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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


September 2017 Volume 27 Issue 9

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 The stadium in Netanya, Israel, is lit in the colors of the Texas flag, in solidarity after Harvey. Photo courtesy Netanya Municipality and Netanya Foundation

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As we finish this issue of Southern Jewish Life, Texas is in the early stages of what anyone who remembers the levee failure in 2005 or last year’s floods in Baton Rouge knows will be a long recovery process. If there is any silver lining in the devastation that Harvey brought, it’s that it re-set — hopefully for more than a day or two — the narrative of who we are as a nation. It has been a difficult month. As an alumnus of the University of Virginia, it was especially painful to see a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis tromping through Mr. Jefferson’s hallowed Grounds, then rallying a couple of miles away in downtown Charlottesville the next day. Ever since, the narrative has been how polarized our nation is over what is seen as widening racial fault lines. But that is not where most people live. Most people live in the figurative Texas, if not the actual one. Most people live in a society where if there is a tragedy, a catastrophe, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. Your neighbors are on the way to help. They’re not checking ethnicities, religious backgrounds, gender preference. When the Cajun Navy reaches your street, does it matter if they voted for Clinton or Trump? Texas has reminded us that most people have learned lessons from the 1960s. While there is certainly a lot of work remaining, the idea that America is teeming with wide swaths of racists and anti-Semites simply does not resonate. When there are hate incidents, condemnation of the acts and demonstrations of solidarity are immediate and widespread. As we enter this new year, let us ask ourselves why a few hundred cranks carrying tiki torches have been allowed to send our 300 million person nation into such a panic, and why we have allowed them to set the national dialogue. We need to be celebrating the countless helpers who are rallying to the aid of fellow Americans, and starve the tiny band of haters from the publicity oxygen they crave. We need the media to reflect a little perspective: What is happening in Texas is the real America, not the haters who invaded our Charlottesville.


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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 3

letters to the editor Do not be afraid to demonstrate decency ing like an unchecked bacteria. His mouth is a reflection of a twisted mind bereft of any sense of decency. The only way to inoculate from this disease is to stand tall and proud. Unfortunately, the burden is falling to your generation in a way none of us could have predicted, even though his pre-election stances were obvious clues. Be proud, stand tall and do not be afraid to voice the strong principles of fairness and decency instilled in each of you. I love you all very much and I am saddened that you are witnesses to a My Dear Grandchildren, president who announces to the world and to We are living in an era that I thought you all each of us that he is a bigot and completely withwould never experience, and unfortunately, it’s out moral compass. here again in all its full-blown Trumpian disgust. His contempt for women, gays, Muslims, Jews, Maury Herman immigrants and African Americans is spreadNew Orleans I am 73 years old; a lifelong resident of New Orleans and a product of our public schools. I am proudly Jewish and my family’s activities both in our community and nationally have bridged all races and religions without regard to color, ethnicity and sexual preference. I have been silent but distressed about recent events, but with the advent of Charlottesville and the president’s remarks, I am alarmed. So I wrote the following to my eight grandchildren, ages 13 through 23.

Want Chanukah stamps this year? It might take effort Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are just a few weeks away. Chanukah is fast approaching. There will not be a new Hanukkah stamp this year. This means local post offices will not be getting Hanukkah stamps automatically. They will have to order them. If you want to buy Chanukah stamps this year, now is the time for you to go to your local

What do you think? Send your letters to, or mail to P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213

post office and ask to speak to the person who orders stamp supplies. Tell him or her to order Chanukah stamps now so they will have them in time for the holidays. The USPS will not issue new Hanukkah stamps every year claiming “There is a lack of demand.” I believe it is a lack of supply as well. We have to show them that there is a demand. Please, make sure your local post office orders a supply of Chanukah stamps now. I make sure my local post office and surrounding post offices have a supply, and I buy some in each of them. Ronald Scheiman The Quest for Annual Chanukah Stamps Boynton Beach, Fla.

September June 2017 2017

Southern Jewish Life 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.

4 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events

Photo by Alexander Barkoff

Over 250 attended a Multifaith Prayer Vigil and Speak Out Against White Supremacy and Anti-Semitism on Aug. 21 at Beth Israel in Metairie, organized by the East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association.

Uptown JCC nears expansion finish line As the facilities expansion project nears its conclusion at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans, the outdoor pools are being temporarily closed. Executive Director Leslie Fischman said that barring a delay from a hurricane, the fitness center should be completed within the second or third week of October. To open the outdoor pools by the first day of camp in early June, some projects were put on hold, such as the final surface on the pool deck, landscaping and some pool mechanical issues. To remedy them, the pools were being closed effective Sept. 11. In the interim, members can do lap swimming at the Metairie JCC pools from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays. “The new facility is going to be a very special place,” Fischman said. The Center Celebration, the JCC’s annual gala, will be held poolside on Nov. 11 as a way of celebrating the project’s conclusion.

Forward ranks Tulane high on list of best campuses for Jewish students According to the Forward’s first-ever college guide, Tulane ranks No. 6 nationally in a comparison of the best colleges for Jewish students. Two Forward staffers developed the formula to rank the schools, using almost 50 variables. The Forward site lists information about every ranked school, including academics, cost and other factors. The listings include scores on academics, Jewish life and Israel, such as Birthright trips, study abroad opportunities and the prevalence of BDS activitism on campus. Emory University placed first, while Vanderbilt University placed fifth. Tulane’s undergraduate Jewish student population is 2,250 out of a total enrollment of 6,662. Other ranked universities in the region included Duke (16), Rice (50), Texas (80), Florida (81), Florida State (93) Texas Christian (104), Georgia Tech (110), Georgia (129), Alabama (141), Southern Methodist (143), Houston (144), Tennessee (158), South Carolina (162), Texas A&M (164), Clemson (165) and Auburn (166). September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5



agenda Shir Chadash builds bigger sukkah

Shanah Tovah! Wishing you a happy and healthy new year.

Shir Chadash will dedicate its new, expanded sukkah with two events as Sukkot begins. The congregation also has been selling bricks for a Pathway to Joy, which will lead to the sukkah, and is planting a garden around the sukkah in memory of Faye Miller. On Oct. 4, there will be a sukkah opening with 6:45 p.m. services, cocktails and snacks. There will be a Sukkot dinner on Oct. 6 following the 6:15 p.m. service. Reservations are $25, $15 for children under age 10, free for under 3. The congregation is also asking members to send a photo and short bit of wisdom by Rosh Hashanah. The photos will be laminated and become the first decorations in the sukkah.

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Three years ago, Teresa Clark of Rogers, Ark., didn’t know what a sukkah was. Now, she has an inventive solution to easily hang fruit in the sukkah, and keep them there throughout the holiday. After experimenting with her husband’s fishing lures, she invented a reusable metal hook for hanging fruit, for pomanders she made. Shortly after that, her sister was in charge of a Sukkot display for a World Experience Day at the local school, and she discovered the role fruit plays in decorating a sukkah. “I realized that my pomander hooks could benefit not just me but a lot of people,” she said. Her fruit and pomander hanger is now available in a handful of New York area Judaica stores, and online at clarkridgecompany. com. A package of eight hooks is $2.99 plus shipping.


For many Americans, Curious George is just part of the magic of childhood. Few realize that his creators, Hans and Margret Rey, fled Paris on a bicycle in 1940, just ahead of the Nazi invasion. The new documentary “Monkey Business: The Adventures of Curious George’s Creators” details the mischievous monkey’s origins and how his backstory can be found between the lines in some of the books. Sam Waterston of “Law & Order” is the film’s narrator. The Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans will screen the film on Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m., followed by a question and answer session with director Ema Ryan Yamazaki. The event is free and open to the community.

Torah Academy tops preKatrina enrollment record On Aug. 25, 2005, Torah Academy of Greater New Orleans set an enrollment record as 62 students came through the doors on the first day of class. Four days later, Rabbi Yossie Nemes watched from his second-story window “as my home flooded and my city was washed away… our community was scattered, and many of the families never returned to this place they had once called home.” When the new Torah Academy in Metairie opened for the 2017-18 school year last month, the school finally surpassed its pre-storm high, and now has an enrollment of 68 students. The school was founded in 1993. After the storm damaged the building beyond repair, the school continued in what was termed “survival mode,” meeting at a couple of places nearby. In 2013, as construction began after significant bureaucratic delays with FEMA, the school had an enrollment of 19. Nemes said they had 23 students enrolled when the new building opened in the fall of 2014, and by the end of the 2015-16 school year, enrollment had doubled to 46. The school’s early childhood program starts at 6 weeks, and the school goes through eighth grade.

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 7

agenda Dates for the 12th annual Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival were announced. The festival will run from Jan. 10 to 14 at the Manship Theatre. At the annual Alpha Epsilon Pi convention held in Las Vegas in August, Tulane’s AEPi Tau Upsilon colony received the Lion’s Legacy in Official Philanthropy Award, which is the $1,000 to $4,999 category. What if you just want to hear the shofar? B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge has set up Dial A Shofar. Just call the congregation at (225) 343-0111 and dial extension 202. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have two free classes open to the community. Introduction to Judaism will be every Sunday from Sept. 17 through early 2018 at 9 a.m. It is open to anyone interested in exploring Judaism. Beginner Hebrew will meet Wednesdays from Oct. 11 to Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Contact Temple Sinai to register. Beth Israel in Metairie will have several community events for Sukkot. On Oct. 1 at 4 p.m., Pizza in the Hut will be a community sukkah build and decoration, with arts and crafts for children. On Oct. 6, there will be Shabbat dinner in the sukkah following the 7 p.m. service. Reservations are $18 for adults and $9 per child for members, $25 and $18 for non-members. On Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. there will be a Guy’s Night in the sukkah, with burgers, beer and blackjack, $18 suggested donation. On Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. there will be a Ladies Night in the sukkah, $18 suggested donation. For three decades, Touro Synagogue Rabbi Emeritus David Goldstein would deliver an open letter during the High Holy Days, on a topic of concern at the time, and who the letter would be addressed to was a source of speculation each year. He continues that tradition on Sept. 22 at the 6 p.m. service. A community Shabbat dinner follows. Torah Academy in Metairie will have a Wine and Chocolate Curriculum Event, to present the school’s curriculum and educational opportunities, on Sept. 12. The event will be in the Shapiro multi-purpose room, and starts at 4:30 p.m. because of the Federation event later in the evening. Babysitting is available at Chabad of Metairie for $5 per child. The Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge is working with the Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge on the Women’s Week celebration. On Oct. 6, B’nai Israel will host a Sukkot event, starting at 4 p.m. Events with St. Francis and the Islamic Center will be on Oct. 7. Sherri Tarr, chief operating officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, will speak on the Jews of Eastern Europe, at the Sept. 22 Gates of Prayer Shabbat service, at 8 p.m. She has traveled to the Jewish communities of Kharkov, Kiev and Odessa in Ukraine; Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Tbilisi, Georgia and Budapest. On Nov. 29, Eliana Levy will host a holiday party for residents of St. James Place in Baton Rouge, part of her major service project for an International Baccalaureate diploma. New or gently used picture frames are needed for the project and can be donated in the bin at Beth Shalom by Nov. 26. On Sept. 24, Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a Sunday Morning Health Program over a bagels and lox breakfast, with breakfast at 9:15 a.m. and the talk at 9:45 a.m. Michael Wasserman will speak about children’s health. After the program, there will be an opportunity to meet with Lexi Erdheim, the congregation’s new outreach coordinator. JewCCY, the Reform youth group in New Orleans, will have two High Holy Days programs. On Sept. 21 at 3:30, students in grades 6 to 12 will meet at Morning Call in City Park for tashlich and beignets. Cost is $5. On Sept. 30 at 2 p.m., they will meet in Audubon Park to discuss Yom Kippur and make pickles, to “pickle your sins away.” Touro Synagogue continues “In The Kitchen with Rabbi Silverman” on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m., with challah and honey cake. Space is limited. Reservations are free to members, $18 for non-members. The next Taste of Jewish Memphis weekend, which seeks to attract Jewish families to consider moving to Memphis, will be Oct. 20 to 22. The weekend includes Southern home hospitality and concludes with the annual ASBEE World Kosher BBQ Contest. More information is available through 8 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 9

back on campus

Tulane Hillel had over 600 attend the welcome back barbecue and block party on Aug. 30

Auburn Hillel had its annual welcome back bagel brunch at Beth Shalom on Aug. 27

Mississippi State Hillel was hosted by B’nai Israel in Columbus for a welcome back lunch on Aug. 27

Chabad at Tulane had its welcome back barbecue on Aug. 29

Chabad at LSU had its welcome back barbecue on Aug. 27

University of Alabama Hillel had its welcome back party on Aug. 27

10 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

Members of B’nai Israel in Florence staff a table with information about the congregation, at the University of North Alabama’s Big Deal

Harvey floods Texas communities


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

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

Rabbi Scott Hausman-Weiss of Sh’ma Koleinu in Houston is brought out of his neighborhood by boat

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While Jewish communities worldwide express concern about the flooding in Texas, for the New Orleans Jewish community, it’s personal. Seeing footage of flooded streets and people being rescued from rooftops by boat and helicopter brings back memories of 2005, when the levees broke and flooded New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, scattering the entire community for months. Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer in Metairie recalled that “in 2005 Houston was our primary refuge,” and “it is our turn to help.” On Aug. 30, representatives from the Greater New Orleans Jewish

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 11

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community agencies, organizations and synagogues met at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie to launch a Hurricane Harvey Relief task force, convened by new Jewish Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow. The Federation is serving as the clearinghouse to make sure all of the partners’ efforts are easily accessible. A webpage on the Federation’s site has been set up detailing the New Orleans response to the unprecedented flooding in Texas. After Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans Federation set up shop at Houston’s Jewish Federation for several months, coordinating the recovery until they could move back into their offices. The New Orleans Federation is partnering with the Jewish Federations of North America on fundraising efforts. After Katrina, JFNA’s efforts brought $29 million in aid to the Gulf Coast, with outreach to both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans made an initial donation of $50,000 to relief efforts for Houston. The New Orleans Federation’s web page has listings of what to donate, with drop off points at both Jewish Community Centers, Torah Academy and, for gift cards only, Jewish Family Service. The Jewish Community Day School and Torah Academy in Metairie are welcoming Texas students tuition-free for the rest of the school year. The Day School already has a Kindergarten student from Texas enrolled. The task force is also signing up “buddies” to serve as counselor/advisors, collecting volunteer information to help gut/muck houses, and collaborating with Second Harvest Food Bank’s efforts to get supplies into shelters through Texas and Louisiana. Chabad in New Orleans has been in contact with Chabad in Houston and numerous individual families.

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With as much as 50 inches of rain falling in a few days, effects from the widespread flooding in Texas will be felt for years, As damage assessments are still being made, at least 1,000 homes in the Jewish community are affected. Three congregations, the Jewish Community Center, a seniors facility and the community kollel had the worst damage. For many in the heavily-Jewish Meyerland area, this was the third flood since Memorial Day 2015. Other areas escaped damage. For example, Kenny and Ziggy’s Deli was able to keep serving throughout the storm. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston is reportedly planning a $30 million drive for renovations at community institutions. Meanwhile, communities in the region have been responding with


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donation drives, with most communities emphasizing the Jewish Federations of North America fundraiser. Volunteers are already flocking to the area. NECHAMA: Jewish Response to Disaster is on the ground in Texas, and expects to be there for at least six months. Last year, NECHAMA spent several months in Baton Rouge, following the flooding there. Chabad at LSU organized a group of volunteers, while others from New Orleans have traveled to Houston as well. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge was organizing a Sept. 10 relief visit to Beaumont. In Birmingham, the Levite Jewish Community Center and Temple Beth-El were collection points for goods that were sent to the JCC in Houston. Day Star Construction donated a supply of buckets, bleach and other items to help clean out houses, and there was a large supply of air Alexis Marah Marshall and Emily Ritchart mattresses that had been were part of a Chabad at LSU volunteer collected for the Maccabi effort in Houston. Chabad at Rice Games. University hosted a dinner for about 150 The truck arrived in volunteers from numerous universities. Houston on Sept. 2. Birmingham native Rene Shapiro said she was at the Houston JCC when it arrived and “it warmed my heart to get a truck from Birmingham!” Edye Mayers, president of Temple Shalom in Lafayette, said her daughter, Marcy, was flooded for the third time in three years — but had “only” 12 inches of water while many fellow Sh’ma Koleinu congregants had water up to the roof.

