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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION

November 2017 Volume 27 Issue 11

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Dedication of new Torah at Chabad of Louisiana in Metairie on Sept. 26. Story on page 18. Photo by Gil Rubman


The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series includes a variety of author talks, movies, and musical performances. Visit for complete details about each event.

The Hazelnuts in Concert Sunday, October 8 4:00 PM

Community Chanukah Concert Featuring Eric & Happie Sunday, December 17 4:00 PM


Shannon Sarna Monday, November 6 7:00 PM

Tova Mirvis Walter Isaacson Francine Klagsbrun Tuesday, November 14 Tuesday, November 21 Tuesday, January 9 7:00 PM 7:00 PM 7:00 PM


The Women’s Balcony Monday, October 23 7:00 PM

Keep Quiet Tuesday, January 16 7:00 PM

The 90 Minute War Thursday, February 22 7:00 PM

Apples from the Desert Monday, March 5 7:00 PM

Sabena Hijacking: My Version Monday, May 14 7:00 PM

Special thanks to the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest United States 2 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

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. continued on page 41

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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 3


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, dis- political spectrum aresay inconsolable and irrecI want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to 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 of the the First and Second Temples in 63 million University, voters andwas labels us “bigots, We recognize essence of the American at Auburn shared by AEPiamoral struction 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 thetotally issuesout of racism and anti-Semitism itate events of character with the day. fear. Those who marched onto the streets did ren for two thousand years. At age 79 I learned a 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 withoutthat a reflection on how farwere we’veslaughtered come. edging over a million Jews races,Would and religions were far from equal and far SJL 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’ 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

November 2017

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 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.


interesting bits & can’t miss events

Photo by Scout Optaut

On Oct. 7, Israeli group The Hazelnuts was to perform at Snug Harbor in New Orleans, but a city-wide curfew due to Hurricane Nate cancelled the concert. Instead, they did an impromptu acoustic concert for guests and staff in the lobby of the Hampton Inn on St. Charles Avenue. They were joined by two local musicians who happened to be there, Bryce Eastwood on sax and Will Jackson on improvised drums. The Hazelnuts’ performance at the Uptown Jewish Community Center was postponed by one day, to Oct. 9.

Initiative to develop partnerships between New Orleans, University of Haifa The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans is hosting an event with leaders from the University of Haifa, to discuss international tech partnerships. This is part of a broader attempt to establish ties between New Orleans and the university. The Nov. 16 gathering will be at 5:30 p.m. at the home of Bill and Susan Hess. Guest speakers will include University of Haifa President Ron Robin, Board of Governors member Eli Feinstein, and Karen Berman, CEO of the American Society of the University of Haifa. Feinstein, managing director at Fox Henning in New Orleans, said Haifa is one of the larger universities in Israel, about one-third larger than Tulane. “Its strengths are law and medicine,” and it also has a substantial Arab and Palestinian student population and an international presence. Robin, Feinstein said, used to be at New York University, where he set up NYU’s campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. He taught at Haifa for 20 years, joining NYU in 2006. He was named president at Haifa last year. Feinstein said there has been a lot of investment recently in the Haifa area, especially the port, particularly from the Chinese. The New Orleans visit will be about creating partnerships, especially in maritime issues, logistics, oil/energy and health care. Haifa representatives will meet with counterparts at Tulane, and with business and community leaders. Feinstein said he became a board member after meeting the board chairman, Alfred Tauber, a year ago. The university was looking for a

board member in the Gulf South who is active in the business and political arenas. Feinstein is president of the Louisiana Association for Corporate Growth, and recently put together the group Louisiana Business Leaders for Bipartisan Legislation, to urge cooperation in Congress. At age 18, Feinstein did Ulpan at Kibbutz Yagur, which he recalled was within hiking distance to the University of Haifa. Reservations are requested for the event. There is a suggested donation of $100, $36 for young professionals under age 35.

Masorti leader to visit Shir Chadash Yizhar Hess, executive director of Masorti Israel, the Conservative movement’s Israeli branch, will speak on “The Jewish State or State of the Jews” during a visit to Shir Chadash in Metairie, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. The talk will discuss the role of the Conservative movement in shaping the pluralistic future of Israel. With its Reform counterpart, ARZA, Masorti has been in the battle against the government-sanctioned Orthodox monopoly in Israel’s religious life. He has been one of the negotiators in the attempt to work out a pluralistic com

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5

agenda promise at the Western Wall. He also has been a public defender of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism when politicians and Orthodox rabbis disparage those movements, and has criticized fundamentalism in the Jewish community. A Jerusalem native, Hess graduated from Hebrew University and served as a Shaliach in Tucson, Ariz. He worked for the Jewish Agency as director of partnerships between Jewish communities around the world and Israel. Reservations are requested at Shir Chadash for his talk.

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Beth Israel Gala kicks off cemetery preservation Beth Israel in Metairie will be “Honoring Our Past, Ensuring Our Future” at its gala on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. The event kicks off a capital campaign to preserve and maintain the congregation’s three cemeteries. Marshall Gerson, past president and longtime cemetery chair, will be honored, and there will be a memorial to past committee leaders Lester Gerson, Oscar J. Tolmas, Michel Watsky, Sadie Lubritz and Mildred Covert. Chef Belinda Dahan will be catering, and there will be music by the Panorama NOLA Trio. Individual tickets are $125, $75 for age 35 and under. Patron levels start at $360. The Oscar J. Tolmas Foundation is the premier sponsor.

