Southern Jewish Life, Deep South, November 2019

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Southern Jewish Life

November 2019 Volume 29 Issue 11

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


November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

shalom y’all There has been a lot of talk about antisemitism lately, and a heated debate on where it comes from and what manifestation is worse, though Deborah Lipstadt, who wrote the book on the topic, reminds everyone that it comes from more than one side and is dangerous in every form. One recent version of the debate was done publicly with members of IfNotNow confronting Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Republican Whip, demanding that he condemn antisemitism coming from Republicans. For the left-wing activist group, his condemnation of antisemitism in general was insufficient (story, page 15). When one brings up the idea that antisemitism isn’t restricted to one side of the political spectrum, the argument is naturally made that the recent synagogue shooters were white nationalists on the right, and thus right-wing antisemitism is far more dangerous. Yes, the nuts who enter synagogues to commit terror attacks in the U.S. are generally lone-wolf right wingers. While their brazen acts are usually linked to a coarsening of public dialogue under Trump, the actual shooters have shown a dislike of Trump, because they see him as a puppet under control of the Jews. The death toll from the right far exceeds that from the left, though the mostly-ignored plague of assaults against Orthodox Jews in New York has come from people of color, not white supremacists — and have been explained away by many as a natural reaction to perceived economic circumstances, such as gentrification, in the neighborhoods, for which Jews are perpetrators, not victims. But most people have also forgotten that in the last year, there have been four potentially mass-murderous plots against Jewish communities by Islamic extremists in the U.S. — in Ohio, California, Montana and Georgia — that were all thwarted by law enforcement. In Europe it came as a shock when the Yom Kippur synagogue attacker in Halle,

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i n s u r a n c e s November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life




Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have had the honor of attending many Maccabi competitions around the world. From Israel Germany, revealed to beEurope a right-winger; have games been doing tothe theUnited Palestinians. to Australiawas to South America, and the JCCthey Maccabi around States ” in Europe, arelogged used many to frequent jihadist If Iran Tel Aviv, would be conand Canada,they I have miles seeing how sports cannuked be a vehicle to help builditJewish attacks on Jews by identity, especially in radicalized our young. Muslim immi- demned or celebrated on campuses in the grants. U.S.? I felt honored to come to Birmingham for the first time and fell in love with not just the city In a recent talk in Atlanta, U.S. Special Envoy There is another linkage made between Jebut the people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a new level with your kind and caring for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism sus and the Palestinians. Every other year there approach to the JCC Maccabi Games. Elan Carr said there are three main places from is a program called Christ at the Checkpoint, Led byantisemitism the Sokol andisHelds, your hard-working volunteers werethat wonderful. They partnered where spreading — “ethnic where it is said the “Palestinian” Mary and with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi a huge supremacism of the far right, Israel-hatred on Joseph would not have beengames allowed intohit. toIthe want to takeleft thisand opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USAbytoIsrael, say thank you on behalf radical militant Islam. ” He spent day’s Bethlehem and that Israel operof everyone more time involved. discussing the left, though he ates a “crucifixion system” against the Palestincautioned wasn’t from because thatWorld was more It’s the deicide updated I had just itreturned the 20th Maccabiah in ancient Israel with a U.S. charge delegation of important or a joined greater10,000 threat. “We athletes don’t rank woke 21st over 1100, who Jewish fromfor 80 the countries. Backcentury, in July the eyes of the entire kinds of Jew-hatred. there a group out there committing Jewish world were on” Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. If This pastwere month with 1000 athletes and While the venom from the left is, at this genocide, stealing organs from innocent peocoaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. point, mere words, is there not a danger in ple, targeting children, engaging in supremaEveryone from the Jewish community and the community at large, including a wonderful rhetoric? cism… if something bad were to happen to police force, are to be commended. These he’s games go down as being a seminal When David Duke says something, a will them, well, in at history best there is a feeling that karmoment theKlansman Jewish community as we providing suchAtwonderful crank, a for Nazi who can’t be build takento the ma future comesby home to roost. worst, it’s Jewish time to memories. seriously. When left-wing college professors pile on for some payback. say Margolis the same things about Jews, even drawing That is the danger of what is becoming Jed praise from Duke, it’s their academic freedom mainstream in far too many places, from the Executive Director, Maccabi USA and they have every right to their beliefs, and college campus to certain Congressional officbesides, look at what Israel is doing to deserve supremacists es. It isn’t justwould that Jews libeled like toare seebeing pushed back and suchCharlottesville criticism (which, mind you, is always into accused of all manner of outlandish On a corner and made to feel lesser. We offensstand legitimate and can never be called antisemi- with es, it’s that those liesfamily that would makeHeyer, David and pray for the of Heather Editor’s Thishow reaction to theif events in tism, noNote: matter vile, and you complain, Duke blush are coming from college profeswho was there standing up to the face of this Charlottesville, written Jeremy Newman, you’re just trying to by shut down legitimate hate. sors and otherwise respected public figures, Master of the Epsilon Pi Theta Colony discourse byAlpha saying any criticism of Israel is and are becoming mainstream among the Wegeneration. recognize the essence of the American at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi antisemitism). next as you a two-century old struggle National, which called it “very and of narrative Discrimination against andeloquent” harrassment How do teach “Never Again” totoarid genourselves of such corners, praised brothers AEPi Theta Colony at Jewish “our students hasat become mainstreamed eration that is being soldand a lieallow that those Jews in have them theright seat ataround the tableand that are they perpetrating so deserve. Auburn Universityon and… thecollege leadership they and acceptable many campuses. turned is the struggle thePalestinians promise of the display their campus.” publish vile screeds It Studenton newspapers Holocaust Part to II fulfill on the (While ofwhether Independence, that “all men are against Israel then refuse to let Jewish stu- Declaration arguing over Part I really took place, equal… endowed their collaboration Creator with dents respond. Jewish students are marginal- created or was actually part of a by Zionist White supremacyloathing has beenofa an cancer unalienable rights.” We know our work ized for insufficient Israelonthat is certain with Hitler)? our country beginning, from finished, but we know wethe willleft nothas portrayed assince worseitsthan the Klanthreatening or the Nazis, is far Making the situation muddier, its hopes, its values, andwould its better angels. backwards. and of course nobody allow the Klan or move embraced fellow traveler ostensibly Jewish The events thatatook place Charlottesville Nazis to have say in the in public square. extremist groups as a fig leaf how can When men and women, fully— armed, takethis represented the worst of this nation. Those Through monstrous lies, a whole genera- to “legitimate criticism” be antisemitism when the streets in droves with swastikas and who the streets tion marched is being onto conditioned towith looktiki at torches Israel as other “the Jews” agree with itus? symbols of hate, is a reminder of how and did soregime, to provoke the swastikas world’s rogue and violence since theand Jew- relevant In 2019, whites can’t and decide for Afrithe issues of racism anti-Semitism fear. Those who marched onto the streetsknows did ish community (with a few exceptions) can-Americans what iscall or toisn’t racist.that Hetare today. It is a wake-up the work so to profess ideology that harkens how off-baseanthat assessment is, weback are to tar- needs erosexuals can’ttobe the aarbiter of what is to be done ensure better, more ageted bleaker, wretchedirrational time in our history.this homophobic. But when it comes to antisembymore yet another hatred, country. But it should not come A time when men and women of many creeds, welcoming time wrapped in the name of justice, inclusion itism? Sita reflection down, Jew, know when without onwe’ll howlet faryou we’ve come. races, religions far from equal and far something is antisemitic and a and warped viewwere of human rights. (spoiler alert: it’ll America was born a slave A century from safethe in our own borders. time where After Holocaust, wideA swaths of the never be something fromnation. our enlightened history Americans lived were underforced a constant cloud of mir- into Christian world to look in the side our of the aisle).we engaged in a war in part to Yes, ensure wewing would not continuehas as one. racism, pervasive hate. The ror and anti-Semitism examine theirand centuries of anti-Jewish right antisemitism beenWe much found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil events that took place in Charlottesville served theological teachings, and ask themselves more of a physical threat, at least in the U.S. and embarked on it a mission to ensure as a reminder how painfully relevant these whether that of greased the skids for the Holo- rights, But looking long-term, would be foolish to fair treatment of all peoples matter their issues today. caust. are Sure, the Nazis weren’t acting out of a the ignore the ideological threatnocoming from skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, Christian but did the centuries Auburn’sideology, Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the of the not-as-far-anymore left, and its potential a mission we’re stilldamage grappling with today. anti-Jewish conditioning in societyand help the itforis serious long-term that is far more Jewish community of Charlottesville, average citizenpeople rationalize it orthe not care about severe — and America wasaccepted also bornin ansociety. immigrant with the Jewish around country whataround was happening Jews? country. As early as the pilgrims, many and the world. to Wethe also stand with the How farwho is it are from “the Jews deserve it be- groups and families found in the country the minorities targeted by the hate that cause killed Christ” in earlyWe 20th-century opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, was onthey display in Charlottesville. stand Europe “the Jewsofdeserve because with theto minorities whom it these whiteof what and be themselves. Few were met with open

Lawrence Brook, Publisher/Editor

4 November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

November April 2019 2019

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

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agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events On Nov. 1 and 2, 14 members of Temple Emanu-El in Dothan traveled to Selma for a weekend of learning and fellowship. They partnered with Ronnie Leet of Selma (right) for a Shabbat evening service led by Emanu-El Cantor Neil Schwartz. All four of the remaining Mishkan Israel members were in attendance for Shabbat, as were about 30 local friends of the congregation. The next day, the Dothan group did a civil rights tour of Selma, followed by lunch at Mishkan Israel and a presentation on Selma’s Jewish history

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agenda Israeli Consul General Lior Haiat reflects on time in Deep South Named new Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman

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As Israeli Consul General Lior Haiat leaves the consulate in Miami earlier than anticipated, he reflected on “a huge present” he received shortly after he began his time in Florida — Alabama and Mississippi. Haiat, who arrived in Miami in February 2016, returns to Israel this month to become the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “It’s a huge responsibility,” he said, “the voice of Israel to the entire world.” Haiat had been deputy spokesman from 2007 to 2009. He also has held positions at Israel’s em- Consul General Lior Haiat speaks bassies in Argentina and Spain. at an Alabama-Israel Task Force In August 2016, the closing of event near Decatur in 2017 Israel’s consulate in Philadelphia led to a reshuffling of territories, with Kentucky, West Virginia and Missouri added to the Atlanta consulate’s territory, and Mississippi and Alabama reassigned to the Miami consulate. Haiat made his first visit to his new states in October 2016. “I really loved every visit and every meeting I had in Alabama and Mississippi,” and to explore the Jewish history of the states and the Jewish communities of today, he said. As an example, in September he explored the history of Selma’s Jewish community on the way to Mississippi. A huge part of his visits was with the non-Jewish community “and the amazing support Israel gets in this area, probably the most pro-Israel area of the U.S.” He met with governors, Congressional representatives, mayors and many other public officials all over the region. He also was “fortunate” to lead Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant twice on Israel trips, and help build closer ties between the states and Israel. Bryant has led numerous trade missions to Israel, hosted a homeland security conference in Biloxi that heavily featured Israeli companies, and Missisippi-Israel trade events in Jackson and Meridian. Though Bryant is term-limited, Haiat feels the close relationship between Mississippi and Israel will continue, as “we’re in touch with both candidates” for governor in the November election, and “whoever wins will continue the policy of Governor Bryant in support of Israel.” One of Haiat’s most memorable events was the dedication of the new Israel Aerospace Industries facility in Columbus last year. That facility is making parts of the Arrow 3 defense system, so “it shows us Mississippi doesn’t only talk about supporting Israel, but is also part of the national security of Israel.” A huge football fan, Haiat developed close ties with the Miami Dolphins, but also took in his share of college games, as well as high school games where his son was playing. During a visit to East Mississippi Community College, he was made an honorary captain of the Lions, and wearing a No. 70 jersey in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday, led the team onto the field at the beginning of a game. “On a personal level, as a football fan, that was the highlight of my career.” Having the experience of working with so many passionate Christian supporters of Israel, Haiat said “there are huge changes happening” in the

agenda relationship between the Jewish and Christian communities. “Instead of focusing on division… we have to focus on the 90 percent we share.” “This is a new horizon for the relations between Christians and Jews,” he added. Several of his farewell events were held at churches in the Miami area, with involvement of local rabbis. At a Nov. 3 event, five mayors from the Miami area were on hand and announced municipal investments in Israel Bonds of over $500,000. He is looking forward to his new position, as “Whatever we do in Jerusalem, there will be echoes of it all over the world.” “Israel is always in the news,” he said. “Hopefully we will have more positive news coming from Israel,” with technology developments, “international relationships and friendships all over the world, even a peace process, we’re waiting to see how it develops.” Recently, there has been a lot of movement toward enhancing business ties between Israelis and certain Palestinian entrepreneurs, with much of it promoted by the Birmingham-based US Israel Education Association. “The economy is one of the key drivers for the future relations between Israel and its neighbors,” Haiat said. In building essential infrastructure “it will be easier to build peace between us and the entire region.” The biggest threat to the region remains Iran, and Haiat said Alabama and Mississippi consider Iran to be a threat to the United States as well. Leaving Miami, his parting message was for everyone to “Visit Israel. There is always a good time to visit Israel, always great to visit Israel for the first time, but coming again is even better.”

