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Southern Jewish Life


Volume 29 Issue 10

Southern Jewish Life P.O. Box 130052 Birmingham, AL 35213 At the Baton Rouge Pink Mega Challah Bake. Story, page 20.

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OCTOBER 17, 2019 – JANUARY 5, 2020 THE NAZI RESPONSIBLE FOR TRANSPORTING MILLIONS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE TO DEATH CAMPS MYSTERIOUSLY DISAPPEARED AFTER WORLD WAR II. PHOTOGRAPHS, FILM AND RECENTLY DECLASSIFIED ESPIONAGE ARTIFACTS REVEAL THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS DARING CAPTURE AND HISTORIC 1961 TRIAL. Operation Finale: The Capture & Trial of Adolf Eichmann is a co-production of the Mossad — Israeli Secret Intelligence Service; Beit Hatfutsot — The Museum of the Jewish People, Tel Aviv; and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Cleveland, Ohio


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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



October April 20192019

Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel to Australia to South America, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around the United States and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish identity, especially in our young. I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city but the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. Led by the Sokol and Helds, your hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. I want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to say thank you on behalf of everyone involved. I had just returned from the 20th World Maccabiah games in Israel with a U.S. delegation of over 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire Jewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. Everyone from the Jewish community and the community at large, including a wonderful police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal moment for the Jewish community as we build to the future by providing such wonderful Jewish memories. Jed Margolis Executive Director, Maccabi USA

On Charlottesville Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi National, which called it “very eloquent” and praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at Auburn University and… the leadership they display on their campus.” White supremacy has been a cancer on our country since its beginning, threatening its hopes, its values, and its better angels. The events that took place in Charlottesville represented the worst of this nation. Those who marched onto the streets with tiki torches and swastikas did so to provoke violence and fear. Those who marched onto the streets did so to profess an ideology that harkens back to a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. A time when men and women of many creeds, races, and religions were far from equal and far from safe in our own borders. A time where Americans lived under a constant cloud of racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in Charlottesville served as a reminder of how painfully relevant these issues are today. Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the 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 October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

supremacists would like to see pushed back into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, who was there standing up to the face of this hate. We recognize the essence of the American narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid ourselves of such corners, and allow those in them the seat at the table that they so deserve. It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” We know our work is far from finished, but we know we will not move backwards. When men and women, fully armed, take to the streets in droves with swastikas and other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that needs to be done to ensure a better, more welcoming country. But it should not come without a reflection on how far we’ve come.


America was born a slave nation. A century into our history we engaged in a war in part to ensure we would not continue as one. We found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, it is a mission we’re still grappling with today.

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

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shalom y’all One of our sister publications recently had a piece with the attention-grabbing headline “Don’t go to shul this Yom Kippur.” Quite a statement, given that Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have long been seen as the absolute “gotta show up” times on the Hebrew calendar. The columnist, an Orthodox rebbitzin, basically said if someone is going to show up once or twice a year, it should be at a joyous occasion, such as Simchat Torah or Purim, not for a day where “guilt and fear” are the predominant emotions of the day. To make those emotions the main ones for a person’s relationship with God obscures “a loving God who’s your biggest cheerleader and who wants you to succeed.” Come experience the parts of Judaism that make people happy, rather than guilty, add more such experiences, make it a bigger part of your life, and then incorporate the High Holy Days as part of a balanced cycle of the year, rather than as the year’s main focus. It seems, looking at our list of Sukkot activities in the region, that there is a much wider range of activities than in decades past, and more of these holidays — Sukkot, Purim, Chanukah — have been wrestled away from being the exclusive province of the religious school and transformed into adult celebrations. Even the oft-neglected Shavuot is seeing more innovative programming. We’ve said for years that while we focus a lot on antisemitism and what is wrong with the world, Judaism is supposed to be about the joys, not just the oys. Let’s keep that in the forefront for 5780. Besides, with the divisive 2020 elections on the horizon, we’re going to need as Lawrence Brook, Publisher/Editor many joys as we can get.

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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events On Sept. 7, Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson held a Cabaret gala at the Fairview Inn. After a cocktail hour, the evening began with Havdalah, led by new Beth Israel Rabbi Joseph Rosen

Sidewalk to produce inaugural Birmingham Jewish Film Festival After 21 years of developing into one of the nation’s must-see film festivals, the Sidewalk Film Festival has a new home, and one of the first major events will be the inaugural Birmingham Jewish Film Festival. Later in October, Sidewalk will announce the lineup and schedule for the festival, which will run from Nov. 21 to 24 and is co-sponsored by the Birmingham Jewish Federation. In late September, the Sidewalk Cinema opened in the Pizitz building in downtown Birmingham. The center has two 95-seat screening rooms, two lounges, a concession stand and bar, and an educational center. During the year, it will show independent films and retrospectives daily, and the cinema was used for the first time during this August’s Sidewalk festival. The Jewish Film Festival will be one of Sidewalk’s “mini-festivals.” Another mini-festival is the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, a national environmental effort, on Oct. 20. The Jewish Film Festival will be a cinematic exploration of Jewish culture, history, art, and life in Israel. Chloe Cook, executive director of Sidewalk, said they are working with members of the Birmingham Jewish community to select the films. “The Jewish Film Festival will not only screen Jewish themed films chosen by members of the local Jewish community in conjunction with the Sidewalk staff, but will also incorporate Jewish-themed events surrounding the screenings,” Cook said. Planned events include an opening night reception with filmmakers, panels, workshops, networking cocktail parties, and a closing night party featuring a tasting of Jewish cuisine. Though the festival will run through Shabbat, Cook said the films screened on Shabbat will be exclusively encores, “so that no one has to

miss a title if they keep the Sabbath.” Though many other communities, including Baton Rouge, Mobile, Nashville and Jackson have longstanding Jewish film festivals, aside from a couple of smaller events from 2011 to 2013, this will be Birmingham’s first Jewish Film Festival. Many festivals in the region began through Jewish Cinema South, coordinated by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life.

Baton Rouge festival announces lineup The Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival returns in January with four films, from Jan. 15 to 19 at the Manship Theatre. The festival starts with “The Museum” on Jan. 15 at 7 p.m., a documentary about life in Israel’s most important cultural institution, the Israel Museum. Kenneth Hoffman, executive director of the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which will open next year, will be the guest speaker. On Jan. 16 at 7 p.m., “The Unorthodox” is a dark comedy about an upstart Sephardic political party in Israel, showing how dysfunctional politics can be everywhere. The Jan. 18 film, “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is the inside story on how a risky Broadway show with mixed reviews became a cultural icon, with a celebrated film adaptation and becoming the first Broadway musical to exceed 3,000 performances. It will be screened at 7:30 p.m. The festival concludes with “Redemption,” on Jan 19 at 3 p.m., about a widower who is losing his young daughter to cancer. He reaches out to friends from the days before he was Hassidic, and they suggest getting their old band back together — but it isn’t as easy to go back to how they were. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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The Jewish Federation of Central Alabama will hold its annual meeting on Nov. 7 at its new office, in Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery. Time to be announced. Guest speaker will be Gil Hoffman, who has been the chief political correspondent and analyst for The Jerusalem Post for 20 years. He teaches international communications at Israel’s College of Management, and hosts a weekly radio show on the Land of Israel Network. He will discuss Israel’s recent elections. Richard Frankel, associate professor of history at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, will speak at the University of South Alabama on “States of Exclusion: A New Wave of Fascism.” The Nov. 19 presentation on “Antisemitism and Fascism in Germany and the United States, Then and Now” is co-sponsored by the Mobile Area Jewish Federation, Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue and the Gulf Coast Holocaust Center, at 6 p.m. at Laidlaw Performing Arts Auditorium. Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham provides free Medicare Part D prescription consultation each year during open enrollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Reviewing and updating choices can reduce premium and co-pay costs. To make an appointment, contact Amy Peetluk, or (205) 879-3438. Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville is looking to collect information on former members, especially from the 1940s to 1960s. The Heritage Center Project is to celebrate those who we involved in transformational times for the congregation. Pictures, information, occupations and interesting facts are sought, as well as volunteers who enjoy doing research. The Little Scientist STEAM Preschool Program returns to the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School on Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. Co-sponsored by PJ Library, the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math program is geared to ages 3 to 5, accompanied by an adult. The program is open to the community, and reservations are required. Additional sessions will be on Jan. 26 and March 8. The Oct. 27 program is “Make Some Noise,” focusing on the science of sound, instrument-making, exploring pitch and visualizing sounds. On Nov. 2 at 2 p.m., Auburn’s Beth Shalom will host “The Story Behind the Stories” with author Craig Darch. He will read excerpts from his new book, “L’Chaim and Lamentations,” a collection of short stories, and discuss what led to his writing the book. Rabbi Joel Fleekop of Temple Beth El in Pensacola is part of a panel, “Keeping Faith — Religion and the Transgendered Community,” Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Opera Center, in advance of Pensacola Opera’s production of “As One.” The free town hall discussion will focus on how people of faith may embrace members of the transgender community, their friends and families. The B’nai Israel, Monroe, Men’s Club Kosher-style Hot Dog Sale is Nov. 19. A $5 ticket includes a hot dog, drink and chips. Challahs will also be available for $10. Tickets are available in the office or from Men’s Club members. Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple will hold Sharsheret Pink Shabbat on Oct. 25. Wear pink for the 6 p.m. service. A donation of $10 is requested for the Mexican dinner, with all proceeds going to Sharsheret, a non-profit that supports young Jewish women with breast cancer. A wine basket and gift cards will also be raffled. Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will host Parshat Noach at the Zoo, Nov. 2 at 2 p.m., at the Birmingham Zoo. The story of Noah’s Ark will be told, there will be Noah-themed crafts, a scavenger hunt, and the chance to meet some of the animals up close. Reservations are $10, with a family maximum of $40. continued on page 58


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Meridian’s Beth Israel to hold 150th anniversary service Though few in number now, the Jewish community of Meridian had a huge effect on Meridian as a whole, and Meridian has notable chapters in American Jewish history. Congregation Beth Israel will celebrate this legacy with a 150th anniversary service on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m., and a cocktail oneg following. Before the Civil War, Meridian was a small outpost in the shadow of nearby Marion. But after the war, the railroad came to Meridian, establishing it as the hub of commerce for eastern Mississippi. The few Jewish families who had been in Marion as early as 1837 moved down the river, and were joined by many more, becoming an integral part of Meridian’s civic life. In 1868, Beth Israel was established, and land for a cemetery was purchased. The congregation met in several temporary locations, growing from its original 10 families. In 1873, Rabbi David Burgheim became the congregation’s first rabbi. With 50 members in 1878, the congregation built its first building, on 22nd Avenue. It was the first building in the city with gas lighting. In 1906, with over 80 members, a larger building was constructed at 11th Street and 24th Avenue. It had a fire during its first year, leading the congregation to meet temporarily at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. While Beth Israel was Reform from its beginning, as the Jewish community grew, some new immigrants wanted a more traditional alternative and established Ohel Jacob, an Orthodox congregation, in 1895. Unlike in many communities, the two congregations worked together, with Ohel

SJL File

Beth Israel in Meridian

Jacob ultimately disbanding in 1990 as their numbers dwindled. Rabbi Judah Wechsler, who served Beth Israel in the 1880s, campaigned for African American education, and led a movement to construct the first brick public school building for African American students. The school was named for him and the building still stands. In the late 1920s, the community peaked at 575, one of the largest Jewish communities in the state. After serving in Natchez, Rabbi William Ackerman served as Beth Israel’s rabbi from 1926 until his death in 1950. The congregation offered his widow, Paula, the position of spiritual leader. Though she never took the title of rabbi, she was regarded as the first female spiritual leader of a Jewish community, though many news reports called her “America’s first lady rabbi.” She served until 1953. Still many years before women were ordained as rabbis, she would assume that role again in her hometown of Pensacola in 1962, when Temple Beth El was between rabbis. In 1964, Beth Israel decided to move to the suburbs, dedicating a new,


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community smaller building. A Holocaust memorial was commissioned by three Christians and designed by a local Jewish artist. In the 1960s, Meridian became a focus of the civil rights movement, as that is where civil rights workers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were based. They were killed in Neshoba County in 1964, along with Meridian native James Chaney. Many in Meridian’s Jewish community worked to change the system of segregation. After the civil rights battles, a Klan group targeted Mississippi’s Jewish community, starting with Beth Israel in Jackson and the home of their rabbi, Perry Nussbum. Then, Beth Israel in Meridian was bombed. With funds from the Jackson and Meridian Jewish communities, the Federal Bureau of Investigation paid Klan informants, leading to a shootout when the Klan tried to bomb the home of Meyer Davidson in Meridian in 1968. One bomber, a female Kindergarten teacher, was killed, while the other, Tommy Tarrants, survived, had a jailhouse conversion and later became pastor of an interracial church. In the 1970s, Al Rosenbaum was the two-term mayor of Meridian. Today, many Jewish landmarks are still around, or have been repurposed. After being vacant for many years, the landmark Threefoot building is being renovated into a Courtyard by Marriott. The Marks Rothenberg Opera House has been restored and is a civic venue. Highland Park was given to the city in 1906, and a plaque honoring the 10 donors shows that six were Jewish — I. Marks, H.M. and K. Threefoot, W. Rosenbaum, Levi Marks and Sam Rothenberg. A statue in the middle of the park honors I. Marks, who was president of the Park Commission. Today, Beth Israel counts 28 members and has monthly services.

Ta-Nehisi Coates to speak at Temple Sinai in New Orleans Octavia Books will present An Evening with Ta-Nehisi Coates, in conversation with two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. at Temple Sinai in New Orleans. Each $30 general ticket admits one, and includes a copy of his debut novel, “The Water Dancer.” Deluxe tickets, which are $47, also include Ward’s newest novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing.” Coates is the author of “The Beautiful Struggle,” “We Were Eight Years in Power” and “Between the World and Me,” which won the National Book Award in 2015. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. Ta-Nehisi lives in New York City with his wife and son. Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and has received the MacArthur Genius Grant, a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency and the Strauss Living Prize. She is the winner of two National Book Awards for Fiction for “Sing, Unburied, Sing” and “Salvage the Bones.” She is also the author of the novel “Where the Line Bleeds” and the memoir “Men We Reaped,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi. Coates’ new book is an original vision of the world of slavery, and the American struggle to tell the truth.

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Photo courtesy JS Chamber of Commerce

Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives visited Hebron with Palestinian businessman Ashraf Jabari and Avi Zimmerman, founders of the Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce.

