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October 2012

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Remember how the second Intifada started? Back in 2000, Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount, and the Muslim world was so outraged that protests spontaneously began, lasting another five years and leaving over 5500 Palestinians and 1000 Israelis dead. At least, that was the narrative, one which is still very easy to find. Much later, it came out that the demonstrations were preplanned, weaponry had been stockpiled for the “spontaneous” uprising. Furthermore, the Temple Mount visit had been precleared by the Muslim authorities there. But it was a much easier, cleaner story to blame an Israeli viewed as a hard-liner. Our fault. You’d think the media would have learned, but no. This past month saw the “spontaneous” Muslim reaction to a worthless Internet film trailer that blasphemed Muhammad, and immediately word spread that it was produced by a prominent Israeli real estate developer in California, backed by 100 other Israeli Jews. Never mind that nobody had ever heard of this “prominent” developer. Or that if there really had been $5 million invested in the film, it is so wretched that there is likely $4,999,980 unaccounted for. If anyone should be insulted, it is the film industry, for this trailer was so bad a sixth grader would be embarrassed to turn it in as a homework assignment. It turns out that an Egyptian Coptic was behind the film, and those who acted in it said it had nothing to do with Muhammad — that was dubbed in (poorly) later. Not that it matters. Throughout the Middle East, it is widely believed that the Jews were behind this, and the spasms of “you can’t insult my faith like that” violence include virulent anti-Jewish statements and cartoons — making the oh-so-sensitive reaction even more of a farce. It is clear that much of the Muslim world holds a rage against the West, and does not need much of anything to cause this type of reaction. Perhaps the film was a trigger, but the idea that a large number of Muslims saw it and decided to protest strains credulity. But it falls into the “our fault” template — if the Muslim world erupts, it was because of something we did. This brings us to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans (including the ambassador to Libya) were killed. We were told for well over a week that this was just part of the spontaneous eruption. It turns out that it was nothing of the sort. The attack was carried out by an Al Qaeda affiliate on Sept. 11, on American soil (consulates and embassies are considered sovereign territory of the countries they represent, not where they are located). Al Qaeda hit us again on Sept. 11. And we chalk it up to anything else. After the 2001 attacks, it was warned that Americans would soon tire of the effort against terrorism, and the extremists would bide their time until then and hit again. Not only have we tired of the war, but we’re not even comfortable acknowledging that the war continues and we’ve taken a hit. That might be the most dangerous part of all.


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Larry Brook Editor/Publisher NOLA

Southern Jewish Life

October 2012



Publisher/Editor: Lawrence M. Brook, Associate Publisher/Advertising: Publisher/Editor: Lee J. Green, Lawrence M. Brook, New Orleans Bureau: Associate Publisher/Advertising: Alan Smason, Lee J. Green, NewOrleans OrleansBureau: Advertising: New Liz Herman, Alan Smason, Cait Muldoon, Gail Naron Chalew Creative Director: Ginger Brook, Creative Ginger Brook, Photographer-At-Large: Photographer-At-Large: Rabbi Barry C. Altmark Barry C. Altmark Contributing Writers: Contributing Doug BrookWriters: Doug Brook Mailing Address: Mailing Address: P.O. Box 130052, PBirmingham, .O. Box 130052, AL 35213 Birmingham, AL 35213 Telephone: Telephone: Birmingham:(205) (205)870-7889 870-7889 Birmingham: Toll Free: (866) 446-5894 FAX: (866) 392-7750 FAX: (866) 392-7750 Story Tips/Letters: Story Tips/Letters: Subscription Information: Subscription Information: Southern Jewish Life published monthly Southern Lifetopublished and is free Jewish by request members monthly of the and is community free by request members of of the Jewish in our to coverage area Jewish community our coverage area of Alabama, Louisiana,inMississippi and NW Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and NW Florida. Outside those areas, subscriptions Florida. Outside those areas, subscripare $25/year or $40/two years. To tions are $25/year or $40/two years. To subscribe, call (205) 870-7889 or mail subscribe, call (205) 870-7889 or mail paypayment to the addressabove. above. ment to the address The publisher is solely responsible for Thecontents publisher is solely responsible for the of SJL. Columns and letters the contents of SJL. Columns and letters represent the views of the individual represent the views of the individual writers. All articles that do not have a writers. All articles that do not have a byline written by the publisher. bylineon onthem themare are written by the publisher. SouthernJewish JewishLife Life makes claims as to Southern makes no no claims as to the Kashrut Kashrutofofitsitsadvertisers, advertisers, retains the andand retains the right righttotorefuse refuse any advertisement. the any advertisement. Advertising rates available on request. Advertising rates available on request. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved, Copyright 2010. rights reserved, reprints only by All permission of publisher. reprints only by permission of publisher.

Philosophy: To link the Jewish communities of the Deep South, to tell you the fascinating stories of one another, and to document and preserve the news of events large and small, all a part of the rich culture of Southern Jewry. 26 4�

September 2010� October 2012

How big is New Orleans’ Jewish community, really? Editor’s Note: After the last issue came out, late overall population. This he did by several we received a note from a former New Orlea- methods and at the conclusion of his research nian now in Mississippi, challenging the article he confirmed that our estimates were reasonthat stated the Jewish population of New Or- able. His final number was a range going from leans had topped pre-Katrina numbers and a little less to somewhat more. The estimates was now estimated at 9,580. He figured, based in 2007 ranged from 7-8000 with a higher but often spendoftime the back roads aroundat the on his experience,We that a figure 6,500onwas unlikely estimate theregion, time oflooking even 12,500. for the unusual andevidence. the unique, and there plenty of itininnewcomers the South. since Knowing theis increases more realistic, and wanted further Here is the response Michael thatwere time, our estimate of 9,580 Still, by it was a bit Weil, jarringexecuwhen we driving along one of thetoday main is intive director of the Jewish of Greater deed pretty accurate. keep meticulous roads inFederation Gardendale, just north of Birmingham, and We came upon the New Orleans. records on of all road that is pictured thenewcomers. front cover of this issue, The demographic Jew studies paintRoad. also a reHollow The Jewish Federation of Greater New Or- markable picture of Jewish engagement and leans is fortunate to having one of the best and demonstrate that New Orleans has one of this day and Jewish age, such name would likely be considered most accurate dataInbases of local pop-a street the highest rates of synagogue affiliation (79 politically incorrect. Being Southerners, we knew and whatalso the one termof the ulation in the country. One of the reasons is percent) and attendance refers so availwe figured there had to be a story behind the that immediately “hollow” after Katrina we to, made highest rates of giving to Jewish Federation’s name, and enough, there is. That story is in this issue. able short term funding (through the sure behest annual campaign (59 percent). of United Jewish Communities, now the JewAdding up membership numbers is only ish Federations ofIt kicks NorthoffAmerica) what willtobeevery a recurring in the magazine, one toseries estimate population. We“Jews have on actually Jewish New Orleanian. We alsoMap,” put together done that the exercise tooofwhile being aware of the Southern where we explore history places around an unique data base of Jews from New Orthe percentage non-Jewish the region that haveofbeen namedmembers for the leans, whose purpose at the time was to find JCC. That being said we are aware that there out where everybody had displaced to and are not insignificant rates of Jews who are not Many years ago, there was a reference guide that listed towns across to connect families, neighbors and friends. affiliated. Somewhere up to 25 percent. But America that were named Jews. Two were in Alabama (neither These actions gave us up to date contact infoafter this is way below most communities even in currently has any Jewish community). We have since found others, on most community members. the South. and there are numerous such places in Mississippi and the Louisiana. We continue to monitor all these names All this does not include 3,000 Jewish and update our data base all the time. We students studying in the city’s universities, wenumbers were going to limit the series to town names, but at there produce revisedOriginally, population every mostly at Tulane with applications 10 times six months. Theseare include are stillplaces manypeople other who interesting that we have found, so we will be of approvals. moving back, those thatincluding have not moved back,even This parks, and streets, we are doing this month. is aasremarkable community that has and of course all the newcomers. transformed itself in the last seven years. We These calculations showed thatAsinthe August are growing andhave continue to grow. We are series unfolds, we will it on our website, 2005 we numbered 9,500, numbers dropped vibrant with an extraordinary rich Jewish life That way, if you are taking a road trip, radically after Katrina and very slowly and and a calendar of events that is almost too full. you can stop by these places yourself. gradually moved up. Our current estimate We have become a center of Jewish experiis 9,580 and growing. These include around mentation with a myriad of new and innovathe High here Holysince Day 2007. season fades into memory and we move into 2,000 newcomers As who moved tive grass roots organizations and an active prime time for organizational activities — especially the as upcoming In late September we were approving another Jewish young people scene, well as extra General Assembly inconNew Orleans — enjoy the season and keep large batch of grants to newcomers who ordinarily committed and active leadership. turning to Southern Jewish Life for the latest on what is happening in of tinue to move here. Personally I am proud to serve as head In both 2007 and 2010 we conducted an ex- Federation in this ourcommunity neck of theand woods. wish that tensive demographic study through LSU and others had the same fortune and could offer the researcher was asked at the time to calcu- the same statistics.



