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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.

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

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, with details to be announced.

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

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Arrest made in shooting of Jewish Tulane med student who aided assaulted woman

Euric Cain, via NOPD

UPDATED THROUGHOUT (Nov. 24): A Jewish medical student at Tulane University is being hailed as a hero and is recovering from being shot after he stopped his car to assist a woman who was being assaulted.

Peter Gold, 25, spotted a woman being carried against her will toward a car on St. Mary Street as he drove along Magazine Street at 4 a.m. on Nov. 20.

On Nov. 23, Euric Cain was arrested for the incident and charged with attempted first degree murder, second degree kidnapping, attempted armed robbery and armed robbery. He is being held without bond. A bond hearing has been set for Dec. 3, and a preliminary hearing will be on Dec. 16.

When Gold saw Cain and the woman, he turned against traffic onto St. Mary and went to the woman, who by then was laying on the sidewalk. Her attacker, who had taken her purse and entered a vehicle, then emerged from the SUV, demanded any valuables that Gold might have, but Gold wasn’t carrying any money.

The attacker pointed a pistol at Gold’s face and pulled the trigger while Gold had his hands up, but the gun jammed. The attacker then lowered the gun and shot Gold in the stomach, then tried to shoot him in the head again, but the gun jammed a second time. After that, the assailant got back into the car, described as a grey Ford Expedition, and sped off.

The woman, who has not been identified, was treated for minor injuries. Gold was in guarded condition and is expected to recover. His condition was upgraded to stable on Nov. 24.

Tulane University put up a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment, and Crimestoppers put up another $2500.

Security camera footage was released and helped lead to the arrest. Cain was identified on Nov. 22 and his vehicle was recovered the same day. He was taken into custody at a home at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 23.

Cain has a criminal record that includes charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, several weapons charges, and he was last arrested on Nov. 2 for possession of a stolen cell phone that was taken in a carjacking.

After being arrested, Cain made a “full confession” to the armed robbery of the unidentified woman and the shooting of Gold, according to NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. Cain was attempting to take the woman’s purse when Gold drove up.

Two women were in the house where Cain was arrested. After interviews, one of them, 17-year-old Nictoria Washington, was arrested as an accessory after the fact for hiding him. She is described as Cain’s girlfriend.

“We made a commitment to identify the suspect of this horrific crime and take him off the street and we made good on that promise,” said NOPD Superintendent Michael Harrison. “I am extremely proud of the hard work of the men and women of the NOPD and U.S. Marshals Service who pursued this investigation relentlessly from the start. We will not tolerate this type of behavior in our city. We will continue to do everything we can to prevent these violent acts and use every resource available to apprehend those who choose to commit them.”

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Cain “will likely spend the rest of his life in jail, as he should," Landrieu said. "And what a waste it is. His life will be lost and Dr. Gold's life will be changed forever, and the city will continue to be scarred.”

Tulane President Michael Fitts expressed “gratitude and relief” at the arrest. “We continue to keep Peter and the Gold family utmost in our thoughts and ask everyone to do the same. We also ask that everyone continue to respect the Gold family's need for privacy.”

On Nov. 23, Tulane spokesman Mike Strecker released a statement on behalf of the Gold family, saying "Peter continues to improve and remains in guarded condition. The Gold family is very grateful to the doctors and other medical professionals at University Medical Center who are providing such excellent care for Peter. We again ask that everyone respect our family's need for privacy during this difficult time."

Fitts said Gold “is an outstanding student who represents the best of Tulane in every possible way.” He also noted that Gold has been active with Hillel, and both his parents and sister attended Tulane.

Gold is from Longwood, Fla., and received his undergraduate degree in sociology from Tulane. He received the department’s Outstanding Student award his senior year.

Speaking of Gold, Landrieu said "His courage is another example of the fact that the citizens of New Orleans are not going to turn a blind eye to crime, and that we are going to fight back."

Michael Weil, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, called him "a true hero" and said "may he have a speedy successful recovery."

The Tic Toc Café posted on its marquee “You saved a woman’s life without using a stethoscope. You’re gonna be a great doctor.”

Harrison said "we're very proud of those actions he took, those very selfless actions he took to intervene when he saw something that wasn't right.” But, he added, “we would admonish citizens to call us, when they have the opportunity to call us.”

Arrest made in shooting of Jewish Tulane med student who aided assaulted woman

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

In B'ham talk, French, German officials discuss terrorism, anti-Semitism

German Deputy Consul General Thomas Wulfing and French Consul General Denis Barbet

It was poignant timing that the Anti-Defamation League’s Atlanta office had scheduled a forum in Birmingham for Nov. 18 on “Anti-Semitism and Extremism in Europe,” featuring Atlanta-based diplomats from France and Germany.

The Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, which left 129 dead and hundreds wounded, cast a somber shadow on the event, which drew a full house to the community room at the Sirote and Permutt law firm.

The first half of the discussion dealt with the attacks and their aftermath.

French Consul General Denis Barbet opened with the Nov. 24 Washington visit of French President Francois Hollande, where he will speak with President Barack Obama about assembling a worldwide coalition to defeat Daesh. Hollande will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Barbet explained that France uses the acronym Daesh instead of ISIS. “We refuse to recognize them as any kind of state, we consider them terrorists.”

If Europe unites behind the effort, “united with all democracies to fight against them, we will be able to defeat them,” Barbet said. “The sooner the better, for everyone.”

On Nov. 17, Germany cancelled a friendly match involving the national soccer team after people “connected to the intelligence community” said they had concrete information on a planned terror attack.

German Deputy Consul General Thomas Wulfing said in Germany, “everybody is on much higher alert than they were before” Nov. 13.

He added that a couple of alleged terror attacks were foiled, and there were arrests in Aachen related to the Paris attacks.

Barbet noted that preventing attacks takes a great deal of international cooperation. “We almost know from where they came, who their targets are. It’s not over. We are very aware more strikes will come — we’re going to try to prevent them, obviously.”

Both said that their countries’ intelligence forces are working with their counterparts in Israel. Barbet noted that in the case of the Paris attacks, most of the intelligence is being gathered in Europe, because that is where the “organizing, planning, acting and hiding” came from.

Wulfing said Germany has “excellent” relations with Israeli intelligence.

While ADL Regional Director Mark Moskowitz and local organizer Steven Brickman expressed solidarity with the people of France at the start of the event, Barbet reminded that the 129 who were killed in Paris represented 19 nations, including a student from California. “We are all targets of the terrorists.”

Wulfing noted “the attacks on Paris have shown all of us that we’re in this together. It happened to all of us.”

The attacks intensified debate in the United States over the wisdom of plans to welcome 10,000 “vetted” Syrian refugees, but the diplomats said there isn’t a similar debate against the refugees going on in their countries, and Barbet warned against conflating the Syrian refugee issue with fighting terrorism.

France is taking in 30,000 Syrian refugees in the next two years. While the debate in the U.S. centers on whether terrorists would take advantage of such programs to infiltrate western societies, Barbet said the attackers on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket earlier in the year “were French. They were not Syrian.” Likewise, the Nov. 13 terrorists were French and Belgian.

Barbet and Wulfing both said integrating the refugees into their respective societies is of the utmost importance. Barbet noted that the newcomers will have to accept French law and the openness of French society. “Even Muslims in France won’t accept Daesh imposing a religious structure on political life and law” in the country.

