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Southern Jewish Life NEW ORLEANS EDITION


December 2017 Volume 27 Issue 12

Southern Jewish Life 3747 West Esplanade, 3rd Floor Metairie, LA 70002 Found Objects Chanukiah by Dallas sculptor George Tobolowsky, at B’nai Zion in Shreveport


Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, Montgomery, Jackson, Baton Rouge, New Orleans | 800.380.8165

Take your family and friends on a magical journey and discover new hope for

the future! The breathtakingly beautiful Shen Yun performance is at once exciting, moving, and inspiring like nothing you’ve ever seen. Powerful, uplifting, heartwarming, unforgettable—these are the words viewers use to describe their experience.

“The greatest of the great! A must see!” —Christine Walevska, world-renowned musician

“Absolutely the No. 1 show in the world!” —Kenn Wells, lead dancer of the English National Ballet

2 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

“The spirit of hope, beauty and the blessing is a fabulous gift to us. I want to go again! I have to bring as many people as I can.” —Sine McKenna, award-winning Celtic singer

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 Look for in the center of this issue of Southern Jewish Life

Read SJL Cover Image: Courtesy Haspel

continued on page 8

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Larry Brook




There’s a crescent in Touro’s logo for a reason.

We’ve cared for the Crescent City for 165 years. From Uptown to Lakeview and then some, there’s one name in healthcare that stands out above the rest. Touro specializes in a wide range of services, including emergency and acute care, cardiology, surgical services, cancer treatment, women’s services, rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, orthopaedics, stroke care and more. No wonder so many patients choose Touro.

We are New Orleans’ hospital. Find out more at

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 3


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

On Charlottesville Editor’s Note: This reaction to the events in Charlottesville, written by Jeremy Newman, Master of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Theta Colony at Auburn University, was shared by AEPi National, which called it “very eloquent” and praised “our brothers at AEPi Theta Colony at Auburn University and… the leadership they display on their campus.” White supremacy has been a cancer on our country since its beginning, threatening its hopes, its values, and its better angels. The events that took place in Charlottesville represented the worst of this nation. Those who marched onto the streets with tiki torches and swastikas did so to provoke violence and fear. Those who marched onto the streets did so to profess an ideology that harkens back to a bleaker, more wretched time in our history. A time when men and women of many creeds, races, and religions were far from equal and far from safe in our own borders. A time where Americans lived under a constant cloud of racism, anti-Semitism and pervasive hate. The events that took place in Charlottesville served as a reminder of how painfully relevant these issues are today. Auburn’s Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with the Jewish community of Charlottesville, and with the Jewish people around the country and around the world. We also stand with the minorities who are targeted by the hate that was on display in Charlottesville. We stand with the minorities of whom these white 4 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

supremacists would like to see pushed back into a corner and made to feel lesser. We stand with and pray for the family of Heather Heyer, who was there standing up to the face of this hate. We recognize the essence of the American narrative as a two-century old struggle to rid ourselves of such corners, and allow those in them the seat at the table that they so deserve. It is the struggle to fulfill the promise of the Declaration of Independence, that “all men are created equal… endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” We know our work is far from finished, but we know we will not move backwards.

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

When men and women, fully armed, take to the streets in droves with swastikas and other symbols of hate, it is a reminder of how relevant the issues of racism and anti-Semitism are today. It is a wake-up call to the work that needs to be done to ensure a better, more welcoming country. But it should not come without a reflection on how far we’ve come.

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.

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

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.

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

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


interesting bits & can’t miss events

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,.

Lauren Ungar receives inaugural award for Jewish education excellence Lauren Ungar from Metairie’s Jewish Community Day School was presented the inaugural Marion B. Steeg-Harold Grinspoon Foundation Award for Excellence in Jewish Education. The award, sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Steeg Family Foundation, recognizes local teachers who make a lasting impact on the lives of Jewish children, and contribute to excellence in Jewish education. Since 2000, the Grinspoon Foundation has recognized hundreds of educators in the United States and Canada. The Foundation supports a local central agency in each participating community in establishing and maintaining a customized award program based on the community’s needs and definition of Jewish educational excellence. “My mother, for whom this award is named, grew up in a small town in East Texas and didn’t receive any kind of formal Jewish education,” said Robert Steeg, a member of Federation board, and son of the award’s namesake. “But, after moving to New Orleans and as she raised her family, she deeply understood the importance of the intersection between Judaism and education, and the value of learning and living our Jewish beliefs and principles.” Ungar is the director of enrollment, family and community relations for the Day School. The steering committee, chaired by Gates of Prayer Rabbi Robert Loewy, selected her from a field of nominees. Loewy and Federation CEO Arnie Fielkow presented Ungar with the award at a reception on Nov. 1, at the Steeg home. As a component of the award, Ungar will receive up to $1,000 to use towards future educational enrichment at the Day School.

