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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


April/May 2019 Volume 29 Issue 4

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all As an alumnus of the University of Virginia, throwing shade at the University of North Carolina or Duke University is something that comes naturally (*cough* March Madness), and is generally reciprocated. Of course, it’s all in good fun. Mostly. But this time, it is distressing. From March 22 to 24, the two universities co-sponsored a “Conflict Over Gaza” conference at the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. It was evident from the outset that the presentations would all have a common theme — everything is Israel’s fault, nothing is the Palestinians’ responsiblity, and nobody would be there to present anything to contradict that narrative. Local Jewish groups expressed alarm beforehand and are still bewildered that the conference went forward with the Duke and UNC imprimaturs. While academic conferences generally present a wide range of views on a topic, the “range” of views here were that Israel is a settler-colonialist state, a genocidal foreign entity that hunts Palestinians for sport, or the second coming of the Third Reich. There was zero mention of Hamas rockets being fired from Gaza, only complaints about an Israeli blockade that seemingly sprang up for no apparent reason. There were posters with images of youth setting fire to kites and balloons that then were floated across the border into Israel to torch the areas where they landed — but that was depicted as understandable heroic resistance. When a questioner asked about how Egypt also has a blockade of Gaza, the question was waved away as irrelevant to the conference. According to reports, there were complaints that Israel supposedly refuses to allow excess vegetables grown in Gaza to be exported so Gazans can make some money, while other speakers claimed Gazans were being starved by Israel, and that Israel calculates the number of calories for a subsistence level diet for all of Gaza and allows only that amount of food into the area. There were posters of Gaza fisherman at work, along with speakers

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MESSAGES Maccabi leader praises Birmingham Games chargingUSA that Israel won’t allow Gazans to permitted to go

on at length before asking fish. a question; anyone with a differing view was IThere have had of attending Maccabi competitions was the no honor mention of Hamasmany diverting interrupted andaround told tothe getworld. to the From point Israel before to Australia to South America, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around the United States irrelresources away from helping Gazans so they their questions were shot down as either and Canada, have logged miles seeing or howevant sportsorcan be a vehicle to help build Jewish could build I rockets andmany terror tunnels, propaganda. identity, especially our young. Hamas trying to in damage the border crossWhen an audience member referenced the ing where thousands of for goods 800,000 Jews who werewith exiled Arab lands I felt honored to comeoftotruckloads Birmingham the first time and fell in love notfrom just the city come weekly from anotherhospitality point around 1948, some weren’t but thein people. You haveIsrael taken—Southern to a new level withpanelists your kindsaid andthey caring that was to ignored claims that Israel is interested in fielding that question, while one approach the JCCamidst Maccabi Games. trying to ruin Gaza economically. did answer by saying it was dehumanizing to Led by the Sokol Helds, hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered Certainly, thereand was no your examination of Palestinians to entertain that question. with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. how Hamas is now the third-wealthiest terror A Jewish student approached a panelist to Iorganization want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to say thank you on in the world, with their leaders discuss further what would happen behalf if Israel of everyone involved. worth billions of dollars. fully opened the border. The speaker had asIThree had just returned from 20th World Maccabiah games indoesn’t Israel with a U.S. delegation weeks after thetheconference, Ami serted Israel need to protect itself,ofthat over 1100, released who joined 10,000 athletes fromthe 80 “siege” countries. in dehumanize July the eyes of the entire Horowitz a video heJewish had taken at the wasBack just to Gazans and Jewish world were on attendees Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. pastasmonth with 1000ground athletesfor andIsrael’s conference, where repeated the useThis Gaza the dumping coaches from aroundabout the world in Birmingham, you became the focal engage with usual stereotypes Jews,being Israel, Jewish economy. The speaker refused power and control. the student, who was told the speaker’s Everyone from the Jewish community and the community at large, includingthat a wonderful The video showed one of the major pertime at the conference had ended. police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal formances, with rapper Tamer Nafar that speaker was seen chatmoment for the Jewish community as we joking build to theMoments future by later, providing such wonderful Jewish about being anti-Semitic and performing a ting with other audience members deemed memories. song about being in love with a Jew. At one more friendly, and in fact hung out for several Jed Margolis point, he told the crowd “you look beautifully more hours, talking and signing books. Executive Director, Maccabi USAto sing along, anti-Semitic” and urged them Reitzes said this was the only time he has because “I cannot be anti-Semitic alone.” ever been at an academic conference where Now, it may have been shtick, but still — supremacists a speaker refused speak with a participant. wouldtolike to see pushed back On Charlottesville can you imagine a university shrugging off a into When another speaker asked about a corner and made to feelwas lesser. We stand performer who tells the crowd, even in jest, with Hamas using aid money to benefit the people of and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’s Note: reaction to the events in Beau- Gaza instead of making war, the speaker mocked that they areThis looking beautifully racist? who was there standing up to the face of this Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, tifully homophobic? the audience member’s “concern” for Palestinhate. Master of the Alpha Epsilon to Pi Theta Colony Perhaps it was meant amuse, or to be ians. “Until that moment, I had never seen a preWe recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, by AEPi ironic, though Nafarwas saidshared to sing not in the senter at an academic conference make fun of narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, which called it “very eloquent” and spirit of Rhianna, but that of Mel Gibson. And an audience member,” Reitzas observed. of such corners, and allow those in praised “our brothers at AEPi ThetaI managed Colony at to ourselves it echoes… In the early 1990s, Remember, this was an academic conferthem the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and… the leadership they visit the Washington office of Liberty Lobby, ence. Sponsored by a couple dozen academic It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the display on their campus. the outfit started by ”Willis Carto, who also departments. At a couple of presumedly presDeclaration of Independence, that “all men are started the Holocaust-denial thinktank, the tigious universities. created equal… endowed by their Creator with Institute for Historical Review. It is worth remembering that Israel’s blockWhite supremacy has been a cancer on certain unalienable rights.” We know our work In a PBS documentary on David Duke many ade wasn’t imposed randomly — it was beour country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not years ago,itsLiberty described cause the Gaza leadership’s sole emphasis is its hopes, values,Lobby and itswas better angels. as the move backwards. largest anti-Semitic organization in the U.S., on making war and diverting needed conThe events that took place in Charlottesville When men and women,uses. fully armed, take and its conspiracy-theory newspaper, goods to military represented the worst of this nation. Those the sumer to the streets in droves with swastikas and need Spotlight, had a six-figure circulation. The border isn’t there because Gazans who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how In the hallways, it wasn’t unusual for to be protected from rampaging Israelis lookand swastikas did so to provoke violence and relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism co-workers to greet each other by saying ing to get rid of them, it’s because Hamas pays fear. Those who marched onto the streets did are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that “you’re looking very anti-Semitic today. ” Why, Gazans to go there each week and act as civilso to profess an ideology that harkens back to needs to beasdone a better, more you. ian cover theyto tryensure to infiltrate Israel. athank bleaker, more wretched time in our history. welcoming country. But it should not come How is this appropriate at an academic conGaza could be the Middle East’s Riviera if A time when men and women of many creeds, without a reflection on how far we’ve come. ference? their leaders cared about something other races, and religions were far from equal and far Three weeks after the conference, when than maximalist demands for the destruction America was born a slave nation. A century from safe in our own borders. A time where Horowitz released the video, North Caroli- into of Israel and instead emphasized our history we engaged in a war improving in part Americans lived under a constant cloud of na organizers slammed him for producing theensure lives of to weGazans. would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The a “heavily edited” piece that did notserved reflect found Instead, Hamas continuesbytothe aim forofancivil imourselves confronted issue events that took place in Charlottesville the true tone of the conference. Wiser heads possible goal, cheered on by academics who rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these quickly are too toall realize they only exacfair intelligent treatment of peoples noare matter their issues areprevailed today. and the UNC chancellor said the he was “heartbroken and deeply offended” skin erbating the Hamas-inflicted misery ofstrides, Gazans, color. Although we’ve made great Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the that the performance took place, and the it when all Israelwe’re wants is to live trulywith sidetoday. by side is a mission still grappling Jewish communityissued of Charlottesville, and Duke leadership a similar statement. and see Gazans prosper through peace. America also bornanyone an immigrant with Jewishitpeople around the country Ofthe course, took three weeks and an exBut they was didn’t want to hear that at country. As early as the pilgrims, many and theanyone world. We also stand with the posearound video for to have said something. North Carolina. minorities who are targeted by the hateabout that at- groups and families found in the country the In The Tower, Peter Reitzes wrote was on display in Charlottesville. We stand tending the conference. During question and opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, Few were met with open with the minorities of whom white were and be themselves. answer sessions, those in these agreement Lawrence Brook, Publisher/Editor 4

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

April 2019

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green V.P. SALES/MARKETING, NEW ORLEANS Jeff Pizzo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/432-2561 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green,; Jeff Pizzo,; or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2019. 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.

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agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events The Jewish Community Day School held its annual Purim Parade, accompanied by the Just Doin It Band

Rabbi Daniel Sherman to lead Temple Sinai Pending the congregation’s annual meeting next month, Rabbi Daniel Sherman will be the new senior rabbi at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, the congregation announced. The congregation’s search committee and board both voted unanimously to select him. “I feel very honored to become Temple Sinai’s next Senior Rabbi and am thrilled to be joining the congregation in time to celebrate its 150th birthday next year,” said Sherman. “I am very excited to help our members find their own paths to live modern and meaningful Jewish lives.” Temple Sinai President Robin Giarrusso said “We are very pleased to welcome Rabbi Sherman to our community. We look forward to his engaging and warm demeanor, zest for teaching all ages, and strong belief in community service.” A Tulsa native, Sherman has been active in the Reform movement throughout his life, attending the movement’s summer camps and the National Federation of Temple Youth. His father, Charles Sherman, was rabbi of Temple Israel in Tulsa from 1976 until his retirement in 2013. Sherman received his degree in history at Yale University, and has a Masters of Arts in Hebrew Letters from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. He was ordained in 1999, becoming the assistant and associate rabbi at Temple Shalom in Naples, Fla. In 2006, he became rabbi of Tree of Life in Columbia, S.C., and is currently senior rabbi at Temple Dor Dorim in

Weston, Fla. He, his wife Morgan, son Shai and daughter Janna will move to New Orleans this summer. Sherman succeeds Rabbi Matthew Reimer, who will be at Temple Sinai through the end of June. The congregation will hold a Farewell Shabbat for Reimer on May 10 at 6:15 p.m., featuring The Band and a special oneg.

Bradley Philipson to head Day School The same week that Bradley Philipson marked the 30th anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah at Touro Synagogue, he was named the new head of school at Jewish Community Day School in Metairie. Search committee chair Michael Wasserman made the announcement on March 13. Philipson will succeed Sharon Pollin, who is returning to Oregon this summer after six transformative years for the school. “I could not be more excited by the outcome of the efforts” of the search committee, Wasserman said. Philipson “is a highly experienced teacher and education leader with a passion for learning.” Philipson comes to the school after being Upper and Middle School Principal at Young Audiences Charter School in Gretna. Before that, he was assistant head of school for academics and curriculum, and communications specialist at Country Day School in Fort Worth, Tex. He also taught at Metairie Park Country Day School, where he was also assistant April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


agenda principal in the Upper School. “As a native New Orleanian, Brad is connected to the New Orleans Jewish community, and we are delighted that he made the decision to return to New Orleans and to make our community his and his family’s home,” said Carole Neff, Day School president. “Though I have lived all over the country, growing up Jewish in New Orleans is an important part of who I fundamentally am,” Philipson said. While he has a long career in education, he said it feels that those years are a prelude to the “symphony yet to be performed” at the Day School. “Pollin and the Board have built a team and a structure that would be the dream of any incoming head of school. They have created a school that is both wonderful in its current model and poised to evolve and grow into its next iteration.” The school is opening its first-ever early childhood program, and this year expanded to its first sixth grade class since before the storm. Pollin said Philipson “possesses a unique set of skills and experiences that I believe are exactly what JCDS needs now,” and there are “few individuals about whom I would feel as enthusiastic to welcome to JCDS” as Philipson. Neff noted that the school has more than doubled in size under Pollin, and another 50

percent growth is anticipated in the next one or two years, “all of which could not have happened without Dr. Pollin at the helm.” The school also announced that Philipson has been accepted to the prestigious Day School Leadership Training Institute under the auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary with the support of AVI CHAI. The 15-month program, designed for new heads of Jewish day schools, focuses on Judaism, Education and Leadership with ongoing mentoring and the development of an ongoing peer network.

