Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION
JUDAH TOURO VISITS HIS NAMESAKE CONGREGATION HOW NOLAâ€™S COUNCIL GOT ENTANGLED IN MIDDLE EAST DISPUTE TRANSITION AT ISJL February 2018 Volume 28 Issue 2
Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Judah Touro (aka Robert Applebaum) at the opening of the historical display at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. Story, page 5.
2 Southern Jewish Life â€¢ February 2018
January was a very dramatic month. It started with the improbable 2nd-and-26 in the college football national championship game, then continued with the playoff-ending Play That Shall Not Be Viewed Again against the Vikings. Shifting venues, the drama soon moved to the New Orleans City Council, as we describe in detail in this issue. Most people aren’t following Middle East politics particularly closely, so we feel the need, in our weekly emails, to refer to the “anti-Israel boycott” movement rather than rely on the acronym BDS, “boycott, divest and sanction.” In New Orleans, a lot more people now know that acronym, thanks to the recent drama over a resolution that was written as a feel-good, “baseball, hot dogs apple pie and Chevrolet” piece, but was a Trojan Horse to let in the anti-Israel BDS movement. Councilor Jason Williams, who had a large role in the resolution’s passage, and then subsequent withdrawal, expressed the desire that both sides of the debate could come together on the basic, positive sentiment of the resolution as written, keeping BDS out of it. In the proponents’ about-face from the resolution being about BDS to it being universal, several despicable allegations were hurled at the Jewish community and other supporters of Israel, from Islamophobia to nefarious political control to outright murder. Recently, many in the BDS movement have insisted one can’t be a feminist and a Zionist. Similarly, the resolution’s proponents charged that the Jewish community is against human rights, especially for Palestinians, because of the resolution’s reversal. Of course, the Jewish groups explicitly stated they want to work with all people, Palestinians included, but disagree with the idea that BDS will solve anything. Unfortunately, this is a microcosm of Israel’s situation right now — trying to talk to someone who is more interested in grandstanding, political points and hurting Israel than making progress for the betterment of the long-suffering Palestinians.
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February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 3
Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games
Southern Jewish Life Southern Jewish Life February 2018
I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel to Australia to South America, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around the United States Report from Jerusalem and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish identity, especially in our young. around the world. From Israel r of attending many Maccabi competitions
So Trump made an announcement?
PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING
merica, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around the first United States I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the time and fell in love with not just the city PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lee J. Green email@example.com Lawrence M. Brook firstname.lastname@example.org ged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish but the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a newcinemas level with your kind and caring Even by Brenda E. Brasher ADVERTISING SPECIALIST ur young. approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING have improved
Annetta Dolowitz email@example.com
Lee J. Green firstname.lastname@example.org e to Birmingham forSokol theoffirst and fell in love with just the city enormously since In the October, I made aliyah fromnot Led bymiddle the andtime Helds, your hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered CREATIVE DIRECTOR e takenwith Southern hospitality a new withhusband your kind and firstcaring visited New Orleans. Shortly to after arriving, my your outstanding staff, ledlevel by Betzy Lynch, toImake the 2017 the JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. SPECIALIST Ginger Brook email@example.com accabi Games. city twoUSA de- to say thank you on ADVERTISING I moved his two-bedroom apartment Iand want to take into this opportunity as executive director of over Maccabi behalf Annetta Dolowitz firstname.lastname@example.org cades ago. in thehard-working Arnona neighborhood Jerusalem. everyone involved. Helds, of your volunteersofwere wonderful. They partnered SOCIAL/WEB Lifea huge in Jerusathe firsttoweek of December, people games staff, led byISince Betzy Lynch, make Maccabi Alexis Polack email@example.com had just returned fromthe the2017 20thJCC World Maccabiah games inhit. Israel with a U.S. delegation of CREATIVE DIRECTOR lem is far from checking in from the U.S. and elsewhere Ginger Brook firstname.lastname@example.org ortunityover as executive director Maccabi USAathletes to sayhavthank you on behalf 1100, who joinedof10,000 Jewish from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire en’t asked about the apartment, my health, local perfect. The city PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Jewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and SOCIAL/WEB food, or even about the weather. They mainly has its problems Rabbi Barry C. Altmark deepsouthrabbi.com fromMaccabiah around thegames worldinbeing Birmingham, you became the focal point. Alexis Polack email@example.com om the coaches 20th World Israelinwith a U.S.both delegation of unlike like and other cities. Activities are want to know how things are in Jerusalem after 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80Jewish countries. Back inTrump Julythe thecommunity eyes of theatentire CONTRIBUTING WRITERS from the community and attimes. large, The including a wonderful disrupted main highway entrance theEveryone announcement by President Donald PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGERivka Epstein, Zach Aaronson, erusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal from Tel Aviv has been blocked repeatedly by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital as Israel. Rabbi Barry C. Altmark deepsouthrabbi.com Tally Werthan, Alex Bloch, he worldmoment being infor Birmingham, you point. the Jewish community asthe wefocal build to Charedi the futureprotesters by providing such wonderful Jewish demanding an exemption To give a clear response tobecame this question is not Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, memories. from army service. Several days this past week, a simple matter. Empirically, the statement mereCONTRIBUTING WRITERS Doug Brook brookwrite.com wish community and the community at large, including a wonderful and Epstein, garbage Zach Aaronson, ly reflects long-established reality. Every as main ommended. Theseagames will go down in history beingsanitation a seminal workers were on strikeRivka Jed Margolis Tally Werthan, Alex Bloch, piled up. Systemic ethnic branch Israeli government located in Je- wonderful community as of wethe build to the futureUSA by is providing such Jewish discrimination against BIRMINGHAM OFFICE Executive Director, Maccabi Belle and Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, is inadequaterusalem and has been for decades. Since housing and minority groups occurs, P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 Brook brookwrite.com amassing a state’s core political components defines a city ly addressed. High poverty rates makeDoug 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 supremacists would like to see difficult. pushed back 205/870.7889 the funds to run the city quite as a capital, Jerusalem is ipso facto the capital of On Charlottesville BIRMINGHAM OFFICE ccabi USA a corner and madeJerusalem to feel lesser. We stand Still, comparatively, is a safe place Israel. The American presidential statement did into NEW ORLEANS OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 with and pray for the of family of Heather Heyer, live. When an act violence occurs here, it not tell Jerusalemites anything theyevents didn’tinalready to Editor’s Note: This reaction to the 3747AL West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, 35223 who was there standing up to the face of this like to see can pushed backmassive international media attenreceive know. It did notwritten altersupremacists any onwould the ground. Charlottesville, byfacts Jeremy Newman, 985/807.1131 205/870.7889 e hate. corner and madenothto feel tion, lesser.but Wethe stand rate of violence in the city is signifiA lotofis the happening in aJerusalem having Master Alphainto Epsilon Pi Theta Colony TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE with prayby forAEPi theCreative family ofcantly Heather Heyer, lower thanthe in the U.S., of or the much of Europe. ingevents to doinwith an American statement. FAX 866/392.7750 We recognize essence American at Auburn University, wasand shared ion to the 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 firstname.lastname@example.org who was there standing up to the face of this Jerusalem’s problems are rooted in its historical, Jewish spirituality flourishes here in amazing narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, which called it “very eloquent” and by Jeremy Newman, 985/807.1131 hate. political, budgetary disagreements, ways, Colony as“our do brothers world-class museums. Intellectual ourselves social, of suchand corners, and allow those in praised at AEPi Theta Colony at ilon Pi Theta ADVERTISING TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 response lifebyabounds, an outgrowth of several them the seat atto theAmerican table thatpolitical they so discourse. deserve. FAX 866/392.7750 Auburn University and… leadership they Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 We the recognize theexcellent essence of not the in American as shared AEPi Inthe short, presidential or no, JerusaJerusalem-based universities think-tanks. It is struggle to fulfillstatement the promise of the display onand their campus. ” for Lee Green, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org narrative asand a two-century old struggle to rid t “very eloquent” the capital ofthat Israel. is a are fasA plethora with espeDeclaration of as Independence, “allItmen Annetta Dolowitz, email@example.com ourselves ofexists, such corners, and lem allowfunctions those in AEPi Theta Colonyofatgreat restaurants cinating, safe, and friendlybyplace live aswith well ADVERTISING cially exciting andthe around shuk. Media kit, rates available upon request created equal… endowed theirto Creator them seat atthe the tableLive that they so deserve. … the leadership they ones in Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 White supremacy has been a canceravailable. on as to visit. music, dance, and drama are readily certain unalienable rights. ” We know our work It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the .” SUBSCRIPTIONS for Lee Green, firstname.lastname@example.org or our country since its beginning, threatening is far“all from finished, but weAnnetta know we will email@example.com Declaration of Independence, that men are It has always been our goal to provide a Dolowitz, its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. large-community quality publication Media kit, rates available upon request created equal… endowed by their Creator with eventsonthat took place in Charlottesville as been The a cancer to all communities of the South. certain unalienable rights.” We know ourmen work When and women, fully armed, take SUBSCRIPTIONS represented the worst of this nation. Those To that end, our commitment includes eginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will notin droves with to the streets swastikas and It has always been our goal to provide a whoangels. marched onto the streets with tiki torches mailing to every Jewish household d its better move backwards. other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how quality publication large-community and swastikas did so to provoke violence and in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), ace in Charlottesville to all communities of the South. When men women, armed,the takeissues of racism and anti-Semitism without a subscription fee. fear. Those onto theand streets did fullyrelevant f this nation. Thosewho marched Toto that end, our commitment includes are today. 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No part Copyright needs to beAdone ensure a better, more was born a Outside America slave nation. A century in our own borders. timetowhere ed time from in oursafe history. years. Subscribe via sjlmag.com, call 205/870.7889 or of this publication may be reproduced in welcoming country. intonot ourcome history we engaged in a war mail in part lived under a constant cloudBut of it should women Americans of many creeds, payment to the address above. whole or part without written permission without a reflection on how far we’ve come. to ensure we would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The e far from equal and far from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL foundAourselves by the2018. issueAll of rights civil reserved. No part events took place America in Charlottesville Copyright was bornserved a slave nation. century confronted orders. A time that where are those of the respective contributors and and embarked on aofmission to ensuremay be reproduced as acloud reminder painfully relevant these inrights, this publication in into our history we engaged a war in part a constant of of how are not necessarily shared by the magazine whole no or part without theasfair treatment of all peoples matter theirwritten permission issues are or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the to ensure we would not continue one. We and pervasive hate.today. The from thegreat publisher. Views expressed in SJLof its advertisers, and retains the color.ofAlthough we’ve made strides, Kashrut found ourselves the issue civil n Charlottesville served Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands confronted with the by skin are those ofwith the respective contributors and it is a mission we’re still grappling today. right to refuse any advertisement. rights, and embarked ainfullyJewish relevant these community of Charlottesville, andon a mission to ensure are not necessarily shared by the magazine
the around fair treatment of all peoples no matter was theiralso born an America with the Jewish people the country or immigrant its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Documenting this community, skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, country. As early as the pilgrims, and around the world. We also stand with the a community we are members of Kashrutmany of its advertisers, and retains the on Pi stands with the is a mission withand today. and active within, is our passion. to refuse groups families found in theright country the any advertisement. minorities targeted by thewe’re hate still thatgrappling harlottesville, and who are it We love what we do, and who we do it for. opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, was on display in Charlottesville. We stand America was also born an immigrant around the country Documenting this community, andmany be themselves. Few were meta with open we are members of minorities of whomAs these white country. early as the pilgrims, We alsowith standthe with the community
groups and families found in the country the eted by the hate that opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, ottesville. We stand 4 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018 and be themselves. Few were met with open whom these white
and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.
interesting bits & can’t miss events
Members of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community addressed the New Orleans City Council at the beginning of the Jan. 11 City Council meeting, invited by Councilmember Susan Guidry. The Council honored the Jewish community for its history of philanthropic work in the greater New Orleans community. Among those addressing the Council were Bradley Bain, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow, Ana Ester Gershanik, Jewish Endowment Foundation Executive Director Sandy Levy, and Federation Board Chair Henry Miller. As part of the event, the Federation brought the Council some Dong Phuong king cakes from Pizza Nola.
Touro Synagogue dedicates historical display On Jan. 19, Judah Touro was on hand for the dedication of a new Touro Synagogue historical display on the congregation’s 190th anniversary, and help the congregation observe his 164th yahrzeit. Robert Applebaum, dressed in an early-1800s outfit, started his address with “my name is Judah Touro,” and described Touro’s life in a first person narrative, including his role in supporting the congregation, for which it was named in his memory following a merger in 1881. Rabbi Alexis Berk said many years ago, Applebaum “became very intrigued with the man… he researched and became very familiar with who this man was.” Touro’s address was part of the celebration for what Berk referred to as the “long dreamed of ” display, with dozens of the congregation’s historical artifacts in two display cases. Berk said the evening was “to celebrate the history of this magnificent place in word, in photograph, in story and in song.”
Touro Synagogue is the sixth-oldest chartered Jewish congregation in the United States, and the first one outside the original 13 colonies. One case focuses on Judah Touro’s life, while the other focuses on congregational memorabilia, from Touro and its predecessor congregations, Gates of Mercy and Dispersed of Judah. Among the items is a cover from the 1828 congregational constitution and bylaws, incorporation documents written in French, the first ledger, dating back to 1833, a record of marriages from 1871, a letter from Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, founder of the Reform movement, regarding the reinternment of burials from the first Gates of Mercy Cemetery, and a 1907 terra cotta tile from the dome. There are also documents from the current building’s construction, founding documents from the Women’s League of Touro, and a 100th Touro Synagogue’s pre-1984 “gravy boat” eternal light
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 5
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6 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
agenda anniversary booklet. Congregational Historian Adrien Genet said “many people worked over several decades to bring this to fruition.” In 1993, after many years on the board and as an officer, she suggested that the congregation needed a historian, and was immediately appointed. She referenced several little-known historical facts about the building, which was completed in 1909. She pointed out gas jets in the back of the sanctuary, put there because in 1909 some members of the building committee weren’t convinced that electricity would become popular. One artifact in the cases is the pre-1984 silver eternal light that used to be in the sanctuary. When it was taken down during the renovation, Genet said, it was realized that the eternal light for all those years had been an electrified gravy boat. “We have a lot of fun and interesting things” in the exhibit, Genet said.
