Southern Jewish Life New Orleans Edition
Summer at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp
Volume 23 Issue 7
Southern Jewish Life P.O. Box 130052 Birmingham, AL 35213-0052
Area athletes represent at Maccabiah Games
Wolf’s memoir of “My New Orleans”
Eating the South with Andrew Zimmern
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As this issue was going to press, the Supreme Court handed down several major decisions that will be debated for a long time. The first decision struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the means by which the Federal government determined which jurisdictions were in the ballot-box doghouse and had to submit every voting change, no matter how minor, to the Justice Department. The court said that the measures were out of date and needed to be changed — one could not assume that the Southern states are naughtier than everyone else. In an era where Mississippi has more elected black officials than any other state (in raw numbers, not proportionately), arguing that the South is more racist than other places is outdated. Rhetoric that has been coming from Voting Rights Act proponents, that any changes to the act are tantamount to taking the vote away from blacks and a reverting to 1963, is an insult. In his visit to Alabama to defend the Act, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan (that bastion of tolerance and understanding) stated that whites of 2013 can’t stand the idea of blacks voting and will do anything to prevent it. Hogwash. Though we by no means are living in a racial utopia, to state that the white community of today is no different than that of 1963 is an affront to people of good will (the vast majority) and trivializes the brutality of that era. Another decision that came out struck down the Defense of Marriage act. With that name one might think society was being protected from the ridiculous shams called marriages that celebrities frequently engage in for short stints, but no. The act defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Naturally, the act was aimed at preventing recognition of same-sex couples, something that was still taboo in 1996 but seems almost absurd today. Twenty years ago, people in Birmingham had to go to Boutwell Auditorium to discover that a network sitcom character was gay, because the local affiliate refused to air the episode. Check out the network lineups now (well, don’t necessarily — since most of what is being offered today is garbage). Whether or not one agrees with using the term “marriage” for formalizing same-sex couples, it can’t be argued that there were serious issues that such couples faced that “traditional” couples did not. One could argue that such discriminatory issues could be remedied through contract law (hospital visitation, inheritance, taxation). One could also argue that marriage should not be the province of government, but since some aforementioned protections and benefits are accorded to married couples by government, there is that entanglement. Jewish couples marry twice — once by Jewish law when the ketubah is signed, and also by the state when a license is purchased and the ceremony is performed, usually by
Continued on page 35 NOLA
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Opinion Publisher/Editor: Lawrence M. Brook, firstname.lastname@example.org Publisher/Editor: Associate Publisher/Advertising: Lawrence M. Brook, email@example.com Lee J. Green, firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Publisher/Advertising: Creative Director: Lee J. Green, email@example.com Ginger Brook, firstname.lastname@example.org New Orleans Bureau: Photographer-At-Large: Alan Smason, email@example.com Rabbi Barry C. Altmark Cait Muldoon, Gail Naron Chalew
Photographer-At-Large: Mailing Address: Barry P.O. C. BoxAltmark 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 Contributing Writers: Doug Brook Telephone: Birmingham: (205) 870-7889 Mailing Address: Free: (866) 446-5894 PToll .O. Box 130052, FAX: (866) 392-7750 Birmingham, AL 35213 Story Tips/Letters: Telephone: firstname.lastname@example.org Birmingham: (205) 870-7889 FAX: (866) 392-7750 Subscription Information: Story Tips/Letters: Southern Jewish Life published monthly email@example.com and is free by request to members of the Jewish community in our coverage area Subscription Information: of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi Southern LifeOutside published monthly and NWJewish Florida. those areas, and is free by request to members of the subscriptions are $25/year or $40/two Jewish in our coverage area of years.community To subscribe, call (205) 870-7889 Alabama, Louisiana, and NW or mail payment to Mississippi the address above. Florida. Outside those areas, subscriptions The$25/year publisheroris$40/two solely responsible are years. To for the contents SJL.870-7889 Columns and letters subscribe, callof (205) or mail represent the individual payment to the the views addressofabove. writers. All articles that do not have The publisher is solely a byline on them areresponsible written byfor the publisher. the contents of SJL. Columns and letters represent viewsLife of the individual Southernthe Jewish makes no claims writers. All Kashrut articles that doadvertisers, not have a as to the of its byline on them are written by the any publisher. and retains the right to refuse advertisement. Southern Jewish Life makes no claims as to Advertising availableand on retains request. the Kashrut ofrates its advertisers, the right to refuse any advertisement. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved, Advertising rates on request. reprints only byavailable permission of publisher. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved, reprints only by permission of publisher.
Philosophy: To link the Jewish communities of the Deep South, to tell you the fascinating stories of one another, and to document and preserve the news of events large and small, all a part of the rich culture of Southern Jewry.
4 � 26
July 2013 September 2010�
“History has taught you nothing if you think you can kill ideas,” Keller wrote. “Ty(JNS.org) June 27 was Helen Keller Day rants have tried to do that often before, and — the annual occasion when students across the ideas have risen up in their might and America learn about the disabilities activist destroyed them. You can burn my books and from Alabama whose remarkable achievethe books of the best minds in Europe, but the ments inspired her generation, and every ideas in them have seeped through a million generation since. Less well known, but no less channels, and will continue to quicken other deserving of commemoration, was Keller’s minds. I gave all thethe royalties of looking my books to We often spend time on the back roads around region, powerful outcry against the Nazis. the soldiers blinded in the World with no for the top unusual and when the unique, and there is plenty of it in the War South. One of Adolf Hitler’s priorities he thought in my heart but love and compassion Still,ofitGermany was a bit in jarring became chancellor 1933 when was we were driving along one of the main forof the German people. roads Gardendale, justthe north Birmingham, and” came upon the to prevent schools frominusing books that “Do not imagine your barbarities to the Jews road that Nazis regarded as “degenerate.” Eighty yearsis pictured on the front cover of this issue, are unknown here,” she added. “God sleepeth ago this spring, Germany was transformed Hollow Road. not, and He will visit Jew his Judgment upon you. into one huge funeral pyre for any books that Better were it for you to have a mill-stone diﬀered from the InNazis’ perspective po-a street name would likely be considered this day and age,on such hung round your neck and sink into the sea litical, social, or cultural matters, as well as politically incorrect. all Being Southerners, whatofthe than to be hatedwe andknew despised all term men.” books by Jewish authors. “hollow” refers to, so we figured there had to be a story behind the the Various foreign leaders also criticized The Hitler regime chose May 10, 1933 as book there burnings, but story the Hitler regime ignored name, and sure enough, is. That is in this issue. the date for a nationwide “Action Against the such protests. Perhaps if the words of conUn-German Spirit,” a series of public burnings demnation been accompanied It kicks what willwere be aorrecurring serieshad in the magazine, “Jewsbyondiploof the banned books. Theoff gatherings matic or economic consequences, the Nazis the Southern Map,” under where we explore the history of places around ganized by pro-Nazi student groups would have had to reconsider. the region that have been named for Jews. the supervision of the Minister of Propaganda Five years later, protests by American colJoseph Goebbels. lege students helped prevent another mass The largest ofMany the 34 book-burning years ago, thererallies, was a reference guidebythat across book burning thelisted Nazis,towns this time in Ausheld in Berlin, was attended bywere an estimated America that named after Jews. Two after were Hitler in Alabama (neither tria. Shortly annexed Austria in 40,000 people. Books by German suchcommunity). We have since found others, currently has anyJews Jewish March 1938, the Nazis gave the Austrian as Albert Einstein and and there Sigmund Freud were are numerous such placesLibrary in Mississippi andofLouisiana. National a long list books to be reburned, as well as books by the British scimoved and burned. ence ﬁction writer H.G. Wells (author of “The at to Williams Collegebut in MassachuOriginally, we were going to limitStudents the series town names, there Time Machine” and “The War of the Worlds”) setts sent a telegram to the Austrian library, are many other interesting places that we have found, so we will be and many American writers, including Ernest oﬀering to buy the books. Riots broke out on including Hemingway (“For Whom the Bellparks, Tolls”),and Jackeven streets, as we are doing this month. the Williams campus when anti-Nazi students London (“Call of the Wild”) and even Helen tried to we burn eﬃgy, pro-Nazi As the series unfolds, willHitler have in it on our and website, Keller. students used ﬁre hoses to stop them. www.sjlmag.com. “No to decadence and moral corruption!” That way, if you are taking a road trip, Yale University’s student newspaper urged Goebbels declared in his remarks at the rally. you can stop by these places yourself. the school administration to purchase the “Yes to decency and morality and state!… The Austrian books, which it said would both add soul of the German canHoly again express As people the High Day seasontofades memory equipment” and we move Yale’sinto “intellectual andinto “adminitself. These ﬂames prime not only illuminate the ﬁnal time for organizational activities — especially the upcoming ister a well-justiﬁed backhanded slap” to the end of an old era; they also light up the new. ” General Assembly in New Orleans — enjoy the season Nazis. Unfortunately, Yale’s and chiefkeep librarian A New York Times editorial sarcastically sugclaiming the book-burnings in Gerturning to Southern Jewish Lifedisagreed, for the latest on what is happening in gested that the Nazis might next begin “burnmany were just “students letting oﬀ steam. our neck of the woods. ” ing microphones” to stamp out free speech. Nevertheless, the protests by students at Time called the Nazis’ action “a bibliocaust,” Williams, Yale, and other universities appear to and Newsweek described it as “a holocaust of have had an impact. The Austrian National Libooks.” This was one of the ﬁrst instances in brary announced that it the books in question Larry Brook which the term “holocaust” (an ancient Greek would be locked away rather than burned. word meaning a burnt oﬀering to a deity) Editorwas / Publisher Helen Keller is not known to have comused in connection with the Nazis. mented speciﬁcally on the student protests. The outcry around the world included this But one may assume she was deeply proud moving letter from Keller, addressed to “the that at a time when too many Americans did Student Body of Germany.” not want to be bothered with Europe’s probDr. Rafael Medoﬀ is founding director of The lems, these young men and women underDavid S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Stud- stood the message of her 1933 letter — that ies, www.WymanInstitute.org. His latest book the principles under attack by the Nazis were is “FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith.” something that should matter to all mankind. By Rafael Medoff
Creative Director: Contributing Writers: Doug Brook Ginger Brook, firstname.lastname@example.org
When Helen Keller confronted the Nazis
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Front Porch Greenberg to succeed Topolosky, next year: Beth Israel in Metairie has announced a new rabbi — but the congregation is going to have to wait. The congregation voted by acclamation on May 19 to hire Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg, with the understanding that he would not be available until May 2014. Rabbi Uri Topolosky, current Beth Israel rabbi, is scheduled to leave New Orleans at the end of July. Irwin Lachoff, who chaired the search committee, said “We understand that the next few months may pose challenges and inconveniences, but we feel that having the right fit is worth the wait.” The congregation had advertised the position extensively, receiving 27 resumes. Phone and Skype interviews were conducted with nine candidates, with three brought in for weekend interviews. During the process, Rabbi Avi Weiss, dean of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, suggested Greenberg, who had recently taken a position at the University of California, Berkeley, Hillel, as the Rabbi Martin Ballonoff Memorial Jewish Educator. Greenberg said that since he only recently accepted the position at Berkeley, he wanted to honor that and would not be available until the following summer. The Beth Israel search committee felt they should still interview him, then they brought him in for an on-site visit. “He impressed almost everyone and there was overwhelming feedback from the members of the congregation that he was the right fit for us,” Lachoff said. A native of Newton, Mass., Greenberg graduated with honors from Wesleyan University, where he co-authored “Islamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy,” a book about American views on Muslims and Islam. Following graduation, he lived and studied for three years in Israel. He is an alumnus of the Adamah program, a fellowship of sustainable farming, community building and Jewish education. Following this, he directed the Kayam Farm Summer Kollel outside of Baltimore. While at YCT, he was student rabbi at Congregation Achei Yosef in Norwich, Conn., Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, and served as the first rabbinic intern at the New School in Manhattan. Beth Israel Young Adults will have a final farewell to the Topoloskys with Rock ‘n Bowl Night. The gathering will be July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the New Orleans institution. On July 26 there will be a final Shabbat dinner, with those in attendance urged to bring their favorite New Orleans recipe for them to take with them. Reservations are required, and are $15 per person, $25 per couple or $30 per family. NOLA
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Front Porch Freedom premiere benefits JEF: This month marks the world premiere of “Freedom,” a new production by Sean Patterson, Joyce Pulitzer, David Seelig and Kitty Greenberg. Directed by Mark Routhier, Southern Rep’s production runs from July 11 to 28 at the Contemporary Arts Center. The first night, July 11, ticket sales benefit the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. The evening will include a meet and greet cocktail reception with the playwrights and actors after the show. Tickets are $50 and are available at JEF or from the Southern Rep website. The show tells the story of a Holocaust survivor and an Irish immigrant who meet by chance in the hours before their American naturalization ceremony. Bearing deep wounds from the past, and carrying secrets too painful to tell, they forge a connection and learn they have more similarities than differences. Based in part on survivor testimony, this new American play looks at the many ways people yearn for freedom — not just “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but also the freedom to face the truth about themselves with grace, acceptance and forgiveness. “What drew me to this project is the underlying spirit of hope in
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these characters. Their suffering is at once unimaginable and all too real, and yet they persevere,” Patterson said. “There’s also the idea of salvation. One person may not be able to save the world, but you may be able to save one other person, and maybe that’s enough.” The July 12 production benefits the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. Opening night is July 13. Concert series at Uptown JCC: The New Orleans Jewish Community Center will host a summer concert series starting July 23. The free concerts will be at the Uptown JCC. On July 23, Tom McDermott will be featured on piano, with Tim Laughlin on clarinet. Chris Waddington from the Times-Picayune will host the event and interview the musicians at the 7 p.m. concert. On Aug. 11, the African-American group OperaCreole will perform at 7 p.m. The group includes singers from the New Orleans Opera Chorus, and the concert will feature works by Creole composers from 19thcentury New Orleans. The connections among music from Africa, Haiti and Spain that contributed to the birth of jazz will also be highlighted. The series ends on Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. with the Faubourg String Quartet. The New Orleans quartet was formed in 2008 by classical musician with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. They will perform their arrangement of a Wynton Marsalis string quartet piece. There will also be a classical guitar concert on July 18 at noon, with pieces by Bach, Mauro Giuliani and Joaquin Rodrigo performed by Raphael Silva. A light lunch will be served, and reservations are requested by July 15.
