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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Arson investigation as two vehicles burned at Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga

Two vehicles were burned in the parking lot of the Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga overnight early this morning.

In a statement, Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga Executive Director Michael Dzik said one Federation vehicle was destroyed and another vehicle next to it was badly damaged. These vehicles are used for transporting seniors and to deliver meals to home-bound community members.

“At this time it is unclear as to if this was simply vandalism or potentially a hate crime,” he said. “Initial investigation points to this NOT being a hate crime” but a random act of vandalism. Authorities will nevertheless investigate “all angles.”

Dzik said they will let the authorities “investigate this incident fully before we make any comment regarding the circumstances.”

Arson investigators from the Chattanooga Fire Department and investigators from the Chattanooga Police Department are working the case.

After the fire was reported, police units were sent to Mizpah, the Federation, B’nai Zion and Chabad for additional security. Also as a precaution, Jewish communities in the region were alerted to the incident through a Jewish Federations of North America service.

There were no injuries and no damage to the JCC.

Arson investigation as two vehicles burned at Jewish Cultural Center in Chattanooga

Friday, January 29, 2016

Limmud New Orleans announces speaker lineup for March 18 weekend

Limmud New Orleans early bird registration has been extended to Feb. 15, and the full roster of speakers has been announced — though the actual schedule will not be finalized until mid-February.

Limmud is a regional weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality, bringing Jews from diverse background together to study everything from theology and texts to culture, social justice and history. It will be held March 18 to 20.

Limmud Co-Chairs Lynne Wasserman and Ann Kientz said programming is offered for all ages and levels of experience in Jewish learning, with over 80 sessions to choose from. There is also a children’s track.

National speakers include Joel Hoffman, author of the new “The Bible Doesn’t Say That: 40 Biblical Mistranslations, Misconceptions and Other Misunderstandings”; Montreal Jewish food historian Katherine Romanow; and “Mitzvah maven” and poet Danny Siegel.

Lila Kagedan, the first person ordained at the Orthodox women’s seminary Yeshivat Maharat to take the title of rabbi and be hired in that role by an Orthodox synagogue, will present two sessions — one on the Jewish position on organ donation, and one on Orthodox women and Jewish religious leadership.

Local rabbis from across the spectrum will present, as will Rabbi Dana Kaplan, who is interim rabbi at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple this year. Kaplan previously was rabbi of B’nai Israel in Albany, Ga., and United Congregation of Israelites in Jamaica.

Rabbi Steven Silberman of Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will also present, discussing “Terrorism and Text.”

Rabbi Mark Glickman, interim rabbi at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge, will discuss his new book, “Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books." Barry Ripps of Pensacola, who has a private practice in fertility issues, will compare Biblical accounts of infertility with today’s responses.

Barry Ivker, formerly of New Orleans and now living in Birmingham, will discuss the art form of collage. In 2000, he published a Haggadah with 111 collage images, 13 of which were exhibited at the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2002.

Efraim Chalamish, a professor of international economic law in New York, will present on how financial markets shape political movements such as ISIS and BDS, and will discuss lawfare, the Israel-Palestinian conflict as it plays out in international courts.

Chicago Oak Park Temple Rabbi Emeritus Gary Gerson will speak about Kabbalah, and Hazzan Neil Schwartz, who serves Agudath Achim in Shreveport, will show how the musical notation of Torah reading conveys meaning.

Becci Jacobs, assistant director of the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, will lead a session on cultivating Jewish identity in children outside the synagogue walls. There will also be several presentations demonstrating the racial diversity of the Jewish community.

Also scheduled are historian Stuart Rockoff, formerly director of the history department at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life and now the executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council; Randy Fertel, president of both the Fertel Foundation and the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and author of “The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak”; and authors Rodger Kamenetz, Michael Rubin and Nechama Liss-Levenson. There will also be a presentation by Southern Jewish Life editor Larry Brook.

Registration begins at 5 p.m. on March 18 at Gates of Prayer in Metairie. There will be Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner that evening. On March 19, there will be Shabbat services at Gates of Prayer in a variety of styles. Learning will continue through the day, with Havdalah and an evening program.

Most of the sessions will be on March 20 at the Lavin-Bernick Center on Tulane University’s campus, running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The events will be kosher and Shabbat-observant, and home hospitality within walking distance of Gates of Prayer can be arranged for those who are Shabbat-observant.

The presentations will be in 10 tracks, including arts and culture, contemporary Jewish life and identity, family, history, Israel, social justice, Southern Jewish life, spirituality, text and thought, and food. There is no signing up for sessions, just dropping in on whatever sounds good.

Led entirely by volunteers, New Orleans Limmud began in 2010 and is held every other year.

With early-bird rates, three-day passes are $75 for adults, $40 for young adults ages 18 to 30 and $15 for children. The one-day pass for Saturday evening and Sunday are $50 for adults, $25 for young adults and $10 for children. Registration rates go up on Feb. 16.

More information, including the full list of presentations, is here.

Limmud New Orleans announces speaker lineup for March 18 weekend

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Huntsville football coach takes position developing Israeli team

American-style football continues to grow in Israel, and the Israel Football League has turned to an Alabama coach to keep the momentum going.

Eric Cohu, who led Madison Academy in Huntsville to three consecutive Class 3A high school state championships, has been named offensive coordinator and international ambassador for the IFL’s national team, which will compete in the International Federation of American Football.

Cohu also is national director of Friends of the IFL, which raises funds in America to support the Israeli league.

While he has been working with the IFL since 2007, “it got to the point where they asked me to do a bit more.”

This summer, he will work with the national team as they prepare for two games in Italy. The first will be against Italy on Sept. 2, and then against either Switzerland or Serbia on Sept. 4. The games will be played at Lignano Sabbiadoro. The winner will advance to the European Championship 2017 qualifying round.

The team played its first official game in the International Federation of American Football Europe in Madrid on August 30, winning 28-20 and qualifying for this year’s games in Italy.

The national team is an all-star team from the IFL.

While in the U.S., Cohu will work “to develop strategic partnerships to help develop the league through coaching conduits, colleges, NFL teams and businesses to help develop the league with the resources here in the United States where football is prominent.” He and his family will continue to live in Huntsville.

Cohu attended Harding University in Arkansas, then became head coach at Jackson Academy in Tennessee from 2002 to 2005. After amassing a record of 38-12, he became assistant coach at Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, Va., for two seasons before arriving at Madison.

His first trip to Israel was in 2004 and he “fell in love with the place.”

While at Jackson, he took a group of students to Israel for a Holy Land tour. “While I was there, a guy found out I was a football coach” and told him “we really need American help.”

At first, Cohu assumed that the person was talking about soccer and was going to tell him it was the wrong type of football, but the person was talking about the initial phases of American football in Israel.

The league began in 2005 with a group of Israelis who wanted to play the sport. They played without pads or an organizational structure.

In 2007, Cohu started consulting for the IFL during its inaugural season, which saw four teams competing eight-on-eight.

Some of his assistance was Internet-based, watching film for them and offer a critique. He also ran clinics and camps for the league each summer when he had time off from his jobs in the U.S.

One of the Israeli coaches, Ori Shterenbach, lived with his family in Alabama for a year, studying American football operations.

The league is sponsored by Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots. The Kraft Family Stadium is the only football stadium in Israel; other teams play in soccer stadiums when available.

There are eight teams competing this season, which runs from November to March. Israel Bowl IX will be on April 14.

There are also dozens of youth and club teams throughout the country.

Cohu considers American football to be “the greatest game on Earth,” and is excited by the sport’s expansion into places like India, Dubai and China — and of course, Israel.

Since football is an American sport, the “resources, knowledge, businesses, equipment are all here in America,” and “they’ve got to have some kind of liaison in America.”

To help raise awareness, last March, Cohu went to the national AIPAC Policy Conference and helped the league make a presentation.

He wants to enlist “anyone that loves Israel, that loves football, who can help in any way, shape or form,” whether Jewish or non-Jewish.

Could there be a future where Alabama fans in Birmingham and LSU fans in New Orleans come together to root for a Rosh Ha’Ayin team?

Huntsville football coach takes position developing Israeli team

Monday, January 25, 2016

The world’s largest collection of Jewish books: Baton Rouge’s Glickman writes about little-known Nazi plunder

A sticker in an eBay book purchase in 2004 launched Rabbi Mark Glickman on a path leading to his new book, “Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books.”

Glickman is interim rabbi at Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge this year; the congregation had a launch party for his book’s release on Jan. 30.

It is well known that the Nazis had collected hundreds of Torah scrolls they had plundered from synagogues across Europe for eventual museums chronicling what they planned to be the extinct Jewish people. Most people have seen images of Nazis holding book burnings and assume that was what the Germans did with Jewish books.