Scott Cowen, President Emeritus and Distinguished University Chair of Tulane University, was guest speaker, praising Ungar for taking her role as educator as such important work. He also spoke with urgency about the commitment the community must have to ensure all students receive a good education.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 5


Happy Chanukah to my friends and supporters in the Jewish community Chief Judge Sidney H. Cates, IV Civil District Court Orleans Parish

Wishing You a Happy Chanukah and New Year

The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women held their annual Presidents’ Cabinet luncheon, with the past presidents welcoming current NCJW President Barbara Kaplinsky for an update on Section activities. The luncheon was co-chaired by Celia Katz and Barbara Bresler. Pictured are: (standing left to right) Flo Schornstein, Dana Shepard, Shellye Farber, Eddy Rosen, Loel Samuel, Julanne Isaacson, Ina Davis, Phyllis Nitzkin, Beth Rosenthal, June Leopold, Cynthia Farber, Joan Berenson, Barbara Kaplinsky. Seated are Barbara Bresler, Celia Katz, Margot Garon.

Oelsner receives Judah Touro Society Award

State Rep. Kirk Talbot District 78

Wishing You a

Happy Chanukah!


Julie Stokes District 79

6 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

Since Thomas Oelsner and his wife have visited all 48 continental states in their RV, when the Touro Infirmary Foundation selected him as the honoree at this year’s gala, they chose the theme of a Road Trip. The gala was held on Nov. 4 at the River City Ballroom of Mardi Gras World. Proceeds from this year’s gala supported the upgrade of Touro’s Wellness Center, providing a safe, comfortable space for individuals with spinal cord injuries to access life-enhancing technologies. Proceeds from the Dor L’Dor after party supported Touro’s Family Birthing Center, Rehabilitation Therapeutic Recreation and Emergency Medicine departments. Each year since 1989, the Touro Infirmary Foundation has given this award to celebrate the hard work and dedication of contributors, who have gone above and beyond in support of Touro Infirmary and its community of patients. Oelsner was selected for his years or service and dedication to Touro and the field of medicine. From 1967 to 2006, Oelsner worked as a member of Touro Infirmary’s medical staff, and is renowned as an excellent and compassionate physician and internist. Throughout his 40 years on the Touro medical staff, Oelsner participated on numerous staff and board committees, including the Medical Executive Committee. Oelsner developed the first Dialysis Unit in a New Orleans community hospital, which has been widely recognized for excellent care of patients with renal failure. He also served as Chief of Nephrology throughout his tenure on the Touro Medical Staff. During Hurricane Katrina, one of the most critical moments in the history of Touro In-

Jay Shames presents Tom Oelsner with the Judah Touro Society Award firmary and New Orleans, Oelsner placed the needs of New Orleans and Touro’s patients and staff above his own and participated in the plan to evacuate the hospital and then reopen the hospital and rebuild its staff. “I am beyond humbled to receive this year’s JTS Award,” says Oelsner. “Touro Infirmary has always been very near and dear to my heart. To be able to help support this year’s initiative in upgrading the Touro Wellness Center to improve patient access is truly an honor.” Touro Foundation Board Chair Nancy Timm said Oelsner’s “compassionate attitude to his patients and commitment to the highest quality healthcare in our community set him apart as a true leader. We are thrilled to name Dr. Oelsner this year’s recipient to recognize his hard work and dedication over the years.”

agenda PJ His Way: Dvorin on national team Jewish Community Day School student Jeremy Dvorin of New Orleans has been selected from a nation-wide pool of applicants to serve on the PJ Our Way National Design Team. PJ Our Way, “the latest chapter in the PJ Library story,” is a book-based outreach and engagement initiative for Jewish pre-teens aged 8 to 11. The program is the next chapter of PJ Library, which mails free, age-specific, Jewish-themed books and music every month to 180,000 children ages 0 to 8. PJ Our Way members are offered a choice each month of four high-quality, Jewish-themed book selections, which are mailed to their homes as a gift from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Dvorin’s role as a National Design Team member is to create book reviews and video trailers describing the book selections, so that his peers can make informed choices about which books to choose. He is the son of Evan and Emily Dvorin, who are active members of Shir Chadash. A third grader, Dvorin is one of the National Design Team’s youngest members, and the first from New Orleans. Over 26,000 Jewish youth are currently enrolled in PJ Our Way, including 79 in the New Orleans area, which began enrolling subscribers last year. There are 423 New Orleans youth enrolled in PJ Library, and both programs are administered in New Orleans by Jewish Children’s Regional Service. Any Jewish youth ages 8-1/2 to 11 can sign up for PJ Our Way at PJ Library-New Orleans is funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation with major support from the Goldring Family Foundation.

Sacred Aging programs announced M’vakshim, the Sacred Aging Program at Metairie’s Gates of Prayer, will offer three “I’m Getting Older” programs for seniors, those who are dealing with aging, or those planning for the future. “What are some of the legal and financial planning concerns to consider?” will be on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. with Leon Rittenberg III, a partner with Baldwin, Haspel, Burke and Mayer. A board certified tax specialist and estate planning and administration specialist, he will address estate planning, wills and the full spectrum of legal and financial subjects that need to be considered. Future programs are “How can I handle those difficult conversations” with John Shalett and Gail Pesses on Feb. 21, and “What does Judaism say about death and dying,” April 3 with Rabbi Robert Loewy. The sessions are open to the community.

