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Southern Jewish Life

December 2017 Volume 27 Issue 12

Southern Jewish Life P.O. Box 130052 Birmingham, AL 35213 Found Objects Chanukiah by Dallas sculptor George Tobolowsky, at B’nai Zion in Shreveport


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Has “fake news” overplayed its hand as a rallying cry? Not that there hasn’t been a problem with media bias — clearly, most of the mainstream media does lean leftward. And it’s not a new phenomenon, nor did it originate with politics. Back in the 1980s there were already regular columns devoted to pointing out anti-Israel bias in the press (with Time magazine being among the more notorious). Clearly, there is a systemic problem of a small slice of world-view reflected in the media (hence the desire by so many outlets, after the 2016 elections, to “understand” the exotic creatures known as “Trump voters” in flyover country). But has the little boy in the fable cried “fake news” too often? Shortly after the first Washington Post story where women accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of inappropriate conduct when he was in his 30s and they were teens — as young as 14 — Moore supporters spread stories of reporters offering money to get women to make the accusations. A robocall claimed to be from “Bernie Bernstein,” and the New York-accented caller claimed to offer over $5,000 for such stories. Naturally, the robocalls, which some say were also designed to play to canards about Jews and the media, were fake. When we had the (apparently extremely rare) opportunity to ask Moore about the “Bernie” robocalls, he declined to say anything. Just days earlier, his out-of-state cheering section, after stating Alabamians don’t want outsiders telling them how to vote, screamed at reporters for not asking Moore about things like tax policy or immigration. As we were going to press, activists trying to catch the media acting leftward badly botched a sting against the Post. Someone purportedly from Project Veritas peddled a fanciful tale of Moore, a 15-year-old girl and an abortion, and a “victim” who wanted

shalom y’all shalom y’all y’all shalom

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Maccabi USA leader praises Birmingham Games I have hadthat the this honor of attending Maccabi around From guarantees would be The many Final Straw to competitions take Moore out. As the world. reporters didIsrael their to Australia South the JCC Maccabi games around the United States research, thetostory didAmerica, not add Europe up and and the “out to get him” Post instead outed the activist with a and Canada, I have many miles how sports process. can be a Since vehicle todays helpat build Jewish detailed account of logged their meetings andseeing their verification my the University identity, especially in our young. of Virginia three decades ago, I haven’t been a fan of the Post, but kudos them on fortoshowing how reporting done. I feltto honored tothis, come Birmingham for the firstistime and fell in love with not just the city to make the press look bad are backfiring, those butThe theattempts people. You have taken Southern hospitality to a newand level with your kind and caring saying “fake news” anything they disagree with are rapidly losing approach to the JCConMaccabi Games. credibility. Led by the Sokol and Helds, your hard-working volunteers were wonderful. They partnered As with so many things in life, the pendulum swings on. with your outstanding staff, led by Betzy Lynch, to make the 2017 JCC Maccabi games a huge hit. I want to take this opportunity as executive director of Maccabi USA to say thank you on behalf of everyone involved. I had just returned from the 20th World Maccabiah games in Israel with a U.S. delegation of over 1100, who joined 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries. Back in July the eyes of the entire Jewish world were on Jerusalem and the Maccabiah. This past month with 1000 athletes and coaches from around the world being in Birmingham, you became the focal point. Everyone from the Jewish community and the community at large, including a wonderful police force, are to be commended. These games will go down in history as being a seminal moment for the Jewish community as we build to the future by providing such wonderful Jewish memories. Jed Margolis Executive Director, Maccabi USA

On Charlottesville Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi National, which called it “very eloquent” and praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at 9am-4pm December Auburn University and… the leadership they9 • display on their campus.”

supremacists would like to see pushed back into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, who was there standing up to the face of this hate.

We recognize the essence of the American narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid ourselves of such corners, and allow those in 11am-4pm 10 them the seat at December the table that they so deserve. It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the Up to 80% off of artworkDeclaration from over 50 vendors. of Independence, that “all men are At Earthborn Studios • 7575 Parkway Drive, Leeds, Ala. (east of created equal… endowed byBirmingham) their Creator with White supremacy has been a cancer on certain unalienable•rights. ” We know our work Email for more information: our country since its beginning, threatening is far from finished, but we know we will not its hopes, its values, and its better angels. move backwards. The events that took place in Charlottesville When menServices and women, fully armed, take Residential and Commercial represented the worst of this nation. Those to the streets in droves with swastikas and who marched onto the streets with tiki torches other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how and swastikas did so to provoke violence and relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism fear. Those who marched onto the streets did are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that so to profess an ideology that harkens back to needs to be done to ensure a better, more a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. welcoming country. But it should not come A time when men and women of many creeds, without a reflection on how far we’ve come. races, and religions were far from equal and far America was born a slave nation. A century from safe in our own borders. A time where into our history we engaged in a war in part Americans lived under a constant cloud of to ensure we would not continue as one. We racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in Charlottesville served found ourselves confronted by the issue of civil rights, and embarked on a mission to ensure as a reminder of how painfully relevant these the fair treatment of all peoples no matter their issues are today. skin color. Although we’ve made great strides, Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the it is a mission we’re still grappling with today. Jewish community of Charlottesville, and with the Jewish people around the country and around the world. We also stand with the minorities who are targeted by the hate that was on display in Charlottesville. We stand with the minorities of whom these white 4 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

America was also born an immigrant country. As early as the pilgrims, many groups and families found in the country the opportunity to plant stakes, chase their future, and be themselves. Few were met with open

December 2017

Southern Jewish Life PUBLISHER/EDITOR Lawrence M. Brook ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER/ADVERTISING Lee J. Green ADVERTISING SPECIALIST Annetta Dolowitz CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ginger Brook SOCIAL/WEB Emily Baldwein PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE Rabbi Barry C. Altmark CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rivka Epstein, Louis Crawford, Tally Werthan, Stuart Derroff, Belle Freitag, Ted Gelber, E. Walter Katz, Doug Brook BIRMINGHAM OFFICE P.O. Box 130052, Birmingham, AL 35213 14 Office Park Circle #104 Birmingham, AL 35223 205/870.7889 NEW ORLEANS OFFICE 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 504/780.5615 TOLL-FREE 866/446.5894 FAX 866/392.7750 ADVERTISING Advertising inquiries to 205/870.7889 for Lee Green, or Annetta Dolowitz, Media kit, rates available upon request SUBSCRIPTIONS It has always been our goal to provide a large-community quality publication to all communities of the South. To that end, our commitment includes mailing to every Jewish household in the region (AL, LA, MS, NW FL), without a subscription fee. Outside the area, subscriptions are $25/year, $40/two years. Subscribe via, call 205/870.7889 or mail payment to the address above. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without written permission from the publisher. Views expressed in SJL are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the magazine or its staff. SJL makes no claims as to the Kashrut of its advertisers, and retains the right to refuse any advertisement. Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

agenda interesting bits & can’t miss events Volunteers from the Mobile Area Jewish Federation, with Pensacola Shaliach Avishay Yanay, staffed an Israel booth at the Mobile International Festival from Nov. 15 to 18. Yanay said most people at the festival knew very little about Israel. “Glad that I had the opportunity to expand their knowledge about Israel, and it is just the beginning.”

MLK Weekend program to recount 1958 bombing attempt at Birmingham’s Beth-El In April 1958, a bag with 54 sticks of dynamite was discovered outside Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El, but miraculously, the bomb did not go off. With the backdrop of the 60th anniversary of the unsolved bombing attempt, Beth-El, Temple Emanu-El and the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center are partnering for “Forging Ahead: Civil Rights Stories and Song,” a series of programs to be held in January over Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend. The weekend will be a study of civil rights stories and history in Birmingham through the lens of the Jewish community’s experience. The weekend will begin with a community Shabbat service on Jan. 12 at Temple Emanu-El. The atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s for Birmingham’s Jewish community will be discussed, especially the social, business and legal aspects. The evening of Jan. 13, the program will

focus on the attempted bombing of Beth-El and its parallels to the dozens of bombings at African-American homes and churches, and how the Klan used bombings as a tool of intimidation. A few months after the attempt on Beth-El, two men in a car drove past Emanu-El and yelled to the janitor that Emanu-El would likely be next. Neshama Carlebach will be the featured performer on Jan. 13. The weekend will also feature Professor Pam Sterne King, Cantor Jessica Roskin, Emanu-El Rabbi Douglas Kohn and Beth-El Rabbi Barry Leff, among others to be announced. A panel discussion on building on the lessons of the past and strengthening coalitions for the future is being planned for Jan. 14. Additional information will be announced later this month on the Beth-El and Emanu-El websites.


Tobolowsky’s sculptures displayed in Shreveport Centenary College in Shreveport is exhibiting the works of sculptor George Tobolowsky through May 2018, at the Meadows Museum of Art and throughout the campus. Based in Dallas, Tobolowsy is known for large-scale found object steel sculptures, made from discarded machine parts, industrial parts and scrap metal. His works are located in over 40 national and international museums, university collections, and public art collections, including the Library of Congress, the City of New Orleans, The Museum of Biblical Arts in Dallas, The International Sculpture Center in New Jersey, and numerous other institutions. He recently exhibited at the Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art. In 2016, he also had exhibitions at the National Museum of Jewish Art in Dallas and the Jewish National Fund office in New York. In 2018, he will have an exhibit at the University of Mississippi MuDecember 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5

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seum and the city of Oxford. Tobolowsky visited Shreveport for the exhibit opening on Nov. 9. As part of the exhibit, one of his sculptural menorahs was placed in the lobby at Agudath Achim in Shreveport, while another was briefly at B’nai Zion. Tobolowsky minored in sculpture at Southern Methodist University in the 1970s, studying under Texas artist James Surls. Ten years ago, after decades in the business world, he decided to pursue his art, and has produced over 450 sculptures.

Frankel to speak at Springhill Avenue Temple Founders’ Weekend Pensacola’s Beth-El to take part in Shabbat events

The oldest synagogue in Florida will be hosted by the oldest synagogue in Alabama for Founder’s Day Shabbat and a scholar in residence weekend. Rabbi David Frankel will be the speaker at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple, with Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El invited for the January 12 events. Springhill Avenue Temple, known formally as Sha’arei Shomayim, was established in January 1844, while the Pensacola congregation was established in 1876. After being ordained at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem in 1991, Frankel was rabbi for a congregation in Gilo, a Jerusalem suburb. In 1992 he joined the faculty at Schechter and is senior lecturer in Bible. On Jan. 10 at 5:30 p.m. he will lead a discussion on “Who Really Wrote the Torah?” Following the 6 p.m. service on Jan. 12, he will speak about “When God fought the Monster of the Sea — Mythological Traditions and Their Transformation in the Bible and Midrash.” Beth-El will join Springhill Avenue for the 11 a.m. anniversary service on Jan. 13. Frankel will speak on “What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden.” A kosher chicken and seafood gumbo lunch will follow. At 3 p.m. on Jan. 13, there will be a presentation with the Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue, “Does the Hebrew Bible Foretell the Story of Jesus? Jewish-Christian Polemics in the Middle Ages.” The scholar in residence weekend is supported by Dr. and Mrs. Calvin Ennis, in memory of Ralph and Faye Ennis.

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Students at the Beth Shalom Sunday School in Auburn raised over $200 in tzedakah money for the Jewish Community Center in Puerto Rico, as the island struggles to recover from Hurricane Maria.


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On Nov. 12, B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge held its annual Turkey Train, passing donated turkeys from the congregation’s kitchen to be loaded up and delivered to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul for their Thanksgiving meal. This year, the congregation donated almost 120 turkeys, and Rabbi Jordan Goldson took part in the group’s Nov. 22 Community Turkey Carving Contest.

Avondale Common House 4100 3rd Avenue South Birmingham Mobile Jewish Film Festival sets lineup 205-703-9895 The Mobile Jewish Film Festival announced its lineup of films for the 2018 festival, with 10 features over almost three weeks in January. Last month, the Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival and Jewish Cinema Mississippi announced their films, for Jan. 10 to 14 and Jan. 23 to 28, respectively. The Mobile festival opens on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. with “As Seen Through These Eyes,” which will be screened at the Mobile Museum of Art. Admission is free but reservations are necessary. On Jan. 14, “Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me” will be at Ahavas Chesed at 3 p.m. The film examines Davis’ life and career from the Depression era until his death in 1990. The screening will be preceded by music from the Rat Pack, featuring Doug Breau. The festival moves to Laidlaw Performing Arts Center at the University of South Alabama campus, with “1945,” Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Novelist Roy Hoffman will introduce the film. On Jan. 17 at 7 p.m., “Harmonia” is a contemporary adaptation of the biblical tale of Abraham and Sarah. Rabbi Dana Kaplan will introduce the film. “My Hero Brother,” a documentary about Down Syndrome youth who trek through the Himalayas, will be on Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. Co-Producer Enosh Cassell of Israel will introduce the film and have remarks after. “The Women’s Balcony” will be screened on Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed. The acclaimed Israeli dramedy starts with the collapse of a women’s balcony at a synagogue during a Bar Mitzvah. Rabbi Steven Silberman will introduce the film. “Fanny’s Journey” on Jan. 23 at the USA Performance Center in Fairhope, has won the Audience Choice Award at 20 Jewish film festivals. It will be introduced by Jerry Darring. “An Act of Defiance,” about black and Jewish activists against Apartheid, will be on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at Bernheim Hall, with David Meola introducing. On Jan. 25, “A Heartbeat Away” at Springhill Avenue Temple at 7 p.m. features an Israeli cardiologist in Tanzania. The short film “Dear God” precedes. The festival ends on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Springhill Avenue with “Joe’s Violin,” the friendship through music of a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor and a 12-year-old school girl in the Bronx.

