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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION

March 2020

Volume 30 Issue 3

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade Ave., 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 At the New Orleans Jewish Community Center’s Purim Adloyadah Celebration, March 8. More, page 28.


March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all A breakfast to honor Israel. A three-hour panel discussion on antisemitism in today’s society. Speakers praising the U.S.-Israel relationship. A demonstration by Magen David Adom showing a real-time glimpse at Israel’s medical response center as the coronavirus response ramps up. What Jewish event was this? It wasn’t — it was the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville at the end of February. A decidedly Christian event — you could tell it wasn’t a Jewish event because nobody searched my bag and there were no metal detectors. Since it was a Christian event, many assumed I was Christian, then on learning I’m Jewish, the next question was whether I am a believer. Of course, I knew they were asking if I were “messianic,” but my stock answer was all Jews are believers — it’s just a matter of which belief in particular you are asking about. Aside from covering the Israel events, I was there to promote our new magazine, Israel InSight, which will be debuting soon. Primarily for the Christian supporter of Israel, the new magazine will fill a niche that is currently unmet, providing the real story about events in Israel, but also highlighting the many incredible and underreported stories about Christian groups in the U.S. that are helping the Jewish state, what is happening in state legislatures and college campuses, and how to better know the real nation of Israel and not just the hazy concept of the Holy Land. Part of the new magazine’s mission, though, is for the Jewish community, something that I was planning to discuss at the now-postponed LimmudFest in New Orleans this month. In the Jewish community, for the longest time when Christian support of Israel has come up, the natural reaction has been skepticism — a hidden conversionary agenda, trying to get us all over there to spark Armageddon… not to mention that much of the Christian support for Israel comes from those on the right (dare we continued on page 26

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Fast, expert emergency care. Take me to Touro View our current ER wait time at touro.com/emergency March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life




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. I stayed at a host by Yael Pasumansky family’s house a with not just the city II felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell ininlove am waiting for bus 240 to take me to work. I Druze community; but the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring try to hide in the shade as the scorching sun hits the Druze people are approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. my face. It’s 8 a.m. and 98 degrees Fahrenheit. religious and ethnic Beside methestands religious woman, avolunteers Led by Sokol aand Helds, Muslim your hard-working They partnered minority inwere the wonderful. Midwearing hijab. To my right Orthodox with youraoutstanding staff, led is byan Betzy Lynch, todle make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. East. I discovered large black hat. A Christian priest is Irabbi wantintoatake this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USArelito say thank you on behalf that the Druze to everyone my left, trying to read the bus schedule. A of involved. man with long, green, dreadlocked hair taps gion is secretive and doesgames not in allow hadthe justshoulder returnedtofrom the 20th Maccabiah Israelany with a U.S. delegation of meI on ask what timeWorld it is. Soon, new people to join; inJuly the eyes of the entire over 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in the bus arrives and we all enter. We each come fact in order to be offiJewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and from vastly different backgrounds, families, and cially Druze, one must coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. communities, yet in this moment, we all share a have a Druze mother and father. The Druze reEveryone from the This Jewish community and the community at large, including a wonderful simple commonality. is Israel. ligion proclaims that Druze people are loyal to police to be commended. Thisforce, past are summer, I spent two These and agames half will go down in history as being a seminal the land in which they are born. My host father moment for the community as we Jewish months living inJewish a suburb right outside Telbuild Aviv.to the future by providing such wonderful explained that as an Israeli citizen, he felt loymemories. Throughout my time in Israel, I encountered a al to the land of Israel and was proud to have variety of people and learned about numerous Jed Margolis served in the Israeli defense forces. religions cultures firsthand. Executive and Director, Maccabi USA I was greatAt the Bedouin village, I learned about an ly impacted by the strong cohesive diversity I Israeli-Arab group’s traditionally nomadic lifewitnessed in Israel. In New Orleans, we are surstyle in which they used gestures suchback as a cersupremacists would like to see pushed rounded by a divergent population of students On Charlottesville tain of cups of coffee poured to a certain guest into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand who come from vastly different backgrounds to indicate how long they would be welcome with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, and cultures, yet we are a part of events one integrated Editor’s Note: This reaction to the in to stay the village. wasinthere standingThere up toare the about face of210,000 this unit and thus are constantly learning about how who Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Bedouin people living in Israel today, making hate. to support one another. From my personal exMaster of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony about 3 percent of Israel’s population. Nowperience Israel, I have respecting upWe recognize essence of the American at AuburninUniversity, waslearned shared that by AEPi adays, about 50 the percent of Bedouin communidifferent cultures and itlearning about the tradi- narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, which called “very eloquent” and ties have urbanized and are no longer nomadic. tions of“our others createsataAEPi united andColony cooperative ourselves of such corners, and allow those inthe praised brothers Theta at Since the establishment of the state of Israel, community, something as New they Orleans them the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and…that thewe, leadership Bedouin population has increased tenfold due residents, care about and model. It the struggle toavailability fulfill the promise of and the eddisplay on should their campus. ” toistheir enhanced to health Declaration of Independence, that “all men are ucation services. created equal… endowed by their Creator with Yael Pasumansky, a sophomore at Tulane UniI visited a Kibbutz, or a communal living vilWhite supremacy has been a cancer on versity, is a writing fellow for the Committee for certain unalienable rights.” We know our work our country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know weon will not 45 continued page Accurate Middle East Reporting in America. its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. The events that took place in Charlottesville When men and women, fully armed, take represented the worst of this nation. Those to the streets in droves with swastikas and who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikas did so to provoke violence and relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism fear. Those who marched onto the streets did are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that so to profess an ideology that harkens back to needs to be done to ensure a better, more a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. welcoming country. But it should not come A time when men and women of many creeds, without a reflection on how far we’ve come. races, and religions were far from equal and far America was born a slave nation. A century from safe in our own borders. A time where into our history we engaged in a war in part Americans lived under a constant cloud of to ensure we would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in Charlottesville served found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their issues are today. skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. Jewish community of Charlottesville, and

Diversity in the State of Israel

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

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

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

January March2020 2020

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

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

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events Photo by Michael Maples

The Beerman family was honored at the Jewish Children’s Regional Service Jewish Roots gala on Feb. 1. Story, page 11.

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


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BBYO, JewCCY and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans will participate in J-Serve, a global teen service initiative. Those in grades 6 to 12 will collect supplies and create care kits for The First 72+ and Eden House, on March 29 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. The First 72+ has a mission to stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability through education, stable and secure housing and employment, health care and community engagement. Eden House offers long-term housing and comprehensive recovery services to survivors of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. J Serve is the Jewish service component of Youth Service America’s annual Global Youth Service Day and is a collaboration between BBYO and Repair the World, in partnership with Good Deeds Day. Donations of supplies can be made at both Jewish Community Center locations, Touro Synagogue, Temple Sinai and Gates of Prayer. Suggested donations include new or gently used backpacks, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies and toiletries. Teens who want to participate can register at the New Orleans JCC website.

Explore “A Field Guide to the Jewish People” at Uptown JCC Some of the most perplexing questions about Judaism will be answered at an event at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans on March 31. Well, sort of answered. Authors Dave Barry, Adam Mansbach and Alan Zweibel will discuss their book, “A Field Guide to the Jewish People: Who They Are, Where They Come From, What to Feed Them…and Much More. Maybe Too Much More” at the 7 p.m. program. Part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Series, the event is free and open to the community. The authors, two of whom actually are Jewish, dissect every holiday, rite of passage, and tradition, unravel a long and complicated history, and tackle the tough questions that have plagued Jews and non-Jews alike for centuries. Barry, who is “not personally Jewish,” is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor writer whose columns and essays have appeared in hundreds of newspapers over the past 35 years. He has also written a number of New York Times bestselling humor books. An original “Saturday Night Live” writer, Zweibel has won numerous Emmy and Writers Guild of America Awards for his work in television, which includes “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show,” which he co-created, “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Mansbach is author of “Go the F**k to Sleep” and “You Have to F*****g Eat,” as well as the California Book Award-winning novel “The End of Jews,” a dozen other books, and the movie “Barry.”

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

agenda NCJW Diva Cabaret gala on March 28

Summer Camp grant deadline approaching

The National Council of Jewish Women, Greater New Orleans Section will hold a Diva Cabaret dinner and show on March 28 at The New Culinary and Hospitality Institute. The evening will be a celebration of NCJW’s 2019 accomplishments and a way to ensure an equally successful year to come. The proceeds from this event will support the mission NCJW took on in 1897 to safeguard individual rights and freedoms and improve the quality of life for women, children, and families through social justice initiatives. There will be a Patron Party at 6 p.m. with the chance to meet and take photos with the evening’s entertainers over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. At 7 p.m., the gala will begin in McIlhenny Hall for a seated dinner overlooking the New Orleans skyline. Diva performances, impersonating wellknown celebrities, will be provided by Laveau Contraire, Debbie with a D, and Lana O’Day. Individual reservations are $125, $72 for 36 years of age and under. Patron levels range from $250 to $1,000, with sponsor opportunities up to $10,000.

The deadline is nearing for the Jewish Summer Camp Experience program, funded by the Goldring Family Foundation and administered by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. The program provides a one-time grant of up to $1,500 to families throughout the states of Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama and from northwest Florida to help send their children to camp. Last summer, 75 children were recipients and attended 12 Jewish nonprofit sleepaway summer camps. To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleepaway camp, currently in grades 1 to 9, and a resident of the aforementioned states. Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish, and synagogue affiliation is not required. The deadline for applications is March 31, and early application is strongly suggested. Award notification will be made by May 31. For more information and an application form, contact Debbie Berins at JEF at (504) 524-4559 or debbie@jefno.org. The application can also be downloaded at www.jefno.org.

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agenda The next event in Temple Sinai’s 150th anniversary celebration will be a presentation of the oratorio “The Creation” by Haydn. The 2 p.m. concert in the sanctuary on March 29 will feature the New Orleans Symphony Chorus along with the choirs of Dillard University and University of New Orleans, plus a 21-piece orchestra. Temple Sinai’s Cantor Joel Colman will be singing the bass role. Tickets will be $25 at the door.