Hadassah, NCJW “have a plan” at April 30 event Hadassah New Orleans and the National Council of Jewish Women’s New Orleans Section are co-sponsoring their Spring Study Group, “If Only I’d Had A Plan… The Facts of Life and Death.” The lunch meeting will be on April 30 at Metairie Country Club, starting at 11:30 a.m. There will be a cash bar. Three experts will provide tips for families, answering questions about care giving, financial and legal issues. Panelists will be Carole Neff, Rachel Eriksen and Renee Pastor. Reservations, made out to Hadassah, are $36 and are due by April 20, to Sandy Rhein.

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

The Greater New Orleans Section of National Council of Jewish Women is being presented with the Champions for Social Change Award at the NCJW Washington Institute 2019. The award is designed to honor a section, group of sections, or State Policy Advocate committee for excellence in developing — individually or collaboratively — an effective NCJW campaign. The campaign must utilize more than one of the following strategies for social change: advocacy, NCJW Coalition Leaders for “Engaging New Voices and community service, education and Voters — Voter Rights, Registration, Education and community organizing. Mobilization” are NCJW President Barbara Kaplinsky, The New Orleans Section will be Touro Synagogue Social Justice Committee and recognized for “Engaging New Voices League of Women Voters Leader Jill Israel, Touro and Voters — Voter Rights, RegistraSynagogue Social Justice Committee Joy Braun, NCJW tion, Education and Mobilization,” Advocacy Chair The Honorable Miriam Waltzer, NCJW which advanced progressive social SPA Maddie Fireman, NCJW Voter Mobilization Chair change around an issue relating to Sylvia Finger, League of Women Voters Greater New NCJW’s mission. Orleans President Rosalind Cook and NCJW Voter According to NCJW, there was a Mobilization Member Caroline Good. very selective and competitive nomination pool this year. NCJW national President Beatrice Kahn said. “Being recognized as Champions for Social “Through your dedication and hard work, you Change means that you are not afraid to step have embodied what being fearless leaders into hard work and challenge the status quo,” looks like at NCJW.”

agenda Erdheim staying at Metairie’s Gates of Prayer as assistant rabbi Lexi Erdheim, student rabbi at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, will be hanging around after graduation. Gates of Prayer President David Dulitz announced that Erdheim will become the congregation’s new assistant rabbi, after her upcoming ordination at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. For the past year and one-half, Erdheim has been interning with the congregation, including leading Shabbat services, working with Religious School students, teaching Chevra Torah on Saturday mornings and being part of the congregation’s Take Out Judaism home-based classes. She also has been working with TRIBE, the congregation’s young adult outreach group that has services and programs mostly off-property. Erdheim “has proven herself to be an engaging teacher, an inspiring leader, and a strong and passionate spiritual guide,” Dulitz said. “We are blessed to welcome her into the Gates of Prayer family.” As assistant rabbi, he said, she will help with the full range of worship, pastoral, and lifecycle responsibilities while focusing on her current work with the youth and young adult engagement, and social action programming. She will also work at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp during the summer, where she has been education director since 2015. Originally from Livingston, N.J., Erdheim majored in religion at Barnard college, where her thesis was on media representations of Mormons during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. She was co-director of the Columbia/Barnard Interfaith Collective, an organization focused on creating interfaith understanding and dialogue on campus and interned for World Faith, an international interfaith organization aimed at fostering dialogue through action. She also was Israel Advocacy intern at T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. During her studies, she was student rabbi at a congregation in Amariillo, Tex., for two years. Rabbi David Gerber is senior rabbi at Gates of Prayer, finishing his first year with the Metairie congregation. With this coming summer’s departure of Rabbi Matthew Reimer at Temple Sinai and Rabbi Alexis Berk at Touro Synagogue, he will become the longest-tenured Reform senior rabbi in New Orleans.

Step back to the 1920s with the Great Gatesby Gala Gates of Prayer in Metairie is hosting The Great Gatesby Gala, “a roaring good time” on May 11 at 7 p.m. There will be live music from the Dapper Dandies, silent auctions, a costume contest and signature cocktails. Dishes from about a dozen local restaurants will be featured. Roaring 20s attire is recommended. Reservations are requested by May 1, and start at $72, though there is a $36 TRIBE NOLA ticket for those in their 20s and 30s who are part of that outreach group. Because of a “generous donation,” all tickets are now open bar, which previously was available starting with the Gatsby level of $135. There are also a limited number of Rabbi’s Speakeasy Tickets at $720 that include exclusive access to “extremely rare scotch” and top shelf spirits. Sponsorships start at $1,000. Reservations and information are available at

MY TOURO DOC Is my biggest health enthusiast. At Touro, our docs go above and beyond to meet patients’ needs, because we know we‘re not just treating an illness, we’re treating a person. Whether it’s a broken bone, a bad cold, or something more serious, there’s a Touro doc nearby who is ready to listen, comfort and care for you. Find your own Touro Doc at findadoc or 504-897-7777 and start building a lasting relationship with a doctor you can trust. Touro Hemotolgist Oncologist George Zacharia, MD is pictured with cancer survivor Diane Helvie. Read Diane’s story online at

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


agenda The annual B’nai Israel, Baton Rouge, Golf Classic will be held on May 5 at a new location, Pelican Point in Gonzales. There will be a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. The $175 registration includes cart, range balls, dinner and prizes. Rabbi Gabe Greenberg will teach a course on “Azamra: Finding the Musical Notes of Holiness within Ourselves,” Mondays at 7:30 p.m. from April 29 to May 20. The class centers around the foundational Torah essay of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. How did New Orleanian George Harriman create Krazy Kat, one of the most enduring characters in American comics? Author Michael

Tisserand will present “The Secret Life of Krazy Kat” at the Uptown Jewish Community Center on May 13 at 11:45 a.m. as part of the Morris Bart Lecture Series. His biography of Herriman was named to the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2017. A lunch is available with reservations by May 9, free for members, $10 for non-members. The next Old Fashioned Judaism at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge is May 25 at 7:30 p.m. The event is hosted in private homes, contact the congregation for details. Laurie Berenson Maas of Baton Rouge will be the keynote speaker at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s On The Move Luncheon, May 9 at noon at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans. In August 2005, just before Katrina hit, she was diagnosed with MS. In 2016, she completed her first full Ironman competition, in Canada, finishing in 16 hours, 32 minutes. It’s the brunch before Jazz Fest… Moishe House in New Orleans will host a brunch on April 17 at 10 a.m. before heading to Jazz Fest. JewCCY will have its elections on April 29 at the home of Michele and Vadim Gelman. All JewCCY and Junior JewCCYites, grades 6 to 12, are welcome to attend. Rabbi Jordan Goldson is teaching a Beginners Hebrew class at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge, meeting for eight Thursdays at noon, starting on May 2. Those unable to attend in person can take the course through online streaming, or view a recording of the class at a different time. Registration is $10. The New Orleans Moishe House is holding a trivia Jewish Game Night, April 21 at 6 p.m. Prizes will be awarded, and matzah pizza will be served.


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Sponsor a Jewish music event in your community Governor Phil Bryant signs anti-BDS law on March 25

Mississippi now on the record against boycotts of Israel While most of the pro-Israel universe was focused on the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington on March 25, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was making his own bit of history. With Israeli Consul General Lior Haiat looking on, Bryant signed a bill establishing Mississippi as the 27th state to condemn the boycott-Israel movement known as BDS. Mississippi is joining its neighbors in barring state investments in companies that participate in anti-Israel boycotts. The “Israel Support Act of 2019” prevents the state retirement system, treasury and state government entities from investing in companies that boycott Israel, and calls on the state to develop a list of such companies. Any existing investment in those companies would have to be sold within 120 days after the list is published, as of July 1, 2020. Exceptions can be made if the state deems it necessary. The bill passed the House, 92-10, on Feb. 7, then passed the Senate, 34-8, on March 6. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has developed close ties between Mississippi and Israel, with four trade missions in five years, an “Israel Meets Mississippi” summit in Jackson in 2015 involving numerous Israeli companies, and an international homeland security conference in Biloxi in 2018 that attracted mostly Israeli firms. Last year, Mississippi passed legislation allowing state investment funds to purchase Israel Bonds. Haiat said the bill sends “a strong message of support and friendship to Israel, and a clear message that those who want to harm Israel are NOT welcome in Mississippi.”

International Jewish musician Marshall Voit is seeking engagements in the South between April 16 and May 11.

He’d love to sing with your audience of choice: Synagogue community, chavurah, friends and neighbors, etc. Marshall is available for:

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Meaningful Adornment

JCRS college aid deadline May 31 The deadline for needs-based undergraduate college financial assistance from Jewish Children’s Regional Service is May 31. In the upcoming academic year, the New Orleans-based agency will provide assistance to over 100 Jewish students in its seven-state region. As the oldest Jewish children’s agency in the country, the JCRS has been providing social services, care and funding since 1855 to Jewish youth in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. Applications are available on the agency’s website, Applications received by the deadline will receive priority funding, and those received after that date will be considered if funds are still available. While late applications to the JCRS education or camp scholarship programs are not eligible for maximum awards, applications for the special needs program are accepted throughout the year.

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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

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

Governor Bill Lee and Consul General Judith Varnai Shorer, center, with legislators and many of Nashville’s rabbis at the ceremony

“Historic Day” in Tennessee

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

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Governor Lee signs pro-Israel proclamation With Israeli Consul General Judith Varnai Shorer seated by his side, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a proclamation to “honor and commend the Nation of Israel, and extend Tennessee’s friendship and esteem as we remain steadfast in our support of the Nation of Israel.” The ceremony took place in the Old Supreme Court Chambers on March 7, organized by the office of Sen. Mark Pody, who introduced a pro-Israel resolution in the state Senate. The resolution passed the Senate, 28-0, on Feb. 21, and was working its way through the House when the ceremony took place. The proclamation on March 7 was signed by Lee, Pody, speaker of the Senate Randy McNally, and Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, who is navigating the resolution through the House. Lee said he was honored to be part of “a historical moment in Tennessee.” “It’s more than just a historical moment, It’s a spiritual moment,” he said, citing Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham that He will bless those who bless him, and curse those who curse him. Lee said he has first-hand knowledge from a powerful experience visiting Israel. “Not only is there a friendship” between Tennessee and Israel, “there is a bond deeper than friendship.” Shorer thanked Tennessee for “your strong, continued support of Israel.” She noted that Tennessee is “in the heart of America’s largest evangelical community,” which is strongly pro-Israel. Saying that Israel will “continue to prosper,” Shorer concluded, “please come to visit us… it is so beautiful.” Eric Stillman, executive director of the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, expressed thanks for the event, saying “on behalf of the 23,500 members of the Jewish community of the state of Tennessee, it is an amazing occurrence today… we are very proud of the strong relationship between the state of Tennessee and the state of Israel.” In addition to Nashville, there were officials from the Jewish Federations of Memphis, Knoxville and Chattanooga in attendance. Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Congregation Sherith Israel led the singing of “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem, followed by Irlene Mandrell singing the “Star Spangled Banner.” The closing prayer was given by country music legend Ricky Skaggs, a passionate supporter of Israel. “I’m really overwhelmed at the goodness of the Lord” in witnessing the event, he said, reciting verses from Psalm 93. He concluded, “May Tennessee be blessed beyond measure.”


Bruce Pearl leads Auburn to state’s first-ever Final Four Becomes fifth Jewish coach to accomplish that feat, the first since 1988 In leading the Auburn Tigers to the first men’s basketball Final Four of any university in the state, Bruce Pearl also became only the fifth Jewish head coach to reach the Final Four. Pearl, the first president of the Jewish Coaches Association, isn’t exactly quiet about it. “I’m kind of loud and I’m kind of proud,” he said the day before the April 6 Final Four game against Virginia. Since arriving in Auburn, he has been active in Jewish events as time permits, even hosting a latke party in his home each season for the Auburn Hillel. At the Final Four, Pearl said he is grateful for “the religious freedom I have to be a practicing Jew in the Christian community. I can tell you down South it is so comfortable there because we share the same God. And my Christian brothers embrace that. It’s a wonderful thing.” Noting that freedom doesn’t exist everywhere, he added “we need to make sure that we do the best job we can as a Jewish man to represent and break down stereotypes while we maintain our identity.”