ADL, Ochsner partner for parent lecture series The New Orleans office of the Anti-Defamation League and Ochsner Hospital for Children are launching a parent lecture series to help parents address identity, diversity, combating bullying and being an ally. The first talk will be “Embracing Facial Differences,” for parents of children with facial clefts and other craniofacial abnormalities. The speakers include Daniel Bronfin, medical director of the craniofacial team; Michael Friel, surgical director of the cleft/craniofacial team; child psychologist Jill West and ADL Interim Regional Director Lindsay Baach. The panel will be on Nov. 11 at 1:30 p.m. The second program, “Talking to Your Children About Hate in the Media,” will be on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. Jinnie Spiegler, national director of curriculum for the ADL, will be the speaker. Spiegler writs and manages curriculum projects, oversees Books Matter and develops anti-bias and social justice educational resources. Both events will be at the Ochsner Academic Center for Excellence, classrooms 1 and 2. Registration is available at 6 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017


Touro launches The Avenue Project On Oct. 27, Touro Synagogue held the first event for The Avenue Project. The Project is a “new community building and enrichment initiative,” explained Rabbi Alexis Pinsky. “Our goal is to open more avenues of connection to Jewish life, whether spiritual, experiential, social, or all of the above.” The Project includes two programs — Avenue Shabbat and Avenue Pop-Up. Avenue Shabbat will be at Touro, where the regular 6 p.m. Shabbat service will be supplemented with additional music, extra musicians, and “unique touches.” The group will gather in a separate space “for singing, schmoozing, and to enjoy some refreshments” after services. Avenue Pop-Ups will also start at Touro with Shabbat services, and then will move to a local bar for Shabbat enjoyment. Locations will be announced a day in advance on the Avenue Project’s Facebook and Instagram pages. The next Avenue Pop-Up will be Nov. 17, and the next Avenue Shabbat will be Dec. 5. Pinsky joined the Touro staff this past summer. Before that, she started TRIBE at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. TRIBE is a monthly Shabbat gathering for members of the community in their 20s and 30s, rotating among different venues during the year. The Avenue Project is not age-specific. Members of Touro Synagogue in New Orleans are “In the Mood for a Melody” and will be feelin’ alright at the “Touro Piano Bar and Lounge” on Dec. 2. The congregation’s annual fundraiser will transform the synagogue into a piano bar and game room, with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and “fun and games” starting at 7 p.m. Camp Gan Israel and PJ Library are holding the second Louisiana Kids Mega Challah Bake, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m., for ages 4 and up. There will be a performance by Inspyrl Entertainment from Oklahoma City. This year, there will be a Baby Challah Bake for ages 0 to 3, with sensory experiences and a Shabbat music circle. The event will be at Torah Academy in Metairie and reservations are requested. Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer in Metairie will be the featured speaker at the 43rd annual Shared Thanksgiving Service at St. Clement of Rome Catholic Church, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. He will speak

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 7

agenda on “34 Years of a Special Relationship: A Look at Catholic/Jewish Relations.” Temple Sinai in New Orleans will take part in an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. at St. Charles Baptist Church. On Dec. 1, there will be a Shabbat dinner at Anshe Sfard in New Orleans, co-hosted by the Jewish Medical Student Organization. Ralph Schapira, an Anshe Sfard member and chief of staff at the New Orleans VA, will speak. Services will be at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner will be at 6 p.m. All are welcome, and reservation information will be announced soon. The New Orleans Jewish Community Center will debut Parents Circle, a monthly coffee and conversation group to share parenting experiences, discuss Jewish values and learn about Jewish holidays and customs. Parents of all faiths and family constellations are welcome. The group will meet at 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 15 and Dec. 6 at the Uptown JCC. There is no charge and it is open to the community. Rabbi Alexis Berk and Walter Levy will lead a Jewish Medical Ethics dinner and discussion on Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m., at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans. 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. On Nov. 12, Judge Sol Gothard will honor all military veterans with a program at Gates of Prayer in Metairie, “Jewish Military Leaders Throughout the Ages.” The Gates of Prayer Brotherhood and Jewish War Veterans Post are sponsoring this event, which will start with a bagels and lox breakfast at 9:30 a.m., followed by his talk at 10:15 a.m. All are welcome. 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. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have Jacobs Camp Shabbat, Nov. 17 at 6:15 p.m. 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. 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. Tulane Hillel will have a QSA Rainbow Challah Bake on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. The next Jewish Babies Club at Jewish Community Day School in Metairie will be on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. Designed for ages 2 months to 3 years, the sessions promote developmental growth and Jewish values. Ellie Strieffer will lead Exploration Play for healthy brain and body development. Reservations can be made to Lauren Ungar at the school. Jewish Community Day School will have Mathtastic Tuesday, a pizza dinner and hands-on math activities for students and their parents to solve, Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. 8 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

November 2017 • 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, $25 for adults and $10 for those under age 10.

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12 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

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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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 13

community Rabbi Bahar leaving Huntsville’s B’nai Sholom next summer



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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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CALL TODAY FOR AN APPOINTMENT 800.257.8617 16 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

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.

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 17

Photos by Gil Rubman

For the children: New Torah dedicated at Chabad in Metairie

The fifth of Tishrei was a busy day for the Shargian family in New Orleans. The night of Sept. 25, Ilanit and Moshe Shargian had a son, David Yosef, and the next afternoon, the Chabad Center in Metairie dedicated a new Torah, which the Shargians had sponsored in honor of the children of New Orleans’ Jewish community. While Ilanit and the newborn were still at the hospital, Moshe was able to make it to the dedication ceremony. The final few letters of the Torah were filled in by the sofer, then the Torah was marched in a parade under a chuppah. The Sept. 26 event included a buffet dinner, music and dancing to celebrate the new Torah’s arrival.

