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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


High Holy Days 2019 Volume 29 Issue 9

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade Ave., 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 The New Orleans Reform Clergy at Henry S. Jacobs Camp this summer

OCTOBER 16, 2019



T I C K E T S AT R E S E A R C H F O R T H E C U R E . O R G 2

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all For the Jewish communities of the Deep South, this is the most heavily religious time of the year. But in addition to football season, the High Holy Days are coming up. As reported last month, members of the Who Dat Nation have a dilemma with a pivotal home game against Dallas on the first evening of Rosh Hashanah. What is a Jieux for Breesus to do? Our September issue always has the intersection of sports and the Jewish community. The coverage really started last month, with our piece about Yana Fielkow of New Orleans playing on the gold medal-winning U.S. soccer team at the Maccabi Pan Am Games in Mexico City. But as we report this month, it isn’t just U.S. uniforms being worn in international competition by athletes in our area, as a surprising number of Israel’s lacrosse and softball players this summer came from our region. We also have coverage of the larger-than-usual New Orleans and Birmingham (also with New Orleans and Huntsville participation) delegations to the JCC Maccabi Games in Detroit and Atlanta, respectively. We also have the most comprehensive coverage of a Team Israel story from the Women’s Lacrosse U19 World Championships in Canada, a story that went viral, including hundreds of thousands of views on ESPN. Naturally, there is a strong local tie. In this issue, we also have interviews with the surprisingly large number of new rabbis in our region. As we enter 5780, may it be a year of peace and prosperity, security and understanding… and another Lombardi trophy coming home to the Superdome.

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life




Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel to Australia to South America, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around the United States Gilad Katz and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish identity, especially in our young.

Not Everything is Politics

I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city cycle the taken Hebrew calendar has community whowith are frustrated, and worst butAnother the people. Youofhave Southern hospitality to a new level your kind angry, and caring come to an In aMaccabi few days,Games. according to the of all feel alienated from Israel. I hear them, I approach to end. the JCC Jewish tradition, we will celebrate the beginning understand their genuine frustration, and my Led by the Sokol and Helds, your hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered of a New Hebrew Year, 5780. These days are heart goes out to them as they are members of with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. times of soul searching. A time for us to stop our Israeli Family. I want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to say thank you on behalf our routine and look back at the year that is My dear friends, during this time of the year of everyone involved. ending as well as anticipate the New Year that is as we enter into the High Holy Days, I would like I had just returned from the 20th World Maccabiah games that in Israel with a U.S. of just around the corner. to suggest we all stop. We delegation will have plenty over 1100, who joined Jewish athletes from 80 countries. of Back inand Julyopportunities the eyes of thetoentire I would like to take 10,000 this opportime argue Jewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 tunity to focus on the relationship and debate. But athletes for now,and let us put coaches around being in Birmingham, you became focal point. betweenfrom Israel and the theworld Jewish ourthe differences on hold — at least communities in the Diaspora. for this special time of year. Let us Everyone from the Jewish community and the community at large, including a wonderful One does not have to be a scholar focus on something that for too police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal to know that during the last few long we have forgotten or ignored. moment for the Jewish community as we build to the future by providing such wonderful Jewish years there has been a constant When was the last time we put memories. feeling of tension between Israel, aside the differences between us Jed Margolis or maybe we should say the Israeli and instead focused on the comExecutive Director, Maccabi Government, and the JewishUSA Dimon values, beliefs, and goals that aspora. This tension is not new we as a people share. and it seems that it has always Believe friends, supremacists would like tome seemy pushed back not On beenCharlottesville hanging above our heads. everything politics! vastlesser. majority of the into a cornerisand madeThe to feel We stand Nevertheless, it still seems that since the de- with Jewish community, both in Israel and the Unitand pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in cision of the Israeli Government to suspend the who ed States, believe in our mutual destiny. We was there standing up to the face of this Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, ‘Sheransky Report’ (June 2017) by not recogniz- hate. know that the deep bond between us is undeniMaster of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony ing the new official egalitarian plaza adjacent able and irrevocable. There is a fascinating story We recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi to the traditional Orthodox plaza at the Kotel about Rabbi Arye Levin, a very well-known rabnarrative as a two-century old struggle to rid National, which called it “very eloquent” and (Western Wall), things have deteriorated. bi who lived in Israel during the first half of the ourselves of such corners, and allow those in praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at After this came the “Nationality Law” (July 20th century. He was known for his endless love them the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and… the leadership they 2019), a piece of Israeli legislation which, how- for each and every Jew. It was told that there was It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the display on their campus.” ever well intentioned, became incredibly divi- once a time when the rabbi and his wife went to Declaration of Independence, that “all men are sive throughout the Diaspora. Additionally, we see the doctor. Upon arriving, the doctor asked created equal… endowed by their Creator with cannot that during all ofa cancer these years them for the reason that they came to see him. Whiteforget supremacy has been on the certain unalienable rights.” We know our work “Conversion Issue” has not yet been addressed, Rabbi Arye Levin answered, “My wife has an our country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not to the disappointment of myself, issue with her leg and we both feel the pain.” its hopes, its values, andand its frustration better angels. move backwards. and events most importantly the Diaspora. Although we have our disagreements and even The that took place in Charlottesville When men and women,atfully Just a fewthe weeks ago, argue between ourselves, thearmed, end of take the day represented worst of the thisIsraeli nation.Government Those to the streets in droves with swastikas and decided to bar two Congresswomen from enwe all feel each other’s pain. who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols it is than a reminder of how tering the State due toviolence their ongoing That feeling of is hate, stronger anything we can and swastikas didofsoIsrael, to provoke and relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism active support the BDSonto movement. BDS, fear. Those whoofmarched the streets didalso imagine. It shows us time and time again just are is adependent wake-up call that known as the howtoday. closeItand weto arethe onwork one anothso to profess anBoycott, ideologyDivestment, that harkensand backSancto needs to be done to ensure a better, more tions movement, is a campaign that has one er. Knowing and remembering that, especially a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. it should goal onwhen theirmen agenda: to delegitimize very welcoming around thiscountry. time ofBut year, enablesnot us come to foresee A time and women of many the creeds, without a reflection on how far we’ve come. existence of the State This decision of ‫ביחד‬ races, and religions wereoffarIsrael. from equal and far our mutual future in the true context regarding again – America together. was Allow mea slave to end by quoting from born nation. A century from safe inthe ourCongresswomen own borders. A has timeonce where frayed the unity of our communities. Ecclesiastes, chapter 4 verses 9-12: into our history we engaged in a war in part Americans lived under a constant cloud of Todayanti-Semitism at first sight, and it could appear as The if the to ensure as one. Wehave racism, pervasive hate. 9 “Twowe arewould better not thancontinue one; because they major Jewish communities are disagreeing upon found events that took place in Charlottesville served a goodourselves reward forconfronted their laborby the issue of civil tooa reminder many coreofissues. One mayrelevant ask: Where andif embarked onone a mission as how painfully theseare rights, 10 For they fall, the will lift to upensure his fellow; we heading? How much more can we distance the ofisallalone peoples nohematter their issues are today. but fair woetreatment to him that when falleth, and ourselves from each other? As the Consul Gen- skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, hath not another to lift him up. Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon with the eral of the State of Israel to Pi thestands Southwest, I have grapplingthen withthey today. Again, ifwe’re two still lie together, have Jewish community of Charlottesville, andleaders it is11a mission the privilege and honor to meet many warmth; but how can one be warm alone? America was also born an immigrant with the Jewish people around the country and the individuals who make up the Jewish 12 And a man prevail against him that is country. Asifearly as the pilgrims, many and around the world. We also stand with the alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold minorities whoisare targeted by theofhate that Gilad Katz Consul General Israel to the groups and families found in the country the cord is not quickly broken. ” chase their future, opportunity to plant stakes, was on display in Charlottesville. We stand Southwest, based in Houston, covering a territory andShana be themselves. Few were met with open with the minorities of whom these white Tova! that includes Louisiana and Arkansas. 4

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

High Holy Days 2019 April 2019

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green V.P. SALES/MARKETING, NEW ORLEANS Jeff Pizzo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/432-2561 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green,; Jeff Pizzo,; or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement.

Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events

Over 500 students attended the Welcome Back Barbecue at Tulane Hillel, celebrating the start of the school year.

Bissinger-Timm family, Stephen Hales to receive ADL’s Torch of Liberty Award The South-Central Region of the Anti-Defamation League will honor the Bissinger-Timm family and Stephen Hales at the annual A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Awards dinner, Oct. 30 at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans. There will also be a special recognition of Entergy for the decade-long partnership with the Entergy Charitable Foundation for ADL’s No Place for Hate educational initiative. The honorees “all have made significant contributions to the health and well-being of our community and have worked to shape a New Orleans that reflects ADL’s guiding values.” The Bissinger-Timm family, Marjorie, Allan and Nancy, “have shown an unwavering commitment to the Jewish community, their steadfast leadership guiding the community through difficult challenges.” Hales “is revered and beloved as a leading voice on how we care for our children, his distinguished legacy resonates throughout New Orleans’ most treasured traditions and circles.” Nancy Bissinger Timm served as chair of the ADL board and as a national commissioner for the last five years. A clinical social worker for 38 years, she has chaired the boards of Jewish Family Service and Touro Infirmary Foundation, and has been elected vice president of the National Association of Jewish Family Services. She has also served on numerous other boards in the Jewish and general communities. Philanthropist Marjorie Bissinger promoted reading and literacy in schools, while teaching at the Jewish Community Center nursery school for 18 years. She was “Elf ” the Storyteller on WDSU’s “Let’s Tell a Story,” a children’s show produced by the National Council of Jewish Women from 1958 to 1975. She is the recipient of the Jewish Endowment Foun-

dation’s Tzedakah Award and Hannah G. Solomon Award. Allan Bissinger, who died of pancreatic cancer in June, was instrumental in building Louisiana Children’s Medical Center, a partnership of two hospitals as the city worked to recover after Hurricane Katrina. When the levees broke, Bissinger was assuming the presidency of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, and in a statement from the Federation in June, “Allan’s leadership steered the Greater New Orleans Jewish community through the worst of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, resulting in a restoration of the community back to pre-storm population levels and the stabilization of community agencies.” He also was president of the Jewish Community Center and a past chairman of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. Hales came to New Orleans in 1975 to serve as chief of pediatrics at the United States Public Health Service Hospital, now part of Children’s Hospital’s campus. He was a founding board member of LCMC Health, New Schools for New Orleans and Pro Bono Publico Foundation, all of which are post-Katrina initiatives. He has served on a wide range of local boards, and is the Rex Organization’s historian and archivist, reigning as Rex in 2017. The Torch of Liberty Award was established to be presented to individuals who personify the noblest traditions of the United States of America. First presented in 1967, it became an annual event in New Orleans in 1973, and in 1995 was named for the 28-year former ADL regional director. Tickets to the 6 p.m. event are $300, with Next Generation tickets at $150. Sponsorships start at $500. High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

On Sept. 3, Israeli Consul General Gilad Katz from the Houston consulate met with President Jerry Young and other officials of the National Baptist Convention, who were holding their 139th annual convention in New Orleans. “This meeting was extremely important for the future relationship between the Black community and the State of Israel,” Katz said. “It is time for us to start working together for the sake of both our peoples.”

Touro Infirmary Foundation Gala celebrates 30th anniversary The Touro Infirmary Foundation will kick off its 30th anniversary and a two-year campaign at the annual Touro Infirmary Foundation Gala, “The Beach Ball,” Nov. 2 at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Gary Glynn, a pioneer for physical medicine and rehabilitation in New Orleans, will be the honoree. The Judah Touro Society Award is the hospital’s highest honor and is voted on by previous recipients. It is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the welfare of Touro Infirmary. Glynn has been practicing for 42 years as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist. He graduated from LSU School of Medicine-New Orleans in 1974. Glynn joined the Touro medical staff in 1981 and was instrumental in launching Touro’s Rehabilitation Center, which currently has six Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accreditations, the most of any hospital in Louisiana. He served as the founder and medical director of multiple rehabilitation programs at Touro Infirmary, and is a founding member of the Judah Touro Society. Tickets to the Gala are $200, with patron tickets at $500 and the Judah Touro Society level at $1500. The patron party starts at 5:30 p.m. The gala starts with a 6 p.m. cocktail hour, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. There is also a Gala After-Party starting at 9 p.m. at Press Street Station. Admission to the after-party is included in Gala tickets, or for those not attending the Gala, admission is $50, or $75 for a couple.

On The Cover: Touro Cantor Kevin Margolius, Gates of Prayer Assistant Rabbi Alexis Erdheim, Temple Sinai Cantor Joel Colman, Touro Rabbi Katie Bauman, Touro Director of Lifelong Learning Rabbi Todd Silverman and Temple Sinai Rabbi Daniel Sherman spent time together at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in July. Gates of Prayer Rabbi David Gerber, who had to leave camp before the photo was taken, is pictured on Erdheim’s phone.