He has been Auburn’s coach since 2014 and won the Southeastern Conference regular season championship in 2018. Pearl took the University of Southern Indiana to the championship of Division II in 1995. In this year’s tournament, five-seed Auburn barely made it past New Mexico State in the first round, then took down Kansas, 89-75. Auburn then knocked out one-seed North Carolina, 9780, and topped Kentucky in the Elite Eight, 7771 in overtime. With the latter three wins, Auburn defeated the three winningest programs in college basketball. In the Final Four, Auburn lost to eventual champion Virginia, 63-62, on a heartbreaker after coming back from a 10-point deficit. A controversial foul put Virginia, down by two, on the free throw line with three shots and 0.6 seconds left in the game. Charles Barkley, Auburn basketball royalty who now does television commentary, said it was a foul, but many have pointed to an uncalled possible double-dribble by Virginia just before the foul.

File photo by Rabbi Barry Altmark

Coach Bruce Pearl speaks at the opening ceremonies of the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games in Birmingham Of the five Jewish coaches to reach the Final Four, two won championships. Nat Holman won the national champion-


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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ship with City College of New York in 1950, becoming the only coach in history to win both the NCAA and NIT in the same season. A victory over Kentucky in the NIT was the worst loss of Kentucky legend Adolph Rupp’s career, and the Kentucky legislature called for the capitol flag to be flown at half mast. At the time, the 12-team NIT was more prestigious than the 8-team NCAA tournament. An original Celtic, Holman organized the U.S. team for the first Maccabiah Games in Palestine in 1932, and in 1949 was the first American to coach in Israel. Larry Brown led Kansas to the title in 1988 after bringing UCLA to the Final Four in 1980. Brown, who as a player led the U.S. team to the gold medal in the 1961 Maccabiah in Israel and the U.S. Olympics team to gold in 1964, is the only coach to win an NCAA title and an NBA title, with Detroit in 2004. Harry Litwack of Temple reached the Final Four in 1956 and 1958, losing both times in the semifinals, and winning the 1969 NIT. Guy Lewis led Houston to five Final Four appearances, in 1967 and 1968, then three years in a row from 1982 to 1984 with a team known as “Phi Slama Jama.” The 1983 and 1984 teams reached the championship game. As with many of the other Jewish Final Four coaches, Pearl had a Maccabiah experience, coaching the 2009 team that included his son, Stephen, to the gold medal. Before heading to Israel, Pearl, then coach at Tennessee, brought the Maccabiah team members to Shabbat services at Heska Amuna in Knoxville, where he led the service. “To take 12 Jewish men to Israel and to come back to the U.S. as mensches was incredibly meaningful,” he said. “To wear USA on our chests and to have a Star of David in our hearts was special.” He was the keynote speaker for the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games opening ceremony in Birmingham. “Breaking down stereotypes is a huge part of my life,” he said. “To see what the Maccabi Games did to give such a positive impression of Birmingham and the South warmed my heart. There were kids and their parents coming to Birmingham for the first time and they all seemed to have so many great things to say about their time there.” On April 30, Pearl will be the keynote speaker at the State of Alabama’s Holocaust commemoration at the Capitol, which he attended last year. Each year, Pearl participates in Auburn’s “We Walk to Remember” commemoration, part of “Unto Every Person There is a Name.” At Tennessee, he took his team to the Czech Republic and Germany, including stops at the Dachau and Theresienstadt concentration camps on the itinerary. In a 2008 interview with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, he said he visits a concentration camp every time he goes to Europe, and many of his players didn’t know anything about the Holocaust. “For me as a coach and a teacher, my whole thing is to bring my team together, to accept each other’s differences, to tolerate one another, and that helps us become a great team,” he explained. After the Final Four defeat, Pearl emphasized demonstrating class and dignity. “There are lots of calls during the game, and you’re going to get some, and some you’re not going to get,” he said. He told the players “Would we have trusted God any more in victory than we would trust Him in defeat, in the sense that He carried us all the way here, all season long, and put so much blessing upon us? So this is what the plan was, and let’s handle the defeat with dignity.” Reflecting on the game, Pearl said “I’d like it to be remembered for a great game. Let’s not remember this game because of just how it ended. Let’s remember two teams that played really hard that only had 13 turnovers combined, didn’t shoot it very well because there was great defense… It was a great college basketball game.”


HAPPY PASSOVER Celebrate Freedom


Abraham Hausman-Weiss, center, with James Cook and Ford Burttram at the University of Alabama awards event.

Hausman-Weiss part of back-to-back national championship team Though Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers fell in the Final Four, there is still a Jewish basketball national champion this year in the state of Alabama. Abraham Hausman-Weiss is a member of the University of Alabama Adapted Athletics wheelchair basketball team that won the national championship on March 20 in Champaign, Ill. The Alabama men’s and women’s team swept the national championships, and for the men it was a back-to-back title. Alabama defeated Wisconsin-Whitewater, 79-73, in a rematch of last year’s title game, which Alabama had won, 69-65. In the quarterfinals, Alabama beat Southwest Minnesota State, 77-65, then took out Texas-Arlington in the semi-finals, 75-59. Hausman-Weiss was born in Los Angeles, then in 1999 when he was 19 months old, his father, Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss, became director of adult Jewish outreach at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El. Hausman-Weiss was born with a rare form of spina bifida. A student at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, he began swimming and doing track and field at a young age at Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham, the largest Olympic and Paralympic training center in the country. In first grade, he won first place in numerous national track and field events, including a national record in discus. In first grade, he saw the Lakeshore wheelchair basketball team play and knew that is what he wanted to pursue. In 2011, the family moved to Houston, where he graduated from the Emery/Weiner School and was a member of the national champion TIRR Memorial Hermann Junior Hotwheels. He signed with Alabama in 2016. A junior majoring in astrophysics, Hausman-Weiss was named First Team Academic All-American. Alabama also presented him with the team’s James Cook Academic Award.

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

V.P. nominee, unlikely spy among Jewish honorees at WWII Museum Senator Joseph Lieberman, Marthe Cohn and Gerhard Weinberg are among the honorees at this year’s American Spirit Awards at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Lieberman and Vice President Dick Cheney will receive the American Spirit Award from the museum. The American Spirit Award is given to an individual “who best exemplifies the outstanding qualities of the American spirit, including teamwork, optimism, courage, and sacrifice, and who inspires the exploration and expression of these values through their own life and work.” Lieberman was a U.S. senator from Connecticut for 24 years, and was the vice presidential candidate on the Democrat ticket in 2000 with Sen. Al Gore. Before being elected to the Senate in 1988, he spent 10 years in the Connecticut Senate and six years as the state’s attorney general. As he concluded his Senate service, he was chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. Cheney was elected vice president in 2000, serving two terms under President George W. Bush. At age 34, President Gerald Ford appointed Cheney to lead the White House staff as the nation was reeling in the aftermath of Watergate. After Ford’s term, Cheney was elected to the U.S. House from Wyoming From top: Sen. Joe Lieberman, and served five terms, then was Secre- Gerhard Weinberg, Marthe tary of Defense under President George Cohn during her 2017 talk in Baton Rouge H.W. Bush. Weinberg will receive the American Spirit Medallion, given to individuals “who demonstrate extraordinary dedication to the principles that strengthen America’s freedom and democracy.” Weinberg is an internationally recognized authority on Nazi Germany and the origins and course of World War II. He is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author or editor of numerous books and articles on 20th-century European and world history. He is the 2009 Pritzker Military Museum and Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing, and he currently sits on the Museum’s Presidential Counselors advisory board. Born in Hanover, Germany, Weinberg fled with his parents in 1938 due to Nazi persecution, arriving in New York in 1941. He served in the U.S. Army during the occupation of Japan, then received a doctorate in history at the University of Chicago. In 1958 he discovered Hitler’s “Second Book,” a sequel to “Mein Kampf.” Also being recognized is the Honorable Everett Alvarez, Jr., the first U.S. aviator downed over Vietnam, and who was a prisoner of war from 1964 to 1973. He has written two books, has served as a senior administrator for the Peace Corps and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

community Peggy Noonan, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is also an honoree. A speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, she has written nine books on American politics and history. Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, will also receive the medallion for her philanthropic work. Cohn, who became one of the war’s most unlikely spies, will receive the Silver Service Medallion. Silver Service Medallions are presented to “veterans and those with a direct connection to World War II who have served our country with distinction and continue to lead by example.” A 4-foot-10 French Jewish girl when the war broke out, Cohn did not speak of her activities until the 1990s because she figured nobody would believe her. She enlisted in the French Army and was recruited to the intelligence forces because she spoke German — and as all men were in uniform, as a woman she would not attract suspicion. With a cover story of being a German nurse looking for a missing fiancé, she went behind enemy lines and provided crucial information about the Siegfried Line and a planned ambush in the Black Forest. In 1999, she was presented France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire, and five years ago, she was given the Cross of the Order of Merit, Germany’s highest honor. She spoke at Chabad events in Baton Rouge and New Orleans in 2017. Col. Charles McGee, a command pilot from Tuskegee, will also be honored. He flew 136 missions in World War II, 100 missions in the Korean War and 173 missions in Vietnam. Also receiving the Silver Service Medallion is Col. Gail Halvorsen, who flew in the South Atlantic during World War II. He was with the Air Force for 31 years and is best known as a “candy bomber” in the Berlin Airlift, delivering essential supplies to Soviet-blockaded Berlin after World War II. A patron’s event will be held on May 22 at the Windsor Court Hotel for guests from across the country and the museum’s board. The American Spirit Awards Luncheon and Leadership Forum will be on May 23 at 10:30 a.m. at the U.S. Freedom Pavilion. The honorees will share their experiences with 51 student leaders, representing each state and the District of Columbia. The black-tie gala, with Susan Spicer as the featured chef, will be that evening at 6, also at the Freedom Pavilion. A cocktail reception will precede the event, in the Solomon Victory Complex and BB’s Stage Door Canteen. Gala tickets are $750, patron levels start at $1,000.

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Many Jewish groups involved in GiveNOLA on May 7 Several Jewish organizations in the New Orleans area will participate in this year’s GiveNOLA Day, a midnight-to-midnight online fundraising day that takes place on May 7. Now in its sixth year, almost 700 non-profits participate in GiveNOLA, and last year almost $5.6 million was raised through 49,000 donations. A Lagniappe Fund is divided among the organizations in proportion to how much they raised. The organizations with the most money raised gets a $10,000 bonus in both the large and small organization categories. Similar awards go to groups with the most individual donors. Bonuses are given through fifth place. There are also hourly Rock Around the Clock bonuses of $1,000, and any organization with a donation during that hour is eligible for the drawing. The minimum donation is $10. Last year, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans placed first among small organizations for the fourth year in a row, with $92,416 before matching funds were added. The dividing line between large and small organizations is an operating budget of $1 million. In addition to the Federation, participating organizations include Jewish Children’s Regional Service, Jewish Community Day School, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section, Northshore Jewish Congregation, the Anti-Defamation League, Avodah, Beth Israel, Hadassah New Orleans, Tulane Hillel, the Jewish Community Center and Slater Torah Academy. Other institutions taking part include Isidore Newman School, Longue Vue and the Touro Infirmary Foundation. Last year, the Day School placed first in Jefferson Parish in the education category, raising $25,600 plus a $20,000 match by three donors. Instead of a GiveNOLA Fest this year, there will be a partnership with Young Leadership Council to have Get Down and GiveNOLA at the Wednesday at the Square concert series. Donors may make contributions as early as May 1 at

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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

As Chabad at Louisiana State University winds down its fourth year, the annual Chai Shabbat was held on March 22.