Front Porch Summer series in Metairie: Beth Israel and Gates of Prayer in Metairie are continuing their joint Adult Continuing Education program in July with a series of three events, on consecutive Wednesdays. On July 10 at 7:30 p.m., there will be a panel on Jewish men in professional sports, how being Jewish affects them personally and professionally in the sports world. Panelists are Scott Kushner, sports reporter for the Advocate; Bradley Handwerger, WWL-TV reporter; and Martin Fischman, an NFL player agent. On July 17, Batsheva will perform “The Music of the Jewish People” at 7:30 p.m., co-sponsored by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Batsheva is an award-winning songwriter who has performed in Canada, Israel, Australia and throughout the U.S. She sings in Ladino, Yiddish, Hebrew and English. The final event will be a 7 p.m. barbecue and screening of “Everything is Illuminated” on July 24. Admission is $5 per person. The 2005 film was an adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s first book. His next work was “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” In “Everything is Illuminated,” Foer, played by Elijah Wood, sets out to find the woman who saved his grandfather during the Holocaust in a small Ukrainian town. He meets a contemporary in Ukraine who is obsessed with outdated American pop culture and serves as his translator. Roger Ebert gave it 3.5 stars out of four, but the film grossed only $3.6 million. The first two events are at Gates of Prayer, the July 24 event is at Beth Israel. New leader for Reform youth: Ivy Cohen is the new Director of Youth Engagement for the Reform congregations in New Orleans. A native of Westchester County, N.Y., Cohen is moving to New Orleans this summer to take over the position, which includes working with the combined JewCCY and Junior Youth Group. Cohen was active in the National Federation of Temple Youth, serving as president of the New York Area region and the North American Religious and Cultural Vice President. Starting at age 7 she attended the Reform movement’s Eisner Camp in Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Delaware, where she was president of KESHER, the Reform group at Hillel. After graduating she became program director at Eisner Camp and director of youth engagement at Scarsdale Synagogue, working with grades 2 to 12. Last year she was in the first group to earn Hebrew Union College’s Certificate in Jewish Education Specializing in Adolescents and Emerging Adults. Her position is a joint program of Touro Synagogue, Temple Sinai and Gates of Prayer.
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Front Porch Melanie Waitzer was named the new Development and Next Gen Associate at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Waitzer graduated from Tulane University in May, where she majored in Political Science and minored in Jewish Studies. As the new Development and Next Gen Associate, she will be working on the Annual Campaign, as well as JNOLA programming. The Federation also announced that Allison Kushner is the new Director of Planning, Allocations and Community Relations. She is a former political speech writer, writer on international affairs and has taught political science at the college level. The Morris Bart Lecture Series continues at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center Uptown on Aug. 12 with Pat Metzger, professor of law at Tulane University, speaking on the state of criminal justice in Louisiana on the 50th anniversary of the right to counsel and the Gideon decision. Lunch will be served at the 11:45 a.m. event, and reservations are requested by Aug. 5. On July 8, Daniel Hammer was to speak about the history of New Orleans’ German community. The weekend of July 19, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, will make his first visit to the Deep South as president. He will be in Memphis on July 19, then visit Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville on July 20 for a 10 a.m. Shabbat service. Later that day, congregants at Beth Israel in Jackson will have a study session with him at 3:30 p.m. It will be an opportunity to ask questions about the state of Reform Judaism in America. He will then go to the Henry S. Jacobs Camp for Havdalah. On July 21, interested individuals can visit the camp for a 2 p.m. program with Jacobs. An optional camp tour is available at 11:45 a.m. and lunch at 12:45 p.m. To register, go to http://urj.org/south/jacobs/.
opportunity to attend the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, which is being held in Jerusalem. The land cost is approximately $2950. A subsidy of $1500 is available for those age 45 and under, or $1000 for those 46 and above. An additional $250 is available for those attending the entire GA. To receive the subsidy, a first-time gift of $500 to the 2014 Annual Campaign, or an increase of $500 over the 2013 pledge, is requested. This tour will concentrate on the Southern areas of Israel that are not usually on mission itineraries, along with the visit to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. The GA is Nov. 10 to 12. There is also an option to arrive early for the Nov. 7 to 10 Jewish Agency for Israel assembly, co-chaired by Julie Wise Oreck of New Orleans. Touro Synagogue Rabbi Alexis Berk is leading a 2014 trip to Israel. A preliminary informational session was held on June 18. The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica underwent its re-accreditation process with the American Camp Association on June 24. The ACA re-accredits camps every three years, and the Jacobs Camp had a perfect score from its ACA visit. The Chabad Center in Metairie is offering a Hebrew crash course in time for the High Holy Days. It will meet for six Sundays from July 28 to Sept. 1 and is designed for those who are currently unable to read Hebrew. Rabbi Mendel Ceitlin will be the instructor and there is a $50 course fee that includes textbooks. Registration is available at the Chabad website, jewishlouisiana.com.
Jewish Family Service of New Orleans announced the addition of Fran Dinehart, LMSW. She will provide counseling and psychotherapy, and will serve as program coordinator for the Homemaker program. Dinehart obtained her Masters of Social Work from Tulane University, with a special certificate in Gerontology. As a student and practicing clinician, she has held positions that include crisis counselor and resource specialist, a community support specialist, The New Orleans Jewish Community and team leader. Center starts its Community Vacation to Two congregations are having sales this Israel on July 12. Led by Moshiko Balas, the month. Shir Chadash in Metairie is holding group will tour and participate in the opening its Nearly New Sale on July 14 and 15 from ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games, the third-largest Olympic-style event in the world. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a half-price sale on The Jewish Federation of Greater July 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Temple New Orleans is continuing recruitment for Sinai Sisterhood in New Orleans will hold this fall’s Israel trip, “A Southern Journey.” a community attic sale on July 21 and 22 The trip to Israel and Petra, Jordan, will be at 8 a.m. to benefit continuing repairs and November 10 to 18. Participants will have the renovations to the synagogue. 8
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Front Porch Youth-led documentary at WWII Museum: A documentary that was the product of the Springhill Avenue Federation of Temple Youth in Mobile will be screened at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans on July 14 at 6 p.m. “We Remember: A Documentary” was developed by SHAFTY members Victoria Hirsch and Cory Garfinkle and describes the events of the Holocaust from the perspectives of a range of people living on the Gulf Coast. The project began when Rickie Voit introduced Stan Zimmerman to Agnes Tennenbaum, a Holocaust survivor and author who had moved to Mobile in 2006. Tennenbaum is author of “A Girl Named Rose: My Holocaust Journey,” and has spoken extensively throughout the area about her experiences in Auschwitz. The original idea was to preserve her story on film, and Springhill Avenue Rabbi Donald Kunstadt suggested the youth group get involved. Zimmerman had been working with documentary producer Gary Scovil, who knew Hilmar von Campe, who had been a member of Hitler Youth and served in the German military. Von Campe, who died last summer, spoke out against totalitarianism and the ideologies he had been part of in his youth. James Philpot, a local veteran who was among the first American troops to enter Dachau, was interviewed. In April, he was officially presented with a Bronze Star he was awarded in 1962 but had never received. Hirsch’s grandmother gave the perspective of an American Jew who was living in those times. Von Campe’s sister, Sibylle von Campe Heidrich, and Springhill Avenue Temple member Roland Fry gave their perspectives, and the stories from the six participants were woven together for the film.
Hirsch and Garfinkle conducted the interviews. The film debuted in Mobile in November and has been screened in venues in the area since then. The students will introduce the film at the museum.
Bonnie Lustig (far right) of New Orleans was part of the New Orleans Jewish Family Service mission to Cuba. She coordinates PJ Library for the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, providing free Judaic books every month for children in a seven-state region. On May 28, on behalf of JCRS, she presented copies of PJ Library’s first Spanish translations and 20 other English titles to Cuba’s only Jewish religious school.