Barney named to Civil Society Fellowship Shawn Barney, managing director of CLB Porter Development, LLC in New Orleans, was named to the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship. The Fellowship is a partnership of the Aspen Institute and the Anti-Defamation League, building a “next generation of leaders” in a belief that in an era of rising intolerance and partisanship, “our nation’s next generation of community and civil society leaders, activists and problem-solvers would greatly benefit from the opportunity to refine and hone their leadership skills while building relationships across movements.” The 23 Fellows were selected from a pool of over 200 nominees from across the country. They are between the ages of 25 and 45, “proven leaders with a broad array of concerns who have reached an inflection point in their lives where they are ready to apply their talent and skills to build a more civil society.” The Fellows reflect “a diverse mosaic representing a broad geographical, political and ideological swath of the United States.” Aaron Ahlquist, ADL’s South Central Regional Director, said the region is excited that Barney is in the inaugural class. “He has already made considerable contributions in our region and his commitment to improving our community and the lives of others are so deserving of this recognition and inclusion. We are excited to see what he brings back from this experience and how our community will benefit from his participation in the Civil Society Fellowship.” CLB Porter is a real estate development and public finance advisory firm. Barney is also a Partner with Faubourg Properties, a real estate partnership focused on opportunities in Northwest Arkansas. He has structured or developed over $1billion in projects. Barney co-founded the Campaign for Equity New Orleans, conversations for systems leaders and influencers about racial equity. The effort is ongoing with over 1,000 leaders having participated to date and has led to similar initiatives in other communities, including Kansas City, Cleveland, and Northwest Arkansas as well as corporations such as Walmart Corporation hosting their own internal dialogues about race. Barney serves on various civic boards including New Orleans Startup Fund and Prospect New Orleans, U.S. Triennial. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute, where he was nominated to the Public Private Partnership Council.



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agenda Touro Synagogue to dedicate new Torah scroll

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Last September, as scribe Linda Coppleson sat under a canopy in the sanctuary of Touro Synagogue to write the first letters of a new Torah scroll, Julian Good Jr. commented that Torahs are not written very often. In October, the congregation will have the rare occasion of dedicating that new Torah, which the Good family is dedicating in memory of Julian Good Sr., a past president of Touro. During the Shabbat evening service in the middle of Sukkot and before Simchat Torah, there will be a celebration of the Torah’s completion, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m., and the first time the scroll has been read from. This is the fifth Torah that Coppleson has written, and it is “the first one written by a woman here in New Orleans, at least I am assuming so.” Adding to the local connection, the wood used in the rollers is coming from Louisiana trees. Over the course of the past year, Coppleson has made a few trips to New Orleans to have scribing sessions, where members who are dedicating words or letters could hold her hand as she wrote letters in the scroll.

Gates of Prayer Gift Shop holding clearance sale

While most congregations used to have a gift shop, only one remains in the New Orleans area. The Sisterhood Gift Shop at Gates of Prayer in Metairie will hold a clearance sale on Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to noon to make room for new items for the coming year. A wide range of Judaica, including jewelry, mezuzot, dreidels, books and assorted gift items for children and the home, will be reduced up to 75 percent off original prices. “We literally have something for everyone,” said Janet Krane, who chairs Sisterhood’s Gift Shop Committee. “We hope everyone will stop by to help us clear our shelves.” Proceeds from the sale will benefit synagogue programs and projects as well as the Jewish community and the community at large. 8

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Alumni from 27 states coming to Jacobs Camp 50th anniversary Nov. 1 celebration in New Orleans As the reservations deadline approaches for the Henry S. Jacobs Camp 50th Anniversary Celebration in New Orleans, over 200 camp friends and alumni from 27 states have signed up for the weekend. The Utica, Miss., Reform summer camp will celebrate its history starting on Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. at Touro Synagogue, with a welcome reception. Shabbat services will start at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at 7:30 p.m. and a song session at 8:30. An after-party is planned for 9:30 p.m. at the Library Bar on Prytania Street, lasting until 12:30 a.m. On Nov. 2, activities move to the Uptown Jewish Community Center, with camp-style Shabbat morning services at 9 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., camp activities will begin, including basketball in the gym, inflatable Gaga, kickball on the field, lanyard making, a bounce house and art activities. Ultimate Frisbee will take over the field at 11:30 a.m. Lunch and snowballs will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a song session at 12:30 p.m. A Jewish tour of New Orleans will be available at 1 p.m. Led by Alan Raphael, the bus tour will include past and present sites of Jewish congregations, St. Charles Avenue mansions and historic businesses, and the site of the future Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which originated at the camp and will reopen in New Orleans next year. The evening gala will be at the National World War II Museum, for ages 21 and up. There will be cocktails starting at 7 p.m., with dinner at 7:45 p.m. and dancing to follow. Havdalah and a friendship circle will be at 10:30 p.m. The weekend is chaired by Diane and Alan Franco, and Robin and Billy Orgel. Honorary chairs are Susan and Macy Hart. Registration for the weekend is $180, and includes the Shabbat evening events at Touro, Saturday activities at the Uptown JCC including lunch, the dinner celebration at The National WW2 Museum and a 50th Anniversary T-shirt. Young adult registration for ages 21 to 25 is $90. Registration for ages 8 to 20 are $50 and do not include the Saturday night event. Registration for ages 1 to 7 is $25 and includes babysitting during the Shabbat evening service. Reservation deadline is Oct. 1. For additional information and reservations, check A special group hotel rate is available at the Hotel Intercontinental.

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Dual loyalty charge leveled Calif. Rep. Lieu accuses Ala., La. Reps of allegiance to Israel over America, backtracks on Friedman critique United States Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, is partially backtracking from a dual-loyalty trope he tweeted on August 15 after Israel decided not to allow a visit to the territories by Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. Among his targets were Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, though most of the headlines came from a similar tweet to the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman. After Friedman said the U.S. “supports and respects” Israel’s decision and that Israel “has every right to protect its borders against those activists in the same manner as it would bar entrants with more conventional weapons,” Lieu tweeted Friedman, saying “You are an American. Your allegiance should be to America, not to a foreign power.” He added that Friedman should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. “If you don’t understand that, then you need to resign.” On a CNN appearance later that day, Lieu twice reiterated his call for Friedman to resign, “because he doesn’t see to understand that his allegiance is to America, not to a foreign power.” Brooks expressed his support of Israel’s decision, saying on Twitter, “Like many nations, Israel bars enemies from entering Israel. How can anyone disagree with that? Israel bans Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib because they hate, want to hurt, maybe even destroy, Israel. I respect & support Israel’s sovereignty & right to exist.”

Lieu responded to him with “A reminder that you are an American Member of Congress. Your allegiance should be to America. We are Americans first. You should be defending the right of Americans to travel to other countries. Get it?” Lieu wrote a similar response to Scalise’s defense of Israel at the Illinois State Fair’s Republican Day, ending that tweet with “If you don’t understand that, you should find another line of work.” He also complimented Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan “for understanding that, as an American Member of Congress, your loyalty is to America, not to a foreign government.” Shortly after Lieu tweeted the other members of Congress, he removed the tweet he had sent to Friedman. “It has been brought to my attention that my prior tweet to @USAmbIsrael raises dual loyalty allegations that have historically caused harm to the Jewish community. That is a legitimate concern. I am therefore deleting the tweet.” In response to a tweet from the Zionist Organization of America, Lieu admitted writing the tweet, adding “I should have been aware at the time I wrote the tweet that, as applied to Amb Friedman, it raised dual loyalty issues that have historically harmed the Jewish community. I’m sorry for writing it.” While he deleted his tweet to Friedman, the ones to his non-Jewish colleagues remained on his feed, and were still there as of Aug. 31.

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Restoring Lives in a Home Environment We treat more than the addiction. We treat the entire person.

Allie Bowsky Nork, center, was selected as the new Miss Crowley. Nevaeh Hanks, left, is the 2019 Junior Miss Crowley, and Destiny Thompson, right, was named the 2019 Teen Miss Crowley.

Allie Nork named Miss Crowley On July 20, Allie Nork became the 83rd Miss Crowley at the annual Miss Crowley Pageant. In that role, she will travel the state over the coming year. The daughter of Shelly Nork, Allie, 17, is a senior at Notre Dame High School, where she is class president, a football trainer and the varsity cheer team mascot. She also is a member of Temple Shalom in Lafayette and a five-year Jacobs Camp veteran. She is chairing the congregation’s participation in Camp Dream Street, a project of NFTY-Southern that is housed at Jacobs Camp. Allie has received the Prudential Spirit of Community Service Award, the President’s Choice Community Service Award, the Biliteracy Attainment Award and the Silver Academic Award. She hopes to attend Tulane to study biology. Rabbi Barry Weinstein pointed out that Allie is the only Jewish teen in Crowley, about 25 miles west of Lafayette. Weinstein said that as he was one of only three or four Jewish youth growing up in Waverly, N.Y., “I surely appreciate Allie’s very special dedication to her Judaism” as shown by constantly going back and forth to Lafayette. When Weinstein served the congregation, “Allie always was among the most attentive and dedicated students in our Religious School” and was the first student to come forward when volunteer needs arose.

Pink Mega Challah Bake unites Baton Rouge, Lafayette groups The Jewish organizations of the Greater Baton Rouge area are holding a Pink Mega Challah Bake, Oct. 6 at 5:45 p.m. at The Women’s Club of Baton Rouge. Organized by Chabad of Baton Rouge, the women’s event is co-hosted by Beth Shalom, B’nai Israel and Hadassah Baton Rouge, and Temple Shalom in Lafayette. In addition to learning about how to make challah from scratch, there will be a breast cancer awareness panel. Early bird tickets are $18 through Sept. 15, $25 after. Woman of Valor dedications are $100. More information is at

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community LimmudFest 2020 announced for March

Henry S. Jacobs Camp celebrated its 50th Anniversary Summer in 2019! Camper and Staff alumni from 1970 ‘til today will gather in New Orleans, November 1-3, 2019 for a celebration weekend! Friday, November 1st 5PM-9PM, Touro Synagogue Welcome Reception, Services, Dinner and Song Session

Saturday, November 2nd 9AM-1PM, Uptown Jewish Community Center Services, Camp Activities and Lunch

Saturday, November 2nd 7PM-11PM, National World War II Museum Dinner, Dancing and Havdallah

For more information and to register please visit: Questions:


High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

In March 2018, nearly 400 participated in “Big Tent Jewish Learning” at the biennial New Orleans LimmudFest. The weekend of learning, arts, culture and spirituality returns next year, from March 20 to 22. LimmudFest is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything Jewish, the entire community is enriched. In New Orleans, that is taken to a unique level, as Gates of Prayer in Metairie hosts the Shabbat events, including Orthodox, Conservative and Reform services under one roof. Limmud is a volunteer-led group dedicated to making some of the world’s most dynamic Jewish educators, performers and teachers, working in a variety of educational styles – lectures, workshops, text-study sessions, film, meditation, discussions, exhibits and performance – accessible to everyone, no matter what their level of Jewish knowledge or commitment to Jewish life. “Wherever you find yourself, Limmud will take you one step further on your Jewish journey,” says Dana Keren, chair of LimmudFest 2020. After the Shabbat experience in Metairie, programming moves to the Uptown Jewish Community Center for Havdalah and the Sunday sessions. “We are working on a full list of thoughtful and passionate presenters who will be appearing at LimmudFest,” Keren says. Advisors who are providing mentorship are past LimmudFest chairs Gail Chalew and Aleeza Adelman, and rabbinical advisors from all the New Orleans area congregations. Organizers hope to attract participants from around the region, and provisions can be made for those who need to be within walking distance of Gates of Prayer during Shabbat. Working alongside Keren are all-volunteer teams. Orchestrating programming are Cathy Glaser, Jacquelyn Stern and Toby David. Sandy Cohen and Peter Seltzer are spearheading coordination of meals and snacks, which are included in the registration. Other teams include marketing, logistics, home hospitality, volunteer coordination, fundraising and finance. Those who want to join in planning LimmudFest 2020 should contact the steering committee at Registration will open this fall, and pricing will be announced soon. The weekend will begin at 4:30 p.m. on March 20 and run through 6 p.m. on March 22. All food and snacks will be kosher, and meals are included in registration. For more information about LimmudFest 2020, go to

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A recent “Meet the Rabbis” panel with Rabbis Moshe Rube, Stephen Slater and Adam Wright was held at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center.

The New Rabbi(s) Unprecedented level of Rabbinic reshuffling in region

Almost every year, there are a couple of new senior rabbis in the region. This year, one might need a scorecard to keep up, as communities used to long-tenured rabbis find a wave of new faces on the pulpit. In recent years, rabbinic retirements include Rabbi Jonathan Miller of Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El (27 years), Rabbi Edward Cohn of Temple Sinai in New Orleans (29 years), Rabbi Robert Loewy of Metairie’s Gates of Prayer (34 years) and Rabbi Donald Kunstadt of Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile (28 years). In New Orleans, three of the five full-time pulpits have new senior rabbis — Rabbi Katie Bowman at Touro Synagogue, Rabbi Daniel Sherman of Temple Sinai and Rabbi Josh Pernick at Beth Israel. Of the other two congregations, Gates of Prayer Rabbi David Gerber arrived in Metairie a year ago, and Rabbi Deborah Silver has been at Shir Chadash for three years. In addition to Rabbi Adam Wright taking the pulpit at Temple Emanu-El this year, Birmingham’s other pulpit rabbis are relative newcomers. Rabbi Moshe Rube of Knesseth Israel is the group veteran with two years, and Rabbi Stephen Slater recently completed his first year at Temple Beth-El. Rabbi Sydni Rubenstein is the new rabbi at Agudath Achim in Shreveport, and Rabbi Joseph Rosen takes over the only full-time pulpit in Mississippi, at Jackson’s Beth Israel. Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El also has a new leader as Cantor Neil Schwartz begins in the Wiregrass community after four years at Agudath Achim in Shreveport. Aside from Chabad rabbis, who very rarely move to a different community, currently Rabbi Steven Silberman of Ahavas Chesed in Mobile is the dean of Southern full-time rabbis at a single congregation, in his 30th year. The only other full-time rabbis who have been at their congregations for a decade or more are Rabbi Jana De Benedetti of B’nai Zion in Shreveport (13 years), Rabbi Scott Kramer of Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem, Montgomery (12 years) and Rabbi Jordan Goldson of B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge (10 years).

