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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION

AN ORTHODOX CIVIL RIGHTS SHABBATON IN SELMA’S HISTORIC REFORM TEMPLE

RETIRING RABBIS JEWISH MARDI GRAS

INSIDE:

WOMEN’S MARCH

February 2017 Volume 27 Issue 2

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Mishkan Israel, Selma


2 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017


On his way out of office, on Jan. 17, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning who, as Private Bradley Manning in 2010, copied around 750,000 classified and sensitive documents from the U.S. military and sent them to Wikileaks, where they were published and led to all sorts of repercussions around the world, including exposure of agents helping the U.S. in various Middle East countries. Some credit the leaks with sparking the “Arab Spring.” For that espionage — some say whistleblowing — Manning was sentenced to 35 years. In commuting the sentence, Obama explained that the sentence was “disproportionate” to her crime, she “has served a tough prison sentence” and when she gets out in May after 7 years, “I feel very comfortable that justice has been served.” Consistency has never been a hallmark of government. Somewhere, Jonathan Pollard has to be saying “you’re kidding, right?” In the 1980s, Pollard was convicted of passing classified material to Israel. For passing the information on Arab capabilities to a U.S. ally, he receieved a life sentence, the only person to receive such a sentence for sending materials to an ally. Initially, Jewish groups were reluctant to rally around him, lest they be seen as condoning or excusing spying. But as the years went on and Pollard was mostly in solitary, more people started to point out how he was sentenced to far more than those convicted of spying for enemy states, and wondered why he was being treated so poorly. In 2015, Pollard was released after serving 30 years, but he still has onerous restrictions on him, including travel bans and constant monitoring. One has to wonder why Manning, whose espionage was far more damaging than Pollard’s, was released using the same arguments that were rejected for so many years Larry Brook in Pollard’s case. EDITOR/PUBLISHER

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February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 3


February 2017

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook editor@sjlmag.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green lee@sjlmag.com ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Stacey Mazin stacey@sjlmag.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook ginger@sjlmag.com SOCIAL/WEB Eugene Walter Katz eugene@sjlmag.com PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark deepsouthrabbi.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Joanie Bennett, Tally Werthan, Craig Pierce, Belle Freitag, Annabelle Fox, Doug Brook brookwrite.com 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 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 connect@sjlmag.com ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to Lee Green, 205/870.7889 or lee@sjlmag.com or Stacey Mazin, stacey@sjlmag.com 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 sjlmag.com, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2017. 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.

4 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017


agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events

On Jan. 20, the New Orleans Fire Department held a graduation ceremony at Temple Sinai for 30 new fire fighters. This was the first graduation class in over five years. Rabbi Matthew Reimer gave the opening invocation, and Mayor Mitch Landrieu was in attendance. Cantor Joel Colman, who is a chaplain with the fire department, said “having this graduation in a sacred space seems to bring on a special significance to these new fire fighters and families who attend the ceremony.”

Gates of Prayer Rabbi Loewy announces 2018 retirement A previously-announced Tree of Life sculpture dedication in honor of Rabbi Robert Loewy at Gates of Prayer in Metairie during the Jan. 6 Shabbat service became the first step in a transition process. In a Jan. 3 letter to the congregation, Loewy announced that he will be retiring at the end of June 2018. “After much thought, reflection and prayer, I have decided that it is time to begin the next phase of my life,” he said. “With mixed emotions, I have informed our synagogue leaders that I will be retiring” and become rabbi emeritus. The 18-month window will give the congregation time to “make preparations for a change of rabbinic leadership,” he said. Loewy has led Metairie’s Reform congregation since August 1984. Long tenures are not unusual for the congregation; Rabbi Nathaniel Share served Gates of Prayer from 1934 until his death in 1974, shortly after ground was broken on the current building as the congregation moved from New Orleans to Metairie. Before his 30th anniversary in 2014, Loewy also noted that Rabbi Mendel Silber served the congrega-

tion from 1914 to 1934 and remained as emeritus until 1963. Gates of Prayer Cantorial Soloist Victoria May has also been musical director since 1987. At the 2014 event, Loewy also noted that in 1984, “Ronald Reagan was president of the United States; Yitzhak Shamir was prime minister of Israel; Alex Schindler was president of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (which is now called the Union for Reform Judaism) and Bum Phillips was coach of the Saints. The Cold War with the Soviet Union was still strong, as the Berlin Wall stood tall. Only the military and big business had computers.” A New York native, Loewy was ordained in 1977. Before arriving in Metairie, he was assistant rabbi and associate rabbi at Congregation Emanu El in Houston. Loewy has been president of the Southwest Association of Reform Rabbis, the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council and New Orleans Jewish Day School, chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation Rabbi Robert Loewy, middle, and his sister, of Greater New Orleans, officer and program Susan Ingram and brother, Joseph Loewy at chair for the Central Conference of American the dedication of the Tree of Life sculpture.

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5


agenda

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Rabbis, secretary of the Greater Houston Rabbinical Association, board member of ARZA and the Dillard University Center for Black/Jewish Relations, and Jewish Chautauqua Society Lecturer at the University of New Orleans. He is also active with the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association, board member of the Jewish Community Day School, Henry S. Jacobs Camp, New Orleans Women’s Shelter, Jewish Family Service and the East Jefferson General Hospital Pastoral Counseling Program. He is a Chautauqua Society Lecturer at Loyola University. The painted copper Tree of Life sculpture was placed in the lobby over the entrance to the sanctuary. The sculpture was donated by Susan Ingram and Joseph Loewy, Rabbi Loewy’s siblings, in recognition of “the special relationship between the Loewy family and Gates of Prayer for over three decades.” Loewy commented the sculpture is “reflective of the values I have striven to teach and emulate.” As emeritus, Loewy said he will continue to be linked to the congregation, “primarily by helping my successor succeed. I can only hope for him/her the kind of wonderful rabbinate that I have enjoyed throughout my career.” Last summer, Rabbi Edward Cohn retired after 29 years at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, and in late December, Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El announced that he will retire this summer, in his 27th year at Alabama’s largest Jewish congregation.

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Shir Chadash installing Rabbi Silver Shir Chadash in Metairie will officially install Rabbi Deborah Silver on a holiday of renewal, Tu B’Shevat weekend. Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, associate dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, will install Silver and lead educational opportunities. Peretz’s visit is underwritten by the Sandy Kahn Memorial Fund. Services on Feb. 10 will be at 6:15 p.m., followed by a dinner and Tu B’Shevat Seder. Advance dinner reservations are required, and are $20 for adults, $10 for ages 6 to 13, free for 5 and under. Rabbi Deborah Silver The installation will take place during the 9:30 a.m. service on Feb. 11. A lunch will follow, with an emphasis on local fruits and vegetables. A class, led by Peretz, will meet after lunch. On Feb. 12, the community is invited to a family planting ceremony with the religious school, at 10:50 a.m.


agenda P H Y S I C I A N

P R O F I L E

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Peretz is a regular contributor to Today’s Torah, the Ziegler School’s virtual Torah learning program. She has served as a pulpit rabbi in Los Angeles area synagogues such as Sinai Temple, and most recently as interim rabbi at Adat Shalom in West Los Angeles. A native of England, Silver is believed to be the first British woman ordained at the Ziegler School. She was ordained in 2010 and came to Metairie from Adat Ari El Synagogue in Valley Village, Calif. Silver has a Master’s degree in Hebrew Rabbi Cheryl Peretz Studies from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, England, and an MA in Theory and Practice of Literary Translation from the University of Essex, England. At Ziegler, she co-edited the “Walking With” series of books with Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson. She also taught ethics at the Conejo Valley Florence Melton Adult Mini-School.

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Students elect to find their own interests at Torah Academy Long before this publication existed, its founder started a school newspaper at his Jewish Day School in Birmingham. That is the goal of student electives, said Rivkie Chesney, director of development at Torah Academy in Metairie. Electives “give students the opportunity to find out where their talents and interests lie, and overall, to expose them to an eclectic group of subjects so that we educate well-rounded individuals who are knowledgeable in many areas.” To help students find their inner passions and interests, Torah Academy launched its electives program this year. Starting in September, the students were given a variety of activities to choose from that go beyond their regular curriculum. The choices were Mad Science with science teacher Jamie Malveaux, where the students explored in a hands-on fashion, with different materials and chemical reactions; and Newspaper Club with curriculum director Debbie Simon, where the students wrote their own school newspaper complete with fun activities, informative articles about the student body, and advertisements for the eighth grade fundraising campaigns. The final choice was the Drama Club, where the students learned acting techniques with Rachel Crosbie-Ferguson, whose educational background and degree is in drama. Using the techniques learned, they put on the school’s Chanukah production before the holiday. With the start of the second semester, the students will have the opportunity to switch their elective. The new options include French Language with Yuliya Yastremskaya, who has her degree in teaching French. Malveaux will be teaching a class in robotics, and Lina Warshawski will be leading the coding elective, where the students will get to learn the basics for computer and app coding.

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agenda Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans announced its Rhythm and Soul Gala on May 21 will honor Ellie Wainer and Teen Life Counts, the agency’s suicide prevention program. The gala will be at the Audubon Tea Room. Invitations and ticket information will be available soon.