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Pursuing a Grassroots Peace Reps. Byrne, Roe part of USIEA delegation visiting the territories to see economic cooperation In late August, four Congressional Representatives went to Israel to visit the territories and work to bring Israelis and Palestinians together through commerce. Among the four were Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne and Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe, participating on a trip organized by the Birmingham-based US Israel Education Association, and coordinated with the Judea Samaria Chamber of Commerce. Their visit came a week after U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib made headlines after being denied entry to Israel. They had organized an “alternative” trip to Israel instead of going on an American Israel Public Affairs Committee visit in August with 72 of their Congressional colleagues, but Israel decided to deny the pair entry after their itinerary showed they were visiting exclusively with Palestinian groups and organizations hostile to Israel, and had not included any meetings with Israeli officials. The USIEA delegation saw a completely different side of the conflict, spending two days in the heart of the territories and seeing cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians as they try to bypass the nonexistent peace process and create their own agreements. The USIEA was founded by Heather Johnston of Birmingham, after working for several years with the city of Ariel, regarded as the capital of Samaria, to develop a national leadership center in Ariel. The Congressional delegation was led by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who serves as a Congressional representative to the United Nations General Assembly. She has been on USIEA trips before “and I am grateful for them leading these trips, especially behind the ‘Green Line’ into Judea and Samaria and taking members of Congress, both from the House and the Senate, Republicans and Democrats, to be able to see it for themselves.” Typically, Congressional trips do not spend time in the territories, unless they are making a quick visit to Ramallah to visit Palestinian Authority officials, or perhaps seeing the religious sites in Bethlehem. Roe said when he went to Israel with AIPAC a decade ago, his group met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. When U.S. Ambassador David Friedman spoke at a forum organized in Ariel by USIEA and the Chamber in October 2018, it was the first official visit to the territories by a sitting U.S. ambassador. The Judea Samaria Chamber of Commerce was founded in October

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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


2017 and is led by Avi Zimmerman of Ariel and Sheik Ashraf Jabari, leader of a major Palestinian clan in Hebron. A grassroots effort to bring peace and prosperity to the territories, currently the chamber has 250 Israeli businessmen and 250 Palestinian businessmen. In February, several months before the Bahrain business summit, the chamber held an unprecedented Palestinian-Israeli economic forum in Jerusalem, with Friedman as the keynote speaker. Attending the forum were dozens of Palestinian leaders and Israeli heads of local councils in the territories, all of whom came with the goal of promoting mutual cooperation on the local and municipal levels. The delegation saw the Integrated Business Initiative, visiting the Barkan Business Park near Ariel, where they toured one of the large factories and met with company leadership and workers on the production floor. At each level, there was a mixture of Israelis and Palestinians. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri said “We saw firsthand Israelis and Palestinians working together to promote peace and harmony… Many of the Palestinians were making between 3 and 4 times what they would otherwise earn if they did not have this opportunity to have this integrated business that we saw going on in Israel.” General Charles Krulak, retired commandant of the U.S. Marines, was part of the delegation and said the workers “decried the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, indicating that it did not just hurt Israel but also hurt the Palestinians,” and that “simply put, the Palestinians were overjoyed working with Israelis and wanted ‘their truth’ to be told… not the ‘media’s truth’.” Byrne said what they saw completely undercuts arguments made by proponents of BDS. “Palestinians and Israelis are not just getting along but working together to improve each other’s lives.” He added that the Palestinians not only want to expand business ties with Israelis, but all over the world. McMorris Rodgers said the cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis “is the untold story. It is a story about opportunity and hope at a time when too many despair.” She added, “It was the Palestinian business leaders and workers who told us that BDS hurts their ability to work and to provide for their families. They want economic freedom, not boycotts.” Wagner said “they were standing up to what I would call strong divisive forces that seek to vilify Israel and undermine its credibility as a force for peace,” she added. As part of the trip, the delegation went into the Palestinian areas of Hebron, to meet at Jabari’s home, along with five prominent Palestinian business leaders. This was the first visit of its kind for a Congressional delegation. It also comes at great risk for the Palestinians involved, as the Palestinian Authority seeks to thwart such business ties in an “anti-normalization” agenda. Roe said “The Palestinian Authority doesn’t speak for all Palestinians, I can flatly tell you that.” Byrne said the Palestinian Authority is “clearly wrong. If they are interested in what’s good for the Palestinian people, they should grow business opportunities. The group also visited the National Leadership Center in Ariel, seeing a group of Arab Christian Girl Scouts going through the training sessions and ropes courses. A day earlier, a group of Ethiopian Jewish students had done the same training. “You could tell it had special meaning” for the Girl Scouts they saw, Byrne said. The delegation also met with Friedman for over two hours, for an overview of the current situation in the Middle East and an emphasis on business development between Israelis and Palestinians. A lengthy meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mostly focused on the threat posed by Iran. In addition to seeing the spiritual sites in the Galilee and Jerusalem, the representatives saw many locations not on typical Congressional tours.

community They saw the situation on the Golan Heights next to Syria, and visited installations of Israel’s newest anti-missile defenses, Arrow III and David’s Sling. They also visited technology companies working on border security, cyber security and self-driving cars. Roe and his wife also planted grape vines in Israel, through HaYovel, a Christian group founded in Tennessee to recruit U.S. volunteers to help Israeli grape farmers during planting and harvest seasons. But the main focus of the trip was to witness “the unstoppable people’s business movement that is well underway and is not going away,” Johnston said. Roe was deeply moved, saying “You saw people, not nations, working together to make life better for their community.” He intends to bolster these efforts and to help build on such cooperation by introducing both Israeli and Palestinian business leaders to various Chambers of Commerce in the U.S. Motivated and inspired by what they saw, McMorris Rodgers and the members of the delegation intend to approach the White House regarding the importance of making such a business model a key aspect in any peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians. “We need to be encouraging this economic opportunity as part of the peace solution,” and she encourages other members of Congress to “see first-hand” what is happening. Byrne said “I hope that we in this country and we in this Congress do everything in our power to help these people grow economically in their businesses, but also to find that peace that only people-to-people actions can find for us all.” He told Southern Jewish Life that Congress is working on several initiatives to support these efforts. “It’s important to Israel, important to the United States and important to the individual Palestinian people.”


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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Pastor Chris Edmonds says that “the difference between a regular person and a hero is two seconds,” and he hopes that the spreading of his father’s story inspires people to become that hero, should they be faced with such circumstances. Edmonds is promoting “Roddie’s Code” through this month’s release of the book “No Surrender: A Father, A Son, and an Extraordinary Act of Heroism That Continues to Live On Today,” the story of how his father, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, ultimately became the first U.S. serviceman to be honored by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews during the Holocaust — and the only person recognized for saving American Jews. Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, made the designation on Dec. 2, 2015. He is only the fifth American so recognized, with Varian Fry, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, and Lois Gunden. The next month, there was a ceremony at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Roddie Edmonds died in 1985, and it wasn’t until several years later that Chris Edmonds, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Maryville, Tenn., just outside of Knoxville, knew what his father had done — only those who were with him that day in Germany had the story. In 2009, Chris Edmonds Googled his father’s name to see what he would find about his service. To his surprise, his father was mentioned in a 2008 New York Times article about Lester Tanner, a New York attorney who sold a home to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, when nobody wanted the disgraced former president as a neighbor. In the article, Tanner spoke about being a POW during World War II and how Roddie Edmonds had saved his life, and the lives of many others. Astonished, Chris Edmonds got in touch with Tanner to find out what he was referring to. Roddie Edmonds left Knoxville to join the Army in 1942, and trained troops. In late 1944 he was sent to the Ardennes Forest as part of the 422nd Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, in what was considered an easy posting — but instead, it was where the Germans launched a surprise attack on Dec. 16, leading to the Battle of the Bulge. His regiment was captured on Dec. 19 and marched through brutal conditions to Bad Orb, a prisoner of war camp, arriving on Dec. 25. A month later, he and the other noncommissioned officers were sent to Stalag IX-A with over 1200 other soldiers. He was the senior noncommissioned officer among them, so he assumed the leadership position. On the first day, an order came out over the intercom — after roll call the next morning, only the Jewish prisoners were to fall out. It was well known that it was a death sentence to be a captured Jew — even a Jewish American soldier — in Europe, and some Jewish soldiers had swapped dog tags with dead comrades because of the identifying “H” for Hebrew. Roddie Edmonds instructed his men that the next morning, everyone

community would fall out, saying that the Geneva Convention states they need give only name, rank and serial number. The next morning, Jan. 27, 1945, all of the American soldiers were standing in front of the barracks. According to those close enough to witness the exchange, the German commander, Major Siegmann, angrily went to Roddie Edmonds and insisted, “All of you can’t be Jewish!” Edmonds replied “We are all Jews here.” The commander ordered him to have the Jewish soldiers step forward, but Edmonds replied that under the Geneva Convention he was not entitled to that information. Siegmann pressed his gun to Edmonds’ forehead and repeated his order, to which Edmonds answered that “If you shoot, you’ll have to kill all of us, and you will have to stand for war crimes after we win this war.” Instead of shooting, the commander put his gun away and stormed off. It is estimated that there were 200 Jewish soldiers among the prisoners, one of whom was Tanner. Chris Edmonds has been able to meet some of the others, some of whom have since died. Another of the captured soldiers was Sonny Fox, who became a frequent game show guest host and host of the children’s show “Wonderama” in the 1960s. Paul Stern, who stood near Roddie Edmonds during the exchange, detailed the encounter to Yad Vashem. This wasn’t the end of Roddie Edmonds’ heroism. As Allied troops neared, the Germans told the prisoners that the next day they would be leaving and marching further into Germany. With the prisoners near starvation, Edmonds instructed them that they would not leave with the Germans on a death march — act sick, get sick, run to the barracks, just do not go with them. Despite being threatened with being shot, they followed Edmonds’ orders, until the Germans finally threw up their hands and left the Americans behind, taking the French and British prisoners with them. Once the Americans were alone in the camp, Edmonds had to convince them not to leave, that they could not survive on their own beyond the gates. The next day, they were liberated by the Third Army. Since the story first came out a few years ago, there have been two documentaries by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, one of them a 14-minute piece that received Honorable Mention at the Academy Awards. It was narrated by Ted Koppel, and Chris Edmonds said “he was so gracious to be part of it.” There is also interest in a major motion picture, he added, and efforts continue for Medal of Honor and Congressional Gold Medal recognition. Chris Edmonds established Roddie’s Code as “a way to help me share Dad’s message and extend his legacy” by inspiring heroes everywhere. Long before he knew of his father’s World War II heroism, Chris Edmonds said he knew his father had a strong moral code, including “doing what is right for others, opposing what’s wrong or evil, dignify life and humanity, express love for everyone. “That’s years before I knew any of this. He just lived his life by that code.” Tanner also spoke of Roddie Edmonds’ “very deeply held moral code,” based on “his spiritual walk with God and his understanding of God’s truth about how we should treat each other.” In fact, Chris Edmonds related that Tanner told him his father’s code “is the code I’ve lived by since the day he did what he did.” As a New York lawyer, he added, that was difficult. He summarizes it as “Do what’s right for others, regardless of the risk

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• October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

and regardless of the circumstances.” While he has spoken at Yad Vashem and at the national gathering for Christians United for Israel, Chris Edmonds particularly enjoys speaking to student groups. “I’ve spoken to quite a few fifth grade groups, and they’re some of my best, in terms of attention.” He was inspired by a fifth grader in Murfreesboro, Tenn., who stood up in April to protest classmates making Nazi salutes when their class was doing a Living History project, and one of the students had been assigned to portray Hitler. “Why in the world are we having students pushed to be Hitler?” he wondered. “That would never cross my mind in teaching about World War II.” One recent speaking engagement was at Alumni Hall at the University of Tennessee, on Sept. 11. The film screening and talk was co-sponsored by a Christian group, the Campus House of Prayer, and the campus Hillel, with about 100 in attendance. Later that night, someone vandalized The Rock, a central campus feature where messages are painted, posting a conspiracy theory about Israel’s supposed involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack. “That was horrible,” Chris Edmonds said. “That’s where I went to school. That’s not the heart of our student body. That’s not the heart of the campus.” He said students “need to get courage in their hearts and report stuff like that” whenever they see it. “We’ve got to take a stand against the blatant anti-Semitism that is happening across the country and around the world. Good people need to stand up and speak out,” Chris Edmonds said. “I hope Dad’s story will inspire lots of folks to do just that.” By coming out with a book, he is able to tell “so much more of the story than we can share in short time slots,” including the story of the men who were with him. Chris Edmonds took time off from speaking to finish the book, a process he described as “intense.” While he was working on it, Harper Collins decided they also wanted a young readers’ version, “so I wound up writing two books.” There will be an audio version, and a CD edition for school libraries, he added. “I had written hundreds of sermons, but that’s a different animal than writing a book,” he said. When looking for a co-author, he prayed for a Jewish writer to work with him, because “I felt like I really needed the Jewish voice and Jewish heart in the book. I would bring my father’s perspective and the Christian perspective.” He found his partner in Douglas Century, a New York Times bestselling author whose works include “Brotherhood of Warriors,” about Aaron Cohen and his work in Isrrael’s Special Forces Duvdevan unit; “Barney Ross,” a biography of the Jewish boxing legend and World War II hero; and the biography of Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs, “If Not Now, When? Duty and Sacrifice in America’s Time of Need.” Chris Edmonds said Century “was the guy. I felt God connected us.” In addition to speaking to students, Chris Edmonds was invited to become the chaplain for the 106th Division veterans’ group. In August, they held a reunion in Providence, R.I., with eight World War II veterans in attendance. “It was wonderful to be able to spend time with these gentlemen, experience their stories, enjoy their personalities,” he said. He reflected, “You think about what the world would have been like had we not won. It would have been very different, very ugly.” He will have a book signing and talk on Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. at BooksA-Million in Huntsville, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. at Books-A-Million in Montgomery, Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. at Square Books in Oxford, Oct. 29 at 4:30 p.m. at Lemuria Books in Jackson, and Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble, Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

The Santa Monica-based Jewish Women’s Theatre will launch a Southern tour in November, coordinated by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson. During the week-long tour of seven communities, the group will perform “The Matzo Ball Diaries” in most venues, and “The Art of Forgiveness” in Columbus, Ga. “We’re so excited to bring this incredible group to our region,” says Ann Zivitz Kientz, the ISJL’s director of cultural programming. “We’ve been working for over a year to make this historic southern tour a reality, and I think audiences are going to be wowed.” The Jewish Women’s Theatre Group is a California-based collective whose mission is to “create, produce and preserve diverse contemporary Jewish stories that empower and educate individuals, inspire community and build cultural legacy.” It started with three women around a kitchen table in 2007, and debuted in the fall of 2008, to “welcome and encourage contemporary stories by Jewish women and to adapt them theatrically, giving them life in front of a live audience.” From the beginning, they focused on the word and text, in the tradition of salons — culture that could be hosted in homes, without sets, costumes and props as a way of presenting powerful stories. In 2014, the group opened its theatre, The Braid, as a home base, with an art gallery, classroom space and experiential Shabbat services. The first production at The Braid, “Not That Jewish,” went on to open off-Broadway in 2016. “The Matzo Ball Diaries” shares the secret stories of food and home, with comic and poignant stories about the power of food to nourish, heal or move people to action. From learning the secret to the best brisket to personal stories of eating disorders to the fascinating history of how the International House of Pancakes was started, the show explores myriad aspects of food, culture, and community — with plenty of humor throughout. “The Art of Forgiveness” is a compilation of stories, plays, poems and performance art that asks what does it mean to forgive, and why is it so darn hard to do it? A mother and daughter finally resolve years of quiet mistrust. An American academic on a Fulbright in Germany must face a German national who has unexpected feelings about the war. A woman accidentally kills a man and must find a way to forgiveness. The tour starts at Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga., on Nov. 10, then at Temple Israel in Tallahassee on Nov. 11. On Nov. 12, they will perform at Temple Beth El in Pensacola, co-sponsored by the Pensacola Jewish Federation and the B’nai Israel Kosher Kitchen. On Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., they will be at Ahavas Chesed in Mobile, then at Shir Chadash in Metairie on Nov. 14 and Beth Israel in Jackson on Nov. 15. At Shir Chadash, tickets are $25, preferred sponsor seating is $72 and patron seating is $180. A dessert reception follows the 7:30 p.m. show. The tour concludes at the Memphis Jewish Community Center on Nov. 16, then the group will return to Knoxville for a Nov. 17 appearance at Heska Amuna. Ticket information will be forthcoming from the different venues.