History of Touro’s “mystery” Torah revealed As part of the historical display dedication, the Touro Synagogue “mystery” Torah was carried from the sanctuary ark to a display case. Robert Kohn carried the Torah, accompanied by Rabbi Alexis Berk, at the close of the Jan. 19 dedication service. Since 1987, when the Torah was found “deep in the basement” of the congregation’s building, the scroll had been in the ark. “No one knew anything about the history of the Torah” or how it wound up in the basement, Adrien Genet said. It was too old and fragile to use regularly, Rabbi Alexis Berk remarked. Recently, while reading Bertram Korn’s book, “Early Jews of New Orleans,” Genet came across a reference to the early days of Touro Synagogue, when it was known as Gates of Mercy. Jacob Solis, who founded the congregation in 1828, soon returned to New York to visit family, and died before he could return to New Orleans. In 1833, Gates of Mercy President Manis Jacobs, one of the few congregants who knew Hebrew, sent an appeal to Solis’ New York congregation, the still-existing Shearith Israel, asking for a Torah and prayer books. One of their members, Jacob Luria, sent his family Torah by ship to New Orleans, on the condition that Gates of Mercy pay his $14.90 debt to Shearith Israel and pay for the shipping. They checked the Torah from the basement and noticed Hebrew carvings on the Torah handles, which read “Abraham de Jacob Luria,” referencing Luria’s father, Abraham, and grandfather, also named Jacob; and Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5573, which was Nov. 5, 1812.
agenda In June, work will begin on a new Torah for Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. The scroll is a gift from Peggy Good, in memory of her husband, Julian Good, a past president of the congregation. As part of the 12- to 18-month project, the scribe will also evaluate the congregation’s current scrolls. There will be a NFTY-Southern 678 retreat the weekend of March 2, for middle school students across the Deep South. The weekend is an introduction into NFTY at the high school level, and will be held at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica. Registration is $145 by Feb. 21, and is open to any Jewish teen in grades 6 to 8. The New Orleans Synagogue Softball League will begin the season on Feb. 25. Chabad at Tulane announced that the eighth Shabbat 1000, the largest Shabbat event in the region, will be on March 16 at the Newcomb Quad. Last year, about 1,100 students took part in the event, with several student groups making the food, and 100 table heads were recruited to invite friends. Beth Israel in Metairie will have an NCSY Shabbat on Feb. 23, with services at 6 p.m. and dinner following, with girls from Mayanot High School in Teaneck, N.J., and other schools in the New York area. Dinner reservations are $18 for adult members and $9 for children; $25 and $18, respectively, for non-members. Kenneth Hoffman, executive director of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, will speak at the 8 p.m. service at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, on Feb. 23. The museum is slated to open in New Orleans in 2019. Touro Synagogue will have a Seder by the Sea for the second night of Passover, March 31, at the South Beach Biloxi Hotel. There will be a Seder on the beach, sand pyramid contest, Havdalah and campfire, and a sunrise prayer experience. Room rates are valid through Feb. 28, and additional information is at the Touro website. The next Wine and Wisdom program with Rabbi Jordan Goldson of B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will be on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., at Blend Wine Bar. Topic will be the attitude of the Jewish community toward “messianics.” Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a Sisterhood and Brotherhood 1960s Dance FUNdraiser, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. Deejay Mr. E Mann will spin the hits in Manheim-a-Go-Go, and there will be beer, wine, snacks, vintage candy and BYOB. Tickets are $25. Temple Sinai will have a Battle of the Song Leaders, Feb. 23 at the 6:15 p.m. service, featuring Carly Abramson, Charlie Cox, Leo Henkin and Nick May. Students who went on the Birmingham civil rights trip earlier in the month will also speak. JewCCY, the combined Reform Jewish youth group in New Orleans, will have Sundaes, Havdallah and a Movie on Feb. 17 at 5:30, in a home-hosted event. The event is free for members, $5 for non-members. The group will also lead services and Bingo at Woldenberg Village, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. Junior JewCCY, for 6th to 8th graders, will have a Judaic March Madness program on Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m., at a place to be announced. The March Madness teams will be linked to Jewish figures in a competition to pick the winning bracket. Prizes are available, and cost is $1 per entry. Chabad Uptown in New Orleans is holding “My Castle: The Jewish Home,” a Jewish Power Hour, a hands-on Jewish learning course for ages 6 to 11, Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. The course starts Feb. 20 with Home Security System: Mezuzah. On Feb. 27, the topic is “My Room: Sunrise, Sunset,” followed by “My Stuff: More Than Books and Toys” on March 6
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 7
agenda and “The Kitchen: Food for Body and Soul” on March 13. Registration is $15 per class or $40 for the series. TRIBE Nola, a program of Gates of Prayer, will have its next Shabbat at Moishe House, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. Rabbi Alexis Berk and Walter Levy will lead a Jewish medical ethics dinner and discussion on March 6 at 6:30 p.m., at Touro Synagogue. Gail Pesses and John Shalett will lead “I’m Getting Older: How Can I Handle Those Difficult Conversations,” Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. Shir Chadash in Metairie will host HavDanielle, a party celebrating Office Manager Danielle Spadoni’s 20 years with the congregation, March 3 at 6:45 p.m. The next Avenue Shabbat for Touro Synagogue will be on Feb. 23, with services at Touro at 6 p.m., followed by an evening of singing and schmoozing. There will be an Avenue Pop Up on March 9, with services at 6 pm., and after dinner the group will adjourn to a bar that will be revealed the day before. Anshe Sfard in New Orleans will have a community Shabbat dinner on Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m., with services starting at 6 p.m. Reservations to Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin are appreciated. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have a Scout Shabbat and spaghetti dinner, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m., for boys and girls involved in scouting, their siblings and parents. The dinner will be free for all who make a reservation. Shir Chadash in Metairie will have a New Orleans-style Music Shabbat and chicken dinner, Feb. 16 at 6:15 p.m. Dinner reservations are $10 by Feb. 14. Mah Jongg Day at Gates of Prayer in Metairie has been rescheduled for April 8 at 1 p.m. The original January event was postponed due to winter weather. The next free Movies in Metairie event at the Goldring/Woldenberg JCC will be on Feb. 26 at 12:30 p.m., with “Secondhand Lions,” a coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy who is sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas. Bring a lunch, movie snacks will be served. Rabbi Todd Silverman will offer a “second” crash course on Judaism at Touro Synagogue, Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., from Feb. 22 to March 22. Registration is free for members, $50 for non-members. The Baton Rouge Federation of Temple Youth will have its Auction for Abraham and spaghetti dinner on March 10, where the teens auction their services for odd jobs in the community. Touro Synagogue rescheduled its tour of Whitney Plantation to March 11 at 10:30 a.m. Whitney Plantation shows plantation life from the perspective of the slaves. Reservations for the tour are required by March 1. Avodah will present Yavilah McCoy discussing “Intersectionality as a Jewish Practice” as part of its Speak Torah to Power simulcast series. McCoy is CEO of DIMENSIONS in Boston, a a certified trainer for ADL’s World of Difference Institute, National Conference for Community and Justice, and the National Coalition Building Institute, and a pioneer in the empowerment of Jews of color. The watch party will be at Moishe House on Feb. 20, with the talk beginning at 6 p.m. The Israeli film “Apples from the Desert” will be screened at the Uptown Jewish Community Center on March 5 at 7 p.m., as part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Cultural Arts Series. This is a film adaptation of an award-winning Israeli play, where a rebellious teenage daughter of ultra-Orthodox parents journeys into the secular world 8 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
“Seamless transition” Michelle Schipper taking ISJL reins from founder Macy Hart This month, Michele Schipper will quietly move down the hall at the Jackson headquarters of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Having served as the Institute’s Chief Operating Officer since 2007, Schipper will become the Chief Executive Officer on Feb. 19, succeeding Macy Hart, who founded the organization in 2000. Hart founded the ISJL as a way to deliver services to isolated and underserved Jewish communities in a 13-state region from Virginia to Texas. The ISJL developed a standardized curriculum for religious schools, provides rabbinic services with traveling rabbis, cultural and historical programs, promotes social action and historic preservation. Schipper said her immediate goal is “to continue the growth that has taken place over the last several years,” increasing the reach of the main programs. After a sabbatical over the next few months, Hart will take a new position “to be helpful where needed” and work on projects he did not have time for as CEO. Regarding the transition, Schipper said “To the outside person, it’s seamless — they’re not going to feel an immediate change in direction.” Every department head in the ISJL’s six departments is continuing, and Schipper had a role in the hiring of each of them. “She’s got her team,” Hart said. Schipper was selected by a search committee headed by Rayman Solomon, former board chair. Current Board Chair Rachel Reagler Schulman said “No one could ‘replace’ Macy; our founder, visionary, and first leader,” but “our conversations and interview process led us to the conclusion that Michele Schipper was truly the right choice.” Aside from an initial informational interview at the start of the process, Hart did not play a role in the selection process. Hart said Schipper innately understands the ISJL’s mission because she grew up in Jackson, and “her family was the center of the Jewish world for a lot of people” through the Old Tyme Deli. Schipper spent many summers at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp, rising to unit head, and in colAfter sabbatical, lege headed Dream Street, a week-long camp held at Jacobs for children with physical disHart will work on abilities. Hart noted that Schipper’s daughter ISJL projects he directed Dream Street two years ago, “the first we’ve had.” didn’t previously multi-legacy Pursuing a career in Jewish non-profit management, Schipper left Mississippi for Califorhave time to nia, to work as assistant director of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps, whose director at accomplish the time was also from Mississippi. She spent 20 years out west, returning to Jackson in 2007 after four years as executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque. She had previously run two JCCs in southern California. “I never really imagined once I left Jackson that there would be an opening for me to return,” she said. “I was a Jewish professional, what would I be able to do here?” Hart said he kept in touch with Schipper, especially when she came home to visit family. In 2007, “I really was looking for some help” with the Institute. “Too much was not getting done when I was gone” because there was a missing puzzle piece in the organization, a “crucial staff member.” “She really did put structure here,” Hart said, and “this is her organization as much as it is mine.”
What ISJL does Based in Jackson, the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life serves Southern Jewish communities in many ways. Community Engagement: Partners with service-based organizations to address a range of social issues affecting everyone in the region, with pilot programs done in Jackson and then the model is made available regionally for congregations of community organizations to replicate. Programs include literacy initiatives, peer mediation in Mississippi schools, and Jewish social justice modules for congregations. Education: The ISJL developed a standardized religious school curriculum that can be used in schools with hundreds of students or just one. The curriculum is currently used by 76 congregations in 72 schools, with over 4100 Sunday Schoolers “on the same page,” Hart said. Houston and Dallas each have about 1,000 students in multiple congregations using the curriculum. Congregations are required to attend an annual Education Conference in Jackson. Education Fellows spend two years paired with congregations, advising on a weekly basis and traveling to each congregation for a weekend at least three times a year. History: Preserves the story of Southern Jewish communities, through oral histories, preservation efforts and the online Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish Communities. Heritage and Interpretation: Promotes Southern Jewish heritage tours, including service learning and alternative spring breaks; has a traveling exhibit, “Bagels and Grits: Exploring Jewish Life in the Deep South”; a Traveling Trunk schools can borrow, filled with lesson plans and artifacts describing the Southern Jewish experience, with trunks available for Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia; and workcontinued on page 11 February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 9
community He added, “Over a decade, she managed to enhance our efficiency, grow our staff, and work alongside the board and me to place the ISJL amongst the most impactful and innovative Jewish organizations.” Schipper said when she was hired in 2007, “it was a wonderful homecoming,” and succeeding Hart “is an honor.” She just finished her two-year term as president of Beth Israel in Jackson, and noted that this transition comes in ISJL’s 18th year of existence. “Getting to continue this legacy and lead the organization into the future is truly exciting.” In the first 18 years, “we’ve delivered on everything we said we were going to do, and even more that we didn’t think of ” at first, Schipper said. The board and staff are all “committed to making sure the ISJL continues to succeed on all levels.” Schipper noted that several staffers, such as past Education Fellows, have returned to ISJL in different capacities. “That says a lot,” she observed. “They are all ambassadors and we take pride” in them. The Institute began as an outgrowth of Hart’s personal story. He grew up in the only Jewish family in Winona, Miss., schlepping 160 miles round trip every Sunday for religious school. He became active in the National Federation of Temple Youth, meeting Jewish peers from around the region, worked his way up the ranks and was elected as national president in 1967. During the 1960s, there was a major push to establish a Jewish summer camp in Mississippi, and the Southern Federation of Temple Youth, the local region, was heavily involved in that effort. As Hart was finishing college, he offered to work for NFTY in New York “for free.” Instead, he was told, the Henry S. Jacobs Camp was becoming a reality, and it was suggested that he work there instead. In a NFTY alumni interview, Hart said Rabbi Sol Kaplan, regional director of the Southwest Council of the UAHC, was in charge of the camp because “no one would take the director’s job because of the fear perceived in Mississippi.” This was less than three years after the Temples in Jackson and Meridian were bombed by the Klan, along with the home of Rabbi Perry Nussbaum in Jackson. Kaplan hired Hart as an administrator for the camp’s first summer, grooming him to take over as director at the end of the summer. He would lead the camp for 30 years. Jacobs Camp was established as a summer refuge for Jewish kids who came from the numerous small towns around the region, where they might be the only Jewish child or one of a handful in the town. As a place to strengthen Southern Jewish identity, when congregations in the region downsized or closed, they often gifted their ritual items to the camp. A year after the camp opened, Vicksburg’s Anshe Chesed Temple, which had moved into a smaller building, asked Hart if he wanted the ark from the old building before the building was demolished. The collection grew from there, leading Hart to establish the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience at the camp in 1986. As the museum’s role expanded, including its first major public exhibit,
Students at an ISJL partner congregation
10 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
community “From Alsace to America” in 1998, Hart decided to work on his “dream of trying to find a way to bring services to small and isolated Jewish communities.” That led to his establishing the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in 2000, with a black-tie gala announcement at the Audubon Tea Room in New Orleans that September. Just because he is stepping aside as CEO doesn’t mean Hart isn’t still dreaming big. There are some goals Hart will work on because he did not get as far on them as he would have liked. Expanding the organization’s endowment is one of the biggest. “I would like for all the departments, Fellows, positions, to be named so the time can be spent on program delivery and not having to continue to raise all the dollars,” he said. He also would like to take the education curriculum to the next level — year-round learning. When ISJL developed a standardized curriculum for religious schools, it was done with the idea of having a basic Jewish literacy available to communities of all sizes, a “secular-world approach to Jewish education.” What about summer? “None of the movements have a mandated curriculum for summer camps,” he observed. Camp can be a “launch of the year ahead or culmination of the year behind,” and standardized plans can be developed for a camp setting. He also would love to see a “Camp Birthright” effort to place as many Jewish 4th and 5th grade students in summer camp, “highly subsidized.” Another component would be a savings plan for an Israel trip, which the Jewish teen movements offer. By 11th grade, Hart explained, the campers have developed deep friendships, and then they do six weeks in Israel with those friends, having a much deeper experience than 7 to 10 days in college. “They grow up together. They go to Israel together. It’s a hands-on field trip.” He also reached back to a vision he expressed at the 2000 introduction — replicating ISJL in other regions, such as an Institute of Midwestern Jewish Life. He recalled that ISJL “had to do it one department at a time, selling theory.” But now, they have the structure and the model to replicate. He also wants to be an ambassador for the organization in its 13 states, telling the ISJL story. “We’re well known on a national level in the Jewish organizational world,” including being perennially listed in the Slingshot Guide of most innovative Jewish non-profits, “but in the grassroots places where we are making an impact, they have no idea who we are.” Schipper also wants to see a greater awareness of the Institute. She said she wants to get to where the reaction that ISJL gets shifts from “I had no idea” to “continue the good work.”
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ing with the ISJL’s satellite museum at Temple B’nai Israel in Natchez. Cultural Programming brings performers, scholars, theatrical works and storytellers to congregations and groups around the region, setting up tours to make it more feasible for smaller communities to have this type of program.
Marilyn Cox: 504-378-3153
Rabbinical Services: Rabbis on the Road provides rabbinic services to communities without Jewish professionals, including a multi-city Passover Road Trip. The Institute usually has a resident rabbi making these trips, along with visiting rabbis from around the country who do Southern tours. What About the Museum? The Institute grew out of the Museum of Southern Jewish Life, which was housed at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica from 1986 to 2012. The museum was officially spun off into its own separate entity last year and will open anew in New Orleans in 2019.
