Southern Jewish Life, Deep South April 2021

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Southern Jewish Life P.O. Box 130052 Birmingham, AL 35213

Volume 31 Issue 4

April 2021

Southern Jewish Life

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all It was so easy when we knew what antisemitism was. You just looked for the robe or the swastika, the sign that said “no Jews” or the restrictive covenant, and that was it. But with the increasing demonization of Jews from the left, in addition to the traditional right-wing antisemitism, and poisoned atmospheres on many college campuses, it became time to have a definition of what is — and isn’t — antisemitism. The world’s foremost experts discussed at length and came up with the International Holocaust remembrance Alliance’s Working Definition on Antisemitism. Many countries have adopted it as a guide to look at, to determine what incidents may well fall under the umbrella. Universities are also adopting it. But there has been pushback by anti-Israel groups, afraid that antisemitic demonization of Israel will be labeled as… well… antisemitism. They say their obsession against the world’s one Jewish state can’t be seen as… well… being anti-Jewish. They want the freedom to refer to the world’s Jewish haven as a Nazi regime, and not get called out for it. They want the freedom to say about Israel and do to Jews what they dare not say or do to any other group. It is a world where an attack on a European synagogue is not prosecuted as a hate crime, but is considered to be a political statement regarding Israel. Yet we’re told that anti-Zionism can’t be conflated with antisemitism. Or that Israel’s policies are the reason for antisemitism around the world, as if antisemitism is a brand-new phenomenon. In the name of freedom, they say a new definition of antisemitism is needed, designed by the foxes in the henhouse and given lofty names like The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism. The entire difference between IHRA and these “substitutes” is over criticism of Israel, because naturally, everyone acknowledges that antisemitism doesn’t come from the left, but is a right-wing phenomenon, and as such must be condemned. Why, these anti-Israel groups even condemn antisemitism and want to make alliances to fight against it… when continued on next page

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life




Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games

I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel ittocomes from neo-Nazis and white different Ask Home DepotStates or ChickAustralia to South America, Europesupremaand the JCC Maccabireasons. games around the United cists. about ofbuild U.S. politics. and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing howFil-A sports can the be acurrent vehicle state to help Jewish Critics especially of IHRA falsely However, the notion that the BDS movement identity, in our claim young.IHRA goes beyond antisemitism to stifle criticism of Israel, is merely a political statement against settleI felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city though IHRA specifically says criticism of Israel ments and Israeli policies and presence in the but the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring that is similar to that of any other country can territories has long since left the station. It is approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. not be considered antisemitism. clear by the words and actions of BDS activists Ledwhen by thethe Sokol and Helds, your hard-workingand volunteers They partnered It’s criticism moves to demonizaleaderswere that wonderful. aren’t the idealistic newcomwith your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi a huge hit. tion, or the denial of national rights solely to ers that the goal of BDS isn’tgames to reform Israel, I wantamong to takethe thisworld’s opportunity as executive director thank Jews peoples (while advobutoftoMaccabi replace USA Israelto —say from the you riveron to behalf the sea. of everyone involved. national rights, no less). cating for Palestinian When asked about singling out Israel, activThat’s when it becomes antisemitism. ists saywith theya have to start someI had just returned from the 20th World Maccabiahdeny gamesitinbut Israel U.S. delegation of In recent years, all the old antisemitic tropes in theBack great push over 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes fromwhere 80 countries. in July thefor eyesinternational of the entire — Jewish supremacy, Jews peace for some Jewish worldpower, were onJewish Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. Thisand past understanding. month with 1000But athletes and reaharming or ritually killing non-Jews, Jews son, the activism that starts with Israel never coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. controlling the world — have been adapted moves on to other countries. Repression of from the Jewish community andBut the community at large, to Everyone describe the world’s one Jewish nation. the Palestinians byincluding Lebanon,a wonderful Iraq and Syria, police force, are to bethat commended. These downthan in history as being seminal hey, don’t consider antisemitism, it’sgames part will far go worse anything Israela is accused of, moment for the Jewish community as we build to the future by providing such wonderful Jewish of the “reasonable criticism” that opponents of gets ignored by the “pro-Palestinian” groups, memories. IHRA say is being suppressed. because Israel can’t be blamed. one thing to say that Israel should not Meanwhile, you’ll pass out holding your JedIt’sMargolis build communities the territories Executive Director, in Maccabi USA because it breath waiting for them to say anything about supposedly harms the prospect of peace with the modern-day concentration camps China the Palestinians. Reasonable people can dis- has for the Uyghur Muslims in their country, supremacists would like to see pushed back agree about that. It’s another thing to say that and how they are using them as slave labor to On Charlottesville into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand the settlers are a bunch of bloodthirsty zealots pick cotton. Slaves picking cotton, in the 21st with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’stoNote: This reaction to the events in trying perpetrate a Palestinian genocide. century! But you can’t say anything about who was there standing up to the face of this Charlottesville, Jeremy Newman, But, those written behindbythe new definitions that, the Chinese market is far too important hate. Master ofpro-Palestinian the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta explain, voices areColony being si- to the NBA and “woke” American companies, We recognize the essence the American at Auburn University,assertion was sharedtobyanyone AEPi who and lenced. A laughable they don’t want to lose of out. as a two-century struggle toofridEuNational, which called it “very eloquent” has been paying the slightest attention.and In the narrative Eliminating the Jewishold population ourselves of such corners, and allow thoseofinexpraised brothers at AEPi Colonynone at zeal to “our protect freedom of Theta expression, rope through a governmental system them the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and… the leadership they of these groups ever complain about free termination camps, that’s antisemitism. ElimIt is the the struggle fulfill nation the promise of the display on theirstifled campus. ” speech being when their groups shut inating one to Jewish on the planet Declaration Independence, “all men are down pro-Israel speakers. For those groups, all and riddingofthe region of that so-called white created equal… endowedforeigners by their Creator criticism and all blame is on one side of the supremacist colonialist (that is,with the White supremacy has been a cancer on certain—unalienable rights. ” We discourse. know our work aisle — the Israeli side. Jews) that’s simply political Can’t our country pro-Israel since its beginning, threatening is farsee from but we know we will not Silencing speakers in the name you thefinished, difference? its hopes, its values, and its better angels. of free expression? Of course! Can’t let those move The backwards. Jerusalem Declaration even gives cover The events that took place in Charlottesville noxious Zionist (white European) supremacist to When those who make the “Israel the new men and women, fullyisarmed, takeNazi represented the worst of this nation. Those ideas be spread to our students. Germany” allegation and claim there is curto the streets in droves with swastikas and who marched streets with tiki torchesif rently a “Palestinian Holocaust” going on. Aside While thereonto are the numerous mainstream, other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikasJewish did so to provoke violence andfor from being totally detached from reality, how left-leaning, academics (such as, is relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism fear. Those Susannah who marched onto thewho streetssigned did example, Heschel) that assertion anything other than antisemitic? are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that so totoprofess an ideologyDeclaration, that harkensthere back to on the Jerusalem are needs The to sad themore Jerusalem be part doneis, to efforts ensure alike better, a bleaker, more wretched timethemselves in our history. many signatories who have had a Declaration give a Jewish fig leafnot to come the most welcoming country. But it should A time when and women of manycriticism creeds, hard-core anti-Israel extremists. troubled pastmen in terms of anti-Israel without a reflection on how far we’ve come. races, andthe religions wereovert far from equal and far crossing line into antisemitism, or We can’t be antisemitic, they say. After all, America was born slave nation. A century from safe inthose our own borders. time where defending who trafficA in antisemitic “the Jews” agree withaus. into in a war inMossad” part Americans livedinunder a constant cloud of rhetoric. Those, particular, are the anti-Israel Asour thehistory writerweforengaged the “Unofficial to ensure we would not continue as one. racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The critics who want a free pass on antisemitism, Twitter account put it, “any PalestinianWesolifound group ourselves confronted theisissue of civil events thatittook in Charlottesville served darity and want withplace a Jewish stamp of approval. who opposes by IHRA effectively rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure asIta comes reminder of how painfully relevant these across like David Duke complaining saying they can’t function without comparing the fairtotreatment of all peoples their issues today. that heare had no input in defining what counts as Israel Nazi Germany, callingno formatter the killing skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, racism. The Alpha only difference that Duke revels of Jews, denying the Holocaust, or hold Jews Auburn’s Epsilon Piisstands with the it is a mission we’re still grappling today. in his label of beingofracist, while those responsible for Israel’swith actions. ” Jewish community Charlottesville, andon the collectively left at thearound label of America was also born an immigrant withtake the umbrage Jewish people theantisemite. country The Jerusalem Declaration efforts country. As early as the pilgrims, many and around the world. We alsosays standthat with the like the Boycott, and move- groups and families found in the country the minorities who areDivest targeted bySanction the hate that ment not, in onCharlottesville. the face of it,We antisemitic. opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, was onare display stand Lawrence Brook, Publisher/Editor Sure, people boycott all thethese time,white for wildly and be themselves. Few were met with open with the minorities of whom 4 April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

January 2021 April 2021

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green ASSOCIATE EDITOR Richard Friedman 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 2179 Highland Ave., Birmingham, AL 35205 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/249-6875 TOLL-FREE 888/613.YALL(9255) ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, Jeff Pizzo, 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 2021. 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 Israeli Embassy’s celebration of Israel’s 73rd birthday has an Alabama component. Wanda Howard Battle of Montgomery recorded the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah” on the bimah at Temple Beth Or, to be used during the April 14 virtual ceremony. Battle met Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan during his recent civil rights tour to Alabama, leading his visit to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, where Erdan read excerpts of the “I Have A Dream” speech, and they sang “This Little Light of Mine” and “Oh Freedom.” A week later, the embassy called to invite her to sing the anthems. She was accompanied on violin by Clare Weil, a Temple Beth Or member who serves as president of the Montgomery County Board of Education and was in the Montgomery Symphony for 27 years.

Birmingham Jewish community starts strategic planning process Building on information gathered during the 2018 NextGen Roadmap, the Birmingham Jewish Federation has engaged Panoramic Strategy of Columbus, Ohio, to conduct its first strategic planning process in more than two decades. The process is being chaired by Layne Held and Joel Piassick, with community representatives including Steve Greene, Judd Harwood, Jacob Halpern, Andrea Haines and Jen Kulbersh. There will be stakeholder interviews with the executive directors and presidents of all local agencies, as well as the rabbis and presidents of each congregation. There will also be focus groups with donors, board members and volunteers from each agency, along with representatives of the broader community. A community survey will be added to the mix, to form a comprehensive plan that will enable the Federation to meet community needs. Held called this a “pivotal moment in our Jewish community,” with major recent leadership changes at many agencies and institutions. At the Federation, new CEO Danny Cohn has been in town for a year, and “he has brought a

tremendous amount of energy and fresh ideas to building our future.” Held said the Roadmap was a big part of Cohn coming to Birmingham, “and the time is now to assess the community’s wants and needs.” Piassick said that the time “to ask the questions that will define our future” is now, “while our Jewish community is vibrant and strong.” Those questions include “What services will we need? What can we afford? How can we work together and smarter? What are our priorities?” Piassick said. “We will need to make choices and reach consensus.” The Federation chose Panoramic “due to the expertise in helping shape Jewish communities and their structures for future success.” They have recently worked with Columbus, Houston, Phoenix and West Hartford. The Federation anticipates that the plan will take approximately six months and involve the entire community in various ways, ensuring buy-in from community stakeholders every step of the way. They anticipate having the plan by the fourth quarter of this year.

Lisa Engel, president of the Federation, said planning “is essential to the strategic, efficient and impactful use of the valuable resources of our Birmingham Jewish community.” While the Roadmap set priorities for Next Gen members, this process “will expand the focus to all demographic groups as well as to our agencies and synagogues.” Cohn said “it is extremely important to me to ensure that we are working to build a strong Jewish community for the next generation and generations beyond here in Birmingham,” and he sees this as a chance to take the process that began with NextGen “further and make it more inclusive so that we as a community have a shared common goals we are working toward and that the Federation can help support.” Engel noted that “as the central agency in the Birmingham Jewish community, the Birmingham Jewish Federation looks forward to this collaborative planning process which will lead us into a future of vibrancy and strength.” Held added, “We look forward to receiving feedback from the greater Jewish community, because this process is for the betterment of all of us.” April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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Jewish organizations in the New Orleans area are once again gearing up for GiveNOLA Day, which will be held on May 4 this year. All 17 organizations that took part last year are participating once again, among over 800 non-profits in the 24-hour online fundraiser. An initiative of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, GiveNOLA raised over $7.1 million last year from over 50,000 donors across the country. This is the eighth year for GiveNOLA Day. While the main campaign is from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on May 4, gifts can also be pre-scheduled from April 20 to May 3. Sponsors and donors contribute to the GiveNOLA Lagniappe Fund, which is divided proportionally among the participating non-profits based on how much they raise. There are also hourly Rock Around the Clock bonuses of $1,000 all day, and any organization with a donation during that hour is eligible for the random drawing. Pre-scheduled gifts are not counted toward Rock Around the Clock. The organizations with the most money raised gets a $7,500 bonus in the large, medium and small organization categories. Similar awards go to groups with the most individual donors. Bonuses are given through fifth place. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans has consistently been one of the top fundraisers, coming in first among small organizations for five years in a row, until the categories were restructured last year, moving the Federation to the large organization category. Despite the change, the Federation still ranked fourth among 834 organizations in 2020, raising $133,766 from 282 donors. Each year, the Federation holds special programs in connection with GiveNOLA Day, including Power Hours where gifts are matched. In all, the 17 Jewish community organizations raised over $236,000 last year. In addition to the Federation, this year’s participating organizations are Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the Jewish Community Day School, Jewish Family Service, the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, National Council of Jewish Women, Northshore Jewish Congregation, the Anti-Defamation League, Avodah, Beth Israel, Gates of Prayer, the New Orleans Jewish Community Center, Shir Chadash, Slater Torah Academy, Tulane Hillel, Hadassah New Orleans and Temple Sinai. Donations can be made at, and can be made from anywhere around the world. The minimum donation is $10.

Regional panel discussing antisemitism with Bari Weiss

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The Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Greater Nashville is organizing “Antisemitism Across America: An Evening with Bari Weiss,” the opinion writer at the New York Times who left last summer, speaking of a fundamental anti-Israel bias among the paper’s staff. The panel includes Rabbi Adam Wright of Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Rabbi Laurie Rice of Congregation Micah in Nashville, Rabbi David Gelfand of Temple Israel in New York and Rabbi David Locketz of Bet Shalom in Minneapolis. Professor Shaul Kelner of Vanderbilt University will be the moderator. The zoom will be on May 4 at 7 p.m.



