The Observer VOl. 89 No. 6 – June 2024

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Happy Summer, Jewish Nashville!

As we approach these summer months, there’s so much to look forward to. Seeing the community around the JCC Pool, the fact that my kids will be gone for an entire month at their favorite place in the world, Camp Ramah Darom, my 21st wedding anniversary, or my daughter’s bat mitzvah coming up before Labor Day. Okay, perhaps that last part is more panic inducing. But still, something to look forward to.

When my wife and I moved to Nashville in the summer of 2005, we were so very lucky. We were immediately embraced by the community, found a home, made friends, I became an Athens AZA BBYO advisor, and my wife and I were invited to be on boards. To be honest, the Jewish Federation was not my entry point, but it wasn’t long until I became connected with Federation and learned the important role that it played in the community.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville did a great job of connecting me with folks all over the city, and more importantly, JFed Nashville helped connect me with the rich history of this community and told me the stories of all that our Federation has done over the decades to support our community as a whole locally and also abroad. It gave me great respect for the folks who generationally made this community what it is today, and inspired me to do my part to continue that legacy.

What we are currently seeing is that there is an entire cohort of people that moved here during the pandemic era that either did not have the gift of being connected to the community or are just now starting to venture out into the world, and Jewish Nashville. And the reality is that because of everything that is going on nationally and internationally, there is an intense desire to

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The War in Israel Highlights Growing Need for Critical Resources

When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, communities around the world mobilized to quickly meet the immediate needs on the ground. The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville raised over $1,000,000 for its Israel Crisis Fund, which is part of the Jewish Federations of North America’s total of $800 million raised. In the months since, agencies and organizations continue their relief efforts in various ways across a broad spectrum.

Local donors are working with a variety of agencies, including the Jewish Federation, United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom, and Hadassah, to address ramped up work on the ground in Israel.

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Jewish Men’s Group Creates Connection and Unity in Difficult Times

What began as a friendly game of pickup basketball nearly two years ago has evolved into a tight-knit group of local Jewish men looking for comfort and connection following October 7th. The original core group, led by Daniel Abromowitz and a few other Akiva fathers, started out playing ball at the Gordon Jewish Community Center after hours. “What we all had in common was that we were all Akiva dads,” says Abromowitz, “But we tended to hang with the same group of guys.”

The group approached Michal Becker, Director of Impact and Planning for the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville, for a grant to help with expenses like security and rent for the facility. “When I asked them why basketball, they said they didn’t just play ball, they talked,” says Becker. She said Abromowitz shared that the men found themselves connecting in ways they normally don’t. “Michal challenged us to think outside the box,” says Abromowitz. “I told them if they really want to be a group then they should think more intentionally about

being a group,” says Becker. Abromowitz joined with the other core group members, Sean Ross, Scott Shillington, and Shalom Cohen, to determine next steps. “We had been playing basketball, but what about those who don’t play? Can we come up with something else?” says Abromowitz. The group created plans for monthly “men’s night out” events and weekend events every other month. “We wanted to

build a community with Jewish men in Nashville and include as many people as possible,” says Shillington.

One of the important goals set by the group was to be as broad as possible. Ross believes that after October 7th it is critical to create safe spaces for people to connect. “This is a platform where you can be a secular or religious Jew and come together across a divide,” he says, “It wouldn’t have resonated before October 7th, but a lot of people are searching for community and people they can trust.”

These types of personal connections often are made by women, but men do not typically seek out organized opportunities for socializing. Rabbi Dan Horwitz, CEO of The Jewish Federation, cites a recent article in the Los Angeles Times that explored men’s friendships. The article reported that over the last 30 years men’s friendships have dwindled by half, and 15% of men reported having no close friendships.

“In an era of digital hyper-connection coupled with rampant loneliness, helping people find friends to do Jewish and life with is essential. This is particularly true

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Vol. 89 No. 6 24 Iyyar - 24 Sivan 5784 WWW.JEWISHNASHVILLE.ORG A Publication of the
THE JUNE 2024 Coupon Issue Section, page 25
Festival Brings Together Community , page 13 Gordon Jewish Community Center Welcomes New Executive Director, page 3
Yom Ha’atzmaut A generous donation from Nashville couple Larry and Carol Hyatt will fund two nurses’ stations at the Gendel Rehabilitation Center at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus.

Community Relations Committee

Change is Coming to Metro Council, Here’s What You Need to Know

The Metropolitan Council (Metro Council) is the legislative authority of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, a city-county consolidated government created on April 1, 1963. We are fortunate to have an effective working relationship with the council, highlighted by strong personal relationships with four members who are affiliated with the Jewish community of Nashville, including Sheri Weiner. Sheri has longstanding experience serving on Metro

Council and has provided significant wisdom and guidance in our interactions with the council.

Over the past months, there have been some concerning occurrences at Metro Council meetings, specifically as

part of the public comment section, and these relationships have been especially valuable in shaping our response.

Providing time for the public to address the council directly is part of the Tennessee Code, and this time is reserved during all regular and special Council and Council committee meetings where there are actionable items on the agenda. This time provides the public with an opportunity to speak about legislative items appearing on Committee and Council meeting agendas.

Until recently, rules for public comment required that these comments relate

to something on the meeting agenda. For example, several weeks ago the agenda included a recommendation for additional funding to address the needs of victims of crime. During that meeting, several of us from the Jewish community used this agenda item to address the council and express concern about the rise of antisemitic incidents locally.

Some groups have been using the public comment period to pursue a push for the council to sponsor resolutions that were not on the agenda, and that do not relate to specific local needs. In some

‘A plethora of leadership’: Participants reflect after conclusion of debut Leadership 615 program

Scott Fishel initially felt some impostor syndrome upon first joining Leadership 615, a debut fellowship program for mid-career Nashville adults. But he quickly found his place.

Fishel, 34, is the vice president of acquisitions at Hamilton Creek Partners in his hometown of Nashville.

“Usually, when I think of Jewish leaders or leadership, …you usually go to your parents or people like that,” Fishel said. “I never really put myself in that category.”

Once he learned a little more about Leadership 615, Fishel was all in. He said he enjoyed the discussion aspect of the program as well as the many guest speakers.

“It was a very, very worthwhile experience being able to hear from scholars from different points of view on issues that are pressing for the Jewish community from a macro standpoint … all the way down to the micro — Nashville,” Fishel said of Leadership 615. “There’s a lot of thought that went into it because it was people of different ages, people with different backgrounds, different experiences, and I think everybody approached from different viewpoints. You got a lot of value.”

The 12 participants of Leadership 615 heard from a former mayor of Nashville, rabbis, professors and a council member, among other local Jewish leaders.

“I think what I really got out of this was how many leaders there probably are in this community, right?” Fishel said. “I just think that there’s a plethora of leadership and people with really good ideas.”

Yuri Livshitz, a technology leader for Deloitte and participant of Leadership 615, said the program hosted experts to

discuss the broader Jewish community in the world and how to run a nonprofit board, a skill he said was new to him.

Lori Star, a nurse practitioner and participant of Leadership 615, said the group also discussed antisemitism and compared what the local Jewish community looked like decades ago with what it looks like now.

She emphasized the importance of face-to-face conversation and hearing others’ stories in the age of technology.

“In a world where we’re so bombarded by media and articles, … you can read, but you’re really missing a dialogue,” Star said. “Because when things are so polarized in this day and age, and information is thrown at you at such a fast pace, it was so nice to be able to receive information from a human being and then be able to talk about it in real time. I think we’ve so missed that.”

Livshitz said he appreciated the diversity of the program’s cohort, which made for better community bonding and lively discussion.

“I absolutely love the concept that people from every meaningful Jewish organization in Nashville were represented in this cohort,” Livshitz said. “We all got together, we all got to hear each other’s needs about the protection of the

Jewish community and learn from each other. I don’t think any of the folks that were in the cohort would have intersected if it wasn’t for this program.”

Fishel said meeting Jewish leaders from east Nashville was “fascinating” given that most of the Jewish community and Jewish life have historically been concentrated in west Nashville. He added that the geographical diversity of the cohort “opened [his] mind, [his] eyes to just how big and expansive this community has gotten.”

A fourth generation Nashvillian, Fishel has seen the progression of the Jewish community over the course of decades.

“I do believe that the Nashville Jewish community is changing, it’s changing fairly rapidly,” Fishel said. “It is changing from how it was 60 years ago to 30 years ago, or even 10 years ago, just as Nashville continues to change. I think the ability to move with the city and not against the city is so important. I think this program is really doing just that, and

I think it’s going to be a tremendous boon to our community.”

Mark Goldfarb, a local cardiologist who sponsored Leadership 615, said in a statement to The Jewish Observer Nashville that he is happy with how the past six months have played out, especially given the uncertainties of offering a program for the first time.

“The camaraderie between the cohort of individuals, many of them coming from a variety of backgrounds, is refreshing and heartwarming and an added plus,” Goldfarb wrote. “I’m thrilled with what we have created thus far and look forward to seeing the long-term results unfold as these future leaders mature and take on larger roles in our community.”

Livshitz said it was an honor to participate in the pilot program: “It’s a huge opportunity to learn about leadership, about yourself, about your place in the Jewish community.” •

2 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
Pictured l. to r. Beth Levine, Dr. Mark Goldfarb, Metro Councilmember Sheri Weiner. PHOTO: EMILY ALLEN Leadership 615 participants at the closing dinner. PHOTO: EMILY ALLEN Leadership 615 participant Yuri Livshitz shares his experiences as part of the cohort. PHOTO: EMILY ALLEN Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville director of impact, Michal Becker, addresses the cohort and guests. PHOTO: EMILY ALLEN
on page 4
The first cohort of the Leadership 615 program. PHOTO: EMILY ALLEN

Gordon Jewish Community Center Welcomes New Executive Director

The Gordon JCC is excited to announce that we welcomed our new Executive Director, Jesse Feld, in Mid-May. Jesse’s experience as a professional in Jewish communal life is impressive, and throughout our search committee’s extensive screening and interview process, he demonstrated to both our professional search firm and our committee that he possesses the intellect, demeanor, experience, and skills to build on the work we are currently doing and expand upon the long history of the Gordon JCC.

Jesse is a native of Memphis and a graduate of the University of Tennessee. Jesse’s father was the Federation Director in Memphis and actually worked at our very own Gordon JCC after graduate school. L’dor v’dor.

Upon graduating from Tennessee, Jesse became the Program Director for the Knoxville Jewish Alliance. Following his time in Knoxville, Jesse moved to Richmond, Virginia and worked his way up from the Director of Young Leadership at the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond to the Director of Development & Engagement at the Richmond Federation, and in just a few short years, to President and CEO of the Richmond Jewish Foundation. During his time serving the Richmond Jewish community, Jesse earned a master’s degree in public administration from

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Founded in 1934 by

Ohio University with a concentration in nonprofit management. Most recently, Jesse served as the Executive Director of Hillel at Florida State University.

“To say I am thrilled to be back in Tennessee, and here at the Gordon JCC would be an understatement. I’ve spent my professional career committed to supporting and enhancing the Jewish community, and I am honored to have been chosen to continue that work as the Gordon JCC Executive Director. My family and I are looking forward to becoming integrated into the community and meeting all the great folks who make this community vibrant,” Jesse states.

We are excited to have Jesse and his expertise on board here at the J, and we look forward to all that we can accomplish. •

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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.

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Letters to the editor

As an alumnus of Columbia University and Barnard College, I personally denounce the despicable antisemitic, anti-Israel and pro-Hamas campus protests and demonstrations; President Nemat (Minouche) Shafik’s lack of rational and just leadership; the shameful anti-Israel commentary by individual faculty; and the immoral insanity of non-student body rioters allowed on campus.

Post October 7th, our American academia allowed this nationwide scourge of socio-political mania, which opened a Pandora’s box of unmitigated xenophobia now at a fever pitch.

In order to defend itself, Israel has every right to fight any terrorist force, whether it be Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi, the Iranian regime or any other enemy of Israel. Bringing home the hostages is still the hope of us all.

It was at Barnard and Columbia that I was first introduced to Judaism through my classmates. They inspired a love in me for Torah, the feasts, and Israel, till I eventually began advocating for Israel among global leaders and serving an international Holocaust foundation.

My prayer is that each precious Jewish Columbia University student and faculty member will be safe, and in place of fear that their courage and resolve to stand with Israel will be strengthened more than ever.

Nancy Fox Williamson County, TN

Where are our USA Jewish Community Voices?

As I listen to the way the Israel war is depicted on TV, I get more and more concerned. Where are the USA Jewish Community voices? How can Israel negotiate with a terrorist organization?

I hear Israel doesn’t abide by International Rules of War. How could Hamas enter a peaceful concert to kill and capture innocent children and adults? How could they kill infants, children, and unarmed adults? How could they hold innocent children and adults as hostages for so long? Where is the voice of innocent people? Why aren’t our leaders speaking up more clearly?

