Moving forward from the Baton Rouge flood
Rabbi Levy & President (Bill) Clinton
Remembering Jackson’s Olde-Tyme Deli
Southern Jewish Life ENCOUNTERING THE ARK FIND YOUR TRACK: NOLA’S ISRAEL MISSION HADASSAH GOES BOLLYWOOD JCDS “ALL GROWN UP” AT 21
NEW ORLEANS EDITION October 2016 Volume 26 Issue 10
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The New Orleans JCC is celebrating The New Orleans JCC is celebrating
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Sunday, October 30, 2016 The Audubon Tea Room Sunday, October 6 pm Patron Party 30, 2016 The Audubon Tea Room
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With the new year, we’re making some adjustments in Southern Jewish Life. Our website has recently been redone, and we will continue to put breaking news between issues online. For breaking news in your inbox, please sign up for This Week in Southern Jewish Life, a weekly e-news of events and items in our region, and links to interesting stories that you might have missed from around the world. To receive the email each week, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ve been working to continue upgrading the already award-winning content in the print magazine, adding new writers and renewing our focus on interesing stories from around the region. One new feature we’re introducing this month is a column by Bubba Meyer, our resident expert on all things Southern and Jewish. If there is something odd you have come across, or something you noticed and want to learn more about, feel free to send in your question and Bubba will endeavor to answer it. Bubba’s column is in the tradition of Texas Monthly’s Texanist or New Orleans Magazine’s Julia Street with Poydras the Parrot. You’ll notice even more enhancements in the coming months. While we love hearing all the great feedback from everyone, make sure you also let our advertisers know you appreciate them in Southern Jewish Life, because they are the ones that make all these great stories possible. The more advertisers, the more we can run! So, show them some love — or even better, join their ranks! All of us at Southern Jewish Life wish all y’all a happy, healthy New Year, and may all of your news be Larry Brook good. EDITOR/PUBLISHER EDITOR@SJLMAG.COM
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 3
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4 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events
Work begins on Uptown Jewish Community Center expansion On Oct. 30, the Uptown Jewish Community Center’s gala will celebrate 50 years in its building on St. Charles Avenue — but one 50-year-old artifact will be gone. On August 29, crews began demolition of the JCC’s 50-year-old pool, as work begins on the new Oscar J. Tolmas Aquatics Complex. All of the old concrete has since been hauled away, and fencing from the back field removed to make room for construction equipment. A formal groundbreaking for the JCC’s expansion and renovation was scheduled for Sept. 29. The $8.5 million project includes a 14,000 square foot addition that will significantly expand the current Goldring Fitness Center. The current side entrance on Leontine Street will become a dedicated preschool entrance, and a new fitness entrance to the Goldring Woldenberg Sports and Wellness Complex will be further down Leontine. In mid-September, the outdoor canopy was being removed to make way for the building’s expansion down the Leontine Street side. The expanded sports and wellness complex will include a new indoor teaching/therapy pool on the first floor and expanded snack bar. The second floor will have a 2,500 square foot cardiovascular space and an enlarged personal and small group training studio. The new third floor will house a suite of fitness studios including indoor cycling, yoga, Pilates and group exercise. The aquatics complex will have two outdoor pools — a 25-meter, 6-lane lap pool, and a family recreational pool with water features. There will be new men’s, women’s and family locker rooms. Two new preschool classrooms will be added in the expansion. The outdoor pools are slated to open by May 2017, with the entire project finishing by October 2017. The capital campaign for the expansion is ongoing and is over $7.5 million. The Center Celebration for 50 Golden Years will be on Oct. 30 at the Audubon Tea Room at 7 p.m., with a patron party at 6 p.m. Taking down the canopy outside the Uptown JCC
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 5
agenda The second generation speaks out Temple Sinai to host Julie Kohner, who keeps parents’ Holocaust story alive
Warmest wishes for a happy new year! Judge Desiree M. Charbonnet City of New Orleans Municipal Court
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6 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
Julie Kohner, whose mother was one of the first Holocaust survivors to have her story told on national television in the United States, will be the guest speaker at a Kristallnacht program on Nov. 9 at Temple Sinai in New Orleans. Underwritten by the New Orleans Holocaust Memorial Fund, the 7 p.m. program is open to the community. In a 2000 talk in Birmingham, Kohner said it was time for the second generation descended from Holocaust survivors to start teaching and talking about their parents’ experiences. To do that, she formed Voices of the Generations, using her parents’ story as a way of teaching about the Holocaust in a personal way. Her parents, both natives of Teplitz Schonau, Czechoslovakia, met in 1935 when Hannah was 15 and Walter was 20. Walter was able to escape Europe and settle in Los Angeles. He was not able to send for Hannah, and she left her home in the Sudetenland for Amsterdam. She was captured by the Nazis and survived four concentration camps. After liberation, she sent a letter to Los Angeles to try and find Walter, who at the time was a radio correspondent in Luxembourg. They reunited and married, and in 1984 published their memoirs as “Hannah and Walter: A Love Story.” In 1953, Walter, then a theatrical agent, asked Ralph Edwards to surprise Hannah by doing her story on “This Is Your Life.” In the show, Kohner was reunited with others who survived
the Holocaust with her, and the story was told of how she met her husband, a U.S. soldier during the war. Kohner often shows the entire “This Is Your Life” broadcast, but has to couch it carefully. “You have to remember, this was eight years after the war. ‘Holocaust’ was not spoken about in the home, let alone national television,” Kohner said. It was produced as “entertainment,” she said. In fact, many viewing the broadcast now find it inappropriate, even offensive, but one has to view it in the context of the times. At the end of the show, Hannah was showered with gifts from the show’s sponsors, and then, in a very unusual move, Edwards announced a contribution to United Jewish Appeal and urged viewers to support UJA’s resettlement efforts. Kohner said she learned the most about her parents’ story when they wrote the book, and has all the hand-written manuscripts. She has no siblings, as Hannah arrived in a concentration camp pregnant, and was told by others there that it would mean her death, and she would have to “get rid of it.” Complications caused her to miscarry eight times after the war, before they finally had their daughter. Kohner has been presenting this program for 26 years. For more information about the event at Temple Sinai, contact Madelyn Fireman at MFireman@templesinaino.org or call (504) 861-3693.
Gwynne Bowman remembered for leading NOJDS Jewish Community Day School in Metairie announced “with a heavy heart” that former Head of School Gwynne Bowman died on Sept. 16 at the age of 73. “Gwynne has left a rich legacy here at Jewish Community Day School; one of compassion, warmth, thoughtful leadership and friendship. Her memory will live on in the teachers, families, board members, and students she touched with her loving nature and dedication to our school.” A New Orleans native, Bowman was longtime principal of Harold Keller public school before becoming head of the New Orleans Jewish Day School, from which she retired in 2005 after four years. She came out of retirement to help re-open the school in the fall of 2006 after post-Katrina flooding, before retiring again in 2009. For her work in rebuilding the school, she
received the Helen Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award in 2009. A funeral was held on Sept. 21 at Munholand Methodist Church.
Safari in the Sukkah with JNOLA, PJ Library JNOLA and PJ Library will have “Safari in the Sukkah” at the Audubon Zoo’s Dominion Room, Oct. 9 from noon to 2 p.m. Families will hear the traditional blessing over the Luluv and Etrog by Rabbi Gabe Greenberg of Beth Israel and there will be face painting, decorating the sukkah, and hearing all about this holiday in the PJ Library reading nook. A kosher lunch will be provided and each family will get to leave with a free Sukkot book from PJ Library.
agenda Gates of Prayer religious school achieves accreditation The Nathaniel Share Religious School of Congregation Gates of Prayer has been granted accreditation from the Association of Reform Jewish Educators. This multi-year process to achieve accreditation involved the whole congregation, including lay leaders, Education Committee members, Religious School/Hebrew School teachers and CGoP staff. The ARJE Accreditation lasts for a period of seven years before requiring renewal. According to ARJE information, Gates of Prayer is one of only 24 congregation in the country to be currently accredited. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans achieved its second seven-year accreditation in 2012, and The Temple in Atlanta was accredited in 2009.
Hadassah Baton Rouge holding water forum Hadassah Baton Rouge is holding a community dialogue on “Water: Local Sources, Global Solutions” on Nov. 13. The panel will include Charles Groat, president and CEO of the Water Institute of the Gulf; Elizabeth ”Boo” Thomas, president and CEO, Center for Planning Excellence; and a guest speaker from the Jewish National Fund. Rabbi Barry Weinstein will moderate. The event will be at 2 p.m. at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, on the 9th floor of the IBM Building downtown.
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Touro Synagogue will have its annual Simchat Torah in the Park on Oct. 23 at Danneel Park. There will be a “bring your own brunch” picnic at 9:30 a.m., followed by dancing with the Panorama Jazz Band. There will be an unrolling of the Torah at 10:45 a.m., followed by game time at 11:15 a.m.
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The Metairie campus of the Jewish Community Center will have a movie night on Oct. 15 at Bart Field, featuring “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” There will be a free hot dog dinner at 6:30 p.m., followed by the movie and snacks. If the weather is wet, the event will be moved indoors. One child who gets a golden ticket will win a free birthday party at the JCC.
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Torah Academy in Metairie and PJ Library are presenting Baby Café, a parent-toddler program on Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m., from Oct. 30 to Nov. 13. There will be educational centers, music and movement, and weekly themes. Cost is $5 per class for a family.
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 7
agenda Hadassah New Orleans presents “How to Raise a Mensch II,” a parenting series led by child psychologist Mark Sands. The series will meet on Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Goldring-Woldenberg JCC in Metairie. The three sessions from Nov. 7 to 21 will focus on pre-school to elementary school, and the Dec. 5 to 19 sessions will discuss tweens and teens. There will be a Biblical component with parenting examples from the Torah. Cost is $10 per session, payable to Hadassah. Torah Academy in Metairie will have an open house on Nov. 1 and Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. JNOLA will have Break-the-Fast at the Rusty Nail on Oct. 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. Cantor David Mintz of Touro Synagogue will teach an Adult Hebrew Academy course on Hebrew for Beginners, Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. from Oct. 25 to Dec. 6. There is no charge for members, $50 for non-members. Part II will be offered in the spring. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will be sponsoring a blood drive with the Blood Center, Nov. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is looking to welcome new students for the 2017-18 school year, with two informational Open House events. Visitors can tour the campus, learn about the 21st-century curriculum and meet Head of School Sharon Pollin and the teachers. Open Houses will be Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m., and Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. To reserve, email Lauren at email@example.com or call (504) 887-4091. The Uptown Jewish Community Center continues the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts series with the screening of “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” featuring James Beard award-winning chef Michael Solomonov. The film will be at Shir Chadash on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m.
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Social advocates assembled for the National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section’s Moving the Ball Forward panel discussion on how federal court decisions impact every aspect of life. The first in a series of election topics, this happy hour event was held on Sept. 15 at The Propeller. Attendees heard from a panel of New Orleans female advocates for social justice talk about some of the issues and cases that were decided by the Supreme Court last fall. Left to right are Sarah O’Brien, attorney at Orleans Public Defenders in the Special Litigation Division; Jill Pasquarella, supervising attorney, Campaign to End Extreme Sentences for Youth at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights; Ellie Schilling, chair of Lift Louisiana’s Legal Advisory Board; and Lindsay Morris, manager of Grassroots Advocacy, NCJW National. The event was orchestrated by Michelle Erenberg, NCJW GNO Vice President of Public Affairs and NCJW State Policy Advocate for Louisiana.
BUBBA MEYER Q: Bubba, what’s the meaning of the Star of David windows with the letters ‘DB’ in the middle at the old Aubert Motor Car Company in downtown Gulfport? Did a congregation meet there?
Actually, that’s the original Dodge Brothers logo. The Aubert Motor Car Company hired Hobart Doane Shaw and Dean Parkhurst Woleben (whose work is also extant at the Masonic Temple in Ocean Springs) for the Spanish Revival design, and the building at 1617 25th Avenue was completed around 1928. As the only Dodge Brothers dealership in the area, Aubert showed its affiliation by installing the two stained glass windows you’ve asked about. They are still there, thanks to a careful renovation started about a decade ago by the Vaughn, Bowden and Wooten law firm, now housed in Dodge Brothers logo window, downtown Gulfport, Miss. the building. In 1947, Pringle Motors acquired the building and it operated a Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge dealership from there until the 1960s, after which it became a furniture store. The law firm acquired the building in 2006, after it survived Katrina. There are also a couple of medallions with the logo on the side of the old dealership in downtown Florence, Ala., now a Fred’s store at the corner of Court and Tuscaloosa. Danielle Szostak-Viers with Dodge’s Historical Services department in Detroit clued me in on why the brothers would choose a Star of David as their symbol. Turns out, they actually didn’t. It seems the original Dodge Brothers logo from 1914 consisted of a globe over which was superimposed twin deltas – the Greek letter ‘D’, symbolizing the two Dodge Brothers, John and Horace – and the Roman letters ‘D’ and ‘B’ for Dodge Brothers intertwined. Because the interlocked deltas appear as the Star of David, people have made assumptions that the Dodges were Jewish, or were backed by Jews with the brothers using the symbol as a sign of thanks. Another theory is that knowing how anti-Semitic Henry Ford was, the brothers used the symbol to irritate their former boss and competitor. None of it is true, but just the thought of annoying a hater like that makes me want to go back in time and buy the brothers a drink. L’chaim! Speaking of Ford (and we’re all good post-Henry), the Israel Defense Force is testing F-350s as autonomous vehicles to monitor dangerous borders, and in August, Ford bought Israeli startup SAIPS to further their technology for driverless cars.
