SJL New Orleans, March 2018

Page 1

Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


March 2018

Volume 28 Issue 3

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Gates of Prayer in Metairie will be the Shabbat location of Limmud New Orleans

2 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

shalom y’all shalom y’all y’all shalom Look for Regular readers may recall the neo-Nazi marches in Charlottesville last August, the endless media circus that ensued, and the reflections in this space as one who is an alumnus of the University of Virginia. Well, last month Jews were once again targeted in Charlottesville, but this time there was barely a ripple in the national press. It goes to show how shockingly commonplace incidents like the one on Feb. 22 are on campuses across the country. That evening, the Brody Jewish Center and Hoos for Israel held a panel in Clark Hall where reserve Israel Defense Force soldiers spoke about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, to a room of students with widely diverse views. At the beginning, a group of about 10 protestors barged into the room with megaphones, shouting down the speakers and chanting about Intifada and Palestinian solidarity. Rabbi Jake Rubin, director of the Hillel, offered the protestors an opportunity to sit and dialogue, but was met with chants of “no dialogue with racists.” University police arrived and there was a report of an assault, but the demonstrators eventually left and the discussion was able to continue. In a statement, the Hillel expressed disappointment not that there were protests, but that the protestors “refused to engage in conversation and instead continued to shout intimidating and hostile slurs.” In an era where student newspapers at institutions like Kent State refuse to publish any column that could be seen as pro-Israel, praise is due to the Cavalier Daily (which is a painful thing for an alumnus of its arch-rival, the defunct University Journal, to say), for its clear editorial condemnation, “Against the Heckler’s Veto,” while not taking sides in the Middle East conflict. continued on page 36

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March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 3



Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games 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 and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish identity, especially in our young.

After defending State of the Union invite to Holocaust denier, is Rep. Gaetz in trouble?

I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the firstThe timeirony and fell in love with the city is that Gaetz is not alsojust an Israel supby Jerome B. Gordon but thetopeople. You haveLife taken Southern hospitality to a new level with kindsupporters and caringupon Special Southern Jewish porter. He briefed localyour AIPAC approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. Freshman Northwest Florida Republican his return from a Congressional trip that met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyaLed by the Sokol Helds, your hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered Congressman Matt and Gaetz suddenly finds him- with hu in August 2017. with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. self defending a ticket he gave to a controverthat is not theto only Gaetz has I want to takenews this opportunity as executive director But of Maccabi USA saycontroversy. thank you on behalf sial alt-right troll and alleged Holocaust achieved national media prominence in calling of everyone involved. denier, Charles “Chuck” Johnson. After inviting for the firing of Special Prosecutor and former Johnson to sit in thefrom Congressional visitors I had just returned the 20th World Maccabiah gamesRobert in IsraelMueller with a U.S. of of FBI chief on delegation the grounds gallery during Donald Trump’s State over 1100, whoPresident joined 10,000 Jewish athletes fromselecting 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the Dementire FBI investigators with alleged of the Union his comments defending Jewish world address, were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This biases past month athletes andto the who with made1000 contributions that action erupted in criticism from and ocratic coaches from around the world being local in Birmingham, you became the focal point. national media. That also consternated his gen- Clinton Foundation. He suggested during a recent MSNBC interview thatahe had no probEveryone from the Jewish community and in the community at large, including wonderful erally supportive conservative constituents lemgo with Mueller’s qualifications. Rather, Gaetz police force, are to Republican be commended. These games will down in history as being a seminal the predominately 1st CongressioMueller should have madeJewish better moment for the Jewish community as we build to suggested the futurethat by providing such wonderful nal District. picks from the pool of available non-partisan memories. Some are perplexed, calling his exculpatory prosecutors. comments Jed Margolis“inexplicable and reprehensible.” There is even discussion about a possible ReGaetz’s No vote on a bi-partisan Executive Director, Maccabi USA publican primary battle for his seat in the 2018 Congressional bill on Human trafficking midterm elections. Gaetz was the onlylike “no”tovote a human supremacists would see on pushed backtrafOn Charlottesville ficking bill that passed chambers ofstand Coninto a corner and madeboth to feel lesser. We gress on Dec. 19, 2017. The legislation was “the with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in Combating Human Trafficking inface Commercial who was there standing up to the of this Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Vehicles hate. Act” that designates “a human traffickMaster of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony ing prevention coordinator at the U.S. DepartWe recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi ment of Transportation and creates a committee narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, whichregarding called it “very and I’m writing the eloquent” article, “Middle in the department to develop best practices for ourselves of such corners, and allow those in praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at East Conflict: How a Seemingly-Innocuous Hu- states and transportation groups to combat huthem the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and…Thrusts the leadership man Rights Resolution the Newthey Orle- man trafficking.” is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the display their campus. ans Cityon Council into an” International Tumult,” It Gaetz defended his action in a Facebook inDeclaration of Independence, that “all men are (February 2018), about New Orleans Resolution terview with Jim Little of the Pensacola News created equal… endowed by their Creator with R-18-5. Journal, referencing his chairmanship of a Florsupremacy been Voice a cancer certain unalienable rights.” We know our work AWhite sidebar mentionshas Jewish foron Peace ida House committee that enhanced prosecuour country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not and members of Avodah, stating “Both groups tion standards for human trafficking. But then its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. took issue with the characterization of the he put a peculiar spin on his lone no vote deThe events that took place in Charlottesville resolution as anti-Semitic.” This statement is cision When and women, fully armed, take on men the bi-partisan Congressional human represented the worst this nation. incorrect. Avodah hasofnever taken aThose position trafficking to the streets in droves with swastikas and legislation. who marched R-18-5, onto thenor streets torches on Resolution any with issuetiki with intersymbols of voted hate, itnois because, a reminder of how “Gaetz said he despite best and swastikas did so to provoke violence andthe other national implications that has come before relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism intentions of the bill, it represented ‘mission fear. Those who marched onto the streets did New Orleans City Council. are today. It isfederal a wake-up to the work creep’ at the level call in creating the that comsoAvodah’s to professmission an ideology that harkensthe back to is to strengthen Jewish needs to be done to ensure a better, more mittee. a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. community’s fight against poverty in the United country. But it should not come “Unless there is an overwhelming, compelling A timeand when and women many entirely creeds, welcoming States, as men a nonprofit that of focuses without a reflection on how far we’ve come. reason that our existing agencies in the federal races, and religions far from andtake far on domestic issues, were it is our policyequal not to government can’t handle that problem, I vote America was born a slave nation. A century from safeon in any our own borders. A time including where positions international issues, no because voters in Northwest Florida did into our history we engaged in a war in partnot Americans lived under a constant cloud of this resolution. send me toweWashington to go andascreate more to ensure would not continue one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The While some Avodah participants signed a federal government, ” Gaetz by said. “If anything, found ourselves confronted the issue of civil events that took place in Charlottesville served statement that had been presented to them on we should be abolishing a lot of the agencies at rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these social media, those individuals did not intend the federal level like the Department of Educaissues today. statement to represent the or- the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their for thatare personal tion, like the EPA andwe’ve sending that power back skin color. Although made great strides, Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the ganization. to our state governments. ” it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. Jewish community Charlottesville, and OrleAvodah is proud of our impact in New Gaetz’s answer brought the ire of a competitor America was also born an immigrant withover thethe Jewish around country ans pastpeople 10 years and isthe grateful for our in the 2016 Republican Primary for the Florida country. As early as the pilgrims, manyGaetz in and aroundwith the world. WeJewish also stand with the partnership the local community. 1st district, Cris Dosev. Dosev blasted groups and families found in the country the minorities who are targeted by the hate that a news release, saying “That Matt Gaetz could Amanda Lindner opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, was on display in Charlottesville. We stand Avodah Director of Communications vote against a law to fight human trafficking and met with open with the minorities of whom these white New York and be themselves. Few were continued on page 34

Avodah: We did not take position on New Orleans Resolution R-18-5

4 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

March 2018 February 2018

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Alexis Polack PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Zach Aaronson, Tally Werthan, Alex Bloch, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 985/807.1131 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events

On Feb. 4, a group of 8th and 9th grade students from Temple Sinai and Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, Gates of Prayer in Metairie, Beth Israel in Jackson and B’nai Zion in Shreveport finished a civil rights weekend in Birmingham with a visit to the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. Riva Hirsch, a local Holocaust survivor, spoke to the group. During the weekend, the students visited sites including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park and Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Day School adding 6th grade, Early Childhood program Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is expanding in the coming two years. In August, the school will welcome its first sixth grade class since before the storm, and in August 2019 it will introduce an Early Childhood Education division. Head of School Sharon Pollin said “Studies show that children thrive with consistency, and our expansion allows us to provide a seamless experience from infants through 6th grade.” Established in 1996 as a community school, a grade was added each year until the school graduated its first eighth grade class in 2005. Three months later, the levees broke following Hurricane Katrina, and the school was closed for a year. Since the school reopened in 2006, it has gone up to fifth grade. Now, Day School President Mike Wasserman said “JCDS is an incredible school, and our families want more from us. We are delighted to oblige.” The 5th and 6th grade General Studies teacher is already in place as an integral part of the school. Eliza Kase holds a bachelor’s degree from Tulane, a Master of Science degree in print journalism from Boston University, and received her Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Brandeis University’s DeLeT program, a

selective course that prepares general studies teachers to teach in Jewish Day Schools. Kase spent the last six years teaching at MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham, Mass., prior to moving to New Orleans with her husband. The Early Childhood program reflects JCDS philosophy, drawing its power from several sources of inspiration; the world-renowned early childhood schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, interwoven with Jewish culture and customs. The

program will emphasize communication and conflict resolution skills, reflecting the Jewish value of peace. The JCDS Early Childhood program will provide a continuous experience for children from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily. Wasserman thanked community members “that participated in our months-long Strategic Planning process, and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and Congregation Gates of Prayer for their support.”

Goldberg being inducted to WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony will be in New Orleans on April 6 A former Dirty Bird is being inducted into a Hall of Fame in New Orleans. But most Jewish members of the Who Dat nation probably won’t mind. At least, not in front of him. Bill Goldberg will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 6 at the Smoothie King Center, before WrestleMania 34 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on April 8. A Tulsa native, Goldberg played football for the University of Georgia, then was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 1990. From 1992 to

1994 he played for the Atlanta Falcons, but tore his lower abdomen. In the 1995 expansion draft he went to the new Carolina Panthers, but became the first player the team cut. While doing rehab for his injury, he started powerlifting and mixed martial arts, and was urged to try pro wrestling. His first match for the WCW was in 1997, and he quickly became a star as he tore through the competition, going undefeated. At one point he had a record of 173-0. In 2003 he made his WWE debut, becoming world heavyweight champion, then retired from March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 5

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the ring in 2004. In 2016 he returned to the ring so his wife and 10-year-old could see him wrestle for the first time, defeating Brock Lesnar in less than two minutes. The match had been billed as revenge for Lesnar, who lost to Goldberg in 2004 and had to live with it for 12 years. After the 2016 match, Goldberg went on to win the WWE Universal Championship. At WrestleMania 33 in April 2017, Goldberg finally lost a singles match, to Lesnar, and then retired. “Goldberg’s unique athleticism, persona and intensity captured the imagination of sports entertainment fans around the world throughout his illustrious career,” said Paul Levesque, WWE executive vice president, talent, live events and creative. “We are honored to have Goldberg take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.” In addition to wrestling, Goldberg has numerous film and television credits, including a stint on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010. Goldberg has often been referred to as “The Jewish Wrestler,” and refused to wrestle on Yom Kippur. In 2010 he was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Commack, N.Y.

Gates of Prayer school fundraiser March 25 The Gates of Prayer Nursery School will have its annual fundraiser, “It’s A Small World,” on March 25. The brunch begins at 11 a.m., tickets are $35 for adults, $10 for children and free foe age 5 and younger. The fair runs from noon to 3 p.m., and is $10 per person, free for nursery school families. The event includes a silent auction and raffle with a $1,000 grand prize. Information and tickets are available at Sponsorships are available from $100 to $1,500. 6 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018



Appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve on the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights, Representing the 2nd District Serves on the boards of the Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans and the Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund

Hadassah Southern recently held a regional winter conference in Birmingham. The 2018 board was installed, Women of the Year were presented with pins, and Chapter of the Year Awards were presented. Bonnie Boring of Knoxville was installed as president for her third year. Bettye Berlin of Memphis presented Women of the Year awards and was also awarded the Woman of the Year for the Region. Above, accepting honors from Regional President Bonnie Boring were Ami Abel Epstein, Birmingham; Bronna Pinnolis, Memphis; Nili Friedman, Nashville; Andrea Cone, Knoxville; Judy Sachsman, Chattanooga; Marilyn Martell, Baton Rouge; Barbara Minsky, Dothan; and Helen Stone, New Orleans, who won special honors. Evette Ungar also presented information about New Orleans’ award-winning program “Free the Tatas” to the conference.

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This year’s joint learning for the three Metairie congregations is themed “Pesach on West Esplanade: Practice, Politics and Palate.” It meets for three Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. Rabbi Deborah Silver leads “Who Knows One: How Many Haggadot Are There,” on March 7 at Shir Chadash. Rabbi Bob Loewy will lead “Avadim Hayinu: We Were Slaves in Egypt” on March 14 at Gates of Prayer, and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg will lead “Soft Matzah: It’s a Pesach Miracle” on March 21 at Beth Israel. Arnie Fielkow, chief executive officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, will be the guest speaker at Gates of Prayer’s Shabbat service on March 23 at 8 p.m. He will speak about his visions for the Jewish community. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have its first Environmental Shabbat, focusing on the personal and spiritual relationship with the South Louisiana coast. Touro board member Justin Ehrenwerth, president and CEO of the Water Institute of the Gulf, will speak. An environmentally-friendly dinner will follow the 6 p.m. service. Avodah presents Rabbi Rachel Timoner as part of the national Speak Torah to Power simulcast series, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Moishe House. Timoner will speak on “Radical Humanity: Inalienable Dignity and American Public Policy.” Timoner is senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, and author of “Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism.” The Gates of Prayer Brotherhood, Sisterhood and Nursery School will have an Opioid Summit on April 8 at 9:30 a.m. The panel will include Carrie Pizzalato, Dan Forman Chief Marketing Officer with Longbranch Healthcare, and Arwen Podesta, a board certified adult psychiatrist with sub-specializations in addiction medicine. A breakfast, sponsored by Melanie and Richard Blitz, will be served, followed

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 7

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agenda by the speakers and a question and answer session. JNOLA, the Jewish Community Day School, JewCCY, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and PJ Library are hosting a community-wide Young Families Chocolate Seder, March 25 at 4 p.m. The next Wine and Wisdom with Rabbi Jordan Goldson of B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will be March 27 at 7 p.m., at Blend Wine Bar. The topic is “How Reform Rabbis Respond to Current Events.” Rabbi Todd Silverman will be “In The Kitchen” at Touro Synagogue on March 15 at 6 p.m. He will lead a session on how to prepare Shabbat salatim — Moroccan carrot salad, Matbucha and crispy chickpeas. No charge for members, $18 for non-members, space is limited and advance reservations are needed. Beth Israel in Metairie will host a group of girls from NCSY at Mayanot High School in Teaneck, N.J., and other public high schools in New York and New Jersey. There will be a Shabbat dinner on March 23 following the 7 p.m. service. Reservations are required, and are $18 for adult members, $9 for ages 6 to 13. Non-members are $25 and $18 respectively. Gates of Prayer in Metairie is holding a Shabbat Yeladim on March 24 at 9 a.m. at the Audubon Nature Center, led by rabbinic intern Lexi Erdheim. Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans launched “Mindfulness for Queer Adults,” to identify anxiety in queer adults and utilize stress reduction techniques. The group will meet on Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. at the JFS office in Metairie, from March 8 to April 12. Registration is $40. Anshe Sfard will be hosting a community Shabbat dinner with JNOLA on March 23. Rabbi Todd Silverman will lead “Literature and Libations,” dinner and discussion of two books, “The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God” by Rainer Maria Rilke, and “Selected Poems of Rumi,” March 21 at 6 p.m. Reserve to Touro Synagogue by March 16. A $10 donation for dinner is suggested. Gates of Prayer Sisterhood in Metairie is hosting a Mah Jongg Fun Day, April 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is not a tournament, it is pick-up style. Snacks and beverages will be provided, and there will be prizes for the first Mah Jongg of the day in each player category. The event is open to the community, and cost is $15 per person. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have a Nature Shabbat on March 24 at 10 a.m., at Bluebonnet Swamp.

