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The Temple’s Sesquicentennial Breaking Musical Boundaries With Yemen Blues Jewish Artifacts From Iraq

Ravid Kahalani of Yemen Blues



e f This issue of At The Breman has been made possible thanks to a generous gift by Elinor Breman



DAYS AFTER WE PUBLISHED our second issue of the At The

Breman magazine, I was stopped in the galleries by one of our docents, Murray Friedman. “I read about Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, and the exhibition coming to the Breman in January,” he said. “My daughter Anna was one of two conservators who worked on that project at the National Archives! Would you like to connect with her, and maybe have her share some stories?” At the Breman Museum we have serendipitous moments like this on a regular basis. And chances are, if you have spent some time here, you have, too. In fact, you have likely been the protagonist of at least one such moment, where apparent random connections take center stage in the most natural of ways. It happens every day, and it happens because everything here goes back to one thing: people. From Holocaust education to collections, exhibitions and programs, we have people in mind. Through the pages of this issue of At The Breman, you will meet some of our very best: Henry Birnbrey, Holocaust survivor speaker; Rachel Katz, our Director of Membership and Visitor Services. You will learn about the people whose objects have been recently acquired into our archives, and get a sneak peek of our latest exhibition Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, through the eyes of Anna Fridley. You guessed it, Murray’s daughter. As we continue to grow and strengthen our mission and vision, and look at the future of the Breman Museum with aspirational lenses, we hope to give you plenty of opportunities to be part of our community, and engage with us in 2018.


EDITOR Kevin C. Madigan


PHOTOGRAPHY Ivani Photography David Schendowich Julie Zeff GRAPHIC DESIGN Michael Friedman

Sosgona Marketing & Design

Sincerely, Ghila Sanders Acting Executive Director

IN THE MIDDLE of a recent meeting, as leaders from dozens

of local Jewish organizations were gathered in our building to talk about the future of our community, I turned my eyes to the window and had my answer: about 80 middle school children were lining up at the front door, waving at us through the glass, smiling away. Inside, they would be greeted by our tour manager, Jennifer, alongside our invaluable docents and survivor speakers, who take turns volunteering here every day to make the lessons from the past relevant to the present. Whether you are a volunteer, a funder, an attendee, a curious reader, or all of the above, your support has allowed the Breman to reach new audiences, about 30,000 visitors in 2017 alone. For the year that just started, we are setting ambitious goals, both in terms of reach and content. Of course, none of this can be achieved without you. I am excited to see what the future has in store for our museum, and I hope you will join me along the way! Sincerely,

Craig Frankel Board President



William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum 1440 Spring Street NW Atlanta, GA 30309 678.222.3700 Cover Photograph: Ravid Kahalani brings the multicultural mix of Yemen Blues to The Breman © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in AT THE BREMAN magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff.





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STAFF DIRECTORY SUSAN AQUINO Office Manager and Bookkeeper JEREMY KATZ Director, Cuba Family Archives RACHEL KATZ Director, Membership & Visitor Services MICHELLE LANGER Holocaust Speaker Coordinator RABBI JOSEPH PRASS Interim Director, The Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education JENNIFER REID Group Tour and Volunteer Manager LINDSAY RESNICK Assistant Archivist GHILA SANDERS Acting Executive Director DAVID SCHENDOWICH Director, Marketing & Communications ISABEL SCHNEIDER Development Coordinator LAURIE SEDICINO Curator ARIANA YANDELL Visitor Services Coordinator JULIE ZEFF Community Engagement Coordinator

Photograph of Helen Elsas (Asher) wearing a dance costume, 1906-1994, Oscar Elsas Family Papers, Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at the Breman Museum, Atlanta, GA.



1984 – 1988

A.J Robinson 1988 – 1990

Betty Jacobson 1990 – 1992

Margaret Weiller 1992 – 1994



Jarvin Levison

2017-2018 Elaine Alexander Cherie Aviv Judy Bauer Cohen J. Samuel Coolik Marilyn Ginsberg Eckstein Karen Lansky Edlin Howard Fagin Rachel Finglass Elissa Fladdell Craig Frankel Curt Friedberg Leslie Isenberg Evan Kananack Adam Koplan Lana Krebs Joslin LeBauer Hank Lewin Anita Lynn Cathy Papadopulous Leanna Rinzler IJ Rosenberg Jerry Rosenberg Lori Shapiro Carla Silver Jeannette Zukor

EMERITUS Miles Alexander Spring Asher Thomas J. Asher Lois A. Blonder Elinor Rosenberg Breman Laura Dinerman Gail H. Evans Peter Fishman Carole B. Goldberg S. Jarvin Levison Valerie Needle Carol Nemo A.J. Robinson Marlene J. Schwartz Joyce Shlesinger Judith Taylor Norman Zoller



Jarvin Levison 1994 – 1997

William A. Schwartz 1997 – 1999

Laura Z. Dinerman 1999 – 2002

Thomas J. Asher 2002 – 2004

Carole Goldberg 2005 – 2006

Valerie Needle 2006 – 2008

Tom Asher 2008 – 2009

Norman Zoller 2010 – 2011

Joyce Shlesinger and Spring Asher 2011 – 2013

Jerry Rosenberg 2014 – 2015

Craig Frankel 2015 – Present

Ravid Kahalani and his band Yemen Blues are part of this year’s Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series

THE GLOBAL SOUND OF YEMEN BLUES even know what for - land, power, money, ego but I still have hope for the world.”

“THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE in the world are peaceful, and it’s been like that throughout history.” That’s according to Israeli musician Ravid Kahalani, who under the banner of Yemen Blues will perform at The Breman on Mar. 11, 2018 as part of this year’s Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series. But for those who do not have peaceful intent, Kahalani believes music can and should be a force for good. “My lyrics are focused on different behaviors of humanity,” he said on the phone, from his base in Tel Aviv.

The sound of Yemen Blues is diverse and multicultural, and not confined to just Israeli and Jewish music. “Quite the contrary; the backbone is Jazz, Funk, Arabic percussion - all kinds of stuff,” Kahalani said. “There is classic R&B in there, Spanish, Latino, French Creole, Rock, African - each of these traditions and arrangements goes into the final mix. It’s a fresh sound, and audiences around the world can really connect to it; it can be familiar to so many people.”

“Man is always fighting, sometimes they don’t

Kahalani started the band eight years ago in



collaboration with Omer Avital, an Israeli-American bassist and composer of Yemenite and Moroccan descent. The group now includes musicians from Israel, New York, and Uruguay, and has developed an intense global following.

Clarinet virtuoso Oran Etkin is performing with his band on Sunday, May 6 at 5 p.m. in this season’s second show of the Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series. The New York Times described Etkin’s music as having an “ebullient swing rhythm” and DownBeat Magazine lauded the “seemingly effortless chemistry among the five musicians.” Etkin fuses traditional Malian and Jewish music with modern jazz, creating what the Boston Globe dubbed a “hypnotic balance between straight-ahead jazz and world music.”

Their most recent album is “Insayina - Humanity” with producer Bill Laswell, featuring French rapper Oxmo Puccino, Israeli-Yemeni singer Tziyon Golan, and the late Saharan vocalist Mariem Hassan. “It was a great pleasure working with Laswell,” Kahalani said. “He has good energy.”

In the third show of the Molly Blank 2018 series, Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit presents The Way We Were: A Journey Into the Music of Alan and Marilyn Bergman on Sunday, June 3 at 5 p.m. The Bergmans created dozens of hit songs for Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and others. Winners of three Oscars and numerous other accolades, the Bergmans’ show business career spans five decades and their repertoire covers music for stage, film, and television. The production features polished local players and musical theater veterans performing classic songs and telling the wonderful story of this talented twosome.

The show at The Breman will be “energetic and danceable,” Kahalani noted. “People should remember what’s important, and find themselves through music.” 



Memorial to the Six Million located at Greenwood Cemetery, Atlanta, GA.


THIS YEAR’S YOM HASHOAH Commemoration Service at Greenwood Cemetery’s Holocaust Memorial will occur on Sunday, Apr. 15, 2018. The service was started 53 years ago by local survivors and has been an important statement by the survivor community since its inception. About ten years ago, the Yom HaShoah Commemoration Committee decided that local survivors should be keynote speakers so that the community could benefit from their stories, and in April, Helen Weingarten (Romania) will fulfill that role. We hope that everyone will come out to support and hear Helen discuss her story. The service is primarily about memory. No one should forget what happened to the Jewish people and how a supposedly highly cultured society allowed, perpetrated, and participated in some of the most horrific episodes in human history. The service allows us to grieve and remind ourselves why we persevere. The Holocaust Memorial itself is vitally significant as a place for survivors to mourn those they have lost.  Harold Kirtz is the Chair of the Yom HaShoah Commemoration Committee This event is jointly sponsored by Eternal-Life Hemshech, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, and The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum.



Photograph collage, Atlanta, GA, c. 1977, Model Martha Jo Katz in Rich’s Advertisement. Martha Jo Felson Katz Family Papers, Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at the Breman Museum.


AS I CLEANED OUT my mother’s home and business after she passed away, I wondered what it would be like if I had the opportunity to know more about the generations before me and why we didn’t have a history or memories of greatgreat grandparents and before. I only knew the names of one set of my great-great grandparents (Charles and Chase Bank; and yes, I think of her each time I pass a Chase Bank) and where they lived in Baltimore. I did have the chance to take an emotional walk through the row house they lived in, but I yearned to know more, like what they thought, how they looked, what they did in life and really almost anything about them.



With that thought, I decided I could make that wish come true for our future generations by donating our family papers, history, memoirs and photos to the Cuba Family Archives at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum. My wish is that my great-grandchildren – and beyond - will go to this wonderful museum and find papers and amazing photos about my life and the lives of my family members. They will know how I felt about the ones I love, and what I accomplished as a young person, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother.

