The Observer Vol. 89 No. 1 – January 2024

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OBSERVER Vol. 89 No. 1

JANUARY 2024 20 Tevet - 21 Sh’vat 5784

Jewish Federation’s Journey to Italy: Learning, Walking, Eating, and…Meeting the Pope! By BARBARA DAB


o sooner had the Thanksgiving leftovers been eaten, than 20 intrepid travelers journeyed to Venice, Italy, the first stop in The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville’s latest travel abroad adventure. The 12-day trip included major stops in Venice, Florence, and Rome, with side trips to several smaller towns featuring ancient Jewish history. And along the way there was wine tasting, pasta making, shopping, and of course, pizza! The trip kicked off with a welcome dinner at a kosher restaurant in the city’s Jewish ghetto, a short walk from the hotel. The next morning, participants boarded water taxis for the short ride to the famed Piazzo San Marco to begin a walking tour of St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace, once home to the Venetian Republic’s political and administrative life. The group braved chilly temperatures and constant drizzle, avoiding puddles, and navigating raised wooden platforms erected in winter to allow safe foot passage during the regular flooding. The afternoon featured a walking tour of the Jewish ghetto, established in the early 1500s and the oldest ghetto in the world. The tour included a visit to two of the ghetto’s five museums, the

Jewish Federation Journey to Italy participants pictured with Pope Francis.

Levantine and the Spanish synagogues, both housed in the same building. The ghetto’s architecture is ancient and unique, and the main square includes a Holocaust memorial. Today, only a few

hundred people are part of the Venice Jewish community, and many do not live in the city due to the high cost of living. After leaving Venice, there was a stop in the ancient town of Ferrara.

Jewish history there dates back to the Middle Ages, and during the Renaissance, enlightened city rulers encouraged Jewish settlement. But once again, the city fell under control of the Pope and a ghetto was established in the 17th century. The town features narrow cobblestone streets lined with medieval buildings that once housed Jews. The tour also included a visit to the new Museum of Italian Judaism and of the Shoah (MEIS Museum). The exhibit takes visitors through 2,000 years of Jewish history. As Shabbat was approaching, the next destination was a four-day stay in Florence. The group welcomed Shabbat together and walked to a local kosher restaurant for dinner. Members of the local Jewish community joined for dinner to answer questions and share their experiences. Shabbat morning was once again drizzly and chilly, but thankfully the featured tour was inside the Accademia Gallery, the former art school and current home to Michelangelo’s David, and other Florentine artists. In the afternoon, participants had free time to explore Florence, and despite the cold, enjoy world-famous gelato. The synagogue in Florence was the destination the next morning. This historic beauty is one of the largest in Continued on page 12

Local Community Welcomes Israeli Families Seeking Respite By BARBARA DAB


ashville’s Jewish community welcomed six families last month from kibbutzim located near the Gaza border. The families will remain in Nashville for two months, allowing them some respite from the near constant bombings and chaos unfolding in their region. The program was conceived, planned, and executed by Itay Reshef who lives and works in Nashville, but is originally from Israel. “After October 7, it was hard for the Israeli community and the Jewish community to see what was happening and not be able to do anything,” he says. Reshef, along with Avigal Soreq, had three main objectives for this program. First, they wanted to make a direct impact and provide significant relief for A Publication of the


the families. They wanted to provide the local Jewish and Israeli communities with an opportunity to engage with Israel. And they wanted to provide an opportunity for the Israelis to tell their stories to the local community. The program provided the families, all with young children, with flights, housing, transportation, schooling for the children, and other necessities while they are in Nashville. Jewish Family Service paired each family with an Israeli host family and with an American Jewish family, with the goal of providing comfort, friendship, and assistance. JFS immediately hosted a welcome dinner so everyone involved could meet and get to know one another. Pam Kelner, Executive Director of JFS, says, “People have been craving ways to help. The NowGen completes 8 Nights of Nashville, page 4

goal was to create community with the families, and in just the first week, it happened.” More than 75 people attended the first dinner, both Israelis and local host families. Toni Jacobsen, Clinical Director of JFS, says, “It was just a nice opportunity for everyone to get together in a casual way and share information and begin to get to know one another. It also was good for us to let them know we’re here to provide support.” Dana Ida arrived with her husband and three young children, ages 11, nine, and six. All are settling in at Akiva School, with funding provided by The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville. “Everyone is so kind, generous, and wants to help,” she says, “It’s so reassuring to see this is the hospitality we get.” Continued on page 10 Chanukah Around Town, page 16

Nashville’s Jewish community welcomes Israeli families at BNA. Simchas & Celebrations Special Section, page 25

Community Relations Committee Education is the key to unlocking a better future for all By DEBORAH OLESHANSKY


ulius Rosenwald, a visionary American businessman and philanthropist, once proclaimed, “Education is the key to unlocking a better future for all.” This profound statement encapsulates the transformative power of education on individual lives and society. Rosenwald recognized that education empowers individuals by providing them with knowledge, skills, and opportunities that can break the chains of poverty, ignorance, and inequality. His dedication to the power and impact of education inspired him to partner with the educator, Booker T. Washington, and together they created a movement. What are commonly referred to as Rosenwald Schools were the result of an initial partnership between Sears, Roebuck, and Co. president Julius Rosenwald, Tuskegee Institute president Booker T. Washington, and Black communities throughout the South. Between 1912-1937, that partnership resulted in the construction of almost

5,000 schools for Black children across 15 southern states, including 354 in Tennessee. Rosenwald schools drove improvement in Black educational attainment and helped educate the generation who became leaders of the Civil Rights movement. (from TN State Museum) The Tennessee State Museum is currently hosting an exhibit, Building a Bright Future: Black Communities and Rosenwald Schools in Tennessee, which runs until February 25. The exhibit opens with a quote from Rosenwald in which he shares how his Jewish background, specifically the teaching of tikkun olam, influenced him and led him

Halfway There By NORMA SHIRK


e are halfway through another year of the LIFE & LEGACY™ program and it has been a wonderful year so far. This year, we added two new participating organizations, the Jewish Middle School and Kehilla High School. There are now 14 participating organizations in our community working to ensure the future of Jewish Nashville. On October 26, the L&L program hosted “Telling Our Stories,” a closer look at the treasures in the Jewish Archives housed at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. Ms. Valeriya Eadler talked about her project creating a digital record of the documents in the Archives. Eadler is a graduate student at MTSU. The next phase of the project will involve organizing the scanned documents into a searchable, online database so that scholars, historians, genealogists, and family members can research the history of Jewish Nashville. On December 6, I appeared as a panelist on the program, “Powerhouse Communities: Best Practices From the Best,” hosted by the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Mercer New Jersey. Our community was featured based on the recommendation of Arlene Schiff, currently the interim national director for the L&L program at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Other panelists were from Cincinnati and Charleston. Still to come this year is our annual celebration, honoring all the LIFE & LEGACY™ donors in our community. This year’s event will be held on

February 27, before the program featuring Aleeza ben Shalom, the dating coach well known for her Netflix series ‘Jewish Matchmaking,’ and a resident of our partnership region, Hadera Eiron. The LIFE & LEGACY™ program was created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to support Jewish organizations across North America through partnerships with local Jewish Federations and Foundations to promote after-lifetime giving. After-lifetime giving allows donors to use their money during the donor’s lifetime while arranging to leave a gift to the organizations of their choice later. The Nashville Jewish community joined the program in 2017. In the past seven and a half years, our community has received 842 letters of intent with an estimated total value of $25.6 million, of which 73% have been formalized. Formalization is the step where donors legally confirm their promised gift by adding a codicil to a will or adding the organization as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or a retirement plan. The participating organizations have already received $895,867 from donors. As we move into our eighth year, it is important to remember that the LIFE & LEGACY™ program is about preserving Jewish Nashville for generations to come. It depends on individuals stepping up to volunteer their time and expertise to help the organizations they value. If you would like more information about becoming a donor or a team volunteer, please contact a participating organization or the Jewish Federation staff for assistance. •

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January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

toward tireless efforts to improve the world around him. Rosenwald was greatly inspired by his Jewish faith and the leadership of Emil Hirsch, the legendary progressive rabbi who led the synagogue to which Rosenwald and his family belonged. Hirsch was a “towering intellect” and “unreconstructed Progressive” who had a profound effect on Rosenwald’s view of the world and his responsibility to help others. Hirsch co-founded the NAACP* and introduced Rosenwald to the plight of African Americans. Rosenwald lived his faith and believed that “it is through education that people can enhance their understanding of the world, expand their horizons, and realize their true potential. By investing in education, we open doors to a brighter future, where individuals can pursue their dreams, contribute meaningfully to their communities, and work towards a more equitable and inclusive society.” Rosenwald’s quote serves as a timeless reminder of the profound impact education can have, highlighting

its pivotal role in shaping a better future for all. At a time when our public schools are under attack, from book bans to threats of reduced funding, the legacy of Julius Rosenwald is even more timely, urgent, and valuable. How can we reinvigorate his efforts forward in this critical time? We can begin by visiting the exhibit, and learning more about Rosenwald schools, and how education initiatives can improve lives, not only those of the students, but of the entire community. Julius Rosenwald’s quote, “The power of education lies in its ability to transform lives,” encapsulates the transformative nature of education. Education is not merely a means of acquiring knowledge; rather, it has the potential to shape individuals, communities, and even societies. By recognizing the power of education to transform lives, Rosenwald highlights the importance of providing equal access to quality education for all, as it holds the key to a brighter future and a more inclusive society. •

Oren Jacobson of Project Shema Returns to Nashville for Scholar-in-Residence Weekend By JULIE GREENBERG


ongregation Micah, along with co-sponsors The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, The Temple, and West End Synagogue, will welcome Oren Jacobson of Project Shema back to Nashville for a scholar-in-residence weekend January 19 to 21. Project Shema is a nonprofit organization that trains and supports Jewish communities and allies to understand and address contemporary antisemitism with an emphasis on how anti-Jewish ideas can emerge in discourse around Israel and Palestine. As Project Shema’s co-founder and executive director, Jacobson is a nationally recognized expert on contemporary antisemitism and, through this work, he has advised major Jewish institutions and served as a subject matter expert on antisemitism to multinational corporations, Jewish professionals, campus leaders, young adults and teens. The weekend will kick off at Congregation Micah on Friday with Jacobsen’s d’var Torah: “Grappling with Jewish Identity, Obligations, and Jewish collective safety after October 7.” Jacobsen will further explore this topic during a “lunch and learn” session at West End Synagogue’s Kiddush luncheon following the Shabbat morning service. On Sunday, Jacobson will return to Congregation Micah for two community-wide workshops. The morning workshop for seventh-12 graders will

Oren Jacobson

focus explicitly on the real-time ways in which antisemitism is showing up in discourse around the war between Hamas and Israel, sharing tools and strategies with which students can engage their non-Jewish peers. The afternoon adult session will expand upon foundational concepts from the teen session, focusing specifically on how to address antisemitism as it emerges in more progressive socio-political spaces. The conversation will not focus on the war itself. Rather, it will focus on how the discussion around what’s happening is impacting Jews in the diaspora and how both individuals and we as a community can respond and support one another. •

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A Rabbi and a Doctor Discuss the Question: Are you a Jewish American or an American Jew? By RABBI MARK SCHIFTAN AND DR. FRANK H. BOEHM


rank: Mark, many years ago my father, of blessed memory, told me that since his entire family were Germans dating even before Germany became a unified country in 1871, he had always considered himself to be a German Jew rather than a Jewish German. Then Hitler came to power in 1933 and changed that. In 1935, my father’s German citizenship was taken from him and the rest of German Jews and life became so unbearable that he and my mother left Germany to come to America, where he became a citizen and lived the rest of his life in comfort and peace. Recently, with all the turmoil that has existed in Israel and the Middle East and the rise of antisemitism in America, I began to ponder that same question my father asked himself so many years ago. Was I an American Jew or a Jewish American? I began asking many of my friends this question and most but not all stated that they felt they were American Jews. I wonder what your thoughts are on this question. Mark: Frank, the memories you share, of your father’s prescient sense of the inevitable rise of and domination by the Nazi Party, and what that would mean for the Jews of Germany and all of Europe, shows astonishingly keen insight, and a profound and amazing courage to escape when he did. I am afraid that there is a very real sense among many American Jews right now of that history repeating itself, right here, right now, even in this exceptional land that has loved and welcomed us, c




Publisher Jewish Federation Editor Barbara Dab Advertising Manager Carrie Mills Layout and Production Tim Gregory Editorial Board Frank Boehm (chair), Teena Cohen, Laura Thompson, Scott Rosenberg, Liz Feinberg Telephone 615/356-3242 Fax 615/352-0056 E-mail The Jewish OBSERVER (ISSN 23315334) is published monthly for $36 per year by the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, 801 Percy Warner Blvd., Nashville, TN 37205-4009. Periodicals postage paid at Nashville, TN. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE JEWISH OBSERVER, 801 Percy Warner Blvd., Nashville, TN 37205 This newspaper is made possible by funds raised in the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. The Jewish OBSERVER is a member of the American Jewish Press Association and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. While The Jewish OBSERVER makes every possible effort to accept only reputable advertisers of the highest quality, we cannot guarantee the Kashrut of their products. The Jewish OBSERVER Founded in 1934 by












and which we have come to love and embrace as well. Once again, Jews have become a target of hate, in an ever increasing and exponential fashion. The antisemitismwe have come to expect from the far right (“The Jews shall not replace us!”) has been joined now by those on the far left, including those groups we thought were our allies and friends. And, since the devastating massacre in the Jewish homeland on October 7, we have seen a surge of both violent rhetoric and violent actions directed towards Jewish people across the globe, including within our own borders. All of which has caused us to ask the question you initially raised: What are we — each of us: Jewish Americans or American Jews? Frank, what is the difference between the two, at least as far as you see it? Frank: No pun intended, but quite frankly, I always considered myself to be an American Jew as I was equally secure with both identities. However, with a significant and disturbing rise in antisemitism in our world and especially this country, I have changed my mind. History’s tale of how Jews have been treated in other countries is on my side. Antisemitism is as old as history itself and dates to ancient times. Jews were expelled during the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian Kingdoms as well as from Rome in 139 BCE, 50 CE and 135 CE. Jews were thrown out of Italy in 19 CE and from North Africa in the 10th century. In more modern times, Jews were expelled from England in 1290, France in 1306 and 1394, Spain in 1492, Portugal in 1496, Russia in the 15th century, Lithuania in 1495, Germany and North Italy during the 14th to 16th century, Ukraine in 1648 and 1915, and

Corrections Policy The Jewish Observer is committed to making corrections and clarifications promptly. To request a correction or clarification, call Editor Barbara Dab at (615) 354-1653 or email her at

Editorial Submissions Policy and Deadlines The Jewish Observer welcomes the submission of information, news items, feature stories and photos about events relevant to the Jewish community of Greater Nashville. We prefer e-mailed submissions, which should be sent as Word documents to Editor Barbara Dab at Photos must be high resolution (at least 300 dpi) and should be attached as jpegs to the e-mail with the related news item or story. For material that cannot be e-mailed, submissions should be sent to Barbara Dab, The Jewish Observer, 801 Percy Warner Blvd., Suite 102, Nashville TN 37205. Photos and copy sent by regular mail will not be returned unless prior arrangement is made. Publication is at the discretion of The Observer, which reserves the right to edit submissions. To ensure publication, submissions must arrive by the 15th of the month prior to the intended month of publication. For advertising deadlines, contact Carrie Mills, advertising manager, at 615-354-1699, or by email at

Prague in 1744. And from the Arab countries of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Morocco in 1948. And, of course, there is Germany in 1935. It would seem, therefore, that even America may someday follow in history’s footprint and make life here difficult, if not impossible, for Jews. With that in mind, I am aware that I am a Jew and will always be a Jew, no matter what happens to our wonderful America. However someday, I may not be able to consider myself an American and I cannot say that what happened to my father, could not also happen to me as well. So, in response, when asked if I am a Jewish American or an American Jew my response is a resounding, I am a Jewish American! How would you respond to this same question? Mark: Frank, you’ve made the case for the historical record that none of us wants to hear nor heed: that in every single country in which Jews have ever lived, they were either expelled, exterminated, or erased from any continuous presence in any land in which they attempted or assumed they had found a safe haven or harbor. This is the cruel fact that we must recognize as Jews residing in this country as well. While America has been a land of golden opportunity for our people, and

continues to be so, the rise of antisemitism, both on the right as well as now increasingly on the left, has shaken and frightened many of us with good reason. Today, we are still secure, residing in a country in which we have thrived and distinguished ourselves like in no other place, in no other time in our history. And we, in turn, have contributed to the welfare of this Golden Land on an unparalleled scale and degree. Tomorrow, who knows what is going to happen? The reality of Jewish history is such that no matter where we have lived, there is always a time limit on our welcome. I hope and pray that such a time may be a long time away from now, but the possibility of exile, even here, is not beyond comprehension. So, while I love this country, without question and without end, I love my Judaism and my Jewish heritage much more. Therefore, when push comes to shove, Frank, I will always consider myself a Jewish American, as well, just like you: I will always choose to highlight my Jewish identity, even over my pride in being an American. • Rabbi Mark Schiftan can be reached at Dr. Frank Boehm can be reached at