URJ holding national Jews of color leadership program The Union for Reform Judaism is looking for participants in a national program, JewV’Nation. The 2018 Jews of Color Leadership Cohort is a nine-month fellowship that supports up to 16 Jewish leaders of color through professional development, networking opportunities and the chance to work on one or more cohort-directed projects that build the field for Jewish leaders of color in the Reform Movement and beyond. The inaugural group had 12 participants in 2017. The application deadline is Jan. 5. More information is available at urj. org/jewvnation.

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 7



R. Reid Falconer Representative District 89 Louisiana House of Representatives

The annual meeting of the Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge will be Jan. 21 at 10 a.m., at Beth Shalom. Torah Academy in Metairie is introducing a Jewish Camp of the Arts for winter break, with sessions from Dec. 26 to 29, for ages 2 to 12. There will be trips, culinary arts, music and canvas painting. Camp is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with extended days available. Registration is $40 per day, $150 for all four days. Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a Mah Jongg Fun Day, Jan. 7 from 1 to 4 p.m., for established groups, learners and “pick up” games. Snacks and beverages will be provided. There will be a 50/50 raffle. Reservations are $15 for just Mah Jongg, or $35 for Sisterhood members and $40 for guests who are also making reservations for the Jan. 20 Coach Bag Bingo. On Dec. 16, Rabbi Matt Shapiro will speak at Shir Chadash in Metairie at 1 p.m., on “Finding The Light Within: What do our Hanukkah candles reveal?” Shapiro is the director of spiritual counseling at Beit T’shuvah, an addiction recovery center which integrates Jewish spirituality, the Twelve Steps, and psychotherapy. He has worked in a wide variety of formal and informal educational settings, and is passionate about utilizing the wisdom of the Jewish tradition to live meaningfully. The next TRIBE Shabbat will be on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m., a Chanukah celebration at the home of Michele Gelman. Ugly Chanukah sweaters are welcome. Temple Sinai in New Orleans will celebrate the 95th birthday of Herbert Barton at the 6:15 p.m. Shabbat service on Dec. 22, and the special oneg afterward. Hadassah Baton Rouge will be doing holiday gift wrapping at Barnes and Noble from Dec. 17 to 24. Sarah Wolf, a doctoral candidate in ancient Judaism, will be guest speaker at Beth Israel in Metairie at the 9 a.m. service on Dec. 23. She is working on her dissertation, “The Rabbinic Legal Imagination: Between Praxis and Scholasticism in the Babylonian Talmud.” Rabbi Robert Loewy, David Dulitz and Aaron Wolfson will speak at the Gates of Prayer Shabbat service on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m., giving their thoughts on the Union for Reform Judaism biennial held in Boston from Dec. 6 to 9. Bennett Clifford will speak on “Isis in America: Why and How Americans Join the Islamic State,” Dec. 30 at 1 p.m. at Shir Chadash in Metairie. Clifford is a research Fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.


Welcoming our Newest Veterinarian: Dr. Nellie Burchfiel Now Accepting New Patients and Walk-Ins

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Appointments can be made in person, by phone or on our website Open 7 Days A Week: Mon-Fri 7a-8p Sat 7a-5p Sun 10a-5p 8 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

TRIBE will go bowling, Dec. 16 at 3:30 p.m. at Fulton Alley.

> > From the Editor

Continued from page 3

guarantees that this would be The Final Straw to take Moore out. As the reporters did their research, the story did not add up and the “out to get him” Post instead outed the activist with a detailed account of their meetings and their verification process. Since my days at the University of Virginia three decades ago, I haven’t been a fan of the Post, but kudos to them on this, for showing how reporting is done. The attempts to make the press look bad are backfiring, and those saying “fake news” on anything they disagree with are rapidly losing credibility. As with so many things in life, the pendulum swings on.



“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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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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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 11

community Times of Israel founder to speak at Baton Rouge, NOLA AIPAC events

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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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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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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


An Official Publication of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans



Decemberr 2017 |Kislev 5778


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

End of Year Giving Reminder As a reminder, if you have never given to the Annual Campaign before, this is your chance to truly light up the world with generosity—and to share your joy in passing on Jewish traditions to the next generation.

The Goldring Family and Woldenberg Foundations give thanks for our Jewish community each year through their generous matching program. A brand new gift to the Campaign is matched at 25%. The impact of your recurring annual pledge is heightened by a 12% match. Raising your pledge this year? The increased amount is additionally matched at 25%. Anyone who would like to pay any year’s pledge over the phone by credit card can do so by calling the Federation office at 504-780-5600 by Friday, December 29 at 2:00 p.m. Credit card payments will be accepted online at up until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 31. Giving appreciated securities is a tax-wise way to pay your Campaign pledge. For securities held longer than one year, you can deduct the full fair market value of the stock, regardless of the purchase price, and avoid paying capital gains tax. To pay using stocks to Federation’s Morgan Stanley Account #575-060565-239, contact Carla Marciniak or 504-587-9645. Be sure to also contact Brenda at the Federation office at 504-780-5605 to notify Federation what kind of stock and how many shares have been transferred.

