Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, January 2020

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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


Jan/Feb. 2020 Volume 30 Issue 1

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade Ave., 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Cutting the Green Preschool ribbon at the Green Carpet Gala. Story, page 36


January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all Look for It’s time for all y’all to vote. No, not in the presidential and Congressional primaries — those aren’t until early March until early April, depending on which state you are in. And of course, not the best-of-three Israeli elections, unless you have made aliyah lately (in which case, the postal service isn’t forwarding this magazine to you anyway). It is time for the American Zionist Movement’s election, which is open to all Jews in the United States, for the World Zionist Congress. The voting begins on Jan. 21 and runs through March 11. The 38th World Zionist Congress will take place in Israel in October, making decisions on how annual allocations of over $1 billion will be made to support Israel and world Jewry. The first World Zionist Congress was held in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, sparking the Zionist movement that led to the formation of Israel in 1948. The Congress convenes every five years to discuss policy and funding, and the American Zionist Movement holds elections to select representatives to the 152 slots alloted to the United States in the 500-delegate body. As the only democratically-elected body for world Jewry, the Congress influences policy for the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency for Israel. There are 14 slates running for the 152 slots in the U.S. delegation. In the past, the groups aligned with the three main Jewish denominations in the U.S. — ARZA for Reform Judaism, MERCAZ for the Conservative movement and continued on next page

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life




January 2020 January 2020

Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel several Orthodox groups — have dominated Zionistgames Organization of America coalition, to Australia to South America, Europe and the JCCthe Maccabi around the United States the vote count. controversial coalition, and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how and sportsa can be a vehicle “progressive” to help build Jewish In 2015, ARZA had 56 young. delegates, with MER- Hatikvah, that includes numerous delegates identity, especially in our CAZ getting 25 and Vote Torah 24, so the three who are highly critical of Israel. I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city major religious streams had 70 percent of the To vote for a slate, one must be 18 years or but the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring American delegation. Only 56,737 votes were older as of June 30, be a permanent U.S. resapproach to the JCC Maccabi Games. cast. ident, be Jewish, not be voting in the March Led by 1990s, the Sokol andissues Helds,of your hard-working were wonderful. They partnered to In the when Jewish plural- 2volunteers Knesset election, and affirm commitment with outstanding staff, led byofBetzy Lynch, to the make the 2017 Program. JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. ism inyour Israel were a major source contention Jerusalem Ibetween want to take opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USAProgram to say thank you on behalfthe Israelthis and North America, ARZA and The Jerusalem states “Zionism, of everyone involved. MERCAZ made major pushes for representa- national liberation movement of the Jewish tion andjust votes, as one of the the20th few World ways Jews people, brought I had returned from Maccabiah games in Israelabout with athe U.S.establishment delegation of of outside of Israel could get the attention of the the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionover 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire Israeli world establishment. The 1997 Congress in ist,This democratic andwith secure of Israel Jewish were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. past month 1000State athletes and to be particular, which thisthe publication in the expression common coaches from around world beingcovered in Birmingham, you becameof thethe focal point. responsibility person, was quite contentious when it came of the Jewish people for its continuity and the with Jewish community and the community to Everyone pluralismfrom issues, the Dec. 25 session future.” at large, including a wonderful police force, are to be commended. These games will go down being a seminal lasting well into the night. One mayin history registeras at moment for the Jewish community as we build to the future by providing such wonderful Jewish Though the elections are more low-key There is an administrative fee of $7.50, $5 for memories. than in the 1990s, that emphasis has changed those age 25 and under. veryMargolis little for American groups, and at the Want to have a say in what happens in IsraJed recent celebration of the 75th Executive Director, Maccabi USAanniversary of el? Register and vote. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Reform movement, spent supremacists would like to see pushed back part Charlottesville of his talk promoting the election. On into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand Other slates are more specialized, including with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’s to theSephardic events in Jews, RussianNote: JewsThis nowreaction in the U.S., Lawrence Publisher/Editor who was there standingBrook, up to the face of this Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, hate. Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony We recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, which called it “very eloquent” and 2019 ourselves of such corners, and allow those in praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at them the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and… the leadership they It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the display on their campus.” Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal… endowed by their Creator with One of our thework White supremacy has been a cancer on certain unalienable rights.” We know our country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. The events that took place in Charlottesville When men and women, fully armed, take represented the worst of this nation. Those to the streets in droves with swastikas and who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikas did so to provoke violence and VALUE relevant the issues of racismBEST and anti-Semitism fear. Those who marched onto the streets did schools in work the U.S.that are today. It is a wake-up call to the so to profess an ideology that harkens back to needs to be done to ensure a better, more a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. A time when men and women of many creeds, welcoming country. But it should not come races, and religions were far from equal and far without a reflection on how far we’ve come. America was born a slave nation. A century from safe in our own borders. A time where that lead to into our history in a war in part YOU'LL FINDa MORE THAN ONwe engagedcolleges Americans lived under constant cloud of A COLLEGE GRADUATE to ensure we would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The by the issue of civil events that took place in Charlottesville served found ourselves confrontedSCHOOL rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their issues are today. skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, Auburn’s AlphaFIND Epsilon stands withOF theOPPORTUNITY. YOU’LL APiWORLD it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. Jewish community of Charlottesville, and



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with the Jewish people around the country and around the world. We also stand with the minorities who are targeted by the hate that was on display in Charlottesville. We stand with the minorities of whom these white 4

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


America was also born anCOMMUNITY immigrantAND BUSINESS LEADERS country. As early as the pilgrims, many MENTOR STUDENTS groups and families found in the country the opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, and be themselves. Few were met with open

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green V.P. SALES/MARKETING, NEW ORLEANS Jeff Pizzo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/432-2561 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, Jeff Pizzo, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2020. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement.

Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events On Dec. 25, PJ Library New Orleans “Little Mensches” brought Chanukah cheer to Lambeth House, with songs, stories, games and latkes. PJ Library children ages 3 to 10 led funky verses to the Dreidel Song, played a Chanukah Twister game, and created a giant-sized paper-chain menorah to decorate the activity room in the nursing care wing. Each “little mensch” brought Chanukah happiness by presenting the Lambeth residents with a hand-made Chanukah card. PJ Library is administered in New Orleans and in parts of six mid-South states by the Jewish Children’s Regional Service.

Installation of Rabbi Sherman Kicks Off Temple Sinai’s 150th Anniversary Temple Sinai of New Orleans will begin its 150th anniversary celebration with the installation of Rabbi Daniel Sherman the weekend of Jan. 24. Sherman and his family came to Temple Sinai last July. After being ordained in 1999 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, he had served as rabbi of Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, Fla., and Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia, S.C.; and assistant and associate rabbi of Temple Shalom of Naples, Fla. A native of Tulsa, Sherman will be installed by his father, Rabbi Charles Sherman, rabbi emeritus of Temple Israel in Tulsa, which he served from 1976 to 2013. The weekend will begin with a Shabbat evening service and ceremony of installation on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. A festive oneg dessert reception will follow the service, and the community is invited. A congregational dinner will be at 5:45 p.m., and reservations are required. Gates of Prayer in Metairie and Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will not hold services that evening, so members can attend the installation. When Rabbi Katie Bauman was installed at Touro in November, Temple Sinai cancelled their service for that evening. On Jan. 25, there will be Torah study at 9 a.m., followed by the Shabbat morning service at 10:15 a.m., and a luncheon following. Luncheon reservations can be made through the Temple Sinai website. While Temple Sinai is the youngest of the community’s three Reform congregations, it was the first to become Reform, and thus the only one to be Reform during its entire history. Initially, Gates of Mercy, which was founded in 1828, Dispersed of Judah and Gates of Prayer were Orthodox, though in 1851, Gates of Mercy had an organ and choir at its building dedication, despite continuing with traditional Orthodox services.

Rabbi James Gutheim liberalized Gates of Mercy in the 1860s, but moved to New York in 1868. In July 1870, a group of 37 met at the office of S.A. Seeskind, determined to start a Reform congregation in New Orleans. The new Temple Sinai had 109 founding members, and quickly built an ornate building near Tivoli Circle and attracted Gutheim back to the community. Gates of Mercy joined the Reform movement in the 1870s, then merged with Dispersed of Judah in 1881 to become Touro Synagogue. The combined congregation resigned from the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1885 after the very liberal Pittsburgh Platform was adopted, but rejoined the movement in 1893. Gates of Prayer officially joined the Reform movement in 1908. Sinai’s anniversary celebration will continue with a “Putting on the Ritz” Roaring Twenties gala, as a nod to their current building, which was dedicated in 1928. The gala will start at 7:30 p.m. on March 7 and feature 1920s themed music by Meryl Zimmerman, a seated dinner and “luxurious and extensive” auction. A patron party will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Joan and Julian Feibelman, Jr. Feibelman is the son of Rabbi Julian Feibelman, who served the congregation from 1936 to 1967. Cantor Joel Colman and Marcus St. Julien will present show tunes at the party. A commemorative video and keepsake Celebration Book both featuring stories about Temple Sinai’s past, present and future will be presented. The entire community is invited to participate in the gala. Gala tickets start at $125, while patron levels start at $300. Sponsorship packages start at $1,000, and ad space can be purchased in the celebration book. Gala information is available at January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


Center Celebration It was a good problem to have as the New Orleans Jewish Community Center’s Center Celebration on Nov. 16, A Beautiful Night at the J, was sold out. The evening entertainment featured a tribute to the music of Carole King. The gala began with a poolside cocktail party, then moved indoors for the performance. Right, Ellen Kempner and Lee Sucherman. Below, Celia Lupin, Arnold Lupin, Lisa R. Lupin. Below middle, Peggy Levy Cohn, Leslie Fishman, Nathan Fishman. Below right, Peter and Vicky Sperling, Naomi and Larry Orlansky.


January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Broadway comes to New Orleans, as Bryan Batt, Liz Larsen, Alix Paige and Anika Larsen performed at the gala.


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May retiring from Gates of Prayer After 32 years as cantorial soloist and musical director at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, Victoria May announced she will be retiring on June 30. This is the second recent long-term retirement at Gates of Prayer. In June 2018, Rabbi Robert Loewy retired after leading the congregation since 1984. May said it is “bittersweet” to Rabbi David Gerber, Rabbi Alexis make the announcement, but Erdheim and Cantorial Soloist Tory May in a letter to the congregational leadership, she said “32 years is a long time to be doing the same job, and I believe the time is right for me to start exploring other areas of interest.” She added that Gates of Prayer “will always be home for me” even if she is not there on a daily basis. After graduating in 1983 with a degree in theater from the University of New Orleans, she was music director for a Presbyterian church and a Tulane University vocal group, as well as cantorial soloist for congregations in Shreveport and Asheville, N.C. In addition to leading music at Gates of Prayer since 1987, she initiated Kol Simcha, a volunteer choir; K’lai Simcha, a volunteer band; and the Friday Night Live contemporary music service. She was also part of Beignet Yisrael, a quartet of New Orleans Jewish music professionals that released two albums. In recent years, she also served as the congregation’s communications director, editing the monthly bulletins and weekly emails. In an email to the congregation, Gates of Prayer President Aaron Wolfson said “It is with great appreciation and sadness that we will be saying goodbye to Tory, as she has been an integral part of our community for more than three decades. Her contributions to our spiritual and worship experiences will be felt for years to come.” An event in tribute to her decades of service will be organized, “probably in early June,” Wolfson said.

