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Southern Jewish Life INSIDE:



July 2017

Volume 27 Issue 7

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002

2 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

shalom y’all shalom y’all shalom y’all We’re working on the finishing touches of our long-anticipated first-ever community guidebook — and now we have an addition to it. In cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, our community guide will be two publications. The guide will be our listng of everywhere there is or has been a Jewish community in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, what to see in each community, what congregations and institutions exist, and so forth. There will also be historical sites. For example, the previous site of Beth Israel in New Orleans — not just the building in Lakeview that was flooded after Katrina, but the older building on Carondelet, and the Menorah Institute building around the corner. This guide will also serve as a travelogue for anyone hitting the road in the region and wants to know “What’s Jewish in…” or sees a building and wonders “what’s that?” The second component is working with the Federation’s Newcomers program to produce the official Jewish Newcomers Guide to New Orleans. Using and building upon the information in the Guidebook, this smaller publication will help newcomers get acclimated, will be available at all of the local institutions, and also be at Hillel and other spots in the area to assist parents of Jewish students at Tulane. We’re looking forward to having these finished in the coming days. Naturally, any business that wants to be included should call us as soon as possible for advertising information — one call gets into both versions. The Southern Jewish Life Guidebooks — coming soon!

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July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 3

July 2017 June 2017


Southern Jewish Life

Southern Jewish Life receives NOLA, AJPA awards Southern Jewish Life is being recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans and the American Jewish Press Association at their respective awards ceremonies. Southern Jewish Life was named a finalist in the Excellence in Journalism Awards given by the Press Club of New Orleans. The top three in each category are announced at the annual meeting in June, and then the order of recognition is announced at the Press Club gala, July 8. “A Jewish Take on Easter’s Date,” about why the Jewish community should care about a proposal to standardize the date of Easter, is the piece being recognized. Other finalists are Sean Brennan of The Maroon for “Sanctuary Campuses: Where Do We Draw The Line” and Errol Laborde of New Orleans Magazine for “The T-P and The Advocate.” The Simon Rockower Awards are presented by the American Jewish Press Association and are the highest honor in Jewish journalism. Southern Jewish Life received second place

in Journalistic Excellence in American Jewish History for “Tennessee man is first U.S. soldier named Righteous Among the Nations,” about Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, whose quick actions are credited with saving the lives of hundreds of American Jewish soldiers in a Nazi prisoner of war camp. The judge for the category commented that it was “an utterly incredible story. If not for the approval of Yad Vashem, I wouldn’t believe it, it’s too much like a movie. A riveting read, that stays with you for a long time.” First place went to The Jewish Standard of Teaneck, N.J., for “Maxwell’s Golden Hagaddah.” The Rockowers are presented at the AJPA annual conference, which is held in November in Los Angeles, in conjunction with the Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly. This is the second year in a row that Southern Jewish Life has been recognized by both organizations, and the magazine has now received 15 Rockowers.

New Orleans emergency personnel heading to Israel A delegation of 10 medical and emergency response officials from New Orleans will travel to Israel next month for a New Orleans Emergency Medical Services trip. The week-long itinerary is a followup to NIPERM, the New Orleans/Israel Partnership on Emergency Response and Medicine held in New Orleans in December 2013. The goal of NIPERM was to enhance the ability of New Orleans responders and medical professionals to deal with crisis situations.


Right initial, wrong name I feel that I must correct you on one name. You did it before but I decided that someone in Birmingham would correct you, but they didn’t. The name of Rabbi Newfield was Morris Newfield. His son was Mayer Newfield. Morris’ wife and my grandfather were sister and brother. I enjoy your magazine very much. Babette Wampold Montgomery Editor’s response: Yes, that is correct — Rabbi Morris Newfield was the rabbi at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El from 1895 until his death in 1940. That was a bit before my time, but I did know Mayer Newfield (and have some file photos of him at the Ullman Museum in Birmingham, Rabbi Newfield’s wife’s family, as you mentioned). Thanks for the reminder, and we will endeavor to keep things straight! 4 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

The trip is coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans with the Jewish Agency and under the auspices of Partnership2Gether, which pairs New Orleans with sister community Rosh Ha’Ayin. A preliminary itinerary includes a welcome event in Rosh Ha’Ayin, a day at Sheba Medical Center, a day with Magen David Adom and its preparedness programs, a day of ride-alongs on MDA ambulances, a mass casualty drill at Carmel Hospital in Haifa, visits to Sderot near the Gaza border, and an Israel Defense Forces Medical Corps training base. Benjamin Swig is coordinating much of the agenda. He is the co-founder of Ready Responders, a New Orleans medical startup. Before moving back to New Orleans, he worked for the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service, supporting training, readiness and response operations for the uniformed service. Among the participants is Jeffrey Elder, the director and medical director for New Orleans Emergency Medical Services. He is medical director of the New Orleans Fire Department and for the Orleans Parish Communications District (911). He serves as the chief medical officer for the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and is a police surgeon for the New Orleans Police Department. As director and medical director, Elder manages approximately 150 EMTs and Paramedics that are employed by New Orleans EMS. He is actively involved in direction of all prehospital medical policies in the City of New Orleans as well as regional EMS protocols.

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Eugene Walter Katz PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Nathan Klein, Tally Werthan, Bebe Hudson, Belle Freitag, Claire Yates, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events

The New Orleans Community Mega-Mission to Israel in June stopped in Rosh Ha’Ayin for a celebration

New Orleans Jewish Community weighs in on Western Wall controversy The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and area congregations “representing all of Judaism’s religious streams” sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

urging him to “grasp upon your inherent role as sideration by the Knesset. ambassador for all the Jewish people and both The June 28 letter was signed by officers and reinstate the Kotel agreement and seek the de- professionals from the Federation, as well as feat of the conversion bill currently under con- representatives of Reform congregations Gates of Prayer, Temple Sinai and Touro Symagogue; Conservative congregation Shir Chadash; and Orthodox congregation Beth Israel, along with pants in a 79-person New Orleans mega-mis- Rabbi Yonah Schiller of Tulane Hillel. sion to Israel, coordinated by the Federation, Two recent decisions in Israel have provoked returned to the city. ire among Jews in North America. First. the Weil arrived in New Orleans in October 2006, government decided not to implement a painsone year after the levees broke and flooded the takingly-negotiated agreement that would set city. An economist by training, most of Weil’s aside a section at the Western Wall for egalitarcareer centered around strategic development, ian services, away from the current men’s and renewal and urban planning. women’s sections. Some in the Orthodox world In late 2006, the New Orleans Jewish commu- see that as granting legitimacy to the Conservanity, which had numbered 9500 and was slowly tive and Reform movements. falling before Hurricane Katrina, bottomed out The other proposal is to make the increasingat about 6,500 returnees. At the time, the ques- ly-stringent Chief Rabbinate in charge of all contion was whether to downsize the infrastructure versions in Israel, making it especially difficult that had served a community of 10,000, or try to for hundreds of thousands from the former Sorebuild the community’s numbers. viet Union whose Jewish status is questionable, With national organizations assisting, the or who weren’t Jewish to begin with but would doors remained open at all of the community’s like to convert. In recent months, the Chief Rabinstitutions, and today the community numbers binate has called into question even Orthodox over 11,000. conversions done in the United States. That pro-

Sherri Tarr becomes interim Federation director The transition has begun at the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. In a June 15 statement, Federation President Eddie Soll and incoming President Henry Miller announced that Executive Director Michael Weil “is now on a leave of absence.” Sherri Tarr, who has been assistant executive director, became the acting executive director. Weil has since resigned. On May 17, the Federation announced the hiring of Arnie Fielkow as the new chief executive officer of the Federation. The June 15 statement said Fielkow will start on Aug. 15, as previously announced. Tarr will be acting executive director until then. In December 2015, Weil had announced his retirement and return to Israel, effective at the end of the current Federation executive term in September 2017. The announcement came just after partici-

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5



posal has since been shelved for six months in the Knesset. “The survival of the Jewish people rests on our united and shared commitment to one another,” the letter states. “That unity is severely tested by this affront to religious pluralism that will have an immeasurably destructive impact on all of world Jewry.” Ultra-Orthodox parties, which hold the balance of power in the Knesset, are pushing for the cancellation of the Kotel agreement and for consolidating conversion under the rabbinate, and are using these as a threat to topple Netanyahu’s government. The letter mentions the “political dynamics” of the situation but “we do respectfully advocate for the position that these issues must rise above coalition politics.”

ROAR activists ready to be heard The National Council of Jewish Women’s New Orleans Section and the Jewish Organizing Institute and Network (JOIN for Justice) partnered on a community organizing training, ROAR! A Jewish Leadership Training for Resistance, Organizing, Action and Resilience, to build capacity in the community to make a meaningful impact. The day-long training session was held on June 11. Similar workshops have been held in 11 states since February, and sessions will be held in Charlotte and Durham, N.C., on July 23 and 24. “Our partnership with JOIN for Justice to train our grassroots in community organizing is a centerpiece of our civic engagement priority initiative,” said NCJW Chief Executive Officer Nancy K. Kaufman. “Our goal is to build power through numbers and engagement in local communities in order to advance social and economic justice for women, children and families. We are particularly focused on voter education and turn-out in anticipation of the mid-term elections in 2018.” The workshop featured trainers Liora O’Donnell Goldensher and Sophia Lanza-Weil. Goldensher currently organizes with her campus’s graduate student union campaign at Princeton University, where she is a graduate student in sociology and interdisciplinary humanities and works as a graduate teaching fellow. Lanza-Weil has organized across the United States over the last 15 years, working with unions, interfaith networks, Jewish organizations and grassroots organizing projects. According to NCJW State Policy Advocate and training organizer Maddie Fireman, the ROAR! training explored campaign development and the cycle of campaigns that build power and have the greatest possible impact. “We learned how to work across lines of difference, how to find strength and resilience to fight for justice long-term, and how Jewish wisdom can guide, inspire, and ground us in this moment,” Fireman said. “This opportunity to build our skills helps to channel the energy that people all over the country are feeling into tangible acts and campaigns that will make a difference in our community.” 6 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017