Without you, we could not support the incredible work of our local and overseas partners. Thank you, and Happy New Year!

December 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 25

2018 JEWISH FEDERATION ANNUAL CAMPAIGN For more than 100 years, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans has served as the central organizing body of our Jewish community and as an advocate for Jews here and around the world. In 2018, we look forward to building on our past work as we move forward, from LGBTQ outreach to supporting young professionals through a new mentoring program—we are committed to giving everyone a seat at our table. We are excited for the future of Jewish New Orleans, and we promise to be transparent, inclusive, and welcoming.

David Radlauer & Julie Schwartz 2018 Annual Campaign Co-Chairs

But there is much to be done. Our goal is to increase the 2018 Jewish Federation Annual Campaign to $3 million, so that our agencies can provide critical services to our community. If you have never given to the Annual Campaign, now is the time to make an impact. If you are a current donor, we’re asking you to consider an increase to your existing gift—let’s help our partners serve as many people and address as many needs as possible.

The JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER (JCC) is the center of Jewish life in Greater New Orleans. Studies show that Jewish summer camp is one of the best ways to create Jewish identity. Just $310 more would allow a Jewish child in need to attend a week of JCC summer camp. At the JEWISH COMMUNITY DAY SCHOOL (JCDS), tuition only covers 55% of the actual cost per student. JCDS is a critical piece of our communal landscape, providing a superb Jewish education that molds young minds. Growing JCDS benefits Jewish New Orleans for generations to come. Among the many programs JEWISH FAMILY SERVICE offers is the Homemaker Program. The program provides in-house assistance to 60 disabled and older adults in their homes, but cannot meet the demands of its clients because of a 72% funding shortfall. Your gift can ensure weekly visits to the Jewish elderly and homebound. TULANE HILLEL’S Tulane Jewish Leaders (TJL) program allows more than 350 young leaders to create innovative student-led programming—with additional funding, this very successful program would continue to develop and retain young leaders in New Orleans. $4,000 would expand TJL’s career development workshops with established local professionals.

70% OF DOLLARS RAISED REMAINS HERE IN NEW ORLEANS; 30% ASSISTS JEWS IN NEED OVERSEAS THROUGH THE AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE AND THE JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL. The AMERICAN JEWISH JOINT DISTRIBUTION COMMITTEE (JDC) provides annual assistance to the poorest Jews in the world, with lifesaving items like heating oil, food, and medicine. JDC supports approximately 110,000 elderly Jews in the Former Soviet Union—many of whom are Holocaust survivors. Youth Futures is a JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL flagship program that provides community-based mentoring for at-risk pre-teens and adolescents in Israel. 400 trained mentors work to help more than 12,000 students improve school performance, strengthen social integration, and inspire Jewish identity.

Imagine how many more lives our partner agencies could touch if we could raise even more? IT’s a new day for Visit jewish new orleans. now to learn more or to make your 2018 Annual Campaign gift.

Imagine more. 26 The Jewish Newsletter • December 2017

A M I S S I O N O F D I S C O V E RY by Greg Roques

This past October, my wife Rebecca and I visited Israel as members of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans’ 2017 - 2019 Katz-Phillips Leadership Development Class. Designed to groom and inspire the next generation of Jewish community leadership in our city, the mission trip provides participants a chance to bond early into the two-year program. It also offers them the opportunity to deepen their personal connection to the holy land as adults, as well as experience first-hand a number of programs that the New Orleans Federation supports throughout the country. As a Jew, visiting Israel was unlike visiting anywhere else. While Rebecca had visited several times prior to our trip, this was to be my first pilgrimage to the promised land. I found it difficult to clear my mind of expectations; weekly stories of our ancestors recited in shul, keeping current with Jewish news sources, and SnapChat videos of young people celebrating in the streets for holidays had all painted a vivid image in my imagination, the brush strokes thickening over time. Nothing at home, however, prepared me for the emotional rush that hits you once you are there. Ascending Masada and praying at the Kotel, I was transported back thousands of years. You can’t help but feel a connection to the biblical tales you have read time-and-again your entire life as you walk the same land and witness the remains of monuments built by kings and prophets long before the common era. Floating in the Dead Sea – which is its own earthly astonishment – surrounded by mountains, my thoughts wandered to Moses and the Exodus. The most stunning geographical experience for me, however, was in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv today is a sprawling metropolis flourishing with contemporary high-rises standing hand-inhand with natural beauty. During a visit to Independence Hall, where the establishment of the State of Israel was announced in 1948, we saw a photo, barely older than 100 years, of a barren, unirrigated desert where this marvelous city now stands. It is a wonder to consider how far this city has come in what amounts to mere seconds in the history of man. The most fulfilling experience of the trip, however, was celebrating Shabbat. From the Kotel to the Mahane Yehuda marketplace, the streets of Jerusalem were flooded with thousands of people singing and dancing hand-in-hand – seriously, these were Mardi Grasworthy crowds. I can’t articulate in words how powerful it felt to be in the orbit of so many other Jews so thrilled to be sharing shabbas with everyone they came in contact with. It was a stark contrast to back home, where many of my friends and coworkers have no idea how we spend our Friday evenings. Looking back, the mission strengthened my Jewish pride as well as my resolve to be an active contributor to our local Jewish community. It was even more meaningful to experience Israel with my new wife, strengthening our spirituality as we look to grow our family in the years ahead.