Larry Brook New email list for community obituaries Editor / Publisher

With the cessation of the Times Picayune’s daily publication, it is now likely that members of the Jewish community will find it more difficult to learn about funerals within the community in a timely fashion. “Levayat Hamet” is the mitzvah to attend funerals. To address this problem, Southern Jewish Life Magazine, in cooperation with the Greater New Orleans Rabbinic Council and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, has offered to provide timely notifications to those who seek it. To sign up for this mitzvah enabling service simply go to You may also send your email address to Your address will be used only for this specific purpose.

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Front Porch Isaac Recovery Fund: A new fund, “Emergency Financial Assistance for Individuals Impacted by Hurricane Isaac,” has been started by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans to help families in need after sustaining major damage from Hurricane Isaac. The fund was made available through the Jewish Federations of North America’s emergency committee, and is being administered by Jewish Family Service of New Orleans. JFNA has a disaster relief fund that is accepting contributions. The relief grants provide need-based assistance for Jewish residents of Greater New Orleans, from $500 to $3000, to deal with significant uninsured losses. The grants are to help repair homes, replace destroyed furniture and provide assistance for temporary housing while repairs are being made. Damage and losses from power outages are not eligible, and there is no automatic entitlement. The grants are need-based and there is other eligibility information in the application. To qualify, one must be a member of the Jewish community who has had permanent residence in the area for at least one year, and who has already explored other sources of assistance. Potential applicants should contact Rachel Lazarus, case worker, at JFS, (504) 831-8475 ext. 137, or While the local Jewish institutions had minor damage, many in the community had extensive damage at their homes or businesses. For Kosher Cajun and Casablanca, the power was out for several days, and Casablanca had a lot of water damage from roof leaks in the space that they lease. JFNA is working with the New Orleans Federation to assess the areas that were hardest hit and determine where relief funds can make the greatest difference in the Jewish and general communities. “The Jewish community of New Orleans has been tested again,” said Michael Weil, executive director of the New Orleans Federation. “Through resilience, creativity and the support of Jews around the world, the Jewish community of the Crescent City will thrive and grow.”

JCRS Chanukah Gift Wrap: It may have just become fall, but for the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, it’s time to plan for Chanukah. On Oct. 14, the social service agency will hold its annual Chanukah gift program event, where volunteers will wrap thousands of gifts that will be sent to over 200 dependent and lower-income Jewish youth each year in a seven-state region, and 30 Jewish residents of state hospitals. Each recipient gets 8 to 10 small gifts. Volunteers are needed between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the GoldringWoldenberg Campus in Metairie. Donations are also welcome, and those who have possible small gift items are asked to contact the agency to see if they are appropriate for this effort. To volunteer, email For information on donating, contact NOLA has been the leader in Miami vacation rentals for several years. Beautiful luxurious, fully-furnished villas for frum couples and families. Complete privacy and heated pools. We also off offer many homes without Kosher kitchens and are available to all

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Rosh Hashanah Donation: Winn-Dixie stores across the Southeast celebrated the Jewish New Year by highlighting kosher recipes during the grocer’s annual Taste of Rosh Hashanah events. Due to Hurricane Isaac, the store had to change plans in the New Orleans area, but in honor of Rosh Hashanah, presented a $4,000 donation to the New Orleans Jewish Community Center. Pictured from left to right are: Ashley Kirschman, JCC development director; Leslie Fischman, JCC executive director; Scot Schully, store director at Winn-Dixie #1430; and Brian Katz, JCC president. Jerusalem String Quartet in NOLA: The Jerusalem String Quartet will kick off the 58th season of chamber music for the New Orleans Friends of Music, with an Oct. 17 concert at Tulane’s Dixon Hall. This is the New Orleans debut for the dynamic quartet, which has played together for two decades. Violinists Alexander Pavlovsky and Sergei Bresler, cellist Kyril Zlotnilov, and new member Ori Kam on viola have individual reputations in addition to their chamber performances. They have played throughout the U.S. and Europe, and their recordings have won numerous awards. The 8 p.m. performance is preceded by a free 7 p.m. lecture by John Joyce of the Newcomb Department of Music. Tickets are $25, free for students. Madoff attorney returns to Tulane for talk: Attorney and Tulane alumnus Ira Sorkin, best-known for representing Bernie Madoff, the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and operator of one of the largest financial frauds in U.S. history, will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 16 in the Freeman Auditorium on the second floor of Tulane’s Woldenberg Art Center. Sorkin received a lot of criticism for defending Madoff. In a 2009 interview with Yediot Achronot, Sorkin said “The law says that you are entitled to be represented by a lawyer, and every Jew should be proud of that,” and likened what he does to Israeli doctors treating Palestinian terrorists. Sorkin has been a speaker and lecturer on numerous domestic and international panels and seminars relating to white collar crime, regulatory defense, internal investigations, and corporate governance. This event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the John J. Witmeyer III Dean’s Colloquium series, which invites distinguished alumni back to campus to discuss their careers and professions. A reception will follow Sorkin’s talk. 6

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Southern Jewish Life


Front Porch Parenting Course offered: The New Orleans Parent’s Club, a joint effort of Dahlia Topolosky and Jewish Family Service, makes its return this fall. The NOPC Workshop teaches positive parenting techniques to guide participants through the everyday joys and challenges of parenthood, while socializing with other parents. The course is designed for parents of children between 2 and 10 years of age. The course begins on Oct. 11 at 9:15 a.m. at Beth Israel in Metairie. Pre-registration for all 10 sessions is required. One one-on-one session is included in the $200 registration. A sliding scale registration is available. There is also a new parent coaching option for families that want additional one-on-one help. For more information or to register, visit The Chabad Center of Metairie is offering a Hebrew reading crash course this month. For six Sundays starting Oct. 21, the class will develop Hebrew skills for those who currently are unable to read Hebrew. The class is ideal for those looking to learn classical Hebrew from the liturgy, or modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel. For information and to register, go to The Community Day School, formerly the New Orleans Jewish Day School, will have a Comedy Club Night fundraiser on Nov. 4 with comedian Andy Kindler. The 5 p.m. event will be at Touro Synagogue. Kindler played Andy on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and he is a regular guest on “Late Show with David Letterman” and voices Mort on “Bob’s Burgers.” Tulane kicks off its fall Judeo-Christian Studies lecture series on Oct. 16 with this year’s Marianna and Rabbi Julian B. Feibelman Memorial Lecture. Leora Batnitzky will speak on “Private Faith, Public Religion: Tensions in Modern Jewish Thought” at 7 p.m. in the Rogers Memorial Chapel. Batnitzky received her Ph.D. from the Princeton Department of Religion in 1996 and began teaching there the following year. She is the author of “Idolatry and Representation: The Philosophy of Franz Rosenzweig Reconsidered,” “Leo Strauss and Emmanuel Levinas: Philosophy and the Politics of Revelation” and most recently, “How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought.” Her current research focuses on the conceptual and historical relations between modern religious thought and legal theory. NOLA

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YouTube teen to talk about Holocaust: Sally Rabinowitz spent much of her teen years uncovering her family’s history through the Holocaust, going to Europe to trace their journey. A YouTube sensation, Rabinowitz will speak at Temple Sinai in New Orleans during the Oct. 26 Shabbat service, starting at 6:15 p.m. A resident of Gramercy, N.Y., Rabinowitz had tried unsuccessfully to get information about her family’s survival during the Holocaust over the phone, so she went to Europe with her mother for three weeks during the summer

of 2011. There, she visited German archives in the Frankfurt Jewish Museum and explored cemeteries where family members were buried. She documented her journey through photography — mainly black-and-white. Her mother is a professional photographer and her father founded the Digital Photo Academy. Her mother’s ancestors, the Ehrenfelds, had owned five camera stores around Frankfurt. As the persecution intensified, Ernest Leitz, head of the Leica Camera Company, arranged for the Ehrenfelds — one of his best customers — to escape.