8 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018



Feds indict teen accused of JCC threats on hate crime charges

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B’ham, NOLA institutions among his early 2017 targets Michael Kadar, an Israeli 19-year-old who is accused of making over 150 bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers and other institutions across the U.S., was indicted by the federal government for hate crimes. The announcement came on Feb. 28. Kadar, a resident of Ashkelon with joint U.S.-Israeli citizenship, was arrested in Israel last March 23. The bomb threats caused evacuations at Jewish institutions in 38 states during the first three months of 2017. Birmingham’s Levite JCC and N.E. Miles Jewish Day School received a total of four threats, and the Uptown JCC in New Orleans was targeted once. “Make no mistake, these threats were acts of anti-Semitism and deserve to be treated as a hate crime,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said. “They targeted Jewish institutions in order to stoke fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert.” Greenblatt added, “We especially appreciate the fact that these federal charges recognize that these threats constituted crimes — and we welcome the strong statements by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray recognizing the deep impact of hate violence.” The ADL called on Congress to enact legislation to expand federal protections against bomb threats to religious institutions. The House bill passed in December and is now in the Senate. After his arrest, Kadar was also linked to threats in other countries, including some that caused airline flights to be diverted. He is also charged in Georgia with calling in a hostage situation in Athens, Ga., that was a hoax, and a blackmail attempt on a Delaware state senator. In August, federal authorities said Kadar apparently was advertising bomb threat services on a “dark web” market. He is currently awaiting trial in Israel, and there is no word on whether he will be extradited to the U.S. His parents and lawyers do not deny his role in the threats, but say a brain tumor has caused mental issues. On Feb. 5, Kadar briefly eluded custody in Israel. After a hearing in Jerusalem District Court, he was taken to a detention center in Jerusalem to await a transfer to the Nitzan Prison and Detention Center in Ramle. He managed to loosen a leg shackle, and after getting out of a police car, he pushed away the security guard and tried to run. After a short chase, he was tackled and taken back into custody.




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As baseball season approaches, Jeremy Bleich of Metairie, who pitched for Team Israel in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, is in spring training with the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. Bleich spent most of last season at the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the AAA farm club of the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 5-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 38 relief appearances. In November, the left-handed pitcher opted for free agency, and on Jan. 9 he was signed to a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics, and assigned to Nashville on Feb. 19. According to a release from the Sounds, the A’s have only one left-handed reliever on their 40-man roster, so “it’s not out of the question he can pitch his way” to the Major League club. If Bleich starts the season with the Sounds, he will be in his hometown for the opener, as the Sounds visit the New Orleans Baby Cakes from April 5 to 9. The team’s final road trip will also be to New Orleans, Aug. 28 to 30.

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Herbert and the late Fanny Meisler

Expanded South Alabama trauma center to be named for Fanny Meisler “Transformative” $5 million gift announced

A gift from longtime University of South Alabama supporter Herbert Meisler will enable the USA Medical Center’s Trauma Center to more than double in size. On March 2, the university announced a $5 million gift, and the center will be renamed the Fanny R. Meisler Trauma Center, in honor of Meisler’s late wife. “The USA Medical Center serves thousands of people each year and saves the lives of our citizens every day,” Meisler said. “The expansion of its Level 1 trauma center — the only one of its kind in the region — is vitally important to our community. I am so pleased to be able to give back to the University of South Alabama and to the USA Health system in this way.” The expansion will increase the center’s size from 11,000 to 27,000 square feet and convert the current 22 private and semi-private exam rooms to 41 private exam beds. The renovation will serve to meet the increasing demands placed upon the region’s only Level 1 trauma center. Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of USA’s College of Medicine, said this investment is transformative for this region and the state. “Mr. Meisler’s generous gift is the capstone of a partnership with the state and USA Health that will transform trauma care in this region, enhance economic development and provide future emergency medicine physicians for Alabama,” Marymont said. “USA Health has committed to starting an emergency medicine residency to help fulfill the need for board-certified emergency medicine physicians in our state, and our expanded trauma center will greatly enhance those efforts.” In addition to Meisler’s gift, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced last August that $4 million from an economic bond issue will be directed to the cost of the trauma center’s renovation. “The USA Medical Center’s Level 1 trauma center is critical to our state’s Gulf Coast region,” Ivey said. “Not only is it a vital economic draw for corporate development, a facility of this caliber is imperative to our citizens who rely on receiving life-saving care. Mr. Meisler’s generosity will allow the trauma center expansion to move forward and become a reality.” Meisler and his late wife, Fanny, have been longtime benefactors of the University of South Alabama and USA Health. Their support of trauma care at the University began more than three decades ago with a gift to establish the Ripps-Meisler Endowed Chair in the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. In 2006, they gave $2 million to the university as an endowment for a new student services building, Meisler Hall. In 2013 they gave pilot funding for a visiting professorship in history and Jewish studies, then in 2015 provided a $1 million endowment to establish the Fanny and Bert Meisler Endowed Professorship in Jewish Studies. David Meola currently holds the position. Meisler is a five-time past president of the Mobile Area Jewish Federation, past president and building fund chairman for Ahavas Chesed, and was named Philanthropist of the Year in Mobile in 2000.

community Alon Shaya opening new Israeli restaurant in former Kenton’s space New venture, Saba, will be paired with Safta in Denver; cookbook release on March 13 The next chapter in Alon Shaya’s culinary journey will unfold in the next few months with the opening of two new Israeli restaurants — Saba in New Orleans and Safta in Denver. After several months of his new company, Pomegranate Hospitality, doing events in the region, this will be the group’s first restaurant venture. The New Orleans restaurant will be located Uptown at 5757 Magazine Street, in the space currently occupied by Kenton’s. Kenton’s will close on March 18, and Saba will take over the lease, opening after a couple months of renovations. The Denver restaurant will be in the new Source Hotel, and will also open in the spring. Shaya said it is fitting that the first two restaurants by Pomegranate Hospitality will have the Hebrew words for “grandfather” and “grandmother.” His forthcoming cookbook, “Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel,” which will be released on March 13, details the influence of his grandparents on his food memories. “It’s a great story, and we’re excited to share it.” Shaya, who won the 2015 James Beard Award as Best Chef in the South, first came to New Orleans to work at John Besh’s Besh Steak in 2001. In 2009, Shaya’s passion for Italian cuisine led him and Besh to open Domenica, followed by the casual Pizza Domenica in 2014. A 2011 culinary trip to Israel, organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, reawakened Shaya’s childhood memories of Is- Alon Shaya and the Pomegranate Hospitality team took part in raeli cuisine, and in February 2015 he opened Shaya, a modern Israeli a Chanukah gourmet latke dinner with the Oxford, Miss., Jewish restaurant that quickly achieved international acclaim. In 2016, it won Federation in December

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March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 11


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the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. In September 2017, Shaya was fired from the three restaurants after Shaya spoke with a Times-Picayune reporter who was working on a story about 25 former Besh Restaurant Group employees who were alleging sexual harassment. Shaya said he was fired for speaking out. In October, the story was published and Besh stepped down two days later. By then, Shaya was looking forward to his next ventures, forming Pomegranate Hospitality and attracting much of the talent from Shaya Restaurant. At first, Shaya tried to purchase the Israeli restaurant that bears his name, but in December he said he had given up that battle. A suit continues over the use of his name, and on Feb. 7, a federal judge denied Shaya’s request for an injunction that would have forced the restaurant to stop using his name. Though the legal battles continue, Shaya emphasizes looking forward, staying “positive, thinking about the opportunities that exist, opportunities I can make for people.” The new restaurants are “going to be updated,” from his previous venue, and “it’s really great to be able to cook for our community in New Orleans again.” Zach Engel, who was chef de cuisine at Shaya Restaurant, will be the culinary director of the two restaurants. In 2017, he was named Rising Star Chef at the James Beard Awards. A wood-burning oven will produce “hot and steamy” pita bread, made from Bellegarde Bakery wheat. Among the influences on the modern Israeli cuisine will be flavors of “Bulgaria, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, Palestine and Greece.” Shaya also plans “an amazing brunch” on weekends with hand-sliced smoked fish, bagels, shakshuka, “all the wonderful things I like to eat for brunch.” The past six months have given the Pomegranate team “time to really develop the culture to become a great company that will put the team first.” The restaurants are “going to stay true to who we are as a company.” Suzi Darre is the “Director of Culture,” overseeing cultural and sexual harassment training and ensuring a safe and comfortable work environment. Pomegranate will also be working with the Shaya Barnett Foundation, which was established to promote culinary vocational training in high schools. The foundation, whose name honors Donna Barnett, Shaya’s high school home economics teacher, already partners with Edna Karr Charter High School. For the second restaurant location, Shaya chose Denver because he and his wife have visited many times in the past and “fell in love with Colorado.” He also used to visit his sister there when she lived in Boulder. Last summer, at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, he met the leaders of Zeppelin Places. “They really do things the right way, being very community focused,” he said. Soon after, he was in Denver for the Top Chef episode that took place at the Comal Heritage Food Incubator, which trains those from low-income, refugee or immigrant backgrounds in the culinary arts. Many of the trainees are from Iraq or Syria. “They do really amazing work,” Shaya said. A few weeks after the Top Chef filming, he returned to work with the chefs at Comal, and Zeppelin told him of the opportunity they had at Source Hotel. In late February, Shaya headlined a South Beach Wine and Food Festival event in Fort Lauderdale, hosting a “Women of Syria” dinner with Ingrid Hoffman. Shaya said a mother and daughter team from Comal would be cooking with them. “We’re really excited about what we’re doing next,” Shaya said, with the opening of the restaurants and the launch of the cookbook. Shaya will have a book launch for his cookbook at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans on March 14 at 7 p.m.

10/19/17 3:34 PM

Alabama Hillel expanding by popular demand Why yes, it does seem like the Bloom Hillel Student Center at the University of Alabama dedicated its building just yesterday. Six years after the Bloom Hillel at the University of Alabama opened the doors of its new facility, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Feb. 4 to expand the facility. The building will be expanded by 50 percent, with the main room doubling in size from a capacity of 140 to 250. Construction is scheduled to be completed by August. A $1 million campaign is underway for the expansion and for expanded programming. Hillel Director Lisa Raymon Besnoy said “the

best part is that the students are very excited.” Student attendance at Hillel events has tripled since the center opened in 2011. Besnoy, a third-generation Alabama graduate, said the Hillel has also become her family’s extended home. At the start of the groundbreaking ceremony, she acknowledged that many who would otherwise have attended were mourning “the death of a loved one in Birmingham,” at the funeral of Annabel Marks. Tying the groundbreaking to Tu B’Shevat, Besnoy said “we all need a place to plant our roots and flourish,” where students can be

Here for the long term: Hillel Connections hopes Bama students will stick around after graduation With a growing Jewish enrollment at the University of Alabama, Jewish communities in the state are looking at ways to keep some of the students in Alabama after they graduate. The recently-launched Hillel Connections is working to “provide opportunities for Jewish students to connect with Jewish communities where they can develop personal, mentoring, internship, and career relationships,” said Mike Honan, co-chair of the Bloom Hillel Board of Trustees. Roxanne Travelute said most of the Jewish students at Alabama are from out of state and “don’t have a local family to connect with.” They match students with a “family friend” for Shabbat or other dinners at least a couple of times per semester, or to be a resource if the student needs assistance or falls ill. There is also an effort to match students with members of the Jewish community for professional mentoring and shadowing op-

portunities, with the frequency to be determined by the pair. This summer, Hillel Connections is planning a paid summer internship program for eight weeks in Birmingham. The program will match students with internship opportunities in their field of study, and also connect them to the Jewish social scene in Birmingham. It is expected that between 8 and 20 students will participate in the pilot summer, and housing will be provided. While the program initially is in Birmingham, they hope to expand to other Alabama communities in the coming year, and incorporate students from Auburn, UAB and Birmingham-Southern. “We want Jewish kids to stay in Alabama,” Travelute said. The ultimate goal is to provide students with relationships that will lead to long-term job opportunities after graduation.

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 13

community “firmly rooted in our Jewish culture and thrive as Jewish students.” She brought up her mother, Elaine Raymon, to lead Shehecheyanu. University President Stuart Bell paid tribute to the role Hillel plays on campus, speaking of how George Denny, president of the university in the 1920s, “worked with the Tuscaloosa community and the Jewish individuals who were part of this community to establish this Hillel.” Bell said “We do expansions because there are needs out there,” and “This addition will allow us to continue to grow and reach more students.” Star Bloom recalled how her father-in-law, Bill Bloom, was part of the Hillel’s origin. With quotas against Jewish enrollment at northern universities, Jewish students flocked to places like Alabama, where Bloom said “the cultural shock when they arrived was definitely a two-way happening.” Denny told Bill Bloom that the students were a “noisy crowd with no place to call home,” so Bill Bloom rented a house on University Avenue where the Jewish students could meet. A national vice president of the Anti-Defamation League, he then made an application to national B’nai B’rith for this new thing called a Hillel Center in 1927, and the Alabama B’nai B’rith Foundation was established in 1934. At the time there were about 400 Jewish students. In 1952, a permanent Hillel House was dedicated across the street from the stadium. “Every single rabbi in the state came to the dedication and marched under a canopy,” Bloom said. After reaching a Jewish student population of 600 in the 1950s, the numbers started declining after the Stand in the Schoolhouse Door. Rabbi Bernard Honan increased the Jewish numbers in the 1970s, but in the late 1970s national Hillel stopped their financial support. Bloom praised Don Siegal and Stan Bloom for keeping Hillel going during “lean budget years.” By 2000, there were about 250 Jewish students and the building was showing its age. In 2007, the university offered to buy the Hillel site and provide an on-campus location for a new building. Then-president Robert Witt was also working on a major recruiting effort to diversify the student body, leading to large increases in Jewish enrollment. In 2009, groundbreaking took place on the current Hillel building, with an estimated 600 Jewish students on campus. Today, Alabama has roughly 900 Jewish students, with an average of 110 attending Shabbat dinner every week, about 80 for Sunday brunch, and 140 in attendance for the High Holy Days. With events at capacity, Hillel board co-chair Mike Honan said “We couldn’t conceive of letting the fire marshal prevent us from coming together on Shabbat.” Bloom noted “It was a group of students who made the most compelling argument,” by saying the expansion was “concrete evidence” to prospective students of “our dramatic growth.” Some projections have the Jewish enrollment at Alabama doubling again in the next 10 years. The expansion will also add storage space, a conference room and a director’s office, and a new outdoor basketball court. The bathrooms would also be expanded. Ben Greenberg of Memphis, the current Hillel president, led a group of students in “10 Reasons Why We Love Hillel,” culminating in “most important, Hillel has given us our home away from home.” In December, Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse provided a $100,000 match challenge to kick off the capital campaign. Besnoy praised them for “their belief in us” and being the first Visionary Leaders donor. Honan said there have been about 200 contributors to the campaign, which is ongoing.

Alabama’s Jewish student enrollment has grown to about 900

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ADL: Anti-Semitic incidents in region increased last year The annual Anti-Defamation League Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported that in 2017 there was a 57 percent increase nationally over 2016 levels. While an increase was also seen in the Deep South, incidents remain relatively rare. For the first time since 2010, an incident was recorded in all 50 states, with a total of 1,986 incidents. The largest number were in New York, with 380, and California, with 268. Florida ties with Pennsylvania for fifth place, with 96. “A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community — from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director. “These incidents came at a time when we saw a rising climate of incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in society. In reflecting on this time and understanding it better with this new data, we feel even more committed to our century-old mission to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” The 163 bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in early 2017 were listed as harass-

ment cases. A 19-year-old Israeli was arrested last March and charged with making those threats. All four of Alabama’s incidents were listed as harassment, and were the four bomb threats received by the Levite JCC and N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. In 2016, Alabama had one harassment incident and two vandalism reports. There is already an incident for 2018, with three swastikas found at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. In the Southeast region, which consists of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, nearly one-third of anti-Semitic incidents occurred at Jewish institutions or Jewish schools, and over one-third took place at college campuses or non-Jewish schools. Louisiana’s total jumped from three in 2016, all vandalism, to 10 in 2017, seven of which were harassment and the rest were vandalism. In March, fliers and stickers were posted on the two local synagogues and at a mosque in Shreveport. Also last March, there was anti-Semitic harassment reported in Metairie, aimed at a Shabbat service. In New Orleans, a synagogue received an anti-Semitic phone call, a swastika was posted

in front of a Jewish home, a Jewish city council candidate’s signs were defaced with swastikas, and anti-Semitic content and threats were posted on social media by middle school students. In Mississippi, which did not report one incident in 2016, there was a vandalism incident, with anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi and racist graffiti found at a public school in Meridian. Florida’s overall number fell from 137 to 98. In Tallahassee, someone wrote “Jew Media” in black marker on a WCTV-TV news car. At the University of Florida, someone wore a swastika armband around campus on Holocaust Memorial Day. In Pensacola, swastikas and racist graffiti were spray-painted on homes and cars in August. Georgia had 58 incidents in 2017, up from 43 in 2016 and up sharply from the 16 reported in 2015. Arkansas, which had no incidents the previous two years, had three incidents in 2017, including a Little Rock business receiving a threatening email stating that “Christ killers” would be “purged.” In Tennessee, there were nine reports in 2017, up from just one in 2016 — but there had been eight in 2015.