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Israel trip deepens collaboration for New Orleans emergency response experts If the December 2013 New Orleans/Israel Partnership on Emergency Response and Medicine event in New Orleans demonstrated that New Orleans and Israel could learn from each other about emergency preparedness, last month’s visit to Israel by 10 doctors, nurses, administrators and paramedics from the New Orleans area continued the collaboration. The trip was launched by Ben Swig, who already demonstrated that the spirit of innovation in Israel can be adapted in New Orleans. “I knew there was an opportunity for New Orleans and the emergency management community to learn from Israel,” the co-founder of Ready Responders said, so he approached Jeff Elder, director of New Orleans Emergency Medical Services. “I asked him if there was an opportunity to learn more,” so they assembled the trip, facilitated by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. The trip focused on expertise in dealing with catastrophic events, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. Swig is already adapting emergency response practices from Israel. In March, he and co-founder Justin Dangel won the Big Idea competition at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. In a visit to Israel, Dangel saw a system that dramatically cut emergency response time. When someone calls for an ambulance, trained first responders in closer proximity are alerted through an app and arrive on scene before an ambulance can get there. Ready Responders estimates the startup will save 200 to 300 lives per year, and after its rollout in New Orleans, can be replicated in other parts of the country. Before the trip, they asked participants what they wanted to learn, and what gaps they perceived in the city’s capabilities. “The Jewish Agency was able to help bridge those gaps” through setting up connections, Swig said.

14 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

community Elder said the trip was a “tremendous opportunity for New Orleans EMS and city medical leaders to learn about mass casualty incidents and emergency preparedness.” The trip was organized under the framework of Partnership2Gether, the Jewish Agency program that has paired New Orleans with Rosh Ha’Ayin. Other partnership efforts have brought New Orleans chefs and musicians to Rosh Ha’Ayin. Participants included Dr. James Aiken of LSUHSC; Dr. Ryan Bird, Ronnie Landry and Eileen Smith of Touro Infirmary; Captain Adam Brickeen, Dr. Jeff Elder and Cedric Palmisano of New Orleans EMS; Michael Guillot of East Jefferson General Hospital; Benjamin Swig of Ready Responders and Dr. Christopher Voigt of Ochsner. After arriving in Israel, there was a welcome reception in Rosh Ha’Ayin. The first full day was spent at Sheba Medical Center, learning about Israel’s medical system, and visiting the Medical Simulation Center and the underground emergency room. The next day focused on Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical service. Led by Guy Caspi, Mass Casualty Incident chief instructor and director of the HAZMAT exercises and operational training department, delegates learned about MDA’s organizational concept and resources, as well as MCI preparedness, Israeli’s coordinated dispatch system, national blood services and the MDA national mobile command center. Caspi was a participant in the Israeli delegation that visited New Orleans in 2013. Most delegates spent another day at MDA regional stations throughout the country, doing ambulance ride-alongs. Elder, Voigt and Aiken spent the day shadowing the emergency department at Sheba. That evening, they had dinner at the home of Nachman Ash, former Israeli Surgeon General, then had a talk from Arnon Afek, deputy director general of the Israel Ministry of Health. Both were participants in the 2013 trip. The group also spent a day in Haifa at Carmel Hospital, observing a mass casualty incident drill, then unwinding with a tour of the city. There were also opportunities to tour different areas of Israel. The group also found something from home — an old MRI trailer with the logo of the Louisiana State University health care services division on it, “just hiding out in Tel Aviv like nobody would notice,” Elder said. Going forward, Swig sees more opportunities for innovation, discussions and exchanges between New Orleans and Israel. “Israel is a very entrepreneurial, innovative country, and New Orleans has a blossoming startup community” with a willingness to be innovative, Swig said. New Orleans can be “a laboratory for positive change,” he added.

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Jewish Community Day School students view the eclipse from Metairie

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16 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

Viewing the eclipse through a Jewish lens Just a week and a half after Ramah Darom, the Conservative movement’s summer camp in north Georgia, finished its summer session, many campers and their families made their way back. The camp was in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21, so a year ago, the camp started planning a weekend that would culminate in the eclipse. Rabun County was the only place in Georgia that was on the path of totality, and it was estimated that tens of thousands would crowd the Clayton area to view the event, one that had not occurred in the United States since 1979. Those at Ramah Darom were oblivious to the crowds — at least, until trying to get home later that day. Over 100 showed up on Aug. 18 for a “solar Shabbaton,” with more arriving on Aug.

20 for camp-style activities and discussions, and others making the day trip on Aug. 21. Also enjoying the camp facilities were 200 students from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, which held a team-building retreat over two days, ending in an eclipse viewing. A group from the Atlanta Jewish Academy also spent the day at Ramah Darom. The Atlanta-based duo Sunmoon Pie provided music for much of the weekend. Michael Levine, formerly of Birmingham, remarked that they were the most appropriate choice, as their logo is “an eclipse with a Chai.” Emily Kaiman, Ramah Darom’s program coordinator, said the idea was to have a weekend of exploring science and Jewish thought. “There’s a lot of overlap that we don’t often talk about.” Learning sessions included ancient interpretations of the significance of eclipses, whether one is supposed to create a blessing for an eclipse, views of eclipses in different faith traditions, and exploring the solar system through Midrash. There were also sessions on the physics of eclipses and what to expect during an eclipse. Kaiman said “a solar eclipse could be a spiritual event, and we wanted to bolster that excitement and enhance the event.” Craft sessions included making galaxy challah covers, ultraviolet bead bracelets, solar cupcakes and solar challah. Archery, yoga and nature walks were also part of the weekend. The actual viewing was on the softball field, with a barbecue that included eclipse cookies. There were telescopes set up and eclipse glasses distributed. Morris Cohen, an electrical engineering professor at Georgia Tech, led some of the scientific sessions. As the partial eclipse began, he and a team of students assembled a weather balloon and attached a cooler filled with scientific equipment and a 360-degree camera, launching it 100,000 feet into the atmosphere to gather Inside the box thinking: Barry Ripps of Pensacola data. The probe was designed to land “somewhere within 10 miles” afterward. shows another way the eclipse can be viewed

community Though it had been a wet summer, the weekend was mostly clear. Some clouds began to thicken mid-day, but when totality began at 2:37 p.m., there was a break in the clouds, enabling a view of the total eclipse. After a shehecheyanu and viewing the two and one-half minutes of totality in silence, cheers broke out as the sun peeked out from the other side, then it was time to pack up and fight traffic. The eclipse was also an educational moment at schools in the region. Jewish Community Day School in Metairie had informational sessions on the eclipse, then the students went out to Bart Field to put on their glasses and view the phenomenon. Teachers at Metairie’s Torah Academy did hands-on projects and taught about “astronomy and the workings of G-d’s beautiful universe,” then students watched the big screen in the library, viewing footage from the eclipse nationwide. At Birmingham’s N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, the first STEAM experience of the year centered on the eclipse. Third and fourth graders wrote mythology-style stories about natural phenomena, the fifth grade created props to teach about eclipses, and the seventh and eighth graders produced video presentations. Just before viewing the eclipse, they learned about Rosh Chodesh — as total eclipses are always on the New Moon. They learned about the lunar calendar and used Oreos to view the stages of the moon. The next total eclipse in the U.S. will go from Texas to Maine in April 2024.

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Students at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School learn the mechanics of eclipses

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 17


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The Hilltop Arboretum at Louisiana State University reverberated with sounds of celebration on Aug. 20 as Chabad of Baton Rouge dedicated a Torah. The scroll, written before World War II in Eastern Europe, was purchased in New York for Chabad by Tere Vives of New Orleans. Rabbi Peretz Kazen from Chabad of Baton Rouge said the donation was inspired by events in her life, and she felt it would be “a great next step” for Chabad of Baton Rouge, which was established two years ago. “To be able to have a Torah used the way it should be is truly an honor for us and our community,” Kazen said. “G-d willing we will use it for many Shabbat and Yom Tov services as well as simchas in the community.” The scroll was checked and repaired, including a pass through a scanner where specialized software read the text. New handles were also fashioned for the scroll. During World War II, the scroll was hidden, and then wound up in Israel, where it was placed in storage. It eventually made its way to the United States. A song by Abie Rotenberg, “The Place Where I Belong,” was used as the setting for a video presentation, detailing the setting of where the scroll came from. At the ceremony, local woodworker Leo Kukuy lifted the scroll and Cary Mack dressed it in a deep red cover. Kukuy created the ark that will house the Torah.

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• 18 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

Tere Vives kisses the Torah as Leo Kukuy holds the scroll at the Chabad of Baton Rouge dedication ceremony on Aug. 20


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“As good a Games as you get” For athletes, coaches, host families and volunteers, Birmingham’s Maccabi Games were one to remember As the sun began to set on Aug. 3, Layne Held, co-chair of the JCC Maccabi Games in Birmingham, stood on the outdoor track at the Levite Jewish Community Center, holding a water bottle and watching hundreds of athletes enjoying dinner and the closing ceremonies of the 2017 Games. Taking it all in, he finally said “look around. This is what it is all about… I’m kind of speechless.” And why not? Birmingham had just pulled off a successful Maccabi Games, the second-smallest Jewish community to ever attempt it. According to many long-time Maccabi coaches and delegation heads, “successful” barely begins to encapsulate the experience. About 900 athletes from across the United States, Israel and Ukraine attended the games, which began with an opening ceremony on July 30 at Bartow Arena. Competitions in 10 sports

took place from July 31 to Aug. 3 at venues across the city. Robert Kiewe, who has overseen two Maccabi Games at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, N.J. and has “been to more than my share of games,” said Birmingham “launched this out of the ballpark.” “This is as good a games as you get,” said Alan Goldberg, senior vice president of operations for the Jewish Community Centers Association, which coordinates the JCC Maccabi Games nationally. “These are among the best games I’ve seen, and I’ve been around,” he said. Steven Weisbrot from JCC On the Hudson in New York, who said this was his 25th Maccabi Games, said “this is a great set of Games,” and was “extremely well organized.” For Ethan Roseman of San Diego, this was the first Games on the adult side, rather than as an athlete. “It’s great seeing how the entire city came together” to put on the games, and give

the athletes a chance to experience a place they otherwise might not have visited. Richard Frankoff of Las Vegas, who has been going to Maccabi Games for 20 years, said the Birmingham games had “the right tone, the right message, the right experience for the kids.” Jed Margolis, executive director of Maccabi USA, said he just returned to the U.S. after being at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel with the 1,100 U.S. athletes that were part of an event with 10,000 Jewish athletes representing 80 countries. Two weeks earlier, Margolis said, all eyes were on Jerusalem. As the Maccabi Games began, he said “all eyes are on Birmingham.” In his eyes, the Birmingham games were “a huge hit.” There was universal praise for the community’s “Southern hospitality,” with many saying it wasn’t a surprise. Kiewe said the facilities were “terrific,” the McWane Center was a great choice for the Aug. 2 street party and he was amazed that organizers were able to get the city to close 19th Street for the evening. Rave reviews came in for the organizers and the volunteers, and how well-run the games were. At the closing ceremony, Held looked around at all of the athletes, host families and volunteers, and said “this could not happen without everybody here. That’s what makes this so special.” Roseman echoed that, saying “to put on this, it takes a whole community. An event like this doesn’t happen just because a few people get behind it.” He said the week “shows the commitment and passion of this community.” Aside from the opening ceremony’s MatisyaTeam Alabama volleyball, including six teens from Vinnytsia, Ukraine

20 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

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hu controversy, where the singer pushed three teens who were onstage, including shoving the daughter of Rabbi Barry Leff off the stage into the crowd, Goldberg said “I didn’t hear issues with anything.” Maccabi fever even extended to areas one might not have imagined, and it was noticed. Many mentioned how the police officers providing heavy security for the Games were actively participating while maintaining their professionalism. At the street party, one of the officers tried his hand at juggling. Others took part in pin trading, and when a Houston athlete missed the bus to a venue, he was given a ride in one of the police cars. Kiewe said it was “the most engaged security detail, and they seemed like they enjoyed doing it.” At the closing ceremony, as the athletes made their way through the parking lot, they were thanking the officers. Goldberg said a “unique and different” highlight was having the civil rights focus on Aug. 1 for JCC Cares Day. The teens divided into three groups and rotated among the Civil Rights Institute, Kelly Ingram Park and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Weisbrot said the speakers were eloquent and the experience was “unbelievable.” Reflecting on the week, co-chair Bruce Sokol reflected, “I loved every second of it.” At the opening reception Sokol took credit for arranging the incredible weather, but Roseman said the San Diego delegation had brought their weather to Birmingham for the week. The only hitch in an otherwise wet summer was a downpour at Birmingham-Southern that delayed soccer finals on Aug. 3, and a shower at the LJCC that hit moments later, just before the closing ceremony. River Bend, a band comprised of students from Mountain Brook High School, started off the evening’s entertainment, while the athletes dined on grilled chicken and rode several carnival rides that were set up on the soccer field. There was also a “silent disco” and henna tattoos. The evening closed with fireworks and the passing of the torch to Orange Beach, Calif., site of the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games. Betzy Lynch, executive director of the LJCC, presented miniatures of the Maccabi cauldron to the co-chairs, and told the crowd “we hope you loved Birmingham.” The Monday after the Games concluded was Lynch’s final day at the LJCC, as she becomes the new CEO of the San Diego JCC. Roseman said that when people found out he was part of the San Diego delegation, they expressed an assumption that San Diego will be hosting the Games soon. He responded, “after doing these Games, I think she’ll want to take a break for a couple of years.”