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Poeth named to UMS-Wright Hall of Fame Samantha Zimmerman Poeth was inducted into the UMS-Wright Athletic Hall of Fame in Mobile at a ceremony on Sept. 8. A 2005 graduate, Poeth began weightlifting while in high school, leading to seven national championships in Olympic weightlifting, representing Team USA eight times and trying out for the 2012 Olympic team. She is the U.S. collegiate record holder with 200 lbs. in Snatch and 257 lbs. in Clean and Jerk. While at UMS-Wright, though, her main endeavors were volleyball and track and field. She was a member of the state championship teams each year from 2002 to 2005, placing individually in shot put three times and was named All-State and All-County. She set the state record in shot put as a senior, and javelin as a sophomore. A graduate of South Alabama, Poeth now is head coach at Orange Theory Fitness and owns Kilo Gear. She and her husband live in Northport’s Brown House Community, which offers tutoring and a community library for students and athletic programs to teach proper weightlifting form and how to participate in team sports. The annual meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge will be Jan. 21 at 10 a.m., at Beth Shalom. Chabad of Alabama in Birmingham will have a Great Wall of Chinakah all-you-can-eat kosher Chinese dinner, Dec. 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. Reservations before Dec. 20 are $20 for adults, $10 for children, $30 and $20 after. Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will have a Chinese Dinner and Movie Sunday on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. The movie was not announced as of press time. Alvin Benn, longtime reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser, will be the guest speaker at Montgomery’s L’Chaim League luncheon, Jan. 9 at 11:30 a.m. On Dec. 16, the Sisterhood of Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will make Shabbat candleholders at First City Art Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. Chabad of Southern Mississippi will have “Of Miracles and Fairy Tales,” Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., and “Behind Closed Doors,” a discussion about Jewish sexuality, on Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. There is a $10 suggested donation per session. Hadassah Baton Rouge will be doing holiday gift wrapping at Barnes and Noble from Dec. 17 to 24. Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will have a Ronald McDonald House Day of Service on Dec. 25 starting at 8:30 a.m., cooking and serving brunch for families at the house.

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Birmingham’s Emanu-El, Beth-El and Knesseth Israel will serve lunch at Community Kitchens, at Grace Episcopal Church in Woodlawn, on Dec. 25. Volunteers and donations are needed for the annual effort. The Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica will have a program at Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria on Dec. 17 during religious school. Jacobs Camp will also have a presentation during religious school at Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile on Jan. 7. In addition to other regional incentives, the congregation has an anonymous donor who contributes $1,000 for first-time campers and $500 for returning campers.



“Violins of Hope” programs announced, concert tickets now on sale



Tickets are now on sale for the centerpiece event of Violins of Hope Birmingham, a concert featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra that will include restored violins that had been used in concentration camps during the Holocaust. The restored instruments will be featured in April 2018 for four days of concerts, educational programs and interfaith dialogue. Numerous additional programs will be held in the months leading up to the concert. These events mark the first opportunity in Birmingham to experience violins restored by master Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein and Avshalom Weinstein tells the his son, Avshalom, both of whom story of one of the violins are scheduled to be in Birmingham for the April events. Weinstein began restoring the violins in 1996, three decades after he was first approached by a Holocaust survivor seeking his services. Weinstein was initially reluctant because his father had moved to pre-state Israel in 1938 while the rest of the family stayed in Europe and was murdered by the Nazis. Weinstein later saw the restorations as an opportunity to give voice to those who perished in concentration camps and to lift the veil of silence that hushed all discussion about the Holocaust in many Jewish homes. He has said he is especially eager to have the violins showcased in Birmingham “so that those who helped change the story of civil rights in America can hear their messages of hope.” Jeffrey Bayer, who co-chairs Violins of Hope with his wife, Gail, said the programs are also diverse to meet the needs and interests of different audiences. “Each of these violins carries a profound story,” he said. “It’s our hope to share these stories in a multitude of ways that are meaningful to all the people of Birmingham.” The April 14 concert at the Alys Stephens Center will feature the orchestra under the direction of Carlos Izcaray. Project coordinator Sallie Downs said people who are interested can purchase tickets or sponsorships ranging from $10 all the way to $50,000. Tickets to the concert are $36 or $48, $10 for students with ID. “We literally have options available to everyone,” Downs said. “Our goal is to make sure that every person in Birmingham has an opportunity to take advantage of this unique and historic opportunity.” On April 12, there will also be a Concertmaster and Friends presentation at the Alys Stephens Center, “Quartet for the End of Time,” with the violins. It is presented in conjunction with Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, which is April 12 in 2018. “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” will be held April 11 to 13 at the Alys Stephens Center, for students and teachers to learn about restoring silent voices, and find their own voices. Also on April 11, there will be an interfaith dialogue, “A Celebration of Diversity Through Music,” at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. On April 13, Temple Emanu-El will host a community Shabbat service, honoring Holocaust survivors in the Birmingham area. On Feb. 22 and 23, there will be a symposium at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Institute for Human Rights, comparing the history of the Holocaust with the history of segregation in the South. Red Mountain Theatre Company will have its inaugural Human Rights






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Award-winning custom design by architect Lee Ledbetter. Contemporary open floor plan with custom finishes. Gourmet kitchen with butler’s pantry for entertaining, including wine cooler and separate dishwasher. Soaring 16-ft ceilings with museum quality gallery style lighting, for discriminating art collector. Commercial quality all-steel construction. Balcony terrace features open park view of Lake Ponchartrain. Custom landscaping. X Flood Zone. Two car garage w/storage.


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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 9

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community New Works Festival, March 15 to 18, starting with a production of the new work “Alabama Story” and continuing with readings and talkbacks, with the winner going into production for the following year’s festival. On March 25, the Alys Stephens Center will have a Salon Series concert with the Jerusalem Quartet. The performance offers salon-style seating onstage. The quartet is also scheduled to perform at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts for the Montgomery Chamber Music Organization on March 15. Partners for Violins of Hope include the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Holocaust Educational Center, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, the UAB Institute for Human Rights, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, ABC 33/40, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham.

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THIS IS AUBURN. “This wonderful country of ours allows us to gather together, to be Jewish and be free… I’m grateful I can be Jewish and a basketball coach in the SEC.”

— Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl, at the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games Opening Ceremony

WE ARE COMMUNITY. Hillel, Auburn University’s Jewish student organization, was the recipient of the 2015 AU Student Involvement Award for Overcoming Adversity.

10 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville announced the hiring of Jessica Klein Sintes as the new administrator and program director. The board brought on Sintes to develop programs and opportunities to further enhance the Jewish experience at NJC as well as to take charge of daily operations of the synagogue. Sintes formerly was the camp and children’s director at the Goldring/Woldenberg Jewish Community Center in Metairie, and the yount and camp director at the Levite JCC in Birmingham. She has most recently worked as an educator at Torah Academy in Metairie. “We are very excited about the direction the congregation is heading,” 3:34 PM said Northshore President Jim Klein. Sintes and the board “are working together to build spiritual and social connections, not only through worship services but through learning programs and social events.” In her first few weeks, Sintes has already planned numerous events including the Community Chanukah Party, an Olive Press demonstration with Rabbi Rivkin of Chabad, and the Chanukah Seder with Northshore Rabbi Deborah Zecher. Pot Luck Shabbats and other Shabbat programs are being planned, along with toddler and youth programs and events to engage the congregation with the community at large, such as the annual Holocaust program.

“MeshugaNutcracker” in area theaters ‘Tis the season for the “Nutcracker” ballet, but this year there is a Jewish spin. Guggenheim Entertainment’s “The MesguhaNutcracker” will be in theaters around the nation on Dec. 19. The full-length musical comedy features the silly sensibilities of the folklore of Chelm, a fictional town of fools, underscored by a Klezmerized orchestration of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” including original lyrics that celebrate Chanukah. In the Birmingham area, it will be at the Patton Creek 15 in Hoover and the Trussville Stadium 16. In Huntsville, it will be at the Val Bend 18. In Montgomery, it will be at the Festival Plaza 16. In Pensacola it will be at the Bayou 15, and in Destin at the Destin Commons 14. In the New Orleans area, it will be at the Covington Stadium 14 and the Elmwood Palace 20. In Baton Rouge it will be at the Cinemark Perkins Rowe. Screenings will also be at Tinseltown USA in Monroe, the Grand 14 in Lafayette and the Cinemark 14 in Lake Charles. In Jackson, it will be at Tinseltown Jackson and the Grandview Cinema in Madison. It will also be at the Longview Stadium 14 in Longview, Tex., and the Breckenridge 12 in Little Rock.


A good problem to have Alabama Hillel works toward matching funds challenge for much-needed expansion When the Bloom Hillel building at the University of Alabama opened in 2011 in what is known as the campus “God Quad,” there was great excitement and plans to serve a growing Jewish student population. There has been so much growth that now, the Hillel is already badly in need of an expansion, and is embarking on a fundraising campaign to match a large gift by the end of the year. Eliza and Hugh Culverhouse have issued the challenge, matching up to $100,000 in donations that Hillel raises for the building fund by Dec. 31. Hillel Director Lisa Besnoy said the Culverhouses “have been wonderful friends of Hillel for many years” and “have provided a number of challenge grants that have helped launch our annual campaigns and student-led fundraisers.” Besnoy said “Our success at building programming and participation has resulted in the need to expand our physical space to meet the needs of our students.” In the 2012-13 year, Hillel had an attendance of 1,548 for Sunday brunches, and student Shabbat and High Holiday meals. In 2016-17, the figure was 4,119, with between 110 and 150 on a typical Friday night — a number that continues to grow even with Shabbat dinners also being offered by Chabad, which opened on campus in 2015. “We’ve almost tripled our student attendance” since 2011, Besnoy said. Many meals and programs completely fill the building, which is also used as a seating area for the Jewish Food Festival hosted by neighboring Temple Emanu-El. “We reach building capacity each week as we provide a home for our students during their college journey.” The university as a whole is experiencing tremendous growth as it recruits nationally. Currently, enrollment tops 38,500. In the last 15 years, Jewish enrollment has gone from approximately 350 to over 900. The Jewish enrollment in the freshman class has gone from 120 in 2012 to 170 last year. The Hillel expansion would add about 1,200 square feet to the existing 1,600-square-foot multipurpose room, plus additional storage, a conference room and a director’s office, and a new outdoor basketball court. The bathrooms would also be expanded. The current building, aside from the multipurpose room, kitchen and bathrooms, has only a staff room and small lobbies on two sides. The overall campaign will be around $700,000, and Besnoy said a groundbreaking is anticipated for February, with the hope that the expansion will be done in August for the Fall 2018 semester.

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David Horovitz, founding editor of Times of Israel, will speak at a gathering of Jewish and Christian leaders in Baton Rouge, “Uniting to Meet Our Common Threats: The United States and Israel,” Jan. 8 at B’nai Israel, and on Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at Tulane Hillel in New Orleans. The events are coordinated by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and registration is required to In Baton Rouge, doors will open at 4:15 p.m. and the event will start at 5 p.m., with a reception following. The program will end in time for the college football national championship game. As with all such AIPAC community briefings, the event is off the record and closed to the press. Born in Britain, Horovitz founded the English website Times of Israel, which now also publishes in French, Chinese, Arabic and Persian, in February 2012. He had worked for the Jerusalem Post in the 1980s, then became editor and later publisher of The Jerusalem Report. In 2004 he rejoined the Post. He is author of the 1996 Yitzhak Rabin biography, “Shalom, Friend: The Life and Legacy of Yitzhak Rabin,” which won the U.S. National Jewish Book Award. In 2014 he received the B’nai B’rith Lifetime Achievement Award for Israeli journalism. Horovitz routinely gives the introductory briefing to Congressional delegations visiting Israel through AIPAC.