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The 35th annual Bruce Levy Memorial Jewish Family Service Passover Food Basket program is being planned. The program delivers kosher-for-Passover baskets and ritual items to isolated older adults and financially struggling families. Donations of $100 to JFS fill a basket. On April 5, there will be a gathering of volunteers at the Goldring/ Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie to assemble and deliver the baskets, from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact JFS to volunteer. Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a Motown Shabbat, March 27 at 8 p.m. Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will hold its “What a Bargain” Garage Sale on March 29 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hadassah New Orleans and the National Council of Jewish Women New Orleans Section are co-hosting a series of programs about the rise in antisemitism. A panel will be held at Gates of Prayer in Metairie on March 29 at 2 p.m. The Robert L. Kohlmann Senior Outreach Lunch and Program at Temple Sinai in New Orleans will be “Popular American Songs,” April 1 at noon, with entertainment by Meryl Zimmerman and Marcus St. Julien. Reservations are requested by March 20. The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will have a jazz brunch on March 29 at 11 a.m. with the New York-based Gary Negbaur Group. The New York-style brunch will feature a concert with the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught.” The performance includes a mix of jazz, blues and New Orleans R&B, exploring the themes of passion, prejudice and patriotism. Reservations are requested by March 23, and the event is underwritten by the Feil Foundation. The congregations on West Esplanade in Metairie are holding a joint Pesach learning experience over three weeks. Each session will be at 7 p.m. On March 18, Rabbi Deborah Silver will lead “The Inner Story of Freedom” at Shir Chadash. Rabbi Lexi Erdheim will lead the March 25 session at Gates of Prayer, topic to be announced. On March 31, Rabbi Josh Pernick will lead “From Sacrifice to Story: The Evolution of the Seder Night” at Beth Israel. Slater Torah Academy and Jewish Community Day School in Metairie are teaming up for the annual Children’s Choice Week, sponsored by Vivian and Richard Cahn. From March 23 to 27, high-level electives will be offered, with 12 options for grades 4 to 7, including coding, Mad Science, Masterchef, STEAM, performing arts, life drawing, sports variety and more. The students will have a joint lunch on March 27 at Slater Torah Academy, prepared by Dvash Catering. The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will have a movie day, March 26 at noon. “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” will be screened, and movie snacks will be served. In Metairie, “Wonder Woman” will be screened at noon on March 30. The films are free and open to the community. Chabad of Baton Rouge is planning a pre-Passover pop-up shop from Kosher Cajun in Metairie on March 22; details were not set at press time. continued on page 44


March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

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LimmudFest New Orleans postponed COVID-19 concerns prompt action, date sought for March 2021

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With increasing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, “out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of the New Orleans community,” LimmudFest New Orleans is being postponed. Held every two years, the “big tent” of Jewish learning was scheduled for the weekend of March 20 to 22 at Gates of Prayer in Metairie and the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans. In past years, about 400 have attended the weekend, with around 90 presenters from the local community and around the country teaching sessions on a range of topics. Dana Keren, chair of LimmudFest 2020, said the committee is working on picking a date in March 2021 to reschedule. “This decision was not easy,” Keren said in a note to presenters on March 9. “LimmudFest is an important Big Tent Jewish festival of learning, community and culture in New Orleans, and we have spent the last year planning and preparing for it.” Thanking those who had worked to plan the weekend, she added, “We are deeply disappoint-

ed to not have the opportunity to come together as a community at this time.” The New Orleans festival includes all of the community’s congregations having Shabbat services of different styles under one roof, then uniting for Shabbat meals. In the previous days, numerous congregations in the region sent out guidelines about public events and interacting with each other, in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. A death from COVID-19 was reported in Pensacola, but as of March 9 there had been no confirmed cases in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama. The Louisiana Department of Health announced that there have been 11 individuals tested in Louisiana; all came back negative. Also on March 9, the AT&T building in downtown Nashville, known unofficially as the Batman Building, was closing for cleaning after a confirmed case of COVID-19 by an occupant. Israel also announced that all incoming passengers, regardless of their country of origin, were being asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, effectively shutting down tourism.

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Hadassah Southern held their mid-Winter board meeting and celebration in Birmingham on Feb. 8 and 9. Dina Lipschultz of Washington was the guest lecturer and the new Southern Region Board was inducted by Past President Bonnie Boring of Knoxville. Marla Kameny of Baton Rouge was installed as president, and Susan Smolinsky, also of Baton Rouge, is organizational vice president. Hadassah Women of the Year were presented by Bettye Berlin of Memphis, and included Holly Mazer of Birmingham. Chapters represented at the meeting were Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Dothan, Huntsville, Knoxville, Memphis, Montgomery, Nashville and New Orleans.

Roots run deep at JCRS Gala honoring the Beermans The Jewish Children’s Regional Service’s roots run far and wide, and that was evident in the ninth annual Jewish Roots gala, held Feb. 1 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. This year’s theme was the Jewish Roots of Rhythm and Blues, and featured the JCRS Success Story Ensemble, musicians who have been helped by the social service agency with educational scholarships. The event also honored the Beerman family, which has a close to 100 year relationship with the agency. As Marc Beerman, who was president of JCRS from 2015 to 2017 explained, “My dad and five of his siblings were brought to the children’s home from West, Texas, in 1925.” The agency began in 1855 as the Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans, a place for Jewish orphans from a seven-state region. When the home closed Barbara Beerman, Lee Beerman Blotner and Marc Beerman receive the award from in the 1950s, the agency transformed into a social JCRS Executive Director Ned Goldberg.

Photos by Michael Maples

JCRS Success Stories perform music from the Great American Songbook. Basil Alter on violin is at the Manhattan School of Music; Joshua Dolney on trumpet is at the University of Illinois; Joshua Sadinsky on piano is at Cal Arts; and Caroline Samuels on double bass is at Boston University. Former aid recipient and past JCRS President Bruce Miller accompanied on the drums. service agency, which provides Jewish summer camp scholarships and college aid, along with special needs services to Jewish children or isolated families that are struggling, in the same seven-state region. Beerman said JCRS “has been very much a part of our family for most of my life,” and that his father used to say that becoming an orphan was the best thing that could have happened for them. “JCRS became a blessing for him.” Ned Goldberg, executive director of JCRS, said six of the eight Beerman siblings entered the home after the death of their mother in 1924, when the oldest child was “just 10 or 11.” For the next 15 years, there

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



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was at least one Beerman sibling living at the home, and as they became adults, they were active alumni, remaining close with members of the Samuels family of Houston and the Pulitzer family, who they grew up with in the home. After World War II, the oldest sibling, Ralph, formed Beerman Precision Machine Works, building the headquarters across from the Wembley Tie Company, which was founded by fellow residents in the Pulitzer family. In 1992, he and his wife Barbara created the Beerman Special Needs Scholarship Fund at JCRS. Marc is their son. Cousin Lee Beerman Miller Blotner has also served on the JCRS board for many years. Receiving the award, a musical note Rosenthal menorah, Marc Beerman said he was honored to represent the close to 40 family members at the gala. “We can be proud as an organization of the help we give these kids,” he said. Goldberg said the Beermans are part of a JCRS legacy of families that “have not forgotten that they once needed a hand up,” and continue to support the agency’s activities. Goldberg added, “I have never met a more gracious and inclusive family than the Beermans,” saying that misfortune brought Neil Kohlman, Bruce Miller and Barbara the family closer together Kaplinsky in the 1920s, and the close relations have continued through succeeding generations. At the gala, music from The Great American Songbook was performed by the JCRS “Success Story” Ensemble comprised of current and former JCRS educational scholarship recipients who are all pursuing advanced degrees in musical performance. Basil Alter on violin is at the Manhattan School of Music; Joshua Dolney on trumpet is at the University of Illinois; Joshua Sadinsky on piano is at Cal Arts; and Caroline Samuels of Baton Rouge on double bass is at Boston University. Former aid recipient and past JCRS president Bruce Miller accompanied on the drums. The evening included a cocktail reception presented by Broussard’s, with libations donated by Sazerac Brands and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, followed by a seated three-course dinner crafted by the Hilton chefs. The musically themed table centerpieces that included glittering trumpets and treble clefs were created by Gail Fenton Pesses and Sassy Celebrations. A silent auction focused on boutique shopping, restaurants and oncein-a-lifetime vacations rounded out the evening, and there was a raffle drawing for an 18K white gold and quartz necklace donated by Chad Berg and Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. The event was chaired by three former JCRS presidents – Neil Kohlman, Bruce Miller and Leon Rittenberg III.

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


community Arrest made in 2018 Northshore synagogue graffiti case

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


A 20-year-old Jefferson Parish man with a history of Nazi-style social media posts has been arrested and charged with the September 2018 antisemitic graffiti vandalism of Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville. On March 10, Caine Zander Brown was arrested at his home in Jefferson and charged with one count of criminal damage to property by graffiti and one count of hate crimes, both of which are felonies. Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker said “I am elated that we apprehended this individual! I am happy for my Northshore Jewish Congregation and all of our citizens in Mandeville.” In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Community Relations Council welcomed the news of this arrest “and what it means for the Jewish community and the community at large.” The graffiti was discovered on Sept. 5, 2018, a week before Rosh Hashanah. The congregation is the only synagogue on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans. The spray-painted graffiti on the wall in the back of the building had two swastikas in red and black, a red cross, the phrase “synagogue of Satan” and the term 14/88. The number 88 represents “Heil Hitler,” as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet. The number 14 references a 14-word white supremacist slogan about securing a future for white children. Two local teens passing through the parking lot discovered the graffiti and alerted Northshore administrator Rebecca Slifkin. After seeing media coverage, Stephen Landeche of Absolute Pressure Washing showed up unannounced the morning of Sept. 7 to volunteer his services and clean the graffiti. On Sept. 16, the building was packed for a solidarity program as community members expressed their outrage over the graffiti. Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges spoke to the religious school students, to reassure them. In October, Metairie artist Laurie Alan Browne painted a mural over the section of wall where the graffiti had been, with religious school students adding flowers to the garden scene. According to the Mandeville Police, the arrest is the culmination of collaborative work of the Louisiana State Police Criminal Intelligence Unit and members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce, of which the Mandeville Police Department is a part of, along with other local, state and federal law enforcement partners. Brown, who was a person of interest, was being interviewed by the JTTF as part of another matter. He confirmed that he had been in Mandeville the day of the incident, and cell phone records and tower data obtained by search warrant placed him in the vicinity of the synagogue on the day the incident. A confidential source also stated that Brown had admitted to painting the graffiti. Brown has a history of social media posts espousing Nazi beliefs, including Holocaust denial and using the term “synagogue of Satan.” On his social media accounts, which are now unavailable, he posted photos of himself in Nazi headgear and making Nazi salutes. After being arrested, Brown was transported to Jefferson Parish Correctional Center where he was booked as a fugitive from St. Tammany and released to JPCC. Detectives from the Mandeville Police Department planned to transport Brown back to St Tammany on March 11 to be booked into the St. Tammany Parish Jail.

community Sticker expressed solidarity with the Jewish community, saying “I am pleased that I can finally report to them that we have the individual that we believe is responsible for this despicable attack. I am appreciative of the tenacity of our investigators and I am grateful for the cooperation of the law enforcement community that made this arrest possible.” Sticker added that “crime, especially ‘hate crime’ against any member of our community will not be tolerated and will be pursued, no matter the obstacles,” and he will “follow this case through adjudication and work with the DA’s Office to ensure this individual is held accountable.” The arrest “is a welcome development in the battle against hate,” said Aaron Ahlquist, ADL’s regional director. “It is with gratitude that we congratulate the committed team of officers and agencies for their stubborn refusal to let this go, and the closure that they have brought to the Jewish community members who still feel the impact of that graffiti. They have sent a powerful message of support to the community, and a powerful message to those who would act on hate that that they will find you.” “We are deeply appreciative that law enforcement never gave up on the pursuit of justice,” remarked Jewish Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow. “Only by standing up and confronting hate can we ever defeat bigotry.”