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 21

At Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, bombing survivor Caroline McKinstry spoke about the similarities between Nuremberg and Jim Crow laws

Learning about Tisha B’Av in a church Maccabi JCC Cares Day an exploration of civil rights and consequences of baseless hate

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Every year, athletes attending the JCC Maccabi Games do a “JCC Cares” social action project in the host city. Naturally, Birmingham decided to do it a bit different. For the first time, the Games were held during a week that included Tisha B’Av. The day commemorates the destruction of the two ancient Temples in Jerusalem, and a wide range of calamities befalling the Jewish people are attributed to that day. It is observed as a day of fasting and mourning. Because tradition says that the Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred within the Jewish people, the athletes were exposed to lessons about baseless hatred through the history of Birmingham’s civil rights struggles of the 1960s. The teens were divided into numerous groups and rotated among the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and Kelly Ingram Park, “a place of revolution and reconciliation.” Maccabi Games Co-Chair Bruce Sokol explained, “I was 19 and in Birmingham on the day of the Sixteenth Street church bombing and I wanted our young visitors to leave with a history of the Civil Rights struggles and its huge impact on all citizens in Birmingham.” In the park, Joel Rotenstreich sat under a canopy next to the Anne Frank tree, which was modeled after the tree outside the window of the warehouse where Frank and her family were hiding during the Holocaust. Rotenstreich headed the effort to have the tree planted at the park, which contains numerous sculptures marking events that happened there during the 1963 demonstrations. At the church, the teens heard from Carolyn McKinstry, who was in the church on Sept. 15, 1963, when a Klan bomb went off just before services, killing four girls who were her friends. McKinstry told the teens that terrorism didn’t start with Sept. 11, “for us it was a way of life” in the 1950s and 1960s as the Klan used violence and intimidation to deter civil rights activists. She described how every so often, there would be a boom in the distance, and it would not take long for the phone to ring with the news of whose house had been bombed. She also read excerpts from the Nuremberg Laws, which imposed restrictions on Jews in Nazi Germany, then compared them to parts of the Birmingham code during Jim Crow. She noted that Germany had sent a delegation to study Jim Crow laws and patterned Nuremberg Laws on them. “Remembering is a moral statement,” she said. “Remembering allows us to see what justice really looks like.” She charged the athletes with being vigilant as individuals when they

maccabi games see hatred, and asked “what will you do with this memory” of being in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. David Ackerman, director of the Jewish Community Centers Association’s Mandel Center for Jewish Education, spoke after McKinstry, tying the 1963 bombing to the lessons of Tisha B’Av — that the ancient Temple was destroyed by hatred without cause among the people, and because people hid behind the law to do the minimum instead of doing more than expected. “Unfortunately, all you have to do is open a newspaper to recognize that the things that led to the destruction of the Temple and that led to the bombing of this church are still alive today,” Ackerman said. Ackerman said Tisha B’Av is observed as “something that happened to us,” to “feel the past” in order to “understand what to do in the present.” He noted that “hatred without cause” was seen by the ancient rabbis as equivalent to violating all of the laws in the Torah. Also as part of JCC Cares day, the athletes packaged school supplies that had been collected locally and by the various delegations, for donation to Birmingham city schools. Ackerman said the philosophy behind JCC Cares is that the teens are learning what it means to be part of a team, which is really about learning to be part of a community. Alan Goldberg, senior vice president of operations for JCCA, said the day was “an opportunity for participants to enhance their experiences by taking part of a day out of their competition schedule to learn about Jewish values, by experiencing them first hand.” And in the case of Birmingham, it was “a lesson in not just Jewish, but human values” and “shared history.”

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 23

More than the medals

Sportsmanship, lessons of Jewish values give special moments to Games

While the JCC Maccabi Games are a sports competition on the surface, the experience goes much deeper. “You win a medal, that’s great,” said Bruce Sokol, who co-chaired the Birmingham games. “But it’s much bigger than that, and they’ll realize it later.” In addition to the gold, silver and bronze medals, there were also Midot medals, given to those who exhibit exceptional sportsmanship during the games. Hilton Berger wandered the Crossplex with a supply of Midot medals, waiting for opportunities to present them. One of the medals went to David Eydelzon of Dallas, one of the faster swimmers on the Dallas Ben from Team Carolina, pictured in front with the blue team. He was left off the relay team and was dissleeves, had one of the memorable moments of the appointed, but Berger said he shook it off “and Birmingham Maccabi Games. supported his team.” Gregg Buchholz, coach of the Dallas team, said Eydel- overwhelmed.” She added, “truly, this is what the zon earned the Midot medal, “being one of the fastest games are about… I can’t even express what this swimmers at the meet and helping out one of the slower moment means to our family.” The connection between the two teams deepones.” “The sportsmanship that goes on at the pool is ened on the way home as the Las Vegas team’s mind-blowing,” Robin Berger said. “The kids are so flights were delayed in Denver, so many of the Denver athletes invited their Las Vegas countersupportive of each other.” Some of the games’ sportsmanship moments were parts to their homes for the night. During one of the basketball games, Team Boca widely shared on social media and even made it to newsRaton was determined to make sure everyone was casts in their respective hometowns. able to score — including Alex Gabriel Hafter, a member of the Las Marshall, who took to the court Vegas team, had one of the games’ viral with a green cast on his right foot. moments as video of his brief appearThree days before leaving for Birance on the basketball court became a mingham, Marshall found out he social media sensation. had a fracture and would be unBorn with Treacher Collins synable to compete. drome, Hafter has a soft bone strucComing out of a timeout, Marture in his face and, after 15 surgershall made his way under the basies, is unable to play contact sports ket, received a long pass and made because of injury concerns, but practices with the team and attends every an uncontested layup as both teams headed to that end of the court. Adam Marshall said it “shows the game. Down by 12 in the fourth quarter, Las Vegas true definition of class and sportsmanship by evcoach Adam Greenburg subbed to let Hafter in eryone involved in the games.” Another moment that was widely shared came the game, having arranged with Denver’s coach to not have any player touch him. Hafter was in the closing moments of another basketball loosely guarded as he brought the ball up the game, involving the joint Tucson, Carolina, Cencourt, then stopped behind the three-point line tral Florida and San Jose team. In the final minute, Ben, a Carolina team members with vision issues, and pulled up to shoot. was subbed in. He missed a long three-pointer, but Nothing but net. As the moment sank in, players from both whoever got the rebound — from either team — continued to feed him the ball, until he hit the shot teams celebrated. His mother, Jackie Hafter, said Gabriel was as the final buzzer went off. Alan Goldberg, senior vice president of opera“overwhelmed with the support that he got from the opposing team, but even more amaz- tions for the Jewish Community Centers Associing, is the other athletes have come up to him ation, said after the ball made it through the net, “they were charging on the court like he had just commenting on a great shot.” She and her husband have watched the video won the championship.” Goldberg also mentioned a story that took place “so many times, and each time I am emotionally

You win a medal, that’s great… but it’s much bigger than that

24 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

maccabi games at the Civil Rights Institute during the JCC Cares day. One delegation had an athlete who was born in Haiti and adopted at birth. “He was having a particularly difficult time in the Civil Rights Institute, so other athletes from his community went through it with him,” he said. A docent took note of the situation and spent half an hour talking with him about what it is like to be different. The Maccabi Games guidelines for host cities dictate that the athletes are in home hospitality situations rather than a hotel or dorm. Sokol said he hosted four 13-year-old girls — two from Dallas and two from Cherry Hill. They went out for a late dinner following the opening ceremonies, where the pairs weren’t interacting much. The next morning, after hearing voices upstairs until very late, the girls came down for breakfast declaring the four were best friends. “That’s what it’s all about,” Sokol said. He added that the Dallas girls told him that Birmingham is the friendliest place, and for him hearing something like that “is the reason for doing this.” Sometimes, connections are made through Jewish geography. Blake Myers of Houston was one of eight boys staying with Mindy and Gary Cohen. Over the course of conversation, they discovered that Myers’ mother, Lisa, was next door neighbors with Gary Cohen in Cherry Hill, N.J.

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Athletes host families

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 25

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The Birmingham 16U basketball team took the bronze medal

Silver for NOLA soccer, bronze for B’ham hoops As the home team, Team Alabama had 75 athletes, including some from other communities around the state. New Orleans brought a delegation of four athletes to the games, and both delegations brought home some hardware. In the blue 16U division of boys’ basketball, Birmingham earned the bronze medal, defeating Denver, 73-55, after dropping a thriller in the semifinal to eventual silver medalist Cleveland White, 57-55. Birmingham had opened with a win over Cleveland White, 66-57, then lost to Hudson, 57-35. Birmingham then beat Baltimore White, 67-48; lost to Tucson/San Jose/Central Florida/ Carolina, 69-56; and beat San Diego/Minnesota/Los Angeles, 63-37. Birmingham was winless in girls’ basketball, falling to Atlanta in the opener, 48-10; Denver/ Memphis/Phoenix, 30-6; Dallas/Houston 379; and Israel, 47-23. In the knockout round, Birmingham was bounced by the joint Denver team, 31-5. In boys’ basketball 14U, Birmingham opened with a win over Louisville, 54-29, then lost to Los Angeles Westside, 48-24. Birmingham dropped its remaining three games, to Baltimore/Phoenix/Memphis, 53-21; Atlanta, 57-22; and Carolina/Central Florida/San Jose, 42-33. In boys’ soccer 16U, Eli Jaffe and Ethan Katz of New Orleans were teamed with delegations from Dallas, Las Vegas and Tucson, and won the silver medal. Jaffe broke his arm in one of the early soccer matches and was sidelined for the rest of the tournament. In the opening game, they were blanked by Denver/Phoenix/Carolina/St. Louis/Minnesota, 4-0, the team that would also defeat in the gold medal match, 2-1. The joint New Orleans team beat South Jersey, 1-0; San Diego, 4-0; and Birmingham 8-1. Birmingham opened with a loss to Houston, 10-2; to the Denver/Phoenix/Carolina/St. Lou-

is/Minnesota, 8-1; to South Jersey, 8-1; and to the joint New Orleans team. In girls’ soccer, the joint St. Louis, Phoenix and New Orleans team, with New Orleans’ Gia Entrekin, beat San Diego/Birmingham/Memphis 5-1 to open the tournament. The home team would go winless, losing to Dallas, 5-1; tying Greater Washington/Denver/Las Vegas 2-2; losing to Atlanta 8-0 and losing to Dallas 7-0. The joint New Orleans team lost to Washington/Denver/Las Vegas, 7-3 and 3-0; Atlanta, 1-0; and Chicago/Cleveland/Boca/San Jose, 5-2. The soccer matches were held at Birmingham-Southern College on Preston Goldfarb Field, named for the now-retired longtime Birmingham-Southern soccer coach who earlier in July led the U.S. national soccer team to their second consecutive gold medal at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Ethan Katz and Eli Jaffe of New Orleans were part of a multi-city soccer team that won silver

maccabi games Birmingham was matched with Central Florida and Memphis in flag football, but would go winless, losing to Atlanta, 49-10; Phoenix, 4714; Dallas, 47-6; Denver, 33-26; and again to silver medalist Phoenix 41-6. Dallas took the gold. In volleyball, Birmingham lost to Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas/Greater Washington, and Minnesota/Phoenix/Tucson. In tennis, New Orleans’ Caroline Koppel signed up in the U16 recreational division, but was placed in the competitive division. Despite that, “she played great,” delegation head J. Morgan said, and would have likely played for gold in the recreational division. She lost in the bronze medal match after beating Dara Grocer, 8-6, Lindy Feintuch, 8-0 and Hayley Rosenberg, 8-1. She lost to Victoria Epshetyon, 8-0. Five Birmingham athletes competed in tennis. In 16U girls, Selma Fereres beat Sydney Siegel, 8-4, Gali Leytman, 8-0, Claire Strimling, 8- and Rachel Nimtz, 8-0. In 16U, Abe Lebowitz lost to Eli Cowan, 8-6, defeated Micah Zimmerman, 8-0, and Cole Garza, 8-3, and lost to Jacob Kagnof, 8-0. Zachary Lewis defeated Adam Slowsky, 8-0, Josh Kamisky, 9-7, Avi Shai Moses, 8-2, and David Saland, 8-4. In 14U recreational, Noah Hagedorn lost to Darren Rosing, 8-0, Joshua Dubler, 8-0, Adam Arkin, 8-0, and Evan Elster, 8-0. In 14U competitive, David Mazur lost to Steven Keller, 8-0, Jordan Elster, 8-0, beat Jack Entes, 8-4, and lost to Eli Hirshberg, 8-0. In swimming, Birmingham’s Micah Levine placed ninth in 13-14 50-yard free, fourth in 200-yard and 100-yard breaststroke, fifth in 50-yard breaststroke, sixth in 100-yard back, seventh in 50-yard back, eighth in 50-yard fly. Adison Berger received four medals in the 200- and 400-yard free and IM relays, earning a gold, a silver and two bronze. Individually, she was sixth in 15-16 50-yard and 100-yard free, sixth in 200-yard free, fifth in 100-yard back, fifth in 50-yard back. Birmingham and New Orleans did not compete in baseball. Results in dance, golf and track were unavailable.

It wasn’t typical-August-in-Birmingham hot, but it was still pretty warm

September 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 27

Sister city teens round out the home team Rosh Ha’Ayin,Vinnytsia athletes have “unforgettable” experience

Anyone from other parts of the country who are unfamiliar with how folks talk in the South were probably perplexed when they heard some members of Team Alabama. In addition to dozens of teens from Birmingham and other communities in the state, the home team included delegations from Birmingham’s sister cities in Israel and Ukraine, coordinated by Sheri Krell with the Birmingham The Birmingham/Rosh Ha’Ayin dancers took bronze in Israeli dance Sister Cities Commission. Birmingham’s Jewish community established a relationship with Rosh Games, then started raising funds to help make that possible. Four dancers were selected to make the trip and join Halpern, Talia Ha’Ayin through Project Renewal in 1982, and the sister city relationship was formalized in 2005. Vinnytsia became Birmingham’s sister city in Fleisig and Maya Cutter from Costa Rica on Birmingham’s dance team. They won a bronze medal in Israeli dance. Ukraine in 2003. Maureen Halpern said Hannah’s experience over the last two years “has Rosh Ha’Ayin’s delegation included five basketball players and four dancers, while Vinnytsia brought six soccer players and six volleyball been life changing for her.” Julia Korsun said the Ukraine teens have been sharing their “unforplayers. After returning to Rosh Ha’Ayin following the games, the basketball gettable” experience with family and friends. “Each game and each new participants got together to discuss the experience. Monica Levy, chap- acquaintance brought them only positive emotions and joy,” she said. They waved a large Ukraine flag and a Vinnytsia flag at the opening erone for the delegation, said it was impossible to keep track of who said what, because the moment one of them said something, everyone else ceremony as they filed into the area reserved for Team Alabama, and the Ukraine anthem was played over the sound system. chimed in, agreeing. Korsun said the teens never expressed any sense of being homesick, “It was really fun playing for Birmingham and representing them,” one said. “It made the sister city connection feel very strong.” But while saying “our home is Alabama.” Having so many Ukraine players on the Birmingham soccer team was they expressed pride at marching under the Birmingham banner at the opening ceremony, they were especially proud to hear Hatikvah, Israel’s something unexpected for another Team Alabama member from outside the state. national anthem, sung at Bartow Arena. Jake Davidson of Meridian signed up for the games after his mother While Rosh Ha’Ayin’s Yemenite cuisine is always a highlight for visitors from America, the Rosh Ha’Ayin teens raved about the food at the games. told him about them. While some communities have teams that practice They also liked the chance to practice their English, meet teens from all over together regularly, he met his teammates as the games began. “I had no the U.S., and discover the similarities between Israeli and American teens. time to form any relationships in the first game, but after the first game For Hannah Halpern, having four members of Rosh Ha’Ayin’s Shubeli- we all sat down and began to slowly communicate,” he said, though there yot Dance Troupe stay at her home, along with their dance instructor, was was a large language barrier. He said Birmingham’s Ilan Goldfarb helped them coordinate plays, the culmination of a dream. A lifelong dancer, her Bat Mitzvah project had been to raise money for the troupe, which she presented during a though that didn’t keep the home team from going winless in the tourvisit to Israel. She urged them to come to Birmingham for the Maccabi nament. Davidson’s perspective changed when he realized that for the Ukrainians, this was less about wins and losses and more about the opportunity to visit America and experience the Maccabi Games with Jews from around the world. He said he is thankful that he does not have to deal with issues the Ukraine teens face in their country. The day after the games ended, the sister city teens went to Birmingham City Hall for a meeting with Mayor William Bell. During their stay, Krell also coordinated visits to Splash Adventure, Railroad Park, Sloss Furnace, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, The Summit and several noted restaurants. The delegations expressed thanks to the organizers and their host families. “This was an experience of a lifetime,” Levy said. The athletes “made many new friends and the impact of this trip will be long lasting.” Korson said “all of us had an unforgettable experience and memories which we will take through all our life, and we’ll always be thankful to all the people who have given us such a great opportunity.” Twelve athletes visited from Vinnytsia, Ukraine 28 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017


An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans



September 2017| Elul 5777/5778

A LETTER FROM OUR NEW CEO Dear friends, Susan, our family, and I are thrilled to be back home here in New Orleans. We’ve missed this community since the moment we left, and are excited to return to be a part of the fabric of Jewish New Orleans. I’m even more eager to take the helm of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, which has played a vital role in fundraising and advocacy for our Jewish community for more than a century. Tremendous opportunities lie ahead for both Federation and the Greater New Orleans Jewish community. I wanted to reach out and outline some of my philosophical goals as your new CEO. First, I hope to cultivate true partnerships with our agencies, synagogues and all Jewish New Orleanians—it’s my intention that the Federation will be seen as a helper in our partners’ good work, both here in the city, in Israel, and around the world. I also want to reach out to the wider community to develop branding that will build impactful relationships with other non-profit organizations and partners here in New Orleans. It’s critical to maintain our traditional Jewish values, but broader outreach lends itself to better dialogue, cross-cultural education, and hopefully, financial benefit. I think it’s time to make the Federation family tent deeper and wider – to make it reflect the diversity of our population, and to weave ourselves further into the eclectic tapestry of Greater New Orleans. Federation has long played a historical and impactful civic role, and it is my hope that the “Federation story,” and all we do for both Jewish and non-Jewish New Orleans, can be told. We have much to celebrate and share in the coming months, from the City of New Orleans’ tricentennial to the 70th anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. Let’s do it together—it’s a new day, and I can’t wait!* Best,

*P.S. Maybe this new day will even bring New Orleans a second Lombardi trophy!

