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Volume 27 Issue 11
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As this issue goes to press, there is a growing amount of buzz over the 500th anniversary of Protestant Christianity, as sparked by Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of a church in Germany. That act of defiance and heresy launched a theological revolution of immeasurable significance. But there is another legacy that Luther has, one which is not as well known and, for the Jewish community, casts a pall as we see our neighbors’ commemorations. While he did not start out that way, Luther evolved into one of the most virulent anti-Semites in history, with vile missives aimed at the Jewish community, urging the destruction of synagogues and expulsion of Jews. Just over four centuries later, much of German society would take him up on it, with the Nazis looking to Luther’s writings for justification of their genocidal campaign. At first, Luther was understanding toward Jews, though he looked at Jews only in terms of the potential toward converting Jews to Christianity. Why, he posited, would Jews join those who have treated them with such hostility? He also saw in his own objections to Catholic doctrine and the church’s institutional corruption a major stumbling block toward winning the Jews for Christ. Surely his reformed version of Christianity, which addressed those concerns, and a more gentle approach, would be far more attractive to Jews, who would then flock to him. That, of course, did not happen, and Luther fell into the same trap as the early church, and early Islam, both of which assumed that the Jews would agree with and follow their new paths. And when we didn’t, fury followed. Late in life Luther published “On the Jews and Their Lies,” and in one of his final sermons he warned authorities to expel Jews who refused to convert, lest they be a partner to Jewish sins. What does one do with this aspect of Luther’s biography? Should statues of him be continued on page 45
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letters to the editor Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel rant” unfairly stereotyped Trump to Australia to“Political South America, Europe and the JCC Maccabi games around voters the United States and Canada, I have logged many miles seeing how sports can be a vehicle to help build Jewish One of the most odious identity, especially in our young.offenses that a Jews should not know better than stereotype. thoughtful Jew can practice is the offense of As a further thought, your readers know I felt honored to cometotoa Birmingham the first in love with not just the city stereotyping, to ascribe whole class offorpeofulltime welland thatfell there are powerful forces, usually but the the alleged people.chicanery You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level withtoyour kindJews. and caring ple of a few people of that anti-Semitic, trying divide We do not approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. class. Stereotyping spawns bigotry. need to add Jewish voices to further divide us. For 2000 JewsHelds, have your been hard-working victims of volunteers I therefore humbly suggest youpartnered promote no Led by theyears, Sokol and were wonderful. They stereotyping, especiallystaff, in led Europe. WeLynch, were tomore The extreme of hit. the with your outstanding by Betzy makepolitical the 2017rants. JCC Maccabi gamesends a huge accused of usury, trickery, subterfuge, dispolitical spectrum are inconsolable and irrecI want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to say thank you on behalf loyalty, treason, sovereign bankruptcies, well oncilable. Otherwise your stellar magazine of everyone involved. poisonings, ritual use of Christian blood, etc., could morph from a cultural icon into political I had just returned from the 20th World Maccabiah games in Israel with a U.S. delegation of and the mother of all sins — Christ killers. Our diatribe. There are far too many forums for poover 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire ancestors were tortured, slaughtered, impover- litical invective already, but only one Southern Jewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and ished, forcefully converted and expelled by the Jewish Life. Please keep it that way by keeping coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. millions including but not limited to the Holo- it apolitical. Everyone from the Jewish the community at large, including a Cal wonderful caust. This also includes Babicommunity Yar in Kiev, and where Ennis M.D. police are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal Miss. 200 of force, my grandparents’ family were murdered Pascagoula, moment the Jewish we build as part offor a larger groupcommunity of 33,000 toassatisfy theto the future by providing such wonderful Jewish memories. lust of Ukraine Christians to kill “Christ killers.” Maccabi Games on Tisha B’Av Stereotyping is Jed Margolis malicious. was a failure of planning President TrumpMaccabi (yes he USA is President) has Executive Director, There was a spate of articles praising Birand does criticize “women, gays, Muslims, Jews, immigrants and African Americans” but that is mingham for its hosting of the Maccabi Games supremacists would like of to the see event pushed year. But one aspect leftback a bitter not same as “contempt” as Maury Herman this Onthe Charlottesville into aincorner and made to feel lesser.that We hosted stand the mouths of many of those rants in a recent letter. Criticism is valid and taste with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, should beThis conflated with Editor’snot Note: reaction to contempt the events— in one is the young athletes that came to the Magic City. therewere standing up to the face ofon this Thewas Games scheduled to begin Erev constructive thewritten other isbydestructive. He trashes who Charlottesville, Jeremy Newman, hate. Tisha B’ A v, the day that commemorates the deTrump and by inference stereotypes myself and Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony struction of the First and Second Temples in 63 million voters and labels us “bigots, amoral We recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi Jerusalem, expulsion ofold thestruggle Jews from Spain and disgusting. narrative asthe a two-century to rid National, which” called it “very eloquent” and any number other and catastrophes thatinbeStereotypers ignoreatfacts. theyatop- and ourselves of such of corners, allow those praised “our brothers AEPiThat’s Thetahow Colony ourthe people. erate — confuse andand… conflate. He ignoresthey the fact fell them seat at the table that they so deserve. Auburn University the leadership While provisions were the made for theofmorning that Trump has campus. surrounded himself all his busi- It is the struggle to fulfill promise the display on their ” Tisha B’Avoffor the athletes that to visit the Civil ness life with women, Jews and African Ameri- of Declaration Independence, “all men are raise awareness of the strugcans. He ignores the fact that, like Mr. Herman, Rights createdInstitute equal…and endowed by their Creator with for human rightsrights. in our” country —our an approWhite supremacy has been a cancer onyet he gle Trump himself has 8 Jewish grandchildren, certain unalienable We know work gesture in keeping thewespirit of the our country since its beginning, threatening calls Trump an anti-Semite. And doubles down priate is far from finished, but wewith know will not —backwards. the evening of Tisha B’Av, a time of great its hopes, its values, its better angels. by encouraging hisand grandchildren to oppose day move solemnity, was set aside for merriment, for pool The events that tookofplace in Charlottesville Trump in the name “fairness and decency.” When men and women, fully armed, take represented the one worst of this nation. Those But he is the who is being unfair and in- parties and such. Hosts that normally would to the streets inthe droves swastikas and daywith listening to Jeremiah’s who marched onto the disgusting streets withmethodology tiki torches commemorate decent, using the same other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikas did so to provoke violence that caused the death and calamity of our and breth- great lament, and fasting, were obligated to facilrelevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism fear.for Those marched onto the 79 streets did a itate events totally out of character with the day. ren two who thousand years. At age I learned areI realize today. It is aReform wake-up call todoes the work that that Judaism not observe so to time profess ideology that harkens to long agoanthat stereotyping spawnsback bigotry. needs to be done to ensure a better, more a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. Mr. Herman should be ashamed of his screed. this holiday, that they do not lament the disapwelcomingofcountry. it should not Acknowlcome Temple But ritual sacrifice. A time when men and women of many creeds, pearance without a reflection on how far we’ve come. races,Would and religions far from equal and far edging that over a million Jews were slaughtered SJLwere have published was is born slave nation. Astatement; century by America the Romans notaan ideological from safe in our own borders. A time where diatribe against Clinton? intoextinction our historyofweJewish engaged in a war part the the culture in in Spain, Americans lived under a constant cloud of to ensure we would not as Jews one. We I am anti-Semitism writing not toand protest or dispute Mr. forced conversions, the continue burning of by the racism, pervasive hate. The found ourselves confronted bynot thesomething issue of civil Maury Herman’s hysterical diatribe onserved Presi- Inquisition for their beliefs is to events that took place in Charlottesville rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure dent Trump but to question what it is doing acknowledged by lounging in bathing suits by as a reminder of how painfully relevant these in be fairand treatment of all your pool munching onpeoples s’mores.no matter their issuesmagazine. are today. Is your purpose to inform and athe skin color. Although we’ve madewas great connect us to Jewish life in the South or to serve If the purpose of the Games to strides, raise the Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. as a conduit for partisan political commentary? consciousness of Jewish youth and celebrate Jewish community of Charlottesville, and Would you print a letter on the corruption their prowess, then scheduling the Games on America was also born an immigrant with the Jewish people around the country and venality of Hillary Clinton? Somehow I Tisha B’ A v was an egregious failure on the part country. As early as the pilgrims, many and around the world. We also stand with the doubt it. Perhaps you shouldby change your name of the organizers thatfound should be repeated groups and families in not the country the in minorities who are targeted the hate that to Progressive Southern Jewish Life. the future. opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, was on display in Charlottesville. We stand Rick Jacobs and be themselves. Few were met with Barry Ivker open with the minorities of whom these white New Orleans Birmingham 4 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook email@example.com ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook firstname.lastname@example.org SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein email@example.com PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark deepsouthrabbi.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook brookwrite.com BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, email@example.com or Annetta Dolowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via sjlmag.com, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.
agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events Alpha Epsilon Pi’s Iota Deuteron Colony at the University of Alabama held its initiation day on Oct. 8. Revitalized in 2013, the colony now has about 20 members.
Governor Ivey to receive AITF Israel Leadership award One of Israel’s most decorated heroes will be the guest speaker at the Alabama-Israel Leadership Gala in north Alabama on Nov. 18, as Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is presented the Israel Leadership Award. Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, chairman of the Israel Leadership Institute, commanded the 91st Division of the Israel Defense Forces during the 2006 Lebanon war. Eeki Elner, founder of ILI, will also speak at the event, which is co-hosted by the Alabama-Israel Task Force and ILI. The gala will honor the friendship between Alabama and Israel. It will be held at The Epicenter in Tanner, just west of the Interstate 65/565 interchange near Decatur. Hirsch will present the award to Ivey, who is being recognized by AITF “having witnessed first-hand her exceptional work and leadership on behalf of the Alabama-Israel relationship.” A special presentation will be made to Lior Haiat, Israeli Consul General to Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Puerto Rico. John Buhler, who co-chairs AITF, said “this is a unique honor and opportunity as we host
several distinguished leaders from Israel for this special gala celebration during the 50th anniversary and Jubilee of the reunification of Jerusalem.” As Lieutenant Governor and president of the Alabama Senate, Ivey gave “a strong keynote at a statewide gathering,” invited Israel’s Deputy Speaker of the Knesset to address a joint session of the Alabama Legislature, and supported anti-BDS resolutions and legislation. In her brief time as governor since assuming the office earlier this year, she signed a statement against anti-Israel bias and issued a proclamation for the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. The interfaith AITF was formed four years ago “to provide a bridge and catalyst for broader cooperative efforts and help cultivate an even stronger and expanding state-to-state relationship between Alabama and Israel for the mutual benefit of their people.” The Alabama group has supported the ILI, one of Israel’s most advanced and creative leadership schools. It is located in Sderot, near the Israel-Gaza border. In May, the AITF announced it had reached
its initial goal to help ILI launch a new Emergency Preparedness Disaster Response training center in Kiryat Shmona, not far from the Lebanon border. According to the task force, the location was chosen after the mayor identified a need for such training, and Kiryat Shmona “is a location similar to Sderot in the south, being a border community and vulnerable to shelling by Hezbollah from Lebanon and Syria.” Retired Colonel Gideon Bar-On, former commander of the Home Front Command Search and Rescue Unit, is leading the Kiryat Shmona training. Support for the new initiative came from the Jewish and Christian communities in Alabama, with special contributions from Calvary Assembly in Decatur and Rock Family Worship Center in Huntsville, which hosts events honoring Israel each year. In the 1980s Hirsch was a paratrooper in the Paratrooper Brigade, leading a battalion in South Lebanon and through the First Intifada. He was severely injured in a terror attack as a large rock was thrown onto his car. He commanded the Benjamin Regional BriNovember 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5
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gade during the Second Intifada and served in the central command during Operation Defensive Shield. After the 2006 war, he resigned from the military and founded Defensive Shield Holdings. He has also been a research associate since 2008 at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. In 2016 he wrote “Defensive Shield,” an updated version of his bestselling 2009 autobiographical book, “Love Story, War Story.” Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are $100, with proceeds supporting the AITF’s Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Initiative with ILI in Sderot. There will be a reception with kosher heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts. There will also be personal photo opportunities with the Israeli dignitaries starting at 6 p.m. Details are available at aitf-web.org.