Hadassah Baton Rouge will have a Tu B’Shevat Seder on Feb. 12 at 11 a.m., at the Hilltop Arboretum. The program will be about heart health, with speakers Joy Feldman of New Orleans and Ellen Bander.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have its next Shabbat Kumsitz on Feb. 10, a monthly Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Tu B’She- gathering of communal singing and dinner after vat Seder on Feb. 12 at 4:30 p.m. the 6 p.m. Shabbat services.

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The next open house for prospective students Beth Israel in Metairie will have a kid-friendat Jewish Community Day School in Metairie ly Mardi Gras-style Shabbat dinner on Feb. 24 will be on Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. after the 5:30 p.m. service. After dinner, a group The next TRIBE Shabbat for the 20s/30s will walk to the parade route to watch the Cencommunity will be on Feb. 10 at Fulton Alley in turions. Dinner reservations are $18 per family.

New Orleans. There will be drinks and appetizThe next Morris Bart Sr. Lecture at the Upers at 7 p.m., a musical Shabbat service at 7:30 town JCC in New Orleans will be on Feb. 13, p.m., and bowling afterward. “Goods of Every Description: Shopping in New Nick May, originally of Metairie but living in Orleans.” Lydia Blackmore will speak about the Baton Rouge for the last five years, has a crowd- exhibit by that name at The Historic New Orfunding page for “Be Heard,” his debut album leans Collection, describing the goods available of Jewish music. The Jacobs Camp alumnus re- from 1825 to 1925 in New Orleans. A lunch is available with reservations by Feb. 9. The procently released an EP, “This Beauty.” gram will start at 11:45 a.m. Jewish Community Day School in Metairie At the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, will celebrate Tu B’Shevat with a community Alon Shaya of New Orleans is hosting “Burnt Living Green Family Festival, Feb. 12 from Ends: Kosher BBQ Dinner” at the Chabad in noon to 2 p.m. There will be a petting zoo, envidowntown Miami, on Feb. 23. Tickets are $300. ronmental booths, demonstrations of green garA dinner he is hosting on Feb. 24 with Sara Jendening and lunch will be available for purchase kins and Missy Robbins is sold out. from Kosher Cajun.

Plot twists in “Shrek 2” writer’s personal story While Emmy Award nominee David Weiss might be best known for writing animated blockbusters, his own story is filled with plot twists. He will tell his tale at “Shrek of a Trek,” Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at The Red Shoes, hosted by Chabad of Baton Rouge. Among his writing credits are “Shrek 2,” “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius,” the “Rugrats Movies,” “The Smurfs” and “Smurfs 2.” Raised Jewish in California, he became a Christian youth worker after converting at age 18. He went to film school to learn how to use

that medium to promote Christianity — but things worked out differently. As a screenwriter, he returned to his Jewish roots. As he put it, “When you find yourself under a wedding chupah with a gorgeous blonde in a Presbyterian church being married by a ‘Jews for Jesus rabbi,’ something has to give.” He says being an observant Jew in an uncertain place like Hollywood has given him “stability and confidence.” Tickets are $25, free to LSU undergraduates.

On Jan. 15, Hadassah New Orleans held a “Year of the Woman, Women Who Do” advocacy breakfast celebrating local advocates and the changes they have made in the community. Panel members were Teri Gross, Michelle Erenberg, Senator J.P. Morrell, Julie Schwam Harris, Joan Berenson and Evette Ungar.


Do you have peace of mind? Second wave of JCC bomb threats includes Birmingham

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Campus evacuated for several hours on Jan. 18 A week after 16 Jewish Community Centers in nine states received bomb threats, a second wave of threats was reported at 27 JCCs in 17 states. The second wave included Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center, which shut down for several hours. Nothing suspicious was found at any of the JCCs. The LJCC received the call after 9 a.m. on Jan. 18, and immediately “went into our protocol,” said Betzy Lynch, executive director of the LJCC. Authorities were notified and responded “immediately,” and the entire building was evacuated in less than five minutes. The Cohn Early Childhood Education Center and N.E. Miles Jewish Day School students were taken to a designated place to await their parents. It wasn’t an easy task — the early childhood students had been scattered everywhere from the swimming pool to recess outside. Some of the youngest children were rolled out in their cribs. Lynch said they have procedures that have been practiced regularly for many years, and it was simply a matter of executing the plan. Especially because of the previous week’s threats elsewhere, “we weren’t surprised,” she said. “We were prepared.” They notified all parents to pick up their children because the process of searching the building would take far longer than they could reasonably keep the children outside, Lynch noted. Day School students also helped look after and entertain the preschoolers. Police and the FBI checked the entire 110,000-square-foot building, and bomb-sniffing dogs waited outside in case anything suspicious was found. The building was declared clear just before noon, and the LJCC reopened, except for the preschool. Lynch praised the Birmingham and Mountain Brook Police, the K-9 unit and the FBI. “We’re incredibly thankful for their response.” Richard Friedman, executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, praised the Early Childhood staff for an “amazing job in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty.” Friedman, who had just arrived at the campus when the building was evacuated, said they were able to move small children “in a fairly complicated operation and did it with good spirit and success.” After the all-clear, as the staff made their way back from where they had assembled, Lynch stood on the side of Montclair Road exclaiming “I salute all of you, amazing job!” Friedman said “any parent could be comforted by the love, TLC and professionalism” of the staff at the JCC and Day School. After a debriefing, Lynch issued an alert to the community about how to handle the situation if another threat is received. “We ask all staff, users, parents of students, and anyone else present on the campus or aware of the situation not to post anything on Facebook or through any other form of social media, insofar as such actions have the potential to broaden our exposure.” The schools will alert parents directly as to what they need to do, and they cautioned against posting logistics or locations on social media. On Jan. 9, 16 JCCs were threatened by phoned-in bomb threats,

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community including Atlanta, Nashville, Columbia, S.C. and four in Florida. Nashville taken seriously and investigated closely, thus far we are not aware of any was on the list again on Jan. 18, along with Miami. of these threats being substantiated.” The Secure Community Network reported “I am hopeful that the national profile of that the second time, the caller seemed to these incidents will allow the FBI to dedicate be a live person, instead of the recorded resources to finding the person or group message the previous week. responsible for these threats,” Lynch said. Also among the affected JCCs the In a Jan. 26 national briefing, the FBI second time were Cincinnati, Baltimore, stated they are investigating the threats as Albany, Syracuse, West Hartford, Orlando, a hate crime, not as terrorist threat. With Minneapolis and Detroit. that classificaton, additional funding and David Posner, director of strategic resources are available for state and local performance at JCC Association of North investigations. America, the umbrella organization for The FBI will also make a presentation at JCCs, said “While we’re extremely proud the JCCA convention in March. of our JCCs for professionally handling “Obviously, we take the threats very yet another threatening situation, we are seriously. We are required to,” Lynch added. concerned about the anti-Semitism behind However, “we fully intend to operate the way these threats. While the bombs in question we always have and always will.” are hoaxes, the calls are not. We know that Heading back to the LJCC after the all-clear Ashfaq Taufique, president of the law enforcement at both the local and Birmingham Islamic Society, sent a statement national level are continuing to investigate the ongoing situation. We are of “support and solidarity” with the Jewish community. “I promise you that relieved that no one has been harmed and that JCCs continue to operate you will find a friend among us, as we need to stand together in solidarity in a way that puts the safety of their staff, visitors, and premises first.” and combat the hate and fear that is becoming a norm in our society.” The Anti-Defamation League issued a security advisory to Jewish Moving forward during a time of increased turmoil, the JCC’s role is to institutions. “Although so far these threats do not appear to be credible, bring positive feelings into the community, Lynch said. “The JCC hopes we are recommending that Jewish communal institutions review their to be that little flame of light in the darkness, to help people get to know security procedures and remain in close contact with law enforcement,” each other and feel good.” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “While each incident needs to be The JCC’s goal is for “people to understand each other.”