Anne Frank statue unveiled at National World War II Museum Before helping unveil a new life-size statue of Anne Frank at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Holocaust survivor Anne Levy related how Frank’s story “has always been special to me.” Many years ago, she and her husband visited the attic where Frank and her family hid during the Holocaust, but it was too close in time to her own survival and she had to leave because of a panic attack. When an exhibit about Frank came to New Orleans, Levy said, it was one of the first times she spoke to students about her own experiences. “Thank you for letting me once again be part of a special day in the museum’s history,” she said. Stephen Watson, president and CEO of the museum, said it was “meaningful to me personally” to have Levy participate in the ceremony. The Sept. 12 unveiling took place after a program in the Stage Door Canteen. Levy, along with Vincent Giardina and Lisa Romano of the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust, removed the blue drape from the statue in the museum’s Founders Plaza. The Tolmas Trust sponsored the statue, which is the second installation in the plaza, after President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Several additional statues are planned. It was noted that the Trust is also sponsoring three exhibitions in the upcoming Liberation Pavilion’s “And Then They Came For Me” gallery — “The Office,” “The Hiding Place” and “The Concentration Camp.” Groundbreaking for the Liberation Pavilion would be on Oct. 17, it was announced. Giardina said “this sponsorship will honor Mr. Tolmas’ Jewish heritage

Lisa Romano and Vincent Giardina from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust and Holocaust survivior Anne Levy unveil the Anne Frank statue and his wartime service for our country.” The statue stands next to a concrete bench with a quote from Frank’s diary, “Sometime this terrible war will be over. Surely the time will come when we are people again, and not just Jews.” Ivan Schwartz, founder of StudioEIS, said it was a challenge to capture Frank as a young girl, and the statue is the result of “as many as 20 people working in concert.” The portrayal balances her sense of innocence with the “barbarism surrounding her life.” Robert Citino, senior historian at the museum, said it is rare for young people, especially young women, to have a statue made of them, but “young people can recognize the true nature of things with great clarity.” For most Americans who read a book about the Holocaust, Frank’s diary is that book, and in it young readers “find a kindred spirit.”

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Over 3,000 cars, trucks and SUV’s across New Orleans! October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Women of Valor dedications in Baton Rouge

Making Challah Mega Challah Bakes held around the region

Challah on Shabbat and holidays is one of the most recognizable mitzvahs in Jewish life, and in communities across the region, large numbers of women are attending challah-making Mega Bakes, which are organized as evenings of “unity and inspiration” involving multiple Jewish women’s groups in each community, coordinated by the local Chabad. In some communities, the Challah Bake is also tied to breast cancer awareness programs, while learning how to make challah together. New Orleans and Birmingham will have programs in November, while Huntsville had a Mega Challah Bake 100 in May, and Baton Rouge had a Pink Mega Challah Bake on Oct. 6, involving Chabad of Baton Rouge, Hadassah Baton Rouge, Beth Shalom, B’nai Israel and Lafayette’s Temple Shalom. Birmingham will hold a Pink Challah Bake on Nov. 10 at the Levite Jewish Community Center, from 4 to 6 p.m., a joint project of the LJCC, Chabad of Alabama, Myriad Women’s Health and The Shabbat Project. To raise breast cancer awareness, starting at 3 p.m. Myriad will be offering educational resources. A local physician will be available for BRCA screening and testing, those who are interested should bring an insurance card. There will also be a video montage for friends and family members who have been lost to breast cancer. Reservations for the Birmingham event are $18. Seating is limited, and reservations are requested by Nov. 5. In New Orleans, Chabad and Hadassah New Orleans are inviting women “to an evening of unity and inspiration” with the Women’s Mega Challah Bake 250, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. 20

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

The 2017 Mega Challah Bake attracted 200 participants, so this year it is being expanded to 250 spaces, and Chaya Ceitlin said “we are expecting to be sold out this year well ahead of time based on how registration is going.” Sisterhoods, synagogues and Jewish organizations from across the community are joining as community co-sponsors of the event, including the synagogues and/or Sisterhoods of Anshe Sfard, Beth Israel, Chabad Center of Metairie, Chabad House Uptown, Gates of Prayer, Northshore Jewish Congregation, Shir Chadash and Temple Sinai and the following community organizations of Chabad of Southern Mississippi, Cteen, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Community Day School, JNOLA and Torah Academy. This event will feature elegant refreshments, as well as a wine bar donated by Royal Wines. Each participant will be able to make her own dough for two challah loaves to be baked at home and will receive a personalized apron to commemorate the event. Prior challah baking experience is not necessary, as it is for beginners and advanced challah bakers. This year there will be one designated table for teens ages 14 to 17. Registration is $36 before Nov. 6, and is at The 2017 event had a Woman of Valor dedication display. This year, women may honor their loved ones through the Tree of Life Sponsorship, starting at $118. Honorees may include moms, grandmothers, mentors, friends, students, children, grandchildren. Honorees’ names will be featured on a display composed of roots, branches and leaves woven together to create a Tree of Life.

Mega Challah Bakes in Huntsville (above) and Baton Rouge (below)

714 St. Peter • 600 Decatur • 334 Royal • 311 Bourbon October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


New Orleans


Fall Dining Guide

209 Bourbon Street, New Orleans (504) 525-2021

M Bistro

921 Canal Street, New Orleans inside the Ritz-Carlton

A French Quarter fixture since 1905. An unforgettable experience filled with world-famous creole-inspired French fare, fresh local ingredients and stellar hospitality.

M bistro’s menu is an indigenous approach to the preparation of the finest meats, seafood and produce from growers in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.


Doson Noodle House

444 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans Inside the Intercontinental Hotel (504) 525-5566

135 N. Carrollton Ave. New Orleans (504) 309-7283

Located in the InterContinental Hotel, Pete’s offers a relaxed feel, set in classy chic décor with splashes of colorful murals and beautiful chandeliers throughout.

Since 1997, New Orleans’ best traditional Vietnamese food. Old world classics to creative new varieties, prepared with the freshest ingredients. We pride ourselves on excellent service.


The Columns

3841 Veterans Blvd, Metairie (504) 888-9046

Combining fresh, locally sourced products, pairing them with our Mediterranean roots and seasonal heritage to bring you an eclectic yet authentic menu, has always been our mission. 22

Southern Jewish Life

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

3811 Saint Charles Avenue, New Orleans (504) 899-9308

The Columns offers something for everyone — the perfect place for receptions, seated meals or special occasions, versatile rooms can host up to 300. Sunday Jazz Brunch available with reservations.

Southern Jewish Life

Cafe Beignet

New Orleans

Fall Dining Guide

Four locations in the French Quarter New Orleans

Kosher Cajun

3519 Severn Avenue, Metairie (504) 888-2010

A family-oriented restaurant, Cafe Beignet takes pride in beignets, coffee and food, striving to bring the best to customers. Locations on Decatur, Royal, St. Peter and Bourbon Streets.

Kosher Cajun New York Deli & Grocery has authentic New York specialties — all Kosher certified. Enjoy classic eats like Reubens and matzah ball soup, plus kosher grocery staples too.

Josephine Estelle

English Tea Room

600 Carondelet Street Inside Ace Hotel (504) 930-3070

734 E. Rutland Street Historic Downtown Covington (985) 898-3988

With an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and homemade pastas passed down from our Maw Maws, Josephine Estelle is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour.

The Windsor High Tea, comprising sandwiches, mini-savories, mini desserts, two chocolate dipped strawberries, two scones with house-made clotted cream, lemon curd or preserves.

The Avenue Pub


1732 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans (504) 586-9243

New Orleans’ leading American and European Craft Beer Bar, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 46+ draft selections and Cicerone certified staff. The New Orleans beer destination.

4729 Magazine Street, Uptown (504) 894-8881

Apolline features contemporary French cuisine with Creole influences and locally-grown ingredients. Confit Duck Bowl: Potato hash, peppers, poached eggs, cracklin and hollandaise October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


New Orleans/Birmingham


Fall Dining Guide

724 Martin Behrman Ave., Metairie (504) 834-5646

1 Clubhouse Drive, New Orleans (504) 392-2200

The Fury family has been in the restaurant business since 1967 and at its current Metairie location since 1983. We make all of our sauces inhouse from tomato to tartar, and every meal is freshly made to order.

English Turn Golf and Country Club offers contemporary American cuisine, such as Filet Oscar — 8 oz. filet mignon, jumbo-lump crabmeat with Béarnaise sauce. Dining is open to the public.

Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak


215 Bourbon St. New Orleans (504) 335-3932

630 Carondelet Street, New Orleans Next to the Ace Hotel (504) 930-3071

The perfect setting in the Vieux Carre. The alluring atmosphere of Galatoire’s 33 brings to life New Orleans’ next great tradition, with the finest cocktails and traditional steakhouse fare.

Ace Hotel New Orleans’ cocktail and oyster bar. Set in a Creole cottage dated 1832, Seaworthy showcases bivalves accompanied by seasonal seafare and cocktails.

Taj India

The Bright Star

2226 Highland Avenue, Birmingham (205) 939-3805

Taj India, Birmingham’s original Tandoori Grill and Curry House, will remain in its current location through next summer, serving authentic Indian dishes with a lunch buffet and extensive dinner menu. 24

English Turn

Southern Jewish Life

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

304 19th Street North, Bessemer (205) 426-1861

Founded in 1907 in downtown Bessemer, the Bright Star is Alabama’s oldest family owned restaurant and is a James Beard American Classic, known for Greek-style seafood and great steaks.

Southern Jewish Life

Nabeel’s Cafe

Fall Dining Guide

1706 Oxmoor Rd,Birmingham (205) 879-9292


3rd Avenue So. Avondale Common House 4100(205) 703-9895

Homewood’s best Mediterranean restaurant and specialty import market, Nabeel’s is now open seven days a week, with breakfast and brunch, in addition to lunch and expanded evening hours.

A lively Neighborhood Bar & Grill in the heart of Avondale, with Birmingham’s best patio and brunch. Avondale Common House offers fun eclectic Southern bar fare with a twist.

Miami Fusion Cafe

The Fish Market

2015 5th Avenue No., Birmingham (205) 730-9003

612 22nd Street So., Birmingham (205) 322-3330

Caribbean restaurant specializing in traditional Cuban & Puerto Rican specialties, including sandwiches and entrees, authentic sides and desserts. Open Mon-Sat for lunch, Fridays for BYOB dinners.

A Birmingham classic, The Fish Market on Southside offers the freshest seafood around, live music and an oyster bar. Private and semi-private dining available, along with catering.

Bistro V

Mile End Deli

521 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia (205) 823-1505

Located in Vestavia, Bistro V serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, with a menu that includes fresh seafood and local and organic meats and vegetables, much of it with a New Orleans nod.

1701 1st Avenue So., Birmingham (205) 558-8011

Bringing a taste of Montreal Jewish deli to the Magic City, with signature smoked meats, homemade hotdogs, poutine, fresh whitefish salad and more. All breads and bagels baked daily in our wood-fired oven. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Pies and Pints

Fall Dining Guide

125 20th Street So., Birmingham 7216 Eastchase Parkway, Montgomery

Red Pearl

Southern Jewish Life

243 West Valley Ave., Homewood (205) 945-9558

Enjoy an array of craft beers on tap (including many Alabama selections), specialty pies, delicious salads and more. Our signature pizzas are hand-stretched and baked directly on a stone hearth.

Red Pearl, inside Super Oriental Market, serves authentic Asian cuisine with a full menu at lunch and dinner every day. A special event room is available.

Lab Bar


808 20th Street So. (205) 933-9009

Located in the Hilton Birmingham at UAB, the Lab Bar and Kitchen features Southern-inspired, locally-sourced dishes with Alabama-made cheeses and meats, locally grown produce and fresh Gulf seafood.

940 20th Street So. (205) 731-7414

Makarios Kabob and Grill is the jewel of Middle Eastern foods and traditional cooking. Makarios Kabob is known for its bright flavors and freshness, delicate marinades for chicken, lamb and beef kabobs.

With GreenWise, Publix increases its kosher, organic selection by Lee J. Green Publix Supermarkets continues to increase its kosher product selection at its Alabama and Florida panhandle stores. The launch of the GreenWise Market organic grocery concept and the opening of the Mountain Brook GreenWise in late June allowed Publix to enhance its organic kosher product selection. The 23,000-square-foot store in Lane Parke includes eight feet of shelf space dedicated to organic, kosher frozen foods. “We’re focused on providing our customers the kosher, organic and specialty products they are looking for,” said Brenda Reid, Publix Supermarkets/GreenWise Market media and community relations manager. She said even though Publix owns GreenWise Market, the Mountain Brook store “feels like a different store when you walk in. Its departments are named differently and the décor is more contemporary.” Plus, GreenWise has an enhanced commitment to providing organic products. The Mountain Brook store is the third GreenWise Market and first in the Southern Jewish Life magazine coverage area. The first GreenWise 26

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

opened in Tallahassee. The GreenWise Market includes a POURS area, in which customers can enjoy a variety of craft beers, specialty wines, coffees, teas and kombucha on tap in a café setting. They also offer smoothies and acai bowls as well as handcrafted sandwiches and pizzas. GreenWise has its own private label featuring a wide variety of items. “We have worked with our suppliers to provide premium level products that are sourced and grown sustainably. For example, all our fresh meats are raised without antibiotics and no added hormones,” said Reid. The Mountain Brook store offers 285 different types of GreenWise-branded products that are kosher. All Publix stores have dedicated space for kosher food products, such as Manischewitz, Streit’s, Osem, Gold’s and Kedem. The Publix on Overton Road includes a 10-foot kosher products display and is the largest in the Southern Jewish Life coverage area. Publix offers “thousands of additional national branded products across the entire grocery store that contain a kosher certification symbol.”

fall dining guide

Piggly Wiggly has the hometown touch As a neighborhood grocer, locally owned and operated by folks in your hometown, Piggly Wiggly keeps a keen eye on what their customers want and need. “It is inherent in who we are to make sure our stores are stocked with products that meet the community and our neighbors where they need us to be,” said Andy Virciglio, whose family has been operating Over the Mountain Piggly Wiggly stores in the Birmingham area for 42 years. “Our in-store kosher selections continue to expand and we encourage each store manager to listen closely to what our customers want,” he said. “We try hard to have the right product mix. “If there is a kosher product not currently on the shelves at their Vestavia, Mountain Brook, Homewood, Dunnavant Valley or Forest Park locations, they can order it to have it in, usually within a week or so,” he added. Piggly Wiggly is locally focused, hiring local people and filling the stores with locally produced products so that freshness is a priority. From fresh chickens, fresh gulf seafood selections, certified angus beef, special cuts of beef, locally sourced produce selections and many more local products, customers know they can count on their Piggly Wiggly to provide what they need every day. And, Piggly Wiggly is proud to have been the first grocer in the country to coordinate a community-support program for non-profits and charitable organizations through a relationship with Planet Fundraiser. By using their app, any non-profit can earn dollars for their organization through their own purchase power at Piggly Wiggly. “Planet Fundraiser allows us to be more involved, centralize our giving and offer ways for organizations to grow their giving level each day,” Virciglio added. Piggly Wiggly also partners with SHIPT for home delivery for customers. “Through community and our great customer base, we work every day to make our stores and the shopping experience better, grow our selections and try hard to meet the need of each and every customer,” Virciglio said. “We have been fortunate for 42 years, and my father, as well as my sons, all who work in stores every day, appreciate the opportunity to serve this community well.”

