NEXT ISSUE: FATHER'S DAY & PARENTING
VOL. XCVI NO. 10
MAY 31, 2021 | 20 SIVAN 5781
Celebrating our Graduates & Professionals
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We are proud to announce the graduation of our seventh cohort of the Legacy Heritage OnBoard program – for organizations serving the Atlanta Jewish community. OnBoard is a board leadership development program designed to cultivate a network of inspired lay leaders who are committed to furthering the effectiveness and impact of the Jewish organizations they serve as members of their Board of Directors. We salute and acknowledge our Fellows who completed the program in Atlanta. Leanne Kaplan and Pia Koslow Frank Atlanta Jewish Academy Myndi Carter and Jaclyn Dalton Camp Coleman (URJ) Amy Price and Barry Golivesky Congregation Bet Haverim Raanon Gal and Marci Joel Congregation Ohr HaTorah Blair Rothstein Congregation Shearith Israel
David Poline Epstein School Kara Adler Hillels of Georgia Adam Koplan William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Rashelle Berry and Zak Koffler Jewish Family and Career Services Lynn Goldman Jewish Fertility Foundation
Andrea Lipman Jewish Home Life Communities Sara Beth Watson Jewish Kids Groups Angela Cohen Ramah Darom Todd Boehm and Robert Rickles Temple Beth Tikvah
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WOODWARD ACADEMY
CLASS 2021! $13 million in merit scholarships 19 students recognized by National Merit Scholarship 201 competitive scholarship offers 10 President’s Scholars 177 HOPE Qualified Scholars including 42 Zell Miller Scholars State Champions in debate and basketball
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CONTRIBUTORS THIS WEEK ALEX BLECKER BOB BAHR CHANA SHAPIRO DAVE SCHECHTER JAN JABEN-EILON MARCIA CALLER JAFFE RABBI RUTH ABUSCH-MAGDEN RACHEL STEIN RITESH DESAI TIM ECHOLS
THIS WEEK Steps to Success This week we combine our tribute to Jewish Atlanta’s graduates with the outstanding professionals they may hope to become. It’s often said the path to success starts with education and graduation. In this issue, we detail the graduation plans of Jewish private and secular public schools – including ceremonies for eighth graders – and of area colleges. Learn how some area schools of higher learning invited their 2020 graduates to return to mark the occasion stolen from them by the pandemic. The AJT highlights some of the graduation speakers, including top-ranking scholars and how political reporter Greg Bluestein returned to his alma mater to inspire those who may follow in his footsteps. Our Roving Reporter asks members of Jewish Atlanta whether they are using their college degrees. In keeping with Mental Health Awareness Month, we investigate the lasting psychological impact of the pandemic on today’s youth. Plus we bring you the community’s tributes to their Jewish grads. In our professionals’ section, the AJT explores the new Illuminarium on the Atlanta BeltLine, which promises to be one of the area’s most exciting new tourist attractions. We have stories about new business developments and real estate ventures,
explain the basics of bitcoin, and candidly chat with an Atlanta photographer about a life-changing decision to live as a different gender. As we try to keep up with the news coming from Israel, the AJT features several pieces about the 11 days of rocket fire between Israel and pro-Palestinians, believed to have led to a surge in anti-Semitism in the U.S. We covered the rallies on both sides of the hostilities and the support of Israel from Jewish Atlanta. Area rabbis weigh in along with community leaders. We also follow the family memorials for Marlene Colon, a community exercise instructor murdered in her Sandy Springs home last month. Coming up in June the AJT brings you our summer Style simcha issue with the latest in the milestone entertainment and catering arena. Still more celebrations are in store with our Parenting & Father’s Day issue. So start thinking about Dad and how much our parents deserve our respect regardless of the season. ì Correction and Clarification: A story in the 5/15 AJT, “End of Life Doulas Support the Dying,” incorrectly identified Lisa Kaufman and her business location, which is Roswell.
VOL. XCVI NO. 10
MAY 31, 2021 | 20 SIVAN 5781
Celebrating our Graduates & Professionals
May 31 Graduation and Professionals.indd 1
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Cover Image: A selection of Jewish Atlanta’s graduates included in our annual tributes.
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NEWS Atlanta Rabbis Address Israel at War By Dave Schechter During the two weeks that Islamic groups rained rockets into Israel from Gaza and Israel’s air force responded with air strikes, Atlanta’s rabbis responded to an emotional Jewish community. “This week has been extraordinarily hard for those of us with a deep love and connection with Israel,” Rabbi Lauren Henderson wrote May 14 to the members of Congregation Or Hadash “We are holding tremendous anxiety and fear for our loved ones living there, along with grief, despair, anger, frustration, and numbness." Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal of Congregation Ahavath Achim wrote May 12 to his congregants “with great concern and trepidation as the situation in Israel and the region is once again enveloped in violence,” reminding them to “keep the residents of our Holy Land in our prayers, sending strength with the hope that safety and calm will return to the communities of the land.” In recent years, numerous articles have been written about the reticence of some rabbis to discuss Israel, to avoid inflaming passions among congregants holding sharply different views. A 2013 study by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs found that: “Like Israelis, Jewish leaders – including rabbis – hold contrasting views on the value and ideal direction of the peace process, the true intentions of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the advisability of settlement expansion, and related matters. Rabbis with policy stances at variance with other Jewish leaders, their congregants, or the Israeli government can find such situations especially vexing and prob-
6 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
“This week has been extraordinarily hard for those of us with a deep love and connection with Israel,” Rabbi Lauren Henderson wrote.
“A rabbi has a sacred responsibility to use the pulpit to speak fearlessly to his community,” said Rabbi Shalom Lewis.
Israel should be considered “based on information, not just on emotion or an imperative,” Rabbi Joshua Lesser said.
Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal asked congregants to “keep the residents of our Holy Land in our prayers.”
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman said rabbis must speak out on behalf of Israel, “even if, in some cases, it is not popular to do so.”
Rabbi Peter Berg said that support for Zionism and concern for human rights “are not mutually exclusive values.”
lematic.” A retired Atlanta rabbi, who asked not to be quoted, acknowledged the challenge and pointed to the well-known — at least among rabbis — words of Talmudic scholar Rabbi Israel Salanter: “A rabbi whose community does not disagree with him is no rabbi. A rabbi who fears
his community is no mensch.” That sentiment was echoed by Rabbi Shalom Lewis, rabbi emeritus at Congregation Etz Chaim. “A rabbi has a sacred responsibility to use the pulpit to speak fearlessly to his community. Though clerical messages will diverge from rabbi to rabbi, to pander to caution and cowardice is moral malpractice. A rabbi cannot please all of the people all of the time, but to avoid critical issues and tiptoe around the bimah is shallow homiletics,” Lewis told the AJT. Writing from Israel, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth Jacob, said, “I do believe that a rabbi has a responsibility to speak out on behalf of the first Jewish state we have had in 2,000 years, even if, in some cases, it is not popular to do so. Especially when the anti-Semites of the world – including in the U.S. Congress - are all ganging up against her, and when the rocket attacks on Israel are motivated not by territorial considerations, but by hatred of the Jew.” The rabbi traditionally has assumed the role of expert and advocate of a moral imperative for support and the survival
“As Jews, we join together with our world in mourning the loss of all innocent lives lost in the midst of this tragic conflict,” said Rabbi Daniel Dorsch.
of Israel. Where once there may have been a consensus about Israel, today there is concern about erosion. In the Pew Research Center’s recently released 2020 study of American Jews, 58 percent overall reported feeling emotionally attached to Israel. Broken down by age, two-thirds of those 65 and older reported that attachment, compared with slightly less than half of Jews under 30.
NEWS Rabbi Joshua Lesser, who soon will assume emeritus status at Congregation Bet Haverim, said: “There is an incredible minority of us who are recognizing the reality that more and more younger Jews and more and more progressive Jews of all ages are feeling less connected to the State of Israel being part of a contemporary Jewish identity. For some rabbis, they believe their responsibility to strengthen that connection. For other rabbis, I think it is about supporting people in becoming more informed, to be able to have opinions and an understanding of how to support, what to support based on information, not just on emotion or an imperative.” Rabbi Peter Berg of The Temple displayed no reticence in his May 14 message to that congregation: “First, we must be abundantly clear that Israel has every right to defend herself from the hundreds of rockets that are deployed each day from Gaza into civilian neighborhoods. These attacks are not the result of so many Palestinians who want to live in peace, but of Hamas leadership who sponsors terror and whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. This stance never has nor never can be acceptable!” Berg told the AJT: “I do not feel any pressure at any time when I speak proudly about Israel. As a rabbi, it is my responsibility to impart the values and teachings of our tradition. I can’t always make everyone happy, but I feel confident that I am doing the right thing . . . I am an audacious Zionist and I also care deeply about human rights for all. These are not mutually exclusive values – even as the world wants us to believe that they are.” The rabbis’ thoughts also were with the innocents in Israel and in Gaza. As Rabbi Daniel Dorsch wrote May 12 to the members of Etz Chaim: “As Jews, we join together with our world in
mourning the loss of all innocent lives lost in the midst of this tragic conflict. We pray that the One who brings peace from the heavens may also soon bring an end to war and bloodshed, so that a great peace will embrace the whole world.” Until then, or at least until a ceasefire takes hold, Berg expressed gratitude for technology. “It is imperative that, as we reach Shabbat, we take a moment to thank God for Iron Dome, which has intercepted hundreds of Hamas missiles … saving both Israelis and Palestinians. Iron Dome would not exist, were it not for the strong U.S.- Israel relationship, and the work of pro-Israel activists across the country who helped secure funding for this life-saving technology,” he wrote. The spiritual leaders of Temple Emanu-El took that a step further in an action list included in a May 14 note to members. “Lobby. Many of our local elected officials have already made statements of support for Israel’s right to self-defense. It is really important that they continue to hear from us about this issue,” advised Senior Rabbi Spike Anderson, Rabbi Rachael Klein Miller and Rabbi Max Miller. Rabbis also expressed concern for the emotional welfare of their congregants. Though they find social media “very frustrating, and we’re not sure how effective it is,” Emanu-El’s rabbis advised congregants that, if they chose to engage about Israel, they should take breaks. “Your mental health is also important,” they wrote. Henderson of Or Hadash suggested: “If you can, take some time to listen to music or move your body or do something that will help you to process all of what’s happening. Take some time away from the television set or social media – I promise you, they’ll be there when you get back.” ì
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NEWS Pro-Palestinians Protest Outside Israeli Consulate By Nathan Posner A large crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside of the Israeli Consulate in downtown Atlanta May 18, following heightened tensions and bombings in Israel. About 300 protesters stood on the sidewalk outside the embassy, sometimes taking over the streets and lighting smoke bombs that filled the air. At points during the evening, protesters chanted as passing cars honked horns in support. Others drove around the area, leaning through car windows with flags and signs, to the cheers of the crowd. Many of the chants targeted the United States’ support for Israel’s military, with some particularly calling for President Joe Biden and recently elected Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to take action against the Jewish state. Protesters also called for the end of the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange at Georgia State University. As part of the program, Israeli law enforcement train their counterparts in Georgia.
Pro-Palestinian protesters are seen on the sidewalk during a protest outside the Israeli consulate. // Nathan Posner for the AJT
Palestinian supporters protest, holding signs comparing the Jewish state to the Nazis after recent violence between Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Last week’s Atlanta protest was completely peaceful with the only related arrest for a protester doing tire burnouts in front of the crowd, after which he was stopped by Atlanta police units monitoring the protest and taken into custody. The protest came as Palestinians and supporters went on strike in Israel A small child holds a sign during a Palestinian protest.
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and across the West Bank and Gaza in response to the recent escalation in the conflict, with solidarity protests occurring throughout the world. The violence in Israel is believed the worst fighting in that country between Palestinians and Israelis since 2014. It intensified May 10 with national and Israeli media citing the contributing factors including unrest over the feared eviction of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, unsettled Israeli and Palestinian elections and pent-up frustration among Israeli Arabs.
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A protester holds a sign calling for Senators Ossoff and Warnock to act on Israel during a Palestinian protest.
Militants in Gaza fired rockets at civilian areas May 10 and Israel returned fire. The violence has continued. The Atlanta protesters stuck largely to the sidewalks, with some of them at-
tempting to keep protesters out of the street due to warnings from Atlanta police. The Israeli Consulate had been aware of the protest, ensured that the relevant authorities were prepared, and trusted them to handle the event, according to Anat Sultan-Dadon, consul general of Israel to the Southeast. In an interview with the AJT, Sultan-Dadon questioned the reason for protesting Israel given Hamas’s role in the current violence. “If they are so passionate about the welfare of the Palestinians, they should be concerned with the Hamas terror organization, who are not only waging a terror campaign against Israel, but oppressing their own people.” Sultan-Dadon cited the attack by Hamas against humanitarian aid headed to the territories, which killed two foreign aid workers. She said they would rather attack Israelis and endanger the welfare of their own people. Messaging by protesters last week largely focused on ending violence against Palestinians, although many signs and some chants directly targeted Israel. One particular chant, repeated throughout the demonstration, was “We do not want two states, we want ’48.” A protester clarified for the AJT that the chant meant the group did not support the United Nations agreement for two states in 1948, but rather what existed prior to the creation of the State of Israel May 14, 1948. Numerous signs of protest also compared the Israeli government to the Nazis and the Holocaust, with one sign repeating an anti-Semitic mantra that “Israel = the root of all evil.” A vast majority of the protesters, and their messaging, specifically targeted recent violence in the Palestinian territories and the Israeli response, although one sign had a shoe next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a Middle Eastern insult symbolizing throwing dirt on someone. In 2008, an Iraqi journalist threw both of his shoes at then U.S. President George W. Bush during a press conference in Iraq. ì
Anti-Semitic Incidents Spike By Jan Jaben-Eilon Mirroring the landscape on a national and international level, the Atlanta area has experienced a spike in anti-Semitic incidents since the outbreak of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. The Atlanta area has seen a doubling of anti-Semitic incidents since May 10, according to Allison Padilla-Goodman, vice president of the Southern division of the AntiGraffiti on a utility box at the corner of Defamation League. As a ceasefire appeared Trickum and Jamerson Roads in Cobb to be taking hold in the Middle East, she said County were reported to the police. that the local ADL office is investigating seven anti-Semitic incidents. Normally in the same time period, there would only be two or three such incidents. In all of 2020, there were 53. Nationally, the ADL reported 193 antiSemitic reports in the same time period, up from 131 the previous week. Padilla-Goodman cited an incident of Jews being harassed while walking in the Toco Hills area as an example of an event her office is investigating. Another is a proposal in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel recommended by the Emory University Middle Eastern Law Student Association. There were other antiIsrael incidents in the metro area too. For instance, the painting of a Palestinian flag Destruction of property was done during a protest held with the words “Free Palesoutside of the Israel Consul General’s office on May 18. tine” on a utility box at the getting their news from Facebook and Tikcorner of Trickum and Jamerson roads in Tok,” she said. “We’re living in challenging Cobb County was reported to the police but times with incredible political divides.” not the ADL, she said. Not all anti-Israel incidents are antiIsraeli-born Liat Tzionov, who moved to Semitic, she added. “Context really matters. Atlanta about three years ago, drove by the Oftentimes they do overlap.” graffiti just to see it on her way to shop. “I’d For instance, in Los Angeles, carloads never seen anything like this. It made me feel of pro-Palestinians drove down a street near so insecure.” several synagogues and Jewish schools and ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in attacked Jewish diners at a sushi restaurant a press release: “As the violence between Iswhile calling out anti-Semitic slurs. CNN rael and Hamas continues to escalate, we are reported that protesters threw fireworks witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in at people in New York City’s heavily Jewish anti-Jewish hate right here at home. We are diamond district even as violence dimmed in tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and the Middle East. violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. “I don’t think the tensions will cool off It’s happening around the world – from Loneven with the ceasefire,” Padilla-Goodman don to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in said. “We have witnessed flare-ups before, big cities like New York and in small towns, but this feels different. There are a lot more and across every social media platform.” nuances and flattening of nuances in the The preliminary data from ADL’s Cenconflict. We’re seeing people taking sides ter on Extremism showed more than 17,000 very swiftly and forcefully.” Twitter tweets in the days following the outShe added that although there have break of the violence in Israel that included been dozens of pro-Palestinian protests variations of the phrase, “Hitler was right.” across the country, including in Atlanta, they Padilla-Goodman blamed social media have been “mostly free of anti-Semitic disfor the spread of anti-Semitism. “People are course.” ì
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Hundreds Gather to Stand United with Israel By Stephanie Nissani Hundreds of pro-Israel community members rallied outside of the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta Sunday to support the Jewish people. The rally took place at the same spot where the week before hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters defaced the property of the building owned by Selig Enterprises where the Israeli consulate is based and the surrounding streets and sidewalks. They chanted “Death to Jews,” among other anti-Semitic slogans as smoke bombs filled the air. The Israeli American Council, Americans United with Israel and other organizations coordinated Sunday’s rally in response to the staggering incidents of hate crimes against Jews across the U.S and to celebrate the recently negotiated ceasefire. Cheryl Dorchinsky, executive director of Americans United with Israel, said that there were hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish community members who came to support Israel and to protest the prevailing antiSemitism on U.S. soil. “We wanted a peaceful rally that will counter all hate and violence that has prevailed for the past two weeks,” Dorchinsky said. Across the street, seven anti-Israel protesters countered the peaceful rally. The Israel rally organizers made arrangements to have extra security and an Atlanta Police Department
Nathan Posner for the AJT// Pro-Israel supporters are seen at a rally for the Jewish state in Atlanta
presence in case violence erupted. Dorchinsky insisted that the rally should take place where the previous antiIsrael protest took place as a response to their hatred. “Where you want to spread hate, we will spread love. And where you want to spread darkness, we want to spread light.” During the rally, several speakers advised that if there happened to be some counter protester inciting violence, “we should sing loud and clear, ‘Am Israel Chai,’” which means the people of Israel live. Dorchinsky said the rally was aimed at anti-Sem-
Cheryl Dorchinsky executive director of Americans United with Israel and founder of Atlanta Israel Coalition is with Hamilton and Elley Thomas.
itism and the spread of false misinformation. “We will not live in fear. We will not live in hate.” During the past two weeks, anti-Semitic assaults surfaced in various U.S. cities and even Canada, including New-York, where a man wearing a kippah was fiercely beaten by a mob that was believed to be a mix of proHamas and Black Lives Matter supporters. The incident also triggered a small explosion in New York’s Diamond District, reportedly set by pro-Palestinians and BLM supporters, with no injuries reported. According to other news sources, New York Jews live in fear of wearing their symbolic religious emblems in public. Others have decided to remove the mezuzot from their homes. In Chicago, a synagogue was vandalized and burnt to the ground. In Los Angeles, diners 10 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Consul General of Israel to the Southeast US Anat SultanDadon speaks at a pro-Israel rally in front of the consulate.
were attacked for being Jewish. Despite the bilateral ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, hate crimes against Jews have not come to a halt. Anti-Semitism has reached record highs since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began, according to the AntiDefamation League. Anat Sultan-Dadon, the consul general of Israel in Atlanta, was among those who spoke at the rally. “Israel has acted and will continue to act, not only in accordance with international law but also in line with the highest moral and Jewish principles which sanctifies life. … In the face of terror, Israel makes every pos-
Two young girls are seen with signs at a rally for Israel.
Pro-Israel supporters are seen at a rally for the Jewish state in Atlanta.
sible effort to protect our civilians while going to great lengths in order to minimize Palestinians’” civilian casualties. She continued, “While we have not only the right, but the duty to protect our children, the last thing we want to see is Palestinian children killed even if Hamas is intentionally placing them in harm’s way. No matter where you stand politically, you cannot morally refrain from condemning terror and terrorists. No matter where you stand politically, you cannot morally refrain from condemning anti-Semitism in all forms.” Others in attendance also expressed their support
for Israel’s right to defend itself, and to condemn terrorism and anti-Semitism. They included such organizations such as Christians United for Israel and Christian leaders such as pastors Jamal Baker and Jay Bailey. The Jewish community was also represented by Dov Wilker, regional director of American Jewish Committee of Atlanta and Lori Kagan Schwarz, co-chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. Among the rabbinic speakers, Rabbi Ari Leubitz of the Atlanta Jewish Academy finished with a prayer and expressed gratitude to the police officers and security who came to shield the community as they rallied. ì
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Ossoff Leads Senate Call for Cease-Fire By Dave Schechter A message from fearful relatives moved Sen. Jon Ossoff to lead a call for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. In a May 18 email to the AJT, Ossoff said: “Over the weekend I got an email update on the safety of my family in Jerusalem. With the constant sirens, my threeyear-old cousin has been very afraid and very upset, and they told me they were fervently hoping for an announcement of peace by the end of Shavuot.” [The holiday ended in Israel at sunset May 17, without that announcement.] “The escalating violence, rising civilian death toll in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and my family’s plea for peace motivated me to build Senate support for a cease-fire. By Sunday evening [May 16], 29 Democrats and independents from across the ideological spectrum united to urge a cease-fire. The singular purpose of our statement was to call with clarity for a cease-fire,” the first-term Democrat said. That statement read: “To prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories, we urge an immediate ceasefire.” The 34-year-old Ossoff, a DeKalb County native who became a bar mitzvah at The Temple, told the AJT that Israel’s right to self-defense “is unquestionable and inherent to Israel’s statehood under international law.” Since May 10, Hamas and a smaller group, Islamic Jihad, have launched more than 3,700 rockets into Israel. The Iron Dome missile defense system, the product of a joint U.S.-Israel effort, knocked down many, but a still large number struck occupied areas of Israeli towns and cities. In response to the continued rocket fire, the Israeli air force launched punishing air strikes on targets in densely packed Gaza. Asked about the rocket fire, Ossoff said, “I condemn in the strongest terms violence that targets civilians, and these rockets target and threaten millions of Israeli civilians, including members of my family.” Not long after release of the statement crafted by Ossoff, the chairman and ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism issued a joint bipartisan call for a cease-fire. According to the White House, President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu during a May 19 call, their fourth in a week’s time, that he “expected a 12 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Pleas for peace from relatives in Jerusalem led Jon Ossoff to lead a call for an immediate cease-fire.
significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.” The Associated Press reported that Netanyahu, following a visit to military headquarters, said that while he appreciated Biden’s support of Israel’s right to selfdefense, he was “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met.” The senators signing onto the statement led by Ossoff included his fellow first-term Democratic colleague from Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock. In a May 14 statement, Warnock said: “The tragic escalation of violence this week in Israel and the Palestinian territories is heartbreaking. I condemn the rocket attacks from Hamas and other groups against Israeli civilians, and support Israel’s right to defend its innocent citizens. Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorism, but it also has an increased duty to prevent the death of Palestinian civilians. I also recognize the deep, legitimate pain and suffering of the Palestinian community.”
Raphael Warnock said Israel “also has an increased duty to prevent the death of Palestinian civilians.”
Barry Loudermilk said: “Israel has every right to defend itself from the rockets Hamas is firing at innocent civilians and schools.”
Nikema Williams said that, “The killing of innocent civilians and children, regardless of national origin or location of residence, is unacceptable.”
Carolyn Bourdeaux condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Hamas targeting of Israeli civilians.
David Scott urged “Israeli and Palestinian leaders to prioritize a swift de-escalation of hostilities to protect civilians during this conflict.”
Lucy McBath said, “The terrorism Hamas perpetuates onto the world must be held to account.”