Wulfing said the dire situation in the Middle East means the newcomers won’t be looking to leave, so they must be integrated as quickly as possible. “Language is essential, then jobs,” but “they have to integrate… respecting our free and open society.”

The overwhelming majority of Germans, Wulfing said, is in favor of welcoming the refugees, because they realize there is no way to send them “back to the hell they came from.”

Shifting focus to the original topic of the program, Moskowitz played two video clips — one from French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and one by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, giving recent speeches deploring acts of anti-Semitism in their countries, including Merkel’s condemnation of pro-Palestinian rallies that are little more than covers for overt anti-Semitism.

Though France has seen a large number of incidents against the Jewish community in recent years, Barbet said it is a “top national priority” in France to ensure that French Jews feel “they are part of the French identity. France is their home and intends it to be their home for the coming centuries.”

Currently, France has deployed 10,000 soldiers to protect over 700 Jewish institutions in the country. Long-term, the “teaching of tolerance and civic education” is key, and France has “maybe the harshest” laws against anti-Semitic acts.

Wulfing said one of the “pillars of our existence” is Germany’s relationship with and responsibility to Israel, and he considers it “a miracle” that there is a “growing, flourishing, fantastic Jewish community” in Germany.

Germany teaches its youth about the consequences of anti-Semitism and how it paved the way to what happened under the Nazis. One problem, he noted, is that this type of education was not given to refugees, “many of them from regions or countries where there is a heavy indoctrination not only against Israel but Jewish people in general.”

They are paying special attention to that and showing them that “any form of discrimination, but given Germany’s history, anti-Semitism in particular, is not tolerable.”

Failure to integrate the refugees would lead to a “ghettoed minority in our country with extreme views.”

They were asked about comments by some, including Sweden’s foreign minister, saying that the Palestinian situation contributed to the Paris attacks. Barbet dismissed that as a motivation for Daesh, saying “I don’t think they care about Palestinians.”

Moskowitz concluded the program by urging the diplomats to ensure that the international coalition that negotiated a nuclear deal with Iran is vigilant in ensuring strict compliance.

In B'ham talk, French, German officials discuss terrorism, anti-Semitism

Monday, November 16, 2015

Demographic study underway for Birmingham Jewish community

A survey of the Birmingham Jewish community is being undertaken by a coalition of agencies and congregations, to understand the demographics, attitudes, opinions and needs of Jewish residents in the area.

The survey is being undertaken after the 2013 Pew Research Council’s landmark national study, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans.” Many other communities, including Nashville, Memphis and St. Louis, have done similar studies since then, and an academic researcher from Brandeis who was involved in many of those studies is consulting on the Birmingham study.

Claire Parker of Parker Consulting in Birmingham is overseeing the process, which began in October with emails being sent to known households so they could complete an on-line survey that takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

The responses are confidential and nobody is required to give a name. On most questions, there is an option to not answer, and space for clarifying comments.

Only one survey can be completed per household. It requests such information as number of individuals in the household, participation in the community if any, current needs and anticipated needs in the near future.

The sponsoring organizations are the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, Chabad of Alabama, Collat Jewish Family Services, Knesseth Israel, Levite Jewish Community Center, N. E. Miles Jewish Day School, Temple Beth-El and Temple Emanu-El.

As the online survey continues, there is an effort to find those in the area who are unknown to the sponsoring agencies, and links to the survey are being set up for them.

Those completing the survey can also suggest individuals they know who are Jewish but not involved in the community, so their opinions can be heard as well.

About 200 surveys were mailed to known Jewish households for whom there was no known email address.

The organizers hope to have all survey responses in by Dec. 15.

Anyone with questions may contact any of the sponsoring organizations for more information.

Demographic study underway for Birmingham Jewish community

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Texas holiday tradition, delivered: Greenberg Smoked Turkeys

When S.I. Greenberg was serving as the kosher butcher in Tyler, Tex., in the 1930s, little could he have imagined that what he was doing would set the groundwork for enhancing tens of thousands of Christmas celebrations across the region.

It’s the busy season for Greenberg Smoked Turkeys, which will sell over 200,000 turkeys in the next two months, at its smokehouse in east Texas and through an extensive mail-order operation.

In 2006, Texas Monthly said the turkeys are such an ingrained tradition for many families, they’d sooner give up their Christmas trees than their Greenberg turkeys.

In the last few years, Greenberg has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and was listed as an “Oprah’s Favorites Under $100” in Oprah magazine as “the best turkey I’ve ever tasted.” Forbes magazine described it as “like a ham with ambitions toward flight.”

It all started from a tin smoking shed that S.I. Greenberg built on their dairy farm, as was common in the area. He had arrived in Galveston from Eastern Europe in 1903, becoming the leader of Ahavath Achim in Tyler. Aside from being a shochet, he was also a mohel and had a blacksmith shop downtown. While neighbors smoked hams, he smoked turkeys.

Friends started asking him to smoke birds for them. After a few years, there was a request in 1942 for six birds from friends in Dallas. Son Zelick Greenberg figured out how to pack them for shipping and sent them by rail, leading to more mail orders.

Because of war shortages they had to improvise by repurposing boxes from the local grocery store.

The operation grew, with Zelick adding more smokehouses as time went on, but there was a major setback in 1951 on Christmas Eve, after the last orders for the season had been filled. Ashes that turned out to still be smoldering had been put on a trash pile and caught fire, burning everything down, said Sam Greenberg, Zelick’s son and the third Greenberg generation in the business.

Zelick “built back what is the heart of the plant that we have today,” he said.

The processes are the same, Sam Greenberg said, “we just do it a little more and a little faster.” He runs the plant with “right-hand man” Tracy Lisner.

While most people identify turkeys with Thanksgiving, November isn’t the busiest time of the year for Greenberg. Roughly one-third of their annual business is for Thanksgiving, while two-thirds is for Christmas. “After December 25, we’re basically finished until next September,” he said. While they do sell a small number of turkeys the rest of the year, “this is the only time of the year for us.”

The turkeys are spice rubbed and smoked from three hickory-wood fires in one of 20 pit houses, with no gas or electrical heat, just wood. “They’re not baked, they‘re not ‘kind of’ smoked,” he said. The rub comes from a recipe by Jenny Greenberg, S.I. Greenberg’s mother, Sam’s great-grandmother.

The smoking gives it a dark brown color, which might initially surprise someone used to golden brown turkeys. Also, because of the smoking process they recommend not eating the skin, just the flavorful meat inside.

Fans say that stock made from the turkeys is perfect for gumbo and jambalaya, and the first recipe listed on the Greenberg website is for a smoked turkey and Andouille sausage gumbo.

The turkeys average 8 to 10 pounds, a 10-pounder sells for $57.70, though larger ones are available. UPS Ground shipping adds about $12 or so to the bill.

The turkeys are shipped in the signature Greenberg white box that, like so much about the company, has not changed in decades. The turkey arrives ready to eat — but if you don’t tear into it right away it should be refrigerated. They recommend eating it within 6 to 8 days, and serving it chilled or at room temperature, not reheated.

Though Greenberg keeps things the way they have always been because he doesn’t want to mess with so many families’ cherished holiday traditions, there have been a few changes over the years, including online ordering. In 2009, the website started accepting credit cards, instead of just sending an invoice with the shipments.