I hear all the time on TV, what would it take for Israel to end its operations in Gaza. Why don’t I hear what

Happy Summer

Continued from page 1 connect with other fellow Jews, as they may not have those safe spaces to talk about issues that concern them in their neighborhoods or workplaces.

As an organization, we have the resources and “map” to help newcomers make those connections, to get dialed into the community in a way that is meaningful to them. And the reality is that what worked for my family in 2005 is not necessarily what will work for the average person in 2024. And that is wonderful –we want to help connect people with what they need wherever they are and meet

would it take for Hamas to release their Israeli prisoners? What would it take for Hamas to stop bombing Israel? Why does Hamas teach their children that Israel should be destroyed?

The newscasters talk about Israel bombing schools and hospitals. Why don’t they talk about the tunnels that are underground at schools and hospitals and their strategic offices under them? I don’t understand why the Palestinians use their people as human shields. Why don’t they talk about the money that was given to them for food and goods that were used to build tunnels? Imagine if they built schools, parks, factories, etc. with that money.

I’m a member of a lot of different Jewish organizations. Where are our leaders’ voices? Why are the Palestinians’ voices louder than ours? I’m hoping that someone will organize our Jewish voices. Am Yisrael Chai!

Marsha Ross Jaffa Nashville, TN

We applaud Dr. Graber’s letter to the editor (May 2024) and wish to state publicly our wholehearted agreement with his analysis that it is the marrying of people and guns that accounts for the modern horror of mass shootings. Without the wide availability of guns (especially assault weapons), unbalanced and/or misguided individuals would not be able to wreak the kind of havoc that has become all too common in our country today.

Unfortunately, the state legislature seems deeply committed to a warped understanding of the Second Amendment. Even the governor was only briefly moved to do something after the Covenant shooting, despite his wife having lost a very close friend in that tragedy.

We have really only one good tool at our disposal and that is to pressure our elected officials to rethink their Wild West position—by calling them, e-mailing them, writing letters to them—and ultimately voting them out, if that’s what it takes. With the legislature tilted toward the rural, more gun-friendly areas of the state, that’s a tall order. But we have to start somewhere—and the more voices we have, the louder the noise we can make. Please speak up—for the sake of our children.

them where they are at, so to speak. But we can’t do it alone. My simple ask is that if you find people who are new to our community, that you embrace them as kindly as we were welcomed almost 20 years ago. Invite them to shabbat dinners, take them to coffee, give them a challah, and connect them to us. We’ll help them find their Nashville home, wherever that may be; be it at a shul, Moshe House, a great program at the JCC, a partner organization outside of Nashville, a meaningful service project, or the next NowGen Happy Hour – I can’t even begin to cover everything in one article! And together we will help to continue our great Jewish Nashville legacy. •

Learn more about the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville at

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 3
The c c c c STAFF Jesse Feld is the new Executive Director of the Gordon JCC

Heart of the Matter

As the Executive Director of Jewish Family Service of Nashville, I have had a front-row seat for the past 14 years to witness the incredible impact of our organization’s services on individuals and families. Since breaking my ankle two weeks ago I have become a recipient of the very services our agency provides.

as a recipient of service, I have personally benefited from their expertise, reinforcing my confidence in the quality of care we offer.

You may not know this, but JFS fields over 500 calls a year for information and referral. Our dedicated licensed clinical social workers’ depth of knowledge of trustworthy community resources ensures that individuals in need of guidance are directed to the best available services. Are you navigating a new transition in life and looking for trusted resources? Give us a call! I obviously know that we provide this invaluable service, but now


Continued from page 2 cases, these comments were harassing of specific members. As the situation continued to escalate, Federation leadership directed our concerns to Vice Mayor Angie Henderson, who presides over council meetings.

In response to our letter, Vice Mayor Henderson invited Federation CEO Rabbi Dan Horwitz, Board President Leslie Kirby and myself to meet with her and her legal counsel to address this concern directly to gain better understanding of the process, options for disciplining members who violate ethics or rules, and how she is deciding where and when to use her discretion in addressing these incidents. We will continue to monitor these actions.

During the meeting, Vice Mayor Henderson shared with us a recent rule change that may ultimately do more to exacerbate rather than deescalate these concerns. Until now, rules required that those signing up for public comment specify the agenda item they planned to address. The vote on this proposed change was extremely close, being determined by only one vote, in favor of the rule changes. Once the rule takes effect, there will no longer be a requirement to connect public comments to specific agenda items, and Nashville residents will be able to address council on any topic, regardless of whether it relates to the agenda or even to any local issue. There will be preference given to those whose comments relate directly to the agenda, but that may be difficult to discern in advance.

Furthermore, the comprehensive wrap-around services we provide are delivered with genuine compassion and dignity. Experiencing the care I have received as well as my husband, as a caregiver, further solidifies my personal belief in not just the quality of care we provide, but perhaps more important is the way in which care is provided – with professionalism, compassion, and dignity.

My personal journey has reaffirmed my pride in the remarkable work of Jewish Family Service. Through my experience, I have gained an even deeper appreciation for the vital role our agency plays in supporting and uplifting the community during times of need as we help individuals and families “Navigate Life’s Transitions. Together.” For that I am grateful to not only lead this impactful agency, but also be a client. •

A Rabbi and a Doctor Discuss Facts Jews should Know about a Two-State Solution

Frank: Mark, it is disturbing that so

many of our people do not know the history of the numerous attempts over the years by Israel to accept a two-state solution with Palestinians and to make a permanent peace with them as well.

There have been five incredibly generous offers of a two-state solution made to the Arabs living in the area called Palestine starting with the Peel Commission led by Lord Peel in 1937. That initial offer was made by Britian and proposed to give 80% of what is now Israel to the Arabs and only 20% to the Jews. While the Jews accepted the Peel Commission’s offer, the Arabs did not. The Arabs wanted it all and refused to accept this generous offer to give each people a place to live in peace and prosperity.

our hopes and dreams and the reality of life on the ground right now between Israel and its neighbors. If you were Israeli, after all that you have endured, why would you wish for a solution when the only evidence seen today is that once given the power to run their own lives, the Palestinian leadership (with the support of the Palestinian people by a wide majority) have supported the wholehearted destruction of the Jewish state?

In addition, according to a recent public opinion poll sited in the Wall Street Journal in January, 59% of Jewish Israelis currently oppose an agreement that would lead to a Palestinian state.

This change will go into effect at the meeting on June 11 and will continue thereafter. Time will tell how this change will affect the tone, disposition, and demeanor of upcoming meetings.

At the meeting on May 21, before the change in the rule, several members of the Jewish community participated in public comment to support the Jewish Heritage Month resolution proposed by Councilmember Jacob Kupin. Community members were able to share concerns about growing antisemitism directly to the council, and we have heard that the respectful way these comments were delivered spoke volumes about our community and had impact and left a meaningful impression on council members. The resolution passed.

To address the council during public comment, you must sign up in advance. For details visit or message Deborah Oleshansky, deborah@ for assistance.

In addition to work with the council, JCRC May activity included working with several families whose children have been experiencing antisemitism at school, along with meetings and presentaions to local community groups. School is in summer recess, but JCRC will continue to work proactively to ensure that local schools have as much knowledge and resource as possible to prevent this situation from repeating in the 2024-25 school year.

To report incidents of antisemitism: •

The other four offers that were rejected by Palestinians include:

The 1947 United Nations partition of the land giving the Palestinians half of the land of Palestine.

The offer by Israel to return all the land won in the six-day 1967 war for peace, resulting in the three “no responses” by the defeated Arabs of no treaty, no recognition, and no peace.

The Camp David offer to Yasir Arafat made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton in 2000 which would give to the Palestinians over 90% of the West Bank with appropriate land swaps, all of Gaza, east Jerusalem as its capital and certain refugee rights.

Finally, the fifth offer of a two-state solution came from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who in 2008 again offered a Palestinian state comprised of 94% of the West Bank, and similar offers made in 2000 by Prime Minister Barak.

Also keep in mind that when Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 signed a peace agreement with Israel, there has been a solid peace with Israel ever since. However, when Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and removed every Israeli settlement in Gaza to allow the Palestinians the right to govern itself and be free of Israeli occupation, the Palestinians have done nothing but issue death and destruction on the citizens of Israel.

According to the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Abba Eban, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The Palestinians do not want peace or a two-state solution. They want it all.

Mark, what else do Jews need to know about the constant rejection by the Arabs for a two-state solution?

Mark: Frank, I have to believe that most members of the Jewish people want nothing more than a complete, enduring, and everlasting peace between Israel and its neighbors. This includes the Palestinian people. Regrettably, the leadership of the Palestinian people have advocated for a one-state solution, by which they mean the eradication of the state of Israel.

There is a stark difference between

As you have pointed out there has been absolutely no willingness on the Palestinian side to trade land for peace, or to recognize the right of the Jewish people for a Jewish homeland, even alongside a Palestinian sovereign state. The evidence, to the contrary, is that every time the Israel government and its citizens have given land concessions to the Palestinian people, they have used those territories as an opportunity to wage attacks upon Israel and the Jewish people.

While some may fantasize about an eventual Palestine state, there can be no sovereignty given to a people whose primary aim is to destroy, annihilate, and exterminate the Jewish people. We have seen all too well what has happened in the history of our people when those who wish to destroy us say what they mean and mean what they say.

Perhaps someday there will be a two-state solution, however, to give the Palestinian people a state of their own at this time is the equivalent of giving them the right to destroy Israel, the land of hopes and dreams of our people for two thousand years. If we are made to choose, between them or us, there is no question where I stand: I will always choose us when it comes to matters of survival and security of my people.

Frank: I totally agree with you on this issue and wish Palestinians would revolt against their leaders, vote them out of office, and sit down with Israelis to discuss a peaceful transition to acceptance and peace leading to a two-state solution. The truth, however, is that most Palestinians agree with their leaders and want to destroy the people and land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The world is not accustomed to witnessing a powerful Jew. When we are victims, the world is often sympathetic and understanding, but when confronted with a mighty Israel, able to conquer and destroy those who attempt to destroy it, they are confused. Israel is our antidote to the poison of Jew hatred and the sooner the world understands that Israel is not going to go away or be destroyed, the better life will be for Palestinians.

As it is said, if Palestinians would lay down their weapons, there would be peace, prosperity, and a fulfilled twostate solution in the Middle East, but if Israel laid down its weapons, there would be no Israel. •

4 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
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We were privileged to be part of the Greater Chattanooga Jewish Federation Partnership2Gether Hadera Eiron Volunteer Mission from April 1-4, 2024.

On the morning of the first day, Partnership2Gether participants worked at the Aloney Yitzhak Youth Village building wooden tables and benches, caring for farm animals, and wrapping almond cakes. In the afternoon, the almond cakes were taken to soldiers at the Golani Brigade base.

Bearing witness and helping to rebuild

On the second day, participants first met Itai Kentor. Itai is director of the Edut 710 project. This project is collecting testimonials from victims of the October 7 attacks.

That afternoon, participants worked at Beit HaRishonim Community Center in Hadera. Phil painted an etz chaim mural in the foyer of the community center. Carla packed 45 Passover food boxes. And other participants beautified the courtyard with plants they had potted. An appreciation plaque was hung in the entry hallway of the center.

The work detail on the third day started early to avoid the harsh afternoon

heat. A local farmer was without his Taiwanese laborers because Hamas had taken the laborers as hostages.

The farmer’s income depended on the cucumber and cherry tomatoes to be picked for market. Partnership2Gether participants worked the land.

In the afternoon of the third day, we met an amazing 17-year-old girl who started a nonprofit in Pardes HannaKarkur. Her food boxing project was sustained by teenagers who earned school credit for donating their time. It was fun working alongside these highly motivated kids.

On the fourth day, participants took

“We built this country for you” Stories of survival and hope

the two-hour bus ride to Ofakim in the south of Israel. Homes of Ofakim were riddled with gunshot holes. On most street corners there were small memorials to the victims of the October 7 attacks. We met Yahaloma. She is diligently working to get social services for this low socioeconomic community. Three residents shared their traumatic experiences on October 7. We met the Chabad rabbi of Ofakim. He told us the need for food boxes has tripled since October 7. Partnership2Gether packed 100 Passover food boxes. It was a wonderful trip. We didn’t want to leave. •

On October 7th, Meirav Ben-Amos woke up to news she never thought she would witness. Sirens, death, rape, slaughter within her country. She spent the day at home huddled with her two daughters, one a student studying to become a cancer researcher and the other a newly released soldier who had begun working for a wedding planner. By the end of the day, they understood the implications of what they and their country faced.