Several metro Atlanta members of the U.S. House also issued statements related to the crisis. Democratic Rep. Nikema Williams, who succeeded the late John Lewis in the 5th District, said May 17: “The United States must do all it can diplomatically to promote stability, focusing on the safety and wellbeing of the families and communities that have been devastated by this conflict. Israel has
Hank Johnson joined a letter opposing the planned eviction of Palestinians from disputed properties in Sheikh Jarrah.
the right to defend itself from terrorism, but it must prevent the further loss of civilian life. The killing of innocent civilians and children, regardless of national origin or location of residence, is unacceptable and can never be tolerated,” she said. Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, who represents the 4th District, posted May 14 on Twitter that he was “proud to join” a May 12 letter by House colleagues to Secretary of State Antony Blinken that opposed Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes and the controversial legal efforts by Israel to evict Palestinian residents from disputed properties in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in the eastern side of Jerusalem. The letter also asked Blinken to “investigate whether Israel’s demolition of Palestinian homes, possibly with U.S. weapons, violates the Arms Export Control Act.” In a May 14 statement, 6th District Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath said: “As the world watches in horror as rockets and flares light up the night sky, my heart breaks for the terror and anguish so many now feel — the violence targeted at every day families must stop. Israel has a right to defend itself and its allies. The terrorism Hamas perpetuates onto the world must be held to account. For the safety of the Israeli and Palestinian communities — I am praying this comes to a peaceful resolution. The violence does nothing to bring the region closer to peace.” Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who represents the 7th District, said in a May 13 statement: “I share the Biden Administration’s concerns with Israel’s planned evictions of Palestinians from their longtime homes in east Jerusalem. I also condemn, in the strongest possible terms, Hamas’ targeting of Israeli civilians. . . . Israel has the right to defend itself. Palestinians have the right to live free from violence and to have a future of hope and economic prosperity. The two are not mutually exclusive.” Democrat Rep. David Scott, who represents the 13th District, said in a May 16 statement: “Israel’s right to secure the safety of its citizens is incontestable and while I pray for the day that military assistance and arms are no longer needed anywhere in the world, no nation can be expected to look past rocket attacks that terrorize its people.” Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk, representing the 11th District, said May 12 on Twitter: “The United States has never wavered in our support of Israel. Israel has every right to defend itself from the rockets Hamas is firing at innocent civilians and schools.” ì
New Study of U.S. Jews Not All Good News By Bob Bahr
taken as an encouraging sign by Eric Robbins, president and CEO of the Jewish A major new study of American Jew- Federation of Greater Atlanta. ish life highlights the continuing appeal “I think that we’ve done something of intermarriage among non-Orthodox right in these last 25 years and we’ve Jews, the change in patterns of Jewish been very welcoming, and we’ve helped acceptance among young adults, and ensure families feel a part of the Jewish the growing divide community. And between Orthodox I think we have and non-Orthodox to celebrate that. communities. I really do,” RobThe study, bins said. “I think completed by the that we did not see Pew Research Centhe trends that we ter in Washington, could have seen. In surveyed a cross fact, there’s more section of over Jews in America 4,700 American now than there Jews over an eightwere in the last month period in survey.” 2019 and 2020. In the last The 275-page decade, the Jewstudy was filled ish community in with statistics and Atlanta has develcharts and backs oped a range of up what even cainitiatives aimed sual observers of at rekindling Jewthe Jewish scene in ish identity outside America have nosynagogue life, he ticed: A majority of Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann sees denominational said. Judaism failing many young Jews. non-Orthodox Jews A few of the are finding their initiatives Robmarriage partners outside their faith. bins cites: There is support for cultural Over the past 10 years, nearly three- programs in film and music and family quarters of non-Orthodox Jews married programs such as JumpSpark, which is non-Jews, the study found. Of all the Jew- aimed at Jewish teens; the Jewish Kids ish couples now living in America, 42 Groups that provide after-school Jewish percent have non-Jewish partners. education; and the PJ Library that pro-
percent in 2013. This group identifies as either atheist, agnostics or “nothing in particular.” The Federation actively supports organizations such as 18Doors and its Atlanta rabbi, Malka Packer-Monroe, in an active effort to welcome Jews who are on a spiritual search. Likewise, national leaders such as Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, who was educated in the Conservative seminary but went on to start Mishkan Chicago, is now part of a loose coalition of seven synagogues called the Jewish Emergent Network that is committed to revitalizing Jewish engagement. Following the release of the study, she told a national conference call that more can be done to attract Jews on the fringes of the community: those who are either Jews of color, Jews by choice, and those who consider themselves having a different gender or sexual identity who don’t find a warm welcome in the generally accepted denominations. Rabbi Heydemann said they may be searching for something that lies outside the denominational model of synagogue life.
“Ten years ago, I was myself a single young adult. And so I can really speak from the perspective of ‘we.’ I’m noticing among young adults, which I think is borne out in this data that, as we get younger, we are more diverse in terms of gender, in terms of race, in terms of the way that we fluidly move between Jewish spaces. Meaning for the people who aren’t identifying as Reform or Conservative and are identifying as something else, I don’t actually know that the ‘something else’ is less Jewish or less practicing.” For those who are committed to one branch of Judaism or another, the divide between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews is deepening. That growing divide in the Pew data shows that 61 percent of Reform Jews and 71 percent of Conservative Jews had more in common with Jews in Israel than they did with their fellow Orthodox Jews in America. Fully 91 percent of Orthodox Jews feel they have more in common with Israel than their non-Orthodox neighbors. ì
BROADWAY The Pew study of American Jewish life was the first such study in eight years.
While that figure is significant, it is not much more than it was in 2013, when the Pew Research Center conducted its initial study of American Jewry. That report and a number of other similar statistics in the recent study were
vides Jewish books for young families. But despite the large sums spent on innovative programs and other initiatives such as Birthright, 40 percent of young Jews under 30 today call themselves “Jews of no religion,” up from 32 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 13
COVID’s Ripple Effects on Our Youth By Roni Robbins Like the grieving period following a death, when the mourner is expected to eventually return to full engagement in life again, today’s youth are struggling to cope after a pandemic that left them socially isolated, seriously dependent on technology, and with tremendous emotional scars from the traumatic change and loss.
sess the needs and what the next action steps should be to address those needs. A total of 515 respondents were polled about stress, coping strategies and what programs they wished existed. The Federation will analyze the results over the next few months “to craft a response and identify the right partners and how to move forward,” Walter said. Among the findings, the youngest age
trauma and loss, Walter said. “People may have been trying to cope through self-help mechanisms, but as long as this goes on, the challenges become more astute in the community. We try to predict what will happen and direct resources to experts who are able to deal with it.” He said the community has definitely seen an uptick in clinical requests in the last few months.
Jaime Stepansky believes TikTok should be used to promote mental health.
Rich Walter said Federation polled the community about their mental health wish list.
For many young people, the pandemic hit at a time in their lives when so much rides on identity and social connection, leading to significant psychological and emotional challenges, as seen in new community programs in Jewish Atlanta focused on mental health. With May being national Mental Health Awareness Month, the AJT spoke with Jewish Atlanta’s community leaders and those who work with youth about how the psychological and emotional needs of children postCOVID are being met and how to address the ripple effects expected to continue for some time. The community’s response to the pandemic has evolved with its growing mental health needs, according to Rich Walter, vice president of program and grant making for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. At the start of the pandemic, the community response focused on funding to meet immediate needs, including food, health and safety, and making sure Jewish organizations were financially stable, with broad strokes in terms of mental health needs, Walter said. More recently, the community’s attention has shifted to mental health as more community members sought help, he said. “A large percentage allocated from the [COVID-19] emergency fund is dedicated to mental health. … As the pandemic lags on more and more, the mental health challenge comes to the forefront.” The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, announced in April 2020, raised $4.3 million for relief efforts with $3.4 million in grants allocated so far, according to the Federation website. Earlier this year, the Federation conducted a mental health community survey with Jewish Family & Career Services to as14 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
$75,000 emergency fund grant will help JF&CS hire more clinicians to meet the backlog of those seeking clinical services, Walter said. Helping teen parents: JumpSpark teen engagement program offered six sessions with a facilitator called the PhD in Parenting April 14 to May 21, providing parent education for raising tweens and teens in today’s
Percent change from January-November 2019 to January-November 2020 in mental health claim lines and all medical claim lines. Top graph, Ages 13 to 18, bottom, Ages 19 to 22 Source: FAIR Health: “The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Mental Health.” Paul Root Wolpe said some kids haven’t been around their peers because of the pandemic.
groups, including those under 25, experienced the most stress across all stress factors. The top stressor of the under-25 set was self-care, 64 percent, followed by isolation, 61 percent, and a high-risk family member, 54 percent. Top resources requested: activities they can do as a family, virtual exercise classes, and support for virtual learning. The takeaway from the survey, “Supporting Self Care to Promote Mental Health Resilience” was that even though it looks like the community is reentering life as before the pandemic, many are dealing with
Meanwhile, some of the newest community initiatives involving mental health include: Working with camps: JF&CS will connect with Jewish camps to meet mental health needs as they arise over the summer, Walter said. Synagogue outreach: A $25,000 emergency fund grant JF&CS received last year was renewed to continue to fund synagogue outreach, as some of the needs of the community come through the synagogues, not directly to social service agencies, he said. Hiring more clinicians: Another
world. It offered parents tools and strategies for identifying mental health challenges and teaching coping skills. “The relationship between parents and teens is so essential,” said Annie Fortnow, JumpSpark engagement manager. “We feel if we support parents’ mental health, it ultimately supports the family unit.” Another program JumpSpark offers for parents of teens is Project Launch, which began May 2 and will run through June 6. It helps parents of high schoolers “launch their seniors to the next step, whether that be college or a gap year,” Fortnow said. The program will help parents build resilience and form small supportive community groups in the fall in partnership with the Federation and area synagogues, she said. Peer support: JumpSpark also is trying to increase its “community within a community,” Fortnow said. “We need to double down on teen mental health and resiliency and prioritize relationships teens have with each other.” For instance, JumpSpark is piloting a new Jewish teen boys’ program in which they mentor each other, she said. For Paul Root Wolpe, director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University, the community priorities should be:
NEWS 1 - Sensitivity and understanding that youth are still grieving They may ask: “Why does it have to be my senior year? Why do I have to miss out on parties? These are personal losses they never really get back. People are sad about it. It leads to a greater increase in depression in youth, a spike in suicides. “We lost a half-million people.," he said. Some of the students may have lost peers, grandparents, siblings or others. “It’s a time of deep loss. They are grieving not just lost op-
Annie Fortnow, said helping parents “ultimately supports the family unit.”
portunities, but lost people.” And grief counselors may discover the immediacy of those losses may not be fully realized until the students return to their typical routines, he said. 2 - Recognizing that social interactions may be different post-pandemic “One of the real challenges of the very young, people under 5, is that they had very little social contact” during the pandemic, Wolpe said. “There are 2- to 3-year- olds who never, ever played with other children,” Wolpe explained. “Or even if they are just at the beginning of school, being in the presence of others … sharing, and controlling your anger, you don’t learn on Zoom.” Educators will need to have “a little more understanding and tolerance, even among kids who should know better” in terms of appropriate behaviors. For older students, being in the presence of a potential romantic partner “is different than interactions on Zoom.” Technology may have enhanced their verbal negotiations, but it may impair their understanding of normal body cues, body language and inappropriate touching, Wolpe said. Jaime Stepansky, a JF&CS child adolescent therapist, believes Jewish Atlanta’s adults should: 1 - Validate the struggles of teens to develop their own identities For some, the limited in-person socializing last year may have increased their social anxiety, Stepansky added. Youth “try to differentiate their identities through social responses. They are constantly navigating the waters” to determine how they are unique and how they fit in, she said. “Having young people at home with their parents so much may have thwarted that a little. … Parents inform them the di-
rection they want them to go but they really need to find their own way. It’s like parents give them a MapQuest and they say, ‘No thanks. I’ll use my iPhone to get there.’” 2 - Understand the impact of technology as an addiction During the pandemic, Stepansky found that many parents loosened their restrictions on their kids’ technology time. Students “get off Zoom and then they get on their own devices. At school at least they would police and monitor it.” Stepansky said eight to 16 hours a day of technology use is average for teens she counsels. “It takes them two to four hours of social media or TV on their phone to fall asleep at night.” When she asks about supplements such as melatonin, they say they don’t want to get addicted. “It’s creating a kind of inability to sit with just thoughts and feelings. We were never meant for our attention to be split in so many ways. It’s the antithesis of healthy engagement.” Youth “need to feel engaged and that they matter” and technology offers that, Stepanksy said. Like alcohol or drugs, it also numbs from boredom, isolation, grief, the change in life, and the lack of control, she said. Because technology isn’t going away any time soon, Stepansky believes the best method to curb its overuse is through a harm-reduction model and an “if you can’t beat them, join them” response. “What can we do to reach them through technology that would be more beneficial to mental health?” Her solutions include: ■ Using social platforms such as TikTok with entertaining videos to teach teens about mental health. Teens can also make TikTok projects around mental health, she said. JF&CS also has an Instagram, @jfcsclinical, and is presenting “Real Talk” June 10, including teen mental health post-pandemic. ■ Encouraging technology use in the home or in social settings be reduced. Set boundaries. Sit and talk, be present and engaged, not dividing attention between interactions and technology. Parents should model this behavior too. 3 - Provide more camp and camp-like activities that are more accessible and affordable. Stepansky believes camps can bridge the socialization void of the pandemic before students return to the classroom full-time next fall. “The first couple of days of camp is a detox from technology.” It allows children to engage with others, explore their interests, “be themselves. It strips away the social pressures of school and regular life.” She said she expects there may be many calls home this summer, but children will be able to work through their anxiety before returning to the physical classroom and in-
person socialization. Not everyone can afford summer camp, so she also encourages other camp-like activities, such as outdoor movies or team building. “If you show a movie, every kid will be on their phone, but if you remove phones or engage young people in playing a game … they’ll talk to each other.” 4 - Consider modifying the school day to allow for more downtime “Schools realized [during COVID] they could modify the schedule” of school without setbacks. For instance, some schools didn’t have classes on Wednesdays so students could catch up on schoolwork and enjoy a break from virtual classes. Some Jewish schools reduced hours, Stepansky said. Years before schools thought they had to fit more in the day, but COVID taught them otherwise. The children on sports leagues found that even an hour a week outside to practice during COVID was exhilarating. “I have bunch of kids who are seniors at Dunwoody [High School]. During senior week, they had to go to school and be outside. They said it was their best week in months. There was free food. They could grab food and see their friends. Sometimes we overthink things. … Give them food and they will come.” What the Future Holds In September, the Federation’s Atlanta
Jewish Foundation began a series of scenarioplanning sessions with 150 Jewish professionals and lay leaders to determine the long-term needs of the community as a result of the pandemic, including in the area of mental health. A report on the findings and funding options aren’t expected for at least two months, said Jori Mendel, the Foundation’s deputy director. Walter said the Federation intentionally held money back from “the community funds to meet the needs into the next year as we begin to emerge out of this.” Increased staffing to deal with mental health is among the priorities. Engaging in the “new normal” may have to change, he said. For instance, programming may involve neighborhood groups or smaller initiatives. While traumatic in the short term, the jury is still out on the long-term mental health implications of the pandemic on youth, said Wolpe, the Emory ethicist. “I don’t think in 10 to 15 years, there’ll be a significant difference between 2- to 3-years-olds who went through COVID and ones who did not.” Time will tell, he said. “We are going to see the influence a few years into the future.” ì For more information, visit The Blue Dove Foundation https://thebluedovefoundation.org/ or the CDC’s resource guide, https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/parental-resource-kit/index.html
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Sons Plan Tribute for Marlene Colon at Braves Game By Jan Jaben-Eilon As the two-month anniversary of the murder of Marlene Colon approaches, her two sons and many friends are focused on celebrating the 73 years she lived. They are sharing memories and concentrating on the warmth and energy she shared with them and the wider Jewish community. And, each in their own way, is trying to deal with her bruLoren and Jonathan Colon paid tribute to their mother during the May 23 Braves game. tal murder. It was on April 5, in her own Sandy Springs The Israeli national was denied bond home, that Colon was allegedly killed by and assigned a public defender, Elizabeth a woman who was renting a room in that L. Markowitz, who has a history of defendhome. The suspect, Chelci Chisholm, was ing suspects in high-profile cases, such as arrested by Sandy Springs police and is be- the homeless man accused of starting a fire ing held in the Fulton County Jail. She has that contributed to the collapse of part of been charged with murder, aggravated as- Interstate 85 in Atlanta in 2017. sault with intent to murder and willful obEfforts to reach Markowitz for comstruction of law enforcement officers. ment were unsuccessful.
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Then and now: Marlene Colon in the Braves dugout. A special tribute to Colon was shown at a recent Braves game.
But it is clearly not Colon’s murder that her family and friends want to talk about. One son, Loren, helped organize a special tribute to his mother at a recent Braves game. A scoreboard message in left field read: In Memory of Marlene Colon, Taken Away From Us Too Soon. Her other son, Jonathan, plans a “celebration of life” Zumba dance class near the pool in Spalding Lake subdivision, where she lived, at 9:30 a.m. June 5, to which the public is invited. Jonathan is publicizing the event through his mother’s Facebook page. “We will use Mom’s music [set list] from her iPod,” Jonathan said. “I had fond memories of living in the neighborhood. They are not so fond now, but I’m trying to flip the switch.” Marlene’s Zumba classes were particularly significant to Jonathan. “I met my wife through one of Mom’s classes,” he said. The two brothers are trying to make new memories for themselves and Loren’s two children, who were very close to their grandmother. They are also eager to share the vivid recollections of their experiences with their mother. Loren sent to the AJT a family history that underscored how generations have been active in their Jewish communities, including Marlene’s brother Dennis, who had been director of Jewish community centers in Knoxville, Seattle and San Diego. Loren also sent Marlene’s fitness resume, which enumerated her experience teaching water aerobics, aqua Zumba and yoga at the Marcus Jewish Community Center as well as other fitness classes at assisted living facilities and the Concourse Athletic Club. He noted that his mother also taught disabled children. Both sons pointed out that their mother was trained by Richard Simmons, a fa-
Marlene Colon with her two sons, Jonathan on left, and Loren.
Marlene Colon with her elementary school class in Cleveland, Ohio. She’s in the middle row, in the middle, with the white collar.
Marlene Colon with her son Loren and his family.
mous fitness personality who was known for being colorful and rather spirited. “My mother was a female version of Richard Simmons,” Loren said. Her outgoing personality and civic involvement wasn’t limited to the Jewish community. As Jonathan recalled, his mother planned “all the IBM corporate
Proud grandmother at grandson Matthew’s bar mitzvah with granddaughter Julianne.
events during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.” According to her childhood friend Carol Salus, it was Marlene’s thoughtfulness that also made her stand out. “I remember going to Atlanta and I took the train. She had a soda and a sandwich for me when she picked me up,” said Salus, who attended elementary school and junior high with Marlene. “She was considerate, vivacious, caring and she had a good sense of humor. She could laugh at herself,” said Salus, trying to paint a portrait of her late friend. Repeatedly, relatives note how important Marlene’s grandchildren, Matthew and Julianne, were to her. “They were the apple of her eye,” said their father Loren.
MY JAWS WILL OPEN. YOURS WILL DROP. Marlene Colon at about 3 years old.
“She came to my house a lot and did things with my children once or twice a week.” Her loss is especially hard on 10-year-old Julianne. “A piece of my daughter died with my Mom. She doesn’t do her art anymore. She told me that Nana won’t be at her bat mitzvah, her high school graduation or her wedding. My daughter is a miniature Marlene. They were both the loudest in the room. She’s very similar to my Mom, even the way she carries herself.” In addition to the Braves game tribute and the Zumba class in their mother’s memory, the two sons are considering other ways to remember her, including at Ohio State where she attended college. “This is a very difficult time we’re going through,” Jonathan said. ì
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smaller donations have dropped and larger donors have stepped in to help keep the community afloat. Despite the pandemic, Chabad Intown had more donors in 2020 than ever before – 861, he said. “Although the donations may have been smaller, people recognize the value of what Chabad Intown brings to the
Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman revealed the last phase of the Chabad Intown Vision 2020 building campaign, which has continued despite being complicated by COVID-19. The first phase of that campaign that began several years ago was to secure the Atlanta BeltLine property and complete initial renovations, including the building of the Intown Jewish Preschool. Chabad Intown completed the $2.9 million first phase in December 2018. The Vision 2020 campaign goal is a whopping $9.3 million. So far, $6.2 million has been raised, leaving a balance of $3.1 million. “A very generous donor has pledged $2.1 million on condition that we raise $1 million by the end of the summer,” Schusterman said. “This Rabbi Eliyahu Schusterman believes will complete this phase of the camresilience and determination helped paign. So it is a 2-to-1 match.” the community weather COVID. The financial gift will allow Chabad Intown to begin the next phase of community and have been committed to the campaign, which will include an elabo- doing their best to support us during these rate renovation of the BeltLine building challenging times. We have a great tracking to make the 21,000 square feet more func- system and have engaged with over 2,000 tional as a community adults on average for center for meeting the the past five years. community’s needs in Plus, our donor ledmany ways, he said. gers have grown with Ideas include: close to 1,000 donors a rooftop deck with annually now!” Midtown view; kosher Chabad Intown coffee shop; meeting was founded in 1997 and programming to serve the Intown Atspace for the Jewish lanta Jewish commurecovery community; nity. Over the years state-of-the-art adult it has grown from a educational space; small outreach center teaching kitchen; into a full-service Jewwellness center; classish center providing Chabad Intown has engaged with 2,000 rooms and event programs and services adults on average for the past five years. space; outdoor Beltcovering the full lifeLine engagement cycle. In 2018, Chabad space; splash pad; art installation space; Intown capitalized on an opportunity to and a mitzvah walk, encouraging mitzvah position itself in the heart of the intown activities. renaissance by securing the 21,000-squareIn 2019, an anonymous benefactor gift- foot building on the BeltLine only 100 yards ed $1 million to the center, which brought from the popular Ponce City Market. the total raised in the Vision 2020 campaign “We do our best at Chabad Intown to to $4.4 million and allowed the campaign to convey a positive message despite challenggo public in January 2020. ing times. This campaign is about using Funded by a handful of donors, the the challenging past 1 ½ years of COVID as first phase of the project resulted in 1,700 a springboard with the lessons learned and square feet of sanctuary, convertible into a looking and moving forward with commulecture and event hall, a state-of-the-art in- nity and meaning. The time is now for our dustrial kitchen, a community library and community to leap forward together into classrooms. the future and all that our new world has to In terms of the overall pace of dona- offer.” ì tions during COVID, Schusterman said
Merged CNN Media Led by Survivors’ Grandson By Bob Bahr
The network executive has also been chair of a camCNN and a large cluster of cable paign by the Shoah Foundatelevision and streaming properties that tion’s Auschwitz: The Past Is helped put Atlanta on the national media Present committee, a global map will be folded into a new company. communications initiative deThe new enterprise will be created by the veloped by Discovery Educamerger of the WarnerMedia brands of tion to commemorate the 70th AT&T and the Discovery networks, which anniversary of the liberation include Food Network, Oprah Winfrey of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Network, HGTV and Animal Planet. death camp. He also serves on The Atlanta media brands, compris- the Shoah Foundation’s execuing the Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS and tive committee and has been truTV, among others, have been a part of honored by the UJA-Federation AT&T Inc., which also encompasses War- of New York for his leadership ner Bros. motion picture studio and the in the entertainment and comDavid Zaslav, who is now chairman of the Discovery network, will head up the new media powerhouse. streaming service HBO Max. munications industries. The new company will have the U.S. The new communication sports broadcasting rights for Major giant he will head is expected to control quired the WarnerMedia properties that League Baseball, the National Basketball nearly 200,000 hours of programming will be merged in this latest deal, the Association and the NCAA March Mad- and control more than a hundred brands. competition for subscribers of streaming ness national collegiate basketball play- According to financial projections, the media services has only intensified. The launch of AT&T’s HBO Max and offs. expected revenue for 2023 is estimated the competing service of Disney+ last The new to be $52 year just underscored the cut-throat nacompany, which billion. ture of the evolving competition. doesn’t have a London’s In announcing the new corporate name yet and will Financial entity, Zaslav estimated he would be be separate from Times estiAT&T, awaits regmates the ulatory approval new comfrom the federal pany could government. It be worth The merger of AT&T’s WarnerMedia properties will be led by the as much as with Discovery networks is the result of Discovery CEO $150 billion. heated competition for audiences online. David Zaslav, “It is sua veteran of 35 per-exciting TICKETS AVAILABLE years in broadcast management whose to combine such historic brands, worldONLINE grandparents were Holocaust survivors class journalism, and iconic franchises from Eastern Europe. under one roof and unlock so much Two years ago, Zaslav partnered value and opportunity,” Zaslav told fiwith film director Steven Spielberg, doc- nancial analysts on a conference call. umentary producer Alex Gibney and the “With a library of cherished IP, dynamite USC Shoah Foundation to produce the management teams, and global expertise Discovery series, “Why We Hate,” which in every market in the world, we believe explores the roots and consequences of everyone wins.” the primal emotion. The new deal brings Zaslav together “My grandmother was on the street with a longtime friend and New York cleaning it with a toothbrush and was neighbor Jeff Zucker, the 56-year-old kicked. … They said, ‘We have to get out of president of CNN Worldwide and the INCLUDED WITH here,’” Zaslav told Israel-based I24 News chairman of WarnerMedia news and GENERAL ADMISSION in 2019. “This idea of ‘Never Again,’ I lived sports properties. Prior to the announce& FREE TO MEMBERS with it from all four of my grandparents ment of the new company, Zucker had – what they had and what was taken earlier said he would be leaving CNN at away from them.” the end of the year. He told the international news chanNow with a close friend at the head nel that he “loves Israel” and what the of the combined operation there is specunation has accomplished over its 73-year lation that he may stay. BECOME A MEMBER & VISIT THE history. The merger is said to be in response “It’s a shining light of democracy,” he to the stepped-up competition between continued. “It’s highly imperfect; there’s large media companies such as Netflix, a lot you can say, but they’re continuing Amazon, Comcast and ABC/Disney for to strive toward the best democracy, and the future of entertainment. it’s a great country.” Since 2018, when AT&T first ac-
Jeff Zucker, who now heads CNN, could be a big winner in the merger.
spending at least $20 billion on new programming, which is generally thought to be greater than its competitors. “We will be one company, one culture, one mission," Zaslav said, “with great stories and great content that entertains people in every country around the world.” ì
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 19
NEWS FROM OUR JEWISH HOME Startup Creates Electric Vehicles with Toyota Israeli startup REE Automotive and Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors announced a new partnership at the end of April to develop electric commercial vehicles to transport people and goods. The companies stated that the agreement shows their shared commitment to
while REE has been developing electric vehicle technologies. The vehicles being developed will be made of a modular platform, powered by REE, which will be able to hold passengers and goods, and be used for delivery services. The companies hope to have prototypes by 2022. “We see this alliance as a unique opportunity to fulfill our shared mission of improving quality of life for people around the world by developing and bringing to market revolutionary next-generation EVs,” said Daniel Barel, REE co-founder and CEO.