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The Thanksgiving Day tradition continues as the Levite Jewish Community Center’s Sam Lapidus Montclair Run holds its 41st annual event on Nov. 23, with the annual 10-kilometer race sponsored by Levy’s Fine Jewelry and a 5-kilometer run. Those races begin at 8:30 a.m. and are followed by a 1-mile Fun Run at 10 a.m. Last year, 1,200 runners participated. The event was renamed in 2008 in memory of Sam Lapidus, who loved fitness and working out at the LJCC. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at age 9 in 2003, but refused to let it alter his plans. He died in November 2008, just shy of his 15th birthday, and Bruce Sokol urged the LJCC to name the event in his memory. Proceeds from the race benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama and the LJCC Fitness Program. The Center for Childhood Cancer donations help children in Alabama by enhancing services, building new programs, and recruiting new physicians and researchers. Registration is already open online and at the LJCC. The registration fee is $36 for the longer races, $18 for the fun run. There will be RFID chip timing and awards to the top three overall finishers and by age group in male and female categories. All entrants will receive a T-shirt, and the course is certified by USATF.
On the cover: Governor Kay Ivey crowned Abigal Greenberg as the University of Alabama Homecoming Queen during halftime of the Alabama-Arkansas football game on Oct. 14. Greenberg, a senior from Montgomery majoring in nursing, was announced as homecoming queen at the Oct. 13 bonfire and pep rally on the UA Quad. More than 11,000 votes were cast in this year’s Homecoming Queen election Oct. 10. Students voted online. Her sponsoring organization is Delta Delta Delta, and her philanthropy is the The Andrew McDonough Be Positive Foundation. Before the announcement, she wrote “for me it is not just about a title or a crown, but most importantly a cause… I am truly blessed to have made so many special memories and lifelong friendships. I am fortunate enough to be part of such an amazing organization like the B+ Foundation. I have been able to raise money and awareness for a philanthropy that is near and dear to my heart, childhood cancer.”
agenda Beth Israel, Jackson NAACP bringing back the partnership Fifty years ago, Rabbi Perry Nussbaum of Jackson’s Beth Israel worked with the local NAACP and civil rights organizations, and in the fall of 1967 both his home and Beth Israel were bombed by the Klan. Beth Israel will celebrate the historic alliance on Dec. 1, as current leaders of the Mississippi NAACP will attend the 6:15 p.m. Shabbat service, followed by a program to discuss the relationship and what the future could look like with the groups working together to promote social justice. Corey Wiggins, executive director of the Mississippi NAACP, Beth Israel members, Mississippi Humanities Council Executive Director Stuart Rockoff and Mississippi Center for Justice Advocacy Director Beth Orlansky will be among the participants.
B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have its ninth annual Turkey Train on Nov. 12. Students in the religious school will pass each turkey from the kitchen to a waiting truck, which will take the turkeys to St. Vincent de Paul. Mittens or gloves are recommended. Donations of $20 per turkey can be made at the office, or frozen turkeys can be brought to B’nai Israel on Nov. 12 for the 11:30 a.m. ceremony.
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There will be a joint Montgomery Thanksgiving service for Temple Beth Or, Church of the Ascension and First United Methodist Church, at Beth Or on Nov. 19 at 4 p.m.
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Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will participate in a Southside Interfaith Thanksgiving service on Nov. 21 at noon, at St. Mary’s on the Highlands. PJ Library, the Birmingham Islamic Society and the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School are holding a Friendship Story Walk for ages 0 to 5, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Day School. Canned goods for donation are requested, and the registration deadline is Nov. 15. Rabbi Edward Cohn, rabbi emeritus of Temple Sinai in New Orleans, will lead a University of Southern Mississippi Osher Lifelong Learning Institute session on “Jesus: Yours, Mine and Ours” at Peck House in Hattiesburg, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. The presentation will look at historical scholarship from a rabbi’s perspective. Class tuition is $10. Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have a Veterans Day Shabbat service, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., with the congregational choir.
The Fred Sklar Jewish War Veterans Post of Northwest Louisiana is posting flags at the Shreveport Jewish cemeteries on Nov. 5. Veterans will be honored during the 6:15 p.m. Shabbat service on Nov. 10. B’nai Israel in Pensacola will have the annual Bill Allen Veterans Day Shabbat dinner on Nov. 10. Services are at 6 p.m. with dinner following, reservations are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Master Chief Petty Officer Marc Churchwell will be the speaker. He is the founding director of the Military and Veterans Resource Center on the University of West Florida campus. Jewish War Veterans Shabbat will be held at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El at the 5:40 p.m. service on Nov. 10. Vietnam War veteran Martin Green will be the speaker, and all veterans will be invited to the bimah.
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The Mobile Area Jewish Federation will once again have an Israel booth at the Mobile International Festival, Nov. 15 to 18. The history and culture of over 60 nations is celebrated at the event, held at the Mobile Civic Center. Nov. 15 to 17 are reserved for students, while the festival is open to the public on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 7
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Beth Israel in Jackson will host the fourth annual “Sing Together Jackson,” a celebration of cultural and religious diversity through music, Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. Area choirs will participate in the benefit for Working Together Jackson. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a Fair Trade sale on Dec. 3, featuring handcrafted items from women in Central America, who will receive a fair wage for their work. Judaica and Rescue Chocolate will also be available. Items will remain at B’nai Zion through Dec. 17, but best selection will be on Dec. 3. B’nai Israel Men’s Club in Baton Rouge will have a Happy Hour, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Driftwood Cask and Barrel. Beth Israel in Jackson is starting a Doubt and Discovery (and Pizza) discussion group, exploring spirituality, religion, God and life. The first session will be at the Finkelberg home on Nov. 28 at 6:15 p.m. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will kick off a series, “Israel Institute of Beth Shalom,” with discussions on Israel issues. The series starts on Nov. 19 at 11 a.m., and will meet on Dec. 3 and 17, Jan. 28, Feb. 4 and 18, and April 1, 8 and 29. The Agudath Achim Men’s Club in Shreveport will honor Alex Rubenstein with the Diebner Award during the Dec. 2 Shabbat service. Also at the 10 a.m. service, the Gift Shop will be renamed by the Sisterhood in honor of Carolyn Rubenstein. The two groups will jointly sponsor the luncheon afterward. The Western Shore Torah Study Group of Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple will have their next Torah study on Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. The topic will be “Thanksgiving Day, American Roots or Ancient Roots?” The group will meet at the Wingate by Wyndham in D’Iberville, Miss. Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Southeast Region announced its annual Legends and Heroes of the IDF donor appreciation event will be on Dec. 13 in Atlanta, featuring Lior Rax, co-writer and lead actor in the Netflix original series “Fauda.”
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On Nov. 14, Athens State University will have an interfaith panel, with the three Abrahamic faith traditions speaking about cooperation, hospitality and benevolence. It will be at 6 p.m. in Founders Hall Chapel. Daniel Castoriano will lead “The History of the Jews” at Temple Sinai in Lake Charles, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.
On Oct. 9, about 25 volunteers from Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El took part in the 2017 Habitat Homebuilders Blitz, a week-long project to build 10 houses, with 50 volunteers per day. 8 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
November 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 9
community Founder Macy Hart to step down as head of Institute of Southern Jewish Life Michele Schipper to become new CEO
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Macy Hart, a pioneer in the preservation and evolution of small-community Jewish life in the South, will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, which he created 18 years ago. Michele Schipper, who has been Chief Operating Officer of ISJL since 2007, will become the new CEO next February. Hart will continue working on his “ISJL bucket list” of projects he has wanted to explore but never had the time while concentrating on the ISJL’s primary objectives. He will also do development work Michele Schipper for the Institute. A Jackson native, Schipper returned to the city after working in Jewish communal service on the West Coast for two decades. “It was a wonderful homecoming then, and it’s an honor now,” Schipper said of returning to Jackson a decade ago and of her new role. “Even before I got here, I was so impressed with the work Macy and the ISJL were getting done for Southern Jewish communities. Getting to continue this legacy and lead the organization into the future is truly exciting.” “Michele returned with her family to Jackson to help us really structure our organization, our mission, our staff,” said Hart. “Over a decade, she managed to enhance our efficiency, grow our staff, and work alongside the board and me to place the ISJL amongst the most impactful and innovative Jewish organizations. I could not be more thrilled that the board selected Michele for this position.” Schipper was selected by a search committee comprised of members of “Getting to the ISJL’s board, helmed by Rayman Solomon, a former chair of the board. continue this Current Board Chair Rachel Reagler legacy and lead Schulman is enthusiastic about the selection. the organization committee’s “No one could ‘replace’ Macy; our into the future is founder, visionary, and first leader,” said Schulman. “But we had an exceltruly exciting” lent search committee, working with assistance from the executive committee, the board of directors and ISJL staff. Our conversations and interview process led us to the conclusion that Michele Schipper was truly the right choice.” Schipper is also currently president of Beth Israel in Jackson, the state’s largest Jewish congregation. A native of Winona, Miss., Hart was national president of the National Federation of Temple Youth. During that time, plans were in motion for a Reform summer camp in Mississippi, with teen members of the Southern Federation of Temple Youth playing key roles. Despite a skeptical national movement, the camp was seen among Deep South communities as a way to bring kids from these isolated small congregations together each summer and strengthen their identity. After college, Hart was hired to be the administrator at the brand-new Henry S. Jacobs camp for its inaugural season in 1970. Rabbi Sol Kaplan was the camp director that summer, then Hart took over the following year.
community In 1986, after the camp had received numerous items from closing or downsizing synagogues in the area, Hart established the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience on the camp’s grounds as a place where the artifacts could be used or stored. In addition to exhibits on Southern Jewish history, an archive and history department were established to preserve the stories of these communities, and there were efforts to help preserve Jewish cemeteries. In 2000, Hart established ISJL with the goal of bringing Jewish educational, rabbinic and support services to small, isolated communities throughout the South. Hart then resigned as director of Jacobs Camp to head the ISJL. The Institute developed a standardized religious school curriculum suitable for larger congregations or one-person volunteer schools with a handful of students, establishing it in four pilot states before rolling it out regionally. In 2003, the Institute hired its first circuit-riding rabbi, serving dozens of congregations too small for a rabbinic presence. Today, the ISJL serves a 13-state footprint and is routinely recognized in Slingshot, the guide to the most innovative Jewish non-profits. The Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience, which closed at the camp six years ago, was recently spun off into a separate organization, and plans to open a new facility in New Orleans in 2019. The leadership transition will coincide with the ISJL’s 18th anniversary. Details about the transition will be made available at a later date. “This is a tremendous moment in the life of the organization,” Schipper added. “We’ll be celebrating the past and all of Macy’s inspiring achievements, and planning for an incredible future as well.”
Oxford hosts Bubbe’s Table Chefs Alon Shaya, Kelly English, John Currence to make Chanukah feast The Jewish Federation of Oxford is holding “Bubbe’s Table: A Chanukah Supper” with three chefs’ takes on the latke. The chefs will personalize their offerings with unique flavors, toppings and accompaniments. Chef Alon Shaya of Pomegranate Hospitality in New Orleans, Chef Kelly English of Iris and The Second Line in Memphis, and Chef John Currence of the City Restaurant Group in Oxford and Big Bad Breakfast in Birmingham, will be the featured chefs. The event will be under a barn and under the stars at the Farmstead on Woodson Ridge, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. Reservations can be made online at bubbestable.eventbrite.com, $25 for adults and $10 for those under age 10.