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Touro event features Harold Rome The subject of this year’s Jewish Composer Lecture Series is a composer of whom, according to George Dansker, “no one ever had an unkind word,” a rarity in musical theater. On Jan. 31, “All of a Sudden My Heart Sings” will feature the life and music of Harold Rome, who worked on 17 Broadway shows over a 30year career. The discussion will follow the 6 p.m. Shabbat service at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. Dansker said that “of all the Broadway composers I have presented these past 11 years, no individual has given me more pleasure during these past few months of research” than Rome. A Connecticut native, Rome studied architecture at Yale University, supporting himself by playing in night clubs as a swing pianist. Graduating as the Great Depression hit, he turned to music to make a living. He was discovered at a Jewish resort in the Adirondacks, and asked to compose for “Pins and Needles,” which debuted modestly on Broadway in 1937. It went on to have the longest run of any musical in the 1930s. He was known for socially-conscious scores, helped discover Barbra Streisand, and wrote songs for such great singers as Ezio Pinza, Florence Henderson, and Dolores Gray. Among his Broadway works were “Wish You Were Here,” “Fanny” and “I Can Get It For You Wholesale.” His final Broadway show, in 1965, was

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“Zulu and the Zayda.” Dansker said “It is important to note that throughout his career Harold Rome was able to create shows that illuminated contemporary Jewish culture as no one had ever done before. “ Dansker will lead the evening, which will also feature Cantor Kevin Margolius, with guest artists Sarah Jane McMahon, Megan Kukro and Jesse Reeks. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans heads to the Copa for its annual gala, “A Night at the Copa,” Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. The Doc Holliday Big Band will perform, along with comedy by Sam Rubinoff and Jon Fisch. There will be a live auction and door prize, and 1950s-themed cocktail attire is encouraged. Tickets are $150, $100 for age 30 and under, with higher levels starting at $250. Author and national Hadassah board member Elizabeth Fox will present her book, “We Are Going to Be Lucky: A World War II Love Story in Letters,” Feb. 6 at 5 p.m. at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. The book tells the story of a first-generation Jewish American couple, Lenny and Diana Miller, who married a year before World War II and were separated by war when he went to basic training in Mississippi, then off to the European Theatre. After decades of gathering dust, their daily letters back and forth have been carefully transcribed and thoughtfully edited and annotated by Fox, the couple’s daughter. PJ Library and Slater Torah Academy in Metairie will have a gymnastics program in the Early Childhood Development Series, led by JD Sports, on Jan. 26 at 10 a.m. Shir Chadash Sisterhood in Metairie will celebrate its 60th anniversary with Sisterhood Shabbat, with services on Feb. 7 at 6:15 p.m., followed by Shabbat dinner. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have a special Jazz service, “Swing God’s Praises,” marking Shabbat Shirah, the Shabbat of song. The Touro choir, Adam Matasar and other musical guests will perform at the 6 p.m. service on Feb. 7. Seventh and eighth graders from Touro Synagogue and Temple Sinai in New Orleans, and Gates of Prayer in Metairie, will embark on a trip to Birmingham, Feb 14 to 16.

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Slater Torah Academy in Metairie will host a Shabbat lunch the Shabbat before Tu B’Shevat, Feb. 8 at noon. Chabad of Metairie will be joining in the day, when the Slater Torah Academy family creates memories together. Moishe House New Orleans will have a 2020 Kickoff Shabbat on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. Tulane Hillel will have a National Alliance on Mental Illness Shabbat. Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m., with dinner following. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have its annual Shabbati Gras, with a casual family dinner and parade viewing following 5 p.m. Shabbat services on Feb. 14 and 21. Reservations are $5. At noon on Feb. 15, 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 and 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, the viewing stands are reserved for the Krewe of VIP Kids, for kids with disabilities or special needs. PJ Library will have Pajama Havdalah at Beth Israel in Metairie on Jan. 25 at 6:15 p.m., with smores and hot chocolate. On Jan. 26 at 12:45 p.m., Tulane Hillel will lead an afternoon seeking Israeli culture in New Orleans, including a Saba picnic at City Park, and a discussion of sculptures by Israeli artists at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

agenda Community members invited to spit New Orleans area Jewish groups holding genetic screening event on Feb. 6 The Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases and Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans are partnering with several local Jewish organizations to bring a preconception genetic screening event to the Uptown Jewish Community Center. The Feb. 6 event will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and feature a panel of speakers, genetic counseling, and for those who choose, a genetic screening done through a saliva sample. While Tay-Sachs may be a well-known genetically-transmitted disease that is prevalent in the Jewish community (and among Cajuns), over 200 such diseases have now been identified, and roughly half of Jews who screen with Victor Center carry at least one of those mutations. If both parents carry a mutation for the same disease, there is a one in four chance that the child will be affected by that disease. Each parent passes on one of the two genes to the child. If both pass on the mutation, disease follows. In half of the cases, only one parent passes on the mutation, making the child a carrier. In one-fourth of cases, the child receives the clean gene from both parents and is not a carrier. Through the knowledge acquired by screening, the risk of having a child with any of these preventable genetic diseases can be avoided. Many of the diseases strike early in childhood, have no cure and lead to early death. The Victor Center, a thought leader in the prevention of genetic diseases, is partnering with local organizations to educate the public and provide screenings at a reduced rate. The Victor Center recommends that all at-risk individuals — including interfaith couples and couples getting pregnant through donor egg/ sperm — should be screened, with the Jewish partner being screened first. And one does not need to be Jewish currently to be at risk — anyone with one or more Jewish grandparent should consider screening. With a small Jewish community, many area doctors do not screen potential parents for Jewish genetic diseases, and insurance companies will not always cover the cost of screening for those diseases more prevalent in the Jewish community. “Many people are completely unaware of the risks, and doctors in this area don’t always have access to expanded panels. While Jewish genetic diseases are quite prevalent, local rabbis are often the ones informing young couples,” said Rachel Lazarus Eriksen, JFS director of clinical services. The Victor Center, JFS and their local partners are subsidizing the cost of screening, which currently tests for over 200 Jewish and pan-ethnic diseases. The first 45 registrants will pay a reduced cost of $149. Out-ofpocket fee with health insurance is up to $249 for an individual and $349 for a couple. Guest speakers will include Debbie Wasserman, National Outreach Coordinator and Genetic Counselor at The Victor Center, and Dr. Paul du Treil, OB/GYN, of Touro Infirmary. In addition to JFS and the Victor Center, Touro Infirmary, Jewish Endowment Foundation, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Community Center are sponsoring the event. Gates of Prayer, Touro Synagogue, Shir Chadash, Moishe House, Chabad, Hadassah, Temple Sinai, JNOLA and National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section are community partners. To register for the event, visit JScreen, a non-profit based at Emory University in Atlanta that is dedicated to eliminating Jewish genetic diseases, is planning Jewish Genetic Screening Awareness Week from Feb. 3 to 7, and the Georgia Legislature is also issuing a proclamation to that effect.



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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


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Four “success stories” of the New Orle- Rouge’s NFTY chapter during her senior year. ans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service While in college, she co-directed the perwill be featured at the Jewish Roots of Rhythm forming arts program for Camp Dream Street and Blues gala — as the performers. at Jacobs Camp. One of the largest Jewish events in New OrSamuels graduated with a music degree from leans each year, the gala attracts the Eastman School of Music in attendees from throughout Rochester, N.Y., and is working the region, as the organization on a master’s in classical double serves seven states and holds bass performance at Boston an annual board meeting the University. She has performed morning after the gala. This at the Lincoln Center and Kenyear’s event will be on Feb. 1 at nedy Center, and is a member the Hilton New Orleans Riverof “Copper Hill,” a folk band side, starting at 6:30 p.m. that recently toured the northThe event will feature mueast and released its first album, sic from The Great American “Once Around the Sun.” Songbook, performed four She has performed in Austria JCRS educational scholarship and throughout Puerto Rico, recipients who are currently and with opera star Renee pursuing advanced degrees in Fleming at the Lincoln Center Caroline Samuels musical performance. in New York City. She has spent Basil Alter of Memphis attends the Manhat- summers studying and performing music at the tan School of Music, with JCRS college aid. A Chautauqua Institution Music School Festival native of Clinton, S.C., he started violin lessons Orchestra, and most recently with the National with his mother, and at age 16 was concertmas- Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, Col. ter of all three symphonic and opera orchestras They will also be accompanied by past JCRS at the Rudi E. Schidt School of Music. He has president Bruce Miller on drums. done solo recitals across the U.S., Europe and The 2020 Jewish Roots gala will honor the Asia, including a concert where he performed Beerman family, whose members proudly claim his own compositions accompanied by mem- a near 100-year history with the original 19th bers of the Memphis Symphony. century Jewish Children’s Home, which transJoshua Dolney is a trumpet player from Deer formed into JCRS when the home closed. Six Park, Tex., who has earned degrees in music Beerman siblings were Home residents in the from Texas Tech and Oklahoma City University, 1920s, while more recently, family members and is pursuing a doctorate in the musical arts at have served in leadership positions within the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana. JCRS, including Marc Beerman as president He has performed in numerous competitions from 2015 to 2017. as a soloist and in ensembles, and plans to be a The evening will also include a cocktail recepcollege trumpet professor and orchestral player. tion followed by a seated dinner. A silent aucJoshua Sadinsky of Fayetteville, Ark., started tion will focus on boutique shopping, restaupiano lessons at age 7. With JCRS assistance, he rants and once-in-a-lifetime vacations. attended Cornell University, where he became JCRS provides need-based college scholinterested in field recorded sound, and recent- arships, grants for Jewish summer camp exly recorded an album of locomotive sounds periences, special needs assistance and other in Berlin. He has also done field recordings in outreach programs in a seven-state region. This Olympic National Park and national forests in year, JCRS will serve or fund over 1,800 Jewish upstate New York. He is now a master’s piano children from over 200 communities. student at the California Institute of the Arts. As part of this year’s gala, a 40-inch 18-karat Caroline Samuels of Baton Rouge received as- white gold quartz necklace, valued at $3,250, sistance to attend the Henry S. Jacobs Camp for from Lee Michaels Jewelers will be raffled. Tickmany summers, and college aid from JCRS. At ets are $20, or six for $100, and one need not be Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Samuels was present to win. the driving force in the formation of the JewGala tickets are available at or ish Cultural Association to welcome and teach by calling the office at (800) 729-5277, and are peers from all backgrounds about Jewish tradi- $250, or $125 for those age 35 and younger. The tions and culture, and was president of Baton event is open to the public.