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Brigtsen to headline Latkes with a Twist Annual JCRS Chanukah party on Dec. 12

Frank Brigtsen, chef and owner of Brigtsen’s, will be the featured Latke master at this year’s Latkes with a Twist celebration. Produced by the New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the annual fundraiser has been named one of the top 10 Chanukah parties in the country by the Washington Post. This year’s event will be on Dec. 12 at Press Street Station in the historic Faubourg Marigny. The evening will also feature live music by the Rubin-Wilson Folk/ Blues Explosion, an open bar featuring a Vodka Latke Punch, a Buffalo Trace Old Fashioned Hanukkah Hi-Ball, courtesy of Sazerac Brands, wine and beer. There will also be a silent auction. Brigtsen will be assisted by NOCCA culinary program students. Brigtsen said “my mother, of Scandinavian-German descent, made delicious potato pancakes with a special sauce I plan to recreate. I’m excited about this event.” Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are $36 per person in advance, $42 at the door, and are available at (504) 828-6334 or online at events/latkes-with-a-twist/. The social service agency, with roots dating back to 1855, provides need-based college scholarships, grants for Jewish summer camp experiences, special needs assistance, and other vital outreach programs. This year, JCRS will serve or fund over 1,700 Jewish children from a seven-state regions. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



A Life-Changing NFTY Trip to Poland and Israel by Wyatt Davidson

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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

“Boker Tov!” the counselors screamed at us in Hebrew to wake us up from the long flight to Prague. This summer I participated in a life-changing experience of “L’dor Vador,” a fiveweek adventure through Prague, Poland and Israel. Teens from the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica and Greene Family Camp in Bruceville, Yael and Wyatt Texas, came together for this trip. The first week, the group of 48 teenagers went through an epic journey of the Jewish people to explore more than 1,000 years of rich Eastern European Jewish heritage. We visited medieval castles, wandered through long-lost Jewish neighborhoods, and brought life to preserved pre-war synagogues. In addition, we saw the factory once owned by Oskar Schindler, who was made famous by the movie “Schindler’s List.” The first week was tough. I knew only six people from my old camp while the other 42 were from Greene Family Camp. The first week the squads of campers would greet each other, but never really connected until we all visited Auschwitz. When we walked through the gates, the air got harder to breathe, and I felt a horrified chill going from my head to my toes. I looked around and saw everyone started to squeeze the hand next to them a little bit tighter. When one has gone to a concentration camp as powerful as that one, one can not know how to feel. My closest friend looked at me and whispered in my ear, “I am numb, I am in shock and I am scared.” Some people cried, some did not speak and some even laughed. I had come to the realization that emotions share no playbook at Auschwitz. We had a ceremony at Auschwitz for the 1.1 million Jews who were killed at that concentration camp alone. We lit a candle, we sang songs, we read a poem, we thanked the Jews who were martyrs for us to be alive now, and prayed to God for the Holocaust to never happen to us. Greene and Jacobs started to merge. In times of sadness, an individual comes to register that the those who are really there for you step up in sorrow. We all needed each other that day. It is ironic that our own people’s death brought us all closer as a family. That moment I felt this would be the most intensely meaningful summer of my life. The second week we flew a red-eye to Israel. We finally arrived in the Land of Milk and Honey! We started with an opening ceremony at Tel Yafo overlooking ancient Jaffa, linked to the chains of tradition of pilgrims throughout history who arrived through this port city. We then spent three days and trekked through the Negev desert just as our ancestors had. We also swam in Eilat’s Coral Beach and snorkeled in the cool water of the Red Sea. We explored the history, spirituality and magic of the ancient city of Jerusalem, visited the Kotel, enjoyed a water hike through an ancient underground aqueduct and shopped in Jerusalem’s old town market. This week really deepened the bond between the two groups. At the Western Wall, I was not by my two best friends, I was by a new friend. We both tucked our notes away in the small cracks in the wall. We

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

both touched and felt the power and symbolism of the wall. We looked at each other and smiled and walked away together. I made a new amazing friend that day. The Negev desert was by far my favorite part. We walked on the same kind of path the Israelites walked for 40 years. One night we all lay down and looked up at the stars. Beside me was one of the Texas guys; it was my favorite moment of the trip. The stars were different in the desert. The gazing stars shining upon us made me think of the sky back home. How different Israel and Meridian felt, but in a way similar. I was 6,736 miles away from home, but somehow I still felt at home. The friends in Israel created such an amazing mutual chemistry. They made me feel more connected and safer because of Judaism. I missed my family and friends in Meridian, but I knew they would be waiting for me when I returned. The moment was bittersweet. I loved looking at the stars, because I knew back at home they would see these same stars. I felt a link despite the distance across continents. Week four began with an adventure through the mystical city of Tzfat, high in the Israeli mountains. We toured the ancient alleyways and centuries-old synagogues, discovered the origins of Kabbalah and Tikkun Olam. Israel’s natural beauty was evident in the Arbel Nature Reserve. We had Israelis our age join our trip for a few days. We all sat atop the Golan Heights and examined the important beginnings of the dream of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel. We then returned to Jerusalem and began to connect our ancestors’ past to our present. The next week I left. I came home five days early for sports. I remember my departure. My Texas friend from the stars gave me his shirt because of some quirky inside joke from the first day we met in JFK airport. My new Israeli friend gave me a note and shekels, the Israeli currency. The remaining 46 travelers presented me with a book. It had notes from each person about how they were going to miss me, and how the trip impacted their lives. It was so sorrowful to end this chapter of my life. I have not regretted anything from the trip. I had the best summer. I made such amazing friends for life. My two best friends, Liana and Emma sent me off. We all had tears in our eyes, but laughing because of how stupid we looked. We knew this was going to be goodbye for a while. Thank you to the National Federation of Temple Youth for the best 5 weeks of my life. Once my brother left for college, I became the only Jewish teen in Meridian. It is very hard in Meridian to connect with my religion and people who relate. Going on this trip made me love being Jewish even more. I love my new family I have made. This trip brought me so much closer with my religion and heritage, and I received so much new knowledge about my culture and ancestors. Wyatt Davidson is Junior Class President at Lamar Foundation School in Meridian. She is a very active member of Meridian’s Congregation Beth Israel, and has gone to Henry S. Jacobs Camp since Kochavim in first grade. She is a member of NFTY and BBYO, as well as DUSTY Social Service Club.

Bloch exhibit in Hattiesburg The touring exhibit “Joseph Bloch: Father of Mobile’s Music” will be at B’nai Israel in Hattiesburg through the end of October. The exhibit tells the story of a German-Jewish immigrant to Mobile in 1848 who changed the early landscape of music in the Port City. The six panel display debuted at the Southern Jewish Historical Society conference in Mobile last fall, and illustrates the history of Mobile’s immigrants, cultural life and Jewish community. Bloch, an “importer and dealer in music and musical instruments,” taught at Spring Hill College for nearly 40 years. The exhibit is a collaboration of University of South Alabama faculty members Deborah Gurt, Paula Webb and David Meola, and is supported by SJHS and the University of South Alabama.

community Grants available to first-time campers Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience application process starts for Summer 2020 The Jewish Summer Camp Experience program, funded by the Goldring Family Foundation and administered by the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana, provides grants to families throughout the states of Lousiana, Mississippi and Alabama and from northwest Florida to help send their children to camp. This past summer, 75 children were each awarded $1,500 in scholarship money to attend 12 Jewish nonprofit sleepaway summer camps. “JEF is grateful for the support of the Goldring Family Foundation for this important initiative that has helped families provide their children with a first-time Jewish camping experience,” said Larry Lehmann, JEF president. “We are proud to manage this program that has allowed so many young people to enjoy the fun, comradeship and culture of attending a 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. Established by JEF in 1999 and funded by the Goldring Family Foundation since 2001, more than 1,519 children have received grants to attend Jewish summer camp since the program’s introduction. “JEF is grateful for the extraordinary generosity of the Goldring Family Foundation and looks forward to continuing to work with them on this wonderful program,” said Bobby Garon, JEF executive director. “This program benefits not only the individual campers, but our entire community.” 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. To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleepaway camp, currently in grades 1 to 9, and a resident of the aforementioned states. Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish, and 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 Debbie Berins at JEF at (504) 524-4559 or The application can also be downloaded at



and at Children’s of Alabama, we want to see every child grow up and live to their fullest potential.

Geddes to give Flora Levy lecture Professor Jennifer Geddes will discuss “Resisting Evil in Dark Times: Learning from Holocaust Testimonies” during the 2019 Flora Plonsky Levy Lecture at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. Geddes will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7, in the Oliver Hall Auditorium, room 112. Her presentation will examine what can be learned from Holocaust survivors about enduring and resisting evil and the suffering inflicted by it. She will consider the testimonies of several Holocaust survivors, including Primo Levi’s “Survival in Auschwitz,” Elie Wiesel’s “Night,” Charlotte Delbo’s “Auschwitz and After,” and Jean Améry’s “At the Mind’s Limits,” discussing what they tell us about the ways evil was inflicted, suffering endured, and moments of respite and resistance found. While these testimonies bear crucial witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, they also

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reflect how evil can be resisted, suffering alleviated, and injustices exposed in the world today. Geddes, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, is the author of “Kafka’s Ethics of Interpretation: Between Tyranny and Despair” and numerous articles, as well as the editor of “Evil after Postmodernism: Histories, Narratives, Ethics” and co-editor of “Ethics after the Holocaust: Salvaging the Fragments.” The lecture is sponsored by the Department of English and the Flora Levy Endowment of the UL Foundation.

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Jerusalem’s Old City… in Legos Everyone who has been to Jerusalem knows that Jerusalem stone is not only the preferred building block, since British Mandate days it has been a requirement. But what about Legos? On Nov. 3 at 9:30 a.m., Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will host Stephen Schwartz for his “Building Jerusalem One Lego at a Time” program, that creates the Old City of Jerusalem using 70,000 Legos. A full-time architect in New Jersey, Schwartz also runs Building Block Workshops, which does interactive projects out of Legos. Schwartz developed the project by using Legos to teach his daughter’s third grade class about historical places and how cities are designed. He found that being able to visualize the lesson had a greater impact, so he developed programs around Masada, the Warsaw Ghetto and the world’s tallest Lego menorah. He has done the workshops at congregational religious schools, university Hillels and many other venues. During the two-hour workshop, participants tackle a building project with a different building or location in Jerusalem, then the individual elements are placed on a 20-foot by 20-foot map of Jerusalem. The completed city has its walls, the eight gates, the Western Wall, King David’s Tower, the ancient Temple and other elements. After the display is completed, there is a tour of the city, giving a new perspective on the complex city.


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

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Changes are coming to try and prevent a repeat of anti-Semitic messages that have been painted on the Rock in the center of the University of Tennessee campus. The Rock is routinely painted by students and groups to promote inspirational messages. In early September, the Rock had a painting about a handmade Tennessee Volunteers T-shirt created by a fourth grader in Florida for “collegiate day,” one that led to his bullying by classmates. In an inspirational response, the university used his hand-drawn design and printed 50,000 shirts with the proceeds going to anti-bullying groups. On Sept. 11, someone painted over that message on the Rock with “Jews did 9-11. Google: Dancing Israelis.” Many white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and Islamic extremists promote the idea that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack was perpetrated by Israel or the Jewish community, who then tried to pin the blame on Muslims. The “dancing Israelis” canard is the discredited accusation that a group of Israelis, across the river in New Jersey, was seen dancing and celebrating while watching the World Trade Center collapse. Alums for Campus Fairness condemned the graffiti, saying those words “have a real and threatening effect on Jewish and Zionist students who attend the university.” The Anti-Defamation League’s regional office in Atlanta also weighed in. “Instead of honoring the lives of those that were lost on that fateful day, someone chose to highlight hate,” said ADL Southeast Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman. “The Rock, which is meant to represent school pride and unification, has unfortunately, again, been used as a billboard for hate.” Padilla-Goodman added, “We stand with the University of Tennessee-Knoxville community and unequivocally condemn hateful acts such as this one. College campuses are no place for hate.” University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman issued a statement, that “in one week, the Rock has brought out the best and the worst. We celebrated the outpouring of love for the young Volunteer who made his own T-shirt, and someone beautifully depicted the shirt on the Rock. Last night, someone covered that message of love with an anti-Semitic hate message. We condemn that hate aimed toward members of our Jewish community, and we understand that words are not enough.” On Sept 16, the state’s Jewish Federations wrote a joint letter to Plowman “to express our appreciation for your swift condemnation of the recent anti-Semitic slur” and for the proposed action plan to combat hate on campus. “We are deeply saddened that our Jewish students, the Knoxville Jewish community and the entire Tennessee Jewish community have had to experience, yet again, hate directed toward the Jewish community,” the letter said. Plowman had met with Jewish students, faculty, Hillel and community leadership, committing “to ensure a safe space on campus for all students.” The letter was signed by representatives of the Memphis Jewish Federation, Knoxville Jewish Alliance, Jewish Federation and Jewish Foun-

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dation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga. On Sept. 18, Plowman gave an update with plans to prevent future hate messages. “We are committed to being a campus where everyone matters and everyone belongs, a campus where love will never be replaced by words or actions of hate,” she said. “Hate aimed at one Vol is aimed at all Vols, and we are committed to responding decisively and peacefully as a Volunteer community.” She also said that the University Police, which has increased patrols, “has reason to believe that the people responsible for writing hate speech on the Rock… are not students or members of our campus community.” A live-stream camera will be installed so it can be viewed online by anyone, and a group of students is looking to form “Students for the Rock.” The university has also revised its policy on unaffiliated third parties renting space at the university. At some universities, Holocaust deniers use that loophole to book space, so they can brag about speaking “at” universities. There is also a Mattering and Belonging Initiative which “will include programs and special lectures on the cost of hate and the power of love.” The next day, Plowman responded to the Federation letter, saying “We want our campus to be welcoming to all and are committed to doing the work to get us there. We recognize that action is important,” and referenced the Sept. 18 update, saying she is committed “to continuing to keep our community updated on these and other actions. I appreciate your outreach and support.” This was at least the third time in the past year that anti-Semitism was painted on the Rock. Last year, as part of an Oct. 31 vigil for the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, the Rock was painted with the adapted Pittsburgh Steelers logo that substituted a Star of David and the message “Stronger Than Hate.” The next day, someone painted a swastika over the Star of David and changed the message to “Stronger Through Hate.” Two weeks later, someone painted over a farm scene on the Rock, with a wide range of messages including swastikas and phrases “Kill Jews,” “Free Palestine” and “AIDS is Good.”