That is also what Glickman thought — until he received a copy of “Hilkhot Alfasi” from an antiquarian book seller in Jerusalem. The book, an explanation of Talmud, became popular when the Talmud was banned by the Pope in the 1500s, but this book escaped the ban. It was one of the first printed Jewish books, and Glickman had ordered a copy of the 10th edition, printed in Bavaria.

Inside the front cover of the 18th-century printing of the 11th-century North African work was a decal from a group he had never heard of, Jewish Cultural Reconstruction, which led him to the little-known story of how the Nazis, rather than burning Jewish books, were collecting millions of them and storing them in what became by far the largest library of Jewish books in history.

The Nazis “burned books for a short time” when they were coming to power in the early 1930s, Glickman said. Though the “spectacle” was meant as a way for Hitler to show his power, the burnings “got the Nazis really bad press” as they were trying to put on a good image to the world before the 1936 Olympics. Besides, he said, books really don’t burn well — the next day, people would go to the charred piles and retrieve relatively undamaged books from the middle.

“In the age of printing, you can’t really burn books” because there are so many copies, he said.

Instead, the Nazis started looting books, taking everything from valuable works to children’s activity books and “trashy novels — they just took everything.”

After the war, the Allies found many of the book stashes in castles, abandoned mine shafts and warehouses throughout Europe. About 3 million books were brought to Offenbach, Germany, and stored in a warehouse confiscated from the chemical company that manufactured the poison gas used at concentration camps.

Efforts were made to reunite books with their owners, after which the rest went to Jewish Cultural Reconstruction.

Glickman said noted political thinker Hannah Arendt, who covered the Eichmann trial for the New Yorker, was executive secretary for the group but it is barely mentioned in her biography.

The group was little-known elsewhere, Glickman said. There was a dissertation here, a short piece there, but not much else.

In Seattle, where Glickman lives when he is not serving an interim pulpit, he met a Jewish studies professor who found a cache of the looted books in Salonica. “The more you talk to people, the more you learn.”

He researched people who were involved, and tracked down some people who were reunited with their books. One person he included in his book received a children’s book that he never remembered owning, but his name was written inside — he got the book back as an old man.

Glickman wrote about how the books were discovered, the process leading to decisions on how to get books back to their owners and who had the authority to do so, and what to do with volumes where the owners could not be identified.

He said writing the book was “daunting” because so much has been written about the Holocaust. It is a “challenge to say something new” about that era.
What happened to the books is “secondary, a tangential story to the central story, which is the murder” of millions in the Holocaust.

Nevertheless, he said, “it is a fascinating chapter that very few people know about.”

Gary Zola, executive director of the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, said Glickman’s book is “A genuine page-turner, written with engaging prose and heartfelt passion.”

This is Glickman’s second book. “Sacred Treasure: The Cairo Genizah” came out in 2012, discussing the 1896 discovery of over 300,000 centuries-old Jewish documents at the Ben Ezra Synagogue.

Before coming to Baton Rouge for this year, he was interim rabbi at Har HaShem in Boulder, Colo. In Seattle, where he served Kol Ami in Woodinville and Kol Shalom on Bainbridge Island. While in rabbinical school, one of his student pulpits was Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa.

The world’s largest collection of Jewish books: Baton Rouge’s Glickman writes about little-known Nazi plunder

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Birmingham to host 2017 international JCC Maccabi Games

Four years before the city hosts the 2021 World Games, Birmingham will be one of the host cities for the international JCC Maccabi Games.

Levite Jewish Community Center President Alyssa Nadler said “This is a game-changer for Birmingham, for our JCC and for our Jewish community” by putting the Birmingham Jewish community on the international stage.

The JCC Maccabi Games is part of the Jewish Community Centers Association, and is held in three communities across North America each summer. Roughly 6,000 Jewish teens from ages 13 to 16 participate each year in an Olympic-style sporting event. It is regarded as the second-largest organized sports program for Jewish teens in the world, with each venue welcoming several dozen delegations.

The Games began in 1982 in Memphis, and an arts festival, held at one venue each summer, began in 2006 in Baltimore.

The 2015 games were held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Milwaukee, Wisc., and Dallas. The 2016 games will be in Columbus, Ohio, St. Louis and Stamford, Conn.

Birmingham is the second-smallest community to ever host the games. Only Akron, which has a community of roughly 4,000 and hosted in 2008, is smaller.

Atlanta hosted the games in 2001. New Orleans was set to be a host in 2006 but the recovery from Hurricane Katrina made that impossible.

At least 700 teens will participate in the Birmingham games, which will include sports competitions and a day of community service. The games, held in late July or early August, will also attract parents and chaperones for the week.

The delegates will compete in individual sports such as bowling, tennis, track, dance, golf and swimming as well as team sports like basketball, flag football, soccer, lacrosse, softball, volleyball and baseball.

The games typically have an opening ceremony where each delegation parades in, and notable Jewish athletes and coaches often speak. The Memphis 2012 games’ opening ceremony at the FedEx Forum included Jewish athletes from the 1972 Olympics and relatives of some members of the Israeli team who were killed in the terror attack in Munich.

LJCC Executive Director Betzy Lynch was in charge of the 2012 games in Memphis, the games’ 30th anniversary, before she became the head of Birmingham’s JCC.

“We’re so excited to be a host for the 2017 Maccabi Games,” Lynch said. “We’re so proud to showcase our community to the world.”

The official announcement was made through a video presentation at the conclusion of the LJCC’s 109th annual meeting on Jan. 14.

“Make sure you sign up to be a host family before you leave,” Lynch urged. Athletes receive home hospitality in the host communities.

Nadler said roughly 100 people came together when the Maccabi team came for a site visit, including representatives from Altamont School, located just up the hill from the LJCC, Birmingham-Southern College and the mayor’s office.

“The miracle is happening here,” Nadler said.


File photo: Memphis 2012 opening ceremonies

Birmingham to host 2017 international JCC Maccabi Games

Monday, January 11, 2016

“Big tent” of Jewish learning, Limmud opens to region on March 18

Limmud, a weekend festival of Big Tent Jewish learning, arts, culture and spirituality, returns to New Orleans the weekend of March 18.

Limmudfest includes a Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie on March 18. On March 19, there will be Shabbat services in a variety of styles at Gates of Prayer and Beth Israel, a luncheon, learning sessions and Havdalah. The events will be kosher and Shabbat-observant, and home hospitality can be arranged for those who are Shabbat-observant or from out of town.

The sessions move to the Lavin-Bernick Center on Tulane University’s campus on March 20. The weekend starts at 5 p.m. on March 18 and concludes at 5 p.m. on March 20.

During the weekend, there will be over 90 presentations in 10 tracks, including arts and culture, contemporary Jewish life and identity, family, history, Israel, social justice, Southern Jewish life, spirituality, text and thought, and food. There is no signing up for sessions, just dropping in on whatever sounds good.

There will also be a lineup of children’s programming for ages 4 to 12, and babysitting for ages 1 to 3, so parents can attend whatever sessions they like.

Limmud is part of a global movement inspired by the idea that when Jews from diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate and learn about everything Jewish, the entire community is enriched. It also emphasizes that everyone is a learner, so those presenting are encouraged to operate under that principle.

Led entirely by volunteers, New Orleans Limmud began in 2010 and is held every other year. Organizers look at Limmud as a regional event, and as an example, Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile is organizing a group to attend.

Among the featured international, national and local speakers will be Jay Michaelson, Katherine Romanow and Danny Siegel.

A lawyer, rabbi, and teacher of jhana meditation, Michaelson helps steer the Jewish communal discussion with his writings on mindfulness, LGBT issues, religious liberty and the law. A columnist for The Daily Beast and The Forward, he has written five books, including “God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness, and Embodied Spiritual Practice,” “God vs. Gay? The Religious Case for Equality,” and his latest, “The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path,” which is about the place of sadness in Buddhist and Jewish spirituality.

Romanow is a Jewish food historian from Montreal. She is the curator of Beyond the Bagel, a Jewish food walking tour given through the Museum of Jewish Montreal, and is a co-founder of The Wandering Chew, a project that explores the diversity of Jewish food cultures through pop-up dinners and cooking workshops. Romanow is curating an upcoming exhibit on Southern Jewish food at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

Siegel is one of the world’s greatest experts on microphilanthropy. For more than 30 years he has lectured in hundreds of communities on the topic of personalized Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam, and has written over 30 books of poetry and on practical tzedakah.

Joel Hoffman will also speak at Limmud. He is a popular speaker on Biblical translation and is chief translator for the 10-volume series “My People’s Prayer Book.” His most recent book is “The Bible’s Cutting Room Floor: The Holy Scriptures Missing From Your Bible,” and in February “The Bible Doesn’t Say That: 40 Biblical Mistranslations, Misconceptions and Other Misunderstandings” will be released.

