhere. Teeny, tiny pieces of glass filled every corner of the room. Then, little by little, my husband (Max) and his father swept up the shards, and then they swept again, and again, and again. The next morning, I still managed to step on a tiny sliver of glass. Had they done nothing, the situation could have been much worse (sound familiar?). But that’s not even my big takeaway from the ordeal. Rather, it’s what Max and my father-in-law did next. To block the space and insulate the house, they put together materials and secured cardboard to the windowpane. Then, with a purple sharpie, Max wrote in big letters, in English and in Hebrew: window. You see, our daughter is starting to discover the world around her, and so what could have been an empty piece of cardboard for the next week (reminding us of the minor inconvenience) instead became a teaching tool. Sometimes you look out the window and you clearly see the path forward. Other times you look out the window and due to fog or rain you can’t quite see what lies ahead. Then, there’s the cardboard in the window, sitting right where the clear glass should be. You certainly can’t see what lies beyond it, but it provides a canvas for what you can imagine next. In 5782, I hope that we continue to clean up the messes, to ask for help, and to find a healthy balance between how we respond to what is in our control and what is out of our control. When we feel like the window has shattered and sent glass all around us, take a deep breath and create something new. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life, and may we find purpose, comfort, and peace. Rabbi Rachael Miller is an associate rabbi at Temple Emanu-El.
By Rabbi Yossi New I would begin answering this question by stating that every situation and experience presents an opportunity. During the High Holy Days we refer to G-d as Avinu Malkeinu: our Father, our King. In the Torah, the primary function of both a parent and monarch is to be a teacher. So too, G-d, is our teacher. His lesson book is the Torah. In fact, the word Torah literally means teaching. Generally speaking, trying to figure out G-d and why bad things happen to good people is a frustrating exercise in futility. The better question to ask is what can I learn from this? Or how can I become a better and more caring person from this experience? Certainly, the last year and a half has given us profound opportunities to examine and recalibrate our values and priorities. Somehow, difficulties and tragedies compel us to become introspective. I often think that if I could play G-d, one thing I would change is to make pleasant experiences and happy occasions filled with life lessons and eliminate the “no pain no gain” mantra. So, if there is ever a vote for the position, I hope that I’ll win your support on this platform. In the meantime, let’s look for the good lesson in everything and the good in everybody and thereby enjoy a Shana Tova — not just a happy new year, but a good new year. And as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, z”l, would often say, we should merit to revealed and evident goodness, without any tragedy and suffering. This will be the hallmark of the messianic era, may it be speedily in our days. Rabbi Yossi New is the regional director of Chabad of Georgia and rabbi at Congregation Beth Tefillah in Sandy Springs.
ROSH HASHANAH Wishing you and your family a sweet New Year!
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein During our liturgy on Rosh Hashanah, we will read the words “hayom harat olam,” today the world is born anew. It is on this day that we have the ability to look to the world anew, brimming with possibilities. Rabbi Hayyim Kieval taught about Rosh Hashanah that “it carried the momentous message that the human personality, the ‘crown of creation,’ possesses limitless capacities for renewal.” And it is truly renewal that we seek: a new normal that will allow us to open up again fully — whether in our synagogues, our businesses, our friendships, or our schools. Our hope each year, as we celebrate the birth of the world, is for this sense of renewal; but in this year, after more than a year of living with the pandemic, our search for newness and opportunity seems to be stronger than usual. We have learned, however, many new ways of connecting to one another, worshiping together, celebrating together, and supporting one another over these past months. And as we enter the new year of 5782, we truly have many opportunities to expand on these new ways, take from the pandemic those things that brought value to our lives, and let them help define what our new normal will be. We also have opportunities to reconnect to the community and to each other, with the understanding that “the way we have always done it” can be (and sometimes should be) changed to allow for stronger connections, deeper learning, and more opportunities to engage with our Jewish community, Jewish heritage, and Jewish tradition. May the year 5782 bring with it health, peace, and joy for each of us and for our Atlanta Jewish community. Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein is the senior rabbi of Congregation Dor Tamid in Johns Creek.
By Jody Pollack As we embark on our next journey through time — Jewish time, of course — we hope to start life anew and rid ourselves of the baggage of the past. Unfortunately, we continue to be tied to the present, which is still loaded with the issues, concerns, tumult (I always thought that was a Yiddish word), and tsuris of this past year. We were done with COVID at the end of 2020, when the vaccine arrived, and we all — or 40% of us —rushed to get the shots. But now, we are not done, and some of the 60% are realizing that maybe it’s time to forsake pride, hubris and laziness and get the two shots. In the meantime, the 40% are going to get back in line for shot number three. Let’s see how that works out. Last week we finished our last roll of TP that we bought in April of 2020. Sorry to see it go, as it was such an important part of our lives for so long. We still have a roll or two of paper towels, but the Clorox wipes are long gone. On the positive side, gas was cheap, lumber was affordable, inflation was something we experienced in the 1980s, not the 5780s. Life was good — sort of. Now we approach 5782 with guarded optimism. We as a people have lived through much worse conditions and come out stronger than most. We have relative peace in our corner of the Middle East. We do have the “booster” shots readily available. We are getting back to life as we knew it, albeit cautiously. And again, we will come out of this with a deep appreciation of how G-d helps us find ways to cope with and conquer the obstacles that get in our way of living, loving, and even finding humor in the darkest of times. Trust me folks, it is much easier to find a candle to light up the world today than it was in the past. In closing, our family wishes yours the blessings of the New Year. May your mitzvahs be plentiful, your tsuris be minimal, and your guests leave after dinner. L’shana Tova Jody Pollack is the executive director of the Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival.
By Eyal Postelnik Rosh Hashanah in Judaism is more than just a new year. Shana, in Hebrew, comes from the root word meaning “to repeat;” yet, also from the word to change. There are two main cycles in the Jewish year, one for the rosh (head) of the months and one for the head of the year. Passover is the head of months, while Rosh Hashanah is for the year. The difference comes from the two cycles the Jewish calendar is combined from. The sun, which determines the cycle of the year, and the moon determines the month cycle; therefore the holidays almost always fall during the same seasons, unlike other religions. Rosh Hashanah is also the day of the creation of Adam, the first human being, and the acceptance of our G-d. This year is a leap year, meaning we will have thirteen months. The idea of a new year is to get elevated, like going up in a coil spring; though we run in circles, we still go up to reach for holiness. May this be a sweet year, a year of redemption (Geula), and may it bring us the cure to all diseases, happiness, wealth and peace. שנה טובה מתוקה ומבורכת Eyal Postelnik was born in Israel and moved to the U.S. almost two decades ago. Currently he is an active member of the Chabad of East Cobb.
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 71
ROSH HASHANAH By Jared Powers While recently dropping off my oldest son at college for his freshman year, I became filled with nostalgia, remembering when he was born and the moments that led to this momentous occasion. I couldn’t help but wonder if we taught him enough, gave him enough insight, and raised him with the perfect combination of intellect and street smarts, but also kindness and values. I looked at the faces of the other parents and realized they were all thinking the same thing. I know I am fortunate, because our son was raised in our amazing Jewish community – from Jewish preschool to Jewish day camp, from Jewish day school to Jewish overnight camp, from Jewish high school in Atlanta to Jewish high school in Israel, from sports at our JCC to JCC Maccabi Games all over the country. Our son had a community that nurtured and cared for him, infusing him with a deep connection to our Jewish faith, a strong love of Israel, and most of all, lifelong friendships and a meaningful network. I feel confident that he will go far because of the people who have mentored and guided him within our Jewish communal ecosystem. I know the people who guided and mentored me are still doing so, and I am eternally grateful to them. As we ready our hearts and minds for the High Holy Days, I know for many this is a period of reflection and introspection. I hope you will reflect on how the Jewish community has been meaningful in your life or the lives of your children. If you have had a particular experience with a mentor, I hope you will thank them. My wish for all of us is that we have a happy, healthy, and sweet new year. May we continue to find even more ways to impact and connect with each other in 5782. Jared Powers is the CEO of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.
By Eric M. Robbins When I joined the Federation five years ago, Steven Rakitt, a past CEO, congratulated me by sending a big, green plant. It thrived in my office until we left to work remotely, then it dramatically wilted and turned brown. I consigned it to our HR Director, Jeanette Park, who spent months lovingly nursing it back to life. Today my plant is smaller, but thanks to Jeanette, it’s green and growing. The plant’s comeback hints at one of the most revolutionary ideas in the history of humankind — the Shmita or sabbatical year. Shmita is the Torah's commandment that humans take responsibility for the earth by letting the land lie fallow every seven years. A Shmita year is also about justice: we are commanded to forgive all debts and let those who are hungry glean the grapes, olives, and crops that have not been harvested. Rosh Hashanah 5782 ushers in a Shmita year, and it has me thinking that, among all the ways we have adapted and pivoted these past 18 months to survive the pandemic, what, if anything, have we done to truly change? Certainly, when it comes to global warming, the U.N. Climate Change Report says: not very much. The earth is in a red zone, with forests ablaze, epic floods, and record-breaking high temperatures. This Rosh Hashanah I believe that we stand at the brink of a major moral opportunity. There is no going back to normal. Everything around us has been disrupted, and yet we cling to old habits, worn strategies, and puny expectations. A Shmita year, especially after a pandemic, is a reset — a moment to commit to radical change. Let us use this brilliant opportunity, the Shmita year, to reevaluate our priorities and address them with fresh and bold thinking. It has never been more relevant or more urgent than right now. Eric Robbins is the president and CEO of Shmitah Year: A Call to Change.
By Fran Putney Time. The minutes, hours and days of our lives. It’s the one commodity we all possess, but none of us knows how much sand our own hourglass holds. Every waking morning invites its own set of decisions and opportunities, but the Jewish High Holy Days allow us, indeed direct us, to pause and take stock of how we are spending our days. What choices are we making? What meaning are we finding? This is the beauty and wisdom of our tradition. At this time of year, I am reminded that it’s never too early or late in life to make adjustments — to seek out the most gratifying pursuits, nurture the most rewarding relationships, and inasmuch as possible, not allow unrecoverable time and energy to be spent on the regrettable. Take time to explore, find those things and people that make your heart sing, and set boundaries for the intrusions. I offer no prescription or agenda for anyone. Meaning is different for everyone. As a friend and I like to say to each other: “You do you.” At the same time, just as we make careful plans and goals, we’ve surely all learned that developing a tolerance for flexibility and an ability to pivot is critical. Sometimes we are presented with unexpected opportunities, and sometimes we must cope with unexpected curveballs or hardships. Stuff happens. These things, too, are part of a full and well-lived life. As we come to a new Jewish year, I wish for my own family and community the blessing of good health, the satisfaction of rich relationships and a sense of purpose to guide your given days and years. L’shanah tova! Fran Putney is a journalist and writer. She is the communications manager for the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and the proofreader for the AJT. 72 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
By Roni Robbins Next Chapters Like many of us, last year had its bittersweet moments. In my family, we lost my mother-in-law, but we also enjoyed extra time as a family, including my son, who graduated college in 2020, and would have been off to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of becoming an actor, had it not been for the pandemic. Instead, I treasured my long walks with him and my daughter, discussing life, present and future. They will both depart soon to pursue their dreams – my son to LA and my daughter back to UGA – as I turn the page in my own life to pursue my next chapter. While I lost the publisher of my first novel last year, six months later, in May, I gained a new and better one, with the book set for release in mid-2022. My co-workers, readers and sources have become my extended family. My personal Jewish community, including members of my synagogue, have offered feedback, encouragement and story ideas. For those who have reached out upon hearing of my achievements over the years, I am so very grateful. Roni Robbins is the copy editor and writer at medscape.com and the primary usher at Congregation Etz Chaim.
ROSH HASHANAH By Flora Rosefsky Words for opportunity might be called wishful thinking. Because the future is more unknown, I wonder what roadblocks may get in the way of my best-laid plans. To maintain good health as best I can: a fitness center a few steps from my apartment’s front door waits for my consistent commitment to get there, with no excuses. As more citizens get vaccinated, I anticipate once again feeling comfortable getting on a plane to be with my New York family. I look forward to continuing to learn more from our Georgia Jewish community clergy, leaders, friends and people willing to share their stories with me. The pandemic made me find new ways to work at home, which proved that some change isn’t all so bad. I hope to build on skills I’ve learned this past year, especially with anything related to the computer. And with advances in better understanding climate, I expect to do more here at home to lessen our carbon footprint. My father-in-law, Harry Rosefsky, of blessed memory, used to say that “time had wings.” Each Rosh Hashanah, and on every birthday, those words ring truer than they did the year before. And as I get older, days fly by faster, a reason to make every day a good one, not to take opportunities for granted, or to put them aside for another time. I still have the chance to put together a bucket list item – a personal book to leave as a family legacy, if procrastination doesn’t get in the way. Will that opportunity happen or not? Time will tell. Flora Rosefsky is an AJT contributing writer and visual artist.
By Gayle Rubenstein After a year like no other, we are excited about new opportunities. Our role is to create experiences around events that are safe and innovative. Our plan is to keep on finding ways for our clients to still enjoy all their simchas and corporate events in clever, inspiring and adaptable ways. Our core purpose in this industry is to bring people together. As the pandemic has receded and the restrictions eased, we have seen a rush back to celebrating in-person events. We will still have the challenge of providing great experiences for both in-person and online events, but we are optimistic that, with more vaccinations, we can see good prospects going forward to the end of this year. Shana Tova.
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From Masa Israel Journey
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 73
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Neil Sandler My response is rooted in the devastation we have experienced because of COVID-19, especially as we seek to emerge from the uncertainty we still face. Opportunities provide us with choices. We may take hold of them and succeed, or we may miss them. It is up to you and me and our community. In a recent class, Rabbi Mychal Springer, a New York hospital chaplain, cited one definition of the word “resilience,” penned by Pauline Boss, that I found compelling. It helps us to think about an opportunity we must grasp in the new year. In “Loss, Trauma and Resilience,” Boss writes: “I define resiliency as the ability to stretch or flex in response to the pressures and strains of life. Being resilient means learning to live with unanswered questions.” Many of the past 18 months have called upon us to live amidst extraordinary pressures and strains. Most of us successfully “stretched” and “flexed” as we made life-affirming choices. But what about “liv(ing) with unanswered questions” arising from our COVID experience? There are so many unanswered and unanswerable questions. This facet of resilience, living without answers, can be very difficult, especially for those among us who lost loved ones and friends. If we have not yet fully found the way to live with these questions, the new year provides an opportunity. How shall we seek to grasp it? One answer is found at the end of a psalm we specifically recite at the conclusion of our daily services in proximity to the High Holy Days, Psalm 27. It concludes, “If I did not have faith that I shall see the goodness of the Holy One in the land of the living … Hope in God. Be strong, take courage and hope in God.” Neither the psalmist nor we can be certain of seeing the goodness of God in times like the present. However, like the psalmist, even in challenging times, we can “hope in God” and find the resolve to express resilience amidst the unanswered questions. I hope we will take hold of that opportunity in the new year. May 5782 bring us reassuring resilience, good health and well-being. Rabbi Neil Sandler is a retired rabbi who served Ahavath Achim Synagogue for 17 years.
By Nina Kram Schlachter I was so looking forward to the return of High Holy Days rituals, awash with memories of numerous past years at Etz Chaim. The opening shofar, Tashlich with my sister’s family from Kol Emeth, hoping Fern was chanting Kol Nidre, being brought to tears by Rabbi Lewis’s yizkor sermon, hosting a break-fast for beloved family and friends. Even with careful spacing and minus hugs and kisses, it seemed perfect timing toward renewal. The notice arrived two weeks ago, a mere three weeks after services had returned indoors, albeit with masks and pre-wrapped kiddush munchies: “All services are to return to Zoom.” A great sadness hit me, almost despair, but anger too. And immediately I blamed “them” — the anti-vaxxers. If they would only wear their masks and follow protocol, we wouldn’t all be suffering this about-face, I thought. Maybe the silver lining is that as I reflected on this, it helped me understand where some of the anger that is exploding in our country and around the world is coming from. Where do we draw the line between personal choice and community welfare? How can we draw a line as a community/country/world when every individual defines their own line? We can’t. “G-d grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the (only) one I can and the wisdom to know it’s me.” Not quite a malaprop or a mixed metaphor, but a piece of wisdom for which unfortunately, I can’t claim credit. Instead of focusing on those whose opinions I do not share, l will try to remember that while the isolation of the pandemic has been horrible, there are those whose losses are worse: lost jobs, lost loved ones, lost hope — on both sides of the argument. It’s a reality that mental health is more important now than ever. As Jews, we believe we do not have to feel guilty about any feeling or thought that comes into our heart or mind. But we have the control and the responsibility to decide how to act. Let us all think before we speak or act — is it necessary, is it helpful, is it kind? Let us all come from a place of kindness, hold all those we love kindly, and those we do not love even more kindly. Now that’s a mixed metaphor. L’Shana Tova tikateivu, my beloved Atlanta community. Nina Schlachter, D.O., is a board-certified psychiatrist and family doctor, a pioneer in eating disorders, and the proud Mommalah of five grown children.