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agenda Guest scholars at Beth Israel Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Shabbat with guest scholars Rabbi Mikey Stein and Shevy Baskin on July 14. Stein teaches Limudei Kodesh at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School in New York City. He received his rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and holds a Masters in American Studies from Columbia University. Baskin earned her M.A in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and is the audience development manager for 70 Faces Media, the most diverse Jewish digital media organization in North America. There will be a dinner following the 7 p.m. service. Reservations are $18 for members, $9 for children; $25 and $18 respectively for non-members. Children 5 and under are free. Kim Sport will be the Hannah G. Solomon Award honoree at the National Council of Jewish Women New Orleans Section’s award luncheon, Oct. 16 at the New Orleans Marriott. The award is presented to a member who brings about social change through volunteer leadership. Having retired as executive counsel to the Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, Sport volunteers her legal and other services to numerous non-profits, raising many millions of dollars. The Where Y’At Best of the Big Easy readers’ poll selected the New Orleans Jewish Community Center as best athletic club, for the fourth year in a row. The Temple Sinai Sisterhood in New Orleans is accepting items for its annual Attic Sale, which will be held on Aug. 20 and 21. Donations will be accepted until August 17. Accepted items include, but are not limited to, gently worn clothing, small furniture and kitchenware. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge is having Havdalah and a Movie at 7 p.m. on July 15. More details were not available at press time. AVODAH is moving to a new house in New Orleans, and needs help to furnish their new residence. The organization is in need of gently-used sofas, chairs, tables, dressers, lamps, curtains, nightstands, bookshelves, and outdoor patio furniture. For purposes of kashrut, AVODAH can also accept pots, pans and utensils that are 100 percent metal, as well as all glassware. They are also accepting household appliances from kosher homes in good working order. Those with items to donate, or who want to help AVODAH pack and move, contact Fran Lake at (504) 866-4378. Shir Chadash will be holding its Nearly New Sale in Metairie on July 9 to 11. The temporary second-hand store offers a wide variety of items including fashions for the entire family, housewares, furniture, art, books, toys and more. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with additional hours from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 10. A half-price sale will be July 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the final clearance on July 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. The sale benefits spiritual, educational and festive programs at Shir Chadash. Unsold items are donated to Bridge House and Jefferson Parish Friends of the Library to further benefit local nonprofits. On July 21, Temple Sinai will have a Shabbat service in honor of Rabbi Matthew Reiner’s first anniversary with the congregation. Temple Sinai is hosting the New Orleans Joint Reform Summer Services for July, at 6:15 p.m. Fridays and 10:15 a.m. Saturdays. The next Morris Bart Sr. Lecture at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will feature Casey Love of Tulane University, presenting “Immigrants in America: Myths, Realities and Prospects for Policy Reform,” Aug. 14 at 11:45 a.m. Lunch is available with reservations by Aug. 10. There is no charge for members, non-members are $10. 8 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017


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Siroty in Alexandria as Gemiluth Chassodim’s new rabbi — and cantor While many smaller Jewish communities aren’t able to support both a rabbi and a cantor, Alexandria’s Gemiluth Chassodim is getting both — in one individual. Rabbi Raina Siroty was ordained as a cantor before going back to school to become a rabbi as well. She begins at the central Louisiana congregation this month. Though raised in Los Angeles, Siroty was actually born in Georgia, where her father was working for the Allman Brothers band. One of her earliest memories is leading the blessings over challah and grape juice at Sunday School at age four. While she enjoyed Sunday School, after two years she would have to drop out as her then-single mother could not afford dues. “For years to come, I would watch my friends who had the privilege of attending religious school, hoping one day to join them,” she said. She studied voice at Indiana University, and one Shabbat before her first High Holy Days there, she decided to walk into Hillel. “I felt at home and formed many long-lasting relationships that night as I spent the most wonderful evening, in prayer and song in celebration of Shabbat.” The spark had been re-kindled. “Hillel was transformative in showing me the real tenets of Judaism, and being surrounded by people celebrating Shabbat,” she said. But she didn’t know Hebrew. That summer, she learned the language and then “secretly” had her Bat Mitzvah during a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah. “It was then I first dreamed of becoming a member of the clergy.” A Birthright trip made that desire even stronger, and she began to research her three-times-great-uncle, Hazzan Gershon Sirota, known as the “Jewish Caruso” and one of the leading cantors in Europe’s “golden age” of hazzanut. He died at age 69 in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. “It was through learning about his life that my passion for singing, my love of Judaism and God, and a legacy to honor and continue the life’s work of Gershon Sirota had all come together,” she said. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in voice performance with highest honors from the University of California in Santa Barbara, then enrolled in the cantorial program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, becoming ordained in 2010. From 2010 to 2012 she served as cantor of Shomer Emunim in Toledo, Ohio. When the rabbi was away, she was the sole clergy, and during one such time the child of a congregant died. She noted it was “a tragic and

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difficult time for the most seasoned professional,” and she felt inadequately trained to handle it. “I realized I wanted to be able to help the Jewish community in all areas — in pastoral care, being able to help them with all life cycle events, and really be a more well-rounded clergy person,” she said, so in 2012 she headed back to HUC to become a rabbi, and was ordained in May. “With the role of clergy forever evolving to fill the needs of our congregations in today’s financial climate, there are so many smaller congregations who could barely afford a rabbi, let alone a rabbi and a cantor,” she said. “My goal is to serve a congregation and preserve Judaism at this fundamental level. I can do this best as a Rabbi and a Cantor.” While attending rabbinical school, Siroty interned as a chaplain at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, served Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, Calif. as a rabbinic intern and as an auxiliary cantor at Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles. She served as cantor last year for the High Holy Days at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge. “I’d never been to Louisiana and really felt the people and the community were really kind and nice, and extremely knowledgeable,” she said. It was “really a beautiful service, and the congregation was very participatory.” She said the participation was “exciting to see, that they take ownership and interest in their Jewish identity.” That level of participation is often missing in congregations, she added. Also furthering her Southern journey was a class she took with Gary Zola, executive director of the American Jewish Archives, when he was on sabbatical at the College of Charleston. The course, on Southern Jewish history, fascinated Siroty, from the influence Southern Jews had on their communities to the number of multi-generational families that have remained in their communities. “I look forward to being with all the generations,” she said, and “being able to make a positive impact on the Jewish community in Alexandria and the city as well.”

Rescheduled “Behind Enemy Lines” announced The talk by 97-year-old Marthe Cohn, “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany” in Baton Rouge, which was postponed on May 10, has been rescheduled for Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at Lod Cook Alumni Center. During World War II, Cohn posed as a Christian nurse looking for a missing fiance, while she was really spying on the Germans for the Allies. The evening is presented by Chabad of Baton Rouge, and tickets are available on the Chabad website.

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In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, a national program of solidarity was held on June 7 involving state governments across the United States. As part of the festivities, “50 Years, 50 States, 2 Capitals” was streamed from the U.S. Congress and the Knesset, with events organized in every state. In Louisiana, several lawmakers gathered at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge for a ceremony and viewing of the simulcast. Just before the ceremony, a resolution of solidarity with Israel and marking the anniversary of Jerusalem was read by Rep. Valarie Hodges on the House floor and Senator Rick Ward III in the Senate. The simulcast included video remarks from five U.S. governors, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Rick Scott of Florida. A ceremony was also held in Montgomery as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a proclamation, surrounded by representatives of the Christian and Jewish communities. The simulcast featured remarks by Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in Washington, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein in Jerusalem. In Baton Rouge, the event was coordinated with the Israeli Consulate in Houston. Political Affairs Officer Nadine Boakye was present for the ceremony. Ward said reading the resolution on the floor of the Senate was “one of the most humbling things I’ve done.” Sen. Rick Ward III reads the Jerusalem The Louisiana resolution resolution on the floor of the Louisiana was “to commend the state Senate on June 7 of Israel, commemorate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of the city of Jerusalem, and designate June 7, 2017 as Jerusalem Day” in Louisiana. Both versions referred to Gen. 12:3, the divine promise to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.

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July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 11


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The House resolution noted that “the Christian religion owes its beginnings to the Jewish religion, because the founder of Christianity is the prominent Jewish Rabbi Jesus Christ.” At the commemoration following the readings, Rabbi Jordan Goldson of B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge called the reunification of Jerusalem “one of the most momentous events in Jewish history,” and said that there is no other place on the planet where a people has a “longer, stronger and deeper connection to the land” than the Jewish connection to Jerusalem and Israel. He reacted to the Washing- Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant ton Post’s coverage of the an- gives video tribute to Jerusalem as niversary under the headline part of national simulcast of “Occupied: Year 50” with Netanyahu’s quote, “50 years ago we didn’t occupy Jerusalem. We liberated it.” Commissioner Jay Dardenne, one of only four Jewish Senators in Louisiana history, noted how the anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification was the day after D-Day, which was June 6. That day, Americans began to “put an end to the greatest nightmare in world history.” He said the proximity “of those two days should not be lost on us.” Hodges spoke of how the roots of Christianity are in Israel and the Jewish people, and also emphasized how Israel is at the forefront of equality for women. She added that “I would like to see Louisiana do a lot more trade with Israel… and we need to work on this.” Rev. Gene Mills from the Louisiana Family Forum said the Christian community prays for the peace of Jerusalem, and said he believes the current administration will affirm Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “in the near future.” The Alabama ceremony included John Buhler and Laura King, representatives from the Alabama-Israel Task Force. King is past president of the Jewish Federation of Huntsville and North Alabama, and past national chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Network of small communities. Tzlil McDonald represented the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama. Pastor Bob Somerville of Huntsville and Pastor Lyndon Allen, regional director of Christians United For Israel, also attended, as did Jahan Berns on behalf of the Birmingham Jewish Federation. Ivey was presented with a thank-you poster of Jerusalem’s city seal, signed by students at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School in Birmingham. The Alabama proclamation noted how the state was the first to call for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, in 1943. It declared June 7 as the “50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem Day” in Alabama. In his message, Bryant noted that he has been to Israel three times, having led trade missions from Mississippi each of the last three years. He saw “the care and concern of the people of Jerusalem, and how they reach out to all who visit.” Bryant concluded, “Let’s make sure it is another 50 years, another 100, another 1000 years that Jerusalem stands as a beacon of hope to all the world.” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also was on the video, stating that “Jerusalem remains the eternal capital of the Jewish people” and signed a 50th anniversary proclamation. Hutchinson traveled to Israel in late June.


Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience planning rebirth in New Orleans The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which closed its location on the campus of Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica six years ago, is closer to having a new home. On July 28, Rusty Palmer, vice chair of the museum task force, will speak at Temple Sinai in New Orleans about plans for the new museum, which will be locatThe former Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience in Utica ed in New Orleans. The service is being billed as a way to “be fine arts center. Jay Tanenbaum, who chaired among the first to hear details” about the new ISJL for seven years and now is in charge of the location, and to give input about the museum. museum task force, said they agreed, and the The museum evolved from necessity. Shortly museum had never been that successful because after Jacobs Camp opened, Anshe Chesed in of its location so far off the beaten path, in a Vicksburg was downsizing into a new building, camp facility where access was difficult. The museum was “put into mothballs” until and offered its old ark to the camp before the a new location could be secured, Tanenbaum old building was demolished. Other artifacts from congregations in the re- said. After a few years of exploration, New Orgion that were closing or downsizing soon fol- leans emerged as the leading candidate, and the lowed, and in the 1980s, Camp Director Macy task force has met with a wide range of civic and Hart started working on a place to house all Jewish community leaders. They have also met with possible donors, and of the Judaica, leading to the formation of the “the reception we’ve received has been very famuseum. The Vicksburg ark and pulpit items from vorable.” Though plans are progressing, such items as other congregations were housed in the central room, which became the camp’s space for Shab- a location, capital campaign goal and timetable have yet to be worked out. Much more inforbat services. In 1989, the museum started working with mation will be forthcoming in the next couple photographer Bill Aron on a series of road trips of months, Tanenbaum said, but being invited to document the Jewish South, first in Missis- to speak at Sinai to the three Reform congregasippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and west Tennessee. tions in one setting was an opportunity not to Alabama and South Carolina were added in pass up. For design and storytelling, the museum is later phases. Aron’s “Shalom Y’all: Images of Jewish Life in consulting with Patrick Gallagher of Gallagher the American South” became a large part of the and Associates in Washington. Among his premuseum’s displays, and also became a traveling vious projects are the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, the College Football exhibition. “Alsace to America: Discovering a Southern Hall of Fame in Atlanta, the National Museum Jewish Heritage” opened in Jackson in 1998, of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, then became part of MSJE’s main exhibition. A and the Grammy Museum in Cleveland, Miss. Gallagher grew up Catholic in Chicago but version is now at Temple B’nai Israel in Natchez, converted to Judaism 30 years ago. That story which is a satellite location for the museum. In 2000, the museum gave birth to a larger flavored his work with The Museum of the Jeworganization, the Goldring/Woldenberg Insti- ish People at Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv. The new museum will maintain an affiliation tute of Southern Jewish Life. Hart soon left as camp director to lead the new organization in with ISJL, but will be a separate entity. “We’re really excited about this,” Tanenbaum Jackson, and the museum became part of the said, noting that New Orleans has 10 million institute. Around 2010, camp leadership met with the tourists annually. The July 28 service will be at 6:15 p.m. ISJL to see about having the building for a camp