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. 18 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



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 [1900]; 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 • The Jewish Newsletter 19


ISRAEL Even those who purport to have a pretty good handle on the events surrounding the establishment of the new nation are sure to be surprised, proud, and completely exhilarated by the make-do, make-it-happen experiences recorded in Angels in the Sky: How a Bank of Volunteer Airmen Saved the New State of Israel by Robert Gandt. Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel by Francine Klagsbrun is a loving but realistic biography of the fourth prime minister of Israel, from the beginning and to the days when her popularity was at its zenith, to being blasted for unsophisticated measures in light of social revolutions and inaction leading up to the Yom Kippur War. Nevertheless, she truly comes through to be the original “Iron Lady,” the “grandmother of the Jewish people.” In fewer than 200 pages, this quick read by Lawrence J. Epstein tells the story of Americans and the Birth of Israel, how those of all religions in groups or in solitary acts, oftentimes disregarding danger, aided large and small a place they felt such an abiding love. One such instance in the book was the story of when it was determined the Jewish army needed shockproof, waterproof watches: when hundreds started pouring in at the Materials for Palestine warehouses (one of which was in New Orleans), “the Materials people assumed every Jewish jeweler in the south had been contacted and had helped.” The second volume of The Story of the Jews series by Simon Schama has been published, and this brings us from 1492 to 1900, detailing how Jewish people further adapted to places across the globe, and defined their peoplehood. And that’s just the thing here, really: in example after example, we’re (quite depressingly, actually) reminded of how threatening our difference seems to others. There’s also the element of homeland — this volume ending with Herzl — and how that idea pings along on a global scale, what we’ve done to hurt our own lot, and how, thankfully, we-asunderdog have transcended over and over again. Even more compelling thanks to Schama’s storytelling style, reading Volume Two will make pressing the ‘preorder’ button for the future Volume Three undeniable.


• Moti the Mitzvah Mouse by Vivian Newman: preschool. Sweet Moti enjoys helping everyone and likes keeping his good works under wraps. Even the family cat appreciates him. What nice thing will Moti do next? • Ruth Bader Ginsburg: The Case of R.B.G. vs. Inequality by Jonah Winter: grades 1-4. On the day of her high school graduation (where she ranked 6th out of 700, and had won a college scholarship), Ruth Bader was at home. Her mother, who wanted Ruth to have so much more educational opportunity than she had, passed away. With a resilient nature, Ruth attended Cornell, went to Harvard Law, cared for her ailing husband and newborn, and graduated first in her class from Columbia Law School. Her work for women’s rights in the courtroom was invaluable — Ruth never gave in to unfairness. No wonder she was asked to join the highest court. A powerful lesson with many interesting pieces of the Supreme Court Justice’s life included. Well done. • Refugee by Alan Gratz: grades 4-7. Three different stories: Josef and his family escaping Nazi Germany; Isabel’s family crossing the ocean to leave Cuba in 1994; and Mahmoud, whose life in 2015 Syria no longer exists due to war, are interwoven. Gratz makes each tale of trying to survive in the face of turmoil a whirl of fright and relief, happiness and sadness with a set of twists and turns no one sees coming. Above it all, one unmistakable theme: love.

20 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017


Joyce Gittlin and Janet B. Fattal, using the pen name J.J. Gesher, write this novel about a Jacob Fisher, a teaching cantor who leads a satisfying life in his Brooklyn neighborhood with a beautiful wife, happy children, and his devoted Orthodox community. When an unspeakable tragedy takes his family, Jacob shaves his beard, throws off his old life, and boards a train to take him as far away as he can get. That’s how he eventually ends up in Brent, Alabama. Truly, he is an empty shell, unable even to speak for some time. Finding menial work at an African-American church where the parishioners don’t know what to make of him, he starts to find his way back thanks to music and love. And he begins to more deeply appreciate one of the concepts he taught his students: “The whole world is a narrow bridge and we must not be afraid.”


A Memoir

by Jeffrey Tambor

Jeffrey Tambor doesn’t just play America’s favorite transgender mother (thanks to Amazon Prime and the brilliant team at “Transparent”): he may now be one of America’s favorite people in general, thanks to this memoir he reluctantly agreed to write after being ceaselessly

encouraged to do so. After one chapter, one wonders why Tambor didn’t become an author (he’s also co-owner of a bookshop in Los Angeles) instead of an actor. Still, we’re happy it turned out this way as he shares a world of hilarious anecdotes and deeply thoughtful life lessons — and failures, and family struggles — from growing up to his time on the stage and in front of the camera. Dutiful son, astute professional, loving father... still flawed like the rest of us, but in all the funniest and best ways.


An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans



November 2017 | Cheshvan 5778


On Sunday, December 24, join Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council and JNOLA as we volunteer to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank at the Superdome during the Saints-Falcons game! Our volunteers wil sell raffle tickets as part of the popular 50/50 raffle in support of Kingsley House and Second Harvest. Volunteers will meet at the Dome at 8:00 am to prepare for a noon kickoff. There are a few different roles, including Barkers (stand at entrance and advise guests about the raffle), Kiosk Technicians (selling tickets at stationery kiosks) and Roving Sales Clerks (walk the Dome with a partner selling raffle tickets). Volunteer shifts wrap up at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Because this volunteer opportunity involves a good deal of standing, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. We hope you join us for a fun day working with community partners! To sign up to volunteer, please contact Caroline Good at— pre-registration is required by Friday, December 15. Note: Game time is subject to a flex change up until a week before the game.


In response to the litany of sexual harassment and assault stories coming to light over the past few weeks, the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans wish to express our support for the victims of these abuses. We affirm that every individual is entitled to a workplace free of harassment and assault. We have a shared responsibility to ensure that workplaces are, at a minimum, safe spaces. While upsetting to witness national and local luminaries accused of such unethical behavior, it is even more distressing to confront the scope of everyday sexual misconduct made evident by the #metoo campaign. Although some have attempted to reduce this predatory behavior as industry-specific, gender-specific, or even partyspecific, such dismissive thinking does not excuse these crimes. Conversely, what links these abusers are an exploitation of power, an unquestioned sense of entitlement, and a society that discredits victims. As we condemn the perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault, we also must raise our collective voice to affirm the experiences of all of the victims, both those who come forward and those who do not. Together as a community, let us lean into this uncomfortable moment and work to dismantle the structures that silently condone this mistreatment.


Congratulations to Jewish Federation Board and Executive Committee member - and current Chair of the Jewish Community Relations Council - Bradley Bain, who was named to Gambit Weekly’s 2017 40 Under 40. Bradley previously served as President of Congregation Beth Israel and as a board member of JNOLA.