Cleaning Together in Panama City On April 5, Servant’s Heart Disaster Relief from Apalachicola spent the day at Temple B’nai Israel in Panama City, which is still working on repairing damage from October’s Hurricane Michael. Rev. Frederic Smith, who heads the Apalachicola group, said the day came about from an old friend’s request. Years ago his wife played piano at the wedding of Karen and Les Stern, and Les Stern contacted him to see about doing a mitzvah for a synagogue in honor of the help First Congregation Sons of Israel in St. Augustine, where he is president, received after Hurricanes Matthew and Irma. Just a month before Michael hit the Florida panhandle, Sons of Israel reopened its sanctuary for the first time in 22 months since their hurricane. Smith said “I hoped to be able to make his Mitzvah happen, if not for the Temple, then for its members.” At the last moment, Stern’s group was unable to come, so Smith asked Christian groups working in the area, and a church from Hiram, Ga., stepped in on

their last day of a disaster relief visit. “We cut and hauled trees and debris from around the Temple,” Smith said. During a rainstorm, the volunteers went inside B’nai Israel and President Mike Starkman gave a brief introduction to Judaism and showed them the Torah. They hoped to stay for services in the evening, but continued rain soaked everyone and they called it a day early in the afternoon. Smith said his team and volunteers from B’nai Israel “had a wonderful time serving the G-d of Avram, Yitzhak and Yacov together; as He intended.”

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community Sandy Hook mother talks to NCJW about gun violence Nicole Hockley started advocacy group in memory of her son, Dylan

Happy Passover to my friends and supporters in the Jewish community

Judge Sidney H. Cates, IV Orleans Civil Court Division C

The National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater New Orleans Section hosted the founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, Nicole Hockley, to its general meeting on March 12 to discuss gun violence prevention. Hockley described herself as a marketing professional who became a gun violence expert, all while grieving the loss of her son, Dylan, and trying to make a difference in his honor. “I don’t want any other parent to experience this kind of loss, especially as I’ve learned how preventable it is,” Hockley told the group. “There are solutions we can use to make a difference.” After the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Hockley and Sandy Hook Promise first decided to focus on policy change. The group initially advocated for background checks, which was the most prevalent action in the gun violence prevention movement. After a major setback in 2013, however, with the failure of the Background Check Amendment, SHP changed its approach. “That was devastating, but it was also a critical learning moment for us.” Hockley said. “That’s when we started studying the causes of gun violence, other shootings and suicide and domestic violence. We decided we’ll be that organization that teaches people about gun violence, teaches people about the causes and gives them the tools to actually prevent it where they live,” Hockley said. She has helped to educate and train over 2.5 million youth, teens, and adults in all 50 states through the organization’s “Know the Signs” programs that are offered to schools and youth

Nicole Hockley shows photo of her son, Dylan and community groups at no cost. Her work has resulted in the prevention of multiple school shooting plots and gun threats, several teen suicides, as well as other violent acts throughout the country. Victoria Coy spoke about the ongoing efforts of gun violence prevention in Louisiana. An NCJW board member, Coy is a prominent violence prevention strategist, most recently serving as the End Gun Violence Campaign Manager for Amnesty International USA and is the continued on next page

Celebrating Jewish life on the Hilltop

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El held Birmingham-Southern College Hillel Shabbat on March 15


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community founder and director emeritus of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition. Coy spoke passionately about the ongoing efforts to reform legislation, as well as change public opinion in order to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook and the hundreds of other senseless acts with firearms that occur every year. “We are winning in states like Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee,” Coy said, “not only because we’re changing laws but because of rooms full of people like you giving up their Tuesday nights to take a stand to end gun violence.”

Emerging Leader Award

At the meeting, the Honorable Miriam Waltzer presented Maddie Fireman with NCJW’s Emerging Leadership Award, which pays tribute to a member new to the NCJW scene who shows great promise for future leadership. Fireman has been serving as NCJW’s State Policy Advocate since 2017. “She is a fearless advocate for the people of Louisiana,” Waltzer said, citing her actions on behalf of voting rights, reproductive rights, human rights and LGBTQ rights. “Maddie cares deeply about community and her work has had Birmingham’s Friendship Circle had its annual Color Run fundraiser on March 17 at the Levite far reaching effects. She was literally born to get Jewish Community Center. The Chabad-run program matches teen volunteers with peers this award.” who have special needs, helping them socialize and become more active in the community.



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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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The Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, a regional organization supporting Jewish communities across the South, hosted two of the foremost leaders of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements, Arnold M. Eisen and Rabbi David Ellenson, for a series of discussions surrounding “Thoughts on the Jewish Future” at Congregation Beth Yeshurun and Congregation Beth Israel in Houston on March 15 and 16. Ellenson, chancellor-emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform movement’s seminary, was named interim president after the death of his successor, Rabbi Aaron Panken, in a plane crash last year. Since 2007, Eisen has served as the seventh chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Conservative movement’s seminary. Across three events, the two leaders engaged in conversations entitled “The State of Our Union: Jews and Judaism in America Today,” ”The Future of American Judaism” and “Who We Are, What We Stand For, How We Lead.” The weekend was coordinated as a way to highlight the work of ISJL, said Macy Hart, ISJL founder and president emeritus. “We serve a 13-state Southern territory, and people think of us as primarily serving the smallest of Jewish communities — but our biggest footprint is in Texas; communities like Houston, where there are tremendous local resources, but also still such a need for the Judaic support, programming and connections the ISJL provides.” In Houston, around 1,000 Jewish students take advantage of the Institute’s educational opportunities, and the Institute’s cultural programming department has also been active there. Hart added that having distinguished leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements shows “we’re trans-denominational and work with diverse Jewish partners.” The Shabbat evening program at Beth Israel, which included a seated meal, was sold out with a waiting list. The morning luncheon and evening Havdalah discussion took place at Beth Yeshurun. Over 600 attended the weekend’s events.

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ISJL President Michele Schipper, Rabbi David Ellenson, Arnold M. Eisen, Macy Hart 20

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans


JEWISH NEWSLETTER April 2019 | Pesach 5779

Vol. XIV No. 3

GiveNOLA Day is on Tuesday, May 7, and we’re asking your help to grow our Greater New Orleans Jewish community! Here are two ways in which you can make a difference: 1. Pay your 2019 Annual Campaign pledge through the GiveNOLA website. (You can allocate funds from your donor-advised fund at GNOF before April 16, 2019, too.) The Greater New Orleans Foundation’s (GNOF) Lagniappe Fund offers a special matching opportunity, and GiveNOLA Day prizes amplify the power of your pledge payment. Did you know the Lagniappe Fund more than covers any merchant fees incurred by Federation on GiveNOLA Day, netting an additional $1,757 in 2018 alone? Additionally, for the fourth year in a row, last year we won first place in total amount raised amongst small organizations, earning an additional $10,000 that was added to the 2018 Annual Campaign. 2. If you have already made your 2019 pledge, consider an additional gift to Federation on GiveNOLA Day. The Goldring Family and Woldenberg Foundations will generously match the increase at 25%! After all, giving grows community. Learn more at, or contact Cait Gladow at or at 504-780-5614.

Chag Pesach Sameach, New Orleans! Learn what our community has in store at April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Community Relations Council Updates On April 1, the Jewish Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) held a riveting program called “Doing Business in Israel: Politics, The Economy & The Upcoming Elections,” at the Port of New Orleans. The event highlighted the 71 years since Israel’s founding. The panelists discussed what Israel’s political and economic environment is like now and how Louisiana can continue to learn and contribute to the future. The panel was moderated by Fox 8’s Lee Zurik, and featured Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, Dr. Leonard Ray, Rabbi Reuven Spolter, and Guy Tessler (pictured, right, with event co-chairs Morris and Melinda Mintz, Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow, Dana Shepard, and Kathy Shepard). The event was sponsored by the Port of New Orleans and the World Trade Center New Orleans. On Tuesday, April 9, the 2019 Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans HBCU Speaker Series: Presented by Morris Bart, launched at Xavier University of Louisiana. The program featured remarks from Pastor Chris Harris of Bright Star Community Outreach in Chicago, He discussed African-American/Jewish relations, as well as urban violence and the model of NATAL - the Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War - and how he is applying it to train faith leaders and mental health professionals as counselors to provide violence prevention services in innercity communities in the U.S.

HCBU Speaker Series Sponsor Morris Bart with Pastor Chris Harris

Co-chaired by Joshua and Mara Force, this event marked the launch of a three-part series aimed at connecting the Jewish and African-American communities in the Greater New Orleans area on relevant topics of mutual interest. The past, present, and future of the Jewish/African-American relationship will be explored by different national and local experts, with the goal of engaging both Jews and AfricanAmericans in the region. Future events will be held at Dillard University and Southern University at New Orleans in the fall.

To learn more about JCRC, please contact Mithun Kamath at Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow with New Orleans City Council Member Jay Banks 22

April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

Toby David presented with third Steeg-Grinspoon Award Tulane University's Gabe Feldman was the keynote speaker at an April 8 event honoring Toby David as the third annual awardee of the Marion B. Steeg – Harold Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. Toby David is a storyteller, educator, and master of ceremonies in New Orleans, LA. He teaches Jewish studies at the Jewish Community Day School of New Orleans. He also serves on the board and steering committee for Limmud New Orleans, a Jewish learning conference. He has been a teaching assistant for courses in the Tulane Jewish Studies department. He teaches performance at Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow with speaker Gabe Feldman, award recipient Toby the Country Day Creative Arts program. He was a Fulbright David, Selection Committe Chair Rabbi Robert Loewy, and Federation CEO Henry scholar in Sri Lanka after graduating with honors from Miller Swarthmore College. The Marion B. Steeg – Harold Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education is an award that highlights the value of Jewish education in its many varieties in our community. To be nominated, educators must be involved with a group of Jewish students and/or Jewish learning community on a regular basis, meaningfully imparting the treasures of Jewish life. For more information, please contact Michelle Neal

Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans & ADL South Central Region Statement on Arrest in St. Landry Parish Church Fires The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the ADL South Central Region stand in solidarity with St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, LA, and Greater Union Baptist Church and Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, both in Opelousas, LA, in the aftermath of the horrific fires that destroyed their buildings. We also commend law enforcement for its swift apprehension of the alleged perpetrator of the arsons, and await more information as the investigation proceeds. We appreciate the continued efforts of law enforcement to ensure the safety and security of other religious institutions in those communities throughout the state. That the alleged perpetrator appears to have singled out African-American churches specifically is deeply troubling, and certainly no house of worship should ever be targeted for violence. The Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association, part of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention, is actively raising funds to benefit rebuilding efforts for all three churches. We encourage those interested in donating to visit: https://www.gofundme. com/church-fires-st-landry-parishmacedonia-ministry. You can also mail a check made payable to the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association to the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association, c/o Ruth Jack/Finance Secretary, P.O. Box 3921, Lafayette, LA 70502. Ms. Jack will then mail you a tax receipt. April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


9th annual Goldring-Woldenberg Major Donor Dinner fetes Federation donors On Thursday, March 21, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans held its ninth annual Goldring-Woldenberg Major Donor Dinner at the Windsor Court Hotel. 73 major donors to Federation were in attendance, and Rachel Van Vorhees performed for the audience. The evening was a black-tie affair, generously underwritten and hosted by Darryl and Louellen Berger and the Windsor Court Hotel. The 2019 Annual Campaign is co-chaired by Jan Miller and Jonny Lake. This event is open to members of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community who make a minimum household gift of $10,000 to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. To learn more about the Federation’s Annual Campaign, please contact Sherri Tarr at

Top left: Jonny & Fran Lake with Jan & Henry Miller | Top right: Joshua Rubenstein with Mara & Joshua Force Bottom left: Richard & Vivian Cahn with Cathy & Morris Bart | Bottom right: Brian & Lisa Katz with Carole & Morton Katz

Did you know that 70% the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign raises stays right here in our New Orleans Jewish community? As the JNOLA Philanthropy & Social Action Committee likes to emphasize, every dollar counts. Whether large or small, JNOLA members who give are making an impact on the community. For donors who are able to give more, the Philanthropy & Social Action Committee shows its appreciation with a yearly thank-you soiree for the JNOLA Chai Society - the leadership giving level for individuals between the ages of 21-45 who are able to make a gift of $180 towards the Jewish Federation’s Annual Campaign. As a JNOLA member, you are able to pay your Chai Society gift in one lump sum or break it down to $15 a month. Once you sign up, you’re eligible to attend the thank-you soirees. In the past they’ve included a cooking demonstration with chef Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, a sushi demonstration and dinner, a New Orleans fine spirits class with a special performance by members of the Preservation Hall Band, a personal tour of M.S. Rau Antiques with hors d’oeuvres and wine, and more! To learn more or sign up, please contact JNOLA Manager Tana Velen at JNOLA is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, consisting of young Jewish adults between the ages of 21 – 45. This program hosts a wide variety of events, centering on community connection, professional networking, social action, and Jewish life in New Orleans. JNOLA is proudly sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust. 24

April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

Jewish Endowment Foundation

Four Questions

About Charitable Gift Annuities and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana

What are the Benefits of a Charitable Gift Annuity? • You receive fixed payments to yourself or another annuitant you designate for life. • You receive a charitable income tax deduction for the charitable gift portion of the annuity. • You benefit from payments that may be partially tax-free. • Your gift furthers the charitable work of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana.