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Birmingham’s Goldfarb, New Orleans’ Gordon in Maccabiah Games: When the 19th Maccabiah Games open on July 18 in Israel, there will be two representatives from the Deep South. Preston Goldfarb, head men’s soccer coach at Birmingham-Southern College, will be the head coach of the U.S. soccer team, and Madeline Gordon of Kenner, La., will be on the Juniors girls’ golf team. In 2010, Goldfarb was head coach of the U.S. team for the Maccabi Australia International Games, leading the team to a silver medal, falling to a Brazil team they beat in pool play. In the 2009 Maccabiah, Goldfarb coached the U.S. Junior Boys soccer team. On June 3, the draw was made for this year’s soccer tournament. The team will be in Group D with Mexico, Denmark and Uruguay. The top two teams advance to the quarter-finals. “This is a very good draw for us,” Goldfarb said. The U.S. team opens against Uruguay on July 19 at 11 a.m. — 3 a.m. Central time, That is the morning after the opening ceremony, which is “a long day on our feet and a late night return to our hotel.” The next match is July 21 against Denmark and July 23 against Mexico. Those matches are at 8 a.m. Central. Goldfarb said the Mexico game “should be a war and hopefully
it will be for first place in our group.” Quarter-finals start on July 25. The semifinals are July 28 with the gold medal game on July 29. The team departs on July 6. Gordon, who just finished her freshman year at Metairie Park Country Day School, started playing golf competitively when she was eight years old. She said while golf is usually an individual sport, this is “the opportunity to play on a team and proudly represent Jewish people from the United States.” She also enjoys journalism, in the last couple of years has interviewed Jason Dufner, Jason Bohn and Bubba Watson. The team was announced last September, following a three-day 54-hole stroke play National Qualifying Tournament in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in midJuly. She came in second with a 238, 12 shots behind leader Samantha Haubenstock of Weston, Fla. Team members raised money toward the trip, and Gordon raised $8,500. Team USA has over 1100 members from 37 states, competing in 31 sports. The Maccabiah Games are the third largest international sporting event in the world, after the Summer Olympics and the Pan Am Games. There will be over 8,500 participants from 70 countries.
Improvements to historic Rosenbaum House: The Rosenbaum House in Florence will now be easier to visit. The only house in Alabama that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright will have a staging area for visitors. Previously, anyone waiting for a tour had to stand outside the house in the weather, and there were no public restroom facilities. Now, the city’s Museums Department has entered into a 15-year lease with the city school system to use a former elementary school classroom across the street. The classroom will be turned into a staging area and gift shop, and will have a short film about the house. Restrooms will be available, an important amenity for tour buses, and the museum will be able to take credit cards for the first time.
The house, in the Usonian style, was built for newlyweds Mildred and Stanley Rosenbaum in 1939. As the family grew, they convinced Wright to design a new wing, which was completed in 1948. In the 1990s, Mildred Rosenbaum gave tours to thousands of visitors. She moved out in 1999, and the family donated the house to the city and sold the furnishings to the city. Roughly $700,000 was spent on preserving the house and dealing with water and termite damage. The house opened as a museum in 2002. Last year, almost 4700 toured the house. Currently, it is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday afternoons. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and students.
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The New Orleans office of ADL held a centennial gala in December
Changing of the guard at South Central ADL office
Cathy Glaser reﬂects on 12 years with agency The New Orleans oﬃce of the Anti-Defamation League has been a busy place over the decades. A.I. Botnick became regional director in 1964 as three civil rights workers, two of them Jewish, were killed in Neshoba County, Mississippi. During his tenure there were bombings of Mississippi synagogues, and in 1973 Byron de la Beckwith, who killed Medgar Evers, was apprehended on his way to kill Botnick. In the 1990s, there was the drama surrounding Klansman David Duke and his run for high oﬃce in Louisiana. Given that history, could one say that the last 12 years have been relatively quiet for Cathy Glaser, who just stepped down as regional director? “September 11 happened very close to when I ﬁrst started” as regional director, Glaser pointed out. “It really gave us a diﬀerent perspective, for all of ADL.” “We were dealing with hate that is a lot bigger than what is in our backyard,” she explained. All of the regions had to think diﬀerently “about those who do not like us because we are Jewish.” There was a renewed emphasis on cultivating relationships with law enforcement, providing resources and training, particularly in hate crimes. “One of the advantages of the ADL is we have a national presence,” Glaser said, and national initiatives ﬁlter down to the regions. “We realized how important being pro-active in outreach and providing information, providing education... for us, that’s where we and our region have been successful,” she said. Overall, the oﬃce’s mission in the last decade was diﬀerent than in the 1960s and 1970s. She participated in more of a “healing process, bringing communities back together,” and the reopening of cold cases. She enjoyed “seeing communities that were so divided racially and religiously coming together to heal and move forward.” The agency works with clergy, educators and community leaders to provide “opportunities and resources and ways they can learn how to bring people together within a diverse community.” The oﬃce oﬀers victim assistance and handles complaints, but the region includes all of Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Glaser admits that though she traveled extensively in the region, “we can provide more resources and have more success the closer we are,” but current technology does make it easier to help far-ﬂung communities. The agency relies “on dedicated leadership, donors out in the region who want to work with ADL and provide information when we need it, and bring what we have out to their community.” That system was threatened by the biggest challenge during Glaser’s
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tenure — Hurricane Katrina. It “was probably the biggest challenge of all our Jewish communal agencies... the concern of losing population and leadership.” It was a challenge for the agency to maintain its presence and “keep an interested and educated lay leadership.” As things started to settle down, there was a great deal of change in the educational systems where the agencies did a lot of pro-active outreach, meaning new challenges in forming relationships, but also providing new opportunities. As Glaser steps down, the ADL is celebrating its centennial year. A Memphis native, she has enjoyed getting to look back at Southern Jewish history, “having the opportunity to learn about it and to present it to younger people who really don’t know it.”
In late April, over 1000 Jewish community leaders went to Washington for the ADL centennial celebration, featuring Vice President Joe Biden as keynote speaker. Joshua Force, chair of the South Central region’s advisory board, and Louis Shepard, the recipient of the region’s Barney Mintz Leadership Award, attended the summit from New Orleans. “ADL has challenged us all to “imagine a world without hate,” said Force. “The Centennial Summit highlighted ADL’s many eﬀorts not only to imagine such a world but to create one by ﬁghting for immigration reform, religious freedom, and civil liberties for all citizens and by ﬁghting against anti-Semitism, extremism, and hate crimes.” This was Shepard’s ﬁrst experience at ADL’s annual Leadership Conference. “I was impressed with the knowledge and expertise of the speakers, who represented all facets of ADL’s broad mission,” Shepard said. Last December, the South Central Region kicked oﬀ its celebration of the 100th anniversary of ADL with a reception and dinner. A special video highlighted the work of each of the region’s past board chairs, and past Torch of Liberty Award recipients were also recognized. ADL’s Deputy National Director Kenneth Jacobson, the event’s featured speaker, gave an historical overview of ADL’s work over the past century and explained ADL’s current role in contemporary events in our nation and the world.
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Talora Gross is the new regional director for the New Orleans ofﬁce. She grew up in South Florida and was active in her father’s Reform congregation through her formative years: organizing charity events to help send underprivileged children to summer camp, singing in the choir and synagogue fundraiser revues, and teaching in the religious school. A professional educator with state board certiﬁcation in three states, Gross holds two degrees in English with an emphasis on writing, from the Universities of Central Florida and Antioch. Prior to moving to New Orleans, she was a high school English teacher, student mentor and special project coordinator in public and private schools, as well as a college professor. Her career began at the dawn of the cyber-age, and in a matter of years, Gross noticed a striking increase of intense bullying among young people in the student body, especially online and via text. She aims to contribute to local education reform by supporting ADL’s national anti-bullying legislative initiatives, promoting teacher trainings and implementing of ADL’s curriculum as an eﬀective answer to the national call for meaningful reform through educator mentorship and direct instruction.
A Torah procession was part of the dedication of Knesseth Israel’s new building in the fall of 2007
Staying alive: Knesseth Israel won’t have to leave new building In May, the Knesseth Israel team at the Temple Beth-El/Piggly Wiggly When Pigs Fly Kosher BBQ Contest in Birmingham used a disco theme with the name “Staying Alive.” After months of having a “for sale” sign outside its new building, Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel synagogue announced that it is indeed staying alive, in its current building — and the sign is gone. On June 5, Rabbi Eytan Yammer and President Leslie Kahn announced that the congregation “has a home for the foreseeable future,” which will become the Fred and Brenda Friedman Center for Jewish Life. “The exact details of the arrangement are still being worked out,” they noted. The building will also be “a place for Birmingham’s Jewish organizations to hold events, communal and educational programming.” A congregational meeting was held on June 16 to approve the property transfer to the new entity “for the beneﬁt, use and enjoyment of the entire Jewish community.” The congregation would lease the space it uses for a token amount. The congregation will have exclusive use of the mikvah, an oﬃce and the chapel, and priority use of the sanctuary and social hall on Shabbat and holidays. The kitchen and mikvah would remain under the kashrut supervision of Knesseth Israel, and any organization or group wishing to use the sanctuary would be obligated to follow Knesseth Israel’s guidelines for the room. In exchange, the bank debt on the property will be paid oﬀ and the building will be owned by the new entity, free and clear. The arrangement is for as long as the congregation is viable. The news was greeted with great relief throughout the community, as the congregation’s ﬁnancial struggles had been a subject of conversation for quite some time. Jimmy Filler, who just ﬁnished a four-year term as president of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, said in a report to the community on June 6 through Federation’s Update that two weeks earlier he “got a funny feeling” as he saw the “for sale” sign, knowing that the congregation was running out of time and options with the bank. He asked if Birmingham would “still be a great community if we lost our Orthodox congregation and part of our community’s soul?” Filler added that he is the ﬁrst to admit that “many ﬁnancial mistakes were made by Knesseth Israel” during the process of building and moving to the current location. The project’s cost exceeded that of two other similar-sized or somewhat larger regional congregations that have built in that time-frame — Beth Israel in Gulfport and Beth Israel in Metairie, both of which Southern Jewish Life
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were replacing buildings made unusable by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. After discussing the situation with his wife, Filler called Brenda and Fred Friedman, who “have been extremely interested in Knesseth Israel for years as well as the future of our overall Jewish community.” After a lengthy meeting, they determined that they could “pull oﬀ this mitzvah” and would create the center, which would allow KI to use areas of the building “in perpetuity.” There are no ﬁrm plans yet regarding other uses of the building, or which groups might utilize it. The state’s only non-Chabad Orthodox congregation, Knesseth Israel moved into the new building in 2007 after several years of planning. Extensive roof leaks were just part of the huge maintenance problems in the previous building. At ﬁrst, the plan was to rebuild at its former location on Montevallo Road, where a pillar had stood in the middle of the yard as a cornerstone for the future permanent building that would replace the temporary sanctuary that wound up being used for half a century. In 2004, a groundbreaking was held and the sanctuary and oﬃce wing was torn down, with the congregation dividing the remaining social hall into three sections as a temporary home. Drainage issues on the property threatened to add greatly to the cost of rebuilding, and the lack of aﬀordable housing in the neighborhood around the Birmingham Country Club, necessary for expanding the congregation by attracting young families, led to exploring a location on Overton Road, just down the street from the Bais Ariel Chabad Center. For the congregation where many members walk on Shabbat, this also meant many congregants had to move to the new neighborhood. The congregation voted three-to-one in December 2005 to move to Overton Road. Site work began in September 2006 for the new building. Founded in 1892 as the city’s ﬁrst Orthodox congregation, Knesseth Israel was the last of the city’s congregations to leave the “old neighborhood” on the Northside, moving to Montevallo Road in 1955. The congregation currently has fewer than 100 families. There was a fundraising campaign for the new building, bringing in over $5.4 million from congregants and the broader Jewish community. In addition to rising project costs, the congregation had anticipated a large sum from the sale of its previous property due to its prime location, but after the congregation moved in 2007 the real estate market collapsed. The Montevallo Road property ﬁnally sold in early 2012 for much less than was originally envisioned. After struggling to make payments on the building and reworking the debt, the congregation was forced to make dramatic steps last summer. In a letter to congregants a year ago, it was stated that “about $8 million” was invested in the Overton Road property, and the bank was owed over $3 million. For a year, the building has been on the market for $5.5 million as part of an arrangement with the bank, though the congregation has been able to remain in the building in the hope that a solution would be found. There were attempts to entice other Jewish community organizations or a business to purchase the building and let Knesseth Israel remain as a tenant, but that did not happen. If the building had sold and the new owner did not want to keep KI in the building, the plan was to use proceeds from the sale to pay oﬀ the debt and relocate in the immediate area, possibly a house that could be used as a synagogue. Now, the contingency plans can be shelved and there will be no question as to where High Holy Day services will be this year. As Filler noted, he hopes that people will stop asking “What’s going to happen to Knesseth Israel?” and instead will begin asking “What’s going ON at Knesseth Israel this week?”