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On Sept. 12, the Mobile Trialogue and Mobile Area Jewish Federation hosted “Words Matter! An Evening to Address Hate in Our World,” with David Hoffman, associate regional director of the AntiDefamation League’s regional office in Atlanta. The program at Spring Hill College Student Center was about the rise of hate crimes and how to respond both as a community and as individuals. About 80 people of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim faiths participated in the workshop using the Pyramids of Hate and Allyship to develop plans for how they can stop hate before it escalates. 34

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Simchas a semi-annual special section Photo by Leslie Hollingsworth Photography

The March 2019 wedding of Alexis Marcus and Chris Saville at B&A Warehouse in Birmingham

Diamonds Direct opens in Metairie Jeweler has 19 U.S. stores and roots in Israel The fastest growing jewelry store in the United States, with Israeli roots, Diamonds Direct has opened a new location in the New Orleans area. The Metairie location on Severn Avenue is Diamonds Direct’s 19th store. Diamonds Direct was founded by a family of diamond manufacturers based out of Tel Aviv, who had a reputation for diamond-cutting excellence dating back to the 1950s. They had a wholesale diamond business, selling diamonds to jewelry stores across the United States. Settling in Charlotte, N.C., they decided to open a retail establishment there, but with a twist. With an office in the World Diamond Exchange in Tel Aviv, Diamonds Direct is involved in the entire lifecycle of the diamond, from the rough to cutting to the finished product, eliminating layers of middlemen and the accompanying markups. That way, Marketing and Merchandising Manager Allie Farlow said, “Diamonds Direct can provide tremendous value to the customer.” Amit Berger, Diamonds Direct executive vice president, has worked in the wholesale diamond trade in the U.S. since 1997. An Israel native, he opened the second Diamonds Direct in Birmingham in 2008. His brother, Itay, opened the flagship location in Charlotte in 1995. The two original locations quickly developed a reputation for quality and value, and a massive selection, and attracted customers from across


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the country. In the last four years, numerous additional locations have opened, from Virginia Beach to Salt Lake City. Amit Berger moved to Texas to expand the company there, and is now over the New Orleans location as well. “We can’t wait to welcome residents from the greater New Orleans area into our beautiful new showroom,” said Amit Berger. Each location has loose and mounted diamonds, a multitude of engagement ring mountings by America’s top designers, diamond and gemstone fashion jewelry, wedding bands, pearls and much more. Diamonds Direct backs their products with industry leading guarantees and warranties, including their unprecedented 110 percent lifetime upgrade — customers can come back with a diamond they purchased at Diamonds Direct and trade it in for a different diamond, paying only the difference between the diamonds while receiving credit for 110 percent of the original purchase price. The direct-to-consumer approach is accompanied by guidance, education and customer service, with a no-pressure atmosphere, teaching customers what to look for in diamonds so they can make educated decisions on what is one of the most significant purchases they will make. Diamonds Direct also ensures all diamonds are ethically sourced via the Kimberly Process, and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for philanthropies and cultural organizations in communities where the stores are located, including the new location’s partnership with Ochsner Hospital for Children.

New event facility steeped in history

The Theodore opens in Lakeview near Pepper Place One of Birmingham’s newest event venues — The Theodore in the Lakeview District — connects the past to today. The Moderne-style warehouse built in 1929 includes three warehouse bays, along with a covered porch and courtyard converted from an old railroad platform. The Theodore features exposed brick walls, barrel truss ceilings, original fire doors and steel windows. The 20,000-square-foot warehouse is just a few blocks east of Pepper Place, at 3211 2nd Ave. South. Cindy and Ken Rhoden bought the building in 2017, and after an extensive historic restoration, opened this past January. The Rhodens said they are excited to be part of the exciting things happening in Birmingham by bringing an old building back to life and giving it new purpose. The venue is named after Theodore Swann, who had his Swann Chemical Laboratory in the warehouse in the 1930s. Swann was a turn-of-thecentury industrialist who made and lost fortunes. He was a Gatsby-esque character who loved to entertain and would host extravagant parties at his palatial estate on the crest. “It only seemed fitting that we honor his memory by reinventing his warehouse, the Theodore, as a place for modern celebrations,” said Cindy Rhoden. The Theodore is a “versatile” space that can accommodate up to 650 people for standing events and 500 people for a seated dinners. “We’re happy to host everything from large events to intimate gatherings,” added Rhoden. Those having special simchas at The Theodore can choose from a list of preferred caterers and the Theodore provides the beverage and alcohol service. Isam Culver serves as general manager of the Theodore. The Alabama native spent three decades in the New York City event industry working for the renowned caterer Abigail Kirsch before returning home. He has extensive experience planning celebrations for those in the Jewish community. Culver and his staff are ready “to help make each client’s vision a reality,” he said. 36

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Celebrations hit new heights at Vulcan Park

The Vulcans are the Birmingham region’s highest civic honor and will be presented to honorees who represent civic pride, progress and leadCelebrations at Vulcan Park and Museum are “high above the ordi- ership in five categories: Lifetime Achievement, Hero, Game Changer, nary,” and with the opening last year of the Kiwanis Centennial Plaza, the Servant Leadership and Newcomer. All of the recipients and more inforiconic Birmingham landmark can offer more space options. mation can be found at “Vulcan is the ‘front porch of the city’,” said Vulcan Park and Museum Marketing Director LaShana Sorrell. “The unique thing about having an event up here is that all guests can tour the museum, park and go up in Renovated Hilton at UAB offers prime location the (Vulcan) tower. Hosts can also get welcome gifts for special guests The University of Alabama at Birmingham has gained a reputation for from our gift shop, The Anvil.” innovation, technology and research excellence. She said in the museum event space they could accommodate 250 peoThe Hilton Birmingham at UAB, along with its Lab Bar and Kitchen, ple standing. The can accommodate another 500 total in the overlook and which held its grand opening in January, mirrors that spirit. plaza areas. This past spring, Vulcan Park and Museum hosted a couple Formerly the Double Tree by Hilton Birmingham, the UAB Education of Bar Mitzvahs. Foundation purchased the property in November 2016. The hotel underVulcan Park and Museum upgraded its lighting system last year as a went a comprehensive design and refurbishment plan culminating in a part of the expansion, and is lit up every night in rotating colors. On top-to-bottom transformation of the hotel. Friday and Saturday nights at 9, they have a light show with music. The hotel features a design aesthetic that reflects UAB as well as iconic Though not about an actual Temple in Birmingham, the current ex- Birmingham. hibition on display in Vulcan’s Linn-Henley Gallery pays tribute to the Hilton Birmingham at UAB offers 17,000 square feet of high-tech Terminal Station — popularly known as “The Great Temple of Travel.” meeting and event space, including three ballrooms named for signifOpened in 1909, the Terminal Station stood as an icon of Birmingham’s icant UAB students, leaders and educators — Hamilton, Skipwith and boom years, welcoming out of town visitors, residents and immigrants to Montgomery. the Magic City with “awe-inspiring grandeur.” J Fact, a Birmingham Jewish Federation event, and Etgar 36, travelBy the 1960s, automobiles and airlines were the favored mode of trans- ing Jewish students who learn about civil rights in the Deep South, have portation, and the station was obsolete. It was demolished in 1969, just already held events at the hotel, which is just a couple of blocks from days after the last train to depart the station made its final farewell. Temple Beth-El and Temple Emanu-El. Vulcan Park and Museum’s sixth annual The Vulcans Community “We have weddings here quite frequently and corporate lunches as well Awards dinner will happen on Nov. 7 at The Club in Homewood. as everything in between,” said General Manager Lisa Castanga. “We have



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packages for bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. We look forward to continuing to be a resource to the community.” Southern-inspired and locally sourced, the Lab Bar and Kitchen opened its doors in December. Alabama-made cheeses and meats, locally grown produce, fresh Gulf seafood and Southern-inspired dishes will rotate through the full, seasonal menu.

Workplay turns simchas into successful productions Workplay hosts regular concerts and spotlights its private celebrations by providing experienced, professional production values. “We host concerts here regularly and we know how to make someone’s celebration an incredible, exciting production,” said Workplay owner Tommy Williams. Their motto regarding simchas is “Workplay — where you’re the rock star.” The Birmingham music venue, recording studio and private event space has been the site for many celebrations of those in the Jewish community, including the elaborate Campusano/ Schulman wedding and a couple B’nai Mitzvahs over the past two years. On Oct. 19, Workplay will host The Magic City Witches’ Ball. This Halloween-themed public event benefits local veterans through the Lone Warriors group. Workplay offers numerous event spaces, from a three-tiered, Cabaret-style theater with a 450-person capacity to an 800-capacity soundstage, as well as the Canteen, which can hold 150 people. There are also more intimate spaces for smaller events, and the Workplay Bar.

B&A Warehouse goes the distance hosting Jewish events Birmingham’s B&A Warehouse sits next to Regions Field — the home of the Birmingham Barons. The event facility “always hits a home run” with those in the Jewish community celebrating weddings, Bar-Bat Mitzvahs and other simchas. On April 6, the B&A was even in two places at once — for the Stein Bat Mitzvah in the Magic City, and they also took to the road to cater the Godchaux wedding in Buford, Ga. “The mother of the groom, Fran Godchaux, lives here and insisted on having us do the food for the wedding at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center,” said B&A Marketing Director Haley Roebuck. “There were 215 people and we cooked the food on site. That’s the furthest we’ve ever traveled for a event. Everything worked out perfectly.” Ellen and Kerry Stein had their daughter October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


simchas Katherine’s Bat Mitzvah celebration at the B&A on April 6. Roebuck said everything was decked out in purple and turquoise. The kids enjoyed a candy station and a fajita station. On March 23 they hosted the wedding reception of Alexis Marcus and Chris Saville, attended by 150 guests. At the request of the bride and groom, the B&A provided some very unique cheese creations. On Jan. 25, the B&A will host the Bar Mitzvah reception for Reed Nelson. Roebuck said the B&A could accommodate up to 800 people in the entire building. “It’s an open canvas, so people can really personalize it to fit with their special celebration,” she said. The B&A’s cuisine is primarily Southern, but they can do special custom menus, kosher style and even include family recipes. This past April, they did their first fully-vegan menu for a wedding.

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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Celebrants will flip, literally, for Steel City Jump in Birmingham. The trampoline park, located inside The Edge Theater at the Crestwood Festival center, offers open jump, trampoline basketball, dodgeball, a foam pit and multiple party rooms. “We have special packages for large groups and parties,” said Patrick Hendon, who took ownership of Steel City Jump in October 2018, and made many aesthetic enhancements to the facility. “We’re happy to provide food and drinks as a part of a rental or people can bring in some of their own.” Steel City Jump will have kids “bouncing off the walls.” But Hendon also said they have hosted some corporate team-building events and even some adult parties, and it can be a good change of pace for B’nai Mitzvah. “Adults can have a fun time acting like kids,” he said. The trampoline park opens from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s closed Thursdays and open Fridays from 3 to 11 p.m. Steel City Jump is open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays. Regular admission rates are $12 per hour and $20 for two hours. “We’re family-owned and operated,” said Hendon. “It’s enjoyable to provide a place where everyone is having such a good time.”

Look to the Scribbler for the right invitations and favors In the world of invitations, saying the “write” thing with the “right” look and price make all the difference. The Scribbler owner Ginny Hutchinson got into the invitation industry part-time in 2004, helping out her friend Carolyn Green. In 2008, Hutchinson opened The Scribbler in Mountain Brook’s Crestline Village before relocating to Homewood in 2012. Recently, The Scribbler moved to English Village, and is now at 2102 Cahaba Road. “We know these are special life events for our clients, so we want to make sure they know all of their options out there. We can customize anything,” said Hutchinson. “Our wonderful clients become our friends… and we love getting their repeat business.” While 80 percent of The Scribbler’s business is wedding-related, Hutchinson said they do plenty of Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations. “We’re doing invitations, but also personalized favors, T-shirts and other fun items for the actual day,” she said. “Custom design is very popular.” The Scribbler is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, but they are happy to do appointments after hours.

Special Section articles by Lee J. Green

simchas Ritz-Carlton getting ready to unveil the results of its enhancement project

Following the ceremony, they hosted a cocktail hour and seated dinner. After the reception, the bride and groom led their guests on a traditional second line through the streets of New Orleans.

The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans hotel’s $40 million “redeux” renovation project will be unveiled in January, but they are all about wedding veils with the hosting of several Jewish weddings and receptions over the past few years. The “crown jewel of Canal Street” began the project this past May to “energize the luxurious legacy of the historic Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building.” That transformation included the guest rooms, suites and corridors. The colors and aesthetics employed as a part of the “redeux” mirrors “the elegance of the recently renovated event and meeting space.” The Ritz-Carlton includes more than 35,000 square feet of meeting and celebration space. When planning a wedding, couples work side-by-side with a dedicated wedding planner to select a venue from the hotel’s indoor and outdoor spaces. The Courtyard is ideal for an intimate outdoor ceremony or a night of dancing, while the Grand Ballroom can host a seated reception for 770 guests. Additional venues include the Lafayette Ballroom, Mercier Terrace and Courtyard, and the 12th-floor Crescent View overlooking the French Quarter and the Mississippi River bend. The Ritz-Carlton offers customized culinary experiences and menus, from weddings to wine tastings The past May, the hotel was the setting for the Rosenthal wedding, attended by 174 guests. The wedding ceremony took place in the Ritz-Carlton courtyard under a specially-designed chuppah. The couple wanted their dog to be included in the ceremony, so he was the ring bearer.

The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery brings history and art together Art and history converge at The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery, a boutique hotel just three blocks from the French Quarter. Home to a rotating art gallery, Provenance Signature Amenities and Compère Lapin — rated as one of New Orleans’ top restaurants — the hotel is located in the Warehouse Arts District on Tchoupitoulas Street in a building that dates back to 1854, when it was used as a warehouse for the Port of Orleans. They have hosted some small events in addition to hosting art exhibitions in a partnership with Where Y’art — a curated community of New Orleans artists, craftspeople and designers seeing to connect with buyers as well as each other. The latest exhibit, “Building Blocks: The Architecture of New Orleans,” features French, Spanish and American styles of architecture found in New Orleans. Trapolin-Peer architect Gene Guidry curated the show with Where Y’art. The Old No 77 Hotel and Chandlery also hosted a Three Hundred More event and exhibition prior to the current one. Three Hundred More illustrates “our commitment to continue to see New Orleans strive for another three centuries,” according to the hotel GM John Price. “Three Hundred More will be a multi-faceted platform from which to continue the enthusiasm generated by the Tricentennial, while further deepening our connection to the community and delivering a compelling

DREAM, GIRL. You plan the fun stuff, leave the hotel details to us. Enjoy up to 25% off regular prices for your guests using your personalized rate plan. No contracts, No Commitments. * Valid on 10 rooms or less. Blackout dates may apply.

535 Tchoupitoulas, New Orleans, Louisiana |

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



offer to our guests,” said Price. They are currently offering 10 percent off of their Flexible Rate and donating five percent of room night stay revenues to Restore the Mississippi River Delta as a part of the promotion, which has raised more than $10,000 for the cause as of Oct. 2. The gallery exhibition celebrated South Louisiana’s coastal regions — heavy florals, wetlands and swamps.

Intercontinental a New Orleans experience The Intercontinental offers a true New Orleans experience for simchas and the guests attending them. Their flexible venues overlook St. Charles Avenue and are the perfect setting for receptions, wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and other parties. Every detail is handled, from the tablecloths and settings to event flow, unique meal planning, décor, lighting, even custom ice carvings. The Intercontinental’s LaSalle Ballroom offers 21-foot ceilings, Lalique chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic views, It can seat up to 640, and numerous smaller spaces are also available. After a $26 million rejuvenation, the four-diamond Intercontinental has 484 upgraded guest rooms. A favorite of business and leisure travelers, the Intercontinental is steps away from the French Quarter, as a rooftop pool with stunning city views and fine cuisine at Trenasse Restaurant. The Intercontinental will host a Jewish wedding for 200 guests next February, and is the hotel for the Henry S. Jacobs Camp 50th reunion weekend in Nocember. The InterContinental Hotel is also in the prime loction for Mardi Gras parades, with more than 30 passing directly in front of the hotel during the seaason. Reservations are now being taken for packages.