JewCCY starts service challenge: JewCCY, the joint Jewish youth group for New Orleans’ Reform congregations, announced a JewCCY Service Challenge. The year-long competition will promote service projects, and the teens will receive personal and grade mitzvah points. At the end of the year, participants in the class that has the most points will have an ice cream party, while individual winners in each grade will get gift certificates. There will also be recognition for the overall winner and runner-up. The first service challenge event was a kickoff to ongoing volunteering at Akili Academy in the Gentilly area. JewCCY collected children’s books at the Oct. 7 event that will be used in the future, to read to third grade students at the K-5 charter school. The next weekend, JewCCY will participate in the Jewish Children’s Regional Service annual Chanukah gift wrap-a-thon, Oct. 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. Fit2Gether: As part of the Partnership2Gether relationship between the New Orleans Jewish community and Israeli partner city Rosh Ha’Ayin, 16 women will be working to get Fit2Gether. This fall, eight New Orleans women and eight Rosh Ha’Ayin women will work through December to reach fitness goals. Each group will meet regularly to exercise and to attend classes on stress reduction, healthy cooking, meditation and more. In December, the New Orleans Fit2Gether group will welcome their Israeli counterparts for five days of Health and Fitness related activities, New Orleans Style. Fit2Gether will begin in mid-October. The exact start date will be determined by the group, Kosher Topics: Rabbis Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer and Uri Topolosky of Beth Israel in Metairie will offer another joint educational series this month, “Keeping Kosher,” Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the two congregations. The series opens Oct. 10 at Gates of Prayer with “Kosher Jesus,” Jewish understandings of Jesus, Christianity and teachings about the messiah. The Oct. 17 session at Gates of Prayer will be “Kosher Queer,” Jewish views on homosexuality, with members of the local LGBTQ community speaking. The series concludes at Beth Israel on Oct. 24 with “Kosher Sex,” Jewish views on what is acceptable and what isn’t. 8

October 2012

Southern Jewish Life

with the program set to end in mid-December. The cost is $150 per person, which includes a certified personal trainer once a week for group sessions, plus e-support, personalized goal setting and tracking. Guest speakers will share healthy living practices, tips for lighter cooking, the best ways to shop green and relaxation techniques. All group activity program equipment will be provided. Contact Jody Braunig at (504) 780-5688 or email for more information. Registration is limited to the first eight women who sign up. A Gala? During ‘Bama-LSU?: As of press time, the Alabama Crimson Tide has been making easy work of its opponents this season, and LSU is also making noise in the national championship hunt, with Nov. 3 looming large as the rematch of the past season’s rematch in the national championship game. Surely nobody in the region would schedule an event on top of that evening’s soon-to-be-hyped matchup? Not so for Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville, which is theming its annual “fun’d” raiser to the game. “A Tail Gate of Two Cities” will begin that night at 6, at the Castine Center at Pelican Park. The event of “Great Expectations” for fans of each team will include a silent auction, live auction and multiple raffles. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Brees Foundation. Tickets are $50. NOLA

Front Porch Delta Jewish Open opens: The 25th annual Jay Mosow Memorial Delta Jewish Open, a homecoming for Jews from the Mississippi Delta, is expanding its focus by opening to non-Jewish friends and associates. Participants are urged to invite their friends to the event, which will be held this year the weekend of Oct. 20. The weekend kicks off with the annual dinner party at Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville, starting at 6:30 p.m. A steak dinner will be served, teams will be formed and mulligans sold. The golf tournament begins on Oct. 21 with a shofar start at 9 a.m. at Greenville Country Club. Lunch will be available following the fourplayer scramble. There will be cash prizes for the top three teams, and all par 3 holes have prizes for holes in one. There is a $10,000 prize for a hole in one on the 14th hole. Proceeds from the weekend benefit the Henry S. Jacobs Camp and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Donations and tee box sponsorships are accepted. Reservations should be made by Oct. 13. For entry forms, contact Alan Silverblatt, (662) 887-5878 or Barry Piltz, (662) 332-3322. Medical school scholarships to attract newcomers: The Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services of Dothan is adding a new initiative to its plan to attract Jewish residents to the southeastern Alabama community. Over the next three years, a total of up to six Blumberg Scholars will be named at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. The awards of up to $10,000 per year will be made to Jewish students “who demonstrate the highest levels of academic excellence and personal character, and commit to serve Dothan’s Jewish and greater community.” Recipients must be Jewish; enter ACOM as a first-time, full-time medical student upon meeting admission requirements; and be committed upon graduation to have a primary care medical practice in a medically-underserved area of southeast Alabama and be active in Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El. The scholarships may continue for all four years at ACOM, and it is anticipated that two scholars will be named for each of the next three years, for a total of six. Deadline for applications is March 15, 2013. Applications can be downloaded at N.C. academy working on challenge grants: The American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, N.C., America’s only Jewish pluralistic college-prep boarding school, is working on a Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life challenge grant. The academy will receive $1 million from the foundation if it can raise $3 million by Dec. 31. Thus far, the academy has raised about $1 million. The academy also has a $200,000 Matching Gifts challenge grant from Susan and Scott Shay, which matches $1 to every $2 raised from others by Dec. 31. The Shays, who recently funded the development of a new Judaics curriculum, hope to expand the institution’s network of donors. More information about the school is available at

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Front Porch “Am I A Jew” author in NOLA: Theodore Ross, author of the newly-published “Am I A Jew? Lost Tribes, Lapsed Jews and One Man’s Search for Himself” will be at the Maple Street Bookshop in New Orleans on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. The book is about his search for identity, having been moved by his mother from New York City to Mississippi at age nine. His mother then decided to hide that they were Jewish and have him grow up passing as a Christian, though he never officially converted.

KosherDome: It is now easier for Jewish New Orleans Saints fans to practice both religions — football and Judaism — at the same time. Sept. 23 was the debut of a kosher concession stand at the Superdome. The Kosher Sports stand will be open for all Saints games, the Sugar Bowl and Super Bowl XLVII next February. Jonathan Katz, president of Kosher Sports said, “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide our kosher roster to the great football fans of the New Orleans Saints.” Located on the Upper Concourse at section 537, the stand features all-beef hot dogs, allbeef sausages with peppers and onions, allbeef Polish sausage, pretzels, bottled soda, bottled water and bottled beer. The stand is under the local supervision of the Louisiana Kashrut Commission, while nationally the company is certified by Star-K. Kosher Sports was founded by Katz in 2003 while he worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. His boss was connected to the front office for the New York Giants, and through that connection Kosher Sports was born. Kosher Sports is now the exclusive kosher caterer at Citi Field in New York, U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, United Center in Chicago, Oriole Park in Baltimore, American Airlines Arena in Miami, Ford Field, Ravinia Music Festival, Ford Field in Detroit, and others.

NOLA Day School takes bold new approach in recruitment The New Orleans Jewish Day School is ushering in a “new era of Jewish education in the city” by broadening its outreach and changing the school’s name to Community Day School. The school, which currently has an enrollment of 40 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade, will have the same curriculum as it does now. Bob Berk, head of the school, said “our mission will not change,” but “we aim to become a Jewish school that also serves the greater New Orleans community.” Part of the change is to make “greater inroads” to the Reform, unaffiliated and intermarried communities. “Children from all community synagogues will be embraced,” he said. “Children with interfaith heritages will find that Community Day School is a comfortable and open home. Those who come from unaffiliated families will find an organic and holistic approach to Judaism specifically offered at Community Day School.” Berk added, “We also feel this could be a great option for non-Jewish students in the community who otherwise would be looking for a good education.” There are already non-Jewish students in the school, and they want more people to be aware of it. The school, he said, “will be a Jewish school where both Jews and non-Jews thrive and grow together.” In a February article in the Forward, many Jewish day schools around the country with declining enrollments were examining admitting larger numbers of non-Jewish students. At that point, Berk said the New Orleans school had been admitting non-Jewish students but not actively looking for them. Now, the school will be marketing to the general community. The new name was to be officially unveiled at a family Sukkot celebration Oct. 4. Students will receive new shirts with the new logo, and marketing will kick off for the 2013-14 school year. Berk said that having “day school” in the new name makes it familiar to the Jewish community, and the term “community” resonates both with Jews and the general community. As for the school’s “in memory of Patti Arnold Samuels” line, after consulting with the family, it will be altered to “inspired by Patti Arnold Samuels.” The school was founded in 1996 “to provide New Orleans, for the first time, with a Jewish community day school... so that Jewish and non-Jewish children from all backgrounds and from the entire spectrum of religious observance could learn, pray, and celebrate together.” The school’s enrollment declined substantially after Hurricane Katrina, dropping from 85 to about 50 as the school went on hiatus for the 2005-06 school year. After reopening, the school closed its middle school, ending at fifth grade. Each year, the school hosts a community-wide math contest for fourth and fifth grade students. Berk said the foreign language component of the school will be attractive, and the text study “enhances critical thinking skills” and uses concepts that cross religious lines. “Jewish observances have universal messages of sanctity, hope and faith,” he said. “This model is as unique as New Orleans itself.”