By Shaindle Schmuckler My Jewish New Year: A Year of Possibilities Every year, come fall, the Jewish New Year arrives carrying a basket filled with possibilities. Decorated with the finest of clothes, new shoes, fresh haircuts, shiny clean faces, children are filled with wonder at what gifts and surprises Hashem has in store for them. This fall, I too wait with shpilkes (ants in my pants). These previous two years have been challenging, to put it mildly. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome a good challenge, depending on the type of challenge, of course. I am hoping that this year’s possibilities bring only health and the relief of being COVID-free, both physically and emotionally. The possibility of a good laugh, and many of them. The possibility of delicious hugs and kisses from and for our family and friends. Wouldn’t it be a welcome feeling to be less than six feet apart in shul? To be able to wear makeup, if you so desire, not to worry what your mask will look like when you remove it and all the makeup with it. Every Miss America’s greatest wish seems to always be a hope for world peace, or the eradication of hunger. Well, guess what folks: with all my heart, so do I. I pray Hashem sees great possibilities in humanity and rewards us by making it happen in this Jewish New Year. Shaindle Schmuckler is a regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times through her Shaindle's Shpiel.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Maayan Schoen Out of loss, empathy and compassion. Out of our own pandemic experiences, fresh insights about how to treat people; the goal to uplift them. For a broken world, redemption. The 19th century Sfas Emes, among others, comments that just as the second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred, the third and final Temple will, with G-d’s help, be built because of love of others. Rabbi Eliezer Papo reminds us in his book “Pele Yoetz” that “there is no sin of all the sins like hatred,” because it causes us to quarrel, to celebrate the misfortune of others, and to transgress commandments such as “v’ahavta l’reacha kamocha,” love your neighbor as yourself. Judging others favorably, treating others how we’d like to be treated; these are practices that can help us finally eradicate baseless hatred from our midst and condition us to love baselessly instead. We are better equipped to do these things after collectively experiencing so much trauma and loss. We have always been masters at justifying negative emotions toward others; we can adapt that same enthusiasm to convince ourselves of reasons to love others. The heart is a muscle. This year is an opportunity to create new muscle memory, conditioning “baseless love” by judging others and ourselves favorably and remembering the golden rule. It is a year to practice compassion for the person who cut ahead of you in the checkout line, whether it helps to imagine that they might be having a tough day or simply to briefly remember the year and a half we have all had, and choose, in that moment, to be someone’s relief. We may find that this workout creates love and neighborly bonds that are not so “baseless” after all. “Pele Yoetz” suggests that all hatred is gratuitous, and I would like to suggest that conversely, no love is truly gratuitous among people, all worthy and created in the image of G-d. Maayan Schoen graduated from Torah Day School and Atlanta Jewish Academy and studied in the Migdal Oz Beit Midrash for Women in Israel. She is a junior at Yale University.
By Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman When I look into my crystal ball, I see 5782 as an amazing year of opportunity to assist the world, our fellow humans and our Jewish community in its transition to alignment with its inner core; the spark of G-d that is in everything and in everyone. It appears to me that if we zoom the camera out, away from the individual pixels of our own little world, we can see an amazing picture coming into focus. The era we live in, the globalization, openness, diversity, and acceptance. As well as the crazy challenges of COVID, unrest in the world, polarization in politics, science, and religion to name a few are all the messiness that comes along with the birth of a new world, a new reality. This reality is one of resolving the inherent we experience within ourselves, with each other, and the material world as a whole. It is alignment with Hashem and the Godliness in the world. The opportunity that is available for us as a Jewish people, the “People of the Book” is to lead the way. Not to live in fear of the tensions around us. Rather, to stand up, and know that we are being called upon to stand strong and to be an example. The opportunity is to truly liberate ourselves by beginning to see the “Masterplan” and its alignment in our own lives. We do this through Torah Study (intellectual alignment) and in prayer (emotional alignment). We then are positioned to engage in action, to bring others into alignment, resolving addiction, self-doubt, and tensions’ relationships. It also positions us to live fully with excitement about each day, contentment that we are living our purpose and our best life. I invite you to join me in moving away from our own misalignment and dysregulation, and to zoom your own camera out and see the new baby being born, the new world coming into reality. Mazal tov! And SHANA TOVA! Eliyahu Schusterman is a rabbi and director at Chabad Intown, founder of Jeff's Place, grandfather, father, husband and Hasid Hipster.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Dr. Terry Segal The greatest opportunity of each Jewish New Year is in the gift of starting anew. We’re granted a clean slate. With amends made, apologies we offered and those we received, we shake the Etch A Sketch and the image of the past year dissolves. Then we begin again. For some people, a blank slate is intimidating. They might not know what to fill it with or perhaps they’re overwhelmed with choices. For others, it’s an exciting chance to create something from nothing. In this coming year of 5782, I pray that our Jewish community will take the opportunity to create, by example, a picture of a strong, loving, and compassionate community. Beneath the Etch A Sketch screen, there are particles of non-toxic aluminum powder that mix with plastic beads to keep the powder flow smooth and consistent. It’s my wish that people, just below the surface of the angry judgements and divisiveness, can meld the flow of heart energy with Divine sparks to allow soulful compassion to rise to the surface. May an image form of all of G-d’s people choosing to view this time in history as an opportunity to act from our collective nefashot. Beyond the desire of our souls to seek G-d and love G-d, is the action of our whole being, through words and deeds, that can lead to loving ourselves and then loving our neighbors as ourselves, even if we disagree. Opportunities are not always given. Often, we must generate them. What if we each drew our individual pictures, but they all revolved around the same theme of loving compassion? And what if we led the way for others to follow? What a wonderful world this would be. Dr. Terry Segal is a licensed psychotherapist, Ph.D. in Energy Medicine, author, and mixed media artist.
Compassionate and ResponsiVe Family law RepResentation sinCe 1991.
By Rabbi Larry Sernovitz The Fire Within Your Soul The Sefat Emet teaches that, “The soul of every human being is God's light, created to shine in this world like the stars by night. And if, in times of difficulty, we wonder, like those Maccabees searching the ruins of the Temple for a flask of unsullied oil, 'Have I anything left inside to illumine? Is there any music, or poetry, or dance in me still left?' We should remember that there's never not enough spirit within the human heart to burn for at least one day. When that flame begins to give light, others gather round and their soul too is illumined and, even in the most oppressive circumstances, the song continues to travel from mouth to mouth and generation to generation and the spirit is never extinguished.” These words are so relevant for the upcoming High Holy Days. The reality is that we have lost so much during the pandemic. As a Jewish community, we care deeply about the sanctity of life, the power of prayer, and the gathering of community. It is during these moments when we feel strength, hope, and a taste of the messianic age when the world will be more at peace. Many of us feel emotionally exhausted as we work, day in and day out, to keep our families safe, balance work and home, and try to get in a little self-care as well. But the Sefat Emet is trying to empress upon us is that our spirit is never extinguished even though we might feel defeated. We still have music, poetry, and dance within us. The light of our souls is ready to shine and brighten up even the darkest day. The reset button has been hit. Everything we have known prior to COVID is in the past. Now is the time to do what we have always wanted to do, to be the people we always have wanted to be. With life and death ever present, today and each day is truly a gift given to us by God. Don’t waste it. Rise up. Feel the fire within your soul. You were created for this very moment. What will you do with it? L’Shana Tova u’Metukah – A Good, Sweet, and Healthy New Year to all. Larry Sernovitz is the senior rabbi of Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta.
Compassionate and RESPONSIVE Family Law Representation Since 1991.
Happy Rosh Hashanah Compassionate and RESPONSIVE Family Law Representation Attorneys pictured Since 1991.left to right: Rachel Shockley, Louis Tesser, Sara McCormack, Dennis Collard, Marvin Solomiany, Randall Kessler, Thad Woody, David Sarif, Sean Ditzel, Rob Miller, Lindsey Dodson Offices in Buckhead toweR and Centennial Downtown Atlanta 101 maRietta st., suite 3500 atlanta, GeoRGia 404.688.8810 30303 404.688.8810 www.ksFamilylaw.Com www.ksfamilylaw.com firstname.lastname@example.org
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ROSH HASHANAH By Chana Shapiro Days of Awe Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the month of Tishrei, is the beginning of our new year, a time to look forward. Traditionally, the last month of the year, Elul, is spent reflecting on the past year. How did we manage our lives during 5781? Were we compassionate and resilient in the midst of uncertainty and stress? We’re human; it’s hard to live lives of sanctity and virtue. Even in the best of circumstances, we waste time, ability, and energy, sometimes even harming ourselves and others. During the Days of Awe, the ten days between The Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah, and The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, we Jews acknowledge our sins and pray for a year in which we can change. In Hebrew, these ten days are called “the Days of Repentance,” and that’s their purpose. It’s a good thing we have a grace period of ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It’s an opportunity for heavy-duty introspection and repentance, in hopes of “averting the evil decree.” We have a week and a half to focus on what kind of person each of us wants to be. Will 5782 be a good and sweet year? We’ve learned that we can’t predict the future, and we’re often confused and disheartened. Uncertainties and challenges we encounter in 5782 will require faith, grit, and optimism. May HaShem judge each of us favorably as we do our best to make ourselves, our families and our community robust, loving, and courageous. Our family wishes all of you a Shanah Tovah u’Metukah; may you be blessed with a very good and sweet year. Chana Shapiro is a regular contributor to the AJT.
Wishing all our volunteers and One Good Deed friends a Happy and Healthy New Year! To learn more about the One Good Deed Friendly Visitor program of Aviv Older Adult Services, call 770.677.9489
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ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner Listening to the news these days can certainly unsettle a soul. So many crises facing us from the ever-shifting pandemic to climate intensification, political unrest and economic precariousness. As we sit on the cusp of another New Year one might wonder, how do we properly usher in and celebrate when there is so much weighing on our hearts and minds? We teach our children Rosh Hashanah is the birthday of the world, and yet according to the teaching of the Maggid of Mezeritch, Levi Yitzhak, the Holy Day liturgy says hayom harat olam, “This day the world is conceived.” And it is from this idea that we can find the deepest inspiration amid the chaos of the world as we enter 5782. Today we conceive what we want the world to be. It is the hope and possibility found in that space between what is and what can be that we are able to find our greatest inspiration. The Holy Day cycle itself is the path to this discovery. Rosh Hashanah, bringing room for Hittbodedut and Heshbon HaNefesh, inner contemplation and assessment of what is working and where repair must take place for things to improve. Yom Kippur’s work of Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah, the sincere attempt to turn things around, praying for the strength, the resolve, to do better and putting the plan into action. When Sukkot arrives it’s time to breathe deeply and move forward with our individual plan into that renewed sense of purpose. Walking into the world, with all of its beauty and capriciousness, but with faith in the possibility of what you can do to make a difference today. The traditions and practices of the Holy Day season with all of the intensity, purpose and passion brings with it the greatest encouragement of all. The knowledge that each of us matters, and that we have the ability to manifest our dreams for a world redeemed, a world of peace. Alexandria Shuval-Weiner is senior rabbi at Temple Beth Tikvah, president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association and co-chair of Rabbis Reflection Circle Shamayim & Jewish Veg.
By Rabbi Albert Slomovitz Experiencing a Different High Holidays This year, many of us will observe the High Holidays in a variety of ways, on zoom or live stream, in synagogue, in an outdoor setting, or privately. It will be a challenge to experience these wonderfully spiritual days in our usual ways. While this year, as the last, was not normal, we have had similar situations in the past and achieved successful holidays. Allow me to share one such event. In the summer of 1916, a large number of U.S. troops, under the leadership of General John J. Pershing, had been sent to the Texas-Mexico border to deal with armed attacks against American citizens and interests in that area. Among those many thousands of troops were Jewish soldiers. Initially, local rabbis and rabbinical students provided Shabbat services for them. Soon, the various rabbinical associations in America were contacted to provide a rabbi to officiate for the troops during the High Holiday period. Rabbi Isaac Landman, the corresponding secretary of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, volunteered to be one of the rabbis to be with the troops. The Secretary of War had concluded that there were at least two thousand Jewish troops serving in the border area needing rabbinic coverage. The Secretary agreed that any rabbi appointed would be provided with, "an official order giving him ... every possible courtesy and attention, but no pay." Upon his arrival, Rabbi Landman arranged for a place of worship, obtained religious items, publicized his presence and made a schedule of holiday services. The military cooperated by giving Jewish soldiers the time to leave their posts to attend services. In a written account of one such Rosh Hashanah service, Landman describes how in the early morning hours, 150 Jewish men prayed, while their non-Jewish comrades surrounded them and respectfully followed the service. Landman arose at 5 a.m. and used a ration-wagon as a temporary altar. Enjoy this account of his High Holiday service. Not a single star, as far as I had a record of them after the service out of the evening before, had disappeared. Out of the darkness and from all directions, men sprung up. Some of them were equipped for the march. These were from the Illinois and Wisconsin Infantry. They had to walk two miles through the night to reach Hill B, and back to join their companies after the services on the road. There we sat around the wagon, our numbers being constantly augmented, silent, thrilled with the moment and the occasion, waiting for the sun to rise. Soon the stars began to fade. A gleam of pink showed in the east. The barrels of a gun or two glittered, for a second, in the first rays of daylight. "Rabbi, the sun is rising," said one of the men. Never did that title mean more to me than at that moment. "The sunshine of the New Year," exclaimed a soldier, another pronounced, "May God Bless Us." Silently, I climbed into the wagon and faced the rising sun. The men rose in their places, to the clank of their arms and accouterments and brought out their precious little prayer books. (Small size prayer books designed to fit into military uniforms.) For my part I was choked with emotion. I could not begin to read. "Bugler!" I said, trembling, to Bugler Sam Mehon of the Second Illinois Field Hospital, whom, the night before I had taught the sounds of the Shofar. "Bugler! Sound the Shofar!" and contrary to all traditions, I began a Rosh Hashanah service with the sound of the Shofar. The long steady T'kiah call (long-blast) served to have awakened the sun, to hurry in his course for the sake of these military men who were waiting to worship God, for, when I opened my book, I could read. May this New Year be filled with sunshine and a reduction of the virus. May it be one filled with the sounds of the Shofar that reminds us of faith, family and friends. Have a happy and healthy New Year. Rabbi Albert I. Slomovitz, Ph.D.; rabbi-at-large, Etz Chaim Congregation; founder, Jewish Christian Discovery Center; professor of American history, Kennesaw State University.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Kate Smith “Tradition!” Loveable milkman Tevye belts out his famous song in the Tony-winning Broadway musical "Fiddler on the Roof, "vocalizing the traditional family roles of shtetl Jews in Czarist Russia. Our people’s connection to tradition dates back to long before the 1964 show and the time period it depicts. Our rich cultural heritage has been passed down since Abraham, generation after generation—even amid exile, persecution, and assimilation. That doesn’t mean we are stuck in the past, according to Rabbi Ari Hart. “We are a people of the future,” said the rabbi and Birthright Israel alum. From counting the candles up for eight days during Chanukah, to aiming to do better in the coming year on Yom Kippur, “We believe in the future, and we believe that the collective Jewish future is shaped largely by small human choices.” What began as a year of unknowns is ending with the celebration of the return of our participants to Israel, and that is because of you. Our future is a bright one. May the new year ahead be one of good health, sweetness and happiness for us all. Kate Smith is the regional director for Birthright Israel Foundation in Atlanta.
By Robyn Spizman Gerson Home For The Holidays, Again As the new year and holidays arrive, it takes mindfulness to stay positive, to wake up optimistically and thank G-d for another day. When I think of the Jewish holidays, I focus on gratitude. At the top of my list are family, friends, everyday heroes, along with modern science. I find myself wanting to feel a sense of renewal and to believe the year ahead will be a better one. I continue cleaning, and wonder what’s Jewish, if anything, about my mission of serial optimism and orderliness. Our homes have taken on new meaning. A place we reside, relax, gather, even pray, if only by zoom. I am getting ready for the company who is not coming and imagining the table set. As I straighten things up, I notice my husband’s prayer book, kippah and tallit for davening every Wednesday morning to insure there’s a minyan at synagogue. His ritual is purposeful as his presence might be number ten. Growing up in Atlanta, when Rosh Hashanah was coming, my grandparents bought me a new outfit for synagogue. My parents Phyllis and Jack Freedman, of blessed memory, continued that tradition with my children. The holidays approaching signified something meaningful was about to happen. I now wonder what will be special this year. It won’t be a holiday outfit or the well-appointed table awaiting guests. This year the holidays will be a reminder that we made it through another year. A happy year is hopeful, and a healthy year for all will surely be the grand prize. I will remain thankful for another day and Jewish holidays. May each of us remember we can make a minyan and a difference to sweeten the new year. For now, I’ll continue to clean up, even if there’s no mess. After all, we’ll be home for the holidays, again.
By Rabbi Adam Starr The great Rav Kook writes that the blowing of the shofar during the month of Elul in anticipation of Rosh Hashanah is a preparation for the Teshuva (Repentance) of the community, because it (the shofar) is an instrument that brings all the camps together. In other words, the preparation for Teshuva is that we all come together binding as a community before God. The Jewish people are composed of different camps with different practices and perspectives. One of our tasks during this time is to remember that we are all connected and united as a people, regardless of what we do or do not have on our head. I hope we can all take a moment to reflect on something you admire about a group other than your own, that you can learn and grow from. I have always been proud of our Atlanta Jewish community for our strength of respect and diversity. I hope as the Shofar is sounded this Rosh Hashanah, that wherever we may physically be this year, that we can all come a little closer. Shana Tova! Adam Starr is the rabbi at Congregation Ohr HaTorah in Toco Hills where he has served since 2008.
The Temple Clergy Team The story of the Jewish people has always been one of resilience. Throughout our history we have found ourselves in cycles of destruction and loss, followed by rebuilding and growth. Each time, we rebuild with the faith that we emerge stronger as a community as we go forward, while remembering where we’ve been. COVID-19 is a difficult chapter in our story – the stories of loss and harm, destruction of what we once took for granted, and unprecedented challenges for people around the world. We have been forced to make numerous changes as a Jewish community and learn new ways of celebrating life cycles and holidays, as well as find creative ways to gather and connect. And this challenge is also our opportunity. Every Rosh Hashanah, we envision the Book of Life opened and prepare to write the next chapter of our lives. We pray that this year we continue to write a story of adaptability, creativity, and resilience. In the year ahead, we pray for successful widespread vaccinations that allow all ages to safely come together. We hope we will continue to innovate in the ways we worship and gather, using technology to strengthen our community and enhance our experiences of Judaism. We look forward to still celebrating joyous moments and comforting one another in difficult times, ... for all that changes, our commitment to one another and to our Jewish community around the world remains unchanged. While we are still not where we hoped to be in terms of safely gathering, we still come to this moment in time bound together as one Jewish community preparing to begin a new year. May it be a healthy New Year for us all. The Temple Clergy Team (Rabbi Peter Berg, Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus, Rabbi Sam Kaye, Cantor Deborah Hartman, Rabbi Steven Rau, and Rabbi Lydia Medwin) The Temple is a Reform Jewish congregation in midtown Atlanta (www.the-temple.org).