Shana Tovah, New Orleans! The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans wishes you a sweet and beautiful 5778.

S y r o r i r a e t e S

Starry Soiree, the 104th Annual Meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, was held Tuesday, September 12 at the Audubon Tea Room. The Federation celebrated the success of the 2017 Annual Campaign, thanking co-chairs, Kathy Shepard and Maury Herman, and held its annual election, welcoming incoming President, Henry Miller. The event also introduced incoming CEO, Arnie Fielkow. This festive, kosher dinner likewise honored all of the 2017 Federation award winners. The event was sold out, with more than 300 attendees—we look forward to sharing highlights with you soon.

Thank you to Our Generous Sponsors

FEDERATION LAUNCHES 2018 ALLOCATIONS PROCESS AND STRATEGIC IMPACT FUND A percentage of annual campaign funds of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans are designated for grants to Beneficiary Agencies, and all Jewish agencies and organizations are invited to submit applications to receive funding (synagogues and other places of worship are not eligible to apply). When considering allocation requests, the Allocations Committee will take into account the impact the particular organization has on the local Jewish community, the need for funding and projected local benefit. Please note that preference will be made for local organizations. The Allocations Committee will accept electronic and/ or paper applications until Friday, September 15, 2017. Questions? Please contact Deni Hirsh at 504-780-5612 or at

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is pleased to announce the 2nd round of programming grants through its Strategic Impact Fund. $25,000 total is available, and all Jewish organizations in the Greater New Orleans area (agencies, synagogues and other community organizations) are invited to apply for grant funding up to $5,000 for programming that addresses one or more of the community priorities listed on the application. There are some programming restrictions, so please review the application carefully before applying. For more information, please contact Deni Hirsh at 504-780-5612 or Applications and supporting materials are due no later than 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 15.


We know all too well the pain and shock of disaster, and as Jews, we believe in tikkun olam - that it is our responsibility to help repair the world. Recovery will take years for those in storm-ravaged parts of Texas and Louisiana, and as a community, we pledge to stand with those who need our help. On August 30, representatives from our Greater New Orleans Jewish community agencies, organizations, and synagogues met at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus to launch a Hurricane Harvey Relief task force. The Jewish Federation is serving as a clearinghouse to make sure all of our community partners’ efforts are easily accessible to you. From supply drives to volunteer organization - and to monetary support for those impacted across Texas and Louisiana - we’ve created a webpage to help you find meaningful ways to offer help: We’ll also be posting frequent updates on our social media timelines on both Facebook and Twitter. It’s our hope that not only will we be able to share information with you, our community, but with everyone across the region looking for assistance and outreach in the wake of the storm. We’re here to help those in the path of Harvey. The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has created a fund to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey throughout Texas and Louisiana. Not only does your charitable gift provide immediate relief for those affected in the Jewish communities in storm-damaged areas, it also helps the wider community. After Hurricane Katrina, JFNA's fundraising efforts led to more than $29 million allocated to both Jewish and non-Jewish relief organizations and area non-profits. The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans has committed $50,000 to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts. In addition to donations to JFNA’s Hurricane Harvey fund, here are other ways you can help:

Gift Cards (min. of $25) to Target, CVS, Walgreen's, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Wal-mart Cleaning supplies (cleaning spray, sponges, mops, spray bottles, buckets) Non-perishable food items (pop-top cans, individually packaged snacks) Bottled water Advil/Tylenol/Aleve/Aspirin Diapers and wipes Tampons/pads Paper towels/toilet paper Heavy duty trash bags/bleach/work gloves/safety goggles/shovels Teddy bears/toys for children Blankets Android/iPhone chargers

Uptown Jewish Community Center 5342 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus/ Jewish Community Day School 3747 West Esplanade Avenue, Metairie Torah Academy 5210 West Esplanade Avenue, Metairie Jewish Family Service (GIFT CARDS ONLY) 3300 West Esplanade Avenue, Suite 603, Metairie Jewish Children's Regional Service (GIFT CARDS ONLY) 3500 N Causeway Blvd # 1120, Metairie, LA 70002

Sign up to volunteer or see what our community partners are doing at

September 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 29

JNOLA is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, consisting of young Jewish adults between the ages of 21 – 45. This program hosts a wide variety of events, centering on community connection, professional networking, social action, and Jewish life in New Orleans. JNOLA is proudly sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.


JNOLA’s Chai Society is made up of JNOLA members who make an individual gift of $180 to the Federation’s Annual Campaign. This year, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans celebrated their generosity at the office of Alan Franco in old Metairie. Members were invited to get “spirited” at JNOLA’s appreciation event with live music by members of The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and a special spirits demonstration where they took turns crafting traditional New Orleans cocktails. 29 Chai Society members attended this fun event.

8TH ANNUAL NEW YEAR’S TOAST Kick off the (Jewish) New Year with JNOLA on Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30 p.m. for the eighth annual Rosh Hashanah New Year’s Toast, located at Wayward Owl (3940 Thalia St.) The first drink is free and there will be plenty of apples, honey, and challah, along with live music!

JNOLA will also hold a gift card drive for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Bring a gift card and your second drink is free! Home Depot and Lowe’s gift cards are especially needed. Questions? Contact Tana Velen at

Find a doctor close to you. When you need to find a doctor in New Orleans, Touro makes it easy. Visit, or talk to us at (504) 897-7777.


Jewish Endowment Foundation JEF’s General Fund Strengthens our Community The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana stresses the need for donations to our General Fund. JEF is grateful for the many generous donations we receive because they enable us to make grants to our community’s Constituent Agencies and other nonprofits to support and enhance Jewish life.

JCDS’s Learning Lab. The Learning Lab is transforming the Joan and Gerald Berenson Library into an engaging, flexible common space for student-centered learning, providing children the opportunity to research, create, experiment, and share their experiences.

JEF also makes grants from the General Fund to other Jewish agenEvery year, JEF allocates a portion of the General Fund for the Con- cies and programs of Jewish interest. Over the years, JEF has made stituent Agency Block Grant. This pool of money is used to make emergency grants to Israel and to support disaster relief efforts both grants to support programs at Jewish Family in the U.S. and internationally. Immediately Service, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Community Center after Katrina, JEF allocated $1.5 million from Jewish Community Day School and Tulane the General Fund to Federation and to Greater • Community-Wide Chanukah Hillel. New Orleans synagogues to support rebuilding Concert and Celebration efforts here at home. • Summer Day Camp Shlichim The grants are reviewed at a joint meeting of JEF’s Grants Committee and Federation’s Allocations Committee and are approved by JEF’s Board of Directors. This year, JEF made grants totaling $62,500, listed in the box on this page.

Jewish Family Service • Intensive Case Management Services • Financial Resource Center

Allan Bissinger, chair of JEF’s Grants Committee, says, “These General Fund grants enable Federation’s constituent agencies to meet the challenges they face in fulfilling the needs of our Jewish community.”

Jewish Community Day School • iPads and Cases • Learning Lab Phase II • Hebrew Curriculum Materials

The programs that these grants support have touched many lives. Here are a few highlights of the programs supported by these grants:

JEF President Andi Lestelle says, “Through our General Fund, JEF supports projects that maintain and enhance Jewish life. When you make a donation to our General Fund, you are helping to support these projects. The needs will always be here and with a growing General Fund, JEF will be here to meet them.” How you can help:

Tulane Hillel • Shabbat Dinners on Campus • Tulane Jewish Leaders Program

For the ninth consecutive year, JEF is providing funding for the Jewish Community Center’s Community-Wide Chanukah Concert and Celebration, which brings the New Orleans Jewish community together for a joyous holiday celebration featuring outstanding Jewish musical performers, delicious food, and fun for all ages. Each year over 400 people attend this festive event. Since 2010, JEF has supported Intensive Case Management Services at Jewish Family Service. Through this program, JFS is able to reach out in the spirit of Tikkun Olam to find solutions and treatment options for low-income and disadvantaged Jewish adults and families in Greater New Orleans. Case managers work closely with rabbis, Federation and other Jewish agencies, as well as other general community resources and agencies, to ensure that clients receive the help they need to overcome short- and long-term obstacles. Hillel’s Tulane Jewish Leaders program has received ongoing support from JEF since its inception in 2009. TJL is Tulane Hillel’s leadership incubator, bringing together a diverse group of Jewish students to create meaningful and engaging programs that celebrate Jewish life on Tulane’s campus and in the Greater New Orleans community. Students have partnered with more than 60 local, national and international organizations. In the 2016-17 academic year, 341 students were involved in the program, launching more than 120 initiatives throughout New Orleans.

It’s easy to give. JEF can accept gifts of cash, securities, or other valuables. No gift is too small and every gift helps JEF to sustain our community for the present and for future generations. There can also be tax advantages to your gift. To learn more about how you can make a tax-wise gift and help JEF support important community projects and secure the future of our Jewish community, please contact Sandy Levy (sandy@jefno. org) or Patti Lengsfield ( at (504) 524-4559. For information on how to apply for a grant, contact Ellen Abrams at or (504) 524-4559.

High Holy Days Radio Broadcast Through the generosity of the Ferber Family of Houma Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, services at Temple Sinai will be available on the radio for members of the Jewish community who are unable to attend services. The Ferber Family of Houma Foundation has been underwriting radio broadcasts of Erev Rosh Hashanah and Kol Nidre services since 1998. Dora Ferber, who was a native of Houma, La., and member of Temple Sinai, started funding the broadcasts during her lifetime. The legacy she created continues to support this project. For more information, please call EllenRae Shalett of Temple Sinai at (504) 861-3693 or Sandy Levy of JEF at (504) 524-4559.


Since 1996, JEF has provided significant support to the Jewish Community Day School. In the school’s early years, JEF funded a feasibility study and startup grants for each new grade. JEF has also provided funding for the Day School library and for innovative Hebrew learning, among other programs. In 2017, JEF is continuing funding for

Erev Rosh Hashanah Wednesday, September 20 at 7:30 p.m. Kol Nidre Friday, September 29 at 7:30 pm

September 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 33

Jewish Community Center The Hazelnuts bring New Orleans style from Israel to the JCC The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series kicks off on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. with a performance by The Hazelnuts, a Jerusalem based jazz and swing band inspired by the close harmony singing trios of 1930s New Orleans. The band has a fun, funky and danceable sound that includes vintage, original and contemporary tunes. They have released two CDs and have had the honor of performing before thousands at venues such as the Marseille Jazz des Cinq Continents, The Safaricom Jazz Festival in Nairobi, The Red Sea Jazz Festival and The Days of Jerusalem Festival in Prague. The three “sisters” — Shira Carmel, Yifeat Ziv and Anat Moshkovski, write and arrange all of their pieces, and they are backed by acoustic guitar, double bass, trumpet and a washboard player. An assortment of light snacks will be served during the event, which is free and open to the entire community.

Save The Date for Center Celebration Get jazzed for Center Celebration 2017, which celebrates the JCC and its incredible new expansion. Held Nov. 11 at the Uptown JCC, this fun evening begins with a special patron party at the beautiful home of Walton and Jeff Goldring. A second line brings the festivities home to the J where cocktails, live music and great food will be enjoyed poolside. Invitations will be mailed in early October and sponsorship opportunities for this incredible evening are still available. Contact Leslie Fischman at (504) 897-0143 or for additional details.

Come Learn Mah Jongg Interested in learning how to play mah jongg? Classes are currently being formed for daytime or evening play. All ages can enjoy this fun, tile-based game. Contact Judy Yaillen, Director of Jewish Family Life, at (504) 897-0143 or for scheduling information and to sign up.

Exploring Judaism:

When do I sit, when do I stand? Get questions answered and expand your knowledge of Judaism in this class for adult learners seeking an introduction to prayer and an exploration of the branches of Judaism. For 10 weeks students will learn with local Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad Rabbis about their denomination and what prayer means to them. The first session will take place at the Uptown JCC on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. Over the following 8 weeks, the group will meet at Temple Sinai, Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation, Congregation Beth Israel and Chabad Jewish Center of Metairie. Rabbis Matthew Reimer, Deborah Silver, Gabe Greenberg and Mendel Ceitlin will help navigate the journey. Fees are $180 for JCC members and $220 for non-members. For more information or to register, please contact Judy Yaillen at (504) 897-0143 or

Creative Painting Join local artist Valerie Corradetti for this 6-week class designed to help students develop and expand their own artistic practice. Meeting Sept. 13 to Oct. 18 on Wednesday mornings at the Uptown JCC, Creative Painting is geared toward students who are interested in working independently. In addition to technique-driven assignments, the class incorporates individual and group critiques, as well as discussions about art. Prices are $190 for members and $220 for non-members. All levels are welcome. Beginners should inquire about the supply list prior to the first class. Students can register in person or at

In August, 34 incoming first-year Tulane students participated in Tulane Hillel’s Engage NOLA Orientation program. The students arrived on campus a week before classes started and had the opportunity to get settled, meet Hillel’s staff, and explore the city all while making new friends! The students were hosted at the homes of local community leaders, including Caroline and Jeff Good, Diane and Alan Franco, Marlene and Michael Hecht, Allison and Yonah Schiller, and Caroline and Brent Rosen. Students were able to ask questions and learn more about the local Jewish community, over a beautiful dinner catered by Tulane Hillel’s new restaurant Rimon. Additional highlights from their week-long, jam-packed adventure included a trip to Mardi Gras World, a day of beignets, games and exploring City Park, Jazz at Preservation Hall, and a customized Scavenger Hunt! The week ended with a wrap-up dinner at Shaya, where the group was able to reflect on their wonderful experience and new-found love of New Orleans! 34 The Jewish Newsletter • September 2017

Jewish Family Service Friends of JFS, Because of YOU!

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Because of YOU, Jewish Family Service assists vulnerable community members every day. Your support of the annual Friends of JFS campaign impacts their lives and so many other people for the better, and allows JFS to offer our services on a sliding-fee scale based on household income.