Another change came with the end of supplying kosher turkeys. “We always had a small quantity of kosher birds, keeping true to our heritage,” he said. But in the 1990s, the inability to get a reliable supply of quality kosher turkeys led him to discontinue them.

“That was not a decision that came easily to me,” he said. But it was “not worth risking our reputation” on sub-par birds, and he noted that there was one load of kosher turkeys that the USDA would not even allow into his plant.

Still, “the roots of this business are deeply embedded in the Jewish community of Tyler.”

He also said “The people of Tyler are the people who put my grandfather and my father in business. Regardless of religion, background, race — people around here enjoyed what my father and grandfather did.

“Tyler and east Texas have made us what we are and we can’t thank them enough.”

A Texas holiday tradition, delivered: Greenberg Smoked Turkeys

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Breaking Bread: NOLA Nostra Aetate event launches Jewish-Catholic partnership

Rabbi Michael Cook

The 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate will be marked in New Orleans with a program coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans and the Jewish Community Relations Council in partnership with the Archdiocese of Greater New Orleans.

This will kick off a new partnership among the groups, Breaking Bread, which will hold additional collaborative events in the future.

Michael Cook of Hebrew Union College and His Excellency Gregory Michael Aymond, archbishop of New Orleans, will discuss the landmark document on Nov. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in Nunemaker Hall at Loyola University.

The program, which is free and open to the community, will celebrate the relationship cultivated between the Jewish and Catholic faiths during the past half century, and look toward the growth of collaborative efforts. Scott Walker will emcee the evening, and there will be a kosher dessert reception.

Cook is the Sol and Arlene Bronstein Professor of Judaeo-Christian Studies, and Professor of Intertestamental and Early Christian Literatures at HUC in Cincinnati. Regarded as the only rabbi in North America to hold a full professorial Chair in New Testament, he has keynoted hundreds of Institutes for Christian Clergy across the country, and was one of seven scholars selected by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to assess the accuracy of the advance script of Mel Gibson's “Passion of the Christ.”

Aymond is the first native New Orleanian to serve as archbishop in the over 200-year history of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He became auxiliary bishop in 2007, then coadjutor Bishop of Austin in 2000. In 2009 he was elevated to Archbishop of New Orleans. He has served as chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the Committee on Divine Worship, and currently chairs the board of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Nostra Aetate, which is Latin for “In Our Time,” was passed by the assembled Catholic bishops on Oct. 28, 1965 by a vote of 2,221 to 88, under the direction of Pope Paul VI, toward the end of the Second Vatican Council.

The declaration, which was made in five parts, starts by affirming the unity of the origin of all people, then clarifies the church’s relations with other world religions. The fourth section deals with the Jewish people, and speaks of the bond that “New Covenant” people, namely Christians, have with the descendants of Abraham.

It repudiated the centuries-old charge that all Jews were responsible for deicide in the death of Jesus, as well as the notion that Jews are “rejected or accursed by God.”

The document continues, “In her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.”

This was seen as a major break with church-sponsored theological anti-Jewish teachings throughout the centuries, which had led to numerous mass murders, forcible conversions and expulsions of Jews.

In commenting on the 50th anniversary, Pope Francis stated “Since Nostra Aetate, indifference and opposition have turned into cooperation and goodwill. Enemies and strangers became friends and brothers.”

After the declaration, over two dozen centers for Christian-Jewish understanding were set up at Catholic institutions in the United Sates. It also had an effect on local levels, such as the Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue, which started when Bishop John May asked Mary and Paul Filben to approach the Jewish community for a series of joint programs.

Breaking Bread: NOLA Nostra Aetate event launches Jewish-Catholic partnership

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sam Lapidus Montclair Run adds 5K to Thanksgiving race

File photo (2013)

Each year, over 1,000 runners hit Montclair Road in Birmingham on Thanksgiving morning to take part in the Sam Lapidus Montclair Run. This year, the run is expanding so runners of all levels can participate.

In addition to the usual 10-kilometer race and one-mile fun run, the Levite Jewish Community Center’s 39th annual event will also feature a 5-kilometer race, sponsored by Schaeffer Eye Center.

The event was renamed in 2008 in memory of Sam Lapidus, who loved fitness and working out at the LJCC. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma at age 9 in 2003, but refused to let it alter his plans. He died in November 2008, just shy of his 15th birthday, and Bruce Sokol urged the LJCC to name the event in his memory.

Proceeds from the race benefit the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama and the LJCC Fitness Program. The Center for Childhood Cancer donations help children in Alabama by enhancing services, building new programs, and recruiting new physicians and researchers.

Registration is already open online and at the LJCC. Packet pickup and registration starts on Nov. 25 at 9 a.m., then at 7 a.m. on Nov. 26. The 10- and 5-kilometer races will begin at 8:30 a.m., at which point registration will begin for the fun run. The fun run will be at 10 a.m., and an awards ceremony will begin around 10:30 a.m.

There will be RFID chip timing and awards to the top three overall finishers and by age group in male and female categories. All entrants will receive a T-shirt, and the course is certified by USATF.

Sam Lapidus Montclair Run adds 5K to Thanksgiving race

Monday, November 9, 2015

Golden Wasn't Silent: Remembering an outspoken Jewish newspaper pioneer

by Larry Brook, editor

When I started attending national Jewish newspaper conventions in the early 1990s, when people found out where I was from, I was often asked if I knew fellow Southerner Harry Golden, with a tone that indicated they were speaking about one of the giants of our profession.

One really should know the trailblazers, but I knew next to nothing about Golden, except a vague notion of a publication in the Carolinas, though he was a household name in the 1950s and 1960s. His newspaper, the Carolina Israelite, folded in 1968, Charlotte is a six-hour drive from Birmingham — not exactly next door — and Golden died in 1981, when I was doing a newspaper… as a sixth grade student at the Birmingham Jewish Day School.

So, no, I did not know Golden.

In “Carolina Israelite: How Harry Golden Made Us Care about Jews, the South, and Civil Rights,” Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett preserves the story of a writer and publisher who is “a bit of a Forrest Gump tale,” having a front-row seat to a wide array of major historical events and never shying away from giving his opinion about them, regardless of what others thought.

Daughter of a transplanted Southerner, Hartnett said she grew up reading Golden’s books and her mother said she had worked for Golden at one time. While researching her book, she came across a folder among the Harry Golden papers at North Carolina-Charlotte that contained notes in her mother’s handwriting.

“Once I learned a bit about Golden I realized he was exactly the sort of person I love to read about — an unlikely and very flawed hero. He was a writer who used his celebrity to fight on behalf of others,” she said.

Born in 1903 in what is now Ukraine, Golden immigrated to New York with his family in 1907.

Goldhirsch, as his family name was back then, peddled newspapers on the New York streets. In 1915 at the age of 12, he was greatly affected by the front page story about the lynching of Leo Frank in Atlanta. Hartnett points out, “For the rest of his life, Golden was something of a student of what we now call ‘hate crimes’.” Fifty years later, Golden would write a book about the case, “A Little Girl is Dead.”