Robyn Spizman Gerson is a New York Times bestselling award-winning author of dozens of books and a well-known media personality who has appeared often on the Today Show. www.robynspizman.com.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Alla Umanskiy The past year my adored grandfather passed away. Whatever else I may think of, or remember about this year, it will always be colored with the sorrow of this loss. My life will always be split into the "before" and the "after". A week after his funeral, shiva behind us, I stood on a grassy patch of the cemetery where he found his final resting place, and I still couldn't fathom that he's there. When I entered my grandparents' home and sat on his futon bed to try and feel his presence. "Where are you?" I think. I ran my hands across the upholstery, reach for his computer keyboard. I touched his glasses and picked up his cell phone, and it still had unread text messages from friends. "Hope you're doing better," they say. "Call me when you can," they plead. He's not better. He won't call. The only thing I want in the new year is for my family to attempt to heal. Healing is a strange, non-linear process. Just when you think you're healing, you realize you're not. One day, I was gingerly picking out tomatoes at the grocery store, feeling fine, looking normal – breathing in -breathing out. The next day, no, the next minute, I'm squeezing the same tomatoes ruthlessly in my hand; juice flowing through my fingers, tears flowing through my eyelashes. Why wasn't he better? Why won't he call? Whatever else this new year will bring, may it bring healing; to my bereaved grandmother, my mom, my sister, myself, our spouses, and all our friends, and relatives. May my grandfather's soul find peace, and may his memory be a blessing.
By Doug Weinstein What a year it has been! If there was ever a recent period in time where the opportunity for renewal has been more welcome, I don’t know of it. I am looking forward to renewing my health, my relationships, and my career. Let’s all take advantage of hopefully emerging from COVID in the near future with a renewed sense of the value of our relationships with each other and society. Let’s take this time of reflection to examine how we have treated each other in society and our lives and seize this opportunity to come together as a people and as a nation. Over the last year, I have seen people helping others who through no fault of their own, need food assistance. Many are immigrants who came to the United States, just as our ancestors did, seeking a better life for their children. They are hardworking folks who just need a little extra help to get through these tough times over the last year. It is an eye-opening experience to see the gratitude of people receiving just that little bit of extra help that they need. Through this I have seen people of all faiths and political leanings come together to help those less fortunate. Let’s apply this same attitude to all aspects of our lives, seize this opportunity to come together as a people and as a nation, and continue to work hard to repair the world. Doug Weinstein is a corporate and intellectual property lawyer.
Alla Umanskiy is a Jewish mom, wife, writer and amateur runner, living, working and raising a family in the Atlanta area.
By Rachel Wasserman This summer, the world watched as Simone Biles withdrew from Olympic events in order to prioritize her mental health and physical safety. It was a decision that shocked the nation and sparked a flurry of articles, tv interviews, and social media posts. Initially, we did not yet know whether she was in physical pain or emotional distress, but it was clearly something very serious. Within days, Simone Biles had transformed from the Greatest of All Time into the poster child for mental health awareness. Simone is the example of a real Superwoman. A Superwoman put herself first, sets boundaries and sticks to them, and knows that sacrificing her own well-being is never the answer. Unfortunately, most women believe that being a Superwoman means putting other people first, giving all of our time and energy to those around us, never asking for help, being a martyr, and running ourselves ragged. Find a woman who “does it all,” and you’re bound to find people calling her a Superwoman. As girls, we’re infused with the idea that this is something to aspire to, and that not being a Superwoman means we are selfish or lazy. Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta has the data to show that the stress of trying to be a Superwoman is a primary challenge for women and girls in Atlanta’s Jewish community. I am proud that JWFA decided to fund a 3-year signature grant to debunk the Superwoman myth so that we can all start being more like Simone and less like the Superwomen we’ve been taught by society we need to be. In the year ahead, we have the opportunity to break this harmful generational cycle of stress and pave the way toward a better tomorrow for our daughters and granddaughters by redefining what it means to be a Superwoman. Rachel Wasserman is the executive director of the Jewish Women's Fund of Atlanta.
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By Dr. Melissa Wikoff I see lots of opportunities in this new year to help people hear better! It's a reward whenever I can help someone to fully experience the world all around them through better hearing. We hope that hearing the shofar this year awakens your soul and starts off a great new year for you! L'shana Tova. Melissa Wikoff is the founder and director of Audiology at Peachtree Hearing.
ROSH HASHANAH By Dov Wilker I believe that 5782 will be a year of disruption. Disruption has both positive and negative connotations to it, and I believe we should be looking to positively disrupt our lives. We will see further disruption in the way we work as questions of a hybrid work environment continue. We will see disruption in the fight against antisemitism through the development of new strategies and by tweaking existing tools. And most importantly, we will see disruption in how we demonstrate our Jewish pride. According to an American Jewish Committee survey on the “State of Antisemitism,” in 2020 of those surveyed, 31% avoid certain places, events, or situations out of concern for safety or comfort as a Jew, and 24% have avoided publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify them as a Jew. These are just some of the statistics that should both frighten us and give us hope for the future. The numbers reveal a growing opportunity for how we think about our Jewish community and for who will define our future. My hope is that 5782 will help us reimagine what’s possible for the Jewish people, in the United States, Israel and around the world. Dov Wilker is regional director at the AJC Atlanta.
By Emily Zaghi For many of us, the High Holidays are both a time of reflection and a time of great joy, as we come together with our families and friends to mark the new year and strive to be a better version of ourselves. We are surrounded by community in both our joy and our sorrow. In our Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the start of a new cycle, and Yom Kippur challenges us to break out of our complacency; it is a rallying cry for us to resist stagnation. At this time, as we grapple with an ongoing global pandemic and pray to be surrounded again by our community, like Sarah and Hannah, we cry out for and celebrate the newness that is upon us and within us. Yet, all of those things that make the High Holidays special for many, can be particularly difficult for those experiencing medical infertility. Coming back to community and seeing family again after too long, conversations at the dinner table and in the synagogue foyer will often dwell on the new and growing children in our midst. The Torah and Haftarah portions that many of our Temples and synagogues will read on Rosh HaShanah are about the miraculous births of Isaac and Samuel. For those who want children and are unable to have them, these themes of change, new beginnings, and the wonder of new life may feel like a painful reminder of the enforced stagnation of infertility. One of the series of prayers we say on Rosh HaShanah starts with the words - uvchein, which could be translated as “and then.” We see this theme in Genesis 21 when Sarah asks Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael, and Abraham reluctantly does so with the reassurance from the Lord that Ishmael, like Isaac, will grow up and become the father of a mighty nation. Yet Hagar received no such reassurance and was soon stranded in the wilderness without water and afraid of her son’s imminent death. But her story didn’t end there. She opened her eyes, and then a well was before her. Likewise, when congregations choose to read Genesis 22, the binding of Isaac, for Rosh Hashanah, Abraham is willing to sacrifice his beloved child, and then he sees a ram caught in a thicket. In both cases, another path forward is revealed. Like Hagar and Abraham, at moments of desolation we must open our eyes to find our “and then.” Infertility creates a disruption in the stories we tell ourselves about our lives, stories that go something like, “grow up, go to school, work, marry, have children, watch them grow,” but infertility does not end that story. There is always an “and then,” another path, another option. One such option for those experiencing infertility is medical treatment. The process is neither cheap nor easy, but help is available. The Jewish Fertility Foundation (JFF) provides financial assistance, emotional support, and educational programming to Jewish people with medical infertility. JFF offers fertility grants, clinic discounts, and interest-free loans. JFF also has support groups for those experiencing infertility and one-on-one support through the Fertility Buddy program where those who request it will be paired with a veteran of infertility with similar experiences. Emotional support and educational programs are available for all, regardless of religious background. The High Holidays are a time for reflection, for change, for growth, and for healing. If you or a loved one is struggling with infertility, the Jewish Fertility Foundation is here for you. Emily Zaghi is national program director of Jewish Fertility Foundation
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 81
ROSH HASHANAH By Rabbi Mark Zimmerman Opportunities for the Upcoming New Year 5782 A major theme of Rosh Hashanah revolves around asking God to inscribe us into Sefer HaChayim, the Book of Life. Whether or not you take that idea literally, the notion of a Sefer HaChayim is a profound one that helps us to focus our prayers and direct our spiritual energy during the holidays. The global pandemic has also made us better appreciate how tenuous and precious life is, and how our health is something we can never take for granted. We all have our own Covid-19 stories to tell. And those stories, sadly, have not yet come to an end. In Jewish thought, there is a principle called Pikuach Nefesh which teaches us how saving a life outweighs every other mitzvah. That is why we don’t hesitate to violate Shabbat when it comes to saving a life. That is also why our synagogues are so carefully weighing how best to observe the holidays in the midst of the seemingly never-ending pandemic. Those of us who chose to get vaccinated modeled a further example of this mitzvah, since beyond protecting ourselves, we helped limit the mutation and spread of the virus to others in the community at large. Another important value we must strive for in the year ahead is “achdut,” meaning unity. We often bandy around the term, but rarely do we stop to think about its true meaning, how we can achieve it, or why it is so vitally important. Given the many challenges we face as a community from the pandemic to antisemitism, and demonization of Israel to the disaffection of our youth, we need to come together as one, perhaps more than ever before in our lifetimes. God-willing, in 5782 we will get to experience a true sense of achdut as we join together for the holidays. We come to shul from different levels of Jewish observance, and even different theological and ideological perspectives. But we are pulled together out of a deep desire to reconnect with our community, and to rekindle that sense of kedusha, of holiness in our lives. For me, that is one of the special joys that comes with the observance of the holidays. Whether you are able to join us in person or remotely, I hope that we can all derive strength and inspiration from sensing each other’s presence. As Rosh Hashanah approaches, I pray for a year where all Jews will come together and rise above the differences that sometimes threaten to pull us apart. If the Jewish people are united, there is no force in the world that can bring about our downfall. May 5782 usher in a year of achdut (unity), kehillah (community) b’riut (health) and kedushah (holiness) for all of us and for all of humanity. Mark Zimmerman is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Dunwoody.
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My daughter, Abra, is an actor/comedienne in New York. She has a gift for finding humor in just about anything, and oftentimes at my expense. As the pandemic took over, I proudly watched as she leaned into her craft, teaching online improv classes, and finding other ways to make people laugh at a time when there was little hope, and even less humor. We have come a long way since then. Thankfully, Abra is still making people laugh and making her dad proud. And once again science has created an opportunity for hope. The day we had our first vaccine clinic at Jewish HomeLife was one I will never forget. The hope emanating from our staff and residents was palpable. Watching our staff applaud and cheer as each of their colleagues was immunized... Seeing the residents from the Jewish and Zaban Towers waiting hours in line for a chance at normalcy…Going floor to floor with the pharmacists and nurses at The William Breman Jewish Home to vaccinate the remaining residents, knowing that had this vaccine been available months earlier others might have lived. I strongly believe that the COVID vaccine is essential for us to return to enjoying our lives in a way we have grown accustomed. The choice to vaccinate should be seen not as a choice, but as an opportunity—to finally unmask safely, to laugh or sneeze in a crowded room, to hug family and friends, to visit loved ones, to enjoy an evening out, to have job security, to protect those who are more vulnerable than ourselves. To have hope that as a people, we can rise up and work together for the common good. If COVID is contained nationally and in the Atlanta region, I am confident 5782 will be full of new opportunities for all of us. Please encourage those you love to get vaccinated. L’Shana Tova. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life. Harley Tabak is president and CEO of Jewish Home Life Communities.
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Thoughts From Your Friends at the AJT By Kaylene Ladinsky When I asked the community to share the opportunities they see approaching in the 5782 New Year, I wasn’t expecting the responses I received. Many of the submissions were more about the changes that each has experienced within themselves while getting through the challenges this pandemic has caused. There was as much in the submitted Rosh Hashanah messages about the opportunities our community has already experienced, and all the positive inner growth found personally, as well as what they have witnessed through their family and friends. I found that I envied those who have been able to stop working and find so much more importance in their lives than the daily hustle and bustle. I love hearing the stories about how so many of you have found better ways of living life and working by just being resilient and creative – whether out of necessity or desire, you’ve found better ways of living life than you’ve ever known before. At least a hundred times over the last year. I’ve heard myself speaking the phrase, “It’s like we’re living in a real-life sci-fi movie.” Well, right now that sci-fi movie in my mind doesn’t include all the lives that we lost, or the pain we have felt through sickness and the loss of family and friends we will never get back. I realize that those things are very real, and there is nothing fiction about any of it. All any of us can do is keep moving forward, taking one day at a time, and believing that time will heal all wounds. So, I want to thank all of you who have inspired us, through your submissions, to not only consider future opportunities, but have also reminded us about the opportunities we have received and experienced already. May all who have experienced loss heal. May everyone have a healthy and happy New Year. Kaylene Ladinsky is the editor and managing publisher of the AJT.
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ROSH HASHANAH By Brenda Gelfand Since last year was a year of so many political and unexpected issues including COVID-19, politics, race relations, immigration, the healthcare crisis, police defunding, the Me Too movement, climate change, etc., there are many new opportunities to consider in the upcoming 5782 New Year. I want to focus my attention on living my life to the fullest and not take anything or anyone for granted. Life can change in a minute, and it is very important to make the most of all new opportunities in the year ahead. I will make sure that I spend more quality time with my family and friends, start traveling to places that I have always dreamed of going, pick up new hobbies, and take better care of myself by eating healthier and exercising more. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year and hoping our opportunities will be more positive in all aspects of our lives in the upcoming 5782 Year! Brenda Gelfand is a senior account manager for the AJT.
By Michal Bonell I like to find meaningful poems to express my thoughts and feelings when it comes to our holiday issues. It seems that this pandemic is still very much among us. Personally, the isolation and quiet provided me with new experiences that I will cherish and enjoy for the rest of my life. The poem below embodies my feelings about the pandemic with the hope that we've come out of it as better versions of ourselves. L'Shana Tovah
In the Time of Pandemic “And the people stayed home. “And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. “And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. “Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. “And the people healed. “And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. “And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed." —Kitty O'Meara" Michal Bonell is the senior account manager and team supervisor for the AJT.
By Jodi Danis New Beginnings The painted message caught my eye as I stood in a beloved and frequent locale of mine — the TJMaxx checkout line. A place where impulse items beckon to be touched before customers reach the register. There it was, for the bargain price of $6.99: a wooden desk calendar box with changeable blocks for the months and days. Accurate and usable year after year, as long as the blocks are rearranged with each passing day. What made it so hard to resist were those inspiring words painted on top as a reminder of promise and hope: Every day is a new beginning. I freely admit that the pandemic has often shaken my hopefulness. My family experienced grief and loss firsthand, as did so many others around the world. But finding resiliency and inner strength has been encouraging. Appreciating and seeing things in a new way has been illuminating. In almost every aspect of life, we have all learned to pivot — a term indicative of the most important skill mastered during these trying times. Who didn’t have to pivot in their jobs, parenting, expectations, relationships, schooling, travel plans, social activities, childcare? But we all did what we needed to do, with the hope that things would get better, that brighter days still lie ahead. Every day is a new beginning. As we head into 5782, our focus will be on more than the sweetness of a new year; it will be a time for reflection, forgiveness, and contemplating the blank slate awaiting each of us to make our own. But we don’t need to wait for the Days of Awe to remind ourselves of what can be accomplished on a daily basis. In yet another pivot from my pre-COVID life, I often work remotely now from my home office, my desk furnished with its new calendar box. Almost daily I update the wooden blocks and contemplate the simple message painted on top. My impulse purchase was quite the bargain, especially for those of us who sometimes need a tangible, gentle reminder that we can always reset, forgive and forge ahead with hope. Every day is a new beginning. Jodi Danis is the business manager for the AJT.
By Diana Cole In the upcoming year 5782, I see a whole change of experiences for myself personally and my family. My oldest child is a high school senior (Class of 2022), so he, along with his peers, will be embarking on the beginning of their adulthood. Scary, I know. Along with his friends he will experience memories that will last a lifetime (hopefully like prom, college acceptance, grasduation, etc.), and then embark on new adventures. My eldest daughter is a high school junior (Class of 2023), and hopefully she will experience a traditional junior year; from taking the SATs, prom, high school games, and beginning to think of where and what is in her next chapter. My youngest daughter is in 8th grade (Class of 2026). She will be venturing into her high school years and experiencing all of the fun that comes with it. My husband and I, along with other families with high school students, will experience a new adventure with our children leaving the nest. We, along with other couples, will need to change our relationship from everything about the kids to everything about us. Wishes for a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year. Diana Cole is the website and community coordinator for the AJT.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 85
By Kyra Goldman So many of us have experienced the advantages of virtual programming and have learned how to adapt our events to be live, streaming and on Zoom. I anticipate that in the coming year we will see much more in the way of multi-access programming to make space for more people to be involved. Because we have more knowledge about health and safety, we will be inclined toward making healthier environments. I’m sure we will cherish each other more than ever now that we are finally getting opportunities to spend time together and to feel the warm embraces of friends and family. the AJT.
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SPORTS Baseball Legend Was A High Holy Days Hero By Bob Bahr On Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei, 5696, which coincided with September 18, 1934, Hank Greenberg, the 23-year-old first baseman for the Detroit Tigers made American Jewish sports history. On that day, the hard-hitting 6-foot 4-inch Greenberg — who was also known as Hammerin’ Hank, the Hebrew Hammer — didn’t play baseball. Even though the Tigers were battling the New York Yankees for their first American League pennant in 25 years, Greenberg went to services on the Day of Atonement at Congregation Shaare Zedek, Detroit’s largest Conservative synagogue. He had quietly observed Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1933, his rookie season. In 1934, on the day before Rosh Hashanah, the local paper had wished him a Happy New Year in Hebrew on its front page, but Greenberg, whose parents were observant Jews from Romania, agonized over playing that day.