Pearl to headline Nights to Honor Israel Events at churches in Mobile, Auburn Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl will be the keynote speaker for two Nights to Honor Israel and the Jewish People, coordinated by Israel Team Advocates International. The first event will be on April 26 at 7 p.m. at Cottage Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, co-sponsored by the Mobile Area Jewish Federation. The second event will be on April 29 at 7 p.m., at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn. At each event, there will be a presentation by Fathers Joy Music, featuring Mark and Bridgett Moses, and remarks from Israel Team Advocates President Aaron Fruh. In Mobile, Mayor Sandy Stimpson, Ahavas Chesed Rabbi Steve Silberman and Federation Vice President Jonathan Fratkin will attend. The Auburn event will feature Lakeview Baptist Church Pastor Al Jackson. The first president of the Jewish Coaches Association, Pearl is an outspoken supporter of Israel and works to bring Christians and Jews together. He coached the U.S. national basketball team in the 2009 World Maccabiah in Israel, bringing home the gold medal. He was the opening ceremonies speaker at the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games in Birmingham, and in 2019 was the speaker at the Alabama Holocaust Commemoration at the State Capitol. Pearl contributed the foreword to “The Casualty of Contempt: The Alarming Rise of Antisemitism and What Can Be Done to Stop It,” a book with essays and stories on antisemitism from 16 authors, edited by Fruh. Aaron Fruh served as the lead pastor of Knollwood Church and headmaster at Knollwood Christian School in Mobile for 24 years. He has authored three books about Israel and hosts the weekly “Israel And You” podcast. The events are free and open to the community. Masks are requested, and will be available at the door. The Mobile event will be streamed on the church’s Facebook page.

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NCJW to explore the Mystique of Mah Jongg in online event The Mystique of Mah Jongg, the exotic game of tiles with bams, cracks, dots, dragons, winds, flowers, and the most coveted tile of all — the elusive joker — will be presented on Zoom by the National Council of Jewish Women’s Greater New Orleans Section on April 28 at 7 p.m. Renee Zack, a local member of NCJW for the past 44 years and a Mah Jongg teacher at the Uptown JCC, is the featured speaker for the event, which is open to the community. According to NCJW Membership Vice President Karen Sher, “This entertaining and educational program is designed to explain what it is about this more than two-centuries-old game first played in China that continues to fascinate and charm us.” Saying she took on the event because of her passion for the game, Sher said the plan for the evening “is to engage Zoom participants in group discussion about their Mah Jongg experiences and to inform all on the joys and health benefits of Mah Jongg.” One of Zack’s students, NCJW member Patty Barnett, exclaimed, “Renee was a wonderful Mah Jongg teacher and she is the reason why I love Mah Jongg so much!” Sher added, “Renee exudes warmth and friendliness.” Besides teaching Mah Jongg, Zack worked as a medical office manager for 35 years, and now has her own business called “Don’t Pay ‘til I Say.” Registration is available at

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agenda There will be a joint Israel Independence Day celebration hosted by Temples Beth-El and Emanu-El on April 18 at 3 p.m., at Homewood Patriot Park. There will be food trucks, kids activities, music and an opportunity to send a virtual message to an Israeli soldier. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge partnered with Albertson’s to host two vaccine clinics. The first one, held on Feb. 25 and March 25, vaccinated over 200 people, with another 100 vaccinated on March 17 and anticipating their second dose on April 14. The next Krispy Kreme Round-Up outside Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will be on April 25 at 10:30 a.m. Bring a chair. Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have a Zoom concert, “To Life!” on April 25 at 4 p.m. The concert will feature Christopher Powell and Mollie Adams, along with Demi Vanderwerff from the Music Department of the Pensacola State College. They will perform music that reflects different experiences of life, love, loss, spirituality, joy, and sorrow, including “To Life!” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” The concert will be comprised of both Jewish and secular music and will also include original music by Powell. A link for the concert will be emailed to the membership a few days before the actual event. MB Listens will have a Facebook Live forum with the Jewish Community Relations Council to hear from members of the Jewish community and their experiences with growing up Jewish and living in Mountain Brook. Lillian Lalo of CBS 42 will moderate the panel discussion, May 2 at 3 p.m. MB Listens is a grassroots group that was formed last fall to promote greater diversity and acceptance in a suburb not known for being diverse, and which has historically had issues of antisemitism in the schools. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will hold an Israeli-themed community Havdalah on the front lawn, April 17 at 6 p.m. Ze’ev Orenstein, Director of International Affairs of the City of David, will lead participants from the Mobile Area Jewish Federation on a City of David virtual tour, April 25 at 10:30 a.m. He will lead a tour of Jerusalem’s newest archaeological discoveries. Pre-registration will be required. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have an outdoor, socially-distanced Lag B’Omer Shabbat Tailgate Service on April 30 at 6 p.m., followed by a bring-your-own dinner. The service will also be available over Zoom. The Sisterhood of Temple Emanu-El in Dothan will have an in-person luncheon and business meeting on May 6 at noon at the Dothan Country Club. Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have a Zoom Shabbat service with Cantor Ted Labow, the congregation’s High Holy Days cantor, on April 16 at 7 p.m. While B’nai Sholom currently remains closed, on April 23 the first 35 to respond will be able to gather for an in-person Shabbat service in the outdoor green space, at 6 p.m., with social distancing, mobile devices for the PDF prayerbook, and masks. The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life’s next Virtual Vacations will be held on April 20 at 11 a.m., with a virtual trip through the small Jewish communities of the Mississippi Delta. The programs, which are open to the community, are streamed on the ISJL Facebook page, and are also available later on the Virtual Vacation website. Pensacola’s Temple Beth El will take part in this year’s Habitat for Humanity Interfaith Build, which will be held May 8, and May 12 to continued on page 28 8

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Capturing the Magic With no in-person Jazz Fest Shabbat this year, Touro Synagogue releasing 30th anniversary CD Since 1991, Touro Synagogue in New Orleans has marked the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in its own unique style every April, holding Jazz Fest Shabbat with the traditional Shabbat evening liturgy set to jazz tunes, with a noted musical guest. Last year, as Jazz Fest was cancelled due to the rapidly-growing Covid pandemic, Jazz Fest Shabbat was also a casualty and was not held. While the situation has not improved to the point of having a full sanctuary and performance this year, and with Jazz Fest itself shifting to October, Touro will mark the 30th anniversary of Jazz Fest with the release of “Celebrate! 30 Years of Shabbat Joy,” a CD of Jazz Fest Shabbat musical favorites. Cantor Kevin Margolius said the Jazz Fest

Screenshot from Jazz Fest Shabbat 2017 Shabbat committee met last fall to decide what to do for the coming year as, in addition to being a unique, signature event for the congregation, it is also a major fundraiser for Touro. He suggested that instead of just doing a Zoom event, they do something completely different and come out with an album, “something that would give us a way to honor this tradition” and capture some of the music. Aaron Ahlquist, who is co-chairing this year’s effort with Ellen Kempner, said “we had to do something” to mark the 30th anniversary. Put-

ting out a CD “would bottle some of that magic” from a “unique and special celebration and experience that really doesn’t exist anywhere else.” The result has been “a fabulous project, very different from anything we have done before,” Margolius said. The album, which will be released at the 7:30 p.m. Shabbat service on April 30, will feature Margolius and the Panorama Jazz Band, with many past Jazz Fest Shabbat musical guests, including Kermit Ruffins, John Boutté, Sunpie Barnes, Dr. Michael White, and Grammy Award

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For years, “We Are One” was the slogan of the United Jewish Appeal (a forerunner of the Jewish Federations of North America). Its meaning was clear. Despite variations in the ways we worship, where we live, what we think politically and even our ethnicities, we are one people, bound by our history, heritage and common future. At Southern Jewish Life, we believe this message still stands — especially here in the Deep South. Jewish communities throughout our four-state coverage region (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, NW Florida) have much in common. Most of us live similarly Jewish lives. We value the importance of strong Jewish communities in our region, feel connected to Israel, worry about antisemitism, and have close ties to friends and family in other parts of the region. This is why at Southern Jewish Life we’re proud that our magazine and website play a major role in connecting Jews throughout our region. For 30 years, our national award-winning journalism has brought us closer to one another, making us collectively stronger. Southern Jewish Life tells the stories of our region in a way no one else does — digging into trends, bringing to life personalities and personal stories, and keeping us informed of Jewish happenings. More and more our voice is looked to by national Jewish and major secular media as the authoritative voice of Southern Jewry. We continue to mail our magazine monthly, free to every known Jewish household in our four states. We have sustained our publication through the pandemic and have exciting plans to expand our coverage and impact. However, we need your help. In addition to growing our advertising, we have begun an effort to develop donor support. More dollars=More pages=More stories. Many people have responded generously. If you haven’t yet, we hope you would consider doing so. You can send a check made out to SJL to Southern Jewish Life, P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL, 35213 or go to Note: We are not a 501(c)3. As Jews in the Deep South, “We Are One.” Your support of Southern Jewish Life makes our magazine, our region, and especially our collective future, even stronger.


April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

winners Louis and Andre Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers. Former Touro cantors Seth Warner, Billy Tiep, Jamie Marx and David Mintz are also taking part, along with the Touro Synagogue Dining choir. tdoor Oumusic ing Cater —guest Ouoftour “Some artists are— doing that they were part of when Take they were at Touro Jazzd Fest Shabbat, some ays of them we asked to do n Frid Chicke Sushi andforFrie new things,” Margolius said. ays, 10am-7pm; s-Thursdby dayproduced Mon Open is The album being Academy Award winner Donny Marm-3pmMarkowitz played bass for 10anative, daysYork and Sun kowitz, a Touro member. A New Fridays Speedo and The Cadillacs, performing at numerous celebrated venues. To You! Your Orde Heide co-wrote Award winning songr “I’ve Had the Time of Will Ship ans Area? We OrleAcademy the New the Outs My Life” from “Dirty Dancing.” He then moved to Los Angeles, where he wrote scores for film and television, including “Get Out,” “Crazy Stupid Love” and “The Muppets.” In 2011, Markowitz moved to New Orleans, and works from Esplanade Studios in Treme. He produced “Decisions,” an album by Bobby Rush, which featured Dr. John on a song co-written by Markowitz and Carl Gustafson. The album was nominated for a Best Blues Album Grammy. The recording sessions took place over three days. In selecting the musicians and pieces, Ahlquist said they emphasized “uplifting” past participants, as well as the Panorama Jazz Band, “when they are having a hard time” because Covid has taken away most opportunities to perform. They all said “things are tough these days,” Margolius noted. “There aren’t many opportunities for musicians.” In all, over 40 musicians were involved in creating the album. Having so many past cantors participate also shows “Jazz Fest Shabbat is much more than one person leading a prayer service,” Ahlquist said. Jazz Fest Shabbat was born in 1991 when Cantor Steve Dubov invited guest musicians to take part in Shabbat The first year, the New Orleans The service fills services. Klezmer All-Stars were featured. Ben the sanctuary Schenck, a founding member of that group, is now clarinetist and bandleader of the with joy and Panorama Jazz Band. The service is held on the first Shabbat celebration of Jazz Fest, except on the rare occasion, as happened in 2016, when Passover began on that night. That year, Jazz Fest Shabbat was on the second weekend. Explaining the service to someone who has not been there has always been a challenge. “You had to be there,” Margolius asserted. “We’ve had to do a lot of telling instead of showing,” and the CD will help people understand the blend of liturgical music with a New Orleans sound. Of course, the CD won’t come with the dancing in the sanctuary. The headliner generally does a mini-concert in the middle of the service. In recent years, the headliners have been asked to take more of a role during the service itself. For example, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, who headlined the most recent in-person event in 2019, did a version of “Mi Chamocha” in Hebrew and French, to the tune of one of the tracks on their most recent album. About 15 years ago, the Panorama Jazz Band became the house band for Jazz Fest Shabbat, and a core of regular jazz-infused liturgical pieces has been developed over the years. Headliners have included Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Marcia Ball, John Boutte, Joe Krown, Walter Wolfman Washington, Russell Batiste Jr., the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen. James Andrews and the Crescent City Allstars were lined up for 2020, before Covid cancelled the weekend. The Mardi Gras Indians came marching in one year to kick off the event. Another memorable moment came in 2010 when Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s band leader, was in attendance the year that Allen Toussaint was the featured artist. Toussaint called Shaffer up to perform with him, and he joined in on keyboards for “Adon Olam,” which is done to


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the tune of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” There is usually a patron’s dinner before services. This year, patron levels include dinner and wine from Saba, picked up on April 30 for enjoyment at home. Patrons that signed up by mid-March are recognized in the liner notes. They will receive a physical CD and a digital download, and the CD will also be available for all to purchase. The CD will be “something we can be proud of, something we can use with our congregation for years to come,” Margolius said. Ahlquist looks forward to the in-person event returning. He said the biggest crowds of the Jewish year generally are for the High Holidays, a somber time of introspection. Jazz Fest Shabbat is a rare contrast, which “fills that sanctuary to bursting at the seams with joy and celebration… We don’t have many of those moments.” In addition to the dancing, Ahlquist said being there shows “the power of the music moving people to tears.” Jazz Fest itself has moved to Oct. 7 to 18 this year, figuring that by then it will be possible to have in-person festivals again. Touro hasn’t decided whether to have a fall Jazz Fest Shabbat, because it is a huge event that would be taking place right after the High Holy Days season. When Margolius was interviewing for the position at Touro, he spoke to several of the congregation’s past cantors. “Every single one of them talked at length about Jazz Fest Shabbat, how they’d never seen anything like it, it’s such a gem,” and said “you’ll never get it until you see it once.” He recalled that “My first year here, it was really a special night. “After two years off, we’re all really looking forward to celebrating like that again.” For information about the album, go to

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica has been selected by the Foundation for Jewish Camp for its third round of Yashar Initiative funding. Thirteen camps nationally are receiving a combined $2.6 million to increase accessibility for campers and staffers with disabilities. Part of a larger $12 million initiative funded by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, “Yashar” — the Hebrew word for both “level” and “integrity” — is responsible for significant improvements to accessibility and inclusion at camp, providing funds for capital improvements, professional development, staff training, research, and evaluation. Supporting a wide range of campers and staff, including individuals with autism spectrum disorder, as well as those with intellectual, developmental, physical, and sensory disabilities; the Yashar Initiative aims to not only increase the quality of inclusion, but the quantity. Each grant recipient has committed to increasing their total campers with disabilities to at least 5 percent of the total camper population. Supporting camps as they strategically address major barriers for participation remains critical, especially as camps prepare to reopen in summer 2021. “The Yashar Initiative has been a catalyst for growth over the past two years and after a difficult year of social isolation and separation, we know that all children, teens, and youth need camp this summer more than ever,” said Jeremy Fingerman, FJC’s CEO. “FJC is excited to see the continued and growing interest in expanding efforts to serve campers with disabilities, especially during this very trying year. Camps continue to demonstrate their commitment and prioritization of this important work.” In addition to funding for capital improvements, the camps will receive program grants totaling over $260,000 to help support efforts in staff training, program development, and evaluation. Since the program launched in 2019, Foundation for Jewish Camp has awarded over $8 million in grants to 39 camps through the Yashar Initiative. Participating camps from all rounds are invited to participate in FJC’s Yashar trainings, which take place throughout the year. Ramah Darom in Clayton, Ga., was in the first group of recipients, announced in April 2019. That December, Camp Barney Medintz in Georgia was in the second round. A fourth group will be announced this fall.

