Southern Jewish Life
Volume 27 Issue 10
Southern Jewish Life P.O. Box 130052 Birmingham, AL 35213 Courtesy Rice seniors Mike Hua, Jake Peacock, Ethan Chan and Ilya Rakhlin; junior Belle Carroll and sophomore Maddie Bowen. See page 4.
shalom y’all shalom y’all y’all shalom As this issue goes to press, the High Holy Days are in full swing and Sukkot is on the horizon. With the end of this year’s holidays, communities around the region are moving into regular programming mode, with a lot of events coming up. Many groups around the region are planning major events, from galas to food festivals to the annual Delta Jewish Open the first weekend in November in Greenville. A couple of organizations were able to get on the calendar before Rosh Hashanah, like Hadassah New Orleans’ DIsco Ball, which is covered in this issue. Ties with Israel will be a recurring theme, with a major gathering held in late September in Meridian, and three major events in Alabama over a four-day period in November. In New Orleans, the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series gets underway, with numerous speakers, film screenings and concerts. Summer camps are asking parents to look ahead and plan for the summer of 2018. If you aren’t already signed up to receive This Week in Southern Jewish Life, email us at email@example.com. Our weekly newsletter will keep you informed of all these activities, along with local, regional and international news of the week. A lot happens between our print editions! We also have a robust Twitter feed, with items of interest from around the region. Follow us at @sjlmag, and Like our Facebook page for regular updates as well. With the High Holy Day season over by the time you read this, it’s very easy to keep up to date in the New Year — let us inform you, so you can take full advantage of what our communities have to offer. Have a great 5778, with only good things for us to write about.
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on the cover Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games
The “Pause Box,” designed as part of the Rice Sukkah. Playing with texture and transparenUniversity fall cy,competitions the design around embedsthe a world. small, From semi-opaque I have hadArchitecture the honor ofSociety’s attendingannual many Maccabi Israel mini-charrette, “Reimagining Sukkah, wasJCCstructure a greater diamond to Australia to South America, the Europe and”the Maccabi within games around theshear United States volthe Canada, winner among entriesmany by interdisciplinary core istoconstructed of densely and I have logged miles seeing howume. sportsThe caninner be a vehicle help build Jewish teams ofespecially three to sixinstudents to further examine woven wood members, which isolate the inner identity, our young. short-term architecture. It was a collaboration box to create a secluded, contemplative space. I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city between Rice Architecture, the Rice Design Al- By nesting this box within a veil of airy, transbut the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring liance, and Houston’s Congregation Emanu El. lucent fabric an interstitial cloudy territory is approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. The team met their fundraising goal of $5,500 created, neither completely interior or exterior. Led by donations the Sokol and your hard-working volunteers wereparted wonderful. They partnered through fromHelds, Congregation Emanu With a simple corner, to enter the sukwith your outstanding led by Betzy make Maccabi of games a huge hit. El, Rice University, Ricestaff, Architecture, andLynch, many to kah is the no 2017 longerJCC a moment crossing a hard Iindividual want to take this opportunity executive director of between Maccabi out USAand to say you on behalf a contributors namedas on the Pause line in, thank but instead becomes of everyone Box website.involved. procession through a series of spaces implicitly The is being installed atWorld EmanuMaccabiah El, defined by the tension between the inner square I hadsukkah just returned from the 20th games in Israel with a U.S. delegation of which most recently was recognized for hostand enveloping diamond. over 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire ing “Hurricane Harvey Day Camp” “Thepast internal boxwith is constructed repeated Jewish world were on Jerusalem and in thepartnerMaccabiah. This month 1000 athletesofand ship with Greene Family Camp and the Evelyn 2x4 wood members which allow strips of light coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. Rubenstein JCC in order that local children to filter through. The semi-solid wall composiEveryone the Jewish the community wonderful could be fedfrom and cared for incommunity a fun campand atmotion createsata large, sense including of solitudeawithout implying police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal multisphere while parents dealt with storm damage isolation. The wooden members perform moment the Jewish by providing such wonderfulelements Jewish and otherfor arising issues.community as we build to the ple future roles, serving not only as structural memories. The congregation, as well as Houston Hil- and enclosing walls, but also incorporating lel, Margolis is taking advantage of using the structure built-in furniture. With the woven wood system Jed during theDirector, holiday. Maccabi USA furniture on the interior can retract flush into Executive Pause Box is described as marrying “religious the wall to allow for a completely open space. tradition with architectural lyricism, proposing The outer veil is suspended from the roof, softsupremacists would like to see pushed back an elegant and simple design for an ephemeral ly draped and floating off the ground such that On Charlottesville into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand it barely brushes the earth and is free to flutter with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in with the wind. Overall, the contrasts between Corrections: In last month’s Page 5 phowho was there standing up to the face of this Charlottesville, written Jeremy Newman, hard and soft, opaqueness and transparency, to, the Shabbat dinnerbywith visiting Ukraine hate. Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony heaviness and weightlessness, and light and athletes after the Maccabi Games was hosted We recognize the delicate American at at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi shadow producethe a essence dynamicofyet envithe home of Barbara Bonfield, not as statnarrative National, called it “veryOur eloquent” andfor ronment.”as a two-century old struggle to rid ed in lastwhich month’s caption. apologies ourselves of such and allow those in praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at The Pause Box corners, was designed by seniors Mike the error! them the seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University and… the leadership they Hua, Jake Peacock, Ethan Chan and Ilya RakhAlso, while the Birmingham Holocaust Itlin; is junior the struggle to fulfilland thesophomore promise of Maddie the display on their campus. ” trained over 1,200 Belle Carroll Education Center has Declaration of Independence, that “alland mencharare Bowen. Senior Architecture student teachers, that is over the last 14 years, not created equal… endowed by their Creator with rette organizer Lara Hansmann joined the team since 2014. White supremacy has been a cancer on certain rights. We know our work to aid inunalienable organization and”construction. our country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. The events that took place in Charlottesville Residential and Commercial When menServices and women, fully armed, take represented the worst of this nation. Those to the streets in droves with swastikas and who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikas did so to provoke violence and relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism fear. Those who marched onto the streets did are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that so to profess an ideology that harkens back to needs to be done to ensure a better, more a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. A time when men and women of many creeds, welcoming country. But it should not come races, and religions were far from equal and far without a reflection on how far we’ve come. America was born a slave nation. A century from safe in our own borders. A time where into our history we engaged in a war in part Americans lived under a constant cloud of to ensure we would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in Charlottesville served found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their issues are today. skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. Jewish community of Charlottesville, and with the Jewish people around the country and around the world. We also stand with the minorities who are targeted by the hate that was on display in Charlottesville. We stand with the minorities of whom these white 4 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
America was also born an immigrant country. As early as the pilgrims, many groups and families found in the country the opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, and be themselves. Few were met with open
Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green email@example.com ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook email@example.com SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein firstname.lastname@example.org PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark deepsouthrabbi.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook brookwrite.com BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 email@example.com ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, firstname.lastname@example.org or Annetta Dolowitz, email@example.com Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via sjlmag.com, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.
agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events
Avishai Yanay was welcomed by members of the Pensacola Jewish community at the airport after being delayed by Hurricane Irma. A Netanya native, Yanay is this year’s Israeli Shaliach to Pensacola.
Birmingham’s community awards event set for Oct. 29 The annual Birmingham Jewish community awards event will be on Oct. 29 at Temple Emanu-El. The evening is a combined effort of the regional Israel Bonds office, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Israel Bonds will honor Rabbi Jonathan Miller, who retired this summer after 27 years as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El. Miller has been a passionate advocate for Israel and the welfare of the Jewish people, at home and abroad. He has advocated for Jewish values in the public square and is known for his writing, from regular columns in local publications to his book, “Legacy,” a collection of eulogies delivered while serving at Temple Emanu-El. He and wife Judith now reside in Maryland, where they are within bicycle distance of their three children and two granddaughters. The N.E. Miles Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Edward Goldberg. This award honors people who have demonstrated a lifetime of leadership giving to the Federation campaign and who have endowed their campaign gift through the Birmingham Jewish
Foundation. Goldberg is a past Annual Campaign chair and Federation president. He also has served as vice president of the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School and Temple Beth-El. Jerry Held will be presented the Federation’s Susan Goldberg Distinguished Volunteer Award. This award goes to outstanding individuals who have distinguished themselves through leadership and service. Susan Goldberg, wife of Edward Goldberg, passed away while serving as Federation president. Held recently completed a two-year term as Federation president, after serving two additional years as co-president with his wife, Ginger. Before that, they served two years as Annual Campaign chairs. “Jerry is an outstanding recipient and was a natural choice when our other new officers and I considered candidates,” Federation President Hilary Gewant said. “For six years, he has inspired us with his dedication and determination and has made an impact in many Federation areas.” The Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award will be presented to Jahan Berns, a Fed
eration board member and “tireless” advocate for Israel. An attorney at Sirote and Permutt, Berns is a native of Uganda, daughter of a famed military leader who helped overthrow Idi Amin. He was assassinated while trying to become president. Berns converted from Islam to Christianity at a young age, attended law school and moved to London. After arriving in Alabama, she became a paralegal at Sirote, then inspired by the late Morris Sirote’s story, finished law school and became an attorney. In 2016, she participated in a Jewish Federations of North America women’s trip to Israel and was presented with a plaque from Operation Lifeshield, for a bomb shelter near the Gaza Strip that she had raised funds for. “Our Federation is proud to have Jahan on our board. She is an incredible asset and has helped us in important ways,” Gewant said. “Jahan is a unique treasure and we look forward to honoring her.” The event is free and open to the community. There will be a reception at 4 p.m., and the event will begin at 5 p.m. October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5
agenda Judaic artist to illuminate Mobile
Shabbaton at Ahavas Chesed open to community Debra Band will visit Mobile as Ahavas Chesed’s artist in residence the weekend of Oct. 27 and speak about her art. Band, descended from an eminent rabbinic family, has been involved with Hebrew manuscripts since 1987, and studied Jewish texts along with medieval European and Middle Eastern painting. In addition to her illuminated manuscripts, she does illuminated and paper cut ketubot. She speaks regularly at Women’s League of Conservative Judaism events, and she is also involved in mediPsalm 128 by Debra Band cal ethics review. Her newest book, “Kabbalat Shabbat: The Grand Unification” has illuminated paintings of traditional Friday evening blessings for the synagogue and home. “Arise! Arise! Deborah, Ruth and Hannah” presents the stories of three Biblical women who stood up at crucial moments in Jewish history. Earlier works include “The Song of Songs: The Honeybee in the Garden” and “I Will Wake the Dawn: Illuminated Psalms.” She will speak during the 6 p.m. service on Oct. 27 and at the 10 a.m. service on Oct. 28, and members of Springhill Avenue Temple are being invited to attend. On the morning of Oct. 29, she will conduct an art workshop for teens and adults. Deadline to sign up for the class, which is limited to 20 participants and costs $36, is Oct. 8. Two of her books, “Kabbalat Shabbat” and “Arise” will be available at a discount.
On Aug. 16, the Cogen family dedicated a new donor wall at the Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham, in memory of Beverly Cogen. 6 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
agenda Up your brunch game And lunch …annnnnnd supper
And don’t forget parties! (We cater too)
With the new PJ Our Way program offering chapter books to Jewish children ages 9 to 11, the Pensacola Jewish Federation started a Junior Youth Group for those in PJOW. PJ Library, which has mailed free Judaic books to children up to age 8, recently introduced the pre-teen program, where students can select the books that appeal to them. On Sept. 24, the group held its first program, at Glow Golf, with cheese pizza and a Rosh Hashanah cookie cake.
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New JLI explores great Jewish debates The old saying goes that for two Jews, there are three opinions. As Jews have never shied away from a good debate, the next class offered by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute is “Great Debates in Jewish History.” The six week course explores six fundamental conflicts that pitted the greatest Jewish minds against each other, including several that are still debated today. The course will start with the Dead Sea Scrolls — a Dead Sea sect or rabbinic interpretation? Why was the Dead Sea sect opposed to the Pharisaic approach of rabbinic authority? The second class takes on Jewish nationalism versus religious institutionalism by exploring the suicide at Masada. Maimonides’ approach was controversial in his time. The third session will build on that debate of faith versus reason, and the role reason plays in Judaism. The fourth explores attempts to reinstate the Sanhedrin as an attempt to hasten the messianic era. “Active Messianism versus Passive Messianism” explores whether people can — or should — try to bring about redemption. The fifth debate is about the foundations of Chasidism, “Divine Transcendence versus Divine Immanence,” a debate that divided the community in the 1700s. The final session is public versus private religion, in the debate over separation of church and state in the United States, in particular a 1989 Supreme Court ruling allowing menorah displays on public property. At the Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham, the class will be offered for six Wednesdays at 7 p.m., starting on Nov. 1; or Thursdays at 11:30 am., starting Nov. 2. Both courses exclude Thanksgiving week. Registration is $89 per person. Chabad of Mobile is offering the course on Tuesdays starting Oct. 31, at 7:30 p.m. The fee is $60. In the New Orleans area, the course begins on Oct. 30, running for six Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Chabad in Metairie, and Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. starting Oct. 31 at the Jewish Community Campus in Metairie. Registration is $70, with a 10 percent discount for multiple students or returning students.
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 7
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Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El Mitzvah Misfits started their bowling season on Sept. 9. Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will host its 10th annual Mah Jongg tournament, Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. The event benefits the Roz Feigelson Circle of Life Knitting Society, which knits scarves and shrugs for cancer patients. The $30 registration includes a kosher lunch, snacks and prizes. Registration is available at bhamjcc.org. Knesseth Israel in Birmingham is hosting a sofer, Rabbi Yitzchak Friedman, for Simchat Torah. “How appropriate,” commented Rabbi Moshe Rube. Services will be at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 12, and 9 a.m. on Oct. 12 and 13. There will be a Shemini Atzeret dinner after the service on Oct. 11. The next Eastern Shore Torah Study for Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will be on Oct. 19 at 6 p.m., at the home of Liz and Randy Fry in Daphne. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will launch Wine and Wisdom, to discuss what Reform Judaism has to say about modern day issues. Starting Oct. 17, the gatherings will be every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Blend Wine Bar. The next Nite on the Town for Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will be on Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at Lulu’s in Destin. Reservations are requested by Nov. 2. The Pensacola Jewish Federation presents the year’s first Café Israel with Shaliach Avishay Yanay, “Show Me Your Kippah and I’ll Tell You Who You Are,” a conversation about the different religious streams in Israel. The program will be at Cactus Flower, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. The month’s Chai discussion will be “The National Anthem in Sports,” Oct. 26 at noon at Temple Beth-El. Jackson’s Beth Israel will have “Blessing of the Pets” with Rabbi Jeffrey Kurtz-Lendner, Oct. 22 at 9:15 a.m. in the rear parking lot. Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Pink Shabbat on Oct. 27 at 5:40 p.m., honoring breast cancer survivors and remembering those who have passed away. The unveiling of the headstone for Holocaust survivor Agnes Tennenbaum will be on Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed cemetery in Mobile.