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On the walking tour outside Brown Chapel AME Church

Praying with their feet:

Shabbat in Selma

If Selma needs a tourism spokesman, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of Ohev Shalom, the National Synagogue in Washington, would be a likely candidate. After leading a 125-person delegation from Washington and Atlanta on a civil rights Shabbaton during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, Herzfeld called it “one of the most powerful, intense and emotional experiences of my life.” He also wonders why more congregations don’t make similar trips, and asserts that “every Jewish Day School in the country should take their classes to Selma, Montgomery, Birmingham.” The Orthodox congregation held services at Selma’s only synagogue, the 117-year-old Mishkan Israel. The classical Reform congregation has about seven Jews remaining in the town and holds services infrequently. There was also a Shabbat morning walking tour, which culminated in a crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday clash. Herzfeld said the trip’s inspiration came last summer when David Duke, who has criticized Herzfeld personally in the past, ran for Senate in Louisiana. Herzfeld felt the best antidote is to educate about the past, especially to children. A significant number of children took part in the weekend. The group flew into Atlanta on Jan. 13, then went to Montgomery to tour the Rosa Parks Museum and Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. In addition to the Ohev Shalom members, Rabbi Uri Topolosky of Beth Joshua in suburban Washington was on the trip, accompanied by one member of his congregation — she explained that most people at the small congregation of young families has very small children and could not make such a trip. While in Montgomery, Topolosky posed with his two children on the steps of the Alabama Capitol, a reprise of a photo they took several years ago when he was rabbi of Beth Israel in Metairie and took them on a trip to Alabama. There were also 20 students from George Washington University’s

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 11


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Hillel and Multicultural Students Services Center. A couple of Knesseth Israel members from Birmingham, where the group would have a postShabbat gathering on Jan. 14, also spent Shabbat in Selma. Rabbi Adam Starr of Young Israel of Toco Hills in Atlanta brought about 20 members to the Montgomery part of the trip, returning to Atlanta before Shabbat. Jackson Richman, a GWU senior, joined the group in Montgomery, relating that he took an Uber from the airport to the hotel. During their conversation, the driver mentioned that his father had been in the U.S. Army in Germany during World War II, so Richman told him that his grandparents had survived the Holocaust. The driver then said his father had helped liberate Dachau — so Richman told him that his grandfather had been in Dachau, “and thanked him, and his father, in spirit, from the bottom of my heart and my family’s.” The group traveled to Selma where they checked into their rooms, then had time to take a bus to Mishkan Israel before Shabbat began. The sanctuary was mostly full for Shabbat evening, with the visitors, the few Mishkan Israel members and some local dignitaries. Ronnie Leet, president of Mishkan Israel, welcomed the group, after which Topolosky led the spirited Shabbat evening service. This was the first time there has been a mechitza separating men and women at Mishkan Israel, in the form of a plastic drape laid across the top of the pews down the middle of the room. All of the Orthodox prayer books had to be brought in. Topolosky referenced the famous quote by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with King in Selma in 1965 and reflected that it was like praying with his feet. With that spirit, he said, the service would be a foot-stomping experience. The traditional service, far different than the mainly-English Reform Union Prayer Book service done for decades in that space, echoed off the walls. At the end of Lecha Dodi, dancing circles broke out on both sides of the sanctuary for several minutes. “Praying in Mishkan Israel was very powerful,” Herzfeld said, “and it was beautiful for the prayers to be filling the sanctuary.” At Shabbat dinner, mayor Darrin Melton spoke of the town as “the birthplace of democracy” because before Selma, not everyone had the right to vote. He felt right at home during the service, saying “It was just like my own church.” Herzfeld urged the mayor to support efforts to preserve Mishkan Israel, for its place in Selma history and its possibilities as a home for visiting Jewish groups. Also speaking to the group was Susan Youngblood, from Selma’s city council. She proclaimed that she was “in awe” of being among so many of “God’s chosen people,” who had overcome so much throughout history. After referring to the Holocaust, Youngblood asked how many in the room had ancestors in the Holocaust. She was visibly stunned when over one-third of those in the room raised their hands. At the dinner, like so many times throughout the weekend, singing and dancing broke out, with traditional Jewish songs of brotherhood and unity mixed with songs from the civil rights movement. In what is likely a first, at the start of the lunch Birkat, the prayer after meals, on Jan. 14, the introductory paragraph, “Shir HaMa’alot,” was done to the tune of “We Shall Overcome.” After the morning service on Jan. 14, the group walked to the Selma Interpretive Center and met their guide for the walking tour, Joanne Bland. A co-founder of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Bland was 11 years old when the Selma to Montgomery march occurred, and she was on the bridge for Bloody Sunday. By then, she had already been arrested 13 times. Bland spoke of losing her mother at an early age, because she needed a blood transfusion and they had to wait for some “black blood” to be


community shipped in from Birmingham. Her grandmother was active in civil rights, but Bland said she didn’t understand what freedom the movement was talking about, because she knew Lincoln had freed the slaves. She recalled looking through the window at the lunch counter at Carter’s Drug Store, wishing she could sit there. When she was told that was the freedom they were fighting for, she instantly became an activist. One of the stops was at a boarded-up building that used to house a black restaurant. It was there that Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian minister from Massachusetts who came to Selma in 1965, ate while in town for the demonstrations. After the meal, Bland said, Reeb headed north instead of south, passing by a white restaurant where segregationists saw him and two fellow ministers, and beat them. He died from his injuries two days later. At the memorial to Reeb between the two buildings, Topolosky led an impromptu recitation of the “El Malei,” the memorial prayer. The furthest point on the walking tour was Brown Chapel AME Church, which was the civil rights headquarters. Surrounded on all sides by housing projects, it was seen as a safe place, because anyone looking to attack the facility would be noticed by residents. After returning to the interpretive center, the group walked across the bridge, two by two as was done in 1965. Some sang “Hinei Ma Tov.” Herzfeld had kept his tallit on for the crossing. That afternoon, the group visited the Jackson House, where King and Heschel stayed the night before the march. On Jan. 15, the group headed back to Atlanta, stopping at the King Center and chanting Psalm 23 in Hebrew at King’s grave. About 40 Young Israel members joined them before the group flew back to Washington. While many Jewish groups do civil rights tours of the South and stop in Selma for a couple of hours, Herzfeld said by staying over Shabbat and spending time walking in Selma gave them a much greater experience and sense of the place. As the large group walked up and down Broad Street, they were greeted by locals. Reuven Walder said “When we walked through the neighborhoods, I spoke to many people — not just perfunctory greetings but conversations We need to do more of this.” Based on conversations — and Shabbat remarks the next week — the story that made the biggest impression was Bland’s recollection of a shoe store on Broad Street, which had a pair of shoes she desperately wanted. Finally, her grandmother took a string and measured her foot, and they went to the store with that string. The eager Bland grabbed one of “her shoes” and started to try it on, but was quickly yanked

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community out of the shoe. It turned out the shoe was not the right size — but they had to buy them anyway, because the store owner said they could not be sold to a white person since her foot had been in it. “That shoe store isn’t there any more,” she chuckled to her astonished audience. “Hearing her story, so powerfully told in the exact spot where it took place was unforgettable,” said Sarah Gershman, an Adjunct Professor of Communications at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. The next week, Topolosky tied Bland’s story to the weekly portion, where Moses is instructed by God to remove his shoes at the Burning Bush. “I discussed the idea of taking the time to stand in someone else’s shoes, to appreciate their story.” He also referenced the speech King gave the night before he was assassinated, when he called civil rights activists a “burning bush.” David Suissa of the Jewish Journal in Los Angeles, who is friends with Herzfeld, went on the trip with his teenage daughter. He focused on the Saturday walk through Selma, with the ideas of hope and despair — the hope that came from civil rights victories, but the despair evident in seeing so many abandoned buildings and broken homes in the economicallydepressed area. He did find hope in the words of Melton and his plans to improve the city. To have such a weekend in Selma, many hurdles had to be overcome. Everything from kosher food to being able to observe Shabbat had to be considered. Avril Weisman, who coordinated the trip, said “it was an involved process involving many people and many calls back and forth, but I think it worked well in the end.”  A truck delivered all the meals from a kosher caterer in Atlanta, and the Selma Convention Center became the venue for meals. “With the assistance of Convention Center staff, we had kosher, delicious hot meals for Shabbat,” she said. Harris Cohen, who oversaw the meals, also stopped by Costco in Atlanta to get snacks for Shabbat morning Kiddush at Mishkan Israel, before the walking tour. A bigger hurdle was hotel rooms, as there aren’t many options close to downtown Selma, and it also depends on the definition of “walking distance.” A few stayed at the St. James Hotel a few blocks away, a historic 42room facility currently owned by the city and in the midst of ownership disputes while needing a major renovation. The bulk of the group stayed at a motel over a mile away, with the motel staff taking charge of the key cards during Shabbat. Naturally, Selma does not have an eruv, so those who are Shabbat-observant could not carry anything. “Most of the logistics and timing for events worked well,” Weisman said. “The mayor and people of Selma were so kind and gracious.” The lengthy walks back and forth through the city were escorted by the Selma police, and even motorists stuck at intersections seemed unfazed. Herzfeld said the logistics of the weekend were a challenge, “but it’s doable.” “I really recommend this type of experience for other congregations,” Herzfeld said. He floated the idea that Mishkan Israel could become a center for Jewish groups that come to Selma, and perhaps it should be dedicated in memory of Rabbi Joseph Gumbiner. Gumbiner had been rabbi of Mishkan Israel for eight years in the 1930s. In March 1965, he returned to Selma with three other rabbis from California, to take part in the civil rights protests, much to the consternation of his former congregants. Though King’s legacy was a major feature of the weekend, a recurring theme was how King could not have accomplished so much without the foot soldiers in each community who were agitating for change in their own cities.