How Does a Charitable Gift Annuity Work? • A Charitable Gift Annuity is a contract between you and Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. • You transfer cash or property to JEF. • In exchange, we sign an annuity contract and promise to pay fixed payments to you for life. The payment can be quite generous depending on your age — and a portion of each payment may even be tax-free.

How Do I Fund a Charitable Gift Annuity? • If you decide to fund your Charitable Gift Annuity with cash, a significant portion of the annuity payment will be tax-free. • If you donate appreciated securities to fund your gift annuity, you can avoid a portion of the capital gains tax. • There are also other assets that can be used to fund a Charitable Gift Annuity — please contact us to discuss your options.

How is a Charitable Gift Annuity Different from Other Planned Gifts? • A Charitable Gift Annuity is a one-page document, a contract between you and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. • The assets of JEF back the payments that you receive quarterly or annually for the rest of your life.

• You will receive a charitable income tax deduction for the gift portion of the annuity. • You also receive the satisfaction of knowing that you will be helping further our mission.

Please contact Patti Lengsfield at (504) 524-4559 or to discuss how you can create a Charitable Gift Annuity at JEF.

The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana has moved! Our new address is 1 Galleria Blvd, Suite 1040, Metairie, LA 70001 Our phone number — (504) 524-4559 — has not changed.

April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Community Center Summer Fun Starts at the J!

An Evening with Doug and Susan Segal

Still looking for an awesome summer camp?

In 2012 Doug Segal’s wife and daughter were hit head-on by a Los Angeles city bus. What began as regular emails to friends and family during his wife’s lengthy road to recovery became a memoir of this experience. Join us as Doug and his wife Susan share their incredible story, recounted in his book “Struck: A Husband’s Memoir of Trauma and Triumph.” Alternately harrowing, humorous, heartbreaking and hopeful, it is an uplifting tribute to love, determination, and how the compassion of community holds the power to heal. The event is free and open to the community, April 30 at 7 p.m. at the Uptown JCC.

The Goldring-Woldenberg JCC in Metairie has availability for all camp units, ages 3 to 13. They offer an action-packed summer filled with swimming, field trips, sports, arts and crafts, and more. Camp runs June 3 to July 26. Applications and all payments are accepted online.

Rabin in His Own Words

In honor of Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel Independence Day, we will Registration is customizable, allowing families to sign up for the show the movie “Rabin In His Own Words.” An “autobiography” of weeks that best fit their needs. Early Childhood and General Day sorts, the story is told entirely in Rabin’s own voice. Through a comCampers must enroll in a minimum of four weeks, but those weeks do bination of rare archival footage, home movies and private letters, his not need to be consecutive. personal and professional dramas unfold before the viewer’s eyes, until Register before April 15 to receive Metairie’s “early bird discount.” the horrific moment when his political career and life were suddenly Teens who register for four or more weeks receive $100 off their total brought to an end. Israeli snacks will be served. The screening, May tuition. Visit to learn more about all of the fun that 9 at noon, is free and open to the community. Reserve by May 6 to awaits campers during a summer at the J! Rachel Ruth at 897-0143, ext. 161, or

Last Chance to Join Team NOLA Registration is about to close for spots on Team NOLA, the New Orleans JCC’s delegation to the Maccabi Games and ArtsFest, held August 4 to 9 in Detroit. Open to Jewish teens ages 12 to 16, this oneof-a-kind event brings together Jewish teenagers from around the world to participate in athletic activities or the arts experience, as well as fun social events and a meaningful community service project. Sports participants can compete in either individual or group sports. For the boys, team options include 14U and 16U baseball, basketball, lacrosse and soccer. Girls may participate in 16U basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball. Boys and girls of all ages may compete in the following individual activities: dance, golf, tennis, swimming, star reporter, table tennis and track and field.

Connecting Through Brunch Out March continued to be a busy month for Tulane Hillel, following an eventful Mardi Gras season and Spring Break. Upon return to campus, Hillel held a successful event connecting students with New Orleans professionals for a “Brunch Out” in the historic Garden District home of Howard Moses, local engineer and member of the New Orleans Jewish community.

ArtsFest specialties include Acting/Improv, Culinary Arts, Dance, Over 40 students enjoyed a caMusical Theater, Rock Band, Social Media Squad SMS, Visual Arts tered brunch from favorite Uptown and Vocal Music. spots, Bearcat Café and Laurel To register or to learn more about the New Orleans delegation, Street Bakery, while networking please visit or contact delegation head Neal Alsop at (504) with local leaders of various indus897-0143 or tries, and learning about their career and life paths. Students across all disciplines had the opportunity to schmooze with lawyers, architects, entrepreneurs, disaster recovery professionals, marketing executives, leaders in the nonprofit sector and more.

The New Orleans basketball team took bronze in 2015 26

April 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

Tulane Sophomore and member of Hillel’s Tulane Jewish Leaders’ program,

Jewish Family Service Dvash is back for 2019! Celebrate mental health with modern Israeli cuisine

Recognize Mental Health Awareness Month and support vital mental health services at JFS by joining us on May 16 for Dvash: a Celebration of Modern Israeli Cuisine. The event will be at The Cannery with a Patron Party at 6 p.m. and the main event at 7 p.m. As a culinary strolling event, a variety of New Orleans-based restaurants and chefs will create tasting dishes based on modern Israeli cuisine — which includes regional dishes (Middle Eastern, Mediterranean) as well as the immigrant collaborative of recipes that have landed in JFS now accepts Medicaid from Aetna Better Health, Louisiana Israel (European, North African, Baltics, etc). Healthcare Connections, and United Healthcare. Sponsorships and patron opportunities are available for this event. Sponsors contributing $2,500 or more will be invited to an exclusive JFS also accepts MEDICARE, along with Aetna, United Healthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar, and Tricare Chef’s Table dinner at Doris Metropolitan on May 14. insurance policies for Counseling Services. Go online to or call (504) 831-8475. Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and family problems. Appointments are available. Fees are assessed on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. To make an appointment, call (504) 831-8475.

JFS Now Accepts Medicaid

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals: Olivia Zelony, said, “Brunch Out was a really great experience, as I had the chance to talk to New Orleanian professionals who are doing amazing things in their respective fields. I’m especially grateful for the opportunity I had to learn more about my concentration of study from an established engineer, as well as broadening my scope and conversing with young professionals in other lines of work.” To keep up to date with all things Tulane Hillel, follow us on Facebook at

Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at Jewish Family Service LGBTQ, Working With Youth/Families

April 12, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Carrie Patterson, LMSW. Approved for 3 General hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE.

Improving Your Group Therapy Skills

May 10, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Marvin Clifford, Ph.D., LCSW. Approved for 3 General hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE.

CEU Bootcamp:

Personality Disorders: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment June 20, 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. (1 hour lunch break). Presented by Dana delaBretonne, LPC. Approved for 3 General hours by LCA and 3 Diagnosis/Clinical hours by LABSWE*.


June 21, 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. (1 hour lunch break). Presented by Thomas Fonesca, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT-SC, NCSN, NCC. Approved for 6 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 6 Clinical hours by LABSWE. *Awaiting Board Approval Pricing varies. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information or to register, call (504) 831-8475, or visit the Workshops and Continuing Education page on the JFS website: April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Jewish Community Day School To the moon: Students chat with Israeli space pioneer JCDS students were thrilled to hear from Nir Amitai, System Engineer and Satellite Mission Control pioneer with Space IL, during a webinar live-streamed from Israel especially for American Jewish Day School students. Students learned all about the Beresheet mission — making Israel the 4th nation to land a spacecraft on the moon, and the first by a private organization. Amitai discussed the many challenges that faced the design team, including propulsion, landing, navigation and communication. Students were heard whispering, “This is just like Exploravision, but for grownups!” (Exploravision is a science contest JCDS 3rd and 4th graders participate in annually.) The spacecraft carries a digital “time capsule” containing over 30 million pages of data, including a full copy of English-language Wikipedia, the Torah, children’s drawings, memories of a Holocaust survivor, Israel’s national anthem (Hatikvah), the Israeli flag, and a copy of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. “What did you put into the time capsule?” students wondered. “A photo of my family and another photo of my grandparents when they first came to Israel after the Holocaust,” Amitai responded. Nir told the story of disliking physics and math as a youngster, and complained to his parents that these would never help him. Yet those very subjects helped him sent a shuttle to space. Amitai and the entire Space IL team hope to inspire young students to land their own moon! JCDS first grader Tally Furlow summed it all up: “Beresheet is a tiny spacecraft, from a tiny country, which is a BIG deal!”

75 Mitzvot

Israeli Magic The OTS Amiel Bakehila Organization sent a little magic to NOLA all the way from Israel. Special guest Magician and Musician Daniel Yehuda visited JCDS students to sing, dance, and perform some magic! Special thanks to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans for sending the dynamic Daniel our way!

Dance-A-Thon Success What a success! The First Annual JCDS Parent Association Dance-A-Thon really pumped up the volume!

JCDS students in grades Pre-K through 6 made over 75 kiddush cups for the Bruce Levy Memorial 2019 JFS Passover Food Baskets Program. Abby Wetsman, JCDS art teacher, invited students to explore positive and negative space, design and reverse image, and shape repetition as they deepened their understanding of sharing and caring for others. Glasses for this art project were purchased from Bridge House, a local organization which provides substance abuse treatment services. 28

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Over $1,200 was raised for the school’s new sound system AND everyone had a blast. Special thanks to Terrence Dugas, DJ Extraordinaire, Paul Dyer for his expert dance lessons, Linda Waknin of D’vash Catering for the amazing dinner, and all of our parent volunteers! Special guests, incoming Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School, Dr. Brad Philipson, and his wife, Killian, were welcomed by students and parents alike. Special thanks to PA President, Emily Dvorin, and Vice President, Kim Dugas Glass, for their vision, enthusiasm, and efforts! Big thanks to board members, JCDS families, and community friends who came out to boogie with us!


Ensuring Continuity of Service Stephen Sontheimer, Billy Henry move to Lake Lawn Metairie With apologies to Joe Walsh of The Eagles, it’s hard to leave when your name’s on the door. But that is exactly what fourth-generation funeral director Stephen Sontheimer and his longtime associate, Billy Henry, have done, leaving Metairie’s Tharp-Sontheimer to assume new roles at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home and Cemeteries. They have served the community for almost four decades, and on April 2 Lake Lawn announced that Sontheimer is their senior consultant of funeral services, and Henry is executive funeral director. They will offer guidance and support to fami- Stephen Sontheimer lies, organize arrangements for funeral, cemetery and cremation services, and provide professional, expert advice to all patrons of the historic and well-recognized New Orleans funeral home and cemetery. Sontheimer is a fourth-generation funeral director whose family has been involved in funeral service in New Orleans continuously since 1916. He started working in the industry in 1963, the year before he graduated from the Tulane School of Business. He was the former chairman and chief Billy Henry executive officer of Security Industrial Funeral Home Corporation, and for the past 22 years has been a funeral director-consultant associated with Bultman and Tharp-Sontheimer Funeral Homes. “Serving all faiths with compassion and excellent service is a personal priority,” said Sontheimer. “The opportunity to join Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home allows me to continue this mission and to work with the team in providing unparalleled service to our families at the most beautiful and well-located facility in New Orleans.” Sontheimer is a past chapter chairman and member of the Young Presidents Organization, the president of Regional Loan Corporation, president of Jewish Family Service, an early board member at the Contemporary Arts Center and a founding member of Hospice New Orleans. Additionally, he served on the boards of the Tulane University Cancer Center, Cancer Consortium, Touro Infirmary, LCMC Health, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Jewish Welfare Federation, Touro Synagogue, Hebrew Rest Cemetery and the Anti-Defamation League. Henry is the former general manager of Tharp-Sontheimer Funeral Home, bringing 38 years of local experience to his new role as executive funeral director at Lake Lawn. “I am honored to make this transition with my colleague of many years, Stephen Sontheimer, as we fulfill the mission of serving families who place their trust in us,” said Henry. “We are satisfied that Lake Lawn Metairie has prioritized their efforts in appointing management and funeral directors deeply-rooted within the New Orleans community.” Henry has been a national board licensed funeral director and embalmer since 1973 and is an active community role model with a passion

s i n c e 19 8 3

Over 3,000 cars, trucks and SUV’s across New Orleans!