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Watch the calendar to make sure charitable gifts count toward 2017 Making end-of-the-year charitable gifts? You may want to watch the calendar. Because the end of the year falls on a weekend, special care needs to be taken in order to make sure donations count toward 2017, said Sally Friedman, executive director of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. In order for a gift of stock to be considered a 2017 charitable donation, the IRS requires that the transfer to the charity be completed and in the charity’s account by the end of the year. With Dec. 31 falling on a Sunday, the last business day of the year is Dec. 29, she cautioned. Because Christmas is on the last Monday of the year, the final week is shortened further, so the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Foundation recommend that donors contact their brokerages or stock accounts to initiate a transfer no later than Dec. 22 to ensure gifts will be completed and eligible for a 2017 deduction. For mailed checks, the postmark must be before Dec. 31, no matter when the check is dated, in order to get a 2017 deduction — and since there is no mail service on Sundays, checks should be mailed no later than Dec. 30. For many charities, options still exist for last minute charitable gifts. As an example, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Foundation office will be open until 4 p.m. on Dec. 29. But websites for both the Federation and Foundation are always open at, so credit card donations can be made until Dec. 31. The Birmingham Jewish Foundation includes Donor Advised Funds, Collat Jewish Family Services, the Levite Jewish Community Center, the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, Knesseth Israel Congregation and Huntsville’s Temple B’nai Sholom. The Camp Dream Street Mississippi endowment is also housed at the Birmingham Jewish Foundation.

community Rabbi Kurtz-Lendner brings favorite Fla. programs to Mississippi While Rabbi Jeffrey Kurtz-Lendner was in Florida, there were a couple of things he really enjoyed, so when he became the rabbi at Beth Israel in Jackson, he sought to replicate them in Mississippi. Now, he is a member of the new Mississippi FaithBased and Community Advisory Council, and one of the first chaplains in the Hinds County Sheriff ’s office. In March, the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill establishing the council, which advises the governor on “policies, priorities, and objectives to enlist, equip, enable, empower, and expand the work of faith-based, volunteer, and other community organizations.” Kurtz-Lendner was rabbi at Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville, then moved to Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., in 2007. In 2016, he became rabbi of Beth Israel. In Florida, Kurtz-Lendner had become part of the

faith-based advisory council as the council was looking to broaden its political diversity. “I developed relationships with clergy colleagues I never would have otherwise had a chance to have a relationship with,” he said. When Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant invited Kurtz-Lendner to a Chanukah ceremony at the governor’s mansion last December, he took the opportunity to suggest a similar council for Mississippi. The idea is to share knowledge and resources, so faith-based groups can better understand what state services are available to people who come to them for help, and for the state to better coordinate with organizations that are already doing good works. The council “transcends any one faith and any one political approach,” Kurtz-Lendner said. “There’s no political agenda… We want to help people in crisis.” Bryant remarked, “I’m proud of the rabbi” for beRabbi Jeffrey Kurtz-Lendner ing “a strong leading force” to establish the group.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 13

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community Bryant pointed to the efficient efforts of faithbased groups to help out in Houston following the hurricane. He also noted that a lot of people look first to religious institutions for assistance. “If someone is hungry, they’re going to show up at the Temple or church.” The council, which receives no state funding, is in its organizational phase, and Kurtz-Lendner said before long “we’re going to have the opportunity to pool our resources.” In October, a chaplaincy program was established for the Hinds County Sheriff ’s office, also at Kurtz-Lendner’s suggestion. Kurtz-Lendner was a chaplain in Davie and Hollywood, and “I really enjoyed it very much.” As he got to know the Hinds County Sheriff through the office’s outreach to Beth Israel, Kurtz-Lendner asked about a chaplain’s program and then recruited a few Christian colleagues. The chaplains offer moral support to the officers, whether related to their work or personal lives, especially during ride-alongs. Kurtz-Lendner explained that congregation members can give back to the community in many ways. “Something I have is pastoral service. To be able to donate that back to the community is meaningful to me” as an opportunity to volunteer.

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community First presenters named for Limmud NOLA Learning weekend planned for mid-March Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, Rabbi Michael Cook, Poppy Tooker and Joel Dinerstein are the first presenters announced for Limmud New Orleans 2018. The regional weekend of multi-denominational Jewish learning will be held March 16 to 18, with approximately 90 hour-long sessions from dozens of presenters on a wide range of topics. The festival will begin with Shabbat evening and morning services at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. There will be Reform, Conservative and Orthodox services under the same roof, with everyone coming together for Shabbat meals, which will be kosher. On Shabbat morning there will also be an alternative spiritual and meditation service. Some sessions that do not require electronic equipment will be held the afternoon of March 17, but most learning sessions will be the next day. The March 18 sessions will be held the entire day at the newly-expanded Uptown Jewish Community Center, and a schedule will be announced in mid-January. There may be as many as nine sessions simultaneously, and attendees may freely wander in and out of sessions. There is also a children’s track during the weekend. 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 the organizers are also volunteers. Registration for the weekend will open on Jan. 1 at Registration will include meals and snacks. Ordained in 2008, Ruttenberg was named to the “36 Under 36” by the New York Jewish Week in 2010 and the Forward’s list of 50 most influential women rabbis. Her first book was a memoir of her spiritual awakening, “Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion,” written after her mother died of breast cancer. With Rabbi Elliot Dorff she is co-editing three books for the Jewish Publication Society’s Jewish Choices/Jewish Voices series. Cook is the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies, and Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. Likely the only rabbi with a full professorial chair in New Testament studies, he has authored numerous books, including “Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment.” A native New Orleanian, Tooker is host and executive producer of “Louisiana Eats!” and provides commentary on WYES-TV’s “Steppin’ Out.” A “Hero of the Storm” for post-Katrina efforts to revive New Orleans restaurants, Tooker also received the first-ever Community Service Award from the International Association of Cooking Professionals. She has written four cookbooks, including a history of Tujague’s Restaurant. Dinerstein, a professor of English and American Studies at Tulane University, is a nationally-known expert on the “history of cool,” with his most recent book being “The Origins of Cool in Postwar America.” He was co-curator of the acclaimed “American Cool” exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and has written about the cultural history of jazz and second-line culture. Southern Jewish Life Editor Larry Brook is also scheduled to present, with the topic to be announced.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 15

community Who was the rabbi at Roy Moore’s press conference? New Yorker Noson Leiter defends Moore , slams “homosexualist terrorism”

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A New York rabbi was among about 20 faith and “pro-family” leaders who spoke at a Nov. 16 press conference in Birmingham in support of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama as he battles allegations of sexual impropriety toward minors in the late 1970s. Rabbi Noson Shmuel Leiter, who heads Torah Jews for Decency and is executive director of Help Rescue Our Children, praised Moore’s “proven track record of fighting for public policy based on Biblical values and not perversion, and that is why he is a target.” The press conference was hosted by Faith2Action President Janet Porter and Dr. Steven Hotze, CEO of Restore Our Godly Heritage PAC. It came a week after the Washington Post reported on four women who stated they were pursued by Moore when he was in his early 30s and they were in their teens. One of the four, Leigh Corfman, stated she was 14 and Moore was 32 when he brought her to his home, undressed, touched her over her underwear and guided her hand to his underwear. The others described a dating relationship when they were ages 16 to 18, with nothing beyond kissing. A week after the original story, a second woman, Beverly Young Nelson, accused Moore of attacking her in his car after he offered to drive her home from the restaurant where she worked, shortly after she had turned 16. Since then, three other women have spoken of their encounters with Moore. Porter dismissed the stories as “unsubstantiated claims that have no evidence,” while Porter referred to it as a “media assassination.” Moore, speaking after the supporters, stated the charges were “scurrilous, false allegations which I have emphatically denied time and time again.” The speakers issued a joint statement, with over 200 signatories, standing with Moore. “We are confident the voters of Alabama will not be fooled by suspiciously-times accusations without evidence, and will reject the politics of personal destruction led by the Washington Post,” it said. Among the speakers was Alan Keyes, who stated Moore was being stripped of his personhood through these allegations, and those behind it are trying to strip the American people of their personhood. If Moore is not elected, Keyes warned, “the republic will fall with him.” Many of the speakers touched on abortion and homosexuality, stating that Moore’s outspoken views have made him a target. Leiter said Moore combats “those who seek to victimize children and adults through transgender bathroom bills, LGBT indoctrination in schools and much more.” Leiter cited a midrash that states “the great

Rabbi Noson Leiter flood that annihilated civilization in the days of Noah was triggered by societal recognition of same-sex so-called marriage.” Leiter also spoke of the “open rebellion” of so many Americans, “murdering tens of millions of babies.” He said “we all — and especially those of us in Orthodox Jewish communities nationwide — need Judge Moore in the Senate, now more than ever.” He condemned the Republican leadership for not pushing a bill to protect photographers or bakers from “homosexualist gay terrorism of blackmail.” After telling Moore “you never know how many people you inspire by standing strong,” he concluded with “May the ultimate judge speedily pour out his heavenly wrath against our enemies and mercifully save us all.” Leiter’s group, Help Save Our Children, advocates for victims of child molestation. In 2013, after two members of the Orthodox community in Rockland pleaded guilty to charges of sexually abusing children, Leiter told the Journal News that “The epidemic of child-molestation threatens an entire generation of children… Many of these molesters are arrogant, narcissistic, deceptive, and downright evil. Even though some of them appear unable to control themselves, that is because of choices they repeatedly and intentionally made.” Leiter added that he hoped other families will find the strength to come forward and fight off community pressure not to report sexual abuse. Also in 2013, he stated that the ban on homosexuals in the Boy Scouts must remain because allowing them in will “expose children to grave danger” and the idea of admitting them “is not being liberal — it’s being barbaric.” After Hurricane Sandy, Leiter stated that Sandy’s flooding was an allusion to the Biblical flood and was a divine warning about the le-

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community galization of same-sex marriage in New York. “The good people have to learn that the Lord does watch what we do. And If we don’t shape up, he will deliver divine justice,” he said. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo condemned Leiter’s remarks, saying they “are as offensive as they are ignorant… This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy.” In January, Leiter signed a “Coalition Letter on the Pledge for a ProLife Nomination for Justice Scalia’s Seat on the U.S. Supreme Court” to President Donald Trump, co-signing with groups like the Christian Coalition, Operation Rescue and the Eagle Forum. Rabbi Moshe Rube of Knesseth Israel in Birmingham, the state’s only Orthodox congregation, said he had not heard of Leiter or his groups. Rabbi Barry Leff, interim rabbi at Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El, said Leiter’s statements go against the values of Torah. “By dismissing the many serious allegations against Roy Moore, Leiter is basically saying ‘Character doesn’t matter. Integrity doesn’t matter. All that matters is whether someone votes the way you want them to vote’.” Citing Moore’s removal twice as Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, Leff said Moses sought men of integrity to lead the people. “Far and away the most important trait in a leader is personal integrity. To defend someone whose integrity is as questionable as Roy Moore’s is to become complicit in leading people astray.”

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Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones has a long track record of civil rights and deep ties to the Jewish communities across the state. One year after becoming U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Jones and his team were able to convict two of the four killers in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing. They had escaped justice for 35 years. The Fairfield native said, “I have fought my entire career to change the image of this state — talking about the healing after I convicted two Klansmen of killing four little girls when those murderers bombed a place of worship. I speak around the state and the country about the progress in Alabama.” Jones added, “I will work across the aisle to address the issues the people of this state are concerned about including health care, jobs and education. We have more in common than we have that divides us.” He was appointed U.S. Attorney by a Democratic president and confirmed by a Republican Senate, “which demonstrates my ability to work with people on both sides of the aisle,” said Jones. Jones said he “will not support any health care proposal that decreases coverage, does not lower insurance premiums, and does not ensure coverage for preexisting conditions.” Jones said he has deep ties to the Jewish communities across the state, especially in Birmingham. Over the years, he has spoken many times at Temple Emanu-El and Temple Beth-El. His daughter attended daycare at the Levite Jewish Community Center, as have his granddaughters. One of the largest events for Jones during the campaign was hosted by some of Birmingham’s most prominent Jewish leaders. Jones also expressed great support for and admiration of Israel. Jones, a Democrat, will face Republican Roy Moore in the Dec. 12 election to fill the vacated seat of Sen. Jeff Sessions. After Sessions became U.S. Attorney General, Luther Strange was appointed to the seat. Strange lost the Republican primary to Moore. The winner of the Dec. 12 election will serve the remainder of Sessions’ term and be up for reelection in 2020.

Townes Van Zandt, Susanna Clark, Guy Clark and Daniel Antopolsky on the porch of the Clarks’ East Nashville home, in an iconic 1972 photo

The Outlaw Country Jew Augusta native Daniel Antopolsky dropped off the music scene, but kept writing songs and, 40 years later, is recording albums One of the most iconic photos in country music history shows four “outlaw country” musicians on a porch in 1972 — the legendary Townes Van Zandt, who died in 1997, artist and songwriter Susanna Clark, who died in 2012, and songwriter and performer Guy Clark, who died in 2016. What happened to the fourth person on the Clarks’ porch? Since the 1980s, the only Jewish member of the outlaw country movement has lived a simple life on a farm near Bordeaux, France, a world away from the drug- and music-fueled scene of the early 1970s where he admits to never quite fitting in.