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Last year, with the world shutting down for Covid, Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge did an immediate pivot for its corned beef sandwich sale. Rather than be stuck with a whole lot of corned beef, they offered bulk kits for pickup instead of individual lunches, and it was a success. This year, Beth Shalom had more time to prepare for a bulk sale, with kits that made five lunches. Once again, the kits sold out, with pickup on March 14.

community Decades later, longtime Louise Mayor Willie Sklar’s Legacy Lives On By Richard Friedman He was a pioneer, a bit of a legend, a go-to guy, an honorable businessman and someone who understood the importance of Jews stepping forward to play leadership roles in small Mississippi towns. His name was William (“Willie”) Sklar, and though decades have passed since he made his mark, he is remembered not only by his family but by historians as a unique and impressive figure in the annals of Mississippi Jewish history. Willie lived in Louise, a tiny dot on the map in the Mississippi Delta which in his day had about 500 residents, and now has fewer than 200. He served his town in many roles over the years. He was involved in numerous organizations dealing with farming, county government and community affairs. Willie served as an alderman and then for 24 years as mayor of Louise. In addition, he served as a member of the Advisory Committee of Planters Bank and Trust in Louise. Pretty much everybody knew him. “Folks in Louise and the adjacent area would often come to my grandfather for advice and guidance,” says his grandson, Brad Sklar, an attorney and civic leader in Birmingham. Willie, who died in 1974, was a force in Louise for more than 50 years. He owned a farm, a dry goods store and a furniture store. Jerry Sklar, Willie’s son and Brad’s dad, who also lives in Birmingham, remembers, “My father was a ‘principled kind of guy.’ Dad had high principles. He was a man of few words, but when he spoke my sister and I listened, and so did a lot of the town’s people.” What is especially significant about the Willie Sklar story is what he represented: A Jewish immigrant whose family migrated to rural Mississippi in the early 1900s from Eishishok, Lithuania, and built a life there that Jerry remembers with fondness to this day. The Sklars, like many Jewish families in small towns throughout the Deep South, integrated into the larger civic culture, where they were fully accepted, in addition to maintaining their Jewish distinctiveness. These Jewish pioneers were respected for their commitment to their faith and traditions and admired for their willingness to give of their time, talents and resources to benefit the overall communities in which they lived. Willie’s wife Esther was a significant presence in Louise as well. Having grown up in nearby Yazoo City as a member of a well-respected Jewish family, she was ingrained in Louise socially and well-known throughout the area. “My mother was a real active ‘town lady.’ She had a number of very close friends in Louise and chatted with them on a daily basis,” Jerry recalls. She also maintained a loving home for Willie; Jerry, whose wife is Jean Marcus Sklar from Vicksburg; and Jerry’s twin sister, Jean Harris, who now lives in Marion, Ala., with husband Gene.

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Remarkable Acceptance The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, based in Jackson, sees Willie as a seminal figure in the state’s Jewish history. He is featured prominently on the Institute’s website and his story is highlighted in its cataloguing of Jewish life in Mississippi during the middle of the 20th century.


April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


community The Institute’s Virtual Encyclopedia of Southern Jewish communities notes, “for the most part, Jews have enjoyed remarkable acceptance in Mississippi. Several Mississippi Jews have been elected to local office… Willie Sklar was mayor of Louise for 24 years… This civic involvement was not unique to Mississippi, as Jews across the South were elected to public service positions. In each case, the vast majority of their votes came from non-Jews. “One reason for this acceptance was that Jews assimilated to Southern culture. While remaining faithful to their unique religion and culture, Mississippi Jews have worked to lessen the barriers and differences between themselves and their gentile neighbors.” Jerry’s upbringing in Louise was barrier-free when it came to him being Jewish. In fact, in Yazoo City, his mother’s hometown, which was 15 miles away from Louise, his mother’s father — Nathan Ostrov, a successful businessman, was so well-respected that during the Holocaust one of Yazoo City’s non-Jewish citizens raised a very-substantial amount for the United Jewish Appeal. “This was done in honor of him to recognize what he had done for Yazoo City,” recalls Jerry. Growing up in small-town, rural Mississippi in the late 1940s and 1950s, Jerry recalls hearing only one antisemitic remark. It came from an opposing player during a basketball game. That player apologized to Jerry the next day. Now, on the brink of turning 85, Jerry speaks nostalgically of his unique upbringing. While others of his generation have small-town Deep South roots, what made his experience different was that not only were the Sklars the only Jews in town, but his father also was mayor. For Jerry, growing up in Louise was idyllic; doors were left unlocked

at night, people cared about one another, friendships were made that endure to this day. As he talks about his small town upbringing, you can almost imagine a “Mayberry-Like” existence in his family’s small, tightly-knit Southern hamlet. To this day, despite his own track record of business and civic success, and a career that took him to the presidency of major department stores in New Orleans and Birmingham, a successful and honored tenure as president of the Birmingham Stallions football team during the heyday of the now-defunct United States Football League, and a later career as an influential financial advisor, you can sense a touch of wistfulness when Jerry talks about Louise. “As small as it was, I really enjoyed it. I don’t know that I would have chosen another childhood experience.” There also were some lasting lessons. “The best thing I learned from Dad is that hard work pays off. I know that is what he did. He expected me to work in the store. If I wanted to go out on Saturday night, I had to get permission because we stayed opened Saturday nights. He made it clear there were no free rides.”

High Honor Brad enjoys telling the story of how impressed he was that Jerry lettered in multiple varsity sports in high school. Then one year Brad went with his dad to a high school reunion for Louise High, which had been shut down for many years. It was a great event, and it was there that he discovered that Jerry had only five senior male classmates, so pretty much everyone played every varsity sport. Willie’s grandchildren — Brad, his sister Suzanne Blonder and their first cousin, Scott Harris — were all close to their grandfather and trea-


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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

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sured the times they were able to spend with him and their grandmother in Louise. Suzanne had friends from Louise visit her in Birmingham. The grandchildren were especially impressed by one thing in particular: After serving multiple terms as mayor, the local Tastee Freez restaurant and ice cream parlor named a burger after their grandfather, the “Willie Burger,” a high honor for sure in the small town. Before being elected mayor, Willie served on Louise’s school board for many years. Brad speaks about that with pride because today he is a member of the Mountain Brook school board, a parallel that has made an impact on him. “I feel a connection to my grandfather and his commitment to education,” explains Brad. “I’ve also tried to reflect his belief that in addition to maintaining a strong commitment to Judaism, to look for ways to better the broader community.” The stories, from Jerry’s varsity sports to Willie’s Tastee Freez burger, are fun — and important, because they help capture a bygone era. What may be more important though are the broader takeaways from the Willie Sklar narrative. The Sklars and other immigrant Jewish families worked hard, took risks and opened doors for their descendants, never taking America for granted and wearing their Judaism proudly. Incumbent on Brad’s generation, he acknowledges, is the challenge of transmitting these legacies and lessons to their own children, in his case his daughter, who is now 19 and a freshman at college. “Yes, this is a challenge, especially because they never knew the ‘pioneering generation’ that gave our family and so many other Southern Jewish families their start in America,” says Brad. “In our family, we preserve and value the memories of Willie and Esther and what they stood for. We owe it to my grandparents to make sure their great-grandchildren know their stories, and never take the freedom and opportunities their generation enjoys for granted.”

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

At a Senate hearing on state-level election reform bills on March 24, Senator Cindy HydeSmith of Mississippi informed New York Sen. Chuck Schumer that the Sabbath is on Sunday. As Senate majority leader, Schumer is the highest ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history. The remark came as Senate Democrats were questioning an effort by Georgia Republicans to ban voting and other election activities on Sundays. Speaking directly to Schumer, Hyde-Smith said “Georgia’s a Southern state just like Mississippi. I cannot speak for Georgia but I can speak for Mississippi on why we would never do that on a Sunday, or hold an election on a Sunday.” Pulling out a dollar bill, she said it references “In God We Trust,” and “etched in stone in the Senate chamber is ‘In God We Trust’.” She then quoted Exodus 20:18 as “Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy,” though in the Hebrew it reads “to keep it holy.” She concluded with “That is my response to Sen. Schumer.” On March 25, Schumer responded on Fox News, saying “I don’t know where to begin other than reminding my colleagues of the separation of church and state,” and that for him and other Jews, the Sabbath is Saturday. “She totally disregards the sabbath of Jews, Muslims and some Christians. I hope she will walk back these comments,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. Hyde-Smith’s office has not responded to this publication’s requests for comment. Sunday voting is seen as popular among Black voters, who traditionally go vote after leaving church in what is referred to as “Souls to the Polls.” Democrats charge that the effort to ban Sunday voting is aimed at suppressing constituencies that traditionally vote for Democrats, while Republicans explain that not all counties can hold early voting on Sundays due to budgetary concerns, making the practice inequitable. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the Sunday ban was being dropped by Republicans, in favor of a bill restricting ballot drop boxes to places where they could be supervised, but increasing weekend voting hours, requiring two voting days on Saturdays and making two Sundays optional during the three-week early voting period. In some states, including Louisiana, election day is usually on Saturday. Mississippi has a Jewish population of around 1,600.

Sabbath Changes The verse in Exodus cited by Hyde-Smith, part of the Ten Commandments, speak of the Sabbath as the seventh day, which in Judaism has always been from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. As Jews, Jesus and his early followers kept the Sabbath on Saturday. It was not until 321 C.E. when Constantine decreed that all people in the Roman Empire would observe a day of rest on Sunday, and prohibited abstaining from work on Saturday. Under Constantine, many pagan practices were reinterpreted and brought under the Christian umbrella to make it easier to convert pagans, and one of them was adopting their day of rest, the “Venerable Day of the Sun.” The switch to Sunday was also justified for Christians as Sunday was the day of Jesus’ resurrection. With rising anti-Jewish feelings in the church, there was also a prevailing sentiment to purge the church of anything that smacked of Jewish practice, including having the day of rest on Saturday, and establishing guidelines for the timing of Easter that did not rely on when Passover falls. The Catholic Church decided that the solemnity of Saturday should be transferred to Sunday, and the Protestant churches that otherwise profess fealty to Biblical texts as written maintained that out of tradition, rather than switching back to Saturday, though some “Hebrew Roots” groups seeking to better understand Jesus in the Jewish context of the time are increasingly observing Saturday. While Islam started out with observing Saturday as the Sabbath, it was soon changed to Friday, to commemorate the creation of human beings, and to distinguish Islam as different from Judaism and Christianity. In Jewish circles, those changes have been historically seen as symbols of the everlasting validity of God’s covenant with the Jews, even when the other faiths considered themselves to have replaced the Jews in God’s covenant. The “Veshamru” prayer, Exodus 31:16-17, cites the observance of Shabbat as “an eternal sign of the covenant between Me and the people of Israel.” As for “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency, the first instance was on the two-cent piece in 1864, the height of the Civil War. In 1873 Congress passed a law allowing but not mandating its use on coins. It did not appear on paper currency until 1957, after Congress mandated it during the Cold War as a statement against the atheist Soviet Union.

After A Year

Remembering the Toll of Covid in the Southern Jewish Community By Richard Friedman A year along, the struggles of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt by Jewish communities throughout the Deep South — from New Orleans to Birmingham and points in between, from individuals who have recovered from the virus, those who lost loved ones, and social service agencies helping community members deal with everything from loss to isolation. Those who knew Ron Rich knew him as a fit and energetic guy Ron Rich, center, wi th his four childre with a fertile mind, talents ranging from music to mortgage bankn ing, and restless ambition. Ron, a member of a well-known Birmingham Jewish family, died of each other through this,” said Bobbye as emotion began to overtake her. Covid on March 28, 2020 at the age of 65. “No one was together. We couldn’t laugh together, hug, talk about silly No one knew him better than his sister, Bobbye Seligman. memories. My friends who wanted to do things for me couldn’t. You are He was her older brother and first friend. Their big brother-little sister alone with your grief through the entire process.” relationship never waned for a moment, even when they were living in Ron’s death hovers over Bobbye every day. It struck her in a particular separate cities or at different points in life. way a few weeks ago on her way home from her second Covid vaccine. They talked nearly every day, texted constantly, and enjoyed trading “I cried the whole way home. Ronnie should have been getting his insights and those whimsical quips that uniquely bond siblings. shot. That is maybe why it is so hard now that they have come out with Then it all went dark when something few people understood at the the vaccine. He could be living life.” time snatched Ron by the lungs and snuffed out his life. Ron contracted Covid in south Florida where he had been living the past 10 years. Exact- Prime of Life ly when and where he was exposed is unclear. A conversation with Birmingham’s Honi Mazer Gottlieb about the loss “We were stunned and in disbelief. His downturn started with a simple of her sister to Covid is powerful and compelling and lingers in the heart cough that just wouldn’t go away,” recalls Bobbye. “How could this be afterward for days. happening?” Other family members became equally concerned. Honi, like Bobbye Seligman, is a familiar face to many and grew up Bobbye watched helplessly from afar as the dreaded infection, which in a well-known Birmingham Jewish family, the youngest of three girls. would claim the lives of more than 500,000 Americans over the next 12 Her middle sister, Davida Mazer Lasley, who lived most of her adult months, took the life of her brother over a six-day span, ruthlessly and life in Atlanta, died of Covid on Feb. 24, 2021. She was 64. savagely. Davida was the mother of two children and a grandmother. “She was Wrote Ron in one of his last texts to Bobbye, “I in the prime of life,” says Honi, who spoke to or texdon’t even know one person from the next. My fever ted with Davida 25 to 50 times a week. “To say we is so high I can’t think straight.” Bobbye believes Ron were close was an understatement.” Davida inspired knew he was dying, frightened and alone in a south Honi and many others with her singing talent and Florida hospital. decorating skills. His four children, spread out from Arizona to AlaFor Honi, two words describe her sister. “Kindness bama to Israel, could not be at his bedside. personified.” In an obituary the four wrote collectively, they said On a beautiful early spring morning, sitting outthis about their dad: “He had a good sense of humor side her suburban Birmingham home, Honi says, even though he was serious a lot of the time. He had “Davida always put everybody before herself. She a big heart and cared for his friends and family. His would do anything for you. She always had your advice was second to none and he always ended up back.” being right.” Honi fights back tears as she continues. The funeral was in Birmingham. The three chil“Davida was fit and healthy with no underlying dren living elsewhere, and their mother Rhonda, health issues. She and her husband David did everyalso in Arizona, along with other family members Davida Mazer Lasley thing right — they were super-careful when it came who were spread out, were unable to be there because to the pandemic — double-masking before it was of Covid. Friends who would have attended also refrained because of the widespread, social distancing, washing packages, etc.” pandemic. Yet in January they contracted Covid. The only child there was Becky and her husband, Jared Glass, who live Honi believes it might have happened on a day they decided to go out in Talladega. Bobbye and her husband Michael were there, though her and run some errands and visit several stores, though no one in the famyounger brother Charles, who has asthma, was discouraged from coming ily is sure. “They would do this periodically just to get out, and always due to Covid. wore masks.” “Not only did we not have shiva, my own children and I couldn’t hug Her brother-in-law’s brush with Covid was relatively mild, though he April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life