8 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Imagine your home, totally organized!
The Holocaust and Jim Crow
Washington museum plans series of events throughout the South to highlight connections, lessons The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is holding a series of events in the South to discuss parallels between and lessons from the Holocaust and the Jim Crow era. The first event, “Toward Healing and Reconciliation: Lessons from the Holocaust and the Jim Crow South,” was held at Miles College in Birmingham on Sept. 27. The series continues on Oct. 10, as the University of South Alabama in Mobile hosts a panel discussion, “Racial Discrimination and Institutionalized Violence in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South, 6 p.m. in the Jake Newsome speaks at Miles Student Center Terrace Room. A program will be announced for the Montgomery area soon, and on Feb. 22 and 23 there will be a two-day symposium with the University of Alabama at Birmingham Institute for Human Rights. Jake Newsome, campus outreach program officer for the museum, said he hopes to have programs in Mississippi as well. Newsome said the Birmingham event comes from a long partnership between the museum and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, where the museum held conferences on leadership in the 21st century in 2009 and 2013. There are “still many lessons to be learned from these histories and so much more to do,” he said. Willa Johnson, associate professor of sociology at the University of Mississippi, gave the opening address, “These Responsibilities and These Rights Come From God: The Holocaust, Jim Crow and Msg. Saliege’s Plea to Halt Transports.” She noted that in 2009, a French court ended France’s reluctance to accept responsibility for “unforced actions” in rounding up Jews during the Holocaust, and that there were 200 camps in France. She spoke of Cardinal Jules-Geraud Saliege, archibishop of Toulouse, who “stood out among his peers because he did what most of them simply refused to do” in resisting the Nazis. She read parts of a letter written by a Jew during the height of the persecution, detailing the roundups. In particular, she said a passage that “breaks my heart” refers to “colored troops lording over us.” Saliege, she said, is a “model of courage,” teaching that “we have a responsibility not to forget that we have rights and responsibilities that come to us from God, and we have a responsibility to act.” Anthonia Adadevoh, chair of the Miles College Division of Humanities, spoke of the historic relations between the African-American and Jewish communities, which “started before they even met,” as slaves who went to church related to the Hebrew Bible stories, and identified with “Go Down Moses.” In these times, “it is important that we pay attention and build on it,” she said. Panels through the afternoon spoke about historical understanding and reconciliation, a roundtable discussion on history and education, and a presentation by Miles students who visited the museum in Washington.
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community An information session also promoted education, research and internship opportunities at the museum. The South Alabama discussion will explore “the involvement of governments and ordinary citizens in systems of targeted oppression and racial violence in Nazi Germany and the Jim Crow South within their specific historical contexts.” David Meola, the Bert and Fanny Meisler Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies at USA, will speak on “Within the ‘Christian State’: Jewish German Lives Under Siege.” Kern Jackson, director of African American Studies and assistant professor of English at USA, will discuss “Without Sanctuary: Lynchings in Alabama History.” Jake Newsome, campus outreach officer for the USHMM, will discuss “Race and Violence in the Nazi Campaign Against Homosexuality,” and Phil Carr, the Chief Calvin McGhee Professor of Native American Studies and director of the Archaeology Museum at USA, will speak about “Denial of Equal Education to Native Americans.” The program is co-organized by the Department of History, Gender Studies Program, African American Studies Program and the Native American Studies Program at USA. Meola said the USHMM is partnering with Southern communities for inter-community discussions on the Holocaust and the Jim Crow South. The event at USA also includes 19th-century Germany and Native American studies, he noted. On Nov. 1, the museum is hosting “Americans and the Nazi Threat: What Did Georgians Know” in Atlanta, and a similar program about Floridians in Boca Raton on Nov. 29. The Mobile event is open to the community, and light refreshments will be served.
Delta Jewish Open weekend in November The 30th annual Jay Mosow Memorial Delta Jewish Open golf tournament will be held Nov. 4 and 5. The benefit for the Henry S. Jacobs Camp and the Institute of Southern Jewish Life also serves as a reunion for Jews from the Mississippi Delta area. There will be a steak dinner on Nov. 4 at Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville. Social hour will start at 6:30 p.m., and the dinner starts at 7:45 p.m. The four-player scramble tournament will be on Nov. 5 at Greenville Country Club, with a 9 a.m. shofar start. Tee box sponsorships are available at $100. For tournament information, contact Barry Piltz, (662) 332-3322. 10 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Meridian event celebrates Israel-Mississippi ties A high-level gathering to promote Mississippi-Israel ties took place on Sept. 28 at the Riley Center in downtown Meridian. Governor Phil Bryant led a team of Mississippi officials and Israeli Consul General Lior Haiat from Israel’s Miami consulate attended a gathering to promote greater cooperation through the America-Israel Friendship League. Meridian’s Congregation Beth Israel was also involved in coordinating the event. Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden emceed the event, noting that the Riley Center was in the Marks-Rothenberg Building and Opera House, “historically Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden, Governor Phil Bryant, the heart of one of the largest COnsul General Lior Haiat, Treasurer Lynn Fitch and Attorney and most successful Jewish busiGeneral Jim Hood ness districts in the South.” About 125 attended the event. Snowden said Hood noted how Israel sent teams to the U.S. they could have had many more, but they kept to help with hurricane recovery, and partners in the event under wraps from the general public the military and technology fields. “I hope we beforehand for security reasons. will continue to develop that relationship.” While Haiat was surprised and impressed Meridian Mayor Percy Bland also referred with Meridian’s Jewish history, that history was to civil rights workers, saying they changed the mentioned as a springboard for future projects country. and ties. He listed several names of Jewish families Attorney General Jim Hood, who in 2005 that helped Meridian grow, saying the Jewish prosecuted Edgar Ray Killen in the 1964 deaths community provided “countless opportunities of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, An- for employment, for charity, for education.” He drew Goodman and James Chaney, was the first singled out Rabbi Judah Wechsler, who pushed to mention the trio. He said in history classes he for the first publicly-funded brick school buildlearned that Schwerner moved to Meridian to ing in the state for African-American children, cause trouble. The truth, he said, was they were in the 1890s. “working on a library for African American “We are a community on the move because of kids who couldn’t the amazing people who came before us,” Bland Mississippi go to a white library. said. They were doing Bryant spoke of the ties between Mississippi will host God’s work.” and Israel, with another chapter coming early Hood went on an next year. a military AIFL attorneys genBryant announced that next February, there and defense eral trip to Israel. will be a summit where “military and defense He thought he knew industries all across Israel will come to Missisindustries a lot of the history, sippi. Not New York, not California, but to Jackbut “it’s amazing son, Mississippi. They will join some of the best summit how much I did defense industry manufacturers in the world” for Israeli learn.” that are located in Mississippi. He said it would He added, “This is a great opportunity for companies be great for Missis- us to join businessmen and women from Israel sippi to develop a technology incubator like they here in the U.S, that want to do business here, have in Tel Aviv. Hood also saw something he that are looking for opportunities… what better wished the U.S. had — the mandatory military location for them than in Mississippi.” service for young adults. In Israel, “soldiers are Bryant made his first Israel trip in Novemmature and know so much about their country. ber 2014, not knowing what to expect. His wife They know more about our politics than we do.” continued on page 29
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Birmingham prepares for Violins of Hope
Key to survival for many during the Holocaust, the violins will be played in April concert
For the next several months, “Violins of Hope” will be a recurring presence in Birmingham. The project involving restored violins that had been played in the Holocaust kicked off its Birmingham activities on Sept. 17 with author James Grymes, who wrote a book about the instruments and their stories. A full house attended the talk at Temple Emanu-El. The violins are a project of Amnon Weinstein, a violin maker in Israel, who has been restoring violins from the Holocaust since 1996. He has restored more than 60, and his intent is that they be played rather than just being displayed. As part of that mission, the Alabama Symphony will have a concert with the violins on April 14 at the Alys Stephens Center. Kay Donnellan said she was watching a “60 Minutes” segment on the violins a year and a half ago. After the segment, her husband, Bruce, “looked at me and said, ‘you’re involved with the Symphony. These violins need to come to Birmingham’.” She started reaching out to others, and found that Sallie Downs “was 10 steps ahead of me,” had already called Weinstein and “had a plane ticket to meet with him.” Downs said she called Weinstein to tell him the violins need to come to Birmingham. “He said ‘when?’ I said, ‘now.” Donnellan said Weinstein “was drawn to Birmingham and felt it was one of the best places for the violins to be heard” because of the civil rights history. Weinstein clearly knew about Birmingham, Downs said, because when she got to his studio, the first thing he said was “did you know Condi Rice plays concert piano?” Rice, the former U.S. secretary of state, is a Birmingham native. Downs said the organizers are reaching out to a wide range of organizations, and there will be numerous other events and activities in connection with the violins’ visit. The violins will be displayed from April 10 to 15, and there will be educational programs, lectures and exhibits. At the kickoff event, Jeanette Hightower, executive director of the Mason Music Foundation, played a violin medley from “Schindler’s List” and Gideon Klein’s “Ukolebavka.” Hightower had worked with Christa Lidikay at JH Israel, a Birmingham-based group supporting Israel, and Lidikay told her about this initiative. She said it was a natural to be involved and connect her two passions — music and Israel. Jeffrey Bayer, who was honored by Bir-
mingham Holocaust Education Center three years ago, remembers talking about the “still-ongoing atrocities of humanity” and spoke about efforts to “reduce intolerance, foster an attitude of live and let live.” He said his family is looking to build a long-term effort locally to “provide a sustainable platform for dialogue” and “build bridges of collaboration and understanding. Who knows, it may become a model for other communities to emulate.” Rev. Rich Webster of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church said “we need to keep doing this work” and “find new ways for us to be one Birmingham, one people, one city respecting the dignity of every human being.” Grymes, a professor at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, said he was an unlikely candidate for chronicling this story, as he is “not Jewish and can’t play a lick of violin.” He also “didn’t know a whole lot about the Holocaust.” In 2012, UNCC hosted the first event for the violins in the Western Hemisphere, and as a faculty member, he was involved in the planning. “As a musician and a music historian, I was inspired,” he said. He went to Tel Aviv and met Weinstein and stayed a week at his workshop. During that visit, he was inspired to write “Violins of Hope: Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour,” which won the 2014 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. He focused on the short stories of each violin’s history, but wondered how to tie the stories together. “Amnon is the spirit that holds this project together,” he said. Weinstein’s parents moved to pre-state Israel from Lithuania in 1938, the only part of his family to leave Europe. After 1941, all communication from the rest of the family ceased. They later found out that all 400 family members were gone. The night after hearing the news, Weinstein’s father had a heart attack. He survived, but never spoke about the family’s tragedy again. Weinstein went to Italy to learn old-world violin craftsmanship, and took over the family business when his father died in 1986. But the Holocaust continued to haunt him, and he turned away violins from the Holocaust. In 1996, as he was training his son Avshalom, “working in the workshop where his father trained him and he was training his own son,” he reflected on the Holocaust violins and was ready to confront the past. Weinstein and his son will be in Birmingham for the April events. Grymes presented a couple of violin stories, such as Feivel Wininger, who survived a death march in Romania. A former judge who knew him gave him his violin, and Wininger promised to assist him. He played at parties and was able to take the leftovers home. Through the violin he was able to sustain his family and 13 other family members. The first time he played, he tried to bring some food to the starving judge, only to find that the judge and
community his sisters had committed suicide two days earlier. He often told his daughter how the violin had saved their lives. When he was turning 90, his daughter asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and his only wish was to have the violin restored so he could play it once more. The daughter, who was in the Israeli military at the time, asked around and was referred to Weinstein, who told her that the violin wasn’t worth saving. After she told him the story, he meticulously restored it, and Wininger had his wish. While he was unable physically to play it, having his old friend there brought out the brightest smile of his life. Another violin played a key role in the survival of Motele Schlein. Just before getting home as a boy, he noticed Nazis at his house. He hid until they left, and found his parents and sister had been murdered. He escaped with his violin and joined “Uncle Misha’s Jewish Group” of partisans. Hiding his identity and armed with a violin, the 12-year-old became a favorite musician of Nazi soldiers. They gave him a German outfit, which he wore to his performances at an officer’s club. He would channel information that
he overheard to his group, which fed it to the Red Army. After performing, he would eat in the cellar. One day he discovered a huge crack in the building, in a neglected storeroom. He started leaving his violin there each night, taking the empty case with him, and returning with explosives in the case. He continued packing the explosives in the gap, then one night after he finished playing, he told the chef he wasn’t hungry and was heading out. Instead, he set a detonator and left. Before long, a loud explosion rocked the town as he slipped into the forest, having avenged his family. “Each violin tells its own story,” Grymes said. Ann Mollengarden of the BHEC said she has read a lot of books about the Holocaust, “but with this book I saw something different,” a different approach to Holocaust education that can draw a new audience. On Sept. 18, the BHEC held a teacher workshop focused on using this book in the classroom. Grymes said the Birmingham organizers are “doing a wonderful job of coming together early and making sure everyone understands what the project entails, and the significance of these instruments coming to Birmingham.”
James Grymes signs books at Temple Emanu-El on Sept. 17 When the violins came to Charlotte, “when people started to understand what it is, it was over.” He added, “even after the violins leave Birmingham, the legacy of the project will continue to resonate throughout the city.”