To The Editor T

he recent article by Rabbi Schiftan and Frank Boehm (both of whom I greatly respect) generated these ideas in me — What is a Jew? Who is a Jew? Why be a Jew? We could debate these questions endlessly. But the greater question arose, what is the difference between being Jewish and Judaism? In today’s world almost anyone can be Jewish. Judaism, on the other hand, is a way of Life. It concerns itself with two aspects, the relationship between Man and G-d and the relationships between Man and Man. Judaism is the study and practice of these two elements. They have been the subject of debate over the centu-

ries and because we live in an ever-changing world, they continue to be. Judaism requires being part of a spiritual community. It is a deep-rooted religion. What the article suggests is a hybrid. You can be this but you can also be this. In an already stressful world, where would these children belong? Where are their roots, their identity? The ideas in the article are well-meaning, kind, and welcoming, but I fear that what is intended to be the joy of inclusion will turn out to be an abyss of confusion. Libby Werthan Nashville, TN

New Year, New Website By BARBARA DAB


appy New Year, and welcome to the first issue of 2024! With this issue, I begin my fifth year as editor of this historic publication, and I am pleased to announce our latest update, a brandnew website. The new site is fresh, modern, and most importantly, allows us to better provide you, our readers, with the most up-to-date information, photos, videos, and more to keep you informed about our community and the world around us. I do hope you’ll visit often. In the very near future, you will have the opportunity to subscribe to the digital version, the print version, or both! In the coming year, also be watching for a weekly newsletter coming to you Sunday mornings with curated news and information from Nashville, and

communities around the country and around the world. As the new year ramps us, remember that it takes resources to bring you news and information. In this publication you will find a donation envelope where you can show your support for community-based Jewish journalism. We thank you for your generosity and look forward to engaging throughout the year. Cheers to 2024! •

And please visit

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


NowGen completes 8 Nights of Nashville

Festivities included live bluegrass music, community night with the Nashville Predators, and Chanukah party By ZOE BELL


ast month, NowGen — the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville’s young adult professional group — debuted 8 Nights of Nashville, featuring one community event each night of Chanukah from Dec. 7 to 14. Nashville community members celebrated the first night of Chanukah at Inglewood Lounge, a bar in East Nashville, for East Side Tribe’s fifth annual Hanukkah Out East. The event featured live DJs, special cocktails, a dreidel drinking game, and a Chanukah buffet of latkes, sufganiyot, roasted vegetables and brisket sandwiches from Actual Food Nashville. Eric Mirowitz, the volunteer leader of East Side Tribe, said about 120 community members showed up for the celebration. “It was a really fun party,” Mirowitz said. “It was like a ton of energy and I met a lot of people.” Mirowitz said members sold East Side Tribe T-shirts at the event, marking the organization’s first merch sale. Next to the merch table was a donation station for the Israel crisis fund. The second night of Chanukah was hosted by the three residents of Moishe House Nashville. The 32 participants enjoyed a shabbat dinner, followed by chanukkiah lighting, latkes and dreidels. The hosts provided dinner and guests brought desserts and side dishes.

Micah-Nections, Congregation Micah’s group of young professionals, planned a community service event Dec. 9 to help clean the Jewish cemetery on their property. The event was postponed to Dec. 16 due to inclement weather. “The word ‘Chanukah’ actually means ‘dedication’ or ‘rededication’ because it’s talking about the rededication of the ancient temple in Jerusalem,” said Cantor Josh Goldberg of Congregation Micah. “We wanted to do something as a volunteer mitzvah project.” The 15 volunteers helped clean headstones and raked leaves at the cemetery. Jewsic City invited Nefesh Mountain, a Jewish bluegrass group based in New York, to Nashville Dec. 9 for their “Love & Light” tour, which they said is meant to spread love, unity, and compassion in these difficult times. The 21+ show took place at the Analog at Hutton Hotel. “I’ve been a fan of [Nefesh Mountain] for a long time and personal friends with them, so it was really good to see them and get to hang out with the Jewsic City people and all the folks that came out,” Goldberg said. He added that the documentary crew following the band on their tour filmed Goldberg, his friends in Jewsic City, and the band members hanging out after the show, so he might appear in the documentary. For the fourth night of Chanukah, the Gordon Jewish Community Center

hosted their 10th annual Chanukah festival Dec. 10. Participants enjoyed an evening of latkes, donuts, and dinner. On Dec. 11, Rabbi Rav Natan Freller and his wife, Bel, hosted a Chanukah gathering at their home in West End. Freller is a new rabbi at West End Synagogue. The gathering was intended to encourage guests to meet other Nashville Jewish community members in their 20s and 30s. The Jewish Federation of Greater

Nashville hosted Jewish Community Night with the Nashville Predators Dec. 12. The game, at Bridgestone Arena, featured the Predators versus the Philadelphia Flyers. A portion of the ticket revenue went toward the Federation’s Annual Campaign, which benefits Jewish lives in Nashville, Israel, and 70 other countries around the world. Rabbi Michael Shulman and Next Dor — Congregation Ohabai Shalom’s young professionals’ group — hosted candle-lighting and bourbon tasting at The Temple Dec. 13. Shulman, a certified bourbon steward, led a guided tasting and taught the basics of bourbon and the Jewish connections to the whiskey industry in America. The event also featured snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. NowGen closed the eight nights of festivities with their annual Chanukah party at the Adventure Science Center Dec. 14. The party, open to guests of all ages, featured appetizers, drinks, and Chanukah candle-lighting. •


January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

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Opinions Hamas’ Strategy is Working, So Far By RICHARD FORBERG


n November 8, the New York Times published an informative article by Ben Hubbard and Maria Abi-Habib who interviewed some of Hamas’ top leaders in Qatar, after October 7. The article provides a clear statement of their motives and immediate goal from it: provoke Israel to undertake a massive attack on Gaza, create a state of permanent war and put the Palestinian issue back on the table. The authors do not seek for Hamas to explain how that goal serves the people of Gaza in any possible way, given that the Palestinian issue has been perpetually on the table for over 75 years. Nor do they inquire about Iran’s role in all of this. Instead, we learn only this: the purpose of Hamas’ well-planned October 7 attack was to generate more sympathy for Gazans by creating tens of thousands of Gazan martyrs assuming the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would be indiscriminate. Or if the IDF is not, then lie and continually portray the IDF as such. In this way, Hamas fully expected to obtain even greater support in the West for their one and only long-term goal, best summarized as “from the River to the Sea.” That phrase is now widely understood as the complete destruction of Israel, with the death or forcible removal of all Jews from Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Interestingly both Gaza and its non-combatants are of little importance to Hamas, except as an underground fortress protected by human shields composed mostly of women and young children. Ordinarily, given the commonly held ethical beliefs of most Americans and

Europeans, Hamas’s October 7 bloody tactics, together with their even bloodier goal, would be loudly rejected across all segments of the West, regardless of political perspective, age, or ethnic background. Or so we ordinary Americans might have thought in those days after October 7. But now it is clear that we, the ordinary, were wrong, while Hamas’ forecast was far more accurate. Hamas knew, with great confidence, the immediate and highly visible support they would receive in both street and campus protests, Internet social media, plus traditional TV, radio, and publications. As a result, a sizeable fraction of our current and former highly-educated students holds firmly to a vague or convoluted set of negative ideals such as anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism, and of course the widely embraced anti-racism. Sadly, all this happens without students learning any of the tools necessary to assess what kind of real, functioning country and economic system would work and one they might support – or at least not oppose. And it is worse in mostly upper/middle-class households, including some Jewish ones. Nor do they learn much about Israel and its impressive diversity including about 20% Muslims and 2% Christians, with about a million of Israel’s Jews having escaped oppression elsewhere in the Middle East. Students need to know about Hamas, with its well-known virulent anti-feminist, anti-abortion, and antiLGBTQ policies (e.g., execution), plus their intolerance for any religious stance except their own jihadist-version of radical Islam. Hamas would seem to be the least likely governing body, terrorist or otherwise, to get the kind of mas-

sive support from the West’s so-called Progressive Movement in both money and street-screaming encouragement to continue with their tactics and goals for an authoritarian radical Islamic Palestine, replacing Israel. Few parts, if any, of the New Left would admit explicit support for the gruesome tactics and mass murder that Hamas intends to employ to achieve “River to the Sea,” while saving their harshest condemnation for Israel. But given that Palestinians are the most favored of all oppressed peoples on Earth, Hamas will continue to get a pass in pursuit of the Palestinians’ long struggle. Yet, at the same time, it seems many students wish to remain blissfully unaware of the gruesome tactics and gruesome goals of Hamas, and likewise appear to ignore the ruthless authoritarian nature Hamas employs towards the Palestinians, which bears no resemblance to New Left ideals. But now, approaching months after this seminal attack, we see that a larger fraction of our Western civilization is now more pro-Hamas than ever before. Or perhaps, it is only now that they are being incredibly open about their anti-Jewish and/or anti-Israel sentiments and politics. It is deeply disturbing for us to understand why, how and under what logic would an unprovoked attack by Hamas fighters ultimately generate more support for Hamas, especially after their murderous face-to-face rage to kill, maim and kidnap anyone they encounter in Israel: from babies to seniors; to teenagers from nearly all parts of the world dancing at music festival. Under what strange logic did Hamas and its leadership come to believe that the U.S., and Europe would

become passive, more sympathetic, or even supportive of Hamas’ one and only goal: “From the River to the Sea.” This means as we all now know a complete destruction of the Israeli’s government, its highly diverse culture, and removal or death of all Jews there. It is not clear Hamas expected the balance of the protesters as well as opinion to tip to their favor. Indeed, they were correct: Israel clearly wants to neutralize Hamas — and in doing this, hit key parts of the dense cities of Gaza very hard to in trying to destroy Hamas’ underground military command and control infrastructure, weapons, ammunitions caches, plus the safe havens for their skilled fighters and leaders – all located under hospitals and dense apartment complexes. Likewise, they were correct that international pressure would soon build up to try to stop Israel from going too far in that direction. But rarely do we hear from the media that Hamas planned for exactly this to happen – including all the large swaths of devastation within nearly every Gazan city. Hamas leaders are praying for Israel to kill sufficiently many presumably innocent Gazans such that — when put all together — the shouts of war crimes thunder through the U.N., the streets in NYC, the halls of Congress in Washington D.C. and all our campuses. So, it is now left only to us in the West who are not so badly contaminated by the myriad of bigotry and ignorance, to take a strong stance against both the tactics and perverse belief systems of Hamas. And the same time, we can and must also try shake our U.S campuses out of their fever dreams of wokeness — into a more productive and friendlier kind of awareness to reality. •

Vanderbilt Has an Antisemitism Problem By DAVID STOLL M.D.


graduated from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1980. At the time, there were several other Jewish students in my class. My experience was so positive that I stayed on to complete my residency program at Vanderbilt Medical Center in 1984. Nashville began to boom. Dingy downtown honky tonks were replaced with high-rise hotels. Professional football came to town. As the city grew, so did Vanderbilt and its reputation. In keeping with the boom, in 2002, Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee actively recruited Jewish students to Vanderbilt. His efforts were noticed by national media, highlighted by an article in the Wall Street Journal. Chancellor Gee’s efforts were rewarded with an influx of students who positively contributed to Vanderbilt’s diverse student body. In 2021, Vanderbilt welcomed its ninth chancellor, Daniel Diermeier. Antisemitic acts were few and far between on campus in the preceding years. Jews felt at home at Vanderbilt. But things began to change under Dr. Diermeier. In November of 2022, an assistant coach praised the antisemitic rantings of singer Kanye West. Reaction from the Jewish student body and local communi-


ty was swift and loud. Others who acted similarly had been fired instantly by other universities. However, Vanderbilt decided to allow the coach to keep his job pending sensitivity training. Many in the Jewish community were shocked at the double standard displayed regarding the mild response to an overtly antisemitic act. Things began to heat up with the appearance of Nazi graffiti on the music school in April of 2023. But the real drama began on October 7, 2023. On that infamous day, Hamas terrorists blasted into Israel murdering innocent civilians, raping women, and putting babies into ovens. The cruel and barbaric actions were quickly condemned by leading academic institutions. University of Florida President Ben Sasse stated, “I will not tiptoe around this simple fact. What Hamas did is evil and there is no defense for terrorism.” President Sasse continued, “Many people in elite academia have inadvertently excused Hamas’s attacks.” Sasse might very well have been referring to Vanderbilt. Diermeir issued a tepid response to the murderous rampage, straddling the fence of political correctness. This set off a storm of protest from the Jewish community and left Vanderbilt’s Jewish students feeling vulnerable.

January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

With the refusal of the pathology department at Vanderbilt Medical Center to condemn the behavior of one of their doctors regarding a series of antisemitic ranting on social media, other pathologists around the country began to contact the department head to express their disapproval. Outside institutions began to question the moral integrity of the Vanderbilt medical structure. When an Emory University Medical Center physician made similar statements, she was fired. When a University of Ottowa Medical Center physician made similar statements, he was fired. NYU, Lennox Hill and Beaumont Hospitals all fired physicians who made similar statements. Jewish leaders and organizations began to reach out to Vanderbilt. NonJewish clergy joined the call for moral clarity. Vanderbilt’s response was that they were “aware of the matter.” To bring matters a bit closer to home, what would happen if someone praised the actions of Audrey Hale, the murderer of six people in Nashville’s Covenant School on March 23 of 2023? What would happen if a school board member got up and called Hale a hero? What if that school board member referred to Hale as a freedom fighter for trans rights? What would happen if that board member called for more killings in the name

of the cause? That board member would be ousted within 20 seconds. The First Amendment to the Constitution allows for freedom of speech. It does not allow for freedom of hate speech, of speech that encourages people to murder other people solely based on their religion. Freedom of speech does not allow someone to scream “fire” in a crowded theater. Such an action endangers lives and leads to death and mayhem. People are free to speak, but there are consequences for hate speech. Some Jews are afraid to speak out against matters such as this. Some do not want to be labeled as being Islamophobic or out of step with their progressive friends. History repeats itself. Even within the Jewish community. We all are familiar with the Holocaust. The Jewish community’s closest emissary during World War II to President Franklin Roosevelt was Rabbi Steven S. Wise, the progressive and politically correct leader of the Reform movement. Rabbi Wise told Jews to be silent, to ignore their brethren being gassed in the concentration camps, to ignore the murders of 6,000,000 of their relatives. After all, Rabbi Wise didn’t want to ruin his relationship with the President. Wise felt that if Jews spoke Continued on page 10

JOIN US FOR THE MLK DAY MARCH Monday, January 15th Bus transportation provided from Gordon JCC at 8:00am & Elmington Park at 8:15am. Bus will depart the event at 10:30am. Full details in link below. All are welcome to join. RSVP & Learn More:

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When I marched in Selma, I felt my legs were praying. - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heshel

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


West End Synagogue Fundraiser to Honor Rabbi Joshua and Jessica Kullock By MOSH KOCH


n honor of Rabbi Joshua and Jessica Kullock’s 10 years of amazing service and leadership, West End Synagogue (WES) is proud to announce a celebratory tribute dinner and mystery show on February 4, 2024, 6:15 PM, at the synagogue, 3810 West End Avenue. This is the synagogue’s annual fundraiser, and Marcia Stewart and Karen Yazdian are co-chairs. In the decade since their arrival, Rabbi and Jessica’s dedication and leadership have become an important and inspiring part of West End Synagogue’s community life. And Rabbi Kullock is quite possibly the only rabbi in Nashville’s history to have shaken hands with the Pope. The dinner will feature a delicious meal prepared by Goldie Shepard, and an after-dinner detective show which uses audience members along with their professional cast. Are you a suspect? You will soon find out in this unique mystery, dinner theater performance! For ticket information, go to https://westendsyn. Speaking about Rabbi Kullock and Jessica, Sue Schwartz, past president of WES, said, “Rabbi and Jessica have transformed and revitalized WES from the get-go. The uptick in participation of young families is particularly notable. His scholarship, thoughtfulness, and charisma, as well as his active partnership with

the other local rabbis have made me feel proud of what we have all built together over the past 10 years. Jessica is a gem in her own right, taking on many roles with grace, humility, and warmth.” Schwartz, who was synagogue president at the beginning of Rabbi’s tenure, said Kullock was chosen from a field of 35 candidates. Steve Hirsch, another past president of the synagogue, said, “Rabbi Kullock has brought to the congregation an emphasis on learning, which he has practiced nearly every day; from Torah study and Talmud class to his introduction to Judaism series, he engages with individuals and groups large and small.” “There is no question that Rabbi and Jessica have positively influenced the acquisition of new members during their tenure at WES,” he said. “Many of our younger new members selected this congregation because of their positive interactions with both Rabbi and Jessica.” And, in fact, during 2022, Rabbi and Jessica’s ninth year here, the synagogue’s congregation reached 400 member families. Hirsch also said, “Jessica has been such an essential part of the WES team since she arrived. She has touched so many of the students at Beit Miriam and has been a strong participant in Sisterhood and other fundraising activities, and always does this without looking for personal praise or recognition.” Barry Allen, the current president