December 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 27

JNOLA’s signature event, Jews, Brews, & BBQ, was held in November at the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion at the National WWII Museum. Over 150 people came out and enjoyed being drawn by caricature artists and dancing the night away to live music from Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue. Those who came thirsty and hungry appreciated the open beer and bourbon bar from Sazerac, sides from Casablanca Restaurant, and delicious BBQ from Chef Alon Shaya of Pomegranate Hospitality. JNOLA also raised $455 for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System!

Join JNOLA on Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. at Port Orleans Brewing Co. (4124 Tchoupitoulas St.) for the annual Light It Up Chanukah party! It may not be snowing but it will be cold enough to throw on your favorite funny (or ugly) sweater for a contest with a prize that can only be described as DINO-mite! This free event includes your first drink, plus snacks and tasty latkes! JNOLA is also hosting a Toy Drive for Kingsley House, which educates children, strengthens families, and builds community. JNOLA is part of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, consisting of young Jewish adults between the ages of 21 – 45. This program hosts a wide variety of events, centering on community connection, professional networking, social action, and Jewish life in New Orleans. JNOLA is proudly sponsored by the Oscar J. Tolmas Charitable Trust.

Find a doctor close to you. Visit, or talk to us at (504) 897-7777. 28 The Jewish Newsletter • December 2017

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Jewish Family Service Friends of JFS: Your financial support helps save lives Carol has lived in the same house for more than 40 years. It is where she and her late husband raised their daughter Abby, and Carol now lives alone on a limited budget. Abby paid her weekly visits but worried about her mother’s safety. Abby discussed her concerns with a friend who recommended a medical alert button. After reviewing her options, she was most Carol, 70 impressed with the personalized, local service provided by JFS Lifeline. Three months later, Carol suffered a mild heart attack while home alone and pushed her Lifeline button to summon help. Abby was called and grateful to learn that her mother was on transport to the hospital by ambulance. Abby rushed to meet her and was relieved that her mother quickly got the help she needed to make a swift recovery.

Free E-Cards from JFS Make a donation to the JFS End-of-Year Giving campaign and send a free e-card to family or a loved one. Choose from four different e-card designs. All contributions benefit vulnerable families and individuals in the Greater New Orleans area. Go to https://give.classy. org/jfs-year-end-giving2017 to donate and send your free e-card!

Social Workers, Counselors, Mental Health Professionals:

Upcoming Continuing Education Workshops at JFS

Because of YOU, Jewish Family Service is able to help seniors like Carol maintain their independence every day. Your support of the annual Friends of JFS campaign impacts their lives and so many other people for the better, and allows JFS to offer our services on a sliding-fee scale based on household income. We cannot do it without YOUR help. Please make your caring contribution today. Visit our website to learn more and to donate!

• Accessing Primary Emotions Using Emotionally Focused Therapy Skills. December 15, 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., presented by Michele Louviere, LMFT • Cultural Competence in Counseling and Supervision. January 26, 2018, 8:45 a.m.-12 p.m. Presented by Dr. Cirecie Olatunji. • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Part 1: February 28-March 2. Part 2: May 23-25, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Presented by Carol Miles, MSW, LCSW

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

Corrections to the JFS 2017 Impact Report We apologize for the following errors & omissions in the JFS 2017 Impact Report. Inclusion in the $10,000 - $24,999 giving level Bruce Levy Family for the Benefit of Jewish Family Service Donor Advised Fund Name Correction David A. Dulitz, MD; Treasurer

Participants will receive CEUs for each event. Pricing varies. All events located at: 3300 W. Esplanade Ave. S., Suite 603, Metairie. For more information, call (504) 831-8475, or visit http://www.

Car Donations Have a car or boat you no longer need? Donate it! Jewish Family Service accepts charitable donations of vehicles and boats through CARS (Charitable Adult Rides and Services), with sales proceeds dedicated to support a variety of JFS programs. CARS will help you handle all of the details of your automobile (or other motor vehicle) donation. You will receive a tax credit, and avoid the hassle of advertising or haggling with a car salesman. To learn more visit

December 2017 • The Jewish Newsletter 29

Jewish Endowment Foundation


Ten Reasons To Have A Donor Advised Fund at the Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana


Keep Track of Fewer Charitable Receipts

For any charitable contribution over $250, the IRS requires that you obtain — and retain — a receipt containing the right kind of language. With a donor advised fund, there’s no need for you to handle individual receipts to charities; you’ll receive one receipt from JEF for the contribution you make to your fund, and that is sufficient for the IRS.


Avoid Capital Gains Taxes on Appreciated Securities

An appreciated security is simply a stock or bond that is worth more now than when you bought it. There are significant tax advantages to donating an appreciated security, but it can be complicated. With a donor advised fund at JEF, just have your broker follow our stock transfer instructions. We’ll sell the stock immediately, put the proceeds in your fund, and then you can recommend donations to various worthy causes whenever you choose.