Register Today for the 2017 Fall Continuing Education Series at JFS • Suicide Prevention: Theoretical, Clinical and Interventional Approaches. September 15, 8:45 a.m. to noon, presented by Lauren Miller, LMSW • Living with Infertility. October 20, 8:45 a.m. to noon, presented by Teri Groves, LCSW • Board Approved Clinical Supervisory Training. November 17, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., presented by Amelia Doty, LCSW-BACS • Accessing Primary Emotions Using Emotionally Focused Therapy Skills. December 15, 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., presented by Michele Louviere, LMFT

Because of YOUR financial support, JFS is able to meet a growing demand for affordable and accessible social services in the greater New Orleans community including: extensive counseling and case management support for individuals, couples and families; Teen Life Counts – our teen suicide-prevention program; the Homemaker Program (see below); Lifeline, the electronic personal emergency response system, and so much more. Looking ahead, JFS strives to meet increased community demand, but we cannot do it without YOUR help. The demand to accommodate the needs of individuals and families is constant and ever growing. Please respond as generously as possible. Please visit our website to donate today!

Participants will receive CEUs for each event. Pricing varies. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information, call (504) 831-8475, or visit http://

JFS now accepts Aetna, United Healthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar, and Tricare insurance policies for Counseling Services. Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and family problems. Appointments are available at counseling centers in Metairie and the Northshore. Fees are assessed on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Appointments by phone: Metairie (504) 831-8475 / Northshore (985) 253-1619.

Summer Community Groups JFS runs therapeutic, support, and social skills groups periodically to meet the needs of the community. Register now by calling (504) 831-8475, or visit online:

Parenting LGBTQ Teens

October 4 to November 8, Wednesdays, 4:30-6 p.m. An educational support group for parents to gain support and insight about their teens in the LGBTQ community. 6 sessions will be held at the JFS Counseling Center in Metairie. Cost: $50 per person/ couple.

Girl Power

September 11 to October 16, Mondays, 3:30-5 p.m. A confidential support group for girls ages 8 to 13 who want to increase their self-confidence, learn to cope with stress and improve their social skills. Six sessions will be held at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Center in Metairie. Cost: $240 per person (Income based sliding-fee scale available.)

Homemaker Program Homemaker is a light housekeeping and transportation service for older or disabled adults, which has been a core program of Jewish Family Service since 1975. Reliable and compassionate assistance is available for older adults in the Greater New Orleans area. Each Homemaker visit lasts two hours and 15 minutes, and can be scheduled on a weekly or twicea-month basis. Services include: dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and transportation for running errands. The Homemaker program is offered on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. For more information, please contact Fran Dinehart, LCSW, at (504) 831-8475, or email

Staff Updates The JFS Behavioral Health Intern Training Center experienced tremendous growth this summer. Three masters-level counseling interns completed their training at JFS and graduated from their universities in May. Interns Carey Gilchrist and Jennifer Glynn joined the program through Loyola University. In the fall, JFS will welcome Allison Durant, a masters-level counseling student from University of New Orleans, and Jeffrey Kugler, a masters-level social work student from Louisiana State University. Interns facilitate groups, meet with individual clients, provide case management support, and more, while building a solid foundation in their clinical experience.

September 2017 •The Jewish Newsletter 35

Jewish Community Day School Inspiring Academics

Jewish Community Day School is buzzing with excitement as gala preparations are underway. Step into the Enchanted Forest at 3747 W. Esplanade Ave. in Metairie on November 5 at 5:30 p.m. Our 22nd anniversary brings so much to celebrate: robust enrollment — our strongest since Katrina, grade expansions at both ends of the program, kick-off of the Berenson Learning Lab, and serving 31Jewish families, just to name a few.

There’s a new twist to Monday morning gatherings at JCDS. Fifth graders take center stage as they lead the entire student body in the Pledge of Allegiance, Hatikvah, and the National Anthem. Each prepares something special and unique — a poem, an interesting fact, or other tidbit — to share. Sam S. made Eclipse Monday spectacular, as he donned his Safe Solar Glasses, and educated us on the rare phenomenon in store. Practice makes perfect. JCDS… empowering the leaders of tomorrow.

Central to this year’s event, we are delighted to be honoring Joan and Dr. Gerald Berenson. The treasured Berenson Library has begun phase I of its conversion into a 21st Century Learning Lab. The Berensons’ commitment to Jewish Community Day School, from inception to today, cannot be overstated. Their energetic leadership has been essential to our achievements and all that we imagine for our future. Susan and Howard Green, and Debbie and Jonathan Schlackman are thrilled to co-chair this magical evening. “A forest is a wondrous place; nourishing life, growth and resiliency. We’re so excited to celebrate ours,” says Schlackman. Our enchanted evening, under a twinkly light sky, will be filled with fine food, dreamy drinks and magical music. To become a Patron, purchase tickets, or donate to the gala, please call (504) 887.4091 or email

Jewish Babies Club What: Activities designed especially for babies; they’ll promote developmental growth and Jewish values Where: Jewish Community Day School, Beit Midrash Who: All littles ages 2 months to 3 years and the grown-ups that love them When: The last Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Fall Schedule 9/29 Baby Sign Language Led by Zuka Baby Metairie 10/27 Shabbat Music Time with Jennie Lavine, Director of Youth Education & Community Engagement at Shir Chadash 11/17 Exploration Play! Healthy Brain & Body Development led by Ellie Strieffer, Occupational Therapist 12/15 PJ Library Chanukah Read and Play with Bonnie Lustig, PJ Library New Orleans Let us know you’re coming! Contact Lauren Ungar at or (504) 887-4091. With thanks to the sponsorship of a generous donor, this program is FREE to the community. 36 The Jewish Newsletter • September 2017

automotive an annual SJL special section

Stop dreaming, start driving Porsche of New Orleans biggest in region

Thought about driving a Porsche? Porsche of New Orleans says it is time to stop dreaming and start driving, and see the Passion, Pride and Performance they offer. New Orleans Porsche has the largest Porsche inventory between Houston and Atlanta, with a wide range of new Porsches and certified preowned models. The dealership opened in 2010 as part of the Ray Brandt Automotive Group and is located at the foot of the Causeway in Metairie. The Brandt family has been in the automotive industry for over 30 years and is committed to providing a car buying experience unlike any other. The dealership’s Sean Kerwin is one of the Top 100 Porsche sales ambassadors in the world, and the service technicians have over 40 years of Porsche experience. Forbes calls the Porsche 911 Turbo S “the ultimate daily driver” for its balance of luxury and sportiness. The Macan is a five-door crossover that is considered the sports car of SUVs. Hybrids are also part of the Porsche lineup, including a version of the Cayenne, Porsche’s larger SUV. They also expect to receive the 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid sedan soon. The Boxster roadster and Cayman coupe round out the offerings. Ryan P. DeToro, general manager of Porsche of New Orleans, said the dealership is a supporter of the Mardi Gras Region in the Porsche Club of America, and works with many other non-profits. They support the newly-established Kenny Vaccaro foundation, Barran’s Bears, Greater New Orleans Breastfeeding Awareness Coalition, and Junior League of New Orleans. “Driving a luxury sports car is our way of life and we want to make sure we are exceeding your expectations when you walk into our dealership,” he said.

Metairie Oncologists Jayne Gurtler, MD • Laura A Brinz, MD & Janet A Burroff, MD

Welcome to the Practice Dr. Melanie Sheen, MD Specializing in breast cancer treatment, genetic breast cancer risk counseling and treatment options

3939 Houma Blvd Bldg 2, Ste 6 Metairie, LA 70006 504-885-0577


Sushi and Fried Chicken Friday

ed Saturday)

-3pm (Clos Mon-Thu 10am-7pm • Fri & Sun 10am


3519 Severn, Metairie • (504) 888

Porsche Panamera

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 37


King Acura opens new showroom by Lee J. Green

A New Orleans Tradition

600 Decatur • 334 Royal • 311 Bourbon Charter Transportation Services

"Gray Line’s experience makes your experience …the best experience!” Corporate School Synagogues Conventions Weddings Mardi Gras Groups

600 Decatur St., Suite 308 New Orleans, LA 70130 (504) 226-2277 | 38 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

King Acura sells some fine vehicles, and now the Hoover dealership that originally opened south of Birmingham in 1986 can house those vehicles in a state-of-the-art new showroom along with a greatly expanded service area. General Manager Reed Lyles said the significant renovation project was done with enhanced customer service and vehicle service in mind. It was completed a couple of months ago. “This is a total renovation, front-to-back, of our service department. We can now take care of our customers in quicker time and in a nicer environment,” said Lyles. “Before we didn’t have a dedicated drive to our service department. This also allows us to do quick service such as oil changes often without appointments.” In the showroom, they have updated the technology to include video screens for vehicle comparisons and the environment is “warmer, more open.” Lyles said the TLX has been redesigned for 2018 and is out now. It is an A-Spec model with an even-sportier look to the luxury sedan. Lyles said that Apple Car play was added to several of the Acura models. The Acura Watch Package now comes standard on several models as well. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane assist and blind spot monitoring. On some vehicles, 360 degrees cameras are available for enhanced safety. King Acura’s inventory includes the ILX sports sedan, TLX luxury sedan, RLX luxury flagship sedan, RDX luxury crossover SUV, the MDX and the NSX next-generation sports car.

Jack Ingram Motors earns Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best award by Lee J. Green Jack Ingram Motors was the first dealership in the Southeast to sell Mercedes-Benz, and earlier this year the Montgomery dealership received the Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best Award for 2016. The award is presented to the top dealers who show excellent performance throughout the year in the areas of sales, service, parts, management, leadership and customer experience. “What I find most rewarding is serving my customers in a manner that I would like to be treated. It is gratifying to see many repeat customers; provide good jobs to long-term employees I consider family, and working daily to serve the residents of our community,” said Ray Ingram, owner of Jack Ingram Motors auto group. The new C-Class and E-Class Mercedes-Benz sedans are the leading sellers in the Montgomery market. Marketing Director Whitney Cadwell said some of the new models in other lines Jack Ingram Motors is selling include the new, seven-passenger Volkswagen Atlas, the re-designed Audi Q5 and the all-new Volvo XC60. “SUVs are in high-demand right now and these three do not disappoint,” said Cadwell.

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 39


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Federation announces honorees for Starry Soiree annual meeting The Arnie Fielkow era kicks off for the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans with its 104th annual meeting, Sept. 12 at the Audubon Tea Room. Fielkow began as the Federation’s new chief executive officer on Aug. 15. He succeeds Michael Weil, who had led the Federation since 2006 as New Orleans rebuilt its community following the levee breach in 2005. The Federation and Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana will hold their elections and welcome new officers and board members. The Federation will celebrate the 2017 annual campaign and recognize cochairs Kathy Shepard and Maury Herman, and welcome incoming president Henry Miller while honoring outgoing president Eddie Soll. A reception with a cash bar will begin at 6 p.m., and the meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. A kosher dinner will follow. The agencies will also present their annual awards as part of the evening. Joan Berenson will receive the Roger Bissinger Memorial Award. A past president of the New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women and national board member who instituted Major Gifts, Berenson was part of the group that established JEF. She also is a Federation past president, having become passionate after going on the inaugural UJA Young Leadership Mission to Israel in 1961. In the 1990s, she chaired the Jewish Identity and Continuity Task Force; and after Hurricane Katrina, she chaired the task force designed to recruit and retain Jewish residents in New Orleans. Ashley Merlin Gold is the Herbert J. & Margot Garon Young Leadership Award honoree. A New Orleans native, she co-chaired and helped launch JNOLA, the Federation’s young professionals group. She is on the Federation board and the executive committee of Jewish Family Service. A professional photographer, she is active in several groups that maintain and restore New Orleans statues and monuments, and her first book was “Statuesque New Orleans.” Denver native Nicole Harvey stayed in New Orleans after graduating from Tulane in 2012, and will be recognized with the Cohen-Jacobs Emerging Leader Award. Harvey is on the board of JNOLA and is becoming involved in the Jewish Community Relations Council. She is co-founder and chief marketing officer of Mason-re, a company focused on sustainable products, hosts a bluegrass radio show on WTUL and has served on the station’s executive board for many years. She is also on the planning committee for Wednesday at the Square, a free 12-week concert series that raises money for the various projects of the Young Leadership Council. The Anne Goldsmith Hanaw and J. Jerome Hanaw Tikkun Olam Award will be presented to Lisa Heller and John Haspel. Heller moved to New Orleans from Baltimore in 1980 and works as a paralegal. She is a past Annual Campaign co-chair and past president of Jewish Children’s Regional Service. Haspel, a New Orleans native, has served on the boards of Temple Sinai, JFS and the Jewish Community Center, as well as serving on the executive board of JEF. Currently, Haspel is a board member of Young Audiences of Louisiana and Avodah, and serves as president of DJR Foundation housed at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The Haspels support various non-profits including Posse New Orleans, Teach for America, Breakthrough Collaborative New Orleans and KaBOOM!, the playground builders. The evening is sponsored by Whitney Bank, Ray Brandt Infiniti/ Porsche of New Orleans, Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, L.L.C., Cox Communications, LCMC Health, St. Charles Vision, and Tharp-Sontheimer-Tharp.


Area mayors join ADL anti-hate effort Several area mayors are part of a new Anti-Defamation League initiative to fight extremism and bigotry, and promote justice and equality. Formed in the aftermath of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., the ADL partnered with the United States Conference of Mayors to develop a 10-point Mayors’ Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. More than 200 mayors in 45 states have pledged to implement the plan. The USCM is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Under the Compact, mayors commit to vigorously speak out against all acts of hate; punish bias-motivated violence to the fullest extent of the law; encourage more anti-bias and anti-hate education in schools and police forces, using ADL experts and resources for both; encourage community activities that celebrate their population’s cultural and ethnic diversity; and ensure civil rights laws are aggressively enforced and hate crimes laws are as strong as possible. “We must come together and step up our efforts to combat hate in our cities,” said Allison Padilla-Goodman, Atlanta Regional Director for ADL. “Mayors have always been strong supporters of civil rights and we could not be more grateful for the support and leadership these mayors have demonstrated and hope more will commit to this effort in the coming days.” There were 11 signatories in the Atlanta region, which includes Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. Five mayors in Padilla-Goodman’s former region, which includes Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi, also signed. Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans signed as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, along with USCM Vice President Steve Benjamin of Columbia, S.C. Also signing were Mayors William Bell, Birmingham; Sandy Stimpson, Mobile; Lioneld Jordan, Fayetteville, Ark.; Mark Stodola, Little Rock; Ashton Hayward, Pensacola; Sharon Weston Broome, Baton Rouge; Errick Simmons, Greenville, Miss.; Kasim Reed, Atlanta; Hardie Davis Jr., Augusta; Michael Bodker, Johns Creek, Ga.; John Tecklenburg, Charleston; Joseph McElveen Jr., Sumter, S.C.; Kim McMillan, Clarksville, Tenn.; Madeline Anne Rogero, Knoxville; Jim Strickland, Memphis; Megan Barry, Nashville.