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March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 15

Another way to serve

After 20 years in the Navy, Elaine Luria is running for Congress

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16 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

Recently, the register at Stein’s Deli in New Orleans has been sporting an Elaine Luria for Congress sticker. Luria, a Birmingham native who also has family in New Orleans, including cousin Dan Stein, isn’t running for Congress in Alabama or Louisiana — she’s Commander Elaine Luria at the Change of Comrunning in Virginia’s 2nd district, center- mand ceremony, April 2017 ing on Virginia Beach and part of NorAfter being commissioned, she served aboard folk. But as part of a wave of women running for office in 2018, the 20-year Navy veteran has the USS O’Brien, based in Yokosuka, Japan. been receiving a lot of attention, from the New When she entered the academy, women were not allowed to serve on combat ships, but that York Times to national Jewish media outlets. Last April, Luria was being honored at a ban was lifted in 1995, and she became one of Change of Command and retirement ceremony, the first women able to serve her entire career as she stepped down as commander of Assault on a ship. She got “my first choice” with the Craft Unit TWO and settled into life as a busi- O’Brien, a forward deployed destroyer that was ness owner along the Virginia coast. In January, sent to the Middle East. She was in charge of she announced her candidacy for Congress in Tomahawk strike missiles, managing a division of 15 people. the Democrat primary. She spent most of her first tour deployed in She grew up in Birmingham in a family that has been active in the community for that region, enforcing Iraqi oil sanctions. “We generations. Her mother, Michelle Luria, and would basically chase smugglers” in smaller grandmother were active in National Council ships that would offload to larger ships. She returned to the U.S. and began a one-year of Jewish Women, Hadassah and the Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood, and the Birmingham nuclear power training program, learning how Jewish Federation. Her mother served as NCJW to run every aspect so that she could become president. Now, Luria is active in Ohef Sholom a supervisor. She became Reactor Controls Division Officer on the USS Harry Truman, once in Norfolk. When Luria took the PSAT at Indian Springs again deploying to the Middle East. Luria then became Flag Aide to the comSchool, there was a place to check off for information about the military, and she received a mander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, overseeing brochure about the U.S. Naval Academy Sum- the commander’s travel schedule and coordimer Science and Engineering Seminar for ris- nating international engagement, traveling to ing juniors. “Prior to that, I thought the only India, China, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, school I wanted to go to was Columbia in New Singapore and Australia. “It was really a great York City,” she said. It had been a while since a experience, as a young lieutenant sitting beside Springs graduate had entered one of the mili- a three-star admiral,” she said. She continued her sea deployments with the tary academies, she noted. Both of her grandfathers had served in the USS Mason and USS Enterprise, finishing as exNavy, and “my father had always talked about ecutive officer of the guided missile cruiser USS Anzio. wanting to go to West Point.” She became maintenance coordinator of the After the summer seminar, her only college application was to the Naval Academy. She took Atlantic Fleet, overseeing the USS Dwight D. the oath at age 17, and graduated in 1997 with Eisenhower, then reported to Assault Craft Unit a degree in physics and history, and a minor in TWO as executive officer, assuming command French. She knew that she wanted to serve on in 2016. Under her command, the unit deployed ships, and with a technical degree, she was eligi- to operations in Honduras, Panama and Norway, and humanitarian and disaster relief operble for the nuclear program.

community ations following Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew. While at the Naval Academy, she was active in the Jewish Midshipman Club. A requirement to attend Sunday chapel services no longer exists, but the Jewish chaplains would hold services, where bagels were a major attraction. The academy also set up sponsor families in the Annapolis community. “They try to match people by faith or other demographics,” she said, and she was paired with a Jewish family that was “very active in the community.” She said the number of Jewish service members in the Navy is “quite small.” While there are some Jewish chaplains, simply because of the numbers “it’s very unlikely you’ll be stationed somewhere there is a Jewish chaplain.” To do Jewish in the service, you usually have to figure it out yourself. “I’ve always volunteered as a lay leader in the absence of a Jewish chaplain and made sure the Jewish sailors could have a Passover Seder,” she said. They used the military version of the Jewish prayer book and sometimes received care packages with matzah, gefilte fish and other Passover staples. One Passover in particular, she identified about a dozen people on the USS Enterprise, not all of them Jewish, who were interested in a Seder. “We did a Seder in the ship’s library, which is right under the flight deck.” Over their heads, they could hear and feel the jets take off and land, flying sorties into Iraq. Since 2000, Norfolk has been home for Luria and her husband, Commander Robert Blondin, who retired from the Navy after 27 years of service. They were married in 2005. In 2013, the Mermaid Factory was born. They were looking for a min-

iature of the mermaid statues that have dotted the Norfolk area since 1999, to give to an out-of-town visitor as a gift, but couldn’t find any. “Robert said let’s get a block of clay and make it.” The Mermaid Factory has blank mermaids and dolphins that visitors can paint and decorate. They took their idea to the city, which granted them a license agreement with the stipulation that part of the cost of each mermaid is donated to groups that support youth and the arts. “Ten weeks from buying a block of clay, we opened the doors” on the first retail location. A second location in Virginia Beach followed in 2015, and thus far over 50,000 mermaids and dolphins have been painted, and they “created 10 jobs in the community.” As Luria got more involved in the local business community, she became interested in the University of Virginia Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program, which she completed last year. The small group travels the state, including visits to a coal mine and a prison, and discussions with policy experts, exploring economic and political issues in a bipartisan way. “There’s a lot of common ground,” Luria said. “We just disagree on how to get there.” Luria said a naval career isn’t “in and of itself,” there is a “responsibility to continue to serve after the Navy.” Nearing retirement, she followed politics more closely, reached out to a lot of people, including current House members, and “decided this was a good time to run.” In running, she refers to her core values as “security, equality and prosperity.” She notes that a trained workforce is essential, as thousands of tech jobs are unfilled because of a lack of people to fill them. Also, 40 percent of the district’s jobs are directly or indirectly tied to the military, so “diversifying the economy is very important.”

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 17


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She said the Affordable Care Act is not a perfect solution for health care, but questions efforts to repeal it “without any suitable substitute,” saying it is creating “turmoil and uncertainty.” Luria said “there are options we can and should explore that would make the system better and more affordable,” such as allowing people to opt in to Medicare at an earlier age, “reducing the risk in the overall pool.” The Norfolk area has the world’s largest naval base, along with NASA’s Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base, and is the second-largest port on the East At the Mermaid Factory Coast. In recent years, flooding has gone from “an occasional nuisance to a frequent and recurring problem,” and action is needed to protect the area. In 2016, President Donald Trump won her district by 3 points, last year Democrat Ralph Northam won the district by 4 points in the gubernatorial election. Currently, freshman Republican Scott Taylor serves the district, which Luria said is one of the top “swing district” targets in the 2018 election. Taylor won by a 61 to 39 margin in 2016. There are currently six declared Democrats in the primary, and Taylor has one primary opponent. Qualifying ends on March 29, the primary election will be on June 12.

Israel group plans “pop-up” office in region for summer internships With the goal of providing professional opportunities for American university students, as well as strengthening their connections to Israel and Jewish causes, the Robin Hood Israel Foundation is finalizing a summer “pop up” office in the Southeast region. Lisa Campbell, a Pensacola native and Robin Hood Israel Foundation staff member in Tel Aviv, noted that the decision to place a popup non-governmental organization accelerator in Birmingham or New Orleans was a natural extension of the success of Atlanta-based Conexx in utilizing the Southeast as the American headquarters for Israeli companies. “We studied Conexx’ significant achievements from South Carolina to the recent Mississippi delegation to Israel, and concluded the Southeast offered a great opportunity for the creation of a central office and regional hub on behalf of Israeli charities and NGOs,” Campbell said. “Hopefully, this can grow into a permanent representative presence. It would be great for the Israeli NGOs, and a marvelous boost for the local Jewish communities and their national presence in the next generation.” Students will be able to work on behalf of Israeli NGOs in a number of professional capacities, and earn university credit. Last year RHIF successfully placed six summer interns in two cities, said RHIF’s Karen Bialostozky. “This summer we aim to place 12 to 16 interns in four cities across two continents, including an Asian Jewish community as well as Birmingham or New Orleans.” For further information regarding local opportunities, contact

community LimmudFest New Orleans offering 100 sessions in “Big Tent” of Jewish learning New Orleans’ Big Tent of Jewish learning, LimmudFest, will have hundreds of attendees sampling about 100 presentations along 10 learning tracks the weekend of March 16. Several national and international presenters will be in town, joining a wide range of local experts that includes a burlesque performer to a Beatles expert to a culinary queen. Registration begins at 5 p.m. at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, where there will be Reform, Conservative and Orthodox services under one roof starting at 6:15 p.m., along with a prayer, song and dance option, led by Rabbi T’mimah Ickovits. Everyone will convene for dinner at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Shabbat Tisch at 8:45 p.m. On March 17, Conservative, Orthodox and “Creative” services will begin at 9 a.m., and a Reform service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Lunch follows at 11:45 a.m, then the first sessions will start at 12:45 p.m., with the final sessions starting at 4:30 p.m., followed by the third Shabbat meal at 5:45 p.m. Among the 4:30 p.m. presentations is “They Like Us! They Really Like Us? Christian Zionism in the South,” led by Southern Jewish Life

publisher Larry Brook. Evening programs will shift to the Uptown Jewish Community Center at 8 p.m. (see sidebar). On March 18, single-day registration begins at the Uptown JCC at 8:30 a.m., with sessions starting at 9 a.m. There will be a break for lunch at 12:30 p.m., including a book signing with presenters who are authors, and tours of the newly-expanded JCC. Sessions resume at 1:30 p.m. and continue until the 5 p.m. closing program. SJL file photo An international movement, LimmudFest 2016 Limmud has conferences in 80 communities around the world. Limmud oper- and babysitting will be available for ages 1 to 3. ates on the core value that everyone is a learner Trixie Minx will present “Under the Big Top: and everyone can be a teacher, and sessions are Jews in the Circus, Burlesque, and the Variety designed to be interactive. All presenters are Arts.” At the forefront of the New Orleans Burvolunteering their time, and the organizers are lesque Revival, Minx is a leader in the preseralso volunteers. vation and innovation of the art of tease. As a Programming is available for all levels and performer she is best known for incorporating experiences of Jewish learning. Young Limmud comedy into her classic style of dance. She is programming will be available for ages 4 to 12, also recognized as a premiere burlesque pro-

Barbecues. Ice cream socials. Sunday brunch. Shabbat dinners. Your own place to study, hang out and grow in your faith. Since 1934, Bama Hillel has been a welcoming home for Jewish students on the UA campus. Today, more than 700 students call it their Bama home!

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 19


Happy Passover

to my friends and supporters in the Jewish community Chief Judge Sidney H. Cates, IV Orleans Civil Court Division C

ducer with four New Orleans–based shows, Fleur de Tease, Burgundy Burlesque, Burlesque Ballroom, Bourbon Boylesque, and she has lectured on the history of burlesque at Tulane University and the Louisiana State Museum. Bruce Spizer will give a multi-media presentation, “The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper (and the Group’s Little Known Jewish Connections).” Spizer is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the Beatles, having written nine critically acclaimed books on the Beatles, including his latest, “The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fan’s Perspective.” He has appeared on numerous local, national and international television and radio programs as a Beatles expert and serves as a consultant to Capitol Records and Apple Corps, Ltd., on Beatles projects. Cultural ambassador and culinary activist Poppy Tooker will speak on “Keeping Kosher in a Creole and Cajun World.” A native New Orleanian, Tooker hosts the weekly, NPR-affiliated radio show “Louisiana Eats!” She also provides weekly restaurant commentary on the PBS show, “Steppin’ Out,” seen on WYES-TV. She is the author of four cookbooks, including “Tujague’s Restaurant Cookbook — Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition,” which came out in 2015. Her new book, “The Pascal’s Manale Cookbook,” will be published in the fall of 2018. Three local members of BBYO will provide Teen Limmud sessions. Rachel Laufer, a junior at Lusher Charter School and two-term Big Easy BBYO president, will lead “You Jew You,” a discussion based on

the idea that there is no right or wrong definition of Judaism, acknowledging the wide range of practice and philosophy. Ethan Katz and Joanna Moody, 10th-graders at Metairie Park Country Day School, will lead an interactive session, “Taste of Teamwork,” showing what is possible when a team works together. Dating, Jewish identity, interracial and community interactions, and Jewish involvement in the labor movement are among the sessions aimed at young Jews. Tulane alumna Sophie Unterman will address “In Search of the Male Shiksa: One Millennial Jew’s Tale of Interfaith and Interracial Dating,” based on her essay that won a national award from the American Jewish Press Association. Unterman teaches English in the New Orleans public school system. Dana Keren, senior administrator for Tulane University School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, will present a session on “From ‘Jew vs. Jew’ to ‘Me and You’: Working Toward Pluralism.” She is an alumna of Avodah, and co-founded Birthmark Doula Collective, a reproductive justice cooperative that provides pregnancy and parenting support services to New Orleans families. Another Avodah alumna who remained in New Orleans is Alysse Fuchs, who us now Avodah’s program director. She will present “The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory through Today: Jews and the Labor Movement.” The full schedule and registration are available on

Saturday evening programs open to community Distant Cousins concert, “Shalom Y’all” and Rebbetzin Disco on March 17 Even those not attending Limmud can enjoy the Saturday evening programming, which features a concert, film screening and dance party. After Limmud registrants have a musical Havdalah at 8 p.m. on March 17, the doors will open for a Distant Cousins performance at 8:30 p.m. The trio consists of Duvid Swirsky, Dov Rosenblatt and Ami Kozak, Los Angeles-based songwriters and producers who bring energized performances to audiences nationally. In addition to releasing two critically acclaimed albums, their music has been featured in films such as “This Is Where I Leave You,” commercials including Macy’s, and television shows such as “The Voice,” “American Idol” and “Reign.” Because Limmud is about choices, with several sessions running at the same time, there will also be a screening at 8:30 p.m. of “Shalom Y’all,” an award-winning 2002 documentary by New Orleans’ Brian Bain. In the film, Bain hits the road in a vintage Cadillac to explore South20 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

ern Jewish heritage in small towns across the region, visiting places where his grandfather used to go as a hat and tie salesman. Around 10 p.m., Rebbetzin Disco will take over with a multimedia dance party experience, a blend of heart and soul, blues, funk, hip-hop, R&B, rock, indie disco, reggae and euro-pop mixed with immersive visuals. The party is led by London’s Jacqueline Nicholls, a visual artist and Jewish educator who uses art to engage with traditional Jewish ideas in untraditional ways. Her art has been exhibited in solo shows and significant contemporary Jewish art group shows in the U.K., U.S. and Israel, and she was recently artist-in-resident in Venice with Beit Venezia. She will give two talks during Limmud, “Ghosts and Shadows: The Women Who Haunt the Talmud” and “Jerusalem Dreams.” The 8:30 p.m. event is free and open to the community, and light refreshments will be provided.