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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 11
David Gerber to succeed Robert Loewy as rabbi of Metairie’s Gates of Prayer
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Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie announced the selection of Rabbi David Gerber to succeed Rabbi Robert Loewy, who will retire next summer after leading the congregation since 1984. To put it another way, Loewy has led the congregation since Gerber was in preschool. Gerber, 37, has been the associate rabbi of Beth Or, a 1,050-family congregation in Maple Glen, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia, since 2012. He will assume his new role at Gates of Prayer on July 1, 2018. The Gates of Prayer board affirmed the search committee’s recommenda- Rabbi Robert Loewy offers a L’Chayim to Rabbi David Gerber after the congregation’s Oct. 17 board meeting tion by unanimous vote on Oct. 17. David Dulitz, president of Gates of rabbinate, but rabbinical school admissions are Prayer, said “Gerber is more than ready to take competitive, and with a degree in telecommunithe reins of his own pulpit, and ‘Don’t let him cations and having been away from Jewish study get away’ was a phrase we heard repeatedly from for so many years, “I did not have the resume those who know him well.” to get in.” Gerber said he has visited to New Orleans He got a job as a financial advisor in St. Louis, several times and the city has always been of “knowing it was temporary,” and after hours he interest to his family. would teach Hebrew School and take classes at His contract at Beth Or was coming up next Washington University. summer, and though they were allowing him In 2007, he entered Hebrew Union Colto continue on a year to year basis after that, he lege-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, started looking to see if there was a good match hometown of his wife, Lauren. They now have out there. He decided to look during the sum- two daughters, ages 4 years and 20 months. mer, since he “didn’t want to distract from my In 2009 Gerber was assistant director at Camp responsibilities” at Beth Or during the year. Sabra in Missouri, and had student positions As he looked to embark on the next chapter in Kokomo, Ind., Cincinnati and St. Louis. At of his rabbinate, they wanted to be “in a com- HUC, he was president of the senior class, and munity that has heart and character, civic pride” president of the Rabbinical Student Association. and be a place “we’d really like to raise our kids, He was also student representative for the HUC and New Orleans appealed to us.” New Way Forward strategic planning initiative. From the early interviews, “things really While he “cannot say enough about how clicked” and the process went quickly. In rab- excited I am” about moving to Metairie, it is binic searches, he said, for both the rabbi and “bittersweet” to have to leave “the community the congregation, “it’s really all about how it that has taught me how to be a rabbi” and where feels, and this felt right.” their daughters were born. Gerber grew up in Saint Louis, and described Gerber and Loewy have already started dishimself as the stereotypical kid who has his Bar cussing the transition, and Gerber said “It’s not Mitzvah and never shows up again, choosing a matter of filling his shoes, it’s a matter of con“baseball and karate.” He attended Indiana Uni- tinuing his successes.” versity, which has a lot of Jewish students but Gerber noted that Gates of Prayer historically also a lot of students who had never met a Jew has rabbis with long tenures, and the longevity before, and they were filled with questions. “is a testament to how the congregation treats “I got tired of not knowing the answers,” he their rabbis.” said, and began to look online. Google wasn’t omGerber looks forward to building relationnipresent yet, so he would look on Ask Jeeves. “My ships in the congregation, in the Jewish commufirst rabbinic mentor was probably Jeeves,” he said. nity and the interfaith community. “Everything Gerber bought a Tanach, “started reading and is exciting” about the move, he said. never put it down.” When he went to services Having grown up in a “y’all community,” he for the first time in college, “I hadn’t been to a had to adjust to “youse” in Pennsylvania. “We’re synagogue in eight years.” looking forward to getting back to a y’all kind of It wasn’t long before he decided to pursue the community,” he said.
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Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, who has led Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville since 2009, announced that she will “move on with my rabbinic career” when her contract ends next summer. B’nai Sholom President Ann van Leeuwen announced the decision to the congregation in a letter on Oct. 24. Bahar “leaves behind a legacy of which we can all be grateful,” she said. Van Leeuwen said “there is really no way to list all of the wonderful things that have happened here” under Bahar. She noted the creation of the North Alabama Community Hebraic School, NACHaS, between B’nai Sholom and the Conservative Etz Chayim Congregation. Van Leeuwen also listed the special dinners such as the Chanukah Fry Fest, pulpit exchanges and working in the community. Bahar has been a regular voice for understanding in the Huntsville area, especially in the aftermath of the divisive 2016 presidential election. She worked to bring those on both sides of the divide together, to “break down walls.” In December 2015, she worked with the Huntsville Islamic Center on a “Day of Solidarity” at the Islamic Center. Earlier in 2015, she facilitated a week of weddings at B’nai Sholom after court rulings recognized samesex marriages. A Pittsburgh native, Bahar succeeded Rabbi Jeffrey Ballon, who battled brain cancer after retiring in 2009. He died in January 2011. Interfaith Mission Service named the Interfaith Leadership Award in his memory, and Bahar has received that award. In 2015, Bahar received the Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award from the Birmingham Jewish Federation, the first time the award has been presented to someone outside the Birmingham community. She was co-honoree with Rabbi Eytan Yammer, who led Birmingham’s Orthodox congregation, Knesset Israel, and recently moved to Israel. Earlier that year, Bahar and Yammer were both listed in the Forward’s “33 Most Inspirational Rabbis.” Bahar is on the board of Interfaith Mission Service and Southeast Clergy Association. She has guest lectured at University of Alabama Huntsville, Oakwood University, and Alabama A&M on a variety of topics related to Judaism and modern spirituality. Bahar said that at B’nai Sholom, “my portion here was full and wonderful… these have been some of the best times of my life.” B’nai Sholom will always be her first congregation, “and the memories and relationships I formed will be close to my heart,” she concluded. Van Leeuwen said Bahar is “so good at making people feel comfortable,” coming down from the bimah when leading discussions. “She’s going to make some congregation very, very happy.”
Saag to speak on advocacy in medicine Michael Saag will speak at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center on “A Historical Look at How Advocacy Leads to Progress in Medicine,” Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the community. Saag is the director for the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, professor of medicine and the associate dean for global health.
Southern, Israel ISJL organizing its first mission
The Jackson-based Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life is organizing its first-ever Israel trip, “a unique Southern Jewish twist on the traditional trip to the holy land.” Susan and Macy Hart will lead the group trip, guided by veteran tour guide Ron Perry, from Feb. 23 to March 6. The group will be in Israel during Purim. Hart, who recently announced that he is stepping down as CEO of the Institute, said he and his wife led several Israel trips when he was director of the Henry S. Jacobs Camp. “Most of the communities that were served by the camp were too small to offer their own trip, so we were able to bring people together to form a large enough group for this kind of experience,” he said. “Now we’re thrilled to do the same thing for ISJL communities.” A major goal of ISJL is building community across organizational boundaries, across the region. The adult-oriented trip is open to members of communities in the 13-state region served by the ISJL, as well as friends and family outside the region. The goal is to have 20 to 30 participants. There will be no solicitation on the trip, but participants are asked to contribute to ISJL. Hotels for the trip are Herods Tel Aviv, Hagoshrim Kibbutz Hotel in the Galilee and Dan Boutique in Jerusalem. The per-person rate starts at $2899, land only. Additional information is available through the ISJL office or website.
Photo courtesy Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburgh
On Oct. 17, retired CBS Correspondent Jeff Goldman spoke to the Alexandria Rotary Club at their weekly luncheon, discussing his experiences with six different U.S. presidents. That evening, he was the guest speaker at the Alexandria Jewish Federation dinner. Pictured at the Rotary luncheon are Rabbi Arnold Task, Alvin Mykoff, Jeff Goldman, Richard Klein and Ed Caplan.
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 15
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Mike Wagenheim will return to Louisiana to talk about his unusual journey from “very” secular American Jew to new Israeli. Wagenheim, now a diplomatic correspondent for i24 News in Israel and former Trump beat reporter and morning news anchor at Israel News Talk Radio, will speak about “Trump, Israel and American Jews: What’s To Come.” His talk will be at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans on Nov. 30 at noon. Lunch can be reserved by Nov. 27, $5 for members, $7 for non-members. New Federation Chief Executive Officer Arnie Fielkow, who wrote Wagenheim’s letter of recommendation when Wagenheim moved to Israel, will introduce him. A Philadelphia native, Wagenheim got into sports broadcasting at West Virginia University, then wound up broadcasting games for the University of New Orleans after Katrina. He then moved to Nicholls State, becoming executive producer and lead on-air talent for the Nicholls Colonel Sports Network. Looking for a change in life, he stumbled on the concept of Aliyah, moving to Israel, and decided to do so, not knowing anyone there or having a job. After 15 months, he was married with a daughter on the way, working a job that had him interviewing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other dignitaries, and representing Israel in major international sports competitions. Wagenheim is also going to be a featured presenter at the Louisiana Women Leaders Business Conference on Dec. 2, speaking about opportunities for women in Israel. He will connect with a female Member of the Israeli Parliament during his talk. A presentation of Nicholls State’s Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business, the event will be at the Marriott New Orleans.
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Day School students get “Violins of Hope” preview Shades Creek Chamber Players co-founder Marilyn Pipkin has played violin for decades, including over 20 years with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. But on Oct. 11 at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, she played three violins that were quite different. Avshalom Weinstein, whose father has been restoring violins from the Holocaust through his “Violins of Hope” project in Israel, spoke at the school during his visit to Birmingham. He brought four violins with him to show the Upper School students. Next spring, the city will be hosting many of the violins in a major community-wide project that will culminate in their being used at an Alabama Symphony concert in April. Amnon Weinstein moved with his family to pre-state Israel in 1938, the only branch of his family to leave Lithuania before the Holocaust. All 400 relatives who stayed behind were killed. In the 1990s, when Amnon was training his son, Avshalom, in the family’s legacy of violin craftsmanship, Amnon decided to confront the demons of the past and work on violins brought to him by survivors. After restoring them, he wants them to be played, to give a voice to their former owners. After the Holocaust, Weinstein told the students, Israelis didn’t want to have anything to do with German goods. Rather than see musical instruments destroyed, Avshalom’s grandfather would buy them, knowing full well he would not find a resale market, and despite the destruction of his entire family in the Holocaust. In the 1990s, they had an apprentice from Dresden who knew almost nothing about the Holocaust. When he saw the “rare” collection of German instruments, he begged Amnon to visit Dresden and give a lecture about the instruments. Weinstein gave the students a back story of each of the violins, which Pipkin would then play — though going into the visit, she had no idea that she would be asked to play them. Pipkin said the violins “sound beautiful, with their magic.” During the Holocaust, she said, they probably did not sound good because they were often played in extreme conditions outdoors. Still, “the instruments might have been treated better than the prisoners,” she said. “To know where these have been just brings me to tears.” Pipkin said without the historical context, they are “great violins,” but “with the historical context, these are monuments.” The fourth violin Weinstein showed the students was one that will not be restored, because the story is on the inside. A man in Washington had
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community purchased that violin and planned to restore it, but when he opened it, he found a large swastika and “Heil Hitler,” and a label stating the violin had been restored in 1936. He was going to destroy it, Weinstein said, but also couldn’t bear to demolish an instrument, so he Googled — and found Violins of Hope. He called, and Amnon immediately said he would take it. Both Weinstein and his father will be in Birmingham for next April’s events. The violins will be displayed from April 10 to 15, and there will be educational programs, lectures and exhibits. A kickoff event was held on Sept. 17 at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El, with James Grymes, who wrote the book about the project. Pipkin also gave Weinstein a box of tools and supplies that belonged to her late husband, James. While her husband wasn’t trained in restoring violins, people would come to him for advice and assistance, and over the years he amassed tools and repair items. “I think he would have wanted to” give the items to the Weinsteins, she said. “A little bit of my husband can go into this project.” Sallie Downs, who is coordinating the Birmingham events, said a wide range of groups is participating in the project. “Hopefully it will help people have more compassion, for people of different religions, different races… different everything.”
Students take over Day School library The fifth grade students at Birmingham’s N.E. Miles Jewish Day School have embarked on a leadership journey by becoming librarians of a student-run library. They have been charged with running and growing the school’s library throughout the year. In September, they held a Library Launch, decorating the library with book displays and vocabulary words, and developing an incentive system to encourage reading among other students. They delivered speeches to the school, then they led tours of the library for the other grades, pointing out key features like the book return and circulation desk. Since the library opened, the students have been setting goals, collecting, analyzing, and graphing data, and working weekly shifts as librarians. Students also have been reading books published in the last year so they can recommend new additions for the library. The fifth graders also are writing persuasive pieces for discussions on how to allocate the library’s monthly budget. Last month, they decided to purchase books that would complete the library’s holdings in the Harry Potter series — in both English and Hebrew. As part of their library training, they have been learning about community resources, library services and programming, from a visiting Avondale librarian and through touring behind the counter at the Emmet O’Neal Library.