After dropping out of the music world for decades, Daniel Antopolsky, who grew up in the Jewish community of Augusta, Ga., recently recorded a selection from the hundreds of songs he has written, releasing his first albums. In the early 1970s, Antopolsky toured with his friend, Van Zandt, and is widely acknowledged to have saved Van Zandt from a heroin overdose in Houston in 1972. Doctors said that had Antopolsky brought him to the hospital just two minutes later, Van Zandt would have been gone. Before long, Antopolsky would escape that scene, but the songs would keep coming — without an audience. He explains his decades on a farm in France by stating “we’re country Jews. We like being in the country.” His family didn’t start out in the country. After World War II, his family got a farm outside Augusta and spent a lot of time fishing and walking around in the woods. During those walks, he and his father would plant a lot of trees. His father had grown up on Delancey Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. “He never saw a tree until he was 12 years old and the family moved to Waynesboro, Ga.,” Antopolsky said. His family had “an old-fashioned hardware store on Broad Street” in Augusta, unlike other relatives and community members who were in the “shmattah” business. Their clients ranged from rich to redneck, and they Daniel Antopolsky’s new album will be released on Dec. 15 sold copper sheets to bootleggers who

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 19

community made stills with them. “Just a bunch of great people,” he reflected. There were many characters who would later influence his songwriting. “Southerners could tell stories and yarns,” he said. “I liked that, and I think that’s where I got some of my language and put some of it into songs.” Among the “good old guys, people you feel comfortable with” was an African-American man who always wore six or seven coats and six or seven pairs of pants. When he finally asked about it, the man explained that “what keeps out the cold keeps out the heat.” He’d also hear stories from the bootleggers, recalling one who explained “Look, Daniel, that’s why my thumb is gone.” Also influencing his musical evolution was a nanny who listened to Gospel music. “It’s not the same as being brought up in New York City,” he observed. Antopolsky started writing songs in the late 1960s. When he was 14, his brother gave him a guitar, and “there were a lot of people a lot better than me.” His mother died when he was 10, and had been unable to talk for six years before that. He would go to Hebrew School four days a week, and accompany his father to minyan for Kaddish. “I loved those guys,” he said. “Old European guys singing and banging on the table,” and one guy who could sing in harmony. His father died when he was 17, so by the time he wound up at the University of Georgia, “I didn’t have anyone to come home to for Passover or Yom Kippur.” Despite enjoying his heritage, he “left it all” and experimented with different spiritual paths. Like so many Jews, he tried yoga, then learned about Hinduism. “There was a time I thought I wanted to be a Christian,” he admitted. Armed with a degree in public relations from the University of Georgia that he would never use, Antopolsky became a long-haired, beaded hippie. At the university, he met Van Zandt. They became friends and Antopolsky went with him on a national tour. One oft-cited story is that they were in Dallas at a motel, and found the street was blocked off due to a revival. They challenged each other to write a song in 30 minutes and then sing it. Van Zandt stayed in the motel while Antopolsky sat under an oak tree outside. Van Zandt’s composition was “Pancho & Lefty,” which became one of his most famous works, and some say Lefty was modeled after Antopolsky. Antopolsky’s song was “Sweet Lovin’ Music,” which would become the title track of his debut album 40 years later — that day in Dallas, Van Zandt had suggested Antopolsky use that as the name of his first album. But he never quite fit in with the drug-fueled outlaw country scene. Over the years “I lost a lot of friends who were musicians,” dying of a mysterious illness that later was identified as AIDS. “Nobody knew what was the matter” with them. What saved his life? “I’ve been a chickens--. I’ve had a fear of needles,” so he never shot drugs. “I was afraid… I would sniff it, smoke it or swallow it. I’d never shoot it.” The then-unknown dangers of sharing needles was just the half of it, he said — between hits the needles were often stuck into a dirty dart board. With his spiritual searching and a much more whimsical and optimistic outlook than his contemporaries, he was also turned off by the rough competition of the music industry in Nashville, and decided to get away. He traveled the country and the world, ending up back in Georgia. Returning to Augusta, he met the woman who would become his wife. “I’d never dated a Jewish girl,” he said. Sylvia was a Jewish student from France who was brought to Augusta for a residency. She explained that Robert Greenblatt, a noted researcher at the Medical College of Georgia, had established a relationship with the Bordeaux gynaecology medical school. A Montreal native, Greenblatt was a Fran20 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017


December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 21

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22 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

community cophile, and Greenblatt’s successor, Edouard Servy, brought Sylvia to Georgia on a research fellowship in fertility and endocrinology. Antopolsky met Sylvia at a party and they started dating. When she had to return to France for two more years of residency, he followed her. At the time, he said, “Broad Street was dying” and Antopolsky Brothers Hardware had not followed other retail establishments to the outskirts of town. “I’m just a guitar player, I’m a dreamer,” he reflected. “I’m not that good at doing a hardware store.” He moved to France, and his brothers closed the store a few years later. The building now houses The Pizza Joint, and Antopolsky had lunch there a couple of years ago. After arriving in France, “first thing I did was get earplugs because I wasn’t used to living in the city,” he said. After his instruments were stolen, they got a place in the country, where he started organic farming and tending chickens. While he was no longer on the music radar, he kept writing songs. Living in “an old French farm house with thick walls” was useful, because “after everyone goes to sleep, I’d go upstairs until 1, 2 in the morning… I would play as long as I wanted to.” Daniel Antopolsky in Nashville Inspiration has been everywhere. “I’ll jump off a tractor and write a song” on the side of a box. After his twin daughters were born, Antopolsky’s passion for his heritage reignited, and he started putting on tefillin every day, keeping kosher and Shabbat, and studying Torah. On occasion, he would write a Jewish-themed song, such as his 1985 work, “Mama’s Chicken Soup.” “It’s really funny,” he said, but he never performed it. “I don’t have that many songs like that, but I’d sing them to a Jewish audience.” For years, he figured eventually something would happen with his songs, “but I wasn’t going to do anything” to make that happen. “If there are some good ones, maybe something will happen.” That something was Jason Ressler, who met Antopolsky and his family at a hummus place in Tel Aviv when they were attending a wedding in 2011. “We had a mutual friend who’d met Daniel in Bordeaux,” Ressler explained, and as he was splitting time between Tel Aviv and Bordeaux, he would “hang out” often with the Antopolskys. Ressler said he didn’t know about the music for over a year “as he never discussed it and only played live rarely,” like doing cover songs for the U.S. Consulate in Bordeaux on Independence Day. Also, he said, “who wants to hear some guy’s music when you’re friends with him in case it sucks and you have to smile and say it’s great?” One day on the farm, Ressler heard Antopolsky practicing. “I listened at the door and thought I was listening to some of the best songs I’d ever heard, then I went in and made him play me tunes for hours and told him he had to let me get an album made.” Ressler intended the project to be for Antopolsky’s family, but it quickly evolved into a documentary film and several albums. “I certainly never meant to become a music manager or expected Daniel to become as big as he’s getting,” Ressler admitted. Ressler arranged for Antopolsky to meet Gary Gold, a Grammy-winning Nashville producer who has worked with Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana and Bonnie Raitt. “We knew each other,”

community Antopolsky said. “Maybe we met each other at Mount Sinai.” He read some of his songs, many that he hadn’t sung in years. “My children haven’t heard half of my songs,” he said. Going into the recording studio in 2013 was difficult, with things that were new to him — studio musicians, wearing headphones. “I’d hardly ever done it.” His chickens, a huge priority for him, also played a role in the Nashville sessions. As the studio date approached, Antopolsky delayed the recordings because one of his favorite chickens was ill. The Nashville sessions resulted in “Sweet Lovin’ Music,” and “some of the songs turned out great.” But “when you’ve got chickens and you’ve got children and you’re in the country, I don’t like to go into cities. I’m a country Jew.” A decision was made to do the next albums in France, in a makeshift studio set up on the farm. “It was fun, and great of (Gold) to come here.” The result was a pair of albums, “Acoustic Outlaw” volumes 1 and 2, which are more simple and rustic, and less polished, matching his personality. His new album, “Old-Timey, Soulful, Hippy-Dippy, Flower Child Songs from the Cosmos… Wow!” will be released on Dec. 15 and pre-orders are being taken on iTunes. The new album focuses on songs he wrote during his early-1970s wanderings in places as diverse as the north Georgia mountains, Greece, India, Thailand, Burma and California. Ressler said many of the songs came from the time in Antopolsky’s life when he was rejecting “the darkness of the Outlaw Country scene” and was on “his spiritual quest to find life that matched his optimism.” Early next year, “The Sheriff of Mars,” the documentary about Antopolsky’s life, will be released. Gold had suggested the film as a way of telling Antopolsky’s story beyond the albums, from growing up in a small Southern Jewish community to his adventures in Outlaw Country, his decades on the farm and his reemergence in the music scene. The title comes from a character that Antopolsky has drawn since Kindergarten, “a sheriff who came down from Mars to Earth with the express mission of making everyone happy.” In 1975, he wrote a song about the sheriff, and the sheriff makes an appearance on the cover of the new album. He tries to remain optimistic and whimsical in his writing, even when doing commentary. About his song “Crater Dust,” he said “I’ve looked at America a long time with a microscope… We’ve fallen into a giant crater” of trying to divide people. “We need to start respecting each other.”

While the song’s theme “is not so easy… it comes out optimistic,” he said. He worries about rising anti-Semitism in France. “France and America are still wonderful places, but you wonder about the future,” he said. “We were in Poland 600 years before it turned bad.” Though his music career seems to be taking off, Antopolsky is staying grounded. “I have to take it easy now,” he said. “I’m almost 70, and just had heart surgery,” he said. “Baruch HaSh-

em, that was a big deal.” Especially since he had never been admitted to a hospital before. Because he hasn’t done much performing and “maybe I smoked too much funny stuff,” he has to have the lyrics written down when he does concerts. “If everything works out, I’m happy to do this, and I’m happy if it can come to something good and be positive in the world,” he said. “If my songs are good, it’s because people gave me more than I give them.”

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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 23

Delta Jewish Open

Southern Jewish Life

Documenting this community, a community we are members of and active within, is our passion. We love what we do, and who we do it for.

The 30th annual Jay Mosow Memorial Delta Jewish Open golf tournament brought about 75 to Greenville for the weekend. A fundraiser for the Henry S. Jacobs Camp and Institute of Southern Jewish Life, the Nov. 5 golf scramble was won by Buddy Caldwell of Tallulah, La., Charles Skibell of Dallas and Jonathan Larkin of Jackson. Second place was Alan Silverblatt, Sam Silverblatt of Shreveport, and Jerry Branson. Third place was Eric Miller, Greenwood, Jack Miller, Yazoo City, and Sam Goodman, Greenville. A steak dinner and Calcutta was held at Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville on Nov. 4. Photos, clockwise from top left: The Dallas delegation of Roxanne Gottlieb, Lynn Skibell, Stephanie Held, Charles Skibell, Randy Moss, Glenn Gottlieb. Hebrew Union congregants Sidney Brodofsky, tourney co-chair Barry Piltz of Greenville, Alan and Leanne Silverblatt of Indianola, Miss. Buddy Caldwell, Tallulah, La.; Susan and Macy Hart, Jerry Branson, Jackson. Rae and Jimmy Stewart, Franklin, Tenn. Alan Silverblatt, Jonathan Larkin, Buddy Caldwell, and Charles Skibell. Jonathan Larkin; Melinda and Dr. Chuck Rosenthal, Chattanooga; Peter Sharp, Jackson. Rabbi Debbie Kassoff of Hebrew union Congregation of Greenville and Alan Silverblatt, golf tourney co-chair. 24 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 25

John Buhler speaks at the Nov. 18 event, with Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, Laura King and Eeki Elner

Task Force recognizes Governor Ivey for Israel advocacy

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Heavy rain may have changed the program somewhat at the Alabama-Israel Leadership Gala on Nov. 18, but it did not dampen the spirits of the 200 who were at the event at The Epicenter near Dothan. A strong line of storms came through the state as the event began, knocking out power briefly. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was the evening’s honoree, but because of the storms, Ivey’s pilot cancelled her trip, a decision that Alabama-Israel Task Force Co-Chair John Buhler praised, saying her safety obviously comes first. As there was no time to set up a video link, the presentation to her was filmed for her to view later, and it was announced that a response from Ivey would be forthcoming and would be sent to everyone in attendance. Buhler said Ivey was chosen by the Task Force for the honor for “her exceptional work on behalf of the Alabama-Israel relationship.” As lieutenant governor, he said, Ivey gave the keynote at the first AITF gala, on the 70th anniversary of the 1943 Alabama Legislature resolution calling for the creation of a Jewish homeland, the first such declaration passed in the United States. She also led the push for legislation against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, and last year invited Hilik Bar, deputy speaker of the Knesset, to address a joint session of the Alabama Legislature. “We are deeply grateful for your leadership, for your support for this historic state to state relationship,” Buhler said. Eeki Elner, founder of the Israel Leadership Institute, invited Ivey to visit Israel and see the Institute’s work “and to be sure our ties are stronger.” There were also congratulatory messages delivered by video from Knesset Speaker Yoel Edelstein and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. Buhler said the evening was to “honor leadership, celebrate friendship and celebrate the state to state relationship” between Alabama and Israel, and ask “how can we help shape the future together.” In his invocation, Pastor Rusty Nelson of Rock Family Worship Center — which holds a big Israel celebration each year — said “it is so humbling that we get to live in these days, to embrace the Jewish people.” Huntsville’s two Jewish congregations, Etz Chayim and Temple B’nai Sholom, each had tables at the event. Among those in attendance were U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore, who were both introduced at the end of the evening. Task Force Co-Chair Laura King, past president of the Jewish Federation of Huntsville and North Alabama, presented a plaque with the text of the 1943 resolution to Lior Haiat, Israel’s Consul General in Miami. Haiat thanked the crowd for “representing Israel in Alabama all the

community time” and called the evening “a symbol of how important the connection is between Israel and Alabama.” He said the 1943 resolution was an important declaration of “international legitimacy for the Jewish people to go back to their homeland and have a sovereign state.” This is a time of significant anniversaries, with Buhler and Haiat mentioning the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations resolution approving the partition plan that led to Israel’s establishment, the upcoming 70th birthday of Israel, the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and the 40th anniversary of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in search of peace. To that, Haiat added next year’s 75th anniversary of the Alabama resolution, which “no one in Israel could have dreamt” at the time. One more historic event which may come soon, he added, is the U.S. embassy moving to Jerusalem, which “we will obviously support.” He then commented, “I will add, not in a very diplomatic way, it’s about time.” But, he said, Israel does not need a diplomatic gesture “to know where our capital is.” The evening was a benefit for the Task Force’s work with the Israel Leadership Institute in Sderot. Founder Eeki Elner spoke about the need for leadership as “the key to the future.” He started the Institute 10 years ago, and five years ago was introduced to King, who asked him to come to Alabama and raise awareness of the Institute’s work. Support from the Alabama group allowed the Institute to open a new leadership training course in northern Israel, in Kiryat Shmona. A video presentation was played, with participants thanking the Alabamians for their help in making the program happen. The evening’s keynote speaker was Brigadier General Gal Hirsch, who chairs the Institute’s board. Hirsch, who lives in Rosh Ha’Ayin, spoke of Israel as not only the historic Jerusalem but Beersheva, “the cyber capital of the world.”