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 13
community “Ready for a change,” Rabbi Moshe Rube left New York for Birmingham
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For New Yorkers, Rabbi Moshe Rube said, Alabama is seen as “the most exotic, far-out place.” After being ordained at Yeshiva University, that is precisely where Rube, a San Diego native, wanted to go. This summer, Rube became rabbi of Knesseth Israel in Birmingham. “I knew I wanted to move out of New York. I was a small-towner at heart” and missed the connection of a smaller community. While New York was “amazing, broadening my perspective on the Jewish community,” Rube was “definitely ready for a change.” He has spent some time in New Orleans, and his grandmother is from a small community in Texas. When his grandfather went to Texas to serve as a cantor, the locals wanted to introduce him to local young women. “They gave him three numbers, my bubbe was the one who picked up.” A native of San Diego, Rube moved to New York with his family when he was in fifth grade, settling in the Five Towns area. At a young age, Rube developed an interest in voice and music. Online, he is known as “the voice rabbi” and advises rabbis and other professionals on how to properly use their voices and not wear them out. Rube went to Yeshiva University, integrating his musical studies with Jewish studies. “If I did just a career in voice, I’d be missing something,” he said. He worked on a Master’s in Music Education while pursuing rabbinics, demonstrating how the fields combine. His final year, he had a rabbinic internship at a senior care and rehabilitation center. Usually for one’s final year, students “try to get big synagogues,” but this was “nitty gritty, not a lot of pizazz,” but it gave him a lot of one-on-one experience. He also was a Kollel Fellow in Stanford, Conn., teaching music to children. Engaging Jewish youth is “absolutely important,” but working with seniors is “a whole different definition of success,” because rather than affecting a young person’s future, with seniors one can “change their life in that moment.” Looking at those experiences, “I’m glad I got a balance,” he said. Those encounters demonstrated “you don’t need to do massive programs — you can be with a person in the moment.” He arrived at Knesseth Israel at a time of transition for the congregation, as their building is for sale and plans are being worked out to move congregational functions to the rabbi’s house. Rube said he wants KI to be seen as “the warmest, most welcoming place in town… A place where every person of any disposition or religious level can find his unique portal of entry to Judaism.” While it can be easy to get “bogged down” in the rules of Orthodox Judaism, “it’s easy to work within the structure to create a welcoming community” and have people feel like part of the family. He also is interested in “integrating the Southern self and the Jewish self,” to take “the environment and put it through an Orthodox Jewish lens.” He senses a pride in Southern Jewish identity. Around the country, many look at New York as being “where the real Jews are,” but Rube said “we have a very rich and vibrant Jewish community here, and we should be proud of who we are and where God has put us.” Embracing “our unique mission” is “very powerful.” After arriving in Alabama, he was “struck by the friendliness.” He was surprised when a passing jogger waved and said hello. He also noted how “we all get along” in the community, and said the Jewish Community Center “is nothing like I’ve ever seen.” In Alabama, Rube has found “a tremendous amount of respect for Judaism, for Torah” and family values, and “I love the accents.”
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The unlikely spy
Marthe Cohn posed as German nurse to uncover crucial information for the Allies
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Despite having a table full of international accolades for her World War II heroism, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Marthe Cohn started to speak about what she did toward the end of the war. It wasn’t that she was being modest — she felt that nobody would believe her. “I was a very unlikely spy,” she said, noting her 4-foot-10 stature. But crowds of over 200 heard her on consecutive nights at the Louisiana State University’s Lod Cook Alumni Center in Baton Rouge and Chabad of Louisiana in Metairie in mid-September. The 97-year-old Cohn Marthe Cohn in Baton Rouge was originally supposed to speak in both communities in May, but the talks were postponed because of her husband’s illness. He accompanies her to her talks, sitting next to her on stage and serving as her “prompter.” Mushka Kazen of Chabad of Baton Rouge, which sponsored the Sept. 13 talk, said Cohn has “an important message — the power of the individual to get up and do something.” Cohn’s talk, “Behind Enemy Lines: The True Story of a French Jewish Spy in Nazi Germany,” left the audiences spellbound for an hour and a half. The event started with a video presentation about her from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The table filled with medals and tributes from around the world sat next to the stage. Born in Metz, France, in 1920, Cohn was one of seven siblings in the Hoffnung family. As Metz was in LorCohn discovered raine, which went back and forth between France and Germany, she grew German plans up knowing how to speak German. As the war began, the family escaped for an ambush to Poitiers, but when France became occupied in 1940, all Jews were forced of the Allies in to register. the Black Forest Noting that France and Denmark were the only two countries where a majority of the Jews survived World War II, she said her family was saved “by people who risked their lives for us.” A friend made forged identity cards for them, which helped them survive. She and her sister Stephanie made contact with a French man whose property bordered occupied France and a section that the Germans did not occupy. That became a portal to freedom for many. Stephanie, who also had training as a nurse, was arrested and found to have a letter written to that land owner. In prison camp, she was the only one who could tend to the medical needs of children there. The family had a plan to rescue her sister, but she refused. “It was too
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important to take care of the children,” and Stephanie told her that if she were rescued, the authorities would immediately come for the rest of them. Stephanie was eventually transferred to Auschwitz, so Cohn said “I honor my sister before I tell my own story.” After finishing nursing school in Marseilles in 1943, Cohn moved to occupied Paris using her forged credentials, living with another sister. “I couldn’t work at a hospital,” she said. “They would ask me too many questions,” and it was forbidden for Jews to work. She stayed in Paris until France was liberated, after which she enlisted in the French Army. It took a while, because the French clerk immediately rejected her papers — which had been unfailingly accepted throughout the war — as forged. Though at first, with blond hair and blue eyes she was regarded “for a bimbo” and assigned to be a social worker, a commanding officer recruited her to join the Army intelligence since she knew German. She explained that all German men from age 12 to the elderly were in the military, so any man who spoke German but wore civilian clothes would immediately be suspect. “They needed women to be spies.” She started interrogating German prisoners, getting information on the plans for retreat. Her next task was to infiltrate Germany and gather information, specifically how civilians were reacting to the war. She tried 13 times to cross the border from Alsace into Germany, but was unsuccessful. She tried again through Switzerland. “The Swiss were helping the Germans when they were successful,” she said. “Now we were successful, so they were helping us. That’s neutrality.” She had a cover story of being a German nurse who was looking for a missing fiancé. She made it to Frieburg and met up with a team of German soldiers. She walked with an SS officer who bragged that he could smell a Jew a mile away. “He must have had a very bad smell that day,” she said.
She heard stories about the atrocities on the Eastern front. “That was the first time I’d heard it… we never knew anything about the concentration camps. You could not conceive of that.” When that officer fainted, she “was a good German nurse. I helped him,” earning more trust. She found out that the Siegfried Line had been evacuated by the Germans, knowledge critical for the incoming Allies. She made her way back to Frieburg, which was abandoned as everyone knew the Allies were about to invade. As Allied tanks approached, she made Winston Churchill’s “V” sign to signal who she was, and she was fortunate that the tanks were French. If they were British or American, she could not have communicated. After transmitting her information, she returned to Germany and encountered German soldiers who said they were escaping to Austria. She feigned frustration about the commitment of the soldiers, and they reassured her that there was a remnant of the German Army hiding in the Black Forest to ambush the Allies. She slipped back across the border to provide that crucial information. After the war, she returned to France, then met an American medical student while studying in Geneva. They married and she moved to the United States. She did not talk about her experiences until the mid-1990s, when she requested her French Army records. In 1999, she was presented France’s highest military honor, the Medaille Militaire, which was also presented to Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and Churchill. In 2002, she wrote her autobiography. Her first visit to Germany was in 2011, “to tell them what I did to them,” she said. For the longest time, she did not want to return to Germany “as long as people of my generation lived.” But, “now they are almost all dead,” Cohn said, and “they are not guilty for what their parents or grandparents had done.” Three years ago, she was given the Cross of the Order of Merit, Germany’s highest honor.
October 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 17
community Summer camps mobilize to protect visa program for Israeli staff
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Jewish summer camps around the country are mobilizing to fight a provision that is seen as endangering the camps’ ability to have Israelis on staff each summer. According to the American Camp Association, the J-1 Camp Counselor program has been targeted as part of President Donald Trump’s April executive order, “Buy American and Hire American.” The order referred to U.S. Department of State cultural exchange programs that were viewed as taking jobs from Americans. The J-1 program is part of the J Visa Summer Work Travel program, which is used by camps of all types. “These placements are critical to the camps involved,” the ACA said. An Aug. 27 article in the Wall Street Journal indicated the J-1 program was specifically targeted for a review over the next month. In early September, the Foundation for Jewish Camp convened a meeting of the major Jewish camp movements, sending a letter to the Trump administration urging the preservation of the J-1 visa program. Jeremy J. Fingerman, CEO of Foundation for Jewish Camp, and Peter J. Weidhorn, board chair of Foundation for Jewish Camp, explained that “reduction in these vital programs will result in the loss of thousands of American jobs as camps may be forced to downsize or close, in addition to the loss of key cultural experiences and exchange efforts intrinsic to the summer camp experience.” The foundation notes that there aren’t enough Americans to fill all of the seasonal camp positions, especially in rural areas, and without the visiting workers, some camps might have to close, endangering American jobs. “Camps must compete with local businesses, internships, school commitments, and summer educational programs in order to find staff willing to work during the short camp season, often in remote and rural areas,” according to the Foundation for Jewish Camp. “This year, 65 percent of camps report facing increased challenges recruiting and retaining high quality staff compared to previous years.” While the national camping organizaAction by Trump tion is emphasizing the economic harm, Jewish camps are stressing the deep administration connections that Israeli staffers bring to camp experience. could endanger theThe Religious Action Center of ReJudaism said much of the powerful ability to bring form experience of the movement’s summer in foreign staff camps “comes from the presence of Israeli counselors and other international staff who enrich the experience each summer. Learning about Israel from Israelis and building personal connections to the Jewish homeland makes URJ camps unlike any others.” Geoffrey Menkowitz, director of Ramah Darom in north Georgia, said this summer, “the Ramah Camping Movement sponsored over 250 Israelis to serve as camp counselors, over 40 of whom worked at Camp Ramah Darom.” “Mishlachat have worked at Ramah camps for 70 years,” Menkowitz said. “They are more than just seasonal summer employees and cannot be replaced by local workers. Mishlachat are part of our family, providing our Ramah communities with enduring ties to the land of Israel — and more importantly, to the people of Israel.” This summer, the Jewish Agency’s program for summer envoys sent almost 1,350 Israelis overseas, mainly to the U.S. In a message to camp families, the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica said “A summer of Jacobs Magic is not complete without our Mislachat helping prepare a falafel dinner, a photographer with an accent that isn’t Southern, our new Mexican family, and a certain Polish operations crew
Camp staff at Ramah Darom in Georgia member who does way more than just operations.” The movements are urging families to contact their Congressional representatives, State Department and the White House to support the visa program. Elan Schwartz of Chicago, a long-time camper at Ramah Darom, mentioned pride in America as a motivation for keeping the program intact. In a letter to his senators, he said the visitors’ “love and fascination with America and its people gives all of us a new sense of pride and belonging in our country.” Schwartz, son of Birmingham native Shira Raviv Schwartz, added “this simple J-1 visa program creates a sense of hope and a connection to those who are unalike us, a connection to those that are different, which I feel is one of the most important things for developing American children and teens to have.”
First-time camper grant available The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana announced that applications are now available for first-time overnight summer campers to receive the Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant. The Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience, which increased to up to $1,500 per child last summer, is administered by JEF. This program, which helps families provide their children with a first-time camping experience at a Jewish sleepaway camp, was established by JEF in 1999 and has been funded by the Goldring Family Foundation since 2001. Since its inception, 1,369 children have received grants to attend Jewish summer camp. Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to create positive Jewish identity and 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. The Goldring Family Foundation makes this camp program available to every Jewish child in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle by giving a one-time-only grant of up to $1,500 per child to attend a nonprofit Jewish summer camp. Programs costing less than $1,500 will be funded up to the amount of camp tuition. “We are grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation for their continuing generosity and their commitment to making a Jewish camping experience available to so many children,” states JEF President Andi Lestelle. “This program benefits not only the individual campers, but our entire community.” To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleepaway camp, currently in grades 1 through 9, and residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or the Florida Panhandle. Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Synagogue affiliation is not required. The deadline for applications is March 31 and early application is strongly suggested. Award notification will be made by May 31. For more information and an application form, contact Ellen Abrams at JEF at (504) 524-4559 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The application can also be downloaded at www.jefno.org.
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 19
community A Gift Forever: Hannah and Joseph Klein Education Fund endowed at JCRS by Deb Silverthorn Special to Southern Jewish Life
Hannah Leah Freeman Klein believed that education was the key — the key to a future, to joy and to success. To her dedication, and that of her husband, it will be through the Hannah and Joseph Klein Education Fund of the New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service, that so many doors will be unlocked. “My wife’s intelligence, curiosity, and desire for a challenge were just part of what made her so beautiful to me, said Joseph Klein. “This education fund is to honor her life and her memory
20 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
and I hope that receiving students will study hard, reach their goals, and find their dreams fulfilled. Then, she will always live on.” The Hannah and Joseph Klein Education Fund will support JCRS’ provision of grants and no-interest loans to students attending colleges and vocational training programs. JCRS’ students, who come from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, have received hundreds of thousands of dollars. With the fall semester already unPhoto courtesy Joseph Klein derway, in 2017 JCRS has provided nearly 130 students with an average of $2,500 each. who was raised in New Jersey, were husband Hannah, a native of Waco, Texas, and Joseph, and wife for the better part of seven years before Hannah’s recent passing on May 3. The two first met in 2002 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth, both “walking the walk” of the importance of education, and were there for an adult education class. When the teacher didn’t show, the two students learned more about each other. “We were friends, both involved in the synagogue’s Fort Worth Jewish archives ongoing project, but I wanted to be married to this exceptional person in every way,” said Klein, who has now moved to Los Angeles, joining his son. “We had almost seven years but I wish it had been 70.” The youngest of five daughters, Hannah was orphaned at a very young age. Her adamance that education was a priority came from her own experience. As the salutatorian of Forest Avenue High School, she was given a partial scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University. Because of the family’s situation she was unable to complete her education — a factor that still didn’t stop her success. After beginning her career at the Otis Elevator Company, she ran the Dallas office of the General Electric Heating and Air Conditioning, eventually transferring to the GE Space Division in Philadelphia where she was the chief engineer’s executive secretary for almost 30 years. Klein started his education at an electronics technical school in Philadelphia, and ultimately achieved the level of senior engineering specialist. He had a career that spanned RCA, Western Union, General Dynamics and Lockheed Fort Worth Company. Associated for more than 50 years with the Tabernacle Masonic Lodge and as a Scottish Rite Mason, he for many years ran the blood bank for the patients of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. Like his wife, a lifelong learner, he continued his education during his employment years, primarily at Texas Christian University. Klein describes Hannah as a “girlie girl” who loved to dress the part, always elegant and refined. She was a voracious reader, primarily of non-fiction, never without a book close by — the two of them often reading the same titles
community and sharing discussion over whatever the subject matter. Also an incredible pianist since she was a child, “she did not hammer the keys; she caressed them” he said. “We had lots of togetherness, but it never could have been enough.” “When Hannah and I sat to write our wills, JCRS and the children it serves — many who are in the same position she was many years ago — was her first bequest,” said Klein. “It was because she couldn’t finish her education that she always wanted to make a difference for someone else and now, together, we can do just that and create our legacy.” “JCRS is honored to be remembered by Joseph and Hannah with their generous gift and establishment of an educational endowment fund, said JCRS Executive Director Ned Goldberg. “Gifts such as these help new generations of Jewish youth while also fulfilling the donor’s intention as a memorial, and truly a legacy to Hannah and her respect of education.” Most freshman and sophomore students receive scholarship grants, while juniors and seniors generally receive a combination of grants and no-interest loans with a generous payback time frame. Most educational programs, other than gap year and study abroad programs, are eligible for support.