REE’s electric vehicle platforms.
“providing new value to society through next-generation commercial mobility” geared to “improve quality of life on a global scale by lowering carbon emissions, minimizing strain on infrastructure, reducing congestion and allowing companies to better allocate resources.” Hino’s knowledge comes primarily from its role as a commercial vehicle manufacturer,
Today in Israeli History May 31, 1665 Scholar Shabbetai Zevi declares himself the Messiah after meeting with a mystic, Nathan of Gaza, who reinforces Zevi’s longtime delusions. Arrested by Ottoman officials in 1666, Zevi converts to Islam to avoid execution.
Astronaut Preparing for Space Next Year
Eytan Stibbe, a billionaire philanthropist, is getting ready to head into space next
mayor of Ramallah loses one leg. June 3, 1974 After defeating Shimon Peres for the Labor Party leadership, Yitzhak Rabin succeeds Golda Meir to become Israel’s fifth prime minister when he presents his coalition government to the Knesset.
Photo by Oren Rozen via Wikimedia Commons
The nose of the F-16 flown by Ilan Ramon during Operation Opera displays the mission’s triangular marking, which includes a nuclear reactor.
Mayor Bassam Shakaa, who lost both his legs in a Jewish Underground bombing June 2, 1980, returns to Nablus on July 9, 1980.
June 2, 1980 The Jewish Underground carries out its first terrorist operation, placing bombs on the cars of West Bank Palestinians. The mayor of Nablus loses both legs, and the 20 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Synagogue’s Shavuot Held Hours after Rocket Hit
Only two hours after a rocket fired from Gaza ripped a hole in an Ashkelon synagogue, locals had cleaned up the damage in time for the opening prayers of Shavuot. Chunks of
June 4, 2009 In Cairo, President Barack Obama calls for “a new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world. He reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel but calls the Palestinians’ situation “intolerable.” June 5, 1952 Hadassah breaks ground on the Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center at Ein Kerem to replace its medical campus on Mount Scopus, which is in the Jordanian-occupied section of Jerusalem. June 6, 1956 The Tel Aviv School of Law and Economics merges with the Municipal In-
National Fire and Rescue Authority //
An Ashkelon synagogue hit May 16 by a rocket from Gaza.
the rocket were removed from Yad Michael synagogue, as volunteers helped to clean the interior. The only evidence remaining was a gaping hole high on the wall of the synagogue, from which
the rocket had ripped through. “Nobody is going to destroy our festival,” the synagogue’s cantor Shalom Baton told Israel’s Channel 12 news. Dozens of locals helped to quickly repair the synagogue and clean it. “The people of Israel are strong and courageous,” Biton said as the cleanup work was being completed around him. The rocket was part of a series fired at Ashkelon from Gaza terror groups, with one rocket hitting the home of the synagogue’s rabbi, who lives next door, causing immense damage.
stitute of Natural Sciences and Humanities to form Tel Aviv University, which soon adds the Academic Institute of Jewish Studies. June 7, 1981 Eight Israeli F-16s fly a 2,000mile round trip to bomb Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor 10 miles from Baghdad. Operation Opera destroys the French-built reactor, which Israel fears is meant to develop weapons. June 8, 1963 Chaim Boger, a member of the second Knesset, dies at 86. He helped bring the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium, launched in Jaffa in 1905, to Tel Aviv in 1909 and taught at the high school from 1919 to 1951.
June 1, 1948 The first convoy of 17 trucks takes the Burma Road, built along a mountain animal trail, to bring relief to the besieged Jews of Jerusalem. By the end of June, the road is delivering 100 tons of supplies per night.
Photo by Herman Chanania, Israeli Government Press Office
year as a private astronaut. No Israeli has been to space in decades, after the 2003 Columbia shuttle disaster killed Israel’s first astronaut Ilan Ramon. He was Stibbe’s commanding officer and close friend prior to his death. Stibbe is going on Axiom’s private flight aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule next year to the International Space Station, the first fully private mission to the station. The mission will last ten days, two of which will be spent traveling to and from the station. Stibbe is a private astronaut and will be paying for his seat on the ride, although he will be a mission specialist. “I think the advantage of being a private astronaut is that it can open the door to others who aren’t in obvious scientific sectors. When you look at the International Space Station, you see a big laboratory where you can conduct many experiments, but psychologists, philosophers, artists, and others aren’t invited to this exclusive club. I want that to change. Space is for everyone.”
June 9, 1959 Benny Gantz, who rises to be the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff in 2011 and a candidate for prime minister in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu from 2019 to 2021, is born on a moshav, Kfar Ahim. June 10, 1964 The 81-mile National Water Carrier begins pulling water out of the Sea of Galilee for drinking and agriculture. The system of pipes, canals, tunnels, reservoirs and pumping stations can carry 19 million gallons per hour. June 11, 2013 Google agrees to pay roughly $1 billion for Israel-based social-mapping service Waze, reportedly outbidding Apple and Facebook. Waze grew out of a program called FreeMap Israel, launched in 2006. June 12, 2014 Three Israeli young men, ages 16 to 19, are abducted while hitchhiking
Photo by Haim Zach, Israeli Government Press Office
Waze leaders meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January 2014.
and are fatally shot by Hamas members. The bodies are found 18 days later. Israel launches Operation Protective Edge against Hamas on July 8. June 13, 1950 The Knesset passes Yizhar Harari’s resolution to adopt a series of Basic Laws instead of enacting a formal constitution, whose opponents include religious parties and Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. June 14, 1985 Two Lebanese terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847 between Athens and Rome and force the 727 to fly to Beirut. They kill a U.S. Navy diver, separate passengers who might be Jews, and demand that Israel release prisoners. ì Items are provided by the Center for Israel Education (israeled.org), where you can find more details.
Who Benefits Most from the Recent War?
By Jan Jaben-Eilon After 11 days of back and forth rockets and bombings, it seems the ceasefire that went into effect May 21 between Israel and Gaza is holding. Besides the obvious deaths on both sides, can winners or losers be declared? “I don’t want to say anyone came out on top,” said Eli Sperling, Israel specialist for the Center for Israel Education in Atlanta. Sperling, now also a postdoctoral associate at Duke University, furthered that warfare certainly “concretizes Hamas’ position as the party to talk to.” He was referring to the Islamist group that governs the Gaza Strip, where about 2 million Palestinians live. Benjamin Pogrund, a South Africanborn journalist living in Jerusalem, wrote in South African online publication News24, that “Hamas has undoubtedly succeeded in its power struggle with Fatah [the Palestinian ruling party in the West Bank]. It has drawn support from West Bank Palestinians and many Arab Israelis too.” That power struggle among the Palestinians helped launch the recent violence after Palestinian parliamentary elections finally scheduled after 11 years were suddenly canceled. But that was not the only factor that led to the outbreak of hostilities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had reached perhaps his weakest moment after failing to form a coalition government in the wake of the March elections – the fourth inconclusive elections in two years. Instead, a national unity government “under the leadership of secular-centrist Yair Lapid and the religious-rightist Naftali Bennett …were on the verge of forging a cabinet that would include both Israeli Jews and, for the first time ever, an Israeli Arab Islamist party,” pointed out New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. The latter part of the sentence was italicized in the newspaper to emphasize its exceptionality. Indeed, Bennett had declared that a coalition agreement was about to be signed when the recent hostilities started. Observers must pull the camera back and use a wide-angle lens to capture a more complete picture of the situation in Jerusalem on May 10. At the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, Israeli police had placed barricades around the Damascus Gate in the Old City, not allowing Palestinians who traditionally gathered after prayers as they break their fast. Riots broke out. By early May, Ramadan was winding down, but six Palestinian families were threatened with evictions from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Then Israeli police, responding to Palestinians throwing stones near al-Aqsa
Hamas “has drawn support from West Bank Palestinians and many Arab Israelis too,” as a result of the war, Benjamin Pogrund said.
“There’s a distinct possibility of fifth elections,” Eli Sperling said.
A national unity government to include Israeli Arab parties for the first time was on the verge of forming before the war, Thomas Friedman said.
Mosque on the Noble Sanctuary – known to Jews as the Temple Mount – fired stun guns into the mosque. Hamas issued an ultimatum, saying the police should leave the area by that evening. According to Pogrund, the beginning of the war “can be pinpointed precisely” at 6 p.m. Hamas fired hundreds of missiles indiscriminately at Israel, even Jerusalem. Israel responded with fighter jets and artillery. During the 11-day war, more than 4,000 rockets were launched at Israel, 90 percent of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, according to the Israeli government. Thirteen people in Israel died. On the Gaza side, more than 260 people were killed, and the Israel Defense Forces attacked more than 1,500 targets, according to authorities on both sides. In addition, the first violence between Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs since 2000 broke out in a number of mixed Israeli cities, which also led to deaths and injuries. In the wake of the latest battle between Israel and Hamas, a poll of Israelis reported by Israel Channel 12 indicated that a majority believed neither side emerged as a victor. Another 24 percent said Israel won and 16 percent say Hamas won. The survey also found that nearly 50 percent of the Israeli public thought the war should have continued longer. While the prime minister appeared to dodge the bullet of an anti-Netanyahu coalition government being formed due to the breakout of hostilities, it’s not clear whether he’s in a stronger position now. “Both the right and the left are criticizing Netanyahu” and how he handled and ended the conflict with Hamas, Sperling said. And while Bennett stated days after the war began that the “change” government was no longer on the table, after the ceasefire he seemed to change his tune. According to Bennett, the decisionmaking process during the war was “twisted and dictated by personal considerations and personality cult,” The Times of Israel re-
ported. He was referring to Netanyahu, who is currently standing trial on several corruption charges, including bribery and breach of trust. Bennett hinted that he would again consider joining with Lapid, who has until June 2 to form a government, rather than forcing the country into another round of elections. If Lapid is unable to form a government by June 2, members of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, would have 21 days to agree on a leader to cobble together a coalition government. If they are also unable to
do so, Israeli voters would be asked to go to the polls again – probably in October – to vote a fifth time in less than 2 1/2 years. “There’s a distinct possibility of fifth elections,” Sperling said. Even if the antiNetanyahu parties could put together a government, it would include those from the right-wing and the left-wing and it’s questionable how long it could remain in power before collapsing he said. “It’s really just a question of when there will be elections,” not if, Sperling added.ì
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BUSINESS Tenenbaum Opens Consignment Store By Marcia Caller Jaffe After a career in advertising and Jewish nonprofit, 60-year-old Jay Tenenbaum was unemployed. He had been selling items for friends online as a sideline, from pianos to art, china and collectibles. For one client he sold an 1880s coffin, which he got on the TV show “American Pickers” in 2017. Tenenbaum served as the director of marketing for Rhodes Furniture in the '90s, believed the nation’s fourth-largest furniture retailer, and ran the annual ADAC Sample Sale for 17 years, using his vacation days to manage it. “It hit me. Why not a consignment shop?” He posted a Facebook appeal, “I’m taking my reselling skills to another notch. If you would like me to sell your things, message me.” Jay Tenenbaum opened Estate Sale Soon he had 23 inquiries. Some new clients lived 365 last month in Midtown after in luxury high-rises, which don’t allow estate sales on- researching the consignment market. site or had larger items that are difficult to sell online and would have to let strangers in their home to view. Tenenbaum spent several weeks shopping the competition before opening Estate Sale 365 in Midtown last month. He found three types of consignment competitors: high-end, low end and shops that specialized in clothing. His niche would be down the middle, “in reach prices,” but no “junk.” At Estate Sale 365, one might find eclectic items and oddities such as electric golf carts, Vespa scooters, high-end 21-speed bikes, a 1920s phone from Denmark without numbers, and early '70s Sacco Italian bean bag chairs in original packaging. “We target right in the middle of what’s already in the market. No $10,000 sofas for $6,000; more like $5,000 sofas for $2,500. We aren’t accepting anything not in excellent used condition or nearly new, except antiques.” Tenenbaum has seen sales grow every week since opening last month. “It seems like the word is spreading, and the passersby (walkers headed for the BeltLine and Piedmont Park) are checking us out. I love working in retail with people chatting and smiling. At a certain age, you can’t allow yourself to feel stuck. Work is often more than half our waking hours, so if you’re miserable there, it will affect your whole life.” Estate Sale 365 is located at 549 Amsterdam Walk. It is open Thursday through Sunday, https://www.estatesale365.sale/
Delta’s Tip Top Drink Service By Dave Schechter Just in time for the resumption of large-scale air travel, Delta Air Lines now offers passengers two of the canned cocktails produced by Tip Top Proper Cocktails, the venture of two members of Atlanta’s Jewish community. In mid-April, Delta began serving Tip Top’s take on the Old-fashioned (Bourbon whiskey, cane sugar and orange bitters) and the margarita (tequila, lime juice and orange liqueur) Neal Cohen and Yoni Reisman, founders on domestic and some shortof Tip Top Proper Cocktails. haul international flights. The 3.4-ounce drinks are free to passengers in first-class, business, and Comfort class, and sell for $12 a can in the main cabin. 22 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Tip Top was founded two years ago by Neal Cohen and Yoni Reisman. The pair, now in their late 30s, have been friends since their days at Greenfield Hebrew Academy, and both have experience working in the concert and music industries. “We identified Delta as an ideal customer at an early stage of Tip Top’s development and have Left, Tip Top’s margarita and Tip Top’s Old-fashioned been in touch with members of their team since before we ever packaged a single canned cocktail in September 2019,” Cohen said. He and Reisman have turned their enjoyment of a good cocktail into a thriving enterprise. “We produced more product in the month of March than we produced in the prior combined 18 months that Tip Top has been available,” Cohen said. Tip Top’s cocktail formulas were created by Miles Macquarrie, co-owner and beverage director of Watchman’s seafood and spirits and Kimball House, and a seven-time finalist for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. Tip Top debuted in 2019 with a “stirred” line: the Old-Fashioned, Manhattan and Negroni. In late March, the company aided its “shaken” line: margarita, daiquiri and Bee’s Knees. Tip Top’s products are available in stores in six states — Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, and New York —and through online sales in 46 states. The company’s website is shop.tiptopcocktails.com.
Radman Launches Fintech Startup By Marcia Caller Jaffe Seth Radman co-founded and serves as chief technology officer for Infinite Giving, a new financial technology startup that helps mostly nonprofits passively invest their money to continuously grow reserves. Launching out of Atlanta Tech Village with cofounder Karen Houghton, Infinite Giving’s software platform automates an investment strategy bypassing spending money on an investment advisor. Radman grew up in Johns Creek and became a bar mitzvah at Temple Emanu-El before graduating from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engiSeth Radman states that his new app Infinite Giving neering. already has a wait list. “While I was in college, I taught myself how to code and build apps. I’ve previously built two music apps – Crescendo and Upbeat Music App.” Crescendo is an interactive music training app that gives students real-time feedback while practicing. It grew to over 1 million users worldwide, and the app was acquired by Ultimate Guitar in 2019. Radman also created Upbeat Music App during the pandemic. It lets musicians collaborate virtually in real-time, like Zoom but for musicians. There have been 4,000 schools and 200,000 students and teachers using the product during COVID. There are over 100 schools using Upbeat Music App in Georgia, including teachers/students from the Atlanta Jewish Academy, The Davis Academy, and The Weber School. Radman explained, “My new startup Infinite Giving brings modern, financial technology to nonprofits and automates their investment strategies to grow giving. After nonprofits complete a questionnaire, we provide investment options based on their risk level and the investment policy. We use passive investing, instead of active investing, so nonprofits don’t have to do anything throughout the year while their funds grow. We are launching the product soon and have a waitlist of nonprofits ready to start using it.” So far the duo has raised $500,000 in funding in the pre-seed round from 12 local Atlanta investors in six weeks (versus the traditional six months) to help grow the team and product build out.
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K E L L E R K N A P P R E A LT Y. C O M
Weiss Advocates for Children and Families
Isenberg Jones Returns to Israeli Consulate
Meet Traci Weiss, a family law and divorce attorney with the Warner Bates law firm, where she advocates for a myriad of complex and high asset cases. Weiss and her firm won first place in the attorney and legal services category of the AJT’s 2021 Best of Jewish Atlanta: Readers’ Choice Award. Weiss is known for being an advocate for children in custody disputes, often appointed as a Guardian ad Litem, an officer of the court who investigates and makes recommendations to help protect the best interests of children who undergo family turmoil. “Practicing family law is a unique Traci Weiss is part of the winning opportunity to stand up for people while firm of Warner Bates. helping them navigate some of the most challenging situations in their lives with dignity, compassion and integrity,” she said. Weiss, a graduate of Emory University School of Law, is also a member of the Amicable Divorce Network. She said she strives to provide knowledge and efficacy with every case, using zealous advocacy skills in courtrooms and creative problem solving in mediations. Her litigation areas include divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, property division, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Karen Isenberg Jones has returned to the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta as the new director of government and political affairs. In the role, she serves as the political liaison between Israeli diplomats and government officials and elected officials in the Southeast region. “It is my job to bolster the U.S.-Israel relationship in our region on both sides of the political aisle,” she said. She aims to enhance diplomatic ties with governors, commissioners, state legislatures and diverse populations of the Southeast region through the continuous work of communication, including briefing and educating elected officials about the ongoing situation in Israel. Karen Isenberg Jones returns to Prior to this new position, Isenberg Jones was the Israeli Consulate in a new role. the director of media affairs and interfaith outreach for the consulate, organizing press conferences and interviews while managing all the consulate’s external communications. Isenberg Jones is known for using her diplomatic finesse to develop and maintain deep and fruitful relationships with religious, political and cultural community leaders throughout the region. Her communication skills stem from her years as a writer, editor and production coordinator at CNN. Isenberg Jones said of her new position, “The Israel-U.S. relationship is an essential component to the safekeeping of the Jewish people. I’m honored to be a part of that.” ì
24 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Compiled by AJT Staff
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OPINION This is Not a Column About Israel A couple of weeks ago, one of my sons texted, asking for my thoughts about Sheikh Jarrah, the east Jerusalem neighborhood at the center of Dave Schechter a legal dispute From Where I Sit over competing Jewish and Palestinian property claims. “Certainly more than I can express in a text message,” I replied. When he stopped by the house, the subject broadened to the war between Israel and Islamists in Gaza. At that point, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were firing rockets into Israel, Israel’s air force was striking targets in Gaza, and Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel were clashing. I endeavored to answer with what I felt were the basics, just the relevant issues and necessary historical background. That took about 30 minutes. This is not a column about Israel. This is a column about why I do not want to write a
column about Israel. Writing a column about Israel is what a columnist in a Jewish newspaper is expected to do in such circumstances. So why don’t I want to do it? First off, this is a subject where it is best to tread carefully. In a previous professional lifetime, I wrote and produced news reports from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; made several working trips to Arab nations in the Middle East; and conversed with Israeli and Arab figures who came through Atlanta. I read and follow a variety of sources, from within and outside of Israel, but because I do not read or speak Hebrew with sufficient fluency (despite some effort), and do not speak or read Arabic, these reports are in English. I am sufficiently experienced to recognize that news from Israel and the Middle East comes in shades of gray, rather than black and white, as it frequently is presented. My second reason for not wanting to write a column about Israel is that I have nothing original to add to the conversation. Reams of copy are being produced, much of it reducing events to a shorthand for an audience with an attention span for headlines
and videos, for answers typed with thumbs, rather than depth and context. This includes some in the American Jewish community who have taken to social media to declare their allegiances and share their opinions. This often resembles rooting for one team or another, without knowing much about the players or being versed in the rules of the game or the tactics employed on the field. Or, to push the metaphor further, without having ever attended a game in person. (Only 45 percent of American Jews have visited Israel, even once). I doubt that many American Jews can name a current Israeli politician other than Benjamin Netanyahu or are aware that, as of this writing, Israelis are uncertain whether a new government will be formed or whether a fifth national election since April 2019 will be necessary. Third, there is little (close to nothing) that I can say that would prompt anyone to rethink their position or consider a narrative different than the one to which they are committed. That is why, in this space, I prefer to raise issues and suggest questions. Fourth, the situation is, to say the least, fluid. It is easy, as an American ambassa-
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dor to the Dominican Republic wrote many years ago, to be “overtaken by events.” The situation on the ground has changed since I began work on this column and will change further before these words become ink on paper and text on a screen. (As if to prove my point, shortly after writing that last sentence, Israel announced a cease-fire.) Events do not happen in isolation. You can look back weeks or months and see how seemingly unrelated actions contributed to latest hostilities or how an element changed here or there might have obviated the crisis. In my first column for the AJT, published on Feb. 6, 2015, I wrote, “With each passing generation, the timeline for peace — even as its definition is debated — moves further out. Today’s children have been fated by history to an adversarial relationship. A generation not yet born will have to find a way out.” I would write the same today. Finally, there is a recurring inevitability to these events. We have been here before and there is little to suggest that we won’t be here again. When that next time comes, I’ll rethink whether I want to write a column about Israel. But for now, no. ì
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Violence in Israel has Boiled Over to American Soil
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As tensions surrounding the I s r a e l i –Pa l estinian conflict escalate abroad, the battle has also apparently shifted to Alex Blecker American soil. On May 19, hundreds of pro-Palestinian supporters took to streets outside the New York Israeli consulate to protest Israel’s deadly retaliation in Gaza. Now, they have a constitutional right to do this, just as the counter-protesters also have a right to show up in defense of the Jewish state. What the pro-Palestinian supporters do not have a right to do is physically attack those from which they disagree. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happened. In a video shared by the reporter Elad Eliahu, a bloodied Jewish man is seen being rushed by New York City police officers to a nearby store to escape a crowd of enraged pro-Palestinian supporters. So what did the Jewish man do that warranted such a violent act? According to a bystander [reported on Fox News], the alleged crime was that the victim said, “very hateful comments.” While we can only guess what those “hateful comments” were, I assume it regarded his support of Israel. Either way, violence in response to comments of any kind cannot and should not be justified. As a Jewish American who proudly supports the State of Israel and their need to defend themselves against attack, I am worried after seeing what just unfolded in New York City. I fear, not only for my safety, but for the safety of the entire Jewish community. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 95 percent of American Jews consider themselves Zionists in support of Israel. To these pro-Palestinian crowds, which are also just anti-Zionist crowds, the Zionists are the enemy. If virtually every American Jew is a Zionist, and these rowdy crowds set out to condemn and destroy Zionism, aren’t the Jews the enemy to these people? Despite what most anti-Zionists will say when asked this very question, the answer is, of course, yes. Most troubling is that all this hatred against the Jewish people has gained trac-
tion on college campuses across the country. While my campus is not currently facing this strife, my Jewish friends at other universities have not been so lucky. At the University of Delaware, a Chabad center for Jewish life was the victim of an arson attack, causing $150,000 in damage. At countless other universities, buildings and dorms were vandalized with antisemitic graffiti. At Skidmore College, a pro-Israel club was denied a trial period even after the Social Justice for Palestine club was granted one. The list goes on and on. These antisemitic instances have become so frequent that the AMCHA Initiative has recorded a staggering 3,500-plus cases of antisemitism across 450 college campuses since 2015. I bring this up because it is the same anti-Zionist people who attacked that Jewish man in New York City that are committing these acts of antisemitism at American universities. When movements such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement sprout up, Jews are put in danger. Whether it be in the streets of New York City, or the academic quad of countless universities, the Jewish people are threatened and forced to walk around with a target on their backs. As the BDS movement and pro-Palestinian groups incorrectly frame Israel as an apartheid state, the Jews living in America are framed as bystanders and accomplices. That is the reason antisemitic incidents [reported by the ADL] hit an all-time high in America in 2019. As already mentioned, pro-Palestinian supporters have every right to take to the streets and form protests. However, American Jews like myself also have the right to feel secure in their neighborhoods and college campuses. As antisemitism is on the rise, it poses a threat to the American way of life. Liberty and security are fundamental rights that democracy sets out to ensure. When antisemitism in society is tolerated, the Jewish community loses its sense of security and has its liberties infringed upon, destroying our democracy. So we need to come together to protect Jewish Americans, regardless of the events taking place in the Middle East. ì Alex Blecker is a rising junior at Oglethorpe University double-majoring in economics and political science.