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 9
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While much of Baton Rouge appears to be functioning as normal, there is still a lot of work to be done to recover from the catastrophic August flooding. The flood, which came from up to three feet of rain falling in a threeday period, killed 13, destroyed over 60,000 houses and current estimates put the damage at $8.7 billion. Already, 73,000 homes have been approved for Federal Emergency Management Aid. In the Jewish community, 42 families have been identified with shortterm and long-term needs, according to the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge. That includes the Federation’s executive director, Ellen Sager, whose home was flooded. Joanna Sternberg, the Federation’s flood relief manager, said in the Jewish community, “most of the families’ homes have been gutted but are now waiting for FEMA, insurance adjusters, contractors and others.” Meanwhile, “we have been able to offer emergency financial assistance and are processing applications for additional allocations” and the focus is on raising funds to provide as much assistance as possible to affected families. Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans, which had set up a branch in Baton Rouge after Katrina to serve New Orleanians who wound up there after the levees in New Orleans failed, is once again in Baton Rouge. This time, a case manager is working with people in Baton Rouge to assist them with paperwork and their emotions. A 10-member delegation from IsraAID arrived in Baton Rouge to assist, as it had done 11 years ago following Katrina, its first U.S. deployment. An international humanitarian aid organization founded in 2001, IsraeAID has worked in 39 countries, with long-term activities ongoing in 19 countries. In Baton Rouge, IsraAID worked with its U.S. partner, Team Rubicon, to help clean out homes. “This cleaning stage is crucial to avoid major health and hygiene issues from contaminated water and open sewage, as well as to build a positive momentum of rehabilitation,” the group said. One team member was Jillian Goldberg, a Cincinnati native who is an alumna of Tulane. Active in Hillel at Tulane, she majored in Jewish studies and planned to attend medical school. After teaching in Dallas with Teach for America she moved to Israel and has just completed graduate studies in public health, emergency and disaster management at Tel Aviv University. “IsraAID actually has their headquarters on campus and through multiple connections with them I had the honor to be invited to go on this
community mission,” she said. “Upon arriving at a house we are met with mixed emotions, we encounter some of these people at their rock bottom and helping them begin the rebuilding process has been challenging,” Goldberg said. “We do everything in our power to support them in the progression, whether it is sorting belongings, removing debris, or talking to them, the embrace with which we have been met is overwhelming.” One homeowner remarked, “Their workers were truly a blessing to us. I really don’t have words to express how thankful we are to the team, only God knows.” Also on the ground is NECHAMA Jewish Response to Disaster, a Minnesota-based group that arrived within a day of the waters receding. NECHAMA announced that its Baton Rouge deployment has been extended past its original date of Sept. 30, and they will be there through at least Nov. 1 because of unmet needs in the region. For families with flood damage, “each day that passes without receiving assistance means a heavier financial burden and a home that only becomes more overrun with dangerous mold.” In its first month, NECHAMA has hosted 300 volunteers from around the world, with over 6,000 hours of direct service to 43 families in need. Their goal is to help 100 families by the end of October. One family they helped was a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter, who had bought her house three weeks before the flood. They had 6 feet of water, destroying all their possessions. NECHAMA volunteers spent two days cleaning out “every inch” of the house. The group is still looking for volunteers and donations to help their relief efforts. On Sept. 19, B’nai B’rith International Di-
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 11
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saster Relief committee chair Harold Steinberg led a delegation to Baton Rouge to spend two days on cleanup activities. He presented NECHAMA with a $15,000 donation to help purchase another supply truck for the organization. B’nai B’rith also donated relief funds of $4,400 to the Associated Professional Educators of Lou- B’nai B’rith presents donation to NECHAMA isiana to replace school supplies destroyed in the flood, and contributed books from the B’nai B’rith Diverse Minds Writing Challenge, a contest where high school students write and illustrate children’s books to help elementary school children celebrate tolerance and diversity. The Jewish Federation of Greater Houston announced on Sept. 22 that they are donating $50,000 toward Baton Rouge flood relief. Houston’s Jewish community suffered widespread flooding in May 2015 and April 2016. Joe Kornfeld, flood committee chair for the Houston Federation, told the Jewish Herald-Voice “Too many of us here in Houston have experienced firsthand the havoc floodwaters can bring to lives, homes and livelihoods. No one should have to go through this trauma alone, and we want the Jewish community of Baton Rouge and all of southern Louisiana to know we are here for them, just as they have been there for us in the past.” The Jewish Federations of North America set up a national fundraiser to cover the estimated $1.2 million needed for needs in the Jewish community. Several Jewish volunteer groups have come to Baton Rouge, mostly working with NECHAMA. Among the groups were Chabad of the North Shore in Massachusetts, Yeshiva University, Ma’ayanot and New Jersey NCSY, and Temple Sinai in Atlanta, where the husband of their new rabbi is the new rabbi at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge. Several New Orleans groups, including AVODAH, Moishe House and JNOLA, have made numerous trips to volunteer in Baton Rouge. Among the relief efforts, Chabad of Baton Rouge announced an anonymous out-of-town donor was covering half the cost of replacement mezuzahs for Jewish households affected by the flooding, as long as the mezuzahs were up on new or temporary homes by Rosh Hashanah.
community BATON ROUGE FLOODING
Thankful despite the material losses “Blessed” and “thankful” may not be the first words that come to mind when considering the reactions of those who had their homes flooded in Baton Rouge in August, but a month after the flooding, that was the prevailing sentiment for three members of the Jewish community who gathered to discuss the flood in the library at Beth Shalom. Despite everything, “I feel blessed and I feel thankful,” said David Deitch, whose home flooded. “We made so many great friends, both Temples have come together and everybody has helped tremendously,” said Gail Sherman, whose home had four feet of water in the flood. “I wouldn’t want to do it again, though,” added Deitch. Deitch said there probably isn’t a single person in Baton Rouge who wasn’t affected directly or indirectly. Those who weren’t flooded had friends or relatives stay with them, or had a business interrupted by the flood, or have someone close to them who was affected. There is never a good time for a disaster. Sherman and Nancy Singer had both just bought new beds; Deitch had just put in a new wood floor. Sherman said they had just sold their daughter’s townhouse. Not only was all of her daughter’s furniture in their house — and thus destroyed — the townhouse would have been a place for them to live temporarily until their house is repaired. “This really stinks,” she commented. As it looked like Deitch’s house was going to flood, Kim Deitch told their daughter, Dara, to move her dress for her October wedding. “She lost all of her bedroom furniture, her clothes, she had to get new everything,” but the dress was safe. Singer’s home had “just” 5 inches of water, but her husband’s shop had 18 inches. When the flooding came “we were trapped” because waters were 8 to 10 feet above the bridge into her neighborhood. Singer said she never thought her house would flood, “but my husband had the great idea to raise the furniture.” Still, to protect the carpet, she wanted to put rags underneath the cinder blocks. Because they had just 5 inches of water, “just enough to make your life miserable,” the raised furniture was protected, but they lost a few items, their refrigerator and dryer — and of course, that carpet. Sherman’s refrigerator had floated away and was on its side against the laundry room door. When cleanup starts, Sherman said there are so many things one wants to keep, but “you don’t know how much bacteria there is on there.” She noted, “All the yearbooks, the scrapbook I made for Kali’s first 13 years of life… is gone.” When the crane came to pick up the pile outside, Deitch said, it was “24 years of your stuff getting picked up” and put into a container. Deitch said his family started demolition immediately after they were able to get into the house, even using steak knives to cut out sheetrock. “That’s all we had.” The next day, when NECHAMA came by, “we had already done 75 percent of what they would have done,” and he told NECHAMA that the best way to help him was to go to his sister’s house and help her. The groups that came to Baton Rouge “helped in more ways than they realize.” Sherman was in Arizona taking their son to college and had to cut short the trip. Her car had been moved to higher ground at a Target parking lot, but while she was still in Arizona her daughter in St. Kitts sent her a news image she had seen of the car in the flooded parking lot. They wound up losing all four cars in the family. In the aftermath, they said, it is the assistance of others and the little things that are most appreciated. Deitch said a worker came to his door, looking for someone named
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 13
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Craig; clearly he had a wrong address. At the time, Deitch had managed to remove his new wood floor but the tile floors in other rooms were a huge challenge. The visitor, noticing Deitch working with something completely ineffective, brought in a machine of his that was able to remove the tile easily. Because he wouldn’t be able to meet with the person he was looking for, he offered to leave that machine so Deitch could use it, and pick it up in two hours. When he returned to retrieve it two hours later, Deitch had just finished the last floor. “I would have paid that guy anything at that point,” he said, but “he said it would be a sin if he let that machine sit for two hours and no one could use it” with so many people needing help, and all he would accept was a couple Cokes. Another “little thing” that mattered was when a woman who had moved out of that neighborhood came back with a stack of pizzas from Little Caesar’s for everyone. Sherman said that when her congregation and NECHAMA came to her house, “I was just so thrilled there were so many people helping out.” They mentioned that non-Jewish neighbors were impressed and a bit jealous, saying that their churches hadn’t sent anyone to help them. “Granted,” Sherman said, “I lost everything, but I was so thrilled there were so many people who came together and helped.” She especially marveled at Nadav Herman from the Henry S. Jacobs Camp. “He is a workhorse. What he lifted, three people couldn’t lift.” Deitch and his family are staying in his printing business, which did not flood, though some sheds on lower ground behind the building — where he had stored personal items from the house — did flood. He had previously installed a full bathroom at the shop, and the first few nights after the flood they were sleeping on the floor before they could turn it into more of a temporary home. Singer stayed with neighbors next door, whose home did not flood, until electricity was restored to the area about a week and a half later and they could return to their house. Five weeks after the flood, the Shermans were moving into a small apartment that will be home while their house is being repaired, which will take 6 to 8 months. Deitch said the studs in his house, five weeks after the flood, were still not dry enough to start work. With the funds he got from FEMA and some of his own funds, “if I do everything myself I can get really close” to getting everything back together, but “the process for me is going to take longer” since he won’t be able to hire a contractor. Of course, there’s also his daughter’s wedding this month. Aside from being thankful, they were also determined to move forward. Singer said “you can feel sorry for yourself, but that doesn’t get anything done.” Deitch said his biggest fear is that once the initial flurry of publicity wanes, though “the need is still going to be great,” perhaps not for him but for others, “people will have forgotten about it and move on.” Recovery “is going to be a long road,” he concluded.
On Sept. 7, Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge held a forum to provide expertise and discuss experiences in dealing with flood recovery
Creating the Ark
What is a Jewish visitor to think of the life-size replica now open in Kentucky — and how it presents the Biblical story? After years of controversy, a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark opened in northern Kentucky this summer. Answers in Genesis, led by Ken Ham, developed the attraction as a way of promoting their view of Biblical inerrancy from a Christian perspective, and to bolster their argument that the Earth is just 6,000 years old and was created in six 24-hour days. It is also a vehicle for them to spread the gospel, and reassure those who already believe. Jews worldwide will be reading the story of Noah during Shabbat on Nov. 5 — but don’t expect the Jewish perspective at Ark Encounter. With its evangelical slant on what was originally a Jewish story, what should a Jewish visitor make of it — if one decides to go ahead YOUNG EARTH and visit? CREATIONISTS Like the original ark, this replica INSIST THERE was built amid WERE DINOSAURS controversy. In 2010, ON NOAH’S ARK Answers in Genesis and Ark Encounter, a for-profit corporation, announced they would build a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark near Williamstown, Ky., to strengthen arguments that the Biblical account of the ark was true and physically feasible. The park’s opening phase cost $100 million, with $36 million from donations and $62 million from a bond offering by Williamstown. The project also received tourism tax incentives. Initially, the state said Ark Encounter was not eligible because of hiring practices that required employees to sign a statement of faith in Christianity, young-Earth creationism, and against homosexuality. The ark sued, and in January a federal judge overturned the rejection, and also upheld the ark’s right to have a religious views test in hiring. The park opened on July 7, corresponding with the verse in Genesis where Noah and
his family entered the ark. About 30,000 visitors toured the ark during the first six days, according to Answers in Genesis. On opening day, about 150 protestors stood at the Interstate exit ramp to oppose the attraction. Atheist groups and Ham have battled over attendance figures, with opponents showing photos of vast empty spaces in the 4,000-car parking lot, while Ham said attendance in the first month was over 240,000 visits for the ark and his Creation Museum. The museum is located about 45 minutes away, just west of Cincinnati on the Kentucky side of the river. In mid-September, figures for the first nine weeks showed 300,000 visits to just the ark, which Ark Encounter said was well ahead of projections. Atheist groups have also battled with the ark over school field trips, saying the evangelical message is unsuitable for public school trips. Ham responded by offering admission of $1 per student, with teachers free, for schools that want to visit. A one-day admission is $40 for adults, $31 for seniors and $28 for children age 5 and up. Because there is “so much to see” they urge visitors to get a two-day admission or even a $99 seven-day unlimited pass. There is also a combo pack that includes admission to the Creation Museum. They also sell annual passes that includes free parking, which otherwise is $10 per visit (Disclosure: Southern Jewish Life was given complimentary press passes). For the first “40 days and 40 nights” after the grand opening, the park was open until midnight each day, before settling into its normal closing time of 6 p.m. After going through the ticket line, one boards a shuttle bus for the one-mile trip to the ark complex. After bring dropped off by the guest services building, there are two paths around a small pond that sits between the bus stop and the ark.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 15
Currently, there is a snack spot, the Ararat Ridge petting zoo, Screaming Eagle Zip lines, and Emzara’s Kitchen. Future plans include a theater between the ark and the petting zoo, and a “walled city” by the bus stop. A Tower of Babel is also planned, as a warning against racism. The restaurant is named for Noah’s wife — at least, her presumed name from sources outside the Bible. Future planned food offerings include items like kebabs, but for now the menu at the 1,500-seat Emzara’s is an un-Middle Eastern mix of concession-stand style burgers, chicken fingers, pan pizzas, wraps and the signature dish, a decidedly unkosher “two by two” double cheeseburger. One enters the ark at the other end from the restaurant, filing through a lengthy maze underneath the massive structure while a looped video showing the ark’s construction plays on numerous screens. Filing through the long line can take an hour or so, plenty of time to memorize the video. Church and Christian-interest T-shirts are definitely in abundance on those visiting. The ark, which sits on a series of concrete pillars — thus the waiting area underneath — is 510 feet long and 85 feet wide. As in the Biblical account, there are three levels inside, and construction required 3.3 million board feet of lumber. At the top of the ramp entering the ark there is a green screen and photographers taking posed pictures of the guests, so they can buy photo packages when they depart. While it may be annoying to think you’ve stood in a lengthy line just to have your picture taken — and once you get up the ramp, you can bypass the photographers — that process does seem to keep the crowds from overwhelming the inside of the ark. Upon entering the ark on the bottom level, one sees rows of wood cages for smaller animals, rows of clay urns for food storage. A display shows Noah leading his family in prayer at the beginning of the flood. After that, the displays become descriptive, putting forth the attraction’s point of view. One major argument used in the Ark Encounter was that Young dinosaurs on the ark there were very few species that needed to be on the ark. One example is a “skeptic’s question” about keeping polar bears cool on the ark. A display states that not only do polar bears not need to be kept cool, they weren’t on the ark. “Polar bears are members of the bear family,” the sign states. Because bears can interbreed, “the various bears of the world belong to the same kind,” and the two bears on the ark are “the ancestors of the many bears in the world today.” A similar argument is made regarding the different kinds of dogs 16 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
October 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ Southern Jewish Life 17
L’Shanah Tovah from
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around the world, and how they adapted to their new environments as they spread across the globe. Just don’t call it evolution — call it adaptability, using God-given talents to do so. Another item that has been a source of controversy is the assertion by Answers in Genesis that there were dinosaurs on the ark, and many of the cages have types of dinosaurs depicted inside. Young Earth creationists insist that dinosaurs had not died out by the sixth day of creation, when man was created, and they coexisted for centuries. The scientific consensus is that dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago, while the earliest human ancestors appeared about 6 million years ago. Science aside, an immediate objection to dinosaurs on the ark because of their size is also anticipated. As with many other larger animals, the displays argue, Noah did not need full-grown adults, as smaller, younger animals took up less room and would still have plenty of reproductive time ahead of them after the flood. On the second floor, a display recounts the pre-flood world and its excesses. It starts with panels of the six days of creation, then the perfect world of creation — until man messes it up through the “rebellion” of Adam and Eve, leading to the corruption of man’s God-given talents, which were used for evil. The pre-flood section ends with an admonishment that Jesus said the world just prior to his return would be similar to the world just before Noah. In several spots on the ark, while the story starts with Noah, it clearly ends with Jesus as the antidote to the sins of humanity. As one reaches the third level, the first thing one sees on the landing is a mural depicting the crucifixion, with five panels explaining the painting and a sixth inviting the visitor to “examine your heart” and “don’t wait until it is too late.” The third floor also contains the living quarters for Noah’s family, with the introductory panel answering “why are the living quarters so nice?” and how they used artistic license for that section of the ark, making “educated guesses.” One room contains a display of dozens of children’s books and toys about Noah’s Ark, often depicting smiling cartoon animals looking out from the top of the ark. But the room isn’t about popular images, it’s a condemnation of such “fairy tale ark stories.” The abundance of “whimsical” books and toys “attacks the truthfulness of Scripture,” according to the display, and “distort” the real message of “the righteous and holy God judging an exceedingly sinful world with a cataclysmic Flood.” Pay no attention to the Zip lines and petting zoo outside, and please exit through the gift shop.