Bar Mitzvah is time to build a Dream As a project of the National Federation of Temple Youth’s Southern region, Camp Dream Street has special meaning to Jewish teens across the region. The same can be said for those entering their teen years. In February, Max Sager celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge. Instead of giving him gifts, he asked friends and family to contribute to the Camp Dream Street Fund, housed at the Birming- Ellen Sager and son Max ham Jewish Foundation. Over $3200 was donated, twice what he anticipated. Dream Street was founded in 1975 and is held at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica. Each summer, 60 children with physical disabilities are given the chance to go to camp for a week and have a chance to be “just” children instead of children with disabilities. Dream Street campers are primarily from Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and West Tennessee, and are between the ages of 8 and 14. The disabilities include cerebral palsy, spina biﬁda, limb deﬁciencies, spinal cord injury, communicative disorders and other developmental disabilities. Campers attend free of charge and young adults from throughout the region, generally NFTY members or recent alumni, serve as their one-on-one counselors. This year’s camp was held May 28 to June 1. Sager said he chose the Dream Street project because “I wanted to help kids with physical disabilities to feel “regular” when it came to sports, which is my ﬁrst love.” In addition to the gifts requests, Sager partnered with Bistro Byronz in Baton Rouge to raise money for the project. The restaurant donated 20 percent of food and drink purchases on Feb. 4, and 10 percent of Bistro-to-Go orders, but publicity of the event was his responsibility. Sager said “People from everywhere came out to help: my school, my soccer friends, LSU Hillel students and members of both synagogues. And people who were just there to eat dinner.” Sally Friedman, executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, said “We were so thrilled and appreciative of Max’s hard work and generosity... we know that the wonderful Dream Street children will beneﬁt for years to come. That Max chose Dream Street donations as his ‘gifts’ really moved all of us at The Foundation. Max’s parents and community should be very, very proud of him.” Sager, son of Ellen and Marc Sager, said he learned “the more you believe in the cause, the easier it is to raise money. I never liked talking to strangers and asking them for money, but every time I talked about my project and where the money was going and what I hoped to do with the money, I felt more conﬁdent! People were happy to help and that made me proud.” His mother, of course, knows about fundraising, as executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge. As a result of the fundraiser, Sager said he hoped “Dream Street is able to purchase items they have always wanted and needed, but could never aﬀord,” and he looked forward to seeing the camp in action this summer.
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Judaic studies at South Alabama The University of South Alabama announced the establishment of a new program, the Bert and Fanny Meisler Visiting Professor of History and Jewish Studies. Through this new program, USA joins other universities who oﬀer courses that examine the role of Judaism and of the Jewish people in Western civilization from antiquity to present time. “My wife and I are ﬁrmly convinced that Jewish Studies will prove to be an important component of USA’s larger arts and sciences curriculum,” Meisler said. “Through its focus on important issues of group and national identity, Diaspora, genocide and cultural survival this program will have particular relevance not only to those who seek a richer understanding of the Jewish experience but also to students of other dispossessed or minority groups. William Pencak has been named as the inaugural visiting professor. He is professor of American history at Penn State University with several areas of expertise, among them the history of early American Jews to 1815. His book “Jews and Gentiles in Early America” was runner-up for the National Book Award in American Jewish History for 2005. “This gift enables the University of South Alabama to take a major step forward in the creation of a Jewish Studies program, an important program which the department of history and the College of Arts and Sciences has held as a priority for the last several years,” said USA Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Dr. Joseph Busta. The Meislers have been long-time supporters of the University and their contributions include establishing the Ripps-Meisler Endowed Chair in the College of Medicine and oﬀering extensive support to University athletic programs. In 2006, they gave $2 million to the University as an endowment for a new student services building now named Meisler Hall in their honor. Their generous gifts to the University total nearly $2.7 million. To begin the Jewish studies program, the Meislers contributed $70,000. The Meislers said their commitment to philanthropy comes from the example of their families, who were always giving to others. Meisler said he remembers his grandparents always welcoming new immigrants to the house and sending them on their way with some money to help them get settled. “His philosophy has always been, ‘You cast your bread upon the water and it comes back two-fold’,” Mrs. Meisler said of her husband. In 2011, the Meislers won the Distinguished Service Award from the USA National Alumni Association. There are many ties between the Mobile Jewish community and USA. In May it was announced that the Mitchell family was contributing $50 million to the institution.
Metzinger new Monroe rabbi
Rabbi Barbara Metzinger is the new visiting rabbi for Temple B’nai Israel in Monroe. Currently the pastoral counselor and chaplain at Oschner Foundation in New Orleans, she was previously rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beaumont, Tex. She also has served Temple Emanuel of South Hills in Pittsburgh. Metzinger will visit the congregation 13 times during the year, including the High Holy Days and community Seder. She will visit the congregation in her new role for the ﬁrst time on July 19 for a 6 p.m. service, and a picnic dinner afterward. She succeeds Rabbi David Packman, who retired in December after making the commute to Monroe from Oklahoma City for seven years. 16
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CP 07.13.ai 1 6/18/2013 11:33:23 AM
Wolf’s memoir a personal history of Jewish New Orleans Peter Wolf, a sixth-generation Jewish New Orleanian, is returning home this month with a newly-published memoir about “loss and renewal.” “My New Orleans, Gone Away” describes the New Orleans he knew and grew up in. Though part of a deep-rooted family in New Orleans, he grew up on the periphery of the Jewish community, something he discovered when he went north for school. Wolf is a nationally recognized architectural historian, and authority in land planning, urban policy and asset management. He founded the Thomas Moran Trust, and his writings have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Ford Foundation; the American Federation of Arts: and a Fulbright Fellowship. He will be in New Orleans for a launch event at Octavia Books on July 10 at 6 p.m., then at the Jeﬀerson Parish Library on July 11 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. He will return to the region in November, appearing at the Louisiana Festival of the Book in Baton Rouge on Nov. 2. New Orleans Hadassah will have an event and book signing on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m., and there will be an event in conjunction with the Yale Class of 1953 mini-reunion on Nov. 5. The Hadassah event is of particular signiﬁcance, because his aunt, Ida Weis Friend, was founder and ﬁrst president of New Orleans Hadassah. Her father was the second president of Temple Sinai, and many relatives had been very involved in the “social side” of the Jewish community. Though his ancestors were among the founders of Temple Sinai, he had very little Jewish exposure growing up. He and his parents lived far from the rest of the community, in the suburb of Metairie, where there were very few Jews — something that is diﬃcult to imagine today. “We weren’t part of New Orleans,” he said. “I didn’t know Jewish kids until I was 15, 16 years old.” He spent much more time in Pass Christian, Miss., at his paternal grandparents’ weekend home. When he was enrolled for Conﬁrmation at Temple Sinai — he was eventually asked to leave the class — it was only the second time he had been in the building. Not that the congregation was a bunch of strangers. He noted that every year his parents would put on a Christmas brunch that half the congregation, including Rabbi Julian Feibelman, would attend. As the only Jew in Metairie Park Country Day School, he was class president and a tennis champion, but was soon sent north to Exeter, followed by Yale. It was at Yale that he developed three close friendships, including a Kansas City native named Bud, who would later be known as Calvin Trillin. His Yale friends could not believe his lack of Jewish knowledge, and took it upon themselves to educate him. “It was illuminating, to say the least,” he said. Being around students from other regions who were “more openly and joyously living Jewish lives” was a new experience for him.
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When he brought fellow student Henry Geldzahler, who was from a Holocaust survivor family, home for the annual Christmas party, “he was completely stunned at the world he is introduced to.” Conversely, Wolf attended Seder with Geldzahler’s family. “This was an eye-opener for me, an education and transformative.” Not that he is “particularly observant” now, but he is “much more knowledgeable.” In doing the book, he examined what was going on in New Orleans to make the part of the community he was in “so unwilling to be more expressive as Jews.” He noted that it was shortly after World War II and the establishment of Israel. Seg-
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regation was still legal. He ﬁgures the feeling of being an outsider may have led to “really didn’t want to be very obvious as Jews. They weren’t denying that they were Jews, but it still seemed dangerous.” Long before the storm, Wolf started writing short stories for his own “pleasure, after ﬁnishing a couple of other books that were long research projects.” He wanted to experiment with the short story form, using events in his life as the subjects. After Katrina he looked at the collection of writings to see what they amounted to. “I never intended to write a memoir, ever,” he said, but Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times Book Review “saw the writings I was doing and said, ‘Peter this is a memoir, and I’d like to be your editor.’ I was so ﬂattered and stunned.” Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University, said the book is “beautifully written and descriptive of what it was like up to grow up Jewish in New Orleans in the mid-20th century.” Writing an honest family account can obviously be tricky. “It’s inherent in the process of trying to write a faithful and honest piece of 6/26/13 8:06 AM work that there will be some feelings that are
upset,” he said, “but if you stick with the truth and tell the story in a plain way, things settle out all right.” He noted that “a few family members have seen parts of it and were cautious about me saying some of the things I said, but in general are very appreciative that I’ve put it down and tried to make a coherent narrative.” At times, it was a struggle for him to decide whether to stay in New Orleans, with all his family history, or move on to a diﬀerent path. The book is about the questions “Do we leave home, can we leave home, what does it mean to leave home?” He said the “vision and love of New Orleans has allowed me to be living in two worlds.” The book closes in the late 1960s, but in an epilogue he discusses with relatives during a 2004 visit how the names Wolf, Godchaux and Weis have virtually disappeared as many more in recent generations have moved on to other places. Then in March 2006 he and his family arrived in New Orleans for the ﬁrst time since Katrina, to dedicate a pavilion in Audubon Park, a permanent reminder of those names and physical presence in a city that he left but never really left him.
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Israeli economic minister works to drum up business in Alabama
30 Years of House Painting Experience
By Lee J. Green At a June 18 talk in Birmingham, Eli Groner, Israeli Minister of Economic Aﬀairs to the United States, used an analogy from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” when describing Israel today — “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The worst refers to the continual fears of violence against Israel by some of its Middle East neighbors. The best, which is what Groner focuses on regularly, refers to Israel’s economy thanks to it being an “innovation nation not scared to take Eli Groner and Birmingham Mayor William Bell at the risks… and one that seeks partner- City Council meeting ships with the U.S.” as well as the signiﬁcant, recent ﬁnd of natural gas resources in And despite signiﬁcant demographic chalIsraeli territory. lenges, unemployment rates in Israel have The luncheon featuring Groner as keynote fallen below the OECD average the past few speaker was sponsored by the American Israel years as well. During that span, Israel is also Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Jewish one of only ﬁve countries that has actually reFederation, Levite Jewish Community Center, duced its debt. Overton Group, Birmingham Committee on “Pro-market reforms have taken place unForeign Relations and the American Israel Ed- der various governments. It is that progresucational Institute. Sirote and Permutt hosted siveness that drives the engine,” said Groner. the event, attended by more than 80 people. A recent discovery of natural gas resources Groner also visited the Birmingham City oﬀ-shore in Israel will have a tremendous imCouncil. Mayor William Bell oﬀered a proc- pact for some time to come, he said. lamation on behalf of the city, celebrating ties “I cannot overstate the importance of this with sister city Rosh Ha’Ayin. on Israel’s economy and geo-political future. “Birmingham and Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel This is the biggest discovery of its time in the have a long and rich history of exchanges and world during the past 15 to 20 years. Israel Sister City projects,” said the proclamation. will become a net natural gas exporter by the “Birmingham’s business, cultural, educational end of this year and they can be energy-selfand other ties to Israel are growing in depth, suﬃcient. This changes the economy and the number and mutual usefulness.” dependence on some of Israel’s enemies for At the luncheon, Groner said “In Israel, we this resource,” said Groner. cultivate a culture of innovation. The people He said that the U.S. is Israel’s number one aren’t scared of taking risks to grow the econ- trading and commerce development partner. omy. That approach is what helped Israel to Israel is always looking to establish new partbuild a country from scratch in 65 years. You nerships with Southeastern companies and build a country like you build an economy other innovative companies across this na— by thinking of ways to get things done.” tion. Groner, who started his career more than “If the business opportunity is right and the 15 years ago as a ﬁnance reporter for the Je- cooperation is there, the Israelis will come,” rusalem Post, said it is pretty remarkable to added Groner. consider how Israel’s economy is thriving conTom Glaser, retiring president of the Amersidering today’s global economy, coupled with ican-Israel Chamber of Commerce, thanked all that the country of eight million, the size of those in attendance for their support of orNew Jersey, has had to endure over the years. ganizations that seek to boost the Israeli and According to the Organization for Econom- U.S. economies. ic Co-operation and Development, Israel is the “This is one of many shining examples of only member country that has been upgraded what a community can do to support Israel on its credit rating by all three major rating and it consumer products,” said Glaser. “When sources every year from 2008 through 2012. we Buy Israel, we all win.”
