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Finding the Virtual Jewish Community during Social Distancing

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin leads minyan from Chabad of Louisiana on Facebook. Here are some online activities being organized nationally and by c...

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin leads minyan from Chabad of Louisiana on Facebook.

Here are some online activities being organized nationally and by congregations in our region. We will continue to update as we learn of more opportunities.

Unless otherwise stated, all times are Central. Updated March 31, 1:05 p.m.


PJ Library is hosting Storytimes and Craftalongs, weekdays at 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. There are also Virtual Field Trips at 11 a.m. Family activities are also available here.

Hillel has launched Hillel@Home for college students, with meetups on various topics and many scheduled speakers, including NBA All-Star Amar'e Stoudemire, speaking on April 1 at noon about his Jewish journey and his kosher organic farm.

Camp Ramah Darom will have a magic show with Ari Slomka, March 25 at 4 p.m. At 4 p.m. on March 26 on Zoom, Devorah Lowenstein will show how to make camp brownies. A national Ramah concert with Rick Recht will be on March 26 at 7 p.m. on the national Ramah Facebook page. On March 28 at 7:45 p.m., the Kaiman family will lead a Ramah Havdallah on the Ramah Darom Facebook page. Yoga with Lynn Chanin will be on March 30 at 3 p.m. Soccer with Ido Arama, the camp's 2019 soccer coach, will be live from Israel on March 31 at 11 a.m. on the Ramah Darom Facebook page.

The Henry S. Jacobs Camp is launching HSJ365, with numerous community events along with events tailored to individual age groups. Starting March 23, Olim/Garin will have events at 10:30 a.m., Maskilim at 4:30 p.m. and Talmidim/Chalutzim at 6 p.m. Jacob Friedman will lead a virtual Shabbat Song Session, March 20 at 4:30 p.m. Those in grades 10-12 can do a virtual hangout on Fridays at 2 p.m. A virtual Havdalah will be March 21 at 6:30 p.m., and Israeli dancing will be held on March 25 at 10:30 a.m. Sessions are on either Facebook Live or Zoom, check this page for specifics.

BBYO has launched BBYO On Demand, a "Jewish Netflix" of live-streamed activities, programs and content that any Jewish teen or young adult, regardless of BBYO membership or affiliation, can tune into and enjoy from anywhere in the world. There are many activities, discussions and presentations each day.

KCET-TV has made "Dreams of Hope," the documentary about the Violins of Hope concert at Birmingham's Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, available for streaming. Violins of Hope belonged to musicians in the Holocaust and have been restored by Israeli violin expert Amnon Weinstein. The documentary debuted nationwide in February.

The Hadassah Tri-Region “Plug In and Power Up” conference that had been scheduled for Atlanta will be held virtually. The conference brings together the Southeastern, Southern and Southern Seaboard regions. The virtual meeting will be on May 17 from 10 a.m. Eastern to 12:30 p.m., via GoToTraining. The event will feature Rhoda Smolow, Hadassah’s new president, and Steven Frank, Hadassah social media expert. There is no charge, but registration is required.

The National Museum of American Jewish History is closed, but has virtual tours available, as well as tours of current and past exhibits, and videos of lectures and presentations.

Jewish Women's Archive is doing a weekly Quarantine Book Club via Zoom, April 2 at 7 p.m. Reservations can be made here.

CKids is doing a virtual Chabad Hebrew School, Sundays at 10 a.m. (time zone is not specified, it may be 9 a.m. Central)

In The Region:


Beth Shalom in Auburn will be livestreaming services on March 27.

Danny Cohn, the new CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, will do a children's story time online, Mondays at 2 p.m. on the Federation Facebook page.

Birmingham's Levite Jewish Community Center is offering virtual activities. At 8 a.m., the Early Childhood Learning Center holds Circle Time. At 10 a.m., there is an LJCC Fitness and Wellness Hour. Plugging Into the J Virtually is at noon, Question of the Day at 2 p.m. and ECLC Storytime at 4 p.m. Also, members and the general community can access Les Mills International virtual fitness classes. The fitness floor at the LJCC is closed, but the building is open from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Additional activity suggestions are here.