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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 27


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He noted Israel is a “fortress on the front lines against terrorism,” with Sderot as “a constant reminder of the struggle against terrorism while trying to maintain a normal life.” Hirsch grew up in Arad. He said his Bar Mitzvah turned out not to be a day of celebration, because a cousin was killed that night. He committed himself to Israel’s military, in which serving is seen not as a career choice but as a “mission.” In the 1980s Hirsch was a paratrooper in the Paratrooper Brigade, leading a battalion in South Lebanon and through the First Intifada. He was severely injured in a terror attack as a large rock was thrown onto his car. He commanded the Benjamin Regional Brigade during the Second Intifada and served in the central command during Operation Defensive Shield. After the 2006 war, he resigned from the military and founded Defensive Shield Holdings. He has also been a research associate since 2008 at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya. In 2016 he wrote “Defensive Shield,” an updated version of his bestselling 2009 autobiographical book, “Love Story, War Story.” After the terror attack, he battled with the doctors to return to his post. “My body is full of titanium,” he said. “I am one of the most expensive officers in Israel,” and even today is considered 59 percent disabled. “You cannot see that. I am a good actor.” But Israel is not about war, he noted. “Israel holds a rifle in one hand and a branch of olives in the other.” Today, though, “we are totally surrounded by jihadists,” with “terror armies made, financed and aided by Iran.” In the north, Hezbollah is an Iranian army, Iran is trying to build a permanent base in Syria, Iran supports Hamas to the south, and while Sinai is technically part of Egypt, many parts are “in reality unguarded,” with ISIS in control. Those who argue the world can live with a nuclear Iran, Hirsch said, should look at North Korea. Hirsch was presented with an Alabama flag that was signed by everyone in attendance that evening.

Ariel celebrates 40th anniversary with Alabama events The community of Ariel celebrated its 40th anniversary with a series of programs in the United States, with two Alabama sites as part of the brief tour. Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro and Avi Zimmerman, executive director of American Friends of Ariel visited Birmingham and Mobile with the Celebrate Ariel Performance Troupe, which is a combination of youth singing and dancing groups. Mobile has a sister city relationship with Ariel, while Birming-

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The Celebrate Ariel Performance Troupe at Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El 28 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

community ham-based JH Israel developed the Ariel National Center for Leadership Development. An offshoot group, the U.S.-Israel Educational Association, sponsors trips for Congressional representatives who generally are unable to go into the territories on official trips. Shaviro said it is “very important” for Ariel to have a relationship with a city like Mobile. The Birmingham event was held at Temple Emanu-El on Nov. 20, with a reception followed by the program. Though the event was at Emanu-El, the crowd of about 70 was almost entirely non-Jewish — about half of whom have visited Ariel over the years. The Nov. 21 events in Mobile started with a reception at Spring Hill College, followed by the program at St. Paul’s Theatre. In Mobile, the three community rabbis — Reform, Conservative and Chabad — attended. Mayor Sam Jones, who signed the sister city agreement, also attended, as did current Mayor Sandy Stimpson, who declared Nov. 21 as Ariel Day in Mobile. On Nov.22, there was an additional gathering at Springhill Avenue Temple. Springhill Avenue Rabbi Dana Kaplan asked if there was a Reform presence in Ariel and was told there had not been any requests for a Reform congregation, but they had no problem with the concept and could help with funding if there were requests. Kaplan said when he offered to start fundraising “they did not seem too excited.” Located in the heart of Samaria, Ariel is widely viewed as a place Israel would retain in any peace agreement with the Palestinians. In 1974, Ron Nachman was asked by the Israeli government to find a group of families to start a community at a barren hilltop in the heart of Samaria. Tents were erected in early 1978, and the community began that summer with 40 families, and Nachman as founding mayor. Though Ariel is an important location for Israel’s security, Shaviro touted Ariel’s role in education, health, culture and the economy. Ariel University has 15,000 students, including a large Arab contingent, and the industrial park has doubled in the last four years. Shaviro also touted Ariel’s historical importance, stating that Joshua was Ariel’s first pioneer. The presentation began with a dance to “Exodus,” depicting the “exodus from the Jewish diaspora, from our exile,” Zimmerman said. Different cultures were represented, as Zimmerman noted “almost half the population in Ariel is immigrants from the former Soviet Union.” Among the performances was a “Fiddler on the Roof ” style bottle dance and the Chassidic Song Festival version of “Adon Olam,” and the show ended with the teens bringing the audience up for spirited Israeli dancing. The 40th anniversary tour also promoted fundraising for 40 projects that Ariel is working on in nine categories. “Our journey is just beginning,” Shaviro said. “There is so much more Avi Zimmerman, Ariel Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson we can do together.”

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 29

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community Birmingham Jam brings Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers to town by Lee J. Green Auburn Head Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl returns to the Magic City on Dec. 16 with his Tigers participating in the first-ever Birmingham Jam at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex’s Legacy Arena on Dec. 16. The doubleheader features UAB taking on Alabama A&M at 2:15 p.m. followed by Auburn versus Middle Tennessee State University. The event will have a throwback 1990s theme to enhance the fan experience. Birmingham Jam will be the first multigame, regular-season event hosted in the arena since 2007. “We’re looking forward to coming back to Birmingham and participating in this great event,” said Pearl. “We have a lot of Auburn SJL file photo alumni in Birmingham and Bruce Pearl makes latkes at the annual this is going to be a real Auburn Hillel Chanukah party he hosts treat for the fans.” Pearl was in Birmingham to speak at the opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games in late July, and to volunteer support for the successful event. “Breaking down stereotypes is a huge part of my life,” he said. “To see what the Maccabi Games did to give such a positive impression of Birmingham and the South warmed my heart. There were kids and their parents coming to Birmingham for the first time and they all seemed to have so many great things to say about their time there.” Pearl, who served as the first president of the Jewish Coaches Association, admits he was nervous when making his speech as a part of the opening ceremonies. “I really took a lot of time to figure out what I could say in 10 minutes that would hopefully have a lasting impact,” he said. Maccabi has a special place in Pearl’s heart. He coached the gold-medal-winning U.S. team, which featured his son Steven, at the World Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2009. “That is an experience I will treasure for my whole life. To take 12 Jewish men to Israel and to come back to the U.S. as menches was incredibly meaningful,” he said. “To wear USA on our chests and to have a Star of David in our hearts was special.” The Birmingham venue is familiar to Pearl. When he was the head coach at the University of Tennessee, his Vols played Butler University in Birmingham in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament. His Auburn Tigers also played an early-season game at Bartow Arena last year. Middle Tennessee earned first-round wins in both the 2016 and 2017 NCAA tournaments and “is an experienced, talented team that will certainly give us a very tough test,” he added. Alabama A&M Head Coach Donnie Marsh served as UAB men’s basketball associate head coach from 2006 to 2012. It will mark the first time Marsh faces the Blazers since becoming the Bulldogs’ coach. In addition to the games, Auburn and UAB’s men’s basketball teams will participate in an educational community engagement event at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Dec. 15.

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The end of the year is almost here and that sends many people to their accountants and lawyers to look at their financial and tax planning. This year, however, there is an extra wrinkle to consider. As this article is being written, Congress and the White House are negotiating significant changes in the tax laws that could, if enacted, impact financial strategies and tactics. This makes it more important than ever to meet with your advisors to review your investment portfolio and consider tax, financial and charitable giving strategies before Dec. 31. Things may become clearer as year-end approaches, but this will require you to be flexible and prepared to act in a short timeframe. It is possible that most changes in the tax code would be effective after the start of 2018. This year, it’s especially important to look at your investment portfolio. With the stock market at an all-time high, this December is a good opportunity to review your holdings and consider timing the recognition of capital gains and losses for assets held long-term (more than one year) and short-term. Under most tax reform proposals, it appears that most long-term capital gains sales will remain “tax advantaged” with a top rate of approximately 24 percent. This might be the time to consider gifts of appreciated securities to charities. For example, in most circumstances, you can avoid paying any long-term capital gains tax on the value of securities transferred to a charity and may be able to receive a charitable contribution deduction for the full fair market value of the securities at the time of the donation. This may be the year to look at creating or adding to a Donor Advised Fund in the Birmingham Jewish Foundation with a gift of appreciated securities. With this type of fund, you can make the donation now and recommend where you would like grants to go in the future — your synagogue, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, United Way, any of our local Jewish or national Jewish organizations are just a few examples. Grants can be made from not only income, but also the principal of the fund. For many people, it is a great way to maximize tax savings, do philanthropic planning and help our community. Appreciated stock also can be donated to the Birmingham Jewish Foundation for a fund for a local Jewish agency — the Levite Jewish Community Center, the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, Collat Jewish Family Services — or for a special area of interest such as Jewish camping or leadership development. The Birmingham Jewish Foundation is available to work with you and your advisers to open a new fund or add to an existing fund.

The Festival of Lights will also be in the spotlight, Dec. 1 to 17 at Red Mountain Theatre Company, in its annual Holiday Spectacular. The musical revue, which features adult and youth performers, includes a couple of fun, original Chanukah songs. The youth cast includes talented Jewish performers Abby Cohn, Kyra Berger and Aubrey Engel. The adults featured in the show include Tracy Winborn, Kristen Bowden Sharp, Kelli Dodd, Cameron White and Caleb Clark. For more information and to get tickets, go to


pet care an annual SJL special section

Petcetera celebrates 16 years serving animal lovers in New Orleans by Lee J. Green


Petcetera has kept tails wagging and pet owners smiling for 16 years on New Orleans’ Magazine Street. Owner by Diane Lundeen, a member of Krewe du Mishigas who attends Temple Sinai, the pet stores supplies everything from food to toys to customized costumes to pet beds to full grooming services. “The people in New Orleans, we celebrate life and our pets,” said Lundeen. “We want the best for them. They give us unconditional love and we are here to give love to them.” She said New Orleans and the nation as a whole continue to become more pet friendly, with more options for pet insurance; days to celebrate pets as well as animal potties at some airports. Lundeen said Petcetera works with local artists and other pet-product makers as much as possible. The boutique also has its own line of custom, fashionable fun pet clothes called NOLA Bitch Couture. “We’re expanding and seeing great interest in clothes, costumes and accessories for pets,” said Lundeen. “Whether it’s outfits for dogs for Mardi Gras and Barkus or just clothes that are fashionable, expressive and functional, we have it here or can make it custom.” In 2016, Lundeen’s Weimaraner, Alex, was named King of Barkus XXIV. With it being winter, pet coats and sweaters become more of a need when temperatures dip into the 40s and below on occasion. “Especially for short-haired dogs, they get cold and need cover,” she said. The team at Petcetera keeps an eye on trends around the world when deciding what clothes, toys and other products to bring in. “What separates Petcetera from the big box stores is that our staff works one-on-one with folks and can customize to meet our customers’ needs,” she said. “We’re always doing our homework on what’s new, effective and relevant.” Lundeen said they have many products that can help contribute to pet health. She recommends slow-feeder dog bowls that help make sure a dog doesn’t eat too fast. “We have some great supplements for dogs,” she said. “Also probiotics is a big thing. Introducing probiotics to diets is just as good for pets as it is for humans. It really aids in digestion and pet health.” Petcetera opened the first weekend of Jazzfest in 2001 and continues to grow. “We are grateful for the opportunity to serve New Orleans pet owners and lovers for so many years,” said Lundeen. “And we look forward to continuing to serve them for years to come.”