Jacobs Camp touring region The Henry S. Jacobs Camp is touring the region. There will be a program at Beth Israel in Jackson on Oct. 15. On Oct. 21 in New Orleans, grades 1 to 5 will meet at Audubon Park on Oct. 21 from 2 to 4 p.m. for games, crafts, snacks and more. Grades 6 to 8 will hang out with favorite staffers from 6 to 8 p.m., with the location being emailed to those who make reservations. There will be a Jacobs Camp Shabbat on Nov. 17 at Temple Sinai in New Orleans, and a visit to the Temple Sinai religious school on Nov. 19. Visits to Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham and Touro Synagogue in New Orleans are scheduled for Dec. 3, and Beth El in Pensacola and B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge are scheduled for Dec. 10. In January, visits are scheduled for B’nai Israel in Little Rock on Jan. 7, B’nai Zion in Shreveport on Jan. 21 and Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge on Jan. 28.
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 21
Merrick, Roger to be honored by ADL The Anti-Defamation League South-Central region, based in New Orleans, announced that Robert Merrick and Arthur Roger will be this year’s honorees at the A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award Dinner. “Award recipients are people who care not just about themselves today but about the children and grandchildren of tomorrow,” says Michael Botnick, former ADL regional board chair and selection committee member. “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.” “Robert Merrick and Arthur Roger are powerful leaders, who have huge footprints in our community,” said Jonathan Lake, ADL South-Central regional board chair. “Their steadfast dedication to equal access and LGBTQ rights have made New Orleans a better place for everyone, and their leadership keeps New Orleans as a cutting-edge city and pace-setter on many civil rights issues.” The award will be presented at the annual A.I. Botnick Torch of Liberty Award Dinner at the Hyatt Regency on Dec. 5. Merrick’s dinner chairs are Joseph Exnicios, Richard “Rick” Hasse, Alan and Sherry Leventhal, and Hardy Fowler. Roger’s dinner chairs are Timothy Francis, Jack Sullivan and Marc Behar. Tickets are available at www.adl.org/botnicktorch or by contacting the local ADL office at email@example.com or (504) 780-5602. The New Orleans ADL office covers a territory including Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Merrick formed his own company in 1973 and then, in 1986, purchased Latter & Blum, Inc./Realtors, one of the largest and oldest full-service real estate companies in Louisiana. After this initial acquisition, he acquired numerous brokerage firms and incorporated a mortgage firm, a title company and insurance agency. In 2015, Merrick was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by Junior Achievement of Greater New Orleans. In the same year, he was honored as the Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the Southeast Louisiana Council of the Boy Scouts and as the New Orleanian of the Year by Gambit Magazine. In 2014, he became the first Louisianan to join the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable, a national membership reserved for million-dollar donors. In 2005, the American Red Cross named him the Humanitarian of the Year. Merrick has served as the campaign manager for the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and the March of Dimes. He has served on Business School advisory boards at the University of New Orleans and University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and as a board member for the Ruth U. Fertel 22 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Foundation, Boy Scouts of America, Salvation Army, and WYES-TV, among others. Merrick is also committed to the higher education of his employees’ and associates’ children, granting 15 scholarships each year. This scholarship Robert Merrick fund has now granted over $500,000 to these young adults. “Bob is truly a visionary leader, who has helped Louisiana grow. His example inspires us to do the same,” said ADL Interim Regional Director Lindsay Baach Friedmann. Arthur Roger Roger is the owner and director of the Arthur Roger Gallery, located in the Arts District of New Orleans. A native of New Orleans, Roger worked in art galleries in the French Quarter while attending high school and college. In 1978, he opened his gallery on Magazine Street, establishing a national and local reputation as the director of a leading New Orleans art gallery and for his efforts supporting emerging female artists, African-American artists and artists from the LGBTQ community. In 1988, Roger moved the gallery to its current home on Julia Street. After Hurricane Katrina, Roger played a pivotal role in the revival of the visual arts scene in New Orleans and now has a second studio — Arthur Roger@434 near his Julia Street gallery. Roger has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana Children’s Museum, The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and The Mayor’s Arts Commission, and as an officer in the New Orleans Arts District Association. He originated Arts Against AIDS, benefitting NOAIDS Task Force, and played a leading role in Halloween in New Orleans, the principal fundraising event for Project Lazarus. In 1995, Roger received the Paul Plauche Award for fundraising. Among other honors, Roger received the Young Leadership Award in 1994, the Junior Achievement Role Model in 2009, and the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality Award in 2016. This year, he donated paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from his personal collection to the New Orleans Museum of Art, which are currently on display in the Museum’s exhibition “Pride of Place: The Making of Contemporary Art in New Orleans.”
October 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 23
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On the first Friday of a semester, most fraternity leaders are busy making sure that their fraternity will have the best possible party for that all-important first impression. Harrison Napell, a Tulane University junior from New Jersey, by contrast, spent much of that late August morning rounding up Zeta Beta Tau brothers to perform their weekly community service of setting up Shabbat dinner at Chabad. The first Friday night of the semester at Chabad is a big event, with over 200 students attending, and the brothers worked hard to set up tables, chairs, place settings and food for all of the guests. The ZBT-Chabad relationship is a long-standing one at Tulane, going back to the 1970s, when Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, then director of Tulane Chabad, recruited a group of ZBT brothers to form the Chabad intramural football team. In the last few years, since ZBT returned to campus and held their chartering ceremony at the Chabad House, that relationship has strengthened. Eli Weitzman a Tulane junior from California who served on the Chabad board and was also Jewish heritage chair at ZBT, started the weekly tradition of ZBT brothers performing community service by volunteering at Chabad. “As a Jewish fraternity, we pride ourselves on our connection with Judaism and the Jewish community,” said Weitzman, “and as a social fraternity we focus on our network of students and brothers. Working with Chabad combines these focuses and allows us to connect with our heritage while having a great time! We believe that giving back to the Jewish community results in positive outcomes and lasting friendships.” Many students that attend Tulane come with high expectations of the quality of Jewish life that they will find, said Rabbi Leibel Lipskier, director of undergraduate programs at Tulane Chabad. What is available at Tulane often exceeds expectations, he added. Weitzman commented, “I expected to have a decent amount of access to Jewish religion and culture, but I had not realized how ingrained Jewish life is at Tulane. Being in ZBT has certainly strengthened my bond with the Jewish community and my Jewish identity. Chabad has only added to my Jewish connection, as Rabbi Leibel and Mushka provide a second home for my brothers and me.” The Lipskiers deeply value the Chabad-ZBT relationship as well. “The guys from ZBT are like a part of our family,” Rabbi Lipskier said. “Their help means so much to us, and it’s really great to know that they are getting a lot out of their experience at Chabad as well.”
205.877.8677 24 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Tulane ZBT brothers helping out at Tulane Chabad
Dialogue advocate visiting for interfaith weekend in Dothan Rabbi Winer honored by Queen Elizabeth II for his work A leading international figure in interfaith dialogue will headline a Children of Abraham weekend in southeast Alabama this month. Temple Emanu-El of Dothan, Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Dothan and the Muslim Community of the Wiregrass in Grimes are co-hosting Rabbi Mark Winer starting Oct. 20. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II honored Winer by naming him a member of the Order of the British Empire for “promoting interfaith dialogue and social cohesion” in London and the United Kingdom during his 12-year tenure as senior rabbi at the Reform West London Synagogue. He is the first American rabbi to receive that honor. A Harvard graduate, Winer was ordained in 1970 at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. For more than 30 years, Winer served as a congregational rabbi in the U.S. and was president of the National Council of Synagogues before going to London. He moved to Miami in 2013 to become director of the Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Studies at St. Thomas University, where he also served as an adjunct professor of religion until he retired in 2014. In 1995, Winer founded and has served as president of the international interfaith initiative FAITH: The Foundation to Advance Interfaith Trust and Harmony. He also has served as chair of the international interfaith Task Force for the World Union for Progressive Judaism since 1998. Winer has been involved in several international events, including resolving the issues that led to the treaty between Israel and the Vatican. In addition, he has been a key negotiator for the release of Ethiopian Jews. He will speak on “To Russia With Love” at Emanu-El during the 7 p.m. Shabbat service on Oct. 20. The talk will be about his experiences rebuilding Russian Jewish communities after the fall of the Soviet Union. On Oct. 21 at 10 a.m., he will speak at Muslim Community of the Wiregrass about “Winning Friends of Other Faiths” in communities that are growing and changing. He will use examples from his work among the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities in London. Brunch will be served. The third public event will be Oct. 22 at 10:30 a.m. at Evergreen Presbyterian. Winer will speak about two themes from the Hebrew Bible — love your neighbor as yourself, and life’s journey is a blessing — and how relationships from his past helped him succeed in negotiations during Operation Solomon, the covert 1991 airlift of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel in a 36-hour period. The three public events are free and open to the community. There will also be a dessert reception with Winer at the home of Laura and Larry Blumberg, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m., co-hosted by Cindy and Hayne Hollis. The reception, which is limited to 30, is $100 per person, with proceeds going to the interfaith programming between Emanu-El and Evergreen. Reservations for all events are requested by Oct. 18 to Stephanie Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 25
Jam4Sam Members of Mesch AZA brought back the Jam4Sam, a family-friendly music event at Red Hills Brewing Company in Birmingham on Sept. 10, to benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. The event is in memory of Sam Lapidus, who was an AZA member and died of Ewing’s Sarcoma just before his 15th birthday. In November, the Levite Jewish Community Center, which co-sponsored the event, will hold its annual Thanksgiving Day Montclair Run, also in his memory. Singer Rick Recht, who performed for Selichot at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El, also led a spirited Shabbat service on Sept. 15
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 27
Ariel is celebrating its 40th birthday — in Alabama Forty years ago, a group of 40 families arrived at a barren hilltop in the heart of Samaria and established Ariel, which has become a thriving city in the territories. The leadership of Ariel is making six stops in the United States on a 40th anniversary tour next month, and two of the gala events are in Alabama. Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro and Avi Zimmerman, executive director of American Friends of Ariel, will be in Birmingham on Nov. 20 and Mobile on Nov. 21. The Birmingham event will be at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Emanu-El, details for the Mobile event had not been finalized as of press time. In March, Shaviro and Zimmerman visited Birmingham and Mobile in preparation for the 40th anniversary celebrations. In Mobile, they met with Mayor Sandy Stimpson at his home. Mobile became a sister city with Ariel in August 2008. The Birmingham event will feature the Celebrate Ariel Performance Troupe and a presentation by “true American Sniper Kevin Lacz.” The Celebrate Ariel Performance Troupe combines Ariel’s singing group and the award-winning Ariel International Folk Dance Troupe. Lacz, a Connecticut native, joined the U.S. Navy after a friend’s father was killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. He did two platoons with SEAL Team Three as a sniper, breacher and combat medic. In 2006, his platoon was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, and was detailed in Chris Kyle’s “American Sniper.” Lacz was cast in and was a technical assistant for the film version, which was directed by Clint Eastwood. Lacz currently is a physician assistant in Pensacola. Last year, he wrote “The Last Punisher,” about his time in Ramadi, and the book made the New York Times bestseller list. Founding Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman, who died in 2013, established many of the connections between Alabama and Ariel. Shortly after his death, he was awarded the Israel Prize for building one of Israel’s model cities. Today, Ariel has over 18,000 residents, and features Ariel University, which has an enrollment of 14,000. Ariel is home to Israel’s premier outdoor training site, the Ariel National Center for Leadership Development, which was initiated by Heather Johnston of Birmingham. The center provides a one-of-a-kind, experiential platform which trains the next generation of Israeli and international leaders. Modeled on Johnston’s JH Ranch in California, the Ariel center has
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community training programs based on Biblical narratives, to give Israeli leaders vision for the future through a bond with the past. Johnston also founded the U.S.-Israel Educational Association “to bring greater awareness to what’s happening in Ariel and its growing impact on Israeli society.” The organization sponsors trips to Israel for U.S. Representatives and Senators. Government-sponsored Congressional delegations are not permitted to visit the territories. The group has organized four tours, including one this past summer with five Representatives and a Senator from Oklahoma. The groups visit Ariel, among other communities in the area. They visit factories where Jews and Arabs work together and explore the repercussions anti-Israel boycotts have on Arabs, and explore the region’s history. Tickets to the Nov. 20 event in Birmingham are $100 and are available through American Friends of Ariel. VIP tickets that include entry to the VIP reception with Kevin Lacz are $180, or $2,000 for a host table of 10.
CUFI honoring Israel near Chattanooga Christians United for Israel will hold a Night to Honor Israel on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., at The Colonnade in Ringgold. Pastor Matt Hagee of Cornerstone Church and Israeli Defense Force Major Elliot Chodoff, a political and military analyst, will be keynote speakers. Allen will also speak, along with Michael Dzik, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Chattanooga. Musical guests will include Sandy Parker of Cornerstone Church, and Brad Moffett and the Lee Singers. This will be the fourth annual Chattanooga-area Night to Honor Israel. The event is open to the community and doors open at 6 p.m.
> > Meridian thought it would be dangerous and asked if he really had to go. He led business delegations again in 2015 and 2016, and last year his wife went to Israel with a group of women from Mississippi churches. In 2015, there was a Mississippi Meets Israel business summit in Jackson, with numerous Israeli companies visiting. In 2016, Mississippi exports to Israel totaled $58 million. He also noted that the Mississippi Legislature’s bill to divest from companies doing business with Iran “was a signal,” he said, “a loud and I hope very direct signal to the world that Mississippi will always stand with our friends in Israel.” Bill Behrer, acting executive director of AIFL, said he grew up on Long Island in a town where Jews and blacks were not allowed to live. At age 29 he traveled to Israel, and has been back 39 times. The AIFL, he said, offers “the bond between the people, and that’s the most important thing that can ever happen.” He wants to see a youth exchange program between Meridian and Israel. While church groups routinely go to Israel and “Bible study is never the same” after that, what is next? He encouraged such groups to be in touch with AIFL to keep the connection going afterward. Haiat said AIFL “creates an amazing bridge between the U.S. and Israel.” Though it was a day before Kol Nidre, Haiat said he “couldn’t miss the opportunity to come here.” Mississippi Treasurer Lynn Fitch was also in attendance, and it was noted that she will be traveling to Israel in the coming weeks. Brad Young, Southeast director for Israel Bonds in Atlanta, was also at the event. Also in attendance was Alabama Rep. Craig Ford from Gadsden, who was introduced as a supporter of AIFL. Haiat thanked the millions of American “friends who stand with us to defend the state of Israel and help us in our fight against our enemies.” “Peace is the future of the state of Israel,” Haiat said, “but we can only reach this peace by being strong, and we can only be that strong by having the support of people like you.”