Coalition rallies against La. abortion law Rabbi Lexi Erdheim of Gates of Prayer in Metairie was among the speakers at a reproductive rights rally held outside the U.S. Supreme Court building on the day that the court heard arguments over new restrictions on abortion access in Louisiana. A coalition of groups including the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Women of Reform Judaism held the Washington rally and one in New Orleans on March 4. Ally Karpel, the WRJ-RAC reproductive health and rights campaign associate, said the Louisiana law is nearly identical to a law from her native Texas that was struck down by the Supreme Court in a 5-3 ruling on Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt three years ago, but that was before Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court. June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo, the case that was heard on March 4, challenges the law that requires doctors providing abortion services to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. Major medical groups like the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose these laws as medically unnecessary, but legislatures are using them as ways to restrict access to abortion. “Hospitals can refuse admitting privileges to doctors who provide abortion care for any reason, including ideological opposition, fear of backlash, or because their patients rarely ever need to be admitted,” Karpel said. She said if the law is upheld, all but one abortion clinic in Louisiana will be forced to shut down, creating “substantial logistical and financial barriers for Louisianans seeking abortion care, as many would be forced to drive long distances, fly to another state, stay overnight in hotels, take off school or work, find childcare.” Edrheim, one of four faith leaders who spoke at the Washington rally, said “many supporters of the anti-choice cause cite religious beliefs as to why they advocate against abortion,” so she shared what Judaism has taught her “about abortion and a woman’s right to choose” because “there is no single faith voice that should have a monopoly on this conversation.” She said Judaism states “a woman is a human being, and that a fetus is not until it is born,” and “the health of a woman, her physical, emotional and psychological well being, must take precedence over the fetus she carries inside her.” Lives are at stake, she said, as if abortion access is restricted, “abortions will still occur, but in conditions that put the lives of women in mortal danger.” She added, “I cannot stand idly by while the people in the building behind me, in Louisiana and across the nation attempt to legislate the religious beliefs of a few into the control of my body.”

William Shakespeare’s

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Adapted and directed by Sean Graney April 16 – April 26, 2020


By Lauren Gunderson Directed by Rick Dildine April 23 – May 3, 2020

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


community JTS honors Rabbi Steven Silberman Reflects on 30 years at Mobile’s Ahavas Chesed



While the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York honored 45 rabbis that have served the Conservative movement for 25 years or more, Rabbi Steven Silberman of Mobile’s Ahavas Chesed had a unique distinction — his 30 years in the rabbinate have all been at the same pulpit. The Conservative rabbinical seminary awarded the honorary doctorates at a ceremony on Jan. 26, celebrating “the achievements of these important leaders” and expressing appreciation for their contribitions to Jewish life. The rabbis receiving this distinction included congregational rabbis, Jewish communal professionals, educators, and chaplains from across the United States, as well as from Israel, Europe, South America and Asia. At the ceremony, Silberman said “I was able to see some colleagues I hadn’t seen in many years,” and it was “touching to have a blessing said over me by colleagues and friends.” But the ceremony was also a time to reflect on the past 30 years at Alabama’s oldest Conservative congregation, and look forward to the future. Born in High Point, N.C., Silberman grew up in Newington, Conn., and did his undergraduate work at the University of California at Los Angeles. When he was hired in Mobile upon ordination, he and wife Manette figured “we’d be in Mobile for an enjoyable two or three years, and then travel somewhere else,” especially with other family members elsewhere in the country. “As time passed, we realized that we were falling very much in love with the community as a whole, it was a good place to raise children, so we remained,” he said. “It’s meaningful that the congregation has opened its arms, in such a warm and supportive and loving manner, to have welcomed my family and me in such a deep and caring way, that we feel very much at home here.” While there have been many changes in the last 30 years, he views it as the current manifestation of changing times. The congregation was formed in 1894 and met for many years in homes and businesses, until the first building was erected in 1911. “Everyone lived nearby, then people began to move to different neighborhoods,” and when the next building was dedicated on Dauphin Street, “that was a dramatic adaptation as well.” The next decades brought new changes. “The world was changing in the role of women, the role of family, those were times of upheaval,” Silberman said. With changes in the Mobile Jewish community, the congregation once again relocated, dedicating its current building in 1990. Silberman commented that he was disappointed that he missed the dedication by about six months. “Now we have been here from 1990 to 2020. We’re still here, we’re



Rabbi Steven Silberman receives honorary doctorate at Jan. 26 ceremony 16

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


community thinking differently and acting differently but we’re also offering continuity with the tradition, not only our community’s tradition but Jewish tradition,” he said. One of the biggest issues is a lack of time. With both spouses working, “time constraints are really the greatest issues affecting participation in shul life, activity and involvement in programming.” The congregation is working to be more flexible in how it teaches and interacts with members, as “we’re competing with time constraints to offer meaningful ritual and ceremonial and worship services.” The key is to “make more of an impact with people where they are, how they are, and how we reach out to them.” There are more discussion groups, including Torah on Tap, young professionals programs and a regular Guitar Shabbat. Another tradition that has developed began five years ago when he brought a bottle of schnapps to make l’chayim in memory of his grandfather after Shabbat services. “That has grown,” he said, with several different bottles on hand, and “sometimes we have two people, sometimes we have 10” joining in. It “added a new and different flavor to Shabbat morning.” Silberman said “people are looking for and interested in meaningful connections and a depth of relationship with other individuals and also with God, but time constraints and busy schedules often don’t allow those connections that we all need.” Nevertheless, “while people are definitely much busier than they were a generation ago,” Silberman said, “we have opportunities for growth and I’m excited about the opportunities and challenges ahead.” Ahavas Chesed has seen growth with many new young families. “We’re very excited about it, and in some years ahead we will be seeing our religious school growing.” Looking back on the past 30 years, “I am grateful to the congregational leadership and its board for its ongoing support… We see ourselves as a family. There are some families here that have been here for many generations, and that is so meaningful.” He is also grateful for the support of his own family. “I could not do what I do without the ongoing support of my wonderful and loving wife, Manette. She and our children have always supported me and been patient and understanding when the duties of a shul rabbi have called me away from the home.” Those duties have often been the most meaningful parts of being at Ahavas Chesed — “sharing life moments with the people of Ahavas Chesed, of witnessing the change and the growth within each family and across generations, of offering loving support during times of crisis, of marking ordinary time and of celebrating joys… of being welcomed into the lives of wonderful people.”


March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Photo courtesy ISJL/Natchez Democrat

Rabbi Matt Dreffin leads previous Passover Pilgrimage

Eight communities in Passover Pilgrimage The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life is hitting the road again for Passover, with the 2020 Passover Pilgrimage to eight communities in the region. Rabbi Aaron Rozovsky, ISJL director of rabbinical services, will lead most of the events. There will also be one Seder led by two ISJL Education Fellows, Paige Beame and Margo Wagner, at the Crossroads Prayer Retreat Center. Rozovsky and the Education Fellows will conduct services, lead Seders, offer educational programs, facilitate dialogue, and more. Each year, the events draw a diverse crowd and foster positive, shared community experiences. During his time on the road, Rozovsky will also conduct home visits, officiate life cycle events, and share stories of the Seder experiences, city to city. This year’s tour starts on April 3 and 4 in Natchez, with events at Temple B’nai Israel. On April 5, there will be a program at Highland Colony Baptist Church in Ridgeland, followed by a visit to Temple Emanu-El in Longview, Tex., on April 7. The first evening of Passover will be observed with Anshe Chesed in Vicksburg on April 8, followed by Shomrei Torah in Tallahassee on April 9. Beth Shalom will welcome Rozovsky for Shabbat Passover on April 10 and 11, and his journey will conclude at the Upper Cumberland Jewish Community in Crossville, Tenn. The Crossroads event will be on April 11 in Michie, Tenn.

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You do not have to go through this alone. Jerry Jeudy sported his Star of David necklace at a pre-game Walk of Champions in Tuscaloosa last season

No offense taken Bama receiver Jerry Jeudy worried Star of David necklace might offend, but receives thrilled reaction While former Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy issued an apology for anyone who was offended by his wearing a Star of David necklace, the overwhelming response online has been supportive of him, along with a lot of invitations to visit Israel by players in Israel’s league of American football. During his media session at the National Football League Scouting Combine on Feb. 25, he was asked about the gold necklace he was wearing, and said he got it because “My last name’s Jeudy. People sometimes call me ‘Jew’.” He added that he isn’t Jewish. A little while later, he tweeted “Don’t mean no disrespect to the Jewish people! I’m sorry to the people who take my chain offensive!!” But judging from the Twitter reaction, those taking offense were few and far between, with a lot of people calling him a mensch, and far more people taking offense at anyone who would find Jeudy’s actions offensive. Jeudy has worn the necklace for a while, including at the Citrus Bowl in January, when Alabama thrashed Michigan. Current Alabama student Jeremy Berglass said “We take your chain as a great compliment” and invited Jeudy to Passover at the Zeta Beta Tau house, one of a slew of Passover and Shabbat invitations that were issued. Brandon Davis said “as a representative of many Jewish Alabama football fans, we welcome your support and would like to thank you for your support.” Richard Silfen, a Jewish Alabama alumnus, said he is proud of being Jewish and of Alabama, “and pleased to see you and anyone else respectfully wear the Star of David. No apology necessary.” “Bluegrass Rabbi” Shlomo Litvin, a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and co-director of Chabad at the University of Kentucky, told Jeudy “you remind me of the Jewish people. No matter how many players oppose you, you juke, jump, slip and shake, and refuse to go down. What could be more Jewish than that?” Of course, many Jewish sports fans responded with enthusiastic “one of us!” images, or had an image of an Orthodox man selecting Jeudy for the Jewish people. One said that the Jews were cutting Harvey Weinstein and picking up Jeudy. Some also pointed out that Louis Armstrong wore a Star of David necklace, as a tribute to the kindness of the Karnofsky family of New Orleans toward him when he was a child. Elvis Presley also had an affinity toward Jews, but wore his respect as a Chai necklace instead of the Star of David. One Florida Gator fan, though, in welcoming Jeudy to the tribe, said “You’re now experiencing what is referred to as Jewish guilt.”

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


Chateau Drugs & gifts community Tulane receives $2 million Judaic Studies gift

Unexpected Elegance 3544 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie Between Severn and Hessmer Aves.