Hank Greenberg’s decision not to play baseball on Yom Kippur in 1934 continues to inspire.
He may have been influenced by a local rabbi’s public decision that Jewish law encouraged joyful experiences on the holiday, and thus he had permission to
play ball. Nonetheless, his decision to play on Rosh Hashanah during the playoffs is the stuff of Jewish sports legends. After a
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morning visit to his synagogue, he hit two home runs during that game, including a booming shot over the left-center field fence in Detroit during the 9th inning that clinched a 2-1 victory for the Tigers. Yet, at a time when many prominent Americans were beginning to admire Adolf Hitler and his campaign against the Jews in Germany, he had to endure endless insults. When Greenberg told one of his biographers about what it was like playing baseball in the 1930s, he didn’t mince words. “How the hell could you get up to home plate every day and have some SOB call you a Jew bastard and a kike and a sheenie and get on your ass without feeling the pressure? If the ballplayers weren’t doing it, the fans were. I used to get frustrated as hell. Sometimes I wanted to go up in the stands and beat the s—t out of them.” One of the nation’s foremost collectors of Jewish baseball memorabilia, Dr. Seymore Stoll, points out that, for Greenberg at the time, anti-Semitism was an in-
SPORTS can never get to be a rabbi in America.” Thirty-one years after Greenberg’s historic stand, Sandy Koufax, the famed pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers gained the admiration of Jewish Americans when he sat out the first game of the 1965 World Series on Yom Kippur. In the years since, a growing number of Jewish players have made their own peace with the holidays. A few days after the Day of Atonement in 1934, Greenberg’s hometown newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, ran a poem titled “Speaking of Greenberg” by the popular writer Edgar Guest, who hailed Greenberg’s decision. It read in part: A traveling exhibit hosted at the Breman Museum in 2014 featured 130 historical objects, including Hank Greenberg’s 1935 Most Valuable Player award.
tegral part of the Great American Pastime. “He had to endure a lot of anti-Semitism in Detroit. Henry Ford, who had his Ford Motor Company there, was no friend of the Jews. And, of course, they had the anti-Semitic Catholic priest, Father Charles Coughlin, who had a church in the Detroit suburbs. He had 30 million listeners to his nationally broadcast CBS radio show every weekend, saying how evil the Jews are. So, it wasn’t easy for him even as a superstar," Stoll said.
The day before Rosh Hashanah 1934, Hank Greenberg received a holiday greeting in Hebrew from the Detroit Free Press.
Despite a long history of prejudice, Jews have been an integral part of baseball’s history. Stoll, the baseball historian, has counted 191 Jewish baseball players since 1867, when Lipman Pike became one of the first stars of professional baseball. In 2014, the National Museum of American Jewish History organized a traveling exhibit about the Jewish love of baseball titled “Chasing Dreams - Baseball and Becoming American.” The exhibit, which featured 130 historical objects, includ-
ing Hank Greenberg’s 1935 Most Valuable Player award, was hosted by the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta. American Jews and the national game are so intertwined that the exhibit even included a quote by Rabbi Solomon Schechter from the early 20th century. The famed scholar and one of the founders of the Conservative movement in America, had one critical requirement for new rabbis. “Unless you can play baseball, you
“Came Yom Kippur — holy fast day worldwide over to the Jew — And Hank Greenberg to his teaching and the old tradition true Spent the day among his people and he didn't come to play. Said Murphy to Mulrooney, "We shall lose the game today!" We shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the bat, But he’s true to his religion — and I honor him for that!” ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 89
Jewish Students Excel at Track & Field Jewish students have been excelling at track and field events in Georgia’s high school competitions. Laya Keadle, a North Springs student, won the 5A state championship in pole vaulting as a 9th grader, with the highest jump for her year in the entire state. She also set a new school record for freshmen at North Springs. Fellow North Springs student Jordan Frank, a Davis Academy alum, had the highest jump in the state as a 9th grader, with a vault of 14’ 4.75” — almost two feet higher than the next freshman. Frank is also believed to have the highest-ever vault recorded by a freshman in Georgia state history, breaking the record previously held by Alon Rogow, a Jewish rising senior at Dunwoody High School. Laya Keadle competing in the pole vault during While Frank has been breaking rethe indoor season. (Courtesy of Matthew Berry) cords previously held by Rogow at Davis Academy and beyond, Rogow has continued to compete at a high level. He finished as the runner-up with a vault of 16’ 0.75” at the USATF Junior Olympics, although he tied with the winner for first place. At 16’ 2.5”,
Davis Academy track coach Matt Barry and student Nick West pose with the record of West’s best performance of 15’ 1.5”. (Courtesy of Matthew Barry)
Jordan Frank and Matt Barry at a meet where Jordan broke the freshman state record. (Courtesy of Matthew Barry)
Rogow has the 10th best vault in Georgia history. With a year still left in high school, he has been talking with college track and field coaches and recruiters. Ranked 10th in the nation in pole vault — believed to be the highest ever for a Jewish athlete — Rogow finds himself only 12 inches from the alltime Georgia high school record. Nick West, a recent graduate of Riverwood and Davis, respectively, set the school record at Riverwood before graduating. He hopes to eventually break the state pole vaulting record of 17’ 2”, set by former Olympic Trials vaulter Jordan Scott.
Alon Rogow is seen at the USATF JO wearing his National Runner Up medal. (Courtesy of Matthew Barry)
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Israeli Rhythmic Olympic Gymnastics Sees Scandal Until this year, Russia — competing as the Russian Olympic Committee — had won every gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, in both individual and group competitions. Israeli gymnast Linoy Ashram shocked the world this summer when she won the individual competition, beatOlympic Gold medalist Linoy Ashram at Ben Gurion ing two Russian twins, Airport after winning the gold medal in rhythmic who came in second and gymnastics at the Olympic Games in Japan, August 11, fourth place. 2021. (Menahem KAHANA // AFP/Times of Israel) Ashram’s win was Israel’s third-ever Olympic gold medal, the country’s fourth from the Tokyo games, and the first gold to be won by an Israeli woman in Olympic history. “It’s what I dreamed of for all my life,” Ashram said, although there was some controversy surrounding her triumph over Russian gymnast Dina Averina, who won silver. In her final routine, choreographed to “Hava Nagila,” Ashram fumbled her ribbon, costing her a point in the competition, although she still beat Averina by a small margin. Online trolls harassed the Israeli gymnast after the Russian Olympic Committee called the Israeli victory into question, saying on Twitter: “The whole world has seen this injustice.” Ashram was undeterred, however, carrying the Israeli team’s flag during the closing ceremonies, and enjoying the celebration upon her return. Ashram said that she was “delighted to be back in Israel,” and remarked upon her warm reception by hundreds of well-wishers: “I will not forget this reception my whole life.”
Israelis and Jews Win Olympic Gold
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Israel took home a record number of golds in Tokyo, and Jewish Olympians — from Israel to Australia — contributed to the medal count. Israeli athletes won a record 4 medals, including a bronze for the judo team. Sue Bird, USA: Women’s Basketball — Gold Linoy Ashram, Israel: Rhythmic Gymnastics — Gold Alix Klineman, USA: Beach Volleyball — Gold Jessica Fox, Australia: C1 Canoeing — Gold Lilia Akhaimova, Russia Olympic Committee: Team Gymnastics — Gold Jewish and Israeli athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, Artem Dolgopyat, Israel: from left to right: Sue Bird, Diego Schwartzman, Linoy Artistic Gymnastics — Gold Ashram, Maru Teferi, Jessica Fox. (Courtesy: AP/Jessica Hill; AP/Thibault Camus, AP/Efrem Lukatsky; Denis Barthel, Or Sasson, Israel: Judo — CC BY-SA 4.0; AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Times of Israel) Bronze Israeli Judo Team — Bronze Avishag Semberg, Israel: Taekwondo — Bronze
Sport Briefs Compiled by Nathan Posner
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DINING Globe-Spanning Cuisine in Unlikely Location Though it refers to itself as an “upscale gathering place,” John Metz’s new Woodall restaurant resists being slotted into a single Marcia category. Our Caller Jaffe Sunday night experience took place amid a bustling and diverse crowd, indoors and out. Multigenerational families, cool dude athletes, first-daters, suburbanites and neighbors made for an upbeat vibe on the recently revitalized Upper Westside. Our posh Moores Mill/Peachtree Battle neighborhood is merely a stone’s throw away. Upon seeing the newly gentrified residential neighborhood on Marietta Blvd., my dining companion noted: “The last time I was over here was for a Jewish funeral at Crestlawn.” The Woodall seats 170 people, more than half in the covered outdoor patio across the lot from Ted’s Montana Grill in the Westside Village center. Named for nearby Woodall Creek, it’s housed in a redecorated old whitewashed brick warehouse, with a glamorously lit and lively bar in the rear. The huge painted wall mural is, well, somewhere between the talons of an eagle, a bulbous floral pink tree, and a spoon. Make no mistake this old-new ‘hood is up and coming. The music was young and vibey. About the food:
summer squash, fava beans, wild mushrooms, blistered grape tomato, EVOO, confit onion velouté and Parmigiano Reggiano. Our server explained that the velouté simmers all day. The dish delivered, though a touch heavy on the salt. Sides: We had well-prepared roasted broccoli, among other side choices: basmati fried rice, eggplant fries, glazed carrots.
Chef John Metz continues to operate the successful Marlow's Tavern location, and the recently-opened The Woodall.
Cocktail plates: Poke Crudo — Ahi tuna, avocado, jalapeno, radish, crispy rice, micro greens. Generous portion with artistic layout. ($15) For the Table: Our fav! Smoked Salmon Dip — house-smoked salmon, horseradish, herbs, capers, extra virgin olive oil crostini. Smooth yet chunky with full “loxy” flavor. ($13)
General Manager Rick Blumberg.
Globally inspired appetizers and table-pleasers: The Woodall Board — falafel, harissa, pan-fried queso, tomato and olives. Smoked Salmon Dip (table favorite). Poke Crudo.
Woodall Board: Falafel, harissa, panfried queso fresco, parslied tomato, and marinated olives. The variety and color piqued our interest. ($12) Crisp, Cool Lettuces: Far East Salad — hearts of butter lettuce, romaine, baby kale, sesame oil, Caesar-style dressing, wonton. ($9) Butter Wedge: Caramelized pears, candied pecans, creamy gorgonzola. ($12) Seasonal Classics: Egg Pappardelle, 92 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Egg Pappardelle, summer squash, fava beans, wild mushrooms, blistered grape tomato, EVOO, confit onion velouté, and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Salads: Butter Wedge (top) with pears and pecans was light and shareable. Far East (bottom) features hearts of butter lettuce, romaine, baby kale, sesame oil, Caesar-style dressing and wonton.
The beverage menu is extensive; the offerings under red wine alone consist of: Berries from the Barrel, Earthy Fruity, Rich Smoky Sexy, and Big Bold. Overall service was thoughtful. When food comes hot, it’s well paced. General Manager Rick Blumberg was a dervish of activity, supporting the staff with hands and eyes on good service. He’s been with Metz for 5 years and also serves as beverage director. Executive Chef and CEO John C. Metz trained at the Culinary Institute of America and remains on their board. His background includes more than 30 years of restaurant and hospitality experience, some at New York’s finest restaurants, like Tribeca Grill. In opening The Woodall, Metz said, “We pay attention to the details and strive to create craveable food that guests really want. I love this community, and I want to contribute something fresh, exciting and modern. The Woodall is an upscale gathering place that reflects the unique and energetic character of this neighborhood with a globally inspired take on contemporary favorites. Everything at The Woodall is made from scratch. We believe it’s worth the extra effort to give our guests incredible chefcrafted food using only freshest ingredients available.” His partner, inside and outside the restaurant, is Roberta Nemo, whose expertise is all things wine. She is a member of the American Society of Wine Educators and previously worked for Aria and Canoe as a sommelier. An Atlanta native, Roberta is the daughter of Carol Breman Nemo and Bob Nemo. The Woodall is open 7 days a week, beginning at 4 p.m. Weekends, 10:30 to 2:30 p.m., 2360 Marietta Blvd. (404) 343-4424. Parking is free and easy. ì
Above, This shabby-chic throne commands the corner of Cohen’s living room. Photos by Howard Mendel Photography //
Right, Marcia Cohen uses her travels to Iceland as inspiration for visually kinetic oil paintings that wrap around the surface of the frames.
Chai Style Art
Rad SCAD Professor Defies Retirement Art professor Marcia R. Cohen takes us on a tour of her 1950’s bohemian bungalow and studio in LindridgeMartin Manor, near the former Varsity Jr., where beloved rabbits and colorful finches complement her full range of creativity. Cohen, who was Marcia awarded a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in 2011, said, “I’ve Caller Jaffe combined travel with art, like my study of the topography of Iceland. There the landscape is kinetic and percolating, which I interpreted by wrapping the painted surface around the dimensional frame.” When not “short sleeping” a mere 5 hours a night, Cohen is occupied with a variety of media: Limoges enamel painting, ceramic vessels and wood, along with her painting and drawing. “Typically, I work on a series for years. Ideas stack up and I return to my ‘brain trust,’ expanding into elaborate ideas.” Jaffe: As a child you showed an artistic bent? Cohen: Growing up in Detroit, I was very interested in drawing and painting and followed that interest into
my college career. I studied painting at Wayne State University, then the University of New Mexico for graduate work in drawing and painting with a minor in photography, under Beaumont Newhall, an important art historian of photography. My summer European study was transformative and set me on a path of having travel as an integral part of my art making experience. Jaffe: You taught for decades. How would you evaluate talent versus training and perspective from today’s students? Cohen: I taught at the Atlanta College of Art for 30 years and at SCAD Atlanta for 14 years. Motivation and talent are as important as training. This is an exciting time to study as an artist or designer. There are more opportunities for creative occupations than ever before. There is an artist and designer behind everything! I taught color theory and design in the freshman program at SCAD. My students were from all over the world and in every creative discipline imaginable. I was fortunate to be at the entry point of their educational journey. Students are nimble and can move fluidly between painting and film, design and photography, all areas of electronic media and fashion. This is the best time to study in the creative fields. One is no longer in a niche—the world is
at your fingertips. Jaffe: How would you describe your own body of work? Cohen: My work is driven by ideas. More often, my ideas are influenced by a passion for the study of color in the natural realm. I work across many disciplines, different methodologies and technical approaches. I do not have one signature style or way of working since color is the ultimate interdisciplinary topic, and I enjoy exploring and experimenting. My academic pursuits in the classroom and my studio practice were inseparable. I was awarded an artist residency in Iceland where I spent two winters photographing the landscape and the aurora borealis. I returned to my studio in Atlanta and have worked for several years from this amazing experience. Recently I began studying vitreous enamel using a kiln and glass pigments to extend my study of color and fire. Jaffe: Summarize your retirement. Cohen: I am living the life I had hoped for. I am in my studio full time. I have so much work in process that I will be evolving for years. I’m an avid researcher and seem to have at least 25 books open at once. I work on many different projects at one time and my sketchbooks ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 93
Marcia Cohen raises chirping Gouldian finches. Note the folk painting by Howard Finster above.
keep the flow of ideas constant. Typically, I work in series often for years. I also enjoyed making ceramics and jewelry when I feel like taking a “break.” I do not require a lot of sleep so I can work late into the evening as well as at the crack of dawn. But as a colorist, working with daylight is best. Jaffe: Share your interest in Judaica. Cohen: My entrance room houses my Judaica collection: a micrograph of a Lubavitch rabbi, Tanya text, antique menorah, hamsas, amulets, and Havdalah candles. Interestingly, over the years, the candles retained their woven shape, but have faded to pale ochre. Then there is my set Shabbat table where I created the ceramic Shabbat plates in the 1980s. Speaking of Jewishrelated themes, I did the scenic painting for the Emory Theater production of a Yiddish play, “Labzik: Tales of a Clever Pup,” while working with the puppet designer. I painted the monochromatic backdrops, including the walls, rooms, and street scenes of this puppet theater. Above, Cohen’s sketches illustrate her use of color and contrast.
This eclectic grouping of treasures from Cohen’s travels includes a rabbi marionette from Prague, a Mexican retablo, and a nostalgic phonograph to play her Yiddish 78 rpm records.
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Cohen painted this Amanita bisporigera, or “Destroying Angel” mushroom for her series “The Separate Kingdom,” which examines antisemitic imagery. Cohen’s Shabbat table displays a quote from Euripides along with the ceramic dinner plates she created in the 1980s.
Emory Professor Miriam Udel translated the original story, based on the 1935 book by Chaver Paver. Jake Krakovsky adapted and directed the play. Jaffe: Which works of others do you admire? Cohen: Most of my available wall space is taken up by my library, as I love books. I have prints by Josef Albers, Pat Steir, and John Cage. Jaffe: You have a penchant for black and white. Cohen: The black-and-white Op Art bench out front, I designed for ING. My bunnies in the backyard are black and white, as is my clothing. I even designed my own eyewear in 1983 to match and manufacture in Europe. So, yes, to that as a lifestyle. Jaffe: What’s with your coterie of fauna? Cohen: The bunnies out back are blue-eyed Netherland Dwarf rabbits. Some are in hutches. Others run freely. The 16 families of Gouldian finches here have yellow mutation markings and live in a series of cages off the kitchen. Also known as “rainbow” finches, they are very delicate and chirp or sing. An original horizontal trumpet-blowing cherub by folk artist Howard Finster presides over them. Jaffe: The card on your Shabbat table reads … Cohen: “One loyal friend is worth 10,000 relatives.” A quote from Euripides. ìì
Cohen displays her Havdalah candle and hamsa collection near the front entrance, with the micrograph print of Rabbi Shneur Zalman.
Marcia enjoys the black and white Op Art design bench she created for ING Financial. Note her self-designed black-and-white eyewear.