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 13

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14 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

A documentary about an unusual musical connection between New Orleans and Israel will have its U.S. television debut this month on Public Television’s POV documentary series. For years, Samantha Montgomery has worked in a New Orleans retirement facility, performing as Princess Shaw whenever she is given the opportunity to sing. A YouTube channel is her main creative outlet, where she posts new songs and musings about life. “Presenting Princess Shaw” is the story of how Ophir Kutiel, an Israeli musician known as Kutiman, found one of her videos and turned it into an Internet sensation, making her famous before she even knew about it. Directed by noted Israeli filmmaker Ido Haar, the film debuted in May 2016 and won Best Documentary at the Israeli Academy Awards last fall. Kutiman is a musical prodigy living on a kibbutz in southern Israel. In 2009, he debuted “Thru You,” where he finds audio and video clips online and treats each as an instrument in a larger, cohesive work. Haar said he has known Kutiman for many years, and Liran Atzmor suggested that Haar do a documentary about the first “Thru You” video mashup project. “When I saw it I was really amazed but it was too late,” he said. “Thru You” has received over 11 million hits. When Kutiman started the next project, “Thru You Too,” involving Montgomery, “I started to play with the idea of making a documentary about musicians and singers from all over the world that discover they are part of this project,” Haar said He got in touch with Montgomery through Facebook. Montgomery said when she got the message “I was depressed and down” and figured it wouldn’t hurt to respond. “You can’t go no further” down, she figured.

Haar flew to New Orleans to meet her in a hotel lobby, which she found “emotional — someone thought I was important enough to come all the way from Israel to meet me.” “Almost right away we felt comfortable with each other,” Haar said. Montgomery said Haar was genuine, so she was going to be open and genuine with him, including mention of her struggles with a history of physical and sexual abuse as a child, by a boyfriend of her mother. At first, Haar’s project was to include several of the musicians, but after filming in London and Washington, he returned to New Orleans and felt that Montgomery would be the story. Over a nine-month period, Haar visited New Orleans several times, filming her disappointing audition for “The Voice,” following her to Atlanta, visiting the facility where she works. Meanwhile, Kutiman was in Israel, taking Montgomery’s “Give It Up” a capella video, which had a few dozen views by then, and using it as the base of a video jigsaw puzzle, with sound samples and video clips of musicians from around the world. By now, the mashup video has received over 3 million views. A Chicago native, Montgomery said she “didn’t want to be the kind of person to stay where I’m from.” She moved to Indianapolis with her mother and younger brother to escape gang violence, after her brother had been targeted to join a gang. She spent two years in San Diego, then went back to Indiana where she shattered an ankle and had to learn how to walk all over again. In 2005, she went with a girlfriend to New Orleans for a couple of weeks, then a month later returned for good. “I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “I love it. This is my city.” Arriving for good just after Katrina, “there was still devastation. There weren’t any street



signs, not many stores were open,” she observed, “but you could still feel the resilience in the air.” Even when in Chicago she was a songwriter, “but I didn’t have the confidence in myself ” and was very shy. In church, she would sing but hide behind people. It wasn’t until she got to New Orleans that she found herself, and with her bright red hair and there-are-no-strangers outgoing personality she is hard to overlook. In 2012, she got braces because she had long been self-conscious about her teeth. Then, while singing in the shower one day, she tested her voice, then suddenly hit some notes she did not realize she had inside. Her new voice was “comfortable,” and she started her YouTube channel. At 3 or 4 in the morning, she would wake up and record songs, including the one that caught Kutiman’s attention. Montgomery and Haar were in Atlanta the day Kutiman uploaded his version of “Give It Up.” Haar wanted to capture genuine surprise when Montgomery discovered that her song not only had been reworked, but was going viral. It took a lot of effort to get that shot. Montgomery explained that she had been having trouble with her phone. Shortly after someone messaged her that they loved her voice, she got a notification that Kutiman had remade her song, but she didn’t think much of it because “a lot of people would remake my songs.” She tried to view it, but her phone wouldn’t load it. “Every time she took out her cell phone I’m there with the camera,” Haar said. He explained it away, that he needed atmosphere footage. “Like a fisherman, I was sitting there silently, waiting. It was a big gamble.” Finally the third notification spoke of a coming “Kutiman storm,” that her song was going viral. “Are you serious?” she thought, then viewed it. “It was so beautiful,” and she had wanted someone to do something with the song. Haar recalled, “I was so moved, and it was also a relief for me that I managed to catch this moment.” But Montgomery still did not make the connection between Haar and Kutiman. “He sent me a clipping from the New York Times” about Kutiman’s project, “and I still didn’t put it together” that Haar had known this was coming. It also was a while before she realized the scope of the project. At first she thought the film about YouTubers was just going to be on YouTube. She never considered it would be a full-length documentary in theaters. After the video took off, the next step was for Montgomery to visit Israel, meet Kutiman and perform to packed houses. For the first time, she needed a passport. She also had to overcome skeptics at home. “People said they’re going to cut your head off, or sell you to the sex trade,” she said. During her first visit to Israel, she found that Kutiman “is hilarious” and a genuine person, she said. “All we do is laugh.” “He’s not big-headed,” she added. “He wears normal stuff, hangs out. They all are, and that’s why I love them so much.” The friends she has made in Tel Aviv “are like family to me. I trust them with my life.” “I love Israel. It’s my second home,” she said. And it is one she visits often, having gone six times since odyssey began. Don’t be surprised to see her on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv, marveling at the outdoor culture and going into too many shoe shops. One difference she sensed is that “In the states, you feel more of a racial thing. In Israel, I don’t. Everyone is just there having a good time.” Twice, she also went to Jerusalem. “I don’t even know what to say,” she observed. “You can’t explain the beauty on film or video. You have to see it.” In October 2016, she and Kutiman performed at the Tamar Festival by the Dead Sea. She “just sat” on the tour bus, enjoying it and being








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July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 15


BSC is proud to co-host the

2017 JCC Maccabi Games and welcome athletes to compete on campus.

“there in the moment.” After endless landscapes of rock, there was a huge stadium. “It was so awesome to get on that stage. You could feel the energy.” But crowd size doesn’t matter, she said, as long as there is energy. “I’ve had shows with five people and it’s the energy of 5,000.” One scene in the film shows her performing to an audience of four in a New Orleans club. “I didn’t care. I was there to sing.” She saw the film for the first time at the premiere in Toronto, sitting next to Haar. “It was hard to look” at the parts about her childhood, she said. “I don’t like to relive stuff like that,” and has seen the film just twice. Haar said Montgomery was okay with including those moments in the film. He said Montgomery and her mother “have this courage to confront the past and are managing to heal their connection by talking about it.” “It’s what happened to me,” she said. At the end of the film’s premiere, “everyone stood up and started clapping,” much to her relief and amazement. “Presenting Princess Shaw” has been in numerous film festivals, including the Houston Jewish Film Festival, limited theatrical release and on numerous national television stations, from NHK World TV in Japan to the Canadian Broadcasting Company. She has also been interviewed on numerous shows, including in Chicago, and on a parody of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Israeli television. Last fall, Netflix purchased streaming rights to the documentary, and it is also available on DVD. It won Best Documentary at the Ophir Awards, referred to as Israel’s Academy Awards, and was nominated for a 2017 Critics Choice Award for best music documentary. In otherwise positive reviews, Haar has been slammed by some film critics for keeping Montgomery in the dark about the true nature of the

Photo courtesy Magnolia Pictures

Kutiman 16 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

Where and When to View: Alabama Public Television July 19, midnight, 3 a.m.; July 24, 2 a.m. WSRE-TV, Pensacola July 19, 3 a.m.; July 23, 11:30 p.m.; July 24, 2 a.m. WYES-TV, New Orleans July 17, 9 p.m.; July 19, 3 a.m.; July 20, 10 p.m.; July 24, 2 a.m. Louisiana Public Broadcasting July 18, 10 p.m.; July 19, 3 a.m.; July 24, 2 a.m. Mississippi Public Broadcasting July 19, 3 a.m.; July 23, 11 p.m.; July 24, 2 a.m. film. She shrugs it off, saying it was best that she did not know what Kutiman was doing behind the scenes. “It wouldn’t have been genuine” if she knew. “In this lifetime, why not look for the positive,” she asks. To the critics, she says “if I’m not upset about it, why are you?” After the film came out, “a lot of people say I inspired them,” Montgomery said. “They have no idea how much they inspire me also.” She recently acquired a manager and now has a promotional video. “All I want to do is get on the stage and sing, drink bourbon.” She also is more aware of the “cutthroat” nature of the music business, having helped others online only to find that they have taken her musical hooks and abused her kindness. “That’s my blood, sweat and tears,” she said. “It came from my soul,” and she is more cautious about sharing. She and Kutiman collaborated on a forthcoming album, doing 13 songs in three studio days during a 10-day visit to Israel. The first single, “Stay Here,” was released in March 2016 and has almost 225,000 views on YouTube. While some have called the film a modern-day Cinderella story, the happily ever after part is still in the works. Music doesn’t pay the bills, so Montgomery still has her day job, though at a different facility than when the filming was done. But she is patient. “I live in reality,” she explained. “Everything doesn’t work out the way we dream,” so she says she needs to rely on her current job. She reflected that sense of reality in a lengthy piece on Israel’s Channel 2, when she was asked if she wants the Hollywood ending of being a superstar. “I don’t live in Hollywood,” she said. “I live in New Orleans.” She has done a number of performances around the world to publicize the film but is still looking for opportunities in New Orleans. On July 9, she is performing in New Orleans at the Peace in the Streets festival. No matter how things turn out, she said “I’m blessed by it all.”