Pictured l. to r.: Jessica Kullock, Iara Kullock, Abi Kullock, Meital Kullock, Rabbi Joshua Kullock

Rabbi Joshua Kullock met Pope Francis during a recent trip to Italy with the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville.

of WES, said, “We are honoring Jessica, too, for her service to the congregation, not just as Rebbitzin, but as a teacher in Beit Miriam, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah tutor, a leader of services, and a Torah reader.” Karen Weil said, “Rabbi has been the heart and soul of WES throughout his time here. He has inspired, taught, and led our congregation. It is a special person who can touch the lives of people of all ages…I have seen him with our children, grandchildren, Howie, myself and my mother and he has/had a special relationship with us all. Jessica is equally remarkable. If something needs to be done, she just gets in and takes care of it quickly and efficiently! There is so much Jessica has helped with throughout the years that people aren’t even aware of. All three of their girls are adorable and add a breath of sunshine to the halls of WES. How lucky we are to have the Kullock family at WES. What a difference Rabbi has made in our lives, the life of the congregation and in our Nashville Jewish community!” Marcia Stewart listed some of the many classes and study opportunities that Rabbi and Jessica have initiated in the congregation, including Talmud on Tuesday, Men’s Torah study, Women’s Torah study, and Introduction to Judaism classes. She also mentioned that Synagogue services on Zoom started within one day of the pandemic for those who could not attend services on Shabbat or evening minyans. And Eugene Sacks, president of the WES men’s club, talked about Rabbi and


January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Jessica’s enthusiasm for Camp Ramah Darom, the Southern outpost of the Conservative movement’s summer camp program. All three Kullock daughters have attended Camp Ramah, as well as have many other teens and pre-teens in the congregation. WES librarian Susan Pankowsky said that she’s happy with “the spiritual direction of the shul” and that Rabbi Kullock’s Talmud classes are the “highlight of my week!” Speaking of Jessica’s many contributions to synagogue life, she said, “Jessie has been an amazing partner to Rabbi with her willingness to pitch in on so many projects, including donating time and effort to Sisterhood, challah sales, and especially her davening and Torah reading! Seeing her (and the kids) participating alongside Rabbi is something that we should all aspire to do….” The Kullocks came to Nashville after several years of rabbinical service in a synagogue pulpit in Guadalajara, Mexico along with their three daughters, Iara, Abigail, and Maytal. The girls are 15, 13, and 12, respectively. Both older girls, graduates of Akiva School, are students at Harpeth Hall, while Maytal is presently an Akiva student. We hope the community will join us in honoring this amazing and energetic couple who’ve contributed so much to the Nashville Jewish community over the last 10 years. For reservations, click on this link WESkullocktribute or type it into your browser window. •

LET’S TALK RETIREMENT! (…because it’s not just about the money!) By LORETTA SAFF

BE CURIOUS ! L’avenir appartient aux curieux.


hat did you think when you saw that sentence? Did you look at it twice and try to understand it, or did you just move on assuming the answer would follow somewhere? If you were curious and tried to figure out the meaning, good for you! The sentence is in French, and it says, THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE CURIOUS. Internationally recognized author and leadership expert John Maxwell wrote that statement regarding leadership. When I read it, my immediate reaction was this should be everyone’s slogan. As babies, we are born with a natural curiosity. We are constantly trying to discover the world around us. Then as we age, somehow our curiosity lessens. It is essential that we make sure our

curiosity stays active. Children at school need it to learn. People in every job need it to expand their career, and during retirement, it’s an even more important ticket to find purpose and joy. Now that I’ve piqued your curiosity, here are three more reasons why be more curious should be at the top of your New Year’s resolution list: 1. Curiosity improves cognitive functioning and helps the mind work more logically and efficiently. 2. Because curiosity leads to following up on something, it contributes to confidence and self-esteem and gives us purpose. 3. Being curious leads to learning, and learning leads to change and new ideas. Now that you are convinced and ready to increase your curiosity, some may still need a little help. So here are three ways to encourage your own curiosity: 1. Read widely a. Start with something you already enjoy. b. Wander the bookstore and/or the library 2. Create a curiosity list.

a. Sit down now and create a curiosity list – a list of at least 10 things that come to mind that you would like to explore. Be honest no matter how unusual. b. Keep a small writing pad in your pocket or purse and if you come across something new of interest – write it down – or…, put it in ‘the notes app’ on your phone! 3. Ask questions – of others or yourself. a. Remember that ‘who/what/ when/where/why and how’ are great ways to start a conversation with others or to put you onto some of your own steps forward. b. Look at your everyday routine and challenge yourself to change it up a bit. (Hint: use one of the question words above to get you started.) Samuel Ullman was an American poet who is best known today for his poem “Youth.” This piece was a favorite of General Douglas MacArthur, who served during World War II. It certainly underscores the importance of curiosity.

It’s a reminder that if feeling young and adventurous is on your ‘to-do’ list, here is a small excerpt: Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from mankind and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

IDF from Nashville. We read a poem by Amy Wine, “I do not live in Israel,” that perfectly put into words the connection of Jews to Israel. You can read the poem here: Judy Saks stated it was the first time since October 7 that she had felt at ease. “I needed that event. I was feeling so distressed and stressed that it gave me time to breathe.” It still brings tears to her eyes as she recalls her experience. Pam Kelner stated, “I helped prepare for the event as part of JFS, but I did not

realize how much I needed the Healing Circle until I was there. It was a break from the frantic, busy few weeks and a time for healing. The entire experience was cathartic.” Words can fail us in times of tragedy. Rabbi Laurie Rice and Cantor Josh Goldberg beautifully led the group through prayer and song. It was a sacred moment in a stressful time and one we are grateful to have been a part of. •

As this new year starts, remember that THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THE CURIOUS, so promise yourself to be curious today and every day. If you need a little help, let me know. • Happy New Year, Loretta P.S. Recent research shows that curiosity may be a protective factor against anxiety and depression (Zainal, & Newman, 2023).

Heart of the Matter By TONI JACOBSEN


n November 28, Jewish Family Service partnered with Rabbi Laurie Rice and Cantor Josh Goldberg to provide a Community Healing Circle. Community members came together in prayer, song, and meditation to share feelings, honor loved ones lost and to support families who have loved ones serving in the IDF. The night was filled with a common

love for Israel and a common concern about Jews everywhere. We could feel the emotions, and everyone understood what the other was experiencing without words. One of the most powerful moments of the evening was when the Torah was passed from person to person in the circle. We watched families personally affected by the war and others who carry the generational trauma of the Jewish people carefully holding it with tears in their eyes. Many of us were brought to tears. We lit a candle for the safety of several lone soldiers in the

Toni Jacobsen and Ashley Franklin Licensed Clinical Social Workers at JFS

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


Israeli Families Continued from page 1

Ida says before arriving in Nashville, the family was evacuated to a hotel in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. “It was a nightmare. We were evacuated to Eilat and stayed there more than two months trying to rebuild our lives.” Ida is from the same kibbutz as Soreq. In fact, his parents are friends with her aunt who, upon hearing about the program, immediately urged Ida and her family to take the opportunity. Ida’s parents and extended friends and family are still in Israel and continue to deal with bombs and sirens. She says one of her closest friends was abducted along with her husband, who was shot and wounded in the attack. “The last we heard, she called for help, but the medics had been hit by a bomb and there was no one to help. We don’t know if they are dead or alive.” Ida and the other Israeli families were invited to a Shabbat dinner at Chabad of Nashville and in attendance was United States Senator Bill Hagerty and Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. Ida had the opportunity to speak with them and tell the story of her friends. “They were so nice, kind, and willing to hear my story. It warmed my heart. I was overwhelmed,” she says. While they are in Nashville, Ida says they are provided a membership to use the facilities at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. She has been taking advantage of the gym and the indoor pool. The generosity has inspired her to volunteer at Akiva. Other of the Israelis have volunteered in other ways, such as helping staff of The Federation make calls to victims of the recent tornadoes who may need assistance. For the Israeli host families, helping in this way is providing them with much needed connection to those back home.

Anna Brameli and her family relocated to Nashville from Israel 18 months ago while she is working on a fellowship in pediatrics at Vanderbilt Medical Center. She says before October 7, she felt separated from politics and life in Israel, but now that has changed. “Before the war, we felt privileged to not be part of the political storm that was happening. But since then, suddenly, I felt drawn back, like a true Israeli,” she says. “I’m in both places. My body is here, but my mind and heart is there.” Brameli is enjoying the camaraderie of Israelis who she says have similar experiences that are uniquely Israeli. “It’s so different here. Parents want structure and scheduled activities for their kids. In Israel, things are more intuitive. On the kibbutz we all know each other and everyone looks after each other’s kids,” she says. Brameli is also enjoying volunteering in Akiva’s classes. “I never had much time to come to my girls’ school. Recently I had the opportunity to sit with [the new children] and help in class with translating. Just a year and a half ago, my kids were in the same place with learning English.” She also says she also misses the ease of being Jewish in Israel. “Living in Israel you never think about being Jewish. I miss the feeling of not needing to explain myself.” When asked whether she thinks some of the Israelis might want to stay longer than their 90-day visa, Brameli says, perhaps. “Some people take this as a chance for a break. But all of a sudden, they might not want to go back.” Brameli says since several of the kibbutzim have been destroyed or nearly demolished. She describes a complicated process where members collectively must decide where, or if, to relocate as a community. Brameli says she and her husband have also considered whether to try and remain in the United States, but the war confirmed for them where they belong. “We’re needed

Jewish Family Service hosted Shabbat dinner for the newly arrived families and their hosts.

Students at Akiva School play with their new friends and classmates from Israel.

back in our country,” she says, “Despite all the recent turmoil, I’m hoping we can understand we can’t fight amongst ourselves.” For the American Jewish hosts, participating in the program was a welcome opportunity. Meryl Kraft and her husband, her adult children, and her brother and his family are all participating. “Toni Jacobsen from JFS called to see if we’d help and I didn’t even have to think about it,” she says, “This is something we can actually do. We jumped right on it.” Kraft is helping to make her new friends feel at home and provide some distraction for the children. “They’ve seen and heard so much. It’s been so hard to watch what is going on there, I want to do whatever I can from here.” Kraft says the recent tornado was an unfortunate reminder of the war. “Particularly for the kid, the sirens and the noise were traumatic. They don’t know it’s different. That they’re safe as long as they stay in their safe place.” Meanwhile Kraft has plans for dinners, visits to the zoo, and lots of play-


Continued from page 6

out it would lead to antisemitism in the U.S. It might make Jews look bad if they spoke up. Rabbi Wise’s failures have been chronicled in books such as “The Jews Should Keep Quiet.” The murders of October 7 were

10 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

dates with her grandchildren. “We asked them what they want to do. Everybody has something they want to do. We want to make sure the kids get together with other kids.” Reshef says funding for the program came from private donors in the Jewish community and from the Shai Fund, a Christian organization. The Shai Fund is willing to provide for additional families to come and Reshef says they are considering whether to include other communities who want to be involved. “It’s a tremendous amount of work for a community, and we don’t want to burden the local community. We’re considering other Jewish communities, too.” Ida says the benefits of the program were clear the minute she arrived. “It’s so vivid in my memory. The moment the plane landed, and we walked through the tunnel to the baggage area, I saw everyone waiting for us. I felt I could breathe again. I finally felt safe. It was such a powerful experience. There’s nothing worse for a mother than feeling like she can’t protect her kids.” •

the largest massacres of Jews since the Holocaust. Will we all be silent? Or will we let Vanderbilt know that we are united and will not tolerate antisemitism on any level? • David Stoll M.D. Vanderbilt University Medical School Class of 1980

Saturday Night Live: An Evening of Soulful Music at Chabad C

habad of Nashville will host Saturday Night Live, and evening of Soulful Music, featuring some of Nashville’s most talented musicians. Soulful Music will be an evening of immersive musical experience, featuring Chasidic melodies, fascinating narratives, and motivational messages—woven together into an enjoyable musical introduction to the transformative voice of your very own soul. Beyond its soulful sound, melody called the Nigun, provides a language for the spiritual side of life. From yearning

lows to sudden highs, hopeful bridges to striving refrains, experience the journey of a Jewish soul in its own words. It will be an evening of Jewish music and Chasidic songs that will inspire the heart and express the soul. An Evening of Soulful Music with Chabad will take place on Saturday night, January 13 sat 7:30 PM at Chabad of Nashville. Participants will enjoy an Israeli falafel bar and drinks, while enjoying an evening of Soulful Music. RSVP at •

Marsha Raimi remembers her family who perished in the Holocaust with this new inscription on the Pillars of Remembrance.

From Ghetto to Nashville Holocaust Quantum Physics to Memorial Adds Inscriptions Judaism with Dr. Dovid Imbo at Chabad A By MARSHA RAIMI

t an intimate private ceremony on Sunday, November 5, Nashville’s Holocaust Memorial unveiled new inscriptions on its Pillars of Remembrance. Eight families remembered loved ones who perished in the Holocaust, or those who survived and subsequently lived in the Nashville area. Rabbis Shana Mackler of Temple Ohabai Shalom and Joshua Kullock of West End Synagogue led the ceremony, which included El Malei Rachamim – the prayer said at funerals and Yizkor services – and the Mourner’s Kaddish. In opening remarks, Holocaust Memorial Chair Felicia Anchor said, “All of us here grew up in homes where shadows lurked. In our homes, many tears were shed for family members we would never know. And family we would never have. Why were they murdered? One word: Jew. Today we say to their souls, ‘You are not forgotten. You are remembered in our hearts, and now you

are remembered with love, honor, and dignity on these memorial walls.’” Each family member present told the story behind their inscription. As reflected in the variety of the inscriptions themselves, each story is unique. One family was adding their mother’s name, who survived and lived in Nashville, to the rest of the names of family members who perished. Several were people who moved to Nashville after the Memorial was created in 2006. The ceremony concluded with the hopeful “A Prayer for the World” by Rabbi Harold S. Kushner (z”l) which begins: “Let the rain come and wash away/ The ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds/ Held and nurtured over generations.” Nashville’s Holocaust Memorial is a sculpture garden on the grounds of the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Bellevue, TN. Self-guided tours can be taken during daylight hours. To arrange a docent-led tour, email NashvilleHolocaustMemorial@gmail. com. •


habad of Nashville will be hosting scholar-in-residence Professor Dovid Imbo on the weekend of January 26-27. Dr. Imbo will share his personal journey from inner city Chicago, to being accepted as a member of the elite Harvard Society of Fellows, to becoming a professor in the department of physics at the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1992. Dr. Imbo will speak on the subject of his life’s journey, the nature and origin of time in physics and Torah, and the nature and logic of existence in physics and kabbalah, the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible. Dr. Imbo will speak at the TGIS Friday night dinner on January 26 following the Shabbat service, which begins at 6:30 PM, and again at the Shabbat lunch on Saturday, January 27 at 12:30 PM.

Dr. Imbo was born and raised on the Near West Side of Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988, and did his postdoctoral work at Harvard University as a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows. He has been a professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1992, where he is also the Director of the newly formed “Laboratory for Quantum Theory at the Extremes.” His research focuses on the connections between quantum physics, pure mathematics, formal logic, and pure philosophy. Hear Dr. Imbo’s fascinating story f”From Ghetto to Quantum Physics to Judaism,” on January 26 -27 at Chabad of Nashville. There is no cost to attend, RSVP at For more information, call 615-646-5750 or go to •

Chabad to offer winter Adult Ed: Advice for Life – a Powerful Perspective on Purposeful Living


dvice for Life, a six-week course by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) in partnership with Chabad of Nashville is set to debut this winter. This all-new adult education learning opportunity is as immersive journey that explores the extensive written communications of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory. If you ever wished there was a manual to finding meaning in life, a guide to making purposeful choices about work, struggle, healing, and relationships, know that you are not alone. Through thousands of typewritten letters and transcripts of spoken discourse, the Rebbe interacted with individuals of all walks of life, both from within and outside the Jewish community on matters of work, family, health, and well-being.