Cohen created these black-and-white vessels on display in the living room
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TRAVEL Jews Continue to Call the Rural South ‘Home’ By Nathan Posner Across the rural South, Jewish communities are springing up, dying out and surviving. This series, a combination of portraits and interviews, explores contemporary Jewish life, with a focus on Jewish individuals and communities in towns with populations of less than 50,000. The two synagogues I visited for this first installment are long-established but are fighting to continue to serve their communities. In Selma, Alabama, a city known for its civil rights history, the town and Temple Mishkan Israel have both seen its headcount drop heavily since the 1960s. With only three active members, the community works to maintain the 120-year-old synagogue building and tries to educate those who visit the community. Across the state border in Rome, Ga., Rodeph Sholom has had a long and friendly history with the surrounding community, but continues to face antiSemitism as they try to preserve their historic congregation. They are also combating the loss of younger generations who have moved away from the northern Georgia town. A few blocks away from the bridge where John Lewis was beaten on Bloody Sunday, past pharmacies and stores that mark the names of Jewish owners long since passed, sits Temple Mishkan Israel, a beautiful building in Selma that was once a spiritual home to over 500 community members. The stained-glass windows and ornate bimah and ark, which still contains Torahs for visitors to use for services, are part of the 121-year-old building. While there are no longer weekly services at the temple, members continue to maintain the sanctuary and hope to repair the roof and turn the building into a museum. Ronnie Leet, president of the synagogue, was born and raised in Selma before heading to college — the only four years he’s left town — and has been working on this mission over the past few years along with other community members. For almost a century from the time Temple Mishkan Israel was founded in 1867, the Jewish community flourished. Between 350 and 450 Jews lived here in the early 1940s, per Leet, with “most of the businesses downtown” being Jewishowned. Hanna Berger, another member of the synagogue, was born in Selma and never expected to return permanently, 96 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Temple Mishkan Israel President Ronnie Leet and congregation member Hanna Berger in the shul sanctuary in Selma, Alabama.
Ronnie Leet outside of the historic synagogue in Selma.
something she said is common: “It's a typical story, not only in Jewish communities, but immigrant communities in general, that people come in, and they start businesses and try to build a life ... and by the third generation, the children don't want to run their store.” Leet was one of the few who came back to help run his family’s business in Selma, but said that he was only one of three young people “of a thriving Jewish community … that came back.” Yet even now, he feels his connec-
tion to Judaism has strengthened over recent years: “I feel more connected than I ever have. … I stay connected through this building, through different venues, that I can learn more about.” The synagogue was central to the community, with non-Jewish members often attending services. Berger described the decades during which she grew up in the '40s and '50s: “At Friday night services, there were always some guests and some kids ... who were not
Jewish and [we] would go to church services with their friends. … It was small as cities go, but it really was active, and we felt we were part of the [Selma] community.” By the early 1970s the congregation no longer had a full-time rabbi. Like many rural Jewish communities, it began to rely on “traveling rabbis” and eventually moved on to student rabbis, before dropping the tradition of an “in-house” rabbi completely. In 1997, there was a reunion of the families and their descendants, called “Home for the Holidays,” which brought over 220 people back to the synagogue, including many descendants who had never been to Selma before, per Leet. This sort of national network for the congregation is helping the synagogue transform itself, as the community has come together to help with repairs to the roof and the overall maintenance of the building. “It proved a point, people love their roots,” Leet said. “They love Selma, and they love this temple.” Even with this support, however, the few remaining community members have had to work hard to continue worshipping. Member Steve Grossman ran services after the congregation could no longer support a student rabbi, but that came to a halt after Grossman was tragically killed in a car accident. Many southern Jewish communities now find themselves in the same boat as the one in Selma, with long-standing communities continuing to shrink. In Rome, Ga., Congregation Rodeph Sholom still holds services, now on Zoom, for its relatively small membership. Founded in 1875, the congregation had full-time rabbis until 1955, then relied on student rabbis from Hebrew Union College for the following 40 years. Nowadays community members and visiting rabbis help conduct services at the Reform congregation. The synagogue, now headed by President Nancy Brant, has a core group of around 15 to 20 members who participate in services and activities through the congregation, as well as a “huge mailing list,” per Brant. The synagogue also has an active brotherhood and sisterhood, and a religious school run by congregation members, although currently there are no students that would attend. The synagogue was built on land purchased from the neighboring St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in 1938, a small part of a long and friendly history between the two places of worship. While
TRAVEL Loya is open about her religion to classmates, and finds that they are often “curious,” as “most of them don't really know what [being Jewish] means.” While the congregation has been able to host services, and has a very active group of members, they find that they are sometimes taking unique measures to maintain the kinds of program-
around the actuality of Jews as compared to the myths that circulate. He follows the work ethic that his father, a survivor of Bergen-Belson, taught him: “If you showed you could do every kind of work you were assigned before the guards, the guards respected you and preserved you. Sometimes they will not beat your head as hard. They'll give you some extra food
Rodeph Sholom President Nancy Brant and her husband Jeffrey Brant in the synagogue’s sanctuary in Rome.
Congregation Rodeph Sholom on East First Street in Rome, Ga.
Miriam Loya, a sophomore in high school, is one of the few young members of congregation Rodeph Sholom.
the synagogue doesn’t hold many large services, with the exception of Passover and b’nai mitzvah celebrations, the church allows the congregation to use their larger social hall. After the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, hundreds of community members attended services at the congregation, and local religious leaders spoke. So many came, in fact, that the service hall was full, and the ceremony had to be telecast. While the Rome community has been supportive and friendly to their Jewish neighbors, and the congregation itself, there has also been a fair share of harassment. There was the nearby Klan rally in 2016, which congregants protested, as well as anti-Semitic papers plastered on the door of the synagogue in previous
years, along with other small threats and acts of intimidation. Anne Lewinson, a congregant and professor at Berry College, believes these acts aren’t representative of the Rome community: “I do think there’s a fair bit of ignorance … a lot of people just don’t know that a Jewish community exists.” The wider community has also been accepting of Jews, at least in Miriam Loya’s experience. The daughter of Lewinson and her Muslim husband, Miriam attended the synagogue’s school when it was in operation and is now a sophomore at Rome High School. For her bat mitzvah, she invited her entire class to the service, recalling that “even though they didn't really know what was going on at all and didn’t understand what's happening … they were very welcoming.”
ming on offer at larger synagogues. Lewinson’s son, Matt, was trained for his bar-mitzvah by a rabbi, but in the following years he’s had to train the next generation. Small rural synagogues like Rodeph Sholom often rely on their members to maintain the building and services, and to help keep the community alive, Lewinson said: “If anybody was going to teach the religious school kids, it was going to be members of the community; if anybody was going to sweep up after an event, it was gonna be members of the community.” While the Brants and Lewinsons have only come in the past two decades, some of the community's older members still attend. Rich Chanan, the son of a Holocaust survivor, moved from a heavily Jewish area in New York, and has been at the congregation since 1985. Coming from a place with a high concentration of Jews, he quickly found that the “Jewish culture was minimal” here, compared to where he grew up. Chanan has also found that the ignorant can be dealt with: he’s had a Klan member re-wire his house while having a full conversation
to take home.” But he also believes in the importance of not backing down. In his time at the synagogue, “there has been a dismal reduction in the crowd,” and he is worried about the fact there are so few children left in the congregation. Others are more optimistic about the congregation's future. Nancy Brant said, “there are people that used to be here, and used to have family here, who still support us monetarily,” which helps the congregation maintain security and programming it would not otherwise be able to afford. Jeffrey Brant, Nancy’s husband and a former president of the congregation, eloquently explained the situation around the issue of building maintenance: “People ask, why do you keep having this building with only a few people here? We want to keep the Jewish community going here as much as we can. ... And it’s not so much the financial stuff; it is just that we need members and we need the people.” Nancy Brant likes to call their congregation “the little temple that could,” an apt name for a synagogue that continues to serve Jews in the heart of rural Georgia. ì ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 97
Jewish Charlotte, A City of Art and Culture What do you get when you mix an affluent Jewish community with the arts, culture, and southern hospitality? The answer Robyn Spizman is Charlotte, Gerson North Carolina, an easy to drive-to destination that stands on the shoulders of generous donors and transformative philanthropic visionaries. This close-by geographic journey proved that “it’s a small world when you’re Jewish” at our very first stop. A well-researched list of must-visit venues and (pre-approved) appointments was generously orchestrated by my husband Ed’s wonderful cousins Anita and her husband Marvin Shapiro, a retired internist who settled in Charlotte in 1973. After a four-hour car ride from Atlanta with sister and brotherin-law Esther and Mike Levine on board, we arrived at Shalom Park, Charlotte’s 54-acre tree-laden, meticulously landscaped campus. Shalom Park embraces the pulse of Charlotte’s Jewish life and is home to most of the local Jewish organizations, including Temple Israel, the Conservative synagogue, and Beth El, the Reform synagogue, along with the Sandra and Leon Levine Jewish Community Center, the Charlotte Jewish Day School, the Charlotte Jewish Preschool, Jewish Family Services, the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, JCC’s Camp Mindy, the Federa-
Temple Israel’s breathtaking sanctuary exterior, with stained glass windows. (Photo Courtesy of Temple Israel)
Stunning interior at The Grand Bohemian. (Photo Courtesy of The Grand Bohemian)
tion’s monthly Charlotte Jewish News, and so much more. Shalom Park is a magnificent Jewish world unto itself, supported by the entire community, and welcoming all to utilize its facilities, including the soon-to-be-built “Home of Generations” retirement community.
The first visit Anita coordinated was to their synagogue, Temple Israel, erected in 1992. Founded 125 years ago, the congregation was established by a small group of families, which has grown to 540 families today. Greeted by Rabbi Michael Wolk who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, visited the
Shana Tovah The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta wishes you and your family a happy and healthy new year.
98 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
backyards and patios of over 100 families to connect with his congregation. Formerly a rabbi in Louisville, Kentucky, Rabbi Wolk’s personable, neighborly greeting was meaningful and his pride in Temple Israel was evident. We were also welcomed by the synagogue’s vivacious membership director, Erin Goldstein, whose grandmother, Geraldine “Gerry” Ashkenazi, was the executive director of Ahavath Achim in Atlanta for decades. We toured Temple Israel, this exquisite semi-circular sanctuary and architectural masterpiece that features floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows majestically adorning the sanctuary with an exquisite palette of primary colors. The windows depict the biblical narrative from Creation to the entry of the Israelites into the Promised Land. Time capsules from decades ago are thoughtfully built into the cornerstone of the building. On the other side of the campus was Temple Beth El, the Reform temple in Charlotte, with its façade reminiscent of Jerusalem. As you drive around Shalom Park, you will marvel at the architectural masterpieces. One minute it’s modern, and the next there’s a peaceful feeling of the old world. The Sandra and Leon Levine JCC, a sprawling red-brick building ominous in scale, is the centerpiece of Shalom Park’s campus. Filled with art that includes pieces donated by local collectors of esteemed glass artist Jon Kuhn, the main entry features halls of glass and beautiful artwork from wellknown artists. From a Judaic library and resource center to the Blumenthal Center and so much more, Shalom Park leaves
The Firebird or Le Grand Oiseau de Feu sur l'Arche sculpture by Niki de Saint Phalle in front of the Bechtler Museum with cousins (L to R) Marvin and Anita Shapiro, Ed Gerson, and Esther and Mike Levine.
no stone unturned. A particularly beautiful sculpture, The Levine JCC Butterfly Project, honors the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust. Designed by local artist Paul Rousso, the sculpture is adorned with almost 6,000 ceramic butterflies created by the city’s faith, school, and community groups. At every turn, this community is immersed in an artistic expression of purposeful connection. (www.charlottejcc.org) As you travel around Charlotte, even the street signs reflect the generosity of Jewish donors. At first glance, you’ll see the Levine Avenue of The Arts. We visited the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, a spectacularly curated collection representing many distinguished artists from around the world. Charlotte is filled with galleries
like the Bechtler Museum of Modern Arts, the Harvey Gantt Center, and the Luski Gallery at the Foundation for the Carolinas, a stunning collection of glass and paintings that celebrates the philanthropy of artful giving. Be sure to check the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center (www.Blumenthalarts.org) for upcoming schedules of events and entertainment, as well as the Levine Museum of the New South. (www. levinemuseumofthenewsouth.org) For lodging, check out the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charlotte, an aesthetically inspired hotel, which is located at the corner of Trade and Church Streets in Uptown Charlotte, a vibrant district filled with museums, entertainment, and dining. Created by Richard Kessler, the Kessler Collection is a visionary family-owned and operated boutique hospitality brand with luxury properties in cities such as Charleston and Savannah. In search of an architect, Kessler hired Gensler Atlanta, whose team was challenged to design the hotel during the building phase. This 16-story, 254-room hotel features a spa, fine dining restaurant with indoor and outdoor lounge seating, and a “park bar.” The lounge and
bar on the first floor offer a variety of seating options, while the 16th floor houses the spa, a 24-hour fitness center, and a luxe rooftop bar with unparalleled views of Charlotte. Charlotte residents enjoy Gleiberman’s Kosher Mart, a Glatt Kosher food grocery. Additional activities include the Panthers stadium, Charlotte’s Meyers Park, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary, Discovery Place, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens in Belmont, as well as a visit to the U.S. National Whitewater Center for rafting. When traveling back to Atlanta, make a quick stop in Greenville and enjoy a picnic downtown at the beautiful Falls Park on the Reedy, located at the intersection of S. Main Street and Falls Park Drive. Back on the road, add a pit stop at any of the nearby fruit stands and check out whatever is in season from local farmers. Charlotte’s southern hospitality is evident, and the only challenge you may face is not having relatives as hospitable as ours. Start at Shalom Park, and my guess is that they’ll have you at “hello.” ì
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Call 770.677.9435 or visit jfcsatl.org/homeshareatl ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 99
A Stroll Through a Jewish London By Stephen Burstin Seder Night at Buckingham Palace may not be in Queen Elizabeth’s diary of events for next year, but placing an order for Mazot may just be on the cards for a future King of England. When Prince William tied the marital knot with Kate, he is said to have married into a Jewish blood line stretching back centuries. William follows his father, Prince Charles, as heir to the throne and his mother-in-law is Carole Goldsmith. Despite five generations of Goldsmiths marrying in church, some royal observers say there’s a very real Jewish heritage in the Goldsmith clan. The revelation of a possible Jewish line is just one of countless Jewish links that continue to surface among English society both past and present. One gentleman who, although not of royal blood, was certainly considered a blood brother to one monarch. He was Sir Ernest Cassel, the best pal of King Edward VII, the wayward son of Queen Victoria. Cassel was born in mid 19th century Germany where his father, Jacob, owned a small bank but young Cassel ventured off to England alone and penniless aged 17. With an enormous capacity for hard work and a natural business sense, he was soon a successful banker and businessman and one of England's wealthiest men by the beginning of the 20th century. Cassel mixed in the grandest circles befriending the then-Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and a young Winston Churchill. So constant a companion was he to King Edward, he earned the nickname Windsor Cassel. The Jewish connection is present in modern day British politics too …and in whichever political direction you turn. Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s great great grandparents were stalwarts in London’s Jewish community. His paternal great great grandfather was Emile Levita, a German financier who was granted British citizenship back in 1871. Levita, a director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, which became Standard Chartered Bank, married into the wealthy Danish Jewish Rée family. When Conservative Premier Cameron taunted his greatest adversary in Parliament, he may just have a moment’s hesitation before heaping insults …for facing him was the then Jewish leader of the Opposition Labour Party, Ed Miliband. Both his father Ralph and mother Marion Kozak were 100 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Buckingham Palace … perhaps the future venue for a king’s seder night?
Prime Minister David Cameron, whose ancestors were stalwarts in London’s Jewish community.
Jewish refugees who escaped the Holocaust. And on these heated occasions in Parliament, the official referee (or Speaker as he is known) was John Bercow, grandson of Romanian Jewish immigrants. But if Bercow’s attempts at mediation were ever in vain and the two opponents came to blows, they could have sought treatment for their injuries just yards away across Westminster Bridge at the famous Saint Thomas Hospital … and it’s all thanks to a scion of the Rothschild banking dynasty. With the massive influx of East European Jewish immigrants to London at the end of the 19th century, Lord Nathan Mayer Rothschild – the first Jewish Lord - came to an unofficial arrangement with the hospital governors. In return for massive donations from Rothschild and his wealthy Jewish friends, Saint Thomas Hospital provided
Sir Ernest Cassel: so close a companion of King Edward VII he was known as Windsor Cassel.