Rev. Patrick to lead Birmingham Holocaust Education Center Rev. Melissa Self Patrick, who has a long track record of working to promote understanding among different religious and racial groups in Alabama, has been named the new executive director of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center. She succeeds Thomas Bryant, who stepped down this summer but will continue as a member of the board. “We could not be more pleased to have Melissa on board at the BHEC,” Board President Andy Campbell states. “She has been an outstanding leader in every position she has held and a champion for social justice in this community. We are looking forward to Melissa’s leadership of the BHEC at such a vital time for Holocaust education.” A North Alabama native, Patrick is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church who has been involved in many greater Birmingham area interfaith and community initiatives and projects. She was a founding organizer and director of Anytown Alabama, which held its first week-long camp in the summer of 1989. The residential summit for high school students helps them develop leadership skills and learn about social justice issues and become change agents in their communities. Patrick established this camp through the National Conference of Community and Justice, where she was assistant director and worked with other faith leaders and scholars. While at NCCJ, she co-authored curricula for NCCJ Teacher Training in human relations. Patrick was also an advisor during the establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute before its opening in 1992. Currently, Patrick is a member of the Interfaith Interpretation ComNovember 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


agenda mittee of the Jefferson County Memorial Project, working with communities who are coming together to bring Jefferson County’s lynching memorial home from its current location in Montgomery under the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice. She also serves as a member of the Instruments of Hope Unity Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The fund was established to facilitate civil discourse and action on challenges facing the area, and is an outgrowth of the 2018 visit to Birmingham of the Violins of Hope, restored violins that had been played by Jews who were sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust. Patrick is also a co-leader of the upcoming interfaith “Friendship Journey 6” to Israel. She will be leading the organization as it prepares to move to a new facility, as yet unannounced, as the Bayer Properties building where it has been housed rent-free for 15 years is being sold and the site redeveloped into a planned multi-use development. Organized in 2002, the BHEC seeks to educate the people of Alabama about the history of the Holocaust so that new generations will apply the lessons of the Holocaust to the construction of a more just, humane and tolerant future. The organization provides programming throughout the state of Alabama for teachers, students, civic groups and communities. Over the years, communities in the region have seen hurricanes cancel High Holy Day services — but two congregations had unusual events that made it challenging for their rabbis to get to Rosh Hashanah services on time. In Pensacola, a wreck shut down the Bay Bridge, so Temple Beth El Rabbi Joel Fleekop had to take a boat across the bay to get to Rosh Hashanah evening services. The bridge did reopen about 45 minutes before services began. In Huntsville, on Rosh Hashanah morning there was a rockslide blocking Governors Drive, snarling traffic and forcing Temple B’nai Sholom Rabbi Eric Berk and others from the other side of the mountain to find a different route into downtown. At the Union for Reform Judaism Biennial in Chicago next month, Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will be recognized as a Belin Award Honorable Mention for its Krewe of VIPs Mardi Gras program. The congregation builds an elevated platform in front of the building so children with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty navigating the crowds have a front row seat to the Mardi Gras parades on St. Charles Avenue. A poster featuring the program will be displayed at the biennial. The Women of Reform Judaism Southeast District will have an Area Day event on Nov. 17, focusing on awareness of human trafficking. The day will start at 9:30 a.m. and is hosted at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham. Registration is $25 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Speakers will detail what social service agencies, law enforcement, civic leaders, government officials, women’s organizations, health care providers, hotels and faith-based organizations are doing to eliminate sex trafficking. The district includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The Temple Beth El Sisterhood in Pensacola will also have a program on human trafficking, Nov. 20 at 11:30 a.m., with guest speaker Therese Moses of the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Lunch reservations are $15, due by Nov. 18. The Dothan Area Interfaith Thanksgiving Service will be on Nov. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Columba Catholic Church. A reception will follow. continued on page 42 8

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Hundreds of hands went into making Touro’s new Torah New scroll dedicated at Shabbat service on Oct. 18, just before Simchat Torah Thirteen months after Linda Coppleson sat under a canopy in the sanctuary of Touro Synagogue in New Orleans and scribed the first few letters of the Torah on a fresh sheet of parchment, the congregation held a Shabbat service in the middle of Sukkot to dedicate the completed scroll. “This is a momentous night,” said Rabbi Katie Bauman, who recently became the congregation’s rabbi, succeeding Rabbi Alexis Berk, who had officiated the Oct. 16 ceremony last year before assuming a new pulpit in San Diego. The Torah is being dedicated in memory of Julian Good Sr., who died in 2013 and had been a president of the congregation. Bauman said the Torah was made possible by the Good family “and with the generosity of hundreds of Touro congregants whose hands combined with Linda’s to form the letters in this scroll.” Over the past year, Coppleson visited Touro a few times, holding “scribing sessions” with donors, where they could hold her hand as she did a letter or a word. Bauman said there were over 100 sessions, “Involving many generations of Touro families, our religious school teachers and children, our leaders, everyone who brought the gift of their heart to this project.” This was the fifth Torah that Coppleson has completed, and at the start of the Oct. 18 service, Bauman asked Coppleson to light the Shabbat candles “with the same hands that gave us our beautiful new Torah.” The Torah’s rollers were made “by an incredible expert local artisan from a pear tree that used to stand on Prytania Street,” Bauman noted.

Linda Coppleson sews the completed scroll onto the Louisiana-made roller before the new Torah was dedicated at the Oct. 18 service. The week of Sukkot, Bauman said, is “all about the fragility of shelter and the significance of water,” and in New Orleans, that played out in many ways that week, “from the water advisory that spanned several days, to the tragic collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel,” the sudden change in seasons and the harvesting of 86 bags from Touro’s vertical garden. “Change is a part of life, but there is much we carry with us through


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Cantor Kevin Margolius does the first reading from the new Torah, with the scroll lifted and facing the congregation so everyone sees the text, as the Good family is honored with the first aliyah on Oct. 18.

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November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

those changes,” Bauman said, including “the constancy and eternity of Torah.” In describing the building of the Tabernacle, the Torah notes that “beautiful and sacred artifacts do not just appear,” Bauman said, “but rather are painstakingly created in the hands of artists and with the gifts of the faithful. So it is with our beautiful and sacred new artifact.” As the Torah service began with “the welcoming of God’s Torah into our community,” Bauman said “we have so much gratitude in our hearts” as the new Torah was about to be read for the first time of “what we pray will be thousands of times over the course of its life here at Touro Synagogue.” The scroll was carried into the sanctuary, then Immediate Past President Teri Hunter, “under whose leadership and vision this project began,” carried the Torah through the congregation. The first aliyah was given to the Good family, and the pointer used for the reading was given by Susan and Lou Good in honor of their children and grandchildren. Bauman told them, “Please know how grateful we are for your generosity, and the love and care with which you have enabled this process to take place.” For the first aliyah, Cantor Kevin Margolius read the section where the Israelites assembled at the foot of Mount Sinai, preparing to hear the Ten Commandments. The scroll was lifted and held facing the congregation, so everyone could see the words as Margolius read. After the aliyah, Peggy Good was presented with a book containing photos by Scott Saltzman, who had documented the entire process of the new Torah’s creation. For the second aliyah, everyone who had donated to the project was invited onto or close to the bimah. Bauman read the section where Moses carved the second set of tablets. Bauman said each person who participated should remember being under the chupah as the letters were written, and “know and feel that our letter, in our scroll and in our community, is an essential part of the story, a gift unique to us, that makes Touro Synagogue what it is.” The third aliyah went to “every single person in this sanctuary,” as Bauman noted that “each of us are heirs to this incredible legacy.” Rabbi Todd Silverman read the traditional section for Sukkot. Bauman also noted that as part of the project, a new lift was constructed onto the bimah, so everyone would be able to go up there for Torah honors. After the congregation recited “Shehecheyanu,” the scroll was lifted by Chris Kornman, chair of the Torah committee, and tied by Barbara

community Marcus, who donated the new Torah’s mantle in memory of Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Walter Marcus. Lisa Herman, Touro president, thanked everyone who worked on the project, then called Coppleson to the bimah. “Over the past year you have truly become one of us,” Herman said, naming Coppleson an honorary member of Touro and presenting her with a New Orleans streetcar tzedakah box. She has embraced New Orleans wholeheartedly,” Herman said. Coppleson said “you welcomed me and you truly have made me one of your own,” and “my experience here has been more than I could have ever imagined.” Her husband passed away in early September, and in recent weeks “people have been very understanding of my loss, and I appreciate that more than I can say.” The evening concluded with a Shabbat dinner under the sukkah.

Early Registration opens for LimmudFest New Orleans 2020

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Regional learning event scheduled for March 20-22 Registration is now open for LimmudFest New Orleans 2020, the weekend of Big Tent Jewish Learning. Held from March 20 to 22, LimmudFest will have over 90 sessions in a variety of tracks, from text study to cultural exploration, Jewish food, social justice, art and history. Each congregation in the community participates in an environment that crosses denominational lines and levels of observance, including Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Shabbat services under one roof. There is also a children’s track. The weekend begins with services, Shabbat dinner and educational sessions at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. On Shabbat morning, there are services and additional sessions after lunch. Events shift to the Uptown Jewish Community Center for Havdalah and community programming. A full day of sessions will continue at the JCC on March 22. This month, LimmudFest partnered with the Greater New Orleans Jewish Community Council and 929 North America for a taste of Limmud, through the mini-course “Ego and Leadership: A Crash Course in the Prophets.” Sessions were scheduled at Gates of Prayer, Touro Synagogue and Beth Israel. Volunteers are encouraged to work on the LimmudFest marketing, programming, logistics, participant care and volunteer development teams. LimmudFest is entirely locally-planned and run by volunteers, and all meals and snacks are under rabbinic supervision. An international movement, Limmud has conferences in 80 communities around the world. Limmud operates on the core value that everyone is a learner and everyone can be a teacher, and sessions are designed to be interactive. All presenters are volunteering their time, and many of them travel to New Orleans from around the country to present. Organizers hope to draw participants from the region, and arrangements can be made for those who need home hospitality within walking distance over Shabbat. Early Bird registrations are being taken through Jan. 31. Adult registration is $85 for the weekend, $60 for just Sunday. Young adult registration for the weekend is $50 and children’s registration is $18. There is also a LimmudFest Mensch registration of $180, which covers the true, non-subsidized cost for a participant and helps offset registration for someone who can’t afford it. Registration and more information are available at The lineup of speakers will be announced soon.

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World War II Museum dedicates new space with Eichmann exhibit Speakers from Israel explain origins of “Operation Finale” As the National World War II Museum celebrated the opening of the Hall of Democracy and broke ground on the Liberation Pavilion on Oct. 17, Museum CEO Stephen Watson said it was “especially fitting that we mark these two milestones” with the opening of “Operation Finale: The Capture and Trial of Adolf Eichmann,” the first exhibit at the new Sen. John Alario Special Exhibition Hall. Watson said the exhibit “really touched upon many of the post-war themes that will be explored in the museum’s Liberation Pavilion,” and is an example of large-scale exhibits they plan to have in the new space to explore issues and events in greater depth, bringing fresh perspectives that attract repeat visitors. The exhibit uncovers the secret history of one of the 20th century’s most sensational events — the capture and trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. As head of the Nazis’ homicidal “Jewish Department,” Orit Gover of Beit Hatfutsot and Eichmann zealously managed the Avner Avraham of the Mossad transport of millions of innocent speak at the exhibit opening people to death camps and vanished after World War II. Operation Finale — the code name of Israel’s effort to find Eichmann — reveals how agents of Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, located him in hiding in South America years after the war, then abducted and smuggled him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel, where he was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. The exhibition features recently declassified materials, including 1960s-era artifacts, photographs, film, audio, contemporary design elements and interactive displays. Pete Crean, vice president of education and access, said this is the last U.S. stop for the exhibit. “Bringing an exhibit of this magnitude to this new space was no small task,” he said. Exhibits like this help the museum teach about “the fight to preserve human life, dignity and freedom,” and the museum is committed to sharing lesser-known stories in the new space, and expanding the level of Holocaust education offered. Crean said Hannah Arendt, who covered the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker, coined the term “the banality of evil,” as Eichmann “oversaw the logistics of the Holocaust through what he considered to be just someone doing his job.” After the war, “he simply vanished but there were those who were not going to let him just walk away and disappear.” Crean introduced the event’s guest speakers by saying this was the first time he had met — knowingly — a member of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.