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334-277-5700 September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 41

As simple as soap Mission to India shows ways to make purposeful connections by Joshua Rubenstein Special to Southern Jewish Life

I hadn’t given much thought to soap until I learned about Sundara. Something that may seem so trivial is having an enormous impact on the livelihood of India’s most disadvantaged and has inspired me to make a difference at home as well. Sundara, an Indian nonprofit, has produced a recipe that starts with soap and hopes to end the cycle of poverty in India’s slums. By employing in-need women to recycle scraps of hotel soap, which usually go into landfills, Sundara allows children the chance to go to school — children who would otherwise forgo their education to sustain their family’s income by working as sewer cleaners and rag pickers. These soap products are then given out during educational hygiene lessons, perpetuating the importance of solving problems at their root. I was able to meet with these impressive working women of Sundara while co-chairing the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Cabinet study mission to India. The NYL Cabinet mission, with 110 participants, was the largest ever, as well as the first Jewish Federations mission to India, a country that has strong military ties and trading partnerships with Israel, and is home to the Bene Israel, one of the world’s oldest Jewish communities. Sundara partners with the Gabriel Project Mumbai, which receives support from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a Federation-funded partner. The interconnection between this low-tech program and its environment amazed me most and truly got me thinking about the ingredients necessary to bring about positive change. Over the course of my eight-day journey in India, learning from a culture so different than my own, I realized the most important ingredient: purposeful connection. Jacob Sztokman, GPM’s founder, taught us about the challenges of extreme urban scarcity and showed us the efforts of his organization to tend to the educational, health and nutritional needs of children. We volunteered with GPM participants as they spent their morning teaching in the slums and preparing nutritious meals for children to take to school. In this country of both extreme poverty and great wealth, it surprised me how little it costs to feed a child: just 19 cents per day. Also inspiring were the members of the Jewish community whose connection to their faith has endured for over 2,000 years while, at many times, cut off from the Joshua Rubenstein is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and is beginning his sixth year in the National Young Leadership Cabinet. He cochaired the 2017 NYL Mission to India in February. 42 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

rest of the world’s Jewry. The Bene Israel have both successfully assimilated and retained their culture in a country where Jews are vastly outnumbered. Like Sundara, these Jews are able to make purposeful connections between their community and the landscape around them. The places we visited saw Jews getting along, living together, conducting business, and helping others with varying backgrounds. I even learned how the Jewish community doesn’t eat beef to show respect for their neighbors, and about the various festivals where Jews invite their non-Jewish friends to celebrate together. For centuries, this minority community had been held together by just four Jewish traditions: Shabbat, Sh’ma, kashrut and b’rit milah. With the help of the JDC, they now have programs like the Jewish Youth Pioneers, which trains young Jewish leaders to deepen these traditions through community engagement. Indian Jewry is stronger for those efforts, whether its members continue to live in Mumbai and Delhi or move to Jerusalem and Beersheba following Aliyah under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Israel. We had the opportunity to spend significant time with the JYP members, learning about their communal dynamics and the challenges that they face. It was fascinating how our cohorts were able to relate to one another so easily. I soon realized that my fellow Cabinet members were feeling similar senses of connection. When we came together with the Bene Israel Jews for Shabbat, we overflowed Delhi’s Synagogue, Judah Hyam Hall, with people spilling into chairs in the synagogue’s courtyard. During services we heard their stories and shared in singing Hebrew songs both in our melodies and in theirs. Saying the Sh’ma together, we internalized its power to connect all Jews; whether in Hebrew, Yiddish or another local tongue, the Sh’ma and other basic prayers transcend language to bring people and their faith together. Since I’ve been home, I’ve been reminded of the different circumstances of our global people. The struggles of the Indian Jewish community are unique as they are ones of isolation and of responsibility to their neighbors. Collectively, as a Jewish people, we have survived through many challenges and triumphs over thousands and thousands of years. It is incumbent upon each of us to learn from each other so that we continue to grow, to endure, and to make purposeful connections; when we do so, we have the power to strengthen our identity and better the world around us. I hope to better the world around me through my new connection to soap. As a hotel owner in New Orleans, I found and engaged a U.S. organization, similar to Sundara, to repurpose partially-used soap and other discarded hygiene products to give them another life. After all, it is important to remember that you don’t have to travel all the way to New Delhi to foster purposeful connections; one can start with a bar of soap at home.

sports an annual SJL special section At the Maccabi Games in Birmingham

Max Fried moves to the Majors

Mississippi pitcher called up to the Atlanta Braves by Lee J. Green Max Fried, a 23-year-old lefthanded Jewish pitcher from southern California, was just adjusting to his first time being in the Deep South when he was called up by the Atlanta Braves on Aug. 5. Fried had spent the season with the Double-A Southern League’s Mississippi Braves in Pearl, outside of Jackson, when he received the news he was climbing two rungs of the ladder to the big leagues to help Atlanta with long relief. “It certainly had been a dream of mine for a long time to make it to the major leagues. I was nervous at first but it has been fun every day,” said Fried, when interviewed before a Braves/Reds game on Aug. 19. “My teammates have helped me to adjust and the everyone has been very supportive.” His parents flew across the country to catch his major league debut. In his first two appearances, he worked three innings and did not allow a run, and had two strikeouts. On Aug. 23, he was sent down to Triple-A Gwinnett, in suburban Atlanta, but was called back up to the big leagues when rosters expanded on Sept. 1. In all, he pitched 6-2/3 innings in four appearances, allowing four runs on seven hits, six walks and four strikeouts in his first stint with the Braves. On Aug. 24, in his Gwinnett debut, he returned to his usual role as a starter, pitching four shutout innings with one hit, two walks and six

Photo by Pouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves



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strikeouts. His Mississippi record this year was 2-11 with a 5.92 ERA in 19 starts. Fried grew up in Encino and his family was involved with a synagogue there. His grandparents were very involved in leadership roles with the Jewish Home of the Aging. At 4 years old, he started playing tee ball and grew up loving baseball. “My parents and my older brother also played sports so it was definitely something we shared,” he said. In 2009, he went to the Maccabiah Games in Israel. He starred at Harvard-Westlake High School in North Hollywood, wearing Sandy Koufax’s No. 32, and started getting notice from some scouts. In 2012, the San Diego Padres drafted Fried in the first round, seventh overall, and sent him to Single-A in Indiana. Fried progressed but then a couple years later he injured his arm and had to have Tommy John surgery. “It’s a really big surgery and a very long, strenuous rehab. It took about a year and a half for me to feel like I was back to being myself,” he said. He was traded from the Padres to the Braves in a package that brought ace closer Craig Kimbrell from Huntsville to San Diego in 2016. Fried said he grew up a Dodgers fan, but now the Braves are his team. When asked about his Judaism, he said he wears it proudly on his sleeve. “I am proud to be Jewish. I have been asked by some people and teammates about my religion, beliefs and holidays. In some cases I have been the first Jewish person they met,” he said. “But it has been all positive and I am really excited to be in Atlanta.”

Metairie’s Bleich gets Pitcher of the Week honors Metairie native Jeremy Bleich, who pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic in March, was named Pitcher of the Week by Jewish Baseball News. That week, he pitched three scoreless innings in two appearances for the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, with just one hit and four strikeouts. After the recognition, though, he had two straight losses, giving up two runs each in appearances against New Orleans and Round Rock. After starting the season with Arizona, he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and assigned to Oklahoma City. He spent a month at Double-A Tulsa before being called up to the Triple-A club. Bleich finished the season with a 5-3 record and three saves at Oklahoma City, with an ERA of 3.77. In 31 appearances, he pitched 50.1 innings, gave up 18 earned runs on 45 hits with 43 strikeouts and nine walks. 44 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

sports Bloom feels South Carolina is blossoming Former SEC associate commissioner and director of communications Charles Bloom, who was a member of Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El when he worked for the conference in the Magic City, has for the past few years been associate athletic director at his alma mater, South Carolina. “We’re very happy here and my wife’s family is from South Carolina. This is where we first met,” said Bloom, whose daughter will be attending medical school at Tulane in the fall. “But we do miss all the friends that we made in Birmingham. It certainly is a great Jewish community there.” His Gamecocks football team enters the 2017 season with second-year coach Will Muschamp, who was the former head coach at the University of Florida as well as an assistant at Auburn and under Nick Saban at LSU. Bloom and Athletic Director Ray Tanner were instrumental in choosing and signing Muschamp, and Bloom feels good about where the team is heading. “They improved by three games last year and we’ve got a lot of returning starters. We’re excited to see what we can do in a very competitive, strong SEC,” he said. Of course, more important than football wins is academic achievement by Gamecock athletes, and providing them with opportunities to get a degree then succeed in their chosen professions. “We have the ‘Gamecock Student Athlete Promise.’ We were the first SEC school to guarantee multi-year scholarships and we do anything we can to ensure our athletes have every opportunity to excel in the classroom,” he said. Bloom, who graduated in Journalism/PR at South Carolina, also has worked with ESPN to recruit South Carolina students for internships and other opportunities with the SEC Network. Gamecock roundball also achieved much success in 2016-17. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made it to their respective Final Fours and the Lady Gamecocks won the Women’s National Championship. “Both coach Dawn Staley and Frank Martin do a lot to fuel the passion in South Carolina basketball on a campus and a community level,” said Bloom. “We’re proud of their successes and the positive attention it has brought to South Carolina athletics.” As for the Columbia Jewish community, Bloom said it is smaller than Birmingham but they enjoy it and remain involved as much as possible.

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2017 SEC Football Preview by Lee J. Green

Best Wishes for a joyous, prosperous, and healthy New Year

SEC West

The Alabama Crimson Tide 1: Alabama Crimson Tide came within two seconds of rolling 2: Auburn Tigers through the 2016 college football 3: LSU Tigers season undefeated and with its sec4: Arkansas Razorbacks ond-straight College Football Play5: Texas A&M Aggies off national championship. 6: Mississippi State Bulldogs But with Clemson’s come-from7: Ole Miss Rebels behind win, Alabama was denied its fifth national championship in SEC East eight years. 1: Georgia Bulldogs The Crimson Tide enter the 2017 2: Florida Gators season predicted by most to be No. 3: Tennessee Volunteers 1 and return the SEC Player of the 4: South Carolina Gamecocks Year, now-sophomore quarterback 5: Kentucky Wildcats Jalen Hurts. Combined with nu6: Vanderbilt Commodores merous offensive weapons such as 7: Missouri Tigers running back Bo Scarbrough and wide receiver Calvin Ridley, the Tide were picked by voting SEC Media Days members as the favorite to win the SEC West and the SEC Championship. Above is the predicted order of finish for all the teams in the SEC.

from the Board and Staff of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana CREATE A JEWISH LEGACY • SECURE A JEWISH FUTURE

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 45


Thibodeaux isn’t exactly known as fertile ground to find people looking to move to Israel, and Mike Wagenheim didn’t seem like someone who was likely to take that step. A Philadelphia native, Wagenheim had been in Louisiana for a decade, broadcasting sports for the University of New Orleans and Nicholls State. Two years ago, he got off a plane in Israel, a place he had never even visited, wearing a hat that said “Living the Dream,” which Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that helps Americans move to Israel, gave to all of the new immigrants on that flight. Though he initially thought the hat was “the cheesiest thing,” he could not have predicted Just before umpiring the World Maccabiah Games baseball gold medal match, Mike how true it would be just two years later. Wagenheim graduated from West Virgin- Wagenheim (right) interviews U.S. Ambassador David Friedman for i24 News. ia University, where he was sports director at WWVU-FM. He did play-by-play for baseball but somehow they hired him, and “it was a won- so he stayed at Nicholls and started looking for and soccer, then was director of broadcasting derful four years.” He did men’s and women’s other overseas opportunities. Wagenheim doesn’t remember the exact for the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays in Battle basketball, baseball and volleyball, and in 2008 Creek. He also spent four months touring as the won the inaugural Sun Belt Conference Broad- words he used in a Google search — he figures it was something like “easy place for an American public address announcer for the Harlem Am- caster of the Year Award. Still, the program struggled, and his posi- to move” — and he came upon an unfamiliar bassadors. After a year as assistant director of broadcast- tion was eventually eliminated. He wound up term: Aliyah. Wagenheim grew up in a Reform household ing for the Inland Empire 66ers in San Berna- at Nicholls State, “which was an even better dino, Calif., Wagenheim decided he missed the experience.” More than any game he called, he that was “holy three days a year.” He went to religious school, and after his Bar Mitzvah he visited the Hillel a couple of times while in college, “and that was it.” He hadn’t made any effort to identify Jewishly Former Nicholls State sportscaster charts new course in Israel while in New Orleans, let alone Thibodeaux, but “for whatever reason I got hooked on the concollege athletics atmosphere, so he started look- remembers the hospitality and opportunity he cept of Israel,” though he had never been there. “The more I researched, I knew I had to do it.” ing to see what positions were open. After Hur- had there. He soon became executive producer and lead He had to do the paperwork at the closest ricane Katrina and the levee failure, the devastation on the University of New Orleans campus on-air talent for Nicholls’ Colonel Sports Net- Jewish Agency/Nefesh B’Nefesh office, which was Miami, a trip that was impossible due to his and drastically lower enrollment “almost killed work. Eventually, he had the sense that something Nicholls State schedule. Instead, when Nicholls the athletic department.” To save scarce resources, they looked to bring in his life “was lacking,” but he couldn’t pinpoint had a basketball game at UCLA, he was allowed in someone as a contract worker “until they what it was. He soon realized that he had done to do his paperwork at the Los Angeles office. “The process was smooth,” he said. could get back on their feet.” Wagenheim said what he wanted — do Division I sports, “and I He needed a letter of reference from someone he had never called a basketball game before, got to do it for 12 years.” But now it was time to do something more with his life. in the Jewish community, so he turned to Arnie He tried to join the diplomatic corps, passed Fielkow, who had been president of the New the first level but did not have enough inter- Orleans City Council. national experience to get through the second Fielkow said he got to know Wagenheim as level of screening. To remedy that, he was urged they battled a decision by the UNO leadership to apply for the Peace Corps, and was granted a to downgrade their athletic program from Diviposition in Ukraine. sion I to Division III. “About two months before I was supposed to After a year, Wagenheim boarded a Nefesh go, Vladimir Putin invaded Crimea” in 2014, B’Nefesh flight and arrived in Israel, not knowand the Peace Corps withdrew all personnel ing anyone, without any family or a job. from Ukraine. “There was really nothing else He soon was introduced to an Orthodox couthey were offering” that resonated with him, ple that “became my adopted family, and they

From Thibodeaux to Tel Aviv

46 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017


still are.” He admits his concept of Orthodox Jews was the stereotype of rigidity, very serious and obsessed with rules. He went to their congregation and “it’s just the complete opposite.” Nobody judged him over his lack of knowledge and he was inundated with Shabbat dinner invitations. “That welcoming attitude really turned me on to Judaism.” He now studies Torah an hour a day, and “it has helped my life in so many ways.” Shortly after his arrival, he met and started dating Hila, a native Israeli who helped him adapt to his new country and the vastly different ways of doing things. Seven months later, they were married, and they now have a 1-year-old daughter. A bigger challenge than making Aliyah was proving to the rabbinate that he is Jewish so he could have a religious wedding in Israel, a more stringent process than just moving to Israel. “As I was really embracing Judaism and Torah, I wanted a halachic wedding,” he said. But the rabbinate kept telling him his documents were insufficient. They were finally approved just two days before the wedding. “I’m glad we did” and didn’t just go to Cyprus for a civil ceremony. After five months in the ulpan, he met the owner of a startup, Israel News Talk Radio. Though he didn’t know how to pronounce half of the cities in Israel, he got a position as morning anchor. Almost a year later, a position became available at i24 News, which has been expanding its emphasis on doing Israeli news for a North American audience. Wagenheim is now the diplomatic correspondent. A year and a half off the plane, he found himself reporting 10 feet from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, married and with a baby girl, “and a career I didn’t think was possible.” “How quickly things came together out of nothing” can happen only in a place like Israel, he figures. That was also true in the sports arena, where in roughly the same time frame, he found himself working one of the most prestigious sporting events in the country, and representing Israel on an international stage. Shortly after his arrival, he started coaching in the preseason for a youth baseball league near the ulpan, but was told that when the regular season came, they had plenty of coaches. He was asked if he could umpire, as those were scarce. “I was a recreational umpire in college 15 years ago,” he said, and they told him it was good enough. On July 14, he umpired the gold medal game in World Maccabiah baseball, where the United States team took the gold. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman attended the game, so Wagenheim got an on-camera interview with him, while dressed in his umpiring uniform. A week later, he was off to Serbia as the Israeli national baseball team competed in the European Baseball Championship qualifiers. While he credits part of his advancement in Israel to the faith he has in himself, through applying his Torah study to everyday life, he is realizing that it’s even more from having faith in God. Many who make aliyah end up leaving, he said, because you can’t be the same person you were in America. “If you’re willing to adapt and find your place, there are a million opportunities… it’s easy to come here and reinvent yourself.” He is planning a speaking tour in the northeast later this year, and is hoping to bring a female Knesset member to speak at Nicholls State’s Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business, because the center rarely focuses on the international scene, and “in Israel, women rule a lot of the government.” While he will enjoy visiting, “it’s going to be tough turning down the crawfish po-boys” since he is now kosher. But given all of the changes in his life, “alligator is a small sacrifice.”