He would be influenced by storytellers and “showmen” publishers, such as “Little Blue Books” publisher Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, who would take sleepy classics and change the titles to something provocative, then list only the title in a mail-order catalog. But at the time that was a peripheral influence, as he was on Wall Street during the roaring 1920s — until he was sentenced to five years in prison for mail fraud involving stock scams, with Virginia Methodist Bishop and political activist James Cannon Jr. as one of his major clients.

After his term in prison, he sold advertising for a New York newspaper, then flopped at an ad venture tied to the World’s Fair, and was still involved in sketchy enterprises. In 1943, he was arrested in Birmingham after writing the Tutwiler Hotel that a representative of the “Advertising Trade Service Inc. of New York City” would be visiting and asked for “all courtesies” for the representative. While the Tutwiler was apparently happy to comp rooms and meals to someone they though was legitimate, they called the police when he started bouncing personal checks.

Traveling around as a writer and salesman, he wound up in Charlotte, which turned out to be a great fit. It was a small enough place where he could have a large effect, but large enough to have a vibrant journalism community. It was in the South, which was on the verge of a major societal change that meshed with his cheering of the underdog and passion for advocating equality.

He launched the “improbably titled” Carolina Israelite, spinning yarns and tackling controversial issues head-on. “He exposed racism in all its guises and deconstructed anti-Semitism, and he did it with wit and originality,” Hartnett said.

Often, he castigated the Jewish community for inaction, which was not uncommon in Southern communities where the Jewish community was caught in the middle in the civil rights struggle. “Horrified” was a routine reaction in the Charlotte Jewish community to his writing.

Golden “introduced whites to blacks, Gentiles to Jews. His endless stream of anecdotes gave northerners a glimpse of Dixie and Southerners a sense of the Lower East Side,” Hartnett said. Once he got his reader or listener to laugh — and it never took long — he could get them to question the status quo.

In the process, he amassed a huge number of celebrities and politicians as friends, though none as close as writer Carl Sandburg. Golden would often add a prominent person to his mailing list, and then mention in print that the unknowing individual was a subscriber, as a way of attracting other subscribers. “It’s amazing how often this led to real friendship,” Hartnett said.

At one point, his newspaper claimed 55,000 subscribers.

In 1958, a collection of his tales from growing up on the Lower East Side, “Only in America” became a surprise runaway best-seller. He followed it with one book per year, many of them also becoming huge sellers and earning him entrée to the “Tonight Show” couch.

It also led to the unmasking of his past, with the revelation of his fraud convictions — but the public shrugged off the scandal and in 1973 he even managed to get a Federal pardon from the Nixon administration.

As self-promoter, storyteller and humorist, sometimes his works fell flat as he played fast and loose with reality. Some of his more scholarly books are viewed with skepticism today, and when Life magazine hired him to cover the Eichmann trial, they discontinued his reports after the first one.

His writing included “Golden Plans” to change society, often absurd but pointed, such as his argument that if Jim Crow laws said mixing races was fine as long as people were not seated together, then schools should remove chairs from the classrooms.

When Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, he listed Golden among the “too few in quantity” whites in the South who “have written about our struggle in eloquent and prophetic terms.”

As noted in the book, Golden certainly had comments to make after the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, and Bloody Sunday in Selma.

But that was also the beginning of a demoralizing time for Golden. He would still travel and do lectures, but much of the grind of the paper was too wearing. Also, elements in the civil rights movement were transitioning from equal rights to black power, a shift that alarmed him. The assassinations of King and Robert Kennedy were also a heavy load for him to bear.

Golden’s life “encompassed some of the most fascinating and telling events in America’s modern history,” Hartnett said. “Anywhere big news was breaking, Golden seemed to be there.”

Golden Wasn't Silent: Remembering an outspoken Jewish newspaper pioneer

Friday, November 6, 2015

Stay Young: Approaching 100, Holocaust survivor Joseph Sher maintains cheerful outlook on life

Joseph Sher sings “Yidl Mitn Fidl” with a fiddler figurine

For Joseph Sher, who has made his home in New Orleans for 65 years after a lengthy ordeal in surviving the Holocaust, there are two phrases that detail his outlook on life.

The first is “God Bless America.” The second one, which he continues to share with everyone as he approaches the age of 100, is “Stay young, zei gezunt.”

Rabbi David Polsky of Anshe Sfard in New Orleans said it is remarkable that “someone who went through the worst thing known to man can still be among the most cheerful people you’ll ever meet.”

Joseph was a tailor in New Orleans for decades, but for years before that, those skills served him well and helped him survive the Nazi regime for a long time.

“So many little things had to coexist for him to survive,” said daughter-in-law Karen Sher, who is married to Joseph’s son Leopold. “It helped he was a tailor, but there were a lot of other things too.”

Joseph was born in Krzepice, a small town in Poland. He was the middle son of three boys and had three sisters. Well before the Holocaust, he experienced anti-Semitism in school and on the street.

When the Nazis came, the family was living in Czestochowa. Every Jewish male between 15 and 80 was ordered to assemble in the market, where every 10th or 12th man was shot.

Joseph and a friend tried to escape to Russia, but the Russians stopped those who were trying to flee. They returned to Czestochowa.

Each family was ordered to send one man to build a highway in the east, and he went because his older brother was married and his younger brother was not old enough. Of the 1,000 from the city who were sent to build the highway, he was one of only three to survive.

While he was in the labor camp for nine months, two German Jews in the town ghetto, who had contacts, managed to get Joseph freed. Upon his return, he developed typhus, an instant death sentence if the Nazis found out. His family hid him behind a wall for a month until he recovered.

On Yom Kippur in 1942 there was a massive deportation, and his grandmother was killed in front of them.

His older brother, Leo, had been selected to take care of the dog belonging to the chief of the Gestapo — for the childless couple, the dog was their child. “They loved Leo so much that they treated him like he was their own son,” Joseph said.

When the entire ghetto was being liquidated to Treblinka, the chief tipped Leo off about the plan, and told him they had confiscated a Jewish man’s porcelain factory and needed 10 workers, who he could select. Joseph, a cousin and eight others started working there for a few weeks, then another manager kicked them out, sending them back to a smaller ghetto.

From May 1943 to January 1945 he and his wife, Rachel, worked in a slave labor camp making ammunition. “I was lucky: my job was to be a tailor working for the German officers. My wife’s job was to carry boxes of ammunition to the trucks.” The women who filled the shells got sick from the powder, and were killed when that happened.

The German officers had confiscated all the minks and furs from the Jews and gave them to their wives. Among his many other jobs, Joseph was tasked with repairing the coats, then fitting the officers’ wives.

In January 1945 the Russians approached the camp and the Germans fled. A few hours later, the Germans returned and urged the workers to escape with them, since the Russians supposedly would kill them for making the ammunition used against them. Most of them followed and boarded trains that never returned.

Leo, Joseph and Rachel did not get on the trains and made their way back to town. They found the Russians and the Jews dancing in the streets of Czestochowa.

Joseph met a Russian Jewish captain, Zalman Brodsky, who said they had to go back to the front but had no tailors, no underwear and torn uniforms. He went with the Russians and worked around the clock for them.

One day when Brodsky was away, another Russian officer did not believe the story of who Joseph was and put him in a prison camp with 5,000 German soldiers. When Brodsky returned he was enraged and went to the camp. A large man, he opened his coat and stuffed Joseph inside, then started to leave the camp. When the guards threatened to shoot, Brodsky said they would have to shoot Joseph through him.