For decades, countless public leaders, professionals, and regular folks from all walks of life found a guide to their burning life questions in the Rebbe, Rabbi Schneerson. The Rebbe showed how Jewish wisdom offers practical, life-altering advice for concerns about health, work, family, fulfillment, and those anxiety-inducing thoughts that keep us up at night. The Rebbe’s spiritual leadership is the force behind the modern Chabad movement and his wisdom continues to inspire and guide countless individuals on their journeys of faith and personal growth. From navigating the “daily grind” to cultivating thriving relationships, the Rebbe’s guidance offers invaluable insights for wholesome living. “Advice for Life is an invitation to delve into ideas that guide us toward

mindful growth,” notes Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel, a dedicated JLI instructor in Nashville, TN. “This course provides practical insights that elevate everyday experiences to meaningful milestones.” Join this new course, “Advice for Life,” on Wednesday, January 31, at 7:00 PM, for a multimedia voyage through the Rebbe’s insights on daily life. Discover how the Rebbe applied Jewish values to serve as a guide for finding deeper meaning in everyday life. Advice for Life welcomes participants from all backgrounds and levels of knowledge, embodying JLI’s commit-

ment to making enriching Jewish educational experiences accessible to all. JLI, the adult education arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, operates in over 800 locations across the U.S. and various countries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1998, JLI has reached more than 400,000 students, providing them with valuable insights and transformative educational experiences. For registration and additional information about the course, go to or call 615-646-5750. The course is presented in partnership with Chabad of Nashville. •

Visit The Jewish Observer’s website The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


Jewish Federation’s Journey to Italy

Journey to Italy Continued from page 1

Europe and is visible throughout the city of Florence. It was built just after the reunification of Italy, and the Jewish emancipation. During World War II, Nazis occupied the building and it was set for destruction, but Italian resistance fighters managed to save it from major damage, and it was restored after the war. The inside of the ornate dome is covered in mosaics in the Moorish style. After spending time in the magnificent synagogue, the group boarded the bus for a ride to the town of Livorno. The afternoon included several stops, beginning with the synagogue, a modern construction built after World War II. Next was lunch with members of the local Jewish community, including the local rabbi, followed by a walking tour of the historic Jewish cemetery. The trip included visits to other historic towns and villages. Notably, the village of Pitigliano was a highlight for participants who climbed cobblestone streets carved into the Tuscan countryside. This town has seen a Jewish presence since the early 1500s and served as a refuge for Jews exiled from Rome. Here the ghetto includes a synagogue, mikveh, and bakehouse for preparing challah and matzoh. The picturesque village is also the scene of films and even a Super Bowl commercial. One of the unique highlights of the trip was the visit to the Vatican and a papal audience. Rabbi Kullock arranged the visit through an Argentinian friend who is a leader in the Jewish community in Buenos Aires, and a longtime friend of the Pope. The morning began early with a wait for security clearance. The group walked through the courtyard, past ornate Swiss guards in traditional garb, and was seated in the large auditorium where approximately 8,000 people come each week for the audience. The Nashville Jewish Federation was welcomed from the stage prior to the service. The mood was festive with band music, banners, and signs. Also among the audience was a group of novice nuns present to have their rings blessed by the Pope. They explained the path to becoming a nun can be long and requires much study and discipline. They came from the Philippines, China, and parts of South America and Europe, and will be assigned to communities around the world. The service featured hymns and a homily presented in different languages, followed by a short speech by the Pope himself. He spoke about the need for

peace in Ukraine, Israel, and around the world. After the service, the group was ushered to the stage to wait for the opportunity to meet the Pope and some were able to shake his hand. Rabbi Kullock greeted him, in Spanish, on behalf of the group, offering wishes for his good health. For Lupe Botts, a practicing Catholic and member of the group, this was a milestone event in her life. “I will remember this my whole life,” she said, “I’ve texted everyone I know to tell them about it and sent pictures.” Botts also was front and center to shake the Pope’s hand. The remaining days in Rome were spent visiting historic architectural sites like the Colosseum, the Forum, Spanish Steps, and much more. There was a visit to the Jewish catacombs which, unlike non-Jewish catacombs, features individual burial slots where bodies were placed and covered with a stone covering. The ghetto of Rome and the great synagogue were also highlights. The Jewish community of Rome dates to the 2nd century BCE. The current synagogue was built in the early 1900s after the reunification of Italy and is the largest of the 18 synagogues in Italy. The sanctuary is ornate and highlighted by red and gold touches. The building also houses the Jewish Museum and the Spanish sanctuary. Trip participants included current Federation board members, community leaders, newcomers, and friends and relatives from outside Nashville. At the closing dinner, everyone remarked on the bonds they formed with each other. Board member David Bockian said, “It has been so great to meet new people and make new friends. I’m also happy I could share this with my brother.” Bockian’s brother, Dr. Steven Bockian, joined the group from Orlando, Florida. And participant Carol Berk, who along with her husband Bill, is new to Nashville, said, “We are so happy to meet new people and get to know the community better. And to do it in Italy makes it even better.” The final evening began with a community candle lighting in the Piazza Bologna in Rome. It was a moving ceremony hosted by the local Chabad, complete with prayers, singing, and the local fire department tossing treats to the kids. Board member Christie Wiemers echoed what many in the group felt, “It’s so nice to be in community, out in public, in Rome.” What began as 20 individual travelers became a tight knit group of 20 friends who are grateful for the time together, and happy to return to continue building on the friendships that began on a memorable journey to Italy. For more reflections from the group, keep reading (page 14)! •

12 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


Journey to Italy Reflections Marsha Jaffa

Lorna Graff (l) and Marsha Jaffa (r) learn to make pasta and tiramisu.

The Federation trip to Italy was well planned and executed. It was an adventure that combined the current shops, restaurants, and smells of Italy and introduced us to the history of an old country. Walking the ancient streets of Venice with no trees or vehicles – only boats – was interesting. We visited the Jewish Ghetto where several vibrant synagogues used to be. Amazingly, the synagogues are still there as well as a few kosher restaurants. Of its roughly 2000 residents in the 1940’s, 1,500 people went to the concentration camps and only eight people survived. Today there’s only 500 Jewish people living throughout Venice. It worried me that there is almost zero growth of Jewish people in Italy and that we will hear similar stories time and again in other cities. We visited many cathedrals in Venice, Florence, and Rome. A lot of the cathedrals we saw were constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries. We saw examples of old marble floors, statutes, elaborate gold ornamentation. I was surprised by so many gold and warm color mosaics especially on the ceiling that depicted the Old and New Testament. One of the highlights was seeing several statutes at Galeria de Academic in Florence. One could spend hours

studying a lot of the sculptures that Michaelangelo created. We spent time walking around David and noticing the expression on his face, how he was standing, the sling, stone in his hand, his veins, etc. Our guide had a total appreciation of art history, and he wanted us to understand the intricacies of such a statute. Walking the streets of Pitigliano, aka Little Jerusalem, that dates back to the 13th century, one wonders how they built such a magnificent village a few hours from Rome. From the synagogue to the living quarters, it was also intriguing walking up and down the small narrow streets that were one to three stories high. We saw where they made their bread, torah scrolls, etc. They definitely had a beautiful vibrant community there. My favorite synagogue was the Jewish Museum and Great Synagogue of Rome built around 1903. I was captivated by the size and adornment. The colors were gold and red, the colors of Rome. It was acoustically designed, and the sound vibrates during prayer. Amazingly, it wasn’t destroyed in the war. I enjoyed seeing the museum in the basement and was amazed of the colors of the Torah covers, tapestry, and heavy gold crowns. I appreciate the Jewish Federation and Rabbi Kullock for making this a great culture and learning experience. It was great having such a congenial group of people to travel with.

Gay Eisen

I was most moved by our visit to the small, mountaintop community of Pitigliano. As is true in many of Italy’s smaller cities, there once existed a thriving and vibrant Jewish community, but, today, few if any Jews remain. Also, what occurred in most of Italy’s cities, and repeatedly, the Jews were forced out of their homes and into the cramped and worst parts of the cities, into ghettos. But, unlike most cities that rebuilt and moved on, in Pitigliano, parts of the ghetto still existed. We began this experience by walking down, then further down, into the side of

to experience, all the while, building relationships with fellow Nashvillians, and building a stronger connection to our Jewishness.

Lupe Botts

Pictured l. to r.: Lorna Graff, Marsha Jaffa, Gay Eisen, Mike Gryll during candle lighting in Rome.

the mountain, stone steps that took us through small, cramped, dark, spaces. What we saw was remarkable. The Jews maintained their beliefs and gave up what could have been precious living space to create the necessary places to continue their religion. We saw where their kosher wine was made, where matzoh was prepared and baked, where a mikvah once was, and even where the kosher butcher worked. To see all this, underground with stone surrounding us, and then to imagine living in this dark, dank, crowded, space, is just pretty overwhelming. I was also moved by us participating in an open Chanukah celebration in a small neighborhood square, hosted by Chabad. In collaboration with the local fire department, who had to use a bucket truck to lift up a Jewish community member to light the tall chanukiah, we proudly and loudly sang the Chanukah prayers, which was followed by more singing and gifts parachuted down from the top of the firetruck for the children to catch and enjoy. Protecting us, as the Italian police do at all active Jewish institutions and gatherings, were several local police to ensure our safety. This trip gave us the opportunity to go to areas beyond the big cities, to see a part of Jewish history few get

Lupe Botts waiting to meet the pope

I had never participated in a Jewish Federation trip but knew about those trips through my mother-in-law, Ann, who had been to Morocco and Israel with the Federation. What a great trip! Besides visiting many of the typical tourist sites, we learned about the history of the Jewish people in Italy. I was very touched by the members of the Jewish community we met and with whom we shared meals and heard their stories. And of course, I’m very happy to have met all my fellow travelers. I hope we can still get together in Nashville. I’m grateful for Rabbi Kullock’s efforts to arrange the audience with Pope Francis. Being one of the few Catholics in the group, I could have not been happier. It was a unique experience and one I will never forget…and Rabbi Kullock is a “very cool dude.” I had never spoken to a rabbi, and I am happy to have met not just one, but two! Joshua Kullock, Dan Horwitz and I walked from the Shabbat service to the hotel on Friday, and watched a little “breakdancing” on the way. It was an awesome trip, well organized, and with wonderful people, including Raya, Mario, and Barbara, who made sure we had a fantastic experience. We even graduated from Pasta School! •

Nashville Jewish Film Festival Expresses Thanks T

he Nashville Jewish Film Festival wishes to express our deepest gratitude and thanks for all our generous sponsors whose gifts have insured that another year of important Jewish films will be shown

Producer $7,500 and up

Maria and Bernie Pargh Family Foundation Sandra Schatten Foundation

Director $3,000 - $7,500

Annette and Irwin Eskind Foundation Donna and Jeffrey Eskind Family Foundation Laurie and Steven Eskind Family Foundation Zander Insurance Co

NJFF Star $1,000- $2,999 Betsy Chernau Shari and Rod Essig Lynn and Scott Ghertner Gary Gutow and Family Sheri B. Lanoff Lisa and Michael Shmerling,

The Navigation Trust

Co-Star $600-$999

Beth and David Alexander Jamie and Jeremy Brook Jody and Michael Dobrin Royce and James Fishel Gil Fox and Terry Minen Rae and Bruce Hirsch Vicki Horne Jackie Karr Leslie Kirby and Craig Smith Ellen and Michael Levitt Marlene Eskind Moses Jan Riven Missy and Philip Russ Loretta and Ed Saff Joan B. Shayne Harriet and Rabbi Mark Schiftan Suzanne and James Schulman Ruth and Neil Smith Nan Speller Shirley and Stuart Speyer Joyce Vise Cathy and Anthony Werthan Libby and Moshe Werthan Zeitlin Sothebys International Realty

14 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Supporting Cast $325-$599

Barbara Chazen Linda Kartoz Doochin and Michael Doochin Consulate of Israel to the Southeastern US Nancy Gold Sylvia Rapoport Leslie Sax ALyse Sprintz Joni P. Werthan

Cameo $175-324

Arlene Averbuch Mark Bergman Roberta Bergman Adele and Roy Berkon Dina and Brian Biesman Julie and Frank Boehm Sharon Charney Sara Cohan Teri and Alan Cohen Esther Cohn Cindee and Michael Gold Gretchen and Randall Goldstein Lorna Graff Mary Loventhal Jones Jay Kholos

Paula Kholos Jessica and Rabbi Joshua Kullock Sally M. Levine Alan Perlman Susan Kroop and David Shaffer Dudley C. Richter Linda and Jeffrey Schoenblum Barbara Speller Cynthia Stone Rabbi Saul Strosberg and Daniella Pressner

Young Professionals $75.00 per person Stephanie Kirschner Phil and Laura Shmerling Erin and Greg Zagnoev Becky Ray 1 badge


Dara and Craig Freiberg Jane Haggard Doralynn Harris Ruth and Paul Lebovitz Marcia and Lee Stewart List current as of October 1 2023 •

Akiva’s First Graders Turn Lemons into Lemonade for Israel By ELLY EBIN


n the spirit of the timeless adage, when faced with challenges – in this case, the recent conflict in Israel – students at Akiva turned lemons into sweet lemonade. Upon learning about the unfolding situation in Israel, Akiva first-grader Natalie Berneman, wasted no time in rallying her classmates together in a remarkable display of positivity. In a heartening initiative that spanned a week, the young students, alongside their supportive parents, made and sold lemonade to their Akiva peers and faculty. When asked about the decision to use lemonade sales as a fundraiser, Natalie explained, “I knew that kids at Akiva were feeling sad and that people in Israel needed help. Selling lemonade made my friends at school happy, and the money helped people in Israel.”

Jessica Yousem, a first grade teacher at Akiva, highlighted that the entire concept was driven by the students themselves. “The first graders approached me with a desire to make a difference, and presented a clear idea and detailed plan,” she shared. In just four days, the firstgrade class raised an impressive total of over $1,000. Yousem noted that she is “not at all surprised by this class’ motivation to make this happen,” adding, “These kids have the kindest hearts, and they are always looking for ways to help and support the school community.” As the lemonade stand folds its tables and packs away its pitchers, the impact of this initiative lingers in the hearts of those touched by the generosity of Akiva’s students. These young children have shown that a small act of kindness, fueled by genuine empathy, can create ripples of positive change that resonate

Winter Session Art Classes at the Gordon JCC’s Madeline Pargh Arts and Crafts Center Open for Registration


iscover your creative journey this winter by enrolling in a diverse array of art classes for adults and children at the Gordon Jewish Community Center’s Madeline Pargh Arts and Crafts Center. Join our talented teachers to immerse yourself in artistic exploration, from Visual Journaling to the magic of Painting in Water Media, Oil Painting to the intricacies of Printmaking. For the aspiring young artists, experiment with Adventures in Paper and Print,

dive into the world of Art Masters, or explore Storytelling through Art. Such a fun way to spend an afternoon after school by engaging in our awesome classes! Don’t miss out on our workshops as well! In January we are offering a Storytelling Through Art for middle schoolers and in February we have a Carve a Heart Pendant in Soapstone for 18+. Register today at artsandcrafts •

First grade students and parents make lemonade to sell in support of Israel.

far beyond the classroom. Akiva Head of School Rabba Daniella Pressner notes, “The outpouring of love and support of so many of the children during this difficult time has been remarkable. Our children have demonstrated the profound power of love and care in the darkest moments.”