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February 2018 • Southern Jewish10/19/17 Life 11 3:34 PM
As proponents of R-18-5 press posters against the window, Arnie Fielkow addresses the New Orleans City Council during the Jan. 25 meeting.
Middle East Conflict
How a seemingly-innocuous human rights resolution thrust the New Orleans City Council into an international tumult On the face of it, Resolution R-18-5 was just another feel-good resolution that City Councils like New Orleans’ pass every so often. The resolution, presented by Councilmembers Jared Brossett, James Gray, Stacy Head, Jason Williams and Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, was described in the Jan. 11 agenda as “Encouraging the creation of a process to review direct investments and contracts for inclusion on, or removal from, the City’s list of corporate securities and contracted partners, according to the values of the City as referenced in this Resolution.” After the 5-0 vote to adopt the resolution, though, the Council quickly became embroiled in an international battle that it did not anticipate, as the resolution was characterized as its backers as being a major victory for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement. After a contentious two weeks, culminating in a heated discussion at the Jan. 25 Council meeting, there was a unanimous vote to withdraw the resolution, with the resolution’s proponents making heated charges about the Council and the Jewish community, and denying their previously-stated intent to target Israel with the resolution. The resolution, which does not explicitly mention Israel or the Middle East, notes that New Orleans was declared a “welcoming city” in 2015 “to create a more inclusive, receptive city environment for all local populations” and the city “commits itself to protect, respect, and fulfill the full range of inherent human rights for all, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international human rights instruments.” It continues by stating New Orleans “has social and ethical obligations to take steps to avoid contracting with or investing in corporations whose practices consistently violate human rights, civil rights or labor rights, or corporations whose practices egregiously contradict 12 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
efforts to create a prosperous, educated, healthy and equitable society.” Therefore, the resolution, which is non-binding, said the Council “encourages the creation of a process to review direct investments and contracts for inclusion on, or removal from, the City’s list of corporate securities and contractual partners, according to the values of the City as references in this Resolution.”
Where did it come from?
The resolution was listed at the end of the published agenda for Jan. 11 as “under suspension,” but was addressed after a vote to suspend the rules, toward the end of a six-hour Council meeting. Ironically, the Council meeting had started with a presentation by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, which was then honored by the Council with “a special proclamation for their tremendous philanthropic work and positive impact on the entire New Orleans community.” The resolution’s history goes back to January 2017, when the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee worked with other social action groups in New Orleans, under the concept of “intersectionality” or shared struggle, to present a list of demands to the city after President Donald Trump’s immigration order. On Dec. 12, NOPSC held a protest outside City Hall. Max Geller said after months of inaction by the council, the Palestinian group “has taken the step of writing our own resolution because we were sick and tired of waiting for the city council members to do their job.” After a press conference, group members distributed their resolution to the council members, and Cantrell expressed interest in working with the group. The resolution that passed on Jan. 11 was a shorter version of the December resolution. The December protest came just days after
community Trump declared that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, so numerous speakers decried that decision. Tabitha Mustafa, a NOPSC organizer, said Jerusalem “has always been the economic, political and cultural home of Palestinian livelihood.” The resolution was important, she said because of the U.S. military aid that she said Israel uses to “militarize, humiliate and police Palestinians on their indigenous land every day, much the same way and the same companies that communities of color in Louisiana and throughout the country are routinely stopped, humiliated and killed because of the color of their skin and immigration status. New Orleans plays a part in that and funds many of these companies.” For NOPSC, getting New Orleans to divest from Israel has been a primary goal. On its website, there is a petition to that effect, charging Israel with an “official system of segregation and repression,” and stating “New Orleans should no longer be party to contracts, licenses, or investments with the apartheid state of Israel. Consumer goods contributing to the illegal Israeli occupation must also be banned.” A few days before the vote, NOPSC promoted attendance on its Facebook page, urging supporters to “Join us Thursday for this historic city council vote! We need you to come out and speak in favor of our municipal BDS legislation. Companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine and other human rights abuses have no place in New Orleans.” On Jan. 11, a reminder was sent that “Today’s historic vote determines whether New Orleans will be the first city in the South to begin the process to DIVEST from Israel.” At the meeting, four speakers from NOPSC spoke in favor of the resolution. Mustafa noted the proximity to Martin Luther King Day, and asserted that King was a supporter of the Palestinians, and this resolution upholds his legacy. One speaker in support of the resolution compared the Palestinians to the New Orleans post-Katrina experience of losing homes, in charging that the Caterpillar Company’s equipment has bulldozed “35,000 Palestinian homes.” Caterpillar is often a target of anti-Israel groups that see the company as supporting or enabling Israel’s “occupation.” Geller also linked the bulldozing of Palestinian homes to post-Katrina displacement. In his remarks, he said there were Palestinian business owners in all five Council districts, and “it is very heartening to include this community in the political process.” Williams moved for adoption of the resolution, with Brossett seconding, and the resolution passed, 5-0. On their Facebook page immediately after the vote, NOPSC touted “We Won!” The vote
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community was immediately touted on social media in the Arab world and among the extreme anti-Israel websites like Mondoweiss as a breakthrough victory for BDS, with New Orleans becoming the first Southern city and one of the largest cities to support BDS. The Jewish community, meanwhile, had no idea the resolution was being discussed, let alone passed, when this publication called around asking for comment that afternoon.
The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans immediately contacted Council members, and late that night issued a statement , with the Anti-Defamation League, decrying the way this measure was taken up suddenly, outside the usual rules, guaranteeing NOPSC the entire floor in discussing the resolution. “These stealth tactics divide communities and do not provide for an equitable forum whereby all voices can be heard.”
Some Jewish groups, activists backed the resolution
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14 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
While there were many groups in the Jewish community who mobilized to battle Resolution R-18-5, opposition was by no means unanimous. At the Jan. 25 meeting, two of the four speakers for keeping the resolution were Jewish. The first speaker for the resolution was Rabbi Michael Davis, who flew in from Chicago for the meeting. A founding member of the Rabbinic Council of Jewish Voice for Peace, Davis leads Makom Shalom in Chicago and noted he had been rabbi in Baton Rouge. Davis said “the New Orleans City Council is fulfilling the best of our Jewish teachings in acting on its ethical and social obligations… our prayer is that other city councils will join New Orleans in using their economic power to stand for all human rights.” He criticized “some Jews” who spoke against the resolution, including local rabbis and the Federation. Davis said “pro-BDS is a loaded term, an incendiary term. It is code for anti-Semitic. They are saying that to support human rights, including in Israel/Palestine, is to hate Jews.” He concluded, “listen not to the raging tumult of the powerful. Listen not to the fury of the rich. Listen not to the thrattling drumbeats of anti-Semitism. Listen instead to that still small voice inside you, that voice of your conscience, that voice of truth.” Chloe Sigal from the New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers said the resolution was the work of many local groups in response to Donald Trump’s election. As a Jew, Sigal said she was “appalled” that “Jewish concepts like tikkun olam have been mentioned in today’s meeting to rescind this resolution. Hundreds of companies profited from the Holocaust. Hundreds of companies are profiting today from human rights abuses, from Palestine to the U.S./Mexico border.” Members of Avodah Jewish Service Corps in New Orleans issued a statement commending the council for its original vote. “Every day we work in New Orleans to combat deep social and economic inequality; we work in healthcare, housing rights, education, and prison reform. We recognize that this work is contingent on the dismantling of inequality everywhere. The Human Rights Investment Screen helps make this ideal we share as a corps a reality.” JVP also urged the council to reaffirm its orig-
inal vote. “The resolution was written by the New Orleans Palestinian Solidarity Committee, whose commitment to liberation for all people is reflected in the broad language of the resolution. We joined over 20 organizations across New Orleans in celebrating this resolution as a win for all freedom struggles,” their statement read. Both groups took issue with the characterization of the resolution as anti-Semitic. The Avodah members’ statement, which did not reference the Middle East at all, said “This claim is a travesty and a deep betrayal of the historical Jewish commitment to social justice. We believe that divestment from institutions and corporations partaking in human rights abuse is legitimate, and that the passage of the Human Rights Investment Screen is an important tool to hold our city accountable to values of equity and human rights for all.” The JVP statement expressed “outrage” that the Federation and ADL were “falsely claiming to speak for all Jews” and “smeared this historic resolution.” It also stated that “attempts to tie criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses to antisemitism are meant to deflect attention away from those abuses.” In the controversy, Jewish Voice for Peace saw an anti-Palestinian bias, claiming that the ADL and Federation did not like that the resolution “was hailed by Palestinian rights activists” and asked the Council, “Had the ADL and Federation been the ones to present the exact same resolution, would you still be reconsidering it?” The ADL considers JVP to be the “largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group in the United States,” which “works to demonstrate Jewish opposition to the State of Israel and to steer public support away from the Jewish State.” At its national conference last year, JVP hosted Rasmea Odeh, convicted of involvement in a terror attack in Jerusalem in 1969, and last summer launched “Deadly Exchange,” a campaign charging that Israeli counter-terrorism training of U.S. police forces lead to increased police brutality against minorities in the U.S. Additional statements of support for NOPSC came from First Grace Community Alliance, Amnesty International, the People’s Assembly of New Orleans, Take Em Down NOLA, the New Orleans International Human Rights Festival, European Dissent-New Orleans, Nola to Angola, and Congres: The Congress of Day Laborers.
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While the Federation “fully supports the values of human rights expressed in the resolution, we are deeply concerned about its unintended consequences relating to Israel and in bolstering the divisive BDS movement. The BDS movement, which has inherently anti-Semitic components, is designed to challenge Israel’s economic viability and very right to exist.” While the pro-Palestinian group touted the bill among their supporters as targeting Israel and did not mention any other countries in pushing for the bill, over the next few days Council members stated they did not intend to single out Israel or any other country. “The Council did not single out any particular companies, countries, nations, issues, conflicts or existing contractors,” said Cantrell. “The Resolution simply seeks to keep City contracts and investments in line with our commitment to upholding universal human rights.” Williams said “My support of this measure was not, and is not, intended to in any way be reflective of either an anti-Israel or pro-BDS sentiment,” and any decisions will be made by a cross-section of New Orleanians. “This resolution is pro womankind and mankind. It is simply humanitarian,” he added. Gray said the resolution “was an affirmation of our belief in the basic principles of American Society. No more, no less.” Brossett added that the resolution “simply recognizes our support of human rights, labor rights, and New Orleans being an inclusive city.” As Council members backed away from the notion that the resolution targeted Israel, so too did NOPSC — to a degree. The group began to emphasize the previously-unmentioned coalition of 20 groups and pointed to the broad wording of the resolution, not singling out any country. Instead, they charged the Jewish community organizations with bringing Israel into the discussion, claiming it’s because Israel’s supporters know Israel is guilty of abuses and want to carve out an exception for Israel in the resolution. Since the push for passage focused on Israel, the NOPSC was asked by Southern Jewish Life which country was second on their list. Their response was to disagree with the characterization that Israel was the primary target. The ADL and Federation pushed for a withdrawal of the resolution, and with more unwanted international attention on New Orleans, Council members started to agree. Williams said the “resulting flurry of debate and controversy has played out locally, national and internationally,” and the voice of this council has been represented as saying far more than was ever said in the four corners of the document” by linking it with the BDS movement.