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18 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
community On the wall of the fairy tale room, a serpent circles a sign saying “If I can convince you that the flood was not real, then I can convince you that heaven and hell are not real.” Showing a motive for the entire project, Ham has said that if Noah’s Ark isn’t true, then Jesus was a liar, which to him simply can’t be the case. Some exhibits get into more neutral topics, like construction methods, or who Noah was. Other displays tout Answers in Genesis’ world-view, such as the large display criticizing the “naturalistic evolutionary model” in favor of the “Biblical creation model.” One panel argues that the Grand Canyon could have been formed in days rather than over eons. Another argues that there was only one ice age, and it came about because of the flood. The day after the ark opened, Bill Nye the Science Guy visited, and said children seeing the ark were being “brainwashed.” Nye said every single science display in the ark was “not just misleading but wrong,” and said the Ark is a danger to science education in the U.S. The Ark Encounter does mention that there are dozens of flood stories in civilizations around the world, showing a map with the names of such legends. But the exhibit states that “it makes much more sense to believe the biblical account reveals the true history of the Flood while the legends tell a distorted version of the same event,” since the Bible “is accurate in all that it records.” The ark is also housing “The Voyage of a Book: Personal Stories of Taking the Bible Around the World,” from the Museum of the Bible. The first item displayed is a Torah from 19th-century Persia, open to a section detailing the building of the tabernacle. It sits behind plexiglass on a reader’s table that goes back to 1907 Poland. There is another Torah from 19th century Russia, a case for the scroll Noah releases the dove of Esther, pages from a 14th-century Karaite prayer book from Cairo and a 1655 London polyglot Bible page in Chaldean, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Arabic and Latin. The main emphasis of the exhibit, though, is how individuals took the Bible around the world, to spread Christianity. To do the Ark Encounter, one definitely needs comfortable shoes. The ark measures one-tenth of a mile, and there are exhibits on both sides of each of the three levels, plus long ramps to go from one level to the next, and another set of long ramps to go back down. So, given that the Ark Encounter is an evangelical Christian version of a Jewish story, with plenty of approaches that aren’t taught in Hebrew School, should Jewish travelers make their way to the 800-acre site just south of Cincinnati? If you want to see the structure itself, which is impressive, and know exactly what you’re getting into with how the story is presented, stop by. If you’re a student of comparative religion, this is definitely a viewpoint that attracts its share of adherents. If looking at the displays will annoy you and the idea of giving a dime to a group that espouses this type of ideology sickens you, you may want to spare yourself the aggravation.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 19
community Jewish perspectives on Noah’s Ark Literal? Allegorical? We asked around for perspectives from a variety of Jewish viewpoints, and here are some responses:
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Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg, Beth Israel (Orthodox), Metairie There is certainly rabbinic precedent for getting into the detailed aspects of how the ark functioned on a literal, and quite prosaic, level. My favorite example of this is the gemara in Tractate Sanhedrin, 108b, which notes that the different levels of the ark had different functions — the upper for humans, the middle for animals, and the bottom for dung! But I believe that focusing on the more narrow question of the practical feasibility of the ark occludes the larger lessons of the Noah story. These include questions of Noah’s leadership: he is compared to Avraham by the sages, but unlike Avraham, he does not argue in favor of saving humanity. One modern rabbi has noted that Noah displayed righteousness, but not leadership. Another important lesson of the Noah narrative is that of its parallel to modern events. Elie Wiesel famously referred to Noah as “the first survivor”, and it is no surprise that Noah’s first activity after leaving the ark is to plant a vineyard: he needs an escape from all of the horror he has witnessed. There are also lessons of environmental responsibility to be drawn, especially in the age of global climate change. In sum, while questions of practicality and reality of the ark are of some interest, it is the deeper questions and values that the story teaches which are of lasting value and beauty. Rabbi Robert Loewy, Gates of Prayer (Reform), Metairie At some time in antiquity a great flood very likely impacted the world. From that event stories have arisen in different cultures to help explain it. Chapter 6:9-9:17 is our story. It begins with Noah, a righteous man in his generation, who stood out from all others. Our story takes us from destruction to renewal. The new Code of decency that arises afterwards makes the statement that all humanity must act in a moral, decent way and is specific as to what that means. The message of the text is what is important. For those who want to believe there was an actual flood and ark, they are free to do so. My faith as a Jew neither requires it or is enriched by seeing a replica. However, I can imagine that similar to visiting the replica of the “Old Woman Who
Lived In A Shoe,” at Storyland in City Park, seeing an Ark can bring the story to life. Rabbi Mendel Rivkin, Chabad of Louisiana, New Orleans Dr. Wilhelm Reich (a disciple of Freud) once posed the following question at a lecture. Why does every culture have a flood story in its lore? He and his audience proposed various Freudian theories to explain this phenomenon. An observant Jewish psychologist, Dr. Homnick, asked to speak and said, “perhaps the reason that every culture has a flood story in its history is because there was one.” The audience gasped at the “blasphemous” consideration that the Bible is true. While the Torah contains layers of deeper meaning and allegorical messages for life, we believe that the narratives are also (literally) true. The belief in the truth of Biblical narratives also provides “teeth” or gravitas to the lessons and messages contained therein. Rabbi Nancy Tunick, B’nai Israel (Reform), Florence There are many differing opinions within Judaism as to the historical accuracy of the account of the Great Flood and Noah’s Ark as read in Genesis. Regardless, the Torah is a roadmap for our journey as Jews and as people in modern day. Each Parshah has layers of wisdom relating to how we live our daily lives. Through this lens, Noach or the story of Noah’s life, serves to remind us that we are each responsible to take action to save the world. Noah was a righteous person, but being a good person and even a person of faith was not all that was necessary in order to preserve life on earth. Noah had to pick up tools and embark on a monumental construction project, and then, after the rainbow lit the sky, he had to begin the slow and challenging job of rebuilding civilization on dry land. He had to listen to G-d’s will, but then he had to take significant and challenging action in order to achieve it. Just like the Torah as a whole speaks to each of us individually, the account of Noah’s Ark leads us to ask what actions are needed today to save the world and preserve life on earth. It may be in its impact on our world today and tomorrow that the account of Noah’s ark remains a vital part of history, rather than as an object of historical focus on the past.
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community Q&A with Rabbi, Rear Admiral Robinson Thoughts on Jews in the military, 2016 election At the Democratic National Convention in July, Linda Verin of Birmingham interviewed Rear Admiral and Rabbi Harold Robinson, who stood on stage at the Democratic Convention with General John Allen while the Allen gave a speech endorsing Hillary Clinton.
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Robinson is a retired chaplain who was in charge of all 600 clergy serving in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. He asked, “Where else but America could a rabbi be in charge of all the clergy of so many different faiths for three branches of our military?” Robinson stated it is unusual for members of the military to express political views, but once you are re- Rear Admiral and Rabbi Harold tired, you may do so. Robinson at B’nai Zion Robinson served as rabbi of B’nai Zion Congregation in Shreveport from 1998 to 2006, and in Gary, Ind., and Cape Cod. He has served on many boards including the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and the Resolutions Committee of Reform Judaism. Robinson currently is the Director of the Jewish Welfare Board-Jewish Chaplains Council. Robinson’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Naval Commendation Medal with two Gold Stars, and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Deployment Ribbon. Verin: You have served synagogues in different parts of the country. What regional differences stood out the most? Robinson: In Gary, Indiana, the rabbi was expected to speak out on social issues; in Cape Cod that was also true. In Shreveport the rabbi was expected to maintain a lower profile and not make waves. Surely I was given some latitude but not as much as in other areas. There is more caution and anxiety in the South about being the “other.” What do Jews know about the current U.S. military? Most American Jewish kids don’t know anyone in the military unless a grandparent served. Less than 1 percent of people serve today. Just 10,000 Jews are on active duty in the U.S.; we have 1,300,000 active military personnel and 800,000 reserve personnel. 1,000 Americans fight in the Israeli army. The South, as you know, is conservative; what would you say to our part of the country about Donald Trump?
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I am honestly afraid of Trump being commander-in-chief. As president, there are few limitations under the War Powers Act. The president can involve us in a military conflict and ask permission later. Trump seems to operate with no facts; he is mercurial and egocentric. I believe
community most military leaders share my perspective. (Note: This interview was conducted before Trump challenged the Khan family, the Muslim father and mother that lost their son fighting for America.) Also, a country that is open to diversity is a country that is better for Jews. If someone is telling a racial joke, the next one is likely to be anti-Semitic. Trump is not a champion of diversity. What about Trump’s lack of support for NATO? I have served in Africa, Asia and Europe. Our armed forces cannot function without strong alliances. In 1971 there were 1,400,000 Navy troops; today there are 400,000. It would be immensely more difficult to fly battalions of Marines to a hot spot without landing to refuel in foreign countries. We must have troops in South Korea due to North Korean instability; we need troops in Japan. When we station people around the globe the truth is we are less likely to develop trouble spots in those areas so actually fewer military are deployed. Many people interrupted former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta when he spoke at the Democratic Convention with shouts of “No more war.” Comments?
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The United States is unique in that we are sent to war by civilian leadership. I believe they do the best they can to keep us out of war. What people never see are the wars that are avoided through negotiation and diplomacy. The Prime Minister of Israel said Iran was six months away from a nuclear bomb. Now it has been a year and Iran’s reactors are filled with concrete. That is definitely a war that has not happened yet. When we go to war, no one can predict the results. It is like a kaleidoscope. You turn it and never know the outcome. With the Iraq War we got a Middle East we liked even less than before. You stood up on the stage with General Allen as an endorsement of Hillary Clinton; what about Benghazi? The Marines provide security around the world to our embassies but the ambassador is ultimately in charge. The decision to travel to Benghazi could only be made by the ambassador. The State Department was not consulted in advance about the trouble in Benghazi by either the RSO (regional security officer) or the ambassador. Still, even if the Marines had been taking off when the attack occurred they could not have been there in time to prevent the deaths. Yet $18 million and 18 months were invested by Congress to search for wrongdoing that simply wasn’t there. A good question might be why has Congress invested so much time and money in investigating Secretary Clinton. They’ve come up with nothing but the emails, which was hugely stupid but not illegal. What is it about Hillary Clinton that causes such a visceral reaction from so many? Hillary Clinton has always been an unconventional working woman. Studies have shown the public has great respect for her when she is actually holding a job; when she is running for a job they don’t like her nearly as well.
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Hillel at Mississippi State University is partnering with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts on a fundraiser. Through the end of October, all Hillel members will be selling certificates for a dozen Krispy Kreme original doughnuts for $7. Orders can be placed with any active Hillel member. But one need not be in Starkville — anyone looking to support Hillel can make a $7 donation per certificate, plus $3 for processing and mailing, by going to the Hillel GoFundMe account at https://www.gofundme. com/missstatehillel. After doing that, send a message to the Hillel Facebook page with the mailing address. The certificates do not expire and may be redeemed at any Krispy Kreme location.
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 23
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by Sally Friedman This is an important anniversary for the Birmingham Jewish Foundation — we just celebrated our 5th anniversary of working with Camp Dream Street to help them grow their endowment. Dream Street is a free camp for special needs children on the grounds of Henry S. Jacobs camp, the Union for Reform Judaism’s camp in Utica. We at The Foundation Miracle Buckley love working with Dream Street. They have wonderful teen volunteers who serve as counselors. They have incredible doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals from throughout the country who also volunteer their time. They have generous supporters and their volunteer Board and professional leadership set new standards for dedication. Most of all, the kids are an inspiration — the joy and magic that is created each summer at Dream Street is hard to describe. I received the following letter from Miracle Buckley, former camper and current staff member. She lives in Jackson and is a student at Holmes Community College in Ridgeland. What she wrote best illustrates why my office and my leadership are so thrilled with our partnership with Dream Street: “I always knew that I wanted to help people; I just did not know in what capacity. I was born with sacral agenesis, which is a rare disability that mainly affects the development of the vertebrae and the tailbone. This disability led to the amputation of my legs when I was seven. The doctors used the bones from my legs to build a makeshift spine. Being born with a disability is not an easy feat. It definitely adjusts a person’s meaning of “normal” or it can eliminate the word entirely. However, my parents always believed in teaching me to have a “can-do” attitude. My parents’ encouragement over the years was one of the reasons that when I was seven, they allowed me to go to Camp Dream Street. Dream Street is a five-day, four-night camp for children with physical and some mental disabilities. This camp gives children with disabilities the opportunity to experience “normal” activities, such as swimming, boating, horseback riding, etc. I attended Camp Dream Street as a camper for 10 years, five years on the staff and two years as an occupational therapist assistant. When I started out as a camper, I always felt at home. I did not have to worry about people staring at me or thinking I was odd because every camper there had a disability. I never wanted to miss a year, which is why I went on to do the Great Expectations program. GE is a program for the older participants in high school. This program gives the older participants a chance to be role models for the younger group. Even after my two years of this program I still was not ready to let it go. Not every camper gets the privilege to be on the staff, but I was one of the lucky ones to get to see the behind the scenes of camp. It was very different from being a camper, but it was a chance for me to help give these kids the same joy and similar experiences I had. It was not until my second year on the staff Sally Friedman is executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation
community at Dream Street that I finally knew my calling. At the camp, there is a song session when all campers are allowed to use some musical instrument. There was one camper who was not able to bend her hands, but she had the ability to move her arms up and down. All she wanted to do was play hand bells. The occupational therapist (OT) at camp would help campers participate in all of the activities. The OT saw what the camper wanted and she had the brilliant, yet simple idea to use Velcro on the bells so they could be slipped over her hands. The smile on her face was beaming and she almost cried because she was so happy, and all the camper had to do was move her arms up and down and she was able to play the bells. When I saw her smile and felt her happiness I knew that that kind of joy was something I wanted to help children with disabilities achieve. After camp that year, I changed my major and started on the journey towards becoming an occupational therapist. This year I was accepted into an OTA program and will continue until I reach my goal. This camp helped shape and mold me into the person I am today. Even though it is only once a year, that is one week where a person does not get to think of themselves. It is not about our issues, it is about giving all of those children a chance to forget about their disabilities and to remind them that they are just kids, no matter what their impairment might be.”