Natalie’s explanation echoes the sentiment that guided this endeavor: turning lemons into lemonade. Akiva students illustrate that even in challenging times, the collective efforts of a caring community can transform hardship into a source of inspiration and strength. •

MLK Jr. Day Art Project


oin us in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a special art activity event designed for elementary-aged kids at the Gordon JCC Madeline Pargh Arts and Crafts Center on Monday, January 15th, from 9:30 to 11:30am. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an inspiring example of the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). Dr. King dedicated his life to help create a more equitable world for generations to follow. We invite families to participate in a storytime session that emphasizes the values of Tikkun Olam, courage, compas-

sion, and unity championed by Dr. King. Following the story, children will immerse themselves in hands-on arts and crafts, crafting meaningful projects reflecting principles of equality and justice. This event is a unique opportunity for families to unite, contemplate MLK Jr.’s impactful words, and cultivate understanding and empathy through the joy of creativity. Join us to celebrate the enduring legacy of this remarkable leader and co-create dreams of unity! Additionally, your child’s artwork will have the chance to be exhibited in the galleries at the Gordon JCC after completion. •



Art classes for all ages

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at

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The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


Chanukah Around Town


his year, there were several community Chanukah celebrations and candle lightings, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville was there. Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell helped light the menorah on the fourth night, along with students from Akiva and Jewish Middle School, and Vice Chair of the JCRC Erin Coleman. On night six, the Nashville Predators helped celebrate with Jewish Community Night at the game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Preds partnered with The Federation for a pre-game Chanukah party, complete with latkes and other tasty treats. Candle lighting was led by Federation CEO Rabbi Dan

Horwitz, along with community engagement associate Eitan Snyder. Community member Erin Coleman was honored with the military salute, and Abby Sparks rang the siren before the third period. For more on Chanukah celebrations around town, check out this issue’s stories on Franklin’s historic candle lighting, and NowGen’s 8NON events. •

Chabad of Nashville Lights the Menorah at State Capitol with Israeli Evacuees


n Monday, December 11, Chabad of Nashville hosted a Menorah lighting at the state capitol, with Governor Bill Lee, and First Lady Maria Lee. Governor Lee was recently appointed to be the chairman of the Republican Governors Association of the United States. In attendance were leaders of the Nashville Jewish community and five Israeli families that lived in the Kibbutzim near Gaza on October 7. They miraculously

survived the Hamas massacre, while some of their friends were murdered, and others were kidnapped and taken hostage in Gaza. These families are in Nashville now for several weeks to get some respite from the trauma they experienced, and they participated as guests at the Menorah lighting with the governor, and one of the Israeli moms spoke about her experience at the event. The governor said, “This week, we

Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel from Chabad of Nashville together with Governor Bill Lee and First Lady Maria Lee light the Menorah in the State Capitol. PHOTO CREDIT: RAY DI PIETRO

Governor Bill Lee with First Lady Maria Lee with Rabbi Yitzchok and Esther Tiechtel, and with the families that are visiting from the Israeli Kibbutzim and friends from the Nashville Jewish community. PHOTO CREDIT: RICK MALKIN

16 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

welcomed five Jewish families who fled Israel after the horrific October 7 terror attacks to celebrate Chanukah at the Capitol. These brave families and Jewish people around the world represent the hope that Chanukah brings — that light

will always overcome the darkness.” It was a very emotional and moving event, and it was a powerful experience for the Israeli community, as the governor shared his unwavering support for Israel and the people of Israel. •

City of Franklin Holds Historic Hannukah Candle Lighting By MARSHA RAIMI


eace, Love & Light on a Magical Hanukkah Night,” the City of Franklin’s first-ever public menorah lighting, lived up to its title. On Wednesday, December 13, over 300 people celebrated the seventh night of Chanukah at Eastern Flank Battlefield Park with music, greetings from local politicians, lighting of a six-foot tall menorah, acknowledgement of the war in Israel, donuts, food trucks, and a sea of lights created by the menorahs lit by participants. The event was planned in less than a month by members of Jewish Franklin, TN, a Facebook group started by Ellen Monen in March. She, John Gimesh, and Erin Wood were the primary organizers. Gimesh served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Franklin Mayor Dr. Ken Moore was immediately supportive when approached by the group, and provided City resources for the event beyond those requested. On its own initiative, the City hung “Happy Chanukah” banners throughout its historic district and community member Marsha Raimi offered the opening prayer at the Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s monthly meeting the night before the event (https://www. at 1:30). Vice Mayor Matt Brown (Ward 2) represented Franklin at the candle lighting. He and Mayor Moore formed Unite Williamson, an organization of faith-based groups that seeks understanding of, and collaboration with, their neighbors. They see this first public celebration of the Jewish festival of lights as being in the spirit of that group, “An example of the heart of inclusion and unity in our community. We’re kindling the flames of hope, faith, and love, and compassion in our hearts and our community.” Aldermen Jason Potts (Ward 3) and Greg Caesar (At-Large) were present. TN Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Dist 27) greeted the group on behalf of the General Assembly and Governor, but mostly as a fellow citizen of Franklin, thanking those present for choosing to live in the city. State Representative Sam Whitson (R-Dist 65) was also present. Recorded greetings from U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) were posted to Jewish Franklin TN’s Facebook page after the event. Metro Nashville Councilman Jacob Kupin participated. Rabbi Michael Danziger, Senior Rabbi of Temple Ohabai Shalom, led the ceremonial part of the evening. He began by noting that the park was the location of an historic battle of the American Civil War. He explained the victory of the Maccabees over King Antiochus and the Assyrians, and said, “We stand here on this old battlefield remembering a miraculous victory, a military victory for freedoms that resonate with us here in this country and that have resonated throughout the generations. Freedom of expression. Freedom of religion. Freedom of self-determination.” Danziger explained why we light the menorah, and the debate about whether to add a candle each night or to subtract one. “… And Rabbi Hillel won the day, and we light one more each day so that the light is always increasing. And these lights remind us of miracles that we’ve enjoyed and for which we’re grateful. And for miracles yet to come, which we can be partners in creating. And these

lights remind us to shed our own light. Lights of faith. Lights of hope. Lights of love. Of kindness. Of courage. Of strength. Of peace.” He introduced Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel to light the six-foot tall menorah loaned by his congregation, Chabad of Nashville. Rabbi Teichtel offered brief comments about the war in Israel, explaining that five families from the kibbutz settlements had arrived in Nashville for seven weeks of respite, and were being taken care of by the entire community. He called on everyone present “to be lamplighters, to be people who create light, and share their goodness and kindness, because a little light can push out a lot of darkness.” He praised the members of Jewish Franklin for organizing the historic candle lighting. “This is what Jewish pride is all about. Am Yisrael Chai! The Jewish people live.” He guided Vice Mayor Brown in lighting the shamash, and then lit the remaining seven candles, while musician Dennis Scott played “Ma O Tzur” and “Oh Chanukah.” Scott, a local Grammy-winning musician provided music throughout the evening, supported by sound and lighting produced by Michael Fair. Tennille Melcher, another founder and administrator of the Facebook group who’s hosted several events for the group, donated her photography skills. Two families with close connections to the war in Israel were honored. Misty Grinberg’s husband, Stas, is a reservist who was called back to his IDF unit as soon as the war began. New to the Nashville area, she’s found support being a member of the Jewish Franklin group and posted a picture of his unit lighting their menorahs. Eva Marks’ 20-year-old granddaughter Rose Lubin was stabbed to death in the Old City of Jerusalem, where she was on duty serving as an IDF Border Police officer. Rose was recognized by the State of Israel with the “Hero of the World” award. Mrs. Marks will share her granddaughter’s full story at a future community event. There was a moment of silence, and after the ceremony, the crowd said Kaddish. Many non-Jewish residents of Franklin attended the event to show support for their friends and neighbors. Katy and Will Dodson said, “We were very happy to attend the first Chanukah ceremony in the City of Franklin. As Tennessee natives and Christians, we have felt the need to publicly stand in solidarity with the Jewish community through these difficult times. We stand united against hatred, terrorism.” Ellen Monen, creator and administrator of Jewish Franklin, had high praise for the City of Franklin and the many volunteers who stepped forward: “I was blown away with the support of the group and city. Everything panned out with each taking their own role. There was cooperation across the spectrum of Judaism and support from every direction. The [Jewish] Federation [of Greater Nashville] was amazing – they provided over half the funding, advice, and their CEO Dan Horwitz came.” The city summed it up well on its Facebook page, “The festive evening was filled with light, joy, and community spirit. The music and inspiring messages created a vibrant celebration of culture and unity.” For the full livestream of the event by Fox 17 News Nashville, go to: https:// videos/341352901975698 •


Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel lights the Chanukah candles. PHOTO CREDIT: CITY OF FRANKLIN


Pictured l. to r.: Federation CEO Rabbi Dan Horwitz, Ellen Monen, Temple Rabbi Michael Danziger

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


At Our Congregations… Nashville’s congregations

Torah and Tea- A Weekly Jewish Women’s Study Group

Here are the websites for all five Nashville Jewish congregations, with information on services, upcoming events and more: Congregation Beit Tefilah Chabad, Congregation Micah, Congregation Sherith Israel, The Temple – Congregation Ohabai Sholom, West End Synagogue,

The Five Books of Moses—the Torah—is quite simply the most widely-read, most influential literary work in all of human history. Since its first appearance in a blaze of Divine revelation on Mount Sinai over 3300 years ago, the Torah and its teachings have provoked inspired inquiry to discover its infinitely-layered designs and meanings. Chabad of Nashville will host “Torah and Tea” an all women’s classical Jewish learning opportunity, in a series of clear and engaging weekly classes. Probing the ideas and issues related to the Jewish woman, these classes will offer timely lessons -from the most timeless of all texts. Join Mrs. Esther Tiechtel together with fellow Jewish women in Nashville for inspiring Torah study, warm camaraderie, hot tea and delicious refreshments, on Shabbat afternoons at 1:00 PM, at Chabad of Nashville. Enjoy a steaming cup of tea, a relevant Torah insight, inspired discussion and friendly interaction with Jewish women.

The Observer provides congregational listings of events and services as a complimentary service to the community. If your congregation is not listed, it is because we did not receive the information in time to meet our publication deadline. Please give your rabbi, executive director, or synagogue volunteer a gentle nudge.

@ Chabad /Congregation Beit Tefilah 2024 New Year Resolutions at Congregation Beit Tefilah Chabad Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, one filled with meaning and purpose? Chabad of Nashville is offering various new and ongoing opportunities to nourish your Mind, Body and Soul. Pick one that suites your taste from this page, and make 2024 an even more meaningful year.

PARSHA PERSPECTIVES on YOUTUBE is an All New Learning opportunity for 2024 Chabad of Nashville values a deep, rich learning experience and aims to provide this in an unequivocal way. Chabad presents an all new series of Parsha Perspectives, and is released weekly on YouTube, on Wednesdays of every week. Parsha Perspectives is taught by Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel, and includes an inspirational message on the weekly Torah portion and the Jewish calendar, and will engage students by challenging them intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. These lessons will explore contemporary issues through a Torah perspective as well as tackling timeless questions in the Jewish tradition. Each lesson introduces ideas and issues from the current weekly Torah portion and creates a meaningful connection between the timeless wisdom of the Torah and modern-day living. The purpose of Parsha Perspectives goes far beyond a mere discovery of knowledge. Every lesson creates an opportunity to truly understand how you can better your life today. To subscribe to Parsha Perspectives on YouTube, go to and in the search box type: RabbiYitzchokTiechtel and you can then subscribe to receive the link to the weekly Parsha Perspectives with Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel. These lessons will nourish your mind, body and soul.

New Fall Course on Advice For Life During the winter Chabad of Nashville will be offering a new multimedia “Advise For Life,” a journey through the Rebbe’s practical wisdom on work, family, health, and well-being. Discover how the Rebbe applied Jewish values to serve as a guide for finding deeper meaning in everyday life. Participants of this course will learn timeless meaning in everyday questions of health, work, family, fulfillment, struggle, and inner peace. (See more details in article in this issue of the Observer). This will take place on six Wednesday evenings, starting January 31, 2024. For more information or to register go to or call 615-646-5750.

Chabad to host two TGIS celebration in January Start your Shabbat off right with good friends, great conversation, and excellent kosher cuisine, all seasoned with the perfect amount of spirit and joy. TGIS is a Club Med Shabbat: An all-inclusive Shabbat experience. Enjoy a Friday night Shabbat dinner replete with traditional dishes. Blended with spirited singing, a Chasidic tale, and a chance to meet some wonderful new people. TGIS will be held on Friday evening, January 12, and on Friday, January 26, at 6:30 PM at Chabad of Nashville. There will be a special guest Scholar in Residence for the weekend on January 26- 27, 2024. (See article in this Observer about Dr. Dovid Imbo visit to Nashville.) There is no cost to attend the TGIS Shabbat experience, however we kindly request that you RSVP by letting us know you will be attending at

18 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Saturday Night Live: An Evening of Soulful Music at Chabad Chabad of Nashville to host Saturday Night Live, and evening of Soulful Music, featuring some of Nashville’s most talented musicians, On Saturday night, January 13 at 7:30 PM. Soulful Music will be an evening of immersive musical experience, featuring Chasidic melodies, woven together into an enjoyable musical introduction to the transformative voice of your very own soul. (see article in this issue of the Observer) Participants will enjoy a falafel bar and drinks, while enjoying and evening of Soulful Music. RSVP at

BLT – Bagels, Lox and Torah Join friends for a morning of Bagels, Lox and Torah on Sunday, January 21, at 10:00 AM, in the Bernard Ballroom at Chabad of Nashville. Partake in a delicious spread of bagels, lox, cream cheese, and freshly brewed coffee as you learn Chasidic insights from the Book of the Tanya. Nourish your Mind, Body and Soul with BLT at Chabad of Nashville. RSVP at

Meet in Person for Storah Telling and Cholent Chabad of Nashville invites you to the Shabbat morning Storah-Telling. Participants will learn the story of the weekly Torah reading, as Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel tells the story and shares relevant insights for day to day living. The Storah-Telling is followed by followed by a hot cholent, freshly baked Challah, a gourmet buffet lunch, and a weekly farbrengen with some friendly L’Chaim. Participants will go home with nourishments for their Mind, Body and Soul. Join your friends on Shabbat morning at 10:30 AM at Chabad, for warmth and companionship that emanate from the Chabad of Nashville community.

A Coin in Charity a Day Brings Blessings Your Way It is a well-known Jewish tradition to give charity (Tzedakah) daily, as it draws down Divine energy of blessings and success in all of your endeavors. Chabad of Nashville is offering a free Tzedakah box for your home or office, that can be used to fulfill the Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah daily. The Tzedakah box is a free gift for the first 50 people to contact the Chabad of Nashville office at

@ Micah Congregation Micah - an inclusive, innovative synagogue exploring and celebrating Jewish life - is committed to building community and repairing the world! We offer creative and diverse ways to live a Jewish life in Tennessee and beyond, using the rich beliefs and practices of Progressive Judaism as our foundation. Visit our 30+ acre campus or access our virtual programs from our website, Like us on socials: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MicahNashville; sign up for our e-blasts; learn and pray with us in-person, or livestream our service on our website, YouTube, or Facebook. In our tent, there is room for everyone!

Weekly Events Sanctuary Shabbat Services: Fridays at 6 PM

At Micah, we approach God in many ways: the inspiration of words, the beauty of sacred space, the authenticity of our intentions, and through the power of music and song. Join us in-person or virtually for services this month that will be as diverse as they are engaging, as moving as they are participatory. Come early and schmooze with us starting at 5:30 PM! Light refreshments are served.

At Our Congregations… Saturday Morning Torah Study: 9 AM on Zoom

Deep conversations about the text with thoughtful and caring people led by the clergy.

@ The Temple

Mah Jongg: Tuesdays from 12:30 PM- 3:30 PM

Join our players for an afternoon of fun in the social hall! For more information, contact Paula:

Schmooze & Views: Thursdays from 10:30 AM- 11:30 AM

At Micah, we keep politics off the pulpit but not out of the building. Share your views in a round-table discussion on current events facilitated by Rabbi Flip and Dr. Bob Smith.

January Events Micah Reads: Monday, January 8, at 7 PM on Zoom

Education Director Julie Greenberg leads the discussion on “Safekeeping” by Jessamyn Hope on January 8 and “The Light Between Us” by Andrew Fukuda on February 5.

Room in the Inn: Sunday, January 21, at 6 PM

Congregation Micah hosts overnight guests for dinner and breakfast one Sunday each month during the winter months (November - March). The goal of our partnership is to “provide safe shelter, warm meals, and fellowship for our neighbors struggling with homelessness during the coldest months of the year.” Volunteer on our website’s social action page.

Project Shema Community Workshop: Sunday, January 21, at 12:30 PM

Oren Jacobson will be leading a workshop in partnership with Project Shema to educate Jews on how to recognize and combat Anti-Semitism. Knowledge is power when it comes to ignorance and hate, and we aim to arm people with the knowledge they need to fight back.

Ibeinu B’mizrach: Nashville Sings for Israel: Sunday, January 21, at 3 PM

The Jewish community comes together in prayer, song, and community during this special event. Brought to you by the Jewish Federation of Nashville, this event is an opportunity to process the events of the last few months, reach out to others, and be present with one another.