Westminster Abbey was built in 1245, thanks to wealthy Jews.
kosher food, Jewish only wards, facilities for celebrating the Shabbat and even separate ice chambers for Jewish bodies. The arrangement spread to other major hospitals in the capital such as Guys and the Royal London. And at many other famous London landmarks a surprise or two awaits the connoisseur of Jewish trivia. Westminster Abbey, the traditional church of royal coronations and one of London’s top tourist attractions, was built in 1245 …thanks to some wealthy Jews. The previous church on the site was dilapidated and King Henry III decided it was time for a replacement. While most of the small Jewish community in Medieval England was impoverished, it also included several wealthy merchants and money lenders. Henry expropriated their monies to finance his new
abbey. And when his ‘benefactors’ later sought his permission to venture overseas and seek a new life, Henry refused, thinking there was still more to be had from them. Their wish to depart England was granted unexpectedly 40 years later when King Edward I banished the country’s entire Jewish population, and they were to remain exiled for 350 years. Next door to Westminster Abbey and standing proudly outside the Houses of Parliament is a statue of the Jews’ saviour Oliver Cromwell who led his anti-Royalist forces to victory in England’s 17th century Civil War. Authoritarian and cruel maybe, but Cromwell later orchestrated the return of Jews to England after their forced exile. A devout Protestant and believer in the Old Testament, he was also pragmatic realising the presence in England of European Jewish
TRAVEL SIMCHA SPOTLIGHT
Oliver Cromwell welcomed Jews back to England after 350 years of exile.
merchants and financiers could benefit his country. Just feet away from Cromwell’s statue at Parliament and competing for the attention of passers-by is the monument to another of England’s leaders at time of war – Winston Churchill. It is not readily recalled that Churchill was invariably at the forefront in defence of Jewish interests. He opposed the 1905 Aliens Act that sought to restrict Eastern European Jewish immigration; was one of the lone voices against harsh Jewish immigration quotas during the 1930s; and before a packed Parliament after the war urged Zionists seeking a Jewish state to: “Persevere! Persevere! Persevere!” Not all heads of state were as sympathetic to the Jewish community. In the shadow of the dreaded Tower of London, symbol of oppression, torture and execution in bygone days, the visitor is reminded of the tragic fate that befell the country’s Jewish leaders in Medieval times. In 1255, the body of a young Christian boy was found at the bottom of a water well in the garden of a Jew named Jopin. On the promise of having his life spared, he was induced by the local priest to ‘confess’ that the boy had been murdered by several prominent Jews as part of the notorious Blood Libel accusations against the Jewish people. The heads of 18 leading Jewish households in England were then arrested, taken to the Tower of London and, after prolonged torture, hanged in front of baying crowds. It’s a far cry from 200 years earlier when the Tower was built by King William I after popping over from France and vanquishing the English, earning him the sobriquet William the Conqueror. He invited French Jewish moneylenders to join him and help prop up his new realm.
Have something to celebrate? Share your simchas with the
Caroline Goldsmith: Prince William’s mother-in-law, with Jewish roots?
So delighted was King William with the service he received from his Jewish ‘bankers’ he ordered all his new castles, including the Tower of London, to be sanctuaries for Jews at times of anti-semitic mob violence. Today’s Prince William, who is destined to be King William V (fifth) has earned the same sobriquet as his medieval namesake, only this time the handsome royal is called William the Conqueror …of Hearts! ì Former journalist Stephen Burstin was born in London’s East End to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe and today conducts a variety of Jewish-themed tours in London. www.jewishlondonwalkingtours.co.uk
Births, B’nai Mitzvah, Engagements, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays and more ... Share your news with the community with free AJT simcha announcements. Send info to email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 101
SEPTEMBER 1 - SEPTEMBER 15 scene? Join NextGen for a happy hour to meet other new Atlantans and learn about programs and organizations that cater to young adults! Visit https:// bit.ly/36Xf3U9 for more information.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 JELF – Jewish Educational Loan Fund (until September 30) – Jewish Educational Loan Fund helps Jewish students in need by providing interest-free, no-fee loans for higher education. To qualify, applicants must be a resident of Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia (excluding metro D.C.), be enrolled full time in a program leading to a degree or certificate, be in the U.S. lawfully, and be able to demonstrate financial need (2019 FAFSA application required). Visit https://bit.ly/3kQlDUJ for more information. Shofar on Main Street (Monday through Friday until September 3) – 11 a.m. The blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn, is an important part of the Jewish High Holy Days season. There is a special tradition of blowing the shofar in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah to remind us to “wake up,” reflect on the past year, and begin the spiritual preparation for the season. All are invited to listen as the shofar is sounded at MJCCA: Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Visit https://bit. ly/3iuzBZt for more information. Fall 2021 Gardening Lecture Series – Fall Lawn Care in Atlanta – 7 to 8:15 p.m. North Fulton Master Gardeners, Inc., is continuing to provide horticultural education. To have a beautiful lawn next year, you need to start now. De-
pending on your grass type, there are certain things you need to do and others you should not do. Visit https://bit. ly/3rqtnxT to register. Agents of Change Training Orientation – 7 to 9 p.m. Official start of the year for Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta’s Agents of Change Training program (ACT). It brings together a cohesive cohort of women to explore ways to catalyze deep, meaningful social change within their community and uncover how their own life experiences have shaped and defined their evolving core values. Find out more by visiting https://bit.ly/3Bx0V23.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 PrimeTimers Coffee with Rabbi Jordan – 10 a.m. Grab a beverage and head over to Zoom to spend time with Rabbi Jordan and your PrimeTimer Friends from Congregation Dor Tamid. Visit https://bit.ly/3Cg2QZ6 to get the Zoom link. Instagram Live with JFF! – 12 to 1 p.m. Visit https://bit.ly/3hXLyGc to sign up.
Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events three to four weeks in advance. Contact community relations director Diana Cole for more information at Diana@atljewishtimes.com.
Cub Club: Lil’ Shabbat from the Garden (virtual) – 9:30 to 9:50 a.m. Celebrating Shabbat has never been so much fun! Join Rabbi Micah for a special sing-along as we get ready to welcome Shabbat. Young children and their families will be introduced to interactive songs and dances to bring in the ruach (spirit) of Shabbat. Visit https:// bit.ly/3eMHwAd to RSVP.
#EndJewishHatred – 6 p.m. Join Cheryl Dorchinsky, Elliot Friedland, and Alicia Post on Clubhouse to discuss advocacy, anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, and more. This is a place to learn strategies and more. Visit https://bit.ly/3fmEpyw to get the link.
SOJOURN’s Drawing from the Well – 12 to 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome to experience the magic of inclusive community during Drawing from the Well. Drawing from the Well is SOJOURN’s inclusive weekly meetup for LGBTQ+ Jews and allies. Participants gather in community to discuss and connect around resources from Torah Queeries, Mussar teachings, holidays and happenings in the world. Visit https:// bit.ly/34YpvJS to get the Zoom link.
Atlanta Scholars Kollel Network Event – 6 to 8 p.m. ASK Annual Networking Event. Speaker: Mr. Jim Kapenstein, Senior Vice-President and Associate Counsel of the Walt Disney Company. Visit https://bit.ly/3j3dJG3to register.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4
High Holiday Boot Camp – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The High Holidays are approaching, and we have just what you need to get in spiritual shape! These sessions delve deep into Jewish tradition and practice to prepare you to make the most of your Jewish holiday experience. RSVP to Intown Jewish Academy by visiting https://bit.ly/3hZ2HAY.
Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at:
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Jazzing: Memoirs in Jazz – 7:30 p.m. (Every day till September 8) The Breman, in conjunction with the Ballethnic Dance Company, has commissioned a series of dances based on the works of the prominent artists featured in A Jazz Memoir: The Photography of Herb Snitzer. Purchase tickets at https://bit. ly/3jrz8I1.
Newish & Jewish Happy Hour -- 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. New (or new-ish) to Atlanta and want to discover the young adult
Story Time with Rabbi Jordan – 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Jordan from Congregation Dor Tamid for Story Time on Facebook. Visit https://bit.ly/3xfpywO to get the link.
ence. RSVP to Intown Jewish Academy by visiting https://bit.ly/3hZ2HAY.
CANDLE-LIGHTING TIMES Torah Reading: Nitzavim Friday, September 3, 2021, light candles at 7:42 p.m. Saturday, September 4, 2021, Shabbat ends at 8:36 p.m.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 Kabbalah & Coffee -- 9:30 to 11 a.m. Discuss, explore, and journey through the world of Jewish mystical teaching and learn how to apply these profound teachings to your daily life. Visit the Intown Jewish Academy at https://bit. ly/2UJtM2w to find more information.
Rosh Hashanah Monday, September 6, 2021, light holiday candles at 7:38 p.m. Tuesday, September 7, 2021, light holiday candles after 8:32 p.m. from a pre-existing flame. Wednesday, September 8, 2021, holiday ends at 8:30 p.m. Torah Reading: Vayelech Friday, September 10, 2021, light candles at 7:32 p.m. Saturday, September 11, 2021, Shabbat ends at 8:26 p.m. Yom Kippur
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 The Crossword Coach – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Have you always wanted to master the New York Times crossword puzzle? Some benefits of crossword puzzles include: stretching your vocabulary, reinforcing your knowledge of pop culture and history, and heightening your ability to identify patterns in the clues. Join MJCCA and Steve Manin, a New York-based writer, entrepreneur, and acclaimed documentary filmmaker. A fun and educational time is guaranteed, even if you’re new to crossword solving. Visit https://bit.ly/3gqufhH to learn more.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 SOJOURN’s Drawing from the Well – 12 to 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome to experience the magic of inclusive community during Drawing from the Well, SOJOURN’s inclusive weekly meetup for LGBTQ+ Jews and allies. Participants gather in community to discuss and connect around resources from Torah Queeries, Mussar teachings, holidays and happenings in the world. Visit https://bit.ly/34YpvJS to get the Zoom link.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Story Time with Rabbi Jordan – 9:15 to
Wednesday, September 15, 2021, light holiday candles at 7:25 p.m. Thursday, September 16, 2021, holiday ends at 8:19 p.m.
9:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Jordan from Congregation Dor Tamid for Story Time on Facebook. Visit https://bit.ly/3xfpywO to get the link. Adult Jewish Day Camp – 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Launch your friends skyhigh on the Blob, join a game of slip ‘n’ slide kickball, laugh it all out with improv workshops, or just lay out with your friends on the grass – there’s no wrong way. Fuel up for the day’s adventures with home-cooked southern meals and savor the campfire with a gourmet s’mores bar. From sprawling athletic fields to a vibrant art center, a 50’ alpine tower to dozens of electives, there are endless ways to explore, relax, and connect with new friends. Register with Trybal Gatherings at https:// bit.ly/3swv9y0.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 Mini Cubs: Sensory Play Outdoors – 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Join The Davis Academy's Mini Cubs for a hands-on exploration of the great outdoors! Families will explore different sensory stations that will provide hands-on, visually engaging and interactive learning opportunities for your little ones. Visit https://bit.ly/3zkf1Sc to RSVP. Field Day & Tashlich Service – 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Join Congregation Or VeShalom for an intergenerational Field Day, including Tashlich service. Activities for all ages include: Ropes Course, Climbing Wall, Giant Swing, Lawn Games,
Billie Jean King, Author of "All In" – 8 p.m. An inspiring and intimate selfportrait of Billie Jean King, the champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice. Prerecorded and presented by the MJCCA Book Fest. To register, visit https://bit.ly/3ktFsRs.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 Talking Heads – 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Talking Heads is a lively group discussion from MJCCA of current topics including, but not limited to, issues in the news, politics, and social trends. The group is moderated by volunteer Ed Feldstein, but group members rotate as the leader. The leader picks the topic and discussion questions. Visit https://bit.ly/3AaiLH8 to get more information.
Art Project, Boating, Archery, Fishing (bring your own pole), Tashlich Hike. Advanced registration required at https://bit.ly/3Cg8SsI.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 mAAc Meets – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Join Ahavath Achim Synagogue every Tuesday, when one of our rabbis will begin the class with a one-hour discussion. The second hour of the class will be led by another member of the group. Visit https://bit.ly/2TOx0kp to get the link. Fall 2021 Gardening Lecture Series – Fall Vegetable Gardening – 2 to 3:15 p.m. North Fulton Master Gardeners, Inc., is continuing to provide horticultural education. Master Gardener George Scesney shares his expertise on how to prepare your garden, select the best vegetables to grow in the fall in the Atlanta area, the optimal time to plant each type and some tips for a bountiful harvest! Visit https://bit.ly/3hT9koC to register. High Holiday Boot Camp – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. The High Holidays are approaching, and we have just what you need to get in spiritual shape! These sessions delve deep into Jewish tradition and practice to prepare you to make the most of your Jewish holiday experi-
Conversations on Zionism – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Join Jewish National Fund-USA for a series of human interactions, short films, interviews, panel discussions and more – all meant to facilitate a dialogue and expose the beautiful and diverse facets of modern Zionism and its positive impact on many aspects of our lives, no matter where we are. Visit https://bit.ly/3jnnHB5 for more information. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 103
ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR 2021
Rosh Hashanah 5782 Rosh Hashanah with Chabad Intown – 7:38 p.m. The High Holy Days season is upon us! Come to Chabad to be reJEWvinated and empowered to greet the new year – for free! Visit https://bit. ly/3z6DtXB for more information.
Rosh Hashanah with Chabad Intown – 9:30 a.m. The High Holy Days season is upon us! Come to Chabad to be reJEWvinated and empowered to greet the new year – for free! Visit https://bit. ly/3z6DtXB for more information.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 High Holidays at Beth Shalom – 6:15 p.m. Beth Shalom offers two free services open to the entire community intended for those who might not otherwise attend a high holiday service at all. RSVP at https://bit.ly/3iI4Ctc. Erev Rosh Hashanah – 7:30 p.m. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming its High Holy Days services. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Visit https://bit. ly/3D2zQo6 to get the Zoom link.
High Holy Days in Marietta / West Cobb – 7:30 p.m. Congregation Ner Tamid of Marietta/West Cobb invites you to join us for the High Holy Days. Visit https:// bit.ly/3rIN9EI for more information.
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Young Jewish Professionals Rosh Hashanah Dinner – 8 p.m. Join the Young Jewish Professionals of Atlanta for a delicious Rosh Hashanah Dinner. Enjoy a special holiday experience in the midst of the warmest YPs, eat a divine homemade Rosh Hashanah feast and learn the mystical meanings of the Jewish New Year. Enjoy the tastes and traditions of Rosh Hashanah with community, family and friends. Our delicious dinner is spiced with great food, song, and meaningful holiday insights. *Weather permitting, Rosh Hashanah Dinner will be outdoors. Visit https://bit.ly/3gjBGqM to RSVP.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 Rosh Hashanah Alef Service – 8 a.m. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Day services. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Visit https:// bit.ly/3mkoXba to get the Zoom link.
High Holidays at Beth Shalom – 9:30 a.m. Beth Shalom offers two free services, open to the entire community, intended for those who might not otherwise attend a high holiday service at all. RSVP at https://bit.ly/3iI4Ctc. Young Children’s Services – 9:45 a.m. Temple Emanu-El will offer unique Young Children’s services, free and open to the community (Ages 0-8) at Brook Run Amphitheater on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from 9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m., led by Rabbis Rachael and Max Miller. Visit https://bit.ly/3keagUo for more information. Rosh Hashanah Morning Service – 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid at Johns Creek Baptist for Rosh Hashanah services. Visit https:// bit.ly/3sB7UmA for more information.
High Holy Days in Marietta / West Cobb – 10 a.m. Congregation Ner Tamid of Marietta/West Cobb invites you to join us for the High Holy Days. Visit https:// bit.ly/3rIN9EI for more information. Rosh Hashanah Gimel Service – 12:15 p.m. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Days services. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Visit https://bit.ly/2W4YZxn to get the Zoom link. Rosh Hashanah Tashlich – 1 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid behind Johns Creek City Hall at the Pond for Rosh Hashanah Tashlich. Visit https://bit. ly/3k4g1nG for more information. Rosh Hashanah Young Family Service — 3:30 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid for a Young Family service. Visit https://bit.ly/3met8p4 for more information.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 Erev Shabbat Shuvah – 7:30 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid for Erev Shabbat Shuvah (Sabbath of Repentance) and 9/11 Remembrance. Visit https://bit.ly/2Wg8KZU for more information. Tashlich at Piedmont Park – 5:30 p.m. Join Chabad Intown at The Piedmont Park Gazebo, where we will recite the Tashlich prayers, eat some apples and honey, feed the fish and hear the shofar! Join us in this meaningful and ancient Jewish custom common to both Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities. Visit https://bit.ly/37WDrFY for more information. Apples + Honey Rosh Hashanah Social – 6:30 to 10 p.m. Meet up with other Atlanta Young Jewish Professionals on the first evening of Rosh Hashanah for the main mitzvah of the day, to hear the shofar! Stay for appetizers and an exhilarating session of “Stump the Rabbi” with Rabbi Leivy Lapidus! Visit https://bit.ly/37WDOjQto get more information.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 High Holy Days in Marietta / West Cobb – 8 p.m. Congregation Ner Tamid of Marietta/West Cobb invites you to join us for the High Holy Days. Find times at https://bit.ly/3rIN9EI. Yom Kippur with Chabad Intown – 6 p.m. The High Holy Days season is upon us! Come to Chabad to be reJEWvinated and empowered to greet the new year – for free! Visit https://bit. ly/3sAPX7r for more information. Kol Nidre Alef Service – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Days services. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Visit https://bit.ly/2XzSSlm to get the Zoom link.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
Kol Nidre Bet Service – 8:45 p.m. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Days services. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Visit https://bit. ly/3D5v8FV to get the Zoom link.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 Yom Kippur Alef Service – 8 to 9:15 a.m. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Days services both on Facebook and YouTube. Visit https:// bit.ly/3ymuGjn to get the link. Yom Kippur with Chabad Intown – 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. The High Holy Days season is upon us! Come to Chabad to be reJEWvinated and empowered to greet the new year – for free! Visit https://bit. ly/3sAPX7r for more information. Young Children’s Services – 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. Temple Emanu-El will offer unique Young Children’s services, free and open to the community (Ages 0-8) at Brook Run Amphitheater on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, from 9:45 – 10:15 a.m., led by Rabbis Rachael and Max Miller. Visit https://bit.ly/2WntNtN to learn more.
Yom Kippur Morning Service – 10 a.m. Yom Kippur Morning Service with Congregation Dor Tamid. Find information at https://bit.ly/3zi133N. High Holy Days in Marietta/West Cobb – 10 a.m. Congregation Ner Tamid of Marietta/West Cobb invites you to join us for the High Holy Days. Find Times at https://bit.ly/3rIN9EI. High Holy Days in Marietta/West Cobb – 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Congregation Ner Tamid of Marietta/West Cobb invites you to join us for the High Holy Days. Find Times at https://bit.ly/3rIN9EI. Yom Kippur Gimel Service – 12:15 p.m. Only for the fully vaccinated in person. Temple Emanu-El will be streaming High Holy Days services both on Facebook and YouTube. Visit https:// bit.ly/3yeBq2C to get the links. Yom Kippur Young Family Service -2:30 p.m. Congregation Dor Tamid’s Yom Kippur Young Family Service. Visit https://bit.ly/3kbJL1O to find information. ì
High Holidays at Beth Shalom – 9:30 a.m. Beth Shalom offers two free services open to the entire community intended for those who might not otherwise attend a high holiday service at all. RSVP at https://bit.ly/3iI4Ctc. Rosh Hashanah with Chabad Intown – 9:30 a.m. The High Holy Days season is upon us! Come to Chabad to be reJEWvinated and empowered to greet the new year – for free! Visit https://bit. ly/3z6DtXB for more information.