November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community Avner Avraham, a former Mossad agent and curator of the exhibit, said the exhibit started with a small display at Mossad headquarters about 10 years ago. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited to view the exhibit, and asked if it could be displayed at the Knesset. From there, the exhibit expanded and went to Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. Orit Gover, chief curator of the exhibit at Beit Hatfutsot, said there was some hesitation on whether to have the exhibit, as in Israel, “who doesn’t know who Eichmann was, and his trial.” It “was a small exhibition we thought would last three months” after they received the materials and memorabilia from the Mossad. “The Mossad never gives anything to anyone, so we were lucky,” she said. Much to her surprise, the exhibit’ drew the largest opening crowd she had seen. “Israelis came by the thousands, and the exhibition lasted for nine months.” The only reason they took it down was because they needed that gallery for a previously-committed exhibit. The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Cleveland asked to bring the exhibit to the U.S. That presented a translation challenge, as “it is different to show an exhibit about World War II and the Shoah in Israel and in the U.S.” While every Israeli knows the term Shoah by age 2 and the entire history of the Final Solution and Eichmann by age 13, “in the U.S.… we had to assume nobody knows who Eichmann was, or about the Final Solution,” Gover said. After expanding the historical context, the exhibit opened in Cleveland in February 2016. “This is the seventh venue,” Gover said. “The last

stop will be Germany before going back to Israel,” after which the Mossad will reclaim the items. “The Mossad may give items, but they always take them back.” Avraham said most of the items in the exhibit are original, such as a camera used for surveillance in Argentina during the operation. He said that in Miami, they came across a woman who had owned the photo shop the Mossad used in Argentina. “She developed the pictures for Mossad.” Another encounter came in Cleveland, as the son of one of the two policemen photographed standing guard inside the bulletproof witness box where Eichmann was during courtroom proceedings presented his father’s uniform to the Mossad. Avraham said they chose Iraqi or Moroccan Jews to guard Eichmann, trying to ensure that the guards had no direct personal connection to the Holocaust. Avraham said that Mossad knew that “Angel of Death” Josef Mengele was in Buenos Aires and he would be the next target after Eichmann, but when Eichmann was abducted, Mengele disappeared. Avraham noted that the same day the exhibit was opening in New Orleans, what may be one of the last Holocaust trials ever began in Hamburg, Germany. Bruno Dey was accused of being an accessory to the murder of 5,230 people as an SS guard at the Stutthof concentration camp. Because he was 17 at the time, the 93-year-old Dey was being tried in juvenile court. At press time, the trial was continuing. “Operation Finale” will be displayed through Jan. 5. On Nov. 6, the museum was holding a screening of the documentary film, “Operation Finale,” followed by a live recording of the museum’s podcast on films, “Service on Celluloid.”

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community Mobile’s Ahavas Chesed begins 125th anniversary events Exhibit at University of South Alabama tells congregation’s history The Nov. 13 visit to Ahavas Chesed in Mobile by the Jewish Women’s Theatre played two additional purposes — expressing solidarity with a community that experienced a recent antisemitic attack, and kicking off the congregation’s 125th anniversary celebration. The Conservative congregation was formed in October 1894, and Rabbi Steven Silberman said “This year is a celebration of being part of our small, tight-knit, caring Jewish community,” and numerous events will be announced. He also said the Nov. 13 performance was being dedicated to the community of Halle, Germany, where two people were killed following a failed attempt to invade the synagogue on Yom Kippur. Each year, the Jewish community of Halle has a cultural series during this time of the year, and in memory of those who were killed, “communities around the world are ‘partnering’ with Halle and dedicating their own cultural events to the community of Halle,” Silberman said. As part of the anniversary celebration, Emily Ensor-Gibson has organized an exhibit, “Ahavas Chesed Synagogue: 125 Years of Jewish Life in Mobile,” at the University of South Alabama’s Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, in the third floor exhibit cases. The exhibit will be up throughout November. Ensor-Gibson said after an archival internship at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Indiana, “I really wanted to delve into the story of the thriving Jewish community of Mobile. Having


November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

the exhibit displayed at the University of South Alabama library is a great way to engage young individuals that may not know much about Jewish history within their own city.” The exhibit talks about the early days when the congregation met in private homes and rented spaces until they were able to have their own building. She also explored the history of the Ladies Aid Society, which was organized in 1908 and later became the Sisterhood, “and has continued to serve the community hosting events and conferences to raise money and improve conditions for the Jewish community on local and national levels.” The exhibit also discusses the families that wound up in Mobile following the Holocaust, and focuses on Agnes Tennenbaum, who spoke extensively about her experiences to local churches and schools. “The exhibit ends with a view into the present-day life at Ahavas Chesed,” Ensor-Gibson said. Silberman said the congregation offers Torah study geared to different ages, monthly Guitar Shabbat, discussion groups and community service opportunities. “We are pleased to celebrate our past and look to our future,” Silberman said, referencing that there are some sixth-generation families in the congregation, as well as the “recent significant growth of our young families and the influx of babies and toddlers,” which “promises new vitality for the years ahead.”


Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana discusses antisemitism with Ezra OliffLieberman

Scalise, activists spar over antisemitism IfNotNow members challenge him over comments from Republicans, he responds with “both sides” condemnation The partisan argument over which side of the political spectrum is more responsible for antisemitism in America hit Louisiana as member of the left-wing IfNotNow group confronted Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise on the topic at a town hall meeting in Mandeville on Oct. 14. Ezra Oliff-Lieberman and Elias Newman pressed Scalise to condemn antisemitism in the Republican party, then posted videos of the encounters, saying he refused to condemn “the role his party has played in antisemitic and white nationalist violence,” instead touting his support for Israel. In a statement after the event, the activists said Scalise and Republicans “continue to traffic in the same antisemitic and racist conspiracy theories that have inspired white nationalist mass shooters to murder dozens of Jews and Latinx people in the past year alone.” At the town hall, Oliff-Lieberman noted it was approaching the oneyear anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and said he recalled Scalise visiting Shir Chadash for the New Orleans community vigil. Saying he was “terrified” about an incident in New Orleans while he was attending High Holy Day services recently, his “worst fears were realized” on hearing about the synagogue attack in Halle, Germany, on Yom Kippur and that gunman Scalise: “For — who was unable to enter the synagogue — “espoused the same anyone to think it antisemitic and anti-immigrant that your party, the GOP, is exclusive to one rhetoric espouses on a daily basis.” Scalise said he “disagrees political party, you strongly” with that characterizaare fooling yourself” tion, and said that antisemitism has grown “even in the halls of Congress” and “I have stood up against the antisemitism, frankly it’s two of our colleagues on the Democrat side,” Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, that have used antisemitic statements in their criticism of Israel. After Scalise spoke about the Democrat representatives, Oliff-Lieberman said “the president called me a disloyal Jew because I disagree with what has been coming out of the Republican party.” Scalise told him, “I don’t know when you had that meeting with him.” Trump’s recent statement that Jews who vote for Democrats are being “disloyal” has been characterized by opponents as questioning the loyalty of American Jews, a common antisemitic trope, while those who defend Trump said he was merely asking why some Jews would be disloyal to Israel and their fellow Jews by voting for a party that he considers hostile to Jewish interests. When others in the room shouted out about Steve King, a Republican representative with a history of antisemitic statements, Scalise said “by the way, we removed King from all of his committees” and contrasted that to Pelosi’s inaction regarding Reps. Omar and Tlaib. Scalise spoke about how he is standing up to the BDS movement,

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community which seeks to isolate Israel economically and eradicate the Jewish state. “I think the BDS movement is a real danger to Israel… and it is rooted in antisemitism.” When Oliff-Lieberman concluded that Scalise was not going to condemn antisemitism, Scalise said “I absolutely condemn all of that” and urged Oliff-Lieberman to condemn “the antisemitism by Reps. Omar, Tlaib and others. He added, “I’ve stood up to all of it, on both parties, Republican or Democrat. I haven’t heard you condemn any on the Democrat side, I encourage you to acknowledge it.” Newman said he is also “terrified of rising white nationalism and antisemitism,” and asked Scalise to “condemn antisemitism and white nationalism in the GOP.” “I condemn antisemitism and white nationalism wherever it happens,” Scalise replied. “For anyone to think it is exclusive to one political party, you are fooling yourself.” When Scalise mentioned working with Israel on issues, Newman said “I’m not from Israel” and continued, “Donald Trump called me a disloyal Jew and you said nothing,” adding that the charge of being disloyal “sent my grandfather to Auschwitz.” After Scalise reiterated that he condemns antisemitism “in all parties,” Newman continued, “so you will not condemn.” After the encounter, Newman referred to Scalise’s “both sides condemnation, saying “only one side is inciting the mass murder of Jews and our neighbors. Only one side is spouting antisemitic conspiracy theories from the White House.” Newman added, “until he can acknowledge and condemn the role his party has played in the rising violence facing minority communities across the nation, until he apologizes for his own voting record on the rights our communities hold dear, Scalise can never credibly present himself as an ally of the Louisiana Jewish community.” Newman also stated later that Scalise steering the conversation toward his support of Israel was itself antisemitic because it conflates Jews with Zionism, and the Republicans use support for Israel “as a shield” to cover white nationalism. Oliff-Lieberman said he was giving Scalise the opportunity to “do teshuva” but “his refusal to condemn antisemitism in the GOP and from the president is emblematic of his entire party’s embrace of white nationalists — the same people who, all across the country, have been opening fire on Jews as we pray, attacking mosques, and setting fire to Black churches in Louisiana.” Oliff-Lieberman noted that Scalise “once spoke at a convening hosted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a white supremacist group founded by David Duke.” In 2014, he issued a statement of “regret” that in 2002, while speaking to numerous groups while pushing a legislation package, “one of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn. It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.” In January, Scalise co-sponsored House Resolution 72, introduced by Rep. Lee Zeldin, which rejects “anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hatred in the United States and around the world.” In a statement at the time, Scalise said “I am alarmed by incidents of anti-Semitism across the country, including a growing incidence of anti-Semitic rhetoric and association with anti-Semitic leaders from some Democrat Members of Congress. We cannot pretend this is a thing of the past; anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise, including the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh and the vandalism of a synagogue in St. Tammany Parish in my district last September.” Scalise added, “Like the House of Representatives recently condemned the hateful ideology of white supremacy, we must also condemn anti-Sem-

community NED MARSHALL DESIGN itism. Hate in all its forms is wrong, and we as leaders need to stand up against hate and bigotry. Speaker Pelosi should immediately schedule a vote to pass this resolution on the House floor.” When the vandalism occurred at Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville last fall, Scalise said “Hatred and bigotry have no place in our society. This cowardly act of anti-Semitism is disgraceful, and I hope the criminal who perpetrated it is brought to justice. I am proud to stand with the good people of the Northshore Jewish Congregation, and I know they will not be intimidated by this hateful act.” In April, Scalise called out Democrats who had voted for an amendment to condemn antisemitism for turning around two weeks later and voting down a similar amendment that also opposed the boycott-Israel movement. “Democrats have no consistency,” he said. “It’s simple: anti-Semitism is a vile ideology that deserves our condemnation and the State of Israel is our strongest ally in the Middle East that deserves our undivided support.” In 2015, he praised passage of a resolution calling for the U.S. and European governments to take action for the safety of Jewish communities in Europe, where the bulk of antisemitic attacks have come from radicalized Muslim

immigrants. “With an alarming uptick in anti-Semitic activity happening across Europe, it’s critical for America to partner with our European allies to combat this bigotry and support the Jewish community groups working to promote peace and prevent violent attacks like those we’ve seen in Paris, Copenhagen, and Brussels.” Founded in 2014, IfNotNow uses social activism and direct action to end “the American Jewish community’s support for occupation” of the Palestinians. The organization states “we do not take a unified stance on BDS, Zionism or the question of statehood” for Israel but they “work together to end American Jewish support for the occupation” and seek to disrupt support for Israel through public criticism of mainstream Jewish organizations and by provoking headline-grabbing confrontations. The group followed up the Scalise confrontation with a demonstration outside his office on Oct. 28, for the anniversary of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue shooting. They placed 11 stones on the floor in memory of those killed, and demanded that “Scalise, Trump and the GOP take responsibility for inciting white nationalist violence”