Grief Group: Thursday, January 21, at 12 PM

Pirkei Avot: Jewish Wisdom for Today’s World

Every Friday from 5:00-5:40 PM Get ready for Shabbat with a little text study! Each week we will study a piece of wisdom from Pirkei Avot, The Ethics of our Ancestors, an ancient Jewish text still relevant in our own times. Available in person at The Temple and via zoom. Zoom Room:

Shabbat Schedule for January

Our Shabbat Services will be held in person at The Temple. You can also watch via zoom from Friday, January 5th ~ 6:00 PM Friday, January 12th~ 6:00 PM Friday, January 19th ~ 6:00 PM – FAMILY SERVICE Friday, January 26th ~ 6:00 PM – BLUE JEAN SHABBAT

Shabbat Shira and Tu’Bishvat

We gather together for one of the most festive Shabbat services of the year! Shabbat Shira, the Sabbath of Song, and Tu Bishvat, the Festival of the Trees Friday, January 26, 2024 at 6:00 PM. Through joyful music, participation from our volunteer band, and a special Torah reading, we’ll learn about how Judaism celebrates miracles, redemption, and growth. We hope you’ll grab your timbral and plan to be with us on for this celebratory Shabbat service! Our Shabbat Services will be held in person at The Temple. You can also watch via zoom from

Shabbat Morning Service

Join with our clergy as we gather for a Shabbat Morning Service Saturday, January 13, 2024 at 11:00 AM Together we will pray, sing, and hear words of Torah. Challah and wine/grape juice will be served upon conclusion of our service.

Chevrah Torah Study

9:30AM on Saturdays Join us for our weekly Torah study on the portion of the week, led by the clergy. You can join us in person at The Temple or via zoom from

We all have stories of loss. Maybe a loved one died, a marriage ended, a relationship went sideways, or a job slipped through our fingertips. Loss is often accompanied by grief, and grief is best explored and moved through by the sharing of stories in community. Rabbi Laurie will convene a grief circle monthly beginning in August. All are welcome to attend. This offering is in-person only.

Tot Shabbat for families with young children

Women’s Circle: Friday, January 26, at Noon

Women’s Torah Study

Rabbi Laurie engages your intellect and inspires conversation on a variety of Jewish topics. All are welcome. Bring a friend. RSVP on Micah’s event page.

@ Sherith Israel Annual Cholent Contest January 20 Come join community members to taste and judge the finest cholent in Middle Tennessee, prepared by members of Sherith Israel.

Motzash January 20 Pajamas & Movie night for kids! 6:30pm, Ages 6 - 14, Snacks. RSVP with the Shul office

Thursday, January 25 Tu B’Shvat Seder Tu B’Shvat Seder Hosted by the Sherith Israel Cheder at 4:15 - 5:00 pm

Friday night, January 26 Shabbat Shira; Kabbalat Shabbat & Dinner Join us for davening at 4:45pm and dinner at 5:45 pm. RSVP with the Shul office

January 20th at 10:00am Tot Tu’B’shevat

January 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th 10:30 AM Ongoing weekly women’s Torah study led by Patty Marks. Available in person at The Temple and via zoom through

Lunch with the Rabbi

January 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th Lunch at 11:30AM Program12:00-1:00 PM $15 per person for lunch Engage with Rabbi Danziger and guests in a discussion of current and important issues from a Jewish perspective. RSVP on or by calling the Temple at 615-352-7620 Available in person and via zoom. Zoom Room:

Monday Mah Jongg with Canasta

Join Us for MAH JONGG Mondays at The Temple! January 8th, 22nd and 29th 1:00pm Drop in for Mah Jongg. We’ll have coffee and water. Bring your friends, a card, and a set and have some fun. Mah Jongg cards and sets are available for purchase in The Temple Gift Shop.

The Temple’s Adult Education Series Hello My Name Is….

Learn Jewish History, Innovation, Culture, and Values through Famous Jews with Familiar Names. Hello My Name is David: Tuesdays, January 28th February 4th and 11th at noon at The Temple. Our clergy will be leading these sessions. For more information, go to

Golden Lunch Bunch

Will meet at Temple from 11:30-1:00pm on January 2nd: Nancy and Larry Mechem January 16th: Dennis Scott RSVP to Jamie Maresca at 615-354-1686 or via email at helpinghands@ Continued on page 20

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


At Our Congregations… Continued from page 25

WELL-Women Engaged in Living and Learning Women’s Tu’B’shevat Seder January 25th at 10:30 AM

Libeinu B’Mizrach: Nashville Sings for Israel

Presented by: The Temple, Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, Congregation Micah, Now Gen Nashville, Jewsic City, Congregation Sherith Israel and West End Synagogue January 21st from 3:00-4:30pm at Congregation Micah

Java & Jewish Learning: The Book of Judges

Wednesdays at 8:30am January 10th, 24th, 31st and February 7th In person and via zoom through

Dr. A.-J. Levine

Two opportunities to learn with Dr. A.-J. Levine at The Temple, in partnership with the Rev. Charlie Curb Center for Faith Leadership at Belmont University January 23, 2024 @7pm- Q+A on her book, Short Stories by Jesus: the Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi January 30, 2024 @ 7pm - Q&A discussion on Jewish-Christian Relations Both sessions are at The Temple. Go to for more information.

@ West End For links to the following online services or programs, please email office@westendsyn. org or visit our website calendar for more information https://westendsyn.shulcloud. com/calendar

1/3 - Women’s Torah Group (on Zoom) – 11:00 a.m. Rabbi Joshua leads our Women’s study of the book of Deuteronomy.

1/5 - Potluck Shabbat Dinner Join us Friday, January 5th for an intimate Shabbat dinner experience with delicious food and fabulous company. Visit the WES calendar to RSVP.

1/6 - Bar Mitzvah of Zach Landa at 9:30 a.m. 1/7 – Intro to Judaism Class Begins There’s still time to sign up for Rabbi Joshua’s Intro to Judaism class. This class runs from January through May and follows the wonderful curriculum from the American Jewish University. Contact the office for more information!

1/10 - The Sandi Goldstein Learn & Lunch Program for ages 60+ - 11:00 a.m. Reservations required, catered lunch following the presentation. Speaker: Cantor George Lieberman. This topic will be a surprise! Lunch catered by Goldie Shepard at 12:00 p.m. Cost: $3.00 RSVP 615-269-4592 ext. 11 or

1/11 - Men’s Torah Group (in person) – 12:00 p.m. Join us for our Torah class for men. We are currently studying the Second Book of Kings while sharing some good pizza.

1/12 - Tot Shabbat/Oneg – 5:30 pm-6:30 pm Friday night Shabbat services for Families with Young Children led by Nili Friedman & Sharon Paz.

1/13 - Kid’ish Club, aka Jr. Congregation Inviting all 2nd – 7th graders for Kid’ish Club Shabbat morning, Saturday January 13th from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Kiddush lunch to follow.

1/19 - Woodlands Congregational Shabbat Dinner Join us for a vegetarian Indian Shabbat Dinner after services. We will have Indian and non-Indian food. Check the calendar for more information.

1/20 – Sisterhood Shabbat Join Sisterhood and WES for a Sisterhood led Shabbat morning Saturday, January 20th at 9:30 a.m. Want to be involved? Email to participate and learn more!

1/24 - The Sandi Goldstein Learn & Lunch Program for ages 60+ - 11:00 a.m. Reservations required, catered lunch following the presentation. Speaker: Moises Paz. Topic: “To Everything a Season”. Lunch catered by Goldie Shepard at 12:00 p.m. Cost: $3.00 RSVP 615-269-4592 ext. 11 or

1/26 - 4th and 5th Graders lead Kabbalat Shabbat & Shabbat Dinner 1/27 - Birthday Shabbat Join us on Shabbat morning, January 27th for a special celebration of our January birthdays. The main service begins at 9:30 a.m. and a kiddush lunch will follow. Everyone is welcome.

Ongoing Programs Sisterhood Challah Sales made by Melissa Sostrin

Sign up on the Google form linked below or text Jessica Kullock at 615-881-4455 by WEDNESDAY AT 9:00 p.m. each week to pre-order for pickup Friday during synagogue office hours. Flavors: Plain, chocolate, cinnamon, cinnamon raisin, zaatar, poppy seeds, sesame, bag of 6 challah rolls. Plain is $8/each, all challah with seeds toppings are $8.50, and the rest are $9/each.

Learning opportunities Talmud on Tuesdays

Rabbi Joshua leads a lively Talmudic discussion at 7:30 a.m. in person and on Zoom every Tuesday, immediately after morning minyan. Come and join us!

Thursday Torah study

With Nechemya Rosenfeld every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. following morning minyan at 7:00 a.m.

Religious Services Shacharit (in person)

Our minyanaires are always looking for more people to strengthen the only egalitarian minyan in town! Sunday services will be at 9:00 a.m. and Monday-Friday will be at 7:00 a.m. Monday and Thursday minyans to be followed by breakfast.

Ma’ariv (on Zoom)

Join us for daily Ma’ariv at 6:00 p.m., Sunday-Thursday.

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at

Kabbalat Shabbat

You are invited to join us every Friday for Kabbalat Shabbat in person at 6:00 p.m. As part of our Friday night services, we are currently studying Jewish ethics through an in-depth reading of Pirkei Avot.

Shabbat Morning services

You are invited to join us every Saturday morning in person or by Zoom at 9:30 a.m. Great davening, insightful learning of the Torah portion and a yummy (and nutritious!) kiddush lunch following services! •

20 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Community Listings East Side Tribe East Side Tribe is a grassroots social and spiritual community fueled by Jewish values and rooted in East Nashville. All are welcome. To find out more or RSVP, please see Wednesday, Jan. 10: Rosh Chodesh Women’s Circle. A monthly women’s gathering for rest, rejuvenation, and celebration of life. This month, the theme is creating freedom. Saturday, Jan. 20: Wildlife Walk with East Side Tribe. In celebration of Tu B’Shvat, let’s go take a look at the most majestic old-growth forest that our city has to offer! Friday, Jan. 26: Potluck Shabbat. Join us at a community member’s home for our monthly Shabbat gathering. Bring a dish to share!

Hadassah Happenings On Sunday, January 28th, 2024, Hadassah Nashville will be hosting a “Chai Tea” at the Wessex Towers, located at 6666 Brookmont Terrace, Nashville from 1:30 to 3:30 pm, when we will honor our major donors, Life & Legacy members, Keeper & Chai donors, as well as formally welcome the newest members to our chapter. Guests are welcome to wear their favorite vintage hats and join us for a cup of tea and a tasty dessert. There is no charge for this event, but donations are always welcome. Registration is required. With questions or to RSVP, please contact Geri Siegel, Membership V.P., at •

Calling all knitters and crocheters!


o you knit? Do you crochet? Do you want to learn? We want you for an exciting new community project at the J! Join us on Sunday, February 4, from 9:30 to 11:30am to learn about the Knits-Vah Project. The goal of this project is to unite individuals of all knitting and crocheting skill levels for a common cause. Our mission is to create intergenerational bonds while crafting handmade items for charitable purposes, specifically assembling cozy blankets for communities in need, hats for soldiers, scarves, or hats for cancer

patients, and more. At the heart of this project is a focus on building relationships and fostering inclusivity through the shared artistry of knitting and crocheting. Come be part of our journey by joining us on Sunday, February 4, for a kickoff event where we will embark on this meaningful adventure together. Let’s channel our creativity into warmth and care for those in need, anticipating the positive impact and the development of a vibrant, multigenerational community of knitters and crocheters. Take our survey here! https:// •

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(615) 254-8200 The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


Kvetch in the City By CARRIE MILLS


he other day I was at my yearly gynecologic appointment. I’ve been going to the same caring, kind doctor for over 30 years now. He delivered my son 27 years ago and throughout almost half of my life, has become a trusted personal practitioner. The only off-kilter thing is when I see him at community events throughout the year. It’s always a bit inwardly awkward I must say. Still, it’s an easy override because he’s such an easy going person and I feel blessed to have such a great doctor who has always put my well-being first and has taken such good care of my health in that department. It’s gotten to this funny and endearing point, where, as he is doing his health care routine during my visit, he’s casually chatting about his son-inlaw or community events, etc. And I find myself in conversation with him during what could look like an awkward scenario. His nurse in the room is very straight-faced and non-reactive. I just

find the whole visit comical in a weird kind of way. The reason I’m thinking of all this and wanting to shine a light on this subject, well, I’ll get to that in a moment. First, I’d like to relay a story about literally shining a light. On my last recent visit, I found myself reminded of a very odd coincidence that I thought my gynecologist would get a kick out of. So, while he was in the midst of, well, making sure everything was A-okay down there, I proceeded to chat him up. The story was this. Several years ago, I was on one of my weekly yard and estate sale jaunts. Anyone who knows me knows how much pride I take in finding the coolest things, be it furniture, clothing, etc. at estate and yard sales. Well, this one Saturday morning I found myself in a nearby cool neighborhood consisting of beautiful, old stately homes. In the basement of one such house, I found a great, somewhat vintage, yet modern-looking floor lamp which I immediately grabbed, brought home, and planted in my living room to my delight. I prided myself on spending $15 on what appeared to me to be close in design concept to maybe

a lamp found in Restoration Hardware. Anyway, I went on to enjoy this lamp for several months. And then. Then, it was once again time for my yearly gyno appointment. Wouldn’t you know, I go into the exam room, and while I sit on the table waiting for my dear doctor to come in, I notice the exam lamp. It was the exact lamp I bought in the basement of that old house, that was now sitting in my living room as a couch-side reading lamp. Wouldn’t you know, I apparently had bought an old-time gyno medical office exam room lamp! So much for a Restoration Hardware comparison. Still, me being me, I got a good laugh at my own design expense. Truth is, I have gone on to enjoy the lamp to this day. As a matter of fact, just for fun, whenever I date someone and they come to my home, I casually mention that lamp is a gyno lamp. So, there I was the other day, relaying this story to my doctor who found it all pretty amusing, although I noticed his nurse somehow managed to keep a straight face. All this to say, the reason this whole subject has been on my mind so much these days is because after the absolute horrific, brutal atrocities the world bore

witness to of the barbaric rapes and torture of Jewish women on October 7, anything having to do with women’s bodies, especially Jewish women, has taken on a whole new meaning to me. The first videos coming off my computer screen of that nightmare day of young women dragged by their hair, bloodied, and terrified, being torn away by the terrorists, has now been seared into my memory forever. Not a day goes by that I do not pray for their lives, well-being, and return. What unbelievably followed, the 50-day silence of the UN and/or the world’s unequivocal slow lack of condemnation of the atrocious stories of rape of Jewish women that day has been unbelievable to me. What I have come to realize now is that the feminist chant of #MeToo has now taken on a failed meaning for Jewish women. While my recent visit, to my trusted doctor, taking care of my reproductive health, brought back to mind what was once a silly little story of a yard sale find gone sideways, that lamp has since taken on a whole new meaning to me in recent weeks, shining a light on the world’s treatment of Jewish women’s bodies and souls in an unimaginable new reality. A reality I wish to have never seen in my lifetime. •

People of the Books By ELYCE RAE HELFORD

Company’s Coming and Company’s Going by Arthur Yorinks. Illustrated by David Small. Hyperion Books for Children, 1988 and 2001.


ave you heard of Arthur Yorinks? If you don’t have children, perhaps not. In any case, let me take this opportunity to introduce you. Yorinks was born in 1953 in Roslyn, New York, and grew up to be an author of numerous children’s books as well as plays and librettos. His bestknown work is probably Hey, Al (1986), a picture book tale of a kind janitor and his dog, Eddie, who escape their cramped apartment building upon the invitation of a group of large birds. They take Al and Eddie to their tropical island in the sky. Soon, however, the two begin to transform into birds. Desperate to escape, they try to fly away, but their bird features fade as they get further and further away. After falling into the ocean, the two eventually swim home and realize that “paradise lost is sometimes heaven found.” Until deciding to write this review, I hadn’t read Hey, Al, nor did I know

of Yorinks’ multiple book collaborations with Maurice Sendak. The meeting of the two is remarkable. With all the chutzpah of 16 years of living, Yorinks brought his work to Sendak (25 years his senior) for advice. The two became friends. Sendak introduced Yorinks to Richard Egielski, who would become his frequent collaborator (including the Caldicott Award-winning illustrations for Hey, Al). Eventually, Yorinks and Sendak would also collaborate on two books: The Miami Giant (1995) and Frank and Joey Go to Work (1996). Even before these publications, Yorinks would branch out into other creative avenues, writing librettos for two Phillip Glass productions, The Juniper Tree (1985) and The Fall of the House of Usher (1988). And he’s still publishing today, including three books about a mean ant. My first encounter with the writing of Yorinks was somewhat arbitrary, for I stumbled across his 2001 children’s book, Company’s Going, one day at a bookstore with my two-year-old son. I sat down to read him this tale of a retired couple, Moe and Shirley, from Bellmore, New York, who are visited by buggy little aliens that love Shirley’s meatballs so much they ask her to cater their sister’s wedding on the planet Nextoo. The book’s humor comes from its combination of Dad jokes and Yiddish comedy. Where is Nextoo?