Donations Continue to Grow

Donor advised funds have different investment options depending on the find balance. If the balance is $25,000 or more, the fund is invested in JEF’s Mixed Income Pool which has an investment policy of 60% equities, 40% bonds. If it’s under $25,000, the fund is invested in the Fixed Income Pool.

4 5

Fund Growth is Tax Free

As a 501(c)3 organization, JEF pays no income tax. All that growth in your donor advised fund is completely tax-free (not just tax-deferred like your 401k.)

Use the Fund to Make a Difference in Perpetuity

A donor advised fund offers various options after your life. You can designate who should take over the responsibility of recommending future contributions or specify what types of charitable institutions and/or interests to fund in the future. We have been here for 50 years, and we have built a reputation as a place you can trust that your charitable intent that will be honored in perpetuity.

Tulane Hillel added 116 new students to its Tulane Jewish Leader program this past semester, which means there is an astounding total of 388 members in the program! TJL is made up of a diverse group of student leaders who brainstorm, plan, market and put on over 110 initiatives per year. Through these programs, TJL partners with local and national organizations to make a significant impact in our community through Tikkun Olam, repairing the world.

6 7

Ability to Distribute Funds Anonymously

If you would like your contributions to be given anonymously, there is no problem. You can decide to be anonymous or not on a case by case basis.

Flexibility of Contributions

Some years it makes more sense to contribute assets than others. With a donor advised fund, you can make contributions to your fund — or forego them — as you wish. Yet you can still recommend distributions out of the account even in years when little or no money is contributed.

Availability of Advice and Assistance


Easy to Get Started


Most people are not experts at determining what causes are worthy. We deal with not-for-profit organizations every day, and are happy to supply advice, guidance, assistance, support and help as requested. In addition, we work with donors and their advisors to maximize the satisfaction with the grants made from advised funds. Starting a donor advised fund is simple. You may open one with as little as $500 and start recommending grants when the fund balance reaches $5,000. Once the fund has reached that $5,000 balance, it does not have to be maintained in order to make distributions. To start, just sign a fund agreement and send it with your money or appreciated securities. You can then send distribution recommendations by mail, fax, or by using our simple online portal. To get started, contact Sandy Levy ( or Patti Lengsfield (patti@ at (504) 524-4559.

Low Fees


Donor advised funds are charged a low fee of 1% based on the fund’s balance.

And as an extra incentive…

If you contribute $4,000 to establish a donor advised fund, JEF will add $1,000 to your fund under the Cahn-Tolmas Donor Advised Fund Incentive Initiative. That’s extra money for you to give away. Where else can you find that kind of return?

La., to sort and bag thousands of oyster shells. The oyster shells were donated from local restaurants to the Coalition. The students spent their time cutting nets, combing through piles of oyster shells and transferring bags onto carts. A total of 8 tons of oyster shells were bagged and moved to Barataria Bay, where they will be deposited into the ocean. The shells encourage oyster reef growth with the goal of rebuilding Louisiana’s at-risk coastal wetlands.

Most recently, TJL members Troy Coaston, Raphael Miller, AlexanRachel Mayl, a participant of the program, found that “the oyster dra Podell, and Rachel Mayl planned an event with the Coalition to bagging event was just one way Tulane students were able to give back Restore Coastal Louisiana. The group of 19 students traveled to Buras, to the state of Louisiana. Critical habitats all over coastal Louisiana are 30 The Jewish Newsletter • December 2017

Jewish Community Center Celebrate Chanukah at the J! Celebrate the sixth night of Chanukah with the JCC at our 12th annual Community Chanukah Celebration! On Sunday, Dec. 17 we’ll light the menorah, nosh on a fried chicken dinner complete with latkes, and enjoy a live concert by folk duo Eric & Happie. Based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Eric & Happie first met at Jewish summer camp. They bring their warm folk harmonies and Indie sensibilities to the JCC as part of the Cathy and Morris Bart Jewish Cultural Arts Series. All ages will enjoy the lovely sound of their romantic, happy-go-lucky music! The 4 p.m. Community Chanukah Celebration is free and open to the community thanks to the support of Cathy and Morris Bart, the Jewish Endowment Foundation and the Feil Family Foundation/ Lakeside Shopping Center.

Uptown Classic 5K and Family Fun Run Register today for the 6th annual Uptown Classic 5K and Family Fun Run, presented by the JCC on Sunday, Feb. 18. The race will once again be held at the beautiful Audubon Park, located just a few blocks down St. Charles Avenue from the Uptown JCC. Prizes will be awarded in each age group and the post race party will have food, refreshments, and entertainment for all ages. Take advantage of the special family rate and enjoy the day together, or gather five friends and receive a group discount by signing up as a team! Register online at, or complete the registration form, which is available at the JCC reception desks and at many local running stores.


Many Thanks to Our Center Celebration Sponsors!