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



New Orleans Federation announces two new major programs Centers of Excellence will focus on multicultural affairs and interfaith families The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans announced two new landmark programs, with the establishment of new centers to promote multicultural affairs and to work with interfaith families. The Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs was established on Jan. 1, with a major community launch event slated for the spring. The Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families will launch on July 1.

“I am very excited about the formation and launch of these two new Centers of excellence,” said Arnie Fielkow, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. “These two initiatives are critical to forming mutually-beneficial relationships between the Jewish community and the Greater New Orleans community at large, as well as tackling one of the most important topics today facing Judaism,” working with interfaith families. “We are really the first Federation in the

Slater Torah Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. 12

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

country to embark on a project like this,” Fielkow said. The Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs will bring current Federation efforts in the broader community “under one umbrella,” along with new programs focusing on four key areas — relations with the African-American and Latino communities, LGBTQ relations through the new Federation group JP NOLA, and multi-faith relations. Though part of the Federation, the center will have its own advisory board and a full-time executive director. Bradley Bain and Ina Davis are chairing the center’s board. The Goldring Family Foundation has funded the center as a three-year pilot program. “In an era of rising antisemitism, bigotry and fracture, it is incredibly important that we look to the now and to the future to broaden our sense of community,” said Bill Goldring of the Goldring Family Foundation. “This is a much needed initiative, and I am excited to see where the Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs leads us over the next few years.” This is also part of an effort the Federation has undertaken over the past three years to be seen as more of a partner in the greater New Orleans community. Over the past two years, the Federation has expanded ties with the African-American community, with a monthly radio show on WBOK to discuss issues of mutual interest to African-Americans and Jews, a speakers’ series at three local Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and the annual youth civil rights trip to Selma and Birmingham. In December 2018, Emily Schoenbaum partnered with the Federation to establish the Alex Schoenbaum Jewish Scholarship Fund for students at St. Augustine, named for her late father, founder of the Shoney’s restaurant chain. Students discuss issues facing the Jewish and African-American communities, and last month scholarships were awarded to winners of an essay contest themed to two recent events — the need for an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor in Italy to receive police protection after campaigning against antisemitism, and the recent incident when members of 504 Queens tried to see “Harriet” in a Metairie movie theater but a ticket mixup spiraled into what was seen as an instance of racial profiling. The Federation has also partnered with the Muslim community for a Peace Weekend, held over Martin Luther King weekend, with members of the Jewish community attending Friday prayers at the mosque, and Muslims attending

community Shabbat services, this year at Temple Sinai. The communities will march under the same banner in the King parade. “All of these programs will be continuing,” Fielkow said. As part of the center’s activities, partnerships among different communities will be strengthened, Accompanied by ADL Director Aaron building a greater coalition Ahlquist, Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow to combat antisemitism addresses local media and other forms of hate. The Center for Interfaith Families will provide a centralized resource and support system for interfaith partnerships and families in Greater New Orleans. Working in collaboration with area synagogues and area Jewish organizations, the Center’s goal is to create a nurturing and inclusive opportunity for people to connect to Jewish values and traditions in a self-selected manner. “Our hope is that Jewish interfaith couples and families in New Orleans find a welcoming manner in which to explore their Jewish values and traditions,” said Sherry and Alan Leventhal, whose foundation is funding the three-year pilot program. Teri Hunter and Alex Gershanik are chairing the center, and a national search for an executive director will take place in the next couple of months. Fielkow noted that 58 percent of Jews are in an interfaith partnership or family, and that may be higher in New Orleans. It’s “a topic facing Judaism, not only in New Orleans but throughout the country.” The center will be a “resource center and a safe space for interfaith families” to navigate what can be a “difficult” topic. Fielkow said there are some outreach programs for interfaith families “but nothing centralized like what we are creating,” and the center will have an effect beyond just the Jewish community. The center will “address what it means to live Jewishly by focusing on Jewish values rather than on biblical stories or attending services.” Educational programs will focus on navigating holidays and life cycle events, there will be community programs and programs for grandparents. The Federation hopes to foster a connection to Judaism in children of interfaith families, create a community of acceptance, increase the Federation’s visibility in dealing with this issue and strengthen connections with community partners. “We are grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation for making this work possible, and are excited to continue evolving to serve the needs of Jewish New Orleans,” Fielkow said. Joshua Force, who chairs the Federation’s board, also thanked the Goldring and Leventhal families for enabling the creation of these centers, which “will both focus on areas critical to the New Orleans Jewish community and our efforts to develop and deepen our connections to both Jews and non-Jews in our wonderfully diverse city.” As part of the Jan. 8 briefing with local media, Fielkow and Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Aaron Ahlquist also discussed the recent need for increased security measures in the Jewish community, along with the sharp rise in antisemitic incidents nationally over the last few years. Ahlquist spoke of “an increasing need for collaboration” with different groups in the New Orleans area, determining “how we can work on addressing issues affecting our society together.”

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


community Moving minyan to DeRidder after tornado hits congregants’ home

Temple Sinai in Lake Charles moved its Saturday minyan to Cecil’s Cajun Restaurant in DeRidder on Dec. 21, in support of longtime congregants Charlene and Tim Blevins, whose home was destroyed in the Dec. 16 tornado that caused one fatality while traveling 63 miles from DeRidder to Alexandria. Her parents’ nearby home was also destroyed. Charlene Blevins was at home with a friend when they received the tornado warning 90 seconds before it hit. Anyone wishing to assist can do so through Temple Sinai in Lake Charles.


January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Limmud Early-Bird deadline nears The early-bird registration deadline for LimmudFest New Orleans 2020, the regional weekend of Big Tent Jewish Learning, is approaching. Author Rich Cohen and Wexner Heritage Program Director Rabba Yaffa Epstein will be among the dozens of presenters for the weekend of March 20 to 22. A full lineup and schedule will be released by early February. LimmudFest will have over 90 sessions in a variety of tracks, from text study to cultural exploration, Jewish food, social justice, art and history. Each congregation in the community participates in an environment that crosses denominational lines and levels of observance, including Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Shabbat services under one roof. There is also a children’s track. The weekend begins with services, Shabbat dinner and educational sessions at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. On Shabbat morning, there are services and additional sessions after lunch, then Havdalah and community programming in the evening. A full day of sessions will continue at the Uptown Jewish Community Center on March 22. Early Bird registrations are being taken through Jan. 31, though registration will still be available after then. Adult registration is $85 for the weekend, $60 for just Sunday. Young adult registration for the weekend is $50 and children’s registration is $18. Registration includes all meals and snacks throughout the weekend or on Sunday. There is also a LimmudFest Mensch registration of $180, which covers the true, non-subsidized cost for a participant and helps offset registration for someone who can’t afford it. Registration and more information are available at


Rabbi Yonah Schiller leaving Tulane Hillel this summer After 11 years of transforming Tulane Hillel into one of the most innovative Hillels nationally, Rabbi Yonah Schiller will be stepping down as executive director this summer. Schiller will become the chief research and development officer for the Jim Joseph Foundation, a San Francisco-based group that supports Jewish education for youth and young adults. New York Assemblyman Steve Stern, who chairs the Hillel board, said that through Schiller’s “hard work and ambitious vision, we have experienced and witnessed spectacular change, transformation and impact as an organization and community,” during which Tulane Hillel “has clearly become the gold standard for Hillels nationwide.” A Boston native, before coming to Tulane, Schiller served as a rabbi and as the assistant director of the University of Florida Hillel from, 2005 to 2008. Schiller created and serves as senior project advisor to the Organizational Design Lab, an initiative that addresses institutional stagnation by questioning organizational assumptions, applying design thinking and other strategies to deliver transformational change for Hillels on more than 20 university campuses across the United States and Canada. Schiller also serves as Special Projects Consultant at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane, and lectures as an adjunct in ecumenical spirituality, Jewish civilization and mysticism. Schiller was awarded the 2013 Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award for the most outstanding non-tenured professor at Tulane University and the Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. Schiller is also a professional abstract mixed-media artist working out of his studio in New Orleans.

In 2017, Schiller was named one of the 50 most influential, accomplished and interesting American Jews by the Forward magazine. He serves as a national consultant to many organizations focused on building scalable systems, models and initiatives for designing inclusive and high-impact Jewish community. In November, it was announced that Hillel International will honor him in May with the Edgar M. Bronfman Award, which is presented annually to a current or former Hillel professional who has served the movement with distinction and honor, and whose impact is outstanding and lasting, like the award’s namesake. During his time at Tulane Hillel, student participation has quintupled, with participation rates over 90 percent of Jewish students and over 60 percent of the entire Tulane student body. He also expanded partnerships with the university and community organizations. Schiller and his team created Tulane Jewish Leaders, which has expanded from 20 students to 413, with over 100 projects and initiatives annually. In 2011, the new Mintz Center opened as Hillel’s facility, following a $4.5 million campaign. Former board chairman Kevin Wilkins will lead the search for a new executive director. “We anticipate that this will be a position of great interest to many, as Tulane Hillel has never been stronger or more vibrant,” Stern said.


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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


community New JLI course explores what Judaism has given to the world “Judaism’s Gifts to the World” will be explored in the latest Rohr Jewish Learning Institute course, which will be offered by Chabads in Baton Rouge, Birmingham and the New Orleans area. Rabbi Mendel Rivkin from Chabad of Louisiana said the course’s topic was selected “long before this latest rash of antisemitic incidents,” and this course “should be our response to accusations of Jewish influence and antisemitism.” The first class at the Chabads in the New Orleans area will be free, and the one Uptown on Jan. 29 is being billed as “Our Response to Antisemitism: An Evening of Jewish Pride.” The first class, “The Gift of Social Responsibility,” shows how the Torah turned around the ancient idea that poverty and suffering were an individual burden, and introduced the concept of social responsibility. “The Gift of a Guiding Purpose” explores how Abraham’s acknowledgement of there being only one God transformed how humanity views life, purpose and progress. The third class, “The Gift of Respect for Life,” takes that further with what had been a radical view, and leads to the questions of what makes us human. “The Gift of Equality and Individuality” changed the dynamic from born rulers to the concept that all are created equal, with nobody intrinsically superior or inferior. “The Gift of Work/Life Balance” marks the break from endless work to the idea of Shabbat and a time to refocus. The course ends with “The Gift of Escaping the Cycle,” the goal of breaking the world from a cycle of war and conflict, and how to share the message of justice and kindness. In Metairie, the class will be on Tuesdays starting Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m., with a week off for Mardi Gras. The first evening class on Jan. 21 will be free and open to the community, and a dinner will be served starting at 7:15 p.m. There is no obligation to continue with the course following the first night. The course will also be offered on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Registration is $70, with a 10 percent discount for returning JLI students or for couples. At Uptown, the class will start on Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m., meeting on Wednesdays. As with Metairie, the first class is free and open to the community, and a dinner will be served at 7:15 p.m. Registration for the course is $70. In Birmingham, the course will meet on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., starting Jan. 29, or Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., starting Jan. 30. Registration is $89, with a 50 percent discount on a second tuition for couples. Chabad of Baton Rouge will host the course at Richmond Inn and Suites on Mondays at 7 p.m., starting on Jan. 27. Registration is $89. To register, go to

Jieux, Mishagos March on Feb. 8

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

The two Jewish Krewes in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations will march on Feb. 8. The Krewe du Mishagos will participate in the highly-suggestive Krewe du Vieux parade, which, shall we say, has a theme based on the upcoming vote. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Chartres and Marigny, going through the Marigny and French Quarter before finishing on Toulouse near Chartres. The Krewe du Jieux will march in krewedelusion’s parade, starting at 7 p.m. from the corner of Franklin and Royal, following a different path through the Marigny and French Quarter, finishing at Candlelight Lounge for the Bedlam Ball. Krewedelusion’s theme is always a secret until the parade begins. The Krewe du Jieux were holding their coronation and Running of the Jieux, handing out Jieux eggs, on Jan. 18.