After honoring numerous donors and alumni at the first six Jewish Roots gala, the Jewish Children’s Regional Service turned inward, honoring executive director Ned Goldberg for his 30 years of leading the nation’s oldest and only regional Jewish children’s agency. The agency, which grew out of the former Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans, serves about 1,700 Jewish children annually in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

lead JCRS, he served in professional capacities with three Jewish Family Service agencies, or their spin-off projects, in Florida and Ohio. The agency offers “needs-based” scholarship aid for Jewish overnight camp and undergraduate education, as well as subsidies for the care and treatment of dependent and special needs Jewish youth. In recent years, the JCRS has expanded its staff and provided “outreach” services to families that are isolated or inactive within

“Grateful Ned” Jewish Children’s Regional Service gala honors Ned Goldberg for 30 years as executive director The Jewish Roots gala was held on Feb. 24 at the New Orleans Marriott. A video presentation at the start of the evening showed how, in the words of author and JCRS alumna Marlene Trestman, that JCRS has worked for “160 years at the forefront of tzedakah.” At the start of the evening, JCRS President Neil Kohlman paid tribute to Sara Stone, who died on Feb. 3 at age 102. He said she was “tirelessly working to help Jewish children and families throughout the region. We miss her dearly.” Broadway actress Leslie Castay, originally from LaPlace, did a selection of pieces for the evening’s theme, the Jewish Roots of Cabaret. A native of Cincinnati, Ned Goldberg has spent his social work career working with youth and families, or administering programs on their behalf. Prior to moving to New Orleans to

the Jewish community. The JCRS has initiated programs that provide outreach over Jewish holidays, including Chanukah gifts for children from families that are suffering from economic distress, or are victims of natural disasters. Adam Goldberg was the emcee for his father’s tribute, after which Ned commented that those in attendance now “know more about me than you cared to know.” Noting the Grateful Dead concert at the Smoothie King Center that night, he subtitled the gala “The Grateful Ned.” He added that his mother had decided to skip the concert and attend the gala. Adam Goldberg commented on the agency’s history, marveling at the “greatest charitable work of JCRS” — that “they let this man have a job for 30 years. Unbelievable.” He also noted that Ned Goldberg is “the most selfless person I’ve ever met. You’re not even March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 21

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community concerned about diet and exercise.” Jodie Goldberg, Ned’s daughter, recalled her teen years, when she was embarrassed when Ned got onto Facebook, and she “didn’t realize the uniqueness” of his work. A few years later, she recognized how influential he has been, and now she works for a Jewish non-profit in New York. “I’m trying to channel Ned’s spirit.” While much of the evening had the flavor of a roast, there were some more serious tributes. Ned’s brother, Brian, commented that “Ned does the important work in the family.” He mentioned how their sister, Elaine, reports “there are so many people in the Cincinnati area in their 50s and 60s who come up and mention Ned was part of their teen life when they were at the JCC… Ned touched the lives of so many of those people.” Hesh and Margie Sternberg, JCRS board members, read a letter from B’nai B’rith International, which has worked with JCRS on relief efforts following recent natural disasters. The JCRS region is the footprint of the historic B’nai B’rith District Seven. The letter, from Rhonda Love, vice president of programming, and Sternberg, who chairs the disaster relief effort, said “when the situation is at its worst,” Ned offers “a ray of hope.” Margie then presented Goldberg with a B’nai B’rith International Certificate of Honor from international president and CEO Daniel Mariaschin. Ned Goldberg commented that “this is my Bar Mitzvah all over again.” He referred to three things in life — relationships with others, activities one enjoys, and a philosophy of life that makes sense. “I am indeed a quite fortunate person who is blessed in life with these opportunities,” working with “great and inspiring people — staff, board and donors.” Being able to work on social service in a Jewish context “feels even more special.”


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Spring break in the LAB

ISJL program promotes literacy during vacation A major part of Jewish involvement is working to better the overall community, and the Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life is working on developing initiatives that can be replicated around the region. This month, the Institute’s Community Engagement department is holding the second Literacy Achievement Bonanza during Spring Break. The day camp-style program features literacy-based activities designed to foster a positive relationship with reading while improving literacy skills. Designed for first through fifth grade, LAB will be held at Jackson State University from March 12 to 16. The Institute partners with Jackson State to produce the program. Community Engagement Fellow Rachel Glazer said the program provides something for the students to do during the break, “reinforcing literary skills,” but “in a fun way,” including scavenger hunts, relay races, reader’s theater and art projects. She said that last year, students would come back the next day looking for a new book, having read the entire book from the previous day. Last year, they arranged for some books that would be on their summer reading list, to let the students get a head start. Dave Miller, director of community engagement, said that in addition to the elementary school students, a second set of students is helped through the week — “it reinforces skills for education majors and future educators at the university level” who participate in the program. Many of the education students “don’t have prolonged opportunities to work with students like this, in this context,” Miller said. The program teaches how to run activities and “how to connect academic standards to fun activities.” The program has 30 students per grade, for a total of 150. They are split into groups of 15, led by an education major. The majors are matched with a certified teacher who mentors two instructors. Last year, about 100 volunteers participated in running the program, including representatives from Hillels around the country. There is a $25 registration fee for the program, which includes snacks, lunch, an afternoon snack and a free book every day. Miller said a lot of the students are on assistance programs, which provides for meals during summer and winter breaks, but not for Spring Break. Also, “Spring Break is one of those times when there are almost no programs offered, because it is a week,” he said.

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Dave Miller with LAB students, March 2017

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 23

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community The day runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with six content areas. There is a spelling bee at the end of the week, and guest speakers. Miller said the week is “rigorous… allowing their brains to grow while having fun.” The ISJL staff has developed 270 plans from which the instructors can select. Because of that, Glazer said the program is portable and can be easily replicated in other communities, echoing the standardized religious school curriculum developed by the Institute and now used in around 75 congregations. “This is something we can package and send,” she said. Last year was the pilot year, Miller said. “This year we are refining and growing,” and next year the plan is to make it available to other communities. “Even though the content is secular, a synagogue can host it, or a JCC,” he said. While the program is entirely secular, Miller said it reflects “living and executing our values,” aligning Jewish values to work in the general community. The department does two additional literacy initiatives. Our Reading Family is a six-week program in conjunction with the Jackson library system, and Read, Lead, Succeed is a literacy intervention program. The community engagement department also has a peer mediation program throughout the state, Talk About the Problems, and social justice modules for congregations to replicate.

Women of Courage saluted at National World War II Museum Anne Levy, Nicole Spangenberg to speak at March 21 program The National World War II Museum in New Orleans will spotlight two Women of Courage at a March 21 program. Anne Levy and Nicole Spangenberg will recount their early years in Europe during World War II. Program co-chair Karen Sher said “History will jump off the pages at you. You will have goosebumps when you hear Anne and Nicole’s accounts.” Museum Historian Kimberly Guise will be the moderator. The event will start with a 5 p.m. reception. The talk will begin at 5:30 p.m. Women of Courage is co-sponsored by The Junior League and the Greater New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. Levy was 4 years old when World War II began. A native of Lodz in western Poland, she lived for two years in the Warsaw Ghetto. Her father, who had tried to secure passage for the family to Russia, was smuggled into the ghetto, and after a while was assisted by a Polish Army officer to get the family smuggled out in the back of a garbage truck. A Catholic family took them in, and as the war neared its end, U.S. troops took them to a town in Germany that the Allies had occupied. The Levys immigrated to New Orleans in 1949. In 1989, she made headlines for confronting Holocaust denier and Klansman David Duke at a Holocaust exhibit in the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Spangenberg was honored by the French Ambassador to the United States in 2009 for her participation in the French Resistance in 1944. In 1943, she fled with her mother, grandmother and sisters to the French Alps, where at age 16 she volunteered with the resistance. She tended to wounded resistance fighters and helped evacuate those in danger of capture. She kept a cyanide pill with her, in case she was captured by the Germans. After the war, Spangenberg moved to the U.S. and met her future husband in New Orleans. While the event is free and open to the community, there is a link for tickets on the museum’s website.

24 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018


An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans



March 2018 | Adar 5778

FROM THE DESK OF ARNIE D. FIELKOW BDS, Anti-Semitism, and How Federation Responds

Second, it is important that we not allow others Over the past few weeks, we have repeatedly opened our to brand Federation newspapers and turned on our televisions to disturbing news. This as something we are news has come in the form of the tragic mass shooting in Parkland not, which is what the that claimed the lives of 17 innocent victims (see the Federation’s pro-BDS supporters recent Open Letter)*; the outrageous alleged statements of a central attempted to do in Louisiana college President refusing to support the hiring of a Council chambers football coach because of his “Jewish blood” (see the Federation’s a few weeks ago. response and the President’s reply)*; and, of course, our own New Their suggestion that Orleans City Council passing under suspension of rules, and a “white, wealthy” then quickly rescinding, an ill-conceived Resolution that pro-BDS organization “opposed supporters immediately hailed as a major legislative victory. to human rights” derailed their efforts I would like to focus on the latter topic in this communique, as I is both historically firmly believe that fighting BDS will continue to be a defining issue erroneous and quite candidly invokes hateful messages of antifor our Federation for the foreseeable future given the organized Semitism. The fact is that the Jewish community here in New opposition that currently exists in New Orleans. To be effective, in Orleans, and the Jewish Federation itself, have been at the forefront my opinion, our pro-Israel efforts need to be broadened and will historically of supporting human rights and social justice. As I said require an integrated, 3-pronged strategy involving: at the Council podium: on another topic and on another day, 1) ADVOCACY, 2) EDUCATION, AND 3) OUTREACH. Federation would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with many of All must be done hand-in-hand if we are to be successful, and I will those who supported the Council Resolution. Be it with our proexpound further on each below. immigration policy advocacy, opposition to the Administration’s Muslim ban, efforts to reform criminal justice, initiatives to attack Before doing so, though, I believe it is helpful to frame the discussion homelessness and poverty, and so much more, I am very proud that with a few essential points. First, it is important that the Federation the Jewish community has historically always stood for what is “right carefully perform the difficult task of threading the needle between and just” in fulfilling our mission of tikkun olam, or “repairing the being a Zionist organization – as our written mission statement world.” provides – and being the central umbrella organization for all Jewish residents of Greater New Orleans, irrespective of their political views Third, it is interesting to me to watch the pro-BDS supporters cling to on Israel. This dual purpose is what makes Education and Outreach a concept called “intersectionality,” through which they try to create absolutely essential as we move forward and try to unify our Jewish a black and white world of “oppressors vs. oppressed.” But life is not community on a wide array of initiatives. (cont’d on next page) Dear Community Members,

March 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 25

Finally, OUTREACH – to both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities alike – is imperative. With regard to the Jewish community, it is essential that the Jewish Federation extend a Zionism, despite what some have claimed, is not an evil concept. welcoming hand, even to those who may not share our pro-Israel Simply defined, it means the creation and continuance of a Jewish sentiments. The fact is that some in our community – especially homeland, a concept for which a diverse group of people – like the a younger demographic – may not have the historical connection Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; U.S. Founding Father and President and love for Eretz Yisrael that my generation does. As the central John Adams; Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom; and founder organization for all New Orleans Jewry, though, we owe it to everyone of the Red Cross and author of the Geneva Conventions Henry to try and create a safe place for all opinions to be respectfully shared, Dunant – has advocated. Also, as we all know, the Jewish community not so much to change minds but rather to be able to have Jewish is certainly not monolithic and, consistent with Jewish tradition and community conversations amongst even those who disagree on values, we welcome debate and divergent opinions as it relates to current policy. While some within our community have suggested Israeli policy and politics. The fact is that policy changes over time, i.e. that such engagement is unnecessary and a waste of time, I very much the policy of a government in power now may very well change when reject that philosophy and hope that Federation will always be seen as new leadership assumes office. We certainly can understand that an open and welcoming institution for all. In fact, I suspect that even transformation in our own country given the dramatic policy shifts that amongst those with whom we may disagree about Israeli policy, we have occurred between the two most recent administrations. One share many commonalities as it relates to other policy concerns. should not condemn an entire people based on its country’s specific public policies at any given time. It is also imperative that we continue outreach to non-Jewish groups in Greater New Orleans, especially those with whom we have long So what is our best strategy to combat BDS? In my humble opinion, partnered on a multitude of social justice topics. This broad outreach we must simultaneously go down three paths if we are to be effective. will allow us to create coalitions while ‎others attempt to divide. For The first is to aggressively ADVOCATE against BDS wherever example: while driving home a couple weeks ago, I heard a radio host we face it, be it in government or on college campuses. It must be using the concept of intersectionality to make the point that Israeli clearly explained that BDS is a failed tactic that has not and will not policies do not necessarily align with African-American objectives bring us any closer to real peace between Israelis and Palestinians. within our community. Having previously formed relationships with Real peace, consistent with decades of American foreign policy local African-American leaders, I was able to reach out and have (including both Democrats and Republicans), requires a two-state respectful private discussions with these leaders to ensure that they solution by which Israelis and Palestinians can live side-by-side with fully understood the failings of the BDS movement. The Jewish security and economic prosperity. BDS flies in the face of this goal, as it community and Jewish Federation will continue to build these bridges pushes for the so-called “Right of Return;” this policy, based on pure of friendship and understanding with all partners in the region. demographics, would necessarily entail the end of a Jewish state. Such a course will regrettably only lead to more loss of human life on both We are living in complex times and dealing with challenging issues. sides and no resolution of the conflict. But hopefully the Jewish community will continue to be a major player in helping make our community and world a better place, and A second essential approach requires that a successful by doing so forge close relationships and earn the respect of even EDUCATION campaign be implemented in our local community. those with whom we disagree. We will never sacrifice our basic tenets The Federation is talking with several prospective partners, both locally and principles, but at the same time let us make sure that the Jewish and nationally, to do just that. Israeli history is complicated – the entire Federation is always seen as a welcoming home for all Jews! Middle East, for that matter, is complicated, with the line-up card of friends vs. foes in Syria alone seeming to change by the day – but it is essential that we know this history in order to truly grasp all the pressing issues related to Israel. It is critical to understand topics like: CEO the origins of Zionism and Herzl dating back to the 1800s; the Balfour CEO JEWISHFEDERATION FEDERATIONOF OFGREATER GREATERNEW NEWORLEANS ORLEANS Declaration of 1917; the Holocaust and its effect on Jewish statehood; JEWISH the creation of Israel in 1948 and the battles immediately encountered *To learn more, please visit: by the new Jewish state; the 1967 and 1973 wars and the resulting land transfers; the subsequent peace efforts and responses; and so much more. Only by way of this full historical foundation can we truly be able to focus on future solutions. that simple and, contrary to what they suggest, those who support Israel are not oppressors.

26 The Jewish Newsletter • March 2018

New Orleans at 300 Save the Date

The 2018 Lion of Judah Luncheon will be held on Wednesday, April 18 at Dooky Chase Restaurant. Attendees will hear from New Orleans culinary legend, Chef Leah Chase. The event is co-chaired by Shellie Jacobson and Teri Tanenbaum, joined by 2018 Annual Campaign Co-Chair Julie Schwartz. This event is open to women who have made a minimum household commitment of $5,000 to the 2018 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign. Invitations will be mailed in mid-March. There will be a champagne pre-reception for Precious Gems (women who give a minimum household gift of $10,000).


Dr. Elizabeth D. A. Magnus Cohen was the first female physician in New Orleans,. Originally from New York, Cohen was inspired by the death of her youngest son from measles to become a doctor. She was only the 14th woman in the United States to have earned the title of medical doctor at the time, and the very first female licensed physician to practice in Louisiana.

To learn more about this exciting event, please contact Sherri Tarr at 504-780-5609 or at

Joining her husband, Aaron, a surgeon in New Orleans in 1857, she found it difficult to be accepted as a medical professional in Louisiana. While she was still in medical school, a New Orleans Bee editorial on July 3, 1853, had labeled the idea of a female physician treating male patients as incongruous and improper. In 1898, an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association blamed women physicians for the declines in salaries and prestige of the medical profession. Eventually, medical schools began refusing to admit women. Despite this, she prevailed, treating hundreds of French Quarter residents and transients suffering from yellow fever, typhoid fever, and smallpox for more than thirty years.

Yom Ha’atzmaut SUNDAY, APRIL 22 | 12:00 - 3:00 PM UPTOWN JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER The Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation’s Partnership2Gether Committee are collaborating to bring you the best celebration of Israel’s Independence Day yet - it’s time to mark Israel at 70! Join us for Yemenite food, costumes, music and more.

Upon her retirement in 1887, Cohen moved into Touro Infirmary’s Department of the Aged and Infirm (later the Julius Weis Home for the Aged) and ran the hospital’s sewing and linen room. She passed away at age 101 on May 28, 1921.