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On March 2, the Tulane University Department of Jewish Studies announced it received an anonymous $2 million gift to establish the Chair in Contemporary Jewish Life Endowed Fund. “We are honored to be able to endow Tulane’s Chair in Contemporary Jewish Studies,” said the donors, who are parents of a recent Tulane graduate. “It embodies Jewish and universal values so important to the humanities today in shaping and inspiring the future. “With Tulane’s interdisciplinary approach to education, it will not only make Tulane a leader in the field, but will also serve as a model for national and international collaboration,” they added. Tulane President Mike Fitts said the gift will support an important and growing area of study at Tulane for generations to come. “The donors may wish to remain anonymous, but the impact of their generosity in furthering scholarship and discovery in this ever-evolving and fascinating field will be known far and wide within the Tulane community and beyond.” Michael Cohen, Sizeler Professor of Jewish Studies and chair of the Department of Jewish Studies, agreed on the significance of the gift. “Tulane University is becoming the international leader in understanding the essential role Jews have played in American culture and society,” Cohen said. “This gift allows us to add an internationally recognized scholar to our facul-

ty, whose work will inspire students and spark open discussion about the Jews’ role in the contemporary world. Our strength in the American Jewish experience will make this Chair of Contemporary Jewry the most impactful of its kind in the nation.” Brian Edwards, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, where the Department of Jewish Studies is housed, added: “This wonderfully generous gift allows us to establish a permanent faculty position that bridges an understanding of American Jewish history to questions that matter in the 21st century. By enhancing scholarship and teaching on the diversity of the American Jewish experience, we are committed to combatting anti-Semitism through knowledge, a vision we share with these donors.” The gift will be used to support a chair at the Stuart and Suzanne Grant Center for the American Jewish Experience, established last fall with a gift from Stuart and Suzanne Grant of Wilmington, Del. The income from the gift will be used for salary and other expenses directly associated with the chair’s academic work. The chair will participate in the work of the Grant Center which, when it opens on July 1, will have a world-class faculty, dynamic and innovative programming associated with the American Jewish experience and cutting-edge research opportunities.

Join Us for Lunch and Dinner Young adult “Jewish summer camp” debuts in region Camp Coleman to host Trybal Gathering in May

Veal Parmesan

Fried Seafood Platter

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Want to go back to summer camp, but you’re too grown up? Trybal Gatherings, which runs four-day, three-night all-inclusive getaways at Jewish summer camps across the county for young Jewish adults in their 20s and 30s, announced that they have expanded their program into the Southeast, with a May 14 to 17 weekend at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Camp Coleman in Cleveland, Ga. “We are thrilled to engage young adults in the Southeast and to bring them back to a summer camp experience — some returning after years and some coming for the first time,” says Carine Warsawski, founder of Trybal Gatherings. “The Gatherings are a hit with young adults who want uninterrupted time with friends and the chance to meet new people. Whether it’s through tiedye or s’mores, now more people can find ways to connect to Jewish community.” Each camp weekend includes both classic and reimagined camp activities for adults, such as color war, silent disco, archery, kombucha brewing, campfire storytelling, and inclusive and informal Shabbat experiences. All meals, lodging and —

unlike camp for kids, an open bar — are included. “The Southeast is thrilled that Trybal Gatherings will be coming in the spring,” said Eric Robbins, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. “We know there is tremendous excitement for this program and the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta looks forward to being a partner. I hope I can go too!” More than 500 young adults have “gone back to camp” with Trybal Gatherings in Los Angeles, the Berkshires and Wisconsin. “For this rapidly changing world, we now define Jewish camp as year-round and lifelong,” adds Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp. “Trybal creates the excitement and camaraderie of Jewish camp — beyond the summer and beyond youth — in an authentic, fun and meaningful way.” The Gatherings are also open to non-Jewish partners and friends who want to explore Jewish community. For many, Trybal Gatherings is an entry point for other Jewish life experiences. Early Bird registration for young adult camps is $525 and up. Regular registration is $599 and up, at trybalgatherings.com.

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life 21

New Orleans

The Columns

Spring Dining Guide

3811 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans (504) 899-9308

921 Canal Street, New Orleans inside the Ritz-Carlton

The Columns offers something for everyone — the perfect place for receptions, seated meals or special occasions, versatile rooms can host up to 300. Sunday Jazz Brunch available with reservations.

M bistro’s menu is an indigenous approach to the preparation of the finest meats, seafood and produce from growers in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.


Riccobono’s Peppermill

444 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans Inside the Intercontinental Hotel (504) 525-5566

3524 Severn Ave. Metairie (504) 455-2266

Located in the InterContinental Hotel, Pete’s offers a relaxed feel, set in classy chic décor with splashes of colorful murals and beautiful chandeliers throughout.

Bringing classic New Orleans dishes as well as Riccobono family Italian recipes to the city in a comfortable, casual atmosphere. Now, three generations later, that tradition continues to live on.



3841 Veterans Blvd, Metairie (504) 888-9046

Combining fresh, locally sourced products, pairing them with our Mediterranean roots and seasonal heritage to bring you an eclectic yet authentic menu, has always been our mission. 22

M Bistro

Southern Jewish Life

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans (504) 525-2021

A French Quarter fixture since 1905. An unforgettable experience filled with world-famous creole-inspired French fare, fresh local ingredients and stellar hospitality.

Southern Jewish Life

Cafe Beignet

New Orleans

Spring Dining Guide

Four locations in the French Quarter New Orleans

Kosher Cajun

3519 Severn Avenue, Metairie (504) 888-2010

A family-oriented restaurant, Cafe Beignet takes pride in beignets, coffee and food, striving to bring the best to customers. Locations on Decatur, Royal, St. Peter and Bourbon Streets.

Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery has authentic New York specialties — all Kosher certified. Enjoy classic eats like Reubens and matzah ball soup, plus kosher grocery staples too.

Compere Lapin

English Tea Room

535 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans Inside the Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery (504) 599-2119

734 E. Rutland Street Historic Downtown Covington (985) 898-3988

James Beard Award-winning restaurant in the heart of the Warehouse Arts District, mixing the indigenous ingredients and rich culinary heritage of New Orleans with Chef Nina Compton’s Caribbean roots.

The Windsor High Tea, comprising sandwiches, mini-savories, mini desserts, two chocolate dipped strawberries, two scones with house-made clotted cream, lemon curd or preserves.

The Avenue Pub


1732 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans (504) 586-9243

New Orleans’ leading American and European Craft Beer Bar, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 46+ draft selections and Cicerone certified staff. The New Orleans beer destination.

3030 Severn Avenue, Metairie (504) 888-2209

At Casablanca Restaurant, we bake challah every Friday. Plain, chocolate and raisin. Pre-order challah by 5 p.m. Thursdays. Pick up Fridays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


New Orleans/Birmingham Spring Dining Guide


724 Martin Behrman Ave., Metairie (504) 834-5646

4729 Magazine Street, Uptown (504) 894-8881

The Fury family has been in the restaurant business since 1967 and at its current Metairie location since 1983. We make all of our sauces inhouse from tomato to tartar, and every meal is freshly made to order.

Apolline features contemporary French cuisine with Creole influences and locally-grown ingredients. Confit Duck Bowl: Potato hash, peppers, poached eggs, cracklin and hollandaise

Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak


215 Bourbon St. New Orleans (504) 335-3932

940 20th Street So. Birmingham (205) 731-7414

The perfect setting in the Vieux Carre. The alluring atmosphere of Galatoire’s 33 brings to life New Orleans’ next great tradition, with the finest cocktails and traditional steakhouse fare.

Makarios Kabob and Grill is the jewel of Middle Eastern foods and traditional cooking. Makarios Kabob is known for its bright flavors and freshness, delicate marinades for chicken, lamb and beef kabobs.

Taj India

The Bright Star

2226 Highland Avenue, Birmingham (205) 939-3805

Taj India, Birmingham’s original Tandoori Grill and Curry House, will remain in its current location through next summer, serving authentic Indian dishes with a lunch buffet and extensive dinner menu. 24


Southern Jewish Life

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

304 19th Street North, Bessemer (205) 426-1861

Founded in 1907 in downtown Bessemer, the Bright Star is Alabama’s oldest family owned restaurant and is a James Beard American Classic, known for Greek-style seafood and great steaks.


SouthernJewishLife_March20.indd 1

3/4/20 10:48 AM March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life 25


Azalea Bloom Out – March

“Seussical Jr.” on the Great Lawn – March 6, 6 p.m.

Camellia Classic Open Car Show – April 18, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Mother’s Day Evening Garden Concert – May 10, 5:30 p.m.

Don’t miss a bloomin’ thing this spring.

Open Daily, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. bellingrath@bellingrath.org

Theodore, AL 800.247.8420 / 251.973.2217 bellingrath.org

Makarios Kabob & Grill 940 20th St South Birmingham Tel: (205) 731-7414 Fax: (205) 731-7416

Makarios Kabob & Grill at The Ranch House 2931 Columbiana Rd Vestavia Hills Tel: (205) 979-6495 Fax: (205) 979-6425


March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

continued from page 3 say… a bunch of Trump voters), while the historical Christian allies of the Jewish community on social justice issues, the mainline and liberal denominations, have become more hostile toward Israel. Certainly, at NRB, there were some whose agenda is entirely conversionary, spreading the word to everyone on the planet, us included. Some of them even prayed over me. But they generally weren’t the ones at the aforementioned forums. At those events, there was a sharp repudiation of replacement theology — the notion that because the Jews were bad 2,000 years ago (not to mention the whole rejecting Jesus thing), God said he’d had enough and transferred his covenant to the church, leaving the Jews to wander, cast off. That idea was mainstream in much of the Christian world until the middle of the 20th century — when a certain event in the heart of Christian Europe forced a reexamination of the implications of that theology and an uncomfortable look at church teachings in both the Catholic and Protestant worlds. An ever-growing number of Bible-believing Christians repudiate replacement theology. They point to Genesis 12:3, where God makes an eternal covenant with Abraham, saying God will bless those who bless his family — the Jewish people — and curse those who curse us. They emphasize the word “eternal” — to proclaim that the church took over that covenant and cast the Jews aside makes God into a liar, they state. Rather than being cast off, the Jewish people are seen as the olive tree of God’s covenant, and through a Jew who lived 2,000 years ago, Christians are blessed to have been grafted onto that tree, which continues to nourish and sustain Christians — and they are appreciative that their path to a relationship with God was given to them by the Jews. Christian Zionist groups don’t venture anywhere near proselytizing, as many of them figure that the relationship Jews have with God is our own business and they would be presumptuous to interfere. Similarly, whatever is planned for the end times is already determined — human activity neither hastens nor delays it. Instead, the ingathering of Jews to Israel from around the world is seen as evidence of prophetic truth. Of course, we have a different view of what will eventually happen, but in this arena, that’s not a topic of conversation, much less debate. Of course, this is just scratching the surface and a simplification due to the constraints of column space. There is a lot of misunderstanding of Jews toward Christian Zionists, and a lot that Christians don’t realize about the Jewish community. We hope Israel InSight will help build a bridge and be part of the rapid revolution in Christian-Jewish relations. We still have our huge theological differences, but can set that aside and work together in mutual respect. Most people have no idea that in 2015, there was a landmark declaration by a group of prominent Orthodox rabbis on the “partnership between Christians and Jews” that stated “neither of us can achieve G-d’s mission in this world alone” and, even with eyes wide open as to significant differences, “Jews and Christians will remain dedicated to the Covenant by playing an active role together in redeeming the world.” Currently, we have a campaign to raise funds that will help get the print version of Israel InSight off the ground. Be part of the incredible change that is taking place, and go to our website for the link to our campaign, IsraelInSightMagazine.com. As the Jewish community worries about the increase in antisemitism worldwide, it is heartening and unprecedented to see millions of Christians declare that they owe it to the Jewish community to stand up and fight alongside us. Come along for the ride, you will find it fascinating. Lawrence Brook, Publisher/Editor