An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans


JEWISH NEWSLETTER January 2020 | Tevet 5780

Vol. XV No. 1

Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans launches two groundbreaking community outreach initiatives

and I am excited to see where the Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs leads us over the next few years.”

2020 marks the kickoff of two groundbreaking flagship programs under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. With the goal of serving the Greater New Orleans Jewish community and broadening its mission as the umbrella Jewish organization to develop deeper community relationships, the Federation is proud to announce the creation of the Goldring Family Foundation Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families.

According to the Pew Research Center, 58% of Jews are part of an interfaith partnership or family. The Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families will provide a centralized resource and support system for interfaith partnerships and families in Greater New Orleans. Working in collaboration with area synagogues and area Jewish organizations, the Center’s goal is to create a nurturing and inclusive opportunity for people to connect to Jewish values and traditions in a self-selected manner. The Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center for Interfaith Families will launch July 1, 2020.

“I am very excited about the formation and launch of these two new Centers of excellence,” said Arnie D. Fielkow, CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. “These two initiatives are critical to forming mutually-beneficial relationships between the Jewish community and the Greater New Orleans community at large, as well as tackling one of the most important topics today - interfaith - facing Judaism. We are grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation for making this work possible, and are excited to continue evolving to serve the needs of Jewish New Orleans.” The Center for Jewish/Multi-Cultural Affairs will be placed within the Federation’s governance structure, but will be led by its own Advisory Committee as well as a full-time, dedicated director. The Center was made possible by a generous gift from the Goldring Family Foundation, which has funded the Center as a three-year pilot program. “In an era of rising anti-Semitism, bigotry and fracture, it is incredibly important that we look to the now and to the future to broaden our sense of community,” said Bill Goldring of the Goldring Family Foundation. “This is a much needed initiative,

The Center will initially focus on four primary outreach areas: [1] Jewish-African-American relations; [2] LGBTQ relations, through the existing Jewish Pride New Orleans (JP NOLA) program; [3] Jewish-Latin American relations; and [4] Multi-faith relations. Additional outreach areas may be added over time. Programs that are already underway will be brought under the Center’s auspices, and new program ideas will be developed. The Center formally launched on January 1, with a major community launch event slated for the spring. The Center will be lay chaired by community members, Bradley Bain and Ina Davis.

“Our hope is that Jewish interfaith couples and families in New Orleans find a welcoming manner in which to explore their Jewish values and traditions,” said Sherry and Alan Leventhal. The new Interfaith Center will also fall under the auspices of Federation and is supported by a generous three-year gift from the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation Center. The Center will be lay chaired by community members, Teri Hunter and Alex Gershanik, and a national search for an director will be launched shortly. “We are very grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation and the Sherry and Alan Leventhal Family Foundation for their generous gifts to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans to make the creation of these two exciting centers possible,” said Joshua S. Force, Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans Board of Trustees. “The centers will both focus on areas critical to the New Orleans Jewish community and our efforts to develop and deepen our connections to both Jews and non-Jews in our wonderfully diverse city.” January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter


On Sunday, February 9, volunteers will come together between 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie to support Super Sunday—can you lend a hand for at least 2 hours? Super Sunday is the phonathon to benefit the 2020 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. We will reach out to members of our Jewish community to raise the dollars which support our agencies and organizations. It’s a longstanding tradition dating back decades in our Greater New Orleans Jewish community, attracting enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers and donors alike. How can you help?

1.Sign up to volunteer on Super Sunday or for a clerical shift on the following Tuesday. 2. Answer the call from our friendly volunteers on Super Sunday! 3. Or make and/or pay your 2020 Annual Campaign pledge in advance at Visit by February 5 to sign up to volunteer. To sign up or make your pledge by phone, call Brenda at 504-780-5605. This year’s Super Sunday will be chaired by Sarah Schatzmann, Dana Shepard, Hal Shepard, and Kathy Shepard. The 2020 and 2021 Annual Campaigns are chaired by Mara Force and Joshua Rubenstein. Questions? Contact Cait Gladow at 504-780-5614 or at 18

January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter

Federation and ADL partner for media event On January 8, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and ADL South Central Region partnered for a Nosh and News event, with the intent of fostering closer relationships with regional and local media outlets. Journalists from NPR (WWNO), the Advocate, Crescent City Jewish News, Southern Jewish Life and other organizations attended to hear from ADL Regional Director, Aaron Ahlquist, and Jewish Federation CEO, Arnie Fielkow, about how the two organizations are standing at the forefront of community security in the fight against anti-Semitism. This event will be held annually, with the next editorial meeting scheduled for December 2020.

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JNOLA hosting a speed dating event After being asked by bubbes and JNOLA members alike, JNOLA is putting on a speed dating event for the Greater New Orleans Jewish community! JNOLA serves those between the ages of 21-39ish. (If you’re outside of that age range, check out JNEXT, which seeks to attract, engage, and grow the Jewish community in the Greater New Orleans area for those in their 40s and 50s(ish) - visit This event will take place on Thursday, February 6 at 6:30 p.m. Attendance is not guaranteed. JNOLA will let registrants know by February 1 if the organizers are able to extend you a slot, and will close registration if turnout is at capacity. Register at The location will be announced soon. If you have any questions, please email Sara Kottle at JNOLA is generously sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. JNOLA serves members of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community between the ages of 21-39. To learn more, contact Tana Velen at

JNEXT gets Carnival ready On January 12, the Jewish Federation’s JNEXT group celebrate the start of Mardi Gras season with brunch and a headdress making workshop at NOLA Craft Culture. Attendees customized visors with flowers, feathers, and glitter in preparation for parades. JNEXT’s next scheduled event is Wednesday, March 11 at Second Harvest Food Bank. Participants will pack food boxes and then enjoy a light happy hour. To learn more or to register (and volunteers must register in advance), please visit

20 January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter

Jewish Family Service Prioritize your mental health this year. JFS

offers counseling for children, adults, couples, families, and groups. Our licensed behavioral health professionals provide guidance and support. JFS accepts most major insurers, Medicare, and Medicaid as well as sliding scale payment. Call (504) 831-8475 or email to schedule an appointment today.

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at Jewish Family Service Grief Counseling Feb. 14, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Lauren Miller, DSW, LCSW. Pending approval for 3 general hours by LCA and LABSWE. Understanding Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders March 13, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Allison Staiger, LCSW. Approved for 3 diagnosis/clinical hours by LCA and LABSWE. Psychopharmacology April 3, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Dr. Mark Sands, MD. Pending approval for 3 diagnosis/clinical hours by LCA and LABSWE. Ethics May 15, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Dr. Christine Ebrahim, PhD. Pending approval for 3 ethics hours by LCA and LABSWE. Addiction May 15, 12:45 to 4 p.m. Presented by Dr. Marvin Clifford, PhD. Pending approval for 3 diagnosis/clinical hours by LCA and LABSWE. Yoga/Somatic Therapy June 25, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presented by Laura Kulick, LCSW. Pending approval for 6 general hours by LCA and LABSWE. Understanding and Treating Trauma June 26, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presented by Teri Groves. Pending approval for 6 general hours by LCA and LABSWE. Price: $70 pre-registration/$80 day of for morning or afternoon workshops, $130 pre-registration/$140 day of for all-day workshops. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information or to register, call (504) 831-8475, or visit the Workshops and Continuing Education page on the JFS website:

Tulane Hillel Tulane Hillel Student Spotlight

Sophie Cohen, Class of 2020 With over 400 students involved in the Tulane Jewish Leader Program, Tulane Hillel partners with a wide variety of students to bring over 100 programs to life. One of these remarkable students is senior student and TJL member Sophie Cohen. Last year, Sophie wrote an article for The Crescent Magazine titled “How to Upgrade your Closet by Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.” In her article, she discusses her partnership with Tulane Hillel to create a clothing swap program as a sustainable way for students to upgrade their closets (to read more: Sophie’s clothing swaps at Hillel have been met with such success that they now take place multiple times a semester, giving the op-

portunity for students to swap every-day clothes, costumes for Halloween and Purim, and essentials for Mardi Gras. Leading these clothing swaps through TJL gave Sophie the opportunity to realize her passion for sustainable fashion, and helped her cultivate skills that allowed her to secure a position at Bloomingdale’s Executive Development and Buying Program after graduation! Mazel Tov to Sophie, and we can’t wait to see how she incorporates sustainable fashion into the corporate world. January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Community Center Register for Summer Camp


A summer of fun is around the corner! For almost 70 years the New Orleans JCC has provided a superior quality camp experience for children ages 21 months to grade 8. Campers develop meaningful friendships while having a blast swimming in the outdoor pools and enjoying art, music, drama, cooking, sports and Israeli culture.

The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series will screen the award-winning film “Shoelaces” on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Uptown JCC. This thoughtful drama tells the story of a complicated relationship between an aging father whose kidneys are failing and his special-needs son, whom he abandoned while he was still a young Swim instruction is provided by Amerboy. His son wants to donate one ican Red Cross certified Water Safety of his own kidneys and, furious Instructors. Field trips, overnights, spethat the transplant committee will cial events and dress up days add to the not approve the procedure, he sets fun. Weekly offerings for those entering grades 6 to 8 include Tennis, STEM, Culinary Arts, Adventure Trips, out to fight for his right to save his Teen Fit, Maccabiah Color Wars, Science Discovery, Creative Arts and father’s life. more! Registration opens at 9 a.m. on Feb. 12 at Through the film’s portrayal of a relationship full of love, rejection and co-dependency, it manages to shed some light on the importance of human life, of human connection and the question of whether life is even possible without either one of them. “Shoelaces” was nominated for eight Ophir Awards, including Best Picture, and actor Dov Glickman won the 2018 Ophir Award for Best Supporting Actor. This event is free and open to the community. Movie snacks will be served.