After that, Brodsky personally delivered him back to Czestochowa.

Rachel was the only survivor from her family, so they went back to her home. The building’s janitor still lived there and was surprised to see them; his apartment was filled with furniture from her family.

Karen noted that returning Jews were routinely being killed in Poland after the war. Joseph said they did not trust the janitor so they quickly and quietly left.

At the building where his family had lived, Poles who had moved into the abandoned apartments threw unwanted items into the courtyard. “It lay there in a big pile for several years,” Joseph said. Deep in the pile he found a treasured heirloom — his family pictures.

After the war, Leo worked in the Polish army to uncover Nazis in hiding. He also procured a Russian truck and enabled 50 Jewish children to be smuggled across the Czech border in an illegal operation to circumvent the British blockade on Jewish immigration to Palestine.

After a 1946 blood libel pogrom in Keilce where 42 Jews were killed, they fled to Czechoslovakia, then crawled over the border to a U.S. sector of Germany. They lived in DP camps until 1949, and among other things he taught sewing skills to 22 girls in an ORT class.

Rachel had an aunt in New Orleans, Freda Stahl, so they arranged to be sponsored and brought over.

Unlike most Jewish immigrants who came to the United States, they went directly to New Orleans, where they got off the boat in March 1949 and Joseph kissed the ground.

At 6 a.m. the next day, he went to work at Harry Hyman Tailors. He worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week for 40 years, taking off only for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover and Shavuot.

Karen said he had “very prominent clients — he did suits for Elvis Presley, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino.” Nobody wanted him to retire. Even after he did, people would still bring things to him, she said.

Leopold said he was the tailor for all of the criminal court judges. Hotel doormen, who were tall, couldn’t buy off the rack so he did their custom clothing. He noted that Joseph was 5-foot-5 while the doormen were often close to 7 feet tall. “He’d have to jump up on the table to measure them.”

Just after they arrived, the Times-Picayune did a story on them, where Joseph said all he wants is “to get a job, forget the past, support my wife and child… To have privacy, not to be ordered about, not to have to stand in line — that is all I ask of life.”

A few days later he received a letter in the mail, but unable to read or speak English, he did not know what it said. He gave it to a cousin, who told him not to ask. The letter, which was turned over to B’nai B’rith, said “If Hitler did not get you over there we are going to get you here.”

Their first son, Martin, was born in a DP camp. Leopold soon followed after the family arrived in New Orleans.

Just once did Leopold see something other than a joyful demeanor from Joseph — when the film “Exodus” came out in 1961 and George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi Party came to town with nine others to demonstrate outside the theater. “It was the angriest I’d ever seen him.”

Many in the community’s leadership wanted to be low-key about the protest to not give Rockwell publicity, but the local survivor community wanted to make Rockwell feel their presence.

That incident prompted local Holocaust survivors to form the New American Social Club, which instituted an annual Holocaust remembrance ceremony and became an organized voice for the survivor community.

The Shers lived on Seventh Street between Baronne and Carondelet, within walking distance of Anshe Sfard. Joseph says the small congregation is “my home” and still considers it the “highest mitzvah” to make the minyan there on Shabbat.

Though Joseph is now in a wheelchair and not within walking distance, he still goes to Anshe Sfard regularly. Because the 1920s-era building is not particularly accessible, every week a group carries him up and down the front steps, to the second-floor sanctuary.

Leopold says he has suggested going to another congregation which is closer or more accessible, but Joseph insists on being at Anshe Sfard.

At a Shabbat marking Joseph’s 99th birthday last November, Polsky said “he’s been the pillar of Anshe Sfard for over 60 years, helping to keep it going for many years when it was struggling to get a minyan.”

Joseph will often break out into song. Karen said if things had gone differently, “He could have been a star of the Yiddish theater.” Even now, “on occasion he’ll do a new song we’ve never heard before.”

In 2005, Leopold and Karen were away when Katrina hit, and Joseph had ridden out many hurricanes before. After the storm passed, Joseph told them it wasn’t so bad. Then the levees broke.

Joseph had an old hard-wired rotary phone. Just before the storm, he also got the Lifeline service. “When all communication in the city was down, somehow we are communicating with him by phone. No other phone in the city was working,” Leopold said.

On Aug. 31, Joseph was sitting outside his apartment on Broadway when Juan Parke came by, wading through chest-high water. Parke told him that he could lead him and the other tenants who were trapped to dry land, but they did not want to get into the water.

Parke told them he would try to find a boat — so they told him that they had seen one in a neighbor’s backyard. Parke “borrowed” it and transported Joseph and the others to safety. He later told the Times-Picayune that he told Joseph “I’d be damned if I’d let this storm do what the Nazis couldn’t.”

Joseph returned to New Orleans in March of 2006. He viewed Katrina as a “piece of cake” compared to what he had been through in Europe.

For a long time, he did not speak about his experiences, so as not to affect their children, but later on started telling them about it, bit by bit. In recent years he has spoken to school groups and given numerous interviews about his story.

With all of Joseph’s experiences, Leopold said he is “more of a patriot than most people. If there’s ever anyone who can appreciate this country… it’s someone who can compare” it to other places in the world.

“That’s freedom,” Joseph said. “Nobody is going to bother me here anymore.”

Stay Young: Approaching 100, Holocaust survivor Joseph Sher maintains cheerful outlook on life

Thursday, November 5, 2015

George Rodrigue: Portraits of the UL Flora Levy Lecturers

George Rodrigue's portrait of Shirley Ann Grau, 1983

Beginning in 1980, George Rodrigue painted the portrait of each year’s guest lecturer at what we now call the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The speaker series was conceived by Professor Maurice DuQuesnay and funded by the friend he made at the Lafayette synagogue, Flora Levy, an heiress and philanthropist who eventually left her fortune to the university.

Rodrigue lived in Lafayette at the time, and he supported the university where he attended his first intensive art classes. That time included his studies with Professor Calvin Harlan in 1963, where Rodrigue created a design book over many months — a project that ultimately landed him at a prestigious graduate school, the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles.

In most cases the speakers posed for photographs which Rodrigue then used as a guide in painting their portrait. DuQuesnay provided a list of key elements from important works by each guest lecturer to incorporate into the portrait. These portraits became a way for Rodrigue to give back to his alma mater.

The exhibition includes portraits of Flora Levy, Robert Coles, Bruno Bettelheim, Peter Gay, Walker Percy, Father Avery Dulles, Sophie Freud and others.

This exhibition is a partnership between the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts. The exhibit is on view at the University Art Museum in Lafayette through Jan. 2.

George Rodrigue: Portraits of the UL Flora Levy Lecturers

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Filming the Camps — John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens: From Hollywood to Nuremberg

It was 70 years ago when the world got its first look of film shot by the Allies in the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Filmmakers John Ford (director of “The Grapes of Wrath”), George Stevens (famous for his Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers movies and later “The Diary of Anne Frank”), Samuel Filler (the son of two Jewish immigrants; he went on to direct more than 25 films including “The Big Red One”) captured now-familiar footage of the war. But most know little about their confrontation with Nazi atrocities and how it affected them for the rest of their lives.