Chabad of Alabama is offering numerous online classes taught by Rabbi Yossi Friedman, Mondays to Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and the Jewish Course of Why on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Shmura matzah is available for curbside pickup, $18.99/pound. A Seder To Go kit, with shmura matzah, a fully-loaded Seder plate, Hagaddah and bottle of wine or grape juice is also available and can be picked up curbside on April 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., cost is $45 with wine, $40 with grape juice, order by March 31. Passover catering is also available, order by March 31 for curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to noon on April 7.

Birmingham's Temple Beth-El is livestreaming services for Shabbat, Fridays at 5:45 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. Minyan is being done on the Beth-El Facebook page by individual members, mornings at 7 and afternoons at 5:30. The congregation is offering Zoom classes, JewCurious with Bethany Slater, Wednesdays at 7 p.m.; and Beit Midrash 2.0 with Rabbi Stephen Slater on Thursdays at noon. There is also a three part series, Love/Act/Repent for Lenten and Passover interfaith learning, Wednesdays at noon. Part 1 on March 18 has Bethany Slater teaching Love, Rev. Robyn Arnold on March 25 teaching about Action, and Rabbi Slater on April 1 talking about Repentance. Contact Beth-El for Zoom information.

Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham is streaming services on Fridays at 5:45 p.m. Zoom classes include Torah study on Wednesdays at noon and Saturdays at 9 a.m., and Jewish History with Rabbi Wright, Tuesdays at 7 p.m. Coffee with the Rabbi is Tuesdays at 10 a.m. There will be a Healing Service on Wednesdays (except April 8) at 6:30 p.m. A Pirkei Avot class will be on Thursdays at 6 p.m., starting on April 2.

After holding an outdoor Bar Mitzvah limited to 10 attendees on March 21, Knesseth Israel in Birmingham has suspended in-person events and services. Plans are being formulated for online services and classes.

Dothan's Temple Emanu-El plans to start broadcasting services via Zoom on March 27 at 7 p.m.

B'nai Israel in Florence is livestreaming services on Fridays at 7 p.m. via Facebook Live.

Temple B'nai Sholom in Huntsville is streaming Shabbat services at 7 p.m. on Zoom and Facebook, and the first Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. The congregational Seder will likely be held virtually on April 9. All in-person activities are suspended through the end of April.

Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will stream Shabbat services on their Facebook page, Fridays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Shabbat candlelighting will also be streamed, Fridays at 7 p.m. Torah study will be held Mondays at noon via Zoom, and the Tuesday pizza and beer study will take a hiatus, meeting virtually at 5 p.m.

Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will be conducting services via Zoom, Fridays at 6 p.m., and Torah study on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m.

Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem will broadcast services through its website on Fridays at 6 p.m., Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., and Mondays and Thursdays at 7:15 a.m. Rabbi Scott Kramer will be leading the service by himself, the building is otherwise closed. Downloadable siddurim are available on the website.


Chabad Emerald Coast in Destin will have its weekly Torah class by Zoom, contact Chabad for the link.

The Pensacola Jewish Federation is holding an online community Kabbalat Shabbat, with Temple Beth El, B’nai Israel and Chabad of Pensacola. Wear a white shirt, bring your Shabbat candles, a glass of wine and challah to the 5:30 p.m. event on March 27. For Zoom, the meeting ID is 146 631 844. Or watch on Facebook Live.

Temple Beth El in Pensacola is holding services Fridays at 6 p.m. by Facebook Live and GoToMeeting. Torah study on Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., Havdallah at 7:30 p.m. and a new program, "Two Jews, Three Opinions" on Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m., with Rabbi Fleekop discussing two of the week's Jewish news-related articles, will be done via GoToMeeting. A Making Seder at Home virtual workshop will be on April 2 at 5:30 p.m. Torah on Tap will be April 7 at 5 p.m.


Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria will have virtual services over Zoom, starting March 20 at 6 p.m.

Normally, Chabad of Baton Rouge has a pop-up pre-Passover event with Kosher Cajun from Metairie, but will be unable to do so this year. Instead, there will be group deliveries from Kosher Cajun to Baton Rouge on March 29 and April 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of The Best Touch. Chabad of Baton Rouge will have a pre-Shabbat story time with Mushka Kazen on March 20 at 12:45 p.m. on Facebook Live. The Kazens will lead interactive virtual classes, Mondays at 11 a.m. on the Torah portion, and Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. on the Jewish Course of Why.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will have virtual services and classes, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. There will also be an interactive Tot Shabbat on Fridays at 11 a.m. Max and Bubbie's Unique Passover, an online puppet show, will be on April 8 at 11 a.m. The congregation will have a virtual Seder on April 9 at 5 p.m.