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Rosenwald remembered in Tuskegee Jewish historical group funded 13 markers for city’s new civil rights and historic trail

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Julius Rosenwald was among those honored with historical markers in Tuskegee as the city’s Civil Rights and Historic Trail was dedicated on Sept. 20. Thirteen markers detail individuals and organizations that were pivotal in the civil rights struggle. They were “chosen for their individual and unique aspects, which provide us and generations to follow the opportunity to learn and cherish the unforgettable role they – and the Tuskegee community – played in the American Civil Rights Movement,” said Tuskegee University Archivist Dana Chandler. The markers were funded by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation. Jerry Klinger, president and founder of the society, said his father was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp, and used to say “silence at your neighbor’s oppression will mean silence at yours.” The Tuskegee University Libraries, Museums and Archives, Macon County Bicentennial Committee, the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, the National Park Service, the City of Tuskegee and the Macon County Commission also partnered in establishing the trail. Representatives of Montgomery’s Jewish community attended the dedication. Rosenwald was CEO of Sears and Roebuck, and in 1911 he met Booker T. Washington, who headed the Tuskegee Institute. Washington had been working on developing a public school building program for blacks, as black schools were few and barely funded by the state and local white school boards. Rosenwald became a member of Tuskegee’s board of trustees, and in 1913 funded a pilot program that led to the opening of six schools for black students in Alabama. The Rosenwald Fund then provided seed money to build schools in other communities, where local matching efforts were part of the deal. Over the next two decades, around 5,000 Rosenwald Schools were built. By 1932, one-fourth of all black students in the South were in a Rosenwald School. Today, very few of the buildings still exist. The marker also noted that the Rosenwald Fund “supported the creation of many black YMCAs, YWCAs, and grants that encouraged many of the 20th century’s greatest black artists and innovators. Approximately half of his charitable gifts went to African American communities.” The Rosenwald marker is on the university campus near the main gates at Moton Hall. Other markers commemorate Jessie Guzman, the first black citizen to seek political office in Alabama since Reconstruction; civil rights pioneer Amelia Boynton Robinson; Tuskegee native Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott; and Sammy Younge Jr., who was the first African-American university student killed in the U.S. during the civil rights struggle. Markers also honor Mr. Olive Missionary Baptist Church, Tuskegee High School, the “Trade With Your Friends” boycott of whiteowned businesses, and the Tuskegee Civic Association. The Tuskegee trail is the seventh in Alabama on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


Bruce Pearl, sixth from left on top row, and a delegation from the Auburn area visited Ariel in August, and they are pictured here with student performers

Back from Israel, Auburn Coach Pearl Building Ties Between Jews, Christians by Richard Friedman Auburn University head basketball coach Bruce Pearl is a hulking guy with a huge heart. He cares deeply about people, cries at the drop of a hat, and though he led his Auburn team to the Final Four this year, is as passionate about Israel as he is about basketball. Those were the takeaways from an inspirational from-the-heart talk Pearl gave recently to an audience of about 60 Christians and Jews at the Birmingham home of Heather Johnston. Pearl and his wife Brandy recently visited Israel on a trip sponsored by the Birmingham-based US Israel Education Association, an organization Johnston founded and leads as executive director. Pearl had been to Israel before, including as the gold-medal winning coach of the U.S. basketball team at the World Maccabiah Games. But this trip was different because it included a blend of Evangelical Christians, including Pearl’s wife Brandy, and Jews such as Pearl, who is passionate about his faith and heritage. The trip, which was small, was comprised mainly of individuals and couples connected to Auburn University. It provided an opportunity for joint exploration and dialogue in a spiritual context, as well as an on-theground look at Israel’s complexities and challenges. Participants had the chance to learn more about USIEA’s signature programs — which include enhancing understanding of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and breakthrough initiatives to promote Israeli-Palestinian coexistence and harmony through the development of business partnerships. Johnston also leads another organization, JH Israel, which has initiated leadership development programs based on teachings and lessons from the Hebrew Bible. These programs touch thousands of young Israelis every year and take place at the National Leadership Center in Ariel, one of the major Jewish cities in Judea and Samaria. Pearl had the chance to see these programs as well.

Pride in Israel What came through in his talk, perhaps more than anything, is Pearl’s pride in Israel as a Jew, and his recognition that through Johnston’s two organizations, a unique venue has been created for Christians and Jews to work together to strengthen Israel. As a Jew, Pearl, a Boston native who is 60, recalls his grandfather laying awake at night during Israel’s early years wondering if the Jewish state would survive. “I’m grateful to my Jewish and Christian friends for helping Israel survive,” said Pearl. As a basketball coach whose job is to bring individuals together to cre20

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community ate a team, seeing what USIEA and JH Israel are doing to make life better for Israelis and Palestinians touched him deeply. In addition, he said, “Jews and Christians are from the same family — I’m trying to bring people together.“ As part of this effort to bring people together, he plans to bring the Auburn basketball team to Israel in August 2021. “I want these kids to experience Israel, see how great it is and come home and tell their families.” Working his way up over the years from school to school, Pearl didn’t always have the financial resources that he has today as one of the most successful basketball coaches in the Southeastern Conference. Given his more prosperous circumstances, the trip motivated the Pearls to make the largest gifts they’ve ever made in support of Israel, through donations to USIEA and JH Israel. Johnston also spoke at the recent program, highlighting USIEA’s achievements and reflecting on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which was beginning that evening. She talked knowledgeably and passionately about the significance of the holiday to Jews and broadened it metaphorically to embrace all of the people who were there. Sukkot, she said, is “a powerful festival of commemoration.” Powerful indeed was the operative word for those there that night. Johnston, a Christian Biblically-inspired to support Israel, and Pearl, an open-hearted fiercely proud Jew, were a powerful combination — not only inspiring each other but inspiring everyone who was there.




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Richard Friedman will be finishing a long-time career as executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Federation on Dec. 31. He will be joining the staffs of the US Israel Education Association and Israel InSight magazine.

Rabbi Silberman leading tour of Morocco Rabbi Steven Silberman of Ahavas Chesed in Mobile is planning a tour of Jewish, scenic and cultural sites in Morocco, April 21 to 30. Highlights will include Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh and Ifrane, a Moroccan parallel to a town in the Swiss Alps. The tour includes sightseeing, most meals, wine tastings, a sunrise hot air balloon ride and more. Cost is approximately $4,000 per person for land only, based on at least 10 travelers. Before 1948, there were over 250,000 Jews in Morocco, with the community dating back to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. Currently, Israel has about 500,000 Jews of Moroccan descent, and Morocco has about 2500 Jews remaining. For more information, contact Silberman at November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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After 21 years of developing into one of the nation’s must-see film festivals, the Sidewalk Film Festival has a new home, and one of the first major events will be the inaugural Birmingham Jewish Film Festival. Sidewalk announced the “mini-festival” will run from Nov. 21 to 24. In late September, the Sidewalk Cinema opened in the Pizitz building in downtown Birmingham. The center has two 95-seat screening rooms, two lounges, a concession stand and bar, and an educational center. During the year, it will show independent films and retrospectives daily, and the cinema was used for the first time during this August’s Sidewalk festival. The festival, presented by the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, is “a cinematic exploration of Jewish culture, history, art, and life in Israel.” In addition to four days of film, the festival includes an opening night reception, panels, workshops, networking events, and a closing night party featuring a tasting of Jewish cuisine. Janet Aarons, assistant director of the Foundation, said “we know that several communities in our region have successful festivals, and we were thrilled when Sidewalk approached us.” Chloe Cook, executive director of Sidewalk, said they worked with members of the Birmingham Jewish community to select the films. “The Jewish Film Festival will not only screen Jewish themed films chosen by members of the local Jewish community in conjunction with the Sidewalk staff, but will also incorporate Jewish-themed events surrounding the screenings,” Cook said. Though the festival will run through Shabbat, Cook said the films screened on Shabbat will be exclusively encores, “so that no one has to miss a title if they keep the Sabbath.” Filmmaker Michele Forman, who grew up in Birmingham’s Jewish community and is now director of the media studies program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said she is excited to see the festival debut. “I really can’t believe the diversity of Jewish experience from around the world they are bringing to Birmingham,” she said. Aarons said the festival is a great opportunity for the community to see current movies that aren’t typically playing at the multiplex. “Also, it will provide the chance for young members of the community to experience some classics and for older members to revisit some of the movies they’ve loved over the years,” she said. Aarons also noted that the Pizitz building, where the Sidewalk theater complex is housed, is part of Birmingham’s Jewish history. Though many other communities, including Baton Rouge, Mobile, Nashville and Jackson have longstanding Jewish film festivals, aside from a couple of smaller events from 2011 to 2013, this will be Birmingham’s first Jewish Film Festival. Many festivals in the region began through Jewish Cinema South, initially coordinated by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life before becoming independent. A preliminary lineup for the Birmingham festival was announced on Oct. 31. The opening reception starts at 5 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the Sidewalk Cinema Lobby Bar. At 7 p.m. “Before You Know It” will be screened in both theaters. Released in August, the film is about a dysfunctional family that runs a small community theatre in New York City. After the father, played by Mandy Patinkin, dies, the two daughters find out that their real mother is a soap opera actress — and the business and family home had been left to her. On Nov. 22, the wide range of offerings begins at noon in Theater A, with “The Rabbi Goes West,” a documentary about religious diversity

community focusing on a Chabad rabbi who moved from Crown Heights to open the first Chabad center in Montana. Co-director Gerald Peary is scheduled to attend. At 2 p.m., “Chasing Portraits” tells of filmmaker Elizabeth Rynecki’s quest to find — but not reclaim — paintings her great-grandfather did of Jewish life in Poland before he was murdered in the Holocaust. Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Adam Wright will lead a talkback session after the film. At 4 p.m., “Safe Spaces,” which was featured at Sidewalk in August, has Justin Long playing an adjunct creative writing professor who is forced to grapple with the backlash to a class discussion that he saw as innocent, but others felt crossed the line. Filmmaker Daniel Schechter said Long’s character is partially inspired by himself and his experience as a teacher. Fran Drescher plays Long’s mother, and the character is based on Schechter’s mother. The final film of the day in Theatre A is “Seder-Masochism” at 7 p.m., an animated feature that loosely follows the Passover Seder, with the events being told by Moses, Aaron, the Angel of Death, Jesus and director Nina Paley’s father.

There’s also a battle with humankind’s original deity, the Great Mother, in a battle against patriarchy. In Theater B, “Longing” screens at 12:30 p.m., an Israeli comedy-drama about a middle-aged bachelor who finds out his former girlfriend gave birth to his son 20 years earlier. At 3 p.m., the documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” is the inside story on how a risky Broadway show with mixed reviews became a cultural icon, with a celebrated film adaptation and becoming the first Broadway musical to exceed 3,000 performances. The “Fiddler” screen- “Standing Up, Falling Down” with Ben Schwartz and ing is sponsored by Temple Beth-El, Billy Crystal, closes the festival and Rabbi Stephen and Bethany Slater will lead a brief talkback after the screening. west, Scott came out as gay, was diagnosed with Theater B will have encore screenings of “The cancer and converted to Judaism. Rabbi Goes West” at 5:30 p.m. and “Before You The rest of the schedule in Theater A on Nov. Know It” at 7:30 p.m. 23 consists of encore screenings, with “Fiddler” On Nov. 23, “Latter Day Jew” screens at noon, at 2 p.m., “Longing” at 4:15 p.m. and Safe Spacfollowing writer-comedian H. Alan Scott as he es at 7:30 p.m. A cocktail reception will be held finds his spiritual path while preparing for his from 5:15 to 7 p.m. Bar Mitzvah, trying to figure out how to be the After a 7 p.m. encore screening of “Sedbest Jew he can be. Raised Mormon in the mid- er-Masochism” in Theater B, “The Dancing

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A new magazine for Israel’s Christian friends 24