Their film documentation of World War II and concentration camp liberation was utilized as evidence during the Nuremberg trials — the first time movies were used in such a fashion. They served as inspiration for Hollywood cinema as well. Artifacts include rare film footage, interviews, manuscripts, photographs, director’s notes, and additional video of WWII.

The Atlanta History Center is one of only two U.S. venues hosting “Filming the Camps,” designed, created and distributed by the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. It will be on display through Nov. 20.

Filming the Camps — John Ford, Samuel Fuller, George Stevens: From Hollywood to Nuremberg

Longue Vue House and Gardens: The Architecture, Interiors, and Gardens of New Orleans' Most Celebrated Estate

A book launch party is taking place November 4.  From Longue Vue: Visit Longue Vue House and Gardens for a panel discussion on its new book, featuring photographer Tina Freeman, and authors Carol McMichael Reese and Walter Stern. Discussion will begin at 4 p.m. in the Playhouse, immediately followed by Freeman’s “Legacy of Elegance” exhibit opening featuring new Longue Vue photography and a book signing.

Review from the November issues of SJL:

Substantial enough in size and comprehensiveness of content, “Longue Vue House and Gardens” is destined for display rather than to be shelved away and will be the book to give and receive this holiday season.

Those interested in the New Orleans landmark’s architecture and landscape will appreciate the biographies of the planners and details of how elements came together as well as letters of appreciation from Edith and Edgar Stern, the original owners. The home was built between 1935 and 1942 with eight acres of gardens.

Quality, large-scale photography abounds in the book, including that of plant specimens conveniently paired in text with their nomenclature. Ellen Biddle Shipman’s planting plans (even the spring, summer planting plan for the portico garden) along with lists of each variety used as in the Japanese Iris area, and other plans with each vegetable enumerated with its place in the vegetable garden are especially noteworthy.

Beside seeing the home in person at an event or as part of a tour, the images of the interior — along with architectural and furniture plans — show how timeless the the furnishings, fabrics and millwork truly are alongside the inventiveness the Sterns incorporated such as built-in bathroom scales, elevator, a dark room, and the first integrated central air conditioning system in the area.

Those familiar with Louisiana architecture will especially appreciate how so many elements of the home are inspired by other landmarks such as the Beauregard-Keyes House, the Uncle Sam House in Convent, and Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia.

There is also a section on the Sterns. His family was in the cotton factoring business in New Orleans, while she was the daughter of Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., who also bankrolled efforts to build thousands of rural schools for blacks throughout the South.

The book details the couple’s philanthropic endeavors in the New Orleans area, in the Jewish and general communities. They were instrumental in the formation of Dillard University and Flint-Goodridge Hospital, though the book notes the Sterns had to be “resourceful” in discussing the institution because of rigid racial social codes of the day.

The review may also be found in the November issues of SJL. Digital files here.

Longue Vue House and Gardens: The Architecture, Interiors, and Gardens of New Orleans' Most Celebrated Estate

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Get Outta Town with Jewish Community Day School Gala Auction Items

The Jewish Community Day School Gala “Homecoming 20! — Looking Back, Moving Forward” celebrates the Metairie school’s 20th anniversary of providing academic excellence, on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. at Temple Sinai.

According to JCDS Head Sharon Pollin, in August of 1995, for the very first time, a small group of five-year-olds walked through the doors of the New Orleans Jewish Day School and it was a landmark event in the life of the New Orleans Jewish community.

“Through their efforts, this group of dedicated parents had brought their school vision to reality,” Pollin said. “It was a vision of academic excellence in a nurturing environment, and of Jewish values meaningfully brought to life for today’s world, that welcomed all members of the Jewish community.”

Now 20 years strong, JCDS will honor Bill Norman and Judy and David Fried. Norman is a passionate Jewish Day School advocate, current board member and founder of NOJDS, the predecessor to JCDS. Judy Fried is a teacher in the school’s innovative Pre-K, K and 1st grade Early Childhood program and a member of the school’s first faculty. David Fried was a longstanding JCDS treasurer for nearly 20 years. Their children Haley and David are JCDS alumni.

Homecoming 20! Gala Honorary Chair is Joan Berenson. Co-Chairs are Lis and Hugo Kahn and Dashka Roth Lehmann and Larry Lehmann. The featured entertainer is Atlanta singer and songwriter Rabbi Micah Lapidus, who will bring his wisdom and talent to the evening’s festivities. He will also lead JCDS students in arrangements of his upbeat original compositions as well as some well-known favorites.

A wide range of Silent Auction items have been lined up for this milestone event, including trips, including airfare and accommodations. Available trips include:

San Francisco Wine Country: Explore the quaint streets of San Francisco and the rolling hills of Napa Valley.

France: See the excitement and beauty of Paris and visit the chateaux and vineyards of the finest wine region of France.

Heels, Wheels and Deals: This Italian vacation includes the fashions of Milan, the romance of Tuscany and the pride and prestige of Ferrari.

Castles of Ireland: An eight-day exploration of Ireland with stays in grand castles and manor homes.

Panda Adventure: The wonders, mysteries and ancient traditions of China.

Greek Island Adventure: Soft sands and crystal-blue seas off the beaten path.

Alaska: See what life is like at the edge of the Northern Wilderness sailing the Inside Passage.

James Bond Hideaways: A different way to see Europe, living the secret agent life in secret locations and with martinis.

You’re going to Hollywood: And it’s for the Emmy Awards, brushing elbows with the biggest stars.

South Africa Photo Safari: A 10-day trip to Cape Town includes visits to the wild animal preserves of South Africa, but enjoy fine wines when not seeing the animals. Airfare not included in this package.

Additionally a fine diamond and pink sapphire ring donated by Rothschild Diamonds and appraised at $2,650 will be raffled off at the end of the evening.

For tickets, visit

Get Outta Town with Jewish Community Day School Gala Auction Items

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Orleans JWV, American Legion hold historic joint program

The New Orleans Jules Lazard Post 580 of the Jewish War Veterans of America continues its tradition of honoring veterans with a historic program on Nov. 11 for Veterans Day.

The JWV post will have a joint meeting with American Legion Post 175 for a presentation on “Jewish Defenders of Freedom from Abraham to the Present.” Judge Sol Gothard, commander of the JWV post, will give the presentation. The 7 p.m. event at the American Legion Post on Metairie Road is free and open to the community.

Gothard said that there have been Jewish and JWV speakers at Legion meetings before, and speakers from the Legion at JWV meetings, but to his knowledge, there has never actually been a joint meeting of this sort.

“There has been the persistent anti-Semitic myth and stereotype that Jews were cowards who wouldn’t fight for America,” Gothard said. “The Jewish War Veterans of America was organized in 1896, by veterans from both sides of the Civil War, to absolutely refute these blatantly false assertions.”

He noted that JWV is the first and oldest of the U.S. veterans organizations, with the larger VFW and American Legion coming later.

His presentation starts with the Biblical patriarchs, kings and judges, goes through Colonial times and all wars to the present, showing how Jews fought for America, including Medal of Honor recipients.

“In World War II, for example, there were over 500,000 Jewish men and women, including my three older brothers, who valiantly served, and thousands of whom died,” Gothard said.

The local JWV also has a Memorial Day tradition of honoring departed Jewish American men and women who served in the armed forces by having a ceremony at the cemetery.