Also scheduled are historian Stuart Rockoff, formerly director of the history department at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life and now the executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council; Randy Fertel, president of both the Fertel Foundation and the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and author of “The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak”; and authors Rodger Kamenetz, Michael Rubin and Nechama Liss-Levenson. There will also be a presentation by Southern Jewish Life editor Larry Brook.

Registration is now open for Limmud New Orleans 2016. Early bird prices expire January 31st.

Early-bird registration is available through Jan. 31. Three-day passes are $75 for adults, $40 for young adults ages 18 to 30 and $15 for children. The one-day pass for Saturday evening and Sunday are $50 for adults, $25 for young adults and $10 for children. Registration rates go up on Feb. 1.

In December, Touro Synagogue held a Taste of Limmud Shabbat, and on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m., Anshe Sfard will hold a Limmud-themed Study with a Buddy night with Rabbis David Polsky and Alexis Pinsky.

Registration and updates are available here.

“Big tent” of Jewish learning, Limmud opens to region on March 18

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

January is Jewish Film Festival Month in Deep South

January is Jewish film festival month in the South, with festivals taking place in Mobile starting on Jan. 10, Baton Rouge on Jan. 13 and Jackson on Jan. 27.

Mobile Jewish Film Festival

Two regional films that have been receiving a lot of publicity will be featured at the Mobile Jewish Film Festival in January.

“Rosenwald” and “Deli Man” will bookend the Jan. 10 to 24 event, held at several venues in the city.

“Rosenwald,” the story of the president of Sears who teamed with Alabama’s Booker T. Washington to develop over 5,000 “Rosenwald Schools” for black students from 1912 to 1933, will be screened at Springhill Avenue Temple on Jan. 10 at 2 p.m. It is this year’s Reita Franco Memorial Film. Stephanie Deutsch, author of “You Need a Schoolhouse,” will speak at the screening.

On Jan. 12 at 7 p.m., the festival moves to the Laidlaw Performing Arts Center at the University of South Alabama for “Phoenix,” about Holocaust survivor and former cabaret singer Nelly Lenz, who returns to Berlin after facial reconstruction surgery for a bullet wound. Though she wanted to look exactly as she did before, the surgeon was unable to make it happen.

“The Green Prince” will be screened at 7 p.m. on Jan. 13. It is the true story of Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a founding member of Hamas, who was ready to fight Israel. But shocked by Hamas members’ behavior in prison and outside, he becomes a well-placed spy for Israel.

As part of the Jan. 13 screening, Josh Warhit from StandWithUs will visit to speak with Mobile Young Adults about his experiences in moving to Israel and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. The event will be at Ahavas Chesed at 5:45 p.m. and include a free pizza dinner. Ages 15 and up are also invited.

The Jan. 14 film, also at 7 p.m., will be “Dough,” the story of a widowed Jewish baker in London whose bakery is past its prime and of no interest to his sons. He hires a Muslim teen from Darfur, who sells marijuana on the side. One day some of it accidentally finds its way into the challah dough, leading to a new appreciation for the bakery.

The series returns to Springhill Avenue Temple on Jan 17 at 2 p.m. for “Secrets of War,” which is suitable for ages 10 and up. In 1943, 12-year-old best friends Tuur and Lambert are oblivious to the war around them, but Tuur’s father joins the resistance while Lambert’s parents ally with the Nazi party. The arrival of a dark-haired girl further complicates the boys’ friendship.

“A Blind Hero: The Love of Otto Weidt” will be at the University of South Alabama Fairhope campus on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. The docudrama tells the story of a Berlin brush and broom manufacturer who saves most of his staff, who are mostly Jewish and blind, from the Gestapo.

For the first time, the film festival is reaching back in time for a classic with the Jan. 20 screening of “Hester Street,” a 1975 period drama. Carol Kane earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, playing a Jewish woman who arrives in New York from Russia in 1896 to join husband Jake, who has already been there for years and eager to adapt completely to life in America, shedding all traces of his past — including her. The film will be at the Ben May Library on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m.

“Once in a Lifetime” will be screened at Ahavas Chesed on Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. A teacher of rebellious inner city students in France is met with resistance over an assignment about child survivors of concentration camps, until they meet a Holocaust survivor.

The festival concludes with “Deli Man,” a documentary exploring this part of American Jewish culture, centering on Ziggy Gruber of Houston’s Kenny and Ziggy’s. The Jan. 24 screening at 2 p.m. will be followed by a performance of Broadway showtunes and a deli meal.

Tickets are available online through the Mobile Area Jewish Federation website, and are $8 per show for adults, $6 for seniors and students.

Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival

The Baton Rouge Jewish Film Festival, held at the Manship Theatre, celebrates its 10th anniversary, opening with “Deli Man” on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

“Mr. Kaplan” screens on Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. The film is about a Jewish man who fled Europe during World War II and built a quiet life in Uruguay. Now 76, he starts to question his life and his worth. Then his granddaughter mentions a German who runs a café near the beach. Convinced he has uncovered an escaped Nazi, he teams with a slacker cop to try and abduct him and get justice.

Director Roberta Grossman will speak at the screening of “Above and Beyond” on Jan. 16 at 7:30 p.m. The story of the birth of Israel’s Air Force in 1948, the film was produced by Nancy Spielberg and was last year’s Reita Franco Memorial Film in Mobile.

Spielberg was inspired to produce this film after reading a 2011 obituary for Al Schwimmer, who was credited with being a founder of the Israeli Air Force. She researched the story of U.S. and Canadian pilots, World War II veterans, who were inspired to fight for Israel’s independence despite the risk of losing their U.S. citizenship because of an administration embargo.

The pilots — both Jews and non-Jews — trained and coordinated in secret to stay ahead of the FBI and played a critical role in repelling five invading Arab armies in 1948 after Israel declared independence. Some of them wound up flying repurposed Nazi planes, which had been abandoned in Czechoslovakia, that they had tried to shoot down a few years earlier.

“Look at Us Now, Mother!” completes the festival on Jan. 17 at 3 p.m. Director Gayle Kirschenbaum will speak following the screening. The film came from audience reaction to a short film Kirschenbaum had made about her mother’s attempt to get her to have a nose job.

So many people asked her how she handled her “highly critical” mother, and she spoke of “seven healing tools” to transform abusive relationships. Soon she realized that she had a great deal of archival footage and her mother was agreeable to a highly-personal documentary, so she embarked on this film, which has been likened to a Jewish “Mommie Dearest.”

Tickets are $8.50 per screening.

The Baton Rouge festival also hosts a student screening of a Holocaust-themed film. This year’s is “No Place on Earth,” which will be screened on Jan. 12 and 13 at 9 a.m. and noon at Independence Park Theatre.

“No Place On Earth” is a docudrama about a New York police officer and caving enthusiast who went exploring in Ukraine and found caves that had been used by Jews escaping the Holocaust. He then went on a quest to find survivors who had lived there, bringing a few of them back for a visit.

Jewish Cinema Mississippi

Jewish Cinema Mississippi rounds out the region’s offerings at the end of the month.

All screenings are at the Malco Grandview in Madison. The first three films are at 7 p.m., and the Jan. 31 film is at 2 p.m.

The festival is sponsored by Beth Israel in Jackson and the Jewish Culture Organization at Millsaps.

The festival starts with “Bulgarian Rhapsody” on Jan. 27. While it is set in Bulgaria in 1943, the Holocaust is a backdrop to the story of a love triangle among three teens — two Jewish and one non-Jewish. The film explore how relations between Jews and other Bulgarians were generally good, even though Bulgaria was allied with the Nazis.

It is the third film in a trilogy that includes “After the End of the World” and “A Journey to Jerusalem.”

“Apples from the Desert” is the Jan. 28 offering. It is the story of Rebecca Abarnabel, a single daughter born into an Orthodox Sephardic family in Jerusalem. Tired of the lifestyle that her father, Reuven, has forced upon her, she and her mother, Victoria, go on a life-changing journey between worlds. She starts dance classes and has a relationship with a secular kibbutznik, prompting her father to arrange a marriage with a widower. The film was nominated for three Israeli Academy Awards.

On Jan. 30, the sports comedy “Kicking Out Shoshana” will be screened. In Jerusalem, macho Israeli football player Ami Shoshan flirts with the girlfriend of a Mafia boss. The boss then forces him to pose as a homosexual, which leads to him being banned by his team and shunned by fans, but he becomes a hero of the gay community.

The festival concludes on Jan. 31 with a documentary about two beloved Jewish icons — Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel.

“Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem” combines Bikel’s charismatic storytelling and masterful performances with a broader exploration of Aleichem’s remarkable life and work.