Next to Uranus, of course. “I hear it’s very nice,” Shirley replies politely. Then, when Moe kvetches about how long the trip will be, Shirley’s dismissiveness is deliciously Jewish. “So it’s a little far. You’ll take a magazine.” Moe worries it could be dangerous. But Shirl has an answer for everything. “We survived your cousin Harriet’s wedding, didn’t we?” she pokes. That the aliens are not so very alien at all becomes clear when the couple arrive on Nextoo. A stout fellow called Uncle Irving takes them for invaders and shoots them with a ray gun. When he is told they’re actually caterers, Irving shrugs. “To me—they looked like Martians.” The rest of the plot falls into place as the couple from Bellmore is hastened to the hospital, where the ray-reversal devices also happen to cure their arthritis. Shirley makes more meatballs than she ever has before, and the alien wedding goes off without a hitch. When Moe and wife are finally flown home, Shirley has the last word. “Call when you get home, just so I know you got there, and please take a sandwich, it’s not good to blast off on an empty stomach.” As you can tell, I was delighted with this little book. I bought it and brought it home immediately to show my husband. “It’s so Jewish!” I laughed. And it is, in what for me is the best way. It’s not about

a Jewish holiday or another particularly Jewish subject. It’s an alien visitation story where the aliens just happen to land in the yard of an old Jewish couple and seem pretty Jewish themselves (or at least Uncle Irving is). When I next reread it, I realized I’d ignored the first page, which reads, “So later, after a nice dinner at Shirley and Moe’s, after all the soldiers, pilots, Marines, FBI men, and the cousins had said their good-byes, the visitors from outer space made a momentous announcement.” The book was a sequel! The next day, I happily placed an order for the first book, Company’s Coming, published 13 years earlier. It’s another treasure. Shirley mistakes the little aliens’ red flying saucer for a giant barbecue grill. The aliens come out and ask to use the bathroom. Misunderstandings proliferate and the government comes in to blow everything up, but, of course, everything ends well. And Shirley even gets a new blender.• Elyce Rae Helford, Ph.D., is a professor of English and director of the Jewish and Holocaust Studies minor at Middle Tennessee State University. Her book, What Price Hollywood?: Sex and Gender in the Films of George Cukor, will be released in paperback this month. Helford can be reached at

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at

… because your memories matter 479 Myatt Drive, Madison, TN 37115-3024 615-712-9521 •

22 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Lifecycles B’rit Mitzvah Zachary Harrison Landa

Zachary Harrison Landa will be called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah on Saturday, January 6, at West End Synagogue. Zach is the son of Adam and Valerie Landa and brother of Abby Landa. His grandparents are Steven and Roslyn McMahan of Nashville, Arthur Landa of Montreal, the late Victor and Harriett Simpson (z’’l), and Harry Zager (z’’l). A seventh grader at Grassland Middle School, Zach is most happy playing basketball, listening to music, attending live sports and spending his summers at Camp Ramah Darom. For his Mitzvah project, Zach will be collecting various dog and cat care and comfort items and donating money to the Williamson County Animal Shelter. Zach will also establish a B’nai Tzedek Fund with the Jewish Foundation of Nashville.

Obituaries Fran Rocklin Blum

Condolences to the family of Fran Rocklin Blum who died on December 4, in Richmond, Va., where she lived for most of her adult life. She was born October 25, 1940, to the late Martin and Bette Rocklin. She graduated from West End High School, received a bachelor’s degree from George Peabody College and attended the University of Tennessee School of Social Work. Fran married Lewis Blum, her husband of 49 years, in 1965. Fran was a member of the Keneseth Beth Israel Congregation in Richmond, and she served her community tirelessly as a beloved social worker. Fran is survived by her sons, Martin Blum (Kristin) and Matthew Blum (Amy) and sisters, Judy Wertheimer (Jerry) of Deland, Fla., and Barbara Egel Woolf (Bob) of Nashville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lew, in 2014. Friends may leave a memory or message of condolence, or can seek information about a memorial contribution by visiting the online obituary at https://www.

Richard (Dick) Jerome Eskind

Condolences to the family of Richard (Dick) Jerome Eskind, 93, who died November 22. He was a noted philanthropist, financial business leader, health care entrepreneur and spouse of a trailblazing Tennessean politician, the late Jane Eskind... A native Nashvillian, Eskind helped grow the city into the community it is today. Eskind was among the financial leaders who helped establish Nashville as the “Wall Street of the South” in the 1960s and 1970s. During a long, storied career as a stockbroker and financial advisor, Eskind served as vice president and resident manager of the Nashville branch of investment firm A.G. Edwards and Sons Inc. Eskind was also at the forefront of Nashville’s booming healthcare industry. He founded three healthcare companies and took each public – a feat only

achieved once before by Nashville’s own Jack C. Massey. As a political spouse, his wife of 62 years, Jane Eskind, was a political pioneer and the first woman, and still the only Jewish person, ever to win statewide election in Tennessee when elected to the Public Service Commission (now the Tennessee Regulatory Authority) in 1980, later serving as its chairman. She passed away in 2016. As a philanthropist, Richard Eskind was among the founders of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT), which facilitates philanthropy across a 40-county area in Middle Tennessee. CFMT began in his daughter Ellen Lehman’s garage in 1991. Lehman, also one of The Foundation’s founders, retired as its president on Dec. 31, 2022. Richard Jerome Eskind was born Oct. 11, 1930, son of the late Florence and Herbert Eskind. His father was active in the family business, J. Eskind & Sons, which included wholesale dry goods and department store operations that included Lebeck’s, a predecessor of Harvey’s. Heattended Nashville public schools and graduated from West End High School. He earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1952 from Harvard University, and received his MBA degree from Harvard in 1954, the same year he married the former Jane Greenebaum of Louisville, Ky. After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Eskind joined the family’s wholesale appliance business, J. Eskind and Sons. His sales work included barnstorming Middle Tennessee, from Dickson to Red Boiling Springs, with a new television tucked in his car’s back seat and the trunk filled with beverages, supplied by his family’s wholesale liquor business, to help coax prospective customers. The financial business world soon beckoned. “I had done a little securities business with a couple of brokers in town, as a small investor, and came to believe that there were some things that some of the other brokers weren’t doing that were very important,” Eskind told Advantage magazine in May 1983. Eskind recalled to The Tennessean in a 2001 interview, “I did not want to just get a desk at a brokerage firm.” Instead, Eskind opened a branch of Stein Bros. & Boyce, an established firm headquartered in Baltimore and traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in Nashville in 1959. The firm, which had expanded to a staff of 26 by the early 1990s, later became A.G. Edwards & Sons, which eventually was acquired by Wachovia Securities, and later was acquired by Wells Fargo Advisors. Eskind also was on the forefront of Nashville’s health care industry as a founder, along with older brother and business partner Dr. Irwin Eskind, Dr. Herb Schulman and Baron Coleman, of Hospital Affiliates International Inc. (HAI) in the 1960s. Later, he was a founder and former director of the health maintenance organization (HMO) HealthAmerica Corporation with an investment team that included ex-HAI employee and future Tennessee governor and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen. In addition, Eskind and others later founded ClinTrials Research Inc., the

third of three companies that went public. He and his business partners also founded Nashville institutions like Strike ‘N Spare bowling alley and Swim and Sun, a pool and a swim shop, as well as The Oxford Shop men’s clothing store. Then again, Eskind, while experiencing great success in the business world, for many years was better known as the spouse of a well-known political figure. Over the years the Eskinds gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes. Their partnership became a philanthropic dynamo, though, both in community and political circles. The Eskinds established a number of funds at The Community Foundation and remained active benefactors through the years, beginning with the Jane and Richard Eskind and Family Fund 1992, just a year after the Foundation launched in 1991. Eskind was a longtime member of The Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Past civic and community service and board work also included: president of Congregation Micah and The Temple Brotherhood, Fisk University board of trustees and executive committee, director of the Nashville Symphony board, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the International Board of the Associated Harvard Alumni, and the Harvard Club and Harvard Business School Club of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. He was a recipient of the 2002 Human Relations Award presented by The National Conference of Community and Justice. Richard Eskind loved nothing better than being surrounded by his family. He is survived by daughter, Ellen Lehman; son, Billy Eskind (Jamie), both of Nashville; sister-in-law Annette Eskind of Nashville; brother-inlaw and sister in-law, John and Mary Greenebaum of Louisville; grandchildren, Jeremy Lehman, Madeline Eskind Litvack (Willie), Doni Lehman, Alec Eskind, Isaac Eskind and Jude Eskind; great-grandson Jack Litvack; nieces and nephews, Steve and Laurie Eskind, Jeff and Donna Eskind, Sam Greenebaum, Anastasia Greenebaum (Scott), Eliott Greenebaum, Michael Eskind (Kristen), Julie Eskind Galbierz (Andrew), David Eskind (Megan), Matt Eskind (Cara), and Sara Eskind.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Dr. Irwin B. Eskind. Gifts can be made to the Jane and Richard Eskind and Family Fund at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (, Congregation Micah or to the charity of your choice.

Elizabeth Kappelman

Condolences to the family of Elizabeth Kappelman who died on November 14. She is the wife of Micah member Paul Kappelman; daughter of Phil and Martha Sullivan; sister of Alexandra Doan (Matt); sister-in-law of Brad Dwin and Evan Dwin; mother of Micah Members Taylor and Alexis Kappelman; aunt of John and Sarah Doan, and Amanda, Sarah, and Ellie Dwin. Tributes may be made in Lizzie’s memory to Congregation Micah or Vanderbilt’s Park Lab Cancer Center.

Elizabeth Lazar

Condolences to the family of Elizabeth Lazar who died on November 23. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Wexton (z”l). She is survived by her sister, Joan Kemler (Barry); children, Bonnie Carrabba (Chris), Michael Goldstein (Joyce), and Neil Goldstein (Amy); niece and nephew, Marissa McDonald (Cory) and Jordan Kemler (Sharlene); grandchildren, Caden and Alexa Carrabba, Emma Goldstein, and Lily and Maddy Goldstein. Tributes may be made in Elizabeth’s memory to Congregation Micah.

Ellen Ochs

Condolences to the family of Ellen Ochs who died December 2. She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Ochs (z”l). She was the mother of Michael and Steven Ochs and a friend to all. Tributes may be made in Ellen’s memory to Congregation Micah, the Chrohn’s & Colitis Foundation or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Claire Schwartz

Condolences to the family of Claire Schwartz who died on December 2. She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Schwartz (z”l) and daughter, Phran Galante (z”l). Survivors include her children, Debbie Linn (Stephen), Pete Schwartz and Myke Schwartz; and grandchildren, Rachel Linn and Cam Linn. Tributes may be made in Claire’s memory to Congregation Micah. •

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January in the Galleries: Works by K. Randall Wilcox, Ivy Pearl Kirby and Marilynn Derwenskus T

he Janet Levine March Gallery will feature the work of K. Randall Wilcox. Wilcox has worked professionally as a graphic designer for more than 20 years, however he found that his passion lies in the fine arts. His influences include great painters such as Rauschenberg, Warhol, and Pollock, as well as photographers Stieglitz, CartierBresson, Sudek and Brassai. After working as a photographer for over a decade, Wilcox began painting and exploring other types of mixed media expressions. Wilcox received his BA in TwoDimensional Art from Cal State Northridge in 1991, and is owner and founder of Once Blind Studios, a boutique marketing firm specializing in graphic design, website development, and commercial photography. This is his first show at the J Galleries. The JLMG2 Gallery will feature the work of Ivy Pearl Kirby. Kirby, at five years old, is the youngest solo artist to ever display work at the J Galleries. Her favorite medium is acrylic on canvas. Six of her paintings have been featured as “Artwork of the Day” on the website Kid Art Show. There are over 500 entries on this website at any given time. She loves making people happy with her art. Her inspiration and creativity comes from her love of nature and the outdoors. The colors found in rainbows, butterflies, and

Abstract, by Ivy Pearl Kirby

Frida, by K. Randall Wilcox

flowers feed her imagination. In her time as an artist, she has learned that art is not about perfection, and that there is beauty to be found in the imperfection of life. The Senior Lounge Art Gallery continues to show the art of Marilynn Derwenskus. The House gallery will feature the Under One Roof collaborative exhibit. The Art Reception will be Wednesday, January10 from 6 – 8pm. The Exhibition Dates are January 3rd -31st.

Liberty, by K. Randall Wilcox

The exhibitions are free and open to the public. Attendees will need to sign in at the front desk. For more information, contact the GJCC at 615.354-1699, Curator Carrie Mills at, or go to •

Splat, by Ivy Pearl Kirby

Catholics, Jews Bond over Challah, Soup


hat do challah and soup have to do with “A Walk-through Bethlehem” at St. Henry’s Catholic Church? Last year, West End Synagogue members Norm and Rinah Hamburger were asked by a Catholic friend to help make the event feel authentic. The couple baked a batch of mini challah rolls,

gave the church Rinah’s lentil soup recipe and brought over some pottery shards they had. A sign noted the rolls and pottery were from West End Synagogue. The Hamburgers visited the site and were asked if the rolls were matzah! They used the opportunity to do a bit of education. This year, the church asked if the

couple could provide a bunch more of the hit-making challahs. Norm pitched the idea to Rob Stein who heads the WES Social Action Committee’s Nashville Food Project baking and prepping team. Members of the team, Norm, Rinah, Rob, Rami Weismark, Esther Lee, Risha Arkovitz and Kitty Calhoon were enthusiastic. In one afternoon in the WES

kitchen, they turned out 900 rolls. When Norm took them to the St. Henry’s contact, she effused, “We so appreciate our Jewish friends!” Not bad for these times. •

Please support the businesses that advertise in the Observer and help support our community in all ways! Make sure to let them know... you saw their ad here!

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at


24 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER


Simchas & Celebrations JANUARY 2024

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024



Belle Meade Cigar When considering a unique gift for a cigar aficionado, look no further than Belle Meade Premium Cigars and Gifts. This gem of a cigar shop is locally owned and sells the finest cigars, gifts, pipes, and tobacco related products in town! Swing by the Belle Meade Premium Cigars and Gift store today to purchase the finest tobacco in town... you don’t even have to leave the store to sample your purchase! The store is complete with a smoking lounge where cigar connoisseurs relax, smoke, and enjoy themselves. Come to the Belle Meade Premium Cigars and Gifts store to enjoy the best smoking experience that Nashville has to offer! https://www.

Making your out-of-town guests feel at home Complete confidence that out-of-town guests will feel “right at home” is a pri-mary concern for every host or hostess, no matter what the social event. The fully renovated Hampton Inn & Suites-Green Hills specializes in just that: making our home their home-away-from-home while they attend your special event. We are a boutique-style select service hotel in the heart of Green Hills’ fantastic shopping, dining and entertainment district. We can offer both comfortable standard

rooms and spacious residential king suites with fully furnished kitchens. We provide your guests with complimentary cost saving services and amenities that other hotels often add to their bills. Our rate includes free parking, internet access, local calls and our highly praised daily breakfast buffet with hot items. The facility offers a computer center, fitness facility, and laundry services for the conve- nience of guests during their visit. The atrium-style sixth floor Belle Meade room offers a dynamic view of the Green Hills area, perfect for bridesmaid luncheons, rehearsal dinners, receptions and birthday parties. To keep your visitors entertained during those free times of your special event, we are in walking distance of the Mall at Green Hills, 15 restaurants and a 16-screen cinema. Contact our sales department to learn how we can help relieve some of the responsibilities so you can better enjoy your next social event. Find out more at www. .

Sperry’s Celebrating a special occasion? Sperry’s has got you covered. Whether you are dining out or cooking a feast at home, celebrate with Sperry’s. Sperry’s Restaurant has been a Nashville Tradition since 1974 and now the tradition can continue in your kitchen. With the click of a button, you can Shop Local, Shop Fresh and Shop Sperry’s Mercantile for premium meats, fresh seafood, scratch made salad dressings, prepared soups and the famous Sperry’s Seasonings. Create and cook your own delectable dishes from your home. Visit Sperrys Mercantile at 5107 Harding Pike or order online and let us do the rest! Items can be shipped directly to your home - whether your address is Nashville TN, Sarasota Florida or Scottsdale Arizona! With nationwide shipping you can always enjoy the great taste of Sperry’s. These items make great gifts so send a little “Nashville tradition” to your friends and family for every special occasion. Shop now at

Jackie Roth Karr Jackie is a mother, an entrepreneur, and has been a Nashvillian for most of her life. As a wildly proud mother of her two sons, she knows all about Simchas and what they mean to the family! As a mother and second-generation real estate professional, Jackie knows how special the perfect home to host and celebrate with family can be. Jackie’s family planted roots in Nashville in 1964 when her father, Pete Roth, brought Casual Corner stores to Belle Meade and Nashville. She gained experience in marketing and merchandising and entered the real estate industry nearly 21 years ago. Today, Jackie is known as a seasoned, savvy, and respected REALTOR, recognized by Nashville Real Producers as being in the top 5% of REALTORS in sales volume. Being of service and giving back to those in need is near and dear to her heart. Continued on page 28

7081-B Hwy 70 S, Suite W • Nashville TN 37221 615-454-6439

Your One-Stop Location For All Your Travel Needs

The perfect setting for your most memorable event.