January 9 – Francine Klagsbrun discusses her fascinating new biography, “Lioness: Golda Thanks to all who supported the JCC by attending our annual fund- Meir and the Nation of Israel.” 7 p.m. raiser, Center Celebration. It was a very fun evening that would not January 16 – Join us for a screening of “Keep have been possible without the generosity of so many donors and spon- Quiet,” the true story of an anti-Semitic, farsors. Special thanks to our fabulous event co-chairs, Rebecca Friedman right politician in Hungary who discovers he and Jason White, to and especially to especially to Walton and Jeffrey is Jewish. The film follows his extraordinary Goldring for hosting the patron party, and Melanie and Sam Zurik for journey from extremist ideologue to observant co-chairing it with them. Additional thanks to all of the lead sponsors Orthodox Jew. 7 p.m. and event patrons who helped make Center Celebration so successful.

degraded, often to the point of collapse, and rebuilding our oyster reefs is one way to mitigate the damage.” Rachel and her peers were very proud of the hard work they did to help repair the coastal wetlands. This initiative was a great way for Tulane students to immerse themselves in the greater community and help make a real difference in the restoration of Louisiana’s coast. This is just one small example of the incredible work the Tulane Jewish Leaders are doing around the community! To learn more and see pictures from all their recent programs, like us on Facebook at

December 2017 •The Jewish Newsletter 31

Jewish Community Day School Count on JCDS to put on one incredbile Family Math Night Math is fun. And to demonstrate that the Jewish Community Day School held its 2nd Annual Family Math Night for more than 70 students, parents, siblings, and friends on Nov. 14. The measurement-themed event, designed by JCDS teachers Jadah Provosty and Beth Evanosky, featured indoor and outdoor activities for all ages and stages in a carnival-like atmosphere. With support from community volunteers Rochelle Ephron and Carol Newman, parents and children enjoyed delving into math challenges using tools such as timers, scales, formal and informal units of measurement, rice, and tangrams, to name a few. Everyone began their math journey by measuring their feet to create an all-community graph! Head of School Sharon Pollin notes that the school’s new Eureka math curriculum organizes math concepts as a series of developing stories, with the aim of building solid conceptual understanding.

Artist Hannah Chalew has created an incredible Tree of Life sculpture in time for the Grand Opening of the Berenson Learning Lab at Jewish Community Day School. The live oak inspired tree is a one-of-a-kind piece created from a variety of up-cycled and found materials, such as planks, shutters and old electronics. According to Chalew, “the combination of these materials offers a vision of sustainability, and is meant to inspire the students to think deeper about their relationship with nature and the environment.” Hannah Chalew is an artist from New Orleans. Her artwork explores the relationship between nature and culture. She received her MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art outside of Detroit in May 2016, and works out of her studio off Broad Street in New Orleans. Join JCDS for an artist reception on Dec. 17 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Berenson Learning Lab. Enjoy wine and cheese, meet Hannah and explore the Learning Lab.

First and second grade teacher Maggie Madere says, “The students focus on using a variety of mental strategies to solve problems, to listen to one another as they explain their thinking, and to focus on the processes rather than memorizing algorithms to get to the answer.” As a school that strives to teach children to love learning, this event really brought it all together. From our youngest students to our oldest, including their parents, everyone was engaged and filled with a sense of incredible curiosity. Parent Maria Larsen was enthusiastic. “This was the best Math Night ever,” she announced. “It was well organized and there was so much thinking! And so much fun!” Coming from a mother of 3 JCDS students, this is high praise, indeed. To learn more about the way the Jewish Community Day School approaches math and all their other programs, contact Admissions Director Lauren Ungar,, (504) 887-4091.

Emma W. and Gabby L. explore 32 The Jewish Newsletter • December 2017


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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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 33

pet care

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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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7 Questions With

Find Something Different This Chanukah

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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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.

Center Celebration

Happy Chanukah to all my friends in the Jewish Community. Thank you for your continued support!

Cynthia Lee-Sheng Jefferson Parish Council At-Large Division B

Uptown JCC Celebrates Expansion

The Jewish Community Center of New Orleans celebrated the near-completion of its expansion at its annual gala, the J is Jazzed, on Nov. 11. The evening began with a Patron’s Party at the home of Walton and Jeffrey Goldring. A second line progressed down St. Charles Avenue, led by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, into the new JCC fitness center entrance for the gala. At the JCC, the party was held poolside at the Oscar J. Tolmas Aquatics Complex, with music from the Soul Rebels and food from Chef Daniel Esses of Rimon. Much of the new Goldring Woldenberg Sports and Wellness Complex opened on Nov. 13. The old fitness center’s cardio and weights room was open on Nov. 13 in the morning for early workouts, then crews came in to remove the old flooring and begin renovating that space into a new weight room, which opened on Nov. 28. The new second floor cardiovascular studio opened that afternoon, after the old equipment was removed from the

December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 49

existing facility. On Nov. 12, the new cycling studio was opened for the 9 a.m. Cycling Madness class. The addition also has pilates and yoga rooms, and a new seating area for the cafĂŠ on the first floor. While most of the new space is open, finishing touches will continue for the next few weeks.

Wishing all my friends and supporters in the Jewish community a very Happy Chanukah!