Mark your calendars now for Sunday, April 22 at the Uptown JCC. Questions? Contact Judy Yaillen at or Cait Gladow at

March 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 27


JNOLA is teaming up with the Jewish Community Day School, JewCCy, and PJ Library for a community-wide chocolate Seder on Sunday, March 25 at 4:00 p.m. for young families! Make this your family's sweetest Passover yet by joining us as Sharon Pollin, Head of the Jewish Community Day School, leads everyone in reading from a very special Chocolate Seder Haggadah. There will be lots of chocolate, dinner to eat, songs to sing, arts and crafts to be made, and games to play including a Pesach memory game, a sensory table experience, parsley picking, Seder table crafts, and more. To RSVP or for questions, please contact Tana Velen at


Join JNOLA on Wednesday, April 11 for our annual professional networking Dine Around. How does it work? You register and select your professional field or area of interest and we'll place you with a group of your peers at the home of one of our generous community members for dinner. You'll schmooze and dine with some of the most successful and dynamic Jewish professionals in New Orleans, including doctors, lawyers, marketers, academics, and more. This year we've increased the number of houses and professional fields! If you're interested in the culinary arts, music, and tech, we've got a space for you along with the rest of the diverse industries in which our Dine Around hosts have excelled. After dinner, everyone is invited to meet at Cure (4905 Freret St.) for the after party! Your first drink is on us as you connect with the other young professionals who attended the Dine Around. Space is limited, so register before Monday, April 2 at: Questions? Contact Tana Velen at 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.

28 The Jewish Newsletter • March 2018

The above is a paid advertisement.

Jewish Family Service Join us for Dvash: a Celebration of Modern Israeli Cuisine Celebrate 70 years of JFS on May 10 at Dvash: a Celebration of Modern Israeli Cuisine, supporting mental health awareness in Greater New Orleans, using the platform of Modern Israeli Cuisine.

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Location: The Cannery, 3803 Toulouse St. Date: Thursday, May 10 Time: Patron Party, 6 p.m. Main Party, 7 p.m.

Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at JFS • 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.

As a culinary strolling event, 25 different restaurants and chefs will create tasting dishes based on modern Israeli cuisine — which includes regional dishes (Middle Eastern, Mediterranean) as well as the immigrant collaborative of recipes that have landed in Israel (European, North African, Baltics, etc). Restaurants include Doris Metropolitan, Cowbell, Kosher Cajun, Casablanca, Red Fish Grill, Maple Street Café, Liberty’s Kitchen and more!

• How Pleasure and Memory Rewire our Brain in Addiction. April 20, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Dana de la Bretonne, LPC. This workshop has been approved for 3 General hours by LCA and by LABSWE.

Sponsorships and patron opportunities are available for this event. Sponsors contributing $2,500 or more will be invited to an exclusive Sponsor dinner at Doris Metropolitan the night before on May 9.

• CEU Bootcamp (2 Days).

For tickets & information go online to or call (504) 831-8475.

Day 1: June 7 • A Tricky Situation: Ethical Decision Making Guidelines and Best Practices. 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Dr. Erin Dugan, NCC, CRC, LPC-S-P, RPT-S. Approved for 3 Ethics hours by LCA and LABSWE. • Mindfulness Skills for Mental Health Practitioners and Clients. 1 to 4:15 p.m. Presented by Laura Kulick, LCSW. Approved for 3 General hours by LCA and LABSWE.

33rd Annual Passover Food Basket Distribution 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.

Day 2: June 8 • DBT Skills with a Variety of Client Populations. 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Dr. Marvin Clifford. Approved for 3 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE. • Clients with Disruptive, Impulse-Control and Conduct Disorders: Effective Strategies for Mental Health Professionals. 1 to 4:15 p.m. Presented by Dr. Thomas Fonseca, LPC-S, LMFT-SC, NCSC, NCC. Approved for 3 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE.

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.

Pricing varies. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information, call (504) 831-8475, or visit

If you would like to make a donation, please call (504) 831-8475 or go online to

JFS now accepts Aetna, United Healthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar, and Tricare insurance policies for Counseling Services.

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.

Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and family problems. Appointments are available at counseling centers in Metairie and the Northshore. Fees are assessed on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Appointments by phone: Metairie (504) 831-8475 / Northshore (985) 253-1619.

If you know an individual or family in need, or wish to volunteer or contribute, please visit our website passover/ or call (504) 831-8475 for more information.

March 2018 • The Jewish Newsletter 29

Jewish Community Center Jump into the Summer at the JCC! The Pickle Recipe Registration for JCC Summer Day Camps is now open to the community and units at both the Uptown and Metairie locations are filling quickly. Tailoring programs to match the changing needs of children from toddlers to preteens, the JCC packs summer days with a variety of games and activities including sports, art, drama, music, cooking, science, Israeli culture and daily swimming.

The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series continues on April 30 with a screening of “The Pickle Recipe.” In this comedy, the king of Detroit’s Jewish party scene, Joey Miller, finds himself down on his luck and deeply in debt after a freak accident totals his prized sound equipment. In dire need of help to pay for his daughter’s upcoming bat mitzvah, Joey turns to his shady uncle Morty, the black sheep of the family. Morty agrees to loan the money if Campers ages 3 and up receive swim instruction from American Red Joey will do the unthinkable: steal his grandCross certified Water Safety Instructors. Older campers enjoy weekly mother’s closely guarded pickle recipe. field trips, an overnight at the JCC, and a day trip to Blue Bayou Water Park. A separate Sports Camp is offered to campers entering grades 3 Against his better judgement, Joey sets out to 5. These campers focus on sports but also swim each day, participate on a misguided mission, with the help of a in Oneg Shabbat performances, and join the main camp for both the fake rabbi, to gain the trust of Grandma Rose, overnight and the Blue Bayou trip. infiltrate her popular deli, and secure her priceless recipe for the scrumptious dills. Of The 2018 summer camp runs June 4 to July 27. So that camp fun can course, nothing goes as planned. fit with family schedules, registration is customizable, allowing families to sign up for the weeks that best fit their needs. Early Childhood and As endearing as it is funny, “The Pickle RecGeneral Day Campers must enroll in a minimum of four weeks, but ipe” equally imparts laughs with a heartwarmthose weeks do not need to be consecutive. ing metaphor about the people and memories that comprise the special For teens entering grades 6 to 8, weekly options focus on a specific top- ingredients of family, however dysfunctional. Beginning at 7 p.m., this ic or activity and include the following choices: Tennis, Stage Combat, event is free and open to the community. Movie snacks will be served. Photography, Adventure Week, Restaurant Week, Maccabiah Games Color War, Artsfest, and the all new Adventure Camp in Metairie, which focuses on outdoor skills and includes an overnight camping trip! Early morning and afternoon care are also available for campers. Applications and deposits will be accepted online. Register by March 15 to receive the ‘early bird discount.’ Teens who register for four or more weeks receive $100 off their total tuition. Visit to learn more about the fun that awaits campers this summer!

Chef Alon Shaya James Beard Award winner Alon Shaya is coming to the Uptown JCC on March 14 to speak about his debut cookbook, “Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel.” This is no ordinary cookbook; it’s a book that tells of how food saved his life. These are stories of place, of people, and of the food that connects them, a memoir of one man’s culinary sensibility, with food as the continuum throughout his journey — guiding his personal and professional decisions, punctuating every memory, choice, every turning point in his life. They are interspersed with glorious full-color photographs and illustrations that follow the course of all the flavors Shaya has tried, places he’s traveled, things he’s experienced, lessons he’s learned — more than 100 recipes — from Roasted Chicken with Harissa to Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts; Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Roasted Cast-Iron Ribeye; Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices; Buttermilk Biscuits; and Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta.

Brain Health Series Continues

In collaboration with Ochsner Health System’s Brain Health and Cognitive Disorders Program, the JCC is offering a series on brain health. This month’s topic, “Don’t worry, be happy: Strategies to improve your mood, reduce stress, and keep your brain healthy,” will be presented on March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Uptown JCC. Board-certified clinical neuropsychologists and co-directors of the Cognitive Disorders and Brain Health Program, Drs. Robert John Sawyer and Brian Mizuki, will lead the discussion. The series is free and open to the community.

Save The Date Yom HaShoah Sunday, April 15 | 6:30 p.m. | Uptown JCC Keynote speaker Irene Miller will share her incredible story of survival in Siberia and Uzbekistan after escaping the horrors of the Holocaust. The memorial program remembers and honors local survivors while educating the public about the Holocaust and teaching the importance of tolerance. During the program, the 13th Annual Educator of the Year award will be presented to a local teacher who has done outstanding work integrating Holocaust education into the curriculum.

Yom Ha’Atzmaut April 22, 2018 | 12 p.m. Uptown JCC

We’re bringing a bit of our sister city, Rosh Ha’ayin, to New Orleans to celebrate Israel Independence Day. Explore the history of the region and enjoy the The talk begins at 7 p.m. Afterward, Chef Shaya will be available to tastes, sounds and look of the city’s rich sign copies of his book. As part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Yemenite culture as we celebrate Israel at Cultural Arts Series, this event is free and open to the community. 70! 30 The Jewish Newsletter • March 2018

Jewish Endowment Foundation Create A Legacy to Benefit Your Favorite Cause Is there a program that you are passionate about? Would you like it funds to Temple Sinai and the Jewish Community Center for senior to last forever? Many of our JEF donors have felt exactly the same way citizen outreach program activities. Both organizations provide a beauand have established funds for specific purposes that are important tiful luncheon for seniors once a year to celebrate Bobby’s birthday. to them and that will benefit our community in perpetuity. We have B’nai Maimonides Funds highlighted some wonderful examples of these creative and important The B’nai Maimonides Program was established in 2003 by an anonprograms below. ymous donor to encourage the mitzvah of tzedakah for those celebrating a bar or bat mitzvah. The B’nai Maimonides program at JEF gives Gabriela Lehmann’s Yahrzeit Legacy Fund Gabriela Lehmann cared deeply about the New Orleans Jewish Com- b’nai mitzvah teens the opportunity to be philanthropists and to start munity. Before her death in 2010, she established the Kurt J., Molly S. a lifelong habit of giving to others by opening a fund at JEF. The family and Gabriela Lehmann Yahrzeit Designated Fund at the Jewish Endow- contributes a minimum of $250 and the anonymous donor and JEF ment Foundation of Louisiana. Through this fund, donations are made each contribute $125. Since its inception, over 100 B’nai Maimonides to Reform, Conservative and Orthodox congregations in metropolitan Funds have been established at JEF. New Orleans to remember all those who have passed away and no lonNathan and Bluma Polmer Fund to Benefit Jewish Seniors ger have friends or family to remember them on Yom Kippur, as well as This fund was established in 2005 by the Nathan and Bluma Polmer to inscribe the names of her loved ones, in the synagogues’ memorial Charitable Trust. The distributions from this fund have gone to the books. By establishing this fund and providing generous donations to Jewish Community Center for the Senior Exercise Program and to Jewthese congregations, Gabriela Lehmann created a meaningful and imish Family Services for its Intensive Case Management Program. Every portant Jewish legacy for our community that benefits our Greater New time you see the Senior Exercise Program at the JCC, you know that Orleans congregations and will endure for future generations. it happens because of the Nathan and Bluma Polmer Fund to Benefit Adele Cahn Catch-a-Cab Fund Jewish Seniors. Adele Cahn cares deeply about the New Orleans Jewish community, Allen Marks Funds especially its senior citizens. She thought that their quality of life would In his will, Allen Marks made provisions to provide funding for projimprove and they would be better able to maintain their independence if ects that were important to him. Through this legacy, the Allen Marks they had transportation to go out once they had stopped driving. Thus, the Fund to Benefit Marks Park at the Jewish Community Center and the Catch-a-Cab program was born. Through Jewish Family Service, affordable Allen Marks Fund for the Benefit of Temple Sinai, which pays for a transportation is provided, giving the gift of independence. Senior citizens cellist at Yom Kippur services, were created. receive $100 worth of coupons for $25 every three months. These coupons can be used with United, Yellow and Metry Cab companies. To learn more about how you can create your own Jewish Legacy and

Robert L. Kohlmann Senior Citizen Outreach Fund

support organizations and programs that are important to you during Bobby Kohlmann established this fund in 1996 to benefit senior and after your lifetime, please call Sandy Levy ( or citizens who so often feel isolated and forgotten. This fund distributes Patti Lengsfield ( at (504) 524-4559.

In honor of Purim, and in light of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a group of Tulane Jewish Leaders organized a hamantaschen bake sale to raise funds for Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown is a national nonprofit that advocates for gun control and against gun violence. Prior to Purim, 45 students gathered at Hillel’s in-house restaurant, Rimon, to make lemon, blueberry and chocolate hamantaschen for a good cause. The Bake Action program also provided students with a forum to discuss gun control. During Purim, TJL members sold over 100 hamantaschen on Tulane’s main campus! This social action (and delicious) program raised more than $200 for Everytown for Gun Safety. Jamie Shear, a junior at Tulane and a member of Hillel’s Tulane Jewish Leaders program, helped organize the event. “With everything happening in our world, it is essential for us to not forget events like the tragic shooting in Parkland. By participating in Bake Action and supporting Everytown for Gun Safety, I believe we helped to keep the fight strong; and I plan on Making Hamantaschen in Rimon continuing to do so throughout our community,” said Jamie.

March 2018 •The Jewish Newsletter 31

Jewish Community Day School Learning travels beyond the classroom walls JCDS 5th graders are super-excited – and a little nervous – about their end-of-year overnight to Colonial Williamsburg! As they should be! What do you remember from school? What ignited a spark of excitement? Chances are it was a group project, a special speaker, or a field trip. Something experiential inspired you to want to learn more and take your learning into your own hands. When students leave the classroom, they see the connections between what is happening at school and in the “real-world.” They begin to see that what they learn within the walls of the classroom can help them solve the problems beyond it, in the world around them. From their earliest days in Pre-K to the time they are taller than their teachers, JCDS students are out and about exploring. They’ve attended LPO concerts, pressed their noses to the glass of the Audubon Aquarium, practiced reporting

the weather at WWL, toured Jewish New Orleans, and more. We know that students who have been exposed to many different things do better in school, and in life! A study conducted by the University of Arkansas found that students that participate in field trips show increased empathy, tolerance and critical thinking skills. Field based learning even increases test scores, as learning becomes more memorable. So, pack your bags, 5th graders. Williamsburg, here we come!

JCDS Purim In preparation for Purim, 1st and 2nd grade families came together for a great morning of “B’yachad” — learning together. How is Queen Esther like a Super-Hero? What are the special gifts inside of you that may not always be visible to others? Next, JCDS students joyfully fulfilled the 4 mitzvot of Purim! 1. Mattanot L’Evyonim (Giving gifts of money to the poor). We learned from Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans CEO Arnie Fielkow, and President Henry Miller, about the meaning of tzedakah. The funds we collected this Purim day were donated to our Federation’s Annual Campaign. Purim Parade (not a mitzvah, but so much fun!). Thanks to Hilton Title, Jennie Levin and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg, we marched around the block in our Purim costumes to the sounds of instruments and song. 2. Hear the Megillah, chanted for us by Daniel Atwood. It was loud when we shook our graggers made of pasta boxes when we heard the name of You-Know-Who! This food went to Second Harvest. 3. Mishloach Manot (gifts of food to friends) exchange. Each JCDSer gave and received a fun box of goodies that included hamantashen, of course. 4. We loved our Upside-Down Breakfast for Lunch Purim Seudah (feast) together in the lunchroom. Are you sure we can’t have waffles every day?

32 The Jewish Newsletter • March 2018

JCDS+JNOLA Chocolate Seder: March 25, 5-7 p.m. Family Model Seder: March 28, 11 a.m. Yom Ha’Atzma’ut Celebration: April 20, 10:30 a.m. STEAM Fair: April 26, 5 p.m. Grand Reception for the Berenson Learning Lab: May 2, 6 p.m. For our full calendar, please visit

Celebrating Community at Shir Chadash There’s no one we’d rather share our parking lot with than our friends at Shir Chadash! Each year we look forward to celebrating National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day Shabbat together! Families and children so enjoy the Shir Chadash joyful children’s services and we appreciate the generosity of Rabbi Deborah Silver allowing Head of School Dr. Sharon Pollin to share her thoughts on the weekly Parsha. This year included a birthday celebration; Alex P., JCDS Kindergartener, turned 5! Alex’s parents and grandparents sponsored a delicious Kiddush in his honor. The highlight was, of course, the ice-cream bar sponsored by JCDS friends and Shir Chadash members Emily and Evan Dvorin, Barbara and Mark Kaplinsky, Lis and Hugo Kahn, Carole and Richard Neff, Madilyn and Alvin Samuels, and Eileen Wallen. Thank you to all for this extra sweet Shabbat!