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“Homecoming” for Touro’s Bauman For Rabbi Katie Bauman, becoming the new senior rabbi at Touro Synagogue gave her the “feeling of coming home to a community I already love.” While she mostly grew up in Little Rock, Bauman was born in New Orleans and lived there until her family moved to Arkansas when she was four. But “I definitely consider New Orleans one of the places where I grew up,” having spent a lot of time in the community visiting relatives and friends, attending National





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Federation of Temple Youth regional gatherings at Touro. “My family roots are deeply in this city, and also in this congregation,” she said. Her grandparents were Morris and Ruth Berenson Forsyth. Her uncle, David, is an attorney in New Orleans, and she is also related to the Berenson and Stone families. In November, another of the places where she grew up will come into play as Touro is the host congregation for Shabbat evening events at the celebration of Henry S. Jacobs Camp’s 50th anniversary. Because Jacobs Camp “is so important to me,” she had always planned to be in New Orleans for the reunion. “Never did I imagine I’d have the opportunity to be one of the hosts of it,” she said. For her, “it feels like a small way for me to give back to the place that in so many ways raised me, raised so many of us.” Bauman started attending the camp at age 10, continuing every year until the camp’s National Federation of Temple Youth trip to Israel in 1996. On that trip, she met and became friends with Adam Eckstein of Memphis, who is now her husband. Continuing the Southern Jewish geography, that Israel trip was led by Ari Goldstein, son of Touro Rabbi Emeritus David Goldstein. Bauman returned to Jacobs as a counselor and educator, and Camp Director Macy Hart encouraged her to become a song leader. After earning a degree in Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies at Washington University, she had an internship at Temple Israel in Memphis as an education and music specialist, during which she decided to become either a rabbi or a cantor. She decided that being a rabbi gave her a better chance of staying in the South. “I want to live where my roots are, and being a rabbi gave me the best way to do that.” Among her student pulpits was B’nai Israel in Natchez, just down the road from Jacobs Camp. After ordination in 2009, she returned to Temple Israel, first as assistant rabbi, then as associate rabbi. She was the founding chair of MICAH: Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope, and a board member of the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association. The opportunity at Touro was the only time she ever considered leaving Memphis. “To me, New Orleans is an old friend,” and being able to live there was a great attraction. Touro was “an opportunity for a new challenge in a vibrant, historic congregation with a stellar team.” That made this “uniquely compelling” for her. While summer is generally a quiet time around synagogues, for Bauman it was even quieter, as the Reform congregations in New Orleans hold joint services during the summer, rotating among the three congregations a month at a time. When she arrived in late June, it was at the end of Touro’s turn. She attended the final Shabbat of June “as a congregant” at Touro’s Pride Shabbat. “It was beautiful.” While she attended services at the other congregations, it wouldn’t be until the beginning of September that she ascended the pulpit at Touro. But that quiet time was “a great opportunity for me to sit down with many congregants for coffee, lunch, walks in the park, learning about their connections” to Touro. Bauman has found “a real sense of commitment to building this community” and being an active part of it, rather than “just receiving it.” She said “people want to be involved and responsible for shaping it.” Noting that “there are so many leaders in this congregation,” one of her first messages was about leadership in Judaism, how it is “an act of generosity, to give of yourself.” She is still getting to know everyone, saying “everything flows from relationships… what we do together will flow from those relationships.” But things are about to get very busy for her. In addition to the holidays, the congregation is dedicating a new Torah on Oct. 18, hosting the Jacobs Camp service on Nov. 1, and she will be formally installed as Touro’s rabbi on Nov. 22.



Sherman enjoying the history of Temple Sinai The first time Rabbi Daniel Sherman walked into the sanctuary at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, he was “blown away. And I still feel that way.” A Tulsa native, Sherman grew up in an atmosphere where “the Temple was unquestionably my second home” where he always felt comfortable, and he wants to replicate that feeling for the youth of Temple Sinai. “I want our kids here at Temple Sinai to feel like the Temple is a second home for them. This is their home, we are happy to have them here, they are an important part of the Temple Sinai family,” he said. Sherman became rabbi of Temple Sinai this summer after serving as rabbi of Temple Dor Dorim in Weston, Fla. He succeeds Rabbi Matthew Reimer, who became the rabbi and director of community engagement for the JCC Brooklyn Clinton Hill. As part of a rabbinic family, Sherman has been active in the Reform movement throughout his life, attending the movement’s summer camps and the National Federation of Temple Youth. His father, Charles Sherman, was rabbi of Temple Israel in Tulsa from 1976 until his retirement in 2013. His brother, Aaron, leads Temple Beth El in Florence, S.C., and his sisterin-law, Rabbi Stephanie Alexander, is at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, S.C. Sherman graduated from Yale University in 1993 with a degree in history. Becoming a rabbi “was always in the back of my mind as a possibility but I wasn’t sure.” He went to Washington to do “something completely different,” but at the end of the year “I felt my place was in the Jewish world,” and he was excited to enter rabbinical school. Sherman was ordained at the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1999. Like his colleague at Touro down the street, he was a student rabbi at B’nai Israel in Natchez, visiting the community monthly. After seven years as an assistant and associate rabbi in Naples, Fla., he decided it was time to branch out to his own congregation, and he moved to Tree of Life Congregation in Columbia, S.C. in 2006. It was “a very nice community,” he said. “I liked being in the South, I liked the tradition,” with third and fourth generation families in the membership. He “quickly learned lots of folks were related to each other, as happens in many of our Southern communities.” After nine years, they decided to return to south Florida to be in a larger community and closer to his wife’s parents. They wound up in Weston. South Florida is “a unique place, a unique Jewish community” but though they enjoyed it

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and could have stayed there for a long time, they “quickly realized this is not where we saw ourselves long-term.” With their son starting high school and daughter starting middle school, it was a good time to make a change, and that is when Temple Sinai became open. “I was encouraged to look at Temple Sinai, and we’re here.” They wanted to be in a Southern community “where we’d be proud to be part of the community, where we would enjoy raising our family.” He also was attracted by the community’s history, and is “thrilled” to be at Sinai as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year. “I love the history and tradition… I know that we have families that are not just third or fourth generation, but fifth.” Part of that tradition is Sinai’s historic building, with the majestic sanctuary. “I have missed sanctuaries,” he said, noting that his most recent congregation’s building is from 1996 and doesn’t have a standalone sanctuary. The first Shabbat at Sinai was “a very special feeling, to be able to welcome Shabbat and each other” in that environment. His Sinai debut was during the joint summer services, where the three Reform congregations hold combined services during the summer, rotating monthly among Sinai, Touro and Gates of Prayer. The joint summer services are “a wonderful tradition and a unique tradition,” he said. “I don’t think there are many communities that can pull that off.” Someone growing up in New Orleans should feel comfortable in any of Sinai, Touro or Gates of Prayer, he said, and he likes that the Temple Youth Group is a combination of all three congregations, “to let our kids get to know each other.” Being in the same rabbinic region, his father had relationships with Temple Sinai Rabbi Edward Cohn, Touro Rabbi David Goldstein and Gates of Prayer Rabbi Robert Loewy. With so many new rabbis in town now, he said it is an exciting time for the community. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know my colleagues and look forward to working together.” During the summer, he and the other local Reform clergy spent time together at Jacobs Camp, a place “I’ve heard about forever.” Sherman attended the Greene Family Camp in Texas and worked there when Jonathan Cohen was assistant director, before Cohen became director of Jacobs Camp. He also also spent a summer as a unit head at Camp Swig in California and served as faculty at Camp Coleman in Georgia for many summers. “Growing up in Tulsa, I had never seen 300 Jewish kids in one place until I went to camp,” he said. “Camp is a great experience for our kids.” He is continuing to learn the history of the congregation and the roles his predecessors played in the general community. “It takes a while to really get to know a congregation,” he said. “You need to go through a cycle of holidays, events, school.” He wants to respect the congregation’s history, understand what the practices are and why, then “set a thoughtful course.” Looking at the future, “some answers will require us to make some changes, some answers will have us build on the firm foundations that are here.” Temple Sinai “has always been a loud voice for social justice here in New Orleans, and you can’t separate the life of Temple Sinai from the life of the greater community… I look forward to being part of that and continuing these traditions.”

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community Pernick’s road to New Orleans included Ghana, South Carolina

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It isn’t unusual for the rabbi of an Orthodox congregation to come from a rabbinic family, but for Rabbi Joshua Pernick at Metairie’s Beth Israel, the journey was a little different. A native of Nanuet, N.Y., Pernick is the son of Rabbi Daniel Pernick, who has served Beth Am Temple, a Reform congregation, since 1985. While he grew up in a Reform environment, his mother’s parents were Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe who were more traditional and went to a Conservative congregation. Pernick grav- In February, Rabbi Joshua Pernick itated toward more traditional Ju- participated in the Jewish Gulf daism and went to a Conservative Alliance trip to Dubai camp, the Ramah day camp in New York, every summer. He attended Brandeis University, studying sociology, which turns out to be “a good major if you want to go into the rabbinate,” he said. During his junior year of college, he spent a semester abroad, in Ghana. While he wanted to study abroad, he wanted to go somewhere “that I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to go otherwise,” and was “totally different.” It was a “really impactful” four months, being away from the structures he had grown up with. He found a group of Israelis nearby, and Chabad for Yom Kippur and Sukkot, but for the first time in his life he was without a Jewish community surrounding him, with one other Jewish participant in the program. With others interested in his Judaism and constantly asking questions, he realized there were a lot of answers he didn’t know. Though he leaned more traditional, his original plan was to become a Reform rabbi, going to Hebrew Union College a year or two after finishing college. But he put that plan on hold when “I realized I wasn’t Reform.” He also wasn’t Conservative or Orthodox. At Brandeis, “I would float between the communities” and realized he did not fit neatly into any one category. He was urged to try non-profit work to help him find his path, and he applied for AmeriCorps, winding up in Charleston, S.C. There, he “found my home with one of the Orthodox minyans,” and that became his community, though “I wasn’t Orthodox in practice at that time.” He started becoming more Shabbat-observant and moving toward kashrut. But his job wasn’t fulfilling, as he was in a cubicle. He wanted to work with children, so he went into teaching, starting with Addlestone Hebrew Academy, then returning to Brandeis for a master’s in Jewish Day School education, while teaching at Boston Jewish Community Day School. Wanting to improve his skills, he spent a year studying at Pardes in Israel. By the end of that year, “I was essentially Orthodox.” Teaching led him back to rabbinical school. A rabbi he was close with in college was a graduate of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, so he went to visit YCT and felt a “warm embrace” there. His sister, Sarah, is married to a YCT alumnus who is now a rabbi in Milwaukee. Pernick wanted to teach some more before entering YCT, so he looked at positions in the South, including in Austin and at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School in Birmingham, before winding up at the Atlanta Jewish Academy. He emphasized a preference for being in the South, though before these experiences, the closest thing he had to a family connection to the

community region came from his father working at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Mississippi while in rabbinical school in the early 1980s. He served as student rabbi of Shaarey Tphiloh in Portland, Maine from 2016 to 2018, receiving a grant from the Crown Foundation, in partnership with YCT, to create an expanded community role with Portland’s Jewish Community Alliance. He interned with Rabbi Adam Scheier at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montreal, and this past year was with the Durham Orthodox Kehillah in North Carolina. As he was finishing YCT, the position at Beth Israel opened up and he considered it. “It really wasn’t until I came in person that it became… a leading option,” Pernick said. “I’d never been here before, everything I knew was secondhand.” He immediately sensed “the warmth of the community. Everyone was so welcoming and kind.” It was “a place I could really see myself moving to.” At Beth Israel, a major emphasis for him will be teaching, with regular classes in a variety of settings. He wants Beth Israel to be “a place where there are things going on every day.” Also, classes are a great way to get to know people on a deeper level, he said. He is holding Wednesday classes Uptown, “to be able to connect with people who don’t live in Metairie and wouldn’t necessarily come to a class in Metairie.” He also looks forward to continuing the collaboration with the other congregations in the Jewish Corridor. That Beth Israel is “not an island” was a major selling point for him. The congregations collaborate on events such as Passover and Shavuot, and he hopes to keep those while building additional collaborative opportunities.

Youth programs are also a focus for him. “Fortunately, we have a bunch of kids who are here regularly.” He is also looking forward to Limmud, the weekend of Jewish learning that will be in New Orleans next March, with Shabbat programming housed next door at Gates of Prayer. “I love Limmud. That’s the ideal Jewish community in some ways… everyone learning Torah and nobody cares about denominations.”