Inspiring Academics Jewish Values Community

2016-17 Table of Contents

Inspired by Patti Arnold Samuels, z”l


Pg. 2

Head of School Report

Pg. 3


Pgs. 4-5

Board Leadership Reports

Pgs. 6-7

Thank You to JCDS Supporters

Pgs. 8-9

Our Year In Pictures

Pgs. 10 -11

2016/17 Highlights

Pg. 11

Young Baby Program

Pgs. 12-13


Pg. 14

Special Thanks July July2017 2017• •Southern SouthernJewish JewishLife Life 17 17

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 19

Dr. Michael Wasserman Board President Report

JCDS has concluded a remarkable year. The students have thrived in this terrific environment. There has been intellectual development, inspired curiosity, collaborative work, and student body projects. And the direction has been set by our strong faculty and engaged parents. Here one can see the summation of our organization’s efforts. There is much to be recognized that makes JCDS grow and succeed. The school administration, led by our wonderful Head of School, Dr. Sharon Pollin, continues to challenge and innovate. As President of the Board, I am surrounded by an engaged group of community members. Our board is fabulous, attending meetings and events, providing feedback, and donating funds generously. Due in large part to their help, the annual campaign for JCDS is at an all-time high! I thank everyone involved: the parents who entrust their children to us, the faculty and administration who give of their hearts and minds, and the many volunteers. Our JCDS community is fabulous.

Carole Neff

Development Committee Report It has been an honor working alongside this outstanding committee and I am thrilled to report our 2016/17 successes. Our development team, with support from development coach, Pearl Kane, worked diligently to achieve the ambitious annual campaign goal of $230,000. Armed with a passion for JCDS and many wonderful school highlights to share , the team worked to cultivate, solicit and steward current -- and new -- friends of JCDS. We not only met but surpassed our goal. We are so proud to report this was our highest fundraising year to date! 2016/17 Top Fundraising Achievements Greenvelope: Our new web-based evite Annual Gala Event: Chaired by Barbara program expanded our community reach. This Kaplinsky and honoring Lis and Hugo Kahn. This year JCDS sent greeting cards, invitations and fabulously successsful evening resulted in a record number of guests, raising more than ever reminders to hundreds of friends. before. Donors: Donor pool grew by 10% over 2015/16 GiveNOLA: Our best yet with a $10,000 match with 74 new donors and 20 returning donors. from two anonymous donors. We are so grateful to our generous supporters and thankful for the work of our board of directors and committee members. We are committed to cultivating and stewarding our friends of JCDS to ensure this community gem thrives. We at JCDS want to know each and every one of our supporters, and want you to know us! We encourage you to take a tour, visit us and get involved! We will continue to report all of the school happenings and welcome your suggestions and feedback. 2013 Community Day School welcomes Sharon Pollin, Head of School


2013 Congratulations to first CDS college graduates!

2013 Twinning with Nofim School in sister city in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel

2014 School’s name changed to Jewish Community Day School to re-align our name with our mission

Alexander “Sandy” Cohen Treasurer Report

JCDS had a fantastic 2016/17 year. Thanks to our wonderful families and generous community supporters, we were able to make new investments in faculty and staff, physical plant, and professional development. I would like to share just a few examples: This was our first of two years participating in Atidenu, the Recruitment and Retention Academy, sponsored by Prizmah, the International Center for Jewish Day Schools. Our first year included visits to New Orleans from incredible expert consultants, participation by JCDS leadership in valuable conferences, community and parent focus groups; the results are visible in our banner Pre-K/K enrollment for 2017/18. In August 2017, we will be welcoming a Pre-K/K class that exceeds last year’s size by 50%. Through generous grants from the the Berenson family, Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, we are reimagining our treasured Berenson Library as we transform it into a 21st Century Learning Lab. Envision The Berenson Learning Lab at JCDS: complete with engaging common spaces that ignite student-centered inquiry-learning, cozy reading and collaborative work spaces, technologies for research and development, and STEM materials for hands-on discovery. We invite you to visit this special community resource. We are delighted to welcome our new Business Manager, Ms. Janna Jackson, to JCDS. Supported by a generous grant from JFGNO, Janna brings strong organizational and accounting skills as well as a background in primary education administration. She looks forward to greeting you as a member of the JCDS team. With your support, we embark on 2017/18 with great optimism for continued success and community strength. Local & National Grants JFGNO Allocations 10% Tuition 42%



2016/17 Revenue

2014 -Kashrut Kitchen opens -JCDS plants Organic Garden -First Living Green Family Fun Fest


Occupancy Administration 7% 6% Marketing & 3% Development

Annual Campaign

2016/17 Expenses

2014 Acceptance to PEJE Governance and Fundraising Academy

84% Academics & Faculty

2015 Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust generously funds Head of School Chair

2015 ‘We Believe’ campaign created and implemented by Barbara Kaplinsky; fundraising reaches new heights

July 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 23

2 0 Inspiring Acade 1 6 / Jewish Values 1 7 Community




ke 2

Blue Dragon

As swift as a river blue She glides in the center of my mind Where she can swim freely. As lonely as a caiman Her blue hue stands for kindness And her smile so bright That even the sun becomes jealous Knowing it can never shine as bright Her hair is wild as the wind, Her purpose To make the world harmonious -Jamari, 4th grade


nspiring Highlights 2016/17 Dear Friends, 2016-2017 has been a special year for Jewish Community Day School. It has been busy and successful. Our professional team has worked tirelessly and with tremendous devotion to ensure inspiring academics for every student in a challenging, nurturing environment. One of the many remarkable things about JCDS is our commitment to the transferability of learning; this means that JCDS students are empowered to turn their ideas, skills, and values into action, whether they are saving the Rainforest, collecting tzeddakah to alleviate the struggles of disaster victims, or developing future technologies to solve today’s problems, such as the vanishing Louisiana coastline. JCDS cultivates a school culture of intellectual curiosity and compassion for others.

JCDS parents are true partners in their children’s education, and serve as enthusiastic supporters and ambassadors for the school. Our focus on Recruitment and Retention, as members of Prizmah’s Atidenu Academy, yields a projected 2017-2018 enrollment that exceeds the post-Katrina high of 51 (this year 56), with Jewish children comprising 75% of the student population. We are thrilled to welcome Rabbi Gabe Greenberg to our faculty, as well as Mr. Toby David from Country Day’s Creative Arts Camp, and Mrs. Beth Evanosky, who holds teacher certifications in three states. With deep appreciation of our highly engaged,diverse, energetic Board of Directors, and you, our generous supporters, this year’s ambitious fundraising goals have been reached. Your donations have helped to ensure our success, and provide access to a JCDS education of Inspiring Academics, Jewish Values, and Community. We look forward to many exciting and successful years ahead! Please enjoy this selection of 2016 – 2017 JCDS highlights.


•Veterans Day observance honoring special Veteran guests Carol Berman, Marty Bruchis, Anthony Appleton, and Andrew Gambos •Scholastic Book Fair earns $450 toward library books for the school •JCDS Shabbat events at Beth Israel, Shir Chadash and Gates of Prayer •Parent education workshops led by Oscar J. Tolmas school counselor, Laura Kulick, LCSW •Annual Chanukah Musical Extravaganza •Innovative Parent – Teacher conferences take place while school is in session (parents love it!) •STEAM Sunday with 80 attendees, 20 non-JCDS prospective students •Shabbat morning event at GoP, collaboratively led by GoP and JCDS •Shir Chadash Shul School at JCDS, taught by JCDS teachers •All JCDS Families MLK Day March and Picnic •Dr. Pollin represents Small Schools on Heads of School Marketing Panel at First Annual Prizmah North American Day School Conference •Baby Mini-Camp begins at JCDS

•Opening enrollment of 41, with 8 new students, 70% Jewish •First Annual Sunday Family Fun Day welcomed 180 friends! •Week-long professional development with a focus on English Language Arts •Atidenu Recruitment and Retention Academy kick-off. JCDS begins two year program of marketing and recruitment/retention coaching •Tzeddakah to Baton Rouge flood and New Orleans East tornado victims • JCDS/Gates of Prayer Nursery School Reading Buddies visit •All-School Sukkot Dinner barbecue, with current and prospective families and the JCDS community, with 70 attendees •Family and Prospective Families Math Night and Pizza Dinner with 70 attendees •Partnership 2Gether connects JCDS students to students in Israel •Annual Gala honoring Lis and Hugo Kahn, chaired by Barbara Kaplinsky,fabulously successful with 100% JCDS parent participation


here Are They Now?

JCDS students are intellectually curious, capable, creative, compassionate leaders. Their elementary school experience has given them a strong foundation and the confidence to successfully launch. It gives us great “naches” to follow them as they flourish to become all they are meant to be. Mazel Tov to the NOJDS 4th Grade Class of 2004/2005.

Top Row (L-R) Ben Gothard Eli Sterbcow Eli Gross Selah Maya Zigelboim Zachary Stillman Bottom Row (L-R) Veronica Wilkins Adam Goldberg Kyla Yager Amos Remer Rachel Rozenzweig Teachers Rabbi Jeffrey Kurtz-Lendner Christine Melancon

Adam Goldberg Adam graduated with a BA in Communication from the University of Maryland. He is now pursuing a career writing comedy in NYC. “My favorite part about NOJDS is the sense of community with my classmates and the abitility to stay engaged with everyone years later.”

Benjamin Gothard

Ben is a Senior at LSU and will graduate next May with a degree in Finance. He then wants to travel and focus on his businesses & writing; he’s the CEO of Gothard Enterprises, has published 15 books and produced over 50 videos which help people with personal development & entrepreneurship. His main focus is Project EGG (Entrepeneurs Gathering for Growth). “My fondest memories of the day school are those times spent with fellow students. I’ve seen most of the class since we left for the storm, and those extraordinary people will always be my dear friends.”

Eli Gross Eli is finishing his degree in Automotives at Delgado College. After graduation he will pursue a career in the professional racing circuit. Ultimately, he would like to race cars professionally. “I remember the day school so fondly with the friendly, patient, and warm attitude everyone had.“

Amos Remer

Currently studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland. Amos took a year off to study at Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel. After graduating in Spring 2018, he plans to make Aliya and join the Israeli Air Force as an aerospace engineer. “What I remember most about NOJDS is the 4th Grade Science Fair. I compared the effectiveness of different types of fins on model rockets--and look at what I ended up studying!!”




Rachel graduated from LSU in May with a major in Religious Studies and a minor in Film. Next, she’s headed to Israel for a film internship in Tel Aviv. “My favorite memory from the Day School is practicing and performing for the holiday programs for the parents and participating in the school-wide Passover seders.”



Eli graduated from the University of Texas in May where he earned a BA with Honors in Government, with minors in both Business and French. Eli will be attending Law School in the fall. “My two favorite memories of the Day School were my 3rd and 4th grade Talent Shows. In 3rd, I was Louie Bagel and in 4th, performed I Love Rocky Road as Weird Al Yankovic with Adam Goldberg.”



Zachary just graduated in May receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in a dual degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. Next, he will pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. “My favorite memory of the school is playing football with everyone during recess.”



Veronica is studying Film at Palm Beach State College in South Florida. After graduating, she plans to pursue a career in film focusing on documentaries. “My favorite part of the school is the bond our class had. We have such a loving connection between us. Even after Katrina separated all of us, we remain in touch.”



Kyla is currently working towards her BFA in Visual Arts at York University in Toronto. After graduating (May 2018) her short term goal is obtaining a teaching degree to teach art. Ultimately, she wants to get a Masters in Art Therapy. “What I remember most about my Day School experience were the influential teachers I had that helped shape me as a student.”