Ben-Amos was a school principal and immediately began supporting students in the wake of school’s indefinite cancelation and many families being turned upside down. Her younger daughter, months after completing her army service as a logistics officer, was called back to the front for what would be days of frenetic work before she slept again. All the weddings she had been planning for hopeful couples were canceled and it couldn’t have felt less important. BenAmos was facing the chaos and sorrow alone, having lost her beloved husband a few years earlier to aggressive cancer.

But the worst part of the days following October 7th, according to BenAmos, was seeing the attacks and war through the eyes of her elderly father. “We built this country for you,” he would lament, referring to the younger generations. “We sacrificed, we kept it safe, we started from nothing. And look what has become of it. What have you let happen to it!?” She was bereft that her father had lived to see a pogrom within Israel’s borders and that he felt betrayed by the country he had sacrificed everything to build and strengthen. His greatest wish was to leave his grandchildren a strong, thriving Jewish nation to grow their families in and for the first time, his confidence in that was shattered.

I heard these stories over a beautiful dinner of salads, dips, pastas, and breads in the home of Ben-Amos located in Pardes Chana, in the Hadera Eiron Region of Northern Israel. This region of Israel is the Partnership 2Gether sister region of Nashville, as well as several other communities across the Southeast and the Czech Republic.

I came to be sitting at Ben-Amos’ table as a representative of our Federation community participating in a mission to our sister region in April with other

members of the P2G International Partnership. We spent five intense days visiting with members of the community involved in the partnership, volunteering for projects that would help sustain the community, and just being present for our Israeli siblings during a moment of crisis. What we found was partially a nation still in mourning and sitting shiva – like Ben-Amos’ father – but more notably we found a nation mobilized, activated, and persevering – like BenAmos’ daughter.

One of our volunteer activities was working on a nearby farm picking cherry tomatoes and tending to cucumber vines. The farmer welcomed us with open arms and shared a heartfelt thank you for being there. He shared that any of the food volunteers were unable to pick would rot.

On October 7th Hamas had captured Thai workers along with Israelis and people of many different nationalities. The Thai government made a deal with Hamas that the Thai hostages would be released only if their embassy withdrew all its foreign workers, on whom Israeli agriculture relies heavily on. The farmer watched in dismay as a truck from the Thai Embassy pulled up to his farm and drove away with all of his workers for forced deportation.

In the months following, Israelis have been dropping everything to volunteer in the fields and keep the agricultural system afloat. We picked vegetables that day alongside a unit of young soldiers and a group of grandmothers from Haifa, who made the hour drive several times a week to do their part. The farmer said that he truly felt the love and care of Am Yisrael, the people of Israel. Even though I can’t think of a better way to spend a day than picking ripe cherry tomatoes while listening to live guitar music (and maybe eating more than I picked), the lack of foreign workers is a dire situation. It is jeopardizing the Israeli food chain and economy, desperately calling for a solution more permanent than relying on volunteers.

One of the most impactful parts of the mission was the day spent in Ofakim, a city in Southern Israel that was the farthest community invaded by terrorists on October 7th. Ofakim earned the nickname “city of heroes” because so many residents ran into fire to save their neighbors during the invasion and many of them paid the ultimate price.

Hamas gunmen entered the city and

targeted the only neighborhood where the bomb shelters are outside the homes. This neighborhood is largely home to the elderly, immigrants, and low-income residents, singling out the city’s most vulnerable populations. As we walked through the streets, we saw the modest homes defaced by bullet holes and adorned with candles, flowers, and posters of the those who lost their lives on October 7th. We heard the story of Rachel Ederi who was able to distract gunmen by baking cookies for them, buying time and saving lives. We met residents who lived through the terror and lost loved ones. I was struck by their resilience and gratitude in the face of so much loss.

Psychologist Susan Silk, teaches the Ring Theory of grief. When a traumatic event occurs, the grieving are divided

into concentric circles, with those most directly impacted in the center, and those further from impact in outer circles. The way it should work is “support in, dumping out.” Those closer to the center get support from those in outer circles and get to unload their fear, worry, and grief outwards.

In the months since October 7th, each of us in the Jewish community falls somewhere in the circles of grief. Traveling to Israel in this moment of crisis is an opportunity to provide support to those in the inner circles – those experiencing loss of loved ones and of the feeling of security. It is also an opportunity to be present and show up, giving those who need it the rare opportunity to unload and process outwards, as they exist in the

Continued on page 7

6 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
“We built this…”

Continued from page 6 unique experience of their whole society dwelling in the inner circles.

That night at the dinner table in Pardes Hannah, the American volunteers were able to bear witness and allow our Israeli hosts to share and process their grief and fear. Ultimately, Ben-Amos’ father, despite his dismay, chooses to spend his days volunteering at a local collection and relief center for displaced Israelis. Her daughter was just approaching the end of her reserve duty for the time being and all the weddings she had

been planning were back on track – with bigger guest lists than before – as the urgency of celebrating life and love was stronger than ever. •

Kehillah Award 2024 Finalists


inalists have been selected for this year’s Kehillah Award. The Kehillah Award nominations are for teens who have shown great dedication and motivation both in the Jewish community as well as the greater Nashville community. These seniors are enthusiastic about making the world a better place. The winners receive a $500 gift, provided by Doyne Family Fund at the Jewish Foundation, to be used toward their education.

The teens are nominated by their synagogue, educational director, Rabbi,

Join the Jewish Genealogical Society of Nashville for this Special Lecture

Dr. Janette Silverman Research in Ukraine: Challenges

Sunday, June 30, 2024 at 10 AM Central Time RSVP for Zoom link:

We look at a map today and see Ukraine, a very large country. We know that borders changed over time, and over the last decade have seen that firsthand. What did the area now called Ukraine look like in the century before World War I and how does that affect our research today?

We’ll take a look at different types of records and discuss briefly the laws behind them and discuss the implication these have for research into our ancestral families.

Dr. Janette Silverman is a professional genealogist, heading up a team of 11 researchers specializing in Eastern European and Jewish genealogy at AncestryProGenealogists® the division of that does private client research.

Janette began her journey into her own family’s history more than 40 years ago with her dad, hoping to answer

some questions about their family’s early days in the U.S., never thinking that they would be able to trace parts of the family back to 18th century Europe. What began as a hobby turned into an obsession and ultimately led to a shift in her career from Jewish education to genealogy. Her doctoral dissertation, “In Living Memory,” was based on her genealogical research into four branches of her own family, putting into historical context their experiences as they made their way from Eastern Europe to settle in the U.S. from the 1880s until the 1920s.

She was previously the chair of the Phoenix (Arizona) JGS, lead co-chair of the 2016 IAJGS conference in Seattle, Washington, and a JewishGen volunteer. She speaks virtually and in person at conferences and for smaller groups all over the world, has been published in Avotaynu, APGQ, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, The Galitzianer, and Genealogy at a Glance. She is looking forward to publication of her book, “Stories They Never Told Us,” in 2024. •

or youth group advisor. Nominated teens are asked to complete an application with two essays. The completed applications are then redacted to keep them anonymous and sent to all past Kehillah/Ralph Shepard Award winners, who review the applications and cast their vote.

This year’s finalists are Celia Wiston (West End Synagogue), Max Lapidus (BBYO), Eden Rice (Congregation Micah), Sydney Johnson (The Temple), Lilly Faye Kramer (The Temple), and Amalia Serkin (The Temple).

The winner of this year’s award will be announced at the Gordon JCC Annual Meeting on June 23rd. •

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 7
Dr. Janette Silverman will speak virtually on June 30 about her journey into her family’s heritage.

The Man who Survived 12 Concentration Camps comes to Nashville

A101-year-old Holocaust survivor, who was in 12 Nazi concentration camps during World War II, will visit Nashville and share his story at Chabad of Nashville. The event, “Evening with Joseph Alexander,” will be held on June 18.

His name is Joseph Alexander and he has a century of life under his belt. Some of those years were spent deprived of freedom, dignity, and nearly his very life. “God has kept me here so I can tell people what happened,” Alexander said. He is the only member of his immediate family to live through the Holocaust.

“This is a very special opportunity for us all to hear this story, to personally hear the story of survival,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel of the Chabad Jewish Center of Nashville. “Somebody who survived the worst time in our history, the worst time in our memory.”

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, Alexander, then 16 years old, his mother, father and five brothers and sisters were forced to go to the Warsaw Ghetto, where he saw people dying in the streets. Later he was forced to go

to Auschwitz and other concentration camps where he barely escaped death and had to do hard labor with hardly any food.

One night, Alexander and others were selected by Mengele to form two lines. Alexander was forced to go in the left line with children and the weak and

sick, who were going to be taken by truck to Auschwitz. He ran back to the other line and walked to the camp. “If I hadn’t run to the other line, I wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The people in the other line went to the gas chamber.”

Alexander became separated from his family and never saw them again. But he survived and for the last eight decades has made it his mission to speak to whomever will listen. He describes what happened during the darkest times of the second world war, and how he was somehow able to survive, giving a voice to genocide for the millions who died.

“We need to remember there’s not many opportunities left where we can meet somebody who survived the concentration camps, somebody who survived Auschwitz, there’s not many opportunities left for us,” Rabbi Tiechtel expressed.

The event with Joe Alexander will take place on Tuesday, June 18, 7:00 PM, at Chabad of Nashville, 95 Bellevue Road. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling Chabad at 615-646-5750. •

Congregations Join to Celebrate Shavuot

Four of Nashville’s congregations will come together in celebration of Shavuot. Congregation Micah, Sherith Israel, The Temple, and West End Synagogue invite the community to join them beginning on Tuesday, June 11. Details below: Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Tuesday, June 11 starting at 6:30 PM at Congregation Sherith Israel

Captivating learning with members of Nashville’s clergy and scholarly community, traditional davening, uplifting music, and delicious dinner (registration required). Schedule as follows (subject to change): 6:30 pm Hor d’Oeuvres 7:00 pm Short Talk 7:30 pm Pre-Yom Tov Music 7:47 pm Candle-lighting 7:50 pm Tefilla in the Shul / Shiur (teaching) in the Library 8:30 pm Dinner (register) 9:20 - 9:55 pm Shiur 2 10:00 - 10:40 pm Shiur 3 10:50 - 11:30 pm Shiur 4 11:30 - 12:15 pm Break, Dessert, Bourbon Tasting 12:50 - 1:30 Shiur 5 1:40 - 2:20 Shiur 6 •

8 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
Holocaust survivor Joe Alexander, 101, will speak on June 18 at the Gordon JCC.
Visit The Jewish Observer’s NEW website at

West End Synagogue Honors Students & Teachers

The Beit Miriam End of the Year

Closing Ceremony was held Sunday, May 5 at West End Synagogue. During the Awards Ceremony, Dolma Losel and Yosef Prebus (YoYo) were presented with the 2024 Simon and Alven Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew. Pictured at right: students who received attendance awards.

2024 Simon and Alven Ghertner Award Winners

Dolma Eve Losel , daughter of Tamara Ambar and Ngawang Losel and Yosef (YoYo) Gabriel Prebus, son of Audrey Carvajal and Sol Prebus were chosen as the 2024 co-recipients of the prestigious Simon and Alven Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew, now in its 79th consecutive year. Scott Ghertner, great-grandson of Simon Ghertner and grandson of Alven Ghertner, presented the award. The award recognizes the importance of Hebrew reading proficiency for every generation of Jewish students. West End Synagogue Director of Lifelong Learning, Sharon Paz, noted, “Among Jewish teens nations wide, so few excel in Hebrew to the extent that our students do. We are so fortunate to have young people, like Dolma and YoYo in our school and congregation who have ability and who work hard to excel in Hebrew—both as a modern language and in prayer, reading Torah, Haftarah and leading services for us.”

Paz shared the following remarks from the presentation:

“Dolma has always been a serious student at Beit Miriam and enjoyed learning Hebrew. Maybe because her parents, who met in Israel, speak the language. Throughout the years, Dolma excelled in Hebrew language. She is a perfectionist. She only wanted to read aloud if she could read every word perfectly. And she loved learning vocabulary words so that the stories made sense to her. I remember a couple of years when Dolma took her Hebrew book home so she could practice and be ready for class. When she began preparing to become Bat Mitzvah, she found her stride and blossomed. No longer anxious about being the first student to read or sing a prayer in class, she volunteered to be first. She was on top of her lessons and worked hard to learn the Torah service and Musaf, plus her Haftarah and Torah portions. Dolma has a positive attitude toward learning and is respectful to her teachers.”

“I remember the first day YoYo walked into Beit Miriam with a huge smile on his face. As the years have gone by, that smile is still there. YoYo struggled with Hebrew a bit through the years and kept working at it. In fact, he has rarely missed a class or junior congregation since second grade. Once YoYo learned Torah trope with Cantor Sarah in 5th grade, he was on his way. In 6th grade, he could sight read any portion we

looked at. He worked hard to master his Torah and Haftarah portions, the Torah service and Musaf, and has almost mastered Shacharit. He can lead Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv and since becoming Bar Mitzvah earlier in the year helped his classmates master Ashrei and Musaf. I know he will use his davening skills at Camp Ramah Darom this summer.”