I encourage others to donate their family histories to the Breman, and I feel fortunate to have done so myself. When people are hesitant, I simply say, “Rather than having it deteriorate sitting in a house, let them preserve it for your future generations.” Sometimes I am sentimental enough to dream about a great-great grandchild reading about me and seeing photos of me and my family long after I am gone and what an incredible experience it will be for them to be able to know who I am and what I was about! My mother’s diary from the University of Georgia in the early 1930s, the obituaries of her parents and my father, photos of my uniformed uncles in World War II and me in newspapers and magazines during my modeling years, or with celebrities while in the hotel business – all this will be archived forever thanks to the Breman Museum and what they offer our community. Photograph, McRae, Georgia, c. 1905, Abraham Simon (A.S.) Harris (on left) with two other young men. Martha Jo Felson Katz Family Papers. Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum.

I feel blessed to know the lives of my future generations will be enhanced by this incredible and amazing place. If you and your family want to be remembered, don’t delay in donating your personal history to always be there for your future generations. Our Breman Museum is there for all of us - past, present and future. 

All potential gifts presented to the Archives at the Breman Museum must be voted upon by the Collections Committee before addition into the permanent collection. The Archives only accept materials that directly relate to the Collections Policy or Mission of the museum. If you have materials you wish to gift to the archives, please visit:

Photograph, Ocilla, Georgia, c. 1926, Left to right: Raymond, Annette (Felson) and Charles Harris (small child). Martha Jo Felson Katz Family Papers. Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum.




THE BREMAN MUSEUM’S SERIES of talks by Holocaust survivors continues to draw packed houses on a regular basis. The Bearing Witness program, which is free to the public, gets financial support from the Sara Giles Moore Foundation. Below are excerpts from a conversation with the Board Chair, Sara Hehir. “Sara Giles Moore was my aunt; I’m named after her. My mother was her sister,” Hehir explained. The foundation was established by Moore in 2000, three years before her death,



to provide grants to the arts, healthcare, education, preservation, and other lifeenhancing projects. “I’m pretty hands-on with the foundation and I wanted to make it what she envisioned for Atlanta,” Hehir said. “Sometimes foundations can spin off and the wishes of the person that bequeathed it become something else.” As executive director of the foundation, Hehir receives no salary for her work and hopes her children will eventually take over its

Murray Lynn speaking at Bearing Witness, March 5, 2017

leadership. “It was a lot of work to get it where it is now. We’re in a good place and I enjoy it. I think we do a lot of good in Atlanta.”

Hehir believes the current political climate and the rise in hate crimes in the United States is all the more reason to have events such as Bearing Witness. “We need to keep this free and we encourage people to come and hear it because we certainly don’t want to repeat what happened before.”

Two influences in Hehir’s upbringing guided her decision to support Bearing Witness: her mother, who insisted all her children learn about the Holocaust through PBS documentaries and books, and a schoolteacher who made it a point to cover the subject, despite it not being in the curriculum.

She quoted Bearing Witness speaker Benjamin Hirsch who, when asked what people can do to prevent more atrocities, said, ‘You can speak out; that is what was not done in the 1940s’. Hehir added, “One of the other speakers said that if we can change the opinion of one person, then our efforts are worth it, and I agree with that.” 

“During my time, the Holocaust was not taught in school. That may be shocking to you but it’s very true,’ Hehir said. “My teacher had a saying: ‘to not know your history is to repeat it.’ She would say it over and over.” Hehir was amazed to later discover that some her fellow college students had never heard of the Holocaust or even Anne Frank.

Sara Hehir is executive director of the Sara Giles Moore Foundation, which funds the Bearing Witness program at The Breman Museum



THIS SPRING AT THE BREMAN THE NEW YEAR IS SHAPING UP to be another great one for events at The Breman Museum. Here is what we have scheduled so far:

FEBRUARY Hop aboard the next Historic Jewish Atlanta Tour exploring the Jewish connection to the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and see how Jewish institutions fought for integration. Stops include The Temple, Prior Tire, the Rich’s Building, the Peachtree Manor Hotel, and the American Motor Hotel. The trolley tour is $18 for members and $25 for non-members. Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.

in March with Yemen Blues, an extraordinary ensemble of diverse musicians led by the charismatic Ravid Kahalani. The band mixes Yemeni and West African influences with contemporary grooves, from funk to jazz. Sunday, March 11 at 5 p.m. Tosia Schneider lost her entire family after the Germans invaded Poland. She was only 15. Her mother’s last wish was that she tell her story, which Ms. Schneider will do at next month’s Bearing Witness speaker. Free. Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m.

This month’s Bearing Witness speaker is Henry Friedman, from Hungary. He credits his survival from multiple atrocities during World War II, including a firing squad, to a blessing conferred on him by his grandmother. Free. Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m.

MARCH 2018’s Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series returns AT THE BREMAN


Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours visits the Fulton

Bag & Cotton Mills Lofts and delves into its Jewish history as the factory that engendered Cabbagetown. This tour is presented in partnership with Phoenix Flies and the Atlanta Preservation Center. Free for members, $10 for non-members. Wednesday, March 21 with a welcome and nosh from 10 to 10:30 a.m. The tour is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. In conjunction with the Discovery and Recovery exhibition, The Breman will host a presentation by Maurice Shohet, President of the World Organization of Jews from Iraq. The Story Never Told: The Fate of Iraq’s Jews begins at 1:15 p.m. with an oud serenade and a guided tour of the exhibition, followed by Shohet’s talk at 2 p.m. Free for members, $12 for non-members. Sunday, March 25.