Kicking for Kids is Back Score one for the kids! The JCC’s second annual Kicking for Kids Footgolf Tournament will be held Jan. 26 at Timberlane Country Club. Winning teams win a pool party at the Uptown JCC. All ages are welcome at this fun tournament, which is played on a golf course with a soccer ball. Adult teams check in at 9 a.m. and family teams follow at 1 p.m. No experience is required to play. The cost is $200 per adult team for 18 holes and $100 per family team for 9 holes. Golf carts are available for an additional fee. Family teams must include at least one adult over 18 years old, either as a player or as a chaperone for four youth, and may not have more than two adults with two youth. Proceeds from this event will provide scholarships for the New Orleans JCC’s Maccabi team. Teams can register online at Questions and sponsorship requests should be directed to Neal Alsop at (504) 897-0143 or 22

January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter

JCC Maccabi Games goes Back to the Beach Jewish teens are invited to be part of Team NOLA, the New Orleans JCC’s delegation at the San Diego Maccabi Games and ArtsFest, held August 2 to 7, 2020. Come have a blast at the largest Jewish youth event in the world. Teens participate in athletic activities or the arts experience, and then come together for social events, community service and fun. Athletes ages 13 to 16 can compete in either individual or group sports. Team sports include baseball, basketball, e-sports, flag football, ice hockey, soccer and volleyball. Individual athletic activities include bowling, competitive dance, golf, tennis, swimming, star reporter, table tennis, and track and field. ArtsFest teens ages 12 to 17 may select one of the following specialties: Acting/Improv, Culinary Arts, Dance, Films, Musical Theater, Rock Band, Social Media Squad SMS, Visual Arts or Vocal Music. To register or to learn more about the New Orleans delegation, please visit or contact Neal Alsop, Uptown Sports Director, at (504) 897-0143 or

Jewish Community Day School Chanukah Extravaganza 2019 The 2019 JCDS Chanukah Extravaganza was one for the ages! With a story by Jewish Studies Teacher Toby David and music by Music Teacher Lauren Gisclair, JCDS took the audience on a young father’s journey through the city as he sought ways to give his infant daughter the best first Chanukah ever. Along the way, the friends he encountered helped him learn more about the story of Chanukah, the history of Jews in New Orleans, and about the annual Dreidel Bowl in the Superdome. Local familiar stops included: Café Du Monde with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students portraying sufganiyot bakers complete with powdered-sugar-covered aprons, and The Audubon Zoo, where first and second graders were dressed as Greeks, Maccabees, and the most adorable zoo animals ever! Students portrayed several real-life members of our community, such as Dr. Brad Philipson, Lis and Hugo Kahn, Rabbi Deborah Silver and Rabbi Josh Pernick.

Top, Ava P., Green Preschooler, dressed

No Chanukah Extravaas a little candle joins her Nitzanim class ganza would be complete in performing “If You Like Chanukah without latkes and sufgani- Clap Your Hands.” Below, Olivia L. as Dr. yot! Everyone gathered in Brad Philipson and Josie H. & Isaac M. as the JCDS Cafeteria to en- Lis and Hugo Kahn. joy a delicious Chanukah feast prepared by Linda Waknin, D’vash Catering. JCDS extends a special thanks to our gracious host, Shir Chadash, for providing rehearsal and performance space and to Rabbi David Gerber of Gates of Prayer for leading us in “Maoz-Tzur.” What an amazing job by all of the JCDS students! Look out, Broadway! Third and Fourth grades went full STEAM ahead with Ms. Paula, discovering the basics of how their eyes work and figuring out some of the causes of vision problems. They developed a working model of a human eye, then used a magnifying lens as a model of the cornea to explore how the structure of this lens is related to the function of our eyes.

(Front, left to right) Vivian Cahn, Carole Neff, Fawn Chen, Hugo Kahn, Tom Gigliotti and Lis Kahn. (Back) Richard Cahn, Dr. Brad Philipson

JCDS Receives Significant Gift Rooted in Gratitude for Hugo Kahn Early in the career of Parking Management Services founder Tom Gigliotti, he was faced with a dilemma. He needed access to more parking spaces downtown, and he needed to forge a deal with Krauss Department Store General Manager Hugo Kahn to keep his business going. He wrote up a proposal for Hugo, eager to close the deal, and Hugo sat him down to work through the numbers. “How can you make any money this way?” Hugo asked, indicating to Tom that his proposed profit margins were too low. This was an early lesson for Tom, an aspiring young businessman, from Hugo, a wise and experienced one. Hugo created a mutually beneficial partnership that provided positive outcomes for both sides. Hugo became a mentor to Tom, who went on to build Parking Management Services into a $70 million a year business employing over 800 people across fifteen states. What’s more, Parking Management Services has become known not only for its success, but also for the way it has achieved its success, showing respect for employees, clients, and partners whether they’re an hourly wage employee or a corporate CEO. Among Tom’s proudest accomplishments are the number of employees who have been able to buy homes and provide for families because of their work for Parking Management Services. Earlier this year, Tom was speaking to mutual friend Richard Cahn about wanting to do something to show Hugo his appreciation for his mentorship. Richard, of course, knew the cause closest to Hugo’s heart: Jewish Community Day School of Greater New Orleans. Soon, with the help of JCDS Board President Carole Neff and Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Brad Philipson, a plan was hatched. Carole announced that the December board meeting would be a celebratory dinner to reflect on the year and the recent JCDS Gala. With a delightful buffet set up by Dvash Catering and a few bottles of kosher champagne, the board, including Hugo and Lis Kahn, settled into an evening of merriment. Suddenly, though, a familiar face walked through the door. Accompanied by Richard and Vivian Cahn was Tom Gigliotti and his fiancée Fawn Chen. After regaling the room with tales of Hugo’s impact on his career, Tom presented JCDS with a check for $25,000 in Hugo’s honor. Hugo was bowled over. The room was in shock. Lis was hugging everybody. “I suppose I now have to forgive you for being out of the country for the gala,” Hugo told his old friend. January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Endowment Foundation New Year’s Resolutions That Give Back With a new year comes New Year’s resolutions, symbolizing the things we care about most in life and reflecting the areas of life we want to improve. Resolutions often mark what matters most to us. Many tend to focus on living healthier and having more success but, if you want to find greater satisfaction in life and truly make a difference in 2020, make giving to the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana a part of your New Year’s resolutions. JEF has several ways you can give back to our Jewish community: JEF GENERAL FUND: Income from these funds is used to support JEF and provide community grants. A gift to this fund can be given to honor or memorialize a loved one. BEQUEST: You can add a simple codicil to your will to produce a bequest to JEF’s General Fund, or to a Donor Advised Fund or Designated Fund. We recommend that you consult your attorney or your accountant before making any changes or additions to your will. DONOR ADVISED FUND: You can establish a donor advised fund with a gift of money, stock or property. You have the privilege of naming the fund and recommending distributions to qualified charities subject to the approval of JEF’s Board of Directors. DESIGNATED FUND: A designated fund specifies that all or part of the income earned by your gift be used for a specific purpose, agency, or field of interest. A designated fund may be established in any name you choose. CHARITABLE GIFT ANNUITY: A Charitable Gift Annuity allows transfers of cash, stock, or other assets to JEF and in return, the annuitant receives certain tax benefits and regular payments for life. Payments vary depending upon the annuitant’s age. A CGA can be established for an individual or a couple. Rates are available upon request. CHARITABLE REMAINDER TRUST: You can establish a fund in your name or your family’s name through several types of remainder trusts tailored to meet your estate planning goals and the needs of your beneficiaries. You set aside an asset for JEF while continuing to receive income from it during your lifetime. The income may continue for the life of additional beneficiaries, such as your spouse or children. Upon termination of the trust, the remaining principal reverts to JEF. LIFE INSURANCE POLICY: You can donate a new or a previously existing life insurance policy to JEF. Life insurance donations can increase income tax deductions while decreasing your taxable estate. You receive an income tax deduction at the time of your gift. If you continue to pay premiums on that policy, each payment constitutes a charitable contribution at that time. RETIREMENT FUND: Did you know that any funds remaining in an Individual Retirement Account or other type of retirement plan may be taxed up to 80 percent after your death and/or your spouse’s? The taxes due on your IRA can be avoided by naming JEF as the beneficiary of your retirement plan or transferring the assets into a donor advised fund. (The company holding your plan can provide you with a Beneficiary Designation Form.) Other assets can be left to your heirs at a reduced tax rate, and your Jewish community receives a significant contribution in your name. Want to have an even-greater impact this upcoming year? Make giving a part of your resolutions. 24

January 2020 • The Jewish Newsletter

Resolution of Thanks and Appreciation to the Greens It was recently announced that a $1 million gift from Susan and Howard Green will support the Jewish Community Day School’s growing needs. Administered through JEF, the Howard and Susan Green Jewish Community Day School Operating Support Charitable Fund held at JEF will retain half of their million-dollar gift to be used in concert with other grant funds to act as an incubator for the preschool at JCDS. The other half of the contribution will also be held at JEF in the Howard and Susan Green Jewish Community Day School Permanent Charitable Trust to ensure the school’s long-term future. “Howard and Susan’s generous and purposeful gift exemplifies how JEF’s donors can create life-changing opportunities,” said JEF Executive Director Bobby Garon. “This type of meaningful philanthropy originated from their vision to impact our Jewish community now and in the future.” Continuing on the topic of resolution — although this one with a different meaning — JEF Board President Larry Lehmann had the pleasure of presenting a formal resolution from the Board of Directors, expressing its immense appreciation to the Greens during the Jewish Community Day School’s Green Carpet Gala held in their honor. Although gratitude cannot be expressed in words alone, the resolution that follows captures JEF’s appreciation.

So the Holidays are over. Now what?

take care of yourself an annual SJL special section

Eyes are window to body health The eyes are the figurative windows to the soul, but the actual windows to body health. “In an eye exam, we can detect the signs of diabetes, some cancers, thyroid issues, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol and blood pressure along with other systemic issues and diseases,” said Brooke Kaplan, optometrist with MyEyeDr. in Mountain Brook. “An eye exam is more than visual acuity.” Detection can be achieved through pupil dilation showing vascular abnormalities in the eye. Apart from the visual health evaluation, eye exams also focus on the general health of the eyes, identifying signs of UV-related damage, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinal holes and detachments. Glaucoma affects more than three million Americans and is the second leading cause of vision loss in the U.S., and early detection is critical, according to Kaplan. “There are no warning signs that people can discern for themselves,” she said. “But fortunately, in an eye exam, we can detect the early signs of glaucoma. Retinal imaging can monitor even microscopic changes and can tell us the risk factor of progression of glaucoma so we can prevent progression.” Several factors could increase one’s risk for glaucoma, including age (those 60 years of age and older), genetics (family members diagnosed with glaucoma) and existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Genetic factors can also play a role in macular degeneration and cataracts. “For example, if your parents had cataract surgery in their 40s, 50s or even 60s, you are more likely to need cataract surgery at a younger age,” said Kaplan. She said the biggest news in lens development focuses on CooperVision getting FDA approval for a daily disposable multifocal lens that can reduce the progression of near-sidedness in children by up to 60 percent. “It’s really a breakthrough,” added Kaplan. “For adults, the multifocal lenses can correct vision issues, but for kids with moderate myopia, the lenses reduce the progression of nearsightedness and can help prevent detachment or macular degeneration later in life.” For more information on eye health, schedule an exam with Kaplan, visit or call (205) 802-2020.