The Ghertner award places emphasis on the effort and skills mastered in preparation for becoming B’nai Mitzvah and takes into account Hebrew language skills. It comes with a gift from the Ghertner Family and the honor of chanting the Haftarah on Rosh HaShanah.

Many thanks to Frank Ghertner and Dorothy Ghertner Miller who oversee this award on an annual basis. The closing Ceremony included a shout out to all the teachers, a video of the year’s programs—a salute to Israel’s 76th Birthday and ice cream sundaes for all the Beit Miriam families and faculty.

2024 Anna Isenstein Teacher Aide Award Winner

West End Synagogue’s Beit Miriam’s high school senior, Henry Nathaniel Sterling, son of Julie Rhoades and Gabriel Sterling was honored with the 2024 Anna Isenstein Teacher Aide Appreciation Award. The award, presented this year by Joel Isenstein, directs cash toward a college-bound teacher’s aide to assist in continuing their education. Linda Nathenson and Joel Isenstein established the Anna Isenstein Teacher Aide Fund in memory of their daughter, Anna Michelle Isenstein, in 2003 to encourage students to guide younger students as teachers’ aides after completing their formal religious school education at the Synagogue. During Anna’s short life, they learned that sometimes the most help for a student comes directly from another student.

The teacher aides (madrichim) in the religious school classroom serve many roles. Not only do they assist the teacher in a variety of tasks, they also serve as role models in the classroom. The award recognizes a unique aide who exhibits the attributes the teachers need the most and models the behavior parents respect the most: dependability, attentiveness, friendliness, and initiative. The annual award is $1000.00

Joel Isenstein shared what teachers wrote about Henry: “This year’s aide was exceptional in many ways. Henry was consistently punctual, and typically arrived at Sunday School before the lead teacher. In addition to being outgoing and commanding the attention of 11 pre-K 4 students, he is patient, courteous, kind, firm and sets proper boundaries. The students respect him. He has a plethora of engaging activities, trust-building exercises and games in his back pocket to manage the class while keeping the mood light and fun. Henry was the stable teacher in the classroom with a lead teacher change mid-year. He knew the children, their personalities, and the class routine. He helped the new lead teacher transition into the class seamlessly. And to top it all off, he earned his Eagle Scout badge this year.

Sharon Paz, Director of Lifelong learning added, “Henry did not miss one Sunday the entire year. He asked for a Sunday off so he could build a garden for Beit Miriam with his scout troop as his Eagle Scout project. But he was here, helping the school, also. During the transition between teachers, Henry helped write the progress reports for each child as if he had been writing them as a pre-K teacher for years. We wish him “hatzlacha” at Virginia Military Institute in the fall. We will all miss him next year.”

Many thanks to Joel Isenstein and Linda Nathenson for creating this special recognition award and opportunity for our Teacher Aides.


And to all our graduating high school and college seniors: HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS GRADUATING CLASS OF 2024

Andrew Berkon

Son of Julie and Brian Berkon

Grandson of Adele and Roy Berkson

Graduating Mt. Juliet High School

Attending Midway University

Isaac Wai-Yun Cheng

Son of Jenny and Edward Cheng

Homeschooled & 2018 Beit Miriam Simon & Alven

Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew Recipient

Attending Swarthmore College

Spencer Gribben

Son of Erin and Ben Gribben

Graduating Summit High School in Spring Hill

2020 Beit Miriam Simon & Alven

Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew Co-Recipient

Valedictorian of Summit High School

Class of 2024

Attending Vanderbilt University

Bela Hodes

Daughter of Amy Sulam & Peter Hodes

Graduating Ensworth

Attending Tulane University

Max Harrison Lapidus

Son of Kim and Brian Lapidus

Graduating USN

2019 Beit Miriam Simon & Alven

Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew co-Recipient

Attending Tulane University

Sophie Stein

Daughter of the late Bryan Stein and Danielle Stein

Graduating Hillsboro High School

Attending University of Tampa

Henry Nathaniel Sterling

Son of Julie Rhoades and Gabriel


Graduating Brentwood High School

2023 Beit Miriam Sandi & Bernie

Goldstein Outstanding

Community Service Award Recipient

2024 Beit Miriam Anna Isenstein

Outstanding Teacher Aide Award Recipient

Attending Virigina Military Institute

Josie Whelan

Daughter of Rachel Sobel and David Whelan

Graduating USN

Attending Harvard University

Celia Kaita Wiston

Daughter of Debby and Stuart Wiston

Graduating Hendersonville High School

2023 Beit Miriam Nathan Davis

Outstanding Student Award Recipient Attending Indiana University

Davi Julia Wolf-Dubin

Daughter of Abbie Wolf and Ari Dubin

Graduating Hume Fogg High School

2019 Beit Miriam Simon and Alven Ghertner Award for Excellence in Hebrew co-Recipient

Attending Muhlenberg College

Gabi Lieberman

Son of Rebecca Ackerman and Phil Lieberman

Grandson of Esther & Gordon Siebert

Graduating USN

Attending Binghamton University


Anabella Barocas

Daughter of Adina and Daniel Barocas

Graduating Wesleyan University

Continued on page 11

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 9
Pictured l. to r. Scott Ghertner with award recipients YoYo Prebus and Dolma Losel. Henry Nathan Sterling received the Anna Isenstein Teacher Aide Award, presented by Joel Isenstein Jaxon Buchanan Ariella Lowen Tommy Buchanan Esther Nissenson

Am Yisrael Chai


’m biased, of course, but one of the finest features of Jewish life in Nashville are the grade-level programs that our congregational religious schools host each year, bringing all of our K-6th grade students together once a year for interactive programming around various holidays and topics. At Micah, our 4th graders study Israel all year to ultimately serve as docents for the 1st Grade community “Shalom, Israel!” program each spring – and this year’s program felt more important than ever before.

Adorable student passengers arrive at the El Al ticket counter and make fast work of coloring their self-portrait page in their passports. Then they board the virtual flight for Tel Aviv conducted by our student flight attendants and pilots. They are oriented to their upcoming adventures with the in-flight story, “The Everywhere Chair” by Nati Bait, and eventually deplane with their assigned tour guides to the sanctuary where they are greeted with a heartfelt singing of HaTikvah.

By the program’s conclusion, our student travelers have met and taken their picture with Curry the camel, written and left a prayer at the Kotel, found treasure at an archaeological dig, shopped in the shuk, and enjoyed a delicious Israeli feast at our kibbutz. It is always a whirlwind morning marked by our 4th graders shining in their roles and responsibilities and all the 1st graders delighting in the very real sensory experiences of a distant, dreamlike place. Many 4th graders

remember their time as 1st grade travelers fondly, and all are sure to let me know how tired they are. Once all the 1st graders have departed, we read the prayers left at the Kotel before packing them up for our next actual trip to Jerusalem.

Every year I marvel at these young minds and all that they can and do hold. Some of the prayers are petitions, asking for good grades, a puppy (once with their home address included for easy delivery) or a cat (“make sure it is white and black!”) – these details matter when dealing with the divine! Other notes are sweetly and sweepingly generous – prayers for peace, love, good health (“please make daddy’s allergies

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go away”) or hoping for another sibling. Often our favorites include fantastical prospects like praying for “unicorns to be real.” And every year there are one or two prayers that leave me feeling breathless. This year, two precious 6-7-yearolds wrote:

Dear G-d,

I pray for You to help the people in Israel to get better. Please do this.


Dear G-d,

I pray for everyone to live during the Israel and Gaza war.

It should not surprise us that young children absorb the world’s woes, nor should it surprise us that such little bodies contain the biggest hearts. So, thank goodness they are growing up in a Jewish community that cares to comfort and collaborate, modeling that denominational differences in the diaspora need not matter as much as many may suggest or assume.

To that end and thanks to the generosity of the Jewish Federation during Covid, our congregational educators and teachers had the opportunity to study with Israeli authors Robbie Gringras and Abi Sterne who recently published “Stories for the Sake of Argument: Stories to get you arguing with your family, friends, and community. And that’s a good thing!”

The overall premise of their work draws from the research of Dr. Sivan Zakai which indicates that students as young as 3rd grade are developmentally ready for and respond well to studying complex issues and learning how to have constructive conversations. For the last few years, our 4th and 5th graders have piloted this material and look forward to the lessons when we revisit the complexities.

In short, I remain grateful to the Federation for their support of the most holy, important work I can imagine. Jewish education matters more now than ever. •

10 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Nashville Holocaust Memorial Commemorates its 18th Anniversary And Honors Alex Limor

We are a people who value memories. Some are wonderful and some are tragic. On May 5 the two intermingled. The community gathered at the Gordon Jewish Community Center to commemorate the 18th Anniversary of the Nashville Holocaust Memorial and to honor sculptor Alex Limor, the artist who designed and built the memorial’s centerpiece.

Alex grew up in the home of two Holocaust Survivors and his inspiration for creating the “Book of the Jewish People,” the focal point of the memorial, was a concept his father hoped to fulfill. He made his father’s dream come true.

The luncheon was ably chaired by Bobbie Limor and Emily May. Libby and Moshe Werthan graciously served as Honorary Chairs.

The number 18 has a most significant impact for the Jewish People as it represents “LIFE.” With this anniversary, the memorial has enhanced and expanded the quality of life for the Nashville community.

It remains a place of memory for families who have names inscribed on the memorial walls. For some loved ones,

it is their only resting place. Today, the Memorial has become our public community teaching location. It is a place of impact. It is an opportunity for our neighbors from near and far to learn about the Jewish community and to remind us all that hateful words can indeed lead to the murder of innocents.

The memorial has welcomed thousands of visitors from all over the world, and right here in Nashville. Visitors come from all walks of life and have even included Metro Police cadets. Visitors tell us it is a sacred spot and some return with their children.

If you have not visited the Memorial,we sincerely invite you. You can go to the website: to make arrangements for a tour or just wander up there yourself.

The world has grown many shades darker for our community since October 7. Working together we can make our Nashville Holocaust Memorial a place where hate is challenged every day. •

48 Hour marathon of Biblical Studies with guest Scholar in Residence

Shavuot, the birthday of the Nation of Israel, is the anniversary of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, which is one of the most fundamental and famous moments in our history.

The Midrash records a fascinating story. The night before the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people did what anybody does before an important event—they turned in early for a good night’s sleep. This seemingly innocent decision, however, led to embarrassing consequences. The next morning, when it came time for the Torah to be given, the place was empty. The entire Jewish people had slept in. The Midrash even recounts that Moses had to wake them— causing G-d to later lament, “Why have I come, and no one is here to receive me?”

From Jerusalem to Johannesburg, all across the world, this story is at the heart of the custom of staying up late on the first night of Shavuot. In order to rectify our forefathers’ mistake, we stay up late every Shavuot night and study the Torah to clear up our record, explore, and delve into the Torah’s secrets.

To commemorate this event, Chabad of Nashville will be celebrating this Shavuot with a marathon of Biblical Study with scholar-in-residence Professor Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel. Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel has been a beloved presence at Yeshiva University High School for Girls in Queens, NY since 1973. For over 43 years, Rabbi Tiechtel has served a member of the Judaic Studies Department of Yeshiva University, presenting lectures and teaching Bible study, the prophets and the writing of the scriptures, and transmitting his commitment to Torah and passion for yiddishkeit to generations of Yeshiva University students.

Rabbi Tiechtel studied at Yeshivat

Kol Torah and Brysk in Israel and received his smicha from Yeshivat Tomche Temimim in NY. Before coming to the United States in 1967, he taught at the Ponevitz Yeshiva K’Tanah in Bnei Brak, Israel. In addition to teaching at Central, Rabbi Tiechtel has served as a consultant at Machon Chana Institute for Higher Learning, where he has guided many ba’alot teshuva from all over the world. He has also taught Ketuvim at Stern College and is a recipient of the Gruss Award for Excellence in Teaching. Rabbi Tiechtel is the proud grandson of Rabbi Yissacher Shlomo Tiechtel, author of Aim HaBanim S’maicha and of the responsa Mishna Sachir. Together with his wife, Shana Tiechtel, Rabbi Tiechtel has continued the legacy of his grandfather by instilling his unwavering faith and love for all Jews to his children

and grandchildren, who now impact Jews all over the world, spreading messages of spirituality, Torah values and Jewish pride.

On Tuesday, June 11, at 7:15 PM, Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel will usher in the Holiday of Shavuot with a lecture, titled, “The Struggles and Challenges of Biblical Leaders Boaz and Ruth.” Hear about the story of the famous heroine Ruth, grandmother of David, her journey, her struggles and her triumph. Learn how to overcome challenging moments in your personal life.