My Heart Bleeds for Israel
What is happening in Israel right now? Less than nine months ago, there were four peace treaties signed with Israel, namely UAE [United Arab Emirates], Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. Things seemed to be getting back on track. The lifelong dream of achieving peace in the region was becoming a reality. Now we are left to figure out why Israel and Hamas are at war. During our trip to Israel a decade ago with the American Jewish Committee, we each visited the border town of Sderot, which is just minutes from the Gaza Strip, the narrow coastal enclave filled with millions of Palestinians un-
der the control of Hamas. There, in a tiny museum of spent rockets, we saw hundreds of primitive weapons that had been fired from Gaza over into the town through the years. Each home in this border town has a bunker. The walls of the bunker are made of steel one foot in thickness. When the alarm sounds, residents have only about 15 seconds to find shelter. Last week, two elderly Israel citizens died as they fell trying to reach a shelter. Rocket-fire is what the residents of this town live with every single day. Echols: As a devout Christian coauthoring this piece with a devout Hindu, we both view the Holy Land with a special awe and respect. For me as an Evangelical, Israel is the birthplace of the Messiah and the home to most of the Old Testament stories. Christians share a special affinity with Israel and forever we lobbied for the capital to be moved to Jerusalem. American Christians have pressed their elected offi-
cials to provide military hardware to Israel to help them preserve their independence. Desai: Hindus and Jews share many commonalities in religion, culture, and a desire for peace. Both India and Israel became independent in 1947. The road to democracy and freedom was paved with a lot of tears. However, the love for the perseverance of their identity and culture was at the core of this fight. I was born in India and remembered a fable often told me in my childhood of a man that was hungry for days that gets a dry piece of bread and is about to eat it when he sees another hungry man approaching. He immediately shares half of that bread with the other hungry man. I saw this very same spirit in the people of Israel. During my trip, I visited a small, unassuming family. The patriarch had a quarter of a bottle of an orange soda. He willingly shared it with our group. As we watched the news of nearly 2,500 rockets raining down on Israel,
our hearts broke for this holy land. We fondly remembered our memories of Israel in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and smaller towns. We both visited the Wailing Wall and prayed there joining the others at a synagogue on Friday celebrating Shabbat. Now, to watch all of this being disrupted and destroyed is hard to see. What is not being reported is that Israel does not seek violence. They have always sought peace. With only a population of 7 million people, they are like David and Goliath as they are surrounded by 150 million hostile neighbors. Hamas, regardless of their rhetoric, provoked Israel and are putting civilians in Gaza at risk. We both stand with Israel and pray for peace soon. ì Tim Echols is vice-chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission. Ritesh Desai is the founder of Vanitywala.com, an importer of granite countertops.
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Letters to the Editor The AJT welcomes your letters. We want our readers to have an opportunity to engage with our community in constructive dialogue. If you would like your letter to be published, please write 200 words or less, include your name, phone number and email, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letter to the editor, A View from the Left I am a longstanding liberal. As such, it is disappointing to witness the fractioning of the Democratic Party’s policies toward Israel. Once it was the darling of the left and progressives. Then, the country’s technology and military progress seemed to cause liberals to forget Israel’s staunch adherence to democratic values, …the only such entity within a thousand miles. As an American Jew, it is the third rail to criticize Israel’s policies openly. Too often, it is conflated with being anti-Semitic or anti-Israel. I’m not about to enter those murky waters. I am unwavering in my belief that Israel has a right and obligation to defend its citizens—Arab and Jew. But I do have some thoughts to share with my liberal colleagues and political personages.
30 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
The removal of settlements from the West Bank to create a Palestinian state is complex—to state the obvious. Iran salivates, wishing for that day when it can covertly arm the “demilitarized” Palestinian state with the same precision missiles Hezbollah has in abundance in Lebanon. U.N. or American peacekeepers? Recall UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force] in Lebanon and its porous protection. The abundance of settlements appears to be a significant obstacle to a desired twostate solution. The clarions call for Palestinian repatriation for those fleeing the ‘48 war of Independence certainly have merit and should be viewed with gravity. I would also urge the politicians who so openly espouse the absurdity of apartheid in Israel, and the return of land to refugees, to look no further than their own backyard: The unfathomably deplorable conditions of Hispanic Ameri-
can citizens in the South Bronx; the inhumane conditions on Native American reservations, …having had their land stolen; and our African American citizens having their farms stolen in the Mississippi Delta, …by the hundreds, if not thousands, and now suffering the indignity of gerrymandered districts and vast nationwide voter suppression. Look no further my friends. Then criticize! Harry Stern, Marietta, East Cobb
Letter to the editor, Hillels Statement on Israel Hillels of Georgia is heartbroken and horrified by the current escalation of violence occurring in Israel and Gaza. We unequivocally denounce the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from Hamas and other terrorist groups, and the escalation of violence and destruction by angry mobs directed against the Israeli civilian population. No sovereign nation would tolerate thousands of murderous rockets launched at their citizens. In fact, it is hard to imagine any other country being asked to tolerate one
rocket launched against their cities by murderous terrorists that openly call for the death of every man, woman and child. We support Israel’s right to defend itself like any other nation. We mourn the death of all those killed, including both innocent Israelis and Palestinians. We decry and denounce Hamas’ continued and shameful use of human shields. We hope and pray for a ceasefire and an end to all violence soon, and for the resumption of negotiations to affect a peaceful resolution for both Israelis and the Palestinians. The conflict in the Middle East is complex. We urge you to do your own research on the background behind the current intensification of the conflict. Check your sources if you do share something on social media and be aware and vigilant of misinformation. Israel’s right to defend herself is not an opportunity to spread anti-Semitic slander and libel; be careful not to inadvertently fall into that camp. If you would like to learn more, our Hillel professional staff are always available for discussion and dialogue. Elliot Karp, CEO of Hillels of Georgia
OPINION Letter to the editor, Statement on the Conflict in Israel May 2021 | Sivan 5781 We, members of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, representing rabbis of all denominations throughout the metro Atlanta community, denounce the escalating violence in Israel. We call on Hamas to end its barrage of rockets directed at innocent civilian lives in Israel, which we see as both a danger to the lives of our brothers and sisters, while also counterproductive to creating a lasting peace with the Palestinians. We further recognize the right of the sovereign State of Israel to defend itself in the face of ongoing acts of physical and psychological terrorism against its civilian population. We mourn the innocents on both sides who have been impacted by this latest round of violence. We cry out against hatred that fuels conflict. We pray that people of all faiths may delve deep into their spiritual and religious traditions to find our common humanity and the image of God in the other. We draw hope for a better future from the words of our tradition, that we may come to see a day when “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:3). Atlanta Rabbinical Association
Israel was and is obligated to protect its citizenry, and to do everything in its power to withhold the incentives and means from Hamas for continuing or repeating its belligerency. Yet Congress has not been nearly as supportive as it had been or should be. One would think that its sanctimonious spokespersons would have some humility, given that the U.S., in its own effort to withhold the incentives and means from terrorists 10,000 kilometers [about 6,200 miles] away for repeating its one abhorrent attack on our citizenry, has for 20 years been supporting wars that have been responsible for the collateral deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghani civilians. Sadly, Democrats – with Ossoff at its helm and Warnock in tow – have attempted to constrain Israel by putting the onus on both sides to lay down their weapons, without calling out Hamas for its terrorism. Israel needs all the congressional support it can get. Fearing no American pressure, Hamas will only be emboldened and initiate yet more attacks. In the name of peace, and in support of our sisters and brothers in Israel, *please* do all you can to influence senators Ossoff and Warnock regarding Israel. For those of us who supported their candidacy and voted for them, we have an extra obligation to advocate, write, call, and visit the senators in support of Israel, now and for the duration of their tenure. Dr. Rafael Harpaz, Atlanta
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Letter to the editor, On our Congressional Delegation During the Most Recent Events in Israel The choices presented to Georgia voters this past Jan. 5 were starker than any in recent history, and the impacts allowed U.S. domestic and foreign policy to turn 180 degrees. Many Jewish voters could not sanction the views of the Republican candidates or the general direction that the country had been taking these past years. On the other hand, many Jewish voters (and other friends of Israel) were unsure how supportive Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock would be towards Israel. Much of the resulting angst was reflected in the pages of the AJT. In the end, we voted, balancing the issues, given our underlying values, and with varying degrees of awareness and hope. It did not take long... Just months after the elections, Hamas initiated hundreds of unprovoked rocket attacks specifically targeting civilians, now exceeding 4,000.
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. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 31
Sam Greenberg Elon University
Abigail Smith - The Epstein School
Mazel Tov Sam! We are so proud of you and all of your accomplishments!
Abigail, we are so incredibly proud of you! Amazing 9 years. High school, here she comes!
Love, Mom, Dad and Ilyse
So Much Love, Mom, Dad, Jordan, Lucy and Bella
Alexa Mittleman - The Weber School Congratulations Alexa! We are so proud of you. Love, Mom, Dad and Zac
Carlie Ladinsky Georgia Institute of Technology
Ariel Rachel Raggs Chamblee Charter High School You are intelligent, strong, and beautiful. Dream big; there’s nothing you can’t achieve!
The Raggs Family Lily Herman Lassiter High School
Mazel Tov! We couldn’t be more proud of you. Looking forward to all your greatness to come.
Mazel tov, we can’t wait to see you conquer VSU and the world
Love, Dad, Kaylene, Benjamin and Bradley
Mom and dad
Dunwoody High School We are so proud and can’t wait to see what you will do next! Love, Mom and Dad
Georgia Connections Academy Mazel Tov Hannah! Take pride in how far you have come & have faith in how far you can go! Love, Mom, Dad, Sam & Elijah
Carl Weinstein - University of Tennessee Thank you, Carl, for allowing us the following obnoxious parent brag opportunity: Happy Graduation, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa on to your doctorate!
Love Mom and Dad
Yonatan Tal Ben-Haim - The Epstein School Congrats,Yonata! We are so very proud of you. Best of luck at RICS. love you!
Ima, Aba , Roy and Rio Alex DiStefano
The Epstein School We are so proud of you and cannot wait to see you continue to soar! Love, Momma, DaDa, Dad, Matthew, Danielle, Bryce, Ross, Jake, Jen, Louisa & Georgia
Gaby Lefkovits - The Weber School Mazel Tov, Gaby! I am so excited for your next chapter in life. Thank you for making this crazy year feel a little normal.
Jacob Beck Mill Springs Academy Congratulations, Jacob. We’re so proud of you!!!
Love, Mom & Dad Roy Ben-Haim - Riverwood High School Congrats, Roy! We are very proud of you. Love you to the moon. Ima, Aba, Yonatan & Rio
Shai Bachar The Epstein School
Shai, you are the gift of our lives. Mazal Tov for all your hard work and future success! We are so proud of you! Love, Ima, Aba, and the whole family
Andrew Lapes - The Epstein School Mazel tov on your graduation! We are so proud of you!
Love , Mom, Dad and Reagan
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 33
GRADUATION Bluestein Returns to UGA Stage Native Atlantan and UGA graduate Greg Bluestein joined the Atlanta JournalConstitution in 2012 as a political reporter covering the Marcia governor’s ofCaller Jaffe fice and state politics. Since then, he has appeared on multiple media outlets, interviewed major national figures and written his own book. On May 13 Bluestein delivered the convocation ceremony for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, along with graduating senior Joshua Marx. Bluestein summarized the crux of his comments. “Channel the power of journalism into a force for good, and strive to remember your audience and your sources are more than just soundbites.” Much has changed since Bluestein graduated 17 years ago as a newspapers and political science double-major. He uses both his degrees daily. Noting that there’s not a “Newspapers” major any more, he embraces the curriculum that today’s Grady students follow: coursework in TV, digital and other media that prepare for today’s journalism ecosystem. “When I graduated, I never imagined all the different demands we face: newsletters, blogs, podcasts, radio appearances and TV hits – sometimes, all in the same day. But I know today’s graduates of schools like Grady College are ready for whatever comes their way.” Bluestein mused about what practi-
Greg Bluestein was a guest speaker at the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication graduation.
cal guideposts he has learned along his career that are shareable. “The first is to be empathetic, to show our audience and the people who entrust us with their stories that we’re not faceless, soulless robots. We are members of the very same communities and share many of the same dreams and desires. “The second is to acknowledge that journalism -- and every other career worth pursuing – is not always a smooth path. It’s not easy, and it’s not always fun, but it sure is rewarding,” he said. “The third is to constantly question authority. Our politicians are people, too. They make mistakes, they say silly things, they have triumphs and tragedies, ups and downs. It’s our job to factor that into our coverage as we hold them to account on decisions big and small that affect how we live our lives. “ In terms of the balance of print and social media, he notes that he’s glad the AJC is publishing seven days a week, and acknowledges that many print readers
Honey Herman SUNY ESF The world needs more environmental engineers; you will make an impact on this world.
Mom and Dad 34 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Greg Bluestein and Josh Marx were the May 13 convocation speakers.
around his age and younger read the AJC almost exclusively online. “It’s why I’m so happy we have a robust presence across the board: In print, on digital, on social media and beyond. I’m not sure what the future of the printed newspaper will be, but I know we’re well positioned, agile and ready for whatever comes our way.” Responding to which of his own particular attributes contribute to his success, he said he cultivates a broad array of sources from all across the political and business spectrum, to not “surprise” anyone with his coverage and to get at the “why” of the story as much as the “who/what/when/where/how” part. He strives to be consistent, accurate and, as one of his mentors described, “enlightening and not enraging.” Bluestein ponders one of the big questions facing the Republican party, a key question for 2022. “There’s a deep divide in the state GOP over the direction of the party, and what role former President Trump will take. Will pro-Trump forces
still steer the party going forward, or will Republicans find a path ahead without him?” When it comes to his Jewish upbringing vis-a-vis his approach, he recalled, “Growing up in Jewish day school, we were taught to go beyond the blackand-white on paper to try to understand the motivations and reasoning behind passages in the Torah and Talmud. I feel like I lean on that background every day as I try to understand why the people I cover say or do certain things." A father of two, Bluestein tries to be a fun, fair and patient dad. He took them along to campaign events to get up-close views. His daughters wound up interviewing all four Senate runoff candidates at different stops, and they made their own YouTube channel documenting the experience. “Hopefully they will remember that for a long, long time!” ì View Bluestein’s UGA graduation address at https://grady.uga.edu/spring2021-graduation/
Ellen Dobo Georgia Institute of Technology
Mazel Tov on graduating with Highest Honors! Michelle and George Dobo
Lauren Liniado The Epstein School
Mazel Tov! We are so proud of you! Mom, Dad, Ralph, Emmy and Coco
Johns Creek High School We are so proud of you Sam! We look forward to seeing the great things you will do.
Love your family Ryan Merlin The Epstein School
Walton High School
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.”Albert Einstein WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!
“Congratulations! You did it! We are so proud of you.” Love, Mom, Dad, Danielle and Alex
Levi Myles Gordon - The Davis Academy Mazel Tov, Levi! We are very proud of you ! Next up, The Weber School! Love, Mom, Dad & Zoe
Perri Schwartz - The Cottage School We’re beyond proud of your journey! We can’t wait to see what happens next!
Love, Mom and Craig & Dad and Brad”
Mom, Dad, Jonathan & Brooklyn!
University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce Mazel tov on this wonderful achievement! Can’t wait to see the amazing heights you’ll reach!
With love and great pride, Mom and Dad
Lindsey Mirsky The Davis Academy
Mazel Tov, Lindsey! We are so proud of you! Oh, the places you’ll go! Love, Mom, Dad and Jacob
Emory Graduates Past and Present For the first time in its history, Emory University held two commencement ceremonies within days of each other for graduating classes from two differ-
ent years. For the class of 2020, the university invited back all of last year’s graduates to be able to experience their commencement ceremony in person May 15, something that wasn’t possible last year during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several hundred students, including two medical graduates from last year, returned with family and friends for the event at the Georgia World Congress Center. They heard from 2020 graduates such as Ben Sigal describe how they had spent a difficult year transitioning from a campus that was largely virtual to a world in a health care crisis. Sigal, who is Jewish and an AEPi alum, described how his used his year after gradu-
2021 sign: Emory University held its commencement ceremony for the class of 2021 a day after it honored its 2020 graduates.
ation to start a project that connected farms to food banks to help distribute fresh produce. “To date, we have delivered 100 thousand pounds of food; that’s equivalent to 60 thousand meals.” It’s just the kind of work that the commencement speaker, noted civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson, urged the graduates to consider. “For those of you who are willing to stay hopeful, who are willing to do uncomfortable things in service of people in need, in service of promoting justice, in service of creating greater health and healing, this is a
Congratulations to Our Newest Alumni! Tommy Assaf Chase Austin Logan Baker Sloan Baker Pearson Bates Isabel Battista Jordan Benjamin Noah Bennett Christian Bing Daniel Boddie Myles Bolton Bennett Boushka Will Brennan Lane Brickley Jack Brown Emily Butler Jack Carson Hayley Cavinder Austin Chastain Matthew Cleveland Charlie Cooper George Creasman Aiden Critz Lily Cummings Jacqueline Cunningham Grace Demba Hugh Douglas Madison Durr Evan Elster Jordy Elster
Rory Flint Riley Fox Michael Fu Grace Funston Sidney Funston Matt Genser Sean Glennon Jorge GonzalezHernandez Rivers Graham Mary Childs Hall Reily Hamilton Helena Harris Kristin Hartman Grace Hatfield James Highsmith Audrey Holton Kathryn Hood Robert Houser Claire Howell Caroline Janki Charlie Janko Maggie Jenkins Justin Johnson Jamaal Jones Lily Kahn Dylan Kaminski Evan Karetsos Elizabeth Kaye Katie Khajavi Lily Koch Eve Kogon
www.paceacademy.org 36 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Jamie Kornheiser Tim Kouzmine Anderson Lara Noah Levenson Jordyn Lewis Amalie Little Jack MacRae Kate Mallard Madison Martin Elliot Mathis Eli Mautner Amalia Maxa Caroline McCullough Cole Middleton Josh Mininberg Steven Morrisroe Ashley Myers Hannah Pace Mary Paige Pope Noah Prout Laura Romig Marc Rosenthal Darren Rosing Hannah Rowland
Harley Ryan Anthony Salazar Sarah Schultz Hayden Schwartz Sam Selig Casey Shoulberg Sidney Silver Sydney Silverstein Peyton Smith Evan Smith-Rooks Abby Sroka Jonny Sundermeier Alexander Swann Gus Thomas Jayden Thomas Tripp Trimble Olivia Ullmann Hanna Vincent Sloane Wagreich Miles Wallace Sam Webb Denzel Welsh Oliver Whitney Hunter Williams Alivia Wynn
Anthony Fauci was the commencement speaker at the graduation of Emory’s College of Arts and Sciences.
Gregory Fenves told the class of 2020 they have already made an impact on the world.
time of great opportunity.” Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative, which led to the creation in 2018 of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala. His work has been supported by the Arthur Blank Family Foundation, which premiered an HBO documentary here in 2019, “True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality” and created a teaching guide for students who wish to learn more about his racial justice campaign. Stevenson pointed out in his Emory address that America has “long needed to be a place where equality and justice prevail.” Much the same message was part of the graduation ceremonies held separately for this year’s Emory arts and sciences graduates. The graduation speaker was Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s chief medical adviser on the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci, who had received an honorary degree from Emory in 2003, this year received the Emory University President’s Medal, one of only five persons to have been singled out in both ways. In his remarks, he called the new graduates to use their experiences during the pandemic to fight societal divisions and create an “even better normal.” He said, “Societal divisiveness is counterproductive in a pandemic. We must not be at odds with each other, since the virus is the enemy, not each other.” Among the graduates who took his message to heart was Liza Byrne, who found in her work in Emory’s Jewish Studies program a new appreciation for helping others. She is returning to her home in New York City to begin a job next month in a
nonprofit that works to further the ties between educational institutions in Israel and the United States. But she has been strongly aware of how difficult the past year has been as a student. All of the graduating seniors, she said, completed their studies virtually, with almost no personal contact in the classroom between themselves and their professors and fellow students. In fact, the graduation ceremony was one of the few occasions this year where she personally interacted in a college setting. Although she lived less than a half mile from the Emory campus, it was her apartment that became a substitute for her classrooms. What she experienced in her senior year was almost like living in a different world, she said. “I always thought it was so strange that I would be in my bedroom one minute, sleeping or hanging out with my friends, and the next minute I would be in my bedroom doing class and focusing and taking a test. That was crazy to me because I never associated my house or my apartment with anything academic. So the fact that I hadn’t returned to campus for almost an entire year feels like a different memory.” Although Emory was one of the few schools to provide separate graduation ceremonies for the two graduating classes, almost all of the area’s major universities, including Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia made special efforts to include last year’s graduates in their commencement programs this year. The acknowledgment that each of them received in their respective schools was not unlike what Emory President Gregory Fenves had to say. Fenves, who is Emory’s first Jewish president, told the class of 2020 that they have already made an impact on the world. “The past year has shown us that the time to act, to speak, to get involved, is now, and you have done that.” ì
Mazel Tov to the Class of 2021!
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Mazel Tov to the Class of 2017!
We wish you the best of luck in college and beyond. MEMBERS OF EPSTEIN’S CLASS OF 2017 WERE ACCEPTED TO: American University Auburn University Boston University Carnegie Mellon University Case Western Reserve University Clemson University College of Charleston Cornell University Drexel University Duke University Elon University Emerson University Emory University Fashion Institute of Technology Florida State University George Washington University Georgia Southern University Georgia Institute of Technology
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Tulane University Union College University of Alabama University of Arizona University of California, Berkeley University of California, Los Angeles University of Colorado, Boulder University of Florida University of Georgia University of Maryland University of Massachusetts, Amherst University of Memphis University of Michigan University of North Carolina University of Pennsylvania University of Rhode Island University of South Carolina University of South Florida
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Honorable Graduate Leaders Sam Feldstein Valedictorian, The Weber School Message to graduates: For my valedictorian graduation speech, I plan on recapping the last four years and speak about grade-wide experiences from the past years together. I plan to express how we all overcame corona together as a grade and surpass uncertainties to get where we are today. Any other year it is hard enough as a senior with tedious workloads, college applications and standardized tests, but all the more so this year because of COVID. Throughout the year there has been so much unpredictability, and we didn’t even know if we were going to see each other in person together as a grade. At the end of my speech, I hope to send off the Weber Class of 2021 with inspirational and motivational words. I will wish them all the best and reinforce that our success in high school is not determined by a grade or a test score, but by the experiences we had and the relationships we formed with one another as the class of 2021.
Highest achievements: Outside of school I was able to maintain a successful gymnastics career. I practiced for 20 hours a week, each day after school, and competed on weekends in various competitions around the country. I qualified for the highest eligible competition each year that I competed throughout high school: regionals seven times and nationals three times (of course I could not qualify junior year because of COVID). I placed 32nd in the U.S. at nationals in Reno, Nevada, in 2019, my sophomore year. Within The Weber School, I was a part of many clubs, programs and organizations. I was a part of the Student Ambassador program, and the Peer Leader program. I also was a board member of the National Honors Society, and a member of the Spanish National Honors Society. I was on the advisory council for the Peace by Piece program, and I was a vice president of the Rams for Israel advocacy club. Future plans: Next year, I will be attending Duke University in North Carolina. I will attend the Pratt School of Engineering. In terms of major, I am currently undecided about the specific engineering major I wish to pursue, but I probably want to pursue either mechanical, biomedical, or civil engineering with potential minors in psychology and/or Spanish. Unfortunately, Duke University does not have a men’s gymnastics team, so I am most likely not able to continue my gymnastics career in college.
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Micah Reich Salutatorian, The Weber School Message to graduates: At graduation, I’m planning on speaking about the value of individuality and how each person in our graduating class has helped to shape not only my Weber experience but also the culture of the school and one another in a positive way. Highest achievements: I started Weber’s robotics team as a sophomore, and we’ve since competed in the Atlanta regional and Georgia state championships for three years, and this year we ranked fifth overall out of more than about 200 teams in the state, advancing to the world championship competition. Although canceled due to COVID last year and the RamBots didn’t advance as a team, I was going to attend the world championship as one of three students chosen to represent Georgia as a Dean’s List finalist. A large part of our robotics program is community outreach, which mainly focuses on extending the resources of the DZA [Daniel Zalik Academy] to our surrounding communities, so we’ve enjoyed offering manufacturing seminars and capabilities to teams in Atlanta as well as starting robotics teams for middle schools in our area. I’ve also been involved with our Israel advocacy organization, Rams for Israel, and Peace by Piece, an interfaith dialogue program, during my four years at Weber; political advocacy and Jewish education are very important to me, and I hope to continue similar activities in college. Future plans: Next year, I’ll be studying at Carnegie Mellon University in the School of Computer Science with a concentration in robotics or machine learning. I’ve been interested in pursuing engineering and computer science for a few years now, and much of that interest has manifested in my work with The Weber School’s robotics program (Weber RamBots) and our fabrication facility, the Daniel Zalik Academy.
Chase Flagel Senior Class President, Walton High School Message to graduates: Chase will be talking about resilience and adaptability of his class at Walton throughout all four years, according to his mom Lisa. A quote from his speech: “Here we are: resilient, adaptable, and having dealt with so many ‘firsts;’ no challenge can ever get in our way.” Highest achievements: “It has been my objective in high school to not only
Mazel Tov to the 2021
Atlanta Israel Gap Year Scholarship Awardees
Thanks to the generous support of The Zalik Foundation Fund, these teens recieved scholarships for a life-changing Israel Gap Year experience.