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For more information on Camp Dream Street, visit dreamstreetms.org. To contribute to the Camp Dream Street Fund at The Birmingham Jewish Foundation, contact Sally Friedman email@example.com or (205) 803-1519
AIPAC holding NOLA community event The American Israel Public Affairs Committee will feature Grant Rumley, research analyst for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, at its annual New Orleans Community Event. Rumley focuses on Palestinian politics, and is the author of the 2015 FDD report “The Race to Replace Mahmoud Abbas: Understanding and Shaping Palestinian Succession.” Prior to joining FDD, he was a visiting fellow at Mitvim, the Israeli Institute for Regional Foreign Policies, where he authored “Back to Basics: The Evolution of the Palestinian UN Campaign.” While in Jerusalem, Grant also founded and edited The Jerusalem Review of Near East Affairs. The program will be Oct. 27 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. A reception will kick off the evening at 6:30 p.m., with the event to begin at 7:00 p.m. For online reservations visit www.aipac.org/ nolacommunityevent.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 25
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26 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
community Walter Isaacson, Carroll Suggs this year’s ADL Torch of Liberty honorees The South-Central Region office of the Anti-Defamation League announced that Walter Isaacson and Carroll Suggs will be honored at this year’s A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Awards event. “Award recipients are people who care not just about themselves today, but about the children and grandchildren of tomorrow,” said Jonathan Lake, ADL South-Central Regional board chair. “They care about the greater good and translate that caring into action, they strive to build a brighter future in which all people share the fruits of democracy.” Isaacson and Suggs “have touched all corners of our community,” said Allison Padilla-Goodman, ADL South-Central regional director. “They lead through grand visions of our community’s possibilities, and then work steadfastly to bring these dreams to life. They make New Orleans a better place for everyone, and they live the values ADL holds dear: inclusivity, acceptance, standing up for others, and speaking out for what’s right.” Isaacson is a graduate of Isidore Newman School who began his career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and is now moving back his beloved New Orleans. Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute. He also is the author of several widely acclaimed books including “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” “Steve Jobs,” “Einstein: His Life and Universe,” “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” and others. After his time at the Times Picayune, Isaacson served as the CEO of CNN and the editor of Time magazine. He also has held many important government roles, including vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, member of the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and chairman of the U.S.-Palestinian Partnership venture capital fund. He is chair emeritus of Teach for America and sits on several boards, including United Airlines, Tulane University, the Overseers of Harvard University, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Society of American Historians, the Carnegie Institution for Science and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance. Suggs has a long and varied list of awards and board involvement concentrating on civic leadership and social change. Suggs currently sits on the boards of Taylor Energy Company LLC, Iberia Bank, the Jefferson Parish Ethics and Compliance Commission, the Louisiana Women’s Forum, the National World War II Museum Board of Trustees, various LSU boards, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, Family Services of Greater New Orleans, and the New Orleans Federal Alliance. Her awards include many related to public safety and the military, entrepreneurship and business leadership, and she has been recognized as a role model. In addition to her long history of civic engagement, Suggs successfully led Petroleum Helicopters Inc., a company providing worldwide helicopter transportation and emergency medical services to the offshore oil and gas industry, government agencies, and other institutions. Suggs is an alumna of Louise S. McGehee School and Louisiana State University. The Torch of Liberty dinner will be at the Sheraton New Orleans on Dec. 6. Isaacson’s dinner chairs are Allan Bissinger and Tim Francis, and Suggs’ dinner chairs are Odom Heebe and Phyllis Taylor. Based in New Orleans, the ADL South-Central region covers Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. Tickets are available by contacting the local ADL office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 780-5602.
community “Fair Labor Lawyer” author Trestman has several presentations across region Marlene Trestman, a New Orleans native who wrote the biography “Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin” will be in the region for several events in the next two months. Margolin grew up at the Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans and became a champion of wage and hour rights for workers, who argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was instrumental in many provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, drafted the original regulations under which the post-World War II Nuremberg trials took place, and was an attorney for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Trestman, who was assisted by the home’s successor agency, Jewish Children’s Regional Service, pursued a legal career and became friends with Margolin, partly from their similar backgrounds. On Oct. 15 at 2:30 p.m., she will be part of a presentation at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. “From Bargaining Table to Side Table: Two Lives in Pursuit of Fair Labor” at the Nashville Public Library will feature Trestman and Phil Cohen, author of “The Jackson Project: War in the American Workplace” about a labor dispute at a west Tennessee textile mill in 1989. Trestman will be at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge on Oct. 29. The schedule was not available as of press time. On Nov. 5, she will present “Jewish Orphans of the Southern Hinterland: The Geographic and Social Journeys of the Children Who Lived in New Orleans’ Jewish Orphans Home, 1856-1946,” about her research for an upcoming book. The presentation is part of the Southern Jewish Historical Society conference in Natchez. On Nov. 6, she will speak at the Houston ERJCC annual Jewish Book and Arts Fair, then at the Marcus JCC Book Festival in Atlanta on Nov. 10 at 10:30 a.m. On Dec. 18 at 2 p.m., she will speak at the Jewish Historical Society of Memphis and the Mid-South at the Memphis JCC.
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The ladies of B’nai Israel Sisterhood in Monroe folded T-shirts in August for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held in Monroe on Sept. 17. Pictured around the table from left to right are Marilyn Stern, Susan Marx, Sara Israel, Judy Marx, Phyllis Marcus, Minette Saber. Also participating were Sandra Blate, Nancy Greene and Betsy Laudenheimer. This is the 15th year for Sisterhood to do this project.
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 27
Gena Brodie-Robbins “Shh, Don’t Tell” 48x48 mixed media on canvas
community NCJW becomes new host for Sisters Chaverot in New Orleans
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The Greater New Orleans Section of National Council of Jewish Women is the new home of Sisters Chaverot, a group founded in 2010 as a local grassroots forum for professional African American women and professional Jewish women. The group is committed to authentic dialogue among its participants and to enriching the connections between the local African American and Jewish communities. Every other month, this group of women come together to discuss triumphs and life struggles that both Black and Jewish women face within the workplace, social encounters, and other experiences. The get-togethers take on a variety of forms, usually social and often dialogue-based. Originally hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Sisters’ move to NCJW-GNO is an opportunity to share, learn, laugh, and grow in a circle of old and new friends. “Participating provides an opportunity to establish a broader and deeper environment to continue the important conversations about our lives, the world, the importance of a safe environment, and freedom of expression in which to be ourselves,” said Sisters Chaverot Chair Robin Goldblum. In November there will be an event especially designed for interested community members to meet and engage.
New Moishe House in New Orleans
Mara Abramson, Lisa Tencer and Jillian Lansey celebrate the opening of the new location for Moishe House in the Bayou St. John section of New Orleans on Aug. 27. Moishe House has homes throughout the world with residents who turn the facilities into hubs of activity for young Jewish adults, from socials to social action and study sessions. 28 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
October 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ The Jewish Newsletter 29
30 The Jewish Newsletter â&#x20AC;¢ October 2016
From Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans Friends of JFS, Because of YOU!
Because of YOU, Jewish Family Service (JFS) assists vulnerable community members every day. Your support of the annual Friends of JFS campaign impacts their lives and the lives of so many other people for the better, and allows JFS to offer our services on a sliding-fee scale based on household income.
Homemaker is a light housekeeping and transportation service for older or disabled adults, which has been a core program of Jewish Family Service since 1975. Reliable and compassionate assistance is available for older adults in the Greater New Orleans area. Each Homemaker visit lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes, and can be scheduled on a weekly or twice-a-month basis. Services include: dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and transportation for running errands. The Homemaker program is offered on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Please contact Fran Dinehart, LCSW Fran@jfsneworleans.com or (504) 831-8475 for more information.
Because of YOUR financial support, JFS is able to meet a growing demand for affordable and accessible social services in the greater New Orleans community including: extensive counseling and case management support for individuals, couples and families; Teen Life Counts — our teen suicide-prevention program; the Homemaker Program (see below); Lifeline, the electronic personal emergency response system, and so much more.
2016 Fall Professional Continuing Education Workshop
Looking ahead, JFS strives to meet increased community demand, but we cannot do it without YOUR help. The demand to accommodate the needs of individuals and families is constant and ever growing. Please respond as generously as possible. Please visit our website http://www.jfsneworleans.org to donate today!
Jewish Family Service is pleased to offer the following workshop for mental health professionals in the New Orleans area. Ethical Dilemmas in Mental Health Services Friday, Dec. 16, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Presented by Kathy Oqueli McGraw, PhD, MPH This presentation will cover many of the ethical dilemmas that mental health professionals may come into contact with over their careers. Case examples will be used as a part of the discussion. This workshop has been approved for 3 Ethics Continuing Education Units by the LCA and the LABSWE.
Geriatric Family Consultation Program This specialized program helps families learn more about homebased services, residential care options, financial planning, health insurance and caregiver support tailored to their specific needs. The Geriatric Family Consultation program is offered on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Please contact Jennifer Schneider, MSW Jennifer@jfsneworleans.org or (504) 831-8475 for more information.
Workshop will be held at Congregation Beth Israel, 4004 West Esplanade Ave. Metairie. Register by phone at (504) 831-8475 x120, or at www.jfsneworleans.org.
From Tulane Hillel Engage NOLA Thirty-four lucky Tulane Freshmen arrived in New Orleans a week before move-in day to explore the city through Hillel’s Engage NOLA program earlier this year. The four day experience was chock full of a variety of exciting events! The students first received a full Jewish History Tour of New Orleans by Julie Schwartz. Julie gave them a peek into the thriving Jewish population in New Orleans, from Jewish jazz cafes to the Uptown synagogues. Students ate a special lunch at Café Reconcile, where they had the chance to engage local professionals such as Sandy Cohen, a local real estate investor and consultant, Amanda Kruger Hill of the Cowen Institute, Jenny Nathan of Tulane Hillel, Allison Padilla-Goodman of the South-Central Office of the Anti-Defamation League, and Michael Kirschman of FreeGulliver about civil rights activism, education reform and more! Additionally, they toured the Lower 9th Ward with Shelley Freed and the Make It Right Organization to engage in the community that Tulane proudly calls itself a part of. The students dined at places including Napoleon House, Stein’s Deli and Shaya, and were entertained at the Preservation Music Hall and Mardi Gras World. They even had a true bayou experience on a guided airboat tour through the swamps! Having been through a whirlwind of New Orleans experiences in four days, the students began their classes with an understanding of the city and community that other students will envy in the year to come.
Freshman Family Move-In Brunch and Welcome Back BBQ Tulane Hillel welcomed students, friends and families back to New Orleans in August for both the annual Family Move-In Brunch and Welcome Back BBQ & Block Party! Nearly 500 freshman and parents got their first taste of Hillel as they met the friendly faces of staff, community members and student leaders, while eating delicious food catered by HK Nola. Tulane President Mike Fitts stopped by with a warm welcome to Hillel’s vibrant, accessible Jewish community on campus. At the annual Welcome Back BBQ & Block Party, Hillel greeted nearly 400 Tulane students with local music by the Organettes, free food like freshly grilled burgers, chicken, wings and veggies, and a special treat for the early arrivers, free Tulane Hillel tanks!
October 2016 • The Jewish Newsletter 31
From the Jewish Community Center In Search of Israeli Cuisine
Pop the Cork at Center Celebration Come pop the cork and toast the JCC as we celebrate our iconic building’s 50 golden years on the Avenue. Center Celebration, the Jewish Community Center’s annual fundraiser, will be held on Sunday, Oct. 30 at the beautiful Audubon Tea Room. This fun evening features dinner and dancing to the unique melodies and driving rhythms of the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars (above). Patrons will enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a signature cocktail on the Tea Room patio, along with a special performance by the Preservation Hall Allstars. Tickets are available online at nojcc.org or by calling (504) 897-0143.
The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series continues on Oct. 19 with light Israeli snacks in the sukkah at 6:30 p.m., followed by a screening of the delightful film “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” at 7 p.m. A portrait of the Israeli people told through food, this feature-length documentary puts a face on the culture of Israel, profiling chefs, home cooks, vintners and cheese-makers drawn from the more than 100 cultures that make up Israel today – Jewish, Arab, Muslim, Christian, Druze. While exploring the country’s dynamic food scene, a rich and human story of the people emerges. Free and open to the community, the film screening will be held at Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation in Metairie.
Big Fall Savings
Join the Goldring-Woldenberg JCC today and pay just $45 per month through Nov. 14. With no initiation fee, it’s the best deal ever, offering savings up to $150! Experience the difference certified trainers, top-of-the-line equipment, and a supportive environment Are you looking for a profound understanding of what it means can make in achieving fitness and wellness goals. Members enjoy to be Jewish? Join us to explore the texts of our tradition and dis- free group exercise classes each week and gain access to registered cover how they relate to us today. dieticians, sports leagues and an array of specialty classes including The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning offers a boot camps, indoor cycling, TRX, Zumba, yoga, and mat Pilates. Ample parking, monthly contracts and babysitting services that are well-rounded and comprehensive course of offered in the mornings and evenings all make it easier than ever study in a user-friendly format. In a relaxed to work out. setting, without homework, tests or prerequisites, this pluralistic, interactive program proThis offer ends Nov. 14 and applies to all new Gold Metairie vides spirited dialogue and meaningful study, memberships. Stop by the JCC today or contact Membership Dileading to a deeper appreciation for Judaism rector Stephanie Krell (504) 887-5158, email@example.com, to – past, present and future. learn more about this joining special. Beginning Nov. 1, classes will be held on Tuesday evenings at the Uptown JCC. The first year curriculum focuses upon the Nov. 2 – Jonathan Rabb presents “Among the Living,” his mov“Rhythms of Jewish Living” and the “Puring novel about a Czech Holocaust survivor’s unconventional jourposes of Jewish Living.” Second year students ney to a new normal in 1940’s Savannah, Ga., during the last gasp will analyze “Ethics of Jewish Living” and of the Jim Crow era in America’s post-war South. “Crossroads of Jewish History.” Classes will Nov. 16 – Enjoy an evening of incredible music at Coats for Kids, be taught by experienced Melton instructors a free benefit concert featuring jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, Dirty DozRabbi Gabe Greenberg of Congregation Beth Israel and Rabbi en Jazz Band, pianist Michael Pellera, guitarist Javier Olondo and Deborah Silver of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation. the Faubourg Quartet. Musicians from NOCCA’s Classical InstruFor additional details, visit www.nojcc.org or contact Judy Yail- ment department also will perform at this popular annual event. len, Director of Jewish Family Life, at (504) 897-0143, or liba@ Nov. 30 – Author Bill Lasher shares his book “Eve of a Hundred nojcc.org. Students may register online at www.events.org/MeltonMidnights: The Star-Crossed Love Story of Two WWII CorresponNewOrleans. dents and Their Epic Escape Across the Pacific.”
Adult Learning for the Wondering Jew
Save The Date
32 The Jewish Newsletter • October 2016
From the Jewish Endowment Foundation A Special Gift for Rosh Hashanah Early in September 1994, Sandy Levy, the executive director of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, received a call from Helen Lasoski. Mrs. Lasoski wanted Sandy to pay her a visit and was insistent that the visit take place the next day, on Erev Rosh Hashanah.
• The purchase of copies of “A Promise To Remember” by Michael Berenbaum, a Holocaust Memorial Day Program speaker, for local high schools; • “Get Ready For College” at the JCC to prepare college-bound juniors and seniors to be emissaries for their community, Judaism, and Israel; • “Stand With Us: Israeli Soldiers’ Stories” at the JCC.
Sandy knew Mrs. Lasoski, who was a friend of her mother. Through this family connection, she knew that Mrs. Lasoski and her husband, Henry, were Holocaust survivors who had made a good life for themselves in New Orleans. The Lasoskis had two sons, Jack and Milton, both of whom went into healing professions: Jack as a physician’s assistant specializing in occupational medicine and Milt as a clinical psychologist.
Grants have also been made to support local teenagers’ participation in national Jewish leadership programs. Sandy states that she thinks Mrs. Lasoski would be pleased to know that the fund she established has provided these educational opportunities. “At JEF, we are entrusted with funds from donors who are counting on us to do the right thing and follow their wishes. We take that responsibility seriously,” said Sandy. “JEF has been carefully stewarding and carrying out the visions of our donors for almost 50 years.”
Henry Lasoski had become the Chief of Maintenance at Ochsner Medical Center and, in his spare time, loved to paint in oils. The Lasoski home was full of his creative work. Mr. Lasoski had passed away in April 1993 and Mrs. Lasoski was in failing health. When Sandy visited Mrs. Lasoski on that day before Rosh Hashanah, she was packing up to move to be with her sons and their families.
JEF’s mission is to honor the past, support the present, and secure the future of our Jewish community. To learn more about how you can make a difference and fulfill your When Sandy arrived, Mrs. Lasoski said she had something very philanthropic vision, please contact Sandy Levy (firstname.lastname@example.org) important that she wanted to give to JEF. It was a check for $18,000 or Patti Lengsfield (email@example.com) at (504) 524-4559. to start a fund at JEF. Mrs. Lasoski wanted to make that donation to give something back to the New Orleans Jewish community that had welcomed her family when they arrived here with absolutely nothing to start a new life as new Americans.
Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant
Thinking about sending your child to Jewish sleepaway camp for the first time in 2017? Let us help you! The Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant Program, administered by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, offers a one-time grant of up to $1,000 per child for firsttime campers. Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to develop children’s commitment to living Jewish lives is to expose them to a camp experience where they will meet other Jewish boys and girls and savor the precious heritage of Jewish traditions while enjoying wholesome summer fun and sports activities.
“I was so touched by this donation,” said Sandy. “While I have accepted many donations on behalf of JEF over the years, this one will always stand out. It was such a pure expression of gratitude as well as belief in the future. That $18,000 was a great deal of money to Mrs. Lasoski and, of course, the symbolism of 18,000 — a thousand chai — made it even more special.” Sandy explained that Mrs. Lasoski knew that she would never be returning to New Orleans; this was her way of saying thank you to those who had helped her and her family. Mrs. Lasoski hoped that her gift would help support the New Orleans Jewish community and Israel and she felt that a fund at JEF was the best place to put those precious dollars.
The criteria for this program are simple. To be eligible your child must be: • A first-time camper at a not-for-profit Jewish sleepaway camp; • In grades 1 through 9 (in 2015-16 school year); • A resident of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or the Florida Panhandle.
Over the years, the fund grew to as much as $33,000. Over $20,000 in grants have been made from the fund and today there is still over $20,000 in the fund. Grants from the Lasoski Fund have supported:
Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Neither temple nor synagogue affiliation is required. For more information or to request an application, contact Ellen Abrams at JEF at 504-524-4559 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application can also be downloaded at www.jefno.org.
• Holocaust Awareness Week at Tulane Hillel; • The Schusterman Visiting Professor Fellowship at Tulane’s Jewish Studies Program;
October 2016 •The Jewish Newsletter 33
From Jewish Community Day School Responding to the Flood Head of School, Sharon Pollin, gently introduced students at JCDS to the tragic flooding our neighboring cities experienced in August. They discussed Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) and how they could help and quickly launched a plan! They would be G-d’s partners by giving Tzedakah, collecting clothes, toys, toiletries, diapers and even pet food. They collected so much for the flood victims that it took several trips to the Baton Rouge area to deliver it all! JCDS was so proud of their students and what they accomplished.
Field Trip Time! Tally Furlow, JCDS Pre-K student, journals the fruits and vegetables she finds growing at Crescent City Farmers Market. JCDS Pre-K and Kindergarten students went on their first field trip in September. Lots of classroom prep was involved. The children learned about healthy eating, created fruit and vegetable baskets, and sang blessings for things that grow. After all their classroom activities, they were ready for a visit to the Crescent City Farmers Market. Excited volunteers engaged the children with relay races, tastings, a scavenger hunt and personal journals to draw the fruits and vegetables that were growing. Everyone came back with fragrant mint to plant in the JCDS garden along with their own mini-mint plant and recipe to take home. The children’s favorite part was snacking on fresh watermelon right from the garden!
The Great Shofar Blast-Off
Right: Elizabeth Holmes and Jeremy Dvorin sound their shofars welcoming in the New Year Friday afternoons at JCDS are always exThe children at Jewish Community Day School tra special! The children sing songs, recite prayers, light candles, and of course, enjoy start each weekday morning, during the month of fresh challah! Special guests are always wel- Elul, by blowing their shofars! These blasts remind everyone that Rosh Hashanah is coming. The chilcome to attend. Last month, Yarden Shalev, a talented dren are encouraged to take inventory of their acteenager all the way from Israel, came to tions over the past year and think about what they show off his amazing skills by performing may like to do become their best self for the New a magic show. The children, like Joshua Year. Students made shofars at home, with beautiSchneider in this picture, were delighted ful variations of materials, colors, shapes and sizes; with the performance… and so were all each was a piece of art! They’ll be kept in the Beit the adults! What a great way to welcome in Midrash Sanctuary until the holidays. Shabbat. 34 The Jewish Newsletter • October 2016
Happy New Year!
October 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ The Jewish Newsletter 35
36 The Jewish Newsletter â&#x20AC;¢ October 2016
community Numerous events planned around Holocaust exhibit in Mobile As the exhibit “Filming the Camps” continues its run at the History Museum of Mobile, there are several ancillary programs this month. “Filming the Camps” depicts the experiences of major Hollywood directors in the 1940s and how they were called upon to document history as Allied soldiers liberated concentration camps. Much of the material was used as evidence during the Nuremberg trials. The exhibition, curated by historian and film director Christian Delage, was designed, created, and circulated by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris, and made possible through the support of the SNCF. It is in Mobile through Jan. 16. Dan Puckett of the Alabama Holocaust Commission and author of “In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama Jews, the Second World War and the Holocaust,” will give a presentation on “Alabama and the Holocaust” on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Spring Hill College. On Oct. 20, Roger Grunwald, the child of survivors, will present his one-person drama “The Mitzvah Project” at 7 p.m. at Spring Hill College’s Mitchell Theater. A film series will start on Oct. 23, with screenings at Spring Hill College LeBlanc at 2 p.m. “Imaginary Witness” will be screened on Oct. 23, with “Night and Fog” on Nov. 13 and “Son of Saul” on Dec. 4, in collaboration with the Mobile Jewish Film Festival. On Oct. 24, Matt Rozell will present “Photographs from a Train Near Magdeburg” at the University of Mobile’s Ram Hall, at 11 a.m. David Meola will present “Reflections on a Concentration Camp: Encountering Bergen-Belsen” on Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m., at Mobile Public Library. Paul Bartrop will speak on “The British Dimension: Filming the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen in April 1945,” at the University of South Alabama’s Marx Library auditorium, on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. The museum, at 111 Royal Street, is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7.50 for ages 13 to 17, $5 for ages 6 to 12 and free for ages 5 and under.
New Chabad center in Mobile
Chabad of Mobile dedicated its first facility on Sept. 21. There was a video presentation about future programs and greetings from Rabbi Yossi Posner of Chabad of Alabama in Birmingham. The ceremony included a shofar blowing and affixing the mezuzah, and a raffle of “Loyal Doves” by Michoel Muchnik.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 37
community Schmancy moving to Yulman Stadium Tulane Hillel is changing the venue for Schmancy, its annual gala, and honoring Staci Rosenberg with the Big Pastrami Award. The Big Pastrami Award recognizes leaders in the city of New Orleans who have made an impact on the community. It will be presented at the Nov. 10 event, which will be at the Jill and Avram Glazer Family Club at Yulman Stadium. A patron event will be at 6:30 p.m., followed by Schmancy at the Stadium at 7:30 p.m. A Pittsburgh native, Rosenberg attended Tulane and never left, becoming a successful commercial real estate attorney. In 2000, she founded the Krewe of Muses, an all-female Mardi Gras Krewe that has become one of the largest and most popular carnival organizations in the city. The Krewe of Muses was the first to initiate an open and public membership process, ensuring access to Mardi Gras parading for women of all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Rabbi Yonah Schiller, executive director of Tulane Hillel, said her “impact on the city of New Orleans speaks for itself. She founded, and still captains, an all-female Mardi Gras organization that gives back to the entire region not only through its phenomenal parade, but also through charitable endeavors throughout the year, benefiting women, children and the arts.” Kevin Wilkins, president of Tulane Hillel’s board of directors, said Rosenberg “redefined the notion of who can participate in Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ oldest tradition. With open membership and a non-traditional approach, the Muses have helped bring our city’s classic traditions into the 21st century. She is a dynamic and forward thinking leader and I am thrilled to celebrate her this November.” Three Leading Forward awards have been announced. Benjamin Cappiello, co-founder of Bioceptive, is the inventor of the company’s flagship IUD insertion system, which is currently undergoing a large clinical trial. Sarah Covert is founder of Sarah’s Pet Care Revolution, a team of 10 pet experts who make life easier for pets and their people by providing at-home pet sitting, dog walking, training and socialization. She is also active in NCJW’s social advocacy. Chandler Nutik is founder of Community Works of Louisiana, which benefits youth in Community Works academic and social programs across New Orleans, building partnerships and securing grants. The evening will feature catering by H.K. NOLA, cocktails, and live entertainment. Tickets are $120, $72 for young professionals age 35 and under. Patron levels start at $325. 38 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
health & wellness Help find cures for Crohn’s & colitis at two great events!
an annual SJL special section Touro Infirmary, 1904
Touro Infirmary: A Pillar of Strength, Caring for New Orleans for 165 Years by Louis Good III Chairman of the Board, Touro Infirmary
On August 26, Touro Infirmary celebrated a milestone anniversary as the hospital enters its 165th year of service. For 165-years, Touro has had a special place in the hearts of the New Orleans community, just like it has in my family. I was born at Touro, both of my parents and my grandfather served on the Touro governing board, and my children and grandchildren are Touro babies. I know firsthand the important role that Touro has played in caring for our community throughout its long history. Touro was founded in 1852 by Judah Touro, a Jewish philanthropist. Touro recognized the need for medical care for newly-arrived German and Irish immigrants, slaves, and thousands of sailors who came to the port each year. He decided to open a 28-bed hospital to address these needs. In 1882, Touro moved to its current location on Prytania Street to accommodate the influx of patients following the yellow fever epidemic of 1878. In 1922, Touro Infirmary Maternity Service was established, and Touro became the place “where babies come from.” The maternity unit delivered 3,500 babies in 2015, the most of any unit in Greater New Orleans. In 2013, Touro expanded its Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to better care for the tiniest patients; followed by an expansion and renovation of the Family Birthing Center in 2014. Touro has been at the forefront of innovation for decades, providing state-of-the-art care. In 1923, Touro was one of only 15 hospitals in the country approved to use insulin to treat patients. In 1929, Touro was one of the first hospitals in the United States and the first in the city to have a physical therapy department, which paved the way for our nationally recognized rehabilitation center. Today, Touro Rehabilitation Center offers specialized inpatient and outpatient programs for patients experiencing catastrophic injuries and neurological disorders and diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury and cancer. In 2009, Touro and Children’s Hospital partnered to form LCMC Health, a non-profit, community-based system providing a complete continuum of care from birth to geriatrics. In the following years, LCMC Health has expanded to include University Medical Center, New Orleans East Hospital and West Jefferson Medical Center. Today, Touro joins its partner hospitals in dedication to the community through a focus on economic development, advanced research, teaching and clinical excellence initiatives. The Joint Commission recently awarded Touro a three-year reaccreditation and an Advance Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. Touro
Saturday, October 29 Baton Rouge, LA Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s national walk. Join us at this family-friendly event.
Register Today: www.cctakesteps.org/batonrouge2016
Thursday, November 10 Birmingham, AL CCFA’s “Casino for a Cause” event is a great way to spend the night with a date or friends! Enjoy dinner, drinks, a silent auction, and great prizes!
Buy tickets and learn more: www.ccfa.org/chapters/alabama
(646) 387-2149 • www.ccfa.org
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 39
health & wellness
has made it a priority to deliver high quality care to all patients affected by stroke. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities has accredited Touro in six specialty rehabilitation programs. Today, Touro and its subsidiaries employ more than 2,200 people offering a full range of services. Together, with a medical staff of over 550 doctors, we represent a wide variety of specialties, including emergency services, preventive diagnostics, surgical care, women’s services, cardiology, cancer treatment, rehabilitation, imaging, orthopedics, stroke care and more. In its 165-year history, Touro Infirmary has cared for generations of New Orleanians. Our patients and the community can count on our ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing for generations to come.
St. Vincent’s group experienced treating breast cancer by Lee J. Green
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40 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
Birmingham Breast Care, located at St. Vincent’s hospital in Birmingham is the only group in Central and North Alabama performing Hidden Scar Surgery for breast conserving surgery or lumpectomy. “We place the small incision in an area where it can be cosmetically covered up so the incision scar is not in plain sight,” said Dr. Princess Thomas, who recently joined Birmingham Breast Care. “Removing the entire cancer with a negative margin is our top priority but we can also do some things with Hidden Scar Surgery and breast reconstruction (for mastectomies) that makes it look like nothing was done.” Thomas said if they see an abnormality they can do a needle biopsy and in most cases can have same-day results to the patient. Her partner, Dr. Susan Winchester, has 26 years of experience as a breast surgeon with St. Vincent’s. She teaches Hidden Scar Surgery to others along with practicing and teaching nipple-sparing mastectomies. “The nipple defines the breast. Sparing the nipple can be done in patients without significant ptosis (or drooping) and when the cancer is at least two centimeters away from the nipple areolar complex,” said Winchester. She said technology and knowledge for diagnosis and treatment has improved dramatically since she started. “It used to be that every mammographic abnormality had to be removed. Now the standard of care is to needle biopsy first and get immediate diagnosis,” said Winchester. “Another big change is that years ago a surgeon would lop out the breast tissue and leave the breasts with a loss of contour. Now we can do advanced oncoplastic surgery to elevate the skin and tissues to return the contour and one’s natural look.” She said that most women have dense breasts, prompting the need for even stronger imaging tools as 3-D mammography. Traditional mammograms are two-dimensional. MRIs are stronger and more sensitive but can produce some false positive results. “We need more 3-D mammograms out there. That’s the best option,” said Winchester. She also added that Birmingham Breast Care also offers cryoablation to ablate benign nodules. Thomas said they advise women to start getting mammograms annually starting at age 40. If someone in a woman’s immediate family had breast cancer, they should start getting mammograms 10 years earlier than the age the family member was when they got the diagnosis. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, though men do get it too. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. Birmingham Breast Care offers standard of care breast techniques to all patients while focusing on caring for patients’ body, mind and spirit.
health & wellness
Hadassah takes aim at Lou Gehrig’s Disease, other ailments by Lee J. Green Through the support of Hadassah, important tools have been discovered that could be used to treat degenerative diseases of the brain and spinal cord. World-renowned neurologist Dr. Dimitrios Karussis of the Hadassah Medical Organization has conducted the world’s first clinical trial using patients’ own bone marrow stem cells to treat ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Karussis was also the first to inject patients intrathecally — directly into the spinal cord fluid — with an infusion developed by an Israeli/U.S. biotech company. He described the results as “very encouraging.” The procedure has been shown to inhibit the progression of the fatal neurological disease in 87 percent of patients it was used on. “While this is absolutely by no means a cure, it is the first step in a long process in that direction,” said Karussis. ALS is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles. Eventually all muscles under voluntary control are affected. Individuals lose their strength and the ability to move their arms, legs and body.
HE ONCE BEAT HIS DAD FOUR STRAIGHT GAMES IN CHESS. AFTERWARD, HE CELEBRATED WITH SOME ORANGE SLICES AND A BOOK ABOUT WIZARDS.
Bayshore treats addiction personally, holistically By focusing on the holistic, spiritual, medical and psychological treatment of addictions in a warm, home-like environment, Bayshore Retreat reports many success stories in as little as 30 days. “We wanted to create a home environment. Bayshore is in a house in a residential neighborhood of Destin. There’s no sign on the outside of the house. Our staff doesn’t wear uniforms. We only work with six people at a time,” said owner and director Judy Butler. “From experience, we know that is the best way to treat addictions.” Bayshore Retreat was created from Butler’s experience trying to find quality help for her son, Jeff. He graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 1989, and after several DUIs came to the realization that he needed help for an alcohol addiction. They did some research and found a small facility in Destin. Jeff ended up living and working there for four years, getting treatment. But he disagreed with some of the things they did at that facility so the two sought to “do it right.” “Every person is different and every addiction is different. There may be some commonalities but a program needs to be tailored for an individual that is something they are encouraged to stick with,” said Butler. The Bayshore program is built around physical health, exercise, food, vitamins and mental health, with various counselors and life skills coaching. In July 2010, Judy and Jeff bought the house in Destin and began putting their extensive operation manual together and did everything needed to obtain their licenses and permits. They got licensed in 2011 and began treating people. Typically, a patient goes through the Bayshore program in 30 to 35 days, but some are there for 60 and even 90 days. “It seems that when we’ve been contacted by or about someone who has a need for our program, we have a space available,” said Butler. “God has blessed us since day one.” She said what makes everything worthwhile is being able to treat people and they become like family. Butler said she regularly gets calls of thanks and has reunions with patients they have treated over the past five years. “That’s the best part. When we see them kick the addiction and go on to be successful with their lives, well, there is no greater reward,” she said.