Judge Candice Bates-Anderson Juvenile Court, Section C

50 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017


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.

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. December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 51

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The Jewish Community Day School in Metairie kicked off its “Watch Us Grow! Campaign” with the Annual Gala, “Enchanted Evening,” on Nov. 5 at the Jewish Community Center Campus in Metairie. As part of the evening, longtime supporters Gerald and Joan Berenson were honored. The Berensons have been advocates and financial supporters of the school since the 1990’s. Joan has been a perennial supporter of Jewish education, an active board member for many terms, and instrumental in securing funds for the facility and operations of JCDS. Guests were treated to a sit down dinner by Chef Daniel Esses of Hillel’s newly opened Rimon in an Enchanted Forest venue featuring crystal chandeliers, sparkling vines, glittering butterflies, and life-size cypress and oak trees. Live opera tunes were performed by renowned local group, Bon Operatit and live-action painting by local artist Emory Nolan provided keepsakes. Mitzvah Moment was introduced, where guests raised their paddles auction-style, not to bid on a particular item, but to publicly place monetary pledges by raising their paddles to benefit the school, bringing in a record amount for the event. Gala Chair Susan Green said “It is a privilege 52 Southern Jewish Life • December 2017

Photos, from top left: JCDS Gala Chair Susan Green, with daughter and son-in-law, Erika and Emory Nolan, and Howard Green. Honorees Joan and Gerald Berenson. Rabbi Gabe Greenberg with wife, Abby Streusand. Sharon Pollin, JCDS Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Chair and JCDS President Michael Wasserman. Richard and Vivian Cahn. Alvin and Madilyn Samuels with Honorary Vice Chairs Debbie and Jonathan Schlackman. Morris and Cathy Bart with Lis and Hugo Kahn.

continued from page 54

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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.


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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

Gates of Prayer exploring race issues

In January, Metairie’s Gates of Prayer is presenting a 5-part series, “Exploring Racial Equality: Roots, Reactions and Responsibilities” to examine the issues of racial equity and ultimately to build bridges across racial lines. The series is open to anyone in the New Orleans community. On Jan. 10, Brian Turner, a psychology professor at Xavier University and graduate of Isidore Newman School, and Robert Gilpin, a history professor at Tulane University, will present “History of Race in America” at 7:30 p.m. “Recognizing Implicit Bias, a 2-hour interactive presentation with activities and discussions, will be led by Troi Bechet of Center for Restorative Approaches on Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Public Defender Rella Zapletal, Gates of Prayer Social Action Chair, will moderate a panel of experts on “Criminal Justice Inequities,” Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The panel will include Will Snowden, New Orleans public defender; Sarah Omojola, Southern Poverty Law Center lawyer; Jennifer Medberry, Stealth Fund creator; Jeff Asher, crime analyst; and Melissa Sawyer, Youth Empowerment program director. A field trip to the Whitney Plantation in Wallace, La., will be on Jan. 28 at 9:30 a.m. There will be a 90-minute guided tour at a cost of $15 per person. Through museum exhibits, memorial artwork and restored buildings and hundreds of first-person slave narratives, visitors to Whitney gain a perspective on the lives of Louisiana’s enslaved people. The group will meet at Gates of Prayer at 9:30 a.m. and carpool to the plantation. On Feb. 1, Gates of Prayer has invited members of New Hope Baptist Church in Kenner to for a dinner and discussion on improving racial relations in the community.

> > Day School for me to work with such a tremendous group of volunteers and passionate supporters. Together, we created an extraordinary evening honoring our dear friends, Joan and Gerald.” Joan Berenson noted, “There was such a feeling of warmth and joy felt by all. Seeing the Jewish Community Day School thrive is so important. Our next generation truly needs a place where they can learn and grow, not only with language, science, math, technology, and the arts, but also as future leaders connected to Israel and rooted in Jewish values. Gerald and I are so proud!” “The evening was a beautiful reflection of our accomplishments, and dreams as we move forward,” said Oscar J. Tolmas Head of School Sharon Pollin.


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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 would rightly expect that it’s a musical about Noah. One would also rightly expect that it wasn’t very good or everyone would have heard of it. (Editor’s note: It was an early 1970s Danny Kaye vehicle featuring Madeline Kahn and music by Richard Rodgers. Some of the songs are pretty good, like “Why Me?” “You Have WHAT ABOUT Got to Have a Rudder on the Ark,” “The THE MACCABEES Gitka’s Song,” and “The Covenant.” And it ran for over a year.) WHO DIDN’T However, if someone mentioned that a bunch of animals were put on Noah’s ark HAVE GREAT seven by seven, not half that many peoPUBLICISTS? ple 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.

Fixed Right or It’s Free! 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. 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 continued on the previous page


Latkes 2017







DECEMBER 14, 2017 - 7:00 p.m.

at THE LITTLE GEM SALOON 445 South Rampart St, New Orleans, LA 70112. On the corner of Poydras & Rampart.


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December 2017 • Southern Jewish Life 55

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 New Orleans, December 2017  

December 2017 New Orleans edition of Southern Jewish Life magazine, the official publication of the Greater New Orleans Jewish community