November 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 21


The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans has recently welcomed new members to its dynamic staff - we hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn about the team helping steer our Federation as we move forward under the leadership of CEO, Arnie D. Fielkow.

Nancy Fournier, Ph.D. Chief of Staff/Office Manager

Nancy Fournier has over thirty years of experience in juvenile justice, youth development and child welfare issues working in the public sector, academia and think tank settings. She has been a consultant to governmental and nonprofit organizations since 2004 and has worked with a variety of nonprofit, philanthropic and government agencies focusing on Executive Coaching, Organizational Development, Strategic Planning, Performance Management, Senior Level Recruitment and Board Development and Training. Prior to moving to New Orleans she served as the Deputy City Manager for the City of Richmond, was the director of a Legislative Commission on Youth with the Virginia General Assembly and served as a principal researcher for the National Center of State Courts in Williamsburg Virginia. Her undergraduate degree is from Vassar College and she has a M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University. Contact Nancy at or at 504-780-5688.

Caroline Good, Ph.D.

Director of External Partnerships, Programming and External Affairs

Dr. Caroline Good enthusiastically joined the Federation staff in October. In this position, she is responsible for: outreach to the greater New Orleans community at large; social justice advocacy at the municipal and state levels; creating a professional mentoring program aimed to keep talented young people in New Orleans; and administering some of the Israel-related initiatives of Federation, including oversight of the Edie and Paul Rosenblum Gift of Israel Program. Additionally, Caroline staffs the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) and helps steer Nourish, a movement for New Orleans’ homeless and underserved communities. A Houston-native, Caroline moved to New Orleans in 2006 and is proud to call the Crescent City her home. Contact Caroline at or at 504-780-5608.

Joel Meariman Controller

Joel Meariman was born and raised in the New Orleans area. He graduated with a degree in Accounting from the University of New Orleans. He has been a CPA for over twenty-five years. Joel has spent the majority of his professional career as a corporate controller for a number of local companies. He joined Federation in October. He lives in Covington with his wife and family, with a family of 6 children ranging in age from 14 to 27. He enjoys watching the Saints and LSU in his leisure time. Contact Joel at joel@ or at 504-780-5606.

Michelle Neal

Director of Jewish Education/Advocacy, Allocations, and the Jewish Newcomers Program

Michelle Neal joined the Federation in September. Her previous position was as Outreach Coordinator at the Louisiana State Bar Association in the Member Outreach and Diversity Department. Her work prior to the Bar Association consisted primarily of fundraising, including time as a fundraising consultant and as a grant writer for Kingsley House. Currently, she works Sundays at the Touro Synagogue Religious School. She also volunteers with several animal rescue organizations, including the Humane Society of Louisiana, as well as with organizations focused on substance abuse recovery. Michelle graduated with Honors from Trinity University in Washington, DC, majoring in Communications. She lives with her husband, Burt, with their seven rescue dogs and two youngest children. She is proud to be called “mom” by seven children, ranging in age from 17 – 37, and is “nana” to ten. Contact Michelle at or at 504-780-5604. 22 The Jewish Newsletter • November 2017

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November 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 23

THE BALFOUR DECLARATION AND THE SELF-RELIANT STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Balfour Declaration by Brian Horowitz, Sizeler Family Professor of Jewish Studies, Tulane University

Think about it. If Israel were not a state, had never become a state, the Balfour Declaration would be just another promise given by England to one or another of its subalterns. The key to the Balfour Declaration was not the two eloquent paragraphs that compose it, but what occurred after: the arrival of immigrants, Jews, from all over the globe and the creation of a unique society, a nation state of the Jewish people. But let us turn to the Declaration itself: “His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” The flaws of the Declaration are glaring, the provisions are vague and underdeveloped. What does a national home mean? What mechanism would gauge whether the civil and religious rights of the non-Jews in Palestine were infringed and how would the English protect the rights of Jews in other countries? The Declaration promises so much, but what it actually means is open to multiple interpretations. For England, the Balfour Declaration reflects political tactics. It was published on Nov. 2, 1917, a particular moment when the outcome of World War I was on the scales. It was apparently intended to convince world Jewry to join England’s side. Two years later in San Remo, Italy, Britain unveiled it once again as justification for political control of Palestine; that Mandate was ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, giving Britain and the Zionists international legitimacy. But as the sky cleared, and Britain became aware of the complexities of Arab politics, the British government scaled back its commitment to the Jews. In particular, it no longer insisted on a Jewish majority in Palestine, but envisioned a permanent Jewish minority. From a historical perspective one can regard the Balfour Declaration skeptically. During the war, Britain made a number of promises that it ultimately disavowed. For example, it promised to share Palestine with the French government and internationalize the holy places, and it promised Syria and Northern Palestine to Emir Feisal. These were never granted. At the same time, England sliced off the territory of Transjordan from the Palestine patrimony, giving control over Jordan to Emil Abdullah and the Hashemites. In contrast to unfulfilled promises, what made the Balfour Declaration a success was the reaction of the Zionists themselves. They worked within real conditions to attain a state in 1948. The path to statehood was painful; the attacks by Arabs in 1920, 1921, 1929, and 1936-38, plus Britain’s own prevarications made it hard going. But the essential ideas of Zionism proved to be correct: that antisemitism in Europe could not be neutralized and that the Jewish nation needed its own homeland to become a “normal” people. To these one could add a religious imperative: that Jews were motivated by the idea returning from exile to resettle in their ancient home. Admittedly, for a long time Zionists did not understand America, that America was the great exception where Jews did not live in galut (exile) but happily in freedom and equality in a multi-cultural, multi-national rule-of-law state. Of all the things that he did as a politician, Lord Balfour was proud of his Declaration, which had given the Jewish people the legal justification to return to Zion and to create on the site of their ancient commonwealth a modern nation state. In fact, the Declaration was the first step in international recognition for Zionism, recognition that has since been fortified through subsequent international agreements, such as the United Nations’ vote in favor of Israeli statehood in 1948. Today, when some groups try to delegitimize Israel and produce seductive arguments to deny its right to exist, it is important to return to the Balfour Declaration and the other documents that underscore Israel’s legitimacy. But we should also recall that declarations do not make states, and international recognition does not make states—only people can make a state. However significant the Balfour Declaration was for legitimizing the Jewish claim to Eretz Israel, the task of developing Palestine, of supporting the immigrants and rescuing the remnants of the Holocaust, and building the state lay entirely on the Jews themselves. Perhaps it is this stark message that one might take, paradoxically, from England’s attempt to win over Jews to their war cause: sovereignty involves above all self-reliance and self-determination. The great meaning of Balfour therefore was opportunity. England opened a window in which the Jews could grab fate and make the return to Zion a reality. Israel’s improbable success is a testament to the Jews themselves.