Making the most of your senior years!

Every year we start fresh with new resolves to improve our lives. You know the ones: lose weight, stop smoking, join a gym or exercise more, be more responsible with spending, stop drinking… and the list goes on. Addiction to alcohol isn’t just a matter of making the decision to quit. For many it has become a physical need and simply quitting by one’s self isn’t possible and can be dangerous. The physical and emotional desires are still there. Bayshore Retreat addresses the physical with 30 days of sauna therapy to cleanse the body, thereby eliminating the craving. At the same time over 30 hours of peer and master counseling combined with Life Skills coaching weekly helps address the psychological reasons. Unlike the “big box” facilities that provide a 3 to 4 day detox and 12-step program, the home-like environment at Bayshore Retreat, with only six clients at a time, gives one a better chance of beating the addiction for good. It’s about getting physically healthy and to the discovery of how the addiction happened in the first place. When we say, “no one plans on becoming an addict” we mean it. Now is a great time to get help with addiction and a healthier lifestyle. It’s the beginning of a new year and we’re here to help clients make it a better year. Instead of making resolutions that you may or may not keep; make it a New Year’s commitment to fight the Addiction Dragon, and each day can be a step to fulfilling that commitment. Bayshore Retreat is different and can make a difference.

Restoring Lives in a Home Environment We treat more than the addiction. We treat the entire person.

It’s time to make sure your prime years are your best years! At Touro, we believe that staying active and living healthy is key to your quality of life. Our Prime Years program is designed to educate and engage senior members of our community. By enrolling in our Prime Years program, you will gain access to a community of like-minded seniors who are experiencing the same milestones as you. Through monthly events, we provide health screenings and educational seminars to inform seniors of the latest in preventative healthcare and wellness. We know that your senior years come

continued on page 26 January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


take care of yourself

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

One of the most difficult things to experience is the transition from being a son or daughter into the adult child. You might ask, what exactly is an “adult child?” In essence, it means “a son or daughter that has reached the age of majority.” Or, simply stated, an individual who is now in charge of making future decisions that govern the wellbeing of loved ones such as their parents, grandparents or other elderly, or disabled family members. If this describes you or a situation that you are familiar with… you are not alone. Making tough decisions in the best interest of health and safety are frightening, and cause extreme anxiety for the family. Did you know that caring for and keeping a loved one at home can truly not be in the best interest of the loved one? Lack of socialization, lack of consistency and routine, loneliness etc., can lead to additional crisis such as depression or anxiety, and can prevent loved ones from thriving. Often our good intentions and, well, guilt, keep us from making the choices that can keep the entire family healthier, happier and safer. The thought of placing a loved one into a community is difficult for many reasons, but the most prominent reason is lack of education regarding the benefits of a reputable Senior Living Community. From individuls who need simple socialization, to others who need medication management, physical assistance like bathing, dressing and toileting needs, today’s Independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities can easily dispel the stereotypical views of “facilities,” of yesterday! Everything from care staff, to 24-hour nursing on site, most or all meals, laundry, housekeeping and all engagement activities are included. And don’t forget the transportation provided to outings, entertainment and medical appointments, and so much more! When it’s time to have this conversation with a loved one, do your homework, seek advice, map out several choices, locations and price points. The more you know, the gentler this transition will be. When all is said and done, you will regain 100 percent quality time with those you love, and your loved ones will once again feel a sense of independence that cannot be offered at home! I am an adult child myself. Mom, in Assisted Living now, reminds me constantly that I should have encouraged her to do this sooner. After all, she gave me the very best, I want the best for her!

>> Touro

continued from page 25

with ups and downs — allow Touro to help you navigate those. Whether it is heart health education, fitness routines for all ages, or tips for enrolling in your Medicare benefits, Prime Years is designed specifically for you. As a community hospital, Touro cares for patients at every stage of life. Through each stage, it’s important to be proactive in your healthcare to decrease risks for complicated illnesses. Touro provides comprehensive senior care services in one central location — your community. Touro is proud to provide resources and engaging group discussions with expert healthcare providers. Grab a friend and join members of our Prime Years Community on your journey to wellness. Prime Years membership is $10 and open to adults 55 and up. Your Prime Years membership includes free monthly events, free event parking, annual health screenings and unlimited fun. For more information, visit

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


Discover Ramah Darom! Summer Camp • Family Camps • Year-Round Retreats

Summer Camp a semi-annual special section

Ramah Darom’s Tikvah Support Program keeps growing stronger


January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Ramah Darom makes the magic of Jewish camp a reality for children of all abilities through the Tikvah Support Program, which has grown from seven campers to more than 60 in just five years. “Seeing what a difference this experience is making in the lives of these kids and their families, it’s such an incredible feeling,” said Audra Kaplan, director of Tikvah Support and Camper Care at the Ramah Darom, located in the north Georgia mountains. The Tikvah Support Program helps campers with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, communication disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders and other disabilities, have a successful camp experience. Through individualized programming supported by highly-skilled staff and supervised by professionals in the field, campers build friendships, develop new skills, have fun and grow as members of the Ramah Darom community. “A lot of these campers have sensory challenges,” said Dr. Kaplan. “Our counselors can help them organize their schedules, so they feel less anxious and more confident. This individualized programming allows them all of these inclusivity opportunities in a nurturing environment.” She said the Tikvah Support Program recently received the Yashar Grant from the Foundation for Jewish Camp, which has made it possible for Ramah Darom to pave roads, put in ramps and electric doors and purchase a six-person golf cart. Kaplan said they regularly hear from campers and parents about what an impact the Tikvah Support Program is having. “The parents tell us their kids came home more confident and independent,” she said. “There is one example of a girl with Down Syndrome who wanted to learn to read Torah. She was beaming after she did it and she got hugs from everyone.” At camp, all campers engage in numerous outdoor activities, Jewish learning and drama — all plays at Ramah Darom are in Hebrew. After they complete their Gesher summer, the last age group as a camper, Tikvah Supported campers now have the opportunity to return and participate in the Tikvah Vocational Program, giving campers who require extra support the opportunity to develop their vocational skills at camp. Participants, who have mastered independent living skills and demonstrate a willingness to perform demands of specific work placements, are placed in various jobs around the camp specific to their strengths. Last summer, participants worked in the daycare program, art center, sports, business office, a camp café, mailroom, kitchen and more. “TVP gives these teens and young adults opportunities to foster their growth and learn important skills,” said Kaplan. TVP staff also participate in weekly sessions led by a vocational coordinator, focusing on skills such as professionalism, managing money, self-advocacy, peer relationships and healthy living. “The best testimonial to the success of the Tikvah Support Program is that we are having former campers becoming staff in the Tikvah Vocational Program,” she said. For more information on the Tikvah Support Program and Camp Ramah Darom, go to

summer camp

Judaea to celebrate 60th season Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, N.C., celebrated many successes in 2019, its 59th season, having proudly served over 700 campers. By Dec. 15, enrollment for the summer of 2020 had already reached 645, with about a 90 percent retention rate of eligible campers from last summer, which is a true testament to the high quality of programs and experiences provided in 2019. Camp Judaea continues to update its program and facilities as it gears up to celebrate its 60th summer season. To help lead the way, Walter Synalovski, long-time camping professional and alumnus of Camp Judaea, continues as executive director, with Elana Pollack Halfaker and Lori Zeligman, both former CJ campers and veteran staff members, as CJ’s assistant directors. The three are joined by longtime Judaean and educator, Danny Tuchman, as CJ’s full-time education director. In 2019, Camp Judaea debuted the Leon Levine Arts Center (mercaz omanut) which features a woodshop, a ceramics studio, a general arts and crafts space, and a room for other programming. Campers have the opportunity to explore different media and create beautiful Judaic art in this new building. Camp Judaea’s core educational programming revolves around fostering a strong connection to and love for Israel. Every summer, the camp hires a significant number of Israeli staff who live in the cabins and work in activity areas, providing campers with immersive and experiential encounters with modern Israeli culture. Camp Judaea offers a wide variety of activities, including horseback riding, swimming, sports, arts and crafts, zip-lining and rock-climbing, archery, music, dance, cooking and more. Enrollment for Camp Judaea is open! Interested families should visit or call (404) 634-7883 for more information. Scholarship and tuition support opportunities are available.

Camp Barney remains the “Summer Place” Camp Barney Medintz, the summer overnight camp of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, is located on 540 acres surrounding two private lakes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, just 70 miles north of Atlanta. Since 1963, Camp Barney has attracted more than 1,200 boys and girls each summer from throughout the Southeast, about 25 states from coast to coast, and several countries. They all consider Camp Barney their “Summer Place.” Each summer, Camp Barney creates a meaningful and exciting community that is all about adventure, exhilarating activities, strengthening one’s connection to Israel and the global Jewish community, feeling knowledgeable and comfortable in a natural environment, and making lifelong friendships — all under the supervision of a mature, talented and nurturing staff. Every imaginable activity is offered at Camp Barney, including the Hurricane water slide, multiple lakefront adventures, water skiing, stand up paddleboards, rock climbing, several zip lines, horseback riding, tennis, mountain biking, all field and court sports, music, dance, theater, arts and crafts, film making, cooking, fencing, scuba and much more. Every year, Camp Barney is committed to building new additions and programming features to enhance its spectacular facility and experience for campers. In recent years, Camp Barney has built a second swimming pool with water slides, a cultural and performing arts complex, (Kosher) cooking school, film studios, martial arts center, Israeli culture center, and many new cabins for its campers. In 2020, campers will be excited to hang out in Jen’s Zen Den, plant fruit, vegetables, and herbs in a new garden, have fun on more pedal boards, play archery tag, go on brand-new adventure trips, enjoy new menus, and more. According to Jim Mittenthal, the director of Camp Barney for the past 27 years, “It is so gratifying to see the power and impact of Camp Barney: campers and staff feeling accomplished because of their shared experiences in new or challenging moments, greater awareness and connection to our Jewish culture, elevated self-esteem and personal growth, and countless special and hilarious moments with friends, both during and in between summers at Camp Barney!” For more information, and to register for Summer 2020, visit or call (678) 812-3844.

s i n c e 19 8 3

Over 3,000 cars, trucks and SUV’s across New Orleans! January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


summer camp Space is a hot topic, and Space Camp alumni lead the discussion Space Camp is coming off another record-breaking year of attendance with many sold out summer weeks. 2020 is shaping up to be another exciting year with new additions to a time-tested program that excites children about the possibilities of space exploration while teaching them the importance of critical thinking and teamwork. One reason Space Camp is soaring is because space is a hot topic. NASA and commercial space companies are frequently making news, including the announcement last March that America’s first woman and next man would step back on the moon by 2024. Vice President Mike Pence announced that plan at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, home of Space Camp. The setting under the Rocket Center’s National Historic Saturn V moon rocket was a fitting gesture to Huntsville, the city that made the Apollo program possible. Huntsville is also home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, which manages the Space Launch System rocket that will take America back to the moon and the lander that will carry the astronauts to the lunar surface. Whatever space-related thing is making news, you can bet a Space Camp graduate is involved somehow. For instance, five-time Space Camp alumna Christina Koch made headlines when