If you’re willing to adapt… there are a million opportunities









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Anshe Sfard in New Orleans was informed that their application to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places was approved. Rabbi Yochanan Rivkin said the news was “exciting,” because “it gives us the opportunity to apply for several funding options that will help us preserve our history, improve our facility and make our Shul even more warm and welcoming than it already is.” Anshe Sfard was formed in the late 1800s by Lithuanian Chassidim, purchasing a small building in 1900 on South Rampart. The current building was dedicated in 1925, and was designed by Emile Weil. Anshe Sfard is the sole congregation that remained in what used to be an Orthodox neighborhood, and as the closest synagogue to downtown and the convention district, often attracts out-of-towners.

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Michael Tepper of Baton Rouge, Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburgh of Alexandria and Cantor Neal Schwartz of Shreveport went to the NewCAJE8 conference in the San Francisco area in early August. Based in Massachusetts, NewCAJE is a pluralistic organization that reimagines Jewish education for the 21st century and holds an annual conference.


Events in Charlottesville a wake-up call Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi National, which called it “very eloquent” and praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at Auburn University and… the leadership they display on their campus.” White supremacy has been a cancer on our country since its beginning, threatening its hopes, its values, and its better angels. The events that took place in Charlottesville represented the worst of this nation. Those who marched onto the streets with tiki torches and swastikas did so to provoke violence and fear. Those who marched onto the streets did so to profess an ideology that harkens back to a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. A time when men and women of many creeds, races, and religions were far from equal and far from safe in our own borders. A time where Americans lived under a constant cloud of racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in CharlotAmerica has tesville served as a reminder of how worked hard painfully relevant to reject the these issues are today. ideology Auburn’s Alpha of white Epsilon Pi stands supremacy, and with the Jewish of can do it again community Charlottesville, and with the Jewish people around the country and around the world. We also stand with the minorities who are targeted by the hate that was on display in Charlottesville. We stand with the minorities of whom these white supremacists would like to see pushed back into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, who was there standing up to the face of this hate. We recognize the essence of the American narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid ourselves of such corners, and allow those in them the seat at the table that they so deserve. It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” We know our work is far from finished, but we know we will not move backwards. When men and women, fully armed, take to the streets in droves with swastikas and other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how relevant

the issues of racism and anti-Semitism are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that needs to be done to ensure a better, more welcoming country. But it should not come without a reflection on how far we’ve come. America was born a slave nation. A century into our history we engaged in a war in part to ensure we would not continue as one. We found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. America was also born an immigrant country. As early as the pilgrims, many groups and families found in the country the opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, and be themselves. Few were met with open arms, but those who persevered would find acceptance, and community. Take the story of my family, for example. At the turn of the 20th century, my ancestors escaped violent pogroms in modern-day Slovakia to come to America. They were fortunate enough to leave the old world decades before Hitler’s grip took over, taking that chance away from many others. They made the new world their home, found work, and were allowed to contribute to society. My family’s story is not uncommon. In fact, there are numerous stories just like it, and newer ones every day. Stories that speak of diverse families overcoming persecution, violence, and hate to prosper in a welcoming world. It is these types of stories that enrich the distinction of the American dream. It is these stories that show what America can be and should be. Whether it is someone escaping anti-Semitism, fighting pervasive racism, or overcoming abundant hate, the United States should be their safe haven. The white supremacists and the Nazis who marched through Charlottesville seek to end this side of America. They do not realize it is all of America. They hope to return to a world not just where their voice is heard, but where it’s the only voice presented. That is unacceptable. America has worked to reject this ideology before, and can do it again. As we look to the start of a new semester at Auburn, we should remember to reach out and connect with all of our fellow students, to cherish what unites us and reject those who seek to separate us. We should champion political debate without falling to archaic ideologies. We should live by our creed, remembering our hopes, our values, and our better angels. AEPi supports the Auburn Family and stands with threatened communities across the country.

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community High Holy Days set tone for new Avodah residents Social justice in a Jewish context is main emphasis As a new group of Avodah residents begins a program year in New Orleans, Dani Levine ties the beginning of their service with the themes of the High Holy Days. The 10 residents arrive at the Avodah house toward the end of August, living communally while supplementing the staff at non-profits in the New Orleans area. Every year, Levine, director of Avodah in New Orleans does a program either right before Rosh Hashanah or during the Ten Days of Awe, tying the beginning of their service to the time of reflection surrounding the Jewish New Year. It’s all part of highlighting social action work in a Jewish context, she explained, “focusing on Jewish tradition, social justice tradition and where

their place is” in working toward social justice. Themes of self-reflection are highlighted, as well as the communal nature of confession — that the transgressions are recited as “we” rather than “I.” “Not everyone is guilty, but we are a community” that is “not living in the ideal we could live in,” Levine said. Levine also uses the theme of the Yom Kippur Haftorah, where God states that the desired fast is about social action, taking care of the vulnerable, rather than the physical fast of not eating. The goal of Avodah “is to build leaders and members of the Jewish community who are committed to social justice, to creating the world that they want,” Levine said.

Arkansas passes anti-BDS bill, allows Israel Bonds purchases Ambassador Ron Dermer attends ceremonial signing

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On August 14, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed bills allowing the state to invest in Israel bonds, and prohibiting state and local governments from contracting with or investing in companies that boycott Israel. Atlanta Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds Executive Director Brad Young, and advisory council chairman Art Katz were present for the bill signing, which took place with Israel’s AmPhoto by Randall Lee bassador to the US, Ron Dermer. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson shaking Ambassador The ambassador also welcomed Arkansas State Treasurer Dennis Ron Dermer’s hand as Treasurer Dennis Milligan (left) and Milligan at a reception hosted by members of the Arkansas Legislature look on local Jewish leadership. portfolio since taking office in 2011, said, after In signing the bills, Hutchinson said, “Those making an historic $61 million Israel bond inare two very strong messages that one, we ought vestment in April, “This purchase was consistent to be open to invest in Israel as need be, and with our strategy of making sound investments we should not have any restrictions on those that prioritize Ohioans’ hard-earned dollars.” investments.” When Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion The legislation was the latest in a series of bills proposed the concept of Israel Bonds in 1950, passed by state and local municipalities permit- it seemed implausible that one day the fledgling ting investment in Israel bonds. Arkansas would nation would attract investments from outside become the 27th state to make an investment in the Jewish community, let alone large-scale inIsrael Bonds, joining Georgia, which currently vestors. holds $10 million. Milligan indicated that ArToday, Israel is seen as having one of the kansas would like to allocate 1 percent of the world’s strongest, most resilient economies. state’s total portfolio to Israel Bonds, which During the global recession, Israel’s economy could potentially mean a $30 million purchase. was among the first to emerge from the finanUnder former Treasurer John Kennedy, who cial crisis. is now in the U.S. Senate, Louisiana invested $18 On August 4, Standard & Poor’s revised its million in Israel Bonds. Alabama passed legis- outlook for Israel from ‘stable’ to ‘positive,’ statlation in 2004 allowing Israel Bonds purchases. ing “Israel’s fiscal performance has exceeded Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who has added our expectations, reflecting the strength of the over $219 million in Israel bonds to the state’s underlying economy.”

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The Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders is committed to finding a cure for Rollins and the more than 1,500 children who come to us for care each year. As a founding member of the Children’s Oncology Group,* Children’s of Alabama and UAB combine research and innovative therapies to help save the lives of children down the street and around the world. Although the cancer cure rate has risen from 50 to 84 percent and strokes in patients with sickle cell disease have decreased by 90 percent, we are actively working toward a CURE for children like Rollins.

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 51


Bubba, can you get to the bottom of this? What’s the deal with the swastikas in the floor tiles at Ernst Café in New Orleans? Was that just a cool design a thousand years ago when the place was built, or was the original owner a nut?


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Hey, friend. You’re not the first one to wonder this. In fact, every so often I get asked about the design on the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, or even what’s going on with that vegetarian barbecue sauce on the shelves at some Asian supermarkets.

Turns out, the swastika is an symbol going back thousands of years, to illustrate everything from a bird in flight to being a centerpiece in peaceful religious rituals.

I should clear that up: people That building at Ernst don’t just come up to me to talk Café dates back to the about barbecue sauces. I mean, early 1850s and at ans if they did, we could talk about le r one time housed C. O w e in N how good barbecue doesn’t need nst Café r Schneider and A.R. E t a n ig floor des sauce to begin with. Ever been to Wise Grocers. When the building Lockhart? Everybody from your was sold to the three Ernst brothers in 1902, Bubbe in Biloxi to Aaron Franklin in Austin the thinking is that among the improvements, knows that a good brisket stands alone. the floor was laid with this design as a token of ‘good luck.’ This was of course decades before Well, let me walk that back a little. Some the symbol was twisted into one of hate. In of the best Shabbos dinners of my life have been punctuated with briskets kissed with the fact, Ernst Café gets asked about it so often, they even mention it on their website so as to goodness of a packet or two of Lipton onion dispel any ideas otherwise. soup mix in the pot. And I once dated a girl from Georgia who swore that her family’s version, bathed in Coca-Cola, was the best. But neither of those are barbecue sauce.

And nobody wants a side of hate with their Ernster, dressed, and extra napkins, please. So enjoy your lunch without any angst at Ernst.

Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah. That can of AGV brand barbecue sauce with the swastika on the label (no joke, Google it).

As for the symbols dating back to 1931 on the east entrance at the Jefferson County Courthouse: same. Actually they mirror each other so on one side they’re the reverse swastika, and on the other, wellllll. In any case, they were likely put there to represent values like fairness and equality.

Some good-natured people can get their challah in a twist about this kind of thing, and while it can be weird to be sitting at Ernst Café and look down to a a bunch of those weird geometric shapes all over the floor, there’s a really easy answer: wrong swastika. The ones in the tile at Ernst are actually ‘reverse’ or ‘counter-clockwise’ swastikas. The top legs are pointed in the opposite direction of the ones from the WWII era. 52 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

AGV barbecue sauce is in the same boat. Except I’m thinking they probably mean for the symbol to represent “great quality barbecue sauce if you seriously messed up and actually need barbecue sauce.” Have a question for Bubba? Send it to

culture art • books • apps • music • television • film • theatre

Jerry Siegel’s new book of photographs, “Black Belt Color,” has been published by Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia. Interview and more images, this section.


The Jewish Calendar 2018 Images of important Judaica from the collection of the Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam


Residents of the Hebrew Orphans’ Home on an outing to Loew’s Theater in Five Points, circa 1920. Photograph property of the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum.

Jewish Art Calendar by Mickie

A variety of cheerful illustrations by Israeli-American artist and calligrapher Mickie Caspi

THE LEGACY OF THE JEWISH ORPHAN’S HOME: Educating the Jewish South Since 1876

Coloring Your Jewish Year Hebrew Illuminations

at the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta

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Through January 2018, the Breman tells the story of the Jewish Educational Loan Fund, the oldest non-profit in the state of Georgia. Established by influential businessman Simon Wolf and his friends in 1876 as Atlanta orphan’s asylum, a place that would care for the growing child immigrant population, it has since evolved into an agency for adoption and placement services, and today exists as an organization providing $11 million in interest-free loans to more than 4,000 students for their higher education.

Jewish Calendar 2017-18 With stunning images from Engagement Calendar the Jewish Museum New York, this engagement calendar features spacious two-page spreads for each week 365 Things to Love about Being Jewish Starting with January, this day-to-day calendar is a fun mishmash of Yiddish dictionary, Who’s Who, trivia, holidays and more. Have a desk? Get this

Children on a playground merry-go-round on the grounds of the Hebrew Orphans' Home, circa 1910. Photograph property of the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 53

Tucker’s Grocery, Selma, Alabama, 1994. Jerry Siegel, Black Belt Color.

Jerry Siegel’s “Black Belt Color” Lunch Meat, 99¢, Selma, Alabama, 2011.

J&R’s, Deer Heads, Perry County, 2002.

Menorah, Selma, Alabama, 2007.

54 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

Siegel was born in Selma in 1958. He became interested in photography while taking a night class at the University of South Alabama, and spent a lot of time at a Selma art gallery owned by his uncle, who was also named Jerry Siegel. He became a commercial photographer in Atlanta, then started doing art photography. A portrait photographer, after buying a Fuji Panorama film camera around 2002, he started documenting scenes around Selma. He decided “to shoot some places that were iconic to me, or about Selma,” especially because he noticed some buildings from his youth were disappearing. “I shot the Temple. I shot the old YMCA. Uncle Jerry’s. His house, my house… places that were important to me.” He then started the Ten Jews Left project, doing portraits of the last members of Selma’s small Jewish community. It’s now about five Jews left, he commented. One of Siegel’s photographs depicts an electric Chanukah menorah in front of an air conditioner in what used to be the rabbi’s office at Mishkan Israel. After shooting primarily in Selma and Marion, he added a few more areas in the Black Belt, so named for the rich soil in that region. He would add to the project on each visit, so the images in the book are from between 2002 and 2015. Even though the book is out, “I don’t see this project “Being home ending right now.” The Georgia Museum of Art published the book through is about as the University of Georgia Press. Siegel noted that Museum passionate as Director William U. Eiland is from Sprott, just up the road from Selma, a town best known for William Christenberry’s you get.” photograph of the Sprott Store. Eiland said “These photographs speak of deep attachment, of reasoned critique, of the vagaries of memory.” Siegel noted, “I do better work when it’s a project I’m connected to and feel more passionate about. Being home is about as passionate as you get.”

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 55

My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew is anything but just another rote “this is how we do the chagim.” Not leading an especially observant lifestyle, author Abigail Pogrebin seeks meaning between the how and the spiritual why among the different streams of Judaism and what the take-aways can be in her own modern life. Feeling Jewish by Devorah Baum is subtitled “A Book for Just About Anyone” and that’s apt as this anything-but-a-beach-read investigates Jewish guilt, envy, paranoia...and those are just the chapter titles. Using pop culture references as well as more academic sources, the author seeks to find what “feeling Jewish” is for not only those who self-identify, but those who don’t and yet more commonly see these attributes in themselves. In My Adventures with G-d, character actor (and Texas native) Stephen Tobolowsky fills pages with delightful anecdotes and those connections to a higher power, from how a looney deal he gets himself into connects to the Adam and Eve story of human lust for fear and excitement to gratefulness and finding the holy when on a laundry errand. The title of Putting G-d Second: How to Save Religion from Itself by Rabbi Donniel Hartman is going to turn some people off, but it shouldn’t. What does G-d want for our human family, and how have we faltered while ostensibly doing what we think is commanded of us? How does religion give us power to do more and better for all, transcending the pervasive us vs. them attitude? What notions need to be set aside so we actually become closer to G-d? Rabbi Hartman sees that we do G-d’s work by doing G-d’s work first, in the ways that we can contemporarily understand how to be more compassionate, more sensitive, ultimately more loving. JEWISH TREASURES OF THE CARIBBEAN: The Legacy of Judaism in the New World Gorgeous. Wyatt Gallery photographs the synagogues and cemeteries of the largely Sephardic communities in the islands and Suriname, some of the oldest Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere. Beyond the architecture, there are many items of interest, including that four of the five historic synagogues, including the 1732 Mickve Israel-Emanuel, still feature sand-covered floors. A lovely gift or addition to one’s own library.