MAY The Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series continues with woodwind maestro Oran Etkin, described by the Boston Globe as a “hypnotic balance between straight-ahead jazz and world music.” The Breman’s auditorium will be transformed into an intimate jazz café for the evening. Members: $50. Non-members: $60. Sunday, May 6 at 5 p.m.

APRIL The 53rd Annual Yom Hashoah Commemoration will take place at Greenwood Cemetery. The featured speaker will be Helen Weingarten (Romania). Free. Sunday, April 15 at 10 a.m.

The Temple, Atlanta’s oldest synagogue, is celebrating 150 years since its founding. Historic Jewish Atlanta Tours will host a visit there to discover how its commitment to Jewish life and social justice has grown over time. Free for members, $10 for nonmembers. Wednesday, April 18 at 10 a.m

JUNE Alan and Marilyn Bergman are famous as hit songwriters for Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sting and others. The Molly Blank Jewish Concert Series and Theatrical Outfit present “The Way We Were” featuring the Bergmans’ music and the stories behind it. Members: $50, Non-members: $60. Sunday, June 3 at 4 p.m.

Manuela Bornstein and her family survived the Holocaust in France thanks to friends, neighbors, and Resistance members who hid them and kept quiet about it. She will tell her story as part of the Bearing Witness series. Free. Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m.



RARE PALESTINIAN MENORAH ACQUIRED BY THE BREMAN Murray and Lynn Friedman recently gifted the Cuba Archives a Bezalel Brass Hanukkiah that belonged to Rabbi Harry Epstein, the spiritual leader of Ahavath Achim Synagogue for nearly 50 years. Inscribed on the back of the candlelabrum is “Made in Palestine in the art workshop of Sharar Bezalel Jerusalem, P.O.R. 729”. Rabbi Epstein had strong connections to Palestine as his brother made Aliyah (i.e. moved to Israel) and was tragically murdered during the 1929 Hebron Massacre. This remarkable addition to the Harry Epstein Papers will serve as a symbol of his deep connection to the State of Israel. 

Opposite page: During Treatment: Rabbinic Bible from Venice, 1568. This volume of the Hebrew Bible is one of the earliest printed books discovered in this collection. Printed in late Renaissance-era Venice by Giovanni di gara, the central biblical text is surrounded by rabbinic commentaries. (bible-venice-1568-during-treatment-xl) (ija-1525-0000-0007.tif)


HISTORIC BOOKS, ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS AND ARTIFACTS, initially rescued from a flooded basement in Baghdad by U.S. soldiers, are part of a new exhibition, Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage, which opened in January at The Breman and runs through April 2018. The materials, discovered in 2003 and consisting of 3,846 artifacts, were brought outside into a courtyard to dry, and then packed into trunks for safekeeping. Unfortunately, in the Baghdadi climate, the partially dry items began to grow mold.

requires freezing to slow down its growth. Once the material was frozen, NARA representatives flew to Baghdad to survey the collection and determined the best course of action was to get it commercially freeze-dried at a facility in Texas, which became Phase 1 of the project. The Iraqi Jewish Archive (IJA) was then brought into NARA in College Park, MD for Phase 2 - initial cataloging and rehousing. The two years I spent working with an amazing team on the IJA - from 2012 to 2014 - were Phase 3, for complete cataloging, conservation and digitization. The intent of the conservation efforts was to enable cataloging and digitizing of the collection for exhibition and access to its intellectual content. We maintained a meticulous chain of

The Coalition Provisional Authority asked the National Archives (NARA) for advice on how to protect the records, which in the case of mold



custody records while taking the objects through mold remediation, mending, digital imaging and rehousing. Each group of records was unwrapped carefully inside a mold-containment chamber which minimized staff exposure to the spores while we vacuumed the mold off the pages.

colleges or medical schools. The photographs in the files were what made these records so personal for me. One of the advisers to the project told us that when his family fled Iraq, they left with almost nothing, and the only family photos he has from when he was a child in Baghdad is a small album of images his family retrieved from pictures they had previously sent to family and friends in the US or UK. Although many of the photographs were damaged by water or rust, many faces were at least partially visible. Staring back at me from my work bench were women who looked like my mom, boys who looked like my nephew and young men who looked like my dad did in his college photographs.

We then used thin longfiber tissue and wheat starch paste to fix tears so that the documents could be sent to the digital imaging team. Photographers took high-resolution digital images of the front and back of each page for the IJA website. The full resolution images are available online at https://www.ija.archives. gov/ along with the full catalog records for each of the 3,846 items. My favorite category to work on was the school records. These were, in essence, the “permanent record” of a person’s scholastic career through local institutions, such as the Menachem S. Daniels School, Frank Iny School or Shammai Secondary School.

It would give me a daily sense of pride to know that my work, however small, would allow someone in London or Los Angeles to show his or her grandchildren a middle school report card, or what they looked like at that age.