At 8:30 PM, there will be a Festive Holiday Dinner followed by an open dialogue Q&A session with Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel. This will be an opportunity to ask all questions you may have ever had on the stories and texts in the Torah.

On Wednesday afternoon, June 12, at 5:30 PM there will be the Ten Commandments Ice Cream Party &

WES Students

Continued from page 9

Aden Barton

Son of Nancy Lipsitz and Kirk Barton

Graduating Harvard University

Working for the While House Council of Economic Advisers

Jacob Bengelsdorf

Son of Sarah and Steven Bengelsdorf

Graduating NYU

Jordan Cohen

Daughter of Renee and Jonathan Cohen

Graduating Washington University School of Medicine as a Dr. of Physical Therapy

Working at the VA in St. Louis as

Delightful Dairy Buffet. All participants will take part in the reenactment of the wedding ceremony under the Chuppah between the Almighty G-d and the Jewish nation.

On Thursday evening, the second day of Shavuot, June 13, at 6:30 PM, Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel will present a lecture titled: “Will the Real King David Please Stand Up.” Hear about the life and history of the greatest king of our people. The man who was betrayed by his father-in-law, his son, and his best friends rose to the challenge and became the leader of the people of Israel.

These lectures and programs are open to all members of the Nashville community, and are free of charge, and will take place at Chabad of Nashville, 95 Bellevue Road. To RSVP for these events or for more information go to, or call 615646-5750. •

a Neurologic Physical Therapy Resident

Ellie Hornick

Daughter of Sarah and Chad Hornick

Graduating Indiana University

Max Yazdian

Son of Laura and Afshin Yazdian

Graduating Tulane University

Attending Tulane Graduate school for MBA in Data Analytics

Talia Stein

Daughter of Leslie and Ira Stein

Graduating Villanova Law School •

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 11
Pictured l. to r.: Moshe Werthan, Libby Werthan, Bobbie Limor, Emily May, Felicia Anchor Alex Limor receives an award from Felicia Anchor Professor Rabbi Shlomo Tiechtel of Yeshiva University High School in New York, will be scholar in residence at Chabad of Nashville June 11-13.

Jewish Family Service Chesed Dinner Keeps Focus on Israel

On May 9th, community members came together to support the crucial work of Jewish Family Service while honoring Robin Cohen and Stan Fernandez-

Schklar with the Chesed Award. Every year, one of JFS’ 20 programs and services are highlighted. This year, the agency’s Israel Crisis Response was highlighted. •

Nashville Teens Shine at Annual BBYO Spring Convention

BBYO’s Delta Region held their spring convention in Memphis, TN April 5th-7th. Nearly 80 teens were in attendance from across the region, which is comprised of Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Knoxville, and Birmingham. It was a vibrant celebration of achievement and community spirit. Outgoing regional president, Max Lapidus, gave a heartwarming speech thanking his community and parents for their influence and support. Max will be coordinating a BBYO summer program (CLTC) before heading to Tulane for college.

Among the other highlights of the weekend were the recognition of outstanding members and volunteers. Henry Ruben won “AZA of the Year” for his commitment to Athens of the South AZA. Athens’ advisor, Matt Goldblatt, won “Advisor of the Year” for his selfless dedication to supporting our Jewish youth in AZA.

In addition to the awards Nashville earned at the convention, three Nashville BBYO members were elected to regional board. Emma Goldberg will serve as the regional MIT Mom (director of membership), Micah Rosenbloom will serve as the regional Mazkir/Gizbor (marketing, communication, and finance), and Ben Poster

will serve as the regional Shaliach (Jewish programming).

If you are interested in learning more about BBYO, please contact Rebecca Moriarty •

12 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER C Chu hu huck ck k & H &HHeideide e C Crra a awwffoorord id eiid i eC w or Crawford Funeral Home 2714 Grandview Avenue Nashville, Tennessee 37211 (615) 254-8200 www.craw fordserv
Pictured l. to r. Henry Ruben, winner of AZA of the year, and Max Lapidus, outgoing BBYO regional president, at this year’s spring convention.
Visit The Jewish Observer’s NEW website at www.jewishobserverna org
Pictured l. to r.: Howard Safer and Nancy Flexer Pictured l. to r.: Chesed Award winner Robin Cohen, JFS Executive Director Pam Kelner, Chesed Award winner Stan Fernandez-Schklar Anna Sir and Meryl Kraft, Chesed dinner co-Chairs. Ur Barzel with Toni Jacobsen, JFS Clinical Director who spoke about JFS’s Israel Crisis Response.

Yom Ha’atzmaut Festival Brings Together Community

L ast month, approximately 300 people from all around Nashville celebrated Israel’s 76th birthday with music, games, dancing, cotton candy, Israeli food, and tributes. Below are some scenes from the day. •

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 13

At Our Congregations…

Nashville’s congregations

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 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

Learn the Art of Creative Magnificent Flower Arrangements

In celebration of the Festival of Flowers – Shavuot 5784, the Chabad women’s Sisterhood will be hosting an afternoon of Flowing Flowers, where participants will learn the art of creating beautiful Flower Arrangements.

Participants will learn from one of Nashville’s premiere florists how to make the perfect bouquet of flowers and will take home their own unique floral creation.

Flowing Flowers will take place on Sunday, June 9 at 12:00 PM, at Chabd of Nashville, and RSVP is required to take part in this this event, at

“The Struggles and Challenges of Biblical Leaders Boaz and Ruth.”

On the eve of Shavuot, Tuesday, June 11, at 7:15 PM, Chabad of Nashville will usher in the Holiday of Shavuot with a fascinating lecture, “The Struggles and Challenges of Biblical Leaders Boaz and Ruth.” Participants will hear the story of the famous heroine Ruth, grandmother of David, her journey, her struggles, and her triumph, and will learn how to overcome challenging moments in their personal life journey.

At 8:30 PM there will be a Festive Holiday Dinner followed by an open dialogue Q&A session with guest rabbis This will be an opportunity to ask all questions you may have ever had on the stories and texts in the Torah. RSVP at

Celebrate the 3336th birthday of the Ten Commandments

Have you ever been to a 3336th birthday celebration? Chabad of Nashville invites the Nashville Jewish community to celebrate the birthday of the Jewish nation on Shavuot 2024, June 12, 5:30 PM.

The Holiday of Shavuot, celebrating the Giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai 3336 years ago, has become a celebration of fine dairy cuisine as well.

Exquisite cheesecakes, pesto pastas, lasagna, soufflés and of course cheese blintzes all take center stage during this ancient celebration. Some suggest that this has contributed to the renewed popularity this holiday has seen.

On Shavuot, in the year 2448, the Jewish nation gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai to receive the Torah from G-d. Also present were the souls of all Jews of all generations to come. Every year on the Holiday of Shavuot this revelation is re-experienced during the reading of the Ten Commandments in the Synagogue.

“It is a de ja vu experience for the soul, to hear the reading of the Ten Commandments, on the anniversary that it was given to our ancestors at Mt. Sinai,” said Rabbi Yitzchok Tiechtel, of Chabad of Nashville.

It is of great importance for every family to attended Synagogue on Shavuot together with their children, to listen to the reading of the Ten Commandments, as the children played a critical role in our receiving the Torah. When G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people, He gave it on the condition that the young boys and girls will be the guarantors.

Shavuot will be celebrated this year, from the evening of June 11-13. The Ten Commandments will be read at Chabad of Nashville, at 95 Bellevue Road, on Wednesday, June 12, at 5:30 PM

Following the reading of the Ten Commandments, a delicious dairy buffet dinner will be served, including blintzes, pastas, pizzas, and a special Ten Commandments Ice Cream Party. All are welcome to come and celebrate as a community, and there is no charge to attend. For more information about Shavuot at Chabad please visit www. or call 615-646-5750.

Yizkor Memorial Service on Shavuot

The Yizkor memorial prayer for the dearly departed, is recited in the synagogue four times a year: on the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Yom Kippur, and on Shmini Atzeret.

Congregation Beit Tefilah Chabad will hold the Shavuot Yizkor Memorial Service, on Thursday, June 13, at 11:15 AM in the Doochin Sanctuary at the Genesis Campus for Jewish Life.

Yizkor, in Hebrew, means “remember.” In this prayer, we implore G d to remember the souls of our loved ones who have passed on. When we recite Yizkor, we renew and strengthen the connection between us and our loves ones, bringing merit to the departed souls.

The recitation of Yizkor is also linked with the mitzvah of a pledge to charity, prior or following the holiday, in memory of the deceased. By giving charity, we are performing a positive physical deed on their behalf in this world, something that the departed can no longer do. The soul gains additional merit through the good deeds impacted through their memory.

YIZKOR is observed in three ways:

1) Light a Yahrtzeit (24-hour) candle in memory of your relatives who have passed away. Candles are available at Chabad if you need.

2) Give charity in memory of the person(s). How much should you give? As a general rule, think of an amount that you are comfortable giving, and then add $18. (In Jewish tradition, the number 18 symbolizes life.)

3) Remember your loved ones by mentioning their name(s) at the YIZKOR service.

If, for whatever reason, you cannot attend the Yizkor Memorial Service, you may e-mail the names of your loves ones to and Chabad will mention the names on your behalf.

Meet in Person for Prayer and Cholent

Chabad of Nashville is in full swing with Shabbat morning services, replete with joyful prayer, kavanah, simcha and great energy. Join us on Shabbat morning at 10:00 AM for prayer and Torah reading followed by a hot BBQ cholent, freshly baked Challah and some friendly L’Chaim.

Chabad to host two TGIS celebration in May

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, blended with spirited singing, a Chasidic tale, and a chance to meet some wonderful new people. TGIS will be held on Friday evening, June 7 and 21, at 6:30 PM at Chabad of 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 chabadnashville@

@ 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, 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.

Saturday Morning Torah Study: 9 AM on Zoom

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

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.

Continued on page 15

14 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

June Events

Micah Reads: Monday, June 3, at 7 PM In-Person

Education Director Julie Greenberg leads the discussion on “Ways to Disappear” by Idra Novey on June 3 and “Thistlefoot” by Genna Rose Nethercott on July

Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Tuesday, June 11 starting at 6:30 PM at Congregation Sherith Israel

Captivating learning with members of Nashville’s clergy and scholarly community, traditional davening, uplifting music, and delicious dinner (registration required). Schedule as follows (subject to change):

6:30 pm Hor Deuvres

7:00 pm Short Talk

7:30 pm Pre-Yom Tov Music

7:47 pm Candle-lighting

7:50 pm Tefilla in the Shul / Shiur (teaching) in the Library

8:30 pm Dinner (register)

9:20 - 9:55 pm Shiur 2

10:00 - 10:40 pm Shiur 3

10:50 - 11:30 pm Shiur 4

11:30 - 12:15 pm Break, Dessert, Bourbon Tasting

12:50 - 1:30 Shiur 5

1:40 - 2:20 Shiur 6

Temple Exchange Shabbats: Friday, June 21 and 28 at 6 PM

In hopes of strengthening our relationships with God and our fellow Reform Jews in Nashville, Congregation Micah will be welcoming Shabbat with our sister congregation - the Temple Ohabei Shalom – twice next month. On June 21st clergy and congregants will gather at Micah and then we will visit the Temple on June 28th. Expect insightful words from the rabbis, moving music from the cantors, and congregational comradery with Nashville’s progressive Jewish community.

@ Sherith Israel

Community-Wide Tikkun Leil Shavuot: Tuesday, June 11 starting at 6:30 PM at Congregation Sherith Israel

Torah study with members of Nashville’s clergy and scholarly community, traditional davening, uplifting music, and delicious dinner (registration required).

Schedule as follows (subject to change):

6:30 pm Hor Deuvres

7:00 pm Pre-Yom Tov Mini-lecture

7:30 pm Pre-Yom Tov Music

7:47 pm Candle-lighting

7:50 pm Tefilla in the Shul / Shiur (teaching) in the Library

8:30 pm Dinner (register)

9:20 - 9:55 pm Shiur 2

10:00 - 10:40 pm Shiur 3

10:50 - 11:30 pm Shiur 4

11:30 - 12:15 pm Break, Dessert, Bourbon Tasting

12:50 - 1:30 Shiur 5

1:40 - 2:20 Shiur 6

Classes will continue through to daybreak.