October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 29
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One of Israel’s most decorated heroes will be the guest speaker at the Alabama-Israel Leadership Gala in north Alabama on Nov. 18. Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, chairman of the Israel Leadership Institute, commanded the 91st Division of the Israel Defense Forces during the 2006 Lebanon war. Eeki Elner, founder of ILI, will also speak at the event, which is co-hosted by the Alabama-Israel Task force and ILI. The gala will honor the friendship between Gal Hirsch Alabama and Israel. It will be held at The Epicenter in Tanner, just west of the Interstate 65/565 interchange near Decatur. A special presentation will be made to Lior Haiat, Israeli Consul General to Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Puerto Rico. There will also be an Israel Leadership Award presented, but details were not confirmed as of press time. John Buhler, who co-chairs AITF, said “this is a unique honor and opportunity as we host several distinguished leaders from Israel for this special gala celebration during the 50th anniversary and Jubilee of the reunification of Jerusalem.” The interfaith AITF was formed four years ago “to provide a bridge and catalyst for broader cooperative efforts and help cultivate an even stronger and expanding state-to-state relationship between Alabama and Israel for the mutual benefit of their people.” The Alabama group has supported the ILI, one of Israel’s most advanced and creative leadership schools. It is located in Sderot, near the Israel-Gaza border. In May, the AITF announced it had reached its initial goal to help ILI launch a new Emergency Preparedness Disaster Response training center in Kiryat Shmona, not far from the Lebanon border. According to the task force, the location was chosen after the mayor identified a need for such training, and Kiryat Shmona “is a location similar to Sderot in the south, being a border community and vulnerable to shelling by Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria.” Retired Colonel Gideon Bar-On, former commander of the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, is leading the Kiryat Shmona training. Support for the new initiative came from the Jewish and Christian communities in Alabama, with special contributions from Calvary Assembly in Decatur and Rock Family Worship Center in Huntsville, which hosts events honoring Israel each year. In the 1980s Hirsch was a paratrooper in the Paratrooper Brigade, leading a battalion in South Lebanon and through the First Intifada. He was severely injured in a terror attack as a large rock was thrown onto his car. He commanded the Benjamin Regional Brigade during the Second Intifada and served in the central command during Operation Defensive Shield. After the 2006 war, he resigned from the military and founded Defensive Shield Holdings. He has also been a research associate since 2008 at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. In 2016 he wrote “Defensive Shield,” an updated version of his bestselling 2009 autobiographical book, “Love Story, War Story.” Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are $100, with proceeds supporting the AITF’s Emergency Preparedness Disaster Response initiative with ILI in Sderot. There will be a reception with kosher heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There will also be personal photo opportunities with the Israeli dignitaries starting at 6 p.m. Details are available at aitf-web.org.
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Wiatrak, Royal honorees at Smart Party Every year, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham honors some of the community’s most innovative and accomplished women through the Smart Party. For this year’s Smart Party 6.0, Ka- Katie Wiatrak tie Wiatrak is the first honoree in a new “Next Generation” category, which includes current high school or college students. The Smart Party is a live and online fundraising event where attendees use their smart phones or devices to interact with friends online, create awareness, raise funds and win prizes. It will be held on Oct. 12 at Iron City on Birmingham’s Southside. Also among the honorees is Barbara Royal, who just retired as CEO of Momentum after 15 years. Momentum, which she founded, is a women’s leadership program “which empowers a diverse group of promising women to develop leadership skills that positively impact business, culture and politics in Alabama.” Last month, Royal became a special projects consultant with Momentum. Royal served as executive director of Discovery Place and Discovery 2000, and developed the groundwork for McWane Science Center. She is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham and Leadership America. Royal serves as a Robert Wood Johnson Fellows mentor, on the National Advisory Forum of the Women’s Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, in Dallas, Texas, on the board of the National Association of Children’s Healthcare Quality in Boston, on the UAB President’s Advisory Council and president of Harbert Center Management Inc. She was named a Top Ten Birmingham Businesswomen by Birmingham Business Journal in 1990, one of 25 Intriguing People to Watch in 2003 by Birmingham magazine, a 2004 Woman of Distinction by Cahaba Girl Scouts, and has served extensively on civic boards and endeavors. Wiatrak, a senior at Indian Springs School, was chosen for her efforts to promote gender equality at Indian Springs and beyond. Alongside Springs’ first female head of school, Sharon Howell, and classmate Delaney Porter, Wiatrak founded Indian Springs’ Gender Equality Club in 2016 in an effort to highlight the importance of equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of gender. In less than a year, the club, which hosts movie screenings, after-school discussions and fundraisers to highlight gender
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 31
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community equality issues, has grown into the school’s largest student-run club, with more than 70 members. The only female volunteer in the emergency room at Children’s Hospital of Alabama, Wiatrak hopes to join the next generation of women in medicine. Over the summer, she completed a four-week medical course at the University of Oxford through Oxford Summer Courses as a 2017 Andy Abroms Memorial Scholar. At Springs, she is a founding member of Springs’ Girls Golf team and an officer for the Treble Chorus. She also participates in Springs’ Contemporary Music Ensemble program, teaches at Temple Emanu-El, and volunteers with Anytown Alabama and Peace Birmingham. “This is such an honor,” said Wiatrak. “The Gender Equality Club has become a central part of my life, and I hope that through the club and my other interests, I can inspire other women to pursue their dreams and raise their voices.”
BHEC offers “Why?” education series By popular demand, the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center will offer its first Community Education Series, based on the book “Why? Explaining the Holocaust,” by Peter Hayes. The book has eight chapters, each based on a common question posed by Hayes’ students during his 30 years of teaching at Northwestern University. A different facilitator will lead the discussion each month. No prior knowledge of the Holocaust is required, but participants are asked to read the chapter before that month’s session. The series starts on Oct. 3 with “Targets: Why the Jews,” facilitated by Rabbi Douglas Kohn of Temple Emanu-El. On Nov. 2, Andy Millard of the University of Alabama at Birmingham will lead “Attackers: Why the Germans.” Ann Mollengarden of BHEC will lead “Escalation: Why Murder” on Dec. 7, and “Annihilation: Why This Swift and Sweeping” will be led by Mike Gadilhe of John Carroll Catholic High School on Jan. 11. On Feb. 13, the series continues with “Victims: Why Didn’t More Jews Fight Back More Often?” led by Clark Hultquist of the University of Montevallo. “Homelands: Why Did Survivor Rates Diverge” will be on March 13 with Amy McDonald of Shades Valley High School, “Onlookers: Why Such Limited Help from the Outside” will be led by Janet Wasserman of the University of Alabama on April 3, and the series concludes with “Aftermath: What Legacies, What Lessons” on May 8 with Dominique Linchet, formerly of the Alabama School of Fine Arts. The 6:30 p.m. sessions will be at the BHEC office, and light snacks will be served. Registration is $100 for the year, or $20 for an individual session on a space-available basis.
Selichot by streetlight
An area power outage moved the Sept. 16 Selichot service at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple outdoors 32 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 33
Hadassah New Orleans Frees the Tatas at Disco Ball
Hadassah New Orleans launched a Disco inferno to help blaze new trails in breast cancer research. The Free the Tatas Disco Ball was held on Sept. 9 at The Cannery, benefiting Hadassah’s breast cancer and genetic research programs. The ball included the “Big Reveal” of artwork from Free the Tatas Paint Day in March. A group of 19 volunteers, many of them breast cancer survivors, had their torsos painted by local artists, with the results photographed. The images, which were transferred to canvases, were unveiled at the Disco Ball. The event also honored Cathy Bart and Judy Lieberman, who were at the forefront of preventative treatments against breast cancer over 15 years ago. Before the BRCA2 gene mutation was widely known, they took a progressive approach to preventative treatment of breast cancer. Over 30 local restaurants provided the cuisine, Crescent City DJ spun 1970s tunes, and there was a performance by Trixie Minx.
34 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
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Former SEC commissioner launches prostate cancer foundation JAMES M. KRELL, MD A. MICHELE HILL, MD
GARY D. MONHEIT, MD MELANIE L. APPELL, MD
by Lee J. Green Former Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, motivated by his own personal journey from diagnosis to remission, wants to help others beat prostate cancer. On Sept. 14, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, The Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research officially launched in Birmingham. The mission of the foundation is simple — saving lives by funding cutting-edge prostate cancer research. Prostate cancer follows only skin cancer as the leading cancer among men and it is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men. Typically occurring in older men, prostate cancer will be diagnosed in approximately 1 of every 7 men. Despite being one of the most common types of cancer, prostate cancer receives the least funding per new case. Slive and attorney Ed Meyerson, both involved members of the Birmingham Jewish community, started the foundation earlier this year. Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network emceed the kickoff event. “They asked me if I would lend my name and support to this effort,” Slive said. “I was honored and flattered. It was something of great importance to me because I went through it and wanted to help others.” Slive retired in 2015 after serving as SEC commissioner since 2002. He was first diagnosed in 1996 and had his prostate removed. He had treatments in 2001 and 2006 after tests showed elevated PSA levels. In 2014, after he suffered extreme pain in his abdomen, a tumor was found on is spine, squeezing his spinal cord. He had surgery the next day, then a long protocol of radiation and chemo treatments, along with rods placed in his spine. His cancer is currently in remission and he is living a normal life. “We want this to be the beginning of the end for prostate cancer. I think we can find a cure,” Slive said. “This foundation will provide research, support and funding to lead us toward this goal.” Meyerson has been involved in this battle for years. Fifty years ago, his father was diagnosed with an aggressive case of prostate cancer when he was in his 60s. The treatments done then would not be done today, and
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though he lived into his 90s, his quality of life was greatly diminished. Meyerson started supporting the UAB Comprehensive Cancer center 28 years ago. “When I saw that we were making such strides through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation at UAB, that was my impetus to start the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama, which has become the Mike Slive Foundation,” he said. Meyerson said he reached out to Slive “because I knew that together we could make a contribution to help end prostate cancer. Mike’s story is an inspiration to us all.” The Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research will focus on education as well as support for both men and the important women in their lives, said Slive. “Men get prostate cancer but it affects the women in our lives so much. They are supporting us and they need more support. Everyone’s lives are disrupted by prostate cancer, not just men.” Slive recommends that men of a certain age determined by their doctors get a PSA screening. “Prostate cancer is asymptomatic. You may have the symptoms and not feel it. When the pain hits it is already too late,” he said. The foundation includes a 20-person board and some major sponsors to help spread the word. About half of the board comes from the Jewish community, as well as a large proportion of the initial “Allies in the Fight.” Meyerson said “those of us who are joining the Mike Slive Foundation are supporting this research so our children and grandchildren won’t have to go through the apprehension and the side effects. They deserve better.” Slive said since college football is so big in the South, they plan to use that and the conference he formerly led as visibility platforms to plead for more support in the fight against prostate cancer. “That is a great way for to raise awareness since many of the people we want to reach are football fans,” he said. Meyerson said “What our doctors do here in Alabama has a global impact on ending prostate cancer for good. More funding is crucial to make the important advancements and discoveries that will save even more lives, and The Foundation was created to ensure the needed funding is secured.” Slive said he is “healthy, active and feeling great.” When asked if he still travels around regularly to check out SEC athletic events, he said with a smile, “I just watch everything on my 75-inch television at my home here in Birmingham. That’s the best seat in the stadium.”
Tulane advances on movement disorders treatment by Lee J. Green
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The Movement Disorder Division of the Tulane Center for Clinical Neurosciences focuses on advancing treatment, care, education and support for those with movement disorders, most especially Parkinson’s Disease. Dr. Sarah Perez, a southern Louisiana native and LSU graduate who did her residency and fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, started this past July with Tulane. Perez is a board-certified neurologist who specializes in movement disorders and is an assistant professor in the Center for Clinical Neurosciences. “We want to continue the advancement of research, education and therapies that we hope someday in the near future we can find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders,” said Perez. “While there are many clinical trials in Birmingham and Houston, there are very few here in New Orleans. We’d like to change that.” She received an undergraduate degree in music performance at LSU in 2004, specializing in clarinet. Perez’s clinical interests are the diagnosis and treatment of tremor, Parkinson’s disease, dystonia. Ataxia and Huntington’s disease. She has expertise in the placement and management of Deep Brain Stimulators for refrac-
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tory tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia treatment. She also performs botulinum toxin injections for dystonia. “I got into this line of medicine because I always admired ‘old school diagnostic professionals’,” she said. “With neurology and movement disorders a lot of diagnosis can come from the physical exam through observation, listening. Plus, I think it is a medical science that is on the verge of several exciting breakthroughs.” Tulane hopes to lead the way and work in the New Orleans community for programs that can benefit those with movement disorders. Currently the New Orleans Ballet Association is offering free dance classes for persons with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers, friends and family. The classes are on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. from Oct. 4 through Dec. 13 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. The Louisiana Walks for Parkinson’s event will be Oct. 14 in Metairie’s Lafreniere Park. “Rock Steady Boxing, creative moment and other specialized exercises are excellent therapies we recommend to all of our patients,” said Perez. “We also recommend foods rich in anti-oxidants with Omega 3 and Vitamin E, including fish as well as a Mediterranean diet. Zero-carb diets are also advised as ways to help combat neurodegeneration.” Perez divides her time between clinical responsibilities at Tulane and the VA Medical Center; educating medical students and residents, as well as the activities of her husband and three children. While Perez misses Birmingham, she is happy to be back in their native New Orleans area. Will she be getting her clarinet out again to play in perhaps the U.S. city where the instrument shines the most? “We are looking at some ways in which we can start some programs that can entertain with great music, then educate and support those with movement disorders,” said Perez. “Putting those together is a perfect fit.”