Scholarship Awardees represent 15 Atlanta High Schools Dunwoody High School Alan C. Pope High School Henry W. Grady High School Atlanta Jewish Academy Chamblee Charter High School Johns Creek High School Lambert High School Chattahoochee High School North Atlanta High School
North Springs Charter High School Union Grove High School Walton High School The Weber School The Cottage School
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 39
GRADUATION volunteer but to be active and take leadership roles in every aspect of my life: Walton High School, Congregation Etz Chaim (my synagogue), and extracurricular activities such as BBYO. At school, my main commitment has been student government, where I’ve served as class president from sophomore through senior years. “At Etz Chaim, I was a member of the Friday night Shabbat Sasson music group, where every few weeks I helped lead a musical service for the congregation. My most impactful experience in high school was through BBYO, a Jewish youth group. I served as East Cobb chapter president, Greater Atlanta vice president of membership, and then had the honor of serving as the international vice president of worldwide membership for the entire organization, helping to equip a network of 40 Jewish leaders from 10 countries with leadership skills to use in their cities/regions/countries to build a strong Jewish community.” Future plans: Chase will be studying business at the University of Georgia.
Valedictorian, Atlanta Jewish Academy Message to graduates: Matthew will focus on the importance of in-
40 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
spiring and life changing moments and then how you can integrate those into your daily life moving forward. And about taking advantage of opportunities. Highest Achievements: This year, Matthew was awarded “best all-around senior” by the Atlanta JournalConstitution, was a STAR Student, National Merit Scholarship Program finalist and U.S. Presidential Scholars Program nominee. He moved his way up the ranks of the Pallette school newspaper since 10th grade to become editor in chief this year and received multiple Jewish Scholastic Journalism awards. Through much of high school, he was involved in varsity basketball, baseball and flag football and served as captain for each team this year. He was elected captain, too, of the Model United Nations, having been a delegate all four years. Matthew participated in monthly competitions of the Georgia Math League. Last year he was an AP Scholar with honors, won a Georgia Certificate of Merit (top 5 percent of students in junior class), and a Yale University Book Award (top general studies high school student). These are in addition to school and Judaic awards. Future plans: Gap year in Israel at Yishivat Kerem B’Yavneh and then Yeshiva University, honors program.
Kira Mermelstein Salutatorian, Atlanta Jewish Academy Message to graduates: Kira will be reflecting on the different communities she’s found at AJA and taking that forward. Highest Achievements: Kira has been in theater since sixth grade, starting with tech in ninth grade. She has been in three shows in high school and wrote and directed her own play this year for the Girls’ Chagiga. She was also involved in volleyball for two years and was a photographer for the Palette newspaper and yearbook. Kira received the fine arts award in 10th and 12th grade; a Hebrew department award this year; a Yeshiva University Torah-Umadda Book Award last year for secular and Judaic studies; a Harvard Book Award for the most outstanding 11th grade humanities student at AJA; and recognition all four years for attending additional, voluntary Judaic learning sessions. Future plans: Thrive (freshman experience) at the University of Georgia in July, UGA in the fall, majoring in journalism and media communications. Compiled by AJT Staff
Kol HaKavod - Class of 2021!
Matthew Minsk, Valedictorian Kira Mermelstein, Salutatorian Gefen Beldie Nathaniel Borukhov Daniel Chasen Noah Chen Katherine Cranman Miriam Francés Emily Gavrielov
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Live Graduations Return By Roni Robbins and Chana Shapiro For some middle and high schools, this year’s graduations may seem like deja vu, taking place virtually or outside like last year. Meanwhile, most schools consulted for this story are celebrating indoors, socially distanced in auditoriums, gyms and synagogues.
Jewish High School Graduates The Weber School On May 28, The Weber School will be holding its graduation for 75 graduates on Kopman Field, the school’s soccer field. “The event will be held under tents to allow for a ceremony rain or shine,” said Julie Crow, director of communications and marketing. “The audience will be limited. Each student will get a set number of guests.” That number will be determined based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she added. Last year, the graduation was a drivein ceremony in the school’s parking lot.
In a similar way, the school held a senior commitment day parade in which graduates showed off their college pride with cars decorated for the occasion. This year’s parade was May 2. Atlanta Jewish Academy This year’s Atlanta Jewish Academy graduating seniors were to receive their diplomas in the AJA auditorium May 26 with family members and close friends seated nearby in “pods,” socially distanced from others, said Barrie Cohn, director of marketing and communications.
Chaya Mushka eighth grade graduates are Mendel Sollish, Nosson Gurary, Asher Kessler, Ari Blanks and Levi Charytan.
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Each member of the 2021 graduating class was allowed to invite eight family members and friends to join them. Family groups were to sit together, socially distanced from other pods. There were to be speeches from valedictorian Matthew Minsk and salutatorian Kira Mermelstein, as well as from Head of School Rabbi Ari Leubitz with greetings from board president Carol Ratner. Other celebratory events included a high school sports awards program on April 30 and an outdoors high school
community members may be able to attend. The number of attendees will be determined by Beth Jacob’s COVID safety requirements. Those unable to participate in person, will be able to Zoom-connect to the event. At graduation, half of the senior class will speak, in addition to Temima principal Miriam Feldman and president Rabbi Doron Silverman. A highlight of the evening will be a special tribute to Rabbi Shimon and Anna Kaminetzky, who moved to Atlanta for its Jewish schools. Their
Orange balloons represent the color palette Rami Fabian chose for the occasion.
Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael of Atlanta graduates.
non-sports awards ceremony with refreshments on May 12. There was to be an informal picnic for seniors and their parents the night before graduation, May 25. No graduation reception is planned, but pictures were taken by photographer Harold Alan. Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael, the boys’ high school in Toco Hills, is graduating its largest class this year June 20. The 19-year-old school has a senior class of 20 students, most of them from Atlanta. The graduation ceremony will take place in Congregation Beth Jacob’s Heritage Hall. Each graduate will be able to invite 10 guests, which includes members of their family, and groups will be seated together in pods, with social distancing between them. Based on the latest medical protocols, the ceremony may be open to the community. Select representatives of the graduating class will speak at the ceremony, and there will be greetings from Rosh Yeshiva (head of school) Rabbi Meir Neuberger and Menachel (principal) Rabbi Avrohom Tkatch. An informal reception may take place following the graduation ceremony. Temima High School for Girls This year Temima High School will graduate 11 seniors in Beth Jacob’s Heritage Hall June 17. Every graduate may invite 10 guests, who will sit together in groups distanced 6 feet apart, and other
Harold Alan Photography//
fourth (and youngest) daughter is graduating this year. In keeping with Temima tradition, a 12th grade overnight event will take place with the principal before the students leave for seminaries in Israel next year.
Eighth Grade Graduates The Davis Academy
Graduates walk under the chuppah.
For the 71 eighth grade students at The Davis Academy, it may not have been the final year or graduation they expected, said Amy Shafron, head of school. “Wearing masks daily, separated by cohorts, b’nai mitzvah and Kabbalat Shabbats over Zoom, and the unfortunate cancellation of the annual class trip to Israel that culminates their many years at Davis. “While it was a very unusual year … the students and teachers’ flexibility, resilience and determination to make this
GRADUATION year as ‘normal’ as possible was boosted by the commitment of families and the entire community to ensure these children would … enjoy their final year at Davis.” Eighth graders kicked off their celebration week before the May 11 graduation at a virtual all-school Kabbalat Shabbat, “where they reflected on their Davis values and best memories and were honored by the school community. They enjoyed a spirit week with themed ‘dressdown’ days,” wearing their future high school shirts, and they were showered with treats and gifts throughout the week including Israel-themed gift bags, bubble tea, Waffle House and Southern Crust food trucks, cookies and King of Pops. After wrapping up their final exams, the entire student body and faculty and staff cheered on the eighth graders with horns, banners and pom poms at an allschool car-parade, which took place on the lower school campus May 11. Graduation was in-person and via Zoom, with the in-person experience taking place on-campus in the school’s outdoor nature sanctuary amphitheater with only the graduating students and their parents present. The ceremony included: an invocation and benediction by Rabbi Micah Lapidus; words of reflection by Head of School Amy Shafron, and Associate Head of School and Principal Drew Frank; diploma presentation and remarks shared by each child; and a walk down memory lane with a video produced by members of the graduating class. The Epstein School Epstein School’s graduation for 39 eighth grade graduates was May 25 at the Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center. “We have worked closely with the administration of City Springs to create a COVIDsafe environment for our graduates and their families,” said Lani Asher, director of strategic marketing and communications. Attendance was limited to the graduate and four guests each, she said. “Everyone will go through temperature checks as they enter; everyone must wear a mask; seats are grouped by fours, with space between groups. (City Springs is taping off seating that meets social distancing requirements). “The graduates will be seated together, but with socially distant space between them. "Most speeches are pre-recorded with school officials delivering their remarks in person. "There isn’t a reception, or any food provided – so that masks stay on the entire time.” Torah Day School of Atlanta This year’s TDSA eighth grade gradu-
ation will take place June 7 for the girls and June 8 for the boys. The graduation ceremonies for the 30 graduating eighth
lowing the ceremony.
Public High School Graduates Many of the public schools planned to have in-person ceremonies for their graduating seniors this month.
The graduation for Torah Day School boys will take place June 8.
On June 7, Torah Day School will hold its graduation for girls.
graders will be held in the Torah Day School gymnasium. In addition to the middle school faculty and staff, the family and up to eight guests may be invited by each graduate. Each group will be seated in pods, with each pod separated from the others by 6 feet. There will be speeches from the graduates, Head of School Rabbi Meir Cohn, board president Miriam Cann and Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman, and diplomas and other presentations will follow. No reception is planned; however, the graduates will be given a box of treats to enjoy with their families at home. A few weeks before graduation, the eighth graders will travel to a cabin for an overnight trip. Chaya Mushka Children’s House Chaya Mushka will graduate its eighth grade students in a live ceremony in the Congregation Beth Tefillah sanctuary June 1. Attendance will be limited to school faculty and staff and the families of the graduates. The ceremony will include presentations, diplomas and thank yous for the six graduates, as well as speeches by the students, executive director Rabbi Isser New, school principals Leah Sollish and Elaine Padron, and a representative of the board of directors. The evening will feature an original video, which was created and produced by the graduating students. No class party is planned; however, a limited, COVID-safe reception will take place for graduates and their families fol-
Cobb County Schools Ceremonies for Cobb graduates began May 24 and continue through June 4 at McEachern High School’s Cantrell Stadium in Powder Springs. In case of inclement weather, June 5 also has been set aside as a makeup day for postponed ceremonies. Ceremonies are not scheduled May 30-31 because of Memorial Day and will only be held in the morning and evening to avoid the heat of the afternoon, the district reported. Tickets will be limited to comply with public health guidance. It’s also planning to livestream each ceremony, according to its website. Gwinnett County Schools According to its website, most Gwinnett graduations will take place at Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth with tickets distributed based on Gov. Brian Kemp’s current executive order regarding gatherings at venues. Every student will receive at least two tickets. Appropriate spacing between groups is planned. The district
requires masks to be worn at all indoor events, including graduation. For graduations held at stadiums, tickets will be distributed based on district guidelines for outdoor competitions, which allow for 30 percent capacity for eating. The wearing of masks or cloth face coverings is encouraged. Due to limited seating, graduation will be livestreamed, allowing family and friends to view the ceremonies. Fulton County Schools Graduation ceremonies for Fulton County seniors began May 15 and continue through May 27 at various locations, including Ameris Bank Amphitheater, Roswell Presbyterian Church, Bill Badgett Stadium and Banneker, Creekside, TriCities and Westlake stadiums. DeKalb County Schools Graduation ceremonies for DeKalb seniors began May 21 and continue through May 28, mostly at James R. Hallford Stadium in Clarkston. Atlanta Public Schools Graduations began May 24 and continue through May 27 at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. ì
Mazel tov to the Class of 2021
You are the BUILDERS & DREAMERS, LEARNERS & LEADERS, RESILIENT & INSPIRING. You are a COMMUNITY.
You are TDSA. And YOU are the JEWISH FUTURE.
Building the Jewish Future One Student at a Time
1985 LaVista Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30329 torahday.org
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 43
College Grads Back In-Person By Nathan Posner and Stephanie Nissani
Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia Tech held inFrom Athens to Atlanta and throughperson ceremonies in Deout the state, college students this month cember, inviting all 2020 celebrated not just graduation, but the end graduates to return for the of a tumultuous era in education history. graduation, and continued After the coronavirus forced graduathat pattern this year. Certion ceremonies online last year, members emonies were held at Bobof the class of 2021 worried whether their by Dodd Stadium May 7-8 graduations would be in-person or online. with an unlimited number Most of Georgia’s larger college commenceof guests allowed for those ments this year will be in-person – both ingraduating. Students and doors and outside. And to make up for their guests were required to missed graduations during the 2020 panwear masks during the Emory Twitter // Students graduate from Emory Georgia State Facebook // Georgia State demic, some members of the previous year’s ceremonies, at which CocaUniversity at the Georgia World Congress Center. graduates in Center Parc Stadium. graduating class returned for this year’s Cola CEO James Quincey commemorations. was the guest speaker. The spring graduating class of Kemp, which allowed for expanded outdoor the Grady College of Journalism and Mass University of Georgia 2021 included over 4,430 students, including events. Before the order, UGA had limited Communication. Earlier this month, students from the graduation tickets to three guests. master’s and doctoral students. University of Georgia filed into Sanford While social distancing and masks Emory University Stadium, the school’s football stadium, with were encouraged during the ceremonies, it Emory shifted its graduation cere- Georgia Southern University socially distanced seating for graduations wasn’t officially required or enforced. Unlike other college graduations, Geormony to in-person this year at the Georgia May 13-15. Students were able to bring an gia Southern had a distinct way of honorWorld Congress Center to accommodate Among the guest speakers, Greg Blueunlimited number of guests to the events. stein, a Jewish political reporter at The Ating graduates with face-to-face Like for many schools, the commencement lanta Journal-Constitution, delivered a conevents, either at the Armstrong announcement came after an updated vocation address May 13 to the graduates of campus in the Savannah Convenexecutive order from Georgia Gov. Brian tion Center May 8 or the Allen E. Paulson Stadium in Statesboro May 10-13. The university planned six commencements in which students had the option to pick the day and location they desired, along with guests to accompany them. Aileen Dowell, the dean of students, said students were able Save up to $1,050 on SAT and ACT Prep, to walk across the stage and accept their diplomas but when and up to $240 on Academic Tutoring* seated, COVID-19 guidelines reUGA Facebook // Students prepare to quired students and guests to graduate from the University of Georgia. remain 6 feet apart. Inside the the crowd, while still requiring social dis- Savannah Convention Center, students and tancing, according to a release by Suzanne guests were required to wear masks, but not Eden-Antola, executive director of universi- at the Statesboro outdoor location. ty events. “We are excited to be able to offer students the opportunity to finally gather in Georgia State University Georgia State University required all person as a class and have a good, safe exin attendance at graduations at Center Parc perience.” Stadium May 5-13 to wear masks, and stuEmory’s celebrations began May 13 dents stood up at their seats upon recogniwith a student-organized Class Day celebration from the stage. To further honor the tion. Georgia’s Jewish Sen. Jon Ossoff spoke students, an image of the graduate and a to students at the celebration ahead of the quote appeared on the jumbotron as each official commencement celebrations May name was read. Each student was allotted 14. Unlike UGA, Emory only allowed two four tickets for family or friends and seats guests per graduate and required masks were positioned the standard 6 feet apart. in addition to social distancing. The cerRegardless of whether inside or outemonies included a speech by Dr. Anthony doors, masked or not, returning or new Fauci, director of the National Institute of graduates, for many it was a welcome surAllergy and Infectious Diseases and the *Free hours are for new purchases only. Hours are non-transferable and may prise to be recognized for their achievement country’s lead health adviser during the not be redeemed for cash. Offer may not be combined with other discounts or in a traditional setting, an experience they pandemic. promotions. GRE packages are Premium only. Offer ends June 30th. weren’t sure they’d have six months ago. ì
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PROFESSIONALS Greenberg Launches Flagship Illuminarium By Marcia Caller Jaffe Alan Greenberg is the visionary impresario who is trending in Atlanta headlines based on the mega announcement that he will open what’s touted as the world’s first Illuminarium on the Atlanta BeltLine in July. Its details, application and impact are poised to astound. Here the AJT gets the scoop on Greenberg’s homegrown Southern genius. Part Thomas Edison and Walt Disney, throw in Ziegfeld and a pinch of Spielberg, 70-year-old Greenberg describes himself as “serial entrepreneur, much more of a visionary than a numbers person, and a good talent scout.” Raised in the Hillwood area of Nashville, before graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he was an AEPi member, the CEO of The Illuminarium Partners, is a seasoned global entrepreneur and co-founder of Avenues: The World School, Greenberg
Photos courtesy of Illuminarium Experiences //
Alan Greenberg, center, is CEO of Illuminarium Experiences. David Rockwell, left, is CEO of Rockwell Group and Illuminarium design partner. Jon Kamen, right, is CEO of RadicalMedia and Illuminarium content partner.
News Networks, Travel Holdings, WebMD, and former publisher of Esquire magazine. Over the past three years he has worked on the Illuminarium concept, which was inspired by great worldwide experiences such as teamLab in Tokyo, Atelier des Lumieres in Paris, Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, and Yayoi Kusama’s displays. He said, “In reality, what we are doing goes well beyond just about every experience in the world due to our cinematic immersion, technology and infrastructure.” The Illuminarium will inhabit a permanent structure in the Common Ground building on the Eastside Trail,
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which is home to New Realm Brewing Company and TWO Urban Licks. The immersive venue will transport visitors to places they might only dream of by placing them “inside” the narrative, whether on a safari, at the bottom of the ocean, in the celestial universe, on top of the world’s highest peaks, surrounded by a once-in-a-lifetime musical performance, visual art exhibition, or being with iconic personalities. It will be produced by storytellers, cinematographers, visual effects specialists and creative technologists. Illuminarium combines techniques used in traditional motion picture production and virtual reality that allows visitors to experience filmed content (like a safari) and authentic, re-created worlds (think Mars) all without wearable hardware – virtual reality without glasses. Visitors will be completely surrounded by a massive 360-by-360-foot canvas, 350 feet long, over 20 feet in height, with state-of-the-art laser projection, rich spatial audio (where natural and musical scores change with the listener’s location), in- floor trembling like an elephant stampede, scent and exciting interactive technologies in 30,000 square feet. Committed to Atlanta as home base, the research and development lab is based here too. Greenberg refers to “democratizing the world’s most amazing experiences,” questioning just how many people can afford a $20,000 safari. Then consider the educational value for disparate cultures and incomes. School field trips will begin at kindergarten age. All this was started prior to COVID, but now reconsider how views of travel may be forever changed. Greenberg furthers, “It’s a place unlike any other in town. Each major spectacle will run
for approximately six months.” WILD: A Safari Experience will run until early 2022, and then SPACEWALK will take over, he said. “Our focus is to do something that takes your breath away. People are going to come not just from Atlanta, but from all over the Southeast.” A projected 5,000 ticket holders can come through in one day. Tickets are $30 to $40 and may have additional discounts.
Additionally, it will be a destination venue for dining, corporate and private events. Greenberg said, “In general, we can accommodate 500 to 750 in a reception mode and 250 to 400 seated. Many other variations [are available], depending on whether someone wants the event to include our outdoor patio.” The restaurant will be open to the public. There are also plans for kosher caterer options for private events. A
craft shop will sell art from around the globe. About 20 percent of the investors are Georgians, a Who’s Who list of predominantly Jewish philanthropists and businesspeople. As of mid-April, $60 million has been raised worldwide. Put in perspective, Greenberg is amassing one of the best tourist real estate in the world. Atlanta may be first, but plans for Las Vegas have been finalized, expect Miami next with possibili-
ties of Chicago, Mexico, Spain, Australia, Dubai and others, up to 50 locations falling in line. It’s easy to address Greenberg in mega-watt professional circles, but “most of my grandchildren call me ‘Grandpa.’ But my 2-year-old granddaughter calls me ‘Big Al.’” Visit www.Illuminarium.com to register for advance tickets. ì
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Abes Pops Up with Entertainment Vision By Marcia Caller Jaffe Hospitality guru David Abes, a longstanding restaurateur and consultant, is making headlines with elaborate plans to set up and run a dining-focused town center in the heart of Dunwoody. The Village in Dunwoody proposal includes a communal courtyard with a live music stage, four cleverly themed restaurants and a snazzy bar. Abes, head of DASH Hospitality Group and a Dunwoody resident, is working with city authorities, investors and developers to make it a reality. “This will literally be my baby. I have several planned stages and am excited to contribute to Dunwoody’s public benefit, jumpstarting walkability and all kinds of fun stuff. Think of wine festivals, parades, fashion shows, tailgating, concerts, sports viewings, farmer’s market, children’s programming, and movies, in addition to the new restaurants.” Consider how areas like Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Woodstock and Roswell all have a central place for residents to gather and share experiences. Abes notes that the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade involves 35,000 people who end up on Mount Vernon and could ultimately flow into his new space. According to the 2010 census, Dunwoody is 13 square miles and has a population of almost 50,000. Abes, in striving to be the new heart of Dunwoody, has a memorandum of understanding in getting all the components a green light by working with Dunwoody City Council, City of Dunwoody officials and Regency Centers.
The cost of the development is projected at $3 million. Abes would own and operate the restaurants. The space could be rented out for corporate events and private parties. He outlined the phases, starting with outdoor furniture, wide screen and speakers. “Since the restaurants won’t have rolled out, initially we David Abes, a Dunwoody resident will have food trucks and hospitality expert, proposed for Morty’s and CuThe Village of Dunwoody as a co’s.” He was refercentral courtyard meeting space ring to Morty’s Meat surrounded by novel restaurants. & Supply and Cuco’s Cantina, two of five businesses around the courtyard are planned in stages: Morty’s Meat & Supply is named for Abes’ grandfather Morton Engel. It is where North meets South barbecue, eclectic sauces, smoked meats, classic sides, local craft beer and sweet teas.
Photos courtesy of Regency Centers // David Abes plans for Dunwoody to have a variety of fun outdoor meeting venues and entertainment choices.
Cuco’s Cantina serves Mexican street food and handprocessed tortillas with authentic margaritas. “In Mexico there is a tradition where the donkey follows the tequila drinker, so here we may have a live donkey on occasions like Cinco de Mayo.” Bar(n) is so named because the old building resembles a barn. Abes’ wife Julie came up with the name. Indoor/outdoor seating with a covered awning will serve small plates and lite bites. On weekends, there will be pastries and coffee during daytime hours. The planned opening is late 2021. Yoffi means “way to go” or “beauty” in Hebrew. Actually there are several translations. It will offer Mediterranean street food, falafel, shawarma, salads, and tahini milkshakes. Message in a Bottle is fresh upscale seafood and wine by the glass with a lively bar. Leslie Mintz, senior leasing agent for Regency Centers, said of the venture, “We’re excited to find the right opportunity to help enhance the center, as well as the community that surrounds it. The energy behind this project is obvious, and we look forward to discovering the possibilities to help the area become even greater. It will be wonderful to gather with friends and Dunwoody residents when David’s restaurants open.” Can multi-talented Abes pull it off? Just have a look at his resume to see how his focus and organizational abilities have stood the test of taste and time. He was general manager for the Atlanta Fish Market, chief operating officer for Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, director of operations for Here To Serve, and regional director for LDV Hospitality. When asked about his giving up nights and weekends, Abes replied, “It’s exactly what I was meant to do; it’s what I enjoy, the night life. I gotta be there to make it happen and pay the bills, minding the business. Above all, I love the guests and taking care of them. Just think, we could have MJCC events [the Marcus Jewish Community Center is located in Dunwoody] and even a menorah lighting.” ì 48 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Photographer Finds True Self By Marcia Caller Jaffe
ably more Jewish than anything else. I’ve gone to Chabad Intown for almost 30 years. I don’t know how the Jewish world will accept this change, but everyone I know is happy for me because I own who I am.” Regarding the name change: Diane is just one letter away from Duane, and Crow is a bird like Stork. Questions remain: “Will you date men or women?” Answer: “Right now I have no plans to date. I am just concentrating on being and living my best self.”