Selah Maya Zigelboim Selah graduated in May from the University of Texas with a Bachelor Degree in Journalism, a Certificate of Digital Art and Media, and a minor in Spanish. “I have so many fond memories of the Day School but the Chanukah and Purim shows we put on every year are some of my favorites!”


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Endangered I am here A river full of green alligators Free as the gray wind blowing past. Catfish and water snakes Have coffee along the river bank Every day over-growing The sound of my deep red voice Beautiful as the river seems It can be fierce and strong against Our levees trapping it Keeping it from being free as it once was Becoming slave to the slave master...Us Not letting it flood to its full potential, Instead making it pull and push Heavy boats of goods And endangering every living thing. We are losing our beautiful state we call Louisiana -Sam, 4th grade

Todah Rabah!

Special Thanks To.....

Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans for abundant support in so many ways Everyone at Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana for their outstanding support The Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust and its Trustees, Lisa Romano and Vincent Giardina The entire JCDS Board and devoted committee members Barbara Kaplinsky for her endless efforts Our wonderful JCDS families Lis and Hugo Kahn for.....everything Carol Newman, math consultant extraordinaire Carol B. Wise, full of wit, charm and “get it done” attitude Joel Brown and Andy Adelman for being such menschen and their teams at Kosher Cajun and Casablanca Larry Brook, Southern Jewish Life All of our friends at JCC, Metairie and Uptown Bonnie Lustig and everyone at PJ Library Extra-special thanks to JCDS students who are infinite sources of inspiration to us all

Thank you JCDS friends, with a cherry on top! 2016 Acceptance to Prizmah’s Atidenu Recruitment and Retention Academy


May 2017 Community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration with an Israel Family Artifact Museum

Summer 2017 Learning Lab Phase I begins in the Berenson Library

Aug 2017 With Jewish enrollment at 75%, JCDS welcomes its largest post-Katrina student body! Watch us shine as we continue to fulfill the promise of our legacy, growing from strength to strength.

women’s health an annual SJL special section

Hadassah Hospital in the forefront of melanoma treatment The Hadassah Center for Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy has an active and diverse program for the treatment of melanoma and other cancers. In addition to standard therapies, the Center offers several unique treatment options aimed at strengthening the patient’s immune response against a tumor. This approach is termed Immunotherapy. Metastatic melanoma is typically fatal, but Hadassah Hospital Professor Michal Lotem, head of Hadassah’s Melanoma and Cancer Immunotherapy Center and a world-renowned, cutting-edge physician/scientist, is trailblazing new treatments that are being watched around the globe. Lotem explained that they “developed a way of genetically engineering the few thousand immune system cells from a metastasized tumor into trillions.” And she is not stopping there. She is working to transform immune cells into even more powerful cancer killers so more patients can be saved from this deadly disease. Stewart Greenberg celebrated his five-year anniversary to the day of first meeting Lotem. Diagnosed with stage four melanoma, he had been told by prestigious medical institutions in the United States that there was nothing more they could do for him, but Lotem was much more optimistic. She saved his life with a personalized melanoma vaccine. “Michal is our angel,” he said. “She is very modest, but the truth is that she is at the forefront of worldwide melanoma research.” Speaking about another patient with advanced metastatic melanoma, Lotem explained that “conventional treatment had failed, so we put him into an experimental protocol developed at Hadassah. Instead of aiming at his cancer, we targeted his immune system, boosting it to respond more aggressively to the disease.” Lotem said “the immune system can defeat cancer, but it rarely enters the fight because cancer creeps under its radar. Malignant cells derive from normal cells. The immune system doesn’t identify them as harmful, leaving them to reproduce and destroy their host.” Lotem believes this approach — known broadly as immunotherapy and the focus of much cancer research worldwide — will become the main platform for treating melanoma as well as other types of cancer. “It’s easier on the patient, its side effects vastly more manageable than the hair loss, mouth ulcers, fatigue, vomiting and more caused by chemotherapy and radiation,” she said. “Better yet, not only does the response of patients suggest it may be more effective than anything in the current arsenal, but the quality of their response is far better, too.” “It was bashert (fated) that I should meet Dr. Michal Lotem,” Greenberg said. “Thank you, Hadassah.”

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• July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 31

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The goal of the newly formed Women’s Sports Medicine clinic at the Tulane Institute of Sport Medicine is to provide active women with not just injury treatment but prevention. Dr. Mary Mulcahey was recruited from Philadelphia to start the program earlier this spring. “Our overarching goal is to provide comprehensive care — not just treating injuries, but prevention and looking at all aspects of sports health, fitness as well as training,” she said. “Women are at risk for injuries and conditions that may be overlooked in a traditional sports medicine setting. They also respond and heal differently than men, and they have different concerns when they are injured,” she said. It is perhaps more widely known that female athletes in some sports, especially gymnastics and running, are at risk for the “female athlete triad”: disordered eating, irregular menses (loss of periods) and decreased bone density. “Our team knows the signs and how to prevent or treat these symptoms,” said Mulcahey. Likely less known is that women are anywhere from two to eight times more at risk for ACL tears of the knee than men playing the same sports. That is due to both non-modifiable risk factors, such as knee geometry and hormones, and modifiable biomechanical and neuromuscular risk factors. In the biological category, the ACL is smaller in women than men and more susceptible to injury. Hormonal factors and changes throughout the menstrual cycle can also play a role in the higher likelihood of ACL tears in women. The modifiable risk factors include the fact that female athletes tend to land more commonly in a “knock-kneed position,” especially in sports such as basketball and volleyball. The quadriceps muscles are stronger than the hamstring muscles in women. The quads pull the tibia toward the front, which puts more stress on the ACL, increasing the likelihood of tear. “Through training and learned behavior these are things that can be corrected, thus lessening the risk for serious injury,” said Mulcahey. She said stress fractures are also much more common in female athletes than male athletes because of a combination of factors — exercise impact, biomechanics, hormonal and nutrition-related factors. Also more common with active women are patellofemoral pain syndrome, ankle sprains and osteoarthritis. “In addition to injury prevention or perhaps in combination with it, strength and conditioning is also critical to decrease the risk of injuries. Some specific categories of exercises that are included in injury prevention programs are plyometrics, balance, strengthening the core and proximal control.” When should young female athletes start with some of these risk-prevention protocols? Mulcahey said waiting until age 16 to 18 years old is too late. Girls should start these exercises in middle school, before they hit puberty and have the associated growth spurt. “I also recommend incorporating cross-training. I encourage my patients not to focus only on their primary sport, but to incorporate other low-impact cardiovascular exercises (such as stationary bike, elliptical machine, swimming) into their training to allow their body to rest. That’s better on the body and will promote better performance,” she said. Mulcahey added that the Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine, along with its other Tulane medical partners, is focusing on the entire spectrum of active female health, including orthopaedic care, physical therapy, nutrition, sports psychology, OBGYN and female gastrointestinal care. “We want to offer a comprehensive approach to wellness that in our case focuses specifically on the active woman,” she said.

women’s health

Online therapy adds convenience, provides care to isolated areas

Valerie Thompson also advises on having the difficult discussion with your kids about sex trafficking You’ve been known as an advocate for victims of sex trafficking. Let’s start with that. An advocate and therapist. My role was as counselor to a particular agency for women who had been rescued from human trafficking. Tajuan McCarty is the founder of the Wellhouse, which rescues, houses and works with victims of sex trafficking specifically. She had started with $33 and a wing and a prayer. She’s amazing. She really has turned her story of her experience into a positive force. I started volunteering. They had one house that could house eight women and they’ve grown into a campus with 63 acres and three or four different houses. It’s been amazing what they’ve been able to accomplish. And as they grew, I grew with them. It’s been some of the most fulfilling work I’ve done in my career. What do you think most people would be most surprised to hear about sex trafficking? Just how common it is. And that is happening here. And by here, I don’t mean just Alabama or Birmingham — I mean Mountain Brook. Homewood. Inverness. Hoover. Not just ‘those places’ over there. It’s happening everywhere. And 40 percent of the U.S. problem in sex trafficking is in the Southeast. I-20 is known as the sex trafficking superhighway.   What circumstances generally would put a person most at risk to get caught up in this? It does happen where people are snatched up off the street. That happens. Most often it’s a grooming process where a guy will approach —

and the average age of entry is 12 to 14. Minors can’t choose. They can’t consent. They are groomed into this life and then trapped into this life. It begins with a boyfriend-girlfriend scenario and the thing is that at that age, you have needs. Does she have a difficult relationship with her parents as so many teenagers do? He buys her gifts. Lavishes money on her, and gives her attention. Gives her all the things she needs. And then places obstacles in her other relationships, gets her to travel with him so he can get her identifi- Photo courtesy Kerry Lee Gorelick, cation and isolate her. It doesn’t happen just ‘boom,’ it happens over a process. If you’re a parent of a pre-teen or teenager, what could you do to help prevent that? This happens to good families, right? Right. You should have open communication with your children so that they want to tell you what is going on. Spending time with your kids.

Join Touro’s Family Birthing Center for a FREE Open House Brunch


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Enjoy brunch, sip mimosas (or mocktails), mingle with our women’s health providers, and tour our birthing center! Saturday, July 22 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Touro Infirmary Family Birthing Center Mingle with OB/GYNs, midwives, doulas, and lactation consultants. Tour our birthing center, learn more about preconception health, and enter to win exciting raffle prizes including a spa gift card, barre classes and more! Registration is required. Please RSVP online at or by calling (504) 897-8500.

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 33

women’s health Hadassah Southern Supports Medical Research for Melanoma

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Having an honest-to-G-d quality relationship. And having conversations about this, about their bodies and about sex. Not making it this taboo, terrible thing. Without scaring them, let them know there are people who would take advantage, and what that looks like. What love looks like as opposed to manipulation. Those are hard communications to have. Let’s talk about your work at What attracted you to that model of online therapy, rather than an in-person clinical setting? To be completely honest, convenience. Not having to have an office, overhead, I’ve been able to do it from home. I have flexibility. I had my reservations, because it’s new. The vast majority of my career, I’ve done trauma work. And the thought of doing that work digitally, virtually, confused me. But I was willing to give it a try. And I think also I was excited about it because Talkspace’s mission is to make it more accessible, less stigma, more affordable. Just in terms of accessibility, rural areas that don’t have any services, or have one therapist that if you’re seeing, everyone knows you’re seeing. And the time it takes. If I live in a busy city, and to get to a 50-minute appointment you have to leave 30 minutes early so by the time you get back, that’s two hours of your day. That’s a lot of time and a lot of people won’t invest the time because they have other pressing demands, so they don’t invest in themselves what they need to. In terms of how the world is moving, this is how people communicate. I don’t think and I don’t hope that face-to-face therapy gets replaced. There are just some people who need that. And for me, there’s some work I can’t do that way. I do a lot less trauma work now. I personally don’t care to do trauma work that way. For me, there’s no substitute for being present for someone when you’re doing that work. So I’m not saying it can’t be done, but my practice has shifted more to relational work. Life work, balance work.   Besides individual therapy, the platform is also offering couples therapy, therapy specifically geared for people with social media dependency, and therapy whereby businesses offer the opportunity to their employees. What kinds of therapy are you doing right now? I’m only doing individual therapy.   And how are you matched with a client? There’s a consulting therapist, so they get things started. And there’s an algorithm, so we put in our theoretical orientation, what kinds of therapy we do, and the client gets three choices matching what they’re presenting. At any time, they can switch therapists.   What does the interaction look like? The client and the therapist are matched to a virtual ‘room’ that only they have access to. And the client has 24/7 access to it. So that’s one of the benefits of this type of therapy. A lot of people have found that if you’re in therapy, something happens and you tell yourself you have to remember to tell the therapist that next week. So with this type of therapy, 3 in the morning, you’re like “oh I have to tell Valerie,” so they log in, write it out, and there it is.   Isn’t one of the big plusses for people going to Talkspace that they can be anonymous? For sure. They can be Frank from Kansas for all I know. If that’s how you want to present yourself to me, yeah. Not always, but to a large extent, I think people open up quicker, because they don’t have to look me in the eye. From my personal experience, people sometimes don’t say things because they don’t want to disappoint their therapist. That happens to all of us.   It’s like how people will clean their home before the maid comes over. Right. They don’t have to look me in the eye and I don’t see their body language. And that’s another big thing. I don’t see their body language, but I’ve learned to be more sensitive to their language.  