These files were Tik (Torah case) and Glass Panel from Baghdad, 19th-20th centuries. sometimes quite In Jewish communities throughout the Middle East, the Torah scroll is generally housed in a rigid “tik,” or case made of wood or metal. comprehensive, including (tik-torah-case) (ija-3841-20130726-0030.jpg) matriculation paperwork with a wallet-size photograph of the child at that age, transcripts with grades, disciplinary actions, standardized test scores or recommendations from the school headmaster to AT THE BREMAN


Anna Fridley worked as a Conservator on the Iraqi Jewish Archives Project from 20122014. She grew up in Atlanta, has a BA from Wellesley College, a MSIS with a Certificate in Library and Archives Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin and a MS in Computer Forensics from George Washington University.


This is the first of four articles highlighting the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education’s signature concept of the Four R’s: Jewish Rescue, Resourcefulness, Resistance and Resilience.

of a persecuted person or people, usually at the risk of one’s own life. On a daily, if not moment to moment basis, acts of rescue were carried out during the Holocaust. We seek to shine a light on these large and small acts of heroism that are not often known. An example of rescue was carried out by pediatrician Janus Korczak, born in 1878 in Warsaw, who developed an interest in helping underprivileged children. He was recognized for his writings promoting progressive theories of education. Korczak became the director of a new Jewish orphanage in Warsaw before World War II. When the Nazis occupied Poland, the orphanage was relocated to a cramped space in the ghetto.

JUDAISM TEACHES THAT IF YOU save one life, you have saved the entire world. During the Holocaust, there were countless acts of bravery in which individuals rescued each other from the perils around them. At the Breman Museum’s Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education, we view the narrative of what occurred during that time through the lens of the “Four R’s” which emphasize the Jewish people’s active role in their own survival. Rescue is considered any act that saved the life AT THE BREMAN


Though offered sanctuary by the Jewish Underground, inseparable from those of Atlanta’s own survivors. Korczak and his staff did what they could, ultimately George Rishfeld was taken in for two years by the accompanying more than 190 orphaned children Fronckvics family in Warsaw. Risking their own lives, while they were transported to Treblinka. Though he they raised George as their own while his parents were perished with them on August 7, 1942, every prior act in ghettos, camps or hiding in the woods. was to rescue children from the ravages of the war. Similarly, Pola Arbiser hid for three years with her There were others who mother and sister in a small sought to rescue Jews as they apartment across from the fought and hid with partisan local Gestapo headquarters, fighter groups in the woods under the protection of Frania of Europe. There was Tuvia Sobkowa, a Polish Catholic Bielski, who, with his brothers, nanny. In 1998, the courageous fled into the forest following Sobkowa was recognized by a bloody massacre in his Yad Vashem in Israel with the village that took the lives of distinction “Righteous Gentile.” his remaining relatives. Bielski and his partisans took in Other survivors tell of groups women, children, the elderly such as the Underground, the and the sick. When the area Kindertransport, or even family was liberated by Russian members who risked their lives troops in the summer of to save each other. As Norbert 1944, 1,200 people emerged Friedman (Poland) said in his from the forest. Bielski had Bearing Witness presentation, led the largest armed rescue “In each and every story of of Jews by fellow Jews during a Holocaust survivor there is the war. He later moved to another person of significance; New York and lived a modest in my life, it was my father.” life as a truck driver. Norbert credits his father Top Photo: Photograph, Janus Korczak with students (korczak janusz fotografie archiwalne 8_6366859) for rescuing him from death Bottom Left: Passport Photograph of Vladka Meed Vladka Meed was a Polish numerous times during the Bottom Right: Photograph Tuvia Bielski Jew who with her perfect Holocaust. Polish accent and non-Jewish appearance risked her life to join the Underground. At the Breman, we apply the lessons of the Holocaust, Living on the Christian side of Warsaw’s ghetto including rescue, to society today. In this light, our wall, she became a courier who brought medicine, teaching and our survivors stress the need to be ready ammunition, weapons and even dynamite to the Jewish to aid any who are persecuted – and thus honor the side. Several times she smuggled Jewish children out of lessons and sacrifices of those who risked so much the ghetto and into the homes of sympathetic Christian during the Holocaust.  families. Meed survived the war to become a pioneer in Rabbi Joseph Prass is the Interim Director of the Weinberg Center for Holocaust Holocaust education. Education at the Breman Museum The stories of rescue by brave individuals are also




IN THE SPRING OF 2017, The Temple on Peachtree Street will open a new permanent exhibition on its history. Coordinated by the Breman Museum and a team of local historians, the exhibition seeks to showcase the institution’s history since its founding in 1867.

in Atlanta’s history. Located in Midtown, it is the city’s oldest and most diverse synagogue and one of the nation’s most dynamic religious institutions. For 150 years, its members have contributed economically, socially, culturally, artistically, and philanthropically to the city.

“This effort is part of The Temple’s year-long celebration of its sesquicentennial,” explained senior rabbi Peter Berg. “We are very excited to see our story come alive not just for our members but for the thousands of visitors we host each year.”

Today, The Temple counts more than fifteen hundred families as members, hosts a vibrant and inclusive religious school, and is home to the Zaban Paradies Center and the Weinberg Early Learning Center. Over the years, the rabbis, staff, and members of The Temple have embraced social justice work, lifelong learning, and a commitment to broadening access to a full Jewish life.