Male professional photographer Duane Stork has resurfaced as Diane Crow. Stork, who has long served as a freelance photographer for the AJT and a variety of Jewish events including the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, now lives as a female. As labels abound, Crow enlightens, “A cross-dresser is someone who wears the opposite gender’s clothing but is content with their birth gender. ‘Transvestite’ is an outdated offensive term. I consider myself ‘trans.’ I present the opposite of my birth gender and completely identify with my feminine nature. I am 100 percent living female these days and the happiest I have even been.” Crow, formerly known as Stork, became an electrical engineer in the Army followed by a career repairing X-ray machines and nuclear cameras, changed paths when he was moved by photographing children in a cancer ward. She said, “Now as a photographer, I shoot for Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, the PGA, national commercials, concerts, and bar mitz-
Courtesy of Duane Stork Photography //
Far left, male dressed Stork from left to right to Diane “en femme”
Diane Crow enjoys putting designer outfits together from Goodwill
vahs and weddings across the U.S.” Crow’s defining moment came in 2019 as a volunteer shooting SOJOURN, a LGBTQ+ Jewish organization. “It was Purim Off Ponce and people were dressed in wonderful costumes, and I was in my ubiquitous black shirt, pants, shoes. I felt like I was the one that stuck out. All through that year, I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this event again, I’m going to do something different. In 2020, I decided to go ‘en femme.’ I went to Sephora for makeup, then shot the event. It was the most self-affirming thing I honestly had ever done. I had always loved to look through my mom’s magazines to see the women’s clothes, designs and shoes. Men’s clothes were boring and blah.” Crow, who is in the process of divorcing, states that her children are “fine” with the change and that
makes her happy. Some people were surprised but delighted for me.” She buys clothes from Goodwill and has red nails. “I have beautiful redheaded wigs which is my natural color. I have glasses with little diamond-ish accents. It’s a challenge to do makeup around the eyes, so I’m working on that.” Crow has also changed her living space, which she decorated and calls a “happy place. I have a beautiful deck to do yoga and meditation in the morning. The downstairs is turning into studios where we will start filming the ‘Diane Crow Show’ soon.” The show, which will be pitched to Netflix and HBO, is a la Stephen Colbert for the LGBTQ crowd. “We’ve already lined up interviews with very important LGBTQ people with stories about shaving, walking in heels, skin care, makeup, etc. The ultimate goal is to portray people who are on the LBGTQ spectrum treated as ‘normal.’ It will always finish with the story of triumph of someone who was able to successfully leave a place they were miserable and move to a place of internal happiness and acceptance.” Crow read a monologue on Facebook Live. She elaborated, “I was looking for some practice with my feminine voice and found this monologue that came from ‘Motherhood Out Loud’ about Queen Esther. Every time I read it, it just made me cry. It’s a beautiful story about a young man born in the wrong body. I’m very proud that the playwright and director asked for it to be put on the play’s website, for which I am honored.” In terms of religion, Crow said,” I’m probATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 49
Selig Food Works Joins Thriving Food Halls By Bob Bahr Selig Enterprises is positioned to become a major new player in the burgeoning development of food courts in Atlanta. The development company has opened the Chattahoochee Food Works in concert with real estate developer Robert Montwaid and former CNN food show host Andrew Zimmern, who for many years travelled the world to sample offbeat cuisine. The new, fully leased 25,000 square foot development includes 31 locally based food vendors offering everything from Vietnamese pho to gourmet ice creams and bubble tea drinks. The facility joins a 9,000-square-foot taproom, bar and brewery with an outdoor patio that opened last October by the Scofflaw Brewing Company. It functions partially as a research and development site for its line of India pale ales and special release beers. Also opening soon is a full-service Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q restaurant. The master plan for the 80-acre site, The Works at Chattahoochee, where the food hall is located, eventually calls for the development to expand many times over
50 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
CEO of Selig Enterprises, Steve Selig, sees a bright future for his recent real estate investments.
to include 350,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space, 500,000 square feet of office space, 500 residences, 200 hotel rooms and 13 acres of green space. The food court and brewery, along with a number of adjacent retail outlets that have recently opened, are part of the first phase of the project, which covers over 27 acres. The Chattahoochee Works development until recently was a series of nonde-
company more than 100 years ago, Selig has been known to make strategic acquisitions and hold properties for the long term,” he said. “We’re optimistic of the continued improvement of the retail landscape.” The food hall at the Selig project was developed by Montwaid, who also is behind the highly successful The food hall is a popular neighborhood meeting place. Gansevoort Market in New York City. He also is working on a similar food court with his partner Zimmern at The Dayton’s Project in Minneapolis. Montwaid said his aim in all his projects, like The Works food hall, is to create a comfortable, “welcoming space.” “It’s a meeting place. It’s almost experiential. I want the customer to feel comfortable. It’s very intimate. I spend a lot of time trying to make it a place where The Chattahoochee Food Works is part of the first people can spend a lot of time.” phase of a project that will eventually cover 80 acres. Montwaid has just begun work on a similar 28,000-squarescript industrial buildings that had been foot operation that is expected to open in the Selig real estate portfolio for more next year in Underground Atlanta. It will than 50 years. have over 20 dining choices in what he The project was said to have been inicalls a “boutique food market.” tiated by Scott Selig, executive vice presiHe sees the food hall concept as apdent of Selig Enterprises and president of pealing both to food service entrepreSelig Development before his untimely neurs and their customers. death in October of 2017. “Financially, it’s a low entry point. When the project was first anSo it’s really a good starting point for nounced, Selig called it “one of the largnew people in the business as well as exest and most significant redevelopments perienced operators. I mean, even before underway in Atlanta.” He said at the time, the pandemic, we were seeing a shift in “It is unlike anything in Atlanta in terms how people eat and dine out. There’s a of scale and vision. We have planned this real quality of food in food halls where development to be a thriving new commuyou can get a great meal and still gather nity and are curating the best talent and socially and safely as compared to a large concepts to kick-off the development.” The Works project is yet another de- sit-down restaurant.” Montwaid, who is in the process of velopment for the busy Selig firm that also making his home in Atlanta, has two more recently announced that it had taken over food hall projects on the boards here that Lenox Marketplace, a 421,000-square-foot will be announced soon. retail center across from Phipps Plaza in They will join a busy food hall scene Buckhead. at the Krog Street Market, Ponce City MarThe chairman and CEO of the comket and Marietta Square Market, The Colpany, Steve Selig, sees it as yet another lective Food Hall @ Coda in Midtown and vote of confidence in the future of retail the soon-todebut Politan Row at Colony real estate. “Since my grandfather started the Square that is set to open June 24. ì
Property Expert on Distress, Opportunity By Marcia Caller Jaffe Atlantan Ron Glass has been active in all facets of the commercial real estate industry for over 45 years. He was the chief operating officer of Great American Management and Investment, Inc., followed by head of the dispositions for Equity Group Investments, where he worked closely with billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell. In 2001, Glass partnered with Ian Ratner to form GlassRatner Advisory & Capital Group, LLC, a national advisory firm, which, since 2008, has been involved in real estate and other transactions in excess of $6 billion. The firm was appointed as receiver for about 40,000 multifamily units and more than 5 million square feet of commercial space. In 2018, GlassRatner merged with B. Riley Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: RILY), a diversified financial services company. Tune into Glass’ recent observations: AJT: What are some of the high-profile properties you have overseen? Glass: The turnaround and sale of the Hyatt Grand Cypress, Clearwater, Fla.; The Ritz at Lake Oconee; the Elysian (now Waldorf Astoria) in Chicago. We are currently overseeing LakePoint Sports, the premier amateur sports facility in the country. AJT: Has COVID affected what is in distress now? Glass: It differs: Hospitality: the business and leisure travel came to a halt. This industry has been the hardest hit. Retail: With over 8.5 billion square feet of shopping centers, the U.S. has been “over-retailed” for years. Some retailers were struggling before COVID, in part due to ecommerce -- the “Amazon Effect.” Retailers Sears, Toys R Us and others failed before COVID. The U.S. has too many malls in rural and suburban areas. The foreclosure of major malls like North Point and Town Center will continue. The good news is retail isn’t dead. Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza’s parking lots are full on weekends. Not everything can be shipped. Necessity retail uses, discounters, medical, health and wellness, pet services and grocers will all continue to do well. It’s too soon to tell the long-term effect of COVID on the office sector. Multi-family has generally been stable. This sector might be a bit frothy. Industrial values and construction have increased. Single family has boomed during COVID, in part due to cheap debt. AJT: How do you view the future of brick-and-mortar retail? You said that the growth in online sales in 2020 was not too significant considering that many retailers were closed during the pandemic. Glass: Online sales increased by only 3.8 percent. Total retail sales were approximately $5 trillion; online sales represented $800 billion in 2020. Some form of traditional retail is here to stay. AJT: Explain your favorite quote, “Don’t confuse genius with a bull market.” Glass: Everyone is a genius during a growth market and low interest rates. It’s hard to make mistakes when the wind is at your back. Many investors don’t have the expe-
rience to properly underwrite the inherent risks. You can learn more about real estate investing during the market meltdowns than in the bull markets. When people are making money, hubris blinds their vision. AJT: With the market uncertainty in retail real estate, you see an opportunity? Glass: COVID, capital market disruptions and e-commerce are constantly evolving. These forces and risks create uncertainty, which will generate buying opportunities. When things are chaotic is the time to jump into the pool. Today is that time for retail investing. B. Riley formed a joint venture with an Atlanta-based real estate firm Sullivan Wickley, experienced operators, fully integrated and nimble. We will pursue distressed, value-add, and core-plus strategy to acquire a diversified portfolio of shopping centers. We are investing over $7 million of our own capital to ensure an alignment of interests. AJT: Is 2021 end enough time for the economic rebound? Glass: No. Retail sales jumped 9.8 percent in March. The world is not as healthy as the news portrays. Government stimulus has flooded the market with liquidity. Lenders offered forbearance to delinquent borrowers. This has propped up the market, but will eventually end. The increase in vaccinations and employment growth are signaling a “light at
Ron Glass, partnering with Ian Ratner, has been involved in real estate and other transactions in excess of $6 billion and predicts an uneven recovery with some options for real opportunity.
the end of the tunnel.” Retail sales should continue to rise. The recovery will be uneven, “a rising tide will not raise all ships.” Some retailers and shopping centers will come out of this crisis, others won’t. ì
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Chanin Takes Top Real Estate Honors reaching out to potential new clients. I spend half the week in the car driving as well as in client meetings.”
By Marcia Caller Jaffe When someone told a young Marrissa Chanin she could be a “chip off the old block,” she took that to heart and is now renting out “blocks” of real estate. On March 11 the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors in its Virtual Million Dollar Club event presented first place honors in its retail division to Chanin, daughter of well- known landlord Ron Chanin. This was no walk in the park, as Marrissa started at an entry-level position at Riverwood Properties, LLC, and pounded the pavement, made thousands of calls and earned her stripes as director of leasing and tenant rep. “I won the award because I work hard and created a substantial amount of activity.” Marrissa is particularly proud of landing two tenants: Wingstop and Jersey Mike’s Subs at Fuqua Development’s the Exchange @ Gwinnett. She elaborates, “I do both tenant and landlord work, which differs quite a bit. I am constantly on the phone and driving. I can take anywhere between 30 to 100 calls a day and more than that in emails. Nothing “falls into my lap.” I am always
Learn about her journey: AJT: What is your background? Chanin: My family has been in Atlanta for many generations, so growing up here was a great experience. As a child, there was always something going on because I was one of four siblings. We all attended The Galloway School from 2 on, and weekend life centered around Or VeShalom. Interestingly, my great-great-grandfather helped start the synagogue. After Galloway, I graduated from College of Charleston (‘09.)
Marrissa Chanin started as a front desk secretary to learn the commercial real estate business, then took top honors 10 years later.
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AJT: How did your father influence you? Chanin: My dad started his firm in 1994, specializing in the development of unanchored shopping centers. He has high expectations with an ability to see capabilities in others. He encourages me to try harder and go “above and beyond.” Like a good coach, he shows the way, but made me do the work.” AJT: How would you assess doing well in 2020, the COVID year? Chanin: Until I saw the numbers, I didn’t think 2020 was a great year. On the ground, it really didn’t seem like it was playing out well. Because of the pandemic, there were just so many struggles. Leasing was at a complete standstill for over a quarter. I spent most of that time working with our existing tenants on pandemic-induced concessions and deferments. Throughout the shutdown, you’d find me in my son’s playroom with my laptop or taking him on walks while on calls. His nap time became my get-it-done time! Dad was able to coach me on the ‘08 downturn and his experiences with other real estate crises. That gave me the drive to push forward.
AJT: How do you see 2021 playing out? Chanin: 2021 should fare better than 2020. Working both the landlord and tenant side, I see several avenues. From the landlord’s side, rent collections are picking up and tenants are showing increased optimism. From the tenant’s perspective, it has been a busy first quarter helping clients expand and find new locations. For established operators, there’s good opportunity in the fast casual space. AJT: Describe your progression at Riverwood. Chanin: A little over 10 years ago, I began as a front desk secretary. I had a lot to prove, so I did everything I could to learn the industry. It was only over time that I branched out into other aspects. I have a 20-month-old who keeps me on my toes. He’s what you’d call a “mover and a shaker.” I love spending every minute outside of work with him, husband Jack and our two dogs. AJT: Do you think females have an equal playing field in commercial real estate? Chanin: No, it’s very clear that we have a harder time in all avenues of business, not just commercial real estate. I see that as an opportunity, and one that I think Riverwood has benefited heavily from. The majority of Riverwood is female, and my fellow partner is also a full-time working mom. While I do believe that we’re not taken as seriously sometimes because we’re women, we haven’t let that stop us. I might even say that drives us! Dad Ron concluded, “I am very proud of Marrissa. She has worked very hard to learn the business and earn her award. She could and would perform well in any company. Some day she will run Riverwood, and I will be happy to see that.” ì
Bitcoin: Hot Air or ‘New’ Gold? By Marcia Caller Jaffe
ing BTC as a cult investment. I think bitcoin will keep going up, but wouldn’t bet a lot on Cryptocurrency may be revolutionizthat. Someone against my advice, bought at ing the world monetary system, but some $6,000, now is worth $60,000.” compare it to “air” with rocket volatility In his Current Affairs article last month, fringing on fraud. Experienced financial “Why Cryptocurrency Is a Giant Fraud,” advisors scratch their heads while others writer Nathan Robinson is not so nuanced. view it as a golden ticket. Note that bitcoin He admonished getting past the rhetoric and is just one in the more than 4,000 in the illusions. “Using it doesn’t create greater secryptocurrency category. Even Facebook is curity or safety for one’s finances,” Robinson jumping on board. stated. “It is not convenient or free. Its volaKenny Baer, managing partner of Baer tility makes it functionally useless as a curWealth Management, weighed in. “Historirency… cryptocurrency also offers new and cally, an investment in any crypto behaves scary ways that you can actually lose all of like a commodity in that it has very high your money.” volatility and low expected rates of return. Jay Starkman, a highly respected AtlanEd Mendel warns of crypto uncertainty Kenny Baer warns to go into crypto with eyes That doesn’t mean you can’t make a lot of ta tax expert in public accounting, warned, with governments and lack of wide open and a small portfolio portion. money buying at the right time, but the risk “[The] IRS is concerned about anyone using underlying intrinsic value. is greater than you probably realize. If it a virtual currency (for example Bitcoin) and keeps you from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), then it’s well blessing to facilitate crypto investing. It’s becoming more has a new question on returns that everyone must answer.” mainstream to invest in digital currencies. There’s likely a worth a dabble.” Baer concludes, “Go in with eyes wide open as a small Baer likens bitcoin to a currency, no different than the lot more upside in the long term as more assets flow in. portfolio part. As an advisor, my job is to maximize return U.S. dollar or Japanese yen. “Can the price of gold or the Would I buy this second? and minimize risk. I can more or less mathematically do Probably not. Large selloffs must be the time to buy. that in public markets. Is crypto currency the wave of value of the U.S. dollar go up? Does the value of a Picasso or a Rembrandt have a ceiling?” He added, “It’s buying some- I would only buy after drops of 25 to 30 percent from the the future, does it take over the U.S. dollar? I doubt it, but thing that’s only value is what the next guy/girl is willing recent highs.” Note that as of April 25, one bitcoin equals I certainly wouldn’t have told you 20 years ago that Apple to pay. It’s not creating anything. If you buy Coca-Cola, $49,969 dollars. computers would be tops in providing cell phones to the Private investor Reg Regenstein muses, “There is world.” ì Apple, Amazon, Tesla or any business (public or private) you are making no way you or I could understand the rationale for buyan investment in that business. You’re purchasing the right to future cash flows and that’s more or less what the price on which That will make you feel and look better! that company is There are more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies flooding the based. The price market. Even Facebook has one. of a bitcoin is only what the market says it’s Tennis Elbow Patellar worth. The market can say it’s worthless tomorrow because it has no functional use, nor does it create any profTendonitis Tendonitis its.” Arthritis Plantar Fasciitis Ed Mendel, co founder of Ned Davis Research, and and many more.... Davis, Mendel & Regenstein, stated, “No one understands how it originated or even where it is presently. It has useful purposes like doing drug deals and money laundering, or as a trading vehicle. Unlike gold, it has no underlying Non-Invasive way to Burn Fat intrinsic value. You can take a gold coin to deep Africa and buy something, which is not true for bitcoin on a comand Build Muscle puter, which can be hacked and dependent on electricity. … Just the rumor of the U.S. cracking down on money laundering sent bitcoin down 18 percent in minutes. Recently Turkey banned it. Other governments can ban it if it becomes a threat.” Brian Lieberman, a private wealth advisor, offered his take. “Up until 2020 I didn’t see crypto currencies becomWWW.TBTOFGA.COM ing an asset class. Now it seems fairly visible that a new asset class has been born. Bitcoin is becoming ‘digital gold.’ 750 Hammond Drive, Bldg 8, Suite 100 It gained a lot of validity as I watched a number of highAtlanta, GA, 30328 profile corporations invest in it. The banks are giving the
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ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 53
DINING Veteran Restaurateur Defines Tzedakah By Marcia Caller Jaffe Randy Adler’s 35-year career of feeding Atlantans dovetails into perhaps his most meaningful moments yet. After his Brooklyn upbringing and graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., he earned his “food cred.” Adler headed to Atlanta in 1983 to open The Ritz-Carlton’s high-falutin kitchen. Subsequently, he worked at Affairs to Remember (where he still has an office), then his own The Preferred Cater & Preferred To-Go retail store, to open Babs restaurant Midtown 18 years ago, which now serves as his headquarters. COVID barreled in, and Adler pledged to help those who might fall through the cracks. In April 2020 he launched the nonprofit The Tzedakah Project to provide meals and services to those who became jobless during the pandemic, especially people in the hospitality industry where large-scale events folded like a deck of cards. Adler knows about “doing the right thing” after serving as a member of the board of Jewish Family & Career Services and the boards of the planning and allocations com-
Charismatic Randy Adler thinks holistically and practices composting.
mittees of the Atlanta Jewish Federation. After recently losing his mother, Adler took another leap. “My parents were role models where giving was emphasized despite our own limited resources. We just launched The Tiger Lily [Memorial] project in memory of my mother Marcia, with a city block” for the memorial and community garden in East Atlanta, he said.
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The Pasta Fagoili soup is rich and hearty with dark and light beans and bay leaves in a light tomato base.
To-Go items are well-packaged and garnished.
servings. Adler knows how to organize and move The restaurant menu is wholesome and projects along quickly for The Tzedakah Proj- progressive: Sweet Potato Hash with Brusect. “We got legal fees donated and helped sels sprouts, leeks and spices; Tunisian Style fight isolation and loneliness by connecting Shakshuka; Wild Mushroom Peppery Aruthrough yoga, BeltLine tours and beer trivia. gula Mozzarella Omelet; Venezuelan Style Everything is gratis. We started from basi- Corn Pancakes; Harissa Eggplant; Tostados; cally nothing.” Moroccan Stew; Bagel Omelet; and “Eggslut,” Adler is based out of Babs, an a la carte a Babs Classic on brioche, chived, whipped kitchen with chef-crafted specials, take- eggs and caramelized onions with sriracha out and frozen to-go drizzle. Many items items. “We can seat offer “Put an egg on 29 inside, 23 outdoors it” and entrees range and 75 for a stand-up from $9.75 to $15.95. cocktail party. The Bubbles (drinks) bistro atmosphere has are a fun addition: great al fresco patio Classic and creative dining with a boheBellinis, sangrias and mian, yet quaint flair. saki. And you can’t Some of the recipes leave without dessert: like Blueberry French Brooklyn style crumb Toast are Mom’s. We cake, red velvet cake are doing a huge frowith cream cheese zen takeout business. icing, cream cheese Our frozen food line brownies, jumbo has helped keep our black and white cookstaff of seven emies. ployed and has been Babs could just as a great way to spread easily be in Midtown Babs fits well in Midtown with our brand.” Adler is its quirky and quaint style. Manhattan, for all also a proponent of its character, variety composting and recycling. and quirkiness. Adler is well-known for sayFrom the freezer, Babs stocks home- ing, “We are the company we keep.” He does, made soups, such as matzo ball, beef barley indeed, live up to his tzedakah roots. “My and smoky split pea. Then there’s butternut 93-year-old father is still alive and thrilled squash lasagna, with goat cheese; corn beef with all this activity.” and cabbage; quiche Lorraine; risotto; Lebanese roasted eggplant and chickpeas; maca- Babs is located at 814 Juniper Street, open 8:30 roni and cheese with caramelized squash; a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, “Slap your Mama” corned bread and butter- closed Monday and Tuesday, and available for milk biscuits, and much more. Our favorite private events and catering, https://www.babsoup was the Pasta Fagioli, a full- bodied com- smidtown.com/. Check Facebook for updates bination of hearty firm dark and light beans and specials, https://www.facebook.com/Babin a mellow, not too salty tomato base with sMidtown/. ì lots of bay leaves. One container was four
Atlanta Housewife Kandi Burress hired Jordan Hackworth to design her master bath (shown here) and daughter’s bathroom.
Chai Style Home
Next Gen Designer Has Bold New Take One to watch on the Atlanta design scene, Jordan Hackworth of J Hackworth Interiors lends a cheerful wake-up call with a modern Marcia spin on hyper functionality. Caller Jaffe As a design chameleon, we photographed his own historic loft, his star-struck discovery voyage with an “Atlanta Housewife” popstar, and his imprint on a rebuilt family home. Having worked as a set designer, Hackworth said, “Eight years in Los Angeles as a design producer was a crash course in materials, installation and functioning in near-unrealistic time frames. I still see design as a film, with characters, writing dialogue between elements, and telling a story to entertain my ‘client audience.’” Hackworth represents a new generation of unsnobby designers who make a
splash with what’s meant to be lived in. Crank up the volume on Hackworth’s scenarios. Jaffe: Share your journey into your design world. Hackworth: I’ve always been a bit of a misfit. Through my awkward years at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy, a Jewish Family Service’s art therapist taught me to express myself creatively. It was then clear that I knew I would have a career in the arts. My 11-year-old bedroom was a canvas. I painted the walls marigold with white trim and bronze accents. There began a passion for transforming spaces. I attended film and TV school in Boston. My degree in directing taught me to be the ringleader of a diverse circus of people, ultimately responsible for bringing a theoretical scene on paper with moving parts. Jaffe: Describe your own digs. Hackworth: It’s a haunted, magical loft in Cabbagetown. The Stacks were originally built in the 1800s by Jewish immigrants and revived in the 1990s, when
the loft-living movement became ultrachic. The brick walls reach 18 feet to the original wooden ceilings that still have paint remnants and hardware from their original function as a factory. We’re situated against the East side of the BeltLine noted by the urban art, murals and graffiti which inspire me. I spent five months painting an homage to Lichtenstein’s legendary “Spray” from the 1950s to set the tone. My furniture is mid-century Danish alongside nostalgic filament bulbs for lighting, tongue-in-cheek animal portraits, 64 plants, and other natural elements like cowhide rugs and a bull skull. Jaffe: How did you connect to a TV celebrity? Hackworth: After years of working under other designers. ghost-writing for celebrity decorators on TV, I returned to Atlanta to start my own brand and did design services for a tile shop. Atlanta icon, singer, songwriter, business mogul, restaurateur, Kandi Burruss “Atlanta Housewife” was a walk in, shopping for master bath tiles.
I went “off-the-books” to deliver a sketch with large black and white porcelain tiles and two types of marble, graphite trim and gold fixtures. She then asked me to do her daughter’s bathroom. I designed it to resemble the inside of an oyster with dolomite marble, mother of pearl mosaic and chrome fixtures to refract spectrums of color. Her trust gave me confidence. Jaffe: Fill us in on the Pachter home project. Hackworth: Heather Rubin Pachter and I attended the Hebrew Academy together. When she and husband Brian decided to renovate, we pow-wowed. The coolest part of this project was that her mom had tons of old family furniture, which we sifted through and updated. Heather’s daughter’s room combines nostalgic elements in an otherwise modern room, providing a striking dynamic that evokes both new age comfort and kitsch. Jaffe: You created their hall mural? ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 55
Jordan’s own home in the Stacks Lofts was settled by Jewish immigrants in the late 1800’s and has the original factory brick.
Hackworth: When I walked in, I saw a perfect blank white space right in front of me. I pulled a 6-foot canvas and hit it abstractly with fresh bright colors. The Pachters are super cool and very chic, but also kind and playful. I was excited to contribute something that reflected their personalities. Jaffe: Heather, how do you view the Hackworth experience? Pachter: Flexibility, innovation and guidance without pushiness were important to me. Jordan fit the bill. While I knew him on a personal level, this was my first time working with him on a professional level. It was one of the few easy and seamless events during COVID. He was there to guide without losing my aesthetic vision. I am continually amazed how he melded
family heirlooms with new purchases. He allowed me to discover my personal creativeness while keeping me focused and my selections purposeful. Jordan’s guidance continues to be invaluable, and his artistic eye brings a unique quality of quiet, intricate detail. Jaffe: What are tips for hard surfaces? Hackworth: When in doubt, keep it simple. Adding is way easier than subtracting. You MUST use physical samples. Observe them in your home’s lighting, at different times of day, at different angles. Don’t look at two sample options sideby-side. Examine them with the other coordinating elements and remove other options as they will influence how your eyes register the color. This is especially true with stone and paint.