Save the Date

Mark your calendar for Saturday evening, December 16, when JNOLA will hold their annual Chanukah event. More details will follow soon! To learn more, visit JNOLA is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, consisting of young Jewish adults between the ages of 21 – 45. This program hosts a wide variety of events, centering on community connection, professional networking, social action, and Jewish life in New Orleans. JNOLA is proudly sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

24 The Jewish Newsletter • November 2017

Jewish Community Day School The ‘40s Had the Baby Boom. We Have the Student Boom Know anyone looking for a great school? This is their chance. Applications for 2018-2019 enrollment are being accepted now. Wonder what’s driving the JCDS enrollment boom? Dr. Sharon Pollin, Head of School, believes it’s due to the unique niche inhabited by Jewish Community Day School in the area’s education landscape. “JCDS teachers are laser-focused on children. Each child is deeply known, challenged and supported. We are devoted to inspiring academics empowered by Jewish values in a warm, community environment.” And our parents couldn’t agree more with her. Need more proof? This past year JCDS had the largest Pre.K-4 and Kindergarten class to date. One parent even said, “My child is so happy and engaged. She is learning to read, explore math, and she’s learning to love

everything about being Jewish! She comes home singing Hebrew songs. And I love that she is learning a second language right from the start. Plus, there’s a mentoring aspect to the school, big kids helping the younger ones. Which is nice to see because it makes children feel like leaders.” Another parent said, “Everyone is so nice and welcoming here. Not only that, the facility is amazing, JCDS and the JCC provide great after care options — soccer, gymnastics, chess, art classes, Judo, Basketball and STEAM. If my kid had his way he’d do them all.” So what’s up for the 2018-2019 school year besides all the amazing things already going on? The school will also re-open its 6th grade class. Want more information or a private guided tour of the school? Contact our Admissions Director, Lauren Ungar at lungar@jcdsnola. org or 504.887.4091.

Inspiring the Brilliance within: STEAM and Jewish Studies One of the hottest words in education right now is STEAM. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. STEAM is not a program, but rather a philosophy of teaching and learning. It’s a student-directed process that integrates creative, real-world problem solving with content areas such as mathematics and science. To be successful in college and the 21st century workplace, students need to learn how to take initiative, become responsible, be confident, problem solve, work in teams, communicate ideas, and effectively manage themselves. These are the underpinnings of STEAM as well as a cornerstone in JCDS’ educational philosophy. Here, students

Sally’s back for a visit! For JCDS’ 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, nothing could have been more thrilling than having a special guest for lunch — alumna Sally Bronston. While visiting her beloved elementary school to share a Kosher Cajun sandwich and conversation with the students, Sally was able to inspire the children with her journey from JCDS student to the producer of “Meet the Press.” The wonder and curiosity of all the children amazed Sally, along with how well they could articulate their questions. She especially loved the query, “How do you figure out if news is fake or real?” Thanks for visiting, Sally. You inspire us all! Alumni Wanted. For Lunch, That Is. Are you a JCDS alumnus? Let us know when you’re in town — we’d love to invite you to lunch!

learn how to work together in teams with passion and curiosity as the driving force behind everything they learn. All of this is rooted in the traditions of our Jewish heritage. According to Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, a Jewish education, regardless of denomination or venue, should, in addition to teaching knowledge, teach students to weave that knowledge into understandings which will then inform their behavior and their approach to the world. Ultimately, the Jewish education our children receive should manifest itself in Jewishly-grounded ethical action, preparing them to one day contribute to the making of an ethical, just, and peaceful world. Collaborative learning, hevruta, is a very old method of Jewish learning, a method of text study that involves partners coming together to grapple with a third partner, the text. In STEAM education, students come together to identify and attempt to solve problems through experimentation and collaboration. Hevruta itself is like a learning lab, in which students and teachers alike are experimenting, grappling with difficult ideas, seeking to understand their ultimate purpose, and their relevance. The goal of learning in this environment is not simply assimilating knowledge; the challenge is to see what happens with that knowledge. How does it affect the students, their thinking, and their behavior? How does it affect the classroom, the group dynamic, and group behavior? How does the knowledge conveyed challenge previous knowledge, or set the stage for other learning? JCDS is delighted to be able to offer children the best of these disciplines. Our Berenson Learning Lab is a hub of exploration and conversation, as is our Beit Midrash! We empower students with the academic skills, values, and habits of mind to make a positive difference in their world for today and tomorrow.

November 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 25

Jewish Endowment Foundation

Your Year-End Giving Makes A Difference Now is the time to let the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana show you how

Maximize your deductions now

by JEF and reimbursed by you through a tax-deductible donation to JEF. If you donate an existing policy, you may also take an immediate The end of the calendar year is good time to review your financial charitable deduction for the fair market value of the policy. A life insituation and consider taking advantage of several tax-wise giving op- surance policy is also a great way to create a Designated Fund to endow portunities. your annual gift to Federation in perpetuity.