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Cowen to step down as Tulane president Tulane University President Scott Cowen announced he will step down from his position on July 1, 2014. “This decision was an extremely diﬃcult one for Margie and me because of our devotion to Tulane and New Orleans, our adopted home,” he said in a message to the university community. Before coming to Tulane, he was on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University for 23 years. When he began at Tulane in 1998, he said he would be there for 10 years. “Of course, Hurricane Katrina dramatically changed that timetable as we all committed to rebuilding and re-imagining Tulane and New Orleans. Our focus and determination to persevere created a powerful bond amongst all of us that ultimately led to Tulane’s extraordinary recovery,” he said. He and a team of 30 fellow evacuees worked from a Houston hotel suite to plan the university’s future, and when Tulane reopened in January 2006, 87 percent of the students returned. He led a committee to reform the public school system after Katrina, and Tulane created the Scott Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives. Cowen was believed to be Tulane’s ﬁrst Jewish president. He be-
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came very active in the New Orleans Jewish community, holding a Shabbat dinner for Jewish students at their home every year. He also represented Tulane at the wide range of national Jewish conferences and events held in New Orleans since Katrina, including the keynote address at the Jewish Community Centers of North America biennial in May 2012. In 2009, he received a Doctor of Human Letters, Honoris Causa, from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he gave the graduation address. He did the same and received a similar doctorate at Yeshiva University in 2007. In 2010, he and wife Marjorie received the Tzedakah Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana.
Saving the Threefoot?
Last month, a group of concerned citizens in Meridian got together to establish the Threefoot Preservation Society, to try and save the historic Threefoot Building in downtown Meridian. Built by a leading Jewish family in Meridian in 1929, the building has been vacant and deteriorating for years, and is on the National Trust for Historic Places’ list of most endangered historic places. A plan was in place for renovation into a hotel in 2009 the agreement was derailed after a change in city government. A private entrepreneur is being sought for the 16-ﬂoor Art Deco building which a 2012 study deemed structurally sound but in danger of weather-induced decay in the upper ﬂoors.
Women’s Health Hadassah launching health care education initiatives in U.S. By Lee J. Green This month, Hadassah will launch a major heart-health program to partner with several of their other important initiatives aimed at improving health care, awareness and education for women’s wellness. Hadassah will roll out a national “program in a box” to regions and big chapters that will include a facilitator’s guide with materials, curriculum and information to help identify risk factors and to better understand proper diet and exercise. According to regional Hadassah president Lee Kansas, who is based out of New Orleans, this ready-made program will assist Hadassah chapters in doing programming that will beneﬁt and educate not just their members, but the greater communities in which the members live. Hadassah will also partner with Sister to Sister, an organization founded by Jewish philanthropist and activist Irene Pollin. She recently donated $10 million to Hadassah Medical Organization to establish the Linda Joy Pollin Cardiovascular Wellness Institute in Jerusalem. “Hadassah and Mrs. Pollin hope someday that heart disease will no longer be the number one killer of women,” said Kansas. “Hadassah is putting so much eﬀort toward research, treatment and education here, in Israel as well as across the globe,” she said. “The more involvement and support we get, the more Hadassah can do to help so many in need.” In the United States, Hadassah chapters have long been oﬀering the “Check it Out” program in high schools so female students can learn the reason for and how to perform breast self-examinations. This program was expanded to include male students and to teach both breast and testicular self-examination. It now includes a new “Check it Out for Adults,” which is a similar program many chapters are now bringing to their members and others in the community. Always active in advocating on healthcare issues, Hadassah was instrumental in the passage of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill, which is particularly important to those Jews having been identiﬁed with mutations in genes such as BRCA 1 and 2, which raise the likelihood of breast cancer. Certain mutations of those genes have been identiﬁed as being prevalent in Jews of European descent. In the area of breast cancer detection, research and treatment, Hadassah has made great contributions. This ranges from doing untold numbers of mammograms for Israeli women, including the previously underserved Arab population, to the recent announcement of a new blood test to detect the BRCA genes, which is 95 percent eﬀective. It could reach many women who cannot get complete genetic testing. Hadassah’s Women’s Breast Cancer Center is state of the art, putting all medical specialists at the immediate disposal of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. “Hadassah and women’s health continue to go hand in hand into Hadassah’s second century. And don’t forget the strides Hadassah researchers have announced recently in treating diseases which aﬀect women and men — such as ALS and diabetes,” added Kansas. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is a women’s volunteer organization committed to Israel with a focus on raising money for Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem, as well as for cutting-edge research and state-of-the-art technology. Hadassah’s focus on health care introduced modern medicine to the Middle East and helped build a system for the delivery of health care in the State of Israel. It has also aﬀected women’s health across the globe as Hadassah medical personnel have delivered services to underdeveloped African clinics and provided training and advanced medical education to medical personnel from around the world. They also sent HMO doctors and nurses to such disaster-stricken areas as Haiti following the earthquake. To follow Hadassah medical advances, go to www.hadassah.org and subscribe to hmedicine.
Named “Best Fertility Practice in Florida” and Top 5% Nationwide by FindTheBest.com
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Women’s Health St. Vincent’s East offers new birth suites, advice for expecting mothers By Lee J. Green Whether a woman is thinking about getting pregnant or is currently pregnant, getting proper advice from one’s OB/GYN is of great importance as it pertains to nutrition, exercise, medication and lifestyle. “If you are trying to get pregnant or you are pregnant, living a healthy lifestyle is of greatest importance but there is so much to the process. We advise talking with your OB/GYN as early as possible and to tell them about your diet, lifestyle as well as medications you are taking,” said Dr. Julie Taylor, an OB/GYN with St. Vincent’s East. Recently, the hospital unveiled its nine new labor and delivery rooms. The 8,000-squarefoot expansion now allows St. Vincent’s East to provide the newest and most modern birth suites in the Birmingham area. The $2.8 million project includes accommodations in each room such as a ﬂat screen TV, full-size sleeper, a heated toilet, a private bathroom, modern new interiors and amenities designed at comfort. “With the new birth suites, we can handle a larger volume and oﬀer expectant mothers along with their families more attention, amenities and comfort than ever before,” said Dr. Taylor. She recommended women who are trying to get pregnant to see an OB/GYN about the things they can do to increase their chances of getting pregnant. “A woman wants to get herself in the best shape possible if she is trying to get pregnant. That includes no alcohol usage, no cigarettes and in some cases getting down to a healthier weight,” said Taylor. That same advice holds true for women who have become pregnant. Taylor said ideally they like to start seeing women between eight and 16 weeks into their pregnancies. Most know about taking vitamins and folic acids, but there are some myths out there about pregnancy diet do’s and don’ts. “We tell women not to eat deli meat that has been out a while… no raw ﬁsh. Stay away from seafood that is high in mercury. Most fresh-water ﬁsh such as salmon are good,” she said. Fellow St. Vincent’s East OB/GYN Dr. Elizabeth Blair recommends to expectant mothers to cut out unheated deli meats, raw ﬁsh or raw eggs as well as ﬁsh that are high in mercury. She said she recommends cutting out alcohol and cigarettes, but said caﬀeine was okay as long as it was kept to less than 200 milligrams 22
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per day. She also said that weight gain recommendations during pregnancy would vary based on the pre-pregnancy weight of the expecting mother. “If a woman is within a normal weight range, gaining 25-35 pounds is normal. But the recommended weight gain depends upon one’s Body Mass Index. If someone gains too much weight during pregnancy, they run a greater risk of having complications such as pregnancy induced diabetes or high blood pressure. Also their baby may be larger and have complications from that as well, such as a C-section for delivery,” said Dr. Blair. “If someone does not gain enough during pregnancy, it could result in a premature birth or malnourished baby.” “A normal per-calorie day can be anywhere from 800-2,000 for a non-pregnant person. For a pregnant woman, that can be more like up to 2,500 calories a day. You are not eating for two, as the saying goes, but you are eating a bit more,” she added. As far as exercise, walking, jogging and swimming are some of the best things pregnant women can do. Contact sports and scuba diving are out, but most aerobic classes are good. “We especially recommend pre-natal yoga classes. We ask our patients about their lifestyle and level of exercise prior to the pregnancy. If they had been active, they can keep with most of their regular routine within reason,” said Taylor. “But if a woman experiences cramping or bleeding when exercising they should stop and call their OB/GYN.” Blair added she recommends to all of her patients to at least walk an hour a day if they had previously not had a regular exercise regimen. Both recommend more regular consultations with women who have issues with diabetes and hypertension. Also, if expectant mothers are taking medications such as antidepressants and those for lowering blood pressure, they should let their OB/GYN know. Blair tells her patients to cut out Ibuprofen. Both of them said they have extensive lists of prescription medications that are ﬁne to take during pregnancy, including more appropriate substitutes for ones that women are on that they might need to stop taking during pregnancy. “There might be some better medicines we can prescribe for them,” said Taylor. “That’s why it is so important to be honest with your physician and tell us everything.”