Jordan spent months painting murals for his own interior like a Lichtenstein-like “Spray” drawing, amidst live plants.
Pachter’s ultra-chic master bath has large format marble-look porcelain floor tile and walls with matching Calacatta quartz countertop warmed up with a custom walnut vanity. Walk-in shower with frameless glass door, marble mosaic shower floor, double shower system on opposing walls in chrome.
Jordan created the entryway artwork for the Pachters to add a vibrant first impression. 56 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
CHAI STYLE For natural stone countertops, view the slabs before purchasing as they can vary. Countertops have evolved. Quartz is a durable, semi-manmade material that mimics natural stone without the unpredictability of natural patterning. Quartzite is natural, nearly indestructible and gaining popularity. Bathroom surfaces are seeing a comeback in butcher block vanity tops, matching porcelain or glass vessel sinks adding warmth. For a contemporary look, solid surfaces create a sleek, seamless sink basin and countertop combo with infinity edges and linear drains. Jaffe: Last word. Hackworth: After a brutal 2020, post-pandemic relief will be “fun” designing. White on white may stick around, but we’ll treat it as a clean slate for nostalgic elements evoking joy. Elaborate wall coverings, creative customizations, vintage pieces in modern rooms, and an integration of indoor/outdoor spaces with plants galore will compose an exciting movement. Stay away from anything too trendy. The home improvement scene in Atlanta is like the Wild West. Hire a designer who listens well. It will save time, money, and they’ll be your line of defense with contractors only interested in finishing the job.” ì Visit J Hackworth Interiors on Instagram @jhackworthinteriors or jhackworthinteriors.com Hackworth poses with Italian greyhound Alaska, whom he says “rules the roost.”
Hachworth’s loft has original brick walls and a skull that goes with his affinity for natural elements .
Counter and backsplash are white and gray with translucent veins of pink and green reflecting throughout the room. Brushed nickel fixtures, simple mini cans for even, bright lighting plus under-cabinet accent lights.
Heather Rubin Pachter relaxes on the kitchen island that Hackworth designed with Princess Quartzite. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 57
CALENDAR THURSDAY, MAY 27 ‘Labzik: Tales of a Clever Pup’ – Streaming until June 5. Adapted from a 1935 book of children’s stories by Yiddish author Chaver Paver, the bilingual Yiddish-English short film from Theater Emory follows the (mis)adventures of a clever mutt named Labzik and the working-class Jewish family that adopts him. Balancing playful humor with socialist realism, the stories find Labzik and the other residents of Brooklyn up against social and political forces that are no less relevant today. For the streaming link, visit https://bit.ly/3uQfEkK.
This Can Happen – 12 p.m. Rabbi Ari Sollish of Atlanta’s Intown Jewish Academy will offer This Can Happen, a new six-session course by the acclaimed Rohr Jewish Learning Institute that will address a pressing question on many minds: is the current situation in Israel going to get any better? Visit https://bit.ly/3vBhPIW to register.
Preserving Holocaust History: Collecting Oral Testimonies and Researching Family Fates – 12 to 1 p.m. Join fellow Georgians and others across the
MAY 27 – JUNE 9 Southeast for a live digital program featuring representatives from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Documentation, who collect, preserve and make accessible to the public a vast collection of Holocaust records. Learn how the museum continues its acquisition efforts despite the pandemic and about the meticulous research process offered to Holocaust survivors, their families and others wishing to discover more about the fate of those persecuted. Visit https://bit.ly/3eTqYpo to register.
Exploring Broadway: Love Songs – 4 to 5:30 p.m. Since “I love you” is – more or less – easily said, if in song, the sentiment must be expressed in a more clever, less cliché way. Go on a musical journey of love songs from over 30 Broadway shows. Join instructor James Sokol and the Marcus Jewish Community Center to explore the creative ways lyrics of love are expressed in a variety of melodies creating charming patter songs, soaring ballads, heartbreaking torch songs and more! Learn interesting tidbits about the shows themselves. Register at https://bit.ly/3fmxTry.
#EndJewishHatred – 6 p.m. Join Chery Dorchinsky, Elliot Friedland, and Alicia Post on Clubhouse to discuss advocacy, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. This is a place to learn strategies and more. Visit https://bit.ly/3fmEpyw to get link.
Significant Others of Addicts Support Group – 1 to 2 p.m. Join Sally Anderson from Jewish Family and Career Services for a weekly free support group for spouses, partners and/or significant others of those struggling with addiction. Visit https://bit.ly/3t53zr5 to register. ICON and IAC Women in Tech – 2 to 3:30 p.m. Meet Rona Elbaz, director of global account management at BetterUp. Elbaz will share the story of her professional and personal journey and talk about how to make lemonade out of life’s lemons – a story about resilience and life values. RSVP at https:// bit.ly/33DEhW3.
Jennifer Weiner, "That Summer" – 8 to 9 p.m. MJCCA Book Festival in Your Living Room and the National JCC Literary Consortium Present: A Very Special Evening with Jennifer Weiner, “That Summer” In Conversation with Rebecca Serle. Visit https://bit. ly/3ufWowR for tickets.
FRIDAY, MAY 28 Virtual Acoustic Shabbat – Weekly Sabbath Celebration – 6 to 6:45 p.m. Soulful melodies, prayers and words of inspiration with Rabbi Brian Glusman from the Marcus Jewish Community Center. Includes “Mi Sheberach” (prayers for healing) and “Mourner’s Kaddish.” Receive links to watch by visiting https:// bit.ly/2NVDN9v
to 10:45 a.m. Study the Torah portion and recite some prayers with Rabbi Brian Glusman from the Marcus Jewish Community Center. Includes “Mi Sheberach” (prayer for recovery) and “Mourner’s Kaddish.” Our weekly virtual Shabbat celebration is FREE and open to all. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/3v0H7Ab.
SUNDAY, MAY 30
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. This ongoing class from Intown Jewish Academy probes the esoteric through a unique program of English text-based study. No prior Kabbalistic experience required. Remember: The best part of waking up is coffee in your cup and Kabbalah in your “kop” (head, in Yiddish)! Find more information at https://bit.ly/3kN0vMO. Chair Yoga – 11 a.m.to 12 p.m. This class will move your whole body through a complete series of seated and standing yoga poses. Chair support is offered to safely perform a variety of postures for increased flexibility, balance and range of movement. Equipment needed: Chair, strap (tie, towel, band). Register at https://bit.ly/3fnF7vo.
Find more events and submit items for our online and print calendars at:
Calendar sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish Connector, an initiative of the AJT. In order to be considered for the print edition, please submit events three to four weeks in advance. Contact community relations director Diana Cole for more information at Diana@atljewishtimes.com. 58 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
SATURDAY, MAY 29 Story Time with Rabbi Jordan – 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. Join Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein from Congregation Dor Tamid for Story Time on Facebook. Receive the link by visiting https://bit.ly/2PrDbsn. Virtual Shabbat Study and Prayer – 10
Jewish Summer Cinema – 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Intown Jewish Academy’s First
Annual Jewish Summer Cinema. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and treat yourself to a memorable experience with sunsets, gorgeous city views, great food, and fun Jewish films on our huge outdoor screen! Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/3gSCTqr.
CANDLE-LIGHTING TIMES Behalotecha Friday, May 28, 2021, light candles at 8:23 p.m. Saturday, May 29, 2021, Shabbat ends at 9:25 p.m.
MONDAY, MAY 31 Talking Heads – 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Talking Heads is a lively group discussion from the Marcus Jewish Community Center 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. All are encouraged to participate and give their thoughts and opinions on the topic of the day. Visit https://bit.ly/3u4ADPO to register.
Lunch & Learn: Reading Torah with Rabbi Gottfried – 12 to 1 p.m. Join Your Jewish Bridge and Rabbi Pamela Gottfried from Congregation Bet Haverim in examining classical and modern midrash (interpretations) related to the weekly Torah reading and draw lessons from Jewish wisdom about how to live and be our best selves today. All are welcome, no previous experience necessary. Visit https://bit.ly/35zg6tc for Zoom Link.
Shelach Friday, June 4, 2021, light candles at 8:27 p.m. Saturday, June 5, 2021, Shabbat ends at 9:29 p.m.
dabble in Hebrew numerology, or pray from the Hebrew siddur. Visit https:// bit.ly/3t2j3vj to register.
TUESDAY, JUNE 1 Virtual LinkedIn Workshop – 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Join Jewish Family & Career Services for a two-hour virtual LinkedIn workshop designed to give job seekers and those in career transition a solid base of information to strengthen their brand on LinkedIn. This workshop will cover how to set up a profile and use the job search resources offered through LinkedIn. Visit https:// bit.ly/3eqFjuM to register. Brain Health Bootcamp – 1 to 3 p.m. If you are recognizing symptoms of cognitive changes or have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, our fun and social class can help you strengthen your mind and body to stay sharp, especially during these times. The class will combine gentle physical exercise, including yoga and exercises to help reduce stress and anxiety, along with a full hour of brain exercises done in a non-stress and engaging way. To sign up, contact Georgia Gunter at 770677-9421, https://bit.ly/39hGqsM.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2 Torah Studies – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Intown Jewish Academy’s Torah Studies program brings you the tradition of classical Jewish learning in a series of inspiring and engaging weekly classes. The lessons probe the depths of contemporary Torah thought, with a special focus on issues surrounding spirituality, the human psyche, love and relationships. Every experience offers meaningful and timely lessons, from the most timeless of texts. You will walk away surprised, inspired, and knowing more about who you are — and who you can be. Register at https://bit. ly/3sQA9MQ. Introduction to The Holocaust – 5 to 6:30 p.m. Join the Museum of Jewish Heritage for an adult education course offering an introduction to the Holocaust. Each class will include a full lecture followed by student Q&A. Visit https://bit.ly/3hH8Dil to register.
THURSDAY, JUNE 3 Impact Investing through a Gender Lens – 12 to 1 p.m. Join Atlanta Jewish Foundation and Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta to learn about Impact Investing through a Gender Lens. Visit https://bit.ly/2SjgkAJ to learn more.
identity as the descendant of Holocaust survivors. She’ll be interviewed by Stephanie Butnick, Tablet magazine deputy editor and co-host of the leading Jewish podcast “Unorthodox.” Visit https://bit.ly/3hDzZGl to register.
FRIDAY, JUNE 4 Virtual Acoustic Shabbat – Weekly Sabbath Celebration – 6 to 6:45 p.m. Soulful melodies, prayers and words of inspiration with Rabbi Brian Glusman from the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta. Includes “Mi Sheberach” (prayers for healing) and “Mourner’s Kaddish.” Visit https://bit.ly/2NVDN9v to get the Facebook and YouTube link.
SUNDAY, JUNE 6
The Old and the New in Tel Aviv/Jaffa – 10 to 11 a.m. The Atlanta Israel Coalition presents Re-Discovering the Land of Israel, a series of five virtual tours of Israel with tour guide David Sussman. The Old and the New in Tel Aviv/Jaffa: Described as the city that never sleeps, Tel Aviv is Israel’s financial capital. Let’s discover its roots, beaches, diversity, and the place where Israel’s independence was discovered. Visit https:// bit.ly/3ufPBTQ to register. Jewish Summer Cinema -- 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Intown Jewish Academy’s First Annual Jewish Summer Cinema. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and treat yourself to a memorable experience with sunsets, gorgeous city views, great food, and fun Jewish films on our huge outdoor screen! Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/3gSCTqr.
MONDAY, JUNE 7 The Hebrew Course – 8 to 9 p.m. Whether you never learned how to read Hebrew, or your Hebrew reading is a bit rusty, this course is for you! In just five easy-to-follow lessons from Intown Jewish Academy you will become fluent in reading the holy tongue. This is the perfect chance to gain the skills to be able to open up the Hebrew Bible and read from the original text, or
Jewish Education Loan Fund Virtual Event – 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Jon Gordon has inspired readers and audiences around the world with over 20 books to his name. Featured on television, in magazines and newspapers worldwide, Gordon’s 2016 TED Talk debuted to rave reviews. Visit https://bit. ly/3eecvVZ to register.
“Horse Crazy” and the Holocaust with Sarah Maslin Nir – 7 to 8 p.m. Join the Museum of Jewish Heritage for a program exploring Maslin Nir’s family background, fascinating career, and
Lunch & Learn: Reading Torah with Rabbi Gottfried – 12 to 1 p.m. Join Your Jewish Bridge and Rabbi Pamela Gottfried from Congregation Bet Haverim and examine classical and modern midrash (interpretations) related to the weekly Torah reading and draw lessons from Jewish wisdom about how to live and be our best selves today. All are welcome, no previous experience necessary Visit https://bit.ly/35zg6tc to get Zoom Link. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 59
TUESDAY JUNE 8
FIDF Live – 8:30 to 9:15 p.m. Moving stories, exclusive base visits, donor spotlights. Bringing the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces directly to you. Get more information at https:// bit.ly/2QP5xhn.
A Conversation With Menachem Rosensaft About the Second Generation – 7 to 8 p.m. Join Rosensaft and Ellen Bachner Greenberg, founder of Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (2G Greater New York) for a conversation about Rosensaft’s life, the legacy and the questions he faces today. This program is co-presented by the Museum of Jewish Heritage and Descendants of Holocaust Survivors. Visit https://bit. ly/342XMaI for Zoom link.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9 Yiddish “Vinkl” (The Yiddish Corner) – 11:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. A fun discussion group with the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Yiddish (mostly) to learn vocabulary and popular idioms in Yiddish. No prior Yiddish knowledge required. Register at https://bit.ly/2S5WDwk. A Place for Us: Best Practices for Trans and Gender Expansive Individuals – 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This workshop from Jewish Family & Career Services will help clinicians grasp terms, ideas and situations that trans and nonbinary youth are experiencing today. Participants will be able to assess their own practices as they relate to trans60 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
gender youth and be able to take with them an overarching understanding of the coming out process. Discussions will include policy and paperwork, talking to parents, creating safety within the group process, and how to effectively be an ally to trans and nonbinary youth. Register at https://bit. ly/3hHZgim.
Community Services: Anti-Defamation League – The Coronavirus Surfaces Fear, Stereotypes and Scapegoating: A blog post from ADL to help provide accurate information, explore emotions and, most importantly, play a role in reducing stereotyping and scapegoating. To read more, www.bit.ly/3dp5a3t. Atlanta Community Food Bank Text for Help SMS Function –The ACFB’s mission to provide nutritious food to the people who need it has reached a major milestone toward access to food for all. The Text for Help is ‘findfood’ (no space). Responses will include a list of three different nearby pantries and their contact information. For more information, www. acfb.org.
appointment, email us at therapy@ jfcsatl.org or call 770-677-9474. JF&CS - Telehealth Older Adult Services – Aviv Older Adult staff are there to help provide resources, care plans and support for you and your family. Call AgeWell at 1-866-AGEWELL (1-866-243-9355) to find out how they can help. For more information, www.bit.ly/2wo5qzj. Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Resources – The unsettling, fast-moving and unpredictable world of life with COVID-19 is upon us. As we’re all discovering, a worldwide pandemic disrupts everyone on an unprecedented scale. For updates and more information, www. bit.ly/3ahrNVM. Please send Community Service Opportunities to email@example.com.
Synagogue Livestreaming Services:
JF&CS - Telehealth Counseling Services – Now offering telehealth options via phone or videoconference for current and new clients to help our community during this crisis. For more information about our therapy services or to make a telehealth
Congregation Or Hadash – Shabbat services Friday at 6:30 p.m. Saturday morning services at 9:15 a.m. Minyan Sunday and Tuesday mornings. To participate and get Zoom link, www.or-hadash.org. Congregation Shearith Israel – Daily and Shabbat services will continue at regular times through Zoom. They are counting participants in these Zoom services as part of a minyan, allowing members to recite full prayer services including Mourner’s Kaddish. To participate via phone, dial 929-205-6099 and then enter the meeting code 404 873 1743. To be a part of services, visit the Zoom link, www.bit.ly/2wnFWlD. Temple Beth David — Kabbalat Shabbat services every Friday at 7:30 p.m. Shabbat morning service and Torah Study every Saturday at 11 a.m. on our YouTube channel, (https://www. youtube.com/channel/UC2GcbAI_ HdLRSG5hhpi_8Cw). Temple Beth Tikvah Livestreaming Services – Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays at 10 a.m. To join on Facebook, www.facebook.com/TempleBethTikvah/ or www.bit.ly/2ZlCvrr.
Israeli American Council – IAC @ Home brings you the most innovative content online while helping build a national community with Israel at heart. With activities for kids, teens, young professionals and adults, you can stay connected to Hebrew, Israeli and Jewish heritage, online activism and to one another. IAC @Home lets you enjoy a coastto-coast community right from your own home. For more information, www.israeliamerican.org/home. JF&CS - Emergency Financial Assistance – JF&CS is here to provide emergency aid for individuals and families. Please call 770-677-9389 to get assistance. For more information, www.bit.ly/2wo5qzj.
Congregation Etz Chaim – Erev Shabbat Musical, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. Shabbat morning services at 9:30 a.m. Join in for weekly livestream Shabbat services. To join, www.bit. ly/3gWL02s.
Temple Kol Emeth Services – Shabbat services on Fridays at 8 p.m. View our services on www.kolemeth.net or www.facebook.com/Temple Kol Emeth-Marietta, GA. Temple Sinai Livestream Services – Temple Sinai has live Shabbat services on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. For more information and to view services, www. bit.ly/2BXRfTF.
Ahavath Achim Synagogue – Shabbat evening services at 6:30 p.m. Shabbat morning services at 9:30 a.m. To watch and for more information, www.bit.ly/38dS4Ed. Congregation Beth Shalom’s Virtual Services – Erev Shabbat, Fridays at 6:30 p.m., Shabbat service, Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Zoom minyan Sunday at 9:30 a.m. For more information, www.bethshalom.net.
The Temple Livestreaming Services – Find live streaming services here, www.the-temple.org. Please send Synagogue and Temple Streaming Services to diana@ atljewishtimes.com. Check the Atlanta Jewish Connector for updates: www.atlantajewishconnector.com.
CONNECTOR CHATTER Directory Spotlight www.atlantajewishconnector.com
Young Jewish Professionals
Atlanta Jewish Academy
In conversation with Shelbelle Lapidus, director with her husband Rabbi Leivy Lapidus
In conversation with Rabbi Ari Leubitz, head of school How long has your organization been in Atlanta? Atlanta Jewish Academy was incorporated on July 1, 2014, as a result of the merger of Greenfield Hebrew Academy and Yeshiva Atlanta. Founded in 1953, GHA had a history of distinction and achievement. Founded in 1971, YA was Atlanta’s oldest co-educational Jewish high school with a remarkable record of academic achievement. How do you cater to the younger members of the community? We are the only Early Childhood Development to 12th grade Jewish school in Atlanta. Our community is diverse, with programs and studies for children at different levels of Judaic observance. We offer an exceptional general and Judaic studies program, both individualized learning experiences for the students. Where do you see your organization in 10 years? AJA is already a strong institution with roots touching every aspect of Jewish Atlanta, and we intend to continue on that path. We believe that the future of the Jewish community is in our building. How does your organization help the community? AJA embodies the ideals of community, individual development and educational innovation. The AJA community is part of a bigger Jewish community in Atlanta. We have strong connections with the various synagogues in and around Atlanta and teach our faculty and students to build strong relationships, not only with their school peers, but outside the AJA walls as well.
How long has your organization been in Atlanta? Young Jewish Professionals was founded by Rabbi Eliyahu and Dena Schusterman in 1997. It has operated under different names since then, and in 2015 the program grew to a point that a full-time rabbi was needed for its leadership. Rabbi Leivy and Shelbelle Lapidus are the current directors. How do you cater to the younger members of the community? We are dedicated to continue growing the vibrant and inspired network of young Jewish professionals in their 20s and 30s here in Atlanta. We provide a holistic milieu of Jewish experiences and social events, career-focused professional functions, individual Jewish educational experiences, meaningful spiritual gatherings, and opportunities for authentic relationships. Where do you see your organization in 10 years? We see ourselves as an integral link to Jewish growth, spirituality, and community to the young Jewish professionals of Atlanta. How does your organization help the community? Recognizing the need to create a strong Jewish community for those in their 20s and 30s, YJP has created a space where young Jewish professionals can grow professionally, personally and socially, all in a Jewish environment and judgment-free zone.
Solidarity Sandy Springs In conversation with Laura Schilling, co-president with Ilana Tolk of The Packaged Good, which recently merged with Solidarity Sandy Springs. How long has your organization been in Atlanta? Jennifer Barnes (now president) started Solidarity Sandy Springs in March 2020 in response to people in Sandy Springs going hungry due to COVID. The Packaged Good started in 2014. How do you cater to the younger members of the community? The merged organization [offers an] opportunity for children to volunteer helping set up the pantry; helping people shop; coloring bags and stuffing them; and delivering them to homeless, elderly, veterans and others. On the receiving end, children shopped at Solidarity Sandy Springs for Mother’s Day last year (everything is free, and they got great gifts for their moms). Easter baskets and Christmas wish lists Solidarity Sandy Springs made happen.
Where do you see your organization in 10 years? We hope that the organization is no longer needed because everyone will be fed and no one hungry in Sandy Springs. Reality is someone nearby may be hungry, so feeding more and more and spreading the distance to make sure no one in metro Atlanta will be hungry. How does your organization help the community? We are giving vaccines out for free and helping people get them. For the second vaccine, we are encouraging people with gift cards. We are helping give volunteer opportunities to children. Also, helping to make sure no one goes hungry. Also giving Easter baskets for children who would not have; Christmas gifts for those that would not have; Mother’s Day gifts for kids who would not have to give; [providing] food on the table and more.
ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 61
COMMUNITY Atlanta Unites with Israel Crowds of Jewish Americans and Israelis gathered May 12 in the parking lot across from Sandy Springs Pe r f o r m i n g Stephanie Nissani Arts Center to rally for unity and peace in Israel amid barrages of rockets fired at Israeli civilians over the previous three days. The rally was organized by Americans United with Israel and the Israeli American Council Atlanta in just a day, bringing about 300 people who filled an entire block. The rally began with the distribution of “Israel is Under Attack” and “I Stand with Israel” posters, Israeli flags and stickers. “There is no excuse for this violent
that devastated Israel. “It’s sad that we have do to [this rally] but it speaks to the strength and organizations and resilience of our community to pull together.” Robbins also stressed the importance of community gatherings. “We are all hurting. We are all [sad] that we cannot be there for our family in distress. It [the rally] sends a message that we do stand with Israel and that we have a definitive strong connection to Israel and it’s a very strong obligation that we have.” He emphasized the significance of showing local and national governments “our alliance, because we need to secure Israel.” Anat Sultan-Dadon, Israel consul Pro-Israel supporters before a rally in Sandy Springs last week. general to the Southeast, shared her salem, where dozens of Palestinians fear pose of the rally was not to take a politi- agony at the rally about the Israel-Paleseviction, unsettled Israeli and Palestin- cal stance but rather stand behind Israel tinian escalated conflict, the rising toll ian election status, and pent-up frustra- in solidarity and support. of dead and injured, cities destroyed and tion among Israeli Arabs. Angel told the AJT earlier in the continuous terror frightening Israel. At last week’s gathering in Sandy day that aside from considerable sup“A 5-year-old died from intentional casualty in his own house, where a child is supposed to feel the safest. I think that this is mostly painful about Israel being targeted by a terror organization like Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Photos by Nathan Posner // Cheryl Dorchinsky speaks at the Sandy Anat Sultan-Dadon, consul general of Israel other extreme Eric Robbins, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Springs rally in support of Israel. to the Southeast, addresses the crowd. organizations, Atlanta, speaks to pro-Israel supporters at the rally. who are comvirus of hate that is spreading,” said Springs, Dorchinsky rallied, “Now it’s port, American Jews mitting a douCheryl Dorchinsky, executive director the time to speak out and [proclaim] that should counter false ble war-crime from of Americans United with Israel and the Israel has the right to defend itself today information and intentionAtlanta Israel Coalition. She hosted and and every day!” To which those gathered social media and ally targeting mainstream news. moderated the rally, inviting community responded with applause and whistles. Israeli civilians, While more people continued to ar- “Part of the reason leaders and public figures to support Iswhile doing so rael after the worst fighting in that coun- rive at the rally, Yoav Zilber, chair of the we organized the from their own try between Palestinians and Israelis IAC Atlanta and an Israeli native, took rally so quickly is to civilian popusince 2014 intensified that Monday night. the stage and shared his anguish over avoid any counterlation, using That’s when militants in Gaza fired the severe unrest in his city. He began protesters.” them as human The rain of rockrockets at the Tel Aviv metro area, the his oration with a timer that reached 15 shields.” southern city of Ashkelon and Israel’s seconds as an implication of the time ets aimed at Israeli Sulton-DaYoav Zilber of the Israeli American Council in main airport. At least seven Israelis have it takes for an Israeli civilian to reach civilians from Gaza don also remiAtlanta speaks to the pro-Israel supporters. been killed in the air strikes and doz- shelter from the moment sirens blare. began after weeks of nisced about ens wounded. More casualties were re- “Fifteen seconds is the time that a family rising Israeli-Palesthe 1973 peace ported among Palestinians when Israel from Ashdod has to scoop up their [sleep- tinian tension in East Jerusalem. It then agreement and ended with the song of returned fire. The violence coincided ing] kids from bed in order to find shel- escalated to a full operation by the Israel “Am Israel Chai” (the people of Israel live) with heightened religious observances, ter,” Zilber said. He added that his “sisters Defense Forces as a result of massive at- as the crowd sang along. including the Muslim fasting month of had to wake up five times last night and tack on Israelis and Arab civilians living Alexandria Shuval-Weiner, senior Ramadan and Yom Yerushalayim, the rush their kids into a safe room. No child, inside the country. rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell, During the May 12 rally, Eric Rob- later closed the rally with the Israeli anday of Jerusalem. As reported by national no elderly, no person has to live like that. bins, president and CEO of the Jewish them, “Hatikvah.” ì and Israeli media, factors contributing to No person should sleep inside a shelter.” Both Zilber and Shaked Angel, IAC Federation of Greater Atlanta, expressed the violence included police measures in Jerusalem’s Old City, unrest in east Jeru- regional director, agreed that the pur- grief to the AJT over the rain of rockets 62 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
Did College Prepare You for Your Current Job? going to call it, Skeeter Eaters!” Naturally, During this time, my mother was di- champion. And for my Eagle Scout project, she was shocked, but we always support agnosed with cancer and moved to Hous- I oversaw the building of a permanent one another. ton for treatment at MD Anderson Cancer suspension bridge connecting areas of the In 2013, I advertised in Jewish social Center. I enrolled for pre-nursing at the Toco Hills community. media, and within months I had a flourishing outdoor mosquito-control business. Customers began asking for more services, and I hired workers. Some of the workers had additional skills and were eager to use their expertise. My company is Levi Siegelman thrilled onlookers as Hallie Chasen pivoted from working now called G.LIPS a 9-year-old street performer. with children to helping adults. Home Services; each letter represents a service: gutter and roof-cleaning; landscap- University of Houston in 1975, but I needed I am committed to leaving people ing; interior and exterior painting; pres- to support my mother and myself dur- with meaningful interactions and posiBy Chana Shapiro sure washing, Skeeter Eaters. ing her treatments and hospitalization. I tive memories. I notice the good in others When I started this business, I was de- completed an eight-week nursing assistant and actively initiate genial conversations. Sometimes one’s early chosen profession turns out to be the right one, and termined to work hard and be happy. Noth- program and worked in hospitals. When With no college degree, I see opportunisometimes one boldly dares to choose ing brings me down. I enjoy accommodat- my mother died, I attended the University ties everywhere. As an entrepreneur, I am again. Four Atlantans consider the rela- ing my customers and creating a bright of Houston, while working as a nursing as- now the proud owner of my own company, sistant. Levi’s Neighborhood Movers. I started 3 1/2 tionship between their youthful plans and spot in their lives. After marrying in 1980, my husband years ago by moving a single sofa, and now their current vocations. Rivka Elbein, acute care research nurse and I spent a year in Jerusalem, where I no houses are too big. I do long-distance I always wanted to be a nurse and was worked in a Shaare Zedek coronary care moves and am expanding, with the goal of Gary Lips, home services provider I studied management information in a high school Future Nurses Club. I grad- unit. I have worked intensive care, home bringing peace of mind at an often-stresssystems and have a B.A. in business. For uated from the University of Texas Health health, [as a] medical records review ful time for my customers. We leave our 14 years, I was a consultant in technology- Science Center in 1980. My first job was in nurse, infection control nurse, and nurse customers with smiles on their faces, and surgical intensive care at epidemiologist. After having children, I we always have a smile on ours. transitioned from Hallie Chasen, real estate agent hospital shift work I graduated from Stern College of Yeto research nursing shiva University in New York, majoring in Houston, Atlanta in early childhood education. Although and Dallas. Cur- I taught for 13 wonderful and fulfilling rently, I am an acute years, I have been a real estate agent for the care research nurse past nine years. in transplant [unit] I was always interested in all kinds at Emory University. of houses. Even after my husband and I bought our first and second homes, I loved Levi Siegelman, visiting open houses and enjoyed going moving company with friends to check out houses they were owner considering buying. Sometimes, I even On the streets helped them negotiate their deals. I realof Jerusalem, the ized that real estate was interesting, and I crowd’s eyes fol- wanted to help people make good decisions lowed the stick about purchasing or selling a home. Gary Lips left the corporate world to work outdoors. Rivka Elbein successfully weathered rising in the air, I decided to try to get my real estate liinterruptions to achieve her career goal. whooping with de- cense. What started out as a part-time hoblight as I, a cute 9-year-old “street perform- by ended up becoming a full-time career related positions with major companies, Houston’s Ben Taub Hospital. In 1973, after high school in Stratford, er,” caught it in my outstretched hand. that I absolutely love. It’s always scary doincluding BellSouth and The Home Depot. I always loved learning new things, ing something new, but I would never have I wanted a change from the corporate envi- Conn., I planned to study nursing at Boston ronment, and I spent a year exploring and University, but first I spent a year in Israel bringing joy to others and celebrating life. known it would work out if I had not taken in a youth leadership program. Returning Montessori middle school provided me a chance in a profession which is so differexperiencing different jobs. One morning, I was outside mowing home, my BU scholarship had been re- with myriad hands-on opportunities to ent from teaching young children. I’ve alour lawn, and I had an epiphany. I came in- scinded; consequently, I took pre-nursing grow skills in business and communica- ways heard the saying, “nothing ventured; side and announced to my wife, “I’m start- requisites at a Bridgeport community col- tion. At Yeshiva High School, I was a two- nothing gained,” and I’m so glad I followed time national Jewish high school wrestling my dream. ì ing my own company, and I know what I’m lege. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 63
OY VEY! HAVE I GOT A PROBLEM... Dear Rachel, a very painful phone call. I am a mother who just got g my Steve.” r son Josh has been bullyin – any“Julie? This is Diane R. You and fumbled for something I reeled, hyperventilated, . gut the to ch pun a ut Talk abo failed me. thing – to say, but words life.” ie. He’s messing up Steve’s “Please rein in your son, Jul year-old … ion, but Whoa! The power of a 10we completed the conversat d overwhelmed. Somehow, an ss ple hel our utd tely trie ple ays com alw felt e I sband and I hav a different planet. My hu wrong? e gon we e hav I felt like I had landed on stly positive. So, where mo be to d an en ldr chi most to be there for our do we fix it? And more importantly, how appreciated. Your suggestions would be Signed, A Bewildered Mom Dear Bewildered Mom, Take a deep breath. This is all part of the journey. Please keep in mind that children are not carbon copies of their parents, nor are parents responsible when their children make poor choices. All we can do, as imperfect humans ourselves, is to try our best with the tools that we have, keep learning, growing and pray. The results are not in our hands. I am happy to offer you suggestions that may possibly be of assistance. However, please consider consulting a professional for guidance regarding this very sensitive issue. Often, a child who engages in bullying behavior is covering up feelings of worthlessness or insecurity. This is NOT because you haven’t built him up and boosted his confidence. Josh is in the “real world,” where social and academic pressures come into play. Does Josh struggle academically and feel dumb, or is he weak in sports or social skills so that he is not accepted by his peers? When a child feels “less than,” he may resort to helping himself feel stronger by stepping on someone weaker. So, what can you do? One no-fail resolution that always pays off is one-on-one time with a parent. Are you and your husband able to spend regular quality time with Josh? Perhaps each of you can aim for a weekly appointment, either taking him out or playing a game with him in the house. Private quality time is a rich investment. It automatically imbues a child with self-esteem. I matter, Josh will realize and internalize. Mom and Dad take time out of their busy schedules just for me. Can you find out if Josh feels inferior in some way? If he struggles in a certain area, can you get him help to overcome the weakness? For example, if he’s a poor sportsman, how about signing him up for a sports league where he will learn skills in an atmosphere of acceptance and camaraderie? Your parent one-on-one time can also revolve around playing sports with him, if it will be enjoyable for Josh. Conversely, if there is an area where he shines, perhaps he can take lessons to become even better in that realm.
Career Mapping Abe and his young son Sam are in synagogue one Shabbos morning when Sam says, “When I grow up, Dad, I want to be a rabbi.” “That’s OK with me, Sam, but what made you decide that?” “Well,” says Sam, “as I have to go to shul on Shabbos anyway, I figure it will be more fun to stand up and shout than to sit down and listen.”
Another recommendation would be to capitalize on positive interactions. “Josh, even though David grabbed the phone just when you were about to use it, you stayed calm! What great self-control!” Research shows that constructive positive feedback will retrain a person’s brain to let go of negative habits and start acting in positive ways, so please capitalize on those moments when he acts appropriately. Josh is not a bully. He is a child engaging in bullying behavior to help himself cope in a challenging world. Viewing him as your precious child with a problem rather than “a mean kid” will also help you reach out to him more effectively. I also recommend slipping in, from time to time, how important it is to treat others nicely, the way we want to be treated. And even if we’re feeling bad or sad, it is never acceptable to hurt someone else. Perhaps a positive incentive chart can be implemented. Julie, you’ve got this! Best of luck, Rachel Atlanta Jewish Times Advice Column Got a problem? Email Rachel, 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! 64 | MAY 31, 2021 ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES
YIDDISH WORD OF THE MONTH Phudnik n. An irritating bore with a Ph.D.; any overeducated bore. “Ever since Barney got his Ph.D. in social psychology, he starts every sentence with the phrase, ‘Existentially speaking …” It is to genets (yawn), like with all phudniks. Derived from the Yiddish nudnik, meaning a pestering, irritating bore. From “Shmegoogle: Yiddish Words for Modern Times” by Daniel Klein.
By: Yoni Glatt, firstname.lastname@example.org Difficulty Level: Challenging 1
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1. "Bullets," in poker slang 5. Prefix with "trust" or "social" 9. Conflict with 14. Sunday salmon choice, for many Jews 15. "Lord of the Rings" star Astin 16. ___ Sophia (Istanbul landmark) 17. Item that can be found on a 23 Down and counters at kosher pizza stores 19. What some might need to solve this puzzle 20. Isr. neighbor 21. Reliable kind of guy 22. Holder on Sukkot 23. Tu follower 24. Casts forth 26. Corona response trigger 30. Ticked-off feeling 31. Common PC connection 34. "___ goes the dynamite" 35. Jewish lady of the first "SNL" cast 37. Unlike many characters played by Stalone, ironically 38. Get-better center 40. Ark, perhaps...or word that fittingly goes into six squares in this puzzle 41. Premium spot at the Gershwin Theatre 43. Personal prayer word 44. "Annie" star Quinn 47. Improve, as a skill
48. Many who have received the Covid vac. 49. The Horned Frogs of Ft. Worth 50. "Time flies" and "If not now, when?" 52. "This is not ___" 54. Bengals, on scoreboards 55. Havdallah item, for some 58. Muted trumpet and loud baby sounds 60. "Cake Boss" cable station 63. Sacha Baron Cohen voices one in "Madagascar" 64. Basic Passover buy 66. Talks wildly 67. R&B singer James 68. Out of the ballpark 69. What Tevas might come in 70. Gray-spotted horse 71. Theater that probably looks especially empty nowadays
11. Currency exchange charge 12. Participate in zemirot 13. Borsalino go-with 18. Ancestor of Haman 22. Land of the leprechaun 23. See 17-Across 25. Sassy lassies 26. Big (original) name in monotheism 27. What infinity has 28. "Left ___ own devices..." 29. Shechem, now 31. Apply to, as an ointment 32. "Sababa" or "OK Boomer", e.g. 33. Bits of memory 36. John the anonymous 39. Locale for Alex Bregman and Kevin Pillar 42. Bone or letter 45. Fridge forerunner that didn't have a lightbulb problem on Shabbat 46. Big Breslov name DOWN 51. Lo ___ goy 1. Bull and Fire 52. 70 degrees, say 2. Quite comfy 53. "It takes ___..." 3. Constantly 55. Some Canon cameras, briefly 4. Like many a fast day 56. Mitzvah for a farmer 5. Invite for Shabbat, say 57. Words before expert or fool 6. Free of clutter 59. Post-shave lotion brand 7. Nevada lake 60. Yom follower 8. Place to find minyan updates, 61. Clark Kent's old flame Lang perhaps 62. Popular gluten-free cereal 9. One who says a lot of Lashon Hara 64. Max Baer or Yuri Foreman, e.g. 10. "The Wizard of Oz" actor Bert 65. Letters with F on erev Shabbat and others
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Israel Bonds. A native of Atlanta, he was one of the youngsters who grew up in the shadow and influence of the old Jewish Educational Alliance. Max is a quiet, easy-going person, superlatively inconspicuous, but a great “doer” who modestly makes things happen. In time, he has become president of the new AJCC and has been greatly active since.
25 Years Ago // May 31, 1996 More than 700 people turned out to celebrate the start of Camp Ramah Darom. Jews from across the Southeast convened on Sunday to celebrate the recent purchase of the 122-acre tract of land that will become the Conservative movement’s regional camp. Next summer, the camp will greet an expected 200 campers. Some $3.2 million of the needed $4 million to open the camp already has been raised. The ceremony’s highlight came when Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim asked his Southeastern colleagues to join him in front of the platform. Then, he and more than two dozen rabbis led onlookers in a spirited rendition of the Hallel, or psalms of praise. The day proved that the Olympics is not the South’s only exciting event, said Rabbi Arnold Goodman of Ahavath Achim Synagogue.
Rabbi Shalom Lewis led psalms of praise for the new Camp Ramah Darom.
75 Years Ago // May 31, 1946 Georgia Gov. Ellis Arnall announced that he has consulted with the state attorney general on action to outlaw the Ku Klux Klan in his state, often referred to as its birthplace. Referring to a recent clan demonstration near Atlanta, Arnall promised that “something would be done” to squelch the Klan, whose antics, he said, brought the name of Georgia “into ridicule.”
On the first day of Shavuos, June 5, at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, 46 boys and girls will be confirmed by Rabbi Harry H. Epstein. These boys and girls will formally consecrate 50 Years // May 28, 1971 themselves to Judaism and Jewish life as was taught them in their 10 years of religious school Max L. Kuniansky will be honored with the Ben J. Massell Memorial Award at a June 6 studies. Each of the confirmands will participate in the holiday service, themselves conductdinner. People who have watched Kuniansky run may wonder how he ever found time to ing the full ritual, will read from the Torah, and deliver sermonettes in explanation of the earn a living – or sire and raise a beautiful family of four. The running has been in the realm significance of the day for them and for Jewish youth. Each confirmand will be presented a of communal and civic service, the inspiration for the newest honor to be paid to him by white leatherette Bible on behalf of the A.A. Sisterhood. ì ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 65
OBITUARIES Sharon Fragale
Sharon Fragale passed away peacefully May 17, 2021, after a brief battle with cancer. She was 72 years old. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Sharon was the best wife, mother, grandma, sister and friend anyone could ask for, and will be forever missed. May her memory be a blessing. Sharon was preceded in death by sister Eileen Maicon and brother Michael Lander. She is survived by her loving husband Michael Fragale; children Pamela Kopp, Helene Dalton and Scott Grubman; son-in-law Joe Dalton; daughter-in-law Heather Grubman; six grandchildren Joshua, Emily, Joseph, Zachary, Leah and Alexis; and her sister Carol Weiss. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the March of Dimes, www. marchofdimes.org. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
Glenda Natkoff Kaplan died May 18, 2021. She was born on March 30, 1937 to Ida and Isadore Natkoff in Atlanta. She graduated from Grady High School in 1954. Glenda met her true love Alan in the summer of 1955 and they wed Feb. 2, 1958. Glenda and Alan were partners in marriage as well as business. Glenda worked with Alan in Supreme Foods as office manager. Family was one of the most important things to Glenda. Even though she was an only child she made sure to stay close with her cousins, their children and her aunts and uncles. Glenda’s biggest joy was her children and grandchildren. She never missed a chance to tell her granddaughters how much Bubbie loved them. Glenda will always be remembered for her generosity through small gifts and her special homemade cards. She was always there for her friends and family in their times of need. Glenda and Alan enjoyed traveling together with friends and going on road trips to visit family. Glenda was a lifelong member of Congregation Shearith Israel. She is survived by her husband Alan; children Jill and Alan Bach and Lance and Gail (Rosenthal) Kaplan; granddaughters Alicia and Michelle Bach and Ariana Kaplan. Rabbi Ari Kaiman officiated at the graveside service at Crest Lawn Cemetery May 21. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to: Congregation Shearith Israel, Be The Difference Foundation, Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta or The William Breman Jewish Home. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. Sign the online guest book at www.dresslerjewishfunerals.com.
David Gary Goldwasser 85, Dunwoody
David Gary Goldwasser, 85, of Dunwoody died May 23, 2021, after an extended battle with cancer. He was the son of the late Harry and May (Friedman) Goldwasser. David was born at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta Aug. 7, 1935. He attended Smiley and S.M. Inman elementary schools and Grady High School, and would reminisce about his experiences riding the streetcar to nursery school and his AZA friendships and activities. David attended the University of Georgia and was a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi before returning to Atlanta to run the family business when his father became ill. David ran the Brooklyn Loan Company with his sister and brother-in-law until they retired and closed the business in 2000. Upon retirement, David mentored young entrepreneurs on how to run a pawn shop and was an active participant with Pinch Hitters and at Congregation B’nai Torah. He served in the Army Reserves Unit 3283 from 1955 to 1978 with increasing responsibilities, including serving as secretary to Col. Harry Faulkner. He was responsible for all the records and for training other reservists. David had a love for travel, especially to Las Vegas and Japan, and was particularly fascinated by Japanese culture and history. He loved to tinker with mechanical equipment and appliances, believing that WD-40 and screwdrivers could fix almost anything. Even in his final days there was a can of WD-40 on the table next to his computer. David will be remembered by his family for his wit and inability to arrive on time (often arriving in time for dessert) as well as his love for family and all things chocolate. He is survived by his sister Marcia (Stuart) Naterman and brother Michael (Sonya) Goldwasser. David is survived by 11 nieces and nephews: Andrea (David) Fine, Seth (Catalina) Naterman, Lesley Naterman, Harry Goldwasser, Ellen Goldwasser, Marla Goldwasser, Stella (Steve) Prescott, Marshall Fine, Allison Fine, Zachary Naterman and Jackson Prescott. The funeral was held May 24 at Greenwood Cemetery. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
59, Los Angeles, Calif. Ian Renner, age 59, died May 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, Calif. Born in Morristown, Tenn., Ian was a graduate of Boston University and later set up and ran one of the earlier video stores in the Boston area. He designed men’s clothing with the “Ian” label, and designed and built micro-sized housing in Cape Town, South Africa, before the concept became known there. Ian was an accomplished pianist, who loved music, wrote it and was active with various music groups. He is survived by his loving mother Alice Goldfarb; sisters Deborah Renert of Jerusalem and Diane Lechter of Atlanta; niece Golda Winston; and nephew Benjamin Lechter. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ian’s memory may be made to CancerCare, Hadassah or a charity of one’s choice. Graveside services were held May 20 at Arlington Memorial Park. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
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David Rosenthal 76, Marietta
Dr. David Rosenthal, 76, passed away peacefully after a prolonged battle with Parkinson’s disease May 18, 2021, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Marietta. David was a renowned vascular surgeon, professor, mentor to many, researcher, accomplished athlete, Army reserve major, father of three and husband of 49 years. David grew up in Great Neck, N.Y., and attended the University of Denver, where he was an All-American swimmer and water polo player. He graduated from Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn N.Y., in 1973. He did his internship at Kings County Hospital and residency at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston. He was awarded a fellowship in peripheral vascular surgery at Tufts in 1978 after completing his residency. He started his career in Atlanta in the summer of 1978 as a vascular surgeon and spent much of his career with Atlanta Vascular Specialists. He was affiliated with Georgia Baptist Medical Center and Atlanta Medical Center. Over the course of his career, David was a mentor and teacher to scores of men and women at Atlanta Medical Center who became surgeons. This was his proudest achievement. Dr. Jim Combs, who trained and was mentored by David and later became his partner, called David a “legend. He is an amazing person whose impact has been lasting in many, many lives. We all can relate in that we trained under Dr. Rosenthal. I am proud to be able to say that.” At the age of 39, David began training to be a triathlete. His goal was to qualify for the elite Iron Man competition in Kona, Hawaii. He trained for a year and was elated when he learned that he had made the cut. He had three 2-year-old sons at the time and a full-time practice. His ever-patient wife Birgitta managed to hold the home front together as David went for one of his dreams. David was one of three featured athletes on a nationally televised broadcast of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports.” Before the race, the AJC did a feature story about the 40-year-old surgeon who had decided to take on this huge physical and mental challenge. “The question everyone asks me is why,” David said. “Sometimes I honestly don’t know. It’s an individual event, a personal test for survival. If I can finish upright, I will have achieved my goal.” David did finish. Over the course of his career David wrote or authored over 300 academic peer-reviewed research papers related to vascular surgery. He invented surgical devices and developed innovative procedures that helped patients live better lives. David was a co-founder of the Atlanta Vascular Society and later the president of the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery and the Georgia Vascular Society. David was a longtime member of the Atlanta Country Club and was proud to have gotten two holes in one. He was an accomplished public speaker and often gave inspirational talks. But to his family and friends he was known as the life of the party and a joke teller few could match. David was diminished physically at the end of his life. His family and those who loved him believe his spirit, energy and teachings will live on. They know living a life that helps and respects others is the most blessed thing to honor his life and memory. David is survived by his wife Birgitta (Strom); his sons Matthew and Drs. Michael and Martin Rosenthal; his brother Robert; sister Risa; five grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. A celebration and reception to honor David was held May at the Atlanta Country Club. David’s family and the Georgia Vascular Society are creating a scholarship and award to be given to young surgeons for research and scholarly work. To make a gift in honor of Dr. David Rosenthal, visit georgiavascularsociety.org. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.
Obituaries in the AJT are written and paid for by the families; contact Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky at 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. ATLANTA JEWISH TIMES MAY 31, 2021 | 67
CLOSING THOUGHTS Do We Need to See It to Believe It? A few weeks ago, I read of an event that intrigued me. A woman who was raised to believe her father was a war hero was presenting at a webinar on her family’s history about her inner turmoil upon having discovered that he had in actuality been a Nazi directly responsible for the murder of the Jews in his hometown. As a Jew who believes in teshuvah, I wanted to know more about how this woman was navigating the heinous family legacy she had inherited and working on challenging baseless hatred. The photo in the announcement Rabbi Ruth showed a group of emaciated men in prison stripes staring vacantly through barbed wire. This image made me uncomfortable. There is no question that the images of Jews in the inhuman conditions of the concentration camps helped the world understand the horrors of the Holocaust. As eyewitnesses to the brutality of the Nazis and their many accomplices pass on, these images are key to not forgetting. Similarly, on May 25, 2020, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. By no means was he the first or the last Black person to be physically abused or murdered. But the eye-witness filming of his murder made it hard to ignore. The visual record of Floyd’s murder was essential in challenging the original police report that covered up the police misconduct. As it was shared widely, it turned Floyd’s death from another unnoticed tragedy to a cause for protest and worldwide call for reform. Seeing is believing. But the power of these images is more complex than that. The visual exploitation of Black suffering for popular white consumption has a long history in the United States. During Jim Crow, it was common to share images of white crowds gathering in their best clothing at the site of the lynching of Black people. And while these images implicate the white perpetrators of heinous acts, they
focus our gaze on the powerful violence of white supremacy and Black suffering. Similarly, the artwork for the webinar about one of the villains of the Holocaust did not focus on the perpetrator, but rather highlighted the suffering of victims of Nazi brutality. Meant to draw the viewer’s attention by reminding us of the inhumane actions of the Nazis, I felt repelled by the needless exploitation of these Jews’ horrific suffering. Every day, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum shares visuals of individuals who were born on that day and perished in/survived the camp. Whenever possible they share photos from before the Holocaust, but never a photo of the full degradation experienced. The Emmett Till Legacy Foundation often shares the iconic photo of Till smiling in a suit, wearing a hat, and not images of his murdered body. We should remember him as the sweet child he was, not just as the victim his callous killers made him into. I shared my concerns with those who had done the publicity for the webinar. The response was unequivocal; such images are essential so that we do not forget. There is no easy answer. The power of the photo of Holocaust atrocities and that of the murder of George Floyd is that they demand that we face up to the power of human hatred. Seeing these images, moral people cannot deny antisemitism or racism. Yet these images highlight victimhood. These images speak to the fact that society does not take these forms of hatred seriously unless we see Jews murdered by the millions or Black people killed in public view. There is a line between engaging with suffering and the impact of hate, and focusing on images of those victimized by hatred. Sometimes we need to step over that line in order to reset our focus and see the impact that baseless hatred has on the world around us. But our focus should not be on victimization or the pain caused, but rather on fighting back against antisemitism, racism and other forms of baseless hatred. Instead of joining the perpetrators in gazing upon those impacted, let us join together righteously in confronting those who hate. ì
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