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MARCH 11, 12, 13 + 14, 2020 | HILTON RIVERSIDE




JCC Adloyadah The New Orleans Purim celebration, Adloyadah, was held on March 8 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center

METAIRIE 605 Metairie Rd Metairie, LA 70005 504.309.8778 | @hemlinemetairie


March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life




a semi-annual special section Photo courtesy Raizk Design

Chupah in the courtyard at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans

Ritz-Carlton the “crown jewel of Canal Street” see

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans hotel’s $40 million “redeux” renovation project enhances its place as the crown jewel of Canal Street, and continues as a regular venue for Jewish weddings and receptions. The “crown jewel of Canal Street” did the renovation last year to “energize the luxurious legacy of the historic Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building.” That transformation included the guest rooms, suites and corridors. The colors and aesthetics employed as a part of the “redeux” mirrors “the elegance of the recently renovated event and meeting space.” The Ritz-Carlton includes more than 35,000 square feet of meeting and celebration space. When planning a wedding, couples work side-by-side with a dedicated wedding planner to select a venue from the hotel’s indoor and outdoor spaces. The Courtyard is ideal for an intimate outdoor ceremony or a night of dancing, while the Grand Ballroom can host a seated reception for 770 guests. Additional venues include the Lafayette Ballroom, Mercier Terrace and Courtyard, and the 12th-floor Crescent View overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River bend. The Ritz-Carlton offers customized culinary experiences and menus, from weddings to wine tastings Last May, the hotel was the setting for the wedding of New Orleans native Ashley Broadwater and Andrew Shidler, attended by about 170 guests. The chupah was placed in the Ritz-Carlton courtyard, a place that had numerous memories from their dating days, followed by the reception in the Grand Ballroom. The rehearsal dinner was held the night before at Galatoire’s, followed by a Second Line parade.


Bird savor smell


The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery brings history and art together Art and history converge at The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery, a boutique hotel just three blocks from the French Quarter. Home to a rotating art gallery, Provenance Signature Amenities and Compère Lapin — rated as one of New Orleans’ top restaurants — the hotel is located in the Warehouse Arts District on Tchoupitoulas Street in a building that dates back to 1854, when it was used as a warehouse for the Port of Orleans. From the Julia Street galleries that draw art patrons to the Warehouse District, to the city’s revered museums such as the Contemporary Arts Center, Ogden Museum of Southern Art and others, The Old No. 77 Hotel and Chandlery puts travelers in the cultural heart of the Crescent City and beckons visitors to experience New Orleans through the ways of its locals. Stroll through the corridor behind the lobby and experience an extension of the latest exhibition on display at Where Y’Art. A Royal Street Gallery in the heart of the Marigny, Where Y’Art is a true community for artists and art lovers in New Orleans.

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Intercontinental a New Orleans experience The Intercontinental offers a true New Orleans experience for simchas and the guests attending them. Their flexible venues overlook St. Charles Avenue and are the perfect setting for receptions, wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and other parties. Every detail is handled, from the tablecloths and settings to event flow, unique meal planning, décor, lighting, even custom ice carvings. The Intercontinental’s LaSalle Ballroom offers 21-foot ceilings, Lalique chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views, It can seat up to 640, and numerous smaller spaces are also available. After a $26 million rejuvenation, the four-diamond Intercontinental has 484 upgraded guest rooms. A favorite of business and leisure travelers, the Intercontinental is steps away from the French Quarter, as a rooftop pool with stunning city views and fine cuisine at Trenasse Restaurant. The Intercontinental was the home base for the Henry S. Jacobs Camp 50th reunion weekend last Nocember. The InterContinental Hotel is also in the prime loction for Mardi Gras parades, with more than 30 passing directly in front of the hotel during the season.


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Now a 20-room hotel and event venue with the renowned Victorian Lounge and Front Gallery, The Columns was originally built as the residence of Jewish tobacco merchant Simon Hernsheim in 1883. With a prime Garden District location on St. Charles Avenue, it is the only remaining example of the large number of Italianate houses designed by Thomas Sully in the late 1880s. It is estimated that Hernsheim employed 1500 people and was the largest private employer in the state of Louisiana in his lifetime. The home is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Columns has over 35 years of event planning and hosting experience, able to accommodate receptions from 25 to over 300 people. Seated meals can be hosted for up to 90, and there are rooms for full-day or half-day meetings or retreats. The Columns also has daily happy hour in the Victorian Lounge, and a Sunday jazz brunch.

The B in B&A Warehouse could stand for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and the A could stand for amazing Jewish weddings. The event facility located across from Birmingham’s Railroad Park has hosted many celebrations for those in the Jewish community. B&A Warehouse Marketing Director Haley Roebuck said the facility can accommodate up to 800 people in the entire building. “It’s an open canvas, so people can really personalize it to fit with their celebration,” she said, adding, “We’ve really enjoyed working with our friends in the Jewish community to help make sure they have the most memorable events.” On January 25 they hosted the Bar Mitzvah reception for Reed Nelson, and on Leap Day Feb. 29, they welcomed 200 people for the Katie Haus-


man-Josh Grace wedding and reception. In August, they will host the Bat Mitzvah of Belle Casey, daughter of Matt and Emily Casey. The Hausman-Grace wedding menu featured a combination of Southern and Italian fare, including a dual carving station, a grits bar as well as pasta station. The wedding was held under the skylight. Chef Deborah Thomas specializes in Southern cuisine, but Roebuck said they are happy to do customized menus including kosher-style and even family recipes. They also can accommodate those who keep strict kosher and need meals brought The Glass Room is one of the smaller, more into the facility. “That’s one reason why casual options at B&A Warehouse the ‘food stations’ are so popular,” said Roebuck. “You can select what you want and go kosher-style.” She said the B&A Warehouse recently completed enhancements to its Glass Room, which accommodates up to 70 guests and is popular for rehearsal dinners as well as luncheons. “In 2020 we also want to continue expanding our off-site catering,” said Roebuck. “They can come here or we’re happy to come to them.”

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Workplay hosts regular concerts and spotlights its private celebrations by providing experienced, professional production values. “We host concerts here regularly and we know how to make someone’s celebration an incredible, exciting production,” said Workplay owner Tommy Williams. Their motto regarding simchas is “Workplay — where you’re the rock star.” The Birmingham music venue, recording studio and private event space has been the site for many celebrations of those in the Jewish community, including the elaborate Campusano/Schulman wedding and a couple B’nai Mitzvahs over the past two years. On March 19, Workplay will host Crooning for Critters, an American Idol-style competition that will include Sam Tenenbaum. The event is a benefit for homeless animals, with celebrity guest judges Pam Huff, Bruce Ayers and Ona Watson. Workplay offers numerous event spaces, from a three-tiered, Cabaret-style theater with a 450-person capacity to an 800-capacity soundstage, as well as the Canteen, which can hold 150 people. There are also more intimate spaces for smaller events, and the Workplay Bar.

Vulcan Park hosts celebrations — and women’s voting rights exhibition Vulcan Park and Museum celebrates simchas — and women’s suffrage rights. The Birmingham landmark on Red Mountain has hosted several Jewish weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, including the B’nai Mitzvah for Hattie and Adam Watson in May 2019. The Watson family had moved to Birmingham a few years ago and the theme of the B’nai Mitzvah, which included more than 100 guests, was “It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham.” They started with a cocktail hour in the lobby, and games outside the Vulcan Center. The B’nai Mitzvah then moved to the Electra event space inside the museum for dinner and entertainment. Guests were treated to March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



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favors including Alabama-made products. “Vulcan Park and Museum was the perfect venue for us. The view was beautiful and the museum was a special way to introduce our new city to our out-of-town guests. The use of indoor and outdoor areas created inviting and interesting spaces for both the adults and the teens. The staff worked seamlessly with our vendors to create the exact party my children wanted,” said Shana Watson Vulcan Park and Museum Marketing Director LaShana Sorrell said “the unique thing about having an event up here is that all guests can tour the museum, park and go up in the (Vulcan) tower. Hosts and attendees can also get items from our gift shop, The Anvil, to commemorate their visit.” Sorrell said in the museum space they can accommodate 250 people standing, but an additional 500 people can be in the overlook and the Kiwanis Centennial Plaza for a celebration. In January, Vulcan Park and Museum opened a new exhibition commemorating the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, officially granting women the right to vote. Located in the Museum’s Linn-Henley Gallery, “Right or Privilege? Alabama Women and the Vote” takes visitors on a journey detailing the specific challenges faced by suffragists in Birmingham. Jennifer Watts, Director of Museum Programs, hopes the exhibit will shine a light on the suffrage movement as a reminder of those who fought tirelessly to expand voting rights in Alabama. “This exhibit will commemorate this milestone of democracy in our country and explore the relevance of it today,” said Watts. “It’s an opportunity for us to have a local conversation about the contributions of women not only in the past but here in the present.”