There are several ways for you to make thoughtful, generous, and tax-wise gifts by year end: • Gifts of appreciated stock or mutual funds

You can realize valuable tax benefits when you contribute appreciated assets to charity by avoiding capital gains tax and taking a deduction for the asset’s fair market value. Gifts of appreciated securities can be made to a new or existing Donor Advised or Designated Fund at JEF, to create a charitable gift annuity, or as a direct donation to JEF’s General Fund.

• IRA Charitable Rollover If you are 70½ or older, you can distribute up to $100,000 from a traditional IRA directly to a charity with no tax liability. Your IRA rollover donation can be a direct donation to JEF — or to Federation or one of our Jewish community organizations — or you can use it to establish a Designated Fund at JEF to distribute money over time to JEF or other charitable organizations of your choosing.

What you can do with your donation: • Donor Advised Fund (DAF) One of the easiest and most flexible ways to fulfill your philanthropic goals is to create a Donor Advised Fund at JEF. You contribute cash, appreciated stock, or other assets and receive an immediate tax deduction based on the value of your gift. Then you can recommend distributions over time to your favorite charities while JEF handles all of the administrative details. With JEF’s Donor Advised Fund Incentive, you can contribute $4,000 to open a fund and JEF will contribute an additional $1,000. That’s additional free money for you to give away!

• Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) A charitable gift annuity provides a dependable source of lifetime income. You transfer cash or appreciated securities to JEF in exchange for fixed payments on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual basis. The payments you receive are based on your age at the time that the payments begin and are partially tax-free. You also receive an immediate tax deduction equal to 35 percent to 50 percent of your donation.

Let us help you meet your philanthropic goals while maximizing your tax benefits for 2017. Please contact Sandy Levy (sandy@jefno. When you donate an existing or new life insurance policy, JEF be- org) or Patti Lengsfield ( at (504) 524-4559 for a conficomes the owner and beneficiary of the policy. The premiums are paid dential conversation.

• Life Insurance Policy

High Holidays and Sukkot

This year for the High Holidays, Tulane Hillel celebrated in so many ways! Activities included Reform and Conservative services, delicious family style meals prepared by Tulane Hillel’s restaurant Rimon, a restorative yoga class and a meaningful break the fast open to everyone. Shortly after the High Holidays ended, Sukkot celebrations began! Over 300 students attended Shabbat Under the Stars in Hillel’s Sukkah, where five of Tulane’s very own a capella groups performed. Tulane Jewish Leaders planned various events in the Sukkah throughout the holiday, such as a Wine and Cheese Tasting and a Build Your Own Candy Sukkah. Hillel’s Sukkah was a popular place for students to gather throughout the week and they took full advantage of hanging out with friends, enjoying a meal, or studying in the festive environment. Another exciting way Tulane Hillel celebrated Sukkot was through a partnership with the Tulane School of Architecture. Architecture students worked with Hillel staff and students to build a beautiful Sukkah on Tulane’s main campus for the entire Tulane community to enjoy. Students from all denominations and walks of life were able to visit the architectural Sukkah all while learning about and celebrating Sukkot.

26 The Jewish Newsletter • November 2017

Jewish Family Service Your financial support helps strengthen families

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Register Today for the 2017 Fall Continuing Education Series at JFS

Young Adam was traumatized • Board Approved Clinical Supervisory Training. November 17, after losing his mother and mov8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., presented by Amelia Doty, LCSW-BACS ing in with his aging grandparents. Unable to find words to express his • Accessing Primary Emotions Using Emotionally Focused Therapy Skills. December 15, 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., presented by anger, frustration and hurt, he ofMichele Louviere, LMFT ten lashed out at his grandmother, Rebecca. She was overwhelmed Participants will receive CEUs for each event. Pricing varies. All caring for both her grandson and events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. her disabled husband. Rebecca Rebecca, 68, and Adam, 8 For more information, call (504) 831-8475, or visit http://www. lost sleep worrying about the heavy emotional and financial strain on her family. Rebecca contacted Jewish Family Service upon her rabbi’s recommendation. She enrolled Adam in weekly therapy at discounted sliding-fee scale rates. Her grandson transformed Jewish Family Service has provided comprehensive and compassionto a more verbal, calmer and cooperative boy. Witnessing this ate adoption services to families in the Greater New Orleans region for positive change persuaded Rebecca to also enroll in individual decades. We offer pre-placement home studies, home study updates, counseling to discuss her worries and new parenting demands. and post-placement reports at an exceptionally affordable rate. JFS ed-

Adoption Services

Because of YOU, Jewish Family Service provides high quality, professional guidance to vulnerable community members like Rebecca and Adam every day. Your support of the annual Friends of JFS campaign impacts their lives and so many other people for the better, and allows JFS to offer our services on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. We cannot do it without YOUR help. Please make your caring contribution today. Visit our website to learn more and to donate!

ucates families about the adoption process and the special issues they may face. To learn more about JFS adoption services, call Laura Kulick, LCSW at (504) 831-8475 ext. 155, or email

JFS now accepts Aetna, United Healthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Connect, Gilsbar, and Tricare insurance policies for Counseling Services. Counseling for individuals, couples, families and groups is a core community service of JFS. Licensed behavioral health professionals provide guidance and support on how to cope with interpersonal and family problems. Appointments are available at counseling centers in Metairie and the Northshore. Fees are assessed on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. Appointments by phone: Metairie (504) 831-8475 / Northshore (985) 253-1619.