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As the next Council meeting, scheduled for Jan. 25, drew near, it became more apparent that the Council would be revisiting the resolution. Numerous activist groups in New Orleans and around the world issued statements supporting NOPSC and the resolution, and NOPSC put out a call for allied groups to attend the Jan. 25 meeting. The meeting was in the Orleans Parish School Board office, as the Council chamber at City Hall, a much larger venue, is being renovated. In an odd coincidence, the School Board office is in a section of New Orleans known as the West Bank. While there were many members of the Jewish community there to speak against the rsolution, proponents of the resolution filled the rest of the seats and crowded the hallway outside the room. Four speakers from the local Jewish community opposed the resolution, while speakers in favor of the resolution took aim at the local Jewish community, claiming the community wants to deny Palestinians basic human rights, and framed it as a battle between justice and bowing to campaign contributors. Mustafa said those in the hallway were people of color, from the
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 15
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16 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
LGBTQ community, immigrants, Palestinians, Muslims, “those who stand for justice are all outside, and there are a few of us who made it into this room.” She painted opponents of the resolution as opposing human rights, especially when it comes to Palestinians, and that the Jewish community was willing to sacrifice a blanket human rights resolution because of a “scorched earth” policy to deny rights to Palestinians. Mustafa said, “It is completely unfair and ridiculous to think that a group of all-white Jews can say that every person out there, every person of color, every person from a marginalized community, doesn’t matter. That is worth rescinding an entire human rights resolution in the name of everyone, in order to exceptionalize and protect a few people.” Despite her characterization of the resolution’s universality, BDS was still the star of the show. When Cantrell noted that the resolution had been interpreted by outsiders as a statement that New Orleans was now one of the largest cities to support BDS, there was a massive cheer from the resolution’s proponents in the room. Cantrell continued by stating that characterization was an “undesired and damaging falsehood” and that “this is totally inaccurate, untruthful and does not reflect the values of New Orleans.” Williams stated that each side would be given 15 minutes to comment, with those opposing the resolution going first because they had not been given an opportunity to speak on Jan. 11. Proponents of the resolution were then given the final 15 minutes. As some proponents interrupted and protested that they had many more people to speak in favor, Williams said “we’re not going to solve the Middle East crisis in the city of New Orleans today… but I want to make sure we have equitable time on both sides.” As Williams and Cantrell spoke, activists in the hall chanted “Let Us Speak.” They continued to chant “our voice matters” and “human rights for all” louder as representatives of the Jewish community spoke in opposition to the resolution, then were silent during the proponents’ remarks. Aaron Ahlquist, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke first, followed by Temple Sinai Rabbi Emeritus Ed Cohn, National Council of Jewish Women President Barbara Kaplinsky and Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans Chief Executive Office Arnie Fielkow, himself a past president of the City Council. Each spoke of their groups’ history of advocating for groups throughout the community, including speaking out against the anti-Muslim travel ban, for immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights and the removal of Confederate monuments. Ahlquist said the ADL “unequivocally supports civil and human rights” but “this resolution is not the way to do this.” Cohn said the resolution was “cleverly masqueraded as a high-minded civic statement” that “sounded so good.” It took no time, however, to see the deception, he said, in the form of “the joyous and triumphant proclamation touting the historic first by the BDS movement in a U.S. Southern city,” a comment that also drew cheers from the resolution proponents. Cohn, a founding member of the New Orleans Human Rights Commission noted the presence of Jewish Voice for Peace members who were dressed in identical green T-shirts that read “Jews for Human Rights: No Exceptions.” Cohn said there used to be a whole lot more Jews who were anti-Zionist like them, “but after 1933 and 1945, there were many fewer,” an observation that drew howls of protest from JVP. Fielkow said he has “great respect” for the groups behind the resolution. “On another day, and another topic, the Jewish community would be standing shoulder to shoulder with them as we have historically stood up for human and civil rights, equity, diversity and the core tenet of Jewish values, tikun olam, repairing the world.” On the topic of BDS, “we must respectfully disagree with the resolution’s proponents,” Fielkow said. “It does not in any way advance what I hope is the common goal of everyone in this building… a peaceful resolution of a historic and complicated conflict so that all parties on both
community sides can live with peace, security and prosperity.” “Being labeled a BDS city is not beneficial to New Orleans in any way,” he noted. In concluding his remarks, he addressed everyone, including the resolution proponents, with “may all of us be strong and courageous enough to sit together and have dialogue on difficult topics” like the council does every two weeks. As Fielkow spoke, those in the hall started to press handwritten posters against the glass above him, above where the glass was frosted. The posters had individual responses to the phrase “I support human rights because…” There were also two Jewish speakers in favor of the resolution (see sidebar). In her remarks, Mustafa asked “who opposes human rights? Terrorists. White supremacists. The president. But it also seems that the Jewish Federation, the ADL, the mayor of New Orleans and now suddenly the city council have taken the side of opposing human rights.” She said that even though Israel is not mentioned in the resolution, the Federation, ADL, Jewish Community Relations Council, Sen. Bill Cassidy and Mayor Mitch Landrieu, “the very same mayor that brought down the Confederation monuments,” and the Council, all oppose
the resolution, asking when all of them have been on the same page. “Never,” she asserted. Trying to figure it out, “It wasn’t shocking for me to find out that ironically the very same donors who contributed to the campaigns of Cassidy, Landrieu and multiple city council members are also opponents of the human rights resolution,” she said. She added the only explanations for opposing the resolution are Islamophobia, since “the Palestinians are one of the groups that helped pass it,” and complicity, that the opponents “know that Israel has human rights violations.” Mustafa asked “Is the Zionist lobby willing to continue to destroy and defame reputable social justice movements by using the scorched-earth policy in order to deem anything that is a critique as anti-Semitism, and not hear out valuable concerns of the oppressed? “It is never the job of the oppressor to tell the oppressed how to defend our rights,” she said. In a comment that stunned many in the community, Mustafa also charged, “Let’s think of the role that the ADL played in having Muslims and African-Americans here in the U.S. murdered during the apartheid South Africa era. Is that who you want to stand with?” After the time for public remarks, Williams said he has been proud to stand with NOPSC
against Trump’s travel ban, and “I have disagreed with NOPSC on other issues… sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree.” He said being an ally “is not ownership. It does not mean you own my voice on every vote.” Williams continued, “We all need to realize there’s a difference between a friend you’re in disagreement with and a mortal enemy. There are not two sides to this issue. There are a number of sides.” Williams said “the passage of that resolution was flawed” both by being done under suspension and by being erroneously portrayed. “I’m certain folks on both sides agree with the black and white words in that resolution,” he said, but “how we are reflected nationally and internationally is up to the members of the city council. No one else is going to interpret a resolution that comes from this body.” With that, he moved to withdraw the resolution, and the withdrawal passed without opposition. The resolution’s proponents then broke into song in the chamber, staying in the room for another 20 minutes, causing the council to go into recess. After the room was cleared and the meeting continued, the song continued in the building’s lobby. At the end of the Jan. 25 debate, Williams expressed hope that there would be dialogue between
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 17
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those in favor of the resolution and those opposed. Is there a possibility? In a statement later that day, the Federation and ADL thanked the City Council for the reconsideration. “By withdrawing the resolution, it allows the opportunity for a clean slate to begin to engage in meaningful, transparent and inclusive dialogue on how this community advances issues of civil rights and human rights, and how we collectively build a better New Orleans reflective of our commitment to these values. The Federation, ADL, and the Jewish Community Relations Council stand-by as willing partners and participants in this discussion.” The statement continued,
What is BDS? The BDS movement takes many forms. The acronym stands for Boycott, Divest and Sanction, in an effort to isolate Israel politically and economically. For some, it is simply protesting the Israeli settlements in the territories by boycotting any goods produced by Israeli companies in those areas — now considered only the West Bank, since Gaza has been emptied of Jews and is under the control of Hamas. BDS opponents argue these West Bank companies provide good jobs and high wages to Palestinian workers in an area desperately in need of economic activity, and the Palestinians in those areas aren’t supportive of the BDS movement. Other strains of BDS target Israel in general, since the view of most Palestinian activist groups is that all of Israel, including the pre-1967 area, is occupied territory by what they call colonist outsiders, i.e., European Jews, though about half of Israel’s Jewish population has Middle Eastern origins. BDS activists pressure musicians to refuse to hold concerts in Israel, as Lorde recently did. They also try to cut off any collaboration between Western universities and their Israeli counterparts, push for the cancellation of shows or exhibits involving Israeli groups, shut down Israeli speakers on campus — even those on the left. They also try to shut down American law enforcement efforts to learn anti-terrorism best practices from Israeli counterparts, or emergency and mass-casualty response — such as the New Orleans-Israel Partnership on Emergency Response and Medicine. Efforts to improve the lives of Palestinians or establish dialogue are also condemned as “normalization” with Israel, and therefore condemned under BDS. One of the founders of the BDS movement, Omar Barghouti, was born in Qatar, lives in Acre (which is in pre-1967 Israel), and has a degree from Tel Aviv University, where he is pursuing a doctorate while trying to get academic institutions worldwide to boycott Israeli universities. Barghouti has said that “The real aim of BDS is to bring down the state of Israel… That should be stated as an unambiguous goal,” but referred to his Tel Aviv studies a “personal matter.” He also states that unlike Palestinians, Jews aren’t a nation and have no right of self-determination. Pro-BDS groups charge that BDS opponents consider any criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitism. There is a line drawn between legitimate criticism of Israel, which happens every day, and anti-Semitism. The latter is seen as the denial of the right of self-determination to Jews; using classic anti-Semitic imagery or canards, such as nefarious conspiratorial Jewish power or the “harvesting” of Palestinian organs by Israel; comparing Israeli defensive actions to Nazi genocide and the concentration camps; denying any historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel; singling out the world’s only Jewish state as uniquely evil; or denying Israeli rights to self-defense that would be permitted to any other country. Many major German cities reject BDS, saying it all too often uses language and imagery from the Nazi era, and almost half of U.S. states have anti-BDS laws. Usually, BDS battles take place on college campuses. There, stealth is often employed, with BDS resolutions before student governments coming up unannounced, or having a vote scheduled for a meeting that takes place on Rosh Hashanah or the first day of Passover, times when it is certain that Jewish community opposition would be limited.
community “The withdrawal of the resolution in no way reflects a lack of commitment to human rights, from either Federation, ADL or the City Council. Rather, this important conversation can now happen in the light, with transparency and inclusivity.” Conversely, on Jan. 27, the NOPSC said the reversal “was a loss for the entire City of New Orleans” and said ADL and Federation opposition was “because the resolution might include Palestinian rights.” The group also said “By and large, the Council only took meetings with pro-Israel Jewish groups, excluded the voices of Jews for human rights, and refused to take meetings with the Palestinian community or our allies,” calling it “blatant bias” that “proves that when it comes to human rights, Palestinians are viewed as an exception.” The statement also noted that Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Republican State Senator Conrad Appel, who both condemned the resolution, “have received thousands of dollars from the law firm Jones Walker LLC and the company Acadian Ambulance, both of whom were also underwriters for JFGNO,” echoing Mustafa’s claim before the Council. To NOPSC, the whole episode demonstrated that “some groups are willing to discard the rights of everyone in order to exceptionalize a select few. Those who unconditionally support Israel have been exposed for its racism and disregard for human life.” The Federation statement said “Federation and the ADL are opposed to BDS, and believe that it does not advance the discussion towards meaningful resolution and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, or a workable two state solution,” and it’s not an issue for the New Orleans City Council to decide. Nevertheless, “ADL and Federation have each demonstrated their commitment to social justice and civil rights… we remain committed to advancing an open dialogue to build understanding, and creating meaningful change to improve the lives of all.”
Mississippi working on anti-BDS legislation Another bill would allow Israel Bonds purchases Mississippi is working on legislation that would prohibit state fund investments in and state or local contracts with companies that boycott Israel, and would allow the state to make investments in Israel Bonds. House Bill 747 authorizes “a portion” of excess state funds to be invested in bonds “issued, assumed or guaranteed by the State of Israel” provided that they have a credit rating of AAA. The measure, introduced by Rep. Hank Zuber of Ocean Springs, passed 113-2 on Jan. 31. A similar bill, SB-2051, introduced by Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, is before the Senate. Alabama and Louisiana are among states which permit investments in Israel Bonds, and each has several million dollars invested. House Bill 837, introduced by Donnie Bell of Fulton and Greg Snowden of Meridian, bars participation in the BDS movement that seeks to isolate Israel economically. The bill, which passed out of committee on Jan. 31, required the Public Employees Retirement System and the treasurer’s office to identify companies that are involved in boycotts of Israel and prohibits “direct or indirect” holdings in those companies. Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Texas are among the 24 states that have passed anti-BDS measures. When Obama signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015, there were anti-BDS provisions in it. An anti-BDS measure shepherded by Rep. Valarie Hodges of Denham Springs passed the Louisiana House last June but was bottled up in the Senate. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has led three trade missions to Israel in the last four years, and a Mississippi-Israel trade seminar was held in Jackson in 2015.
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Weekend of Learning Regionally-focused Limmud New Orleans includes 90 sessions in 10 subject tracks
Registration is underway for Limmud New Orleans 2018, a regional weekend of multi-denominational Jewish learning. Organizers have unveiled the slate of presenters, from laypeople in New Orleans and across the country, to most New Orleans rabbis. In all, the weekend will include about 90 presentations in what is being called a “weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality.” The festival opens at 4:30 p.m. on March 16 at Gates of Prayer, with a Shabbaton that evening and on March 17. There will be services at Gates of Prayer in Orthodox, Conservative and Reform styles, with every group coming together for meals. On Shabbat morning there will also be an alternative spiritual and meditation service. Housing can be arranged for out-of-town participants who need to be within walking distance. Havdalah on March 17 and the March 18 sessions will be at the newly-renovated Uptown Jewish Community Center. There may be as many as nine sessions simultaneously, and attendees may freely wander in and out of sessions. An international movement, Limmud has conferences in 80 communities around the world. Limmud operates on the core value that everyone is a learner and everyone can be a teacher, and sessions are designed to be interactive. All presenters are volunteering their time, and the organizers are also volunteers. Programming is available for all levels and experiences of Jewish learning. Young Limmud programming will be available for ages 4 to 12, and babysitting will be available for ages 1 to 3. Registration, which includes kosher meals and snacks, can be done for the entire weekend, or from after Havdalah on March 17 through the end of the weekend. For the entire weekend, registration after Jan. 31 is $95 for over age 30, $55 for ages 18 to 30 and $20 for children. For after Havdalah and Sunday, registration is $70 for over age 30, $40 for ages 18 to 30 and $15 for children. There is no charge for ages 3 and under. Registration rates will increase after March 4. Several national speakers will be coming to New Orleans for the weekend. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, one of the Forward’s 50 most influential women rabbis and rabbi-in-residence at Avodah, will speak on “I and Thou: Creating a 21st Century Jewish Sexual Ethic” and “Nurture The Wow: Parenting as a Spiritual Practice.” After her mother died of breast cancer, Ruttenberg wrote “Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion.” Meredith Polsky, founder of Matan, will speak on creating a culture of inclusion in Jewish institutions and Jewish education. A 2017 Covenant Award recipient, Polsky co-authored “I Have a Question about Death: A Book for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other Special Needs.” Bill Dauster, former deputy chief of staff for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, will speak on “Ethics in Government: What Jewish Sources Tell Us” and “Government Power: Mixed Feelings on Kingship in the Hebrew Bible.” Rabbi Michael Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies at Hebrew Union College, will give two sessions. The only American rabbi with a full professorial chair in New Testament, Cook will speak on “Reformulating ‘Jesus and the Jews’ over the Centuries: Persistent Failures of continued on page 31 20 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans
EWISH NEWSLETTER Vol. XIII No. 1
February 2018 |Shevat 5778
STATEMENT FROM FEDERATION AND ADL
The Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans would like to thank the New Orleans City Council for their reconsideration and withdrawal of Resolution 18-5. By withdrawing the resolution, it allows the opportunity for a clean slate to begin to engage in meaningful, transparent and inclusive dialogue on how this community advances issues of civil rights and human rights, and how we collectively build a better New Orleans reflective of our commitment to these values. The Federation, ADL, and the Jewish Community Relations Council stand-by as willing partners and participants in this discussion. The withdrawal of the resolution in no way reflects a lack of commitment to human rights, from either Federation, ADL or the City Council. Rather, this important conversation can now happen in the light, with transparency and inclusivity. Federation and the ADL are opposed to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign (BDS), and believe that it does not advance the discussion towards meaningful resolution and peace between Israelis and Palestinians, or a workable two state solution. That said, the clear message from the City Council was that this is not an issue to be decided by the City of New Orleans, and that the complexity of the conversation is not one that leads to easy resolution.
Do you know an outstanding educator? Someone who meaningfully imparts the treasures of Jewish life and Judaism? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Marion B. Steeg-Henry Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. This award highlights the value of Jewish education in its many varieties in our community and is not limited to specific institutions or classroom teaching. In addition to classroom teachers, song leaders, camp educators, independent Jewish educators, and tutors are also eligible for the Steeg-Grinspoon Award. The only requirement is that a nominated educator must be involved with a group of Jewish students and/or Jewish learning community on a regular basis, meaningfully imparting the treasures of Jewish life. Anyone can nominate an educator by visiting jewishnola.com/ educator. Completed nomination forms are due by February 28, 2018. The award is presented at a reception hosted by Robert and Pamela Steeg, and the award is named in honor of Robertâ€™s mother, a former educator. The awardee will receive a plaque from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, will be listed on the Harold Grinspoon Foundation website, will be invited to participate in an online community of practice, and will receive $1,000 towards future educational enrichment. Since 1991, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation has invested more than $200 million in programs that make Jewish life and Jewish community more vibrant and more connected. They are a major contributor to the PJ Library and PJ Our Way programs. For more information, please contact Michelle Neal at 504-780-5604 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 2018 â€˘ The Jewish Newsletter 21
SUPER SUNDAY 2018 Sunday, March 4 | 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus
This Super Sunday, make our community’s dreams a reality. On Sunday, March 4, volunteers will come together between 9:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie to support Super Sunday—can you lend a hand for at least 2 hours? Super Sunday is the phonathon to benefit the 2018 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. We will reach out to members of our Jewish community to raise the dollars which support our agencies and organizations. It’s a longstanding tradition dating back decades in our Greater New Orleans Jewish community, attracting enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers and donors alike. How can you help?
1. Sign up to volunteer, on Super Sunday or for a clerical shift on the following Tuesday or Wednesday. 2. Answer the call from our friendly volunteers on Super Sunday! 3. Or make and/or pay your 2018 Annual Campaign pledge in advance at www.jewishnola.com. Visit www.jewishnola.com/supersunday by Wednesday, February 28 to sign up to volunteer or to make your pledge - or call Brenda at 504-780-5605. Sarah Schatzmann, Hal Shepard, Kathy Shepard & Max Zwain 2018 Super Sunday Co-Chairs 22 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2018
Julie Schwartz & David Radlauer 2018 Annual Campaign Co-Chairs
New Orleans at 300 Save the Date
Event Co-Chairs Shellie Jacobson and Teri Tanenbaum, joined by 2018 Annual Campaign Co-Chair Julie Schwartz, are excited to announce the 2018 Lion of Judah Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 18 at Dooky Chase Restaurant. Attendees will hear from New Orleans culinary legend, Chef Leah Chase.