Spare Time takes events to the next level For those seeking bowling and other entertainment games along with customized catering, Spare Time Birmingham is right up their alley. “Our corporate mantra is ‘creating memorable experiences for every guest, every visit’,” said Dewayne Gass, regional business development specialist for Spare Time Entertainment. “We don’t consider ourselves a bowling center, but an entertainment center that features bowling and specializes in hosting special celebrations.” Gass said Spare Time could host groups from seven to 700. They feature 31 bowling lanes, including a private VIP room with five lanes, a full-service bar and kitchen. The entertainment center also includes music, laser tag, arcade and interactive gaming. “We are happy to take care of every detail,” he said. “We can even provide the musical entertainment, photographer, whatever someone planning an event needs. We’ve done Bar-Bat Mitzvahs, corporate events, sports banquets, you name it.” Spare Time features its own restaurant with a menu of steaks, seafood, chicken, pizza and American classics. “We work with party planners to customize a menu that fits perfectly with the event. We can do kosher-style, gluten-free and a banquet-style menu featuring carving stations,” said Gass. “Our talented chefs can do it all.” The company has invested $7 million over the past five years into making Spare Time a “state-of-the-art entertainment center,” added Gass. He said Spare Time welcomes those planning a special celebration to take a tour. For more information, go to www.sparetimeentertainment.com/ trussville. 32 March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



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The Feb. 8 fundraiser for Mitchell’s Place, held at The Theodore

The Theodore a place of historic celebrations One of Birmingham’s newest event facilities — The Theodore in the Lakeview district — connects the past to today, and on April 2 they will host the Collat Jewish Family Services Hands Up Together event. The 1940s-themed event, to be attended by approximately 250 people, will honor Marjorie Perlman for her years of dedicated service to CJFS. On Feb. 8, one night before the Academy Awards, The Theodore hosted A Night at the Oscars fundraiser for Mitchell’s Place. The organization, founded by Jewish community members Alan and Nancy Meisler, helps children and young adults with autism. More than 350 people attended the event. The Moderne-style warehouse built in 1929 includes three warehouse bays, along with a covered porch and courtyard converted from an old railroad platform. It features exposed brick walls, barrel truss ceilings, original fire doors and steel windows. The 20,000-square-foot facility just a few blocks from Pepper Place on 2nd Ave. South was converted to Swann Chemical Company’s research laboratory in 1936, a ground-breaking chemical company launched by Theodore Swann. In addition to becoming an industrial mogul, Swann loved to entertain and would host extravagant parties at his palatial estates. Cindy and Ken Rhoden bought the building in 2017 and after an extensive historic renovation, opened The Theodore in January 2019. “It only seemed fitting that we honor his memory by reinventing his warehouse, The Theodore, as a place for modern celebrations,” said Cindy Rhoden. The Theodore can accommodate up to 650 people for standing events and 500 people for seated dinners. Those having special simchas can choose from a list of preferred caterers, with The Theodore providing the beverage and alcohol service. Isam Culver serves as general manager of The Theodore. The Alabama native spent three decades in the New York City event industry working for renowned Jewish caterer Abigail Kirsch before returning home. He and his staff are happy “to help make each client’s vision a reality.”

Special Section articles by Lee J. Green March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


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B Street Benny band a labor of love Music brought Tanya (“TJ”) and Brad Lewis together. In March 2020 they will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, and they love making sure Jewish weddings (and other simchas) hit the right note. “We are so happy to live a life playing music,” said TJ Lewis, who sings while her husband plays guitar and serves as musical director. “We’ve made it our career and lives. We’ve been able to balance our music with family and that is such a blessing.” They’ve shared the stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival with Paul Simon, Dr. John, Vanilla Ice, Irma Thomas and Bow Wow Wow, to name a few. Their music and various projects together as well as with others brought them across the U.S. for years. They started B Street Benny on Bourbon Street as a house band entertaining tourists 13 years ago. Then three-and-a-half years ago they started playing for private events on weekends, while still maintaining a four-day-a-week schedule on Bourbon Street. “We’ve had the privilege of performing for a number of Jewish wedding receptions in the past three years,” said Lewis. “Our very first Jewish reception was also our very first groom-groom wedding,” Michael Musso and Mark Erickson. “It was such an amazing and beautiful reception.” She said another memorable Jewish wedding they played for was for Jared Morganstein and Adrianne Gaudet. Adrianne is a New Orleans native who met her husband in New York. B Street Benny handled the music for the ceremony and then did their second line while they flipped the room to prepare for the reception. Lewis said her favorite Jewish celebration they played for was the wedding of Andy Weile and Tiffany Carr, an event planner in California. It was a New Orleans destination wedding. The rabbi performed the ceremony in Hebrew “so as participants we responded and sang in Hebrew as we were a part of just a beautiful celebration of joining two as one,” she said. The bride designed a formal ceremony service, but early on Lewis pulled the couple aside and recommended that they “let loose” with a more New Orleans-style party playlist. They agreed. “I told them there was a reason they came to New Orleans, so let’s bring New Orleans to this party and get your guests dancing,” she said. “We completely threw out the prewritten set list and just threw the biggest party imaginable. Everyone was on his or her feet and it was just a remarkable evening. When ‘Hava Nagila’ goes for four or five rounds, you know it’s a joyous occasion.” B Street Benny can play various types of music, from rock to funk to jazz to blues to klezmer and some traditional Jewish music. “We can do whatever they want to make sure they have the best entertainment for their special celebration,” said Lewis.

The Scribbler does invitations and much more Ginny Hutchison enjoyed acing a tennis-themed Bar Mitzvah invitation and providing some sweet, creative options for a candy-themed Bat Mitzvah. Though she estimates approximately 80 percent of their business centers on wedding invitation and related trinkets and gifts, the owner of Mountain Brook’s The Scribbler loves helping families plan invitations for B’nai Mitzvahs. Earlier this month, they did custom, candy-themed invitations for Hannah Lebensburger’s Bat Mitzvah. “We made it very colorful and fun. The ceremony invitation was a bit more formal and the reception invitation added some wow,” she said. In 2019, The Scribbler also made tennis-themed Bar Mitzvah invitations for Benjamin Cusimariu’s Bar Mitzvah. They also provided personalized cups, napkins and other trinkets. The invitation resembled a United States Tennis Association event ticket. Hutchinson opened The Scribbler 2008 in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village before relocating to Homewood in 2012. In the spring of 2019, the Mountain Brook native moved to Cahaba Road in English Village. “We know these are special life events for our clients, so we want to make sure they know all of their options. We can customize anything,” she said. “Our wonderful clients become our friends… and we love getting their repeat business.” Hutchinson said The Scribbler is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but they are happy to do appointments after hours.



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Federico’s designs colorful events Since 1976, Federico’s Family Florist helps ensure New Orleans area simchas are in full bloom. “We do whatever we can to please everyone, and have a wide range of options in floral,” said Kenny Thone, who co-owns Federico’s with Larry Federico. “We’re happy to do custom arrangements for any special celebration. Thone said they regularly deliver flowers for and provide floral event decor at several New Orleans area congregations. Over the past 40-plus years they have done event floral work for Jewish weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other celebrations. Federico’s also provides floral for several Mardi Gras krewes. “New Orleans is very artsy, very fun. We tend to do more colorful, festive arrangements,” said Thone. “Color schemes can vary, but big and beautiful is universal.” Thone said they have been successful all these years because they treat their customers right. Federico’s also offers special discounts to non-profits. “We pride ourselves on offering great service and giving customers their money’s worth,” he said. March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life




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Traditional and unique: Events at Galatoire’s While Friday lunch at Galatoire’s is known far and wide, and everything is great the rest of the week as well, that excellence can also be found in private parties hosted at Galatoire’s. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, Galatoire’s offers eight luxurious spaces ideal for hosting private parties for corporate, wedding, seasonal and social events. No matter the occasion, there is a space with the right ambience. All of the private dining rooms are considered to be Galatoire’s private dining spaces. The two restaurants, Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s “33” Bar & Steak, are connected and all rooms are accessible through either restaurant. The private dining rooms located at Galatoire’s “33” Bar & Steak may use the menu from either restaurant. Galatoire’s is closed on Mondays, but is available as a buyout option for private dining Groups from 10 to 170 guests can be accommodated for a seated event, 250 guests for a reception style event or even larger groups with a restaurant buyout. Menus are tailored to each group, while showcasing the Galatoire’s tradition. But there is far more than just the food — the Galatoire’s team can customize spaces and arrange unique event enhancements. Some enhancements are more traditional — satellite bars with bartenders, audio-visual, dance floors and stages. Others are more unusual — music choices include jazz trios, soloists, swing or zydeco bands. Want a Second Line parade? That can be arranged. Perhaps a fortune teller, Tarot card reader, cigar roller or Mardi Gras celebrants? Those unique elements can be arranged as well. No matter the event, the Galatoire’s team will work to make it memorable, with world-famous New Orleans cuisine and impeccable service.

Amerson Events puts new spins on event entertainment Years ago, most entertainment at simchas consisted of deejays or live music. Today, companies such as Birmingham’s Amerson Entertainment are putting a new spin on things. Owner Chris Amerson said entertaining and lighting can create everything from a nine-hole, black-light miniature golf course to 360-degree digital photo booths to video music projection. “Either we have it or we’ll find a way to get it,” he said. “We’ve provided event entertainment for our friends in the Jewish community for many years. We’re happy to make the entertainment fit the tone and theme on the celebration or corporate event.” In addition, Amerson Events recently provided entertainment and event lighting for the United Way Corporate Campaign Kick-Off, Birmingham-Southern College’s Mardi Gras and the re-

cent Bassmasters event at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center. Amerson said some of the other “cool things we’ve provided” include a Dr. Who TARDIS that serves as an event entrance, interactive gaming and stand-up arcade units, and karaoke. “For the adults, we’ve done adult tricycle racing and a tiki bar where they can make snow cones” mixed with adult beverages, he said. “Digital projection is also really popular.” Amerson has more than 25 years of experience in the radio deejay and event entertainment business. He and his company have worked more than 3,000 events. “I genuinely care about each client I work with. I want them to be thrilled with our work together,” he said.

Family expertise drives Fisher and Sons jewelry The Fisher family enjoys being a part of families’ special celebrations with Fisher and Sons Jewelry— a gem in Metairie for more than 42 years. “We get to know our customers and they become our friends,” said Chloe Fisher Bares, who co-owns Fisher and Sons with her brother, Craig. “When it comes to an engagement ring, wedding ring and other jewelry for important life events, we know it’s a big decision. We’re with them every

step of the way to make sure they get something that is just perfect.” After 31 years in the jewelry industry, Thomas Fisher opened Fisher and Sons in 1977. He brought in his wife, Chloe Sr., and son Craig into the business. Their daughter, Chloe Fisher Bares joined the business in 1982, followed by her husband, Barry, in 1995. Craig’s son, Ryan, joined Fisher and Sons in 2011. That year, Thomas and Chloe Fisher turned



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over the business to their children. Ryan’s wife, Hannah, starting working with the company a year ago. “We’re all about family here,” said Fisher Bares. Ryan Fisher handles jewelry designs as well as appraisals. He works on many custom pieces for customers using CAD software and 3D printing. His father, Craig Fisher, does the benchwork on the new custom jewelry and repair work, incorporating a laser-welder. Chloe Fisher Bares goes to market a couple of times a year to pick out new and unusual pieces. “We also do a lot of custom work,” said Fisher Bares. “We love working with customers to come up with something so unique. Our slogan is ‘where the unique is commonplace’.” She said that rose gold and white gold are popular options today. Fisher and Sons has created pearl engagement rings and incorporated the fleur de lis in custom jewelry, cufflinks for weddings as well as other special celebrations. They also have done stackable, thin wedding band custom designs. “We’re also doing more custom wedding rings for customers with colored stones in them,” said Fisher Bares. The family lost Thomas Fisher earlier this year but he is with them in spirit every day at the store. “I know dad would be proud and we think about him with everything we do,” she said.