18 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
November 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 19
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First-time camper grant available Regional incentive is not need-based The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana announced that applications are now available for first-time overnight summer campers to receive the Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant. The Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience, which increased to up to $1,500 per child last summer, is administered by JEF. This program, which helps families provide their children with a first-time camping experience at a Jewish sleepaway camp, was established by JEF in 1999 and has been funded by the Goldring Family Foundation since 2001. Since its inception, 1,369 children have received grants to attend Jewish summer camp. Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to create positive Jewish identity and develop children’s commitment to living Jewish lives is to expose them to a camp experience where they will meet other Jewish boys and girls and savor the precious heritage of Jewish traditions while enjoying wholesome summer fun and sports activities. The Goldring Family Foundation makes this camp program available to every Jewish child in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle by giving a one-time-only grant of up to $1,500 per child to attend a nonprofit Jewish summer camp. Programs costing less than $1,500 will be funded up to the amount of camp tuition. “We are grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation for their continuing generosity and their commitment to making a Jewish camping experience available to so many children,” states JEF President Andi Lestelle. “This program benefits not only the individual campers, but our entire community.” To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleepaway camp, currently in grades 1 through 9, and residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or the Florida Panhandle. Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Synagogue affiliation is not required. The deadline for applications is March 31 and early application is strongly suggested. Award notification will be made by May 31. For more information and an application form, contact Ellen Abrams at JEF at (504) 5244559 or email@example.com. The application can also be downloaded at www.jefno.org. Need-based scholarships for overnight nonprofit summer camps are available through Jewish Children’s Regional Service, with a priority deadline of Feb. 15. Information is available at jcrs.org.
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Mayor-elect Woodfin speaks at Birmingham Jewish community awards event Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin was a featured guest at the annual Birmingham Jewish community awards event on Oct. 29 at Temple Emanu-El. The evening, themed “Birmingham and Beyond,” was a combined effort of the regional Israel Bonds office, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Hilary Gewant, president of the Federation, said many families in the Jewish community “have benefitted our city for decades… Not only are we citizens of Greater Birmingham, but we are also members of the Jewish Diaspora. We think locally and globally.” General Charles Krulak introduced Woodfin, speaking about how a leader has to be a person of character, selfless and with moral courage. Krulak is co-chair of Woodfin’s transition team. Despite a severe case of laryngitis, Woodfin thanked the honorees for their service to the community. While there will be a change at City Hall, it will not be “change for change’s sake,” it will be about making progress that “allows us all to participate.” He wants City Hall to be “a welcoming place to all of Birmingham’s stakeholders.” He wants to be sure city spending is aligned with the priorities of education, economic development and entrepreneurship, with transparency. Israel Bonds honored Rabbi Jonathan Miller, who retired this summer after 27 years as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El. Jimmy Filler, long-time Bonds chair in Birmingham, introduced Miller, saying when Miller arrived in 1991 he expected to be here perhaps five years, but it turned into 27. Filler praised him for his interfaith outreach, saying “Nowhere and no one else could someone have created so much harmony outside of their own religious faith.” Miller said it was an honor to be back on the pulpit he led for 27 years. “This is my pulpit and I’m a visitor at the same time.” He remarked that after he arrived, his first public event was with Rabbi Reuven Tradburks of Knesseth Israel, Rabbi Steve Glazer of Temple Beth-El and Federation Executive Director Richard Friedman at a prayer vigil as Iraqi Scud missiles were raining down on Israel. “It seems like yesterday.” After the many years of struggle, Israel’s success “only comes from our commitment to Israel and its commitment to the Jewish people,” he said. In his Bonds remarks, Filler said that Israel remains “the only homeland of the Jewish people. If a Jew is turned away anywhere in the world, they have Israel to turn to, and that must never go away.” In an age when many are looking for ways to distance themselves from Israel, “we can never not do our part because we don’t agree with some political issue,” he said. “Sure, we have problems in Israel. We have a lot of problems in this country. That is what a democracy is all about.”
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Filler said the Rabbi Milton Grafman Endowment Fund at Emanu-El was purchasing $100,000 in Israel Bonds, and the State of Alabama had a $2 million purchase. Filler called it a “direct repudiation” of the “economic terrorism” of the boycott-Israel movement. Friedman presented the Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award to Jahan Berns. When he called her to let her know about the honor, she was speechless, he said, “then emotional and very humble.” Friedman told her “we are probably the only Jewish Federation in America that will have given our Young Leadership award to a woman born in Uganda, who was raised as a Muslim, and who converted to Christianity.” He figured Bayer would “be fascinated” to learn about Berns’ story, and how she is an active member of the Federation board. “Joanie, that’s innovation,” Friedman commented. Berns’ father was an Israeli-trained military leader in Uganda who helped overthrow Idi Amin, but was assassinated when Berns was 7 years old. Berns converted from Islam to Christianity, attended law school and moved to London. After arriving in Alabama, she became a paralegal at Sirote and Permutt, then inspired by the late Morris Sirote’s story, finished law school and became an attorney. She said “the deep gratitude I feel for the Jewish people’s contribution to mankind keeps growing as the years roll by.” Through the Federation, she works closely with Operation Lifeshield, which provides bomb shelters to vulnerable communities near Israel’s borders. “They help Christians, Arabs, Jews… there is no discrimination,” she said. During her visits to Israel, she saw Israelis who have been going into Syria to bring wounded Syrians into Israel for treatment. Her 2016 participation on a Federation trip “brought reality to me in a way nothing else had.” In a world of religious conflict, she remembered being in Jerusalem at “a place that is so sacred to Jews and Christians,” and yet, there was also the Islamic call to prayer. “I am grateful to the Birmingham Federation and Foundation, and all my Jewish friends for all they’ve taught me, and the opportunities they’ve given me to grow and take my passion for Israel to new heights,” she said. Jerry Held was presented the Federation’s Susan Goldberg Distinguished Volunteer Award. Susan Goldberg passed away while serving as Federation president. Held recently completed a two-year term as Federation president, after serving two additional years as co-president with his wife, Ginger, who was the first recipient of the award 12 years ago. Held’s children, Layne Held, Elisa Nelson
Mayor-elect Randall Woodfin speaks at the community event at Temple Emanu-El and Brian Held, presented the award, noting their parents’ special relationship with Susan Goldberg and her husband, Edward Goldberg, and committing to “do our best to follow your footsteps.” Held said it was particularly special to receive the award named for Susan Goldberg on the night when Edward Goldberg would be receiving the N.E. Miles Lifetime Achievement Award. Held spoke about today’s “completely different landscape for our religious institutions” and the Reimagining Jewish Birmingham process currently underway, “to discuss what we can do to better serve the Jewish community for generations to come.” He urged the community to “be passionate about our future be patient as options are discussed, and participate.” Ginger Held presented Edward Goldberg with his award, saying he “may not have been born here, but he represents the best of our community. We are incredibly fortunate that this is where he and Susan, of blessed memory, decided to call home, raise their children, and build his business.” She said “ensuring the Jewish future is something that is always on your mind.” Goldberg said that when growing up, “we knew it was always important to give.” Susan’s family, he said, “taught her not only to give tzedakah, but involve yourself ” in a cause. He spoke of those like N.E. Miles, who “paved the way for many worthwhile programs we have today” and said “it’s time for us to pay our Jewish tax… Our community needs your help. Commit to an organization that touches you.” He finished with a plug for endowing annual campaign gifts through the Birmingham Jewish Foundation.
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Alison Lebovitz kicks off North Alabama Federation campaign The Jewish Federation of Huntsville and North Alabama had a larger than anticipated turnout for its campaign kickoff event, featuring Birmingham native Alison Lebovitz as guest speaker. Now living in Chattanooga, Lebovitz is host of The A List on PBS, and author of “Am I There Yet?” She is past co-chair of National Young Leadership for the Jewish Federations of North America. Jeff Lapidus and his daughter Gabi opened the program by singing several Hebrew songs. After a Federation campaign video, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar gave the invocation. Federation President Michelle Lapidus welcomed attendees, and installed incoming board members: Lori Asbury, Morty Banks, Jerry and Nancy Fishman, Sharon Frost, Renata Limmer and Joel Weinbaum. Barry Berman, David Block, Eric Goldby, Sue Paddock and Max and Millie Rosenthal were then recognized for their service. After Campaign Chairman Joe Paddock expressed gratitude to those who support the Federation’s mission, Arlene Averbuch introduced Lebovitz. “As Southern Jews, we could relate to Alison’s humor and inspirational stories,” said event chair Nancy Morrison. “As Jews, whose roots spring from all corners of the globe, Alison’s message of benevolence rather than charity resonated deeply.”
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community Ariel anniversary events in Birmingham, Mobile
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The 40th anniversary of the “Capital of Samaria,” Ariel, will be celebrated in Birmingham and Mobile this month. Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro and Avi Zimmerman, executive director of American Friends of Ariel, will be in Birmingham on Nov. 20 and Mobile on Nov. 21. Alabama has two of the six stops on Ariel’s anniversary tour — other visits are in New York, Tyler and Dallas, Tex., and Miami. The events will also feature the Celebrate Ariel Performance Troupe, which combines two of Ariel’s leading youth performance groups and the award-winning Ariel International Folk Dance Troupe of Dora and Masha Litvak. In 1974, Ron Nachman was asked by the Israeli government to find a group of families to start a community at a barren hilltop in the heart of Samaria. Tents were erected in early 1978, and the community began that summer with 40 families, and Nachman as founding mayor. Today, Ariel has over 18,000 residents, is the fourth-largest community in the territories and features Ariel University, which has an enrollment of 14,000. The Birmingham event will be at Temple Emanu-El at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the community. A VIP reception will start at 6:30 p.m., tickets are $45. In Mobile, there will be a VIP event at Spring Hill College’s Gautrelet Room, starting at 5:30 p.m. VIP tickets are $35. The 7 p.m. program, which is free and open to the community, will be at St. Paul’s Theatre. Mobile became a sister city with Ariel in August 2008. Ariel is home to Israel’s premier outdoor training site, the Ariel National Center for Leadership Development, which was initiated by Heather Johnston of Birmingham. The center provides a one-of-a-kind, experiential platform which trains the next generation of Israeli and international leaders. Modeled on Johnston’s JH Ranch in California, the Ariel center has training programs based on Biblical narratives, to give Israeli leaders vision for the future through a bond with the past. Johnston also founded the U.S.-Israel Educational Association “to bring greater awareness to what’s happening in Ariel and its growing impact on Israeli society.” The organization sponsors trips to Israel for U.S. Representatives and Senators. The group has organized four tours thus far. Tickets to the VIP events are available at friendsofariel.org.
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Schiff is Beth Shalom scholar in residence Rabbi Daniel Schiff will be the scholar in residence at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge the weekend of Dec. 1. Schiff is the Foundation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, and the founder and president of the Museum of Jewish Ideas. An Australia native, Schiff has served as rabbi in Melbourne, Australia, and White Oak, Pa. He also was the community scholar for the Agency for Jewish Learning in Pittsburgh. He has written numerous articles on Jewish law and ethics, and is the author of “Abortion in Judaism.” He will speak at the 6:30 p.m. service on Dec. 1. On Dec. 2, he will lead Conversations in Jewish Thought at 9 a.m., followed by the 10 a.m. service and a Kiddush lunch and learn.
Scherzer to speak at Jax Federation event Linda Scherzer, who covered the Middle East for CNN for many years, will be the guest speaker at the Jackson Jewish Federation Shabbat on Nov. 17 at Beth Israel. The service will be at 6:15 p.m. and is followed by an oneg. Her presentation will be about how news is gathered, alleged bias and how to combat negative media images. Scherzer covered the first Intifada, the Gulf War and the Middle East peace process for CNN, including an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while wearing a gas mask during an Iraqi Scud missile attack. She became the first North American to work on-air for Israel’s Hebrew-language news program, “Mabat.” She visited Damascus twice to report on the Syrian attitudes toward peace, and produced a documentary, “Through the Eyes of Enemies: Is the Middle East Ready for Peace,” exploring perspectives on Israel in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. She is now a public relations and media consultant, advising the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. She also directs Write On For Israel, teaching high school students how to defend Israel once in college.
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In mid-October, Levite Jewish Community Center President Allison Weil and JCC Maccabi Games Co-Chairs Bruce Sokol and Layne Held met with Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Don Lupo and Deputy Chief Hatcher to present them with Midot Medals for their work with the Games. The Games, which were held in Birmingham in early August, involved 900 athletes from 25 communities around the country. Midot medals are given to athletes and coaches who display exceptional sportsmanship. Midot medals were also given the the police officers who helped keep the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games safe.