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February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 15


community JCRS Gala to honor “Past, Present and Future” Jewish Children’s Regional Service continues its Jewish Roots series of gala events with “Past, Present and Future” on April 1. The gala will be at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans, and is expected to attract 500 people from the New Orleans community and across the region, as the New Orleans-based social service organization holds its annual meeting the next morning. This will be the sixth Jewish Roots event, this time honoring the past, current and future leaders of the organization including its former presidents and Scholarship Committee chairpersons. The agency provides need-based scholarships for Jewish overnight summer camp experiences, undergraduate college assistance and “special needs” aid for Jewish communities in a seven-state region. The agency also coordinates PJ Library in the region, in communities not otherwise served by a local group. Last year, around 54 percent of the approximately 1,000 Jewish youth ages 17 and under in Greater New Orleans received at least one JCRS service. In all, the agency served or funded over 1,600 Jewish children in the region, in more than 200 communities. The event will feature a cocktail reception and seated dinner created by Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts and their family of restaurants, including Broussard’s, The Bombay Club, Kingfish, Tommy’s Cuisine, and Marché. The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Jazz Ensemble will entertain and there will be a testimonial from a JCRS “Success Story,” as well as a silent auction featuring once-in-a-lifetime vacations and more. Patron tickets are currently available, with levels starting at $250. Young patron tickets, for age 35 and under, are $75. For further information, visit jcrs.org.

Miss. State Hillel seeks Jewish scholarship funds Hillel at Mississippi State University announced the establishment of a new scholarship through the Mississippi State University Foundation, the “Hillel Student Scholarship.” This scholarship aims to attract Jewish students from across the nation to join the Bulldog family and commit themselves to Hillel, according to Hillel President Jacob Craig. To endow the scholarship in perpetuity, the Hillel is looking to raise at least $25,000, and it must be done within a five-year period. Donations can be made to the MSU Foundation, designated for the Hillel Scholarship Fund. Online donations can be given at msufoundation.com. 16 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017


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18 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2017


February 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 19


20 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2017


From Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans Staff Updates JFS is pleased to welcome three new interns in the Behavioral Health Intern Training Center. Elizabeth Black, Katey Blagden and Melanie McClellan are all masters-level social work students from area universities. They join four current interns in the program who all provide counseling services to the public, while increasing their clinical experience.

Senior Care Planning

The New jfsneworleans.org site! JFS has launched a new website this new year. Take an online tour! A sampling of what you’ll find includes current information on JFS programs, services and educational events, as well as interactive forms and a blog. Updates were made to provide you valuable information in a user-friendly format. Let us know what you think!

For Social Workers, Counselors, and Mental Health Professionals:

New at JFS! EMDR Training With Carol Miles, MSW, LCSW A 6-day intensive training, teaching Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Upon finishing this training, therapists will be able to understand and apply EMDR principles in their own practice. Part 1: February 15–17, 2017

Part 2: March 29-31, 2017

This training will provide 42 CEU hours towards the requirements for certification of completion. 10 additional hours of consultation required. Total price: $1200 Location: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie For more information, call (504) 831-8475 or visit http://www. jfsneworleans.org/emdr-training/

2017 Spring Continuing Education Series at JFS • Ethics, presented by Dana DelaBretonne, LPC. March 17, 8:45 a.m.-noon • Working with At-Risk Adolescents, presented by Marvin W. Cliffors, PhD, LCSW. May 19, 8:45 a.m.-noon Participants will receive 3 CEUs for each event. Pricing: $60 for 1 event, $110 for 2 events. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information, call (504) 831-8475, or visit http://www. jfsneworleans.org/spring-2017-workshops/

Making informed decisions doesn’t have to be overwhelming Navigating life transitions can be overwhelming and emotional for families with aging loved ones. Senior Care Planning at JFS can help you determine the best resources and services to plan for your family’s future and care. Learn more about area resources for: • Home-based Services • Residential Care Options • Financial Planning • Downsizing and Real Estate • Health Insurance • Alzheimer’s Resources • Mental Health Services • Caregiver Support This program is offered on a sliding-fee scale, based on household income. Phone and Skype appointments are available for caregivers residing outside of the Greater New Orleans area. Contact Rachel Lazarus Eriksen, LCSW, or Fran Dinehart, LCSW, at (504) 831-8475.

Homemaker Program Homemaker is a light housekeeping and transportation service for older or disabled adults, which has been a core program of Jewish Family Service since 1975. Reliable and compassionate assistance is available for older adults in the Greater New Orleans area. Each Homemaker visit lasts 2 hours 15 minutes, and can be scheduled on a weekly or twice-a-month basis. Services include: dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and transportation for running errands. The Homemaker program is offered on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. For more information, please contact Fran Dinehart at (504) 831-8475, or email Fran@jfsneworleans.com.

JFS Partners with JCDS to offer Parenting Workshops Positive Discipline

March 2, 2:30-3:30 p.m. Beyond reward and punishment, positive discipline techniques promote respect between parent and child, teach constructive behavior and self-regulation, and model healthy communication and social skills. This workshop will discuss the use of positive discipline techniques to help parents encourage their children’s efforts and prevent power struggles and conflict. Location: Goldring-Woldenberg JCC, Metairie With Laura Kulick, LMSW, JCDS School Counselor. RSVP via email to Laura Ungar at Lungar@jcdsnola.org

February 2017 •The Jewish Newsletter 21


From the Jewish Community Center Compete in the JCC Maccabi Games Jewish teens ages 13 to 16 are invited to be part of the New Orleans JCC delegation at the Birmingham Maccabi Games, held July 30 to August 4. Come experience sports, social events, service and fun at the largest gathering of Jewish teens in the world. Participants can compete in either individual or group sports. For the boys, team options include 14U and 16U baseball, basketball and soccer, and 16U flag football. Girls may participate in 16U basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. Boys and girls of all ages may compete in the following individual activities: dance, golf, tennis, swimming, star reporter, table tennis, and track and field.

JCC Summer Camp 2017

Sign up by March 1 to secure your teen’s spot in this incredible experience. To register or to learn more about the New Orleans delegation, please visit www.nojcc.org or contact J. Morgan, Director of Sports and Wellness, at (504) 897-0143 or jmorgan@nojcc.org.

Registration for JCC Summer Day Camps opens to the community on Feb. 15. Located at both the Uptown and Metairie campuses, the JCC Summer Day Camps have enriched the lives of children and teens for decades, providing a chance to make memories that last a lifetime as campers have fun, explore their interests, and make new friends. Tailoring programs to match the changing needs of children from toddlers to preteens, the JCC packs summer days with a variety of games and activities including sports, art, drama, music, cooking, science, Israeli culture and daily swimming. Campers ages 3 and up receive swim instruction from American Red Cross certified Water Safety Instructors. Older campers enjoy weekly field trips, an overnight at the JCC, and a day trip to Blue Bayou Water Park. A separate Sports Camp is offered to campers entering grades 3 to 5. These campers focus on sports but also swim each day, participate in Oneg Shabbat performances, and join the main camp for both the overnight and the Blue Bayou trip. The 2017 summer camp runs June 5 to July 28. So that camp fun can fit with family schedules, registration is now customizable, allowing families to sign up for the weeks that best fit their needs. Early Childhood and General Day Campers must enroll in a minimum of four weeks, but those weeks do not need to be consecutive. For teens entering grades 6 to 8, weekly options focus on a specific topic or activity and include the following choices: Tennis, Musical Theater, Adventure Trips, #HashtagArt, Culinary Creations, Strength and Conditioning, Color War, Acting for the Camera, Emoji Art, Fitness, and Wacky Science! Early morning and afternoon care are also available for campers. Applications and deposits will be accepted online. Register by April 14 to receive the ‘early bird discount.’ Teens who register for four or more weeks receive $100 off their total tuition. Visit www.nojcc.org to learn more about the fun that awaits campers during a summer at the J! 22 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2017

Win a JCC Membership at the Uptown Classic Registration is now open for the fifth annual Uptown Classic 5K & Family Fun Run presented by the JCC on Sunday, March 5. Held at the beautiful Audubon Park due to construction at the Uptown JCC, this year’s race features live music by local rock and roll band Darcy Malone & The Tangle. The fun post-race party includes food, refreshments, and entertainment all ages can enjoy. Prizes will be awarded in each age group and the grand prize for the top male and female finisher is a one-year gold membership at the JCC. In addition to the special family rate, registration options include a team/corporate discount allowing groups of five or more people to sign up together at a reduced price. The ‘early bird’ rate expires soon, so register today at www.nolarunning.com and be part of a great day combining all the things we love at the JCC — fitness, family, friends and fun! As an added bonus, we’ll waive the initiation fee for anyone who registers for the race and then joins the JCC as a new Gold member! Just show the registration confirmation to our desk staff to receive your discount.


50

From the Jewish Endowment Foundation

Save the Date for JEF’s Annual Event — 50th Anniversary! On Sunday, March 19, the Jewish Endowment Foundation will celebrate its 50th Anniversary at the Westin Canal Place. It’s hard to believe that 50 years ago, a few forward thinking leaders established JEF as an endowment to help Jewish organizations in our community, and today JEF has assets of over $50 million. This year our annual event will be especially festive. The celebration will include a video chronicling the history of JEF and will honor JEF’s past presidents for their commitment and hard work during their tenure.

Andrea Lestelle, JEF’s new president, announced that Cathy Bart will chair JEF’s 50th birthday celebration and promises it will be “very special and an event you won’t want to miss.” Invitations will be mailed in mid-February. Reservations are $55 per person and $550 for a table of 10. Patron reservations are $150 per person. For more information or to make a reservation, please call Ellen Abrams at (504) 524-4559. Reservations may be made online at www.jefno.org. Please note that space is limited, so make your reservations early!