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It was just barely the summer of 1965. The World’s Fair was coming to New York City and my best friend’s older sister was taking her and a friend of her choosing. My invitation to join them was rescinded shortly after learning of my recent diagnosis of Juvenile Diabetes, now known as Type 1. She wasn’t comfortable being responsible for all that might be involved in managing a newly-diagnosed 13-year-old insulin-dependent diabetic requiring daily injections and a regimented dietary schedule. She was right, of course. It was the first of many moments that made me think about my life as a “sick” person. I didn’t want my diabetes to get in the way of living my life or to be a burden on anyone else. I didn’t want to be a DIABETIC. I was determined to find a way to adapt diabetes to my life, rather than define my life around the demands of this disease. I needed to be in charge of my life and my diabetes. Not so easy for a 13 year-old. There were many people who wanted to assert their authority over my body and life; parents, doctors, even “strangers.” My parents were understandably grief-stricken and fearful. The first time I went to an outof-town B’nai B’rith Youth Organization convention, my parents made me stay with an elderly couple they knew. They were anxious about me staying with strangers who didn’t know about my “sickness.” I made friends at that convention and I never again allowed my parents’ fear to steer my I DIDN’T WANT path. I shared my diabetic condition (not so MY DIABETES easy to do at that age) with overly confident TO GET IN THE reassurance. “I was fine and could manage it all on my own…” and I did. WAY OF LIVING As I ascended the BBYO leadership ladder and became the president of my region, I MY LIFE travelled extensively, staying with a myriad of friends. I learned how to get over the awkward first moment of sharing my “sick” status with strangers. I attended my first 4-week overnight BBYO Leadership Training Institute and International Convention and managed to negotiate with the camp kitchen staff to refrigerate my insulin. I made the daily early morning trek to retrieve it and find a private place to take my shot, lest someone should walk in on me and think I was some kind of heroin addict. I was already well-practiced in carrying snacks with me in case meals should be late or activities unexpectedly strenuous and subsequently, experience a low blood sugar episode. I was prepared to take care of myself, without missing a beat, without slowing anyone else down. Treatment in those early years was crude and fairly basic… shots,

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July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 35

women’s health

diet and very inaccurate, sloppy urine testing. There were no refined insulins or painless insulin pens, let alone 5-second finger-prick blood sugar testing devices or insulin pumps. I did the best I could… took my shots, stayed away from sugar, tested my urine less than prescribed and always carried snacks… continually striving for a balance between living and managing. There is no cure for diabetes and managing it could easily consume every waking and sleeping moment. To find a balance, I had to ignore much of the medical messaging; from extreme caution, fear and “blame-the-victim” to feeble attempts to develop a relationship (“So, do you play a musical instrument?” “No.” You asked

me that 3 months ago. Just do the blood test and let’s get this over with!), while at the same time, seeking out and taking advantage of each new medical development. No one ever asked me what it was like for me to live with diabetes, to have a disease with a life sentence, a prematurely abbreviated life sentence; no holidays, no days off. There was no shortage of commentary from related strangers who always knew some diabetic or other who had lost a toe or a leg, was blind, was on dialysis or died of heart disease due to diabetic related complications. I listened. I heard all the messaging. I filtered out what was not helpful. I chose life, at a very young age!

I focused my energy on living… fully! What do I want to do? How can I make a difference? What do I have to do to normalize my life while respecting and honoring the demands of this disease? I loved entertaining friends and made a point of always baking sweet desserts, but not eating them. My message was clear, “You don’t have to protect or make any accommodations for me. I am responsible for myself.” I found ways to travel cross country/cross continent, to party with zest and to be the hardest working employee in every job I ever had. I was going to be the most alive and healthiest “sick” person you ever met! I recently celebrated my 52nd anniversary (January 6, 1965) of living my life my way with insulin dependent diabetes. I am grateful… for every day… for every advance in research… for every newly developed “torture” device that promises better control and demands even more of my attention… for every ache and pain that reminds me that I have reached the age where aches and pains are to be expected, the age that I was not expected to reach. I am blessed to be the parent of a beautiful 29-year old daughter who would not be here had I listened to the doctors who didn’t think it was possible or wouldn’t allow their wives to become pregnant under those circumstances. I am grateful for my loving husband of 33 years who I have kept blissfully ignorant of the moment to moment technical details of managing my diabetes because I am, thank G-d, still able to do it all myself! I wouldn’t choose diabetes for myself or anyone I care about, but I am immensely grateful for the gift it has thrust upon me… the appreciation of each day, the value of every experience, the determination to live every moment fully! Esther Schuster is a retired social worker and former executive director of Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham.

Diabetes drug may help prevent breast cancer recurrence Researchers at Hadassah have found that a drug used for treating type-2 diabetes can prevent or delay recurrence of some types of breast cancers. A study of 8,000 patients worldwide showed that metformin, which is known by the brand name Glucophage, reduces the risk of repeated HER-2 positive cancers. Those grow faster and are more likely to spread and recur than HER-2 negative cancers. When insulin is given to HER2-positive patients, the treatment doubles their risk of cancer recurrence, so he recommends metformin and avoiding insulin as much as possible for patients with diabetes. The study findings are highlighted in the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. 36 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

women’s health

New LIFE fertility offers answers to important questions by Dr. Barry Ripps How much does age affect fertility? Prior to the availability of reliable contraception and the ability to plan, this was not a common concern. Society has changed, delaying the average age of conception by a decade. Since humans have been reproducing for a really long time, there is already much known about how quickly conception will occur. We know without doubt that as a woman’s age increases, the time it takes to conceive also increases. A couple with “normal” fertility will have an average rate of conception of about 15 percent per month. In other words, 15 out of 100 couples trying for one month will achieve pregnancy. We are talking here about an “average” among couples with “normal” fertility. Looking only at 20 year olds, they would conceive faster. Women after 35 years of age conceive more slowly than the average. Although the percentage will change over time, this same information suggests that 85 percent of normal couples should be pregnant at the end of 1 year. If the couple has not conceived in 1 year, it is much less likely to happen in months 13-24. This is why the definition of infertility is unsuccessful pregnancy within 1 year.

creasing to 9 percent. For women who have predictable menstrual cycles, it is possible to know almost to the day. Fortunately, human reproduction doesn’t usually require any precision when intercourse is frequent. How do I know when I’m ovulating? There are many ways to assess ovulation and factors such as temperature, mucus, libido, pain, mood, that women can track and observe. But none are reliable more than half the time, and temperature only rises after ovulation. Monitoring these are as accurate as flipping a coin. If a woman’s menstrual cycles arrive monthly, but vary in length, the best solution is the over-the-counter ovulation testing strips. These reliably predict the release of an egg within 2 days (see fertile window above). A positive test that is wrong happens less than 10 percent of the time. Studies suggest that if intercourse is frequent enough, these urine tests do not speed up conception. Again, nature knows best.

Is there a right and wrong way to…you know, trying? When science is unable to offer a clear answer, we are free to imagine without limits. Armed with a bit of intuition and good-intention, there are many recommendations circulating. There is no evidence that any method, position, time of day, temperature, lighting, planetary or conWhen is the best time to try to conceive? stellation alignment, or cosmic forces will affect the chance of concepMany women speak about a “fertile window,” meaning the time within tion. When couples learn this, it is usually accompanied by sighs of relief. the menstrual month when it is possible to conceive. This concept is well Even use of personal lubricants has not been shown to affect conception. understood, now that studies have shown a chance of conception up to 7 days prior to a woman’s ovulation, but this chance is low, only 3 percent. Can chances be affected by my diet, activities, or stress? The chance is highest in the 2 to 3 days immediately before ovulation, inThis is a common and potentially serious issue, but one that is difficult

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 37

women’s health

to clarify. A simple rule is moderation for everything, particularly those that we can control. What is known is very clear. Smoking tobacco or exposure to tobacco smoke delays a woman’s conception, and over time brings on menopause sooner. It is also associated with a greater chance of miscarriage and pregnancies in places outside of the uterus. Whether tobacco use affects sperm and male fertility is a bit more inconclusive. Alcohol should not be ingested during pregnancy, but its effect on conception remains unknown. In one study, moderate levels (a glass of wine per day) were associated with quicker conception. Caffeine, in excessive doses (500 mg/day, 5 or more cups), has been associated with delays in conception. And during pregnancy, consumption at 2 to 3 cups per day were thought to increase miscarriage. For both men and women, increased body weight (Body Mass Index, BMI) are associated with delays in conception. Low body weight in women also decreases fertility. It seems to make sense that when health is precarious the woman’s body attempts to protect her from the demands of pregnancy. Fortunately, most studies show that even moderate efforts to change diet, exercise and reverse weight gain have significant improvements in conception. Barry A. Ripps, MD is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist who has practiced on the Gulf Coast since 1994. Ripps completed undergraduate education at Vanderbilt University and medical school at University of Alabama School of Medicine. ObGyn Residency and Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility Fellowship were competed at the University of Tennessee-Memphis. He and his associate, Meaghan Delaney, provide care in offices located in Mobile and Dothan, Ala. and in Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee, Fla., and Biloxi, Miss.