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The ﬁeld of reproductive endocrinology is in constant evolution. Cutting edge technologies regularly change treatment options and opportunities for a couple that desperately wants a baby. That is according to Dr. Barry Ripps, a member of the Pensacola area Jewish community who founded New Leaders in Fertility and Endocrinology (NewLIFE). One of these exciting advances seems to be the answer to an “age-old” problem. With time, women experience a reduction in their fertility. They generally take longer to become pregnant while increasing their chances of early miscarriages and potential for babies born with Down Syndrome or other genetic problems. All of these problems seem to arise with time, as the eggs wait for ovulation. Genetic errors become more common and are the primary source for each of these issues. The answer, Dr. Ripps says, is to “ﬁnd the normal eggs that make normal embryos that make for healthy babies.” The new approach brings together many cutting-edge technologies that can help to identify normal genes, raising the odds of a healthy pregnancy. That chance becomes about 97 percent after seeing the baby’s heart beat. Women who elect to use the testing have much greater conﬁdence that if the treatment goes to completion, they have an extremely high chance of having a healthy baby. This approach seems to work for women of any age, even older women who have an inherently higher risk of problems, adds Ripps. It seems that a “normal” test result in a wom-
an at 40 years of age has the same potential to become a healthy baby as “normal” from a women at 25. “Normal is normal at any age,” he said. For many couples, their greatest fear is an unsuccessful treatment and is often what makes them hesitate to start, worsening the eﬀect of time. A recent survey of couples that completed fertility treatment revealed a common theme. In retrospect, 91 percent wished they had not delayed it and had sought the care with their specialist sooner. Most also said that the treatments were much easier than they had ﬁrst thought. The Pensacola-based NewLIFE, which also has satellite oﬃces on the Florida and Alabama gulf coasts, has been recognized as the “Best Fertility Practice in Florida” by FindtheBest. com for three consecutive years. NewLIFE provided above the national average chance of pregnancy with IVF, but the lowest risk for multiple pregnancies in the state of Florida. Using the same approach, FindTheBest.com placed NewLIFE in the top ﬁve percent of fertility programs nationwide, outperforming those in much larger metropolitan areas. Ripps is a Mobile native and graduated from University of Alabama School of Medicine. He practices along the Gulf Coasts of Florida and Alabama. The NewLIFE practice caters to health care tourism, couples willing to travel to receive the quality of care expected in the United States but at a lower cost than metropolitan areas. More information can be found at www.FertilityLeaders.com
Incontinence not just a part of aging “Urinary incontinence is not a normal part of aging,” and Dr. Margie Kahn at Tulane can help. Dr. Kahn, the Section Head of Female Pelvic Medicine, Incontinence and Reconstructive Surgery at Tulane Medical Center as well as a professor of obstetrics, gynecology and urology at Tulane’s School of Medicine, has helped thousands of patients who suﬀer from urinary and fecal incontinence as well as pelvic organ prolapse. “We address all pelvic ﬂoor disorders, including fecal incontinence and pelvis organ prolapse,” said Kahn, a New Orleans native who herself graduated from Tulane University’s School of Medicine.
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“We have an experienced and sensitive team that understands most women are embarrassed to bring up these problems, and many have ignored the problems (if so). We oﬀer a multidisciplinary approach” to treatment, she said. “Most importantly, we listen and respect the patient’s wishes.” Kahn completed her undergraduate work at Newcomb College and after Tulane med school, had her obstetrics/gynecology residency at New York Downtown Hospital. She completed her urogynecology fellowship at St. George’s Hospital in London, England. The clinic has oﬃces in downtown New Orleans and Metairie.
Escape recommends organics, massage as keys to wellness By Lee J. Green Massages on a regular basis are a great Escape from stress — which is the number one cause of disease, according to Escape Day Spa. Owner Carrie Wheelock said regular massages improve circulation, combat depression and aid heart health through doing away with stress. “It’s of course enjoyable and relaxing. But like with many of the other services and products we provide, the beneﬁts to a woman’s health are numerous. It’s far deeper than just an aesthetic thing or something that just makes you feel better temporarily,” she said. The full service spa tripled its size and expanding its oﬀerings last October when it moved from Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village to Oxmoor Road in Homewood. Wheelock said she researches every product she brings into the spa and makes it a point to carry as many organic/all-natural products as possible. They now sell and use an organic, chemicalfree skin nail polisher called Bio-Sculpture. “It can re-nourish your nails and promote growth. It functions like acrylic but it is much better for you since it is made from organic silk materials. It is dust and chemical free and looks great,” she said. For the skin they more recently introduced Hylunia. This product has no harmful chemicals, is fragrance free, gluten-free and veganfriendly. It was created by a dermatologist and ﬁghts acne, aging, redness and dryness. “It is remarkable that there are products that are better for people’s health yet look even better than non-natural, comparable products and are priced about the same,” said Wheelock. “Technology in skin, nail and body care has really come a long way in recent years.” Escape Day Spa also oﬀers a few lines of allnatural mineral make-up as well as spray tan products/services that use natural products. Wheelock said they are happy to cater to an individual client’s needs. They serve cucumber water, wine and hot tea. Escape Day Spa also welcomes groups. “We have some customers that come with a group of their friends and do an all-day, pamper-yourself outing. We can order in some lunch and make a fun, relaxing day out of it,” she said.
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Women’s Health Touro practices ‘healthy babies are worth the wait’
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Most have heard the phrase “the best things are worth waiting for.” Well, nothing could be closer to the truth when it comes to delivering healthy, full-term babies, according to New Orleans’ Touro Inﬁrmary. Louisiana has some of the highest early elective and premature delivery rates in the nation. Serious health eﬀects can result for babies and their mothers. By the last few weeks of pregnancy, everyone is anxiously awaiting the baby’s arrival — especially mom. In fact, some are so ready to meet the baby that in recent years, more and more births have been scheduled early (before 39 weeks) for non-medical reasons. Experts now know that babies born between 37 and 39 weeks are at much greater risk for respiratory problems, admission to a neonatal intensive care unit and in some cases death. The March of Dimes and other health organizations recommend that for healthy pregnancies, Babies born it is best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks and to wait for labor to between 37 and 39 begin on its own. weeks have greater Two years ago, Touro Inﬁrmary risk of respiratory in New Orleans made a commitment to reduce its premature delivproblems ery rate and prevent Early Elective Deliveries before 39 weeks. EEDs are births scheduled without a medical reason between 37 and 39 weeks of pregnancy, either by induction or caesarean section. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all births in the United States are performed early, without a medical reason. These births have increased risk of maternal and infant complications. In 2011, almost 16 of every 100 babies born in Louisiana were born prematurely. “The ﬁnal weeks of pregnancy are essential to a baby’s health because many vital organs, including the brain and lungs, are still developing,” said Dr. Paul DuTreil, Touro OB/GYN and Maternal and Child Health Chief. “In fact, a baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39-40 weeks.” Since implementation of Touro’s policy to eliminate EEDs, the hospital has worked to continually re-educate physicians, nurses and scheduling staﬀ to ensure that everyone understands the signiﬁcant patient beneﬁts. “In 2011, seven percent of Touro’s deliveries were EEDs,” said Touro President and CEO Jim Montgomery. “In 2012, the hospital had just two EEDs, and has currently gone nine months with zero.” Touro Inﬁrmary has delivered more than 145,000 babies in its 160plus year history. The Touro Family Birthing Center delivers more babies annually than another other single hospital in the Greater New Orleans area. Touro delivered the third most babies in the state in 2012, with more than 3,000 deliveries.
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Women have a greater benefit than men Infertility from cancer from the direct anterior hip surgery approach treatment preventable? There are many advantages in using the new direct anterior hip approach for hip replacement surgery, and the beneﬁts seem to be greater for women because of the signiﬁcantly improved immediate stability of the hip. “At UAB Highlands, the direct anterior hip approach for replacement surgery is now my preferred approach. I have seen remarkable results,” said Dr. Herrick J. Siegel, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at UAB Medical Center. Women have an increased risk of early dislocation follow hip replacement surgery. This is likely due to the small size of the female hip anatomy. Femoral head size has a major impact on stability in more traditional hip surgery. This is not a factor when approaching the hip from the front. Other beneﬁts include an early recovery, no post-operative activity restrictions, the ability to drive at two weeks, and a return to work after four weeks in the majority of cases. Elderly patients with hip fractures are also seeing signiﬁcant beneﬁts to the direct ante-
rior approach. Often it is diﬃcult for them to follow precautions in more traditional approaches, and without these restrictions they have shorter hospitalizations along with less post-operative pain. The direct anterior approach is a minimally invasive, muscle-sparing approach to hip replacement surgery. Dr. Siegel is a national educator and developer of surgical instrumentation for this approach. “I now use this approach in more than 90 percent of patients and I have seen a tremendous diﬀerence in outcomes. Patients feel better immediately,” he said. Siegel added that women have the most to gain. “The femoral head size is not as important in this approach, since it is inherently stable. By leaving the external rotators intact, the hip remains stable without the need for precautions,” he says. Dr. Siegel is also a consultant for Stryker and Corin. He has contributed to the improvement in surgical technique as well as the development of instrumentation and patient education materials.
Cancer treatments often damage a young woman’s ovaries — so if the chemo saves her life, she may still face the inability to conceive a new life later on. Exciting research from Israel now reveals the mechanics of this heartbreaking problem and – most importantly — a longsought-after way to avoid it. In a study published in Science Translational Medicine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science), the authors describe how adding an Israeli-synthesized compound, AS101, to the chemotherapy regime successfully prevented infertility. Doctoral student Lital Kalich-Philosoph and senior researcher Dr. Hadassa Roness used a mouse model of a common chemotherapy drug to understand how it attacks the ovaries and the eggs inside them. Their research was done at the Center for Fertility Preservation at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center – Tel Hashomer Hospital in Israel, headed by Prof. Dror Meirow.
This is a bathtub.
Because the moment you learn you’re having a baby is the moment when everything changes. That’s why St. Vincent’s is with you every baby step of the way with a variety of classes such as Preparing for Parenthood. After all, we’re not just where babies come from, St. Vincent’s is where parents are born.
where parents are born
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Music by Harry Warren, Lyrics by Al Dubin Book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble Based on the Novel by Bradford Ropes
An unknown becomes a star before it required a reality show. JULY 11 THROUGH AUGUST 4, 2013
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For Zimmern, sharing unique food experiences isn’t Bizarre
In partnership with AL.com/The Birmingham News and Birmingham magazine Presented by Kim Morgan & Corbin Day and Energen Corporation Orchestra sponsored by Cadence Bank and The Gloria Narramore Moody Foundation Additional support provided by Vulcan Materials Company and Dianne & Carlo Joseph
John Michael Bodnar, Andrew Zimmern and Cochon’s Donald Link watch as Nick Pihakis of Jim ‘N Nicks works his magic at a Birmingham filming in January.