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community for serving the LGBTQ community of New Orleans. He is the past president and co-founder of Friday Night Before Mardi Gras, Inc., a non-profit fundraising organization providing support for LGBTQ communities. Sontheimer said there have been “a lot of changes in the world of funeral services,” and it was time to make a move for the long-term benefit of the community. After Hurricane Katrina, then-owner Alderwoods Group consolidated operations, closing the Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp flagship location on South Claiborne Avenue, which opened in 1931, and the Mid-City location, moving operations to the Metairie location in 2006. Sontheimer said it was never his intention to be at what was originally a suburban extension of the main facility, but Metairie became the main focus. Henry said “even though we had a nice place on Causeway, that was never our flagship.” Soon after, Houston-based Service Corporation International purchased Tharp-Sontheimer, and Sontheimer said they have “been very good to us in New Orleans.” In December 2013, SCI acquired Jefferson-based Stewart Enterprises to create the largest funeral company in the country. Due to anti-trust concerns, the Federal Trade Commission required SCI to sell 70 locations in 15 states, including Tharp-Sontheimer and three other New Orleans properties. In May 2014, Houston-based Carriage Services bought the four locations. Lake Lawn was one of the flagship locations for Stewart, Sontheimer said, and it became part of the new SCI. After Tharp-Sontheimer was sold, he and Henry made the difficult decision to relocate, that to better serve the community they needed to make a move, and this was the time to do it. Henry said Lake Lawn “really provides a great venue for us to do what we wanted to do.” Sontheimer said his role is to continue to work with the Jewish community, and train others at Lake Lawn on how to properly serve the Jewish community so everything is set for the next generation. “That was my biggest concern,” he said. “I wasn’t serving my loyal families properly by staying.” They both emphasized the decades of relationships they have with families in the Jewish community, and the desire to better serve them. At Lake Lawn, Henry said, they “will be able to leave the Jewish community in good hands if something ever happens to us.” Henry also mentioned how things have changed in the Jewish community, as so many long-term rabbis have retired in recent years, and next year just about the entire local rabbinate will be relative newcomers. They want to ensure that relationships are maintained, and “we can be their extension and help them any way we can.” Lake Lawn, Sontheimer said, has served many Jewish families over the years, but there is a widespread misperception that the facility is tied exclusively to Metairie Cemetery. He and Henry emphasized that Lake Lawn serves all congregations and all cemeteries in the area. Henry said Lake Lawn is like any free-standing funeral home in that regard. Sontheimer said Lake Lawn has “the finest facility, competitive pricing, the best location and the continuity of understanding the needs of the Jewish community, long after I’m gone.” “We are so pleased to welcome these notable funeral professionals who bring a wealth of experience and have deep ties to the New Orleans community,” said Huey Campbell, New Orleans market director. “We are confident that the reputation and leadership Stephen Sontheimer and Billy Henry offer will strengthen our service and effectively lead us in our mission to best serve the needs of New Orleans families.” Though Sontheimer’s name remains on a different door, “it was very clear to me that it was time to move on.” He has a name and reputation that goes back 100 years in New Orleans, “and that’s a treasure.” 30

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community Place a Flower for Hadar at the Seder table

Coming soon…

from the team at Southern Jewish Life

A new magazine for Israel’s Christian friends 32

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

While Seders around the world welcome Elijah every year, Birmingham’s Sidney Conn is encouraging people to make room for someone else — Hadar Cohen. This is the fourth year that Conn has made that request to friends, as this is the fourth year that Cohen will not be attending a Seder, having been killed in a 2016 terror attack. In her honor, and to represent all Israel Defense Forces soldiers and civilians who have been lost in terror attacks, Conn urges the placement of a single flower on the Seder table, “A Flower for Hadar.” Conn volunteers with Sar-El, the National Project for Volunteers in Israel. Many of the volunteers do some of the grunt work that would otherwise take time away from training and preparedness for Israeli soldiers. During his 2016 service while his wife, Elenor, was studying at Tel Aviv University, his barracks were overlooking the junction at Gush Etzion, the site of several terror attacks. Cohen grew up in Ohr Yehuda, and had been a border officer for two months. On her first day at the Damascus Gate to Jerusalem, Feb. 3, 2016, her border police team approached two Palestinians who were acting suspiciously. As one officer checked their identification, a second one pulled out a knife and stabbed Ravit, another officer, in the neck. Cohen managed to shoot the assailant, saving the life of her friend. A third terrorist, previously unnoticed and behind Cohen, opened fire with an automatic weapon, critically wounding Cohen in the head. She was rushed to Hadassah Medical Center, where she later died of her wounds. She was 19. The team was credited with stopping a major terror attack that was intended to inflict many casualties. The next day, novelist Naomi Ragen penned a tribute, saying Cohen “saved my life, and the lives of so many others who live in Jerusalem.” Though Conn did not know the Cohens, news of her death made a huge impression. At Sar-El, some soldiers were tasked with guiding the foreign volunteers. The Madrichot are “some of the finest girls you’re ever going to meet,” Conn said. Many are Lone Soldiers, who go to Israel to serve in the military despite not having any family in the country to serve as a support structure. “These kids are the brightest of the bright,” he said, and they were roughly the same age as Cohen. Returning home in 2016, Conn sent letters asking friends to have a “Flower for Hadar” on the Seder table.


He has been back to Israel several times since then. On one visit, he brought two polished stones that he had picked up at DeSoto Falls in Alabama, for his visit to the cemetery. “We can’t seem to get Hadar’s self-sacrifice out of our hearts and minds, nor are we trying to do so,” he said. During one service project near Ohr Yehuda, he met someone who knew the Cohens, and the connection was made. They are “the sweetest, nicest people,” Conn said. Because they are in their mid-40s, “they have a lot of years to be carrying this.” This year, Conn is expanding his effort. He is working to establish a foundation, also called “A Flower for Hadar,” to raise funds that will go toward scholarships for the Madrichot for their studies after their military service. He said many of them do not have families who are able to help them with their studies, so this will be a way to give back to them. He noted that Sar El has agreed to identify those who are candidates for the assistance. He is currently organizing the foundation and wants “to hit the road running” when it is launched.


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Lost Bayou Ramblers to lead more collaborative JazzFest Shabbat

SJL Online:


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

While there was uncharacteristic uncertainty over the headliner of this year’s New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, there has been no such turmoil at Touro Synagogue, as the Grammy-winning Lost Bayou Ramblers will headline the 28th annual JazzFest Shabbat, with special guest Aurora Nealand. The April 26 service has become a tradition during JazzFest, attracting congregants and tourists alike, along with some of the biggest names in jazz. The Panorama Jazz Band, Cantor Kevin Margolius and the Touro Synagogue Choir will also be featured, under the direction of Terry Maddox. The 7:30 p.m. service is free and open to the community, with first-come first-served seating when the doors open at 6:45 p.m. For anyone unable to attend in person, there will be a Livestream at “Jazz Fest Shabbat has been an opportunity for us to celebrate the synagogue’s long history here in New Orleans,” Margolius said, “and to celebrate how deeply engaged our congregation is with this fantastic city.” Margolius said there will be more musical collaboration this year. The Lost Bayou Ramblers will play along with several of the traditional liturgical songs, and “Mi Chamocha” will be done to the tune of one of their songs. Nealand is a member of the Panorama Jazz Band and will be a featured soloist during the service, and will join with the Lost Bayou Ramblers for their concert. Lost Bayou Ramblers began in 1999 in the Lafayette area as brothers Andre and Louis Michot performed the roots Cajun music they learned in Les Freres Michot, the band their father and uncles formed in the 1980s. They have released nine albums, with a Grammy nomination for the 2007 “Live a la Blue Moon.” Their 2012 album, “Mammoth Waltz,” included guest artists Gordon Gano, Scarlett Johansson and Dr. John, and was named No. 2 in the “Top 21 Louisiana Albums of the 21st Century” by the Times-Picayune. That year, they also provided music for the Oscar-nominated “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Their newest album, “Kalenda,” celebrates the history and cultural diversity of Kalenda, a Caribbean dance, Louisiana rhythm, Cajun rock and roll song and woman’s name, which crosses the black and white, and Creole-Cajun divides. It won the Best Regional Roots Music Album Grammy. Nealand grew up in California listening to Preservation Hall Jazz Band recordings, then after Oberlin College she wound up in New Orleans in 2004, performing as a vocalist and on saxophone and clarinet. She started a traditional jazz band, The Royal Roses, in 2010, and frequently appeared on “Treme.” She is seen as a leader in the revival of traditional jazz. For those who want to get the party started early, there will be a patron’s dinner and fundraiser starting at 6 p.m. Patron levels start at $175 and include VIP seating for the service. The $300 level includes the group’s Grammy-winning album “Kalenda,” the $500 level includes an

community Maddox to lead Springhill Avenue Temple concert of Reform music history

autographed JazzFest Shabbat poster, and the $1,000 level throws in two single-day passes to JazzFest. Limited edition autographed posters will also be available at the service, for $50. Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple has a long and celebrated history of This will also be the first Jazz Fest Shabbat in the newly-renovated main musical influence in Reform Judaism. That history will be an element of sanctuary. While there are many reasons to celebrate the community’s heritage, the congregation’s Scholar in Residence program on April 28, “Examples Margolius said “most of all, it’s Shabbat, and I can’t think of a better way of Musical Development and Influence in Reform Judaism.” The 5 p.m. concert will be directed by Terry Maddox, music director of to enjoy the day than with Jazz Fest Shabbat.” Touro Synagogue in New Orleans and the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Biloxi. He also is an adjunct professor at Spring Hill College. He will conduct a Massed Choir, comprised of members from the Mobile Vocal Arts Choral Society, the Biloxi “Gloria in Excelsis” Choral Society and the Touro Synagogue Choir. Guest artists include Tyler Smith and Betsy Uschkrat of Loyola University of New Orleans, Jacob Patrick from the University of Mobile, and Kathryn Domyan of New Orleans. They will be joined by Jessie Reeks, organist of the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, and Santiago Zorrilla de San Martin on String Bass. The program and lecture will share examples of choral works that reflect the changes that have influenced worship and social culture. Selections will go from the Baroque period to the beginning of the Reform movement, and the influence of pop, Broadway and Jazz on Jewish musical literature. Featured selections will include Charles Davidson, Louis Lewandowski, Salamone Rossi, Debbie Friedman, Kurt Weill, Johnny Mercer and Ziggy Elman. There will be a dinner following the program. Reservations for the dinner and the performance are $10 and are requested by April 26, payment Drive Thru: Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge sold over 2300 sandwiches can be made in advance or at the door. at its annual Corned Beef Sandwich Sale, March 15 to 17.

Corned Beef to go

April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community Holocaust remembrances in the region

Chag Sameach from The Pig!

Piggly Wiggly has a rich tradition built over several decades by stores that are locally owned and operated. Living in and supporting our communities is how we stay close to you, our customers. With a large wine selection, plus fresh produce, fresh never-frozen chicken, Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood daily, and a large selection of local and regional products at each store, we love to please you. Crestline: 41 Church St Homewood: 3000 Montgomery Hwy River Run: 3800 River Run Dr Clairmont: 3314 Clairmont Ave Bluff Park: 770 Shades Mountain Plaza Mt Laurel Area: 1324 Dunnavant Valley Rd and other stores throughout Birmingham Happy Passover from all your friends at the Birmingham-area Piggly Wiggly stores!