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October 2012



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Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn of Temple Sinai in New Orleans is leading an interfaith mission to Israel and Petra, Jordan, with Rev. Don Frampton of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church. Cohn took this trip last January and “imagined taking this inspiring trip with our Sinai members along with Don Frampton and our neighbors from next door.” Trip highlights are expected to include visits to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, a Druze village, Shabbat in Jerusalem with services at the first Reform congregation in Israel, services at the Scottish Presbyterian Church, and a full day tour of Petra. There will be an informational meeting on Oct. 29 at St. Charles Presbyterian, at 7 p.m. Gates of Prayer in Metairie has an Israel trip scheduled for later this month. Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria is organizing an Israel trip, working with the Jewish Federations of North America missions department. Already, there are 30 reservations for the trip, which is scheduled for March 10 to 21. Atlanta’s Marcus Jewish Community Center and Congregation Beth Shalom are planning a multi-generational family trip to Israel next June, and inviting some Alabama communities to take part. The trip will be led by Rabbi Mark Zimmerman and Rabbi Brian Glusman. Glusman grew up at Etz Chayim in Huntsville, and recently was rabbi of Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El. Members of those congregations are welcome to join the Atlanta community-wide trip, which wil be from June 11 to 24. Highlights include a special welcome ceremony, B’nai Mitzvah ceremony, Yad Vashem, Masada, Dead Sea, Jeep ride through the Golan Heights, archeological dig, and much more. For more information, contact Glusman at brian. or (678) 812-4161. The Jewish Community Centers Association is offering an opportunity to run in or cheer on the Tel Aviv Marathon on March 15. Participants can attend the marathon and then continue on a six or 10 day tour of Israel, exploring spas, wineries, organic restaurants and farms. The trip will also include opportunities to bike, hike, raft and Segway the land, and a Shabbat experience. By registering through this trip, there is a discount on the Tel Aviv Marathon Golden Package. Last year, the marathon drew 25,000 participants. For further information, contact Tovah Grafstein at


October 2012

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Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


Hadassah chapters from across the South gather

Representatives of Hadassah chapters in Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and northwest Florida met in Birmingham last month for a fall strategic planning board meeting. Southern Region President Lee Kansas of New Orleans led the Sept. 8 to 10 event. Pictured are representatives from (top to bottom): Pensacola, Birmingham, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Dothan and Auburn (left), Montgomery (right).


October 2012

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Team Kate keeps battle going against breast cancer On Oct. 20, around 16,000 people will crowd Linn Park in downtown Birmingham for the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and one of the largest delegations will once again be Team Kate Has Hope. Team Kate is named after Karen Nomberg, who was an active member of Birmingham’s Jewish community. In August 2003, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her husband, Bernard Nomberg, said she “decided to be proactive in fighting the disease” and joined the North Central Alabama Komen affiliate’s board. In the fall of 2004, “friends and family formed Team Kate for the annual Race for the Cure,” Bernard said. Michelle Bearman-Wolnek has been a team co-captain since the beginning, “to support my very best friend through her fight with breast cancer.” The team quickly became one of the largest teams, and one of the most prolific fundraisers. In 2006, Team Kate added Hope McInerney’s name to the title, as McInerney had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. “These young women were battling this disease while trying to raise a young family. We all felt pretty helpless and this team has given us something that we can do to make a change in other women’s outcomes when they are diagnosed with breast cancer,” Bearman-Wolnek said. Karen lost her battle with the disease in May 2007. That fall, the team had 240 members and raised over $42,000, the highest totals in the race’s history. Generally, the team has more than 100 Other Breast Cancer participants and raises over Awareness Month events: $10,000 each year, putting NOLA Goes Pink, all month at area them at the top of both cat- restaurants. egories in the race. Ellen Zahariadis, Ko- Worship in Pink Shabbat at Temple men executive director for Beth Shalom in Ft. Walton Beach, north-central Alabama, Oct. 12 at 7:30 p.m. said “This team really em- Pink Tie Ball to benefit Joy to Life bodies the purpose, hope Foundation. Alley Station, Montgomand joy of the Race through ery, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. their enthusiasm, dedicated New Orleans Race for the Cure at fundraising efforts and conCity Park, Oct. 20 at 9:30 a.m. sistent support of the Race and the work of Susan G. Joy to Life Joy Ride for Breast Cancer. Komen. Their commitment University of South Alabama, Mobile. to the Race is real and lov- 8 a.m. ing testament to these two Prayer in Pink Shabbat at Agudath Isremarkable women.” rael-Etz Ahayem, Montgomery, Oct. Each year, the local Ko- 26 at 6:30 p.m. men chapter presents an

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award named after Karen to someone in the race who best exemplifies Karen’s contributions toward finding a cure, Bernard said. In 2010, their daughters, Sidney and Emily, received the Youth Inspiration Leadership Award at the race. Bearman-Wolnek said the team receives a lot of assistance in the quest to be the top Friends and Family team. Total Skin and Beauty Dermatology provides team T-shirts, and the Levite Jewish Community Center provides the team a home base. Embassy Suites donated a weekend stay to the team member who raises the most money. There is also a lemonade stand for the team’s efforts, organized by Jennifer Nemet. This year, it will be at the Dunbarton sign on Overton Road, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 14. Children are welcome to volunteer. To register for the race, go to or call (205) 263-1700.

NewLIFE Fertility says perseverence produces parents A new online resource reviewing and ranking fertility clinics named Pensacola’s NewLIFE (Leaders in Fertility and Endocrinology) the “Best Fertility Practice in Florida” for the second straight year. Barry Ripps, an involved member of the Pensacola Jewish community and Mobile native who received his medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, started NewLIFE in 2001. combines the chances of a successful pregnancy and the risk of multiple pregnancies to rank programs by their rate of success as well as patient safety. NewLIFE provided an above national average chance of pregnancy with In-Vitro Fertilization, but the lowest risk for multiple pregnancies in Florida. Using that same approach, FindTheBest. com placed NewLIFE in the top 5 percent of fertility programs nationwide. “One important facet that FindTheBest does not consider is cost. Because we are located in a smaller Gulf Coast community, savings on operational costs are passed on to patients. With appealing weather and sugar-white beaches in Pensacola… it is an attractive place to visit. We have programs in which people can come from miles away and do a procedure while they are on vacation,” said Ripps. Most couples face two significant challenges when seeking treatment for their infertility, he said. Emotional and financial abilities determine perseverance levels. “We have a slogan here. It’s ‘Perseverance Produces Parents’,” he said.

Health and Wellness an annual Southern Jewish Life promotional section

Don’t take concussions lightly By Lee J. Green Fall in the Deep South means football — not just watching it but playing it. Children’s Hospital of Alabama wants to pass on advice that could help prevent severe brain injuries from concussions. Children participate in many activities in which injuries are possible. But many childhood injuries, particularly brain injuries, can be prevented if simple rules and guidelines are followed, according to UAB Sports Medicine at Children’s Hospital Director Dr. Drew Ferguson. In 2010, Children’s Hospital treated three times more athletes with concussion injuries — a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head — than the previous year. Although fatalities from concussions are rare, the leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is damage to the player’s head or brain. “The numbers have gone up, but that is more attributed to legislation, regulation and education especially in high school, college as well as organized youth leagues regarding concussions and how to identify possible signs,” said Dr. Ferguson. “With everything Signs Observed by Parents or Guardians • Appears dazed or stunned • Is confused about assignment or position • Forgets an instruction • Is unsure of game, score, or opponent • Moves clumsily • Answers questions slowly • Loses consciousness (even briefly) • Shows behavior or personality changes • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall • Can’t recall events after hit or fall

in the news about football and concussions, we’re seeing people react to these situations seriously and immediately.” He added, “If children would simply be aware of their environment and skip out on the risky actions and behaviors, a large number of head injuries could be prevented. It starts with the parents making sure that children wear a well-fitted helmet when riding bikes and enforcing simple rules consistently to help keep kids accident free.” However, accidents and collisions will happen. If there has been any trauma to the head and any symptoms it is better to be safe than sorry. When this happens during a football game or other athletic competition, the player should be taken out of the contest, then taken to a doctor or hospital. They should not return to action, or even normal activity, until cleared by a doctor. “In 90 percent of the cases, the concussion symptoms clear up and someone can return to play in about two weeks,” said Ferguson. “You have to be very careful since the concussions after the first one are usually more severe and there is greater risk when someone returns before all symptoms are gone and before they safety and the rules of the sport. • Encourage them to practice good sportsmanship at all times. • Make sure they wear the right protective equipment for their activity (such as helmets, padding, shin guards, eye and mouth guards). Protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained, and be worn consistently as well as correctly. • Learn the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

What to do if you think someone has a concussion: Symptoms Reported by Athlete • Seek medical attention right away. A health care • Headache or “pressure” in head professional will be able to decide how serious the • Nausea or vomiting concussion is and when it is safe for your child to • Balance problems or dizziness return to sports. • Double or blurry vision • Keep your child out of play. Concussions take • Sensitivity to light time to heal. Don’t let your child return to play until • Sensitivity to noise a health care professional says it’s okay. Children • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy who return to play too soon — while the brain is still • Concentration or memory problems healing — risk a greater chance of having a second • Confusion concussion. Second or later concussions can be • Does not “feel right” serious. They can cause permanent brain damage, affecting your child for a lifetime. How can you help your child prevent • Tell your child’s coach about any recent a concussion? concussion. Coaches should know if your child had • Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for a recent concussion in any sport.

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have been cleared.” He said that good helmets are a must for contact sports, bike riding, skateboarding, but there is no such thing as a concussion-proof helmet. “They protect the skull but they can’t prevent the brain from moving in the skull,” said Ferguson. He added that especially in the past 10 years, concussion research has made some significant strides, with increased information to pass on to parents and their active kids. Children’s Hospital uses the guidelines provided by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help parents determine if their child has a concussion, and how to treat a child who has been affected by one.