Touro introduces Hidden Scar breast cancer surgery Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery, an advanced treatment expanding option for women undergoing breast surgery, is now available at Touro in New Orleans. John Colfry, a breast surgical oncologist with Touro’s Crescent City Physicians, is one of the first surgeons in the New Orleans area to be a certified Hidden Scar surgeon. Each year, approximately 405,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer that requires surgery. Many women are unaware of all the surgical options available, including minimally invasive approaches that can help restore their self-image and allow them to begin healing emotionally. Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery is an advanced approach to breast cancer surgery that hides incision scars, minimizing the daily emotional reminder of a breast cancer diagnosis. “Whether a patient is having a lumpectomy or a nipple-sparing mastectomy, Hidden Scar surgery allows for optimal cosmetic results,” said Colfry. “With this more sophisticated approach to breast cancer surgery, a woman can have more self-confidence after having battled breast cancer.” Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery allows Colfry to remove the cancerous tissue through a single incision made in an inconspicuous area, preserving the natural shape of the breast while reducing visible scarring. “My diagnosis of breast cancer resulted in my choice of bilateral mastectomy,” explained patient Carol Sharp. “The excellent cosmetic result and minimal scar accomplished by my skilled surgeon, Dr. Colfry, exceeded even my own expectations.” Patients who undergo this approach are at no higher risk for recurrence than patients who undergo any other type of technique. Hidden Scar Breast Cancer Surgery may be appropriate for a wide range of breast cancer patients undergoing nipple-sparing mastectomy or breast-conserving (lumpectomy) procedures. For more information on breast cancer surgery at Touro, visit touro. com/cancer. 38 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

women’s health State of the Art Medical Imaging for Women, by Women

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by Lee J. Green Vacations by the beach can be relaxing and therapeutic. It is that idea, accompanied with a healthy, holistic environment, that has allowed Bayshore Retreat in Destin to help many women (and men) with their addictions. Judy Butler, who lives in Birmingham much of the time, leads Bayshore with her son, Jeff. They started the unique facility, which only takes no more than six clients at a time, more than six and a half years ago. “While only 30 percent of our clients are women, most of them are over the age of 40 (one even celebrated her 70th birthday at Bayshore) and struggling with alcohol addiction,” said Butler. “We provide them with a nurturing environment that helps to boost their self-esteem and provide coping mechanisms. They can develop or further their hobbies and interests. It is so much more than most of what’s out there, which are the typical 12-step programs.” Butler said most have never been to rehab before. Their children are grown or in their late teens, driving and going their own directions. “They may feel they have lost a purpose and don’t feel as needed anymore. They may have given up a career in business for family and things have changed to much with technology that they don’t see themselves returning to work. They feel somewhat lost and without an identity,” she said. Butler said some of the female clients have tried to treat their issues with doctors who gave them medications. When one medication ceased to work they gave them another and it became an unhealthy cycle. “Unlike the large big box facilities, clients are able to relax and get one-on-one attention,” she said. “They’re able to focus on themselves, reflect and talk to doctors or counselors about their particular feelings or pain. They’re able to think clearly about the future and where they want their life to be in the future.” Some of the holistic healing activities at Bayshore include yoga, massage, dry sauna therapy, exercises, social opportunities, meals cooked by expert chefs, art (led by Butler herself), crafts and more. They also offer counseling, acupuncture and hypnotherapy from local providers. Butler said most addiction issues are more complex, so customized treatment is important. Alcoholism may be triggered by situations and behavior that can be altered. Warning signs of alcohol addiction include drinking in the morning or early in the day, unexplained bruises and short-term memory loss or blackouts. She said clients choose Bayshore Retreat because it is different from other addiction treatment facilities. “They love the home environment, the neighborhood setting, the peaceful waterfront location and all the amenities we offer.”

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women’s health Dr. Kahn addresses updated pelvic floor disorder treatments by Lee J. Green Margie A. Kahn, section head of Tulane Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery, said the Systematic Review Group of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons recently suggested, based on moderate grade B evidence, that the uterus be preserved when not contraindicated, for most pelvic organ prolapse repairs. The recommendations are preliminary and not yet approved by the society. “Women have strong feelings on whether they want to keep their uteri or have them removed, and it’s all about working with them for what’s best for their specific situation,” said Kahn. “Traditionally the uterus has been removed as a part of prolapse surgery to gain easier access to the

supportive ligaments in the pelvis, but lately that dogma has been questioned.” Some women seek hysterectomies for health reasons and/or because they don’t want to have any more children. Other women want to keep that option open and keep their uteri if there is not a significant health risk associated with it. “Some feel the uterus plays a role in heightening the sexual response, but there are no randomized studies supporting that,” said Kahn. “A hysterectomy with ovarian or Fallopian tube removal could greatly reduce the chances of ovarian cancer, but the lifetime risk is low in women without the BRCA mutation,” less than 2 percent. The Tulane University Health Science Center Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology/

Urology can address all pelvic floor disorders, including urinary incontinence, accidental bowel leakage as well as pelvic organ prolapse. They offer a multidisciplinary approach comprising behavioral interventions, physical therapy, simple office procedures and more complex, minimally invasive surgery in the operating room. Kahn will be on a medical mission to Nicaragua this month, as she has done the past few years. Last year she spoke to Gates of Prayer Sisterhood, and when available is more than happy to provide free educational talks to groups and institutions in the New Orleans area Jewish community.

UAB Vein Clinic makes great strides for healthy legs by Lee J. Green Dr. Marc Passman and the UAB Vein Clinic continue to advance the treatment of venous disease – from the uncomfortable and unsightly to life-threatening illnesses. “We want to do what’s best for our patients. We can cover the whole gamut,” said Dr. Passman, a member of the Birmingham area Jewish community. “It is also a focus of ours to educate our patients on how they can be as proactive as possible with their own wellness care.” The most common venous issues for women are varicose and spider veins. There can also be occurrences of pelvic vein congestion along with clot risks associated with hormonal therapy, pregnancy, and other risk factors.For spider and varicose veins, nonoperative treatment comes from compression, medication and lifestyle measures. The UAB Vein Clinic also employs minimally invasive treatments such as endovenous ablation, injection treatments, and Veinwave, which uses heat to treat surface veins. Passman said the clinic has great experience treating deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolisms. Risk factors for those venous diseases include prolonged sitting, bed rest or travel, advanced age, hypertension, smoking, complex surgery, lower body trauma, obesity, congestive heart failure, hormonal changes or therapy and family history. “Venous clot issues can be a danger and need to be treated right away. They could be life-threatening if they go to the lungs,” said Passman. “Those who are traveling, are hospitalized or have an injury are in a high risk category.” The UAB Vein Program, which combines outpatient care at the UAB Vein Clinic with more intensive treatment available at UAB Hospital at Highlands, is “the only program of its kind in the state, designed to take care of a wide range of venous problems that were previously underserved in this region,” added Passman. “We know women lead busy lives and they can’t be slowed down by venous health issues or leg pain,” he said. “We’re here to help them return to wellness as soon as possible.”

40 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

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Chef Daniel Esses plans to open Rimon in August

Chef Daniel Esses goes kosher with Rimon at Tulane Hillel Next month, New Orleans will welcome an addition to the kosher restaurant scene, with a “kosher farm to table” concept by Chef Daniel Esses of Three Muses. Rimon will open at the Tulane University Hillel, open to students and the general public. Esses plans to be open for lunch in early August, then full time when the students return. The goal is to be open year-round and be available to cater events in the community. He said Rimon would be the same concept as his non-kosher restaurants, “but doing it kosher,” farm-to-table, homemade and locally sourced as much as possible. Being kosher forces him to do a lot of the products in-house, such as breads, condiments, pickles. Being on campus means he has to make it reasonable, “kosher farm to table at an affordable rate.” A handful of students are on a kosher meal plan. Any student can use Wavebuck$ at Rimon, and for Shabbat dinner, any student can use a meal plan. Before the semester ended, he met with groups of students and was told that speed is very important. Rimon will have a lot of grab-and-go, with staple items such as sandwiches and salads. “This way, you don’t have to wait in line, you can grab it and head to class.” This will also benefit workers at businesses in the area. The menu is still being developed and will change frequently. “You’ll see things come in and out,” he said. Items under consideration include Korean chicken wings, a dairy-free Caesar salad with creamy garlic miso dressing, a turkey BLT with beef bacon, couscous plates with skewers of beef, chicken, tofu or tuna, rice bowls and noodle bowls. He is also planning an Israeli salad bar and “build your own plate” options. There is a lamb meatball “I’ve been doing for years” that he will bring to Rimon, without the cheese, but with a tomato chutney. He also has a matzah ball soup “that will cure any sickness.” “I didn’t grow up here so I can’t tap into my boudin culture,” but in the last few years he has been at the Bourbon, Boudin and Beer event, doing a riff on Jewdin, using corned beef, chicken liver, rye bread and matzah balls instead of the pork and rice base. Some years he has fried it into Jewdin balls. There will also be homemade pastas, as he has run Esses Pasta since 2009. In October 2015, Esses was brought on board at the Jack & Jake’s Public Market, which was rebranded the Dryades Public Market. During that time, he said, Kevin Wilkins was mentoring him. Wilkins was also


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July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 41

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42 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

community president of Tulane Hillel’s board, and when the Hillel’s Kitchen space was becoming available earlier this year, he spoke with Esses about his future plans. Esses met with Rabbi Yonah Schiller, Tulane Hillel executive director, and “it seemed like a good fit.” He added, “I was kosher for a long time, so I’m coming full circle.” Schiller said “There’s a beautiful alignment between his vision for food and our vision for Hillel.” Esses said as a child, he helped his mother in the kitchen for the holidays, making chopped liver, matzah ball soup. She would tell him stories about his grandmother, who made everything from scratch with local produce in the Bronx. He recalled “blackberry bushes everywhere.” In college, he “wasn’t living a healthy life” and decided to change, starting with making each meal himself, “eating healthy, being vegetarian.” He thought about becoming a nutritionist, since his father is a doctor, “but I wasn’t into the sciences, so that wasn’t going to happen.” He has both Sephardic and Ashkenazic heritage, “the best of both worlds.” His father is from Aleppo, and Esses said “Jews from Aleppo are amazing cooks” because Aleppo “was an amazing food city” with a wide range of spices and influences. He moved to Arizona and started cooking at a health spa, then at a vegetarian restaurant in Seattle. Cooking in France was “fun and challenging.” After working at Buddakan NYC in New York, he came to New Orleans, starting at Peristyle and then working at Restaurant August. He was sous-chef at Café Degas, opening chef at The Bank Café and executive chef of the Marigny Brasserie. In 2010 he was part of a trio to open Three Muses, where he was executive chef. In 2016 they opened a second location on Maple Street, but closed it on May 31. Esses is impressed by the Tulane Hillel facility. “It’s unique how nice this Hillel House is and how much they care.” He and Schiller chose the name Rimon because of its symbolism in Judaism. The pomegranate is seen as symbolic of knowledge, and the Hillel has a pomegranate tree by the front entrance. There is also a tradition that pomegranates have 613 seeds, symbolic of the 613 commandments in the Torah. Esses said they did not want to have a name that was specific to New Orleans or to him. “I wanted something that could be universal to all Hillels around the country” if they decide to try and replicate this elsewhere. “Other universities see this as a very successful Hillel and want to emulate it.”

community B.R. Chabad starts after-school class

Hadassah New Orleans to “Free the Tatas”

Chabad of Baton Rouge is launching J.U.D.A. — Judaism Through the Arts. The after-school program will be for ages 3 to 14, Tuesdays at 4:15 p.m. The program’s philosophy is that “while Jews embrace many levels of observance in their personal lives, there should be a place for all Jews to develop a sense of community and engage in activities which will enhance their Jewish experience.” The “multi-sensory and hands-on” activities will teach through crafts, songs, workshops and drama. J.U.D.A. will include the Aleph Champ Hebrew reading program used by Chabads nationally, including Chabads in Metairie and Birmingham. Registration for the year is $400 per child, $375 per child for multiple children. The fee includes all supplies and snacks for the year. Classes will begin on Aug. 22 and run through May 8. In addition to the children’s classes, Chabad in Baton Rouge has a weekly Torah class that is entering its third year, and more adult education classes are planned for the coming year.