At Our Congregations…

@ The Temple

All programming can be accessed via unless noted to be in person only

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 June

Our Shabbat Services will be held in person at The Temple. You can also watch via zoom from

Friday, June 7th ~ 6:00 PM- Shabbat Service

Friday, June 14th~ 6:00 PM- Sha-bonnaroo

Friday, June 21st~6:00 PM Services at Congregation Micah

Friday, June 28th ~ 6:00 PM Pride Shabbat with Congregation Micah at The Temple

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

Sha-Bonnaroo- Shabbat Service and Music Experience June 14h at 6:00pm

Did you miss out on buying your ticket to this year’s sold-out Bonnaroo music festival?! Never fear, because The Temple is bringing Sha-Bonnaroo to you! Now in its 8th year, Sha-Bonaroo has become one of our favorite Shabbat services of the year! On Friday, June 14th, we’ll join together for a groovy Shabbat experience featuring upbeat, contemporary music, and some of our Temple’s own musical rock stars. Come dressed in tie-dye and prepare for a rockin’ good time!

You can join us in person or via zoom from

Shabbat Morning Service

Join our Clergy as we gather for a Shabbat Morning Service

Saturday, June 21st at 11:00AM

Together we pray, sing, and hear words of Torah. Challah and wine/grape juice will be served upon conclusion of our service.

Shavuot Charcuterie Board Making

Tuesday, June 4th at 6:00pm

$10 per person


Class taught by our own Jennie Zagnoev

Temple Shavuot Yizkor and Bagel Breakfast

Wednesday, June 12th

10:00am Bagels

10:30am Yizkor Service

See for more information.

Temple Together (Jewish adults 35-50) is going to a Nashville Soccer Club game. Saturday, June 1st at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $24. RSVP to Sheri (

Children are welcome

Pizza Party in Murfreesboro!

Thursday, June 13th at 6:00pm

Penne Pazze Murfreesboro (1430 Medical Center Pkwy)

Please RSVP to Sheri ( by June 10th

*Salad & Soda on The Temple*

Stop by The Temple Booth at the Franklin Pride or Nashville Pride Festivals and say, “Hi!”

Franklin- Saturday, June 1st at Harlinsdale Park

Nashville- Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday, June 23rd at the Bicentennial Mall

The Temple invites young families to join us for a Playground Playdate Saturday, June 8th


Parmer Park-578 Leake Ave

Challah will be provide. It will be a time for parents and children to meet and connect! (No RSVP required)

Golden Lunch Bunch

Will meet at Temple from 11:30-1:00pm on

June 4Th: Mary Beth Stone

June 18th: Tantsova Grupa

RSVP to Jamie Maresca at 615-354-1686 or via email at

Continued on page 16

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 15
Continued from page 14

At Our Congregations…

Women’s Torah Study

June 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th

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

June 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th

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:

50’s & 60’s Social Club

Game Night & Potluck Dinner

June 2nd

Join our 50’s & 60’s Social Club, for a potluck and game night. Address on the west side and will be provided upon RSVP. RSVP to

Monday Jongg with Canasta i

Join Us for MAH JONGG Mondays at The Temple!

June 3rd, 10th, 17, 24th from 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.

@ West End

For links to the following online services or programs, please email or visit our website calendar for more information

6/1 – Eliana Sterling Bat Mitzvah

6/11-6/13 - Shavuot at WES

Join us at one or all our WES Shavuot services.

The WES Office will be closed all day June 12 and 13 in observance of Shavuot. Communal Tikkun Leyl Shavuot Tuesday evening, June 11 at Sherith Israel. Shavuot Day 1 Services Wednesday, June 12, at 9:30 a.m. Kiddush to follow. Shavuot Day 2 Services & Yizkor Thursday, June 13, at 9:30 a.m. Kiddush to follow.

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

Guest Rabbi Ari Bursztein 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!

Religious Services

Shacharit (in person)

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

Mincha (on Zoom)

Join us for daily Mincha at 6:00 p.m., Sunday-Thursday.

Kabbalat Shabbat

You are invited to join us every Friday for Kabbalat Shabbat in person at 6:00 p.m.

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!•

Community Listings

Nashville Jewish Genealogical Society

Take a walk through 200 years of historic Jewish Nashville

Temple Cemetery Historical Tour with Ralph Levy and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Nashville

10AM Sunday May 19, 2024

Temple Cemetery 2001 15th Ave. North, Nashville 37208. No charge, comfortable dress.

Questions? email: •

Gordon JCC Adult Program Happenings:

TGIT – June 2024

June 6th – Terry Coats – Dutchman’s Curve

Historian Terry Coats will take us the through the tragic and dramatic train wreck that shaped the city of Nashville’s history. We will also celebrate June birthdays.

Lunch: Baked potatoes, quiche, salad, birthday cake and ice cream.

June 13th

Tai Chi instructor, Peter Hodes, returns for this ongoing series of keeping us all healthy through the practice and lens of Tai Chi exercises and instruction. Come experience this ongoing series guaranteed to inform and relax and strengthen our health.

Lunch: Chili, salad, bread, sides, dessert.

June 20th

The charming and funny Jordan Uselton from the Clarendale of Bellevue returns for more fun and games. Prizes too! Come and join the party. You’ve got to be in it to win it.

Lunch: Chicken, salad, sides, dessert

June 27th

Tunester, humorist and guaranteed to make you laugh songwriter, Jesse Goldberg returns to brighten our day and lift our spirits with his authentic and entertaining musicianship.

Lunch: Lasagna, salad, bread, sides, dessert. •

Kvetch in the City

Yes. It happened. I won an award for writing this column. To be exact, a Simon Rockower award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism from the American Jewish Press Association. I won an award for complaining! How much more Jewish does it get?!

When I found out I cried I was so happy. I can’t remember the last time I won something. Then again, I can’t remember what I came into the room for half the time.

The only other winning moment that comes to mind in my life was winning runner up in the Little Miss Carvel contest in Brooklyn when I was maybe six or seven years old. An older neighborhood girl had entered me into the contest. One by one, all the contestants had to walk up on the little stage they had set up behind one of the many Carvel stores in Brooklyn at that time and curtsey or twirl or something to that effect.

I remember the little white dress with the velvet ribbon around the waist I wore with my little Mary Janes and white ankle socks and my hair pulled back tight in a ponytail. I remember because I had a photograph of my mother and I, and maybe my brother in it as well from that day. I ended up losing that Kodak photograph maybe fifteen or so years ago on my way to an appointment with a local cosmetic surgeon for a consultation with the possibility of starting up the whole Botox/filler route of trying to put my finger in the dam of holding back

the prune-like facial effect of aging that occurs once the hormones all dry up. For some reason that photo was in the envelope with all the others I wanted to show the physician of my long-lost youth.

After winning the finals I had the opportunity to go on to win the title of Little Miss Carvel. However, my mother did not want to shlep out to New Jersey. I think that I may have held a resentment about that most of my life. I could have been a contender. I’ll make a note to talk about that with my therapist.

I just finished a book by Nora Ephron where she writes, “The last four years of therapy are a waste.” For some reason that is stuck in my head now.

As a runner up I won a pint of Carvel ice cream and a paper certificate which oddly ended up at my dad’s apartment in Brooklyn. That lone certificate got lost at some point too. By now, the whole memory of winning has more loss associated with it than it does of winning.

You know what they say though, there’s always a silver lining. Had I won the title of Little Miss Carvel that summer, I would have won my weight in ice cream. At that point I must have weighed 68 pounds or so. Knowing me, I would have ended up sitting there with a spoon and a very big weight problem. So, truth be told, it may have all been for the best. Needless to say, I wound up in Weight Watchers anyway.

So when I walk up to accept my precious award for being a Kvetch in the City, I’ll make a promise to myself to frame the award and hang it somewhere prominent in my home. And, oh, I can assure you, I will eat as much dessert as I want at the awards banquet. •

16 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER

Beit Miriam students raise $1800 for United Hatzalah Israel

This year, students at Beit Miriam religious school at West End Synagogue decided to raise money to support United Hatzalah Israel. Sharon Paz, director of lifelong learning, said that last summer she read the book 90 Seconds, the Epic Story of Eli Beer and United Hatzalah, written by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer. She said she was moved by the book, and wanted the students and families to hear about the work the organization does in Israel. Not only that, but she also said, “Reading about United Hatzalah touched me personally because I have a close friend from Savannah whose life was saved by Hatzalah in the New

York area. I knew what they did and the scope of what Hatzalah was doing in Israel was unbelievably impressive. I shared this with the teachers at Beit Miriam and everyone was enthusiastic.” And then, just five weeks after beginning the school’s Tzedakah project, came the tragedy of Oct. 7.

United Hatzalah is a volunteer-based organization which provides emergency medical response within minutes of any medical emergency all over Israel. United Hatzalah’s volunteers include Emergency Medical Technicians, paramedics, and doctors from all backgrounds, both secular and religious, Jewish and non-Jewish,

who are on call all day every day of the year, even on Yom Kippur. Hatzalah volunteers arrive in three minutes on average from the time of the call and in only 90 seconds in metropolitan areas.

We know that hundreds of Israelis owe their lives to the many United Hatzalah volunteers who came from all over the country on October 7th, on Simchat Torah, to treat and save the wounded from the Nova festival and from the kibbutzim under attack bordering Gaza.

Magen David Adom ambulances were not allowed in the area because of security concerns.

United Hatzalah-Israel does not

charge any of the recipients for the services they receive. Everything United Hatzalah does is paid for by the tremendous fundraising efforts of Eli Beer and his team. We are so happy to share that we raised $1800 for United Hatzalah Israel this year.

Thank you to Yosef (YoYo) Prebus who donated money from his Bar Mitzvah gifts and continued to bring additional Tzedakah every week, to Adam, Valerie, and Zach Landa who said they will give whatever was needed to hit our goal in the end and to the Beit Miriam families and students for sending in Tzedakah every Sunday. •

After October 7, Pride Feels Different This Year

This year, as in past years, the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville is coordinating our community-wide efforts at Nashville and Franklin Pride to show our support for LGBTQ+ people in Nashville in partnership with Jewish Family Service.

Like everything else since October 7, this will not be a normal year for us at Pride. We are in discussions with our community security partners and with the Jewish Federations of North America about how Jews can stay safe during Pride amid a new wave of antisemitism within the LGBTQ+ community post-October 7.

The organizers of these local Pride festivals have been incredibly supportive of our community and are taking our concerns very seriously. We are so grateful for them and their support.

I wrote an op-ed in the August 2023 Observer explaining why our Jewish community comes together to support LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts.

It is important this year for us to reaffirm our values and strategic priorities as it relates to Pride and LGBTQ+ inclusion.

We will be at Nashville and Franklin Pride for the following reasons:

• To show the LGBTQ+ members of our Jewish community that we support them and that our community is affirming of them

• To show all our LGBTQ+ neighbors in Nashville and Middle Tennessee that we support them and that our community is affirming of them

• To create an opportunity for our LGBTQ+ Jewish community members to celebrate their joint identities within the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities

• To create an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ allies in the Jewish community an opportunity to live and promote their values in a Jewish way with other like-minded members of the Jewish community

• To send a message with our presence at Pride that our community will not be deterred by anti-Jewish bullying, harassment, or intimidation

We are firmly rooted in our values and our work speaks for itself. Pam Kelner and the whole team at Jewish Family Service have been offering adoption services for LGBTQ couples since 2003, making it the first and, at the time, only adoption agency in the state to do so. Pam was awarded Nashville Pride’s Ally of the Year award in 2022.

One of my favorite things about tabling for Jewish Nashville at Nashville Pride is to have LGBTQ+ couples come up to us with their kids and say, “We did our home study with you,” or, “We just became parents for the first time because of you,” which really says everything about the difference they are making in people’s lives. Nothing says “faith and family values’’ more than Pam and the whole team at JFS who work diligently to find loving homes for children and build genuine, deeply connected families.

The Temple has been tabling at Pride for longer than Jewish Nashville has and continues to wear its LGBTQ+ affirming nature on its institutional sleeve. They have also been doing all sorts of activities to connect LGBTQ+ Jews to the Jewish community through great activities like the LGBTQ+ Seder during Passover. Of course, they are not the only synagogue who is welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ+ people and families, but from the clergy to the staff to the lay leaders to the members of the community, The Temple has been and continues to be a leader in institutional LGBTQ+ inclusion in our community.

This institutional support comes after decades of advocacy by courageous individuals in our Nashville Jewish community who have been advocating for the LGBTQ+ people since long before it was in any way a popular position. From participating in Pride marches dating back to the 1970s, supporting gay people suffering from the AIDS crisis, and lobbying for our institutions to support LGBTQ+ people at a time when our 615-269-3288

institutions were not doing so, our community is peppered with brave people who continue to live their Jewish values loudly and proudly.

I am grateful to the Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville and to all the Jewish organizations in our ecosystem who partner with us in this effort. It is deeply heartening to see that the Jewish community of Nashville and Middle Tennessee will continue to live its values and be the warm, welcoming, and inclusive community that it is.