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St. Charles Vision does comprehensive eye health by Lee J. Green The word “vision” in St. Charles Vision doesn’t just refer to sight, but also to the New Orleans area optometry clinic’s vision to help as many people as possible by providing total eye health services. St. Charles Vision has been serving New Orleans since 1976 and today offers six locations across the metro area. Dr. Jonathan Lappen has been with the company for six years at the Uptown St. Charles Avenue location. Lappen said regular eye exams, at least once a year, are important not just to maintain proper eye health, but in some cases, to detect other diseases and even some cancers. “We can detect some signs of possible glaucoma and a few cancers even with the lack of symptoms present” he said. “Even if someone does not have any eye pain, irritation or vision change, there could be something we could find in an eye exam that could point to a serious health issue.” Lappen said the “big three” that an eye doctor can detect are diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Among patients who wear contact lenses, Lappen said “daily disposables have really gained popularity in recent years. The lenses on the market today cover all the parameters. Those who have astigmatisms, need multi-focal lenses, have chronic dry eyes and all levels of (near-sightedness or far-sightedness) can wear daily disposable lenses. Plus they are the best from a hygiene perspective.” Lappen said that there are high amounts of allergens in the Deep South, so if contact lens wearers have gone from wearing contacts 15 hours a day to only a few hours per day comfortably, they should consult their eye doctor. For those wearing glasses, St. Charles Vision continues to expand the lines and varieties of eyewear carried. Lappen, his wife Michelle and his two sons are involved at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. He also is part of the Katz-Phillips young leadership group.
October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 37
health and wellness
Lowering Your Breast Cancer Risk by Touro Infirmary October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month — 31 days devoted to raising awareness of the disease. With all of the information, you may need help to sort out the facts about breast cancer.
Factors You Can’t Change For starters, it’s true that breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among American women. It’s also true that some risks for this disease cannot be changed. For instance:
Age matters. You’re more likely to develop it as you
get older. In fact, women older than age 50 make up most advanced breast cancer cases.
Family ties. Those whose mothers, sisters or daughters have had breast cancer also face a higher risk.
Ethnicity’s role. Breast cancer develops more often in
Caucasian women than in African-American, Hispanic or Asian women.
Factors You Can Change One fact about breast cancer that you might not know is you might be able to lower your risk for this disease by following some smart lifestyle strategies. Try the following:
Scale back. Obese women are more apt to get breast cancer than women who are at a normal weight.
Stay on the move. Studies indicate there’s a lower rate of breast cancer in women who exercise.
Don’t tip your glass too often. Having one to two alcoholic drinks a day can increase your risk.
Clear the smoke away. A study found that the rate of
breast cancer among current smokers was about 24 percent higher than in nonsmokers. When women quit, they reduced their risk for breast cancer by nearly half that of current smokers.
Cut the fat. Your risk for breast cancer rises along with the
amount of fat in your diet. Limiting fat, especially saturated fat, may curb your risk. When breast cancer does strike, it’s important to catch it in its early stages, when it’s most treatable. Mammography can help, but its benefits and limitations vary based on factors like age and personal risk. Talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors before making a decision about when to start getting mammograms or how often to get them. Also, ask your doctor if you need a clinical breast exam. To schedule a mammogram at the Touro Women’s Imaging Center, please call (504) 897-8600. For more information on breast cancer prevention, screening, treatment and support visit touro.com/cancer. Visit www.31DaysofPink.com every day during October for breast health information, inspiring stories, daily giveaways, events and more. 38 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
health and wellness
It Isn’t Just
Tay-Sachs Any More
When Lindsay Baach Friedmann, interim South Central regional director for the Anti-Defamation League office in New Orleans, was getting married in 2014, she “did what I felt I was supposed to do” and went to her doctor for genetic testing. After all, there are numerous genetic diseases that are more prevalent in Jews than in the general population, such as Tay Sachs. If both parents are carriers, any children will be at greater risk for having the disease. After numerous vials of blood and the requisite wait for results, “everything came back okay” on the 18 diseases in the screening. And then came the surprise. After her bloodwork was “exceptionally low” during a routine physical several months later, she was referred to a fertility doctor, who started asking her about a genetic disease that she hadn’t been screened for and nobody in her family had showed signs of — Fragile X. More blood work was done, with a two-week turnaround for the results. A week later, she had a positive pregnancy test. Then the next week, the screening results showed she was a carrier of Fragile X. She found herself “very newly pregnant and very unaware of what Fragile X was.” According to the National Fragile X Foundation, it is a condition that “causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges and various physical characteristics.” Fragile X is also the most common known single gene cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Today, she and husband Josh have a healthy 22-month-old daughter that does not have Fragile X. “She’s a double miracle,” Friedmann said. One-fourth of women who carry Fragile X have a condition that causes premature ovarian failure. “It was incredibly challenging to learn when I was 33 that the door could close at any minute,” she said. She wants others to learn from her experience, and is an advocate for genetic screening through groups like J Screen. JScreen is a non-profit community-based public health initiative headquartered at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, dedicated to preventing Jewish genetic diseases. The JScreen “spit kit” is easily ordered online, used at home, and then mailed in so that clinical geneticists can test the DNA. If a person or couple’s risk is elevated, certified genetic counselors will privately address their results, options and resources. “When a couple is unaware of diseases they carry, the results can be devastating” said Hillary Kener, Assistant Director of National Outreach for JScreen. “Any young adult planning to start a family or grow their family in the future should get screened. The history of Tay-Sachs in this country shows how genetic testing can positively influence people’s lives and the health of their children.” Currently, 80 percent of babies with genetic diseases are born to parents with no known family history of that disease. Cutting-edge technology enables geneticists to look closely at people’s genetic makeup to identify their risk for more than 200 different diseases, including those that are predominant in the Jewish community. Traditionally, Tay Sachs carrier screening required blood enzyme test-
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JScreen tests for 200 genetic diseases, with more added annually
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 39
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ing, but today’s sequencing method allows highly accurate testing to be performed on saliva. One in 30 Ashkenazi Jews are carriers of Tay-Sachs, and one in 300 people of the general population are carriers. While there is no cure for Tay-Sachs, genetic testing can determine who is a carrier and whether their child will be at risk for this and other diseases. For the small percentage of couples who are at risk, there are many options to help them have healthy children. Since the 1970s, the incidents of babies being born with Tay-Sachs has fallen by more than 90 percent among Jews because of scientific advances and increased screening in the Jewish community. JScreen detects nearly two times as many carriers of genetic diseases in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent compared with the general population, and one in three Jews is a carrier for one of the Jewish genetic diseases. But Friedmann notes that what she has, Fragile X, isn’t more prevalent in the Jewish community, so she uses their experience “as a soapbox” to urge everyone to have genetic screening. “We feel passionately about the need for information,” after which a couple can decide what to do with that information when it comes to starting a family. “It’s common for the Jewish community to talk about genetic diseases because of Tay Sachs, but there is so much more out there,” she said. In June, she spearheaded a “What’s In Your Genes” JScreen program at Temple Sinai. She and her husband did the 200-disease panel and found that she carries two additional disorders and he has one — but not the same ones. Still, the results have led to serious conversations with their siblings. “Knowledge is power,” Friedmann said. If someone has a positive test for carrying a disorder, Friedmann said the JScreen genetic counselors “are fantastic” and helpful in providing a wealth of information and resources. A saliva kit can be ordered online at JScreen.org. With private insurance, the cost is $149, and financial assistance may be available for those without insurance. Gift certificates are also available.
Advocare cares about health, fitness by Lee J. Green Getting healthy and having more energy is a Brees with Advocare. New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is the national spokesman for the national company based in Dallas and founded over 20 years ago. Advocare provides world-class energy, weight-management, nutrition, sports performance products as well as education. A few years ago, a friend introduced Birmingham’s JoEllen Brown to an Advocare 24-day challenge when Brown told her she needed more energy. “I gained energy, I lost 12 pounds and I just felt great,” said Brown. “I needed more energy when I came home from my job to devote to my kids. It really worked for me and I wanted others to feel better too.” In the spring of 2015, she became an independent distributor and started building a team. “I never intended to sell, but with Advocare it is about building relationships and providing people with products that contribute to their well-being,” she said. Brown said she can work with anyone in the region. Customers can become members and purchase all products at discounts. If they want to take it up another level, they can sell the products as well as use them, to make additional income. The products range from energy bars to powders to shakes to supplements. Brees has his own line of products within Advocare called DB9. For those in the Birmingham area, Brown will soon be scheduling some free nutritional workshops that offer attendees free health and wellness advice. For more information go to www.rehydratelife.com.
health and wellness Wellness benefits of massage are plentiful by Lee J. Green Former teacher Brice Jackson now educates his clients about the many wellness benefits of massage that extend far beyond just feeling more relaxed. “I have always been good with my hands; a person with a firm handshake,” he said. “When I was teaching in Hoover back in 2009 I gave a stressed-out teacher friend a shoulder massage. Word got around the school that I was good at massage and several friends said I should do it professionally.” Jackson enrolled in and graduated from the Red Mountain School of Massage in Birmingham and started doing wellness massage outside of his teaching job. He would do massages on nights and weekends, but after moving from school to school for a few years as well as seeing he had a growing massage client base, Jackson started his own full time practice, called Birmingham Wellness Massage earlier this year, located in Homewood across from Vulcan Park and Museum. One of the areas Jackson specializes in is sports massage and stretching. “The goal of sports massage, different from other types of massage, is not just relaxation but allowing someone to bounce back quickly from strenuous activity and stimulate blood flow for greater performance,” he said. “It is ideal for serious athletes, weekend warriors and just any active folks.” Birmingham Wellness Massage can “help anyone regardless of age, size or level of activity. Massage is for everyone, not just the elite. Sometimes massage is for more for relaxation. Sometimes it is used mostly to help alleviate stress and sometimes it is an important part of a rehab program. There are various ways that massage benefits,” he said. Massage improves circulation, helps alleviate chronic pain and can also be used as a proactive tool to prevent injury. “I tell people don’t wait until your body gives out and you have to have surgery. I encourage them to be proactive with their health,” added Jackson. When is it time to see a massage therapist? Jackson says it is a sign when individuals feel muscle inflammation. “Don’t try to play through it. Listen to your body. Call a doctor, massage therapist, chiropractor and/or physical therapist. I am happy to work with a team of other health professionals to help someone return to wellness as quickly as possible,” he said.
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Senior wellness involves physical and mental stimulation by Lee J. Green Greenbrier senior living and Hanover assisted living communities, part of the Birmingham area’s Noland Health System, know that senior wellness involves activities that boost not just the body, but mind and soul as well. Guest Services Director Robert Cooper said that Greenbrier’s health programming is done twice daily, including two exercise classes and their Laughter Therapy group. “In the classes we meet on two different levels of care and cover anything from the physical and occupational therapy disciplines to speech therapy. These classes are strength training three times a week, plus stretch and reflex twice a week,” said Cooper. “We even do demonstrations periodically on how to safely utilize a rolling walker and other safety precaution training.” He said everything at the communities is “based around the overall wellness of our residents. We want our residents to feel good, and that involves physical and mental activities, with plenty of events they enjoy.” Cooper said many people don’t realize how health-beneficial laughter therapy is. “Laughter enhances oxygen intake, releases melatonin for feelings of pleasure, helps with sleep, blood flow and overall wellness,” he said. Wellness at the communities is also about “feeling good through looking good,” he said. Greenbrier coordinates some events that focus on residents getting all dressed up and the community has a full-service salon on site. Other enjoyable activities that stimulate the mind include music, art and game-related events. Of course, spiritual wellness is also very important. Cooper said the community brings in rabbis for some services and major Jewish holidays. They also have a Chanukah party, Passover Seder and other holiday observances. “Active seniors are happy, healthy seniors,” he added.
It doesn’t work the same Hadassah Birmingham holding program on gender equity in medicine
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Hadassah Birmingham will have a program on Gender Equity in Medicine, featuring Rachel Schonberger, who chairs the Hadassah Medical Organization. The Nov. 12 program will be at 2 p.m. at Pine Tree Country Club. The $36 admission includes High Tea and hors d’oeuvres. A past president of the Southeast region of Hadassah, Schonberger chaired Hadassah’s National Physicians Council, leading the team that developed Hadassah’s first U.S. accrediting continuing medical education seminar for physicians in Israel. Schonberger is a board-certified internist in Atlanta. She was a speaker at the Hadassah Big & Easy Super South tri-region conference in New Orleans in 2015. The discussion will focus on important medical questions for women, such as whether the recommended doses of Ambien are safe for women, how symptoms of heart attacks and survival rates a year out differ between men and women.
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health and wellness Healthy eating at The Pizitz Food Hall by Lee J. Green
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Ghion Cultural Hall — Birmingham’s first Ethiopian restaurant — along with Birmingham’s first Israeli restaurant, Eli’s Jerusalem Grill, bring authentic, healthy-cuisine choices to the historic downtown Pizitz Building’s Food Hall. Both were sought out by the developers to bring unique international cuisine to The Pizitz and both restaurants are looking to expand. Eli’s plans to open a new location in Birmingham within a year and within six months there will be a Ghion Cultural Hall in both Tuscaloosa as well as Montgomery, in addition to the original Atlanta location that opened in 2007. Ghion Cultural Hall Owner Amanshwa Takele grew up in the large Ethiopian city of Addis Ababa. His family was in the restaurant business and he would help them out from a young age. “It was meant to be that I would one day have my own restaurant. I love to cook and to share with others,” he said. “It is a great way for people to learn about our culture.” Additionally, just about everything on Ghion Cultural Hall’s menu is kosher-style, including lamb, beef, and vegetarian dishes in various degrees of spiciness. The crepe/pancake-like bread called injera can also be ordered gluten-free. “People come in for the first time and they are very happy with trying this food. Some have had it when they lived in bigger cities with Ethiopian restaurants and some are trying it for the first time,” said Amanshwa. “I enjoy giving them an education and that they enjoy this food for the first time.” Because according to traditions, Dan, one of the 12 Tribes of Israel, migrated to Ethiopia Amanshwa said he shares a kinship with the Jewish people. His mother still lives in Ethiopia and visits Israel once per year. One of the mural tiles on the wall at the Birmingham restaurant is of King Solomon. It is said that Ethiopians are descended from Menelik I, the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.