JEF 50th Anniversary Challenge Grant from the Rittenberg Family In celebration of JEF’s 50th anniversary in 2017, Leon R. Rittenberg, Jr., through the Rittenberg Family Foundation, is offering JEF a very generous challenge grant in support of its General Fund.

The Rittenberg Family Foundation will match all gifts to JEF’s General Fund made by March 1, 2017, up to a total of $50,000. As a past president of JEF, Leon knows the importance of the General Fund. JEF is very grateful to Leon and his family for this wonderful gift.

The Rittenberg Family Foundation has given us an outstanding opportunity to increase the General Fund to support the present and secure the future of our Jewish community. Please join us in this challenge — no gift is too small or too large. Every dollar you give will be matched by the Rittenberg Family Foundation up to $50,000. This is a golden opportunity for JEF and the community’s Jewish donors and organizations!

From Tulane Hillel

Through JEF’s General Fund, grants are made to many organizations for services and programs that are important to the Jewish community, including Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Day School, Tulane Hillel, the Jewish Community Center, and many others. The grants given by JEF are for specific ongoing

programs and services, as well as for new initiatives. After Katrina, JEF allocated $500,000 to area synagogues and made a $1 million grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Without the General Fund, we wouldn’t have been able to offer this vital support.

February 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 23


From Jewish Community Day School A “STEAMY” Sunday @ JCDS with PJ Library!

Mazel Tov to JCDS Alumna Leah Sterbcow! Leah became a Bat Mitzvah on Jan. 14 at Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation. Friends and family traveled from all over the country to celebrate. Guests were moved as Leah led all of the Shabbat service, read the entire Torah portion, chanted the Haftarah, and presented her sophisticated D’var Torah! Leah was first introduced to the practice of tikkun olam (repairing our world) as a Jewish Community Day School kindergartner. During the year of her bat mitzvah, Leah committed to a tikkun olam project that was close to her heart. She shares her passion for theater with young children by volunteering at Upturn Arts. Leah, JCDS wishes a hearty Mazel Tov to you and your family and the blessing that you will continue to flourish as you become all you are meant to be. “From our babies to our graduates, we instill a lifetime love of learning.”

Above: Benny D, JCDS Kindergartner, explores the Magnetic Slime on STEAM Sunday In addition to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, STEAM stands for FUN! More than 50 children enjoyed hands-on projects such as bubble wand engineering, experimentation to produce the perfect bubble solution, creating fireworks in a jar, making and investigating the properties of magnetic slime (messy! Very messy!), and exploring Did you know that Jewish Community texture in the sensory table. Jennifer Ritter from PJ Library integrated learning about Day School is a member of Prizmah, the Parshat Noah and then helped children create floating arks with found materials! new umbrella network for North American Pizza from Waffles on Maple and a Mad-Scientist-Ice-Cream-Bar satisfied hunger after Jewish day schools? Prizmah has one missuch an exciting morning. sion — to position Jewish day schools as the number one choice for Jewish families in their communities. Prizmah members may participate in selective programs that provide ongoing education with expert coaches helping track data and analyze results!

Bugs in the JCDS art system… If things of a creepy-crawly nature leave you feeling a little unsettled, be careful visiting JCDS! Insects are everywhere! 12”x18” images of HUGE beetles are on display and looking a little uncomfortably life-like. Any unease you may experience will quickly be replaced as the details of these student-created creepy-crawlies jump off the page.

grades Pre.K to 4 were encouraged to enlarge the beetle while capturing as many details as possible.

Has JCDS seen tangible outcomes? Well, they are welcoming back the 5th grade next year, applications have doubled over 2016, and the annual Gala, held in November, was their most successful fundraiser to date! Though small, JCDS has gained national recognition for excellence. A member of the editorial board of its education journal, HaYidion, Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Sharon Pollin was recently tapped to serve on a panel alongside Rabbi Mitchel Malkus (Charles E Smith in Washington) and Steve Freedman (Hillel in Detroit) at the North American Jewish Day School conference. Pollin will represent heads of small schools where she will share the inspiring story and of the Jewish Community Day School of Greater New Orleans — New Orleans’ own “Little School that Can!”

The project is a continuation of Clark’s current teaching focus to support children’s developing artistic skills in shading, blocking, scaling and pattern making. Meanwhile, children enhance their capacity to This current art project was designed by concentrate while deeply engaged in an JCDS Art Teacher Chris Clark, to help chil- activity they love. dren focus in on the tiny details of the natWorks are displayed by grade level. This ural world around them and recreate them presentation demonstrates graduated motor on paper. The work began with a tiny 3-inch skills from grade to grade. JCDS students Thanks to Prizmah, our generous donors, black and white square picture of a beetle. take great pride in their compositions, and our wonderful families and community, we Using only an Ebony pencil, students in adore learning from Ms. Clark. all look forward to a bright Jewish future! 24 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2017


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Though the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington and its 700 spinoff local marches around the world were on Shabbat, there was still a hefty turnout from the Jewish community, with some from the region making the trek to the nation’s capital. Having been in New Hampshire during the primaries and in Philadelphia for the Democrat National Convention, Huntsville’s Larisa Thomason wasn’t looking for another road trip. “But as I watched president-elect Trump’s behavior during the transition, I became really concerned about the future. As he began appointing advisors and making cabinet nominations, I became frightened for the future of the country and the world.” She figures making an issue “all about Trump” seems to be the only way to get his attention. Michelle Erenberg, NCJW Vice President of Advocacy, was among those marching in Washington. While some Jewish groups did not officially sign on as partners in the march because of Shabbat, NCJW was a co-sponsor and the only Jewish and the only faith-based organization on the march’s policy committee. Caroline Good of New Orleans, who was “bereft” after the election, knew she had to go to the march “and gather strength from like-minded people. It is like going to Israel and you can finally relax because you are with your own people.” Good said she “cannot accept that this man not just represents our country, but steers it” and wanted to see what the next steps would be “to move our platform forward.” She feels targeted by the new administration as a Jew and as a woman, but said the movement is about what affects everyone else. “This means we must address equal right for women, but also demand the fair treatment of Muslims, adopt the Black Lives Matter campaign, create easy access to reproductive care including abortion, make disability rights more than an afterthought, fight for LGBTQ community and protect our immigrant communities,” she said. The march “made me recognize I am not alone” in calling out “people who seek to diminish others,” Good said. In Birmingham, Dalia Abrams asked around in late December to see who was organizing a march in Birmingham. At the time, nobody was, so she decided to organize one on three weeks’ notice. “We had our first meeting four days later and 15 people showed up.” In an interview a week before the Birmingham march, she predicted maybe 200 would show up. Instead, there were over 5,000. “There is a huge desire to do something,” Abroms said. “This gave them a chance to start.” Debra Gordon-Hellman, who helped organize the march, did so “to join my voice with all the others that the poor, the disabled, the immigrant, the LGBTQ, the African-American, women, will not be marginalized and disrespected, and above all else I marched to bring attention

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26 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017

to our sick planet. All other issues pale if we do not have a viable planet.” Taking aim at the Trump administration, she said “We will not let this sick man define us, and the hundreds of thousands who marched all over the world but especially in the United States have let him know this.” Joyce Spielberger was “awed and overwhelmed” by the turnout in Birmingham. She said political leaders can’t be allowed to marginalize groups in society. “The March was not as a protest, but rather a coming together of those who care about their fellow man/woman and the upholding of human rights that we all hold so dear.” Riva Bard, who said Trump sounds “like prewar Germany,” said she marched “for mom and nana, who are Holocaust survivors… We making our voices louder than people who call in bomb threats to Jewish facilities and will send a message that we are watching this time.” Cathy O. Friedman wore her Anytown Alabama shirt, from the high school diversity program, and her group met at the Anne Frank Tree in Kelly Ingram Park, the site of 1963 civil rights demonstrations, as a reminder of “how important freedom is for every generation.” A veteran of numerous marches, Friedman noted this was a “social cause that represents every thing I believe as a Jewish woman, that our rights are on the line and could disappear in the coming years.” Michelle Bearman-Wolnek took her daughter “to empower her to take charge of her life and to broaden her views. To let her know that we still have a voice.” Rhonda Schultz Weinberg went when she head her daughter, Alyssa, and three granddaughters would be marching. “We were three generations walking together,” and the oldest granddaughter, age 6, said they were marching “to show that women can be strong.” In New Orleans, the march started at the Washington Square Park and ended at New Orleans City Hall. Susan Kierr, president of the Greater New Orleans section of NCJW, said “I was truly impressed with the diversity of New Orleans marchers and the sense of connection among the 10,000 women of all ages, along with men and children, who moved through the streets of the historic French Quarter and the Central Business District to stand together at City Hall.” Sefira Fialkoff said “as much as I value working within the system, it doesn’t feel like enough right now. It felt important to be in the streets, physically taking a stand to defend not only my own human rights as a woman, but the rights of those less privileged than myself.” Though “deeply dismayed” by the election, Judge Miriam Waltzer does not question “the legitimacy of the president.” She marched in solidarity with the vulnerable and to show her re-