Rosen brings small-community experience to Jackson Having grown up in a smaller Jewish community, Rabbi Joseph Rosen feels at home in Jackson. Newly ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Rosen became rabbi of Beth Israel, the state’s only congregation with a full-time rabbi, this summer. He succeeds Rabbi Jeffrey Kurtz-Lendner, who is now the executive director of Rabbi Joseph Rosen leads Havdalah at Beth Israel’s gala on Sept. 7

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life 19

community the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines. Rosen grew up in Rochester, Minn., in a congregation of 80 to 100 members. Beth Israel is listed as having around 190 members. His childhood congregation was “a small congregation, but it had a lot of buy-in from the families, the kids.” His Bar Mitzvah was “a very empowering experience,” as the rabbi got up on Friday night and did not have a speaking part until the Torah service the next morning. “We were brought up to be able to do the entire service on our own.” He wanted to attend a college with a sizeable Hillel, so he followed in his father’s footsteps and went to Brandeis to become a psychiatrist, “something in the helping professions” like his parents, who both work for the Mayo Clinic. “I quickly found out going to medical school wasn’t going to be for me, but I still liked psychology.” As he deepened his involvement in Jewish life at Brandeis, he saw his “love for Judaism and my renewed enthusiasm for faith and tradition” mesh with his desire to help people, and that became his vision for the rabbinate. He led Reform services at Brandeis, and when he started taking Judaic classes his junior year, that reinforced his decision.

A strong memory was from his senior year of high school, when his grandfather passed away suddenly. He was “really impressed” with the way Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Temple Israel in Minneapolis “handled our family and how she comforted us,” much in the way his father handled patients in crisis, and he wanted “to bring that type of presence to others.” Just “18 days” after graduating from Brandeis with a degree in psychology, he was on his way to Jerusalem for his first year of rabbinic school. As a student rabbi, he has served at Rockdale Temple in Cincinnati; Temple Beth El in Beckley, W.Va.; Mt. Zion in Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va. He spent five summers at a Jewish summer camp in Wisconsin, and while in rabbinical school he was education director at Goldman Union Camp Institute. “It was an absolute blast,” he said. He really identified with the camp because of its smaller size. When he visited the Henry S. Jacobs Camp, located near Jackson, “I felt the same home feeling I felt at Goldman. I love that I’m a 45-minute drive from a place where I can experience that camp energy.” There were many factors that attracted him to Jackson, Rosen said. He fell in love with the

community’s “incredible history,” especially during the civil rights movement, the “close faith network” in the city and “how much congregational buy-in there was.” Though a smaller community, there is a lot of activity, with active ongoing efforts with Meals on Wheels, Stewpot and many other programs. Though he had not been to the Deep South before, after seeing the energy and commitment at Beth Israel during his interview, he knew this was where he wanted to be. For his first year in Jackson he is “trying to do a lot of listening and learning” from different groups in the congregation. “I’m not trying to come in and change the way things have been done for years.” He is looking at ways to help grow the community and further engage in the broader community. He envisions Beth Israel as a place “not only for us as Jews to come together, but also be a place of learning for the community.” Among planned adult education offerings, Rosen is launching a Judaism 101 course for a few people who are interested in conversion, as well as congregants who want to learn more about their Judaism. His installation is scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 8.

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans


JEWISH NEWSLETTER September 2019 | Tishrei 5780

Vol. XIV No. 6

L’’Shanah Tovah, New Orleans!

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is excited to announce the creation of JNEXT, for members of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community ages 40-55ish. JNEXT will be centered around a thoughtful series of cultural, educational, and social action events, led by JNEXT members. Partners and spouses, Jewish or non-Jewish, are welcome to be a part of JNEXT. A launch event featuring Saba’s Alon Shaya and Bellegarde Bakery’s Graison Gill is currently in the works for this fall - so stay tuned for more details!

To learn more or to sign up to receive JNEXT updates, visit

High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter



An Evening in the Garden 106TH ANNUAL MEETING

Congratulations to our honorees

HalOscarShepard J. Tolmas L’dor V’dor Award

David Shepard Herbert & Margot Garon

Richard Cahn Roger Bissinger

Young Leadership Award

Memorial Award

Jonathan Lake & Jan Miller 2019 Annual Campaign Co-Chairs Henry Miller Outgoing Federation Board Chair (left) Joshua Force Incoming Federation Board Chair (right) Thank you to our partners and sponsors S G A proud member of the Dignity Memorial® network


High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

HBCU Speaker Series: Presented by Morris Bart returns with a discussion on the Rosenwald Schools

On Tuesday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m., the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans HBCU Speaker Series: Presented by Morris Bartwill return with a lecture at Dillard University. The program will feature remarks from Robert G. Stanton, the former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and former director of the National Park Services. Joined by Stephanie Deutsch, the author of You Need a Schoolhouse: Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South. This event is the second of a three-part series aimed at connecting the Jewish and AfricanAmerican communities in the Greater New Orleans area on relevant topics of mutual interest. The past, present, and future of the Jewish/African-American relationship will be explored by different national and local experts, with the goal of engaging both Jews and African-Americans in the region. Robert G. Stanton is a former Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U. S. Department of the Interior and former director of the National Park Service, is an Expert Member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to which he was appointed by President Obama in October 2014. As Senior Advisor to the Interior Secretary from 2010 to 2014, Stanton served as a key senior analyst and provided executive level advice and support to the Secretary on a wide range of environmental, educational, organizational and management issues. Stanton was unanimously confirmed in 1997 as the 15th Director of the National Park Service. He served in this position from 1997 to 2001, and was the first only African American to serve in this position. He has been nationally recognized through awards and citations for outstanding public service and leadership in conservation, historic preservation, youth programs, government relations and diversity in employment and public programs. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from HustonTillotson University, did his graduate work at Boston University and received five honorary doctorates. Stephanie Deutsch is the author of You Need a Schoolhouse, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald and the Building of Schools for the Segregated South. She was a speaker at the two national Rosenwald school conferences sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has visited more than two dozen Rosenwald schools, and has shared the story with alumni of the schools, church groups and high school students. Her husband, David Deutsch, is the great-grandson of Julius Rosenwald. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and a Master’s degree (in Soviet Union Area Studies) from Harvard. Stephanie has lived on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. since 1975 and has for fifteen years served as chairman of the grants committee of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

Advance RSVP is required at by September 20. Questions? Contact Mithun Kamath at High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


Celebrate the new year with JNOLA Kick off the New Year with JNOLA on Thursday, September 26 at Mimi’s in the Marigny (2601 Royal St.) from 6:30 8:30 p.m. Toast the upcoming year over a drink - and bring school supplies to receive a free second drink, and have your name entered to win two free tickets to the JNOLA Roaring Twenties Gala in December! Mimi’s is cash only, but there is an ATM on site. The supplies requested by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School are pens, color pencils, folders, pencils, markers, paper, notebooks, tape, glue, and crayons. If you have any questions, please contact JNOLA Manager Tana Velen at

2019 Chai Society Event The JNOLA Chai Society celebrates those who make an individual gift of $180 or more to the Federation Annual Campaign. These donors were celebrated at the 2019 Chai Society event, which was hosted by Josh Rubenstein. In addition to the presence of fortune tellers, attendees heard about the future of the Federation from COO Sherri Tarr, CEO Arnie Fielkow, incoming Board Chair Joshua Force, and 2020 Campaign Co-Chairs Mara Force and Josh Rubenstein. 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.

Join our Mentorship Program Sign up today to be matched with a successful local Jewish mentor! The Jewish Federation Mentorship Program offers a variety of ways for mentees to connect with mentors and grow their network. The Federation is accepting applications through our website,, for Face to Face mentorship experiences and Micro Grants to help pay to renew a professional license, attend a seminar, and more. Just register on the site to have access these features and more. Questions? Contact 24

High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

Jewish Endowment Foundation JEF’s General Fund: Strengthening our Community Every year, the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana allocates a portion of its General Fund to make grants to our community’s constituent agencies. These grants support programs at the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service, Jewish Community Day School and Tulane Hillel. The grants are reviewed at a joint meeting of JEF’s Grants Committee and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans’s Allocations Committee, and their recommendations are reviewed and approved by JEF’s Board of Directors. This year, JEF made the following grants, totaling $80,000: Jewish Community Center • Community-Wide Chanukah Concert and Dinner • Summer Day Camp Shlichim • Jewish Holiday Luncheons Jewish Family Service • Intensive Case Management Services • Financial Resource Center Jewish Community Day School • School Counselor Tulane Hillel • Shabbat Dinners on Campus • Tulane Jewish Leaders Program The programs that these grants support have touched many lives. Here are a few highlights of the programs supported by these grants: For the 11th consecutive year, JEF is providing funds for the JCC’s Community-Wide Chanukah Concert and Dinner, 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. Since 2010, JEF has supported Intensive Case Management Services at JFS. 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 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’s learning lab and for innovative Hebrew education, among other programs. In 2019, JEF is providing funds for the School Counselor, who supports the students and their families in a variety of ways, including working with students and teachers in the classroom, counseling families, leading parent education workshops,

95 Donors Honor Allan Bissinger On June 27, the Jewish community and the wider community experienced a heartbreaking loss when Allan Bissinger died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 66. Allan lived by the tenet of tikkun olam — repairing the world — and his life set the bar for all to follow. His involvement with the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana dates back to 2005, when he joined the JEF Board. In 2011, the Bissinger family received the JEF’s Tzedakah Award. At the time of his death, Allan was a vice president of JEF and served as chair of the Grants Committee. His wisdom was legendary, taking all factors and insights into account and leading the committee to thoughtful decisions. The Bissinger family requested that donations in memory of Allan be sent to the Allan Bissinger Memorial Donor Advised Fund at JEF. As of August 31, 95 donors have made gifts in Allan’s memory. This fund will further Allan’s and JEF’s mission of tikkun olam and provide for present and future needs of our community. and meeting individually with students. The counselor is a critical component of JCDS’s holistic team, helping support all students’ development. This year, JEF also made grants, totaling $16,500, to the following Federation programs: • Amiel BaKehila • Jewish Pride NOLA • JNEXT

• Resetting the Table • Jewish Newcomers Program

“The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is highly appreciative of the 2019 grants provided by JEF,” said Arnie D. Fielkow, Federation CEO. “These grants will assist Federation in executing several very important programs within the Jewish community, and JEF’s support is invaluable.”

How you can help: JEF President Larry Lehmann states, “The vision of the community leaders who founded and continue to lead JEF and the generosity of our donors have made it possible for JEF to make these grants. When you make a donation to JEF’s 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.” 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 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 Bobby Garon ( or Patti Lengsfield ( at (504) 524-4559. For information on how to apply for a grant, contact Debbie Berins at or (504) 800-8007. High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Family Service Friends of JFS 2019: Your Support Ensures JFS Will Always Be There Sarah’s Story As a mother of two, Sarah went from housewife to sole supporter of her family in less than a week following the sudden and tragic death of her husband. Not only was his death difficult to bear, but the loss of their main source of income pushed the family into financial hardship. With no living family around, Sarah faced a reality devoid of support. She put the house up for sale, sold most of their possessions, downgraded her vehicle, took on two part-time jobs, and struggled to find childcare. One day while speaking with her friend, Joan*, at synagogue, Sarah broke down. Not only had she been dealing with the weight of keeping her family afloat, but she had yet to process her grief. With nowhere and no one to turn to, Sarah was supporting her family on the back of her depression. Joan, having previously benefitted from family counseling at Jewish Family Service, referred Sarah to the agency. Sarah called JFS and scheduled an appointment with a case manager. At first, she had some hesitation on whether or not she could afford any kind of help, having given away most of her belongings to sustain her family. The Case Manager assured her that JFS could be of help, as they do for all members of the Jewish community.

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at Jewish Family Service FALL CEUs (September – December) Suicide Prevention and Effective Safety Planning

September 27, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Victoria Judge, LCSW-BACS. Approved for 3 General hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE.

Counseling Couples Using Attachment Theory

October 18, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Matt Morris, PhD, LPC-S, LMFT-S. Approved for 3 Diagnosis/Clinical hours by LCA and LABSWE.

Therapy in the Trenches: Strategies for Treating Adult Trauma

November 15, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Michele Louviere, LMFT. Approved for 1.5 General hours and 1.5 Diagnosis hours by LCA and 3 Clinical hours by LABSWE.

Why Am I So Worried About Treating OCD?

December 6, 8:45 a.m. to noon. Presented by Gail Pesses, LCSW. Approved for 3 Diagnosis/Clinical hours by LCA and LABSWE. Pricing for CEUs: $70 pre-registration/$80 day of. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information or to register, call (504) 831-8475, or visit the Workshops and Continuing Education page on the JFS website:

During their first meeting, Sarah and the JFS Case Manager discussed her family’s most immediate needs and began putting together a plan. Her Case Manager helped find affordable childcare, assisted Sarah with locating full-time job prospects and helped her apply for the SNAP program. Through the JFS Financial Resource Center, Sarah JFS now accepts Medicaid from Aetna Better Health, Louisiana was given a grant to put down a deposit for a small apartment. Healthcare Connections, and United Healthcare. Sarah and the children also began meeting with a JFS counselor to JFS also accepts MEDICARE, along with Aetna, United Healthcare, talk about the grief of losing their husband and father, as well as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar and Tricare anxiety that they’ve experienced during this difficult transition. insurance policies for Counseling Services. Because of you, Jewish Family Service is able to provide high Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core quality, professional guidance at affordable rates to vulnerable community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals community families and individuals in our community. Your provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and support of the annual Friends of JFS campaign impacts their family problems. Appointments are available. Fees are assessed on a lives and so many other people for the better, and allows JFS sliding-fee scale based on household income. To make an appointto offer our services on a sliding-fee scale based on household ment, call (504) 831-8475.