A pioneer of modern Jewish literature who championed and luxuriated in the Yiddish language, Sholom Aleichem created dozens of indelible characters. His Tevye the Milkman, Motl the Cantor’s Son, and Menachem Mendl — “shtetl Jews” for whom humor and pathos were two sides of the same Yiddish coin — remain invaluable windows into pre-war Eastern European Jewish life, real and imagined.

Bikel’s career spanned more than 150 screen roles, including an Oscar-nominated turn in “The Defiant Ones,” and countless stage and musical productions, is also the foremost interpreter of Sholom Aleichem’s work. Having recently died at the age of 90, Bikel played Tevye the Milkman on stage more than 2,000 times, and he animated Aleichem’s work through his creation of two celebrated musical plays about the great Russian author.

An adult festival pass is $35 before Jan. 18, $40 after. Student festival passes are $15 before Jan. 18, $20 after. Individual films are $10 for adults, $5 for students.

January is Jewish Film Festival Month in Deep South

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, world's largest, starts Jan. 26

The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, the world’s largest Jewish film festival, has unveiled its full lineup and official schedule of films for the 16th annual event.

The festival will present 77 films from 26 countries over 23 days, from Jan. 26 to Feb. 17.

The lineup includes five World Premieres, nine North American Premieres and four U.S Premieres. The festival brings major new works, on Jewish and Israeli themes, to multiple theater venues across Atlanta.

“We are proud to unveil the sprawling lineup for the 2016 AJFF, featuring diverse, high-caliber films from around the globe,” said Kenny Blank, executive director for AJFF. “This is a cultural celebration and an artistic showcase meant to feed the soul and the mind, as well as entertain.  It is more than just a night at the movies — it is a curated experience that engages and inspires diverse audiences with film through a Jewish lens.”

The 2016 AJFF kicks off with director Atom Egoyan’s “Remember,” a potent revenge thriller starring Oscar-winners Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.

More twists and turns await in the murder mysteries “A Grain of Truth” and “Fire Birds,” while there’s plenty to laugh about in the coming-of-age comedy “Time to Say Goodbye” and subversive satire “Atomic Falafel.”

In the wake of the horrific Paris attacks and as prelude to the upcoming U.S. elections, topical films tackle terrorism, immigration and reproductive rights in, respectively, “Je suis Charlie,” “Children of Giant” and “The Law.”

Unforgettable performances define “Wedding Doll” and the U.S. premiere of “The People vs. Fritz Bauer,” and music takes center stage in “East Jerusalem West Jerusalem,” “Flory’s Flame” and the U.S. premiere of “The Midnight Orchestra.”

Biographies include filmmaker Sidney Lumet, Yiddish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer and philosopher Hannah Arendt. The 20th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination has prompted two portrayals of the fallen leader: “Rabin in His Own Words” and “Rabin, the Last Day.”

AJFF has surveyed the international festival circuit to bring such art house fare as the enchanting “Song of Songs,” the quietly unsettling “Mountain,” the shocking “Tikkun” and ghostly “Demon.”

The festival will also present Woody Allen in “The Front” and Dustin Hoffman in “Marathon Man,” Hollywood classics celebrating 40th anniversaries.

The festival comes to a conclusion with “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” on closing night with a post-film sampling of Israeli delicacies.

The Atlanta festival had record-breaking attendance of over 38,600 moviegoers in 2015. This milestone achievement adds to AJFF’s existing status as the largest film event of any kind in Atlanta. In just 15 years, AJFF’s broad-based multi-cultural audience has enabled the festival to emerge as one of the South’s foremost arts celebrations.

Tickets go on sale Jan. 10.

Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, world's largest, starts Jan. 26

Monday, December 28, 2015

Birmingham Hadassah will be Benchin' for Boobs in cancer research benefit

Birmingham Hadassah will be pulling its weight when it comes to supporting Hadassah’s research into the BRCA gene mutation that increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Well, it will actually be bench pressing a lot of weight.

Benchin’ For Boobs, the chapter’s inaugural bench press competition, will be held at the Levite Jewish Community Center on Jan. 31 at 10 a.m.

The event is for those who already bench press, those thinking about it or who just want to try something new in support of a good cause.

The event weigh-in will start at 8 a.m., along with the “Boobie Goodie Bag” pickup. A BFB Power Breakfast will start at 9 a.m. and is by advance reservation. The contest will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the awards ceremony at 1 p.m.

There is also a weigh-in and pickup at ICON Performance in Cahaba Heights on Jan. 29 from noon to 5 p.m.

Categories are teen, novice and open. Weight classes are 95-132, 132-165, 165-198, 190-240 and 240-plus.

Registration before Jan. 15 is $36 for adults and $18 for teens ages 13 to 18. After Jan. 15, registration is $46 for adults, $28 for teens. Registration can be done at the LJCC, ICON or online.

Registration for non-benchin’ supporters is $18 and includes an event T-shirt. The Power Breakfast is $18.

Participants are requested to solicit at least $75 in additional pledges for the event.

A Hadassah oncologist recently developed a blood test that reveals it is possible to predict the presence of harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in otherwise healthy women using a novel technology called gene expression profiling. Hadassah’s Marlene Greenebaum Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Breast Center provides patients with sophisticated diagnostic technology and care.

Founded in 1995, Hadassah’s Clinic for Oncogenetic Counseling has helped more than 4,000 patients to identify their genetic risks for cancer. 

Birmingham Hadassah will be Benchin' for Boobs in cancer research benefit

Tennessee soldier recognized for saving U.S. Jews during Holocaust

Roddie Edmonds


Chris Edmonds, pastor of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Maryville, Tenn., just outside of Knoxville, knew little about his father’s service in World War II. His father, who died in 1985 at age 64, rarely spoke about his service, so his family had no idea about his heroism.

Now, thanks to a handful of people who survived because of a decision Chris Edmonds’ father made, Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds is the first United States serviceman recognized as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority, made the designation on Dec. 2. He is only the fifth American so recognized, with Varian Fry, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, and Lois Gunden.

Chris Edmonds was in Israel at the time, attending a seminar sponsored by the International School for Holocaust Studies for Christian leaders.

There will be a ceremony honoring Roddie Edmonds on Jan. 27 at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Almost all of the Righteous Among the Nations have been honored for saving European Jews from the Holocaust, by hiding them or using diplomatic tricks to get them out of harm’s way. Making Roddie Edmonds’ story unique is that he saved the lives of American Jewish soldiers who would likely otherwise have been killed by the Nazis.

“Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds seemed like an ordinary American soldier, but he had an extraordinary sense of responsibility and dedication to his fellow human beings,” said Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev. “These attributes form the common thread that binds members of this select group of Righteous Among the Nations. The choices and actions of Master Sergeant Edmonds set an example for his fellow American soldiers as they stood united against the barbaric evil of the Nazis.”

Chris Edmonds reflected that his father “was a strong man of faith, even as a 25-year-old,” and had already forged his character. “The difference between a regular person and a hero is two seconds.”

Knoxville native Roddie Edmonds shipped out as part of the 422nd Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, in December 1944, and within five days his regiment was captured in the Battle of the Bulge, on Dec. 19.

They arrived at Bad Orb, a prisoner of war camp, on Dec. 25. A month later, he and the other noncommissioned officers were sent to Stalag IX-A with over 1200 other soldiers. He was the senior noncommissioned officer among them, so he assumed the leadership position.

On the first day, an order came out over the intercom — after roll call the next morning, only the Jewish prisoners were to fall out. By then, the Nazis weren’t just exterminating Europe’s Jews, they were doing the same to captured Jewish soldiers from Allied armies.

Edmonds instructed his men that the next morning, everyone would fall out, saying that the Geneva Convention states they need give only name, rank and serial number.

Chris Edmonds said his father had seen the Jewish soldiers separated in the first camp, and “I guess he decided when he had some authority and responsibility in the second camp he was going to do whatever he could to stop that from happening.”

The next morning, Jan. 27, 1945, all of the American soldiers were standing in front of the barracks. According to those close enough to witness the exchange, the German commander, Major Siegmann, angrily went to Roddie Edmonds and insisted, “All of you can’t be Jewish!”

Edmonds replied “We are all Jews here.”

The commander ordered him to have the Jewish soldiers step forward, but Edmonds replied that under the Geneva Convention he was not entitled to that information. Siegmann pressed his gun to Edmonds’ forehead and repeated his order, to which Edmonds answered that “If you shoot, you’ll have to kill all of us, and you will have to stand for war crimes after we win this war.”

Instead of shooting, the commander put his gun away and stormed off.

It is estimated that there were 200 Jewish soldiers among the prisoners.

Paul Stern, one of the Jewish POWs who stood near Edmonds during the exchange, detailed the encounter to Yad Vashem. “Although 70 years have passed,” said Stern, “I can still hear the words he said to the German camp officer.”