solve “to stand up and speak out whenever I see that those who govern forget the rights of people.” Benay Bernstein said her spirits “soared” as she saw “faces full of passion as marchers proclaimed their issues, equal pay for women, climate change, women’s rights, universal healthcare. The cry was mainly for acceptance and inclusion.” Carol Kossman attended the Jackson march, saying she had been a secretive Democrat for years. “I have not liked the things proposed by Trump and was happy when I saw that Jackson was having a march,” she said. “It was uplifting to see so many people gathering to support women’s rights and promoting love vs. hate so I was very glad that I went.” Also at the Jackson march were Dana and Jonathan Larkin. He said the march “resonated with both the fear of repression of the victories we’ve seen in the last 50 years for the rights of all citizens, but also with the hope that a new social movement is coalescing to fight against that repression. The march “is doing Tikkun Olam in its most basic form and it was important to us that we march with our sisters and allies around the world.” Their daughter, Alexis Schwartz, who lives in Washington, attended the national march, “carrying all my cousins and sister and mom and grandmas and friends with me.” In Gulfport, Milt Grishman marched “in the spirit of Shifrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives who resisted Pharoah, in honor of strong women in every generation.” In Panama City on the conservative Florida panhandle, Lisa Rahn was one of about 500 who marched. “As a Reform Jew, I feel it is my duty to speak up in the face of bigotry, non-tolerance and injustice, which have permeated our society too much over the last 18 months.” While she respects the office of the president and the nation’s peaceful transfer of power, she is concerned about the direction of country. “Dissent is patriotic,” she said. Waltzer said the march “was a great success,” but “what are we now going to do with all that energy?” Abrams said “we are going to work to find a way to use this energy to make change… we are paying attention, and we are going to demand accountability from our elected officials.” Sheri Krell added, “if we all become more involved in the organizations that move us, we can really improve the lives of so many.” Bernstein said the main message for staying active is “to continue the fight by making your voice heard and not just putting thoughts out on social media. Personal letters to those in power work, visits to officials work, Group  meetings with representatives work. Numbers work. Paying attention and getting cohorts out at the critical time to advance your issues work.”


seniors

senior life an annual SJL special section

Tulane, New Orleans VA program used as model by Lee J. Green New Orleans’ Hospital at Home program, a partnership between the Tulane University School of Medicine’s Section of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, has been used as a model not just for other VA hospitals but private senior living communities. “The concept of home is such a powerful concept. It’s not so much a physical place but a place where people can be secure and comfortable,” said Dr. Lumie Kawasaki, associate professor of medicine with the Tulane University School of Medicine and the chief of geriatrics and extended care for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. “Our goal is to keep them in their actual homes and if they need extended hospitalization, to make it as much like their home as possible,” added Kawasaki. “A veteran said it best when he said, ‘I mend better in my own bed’.” She said other VA hospitals, veterans care and senior care systems have contacted them to implement some of the Hospital and Home ideas in their programs. In the case of New Orleans, innovation came from necessity. “This was after Katrina and it was a dire situation. We had to rebuild the infrastructure and start again,” said Kawasaki. “It was dev-

astating but some silver linings came out of it.” She said they were alarmed by the high numbers of those in their 80s who lost their lives in the storm or shortly afterward due to issues with care. “The fastest growing population is those over the age of 65 and we’re seeing the fastest growth rate of the number of people living to be over 85 and 100 years of age,” said Kawasaki. “But it’s not just about living longer, it’s about living longer with a high quality of life.” Advancements in medicine, care and technology have helped people to live longer, healthier lives. Some of the technology can aid seniors who need care but are living at home. “The focus is on smart homes — devices that can help seniors who need care and are living at home to manage their medicine and to perform tasks such as turning lights on and off. There are smart phones with larger screens and touch screens that can be incorporated into the electronics of a home to help someone prompt their memory as well as to handle tasks that would be difficult,” said Kawasaki. She said a trend for the VA in New Orleans is non-institutional care. The SLVHCS provides home-based community services such as primary care, respite care and community adult day care. It was the second VA in the country to form a Hospital at Home program.

Greenbriar at the Altamont residents keep active, celebrate Every day is a celebration for residents at Birmingham’s Greenbriar at the Altamont, but some special holiday events really take the cake. In December they lit the menorah at the senior living community and had a fun Chanukah party well-attended by Jewish and non-Jewish residents. The King and Queen crowning will be part of Greenbrier’s Valentine’s Day celebrations this year. Then in March, friends from nearby

Temple Beth-El will come by to lead Purim celebrations. This festive holiday event at the community will include food, the shaking of tambourines, learning and fun. A Passover Seder will be observed at Greenbriar and is open to all members and special guests. More fun events and holiday celebrations abound in 2017. For more information go to www.greenbriaratthealtamont.com.

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 27


seniors

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Most residents at Colonial Oaks assisted-living facility in Metairie don’t pass over a chance to celebrate fun events. Mardi Gras comes later this month, followed in April by a Seder for Pesach. For the past 16 years of her 28 years of experience coordinating events at retirement and assisted living communities, Myra Dunn has enthusiastically coordinated events at Colonial Oaks. “We want to make the environment like home and gear our events to the things our residents are interested in,” said Dunn. This past December they hosted a Chanukah party with great attendance by Jewish residents, family and non-Jewish residents. They said the blessings, ate latkes and chocolate while playing dreidel. Every year Colonial Oaks’ Mardi Gras celebration is on Lundi Gras, Feb. 27 this year. They will name a King and Queen. Krewe members from Mardi Gras parades will come dressed in costumes. The Passover Seder will be in the morning the day before the first day of Pesach this year. Last year more than 40 people attended, Dunn said. She said the residents also love the programs that focus on history and memories from when they were younger. “We have several World War II veterans and some of them have hosted a program in which they have shared their experiences,” said Dunn. “We have some amazing residents.”

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February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 29


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Fair Haven retirement community and one of its residents, Bernard Goldstein, share some rich history in Birmingham and are looking toward the future. This month, Goldstein turns 92. Also this month, Fair Haven completes phase one of its extensive redevelopment of its 56-year-old campus on Montclair Road, and Goldstein will be moving into his new apartment. Last year Fair Haven — which includes garden homes, independent apartment living, assisted living, specialty care assisted living (memory care), skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation — embarked on a master plan redevelopment “to not only transform its physical campus but to also transform how people experience assisted living, short-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care.” Fair Haven added three skilled nursing households, three assisted living households and two short-term stay households complete with a new therapy gym, pharmacy and dental clinic. The core renovations will continue the new exterior façade updates seen on the new buildings and add special amenities for residents and guests, including an ice cream parlor and a casual bistro. Existing nursing areas of the building will be renovated, with new kitchen areas as well as family-style dining areas that “more closely resembles home.” All construction and renovation is expected to be complete in August of this year. At that time Fair Haven will be home to almost 400 residents and employ more than 300 full-time and 50 part-time staff. Goldstein said he is looking forward to moving into his new apartment. He was born in Birmingham; grew up for a time in Gadsden and returned when he was 14 years old. After graduating from Ramsey High School, Bernard began to pursue a degree at Birmingham Southern College. But in 1943 he decided to volunteer for service in the United States Army. He was inducted into the infantry; sent to Louisiana for training and subsequently sent overseas to Germany. Goldstein served for three years in the Army. Among his many decorations are a bronze star and a purple heart. He was wounded by a bomb during the Battle of the Bulge and, ironically perhaps, sent to a hospital in Birmingham, England. He bravely returned to the war precisely where he had left, with a few small pieces of shrapnel still lodged in various parts of his body. Goldstein’s greatest prize in life is his family, he said. After the war, he returned home to Birmingham and met the love of his life, Nancy Selber, from Shreveport. Together they raised three sons with a business acumen that runs in the family. Goldstein, who has been a long-time member of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, owned The Canterbury Shop for 32 years. Located in Mtn. Brook Village, the store sold fine clothing for children and infants. He also owned The Canterbury Varsity Shop. He would sell both businesses and move onto something he had always wanted to do — photography, and his youngest son joined him in his photography business. Though he retired from the photography business many years ago, Goldstein can be frequently seen snapping his camera and recording videos of activities at Fairhaven. Bernard and Nancy had been at Fair Haven for a while until Nancy passed in October 2015. But he knew Fair Haven was home and said he looks forward to every day with his friends in the community.