JFS Now Accepts Medicaid

income. We cannot do it without YOUR help. Please make your caring contribution today. Visit our website www.jfsneworleans. org/ to learn more and to donate!

Catch-a-Cab helps Seniors looking for a lift JFS Catch-a-Cab is a discount transportation program for independent Jewish seniors, age 65 and older. Seniors can purchase up to $140 worth of coupons each quarter, which can be used with several local taxi companies. This service is made possible through the generosity of the Adele Cahn Catch-a-Cab Fund at the Jewish Endowment Foundation. For more information or to fill out an application, call (504) 831-8475. 26

High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

Upcoming Groups Girl Power

Girl Power is a 6-session therapeutic group that promotes improved self-esteem, social skills, confidence, and stress reduction within girls ages 8-12. Cost: $99 for all six weeks (includes initial assessment). Contact Claire Kohne by phone (504) 831-8475 or email

Jewish Community Day School 2019-20 First Day of School

What an amazing start to the school year! The energy and excitement of the students entering the campus on Aug. 8 felt like an electrical charge running through the whole building. Students paused in the lobby for individual first day of school pictures with new Head of School Brad Philipson before scurrying off to their classrooms to get settled. Soon thereafter, everyone gathered in the cafeteria for our opening ceremony. With the help of Rabbis Gerber, Pernick, Posternock and Silver and the leadership of Dr. Philipson, School Rabbi Michael Cohen, and Music Teacher Lauren Gisclair, parents, board members and friends welcomed Day School students with a rousing opening ceremony. Thanks to the hard

work of the teachers, rooms were pristine and ready for student learning, and the students jumped right in to their general studies, Hebrew, Jewish Studies, music and art. They even met the exciting new STEAM teacher, Ms. Paula, who is gearing up to take students on some wonderful learning adventures this year.

Meet Our Rabbi

We can’t forget, of course, our friends in Green Preschool! The youngest in Sh’tilim (Sprouts), the slightly older infants in Devorim (Honeybees), and our strutting Nitzanim (Flowerbuds) have hit the school year at a full sprint under the watchful eye of Green Preschool Director Avery Loss. The classrooms have been carefully designed to align with a Reggio-Emilia-inspired philosophy that faciliRabbi Michael Cohen speaks to families about tates discovery and wonder.

From the tiniest of the Sh’tilim to the the school’s kashrut policy during Open House mightiest of the sixth grade, everyone is geared In a newly created position, Rabbi Michael up for a great year! Cohen joined our faculty this year as school rabbi. In addition to making sure that everything is kosher (literally and metaphorically), Rabbi Michael leads daily tefillot, ensures high quality Jewish holiday programming, and teaches 5th and 6th grade Jewish studies. He is also working with the faculty of Green Preschool to incorporate strong Jewish educational elements into the rhythms of our youngest students’ day. Rabbi Michael earned his rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York and his M.A. in Jewish Education from the Davidson Graduate School, where he specialized in congregational education. He received a dual B.A. from Columbia University and the List College of Jewish Studies in New York, where he majored in History and the Hebrew Bible respectively. Before arriving in New Orleans, he served for six years as Education Director at Beth Hillel Congregation B’nai Emunah. He is also the proud father of a Green Preschooler (Eva) at Jewish Community Day School, and her big sister Isobel. High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter


Jewish Community Center Steven R. Weisman Talks with Walter Isaacson On Oct. 23, the Cathy and Morris Bart Jew- America inspired Judaism. ish Cultural Arts Series presents a fascinating Beginning at 7 p.m. in the Uptown JCC’s Mintz Auditorium, this conversation between Steven R. Weisman and event is free and open to the community. his friend of many years, journalist and author Walter Isaacson, to talk about Weisman’s new book, “The Chosen Wars: How Judaism Became an American Religion.”

Center Celebration: A Beautiful Night at the J

In it he tells the dramatic history of how Judaism redefined itself in America in the 18th and 19th centuries — the personalities that fought each other and shaped its evolution and, crucially, the force of the American dynamic that transformed an ancient religion. It is the story of how Judaism enhanced America and how

Tulane Hillel Tulane Hillel kicked off fall semester with two fantastic events! As we welcomed the Class of 2023 and their families at our annual First-Year Family Welcome Event on move-in day, 570 guests mingled with students, families, Hillel staff, and community members. Students learned how to get involved at Hillel and met faculty from Tulane’s Jewish Studies Department. During the event, attendees heard words of welcome from Tulane President Michael Fitts (right), Tulane Hillel Executive Director and Rabbi Yonah Schiller, and student-leader Raphi Miller. Just one week later, hundreds of Tulane students flocked to The Goldie & Morris Mintz Center for Jewish Life for our Welcome Back Barbecue. Over 500 students joined together to celebrate the start of the 2019-2020 school year, and to connect with both new students and old friends. Attendees enjoyed live music and a kosher barbecue catered by Rimon, Hillel’s in-house restaurant. With the first few successful Shabbats of the semester under our belt, and a Freshman Swamp Tour right around the corner, fall is off to a great start with promises of an exciting year ahead. For updates, follow Tulane Hillel at

Broadway meets the Avenue at this year’s Center Celebration. Held Nov. 16 at the Uptown JCC, the party begins with poolside cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a very special performance featuring three outstanding artists: Tony Award nominee Anika Larsen, who was nominated for her role in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and has also appeared on Broadway in a variety of musicals including “Xanadu,” “All Shook Up” and “Rent”; Liz Larsen, who also performed in “Beautiful” and received a Tony Award nomination for her role in “Most Happy Fella”; and Alix Page, a jazz chanteuse who has starred in the national tours of “Cabaret” and Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano,” and performed in a wide variety of national productions. These talented artists will come together at Center Celebration for a live show honoring the music of Carole King and the many performers she inspired. An open bar, signature drink and delicious buffet dinner round out this extraordinary evening. Tickets are available online at, as well as at the JCC reception desks.

Barre Is Back! Small group training is an affordable option to personal training, which provides the camaraderie and energy of a group along with the individualized attention of a trainer. The expanded Signature Small Group Training schedule at the Uptown JCC offers more classes and features the addition of Barre-J, as well as newly formatted TRX Suspension classes. The barre class is a low-impact, high intensity workout choreographed to energy pumping music. This fully body workout focuses on individual muscle groups, merging techniques from ballet, yoga and Pilates to strengthen and tone, creating long, lean muscles. TRX Suspension uses your body weight and suspension straps to develop strength, balance and flexibility, all while engaging your core. Classes are open to JCC members and non-members, and are available as part of a small group training package, or on a drop-in basis. To book a class, register and pay online, use MINDBODY or the New Orleans JCC app. Additional details and registration instructions are available at


High Holy Days 2019 • The Jewish Newsletter

automotive an annual SJL special section

Ray Brandt Auto Group reports record sales across 20 brands Sales for the Ray Brandt Auto Group continue to accelerate, and in August the 36-year-old company recorded its top sales month ever. “We thank our customers and employees. They drive our success,” said Ray Brandt Auto Group COO Todd Dempster, who has been with the company for more than 26 years. Ray Brandt started with a Datsun dealership in 1983 and is now the sixth-largest privately-owned company in New Orleans. With the opening of Ray Brandt Nissan in D’Iberville, Miss., and Ray Brandt Chevrolet in Biloxi, the company’s portfolio now includes 20 brands in the New Orleans area and south Mississippi, with lines represented including Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Fiat, Infiniti, Genesis, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Toyota, Volkswagen, Jeep, Kia and Chevrolet. Ray Brandt Auto Group will open up a state-of-the-art Porsche dealership at new location in Metairie in 2020. Next year, Porsche will release the Taycan, which is their first fully electric sports car. Dempster said the amount of innovation available in vehicles within the Ray Brandt Auto Group family will continue to increase. “Technology today lets the automakers design vehicles that are faster, stronger, safer, and more integrated with our lives than ever before.” Examples of enhanced safety features include blind spot monitors, 360-degree cameras, pre-collision with pedestrian detection, and lane-departure assist. “Our customers tell us frequently how important safety is to them,” he said. The Ray Brandt Auto Group has earned many accolades, including the J.D. Power Dealer of Excellence, Porsche Premier Dealer, Nissan Global Award of Excellence, Infiniti Circle of Excellence, Mercedes Best of the Best and the Toyota Presidents Award. In 2016, they were named the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association’s Dealer of the Year. Brandt grew up in South Louisiana, attended Loyola University where he earned BBA, MBA and JD degrees. He is a lawyer and a CPA, and is the chairman of the Motor Vehicle Commission for the State of Louisiana, which regulates dealers and manufactures in the state.

Acura sports new amenities package Football has kicked off, and Acura is in a sports state of mind with its new A-spec package on the top-selling MDX and RDX Sport Utility Vehicles. “A-spec offers some sportier options, including leather and alcantara-trimmed seats, smoked gray aluminum alloy wheels, red instrument panel LED illumination and other features,” said King Acura General Manager Reed Lyles. “Acura believes that style, luxury and performance marry well together.” Lyles said that sales are up at King Acura, which has been serving the Birmingham area ever since Acura hit the market in 1986. King Acura is a Precision Team Award winner, which goes to Acura dealers that lead the nation in customer satisfaction. “The RDX (5-passenger mid-sized SUV) and MDX (7-passenger SUV) are our top-sellers, but we’ve also done well with the TLX sedan,” he said. The new 2019 RDX came out a year ago and offers fuel efficiency of a High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



sedan from a few years ago. By employing direct-injection engines and lightweight materials, the RDX can get close to 30 miles per gallon on the highway. King Acura also sells an ILX sedan, which offers luxury but at a lower price point than the larger TLX. Lyles said Acura believes safety should not be an option. On most models, standard features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot indicators, surround-view cameras and sensors that can automatically brake to avoid a collision. Other features either standard or a part of packages include ventilated/heated seats, remote engine start and Apple Car play. Acura vehicles consistently are among the category leaders in resale value, he added. “We have Acuras coming into our service department with 300,000 and 400,000 miles,” said Lyles. “The vehicles really hold their value.” The automaker also believes in “getting real,” he said. “If it looks like wood, it’s wood. If it looks like metal, it’s real metal. Acura is all about using the real materials and offering that more luxurious feel.” For more information, go to

Ray Pearman embraces tradition, tech High-tech refers both to Huntsville’s national reputation and the luxury vehicles sold at Ray Pearman Lincoln. “Technology has grown by leaps and bounds,” said Ray Pearman General Manager Paige Pearman-Sandlin. “Lincoln has incorporated the latest technologies on its vehicles to advance both luxury and safety.” Some of those features, many of which come standard, include lane-keep assist, remote start, automated park/un-park, auto break, adaptive cruise control that can read speed limit signs, 360-degree cameras, wireless charging pads, top-of-the-line entertainment systems with satellite radio and even

multi-contour massage seats. Lincoln recently released its new 2020 Aviator. The premium Sports Utility Vehicle with a third row of seating is larger than the Nautilus mid-sized SUV, but smaller than the Navigator, Lincoln’s largest SUV. The fleet of vehicles also includes the Lincoln Corsair SUV, formerly the MKC, the Lincoln Continental sedan, and the Lincoln MKZ sedan, which is also available as a hybrid. “Soon we’ll have a PHEV electric hybrid vehicle, that when it runs out of electrical charge, it automatically switches to gas,” said Pearman-Sandlin. While the focus at Lincoln is on the luxury driving experience, Pearman-Sandlin said advanced turbo-charged engine design for Ford and Lincoln has significantly improved fuel economy on the vehicles in recent years, while keeping all the horsepower for performance. There’s another important “t” at Ray Pearman Lincoln along with technology — tradition. Sandlin’s grandfather Ray Pearman opened the dealership in 1961, when Huntsville was just a small mill village community. The city and the dealership have grown together over the years. Sandlin is a third-generation Pearman at Ray Pearman Lincoln. She was around the dealership growing up and would go on to graduate from Auburn University with a degree in business management just more than 18 years ago. “We’re carrying on the tradition of a family-owned, hometown dealership that has always been with Lincoln,” she said. “My brother, Zach, heads the service department. My dad and my grandmother are around most of the time.” “Our customers and our employees are like part of our family,” said Pearman-Sandlin. “That’s what really makes this special.”