Hadassah New Orleans will “Free the Tatas” at a Disco Ball at The Cannery on Sept. 9 to benefit breast cancer research, treatment, education and other genetic research. The Disco Ball will include the reveal of artworks from Paint Day. On March 19, 18 volunteer models, many of whom are breast cancer survivors, had their torsos painted by local, well-known artists. They were then photographed, “baring it all for A.R.T. — Awareness, Research, Treatment.” Participating artists included Aidi Kansas, Madalyn Goff, Marilyn Cothren, Gretchen Armbruster, Tracy Hammill, Craig Tracy, Brittney Peloquin, Colleen Hickey, Teri Brasher, Aimee Farnet, Pam Soileau, Ben Benson, Jenny Bell Gremillion, Monica Kelly, Meghan Davis, Sarah Early, Emory Nolan, Lai Xiao and Susan Gisleson. The event will honor Cathy Bart and Judy Lieberman, both of whom took a progressive approach against breast cancer and were at the forefront of preventative treatment, before the BRCA gene was widely known. The Disco Ball features cuisine from local restaurants, disco entertainment and an auction. Trixie Minx will also perform. Tickets are $75 for age 40 and under, $136 for 41 and above, if purchased by July 31. After that, the tickets are $85 and $150 respectively. Patron levels start at $250. Cheryl Mintz and Evette Ungar are co-chairs of the event.


July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 43

community Giarrusso becomes Sinai president Judge Robin Giarrusso may originally be from Denver, but the newly-installed president of Temple Sinai said “New Orleanians don’t leave.” After arriving in New Orleans as a Newcomb College freshman, marrying a local Catholic kept her in the area. She had started attending services at Temple Sinai as a student. “It felt comfortable and similar to my temple in Denver,” she said. When it came time to get married, the late Rabbi Julian Feibelman of Temple Sinai was the only New Orleans rabbi that would officiate an interfaith wedding, so she’s been a member ever since. She became a board member and officer after Katrina, serving in every office except secretary. The biggest challenge, and most exciting task, she said, was serving on the rabbinic search committee as Rabbi Edward Cohn retired and Rabbi Matthew Reimer was chosen. “The challenge of serving on the Rabbi Selection Committee was determining what expectations and desires our congregants had, and then finding the candidate who could best fulfill those,” said Giarrusso. She has three main goals as president, starting with updating and modernizing the congregation’s bylaws and constitution. She wants to organize and catalog the congregation’s library, making it easier to find and borrow books. And she wants to have an inclusion committee tasked with making the LGBTQ community feel more welcome through increased events and programming, and making it easier for those with disabilities to participate, expanding handicap parking and making the chapel bimah accessible. In addition to her presidency at Temple Sinai, Giarrusso is the membership vice president of the New Orleans Bar Association Inn of Court, the chair of the New Orleans Bar Association Professionalism Committee, a board member of the Tulane University Alumni Association, and a board member of the New Orleans chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, where she is leading the reboot of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters program. Giarrusso has also served as an assistant bar examiner, class agent for her Newcomb College class, and board member of the Anti-Defamation League, the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the Pro Bono Project, and the Newcomb Alumnae Association. She recently celebrated her 29th anniversary as a judge on the Orleans Parish Civil District Court. Giarrusso has also lectured on and is a passionate advocate for people with physical disabilities. She is a former board member of Resources for Independent Living, Easter Seals, and the Education and Support Program of Children’s Hospital. Giarrusso was also appointed by former chief justice Pascal Calogero, Jr. to attend a national conference on the court-related needs of people with disabilities. She was installed as president of Temple Sinai on May 19 and will serve a two-year term.

Eat This, Not That The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will have a healthy eating conversation, led by Touro Infirmary Dietician Julie Fortenberry. The discussion will focus on making the best choices when there are so many food options available. The discussion will be on Aug. 17 at noon. Participants may bring their own lunch; desserts and coffee will be served. Reservations are requested by Aug. 14. There is no charge for members and non-members. 44 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

Continued from page 46

One last entry, though it’s not a person. Early in Deuteronomy, Moses designates cities of refuge to offer sanctuary to those who inadvertently commit certain crimes against their fellow folks. These cities weren’t an individual, like everyone mentioned already, but they might still beg the question… So, where are they all now? While lifespans early in the Torah went up to 969 years, the average lifespan grew much shorter through the centuries until the recent, ironically short-lived advent of affordable healthcare. So, anyone from the Torah or Haftarahs has long ago shuffled off this mortal coil, much like the Mets’ chances for a run at the World Series. But where are they now? Judaism acknowledges the existence of the afterlife. However, nobody has successfully returned from there with any reconnaissance information, so the exact nature of it is unknown. In other words, it’s like figuring out dating. Doug Brook believes the afterlife is replete with Mets championships, four-day work weeks, and nations of people who are actually polite and get along no matter how wrong they are. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

Torah Academy hosting Day School conference

Torah Academy in Metairie is hosting the Consortium of Jewish Day Schools Gulf Coast Regional Conference on Aug. 8. Established in 2002, the consortium works with Orthodox Jewish day schools across North America. Eli Shapiro, director of the Digital Citizenship Project and CoJDS, and Rabbi Hillel Adler, national director of marketing and recruitment for CoJDs, are among the featured speakers. Also presenting are Temima Feldman, principal of Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway; Becky Udman, preschool director at Torah Day Schools in Dallas; and Chaya Shapiro, Kindergarten teacher at Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway. There is an early childhood track, and a teachers and administrators track. The conference is free, with registration at

Gates of Prayer’s veterans project Gates of Prayer in Metairie has started “Brotherhood 4 Vets,” a new, ongoing project designed to assist and thank veterans in the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve. They have requested recent vintage DVDs, CDs, and books for their library, as well as new caps and T-shirts. A marked blue bin for donations is in the congregation’s foyer.

July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 45

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(504) 838-9615 46 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

When listening to a Torah reading or Haftarah, one question inevitably arises: What’s for lunch? In all seriousness, before that question comes to mind there’s an earlier, equally inevitable question during the Torah reading: What are they talking about? Somewhere amid all that, perhaps in the sermon, a few names become clearer. Names from the Torah or Haftarah reading, or perhaps other names from Jewish or Israeli history. When those names don’t rhyme with “Moses,” they usually beg the question: Who? Finally, during the longest, most interminable part of the service — announcements — the most significant question of the day at last traverses between brain cells: Where are they now? For parents, this question is usually about their children. But this column pretends that they’re wondering about the people mentioned in the Torah or Haftarah readings. This year’s “Where are they now” feature explores this question regarding several oft-forgotten souls from the oft-forgotten past whose tales are told starting in the dog days of spring. Korach: This member of the elite, the tribe of Levi, arises in the book of Numbers to try a power grab. How? To deflect attention from his ambitions, he accuses the current leader Moses of his own power grab. The still-reliable way to stir up a nation: when lacking solutions to actual problems, fabricate problems and claim to be the solution without offering any. Korach lost the popular vote, and therefore WHEN IT didn’t achieve power. Perhaps, if he had brought COMES TO in help from a foreign power… Balaam:  Late in Numbers, the King of Moab, THE TORAH, Balak, hires the foreign prophet Balaam to curse THERE ARE the Israelites. On his way, Balaam’s donkey stops short when it sees an angel its master can’t, and NO SMALL the donkey is given the ability to speak, to explain ROLES… itself. In other words, Balak didn’t like the Israelites but didn’t want to create a Moab Scene, so he hired a prophet who ended up talking out of his donkey. Pinchas: Even later in Numbers, Pinchas discovers an Israelite leader and Midianite woman “breaking in” the tabernacle. He impales them, and is rewarded for it. In other words, Pinchas teaches that sometimes you just have to put a stake in the ground. Jezebel: In the book of Kings, Jezebel was the wife of the king of Israel, Ahab. She influences the king to worship Baal, persecutes the prophets, and fabricates evidence to execute people who don’t do as she wishes. She was ahead of her time, living centuries before TV or book deals. Tzelafchad: Near the end of Numbers, he died. He did nothing prior that was deemed worthy of recording, except that he had five daughters, no sons, and some property rights. His five daughters became mildly more famous because they dared to ask about inheriting their father’s property rights because there were no sons. They got them. In other words, equal rights started several thousand years ago, as evidenced by how far they’ve come since. To give them equal time, too, the daughters’ names were Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. continued on previous page


Wainer “touched thousands” through Teen Life Counts When Ellie Wainer began doing the Teen Life Counts program at Jewish Family Service in New Orleans about 30 years ago, she had plenty of naysayers to deal with. “If you talk about suicide, kids will not only think about suicide but they will complete suicide,” she was told. “There was such a stigma, I wanted everyone to see what these kids were dealing with… and yes, we have to talk about suicide,” she said. On May 21, Wainer and the TLC program were honored at the JFS annual Rhythm and Soul fundraiser at the Audubon Tea Room. The evening, co-chaired by Julie Wise Oreck and Lynne Wasserman, began with a patron hour. When the program began, JFS President Laurence Manshel spoke of Wainer’s legacy at JFS, and Executive Director Roselle Ungar spoke of the continued relevance of the TLC program. The program’s suicide prevention curriculum is conducted free of charge in approximately 40 public, private, parochial and charter schools per year; serving a diverse population of youth ages 12 to 18. During the 2015-2016 academic year, 2,704 students and 320 gatekeepers — adult, faculty, mental health professionals and parents — participated in TLC. Hundreds of students sought help for themselves or others. “Ellie takes no prisoners” in her passion for the program, Ungar said. She said Wainer has touched “thousands of lives over the years.” In a video presentation, volunteer Julie Schwartz marveled at Wainer’s persistence. “How did she get so many people to give so many hours over so many years?” she asked. After Manshel’s presentation to Wainer, she emphasized the dedication of the TLC volunteer educators who have sustained the program, and shared a personal story about suicide affecting her own family, which drew her to help teens in crisis.


Photos by Donna Matherne

Jewish Family Service President Laurence Manshel makes presentation to Ellie Wainer “Working with those kids was amazing,” she said. “Connecting with them to make sure they knew they had resources and people who cared about them, was the greatest reward.”



4 1: Wainer Family. 2: Marshall and Julie Wise Oreck, Lynne and Michael Wasserman. 3: Carol Wise, Bruce and Judge Miriam Waltzer. 4: Roselle Ungar, Julanne Isaacson, Ellie Wainer, Deena Gerber. 5: Rabbi Deborah Silver, Mara Force, Vivian Cahn, Lis Cahn. 6: Marjorie Bissinger, Sanford Pailet and Anne Gauthier. 7: David Radlauer and Julie Schwartz. 8: Alan Berger and Lisa Romano

6 7



July 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 47

48 Southern Jewish Life • July 2017

SJL New Orleans, July 2017  

July 2017 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community.

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