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Temple Emanu-El, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, and two other Southern communities, Augusta and Savannah, have partnered to bring Alexandra Senfft to speak. She will be at Emanu-El on April 25 at 5:45 p.m., presenting “The Long Shadow of the Perpetrators: The Nazi in My Family.” Her book, “Silence Hurts: A German Family History” won the German Best Biography Award. In it, she details the story of her grandfather, Hanns Ludin, who was executed as a war criminal 70 years ago for his actions while serving as the Third Reich ambassador to Slovakia. Her book will also be published in Slovakia soon. Hanns Ludin signed deportation orders for Slovakian Jews, sending them to Auschwitz, while convincing the Slovakian authorities of the necessity of the deportations and providing them with diplomatic cover stories. Senfft’s uncle, Malte Ludin, produced a film about his father, “2 or 3 Things I Know About Him” in 2005, where he detailed his father’s wartime legacy and his siblings’ persistent denial about it. One of those siblings was Erika, Senfft’s mother, who was at boarding school at age 14 when she learned that her father had been executed. Hanns Ludin’s widow maintained the family story that he had been innocent, a “victim of his era,” and his crimes were dismissed and never spoken of. When Senfft, who considered her grandfather a “detestable Nazi,” would ask her mother, she would cry, make excuses and indicate this was not a topic for discussion. Erika killed herself at age 64. As she tried to discover the truth about her grandfather, Senfft lost relationships with both friends and relatives. But she also gained new and supportive friendships, such as with the visionary Israeli psychology professor and filmmaker Dan Bar-On, who died in 2008. Like Bar-On, Selfft is deeply involved with dialogue and conciliation. She believes in the words of Rabbi Albert Friedlander that, “It’s not for me to forgive and I cannot forget; but we must live together anyway.” After completing a Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies, and German and English literature, Senfft became an observer for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine, eventually becoming its spokesperson. Since 1991 she has been an independent journalist for German publications. She has also published “Strange Enemy, so far: Encounters with Palestinians and Israelis,” and “The Long Shadow of the Perpetrators: Descendants Face their Nazi Family History.” Birmingham’s community Yom HaShoah commemoration will be on May 2 at 6:30 p.m., at Temple Beth-El. It will feature “Stories Remembered and Retold: The Stories of Deceased Holocaust Survivors As Told By Their Local Descendants.” Huntsville’s Yom HaShoah presentation will be on May 1 at 6:30 p.m., at The Rock Family Worship Center. James Sedlis of Birmingham will speak about his father, Gabriel Sedlis, who was in the Vilna ghetto but avoided being sent to concentration camps as his grandfather ran the ghetto’s hospital. Because Gabriel Sedlis spoke German, he was given numerous artistic projects, such as painting portraits of German officers. He then realized his artistic talents could be used for forgery, and made documents to help Jewish families escape the ghetto. He then joined the resistance movement. Mobile’s community commemoration will be on May 1 at 7 p.m., at Ahavas Chesed.


Riva Hirsch speaks at AUM in Montgomery The State of Alabama’s annual Holocaust commemoration will be April 30 at 11 a.m. at the Old House Chamber in Montgomery, with Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl as the keynote speaker. There will also be a proclamation by Governor Kay Ivey, and a luncheon following. The gathering, the oldest state commemoration in the nation, is coordinated by the Alabama Holocaust Commission. Montgomery’s community interfaith memorial service will be May 5 at 3:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Or. On April 11 at 9:30 a.m., the annual commemoration at Auburn University at Montgomery was held, with talks from two Holocaust survivors, Max Herzel and Riva Hirsch of Birmingham. The annual event started in 1996 in Selma under the leadership of Sheila Guidry, then moved to Montgomery in 2001. Without her at the helm, the event was on hiatus for two years, but after the emotions of local memorials from last October’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, faculty members decided to revive it, with Guidry as an advisor.

The annual Baton Rouge commemoration will be held at B’nai Israel on April 28 at 4 p.m. There will be a memorial service and recognition of the 2019 Holocaust essay contest winners.

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Author Georgia Hunter will be the keynote speaker at this year’s New Orleans Yom Ha’Shoah community-wide memorial program, May 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. The annual memorial program remembers and honors local survivors while educating the public about the Holocaust and teaching the importance of tolerance. It is free and open to the community. During the program, students from the Donald R. Mintz Youth Leadership Mission of the Anti-Defamation League will be recognized, and the 14th Annual Educator of the Year award will be presented to Paul Distler, a social studies teacher at Cabrini High School, for the outstanding work he has done integrating Holocaust education into the curriculum. A dessert reception will follow the program. Hunter’s best-selling debut novel, “We Were the Lucky Ones,” is the extraordinary true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive — and to reunite. The book is based upon her relatives’ experiences during the war. It will be available for purchase and signing after the event.

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Shreveport’s 36th annual Holocaust remembrance service will be on May 5 at 3 p.m., at the Broadmoor United Methodist Church. Beth Israel in Jackson will hold a Holocaust memorial service on May 1 at 6:30 p.m., with guest speaker Dan Puckett of Troy University. Puckett chairs the Alabama Holocaust Commission, is past president of the Southern Jewish Historical Society and is author of “In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust.”

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• April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Celebrating Israel’s 71th Birthday

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In Birmingham, the Levite Jewish Community Center will host a Yom Ha’Atzmaut Festival on May 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There will be live music, food and beverages for purchase, children’s activities and inflatables, and more. The event is open to the community and is co-sponsored by many local Jewish institutions. Meanwhile, The Friedman Family Foundation’s Jewish Food and Culture Festival, which was held last May for Israel’s independence day, has been switched to the fall, and will take place at the LJCC in Birmingham on Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival will include the When Pigs Fly kosher barbecue competition. The Mobile Area Jewish Federation is coordinating “Celebrate Israel,” May 5 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed. The festival will include children’s activities, hot dogs, a Western Wall and more. There will be a Split the Pot raffle, tickets are $5 or five for $20. Face painting will be done by Dawn Howard-McEnery, who is donating her services in memory of Terri There was an Israel booth at the Mobile Grodsky. International Festival in November The Above and Beyond Yoga Center will hold a Krav Maga self-defense demonstration at 12:30 p.m. Admission is free, and the celebration is open to the community. The Jewish Federation of Central Alabama will have IsraelFest 2019 on May 19 at the RSA Activity Center in downtown Montgomery. There will be a live band, children’s activities, Israeli merchandise, a cash bar, Israeli cuisine from Eli’s Jerusalem Grill in Birmingham and a silent auction. Tickets are $18 for adults, $7 for ages 6 to 13, and free for under 6. Pre-booking is needed as there is limited seating. Israel Independence Day will be celebrated at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans with a live concert by Dganit Daddo, who is known for her beautiful Ladino songs and mix of traditional Jewish and contemporary Israeli music. A native of Akko, Daddo is a member of Israel’s National Theatre, Habima, and has played all over the world. She also does concerts specifically designed for those with special needs and disabilities. The May 8 program begins at 6 p.m. with a brief Yom HaZikaron ceremony, led by members of the New Orleans Jewish Clergy Council. The Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration follows at 6:30 p.m. as students from the Jewish Community Day School join Daddo onstage before the concert to sing “Hatikvah.” Israeli dishes will be provided by Dvash Catering, including shwarma, hummus, baba ganosh, Israeli salad and chicken nuggets, and there will also be birthday cake. The evening is free and open to the community. Tulane Hillel is holding its Israel Fest on April 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Bruff Quad. There will be free t-shirts to the first 150 guests, tiedye, an obstacle course, a camel, Jewish jewelry making, Dead Sea mud, opportunities to volunteer for humanitarian projects, Israeli music and food.


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community Israeli Tech Village debuts at Conexx gala The Atlanta-based Conexx: America Israel Business Connector will celebrate its 18th annual gala with the debut of the Israeli Tech Village. The Village will be in the atrium of the Atlanta History Center during the May 21 event. It will feature Israeli companies displaying their newest technologies in a range of areas, including financial tech, cybersecurity, smart cities and mobility, and healthcare. Guests are invited to come ahead of the program to interact with the displays while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Conexx connects Americans and Israelis through business, boosting economic development through mutually-beneficial relationships and partnerships. In the U.S., Conexx concentrates on Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Since its inception 25 years ago, the organization has been involved in completed transactions valued at over $1 billion. The Tom Glaser Leadership Award will be presented to Oded Shorer, director of economy and commerce at the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast U.S.; and Jorge Fernandez, recently-retired vice president of global commerce for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. In addition, Conexx will present awards for Israeli Company of the Year, U.S. Company of the Year, Deal of the Year and Community Partner. The Tom Glaser Leadership Award recognizes the achievements of an individual who has provided inspirational and strong leadership in furthering the cause of U.S.-Israel business and economic relationships. This award is given to someone who is “an exemplary community ambassador, demonstrates a passion for Israel, is unparalleled in relationship building, has pioneered deals and reflects the mission of Conexx.” Fernandez has travelled to Israel multiple times on Conexx expeditions and to overseas conferences with the goal of furthering metro Atlanta’s reputation in Israel and to bring Israeli companies to metro Atlanta. He has met with over 100 Israeli companies and was instrumental in attracting companies to metro Atlanta such as Landa Printing, Itamar Medical and Ironscales. He also played a significant role in the establishment of the GCMI and Rambam Biomedical Digital Health Innovation Center. Shorer has pioneered match making in financial technology, cybersecurity, healthcare and logistics throughout the Southeast U.S. and was instrumental in the memorandum of understanding between Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson

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Ray Brandt Auto Group steers significant growth by Lee J. Green Driven by a commitment to serve its customers and treat employees like family, the Ray Brandt Auto Group has grown from one Datsun dealership in 1983 to the sixth-largest privately-owned company in New Orleans. “We care a great deal about our customers and our employees. They always come first,” said COO Todd Dempster, who has been with the company for 26 years. “We’re really an open-book company. It’s about valuing people and the importance of a relationship.” With the opening of Ray Brandt Nissan in D’Iberville, Miss., the company’s portfolio now includes 20 brands in the New Orleans area as well as south Mississippi, with lines represented including Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Fiat, Infiniti, Genesis, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Toyota, Volkswagen, Jeep, Kia and Chevrolet. Brandt’s first dealership location is now a body shop for the company. The Ray Brandt Auto Group has earned many accolades, including the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence recently, Porsche Premier Dealer, Nissan Global Award of Excellence, Infiniti Circle of Excellence, Mercedes Best of the Best and the Toyota Presidents Award. In 2016, they were named the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association’s Dealer of the Year. Brandt grew up in South Louisiana, attended Loyola University where he earned BBA, MBA and JD degrees. He is a lawyer and a CPA, and is the chairman of the Motor Vehicle Commission for the State of Louisiana, which regulates dealers and manufacturers in the state. He is also treasurer and chairman of the finance committee of the National World War II Museum, and was recently the 2019 King of the Mardi Gras parade in Washington. Brandt also serves on the board of directors with the University of New Orleans Foundation, Holy Cross College Advisory Board, Louisiana Auto Dealer Board and Nissan National Advisory Board. Brandt and his wife, Jessica, years ago created the Ray and Jessica Brandt Family Foundation to aid in the education of the underprivileged of the greater New Orleans area and to support many organizations that promote better education throughout the community, as well as the American Heart Association and the Race for The Cure. He also is a frequent contributor to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. “From my very humble beginnings, I learned the importance of hard work, helping the underprivileged, and always striving to make our community a better place for all citizens to live and prosper,” he said. “My dear mother, who died from breast cancer when I was 17, is the greatest influence in my life. Everything that I strive to be is driven by her teachings.


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community Barbara Greenberg to receive NCJW Harold Salmon Award The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women announced that Barbara Barton Greenberg will receive this year’s Harold Salmon Award at the annual Closing Event on May 21 at 6 p.m. The event will be held in a new venue, Filmore at the Oaks, the new golf clubhouse overlooking the grounds of City Park. At the event, Barbara Kaplinsky will conclude her term as president, with Susan Hess succeeding her. The incoming officers and board members will also be installed. The Harold Salmon Award was named for a man who recognized the value of volunteerism, and who demonstrated his strong commitment to the welfare of NCJW. A recipient must have a “commitment to NCJW, be available timewise, be an innovator and motivator of people and resources, and have an overall awareness of NCJW.” Greenberg began her lifetime commitment to the Section when she started Moonlighters in 1973, so that women who were unable to fully participate in daytime activities could become active volunteers. Because the New Orleans Section was the first in the country to implement a Moonlighters program, she was instrumental in creating the model for all future NCJW evening branches. Moonlighters quickly grew from a membership of 14 women to 200 women, for which the New Orleans Section was recognized with a national award. After Moonlighters, Greenberg served as corresponding secretary, vice president of public affairs and community service, chaired Hannah Solomon, mayoral forums, the nominating committee, and policies and bylaws. She also helped establish Zoo Mobile and funding of the director of the Louisiana Nature Center, to help get it established. When Greenberg returned home after Katrina, she renewed her involvement and activities in the Section. She redesigned and revamped the Directory, re-establishing it as a major fundraiser, and served as vice president of development for eight years. The Section is arranging carpools through the NCJW office for those who want to ride with other members.