Since its founding as the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation, The Temple has played a vital role AT THE BREMAN


Located in Midtown, The Temple is Atlanta’s oldest and most diverse synagogue.

The exhibition will examine the role The Temple has played in the growth of the city of Atlanta. Soon after the city’s founding in 1837, Jews migrated to the city to pursue economic opportunities in the new railroad town in the heart of the South. By 1850, twenty-six Jews lived in Atlanta, owning more than 10 percent of the retail businesses. On the eve of the Civil War, the Jewish population had doubled to 50 Jews, in a growing city of 10,000 residents.

From the inspired speech of Rabbi Isaac Lesser who was officiating at the wedding of Abraham Rosenfeld and Emilie Baer in 1867, The Temple was founded. The Kiddush cup from this ceremony is one of the signature artifacts from the Breman collection on display. The Temple was Orthodox in ritual and practice. Financial needs were few, and dues were 50 cents a month “to pay for rent, gas, and incidentals.” All money collected over and above the amount needed for Congregational purposes was donated to charity.

Some of the city’s earliest Jewish settlers included the families of Jacob Haas, Jacob Elsas, Henry Hirsch, and David Mayer—all of whom later became influential Temple members. In 1860, the community established the Hebrew Benevolent Society to provide insurance, aid, and burial benefits. Mayer persuaded city leaders to set aside six lots in Oakland Cemetery, which became known as the Jewish section. The Concordia Society, forerunner of the Standard Club, was founded in 1866. Two years after the end of the Civil War, in 1867, the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation (fondly known as The Temple) was born.

At first, services were conducted by members L. Levy, Joseph Menko, Jacob Steinheimer, Jacob Franklin, and Jacob Hirschberg. The first six rabbis (David Burgheim, Benjamin Aaron Bonnheim, Henry Gersoni, Edward Benjamin, Morris Browne, Jacob Jacobson, and Leo Reich) represented different branches of Judaism. The arrival of Rabbi David Marx, a staunch advocate for the Reform movement, signaled a permanent commitment to the Reform tradition that continues to guide the congregation today.



The exhibition examines The Temple’s growth and the leadership of the five senior rabbis: David Marx, Jacob Rothschild, Alvin Sugarman, Jeffrey Salkin, and Peter Berg. The exhibition also features an extended timeline, that was researched by Dr. Mark Baumann, with assistance from Ronnie van Gelder and Mark Jacobson.

the Rothschild Social Justice Institute. Named for Rabbi Jacob M. Rothschild, the institute seeks to affect positive change on the local level and beyond concerning ten broad societal issues of our time. The exhibition also tells the story of the three Temple buildings (1877, 1902, and 1931). A stained glass window from the 1902 building on the corner of South Pryor and Richardson Streets is another signature artifact. The current building, designed by Atlanta’s most famous architect, Phillip Trammell Shutze, is both architecturally and spiritually a centerpiece of the city’s Jewish and interfaith activities. Video featured in the exhibition documents the dinner for Martin Luther King Jr. that was organized by Rabbi Rothschild, the story of The Temple bombing, and a four-part series entitled, The Temple at 150, produced by PBA 30.

An entire section of the exhibition is devoted to The Temple’s commitment to social justice. In The Temple’s early years, social justice took the form of institution building. Members helped establish the public school system, the Hebrew Orphan’s Home, and Grady Hospital, all with the goal of serving their adopted city. The tumultuous period before World War I exhibited a rise in antiSemitism, which became a major issue in Atlanta in 1913 with the trial and subsequent lynching of Leo Frank. In the wake of the lynching, the AntiDefamation League was founded in 1915 to combat bigotry generally and antiSemitism specifically.

“We are very pleased to have such a dynamic team working on this project,” explained Rabbi Berg. “Dr. Catherine Lewis and Anna Tucker at Kennesaw Photograph, October 12, 1958, Temple Bombing. Mayor William Hartsfield (left) and Rabbi Jacob Rothschild (right) in the rubble of the Temple. Atlanta, State University are joined GA. AJC 176.001 Atlanta Journal Constitution Records by Ghila Sanders and On October 12, 1958, white supremacists placed Jeremy Katz at the Breman. A number of Temple fifty sticks of dynamite by the northern entrance to members and staff, including Billy Bauman (who The Temple, destroying one of the building’s outer conceived of this project during his presidency) and walls. No one was harmed, but it became a major Mark Jacobson, have helped along the way. It is a turning point in The Temple’s history. Leaders from collaborative effort to tell a very important part of outside the Jewish community stood in solidarity the city’s history. We are proud to see it come to with Rothschild and the congregation, reflecting the life.”  recognition of the importance of social justice.

Dr. Catherine M. Lewis is Assistant Vice President of Museums, Archives & Rare Books at Kennesaw State University and a guest curator for the exhibition, “The Legacy of the Hebrew Orphans’ Home: Educating the Jewish South Since 1876,” on view at the Breman Museum from August 2017 to January 2018.

That commitment has never changed, and it has manifested itself in the founding of the The Temple Night Shelter (now the Paradies Zaban Center) and



Rachel Katz has been at The Breman longer than anyone else on staff. She grew up in Baltimore where she attended Krieger Schechter Day School. A graduate of Columbia University, she obtained a master’s degree in Jewish Art History from Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. Katz, 29, lives in Atlanta with her husband and their three Maine Coon cats.