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wound up in the hospital for a few days. Davida would suffer a far worse fate. Her downturn started at home in late January with headaches and coughing. Then in early February she was hospitalized, where she would struggle for weeks with increasing difficulty breathing, sinking oxygen levels, blood clots in her lungs — and confusion, isolation and fear. At around 6 in the morning after she was hospitalized, she called Honi to tell her she was in the hospital. “I told Davida she is going to be fine. I told her they will make her feel better, that she will get well and then get the vaccine. ‘We will all get to visit,’ I said. ‘It will be fabulous.’ That’s the last time I heard her voice. It never occurred to me she was going to die.“ This was included in Davida’s funeral announcement, which Honi asked to be included in this story: “In lieu of donations, the family requests an act that was extremely close to Davida’s heart: Please get your Covid-19 vaccination or reach out to others in your community and help them get vaccinated. Davida’s fondest wish was that everyone get vaccinated. We have the opportunity to help with this cause.” Pensacola’s Fred Levin, a famed trial attorney who was known for taking down Big Tobacco, among many high profile cases, died unexpectedly on Jan. 12 at age 83, five days after showing symptoms of Covid-19 “despite receiving the most advanced and best treatment available in the United States,” as his obituary noted. When he tested positive for Covid, he was asymptomatic for 10 days, but died on the day that he was originally scheduled to receive his first dose of the Covid vaccine. In his obituary, he said “just wear a mask! It’s not too much to ask.”

Didn’t Die Alone New Orleans, like Birmingham, Pensacola and other Jewish communities throughout the Deep South, lost well-known and admired community members. Dr. Jack Zoller, a well-known New Orleans physician and community leader, died April 2, 2020 due to complications from Covid-19. He was 91. A year later, his son Gary reflected on his death. “I think the good news for me is that my dad didn’t die alone in a hospital room like so many other people. Otherwise I might not have had the closure that I did.” Jack lived at New Orleans’ Lambeth House, a continuing care retirement community, which at the start of the pan- Jack Zoller demic was a Covid hot spot. He became exposed after spending time with a friend. His symptoms at first were mild, mainly shortness of breath. Jack was hospitalized briefly, but then discharged because it appeared he was doing better. His downturn began shortly after returning to Lambeth House, where he had been living in an independent unit. As his breathing worsened, he was moved to an assisted living unit, which is where he died, alert until the end. Gary was with him the day he died, still comforted a year later that his dad did not die alone. “The good part is that we got to be together.” Other family members, children and grandchildren spread out from Los Angeles to Dallas to Tel Aviv, all got the chance to say goodbye vir-


April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

community tually. Jack even whispered a joke into Gary’s ear an hour before he died. “He was fully there. Being there with him was a gift.” Jack was an obstetrician and gynecologist for more than 35 years, delivering thousands of babies. He also was a Jewish community volunteer leader. He became a Bar Mitzvah in his 80s. In addition to his New Orleans home, Jack had a home in Telluride, Colorado. He loved fishing and skiing. “He treated everyone with dignity and respect,” said his obituary. “Wherever he went, he had a smile on his face, always offering a kind word or gesture. Jack made everyone feel as though he was their best friend.” The national television show, CBS Sunday Morning, did a piece on the New Orleans physician and his passing as the pandemic was erupting. Despite the closure that Gary feels, the day to day closeness that he enjoyed with his dad since moving back to New Orleans 17 years ago, and being with him the day he died, one part of the saga remains an open wound for Gary. “Zoom shiva was unfulfilling for me. It was nice to hear stories. But I missed family and friends being together.” There was no funeral. Jack chose to be cremated. His remains are in Gary’s living room. Gary’s mom, Linda, died in 1994. Her ashes were scattered on a mountainside in Telluride. Jack wanted his scattered in the same place. Covid has put that on hold. “When we will be able to do that as a family is still undetermined,” said Gary. “Not being able to mourn loved ones properly is just one more struggle of pandemic life.”

On The Front Lines The tragedy of losing siblings of almost identical age in such a jarring way has formed a deeper friendship between Bobbye Seligman and Honi Mazer Gottlieb, which is a reflection of the mutually-supportive friendships that have taken hold in the Jewish community since the pandemic began a little more than a year ago. One community leader who has been on the front lines since day one is Lauren Schwartz. “Individual and collective losses have been enormous,” says Schwartz, executive director of Birmingham’s Collat Jewish Family Services. “Some have lost loved ones and the ability to grieve in traditional ways, surrounded by community and support. Others have lost jobs and financial stability. And at some level, we all have lost the regular, social contact that makes us human.” While most have not lost loved ones, nearly everyone, it seems, knows at least one person who has died. And no one has escaped the impact of the pandemic or being forced to wrestle with once-unimaginable fears. “In families the stress of managing work, school and home life has resulted in increasing anxiety and depression. This impact is reflected in the increased need we have seen for counseling services,” says Schwartz. CJFS has experienced a 41 percent increase in the number of active counseling clients from February 2020 to February 2021. Participation in the agency’s support groups has grown significantly over the past year. Its group for caregivers went from meeting once a month to meeting online twice a week. “For older adults, particularly those with memory disorders, research is showing that the pandemic has led to more rapid physical and cognitive decline. At CJFS we see this anecdotally in our CARES clients, some

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans also has seen increasing demand, says Executive Director Roselle Ungar. However, she says, because of the legacy of Hurricane Katrina, her agency was able to shift into an emergency response mode almost immediately after the Covid crisis erupted. There already was a playbook for working off-site and how to continue the work of a service-delivery agency even after its hub offices shut down. The biggest challenge was to set up a HIPAA compliant platform for “seeing” clients. This was accomplished within a few days of closing the physical office. Two immediate needs began to emerge as the pandemic took hold: the need to respond to the increased stress and disruption that the agency’s current clients were experiencing, and new clients coming to Jewish Family Service for help. “We were fortunate that through a significant grant from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana we could set up a relief fund for members of the Jewish community affected by Covid. This included providing housing assistance, help with utility bills, gift cards for food — helping people with the basic necessities.” As Ungar notes, New Orleans, like Birmingham, is a smaller Jewish community, relatively speaking. “You are not going to see the massive number of people affected that you would see in a larger community.” Nonetheless, the demand for services has grown significantly. Since the pandemic started, her agency, which also serves the broader community, has added 35 Jewish case management clients — a 30 percent increase. “These are not clients we would see on a regular basis. These are people new to the agency.”

Ben Gurion University presenting honorary doctorate to Dr. Ruth Conexx America Israel Business Connector, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and National Council of Jewish Women, Southern Jewish Life and Israel InSight magazines, and the Israeli Consulates General in Atlanta, Miami and Houston are among the sponsors of “Celebrating the Remarkable,” a virtual event by the American Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev. The online event, which will be on April 25 at noon, will mark the first honorary doctorate from an Israeli university bestowed upon Ruth Westheimer. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz and Rector Prof. Chaim Hames will present the doctorate. Throughout her career, Dr. Ruth has maintained her commitment to the Jewish people and Israel. A kindertransport child, she was sent to Switzerland at the age of 10; she lost her entire family in the Holocaust. At 17, she went to then-Palestine where she fought for independence as a sniper in the Haganah. She later moved to Paris where she studied psychology at the Sorbonne. In 1956, she immigrated to the United States and received a master’s in sociology from the New School for Social Research as well as a doctorate in education from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. In 2020, Dr. Ruth became an honorary board member of AABGU. Actress Noa Tishby, founder of the nonprofit “Act for Israel,” Israel’s first online advocacy organization, will host. General admission is free, but there are numerous sponsorship categories. More information is at 20

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

community Birmingham selected as pilot for Jewish Future Pledge Promotes legacy giving to Jewish causes The Birmingham Jewish Foundation announced a new partnership with the Jewish Future Pledge, joining a two-year pilot program to proliferate a culture of legacy giving in communities across North America. Birmingham is part of a cohort of 11 local federations and foundations across North America put together by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Future Pledge. “The Jewish Future Pledge is thrilled to partner with local Federations like The Birmingham Jewish Foundation across North America as we work together to support the critical work of securing our Jewish future for Jewish communities big and small,” said Jewish Future Pledge co-founder, Mike Leven. “Our strategic partnership will accelerate our new movement’s expansion across the country as we work to secure the funds needed to ensure that Jewish life is sustained for generations to come,” said Leven. According to JFNA, the partnership comes at a critical time for the Jewish community. The social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the Jewish community more uncertain about its future than ever before and comes during the largest transfer of wealth in history. According to Center on Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College, an estimated $68 trillion will pass to the next generation in the next 25 years, and $6.3 trillion is expected to be allocated to charity. Based on current patterns, roughly 20 percent of that, or about $1.3 trillion, will come from Jewish donors. The Jewish Future Pledge seeks to leverage this wealth transfer to secure the financial future of the Jewish people by directing hundreds of billions of dollars toward Jewish and Israel-related causes. The Jewish Future Pledge calls on all Jews to sign a pledge that commits half or more of the charitable giving in their estate plan to support the Jewish people and/or the State of Israel. Whether it is for $10 or $10 million, every pledge contributes to securing a Jewish future for all. With the discussion centered on over $600 billion in giving to Jewish charitable efforts, the coming years are being described as the biggest opportunity — or possibly the biggest missed opportunity — in Jewish philanthropy. Leven, a retired executive from the hospitality industry, created the pledge not only because of the amount of charitable giving on the horizon, but because he was concerned that with a decline in affiliation with Jewish institutions, future generations might not be giving as much to Jewish causes. Leven and co-founder Amy Holtz said “In the past, it was well-established that Jewish families would donate most of their philanthropic assets to Jewish causes. Today, a rising percentage of young people are disconnecting from their Jewish identity and Israel, and Jewish institutions are struggling to attract the next generation of donors.” Last month, the Jewish Future Pledge announced a Youth Pledge. Rather than focusing on fundraising, the youth effort, aimed at ages 13 to 25, asks for an ideological pledge of Jewish communal responsibility by taking active leadership roles. “We feel privileged to be partnering with The Jewish Future Pledge,” said Birmingham Jewish Future Pledge Chair Rodney Barstein. “It is vital that those of us who care about our legacies and Jewish life make sure that April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life




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community our Jewish community — locally, around the world, and in Israel — is strong for generations to come, and the Jewish Future Pledge will give us the tools and language to have these discussions with members of our Birmingham Jewish community in a meaningful way.” Cohort Federations and Foundations will educate their communities about the importance of the Pledge, encouraging individuals to sign and share it with their family and friends. Once they sign the Jewish Future Pledge, donors will look to Jewish Federations/Foundations to define their commitment through tangible gifts to causes they care about. In 2019, Atlanta became the pilot city for the project, with a goal of having 200 pledges from the Atlanta area. They reached the goal in February. Last May, the Pledge made a public debut with donors like Bernie Marcus and Charles Bronfman making the commitment. The initiative has partnered not only with the Federation movement, but with investment bank Morgan Stanley, whose website now has a section on Jewish giving, and they are looking for similar partners in the Protestant, Catholic and Muslim communities, according to eJewishPhilanthropy. The original plan was to start with 10 Federations in the first cohort, but after receiving overwhelming interest in participation, the effort was expanded to accommodate 11 cities. Other cohort Federation/Foundation communities include Portland, Tidewater (Va.), Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Greater Metro West (N.J.), South Palm Beach County, Miami, Toronto and Houston.