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Dogs of Dombrova” will be at 8:45 p.m. The Canadian film depicts two estranged siblings being asked by their dying grandmother to go to Poland and exhume the remains of her long-dead family dog so they can be buried together. Despite barely speaking to each other and knowing no Polish, they have to journey together to a remote village to try and accomplish their grandmother’s wish. On Nov. 24 at 10:45 a.m., “The Rabbi’s Cat” will be in Theater A. Based on a French graphis novel series, the animated film is set in the Jewish community of Algeria in the 1920s. After eating a parrot, the rabbi’s cat is able to speak, and the now sharp-tongued cat with less-thanwholesome designs on the rabbi’s daughter insists that he be trained for a bar mitzvah. They soon encounter and join a Russian Jewish stowaway who has come to Africa in search of a hidden city of black Jews deep in the continent. Encore screenings of “Latter Day Jew” at 1 p.m. and “Chasing Portraits” at 3 p.m. round out the lineup in Theater A. In Theater B on Nov. 24, “The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova” will be at 11:30 a.m., followed by the 1969 Gene Kelly film, “Hello, Dolly!” at 1:45 p.m., the story of matchmaker Dolly Levi, played by Barbra Streisand, and her attempt to find a match for the miserly Horace Vandergelder, played by Walter Matthau. The closing night reception will be in the Lobby Bar from 5 to 6:30 p.m., followed by the final selection of the festival, “Standing Up, Falling Down,” a comedy about a failed stand-up comedian, played by Ben Schwartz, who has to leave Southern California and move back to his family in Long Island. There, he strikes up a friendship with an alcoholic dermatologist, played by Billy Crystal, as they confront their personal disappointments and regrets. The film screens at 7 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. in the two theaters. Tickets and passes went on sale Nov. 1. A $24 Pick-3 Pass provides entry to any three films. A $100 VIP pass includes entry to the entire lineup, along with six drink tickets for Yellow Tail wine and Cahaba Brewing Company beers, as the Sidewalk Concession Stand and Full Bar will be open throughout the festival. Single tickets are also available for $10.75. “Birmingham’s Jewish community is one with an immense impact and one that should be celebrated,” Cook said. “We are extremely proud to bring their stories, perspectives and culture to attendees of all walks of life.” Elsewhere in the region, the Nashville Jewish Film Festival concludes in early November, while the Mobile Jewish Film Festival will be from Jan. 16 to Feb. 2, and the Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival will be Jan. 15 to 19. As of press time, Jewish Cinema Mississippi had not announced a 2020 schedule.

The 2019 Pomegranate Prize recipients, with Covenant Foundation Board Chair Cheryl Finkel. From left to right: Shara Peters, Natan Kuchar, Beverly Socher-Lerner, Rabbi Matthew Dreffin, Na’amit Sturm-Nagel, and Cheryl Finkel.

ISJL’s Dreffin receives national educator recognition Rabbi Matthew Dreffin, director of education at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson, was one of five emerging Jewish educators who received the Covenant Foundation Pomegranate Prize. The Pomegranate Prize, inaugurated eight years ago, is designed to honor rising leaders who have been in the field of Jewish education for up to 10 years. By encouraging Prize recipients in their pursuits, and enabling them to accelerate their professional development and amplify their impact on the field, The Covenant Foundation aims to nurture Pomegranate Prize recipients in an intentional way, and empower them to take risks and make a difference in the field of Jewish education. “The five 2019 Pomegranate Prize recipients are truly multi-talented, which is reflective of an important trend in Jewish education,” said Cheryl Finkel, board chair of The Covenant Foundation, who also presented the Prize on Nov. 6. “By enhancing their educational practice with skills in visual arts, music, literature, community engagement strategies, and creative problem solving, they offer the learners they work with a more well-rounded and rich Jewish learning experience. We are so excited about the potential they promise to the field.” The Prize stands next to the Covenant Award, which since 1991 has honored three exemplary Jewish educators each year for innovation and impact across Jewish education settings. Macy Hart, ISJL founder and president emeritus, received the Covenant Award in 1999. An artist and advocate, Dreffin seeks to foster meaningful Jewish moments; when it comes to Jewish education, “good enough is never good enough.” His role at the ISJL allows creativity and high-level strategic planning while also demanding teaching, scholarship, and above all, the mentoring and direct supervision of a team of a dozen young emerging Education Fellows. Dreffin previously served as rabbinical intern at Congregation Shir Ami in Castro Valley, Calif., and Temple Judea in Tarzana, Calif. He received his ordination and Master’s degrees in Hebrew Letters and Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, where he was also a Mandel Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Hot Glass Sculpture from Tulane University, and he continues to make art in his personal studio. After the ceremony, Dreffin said “I am humbled by those who received (the award) with me and before me — they are filled with talents, insights, commitments, and accomplishments that are impressively intimidating.” He expressed pride in his work at ISJL, saying “my colleagues and my team are an inspiration with their creativity, support and hard work. I







New Orleans & Metairie

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


community endeavor to produce high-level work that serves our communities and helps create good humans.” Also honored were Na’amit Sturm Nagel, English teacher and associate director of The Shalhevet Institute at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles; Shara Peters, Head of School at Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village, Calif.; Beverly Socher-Lerner, founding director of Makom Community in Philadelphia; and Natan Kuchar, director of Edah Community in Berkeley, Calif.

Russian Jewish artists lead classes in Natchez

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For almost three decades, Southern Jewish Life has been an important asset to the Jewish communities of the Deep South, telling unique stories, covering important issues and developing a national reputation for quality journalism. We bring the small communities of a wide region together, to form a stronger Southern Jewish community, and help keep our communities on the national and international map. As part of our mission, we send the magazine free to every known Jewish household in our coverage area. If you are one of those receiving the magazine for free and want to express your appreciation and support, please consider supporting us through a voluntary subscription. If you want to go further and want to help ensure that our publication remains a vital part of our community in an era when other communities are seeing their publications scale back or close entirely, we welcome your contributions! (Some of our colleagues do full-blown annual donation campaigns). You can contribute online at, or mail to P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213. Our normal subscription is $25 for one year, $40 for two years, but we welcome your support, no matter the size. We thank you for your continued support as we tell our stories — the stories of Southern Jewish Life! 26

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

The Mississippi School of Folk Art in Natchez will be hosting renowned Russian artists Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets for three-day drawing and media workshops in December. The Titovetses were invited to Natchez by long-time friend Fred Kent, who is a long-time collector of their art. Earlier this year, they visited Natchez and were struck by the beauty, so they set up the workshops, which Kent said they do “very infrequently.” Natives of St. Petersburg, Russia, the Titovetses came to the United States 27 years ago, establishing a studio in Charleston, S.C. They now live in El Paso. Their works are in galleries across the country and in the King of Spain’s collection. Aleksander Titovets was selected to do a portrait of thenFirst Lady Laura Bush. Participants in the workshops will receive nine hours of instruction in three-hour sessions over three days, Dec. 9 through 11 and Dec. 12 through 14 from 9 a.m. to noon or 5 to 8 p.m. with approximately 12 students per class. Tuition is $250 per student, and participants will take home their finished pieces. The workshops will focus on drawing, painting and composition. The Northeast Louisiana Jewish Federation in Shreveport is planning a one-day trip to Natchez, picking up those in Monroe who also want to attend. The date has not been selected. Rabbi Feivel Rubinstein is organizing the trip.




bespoke jewelry

5101 W. Esplanade Ave (at Chastant), Metairie

JCRS Roots Gala to honor Beerman family Musical “success stories” to perform at Feb. 1 event For its 2020 gala, New Orleans-based Jewish Children’s Regional Service continues its Jewish Roots series with the Jewish Roots of Rhythm and Blues, Feb. 1 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. One of the largest Jewish events in New Orleans each year, the gala attracts attendees from throughout the region, as the organization serves seven states and holds an annual board meeting the morning after the gala. The 2020 Jewish Roots gala will honor the Beerman family, whose members proudly claim a near 100-year history with the original 19th century Jewish Children’s Home, which transformed into JCRS when the home closed. Six Beerman siblings were Home residents in the 1920s, while more recently, family members have served in leadership positions within JCRS, including Marc Beerman as president from 2015 to 2017. The event will feature music from The Great American Songbook, performed by JCRS “success stories” — educational scholarship recipients who are currently pursuing advanced degrees in musical performance. Performers will include violinist Basil Alter of Memphis, who attends the Manhattan School of Music; Joshua Dolney, a Texan who plays trumpet and is at the University of Illinois; Joshua Sadinsky of Fayetteville, Ark., a pianist at Cal Arts; and Baton Rouge’s Caroline Samuels, a Jacobs Camp alumna who plays double bass and is working on a Master’s at Boston University. The evening will also include a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner. A silent auction focused on boutique shopping, restaurants and once-in-a-lifetime vacations will round out the evening. JCRS has served financially challenged Jewish children and families, providing college scholarships, grants for Jewish summer camp experiences, special needs assistance and other outreach programs since 1855. This year, JCRS will serve or fund over 1,800 Jewish children from over 200 communities in its seven-state Mid-South region, including 54 percent of Jewish youth, ages 17 and under, in Greater New Orleans. Applications for summer camp assistance went live on Nov. 1 and the priority deadline is Feb. 15. College aid applications are due May 31. Gala tickets are available at or by calling the office at (800) 729-5277. The event is open to the public.



November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


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• 28

• November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Whether you are a seasoned business owner or an entrepreneur starting a business, your journey holds many challenges — but also many opportunities and even some obligations. Here, we will consider some estate planning opportunities and responsibilities for the business owner. You don’t need to be a business owner to create an estate plan, but all business owners, for the sake of their families and businesses, need to have at least a basic estate plan. The business is an asset of your estate, and you want to ensure its continuation after your death. Thus, you should have a will or a trust (as a will substitute) that will preserve your business’s continued viability and value for your beneficiaries after your death. You should also have a durable power of attorney that appoints an agent to handle all aspects of your financial affairs, including your business if you are unable to do so for yourself. The power of attorney’s scope can be broad or limited and could leave different people in charge of different things. The power of attorney’s effectiveness ends at your death. If you do all of the online banking for the business, are the administrator for email accounts, or keep other types of business records or proprietary information that are password protected, make sure someone else will know the passwords or be able to access the information so the business suffers no disruption in accessing its accounts and information because of your incapacity or death. Be sure to include language in your will and power of attorney that specifically addresses digital assets like these. If the business represents a significant amount of your family’s income or a significant amount of the business’s value depends upon your activities, you should consider insurance as part of your plan. You could have “key man” life insurance owned by the business to give it some working capital to help it endure after you are gone. To replace your income earning potential for any dependents, you may also want personal life insurance. Additionally, a trust may be an appropriate vehicle to receive the insurance to make sure the insurance proceeds are used for your beneficiaries in the way you want. Disability insurance should also be considered to provide working capital and income in the event of poor health or accident. Whether you spread the ownership of your business among yourself and other family members, a trust, or even unrelated third parties, you will want to have a shareholder’s agreement or the like to regulate how the interests may be passed on, such as gifts during your lifetime or at your death, as well as stipulations for sales of the interests. You don’t want to find yourself in business with someone not of your choosing because a co-owner sold their interest, made a gift of their interest, or died and left their interest to someone you did not approve. For an entrepreneur, business succession planning is a large part of estate planning. A successful entrepreneur takes care to do things right when forming and running his or her business. Make sure you plan for taking care of your business in the event of your incapacity and your death. Leigh Kaylor is an Estates, Wills and Trusts attorney at Sirote and Permutt in Birmingham.