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October 2012

Health and Wellness

Mammograms promoted for Breast Cancer Awareness month By Lee J. Green Digital mammography and other technology advancements have improved detection rates, the speed and ease of mammograms. With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, St. Vincent’s Health System of central Alabama will offer a special incentive for mammograms. St. Vincent’s hopes the reduced-price, $99 mammograms during October will encourage and enable more women to get screened for breast cancer. Studies show that small tumors can be detected by digital mammograms up to three years before they can be felt by a woman or her doctor. The American Cancer Society recommends that women ages 40 and older should have a yearly screening mammogram for as long as they are in good health. Women of any age experiencing problems or women under 35 should contact their doctor for a referral. Dr. Jill Rutherford, a radiologist with Radiology Associates of Birmingham PC who also serves on the St. Vincent’s medical staff, said advanced detection is possible thanks to the switch to digital from analog. Digital mammography launched at St. Vincent’s Birmingham in 2004 and now is at both hospitals in St. Clair and Blount counties. “Digital really lets you see with great detail through the breast tissue,” said Dr. Rutherford. “Some cancers take years to grow and some grow quickly. But we can usually catch them in the early stages if women get yearly mammograms and also do monthly breast self-examinations.” She also recommends all women get screened annually starting at 40. If someone else in the family has had breast cancer, Rutherford advises to go 10 years back in age from when the cancer was detected in that person and start annual mammograms from there. She said women can also do a self-evaluation each month. Most know to check the breasts for lumps or any abnormalities. But other signs could include nipple retraction into the breast; skin dimpling; bloody discharge from the nipple, and skin changes/flakiness around the nipple. The American Cancer Society estimates that 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed in the United States once 2011 data is tallied. It is also estimated that approximately one in eight women will get breast cancer. Due to the alarming statistics and the current economy, St. Vincent’s felt that the special mammography offer was vital, according to President and CEO John O’Neil. “Early detection saves lives,” O’Neil said. “Mammograms are a critical component in fighting cancer and we are pleased to offer the special in an effort to get more women screened.”

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    

                        

                   

Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


Health and Wellness “Our Summer Place” est. 1963 …Where more and more kids from BIRMINGHAM are swimming, horseback riding, climbing, skiing, biking, boating, zipping, acting and “blobbing” beneath a million stars each and every summer! For a 2013 application, information about our Family Camps, staff opportunities and details about “the most meaningful and exciting Jewish overnight camping adventure of your life,” email us at or call the CAMP BARNEY MEDINTZ office in Atlanta at (770) 395-2554, or our Birmingham Parent Representative, Susan Lapidus, at (205) 930-9185. - PRESENTATION DATE: Thursday, November 8, 2012 TIME: 7:00 P.M. PLACE: Levite Jewish Community Center, Birmingham — 3960 Montclair Rd, (205) 879-0411 Summer Resident Camp of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta Accredited by the American Camp Association

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Helping those with fall allergies By Dr. Clara Chung-Fleisig It’s a happy time of year in the Deep South with the fresh start of another Jewish New Year. The weather has finally cooled and the leaves are falling a bit as people root for their favorite football teams. But for allergy and asthma sufferers, they are not quite as happy as others around them. Many people think allergies only hit in the spring, but plenty of us are sneezing; itching; clearing our throats; sniffling; rubbing our itchy, red, watery eyes; coughing/wheezing; experiencing chest tightness, or even flaring our itchy, eczema skin. We’re still dealing with the end of summer grass pollens and are fully into the weed pollens of autumn — especially ragweed. These pollens can travel hundreds of miles, so they can affect you even if you don’t have these plants in your yard. Indoor/outdoor allergens that are particularly prevalent are molds. Mold grows indoors all year round in damp places like bathrooms, plants, carpet, and even in vaporizers as well as humidifiers. Outdoor molds become worse when it has been raining and the leaves begin to fall. Mold grows in the piles of leaves that have fallen onto the ground and in the soil. Indoor year-round allergens include dust mites and pet dander. These often become more problematic in the fall and winter because we start spending more time indoors. It’s impossible to totally avoid outdoor pollens, but some common sense advice can help. Keep your windows closed in the car and the house; don’t kick or jump in piles of leaves, and take your showers at night so that you don’t go to bed with pollen in your hair. Keep indoor items indoors and outdoor items outdoors — in other words, leave ball equipment in the garage and shoes at the door. Don’t move plants from the deck into the sunroom and don’t leave clothes or rugs hanging outdoors. The key to avoidance of molds and dust mites in the house is to keep the humidity low by using a dehumidifier or running the air conditioner when it is warm outside. Don’t clean carpets the traditional way with a wet vacuum because the carpet and pad below become wet and don’t fully dry out before breeding mold. Professional dry cleaning of your carpets is a better way to go. Don’t use vaporizers or humidifiers because they put moisture in your carpet and often the coils have mold growing in them, which is spewed out when you use them. Dust mite covers for your pillows, mattress and box spring can be used. Remove dust mongers like books, stuffed animals, drapes, canopies and tchotchkes from your bedroom. Keep pets out of your bedroom. HEPA-filters can filter out particles as small as the pollen and dust mites that truly cause allergy symptoms. If avoidance measures don’t do enough, try an over-the-counter antihistamine. There are several relatively non-sedating, 24-hour antihistamines. Be cautious of older antihistamines that can make you sleepy and affect your work or driving. If you’re very congested, you can try an oral decongestant. Unfortunately, these can raise your blood pressure and keep you awake at night. OTC nasal spray decongestants can be helpful if you use them very sparingly, but they can become addictive. If OTC remedies are not working, it’s time to see your physician for non-addictive prescription nasal sprays or other oral medications. Seeking out a Board-Certified Allergist is helpful when you want to be allergy tested and have a targeted regimen of avoidance, medication or immunotherapy (allergy shots). Immunotherapy is the closest thing to a cure for allergies. When allergy shots work, the need for avoidance measures and medication decrease dramatically. Furthermore, a comprehensive plan from an allergist can manage asthma as well. Dr. Clara Chung-Fleisig is an involved member of the Birmingham area Jewish community. She is co-founder of Birmingham Allergy and Asthma.

New hip replacement procedure dramatically cuts recovery time The popularity of the direct anterior hip replacement is not just a fad. It is here to stay. Dr. Herrick Siegel says. The University of Alabama at Birmingham Highlands orthopedic surgeon refers to the lack of post-operative concerns after a direct anterior hip replacement. After attending several instructional and cadaver lab courses, Siegel went on a nationwide tour of centers spending time observing and operating with the most experienced surgeons in the country who popularized this novel approach. Siegel is now considered one of the experts in the field and recently was a member of the faculty for a Master’s Course in Direct Anterior Hip Replacement in Houston, sponsored by The International Congress of Joint Reconstruction. Direct anterior hip replacement produces less pain, less bleeding, less chance of dislocation and a faster return to normal activities. The procedure works well no matter what the reason for the replacement, whether from trauma, osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis or other disease. “The posterior procedure requires muscle cutting where a large incision is made on the backside of the hip,” Siegel says. “Muscles and soft tissue in the back are cut. If you cut that muscle, it has to heal — and it hurts. Also, postoperatively, there is an increase incidence of dislocation when a person, for instance, is sitting down in a chair, leaning over to tie his shoes, or trying to climb stairs. “By contrast, the anterior approach is a muscle-sparing procedure,” he says. “You go between the muscles from the front. It’s as if you have a sandwich and you are separating the pieces of bread. That’s how you separate the muscle.” Also, the anterior approach uses a smaller incision, four or five inches instead of the posterior’s 10 to 12. He estimates dislocations with anterior are less than one percent, even with patients returning to normal, even strenuous, activities much sooner. The pain compared to the muscle-cutting procedure is minimum. “Patients are hurting less after the surgery than they were before the surgery,” he says. “Family members and people in the community often don’t even know that they have an artificial hip because they’re not limping and they’re not in pain.” Many require little pain medication afterward. According to Siegel, physicians in Los Angeles and Chicago are already treating this as a one-night stay procedure. While that’s not the norm in Birmingham, he says, “I’ve done the surgical procedure in the morning, then visited in the afternoon for post-op rounds and found them walking in the halls.” Siegel has been working with implant companies to improve design and surgical tools. “Femoral stems have been developed to facilitate positioning from the anterior approach and are able to conserve bone stock, which is particularly important in younger patients undergoing hip surgery.” Siegel says. He enjoys sharing recovery stories about his patients. “I had an 78year-old womam who was able to drive to Nashville to visit her sister in the hospital in Nashville 4 weeks after her hip surgery,” he says. “Normally that would not be a possibility.” He has also seen hikers and tennis players return to these activities in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. The procedure is ideal for hip fractures of the elderly. “They can get out of bed and start walking again faster,” he says. Also, caregivers “don’t have to worry about, say, a patient with Alzheimer’s doing the wrong thing, such as turning over in in bed incorrectly and dislocating.” Despite the advantages, Siegel estimates only about 200 surgeons in the United States, including about 10 in Alabama and four in Birmingham, offer anterior hip replacements. Why aren’t the numbers higher? “With some procedures in orthopedics you can read a book, see a DVD and pretty much do the procedure without much error,” Siegel says. “You cannot do this procedure that way. It’s a much more

AL COHN, MD FACS Board certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, breast and body

One Inverness Center Parkway Suite 100 Birmingham, AL 35242 205.930.1600

Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


Health and Wellness

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October 2012

Southern Jewish Life

difficult procedure to learn. It takes a certain number of cases to be proficient.” Once learned, however, it takes about the same amount of time to perform. “I can do it in about an hour to an hour and a half,” he says. Also, the surgical tools are different. “You cannot use the same instrumentation because you’re doing this surgery in a small area — four to six inches — and you’re putting in a total artificial hip,” Siegel says. “You have to have special instrumentation to be able to do that.” Eventually, though, he believes the advantages of the anterior hip replacement procedure will win out. “My prediction is that in the next 10 to 15 years, this is going to be the surgical procedure to replace hips,” he says. “They’re going to see my 55-year-old man playing tennis 3 to 4 weeks after surgery. Surgeons are going to see the results of these patients.” There are some patients that are not good candidates for this approach due to abnormal anatomy or deformity and it’s important to be evaluated by an experienced specialist before considering this approach.