Green Wave Community Market Each month Tulane Hillel hosts the Green Wave Community Market, where local vendors come to sell local fruits and vegetables and goods, such as handmade cards, clothing, jewelry, books, plants, baked goods, beauty products and more. This is all in an effort to build a stronger off-campus community life for students, support local vendors and develop relationships between students and community members. We invite you to enjoy live music and all that the GWC Market has to offer while supporting Hillel, Tulane students and local vendors. All Green Wave Community Markets take place at the Mintz Center, located at 912 Broadway Street. Upcoming GWC Market dates are: Sundays, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3, from noon to 2 p.m. Questions? Email the market team at or visit their Facebook page at

November 2017 •The Jewish Newsletter 27

Jewish Community Center Tova Mervis, Walter Isaacson speaking in November

Save The Date: Chanukah Celebration

The Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series continues this month with talks by two outstanding authors. On Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., Tova Mirvis, author of “The Ladies Auxiliary” and “Visible City” will speak about her new memoir, “The Book of Separation.” This powerful book follows the first year her new life after leaving her marriage, her faith, and the Orthodox world in which she had been raised and lived with her husband and children. It explores what it means to leave a way of life that is scripted and mapped, and to enter into a new world where there are fewer expectations and rules. It is a moving book about letting go, starting over, and learning to live with uncertainty.

Celebrate the sixth night of Chanukah with the JCC at our 12th New Orleans native Walter Isaacannual Community Chanukah Celebration! On Dec. 17 we’ll light son, acclaimed author of the bestsellers the menorah, nosh on a fried chicken dinner complete with latkes, and “Steve Jobs,” “Einstein” and “Benjamin enjoy a live concert by folk duo Eric & Happie. Franklin,” will present his exciting new Based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Eric & Happie first met at Jewish biography, “Leonardo da Vinci” on Nov. summer camp. They bring their warm folk harmonies and Indie sensi- 21. Based on thousands of pages from bilities to the JCC as part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and Arts Series. All ages will enjoy the lovely sound of their romantic, hap- new discoveries about his life and work, py-go-lucky music! Isaacson brings da Vinci to life, weaving The Community Chanukah Celebration is free and open to the a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius community. was based on skills we can improve in ourAlso upcoming: selves, such as passionate curiosity, careful Author Francine Klagsbrun, “Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy. of Israel,” Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. Both talks are free and open to the community. Additional details may be found at “Keep Quiet” film screening. Jan. 16, 7 p.m.

JCC Nursery School and Pre-K Open House Come visit the JCC Nursery School and Pre-K at an Open House for prospective parents on Nov. 16, at 9:30 a.m. The JCC offers an outstanding curriculum in a Jewish environment for children ages 13 months to 5 years. As you tour the facility, see our teachers in action and watch our curriculum come to life, you’ll understand all of the things that set our nursery school apart and make it so very special! Complete the online form at to RSVP for the Open House. For those who cannot make the Open House, or would like to learn more about the program, weekly tours are offered each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and do not require a reservation. For additional details, contact Adrienne Shulman, Director of Early Childhood Education, at (504) 897-0143 or 28 The Jewish Newsletter • November 2017

Attention Homeowners 62+

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an annual SJL special section

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Change and stability during Keith Katz’s 40 years in financial industry by Lee J. Green

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: 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.”

3:34 PM

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 29


Do you have peace of mind?

“This is a lifetime partnership” Arty Finkelberg stresses strategy over time, rein in emotions about the market

Lisa Finn, an Estate Planning Attorney in Southeastern Louisiana since 2004, and member of the New Orleans Jewish community, helps families daily with estate planning techniques which take into account all the important life and death decisions, including: asset protection, incapacity planning, tax consequences, near death considerations, and postmortem financial planning. Licensed in Louisiana and Florida. Master of Laws in Estate Planning. Call Today to Schedule a Complimentary Consultation

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• 30 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

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.”


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.

Heather Baker

NMLS ID 527133

Vice President, Relationship Strategist North Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Gulf Coast

PNC Wealth Management 100 Church Street, Suite 300 Huntsville, AL 35801

256-564-5758 (office)

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

Insurance: Not FDIC Insured. No Bank or Federal Government Guarantee. Not a Deposit. May Lose Value.



Year-End Charitable Tax Strategies in a Time of Tax Uncertainty

Jared Cohen Financial Representative Birmingham (205) 567-9024

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. 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

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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 35

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High fashion at Gameday for football season and the rest of the year by Lee J. Green

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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.

Symmetry Jewelers

8138 Hampson St. New Orleans 504/861-9925 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

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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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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!

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Happy Chanukah • Celebrate Gameday in style…

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November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 39

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Kenny & Ziggy’s Houston, Tex.

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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.

NOLA Boards

4304 Magazine Street New Orleans 504/516-2601 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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Ben Katz Post 580, the New Orleans post in the Jewish War Veterans of America, announced a recruitment drive by offering free membership for 2018, and a free JWV service cap to any Jewish American that is a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, and has never been a member of the Post, or is currently on active duty. Dues are never required from active duty personnel. Jewish veterans of allied countries, such as Israel, Britain, Canada or other countries, who are now residing in the United States, also qualify for this offer. With over 70 Patron members, New Orleans has the most diverse JWV Post in the country. Anyone can become a Patron without being a veteran — or Jewish. Patrons can participate in all activities. Upon payment of dues for 2017, new Patrons will also receive a Post cap. Anyone interested in joining as a Veteran or Patron should contact the Commander of the Post, Judge Sol Gothard.

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Trestman to lecture on Margolin’s role in Nuremberg trials Marlene Trestman will give a Lagniappe Lecture on Nov. 29 at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, “Bessie Margolin and the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.” Trestman is author of “Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin.” She will discuss Margolin’s work that shaped the historic American Military Tribunals in Nuremberg in 1946 and brought to justice more than 200 second-tier Nazis, including judges, doctors, and industrialists. Margolin grew up at the Jewish Children’s Home in New Orleans. After growing up in New Orleans and being assisted by Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the successor agency to the Jewish Children’s Home, Trestman became friends with Margolin and eventually wrote her biography. A book signing will follow the noon presentation.

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> > Editor What does one do with this aspect of Luther’s biography? Should statues of him be 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.