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Changing times and advances in veterinary care and information help pets live a longer and better quality of life. “Pets, like people, are living longer these days, thanks in a large part to the better availability of comprehensive and specialty veterinary care, advances in pet nutrition, and a strong commitment to the benefits of exercise and behavior training,” said Arthur Serwitz, who founded Birmingham’s Riverview Animal Clinic in 1984. Protocols for a vaccination program are based on “core” vaccination needs tailored to the “risks” of that pet’s environment and genetics, said Serwitz. “It used to be recommended for all dogs and cats to be “spayed” and neutered at 6 months of age, but now we recognize that these procedures should be delayed to full maturity, especially in our medium and large dog breeds,” sometimes to 10 to 14 months of age. One of the biggest challenges for pets in the Southeastern United States is the environment and exposures: Fleas cause flea bite irritation, flea bite allergies, are an intermediate host for tapeworms, and cause anemia in weak and debilitated pets. Ticks are carriers of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Erlichiosis, Lyme’s Disease, and others. Venomous snakes, venomous insects, toxic plants, toxic wastes, spoiled garbage and mosquitos carrying heartworms are also problems. “With our diverse Southern environment we see a lot of dogs that have chronic allergies to the environment and to different diets. They are exposed to so many constant potential allergens: trees, grasses, weeds, molds and mold spores, insects and insect parts, dust mites, chemicals, fabric (nylon and wool being the most common), perfumes, air freshener “plug ins”, scented candles, fireplace residues, and much more,” said Serwitz. “Some of our pets manifest these allergies periodically, and some yearround. Food allergies can also contribute to allergy symptoms,” he said. The most common allergy manifestations are itching and skin inflammation, chronic recurrent ear infections, licking or chewing on feet, and breaking out with rashes and secondary bacterial skin infections. “We have traditional therapies,” Serwitz said, such as itch medications, antihistamines and anti-inflammatories/steroids, medicated baths, topical anti-itch preparations, and antibiotics when appropriate. He added, “We have the newest therapies,” such as daily Apoquel pills with a JAK inhibitor that blocks the itch response, and Cytopoint, Canine Atopic Dermatitis Immunotherapy, an injection that can be given once a month to block the itching and control the secondary effects that can cause infection and discomfort. Food allergies can be discovered through food “trials” of low or hypo-allergenic diets. Testing for food allergies is not totally reliable but can be helpful in some categories. Lots of novel protein diets, such as venison, fish, duck, rabbit, and novel carbohydrates such as rice and sweet pota-

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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 35

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toes, or even no carbohydrate diets can be helpful and healthier, according to Serwitz. “Your veterinarian will be able to guide you, or even refer to reliable resources for discovering your pet’s best diets for life stages and for medical support with certain diseases,” he said. “We are fortunate to live in Birmingham, where we have access to many veterinary ‘boarded’ specialists living in our area: veterinary surgeons, ophthalmologists, internists, and dermatologists, to name a few,” said Serwitz. “But we are also just hours away from some of the best veterinary schools in the country: Auburn, Mississippi, Tuskegee, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. Each of these schools will have additional specialists, and especially technology for helping with difficult medical cases that need special care and/or surgery.” He also added that “we are in the digital age of medicine and veterinary medicine. Electronic medical records and studies can be shared and consulted with the click of a mouse. Most clinics today are taking advantage of this age of telemedicine and making the inconvenience and hassle of a faraway consult a thing of the past.”

Whole Dog Market keeps tails wagging by Lee J. Green Whole Dog Market in Birmingham takes a whole-listic approach to canine care. The Homewood store features foods, treats, supplements, toys and other products aimed at total wellness for dogs. “We do a lot of homework and keep up with the latest trends, products,” said Whole Dog Market General Manager Lyndsey Mitchell. “Our dogs are special,” she said. Some foods, toys and supplements are best with certain breeds and sizes of dog. “We can work with dog owners to customize a plan that is best for their pet.” Owner William Finney’s aunt started Whole Dog Market in Atlanta, and Finney moved to Birmingham to “give some good new options for dog owners.” The store opened in October 2014. “Our rule is that none of our foods contain wheat, corn or soy,” said Mitchell. “They are natural, and most are organic.” A recent trend in dog food has been the addition of raw foods. Some are freeze-dried and people just need to add water, versus previously having to buy raw meat. Grain-free foods are also more prevalent as are options for dogs with food allergies. Whole Dog Market also recommends supplements for some dogs. “With winter coming and colder temperatures, older dogs especially may have some issues with their joints. The supplements are good for joint health,” said Mitchell. Dog owners can also buy items at Whole Dog Market that can contribute to mental wellness for their dogs. Some of the toys sold there are brain puzzles to stimulate a dog; increase learning functions and aid memory in older dogs. Mitchell said they are happy to provide as much education as dog owners would want. “We have folders with a wealth of information about food, allergies, dental care and genetic characteristics of most breeds,” she said. “We are always happy to give advice and recommendations.”

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Check our Website for updates between issues 36 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

chanukah events Chanukah 2016 in Destin Anniston’s Temple Beth-El will have its Chanukah celebration with a covered dish dinner at 6:30 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. service on Dec. 15. Latkes will be provided; main dishes, vegetables and desserts are needed. Beth Shalom in Auburn will be hosting a community Chanukah party on Dec. 17. The Auburn University holiday celebration, with the lighting of the campus Christmas tree and menorah, was on Dec. 3 at Samford Field. Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl will be frying the latkes on Dec. 12 as he hosts Auburn Hillel at his home. The third annual Birmingham Grand Menorah Lighting presented by the Levite Jewish Community Center and Chabad of Alabama will be at Saks Plaza at the Summit, Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. There will be a carnival theme this year, with music, games, balloons, popcorn, cotton candy, a photo booth, traditional latkes and doughnuts. Newly-inaugurated Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin will take part in the candlelighting ceremony, which will begin at 5:15 p.m. Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El Sisterhood will hold its annual Chanukah luncheon, raffle, blintz and bake sale on Dec. 10 at noon. Reservations are $12 for adults, $6 for children over age 6. Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will have Kid’s Night Out: Hanukkah Holiday Hurrah on Dec. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m., for ages 5 to 11. “Happy Feet” will be screened and there will be a chance to make snow globes. Reservations are $30, $20 for members. Chabad of Alabama and Camp Gan Israel will have Chanukah on Wheels at Skates 280 south of Birmingham, Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m. A hot dog and latkes dinner will be served, and there will be a menorah lighting in the middle of the rink. Because of 280 traffic, open skate will be available at 4 p.m. Admission is $7 per skater. Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Chanukah service and Consecration with their Shabbatones, Dec. 15 at 5:40 p.m. Emanu-El will also have its Chanukah Family Fun Day on Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Brotherhood Chanukah Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Lunch is $10 for adults, $5 for children. Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will have its Chanukah Bingo event on Dec. 13, with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and Bingo to follow. There will also be a raffle. Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have its Chanukah potluck on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Cost is $8 for adults, $4 for children. The Chanukah celebration at B’nai Israel in Florence will be on Dec. 19 at 6 p.m., with a covered dish dinner following the service. Temple B’nai Sholom and Etz Chayim in Huntsville will have their annual Chanukah menorah lighting on Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Big Springs Park.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 37


Etz Chayim in Huntsville will have its annual latke party and bingo on Dec. 17 at 11 a.m. Reservations are $7 for adults, free for Sunday School students. The annual Fry Fest at Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will be at 5 p.m. on Dec. 15, where they will try to fry just about anything. Shabbat services will follow. Chabad of Huntsville will be having a Build Your Own Menorah event at the Home Depot on South Memorial Parkway, Dec. 10 at 1:30 p.m. Registration is required for the free workshop. They will also hold the annual Grand Menorah Lighting on Dec. 14 at Bridge Street Town Center, outside the Apple store, at 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 18, Huntsville’s first ice menorah will be lit on the ice rink behind the Huntsville Museum of Art. Skating will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have its Shul Chanukah Party on Dec. 17. The jumpy house opens at 4:30 p.m., with candle lighting, latkes and pizza at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are $5 and are requested by Dec. 10. The “Soon to be famous Latke Extravaganza” at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple will be on Dec. 15 following the 6 p.m. service, during which the religious school will present “The Miracle of the Candles.” There will be a congregational menorah lighting. Reservations, due by Dec. 13, are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 10.

Hap py C han uka h!

38 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

Photo by Mary Catherine Fehr

Jesse Schaffer, farm manager at Jones Valley Teaching Farm in downtown Birmingham, is one of the 12 Nice Jewish Guys On the final night of Chanukah, Max Rykov, one of Birmingham’s most ubiquitous and quirky social media personalities, is organizing an evening of “Jewish silliness for Jews and Gentiles” with “Judaism After Dark,” Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. at Saturn Birmingham. The free “interactive evening of Jewish culture for adults of all faiths” will mark the debut of the Nice Jewish Guys of Birmingham calendar, which “immortalizes 12 men of integrity, honor, and decency. Each is a true mensch, and their presence on your wall will give you peace, and hope for a better life.” A portion of sales from the calendar will go to Faith in Action Alabama. The calendar can also be ordered from, and there is a pre-sale special of $20 instead of the usual $30.


Springhill Avenue Temple’s Eastern Shore Torah Study Group will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 16 at 6 p.m., at the home of Kim and David Zimmerman in Fairhope. Chabad of Mobile will have a Chanukah Train, with a nine-foot menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts, music and raffles. The train starts on Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Chabad in Mobile, with guest speaker Lieutenant Commander Laurie Lans, who was stationed in numerous war zones but maintained her Jewish practice, including lighting a menorah at Saddam Hussein’s palace. The train then goes to 1 North Beach Road by the pier in Fairhope on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m., and finishes at 501 Gulf Shores Parkway in Gulf Shores on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. The Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem Sisterhood in Montgomery will host the annual Hannukah Hoopla, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. The congregation will also host a free community Chanukah concert featuring violinist Boris Savchuk, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Born in Ukraine, Savchuk started studying music at age 6 and immigrated to Israel in 1990. He has made numerous albums of Jewish music in Israel and three U.S. albums of varying genres. He plays Klezmer, Yiddish, Chassidic and traditional Eastern European Jewish music, along with jazz and improvisational violin and viola. He has completed eight U.S. tours. The concert will be an “eclectic program of world music.” Temple Beth Or in Montgomery will have its Chanukah family service and dinner, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Tuscaloosa’s Temple Emanu-El will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 12 at 5:30 p.m. The Men’s Club will provide latkes, everyone should bring a meat dish (no dairy), vegetables, salad or a dessert. The Sisterhood is selling Fair Trade Chanukah gelt by Divine Chocolate, which is co-owned by the 85,000 farmer members of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana. The Chabad Jewish Center at the University of Alabama will have a menorah lighting on campus on Dec. 12, with latkes, doughnuts and a s’mores bar at 6 p.m., and the lighting at 6:30 p.m. Chabad Emerald Coast will have a Menorah Workshop at Home Depot in Destin, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m., to build a PVC menorah. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are required. The annual Chanukah menorah lighting will be at Destin’s Harbor Walk Village, at the stage, Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m., with music, latkes and doughnuts. Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 39


have its Family Chanukah Night on Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. with latke tots, a colossal menorah illumination, the Chanukah story told by Chuck London, and holiday songs led by Michael Walker.


Temple B’nai Israel in Panama City will hold its annual Chanukah party in conjunction with the monthly rabbinic visit on Dec. 16 at 10 a.m. The children will be leading the congregation in a candle lighting ceremony. In the evening, there will be an olive oil tasting at Emerald Coast Olive. Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will start off Chanukah with a Brotherhood Latke Making Party, Dec. 10 from 7:30 to 11 a.m., to make hundreds of latkes for the week. The Chanukah celebration will be at the 6 p.m. musical service on Dec. 15, led by Rabbi Joel Fleekop, Sonia Yanovskiy and Victoria Adamenko, along with students from the School for Jewish Living. A latke and chicken dinner will follow, with a potluck for salads, sides and desserts.

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Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria will have a Chanukah Shabbat on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m., with a Chanukah dinner, prizes for the most festive Chanukah attire and community menorah lighting. Reservations the chicken and latke dinner are $10, free for children. Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have a Havdallukah party and dairy potluck dinner, with the Henry S. Jacobs Camp and Jewish Journeys, on Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. There will be a dreidel tournament, camp photo booth, puppet show, latkes and Chanukiah lighting. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have its Chanukah celebration on Dec. 15 with a Shabbat service at 6 p.m., followed by a latke dinner and party with a community menorah lighting and a White Elephant gift exchange. Reservations are $10 for adults and $5 for children. The religious school will have a menorah contest, with entries due on Dec. 10. Chabad of Baton Rouge will have a Menorah Workshop at Home Depot on Coursey Boulevard, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. There will be latkes, gelt and dreidels, and reservations are required. On Dec. 12, the Judaism Through the Arts school at Chabad of Baton Rouge will build a can menorah, relying on donations of canned goods, which will be donated to the Baton Rouge Food Bank. The family Chanukah party will be from 4:15 to 6 p.m. and a dairy dinner will be served. Chabad of Baton Rouge’s Top Chef Latke Edition will be held on Dec. 13 at Rouse’s in Village Market, at 7:30 p.m. Two chefs will compete for the title, and there will be a menorah lighting at the free

40 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017


event. My Big Fat Greek Shabbat, with a Chanukah twist, will Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., following a traditional Shabbat service at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are $18 adults, $10 for children, $54 for families. The annual Menorah lighting at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, coordinated by Chabad of Baton Rouge, will be on Dec. 17 at 4 p.m. There will be latkes and doughnuts, and the lighting of a nine-foot menorah. New for this year, there will be firefighters on hand, and they will do a chocolate gelt drop from the ladder. Temple Sinai in Lake Charles will have a community Chanukah dinner after Shabbat services, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Temple Shalom in Lafayette will have its Chanukah Latke Dinner on Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. Chanukah services will follow, led by Student Rabbi Ross Levy. A festival Chanukah Oneg follows services. On Dec. 16, Temple Shalom will have an Adult Chanukah Party at 8 p.m. at the home of Vivian and Joe Katz. The Temple Shalom Religious School will hold its Chanukah celebration on Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. The Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will have a Chanukah party and Religious School Open House on Dec. 10 at 9:30 a.m., including dreidel games, latkes, and a toddler station. On Dec. 15, Rabbi Deborah Zecher will lead a Chanukah Seder and potluck dinner at 7 p.m. B’nai Israel in Monroe will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 15, starting with a Shabbat service and Chanukah singing at 6 p.m., then a potluck latke dinner in the social hall. The New Orleans Community Chanukah Celebration will be on Dec. 17 at 4 p.m., at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. There will be fried chicken and latkes, and a live concert by folk duo Eric & Happie. Based out of Tulsa, they met at summer camp and released their first album, “It’s Yours” last year, including a track entitled “Louisiana.” Sponsored by Cathy and Morris Bart, this event is free and open to the community. The annual Chanukah at Riverwalk, hosted by Chabad of Louisiana, will be on Dec. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Riverwalk food court in New Orleans. The Grand Menorah Lighting will be at 6 p.m., on the Grand Terrace overlooking the Mississippi River. There will be a hot latke bar, music, menorahs, dreidels and gelt. One of “America’s most amazing Chanukah parties” according to the Washington Post, “Latkes with a Twist” will present “Latkes Delicious” on Dec. 14 at Little Gem Saloon from 7 to 10 p.m. Chefs Mike Friedman and Greg Augarten, co-owners of Pizza Delicious, will create a Latke Bar will all the toppings. There will be live music by The Marc Stone 3, a silent auction and complimentary Vodka Latke Punch, courtesy of Sazerac Brands. The event is presented by Jewish Children’s Regional Service, and proceeds from the event will support PJ Library and Jewish children throughout the New Orleans area with needs-based scholarships for college, Jewish summer camp and special needs assistance. Tickets are $25. Beth Israel in Metairie will have its community Chanukah party on Dec. 19, with children’s programming at 5:30 p.m., candlelighting and a buffet dinner at 6 p.m. There will also be a gift auction and a raffle drawing. Reservations are free for members, $18 for non-members. A family Chanukah Havdalah will be held at the Greenberg home, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. The program is geared toward ages 4 and under. Torah Academy in Metairie will have a Chanukah party and talent show, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m., with latkes and doughnuts. Jewish Community Day School in Metairie will have its Chanukah Musical Extravaganza, Grandparents and Special Friends Day, Dec. 19 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., with latkes and intergenerational activities.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 41


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Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have its Chanukah dinner on Dec. 15 after the 6 p.m. service. Reservations, due by Dec. 13, are $10 for ages 13 and up, free for children. The Chanukah Gift Bazaar is Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Shir Chadash in Metairie will have a Taft Shabbat and Community Chanukiah Lighting, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at the Adelman home. The informal schmooze will be followed at 6 p.m. by Havdalah and candlelighting, with fresh beignets. Chanukah at Shir Chadash will be on Dec. 17 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., with Chanukah crafts, learning and games. NOLA Tribe will have a Chanukah Shabbat on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., at the home of Michele Gelman.