Friends of IDF holding online poker tournament

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces’ Georgia Chapter will hold a qualifying virtual Texas Hold’em poker event on April 27 at 6 p.m. Central, open to members of the Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky communities. Those who are unable to make the qualifying event but would like to participate in the tournament can register for open seat night, April 29 at 7 p.m. Central. The top players will advance to FIDF’s first-ever National Poker Tournament final event on May 2 at 6 p.m. Central. Joining the final event will be celebrity poker player Eli Elezra and commentator Jeff Platt. The livestream will be on Faded Spade. Proceeds will benefit the Combat Field Intelligence Array, adopted through FIDF’s Adopta-Brigade Program, which supports soldiers in the adopted units by providing financial assistance to soldiers in-need, caring for Lone Soldiers, and funding rest and recuperation weeks for combat soldiers. For more information, go to 22

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

community CJFS honoree Goedecke: Agency is there for the entire community Virtual gala scheduled for May 13 As this year’s honoree for the Collat Jewish Family Services Hands Up Together gala, Nancy Collat Goedecke wants to emphasize the role CJFS plays in meeting the needs of older adults and their families when challenges arise. Goedecke explained that her grandmother was just shy of 100 when she died in 1999, “and she could have really used the services of CJFS. Honestly, my family at that time didn’t really think CJFS was for us.” She became involved with CJFS and eventually served as president. For her, “it became clear that CJFS is for those who have means and for those who don’t, for those who are Jewish and those who are not – it’s for the whole community. This reality has fueled my love for the agency.” In time, she also learned firsthand about the difficulties faced by family caregivers. As her mother, Patsy Collat, suffered with Alzheimer’s disease, Goedecke saw her father, Charles Collat Sr., at first try to provide all of her care himself. “Family caregivers are so important, and it’s critical that CJFS is providing care and support for them as well as for their loved ones,” she said. “There is a great need for older adult services, and the

sooner the community wraps its arms around this issue, the better off we will be.” Chairs for the virtual event on May 13 are Marjorie Perlman and Emmett McLean, and the event’s honorary chair is Charles Collat Sr. “Nancy has always been so generous in giving of her time and resources for so many worthy organizations, especially CJFS,” McLean said in explaining his desire to co-chair the event. “You can always count on Nancy to help, so honoring her was an easy decision for me, to show my appreciation for all that she has done.” “As a member of Nancy’s executive committee when she was CJFS president, I learned so much about leadership in the non-profit world,” Perlman said. “She is a motivator and a visionary who is not afraid to get her hands dirty — and we also share a mutual love of red wine, and love/ hate relationship with golf.” A Birmingham native, Goedecke is CEO and Chairman of Mayer, one of the nation’s largest wholesale distributors of electrical products, equipment and lighting. She is well-known in her industry, and in greater Birmingham, as a leader and philanthropist. In 2015, she was the first woman to chair the United Way of Central Alabama’s annual campaign; that highly successful, $38.8 million effort. Tickets to the 5:30 p.m. virtual gala are $100, with proceeds going toward CJFS programs that benefit older adults. Sponsorship levels are also available. Information is at

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


community Ignoring death threats, new Israel organization has far-reaching effects Atlanta Israel Coalition branching out nationally By Richard Friedman A little engine that could is turning into a locomotive that can, which is all the better for Israel and the Jewish people. The Atlanta Israel Coalition, which began as an idea in Atlantan Cheryl Dorchinsky’s head and an aching in her heart, is emerging as a significant new addition to the multiple Israel education organizations found in the U.S. today, though it is innovating, not duplicating. “My goal in creating AIC was to get people out of their silos,” says Dorchinsky. She and other volunteers have come together to create a new non-profit that’s agile, nimble — and effective. “Israel’s detractors have no problem getting together and spreading hate. So to counter this, I believe there needs to be a broadened emphasis on people, Jewish and other friends of Israel, coming together, regardless of their political bent, for education and advocacy,” she said. Dorchinsky, a non-profit entrepreneur and social media dynamo, has found a widening niche for this new organization. AIC is emerging as a national venue where Israel-lovers can come together; avoiding politics, both American and Israeli. It is a 501c3 organization with a small budget funded by grants and donations. AIC’s vision includes these three principles: That Jews are entitled to a sovereign and safe country in their Biblical homeland; Israel has the right to choose its own leaders through its democratic processes; and that Israel has the right to make its own security decisions and defend itself.

“Much Appreciation”






April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Israel’s Atlanta-based Consul General for the Southeast, Anat Sultan-Dadon, is a big fan of Dorchinsky and AIC. She has seen its impact first-hand. “I have much appreciation for Cheryl and AIC for the important work that her organization is doing,” said the Consul General. “Having successfully transitioned to creative online programming, AIC is connecting thousands of people with Israel, educating them about Israel’s uniqueness, beauty and challenges.” AIC’s first program, which took place pre-Covid, drew 200 people. It was held at a local synagogue. It featured Kay Wilson, who survived a brutal attack by Palestinian terrorists while hiking in Jerusalem, and a screening of her film “Black Forest,” a harrowing documentary she made about the experience. By pre-Covid standards, the program was considered a success. Then the pandemic changed everything. Online programming would quickly become the norm, opening a vast new universe for creative organizations adept at using online technologies and social media, all of which were right up Dorchinsky’s alley. Skilled at creating social media networks, which she has done in other arenas, Dorchinsky began promoting AIC far and wide, taking it beyond its Atlanta roots. In fact, AIC, in her mind, no longer just stands for Atlanta Israel Coalition but she also thinks of it more broadly as the All Israel Coalition. With good reason. Today, thousands of people from across the country and around the world participate in AIC’s programming as this tiny, still volunteer-led

community organization offers a steady and strategic stream of creative offerings. This short video highlights AIC’s two years of imaginative pro-Israel programming. The online programs that AIC has produced have been far-reaching. They have run the gamut from exploring the truth behind exchanges between U.S. law enforcement and their Israeli counterparts, a popular target of anti-Israel groups; highlighting the work of an Israeli company that developed a state-of-the-art face mask to help combat the Covid pandemic; to explaining Sigd, a national holiday celebrated by Israel’s Ethiopian community. These and other AIC programs can be viewed on YouTube. Dorchinsky is especially proud that during the pandemic, AIC has been able to “take” thousands of people to Israel — through virtual tours. “You will not find many guides who will actually take you to the sites live, answer questions and engage the audience as our guide David Sussman does,” she said. AIC’s tours cover the entire Land of Israel and there’s still time to sign up for the group’s upcoming offerings.

regions of the country that focus on other things she cares about. Her Israel work is not always easy. She’s been willing to tackle controversial and complicated issues, both through AIC’s online programming and social media posts. Dorchinsky’s style is forthright but not in your face. She is fiercely proud of being Jewish and of Israel, and passionate about Zionism, and that has irked some of Israel’s detractors. She’s even received death threats. “Nobody likes death threats, but I go forward. Still, I sometimes get horrible emails in response to things we are doing. People attack me on social media,” says Dorchinsky. “Somebody posted on social media that AIC is a terrorist network. I’ve been told I’m going to hell because I’m part of the ‘Zionist entity.’ Weekly I get messages full of hate directed toward Israel and Jews — saying that Israel is evil and anyone who supports Israel is evil.” Still, she soldiers on, educating with facts and determination, striving to build an ever-growing virtual tent for the pro-Israel community to gather, welcoming all those dedicated to Israel’s well-being. “I want to make it easier for my kids — and all kids — in the future. Not Always Easy There is so much anti-Jewish, anti-Israel hate today. You have to hope Dorchinsky is from New York. that we can do something — and I believe the only way is for all of us to While in college she spent time studying at Israel’s Haifa University. do it together.” She and her husband migrated to Atlanta for professional reasons. They have two teenage sons. To learn more about the Atlanta Israel Coalition or make a donation, She was in the business world but left to pursue her passions, which, contact Cheryl Dorchinsky at or visit AtlantaIsin addition to Israel, include managing social media networks in several raelCoalition on Facebook.

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(JNS) — The International Federation of American Football has selected Israel to host the Flag Football World Championships at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem from Dec. 6 to 8. The three-day tournament is expected to attract more than 40 teams from up to 30 countries competing for the world title and a spot in the World Games 2022. The biannual tournament was originally scheduled to take place in Denmark in 2020 but was postponed due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. The Kraft Family Sports Campus hosted one of the most successful European Championships, in 2019. The men’s and women’s teams that finish in the top eight in Israel respectively will go on to compete in the World Games in Birmingham in July 2022, when the flag football competition will fall under the auspicious of the National Football League. The Israeli men’s team is currently ranked fifth in the world, while the women’s team is ranked 11th. Steve Leibowitz, president of the Federation of American Football in Israel and chairman of the 2021 flag Football World Championships Local Organizing Committee, told JNS that “the past year has been very tough for all sports, including American football. Here in Israel, we have been mostly off the field until last week. First, Denmark and then Spain withdrew from hosting the World Championships. Israel has a strong organization and the backing of the Kraft Family and other sponsors, and we saw an opportunity to host.” He explained that Israel was slated to host the World Championships in 2014, but the Gaza war forced the IFAF to move the championships to Italy. Now, he said, “we have an opportunity to showcase Israel and Jerusalem to the top echelons of the sport we love. We have two huge challenges at the same time — to host the biggest and best FFWC ever held, and to finish in the top eight and qualify the Israeli teams for the 2022 World Games.” Kenny Zwiebel, a longtime flag-football player who is now the head coach of the Israeli Men’s National Flag Football team, told JNS that hosting the event “adds extra incentive for the team, which is already excited to compete for a top finish and to do so in front of our home crowd. We look forward to showing the world delegations what Israel has to offer both on and off the field.” Both the men’s and women’s national teams have had success in tournaments at venues worldwide in the past nearly two decades. At the 2019 Jerusalem European Championships, the men’s team just missed the podium, finishing in fourth place, while the women had a respectable sixth-place finish.

‘A destination for championship-level competition’ At the same time as Israel is being put on the international stage in flag football, Israel’s national tackle football team has two European matches coming up as the squad gets ready to host Spain at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in August with an away game versus Hungary this September.

commentary Shana Sprung, the longtime women’s national team quarterback and one of the founders of the women’s flag football league in Israel (WAFI) back in 2004, told JNS that she is “simply in awe” that Israel was selected to hold this year’s world championships. Sprung, who was also the European Championship’s most valuable player in the 2014 tournament held in Italy, said that “by hosting the European Championships, we proved what an amazing organization the AFI is, and how enjoyable it is to be in Jerusalem and in Israel. Now we are ready for the rest of the world to see that as well.” IFAF president Richard MacLean said “the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem is fast becoming an iconic venue for flag football. I look forward to seeing the world’s finest flag football players coming together for what will undoubtedly be a great event. The competition is tremendous as teams compete to secure their place at the World Games, and only one team will earn the honor of being crowned IFAF Flag Football World Champions.” Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group, which owns the NFL’s six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and has been the top supporter of football in Israel for nearly 20 years, along with his late wife Myra, said: “We love the game of American football and are so proud to see the sport’s popularity continue to grow internationally in its various forms, including flag football.” “When we invested in the Kraft Family Sports Campus,” he continued, “it was with the hope that it would not only provide a location for daily exercise and competition for all Israelis, but that it would also become a destination for championship-level competition for football leagues throughout the Middle East and Europe. It was an investment in both Israel and American football — two of my greatest passions.”

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community 15. There are volunteer positions for all skill and ability levels. With Covid travel shutdowns, it has been a long time since any community discussed this, but the Shreveport Jewish Community is planning for a mission to Israel, Feb. 14 to 24, 2022. Details will be announced soon. The next Shabbat Hilicha for Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will be on April 24, meeting at 10:30 a.m. at Red Mountain Park’s Frankfurt Drive entrance for the Shabbat hike. Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will have Shabbat at the Beach, April 23 at the John Beasley Park Pavilion, from 5 to 8 p.m. A pot luck dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., and the service starts at 6:30 p.m. The monthly Baton Rouge joint Shabbat will be on April 16 at 6 p.m. in the B’nai Israel Zoom, with a tribute to Joyce Henry, who is retiring from the Alfred Rayner Learning Center after 15 years.

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Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El will be holding a virtual book talk with Joshua Rothman, history chair at the University of Alabama, about his new book, “The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America,” April 29 at 7 p.m. Because the bridge is still out in Pensacola, Temple Beth El is bringing Shabbat to the other side of the bay on April 16. A casual Shabbat Under the Stars service will be held at 7 p.m. at the Shoreline Park South gazebo in Gulf Breeze. A picnic will be held before the service. For those unable to attend, the service will be available on Zoom. Camp Gan Israel in Birmingham is accepting registrations for this summer. Held at Beit Ariel Chabad, the camp is for rising Kindergarteners through age 12. Camp will be held daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 28 to July 23.

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The North Louisiana Jewish Federation announced tentative dates of July 25 to Aug. 6 for Camp Chai, the annual summer day camp for ages 3 to 13. Registration information will be announced soon.

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The next Jews and Booze with Rabbi Mitchell Delcau of Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will be April 21 at 7 p.m. at Mulligan’s Bar and Grill in Bluewater Bay. Anna Wrobel, American historian, teacher and Holocaust Studies educator, will speak on “Second Generation/First Person: Memory, History and Poetry” as part of the “Bearing Witness: Stories of the Holocaust” series by the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. She uses original poetry as a creative means for historical and cultural transmission. The presentation includes related references to the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., assassinated in the often tragic month of April. Wrobel’s love for Dr. King was established in early childhood as a result of her survivor mother’s deep respect and admiration for the civil rights leader. The Zoom program will be April 20 at 7 p.m. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Adath Yeshurun in Aiken, S.C., a second virtual history event will be held on April 18 at 4 p.m. Central. The focus will be on the Aiken Jewish community from 1950 forward. The centennial celebration weekend will be held in March 2022. More details are available at

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

community New JLI class says a positive future “Can Happen” What is possible? The new Rohr Jewish Learning Institute class explores that concept, by taking the notion that “this can never happen” and transforming it into “This Can Happen: A Credible Case for Feeling Good About the Future.” The six-week course is being introduced at Chabad Centers nationwide this month, with many centers holding virtual classes that can be accessed by those who do not have a participating Chabad nearby. Noting how believers for millennia have considered the possibility of a messianic age, the course starts with how in today’s world, society can be radically and rapidly transformed by the actions of a few — and why not use that fact for good? Why not develop a practical path toward the perfect world that Judaism strives toward? The first class will examine current chaos and discord, diving into what is wrong — and right — with the world. Additional classes discuss the idea of redemption and where it fits into Judaism and the story of creation, waiting for a messiah versus plowing forward with positive actions, four epochs in Jewish history that demonstrate the progress that has been

made toward a good world, what the sources say about how redemption will come about, and what the end result will look like. In Metairie, there will be a free trial standalone class on April 20, at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at the evening class. The course will continue on Tuesdays from April 20 to May 25, with the May 18 class moved to May 20 due to Shavuot. The 10:30 a.m. classes will be virtual, while the 7:30 p.m. classes have an in-person option. Registration is $70, $63 for returning students. The Uptown Chabad in New Orleans will hold the class on Wednesdays from April 28 to June 2, virtually at 3 p.m. and in person at 7 p.m. Registration is $70. In Baton Rouge, the course is available in person at the Richmond Inn and Suites, or virtually, from April 28 to June 2, at 7 p.m. Registration is $89 with a 10 percent couples discount. Beit Ariel Chabad in Birmingham will hold the class on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. from April 21 to May 26. Registration is $89, with a 25 percent discount for dual registrations. More information is at

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life



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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Young Jewish Philanthropy aims to teach pre-teens about giving Birmingham program a bridge after PJ Library It’s never too early to teach about tzedakah. The Birmingham Jewish Federation and Birmingham Jewish Foundation have launched Young Jewish Philanthropy for ages 9 and up, as a continuation of the Foundation’s Teen Tzedakah program. Young Jewish Philanthropy will enhance youth leadership skills and provide learning tools to grow and educate about philanthropy in the community. The program is also envisioned as a next step for children who age out of PJ Library, the program that provides free monthly Jewish-themed books to Jewish households with children up to age 8. “Birmingham has one of the most successful PJ Library programs, in terms of per capita engagement, with over 170 local families participating,” said Sarah Weinberger, Federation Youth Engagement and Young Adult coordinator. “Our concern was that once their children aged out of PJ Library, we were losing that close contact with the families and we weren’t picking back up with them until their child reached Bar/Bat Mitzvah age with Teen Tzedakah.” To help parents and their children continue with a sense of connection after PJ Library, “we expanded and rebranded our program as Young Jewish Philanthropy.” The program begins with Shalom Service Corps for ages 9 and 10. Resources are provided to begin and guide conversations in the home about philanthropy. Program guides and step-by-step instructions are provided for family activities that teach about responsibility and improving the world. For ages 11 and 12, there is the Tikkun Olan Squad, which partners with agencies in the community to provide group tzedakah experiences, encouraging involvement in the community and teaching why giving is an important Jewish value. For Bar or Bat Mitzvah students, the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Fund establishes a fund in the teen’s name at the Foundation. Contributions of up to $250 will be matched by the Brenda and Fred Friedman Family Foundation. Every spring, the teen will be able to recommend where the income from the fund gets donated, based on their personal interests. Sally Friedman, Foundation executive director, said popular recipients have been camp scholarship funds, Dream Street and BBYO scholarships. The Foundation has promoted Teen Tzedakah funds, which are now being rebranded under the Young Jewish Philanthropy umbrella. Having started with a grant from the Friedman Family Foundation, the program had about 170 participants over the years. There are now 126 such funds, and many of the donors are now adults. Eventually, the students are given the opportunity to transform the teen fund into a full-fledged Foundation fund. Currently, there are 29 such funds that grew out of Teen Tzedakah, with 26 of them donor advised funds. The other three funds are designated for Camp Barney Medintz scholarships, Mitchell’s Place and Friendship Circle. In mid-May, the Shalom Service Corps and Tikkun Olam Squad can pick up materials from the Federation office to make bird feeders, so the students can learn about the mitzvah of caring for animals. Sally Friedman said Weinberger is “instituting an exciting new direction for our youth philanthropy so that our Federation and Foundation can have a continuum of philanthropy education and Jewish involvement from birth to adulthood… I hope parents will take advantage of all we are offering.” The Federation coordinates PJ Library in Birmingham, underwritten by the Foundation’s Andrew David Abroms Educational Fund.