Ace Hotel: The Friendly Gathering Place Ace Hotel is holding all the cards when it comes to hosting great celebrations and providing accommodations for guests. Ace Hotel Sales and Marketing Director Vicki Poplin said that they have


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

hosted Jewish weddings, movie premieres and “special events from eight people to 1,000 people. Our space is so flexible and plentiful. It can be transformed into anything.” Those themes for events have ranged from a New Orleans setting complete with a swamp to a Swedish garden to one that combined both Paris, France and Paris, Texas. They also hosted a preview gathering for the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience. The hotel includes the James Beard Award-winning Josephine Estelle Restaurant and Bar as well as the Alto Rooftop Bar and Grill. She said the restaurant specializes in Italian with a Southern U.S. twist but “we can customize a menu for any event. We have done kosher-style, vegetarian and vegan,” said Poplin. The Ace Hotel offers more than 6,000 square feet of space for events. Part of the wedding package is a complimentary honeymoon suite for the bride and groom. Located on 600 Carondelet Street in the Warehouse District, the 1928 art deco building housed Barnett’s Furniture Store until the 1970s.

The Columns’ Garden District elegance Now a 20-room hotel and event venue with the renowned Victorian Lounge and Front Gallery, The Columns was originally built as the residence of Jewish tobacco merchant Simon Hernsheim in 1883. With a prime Garden District location on St. Charles Avenue, it is the only remaining example of the large number of Italianate houses designed by Thomas Sully in the late 1880s. Hernsheim, it is estimated, employed 1500 people and was the largest private employer in the state of Louisiana in his lifetime. The home is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The Columns has over 35 years of event planning and hosting experience, able to accommodate receptions from 25 to over 300 people. Seated meals can be hosted for up to 90, and there are rooms for full-day or halfday meetings or retreats. The Columns also has daily happy hour in the Victorian Lounge, and a Sunday jazz brunch.

2019 Impact Report October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans is a social service agency dedicated to preserving, strengthening, and enhancing the well-being and selfsufficiency of individuals and families at every stage of life. Jewish Family Service is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and a community impact partner of United Way Southeast Louisiana.


Jewish Family Service (JFS) was initially created when the Jewish Children’s Home closed in 1948. JFS became a separate organization, with its own 501(c) (3) status granted in 1976, and opened its doors to people of all faiths in 1982. JFS now serves everyone in Greater New Orleans regardless of race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. Jewish Family Service is a “whole person environment.” JFS strengthens the community by helping families and individuals reach their full potential through various programs and services. These include providing individual and group counseling, educating our young people about depression and suicide prevention, promoting independence for the elderly, providing case management, and assisting in adoption homestudies and therapeutic counseling.



OuR BOaRd President

Betsy Threefoot Kaston First Vice President

second Vice President

David A. Dulitz, MD

Ashley Merlin Gold



Bradley Bain

Debbie Pesses

immediate Past President

Laurence Manshel

Harriet Aguiar-Netto

Gail Pesses

Gilbert N. Braunig

Rabbi Matt Reimer

Lauren Bombet

Henry M. Rosenblat

Vivian Cahn

Julie Schwartz

Sue Daube

Louis Shepard

Rochelle Adler Effron

Rabbi Deborah Silver

Rachel Frank

Rabbi Todd Silverman

Joshua Friedmann

Ben Swig

Susan Green

Hallie Timm

Barbara B. Greenberg

Patty C. Ungar

Sara Kottle

Judge Miriam Waltzer

Allison Kupperman

Lynne Wasserman

Melinda Mintz

Arthur S. Waterman

Sanford Pailet, MD

Ian Zlatkiss, MD

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

LetteR FROM tHe PResIdent & eXeCutIVe dIReCtOR deaR FRIends, As we reflect upon the efforts to serve the greater New Orleans community over the past year, Jewish Family Service (JFS) is grateful to have received support from partners like you. This vital generosity allowed JFS to carry out our mission and assist almost 4,000 people in the Greater New Orleans area while keeping services affordable. Whether teaching adolescents the skills to prevent teen suicide, providing guidance to individuals and families facing a crisis, or helping seniors to live independently, JFS is here to accommodate those in need with dignity and compassion - as we have for over 70 years. This is a testament to the commitment and compassion of our financial supporters, our community partners, our volunteers, and our staff. It has not always been easy. We have had to adjust our processes and make hard decisions. We have asked more from our supporters than ever before. However, the result of all that effort is undeniable. The question is, where do we go from here? As this year’s Impact Report is going to press, the Board of Directors is completing a 5-year strategic plan that will encompass the communities vision for this agency moving forward. Through this strategic plan, the board and staff are evaluating our programs, keeping the community’s best interests at the forefront of our decision-making process. The goal is to serve even more people in our community through affordable relevant services. As always, Jewish values are our compass for creating this vision to move us forward. JFS continues to focus on our core community services including Counseling, Case Management, Teen Life Counts (TLC), and Lifeline. In addition, JFS recently expanded the following: Acceptance of Medicare, Medicaid, and additional private pay insurance carriers along with offering counseling on a sliding –fee scale based on household income. Consolidation of seniors services into one department in order to provide more seamless high-quality services to aging members of our community. Initiating the development of an age-appropriate Teen Life Counts curriculum for elementary school children. Together, we are building a community of stronger families and healthier lives at every age. Thank you! With every good wish,

Betsy Threefoot Kaston

Roselle M. Ungar



2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


FInanCIaLs cHanGe in net assets Change in Net Assets


Beginning of Year (1/1/2018)


End of Year (12/31/2018)


assets Cash and Cash Equivalents


Accounts Receivable


Grants Receivable


Unconditional Promises to Give


Prepaid Expenses


Notes Receivable


Funds Held by Jewish Endowment Foundation


Israel Bonds


Property and Equipment, Net




3% United Way $37,239



Grant Income $514,936

Program Service Fees $451,631

reVenue & suPPort $1,459,851

10% Jewish Federation Allocations $150,300

20% Contributions $286,995

LiaBiLities and net assets


Liabilities Accounts Payable


Accrued Vacation


Jewish Federation Loans Payable




net assets Undesignated


Board Designated


General & Administrative $251,609

8% Fundraising $129,994

FunctionaL exPenses $1,540,488










Program Services $1,158,885


Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

IndIVIduaLs seRVed


Senior Care Planning



Case Management




TLC Students and Adult Gatekeepers





Survivors of Human Trafficking and Refugees



Information & Referrals

CEU Workshop Participants

3,816 Total Number of People Served

2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


PROgRaMs & seRVICes adOPtIOn suPPORt seRVICes JFS provides adoption home studies, pre-adoption counseling, and postplacement studies. The service educates families about the adoption process and the special issues that adoptive families face. Services also include therapeutic counseling during the adoption process.

tHe BeHaVIORaL HeaLtH InteRn tRaInIng CenteR This training center allows JFS to serve additional clients by training masters-level Social Work and Counseling students from area universities. A full-time Intern Supervisor manages the program which trains between 3-7 interns per semester.

senior services Without JFS, I would be truly alone. With no family close by to help, JFS was there for me when I needed help finding an Assisted Living Facility to move into. They also paired me with a Bikur Chaverim volunteer who comes by twice a month. My volunteer, Sandra, and I play chess and talk about movies. I truly look forward to her visits. —David C.



COntInuIng eduCatIOn WORksHOPs JFS offers high quality continuing education workshops on relevant and innovative topics for social workers, counselors, and mental health professionals in the community. These sessions are open but specifically offered for the benefit of colleagues and peers who are required to receive educational credit hours to stay apprised of current practices and modalities.

COunseLIng JFS has licensed, professional staff specialized in working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples. Counselors provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and family issues. Counseling services are offered in our office in Metairie. Certain Medicare and Medicaid plans are accepted along with private insurance. A sliding fee scale, based on household income, is also available. Services in Spanish are also available.

geneRaL Case ManageMent General Case Management staff assist clients and their families with medical, psychological, legal, financial, and crisis intervention issues.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

PROgRaMs & seRVICes


gROuPs JFS Counseling Groups provide support and education to attendees. JFS has expanded the variety and frequency of groups offered. Groups held this past year include Girl Power, Caregiver Support, and Bereavement. JFS has also held Counselor-in-Training Sessions at the Jewish Community Center in Metairie.

HOMeMakeR The JFS Homemaker program provides in-home assistance for disabled or older adults. JFS homemakers help people with tasks of daily living, such as housekeeping and transportation. This program ensures both the safety and independence of individuals aging in their home. The cost for this service is on a sliding fee scale, based on household income.

InFORMatIOn and ReFeRRaLs JFS provides current information and referrals regarding a wide variety of mental health resources and social services available in our community.

LIFeLIne Lifeline is a personal emergency response system providing subscribers assistance 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. This system is easy to use and designed to reduce the risks of living alone. In the event of a fall or an emergency, immediate help is available at the push of a button. The subscriber is able to delegate initial points of contact (a neighbor, family member, friend) as opposed to immediately triggering EMS, avoiding unnecessary trips to the ER.

senIOR CaRe assessMents This service was launched to determine the unmet needs of senior clients and provide helpful information and referrals. Professional staff conducts assessments during on-site home visits which include a

Counseling I hadn’t considered counseling as an option. I thought it was financially out of reach, but since finding JFS, I now have access to an affordable and compassionate counseling service. —Maria O.

2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


PROgRaMs & seRVICes


questionnaire, discussion, and observation of a client’s ability to complete daily activities. Appropriate information and referrals are provided when a health or safety concern is identified.

senIOR CaRe PLannIng This program assists families with older adults who are facing transition and possibly in need of specialized care. Clients meet with a Senior Care Planner who provides information and resources for home-based services, caregiver support, financial planning, residential care options and more.


teen Life Counts The Teen Life Counts program brings critical suicide prevention knowledge to our students and is delivered in a manner in which our students feel comfortable talking about suicide when they otherwise may never have the conversation. —School Counselor, Edna Karr High School



Free case management and counseling services are available for survivors of human trafficking, of all ages, living in the Greater New Orleans area. They are provided comprehensive case management including legal support, housing, clothing, food, safety, medical services, ESL, and counseling. This program is made possible with funding provided by Covenant House.

teen LIFe COunts Established in 1984, Teen Life Counts (TLC) is a school-based suicide prevention and awareness program. Experienced mental health professionals and trained volunteer educators teach students how to identify warning signs of depression and suicide, how to talk to a troubled friend, and where to go to get help. TLC goes into public, private, parochial, and charter schools in the Greater New Orleans area.

unaCCOMPanIed MInORs Post Release Service to Unaccompanied Minors. This program serves foreign-born children who are fleeing dangerous situations in their home countries and arrive in the United States as unaccompanied minors. Clients are referred by the US Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI) and are typically in need of services such as securing school placement, counseling, legal support, and caregiver evaluation. Program is available through funding from USCRI.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

WORk In tHe JeWIsH COMMunIty Bikur ChaveriM

Meaning “visiting friends” Bikur Chaverim is a volunteer-based program designed to bring support and companionship to those who are isolated.


Through the generosity of the Adele Cahn Catch-a-Cab Designated Fund at the Jewish Endowment Foundation, the Catch-A-Cab program is designed to supplement the cost of transportation for members of the Jewish community who are 65 years of age or older. Participants receive discounted coupons for use with local taxi companies.

FinanCiaL reSourCe CenTer


The Jewish Family Service Financial Resource Center (JFSFRC) offers small grants to Jewish individuals and families in crisis.

JewiSh CoMMuniTy Day SChooL ParTnerShiP

Jewish Family Service offers workshops for parents, classroom sessions with students in all grade levels, one-on-one sessions with students, and consults with faculty and administration. Thanks to funding from the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust during this past year, a JFS part-time counselor was on-site at the school three days per week.

BruCe Levy MeMoriaL JFS PaSSover FooD BaSkeT PrograM

In celebration of Passover, JFS organizes the annual Bruce Levy Memorial JFS Passover Food Basket packing and distribution event. Dozens of eager JFS volunteers come together during this event to sort food items, pack boxes of kosher-for-Passover food, and deliver them to over 300 members-in-need in the Jewish community.

I had just come out of the hospital following another fall. I wanted to continue living on my own, but my son was nervous about leaving me alone. After doing some research, we found the Lifeline program at JFS. Even though I’d been hesitant to wear a help-button, Lifeline allows me to maintain my independent lifestyle while giving my son peace-of-mind. We both know I’ll be safe in case of an emergency. —Pam W.

2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


JFs PaRtneRs In CaRIng gIVIng sOCIety The JFS Partners in Caring Giving Society recognizes individuals, corporations, foundations and organizations whose cumulative generosity has made a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable individuals and families at every stage of their life. This listing is based on donor records beginning in 1990.

VIsIOnaRy ($50,000+) The Bissinger-Timm Family Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation The Cahn Family Foundation; James & Marie Cahn, Richard & Vivian Cahn Adele K. Cahn*

Goldring Family Foundation Shirley and Robert B. Haspel Albert & Rea Hendler Charitable Trust Institute of Mental Hygiene Jewish Endowment Foundation

Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust Pratt-Stanton Manor Fund Sara Matile Schwarz

United Way of Southeast Louisiana The Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation Woldenberg Foundation Lynell D. Zelenka Foundation

Bruce Levy Family for the Benefit of Jewish Family Service Donor Advised Fund Anne P. Lowenburg MAZON: a Jewish Response to Hunger John & Susie Meltzer Julie Grant Meyer

Max Nathan, Jr. Marshall & Julie Wise Oreck Sanford Pailet, M.D. Julie Schwartz & David Radlauer RosaMary Foundation Joshua L. Rubenstein Sara B. Stone*

Laura & Walter Levy Richard S. Margolin Jan & Henry Miller New Orleans Artists Against Hunger & Homelessness Dr. Bennie P. Nobles Sarah & Joe Pasternack, Jr. Percival Stern Foundation Henry & Susan Rosenblat Sarasota-Manatee Jewish Federation Madalyn & Robert Schenk Dana & Louis Shepard Jane & William Sizeler

Robert & Pamela Steeg The TJx Foundation, Inc Touro Infirmary Foundation UBS Financial Services Patty C. & Randy J. Ungar Bernard Van der Linden Harold Wainer Ellie & Bruce Wainer Judge Miriam Waltzer & Mr. Bruce Waltzer Art & Martie Waterman Guy & Dale Williams Carol B. Wise

CHaI guaRdIan ($18,000 - $49,999) Cathy & Morris Bart Burkenroad Foundation Adele Cahn Catch-a-Cab Designated Fund Sue & David Daube Ferber Family of Houma Foundation Deena Gerber

GPOA Foundation Hancock Whitney National Bank Dorothy S. Jacobs Judge Jacob & Vicki Karno Jeffrey & Betsy Kaston Fran & Jonathan Lake

BeneFaCtOR ($10,000 - $17,999) Anonymous Shelly & Benay Bernstein Burkdale Foundation Leslie & Jonathan Fawer Frances Sontheimer Wolff Alan & Diane Franco Ella West Freeman Foundation Jeffrey & Debbie Friedman Mike & Marcy Gertler Dr. Dov & Margery Glazer Howard & Susan Green Mr. & Mrs. Ricardo Guevara John Haspel & Amy Gainsburgh-Haspel



Mrs. Sandra P. Heller Mrs. Jimmy Heymann* Dr. & Mrs Harris Hyman, III Julanne Isaacson The Estate of Irwin Isaacson Jefferson Parish Medical Society Jewish Federation of New Hampshire Lis & Hugo Kahn Jeno & Monica Kalozdi Scott Kisner Mr. & Mrs. Paul Kullman Andrea & Terrence Lestelle Renee & Rusty Levy

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

OuR 2018-2019 suPPORteRs $50,000 & aBOVe

Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants

$25,000 - $49,999

The Cahn Family Foundation Covenant House Goldring Family Foundation Woldenberg Foundation

$10,000 - $24,999

Bissinger-Timm for the Benefit of Jewish Family Service Donor Advised Fund Adele Cahn Catch-A-Cab Designated Fund Joe W. & Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation GPOA Foundation Institute of Mental Hygiene Jewish Endowment Foundation Bruce Levy Family for the Benefit of Jewish Family Service Donor Advised Fund Pratt-Stanton Manor Fund Sara Matile Schwarz Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund

$5,000 - $9,999

Marjorie Bissinger La Societe Des Dames Hospitalieres Donor Advised Fund Ferber Family Foundation of Houma Dorothy S. Jacobs RosaMary Foundation Sherman Charitable Trust The Estate of Sharyn Robbins Silverstein Harold Wainer

$2,500 - $4,999

Burkenroad Foundation David & Sue Daube Howard & Susan Green Mrs. Robert B. Haspel Judge Jacob & Vicki Karno Jeffrey & Betsy Kaston NGCF Donor Advised Fund Sanford Pailet, M.D.