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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 25
Up your brunch game. And lunch. Annnnd supper.
community Birmingham Jewish Foundation announces record amount of grants Over $9.6 million in past five years
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The Birmingham Jewish Foundation announced that over the last five years, the agency has made a record amount of grants, totaling almost $9.6 million. Of this amount, well over half — $5.5 million — has stayed in the Alabama Jewish community. During the years of 2013 to 2017, many of these grants have gone for major projects and needs for the local Jewish community, such as over $50,000 in security upgrades for Birmingham’s Jewish community agencies, $30,000 to help underwrite the recent Maccabi games and $2.9 million to The Birmingham Jewish Federation. Additional significant Jewish community grants include the CJFS CARES program which provides stimulation and activities for those with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders; the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School Building for the Future campaign; the recent Jewish community-wide demographic study and database update; Chabad’s Friendship Circle, which brings together typically-developed and special needs teens; scholarships for Jewish camping, the Levite Jewish Community Center and the Day School. Foundation funds have been given in major grants to Jewish Federations of North America to help Israel during the 2014 Gaza War, and to Operation Lifeshield, which builds shelters to protect Israelis on the northern and Gaza borders from rocket attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas. In addition to these grants, over $1 million has gone for charitable purposes in the broader Birmingham community over the past five years, to organizations such as Breakthrough Birmingham, which provides summer academic programs for Birmingham students from disadvantaged schools, and to United Way, Foundation Executive Director Sally Friedman said the Foundation is fortunate to have 127 Donor Advised Funds. “These named funds are established by donors, from which they can make recommendations each year as to grants. These recommendations can be to Jewish community or general community organizations which are in keeping with the mission of the Foundation and may come not only from the earnings of the fund, but also often from the principal of the fund.” The Donor Advised Funds are a major source of community funding, with about $6.5 million of the Foundation’s $9.5 million in total grants coming from these funds. Friedman said the record high stock market may present a special opportunity for those who are interested in charitable giving. “Many of the Foundation’s Donor Advised Funds were opened with appreciated stock,” she said, urging potential donors to check with their financial advisors. “Many individuals can donate stock which has been held at least a year and receive a deduction for the full fair market value of the stock, without being taxed on the long-term capital gain,” she said. The Foundation sells the stock and the proceeds go into a fund in the donor’s name. “This could prove to be a great time to open a new Donor Advised Fund, which can be done for $2500, or add to an existing fund in any amount.”
B’nai Israel’s Big Buddies in Baton Rouge For 40 years, the Men’s Club at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge has been helping families in need through the Big Buddy Shopping Spree. Each year, the group sponsors numerous families, at roughly $125 per family. On Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m., volunteers will accompany children from those families on a shopping spree at Macy’s in the Mall of Louisiana, helping them select items for their family members. Over 1,000 children have been able to “bring the holidays in their home” since the project began. 26 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
culture art • books • apps • music • television • film • theatre
The Williams Research Center reading room at the Historic New Orleans Collection
STORYVILLE: MUSIC AND MADAMS
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Artifacts on view at The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Williams Research Center’s “Storyville: Music and Madams” include musical recordings, instruments, photographs, Blue Books, advertisements (including Elias Aaron and Bro., and A. Falk cigar manufacturers), captivating E. J. Belloq portraits famously printed posthumously by Lee Friedlander, and even a transom from Lulu White’s Mahogany Hall at 235 Basin Street. That’s the building White sold in 1929, destitute and in serious trouble with the law, to Leon Heymann, president of Krauss Department Store. There’s a lot of Jewish interest here. Not incredibly long lived, and filled with brothels, beer halls and saloons, Storyville was recognized as a District by an 1897 ordinance and closed in 1917 by Mayor Martin Behrman, whose famous quote on the Blue Book, Tenderloin “400”; New Orleans, matter was “You can make it illegal, but you ; The Historic New can’t make it unpopular.” It’s clearly survived Orleans Collection, 94092-RL Image courtesy of much longer in our collective storytelling. The Historic New Orleans Today, original Blue Books, the Storyville Collection directories of prostitutes including name, address, and race (some of which had a separate listing for “The Jew Colony” or denoted Jewish women with a ‘J’ next to their name), are extremely scarce and sell at auction for thousands of dollars. Those among THNOC’s holdings were preserved thanks in large part to four different collectors, one being an astute collector of ephemera, Simon James Shwartz, of the A. Shwartz and Son, and later Maison Blanche, department stores. Compelling and incredibly well researched, the exhibit complements THNOC’s newest book, “Guidebooks to Sin: The Blue Books of Storyville” by Pamela D. Arceneaux, who was also one of the curators. “Storyville: Music and Madams” is on view through Dec. 9 with free admission.
Steve Schapiro (American, born 1936), Freedom Bus Riders, Summer of ‘64, Oxford, Ohio, 1964, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, purchase with funds from the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, 2007.217.
A FIRE THAT NO WATER COULD PUT OUT: Civil Rights Photography High Museum of Art, Atlanta With a title taken from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last speech, Steve Schapiro (American, born “A Fire that No Water Could Put Out” includes more than 1936), Dr. Martin Luther King’s Motel Room after He Was 40 prints of civil rights scenes, including many by Jewish Shot, Memphis, Tennessee, photographers, including Danny Lyon, who joined the 1968, gelatin silver print. High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Selma purchase with funds from in 1962, and Steve Schapiro, who covered the Selma to the H. B. and Doris Massey Charitable Trust, 2007.225. Montgomery march. Images by contemporary artist Jason Lazarus are also on display. The exhibit, which will be displayed from Nov. 4 to May 27, is made up in large part from the High’s own civil rights photography collection which includes works by Leonard Freed and Bruce Davidson.
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 27
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Marilyn Cox Much has changed in the 40 years since Keith Katz, with New Orleans Morgan Stanley, launched his career in the financial and investments inThese materials are not from HUD or FHA and were not approved by HUD or a government agency. Home Bank NMLS# 685994 dustry. But what hasn’t changed is a commitment to understanding the needs of individual clients and providing them with a financial services portfoHomeBank NOLA market.indd 1 10/19/17 lio that meets those needs. “It is today as it was back then,” said Katz. “I help people conserve, preserve and add assets, while helping them to prepare for retirement.” Katz said the biggest advancement in the industry over the last 40 years has been the technology. “The biggest impetus has been the computer. The ability to do so much online has not only made things more convenient for everyone but it has opened doors for new products and services that we can offer,” he said. “It has allowed for more options for asset diversification and allocation.” Katz grew up in Mississippi, the Bad markets grandson of a peddler from New Orleans. His dad owned a clothing store in breed good Starkville. Katz earned his masters deinvestors… you gree at LSU and came to New Orleans in the 1970s to start his financial services learn from your career. “We have had to weather some bad mistakes market times. I think bad markets breed good investors. You learn from your mistakes and look for options to make things good in the bad times and Arty Finkelberg CFA, CFP® better in the good times,” he said. Senior Vice President, Investments Katz and his partner Evan Jacobs are happy to have some excellent, Managing Director, Investments long-time clients and represent Morgan Stanley, “one of the preeminent investment firms in the world.” Katz also takes pride in his community involvement. He serves on the T: 601.856.1212 Jewish Endowment Foundation board and the Temple Sinai board in F: 601.607.7675 E: firstname.lastname@example.org New Orleans. Katz also serves on the board of Lighthouse for the Blind. 1062 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 100 “I also have been involved with a very significant, important project Ridgeland, MS 39157 to bring the Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience to New Orleans in 2019,” he said. “We’re very excited about what they will bring to New Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Minimum $500,000 Investment Portfolio Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC Orleans and our community.”
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 29
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For more than 35 years, Arty Finkelberg, CFA, CFP and managing director of investments at the Ridgeland, Miss., office of Raymond James & Associates, has developed and implemented investment strategies for a diverse array of clients. His hands-on portfolio management is based on fully understanding the client’s risk tolerance and building a long-term relationship. He leads Finkelberg Investments of Raymond James, a five-person team that manages more than $450 million in assets and offers clients investment management and retirement planning services. The key to his success is an investment strategy designed to take emotion and worry away from the investor by steadfastly following his proprietary research model. For more than 18 years Finkelberg Investments has utilized a unique methodology and provided thoughtful, insightful strategies for clients. “People trust us with their wealth, their life’s savings, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We want clients to be long-term investors, reach their goals and understand that we are investing alongside them,” Finkelberg said. “It is also important that the investor be disciplined and we try to supply that discipline. We are going to stick to a research and portfolio management strategy that works over time and we are not going to become emotional. There may be times that we will be out of the synch with the market, but we are not going to change what we are doing.” Finkelberg is a strong believer in establishing long-term client relationships built on respect and integrity. Consequently, many clients have trusted him and his team with their investments and retirement planning for decades, some since he began as an advisor in 1982. “This is a lifetime partnership,” said Finkelberg. “People tell us that the biggest benefit of working with us is that they worry less. That is based upon confidence, trust and knowing we have their best interests at heart. Our clients are comfortable with delegating their worry to us, and we are willing to accept that.” For diversification purposes, Finkelberg Investments requires a minimum $500,000 investment portfolio. In 1996, Finkelberg received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, an advanced accreditation that requires a thorough study and examination process and requires high integrity and professional standards. He later was elected president of the CFA Society for Mississippi. Finkelberg also earned accreditation as a Certified Financial Planner professional. A native New Yorker, Finkelberg moved to Jackson in 1975 to work for a Fortune 500 company. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the State University of New York, and a Master of Business Administration and a Certificate in Professional Accounting from Mississippi College. He is an active member of Beth Israel Congregation, having served on the board and as an officer. His wife Amy is a pastor, previously affiliated with Northminster Baptist in Jackson, and currently leads workshops and retreats.
In an article highlightiing Warren Buffett’s participation in his second Israel Bonds event in less than a year, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article in August headlined, “Buffett Sings the Praises of Israel Bonds.” The article said Buffett “likes to invest in Israel because it is a success story similar to the U.S.” In speaking of investing in Israel bonds, the Journal quoted Buffett as saying, “From the standpoint of accomplishments beyond financial returns… I think it’s an excellent choice.”
UNDERSTANDING ESTATE PLANNING
When should people think about estate planning?
Second, create a personal financial statement. Put on paper all of your assets — cash, investments, cars, valuables, real estate, and retirement plans, etc. Do not forget to also list the liabilities associated with these assets, meaning your loans for the real estate, cars, and credit cards. If and when something happens to you, your family will have an outline of what you own and what you owe. This is critical because life goes on and there are still bills to pay. If you don’t have it written down in detail, your family will be forced to dig through all of your records to make sure nothing falls through the cracks while they are still in the grieving process.
Contrary to popular belief, everyone over the age of 18 should consider establishing appropriate estate planning documents which provide for the administration and distribution of their estate and designate a person to make medical and financial decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. When do most people start the estate planning process? Most people get started later in life, typically after they experience a significant event like marriage or the birth of a child. It’s critical that estate planning documents are updated as life’s circumstances change. The birth of another child, a change of residence, sale of a business, and divorce are all reasons to review and revise documents.
Third, reflect on and write down your wishes. Where do you want your assets to go? How do you want your end-of-life decisions managed? Who do you trust to manage your finances, health care and children’s future? Who will serve as the back-ups for those people? Have you considered naming a corporate trustee to help alleviate the stress associated with settling a loved one’s estate? What about a corporate trustee to help manage your family’s inheritance on an ongoing basis?
What are some of the key steps? First, commit to the process. Talking about your mortality is not fun or easy. But committing to creating documents to transfer your assets can ensure that your children will be cared for according to your wishes, and confirm that your end-of-life care requests can be upheld.
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 31
“It is always important for people to periodically review their estate plans, and certainly those who did their estate planning in 2000 or before should revisit and possibly reconfigure their plan”
Fourth, engage a trust and estates attorney. Our PNC Wealth Management team frequently refers clients to these professionals who have experience helping families of all net worth levels. Our team then works together with the client and the attorney to help confirm that the client’s wishes are reflected in their estate planning documents.
Are taxes a big consideration? Estate tax is not the biggest issue for most people because the exclusion is now $5.45 million per person. To put this in perspective, there are about 33,000 people in the United States who would be subject to the estate tax. Meanwhile, in 2015, there were nearly 150 million individual tax returns filed.