ATB: HOW AND WHEN DID YOU BEGIN WORKING AT THE BREMAN? I started almost seven years ago as a part time archivist; Sandy Berman and Jane Leavey went out of their way to help me get started and I will forever be grateful for that. I was a young museum hopeful without much professional experience and I wouldn’t be where I am today if they hadn’t taken that chance on me.



ATB: WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE MUSEUM? A little bit of everything. From the archives I was promoted to handle membership and contributions. As more things became available, I said ‘I can do that.’ The director position itself is widespread; I also manage the museum store and the staff that works there. That’s the admission and entry point into the museum, so it’s fairly important. I buy for the store, and I’m responsible for displays, which is where my love of design and art really helps. ATB: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEMBERSHIP AND MAKING A GIFT TO THE ANNUAL APPEAL? There’s a big difference! While both are solicited annually, membership is a contribution that gives you benefits such as free, year-round admission to the museum. The Annual Appeal is an opportunity to give to a specific area of the museum, like Holocaust Education or the Archives, but you receive no benefits, apart from knowing you’re making a difference. ATB: YOU ARE ALSO A GRAPHIC DESIGNER, RIGHT? Graphic design is something I do on the side. I’ve reworked our logo and helped design the letterhead - stuff like that. That’s been more of a hobby; I freelance when I can. With the freelance work and the museum job, that’s pretty much 100 percent of my time. ATB: WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOU? A fun fact is that my mom, Susan, has somehow become the “museum mom.” She is the first person to like every post we make on Facebook, she is our biggest fan, and sends care packages for the museum staff regularly. She comes up as a topic of conversation in staff meetings, as in, “when will she visit next?” and “can she send us more socks?” ATB: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN AT THE MUSEUM? I’d like our membership to grow a thousand fold. Trends for museum membership globally are on a downward spiral, but there are tons of people who come to The Breman and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be more involved in our museum. 






SEVERAL YEARS AGO, MY WIFE AND I were on a cruise to Antarctica, and were invited by the ship’s social director to a cocktail party for all the veterans on board. Never refusing a free cocktail I decided to attend. We were asked to introduce ourselves and discovered there were veterans present from a number of wars, but one man stood out. He had served in the German Air Force, became a prisoner of war and ended up in Canada. The master of ceremonies then asked us to talk about some of our war experiences; a



former US soldier spoke first about liberating a concentration camp and did not spare us from the terrible things he saw. My turn was next and I spoke about my experience, two weeks before the end of World War II, of liberating a freight train packed with Jews being shipped from Bergen Belsen to Theresienstadt. As I described these inhuman sights and conditions, the former German airman stood up and said: “I doubt this happened!” and walked out.

That really solidified my obligation to this holy task - committing me to be a Bearing Witness speaker at The Breman - with the realization that we as witnesses must share our stories, especially with schoolchildren who will become our future leaders and decision makers.

an important part of the mission of a Jewish museum, such as The Breman. By keeping it alive we hope to prevent future generations from facing a modern-day Amalek, the likes of another Hitler. We see the impact one little girl named Anne Frank has had on the world so we must continue to tell “our” story rather than just reading it out of a history book.

Each speaker is important in his or her own right, and each has a different story to tell. It is especially crucial for witnesses to transmit their experiences so that something positive can result from these tragedies. Jewish history is full of names of evil doers such as Amalek, a man who attacked B’nai Israel (Sons of Israel) from the rear and was by no means the only or the last evil person who sought to destroy us.

I feel like I have been blessed, being the sole survivor from my family - I now have 33 descendants - and though I needed no encouragement to speak about my time in the Holocaust, I felt obligated and honored to share some of it with those who never heard about the Shoah, as well as those whose knowledge was limited to a few headlines in the newspapers.

We must zachor (remember).

Henry Birnbrey (Germany) is a regular Bearing Witness speaker at The Breman Museum. Photographer: Joel Silverman

We remember with memorials, by teaching future generations and by exhibiting artifacts. This is




CREATIVITY NOURISHES THE SOUL PAINTER ILSE REINER IS PART OF a very artistic family. “My son and daughter are art professionals. I have a nephew who is an artist, and a granddaughter who paints. My uncle was a watercolorist; it’s everywhere,” she said in a phone interview. But for Reiner, painting is not a profession; it’s a hobby that began in her youth. “Sometimes I get it and sometimes I miss,” she said. Her work covers the walls of her Atlanta home, and she honed her skills in classes a decade ago at the Abernathy Arts Center nearby. Some of her childhood paintings are displayed in Prague’s Jewish Museum.

Reiner is best known for writing “Through the Eyes of a Child: Diary of an Eleven Year Old Jewish Girl” about her harrowing experiences in World War II. Born Ilse Eichner in the town of Vsetín in what was then Czechoslovakia, she was sent at 11 from a Jewish orphanage in Prague to the Terezin concentration camp and then transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Reiner was one of the few children to survive after being liberated in 1945 by the Red Army.

has been active in educating others about the war. Reiner, sister-in-law of cultural icon Carl Reiner, received the Gratias Agit Award in 2015, conferred by the Czech Foreign Ministry, recognizing her work in Holocaust education. It is Reiner’s artistic endeavors that keep her grounded, however. “I pursue art for pleasure,” she said. “I’m still in amazement that I was able to create. I never thought I could draw a doggone thing.”