Chris Edmonds said this wasn’t a risk his father had to take. He knew the Allies were making advances, and “he knew he would probably be rescued and liberated in a few weeks from that camp, but he put his life on the line anyway.”

But that wasn’t the end of the odyssey. One day the Germans told them that the next day they would be leaving and marching further into Germany. With the prisoners near starvation, Edmonds instructed them that they would not leave with the Germans on a death march — act sick, get sick, run to the barracks, just do not go with them.

Despite being threatened with being shot, they followed Edmonds’ orders, until the Germans finally threw up their hands and left the Americans behind, taking the French and British prisoners with them.

Once the Americans were alone in the camp, Edmonds had to convince them not to leave, that they could not survive on their own beyond the gates. The next day, the Third Army found the camp and rescued them.

Roddie Edmonds had two diaries he kept during that time. One had names, dates and addresses for many of the men under his command, and some notes about life as a POW.

The other book had the complete plans for a restaurant, the Jolly Chef, that he and three fellow prisoners designed, including floor plans, menus and pencil drawings. “They were starving to death so it was a way to dream about better days ahead,” Chris Edmonds said.

In 2009, Chris Edmonds Googled his father’s name to see what he would find about his service. To his surprise, his father was mentioned in a 2008 New York Times article about Lester Tanner, a New York attorney who sold a home to President Richard Nixon in the 1970s, when nobody wanted the disgraced former president as a neighbor.

In the article, Tanner spoke about being a POW during World War II and how Roddie Edmonds had saved his life, and the lives of many others. Chris Edmonds said Tanner “had never told that story before. Never told it to his family.”

That led Chris Edmonds on a journey to find Tanner and other POWs who were there. At the first meeting, Tanner told him that his father deserves the Medal of Honor. He has since met with Congressional representatives in Tennessee and the ball is rolling — albeit slowly — for that recognition.

He also met Larry Goldstein, a friend of Tanner who unbeknownst to him was gathering information on Roddie Edmonds to submit to Yad Vashem.

Chris Edmonds said it is difficult to get a Righteous Among the Nations designation from Yad Vashem, but “there was no question” in this case.
Chris Edmonds said he is not inspired solely by his father’s story. “It’s also the story of the men who were there with him. When he ordered all of the men to step out, they all had a choice and they all chose to stand up. That’s huge.”

Siegmann “could have started shooting, starting with my dad. Thankfully, he didn’t.”

Chris Edmonds said his father “was just an ordinary, everyday all-American kind of guy. Loved his country, loved his family, loved his faith. He loved life.”

A child always looks up to his father as a hero, Chris Edmonds said. “I never knew he had a cape hanging in his closet. But he did.”

Tennessee soldier recognized for saving U.S. Jews during Holocaust

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Goldring grants available for first-time summer campers

The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana is announced that the Goldring Jewish Summer Camp Experience Incentive Grant Program is continuing in 2016.

Funded by the Goldring Family Foundation, the program helps families provide a first-time camping experience at a Jewish sleepaway camp. It was established by JEF in 1999 and has been funded by the Goldring Family Foundation since 2001.

Last summer, 87 grants were issued, and since its inception, 1,226 children have received incentive grants to attend Jewish summer camp.

Experts agree that one of the most effective ways to develop children’s commitment to living Jewish lives is to expose them to a camp experience where they will meet other Jewish boys and girls and savor the precious heritage of Jewish traditions while enjoying wholesome summer fun and sports activities. Participating children enjoy all of the fun and comradeship of summer camp while developing positive feelings about their Jewish identity and making lifelong friends.

The grant is available to every Jewish child in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. Each eligible child receives a one-time-only grant of up to $1,000 to attend a nonprofit Jewish summer camp. Programs costing less than $1,000 will be funded up to the amount of camp tuition. Each child in a family is eligible for the one-time grant.

To meet the criteria for funding, children must be first-time campers at a nonprofit Jewish sleep-away camp, currently in grades 1 through 9, and residents of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi or the Florida Panhandle.

Grants are not based on financial need. Both parents need not be Jewish. Neither temple nor synagogue affiliation is required.

“We are grateful to the Goldring Family Foundation for their continuing generosity and their commitment to making a Jewish camping experience available to so many children,” said JEF President Richard Cahn. “This program benefits not only the individual campers, but our entire community.”

The deadline for applications is March 31. Award notification will be given by May 31, and the checks will be sent directly to the camps.

For more information and an application form, contact Ellen Abrams at JEF at (504) 524-4559 or ellen@jefno.org. The application can also be downloaded here.

Goldring grants available for first-time summer campers

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Break: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Dec. 21

Above: Listen Up! plays the Community Chanukah Celebration on Dec. 13 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans.

Winter Break: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Dec. 21

The Economist has a comprehensive look back at the Leo Frank case, its aftermath for relatives on all sides, and the mythology that has developed around the case and lynching.

In Charlotte, Franklin Graham donated two ambulances to Israel.

On Dec. 18, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar of Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville organized an interfaith community gathering to pray for peace at the Huntsville Islamic Center.

On Dec. 21 at 11 a.m., Rabbi Robert Loewy of Gates of Prayer in Metairie is taking part in an East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association rally of support at the Abu Bakr Mosque.

Kenny and Ziggy’s Deli in Houston, featured in the film “Deli Man,” will open a second location in Houston in February.

The Daily Meal’s restaurant of the year? Shaya.

The Birmingham Islamic Society reported a possible extremist to the FBI, after someone “not known to our community” friended many local Muslims on social media and started sending disturbing posts.

A St. Louis rabbi who has been a prominent activist in the #BlackLivesMatter movement is being demonized by many in the movement because though on the left wing, she is insufficiently critical of Israel, and “Zionism has no place in liberation spaces led by people of color.”

Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee lit Chanukiyot last week. Both recently led trade missions to Israel from their respective states. An upcoming conference in Los Angeles will examine the targeting of Christian Zionists by anti-Israel groups. Among the speakers are Laurie Cardoza-Moore of Tennessee, founder and president of the pro-Israel group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations; and Rev. Gerald McDermott, Anglican Chair of Divinity at Samford University Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham.

Texas A and M is scrapping a planned $200 million campus in Nazareth and will instead have a $6 million marine research center in Haifa.

The University of Alabama’s Psi Chapter of Zeta Beta Tau announced it will hold a centennial reunion weekend from March 4 to 6. The weekend will celebrate “100 years of vibrant Jewish life on the University of Alabama campus,” including ZBT legacy organizations Kappa Nu and Phi Ep. A Founders and Leadership luncheon will honor those who founded the three fraternities, served as officers or were in the Student Government Association. Information is being requested to help identify all of those individuals. Photos are requested for the event’s Facebook page, and for use in a program and video. More information is available here.

Get your tickets now for Elton John’s concert in Israel, May 26 — which according to the promoter will be in a style inspired by his recent appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.


Alabama
Benchin' For Boobs, Birmingham Hadassah's first-ever benchpress competition, will be on Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. at the Levite Jewish Community Center. The event benefits Hadassah research for the BRCA gene mutation that indicates a woman’s higher risk of developing breast cancer. A Hadassah oncologist recently developed a blood test that reveals it is possible to predict the presence of harmful BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations in otherwise healthy women using a novel technology called gene expression profiling.

Chabad of Alabama, Hadassah, Knesseth Israel Sisterhood, the Levite Jewish Community Center, Temple Emanu El Sisterhood, and Temple Beth El Sisterhood will have a Mega Mega Challah Bake on Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. at the LJCC, with 200 women ages 10 and up expected. Registration is $18.

Birmingham’s Jewish community will once again be taking over the kitchen at Grace Episcopal Church’s Grace By Day community kitchen, doing Christmas lunch for those in need.

Huntsville’s Temple B’nai Sholom will be volunteering to staff the Huntsville Botanical Gardens Galaxy of Lights on Dec. 24. Nancy and Jerry Fishman are coordinating the volunteers for the evening.

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Movie, Shabbat Service and Chinese Dinner on Dec. 25. The featured film will be "Anna Hall" and will begin at 3:30 p.m., followed by a casual Shabbat service at 5:40 p.m. and a Chinese dinner following. Cost is $5 per person. Reserve here by Dec. 18, or pay at the door.

Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have a dinner at Ding How on Dec. 25 following the 6 p.m. Shabbat service. Reservations are requested to the B’nai Sholom office.

Chabad of Alabama’s Shabbat Around The World will stop in China for Dec. 25, with services at 5:30 p.m. at the Bais Ariel Chabad Center, followed by a Chinese dinner at 6 p.m. Advance reservations are required for dinner.

The former accountant for Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El was sentenced to six months in prison for embezzling $41,098 from the congregation.