Bromberg’s has been walking down the aisle for many years As the oldest family-owned and operated retailer in the United States, Bromberg’s has certainly been there many times to ring in couples starting their lives together as husband and wife. The Birmingham retailer has been in the jewelry and wedding business for more than 184 years. Bromberg’s Marketing Director Anne Yoder said the company has registry consultants to offer assistance on setting up a registry for engaged couples and their wedding guests. “We’re happy to work with a bride and groom-to-be on their rings and on the registry,” said Yoder. “Not only do we offer the finest selection of china, crystal and giftware in the southeast, but we offer virtual gift exchanges through our gift letter program.” Couples that register with Bromberg’s benefit from savings on bridesmaids, groomsmen and hostess gifts, along with a 20 percent discount on non-diamond wedding bands. Also, when seven five-piece place settings of china, crystal or flatware are purchased, couples get the eighth setting free. According to Bromberg’s giftware buying team, brides are often looking for items that fit a casual lifestyle, such as handmade dinnerware and locally or sustainably-made items. White dinnerware remains a favorite of brides, but they’ve seen a surge in colorful reactive glazes on pottery from local crafters such as Earthborn Pottery. For jewelry, many couples are looking for classic diamond cuts, such as round brilliant and emerald cut. “We have seen an increased interest in diamond shapes such as oval and pear for engagement rings, as brides want something that isn’t just like the rings many of their friends are wearing,” said Yoder. She also said Bromberg’s customers place a big priority on ethically sourced diamonds and they are proud to offer the responsibly-sourced Forevermark Diamonds. Those go through a rigorous selection process to ensure a superior cut, polish and clarity. To bear a Forevermark inscription, a diamond must not have any characteristics that will preclude the ability to reflect or refract light.

community Mississippi Freedom Seder on April 2 The Mississippi Freedom Seder, a tradition recalling the 1969 Seder in Washington marking the first anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, will be held at Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson on April 2. Open to all, Mississippi Freedom Seder features the rituals, readings, songs, and ceremonial food of the Passover tradition, culminating in a shared meal. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the museums. The event is sponsored by the Museum of Mississippi History, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “For this year’s Freedom Seder, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote,” said Mississippi Department of Archives and History director Katie Blount. “But we are also remembering the brave men and women who continued the fight for suffrage through the civil rights era.” “We are pleased to co-host this commemoration of the Freedom Seder, and in doing so, we remember the involvement of visiting Jewish Freedom Summer volunteers in 1964 as well as members of the local Jewish community who advocated for social justice,” said Michele Schipper, Chief Executive Officer of the ISJL. Tickets are $15 each and include dinner. The program will begin at 6 p.m.

Bleich retires as player, takes on analytics After retiring as a professional baseball player, Jeremy Bleich of Metairie is now a coach. The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Bleich will be working with pitchers and fielders on defensive positioning in the team’s analytics department. An Isidore Newman graduate, Bleich attended Stanford University and was drafted in the first round of the 2008 Major League draft by the New York Yankees. He played for several teams in the Yankees’ minor league system, then signed with Pittsburgh in 2015. Over the next few years, he played for minor league teams in several organizations, including the 2018 season with the AAA Nashville Sounds, which brought him to New Orleans to face the hometown Baby Cakes. His brief stint in the Majors came in July 2018, as he was promoted to the Oakland Athletics. He debuted the night he was called up, against the San Francisco Giants. In two appearances, he was credited with one-third of an inning, giving up two hits and two earned runs, with one strikeout. He then returned to Nash-

A Flower for Hadar Historically and traditionally, the Seder table has had three elements, Matzo, the Seder plate and a cup of wine for Eliyahu. A group of Jewish women realized that no story of the Exodus would be complete without mention of Miriam, Moses’ sister, who saved his life. In doing so, she changed the entire course of Jewish history. They proposed that a cup of clear water and an elegant explanation be included in the Seder. Miriam’s cup represents the heroism of all Jewish “women of valor.” In the same way, I would ask that all households also include a single flower on their Seder tables. It is called, “A Flower for Hadar,” in honor of heroic Border Policewoman Hadar Cohen. In the final seconds of her life she saved countless others from injury or death at the hands of a bomb-laden terrorist, at the Damascus Gate in Old Jerusalem, February 3, 2016. The tribute is in Hadar’s name, but it represents all of the IDF soldiers and civilians who have been lost to terrorism in Israel. Please join my family in making this a permanent part of your Seders and forward this request to everyone you know who celebrates Passover with a Seder service. Also, please forward this request to your synagogue bulletin and any other Jewish newsletters of which you are aware, for inclusion in their publications. I suggest that you use this poignant letter as a reading, in explanation of the inclusion of the flower on your Seder table. It was written by Jewish author Naomi Ragen as a tribute to the heroism of Hadar Cohen. https://www.naomiragen.com/israel/my-dear-hadar/ Respectfully, The Conn Family Birmingham, Alabama March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


ville in early August. In 2019, he pitched for the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings, both AAA teams, then retired after the season. In the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier, he pitched for Israel as it had a surprising run in the tournament. He also pitched in one game for Israel in the 2019 European Baseball Championship, keeping Italy scoreless in three innings of relief, and in September he pitched for Israel in the Africa/Europe 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournament, which Israel won, qualifying them for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. At that tournament, he was 1-1 with an ERA of 11.57 during 4.2 innings.

Birmingham’s LJCC “Levels Up” with new tiered membership structure Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center has revamped its membership to reflect different styles of usage at the facility. The new system, which will go into effect for all current members as of March 31, has three levels — J Classic, J Plus and J Elite. Executive Director Samantha Dubrinsky said the change in membership structure “is just one example of the many ways the J is revitalizing itself to remain a dynamic home for Jewish life in Birmingham. We are improving upon our programming and community offerings so that everyone feels they have a need met by the LJCC.” Since the change was announced earlier this year, new members have been signing up at one of the three “Level Up” options. All current members have until March 31 to pick their levels, and all members will need to select one of the options. J-Classic, at $49 per month, includes the fitness center, indoor and outdoor tracks, indoor pool, tennis, gym, the Live Up community, access to free events and member discounts for programs such as camps, individual lessons and so forth. The J-Plus level, $79 per month, adds premium towel service, eligibility for the Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center, seven guest passes per year, 10 Kid’s Club and youth lounge visits per month and unlimited group fitness classes. J-Elite, at $99 per month, adds the outdoor pool, unlimited premium classes, a private training room, a reserved locker and $100 in J-Cash annually. J-Cash is coupons that can be used toward LJCC services. The base rate for each category includes one adult membership. Additional adults in the household can be added for the add-on rate of $15 for J-Elite, $10 for J-Plus and $5 for J-Classic. The cutoff is age 14, and the additional members can be added at a tier equal or below the primary member’s tier. As an example, a household with two parents, a 15-year-old and a 10-year-old that wants to be J-Elite would be $99 plus two $15 add-ons, unless the second adult and/or the 15-year-old want to be on a lower level. The 10-year-old can be added without charge. Katie Hausman, the LJCC marketing director, explained that someone who uses the LJCC for running on the treadmill and lift weights would be fine with just the J-Classic level, “and you won’t have to pay for all the amenities you do not use.” Similarly, members that have been paying individually for premium classes will find they have unlimited premium classes in J-Elite, making it a better deal than before. “In many, many cases, people are saving money,” Hausman said. Having a tiered system is not unprecedented. Before the 1993 expansion, there was a higher Health Club membership to gain access to fitness facilities. After the expansion, there were Gold memberships. Dubrinsky said “the J has prided itself on being the ‘living room’ of the Jewish community; now, we’re aiming to be the ‘kitchen table,’ which is where dynamic conversations take place and memories are made. Our membership changes are just one example of that effort.”

community Rep. Johnson tours territories, meets with Netanyahu by Malkah Fleisher (JNS) — Two U.S. Republican House members visited historic and strategic sites in Judea and Samaria days after the creation of a special “deal of the century” committee to begin mapping out Israeli application of sovereignty in the disputed region. Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, formerly head of the House Freedom Caucus, was joined by Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, a member of the Judiciary Committee and head of the Republican Study Committee, and their wives on a tour of Israel organized by the Yes! Israel Project, an organization that introduces political and business leaders to places often avoided by mainstream American Jewish organizations. The tour was in mid-February. In July, Jordan tweeted in favor of a House resolution condemning BDS, saying “Israel is America’s closest ally and great friend. But radical left members of Congress are trying to take down a resolution in support of Israel.” In January, Johnson tweeted an article about the impending publication of the Mideast peace proposal, adding the psalm to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” During the trip, Johnson also expressed support for Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. “I support the Trump [Mideast] deal that recognizes the Jewish connection to your homeland,” he told JNS. “It is important for Israel to apply sovereignty to these lands as soon as possible. We have reservations about the so-called ‘two-state solution’ that would establish a Palestinian state.” From the Temple Mount to the Judean Hills The congressmen began their tour on the “Heritage Trail” in Beersheva on Feb. 17, where they learned about the biblical Abraham and the ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel. They then traveled to Maon Farm in the southern Hebron hills, and then to the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. The legislators met with Hillel Horowitz, mayor of the Jewish community of Hebron, who emphasized that Hebron should be included on any final-status maps of Israel, and that the main artery of Judea and Samaria

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At the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron are (from left) Avi Abelow, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Polly Jordan, Ruth Lieberman, Sarah Paley, Jonathan Paley, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), Kelly Johnson and Yishai Fleisher, Feb. 18.

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community (Route 60) not be cut off. He also asked them to encourage American tourism to biblical heritage sites in the region. And he also used the opportunity to warn about the dangers of a Palestinian state. In fact, the Hebron visit took place just hours after a Palestinian terrorist was filmed attempting to stab an Israel Defense Forces soldier guarding the entrance of the Tomb. In the video, the men are seen struggling in hand-to-hand combat as the terrorist makes repeated efforts to stab the officer before being subdued. Afterwards, the congressmen were invited to a panel discussion on the implications of the Mideast peace plan at the Oz v’Gaon nature reserve in Gush Etzion. At a lookout named for Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old Israeli American who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in September 2018, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said that a “great aspect of this plan is that, for the first time, an American administration has crafted a plan where no Jews will be displaced, and that America recognizes that this is the Land of the Jews.” On Feb. 18, the congressmen were given a tour on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem by former Israeli Likud Knesset member Yehuda Glick. Some time after the congressmen left, Glick was arrested by the Israel Police. Initial reports stated that he was charged with “walking too slowly,” though police subsequently issued a statement saying he had left and then re-entered the Temple Mount “against the rules,” and had failed to heed police orders, leading them to handcuff and arrest him. Jordan and Johnson then traveled to Samaria, where they visited Ariel University, the site of the tabernacle in Shiloh, the Barkan industrial center and the Psagot winery. Before concluding their trip, the congressmen meet with several high-profile Israeli leaders, including a Feb. 19 meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “These are hugely consequential times for both the U.S. and Israel, and the strength of our partnership is important not only for our countries but for all of the Middle East and all of the world,” Johnson said. “The highlight for me was being in the Judean Hills,” Johnson told JNS. “There are no big monuments there, but that is what makes it special. The future King David is walking around there.”