Elegant Formal Wear for Your Simchas List of Most Needed Foods Canned Tuna In Water or Chicken Peanut Butter and Jelly (non-glass) Cereal / Oatmeal / Grits Dried or Canned Beans Macaroni and Cheese* Pasta and Pasta Sauce* Canned Vegetables~ Canned or dried Fruit Brown Rice *Whole Wheat Preferred ~ Low Sodium or No Salt Added Preferred

Simchas a semi-annual special section Custom masks available from Backyard Printing

Family expertise drives Fisher and Sons Jewelers The Fisher family enjoys being a part of families’ special celebrations with Fisher and Sons Jewelry— a gem in Metairie for 442 years. “We get to know our customers and they become our friends,” said Chloe Fisher Bares, who co-owns Fisher and Sons with her brother, Craig. “When it comes to an engagement ring, wedding ring and other jewelry for important life events, we know it’s a big decision. We’re with them every step of the way to make sure they get something that is just perfect.” After 31 years in the jewelry industry, Thomas Fisher opened Fisher and Sons in 1977. He brought in his wife, Chloe Sr., and son Craig into the business, teaching him all the old techniques as he learned them when he started training in 1946. Their daughter, Chloe Fisher Bares joined the business in 1982, followed by her husband, Barry, in 1995. Craig’s son, Ryan, joined Fisher and Sons in 2011. That year, Thomas and Chloe Fisher turned over the business to their children. Ryan’s wife, Hannah, starting working with the company a year ago. “We’re all about family here,” said Fisher Bares. Ryan Fisher handles jewelry designs as well as appraisals. He works on many custom pieces for customers using CAD software and 3D printing. His father, Craig Fisher, does the benchwork on the new custom jewelry and repair work, incorporating a laser-welder. Using the laser welder enables him to work on antiques that can’t be heated. Chloe Fisher Bares goes to market a couple of times a year to pick out new and unusual pieces, keeping an eye out for the fine pieces like her father used to make.. “We also do a lot of custom work,” said Fisher Bares. “We love working with customers to come up with something so unique. Our slogan is ‘where the unique is commonplace’.” She said that rose gold and white gold are popular options today. Fisher and Sons has created pearl engagement rings and incorporated the fleur de lis in custom jewelry, cufflinks for weddings as well as other special celebrations. They also have done stackable, thin wedding band custom designs. “We’re also doing more custom wedding rings for customers with colored stones in them,” said Fisher Bares.

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life



Customize your event with Backyard Printing

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Does your special event need that extra New Orleans touch? Established in 2008, Backyard Printing is a locally owned and operated full service screen printing shop and embroidery facility located in Mandeville. Backyard Printing offers a wide range of services, designing and screen printing T-shirts, and also offering one-of-akind heat transfer T-shirts. Custom koozies, caps, aprons, towels, sweats, bags and many more items are available with custom messages, logos or graphics. Ready to dance? Black umbrellas and white umbrellas are available for custom screen printing. And a specialty is custom Second Line printed handkerchiefs. Items can be color matched to weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvah themes, team or corporate colors. And Backyard Printing takes pride in its inhouse production — they don’t send jobs off for others to complete. Orders can be placed online, or in person at the Mandeville location on Surgi Drive.

B&A Warehouse seeing more event activity in 2021 By Lee J. Green

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

The B&A Warehouse has seen a significant upswing in the number of events being hosted and scheduled at the event facility located across from Birmingham’s Railroad Park. “We’re encouraged by what we are seeing,” said B&A Marketing Director Haley Roebuck. “Our calendar is filling up for 2021.” She said the B&A has for many years put their focus into making sure every detail of an event is just as the hosts have dreamt up. “We put that same attention into safety and cleanliness,” said Roebuck. The entire facility can accommodate 800 people, so socially-distanced events are easy to facilitate in the space. The B&A has also catered some outdoor events in Railroad Park and elsewhere. “It’s an open canvas, so people can really personalize it to fit with their celebration,” she said, adding, “We’ve really enjoyed working with our friends in the Jewish community to help make sure they have the most memorable events.” Roebuck said they are working out the details for the June Bat Mitzvah of Belle Casey, daughter of Matt and Emily Casey. The event was rescheduled from last August. Pre-Covid events included the Bar Mitzvah reception for Reed Nelson on Jan. 25, 2020, and on Leap Day Feb. 29, they welcomed 200 people for the Katie Hausman-Josh Grace wedding and reception. The Hausman-Grace wedding menu featured a combination of Southern and Italian fare, including a dual carving station, grits bar as well as pasta station. The wedding was held under the skylight. Chef Deborah Thomas specializes in Southern cuisine, but Roebuck said they are happy to do customized menus including kosher-style and even family recipes. They also can accommodate those who keep strict kosher and need meals brought into the facility. “That’s one reason why the ‘food stations’ are so popular,” said Roebuck. “You can select what you want and go kosher-style.”


Mon Ami outfits kids for simchas By Lee J. Green When Bar and Bat Mitzvah boys and girls are on the bimah doing their best, Mountain Brook’s Mon Ami kids clothing stores wants to help them look their best. The clothing store for boys and girls sizes four through 18 recently added to its extensive collection of formal clothing. “We have clothes that make kids and their parents happy,” said Farren Michel, who opened Mon Ami with her daughter, Aja Michael Powanda, in February 2019. “There are even a couple of lines we carry from companies that also make formal wear for adults.” Michel said Mon Ami carries Johnnie-O, Leo & Zachary as well as Southern Point formal wear for boys. Their most popular line of fancy dresses for girls is Un Deux Trois. She said the store also sells accessories and gifts for celebrations, including Bluetooth speakers, purses and puzzles/puzzle mats. Powanda said they appreciate the support of the community and are happy to reach out to accommodate customers. “We do local delivery and pick-up on approvals for those who want to try things on at home,” added Powanda. Customers can also order online from A Birmingham native, Powanda worked for several years as a buyer at a high-end children’s clothing store in New York City. She and her husband wanted to raise their children — 8-year-old Farren, 6-year-old Mavis — in Birmingham, so they moved to the Magic City four years ago. “It was always my goal to open my own children’s clothing store here,” she said.

A Special Issue 30 Years in the Making SJL’s Guide is more than a listing of organizations, institutions and congregations… it is a portal to the history of the Jewish communities of the Deep South, and a guide to the present. And it will be mailed to every known Jewish household in the region. It will also celebrate 30 years of award-winning, independent Southern Jewish journalism.

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Overlook the 18th hole at English Turn Once reserved for the exclusive use of its members, the Clubhouse and grounds at the renowned English Turn Golf and Country Club in New Orleans are now available for private events for guests from all over the country. One does not have to be a member of the club or resident of the community to host events there. The centrally-located English Turn, which has been part of the community for 30 years, is nestled on the westbank area just a few miles from the CBD and French Quarter, offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The facility is the perfect place for luncheons, dinners, cocktail parties, corporate events — and of course, all manner of simchas. There are many spaces for business meetings. The 40,000 square foot clubhouse includes a large ballroom with floor to ceiling windows, a glass ceiling atrium, and an impressive main dining room overlooking the 18th hole. It can hold seated dinners of up to 350 people, and wedding receptions for 500. The outdoor venue overlooks two fountains and the 18th green. In the last 28 years, English Turn has hosted over 1600 weddings, and is part of The Knot’s Hall of Fame for wedding venues.

Something New at

Southern Jewish Life

We have a couple of new developments at Southern Jewish Life. Of course, we greatly appreciate all of our supporters who have contributed to strengthening the magazine during the very uncertain times we have been through this past year, a time that led to many of our colleagues closing altogether or ending their print versions. Naturally, the effort is ongoing, so please consider being part of our support team. Information is on page 42. Another development is that we are going to start carrying obituaries in the magazine. We live in a region where everyone knows each other — either by being related, having gone to college together, summer camp, youth group… Southern Jewish Life is a way to get the word out to those who may not have heard, or who aren’t seeing obituaries in another community’s newspaper. We are working with the major funeral homes in our region that work with the Jewish community so the option of running an obituary in Southern Jewish Life is a seamless part of the process. An obituary with the basic informaton, a couple biographical highlights and the survivors will be $125. For those who have written longer obituaries, cost will be based on length, and we will provide information directly in those cases. Check out page 43 to see what they will look like. The obituaries will also be online, on our website, The next development is that we will finally be publishing the Guide to Southern Jewish Communities, a listing and history of Jewish sites, past and present, in every community in our coverage area that has or had a Jewish presence. It will be the perfect companion for when you are traveling the region and wonder what’s Jewish in the next town. The Guide will also mark our 30th anniversary. We invite everyone to place their ads in this annual keepsake by the end of May. More information is on page 33. We thank you for your continued support of award-winning, independent Jewish journalism, as we continue to tell the stories of our communities. 34

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

food and dining



Historian Edna Friedberg, Steven Fenves and Alon Shaya

Handkerchiefs • Umbrellas • T-Shirts • Face Masks

Memory through food: Re-creating pre-war family recipes for a Holocaust survivor Alon Shaya often speaks of the transformative power of food and cooking, and its ability to transport someone across time and around the world. A recent project for the James Beard Award-winning New Orleans chef takes that philosophy to a new dimension. Shaya visited Yad Vashem while he was on a culinary tour in Israel a decade ago and saw recipes from the Holocaust that were scribbled on the back of receipts or scraps of paper. “I was so moved by that. I was wondering what food meant to people in that horrific time, and what role food played in peoples survival or mental state, how they survived physically and mentally.” A friend urged him to visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, to see what they might have in their archives, and “they had a plethora of recipes that were rescued from the war.” He couldn’t read them, though, as they were in Hungarian, Polish or Russian. Among the items was a book of family recipes, donated by Holocaust survivor Steven Fenves. Shaya was astonished to learn that Fenves lived nearby and was a regular volunteer at the museum. It was “an opportunity to reach out to Steve and get first-hand knowledge of his memories,” and “if I was really lucky, be able to cook a few of these recipes and taste the food” and make the recipes available for others to use. “As a chef… I want to cook food that has meaning and stories to it,” Shaya said. “I think that adds to what I love so much about food.” Fenves was a native of Subotica, Yugoslavia, where his father had a publishing house and his mother was a graphic designer, living an “upper middle class” life. The area was occupied by Hungary in April 1941, and a Hungarian officer took over the publishing house, kicking out Fenves’ father. The family had to let their help go, both because of financial reasons and because Jews were no longer allowed to have servants, and Hungarian officers occupied over half of their apartment. Fenves said they survived by selling off their possessions, including his A page from the cookbook prized stamp collection. He suffered “neglect and humiliation” after being one of only nine Jews out of 45 to be allowed to attend school, then in March 1944, when Fenves was 12, the Germans came in. His father was immediately sent to Auschwitz, while the rest of the family was sent to a ghetto before going to Auschwitz. As they were being deported, Maris, their former cook, was in a crowd outside, “competing with the vandals” who rushed in to loot the newly-abandoned apartment. Maris, who he remembers as “a big strong woman, commanding great