This year, since Memorial Day fell on the holiday of Shavuot, the remembrance ceremony was held the next day, May 26, at the Beth Israel cemetery. The Gothards were joined by Lisa Romano, a long-time friend and employee of the late Oscar Tolmas, and Beth Israel Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg.

American flags were then placed on the graves of all veterans.

Gothard said that American Jewish veterans of any branch of the military, or Jewish veterans of an allied country or on active duty, are eligible for membership in the New Orleans Post, which has been recognized as the fastest growing and most diverse JWV Post in the nation. The diversity is a result of Patron members, over 35 of whom are of other faiths, including 5 African-Americans and a Kurdish Muslim from Turkey who is now an American citizen.

“They joined because of the humanitarian work we do on behalf of homeless veterans, participation in the annual MLK Day parade, and more,” Gothard said. Anyone can join as a patron member; one does not have to be a veteran or Jewish.

New Orleans JWV, American Legion hold historic joint program

Friday, October 30, 2015

Installing Two Rabbis: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Oct. 30

Above: Honorees Richard Pizitz Jr., Raymond and Cynthia Tobias, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar, General Charles Krulak and Rabbi Eytan Yammer at the Oct. 28 joint awards program of Israel Bonds, the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Photo by Rabbi Barry Altmark. 

Around the South: Week of Oct. 30, 2015

Southern Jewish Life is celebrating its 25th anniversary! The December issue will be a 25-year retrospective of SJL and its predecessors, Deep South Jewish Voice and Southern Shofar. To be part of the celebration and show your support for quality independent Jewish journalism, and our continuing unique coverage of our communities, click here for information on placing an ad in the anniversary issue, whether personal, organizational or for a business. Thank you for your support! 

Two New Orleans-area congregations are installing rabbis on the same evening. Touro Synagogue will install Rabbi Todd Silverman as Rabbinic Director of Lifelong Learning at its 6 p.m. service on Oct. 30. A Shabbat dinner reception will follow. He joins Rabbi Alexis Berk and Cantor David Mintz on the Touro clergy. Rabbi Alexis Pinsky will be installed as assistant rabbi at Gates of Prayer in Metairie on Oct. 30 at the 8 p.m. service. There will be a dinner, prepared by the Brotherhood, at 6 p.m.

The 28th annual Delta Jewish Open, a reunion for the Jewish communities of the Mississippi Delta and a fundraiser for the Jacobs Camp and Institute of Southern Jewish Life, will be on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 in Greenville. Registration is open and one need not be a golfer to attend.

The Southern Jewish Historical Society is having its annual conference in Nashville this weekend.

A Southern Jewish Halloween, from Bay City, Texas, in the 1930s, as a way of being part of the general community.

On Tablet’s Unorthodox podcast this week: A chat with Shulem Deen, author of “All Who Go Do Not Return,” about his journey out of the Skverer Hasidic group. He is scheduled to speak in New Orleans in late November as part of Jewish Culture Month at the Uptown JCC.

Shearith Israel and Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga., will have a concert with renowned Israeli violinist Boris Savchuk, at Temple Israel, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. The event is free, but a donation of $10 is suggested.


The UAH History Department and the UAH Humanities Center will host a lecture by Monique Laney on her book “German Rocketeers in the Heart of Dixie: Making Sense of the Nazi Past during the Civil Rights Era” on Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Roberts Recital Hall at UAH. The book tells stories of relationships of the Germans and their families with various races and ethnic groups in Huntsville, including the Jewish community, and of how the groups remember the past.

Rabbi Joseph Polak, author of “After the Holocaust the Bells Still Ring,” is speaking in Mobile this month through the Mobile Christian Jewish Dialogue, co-sponsored by the Gulf Coast Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education. An infant survivor of two concentration camps, Polak is an assistant professor of public health at Boston University, rabbi emeritus of the Hillel House there and chief justice of the Rabbinical Court of Massachusetts. His main public address will be on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Ahavas Chesed. There will be a book signing during the reception. He will also speak at Springhill Avenue Temple on Nov. 9 at noon, with lunch available on a first come, first served basis, and at Ahavas Chesed on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. Other Nov. 9 talks will be to students at Spring Hill College and a Holocaust educator workshop for high school and middle school teachers at the University of South Alabama. On Nov. 10 he will also address David Meola’s class at South Alabama.

You Belong in Birmingham is holding a Pop Up Happy Hour on Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at the new Grand Bohemian Hotel’s rooftop bar in Mountain Brook.

Brad and Marion Lapidus will be honored at the annual Temple B’nai Sholom Sisterhood Gala at the Ledges in Huntsville, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El will have a Ghouls in the Shul program for grades 1 to 6 on Oct. 31 from 6:45 to 8 p.m., with a “spooky rendition” of Havdalah, Jewish ghost stories, Make Your Own Golem and more.

The Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham will have a Pajama Popcorn Party on Oct. 31 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have “Ghosts of Shabbats Past” on Oct. 30 at the 7 p.m. service, a “spooky Shabbat” where deceased B’nai Sholom members will “visit.”

The Birmingham International Center announced its 2016 program will be a Salute to Belgium. Each year, the center selects a country and does a series of educational programs, promoting both awareness and business ties to that country throughout the state. On Nov. 15, there will be a program of “Remembrance and Resistance” at the Southern Museum of Flight, honoring Alabama veterans and the Belgium resistance movement during World War II. The 3 p.m. event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required here.

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El is co-hosting the Magic City Acceptance Project’s “A Generous Faith: Walking With Our LGBTQ+ Community” interfaith conference on Nov. 5 and 6. More information here. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will have a four-week class about the history of Downton Abbey, at the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham. Taught by Linda York, who has a doctorate in early modern history from Auburn, the class will view and discuss classic British episodes of the hit television show. The free class will meet on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. from Oct. 30 to Nov. 20.

Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will be celebrating Jewish Book Month with a series of programs throughout November. There will also be a book sale in the lobby. The festival starts on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. with “All In” by Josh Levs, the story of how a fatherhood columnist fought back when his employer denied him parental leave after his child was born. He became a leading advocate for modern families and his book discusses how fatherhood is different today than in previous generations.
On Nov. 5, Dave Gettinger will present “What is a Jew?” by his father, M.C. Gettinger. The 6 p.m. program will include a wine and cheese reception, and attendees will receive a free copy of the book. The illustrations by Cynthia Fitting will be on display at the LJCC all month.
On Nov. 10, Marcia Friedman will present “Meatballs and Matzah Balls,” the story of re-creating her Italian-American kitchen after her conversion to Judaism, exploring the union of Jewish and Italian life through food. The noon cooking demonstration, discussion and tasting is $10.

Joe Mussafer will share his research on 1492, one of the most consequential years in Jewish history, at Temple Beth Or in Montgomery on Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. His talk will be the first in this year’s Rothschild Blachschleger Library Series.

On Nov. 3, Troy University will have a workshop for middle and high school teachers on how to more effectively teach the Holocaust. Ann Rosenheck, a survivor of Auschwitz, will speak at the workshop. She will also give a public talk at Troy on Nov. 5, and speak at Temple Emanu-El, Dothan, on Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m.. The 8:30 a.m. workshop is presented in partnership with the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and will be facilitated by educators from the museum.