The diary was written during her time at the orphanage and she sent it, before being deported, to family friends in Vsetin, Christians by the name of Frantisek and Lydia Lukas. “It was hidden in their attic and returned to me in person, 44 years later, on my first visit back to my homeland since I immigrated to the US,” Reiner said. “This was after the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.”

Reiner added that art is in the eyes of the beholder. “You may not necessarily admire or get everything out of it unless you step back and get a better perspective with some distance from it. You then start to discover all kinds of little things that might have escaped you before.” After taking a hiatus recently from her art, Reiner is getting back to work. “I was in California over Thanksgiving; we went to galleries like we always do, and I became inspired again. I’m going to find a subject that appeals to me and get going.” 

The book is now used widely in schools to teach children about the Holocaust and Reiner herself - one of the first Bearing Witness speakers at The Breman -




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Shirley and Perry Brickman

In memory of Evelyn Lefkoff In memory of Joyce Levow Lois Blonder

In memory of Edwin Morganstern Johanna, David and Isabelle Skid

In memory of Louis Pichulik

Anne and Jim Carson Jennifer and Michael Kahan David Sarnat and Joslin LeBauer

In memory of Paula Popowski

Goldie and Lou Bertone

Lois Blonder Ghila and David Sanders Joyce and Irving Shlesinger Jeannette and Michael Zukor

Harvey Klehr and Marcia Steinberg-Klehr

Goldie and Lou Bertone

In memory of James Breman

Cherie and Gary Aviv Aaron Berger and Jarred Lightner Lois Blonder Judy and Ronald Cohen Laura and Marshall Dinerman Barbara and Burton Gold Doris and Martin Goldstein Berna and Noah Levine Jarvin Levison Deena, David, Zoe and Hannah Pais Joan and William Rocamora Dulcy and Jerry Rosenberg David Sarnat and Joslin LeBauer Judith and Mark Taylor Jeannette and Michael Zukor

In memory of Lila Chapin

Judy and Ronald Cohen Ruth and Neil Hilsen Jeannette and Michael Zukor AT THE BREMAN


In memory of Scott Selig In memory of Eli Sotto

Robyn and Ellen Richman

In memory of Helen Spiegel

Marianna B. Kaufman and Diana M. Alemรกn

In memory of Ross Stemer Bunny and Jim Montag

In memory of Louis Taratoot Shirley and Perry Brickman

In memory of Henrietta Victor Judy and Ronald Cohen

In memory of Daniel Zacks Lois Blonder Elinor Breman Sandy and Jay Coffsky Judy and Ronald Cohen Jana Eplan and Craig Frankel Dulcy and Jerry Rosenberg Jeannette and Michael Zukor

Erica Hecht

Janet and Julius Alembik

Mindy and Jack Hyman

Jeanine and Aaron Altman

Susan Jay

Judith Alembik

Andre and Marsha Kessler

Cherie and Gary Aviv

Marc Komisarow

Susan Barnard

Nicole Citron and Adam Koplan

Gale F. Barnett

Harold Lefkoff

Mary and Michael Baron

Jodi and Ross Mansbach

Anne and Paul Beckman

Bernice Maw

Rabbi Peter Berg

Carol and Robert Nemo

Lois Blonder

Jo Pichulik

Rita and Herschel Bloom

Debbie and Richard Pinsky

Manuela Bornstein

Nancy and Zane Pollard

Helen Burland

Dulcy and Jerry Rosenberg

Danielle Cohen

Linda Sanders

Judy and Ronald Cohen

Susan and Morray Scheinfeld

Bonnie Feig Cook

Christiane and David Schendowich

Trudy and Marvin Davis

Elizabeth and Joel Serebransky

Laura and Marshall Dinerman

Barbara Snow

Carole and Doug Doster

David Sotto

Marilyn Eckstein

Irene and Howard Stein

Elise Eplan and Robert Marcovitch

Helen and George Steinheimer

Carole and Marvin Epstein

Judy Sutter and Ed Garcia

Howard Fagin

Nica and Lee Tallman

Arthur Faint

Lynda and John Wachsteter

Clifford Feiner

Debbie and Brad Weitz

Vincent Ford

Hylda Wilson

Gloria Goldberg

Jeannette and Michael Zukor


Nancy Abrams

Renae and Eddie Goldberg Marcia Goldstein and John Sherwin AT THE BREMAN




e ManyThanks f

This issue of to all of you for the continued enthusiasm, At The Bremanthat you have support, passion and dedication has been made possible shown us over the years, making The Breman thanks to a generous gift byfor Museum a leading Atlanta destination JewishElinor History,Breman Culture and Art. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming concerts, exhibitions, tours, classes, and other events.



AT THE BREMAN - Spring 2018  

Publication of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, commemorating Jewish history, culture and art

AT THE BREMAN - Spring 2018  

Publication of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, commemorating Jewish history, culture and art