Florida
The Pensacola Jewish Federation’s Chai Discussion Group will tackle “Gun Control in Israel and Elsewhere: Does It Work? How Do We Solve This Problem?” on Dec. 22 at noon, at the office of Terry Gross.


New Orleans/Louisiana
Anshe Sfard in New Orleans announced that Sandy Lassen has become the congregation’s new executive director. She recently retired from that position at Shir Chadash in Metairie.

Touro Synagogue will be doing the lunch at the Rebuild Center on Dec. 25. Volunteers are being coordinated by the congregation as a limited number is needed for transporting and serving.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will be volunteering at Bridge House/Grace House on Dec. 25, feeding those in need.

Shir Chadash in Metairie will have a Chai-Nese Dinner and Game Night, Dec. 24 at 7 p.m. Billed as “The only fully kosher Chinese meal in N’Awlins,” the dinner will be catered by Ms. Shirley from Royal China. Board games for adults and children are encouraged. Reservations are needed by Dec. 18, and are $25 for adults, $12.50 for ages 5 to 12 and free for under 5.

TRIBE, a community of young Jews in their 20s and 30s, sponsored by Gates of Prayer in Metairie, will have a Chinese Food on Christmas Shabbat dinner, Dec 25 at The Paramount at South Market, starting at 7 p.m. Space is limited and tickets are $12, available online.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Baton Rouge is serving Christmas Eve Day and Christmas Day lunch at St. Vincent de Paul. Volunteers are needed both days, from no later than 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Space is limited and volunteers should reserve a spot by contacting the Federation office.

Jewish college students who are back in town for break are invited to lunch with Rabbi Robert Loewy, Phil Gaethe and Rabbi Alexis Pinsky of Gates of Prayer at East Buffet in Metairie, Dec. 23 at noon.

Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is holding a Tot Shabbat Lunch and Play on Jan. 9 at 12:20 p.m., inviting those attending the West Esplanade congregations for Shabbat to walk over afterwards. Families can make a sandwich or wrap in the KASH-ROOT Kitchen and play Shabbat related games and activities led by the faculty.


Mississippi
Beth Israel in Jackson will serve Christmas lunch at the Stewpot.

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Winter Break: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Dec. 21

Friday, December 4, 2015

NOLA Federation's Michael Weil announces 2017 return to Israel

Michael Weil speaks at the New Orleans Federation centennial celebration in 2013.


Michael Weil, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, announced that he will be stepping down from his position in 2017 and returning to Israel.

In a Chanukah email to the community, Weil said “being away from Israel and my children (and, more recently, grandchildren) has become increasingly difficult” and following the September 2017 annual meeting, when the current Federation administration finishes its term, he and wife Brenda will “say a final farewell to the community.”

Weil arrived in New Orleans in October 2006, a year into the recovery process following Hurricane Katrina and the levee breach, a disaster that displaced the entire New Orleans community for a lengthy time.

Prior to his arrival in New Orleans, Weil had been a policy research fellow at the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, chaired by former U.S. Undersecretary of State Dennis Ross.

He also had been managing director of Megama Management and Planning Consultants, overseeing strategic planning for Jerusalem, Lod, Kiryat Gat, and other Israeli cities; urban renewal projects throughout Israel, community planning, budgeting, research, and analysis for universities, Israeli Government Ministries, the Jewish Agency, and other public and private entities.

In the fall of 2006, most of those in the Jewish community who were planning to return to the area had done so, leaving the community roughly one-third smaller than it had been before the storm. In his statement, Weil said “The challenges the community faced at that time were difficult ones. It was my privilege and pleasure to work with you then to carve a successful path of recovery and renewal, to be part of an amazing community transformation, and currently, to plan for the best possible growth in the future.”

Through a range of initiatives and support from the national Federation system, all of the New Orleans Jewish community agencies and institutions continued to exist, and the Jewish population, bolstered by newcomers, has now topped its pre-Katrina number.

Weil said he will continue to work with the community “with the utmost energy and enthusiasm, and working with our current leaders and our great professional staff to continue moving the Federation forward. As the time nears, I also look forward to helping facilitate a smooth transition for my successor.”

NOLA Federation's Michael Weil announces 2017 return to Israel

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Jewish deli planned for Baton Rouge

In an era when Jewish delis have been disappearing, Mike Wampold is planning to open one in Baton Rouge.

The deli will be called Milford’s on Third, named after Wampold’s late grandfather, who was a grocer in Alexandria. The deli will be in the Marriott Autograph Hotel, The Watermark, which is being developed in downtown Baton Rouge.

Wampold said there will be table and counter seating, takeout and delivery for the deli, which will be complemented by an upscale restaurant in the hotel.

Jay Haratsis, general manager of the hotel, said the deli will have “a variety of recipes that he wanted us to work with” from Wampold’s grandfather, and additional items.

He said the deli’s cornerstones will be corned beef and pastrami, and they are talking with the top suppliers. They also plan other traditional dishes like matzah ball soup and knishes. While those items may not be well-known in Baton Rouge, he thinks they will catch on. “Good food is good food, and that’s what counts more than anything,” he said.

The plan is for the deli to be open by August 2016.

Wampold acquired the old Louisiana National Bank building, which later became a state office building, from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation in 2013. In May, when he announced the agreement with Marriott, he said the Watermark will be “the most upscale hotel in Baton Rouge.”

A full-service hotel at the corner of Convention and Third Streets, the Watermark will have 148 rooms that Haratsis said will be themed to the building’s banking history. Built in 1926, the 12-story structure was regarded as Baton Rouge’s first skyscraper.

Wampold also has the Renaissance and Wyndham Garden Inn in Baton Rouge.

New Jewish deli planned for Baton Rouge

Friday, November 27, 2015

Gov. Bryant leads large Mississippi trade delegation to Israel

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant spoke at the 4th International Unmanned Vehicles Conference in Tel Aviv.


Just four days after coasting to a second term in office, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant led the “largest delegation that we’ve ever taken” to any country on a trade mission to Israel.

“Israel is one of the fastest growing and most technologically advanced countries in the world, and Mississippi businesses can benefit from making connections with their enterprises,” Bryant said. “This business development mission to Israel is a cost-effective opportunity for Mississippi businesses interested in developing or expanding trade into Israel to make connections with prospective buyers and generate new investment through international trade.”

Last November, Bryant spoke at the International Conference on Homeland Security, then that trade mission was followed up with a Mississippi Meets Israel trade summit in Jackson in April.

The 32-member delegation arrived in Israel on Nov. 8, and the next day Bryant addressed the International Unmanned Vehicles Conference in Tel Aviv, speaking of Mississippi’s visions for UAVs.

Noting that it was 1:18 a.m. Mississippi time and praising Israeli coffee, Bryant told the crowd “I hope you are surprised when you leave here today. My goal is to make you say ‘wow I had no idea Mississippi was the start-up state, I had no idea Mississippi was so advanced’” in the UAV industry.

After the speech, Bryant met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres.

The delegation also toured the Israel Sci-Tech Schools’ Singalovski Campus to see the latest innovations in the way that education and training are being taught to the future leaders of Israel’s technology industry.

The network’s curriculum, which is heavily focused on STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics — is utilized throughout Europe and in schools in the United States.

“We welcome the delegation from Mississippi. In today’s global business environment, it is more important than ever before for countries to work collaboratively to educate the technology leaders of tomorrow, said Israel Sci-Tech Schools Director General Zvi Peleg, “We have learned a lot through our work with different groups in the United States and are excited by the opportunity to collaborate with the State of Mississippi. We believe there is a lot we can share and learn from one another.”

The delegation also sought to broaden ties in the medical, cyber-security and agriculture industries.

On Nov. 10, Bryant and the delegation went to the Kennedy Memorial near Jerusalem in rain and fog to plant trees in the JNF forest. There, Bryant said “ I feel compelled to repeat the words said by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to our President Barak Obama at their meeting in the White House just a few hours ago. He said that the relationship between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared values, is buttressed by shared interests and is driven forward by a sense of shared destiny.”

KKL-JNF Chief of Protocol Andy Michelson noted they would be planting a carob tree, which takes years to produce fruit, and therefore symbolizes preparing for the future.

Bryant said he is planting a tree dedicated to Israel, but as it is in the Kennedy forest, it is also dedicated to the United States, and particularly to the state of Mississippi where trees are planted not only for economic reasons but also for the beauty that they add.

On Nov. 12, Bryant took part in the opening bell ceremony at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Amnon Neubach, chairman of the board of TASE, called Bryant “one of the best friends of Israel, in the United States.”

At the TASE, Bryant said “In Mississippi we believe, so goes America, so goes Israel; our economies must be strong together. As Governor of Mississippi, I am here to help assist this joint venture continue.”