Motivating others: Varon leads online wellness coaching By Lee J. Green New Orleans native Michele Varon believes today’s best teachers were yesterday’s passionate students. Seven years ago when she struggled with taking off weight after the arrival of her son, Matthew, she found success with the Beachbody online fitness/wellness/nutrition-coaching program. “It was always hard for me to lose weight but I found with this program it was easy. I was always motivated and could always find the time,” said Varon. “I lost 40 pounds and have learned how to live a very healthy lifestyle to keep it off.” Now Varon teaches others as a Beachbody coach. “The beauty of the program is that you can do most of it from the comfort of your own home and you have someone helping you and motivating you every step of the way,” she said. Varon coaches clients in New Orleans and anywhere across the United States on the program, which involves fitness, nutrition and lifestyle advice, agendas, goals and encouragement. The southern California-based Beachbody started selling its products 13 years ago and then a couple years afterward got into the coaching business to help people best use its fitness and nutrition products. Now Varon is one of 90,000 coaches across the country. “I feel good about helping people. You can really change their lives for the better and make a big difference,” she said. The programs vary based on the individual needs of the client. It’s usually six days a week and anywhere from 10 minutes to 90 minutes per day. Most fitness programs require minimal equipment, if any at all, and involve flexibility, strength, cardiovascular as well as yoga. Varon provides her clients with motivational daily quotes and fitness blogs to accompany the program. Clients can choose to buy the Beachbody nutritional program meals if they want to. Varon offers a free initial consultation at “Some of these programs are Les Mills, P90x, Insanity and others people are at least somewhat familiar with,” she said. “The programs are customized for each individual client and can work for anyone.” They certainly worked well for Varon, who is a former Hadassah board member and currently on the board at Gates of Prayer. She and her husband, Jeff, also have a daughter, Mollye. “I am from here and devoted to the community. I feel that it is a mitzvah to help others to help themselves get healthier,” she said.

Understanding addiction in a whole new way Jewish community is not immune

Addiction affects more people than one age an addiction. might think. Many people have had a friend Ask Questions: Can I go to work while who has struggled with substance abuse, or a receiving treatment? Does treatment need family member, or a colleague, or a neighbor. to involve my family members? These are exEven those who don’t know someone person- amples of the types of questions that should ally who has dealt with these issues, almost be asked when making informed decisions on certainly knows someone who has been af- treatment care. fected by them. So the question becomes, if Stay Involved: Consider joining a recovaddiction affects so many people, why in the Jewish community place is there a stigma on ery program once in remission. The disease of addiction is something that never goes those who suffer from it? Those battling addiction are not inherently away, having a support group can help ease bad people. In fact — and this comes as a the transition from treatment, to recovery, to surprise to many — what they are experienc- remission. ing may be the result of a chronic, biological Townsend’s methods enable patients who disease, something that they were inherently suffer from addiction to learn to live their lives born with. Addiction has not always been viewed this with the disease. Dr. Wetsman explains that way. Traditionally it has been portrayed as as addiction is a chronic disease, “people will die with the disease of addicthe result of continued use of a tion, but Townsend’s approach dependence-causing substance Addiction is a is to ensure that they don’t die or behavior. For instance, it has chronic disease, from it.” typically been thought that the An innovator in the field, repeated use of alcohol creates and those with Townsend utilizes the latest alcoholism. In actuality, addicit should not be technology to analyze the getion is just the opposite. Dr. Howard Wetsman besubject to scorn netic make-up of all patients to determine whether an inlieves that if people begin to or stigma dividual has addiction. As opunderstand the true roots of adposed to traditional in-patient diction, the stigma surrounding care, Townsend’s treatment centers typically the disease can begin to dissipate and those who need help the most may be more likely to offer outpatient therapy that allows patients to keep their jobs and lives on track while find the support they need. Wetsman is a New Orleans-based psychia- undergoing treatment. Wetsman believes that trist, proud member of the Jewish community maintaining normalcy in one’s daily life is a and Chief Medical Officer at Townsend, a net- key to success in controlling addiction. His views are quickly gaining acceptance work of addiction treatment clinics based in Louisiana. At Townsend, Wetsman and his with the public: for the second consecutive team approach addiction as a chronic, incur- year, Townsend is the fastest growing private able disease of the brain. As an expert in the company in Louisiana. Townsend was also field, Wetsman has several recommendations named to the Inc. 500|5000 Magazine’s annual list of the nation’s fastest growing private for those who may be battling the disease: companies, landing in the top 200. Take an Addiction Assessment Test: But Wetsman says that the success, while Addiction is progressive and chronic. If left nice, pales in comparison to the feeling he gets untreated, substance abuse or undesirable be- from knowing that he is helping individuals havior will continue to get worse. who have in been mislabeled and mistreated Seek Help: Acknowledging one has a prob- in the past. “Denial is the biggest obstacle to lem is often the first step. Whether a person treatment,” he says. “In recognizing that adis interested in a traditional rehabilitation diction is a chronic disease, I think we’re getprogram, or outpatient care, there are many ting closer to the day when no one avoids the options that can allow one to treat and man- care they need for fear of scorn or stigma.”

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Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


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Health and Wellness Touro makes great strides with Parkinson’s By Lee J. Green A therapy Touro Infirmary employs improves communication and movement for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease as well as other neural conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome — and it was named after a Jewish woman. Touro Neuro Rehab Center is the only facility in New Orleans to feature comprehensive LSVT Loud and LSVT Big program treatments. The staff includes LSVT certified speech, physical and occupational therapists. In 1986 a Jewish woman named Lee Silverman sought treatment for Parkinson’s in Arizona. Her family wanted a way they could hear and understand Silverman’s speech. At the request of the family, researcher Dr. Lorraine Ramig and speech therapist Carolyn Bonitati developed a voice therapy that helps people with Parkinson’s as well as other neurological conditions regain their ability to speak. To honor Silverman and the success of the therapy, they named the technique Lee Silverman Voice Treatment or LSVT. The programs have been developed and scientifically researched over the past 20plus years with funding from the National Institutes of Health. LSVT Loud improves vocal loudness, speech intelligibility and facial expression through intensity along with repetition. The intense treatment includes one hour of patient practice per day and four hours of therapy per week. Therapy includes increasing intensity, breath support, pitch range and improving vocal quality. Additional improvements that have been noted include improvement in swallowing and the masked facial expression that often accompanies Parkinson’s disease.

Touro’s Here for Life Gala commemorates 160 years To celebrate Touro’s 160th anniversary, the hospital will host the fourthannual Here for Life Gala on Oct. 13 at the New Orleans Marriott. The gala will be a night of dinner, dancing and cocktails. The Preservation Hall-Stars featuring Leroy Jones will perform jazz and popular hits all night. Attendees can bid in the silent auction for stays at the Beau Rivage, tickets to the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and a framed, autographed Madonna album. At the gala, the Judah Touro Society will honor Marvin “Buddy” Jacobs. The JTS award is bestowed annually on an individual who has made a significant contribution to the welfare of Touro. Jacobs has served Touro since 1963, and chaired the Touro Board of Directors in the 1980s. Touro was founded in 1852 by local Jewish philanthropist Judah Touro as a place for immigrants and sailors to receive treatment while docked in New Orleans. It was the first not-for-profit, faith-based hospital in New Orleans. The first doctor on staff was Dr. Joseph Bensadon. The medical staff, hospital, services, facilities and reach grew significantly over the years. Earlier in 2012, Touro held a special event to unveil its most recent renovations and enhancements. At the Oct. 13 event, families from Touro’s early years will be represented. Walda Besthoff, Linda Mintz and Joel Weinstock, descendents of Bensadon, are honorary chairs, along with Keith Stokes, a descendent of Touro, and Cathy Kahn, whose great-grandparents met at a Touro fundraiser in the 19th century. Kahn established Touro’s archives in 1990 and has served as archivist ever since. 24

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Southern Jewish Life

Therapists use the LSVT Big technique to drive intense and high-effort practice as well as teach the amount of effort required to produce normal movements. LSVT Big includes four consecutive therapy sessions per week for four weeks plus daily homework and exercise practice. Research on LSVT Big documented improved ratings on tests of motor functioning in persons with Parkinson’s as well as other related neurological diseases/conditions. These include patients being able to walk faster with bigger steps; improved balance, and increased trunk rotation.