This event is open to women who have made a minimum household commitment of $5,000 to the 2018 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. To learn more about this exciting event, please contact Sherri Tarr at 504-780-5609 or at email@example.com.
In 2018, New Orleans celebrates its tricentennial—so why not celebrate the Jewish impact on this fair city? First up, Judah Touro. Judah Touro was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on June 16, 1775 -- the day before the battle of Bunker Hill.He arrived in New Orleans around 1801. Shortly after, in January 1815, he participated -- and was severely wounded -- in the Battle of New Orleans. Touro died at age 79, in January 1854, after having lived in the city for more than 50 years. Touro left an estimated half-million dollars -- well more than $10 million in today's dollars -- to a list of groups so long that it took a full column in The Daily Picayune to report them all. They included Jewish congregations in New Orleans, Boston, New York, Rhode Island, Mobile, Memphis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Charleston, Richmond, Baltimore, St. Louis, Buffalo and Philadelphia, as well as numerous orphanages, benevolent societies and other charitable groups.
LGBTQ Initiative launches The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans launched its LGBTQ Initiative, chaired by Dr. Marc Behar, on Saturday, January 27 with a Krewe du Vieux Parade Party! The Federation has made a commitment to reach out to Louisiana's Jewish LGBTQ community to build relationships with local synagogues, agencies, and other organizations. Federation’s goal is to support and promote LGBTQ-related programming and events. If you want to be updated on this initiative and other LGBTQ programming in the Jewish community, contact Tana Velen at firstname.lastname@example.org to join a confidential contact list.
From housing for the impoverished in Jerusalem to the first hospital to treat the indigent (and sailors/dock workers at the Port of New Orleans), late in life Touro was known for his philanthropy. He laid the groundwork for what became Touro Synagogue, which graces St. Charles Avenue.
February 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 23
JNOLA kicked off 2018 in partnership with Temple Sinai for “Bible, Brunch, and Booze” on Saturday, January 27 at the home of Tracey and Michael Dodd. Rabbi Matthew Reimer led the group in a discussion based on the Torah portion for that week: Beshalach, from the book of Exodus. Topics discussed ranged from the connection between the Jews being exiled and the current immigrant situation in America to inviting opposition to the dinner table to create a dialogue about differences. JNOLA will be doing joint Shabbat programming with area synagogues throughout the year.
Drinking, according to the sages of the Talmud, can heighten the joy and excitement of Purim, and who is JNOLA to argue? Join JNOLA for the second Purim Pub Crawl on Sunday, February 25 at 3:00 p.m. on Carrollton Avenue in the Riverbend. Dress in your Purim/Mardi Gras best for JNOLA’s costume contest - plus, all those who dress up get a free drink at each stop. The crawl starts at Madigan’s Bar, followed by Ale on Oak, and wrapping up with karaoke at Little Tokyo. Email email@example.com for questions or to RSVP. JNOLA is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, consisting of young Jewish adults between the ages of 21 – 45. This program hosts a wide variety of events, centering on community connection, professional networking, social action, and Jewish life in New Orleans. JNOLA is proudly sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.
MITHUN KAMATH JOINS FEDERATION STAFF The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans recently welcomed a new member to its dynamic staff. Mithun B. Kamath has joined the Federation as Staff Counsel / Director of Governmental Affairs & External Partnerships. Mithun is a New Orleans native and graduated from Benjamin Franklin High School in 2004 and Tulane University in 2008. He obtained his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2013 and immediately moved back to New Orleans. For the past four years he served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Orleans Parish DA's Office. As an ADA, he primarily worked on appellate matters, and has argued at the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, the Louisiana Supreme Court, and the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association's Criminal Justice Committee. Mithun has extensive political and governmental experience, including having previously been the Legislative Director for Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow at the New Orleans City Council. He also served as a Regional Field Organizer for Senator Mary Landrieu's successful re-election campaign in 2008. Mithun lives in Gentilly, is a doting uncle of 3-year-old twins, and is a die-hard Saints fan! He is thrilled to be working on behalf of the diverse and vibrant Jewish community of his hometown. 24 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2018
JEF To Honor Goldring Family Foundation at 2018 Annual Event The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana will present the Tzedakah Award, its highest honor, to the Goldring Family Foundation at its Annual Event on Sunday, March 11 at noon at the Westin Hotel Canal Place. JEF President Andi Lestelle said, “The Goldring family and their foundation are most deserving of the Tzedakah Award because of their commitment to the Jewish traditions of charity, service and goodwill. For decades, they have given generously of their resources, time, and energy to our Jewish community and to our Greater New Orleans community. At our event, we will highlight one of the extraordinary programs that characterize the philanthropy of the Goldring Family Foundation — the Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience.” The Goldring Family Foundation is rooted in Jewish tradition and values. The Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant Program, funded by the Goldrings and administered by JEF, is a prime example. This program makes grants to help families provide a first-time camping experience at Jewish sleepaway camp. Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to create positive Jewish identity and develop children’s commitment to living Jewish lives is to expose them to a camp experience where they will meet other Jewish boys and girls and savor the precious heritage of Jewish traditions while enjoying wholesome summer fun and sports activities. The generosity of the Goldring Family Foundation makes this possible for children throughout Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. More than 1,300 Jewish children have had this life-changing experience since the program’s inception in 1999.
JEF to Celebrate Outstanding Community Leaders Annual Event chair Dana Shepard is pleased to announce that Morton H. Katz will receive the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence and Joan Brooks Cox will receive the JFNA Endowment Achievement Award. Morton H. Katz is a native New Orleanian. He is a graduate of Loyola University College of Law and is Of Counsel to Herman, Herman & Katz where he was a senior partner through 2011. Morton was the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans from 2013 to 2015. He is currently a vice president of JEF and previously served as an elected member of the JEF board from 2006 through 2013. He also chairs JEF’s Professional Advisory Committee. Morton began his involvement with charitable activities at the JCC. Among his many past and present charitable and civic involvements, he is a former Leadership Chairman of Israel Bonds for the City of New Orleans, a member of the Univer
February 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 25
Jewish Endowment Foundation sity of New Orleans Education School’s Charter School Committee, and chairs committees with the Northand president of the Loyola University College of Law Alumni Asso- shore Jewish Foundation. She also is ciation. active in the Northshore Estate PlanMorton is an enthusiastic and steadfast supporter of the Create A ning Council. Jewish Legacy initiative at JEF. He and his wife, Carole, have taken steps to leave a legacy for our Jewish community. They also established the Carole and Morton Katz Family Donor Advised Fund at JEF in 1999. Carole and Morton have three sons, Brian, Andrew, and Jonathan, who are carrying on their parents’ legacy of community service. “There’s no better way to preserve our Jewish Community then to invest in its future,” said Morton. “At JEF you can do that by leaving a gift for the future while claiming a tax deduction at the same time. We are fortunate to have so many donors who have taken advantage of this tax-wise giving.”
Her philanthropic work includes advising some Jewish congregations in Louisiana on setting up endowment funds. She also was instrumental in helping her family create the RoseMary and Saul Brooks Designated Fund at JEF to fund Jewish camp scholarships. Joan said, “My parents were significant role models for charitable giving and taught me to be active in the Jewish community.”
Joan Brooks Cox is the Senior Financial Advisor at Personal FinanJoan is a native of Louisiana and has resided on the Northshore cial Advisors. Joan has a wealth of industry experience and a passion since 1987. She and her husband Greg have a son and daughter. for financial planning and for serving her clients. She started in the financial services industry in 1984. In 2012, she joined Personal FiSandy Levy, JEF’s executive director, remarked that Young Award nancial Advisors. honoree Morton Katz has been a leader in the Jewish community for In the past, Joan has been a board member of Touro Synagogue, decades. She said, “He is a role model as a professional and a lay leader Northshore Jewish Congregation and JEF. Currently she serves on the for the present and future.” She added that Joan Cox, recipient of the Investment Advisory Committee of the Touro Synagogue Foundation Endowment Achievement Award, has been a proponent of all aspects of planned giving. “Joan has given freely of her time to our board and as a speaker at our Women’s Event. And she was instrumental in helping her mother complete a planned gift that will benefit young people in Louisiana for years to come,” said Sandy. Dana Shepard said, “As chair of JEF’s Annual Event, I am honored to have the opportunity to recognize all our award recipients whose leadership, vision, and dedication have helped ensure a vibrant Jewish New Orleans and Louisiana. We appreciate their continued generous service and commitment to our community.”
Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant The Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant Program, which is administered by JEF, offers a one-time grant of up to $1,500 per child for first-time campers. This program, which helps families provide their children with a first-time camping experience at a Jewish sleepaway camp, was established by JEF in 1999 and has been funded by the Goldring Family Foundation since 2001. Since its inception, 1,369 children have received grants to attend Jewish summer camp. To be eligible your child must be: • A first-time camper at a not-for-profit Jewish sleepaway camp; • In grades 1 through 9 (in 2017-18 school year); • A resident of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or the Florida Panhandle. Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Neither temple nor synagogue affiliation is required. The deadline for applications is March 31 — early application is strongly suggested. Award notification will be made by May 31. For more information and an application form, contact Ellen Abrams at JEF at (504) 524-4559 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application can also be downloaded at www.jefno.org. 26 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2018
Jewish Community Center Celebrate Purim at Adloyadah
Win a JCC Membership at the Uptown Classic
It’s almost carnival time at the JCC! The 49th annual community-wide Purim celebration will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Uptown JCC. Bring the entire family for a funfilled afternoon of food, music, games and activities for all ages. The “Human Hamster Balls” and giant slide are back, as are everyone’s favorite inflatables. Come enjoy delicious Middle Eastern delicacies and nosh on New York-style deli items. Grab a snowball or popcorn, and do not forget to take home a bag of the homemade hamantashen. Admission to the carnival is free and open to the community. A children’s All Day Play Pass is $12, or $10 with a donation of nonperishable items for the Broadmoor Food Pantry.
Register today for the sixth annual Uptown Classic 5K & Family Fun Run presented by the JCC on Sunday, Feb. 18. The race will once again be held at the beautiful Audubon Park, located just a few blocks down St. Charles Avenue from the Uptown JCC. The fun, family-friendly 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 Come summer with us! Registration for JCC Summer Day Camps of five or more people to sign up together at a reduced price. Receive additional savings by registering at www.nolarunning.com before the opens to the community on Feb. 15. early bird rate expires on Feb. 12. As an added bonus, we’ll waive the Located at both the Uptown and Metairie campuses, the JCC initiation fee for any Uptown Classic participants who join the JCC as Summer Day Camps have enriched the lives of children and teens a new Gold member the day of the race! for decades, providing a chance to make memories that last a lifetime as campers have fun, explore their interests, discover new skills, and make new friends. Tailoring programs to match the changing needs of children from toddlers to preteens, the JCC packs summer days with Come see the award-wina variety of games and activities including sports, art, drama, music, ning film “The 90 Minute cooking, science, Israeli culture and daily swimming. Campers ages 3 War” on Thursday, Feb. 22 at and up receive swim instruction from American Red Cross certified 7 p.m. at the Uptown JCC. Water Safety Instructors. Older campers enjoy weekly field trips, an In this bold satire, leaders overnight at the JCC, and a day trip to Blue Bayou Water Park. of Israel and the Palestinian Authority agree to end the inA separate Sports Camp is offered Uptown to campers entering tractable crisis once and for grades 3 to 5. These campers focus on sports but also swim each day, all. The solution: a winnerparticipate in Oneg Shabbat performances, and join the main camp take-all soccer match. One for both the overnight and the Blue Bayou trip. game will decide who will The 2018 summer camp runs June 4 to July 27. So that camp fun can remain in the Holy Land, and who must go. The stakes couldn’t be fit with family schedules, registration is now customizable, allowing higher and every detail of the game becomes a potentially deal-breakfamilies to sign up for the weeks that best fit their needs. Early Childing negotiation. Tackling a serious subject as a politically incorrect hood and General Day Campers must enroll in a minimum of four mockumentary, “The 90 Minute War” reveals the sometimes petty and weeks, but those weeks do not need to be consecutive. ridiculous nature of the differences dividing the Middle East. Movie For teens entering grades 6 to 8, weekly options focus on a specifsnacks will be served. As part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish ic topic or activity and include the following choices: Tennis, Stage Cultural Arts Series, this event is free and open to the community. Combat, Photography, Adventure Week, Restaurant Week, Maccabiah Games Color War, Artsfest, and the all new Adventure Camp in The JCC, in collaboration with Ochsner Health System’s Brain Metairie, which focuses on outdoor skills and includes an overnight Health and Cognitive Disorders Program, is offering a monthly series camping trip! Early morning and afternoon care are also available for on brain health this spring at the Uptown JCC. January’s topic ad- campers. Applications and deposits will be accepted online.
JCC Summer Camp 2018
The 90 Minute War
New Brain Health Series
Register by March 15 to receive the ‘early bird discount.’ Teens who dressed the aging brain and factors that contribute to memory changes. This month’s lecture, titled “Sleep Well: How to Improve Your Sleep register for four or more weeks receive $100 off their total tuition. Visit for Optimal Brain Health,” will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. www.nojcc.org to learn more about the fun that awaits campers during a summer at the J! The series is free and open to the community.
February 2018 •The Jewish Newsletter 27
Jewish Community Day School A Body of Art. A Mind Full of Science Who would ever have thought that a neurotoxin was responsible for the events leading up to the Salem witch trials? Do you know how to use a hot glue gun and how to respond to an accidental burn if it should happen? How many types of muscles do you have? What does that washing machine drain hose resemble? RecyclaBodies was a cross-curricular project that grew from the JCDS science curriculum and fifth graders’ interest in human body systems. Students read and researched the skeletal, the muscular, the digestive, the excretory,
the nervous and the integumentary systems. Next, they explored our Berenson Learning Lab’s closet full of recyclables to design lifelike, wearable body art to illustrate their humorous — and interestingly accurate — ideas. Their oral presentations were delivered to classes school-wide. To reflect on their learning process, they will document their experiences in a typed narrative, illustrated on iPads with Art for Kids. We are incredibly proud of the research and planning that each student displayed while working on this project. Demi K’s skeletal system shows just which bone is connected to which, and Avery H. proudly displays the human neurological system.
Powered by STEAM, Driven by Fun!
When We March, Our Feet Are Praying JCDS 3rd to 5th grade students practiced leadership as they conducted the activities of STEAM Sunday.
Learning is about getting involved, getting your hands dirty, and getting every corner of your brain firing with inspiration. And that’s exactly what children and families experienced at JCDS Steam Sunday on January 7. The older students mentored the younger guests and friends — a crowd of over 100! — proving that if you can teach it, you really know it. For us at JCDS, this type of learning doesn’t just motivate our students to be curious about the world around them, it inspires them to realize that when you put a little STEAM into your learning, you’re guaranteed to have fun and a brighter future ahead! 28 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2018
JCDS students are dedicated to making the world a better place for all, through Tikkun Olam, and the multiple ways each of us can make a difference. Pre-K and Kindergarten students learned about Rosa Parks’ brave choice to remain in her seat, rather than move to the back of the bus. Older children had the opportunity to question whether the law is always just, and connected this concept to the laws of slavery — both in ancient Egypt and in the United States. Jewish Values in Action: JCDS students, families and faculty live their Jewish values as participants in New Orleans’ annual march, honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Big Ideas that emerged? Accept differences, treat each other equally and kindly, and promote peace!