It’s a common story — Jews and food. So many jokes, so many stories. But just ask a guy who grew up in that environment and then branched out to sample things nobody else would attempt to try — it isn’t unique to the Jews. Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods America,” said that all over the world, “people are falling over themselves to Bizarre Foods America share their food and their culture.” Mondays, 8 p.m. Central That’s because it is one love that everyone has in common. “At the end of Travel Channel the day, if we share a meal with each Birmingham episode airs other, magical things happen,” he said. July 29 As an example, he described being in Syria, about 20 miles from the Israeli border. Acknowledging his Jewish background, he said that it was “as close as I can ﬁnd to someone who would not want to have anything to do with me” when he visited a family that makes goat milk cheeses. Instead, he said, the hospitality was tremendous, with the husband saying “try this, try that.” He added that “the sense of pride people have in their food is massive.” Zimmern was in Birmingham for several days in January to ﬁlm an episode, “Birmingham: The New South” that will air on July 29 at 8 p.m. (Central). In 2006, “Bizarre Foods” premiered, showing him traveling the world to ﬁnd unusual and exotic local delicacies. “Bizarre Foods America,” which began in January 2012, is more of an ode to regional cuisine that might be unique to a particular state or city. For example, one item he sampled at Miss Myra’s BBQ in Birmingham was white barbecue sauce, a North Alabama specialty that is primarily used on chicken. He said “Bizarre Foods” is a show “the whole family can watch and does watch,” since there is a lot of reality television that is not familyfriendly. And it has an unexpected beneﬁt. In the grocery store, mothers come up to him and say things like “thanks to you, my kid eats Brussels Southern Jewish Life
sprouts.” He added, “If Andrew Zimmern will eat that fermented ﬁsh anus, you can eat your broccoli.” Part of his reach with children was the publication of his book, “Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World Of Food: Brains, Bugs And Blood Sausage.” He also wrote “The Bizarre Truth: How I Walked Out the Door Mouth First… and Came Back Shaking My Head.” He never thought that “I’d be the guy to eat giraﬀe beetles in Madagascar on TV,” but there is one place on the planet where “they know how to cook them, have been doing it for 1,000 years and do it right.” And he wants to be the person to try them, and do it where the art was perfected, not in some big city with someone doing a pale imitation. By the way, he says they taste like shrimp. It’s all a process of discovery. He does not want to be told about the next great restaurant, “I want to ﬁnd it ﬁrst.” He wants to be the ﬁrst person to talk to that next superstar Japanese chef. “There is great stuﬀ happening everywhere,” he said, but there is “something special happening in the Southeastern U.S.,” which he described as “the most easily identiﬁable America.” Louisiana, in particular, is “one of the places where everyone knows how to cook and the food is righteously good.” In 2011, he educated the world about Southern Jews during a visit to Savannah that coincided with Sukkot. At an assisted-living facility next door to B’nai B’rith Jacob synagogue, he prepared kosher dishes with Chef Matt Cohen and sat in the sukkah with congregants. In a sense, being in the Jewish South is a reconnecting with Zimmern’s roots. He said the Zimmerns were kosher butchers in Atlanta until the In Louisiana, Civil War, and after the South lost they everyone knows went to New York and started making furniture. how to cook He credits his father with introducing him to the love of food and travel, but says his taste for the unusual comes from his grandmother. He would stay with her most weekends while growing up, and says she made a dish of sour tongue on red cabbage. In the Jewish community, he said, “everyone thinks their grandmother made the best latkes or soup.” He started working from his grandmother’s recipes and “will put my matzoh ball soup up against anyone’s.” When serving Jewish food, the audience matters. Non-Jewish guests, he said, think it’s great. The Jewish guest’s reaction? “Ehhh… Even if you love it, you can’t say” out of family loyalty. The same goes with things like barbecue — everyone has their own idea about what is best. After graduating from Vassar Zimmern worked at some top New York restaurants, but had an addiction to drugs and alcohol. It landed him homeless on the streets of New York for a year, stealing purses to feed his habit. In a Nightline interview he said addiction causes you to do things “that crater your soul.” After an intervention, he received treatment in Minnesota and wound up as a dishwasher in a Minneapolis restaurant, Café Un Deux Trois. One day he replaced a line cook who was sick, and in less than two months was executive chef. He quickly became a ﬁxture on local television and wrote for magazines, developing a national and international reputation. In 2010 he won the James Beard Award for Outstanding TV Food Personality. While traveling the world, he maintains his home base in Minneapolis, with his wife Rishia and son Noah. He also has a food truck that travels the country, AZ Canteen. While Zimmern has been all over the world, there are three places he really wants to visit but has not been to yet — Ireland, Poland and Israel. They have been on the board since the ﬁrst season but haven’t
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come to pass. “I’m dying to get to Israel,” he said. Ironically, he said, whenever he goes to New Orleans, “John Besh is always in Israel.” Besh was one of four New Orleans chefs that went to Rosh Ha’Ayin, the New Orleans Partnership 2Gether community in Israel, on a culinary exchange in the summer of 2011. Zimmern said experiences like that are a “game changer for people — both ways. Those chefs will never think the same.” Last summer, Zimmern called out another Minneapolis chef who posted a map of the Middle East that didn’t include Israel, initiating a dialogue on his blog. Zimmern was supposed to visit Ireland and was on his way in 2010, but a volcano eruption in Iceland that closed down much of Europe for a week prevented the trip. A few weeks after his Birmingham visit, he was in Saint Louis to ﬁlm, and was asked about a favorite city to visit. After mentioning three or four he said “I love Birmingham,” but admitted he’s a “bright-shiny-objects guy” that falls in love with places where he has just been. Of course, he visited the granddaddy of Birmingham meat-and-threes, Niki’s West, where he sampled the succotash and stewed tomatoes. He also visited a lesser-known family-run place nearby, Eagle’s, where “the neck bones are ridiculous” and he declared them the best he’d ever had. They were accompanied by oxtails and collard greens. The Eagle’s owner gave Zimmern a demonstration of his technique for carving neck bones on an electric saw. He sampled braised goat on couscous at the Shindigs food truck, bean pie from Z’s restaurant downtown, dined at Red Pearl Restaurant and Super Oriental Market, and spent a lot of time with the team at Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ. He also visited George Sarris at The Fish Market on Southside and had a pigskin noodle bowl at Hot and Hot Fish Club, home of James Beard Award winner Chris Hastings. He also visited the University of Alabama at Birmingham to see a pilot program for sustainable sea urchin. “This stuﬀ is incredible,” he said. “Game changer.” The week ended with a farm shoot with Nick Pihakis and John Michael Bodnar of Jim ‘N Nicks, and friends from Cochon in New Orleans. As Pihakis tended several types of barbecue and some additional items from Cochon, such as boudin, Zimmern ﬁlmed segments on Jim ‘N Nicks’ sustainability eﬀorts and the making of some Cochon classics with Executive Chef Donald Link.
Items from Huntsville’s first Jewish families now at national museum As a ﬁfth-generation member of one of Huntsville’s ﬁrst Jewish families, Margaret Anne Goldsmith had a great deal of collected history. Now, much of that family history can be seen at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, where she donated a treasure trove of memorabilia and archival material, over 1000 items. Claire Pingel, Chief Photo courtesy National Museum of American Jewish History Registrar and Associate Curator, said “this Margaret Anne Goldsmith with a family’s Southern ex- grandfather clock and a portrait of herself perience improves our by Maurice Grosser that she recently gave holdings by providing to the NMAJH. a meaningful counterpoint to the more well-known stories of the Jewish communities of the big cities, especially those on the East Coast.” Goldsmith said it was diﬃcult to decide where to give her collection, “as not only the NMAJH and the Breman (Jewish Museum in Atlanta) wanted the collection, but there were also other interested parties in Mississippi and Alabama.” While the Colonial Jewish and Eastern European immigrations were well represented in the museum, the German Jewish immigration to the South was not. “My family collection will ﬁll an important gap at the museum which is why I decided to donate it there,” she said. Goldsmith noted the collection “represents a classic story of German Jewish immigration to the South in the mid 1800’s. Our family’s experience was repeated in town after town throughout the South where Jewish families helped build those towns economically, civically, culturally and philanthropically.” Though Jewish immigrants of that era were successful in assimilating, she noted with pride that “although we experienced a great deal of acculturation, all three of my children are Jewish, my son became religious and lives in Jerusalem.” The Herstein, Bernstein, and Schiﬀman families arrived in Huntsville in the 1850s, and Oscar Goldsmith arrived shortly thereafter. In time, the four families were united by marriages. A centerpiece of Goldsmith’s collection is a grandfather clock that Solomon and Bertha Schiﬀman purchased in Cincinnati between 1885 and 1894. Goldsmith thinks her great-great-grandfather Morris Bernstein, who had a watch and clock shop on the courthouse square, reassembled the clock when it arrived in Huntsville. As with many of the artifacts, Goldsmith wrote a history of the clock and how it relates not only to the family, but to Huntsville history. The clock followed the family through several homes until Lawrence Goldsmith built the Russel Erskine Hotel in the late 1920s. The clock was moved to the lobby of the hotel. At one point, the clock stopped working. Among the Schiﬀman businesses was a Dodge dealership, and the head of the service departSouthern Jewish Life
ment, Buck Sublett, loved to tinker with clocks. He could not get it to exhibition upstairs, with more to be installed in the coming months. Pingel said the items now on display “are the tip of a wonderful Alawork, Goldsmith said. Arriving at work early one morning, Sublett was attacked by a fel- bama iceberg” that is currently being catalogued. While much of the family history went to Philalow employee who knew Sublett generally carried delphia, there were some items that she kept loa lot of cash. Sublett died from his injuries and cal. When she was growing up there were three the robber received a life prison term. But the day portraits of black individuals on the wall of their Sublett died, the clock mysteriously started workhome. When she was older, she found out they ing again. were painted by Maria Weeden, who painted The hotel was in operation as the city grew portraits of freed slaves and lived near her greatfrom a small town to Rocket City, and the hotel great-grandparents. Two of the portraits were housed the Federal site selection team that establikely of slaves that had been in her family. lished what would become Redstone Arsenal. “I Weeden’s home is now a city museum. Goldwould imagine that the grandfather clock marked smith donated the three portraits to the Huntsthe events that literally ‘took us to the moon’,” ville Museum of Art, doubling their collection Goldsmith said. of Weeden’s work. According to the museum, After the hotel closed in 1973 the clock reWeeden pieces are rarely available and the last turned to the family home, then became Goldone they found was in poor condition — but still smith’s when her father died in 1995. It came “full cost them $10,000. circle” as she moved it to the I. Schiﬀman buildGoldsmith felt the Huntsville museum would ing on the courthouse square. The building where be the better place for the three portraits, which Tallulah Bankhead was born had been purchased are currently on display in the “recent acquisiby her great-grandfather in 1905. tions” exhibit through July 28. On the museum’s blog, Rabbi Ruth AbuschThe family has long been philanthropic in the Magder wrote that Goldsmith’s donation of the Huntsville area, from a football ﬁeld donated to clock “is a means of honoring the memory of her grandfather. With this action, she keeps his story These wedding dresses were part of a the city in the 1930s to her donation of 300 acres in Goldsmith-Schiffman family exhibit at 2003 that is now the Goldsmith-Schiﬀman Wildalive and passes it on to future generations.” The museum currently has pieces from Gold- Burritt on the Mountain in Huntsville in life Preserve and site of the Goldsmith-Schiﬀman Elementary School in Hampton Cove. smith’s collection on the ﬁrst ﬂoor and in the core 2009.
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Where have the alumni gone? Community Day School catches up with members of ﬁrst graduating class As the Class of 2013 graduated from Community Day School in Metairie, the school looked back at its ﬁrst graduating class and where the students are now, since this is around the time for them to be graduating from college. Community Day School began as the New Orleans Jewish Day School in 1996 and held its ﬁrst 8th grade graduation in 2005. As the next school year began with almost 100 students from pre-Kindergarten to eighth grade, Katrina struck, scattering the entire community across the region. With the long process for area families to return to their homes and students settling in to their temporary homes elsewhere for the school year, the Day School remained closed for the entire year. When it reopened in the fall of 2006, there were just a couple dozen students in two classes. While enrollment has grown, the school now goes only through ﬁfth grade. Last fall, in an eﬀort to broaden outreach to unaﬃliated, intermarried and non-Jewish families, the school was renamed Community Day School. Some of the original students pursued further Judaic studies, but there was a wide range of pursuits among the ﬁrst alumni. Mirit Sands will fulﬁll graduation requirements in December, but will march next spring. Sands will receive degrees in psychology from Columbia University and Bible from the Jewish Theological Seminary. “I will either be staﬃng Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim next Spring or starting part-time at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS in the Fall and then becoming a full-time student in the Spring on their Kesher Hadash program in Israel.” Rachel Edelman Schoenberg graduated from Bucknell in January with degrees in psychology and education, and a minor in Jewish Studies. This spring she worked for Northwestern Human Services as therapeutic staﬀ support. On May 26 she was married to Jason Schoenberg, and they plan to move to Atlanta this summer where he will attend Emory Law School. Simone Fertel graduated from Yeshiva University with a degree
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in molecular and cellular biology, and plans to apply to medical school after taking the “dreaded” MCAT. Also graduating from Yeshiva University was Ruth Brown, now living in New York. In 2006 she spent the post-Katrina year at Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis, and she wrote about her experiences on Achva West, a six-week Modern Orthodox tour of the western United States, in the National Council of Young Israel magazine. Mica Loewy graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in social work. He starts graduate school this summer in Austin at the University of Texas, and will graduate with a Master’s in social work next August. Sarah Fuhrman just started working as a junior sales executive in the showroom of costume jewelry company Kenneth Jay Lane in New York City, after graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology with an AAS in Fashion Merchandising Management and a BFA in Fabric Styling.