New Orleans dentist focuses on total wellness By Lee J. Green Dr. Timothy Delcambre knows that in New Orleans there is plenty to smile about and he wants to make sure people are happy with their smiles. But of greater importance is his focus on patients’ total wellness. “I am most interested in someone’s overall wellness. We treat patients from a medical standpoint and focus on all aspects of general dentistry,” said Delcambre. “We provide very comprehensive examinations, focusing on the head and neck area — not just the teeth.” Delcambre was born and raised in St. Martinville, Louisiana and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in 1978. He graduated from LSU School of Dentistry in 1984 and did his post-doctoral residency at Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans. He received his Master of Health Administration in 1994 from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. In 2004, he was tested by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Scotland and received a Membership Diploma in Special Needs Dentistry. He has attained diplomate, mastership and fellowship status in numerous dental organizations. Delcambre is a past associate clinical professor of General Dentistry at LSU and past director of the General Dentistry Residency Program at Charity Hospital of Louisiana at New Orleans. He is a past president of the Louisiana Academy of General Dentistry and chairman of C.W. Rossner Lecture Planning Committee at Touro Infirmary. He also serves as a board member of the Louisiana Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped. Since 1988, he has volunteered and donated dental treatment for the handicapped through referrals from the Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped. “We treat medically complex patients and those who other dentists might not feel comfortable in treating,” he said. “I have seen patients over the years who were on dialysis, hemophiliacs and those with other serious medical conditions. We’ve also been able to detect some cancers in the early stages so they could be treated.” With his experience working in hospitals, Delcambre said he knows how to effectively communicate with physicians and other medical professionals. “I know their lingo… we frequently work with other medical practitioners to ensure a patient’s total body wellness,” he said. And with his experience as an LSU Health Science Center professor, Delcambre takes great pride focusing on patient education and preventative medicine. Periodontal disease has some links to heart disease and stroke, for example, so Delcambre offers patients advice on what they can do on their own to keep a healthy regimen. He also treats many TMJ patients and patients with snoring and sleep apnea problems. His practice offers many cosmetic dentistry options including whitening, fillings, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, dental implants, minor tooth movement, Botox and dermal fillers. “We want to improve the health and beauty of our patients’ smiles. This makes them happy and it makes us happy as well,” he said. NOLA

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Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


Legacy of giving Bart family recognized at JEF event

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The Bart family, active in so many New Orleans and regional causes, will receive the Tzedakah Award from the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana at its annual event on Oct. 28. JEF President Charles A. (Rusty) Levy III said “The New Orleans Jewish community, and the New Orleans community as a whole, is much better off because of the Barts. They give back with their time and resources to make this city a better place to live, work, and worship.” The Tzedakah Award is the JEF’s highest honor. The 11:30 a.m. event will be held at the Hilton Hotel Riverside. Hertha Bart, wife of the late Morris Bart Sr., Morris Bart III and his wife, Cathy; and Vivian Bart Cahn will be recognized. Morris Bart III was influenced to give after growing up hearing stories about how the Holocaust had affected his family. His parents met in Switzerland after his father had served as a pilot in the 82nd Airborne during World War II. Their lessons about tzedakah, combined with his chosen profession as a plaintiff lawyer, were forces compelling Morris to give. “I see every day the suffering of people in New Orleans, working people, minorities, and how they suffer, particularly when they have injuries.” “I have two major overriding goals,” he explained. “One is to help my local community, Jewish and non-Jewish, to become vibrant and thriving. Beyond that I help and support Israel. It is important to have a safe haven for Jews, and the significance of the Jewish state is paramount.” He and wife Cathy support a wide range of endeavors through a donor advised fund at JEF they established in 1997. They like the fund’s practical nature — they write just “one check” and can give to many charities through JEF. The organizations they support include the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, where Morris serves on the executive committee, the JCC, ADL, Jewish Family Service, BBYO, Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, the New Orleans Museum of Art, United Way, and Loyola Law School. Morris has donated buildings and playgrounds to many schools and universities in the community. His Bart’s Bees program, which combines his efforts with the New Orleans Hornets basketball team, encourages local schoolchildren to make good grades by rewarding achievement with game tickets and public praise. Cathy has served on the boards of Federation, the ADL, Jewish Family Service, the National BBYO and is a past member of the UJC (now JFNA) National Young Leadership Cabinet. She and Morris co-chaired Federation’s Annual Campaign in 2011. “I grew up with a strong sense of what it means to be Jewish,” she said. “Our participation with Jewish Federation and all of its constituent agencies, our synagogues, our children’s schools, as well as many public schools in New Orleans, and many civic organizations, is our way of fulfilling our Jewish obligation of tzedakah.” They have instilled the privilege and responsibility to their children, Carrie, Michelle and Jennifer, all of whom enjoy philanthropic giving through JEF’s Young Philanthropy and B’nai Maimonides programs. Carrie and her husband, Austin Marks, are continuing Cathy and Morris’s tradition of activism with their involvement in Federation’s Campaign Cabinet. Both are also involved with, and Austin serves on On the cover (left to right): Jennifer Bart, Austin Marks, Carrie Marks, Michelle Bart, Morris Bart, Hertha Bart, Vivian Bart Cahn, David Cahn, seated in front: Cathy Bart NOLA

the boards of, Young Jews of the Crescent City, the Isidore Newman School Alumni Association, and Breakthrough Collaborative New Orleans. Vivian Bart Cahn, Morris’s sister, is a dynamic individual who is an interior designer by trade and a community activist in life. “My father always told stories of how his father did so many good deeds in his community. My mother was a president of B’nai B’rith when we were growing up and my mother-in-law was involved in everything.” The Jewish philosophy of tikkun olam sums up Vivian’s outlook on giving: “It’s an obligation that we are duty bound to fulfill. I don’t even question helping out in various ways, philanthropy being one of them.” She was on the board and was campaign chair of Federation as well as on the boards of NCJW, National Women’s Philanthropy, Jewish Children’s Regional Service, JFS, Israel Bonds, Hadassah, Brandeis National Women’s Committee, and many civic organizations including KIDsmART, City Park Botanical Garden Committee, Prospect New Orleans, Krewe du Vieux, Lead Lab, and was a YWCA Role Model. Vivian and her husband, Richard Cahn, have had a donor advised fund at JEF since 1980. “JEF has made giving very easy. Our funds are professionally managed, and distribution is simple to do. Our son, David, now has his own philanthropic fund, and he makes distributions from it to those causes that he is interested in.” It is important to the Cahns that David continues the tradition of giving. Vivian explained, “I would like my son to understand that he has the power to make a difference and to use that power wisely. I want him to understand that ideally philanthropy involves more than writing a check; it involves some degree of understanding and taking action when you can.” Hertha Bart was born in Switzerland, growing up during World War II, a time of immense strife for the Jews in Europe. “I knew what was going on and how my people were treated, and that alone is cause to give philanthropically. The identity of being Jewish means a great deal.” Hertha has supported many causes in the community, including B’nai B’rith (of which she served as president while living in Knoxville), Hadassah, the Anti-Defamation League, and the SPCA. She has a donor advised fund at the JEF, which she loves because, she said, “JEF takes care of so many things that are dear to me. My money is in capable hands, and JEF makes sure it goes to the right people and the

right places.” Her generous spirit extends to her personal life as well. Always a “doer,” Hertha was a model, a receptionist for the Plimsoll Club, and a New Orleans tour guide for foreign visitors. But her proudest professional career was as a yoga instructor for 18 years. She imparted the gift of healing through yoga to help so many of her students. Hertha still practices yoga regularly. Sandy Levy, JEF executive director, said “I have seen firsthand the meaningful and effective phi- Catherine Kahn lanthropy of the Bart family. They have taken a leadership role in charitable giving in New Orleans, and through JEF I have been privileged to assist them in those efforts.” Also at the Oct. 28 event, the Helen A. Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award will be presented to Catherine Kahn. This award, named in memory of JEF’s former executive director, is given annually to an outstanding professional employee of a Greater New Orleans Jewish community organization. Kahn has held the position of archivist of Touro Infirmary since she set up the archives in 1990. She has been extensively involved in the preservation and presentation of the history of New Orleans’ Jewish community. She is a past president of the Greater New Orleans Archivists and the Southern Jewish Historical Society, as well as serving on a number of other boards. “Cathy Kahn is a treasure,” said Levy. “Her knowledge of the New Orleans Jewish community is extraordinary.” Event chair Morton Katz, said “Our program will feature a panel discussion on the fight against corruption in New Orleans, chaired by investigative reporter Lee Zurik with panelists Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission and New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux. With such deserving honorees and such a timely topic, we are looking forward to an extraordinary event.” For more information, call JEF at (504) 524-4559 or email jef@jefno. org.