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



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November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

LSU veteran Bregman sets World Series records with Astros While the World Series did not turn out the way Alex Bregman and the Houston Astros wanted, losing to the Washington Nationals in the decisive Game 7, Bregman received a lot of attention for his record-setting performance. Much of the coverage of Bregman’s Game 6 home run for the Astros focused on the propriety of him carrying his bat to first base after hitting the home run, but lost in the controversy was that the blast was another historic hit for him. Including his two home runs in the 2017 World Series, Bregman set the record for the most World Series home runs by a third baseman. He also became the youngest American League player to hit three home runs in a single World Series since Mickey Mantle, in 1956. In the fifth inning of the same game, the Nationals’ Juan Soto took possession of the overall youngest record by hitting his third homer of the series — and he carried his bat to first base as well. After the game, Bregman apologized, saying “I just let my emotions get the best of me. I’m sorry for doing that. It’s not how I was raised to play the game.” In Game 4, Bregman went 3-for-5 with an RBI single and a grand slam, the first grand slam hit by a third baseman in the World Series since 1964, and his five RBI were the most by an American League player in a single World Series game in a decade. He also had a home run in Game 2. Before the World Series, though, he had just three hits in six games against the New York Yankees. The Game 7 loss wasn’t the only difficult moment for Bregman on Oct. 30. Two hours before gametime, he posted on social media that he would be dedicating that night’s game to his grandfather, Joe DeOliveira, who had died just a couple of hours earlier. An Albuquerque native, Bregman played college ball for three years at Louisiana State University, where he was one of four finalists for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the best amateur baseball player in the country. He was drafted second overall by the Astros in the 2015 draft, and was the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year in 2016. Bregman was heavily recruited by Team Israel for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Team Israel captured most of the headlines — and a documentary film — by doing far better than anyone expected, but Bregman opted to play for the U.S. team, which won the classic for the first time. He later said he should have played for Israel, because he had only four at-bats for the U.S. Bregman was called up to the Astros on July 25, 2016. That September, he also made history by hitting the 3,000th home run by a Jewish player in the major leagues, according to Jewish Baseball News. It was his eighth of the season. In the 2017 World Series, which Houston won, he knocked in runs in each of the first five games, and had the game winning single in the 10th inning of Game 5, a 13-12 win. He also hit the go-ahead home run in the 2018 All-Star Game in the 10th inning, and became the first Jewish player to be named MVP of the All-Star Game. In 2018, he hit .286 with 31 home runs and 103 RBI. This year, he hit .296 with 41 home runs and 112 RBI.

gift guide



Do Space Camp with the whole family 1. WISH THEM A HAPPY Annual Black Friday sale starts Nov. 29 HOLIDAY WITH CUSTOM CARDS

Your favorite shayna

If you’re looking for an out-of-this world fampunim gets the cover on ily experience, a trip to Family Space Camp personalized cards. may be the perfect fit this holiday season. Cost varies according to quantity ordered. During the three-day program, families with children as young as 7 can immerse themselves in the possibilities of space exRudman’s Gifts ploration and build some lasting memories 741 Veterans Memorial Blvd along the way. Metairie A program of the world-renowned Space 504/833.1286 Camp in Huntsville, Family Space Camp offers the same opportunity to train like an astronaut Rudman’s is a gift, stationery, that hundreds of thousands have experienced since invitation and greeting card Space Camp opened in 1982. This year, Space Camp expects to welcome its millionth camper and to a family graduates that includes astronauts, en-to offer locallly shop with Judaica uniqueofgifts, and they are especially proud gineers,and scientists and technicians all over theIndividualized world. In fact,service a five-time designed produced Louisiana products. is a specialty with Space Camp graduate, Christina recently participated in the first wording and design assistance onKoch, any time of personal or business correspondence, all-female spacewalk and is on track to set the record for the longest single andspace theirflight partnership with industry leaders guarantees a top-notch finished product. by a woman before she returns to Earth in spring 2020. Koch is Customer service they’re famous for, plus free gift wrapping and at-cost UPS shipping the fifth Space Camp alumna to fly in space. around theCamp country make selecting sending any gift a pleasure. For some, Family Space is the perfect way to and introduce children to the program that instills the importance of leadership, critical thinking and teamwork. Families build and launch rockets together and go on simulated space missions to the International Space Station, the moon or Mars. Many children who begin with Family Space Camp go on to attend weeklong Space Camp, which is open to ages 9 to 18. 2. REMEMBER: BLUE AND WHITE With many families, one or more parents attended Camp as chilARESpace TRADITIONAL FOR CHANUKAH dren and want to relive a cherished memory with their children. For others, Family Space Camp is a chance to explore a shared in space this holiday. There’ll beinterest no forgetting exploration and to learn from each other as they take on challenges to- Price upon request. Village Framers gether. The reasons to attend are endless. One couple recently chose Family 2847 Culver Road Space Camp as the perfect way to celebrate their 50th&wedding anniverWellington Company Fine Jewelry Mountain Brook sary. Their multi-generational experience is one they’ll remember for the 505 Royal Street New Orleans 205/871-6221 next 50 years. 504/525.4855 Whatever the reason for attending, families get not only the immersive experience of Space Camp, their classroom is the U.S. Space and Rocket Wellington & Co. Fine Jewelry’s team of Center, with its world-class collection that includes the National Historic jewelry16associates possesses more than half a Landmark Saturn V moon rocket, the Apollo capsule that went to the century of antique, estateAtand Carolyn Goldsmith, Untitled. Acrylic on Canvas. 42x32 moon and the only full stack space shuttle exhibit in the world. thecontemporary Rocket Center, you don’t just learn about exploration, you stand in experience. finespace jewelry knowledge and sales awe of it. At Wellington & Co., their passion for whatgifts for Great Another part of the Family Space Camp experience a trip to the Rockthey do, is combined with the store’s warm Chanukah et Center’s new INTUITIVE Planetarium, a state-of-the art facility that and inviting atmosphere in the heart of New offers original programming in a digital dome experience. A trip through • enables original, historic French Quarter the universe in the planetarium is a stunning Orleans’ visual treat. contemporary, & them to provide fromtoaround with Space a unique and shopping Now is the visitors perfect time give thethe giftworld of Family Camp as inviting the experience unliketraditional any other. art Rocket Center offers its Black Friday Sale, Nov. 29 through Dec. 2. The only discount of the year offered to the general public, the Black Friday • sculpture Sale includes $50 off Family Space Camp, Adult Space Camp (yes, that’s a • custom framing Melanie Magee, Palms. Oil on Canvas. 11x14 thing!) and $100 off weeklong, summer overnight Space Camp, Aviation Challenge, Space Camp Robotics and U.S. Cyber Camp. Call (800) 637• picture frames 7223 or visit to book your experience.

.indd 59

10/20/2014 2:21:34 AM

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


chanukah gifts

Fisher & Sons Jewelers

5101 West Esplanade Avenue Metairie 504/885.4956

From the Michou Collection at Fisher & Sons Jewelers in Metairie, a Sterling Silver cuff bracelet containing a combination of fused Mother of Pearl, Quartz and Onyx as well as Mystic Topaz, with 22k Gold Vermeil.

The Atchison Gallery

2847 Culver Rd., Mountain Brook Village Birmingham 205/871.6233 The Atchison Gallery-Village Framers sells unique art, and can enhance the beauty of art through custom framing. Owner Larry Atchison opened the Mountain Brook Village shop in 1976. The art featured in the gallery comes from local, regional and national artists in both contemporary as well as traditional styles. Atchison said they use real wood for their custom framing in a variety of styles, colors and painted wood options. “We’ve even done some 24-karat-gold custom frames,” he said. They also create shadowboxes for customers who want to include their treasures. “We’ve done a lot of ketubahs, Bar/Bat Mitzvah collages and golf clubs, flags, seashells, photos,” he said. “Just about everything you could imagine.”

The Chocolate Connection Featuring craft chocolate bars and bonbons from makers around the world, for any occasion. Ethically sourced, fresh ingredients, incredible flavor. Email or call us to select chocolates for your next celebration, event or customized gift.

NOLA Gifts & Decor

5101 West Esplanade Ave. Metairie 504/407.3532

Make it a Who Dat holiday with a wide range of items at NOLA Gifts & Decor, including this Black and Gold ladies dress, available in sizes S-3XL. 2026 Morris Ave., Downtown Birmingham 205-290-5778 32

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


chanukah gifts

DSLD Aquascapes

5485 U.S. 280 Birmingham 205/437.1012

A fun, trendy tween boutique for boys & girls in sizes 4-16y

205-848-7800 • 40 Church St B’ham M-F 10a-5p • Sat 10a-4p • Sun by appt • monamibham

Make Chanukah Special

with Unique Alabama Goods Products

DSLD Land Management gained a fountain of knowledge in — among other areas — aquatic garden design, construction and maintenance. This past April, DSLD Owner David Sharp launched Aquascapes, a retail division of the company across from the Lee Branch Shopping Center on Highway 280 in Birmingham. It is a water garden, comprehensive pond and fountain resource center. “I started DSLD 36 years ago as a landscape design and construction company,” said Sharp. “We have expanded over the years to try and bring in other services so that clients do not need to deal with multiple contractors to accomplish one project. “Opening up the AquaScapes retail shop was a natural for us. Aquatic gardens are a big part of landscaping. This is just part of our evolutionary process,” he added. AquaScapes displays and sells not just water gardens, but also aquatic plants, fish, pond supplies, statuaries, sculptures, yard art, wind chimes, lanterns, bird houses, outdoor kitchens, fire places, fire pits as well as providing design services. They even employ a marine biologist, Aquatics and Fishery Manager Riley Krohn, to guide clients on managing their aquatic gardens. “It’s very important to manage the water quality for the health of the aquatics and fish, but also for pets that might be around the water gardens,” said Krohn. “You have to protect against water evaporation and make sure the temperature is right for the fish.” Sharp said that DSLD employs “one of Alabama’s most credentialed professional staffs,” including licensed and/or degreed designers, landscape artists, landscape architects, civil engineers, mechanical engineers, horticulturalists, turf grass specialists and aquatic gardens experts. “They have a combined 350 years of experience and can handle any project, big or small.” He also added that Acquisition International magazine recently recognized DSLD in its Global Excellence Awards as the Most Innovative Landscape and Construction Services Provider in Alabama for 2019.

Israel InSight Magazine

We Do Custom Gift Baskets Online at Or visit our Homewood location 34

2933 18th Street South (205) 803-3900

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Looking for a gift for a Christian friend who loves Israel? Get a gift subscription for Israel InSight, the new magazine for Israel’s Christian friends. Published by the team at Southern Jewish Life, this magazine will debut soon. Charter subscriptions are available at for $18/year or $32 for two years. Of course, readers and subscribers of all faiths are welcome!

chanukah gifts Earthborn Pottery

7575 Parkway Drive Leeds, Ala 205/702.7055 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!

Chateau Drugs and Gifts

3544 West Esplanade Avenue Metairie 504/889.2300 Chateau Drugs and Gifts has been a pharmacy since 1977, but it also has a diverse selection of gifts, including art and handmade pottery, clothes (mostly sweaters, robes, pajamas), lamps, purses, small luggage, kids’ costumes, New Orleans-themed gifts from Jax Frey as well as Purple Pumpkin, Beatrice Ball, toys, bath and body products, wine charms, as well as much more. Chateau’s Judaica gifts include menorahs and mezuzahs from Michael Aram, “Jewish History of New Orleans” books from Images of America, along with a nice selection of greeting cards for Chanukah and other holidays and B’nai Mitzvah celebrations, along with a few options for wrapping paper and gift bags.

METAIRIE 605 Metairie Rd Metairie, LA 70005 504.309.8778 | @hemlinemetairie


Vulcan Park and Museum

1701 Valley View Drive Birmingham 205/933-1409 Those who love Birmingham’s famous Iron Man and gifts featuring Alabama and from local artists can find everything they want at The Anvil — the gift shop at Vulcan Park and Museum. Vulcan’s statue replicas are meticulously detailed to show every feature of the real Iron Man and make great souvenirs or a perfect addition to a personal collection. Bobblehead Vulcan is 8” tall and features a bobbling head — and yes, the famous “moon over Homewood” also bobbles! Enclosed in a ready-to-gift box.

BUY 2 GLASSES, GET 2 FREE COASTERS REGULAR PRICE: $3.29-$14.99 | IN-STORE ONLY 11/2-11/28/19 November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life


chanukah gifts Chateau Drugs & gifts

Unexpected Elegance 3544 West Esplanade Ave., Metairie Between Severn and Hessmer Aves.

889-2300 •

M-F 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-5pm


Mon Ami

40 Church Street, Crestline Birmingham 205/848.7800 Mon Ami kids clothing lets boys and girls “create their own style,” while making shopping a fun experience. Aja Michel Powanda and her mother, Farren Michel, opened the Crestline Village shop in February. “I worked for several years as a buyer at a high-end children’s clothing store in New York City after graduating college,” said Powanda. “But I grew up in Birmingham and we wanted our kids (7-year-old Farren, 5-year-old Mavis) to be able to grow up here too, so we moved back three years ago. It was always my goal to open up my own children’s clothing store here.” She said that growing up in Birmingham; having kids, and gaining a lot of buying knowledge and connections from her experience in New York, helped shape Mon Ami. In addition to providing clothing for boys and girls sizes four to 18, Mon Ami sells accessories, Bluetooth speakers, sequin pillows that change from one image to another, purses, jewelry, shoes as well as other gifts. The store even offers Llamakkah loungewear pants for girls (pictured here). For simchas, Mon Ami has a large selection of formal wear for girls and boys, including a few of the same brands worn by adults, such as Southern Point, and highend blazers made in Italy. Kids can get on a mirrored stage at Mon Ami and get their photos taken for a slide show that runs on a TV in the store. Farren Michael said, “we want this to be a memorable, fun experience for kids and their families.” Mon Ami offers online ordering and even does some local deliveries. Add Powanda, “we’re a part of the community. We enjoy spending a lot of time with our customers…helping them find exactly what they and their kids want.”