REFERENCE SERIES OF TEARS AND LAUGHTER — Conclusion of Tractates Makkot & Yoma Composed of two stories of the Talmud on events after the destruction of the second Holy Temple, this book, translated by Rabbi Eli Block, shares the Rebbe’s deep insights, pulling together how seemingly disparate situations are relative, and further, how their lessons apply to our own lives. Publisher Kehot intends for this to be the beginning of a series. COVENANT & CONVERSATION: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible Here, the Maggid imprint offers for the first time a book of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ always smart, thoughtful essays on the weekly parshiot of Numbers. This is the fourth in the Covenant & Conversation series.

BOOKS FOR CHILDREN • Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam adapted by Fawzia Gilani-William, illustrated by Chiara Fedele (preK-3): is a beautiful folktale of what best friends do for each other in trying times. • The Knish War on Rivington Street by Joanne Oppenheim, illustrated by Jon Davis (preK-3): Benny’s family opens a knishery and another opens across the street. The competition heats up. How will the Knish War end? Deliciously. • Elisha Davidson and the Shamir by M.R. Attar (older elementary readers): In part three of the Elisha Davidson trilogy, Elisha is taken on a series of adventures based on ancient manuscripts of Jewish tradition. 56 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

TEACHER: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta by Michael Copperman

Michael Copperman, describing himself as a “Japanese-Hawaiian Russo-Polish Jew” finds himself deep in the Mississippi Delta after graduating from Stanford and being accepted into Teach for America. With a full heart and a scrappy attitude, the author sets out to make his new setting fresh and fit for learning, but the mechanics of classroom management become a problem early on. Beyond what might have been the breaking point for anyone else, he finds himself giving in, and is surprised at how his positive attributes can become breached by unceasing contempt. He reaches the point at which he writes children up knowing full-well that they’re going to be paddled. He tosses a boy into a hallway, yells in class, even tears one boy’s shirt. In other ways he’s guilty without even trying, such as when his unanswered calls to report good performance result in a child getting beaten when the parent sees his number on the caller ID. He’s doing his best as a teacher - some kids rise not only to grade level but sometimes many levels beyond that. Children are given praise they’re likely starved for and sometimes are able to see the little geniuses they are inside. It’s palpable how much interest and well-being Copperman wishes for his kids. But he’s also heaped with frustration of being disrespected and of the circumstances (micro and macro) these kids are in. The towering unfairness of it all. While the experience isn’t especially positive, the author writes honestly. We’re interested to hear how the children turn out, and how he turns out too. At the end of his exhausting two year term, he leaves for other opportunities and the reader can’t help but be keen to hear what he takes from it, now that he’s had years to reflect.

community New Orleans Opera celebrates 75th by Lee J. Green A diverse season of shows, from tango to Tabasco to mediums to Jazz, will mark the New Orleans Opera’s 2017-18 season. New Orleans Opera Maestro Robert Lyall said that they want to open up opera to some new audiences and take it in directions it has not gone in before. At the same time, they want to honor tradition and great works. “The first documented opera in North America was performed in the French Quarter in May of 1796,” said Lyall. “New Orleans is known for its vast music and theatre tradition, in part since it has been a pipeline to France due to our Creole cultural heritage here.” He said they are celebrating three anniversaries simultaneously. It is New Orleans’ 300th anniversary, the 222nd anniversary of opera in the Crescent City and the 75th anniversary of the New Orleans Opera. Sixty years after that first opera, the Great French Opera House opened. It stood until 1918, when it burned down at the end of World War I. In 1930 Municipal Auditorium opened and hosted everything from Mardi Gras balls to operas. The Mahalia Jackson Theatre opened in 1972, giving the New Orleans Opera a permanent home, though some of the shows are performed at other locations. The season steps up Sept. 9 and 10 with “Maria de Buenos Aires — A Tango Opera.” On Nov. 10 and 12 they present “Orpheus and the Underworld,” which is a comic opera spoof of Greek mythology. Things get spicy in late January 2018 with “Tabasco — A Burlesque Opera.” The show is sponsored by the McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Jazz composer Terrance Blanchard was commissioned to write an opera called “Champion” about the famous 1962 boxing match between Emile Griffith, a black American fighter, and Benny Paret, his Hispanic challenger. Pre-fight, Paret hurled a homophobic slur on Griffith, who during the fight knocked his opponent into a coma. This jazz opera will be presented in March. On April 20 and 22, the Opera will host its 75th anniversary celebration, bringing back some of the greats over the years with some new surprises. The season closes June 1 and 3 with “The Medium.” This hour-long opera centers upon the life of a fortune teller. Lyall said that they have done many shows with Jewish connections, from themes to performers to sponsors. Last year, the New Orleans Opera collaborated with the National World War II Museum to present “Brundibar,” which was a children’s opera performed at the Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 2013, Temple Sinai Cantor Joel Colman performed in “Samson and Delilah” in operatic Hebrew. “We are also blessed to have some members of the Jewish community who are instrumental as leaders of our board and who are some of our most beloved benefactors,” said Lyall. “Opera in New Orleans and the Jewish community both share a rich tradition… and together we want to continue to foster that.” On Oct. 2, at 7 p.m., there will be an Opéra Nouvelle preview concert at the Uptown Jewish Community Center, focusing on Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and Verismo Opera. There will be an exploration of realism (verismo) in operatic compositions, and how verismo opera productions have changed throughout the years to preserve operatic tradition while advocating new production concepts.

September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 57


NCJW to present Kim Sport with top honor at Oct. 16 event The National Council of Jewish Women’s New Orleans Section has selected community activist Kim Sport to receive its top award — the 2017 Hannah G. Solomon Award. Sport will be honored at the upcoming Hannah G. Solomon Award Luncheon on Oct. 16, 11:30 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street. This award is given annually to a community leader who exemplifies the qualities of NCJW founder Hannah G. Solomon, and who has brought about important community programs and services through their leadership in a volunteer capacity. “Sport exemplifies volunteer leadership that brings forth social change. She fights for issues in which NCJW is in sympathy, especially those involving youth, education and women,” NCJW President Barbara Kaplinsky said. “She makes our city, state and country a better place for all.” After retiring from an accomplished and renowned legal career in 2000, Sport chose to dedicate her time volunteering for many non-profit organizations in the Greater New Orleans area. Sport utilized her legal and persuasive skills to advocate and raise millions of dollars for a multitude of human service agencies. Sport worked in support for education and children’s rights, including Jefferson Dollars for Scholars and United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council and its “Success by Six” program. She worked on ground-breaking women’s breast cancer health initiatives through her work with the American Cancer Society and the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium and Oschner/Baptist Medical Center. She co-founded Breastoration, an advocacy and financial assistance organization, to help women facing mastectomies. In the 2016 legislative session, Sport drafted a bill, which passed unanimously, to assure that health insurance providers cover every stage of a women’s breast reconstruction. Sport has also brought legislative change on domestic violence issues. While functioning as the first chair of the Louisiana Commission to Prevent Domestic Violence, and also while still working as United Way’s public policy chair, Sport worked to see over 50 provisions of law amended or enacted to provide greater protection and services to domestic violence victims and to appropriately treat and punish abusers. This work continues, not only on domestic violence, but also on EITC, equal pay and eradication of poverty. Tickets for the luncheon are $70 per person. Reserved tables are for 8 to 10 people. Reservations should be made by Oct. 6 to Loel Weil Samuel, 2100 St. Charles Avenue, Unit 3G, New Orleans, LA 70130. Valet parking is available at the $17 special event rate. Tickets can also be purchased online at

Erdheim to head Gates of Prayer outreach Gates of Prayer in Metairie announced that Lexi Erdheim will be the Oscar J. Tolmas 20s-30s Outreach Professional. A fourth-year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, Erdheim is also working on a Master’s in non-profit management. A New Jersey native, she has led education and worship for two summers at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica. She will visit New Orleans monthly to conduct Tribe Shabbat services and other outreach activities. 58 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017


jewish deep south: bagels, biscuits, beignets From Jack’s Wife Freda: Cooking from New York’s West Village. Image: Mikey Pozarik




Cooking from New York’s West Village by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz So much love — nothing but love for Jack’s Wife Freda. Sure, that’s a curious name for a restaurant, but apparently Freda was just that kind of unforgettable balaboosta grandmother. This cookbook is the product of a mix of Jewish flavors from family all over. Let’s start with breakfast. Eggs Benny with fuchsia beet hollandaise and latkes as the base. Duck bacon. Green (tomatillos!) shakshuka. And for the rest of the day: grain bowl, peri peri chicken wings, veggie curry with apple-raisin chutney, malva pudding and yogurt panna cotta with rose syrup. There are day drinks like avocado and kale shake, and mint lemonade, and later drinks like a ‘Bootsy Collins’ with vodka and Lillet, plus a ‘Pink Guzzler’ involving watermelon juice and tequila. Thank you for remembering the beverages. Can’t come up with a single recipe here to pass on (though not every recipe is kosher, most could be so with a slight variation). Tons of great pics and winning, easy-to-follow recipes. Definitely recommended.

MOLLY ON THE RANGE: Recipes and Stories from an Unlikely Life on a Farm by Molly Yeh Challah waffles. Cardamom orange kubaneh. Spinach and feta rugelach. Yes to all that. Molly’s heritage is Jewish and Chinese, and she’s lived in Chicago and New York and (now) on a farm in Minnesota, so all these great flavors inform her recipes. Take schnitzel bao with sriracha mayo and sesame pickles, for one. It’s not a kosher cookbook — page 99 is ‘smoky bacon mac and cheese’ after all — but there’s so much in between, the good vibes behind the Funfetti cake recipe in the back will likely make up for it alone. If you know Molly already from her website, this is basically her mynameisyeh. com in book form. Beautiful photographs, functional recipes that tread the line between easy and complex, and cute stories (though occasionally a little offcolor) make it a fun pick.

Milk & Honey Distillery put the first hundred bottles of the only single malt whisky ever produced in Israel, aged for 30 months in a new American oak cask, in an online auction last month. Bottle #001 sold for £2,400.

WHISKEY FROM TENNESSEE TO ISRAEL As Ha’aretz put it, “Attempts to Import Jack Daniels to Israel Forces Rabbinate to Admit Game Is Rigged.” Paneco, an importer who wishes to compete with the current supplier, submits that as all Jack Daniels is made at the same facility in Lynchburg and has already been found to be kosher, there should be no kashrut issue in their sale of the product. OK, however, said they would certify only those bottles imported by the current, official Israeli importer.

COMING SOON: EVERYTHING BAGEL DOUGHNUTS East coast bakeries are squabbling as to who introduced the world to a doughnut loaded with ‘everything’ on top and cream cheese in the middle. Out for a couple of years now, they’re white-hot on InstaGram though haven’t yet reached peak cronut. Bring them Southward.

MITZVAH SHEETCAKING Three Brothers in Houston is selling a cake with an American flag and “sheetcaking” on it for $60, with half of the proceeds going to the Holocaust Museum Houston. The three brothers who founded the bakery were Holocaust survivors. They do ship. September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 59

schmoozefest party + people L’Shanah Tovah! Wishing all my friends and supporters in the Jewish community an especially happy new year!

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Fixed Right or It’s Free! 60 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

On Aug. 24, JNOLA’s Chai Society held its Get Spirited event to recognize the members of JNOLA’s leadership giving level. The Chai Society is made up of young professionals ages 21 to 45 who make an individual gift of at least $180 to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans’ annual campaign. After hors d’ouvres and music by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Jeremy Soso gave a brief presentation on what Federation does, noting that of the $2.6 million raised annually, about 70 percent remains local. Alan Franco, past Federation president, spoke about philanthropy, and new Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow also made remarks about his return to New Orleans. The evening concluded with a hands-on lesson in drink mixology.

Continued from page 62

Do you have peace of mind?


We have sinned against you by putting that ram’s horn image in people’s heads. I didn’t do that one this year. Well, there’s always next year. The front row is reserved for the righteous and the pure of heart. We have sinned against you by sometimes sitting closer than the back row. That guy two rows over needs to atone for his atonal singing. Really. His singing makes that ram’s horn image seem not so bad. I did so many things not even listed here. Does that make them okay? I’m sorry I did that one. Still, it was fun… Okay, students, repeat after me: “We have sinned against you in our Hebrew reading by Shinning instead of Sinning.”

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Three days of holding this book puts the “sore” in Machzor. Serpent and repent are similar words. It’s after Labor Day. Why are we wearing white? Why did they name those flies after these fringes on the tallis? Someday I’m going to make a retro 1970s boothsploitation film, “I’m Gonna Git You Sukkah.” How many of these will I remember, since I can’t write them down until I’m out of here?

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Torah Academy hosts regional seminar

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 61


Last authentic steamboat on the Mississippi River Three cruises a day from the French Quarter Dinner Jazz Cruise, Sunday Brunch & more Calliope Concerts & Engine Room Visits Inside and outside seating

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High Holy Gaze Throughout the year, most people at synagogue share one common thought: Why can’t services be longer? The rabbis of old, endowed with as much clairvoyant perception as they lacked in sarcasm perception, provided the High Holy Day services. High Holy Day services give people a chance to reflect. A very big chance — though not enough of one, as the state of society indicates. Perhaps people would reflect more if they weren’t vampires. Or, if they interspersed their deeper thoughts with random musings such as…

The Book of Jonah

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(504) 838-9615 62 Southern Jewish Life • September 2017

Does owning half of a quarterhorse give you an eighth of a horse? If so, is half of this Haftarah a quarter of the Torah? What if Jonah had a fish allergy? Whales are mammals. The original text says “big fish.” The movie “Big Fish” didn’t even have a character named Jonah. I’m too confused. Or dehydrated. Yeah. Look around. Most of these people have no idea there’s more to the story than fish food. If I tell students to write an essay regurgitating all they know about Jonah, will they get it? Maybe Ahab was seeking revenge for SOME RANDOM Jonah. Maybe I should have read “Moby THOUGHTS Dick” when I was supposed to. Or “The THAT OCCUR Catcher in the Rye.” Or “The Great Gatsby.” How did I graduate? How did I end WHEN YOU ARE up with two degrees in English? SUPPOSED TO BE Or “As You Like It.” Or “King Lear.” Or “Maccers. ” How did I end up running a ATONING… Shakespeare company?

High Holy Day cuisine

Apples and honey. The perfect finger food when wearing nice clothes for services. Whoever came up with the word “fast” to describe not eating or drinking was an idiot. He might have thought he was funny or ironic. He wasn’t. Break fast for dinner? I always go to work after breakfast. I can hold out another 12 hours.


If I have to stand the whole time, why does the name have “kneel” in it? I see three stars. More, even. They’re spinning all around me. Sure. I can wait until after rehearsal tonight to eat something.


I’d like to hire a ram’s horn to drive me around. That guy’s Sh’varim didn’t make me shiver. Dodge Ram trucks should have a Jewish option, where the Ram’s horn sounds like a Shofar. Nope. That was only eight short ones. I want a truer T’ruah. Start over. Did Morse steal his Code from the Shofar blasts? Did Robert Morse know Morse Code? If they ever make me run High Holy Day Youth Service again, we’re playing a game of T’ruah False. Wow. We need to sit shiva for that guy’s Sh’varim. Okay, so who figured out that if you blow through a ram’s horn in just the right way that it makes a sound. Really. What course of events led to discovering that? continued on previous page

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September 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 63

SJL New Orleans, September 2017  

September 2017 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official publication of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community

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