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JNOLA will have a Light It Up Chanukah party on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m., at Port Orleans Brewing Company. There will be a funny sweater contest and a toy drive for Kingsley House. Anshe Sfard in New Orleans is tentatively planning its Chanukah party at the Rivkin home the evening of Dec. 18. Chabad of Louisiana will have Chanukah Story Time on Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m. at Barnes and Noble in Metairie. A Chanukah crafts and cooking event will be at Whole Foods in Metairie on Dec. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m., with latkes and a pasta menorah. There is no charge but reservations are needed. The Mobile Menorah Parade will be on Dec. 16, starting at the Uptown Chabad House at 7:30 p.m. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have an Olive Press Chanukah Experience with Rabbi Mendel Rivkin on Dec. 10 during religious school, followed by a lunch and scavenger hunt from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participants are asked to wear or bring black clothes. The annual Chanukah dinner, sponsored by Sisterhood, will be on Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m., along with the Lighting of the Menorah on the Avenue, followed by services at 6:15 p.m.

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Chabad at Tulane will have a Chanukah party at the Rivkin home on Dec. 14. Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have its Chanukah Family Dinner on Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m., with chicken, latkes and doughnuts, following the 6 p.m. service. Reservations are $15 for adults, $10 for children. Rabbi Todd Silverman will be “In The Kitchen” on Dec. 14 for “Latkes and Sufganiyot,” discussing the importance while making these classic foods. Space is limited for the 6 p.m. class, reservations are free for members and $18 for non-members. B’nai Zion will host the Shreveport community Chanukah party and lunch on Dec. 17 at 11:30 a.m., with latkes, sufganiyot, fair trade market, beeswax candle making and other activities. Chabad of Southern Mississippi will have a free community Menorah lighting, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi, by the carousel. There will be latkes and sufganiyot, face painting and Chanukah T-shirts to decorate. B’nai Israel in Columbus is holding its Chanukah potluck luncheon and auction on Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville will have its Chanukah luncheon on Dec. 17. Beth Israel in Gulfport will have its Family Chanukah Party on Dec. 17 at 6 p.m., with latkes, a dairy potluck dinner, live entertainment and a raffle. All are welcome. B’nai Israel in Hattiesburg will have a congregational Chanukah party and covered dish potluck dinner following the 6 p.m. service on Dec. 15, with a Chanukah edition of “Family Feud,” a Bad Dad jokes contest and other games. An adult education program with wine and

42 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

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cheese will be Dec. 16 at 5 p.m. Beth Israel in Jackson will have its Sisterhood Chanukah dinner on Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m., with services following at 7 p.m. Dinner reservations are $12 for adults, $5 for ages 3 to 13. The Western Shore Torah Study Group of Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple will have its third annual Chanukah Fest on Dec. 14 at the home of Nell and Cal Ennis in Pascagoula, starting at 6:30 p.m. Latkes and blintzes will be served, and attendees are asked to bring a dish for sharing. The topic will be “From Oil in Lamps to Oil in Latkes.”

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Ashley Merlin Gold Born and raised in New Orleans, Ashley Merlin began taking photographs while attending Isidore Newman School. Her love for photography continued through college, where she served as photo editor of Lehigh University’s newspaper as a journalism major. Merlin began freelancing as a full-time photographer in 2003. Her work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, including a 2010 solo show for the release of “Statuesque” at the UNO/St Claude Art Gallery. She is a Where Y’Art artist and has served on the boards of the American Society of Media Photographers New Orleans/Gulf South chapter and University of New Orleans’ Fine Arts Advisory Board.

Ashley, you’re a professional photographer, and published the first coffee table book on New Orleans’ statues in 2010. One has to wonder, with the artistic depth and breadth of the statuary here — one of the symbols of the city is the Andrew Jackson statue in Jackson Square: how did it go that no one tackled that subject before? Was it just kismet that you decided to take this on? After Katrina I attended a photography book making workshop where the idea initially came to me. Everyone was nostalgic for New Orleans at the time, so the subject matter seemed especially appropriate. There was only one book left in the library from the 1960s, it had been done before, but it was time for an update. My parents always encouraged me to pursue my passion and once I got this idea I ran with it. It took me four years from start to finish. Renaissance by Enrique Alférez, 1998. Photograph, Ashley Merlin Gold

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Your book, “Statuesque,” contains almost 200 amazing color photos. Were you able to include every work of art you wanted?

I tried to include statues that were of historical significance, I also wanted to highlight influential artists or a specific time period. I wanted to highlight these valuable, but extremely forgotten yet much beloved in this city, pieces of artwork. The landscape of statuary in the city has changed just in the last year, with Confederate monuments being removed. If as a society we judge the virtues of historical figures by our own contemporary morés, we’re going to be in a situation in which more and more monuments will be removed, and future societies may well find fault in those we today find appealing and inspirational. Should we stop memorializing people in this way? For hundreds, even thousands of years, cities across the world have been erecting and removing statues and monuments. Heroes, wars, civil rights, love, religion, sports — statues and monuments have been dedicated to a wide variety of people and causes. Some are even erected by the person themselves. And through these years, statues and monuments have been removed - because they were no longer relevant, or maybe there is a new hero or war to be recognized. This doesn’t mean we should stop erecting new ones. We should be having discussions on who and what should be recognized, how to add them in the right context, what location is the best fit and how to fund them. I hope this leads to more thoughtful discussions of public art going forward.

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Margaret Haughery by Alexander Doyle, July 9, 1884. Photograph, Ashley Merlin Gold

After doing all this research, you must have some great behind-thescenes stories. What’s the best?

One of the best stories I’ve learned more about since the book came out is the story behind the Joan of Arc statue. She was sculpted by Emmanuel Fremiet, a French sculptor who lived from 1824 to 1910 and who is known for his historical figures and characterizations of animals. Joan of Arc was commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III in 1875. Sent to New Orleans on consignment in 1958, she remained in storage until 1964 when Charles de Gaulle and the cities of Orléans, Paris, Rouen and Rheims bought the statue and donated it to the City of New Orleans as a gift. Overall there are six Fremiet Joan of Arcs, in three variations — yes, you heard that right. The original, first variation in Paris was a target of much criticism. Fremiet, unhappy with it, created a second version. This version can be seen in in Paris, in Nancy, France and in Philadelphia near the Museum of Art. Fremiet created a third life-size bronze of the second version for himself. In 1899 in Paris, with clever maneuvering by Fremiet, a switch was made. Fremiet switched the first and second versions with a new gilded Joan. In addition, he instructed the foundry to melt down the first and only original cast. The other Joans are at the State Library of Victoria in Australia; Portland, Oregon and here in New Orleans. We obviously can’t let you go without asking what is your favorite statue here.

Mother River by Joseph Cleary, March 8, 2001 Photograph, Ashley Merlin Gold

They are all my favorites! If I have to pick one, Mother River located at the Port of New Orleans is one of my top favorites. One of the newer statues in the city, it was erected in 2001 and sculpted by Joseph Cleary. With the Crescent City Connection and Mississippi River behind the statue, it reflects what Mr. Cleary’s vision was for Mother River. And what are you working on next? Of course I would like to publish another book. I loved the process and am delving into a few ideas. I have been working on a few fantastic photography projects, including a large installation at Lake Pines Hospital in Kenner, a new mental health inpatient facility. I love the idea of exploring how art and photography can play a part in healing. 46 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 47


MEMOIR In this special memorial edition of Night by Elie Wiesel, the text is accompanied by Weisel’s “Will the World Ever Know” speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. President Barack Obama writes a memorial tribute, calling Wiesel in many ways the “conscience of the world.” Rabbi Naomi Levy’s Einstein and the Rabbi: Searching for the Soul records her transformational journey, a reflection on how to live a good and meaningful life evoked after reading a passage from a letter between Einstein and a rabbi (who has his own incredible story) grieving the loss of his son. Very well written; transcendant and practical. A keeper. The Book of Separation by Tova Mirvis, a Memphis native, tells of that first year since her divorce and disconnect from the Orthodox life she grew up with, got married and had children in. Finding that she can no longer stand to hide her feelings, she makes the leap into the painful, undeniable detachment she knows awaits her, still looking forward to discovering and embracing the person who’s always been inside. If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan follows the author as she studies the daf yomi, allowing the daily lessons to filter in and help inform her outlook, from the mundane everyday to monumental decisions, in a book that comes across as valuable for its lessons, whether one is religious or not. What is it All but Luminous: Notes from an Underground Man is in a league of its own. Imagine waking in the middle of the night and penning five sentences about absolutely anything that comes to mind: that’s what this is. Art Garfunkel writes a poem about his psoriasis. He makes lists of... well, whatever. He ponders if the world can live with a nuclear Iran, and writes about old men who walk to get places. If you’re wondering what’s going on in Art Garfunkel’s genius mind, in a truly stream-of-conciousness way, here you are. If you’re looking for a rich biographical account of extraordinary experiences, maybe wait for his next book.


BAD RABBI And Other Strange but

True Stories from the Yiddish Press

by Eddy Portnoy

A motley collection of more than a dozen characters here, from the first Jewish man sentenced to hang in America (though he unwound his peyes to prove to a gentile jury that they kept him from ever doing harm) to a charasmatic prophet (among whose musings correctly predicted that California wines would eventually get their due). Endlessly interesting and entertaining with stories that range from the macabre to the hilarious.

CHILDREN • Sammy Spider’s Hanukkah Colors by Sylvia A. Rouss: preschool board book. Sammy gets in the holiday spirit. And sure, Sammy knows how to spin webs, but can he spin a dreidel? • Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster: preschool - grade 3. Ruthie sets out to see her Bubbe, who will be making latkes. On the way, she encounters a hungry wolf. Can she outsmart him? Will he gobble her up, or be too tired from the food coma that’s brought on by eating too many latkes and jelly doughnuts? • Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg: ages 4-7. Little sister Sadie saves the day in this sweet story of an Indian-Jewish family getting ready for the holiday. 48 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017



Soldier in Art editor Irvin Ungar

Szyk’s distinctive style is on full display in this coffee table size book boasting over 200 full-color plates. Essays by Michael Berenbaum, Tom L. Freudenheim, James Kettlewell and Irvin Ungar (consummate promoter of the artist, who brought his work out of relative obscurity) give the art context, explaining its activist underpinnings for social and political change, background and interest in historical figures and events as his subject matter spans more than 3000 years, and love for the written word. Indeed, to many, Szyk is best known for his Haggadah, which is artistically informed by the era in which he created it - the “Wicked Son” is depicted in a mocking fashion with peculiar mustache and green Bavarian cap. One comes away with a better appreciation for Szyk’s courage in producing such straight-forward, smart artistic work in troubling times, and especially his proud patriotism and religous fidelity.


The Color Field Paintings with a foreword by Christopher Rothko

Here, fifty large-scale paintings from 1949 to 1970 which make up the artist’s color field period, the era in which Rothko realizes he has found his aesthetic signature, and for which the public rightfully associates him. Refreshingly uncluttered with text alongside, this volume lets the works speak for themselves.