C H I L D R E N A M A Z E U S E V E R Y D AY and at Children’s of Alabama we want to see every child grow up and live to their fullest potential. That’s why we recruit, train and retain the most inquiring minds, the most skilled hands and the most compassionate hearts in pediatric medicine. 1600 7TH AVENUE SOUTH BIRMINGHAM, AL 35233 (205) 638-9100 ChildrensAL.org
10:20 AM October 2016 • Southern Jewish2/8/16 Life 41
health & wellness CCFA helps those with Crohn’s, Colitis by Lee J. Green
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Pensacola • Panama City • Tallahassee • Mobile • Dothan 42 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
Those with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are five times more likely than the general public to have Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. But the good news is that there is support, education and a research push toward the development of new treatments as well as a cure. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization serving Alabama and northwest Florida with its office in Birmingham and Louisiana/Mississippi with its office in New Orleans. Karen Rittenbaum, the CCFA Area Executive Director for the Southeast based out of Atlanta, said “the million dollar question” is why those numbers are so high. “And we want to continue to raise millions of dollars to find the answers,” she said. “We need more support for research to search for better treatments and perhaps one day, the cure.” The prime factor leading to Crohn’s and Colitis is genetic, but focus has also been on dietary as well as environmental factors. “We’re on a path to discover the cause and then that would lead to discovering the cure. The treatTake Steps events: ments are becoming more sophisticatOctober 19 ed and effective.” Fairhope Pier, Ala. Rittenbaum joined CCFA 10 years Highland Road Park, Baton Rouge ago and has been in her current position for the past five years, primarNovember 10 ily charged with leading fundraising Regions Field, Birmingham efforts for programs, support and research. “We’ve got a great story to tell and people are listening. Ten years ago CCFA was a $6 million organization and today we’re a $72 million organization,” she said. Emily Richter of CCFA Alabama/Northwest Florida said the chapter will hold its sixth annual Casino for a Cause fundraiser at Regions Field in Birmingham on Nov. 10. Admission includes dinner, drinks, silent auction, entertainment and great prizes. Proceeds will support CCFA programs including education, Camp Oasis for children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis, and additional support for Alabamians living with these chronic digestive diseases. Before that event, both Baton Rouge and Mobile will host “Take Steps” walks that help to raise awareness and funds. The Baton Rouge event will be Oct. 19 in Highland Road Park, and in the Mobile area on Oct. 19 on the Fairhope Pier. Richter said previously it seemed that Crohn’s and Colitis symptoms developed almost exclusively among those in their 20s and 30s, but today the fastest-growing population being diagnosed are kids. She said sometimes Crohn’s and Colitis symptoms can include joint pain or skin problems. Those are also consistent with sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, so enough testing needs to be done when those symptoms pop up. She said CCFA’s support and education for sufferers and their families include educational programs, monthly support group meetings and information on demand at www.ccfa.org. “Some of the best information and help comes from people who have Crohn’s and Colitis helping others who have the diseases. It’s nice to have others to share experiences with and to share what has worked best,” she said. One of those success stories is Birmingham native and current Georgia Tech junior physics major Aaron Aizenman. He first had symptoms of Crohn’s Disease on his first day of school in seventh grade. His parents and his doctor first thought it was a stomach bug but Aizenman kept losing weight, and was having a hard time digesting and keeping down food. By the middle of November 2007, he
health & wellness Best Wishes for a Joyous, Prosperous, and Healthy New Year weighed only 80 pounds. In January 2008 he had blood drawn for a colonoscopy and the doctors discovered he had Crohn’s. “When I got the diagnosis I knew the disease was serious but manageable. I put it in perspective. I wasn’t going to let it ruin my life,” he said. Aizenman put the weight back on and was able to come up with a medicine and diet regime that worked effectively for him. He has the occasional flare-up but mostly has the Crohn’s under control. “I am in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity at Georgia Tech. A few of my brothers are also of Ashkenazi descent and have Crohn’s or Colitis. We share stories and help each other. I also look for opportunities to help others by sharing with them what worked for me,” said Aizenman. This past winter, he enjoyed his second visit to Israel, this time with Birthright Israel. “It was such an incredible experience. Plus I was able to eat just about anything over there,” he added.
From the Board and Staff of the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana
Create A Jewish Legacy • Secure A Jewish Future
Tips for keeping kids’ teeth healthy by Lee J. Green With more than 17 years of experience as a pediatric dentist and as a mother of four children, Birmingham’s Dr. Angela Rohner understands that every child is different. But there is some common medical advice that can keep parents and their children smiling. “It is very important for everyone to brush their child’s teeth two times a day and floss at least once a day until they are at least 8 years old,” she said. “Children begin to grow in a lot of permanent teeth starting around age 6, and most children do not have the manual dexterity to do a good job with their teeth until after age 8.” She said they illustrate to kids and their parents how to properly brush and the importance of flossing. Since toothbrushes can’t reach between teeth, the only way to remove the maximum amount of plaque and debris that causes cavities as well as bad breath is through flossing. “Another important factor in helping children to develop healthy oral habits and strong healthy teeth is to limit cavity-causing foods and beverages,” said Rohner. “The biggest misconception that we see regarding good food choices is in regard to fruit juices and sugar-containing beverages. Fruit juices are high in sugar and our damaging to our teeth.” She said she and the staff encourage parents to feed their children whole fruits rather than providing fruit juices, and to try and limit their children’s beverages to primarily water and milk throughout the day and with meals.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 43
health & wellness
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Advancements in breast cancer surgery taking place in New Orleans by Lee J. Green
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U OF FLORIDA RICE
Crescent City Physicians’ Dr. John Colfry is planting the seeds toward more effective identification, treatment and removal of breast cancer. Dr. Colfry has mastered the innovative surgical technique of radioactive seed localized lumpectomy. The fellowship-trained surgical oncologist and New Orleans native specializes in the surgical treatment for breast cancer including lumpectomy, mastectomy, breast conservation techniques and oncoplastic surgery. “Breast cancer is no longer a vanilla diagnosis. From a biologic standpoint, every cancer behaves differently and we have to treat each one with that type of attention,” said Colfry. Crescent City Physicians is a subsidiary of Touro Infirmary. Colfry’s radioactive seed technique is at the forefront of progressive breast oncologic surgery. Many doctors still impale a woman’s breast with a guidewire prior to lumpectomy. But Colfry and Crescent City Physicians are the only ones in the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Region to employ tiny radioactive seeds, which are the size of rice grains. The seeds do not kill the cancer but rather serve as the “GPS” to locate the cancer so it can be more precisely removed. The process takes out much less tissue and is a lot less invasive than using the wire. The cosmetic results are fantastic. “After a small, focused lumpectomy, I combine oncology and plastic surgery to reconstruct the breast. In most cases it looks so nice you can hardly tell there was any surgery at all,” said Colfry. Colfry earned his pre-med degree from Louisiana State University and did post-graduate training at the famed MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. “My goal was to bring MD Anderson-quality, advanced medical care to my hometown,” added Colfry. The best advice for women is to not skip a mammogram. Early detection is so important, he said. “Breast pain is normally hormonal changes, but if someone feels a firm mass under the skin that is painless, it could be the sign of a possible tumor,” said Colfry. He also advised breast self-exams and to know one’s family history. Only 10 percent of cancers are attributed to genetic factors or family medical links, but those cancers tend to be the more aggressive ones. “We can do genetic testing to catch it early or do preventative surgery,” said Colfry.
Save on Medicare Part D through CJFS consultation With Medicare Part D enrollment beginning on Oct. 15, Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham is offering consultations during the open enrollment period, which runs through Dec. 7. Last year, CJFS Case Manager Amy Peetluk saved clients over $66,000 through the free consultations. For an appointment, call CJFS at (205) 879-3438.
Monthly mobile clinic at LJCC
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44 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016 Slash Dot
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Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will host a monthly visit by the Be Well Mobile Clinic for those needing a primary care physician. The Be Well Mobile Clinic is a full doctor’s office on the go. The first visit was Sept. 20, and the next visit is Oct. 18. Appointments can be scheduled online at calendly.com/be-well-mobile
health & wellness As long as
streetcars roll along St. Charles Avenue, Touro will be a part of New Orleans.
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 45
health & wellness
Tulane doctor specializes in pituitary tumors
The healing powers of the Dead Sea are here in Birmingham
by Lee J. Green
a space to relax your mind, body and soul 4851 Cahaba River Road Birmingham
Birmingham-Southern College presents
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF BSC’s first-ever production of the beloved musical theatre classic, starring music professor and baritone Jeff Kensmoe as Tevye. • Oct. 19, 20 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. • Oct. 23 at 2:30 p.m. • Oct. 27-29 at 7:30 p.m. To reserve tickets online, go to www.bsc.edu/academics/theatre or call the College Theatre Box Office during regular hours (MondayFriday, 1-4:45 p.m.) at (205) 226-4780. For a full list of theatre, music, and visual arts events, visit www.bsc.edu.
BSC 46 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
Endoscopic pituitary surgery conducted by Dr. Ricky Medel, the co-director of Cerebrovascular, Endovascular and Skull Base Surgery at Tulane Hospital, has proven a successful, minimally invasive treatment for pituitary tumors. Medel, also an assistant professor of Neurological Surgery, is one of only a select few neurosurgeons in the country dual-trained in both traditional open microsurgery and minimally-invasive endovascular neurosurgery for vascular disorders of the brain as well as the spine. “Most of these pituitary tumors (in the glands) are benign,” he said. “With this endoscopic surgery we can remove the tumor more easily and since it is less invasive the recovery times are shorter. These have been very successful.” The tumor is removed through a process of putting the endoscope camera through the nose. If it is a benign tumor and all of it is removed, the tumor usually does not re-occur with the hormone levels going back to normal. Medel said changes in hormone levels can be a warning sign of pituitary problems and it is wise to get an MRI to see if those are being caused by a tumor. Some people develop Cushing’s Syndrome as a result of long-term exposure of the body to elevated cortisol levels. This can lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease among other serious ailments. If this is discovered, the source of the increased cortisol must be determined, he said. “It can come from the excess secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or from long-term use of oral steroid medication,” said Medel. “If the source is determined to be a tumor in the pituitary gland, the options for treatment includes endoscopic transphenoidal surgery for resection, radiosurgery, or medical treatment for cases that are resistant to the other options listed.” He said warning signs of pituitary tumors could include unexplained weight gain, hands or feet increasing in size, and diabetes. Usually there isn’t pain associated with the presence of a tumor. “We work with a patient’s endocrinologist and primary care physician to diagnose and set the best course of treatment. The hormone levels in the blood should be tested. As always, the sooner we can identify and treat, the better the long-term prognosis,” said Medel.
nosh for the love of the deli
PASTRAMI ON RYE:
An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli by Ted Merwin While there’s nothing in this book on the now-shuttered Olde-Tyme Deli in Jackson or Browdy’s in Birmingham, there is very brief mention of Southern institutions like Rosen’s Delirama in Memphis which declared itself in the 1960s “the largest, most modern, and most complete strictly Kosher Food Mart in the country” and New Orleans’ Pressner’s with its “kosher smorgasboard” of pastrami, tongue, salami, liverwurst, bologna, and an “assortment of appetizing items such as smoked fish, herring and lox.” “Pastrami on Rye” is a loving history of an institution: the deli and the its significance to our cultural heritage. Our Jewish identity. Although the emphasis is on the New York deli phenomenon, the book abounds with interesting bits for any deli lover: the fight against Teddy Roosevelt for Sunday sales; the role of the deli as Photograph courtesy Bill Aron, from his Shalom Y’all collection “secular synagogue”; what happens when delis experiment with ethnic food Judy and Irv Feldman at Jackson’s Olde-Tyme Deli (Bernstein’s developed salami fried rice, egg foo yung with chicken livers, and Chicken Bernstein, a half chicken stuffed with bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and pastrami). What’s to come of the deli, the Jewish deli? The author has his ideas, but DELI LOVE mostly it’s up to those who still frequent the deli and see its value — not just in feeding us, but feeding our identity.
Turning Back the Hands of Time: Jackson, Mississippi’s Olde-Tyme Deli
RHAPSODY IN SCHMALTZ:
by Amy C. Evans
Yiddish Food and Why We Can’t Stop Eating It
“When I was a little girl, your father would always give me a cookie.” This is the kind of story that people still share with Michele Schipper, daughter of Irv and Judy Feldman, owners of Olde-Tyme Deli in Jackson. The deli closed in 2000, but for 39 years it served Jackson-area Jews and by Michael Wex non-Jews, as well as Jewish communities across Mississippi. Sixteen years Here, i’s not only what we’re eating but why, how after Irv and Judy served their last Reuben, people still mourn the loss of this many hours between, and that we’re still partaking family-owned restaurant that was truly one of a kind. in conversations on rules that were taking shape Judy Feldman grew up in Clarksdale, where her parents, Shelda and Mike hundreds or thousands of years ago. Binder, owned a dry goods store. Judy left the Delta as a young woman and That’s the first part of the book, though. Later on, we get to the tasty bits, and you know you’re getting there when the first line of landed in St. Louis, Mo., where she worked for a medical records company chapter four begins, “It all comes down to schmaltz.” Okay, now we’re talking. at a local hospital. There, she met Irv, a St. Louis native who worked in retail. Although there are no recipes and this is no beach read, a completely They fell in love, married, and moved to Memphis, where they each continued thorough, academic history of Yiddish dishes is represented. Kreplach gets in their chosen professions, and had the first of their three children. For reasons the family isn’t quite sure of, Judy’s parents decided that they three pages, gefilte fish gets eight.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 47
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48 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
wanted to leave Clarksdale and move down to Jackson, the state’s capitol, and open a restaurant. They invited Judy and Irv to join them. Together, they opened Olde-Tyme Deli in Jackson’s Highland Village Shopping Center in August 1961. Their goal was simple: Provide the dishes they know best with a commitment to service, courtesy and quality. With plenty of retail experience and family recipes under their collective belt, their new venture was sure to thrive. By catering to Mississippi’s Jewish community, it soared. “For the Jews, the deli was like Mecca,” Michelle recalls. “If you were dropping your kids off at Jacobs Camp in Utica or driving through Jackson on your way to New Orleans, the deli was a regular stop.” Of course, this was before specialty food products were available at your local Kroger. “The Deli was it,” she says. “You couldn’t buy Passover foods in the grocery store, so Jewish families would send orders from congregations all over Mississippi. The Manischewitz deliveries were big. My father would ship orders out by bus!” But the Olde-Tyme Deli was more than corned beef and kugel. It was also known for fresh pastries, Louisiana gumbo and, to the shock of some, pork. When asked if her parents and grandparents ever considered operating a strictly kosher deli, Michelle laughs, “Not at all. It wouldn’t have made sense. There were maybe two families in Jackson that kept kosher, and my dad would make special orders for them from Chicago. But I think it was just a matter of them recognizing where they were, and they “ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES didn’t ever consider being IS OF A WOMAN WHO CAME strictly kosher.” And they were INTO THE DELI WANTING TO right, because most of Jackson PURCHASE A KOSHER HAM. SHE didn’t even know what kosher THOUGHT ‘KOSHER’ MEANT THAT meant. “One of my favorite stories is of a woman who IT WAS BETTER.” came into the deli wanting to purchase a kosher ham,” Michele says. “She thought ‘kosher’ meant that it was better.” Michele’s parents and grandparents not only introduced Mississippians to traditional Jewish foods, they established an environment that really brought people together — a place where regulars met every morning for coffee, and generations of families enjoyed a particular brand of hospitality. “When people remember my family’s place, I think what they’re missing is a piece of community,” says Michele. And that community extended to the employees. Some Olde-Tyme Deli staff worked for the family for a decade or more and even enjoyed a profit-sharing plan. According to Michele, when the deli closed, there were five or six long-term employees who left with a comfortable sum. A handful of those same employees keep a standing date with Irv, who turned 90 this year, at Congregation Beth Israel’s Annual Sisterhood Bazaar, where they meet over bowls of matzah ball soup and talk about the old days at the Olde-Tyme Deli. Sixteen years after the deli closed its doors, the annual Sisterhood Bazaar is the only opportunity that Jacksonians have to enjoy some of the traditional Jewish dishes that Irv and Judy and their family shared with Mississippi. It’s the one moment during the year that Jacksonians can turn back the hands of time.