B'nai Israel in Baton Rouge is holding services via Zoom on Fridays at 6 p.m.

Rabbi Judy Caplan Ginsburgh, who serves B'nai Israel in Monroe, will lead virtual services Fridays at 6 p.m. over Zoom and a virtual Seder on April 10.

Shir Chadash in Metairie is livestreaming Thursday minyan at 7 a.m. and Kabbalat Shabbat on Fridays at 6:15 p.m. Havdalah is planned on the Shir Chadash Facebook page at 8:15 p.m. on Saturdays. The congregation is also doing a Family Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday at 4:30 p.m., consisting of songs and stories, candle lighting and Kiddush. There is a Kabbalat Kehilla on Sunday at 9:30 a.m., featuring music and community. And, there is a Learning to Lead Class on Friday at 10 a.m. The NJ Beats Shabbat on March 27 and congregational Seder are cancelled.

Beth Israel in Metairie is holding classes virtually, with Rabbi Josh Pernick leading a Talmud class via Zoom on Mondays to Thursdays at 4 p.m. On Thursdays at 11 a.m. he is leading "Tanach Chabura: Divided Kingdoms." Beth Israel is also doing a livestream pre-Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah on the Beth Israel Facebook page, with time dependent on sunset. On April 2 at 1 p.m., there will be a community sing-a-long via Zoom. On April 2, 5 and 7 at 7 p.m., Pernick will lead a Zoom discussion on Passover preparations in this most unusual year. The congregation is also promoting Kavod-19, an effort to reach out to 19 people every week while the social restrictions are in place, preferably by phone or Facetime, or by text or email.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will hold Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Gerber on Mondays at noon, Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Lexi Erdheim on Wednesdays at noon, Adult Hebrew with Phil Gaethe on Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Shabbat services on Fridays at 6 p.m., Torah study Saturdays at 9:15 a.m. and Havdalah at 6 p.m. Because services will not be in the sanctuary, the usual livestream does not work, one must use Zoom or Facebook Live. The Louise Hayem Manheim Center for Early Childhood Education will have 9:30 a.m. activities, including Song Session with Miss Tory on Tuesdays, Hebrew with Rabbi Lexi on Thursdays and Shabbat with Rabbi Gerber on Fridays. Rabbi Story Time is also available on YouTube.

Anshe Sfard in New Orleans will have minyan via Zoom on Sundays at 9:30 a.m.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans is livestreaming services, Fridays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. Past services are archived.

Temple Sinai is livestreaming services, Fridays at 6:15 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. Past services are archived.

Chabad of Louisiana is offering a Quarantine Kaddish Service, so Kaddish can be said in one's memory even if the person saying Kaddish can't make it to a minyan. Malkie Rivkin has led a daily gathering online at 9 p.m., and Chabad in Metairie is doing a Five Minute Inspiration at 2 p.m. daily.

Moishe House NOLA will have a virtual candle-lighting on March 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Agudath Achim in Shreveport is having Likrat Shabbat streamed on YouTube Live, Fridays at 6 p.m., and Sunday morning learning at 10 a.m. A Rosh Chodesh livestreamed Torah reading and Hallel is March 26 at 10 a.m. Use the Facebook link to get YouTube links to individual events.

B'nai Zion in Shreveport is streaming its services and classes on its YouTube channel. Services are Fridays at 6 p.m.


Along the Mississippi coast, Beth Israel in Gulfport and Chabad of Southern Mississippi are partnering to provide Seder in a Box, a kit with matzah, Seder plate items, a hagaddah and a bottle of grape juice.

Beth Israel in Jackson will livestream services on Fridays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. Torah study will be at 10:30 a.m. via Zoom.


Southern Jewish Life: Finding the Virtual Jewish Community during Social Distancing
Finding the Virtual Jewish Community during Social Distancing
Southern Jewish Life
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