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food and dining

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

respect from everybody,” went to the kitchen and picked up the recipe book his mother had written in Hungarian. She then “went to my parents’ bedroom and picked up a diary from our early childhood, then went into the former studio and took out a big paper folder and stuffed in it everything she could reach — lithographs, etchings, schoolwork.” He does not recall her last name, because nobody ever used it. Fenves was liberated from Buchenwald in June 1945. A few weeks after he returned to his hometown, his sister showed up, liberated from Bergen-Belsen. Their father returned on a Soviet military hospital train, “totally broken physically and emotionally,” and he died four months later. They were surprised to learn about the items Maris had rescued. But two years later, when they decided to escape Yugoslavia, they returned the recipe book and artwork to Maris, who took care of it until she was able to ship it to his sister in Chicago in the early 1960s. In the ghetto, Maris had “brought us food occasionally,” Fenves said. “After the war, she and her husband helped us find an apartment.” In meeting with Fenves, Shaya got “a glimpse into his life before the war and what life was like around the kitchen table.” Through conversations, he “learned all sorts of stories of him going to the market with Maris and his mother, loading up on the seasonal vegetables,” bringing everything home to pickle and preserve. Fenves set out to translate 13 of the 140 recipes, using high-resolutions scans of the cookbook, because the original is very fragile. Shaya was determined to bring some of Fenves’ childhood dishes back to life, 75 years later. After Fenves translated the recipes, the battle was not over. “A lot of them are just a list of ingredients,” Shaya said. “There aren’t many directions on technique or oven temperature.” As Shaya experimented in New Orleans, he packed the creations in dry ice and sent them to Fenves for critiques and feedback, “and I’ve been making adjustments.” Fenves remembered the potato circles, which he said was always made for guests, not for the kids. A favorite was a turkey dish where the meat was ground and then placed back on the bone and baked. There were also semolina sticks, which Fenves told Shaya were supposed to resemble fish sticks. Shaya said it was essentially a cream of wheat, cooked down, chilled, cut up and lightly fried. “It’s one of our favorite snacks around the house now,” Shaya said. Fenves said Shaya’s re-creations of the turkey and semolina sticks were “very authentic.” Another recipe that was selected was a walnut cream cake, which is actually acceptable for Passover and is gluten-free. When Shaya saw the recipe, “I was really blown away. Five cups of walnuts?” But in his research, he found out that walnuts play a large role in Hungarian cooking, and he recalled his Bulgarian grandmother grinding walnuts through a meat grinder. Shaya explained that it allows the cake to rise and have a lighter texture. “It was a technique from the cookbook that really resonated with my grandmother’s cooking,” he said. During a recent online conversation hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Fenves sampled Shaya’s version of the cake. While some of the dishes Shaya has made “were exactly duplicated as I remember,” Fenves could not “isolate the memory” of the walnut cake. Fenves thanked Shaya “for your interest and persistence in reviving these recipes and reviving these memories.” Museum historian Edna Friedberg said the recipe books show how many aspects of life were lost in the Holocaust, and efforts like this shine a light on the vibrant Jewish life that existed before the war in Europe. Even in the darkest times, Fenves said, food was an inspiration. At the youth barracks in Auschwitz, “you stayed there until you died of starvation,” he said. They would remember foods that they had eaten and would make up stories of the meals they would order after being liberated. Shaya said “this entire experience has not only inspired me, but so many of the chefs I work with.” He plans to feature some of the dishes on the menu at Saba, his Israeli-style restaurant in New Orleans, “as a Fenves family recipe, and be able to tell the story to our guests.” Shaya said this project has been “one of the most gratifying and impactful things I’ve done in my career.”

food and dining

Nancy Pesses with one of her more traditional Challah Creations

Colorful Challah Creations by Nancy now adorning Shabbat tables Nancy Pesses didn’t plan on getting into the challah business when she returned to New Orleans last summer, but popular demand keeps the kitchen humming each week. Challah Creations By Nancy has been putting out challahs and other holiday-themed Jewish baked goods each week, developing a following locally and around the country for her colorful and uniquely-flavored braids. Her flavored challahs have included chocolate chip, pumpkin spice, raisin, Oreo, rainbow sprinkle, rosemary garlic, tie-dye, Nutella, Reese’s stuffed, everything but the bagel seasoned, chocolate dough, M&M, spinach artichoke and feta, and smores. Plain challahs, and challah knots by the dozen, are also available. She also introduces New Orleans into her selections, with bourbon pecan praline and King cake challahs. Among the special shapes she has done are turkey-shaped challahs for Thanksgiving, menorahs for Chanukah, trees, advocacy ribbons and “Previvor” ribbon challah to a cinnamon-sugar baby bottle chal- represent those with the BRCA gene mutation, with pink lah for a gender reveal party. There is a definite chocolate for breast cancer and teal for emphasis because “my family and ovarian cancer. friends are definitely chocolate fiends,” she said. She rotates the flavors, coming out with a menu every Monday. Orders can be picked up each week in Metairie, or shipped nationwide. To ensure freshness, the national orders go out on Mondays. A veterinarian, Nancy had wanted to come back home to New Orleans after several years of advanced training. She went to Grenada for veterinarian school, finishing her fourth year at Louisiana State University. She did a rotating internship in Tampa, then at LSU, then at Auburn for

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food and dining

another year in oncology. Before she went home, her mother, Gail, sent her a copy of a cookbook, “The Modern Jewish Baker” by Shannon Sarna. “At that time, everybody and their mother was also baking” because of quarantines, she said. In July she returned to New Orleans as her mother was recovering from Covid. After three years of being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Nancy planned to relax for a month or two. She wanted to start baking as a way to unwind, but there was a national shortage of instant yeast, and she could not find it anywhere. Gail, who had wanted to do some baking but hadn’t yet, said she had bought some one-pound bags of yeast before the pandemic but hadn’t used any. Nancy was off and running. “I first went through babka, pita, bagels, all of those were in the book.” She then turned to challah, and while it wasn’t as involved as many of the other recipes, “it was the right fit.” She started looking at how others on Facebook and Instagram were doing creative shapes and flavors, and figured “I have ideas, I could totally do this.” By September she was making more bread than they could eat, so she started giving it to family and friends. “People were telling me in August and September that I should sell this… I don’t know anything about business, I’m a vet,” she said. She decided to offer challah for Rosh Hashanah, and it was “huge.” She spent three 10-hour days filling all the orders, with apple and honey, Oreo, pesto and goat cheese flavors, along with traditional challah. “Everyone said keep doing this,” Nancy said, “so I took my experience and ran with it.” She officially launched Challah Creations By Nancy in October. Immediately, she knew that she wanted to “do something more than bake and sell, I wanted to give back,” so she started a program where a portion of sales goes to a non-profit organization that she felt does great things, with a different organization each month. “I love working with all the different organizations,” she said. In November, she donated to Sharsheret, an organization her mother knew about that supports Jewish women with breast or ovarian cancer. She would soon learn a lot more about that organization, as not long after, Nancy found out that she carries the BRCA1 gene mutation, which more common in Jewish women and leads to a much higher risk of breast cancer. This month, she is donating to BRCAStrong, “because they have supported me” through the process of learning about the mutation, the possibility of risk-reducing surgery and how to navigate the diagnosis. “Outside the Jewish community, or if you don’t have a family member who has it, you don’t know what it is,” Nancy said. She plans to use her challah baking as a platform to educate others about BRCA1, and tell her story. She has found that baking challah “has become one of those cathartic, stress relieving, anxiety relieving activities.” When Purim approached, there was a demand for hamantaschen. As Passover came, she did homemade macaroons and other Passover desserts including chocolate-covered “matzah crack” — and then the week during Passover was very quiet. Though there is nothing blatantly non-kosher in her products, the challahs are not under rabbinic supervision. While spending a lot of time baking, she hasn’t left the animal world behind. Two or three days a week, she does “mostly relief veterinary work,” while running the challah business on social media and through her website, “I’ve found a nice balance… I like using my science side and my knowledge in helping pet owners, and I also like making people happy and making good food.”

SJL Online: 38

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

New Orleans/Baton Rouge Spring Dining Guide

L’Auberge Baton Rouge

777 L’Auberge Ave. Baton Rouge

Southern Jewish Life

Gita Pita

2530 Canal St. Inside RedZone (504) 766-6519

Limitless flavors await at L’Auberge Baton Rouge. Choose from our four dining experiences to satisfy your cravings — Red Lotus, 18 Steak, Bon Temps Buffet, and Stadium Sports Bar and Grill.

Gita Pita offers fresh, delicious and authentic Mediterranean cuisine in a fast casual setting. The homemade Saj bread sets Gita Pita apart from the others! Take out or dine in our 40-seat space.

English Tea Room

Acropolis on Freret

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

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

4510 Freret Street (504) 309-0069

The decor, menu and wine selection at Acropolis On Freret is a dining adventure that features only the best, freshest and most authentic dishes from the Mediterranean region.

Hungry for more diners? Next time, this space can be yours… Call us today!

Kosher Cajun Lee Green (Birmingham) or Jeff Pizzo (New Orleans) (205) 870-7889 • (504) 432-2561 • (888) 613-YALL

3519 Severn Avenue, Metairie (504) 888-2010

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

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


Southern Jewish Life

The Bright Star

Spring Dining Guide


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

Homewood Classic Wine Co. 1831 28th Avenue So., Ste 110, (205) 871-9463

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

A wine retail shop and wine bar in the heart of Homewood, with wines from all over the world and at all price points. Wine tastings held every Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m., and come see the new outdoor patio.

Bistro V

Pies and Pints

521 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia (205) 823-1505

Located in Vestavia, Bistro V serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, with a menu that includes fresh seafood and local and organic meats and vegetables, much of it with a New Orleans nod.

125 20th Street So., Birmingham 7216 Eastchase Parkway, Montgomery

Enjoy an array of craft beers on tap (including many Alabama selections), specialty pies, delicious salads and more. Our signature pizzas are hand-stretched and baked directly on a stone hearth.

Classic Wine Company brings cheer to customers By Lee J. Green A fine wine gets better with age, and that is also true of the Classic Wine Company in Homewood. “We listen to our customers and want to do anything we can to reach out to them,” said Owner Josh Terrell. “Together we’ve done a good job at navigating this new normal.” Tony Meyer opened the Homewood store in 1988, and its SoHo Square location is its third. After working for more than four years as a wine buyer for Hop City, Terrell purchased Classic Wine Company in 2017. When the pandemic hit last March, they started out providing just curbside service before re-opening the store for full service in May. They started out doing virtual tastings before returning to weekly in-person tastings a few months ago. “This is one of the safest places to shop,” said Terrell. “We are still happy to do curbside and we recently opened our new outdoor patio area for some outdoor tastings.” Classic Wine Company offers a good selection of kosher-for-Passover wines and a few made in Israel. Terrell said they have 800 separate wines 40

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

in the store but have access to more than 6,000 wines that they can usually get in within a few days. He also said that 80 percent of the wines sold at Classic Wine Company are natural wines, where no pesticides were sprayed on the vineyards. “We have wines from around the world at all price points,” he said. “Wine is so diverse. Not only are there so many different styles and varying flavor profiles within those styles, but you have wines such as chardonnays that can be drier or sweeter, red or white.” Their California chardonnays have usually been the store’s top sellers, but Terrell has noticed a trend toward the French and Spanish wines. “In the spring, we usually see a rise in sales of the crisp white and rose’ wines,” he said. Terrell added that they have also gotten in several new wines recently from importer Mary Taylor. “I’ve sampled and learned about every wine we carry. We are always researching new wines and listening to our customers,” he said. “If they tell us they had a special wine when visiting another city that they haven’t been able to find here, we want to give them the opportunity to get it here.”

food and dining

Pies and Pints: Slices of the Good Life

Piggly Wiggly maintains family outlook

By Lee J. Green

This Pig is kosher — and focused on reaching out to the Birmingham area Jewish community to make sure they can provide all the kosher, specialty products its customers are looking for. “Piggly Wiggly is independently owned, in Birmingham we are a family-owned business made up of our family, the Virciglios and the Ajlouny families,” said Austin Virciglio. “We listen to our customers when they tell us what they are looking for, and if a product is not in the store, in most cases we can get it within a week or two if available.” Virciglio commended Piggly Wiggly employees and customers for being so dedicated, working together during these challenging times. “Everyone has been cooperative with wearing masks and social distancing. All of our employees have been dedicated to the highest level of cleanliness… while always focusing on the highest level of customer service,” he said. Piggly Wiggly also partners with Birmingham-based SHIPT to provide customers grocery in-home delivery. Stanley Virciglio opened the Homewood Piggly Wiggly in 1977 and his son, Andy, started working there in 1980. Naseem and Basim Ajlouny opened stores in other Birmingham areas and eventually both families joined forces with Piggly Wiggly Birmingham. “We now have a great mix of children, grandchildren and cousins working in all areas of the Piggly Wiggly operations. It is a great family attitude,” added Virciglio. “For many years, I have focused on buying products for the stores,” said Austin Virciglio. “Over the past 10 years ago, we have seen a pretty big increase in the number of certified kosher products,” including Piggly Wiggly’s in-store brand. “We’ve expanded our selection of kosher products as well as vegetarian, organic, paleo, keto and gluten-free.” He said the Mountain Brook store has eight feet of space devoted to traditional kosher products. All the stores also specialize in their meat selection, fresh and frozen, especially with brisket. They were also a sponsor of the Fred and Brenda Friedman Family Foundation Jewish Food Festival and Kosher Barbecue Contests at the Levite Jewish Community Center. “We carry all of the traditional products such as Kedem, Manischewitz, Hebrew National, Empire and several others,” added Virciglio. “And we are always on the lookout for new brands.” These Piggly Wiggly stores also pride themselves on having one of the state’s largest wine and beer selection, with a focus on Birmingham and Alabama craft beers. “We’re local and we want to support local as much as we can — the communities and the businesses.”

Pies & Pints offers a slice of the good life, pairing gourmet pizza with craft beer. “We pride ourselves on offering great food, beer and wine in a fun environment,” said Birmingham General Manager Tammy Glass. “Today that also comes with going above and beyond with our commitment to keep our customers and employees safe.” She said the Birmingham and Montgomery locations, which originally opened in 2016, ask everyone to wear masks, and as of late March were at 50 percent capacity. They also have outdoor patios. “We’re happy to do carryout (including curbside) and offer delivery” through a third party, said Glass. Pies & Pints’ menu features 18 specialty pizzas, including several kosher-style options such as their Street Corn, Pesto, Black Bean, as well as Grape and Gorgonzola pies. A few of the specialty pizzas are seasonal. Customers can also make their own pizza from a selection of 40 different toppings. “We can make substitutions on the specialty pizza and customers can create their own kosher-style pizza,” said Glass. Pies & Pints also sells sandwiches, salads and chargrilled hot wings. The wings are kosher-style, as is the rosemary and roasted garlic flatbread, Greek salad, Caesar salad and cheesecake. She said the Birmingham and Montgomery locations offer 35 craft beers on tap, a majority of which are local and regional beers. They also have a large selection of bottled wines and beers. David Bailey and Kimberly Shingledecker founded Pies & Pints in 2003, in the small town of Fayetteville, W.Va. In 2010, they opened a second location in Charleston, W.Va., before expanding into Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Alabama. “David is from New York City and he grew up in the restaurant business,” said Shingledecker. “He had always wanted to open up a place with great pizza and beer, in an environment with cool music. He even had the perfect name picked out.” “We felt it was a good recipe for growth. We’ve really developed a great following. We’re very pleased with the way the Birmingham and Montgomery locations have been received,” she added. Shingledecker said all the restaurants not only serve local and regional craft beers from their areas, but they work with local produce companies and farmers. “Just about everything is made fresh in-house,” she said.