Alumna Kayla Tarr visits Alumna Kayla Tarr inspired students during our Alumni Lunch Series! Kayla answered thoughtful questions about how her JCDS foundations prepared her to seek an Engineering Degree at George Washington University. (Hint: It’s all about critical thinking!)
JCDS students Emma W., Zoey P., Benny D., Lily H., and Josh S., and Ben S. take time to enjoy being center stage at WWL-TV, during a visit to learn about weather with meteorologist Chris Franklin
Kayla was astonished by the inquiring minds of the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who wanted to know about her chosen field… and about college life! Through these lunchtime discussions, students began to understand how math, science, a love of problem-solving, and the Jewish values that urge her to make the world better, all came together for Kayla. As they wrapped up their lunchtime conversation, Kayla asked a question of her own: What kinds of problems might she be able to solve for a better future for everyone? Avery’s hand shot into the air: How are you going to solve the problem of how people get around in cities without causing a bunch of pollution?
JCDS 1st and 2nd graders have begun an integrated study of weather systems. As an example of Project Based Learning, students kicked off their study meeting with WWL’s meteorologist, Chris Franklin, who was astounded by our students’ curiosity and great manners. Students will be reading, researching, writing, modeling, and reporting After graduation, Kayla plans to continue her education on the East on weather as they touch on curriculum standards in science, English Coast as she pursues her Ph.D. She looks forward to applying her language arts, math, and social studies. knowledge to real life problems like Avery’s!
Tulane Hillel had an incredibly successful fall semester, witnessing significant growth in the number of students who took part in the vast array of programs offered, which was 13 more programs than in Fall 2016. Over 600 Tulanians and their families came to Hillel’s First-Year Family Welcome Event, and there was a 46 percent increase in attendance for the Welcome Back BBQ and Block Party from 2016. Hillel’s Tulane Jewish Leaders program had a 15 percent increase in new members, resulting in a total of 390 “TJLers,” a record number. 1,478 students have participated in TJL programs this semester and an average of 150 students attended each of the 12 Shabbats that Hillel hosted this fall semester. Executive Director Yonah Schiller attributes this staggering growth to the organization’s commitment to meeting the needs and desires of the students and the community. Currently, Hillel is gearing up for an equally successful spring semester. Highlights will include Fat Schmoozeday, a Mardi Gras Celebration with a King Cake tasting, Muses shoe decorating, and a classic New Orleans Jazz Band; a Women’s Empowerment Evening featuring a Krav Maga lesson and a discussion on workplace harassment; and the third annual Nice Jewish Boy Pageant, which will kick off in late spring. These events, and the many more happening this semester, are sure to make Tulane Hillel’s spring semester lively, impactful, and full of fun!
February 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 29
Jewish Family Service 33rd Annual Passover Food Basket Distribution
Current & Upcoming Community Groups
Through the annual JFS Passover Food Basket Program & Distribution, JFS volunteers and donors provide baskets of Passover food and ritual objects to individuals and families in need in our community. Many of the recipients are elderly or people with disabilities. This is the only contact some have with other members of the Jewish community all year long.
A self-esteem and social skills group which helps foster positive feelings of self-worth in girls ages 8-13. Activities are designed to give participants increased self-confidence, skills to deal with stress and anxiety, build positive friendships, communicate feelings, handle peer pressure and bullying, and make positive choices. Date and Time: Feb. 21 to March 28, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Location: 1350 Park Drive Suite B, Mandeville Price: $240 (Includes initial individual session &6 group sessions) To Register: Call Candy Rosenbloom, LCSW (985) 869-2232
This project is entirely funded by the generous spirit of community donors. As we now prepare for our 33rd Annual Passover Food Distribution, we are asking for your support to help bring over 300 people to the Seder Table we will soon share universally as a Jewish people. A donation of $100 will fill a basket for two people, but it will also allow them the opportunity to celebrate the Passover holiday. If you would like to make a donation, please call (504) 831-8475 or go online to www.jfsneworleans.org/services/passover. This year, the packing and distribution event takes place on Sunday, March 25. Event co-chairs Aviva Bowman and Betsy Threefoot Kaston will join volunteers, donors, staff, board members, synagogues, and other New Orleans-area Jewish agencies to prepare and deliver Passover food and ritual objects to hundreds of members of the local Jewish community. If you know an individual or family in need, or wish to volunteer or contribute, please visit our website http://jfsneworleans.org/services/ passover/ or call (504) 831-8475 for more information.
Become a Volunteer Educator with Teen Life Counts! Start your year off by helping to end teen suicide JFS is looking for volunteer educators for the Teen Life Counts program. This 30-year-old program relies on dozens of Volunteer Educators to teach an established suicide prevention and awareness program to students in the Greater New Orleans area. After completing initial training, TLC volunteer educators are required to teach the TLC program in at least two area schools per semester and attend approximately two additional TLC educator support meetings over the course of the year.
(Pre-registration required) • Girl Power-Northshore
• Bereavement Support Group
Facilitated by a Licensed Clinician, this group will provide support and for anyone experiencing grief. Participants will learn mindfulness skills, acquire tools to incorporate grief into daily routines and process the meaning of their loss. This opportunity is available to anyone over the age of 25 that has experienced a loss. Date and Time: Feb. 21 to March 28, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Location: JFS (3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S, Suite 603, Metairie) Price: $40 (Includes 6 group sessions & initial assessment) To Register: Call Katie Godshall, LCSW-BACS (504) 831-8475
Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:
Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at JFS • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Part 1: February 28-March 2. Part 2: May 23-25, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Presented by Carol Miles, MSW, LCSW. This workshop has been approved for 42 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 42 Clinical hours by LABSWE. • Board Approved Clinical Supervisory Initial Training. March 6, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Presented by Amelia Doty, LCSWBACS. This workshop has been approved for 6.5 Supervision hours by LABSWE. • Understanding, Predicting, and Changing Behavior: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Shape Your Practice March 23, 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presented by Dr. Stephen Phillippi, Jr., LCSW. This workshop has been approved for 6 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 6 Clinical hours by LABSWE.
Pricing varies. 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/services/workshops-continuing-education/
JFS now accepts Aetna, United Healthcare, Blue
Signing up is easy! Go to www.jfsneworleans.org/volunteer-with-tlc/ Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar, and to complete the volunteer educator application. Applicants must be at Tricare insurance policies for Counseling Services. least 21 years or older and must pass a background check. Interested, Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core but have questions? Email TLC Program Coordinator, Melissa Stew- community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals art, at email@example.com. provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and Because of TLC volunteer educators, this fun and impactful pro- family problems. Appointments are available at counseling centers in gram has made a difference in many students lives. Will you be the Metairie and the Northshore. Fees are assessed on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Appointments by phone: Metairie (504) next volunteer educator to make an impact in a teenager’s life? 831-8475 / Northshore (985) 253-1619. 30 The Jewish Newsletter • February 2018
community > > Limmud
Continued from page 20
the ‘Cafeteria’ Approach,” and “Rapture, Antichrist, 666, Armageddon: Explaining Southern Evangelical Theology.” Cook’s wife, Judy Chessin, will give a “Hebrew Bible Overview” version of “Game of Thrones: Biblical Style,” examining the intrigue around King David. Zachary Schaffer, community strategy associate at the Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Action Network, will lead a session on “Reclaiming and Reaffirming Zionism as a Progressive Cause” and “The Disarming Power of Narrative: How Storytelling Can Transform our Conversations about Israel.” There are several other presenters from outside the New Orleans area. John Cohen, athletic director and former baseball coach at Mississippi State University, will speak on “The Words We Use” and how to be a strong team member. Rabbi Steven Jacobs, Aaron Aronov Endowed Chair of Judaic Studies at the University of Alabama, will speak on “The Holocaust 70 Plus Years On: What Have We Learned?” Geochemist Paul Aharon will recount the story of the Holocaust Torah at Jacobs’ Limmud New Orleans 2016 congregation in Tuscaloosa, in “Torah Scrolls Have A Life of Their Own.” The congregation received a scroll from Westminister Temple in London, repository for almost 2,000 Torahs rescued from the Holocaust, but that scroll was of unknown origin and age. Upon getting permission to carbon-date it, the congregation discovered it is one of the oldest complete Torah scrolls in existence. Cantor Neil Schwartz of Agudath Achim in Shreveport will present “A World of EnCHANTment: Comparing Jewish, Muslim and Hindu Chants.” Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburgh of Alexandria, who serves B’nai Israel in Monroe, will lead a Shabbat sing-a-long for children and a session on “Healing Ourselves through The Tree of Life: Comparing our Chakras to the Sefirot.” Local presenters include Lawrence Powell and Holocaust survivor Anne Levy talking about “The Power of One in a World Made by (David) Duke: Why Confronting Hate is More Important Than Ever.” Sandy Lassen, head of the New Orleans Chevra Kadisha, will talk about caring for the dead; Jewish Children’s Regional Service Director Ned Goldberg will speak about the Jewish Children’s Home as “The Institution that Put NOLA on the Jewish Map.” Rabbi Yossie Nemes will speak on “Our Forgotten Brothers and Sisters: Tales from Behind Bars,” his visits with Jewish inmates in Louisiana; Oklahoma-native Mark Rubin and Ben Schenck will speak on Klezmer as Jewish Jazz. Hillary Rossman will share “Guns ‘n (Ha)Roses,” her experiences as a Jewish FBI agent for the past 21 years. She served in New Orleans from 1997 to 2007, then after seven years in Phoenix, returned to New Orleans as Chief Division Counsel. Dashka Roth will speak on “What is Jewish Art?” While the speaker list and topics have been announced, the exact schedule has not been finalized.
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 31
senior life an annual SJL special section
Eliminating Gaps in Healthcare
Life online at www.sjlmag.com
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No matter the stage of illness, innovative and comprehensive healthcare can provide a seamless continuity of care to ensure maximum independence and quality of life. Gaps in healthcare services can set seniors back on rehabilitative and comfort goals and can result in re-hospitalization and the deterioration of overall health and quality of life. For many seniors, the importance of having access to a healthcare provider who can see them through all levels of rehabilitation and illness can mean a major difference in how they face their “golden years.” Continuity of care may include home visits by a healthcare provider; rehabilitative care of traditional home health; palliative home health; and hospice care. There is a unique niche in the evolving trend to shift medical care from hospitals to the community. The objective — decrease admissions and emergency room visits, decrease time and frustration consumers experience due to mobility issues and protect those who are frail and most vulnerable to infection. The “old fashioned house call” is coming back, offering patients the convenience of having a medical professional see them in the comfort and security of their home. Traditional home care may include skilled nursing, physical/occupational/speech therapy, social services and nursing assistants. The main goal is to support the patient on a short-term basis in their own home or assisted living facility, allowing them the opportunity to remain living independently. This is achieved through education and support of disease management processes, while fostering independence in that environment either with or without caregiver assistance. Palliative home health differs in that it allows patients with advanced diseases assistance managing their needs as they continue to seek curative treatment for life-limiting illnesses. This program can provide pain management and social services support for those on dialysis, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, while ensuring the patient and their family receives the emotional, physical and spiritual care they need during this stressful time. Hospice providers work with physicians to formulate a plan of care for those facing life-limiting illness who no longer wish to seek curative measures. Patients can be offered medical and support care, social services, physician visits, education, psychosocial and bereavement care. The team embraces the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of not only the patient, but the patient’s family and caregivers as well. Innovative healthcare providers, like those under the umbrella of The Carpenter Healthcare Network, including STAT Home Health, AIM Palliative Home Health, St. Joseph Hospice and Homedica HouseCalls, provide continuity of care to seniors. They offer a bridge for all stages of care so seniors receive healthcare and support services tailored to their individual needs, and they have constant access to a medical team focused on their goals, all in the comfort of their own home. The patient’s healthcare can continue to be overseen by their regular physicians, in addition to having the added expertise of medical directors and board-certified Hospice and Palliative Care physicians who are available for consults, 24/7.
seniors Keeping seniors happy, healthy at home Pahos said they invest in their CAREGivers by continually training them to meet changing market needs. All Home Instead CAREGivers are W-2 Technology can help to match people with their soul mate, and also employees, bonded and insured. “The goal of Home Instead and our CAREGivers is to not only be there match caregivers with seniors who need care as well as a friend. Home Instead Senior Care’s Birmingham area franchise employs sophis- for whatever non-medical care seniors need in their homes, but also to help ticated company software that helps pair the ideal caregiver with those who them to regain their independence as much as possible,” he said. need some in-home care. “We invest a lot of time in finding the most qualified CAREGivers and to be able to have options that meet the needs of those who need in-home The Town Village Vestavia Hills community thrives on having senior care,” said Birmingham Home Instead Senior Care Owner Dan Pahos. residents who lead an active retirement, and even some not quite ready to “We assess each client’s needs, and develop an individualized plan of care, retire. then we leverage our software program to help our scheduling department The community offers studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with best match the CAREGiver attributes outlined in the plan of care for each fully equipped kitchens and full maintenance and housekeeping services. client” said Pahos, who started Home Instead Senior Care Birmingham Town Village offers much for community residents to enjoy, including allin 1997. Since then, they have provided more than four million hours of day, restaurant-style dining, regularly scheduled activities and wellness pronon-medical in-home services to seniors in the Birmingham metro area. grams, a wellness center, heated indoor pool, beauty salon, game room, library, He said technology has also helped adult children become more informed theatre for entertainment events, landscaped courtyards and lounge areas. with the care options for their parents, allowing them to be more proactive Plus, the community’s transportation team can take seniors for errands, than in years past. doctor’s appointments and everything else they need. They also coordinate “Fifteen years ago, it was usually three or four days from when we got a call regular fun outings to local theatres, symphony and art galleries. to when our CAREGiver started,” said Pahos. “Today families call at 9 a.m. Town Village celebrates the Jewish holidays, especially Chanukah, Passand need a CAREGiver to start at 4 p.m. that same day. It is about preparing over and the High Holy Days. One of their active Jewish residents is Evelyn as much as possible to meet their needs and staying ahead of the curve.” Gross-Brien. People are living longer today, often into their 90s, so CAREGivers are She said she has been at the community for several years and “loves to also trained to work with seniors who may have multiple medical issues, have fun times with my friends here.” Gross-Brien said she would be happy such as diabetes, dementia and congestive heart failure. That requires a bet- to meet with any prospective Jewish residents, who can come by Town Vilter-trained and prepared CAREGiver than in years past. lage for a tour and free meal anytime. by Lee J. Green
Town Village seniors keep active in retirement
‘Close to Everything’ can still mean
a world away. Nestled in the woods of the impressive Riverchase area, this is truly a place where prestige doesn’t mean pretense. And we’re just minutes from all the amenities of Birmingham.
Call (205) 650-3218 today to attend our Gift of Life Care workshop at 11 a.m. Thursday, February 15.
A Life Care* Community 3850 Galleria Woods | Birmingham, Alabama 35244 brookdalelifecare.com *Life Care plan/guarantee is subject to the terms of the Residency Contract. 121223-1 SR
©2018 Brookdale Senior Living Inc. All rights reserved. BROOKDALE SENIOR LIVING and BRINGING NEW LIFE TO SENIOR LIVING are the registered trademarks of Brookdale Senior Living Inc.