Vineyard Vines

209 Summit Boulevard Birmingham 205/970-9758

Vineyard Vines Birmingham is owned and operated by Oak Hall in Memphis, Tenn., as a partner store with Vineyard Vines. The Levys of Oak Hall met Shep and Ian Murray when the Murrays cut their ties with corporate America to start making ties that represented the Good Life. In addition to signature neckwear, Vineyard Vines offers a variety of clothing and accessories for men, women and children. Pictured here is the New Sankaty 1/2-Zip Pullover.


November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

Alabama Goods

chanukah gifts

2933 18th Street So. Birmingham 205/803.3900

Among the many local items at Alabama Goods: Adorable highball glasses that highlight Birmingham landmarks. Each glass features a different iconic image: Railroad trail with the Magic City sign, the Birmingham theatre district, Sloss Furnace, and Vulcan. The set of four comes in a gift box, $39.99. Makes the perfect gift for men and women alike! Available in-store or order at

Applause Dance Wear

1629 Oxmoor Road Birmingham 205/781-7837 It is the holiday season and Applause is the place for all of your Nutcracker merchandise! These cute tops are all made by Motionwear. The gray Nutcracker Academy sweatshirt in the top left is $41. The gray Nutcracker On Duty tank and the black Dream tank are both $25. The gray cold shoulder Nutcracker top is $29. All of these tops would make the perfect seasonal gift for your little dancer!


goes anywhere digital editions at ISSUU.COM/SJLMAG November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



HISTORY David Sorkin’s Jewish Emancipation: A History Across Five Centuries focuses on Jewish history in (mostly) Europe along the framework of the ebb and tide of gaining rights and recognition. Status in politics and as garden-variety citizenry is examined in depth, and taken as a whole, leaves one reminded that the lives we enjoy as Americans, the modern establishment and challenges facing the State of Israel, still require thoughtful examination and protection for our own and others’ future. The Last Palace: Europe’s Turbulent Century in Five Lives and One Legendary House is set from a front-row seat in Europe’s political drama from its perch in an enormous home in the Czech Republic. The home, built by a Jewish man after World War I to demonstrate his and the country’s resilience, was later taken up as residence by a German Army officer who had served in both wars and curiously wound up saving both the house and Prague. Later, the mansion became the residence for U.S. ambassadors, including Shirley Temple Black, and the book gives great insight to her political endeavors. Alongside are pieces of Eisen’s own story: his mother, a Czech Holocaust survivor, shares her fears, even as her son, the author, takes up residence to serve as U.S. Ambassador there under the Obama administration. America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today by Pamela S. Nadell takes a look at those change-makers whose influence looms large or was made in more subtle but still profound ways. Written as a historical narrative rather than a series of individual biographies, the book makes for a compelling read. The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters by Joe Kraus follows the Jewish mafia from Prohibition to its demise at the end of the last century. Included are rich depictions of the families and lone actors involved, the rules they were expected to play by — and how those characters and motivations intertwined with political intrigue.



by Rebecca Fishbein

Can we start with "sigh, yessss," just over the title alone? Fishbein tells the kind of stories that used to be saved for best-friend sleepovers (OG Taylor Swift fan! a co-worker crush!) but now go out to everybody on earth via Instagram story or multi-part tweets. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Thing is, reading her essays on hot yoga, drinking adventures, private schools... they’re hilarious (and sometimes a little sad, but that’s okay). Mostly, the author is someone you’d like to know to gameplan and commiserate, and let’s face it, share how things turn out before anybody else gets to hear. Fun.

A FIELD GUIDE TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE by Dave Barry, Adam Mansback and Alan Zweibel

Listen, the second half of the title of this book was 45 words and included the phrase “why they fled Egypt by running straight to a large body of water” and the first author listed is Dave Barry, so when I tell you this book is so incredibly Dave Barry, you know what you’re getting. We’re talking lists (maybe the best of which includes: people we wish were Jewish, people we wish weren’t Jewish, people you thought were Jewish but aren’t, and people we’re so glad aren’t Jewish), Q&As, quizzes, translations, and essays on everything from the holidays to shiva, and no... absolutely nothing is sacred. Even if you’re not into this kind of thing, your dad probably is. Chanukah present. You’re welcome. 38

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life — in Judaism

by Sarah Hurwitz

The former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and both Obamas pens a memoir of her journey from someone who mostly felt as if she had fulfilled her commitment to Jewish practice with her bat mitzvah, to her mid-30s when a JCC class resonated deeply with its emphasis on ethics and purpose behind observance, rather than simple just-roll-with-it rote adherence. The author writes with a refreshing, completely relateable voice asking contemporary questions. How do we take Torah and other texts and square those with modern values? Where does mindfulness and gratefulness fit in? How can we refocus Shabbat so it isn’t so much what we can’t do, but what it frees us to do: disconnect from work and connect at a higher level, with ourselves and our family and friends and our world? A modern take on the whys of Judaism, why it’s an excellent structure to live one's life by, and why it all matters. Highly recommended.

CHILDREN The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy, illustrated by Stacy Innerst. Aaron Lansky’s grandmother came to America as a teenage girl with only a few precious things in her suitcase, including her Yiddish books. Aaron, too, had a love of books. But by the time he was in college studying Jewish history, Yiddish books were hard to come by. Fearing they’d be lost forever, Aaron set off to find the books wherever he could, and as the collection overtook his parents’ home and his own apartment, he decided to make them available for everyone. Donations came rolling in, because people knew they could trust him, and today, the Yiddish Book Center is home to over 1.5 million books! Written in the tone of a traditional folkstory and with Chagall-inspired illustrations, this makes for a particularly smart, thoughtful gift for any young reader.

community Finalists for Federation CEO position visiting Birmingham The search for the next CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation continues with candidate visits, with the hopes that a new CEO will be named shortly. “We’re real excited,” said Steve Greene, who is co-chairing the Federation search with Jesse Unkenholz. “We’ve got great candidates and we hope to have decision by the middle of December.” Richard Friedman, who has led the Federation for 37 years, is retiring on Dec. 31 (story below). The search for his successor comes after a visioning process where a group of next generation leaders developed a community road map and presented it to all of the community’s congregations and agencies. As an example of the cooperative vision, the new Federation CEO will also be the Chief Visionary Officer for the Levite Jewish Community Center, working with a yet-to-be-named executive director of the LJCC. Since the departure of former Executive Director Betzy Lynch in 2017, Friedman has also been executive director of the LJCC. The search committee has been working with the nationally-known DRG Search firm, and was “pleased” with the reception that the opening received, and that there was a lot of interest in interviewing for the new CEO position. After initial interviews and narrowing down of candidates, the first candidate came for a visit in late October, another candidate was scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 10, and the committee was working to schedule a third for the beginning of December The visits include a series of meetings and presentations with the search committee, community executive directors and rabbis, the Federation board and others, a reception with the young leaders, tours of Birmingham and the Jewish institutions.

Federation Exec Richard Friedman to join USIEA, Israel InSight staffs Birmingham Jewish Federation Executive Director Richard Friedman, currently the longest-serving Federation director in the country, will embark on two new professional endeavors when he steps down from his Federation role on Dec. 31. For 37 years, Friedman has been the professional head of the Federation, the Birmingham Jewish community’s central fundraising and community relations agency. During his tenure he has helped raise more than $125 million, mainly from Birmingham’s 6,500-member Jewish community, for Jewish needs locally and globally. Through his work, he has been heavily-involved with Israel, traveling there more than 50 times and speaking and writing extensively over the years on Israel and other Jewish topics. Trained as a journalist, Friedman has continued his writing while at the Federation, with his work appearing in the Wall Street Journal, Times of Israel, Los Angeles Jewish Journal and New York Jewish Week, as well as in the Birmingham News and on He also established the Federation’s Update email, which at its peak reached around 6,000 people daily in Alabama and around the world. Lisa Engel, current Federation president, said “I know that I speak for our whole community in expressing appreciation to Richard for the passion, dedication, communications expertise and fundraising skills he has November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life



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used to benefit Jews in Birmingham, Israel and throughout the world. “Our Jewish community and Israel are stronger because of Richard’s unique knowledge of our history and his strategic vision for our future,” she added. As his Federation career comes to a close this year, a finishing date that he and the Federation planned together several years ago, he will join the staff of two Birmingham-based entities — the US Israel Education Association as director of funding initiatives, and Israel InSight magazine as associate editor. The USIEA is headed by Heather Johnston, a well-known Christian leader, and promotes initiatives that strengthen the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Israel InSight is a new magazine and website designed to appeal to Israel’s Christian supporters. It has been started by long-time Jewish journalist Larry Brook, editor and publisher of Southern Jewish Life. “We are delighted and honored to have Richard join the US Israel Education Association,” said Johnston. “He is known for his character and leadership. He is selfless, possesses strong moral courage, and has a wonderful strength of integrity. “At a time when significant change is taking place in the Middle East in general and in Israel in particular, these attributes, along with Richard’s knowledge, understanding, unbridled enthusiasm and dedication, will play a critical role as the US Israel Education Association works to strengthen the bond between the U.S. and Israel,” Johnston added. Working for these two entities also will provide Friedman with an opportunity to help deepen ties between Jews and Christians within the framework of their mutual support for Israel. This is an area that he has been interested in for nearly 20 years. “Being in the Deep South, we have long been ahead of the curve in acknowledging and writing about the importance of Christian support for Israel, and under Richard’s leadership, the Birmingham Federation has been at the forefront of working with Christian friends of Israel,” Brook said. “I look forward to working with Richard in combining our expertise to produce this important new publication, which we feel will be an important part of the huge transformation in the relationship between Christians and Jews over the last couple of decades.” “I have loved my time at the Jewish Federation and now I’m excited to embark on two new and important endeavors,” said Friedman. “Israel is a great country and a remarkable ally, and continuing to deepen the relationship between Israel and the U.S. is crucial to both countries.”

Baton Rouge’s Beth Shalom Starts Celebration of 75th Anniversary Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have two major weekends next year as the congregation marks its 75th anniversary. The weekend of Jan. 10, there will be a musical Shabbat service and dinner, with Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs in attendance. The next morning, there will be a Shabbat service and lunch, and a glass art project with Susan Arnold. The weekend of Aug. 7, there will be an anniversary Shabbaton, including a 75th anniversary dinner and show on Aug. 8, and a breakfast on Aug. 9 that includes a session on Torah repairs with a scribe. The congregation is also hosting an online trivia quiz, with 75 questions about the congregation’s history. There is also a “75 Trees for the 75th Anniversary” campaign to plant 75 trees on the property, using Biblical and native species.


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The Thanksgiving Day tradition continues in Birmingham as the Levite Jewish Community Center’s Sam Lapidus Montclair Run holds its 43rd annual event on Nov. 28, with the annual 10-kilometer race and a 5-kilometer run. Those races begin at 8:30 a.m. and are followed by a 1-mile Fun Run at 10 a.m. The race routinely draws over 1,000 runners each year. The event was renamed in 2008 in memory of Sam Lapidus, who loved fitness and working out at the LJCC. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at age 9 in 2003, but refused to let it alter his plans. He died in November 2008, just shy of his 15th birthday, and Bruce Sokol urged the LJCC to name the event in his memory. Proceeds from the race benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama and the LJCC Fitness Program. The Center for Childhood Cancer donations help children in Alabama by enhancing services, building new programs, and recruiting new physicians and researchers. Registration is already open online and at the LJCC. The registration fee is $36 for the longer races, $40 after Nov. 22, and $18 for the fun run. There will be RFID chip timing and awards to the top three overall finishers and by age group in male and female categories. All entrants will receive a T-shirt, and the course is certified by USATF. Team awards will go to the largest team, most money raised and best team costume.