No matter what anyone says, we do not support the LGBTQ+ community to make ourselves look good or to hop on the trendy issue of the day. We support the LGBTQ+ community because we believe that all people are created b’tzelem elokim (in the image of G-d), including those in the LGBTQ+ commu-

nity, and we want to live in a community, city, state, country, and world that recognizes that divine spark in all of us. It is very tempting to focus on the voices in our communities that seek to divide us and to exploit our communal pain points towards partisan political ends, but my hope for this year in particular is that we can all remember that the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities share the same individual and collective goals. Every one of us wants the freedom to live authentic, meaningful lives with dignity and to feel like we fully belong in our communities, in our families, and in our country.

If anyone is interested in supporting this effort or getting more involved in LGBTQ+ inclusion work in the Nashville Jewish community, you can reach me at •

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 17
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The War in Israel

Continued from page 1

One of those is Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus’ Gandel Rehabilitation Center, which is aimed at treating victims of terror and other war-related injuries. The center opened early this year to address the immediate needs of the current war and is fast tracking completion of the remainder of the facility.

Hannah Stein is senior director of institutional giving for Hadassah. Just after the war began, the hospital opened two emergency hospitals, and it is quickly working to complete the rest in phases. She says, “Our biggest focus is the crisis efforts of the hospital. We needed to fortify our existing facility to meet the demands of civilians and soldiers.”

Upon completion the Gandel Rehabilitation Center will serve about 10,000 people a year, and will be the largest hospital in Jerusalem, according to Stein. “There is incredible need in general, and in Jerusalem in particular,” she says.

Local Hadassah chapter co-president Beth Wise says the center will offer many cutting-edge technologies.

“The construction and opening of the new Gandel Rehabilitation Center at Hadassah Mount Scopus was greatly accelerated so they could meet the needs of the many war wounded with a host of special treatments including a PTSD center and rehabilitation for neurological problems caused by brain, spinal cord and nervous system injuries,” she says, “This center offers state-of-the-art advances such as ‘walking labs,’ which use computers to analyze motion and detect problems not always apparent in clinical exams, and a therapeutic swimming pool with a modular floor that adapts to each patient’s needs.”

Nashvillians Carol and Larry Hyatt were moved to meet the need in a major

way after they attended the Federationsponsored Rabbis’ Report event in February, which followed the rabbi’s mission to Israel. Carol says, “We were inspired by the Parghs’ gift of ambulances, and we thought maybe we’d donate another ambulance.” After speaking with Federation CEO Rabbi Dan Horwitz, they learned about the Gandel Rehabilitation Center and decided to direct their gift to helping to build nurses’ stations for the facility. “The hospital just seemed like something that clearly needed the resources, and they can move up their timetable with these types of donations,” says Carol.

Larry’s connection to the land of Israel goes back to 1974 when, as a teenager, he spent a semester in Israel. The experience also ignited his passion for volunteering and for Hadassah. “We had to spend Wednesday afternoons volunteering at something, so I volunteered at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem,” he says, “A lot of the patients at that time were IDF soldiers who were rehabbing after being in the Yom Kippur war.”

This type of gift is just one example of how people are considering a broad array of opportunities to make a difference and to think outside the box. Horwitz says the Hyatts’ research into

Senior Move Management Services

“Always the right move. ”

how best to merge their interests with the need is inspiring, “As the leader of an organization that champions Jewish philanthropy, it is both humbling and moving to see folks like Larry and Carol Hyatt so meaningfully align their resources with their values. At a time of crisis for the State of Israel and rising antisemitism here at home, may we be inspired by the Hyatts’ example, and recommit our resources, to the best of our abilities, to supporting both our Israeli family and our Jewish Nashville community.”

Stein agrees and adds since October 7th, Hadassah has seen people give in new and different ways. “It’s been an accelerator for families and inspiring to get new supporters.” She says Federations have been a good resource for directing potential donors. “I can’t underscore enough the role Federations have played in unifying people and connecting people

The Hyatts, while preferring to give anonymously, are hopeful that others will learn of the possibilities, the need, and the ease of giving and be inspired. “Just as we were inspired by hearing of the Parghs’ gift, we’re hoping others will be motivated as well.”

Hadassah of course provides many services to a diverse population. Wise says, “Construction of this $132,600,000 facility has only been made possible by the generosity of Hadassah donors like Carol and Larry who understood the increased need for such services since the start of the war. Hadassah welcomes all donations of any amount to help fund the hospitals as well as the Youth Villages that have taken in many of those who lost their homes in the attacks.”

For more information about Hadassah, visit •

18 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
Photos courtesy of Hadassah Larry and Carol Hyatt hope their gift to Hadassah inspires others to find meaningful ways to give back during the current crisis. in the community to Hadassah.”
because your memories matter 479 Myatt Drive, Madison, TN 37115-3024 615-712-9521 •

Tiles Fly at Annual Mah Jongg Tournament Benefitting Jewish Family Service

Crak! Bam! Dot! The tiles were flying at this year’s Mah Jongg Tournament, The Year of the Dragon, held at the GJCC on May 14, hosted by Michelle Tishler. The 44 participants had a marvelous time playing multiple rounds of Mah Jongg. At the end of the day, the tournament winners were as follows:

• Red Dragon Category- Sally Reese and Lisa Kranc tied for first place (235 points) and Liza Star (215 points) placed second.

• Green Dragon category- Susan Cohen(240 points) placed first, Patty Dickman(205 points) in second and Anna Sir (180 points) in 3rd place. A portion of the proceeds from the day were donated to Jewish Family Services and floral centerpieces were donated to the Diane and Sy Trachtman garden. Special thanks to those who made the day so successful: Lynn Fleisher, Rachel Clark, Renee Geltzer and Jennifer Robinson. •

Exploring Your Jewish Genealogy

So, you’ve decided to explore your ancestry. Perhaps you’ve even taken a DNA test only to be frustrated and confused by the thousands of “matches” to people you don’t know. Welcome to the challenges of doing Jewish genealogy!

DNA is a great genealogy tool, but it is only a tool in performing Jewish genealogy. Here’s why: in a word, endogamy. Because our ancestors typically lived in what would be referred to as “closed communities,” families tended to marry into the same families. Consider this; Jewish communities were typically small shtetls of less than 1,000 residents with many around 500 or so. Out of that population, there were a limited number of adults of marrying age. Furthermore, Jewish citizens were restricted from marrying citizens of other faiths either by law or by restrictions within their own community. Therefore, many times, young adults had to marry cousins within their community to create a family.

This is why performing traditional genealogical research is so important for

Jewish families if you wish to uncover your family ancestry. If you’re new to genealogical research, you may be struggling with how to begin. The answer to that is somewhat simple. Start with what you already know.

– Gather all vital records & documents:

• birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, naturalization records, obituaries, etc.

– Gather all family photos, scan & label if possible

– Complete a “Pedigree Chart” with the names, birth/death dates & locations of known direct ancestors (https://

– Complete a “Family Group Record” for each generation if possible

– Conduct interviews when possible of the oldest members of your family

• Be sure to make a list of key questions ahead of time

Now that you’ve gathered up a lot of information, what’s next?

We’ll answer that in our next installment. Questions? Email: nashvillejgs@ •


The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 19
Mah jongg tournament partiipants Lisa Kranc and Michelle Tishler Michelle Tishler and Lynn Fleischer Liza Star and Michelle Tishler Anna Sir and Michelle Tishler Sally Reese and Michelle Tishler

Explorations into Parenthood

Last month, Jewish Family Service and The Temple came together for a program titled “Journey to Parenthood…. or not.” This program was designed to normalize the different ways that people become parents or decide to not have children. There is not one way to have a family.

Five panelists shared their stories with the group. Listening to the variety of experiences was helpful to understand that no two people’s stories are the same. Curtis Child, one of the panelists reflects on the event: “It was terrific to have my two dads’ family experience included in the fertility panel which just reinforces what parents and families see in life; that it is love that makes a family, affirming modern families may be modern in their making, but timelessly human at their core.”

Rabbi Shana Mackler moderated the panel and was able to share about how Judaism and Jewish liturgy is ever-evolving since Jewish families are always changing. Being able to be inclusive to the different types of families that are connected to the Jewish community is so important.

From a mother who went through IVF to a childfree by choice couple to a father talking about how he and his partner became parents through surrogacy, all the panelists were real and vulnerable sharing their stories. “The event was a success! It created an atmosphere of

Panelists discuss the various pathways to parenthood, and the decision to opt out.

openness and acceptance of many paths to parenthood. There were couples and singles sharing a meal together openly talking about their personal experiences. The information shared was personal and educational at the same time,” says Toni Jacobson, Clinical Director of Jewish Family Service.

Participant Emily Gandy shares, “I found the ‘Journey to Parenthood…or Not’ program to be very meaningful. I was moved by the speakers’ diverse stories and felt encouraged by their openness. It was a great and important conversation, and it was put together beautifully. Ending with a nice meal and time to connect with others was the cherry on top.”

This is just the beginning of conversations on these types of topics; please stay connected with JFS and The Temple for future programs. Contact Sheri Rosenberg, •

Discover amenities that:

Men’s Group

Continued from page 1

in a community like Nashville, where the majority of the Jewish community is comprised of transplants,” says Horwitz.

In addition to creating a safe space for men to be together, the group in its current iteration has been successful at engaging men in the local Israeli community, a group not typically involved with the Federation. Avishay Aroas has lived in the Nashville area for 11 years. After October 7 he found himself wanting to connect with the broader Jewish community. He reached out to Horwitz to discuss ideas. “I wanted to join the Israelis and the rest of the Jewish community together; it’s better for everybody,” he says. Horwitz introduced Aroas to Abromowitz and the others, and Israeli involvement with the Federation has grown from there.

Last month, the men’s group began what is planned to be a regular poker game. The first event, held at Ross’s home, brought together approximately 50 Jewish men. According to Aroas, 40% of them were Israeli.

The group was also intergenerational, with people from all five of Nashville’s local synagogues as well as many who are unaffiliated. Horwitz says, “This is beyond a synagogue men’s club (which also hold tremendous value for many) as it’s creating a space to connect across spiritual homes and with those who have not and may not affiliate with a congregation.”

This type of program is one example of how the Federation supports a variety

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of interests and needs and empowers people to build a community that works for them. Becker says it shows how even a small idea can grow into something sustainable. “The foundation of this group was through small conversations between basketball games and connections through a WhatsApp group and it has slowly matured and was ready to grow. This is how real communities are built,” she says.

And in the midst of a challenging time for the Jewish people, Ross believes these types of relationships will help heal. “It’s a necessity after what we’ve experienced here and on college campuses. We need unity.” •

“Clarendale at Bellevue Place is a beautiful, clean, and comfor table communit y that provides so many amenities. The locat ion is close to shopping, restaurant s, and pharmacies, and t he transportation they provide makes ever ything so easy. Many activities are o ered t hroughout the day. Dining is bot h delicious and an oppor tunit y to socialize wit h friends. We give our experience wit h Clarendale a fi ve -star rev iew.”


20 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
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Summer at the J!

The Outdoor Pool opened for the 2024 season on May 26 with an exciting schedule of events and an updated snack bar menu. Aquatics Director Mari-Lynn Latta and her team have been working hard leading up to the opening. “We have been planning this summer for several months now and we’re excited to bring new events and activities to our members,” she says. There is something for everyone with themed children’s nights, adult-only swim, Shabbat at the Pool, and Beer & Board Games. Along with an updated schedule, the J is offering Outdoor Pool Summer Memberships. This membership is available to current

JCC non-members and offers access only to the Outdoor Pool and pool deck facilities. More information can be found at

Pool hours and events are listed below.

MON-THUR 6:30-10:30am (LAP SWIM ONLY)


(…because it’s not just about the money!)


Ah, retirement. Not having to race to the office every day, no meetings and no demanding phone calls. Just being home doing what you want to do in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. Seems perfect, right? And yet… let me share with you the story of two couples I know.

(Emily and Steve – One or the other Newly Retired)

Steve: What a gift! Ahh…, not having five meetings and not watching the clock! Morning coffee with my lovely wife. Maybe I’ll go for a walk this morning, Want to come?

Emily: Sorry, I have a business meeting today at noon.

Steve: So..., Wait.., Uh, WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?

(Susan and Jim – Retired at the Same Time)

Susan: I love being retired, don’t you, Jim? Why didn’t we do this earlier? Now, you can clean out your office today, and I’m off to get a haircut and meet Emily.

Jim: So…, Wait..., Uh, WHAT’S FOR LUNCH?

Yes, it’s an ever-lingering wonder, and in retirement the question reverberates through the halls,


And so, I offer you a few suggestions to avoid the confrontations that can surface regarding how the afternoon meal will be handled. After all, each of you has your own needs and wants, which may sometimes include a pastrami sandwich. Your partner is not a mind reader. (If this sounds like too much emphasis on food, let’s get real. Assuming you haven’t just been to the grocery store, go now and check in your refrigerator to see if it would be at the ready to whip up a nutritious lunch. Since I doubt it and I’m sure you will want to remedy thatretired or not - NOW is the time to think about a solution!)