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 41

Mega Challah Bake 200

42 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

Chabad of Louisiana and Hadassah of New Orleans sponsored a Women’s Mega Challah Bake on Oct. 25, attended by members of every organization and synagogue in town. Held in the social hall of Gates of Prayer, many synagogues co-sponsored and participated with a full table, as the event drew about 200 women. Lynne Wasserman emceed the evening, welcoming first-time bakers and experienced challah makers alike. After Sarah Rivkin shared an inspirational message about the mitzvah of challah, everyone started preparing the dough at their tables. As the dough rose, Roselle Ungar led the crowd in giving Tzedakah, which was donated to Sharsheret, an organization which helps young Jewish women who are diagnosed or at a higher risk for breast cancer. Attendees enjoyed kosher refreshments, sushi and a wine bar. Aleeza Adelman then led a special prayer for those that are ill in the community. There was a Women of Valor dedication, where women honored a family member or friend. A display table held pictures and descriptions of each woman who was honored, and there was a video presentation. Lauren Sturm prefaced the presentation by singing “Eishet Chayil — A Woman of Valor,” the song written by King Solomon, which is sung each Friday night before the Shabbat meal. After Tiffany Cotlar led a light-hearted game of Pass the Challah, the 200 women sang “Hinei Mahtov,” led by Charlene Gubitz on the guitar, to celebrate the community of women sitting together as one. Orit Naghi led everyone in the Hafrashat Challah mitzvah and blessing, followed by a guided meditation led by Malkie Rivkin, as everyone took a moment to think of the blessings that were important to them during this special Eit Ratzon, spiritually powerful time for women’s prayer. The women then braided their two challahs, eggwashed them, headed for the extensive topping table, and took their Challahs home to bake.


jewish deep south: bagels, biscuits, beignets

Pogasca, from Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling & Frank Carollo, photographs by Antonis Achilleos (Chronicle Books, 2017)



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

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 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

Photos by Michael Maples

NCJW Hannah Solomon Awards Luncheon

44 Southern Jewish Life • November 2017

Since community activist Kim Sport was receiving this year’s Hannah G. Solomon Award from the New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women, she decided to read Solomon’s 277-page autobiography. “I found her exceptional in every way,” Sport said, “furthering a plethora of social justice initiatives at local, national and international levels aimed at improving the lives of women, children and families.” An accomplished attorney, Sport has used her legal skills and her own personal life challenges to advocate and make a difference. Sport has made strides in breast cancer health initiatives, enacted legislative change in domestic violence issues, and helped impoverished youth receive educational scholarships. And Sport has now undertaken mental health as one of her top priorities. The Oct. 16 awards luncheon featured four close associates of Sport who paid tribute to her accomplishments and character. All four underscored her passionate advocacy and fierce compassion. Frank Dellacroce, Barbara Turner Windhorst, Charmaine Caccioppi and Timothy Madden all shared personal testimony for Sport’s relentless determination to enact change. Caccioppi stated, “She’s a women’s woman. A defiant advocate who raises her voice to support and defend other women… without limit.” Mimi Schlesinger, chair of the award selection committee, presented proclamations from both the New Orleans City Council and Jefferson Parish Council, in addition to the award itself. “Hannah Solomon challenged the conventions of the day with the establishment of the National Council of Jewish Women and forever changed the role of women and the nature of volunteerism”, Schlesinger said. “It is the beauty within her heart, in her being, and the passion that she possess that has led Kim Sport to be awarded the Hannah G Solomon award for 2017.” Sport joins more than 50 past recipients of the award. Previous award recipients at the lunch were Joan Berenson, Norma Freiberg, Ana Gershanik, Carol Good, Julie Schwam Harris, Julanne Isaacson, Hugo Kahn, Diana Lewis, Madelyn Schenk, Florence Schornstein, Miriam Waltzer and Carol Wise. Top photo: Back row, left to right, Carol Wise, Hugo Kahn, Florence Schornstein, Carol Good, Kim Sport, Hon. Miriam Waltzer, Ana Gershanik, Diana Lewis, Norma Freiberg. Front row, Madelyn Schenk, Joan Berenson, Julanne Isaacson. Photos from top to bottom, left to right: Kim Sport, event co-chair Mimi Schlesinger. Mark Sport, event co-chair Sue Singer. NCJW President Barbara Kaplinsky, Rabbi Deborah Silver, Susan Kierr, Mark Kaplinsky. Liz Yager, Barbara Greenberg, Dana Shepard. City Councilmember Helena Moreno, Kim Sport.

continued from page 46

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Shab-bot Turbo Talmud mode is for Jews so observant that even a human Shabbos goy isn’t enough. 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.


Monday-Friday 11am-9pm Saturday 4:30-9pm


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

Camp Barney Medintz open house Dec. 10 Camp Barney Medintz, the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta’s summer resident camp, invites the community to attend its Fall Information Session on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Goldring/Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie. Camp Barney directors will meet with prospective families, and answer questions pertaining to its upcoming 56th summer camp season. There will be a musical media presentation, and refreshments will be provided. Located in the North Georgia Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Barney is situated on 540 wooded acres surrounding two lakes, just 75 miles northeast of Atlanta. Camp Barney offers two-week and four-week sessions from grades 2 to 10. “Every imaginable activity is offered at Camp Barney,” said Director Jim Mittenthal. “We provide a nurturing environment that encourages every child’s journey to discover who they can become, while having the best summer of their lives.” Campers enjoy leaping off the “Blob” or soaring down a 180-foot “Hurricane” water slide, water skiing, horseback riding, zip lining, whitewater rafting, tennis, wake boarding, paddle boarding, all land and court sports, theater, dance, arts & crafts, music, Israeli culture, movie making, cooking, swimming, kayaking, mountain biking, yoga, scuba diving, and much more.


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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 THAT COMPLEX message system about the Torah. A sim is, quite simply, a game that PLACE WHERE simulates an activity. Examples include RITUAL AND Simcity, a video game that lets kids pretend to build a city, and Simple Simon, TECHNOLOGY a game of instruction and imitation that INTERSECT… lets kids pretend to have real-life human interaction. A chat is a conversation between two or more keyboards, as directed by the 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. continued on the previous page

November 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 55

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November 2017 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life, the official news magazine of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community