Julie Schwartz & David Radlauer Marilyn Rosenson Judge Miriam Waltzer & Mr. Bruce Waltzer

$1,000 - $2,499

Anonymous (2) Allan & Nikki Berger Burkedale Foundation Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, Inc. Crescent Care David & Kristen Dulitz Mark & Rochelle Effron Marcy & Mike Gertler Cathy & Charles Glaser Margie & Dov Glazer Scott & Ashley Gold Sandra P. Heller Andrea & Jeffrey Huseman Dr. Harris and Barbara Hyman Steven Jacobson Hugo & Lis Kahn David Kerns Dr. & Mrs. Rene Koppel Jonathan & Fran Lake Betty & Harry Lazarus Renee & Rusty Levy Rabbi Robert & Lynn Loewy Frank & Annette Loria II Ellen & Stephen Manshel Mr. Richard S. Margolin John & Susie Meltzer Julie Grant Meyer Melinda & Morris Mintz Dr. & Mrs. Gary Reiss Joshua L. Rubenstein Madalyn & Robert Schenk Kathy & Hal Shepard Stephen & Nancy Timm Roselle & Stanley Ungar Bernard Van der Linden Art & Martie Waterman Mrs. Frances Wolff

$500 - $999

Anonymous (1) Diane Africk Cathy & Morris Bart Rabbi Alexis Berk - Touro Synagogue Allan* & Nancy Bissinger

Brandon Bissinger Sandra Burstein* Leslie & Jonathan Fawer Deena Y. Gerber Dr. & Mrs. Harley Ginsberg Barbara Greenberg Eric & Jillian Greenberg Susan & William Hess Julanne Isaacson Andrea & Terrence Lestelle Ruth & Joel Loeffelholz Lupo Family Charitable Fund Laurence & Elizabeth Manshel Mr. & Mrs. Sanford R. Maslansky Toby & Joel Mendler Jan & Henry Miller City of New Orleans Marshall & Julie Wise Oreck Sarah & Joe Pasternack, Jr. Jill & Louis Plotkin Dr. & Mrs. Gary Rich Edie & Paul Rosenblum Dana & Louis Shepard Ivan Morton Sherman Foundation Fund Dr. Ivan Sherman Rabbi Deborah Silver William & Jane Sizeler Robert & Pamela Steeg Rick & Ann Streiffer Ben Swig Dr. & Mrs. Henry Threefoot Patty & Randy Ungar Lynne & Michael Wasserman Marie & Robert Wolf Dr. Ian Zlatkiss

$250 - $499

Anonymous (3) Jack & Phyllis Alltmont Marvin & Marilyn Bernstein Shelly & Benay Bernstein Joe & Lee Blotner Joseph Bodenmiller Gilbert & Jody Braunig Dr. & Mrs. Aden A. Burka Emily & Evan Dvorin Fagan Family Charitable Fund Mark & Janet Fagan Drs. Leron & Julie Finger Dr. & Mrs. Elliot Finkelstein Leslie & Nathan Fischman Professor Robert Force Mr. and Mrs. Jacob M. Fried, Jr. Hon. Robin Giarrusso Mr. & Mrs. Alan Goodman Margaret Gripshover

Dr. & Mrs. Andrew Gutter Harriet Handelman John Haspel & Amy Gainsburgh-Haspel Lisa & Mike Herman Mitchell J. & Susan Hoffman Dr. Ross Hogan Dr. & Mrs. Morris Hyman Neal & Nancy Kaplan Richard & Lisa Karlin Ralph Katz Allison Kupperman Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Kupperman Marrero Land and Improvement Asociation Marjorie McCants Elaine Mendel-John Dr. & Mrs. Alvin Merlin Louis and Lillian Glazer Family Foundation Robert Mintz Max Nathan, Jr. Richard & Carole Neff Dr. Bennie P. Nobles Rochelle Pearl Debbie & Leon Pesses Mr. & Mrs. Randal Pick Sharon Pollin Sue & Fred Preis The Barber & Saul Fund Rabbi Todd Silverman Cory & Carol Sparks Hal & Lauren Ungar Mrs. Jenna Walsh Lorraine Lake Williams Carol Wise Moises & Martha Yoselevitz Marilyn Pailet Zackin Dr. Jack Zoller

$100- $249

Anonymous (11) Ms. Harriet Aguiar-Netto Sabina Altman Leslie Bahn Bradley & Daniela Bain Dawn Barrios Hertha Bart Brook Bissinger Bonnie & Harris Blackman Helaine & Bill Braunig Kelley & Guy Brenner Debra Bresler Caroline & Bob Brickman Daniel & Melanie Bronfin Dr. & Mrs. Alan Burshell Dr. Michael Chafetz

2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


OuR suPPORteRs (COntInued) Dr. Marvin Clifford, PhD, LCSW Dr. Gerald Cohen Martin Drell, MD Congregation Gates of Prayer Myra Ungar Dunn Mr. & Mrs. Alan Emerman Mr. & Mrs. Chad Eriksen Dr. & Mrs. Israel Finger New Orleans Jewish Community Center Marc & Susan Friedman George & Laura Fuhrman Dr. Bruce Gandle Bobby Garon & Robin Levy Ana & Juan Gershanik Mr. John E. Gilcrease Mr. & Mrs. Jan Glade Dr. Leonard Glade Dr. & Mrs. Mel Gold Ned & Wendy Goldberg Kitzi Goldman William E. and Sandra Chass Goldsmith Rabbi & Mrs. David Goldstein Morris Gottesman Jeffrey & Linda Green Juliet Greenberg

Mr. & Mrs. William Mimeles Harry & Marion Mohre Andree K. Moss Sam Musso Susan Norwood Leon Greenblatt II Mr. & Mrs. Russell S. Palmer Mr. & Mrs. Doug Halprin Gail Fenton Pesses Devvie Harris Mrs. Toby Feibelman Daisy & Ron Heumann Mr. & Mrs. Joel Alan Picker Mrs. Roberta Hirsu, LCSW State of Israel Ministry of Finance John Pizer The Post Foundation Mr. & Mrs. Terry Jacobson Lisa Preminger Ms. Patty Joyce Joyce & Sidney Pulitzer Dr. & Mrs. Wynn Kapit National Council Of Jewish Women Ms. Kay Radlauer Dr. Gary Remer & Ms. Toni Weiss Celia L. Katz Cynthia N. & Leon Rittenberg, Jr. Charel W. Katz Mr. & Mrs. Steven Rittvo Ellen Katz Henry & Susan Rosenblat Bob Kennedy Mark K. Rosenbloom Ellen & Stan Kessler Meryl Rosenbloom Susan Kierr Candy & Wally Rosenblum Dr. Kenneth L. Klein Mr. & Mrs. Frank Royerre Steve & Pat Klein Andre & Robbie Rubenstein Ronda Kottle Laurence Rudman L. Spencer Krane Robert Salus Peter & Diane Labouisse, III Nita-Joan Sams Dr. & Mrs. Barry J. Leader Barbara Samuels June P. Lestelle Dr. Bruce Samuels Donald I. Levy Mr. & Mrs. David L. Schlakman Robert Levy Florence & Richard Schornstein Anna Manteil Stanley Schwam Mrs. Carol Marx

Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Shefsky Cathy Shepard Leopold & Karen Sher Mr. & Mrs. Harold Singer Betty & Ed Smith Randye Snyder Stephen & Caroline Sontheimer Erin Springer Edgar & Kay Starns Mr. Edgar Stein Dr. & Mrs. Louis H. Stern Jon B. Strauss Matthew & Sherri Tarr Hallie Timm Dr. Aron Toshav & Ms. Rebecca Friedman Jon & Sarah Villien Dr. & Mrs. Gregory Vorhoff Mrs. Beverly Wainer Henry Weber Mr. Donald Weil Dr. Karen Weissbecker Remer The Well-Hung Speakers Judge Jerome Winsberg Harrison Wool Elizabeth Yager Peter Zandan Gary Zoller & Lisa Pulitzer Rebecca Zwart * Deceased

sPeCIaL tHanks tO: AK7 Productions Alan & Diane Franco Audubon Nature Institute Betsy & Jeffrey Kaston Beyond the Bayou Tours Casablanca Restaurant Chateau Drugs Congregation Anshe Sfard Congregation Beth Israel Congregation Gates of Prayer Congregation Gates of Prayer Nursery School

Congregation Gates of Prayer Religious School Doris Metropolitan Fred Preis, Senior Partner, Labor/Employment Section, Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, LLP Hazelnut Jewish Community Day School of Greater New Orleans Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans

Joshua Lee Photography Kayco Kosher & Beyond Kendra Scott Kosher Cajun Deli and Grocery Larry Manshel & ITC Promotions Mike Gertler, Gertler Law Firm National Council of Jewish Women New Orleans Jewish Community Center Northshore Jewish Congregation Religious School

Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group READ NOLA Rob Kopman and 30minute-Seder Sasnak Farms Shir Chadash Religious School Temple Sinai Religious School Thomas Mann Torah Academy Touro Synagogue Religious School

This list represents contributions of $100 and above to Jewish Family Service from July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019. We regret any errors or omissions in this publication. Please contact the Development Office to update your records so that we may recognize you appropriately in the future.

tHank yOu tO aLL OuR JFs suPPORteRs! 54


Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans I 2019 Impact RepORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Ways tO suPPORt JFs BeCOMe a FRIend OF JFs

Make a gIFt In HOnOR OF sOMeOne

You become a Friend when making a general or designated gift. Your contribution enables JFS to offer our sliding-fee scale, keeping our programs and services affordable and accessible to everyone. You may designate your gift to support: General/Unrestricted Fund Senior Services Children and Families Other programs as specified

You can make a difference for someone in our community with a meaningful gesture that will be appreciated by both the gift recipient and the person served by JFS.

gIVe a stOCk dOnatIOn OR IsRaeL BOnd dOnatIOn Updating your portfolio? Consider donating shares of stock or an Israel Bond to benefit JFS. Call 504-831-8475 for more information.

Make a gIFt In MeMORy OF sOMeOne Pay tribute to loved ones who were an important part of your life with a beautiful expression of remembrance.

dOnate yOuR VeHICLe Jewish Family Service accepts charitable donations of vehicles through CARS (Charitable Adult Rides & Services), with sale proceeds dedicated to support a variety of JFS programs. CARS will help you handle all of the details of your automobile (or other motor vehicle) donation. Receive a tax credit, and avoid the hassle of advertising or haggling with a car salesman. Visit the “Support Us� page on the JFS website to learn more.

aMazOnsMILe Make shopping meaningful by making your Amazon purchases through the AmazonSmile portal. Go to Smile. and select Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans. Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds from select purchases to JFS.

thank you Volunteers! JFS recruits dedicated volunteers who work closely with staff to ensure the best care for the people we serve. Volunteer opportunities are available for the following programs: Lifeline, Teen Life Counts (TLC), Bikur Chaverim, and Bruce Levy Memorial JFS Passover Food Baskets. interested in giving your time and talents? Call (504) 831-8475 or send an email to

2019 Impact RepoRt I Jewish Family Service of Greater New orleans


OuR staFF eXeCutIVe staFF


Roselle M. Ungar, CFRE Executive Director

Jane Levine* Lifeline Community Liaison

Rachel Lazarus Eriksen, LCSW-BACS Director of Clinical Services

Jan Miller Lifeline Office Support Staff

Julie Finkelstein Steinhaus Director of Business Services

Kim Nonemacher Senior Services Manager

COunseLIng/Case ManageMent

Cortni Randazzo Senior Services Intake & Admissions Assistant

Desislava Altazova, LPC Therapist Stephanie Crowder, LPC, LMFT Licensed Therapist

Harrison Wool, RTA Lifeline Field Support Staff

teen LIFe COunts

Fran Dinehart, LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Case Manager

Dr. Katherine C. Godshall, LCSW-BACS Teen Life Counts Coordinator

Andrea Garcia, BA Bilingual Case Manager

Melissa R. Stewart, LMSW* Teen Life Counts Coordinator

Michelle Helmstetter, LCSW, MBA Intern Program Supervisor

gRants & COMMunICatIOn

Laura Kulick, LCSW* Licensed Clinical Social Worker Bethany Linville, BA, MA Bilingual Program Officer Mario Figueroa, BSW Bilingual Case Manager Andrea Garcia, BS Bilingual Case Manager Ruth E. Goldberg, LCSW-BACS, ACSW, BCD Bilingual Social Worker Natasha Ramer Resettlement Case Worker Candice Rosenblum, LCSW* Clinical Social Worker & Certified Parenting Coordinator Ludmila Talley Resettlement Case Worker Margaret Winston, LPC JCDS Therapist


*Former JFS Staff as of June 30, 2019


Lauren Rudzis, BA Communications and Development Coordinator

adMInIstRatIVe staFF Chase Alphonso Client and Donor Services Specialist Teri Conrad Administrative Assistant Erin Grauel, MFA* Administrative Assistant Sarah Villien, BA* Client and Donor Services Specialist

HOMeMakeRs Shirleen Jefferson Valerie Vaughn

2018-2019 BeHaVIORaL HeaLtH InteRn tRaInIng CenteR InteRns Ida Ansell, Angela Bacigalupo, Katherine Cantwell, Sean Comiskey, Madison Farmer, Jennifer Keith, Claire Kohne, Harter March, Cara Zajac

Jewish Family service of new Orleans I 2019 IMPaCt RePORt

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community “Worriers to Warriors” Jewish Learning Institute class adds new venue As the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute rolls out its new course, “From Worrier to Warrior: Jewish Secrets to Feeling Good However You Feel,” next month, there will be a new venue offering the six-part series. Chabad Uptown in New Orleans has become a new affiliate of JLI, after years of classes being held in the New Orleans area at the Chabad in Metairie. The course is also being offered by Chabad of Baton Rouge and at the Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham. While people want to be happy and upbeat, there is often self-doubt and feeling of regret or failure. The course uses Torah teachings and contemporary psychology to approach the battle against bad feelings, providing realistic spiritual mechanisms for being upbeat no matter what happens. The first session describes Achieving Authenticity, the tendency to downplay words of praise because of self-doubt. The other sessions deal with topics such as feelings of inadequacy, regret, the validity of emotional pain, inner peace and enthusiastic living, and refreshing healthy relationships. Nationally, JLI is partnering with the Continuing Education office at Albert Einstein Medical College to provide CE credits for the course. Einstein is accredited by the American Psychological Association and the AMA’s Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Doctors, psychologists and social workers in Louisiana will be able to earn up to 15 CE credits —nine credits for attendance, and additional credits for studying the supplemental reading. In New Orleans, the first class will be open to the community at no charge, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Uptown and Nov. 12 at 7:15 p.m. in Metairie. Refreshments will be served; in Metairie it will be a Chinese dinner. The Uptown class will continue on Wednesdays from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18, while Metairie will have the course at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., starting Nov. 12. Course fee is $70, with a 10 percent discount for couples or “bring a friend.” Continuing education credits will be available for medical doctors, psychologists and social workers. In Baton Rouge, the course begins on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Richmond Inn and Suites, and meets for six Mondays, through Dec. 9. Registration is $89, with a 15 percent couples discount. Dates and registration information for Birmingham had not been released as of press time. To register, visit

COntaCt InFORMatIOn 22, Hadassah heldMetairie, a Brunch and Bubbly 3300On W.Sept. Esplanade Ave.,Birmingham S., Suite 603, LA 70002 event at Pine Tree Country Club. Dan E. Berkowitz, MD, who (504) 831-8475 l

recently became chair of the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, spoke about innovations in heart surgery, while Ilana an Adee Weismark of Atlanta spoke about how she survived a perilous condition while giving birth at Hadassah Hospital. Pictured are Co-President Bridget Sikora, Dan and Diane Berkowitz, Immediate Past President Mindy Cohen, and the Weismarks. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community >> Agenda Homewood’s Best Mediterranean Restaurant and Specialty Import Market International Wines, Craft Cocktails, Draft Beer, Growler Station and more

continued from page 8

Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will hold Dog Park Shabbat at Medal of Honor Park, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m., weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, there will be the regular 6 p.m. service at Ahavas Chesed, and Dog Park Shabbat will be on Nov. 1. Bringing a dog is not required. The Mobile Area Jewish Federation is once again coordinating the Israel booth at the Mobile International Festival, Nov. 12 to 17. Volunteers are needed for the booth. The Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Oxford, will host Josh Parshall, director of the Department of History at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Parshall will give a lecture on “Jewish Radicals in New South Cities” in the early 20th century, Nov. 13 at noon in the Tupelo Room of Barnard. A free lunch will follow. Reserve to by Nov. 6.