The delegation participated in an overview “Building a Creative Society — The Israeli eco-system” presented by Yoav Z. Chelouche, managing partner of Aviv Ventures and former Co-Chair IATI Israel Advanced Technology. Neubach also presented an overview regarding “Israel’s Economy and Stock Market.”

Also on the trip were Bryant’s wife, Deborah; Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann; Mississippi Development Authority director Glenn McCullough and two employees of the trade division.

Representatives of the Mississippi State Port Authority and the State Workforce Investment Board also went, along with Mississippi Manufacturers Association President and CEO Jay Moon and executives from Airbus Helicopters, which has a plant in Columbus, and Huntington Ingalls Industries, which has a Pascagoula shipyard that is one of Mississippi’s largest private employers.

During the trip, Bryant spoke about how the state has Stark Aerospace in Columbus, which helps assemble unmanned aerial vehicles. “And, they’re very interested in the Center of Excellence at Mississippi State.” The Federal Aviation earlier this year chose Mississippi State University to run as a National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, to coordinate research and development.

They also went to the Golan Heights and many other sites across the country.

Arieh O’Sullivan, the editor in chief of Israel Broadcasting Authority’s English News, interviewed Bryant, noting Mississippi’s strong support for Israel even though the state has fewer Jews than many apartment buildings in Tel Aviv.

Bryant said “all of us have a cultural relationship with Israel, all of us from the early times of our church learning understand how important it is for us to be part of the Jewish culture” which Christianity started from.

O’Sullivan was raised in Mississippi, moved to Israel in 1981 and in 2012 was inducted into the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Biloxi. He wore a Mississippi flag lapel pin for the interview.

Bryant said he wanted to make sure “Israel knows Mississippi and the American people stand with them in this difficult time.”

After the trip, Bryant reflected on the “absolutely phenomenal” mission. He said Israelis are like Mississippians, that relationships are important. “You don’t just go once and expect you will be doing business.”

While they were in Israel, there were two terror attacks in Tel Aviv, and Bryant spoke of how terror groups are now training young teens to carry out attacks.

The Paris attacks happened while he was still in Israel. He noted that security experts told them that the lone-wolf attacks will continue world-wide “indefinitely.”

Gov. Bryant leads large Mississippi trade delegation to Israel

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chanukah events across the Deep South

Rabbi Yossi Friedman from Chabad of Alabama lights the Fire and Ice menorah, December 2014 (SJL file)


(These are the events we have currently, the list will be updated as more communities announce their programs.)

Large public Chanukiah lightings continue to proliferate across the South, especially with a Chabad presence in more communities.

Chabad started organizing large public lighting ceremonies in the 1970s in New York, soon spreading them to other communities, often choosing very public locations and involving elected officials.

For the first time, there will be a major public lighting at The Summit in Birmingham, a collaboration of the Bais Ariel Chabad Center and the Levite Jewish Community Center. It will be at Saks Plaza on Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m. There will be latkes, live music and a living dreidel.

In recent years, Birmingham’s Chabad has done Fire and Ice, lighting an ice sculpture menorah in front of the Chabad Center.

One of the longest-running events in the region is Chanukah at Riverwalk, one of the largest annual gatherings of the New Orleans Jewish community. The 12-foot menorah will be lit at the Dec. 6 event. Festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. at Spanish Plaza, with the lighting at 5:30 p.m. There will be a hot latke bar, Chanukah laser light show, dreidel house kids’ activity center, a Kosher Cajun food booth and more. Rain location will be the indoor food court at Riverwalk.

Parking will be available at the Hilton parking lot for $5.

Conversely, in Baton Rouge there will be the first-ever menorah lighting at the front steps of the State Capitol on Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m. There will be latkes and children’s activities.

In Mobile, the menorah lighting will be part of the city’s “Very Merry Mobile.” The event is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Bienville Square, with Mayor Sandy Stimpson. There will be crafts, food, dreidels, glow-in-the-dark Chanukah shirts and a concert by Chassidic rock singer Dr. Laz.

Chabad of the Emerald Coast will have a Grand Menorah Lighting at the HarborWalk Village stage in Destin, 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 6. There will be latkes and doughnuts, live music and menorahs for everyone.

Chabad of Huntsville will have its menorah lighting, latkes and doughnuts on Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. at the Bridge Street Town Centre.

Chabad of Southern Mississippi will have the lighting of Mississippi’s largest menorah at Edgewater Mall in Biloxi, in front of the Belk entrance on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.


Alabama events


Auburn Basketball Coach Bruce Pearl will host the Auburn Hillel and AEPi for a Chanukah celebration at his home, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. The event is only for students. Latkes will be provided and students are asked to bring a dessert. There will also be a game of Dirty Dreidel for those who bring a gift under $10.

In Birmingham, the Levite Jewish Community Center, Temple Beth-El, Temple Emanu-El, Knesseth Israel, Chabad and the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School are teaming up for a community-wide 8 Crazy Nights celebrating Chanukah.

Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El will have its Sisterhood Latke lunch on Dec. 6 at noon, along with a raffle featuring over 50 prizes. That afternoon, Chabad and the LJCC have their Grand Menorah Lighting at the Summit at 4:30 p.m.

The LJCC will have a Sh’Bamukah workout on Dec. 7 at 6:45 p.m., a Sh’Bam class with a Chanukah twist. The LJCC will also have a Chanukah luncheon at noon on Nov. 8, and an intergenerational candle lighting at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 10.

On Dec. 8, the LJCC will have the final program of its Jewish Book Month celebration, a screening of “The Return: A Documentary About Being Young and Jewish in Poland,” at 6:30 p.m. The free program will be moderated by Sam Dubrinsky.

The annual Chanukah Extravaganza at Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will be on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. News Anchor Jeff Eliasoph of WVTM-TV will be calling Bingo games. There will be a 50/50 raffle that evening, and tickets will start being sold for a May 12 raffle with a grand prize of $5,000 or a trip for two to Israel. Tickets for the May raffle are $100. The Chanukah event is $18 for adults, $10 ages 4 to 12. Admission includes one Bingo card, additional cards are $5.

The LJCC will have “Chopped/Chanukah Games” on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a latke cookoff in the style of Food Network’s “Chopped,” and while the teams compete, individuals can have their own competition in the Chanukah Games. There will be a dinner of latkes, vegetarian chili, salad and dessert. Dinner cost is $10 per person, $35 for a family of four.

The Overton Group and You Belong in Birmingham will have a joint “Evening of Holiday Spirits” upstairs at The Southern, in Uptown, on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Temple Emanu-El’s Chanukah celebration will be Dec. 11 at the 5:40 p.m. service. Congregants are encouraged to bring their menorahs. The evening will include the culmination of the Feeling Gelty program, which is held with First Teachers@ Home. Members of the Jewish community can receive a wish list for a family and shop for their Christmas.

The non-profit is a non-traditional organization that teaches low-income parents how to prepare their three- or four-year-old children for success in Kindergarten and beyond. The 16-week course teaches academics and positive parenting, and the books and supplies are free to participants.

Only those who have completed the course will be eligible to be matched in Feeling Gelty.

At the service, the Consecration class will be honored, the Worship Band will perform and it will also be Food Truck Friday.

Emanu-El will also have a Chanukah family fun day on Dec. 13 at 9:30 a.m., with a carnival and Brotherhood luncheon following at noon. The luncheon is $10 for adults, $5 for children.

Chabad of Alabama will have Latkes and L’Chaims on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., at W XYZ Bar at the Aloft Hotel in Homewood. There will be an open bar, latkes, doughnuts, dairy hors d’oeuvres and more. Admission is $18, or $30 per couple.

On Dec. 13, the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School Kids Club will host a Chanukah PJ Library pillow party at Barnes and Noble at the Summit, at 6 p.m. The program is aimed at ages 3 and 4, with story time and singing.

This year, the Wacky Tacky Christmas Lights Tour in Birmingham returns to the Chanukah House as one of the stops. Buses will run on Dec. 15 and 16, starting at Avondale Brewery.

Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have its family Chanukah celebration on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. Emanu-El will supply Leon’s Luscious Latkes, drinks and doughnuts for dessert. Congregants are asked to bring a side dish or a main dish to share, along with family menorahs. Cost is $8 per adult, $4 for children under the age of 10, with reservations requested.

There will be a Menorah Workshop at the Home Depot on South Memorial Parkway in Huntsville on Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. Reservations are needed.

On Dec. 1 there will be a Chanukah Story Hour for children of all ages at Huntsville’s Barnes and Noble in the Bridge Street Town Center, from 4 to 5 p.m.

Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have Legos and Latkes, building menorahs for the first night, on Dec. 6 at 5 p.m.