Mike Binder died in 1963, two years after the deli opened. His wife Shelda passed away in 1978. Irv’s wife Judy worked in the deli until it closed; the an family said goodbye to her in 2003. Today, Michele, her sister Amy and Ne brother Alex all live in Jackson and enjoy careers outside of the deli business. we And they, too, rely on the annual Sisterhood Bazaar to enjoy the traditional Jewish dishes that their family is known for. From the back of an original Olde-Time Delicatessen menu: “The intention of the Olde-Tyme Deli is to turn back the hands of time! Back to that era: …..Where here every man’s word was his bond; …..Where every dollar purchased quality merchandise.
October 2016 â&#x20AC;¢ Southern Jewish Life 49
nosh wanted to leave Clarksdale and move down to Jackson, the state’s capitol, and open a restaurant. They invited Judy and Irv to join them. Together, they opened Olde-Tyme Deli in Jackson’s Highland Village Shopping Center in August 1961. Their goal was simple: Provide the dishes they know best with a commitment to service, courtesy and quality. With plenty of retail experience and family recipes under their collective belt, their new venture was sure to thrive. By catering to Mississippi’s Jewish community, it soared. “For the Jews, the deli was like Mecca,” Michelle recalls. “If you were dropping your kids off at Jacobs Camp in Utica or driving through Jackson on your way to New Orleans, the deli was a regular stop.” Of course, this was before specialty food products were available at your local Kroger. “The Deli was it,” she says. “You couldn’t buy Passover foods in the grocery store, so Jewish families would send orders from congregations all over Mississippi. The Manischewitz deliveries were big. My father would ship orders out by bus!” But the Olde-Tyme Deli was more than corned beef and kugel. It was also known for fresh pastries, Louisiana gumbo and, to the shock of some, pork. When asked if her parents and grandparents ever considered operating a strictly kosher deli, Michelle laughs, “Not at all. It wouldn’t have made sense. There were maybe two families in Jackson that kept kosher, and my dad would make special orders for them from Chicago. But I think it was just a matter of them recognizing where they were, and they “ONE OF MY FAVORITE STORIES didn’t ever consider being IS OF A WOMAN WHO CAME strictly kosher.” And they were INTO THE DELI WANTING TO right, because most of Jackson PURCHASE A KOSHER HAM. SHE didn’t even know what kosher THOUGHT ‘KOSHER’ MEANT THAT meant. “One of my favorite stories is of a woman who IT WAS BETTER.” came into the deli wanting to purchase a kosher ham,” Michele says. “She thought ‘kosher’ meant that it was better.” Michele’s parents and grandparents not only introduced Mississippians to traditional Jewish foods, they established an environment that really brought people together — a place where regulars met every morning for coffee, and generations of families enjoyed a particular brand of hospitality. “When people remember my family’s place, I think what they’re missing is a piece of community,” says Michele. And that community extended to the employees. Some Olde-Tyme Deli staff worked for the family for a decade or more and even enjoyed a profit-sharing plan. According to Michele, when the deli closed, there were five or six long-term employees who left with a comfortable sum. A handful of those same employees keep a standing date with Irv, who turned 90 this year, at Congregation Beth Israel’s Annual Sisterhood Bazaar, where they meet over bowls of matzah ball soup and talk about the old days at the Olde-Tyme Deli. Sixteen years after the deli closed its doors, the annual Sisterhood Bazaar is the only opportunity that Jacksonians have to enjoy some of the traditional Jewish dishes that Irv and Judy and their family shared with Mississippi. It’s the one moment during the year that Jacksonians can turn back the hands of time. Mike Binder died in 1963, two years after the deli opened. His wife Shelda passed away in 1978. Irv’s wife Judy worked in the deli until it closed; the family said goodbye to her in 2003. Today, Michele, her sister Amy and brother Alex all live in Jackson and enjoy careers outside of the deli business. And they, too, rely on the annual Sisterhood Bazaar to enjoy the traditional Jewish dishes that their family is known for.
…..Where every customer deserved and received courtesy and service. Our purpose is not to be critical of the rush and zoom of the Twentieth Century, but to recreate, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of mass merchandizing, in some small measure — the years of yesterday. This replica of an old-time Williamsburg store is for those who wish to browse in leisure, shop with discrimination, dine on quality foods, and take advantage of the sincerely proffered commodity called “personal service.” …Not an empty gesture at the past, the Olde-Tyme Delicatessen is a solid promise to the future — a promise that you, our customer, shall have the service, courtesy, and quality you rightfully deserve. So… let’s turn back the clock! Turn back the hours. Pleasant shopping. The best of eating! Where the hands of the clock, and the hands of everyone in this establishment, are dedicated to… making the “tyme” you spend here satisfying.”
Birmingham’s Max’s Deli closes Max’s Deli closed abruptly this summer, ending an era of Jewish deli in Birmingham. Known for its deli sandwiches and burgers, Max’s was opened in 2009 by Steve Dubrinsky. He sold it to Kyung Chung in early 2013. Though the menu stayed mostly intact after the change, sales declined sharply. Dubrinsky said he was trying to help the current owner find a buyer, but before that could happen the owner shut the doors in mid-July. In 2011, Dubrinsky made headlines during the contentious debate over anti-immigrant laws in Alabama, when he was quoted in the Birmingham News expressing concern for the effect on his kitchen staff, all of whom were legal.
Beth Or selling Carnegie cheesecakes
Temple Beth Or in Montgomery is once again selling cheesecakes from From the back of an original Olde-Time Delicatessen menu: Carnegie Deli in New York as a fundraiser. “The intention of the Olde-Tyme Deli is to turn back the hands of time! Back A tradition since 1937, the cheesecakes come in 6-inch and 8-inch sizto that era: 251.973.2217 • 800.247.8420 es, at $25 and $35 respectively. Orders are due by Oct. 28 and may be …..Where here every man’s word was his bond; picked up on Nov. 15 or 16. …..Where every dollar purchased quality merchandise. 50 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
culture art • books • apps • music • television • film • theatre
Lesley Silver’s Attic Gallery in Vicksburg, the oldest independent art gallery in Mississippi, is celebrating its 45th anniversary with a “Still Standing” event on Oct. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m. Artists will be giving their interpretations of the theme for the event. “I have been truly blessed to be able to do what I have loved doing — bringing art and artists and people together in a very special place and sharing their energy and talent,” she said.
CALENDARS FOR 5777 The Jewish Museum Calendar 2017 Featuring 16 of some of the most compelling pieces from The Jewish Museum, New York, the calendar includes images of an Austrian Chanukkiah and works by a broad variety of artists such as Max Weber and Meichel Pressman Hebrew Illuminations: 2017 Calendar Jewish artist Adam Rhine’s latest calendar makes up the first in his new two-part illuminated letter series. The designs are especially light and fresh. This year, he also produces a Coloring Calendar in which users can make their own art using his Jewish motifs, and a separate Coloring Book available with 38 pages of patterns paired with verses to encourage calming meditation
The Jewish Eye: 2017 Calendar D. Yael Bernhard’s 2017 calendar includes many new works, with ‘The Seder’ and ‘The Burning Bush’ being especially noteworthy Jewish Celebrations Paintings by Malcah Zeldis Fans of Malcah Zeldis’ memory paintings will be pleased with this year’s calendar, featuring images of Jewish tradition along with a charming piece on baseball great Hank Greenberg
Frédéric Brenner, Portrait of Roy Lichtenstein on Ellis Island, 1996. Print. Collection of Joan Olden.
FRÉDÉRIC BRENNER: ICON SERIES at the Pensacola Museum of Art
An opening reception will be held on Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. for the “Frederic Brenner: Icon Series” exhibit at the Pensacola Museum of Art. On view through Dec. 31, the series is made up of more than 40 black-and-white portraits of iconic American Jews, staged at Ellis Island. Among those included are Roy Lichtenstein, Betty Friedan, Arthur Miller and Ralph Lauren. Now in his 50s, the Paris-born artist has been photographing since his late teens, with his first project based in Mea Shearim. Since that time, he has explored the Diaspora, telling The Forward in 2014, “I put into light the typology of acculturation, how far the Jews came to the defining the ‘other’ in Europe and everywhere, and how far they remain themselves.” This exhibit explores iconic American figures, and is on loan from the private collection of Joan Olden.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 51
culture Rabbi Levy writes memoir about friendship with President Clinton
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When you’re a rabbi in a relatively-small Jewish community in a state capital, it isn’t unusual to encounter the governor frequently. If that governor eventually winds up being president, that’s a whole different level of memories. Rabbi Eugene Levy, who led B’nai Israel in Little Rock from 1987 to 2011, recently published “A Privileged Encounter: My Unique Experience with President Bill Clinton, 1987-2000.” The book, which is arranged chronologically, “would have been considered a blog” if that sort of thing had existed in those years, Levy said. He had an idea to write something “and hand it down to our kids so they would have a historical context of this generation.” For years, Levy had a drawer in his desk with his notes and diary from his different encounters with Clinton. When there was a small fire at B’nai Israel, “I rescued the Torahs and the Clinton material,” he said. After retirement, he started putting the material together. “It just developed into a memoir,” he said, and “as long as I’m going to make three copies for the kids, might as well make some more.” He gave copies of the privately-published book to his extended family and those who helped him put the book together, especially the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Levy has already done four or five appearances and book signings in Little Rock and Dallas. His first encounter with Clinton came in late 1987, shortly after Levy moved to Arkansas from Tyler, Tex. Then-Governor Clinton was a speaker at an NAACP board meeting in Little Rock, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School. Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Reform movement’s Religious Action Center, was there as an NAACP board member, and was already a close friend of Clinton’s. They would cross paths many times in the buildup to the 1992 presidential race, with childhood friends of Clinton telling Levy about Clinton’s close ties with the Arkansas Jewish community since childhood. In 1992, he would write to rabbis across the country before their states’ primaries to “introduce” Clinton to them, especially “skeptical rabbis in the northeast and midwest and west coast.” Levy would frequently be invited to events in Washington, and the Washington Jewish Week ran a photo of him on the cover, stating he was “Bill Clinton’s rabbi. One of them.” Among the events he attended were the peace treaty signings between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993, and Israel and Jordan in 1994. The tone of the book is generally positive — various Clinton scandals are mentioned only in passing. “I didn’t want to dwell on them, but I didn’t want to omit them either.” He unwittingly became part of one scandal — the Lincoln Bedroom controversy, which alleged that overnight stays in the White House were being dangled as an incentive to campaign donors. When a list of those who stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom was published, his presence on the list was noted in media accounts. In 1996, he was invited to spend the night at the White House — not because he was a donor, he noted. The family of David Ifshin, who was active in the 1992
culture campaign, was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom that night, as Ifshin had terminal cancer and wanted his family to have the experience of staying in the White House before he died. Levy signed a guest book outside the Lincoln Bedroom but overnighted in a different room, upstairs. Levy’s signature on the guest book led to his being interviewed for “Jews in the Lincoln Bedroom” when the scandal broke. As the impeachment process against Clinton gained momentum in 1998, Levy wrote an editorial, “The Zealotry of Impeachment” to “address the hypocrisy.” He was part of a group of clergy in Little Rock who were “very concerned about what would happen” and noted that many of those pushing for impeachment “didn’t have clean backgrounds.” The group met with Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who is now governor of Arkansas. “We wanted to make sure if he was going to proceed with this, then it would be done in a just and fair manner,” which did not happen, he said. After 2000, as Clinton was more involved with the Clinton Foundation, Levy “would see him from time to time” but not particularly often. In 2012, Clinton was the keynote speaker and honoree at a Jewish Federation of Arkansas event, but as Clinton is mostly in New York, “for the most part” they don’t communicate much. He did hear from Clinton after the book was published. In 2002, on the way back from Israel, Levy was in New York on the six-month anniversary of Sept. 11, and was able to visit with Clinton in his Harlem office. The final photo in the book is of Levy “and the theoretically two Clinton presidents.” While he saw Clinton many times, “very rarely” did he see Mrs. Clinton over the years. He has the charm, Levy said, and she is “more of the student.” While she was a senator from New York, Levy met with her for about 10 minutes in her office while at a conference in Washington. He was accompanied by two rabbinic colleagues who were “amazed I could get an audience with her that quickly.” The difference between the 1990s and now is that Clinton’s headquarters was in Little Rock, leading to an endless stream of press and political figures — many of them Jewish — in 1992 and 1996, while Mrs. Clinton’s base is New York. “They’ve been gone for a while.” He chose to concentrate the book just on the period when Clinton was governor and president, and focus on Clinton “the person.” He notes that “I was lucky to have been in the right place at the right time,” and “any other rabbi in my place would probably have had many of the same experiences and good fortune that I did.”
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 53
How a scrawny, shy Jewish kid from Birmingham with an operatic voice became a wrestling star…
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culture Nick May releases first Jewish music EP Songleader and musician Nick May of New Orleans has released his first studio album, “This Beauty.” Soon to graduate from Louisiana State University in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Jewish Studies, Religious Studies, and Sociology, May is also in his first year serving as the Baton Rouge Federation of Temple Youth advisor. He has been songleader at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica for three summers and spent this past summer as songleader at JCC Camp Sabra in Rocky Mount, Mo. He has been travelling around the Deep South singing with different communities for Shabbat services, educational programs, as well as National Federation of Temple Youth events for the past four years. “Growing up going to camp every summer I always looked forward to having people like Dan Nichols and Rick Recht visit and sing with us and from a young age I knew that I wanted to be like them,” May said. He has made numerous connections through Jacobs Camp and nationally through the annual Hava Nashira event in Wisconsin for Jewish songwriters, but coming out with an album “gives me a chance to connect with people beyond those audiences” and “make an impression on the Jewish music community.” He does vocals and guitar on the album, while his father, Robert, does backup vocals and bass, and additional backup vocals come from his mother, Tory May, cantorial soloist at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. Richard Bird of The Boogiemen is on percussion, organ and guitar. The EP consists of six songs, five of which are his original compositions. “Hinei Mah Tov” is a collaborative effort with Australia native Shannyn Gelbart at Hava Nashira. The album can be purchased online at nickmaymusic.squarespace.com.