Camp Scholarships The New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service provides need-based partial scholarships to Jewish non-profit summer camps. The amount of these scholarships varies in accordance with the circumstances of the child and family. Eligible children must be entering third through 12th grade in August, and reside in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee or Texas. Priority deadline is Feb. 15, and applications are at The Jewish Summer Camp Experience program, funded by the Goldring Family Foundation and administered by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, provides grants to families in Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama and northwest Florida to help send their children to camp. To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleepaway camp, currently in grades 1 to 9, and a resident of the aforementioned states. The $1,500 grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish, and synagogue affiliation is not required. The deadline for applications is March 31, and can be downloaded at 30

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

she took part in the first all-female spacewalk in October 2019. She also just set the record for the longest duration space flight for a female. Beth Moses, another Space Camp alumna and the chief astronaut trainer at Virgin Galactic, became the first female commercial astronaut recently. Countless graduates are building the rockets to take us to space or studying distant destinations for future exploration. To prepare the next generation of explorers, Space Camp builds on those past successes while looking to the future. Curriculum for 2020 focuses on NASA’s Artemis program to take us back to the moon as well as on the latest in commercial space flight. New activities include Earth imaging and asteroid deflection, showing that while astronauts may get the spotlight, thousands of engineers, scientists and technicians are doing exciting, meaningful work. While Space Camp focuses on space exploration, its sister programs offer a range of related experiences. Aviation Challenge is a military-style program based on jet fighter pilot training that many of NASA’s earliest astronauts experienced, while Space Camp Robotics explores the engi-

neering and entrepreneurship behind rocket research and development. The newest program in the Space Camp family is U.S. Cyber Camp, which uses the same leadership and team-building concepts that have worked at Space Camp to train the next generation of experts in the growing cyber field. Some think of Space Camp as only for kids, but there are also fun, exciting programs for families and adults. Families with children as young as 7 can sign up for Family Space Camp and make lifetime memories. Adults have been attending Adult Space Camp since 1990, and current attendees range from Space Camp alums to space enthusiasts of all ages. An exciting re-introduction for 2020 is an Adult Aviation Challenge experience just in time for the release of “Top Gun: Maverick.” The original “Top Gun” movie inspired many Aviation Challenge missions. While Space Camp programs for children ages 9 to 18 take place Sunday through Friday, the adult and family programs are Friday through Sunday, just right for a perfect long weekend. To find more about all the exciting opportunities Space Camp has to offer, visit

Jacobs Camp starting next 50 years with “largest ever” enrollment Over 50 years ago, the gates opened for the first summer at Henry S. Jacobs Camp, thanks to efforts by small Jewish communities throughout the Deep South. Since 1970, Jacobs Camp has been committed to creating a Jewish community for the children in the Deep South region and a summer camp experience they will never forget! The warm and loving community found every summer at Jacobs Camp helps forge friendships that will last a lifetime. “We pride ourselves on our summer program and facilities,” says Anna Herman, Jacobs Camp’s Director, “but our community is what truly makes Jacobs Camp special and sets us apart.” Herman also said registration for 2020 is “looking like our largest ever,” with the second session mostly wait-listed, and session one filling quickly. Jacobs Camp is still actively hiring inspired young people to join the staff. For the past few summers, the camp has created new programs to enhance the recruiting process. “Our Counselor-in-Training program has been refocused to be a true leadership development program for high school seniors,” Herman said. Beyond the essential roles of cabin counselor, Jacobs Camp is looking to fill a variety of other positions that offer real-world experience. The camp has also established an internship program for additional real-world experiences. Staffers age 19 and older will have the opportunity to hold an internship in May, August, or during their upcoming winter break at area businesses,

gaining career-oriented work experiences. Information is available at Over the decades, the camp “continues to evolve our programs to meet the needs of our community,” Herman said. Camp plans to continue evolving and developing the social justice programing for older campers. “These are the kids that want to and will change the world. We want our campers to be the ones to stick up for people that don’t have anyone to stick up for them.” Popular camp activities include robotics, wacky science, archery, and gymnastics, along with other programs like sports, adventure, and visual arts. The lake continues to be a main attraction during the summer, with the blob, slide, obstacle course, water trampoline, and “rock-it.” Campers are also able to enjoy canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards while playing in the lake. During the year, Jacobs Camp also offers a family weekend for younger and interested families. Family Camp programming is best suited for 1st to 5th grade children, with special programming offered for parents as well. This year, Family Camp takes place March 13 to 15 in conjunction with NFTY Southern’s 678 Middle School Weekend. Families can visit for more information. Jacobs Camp also encourages high school students who want to be more involved with Jewish events during the year to check out the regional Jewish group, NFTY Southern, at www.southern.

H U N T S V I L L E ,


Plan a summer adventure at Space Camp

Space Camp inspires the next generation of explorers with an impactful, fully-immersive experience in informal STEM education.

Visit us online at

Programs are available for children ages 9-18, families, adults and corporate groups. Call 1-800-637-7223 to start your journey.

SpaceCampUSA January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


Education an annual special section

Tulane Chabad’s Shabbat 1000 dinner. This year’s event will be Feb. 14.

Jewish enrollment, involvement reach new heights at Alabama






THIS IS AUBURN. “This wonderful country of ours allows us to gather together, to be Jewish and be free… I’m grateful I can be Jewish and a basketball coach in the SEC.”

— Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, at the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games Opening Ceremony

WE ARE COMMUNITY. Hillel, Auburn University’s Jewish student organization, was the recipient of the 2015 AU Student Involvement Award for Overcoming Adversity.


January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Jewish student enrollment and involvement continue to rise at the University of Alabama. When the fall 2018 semester began, the expanded, enhanced Hillel facility opened after a million-dollar renovation project. Since then, they regularly “pack the place,” according to University of Alabama Hillel Director Lisa Besnoy. “Not only are we seeing unprecedented participation levels at events, Shabbat dinners and Sunday breakfasts, but we’re seeing more students coming every day to do everything from playing table tennis to studying together to just socializing,” she said. “This is the their space. It’s like a small Jewish Community Center on campus.” Besnoy said more than 100 students attend Shabbat dinners on a typical week, and it’s not uncommon for an event to have more than 250 attendees. It is estimated that more than 1,000 Jewish students are enrolled at the University. She said the students and Hillel officers play a major role in guiding the programming and planning the events. “It is all about what is meaningful to them. We had a very successful (fall semester) and we’re really excited about the spring semester.” The Hillel programming for the spring semester will put a primary focus on Israel. The last week of January will include an Israeli wine tasting event, an Israeli-style Shabbat and a program to learn more about the Birthright Israel trip scheduled for May 11 to 21. “This past spring we went with 40 Alabama students and the trip was such an incredibly impacting experience,” added Besnoy. “Several of them even extended their trip. That has inspired some of the programming and learning.” She added that Dan Levine, the new Aaron Aronov Chair of Judaic Studies, has also spoken to students who wanted to learn more about Israel. Levine lived in Israel and served with the Israel Defense Force. Leslie Bashuk, a senior from Macon, Ga., a marketing major who was the 2018-19 Hillel student president, has served as president of TidePAC and interned with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington this past summer. She said TidePAC currently includes more than 50 Jewish and non-Jewish student members. Bashuk was also one of seven students from the University of Alabama to attend the AIPAC Policy Conference last March. “I’m so passionate about the movement and I loved seeing it in action,” said Bashuk, who was one of 50 summer interns from college campuses across the U.S. “We met with our Alabama representatives and senators in D.C. to discuss ideas for strengthening our alliance between the United States and Israel. We’re connecting to focus with a pro-Israel lens.” She said they also got to collaborate and connect with intern representatives from other campuses. “There is so much innovation going on in Israel and in our state. AIPAC and TidePAC look at ways we can open doors to partnerships and to show our support. Bashuk said TidePAC continues to grow its presence and membership. “We have Jewish students and non-Jewish students all united with the same goal. Our shared voice is stronger the more involvement we get,” said Bashuk. Current Hillel President Hayley Bardos has been on the student board since her freshman year. The senior, who will graduate with honors in May with a double major in business and public relations, starts as a consultant at a global management-consulting firm in Dallas after graduation. Bardos has spoken to students a few times at recruitment events and on visits to the University of Alabama. “I have truly made a home away from home at Alabama, and this would not have been possible without Hillel,” she said.


Joe’s Garden, Visual arts studio among new facilities at Newman School When financier and philanthropist Isidore Newman founded the Isidore Newman Manual Training School in 1903, he envisioned a superior education for the children of New Orleans and those of the Jewish Children’s Home. He wrote, “For years it has been the desire of my heart to do something for this city and State which have made me what I am. I have my reward in the school.” He hoped to provide skilled, competent, and well-trained labor to do the work that is necessary in a community. Over the past 115 years, Mr. Newman’s school has developed into one of the nation’s finest college preparatory institutions. The curriculum has evolved into an academic program which today offers a full range of choices and rewarding challenges. From an opening enrollment of 125, the student body has grown to more than 1,000 in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. In the past several years, Newman has focused on improving its physical plant, with substantial construction projects transforming the 11.5-acre campus. A recent project is the development of Joe’s Garden, made possibly through a gift of the family of Joe Epstein, member of Newman’s class of 1948 and an avid gardener. Situated between the Oreck and Stern Buildings housing Pre-K through fifth grade classrooms, Joe’s Garden is a “learning garden” complete with a lily pond, a greenhouse and planters containing a fascinating variety of flora. The goal is to create a beautiful learning environment where students can engage with the natural world while also “getting their hands dirty” growing and experimenting with plant life. “We hope Joe’s Garden will be a beloved outdoor classroom that is a

hands-on place of learning, exploration, and shared discovery,” the Epstein family said. This year, Newman opened the Eugenie and Joseph Jones Family Foundation Visual Arts Studios on the second floor of the Valmont Building, in the space occupied for decades by middle school science classrooms. The studios, with stark white walls, skylights, and distinctive dormer windows, provide an inspiring and functional environment for students of drawing, painting and print-making. Newman is mourning the loss of H. Davis Prescott, Jr., the school’s head librarian and longest-serving employee in the school’s history. Before his retirement in 2017, Prescott spent 51 years at Newman, first as a high school English teacher — where he taught the historian and biographer Walter Isaacson (’70) in his first class of students — then as middle school principal and, finally, as director of the Rebecca Grant Popp Library. He is nothing short of a Newman legend. The Rupa and Tarun Jolly Science and Technology Building is enhancing the school’s science program in its second year of operation. Over the summer, several members of the class of 2020 participated in the first-even Newman Biotechnology Summer Internship, led by life sciences instructor Randy Zell. Senior Niyati Duggal used the building’s Biotech Signature Lab to successfully replicate human kidney cells to use in future labs. The process, though common in professional labs, is rarely undertaken in high schools due to the care and precision required to prevent contamination and promote new growth.