Bringing New Life to Senior Living®
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 33
seniors Focusing on Woldenberg Village’s Jewish roots by Lee J. Green In 1962, Woldenberg Village, originally named WillowWood, was founded by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Today, the continuum-of-care senior living community continues to reach out to the area Jewish community to strengthen ties and boost new resident numbers. The community, which covers 17 acres on the West Bank and was acquired by Touro Infirmary in 1998, includes 60 independent garden apartments, 60 assisted-living apartments, a 120-bed skilled nursing care facility, and an outpatient rehabilitation center that specializes in physical as well as occupational therapy. Woldenberg Village Executive Director Joe Townsend said that approximately 12 percent of their residents are Jewish. It was 7 percent when he came on board in September 2011. “Growing our Jewish resident numbers and making this the most ideal home environment for our current Jewish residents has been a focal point for me,” said Townsend. “This was one of my main goals when I got here.” The community celebrates all the Jewish holidays and many Jewish and non-Jewish residents attended the recent Chanukah party. Rachel Palmer, a licensed social worker and involved member of the New Orleans Jewish community, has been at Woldenberg Village for
four years. Last October, she was promoted to Director of Independent Living. “We want to make everything in independent living more welcoming and exciting,” said Palmer. “Of course with me being Jewish it is important to reach out to the New Orleans area Jewish community and to bring in new Jewish residents here.” One focus is to enhance the quality of and options for dining in the Woldenberg Village independent living area. She said they could do kosher options and have a licensed dietitian. “The dining areas are social opportunities for people to congregate, have some good food and get to know each other better,” said Palmer. She said the residents at Woldenberg “love dressing up for socials and celebrations” — everything from Mardi Gras to birthdays to fancy dinners. Palmer said independent living residents can get regular transportation options and enjoy day trips to the World War II Museum, the Audubon Zoo, shopping and dining. “Transportation is there for everything from errands and trips to the doctor to sight-seeing,” she said. Having a background in social work, Palmer knows that an active, social environment promotes longevity. “An active senior is a happy, healthy senior,” she said. “We look at the total wellness picture.”
Goldstein helps navigate the world of Medicare supplement plans by Lee J. Green
Southern Jewish Life
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.
34 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
Navigating the changing world of Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance can be difficult, unless you have Milton Goldstein piloting the way. “I have been doing this for a long time and have done a lot of research on the many options that are out there,” said Goldstein, an involved member of the Birmingham area Jewish community. “I have saved people hundreds of dollars on premiums for the same coverage by finding just the right Medicare supplement plan and insurance company for them.” Anyone who turns 65 years old can qualify for Medicare. There are some potential co-pays and deductibles not covered by basic Medicare, hence the need for a supplemental insurance policy to fill in the gaps. “A lot of people think that there are only certain open enrollment periods with Medicare supplement insurance,” said Goldstein. “If qualified, you can change your plan and insurance company any time of the year — even if you have had a plan for years.” Goldstein advises that “you contact a Medicare specialist several months before you turn 65 or otherwise become eligible for Medicare coverage, or are considering changing your existing plan or insurance company.” He advises working with a trained Medicare and supplemental insurance specialist who can be trusted. Goldstein also said there are many plans to choose from and he can help you decide which is best for you. “There is an option that is right for everyone.” he said. “I tell my clients not to be focused on one insurance company. Medicare Supplements are accepted the same way by your doctor or facility regardless of which insurance company you use.”
If qualified, you can change your plan or company any time of the year
Cahaba Ridge Retirement Community It’s the little things.
Throughout the years, we’ve learned the most important things in life are often the little things. Small details matter. Here at Cahaba Ridge, we take great pride in recognizing what brings a smile to your face every day in our all-inclusive community. That means our managers live on site to help with anything you need. It means we believe in making every meal a world-class, how-you-like-it experience, and it means we hire top-quality staff who provide top-quality service. Please call with any questions:
3090 Healthy Way
Vestavia Hills, AL 35243 CahabaRidgeRetirement.com
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 35
Galleria Woods lets residents decide on the fun by Lee J. Green
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Officially, the Galleria Woods senior living/ care community near the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover south of Birmingham has an experienced, loved activities director named Saralyn Milwee. But unofficially, all of its more than 200 residents are activity planners. “Saralyn keeps a resident profile sheet on everyone and each month builds an activities calendar that focuses on as many of their interests as possible,” said Galleria Woods Sales and Marketing Director Josh Hullett. “We ask our residents to select some of the programs and even lead them if they want to,” he said. “We want this to be their community and for it to be a joy to be here always.” Hullett and Milwee said many of the residents are very into the arts. Galleria Woods coordinates trips to the Lyric and Alabama theatres in downtown Birmingham, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra concerts at Samford as well as other day trips to enjoy shopping, restaurants and other entertainment. Popular in-house activities include senior fitness classes, dance classes, games, speakers and hosting performers who play music from the era they grew up in. Hullett said they have many fun events coming up at Galleria Woods, including the Masquerade Ball on Feb. 14, featuring a special dinner, then dancing to a six-piece band. “Every year we also have our Senior Olympics,”
he said. “That is something that stimulates competition, talent and teamwork.” The winners get medals. Galleria Woods has a few Jewish residents, and they make sure to celebrate all of the Jewish holidays. They hope to work with groups in the local Jewish community to bring in volunteers to help Jewish residents with their spiritual and celebratory needs. Hullett said residents at Galleria Woods enjoy some excellent cuisine. They have the option for bistro casual, a main dining room, take-out and even room service. Galleria Woods’ parent company Brookdale Senior Living has its own in-house culinary institute and has developed new seasonings for the communities to replace those with high sodium content. “We can work with residents’ special dietary needs to do kosher-style, vegetarian, gluten-free, no-spice, whatever they want,” said Hullett. Hullett said an “innovative program” at Galleria Woods called BrainFit is really having a positive effect on residents’ health and well-being. BrainFit is a “comprehensive, holistic approach to brain health that guides residents to make and carry out a brain health plan that provides opportunities to keep the brain sharp.” The course uses the six dimensions of Galleria Wood’s Optimum Life program — physical, emotional, purposeful, social, spiritual and intellectual — as a framework for brain health.
Colonial Oaks celebrating year-long renovation by Lee J. Green Spring is a time of renewal, and in April the Colonial Oaks Living Center skilled nursing facility located behind East Jefferson Hospital in the heart of Metairie, is planning to celebrate the completion of an extensive year-long internal and external renovation of its 50-year-old facility. “This is a whole facility renovation,” said Michele Varon, community liaison for Colonial Oaks Living Center and sister community Belle Vie Living Center, located next to Ochsner West Bank, as well as an involved member of the New Orleans area Jewish community. “We’re making everything new again with new flooring, lighting, painting at Colonial Oaks, plus every room has been newly renovated. We wanted to make the facility even more warm and inviting.” Colonial Oaks holds a capacity of 95 beds and Belle Vie holds a capacity of 89 beds. Twenty of the rooms at Colonial and 15 of the rooms at Belle Vie are designated for short-term rehabilitation in the S.T.A.R. Unit, Short-Term Accelerated Rehab. “The STAR unit fills that gap for those who leave the hospital but are not quite ready to go home,” said Varon. “We have a team of inhouse trained therapists who do Physical, Oc-
cupational and Speech therapies. On average, a patient’s stay in the STAR unit is 30 days or less. We also have very low re-admission rate back to the hospitals. We make their environment as close to their homes as possible.” The co-owners of both facilities are Jewish and Varon said Jewish and non-Jewish families both enjoy celebrating and learning more about most of the Jewish holidays at the facilities. They have a registered dietician at both facilities and can do special Shabbat meals upon request. Of course, the facilities are currently planning to celebrate Mardi Gras with a Mardi Gras ball and a naming of both a Mardi Gras King and Queen this month.
Know the signs: Heart disease still the leading killer of women More women than men die each year from cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, killing more women per year than all cancers combined. Although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate. In fact, the only group in which cardiovascular disease is still growing is women less than 45 years of age. Ischemic heart disease is the number one cause of cardiovascular death in women. Ischemic heart disease is the term given to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries. When arteries are narrowed, less blood and oxygen reaches the heart muscle. This is also called coronary artery disease and coronary heart disease. This can ultimately lead to heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances (plaque). Younger women are twice as likely to die of a heart attack as younger men. Women present with symptoms that are different from men, have differHeart Attack Signs ent responses to risk factors than men, in Women: are less likely to be diagnosed than men and are less likely to be treated for heart • Pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach disease than men. Women often do not recognize • Pressure or pain in the center of the chest the signs of a heart attack. For many • Shortness of breath women, the symptoms of a heart attack appear to be less life-threatening condi- • Nausea, vomiting, heartburn tions like acid reflux, the flu or normal • Cold sweats aging. Symptoms are more likely to be • Lightheadedness, extreme fatigue triggered by emotional stress and are more likely to occur when resting or • Palpitations or fast heart beats sleeping in women. Women often wait longer than one day to seek care and report that healthcare professionals do not think symptoms were related to the heart. Women typically put caring for others ahead of their own health. It is important for all women to monitor their heart health and be aware of the signs of a heart attack. If you or a woman you love presents these signs, contact 9-1-1 and go to the hospital immediately. To make an appointment with a cardiovascular physician with the Tulane University Heart and Vascular Institute, visit: www.tulaneheart.com.
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• February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 37
community OFFICE OF INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY
THIS IS AUBURN. “This wonderful country of ours allows us to gather together, to be Jewish and be free… I’m grateful I can be Jewish and a basketball coach in the SEC.”
— Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, at the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games Opening Ceremony
WE ARE COMMUNITY. Hillel, Auburn University’s Jewish student organization, was the recipient of the 2015 AU Student Involvement Award for Overcoming Adversity. firstname.lastname@example.org www.auburn.edu/diversity
JCRS saw record year in 2017 The New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service ended 2017, with record numbers of Jewish young people served in over a half dozen programs. Over 1700 unduplicated Jewish youth in the agency’s seven-state region received camp and undergraduate college scholarships, special needs subsidies, PJ Library subscriptions, Chanukah gifts, case management services, disaster relief, and outreach contacts and gifts for lifecycle events and Jewish holidays. In New Orleans, over 600 youth were served and funded through agency programs, giving JCRS more Jewish youth registered in its programs than other local Jewish organization or agency. All of the services, except for PJ Library book subscriptions, are based on a documented financial needs basis. The PJ Library provides monthly Judaic books for any Jewish youth ages 0 to 8, with PJ Our Way for older students, and JCRS administers the program in communities that do not have their own PJ Library structure. Over 1000 received PJ Library books on a monthly basis through JCRS. Historically, the biggest programs for JCRS have been overnight camp scholarships and college scholarship aid, both of which are need-based. During 2017, 336 Jewish youth received camp aid, 117 received college aid, and 70 youth were registered in the special needs/case management program. A total of 336 individuals received large Chanukah bags filled with wrapped gifts and gift cards, and 125 of these recipients were victims of Hurricane Harvey flooding in Greater Houston. The services of JCRS are available to Jewish youth across seven states of the Mid-South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The 2018 application deadline for overnight camp scholarships is Feb. 15 and the college aid deadline for the 2018/2019 college academic year is May 31. Applications are accepted after the published deadlines dates, but award amount priority goes to those who email their applications by the deadline date. Special needs subsidy applications are accepted on a year-round basis. The annual JCRS budget is approximately $1.6 million, and well over 90 percent of its annual income is derived from contributions from individuals, families, bequests, family funds and foundations. To apply for service or to support the only regional Jewish children’s agency in the United States, call (800) 729-5277 or visit www.jcrs.org.
The JCRS Chanukah Gift Program saw much higher enrollment this year, due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey on Houston’s Jewish community. In early December, JCRS staff drove a truck with over 100 boxes of gifts for 50 families that included 123 children and youth. Pictured are JCRS Houston case manager Melanie Musser, JCRS Executive Director Ned Goldberg, and Congregation Beth Yeshurun Executive Director Lu Dorfman, a past JCRS board member and former resident of Gulfport. 38 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
Be Happy It’s Adar Purim Events in the Region Purim is on the evening of Feb. 28 and the day of March 1 this year. Etz Chayim in Huntsville will Here are Purim events in the region that were announced as of press have a hot dog dinner and Putime: rim spiel on Feb. 28. A Mobile-area communiAlabama The joint Temple Beth-El and Emanu-El Purim in Birmingham will ty-wide Purim festival will be be at Emanu-El this year, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Cantor Jessica Roskin and held at Ahavas Chesed, with Sarah Metzger will lead Beatles musical interludes during the megil- details to follow. The Montgomery joint Pulah reading. There will be dinner and a costume contest. The religious rim service will be at Agudath schools will also have a joint carnival on March 4. Chabad of Alabama will have a Mini Hamantash Bake for ages 0 to Israel-Etz Ahayem on Feb. 28 at 5, coordinated with PJ Library, on Feb. 25 at 10 a.m. Reserve to flori- 6 p.m., with a Hamilton theme. There will be a spaghetti email@example.com by Feb. 18. ner, costume parade and conThere will be a community women’s megillah reading, coordi- test. Reservations are $10 for nated by Ilene Kosoff, at Birmingham’s N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, adults, $7 for ages 7 to 13 and March 1 at 3 p.m. All women and girls are welcome, no men or boys free for 6 and under, and are Purim last year at Beth Israel in older than age 3. Jackson needed by Feb. 21. Chabad of Alabama will have a Hip Hop Purim on March 1, with a megillah reading at 4:30 p.m. and hip hop Purim party at 5 p.m. There Florida Panhandle B’nai Israel in Panama City will have a Purim costume party and hawill be a festive dinner, DJ, children’s activities including a Mad Science magician, an open bar for adults and an airbrush artist. Reservations mantaschen on Feb. 25 at 9:30 a.m. are $18 for adults, $10 for children, maximum of $60 per family. Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will have a Purim service and shpiel, Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Beatles Purim and potluck on “Esther and the Man Who Shall Not Be Named,” Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. Rabbi Joel Fleekop will lead “Haman, Hamantashen and Hefeweizen” for ages Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. 21 and up, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.
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purim The Pensacola community-wide Purim carnival will be at Creative Learning Academy on Feb. 25, starting at 12:15 p.m., sponsored by the Pensacola Jewish Federation and PJ Library.
Louisiana Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria will have its Purim celebration with a costume parade and dinner, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have a Purim celebration and Middle Eastern dinner on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. Dinner reservations are $10. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have a Purim party on Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m., with a dairy potluck, parade, crafts, photo booth and more. The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will have its 29th annual community-wide Adloyadah, Feb. 25 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It is free and open to the community. An all-day children’s play pass is $12. JNOLA will have a Purim Pub Crawl, Feb. 25 starting at 3 p.m. Those in costume can get a free drink at each of the three spots. The crawl starts at Madigan’s Bar, then Ale on Oak and Little Tokyo. There will be karaoke and a vote for best costume. A Purim Carol? Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer in Metairie is expressing “Bah, Humbug!” in advance of his final Purim before retirement, but at the Purim event on Feb. 28, he will be visited by the Ghost of Purim Past, the Ghost of Purim Present and a cameo by the Ghost of Purim Future. A light dinner at 6 p.m. will be followed by the Purim shpiel at 6:30 p.m. Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Hogwarts Purim adventure, starting with the megillah reading on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., followed by the annual Breakfast for Dinner and a performance by Tulane’s a capella group NJBeats. Another megillah reading will be on March 1 at 8 a.m. Shir Chadash in Metairie will have Purim, Panorama and Pizza, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m. A kids’ costume parade will start at 6 p.m., with a theatrical megillah reading by Daniel Olson. A surprise introduction will start a Second Line with the Panorama Jazz Band, followed by dancing and pizza from Pizza Nola. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have an adult Purim Happy Hour on Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Grant Meyer Garden Pavilion. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have JEWmanji: Welcome to Shushan, Feb. 28 at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Chabad is holding a Purim story hour on Feb. 20 at 5 p.m. at the Jefferson Parish Library in Metairie. The community Purim carnival in Shreveport will be at B’nai Zion on Feb. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a Mediterranean feast, bounce houses, interactive games for all ages, prizes, musical cake walk, snacks and the famous BZ hamantashen. Agudath Achim in Shreveport will have its Purim covered dish dinner on Feb. 28 at 6:15 p.m., followed by Cantor Neil Schwartz’s play about Esther and the megillah reading at 7 p.m.