seniors Woldenberg Village only Louisiana location for Snoezelen therapy They name a king and queen in all three areas of living and care, and invite residents’ families to celebrate with food, music and trinkets. “Last Woldenberg Village, the New Orleans senior living community under year we had the oldest living king for Zulu and Rex here,” added Townsend. the Touro Infirmary umbrella, is the only Louisiana health care institution For more information visit www.touro.com/wv. to implement a therapy to help patients with Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Developed by the Dutch in the 1970s, Snoezelen Therapy was originally developed to help children with Autism. It is designed to deliver stimuli to various senses and incorporates aromatherapy, tactile therapy, exercise therapy and music therapy to benefit those patients. by Lee J. Green “We implemented it in March of last year with 20 residents and we plan New Orleans’ Pulse Home Health knows the pulse of the home health to expand the program significantly in 2017,” said Woldenberg Village care industry and a focus on quality care. Executive Director Joe Townsend. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services ranks medical home Woldenberg Village is a continuum-of-care senior living community which offers 60 independent living garden apartments, 60 assisted living health care providers on a five-star system. Most Louisiana agencies are at apartments, a 120-bed skilled nursing care facility, and an outpatient re- 3-½ stars or below but as of last month’s new rankings, Pulse earned a 4-½star quality rating. Those ratings are available on Home Health Compare habilitation center that specializes in physical and occupational therapy. through www.medicare.gov. Townsend said that 12 percent of their residents are Jewish. It was 7 “There is an enhanced focus on providing the best quality care needed,” percent when Townsend came on board in September 2011 and has been said Tami Blackwell, a consultant with Pulse Home Health. as high as 15 percent. Pulse Home Health is locally owned by the Capaci family. Lou Capaci is “Growing our Jewish resident numbers and making this the most ideal a pharmacist and daughter Kim is a registered nurse. “We’re locally owned, home environment for our current Jewish residents has been a focal point family run and involved in the community,” said Blackwell. Pulse has an offor me. This was one of my four main goals when I got here,” he said. fice in Metairie and one on the Northshore. They can provide home health Townsend said Woldenberg Village Activities Director Rita Austin care services within a 50-mile radius of their Metairie office. leads residents in fun holiday celebrations. They celebrate all of the major Patients needing home care can receive it on all levels since Pulse is exJewish holidays. The Chanukah party this past December was well-at- perienced at a multitude of different care areas including skilled nursing, tended by Jewish and non-Jewish residents. physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, home health aides They will have a Passover Seder coming up in April and have services and even psychiatry nursing services. “We work with a patient to customize a plan of care based on that indievery Saturday morning for Jewish residents. Of course, everyone in New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras and on Lundi vidual’s needs,” said Blackwell. Pulse’s skilled nurses are highly trained and Gras every year Woldenberg Village has a festive celebration for Carnival. put a focus on patient education. by Lee J. Green

New Orleans’ Pulse home health care earns highest quality ranking

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 31


seniors

Schonberg communities in La., Miss., built around individual needs The cornerstone of the Schonberg community philosophy is that exceptional assisted living and memory care is personal. Personal care begins and ends with each unique individual, and the family, friends, and loved ones of each resident play an important role in shaping and strengthening each community. Schonberg & Associates has revolutionized and set a new standard in assisted living by going above and beyond to provide unparalleled amenities and care tailored to fit each resident, creating customized activities and care plans based upon a thorough assessment of the individual residents’ abilities, likes, dislikes, passions and preferences. In order to make the transition into assisted living as easy and comfortable as possible, Schonberg & Associates has opened several convenient locations throughout the Greater New Orleans and Mississippi area that provide the absolute best in high-quality amenities, programming and care, including Vista Shores in New Orleans, Beau Provence in Mandeville, Park Provence in Slidell, and Ashton Manor in Luling, Beau Ridge in Ridgeland, and Alden Pointe in Hattiesburg. With the help of full-time Activities Directors that cook up exciting and engaging events, activities, and social outings, Schonberg communities are fully dedicated to ensuring that every day is filled with unique options to satisfy each and every resident, from those with green thumbs or artistic talents to those that prefer singing or shopping. When one is part of the Schonberg family, one can rest assured that there is always something to do, somewhere to go, and someone special to share a meal or a cup of coffee with. Schonberg is also committed to honoring the sanctity and importance of providing each resident with the means to practice and celebrate their faith. As a community that serves a large number of Jewish residents, Schonberg takes especial care to meet the needs of this audience, holding bi-weekly religious services at the community, observing and celebrating Jewish holidays throughout the year, and providing delicious kosher menu options. Residents are also encouraged and supported in organizing community clubs and events based upon shared interests that include religious views, such as a recent citywide synagogue tour taken by residents at the New Orleans community Vista Shores. While the plethora of Schonberg communities within the Greater New Orleans area enables residents to remain close to the friends and family members from their old neighborhood, the exclusive Schonberg Neighborhood Design at each community makes it easy to make new ones, as well. Each neighborhood is occupied by residents with shared abilities, which fosters a comfortable environment ideal for socializing and maximizes team members’ ability to provide each resident with the specialized attention and care that they need. The Schonberg Neighborhood Design is just one aspect of Schonberg’s unique and innovative approach to memory care, which is considered by many to be the finest specially staffed Alzheimer’s and dementia care program in the region. Several of Schonberg’s communities in the Greater New Orleans area have been honored with the national Dementia Care Specialists’ Distinguished Provider Award, which recognizes assisted living communities that provide truly outstanding, resident-centered care. Schonberg communities pride themselves on setting an exceptional standard in memory care through extensive training for all team members, the staffing of full-time Memory Care Directors, and promoting continuous education through consultation and courses with leading Alzheimer’s and dementia care researchers and experts. Schonberg’s individualized programs are custom-designed to enrich residents’ lives and enable them to function at their highest possible level. Schonberg’s community philosophy revolves around giving residents the freedom to be as independent as possible, while providing the peace of mind that assistance and compassionate care is always available when it’s needed. Founder David Schonberg sums up their award-winning operating philosophy with a single question: “Several times each day, we ask ourselves, ‘Is this in the best interest of this particular resident?’ If the answer is yes, then we can’t go wrong. This simple operating philosophy is the secret to our continued success.” 32 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017


community Torah Academy hosts health fair Torah Academy welcomed the general community to its first annual Health Fair on Jan. 12. Organizations from across New Orleans such as Tulane’s Fussy Baby Network, the Red Cross, PJ Library, Hadassah and Jewish Family Services brought hands-on activities for children and adults. Some of the booths included music therapy, gymnastics with the school’s JD Sports after-school program, gardening and blood pressure screening. Kosher Cajun sold a variety of snacks and hot food, and gave out popcorn to all the attendees. On the Stoller Stage, Andy Edelman of Casablanca made a healthy kale salad; JCC fitness director Denise Thornton led a kickboxing class, and Michele Genet of Ochsner Pediatrics in Metairie led a discussion about immunizations. The event was sponsored by Torah Academy, the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, Southern Jewish Life and Kosher Cajun. Top: Jewish Family Service makes balloon stressballs. Bottom, Andy Edelman of Casablanca made kale, lentil, beet, leek salad with tahini dressing.

WWII Museum talk on Nazi film propaganda In connection with the exhibit, “State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda,” the National World War II Museum will have a program, “The Film Ministry: Nazi Mass Media and Anti-Semitic Film Propaganda,” on March 8. The exhibit will be viewed at 5 p.m., followed by a lecture by David Culbert of Louisiana State University at 6 p.m. The exhibit will be on display through June 18.

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 33


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Several American basketball legends will be joined by the hero of Israel’s famed 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv team, Tal Brody, at a special screening of a documentary about that championship team. “On The Map” will be at the Uptown Jewish Community Center on Feb. 16. A 6 p.m. reception will include a meet-and-greet with Dave Cowens, Nancy Lieberman and Rick Barry, along with Brody. The film will start at 7 p.m., followed by a question and answer session with award-winning director Dani Menkin. Sponsored by Maccabi USA and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, this special event is free and open to the community. The film chronicles the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team and its unlikely run as a huge underdog to win Israel’s first Euroleague championship, defeating the four-time champion Soviet Union at a time when the two countries had no diplomatic relations, the Soviets were persecuting Jews and Israel was still somewhat demoralized from the Yom Kippur War.


community Touro Syn. a prime parade viewing spot Krewe of VIPs makes space for special needs children

With Touro Synagogue located in a prime position for numerous Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, the congregation is opening its St. Charles Avenue sidewalk for six days of parade viewing — and doing its annual Krewe of VIPs viewings. For the three VIP Kids dates, a wheelchair-accessible platform on the steps of the sanctuary will be available for children with disabilities or special needs. Guardians of special needs kids should contact Juan Gershanik’s office to reserve a space. The first date will be Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. for the Pontchartrain, Choctaw and Freret parades. On Feb. 23, the parades start at 5:45 p.m., with Babylon, Chaos and Muses. After an abbreviated 10:30 a.m. service on Feb. 25, the Krewes of Iris and Tucks will roll. Those three events are open to the congregation but the stands are reserved for VIP Kids. The Touro viewing season will end on Feb. 27 at 5:15 p.m. with Krewe of Proteus, followed by Orpheus. Non-members may view the parades at Touro for a $15 charge and they must be accompanied by a member at all times. Building access will be limited to the areas behind the fence, Bowsky Garden, Shushan Assembly and the chapel bathrooms. Coolers are allowed, except on Shabbati-Gras, and must be kept outdoors. No glass is allowed, nor is shellfish or pork. On Feb. 17 and 24, there will be early “Shabbati-Gras” services at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and the parades. Members and non-members are welcome for Shabbati-Gras, and dinner is $5 per person. The Krewes of Oshun and Cleopatra will roll on Feb. 17, and Hermes, Krewe d’Etat and Morpheus will be on Feb. 24. Touro’s facility will be closed for all other parades.