Weddings | Bar/Bat Mitzvahs

Rooftop glass enclosed banquet room for up to 64 people. Spacious suites as well as beautiful standard rooms. Complimentary expanded breakfast | Free internet access Seasonal outdoor pool and Jacuzzi | Free parking

615-777-0001 2324 Crestmoor Road Nashville, TN 37215 Behind the Mall at Green Hills

26 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER



615.695.4654 650 FRAZIER DRIVE, FRANKLIN, TN, 37067

EVENTS@SPERRYS.COM The perfect private space for every occasion! Parties of 8-75 • A/V Capabilities • Customized Menu Planning

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024


! e t a r b e l e C


Birthdays, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs, Weddings, Babies, and everything in between... Celebrate all of life’s special occasions!

K aty’s is your destination for all things PRETT Y & PAPER.

The best selection of invitations

Katy’s Now online!

is right around the corner!

Belle Meade Plaza 4500 Harding Road Nashville, TN 37205 615.383.1422

Jackie enjoyed the past 23 years volunteering as a Co-Chair for the Nashville Jewish Film Festival and she’s a donor to many non-profits. She is also a proud part of LIFE & LEGACY™, helping organizations sustain vital programs and services that support and encourage Jewish life throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee, now and for generations to come. Jackie is a proud member of Partners In Grimes: a Corcoran Reverie real estate team composed of real estate professionals with diverse experiences and perspectives. Empowered by Corcoran’s cohesive international reach, Jackie’s strong negotiating and problem-solving skills can benefit a broader portfolio of clientele and properties than ever before.

Livefit Wellness: Embark on a Journey to a Healthier, More Active You! This year, prioritize YOUR well-being with a physical therapist-led wellness program designed especially for seniors. Andrea specializes in a proactive approach to whole-body wellness, ensuring you revel in every moment of life’s celebrations. Whether you are a senior looking to sharpen your balance to protect against falls, improve your mobility for a more vibrant lifestyle, or kick start a fitness routine, Andrea will craft a personalized program based on your unique health status and goals. Sessions are thoughtfully provided in the comfort of your home, at your convenience so you don’t have to miss a beat. Andrea is committed to empowering seniors through exercise, education, and health promotion. She regularly presents at the Gordon JCC’s TGIT lunch and learn program, providing workshops on healthy aging. As a physical therapist, she will help you incorporate movement into your every day and guide you on a fulfilling journey to health. A proactive approach to your health can make a meaningful impact on your quality of life. Contact Andrea today and let’s make this New Year a celebration of your health and vitality. Continued on page 30

Personalized Senior Wellness. Your physical therapist for active aging. Andrea Cziprusz PT, DPT Livefit Wellness 615-861-9838

The WINE Store REDEFINED 7066 Hwy 70 South . Nashville, TN 37221 . (615) 646-1400

28 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER


Cheers to 45 years! As we welcome the new year, we mark 45 years as a leading residential real estate firm in Middle Tennessee. Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty is a local, family–owned brokerage that has been serving buyers and sellers since 1979. With a dedicated team of over 160 agents covering 20 counties, we are steadfast in surpassing client expectations and fostering lasting relationships based on results, trust, and loyalty.
































Connect with our global advisors and explore our extraordinary properties at SHIRLEY ZEITLIN FOUNDER | CHAIRMAN 615.383.0183 |

NASHVILLE | 615.383.0183

FRANKLIN | 615.794.0833

The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024



Katy’s A one stop, locally owned shop, to answer all your Simcha gift giving needs, look no further then Katy’s Gifts in the heart of Belle Meade. Charlie and Sherilyn Tallent purchased Katy’s Nashville in 1998 and, at that time, owned stores in Atlanta as well. After commuting for years, they decided to sell their Georgia stores and, in 2006, moved to Tennessee full-time. Since then, they have renovated Katy’s in Belle Meade twice and expanded the store to its current 9100 square feet, adding many new vendors, including a designer jewelry department, a candy bar, a full-service in-house embroidery department, a ladies’ accessories department and more. In 2014, they purchased Brentwood Stationers and changed the name to Katy’s Brentwood as it is today. They enjoy contributing and being a part of both communities, and hope to continue to offer their guests a unique and welcoming place to shop for years to come! Visit the store or shop online. 615-383-1422.

Zeitlin Purchasing a home is cause for celebration and entrusting that decision with the right realtor is crucial. At Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty, we bring a unique blend of local expertise and global reach to ensure your home-buying experience is not only seamless but truly extraordinary. Celebrating 45 years of unwavering commitment and excellence, Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty is a woman-owned family business with a global influence through our esteemed affiliation with Sotheby’s International Realty. Established in 1979 by the visionary Shirley Zeitlin, our journey began under the name Shirley Zeitlin & Co., Realtors, dedicated to assembling a team of full-time professionals providing exceptional real estate representation. Today, our 160+ agents serve more than 20 counties in Middle Tennessee, combining unparalleled local knowledge with our global network of over 26,500 agents spanning 81 countries and territories, which achieved $167 billion in global sales volume during 2022. Deeply rooted in Middle Tennessee, Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty is committed to nurturing and sustaining the city’s unique culture. Each agent contributes to the Zeitlin Charitable Fund, supporting non-profit organizations that assist thousands living in under-resourced areas in our region; our aim is to continuously pay it forward. Whether your definition of luxury involves a beautiful view, a walkable lifestyle, or the perfect entertaining space, our global advisors are highly qualified to help you identify the lifestyle you desire. Equipped with a myriad of local and global resources, we


provide the most current market information and prompt access to exclusive properties. When you are ready for your next chapter, your next home, or your next escape, we are here to help you discover what is next.

Lorna Graff It really is all about “YOU.” Whether you are purchasing a cup of coffee, a car, or a home – your needs and desires are the primary considerations. Everyone has noticed that businesses focus on offering “feel good” options for their customers. That is intentional. When you – the buyer – is happy, you will have a positive attitude about making your purchase. That combination is the key to a successful experience. The housing market, and economy in general, are going through major changes. Although interest rates are higher than they have been in the last few years, here are some good reasons to buy now: 1. Rates around 6% are in the his- toric low range. 2. Homes which were priced aggressively are now becoming more negotiable. 3. Inventory has significantly increased, which gives buyers more opportunities. 4. Purchasing continues to be a better financial choice, in the long run, than renting. My personal commitment is to create a plan with clients, in order to achieve their goals. It is important for everyone to understand the entire process and to implement it together. Getting to know “YOU” and helping you find a “happy home” – while enjoying the experience, is my great pleasure.

Mazel Tov from Argent Trust Mazel Tov! Your daughter just gave birth to a healthy baby girl. You want to help her financially but are not sure of the best way to help. Outright gifts of cash for immediate needs, saving for future educational expenses through a 529 plan, creating a trust that can grow with your loved one – these are all great options but finding the right one takes planning. The staff at Argent Trust can help you decide how much to give to your children and grandchildren and when to give it to them. Moments of joy, simchas, are to be celebrated. They are also a wonderful opportunity to review your financial plan. Argent Trust has assisted clients as they plan to celebrate a birth, bar/bat mitzvah, graduation, marriage, new home, sale of business, retirement, and more! Contact your CPA, Attorney or Argent Trust at or (615) 385-2718 to start a conversation.

Octavia Entertainment is Nashville’s one-stop destination for all things party! Owner & Vocalist DeAnna Roman, has performed for 30 of her 39 years opening for 40+ name acts, touring China during the Beijing Olympics, & performing at the Grand Ole Opry. Her experience with event and party bands started in 2007 performing for thousands of weddings, corporate functions, festivals and private events across the country with award-winning event bands including her own, For a Good Time, Call…which she started in 2013. Roman formed Octavia Entertainment (OEN) in 2022 with the intention of creating a resource for clients looking for vetted vendors who could truly deliver a topnotch product from start to finish. We have something for everybody and every budget including a wide range of musical acts, an A/V team, DJ’s, even resources for bakeries, florists and venues. Continued on page 31

30 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

ADVERTORIALS Nashville is not short on talent, but we offer so much more. When you hire OEN, you get professionals who are focused on you and your event who are dedicated to making it a smashing success. No smoke and mirrors, hired guns or egos. What you see is what you get, and if you don’t see what you want, we can create it! We stand behind what we do, our clients have a great experience and we have the reviews to back it up. If you’re looking for a classy, no-nonsense addition to your party that will over-deliver and wow your guests, call Octavia today! We will show you “ A Good Time!”

Carrie Mills Designs: Customized art for your special occasion Carrie Mills, fashion designer, illustrator, and Parson School of Design alumna, creates customized art for your special occasions. How wonderful for a bride to own a one-of-a-kind illustration marking her once in a lifetime day, or a portrait of the happy couple who just became engaged? What about the gift of a personalized mixed media beautiful collage forever commemorating a loved one’s life or a special occasion? Invite Carrie to create a piece of art in her unique and elegant style that will be celebrated in the moment and passed down for generations to come. Make your special day even more memorable with an original work of art highlighting your special moment or a loved ones’ life. It makes for a truly original great wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, anniversary or birthday gift. For more information please visit or call 615-210-5044.

Don’t miss the party! We help you celebrate “PSST—Did you see? Bubbe actually came! It was her dream to see this day. Bless her heart!” No matter how good the food or perfect the decor, there’s nothing as thrilling as discovering that EVERYONE actually made it to the party in person. Whether it’s a wedding or a mitzvah, birthday party or welcome home bash, the PEOPLE make the party. One of our favorite opportunities as home care providers is to accompany our clients to attend family celebrations that, due to age, memory loss or handicap, they might otherwise only ever view on a screen. “Thank you for the care you provided for our mother last weekend,” said one of our clients. “Salisha was amazing and we never had a worry knowing she was there. I think the highlight was Salisha bringing mom out on to the dance floor at the reception to ‘dance’ with the family. Absolutely priceless. I can’t thank you enough for everything.” Having a trusted companion along can be helpful for anyone apprehensive about long trips. For individuals with medical conditions who need assistance with all the moving parts—packing, mobility, hygiene, and medications—it’s a must. If you’re planning a big function and want to be sure that everyone gets included, call Moises at Cura for Care at 615522-5265. We’d love to help your loved one see their dream come true. This is why we do what we do. You can also visit our website at •

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at

Please support the businesses that advertise in the Observer and help support our community in all ways! Make sure to let them know... you saw their ad here!


We will be highlighting CAMPS. We know that you will want to be included in this issue. For advertisers who contract a 1/8 page ad or larger we will be happy to contact you for articles pertaining to your business.

Deadline for ads is January 15, 2024 Contact: Carrie Mills, Advertising Manager 615-354-1699 or e-mail: fax: 615-352-0056 The Jewish OBSERVER • January 2024



401 Commerce Street, Suite 1250 Nashville, TN 37219 (615) 245-4070 •


ELECTRONIC EXPRESS is a leader in top quality, brand-name electronics and appliances at exceptionally low prices. Stocking the latest items, Electronic Express takes pride in providing customers with products at prices to fit any budget. From televisions, appliances, smart devices and cameras to security systems, furniture and mattresses, Electronic Express has everything to take your home to the next level. Electronic Express offers special financing, delivery and installation options. We make it happen! Visit us at any of our 18 locations or online at www.


At Emergest, we enable your business with cost-efficient digital applications – web, mobile, automation, design, strategy workshops. We partner with you to solve all your technology needs. Find us at, email, or call 615-473-3700.

ATTORNEY MARTIN SIR, ATTORNEY Family Law / Personal Injury / Probate Fifth Third Center 424 Church Street, Ste. 2250 Nashville, Tennessee 37219 (615) 256-5661

AROSA (formerly Family Staffing Solutions, Inc.) Integrated Care Management and Home Care Provider 2000 Glen Echo Road, Suite 104 Nashville, TN 37215 615-595-8929 143 Uptown Square Murfreesboro, TN 37129 615-848-6774 768 N. Main Street Shelbyville, TN 37160 931-680-2771

Elite Caregiving Services Compassionate Care In Your Home We offer aftercare from surgical procedures, part-time assistance, and 24 hour elderly care. 615-881-6528

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS COUNSELING MICHELLE ROSEN, M.ED. Comprehensive College Planning Support 615-497-5198


Proudly serving your community in kitchen, bath, and turn-key remodeling. Find us at or call 615-988-5988


ZANDER INSURANCE GROUP, INC. Jeffrey J. Zander, CIC Auto, Home, Life, Health, Business, Long Term Care, Identity Theft Protection 6213 Charlotte Pike, Nashville, TN 37209 615-356-1700 M JAFFA HEALTH INSURANCE Marsha Ross Jaffa, CIC, LUTCF 615-482-3860 Medicare, Health, Dental, and Life

OPTOMETRIST DR. MICHELE SONSINO Optique Eyecare & Eyewear 2817 West End Ave., Nashville 615-321-4EYE (4393) DR. JAMES W. KIRKCONNELL Bellevue Eye Center 7640 Hwy 70 S, Ste 102 Nashville 615-662-7588


GLUCK ORTHODONTICS Specialists in Orthodontics Dr. Joel Gluck DDS, MS Dr. Jonathan Gluck DDS, MSD 2002 Richard Jones Road A-200 615.269.5903 Residential & Relocation Specialists

JESSICA AVERBUCH Broker/ Owner Zeitlin Sotheby’s International Realty c: 615.294.9880 o: 615.383.0183 LORNA M. GRAFF Broker, GRI, CRS, ABR 615-794-0833 (bus.) 615-351-5343 (cell) NAN SPELLER Broker, GRI, ABR 615-383-0183 (bus.) 615-973-1117 (cell) JENNIE ZAGNOEV Affiliate Broker 615-383-0183 (bus.) 615-838-2048 (cell)

Jackie Roth Karr, REALTOR® Mobile: 615.330.9779 Office: 615.250.7880



GHERTNER & COMPANY Homeowner Association and Condominium Management Full Service and Financial Management Property Management since 1968 615-255-8531

TEAM NASHVILLE Your Running/Walking Swimming Headquarters 3205 West End Ave. Nashville, TN 37203 615-383-0098


STEVEN R. HECKLIN, DMD DAVID M. SMILEY, DMD ABBY DILUZIO, DMD Cosmetic and Family Dentistry 5606 Brookwood Place 615-356-7500

IRA HELDERMAN, PhD, LPC Psychotherapy for Individuals, Adolescents, Couples and Families nashvillepsychotherapyandcounseling. com Please contact: 615-473-4815 or



TRAVEL SERVICES Expredia Cruise Ship Centers A Full Service Travel Agency Alan Cooper: Office: 629-202-8945 7081 B Hwy 70 S / Kroger Shopping Ctr.



Seniors and Post Hospital Care

Custom senior care for active, healthy lifestyles. Affordable/no minimums. Meals, meds, transp., outings, dementia care & assist with hospital discharge. Professional trusted care partners. Locally owned. Call Moises for Free Assessment: 615-678-9223

In-Home Care & Engagement | Respite Dementia Day & Early-Stage Programs Independent & Assisted Living Memory Support | Caregiver Resources 615.434.2160 |

BILTMORE INSURANCE SERVICES Greg Zagnoev, Agent 615-746-RISK (7475) Home, Auto, Business, and Life JAMES A. ROTHBERG ADAM ROTHBERG James A. Rothberg & Associates Office: 615-997-1833 Fax: 615-665-1300 2000 Glen Echo, Suite 208 Nashville, TN 37215 Email:

ROBINS INSURANCE Bruce Robins, CPCU, CIC, ARM; Van Robins, CIC Auto, Home, Life, Health, Business Insurance 11 Music Circle S Ph. 615-665-9200 •

32 January 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

FRANKLIN PARGH 615-351-7333 LANA PARGH 615-504-2685 Instagram: @theparghteam

JACOB KUPIN C - 615.440.6673 O - 615.279.5310 We’ve got your back!

Preserving the Natural Beauty of Trees and Shrubs. Specializing in the care of shade and ornamental trees and shrubs for residential and commercial properties. Serving Nashville since 1978. 615-373-4342

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