Who should you involve in your estate planning? All of your key advisors should weigh in — including your accountant, trust and estate attorney, insurance advisor, banking partners, and investment advisor. It’s often helpful, especially in terms of time and communication, for one advisor to take the lead and coordinate the effort. For the families our team works with, we can take responsibility for doing this since often we have a close relationship with the client.
Back in 2000, the estate tax exclusion was $675,000 per person, so the tax impacted many more people. It is always important for people to periodically review their estate plans, and certainly those who did their estate planning in 2000 or before should revisit and possibly reconfigure their plan to take advantage of changes to tax law that have occurred since then.
One important step that’s often overlooked involves sitting down and putting some thoughts on paper about what you want to achieve before you meet with your advisors. If you’re in a committed relationship, you should do this with your spouse or partner. By doing this fairly straightforward exercise, you can move past some of the more emotional parts of the process with your advisors relatively quickly and get right to the planning. Finally, include children in the planning process. Educating the next generation as early as possible about managing family wealth or a family-run business can be incredibly valuable. As children approach adulthood, a family meeting can help parents discuss their financial situation and what they would like to happen upon their deaths. Your family doesn’t have to meet every quarter, but it’s advisable to establish a regular meeting schedule. These types of meetings can be difficult on a number of levels, not just because of the emotional component. Depending on your family’s dynamics, discussions do not necessarily have to involve account balances but can instead be centered on the estate plan itself. This is where, for example, our PNC Wealth Management team can lead that conversation and make sure your family’s time together is as productive and stress free as it can be.
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What are some pitfalls to estate planning and how can you avoid them? First, pay attention to how you title financial accounts. The way accounts are titled can inadvertently override the language in your estate documents. For example, titling a bank account “payable upon death” will result in the person you listed receiving the balance of the account regardless of the distribution instructions written in your will or trust. Another pitfall can be having family members settle an estate. This is typically a complex and time consuming process, which is compounded by emotions and challenging family dynamics. Even for a simple estate, handling all of the paperwork can become a full-time job. We highly recommend engaging a professional like a bank or an attorney. Our PNC Wealth Management team supports thousands of families with estate settlement responsibilities every day. What does creating a legacy mean? Creating a legacy means using your wealth to leave a meaningful, lasting impact, not only on your family, but the causes and organizations that are important to you. It’s also important to remember that you can develop a legacy during your lifetime by giving to charities and volunteering your time. It’s not just about what you leave after you’re gone. What is a favorite way to give money or assets to charity? Consider donor-advised funds. Think of donor advised funds as a diversified portfolio you’ve earmarked for charity. You can make regular contributions and eventually the charity benefits from gains made over the years and the experience of a professionally managed portfolio. Just like other charitable contributions, you get an income tax deduction at the end of each year. You can sock away money for years before even deciding which causes inspire you. Donor-advised funds are a great way to make charitable giving a part of your life and finances — and before you know it you’ve created a legacy.
The material presented in this article is of a general nature and does not constitute the provision by PNC of investment, legal, tax, or accounting advice to any person, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or adopt any investment strategy. Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. The information was obtained from sources deemed reliable. Such information is not guaranteed as to its accuracy. You should seek the advice of an investment professional to tailor a financial plan to your particular needs. For more information, please contact PNC at 1-888-762-6226. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (“PNC”) uses the marketing names PNC Wealth Management® and Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth® to provide investment, wealth management, and fiduciary services through its subsidiary, PNC Bank, National Association (“PNC Bank”), which is a Member FDIC, and to provide specific fiduciary and agency services through its subsidiary, PNC Delaware Trust Company or PNC Ohio Trust Company. PNC also uses the marketing names PNC Institutional Asset Management®, PNC Retirement Solutions®, Vested Interest®, and PNC Institutional Advisory Solutions® for the various discretionary and non-discretionary institutional investment activities conducted through PNC Bank and through PNC’s subsidiary PNC Capital Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser (“PNC Capital Advisors”). Standalone custody, escrow, and directed trustee services; FDIC-insured banking products and services; and lending of funds are also provided through PNC Bank. Securities products, brokerage services, and managed account advisory services are offered by PNC Investments LLC, a registered broker-dealer and a registered investment adviser and member of FINRA and SIPC. Insurance products may be provided through PNC Insurance Services, LLC, a licensed insurance agency affiliate of PNC, or through licensed insurance agencies that are not affiliated with PNC; in either case a licensed insurance affiliate may receive compensation if you choose to purchase insurance through these programs. A decision to purchase insurance will not affect the cost or availability of other products or services from PNC or its affiliates. PNC does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice unless, with respect to tax advice, PNC Bank has entered into a written tax services agreement. PNC does not provide services in any jurisdiction in which it is not authorized to conduct business. PNC Bank is not registered as a municipal advisor under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Act”). Investment management and related products and services provided to a “municipal entity” or “obligated person” regarding “proceeds of municipal securities” (as such terms are defined in the Act) will be provided by PNC Capital Advisors. “PNC Wealth Management,” “Hawthorn, PNC Family Wealth,” “Vested Interest,” “PNC Institutional Asset Management,” “PNC Retirement Solutions,” and “PNC Institutional Advisory Solutions” are registered service marks of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Investments: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank Guarantee. May Lose Value.
32 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
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Year-End Charitable Tax Strategies in a Time of Tax Uncertainty
Jared Cohen Financial Representative Birmingham (205) 567-9024 jaredcohen.nm.com
by Leigh Kaylor November is the perfect time to plan your year-end tax strategies, rather than waiting until the end of December. However, with talk of tax reform in the air, the uncertainty about future tax laws might tempt you to wait until the last minute to commit to any tax planning. Here are three year- end tax charitable tax planning strategies, plus a bonus strategy, that you can commit to now and feel good about. Accelerating charitable gifts you may have planned to make in the future into 2017 to deduct them this year. There are two reasons for using this tax strategy this year. First, it has been widely reported that the home mortgage interest and charitable deductions will be safe under the likely tax proposals, but that does not necessarily mean the charitable deduction we have now will be the same deduction under a new law. As the tax writers look for revenue to offset the tax rate cuts they propose, they could retain (which was the word used in the Unified Framework For Fixing Our Broken Tax Code) but modify the charitable deduction to help with budget scoring, without fully eliminating the deduction. Making a gift to charity this year will ensure that you get to use the charitable deduction in its present form. Second, another widely reported feature of the tax proposals is a reduction in the number of tax brackets and a reduction in the top tax rate. If you are in the 39.6% tax bracket in 2017, a charitable deduction now would let you offset the deduction against income being taxed at a higher rate. For example, a gift of $100,000 at the current 39.6 percent tax rate saves $4,600 more than the same gift at a proposed 35 percent rate. Set up a Donor Advised Fund this month and fund it minimally. If it appears that the law on charitable deductions will change after 2017, by having a DAF already in place, you can quickly transfer funds into one pot and then split the money among charities in future years, but your deduction will count in 2017. Many charitable organizations sponsor DAFs. Make charitable contributions in 2017 directly from your IRA. This strategy has less to do with the charitable deduction than it does minimizing your income, with the associated benefits that flow from that. If you are age 70 you may direct up to $100,000 from your IRA to charity. That amount will qualify as part of your required minimum distribution for 2017, but will not be included in your taxable income. You will not get a charitable deduction, but excluding that amount from your income may lower your tax bracket, reduce your itemized deductions floor, making your other itemized deductions more valuable, and decrease the likelihood you will be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax. Here is a bonus strategy to consider. There is talk that the state and local tax deduction will be eliminated under future tax law, so you could accelerate payment of your state and local taxes into 2017 to take that deduction this year while it is still allowed. Doing that could affect whether you are subject to the AMT, so you will want to run the numbers both ways. The charitable IRA strategy discussed above could help with that problem. Giving to charity has its own rewards. Giving to charity is good for your community and good for your soul. But doing good and reducing taxes while doing it is the perfect combination.
05-4000 © 2016 The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual).
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Leigh Kaylor concentrates her practice in estate planning and estate administration at Sirote & Permutt in Birmingham, from basic wills and trusts, to more sophisticated grantor retained annuity trusts, family-owned limited liability entities, life insurance trusts, and generation-skipping “dynasty” trusts. Her practice also involves administration of taxable and non-taxable estates and trusts, including counseling clients in post-mortem planning techniques and administrative obligations, as well as preparation of federal estate tax returns
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 33
A few minutes with Jared Cohen Northwestern Mutual offers internship opportunities SJL: Tell me a little about your background: Cohen: I moved from Peoria, Ill., to Birmingham in middle school, played on the varsity tennis, track, and debate team at Mountain Brook High School. Then I went to college at the University of Alabama, double majored in finance and economics, played club tennis, and was a founding father and President of Alpha Epsilon Pi. Today, I serve as a youth advisor for BBYO and a big brother for AEPi at Alabama and captain the Jewish Federation’s You Belong in Birmingham Kickball Team, the “Matzoh Balls.” What type of clients do you typically work with? My practice primarily focuses on working with both young and established physicians, attorneys, small business owners, and real estate professionals in the Birmingham area. That being said, my door is always open, and I’m always eager to offer myself and my firm as a resource.
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34 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
What type of services do you offer? Ultimately, our goal is to create financial peace of mind with our clients knowing that their family is taken care of and protected. Our services include insurance, investments, and planning for both individuals and businesses. By combining advanced financial planning tools and a personal relationship, we’re able to create a customized solution to help our clients throughout their life stages. Does Northwestern Mutual offer any opportunities for college students who are interested in learning more about financial planning? Yes, we have a paid spring, summer, and fall internship available to college students who are interested in learning more about what it’s like to be financial advisor. Vault.com has ranked us as a top 10 internship for the past 21 years and has us at No. 4 for 2017. I started at Northwestern Mutual as an intern and it really helped prepare me for what I do now. Rather than grabbing people coffee or scanning documents, you get to see real life experience of being an advisor by attending client meetings and learning how to build financial plans. If anyone is interested in the internship, please feel free to contact me. I would love to share more of my experiences with you and introduce you to other members of our firm. The best way to reach Jared is his cell: (205) 567-9024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s Get This Party Started IT’S NOT CALLED THE HOLIDAY OF LIGHTS FOR NOTHING. USE THOSE EIGHT DAYS FOR CHIC, SPARKLE AND SHINE.
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10/20/2014 2:21:34 AM
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 35
High fashion at Gameday for football season and the rest of the year by Lee J. Green
Outdoor Dining (weather permitting) Expanded Dining Room — Perfect for Private Parties
Check out our Seasonal Menu! Shrimp and Grits • Seafood • Local Organic Produce and Meats
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When Sylvia Gonda’s daughter was a freshman at the University of Alabama, she remarked to her mom that it was hard to find fashionable women’s clothes in team colors to wear to the games. Sylvia, who was skilled at making clothes and was working at the time in retail with Coldwater Creek, decided to do something about it. She started Gameday in Style Boutique as a vendor in a few stores and then opened her own store, three years ago, at the corner of Valleydale Road and Highway 280 in Inverness Corners south of Birmingham. The “gameday” outfits do not have any logos on them and the staff can work with customers to customize team colors. Teams represented include the Alabama Crimson Tide, Auburn Tigers, UAB Blazers, Mississippi State and Samford Bulldogs. With growing popularity, customer demand and feedback, the merchandise progressed from Gameday to include a very large variety of everyday boutique-style clothing. Gonda is originally from the Greek Island of Cyprus and came to the U.S. on a Fulbright Scholarship. She got a degree in organic chemistry and worked in cancer research for 10 years. Even though her training was in science, Gonda always had a passion for fashion. Because of her European influence, she wanted to bring stylish fashion at great prices to her store. She goes on buying trips across the world to find unique merchandise. Gonda’s vision was to have daughters and mothers be able to shop together, so she has styles appropriate for most age brackets and also offers clothing for regular as well as Plus sizes. She is very select and limits items, in order to offer uniqueness. Since Gonda believes that accessories make the outfit, Gameday carries one of the largest selection of handmade costume and semi-precious jewelry in the Birmingham area. The jewelry is mostly exclusive to Gameday in Style Boutique with artisans from all over the world. She said they also could order custom Judaica jewelry and Israeli jewelry upon request. Gonda is most proud and excited about building relationships with her customers. “Our customers become part of our family” she added. “Our friendly staff is happy to offer stylish advice. We take time to listen to the customer’s needs and put together a complete look — clothes, shoes and boots, jewelry.” Gameday in Style Boutique is open Monday to Saturday, and one can also buy on their social media sites, @gamedayinstyle, both on Facebook and Instagram. “It’s retail therapy at its best” said Gonda. That sounds like a win-win.