Nick May at Jacobs Camp
UNBROKEN by Joe Buchanan Have you ever thought what ‘Shalom Aleichem’ really needed was some slide guitar? Well, you just got your wish, because Houston’s Joe Buchanan released his new ‘Unbroken’ album, full of pure country goodness. Buchanan’s country/folk take on traditional and original Jewish songs is so fun — and so American — we can’t help but thinking it makes for the official soundtrack of sitting in the sukkah this year. 54 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
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Danya Ruttenberg, rabbi, wife, mother of three, wonders how the minutae of everyday life - the diapers, the lost things, the daily little battles - along with the truly big things like lifecycle events - can be tethered to Jewish tradition. Rabbi Ruttenberg reminds us in a modern, sometimes messy, I-canrelate-to-that way that there are worlds of information in Jewish texts to help us get out of our own heads: raising children is much more than what’s for lunch or how to fit in after-school activities. This book is a call for mindfulness in the everyday, to see how things fit in the big picture, how parenthood is a spiritual practice. And the word ‘practice’ seems especially apt, as we all flat-out screw up sometimes, but that doesn’t mean we’ve ruined everything. Raising children is an effort, something that we try to do our best at, and that striving is a holy task. No parenting instructions here, rather the wisdom that comes from sources like Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Fred Rogers, historical Jewish texts, and lots of contemporary writers of both sexes that relates not just to what happened hundreds or thousands of years ago but how we can use those nuggets of wisdom to inform and serve us today with our own little people. Serious knowledge, lighthearted delivery. Truly, nurturing the wow.
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For 12-year-old Paige Noble, life in Chicago was idyllic, until that day in 1962 when she woke up in a hospital bed, having survived a random gang attack that claimed her parents and brother. Her only known relative, an uncle who was a photographer in Europe, takes her in and eventually starts to tell her about her family’s true history, including Jewish roots her mother tried to deny. Then Paige stumbles on her mother’s diary, with stories of loss and turmoil from the Holocaust. She and her uncle set out on a quest to locate one surviving family member and deal with a family legacy of suffering and survival that Paige’s parents wanted to protect her from. A resident of Chicago and Florida, Eisenberg has spoken nationally as part of the Jewish Book Council author tour, and her first novel was “Pictures of the Past,” about an Impressionist painting at the Art Institute of Chicago that an elderly woman challenges as a Nazi theft.
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Early 1900s Jewish immigration to the United States came in large part from Ashkenazi areas, thus those foods like brisket, chopped liver, and matzah ball soup often are first to come to mind. But because Mediterranean communities came in smaller numbers, their cuisine is still to this day lesser known, though the flavors of Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey and others are what our contemporary American palates are more drawn to. Although there are no photographs, this 468 page collection is a comprehensive volume of those dishes bound to become our new traditions. Make way for tasty lamb flatbreads, Syrian chicken, and saffron rice pudding.
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French theme for sold-out Federation annual event For the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, it was a nice problem to have — the Fete de Federation celebration on Sept. 22 sold out and even had a waiting list. The 103rd annual meeting was combined with the campaign celebration and awards ceremony, after feedback last summer that indicated a desire to have one large annual event instead of two. After a social hour at the Audubon Tea Room, elections were held for the Federation and Jewish Endowment Foundation, followed by a seated dinner and the awards presentations. Federation President Edward Soll said the New Orleans in recent years has become “one of the most dynamic, engaged Jewish communities in North America.” Rabbi Robert Loewy echoed that in his invocation, saying “New York and Chicago may have more Jews, but we are a Jewish community.” As the event was held during Elul, he blew the shofar, calling it “the Jewish form of tailgating — the prep before the game.” Michael Weil, who will be concluding his time as executive director of the New Orleans Federation at next year’s annual meeting, explained the evening’s French theme as an expression of New Orleans’ past and a nod to the French Jewish community. The Federation campaign chairs mission to Israel stopped in France to show solidarity and support in the face of numerous anti-Semitic incidents. In the coming year, Weil said, the Federation will focus on three pillars: Community building through engaging newcomers and developing new leadership through the Katz Phillips program; Outreach to the greater community, building on relationships with the Archdiocese, Urban League and African-American groups, and reaching out to the Muslim community; and connections with Israel. New Orleans has “one of the most creative and successful” Partnership 2Gether relationships, with a wide range of activities with Rosh Ha’Ayin. The Federation is giving an additional push to the teen Gift of Israel program, planning a high-tech exchange and is now recruiting for a June 2017 fourtrack community mega-mission to Israel. Soll said the mission “is a great opportunity for our community to come together.” Lisa Heller and Juan Gershanik were recognized for chairing the 2016 annual campaign, which raised $2,646,957, an overall increase of almost $30,000 over Juan Gershanik and Lisa Heller last year. There were 39 new gifts and 368 gift increases over the previous year, totaling $173,833. As part of the evening, JEF presented the Jewish Federations of North America Endowment Achievement Award to Anne Lowenburg. JEF Executive Director Saundra Levy called Lowenburg “one of the most understated philanthropists I have ever met… you are a leader in our community in your own quiet and gentle way.” She noted that Lowenburg’s family was involved in founding congregations in Mobile, Montgomery and Natchez. In her brief response, Lowenburg simply offered a toast “to those present and those absent.” In a departure, the Federation annual awards were presented in a video, after which the evening concluded with music and dancing. Lis Kahn received the Roger Bissinger Memorial Award. She co-
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community chaired the annual campaign in 1998 and was an advisor for the 2007-2009 class of the LemannStern Leadership Development program for rising Federation leaders. A long-time Lion of Judah, she has served as chair of several Federation committees. She has also served on the boards of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, the National Council of Jewish Women and Hadassah, Anne Lowenburg offers a toast of which she is a life member. Kahn is also a past president of Shir Chadash Conservative Congregation and its Sisterhood. Michele Gelman received the Herbert J. & Margot Garon Young Leadership Award. A New Orleans native, she moved to Chicago after graduating from Alabama. She returned to New Orleans and became active in YAD, now JNOLA, then was part of the Lemann-Stern class of 2009. She became active at Gates of Prayer, the third generation of her family to do so, and is now the immediate past president. Gelman has worked on the Jewish Children’s Regional Service Latke with a Twist fundraiser, chaired the Gift of Israel program, and has been part of the effort to revamp the Katz Phillips Leadership Program and to find the next Federation executive director. Attorney Michael Finkelstein received the Cohen-Jacobs Emerging Leader Award. A native of New Orleans, as a student at Louisiana State University he was a frequent advocate of historic preservation and established an organization to accomplish that mission, in addition to involvement with organizations such as Hillel and Tigers for Israel. He has been honored with the Jeffery M. Lahasky Leadership Award from his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu. Finkelstein has been involved with JNOLA, Youth Run NOLA, and Young Leadership Counsel, and chairs the JNOLA professional networking committee. The Anne Goldsmith Hanaw and J. Jerome Hanaw Tikkun Olam Award went to Cathy Bart and Steven Usdin. Bart began her involvement in New Orleans through Young Judaea, NCSY and BBG. She and husband, Morris, became engaged with Federation soon after they were married, making their first trip to Israel in 1987 on a Lemann-Stern mission. She has served on the boards of Communal Hebrew School, Jewish Family Service, JEF, the Jewish Community Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women and Federation, among others. She was a member of the JFNA National Young Leadership Cabinet from 1996 to 2002. The Barts co-chaired the 2011 Federation annual campaign, and the Bart family was the recipient of the JEF Tzedakah Award in 2012. She has also endowed her Lion of Judah. In early 2016, she helped to spearhead a BBYO reunion of 250 past members of New Orleans chapters dating back to the 1940s, in an effort to raise funds and awareness to help grow the local BBYO chapter. Usdin serves on the Board of KIPP NOLA, A’s and Aces, the Bureau of Governmental Research, and the Greater New Orleans Foundation. He previously served on the boards of the Audubon Institute, Isidore Newman School and Tulane University Medical Center, and was co-chair of the American Cancer Society’s New Orleans Hope Lodge Capital Campaign. He is a past board chairman of Trinity Episcopal School and the Tulane University Hospital and Clinic, and a past board member of the New Orleans Bar Association, the New Orleans Children’s Museum, the Jesuit Program for Living and Learning Boys’ Hope Program, ADL and the Louisiana Nature and Science Center. 58 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
community Hadassah New Orleans Goes Bollywood Hadassah New Orleans chose a singular theme for the organization’s annual fundraising gala this year, Hadassah Goes Bollywood. The colors of India came together at The Forum in Metairie on Sept. 10 to create a warm environment accented with oversized gold lanterns, garden greenery of ginger and birds-of-paradise, and authentic tapestries. Two large elephant figurines borrowed from the Carnival marching group The Cosmonaughties flanked the podium. Guests dressed in festive, colorful attire, and several wore Indian dress. Arvinder Vilkhu of Saffron NOLA served up authentic India cuisine, including a lavish fresh vegetable tray, salmon in a delectable sauce, Dal Makhni Lentils and basmati rice, Eggplant Hyderabad, creamed spinach with paneer cheese, and naan. For dessert, Saffron offered Gulab Jamun, milky dough balls soaked in rose-scented syrup, and English trifle with fresh berries. Emcee for the event was Leslie Cardé, who Joy Feldman and Mimi Levine was the longtime WDSU-TV medical correspondent and now writes for The Advocate and has a new talk show on WGSO radio. Proceeds from the event, which included a silent auction, were dedicated to Hadassah’s Research in Service to Humanity campaign. A trio of Indian youth dancers, Vihaan Bhrugshastri, Aakash Zaveri and Suraj Zaveri, infused the room with young energy. Tulane University Professor Guy Beck, a Fulbright scholar who recently returned from six months in India, played the harmonium and sang sacred songs. Belly dancer Jacqueline Rhodes of Pandorium Belly Dance Company and henna artist Laura Sheffield of New Orleans Henna also entertained the guests, in keeping with the theme. Lonnie Schaffer and Rabbi Deborah Silver
L ’Shana Tova to my friends and supporters in the Jewish community Judge Sidney H. Cates, IV Orleans Civil Court Division C
Wishing you a happy, healthy, peaceful new year
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October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 59
L’Shanah Tovah! Wishing all my friends and supporters in the Jewish community an especially happy new year!
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All grown up: JCDS celebrating 21st birthday with Vegas-style gala The Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is all grown up, celebrating its 21st birthday at its “21 Fabulous Years” annual gala on Nov. 13 at Gates of Prayer. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. According to Head of School Sharon Pollin, turning 21 is a big deal. “It is a milestone showing that one has a foundation of experience. Over the past 21 years, the JCDS has gone through years of discovery, growing pains and accomplishment,” she said. “Consistent throughout was the mission of providing the best secular education within an environment that reinforced Jewish values, ritual and lessons,” Pollin said. “Now that the JCDS is 21, we are proud to say that we have a solid foundation with sound practices and a future dosed with innovative educational endeavors.” Central to the 21 Fabulous Years event will be the honoring of Lis and Hugo Kahn, who have supported JCDS from its inception and have been instrumental leaders throughout its years. The Kahns have embraced the mission of Jewish day school education and have served on the board and in leadership positions. Lis, having served as board president from 2014 to 2016, now remains an active board member. The Kahns do not have any family that attend the school, but have supported it as if it were part of their family. With the Day School turning 21, the gala will feature grown-up games, Vegas Style. The evening will be packed with gaming, kosher food, music, prizes and an open bar. There will be Blackjack, Craps, Poker and Roulette tables, raffles and an evening-ending series of progressive drawings for prizes. 21 Fabulous Years Gala honorary co-chairs are Lynne and Michael Wasserman, and Carole and Richard Neff. Wasserman currently serves as JCDS board president and Neff is board development chair. Barbara Kaplinksy, one of the founding parents of the school, serves as gala chair while also serving as board marketing chair. There will be an extensive silent auction with plenty of jewelry, children’s art, and trips spanning the world, with airfare and deluxe accommodations in Sedona, Argentina, Tuscany, New York City, Monte Carlo, Venice, Israel, Costa Rica, China, and Jackson Hole, Wy. There will be a number of progressive drawing and raffle items, including a Pelicans basketball package, a 7-day stay at a Sandestin house, an Adler’s gold bracelet, and a New York/Manhattan Embassy Suites weekend getaway. For more information on sponsorships or tickets, call Tiffany Cotlar at (504) 887-4091 or email tcotlar@jcdsnola. For tickets or donations, visit www.jcdsnola.org.
Continued from page 62
May you reach your second star to the right sooner than morning. May your skies be blue, your traffic lights green, and your last banana still yellow. May your expenses be reduced, starting with laughter at your expense. Instead of writing long letters, may you have the time to write short ones instead. May your government actually be here to help. May you sing in key, never lose your keys, and find the keys to your success. May your flights be on time, your legroom sufficient, and the child in front of you unconscious. May your grass grow greener without making others green with envy. May the drivers in front of you signal lane changes. In advance. May your procedures be legal, your starts not be false, and groundings unintentional. May your profits grow, and your time to read the prophets increase. May your only losses this year be a loss for words. May you be responsible with your social media, and the media be socially responsible. May you appreciate and preserve the past without being stuck in it. May your May be lusty, your June bust out all over, and April come. (She will.) May your team win the national championship, as long as that team is Alabama.
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Beth Israel to host event with Israel’s Consul General
Beth Israel in Metairie announced it will hold a Salute to Israel on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m., featuring Ambassador Eitan Levon, Consul General of Israel to Southwest United States, based in Houston. Levon was appointed in 2015 to head the Houston consulate, which is responsible for the six-state region of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The evening will feature Israeli cuisine, wine and music. More details will be announced soon.
October 2016 • Southern Jewish Life 61
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High Holy Days – in 700 words
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The High Holy Days are about two things: Long services, and longer lists — about tense subjects… past and future. We recount the things we’ve done wrong, and wish well upon ourselves. Ironically, we don’t say anything about the things we have done or will do right. As your mind wanders during services, ponder that as well as the following… We have sinned against you by letting our minds wander during services. We have sinned against you by texting while driving. We have sinned against you by splashing while diving. We have sinned against you by not rinsing the pans. We have sinned against you by being Y*nkees fans. We have sinned against you by deciding some are stupid because of their politics. We have sinned against you by assuming some are smart because of their politics. We have sinned against you by lacking remorse. We have sinned against you by forgetting the code of Morse. We have sinned against you by ignoring all the signs. We have sinned against you by using near rhymes. We have sinned against you by not reading what’s on our shelves. We have sinned against you by sinning against ourselves. We have sinned against you by not knowing how to dial rotary phones. We have sinned against you, now with flying drones. We have sinned against you by loudly not taking Hall’s. We have sinned against you by not ignoring robocalls. We have sinned against you by not bringing a World Series championship to Chicago’s North Side, again. We have sinned against you through excessive screen time and scream time. We have sinned against you by texting or talking during the play, film, or service. We have sinned against you by being patronizing (which means talking down to). We have sinned against you by not understanding. We have sinned against you by not staying standing. We have sinned against you by not stealing second. We have sinned against you by going for seconds. We have sinned against you by settling for second. We have sinned against you by wasting thousands of seconds. And, now, lest we forget the future… May your mind wander during services, to new places of enlightenment. May your home be without leaks, and your confidences not leaked. May your only race controversy be a photo finish in the 200-meter dash. May your stock rise, your stock portfolio go up, and your stockings stay up. May you find your tall ship, and a star to steer her by. May you not be accused of ascribing gender roles based on your use of pronouns for inanimate objects. May you get tickets to Hamilton. After spending all that money to see it, may you get Hamilton. continued on previous page
62 Southern Jewish Life • October 2016
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