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CJFS offers Medicare Part D consulting Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham is offering free Medicare Part D consultation during the enrollment period, which is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. The consultation aids in selecting the Medicare prescription plan that works best for each person. There is no charge for CJFS Medicare Part D consultation, but donations are welcome. To make an appointment, contact Amy at (205) 879-3438.
culture art • books • apps • music • television • film • theatre
FILM / DVD
Rosenwald on DVD “Rosenwald,” Aviva Kempner’s 2015 documentary about the Jewish philanthropist who enabled the construction of 5,300 schools for blacks in the South during Jim Crow days, will be released on DVD this month, with dozens of extras. In February, Kempner visited Longue Vie and Dillard University in New Orleans for a screening of one bonus feature, on Rosenwald daughter Edith Stern and her civil rights activism in Louisiana. Julius Rosenwald, who never finished high school, rose to become the president of Sears. Influenced by the writings of the educator Booker T. Washington, he joined forces with African-American communities during the Jim Crow South to build over 5,300 schools during the early part of the 20th century. In 1912, he was asked to serve on the board of Tuskegee University in Alabama. Washington urged Rosenwald to provide funds to construct six schools in rural Alabama, then Rosenwald established the Rosenwald Fund in 1917. The Fund provided matching grants for local communities, enabling the construction of thousands of schools through 1932. By then, one in three rural African-American students in the South attended a Rosenwald school. Rosenwald awarded fellowship grants to a who’s who of African American intellectuals and artists, including Marian Anderson, James Baldwin, the father and uncle of civil rights leader Julian Bond, Ralph Bunche, W. E. B. DuBois, Katherine Dunham, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Gordon Parks, Jacob Lawrence and Augusta Savage along with Woody Guthrie. The DVD will be released on Oct. 16 with 39 extras. The release comes 100 years after the Rosenwald Fund was established. The film has been screened at Jewish film festivals in Nashville and Mobile, theatrical presentations at Zeitgeist continued on page 46
Adolph Gottlieb, Untitled. 1973. Monotype in ink on paper, plate size: 18 x 24” ©️Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
A PAINTER’S HAND: THE MONOTYPES OF ADOLPH GOTTLIEB at the Mobile Museum of Art
A first-generation Abstract Expressionist, Gottlieb produced the works included in “A Painter’s Hand” after a stroke he suffered left him paralyzed, though he was able to create these monotypes using his still-useful right hand. The exhibit includes 40 of the 54 made in this period just months before his death in 1974. They are striking in their use of color as well as how they relate to his earlier works. Over his career, Adolph Gottlieb also worked in sculpture, tapestries and stained glass, including 18 stained glass windows installed at the Kingsway Jewish Center in Brooklyn. “A Painter’s Hand: The Monotypes of Adolph Gottlieb” is organized by the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc. and will be on view at the Mobile Museum of Art from Oct. 6 to Jan. 7.
Adolph Gottlieb, Untitled. 1974. Monotype in ink on paper, plate size: 17 3/4 x 12” ©️Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 45
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205-956-3000 46 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
in New Orleans and The Edge in Birmingham, at Tulane University, Burritt on the Mountain in Huntsville and in Montgomery. The DVD extras include a segment on Rosenwald Fund recipient Augusta Savage, a legend in African-American art history whose “Harp” was at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Another Rosenwald Fellow, Charles Drew, became a medical researcher who did pioneering work on blood transfusions that is still used today. He also fought segregation in medicine. In 1950 he was driving to Tuskegee and unable to find a motel because of Jim Crow. He fell
asleep at the wheel and was killed in a crash. Another segment talks about Rosenwald’s involvement with the Leo Frank case. Rosenwald contributed thousands of dollars to defend Frank in the notorious 1913 case that ultimately led to Frank’s lynching. Other extras include Rabbi Emil Hirsch, who influenced Rosenwald’s philanthropy; restoration of Rosenwald Courts for middle- and low-income families in Chicago; and restoration efforts for Rosenwald Schools. Only a handful of the schools remain in Alabama, Mississippi or Louisiana.
Ellenstein directing “Glass Menagerie” at ASF by Lee J. Green Tennessee Williams’ classic “The Glass Menagerie” will light up the Alabama Shakespeare Festival main stage in Montgomery from Oct. 13 to Nov. 5. It features Jewish director David Ellenstein, who comes in from San Diego, and Tony-award-winner John Lloyd Young, who played Franki Valli in “Jersey Boys.” Ellenstein directed him more than a dozen years ago in “The Chosen,” based on the book by Chaim Potok. “The Glass Menagerie” was the New Orleans native Williams’ first critical success, opening on Broadway in 1945. It is recognized as one of the greatest works of the American theatrical canon and the play has been featured on stages and film across the word. It is Ellenstein’s first time directing the play, though he has seen it several times and this is his fifth time directing a show at the ASF. “This is such an iconic play with incredible writing. I have always found it poetic and very moving. I want to honor the show by doing a production that is classic,” he said. “The key as a director is having the best-fit actors in the show and I am lucky to have that. I am also very familiar with the fine productions here at the ASF and the great houses that they get.” Though it was 11 years before he was born in New York City, Ellenstein’s father played Tom Wingfield, Young’s role in this production, in 1947 at the Cleveland Playhouse. It was the only non-traveling professional theatre outside of New York at the time. “I grew up with my dad acting and directing theatre, TV, film. He was a character actor in New York and Hollywood, working a lot in the 60s, 70s and 80s,” said Ellenstein. “From a young age, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.” His family moved to Hollywood before Ellenstein turned two. He said they identified as Reform Jews and observed the holidays, but
were mostly secular. “The theatre became the temple for my dad and our family,” he said. “I learned more about Judaism, culture and traditions doing plays than growing up at a synagogue.” Ellenstein played Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof ” at a professional theatre in southern California. He also learned a lot about Chassidic Jews while directing “The Chosen,” as did Young, who is not Jewish. “That was 13 years ago in New Jersey. It was definitely an important learning experience for me and the cast,” he said. “John really did a lot of research and spent some time with some families to gain a great understanding for that show.” When Ellenstein — who was contacted by outgoing ASF Artistic Director and friend Jeffrey Sherman to ask him about coming across the country to direct “The Glass Menagerie” — accepted the director opportunity, he sent an e-mail to Young saying he would be perfect for the role of Tom Winfield. Young also starred in the “Jersey Boys” film directed by Clint Eastwood in 2014 and has appeared on television, including “Glee” as well as “Law & Order.” Birmingham-native Greta Lambert will play Amanda Wingfield. Recently Lambert played the title character in ASF’s production of “Driving Miss Daisy.” During his time in Alabama, Ellenstein said he looks forward to meeting some more members of the local and regional Jewish communities. “I love the people, food and culture in the Deep South. I look forward to my time down here once again. It is a spectacular Theatre as far as the facility, talent and audiences,” he said.
October 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 47
WWII Survivor’s Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat presents this story of from the perspective of a toddler during occupation and in the concentration camp in Poland, the author’s liberation at age four, and life since. Both tragic and inspirational. Written for older children but engaging for adults, it’s a must-read for high school age and up. Victor Ripp’s Hell’s Traces: One Murder, Two Families, Thirty-Five Holocaust Memorials hits on many points as we are trying to grapple in different contemporary instances of what monuments truly signify. On a journey to find how certain parts of his family survived the Holocaust while others perished, Ripp visits Holocaust memorials around Europe, deciphering what those monuments each intend to communicate. Are they complicit in white-washing a government’s actions during conflict? Apologetic? Perhaps too vague or even too beautiful? Ripp finds the truest memorial to those lost is found in one’s own self. Exhaustively researched for 25 years, Laurence Rees’ The Holocaust: A New History is an instant addition to any library on the Shoah. This heavy volume reveals the cataclysmic set of escalations that led to the Holocaust, the monstrous logistics in carrying out Nazi policy, and what led people and governments to align themselves with this evil. In A World Erased, author Noah Lederman seeks to find for himself the stories of his survivor grandparents who are reluctant to tell him anything but the most gentle versions of what occurred. After a fact-finding trip to Europe, what transpires unlocks the full narrative: the unrelenting horror during that period but also the extreme resilience which gives the author a whole new context to his family.
Jewish Progressive in the New South REFERENCE The Heart of Torah, Volume 1: Essays on the Weekly Torah Portion, Genesis and Exodus Rabbi Shai Held, president, dean and chair in Jewish Thought at Mechod Hadar presents two very readable, relatable essays for each weekly parsha. Rabbi Yitz Greenberg writes the foreword for this volume published by JPS.
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN • Sukkot is Coming by Tracy Newman: Let’s get everything ready for Sukkot in this sweet board book. • The Best Sukkot Pumpkin Ever by Laya Steinberg: Preschool. Micah looks for the perfect pumpkin for the soup kitchen, and for decoration, and finds how to help the earth and maybe even have the makings for great Sukkot pumpkins next year. • Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson: Preschool. Oliver is a little puzzle piece trying to find his place in this world. Does he go better with those who look like him, or those he tries to pretend to be more like? The perfect fit turns out to be the one is already is: himself. • Mort Ziff is Not Dead by Cary Fagan: for older elementary readers. Set in 1965, Norman Fishbein gets his wish: a fabulous Miami vacation. At the beach hotel, he meets deadpan comic Mort Ziff who’s having a bit of a career crisis. Norman sees an opportunity to do a mitzvah and finds a way to rally Mort’s outlook and act before returning home.
48 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
by Leonard Rogoff
Gertrude Weil, born in 1879, was a Southern Belle who was modest about all the important work she was doing — but she was also sweetly tough as nails. Though she traveled extensively, Weil essentially lived her entire life in Goldsboro, N.C. — she was born at and died in the same house — and came to see first-hand the policies and attitudes that sought to keep women, the poor, people of color and religious minorities back. Never willing to just quietly criticize these prejudices, she worked tirelessly to fight them. An idealist, she never rested, never felt as though she was doing enough. As the author notes, in her last years, she laughed that her radical thinking might lead to her dying a communist. Gertrude Weil grew up in a family that was involved in the community at large; her father sat on many boards and her mother helped organize an interfaith Ladies Benevolent Society. When families couldn’t afford shoes for their children, the parent-teacher chairman was told, “I don’t care how many it is, just send them to H. Weil & Bros.” As an adult, she threw herself into the suffrage movement (once somewhat famously destroying hundreds of pre-marked ballots destined to taint an election), then later on worked on peace in support of the World Court, economic justice for poor working families in labor reform, schools for working women, supported birth control (though her views on eugenics, which were considered progressive in her day, are unfortunate), welfare reform, racial justice, Zionist causes, and care for the elderly. And that just scratches the surface. She was a firecracker at her home shul, Oheb Sholom, too: known for attending services no matter what, one Shabbat when she was the only worshiper, she told the rabbi to conduct the service in its entiretly, including sermon. Truly, the author captures Gertrude’s joie de vive and tireless works of tikkun olam. Beautifully written and researched, this biography of Gertrude Weil is an inspiration for a life well lived.
Alabama Symphony plans centennial tribute to Marvin Hamlisch by Lee J. Green November’s Marvin Hamlisch tribute concert highlights one of several Jewish connections in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra 201718 season, along with Eli Gold hosting and narrating a sports-anthem-themed “We are the Champions” show in January 2018 as well as a centennial tribute to Leonard Bernstein, May 4 and 5, 2018. The Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch will be Nov. 10 at the Samford University Wright Center. Alabama Marvin Hamlisch Symphony Conductor Chris Confessore “had the honor of conducting a Pops Concert with Mr. Hamlisch in 2008. During a phone conversation when we were planning that program, he told me that he loved the musicals of Lerner and Loewe, and that they had great influence on him as a young musician.” “He said ‘everyone loves “My Fair Lady,” and so do I. But my favorite Lerner and Loewe score is “Gigi.” It’s got it all.’ So we put that on the program and asked me to conduct it. We’ll open the second half of this tribute concert to him with that same medley of songs from ‘Gigi’ he loved so much,” said Confessore. Confessore wanted to have multiple artists featured on the program to recreate the type of Pops concert Hamlisch himself would have presented. “Our program will give the audience an overview of Hamlisch’s career. We’ll feature his most beloved and acclaimed works — ‘The Way We Were,’ ‘A Chorus Line,’ ‘Ice Castles’ — along with some lesser known gems from various stages in his career,” he said. Hamlisch’s very first film score was for a Burt Lancaster film called “The Swimmer.” The Alabama Symphony show will have a selection from that score, and vocalist Kristi Tingle Higginbotham will sing a song from “Smile,” a short-running Hamlisch musical written a decade after “A Chorus Line.” Higginbotham said “Smile” had approximately 50 shows in its very short run on Broadway, and her family just happened to be at one of them. “The musical was about pageants and the song I am singing is called ‘Disneyland.’ Even in musicals that flop, there is always a jewel of a song,” she said. For several years she and Confessore had wanted to collaborate on a tribute to Hamlisch and the timing and opportunity were right for November. “Marvin Hamlisch for sure is one of my favorite composers of all time. Many of his songs have a special place in my heart,” said Higginbotham. “I think the Birmingham audience will love this show.” He was scheduled to come here a not long before he died in 2012, and “A Chorus Line” just played at the Virginia Samford Theatre. Added Confessore, “Marvin Hamlisch was a great entertainer in addition to be being a phenomenal composer. There is a consistent level of heart, artistry and craftsmanship in his work that is undeniable.” For more information about the Alabama Symphony Orchestra’s 2017-18 season, go to www.alabamasymphony.org
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October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 49
Range of offerings at Nashville Jewish Film Festival The Nashville Jewish Film Festival has announced its 17th season schedule, with 15 films being shown over a four-week period at The Belcourt Theater, the AMC Bellevue 12 Theater and the Gordon Jewish Community Center. The festival starts on Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the Belcourt with “Loving Henri,” a documentary about Henri Landwerth. Trying to escape the memories of the Holocaust, he established Give Kids the World, which provides weeklong vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses. Director Allan Black and Producer David Haspel, a New Orleans native, will speak. “Harmonia,” a Jerusalem Philharmonic adaptation of the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, will be screened on Oct, 19 at 7 p.m at the Belcourt. Cantor Sarah Levine will be the special guest. On Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at Bellevue, “Bye Bye Germany” is a humor-laced dramedy about a group of Holocaust survivors raising funds to get to America, any way they can. At 9 p.m., “The 90 Minute War” is a satire that takes the Middle East conflict down to a winner take all soccer match between Israel and the Palestinians, with the loser having to leave. On Oct. 23 at 12:15 p.m., the award-winning “The Women’s Balcony” depicts a congregation that rebuilds when a balcony falls during a Bar Mitzvah, but the new rabbi’s fundamentalist ways divide the men and women in many ways. Rabbi Shana Mackler of The Temple will speak. The screening is at the Belcourt. “Fanny’s Journey,” Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Belcourt, is based on the real-life group of children led by 13-year-old Fanny Ben Ami, who went from Italy to Switzerland by themselves when the Nazis arrived in Italy. “The History of Love,” Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Belcourt, will be introduced by Allison Schachter of Vanderbilt University. Based on the award-winning Nicole Krauss novel, it is a twisting tale of love, fate and romance.