8138 Hampson St. New Orleans 504/861-9925 symmetryjewelers.com.com Symmetry returns jewelry to being an art form, working with local, national and international artists, with in-house designer-craftsman Tom Mathis. Custom-designed floral scroll Star of David $375 (chain not included) 36 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
Oh baby, there’s something good in the New Orleans area by Lee J. Green Babies are welcome new additions to families, and ZukaBaby, which carries some products for babies and their parents that can’t be found anywhere else, has been a welcome addition to the New Orleans area retail scene in Metairie. And its owner, Betsy Becker, also offers some unique Judaica gifts for babies, along with services such as gift registries, product rentals, curbside pickup, online shopping, local delivery and parenting classes. “We are focused on providing the highest quality safe, organic, sustainable baby products and innovative gear” said Becker. “We also want to be a resource for parents and grandparents, whether they want to learn baby sign language, create a custom gift basket for a baby shower or rent a stroller.” Betsy had been working in Austin doing digital marketing for the Whole Foods corporate office before moving with her husband, David, to New Orleans in early 2013. She initially discovered ZukaBaby when shopping for her young sons, Jackson, now 5, and Robbie, now 3. Shortly after discovering the store, she applied for job there, and was hired by the former owner to revamp the store’s website and help with marketing and operations. The former owner also had another area store, and after a little while sold the Metairie location to Becker. One year ago, the owner closed the other location, and Becker bought the brand. “We love to support our local vendors, and carry a lot of locally made products,” she said. “ZukaBaby also has many products that people can’t find anywhere else in the region. It feels good to sell the latest products that are safe for babies and sustainable for our environment.” Call it a double mitzvah. Some of ZukaBaby’s most popular gift items include baby clothing, blankets and crib sheets made from bamboo, which is softer and more breathable than other materials, and friendlier to a baby’s sensitive skin. Changes to baby products in recent years include car seats and strollers that are made to be even Chanukah gift basket safer, lighter, more comfortable and even more convenient, Becker said. “We sell a car seat that with the touch of one button becomes a stroller.” Gear that grows with the baby has also become more popular, including wooden high chairs that convert into standard dining room chairs, and cribs that convert into toddler beds. There have also been many innovations in products to help babies — and their parents — sleep better, including travel-sized white noise machines, zip-up swaddle blankets and portable sleeping docks for infants, designed to recreate the feeling of the womb. In addition to gear, they also sell a wide selection of hands-free baby
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Natural Baby Products • Innovative Gear • Gift Registry Product Rentals • Local Delivery Save 15% In Store or at zukababy.com, use promo code SJL15 3248 Severn Ave, Metairie • 504-407-2700 • zukababy.com
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38 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
carriers, breastfeeding accessories, teething and feeding essentials, and noise-cancelling headphones for babies to wear during Mardi Gras parades, for example. ZukaBaby wants to be a reflection of both the New Orleans community and the Jewish community. They carry organic Chanukah pajamas with menorahs on them, maplewood dreidels, Jewish holiday board books and music CDs. There’s also plenty of “Crescent City gear,” with some of the most popular local items including wooden fleur de lis teething toys; New Orleans Saints baby clothing, a wide selection of children’s books by local authors and organic cotton baby blankets, bibs and caps with maps of New Orleans and Louisiana on them. Becker said they are the only store in town that sells both eco-friendly disposable diapers and modern, reusable cloth diapers that are safe for babies and good for the environment. They even offer a free Cloth Diapering 101 class to help parents understand the benefits of cloth diapers and how to care for them. In addition to classes and baby gift registries, ZukaBaby offers rental and rent-to-buy product options. “It could be for grandparents that just need a portable crib or stroller for when the grandbaby visits. Or if parents want to try the latest baby carrier, bouncer or sleepsuit before buying, we can do that,” she said. Becker grew up in Gulfport, Miss., and her family was involved in the Jewish community there. She is on the board of Gates of Prayer and was selected to be a part of the current Katz-Phillips Leadership Development Program class of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. In late October, she took part in the Katz-Phillips 10-day trip to Israel. While over there, she hoped to meet with some prospective new vendors for ZukaBaby. “I support Israel and we for sure want to carry products from there,” she said. Becker’s great-grandfather and grandfather came to Mississippi from Russia. They were steel and scrap metal entrepreneurs and also leaders of their local synagogue. “That sense of entrepreneurship and commitment to the Jewish community runs in the family,” she said. “I am inspired by them every day.”
Give the gift of organization Closets by Design also does home offices, pantries Now with a central Alabama location, Closets by Design works to simplify life, by designing, building and installing custom closets, garage cabinets, home offices, laundries, pantries, design wall beds, wardrobe mirror doors and much more. Organizing closets can be the beginning of bringing functional organization to the whole house, and a wide range of finishes, accessories and hardware give a customized look. Closets by Design offers three closet systems, each of which will maximize space. It starts with a no obligation, in-home consultation with one of their five talented designers, and continues with high-quality products that offer the best value in the industry. For home offices, Closets by Design has innovative and effective systems. Pantries can help streamline cooking and cleaning, and a garage can be transformed into a workshop, garden center or crafting space with plenty of storage. Unlike most such companies, Closets by Design uses a floor-based system, making their systems stronger and more stable. Though relatively new to Alabama, Closets by Design began in California in 1982 and now is a national company with 51 locations, including one on the Northshore in the New Orleans area. They have a state of the art factory to build individual solutions, with an installation team that works quickly and neatly. To become completely organized, call today — or for Chanukah, make the call for someone who needs a little organizational help!
Great journalism digs out the facts, examines all of the arguments, and includes diverse voices and opinions. WBHM brings you great journalism every day. And we do it with your financial help. Become a member today at wbhm.org.
Listen on 90.3 FM in Birmingham, 91.5 in Gadsden, 104.5 in Fort Payne, online and through the app.
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Happy Chanukah • Celebrate Gameday in style…
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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 39
Kenny & Ziggy’s Houston, Tex.
7575 Parkway Drive Leeds, Ala 205/702.7055 earthbornpottery.net
Check out our new tops, recital gifts and Flip Belts
Celebrating Our 36th Year Family Owned and Operated!! Katie Wade Faught – owner
1629 Oxmoor Road • Homewood, AL 35209 (205) 871-7837 Visit us in-store or at www.applausedancewear.net
to stock up your dance bag for everything you need!
Southern Jewish Life (205) 870-7889 • (504) 491-0562 Toll-Free (866) 446-5894
From the finest restaurants to your home… Earthborn pottery is restaurant sturdy, dishwasher, oven and microwave safe. It’s artisan work that is passed to down to generations. And Earthborn “buttons” can be made into any logo or mark… the Star of David, a Menorah, or your favorite image — custom dinnerware that’s beautiful and functional!
Ready for some New York-style Jewish deli — from Houston? If you can’t make it to Kenny & Ziggy’s two physical locations, they do ship their meats and more. They can ship their house-made pastrami or corned beef, matzah balls, chicken soup, latkes, bagels, rye bread, lox, sturgeon, sable, whitefish salad, cream cheeses, Hungarian goulash, stuffed cabbage, kasha varnishkas… and many more treats. You can have several slices of one of the most authentic Jewish delis in the world while sitting at your dining room table. And of course, the platters make a great gift.
4304 Magazine Street New Orleans 504/516-2601 nolaboards.com 519 Wilkinson St. #105 French Quarter NOLA Boards is a homegrown, handcrafted cutting board, countertop and custom furniture business in New Orleans. The cutting boards grew out of the need to find a use for scrap wood from the countertops and custom furniture, and there are now two NOLA Boards retail locations, along with online ordering.
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40 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
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Homewood Toy & Hobby
2830 18th Street So. Birmingham 205/879-3986 homewoodtoy-hobby.com
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Ready to tackle the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle? Ravensburger Disney Memorable Moments Puzzle is for the ultimate Disney collector, with over 40,000 pieces and featuring all of the favorite Disney movies. Homewood Toy and Hobby, which has been an institution in the Birmingham area since 1950, is also the go-to place for Lego, Playmobil, Lionel, Melissa and Doug, and many other well-known brands.
Independent Living Assisted Living
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1701 Valley View Drive Birmingham 205/933-1409 visitvulcan.com
a part of Greenbriar at the Altamont, will provide you or your loved one personalized care in a warm homelike environment.
Those who love Birmingham’s famous Iron Man and gifts featuring Alabama and from local artists can find everything they want at The Anvil — the gift shop at Vulcan Park and Museum. The only way to see snow regularly in Birmingham may well be this Vulcan snow globe ($29.99). For a sweet gift, there’s the Birmingham Candy Company, founded by Cassie and Wayne Bolden in Birmingham. Only local ingredients are used; each candy is hand-crafted; and every batch is made following time-tested, Southern-approved recipes. Pictured are the Chocolate Alabama State ($4) and Chocolate Paws ($3.50).
Greenbriar on Hanover offers Memory Care Assisted Living, commonly referred to as Specialty Care Assisted Living (SCALF) and Assisted Living (ALF)
Noland Health Services offer your loved one a compassionate environment to help maintain both physical and mental independence for as long as possible.
212 41st St. So Birmingham 205/942-9460 myimagehive.com Do you have a box full of memories that you can’t access, because it’s all on ancient film, 35mm slides, videotape that you can’t play any more? Or know someone who does? Give the gift of memories restored, let Image Hive transfer and restore those precious moments in digital form. Or, want to explore your creative side? Image Hive has photography and video space that can be rented and classes that can teach artistic skills.
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 41
Baton Rouge, Jackson announce Jewish film festival lineups With film festival season nearing, the Baton Rouge and Mississippi Jewish Film Festivals have announced their lineups for the coming year. The Mobile Jewish Film Festival was not confirmed by press time, but will be in January. The Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival will open on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Manship Theatre with “The Women’s Balcony,” an Israeli dramedy that starts with the collapse of a women’s balcony at a synagogue during a Bar Mitzvah. The overwhelmed older rabbi and a younger rabbi clash as husbands and wives are caught in between the battle lines. On Jan. 11 at 7:30 p.m., “Keep The Women’s Balcony the Change” is a romantic comedy with a man who has autism and finds it difficult to accept that being different isn’t a hindrance to his budding romance. The film won best narrative feature at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Denial” is the Jan. 13 feature, screening at 7:30 p.m. The legal drama is about the libel trial that David Irving brought against Emory Professor Deborah Lipstadt, who called Irving a Holocaust denier in her groundbreaking book on the subject. But Irving sued in British court, where libel laws are different — meaning the writer has to prove what she wrote was true, and by extension, the Holocaust was being put on trial. The festival ends on Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. with “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,” with Richard Gere as the title character. Jewish Cinema Mississippi will open on Jan. 23 at the Malco Grandview Theatre in Madison, with all films at 7 p.m., except the final matinee on Jan. 28. The festival is sponsored by Beth Israel in Jackson and the Jewish Culture Organization at Millsaps College. The opening film is “Riphagen: The Untouchable,” a Dutch film about the manhunt for a Nazi collaborator and fervent hunter of Jews in hiding during the Holocaust. On Jan. 24, “1945” portrays two Orthodox Jews arriving at a village train station with boxes that say “fragrances” — but villagers fear they really came to reclaim property stolen from Jews during the war, and that many others will follow. The Hungarian film explores how non-Jewish former neighbors profited from the deportation of the Jewish community, and how a society fails. “The Testament” on Jan. 25 explores a man’s double investigation — to find secrets of his mother’s past, as she was a Holocaust survivor, and to prove the connection between an influential Austrian family and a massacre of Jews. He seeks the truth despite villagers’ denials and his mother’s silence. On Jan. 27, “The Women’s Balcony” will be screened. The festival concludes at 2 p.m. on Jan. 28 with “On The Map,” the against-all-odds 1977 European Basketball Championship for Maccabi Tel Aviv, a massive lift for a nation still reeling from the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the traumatic 1976 hijacking of an Air France flight to Tel Aviv. The Jewish Federation of Central Alabama also announced its lineup for Cinema Israel, with a wide range of genres. On Jan. 21, “A Borrowed Identity” will screen at Temple Beth Or. “The Wedding Plan” will be Feb. 4 at Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem. “The Women’s Balcony” will be on March 11 at Temple Beth Or, followed by “Above and Beyond” on May 6 at Beth Or, and finishing with “Bethlehem” on June 10 at Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem. All of the films will be at 3:30 p.m. 42 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
jewish deep south: bagels, biscuits, beignets
Pogasca, from Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling & Frank Carollo, photographs by Antonis Achilleos (Chronicle Books, 2017)
TASTE OF ISRAEL
ZINGERMAN’S BAKEHOUSE by Amy Emberling & Frank Carollo It was 35 years ago when Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw opened Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich. Since then, Zingerman’s has grown to become a “Community of Businesses” including a creamery, a candy manufacturer, a Korean restaurant, and that fun catalog with the zippy illustrations of everything from bottles of balsamic to “the banana bread you wish mom made” (spoiler alert: this year’s early holiday catalog cover is “Early Bird Gets the Babka.”) Zingerman’s Bakehouse cookbook is much of what you would expect: people who seem fun and lighthearted giving truly useful, best-practice tips on breads they are actually making several times a week, year after year. And what’s inside is what should be inside — recipes for bakehouse brownies and rye bread, pecan sticky buns and challah (with instructions for the usual six-strand braid but also “raisin turban” and Moroccan). There’s also Detroitstyle pizza, cheddar ale soup, a Hungarian walnut roll cake, and Polish filled doughnuts called “paczki” that morphed into what we call sufganiyot and that the bakery sells by the thousands to the Catholic community on Fat Tuesday. Lots of pictures, lots of illustrations, and everything sounds delicious. What we’ve made so far works beautifully. Can’t wait to try just almost every single thing in the book.