Rosh Hashanah 2nd Day Service – 10 a.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid for Rosh Hashanah second day services. Visit https://bit.ly/3ggoSBp for more information.
Young Jewish Professionals Yom Kippur Services – 7:25 p.m. We are excited to be hosting an exclusive Young Jewish Professionals Kol Nidrei and Neilah service, replete with insightful commentary at a pace all can follow no matter your background. For nearly 26 hours we abstain from food and drink, do not wash or anoint our bodies, don’t wear leather footwear and abstain from marital relations. We spend the day in prayer, getting as close to G-d as we can. The fast begins September 15th at 7:25 p.m. and finishes on September 16th at 8:19 p.m. Visit https:// bit.ly/3AWcsGY for more information. Kol Nidre Service – 8 p.m. Join Congregation Dor Tamid for the Kol Nidre service. Visit https://bit.ly/3z7aKlp for more information.
NOVEMBER 9-14 • THE FOX THEATRE FoxTheatre.org/Fiddler
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 105
COMMUNITY Student Activists Honored at Hadassah’s Chesed Awards By Joan Solomon On August 1, the 29th Annual Hadassah Greater Atlanta Chesed (Loving Kindness) Student Awards honoring excellence and menschlichkeit in Atlanta’s Jewish teens took place virtually. HGA partnered with JumpSpark to honor 22 of the best and brightest young leaders and mensches representing synagogues, Jewish day schools, and organizations in the Greater Atlanta community. Hadassah’s Nancy Gorod chaired the event, and Annie Fortnow, engagement man-
causes. All Chesed recipients were invited to submit essays exploring what inspired their acts of kindness, their activities and the resulting impact on themselves and others. Hadassah’s Chesed Student Awards program was excited to present two individual monetary awards to the winners. The Phyllis M. Cohen Chesed Leadership Award Essay Contest winner was Carly Spandorfer, nominated by The Weber School. She described dealing with a life-altering Crohn’s diagnosis and the active programs
Phyllis M. Cohen announces the Leadership Award Essay Contest winner.
Linda Weinroth announces the Community Service Award Essay Contest winner.
Ariel Goldt and her parents pose with her award check.
ager, represented JumpSpark. Examples of student volunteer activities include Ronald McDonald House, Young Women in STEM Mentorship Program, Atlanta Hospitality House, United Methodist Church Feed n Seed Program, DeKalb Youth Symphony concerts, Pinch Hitters, Chastain Horse Park Therapeutic Riding Program, a Judaica teacher, the Maccabee Games, and school supply drives, among many other worthy
106 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Dynamic duo, Nancy Gorod (L) HGA chesed chair, and Annie Fortnow (R) managing director, JumpSpark.
Carol Goodman Kaufman, National Co-chair of Hadassah Youth Aliyah.
Leora Frank, nominated by Congregation Shearith Israel, surrounded by proud family.
she initiated to combat it. She created a blog specifically for teens with Crohn's and colitis and cleverly calls it her “Crohn-i-cles,” viewed by thousands. The Linda and Michael Weinroth Chesed Community Service Award Essay Contest winner was Ariel Goldt, nominated by Creating Connected Communities. Through her community service involvement, Ariel discovered that she could make a posi-
tive difference in the lives of others by truly focusing on one individual at a time. Carol Goodman Kaufman, guest speaker and national co-chair of Hadassah Youth Aliyah, explained that Hadassah’s Youth Aliyah Villages offer at-risk students in Israel the same opportunities as students here in the United States and said, “Kids make up 30% of the population, but 100% of the future.” (www.hadassah.org/ youthaliyah)
Carly Spandorfer and her proud parents show the prize check.
Chase Flagel, nominated by Congregation Etz Chaim, celebrates with his parents.
Linda Weinroth commented, “For 29 years I have been so inspired by the Chesed Award recipients, their passions and commitments to their community and to the world. I have always been encouraged that our future is in good hands. These students did not choose to do something in order to be recognized. They were recognized because they wanted to make a difference and made choices that impacted others in positive ways.” ì
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I Took a Chance
By Chana Shapiro Omer Shemtov, Automotive technician Twenty years ago, I got on a plane in Israel and came to the United States. It was exciting, but what was my bigger plan? Was I a tourist? An immigrant? A student? Tourist or student options were too costly. I wanted to take a chance, but I’m not a gambler! However, with a little help from a good friend, within a few weeks I could move around independently. I found a low-paying job, got a driver’s license, and finally felt more in control. I hadn’t come just to work! I didn’t want to go back before exploring my options, and I needed to improve my English. I resolved my dilemma by committing myself to furthering my vocational education and improving my English. I enrolled in ESL classes. The more I learned about this country, the more I wanted to stay. Also, this is the world center of everything with a motor and wheels, where
108 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Omer Shemtov was determined to stay in the United States.
Marc and Pamela Brill Miller, married 21 years thanks to her mother’s advice and perfect timing.
For Barbara Pierce, a random drive through Atlanta led to a new home.
people race anything from a lawn mower to big trucks. I’m an auto technician and really appreciate that there are lots of motorheads like me. I am still fascinated with American culture, its diversity, and countless interesting people I meet every day.
bat meal. A few days later, we went on our first date to a Hare Krishna concert in Central Park. We were engaged within two months and married less than one year from our first date. As they say, the rest is history! Pamela Brill Miller, Pediatric nurse practitioner Living single on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the late '90s was a blast most of the time. But being single and dating wasn’t for the weary. After one particularly heinous breakup, I complained to my mother in Atlanta that I was tired of it all. She said, “Pammy, invite friends for Shabbat lunch.” I rolled my eyes and continued to wallow in self-pity. That very night, I bumped into Marc, who had once come to my apartment for Shabbat dinner. He was a Columbia grad student getting his degree in Yiddish literature, the first person I met who spoke Yiddish and was under 65. Marc wore overalls to dinner, and I thought, this guy is a character. At this unexpected meeting, we chatted. Heeding my mother’s advice, I took a chance and blurted out, “I’m making Shabbat lunch this week. Come!” He immediately agreed. My friends, Marc, and I vibed well together that Shabbat. A few days later, Marc called, asking if I had plans for the weekend. I mentioned a concert in Central Park by what I assumed was a cult leader with musical ability, and Marc immediately said that he’d love to go. We walked to Central Park and sat watching throngs of women, in a trancelike state and gauzy dresses, dancing around the leader/singer. We noted how nutty it all seemed and laughed. A lot. Marc was warm, open, and funny. Walking back, Marc turned to me, “I
have no interest in being friends with you. I want to date you.” Instead of dramatic relationships, break-ups and game-playing, he was honest and real. He wasn’t wasting time, and I was intrigued. Ten weeks later, we got engaged. Twenty-one years later, we have three children, navigate life together with laughter, great music and a deep love that exists because I listened to my mother and took a chance.
Marc Miller, Realtor When I was in graduate school, Pamela Brill’s roommate, a friend of mine, invited me to Shabbat dinner at their apartment on 85th Street in Manhattan, and that’s where I met Pamela. I thought she was beautiful, intelligent, and funny. However, she also had a boyfriend. A few months later, I heard that she had broken up with that guy, and I thought, “I’m going to take a chance and call her.” But before I had an opportunity to take that chance, we bumped into each other while waiting in line at Dougie’s, a popular New York restaurant. We chatted, and she invited me to her apartment for another Shab-
Barbara Rosefelt Pierce, Library volunteer and avid reader When my husband and I decided to take a chance and leave the Upper West Side of Manhattan, we surprised our friends by moving to Atlanta, where my husband had a job offer. At the age of 50, I found myself unemployed and unable to drive. I’d never taken driving lessons. We chanced upon a place to live in a city we didn’t know. That’s how we ended up in Stone Mountain, which was workable, except that a bigger challenge was locating a bus stop so I could leave to look for a job. Could I learn to drive and overcome my fear and dread that one day I would have to parallel park? I maintained my sanity during driving lessons and job-hunting because I still received New York State unemployment benefits, blessedly superior to Georgia’s. I did find a good job, but even today deal with my I-285 phobia by using back roads. Once I got my license, I drove around to find a more in-town home. One evening, I passed the old Loehmann’s Plaza, and the word “Loehmann’s” triggered a major leap of faith. This had to be the neighborhood for me! A couple of weeks later, we moved into a condo within walking distance. ì
COMMUNITY SIMCHA SPOTLIGHT
Hannah Cassidy Lober Hannah Cassidy Lober was called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah on Aug. 28. Hannah is the daughter of Heather and Michael Lober, and sister to Hailey Lober. Hannah recently finished eighth grade at La Paz Community School in Brasilito, Costa Rica, an international bilingual school she transitioned to at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic inspired us to experience all that life has to offer, including other countries, cultures, communities, and languages. Hannah embraced the challenge and is thriving in her new environment. She has been a gymnast from birth. First showing her abilities on playground equipment, then as part of the Roswell Gymnastics program for 12 years, and now as part of the Club Gimnastico Elite Team in Liberia, Costa Rica. To round out her athletic involvement, she played softball for Roswell Rec and Saint Francis Middle School, where she also participated on their Track and Field team. Hannah is an active member of National Charity League (NCL), a mother/daughter philanthropic organization, where she held board positions as president and vice president, as well as involved in peer leadership programs at school. Hannah learned the importance of leading and being involved in organizations that benefit the community, including volunteering at numerous philanthropies, such as: Barbara’s Animal Rescue Center, Angels Among Us Pet Rescue, Atlanta Humane Society, The Drake House, Dream Weavers of Georgia, Foster Care Support Foundation, local libraries, North Metro Miracle League, and STAR House. As Hannah moves into high school, she will continue her mitzvah support through her community service projects focusing on animal rights issues. Hannah’s lifelong goal is to become an entomologist, where she will continue to support all species in their challenge to overcome the obstacles they face in order to not just survive, but thrive.
Robert Matthew Meddin Robert Matthew Meddin, son of Michele and Louis Meddin, of Roswell became a bar mitzvah Aug. 14, 2021, one year from his original bar mitzvah date. He is in the ninth grade at Alpharetta High School. Meddin is the grandson of Bunny and Stanley Pollock of Athens, Ga., and the late Roger and Ethel Medddin. His mitzvah project was The Miracle League.
B’NAI MITZVAH NOTICES: Congregation Etz Chaim Kayla Kleinman, daughter of Esti and Neer Kleinman, became a bat mitzvah July 31, 2021. Kayla is a seventh grader at Hightower Trail Middle School, attended Etz Chaim preschool for four years and religious school for eight years. Eli Slomovitz, son of Rachel Slomovitz, became a bar mitzvah Aug. 7, 2021. Eli is an eighth grader at Dodgen Middle School and has been a student in Etz Chaim’s religious school for eight years. Eli is donating food to Jewish Family & Career Services’ Kosher Food Pantry. Julian Smith, daughter of Monica and Adam Smith, became a bat mitzvah Aug. 14, 2021. Julian is an eighth grader at Hightower Trail Middle School and has been a student in Etz Chaim’s religious school for six years. Her mitzvah project is raising money and participating in the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Memphis Marathon 5K in December. Bethany Rydell, daughter of Estelle and Michael Rydell, became a bat mitzvah Aug. 28, 2021. Bethany is an eighth grader at Hightower Trail Middle School. She was a student in Etz Chaim’s religious school for nine years and its preschool for four years. For her mitzvah project, Bethany made baskets of fruits and other items for members of the Jewish community.
Prepare for the High Holidays with Atara Art
The Temple Gabriella Elks and Mitzi Eve Short, daughters of Rebecca and Daniel Short, Aug. 14, 2021. Sadie Lee Strohl, daughter of Adrienne and Nathaniel Strohl, Aug. 21, 2021. Benjamin Dale Parks and Logan Harris Parks, sons of Samantha and James Parks, Aug. 21, 2021. Isak Joseph Renard White, son of Lorrie King and Adam White, Aug. 28, 2021. ì
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 109
OY VEY OY VEY! HAVE I GOT A PROBLEM...
Oy Vey! Have I Got a Pro lem
ly 20’s, Dear Rachel, cant issue. I’m in my ear ma relating to a signifi upcoming an ing ard I have a two-fold dilem imistic reg t personality, and am opt iously, ser y gu a g tin have an outgoing, upbea other note, I’m da an On . job ng chi tea help, interview for a dream ion that will, with G-d’s ding in a positive direct Well, m? ble pro the s and it looks like we’re hea ering, what’ So, I’m sure you’re wond So, l. tro con der un culminate in marriage. on to keep it xiety and take medicati ere they here it is: I have mild an nt on my application wh fro up be to ve ha I Do : ion est qu with my here’s my two-part have to be transparent al conditions? And do I revelation my ty, xie ask if I have any medic them about my an of er eith tell I if t tha anxiety date? I am concerned be unfair and unjust. My and that would really nkfully, tha I, d an , may be a deal-breaker, any situation ilities or performance in does not impact my ab e life. What’s your take? lead a busy and productiv Sincerely, Naomi Dear Naomi, What a brave question! You obviously value honesty, yet you don’t want to be judged unfairly for a condition that is well-managed and doesn’t affect your life negatively. To give you the best possible advice, I consulted with a mental health professional and will convey her recommendation. Regarding the job, since you manage your anxiety well, it would be unethical for an institution to use that information to disqualify you. If I were a principal, I would rather hire a teacher who deals with her mental health issue in a healthy way over a candidate who refuses to look at herself in the mirror and deal with any possible concerns. What is the reason they ask you this information? Is it so that in the event of a medical emergency, they would have on file the prescription you are taking? Or is it to weed out a potential teacher who may not be fully qualified for the job? The counselor I spoke with advised having an open conversation with the principal and asking for guidance about your situation. These days, most people are much more understanding of mental health conditions and would only want to have that information on file in the event of a medical necessity. Regarding the man you are dating and hope to marry, here is my feeling. Any serious relationship, especially marriage, needs to be based on a foundation of trust. In the initial stages of a relationship, as you get to know each other, I don’t think it’s necessary to mention your anxiety, especially since it’s mild and is being treated effectively. However, once your relationship deepens, and it sounds like you have already reached that level, I think you should be open about your condition. If the situation were reversed, wouldn’t you want your fiancé (or future fiancé) to mention his condition to you? How would you feel if he didn’t? If this man is your bashert, then something as relatively minor as low-grade anxiety shouldn’t be an obstacle in moving forward. And if this man decides to back out of the relationship, then he is not your intended, painful as that may be. But it is certainly better to find out now than after you are engaged. I wish you happiness, success, and fulfillment in both of these significant roles. If this teaching job works out, may you thrive in reaching out to the coming generation, helping to mold your students as they tune into their strengths and learn to utilize their potential. Regarding your personal relationship, may you and your bashert share a relationship of closeness and love that grows and flourishes with each passing day. ìì Wishing you success, Rachel Atlanta Jewish Times Advice Column Got a problem? Email Rachel Stein, a certified life coach, at oyvey@ atljewishtimes.com describing your problem in 250 words or less. We want to hear from you and get helpful suggestions for your situation at the same time! 110 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Wake-Up Call On the morning of Rosh Hashanah, Rebecca went to wake her son and tell him it was time to get ready for synagogue, to which he replied in a dull voice, “I’m not going.” “Why not?” Rebecca demanded. “'I’ll give you two good reasons, Mother,” he said. “One, they don’t like me. And two, I don’t like them.” In an exasperated voice, Rebecca replied, “I’ll give you two good reasons why you must go: One, you’re 54 years old. And two, you’re the rabbi.” Source: Chabad Naples Jewish Community Center
YIDDISH WORD OF THE MONTH schlimazel Yiddish: לזמילש,is a person who consistently gets into trouble. It is a portmanteau word, i.e. a fusion of two words into one with a new meaning (e.g. Britain + Exit = Brexit). A widely accepted explanation is a fusion of the German schlimm = “bad” (from Middle High German: “crooked, bent”) and the Hebrew לזמmazel = “luck”. Schlimazel is often associated with another Yiddish word, Schlemiel, a clumsy or awkward person. For example: “The schlemiel spills the drink on the schlimazel’s lap.” Rabbi Joab Eichenberg-Eilon, PhD, teaches Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic at the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, eTeacher Group Ltd.