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Birmingham Jewish Federation named community partner Conexx: America Israel Business Connector in Atlanta will kick off regional celebrations of Israel’s birthday by presenting seven awards at its 17th annual gala, March 22 at the Atlanta History Center, along with displaying two major exhibits. The Birmingham Jewish Federation, which has been a partner since Conexx was established, will be honored as American Community Partner. The Tom Glaser Leadership Award will be presented to Benny Landa, “the father of commercial digital printing,” and the Landa Group. In 2002, HP bought his digital printing company Indigo for $830 million, one of the earliest huge acquisitions of an Israeli company. Holder of over 800 patents, Landa was named by Globes magazine in 2016 as the Israeli Entrepreneur of the Decade. Savannah-based Gulfstream, with several models of business jets that are developed by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be recognized as U.S. Company of the Year. Sapiens, which develops software for the insurance industry, will receive Israeli Company of the Year. Headquartered in Holon, Sapiens has an office in Cary, N.C. The Israeli Community Partner will be the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce. Deal of the Year goes to Intel and Mobileye. Last August, Intel completed its $15.3 billion acquisition of the Jerusalem-based company that is a global leader in the development of computer vision and machine learning, data analysis, localization and mapping for advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving. Furthering the automotive theme, the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research will be recognized for Innovative Academic Partnership. in partnership with the World Zionist Organization and Ben-Gurion Airport, the Conexx Gala will be the first venue in the U.S. to exhibit “120 Years of Zionism.” The exhibit, which was overseen by artist David Harel, includes work from several designers featuring hundreds of Israeli and Zionist figures at the defining moments of the Israeli experience. The showcase includes a series of photographs of a total length of about 150 meters marking milestones in the history of Zionism presented through graphic processing, illustrations, and images from archives throughout Israel highlighted in 3D. It is the largest display ever presented in Ben-Gurion, with an estimated 8 million passengers viewing it in 2017. Conexx will present three portions of the exhibit: Women Break New Ground, Israel and the Diaspora, and Defense and Security. In addition, Conexx will be displaying select works from “Israeli Discoveries and Developments that Influenced the World” in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology.The collection of photographs shows the state of Israel’s achievements and the scientific, technological and human potential, which has evolved with the growth, and development of the country 70 years ago. The event starts with an Israeli companies showcase and networking at 6 p.m., with the program at 7:15 p.m. A progressive buffet will be available throughout the evening. There is also a raffle for a trip for two to Israel, including a week in a private Jerusalem apartment. Gala tickets are $155 and are available at


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opinion > > Gaetz sex slave trade is beyond comprehension. What was he thinking?” Dosev, a former Marine aviator and local area businessman, added “The bipartisan bill brings together law enforcement and anti-trafficking groups to pool information and resources. This is something military and business organizations do every day to improve critical outcomes. It’s basic management 101.” Dosev, given this latest kerfuffle over the invite to alt-right troll and Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson, is gathering petition signatures for an April 2 deadline to force an open Republican primary contest with Gaetz. Bromance Cartoon with Holocaust Denier

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Andy Marlette, editorial cartoonist for the Pensacola News Journal, laced into Gaetz over the Chuck Johnson affair in two scathing drawings. One depicted Gaetz on a “Blind Date” with an unidentified person hiding behind KKK regalia wearing a Nazi arm band. In a PNJ Op Ed, “Northwest Florida, has Gaetz embarrassed you yet?” Marlette set the stage in his opening stanza: “So a congressman and a white supremacist walk into the State of the Union… It actually happened, thanks to Northwest Florida’s … U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz… Did anyone know they were getting a congressman who would hang out with radio hosts like Alex Jones [of Info Wars] who deny school shootings, moon landings and the Sept. 11 attacks? “Gaetz’s latest bungle to make national news happened last week at President Trump’s State of the Union address, where our congressman’s guest of honor was Chuck Johnson, a 29-yearold, alt-right Internet nerd who made a name for himself online by using the n-word, denying the Holocaust and analyzing the ‘physical and mental differences between races and ethnicities,’ according to POLITICO Florida’s Marc Caputo.” Gaetz defends his actions in national media 205.879.3438 34 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

Gaetz was hard-pressed to rationalize his act when questioned by national media. In a Fox Business interview,” he said “Unquestionably I don’t agree with everything Chuck Johnson has said and done. That needs to be said on the record. But he was a perfectly polite guest.” Gaetz also denied that Johnson had denied the Holocaust. “Some of the claims against Mr. Johnson are not accurate,” he said in an interview captured by Mediaite. “He’s not a Holocaust denier; he’s not a white supremacist. Those are unfortunate characterizations of him, but I did not know he was as perhaps as infamous and controversial as

Continued from page 4

he was when he came by my office.” During his interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Gaetz alleged that Johnson had made contributions to a foundation established by the late Elie Wiesel. Further, he defended his InfoWars appearance with host Alex Jones as someone who has to go on these extremist programs to get the truth told. Gaetz insisted. “But I think that when… we only talk to audiences or people that agree with us, I think we end up in a myopic state of politics.” Rebuke from the Republican Jewish Coalition On Feb. 5, Gaetz was interviewed on Andrew McKay’s “Morning Newsmaker/News Shaker” program on Pensacola’s News Radio 1620. When questioned about the kerfuffle erupting from his invitation to Johnson, Gaetz apologized for his lack of due diligence on Johnson’s background, who allegedly was referred to him by another Congressman. When McKay pressed him for the identity of the Congressional colleague, Gaetz demurred. But he doubled down on whether Johnson was a Holocaust denier. The Tampa Bay Tribune reported his reply during the interview with McKay: “It was a poor decision on my part not to do better vetting. I won’t do that again. But I think that labeling Mr. Johnson a denier of the Holocaust has been met with skepticism from people who have dedicated a substantial portion of their lives to Holocaust remembrance.” Gaetz then proceeded to invoke Alfred Balitzer, a founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition, saying that he had written to the Congressman indicating that he never heard Johnson denying the Holocaust. Gaetz said he was awaiting a similar statement from Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz. That brought an abrupt tweet to Gaetz from Matt Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Washington. Brooks wrote, “This organization is deeply troubled by the comments from Charles C. Johnson, and it is incredibly important for the congressman to acknowledge he is a Holocaust denier and has extensive writings that attest to that and that it was wrong to bring him to the State of the Union. We are deeply troubled by any inference that our organization believes otherwise.” How did Gaetz get elected to his first term? Elected on Nov. 8, 2016 in the tumult of Trump’s national electoral victory, Gaetz had been on stage during Trump’s multiple visits to Pensacola. Gaetz is the scion of a powerful political dynasty. His father, Don Gaetz, is a former Florida Senate president. The younger Gaetz ran for his father’s vacated Florida House

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 35

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seat and was elected in 2010, serving three consecutive terms. His only controversy was his 2008 DUI arrest. Based on the Cook Partisan Voting Index, Florida’s first Congressional district is the most Republican district in Florida, 15th in the U.S. Because of the significant U.S. Navy and Air Force military bases in his district, Gaetz is a member of the House Armed Services, as well as Budget and Judiciary Committees. Will 35-year-old Matt Gaetz politically survive this kerfuffle? What happens when local AIPAC members encounter him at the Washington Policy Conference next month? Will he become Mr. Teflon due to his loyalty to President Trump and skate through this current crisis? Stay tuned for developments. Jerome B. Gordon is a senior editor of The New English Review and a registered voter in Northwest Florida’s 1st Congressional district. An earlier version of this article was published in the Jerusalem Post.

> > Editor’s Note

Continued from page 3

In an era where many university administrations brush off concerns over anti-Israel shout-fests as merely the exercise of free speech, the U.Va. administration quickly condemned the demonstrators for their disregard of open discourse, and noted apparent violations of university standards. Not the least of which is founder Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of openness to differing points of view and a respectful examination of issues. Of course, not all is rosy in the Land of Wahoowa. After the events of last summer and the rise in anti-Semitism nationally, the Jewish Leadership Council approached the Minority Rights Coalition for membership, because “we felt that not having representation within the MRC meant missing far too much of the conversation and opportunities for community-building at the University, and wanted to be part of a group that embraces diversity and advocates for minority students.” After “months of back and forth,” just days after the incident in Clark Hall, the MRC denied membership to the Jewish group, because one of its five affiliates, Hoos for Israel, made some coalition members uncomfortable. Instead, the coalition suggested one of the Jewish umbrella group’s other affiliates become the voting member, or that they form a “partnership,” a structure different than that for any other group. These days it is not surprising, but it is still dismaying, that with all of the traditional social justice allies that the Jewish community works with, there aren’t enough who can tell the vocal fringe to grow up. It is Orwellian that the religious minority that is on the receiving end of by far the most religiously-based bias crimes is excluded from coalitions that exist supposedly to fight bigotry and prejudice. Despite the vote, dialogue between the coalition and the Jewish council is ongoing. Hopefully, the coalition will start to exhibit the clear thinking exhibited by the U.Va. administration and student media.

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Keeping New Orleans kosher Thirty years ago, the primary source of kosher products for numerous communities in the region began with a pizza party. Kosher Cajun New York Deli and Grocery in Metairie is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. When Joel Brown started a small kosher products supply business, “there was not much available in New Orleans at all.” Brown grew up in a kosher Conservative home in New Orleans. He attended Lakeshore Hebrew Day School, and when he was 12 the family decided to become a bit more traditional. “My father was a foodie and had built a beautiful kitchen,” Brown said. By the time he was 19, Brown dabbled some in the food business, knowing the importance of kashrut but “not knowing what I wanted to do.” He visited an aunt in Philadelphia, brought back “a bunch of kosher pizzas and had a bunch of friends over.” The overwhelming question among his friends was “how can we get some of them.” At that moment, “a light bulb went off,” so he found a kosher pizzeria in Miami and called them with an order for 150 pizzas. “They hung up on me,” Brown said, thinking it was a practical joke. After some convincing that he was for real, a supply of pizzas arrived via Delta Air Freight. By the time they arrived, he had pre-sold every pizza. The idea of providing kosher items to the New Orleans community was planted. He then traveled to the first kosher food show in Miami, “made some contacts with different vendors and saw what was available.” He started small, storing items in his mother’s chest freezers. After about six months, he started contemplating a retail launch “on the side,” as he was working in food services at a hospital. A friend had space available in a building he owned, so Brown got the electricity hooked up, “got cold feet and turned it off.” A few weeks later, he turned the electricity back on and gave it a try. Not wanting to go to the bank, he started small, “made some money and bought another piece of equipment.” It was a slow method, but “the business never owed anybody any money.” The store was part-time “for a year or so.” As the business grew, he took a wall out in the

building and expanded, then was asked when he would start serving food. He got a deli slicer, a deli counter and a few tables, “slowly building the business.” Around then, he met and started dating Natalie, who would become his wife. She was interested in helping build the business “and we really worked side by side all the way through,” until she died from breast cancer in 2011. The hours were long but “we had a special bond… we were able to work together every day.” They had three daughters who “grew up at the store,” and “all the customers were able to see them grow up.” For the girls “it was almost like having many extra sets of aunts and uncles.” They started mainly serving sandwiches as a kosher deli, “something New Orleans hadn’t seen in 50 years or so.” But he knew that he wasn’t going to keep the doors open just by appealing to those who keep kosher. “We had to be able to attract the nonJews, the non-kosher Jews and whoever would like good New York deli.” As the grocery business expanded, so did the deli, and space “started to get really tight” in the building on North Hullen. In 1999, he bought the property on the Severn Street side and start

ed a major expansion. When it opened in 2000, there was an additional 5,000 square feet, with groceries on the North Hullen side, a new large kitchen, expanded dining area that can seat 80, a kosher wine section with 150 varieties from around the world and a Judaica shop. Brown refers to it as “one-stop shopping” and “the Jewish welcome center, where people come and meet, see old friends.” It’s also the Jewish New Orleans welcome center. As New Orleans continued to grow as a major convention city, the number of visitors who keep kosher has continued to expand. Now, “it is every day” that Kosher Cajun is called upon to serve out-of-towners. Early on, the visitors said they would love to have some New Orleans dishes. Though Kosher Cajun was a New York style deli, “we wanted to stand up to our name and offer real New Orleans kosher specialties, like kosher fried ‘shrimp,’ jambalaya, chicken and sausage okra gumbo, red beans and rice.” They also do kosher pareve king cakes. New Orleans is “the mecca of food with amazing restaurants,” Brown said, but kosher visitors hadn’t been able to take advantage of that. When a meeting or event is held at a restaurant, those who keep kosher could feel left out. March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 37


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.

38 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

Enter Kosher Cajun. They provide double-wrapped meals that can be heated in a non-kosher oven at any restaurant or hotel, and the meals are served on real china with real flatware, not plastic. “We’ll bring one meal, we’ll bring 100 meals,” Brown said, noting the meals have been served at “all the fine restaurants,” the National World War II Museum, Mardi Gras World, the Superdome, the Convention Center. As the china does not come back into the store after being used at the non-kosher venue, “we buy china by the pallet.” A typical week could see 1,000 such meals prepared. With New Orleans serving as a major cruise ship terminal, Kosher Cajun has worked with the cruise lines to serve kosher passengers. But Kosher Cajun isn’t just serving kosher consumers — they do Halal meals, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan. Brown explained that when big caterers are serving 1,000 people, they don’t want to have to bother with the specialty meals, so they call Kosher Cajun. Kosher Cajun also serves as a kosher resource for the region. Packages can be sent same-day by Greyhound bus to locations in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, “all the way to Pensacola.” Those further out can order for FedEx shipping, and he has filled orders as far as Hawaii. Recently, he has coordinated with Chabad in Baton Rouge to set up regular pop-up shops, and works with communities in Mississippi. “I know what it was like way back when” before there was much kosher food available in New Orleans, “and I want to help these small communities.” Even in Memphis, which has a decent kosher selection and a large Orthodox community, “they are always looking for more variety,” so he heads there with a refrigerated truck. Kosher Cajun also serves as a kosher product distributor for mainstream grocery stores in the area who want to expand their ethnic offerings, and supplies products to a halal establishment. They also provide catering for kosher events, including platters of latkes for community Chanukah celebrations, and catered the Seder for Chabad of the Emerald Coast in Destin. When Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula was building three Sa’ar-5 ships for Israel’s Navy, Kosher Cajun fed the 50 Israeli soldiers stationed there, bringing a standing order every week. When it was time for the ships to head out for Israel, they had to provide enough food for the three-week trip. When they pulled up, carrying the huge order and Israeli items “that they longed for,” it was like seeing kids chase an ice cream truck, he said. He got a tour of the ships, and insignia from the uniforms hangs in the store. Kosher Cajun’s vital role in the community was underscored after the levees broke following Hurricane Katrina. Ten days after the storm and being in Memphis wondering if there would be anything to come back to, he made the trip to Metairie “to see the state of our home and our business.” There had been four inches of water in the store, but the lack of electricity and the heat meant Brown was greeted with an overpowering stench from rotting meat and chicken, and black mold on the walls. He would get calls from people who would say “we can’t move back to the city until you reopen. We need kosher food… it really gave me an urgency and a sense of commitment.” He hired a crew to clean out the store while commuting back and forth to Memphis. “Within three months, we were open,” he said. There were only three of them working, compared to the usual 10, “but we were doing business. People were so thankful and gracious.” It wasn’t just the locals — Jewish groups from around the country flocked to New Orleans to help rebuild the city, and they needed kosher meals. Brown would tell the students to go back “and tell your parents New Orleans is a great place to visit, and they do.” Brown said there are still schools that send groups to New Orleans as “a regular part of their curriculum” to learn about the storm and its af-

community termath. He is thankful that the Jewish community has exceeded its pre-Katrina population and continues to grow, with “singles and young couples moving to town.” To help the community rebuild, numerous national Jewish organizations held conventions in New Orleans. In 2010, the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America was in New Orleans, “probably the biggest thing we’d ever done,” with thousands of delegates. They set up a restaurant and grocery area at the Sheraton Hotel for the gathering. “We were mobbed.” During the GA, they catered for the 150 people on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plane, with “Israeli Secret Service watching every move we made.” Large challenges like the Sa’ar-5 supplies and the GA “have fueled our expansion,” Brown said. “We rise to the occasion.” More recently, Kosher Cajun has added sushi and fried chicken on Fridays, rotisserie chickens and challah for Shabbat. Every year they go to Kosherfest in New Jersey, the largest kosher trade show in the world. “We want new, innovative products all the time.” But the biggest benefit, Brown said, is community. Those visiting from elsewhere start off by asking him to tell them about the New Orleans Jewish community. Visitors will often bring regards from someone else who visited one year or 10 years earlier. Through this, Brown has become an expert in Jewish geography. Meeting new people is a “fringe benefit of loving what I do every day. It’s a business, it’s a pleasure, it’s a religious aspect, bringing kosher food to the community.”