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community Chagall among featured artists at Martin Lawrence auction in New Orleans Martin Lawrence Galleries will have a nationwide fine art auction on March 22, with live bidding in New Orleans. Martin Lawrence Galleries has prime locations in Las Vegas, Soho, San Francisco, La Jolla, Lahaina, Dallas, New Orleans, Schaumburg and Costa Mesa, and every spring it holds an auction that will offer over 1,000 pieces at “spectacular” values. The auction will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Westin Canal Place starting at 2 p.m. on March 22. A preview will begin at 12:30 p.m., but collectors may bid or buy it now at any of the galleries. The auction specializes in unique and original 20th and 21st century paintings, drawings, sculpture, and limited-edition graphics by masters including Picasso, Chagall, Warhol, Haring, Dali, Francis, Miro, Erté and many more. As the gallery continues to evolve with an eclectic blend of Impressionist, Modern, Post-War and Contemporary art, they encourage collectors to embrace the cross-category collecting approach, and the lots this year have been curated with this in mind. MLG has published fine art by Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Robert Deyber, Erté, and more and has worked directly with the Chagall and Frances estates to acquire significant collections of original and unique works. These are, in turn, presented to their seasoned collectors and firsttime buyers alike. MLG prides itself on the pristine condition of each work of art it offers and guarantees the authenticity of every piece. The gallery has also loaned masterpieces to museums and public institutions around the globe, most recently including three Haring works

to exhibits at the Tate Liverpool and the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Bozar) in Brussels and the Museum Folkwang. Additionally, 11 MLG works are currently featured in the Dalí and Magritte exhibition at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, and two Basquiat’s are on display at the Mori Arts Center in Tokyo. The Spring auction includes iconic Harings, signature Warhols, sensual Picassos, romantic Chagalls, and bronze sculptures by the elegant and legendary Le Pont Neuf, Marc Chagall, 1953 Erté; otherworldly landscapes from Kerry Hallam, contemporary works by the visual raconteur Robert Deyber, complex Takashi Murakami, the dreamy aesthetic of Mark Kostabi and much more. The complete auction can be viewed online at martinlawrence.com.


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community >> Agenda

continued from page 8

GiveNOLA Day is scheduled for May 5, and several agencies in the Jewish community will once again be participating in the day-long online fundraiser. The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans is holding Bubbles, Burpees and Bagels, March 29 at 11 a.m. Following a special fitness class, there will be champagne and bagels. The event is for Gold members age 21 and up, registration is required. Shir Chadash in Metairie will welcome NJ Beats, the local Jewish a capella group, on March 27. There will be Shabbat services at 6:15 p.m., followed by a chicken dinner and the concert. The Jewish Community Center in Metairie will have a summer camp reunion and 2020 kickoff, March 29 at 1 p.m.

James Andrews to star at Touro’s Jazz Fest Shabbat

gala WYES invites you to celebrate the popular MASTERPIECE period drama “Victoria” at the “The Town and Country World of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert.”

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

Live Entertainment by The Boogie Men

James Andrews and the Crescent City Allstars will be the featured performers at the 29th annual Jazz Fest Shabbat at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. The special service will be on April 24 at 7:30 p.m. A patron concert and dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Andrews grew up in Treme, the grandson of Jessie Hill and nephew of Prince La La. He is known as “Satchmo of the Ghetto” for his love of traditional jazz and Louis Armstrong. He played in numerous brass bands before starting his own, and in 1998 released his album, “Satchmo of the Ghetto.” After Katrina, he said “we’re gonna rebuild this city, note by note,” and was one of the first musicians to return after the flood, playing 17 days later with his younger brother, Trombone Shorty. He appeared in three episodes of the HBO series “Treme.” Also taking part in the service will be the Panorama Jazz Band, Cantor Kevin Margolius, Terry Maddox and the Touro Syagogue Choir. The service is free and open to the community, and has become a tradition among Jewish visitors to Jazz Fest. Patron levels for the dinner start at $160, which goes up to $185 on April 6. Children accompanied by an adult patron are $50. Additional levels range from $300 to $4,000, with higher levels receiving a meet and greet with Andrews, and all levels at $300 and up receiving the 2020 Jazz Fest Shabbat kippah. A limited edition signed Jazz Fest poster is available for $50, or is included in patron levels $500 and up.

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

continued from page 46

For those hoping to avoid traditional Chinese matzah dishes, and who can tolerate mushrooms, there’s always Moo Goo Brie Pan. For a bit more kick, live like a Jewish Werewolf of London with a big dish of Beef Chow Chrain. To put some punch in your Passover, please pass the Kung Paroh Chicken, while traditionalists sup on the Passover Chinese dish that rules over all others, General Matzo’s Chicken. For dessert after a Chinese Passover meal, nobody’s ever had a better fortune than a sensible portion of Afi Ko Mein. In short, anyone can try the traditional Passover tricks, like using another leftover Seder plate item to make salt water taffy. It doesn’t take a radical mind to deliver a Passover surf and turf, such as brisket and gefilte fish. However, to make a Passover Seder that’s truly different, try this year to introduce something ethnic into the menu. Too late? Already done with your Passover shopping? It’s okay, you’re not alone. You can join Cubs fans around the world who are already saying, “just wait until next year.”


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Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who looks forward to one year arriving at Seder in a Matzarati. To read past columns, visit http://brookwrite.com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook.com/rearpewmirror.

>> Diversity

continued from page 4

lage, created by Reform Jews in Israel. Kibbutz communities are a unique feature to Israel; the first Kibbutz was established over 90 years ago, and today there are about 270 kibbutzim in Israel. Typically, the income generated by all Kibbutz members is placed into one common pool which is used to run the Kibbutz and make investments. Kibbutz members agree to social living conditions in which members are part of a culture of volunteerism and collectivism. I visited various Kibbutzim in Israel, yet the Reform Kibbutz struck me as particularly unique. While the Reform practice is prevalent throughout the United States, Reform communities in Israel are distinctive. On the Reform kibbutz, I was able to see the only mikvah made available to those who aren’t allowed to access the state-run mikvahs. At a mosque in Haifa, I spoke with a woman who sought to teach the world that Islam is not a violent religion. She allowed us to step into their beautiful prayer room and library as she explained that in Israel, her people are able to practice reformed Islam without fear of prosecution. In Tzfat, an ancient city in Northern Israel, I met spiritual Orthodox Jews who explained that Jewish mystical practices led them through times of hardship. As I sat in the gallery of an Orthodox artist, I admired the positive Hebrew quotes written around the room. The Florentin neighborhood in Tel Aviv is home to many Israeli young adults. Though mostly secular, the members of this community explained their love and dedication to being Jewish and Israeli. They explained the value of cultural Judaism, which was symbolized in graffiti art around the Florentine streets. Despite the different backgrounds, traditions and practices of the various groups I encountered in Israel, all groups are able to live in a cohesive environment in which they help and rely on one another. Similarly, in New Orleans, our residents come from a massive range of different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds, however, we make up a larger community together. We must care about and respect people of different cultures and ethnic groups; we must learn about and advocate for cultural communities like those in Israel. As a community of diverse people, we are stronger united.

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March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life


Perfect for Spring!

rear pew mirror • doug brook

Matzah Matter For You Doug Brook is on assignment, so here is an encore presentation of a 2012 column enjoyed by nearly half of his readers...

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Every year at the Passover Seder, we ask the unwritten Fifth Question: How do Italian Jews eat during Passover? Every year, Uncle Heschy answers, “with their mouths,” everyone laughs, nobody knows why (since we’ve heard it 39 times), and the Seder proceeds. But this year, thanks to the Mayan prediction that this will be the Last Seder, this column reveals the real answer to the Fifth Question, before it’s too late. Of course, it’s not as simple as an entrée of spaghetti and matzah balls, because of the spaghetti. And don’t even try to argue for your usual tiramijew for dessert. Starting from the beginning of the Paschal meal, it is best to ease into the Passover diet. Thus it should begin with a variety of Antimatzo, for those who are decidedly anti-Matzah. The most popular item is a bowl of the classic Matzastrone soup, often counter-balanced with a judicious serving of Calamarror. Between courses, few people decline to recline while they sip their third Matzarita and wonder what matzah-based entrees are about to enter. In keeping with Passover’s mantra of “let all who are hungry come and eat,” there’s something for everyone, no matter their dietary philosophies or lunacies. The kids can never get enough of their Matzaroni and Cheese. On a separate Seder table — to separate the dairy from the meat — others can indulge in a favorite from Talmudic times, Meatball Matzanara. Vegetarians and people without separate Passover dishes for dairy and meat can both enjoy eating their greens with a fresh, seasonal Pasta Primamatza. Many matzah meal mavens masticate their way through a nice thick Matzacotti, while seafood mavens can enjoy a spicy Linguini de Marror. Non-kanoodlers can noodle through a noodle-less Eggplant Parmatzan or even a nice plate of Chicken Matzala. Finally, when all else fails, the Italian dish that always wins is a good, thick serving of Matzarella Marinara. When time for dessert comes, there are many better options than chocolate-covered matzah. Lovers of strawberries and cream can indulge in a traditional Matzabaglione. For people who believe that the presence of fruit is too healthy for dessert, there’s always the option of Spumatza (spumoni in a matzah cone; some assembly required). The Fifth Question asks specifically about Italian Jews and Passover, but why is this nationality different from all other nationalities? For example, while there have historically been relatively few Chinese Jews, Chinese cuisine has been a dominant presence in Jewish life since biblical times. A forced fast from Chinese food might seem like cruel and unusual punishment for a festival that celebrates freedom from oppression. Thankfully, it’s easy to spice up the Seder plate with an alternative greenery, Edamarror. In honor of that Seder plate accident a few years ago, start the meal with a hearty Egg Drop Soup before serving some Egg Fu Yung.

This year, try something ethnic for Passover Seder

continued on previous page 46

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life



March 2020 • Southern Jewish Life

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Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, March 2020  

March 2020 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish Community

Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, March 2020  

March 2020 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish Community

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