The annual TLC Day, Teens Lend a Caring Hand, will be on Nov. 1 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Coordinated by Collat Jewish Family Services in Birmingham, teens in grades 7 to 12 will meet at the LJCC for pizza and then go to homes of senior adults and do seasonal tasks. Teens are asked to register by Oct. 19 to Lise in the CJFS office.

Agnes Tenenbaum, a Holocaust survivor living in Mobile, will speak at the Oct. 30 6 p.m. service at Springhill Avenue Temple.

Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood will have its Autumn 2015 pancake breakfast for the entire congregation on Oct. 31 at 9:30 a.m. with guest speaker Ron Owen, chief medical officer of Southeast Alabama Medical Center.

The Temple Beth Or Sisterhood in Montgomery is doing a cheesecake fundraiser, with cheesecakes from the Carnegie Deli in New York. Orders must be received by Oct. 30, and can be picked up on Nov. 17 or 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Six-inch cheesecakes are $25, while 8-inch cheesecakes are $35. For information, email here.


Chabad Emerald Coast in Destin will have a Unity Shabbaton with Israel on Oct. 30. There will be a Mediterranean dinner and discussion about what one can do for Israel, starting at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a big Kiddush lunch following services on Oct. 31. Reserve here.

There will be a memorial program for Yitzhak Rabin, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. at Temple Beth-El in Pensacola.

Tickets are on sale now for the annual B’nai Israel Veterans Day Dinner in Pensacola. The dinner will be on Nov. 6 at 6 p.m., and tickets will be sold through Oct. 30. Call (850) 433-7311 for tickets. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 8 and under.

New Orleans/Louisiana 

The New Orleans Jewish Community Center will become a comedy club on Nov. 7, with two comedy stars taking the stage for the JCC’s annual gala. Johnny Lampert and Dan Naturman will perform at the Center Celebration, starting at 7 p.m. Lampert is a regular at New York City’s and Los Angeles’ best comedy clubs, including Carolines on Broadway, The Comic Strip and The Improv. He has also made numerous appearances on MTV, A and E, NBC, HBO’s “Comedy Showcase” and a multitude of shows on Comedy Central. The evening will be catered by Vincent’s Italian Cuisine. Tickets are $200, with sponsor levels starting at $500.

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans will hold the Betty and Phillip Meyers Leadership Development Alumni Event of the Katz-Phillips Program on Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m., at the home of Erin and Asher Friend. Donors to the Leadership Development Endowment Campaign will also be present, as the campaign has raised about $800,000. There will be a cooking demonstration by Alon Shaya, who is in this year’s class, and a jazz clarinet performance by Michael White, who was in Israel as part of the community’s Partnership2Gether program earlier this year.

A new book about New Orleans landmark Longue Vue will be released with a launch party at the famous estate. Published by Rizzoli, “Longue Vue House and Gardens: The Architecture, Interiors and Gardens of New Orleans’ Most Celebrated Estate” features texts by Carol McMichael Reese, Thaisa Way, Walter C. Stern and Charles Davey, and original photography by Tina Freeman. The book describes the estate and founders Edith and Edgar Stern, who were major Jewish philanthropists. Edith Stern was the daughter of Sears Roebuck and Co. President Julius Rosenwald. The book is available for preorder on the Longue Vue website, or at the book launch on Nov 4. Starting at 4 p.m. there will be a program with Freeman and Reese, followed by a book signing from 5 to 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The party is free and open to the community.

Friend Ships will hold “The Jerusalem Call,” Nov. 9 and 10 in Lake Charles, as a political advocacy event for Israel in the Christian community. Speakers include Ambassador Ran Ichay, U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Middle East expert Erick Stakelbeck. The free event is held in association with the Israel Allied Foundation in Washington.

R. Daniel Hoffman will be returning to Beth Israel in Metairie this Shabbat, delivering a guest sermon at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 31.

At the Dream Caravan event in New Orleans on Nov. 8, Rodger Kamenetz will present a lecture on the connection between Kabbalah and dreams. The event will be at the Arts Estuary 1024 from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women is partnering with other groups to discuss gun violence, with the screening of “91%: A Film About Guns in America” on Nov. 9, and a Moving the Ball Forward discussion on Nov. 12.

The Downtown Lunch and Learn series for Beth Israel, Metairie, continues at the Gertler Law Firm, on Nov. 5. A deli lunch is available, and a $10 contribution is suggested.

Beth Israel in Metairie will have a Shabbat dinner on Nov. 6 featuring Sarah Cramsey, professor at Tulane. She will speak on “Saying Kaddish in Czechoslovakia: Hana Volavkova and the first state-sponsored monument to the Shoah.” Volavkova was the director of the Jewish Museum of Prague from 1945 to 1960. Dinner will be after the 6 p.m. service. Reservations are $18 for member adults, $9 for children over 5; non-members are $25 and $18 respectively.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have its Nearly New Sale on Oct. 29, 30 and Nov. 1 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will not be any clothing sold, so any donated clothing will be given to Here Today Gone Tomorrow.

Chabad of Baton Rouge is holding an 11-part series, Torah Studies. Each session is self-contained and meets on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. The course started on Oct. 13. Classes are free but there is a textbook fee.

The Touro Infirmary Foundation and Touro Tomorrow will host L’dor V’dor, a post-gala party benefiting Touro Infirmary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, on Nov. 14 from 9 p.m. to midnight at Mardi Gras World’s Mansion Room. Open to the community, the evening will feature live entertainment by Flow Tribe, signature dishes from La Cocinita, Mobile Memories Photo Booth, over 200 young professionals around the community and an open bar. Proceeds from L’dor V’dor 2015 will be used to support improvements to Touro Infirmary's NICU and help provide the latest and most cutting edge equipment and care to the smallest and sickest infants. Tickets are $50/person, $90/couple.

Rabbi Alexis Berk of Touro Synagogue will have a twice-monthly lunchtime study group, News and the Jews, discussing current events through a Jewish lens. The noon sessions are open to the community at the Mautner Learning Center. Upcoming dates are Nov. 12 and 19, Dec. 3 and 17 and Jan. 7 and 21.

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Installing Two Rabbis: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Oct. 30

NOLA NCJW programs take on gun violence

The New Orleans Section of the National Council of Jewish Women is partnering with other local groups to host programs on gun violence in America.

A test screening of “91%: A Film About Guns in America” will be screened on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m., at Café Istanbul at the Healing Center. The film will be followed by a brief discussion, and question and answer session with filmmaker John Richie.

The program is presented in coordination with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights.

According to surveys, 91 percent of Americans favor comprehensive background checks for gun purchases, giving the film its name.

The film had its first rough cut screening in Lafayette in early October. It examines the national conversation on gun legislation in light of the failure of Congress to pass a universal background check that would close loopholes in gun show and private sales of firearms despite the 91 percent support for such measures.

Richie’s previous project was “Shell Shocked,” a documentary about gun violence among African-American youth and the social service organizations that are working to change it. That film was screened at Touro Synagogue in 2013.

The discussion will continue on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m., at a social justice happy hour featuring a panel of women speaking on the topic of gun violence. The panel will be at Rebellion on Camp Street.

NCJW’s social justice happy hour series, “Moving the Ball Forward”, celebrates New Orleans most dedicated advocates for social justice and features all-women panels sharing their experiences and expertise on issue facing the community.

NOLA NCJW programs take on gun violence