Mississippi Chabad of Southern Mississippi is hosting Purim in China, with a megillah reading and slideshow, interactive children’s program, kosher Chinese buffet and Jewish humor fortune cookies, March 1 at 5 p.m. Beth Israel in Gulfport will have its Purim carnival on Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m. Beth Israel in Jackson will have its megillah reading on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
40 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
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Visiting each state’s oldest Temple As a child, Julian Preisler was fascinated by a large painting at Temple Israel in Columbus, Ohio, depicting their “old” building. An architecture and history buff at the age of 10, he also had religious school classes at Agudas Achim, which was closer to where Temple Israel had previously been located, so “after school I would pester my parents to drive around and look for it after we bought bagels and had lunch.” After being unable to find it, he asked one of the rabbis, who told him the old building had been torn down. “In my young mind,” he said, “I could not understand why such a beautiful building was no longer the temple and why it was torn down.” That helped spark his interest in historical preservation, and his latest work is the just-published “America’s Pioneer Jewish Congregations.” In it, he details the history and houses of worship for the oldest still-functioning synagogue in each of the 50 states, along with Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The book demonstrates a wide range of architectural styles and eras, from massive cathedral-like structures to thoroughly modern interpretations. Preisler said he wanted to produce an easy-to-read book of mostly photography to document “the diversity of America’s oldest congregations,” and doing it state-by-state provided that type of range. His previous books were about synagogues in Philadelphia, central and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. His interest in history also stems from his parents and all four grandparents being Holocaust survivors. “I grew up with an early knowledge of the years 1933 to 1945 and was always fascinated with the lives of my family members prior to the war,” he said. A professional genealogist, he has also chronicled numerous Jewish cemeteries around the country, including in Demopolis, Biloxi, Laurel and Meridian. Preisler said “life is full of changes, some good, some bad, but we have a responsibility to document our past both with regard to our family history, our built environment and our culture.” Alabama’s Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile, formed in 1844, is described with the current structure and the since-demolished historic Government Street and Jackson Street Temples. Florida’s oldest congregation is not in the Miami area, but Pensacola, where Temple Beth-El began in 1876. Mississippi’s Temple B’nai Israel in Natchez is also profiled. In Tennessee, it’s Temple Israel, formed in 1853. In Arkansas, he writes about B’nai Israel in Little Rock with the recently-closed Anshe Emeth in Pine Bluff, which were chartered five days apart in 1867. Both Touro Synagogues are profiled — in Newport, R.I. and New Orleans, though Louisiana’s oldest congregation and the oldest synagogue outside the original 13 colonies has just one image in the book, from a 1913 postcard. Of course, the famous Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, S.C., formed in 1791, and Mickve Israel in Savannah, Ga., formed in 1740 and one of only six remaining congregations from the Colonial period, are profiled. He said Beth-El in Pensacola and Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile were particularly helpful in his research, and he hopes to do another book concentrating on Southern synagogues. Signed copies are available through jpreisler.com.
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community Travel Central’s Melinda Bourgeois explores Israel Melinda Bourgeois, owner of Travel Central in Metairie, recently joined the oldest Jerusalem-based destination specialist company on an educational journey through Israel. With VIP assistance at Ben Gurion International Airport, “we were whisked through passport control, security and customs and on the way to our hotel within 40 minutes of arrival,” she said. “During high season, this would be an incredible time saver.” During the seven-night trip, she started with Tel Aviv’s business center and Mediterranean beaches, walking and bike paths and active nightlife. She continued with Caesarea and Akko, overnight in Haifa and a visit to the Baha’i Shrine and Persian Gardens. Before reaching Jerusalem, they visited the Sea of Galilee, a Druze village and the Mount of Beatitudes. “I highly recommend what I think was the most well-preserved and interesting archeological site, Capernaum, an ancient synagogue which is the site of Jesus’ ministry.” Bourgeois said the most interesting aspect was seeing the dedication to the Declaration of Establishment of the Land of Israel, “the birthplace of the Jewish people, where their spiritual and religious identity is ingrained into their everyday life.” She saw it in the kosher restaurants, mezuzahs on hotel doors, closing of businesses for Shabbat. “Probably the most amazing thing we visited was at the Shrine of the Book at The Israel Museum, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, that were found in caves around the Wadi Qumran,” she said. Aside from enjoying the sites, the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food is fabulous, she said. “Just don’t make the same mistake we did, enjoying the large selection of salads and dips like Israeli salad, pita bread, hummus, Tabbouleh, baba ghanoush, carrot and cabbage salad, just to be told your main course and of course dessert is yet to be served.” She also learned that “seven nights is not really enough to really see Israel,” and “I truly believe traveling with your priest, pastor or rabbi brings your experience alive with a greater understanding of the places that you visit and the people you meet, all while exploring your religion.” Bourgeois said to contact her and the team at Travel Central in Metairie for information on this trip or to plan an individualized trip to Israel.
42 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
Get a charge out of upcoming NCJW gala The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women will get a charge out of celebrating the power of women with “An Electrifying Event,” its annual gala, on March 10 at the newly-renovated NOPSI Hotel. Keynote speaker will be Kenneth Hoffman, executive director of The Museum of Southern Jewish Experience, which will open in New Orleans in 2019. David Bernard, chief meteorologist at WVUE Fox8, will serve as master of ceremonies. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the current programs and advocacy efforts of the organization. There will be a full gourmet dinner, cocktails and an extensive auction. New Orleans soul and funk music will be provided by Colin Davis and Night People. A reception for patrons and underwriters will start at 6 p.m., followed by the gala at 7 p.m. The evening is being chaired by Patty Barnett and June Leopold, and general admission tickets are $125. Ticket information, along with patron levels, is available at the NCJW website, ncjwneworleans.org.
Uptown Classic on Feb. 18 The New Orleans Jewish Community Center will hold its annual Uptown Classic 5-kilometer and half mile runs, starting at Audubon Park, on Feb. 18. Race day packet pickup and registration starts at 7 a.m. at Shelter No. 10, with the halfmile run starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by the chip-timed 5K at 8:45 a.m. The 5K run starts at the Magazine Street entrance and circles the park, with a turnaround after light pole 19. Through Feb. 12, registration is $25 for adults and $20 for ages 17 and under or 65 and over. Registration increases by $5 after Feb. 12. A family registration of two adults and two youth is $60 by Feb. 12, $70 after. Teams can save $5 each when signing up five or more participants. T-shirts will be given to registered participants. There will be a post-race party with food and beverages, and awards will be given to the top three finishers in each age group for the 5K, along with top overall finishers in each division. Half-mile youth finishers will receive medallions, and there will be first-place awards for the top overall youth finishers.
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 43
For the 39th year, the B’nai B’rith Mardi Gras Mitzvah Makers brought a Second Line Mardi Gras Parade to patients and staff at the Touro Infirmary rehabilitation floors and neighboring Cura Health Hospital and Home Life in the Gardens on Aline Street, on Jan. 21. Costumed paraders brought much cheer and joy, along with beads, plush stuffed animals, king cakes and a lively jazz band of 17 musicians. Those wishing to participate next year should contact chairman Hilton Title.
Temple Sinai will Dance through the Decades
This Week In Southern Jewish Life The South’s Most Comprehensive Weekly Jewish News Email To Subscribe, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org 44 Southern Jewish Life • February 2018
With almost 150 years of history, New Orleans’ Temple Sinai will Dine and Dance Through The Decades at its spring gala on March 3. The gala will feature dancing and singing performances in the styles of different decades, a deejay and dancing, and a high-end auction. Auction items include an Ida Kohlmeyer print and a one-week stay at a five bedroom house in Telluride, Col. Among the entertainers will be Shane Lecocq and Fiona McDonald, who have over 20 years of dance experience and have won numerous local and national ballroom dance competitions. David Bernard, chief meteorologist for FOX 8 News, will serve as the emcee. Three couples will be honored for their years of service to Temple Sinai and the Greater New Orleans community. Pamela and Rob Steeg have been involved in many community endeavors. She has been involved with Planned Parenthood for over 10 years, as well as several early childhood education organizations. She is currently on the board of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, a founding board member of the New Orleans Early Education Network and the Ochsner Health Foundation Board. His family has been involved in Temple Sinai since its founding. He has served on the Temple Sinai board, and
is currently a member of the New Orleans City Planning Commission, the Board of Trustees of the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Board of Councilors of WWNO radio. Amy Gainsburgh-Haspel is a lifelong member of Temple Sinai, and John Haspel came on board when they married in 1987. One of their favorite Sinai memories was the Young Family Chavurah, then as their children got older and got involved in Youth Group, they supported that effort, including helping to host a conclave. They also volunteer as a family at Second Harvest Food Bank, and serving food on special occasions at Bridge House/Grace House. Jack and Jennifer Benjamin have served on many boards in the Jewish and general communities. She has served Unity for the Homeless, Young Audiences Charter School, CASA and the Temple Sinai Caring and Religious School committees. He has served on the boards of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Jewish Endowment Foundation, New Orleans Bar Association’s Inn of Court and the Temple Sinai board. Patron levels start at $275, with underwriting levels starting at $1,000. A patron’s party will include food from Galatoire’s, Ruth’s Chris and the Marriott. The gala’s start time had not been announced as of press time.
Magical Mitzvah Day in Baton Rouge B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have its 19th annual Magical Mitzvah Day on March 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 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 and assembling Passover 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 46
ow is not exactly an effort. However, Rabbi Telgraf contends that after sleeping all winter it’s more effort than Rabbi Telfon thinks. Rabbi Selfon asks, “what’s a February?” Other debates include whether separate dishes are required for the extra six weeks of winter, and whether the celebration of Purim is altered in any way if it falls during the six weeks. In short, the Talmud considers impacts on the heaviness of costumes and the amount of alcohol consumed. Rabbi Telfon concludes with his underlying point about mammalian weather prognostication: Deriving religious significance from any kind of hog isn’t kosher. “Besides,” says Tarfon, “we live in a desert.” Doug Brook is asking “how about a hand for the hog?” as he’s directing Big River, the Huckleberry Finn musical, next winter. To read past columns, visit http://brookwrite.com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook. com/rearpewmirror.
La. treasurer to speak at Israel Bonds event
John Schroeder, the newly-elected treasurer of Louisiana, will be the guest speaker at the upcoming Israel Bonds event in New Orleans. The Atlanta-based regional office announced that there will also be a presentation to the interim state treasurer, Ron Henson, at the Feb. 23 event. The noon luncheon will be held at the Goldring Family Foundation office in Metairie, with reservations due by Feb. 16. Schroeder was elected treasurer in November, and will complete the term of John Kennedy, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in December 2016. In 2004, Israel made its first purchase of Israel Bonds, for $5 million, under Kennedy’s leadership. He was honored by Israel Bonds in 2014, as the state portfolio held $18 million in Israel Bonds.
National Council of Jewish Women members joined thousands of women and allies in the 2018 New Orleans Women’s March on Jan. 20. This anniversary celebration kicked off a national voter registration and mobilization tour targeting swing states to register new voters, engaged impacted communities and harnessed the collective energy of women to advocate for policies that reflect our values. Participating with NCJW were Ina Davis, Liz Yager, Carole Neff, Carol Newman, Marilyn Bernstein, Susan Kierr, Sarah Hess, Judge Miriam Waltzer, Sylvia Finger, Ellen Kessler and Barbara Kaplinsky.
February 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 45
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rear pew mirror • doug brook
In the depths of the Talmud, it is asked, “how much ground could a groundhog hog, if a groundhog could hog ground?” Today, people tired of wrestling with their winter coats ask, “who is that punk Satawney Phil, anyway?” Over 1500 years ago, people tired of wrestling with the Talmud asked, “what’s a groundhog?” After all, groundhogs are indigenous to North America, which is generally believed to be several miles from Jerusalem or Babylonia, where the Talmud (both versions) was assembled. Nonetheless, this prescient topic is brought to modern Judaism by the long-lost, recently discovered Mishnah tractate Bava Gump. The tractate that rocked the rabbinic world by asserting how shrimp can be kosher, rolls on with a great debate about this particularly seasonal holiday. Tradition as upheld today says that the groundhog seeing his shadow means six more weeks of winter, whereas not seeing his shadow means winter is over. Rabbi Telfon, the Great Communicator, insists this is backward. A groundhog seeing his shadow means the sun is out, and the sun makes warmer weather. Rabbi Telfon insists that avoiding six more weeks of winter should instead require the groundhog to see three of his shadow. “Shabbat ends with the sighting of three stars in the sky. Similarly, shouldn’t winter end only when the groundhog sees three of his shadow on the ground?” Rabbi Telgraf, a predecessor of Rabbi Telfon’s, asks, “doesn’t that mean the groundhog should see three of his shadow in the sky?” Rabbi Selfon, a later rabbi, recounts why Judaism would place so much stock in seeing a shadow: Biblical precedent. According to Rabbi Selfon, when Moses saw the burning bush, and the bush was not consumed by the fire, the light from the fire also cast no shadow. Since this was a sign of hope for the future, not seeing one’s shadow is taken to mean that better things are coming. Rabbi Telgraf disputes this midrash. Rabbi Selfon responds by asking the elder rabbi, “were you there?” Rabbi Telfon expresses his disdain, saying, IS IT KOSHER “two words: vampires.” TO GET YOUR Judaism has a centuries-old tradition that for every two rabbis there WEATHER are three opinions. When a Sanhedrin FORECAST FROM would sit in judgment of legal cases, had 71 rabbis on the hope that, beA GROUNDHOG? ittween their combined 106-and-a-half opinions, two would match. Why, then, is the meteorological fate of 42 days each year left to a single groundhog? As alluded before, in the Middle East it was prohibitive to find any groundhogs, let alone 71. Nearly as difficult as finding a minyan today anywhere else. (In many North American cities it’s easier to find a minyan of groundhogs.) Also, Phil has a pretty good agent. Is there a name for the six extra weeks of winter? Jewish tradition calls the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot the Omer. The three weeks between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av are called Bein haMetzarim by both people who don’t have to look it up. The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the Aseret Y’mai Teshuvah, literally, “10 days anywhere but temple.” The Talmud doesn’t specify a name for the extra six weeks of winter the groundhog can forecast. However, early in the Diasporic Era, French Jews began referring to it as the Omerde. What if Feb. 2 is on Shabbat? Rabbi Telfon says that seeing one’s shadcontinued on the previous page
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February 2018 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official publication of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community
Published on Feb 2, 2018
February 2018 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official publication of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community