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“Newcomer” Kaplan drafted for City Council run Running for office wasn’t originally Dana Kaplan’s idea, but she has embraced it. In mid-July, a group formed “Draft Dana Kaplan for District B” on the New Orleans city council, and started gathering signatures to have her put on the ballot for next month’s special election. As the effort gained momentum, Kaplan decided to run, and eventually 1600 signatures were collected. It was the first time in a generation that a signature-based drive put someone on the ballot in New Orleans. The District B seat was vacated by Stacy Head, who won an at-large seat, and the Nov. 6 vote will determine who will fill the remainder of Head’s term. Kaplan will face three others, including Head’s former chief of staff, Eric Strachan. Also running are community organizer LaToya Cantrell and restaurateur Marlon Horton. “I’m not someone who has had aspirations of running for office,” Kaplan said. “A number of colleagues and friends encouraged me to run,” and she was inspired by the amount of support she was receiving, and the diverse nature of that support.

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Kaplan has been executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. Prior to joining JJPL, Dana worked for the Center for Constitutional Rights where she assisted in the development of the Safe Streets/Strong Communities initiative. Through work with the City Council, Dana helped create the Office of the Independent Police Monitor to provide accountability and independent monitoring to the New Orleans Police Department. Her main issues focus on young people, violence and economic development. Even with the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina, there is a lack of recreational opportunities and jobs for young people, she said. Violence remains a large problem, and that is an area where she has expertise. Economic development is “the foundation that underpins it all.” While at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York, she was working on a fellowship to improve the criminal justice system. She knew many people from New Orleans who were in that field, and they urged her to come to post-Katrina New Orleans for a couple of months to help rebuild the criminal justice system. “I ended up falling in love with the city, the people, the culture,” she said. In 2007, she started with the Juvenile Justice Project. The New York native feels “very lucky to immediately feel very at home in the New Orleans community — the Jewish community and the broader community.” She believes “in the power of collaboration” and notes the Jewish community’s long history of working across community lines for the common good. During the campaign, “I have absolutely loved being able to knock on neighbors’ doors and hear... what their hopes are for the city,” she said. She has picked up support from groups including AFL-CIO, the United Teachers and several community leaders. District B is a diverse place with “a lot of promise.” It includes the convention center and Superdome, and parts of Central City, MidCity and Uptown.

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Southern Jewish Life


Continued from page 30

That night, during a thunderstorm (or later, in the film), the kids and Maria sing a famous, playful song, “The Lonely Goatherd,” whose title easily describes more characters in Genesis than you can shake a gragger at. When Maria flees to the abbey after Brigitta (in the film, Elsa) enlightens her about the Captain and being in love, the Mother Abbess sings to her to climb every mountain — a seemingly insurmountable task, since even Moses was commanded to climb just one mountain. (As an homage to Moses climbing Sinai a second time for the second set of tablets, “Climb Every Mountain” is reprised at the end.) Not all of the Jewish tie-ins are associated with songs or plot points. Some involve the actors and even the real-life basis of the play. The ubiquitous film features Christopher Plummer (if not his singing voice) as Captain von Trapp. However, the original Broadway production five years earlier starred Theodore Bikel, who later logged thousands of performances as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” Of course, in “Fiddler,” Tevye has five daughters. In “The Sound of Music,” von Trapp has five daughters plus two sons, for a total of seven children. In the original Shalom Aleichem stories, Tevye had seven daughters. In real life, von Trapp had 10 children (three of them were his with Maria). Albert Einstein was a German Jewish mathematician who could probably figure out the mathematic algorithm for predicting real children versus musical children in major Broadway musicals. What’s the most unifying Jewish aspect of all these observations? Most of them are no more of a stretch than many of the scenarios and interpretations found throughout the Talmud. Next time: How “A Christmas Carol” is actually a Jewish story, best appreciated in Dickens’s original Yiddish. Doug Brook is a writer in Silicon Valley who is directing a production of “The Sound of Music” opening this month in California, without having a glass smashed at the end of the wedding. For more information, past columns, other writings, and more, visit http://brookwrite. com/. For exclusive online content, like us at

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Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


The Beholder’s Eye by Doug Brook

The Sound of Jewsic

that this too shall pass. But there are numerous, more subtle Jewish subtleties scattered throughout the play. The most legitimate, yet most subtle subtlety, At this time of year, the hills have just finished being alive with the comes during the wedding sequence. After singing “How do you solve sound of shofar music. As the echo fades, the traditional season for a problem like Maria,” the nuns all sing the Conviewing “The Sound of Music” approaches, because fitemini Domino. what’s more festive and appropriate for the ThanksWhen you know the Both of you who studied Latin and Hebrew and giving and Christmas season than a family being also go to services might observe that this is also place to look, you can chased from Austria by pre-World War II Nazis? the first line of Psalm 118, known to Jews as the Aside from being a lovely story about family, “The find something Jewish in ubiquitous “Hodu” in the festival “Hallel” and elseSound of Music” has almost several Jewish aspects where. most any book to it. You just have to really want to see them. So, Back at the very beginning — a very good place let this column be your eyeglasses, and take a look to start — before Maria is sent from the abbey to at the heretofore or five unobserved Jewish aspects be the von Trapp governess, her fate is discussed by a trio of nuns — a of this classic musical. Catholic Beit Din. The seemingly most obvious Jewish tie-in actually isn’t. Despite his Upon arrival, Maria tries to ingratiate herself to the children by name, lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II was not Jewish. His grandfather, teaching them to sing. She uses the song “Do-Re-Mi,” whose words Oscar Hammerstein, was, but Numero II was raised Episcopalian. at first are as comprehensible to the von Trapp brood as a weekday An equally obvious, and more actual, Jewish tie-in is the story of a minyan is to most children (and adults). family fleeing the Nazis just before the start of World War II, while others remain behind thinking they can just ride out the storm and

Continued on previous page


October 2012

Southern Jewish Life


New Orleans Federation gets ready to mark its centennial Jazz festival slated for Rosh HaʼAyin next year The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans continues to work on making New Orleans a vibrant Jewish community, and one result was announced at the Federation’s annual meeting on Sept. 20. Earlier this year, four Israeli musicians from Partnership 2Gether city Rosh Ha’Ayin visited New Orleans. At the annual meeting, Federation President Alan Franco announced that as a result of the visit, the first-ever New Orleans jazz festival in Israel will take place in Israel’s music city, Rosh Ha’Ayin, in May 2013. This is but one of many upcoming highlights for the agency, which will celebrate its centennial next year. Julie Wise Oreck will chair the centennial celebrations. The meeting, held at the Uptown Jewish Community Center, was also the annual meeting for the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana. Senator Mary Landrieu spoke by video remote to the gathering. In another video presentation, the Federation announced it raised $2,535,044 in the annual campaign, highest since 2008. There were 1633 gifts, including 79 new ones. Super Sunday raised a record $147,756, and there were four new Lions of Judah this year. Lions are women who contribute at least $5,000 per year to the annual campaign. Still, Franco said while the community may be celebrating the announcement in August that the local Jewish population had reached pre-Katrina levels, the annual campaign has not. “We have to be more creative in our funding, and we are doing that,” he said. Nevertheless, he said, “so much has been accomplished” to make New Orleans an attractive community. Newcomers continue to


come in, with 197 inquiries in the past year and 55 newcomer grants issued. Newcomer and young adult groups continue to involve the community’s next generation, with 450 participating in the Young Adult Division over the year. As part of the evening, Sarah Pasternack and Henry Miller received the Anne Goldsmith Hanaw and J. Jerome Hanaw Tikkun Olam Awards for Campaign Excellence. The award honors the man and woman whose volunteer work for the Bill Goldring introduces Sen. Mary Landrieu Federation’s Campaign best exemplifies the concept of Tikkun Olam. Robert Brickman received the Herbert and Margot Garon Young Leadership Award. Franco also recognized Margot Garon for receiving the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award at the International Lion of Judah Conference last month. She “truly represents everything that is great about our community,” he said. There also were presentations from the Lagniappe Fund, which allowed donors at a certain level to designate additional funds to local and overseas projects. The current year’s projects included purchasing the latest technology offerings for teachers and students at the New Orleans Jewish Day School; increasing homemaker services for seniors in the community through Jewish Family Service; expandAbove, Margot Garon presents the Young ing the community through the continued Leadership Award to Robert Brickman. Bottom efforts of the Jewish Newcomers Program; left, Campaign Chairs Karen Sher and Lou and strengthening the connection with Rosh Good with Campaign Excellence honorees Ha’ayin by supplying musical instruments to Sarah Pasternack and Henry Miller. Middle and children and teenagers who otherwise would right, Lagniappe Fund checks are presented to not have access to music Dashka Roth and Benay Bernstein. education.

Southern Jewish Life

October 2012


SJL NOLA, Oct. 2012  

Oct. 2012 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life

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