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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans is featuring “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” in May, starring internationally acclaimed pianist and storyteller Mona Golabek. Based on the book “The Children of Willesden Lane” by Golabek and Lee Cohen, the play is set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitz, and tells the true story of Golabek’s mother, Lisa Jura, a young Jewish musician whose dreams are interrupted by the Nazi regime. A pianist, Jura dreamt of her debut at the Musikverein concert hall, but the Nazi regime and her rescue as part of the Kindertransport changed everything for her — except her life-saving passion for music. Golabek learned music from her mother, and her father received the Croix de Guerre for his role in the French Resistance. Golabek is a Grammy nominee who has been the subject of several documentaries, including “Concerto for Mona” with conductor Zubin Mehta. Golabek founded Hold On To Your Music, a foundation devoted to spreading the message of the power of music. With the help of the Milken Family Foundation, Facing History and Ourselves, and the Annenberg Foundation, she created educational resources which, with her book, have been adopted into school curricula across America. Additional educational partnerships have been formed with the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Mashplant and the USC Shoah Foundation to tell her mother’s story. There will be a student matinee on May 10 at 10 a.m. On May 12 there will be a Behind the Curtain question and answer session after the show. A Book Club will discuss “The Children of Willesden Lane” on May 19 at 1 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Industry Night will be May 20 at 7:30 p.m., with all seats $25. Bike Night will be on May 23, with BikeEasy providing secure, complimentary bike valet service starting at 6:30 p.m. “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” opens on May 10 and runs through May 26. Regular ticket prices range from $25 to $55. Student tickets are always $15. Group discounts of 10 percent on groups of 10 or more are available. Single tickets are available by calling the box office weekdays from noon to 5 p.m. or online anytime at The production is underwritten by The Helis Foundation and the General Fund and the Leonard E. Prelutsky Memorial Fund of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana.

New JLI course discusses role of prayer

What is the role of prayer and spiritual experience in Judaism? The new Rohr Jewish Learning Institute course deals with that topic, in “With All My Heart.” The Chabad course will explore prayer not as a ritual but as a contemplative tool, discuss the mystical power of prayer, the role of guided meditation in appreciating nature, transcending toward the infinite, letting go and the power of individual contemplation as shared in a communal setting. In New Orleans, the course will run on six Tuesdays from May 7 to June 11 at the Chabad Jewish Center in Metairie. Options are 10:30 a.m. to noon or 7:30 to 9 p.m. Registration is $70, including the textbook, with a 10 percent discount before April 30, or for past JLI students or couples. The first class can be sampled without charge.

community New pro-Israel PAC makes first round of endorsements As controversy and mistaken impressions swirled recently about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the role it plays in American politics, a new group has been formed to support pro-Israel politicians. Despite its name, AIPAC is not a political action committee, does not endorse or raise funds for candidates. The newly-established bipartisan Pro-Israel America “portal for political action” and Pro-Israel America PAC, on the other hand, does just that — and one of its first endorsements is from Alabama. The PAC was established by Jonathan Missner and Jeff Mendelsohn, two former AIPAC staffers. Mendelsohn was national outreach director for AIPAC, pioneering the group’s outreach to non-Jews. Missner, founder of, joined AIPAC to oversee the regional offices, then became managing director of national affairs. “Pro-Israel America is focused on supporting the election of pro-Israel candidates,” they said. “We endorse specific candidates and have an easy-to-use online portal where our members can support pro-Israel candidates directly.” “We can’t take support for the U.S.-Israel relationship in Congress for granted,” Mendelsohn said. “The best way to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship is to elect pro-Israel candidates to Congress, and that requires political action from the thousands of Americans who care deeply about this issue.” “The U.S.-Israel alliance creates enormous benefits for both of our countries,” Missner added. “Pro-Israel America is launching to ensure our fellow Americans understand the importance of the U.S.-Israel relationship and have a one-stop-shop for action.” In its first round of endorsements, 27 House and Senate members were named — 13 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Among the endorsements is Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, who pulled off what he called a “Chanukah miracle” in being elected as a Democrat in deep-red Alabama’s 2017 special election. His 2020 race is deemed “highly competitive,” and the PAC says Jones “is committed to advancing the U.S.-Israel relationship. He has voted to advance legislation that would impose sanctions on Syria, increase security cooperation with Israel and oppose the BDS movement.” Additional endorsements are forthcoming, among current members of Congress, and for candidates who are challenging some of the more anti-Israel members.


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community Ramah Darom expanding footprint with property purchase

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Almost 25 years after land was purchased for the establishment of Ramah Darom, the Conservative movement’s summer camp, the camp is poised to take a step that would facilitate the camp’s expansion. In 1996, the defunct Tumbling Waters girls’ nature camp was purchased near Clayton, Ga., and transformed into Ramah Darom. Former owners Susan Rogers and Catherine Sales continued to live on 45 acres across Persimmon Road. Wally Levitt, the new CEO of Ramah Darom, said “our staff often spotted them coming down the driveway on their golf cart to collect the mail.” Levitt noted that “our founders always envisioned a day when Ramah Darom would operate on both sides of Persimmon Road.” When the camp property was purchased, a clause in the deed of sale gave Ramah the right of first refusal if the additional 45 acres were to become available. Through the efforts of Eric Singer, son of Ramah co-founder Sol Singer, Effie Spielman and Fred Levick, in May Ramah will take ownership of the additional acreage. Currently, the property has two large guest houses, a “heritage home” built in 1897 and a lot of undeveloped land. “Once the acquisition is complete Ramah Darom will occupy almost 200 acres in Clayton, surrounded by National Forest land,” Levitt said. A targeted fundraiser has been established to pay for the property, and an anonymous donor is matching every dollar, one-to-one. The Ramah board has formed a strategic planning committee, chaired by Vice President Elise Lipoff-Mayer, to “establish long-term objectives for the next phase of growth of Ramah Darom and as part of that process, look at opportunities to develop the new land.” Levitt added that all options are on the table. In addition to the summer camp program, Ramah Darom has a yearround kosher retreat center that hosts activities for congregations and communities, Limmud Atlanta, family gatherings and a Passover retreat.

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The Leon Levine Foundation has awarded $500,000 to Camp Judaea in Hendersonville, N.C., to support the building of a new Arts Center. The new center will be named the Leon Levine Arts Center and will replace the current arts space, which the camp has outgrown. “The foundation’s generous grant will enable CJ to realize its dream of building a first class dedicated Arts Center. Our arts program continues to gain popularity each year and having this amazing facility will benefit generations of campers,” said Camp Judaea Board Chair Sam Levy. When asked about the Foundation’s decision to make this gift, Tom Lawrence, executive director of TLLF, remarked: “We’re honored to partner with Camp Judaea by investing in the new Arts Center, and, ultimately, future Jewish communities. We see this Arts Center as a safe place for young people to have meaningful Jewish experiences that will shape the expression of their faith for years to come.” In 2013, Camp Judaea began the process of revitalizing the omanut (arts and crafts) program. The decision to focus on improving this program not only came from the desire to enhance the Judaics component of the camp’s mission, but also to meet the creative development needs of campers who are not receiving extensive arts education in schools due to underfunding or budget cuts. As the curriculum developed in sophistication and the numbers of campers increased, it became apparent that CJ’s current program space could no longer meet the camp’s needs. The new center will open this summer, tripling the size of the camp’s current arts space and expand program offerings. Plans include a woodshop, ceramics studio, general arts and crafts space, and a general open studio.

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

continued from page 46

did. And Moses had been there! That made it easier to believe in what Moses might be able to do. The slave parted ways with Moses, to go back to find his family. He told Moses that whatever road he goes walking down, he’ll be walking alongside of him. The old true Moses. Moses went on to a life of considerable trouble and considerable joy. And that’s how things fell out. He could have gone back to the palace of the Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him, but he couldn’t stand it. He’d been there before.

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continued from page 39

International Airport and the Israel Airports Authority. Networx will be recognized as the Israeli Company of the Year. Founded seven years ago, Networx connects home improvement contractors with customers and recently doubled its staff. The headquarters is now in the Buckhead area of Atlanta, with tech support and R&D in Israel. The U.S. Company of the Year is Change Healthcare. In 2004, Conexx introduced McKesson to an Israeli company, Medcon, a cardiac diagnostic digital image management solutions firm. That introduction resulted in a $105 million acquisition. The former Medcon now serves as the R&D arm of Change Healthcare, a leading global healthcare services and information technology company. Change Healthcare was recently awarded $5.5 million by the Israel Innovation Authority as part of an initiative to expand Israel’s digital health ecosystem. Change Healthcare will increase its presence in Israel, to expand its Israeli development centers and to collaborate with the Israeli digital health community. The Deal of the Year and Partner of the Year awards were not released before press time. Registration and networking begin at 6 p.m., and the awards program and progressional buffet dinner start at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $155, or $1800 for a reserved table of 10.

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Casablanca in Metairie hosted cookbook author Paula Shoyer, author of “The Healthy Jewish Kitchen,” for “Not Your Bubbe’s Seder: Passover Goes Hip and Healthy,” on March 14. A portion of the proceeds from the dinner and presentation went to the Jewish Family Service Bruce Levy Memorial JFS Passover Food Basket Program. April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



rear pew mirror • doug brook


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You don’t know about Moses, without you have read a book by the name of Exodus, but that ain’t no matter. The way the book winds up is this — Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, into the desert, and to the Promised Land that he gets to see but never enter himself. Moses was born in Egypt at a time when all Jewish newborn boys were instantly put to death. Moses’ mother put him in a basket and sent him down the river before he, too, could get sent up the river. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own. Later on Moses grew up and did all his savioring and all that, but a lot happened in between. You might have read where Moses one day, growing up in the palace, encountered a taskmaster beating an Israelite slave. Moses stopped the taskmaster, not only from beating the slave but also from everything else. He’d killed him. Moses panicked because there could be trouble from what happened, so he and the slave ran off. They found a raft and started to journey on the river toward Cairo. They hoped to get there and set the record straight about what happened. In a stop along the way, Moses found out that he could be in real trouble for killing the taskmaster — especially for running away after it happened. What’s worse, he heard there was also speculation that Moses had disappeared because the slave killed both the taskmaster and Moses. Moses and the slave rushed to continue on the river. They accidentally drifted past Cairo and at that point just kept coasting along the huge river that ran right through the middle of the country. The river was peaceful and kept to itself, and so did its creatures. Not an animal was out of place. There was hardly even a jumping frog to be found this side of Calaveras County. They journeyed past Memphis, enjoying the grace of the land and the rhythms and beats of the country as they passed. One day, with the raft tied off and Who can retell… them both resting ashore, Moses wandered off and encountered a sight to Oh wait, that behold. There, in the middle of the wilderness, was a lone bush. If that song is for a weren’t unusual enough, the bush was different holiday on fire. If that weren’t unusual enough, the bush stayed on fire and wasn’t getting burned up. No matter how hungry the fire got, the bush was not consumed. Moses was amazed by the blaze, but that was nothing compared to what happened next. Moses heard a voice. The voice told him to take off his shoes and come closer. Moses was hesitant. If this were a trick, he didn’t want to lose his shoes. Then again, he figured it wasn’t like he’d be losing the shirt off his back, so he did it. The voice told Moses to go back and get the Israelites freed from their slavery. Moses wasn’t sure about the chances of that happening, and was even less sure that he could be the one to do it. But Moses relented and realized his current journey was near its end and a new one was going to take its place. His traveling companion had his doubts but also hoped that Moses could do what he said the plant told him to. The slave, in his way, found it even easier to believe what Moses told him happened than Moses himself continued on previous page


April 2019 • Southern Jewish Life




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Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, April 2019  

The April 2019 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the greater New Orleans Jewish community.

Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, April 2019  

The April 2019 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the greater New Orleans Jewish community.

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