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



Setting milestones for Auburn Jewish student involvement

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The Auburn Tigers’ basketball team, led by head coach Bruce Pearl, became the first collegiate team from the state of Alabama to reach the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament last spring. Auburn’s Jewish population also continues to record some milestones. More than 100 Jewish students currently attend the University. Nora Patterson, faculty advisor for Auburn Hillel, said that the recent Chanukah party at Pearl’s home was the most-well-attended one to date. “Coach Pearl and his wife made the latkes. They are so engaged with Hillel and have been so supportive of our students.” A week earlier, at the Holiday Lighting Ceremony on Samford Lawn, Pearl and Auburn’s mascot Aubie helped light up the menorah “to help us share our traditions with the Auburn community,” said Patterson, a professor in the Media Studies Program at Auburn. The celebration included on-stage performances, kids activities, latkes and gelt. Pearl also met all the students who attended a Hillel basketball night this past November. Freshman Guard Lior Berman, who helped lead the Mountain Brook Spartans to the 6A state high school championship, has been active with Hillel. “The students have come out to support Lior, Coach Pearl and the team,” said Patterson, whose mother is Jewish and met her father when he was doing sound editing for a film in Israel and she was living on a kibbutz. She said that Hillel coordinates several events and services with Auburn’s Beth Shalom, including a joint Passover service and some Shabbats. Former Hillel faculty advisor Ed Youngblood is the president of Beth Shalom and Patterson is on the board. Auburn Hillel President Jade Tate, a junior majoring in Industrial Design, said “we had a lot of success with our Hillel events this past semester and we are so excited to keep growing into the next semester.” Some of those planned events include a welcome back dinner at Beth Shalom; their second basketball night of the season; the first baseball night of the season; a wilderness fireside Shabbat, a community Passover Seder and a Six Flags day trip. Hillel will also partner with the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity on a Shabbat dinner this spring. At the start of the 2019-20 academic year, AEPi earned full-fledged Jewish fraternity status.


Tulane holds conference on Zionism Then and Now The Department of Jewish Studies at Tulane University will be holding “Zionism Then and Now: A Symposium,” on Feb. 2 and 3. The symposium is free. The opening event will be held on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Lavin-Bernick Center’s Conference room 202 on the Tulane campus, and will feature a panel discussion led by Dr. Michael Cohen, chair of Tulane Jewish Studies. Shachar Pinsker of the University of Michigan will present “Coffee Talk: How Cafes Created Modern Jewish Culture,” Vladimir Levin from Hebrew University of Jerusalem will speak on “Russian Zionism and the Synagogue,” and Arie Dubnov of George Washington University will discuss “Dreamers of the Third Temple: Zionism at the Age of Imperial Federalism.” The conference will be held the following day from 10 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at in the Jewish Studies building. Olga Litvak from Cornell University will speak on “A Mother is No Parent: The Political Genealogy of Jewish Rebith.” Scott Ury of Tel Aviv University will present “You Are My Hope, You Are My Fear: Chaos, Violence and the Jewish Fear of Revolution in Late Imperial Russia.” Natalia Aleksiun, Touro College and University System will present “A Homeland Where I’ve Never Been: Survivors Pondering Zionism,” Naomi Brenner of Ohio State University will discuss “Soferet Iohemet: Rachel Feygenberg’s Combative Zionist Aesthetics,” and Ari Ofengenden of Tulane will present “Abraham Shlonsky’s Poetic-Theology.”

January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life 35

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

On Dec. 8, the Jewish Community Day School in Metairie rolled out the green carpet for a sold-out gala honoring Susan and Howard Green, who recently made a $1 million gift to establish JCDS’ pre-school program. The event, attended by 300 supporters, took place in the gymnasium at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie, which was transformed with walls of green and glittering gold draping, and the star-like glow of a suspended five-foot balloon light. Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Chair Brad Philpson welcomed everyone, saying the Greens “have long honored us with their commitment to the school and to the community. How lucky we are to have this opportunity to shine a spotlight on these two wonderful people.” Former Head of School Sharon Pollin, who last summer moved back to her family home in Portland, Ore., praised the Greens for making a positive difference in the world. “Susan and Howard have worked hand in hand with JCDS to give birth to our incredible early childhood program,” she said. “The Greens recognize that Jewish preschools are conduits to Jewish life, and a scaffolding that strengthens connection and joyful engagement to Judaism.” Wearing special crowns as “monarchs of the night,” the Greens addressed the crowd and spoke of their enduring commitment to JCDS. According to Howard Green, a Jewish Day School is not necessary only for the study of Torah, saying it makes us more Jewish, allows Jewish institutions to prosper, and makes the local Jewish community stronger.

“All of these are true; however, just as important in these turbulent times we live in is the combination of quality secular and Judaic studies that enables our children to learn to thrive as human beings in the community and in the world today,” he said. “JCDS exists today because of those families and members of our community who have seen the importance of a Jewish Day School, and who have been and continue to be generous, whether monetarily or through service.” He also praised “the quality and dedication of the staff and lay leadership.” “Once we realized the importance of the Day School, we asked ourselves how we could help in a meaningful way,” Howard Green said. “We realized that we were financially able to make the gift now — and we would be able to see and enjoy the fruits of our gift. And so, it is our hope that others will also support the school in this manner.” Susan Green then noted, “as my ancestors did for me, I do for my descendants. Tonight, Howard and I are humbled and grateful. We are grateful for those who came before us and taught us the value of family, friends, and community… of being present and making a difference. “Personally, I have been blessed with the strength of my beautiful family, the unwavering support of good friends, and the warm embrace of our community,” Susan Green said.

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

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It’s one thing to say something untrue about someone else. It’s another to sit idly by when you hear it, especially if that person isn’t even there to defend themselves. Thus, “thou shalt not hear false witness against thy neighbor.” The final commandment caused some controversy. It’s a well-known Talmudic axiom that for every two rabbis there are three opinions. This project reaffirmed the corollary that for every one rabbi there are two opinions. It has been centuries since the last events that can legitimately be termed a witch hunt. This is perhaps thanks to one interpretation of the true tenth commandment, “Thou shalt not coven thy neighbor’s wife.” The other interpretation’s prohibition more closely relates to Prohibition, saying “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wine.” Even though it might be particularly tempting to do so based on the reaction some people probably had to a certain earlier sentence. Doug Brook knows these would be different, and even farther reaching (or farther stretching), in Hebrew. But almost neither of you would’ve understood them. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, follow

NCJW, Hadassah hold joint program on end of life planning The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah New Orleans will jointly present “What I Want My Family to Know… Another Kind of Family Planning,” Jan. 26 at 9:30 am at Temple Sinai. The last in their series of end of life planning programs, this one is dedicated to questions young families have about the future, and issues that all families have when thinking ahead. Featured panelists are Rabbi Daniel Sherman of Temple Sinai; Melissa Pennebaker, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner at Touro Infirmary; Rose Sher, Estate Planning Specialist at Jones Walker; and Nancy Timm, LCSW, BACS, Clinical Social Worker and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor at Pelts, Kirkhart & Associates, LLC. Breakfast will be provided, courtesy of the Temple Sinai Sisterhood. Donations to help defray the costs will be accepted at the event. RSVPs are required and can be made by emailing or calling (504) 861-7788.

>> Green

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“The overwhelming response to this year’s Gala is a testament to the love Susan and Howard have spread out in the world, leaving so many of us eager to try and give just a little back to them in return,” Philipson said. Gala Master of Ceremonies Toby David, school librarian and JCDS Jewish Studies teacher, recognized the outstanding work of the six cochairs — Lis and Hugo Kahn, Rochelle and Mark Effron, and Tracey and Henry Smith. The Kahns and Effrons presented the Greens with a mosaic in appreciation for their gift and their counsel. President Carole Neff then brought Philipson, Green Preschool Director Avery Loss and the Greens to cut the symbolic ribbon celebrating the milestone of the opening of the new pre-school. Other key speakers were Lawrence M. Lehmann, president of the Jewish Endowment Foundation, Michael Zabalaoui, Erika Nolan, Rabbi Deborah Silver, and Rabbi Michael Cohen, who led the Hamotzi. Entertainment was provided by the NJBeats, an a capella group of Jewish Tulane students, the meal was catered by Dvash Catering, and the Sazerac Company sponsored the Hollywood Highball signature cocktail. January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


rear pew mirror • doug brook

What’s in a letter

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Since a long time ago in a galaxy not so far, far away, there’s been a long tradition of Star Wars fans debating every moment, every word and every instance of improvisational or editing genius that minimized the impact of George Lucas’s writing. Inspired by this, Jewish scholars have recently started examining the Torah more closely. They seek deeper or hidden meanings, or at least acknowledgement of Moses being a Jedi well-versed in The Force (see “Red Sea, parting of the”). Under such scrutiny, no word is safe — not even a letter. Along those lines, recent Jewish scholars have failed to deny that they tirelessly study the staggering impact just one letter can make in the meaning of critical passages in the Torah. To that end, the pre-eminent scholars busily translating the long-lost, recently-discovered Mishnah tractate Bava Gump have taken on a side hustle. After years of research which included almost several minutes of effort, they have discovered the real Ten Commandments. They determined that, through the course of time and the courts of King James, just one letter in each commandment was changed. Restoring that letter in each passage provides staggering insights into the true meaning of religion, theology and Super Bowl prognostication. For example, consider the earth-shaking voice at Sinai self-descriptively booming out, “I am The Loud, your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” The second commandment was actually more timeless than most people think, accounting not merely for ancient idol worship but also contemporary American Idol worship, in saying, “You shall have no other bods before me.” “You shall not take the name of the Lord in pain” seems at first to indicate the most likely time when people might invoke the Almighty appellation. However, this also means to not receive the omnipotent nomenclature from anyone who is causing pain. In other words, don’t put up with anyone doing harm in the name of The Name. On the seventh day, the Big G rested. What better way to commemorate that than in the location where everyone, except for parents of small children, get the most rest? With that in mind, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it homy.” “Donor thy father and thy mother;” that is, in their honor. Without this commandment, the synagogue library would just be called “library” and the social hall would be called “social hall.” What’s more, the unique names of Jewish Community Centers around the country would instead be based on something cryptic like their geography. “Thou shalt not murmer” is just good advice. Without it, there’s no better way to kill a conversation. Several people interpret naughtiness in “Thou shalt not omit adultery.” While there might be a lot to learn from those people about the relationship between double mitzvahs and double jeopardy, this is meant more simply to mean that one can’t leave out being an adult whenever called for in life. “Thou shalt not steam” seems like a boycott of dry cleaners, but is actually more commonly interpreted throughout this sentence as meaning that one should just not get angry.

There’s a reason to examine every letter of the Torah…

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January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



January 2020 • Southern Jewish Life