Open 7 Days A Week Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch and Dinner Full On- or Off-Site Catering

1706 Oxmoor Rd, Homewood, AL (205) 879-9292

By popular demand, Hadassah Birmingham is bringing back the “Get Your Mahj On” lessons on how to play Mah Jongg. The course will be on four Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m., starting Oct. 22 and going to Nov. 19, skipping Nov. 5. The classes will be at the home of Eva Wilensky and are $36. A card and set will be provided. Conexx, the America Israel Business Connector, will have a member reception on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. to meet Anat Sultan-Dadon, Israel’s new Consul General to the Southeast in Atlanta. The event is hosted by Eversheds Sutherland at The Peachtree Club in downtown Atlanta. Registration is $20 for members, $40 for non-members. With 12 children in the congregation, B’nai Israel in Monroe has been offering Tot Shabbat on weekends when Rabbi Judy Caplan-Ginsburgh has been in town. Now, with some of the children outgrowing Tot Shabbat, the congregation is starting a religious school, led by Kelsey Laudenheimer. The next Together Tuesday in Shreveport, a gathering of people from all faiths and backgrounds, will be Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., with location to be announced. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge is hosting “Lectures with Modern Scholars,” a monthly podcast series. On Oct. 23 at 7 p.m., Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi will lead “How to Critique and Rebuke,” and on Nov. 13, “Advocacy and Activism” will be led by Rabbi Jonah Pesner. The Sisterhood at Temple Beth El in Pensacola will host a Bunco night, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door, with proceeds going to camp scholarships. Beginners are welcome. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will host its Jewish Food Festival, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Orders can be purchased to take out or dine in. Menu items include matzah ball soup, stuffed cabbage, blintzes, challahs, reuben sandwiches, brisket, noodle kugel and tune sandwiches. There will also be a large bake sale, and the gift shop will be open, with new items for Chanukah. The Jewish Federation of Central Alabama will screen “When Jews Were Funny,” Oct. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at Temple Beth Or in Montgomery. The documentary surveys the history of Jewish comedy, from the early days of Borscht belt to the present, ultimately exploring not just ethnicity in the entertainment industry, but also the entire unruly question of what it means to be Jewish. The fifth annual Kosher Nashville Hot Chicken Festival will be Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Gordon Jewish Community Center. The festival includes a hot chicken competition, live music, craft beer and kosher chicken made in the highly-spicy Nashville style.


October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


FOOD Subtitled “A Highly Debatable List,” Alana Newhouse’s The 100 Most Jewish Foods is good fun. Inside are submissions from Joan Nathan to Tom Colicchio (who proposed over a pastrami sandwich at Second Avenue Deli to his Jewish now-wife) of the obvious: babka, bagels, gefilte fish — to others that perhaps give one a little pause: Sweet’N Low, Bazooka Gum, Chinese food (well, okay, yeah.). As an aside, the mention of ‘mufleta’ had me first thinking City Grocery / Napoleon House / Nor Joe’s? But looking again, it was the buttery layered confection stuffed with sweet fillings that I’ve never yet had... with a big yet. A big plus here is that there are more than 60 recipes included, and a good mix of serious to light humor. A more academic study will be found with Global Jewish Foodways: A History, published by the University of Nebraska, on how our people have carried with them a very obvious set of rules and regulations on eating while exercising a tremendous amount of flexibility on picking up local flavors and practices. Included is Marcie Cohen Ferris’ “Dining in the Dixie Diaspora: A Meeting of Region and Religion,” which includes stories like the high-treyf 1886 New Orleans B’nai Brith fundraising supper for the Jewish Widows and Orphans Home that had on its menu turtle soup, oysters and soft shell crab, plus a tale of the meeting between Rabbi Tobias Geffen and Coca-Cola chemists in the 1930s that resulted in what we now consider “Passover Coke.” There’s a nice mention, too, of the great tradition of Southern Jews loading coolers in trunks to keep kosher foods fresh on trips back from Memphis and other bigcity markets. Amanda Ruben’s Feasting: A New Take on Jewish Cooking starts with interesting menus for holidays and special get-togethers, but what’s most endearing are the recipes for basics with a twist, like chopped liver with a cherry mostarda and crostini, roast chicken breast with lemon jam and crushed Jerusalem artichokes, and halva cheesecake. Millennial Kosher: Recipes Reinvented for the Modern Palate by Chanie Apfelbaum is a win with ideas like marble cake pancakes, ramen shakshuka, and chicken marsala hamentashen. So many of these are truly any-day-of-the-week easy and just different enough to be interesting. Nice.





An Odyssey Across the American Divide by Tony Horwitz

Over 20 years have passed since Horwitz wrote the best-selling “Confederates in the Attic,” and his distinct style and outlook seems very little changed here. The late author, who passed away suddenly this year while on a book tour, followed purposefully in the footsteps of Frederick Law Olmsted, who in the 1850s took on the task of being a correspondent for the New York Times, traveling south to explore whether Americans are more similar or different. It was good to see Horwitz’ visit with Greenville, Mississippi’s Benjy Nelkin, who gives him a rundown on the town’s Jewish past (storekeepers, politicians, a country club president), as well as the observation that “This is the Bible Belt; if you’re Jewish and observant, Southerners respect that you adhere to a religious faith, even if it’s not theirs.” It’s the author’s easy conversations with everyday people (some of whom will do you proud, others may provoke an audible groan of disdain), rather than his sometimes heavy-handed judgments and observations, that make the book worthwhile.

The Graphic Adaptation adapted by Ari Folman, illustrations by David Polonsky

It seems odd to describe “Anne Frank’s Diary” as a graphic novel, but indeed, putting it in this format is incredibly effective. Entries that perhaps didn’t particularly make more of an impression in text are certainly enhanced here; those one remembers so plainly become even more detailed. Passages included — Anne’s fantasies, depression, humor, courage, and vulnerabilities — are made all the more relatable by David Polonsky’s absolutely pitch-perfect illustrations.

CHILDREN • In the Land of Happy Tears: Yiddish Tales for Modern Times, collected and edited by David Stromberg, are here in English for the first time. Perfect in length for bedtime, each story relates to one of four main principles: bravery, rebellion, justice, or wonder. They don’t necessarily end happily or particularly neatly, but can easily be used as a jumping-off point to discuss modern situations, or simply enjoyed on their own. • What are You Doing, Benny? by Cary Fagan (who has won the Jewish Book Award), with pictures by Kady MacDonald Denton, is all about sibling relationships. Learning to give each other a little space makes for fun times closer together. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Built in 1883 for Jewish merchant Simon Hernsheim, reflecting his love of large worldly splendor and small simple eloquence…

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Ingredients: 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper  1-1/2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses 1/3 cup pita breadcrumbs  2 tablespoons pomace olive oil  1 clove garlic  1 cup walnuts  6 oz. roasted red bell peppers, drained Nabeel’s pita crunchies  Toast fresh pita bread until dry but not caramelized. Cool and blend in a food processor to pita bread crumbs. Using a rolling pin, crush the walnuts into very fine pieces. Puree all ingredients with a food processor except pita chips and walnuts. Stir the crushed walnuts into the pureed mixtures until fully incorporated. Season with salt to taste.  Serve in a small bowl garnished with chopped mint, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil and Nabeel’s pita crunchies or soft pita bread wedges.

Nabeel’s Cafe and Market by Lee J. Green When Ramsey Duck took ownership of Nabeel’s Café and Market in November 2017, he knew the recipe for success would be to keep what made the Homewood dining institution beloved since 1972, and add several things to increase its appeal. Duck expanded the hours and added breakfast during the week as well as a special brunch menu on the weekends. He enhanced the drink menu, adding craft cocktails, beer and a much-larger wine selection. The market has moved to the top of the restaurant and expanded its offerings. Nabeel’s also now does more catering and soon will provide family meals to go. “I have lived in this neighborhood for many years, so I knew what a great institution Nabeel’s was,” said Duck, who had been general manager for Panera Bread at the Summit before taking ownership of the Homewood market and café. “I knew I would preserve the core of what people love about Nabeel’s, then look for ways to expand and bring in new customers. Nabeel’s Café and Market offers many menu items for those with special dietary needs. Kosher-style selections on the breakfast/brunch menu include The Breakfast Sandwich (smoked salmon, cream cheese with artichoke hearts, capers, avocado and a fried egg on ciabatta bread), banana bread French toast, vegetable frittata, shakshuka (also a traditional Israeli dish made with sautéed tomatoes, peppers, onions, poached eggs), labne (Greek yogurt) with honey and Muhammara. The lunch and dinner menu includes items such as tabouli salad, dolmades (rice-stuffed grape leaves), grilled salmon, spanakopita (phyllo dough, spinach, feta, onions, dill), falafel plate or in pita, grilled lamb chops, eggplant parmesan and grilled chicken souvlaki. Duck also said they are happy to customize any item on the menu and they can customize a catering menu with many or all kosher-style options. For those who keep strict kosher, some of the products can be purchased in the market. “Just about everything here is made fresh daily and we’re happy to accommodate any special requests,” he said. “On the catering side, we’ve done everything from box lunches for five

continued on page 61 60

October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

continued from page 62

in swoops a subordinate like a first base coach waving off the sacrifice and pointing out a nearby ram offering a different chance to work his way around the horn. Naturally, the Big G was mad and wouldn’t speak to him for the rest of the game. Also, ever since, the Angels have been cursed from ever winning the World Series. ***** Mottled. Isn’t that the word describing what happened to Tzeitel? ***** I wonder how many people get it when I say Shanah Tovah Feldshuh. ***** After hearing the word “b’rito” in the service, how many people start craving Mexican food and don’t know why? ***** Fast of Gedalia explained: Gedalia was big. And fast. The morning after Rosh Hashanah, he won a race so convincingly that nobody else had an appetite the rest of the day. ***** Tonight I’m going to double-feature the classic Rosh Hashanah film, “To Shana Tova, thanks for everything! Jewie Newyear” and the classic Boothsploitation film, “I’m Gonna Git You, Sukkah.” ***** In the land flowing with milk and honey, do the two flow separately? Otherwise, you can’t use the honey for classic Jewish dishes like honey walnut chicken, because milk. ***** People think that High Holy Day services are longer than services year round. That’s only because they are. But the rabbis took some mercy. The Torah readings are actually much shorter. There’s no scientific evidence about whether the Torah readers are much shorter as well. ***** When studying classical music in high school, I wondered why Yom Kippur services aren’t chanted with atonal music.

Outdoor Dining (weather permitting) Expanded Dining Room — Perfect for Private Parties

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We can even customize a menu that puts the Bistro V stamp on traditional Jewish dishes and family recipes

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521 Montgomery Hwy, Suite 113 Vestavia Hills (205)


***** I have no idea what to write for my October column. Doug Brook figured out what to write for his October column. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

>> Nabeel’s

continued from page 60

people to a big event with more than 250 people. I also have some strong connections with beer and wine distributors. We’re considering doing a Wine Club and a Beer Club to help customers get some of the hard-to-find beers and wines,” primarily for their celebrations, added Duck. The restaurant can accommodate more than 100 people, including a private room that can seat up to 40 people. Nabeel’s Café and Market opens 7 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and for lunch and dinner through 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday. They close at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The weekend brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. “We started breakfast and brunch this past spring,” said Duck. “The response has been excellent so far and we continue to come up with more specials to offer.” He said Nabeel’s plans to soon offer family meals to go and will have some special options for Thanksgiving. “I’ve still got some more ideas and our customers have recommended some things that we hope to be able to offer them soon,” said Duck. October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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Second day musings The second day of Rosh Hashanah. Second verse, same as the first. As a result, the mind can wander during services on the second day. That’s only because the mind also wanders on the first day. The following are directions in which one mind wandered during Second Day Services. It has yet to return; authorities are continuing the search… ***** What do you call a Torah Reader who’s retiring soon? A lein duck. ***** me (pointing to the Torah): How can you tell that this is the High Holy Day Torah? gabbai: How? me: It sounds different. ***** me (about to do the Chatzi Kaddish) rabbi: Don’t forget the extra “l’aila.” me: Of course. I’m a Clapton fan. ***** It took six days for the Big G to create the world and everything in it. On the seventh day, He was done with it. ***** There are only eight more sinning days until Yom Kippur.

As they say on Yom Kippur morning: “Thanks, I’ll be here all day”…

***** Some day, somewhere, someone will have a daughter born on Rosh Hashanah and name her Shauna Tova. ***** Trying to plan having a child on the exact day of Rosh Hashanah is probably as difficult as it sounds.

***** Yom Kippur falls late this year. The Yiddish name for such an occurrence is Oktoberfast. It ends with a celebratory Tequila Gedola.



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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

***** On Shabbat, we’re prohibited from carrying stuff. Put up an eruv around an area and you can carry within it. The Hebrew word for “visit” is “bikkur.” This might sound like another rabbinic cop-out to let Jews do non-Shabbat things on Shabbat. But it comes straight from the Torah, which says several times when the Big G created the world, “vayehi eruv, vayehi bikkur.” ***** For centuries, rabbis have pondered why the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac is read on Rosh Hashanah. Also, after giving Abraham the original command, why does He never talk to Abraham again in this story? Obviously, its purpose is so opaque expressly so rabbis would have hundreds of years worth of sermons to speculate about it. However, it’s really very simple. This portion of Genesis is typically read after the baseball season is over, whereas Rosh Hashanah is still just before the playoffs. The Big G gave Abraham the signal to sacrifice. As always when the Big G says to do something, Abraham steps up to the plate. At the last second, continued on previous page

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October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



October 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

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Southern Jewish Life, Deep South, October 2019  

October 2019 Deep South edition of Southern Jewish Life, the Jewish community news magazine for Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and NW Flori...

Southern Jewish Life, Deep South, October 2019  

October 2019 Deep South edition of Southern Jewish Life, the Jewish community news magazine for Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and NW Flori...

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