s i n c e 19 8 3

Over 3,000 cars, trucks and SUV’s across New Orleans! 30

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Happy New Year 5780

sports an annual SJL special section

Blitz, Morgan help Israel Softball to best-ever European ranking A year after graduating from Indiana University ranked second alltime in hits for the women’s softball team, Birmingham’s Rebecca Blitz was concerned that she might be a little rusty when she took the field representing Team Israel in the European Championships this summer, held in the Czech Republic. Instead, she made the All-Tournament team. Blitz and Ole Miss alumna Jamie Morgan helped Israel to its best-ever finish in the European tournament, placing ninth out of 23 teams. There were hopes that Israel would place in the top six, which would move them along the process for qualifying for the Olympics. “We wanted to compete and represent Israel to the best of our ability,” Blitz said, especially because this was seen as Israel’s best opportunity to finally qualify for the Olympics in a team sport for the first time since 1968. Morgan, now an assistant coach for the Winthrop softball team, said the team was disappointed about not advancing to the next round, but placing ninth “was a big deal, and I don’t think Rebecca Blitz we realized it until after.” In 2017, Israel was 21st of 23, and in 2015 Israel was last in a field of 20. “It’s a huge leap,” Morgan said, “and can help us for future European championships.” The team started with a 9-1 victory over Ukraine on June 30, followed later in the day by a three-inning no-hitter against Turkey, winning 15-0. On July 1 Israel opened with a 2-0 win over Austria, but lost to Spain, 5-4. Italy then defeated Israel on July 2, 7-0. Israel lost to Spain in the final inning, and Morgan said she wished the team had been better prepared for the crucial game. On the other hand, Italy “was a really good team” that eventually won the championship. On July 3, Israel beat Russia, 4-2, then took down Belgium, 8-1, and Switzerland, 7-0, on July 4. The final game was a victory over Germany, 4-2, on July 6. Blitz started all nine games, batting .440, going 11 of 25 with five runs, two RBI and one double. She walked six times, was hit by a pitch once and struck out three times, and led the team on on base percentage. “I felt like I came back after a couple of practices,” Blitz admitted. “I was High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



pleasantly surprised at how well I played.” Blitz also was the team’s base stealer, taking 11 bases in 13 attempts, including three against Ukraine. The rest of the team had 17 attempts combined, including Morgan stealing three times on four attempts. Morgan started one game but played in all nine, batting .625 by going 5 of 8, with six runs, two RBI and one double. She also reached base twice after being hit by pitches. She started at third base, then went to the outfield, and also was called upon for a few innings at first base. “I was ready to play anywhere.” Both Blitz and Morgan were 1.000 on fielding, and neither had an error. This was the first time Americans were on the Israeli team. Blitz said in the U.S., “softball is huge and the U.S. is always in the Olympics.” Morgan said “it was funny to see how other teams were responding” to their presence on Israel’s team. Spain, in particular, was not thrilled, she related. The American players received dual citizenship in Israel a month before the tournament. Six of the players met at the airport, then went to a kibbutz in Gezer, where “we all meshed really well” and additional players would show up every day or so, Morgan said. They practiced together for about three weeks, with Morgan serving as “kind of a player coach.” About a week before the team left for Europe, the coaches arrived. “We did really well for being together only that amount of time,” she said. While everyone was very welcoming, the kibbutz did not have a lot of softball equipment, which was an interesting experience for players who were accustomed to the resources at higher Division I colleges, Morgan said. Blitz said playing for Team Israel was a chance “to represent my heritage by playing the sport that I love.”


High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Before each game, Hatikvah was played. Blitz said “that was really special, being on the field in an international competition wearing an Israeli uniform” and hearing Israel’s national anthem, “every now and then… I’d start to tear up.” Representing Israel in that way was “really special, that none of us really expected to do in our lives.” Morgan said the opening ceremony was a “big moment” as the team marched in behind children who were carrying the Israeli flag. “Just being there and representing Israel was very special,” Blitz added. Several of the players are talking about competing for Israel in the next European championships, though this month Blitz started her new career in Chicago as a technology consultant. “I’m keeping the door open. If it works out, great.” Especially because next year would be a qualifier for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham. To compete for Israel this summer, “a lot of stars aligned for me to have that opportunity,” Blitz said. On the way to Chicago, she stopped by Indiana University to present her Israel uniform to the softball program. The coach asked her to address the team. “It was really special to get to meet some of the freshmen,” and see some friends who are now juniors and seniors. “Being a year out from playing at Indiana, you see it in a different perspective and can offer words of encouragement, things I wish I would have known.”

Making of a Mitzvah The full story of how a Birmingham family organized Team Israel’s Project Cleats to surprise Kenya’s lacrosse team with new footwear A lacrosse match in the world championships turned into an unexpect- whose parents were not there. Ella’s father, Michael Duvdevani, said they ed opportunity for Israel’s national team to do some good, coordinated by had five team members with them, and at one point the conversation a member of Birmingham’s Jewish community. Their gesture was hailed turned to the day’s match. as an example of sportsmanship and made headlines worldwide. He commented about the Kenyan athletes sliding around during the The Women’s Lacrosse 2019 U19 World Championship was held in match, and Israel’s goalie, Lielle Assayag, said “of course they were falling, early August in Peterborough, Canada, with 22 teams. During the Aug. 6 they don’t have cleats.” match between Israel and Kenya, which was delayed an hour due to rain, “That’s crazy,” Duvdevani said. the team from Kenya kept slipping and falling on the wet turf, as Israel Duvdevani, founder and CEO of Complete Feet, a pedorthic clinic in won, 13-4. Birmingham, knows about the need for proper footwear. Sitting in the The Kenyans had ordered new running shoes for the tournament, but restaurant, it was 5:20 p.m. when he sent a message on the WhatsApp upon arriving in Canada, they discovered they were in U.S. sizes and not group for the Israeli team parents, relating what Assayag had told him. the U.K. sizes they ordered. “Who is thinking what I am thinking,” he According to the Peterborough Examinasked, and Project Cleats was born. He er, many of the Kenyan athletes live “in abquickly looked up sporting goods stores ject poverty in two-bedroom mud shacks nearby, finding a large store near the team housing families of eight,” and they had to hotel. overcome numerous obstacles to even get He called them and asked if they had an to the tournament, including a government ample supply of cleats. They did, but could attempt to shut down the team. not guarantee they would all be the same Kenya Coach Storm Trentham told Varstyle or color, but that wasn’t important. sity, the student newspaper at Cambridge He contacted the Kenyan coach and coUniversity, where she used to coach, that ordinated donations from the Israeli team “the highlight of coming to camp for some parents to purchase the cleats for the Kenof the girls is that they get three meals a day yan athletes. By 9 p.m., they had new cleats for seven days straight.” for everyone on Kenya’s team. After the shoe size mixup, tournament But before the Israeli parents could get committee member Rose Powers and brothe cleats, more information was needed kers from Exit Realty then purchased new — the correct sizes. The Kenya coaches running shoes for the girls, as they would quickly planned an evening activity for also be practical for everyday use back Ella Duvdevani with a member of Kenya’s team their athletes, along with a cover story of home. how they needed to leave their sneakers in But running shoes were no match for the wet turf, making for a huge the dorm for an equipment check. They sent Duvdevani a list of names obstacle in their match with Israel. and sizes, and it was time to shop. Birmingham’s Ella Duvdevani, a member of Israel’s national team, said Kenya’s assistant coach, Patrick Oriana, accompanied them to the store. “it was very noticeable” that the sneaker-wearing Kenyans were slipping A member of Uganda’s national lacrosse team, Oriana is quite familiar on the field during warmups. She assumed that they would change into with Israel, having represented Uganda at the FIL World Championships cleats before the match started, but she was surprised that they never did. in Israel last year. He also played in Israel for Barak Netanya in 2017, and After the game, the Israeli team had a free evening. Parents who were at in 2014 was captain of Uganda’s team at the FIL World Championships in the tournament took their daughters out to dinner, along with teammates Denver, the first African club ever in the tournament. High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Back at the hotel, they put each box in a bag, attaching a rolled up slip of paper with the corresponding Kenya athlete’s name on it. The next day, the Kenyan team had their free day and attended the Israel-Belgium match, having been told that they were going to scout Belgium before playing them the following day. “We knew we were going to be giving them the cleats after the game,” Duvdevani said. After each match, the athletes go into the equipment tent, then come back out and line up on the field for the announcement of that game’s most valuable player. When the Israeli players emerged from the tent, each was carrying a bag onto the field. As Team Israel stood there, Duvdevani addressed the crowd. The Kenya team had “played good, they played hard, they played strong” the day before, but “you shouldn’t have to put up with slipping and sliding, you should have the same quality equipment as everyone else.” With that, he called each Israeli team member forward to surprise each of the Kenyan athletes with her own new cleats. Once they realized what was happening, the Kenya athletes ran from their seats and started hugging the Israelis, with a celebration breaking out in the stands. “It was definitely the best experience I’ve had in my life,” Ella said. “It was overwhelming.” Duvdevani said it was eye-opening for the team. When it comes to equipment like cleats, “we don’t think twice about this sort of thing.” For others, it is a luxury. “For us, it’s only cleats. For them, it changes their game.” Afterwards, he commented that “it has been a great day for Israel Lacrosse.” Is it the shoes? On Aug. 8, Kenya beat Belgium, 16-9, after another rain delay. The win broke a three-game losing streak since Kenya won their opener against Jamaica. Kenya Lacrosse tweeted that it was “a brilliant win today on the slippery surface thanks to our 11th man, Israel Lacrosse, and our cleats!” Israel had opened with an 11-7 loss to Hong Kong, then had two lopsided losses, 21-3 to Haudenosaunee, and 20-1 to Puerto Rico. About 300 campers from nearby Camp Moshava, a religious Zionist Bnei Akiva camp, attended Israel’s game with Haudenosaunee, and the team greeted the campers afterward. After also going winless in their first U19 championships in 2015, Israel gained its first-ever victory, against Belgium, 17-4, followed by the Kenya win. On Aug. 7, Israel defeated Belgium again, 16-6. On Aug. 9, Kenya defeated Chinese Taipei, 11-10, to qualify for the 17th-place match, then went to the next field to watch the end of Israel’s 15-8 victory over Ireland, which was the other play-in game for the 17th-place match.

As the game ended, the Kenya players were dancing around with the Israeli flags, chanting Israel’s rallying cry, “Yalla Israel.” At one point, Duvdevani said he mentioned to a couple of the Kenyans that the day’s victories meant Kenya and Israel would be facing off the next day for 17th place. Because the teams had grown so close, that news was like a slap in the face, he said. Between the growing international media sensation around Project Cleats and the swirl of emotions in advance of the final game, Duvdevani and Oriana went to a nearby field late that night and started tossing balls around, just to take a break. Ella said it was difficult to play Kenya in the final game, because one must be aggressive in lacrosse, and they had formed such a bond with the Kenyans. “We had to leave all our emotions off the field,” she said. Still, it wasn’t just any game. For example, at one point when a Kenya player lost hold of her stick, one of the Israelis picked it up and handed it back to her. Normally, “you don’t do that.” It was a much tighter game than before, with Israel squeezing out an 11-10 victory. ‘Win or lose, it would not have mattered,” Ella said. “The bond was so strong,” and after the game “everyone hugged each other.” She said one of the Kenya players told her “this has changed my life and how I see the game.” As the story grew worldwide, the Kenya team tweeted “The support from all around the world for our African Queens is priceless and hugely humbling.” Earlier in the tournament, the Wales team had brought a full gift set for the Kenya players, and they received numerous donations of clothing and equipment from local Canadians. The Peterborough Lakers lacrosse team covered extra baggage fees so the team could bring all the donations they received back to Kenya. As the first women’s team from Africa to play in international competition, they completed a requirement for all continents to be represented in men’s and women’s competition before a sport can become eligible to include in the Olympics. Ella, a rising sophomore at Mountain Brook High School, started playing lacrosse two years ago when a friend approached her in the lunchroom and said their lacrosse team needed more players, and since she ran track and field, her speed would be a great asset. She went to a practice and stuck with it, and this past year “is when I really started playing.” While at a tournament, she wondered if Israel even had a lacrosse team, since “it would be really cool to play for Israel,” and looked online. Her father contacted the team’s coach, Alex Freedman, and after communicating for a


while, she invited Ella to be on the team. Duvdevani said he replied “of course,” and then told Ella about the invitation. Duvdevani, who grew up on a moshav near Gaza, explained that Israel “doesn’t have an abundance of players,” unlike the United States, which had around 800 applicants for its team. As the second-youngest player, “I was really scared at first,” Ella said, and it was an emotional time as well because she had to leave her session at Camp Ramah Darom early for the tournament. Ella, who appeared in all eight matches, was “really honored to represent my country and the Jewish people as a whole,” especially “coming from Alabama, where lacrosse isn’t a big sport.” The tournament in Canada was “an experience you could never forget.”


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

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

Ilana Touger plays for Israel, brings home bronze in U-15 lacrosse While the U-19 Women’s Lacrosse World Championships were being held in Peterborough, Ontario, there was also a World Lacrosse Festival for teams in the U-15 bracket from Aug. 7 to 9, and Birmingham’s Ilana Touger was on the bronze medal-winning Israeli team. Inspired by a cousin who played lacrosse in college, Touger started playing in first grade. “There weren’t a whole lot of people playing, but it was really fun,” and she continued to develop her skills. Now, she competes in the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association and plays for Mountain Brook. She also has been participating in the HotBama summer lacrosse program since sixth grade, competing on a regional level. She found out about the Canada competition from Ella Duvdevani, who was playing for Israel in the U-19 tournament. “She said she’d love for me to go,” and there was still space on the U-15 team. “I thought it would be a really good experience,” Touger said. To play for Israel at the U-15 level, the requirements were looser than for the older groups. All U.S.-based players for Israel’s U-15 team had to be eligible for Israeli citizenship based on the Law of Return, namely, one Jewish parent or grandparent. Being from a region where lacrosse isn’t well established, she was nervous at first. But that quickly changed, as “everybody was really welcoming, the coaches were super-nice.” A highlight was getting to meet players from around the world and learning other perspectives about the game. Before the tournament, there was a three-day training camp. In the eight team field, Israel finished third, with the bronze medal, after winning four, tying one and losing one. Other teams in the tournament were from Canada, the United States, England and Wales. Touger hopes to continue playing in college, though that is still a couple years away. Now that she has competed for Israel, she looks forward to visiting Israel, perhaps on the Israel Lacrosse Service Trip, where high school lacrosse players travel to Israel and teach lacrosse skills to Israeli peers.