Kinky Boots steps into Birmingham by Lee J. Green Ethan Kirschbaum said it is such a joy to be in his first professional traveling Broadway show, “Kinky Boots,” brought by Theater League to the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center concert hall for the first time, Jan. 5 to 7. And if the shoe fits, wear it. Based on the 2005 British film of the same name and inspired by true events, the musical tells the story of Charlie Price. Having inherited a shoe factory from his father, Charlie forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and drag queen Lola to produce a line of high-heeled boots in an effort to save the failing business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. Pop star Cyndi Lauper wrote the music, and stage and screen legend Harvey Fierstein wrote the book for “Kinky Boots” the musical. It debuted on Broadway on April 4, 2013. “This show is all about acceptance and love of one other. It’s about being who you are and being accepted. I think that’s a perfect, pertinent message when you consider some of the things that are going on in our world,” said Kirschbaum, who plays Charlie’s friend Harry as well as a factory worker in the traveling show that launched this past September. The actor hails from Prescott, Ariz. The city of 30,000-plus between Phoenix and Flagstaff has one Reform synagogue, which Kirschbaum attended for Sunday School and his Bar Mitzvah. “It’s a smaller city, but I liked being in the minority. Some of my friends had never met someone Jewish before they met me. I enjoyed sharing with others my beliefs and traditions.” He got bitten by the theatre bug at a young age. His older sister did some theatre in Prescott and his first show was “Annie” when he was in the seventh grade. “I actually credit Sunday School for sprouting my love for theatre. As we were learning I would do voices and characters. The storytelling aspects really compelled me,” said Kirschbaum. He would go on to do theatre in high school. His parents recognized his talent and desire, encouraging him as continued on with theatre — and being active in Alpha Epsilon Pi — at the University of Arizona. Kirschbaum graduated with a degree in musical theatre in 2016. “A few months after graduation I auditioned for and got a role in my first professional production – ‘Heathers the Musical’ in White Plains, N.Y.” Kirschbaum auditioned five or six times in the span of several weeks for a role in “Kinky Boots.” He said he was over-the-moon to get a role in the traveling Broadway show. “It is such an incredible show, cast and crew,” he said. “The tour has already taken me to several places I have never been. It’s great to be able to experience new places across the U.S. and to be able to put smiles on peoples’ faces.” The tour runs through next May and Kirschbaum looks forward to his first visit to Birmingham. “I hope to have time to meet folks in the Jewish community and to enjoy the sights there,” he said. The tour is also stopping at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Dec. 12 to 14 and Jones Hall in Houston on Jan. 19 to 21.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 49


jewish deep south: bagels, biscuits, beignets Cinnamon Babka from Modern Jewish Baker by Shannon Sarna, photograph by Veronia Sage McAvoy


MODERN JEWISH BAKER: Challah, Babka, Bagels & More by Shannon Sarna Shannon Sarna learned to make challah the hard way: by herself. At 16, after losing her mother, she felt that familiar comfort in baking, and though her first loaves turned out burned on the bottom or raw in the middle, she kept at it. Today, she’s whipping up all kinds of baked goodies with an easy-going confidence when she’s not busy editing the food blog The Nosher. Finding that from one master recipe, one may embellish successfully in all kinds of other directions, Sarna presents seven different Jewish breads and pastries: challah, babka, bagels, rugelach, hamantaschen, pita and matzah. From that, one may stick with the traditional or give a go to picks like banana bread chocolate chip challah, birthday cake babka, s’mores hamantaschen, and more. And a little advice: if you haven’t yet tried s’mores hamantaschen, fix that. The core doughs work and the different takes are fun and interesting. Lots of color photography and plenty of images to pick up the finer points of braiding and such. Very nice.


of Cipe Pineles

editors Sarah Rich, Wendy MacNaughton, Maria Popova, Debbie Millman A treasure. The bound original, unpublished sketchbook of Jewish recipes with fine, distinct lettering and charming handpainted illustrations by Cipe Peneles, dated 1945, was found by chance, and thankfully reproduced here. The influential graphic designer, Parsons School professor and first female art director at Condé Nast, Pineles was a force in multiple ways. Andy Warhol even declared her his favorite art director. Certainly, if the editors had reprinted the cookbook alone, dayenu — but gratefully, the first quarter of the book is devoted to a thoughtful look at Pineles’ significance in her field, her fierce nature, even her entertaining prowess. While the recipes are somewhat dated, the artwork will endlessly appeal to those who appreciate this era of design (truly, so good it won’t matter whether they cook), and to those who smartly recognize that a tasty recipe for roasted chicken or stuffed cabbage is absolutely timeless. 50 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

THE NOSH MENORAH This collaboration between Modern Mensch and Leadoff Studio is inspired by the bagel, and its sculptural form is meant to be appreciated all year. Available at in three finishes: rose gold, chrome, and brass for $200.

DREIDEL X 4 Pottery Barn’s Hanukkah Celebration collection includes this set of four Icon salad plates, each featuring a different letter from the dreidel. Other pieces available include a latke platter, soup bowls, and a condiment server with multiple wells for sour cream, applesauce, and more. The Hanukkah Celebration Icon salad plate set of four is available at Pottery Barn and potterybarn. com for $48.

THE COOKING GENE Author Michael Twitty looks for, as he calls it, a “recipe” of who he is, doing genetic testing to find his origins and help cement family stories. His Southern Discomfort Tour, including a visit with the late Mildred Covert in New Orleans, and his presentation at Temple Beth-El in Birmingham, is chronicled. The interlacing of African cooking and what’s come to be considered simply Southern cooking, along with the author’s own familial experiences is engaging. There’s a section on Twitty’s love of Judaism and Jewish food as well. It’s a complicated story, too, in which he heartfully discusses topics such as white privilege and culinary appropriation (such as his disdain for the media’s crowning Sean Brock “Southern food’s savior” after Brock is lauded for going to Africa) as Twitty sees that African-American scholars and chefs don’t receive equal treatment. Thoughtful.

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Makarios Kabob Outdoor Dining (weather permitting) Expanded Dining Room — Perfect for Private Parties Happy Chanukah! We’ll Host Your Chanukah Party

Check out our New Fall Menu! Lamb Chops • Beet Salad • Seafood • Local Organic Produce and Meats

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Hommous Ghallaba

940 20th St So. Birmingham 205/731-7414

Ingredients: Dried chickpeas Baking soda Tahini sauce 1 ½ tablespoons Kosher salt 1 ½ tablespoons oregano 2 ½ tablespoons Cajun spices 1 ½ tablespoons sumac Lemon juice 5 cups red vinegar

6-7 ounces of chicken Garlic Onions Carrots Mushrooms Tomatoes Rice Almond slivers

Instructions: Marinate the chickpeas overnight in water at least twice the volume of the chickpeas, adding 1 tsp. of baking soda. The next day cook for about two hours at 350 degrees, then down to 70 degrees for another hour or two. Add Tahini and salt. Drain, then mix in a blender. Mix oregano, Cajun spices, salt, sumak, garlic, lemon juice and red vinegar. Set aside. Cut up the chicken and sauté for 7-8 minutes with the carrots, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes. Then put two ounces of the sauce mix over the chicken and vegetables before sautéing for 2-3 more minutes. Boil the rice, and when done add the almond slivers. Spread the hummus on the outside of the rice mound and the chicken/vegetables on top.

Makarios by Lee J. Green


800.745.3000 • • Groups 10+: 205.919.3721 @BroadwayinBirmingham

Broadway In Birmingham

52 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

@BroadwayinBHam #BhamBway

A scan of the menu at Makarios Kabob and Grill — with a location in Birmingham’s Five Points South and Vestavia Hills — offers some unique surprises. Along with many kosher-style Lebanese dishes including falafel, hommous ghallaba (sautéed chicken with vegetables and hummus), lamb chops and grape leaves, there are quesadillas, hamburgers and topped baked potatoes. continued on page 53

Continued from page 54

Some of his feats heroic, others were not so cool, grislier than what they talked about in Sunday School. Eliezer found himself under the quick collapse of an elephant who prompted one of his longest naps. Judah oversaw the temple’s cleanup as we’re taught omitting that the peace was short and soon was all for naught. He ruled for just a few years until his own demise but hired the right agent to help him immortalize. Jonathan took over and he too was overthrown by yet another upstart with his eyes upon the throne. That’s when the top job fell to the final Maccabee who old Matt had called Simon, his last son there would be. In not too short a time he was assassinated after bringing peace to what his brothers consecrated. Simon did not leave quietly, for peace he’d often fight until his son-in-law sank him by dawn’s early light. Left forgotten across time, we should take the chance at least to regard the heavy mettle of this Judah’s priest. Another lost to time who got us from there to here regardless if you sing the miracle’s there or here. Doug Brook hereby claims the name iMaccabee for a project to be named later, and cash considerations. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, like

> > Makarios “We want to introduce more people to our cuisine and culture,” said Nabil Obaid, a managing partner for Makarios. “If a group comes in there might be someone who has never had the cuisine and wants to order something they are familiar with. They will likely try a (Lebanese/Mediterranean) dish someone else in the group ordered and we think they will like it so much they will come back and order it next time.” Obaid said he started working in 1997 with a Lebanese restaurant with several locations across Michigan called Lashish. He would work his way up to regional manager and helped to open some of the locations. They were looking to expand to either Flint or Toledo. One of the partners in Lashish had a property in Birmingham so they thought they would start a new-named restaurant inspired by Lashish. Thus Makarios was born in Five Points in 2007. “We really fixed up this location to make it look very nice” and to enhance the dining experience, said Obaid. “We wanted to come up with an extensive, diverse menu that we have added to over the years based on customer response.” Makarios mostly gets its meat from Michigan. It is certified Halal, so many of those items are kosher-style. Other menu items include salmon ghallaba, beef kabobs, vegetable combo plates, spinach pie, kibba plate and sautéed swordfish. Obaid said the Southside restaurant seats about 100 people and does a lot of catering, especially with the university nearby. They also have catered to Huntsville, Montgomery and other north and central Alabama cities. He said Makarios has gained a reputation for having the “best hummus around.” They marinate the chickpeas and let them sit overnight before cooking for several hours to ensure the highest level of tenderness as well as flavor. “For us it’s not just about food. It’s about the experience. It’s about our culture. It’s about our way of life,” said Obaid. “We want to make sure we get the freshest ingredients and take the extra steps to make sure we are giving our customers to best meals they can have.”

YEAR-END CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS If you are making end of the year charitable contributions please note that the following Internal Revenue Service rules must be followed: • All mail with checks must be postmarked on or before December 30, 2017 (There is no mail on Dec. 31) • All stock transfers must be completed and in our account on or before December 29, 2017 • To be sure your gift is complete, please don’t wait until the last minute.

Thank you for your continued support! The Birmingham Jewish Federation & The Birmingham Jewish Foundation

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 53

rear pew mirror • doug brook


The Ballad of the Final Maccabee

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Judah Maccabee. Mattathias. Hanukah Harry. The Hebrew Hammer. Santa. For better or worse — and sometimes very worse — these are the names that first come to mind about Chanukah. Judah Maccabee, hero of Chanukah. Was it all him, though? Were his brothers just sitting around the whole time, spinning their thumbs and dreidels? (Of course, not at the same time.) This kind of question comes up more often than never. For example, what did Naphtali do in his spare time that was so unnoteworthy in Biblical proportions? What about all those guys — and a few women — mentioned in the numerous “begat” lineages? Surely they did something more than begatting around all day; there’d have been more descendants. Not only are there some small gaps in the details from the Torah, there are things left out of what’s taught in religious school. For example, if someone mentioned the stage musical “Two by Two,” one WHAT ABOUT would rightly expect that it’s a musical THE MACCABEES about Noah. One would also rightly expect that it wasn’t very good or everyone WHO DIDN’T would have heard of it. HAVE GREAT (Editor’s note: It was an early 1970s Danny Kaye vehicle featuring Madeline PUBLICISTS? Kahn and music by Richard Rodgers. Some of the songs are pretty good, like “Why Me?” “You Have Got to Have a Rudder on the Ark,” “The Gitka’s Song,” and “The Covenant.” And it ran for over a year.) However, if someone mentioned that a bunch of animals were put on Noah’s ark seven by seven, not half that many people would believe it. Or that they were actually in the ark for over a year. Or that Noah was the first vintner. Or that Noah didn’t have a maritime license. But back to what gave the Maccabees their sting. Not much is said about Judah’s brothers. Then again, how much does Eliezer want people discussing his tragic demise under an elephant that he killed? It was an understandable thought process: “enemy leader riding an elephant, sneak up and stab the elephant.” Unfortunately, the thought process stopped short of “run out from under said elephant, lest your life become truncated.” Judah wasn’t the last survivor, though. In honor of the brother with a longer life and lesser publicist, here’s a folk song about the final brother, Simon Maccabee. Old man Mattathias and his sons who numbered five woke up one day and saw they had a people to revive. At that time old Syria was influenced by the Greek, who said one day that ritual was something Jews can’t seek. Ol’ Matt up in Modiin had one of his epiphanies: time to revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes.

720 23rd Street South, Birmingham (205) 323.7582 • 54 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

Mattathias didn’t last long and left to each bold son the family business which was a war to be won. Judah wasn’t oldest but he became the leader On his every move the Jewish future would teeter. continued on the previous page

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THANK YOU FOR INCLUDING US IN YOUR Chanukah Celebration We carry kosher year-round as well as special products for the Festival of Lights. You’ll find potatoes and sweet potatoes for latkes, fresh beets for borsht, and jelly for sufganiyot. Our in-store butchers will cut your briskets to order, our wine experts help you find the perfect kosher bottle, and our licensed florists help you decorate your Chanukah table. • @RousesMarkets 56 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

SJL Deep South, December 2017  
SJL Deep South, December 2017  

December 2017 Deep South edition of Southern Jewish Life magazine, covering Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and NW Florida.