The annual Fry Fest at B’nai Sholom will be on Dec. 11 at 5:45 p.m., with food from Popeye’s Chicken, storytelling and face painting. Entertainment will be provided by retired Huntsville Library storyteller Sara McDaris, who produced “Grunches and Grins” on Alabama Public Television for 19 years.

On Dec. 12 at 6 p.m., the Huntsville community menorah lighting will be at Big Spring Park, at 6 p.m. The B’nai Sholom choir will sing and there will be a dinner following.

On Dec. 9, Chabad of Huntsville is hosting Chanukah Skate, at Odyssey Skate from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $8 and includes music, latkes and skating.

Chabad of Huntsville will also have Menorahs and Mojitos, an “adult night of lights,” on Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

Etz Chayim in Huntsville will have its latke party and Bingo on Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.

Springhill Avenue Temple’s Chanukah dinner will be on Dec. 11 following the 6 p.m. service, with their famous Men’s Club latkes. Reservations are requested by Dec. 4, and are $10 for adults, $5 for children under 10.

Dana Korem, Montgomery’s shlicha from Israel, is hosting “Havdalatkes” on Dec. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., Havdalah and latke cooking for teens, at her apartment. Those interested should contact the Federation office by Dec. 1 for directions.

Montgomery’s L’Chayim League will have its Chanukah luncheon on Dec. 10 at Mr. G’s. Reservations are $16.

The annual Temple Beth Or Chanukah dinner in Montgomery, coordinated by Sisterhood, follows Shabbat services on Dec. 11. Services will be at 6 p.m. Reservations are due by Dec. 1, and are $12 for adults, $6 for ages 5 to 10. Children 4 and under are free.

The 11th annual Hanukkah Hoopla at Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery will be Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There will be a latke lunch and food bazaar, face painting, entertainment and games. Lunch is free with a purchase of $50 or more in the gift shop and bazaar.

Temple Emanu-El in Tuscaloosa will have a second-night Chanukah party, Dec. 7 at 5:30 p.m. Latkes and the trimmings will be supplied for the pot-luck dinner. There is no charge but donations are welcome.

The University of Alabama Hillel will have its Dreidels and Latkes brunch on Dec. 6 at 11:30 a.m.

Chabad at the University of Alabama will hold its first Chanukah party, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. Along with latkes, make your own doughnuts and menorah lighting, a $50 Target gift card will be raffled. There will also be a community Chanukah party on Dec. 9 at 5:30 p.m.


Florida Panhandle events


Chabad of the Emerald Coast will hold a Chanukah storytime at Barnes and Noble in Destin on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Beth Shalom in Fort Walton Beach will have its family Chanukah night on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Chuck London will tell the story of Chanukah and Michael Walker will lead holiday songs.

The B'nai Israel Chanukah celebration at B'nai Israel in Panama City will be at noon on Dec. 6, led by ISJL Education Fellow Shira Moskowitz with the religious school children performing. Reservations are $5.

There will be a PJ Library Chanukah celebration at the West Florida Public Library on Spring Street in Pensacola, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.

On Dec. 16, Tal Izhakov will present “How Chanukah is Celebrated in Israel,” at the downtown Pensacola library at 11:30 a.m.

Chabad of the Emerald Coast will hold a Chanukah storytime at Barnes and Noble in Destin on Dec. 10 at 5:30 p.m.

Young Jewish Pensacola will have its Chanukah party at the home of Rabbi Joel Fleekop, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m.

Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El will have its Chanukah party on Dec. 12 at 6:45 p.m., at the home of Cindy and Terry Gross.


Louisiana events

The Chanukah celebration at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will be on Dec. 11 with a 6 p.m. service and latke dinner at 7 p.m. There will be a white elephant gift exchange, with value not to exceed $20. Reservations are due by Dec. 7 and are $8 for adults, $4 for children.

B’nai Israel will also have a latke lunch for the religious school and parents, Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Chabad of Baton Rouge will have Latkes and Lattes for Young Jewish Professionals, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.

Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburg will be at Temple Sinai in Lake Charles for its Chanukah event, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m.

There will be a Chanukah family event at Agudath Achim in Shreveport, sponsored by the North Louisiana Jewish Federation, featuring Billy Jonas in concert. Open to the community, the event starts at 5:45 p.m. with candle lighting and dinner, with the concert at 6:30 p.m. Cost for dinner is $5 for adults, free for ages 13 and under, with reservations requested.

Originally from Chicago, Jonas has lived in Asheville, N.C. for over two decades, where he is active in Temple Beth HaTephila. He performs solo and with the Billy Jonas Band. He is known for making music using “found objects,” discovering music within common items. His album “What Kind of Cat Are You” received a first place/gold award from the American Federation of Independent Musicians and a Parent’s Choice Gold. In 2010 he performed at the White House.

On Nov. 22, his new album, “Habayta (Homeward): New Jewish Songs of Joy and Spirit” was released, with proceeds from the evening’s benefit concert going to Kids4Peace, an interfaith teen leadership camp.

B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a Chanukah celebration on Dec. 11 at 6:10 p.m., following a 6 p.m. congregational meeting. There is no charge for dinner, which follows the service, but reservations are requested.

The Jewish Community Youth Theatre in Shreveport will present “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins,” Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. at Agudath Achim. Howard Silberman is producing the play, involving the community’s children.


New Orleans Area events

Jewish Children’s Regional Service holds its annual Latkes with a Twist party on Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., at Belloq. Chef Daniel Esses of Three Muses will be in charge of the latke bar, there will be a special vodka latke cocktail for the event, a silent auction and live music by Israeli soul singer Eleanor Tallie. Tickets are $25.

Rabbi Deborah Zecher will join Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville for a Chanukah Seder and Havdalah on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. There will be a potluck dinner, and religious school students will participate with some of the material they had prepared for the cancelled religious school Shabbat that was rained out at the end of October.

The Chabad Jewish Center of Metairie will have a Menorah Workshop on Dec. 7 at Home Depot in Elmwood. The 4 p.m. program includes building a menorah, a menorah lighting and Chanukah treats, and participants receive a Home Depot worker’s apron. There is limited space, so reservations are required.

The Israeli Chanukah party will be at Chabad in Metairie, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.

Chabad in Metairie will have a Shabbat Chanukah dinner, Dec. 11, with candle lighting at 4:30 p.m. A Shabbat party for kids starts at 5:10 p.m., Kabbalat Shabbat at 5:15 p.m. and dinner at 5:45 p.m. There will be a latke bar, sufganiyot bar and kids can make their own Chanukah cupcakes. Reservations are $18 for adults, $10 for children and $50 for families by Dec. 7, or $25 for adults and $15 for children after Dec. 7.

The fifth annual Celebrity Chef Latke Cookoff for Young Jewish Professionals will be at Chabad Uptown on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. A wide range of celebrity chefs from New Orleans have competed in previous years.

The Jewish Community Day School’s Chanukah program will be Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.

JNOLA will have its young adult Chanukah celebration, “Light it Up,” Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Purloo. There will be kosher-style hors d’oeuvres, including Southern-style latkes, kosher options and the first drink is free. The evening will also include a clothing drive for Syrian refugees who will be placed in New Orleans in the coming year. Those bringing items get a second drink free.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have its Chanukah dinner on Dec. 11 following the 6 p.m. service. Reservations are $10 for adults, $5 for children, through Dec. 9.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have its Chanukah Shabbat service and dinner on Dec. 11. Services at 6:15 p.m. will feature the Sinai Puppets. The Chanukah Menorah Lighting on the Avenue will be at 7 p.m., followed by the Sisterhood Latke Dinner at 7:15 p.m. Dinner reservations are $16 for adults, $8 for children, free for children under 5.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have a Chanukah dinner singalong with Cantor Mintz and storytelling with Rabbi Silverman on Dec. 11. There will be a dreidel tournament and sufganiyot bar following the 6 p.m. Shabbat services. Dinner reservations are open to all and are $15 for adults, $10 for children.

Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Chanukah party on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., which will also include a raffle for two courtside seats to the Jan. 6 Pelicans game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Chabad’s Mobile Menorah car parade will be at Chabad Uptown starting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12. An after-party will be at Chabad following the caravan.

The New Orleans community Chanukah celebration will be on Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. Chicago-based a capella sensation Listen Up! will perform.


Mississippi events

B’nai Israel in Columbus will have a Chanukah potluck, auction and raffle on Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

Hebrew Union Congregation in Greenville has its Chanukah lunch on Dec. 13 at 11 a.m., with student performances.

Beth Israel in Gulfport will have its family Chanukah party on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.

At Beth Israel in Jackson, the Men’s Club and Sisterhood will hold their annual Chanukah dinner on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., with brisket and latkes. Family menorahs are encouraged. Reservations are requested by Nov. 23, $12 for adults and $5 for ages 3 to 10, or pay at the door, $15 for adults and $7 for children.

Chanukah events across the Deep South