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While Chanukah is seen as the gift-giving holiday because of its proximity to other celebrations in the surrounding community, Purim is traditionally the holiday used “an occasion for sending gifts to one another,” as explained in the megillah. With that in mind, this was the second year that the New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service did Project Purim, observing the sacred custom of sending Purim treats to others Boxes of “Mishloach Manot” were sent to 249 children across the JCRS service area of seven Southern states. The Purim goodies included masks, beads, groggers and hamentaschen. Project Purim was started by board member Alan Krilov, who also spearheaded the JCRS Chanukah card and gift program, to let the children who receive Chanukah gifts or other services know that they are remembered at other times as well. Krilov has started plans to send packages to JCRS families on Rosh HaShanah and Passover as well.

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 39

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As the new director of rabbinic services for the Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, Aaron Rozovsky will draw on experiences from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan with the Military Police. There, he learned how to create meaningful Jewish experiences out of whatever he had, including making a festive Shabbat dinner out of “a few cans of corn, peaches, and Army rations.” While even the smallest Jewish communities served by ISJL have far more resources than he had in Afghanistan, being able to work with small communities “is my dream job,” Rozovsky said. “To serve small Jewish communities throughout the South who have added so much to the American fabric and our understanding of what it means to be Jewish is the opportunity of a lifetime.” “We are so excited to welcome Aaron to the team,” says Michele Schipper, who will become CEO of the Institute later this month. “His passion for serving under-served Jewish communities, his past experiences and his vision for this role all make him an ideal rabbi to serve our region.” Rozovsky will be ordained this spring from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform movement’s seminary. Prior to beginning his rabbinical studies, he also completed a Master’s degree in International Studies with a concentration in Latin America at Central Connecticut State University, and a Bachelor’s degree in history with a Spanish minor at Providence College in Rhode Island. As a student rabbi, he served in an array of positions, primarily in small communities: teaching at Kulanu Cincinnati Reform Jewish High School, working at the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, advising students at the Hillel at Miami University of Ohio, and holding student pulpits at United Hebrew Congregation in Terra Haute, Ind., and Temple B’nai Israel of Petoskey, Mich. In the military, Rozovsky has served as chaplain for the 1/103rd Field Artillery Battalion in Providence, R.I.; and as a Fellow at the Jewish War Veterans of America Cincinnati-Dayton chapter; and he has worked for 12 years with the Rhode Island Army National Guard. He also spent a year as a liaison officer for the U.S. Army-Israel Defense Forces, in Jerusalem. In the summer of 2016, he decided not to do his unit of clinical pastoral education in Cincinnati, but instead went to the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Louisville, Ky., being perhaps the first Jewish chaplain at that facility. His first deployment was to Cuba, where he was the only Jewish member of a 200-person unit, and wound up fielding a lot of questions about Judaism. The ISJL’s Rabbinical Services Department serves communities across its 13-state region, focusing specifically on communities with no fulltime rabbi in place. In his role as director, Rozovsky will travel two to three weekends a month to lead Shabbat experiences, will write a weekly Taste of Torah e-mailed d’var Torah (sermon), serve as a remote resource for Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, engaged couples, and more; he will also work with colleagues to coordinate visits throughout the region with the ISJL’s “Rabbis on the Road” program, where rabbis from around the country visit several congregations in the region. Since its formation in 2003, the “ISJL Rabbi” position has been held by Rabbis Debra Kassoff, Batsheva Appel, Marshal Klaven and Jeremy Simons. Last summer, Simons became the director of Hillels of Memphis.

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Ron Henson, who served as interim Louisiana treasurer, is presented the Israel Unity Award from Donna Sternberg

Continuing Louisiana’s bonds with Israel

With longtime Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy now in the U.S. Senate, it has been a time of transition in Baton Rouge — but the ongoing relationship between Louisiana and Israel Bonds was celebrated at a Feb. 23 event in New Orleans. Ron Henson, who served as interim treasurer, was honored by Israel Bonds, and John Schroder, who was elected to the position in November, addressed the group as well. Brad Young, executive director of the Southeast regional office of Israel Bonds in Atlanta, said Henson was being presented with the Israel Unity Award “for all he has done to facilitate the state investing in Israel Bonds.” Young noted that last year, the region set a record with $80 million in sales, part of the fifth year in a row that U.S. sales topped $1 billion. It was also mentioned that Jacqueline Goldberg of New Orleans was one of 11 honorees receiving the Israel70 Award at the International Prime Minister’s Club dinner, in Miami on Feb. 11. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon was on hand to present those awards. In addition to being an investment, Young said, Israel Bonds are also a message, a direct response to the BDS movement. “What better response to them than to invest in the State of Israel,” he said. With college campuses serving as a BDS battleground, with student activists calling on universities to divest from Israel, he suggested that instead of writing checks to universities, give them Israel Bonds as donations. Larry Berman, head of institutional sales for Israel Bonds, highlighted the significance of Senate Bill 463, which allowed Louisiana to purchase Israel Bonds, and Henson’s role in its passage. Jay Dardenne was the primary sponsor in the Senate, John Alario in the House. In 2004, Louisiana made its first purchase of $5 million in Israel Bonds, with then-treasurer John Kennedy calling it a win-win for Israel and Louisiana. By 2014, the state held $18 million, and holdings now total $25 million. Berman said “without your help, we could have never passed that bill.” Now, he said, that bill has become “a template for other states,” with eight other states modeling their legislation on that bill. “Among those states, we’ve sold $1 billion in Israel Bonds,” he said. Arkansas, which became the 27th state to allow Israel Bonds purchases with the passage of legislation last August, made its first purchase, $20 million, in February. Legislation is also pending in Mississippi, and Alabama just renewed a purchase to reach $4 million in Israel Bonds. Donna Sternberg presented the award to Hanson, saying he “has always been there for us,” and “he does this not only because it’s good for

community Louisiana, he feels in his heart, he feels in his gut.” She expressed the hope that “some day your feet will stand on the gates of Jerusalem, because I know it’s something you really want to do.” Henson introduced John Broussard, calling him “a real hero, he is our E.F. Hutton in the treasurer’s office.” When the Israel Bonds bill was pending, Henson recalled, “John Kennedy called me… and said get this done.” In addition to mentioning the desire to visit Israel, he recounted how he had been a buyer in men’s clothing at Godchaux’s. “That was one of the greatest experiences of my formative years.”

Mississippi working on Israel Bonds purchases Anti-BDS bill died in committee Legislation in Mississippi that would prohibit state fund investments in and state or local contracts with companies that boycott Israel died on the calendar, but a bill that would allow the state to make investments in Israel Bonds is still working its way through the Legislature. 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 and have a higher rate of return than U.S. bonds. The measure, introduced by Rep. Hank Zuber of Ocean Springs, passed 113-2 on Jan. 31 and was sent to the Senate on Feb. 2. A similar bill, SB-2051, had been introduced in the Senate by Joey Fillingane of Sumrall. It was passed on Feb. 8 with an amendment that the investment be denominated in dollars, which Israel Bonds are. Another change capped the investment at no more than $20 million. Alabama and Louisiana are among states which permit investments in Israel Bonds, and each has several million dollars invested. On Feb. 28, the House passed the Senate bill, 118-2, then passed an amended version on March 1, 116-1. On March 2, it was returned to the Senate for concurrence. 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. On Feb. 8, the bill died at the deadline for floor consideration of measures originating in the House. Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and

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community 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.

Israel Bonds President and CEO Israel Maimon, Registered Representative of North, West and Central Florida Monica DiGiovanni, honoree Jacqueline Goldberg of New Orleans and sister Linda Drucker, Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Israel Bonds Chairman of the Board Richard L. Hirsch at the Feb. 11 International Prime Minister’s Club dinner in Miami, where Goldberg received the Israel70 Award from Israel Bonds. At the event, it was announced that Florida had made another $10 million purchase in Israel Bonds, bringing the state’s holdings to $50 million.

Alabama adds $1mil to Bonds holdings On Feb. 1, the state of Alabama made a $1 million purchase of Israel Bonds, bringing the state’s investment to $4 million. Alabama Treasurer Young Boozer, who has been in office since 2011, said several years ago he was looking at eligible investments and saw that Israel Bonds was on the list “but no one had ever bought any” for the state. As he examined it, he decided it would be a good investment. Since the law required the governor’s approval, he went to then-governor Robert Bentley, and two years ago “started small” with a $1 million purchase that had a two-year maturity. His idea was to purchase $2 million the second year, also with a two-year maturity, and roll over the investment each year when it comes due. When the first $1 million investment came due this past month, he decided to add the second million. He consulted with Governor Kay Ivey, who had previously been treasurer and fully understood the procedures. Boozer said Israel Bonds provides “excellent credit and excellent returns.” This year, Boozer will be term-limited out of office. “I would tell my successor that this has been a good program for the portfolio of Alabama,” and the experience of working with Brad Young and the Atlanta regional office for Israel Bonds has been “first class.” 44 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018


Community Seders in the region As of press time, these were the congregations that had announced congregational or community Seders. In many cases, space is limited; in almost all cases, advance paid reservations are required. Many congregations will work with those who can not afford the fee, and can also match people in need of a Seder with members who have space at their homes.

ages 5 and under are free. Reserve by March 23. Temple Emanu-El, Tuscaloosa: March 30. Details TBA.

Florida Panhandle

Chabad Emerald Coast, Destin: March 30, 6:45 p.m. Adults $36, children $20. Beth Shalom, Fort Walton Beach: March 31, 6 p.m. at Eglin Golf Club, which has open access as it is off-base. Member adults $38, ages 17 and under are free. Non-members $48 for adults, $16 for ages 3 to 12. Reserve by March 26. B’nai Israel, Panama City: March 31, 6 p.m. Member adults $35, children $10; non-member adults $45, children $15. Reserve by March 16. B’nai Israel, Pensacola: March 30 and March 31. Adults $30, pre-Bar/Bat Mitzvah $15. Reserve by March 6. Temple Beth-El, Pensacola: March 30, 6 p.m. Member adults $30, military and college $20, ages 5 to 12 $15, non-members $35. Ages 4 and under are free. Reserve by March 21.


Temple Beth-El, Anniston: March 31. Traditionally for members and immediate family. Bais Ariel Chabad Center, Birmingham: March 30, 6:30 p.m. service, 6:45 p.m. kids dinner, 7:15 p.m. Seder. $40 adults, $20 children, reserve in advance. Temple Emanu-El, Birmingham: March 30, 6 p.m. $25, age 6 and under $10. Reserve by March 23. Temple Emanu-El, Dothan: March 30, 6 p.m. Adults $28, children $14. Reserve by March 21. Etz Chayim, Huntsville: March 30, 6:30 p.m. Adults $36, ages 8 to 18 $18. Ages 7 and under are free. Reserve by March 12. Temple B’nai Sholom, Huntsville: March 31, 6 p.m. Adults $36, under age 12 $16. Reserve by March 21. Ahavas Chesed, Mobile: March 30, 6:30 p.m. Member adults $35, non-members $45. Ages 9 to 15, $10. Free for age 8 and under. Reserve by March 15. Springhill Avenue Temple, Mobile: March 31, 6 p.m. Members $35, guests $40, children 6 to 12 $20, free for age 5 and under. Reserve by March 27. Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem, Montgomery: March 31, 5:45 p.m. Adults $25, ages 6 to 13 $15, 5 and under are free. Reserve by March 22. Temple Beth Or, Montgomery: March 31, 6 p.m. Adults $25, ages 6 to 12 $10,


Gemiluth Chassodim, Alexandria: March 31, details TBA. Beth Shalom, Baton Rouge: March 31, 5:30 p.m. Member adults $30, non-members $45, children and students free. Reserve by March 23.​​ B’nai Israel, Baton Rouge: March 31, 6 p.m. Adult members and guests $36, children under 16 $18. Non-member adults $45, children $25. Reserve by March 23. Temple Shalom, Lafayette: March 30, 6 p.m., at City Club of Lafayette, partially sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Passover Across America program. Members $35, $10 member children through high school. Non-member adults $60, children $25. College students $25. Reserve by March 12.


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March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 45

passover Temple Sinai, Lake Charles: March 30, 6 p.m., at Reeve’s Downtown. Adults $25, children under 12 $12.50. Reserve by March 21. B’nai Israel, Monroe: March 30, 6 p.m. Members $45, non-members $50.

New Orleans Area

Northshore Jewish Congregation, Mandeville: March 31, 6 p.m. Beth Israel, Metairie: Community Seder, March 31. Follows 7:30 p.m. service. Member adults $36, ages 6 to 13 $20; non-member adults $54, ages 6 to 13 $36. Ages 5 and under free. Reservations required. Chabad Jewish Center, Metairie: March 30, 7:15 p.m. Adults $35, ages 3 to 13 $18. After March 25, $45 and $25 respectively. Gates of Prayer, Metairie: March 31, 6 p.m. Adults $25, $30 after March 23. Ages 4 to 12, $10. Under age 4, free. Reserve by March 23. Shir Chadash, Metairie: March 30, 6 p.m. Member adults, $36, non-members $50. Ages 6-13 $25 for first child, $18 additional children, under 6 free. Reserve by March 23. Moishe House, New Orleans: March 30, 7 p.m., potluck. Temple Sinai, New Orleans: Marc 31, 6 p.m. Member adults $30, age 12 and under $10. Non-member adults $35, children $12. College students $5. Touro Synagogue, New Orleans: Seder By The Sea, March 31 to April 1 at South Beach Biloxi Hotel and Suites. For just the Seder, $50 for member adults, $75 non-members; $18 for ages 2 to 12. Congregational Seder at Touro, March 30, 6:30 p.m. Member adults $30, non0members $40, children ages 3 to 12 $13. Agudath Achim, Shreveport: March 31, 6 p.m. Member adults $25, ages 7 to 12 $15, age 6 and under is free. Maximum of $90 for a family. Non-member adults $30, ages 8 to 12 $20 and ages 5 to 7 $10. Reserve by March 21. B’nai Zion, Shreveport: March 30, 7:15 p.m. Member adults $45, students 13 and above $20, ages 5 to 12 $18. Non-member adults $50, children $20. Free for those under age 5. Reserve by March 15, cost goes up for reservations after that date.


B’nai Israel, Columbus: March 30, 6:30 p.m. $36, $18 for students. Hebrew Union Congregation, Greenville: March 30, 6:30 p.m. $30, children under 7 are free. Reserve by March 26. Beth Israel, Jackson: March 31, 6 p.m. Adults $22, ages 10 and under $8, by March 24. After March 24, adults $25 and children $12. Deadline is March 30. Jewish Federation of Oxford: March 30, 6 p.m. at Ravine. Seder is sold out, only remaining tickets are for students at Ole Miss. A waiting list is available.