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

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Mannon part of history-making Israel silver medal lacrosse team As the school year ended at Fresno State University for Birmingham’s Olivia Mannon, “little did I know I’d be coming away with a lot of great relationships and a silver medal” after representing Israel on the world stage. The rising senior for Fresno State’s lacrosse team participated in all eight matches for Israel’s national team in the 2019 Women’s European Lacrosse Championship, held July 15 to 25 in Netanya, Israel. Israel lost to England, 10-7, in the championship game on July 25. The team opened with an easy 13-2 win over Germany, followed by a 12-6 victory over Scotland. England defeated Israel, 12-3, but Israel rebounded with a win over Ireland, 12-10, before being tripped up by Wales in a 12-8 loss. Israel defeated the Netherlands, 15-5, then avenged their Wales loss with an 8-5 victory, setting Israel up for the title game. In all, there were 16 teams in the tournament. Before the tournament, Israel ranked sixth in the world, fourth in Europe. Before moving to Birmingham, Mannon lived in Chevy Chase, Md., a “hotbed” of lacrosse, so she picked up the sport in second grade and started competing in fourth grade. When she moved to Birmingham as a fifth grader, she joined the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association and was told she could play with the middle schoolers. While attending Altamont, she played soccer for Altamont but went to Mountain Brook to play high school lacrosse, as the sport is still in its early stages in Alabama. In 2015, she signed with Fresno State. Not certain what she was going to do this summer, she and one of her college teammates went on a Birthright Israel trip that was a partnership with Israel Lacrosse. She enjoyed “doing Birthright and meeting all these other Jewish American kids, and we all have lacrosse in common.” As part of the trip, there were tryouts as Israel’s national team could have three non-citizens compete in the European Championships. “I ended up making it,” she said, which completely shifted her summer schedule. “It was an amazing opportunity.” Those on the Birthright trip who did not make the national team could stay and play on the developmental team in the Festival bracket. Two days after the Birthright trip ended, she went to Netanya to start practicing until the tournament began. “I didn’t know what to expect in Israel,” she said. “It ended up such a great experience.” After just four practices for the Israelis, the opening ceremony was at Robert Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem. For the actual tournament, there was one field, so scheduling was often interesting. Their game against the Netherlands started at 10:20 p.m. The following day’s semifinal against Wales was broadcast, the first continued on page 38 36

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Baton Rouge’s Sager gets his kicks with the Birmingham-Southern Panthers by Lee J. Green Max Sager’s goals extend far beyond those he scores with the Birmingham-Southern College Panthers’ soccer team. A rising sophomore and Abroms Scholar majoring in health science, the Baton Rouge native wants to use the education he gains to help himself and others. “My senior year of high school, I got to shadow a physical therapist friend of the family — Seth Kaplan — when he was helping out at Camp Jacobs’ special needs camp called Dream Street,” said Sager. “I knew that was what I wanted to do…and I knew I wanted to play college soccer” and pursue physical therapy in graduate school. His mother, Ellen, is the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge, and his father, Marc, is also very involved in the Jewish community. Max’s sister, Julia, is a senior in high school, past president of the Baton Rouge Federation of Temple Youth chapter and regional membership vice president of NFTY-SO. The family attends Temple B’nai Israel. “We’ve always been very involved in the Jewish community and take great pride in our Jewishness,” he said. Sager was one of only three or four Jewish students at his high school, and his graduating class only had 44 students. He and a fellow soccer player at his high school learned about Birmingham-Southern College. They took a visit and Sager really felt at home. “I had only been to ad Birmingham a couple of times1 before and I2:37 didn’t 25-0819 LOVE - Southern Jewish Life.pdf 8/15/19 PM have friends or family here,” he said. “But right away I loved the school,

the feel of community, the coaches, the team. It felt like a good fit for me.” The BSC Panthers’ soccer team had been led for 33 years by legendary coach and Jewish community member Preston Goldfarb, who would also coach a couple of U.S. teams to gold medals in 2013 and 2017 at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, the first back-to back golds in Maccabiah soccer history. Goldfarb retired from BSC in 2015. “He stepped down just as I was beginning my recruitment process, but I did get to talk to him about Birmingham-Southern and the Maccabi Games,” said Sager. “He certainly did so much here for the soccer program, university and community.” Current BSC Men’s Soccer Head Coach Greg Vinson and the rest of the current coaches “have really helped me to learn a lot… and really keep the team united. With coach Greg being an assistant under coach Goldfarb, he knew about the Jewish holidays and traditions. “ The BSC Panthers were 12-7-1 in 2018, losing in the first round of their conference tournament. Sager, an outside back and wing, scored his first





High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



goal in an October game. “My parents made it for the opening game Labor Day weekend last year and to a couple of other games,” said Sager. “They live stream and call me after every game. I’m grateful that we can stay so close, even when we can’t see each other.” The Panthers open the season at home on Labor Day again in 2019 and their regular-season schedule runs through Nov. 15. His parents plan to be at Birmingham-Southern for the opener and an away game versus Millsaps College, since Jackson is a little over two hours from Baton Rouge. Sager said he is one of about a dozen involved members of Hillel at BSC, which has an estimated 40 Jewish students on campus. “When I am not playing a game, I attend Friday night services. We enjoyed Sukkot and Chanukah celebrations. We made challah. It’s a tight group and we hope to get more people involved.” Division III schools do not give out athletic scholarships, but Sager said he was “so honored” to receive a scholarship for Jewish students, established by Hal Abroms, and was “thrilled to meet him” when Birmingham-Southern Hillel had a special Shabbat service at Temple Emanu-El.

“I also appreciate those who took me into their homes for the holidays when I couldn’t make it home,” said Sager. “I love the community here on campus and in Birmingham.” Especially during the fall, Sager’s schedule is very busy with school, soccer and other activities. “It’s a challenge to balance everything, but I feel it’s even easier to stay on-task when I have more going on, so I welcome it,” he said. Birmingham-Southern allows its students to do a “January term,” in which they can spend all month in one class or internship on-campus or abroad. Sager plans to spend his term either with Kaplan or with a physical therapist in Birmingham getting hands-on training. This past January, he spent the month learning from Birmingham Barons broadcaster and Jewish community member Curt Bloom, while Bloom was teaching and broadcasting Samford University basketball games. “It’s great to be able to learn hands-on from others,” said Sager. “There’s nothing like getting that unique experience.” As the Panthers’ men’s soccer team this season, Sager said the goal is to win the conference championship and advance. “I want to do whatever it takes to contribute to the team and to help us have a very successful season,” he said.

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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

continued from page 36

time Israel Lacrosse’s women’s team was on television. The next day, “we were getting to watch the game from the night before.” The men’s team showed up to support them, “in full Israel fan gear.” She was “on such a high after the semi-final.” Though they lost the championship by three goals, “it was definitely a close game” and a tremendous achievement for the Israeli team. “This is the first time in the women’s program history to medal, so it was huge.” Mannon played in all eight games. A defender in college, she played both sides of the field during the tournament, scoring her first international goals. Only eight Israeli players scored during the tournament. She said the team was “remarkable… probably the most unselfish team.” That was an advantage, as “we really worked well with each other.” A decade ago, she had been to Israel on a family trip, where she had a Bat Mitzvah at the Robinson’s Arch egalitarian section of the Western Wall. “Going back as a 21-year-old, and really getting to see the country, talk to people, understand the political climate… I was able to appreciate it a lot more,” she said. Birthright was “an eye-opening experience. Playing lacrosse there was icing on the cake.” She has one more year of eligibility at Fresno State, and “tryouts for the World Cup are next summer.”



Large New Orleans Maccabi delegation medals in competitions and values The slogan of the Jewish Community Centers Maccabi Games in Detroit may have been “Detroit is Back,” but for one of the largest New Orleans delegations in recent memory, it was “New Orleans is Here!” The Games were held from Aug. 4 to 9, with about 1,300 high school athletes, coaches and delegation heads from across North America and several other countries. The Detroit games also included the Maccabi ArtsFest, and this was the sixth time Detroit has hosted the Maccabi Games. The 18 first-time participants from New Orleans brought home nine competition medals. In Boys Soccer 14U, Hudson Glassberg and Alex Lupin were part of a joint team with Detroit, Ohio and Denver. They were bounced early in the elimination tournament, but Lupin scored 11 goals in five games. Charlie Adler and Svetlana Fielkow were on the combined 16U Girls Soccer team with Orange County, Peninsula Palo Alto and Alberta. They lost the bronze medal game, 3-0, to Detroit. Benjamin Kornman, Luc Bauduc, Donovan Ligier and Zach Laviage were on a 14U basketball team with athletes from Central Jersey. They lost in the first round of the elimination bracket, which they entered as the top-ranked team in the blue bracket. There were 24 teams in the 14U tournament. Maya Soll won a silver medal in contemporary dance, in a routine that she self-choreographed. In tennis, Nico Lupin set a goal of finishing in the Top 20 in the competitive bracket. He placed 12th. Ethan Dulitz won a gold medal in lacrosse, with Zachary Breaux and Byron Perkins winning silver in the finals. The game was decided on a goal in the final 30 seconds. J.K. Bain won a gold medal in the table tennis doubles tournament, taking down the top-rated player. Riley Ruth competed in swimming, and Lily

Shapiro, Lauren Soll and Reyna Soll took part in the Visual Arts showcase. In the Second Sport tournament, Hudson won a gold medal in dodge ball, with Luc, Ben and Nico winning silver. Keynote speaker for the JCC Cares expo was Anthony Ianni, former Michigan State University basketball player who was part of the 2010 Final Four team. He is regarded as the first Division I college basketball player diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, and he spoke about overcoming bullying and excelling over his autism. Midot medals were also distributed by organizers to athletes who showed sportsmanship and exemplified Jewish values in competition. Donovan Ligier received a Midot medal for his effort and attitude in basketball. Byron Perkins was awarded a Midot medal by the college lacrosse coaches for his courage and willingness in learning a sport he had never played before. In the final game of the tournament, he scored his first goal. The entire soccer team that Charlie Adler and Svetlana Fielkow were on received Miot medals for positivity and perseverance for continuing to play despite numerous injuries. They lost the bronze medal game after qualifying for the medal round in a penalty shootout, with Fielkow netting a key goal. During the closing party, Delegation Head Neal Alsop was one of three delegation heads to receive a Midot medal from the games director, for being the three delegation heads who most exemplified Midot values throughout the week. “This is 100% a testament not just to me but to the work that our three other coaches/chaperones did,” he said. “I will forever be grateful to PJ, Josh and Avital for making my first full year as the delegation head successful beyond my wildest expectations.” Alsop said that in a May team meeting, he impressed on the athletes that while competition medals were great, “it would be far more significant to win a Midot medal.”

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Team Birmingham (and Beyond) takes on Atlanta Maccabi Games Team Birmingham brought home several medals from the 2019 Jewish Community Centers Maccabi Games, held July 28 to Aug. 2 in Atlanta. The 18-member delegation, which included athletes from Huntsville and New Orleans, participated in seven sports, individually and in joint teams with other delegations. Over 2,000 athletes, coaches and delegation heads took part in the games, which included a closing party at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and a party at the Georgia Aquarium. There was also an expo presented by the Israeli Center for the Disabled, which included a demonstration of wheelchair basketball, and learning about Atlanta’s Shepard Center. Elijah Frankel of Huntsville won six medals, five of them gold, in the Boys 15-16 track and field events. Among his medals were silver for the 800-meter run (2:12.16), and gold in the 200-meter dash (25.49) and 400-meter dash (54.79). Asher Smokey, Arlo Winston, Lev Berman, Daniel Goldfarb and Omer Duvdevani were on a U16 basketball team with Central Florida, going 0-4 during the tournament, losing to Kings Bay, Dallas, Los Angeles West White and Cleveland. In U14 soccer, Ari Altmann, Miles McMillan, Dylan Bor and Cole Smith took part for Birmingham, while Jackson Mendler of New Orleans, a cousin of Ari Altmann, also played as part of the Birmingham delegation because he was unable to make the trip to Detroit the next week with New Orleans’ Maccabi delegation. They were paired with Los Angeles Valley, with the joint team defeating Panama, 3-1, in the first match, falling to South Jersey, 6-1, defeating Dallas, 4-0, then Houston, 8-5, before being knocked out of the competition by Chicago/J-Team/ Greater Washington/Baltimore, 8-3. Maddie Green was on a joint volleyball team with Nashville, St. Louis and Cleveland. The combined team opened with a tie against Atlanta Red, 25-19, 17-25; followed by wins over Atlanta White, 25-17, 25-20; and Dallas/Memphis/Denver, 26-24, 25-12. They lost their last two matches, to Israel Blue, 25-8, 25-11; and to Israel White, 25-19, 25-21. In Boys Golf 15-16, Elad Sabbag won gold by eight strokes, scoring 77 in both of his rounds. Gili Weintraub placed fourth in Girls 14-16. Marley Nadler competed in the U14 tennis tournament competitive division, taking the 12 seed out of 17 competitors. In the finals bracket, she was defeated by fifth-seeded Leah Ren Taube of Atlanta. In the U16 tennis tournament, Clara Lapidus was seeded fourth of 12, losing in the tournament bracket to fifth seed Allie Bielski of J-Team. Sadie Arnold competed in dance, receiving a silver medal in ballet. Malena Altmann also was in the Birmingham delegation as Star Reporter. There was also an Esports event, hosted by Lost Tribe. Cole Smith and Miles McMillan medaled in the Esports. Several Birmingham athletes also received Midot medals, which are given out by Maccabi staff when athletes show true sportsmanship and kindness during the competitions.