Two alumni graduated from the College of Charleston. Millie Liniado earned a degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. She moved to Los Angeles last month and is pursuing graduate studies in criminal psychology. Geoﬀrey Samuels graduated from Charleston with a business degree, and is now an analyst at Jericho Advisors, a private equity ﬁrm in Charleston. Sally Bronston graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science, and is moving to New York to work in the news business. David Kaplinsky received a degree in acting from the University of Illinois and is spending the summer in Omaha for his “ﬁrst professional gig,” acting in “Twelfth Night” and “Titus Andronicus” at the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival. After that he plans to combine joining his parents as they return to New Orleans in September, and working in theater in Chicago.
The Community Day School Class of 2013: (Left to right) Dakota Charity, Kallir Kirschbaum, Natasha Salas, Greg Norman, Ari Berk, Noa Kirschbaum, Simon Brickman
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At Chabad of Metairie • Register Online: jewishlouisiana.com 34
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For two weeks in June, the United Saints brought in a team of St. Xavier High School students from Cincinnati to renovate the downstairs bathrooms at Anshe Sfard in New Orleans. Formed in 2007 in New Orleans, the United Saints was born out of a need for assistance following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The United Saints also have an operation in Tuscaloosa, helping that area recover from the devastating April 2011 tornado outbreak.
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the same person who officiates the religious ceremony. The two marriages have different rules (one can have a civil divorce and still await a religious divorce due to issues with the get, but that’s a different column), and the state does not interfere with the Jewish marriage. But one needs the civil marriage to have the civil benefits. A common fear is that now, First Baptist Church will be compelled to allow same-sex ceremonies in their churches. Nonsense. That can no more happen than the government can tell an Orthodox or Conservative congregation that they must allow an interfaith wedding to take place in their sanctuaries. The Orthodox Union, which is not a fan of homosexuality, struck a balance in its reaction to the ruling. The OU stated that its view of Torah clearly opposes the gay lifestyle. However, the statement continued, it is not upon them to judge others’ relationships or observance level while standing up for their own beliefs. And part of living in this society means that there will be times that Jewish law and secular law differ. This went through the legal process and is the law of the land. “Judaism teaches respect for others and we condemn discrimination against individuals,” the organization stated. There are many ways to interpret Biblical verses, and in many cases the accepted practice seemed to differ from the text where there was the will and desire to adapt to a different time (for all the capital offenses in the Torah, actual death penalties being carried out were exceedingly rare, with the verses being interpreted out). An argument can be made that the existence of gay people in the world is a divine test — for the majority community. By far, the overriding theme in the Bible is that we should love our fellow man. Perhaps this is God’s way of determining whether we are truly serious about following that most important commandment. Larry Brook Editor/Publisher
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Kosher-Style Recipe: Commander’s Palace By Lee J. Green Commander’s Palace family of restaurants Head Chef Tory McPhail gained an evengreater appreciation of the Israeli people, culture and most especially food from his visit there last fall. Like Commander’s Palace — which has been a New Orleans institution dating back to 1880 — Israel, the Jewish communities across the U.S. and Jewish/Israeli cuisine, involve just the right blend of tradition, modernization, passion and spice. “In Israel, the people put a lot of love and passion into making food. There is pride in using the freshest, local ingredients and they are all about involving the family in the foodmaking and dining experience. There are certainly some parallels to New Orleans cuisine and our restaurants,” said McPhail, who has been Head Chef for Commander’s Palace for more than 11 years. McPhail hails from Washington state but starting working at Commander’s just after he graduated culinary school in New Orleans at the top of his class when he was 19. After working at other Brennan family restaurants as a chef or head chef for a few years, he came back to New Orleans and Commander’s Palace in 2002). Through a unique partnership, McPhail visits a James Beard-recognized “America’s Classic” restaurant in the Birmingham area, The Bright Star, to oversee “A Taste of New Orleans” each year. This year’s visit is August 15 to 17. McPhail and Commander’s Palace hosted a Passover Seder earlier this year. He said they used kosher, farm-to-table fresh meats, vegetables and ﬁsh appropriate for the holiday — with a twist. “Through molecular gastronomy we can make things vegetarian, kosher and/or lighter but with all the taste and richness of foods that don’t ﬁt into those categories,” he said, citing an example of a Portobello mushroom process that includes brining, which makes it taste like bacon in a certain dish he made. McPhail also came up with his version of a special Israeli candy bar for the Seder dessert. Commander’s Palace has been on its current site on Washington Ave. in Uptown New Orleans for 133 years. It has evolved over the years but kept with its tradition and style. In 1974, the landmark restaurant was given a make-over and enhancements to the “lovely setting.” The restaurant serves high-end Creole and American dishes and is also known for its elegant, bountiful event space ideal for simchas and other gatherings. 1403 Washington Ave. New Orleans • 504.899.8221 36
McPhail said the CP family of restaurants has sought to modernize and bring in some new demographics of diners through the opening of two other places in New Orleans. First came Café Adelaide at the Loews Hotel. This New Orleans café-style eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its Swizzle Sticks cocktail bar has gained a reputation for concocting some of the most creative cocktails, and to add ice to drinks, people can chip oﬀ pieces from a huge block of ice that is the “cool” centerpiece to the bar. In July 2012, they opened Sobu at the W Hotel New Orleans. Also known for its creative cocktails, Sobu oﬀers creative, modern cuisine in a menu that is mostly “tapas” or “small plates.” There is even a small plate for as little as $1. “It’s called Sobu for South of Bourbon. It is part of an area of town that had become trendy and frequented by younger locals more so,” said McPhail, who trained all of the chefs at both of those places as well as the new Brennan’s in Houston, Texas. The Commander’s Palace menu changes every day, twice a day. “I will post on Facebook and Twitter some limited edition entrees based on what is available. I put much focus on using the freshest, local ingredients as much as possible… and we can customize to please our customers.” McPhail said that Commander’s Palace is “like two restaurants in one. In the summer, we have seven or more diﬀerent varieties of ﬁnned ﬁsh and we try to go for a bit lighter approach with many of our dishes considering the warmer temperatures here. Then in the fall we come up with some heartier entrees including lamb and some wild game.” Commander’s Palace can customize an event menu to be partially or even completely kosher-style, while still retaining the essence of what deﬁnes the restaurant’s quality cuisine. Inspired by his trip to Israel, McPhail said expect to see more new items on some of the Commander’s Palace menu that can be best described as “traditional Jewish or Israel fare with a spicy New Orleans ﬂair.” “It’s a lot of fun being creative. I am not Jewish, but I have a great appreciation for the culture, food and people. The trip to Israel last year heightened my desire to give back to the Jewish communities that have given me so much,” he said. “Like in New Orleans, in Israel they focus on using fresh-grown foods and it’s all about having big, bold ﬂavors. We have a lot in common.”
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Citrus Salt Rubbed Redfish Ingredients: Citrus Salt: Zest of 1 orange Zest of 1 lemon Zest of 1 lime 1 tablespoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 4 six-to-eight ounce redfish fillets 2 tablespoons vegetable oil Prepare the citrus salt: Combine all ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until combined well (alternately, the salt can be made in a mortar and pestle). The citrus salt will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the fillets on a large baking sheet, rub with oil, and season on both sides with the citrus salt. Roast for seven to eight minutes until the fish is opaque and flaky to the touch. NOLA
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Rabbi Rosen-Rosen at his own bar mitzvah, and it put him oﬀ from alcohol until age 25. The rabbi was released an hour before sundown, with the promise of a community service award for his eﬀorts in deterring Jewish alcohol abuse. However, because it was still the Sabbath he had to walk over nine miles back to the synagogue and thus emulated 98.6% of his congregants in any given week by missing Havdalah. The following morning, the rabbi ﬁled suit against the Santa Rivkala Police Department for violating his freedom of religion in forcing him to ride in a car and to sign his name on the Sabbath. The rabbi does not seek monetary compensation. In what will likely put the legal community on its ear for years to come, the damages that Rabbi Rosen-Rosen seeks are restoration of any loss he experienced of his place in The World to Come. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Saturday morning. The rabbi is excused from attending. The congregant handling his case, when asked about whether he could attend the hearing, said, “why not? I don’t have anything else to do that morning.”
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Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who tells his bar mitzvah students that drinking Manischewitz for the ﬁrst time without grimacing is harder than learning Torah trope. And haftarah trope. And calculus. Combined. For past columns, other writings, and more, visit http://brookwrite.com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook.com/the.beholders. eye.
New email list for community obituaries With the cessation of the Times Picayune’s daily publication, it is now likely that members of the Jewish community will ﬁnd it more diﬃcult to learn about funerals within the community in a timely fashion. “Levayat Hamet” is the mitzvah to attend funerals. To address this problem, Southern Jewish Life Magazine, in cooperation with the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, has oﬀered to provide timely notiﬁcations to those who seek it. To sign up for this mitzvah enabling service simply go to http://eepurl.com/pt765. You may also send your email address to email@example.com. Your address will be used only for this speciﬁc purpose. NOLA
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The Beholder’s Eye by Doug Brook
The Oynion: Peeling Layers
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Santa Rivkala, California — Services at Temple Beth Bayit were interrupted last Saturday when police raided the sanctuary and arrested the rabbi. The bar mitzvah that morning was interrupted at 12:10 p.m., though some congregants noted it would have still been morning if the sermon were shorter and the parents had told just a bit less of the boy’s entire life story. Thus, when the potato kugel was just seven minutes from optimal serving temperature, three oﬃcers rushed down the aisle right after the rabbi handed the boy a ﬁlled Kiddush cup. Beth Bayit’s longtime rabbi, Robert Rosen-Rosen, was taken into Never custody charged with contributing underestimate the to the delinquency of a minor by providing him with alcohol. The arpower of a glass of resting oﬃcers were optimistic that Manischewitz the charge would stick because of the quantity of witnesses. Trying to dismiss the issue, the rabbi told oﬃcers that he had been doing this for years, leading oﬃcers to consider adding counts to the charge for every bar or bat mitzvah that Rosen-Rosen had oﬃciated since arriving in Santa Rivkala. They believed the statute of limitations would not apply because Jews do not worship idols. The bar mitzvah boy — whose name is being withheld since he is a minor — did not consider it a big deal. Several congregants agreed, including the sixth grade religious school teacher who, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the boy had been a delinquent for years. Upon the rabbi’s arrest, synagogue board members gathered for an emergency session to discuss whether to express their support of the rabbi to the arresting oﬃcers. However, as the board continued to debate about whether they could actually hold an emergency session on the Sabbath, the oﬃcers and rabbi had already left. That debate itself was delayed until four board members arrived for the Kiddush because less than a quorum of the board was present at services. Rabbi Rosen-Rosen has been a mainstay of the Santa Rivkala Jewish community for over three decades. Robert Rosen ﬁrst arrived fresh out of the Seminary, and soon met his bride, local sweetheart Rebecca Rosen (no prior relation), who insisted from birth that she would only marry a man who would agree to hyphenate their last name, no matter what. Within hours, thanks in part to the rabbi’s years of work for the community, and in part to the number of congregants lined up outside the precinct door to serve as his legal counsel, the charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor was dropped. However, after sampling the evidence and experiencing the typical gustatory devastation, the district attorney decided to ﬁle a new charge related to serving Manischewitz: Child endangerment. However, the new charge was even more short-lived. A deputy district attorney advised the D.A. that he was given Manischewitz by
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Published on Jun 30, 2013