(Another) Interesting Rosh Hashana By: Yoni Glatt, email@example.com Difficulty Level: Easy 1
37 43 48
(again) this year, in a way? 51. Onion-flavored rolls (Var.) 52. Fairy-tale giant's word ACROSS 53. Org. for Nadal or Federer 1. Trick 54. Found a phone call's origin 5. Basil or sage, e.g. 58. Mich. neighbor 9. Adjust 61. Butler who left Scarlett 14. Raven-colored, to Poe 64. Erev Pesach is one for family 15. Kind of code elders... or how some services 16. Manager Joe in Cooperstown might operate (again) this year? 17. What priests definitely have compared to rabbis or what a shul 66. Showed again 67. Barely worth mentioning youth director might have to look after at synagogue (again) this year? 68. Thought 19. It can usually be seen coming out 69. Notable Wells 70. There's one of Dogs and of Man of Old Faithful 20. What Shemita is measure in: Abbr. 71. Seating section 21. They might be docked at camp lakes DOWN 23. Bible book before Jer. 1. Boldly oppose 24. Yeshiva title 2. One can pick you up 25. Sutherland who played Jack on "24" 3. "Stalag 17" denizens 28. Makes like a Baal Tokeah about to 4. Jerusalem to Jericho Dir. blow shofar this year (again)? 5. Kol ___ ("Well done!") 34. Baldwin of "Beetlejuice" 6. Secretary on "The Office" 35. Problem 7. Give a makeover 36. "Pride and Prejudice" teenager 8. Safe place 38. Lighting unit 9. Mentions directly on social media 39. He loved (Lily) Potter 10. Abraham's nephew in the Torah 43. Trump, on many late nights before 11. The ___ Banquet, historic event being banned that led to the creation of Conser 46. Blessing follower vative Judaism 47. What Orthodox as well as Reform 12. Uses a Photoshop tool services might be strictly enforcing 13. Statement
18. TV alternatives to Sonys 22. 0% fat, say 24. Musical performance 26. Beliefs 27. Spring (from) 28. It's "dew" in hebrew 29. 2012 gold-medal gymnast Raisman 30. Half a pair of casual sneakers? 31. Boned fish or meat 32. Champagne glass 33. Bewitches 37. Amiss 40. Journalist Horowitz known for his undercover videos 41. Place for ink or oink? 42. ___ Lit. 44. It's right on the map? 45. Foul caller 47. Italian eatery chain 48. "I don't care which" 49. Daily publications 50. Tony score for Elton (John) 55. Do followers, in music 56. Battle weapons 57. PC combination key 58. Israel's Silicon or Qelt 59. "Got it" 60. Trek or Wars 62. Yin/yang concept 63. Old cable inits. 65. What some try to get after Passover?
“Surprisingly Common Syllable” SOLUTION 1
53 58 63 66
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES AUGUST 15, 2021| 111
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Harold Baron, age 96, of Marietta, Ga., devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully in his home on August 8, 2021, surrounded by several generations of loved ones. An athlete from birth, Harry gave up a basketball scholarship to join the US Navy in the early 1940s. He served the country with the US Navy in the Pacific Theater and remained a proud World War II veteran until his passing. His passion for sports was legendary. He coached and participated in many sports throughout his life, playing tennis well into his 90s. A devoted family man, he never missed a game for any generation of family. Harry founded The Atlanta Seltzer Company, and later, Harry Baron’s Delicatessen, one of his true loves, where everyone was a friend and no one was a stranger. Harry was preceded in death by Claire Baron, his beloved wife of 70 years. Harry is survived by his children: Robbie and Nancy Baron, Stuart Baron and Barbara Shafer; 8 grandchildren: Amy and Louis Alterman, Harold Baron, Madison, Ashley, Cameron and Justin Shafer and Piper Baron; and 6 great-grandchildren: Zach, Alex, Brody Alterman and Lila, Brady, and Chase Baron. The family would like to thank Gloria Rankine and her family, Lola, Anthony and Courtney for supporting and helping look after him in his final weeks. Donations may be made to Jewish Home Life, designated to Weinstein Hospice or Jewish War Veterans; www.jewishhomelife.org and www.jwv.org. A graveside funeral was held at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10th at Greenwood Cemetery, officiated by Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal. To sign the online guestbook, visit www.dresslerjewishfunerals.com. Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770-451-4999.
Judy Feldstein 80, Atlanta
Judy Feldstein, aged 80 of Atlanta, Ga., previously of New City, New York, died Monday August 9th, following a quick and courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her husband of 58 years, Ed, her daughter Sue (Roger) Frankel, her sons Dan (Stacey) and Jeff (Beth), her brother David (Bev) Rothenberg, sisters-inlaw Marian Lisette Kaplowitz (Paul) and Donna Rothenberg, and her grandchildren Caroline, Sophia, Eliza, Katie, Jack, Hannah, Sam, and Abby. She was preceded in death by her brother Rob Rothenberg. Judy grew up in Collinsville, Ill., and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. She taught elementary school for three years, ran arts and crafts programs for senior citizens for several years before becoming a real estate broker, a role she filled with her husband Ed for more than 35 years, becoming known as the “spouses who sold houses.” Judy had a passion for photography, baking (especially chocolate chip cookies), reading, cats (both real and artistic), all things chocolate, mahjong, volunteer work, and most importantly family and friends. She was very involved in Jewish life, holding annual Passover seders for 40-50 people for more than 50 years. She was an active member of Hadassah and ORT. An avid reader and supporter of the arts, Judy volunteered annually at the Book Festival of the Atlanta JCC, and was a member of several book clubs and an usher for many theatrical venues in the Atlanta area, including the Alliance Theater. She even served as security with Ed at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. Judy also was an evaluator for the Suzi Bass Awards, which recognizes excellence in Atlanta’s theater community. A private graveside service was held Tuesday, August 10. Information may be found on Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care website. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Judy’s name to the Ruth and Fred Friedman Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Brandeis University, purplepansies.org for Pancreatic Cancer Research, or bcrf.org for Breast Cancer Research. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
Paul Edward Goldstein 82, Sandy Springs
Paul Edward Goldstein, 82, of Sandy Springs, Ga., passed away peacefully on August 16, 2021, surrounded by loving family. Paul was born December 4, 1938, and raised in Boston, Mass. He came south to attend the University of Georgia in 1956. Though he continued his passion for his beloved Red Sox, he quickly became a lifelong Georgia Bulldogs fan. He started his long finance career at Arthur Andersen and tried his hand at entrepreneurship several times before he found his calling at Presidential Financial Corporation. He was a pioneer in the industry, respected nationally, and reached legendary status. He was still going to his office until recently. Paul was extremely generous and supported many charities in the Jewish community, as well as the secular community. Paul was an avid jogger, running the Peachtree Road Race 29 times. He was a runner before it was a fashionable thing to do. He played tennis his entire life and even up until the final months, he maintained his competitive edge and would never give up on a point. He had a passion for travel and was always planning the next trip. With all of Paul’s success and achievements, nothing was more important to Paul than his family. His four grandsons brought him immense joy and pride as he watched them grow up. Weekends at his lake house were such a highlight for Paul, especially when his family was with him. He leaves behind a devoted wife, Ellen, to whom he was married for 56 years; daughter and son-in-law Robyn and Steven Gold; daughter and son-in-law Amy and Adam Coffsky; four grandsons: Jordan and Ryan Gold, Jared and Derek Coffsky; brothers Richard Goldstein, Dan Goldstein, and Billy Goldstein (Deborah). He is also survived by sisters-in-law Sharon Doochin and Cheryl Sandler, loving nieces and nephews, and many friends who were like family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, The Atlanta Scholars Kollel, or the charity of your choice. Graveside services were held at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs on Thursday, August 19. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.
Kevin Shepard King 73, Atlanta
Kevin Shepard King, age 73, of Atlanta, Ga., beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and philanthropist, passed away Saturday, August 14, 2021. Kevin was born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York, to Dr. Eugene King, a veterinarian, and Alice, an office manager at Lynchburg Plate Glass Company. Kevin grew up in Lynchburg, Va., and earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia, where he and his fraternity brothers successfully fought to desegregate UVA’s Pi Lambda Phi chapter. Kevin next earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law and practiced law for many years. In the 1980s he was instrumental in growing A.L. Williams & Associates into the highest grossing seller of term life insurance in the United States. He served on the Fidelity National Bank board of directors for more than twenty years. A long-time resident of Atlanta, Kevin was an early advocate for establishing the city of Sandy Springs. Through the years, the mayors of Sandy Springs relied on Kevin’s sharp legal mind as a trusted advisor. Family, friends and colleagues — some new, some dating back more than six decades — describe him as a kind soul, a true optimist, and an eternal student of life. Kevin dove into hobbies, from photography to cooking and pottery. He loved animals, often combining his passions by photographing dogs up for adoption for local shelters. He frequently donated his time and was an enthusiastic philanthropist, supporting many causes such as Israel, animals and the underserved. Kevin was deeply devoted to studying the Torah. He attended Daf Yomi classes and studied Talmud daily for many years, was a member of the Hebrew Order of David, served as president of Congregation Beth Tefillah from 2001-2003 and Executive Director of the Greenfield Hebrew Academy (now Atlanta Jewish Academy) from 2007-2009. Kevin is survived by his wife Claire, brother Gerald (Mimi), daughter Lauren (Bryan) Gershkowitz, son Brian (Sarah) King and grandchildren Ethan and Noah King. The family held a private funeral on Sunday, August 15, 2021, arranged by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care. Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Beth Tefillah. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
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Gary Scott Landau
Paula Roslyn Sandfelder
Gary Scott Landau, 66, of Marietta, Ga., passed away on August 8th, 2021. Gary Landau was born on May 23, 1955, to Teddy and Paula Landau in Brooklyn. He grew up in New Jersey and after graduating from high school he attended the University of Hartford, where he studied electronics. Gary was a self-made man with a big warm heart who could fix anything and never hesitated to help anyone in need of anything. In 1982 he married his lifelong partner, Ronni, with whom he had two children, Joshua and Michael. He moved to Atlanta to work for a friend, fixing electronics, in 1992. Gary was one of the first to join Temple Kol Emeth and quickly became a pillar in the community, volunteering to do the lights and sound, organizing online services, videotaping hundreds of bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings as a team with his wife Ronni, attending Torah study, singing in the choir, and being one of the most joyful actors in the Purim spiel year after year. He was a teacher at the Connecticut school of Broadcasting in Lawrenceville. He was an essential part of Act 3 Productions, supporting and filming countless recitals, plays, and performances, building sets, and even acting. He videotaped and supported all of the performances for the Valerie Kennedy Vocal Studio, as well as countless middle and high school plays and performances all over Georgia. In addition, he supported and worked as a cinematographer for Pullen Playwright Films. He loved music, particularly The Beatles, Bob Dylan, WABE Radio, and Vin Scelsa’s Idiot’s Delight. He loved film and was on the Jury for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival for years. He was a member of the Roswell Photographic Society, where he won many prizes for his photos. He was a ham radio enthusiast and a passionate collector of electronics. He was very interested in his genealogy and was always making new discoveries. He maintained his curious nature until the end and said often, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.” We will all feel the immense absence of his loving and unconditional support and kindness that he shared with everyone who had the good fortune to come across his path in life. Gary is survived by his wife, Ronni Landau; his two sons, Joshua and Michael Landau; his grandson, Peter Louis Landau; his mother, Paula Landau; his brother, Jeff Landau; and all of the extended family and ocean of friends that will keep him in their hearts forever. A memorial service was held in his honor at Temple Kol Emeth on August 11, 2021. The family requests contributions in Gary’s memory be made to Temple Kol Emeth, WABE radio, The Jewish National Fund, and The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. Arrangements by Dressler Funeral Care, 770.451.4999
Paula Roslyn (nee Matusow) Sandfelder, age 86, passed away peacefully on August 18, 2021, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Paula was born March 20, 1935, in Philadelphia, Penn. She was married to Martin “Marty” Sandfelder for 42 years; he preceded her in death in 2000. They lived in New York City and Poughkeepsie, New York, and moved to Atlanta in 1976. In 1988, they moved to Hong Kong for five years for what they called their “big adventure.” Paula valued education and was always intellectually curious. She was a graduate of Syracuse University, where she studied international relations and political science. When she was in her 40s, Paula attended Emory University, where she earned a master’s degree in library science. While in Hong Kong, Paula organized and catalogued the Hong Kong Synagogue’s library and was involved in synagogue life. Upon her return to Atlanta, Paula was a research librarian at Georgia Perimeter College, where she worked with and assisted many students in their studies. Following her retirement, Paula was involved in her grandchildren’s activities and lives. Paula was an avid reader, especially as her physical condition deteriorated. Paula is survived by her children, Michele Sandfelder Mogilski, David Sandfelder, (Bonnie) and Robert Sandfelder (Isabelle). Paula adored her grandchildren, Cara, Ben, Jeremy, Amanda, Dylan and Daniel, and always encouraged their talents. She is also survived by her sister, Vivian, 93, of Philadelphia, her sister-in-law, Eileen (nee Sandfelder) Finestone of Pittsburgh, Penn., and her nieces and nephews. Graveside services were held at Arlington Memorial Park on Monday, August 23. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Syracuse University Library, the Emory University Library or Hadassah. A Zoom link for the funeral will be posted on Dressler’s website at https://dresslerjewsihfunerals.com/. Arrangements by Dressler Funeral Care, 770.451.4999.
Obituaries in the AJT are written and paid for by the families; contact Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky at email@example.com or 404-883-2130, ext. 100, for details about submission, rates and payments. Death notices, which provide basic details, are free and run as space is available; send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
זיכרונה לברכה 114 | AUGUST 15, 2021ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Amy Lee Blumberg Taratoot
Living Your Best Life At
Amy Lee Blumberg Taratoot, 96, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, August 16, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. Amy was born on April 17, 1925, in Atlanta, Ga., to Rueben and Alice Lavansky Blumberg. Amy married Louis Taratoot on February 16, 1945. Together they had three sons: Jimmy, Dan, and Kim. Amy’s greatest joy in life was spending time with her beloved siblings and being surrounded by her adoring children, grandchildren, and extended family. Amy loved and celebrated each and every one of her children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren unconditionally. She was happiest when the family was together. Amy and her two sisters, “Sis” and “Honey,” had an undeniable bond. They were inseparable —enjoying painting, sculpting, backgammon and travel — or just laughing for hours at a time, cocktails in hand. The three sisters were known to dance and sing on the spur of the moment. Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” and “Once in Love with Amy” were two of Amy’s favorite tunes. Always interested in everyone’s life, Amy asked a million questions, thought carefully about what you said, and was known to call you a day or two later with a suggestion … or two. An artist through and through, Amy was an accomplished painter, sculptor, decorator, and entertainer. Her ageless beauty, her classic and timeless style, and her affinity for hats and scarves were admired by everyone she encountered. She was beautiful inside and out. Amy is survived by her dear brother, Bobby Blumberg; sons Jimmy (Pat), Dan, and Kim; her grandchildren Cori (Crystal), Kevin, Lauren (David), Jamie (Chad), Jason, Brandon, and Grant; and six great-grandchildren: Selena, Olin, May, Maddox, Cove, and Margaret. She was adored by her devoted nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Louis, her sisters Carol “Honey” Blumberg Hurvitz; Roz “Sis” Blumberg Sandler; her brother, Jerry Blumberg (who died in combat in 1945 during World War II); and her daughter-in-law, Jan. The family would like to thank all her wonderful caregivers, but especially her close friend, Mrs. Regenia Bowen, for her devotion to and love for Amy. A graveside service took place on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 at Arlington Memorial Park with Rabbi Ron Segal of Temple Sinai officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Temple Sinai, 5645 Dupree Drive, NW, Sandy Springs, GA 30327 or www.templesinaiatlanta.org.
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Joel Lance Bass, age 68, of Atlanta, passed away July 22, 2021. Joel was born March 3, 1953, in St. Louis, Mo.
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CLOSING THOUGHTS Regret A couple of years ago, I helped organize a reunion of my former staff. Quite a few people came, and it was wonderful to see them. My friend Jay MeAllen H. Lipis haffey flew in The Bottom Line for the reunion. When I mentioned that there were a few things I might have done differently, he remarked, “Don’t have any regrets. No regrets.” This is the time of the year when we ask God to not be a tough judge on us, but to recognize that we all have flaws, that we are human and we fail, and that He should have mercy on us. Well, if God is willing to be merciful, then so can I. I promise to show mercy on everyone. I don’t stand in your shoes, I don’t know what you are thinking, and I trust all of you to do the right thing, so I will try not to judge you but to be merciful, even if I don’t totally agree with you.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is the time when we ask God for forgiveness. It would be nice if we had no regrets, and we certainly should act so that regret is unnecessary, but we are imperfect and do make mistakes. There are two kinds of regret. The first is for the things that we did and wish we hadn’t. The second is for the things we wish we had done and didn’t do. Regret for the things we did is best handled at Yom Kippur. Regret for the things we didn’t do can be part of our commitment for the New Year, to do them if it is possible to do them, as some things are available for only a short period of time. For example, I regret that I did not buy a house. We didn’t want to pay the asking price. That chance is now gone. Regret for things you did but wish you hadn’t can lead to action. If you don’t feel regret for a past deed, then you are not likely to go the next step and actually make the changes necessary for real teshuvah, for forgiveness. Regretting one’s actions is a healthy part of the forgiveness process. I will leave that for Yom Kippur. I want to focus on the “why didn’t I,”
and the “what was I thinking when I didn’t?” We eat away at ourselves for not taking that “other” job, not making that phone call, not saying how you feel, not finishing that degree, not sending your child to that school, not supporting that charity, and not buying Apple stock in the 1990s. We beat ourselves up for a personal history we can’t change instead of moving on to change the present. We carry the burden of regret over roads not taken, ideas not developed, books not written, achievements we might have had, people we might have known. We lug around the nagging feeling that we could have done it better or done it differently; the ache of realizing we won’t be able to change those could-haves and would-haves into diddos. Those regrets weigh on us. They change the way we live now. Although some regrets are about things we didn’t do because we couldn’t do them at the time, or things we didn’t do because they weren’t right for us at the time, we don’t cut ourselves any slack. What we should have done always seems so clear in retrospect! What plagues us is not the sins that we committed, but the things we didn’t do.
What causes us greatest angst are the things we might have done, which we let pass by, and even the things we want to do in the future but fear we may not. I recently read, for the second time, a wonderful book called “Taken at The Flood.” It’s about the life of Albert Lasker, the father of modern advertising, and a very successful businessman, as well as an advisor to U.S. presidents. After going to a psychiatrist for his depression, he summarized what psychoanalysis is all about. He said it is about learning to forgive yourself. Learning to forgive yourself is about dealing with regret and getting over it. It’s about the things you did and wish you hadn’t, and the things you didn’t do and wish you had. So when you ask for forgiveness, remember to begin with yourself. The bottom line: For the New Year, 5782, we have an opportunity to commit to fixing some of our regrets. I will share with you one that I’ll be working on: I will publish my book now in draft form. I don’t want to regret not finishing and publishing it. ì
We are here to help our community’s older adults live their best lives. 1.866.AGEWELL | agewellatl.org
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