ISJL Passover Pilgrimage putting four rabbis on the road The eighth annual “Passover Pilgrimage,” an initiative of the Goldring/ Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, will include four rabbis making the rounds in the region. Rabbi Matt Dreffin, the Institute’s associate director of education, will be joined by Rabbi Ellen Nemhause of Atlanta, Rabbi Stephen Pearce of Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco and student rabbi Allison Poirier, a former ISJL Education Fellow. The first events will take place before Passover, with stops at Ahavath Rayim in Greenwood on March 21 and B’nai Israel in Natchez on March 23 and 24. With Passover beginning on March 30, the tour gets going at Selma’s Mishkan Israel and Vicksburg’s Anshe Chesed. On March 31, the tour continues at Shalom B’Harim in Dahlonega, Ga., and the Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville. Temple Emanu-El in Longview, Tex., will be on April 2, and on April 3 Beth Shalom in Auburn. The tour continues with Upper Cumberland Jewish Community in Crossville, Tenn., on April 4, and a Passover program at St. Philips Episcopal Church in Jackson on April 5. The final stops are United Hebrew Congregation in Fort Smith, Ark., and B’nai Israel in Fayetteville, Ga., on April 6, and Adath Yeshurun in Aiken, S.C. on April 7. 46 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

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Waterman’s music photography exhibited near Oxford On Feb. 23, the Jewish Federation of Oxford had a reception to mark the opening of a show by photographer Dick Waterman at Bozarts Gallery in Water Valley. The exhibit is on display through March 31. At the event, Waterman spoke of his life in the music business, with inside stories about blues artists and rock icons he has photographed over the last decades. A sportswriter and photographer in the 1950s, Waterman started covering music, and in 1964, when others were going to Mississippi for civil rights demonstrations, he was on a quest to find bluesman Son House, who had not recorded in two decades. A documentary, “Two Trains Runnin’,” tells the story of Waterman and two others, “three Jews in a Volkswagen with New York license plates” heading to Mississippi around the same time that northern Jews Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were meeting James Chaney in Meridian. Waterman became House’s manager, then managed other blues musicians, and eventually, Bonnie Raitt. In 2000, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the only member who is neither a performer nor a record company executive.

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March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 47


Remembering Broncho Billy The first cowboy movie star was a Jewish Arkansan

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When it comes to early Jewish movie stars, the name Broncho Billy Anderson isn’t usually a name that comes to mind. That is fixin’ to change, with a celebration this month in Arkansas of the first cowboy-western movie star’s life and work. The event will begin on March 21, what would have been his 138th birthday. In 1880, he was born Gilbert Maxwell Aronson, to Esther and Harry Aronson in Little Rock. When he was 3, the family relocated to Pine Bluff. At age 18 he moved to New York to be in vaudeville, and in 1903 met Edwin Porter, who cast him in the groundbreaking 12-minute silent film, “The Great Train Robbery.” Enthralled by audience reactions, he decided to stay exclusively in film. In 1907, he co-founded Essanay Studios, using the name Gilbert Anderson. In 1909, he directed “Mr. Flip,” a film that is credited with the first-ever pie-in-the-face Broncho Billy Anderson slapstick. As producer, Anderson is credited with de- states, including in Mobile, Ala.; Jackson, Miss., veloping the “long shot,” “medium shot,” “close Pensacola, Fla., and New Orleans. He also dediup” and “reestablishment scene” camera tech- cated a marker recalling the Concordia Associaniques. tion in 19th-century Little Rock. Anderson was in over 300 short films, but AT 7 p.m., there will be a reception, talk and was best known for being the cowboy Bron- screening of short films at the Historic Arkansas cho Billy, before he retired from acting in 1916 Museum in Little Rock. David and Rena Kiehn, when his business partner wasn’t interested in world authorities on silent cinema as founders financing longer productions. Among those of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Calacting in short films for Essanay was Charlie ifornia, will speak. The event is free, but reserChaplin, who did many of this “Little Tramp” vations are required. The reception will feature films for the company. “Jewish foods from Anderson’s childhood.” Returning to New York, he produced a series The Jewish Federation of Arkansas is a of shorts with Stan Laurel, including “A Lucky co-sponsor for the events. Dog,” Laurel’s first work with Oliver Hardy. On March 22, the Arts and Science Center In 1958, he received an honorary Oscar for for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff will host an his contributions to cinema. He died in 1971 at event starting at 6:30 p.m., with a presentation the age of 90. by David Kiehn. Starting at 7 p.m., there will be The March 21 event will begin at 6:30 p.m. screenings of “The Great Train Robbery,” “Mr. with the dedication of a marker at the site of the Flip,” “Broncho Billy and the Claim Jumpers,” house where Anderson was born. The house “The Tramp” and “The Lucky Dog.” Judy Waris no longer there, long since replaced by First ner, a music instructor at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, United Methodist Church. will perform live music during the screenings. The marker will be dedicated in front of the Pine Bluff also has a mural commemorating church by Jerry Klinger of the Jewish American Anderson and Freeman Owens, who developed Society for Historic Preservation. Klinger’s or- sound technology for film. ganization has placed markers at the locations of the first synagogue buildings in numerous Tickets to the Pine Bluff event are $5.

community Schools unite for week of choice

Torah Academy and Jewish Community Day School partnered the week of Feb. 5 to 9 to offer their students a high-quality electives program. Vivian and Richard Cahn sponsored Mid-Winter Children’s Choice Week, bringing experiential learning to the students. The 12 electives included Master Chef, 3-D printing, game coding, organic gardening, Lego robotics, clay, Mad Science, sports variety, painting on canvas, and building a pebble pit. Instructors included Jennifer Dailey of JD Sports, Chef Linda Waknin, STEAM expert Darko Sarenac, ceramic artist Susie Glaser Lazarus, Greenlight New Orleans, Code NOLA and more.

Below, Hugo Kahn joins students and Darko Serenac, Ph.D. for a 3-D printing lesson

Wishing all my friends and supporters in the Jewish community an especially happy Passover!

Judge Candice Bates-Anderson Juvenile Court, Section C

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 49

community South Carolina’s Lipov leads Tulane Chabad student board On the first night of Chanukah this past December, Halle Lipov stood in front of a crowd of 250 students, gathered to watch the lighting of Chabad’s Giant Menorah on Tulane’s campus. As incoming president of the Chabad Student Board, she spoke about the Maccabees, referring to them as small group who “made an extraordinary difference that continues to have an impact on us today.” The Chabad Student Board is the leadership team of Chabad at Tulane, and could also be considered as a “small group that strives to make an impact on each individual in the Jewish community.” It consists of 15 to 20 upperclassmen who serve on committees such as holiday programming, Greek engagement, social events, women’s events, freshmen engagement and Jewish learning. The board also hosts Chabad’s weekly Shabbat dinners, which are drawing around 200 people per week this semester, not to mention Shabbat 1000 on March 16. The Chabad team includes Rabbi Leibel and Mushka Lipskier, who are the directors of undergraduate programming, and Rabbi Yochanan and Sarah Rivkin, who are the directors of Tulane Chabad. They represent Chabad to the Tulane community, spreading the word and making Chabad the largest religious life organization on Tulane’s camps. “Some might be surprised to learn that the president of Chabad’s student board is a woman from Charleston, S.C.” said Rabbi Rivkin. “After all, Tulane’s Jewish population hails mostly from the Northeast, with large contingents from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Maryland.” Although Tulane is a Southern school, “many Jewish students have the impression that at least half of the school is from Long Island.” Lipov’s family has been pillars of the Charleston Jewish community, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the United States, for six generations. And, she is the third generation in her family to attend Tulane, following in the footsteps of her mother, Janet Pearlstine Lipov, and grandfather, Edwin Pearlstine. Janet Lipov said that Jewish service has been in the family for generations. “My great-grandmother said ‘Service is the price you pay for the space you occupy.’ I am excited that Halle has found a place where she feels the passion to serve.” Janet Lipov has served on many leadership boards in Charleston, in-

Halle Lipov and Mushka Lipskier after the Chanukah menorah lighting on campus in December 50 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

community cluding her synagogue, the JCC and the Jewish Federation. She is currently the president of the Jewish Endowment board. She considers the success of Jewish organizations to be one of her personal goals. For Halle, Chabad has become a home. “It’s a place where I can go to get advice and bond with others who I would have never met. I truly have found a new passion that has impacted my time at Tulane.” She describes Jewish life at Tulane as a completely new experience. While she was active in leadership both at her synagogue and with BBYO in Charleston, she describes the Tulane Jewish community as “nothing like Charleston.” Enjoying Shabbat dinners with 100 to 200 of her closest friends is something that she is growing used to. And, she doesn’t think that Chabad is done growing. “As president,” says Halle, “my main goal is promoting all the wonderful things that Chabad has brought in to my life that others have not yet experienced.” Rivkin added, “The Chabad team won’t be done until all 2000 Jewish students are involved in Jewish life at Tulane!”

Corned beef and kosher barbecue Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge is holding its 34th Annual Corned Beef Sandwich Sale from March 18 to 20. Lunches are $10 and include a 1/4 lb. corned beef sandwich, dill pickle, chips, homemade brownie and a mint. Tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches also available. Drive-through pickup is available at Beth Shalom all three days, while local business delivery is available for orders of five or more lunches on March 19 and 20. Orders can be placed online at Availability without pre-orders is now guaranteed. Funds raised by the sale go to the Beth Shalom Synagogue Sisterhood, which uses the money to support youth and educational programs at Beth Shalom and St. Vincent de Paul programs, as well as holiday celebrations at the Beth Shalom. On April 22, the When Pigs Fly Kosher Barbecue Cookoff returns as part of the Levite Jewish Community Center’s Jewish Food and Culture Festival in Birmingham. The community-wide event will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring a celebration of Israel’s 70th birthday. Admission is free, and food will be available for purchase. Team applications are being accepted from around the region for the contest. Prizes will be awarded for best beef brisket, chicken, baked beans, team name and booth decor.

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 51

Best Wishes for a Happy Passover!

The Honorable Erroll G. Williams Orleans Parish Assessor’s Office Photos by Michael Maples

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52 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018

Celebrating Jewish women in New Orleans

Tricentennial exhibit at Longue Vue features activists, artists and entrepreneurs On Jan. 28, members of the National Council of Jewish Women’s New Orleans Section were able to get a sneak preview on revisiting their past. Through April 29, Longue Vue House and Gardens, former residence of Jewish activist and philanthropist Edith Stern, is hosting “L’Dor V’Dor: From Generation to Generation,” the first exhibit chronicling the achievements of Jewish women in New Orleans. While the exhibit opened to the public on Feb. 1, about 60 NCJW members attended an afternoon tea to view the exhibit. The exhibit starts with the establishment of the NCJW Section in 1897, though it mentions initiatives dating back to the 1847 founding of the Ladies’ Hebrew BeTop: Conceptualizing and designing the event and historical exhibit are (left to right) Susan Kierr, Susan Tucker, Bobbie Malone, Lenora Costa, Maxx Seizler, and Rosalind Hinton. Middle: Exemplifying the generational theme are Julanne Isaacson, Josie Hess and Marjorie Bissinger. Josie is the greatgreat-granddaughter of Edith Stern and the greatgreat-grandniece of Irma Isaacson. Bottom: Some of the NCJW leaders featured in the exhibition are (from left to right) Madalyn Schenk, Marjorie Bissinger, Julie Schwam Harris, Julanne Isaacson, Miriam Waltzer, Sylvia Sterne, Nancy Timm and Florence Schornstein.

nevolent Society, along with later groups like the Ladies’ Hebrew Aid Society, Ladies’ Aid and Sewing Club, the Rachel Benevolent Society and Hadassah. NCJW Program Chair Susan Kierr stated, “The exhibit is a wonderful portrayal of our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers and their historical impact. Young girls continued on page 53

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Yankees making the postseason. After singing just the first word of “Dayeinu,” cut it off and move on. Because it was enough for us. Hide all the matzah so the leader can’t say the blessing after washing the hands and must stay quiet. Everyone leaves. For the Hillel sandwich, pull out a jar of jelly to go with the maror. In the minutes leading up to the meal, use spray aroma to fill the house with the smell of freshly baked bread. For the Sociology Department, record for later evaluation who became hungry for bread versus who was angry that Passover was being violated. When singing Echad Mi Yodeia (“Who Knows One?”) rework the song in base-eight. Minority opinions in the Talmud also suggested binary or hexadecimal. When singing the acrostic Adir Hu, spontaneously reorder the lyrics so that the Hebrew follows an acrostic pattern based on the English alphabet. When opening the door for Elijah, instead of the traditional prank of having a Jehovah’s Witness or someone dressed as Santa appear at the door, have someone in a bunny costume pulling out a gold watch and saying, “I’m late!” Doug Brook has never been an April fool, mainly because he hasn’t asked an April out yet. Or is that why he is one? To read past columns, visit http:// For exclusive online content, like

> > Longue Vue and elders can learn and look to these matriarchs as role models bringing forth the wisdom of the past. NCJW is proud of our New Orleans history and hopes that many will appreciate and learn from the rich Jewish women’s history in New Orleans.” The exhibit’s name was inspired by Sara Stone, who died last month at the age of 102. Stone had emphasized that mentoring and educating the next generation of leaders has been a constant thread in the history of Jewish women. “L’Dor V’Dor: From Generation to Generation” represents successive waves of Jewish women demonstrating leadership and community activism for the betterment of the city of New Orleans. The exhibit focuses on endeavors in education, social justice, the arts and civic enrichment. The featured women were instrumental in making a difference in immigration, civil rights, women’s rights, public health, public spaces and recreation, child welfare, education, the arts and post-Katrina rebuilding of the city. It notes that the Jewish community has been roughly 1 percent of the area’s population, but “these progressive citizens made their impact well beyond their numbers.” The social justice section details women who were involved with everything from immigration to reproductive rights to voting rights to criminal justice reform. The Jewish Community Day School’s fifth grade presented A Family Heritage Project at Longue Vue in conjunction with the exhibit, on March 8, for school patrons.

Happy Passover It is an honor to serve our citizens

Judge Rachael D. Johnson Orleans Civil District Court Division B

Three generations of Jewish leaders — Nancy B. Timm, Marjorie Bissinger and Hallie Timm.

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 53

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rear pew mirror • doug brook

On the heels of last month’s heart melting convergence of Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day comes a triple confluence — a hat trick of multicultural calendar events the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the last time it happened. Some years, the world is graced with Purim beginning on a Saturday night, which results in what’s uncommonly known as Esther Sunday. This year is even gracier, as April 1 is a confluence of the second day of Passover, Easter Sunday and April Fools Day. Of course, there are numerous traditions and observances tied to this rare event, which almost nobody has ever read enumerated in the Talmud. Why is this year different from all other years? This year, the only thing harder than finding eggs for the Seder plate that aren’t painted is hunting for the Seder egg while searching for the afikomen. If the Seder egg disappears at the second Seder, look where the cat toys usually hide. If the egg is found painted, look where the kids usually paint the cat. While the kids are scrambling after the Seder egg, several references to animals throughout the Seder are replaced with bunnies. Not in the Ten Plagues. “Blood, frogs, vermin, beasts, and cattle disease,” would become, “blood, bunnies, wild bunnies, bunnies, and bunny disease.” Who wants that? No, the kids have to stay up late to enjoy how this night becomes different from all the other nights that are different from all other nights. On this night, the Seder replaces Chad Gadya with one little bunny. There’s also the introduction of the little-known midrash about Moses’ lucky rabbit’s foot that he carried throughout his visits to Pharaoh and through the Exodus. However, before the introduction of these Christian symbols gets anyone else’s goat, there is the third piece of this holy tri… fecta to consider. The Talmud instructs that when PASSOVER AND April Fools Day coincides with the of Passover, the celebration of EASTER COINCIDE start freedom that is the Seder is to be embellished with practical jokes. WITH APRIL Ever since the first Seder where FOOLS DAY. matzah secretly replaced the more cardboard eaten in rememWHAT COULD GO palatable brance of the makeshift luggage used during the Exodus from Egypt, myrWRONG? iad pranks have passed over many a Passover. Each successful trick is followed with a perfectly timed, “Seder Fools!” Here are a few modest examples, exactly as they were suggested nearly two thousand years ago in the Talmud. For the ritual splitting of the middle matzah, wield an ancient Talmudic sword: a tlisha katana. When reciting the Four Questions in Hebrew, end each of the questions as if they were actually in the form of questions by adding “yo?” Whoever reads the wise son does so with no literacy. The reader for the son who does not know to ask invokes Stanislavsky’s Method approach to acting, by not saying a word. When recounting the Ten Plagues, substitute them with relatable contemporary equivalents, such as Barry Manilow turned up to 11 or the continued on the previous page

r a d A s ’ t I y p p a H Be Scenes from the annual Adloyadah, the community Purim event at the Uptown Jewish Community Center, held on Feb. 25.

March 2018 • Southern Jewish Life 55

Thank You For Including Us In Your Passover Seder We carry kosher year-round as well as special products for Passover. You’ll find nearly a dozen apple varieties for charoset in our Produce Department, along with local sweet potatoes for tzimmes and fresh beets for borsht. Our in-store butchers will cut your briskets to order, our wine experts help you find the perfect kosher bottle, and our licensed florists help you decorate your seder table. • @RousesMarkets 56 Southern Jewish Life • March 2018