Early services in Metairie

In Metairie, Gates of Prayer will be having early services on Feb. 17 and 24 due to parades in the area. There will be a “pre-neg” at 5:45 p.m., followed by 6:15 p.m. services

Jewish Krewes set to roll on Feb. 11 The two Jewish Krewes will head through the streets of New Orleans on Feb. 11. Krewe du Vieux will launch “The Crass Menagerie” at 6:30 p.m., with the Krewe du Mishigas as one of the sub-krewes. A satirical and highly adult-themed parade, Krewe du Vieux starts in the Marigny at Decatur and Mandeville, then heads through the French Quarter, mostly on Decatur and Royal Streets, up to Dauphine through the CBD to Lafayette Street, ending at O’Keefe Avenue. The post-parade ball will be at The Civic. Krewe du Jieux marches as part of the krewedelusion parade. krewedelusion announced on Jan. 19 that it was breaking with Carnival tradition and not naming a Benevolent Ruler, in response to the “abhorrent and historic” presidential inauguration. Captain Oscar Diggs said “our celebration in the streets of New Orleans will be an uprising of the people governed by a radical reorganization of our current administration.” According to Blaine Kern Sr., current ruler of krewedelusion, no New Orleans Krewe has ever paraded without royalty. The Feb. 11 parade is scheduled to start in the Marigny at 7:15 p.m. and continue through the French Quarter, finishing back in the Marigny. Alysse Fuchs was named the new captain of Krewe du Jieux. Rabbi David Polsky, who left Anshe Sfard last summer, will be visiting New Orleans that weekend so he can march once again with the Jieux. He will also deliver the d’var Torah at Anshe Sfard that morning.

Join us before, during or after the parades this Mardi Gras season

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 35


3 While many schools were off in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16, Jewish Community Day School students, families and faculty all took part in the Annual MLK Memorial March in New Orleans. They learned about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said his feet were praying when he marched in Selma in 1965. At the march, they wore JCDS T-shirts that proclaimed, “When we march, our feet are praying!” After the march, they had a family picnic and play-time at Audubon Park.

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Beth Israel in Metairie and Jewish Family Service present a Jewish Disability and Inclusion Shabbat with scholar-in-residence Emily and David Kieval. The Kievals have three decades of work between them supporting people with disabilities and special needs in Jewish institutions and Jewish life, as well as in the community at large. David is a clinical psychologist in the Developmental Medicine Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. Emily is the inclusion coordinator at Temple Shalom in Newton, Mass., and is an educational consultant and learning specialist at Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. She leads, and consults for, Israel trips for groups of young adults with disabilities. The service will be at 6 p.m. on Feb. 17, followed by Shabbat dinner at 7 p.m. They will speak on “Shalom Aleichem: Obstacles Toward and Opportunities for Inclusion in the Jewish Community.” Prepaid dinner reservations are required. Services on Feb. 18 start at 8:45 a.m., with an inclusive service starting with the Torah service at 10 a.m. A lunch follows.

B’nai Israel plans usual Baton Rouge Mitzvah Day For the 18th annual B’nai Israel Mitzvah Day in Baton Rouge, there was a discussion as to whether to have the usual event in light of the August flooding that affected thousands of homes. Organizer Julie Tepper said “there are still many in our community that are dealing with the consequences and aftermath of the flood.” But they decided to go ahead with the usual Mitzvah Day because aside from flood recovery, “there is still much to be done and we have a generous and devoted community wanting to perform mitzvot and continue our 18 year tradition.“ There are usually around 100 congregants who participate in the effort, which will be on March 5 this year. There are six areas where volunteers are needed. One group will do Operation Shoebox, knitting or crocheting caps for members of the military. L’Dor V’Dor and More is baking hamantaschen and assembling Purim baskets for the elderly. Magical Mensch Mania will put together packages of toiletries for the Battered Women’s Shelter, snack bags for the St. Vincent DePaul homeless shelter, cards and treats for soldiers, and more. Canines and Commandments will act against cruelty to animals, making chew ropes, blankets and other items needed by dog rescue groups affected by the floods. B’nai Buddies will do maintenance, cleaning and repairs around B’nai Israel, and the Neshama Noshers will prepare lunch for the mitzvah teams.


Continued from page 38

Southern Jewish Life’s times a day, the helmsman has to swing the ship around so it’s facing the eastern part of Earth for minyan. When mission requirements prevent that, facing galactic east is allowed. Rotating the ship simplifies the question of which way to face within the ship, and especially if there’s a course change. Jewish rituals also provide simple explanations to certain oddities seen throughout the mission. For example, ships orbit facing eastward so they can remain in orbit during minyan without continual reorientation. Also, math. The Enterprise was on a five-year mission. However, Star Trek was cancelled after three seasons. The numbers reconcile more than people realize. Subtract five years worth of Shabbats and holidays (including the minor ones)… Three years.   Doug Brook included Winona Ryder, even though she had just one brief appearance in the franchise, because she’s always been on his list of five. It’s laminated. To read past columns, visit http://brookwrite.com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook.com/rearpewmirror.  

La. Senators critical of U.N. vote on Israel

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A Senate bill objecting to the December United Nations Security Council resolution that criticized Israel and included all of Jerusalem’s Old City in a description of occupied territory has attracted 78 cosponsors. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was the original sponsor of the bill, which says the resolution is part of efforts that “undermine direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for a secure and peaceful settlement.” Rubio’s Florida colleague, Sen. Bill Nelson, signed as a co-sponsor. Both senators from Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas also signed, as did Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama. The other Alabama senator, Jeff Sessions, is in the process of being confirmed as U.S. Attorney General. Both Georgia and Texas senators also signed, as did Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennesssee. As of press time, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is one of only five Republican senators not to co-sponsor the resolution. This resolution follows a Jan. 5 vote in the U.S. House for a similar bill repudiating the U.N. Security Council’s resolution that also condemned Israeli settlements, calling it a one-sided resolution that the Obama administration refused to veto. The entire House delegations from Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas voted for the House resolution, which passed 342-80, as did the two new representatives from the Florida panhandle. The only Mississippi delegate voting against was Bennie Thompson. In Tennessee, John Duncan Jr. and Steve Cohen voted against.

February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 37


rear pew mirror • doug brook

Enterprising Jews

  Space… the final shpatzir… to boldly go where no minyan’s gone before… Judaism has a long history in the future of reaching for the stars. The Vulcan salute from Star Trek is famously adapted from Judaism. Many writers for the original series were Jewish. And there are the actors. Many know that Leonard Nimoy, the original Spock, was Jewish. Almost as many know that the captain himself, William Shatner, is tribal, too. But the list goes on. Check off Chekov, and check the list twice. Walter Koenig, the original, and Anton Yelchin, the newer —  both Chekovs, born to Russian Jews. Even Winona Ryder, who played Spock’s mother the second time around, is one of many guest players who were eligible to have first cut their chops as a bar or bat mitzvah. With the original series, the Jewish adventure was only beginning. While nobody on Voyager or Enterprise grew up at a seder table, the Passover meal was just another order to Commander Data’s alter ego, Brent Spiner. The four main Ferengi of Deep Space Nine were all Jews, which some deemed controversial. The Ferengi are the Star Trek universe’s insidious merchants — diminutive, annoying, self-important, conniving, and always looking to make a profit. Some believe they’re an anti-Semitic portrayal, akin to what many believe of “The Merchant of Venice.” Of course, Ferengi existed long before these castings, so the notion is, as one of the four Ferengi actors famously lisped in another fantastical film, inconceivable. Equally inconceivable is how to apply certain Judaic laws and customs aboard a starship. For example, Shabbat begins at sunset and ends after the next sunset upon seeing three stars in IN SPACE, the sky. In space, how can one witness a sunset? Which sun setting over which planet, and based NO ONE on what time? Quite simply, wherever the ship is, at a time CAN HEAR pre-determined to sync up with the solar schedule YOU DAVEN on Earth and matching up with shipboard time, viewscreens are set to show the sun setting on a planet in a nearby system at the appropriate time. Similarly, at the end of Shabbat the same is done, with the assistance of a non-Jewish crewmember operating the controls. As for seeing three stars, some insist on closing all portals for Shabbat so no stars are seen until the appropriate time after sunset. Non-Jewish crewmembers take Shabbat rotations. However, many circumstances fall under the “to save a life” clause, including battles and not being able to shut down all ship’s power from sunset to sunset. Because… life support. Speaking of supporting life, there is little Jewish practice without food. Recreation rooms on the Enterprise always have three food dispensers. One each for dairy, meat, and pareve. Astute observers will note that food dispenser trios sometimes temporarily appear in random places throughout the ship. The reason is simple: they were specifically for Passover. After all, what’s the only food ever seen coming out of a dispenser in the transporter room? Chicken soup. What about off ship? The Klingon Culinary Conflict of 2263, where they were given the rules of kashrut to accommodate the devoutly Jewish ambassador. After the first two pages of restrictions, the Klingons cancelled the diplomatic meeting, setting relations back several years. When praying, Jews must face east, symbolically toward Jerusalem. Three continued on previous page 38 Southern Jewish Life • February 2017


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February 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 55


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