10:30am-6:30pm (REC SWIM)


6:30-10:30am (LAP SWIM ONLY) 10:30am - 5:30pm (REC SWIM)


8-10am (LAP SWIM ONLY) 10am-6:30pm (REC SWIM)

06/07 Shabbat 5-6:45pm

06/15 Adult Swim 5:45-7:45pm

06/16 Pirate Days of Summer 3-5pm

06/18 NSL Home Swim Meet

06/20 World’s Largest Swim Lesson 10am-12pm

06/20 Beer & Board Games 6:30-8pm

06/21 Shabbat 5-6:45pm

06/29 Adult Swim 5:45-7:45pm

06/30 ECLC Family Day 12-4pm

07/04 Independence Day BBQ DJ 12-3pm

07/05 Shabbat 5-6:45pm

07/13 Adult Swim 5:45-7:45pm

07/14 Mermaid Karaoke 3-5pm

07/18 Beer & Board Games 6:30-8pm

07/19 Shabbat 5-6:45pm

07/21 Camp Davis Family Day 12-4pm

07/25 Grown Up Swim Meet 5-7:30pm

07/27 Adult Swim 5:45-7:45pm

07/28 Maccabi Kick Off Popsicle Party 12-4pm

08/17 Adaptive Swim Night 6-8pm

08/18 PJ Library Splash & Read 12-4pm

09/02 Labor Day Luau DJ 12-3pm

09/08 Doggie Dip 12-4pm •

STEP 1 – Create a LUNCH AGREEMENT. This agreement lays out the basic method for each of you when it comes to handling the ‘What, Where, and When’ for lunch. It is best as a written document – no notary necessary – to refer to in case memory fails. If you are together at lunchtime, then compromise on those three W’s!

STEP 2 – There should be a central place in the kitchen to post THE SHOPPING LIST. Each week a together trip to Costco can be planned where you’ll easily be able to deal with each other’s needs, which, indeed, may include pastrami.

STEP 3 – If your spouse wants to retire and you don’t, evoking The Lunch Rule is imperative. Whatever is decided, make sure it is understood by both parties. Hint: If one of you seems insulted, stubborn, or hardheaded, download the Uber Eats and DoorDash apps on his/her phone and walk away.

STEP 4 - If you both will retire at the same time, be sure to start thinking

about how you will spend your day. (This goes back to the PLAN part that I’m always talking about!) Since lunch is a daily occurrence, it’s important that the discussion include your true feelings, like simply saying, “Sometimes I don’t even eat lunch!”

STEP 5 – Regardless of your retirement situation, lunch is an excellent time to meet a friend, to go for a walk in the park and find a place to eat outside, as well as to pick up a bag lunch and attend one of Nashville’s excellent Lunch with a Scholar programs! Emily and Steve and Susan and Jim worked out a plan. Now it’s your turn.

Bon Appetit! and Bon Retirement! Loretta P.S. If all else fails, simply stand tall and say: “I MARRIED YOU FOR BETTER OR WORSEBUT NOT EVERY DAY FOR LUNCH!”•

Following backlash and cyberbullying, Ms. Rachel sings a prayer ‘for all the children,’ including hostages and Israelis

(JTA) — Following a campaign of criticism over a video fundraiser for children in multiple conflict areas, including Gaza, the popular children’s video educator Ms. Rachel recently released a song in support of “all the children,” including hostages and those in Israel.

“This is a prayer for children in Gaza,” she sings, “This is a prayer for children in Israel. This is a prayer for all the children: please stop hurting them. This is a prayer for all the civilians. This is a prayer for all the hostages. This is a prayer for all the innocent. Please stop hurting them.”

Israel-based writer Sarah TuttleSinger shared a screenshot of the post on her Instagram, captioning it, “Thank you, @msrachelforlittles for listening to us.”

The song also prays for “all the leaders,” “all in charge,” and “all the presidents.” C7Uf6C3OhKg/?hl=en

Rachel Griffin Accurso, known to her child and adult viewers as Ms. Rachel, has nearly 10 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 4 million

followers on TikTok. Griffin Accurso launched the fundraiser May 13 through the charity Save the Children, for which she is an ambassador.

The fundraiser, which sold out and raised $50,000, benefits children in Gaza, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine “and more,” according to the description on Cameo, where she is recording the 500 videos purchased so far.

“The idea is, I’ll make videos for little ones, and all the money raised on my end will go to Save the Children’s emergency fund, which will go to children living in conflict in Gaza, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ukraine,” she said in the video announcement. (Throughout her content, Griffin Accurso refers to chil-

dren as “little ones” or “littles.”)

While the vast majority of response to the fundraiser has been positive, one vocal segment of the internet that has been divided has been among some Jewish mothers who felt that Israeli children were left out of the fundraiser.

Save the Children does not operate in Israel, and the website instead directs visitors to partner charities that do. Save the Children has also issued multiple statements about the situation in Israel and Gaza, including one that expressed concern about the status of child hostages. Currently, two child hostages remain in Gaza, Ariel and Kfir Bibas.

Other critics say that the fundraiser downplays the atrocities of Oct. 7 — and some have even created parody videos of Ms. Rachel’s content to show footage of the attacks.

Griffin Accurso has been public about her experience being the target of cyberbullying as a result of the fundraiser.

In a video filmed in a dark room, uploaded on May 16, she said, “The bullying is so bad. It’s so bad. But I can handle this. Saying I don’t care about all kids — it just hurts so bad. That is who I am.”

In the caption for the video, she added, “I care deeply for all children. Palestinian children, Israeli children, children in the US — Muslim, Jewish, Christian children — all children, in every country. Not one is excluded,” she wrote. I think part of why people respond to the show is they feel that care — I see every child as I see my own. I love every neighbor. Any child suffering is on my heart.”

She concluded, “To do a fundraiser for children who are currently starving — who have no food or water — who are being killed — is human.”

Griffin Accurso has since made a few short videos explaining why the situation in Gaza is an emergency. Comments on her Instagram posts related to the fundraiser have been closed.

The onslaught of social media harassment following her now is not the first time Griffin Accurso has been the target of cyberbullying. In late February 2023, Griffin Accurso took a short mental health break from social media following an onslaught of negative reactions from conservative followers who were angered by the inclusion of her co-star Jules Hoffman, who uses they/them pronouns. •

The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 21
Ms. Rachel, the hit children’s video educator, singer-songwriter, in a clip from one of her videos. (SCREENSHOT VIA YOUTUBE)

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Mazel Tov

Jason Romps

Jason Romps, grandson of Gil and Joyce (z’’l) Fox, graduated from University of Illinois on May 11th. He has accepted a position with Apple Inc in Austin.

Betty Barnett

Arthur C. Fleischer, MD

Arthur C. Fleischer, MD, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, Departments of Radiology and OB/GYN was selected to the Academy of Excellence in Clinical Medicine on March 12, 2024. This is an honor bestowed on a select few Vanderbilt physicians voted to be recognized for their commitment to clinical excellence.


On June 16, 2024, Betty Barnett of Philadelphia will be celebrating her 98th birthday. Betty is a member of Temple Menorah Keneseth Chai in Philadelphia and is serving in her 56th year as the rabbi’s administrative assistant. Betty also runs the Temple’s on-site thrift shop. Betty works six days a week and would love to receive a birthday card. My mom’s life-long dedication to her Temple and community has inspired me to contribute and support the Nashville Jewish community.

Jackson Bruns

Hope F. Borish

Mazel tov to Jackson Bruns for fighting and officially beating leukemia on 5/4/24. Jackson was diagnosed with B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia the day he turned 17 months old in 2022. He’s had to undergo countless IV and intrathecal chemo infusions as well as daily oralchemo at home. Jackson’s family is filled with pride for his courage and resilience shown over these last 2+ years. They are also beyond grateful for the wonderful hematology oncology team at Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s hospital at Vanderbilt. Jackson lives with his mother (Courtney), father (Kevin), and sister (Isabelle) in Gallatin.

Condolences to the family of Hope F. Borish who died on April 30. She was the beloved wife of the late Philip Borish for 67 years. Born in Providence, R.I., she was the daughter of the late Louis and Ruth (Linder) Fain. Hope was a graduate of Boston University and earned a Master of Social Work degree from Columbia University. She was very independent and totally involved in her independent living community and with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Survivors include her children, Marilyn Siegel (Ralph) of Skokie, Ill., Ellen Goldring (late Shmuel) of Nashville, Peter Borish (Julie) of New York, N.Y., and twins, Anne Borish (Barbara) of Evanston, Ill., and Linda Borish of Kalamazoo, Mich. She was the sister of the late Howard Fain and Muriel Fain Sher and loving grandmother of Moshe Siegel (Katie), Micha Siegel (Susie), Noam Siegel (Amy), Ariel Goldring (Lisa), Oren Goldring, Isabel Grant (Zack), Harley Borish and Eliza Borish. She was the great grandmother of Annie, Maddie and Jacob Siegel, Sarah and Hannah Siegel, Isla and Henry Siegel, Mia Goldring and Elodie Fain Grant. Contributions in her memory may be made to Prevention of Blindness, 3716 Howard Ave., Kensington, MD 20895, or Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington, 701 4th St. NW, Washington, DC 20001.

Ilene Beth Gross

Condolences to the family of Ilene Beth Gross, who died on May 19 in Nashville, TN. llene is survived by daughter Hara Dembowski (Marc), sister Marcia Stewart (Lee), Grandchildren Avi, Bella, Jordana Dembowski, Nephew Caleb Stewart (Tierney Strandberg), and many beloved cousins. She was predeceased by parents Jeneane and Chuck Gross.

Tributes may be made in Illene’s memory to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation or West End Synagogue. Acknowledgement cards may be sent to Hara Dembowski.

Edward Horn

Condolences to the family of Edward Horn, who died on May 11 in Reno, Nev., where he lived. He was the brother of Martin (Kathy) Horn. Tributes may be made in Edward’s memory to Congregation Micah.

Helen Muscovitz

Condolences to the family of Helen Muscovitz who died recently.

Perkins “Baxter” Overton III

Condolences to the family of Perkins “Baxter” Overton III, who died on May 3. Survivors include his wife, Susan L Snyder; son, Thomas Baxter Overton (Michele Lewis) and daughter, Susan Kathleen Marrero. Tributes may be made in Baxter’s memory to Rau-Wood Retreat Center, and Congregation Micah. •

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The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 23
Seniors and Post Hospital Care
24 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
Issue is Coming July 2024! We will be highlighting back to school products, services and schools. Special offer when you advertise 1/8 page ad or larger! Along with your ad, send up to 250 words highlighting your business for inclusion in the editorial section of this special issue! Deadline for ads is June 15, 2024 Contact: Carrie Mills, Advertising Manager • 615-354-1699 e-mail: • fax: 615-352-0056
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The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 25
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26 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER
The Jewish OBSERVER • June 2024 27 Limited Time O er: 2 months of personal training for the price of 1 FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH TRAINING For more details contact Marty Vaughn 615-669-0626 $5 off yo ur $10 pu rchase or more with th is ad NOW OPEN 7745 HWY 70S, NASHVILLE TN ,3 7 221 (615) 621-1693 HOURS OF OPERATIO N MO N- SAT: 10a m-6 pm (615) 562-2233 HOURS OF O PERATIO N EVERYDAY: 6am - 6pm
28 June 2024 • The Jewish OBSERVER Carrie Mills Pet Paintings 615-210-5044 $25 off an y size por tr ait through August 2024 Carrie Mills Pet Paintings 615-210-5044 The Finest in Cigars, Pipes, Tobaccos, Humidors & Cigar Accessories Sophisticated tastes Bring this ad for 20% off on any box of cigars! Expires July 31, 2024 $50 off one nights stay prior to August 31, 2024 when you bring in this ad G REEN H ILLS Staycation Anyone? Breakfast • Parking • WiFi Included • Seasonal Outdoor Pool Behind The Mall at Green Hills 2324 Crestmoor Road • Nashville, TN 37215 (615) 777-0001 “My job is to make your life easier!” JANE R. S NY DER ersonal Assistant, Concierge & Family Advocate • 615-557-6277 OMER SPECIAL: 20% o your rst 10 hours [4 hour minimum] Advocacy • Administration • Project Management ADVERTORIALS 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 We will be highlighting all things seniors in this issue. Special offer when you advertise 1/8 page ad or larger! Along with your ad, send up to 250 words highlighting your business for inclusion in the editorial section of this special issue! The Observer’s Annual All Things Seniors ISSUE Deadline for ads is July 15, 2024 Contact: Carrie Mills, Advertising Manager 615-354-1699 e-mail: fax: 615-352-0056 COMING AUGUST 2024

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