Jewish Vegetarian Cooking by Paola Gavin “Hazana,” meaning “nourishment” is exactly what author Paula Gavin wants the reader to be reminded of with each and every recipe here. Not only a trek to delve into how the Jewish people have eaten for thousands of years, we learn how different dishes have been reinterpreted by their region and how they remain culturally significant. This is a huge score for vegetarians and those of us who do Meatless Mondays or simply find ourselves looking to seemlessly incorporate more delicious plantbased dishes. Polenta pie with tomato sauce and fontina and parmesan would make for a kick on the usual Southern grit cake. A moussaka with zucchini and potatoes, an artichoke tart, and “Green Pie from Thessaloniki” filled with mixed greens, leeks, and cheese in filo beckons.
On Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m., Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will host “A Taste of Israel” at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. Israeli appetizers will be prepared by local chefs and caterers, plus there will be a wine tasting and screening of “In Search of Israeli Cuisine,” a popular documentary guided by chef Michael Solomonov, the James Beard award winner and co-owner of Philadelphia’s Zahav, that delves into the influences in the country’s culinary scene. There is a $25 admission fee, and reservations must be made by Nov. 15 at bhamjcc.org.
TAILGATING WITH BAGELS Brendan Dodd found his calling as “Bagel Boy” last year after working at a New Orleans bagel shop: not one to waste food, he’d take the day’s leftovers and offer free deliveries via Tulane Classified. Since then, he’s (literally) taken things into his own hands and his own kitchen, and used the funds made via the sale of his first 50 Bagel Boy t-shirts to incorporate, accepting orders at bagelboynola.com. Things really took off when Dodd debuted his Mardi Gras bagels in purple, green and gold earlier this year, and he’s busy now with fun unicorn swirled, and school color requests. He ships these as well as the usual flavors all over the country and hand-delivers in the New Orleans area. Besides delivery, Bagel Boy bagels can be picked up at both locations of Mojo Coffee House and Orleans Coffee plus the Petite Rouge food truck, and Dodd hopes to have his own brick and mortar shop or food truck by the end of 2019. November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 43
Thanksgiving comes later this month and Bistro V wants to do the work for families. Downey said that they could customize a menu for take-out, complete Thanksgiving dinners with either roasted or fried turkeys. Co-owner and pastry chef Emily Tuttle excels at making any cake someone could want, as well as staples such as pecan pies. For those who want to have their Chanukah or other parties at Bistro V, the restaurant offers a side-room with a bar that can seat more than 30. The main area seats 45. Bistro V is open Monday through Saturday for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Downey said he is blessed to have a talented team of chefs and servers at Bistro V, many of whom have been there for several years, since it opened in 2010. “I know about being a part of a great team and I am lucky to have a great Bistro V Lamb Chops team here at Bistro V,” he said. “Everyone has great chemistry and it’s like a Recipe yields 4 family here.” That like aOF winBIRMINGHAM for everyone. FROM GIVEsounds A PIECE 8 lamb chops Farro pasta Olive oil Rosemary Chopped garlic Pareve butter substitute
Cook Farro pasta until it is al dente. Baste with the butter substitute and herbs for one minute.
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12 Months No Interest 44 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
Salt and Pepper Carrots Cauliflower Demi-glace Splash of wine Oregano
Marinate lamb chops in olive oil, rosemary and chopped garlic for four hours. Sear chops in cast iron skillet for four minutes on each side.
OPEN DAILY 10 AM - 6 PM
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Roast four peeled heirloom carrots with four cauliflower florets in olive oil and salt/pepper. Cook for 20 minutes at 350o. Saute mixture in chopped garlic, olive oil and splash of wine for two minutes. Finish by adding some chopped oregano and combining with lamp chops and pasta. Enjoy!
Bistro V by Lee J. Green
One could call Jeremy Downey the fall guy. He starred in the secondary for the Alabama Crimson Tide team that was honored last month for winning the national championship 25 years ago. As co-owner and executive chef at Bistro V in Vestavia, Downey loves fall because it means good, hearty, autumn-centric foods. “I love this time of the year for food. It’s not just for nourishment. Food creates memories and moments. The smell of good food can bring you back to special holiday times with family and fun football tailgating,” he said. “It’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience.” Now that fall is in full swing, Bistro V’s menu reflects the season. Downey said they have incorporated braises to short ribs; added a couple of lamb dishes, gumbo, glazed heirloom carrots, beet salad with homemade dressing, squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, turnip/mustard greens and the best inseason seafood, including grouper, snapper, oysters. “We have even added rabbit,” he said. “It tastes similar to dark meat chicken and pairs well with fall vegetables.” “I want to constantly try new things while also sticking with our core menu items that people love year-round,” he added. Downey hails from Bayou Le Batre and grew up working on fishing boats. He said Bistro V takes great pride in bringing in the freshest seafood around. After graduating from the University of Alabama he worked as a chef at Italian and French restaurants in cities including San Francisco and Washington. “I want to incorporate that Mediterranean flair and touches into these dishes” that could best be described as eclectic Southern, Creole comfort food with a European twist, Downey said. “It’s about trying variations to push things forward.” continued on page 45
Continued from page 46
It determines when Shabbat starts based on your GPS location. Then, using its connections to anything for which you granted access, it shuts down everything of yours that could be a Shabbat violation. Everything. If you have a website, Turbo Talmud mode takes it offline for the duration of Shabbat. Options exist for whether to deactivate it based on your location, the location of the Internet user (so someone in Helsinki can’t violate their Shabbat with your website), or both. You can set whether the site disappears or returns an error message, which some rabbinic scholars claim is itself an act of creation. Once it shuts down everything, Shab-bot calculates where you’ll be when Shabbat will end — constrained from travel by Shabbat restrictions — and determines the end time. It then shuts itself down, set to revive once Shabbat is over where you are. It then systematically reactivates everything. Surgeon General’s warning: Do not connect Shab-bot Turbo Talmud to your pacemaker.
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Doug Brook is collecting royalties on these inventions, some of which prevent delivery on Shabbat. To read past columns, visit http://brookwrite. com/. For exclusive online content, like facebook.com/rearpewmirror.
> > Editor
removed, his name purged? In recent years, Lutherans have been among the friendlier groups toward the Jewish people, and numerous Lutheran groups have completely repudiated their founder’s hatred. Can we say that we see any of that side of Luther in our Lutheran neighbors? Surely not. People are flawed and complicated, with positive and negative legacies, often in the same person. Does 500 years soften the view of Luther’s anti-Semitism? Is it a relic that society has (we hope?) moved past, even though it was a spiritual touchstone for the Holocaust less than a century ago? Or do his words still inspire part of the fabric of anti-Semitism that comes back every so often? Is Luther to be celebrated or reviled? The year 1492 is a magical one in history, with the discovery of America (or so we were taught). But for us, 1492 is etched in tragedy, with the expulsion from Spain. History isn’t textbook, it is a garden filled with thorns amid the roses. We see this in the clashes of history and memory going on in our country today. The most important conclusion should be what we can learn from the sticky web of history, and from each other.
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> > Bistro V Thanksgiving comes later this month and Bistro V wants to do the work for families. Downey said that they could customize a menu for take-out, complete Thanksgiving dinners with either roasted or fried turkeys. Co-owner and pastry chef Emily Tuttle excels at making any cake someone could want, as well as staples such as pecan pies. For those who want to have their Chanukah or other parties at Bistro V, the restaurant offers a side-room with a bar that can seat more than 30. The main area seats 45. Bistro V is open Monday through Saturday for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Downey said he is blessed to have a talented team of chefs and servers at Bistro V, many of whom have been there for several years, since it opened in 2010. “I know about being a part of a great team and I am lucky to have a great team here at Bistro V,” he said. “Everyone has great chemistry and it’s like a family here.” That sounds like a win for everyone.
November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 45
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46 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017
Judaism prohibits the use of electricity or the conduction of work on Shabbat, even if the use of electricity would reduce the need for work. But how can that fit into the technological world of the 21st century? Here are two ways. In a world where — for better, worse, or points in between — educational expectations revolve more around experiences and less around developing actual skills, the end of the holiday-riddled month of Tishrei provides an opportunity as obvious as it is ignored. The Talmud designates Simchat Torah as “the day when Torahs are rolled back to the start, to correct a year’s worth of parchment bunching from over-indulgent hagbahs and hasty gelilahs.” Today, it is more commonly regarded as the day when the Torah reading starts over. However, it is also one of the many examples of Judaism’s long history of foreseeing future technology. (One example: the Shabbat Torah Service’s “Bei Ana Racheitz” and its Aramaic anticipation of the automotive industry in its tire advertisement, “v’tashlim Michelin d’libi.”) The Tishrei-related example? Sim-chat Torah – an online, virtual-world instant message system about the Torah. A sim is, quite simply, a game that simulates an activity. Examples include Simcity, a video game that lets kids THAT COMPLEX pretend to build a city, and Simple Simon, a game of instruction and imitation that PLACE WHERE lets kids pretend to have real-life human RITUAL AND interaction. A chat is a conversation between two TECHNOLOGY or more keyboards, as directed by the INTERSECT… finger actions of humans. In ancient times, chats were also verbal, conducted by people within physical proximity of each other. In those times, such chats about the Torah were also known as “talking during the sermon.” Which leads to the second, more substantive intersection of technology with the one-seventh technology-deprived religion: The Shab-bot. A bot is, quite robotically, a device or piece of software that does simple tasks with minimal human involvement. Examples include internet bots, automations that pretend to be social media followers to inflate celebrity politicians’ perceived popularity, and robots, automatons (living or mechanized) that pretend to be real-life humans. So, what would a Shab-bot do? As with all things Jewish, the definitive answer is: it depends. The Shab-bot features two primary operational modes: Shab-bot Goy and Shab-bot Turbo Talmud. Shab-bot Goy mode handles everything that you’re not permitted to do on Shabbat. When tied in to a home system, it can turn lights on and off. Depending on your Internet of Things installation, it can turn on your microwave — though you’ll have to load and unload the food, which risks that pesky light turning on when you open the door. It can turn on the television, to the channel with the Alabama game, letting you watch in peace without touching anything that isn’t houndstooth, crimson, or buffalo wing — which it can order online for delivery, and pay for. Some pre-scheduling required. In the future, Shab-bot Goy mode will sync up with self-driving automobiles to drive you to Shabbat services. Configurable options include arriving in time for the sermon or Kiddush. Shab-bot Turbo Talmud mode is for Jews so observant that even a human Shabbos goy isn’t enough. continued on the previous page
November 2017 â€¢ Southern Jewish Life 47
48 Southern Jewish Life â€¢ November 2017
Published on Nov 1, 2017
November 2017 Deep South edition of Southern Jewish Life, the Jewish community news magazine for Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and NW Flor...