community NCJW to honor Madeleine Landrieu at Hannah Solomon luncheon The Greater New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women has named Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Dean Madeleine Landrieu the recipient of the 2019 Hannah G. Solomon Award. The annual awards luncheon will be held on Oct. 17 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel. Doors open at 11:15 a.m., and the program starts at noon. “I am stunned and humbled by this honor granted to me by an organization for which I have the highest respect and admiration”, said Landrieu. Prior to her appointment as dean on July 1, 2017, she served as a judge on the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and prior to that, as a trial court judge on the Civil District Court for Orleans Parish. During her 16-year tenure in the judiciary, Landrieu served as president of both the Louisiana District Judges Association and the Louisiana Judicial College. She also served on the Board of the Louisiana Judges and Lawyers Legal Assistance Program. “I did not plan this journey and never envisioned being dean of a law school ”, she said. Coming from a family of 9 siblings with parents who are wonderful role models, she wanted to be the mother of 9 children, even when she was in law school and met her husband, Paige Sensebrenner. Landrieu has spent a large part of her career advocating for improvements in laws and policies relative to children who come before the courts as a result of abuse or neglect. She is a founding board member of the Louisiana Institute for Children in Families, and was instrumental in the launch of Louisiana’s Quality Parenting Initiative and Louisiana Fosters, efforts to raise awareness about the needs of abused and neglected children and their families. She attributes her dedication to this cause to her volunteer work in an orphanage while in high school. “I was so impressed by the situation of kids without parents that I vowed that one day I would be doing something about it”, she said. Recently, she was appointed to serve on the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association’s Council of Advisors to the Board of Trustees and serves as co-chair of the Advisory Committee to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. Landrieu is also proud of being involved in the creation of the Louisiana Institute for Children in Families, “an idea launched and inspired by the late Lindy Boggs.” She is very proud of the organization’s accomplishments such as the Foster Youth Intern Program that provides foster youth with opportunities to do an internship with a Louisiana legislator, legislative committee or state agency engaging policymakers on the challenges and issues surrounding life in foster care. In addition, she said that the Institute was the driving force in passing the bill extending foster care to age 21 and the bill limiting the age of strippers to 21. She has received numerous awards for her service, including the inaugural President’s Award from the Louisiana Judicial College for her “dedication to judicial education, particularly in the areas of new judge training and mentorship.” Like Hannah G. Solomon, the founder of NCJW, Landrieu is not afraid of challenges that she continues to encounter while serving her community. “Through the Katrina tragedy, the curtain was pulled back to reveal the inequities and corruption of our system”, she said, adding that “we still have a lot to do, but the biggest challenge in Louisiana is to educate our community about the impact of early childhood education.” Tickets to the luncheon are $65 and can be ordered online at www. or by calling (504) 861-7788.

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community Krewe de Pink holds prom to fight breast cancer

Research for the Cure: Enjoy Canal Place while fighting breast cancer

Ready for prom night? Krewe de Pink is holding its annual prom, a fundraiser for breast cancer research, at the newly-renovated Jung Hotel, Oct. 5 from 7 to 11 p.m. The Krewe consists of concerned and passionate individuals who have all been affected by breast cancer, whether as survivors or through having lost friends to the disease. Carol Schwartz Osborne, Krewe president, lost three close friends to breast cancer, most recently Sharyn Robbins Silverstein. “Three very dear friends lost — this is my motivation,” she said. The first one was Kit Mervis Murison, who became a close friend in 10th grade through B’nai B’rith Girls. “Her mom, Helen Mervis, was very involved in the Jewish community and a role model for us all,” she said. Osborne also had breast cancer in 1996 “after fearing its diagnosis since I was 16,” when her mother had breast cancer. “It was a heavy load to carry so I was almost relieved in a crazy way when I was diagnosed,” as she could then attack it head-on, she said. The Krewe holds two events per year, the other is the Pink Bra Run. Two years ago, the celebrity prom queen was Rhonda Shear, who grew up at Gates of Prayer, hosted “Up All Night” on USA network in the 1990s. Tickets for the prom are $50, or $450 for a table of 10. The Prom King and Queen will be drawn randomly from a raffle, and pink clothing is encouraged. To provide the most funding for research, the event is bring your own food and drink, there will be a cash bar, and there is a raffle for “the famous Booze Cart.” The LSU-Utah State game will be shown on a largescreen television. Music will be provided by the Lacoste Band, and proceeds will benefit the Tulane Cancer Center’s breast cancer research. For tickets go to

On Oct. 16, Canal Place will become part of the fight against breast cancer, as the Shops at Canal Place will open for the Research for the Cure Gala in support of the Louisiana Cancer Research Center. Attendees can shop and browse while enjoying New Orleans’ finest restaurants, caterers and local music from 6 to 9 p.m. Research for the Cure is the new version of the center’s previous annual Key to the Cure event. The center facilitates and supports cancer-focused research through collaborations between member institutions LSU Health New Orleans, Tulane University School of Medicine, Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health System. Together they compete for millions in federal cancer research dollars, earning $23.6 million in 2018 alone and $335 million since 2002 Barbara Greenberg and Sue Singer are co-chairing the event. Honorary chairs are former TV and radio journalist Angela Hill, WWL TV anchor Karen Swensen and Saks Fifth Avenue New Orleans General Manager Carolyn Elder. Greenberg said “For many of us cancer and its research are personal. We have lost parents, siblings, spouses, children, and dear friends. Cancer does not discriminate,” and many are predisposed through inherited genetic mutations. “Only research will lead to permanent cures.” Tickets start at $75, with sponsorships starting at $250. Sponsorships at $2,500 and above inclue access to a VIP lounge with personal bar and food service. All sponsors of $5,000 or more cumulatively since 2004 will be displayed on the center’s donor wall. Complimentary parking will be available in the Canal Place garage, provided by the Berger-Tiller and Ogden families.






(504) 255-5165 | Kirk Williamson is a member of the Navy Reserves. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense. PAID FOR BY

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The historic French Quarter Old Coffee Pot Restaurant has a nouveau vie, and in July became the fourth member of the Café Beignet family. Started as a townhouse on St. Peter Street in 1829, the building housed The Old Coffee Pot from its opening in 1894 until its closing this past winter. The new owners restored the location, bringing back the essence and beauty of the building from its former days, renaming it Café Beignet at the Old Coffee Pot. “We wanted to freshen it up and show off its old character; make it look like it did 50 years ago,” said co-owner Peter Moss. “We bought the location so that we could be respectful of the history and continue the charm, ambiance that brought people here all of these years.” Café Beignet opened as Coffee and Concierge on Labor Day in 1990 at 334 Royal Street in the French Quarter. They changed the name to Café Beignet in 1996 and would open locations on Bourbon Street in 2005, Decatur Street in 2017 as well as the most recent one on St. Peter Street. Plans for a fifth location are already underway. “Each of our cafes are unique in their own way, offering a French bistro/ vintage New Orleans setting,” said Moss. The Royal Street location is in a converted 1840s carriage house with an accompanying tropical courtyard. The Bourbon Street location is an all-outdoor courtyard café with a full patio bar. It’s in Musical Legends Park and the courtyard is filled with bronze statues of famous New Orleans jazz musicians. Café Beignet’s Decatur Street location sits near the river and right by the Steamboat Natchez. All locations offer live jazz music and pet-friendly areas. Jewish brothers Peter and Keil Moss, along with their sister Margaret Moss, co-own Café Beignet. They also own and operate a family antique business that is more than 100 years old, with three stores, The Brass Monkey, Keil’s Antiques and Moss Antiques. Gordon Stevens also shares ownership, and serves as president/CEO of continued on page 45

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

continued from page 46

May you find offense only on the football field and, for Heaven’s sake, in the first half of the Mets’ season. May you forgive people for what deserves forgiveness, plus a little more. But not too much more. May you stop and smell the roses, put on an old record, and explain to your kin what a record is. May you support and enjoy local theatre and the arts. May you realize that your “us” is a “them” to others, and all y’all are better together. May you play the last trump card. May you come to be in Yisroel a shining name.

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WALL ART (at Chastant)

Camp Judaea launches “Southern Jewish Journey” track Camp Judaea announced that it is introducing a new Chalutzim track, “Southern Jewish Journey” next summer. In addition to the Outward Bound track that Judaea campers have enjoyed for many years, the new program will be for rising 10th grade campers and include a six-day tour of the Southern United States. Participants will stop in Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma and Atlanta to explore civil rights history and ties to those Jewish communities. In addition to visiting important civil rights history sites, participants will meet with members of different southern Jewish communities. The Hendersonville, N.C., camp launched this program in the hopes that it provide insights into the intertwined history of Southern Jews and the Civil Rights movement that campers may otherwise not get at their school back home. Chalutzim dates for 2020 are June 8 to 24, so participants can attend Camp Tel Yehudah, beginning June 24. Enrollment is now open at continued from page 44 >> Cafe Beignet the New Orleans Steamboat Company, including the Steamboat Natchez plus the City of New Orleans Steamboat launching this fall, as well as Gray Line Tours. Bill Dow, founder and chairman of the New Orleans Steamboat Company, also shares ownership in Café Beignet and resides in Lake George, N.Y., where he owns and operates another family business, the Lake George Steamboat Company. Café Beignet serves breakfast all day and its unique recipes have gained much acclaim. The menu includes omelets, pastries, sandwiches, coffee, beer, wine, mixed drinks, salads and of course the New Orleans culinary staple in their name. General Manager Donna Shay said their beignets are “light and fluffier than most other places. Customers are known to describe them as “fluffy, little pillows.” She said serving breakfast all day accommodates locals and those who travel to New Orleans from across the world. “Many of our visitors are traveling from different time zones. It may be breakfast time where they are traveling from when they get to New Orleans and we can satisfy that hunger,” said Shay. Along with the beignets, Café Beignet at the Old Coffee Pot brought back an old New Orleans staple called calas. It’s rare to find calas on menus today. Historians connect calas with its roots in Africa. The dish made its way to New Orleans and was typically sold in the city streets. The fried rice fritters are dusted with powdered sugar and served hot. High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

This column was originally going to be a satiric retelling of Moses presenting the Ten Commandments in the less Biblical voice of a contemporary temp worker who’s a habitual tweeter often puttering around Washington. It was going to feature him straying from his tablet prompter, instead attesting to the size of the crowd at Mount Sinai, how the mighty waters of the parted Red Sea reached Alabama, and many other insights that didn’t stand the test of testament. We decided, however, not to run it. While we trust the savvy and humor of both of this column’s readers, it doesn’t seem the right time to run it. It’s possible that people of all “sides” could find offense, if for no reason more than one who looks for a way to find offense usually finds it, rather than taking it for the intended equal opportunity satire. It’s a shame, too, because it was funny. Really funny. It’s entirely possible that, in the current climate change, people could be offended by the mere snippets above. Or even by the suggestion of such a column having been drafted. Or even by not publishing it. But this is the eve of a new year, and with it comes the time for atonement. So, we will not run this Pulitzer-worthy witticism that the world’s not ready for. We won’t tempt people to insist on atonement which might or might not be forthcoming — or, as Victor Borge might say, fivethcoming. Instead, as an homage to a time-honored tradition from a rabbi of blessed memory, we present to you wishes for the new year. May the next Star Wars film exhilarate you whether you liked “The Last Jedi” or have good taste. May you find more fault in yourself than in others. May you find little fault in yourself. May you not throw stones in glass houses, and instead listen to Billy Joel’s “Glass Houses” which will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release this year. May you make strides, not take sides. May you watch “Shtisel,” whether you have already or not, because it’s not just great Israeli television, but great television. May May be the best month between April and June of the entire year. May your month of May hit like Mays. May your first ever in-person Alabama football game not be last season’s national championship game. (For a friend who’s still in recovery. Not this columnist. He’s not in denial, either.) May your packages be delivered and your package thieves be delivered to justice. May you be surrounded by people who realize we’re all on the same side, no matter whose side we’re on. May they realize it without the help of a unifying catastrophe. May your social media be social and not require mediation. May your social media not be dominated by topics covered by the media. May the New York Y*nkees fail to win. May the Miami Dolphins fail to fail. May Major League umpires read more Shakespeare, but not take to heart that “fair is foul and foul is fair.” May you not fall prey to any bots, calls from the IRS or Windows Technical Support, or emails asking you to verify your credentials, pay blackmail for something you didn’t do “recorded” on a computer that doesn’t even have a camera, or help a financial transaction for a prince from Jamaica. Zimbabwe, maybe. May you remember that the world is round – a world, by its nature, without sides. continued on previous page

A few of our “best” wishes for 5780…

High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



High Holy Days 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

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Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, September 2019  

September 2019 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community.

Southern Jewish Life, New Orleans, September 2019  

September 2019 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community.

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