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Natural Health Expo at KI on Dec. 8 A unique all-day expo on natural health and wellness that was originally planned for September in Birmingham will be on Dec. 8, as the Kosher Natural and Holistic Health Expo will be held at Knesseth Israel Congregation from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The expo was started by Leah Kineret Narboni, founder of Inside Out Healthy Living, which focuses on integrative health with the motto “treat the cause, not the symptom.” Narboni said she started the expo “to spread knowledge and awareness… about different and new modalities of healing that are unknown to many.” Over the past 40 years, chronic diseases including fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and others have increased across the country. “The holistic approach integrates diet, nutrition, fitness and other unique treatments not widely known that can help to ease many of these conditions and help people live healthier and happier,” Narboni said. The plan is for over 40 vendors and at least 15 lecturers on a wide range of topics, from health, personal training, nutrition, how to heal anxiety and depression naturally, natural healing, heal one’s gut, how to stop self-sabotaging, how emotions affect health, weight loss and body image, and more. The first expo was held in Brooklyn, N.Y., in May. Lecture topics included conquering chronic illness, whole foods and plant-based nutrition, children’s nutrition, holistic dentistry, Lyme disease, and a session on the Biblical roots of cannabis. While Narboni plans to do these events across the country, the Birmingham event is the first one scheduled outside New York. Admission is $18 in advance via Eventbrite, $26 at the door. Children are admitted free. Vendor tables are currently available. For more information about the expo, visit



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For the first time, Huntsville’s Temple B’nai Richard Frankel, associate professor of hisSholom will be hosting the community-wide tory at the University of Louisiana at LafayInterfaith Thanksgiving Service, Nov. 24 at ette, will speak at the University of South 5 p.m. Alabama on “States of Exclusion: A New Wave There will be an ecumenical service to sup- of Fascism.” The Nov. 19 presentation on “Anport Meals-On-Wheels in Mobile, Nov. 21 at 7 tisemitism and Fascism in Germany and the United States, Then and Now” is co-sponsored p.m. at Springhill Presbyterian Church. by the Mobile Area Jewish Federation, Mobile The Interfath Thanksgiving Service for Christian-Jewish Dialogue and the Gulf Coast downtown Pensacola will be on Nov. 24 at 5 Holocaust Center, at 6 p.m. at Laidlaw Perp.m., at First Baptist Church. A dessert recep- forming Arts Auditorium. tion will follow. The Pensacola Jewish Federation will hold The annual Community Thanksgiving a Chai Discussion at B’nai Israel, Nov. 19 at Service for congregations on Birmingham’s 11:45 a.m. The discussion will center on peace Southside will be Nov. 26 at noon, at South in Israel — one state, two states, something Highland Presbyterian Church. else or none of the above. Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have a Feed The New Orleans Reform congregations The Homeless cooking party at the home of will have a civil rights trip for grades 7 and 8, Amanda Jean Tulowitzki, Nov. 21 from 10:30 traveling to Birmingham for the weekend of a.m. to 12:30 p.m. All who attend are asked to Feb. 14 to 16. bring fresh fruits or vegetables to be donated Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingto families in need. ham provides free Medicare Part D prescripThe weekend of Dec. 6, Student Rabbi Ran- tion consultation each year during open endell Burke will bring his rabbinical mentor, rollment period, Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Reviewing Rabbi Norman Cohen, for the weekend at and updating choices can reduce premium Temple Shalom in Lafayette. Cohen is pro- and co-pay costs. To make an appointment, fessor emeritus of midrash at Hebrew Union contact Amy Peetluk, or College/Jewish Institute of Religion in New (205) 879-3438. York. He was previously provost and interim The B’nai Israel, Monroe, Men’s Club Kopresident of HUC-JIR. There will also be a visit sher-style Hot Dog Sale is Nov. 19. A $5 ticket by Jesse Stock, Southwestern States area diincludes a hot dog, drink and chips. Challahs rector for AIPAC, who will speak at the 7:30 p.m. service. A 6:30 p.m. meat potluck dinner will also be available for $10. Tickets are available in the office or from Men’s Club members. will precede the service. Etz Chayim Sisterhood in Huntsville will Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have its annual Craft Night, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., have its annual Blessing of the Pets, Nov. 17 painting Chanukah hand towels. Reservations at 11:30 a.m. on the front lawn. The event is for are $5. all manner of pets. Leashes for dogs and cages or equipment for other pets are encouraged.

The B’nai Israel, Baton Rouge, Men’s Club Big Buddy Shopping Spree will be on Dec. 4. Hadassah Huntsville will have an Unconventional Convention on Nov. 24 from 2 to 4 Temple Beth El in Pensacola is planning a p.m. at Etz Chayim. There will be a video pre- Choose Your Own Shabbat Adventure on sentation of Hadassah conventions past, and Jan. 25, a day of learning, cooking, games and those attending are asked to wear old or new food. The Shabbaton of Fun will be opened to Hadassah regalia, pins and hats. There will nearby communities, and details will be forthbe a kosher nosh and vintage drinks. There coming. is no charge, but donations to Hadassah are The Jewish War Veterans Post 608 will accepted. host a talk by Steve Brickman, “Antisemitism The 11th annual Turkey Train at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will be on Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m. Turkeys that are being donated to St. Vincent de Paul will be carried along the train of religious school students from the B’nai Israel kitchen to the truck. Cash donations of $20 per turkey are being accepted through Nov. 10, with Matherne’s Market offering a discount and free delivery for the effort, and those donating frozen turkeys are asked to bring them the morning of Nov. 17.

on College Campuses,” Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. at the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham. The meeting is open to the community, and a light breakfast will be served.

Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have a HavDeli, a Havdalah experience with a deli dinner and the screening of “Keeping Up with the Steins,” Nov. 23 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are $12, and are requested by Nov. 18.

community Bais Ariel Chabad in Birmingham is holding a Korean Shabbat with Chef John Haynes, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m., following the 5:30 p.m. Shabbat service. The menu includes braised beef, braised chicken, seasoned spinach and bean sprouts, green onion pancakes, kimchi and rice. Reservations are $20 for adults, $10 for children, with a $54 family maximum. The next installment of Old Fashioned Judaism for Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will be Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m., contact the office for location. After drinks and appetizers, there will be a discussion. The next two sessions focus on Mussar, the Jewish path toward spiritual development and character refinement. Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will honor long-time choir director Charmein Moser, who is transitioning her role as she approaches retirement, with Mollie Adams becoming her successor. Naturally, the 6 p.m. service on Nov. 15 will feature the congregational choir, and an open rehearsal was scheduled for Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. for those who want to join for the special service. Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El will hold a Country Fried Shabbat Ruach and dinner, Nov. 22 at 5:45 p.m. The menu includes Warren’s fried chicken, potato salad, seasoned hominy, turnip greens with potlikker, honey-glazed country grits and apple cobbler. Reservations are $16 for adults, $10 for ages 5 to 13.

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On Oct. 27, Ellen Bander spoke at a Hadassah Baton Rouge program, “Let’s Get Healthy with Hadassah,” at the Aathma Wellness Center. Bander, a certified health coach and former Hadassah chapter president, spoke about why and how to get healthier, and then led some Zumba dancing with participants from ages 26 to 94.

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Bobby Carl’s Table by Lee J. Green The owners of Mountain Brook’s newest restaurant — Bobby Carl’s Table in English Village — want customers to feel like family in a comfortable environment, enjoying Southern comfort food with a fresh and lighter take on classic recipes. “We want to create an environment that makes everyone feel at home,” said Robert Carl “Trey” McLemore, co-owner and chef, who opened Bobby Carl’s Table in late September with longtime friends Tim and Christie Lowe. “This is the food we grew up with. Food creates memories. It connects the past to the present.” McLemore and Tim Lowe grew up in East Shelby County, eating the food grown on the gardens and farms of their youth. McLemore spent much of his life playing guitar in bands and working in restaurants, helping to open several eateries across Alabama and nation-wide. He and the Lowes moved back to Birmingham at about the same time last year. “We’ve been cooking together forever and we had talked for years about one day opening up a restaurant together,” said McLemore. “Everything fell into place and we thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to make this dream a reality.” The décor at Bobby Carl’s Table, with interior seating for 75 and an outdoor patio, features reclaimed wood, photographs, art and other items from McLemore’s grandmother’s farmhouse. The lunch menu at Bobby Carl’s Table includes snacks, sandwiches, continued on page 45 44

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

community >> Rear Pew Mirror

continued from page 46

of the Bible. (23) And Moses vowed to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, and he didst doest this thusly. (24) And Moses turned to the Big G to ask a question. (25) And because the Big G is everywhere, Moses repeatedly spun around in circles which helps explain why the Israelites would take another 38 years to traverse just one desert and two books of the Torah. (26) And Moses said to the Big G, “You are all powerful and all knowing, can you tell us if this system will work for future generations?” (27) And the Big G didst grin, and said, “I am all knowing, so I know enough to stay out of it.” Doug Brook is only part knowing, but also knows enough to stay out of it. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

Lipstadt to speak at B’ham-Southern The Birmingham Jewish Federation announced that Deborah Lipstadt, one of the world’s leading experts on antisemitism, will speak at Birmingham-Southern College on March 4 at 7 p.m. Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and is the author of eight books on anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. In 1993, she published “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory,” leading noted Holocaust denier David Irving to sue her in British court, where unlike the United States, the defendant has to prove what was written. The trial, which she won, was dramatized in the film “Denial.” This year, she published “Antisemitism: Here and Now.” Lipstadt holds a Presidential appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from Presidents Clinton and Obama, and was asked by President George W. Bush to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The program is being underwritten by the Birmingham Jewish Foundation’s Birmingham-Southern Jewish Education Fund and is co-sponsored by the Federation.

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continued from page 44

salads and several “meat-and-sides” options. Kosher-style menu items include Nanny Ruby’s Pimento Cheese, an Alabama Collard Melt sandwich on Jewish rye, fried chicken sandwich, meatloaf, squash casserole, sweet potato pie and salmon croquettes. For dinner, they replace the “meat-and-sides” with some entrees, including beef stroganoff. Bobby Carl’s table also features a kids menu and some Southern-style desserts. McLemore said for years he has made matzah ball soup with a thicker broth than usual, and plans to add it to the menu if there is enough interest. “I am happy to make it for folks who ask me ahead of time about it,” he said. “I also love whitefish and it’s hard to find around here. If anyone has a good whitefish recipe, I would love to add that as well. We’re also happy to do custom catering.” Bobby Carl’s Table will change some of its menu seasonally, based on what is fresh and in season. They work with localand regional farmers and other suppliers as much as possible. Christie Lowe said they have been pleased with the initial response and grateful to be embraced by the community. “We thought that this was the perfect location,” said Lowe. “Everyone has been very welcoming. We’ve enjoyed getting to know our customers. That’s what makes this so special — making new friends and really creating this sense of community.”

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The Electorah College Numbers, 9a (1) And the children of Israel had designated leaders, one for each of the 12 tribes, and to each of the 12 tribes there was one leader. (2) And they were princes of their tribes leading over the hundreds and the thousands, over the scores and the dozens, and the stray tribesman who wandered off. And they served under Moses. (3) And the children of Israel realized that they had no say in who their supreme leader would be. (4) And the children of Israel said to Moses, “we realize that we had no say in who our supreme leader would be.”

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(5) And Moses couldn’t understand them because it’s hard to distinguish words when 603,550 adult men speak at once. (6) So the Israelites conveyed their message instead through their tribal princes, and Moses heard them but was unamused. (7) And Moses refrained from bringing the Israelites’ concern to the Big G, and then the Big G said to Moses, “I understand you have a message for me.” (8) And Moses said, “I was just stopping for a drink before speaking to you, the Israelites realize that they had no say in who their supreme leader would be.” (9) And the Big G told Moses, “remind the children of Israel that I am their supreme leader, who brought them out of their slavery in Egypt and who can put them right back.” (10) And the children of Israel clarified that they were talking about Moses, and apologized for the confusion. (11) And the Big G declared, “on the first Tuesday of the second month of the second year since the Exodus, there shall be an election.”

Who can retell the votes that befell us, who can count them?

(12) And so the handling of the election was placed in the hands of Alec ben Popla, who would handle the handling of the vote based on the recent census of Israelite men ages 20 and older. (13) And so Gamaliel son of Pedahzur of the tribe of Menashe and Abidan son of Gidoni of the tribe of Benjamin petitioned Alec ben Popla, saying, “Our tribes have barely thirty thousand men each, while some have over one hundred thousand. We’ll never be a factor in the vote.” (14) And so Alec ben Popla declared, “there will be two methods to count the vote — the actual number of votes indicating the overall popular tally across the nation, and a smaller vote by representatives of each tribe apportioned to give smaller tribes more equitable influence as the larger tribes.” (15) And this system of election law was known as the Alec Torah vote, until this day.” (16) And Miriam said, “the census included only men aged 20 years and older, but no women.” (17) And Alec ben Popla said, “women don’t get the right to vote until the year 1919.” (18) And Miriam replied, “according to the Hebrew calendar, that was about 300 years ago.” (19) And Alec ben Popla relented. (20) And so an election occurred, and Moses won the position of human leader of the children of Israel which he didst already hold anyway. (21) And there were allegations of the election being tainted by Prussian interference, but they were ignored because Moses ran unopposed. (22) And Moses was sworn in, taking an oath with his hand on a draft continued on previous page 46

November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

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November 2019 • Southern Jewish Life

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