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On Oct. 28 at the Bellevue at 7 p.m., “The Kind Words” is a humorous melodrama that explores what is really a family. It was nominated for 12 Israeli film awards. Directors Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler will be on hand for the Oct. 30 screening of “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank.” Frank was a polarizing and revolutionary Jewish member of Congress who shaped the debate around progressive values and gay rights. The 7 p.m. screening will be at the Belcourt. “Keep Quiet,” on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the
50 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Belcourt, is a new documentary about Csanad Szegedi, a Hungarian politician known for Holocaust denial and dehumanizing Jews. He later discovers a long-held family secret — his mother’s parents were not only Jews, but Holocaust survivors. Professor Shaul Kelner of Vanderbilt will speak. “Scandal in Ivansk” on Nov. 2 at 12:15 p.m. at the Gordon JCC is about the descendants of Ivansk, Poland, who restore the town cemetery and commission a plaque. The inclusion of the word “collaborator” unleashes a national scandal. Steven Reece, founder of the Matzevah Foundation, will speak. Reece is an ordained Baptist minister, and the Atlanta-based foundation grew out of a relationship between Baptists and the Jewish community of Poland, in a joint effort to restore Jewish cemeteries. At 7 p.m. on Nov. 2, “Body and Soul” screens at the Belcourt. It explores the musical relationship between Jewish and African-American composers, through the song “Body and Soul,” composed by Jewish songwriter Johnny Green, introduced on Broadway by Jewish singer Libby Holman and first recorded by the legendary New Orleanian Louis Armstrong. H. Beecher Hicks, president of the National Museum of African-American History, will speak. Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr was regarded as the most beautiful woman in the world. She had another, less-known element, explored in “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.” An inventor, she developed a secret communication system that helped the Allies beat the Nazis, and is the basis for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The film will be at the Belcourt on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., with Denise Loder DeLuca, daughter of Lamarr. The Vanderbilt University Holocaust Lecture Series hosts “Monsieur Mayonnaise,” following cult filmmaker Phillippe Mora as he explores his father’s partnership with Marcel Marceau in the French Resistance, saving thousands of Jewish lives. Special guests at the 7 p.m. screening on Nov. 9 at the Belcourt will be Ari Dubin, executive director of Vanderbilt University Hillel and Rev. Mark Forrester, Vanderbilt University Chaplain, Director of Religious Life. The closing night deli dinner at the Gordon JCC will feature “The Exception,” with Christopher Plummer as the exiled Kaiser Wilheim II, who finds himself drawn into helping a clandestine romance between Nazi Captain Stephen Brandt and a chambermaid with a secret identity. The Nov. 11 screening will be at 8 p.m. and is for mature audiences. The dinner is at 6:30 p.m. Festival information can be found at nashvillejff.org. Tickets are $12, $8 for students and seniors. A festival pass is $150.
jewish deep south: bagels, biscuits, beignets From Little Book of Jewish Appetizers. Image: Linda Pugliese
ASBEE WORLD KOSHER BARBEQUE CHAMPIONSHIP
LITTLE BOOK OF JEWISH APPETIZERS by Leah Koenig Truth: the real reason so many of us like appetizers is not so much to awaken the appetite but rather to enjoy a just-because quickie nosh of something small and fun. Here we have a diminutive book chock-full of small and fun: deli faves like Chopped Egg and Caramelized Onion Spread, plus next-level bites like the Syrian-originated Muhammara (starting with a puree of roasted red bell peppers with nuts and pomegranate molasses) and a simple Moroccan Orange and Black Olive Salad. A flatbread called Lahmajun (pictured above) is topped with ground beef or lamb coated with a mixture of onion and pine nuts with a variety of spices like cinnamon and cumin, then just before serving finished with a drizzle of tahini and a splash of lemon. Yesss. And the Fried Gefilte Fish and spiraled, yeasty Spinach Bulemas are definitely being added to the rotation. Helpful additions include advice on what appetizers pair well, what could be popped in the freezer to be taken out for last-minute guests, and even what would give a fun Jewish spin to a cheese plate. Nice.
Held Oct. 22 beginning at 11 a.m. at Memphis’ Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth, thia is the largest kosher barbecue contest in the country. Trophies are awarded for best beef brisket, best ribs, team name, team booth and best beans. A children’s area, basketball tourney and a pickle-eating contest round things out. Almost 40 teams and over 2000 attendees make this a must for kosher carnivores.
ATLANTA KOSHER BBQ FESTIVAL The fifth year of Atlanta’s festival also occurs on Oct. 22, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Last year, 26 teams vied for the first place in brisket, ribs, chicken, beans, team booth and name. The public can purchase tickets for samples, and a raffle is held with the grand prize being a Big Green Egg.
SHALOM Y’ALL JEWISH FOOD FESTIVAL
THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: Recipes & History of a Cuisine
by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman It would have been straightforward enough to write a collection of recipes extolling the virtues of the German-Jewish food we all love, but this mother-daughter team make it a book to not only cook from but to sit down and read: what German food is, its history, its Golden Age, its ungodly interruption, to what we took from it and still make from it today from busy weeknights to holidays in this country. Sure, there are moments of “am I up for making head cheese?” But there are many more go-for-it bits, like a Passover treat of matzah and coffee — and absolutely, somebody is getting a ultra-cute hedgehog cake this year for their birthday. Give the mayonnaise-less deviled eggs a go, and embrace a delicious twice-baked potato kugel. Lots of treasures here. Although more color photographs would have been nice, we’re keen on this fabulous insight to a cuisine we think we know (but don’t know well enough).
This year, Monterey Square will be the location for Savannah’s fest, on Oct. 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Among the offerings for sale: deli sandwiches, blintzes, sizzling Sephardic lamb and stuffed cabbage.
NASHVILLE KOSHER HOT CHICKEN FESTIVAL The Gordon JCC will host the 3rd annual contest on Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and plans to have more than double the teams this year. Like their barbecue cousins, the hot chicken festival will crown best name and best booth, and grand champion overall will receive a trophy and fryer. October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 51
Supporting Independence, Enriching Quality of Life For Older Adults Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans M Bistro Davenport Lounge 921 Canal Street 504/524-1331
Recipe yields 4
4 pieces of 6-7 oz. salmon Tomato vinaigrette: 4 tomatoes 8 cloves garlic, crushed 10 basil leaves, chopped
8 oz. olive oil 2 oz. sherry vinegar Salt and pepper to taste
To make the vinaigrette: Cut the tomato in six wedges, and using a paring knife remove the seeds. Dice the tomato and place in a bowl with the crushed garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. After 40 to 45 minutes, strain the tomato to get rid of the excess liquid. Add the sherry vinegar, olive oil and the basil. Adjust the seasoning if need be. Refrigerate until ready to serve. For the salmon: Sear the salmon in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. After 2 to 3 minutes the salmon should be golden brown. Sear the other side, and lower the heat. The salmon should be ready in 7 to 8 minutes, depending on the thickness. Pat dry the salmon with an absorbing paper towel to remove the excess fat. Set it in the middle of the plate, stir the vinaigrette to blend the vinegar and oil together, and drizzle a couple of teaspoons of vinaigrette over the fish. Broccolini is a perfect green vegetable to pair with the salmon.
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans by Lee J. Green
Home of the
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52 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
Native Frenchman Thierry Connault brings the rich backbone of French Creole culture with some modern flavors of New Orleans to the cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton. “I feel a sense of belonging here,” said Connault, who was working for Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica when he came to the New Orleans hotel four and a half years ago. “Of course I felt a strong connection and kinship to the city. “In New Orleans, the cuisine is one with the culture and an important part of the fabric of the city. New Orleans has a rich history of food and music. It’s the heart and soul of the city. It all just goes well together,” he said. While growing up in France, food was also very much a part of the culture, family and everyday life. Connault got his first culinary apprenticeship when he was 16 years old and from then he didn’t look back. “I knew right away it was my calling,” he said. When he came to The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, Connault knew he had to keep true to the Cajun/ Creole roots of the cuisine. They do farm-to-table and support Louisiana farms, growers and suppliers as much as possible, he said. “We have some iconic foods in our style such as gumbo, jambalaya and beignets, but we also have some dishes that we do that are taking this style into some new directions,” added Connault. He and his staff have coordinated several kosher-style events at the hotel, and at least a couple that have been strictly kosher. “Places such as Kosher Cajun and the synagogues helped us out so we could make sure we were doing it 100 percent properly,” said Connault. The Ritz-Carlton restaurants and catering can customize menu items to make “just about anything kosher-style.” They also are well-educated on other specialty diets and have many vegetarian as well as gluten-free menu options. “We can do anything they want us to do,” said Connault. “For a special event, they can even give us some family recipes and we can include them. Everything can be customized to meet their desires.” The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans opened in 2000 with a restoration of the historic 1908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche Building, the flagship location for the department store founded by Isidore Newman. The hotel features 527 guest rooms, 452 of which will be renovated in 2018. The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans also offers a total of more than 35,000 square feet of meeting space. Its in-hotel restaurants include M Bistro and Davenport Lounge.
Continued from page 54
summer. The similarity? The complaining. Just interchange “hot” or “cold” after “too.” So, five days to prepare for Passover rather than for Sukkot. No festival of gift giving two months after the main holidays. One far less observed — despite being more important — celebration of the Torah. Perhaps the rabbis knew something after all, keeping the High Holy Days separate from Passover. Next time the High Holy Days or Passover seem burdensome, consider how much more arduous this alternate schedule would be. This lesson is summed up in one of the most famous tenets from the long lost, recently discovered Mishnah tractate Bava Gump: Be careful what you wish for, even if you might not get it.
Makarios Kabob & Grill 940 20th St South Birmingham
Doug Brook is not high, not holy, and while once he could run like Mays that was a few potato kugels ago. That is, years. To read past columns, visit http://brookwrite.com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook.com/ rearpewmirror.
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Camp Barney Medintz sets Open Houses
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Summer registration starts on Oct. 15 for Camp Barney Medintz, and there will be presentations about the camp at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center on Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., and the Goldring/Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. The summer overnight camp of the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Camp Barney is celebrating its 56th summer season, serving more than 1,200 campers. “Camp Barney has created an amazing Jewish community that is all about adventure, self-discovery, exhilarating activities, exciting events, an outstanding staff, and a setting that facilitates every imaginable activity for campers who come from all over the South,” said Director Jim Mittenthal. Camp Barney is situated on 540 wooded acres surrounding two lakes in North Georgia, and offers two-week and four-week camping options for rising 3rd to 11th graders.
Tel: (205) 979-6495 Fax: (205) 979-6425
Touro receiving national URJ award The Union for Reform Judaism will present Touro Synagogue of New Orleans with a Belin Award at the upcoming URJ biennial in December. The awards were funded by the late David Belin, the first chairman of the URJ-CCAR Joint Commission on Outreach, and recognize congregations that have “developed uniquely innovative and effective audacious hospitality programs.” Up to eight congregations are recognized and each receive a $1,000 award. Touro Synagogue is being honored for Shabbat Dinner. Touro President Teri Hunter said the congregation wasn’t looking at winning an award, they “just set out to celebrate the fullness of Shabbat in community.” The congregation would have regular Shabbat onegs after Friday evening services, and they “almost by accident” evolved into a dinner experience “from which there is no turning back.” On a typical Shabbat evening, there all are over 100 congregants enjoying a communal Shabbat dinner, even without a special program or event. On Oct. 27 during the 6 p.m. service, the congregation will honor Executive Director Kerry Tapia and Director of Congregational Life Annahi Tapia, who have made the program happen. Now that the program is established, Hunter said the congregation is working on budgeting and staffing needs, and welcomes sponsors for the meals. Volunteers are also welcome to help prepare. At the convention in Boston, there will be a session on “Audacious Hospitality in Action” for congregations to learn from the recognized programs and see how they can be replicated.
October 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 53
rear pew mirror • doug brook
High Holy Mays
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54 Southern Jewish Life • October 2017
The sukkah is still up, though it could have come down by now. The last thing one would expect is another anecdote about the High Holy Days. But what if the fall season’s falling of palm fronds didn’t coincide with the end of the Days of Aww-You’re-Wearing-White-After-Labor-Day? Instead of Jewish clocks falling backward soon after Yom Kippur, what if the Jewish world sprang forward just before Rosh Hashanah? In the Torah, the first day of the first month is the first of Nisan. Nisan is Passover’s month, as well as the manufacturer of the all-new Altima. What if Rosh Hashanah were on the first day of the first month, per the Torah’s reckoning, instead of the first day of the seventh month, as observed today? (Or, several days ago.) First, consider the way things are. School starts, and Rosh Hashanah comes in a matter of days or weeks — or months, given how so many schools start needlessly early in August now. Family. Meals, Sermons as long as family meals. Sermons at family meals about how long sermons are. The remainder of the Ten Days of Repentance culminate in Yom Kippur, the unfastest fast day on the Jewish calendar. Before Calgon can take anyone away, IMAGINE, the sukkah must go up. After all, everyone needs a place to eat away from all INSTEAD OF the dishes piled up in the house from SUKKOT, THAT two days of Rosh Hashanah, one breakPASSOVER CAME the-fast, and an Alabama game or two in FIVE DAYS AFTER between. Eight days of Sukkot, including YOM KIPPUR… Sh’mini Atzeret (Hebrew for “the day nobody knows what it’s for”). One day of biceps workout on Simchat Torah, rolling Torahs back in the original scrolling action that preceded MacOS. Then there are nearly two shopping months until Chanukah, with no holidays in between. Breathing room after what many consider a holy day melee, despite the wondrous celebration of life, love, and lulav that they’re intended to be. Now, consider if Rosh Hashanah were on the first day of the first month, Torah style. In the middle of the month prior comes the frivolous frivolity of Purim, where Jews are commanded to drink until they can’t tell the difference between CNN and Fox News. Barely two weeks later would be Rosh Hashanah, with all the requisite preparation that comes with it. Unlike today, where Rosh Hashanah comes soon after school starts, this timing could frequently coincide with spring break. Ten days later comes Yom Kippur, in a very familiar way. However, five nights later is no longer the first night to sup in the sukkah under the stars. That night is now the first Seder, begging the question of which is more arduous: five days to put up the sukkah, or five days to shop, clean, swap dishes, and carb cleanse for Passover. After Passover comes seven weeks of the Omer, culminating in Shavuot. While this is the commemoration of the giving of the Torah, it’s not typically as festive or observed today as Chanukah. Also, the Omer itself has its constraints, which can seem even more burdensome than seven weeks of Chanukah shopping. One similarity between the two timeframes is their most significant difference. After door number one, Chanukah, comes months of cold winter. After door number two, Shavuot is followed by months of hot continued on the previous page
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56 Southern Jewish Life â€¢ October 2017
Published on Oct 2, 2017
Published on Oct 2, 2017
October 2017 Deep South edition of Southern Jewish Life, the Jewish community news magazine for Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and NW Flori...