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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Decluttering is big business. Marie Kondo, the maven of “tidying up,” built a media empire out of it, and in every community, professional organizers make their livings, in part, by helping people purge unused belongings. And no wonder. Most of us have a lovehate relationship with all our stuff. We collect it, we display it, we grow attached to it and we grow overwhelmed by it. When it’s time to move into a smaller space, or just clear out some space in our current home, we may grow paralyzed. We find it hard to part with “our things,” even things we don’t use, need or even like. Perhaps we associate these objects with joyful times or treasured relationships. We may subconsciously feel that our “stuff ” represents what we’ve achieved in life. But most of us also know that if we can declutter our physical space, we’ll experience a different sense of achievement. When we “tidy up,” we enter a new phase of life — not unlike what happens when we finally get in shape after a long period of inactivity. Letting go of clutter can make us feel light and free.

So, how to begin?

You don’t necessarily need to read a book, watch a TV series or hire a professional to declutter. Following a few common-sense guidelines can get you started.

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I Want to “Tidy Up” — But How?

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counselor’s corner

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Work small

As with any worthwhile endeavor, we must be prepared for some hard work. Start simple, with small goals and actions. Perhaps select one room or one section of a room. Once you see the change in a small space, it will be easier for you to continue.

Be neat

Make clear decisions about what stays and what goes, perhaps labeling several bags or boxes “To Donate,” to avoid confusion. Avoid amorphous piles. Keeping things clean and organized as you go will help keep you on track.

Dealing with feelings

Perhaps there is an item that you don’t really use, need or even like, but which you still want to keep because of a sentimental association. Or perhaps you feel this way about dozens of… or hundreds of items in your home. If one or two unneeded objects are too special to part with, then keep them — but commit to limit the number of such objects that you will keep. For other items that you want to remember, consider taking a photo. You can create a digital memory file, on a smartphone, tablet or computer, to enjoy whenever you wish. This goes for photo albums as well. Scanning photos and saving them on a hard drive takes up a lot less space than the bulky albums themselves. The benefits of decluttering are numerous. Having less stuff around means less maintenance and cleaning, more time to do things you want to do. Your home may become safer, with fewer obstacles and trip hazards. Meanwhile, you’ll gain a visual environment that is calmer and more aesthetically pleasing — and what could be better than that? Counseling can help you motivate yourself to meet your goals and learn new strategies for avoiding procrastination. To learn more, contact Clinical Director Marcy Morgenbesser, LICSW, or (205) 8793438.

remembrances Edward Gothard passed away, unexpectedly, on Feb. 21 at 60 years old. In his early legal career, he worked with a defense firm in New Orleans, where he met the love of his life, Blayne Rogers. He eventually formed his own firm, and in 1997 merged his practice to form Nowalsky & Gothard, where he won numerous awards and recognitions. He served twice as president of Beth Israel and was instrumental in the post-Katrina rebuilding. He was also president of the New Orleans Jewish Day School. He was the son of Judge Sol and Jackie Gothard, and the second oldest of five siblings - Sander, Shayna, Andy and Yaacov. Words cannot even begin to describe how devoted he was to Blayne, his beloved bride of 27 years. They will forever serve as the example of a happy, beautiful marriage. Their legacy of love are 3 children – Aimee and spouse Arielle, Taylor and spouse Georgia, and Ben and significant other Bridget. Eddie was “Pee Paw” to his three grandchildren — Jayden, August and Magnolia and the favorite Uncle Paco to his adoring nieces and nephews. Services were held on Feb. 23 at Gates of Prayer. Memorials to the Eddie Gothard Memorial Fund at Beth Israel, or a charity of choice. Lake Lawn Metairie was in charge of arrangements. Dr. Harry Charles Gross, DPM, died March 1 at Brookdale Assisted Living in Alexandria, La. Born in Philadelphia in 1953, he began his career in June of 1985 at The Pinecrest Development Center in Pineville. He also was able to maintain a private practice, in which he loved what he did for a career. Later he became a Podiatric Consultant for Central State Hospital in Pineville. In 2006, he created the Hilda and K. Kennard Gross Endowed Special Needs Scholarship Fund at Jewish Children’s Regional Ser-

vice, in honor of his parents, and to enhance the ability of JCRS to assist Jewish children and youth with special needs. Dr. Gross is survived by his wife, Mrs. Nancy Jo Eldridge Gross and his two stepchildren; Alan Wallace Stokes, Jr. and wife Angela, and Michael Eldridge Stokes and wife DeAnna; his brothers, Louis Joseph Gross and wife Marilyn, Martin Robert Gross and wife Kendra. His sister; Hannah Mae Gross. Step grandchildren; Briana Hailey Stokes, Zachary Elam Stokes, Hailey Elizabeth Stokes, and Ava Dawn Stokes. Nieces; Heather Gross Hanselman and husband Mark, Sarah Gross, Emily Gross. Great Nephew; Jack Hanselman. His cousins; Heida Marcus Moran and husband Peter, Robert Marcus and Mindy Sklarow and husband Mark. His goddaughter; Laura Elizabeth White and husband Jeffrey and their daughter, Clara. Graveside services were held March 2 at the B’nai Israel Cemetery in Pineville, Rabbi Yossie Nemes with the Chabad Jewish Center of Metairie officiating. Memorials can be made to JCRS. Lee Unger Lichter, 69, of Birmingham, passed away on March 1. Lee was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, friend, community member, volunteer, and former social worker. She began dating her high school sweetheart Steve Lichter in 10th grade and they were married for more than 48 years. Lee is pre-deceased by parents Robert and Dorothy Unger. Lee is survived by husband Steve Lichter; daughter, Jill Lichter Bomchel (husband Todd), Atlanta, Ga.; son Evan Lichter (wife Annette); grandsons, Max and Jacob Lichter; sister, Carolyn Unger of Atlanta, Ga.; brother, Charles Unger (wife Julie), Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; brother in-law Murray Lichter; sister in-law, Sheri Lichter Schwartz (husband Mark), Atlanta, Ga.; and many beloved nieces and nephews. Service was held graveside on March 4, at Elmwood Cemetery in the presence of immediate family and attended virtually by many more. There will be no Shiva at this time but a possible memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lee’s memory to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or to Temple Emanu-El Grafman En-

To Have Your Remembrance Included Here: Southern Jewish Life is now posting obituaries on its website,, and offering them in print. To have a basic remembrance in the print magazine, with the specifics, photo, a couple main biographical points and survivors, similar to the ones on this page (roughly 180220 words), the cost is $125. Longer remembrances are available, and are charged by length, contact or call our office for more information. Our toll-free number is (888) 613-YALL (9255).

dowment Fund. Marshall Byron Oreck, 92, died on Feb. 26 in New Orleans. He served in the Coast Guard during the Korean War, becoming the official photographer for diplomats. In 1964 he and brother David started the Oreck Corporation, building the vacuum company into a national brand. He is survived by his wife Julie, his brother David Oreck (Jan), his children, James Oreck, Michael Oreck (Sue), Alden Oreck (Tiffany), Zoë Oreck (Hayter) and Sophie Oreck. His grandkids, Stephanie (Matt) Weiss, Allison (Phillip) Shatzman, and Millicent Oreck and his great grandson Blake Weiss. He is also survived by his beloved nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and nieces. He was the son of the late Sheba and Abe Oreck, brother of the late Robert Oreck and uncle of the late Steven Oreck. A graveside service for immediate family only was held at Metairie Cemetery on Feb. 28, with Rabbi Katie Baumann and Rabbi David Goldstein officiating. Memorial to Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans or The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana preferred. Max Steinmetz of Birmingham, 96 years young, and devoted husband, father of three, and grandfather of six, passed away peacefully on March 4, after a brief illness, surrounded by his loving family. Max Steinmetz was born in Romania on January 20, 1925. At the age of 17, Max and his family were taken into captivity by the Nazis and taken to the Nazi Concentration Camp Auschwitz, where his parents, Ilona and Louis Markowitz, and his sister, Esther, were immediately put to death in a gas chamber. His brother, Henry, died while imprisoned with Max at the Nazi Concentration Camp Dachau. Max survived the Holocaust by escaping during a Death March out of Dachau and obtained a Visa to move to the U.S. in 1948. Max is survived by his loving wife, Betty; his children, Stephen (Stephanie) Steinmetz, Lisa (Scott) Morchower, and Caren (Donnie) Fox; six grandchildren, Charlie and Jack Steinmetz, Erica and Elana Morchower, and Hannah and Rachel Fox, several nieces, grand-nieces, a grand-nephew, and many friends. Services were held on March 7 at Elmwood Cemetery. continued on page 45 April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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Citrus-Balsamic Salmon with Grilled Bok Choy-Rice Salad Ingredients 1 orange, for juice 6 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper ½ teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons canola oil 2 fresh salmon fillets, skin removed (10-12 oz.) ½ head bok choy, trimmed 1 medium red bell pepper Cooking spray 1 (8.8-oz) pouch precooked brown rice 1 green onion, thinly sliced Instructions Preheat grill on medium. Squeeze orange for juice (1/4 cup); chop garlic. Peel and grate ginger. Combine in medium bowl: balsamic glaze, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper, pepper, and oil.

Place salmon in shallow dish; coat with 2 tablespoons balsamic mixture (wash hands). Whisk orange juice with remaining balsamic mixture, then set aside. Trim 1 inch off the top and bottom of bok choy; separate stalks and rinse under cool water. Remove leafy portions of greens from stem. Quarter the bell pepper. Coat bok choy stems, leaves, bell pepper, and salmon with spray. Grill bok choy stems, bell pepper, and salmon 3-4 minutes on each side or until vegetables are grill-marked and hot, and fish is 145°F. Grill bok choy leaves 1-2 minutes, turning occasionally, or until wilted. Microwave rice following package instructions. Chop grilled vegetables into bite-size pieces and place in bowl; toss with rice and 4 tablespoons citrus-balsamic mixture. Slice green onion (1/4 cup). Serve salmon over rice salad; drizzle with remaining citrus-balsamic mixture and sprinkle with green onions.

Keeping kosher with Publix Supermarkets

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

Publix Supermarkets continues to enhance its kosher product selection at stores across Alabama and the Florida panhandle, while also providing helpful ideas for cooking kosher. “Publix is committed to providing quality products and services to all of our customers, including customers who are interested in kosher products and recipes,” said Media Relations Manager Nicole Krauss. “We have hundreds of kosher products throughout our stores, not just during important holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover, but on everyday items from our produce, grocery and frozen departments. Strauss said Publix also offers a wide array of

kosher recipes on its website at All Publix stores include dedicated space for kosher food products, such as those from Manischewitz, Streit’s, Osem, Gold’s and Kedem. The Publix on Overton Road in Birmingham includes a 10-foot kosher products display and is the largest in the SJL coverage area. The launch of the GreenWise Market organic grocery concept and the opening of the Mountain Brook GreenWise in 2019 allowed Publix to enhance its organic kosher product selection. The 23,000-square-foot store in Lane Parke includes eight feet of shelf space dedicated to organic, kosher frozen foods.

community >> Rear Pew

continued from page 46

hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the tenth day of the Omer, the vacuum gave to me… matzah crumbs a’cleaning, failed online romancing, bread with more leavening, seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the eleventh day of Omer, the children gave to me… catch-up homework griping, failed online romancing, bread with more leavening, seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the twelfth day of the Omer, the quiet gave to me… latent Pesach humming, catch-up homework griping, failed online romancing, bread with more leavening, seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. And that’s where the fragment ends. No doubt, the rest will be found after further excavation. After all, as Rabbi Yosei the Galilean explained, if the 12 days of the Omer are the finger of the Big G, all the fingers from the whole hand of the Big G makes the days of the Omer fourfold. Plus one more day, for the almighty thumb. Doug Brook believes the daily counting of the Omer should be done by Count von Count, brought to you by the letter Ayin. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, follow facebook. com/rearpewmirror

>> Remembrances

continued from page 43

The family asks that any donations be made in Max’s honor to either the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center or to Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham. Scott Whitehead, 61, of Nashville, passed away suddenly on March 12. Scott served eight years in the US Navy flying the F/A-18 Hornet including missions over Iraq. He is a graduate of the Naval Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun.) After his time in the military, Scott moved to Nashville to work creatively in the music business. Scott currently served as business manager for the Nashville based GrassRoots Promotion and their other venture, He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Rabbi Nancy Tunick of B’nai Israel in Florence, along with their teenage daughter and son, Sarah and Louis Whitehead (Nashville) and his adult son, Paul Whitehead (Michaela) and his grandchildren, Miriam, Isaac and Jonathan Whitehead (Huntsville) Scott is also survived by his parents, Fran and Don Whitehead (Wellsville, Mo.), his sister, Catherine Grow (Versailles, Ohio), his brother, Don Whitehead (Amy) (Dickson, Tenn.) and many beloved nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. No immediate funeral services are planned, but the family hopes to host a gathering to share memories of his remarkable life in the summer or fall when it is Covid-safe.

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


rear pew mirror • doug brook

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April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life

On the second night of Passover, nearly several Jews around the world began counting the Omer. The Omer is the period of 49 days beginning with the Exodus out of Egypt and culminating in the Torah being given at Mount Sinai, as commemorated on the holiday of Shavuot and recounted in Omer’s “The Odyssey.” The idea of a weeks-long observance between two linked religious events was later lent to Christianity, earlier in the year and with a better marketing campaign. The Omer gradually became a period of mourning for reasons lost to sleeping in history class, but presumably after eight days of matzah nobody felt like celebrating for a while. Haircuts typically don’t happen and, as a result, neither do weddings, at least until the 33rd day (Lag B’Omer) which commemorates the end of a plague which killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students, once the remaining few were fully vaccinated. On this day, people picnic and throw a lag on the campfire to celebrate the restart of parties, music, and hope for the Mets by starting to think about next season. Earlier this year, it was announced that more Dead Sea Scroll fragments were newly discovered. It was not announced that one of the parchment parts contained a Passover song, specifically about the Omer, that hasn’t been seen in a Haggadah for as long as anyone, dead or alive, can remember. Its melody was similarly lent out to a better known, better marketed musical musing, but its words are both heretofore unknown and eerily familiar. On the first night of the Omer, the seder gave to me… a retelling of our liberty. On the second day of Omer, leftovers gave to me… two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the third day of the Omer, my fam’ly gave to me… three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the fourth day of the Omer, my TV gave to me… endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the fifth day of the Omer, my grandma gave to me… five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the sixth day of the Omer, my temple gave to me… six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the seventh day of Omer, my stomach gave to me… seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the eighth day of the Omer, the kitchen gave to me… bread with more leavening, seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother hens, two gefiltes, and a retelling of our liberty. On the ninth day of the Omer, the JDate gave to me… failed online romancing, bread with more leavening, seven rounds of grumbling, six hours of praying, five cellphone rings, endless pizza ads, three mother

Good thing they found only a fragment…

continued on previous page

April 2021 • Southern Jewish Life


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