Southern Sukkot: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Sept. 25

Above: Rabbi Steve Jacobs reads the first few lines of the Torah at the dedication of the Holocaust Torah at Temple Emanu-El, Tuscaloosa, on Sept. 20. 

Around the South: Week of Sept. 25, 2015

Under pressure from some members, the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Nashville backed out as venue for Oct. 1 Planned Parenthood fundraiser. A new venue has been found — The Temple.

At a Kennesaw State forum on the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank in Georgia, the son of one of the lynchers defended what happened.

In Tel Aviv they love the prime minister? Video for song “Sweet Home, Sweet Jerusalem” has been posted.

There will be a dedication ceremony for the Anne Frank Tree at the Clinton Presidential Center Park in Little Rock on Oct. 2. In 2009, the Center was one of 11 U.S. locations selected to receive a sapling from the Anne Frank Center, which distributed them from the horse chestnut tree that was visible from Frank’s “Secret Annex.” Birmingham had also applied for one to be placed at Kelly Ingram Park in the Civil Rights District but was not selected.

If you have seen Evangelicals or others online talking about the fourth Blood Moon that will coincide with Sukkot this weekend and were wondering why there is all that fuss about the end of days or other prophecies, here is an explanation.

A Georgia woman who converted to Judaism two years ago said she expected to encounter some anti-Semitism. She was not prepared for philo-Semites who express love and admiration
for what they imagine Judaism is.

The NAACP in Birmingham is calling for the removal of WPA-era murals at the Jefferson County Courthouse that are seen as racist. A local TV report also examines the swastikas that are part of the courthouse’s exterior and asks the Jewish Federation about removing them. The swastika (they are actually Native American symbols) issue comes up every few years.

An episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters: Where Are They Now” on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. will feature Jewish New Orleans — Rachael Kansas Feder with clients Jeffrey Schwartz and Amy Barad.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces will have an event in Nashville on Oct. 12, with FIDF Southeast Region Executive Director Seth Baron as guest speaker. The evening also features Staff Sgt. Yonat Daskal, a paramedic with a special unit of the Nahal Brigade and a veteran of Operation Protective Edge. She is one of only four women to serve inside Gaza during last summer’s operation. The 7 p.m. program at the Gordon JCC is open to the pro-Israel community and is complimentary, but for security reasons reservations are required by Oct. 9 by calling (678) 250-9030.

The annual Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth World Kosher Barbecue contest will be Oct. 18 in Memphis. This is the 27th year for the contest, which last year drew 40 teams and 3,000 spectators.

At the Lowcountry Jewish Food Festival in Charleston, leave it to the experts and don’t try to duplicate the cabbage rolls.

Bidding has begun online for auction items at the B’nai Israel Art and Soul gala in Baton Rouge. The event is Oct. 22, but bids for a wide range of items are already being taken. Items include merchandise and gift certificates from some of the area’s most popular restaurants and retailers, along with artwork, luxury and box-seat tickets for select Saints, LSU football and LSU baseball games, a Les Miles-signed LSU football helmet and other sports memorabilia, and a luxury chartered fishing trip off the Louisiana coast. In addition, several vacations are available to destinations like Crested Butte, Col., and Woodstock, N.Y.

The annual Taste of Jewish Memphis recruitment weekend will be Oct. 15 to 18.

Sukkot Events 

Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center will have Shake Your Lulav in the Sukkah, Oct. 1 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be pizza and milkshakes, and children’s activities.

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will have Pizza In Our Hut and Lulav Shakes, Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. Reservations are requested by Sept. 25, and cost is $6 per person.

Temple Beth-El in Birmingham will have a dairy Potluck in the Sukkah following 5:45 p.m. services on Oct. 2. There will be a Simchat Torah service and spaghetti dinner on Oct. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel will have a first night dinner in the Sukkah, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. There will be a Sukkah Hop on Sept. 29, starting at 4:45 p.m, and a musical Havdalah, campfire and s’mores on Oct. 3 at 7:15 p.m.

Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham will have an adults-only Sushi and Scotch in the Sukkah, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Reservations are $18, or $5 for members of You Belong in Birmingham. Chabad will also have a family Sukkot extravaganza, Oct. 4 from noon to 3 p.m., with inflatables, mechanical rides, face painting, a foam pit and barbecue.

Temple Emanu-El in Dothan will have a Sukkot family service and potluck on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. 

Temple B’nai Sholom in Huntsville will have a family sukkah raising on Sept. 27 at noon.

Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have a Sukkot dairy potluck dinner on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. with Yehuda on guitar. “Shake Lulav and Leave” will be on Sept. 28 and 29 from noon to 12:30 p.m. The Springhill Avenue Temple Men’s Club in Mobile. Chefs Nate Ginsberg and Mike Pereira will be cooking up hot dogs with all the trimmings for a Sukkot Picnic after the 6 p.m. service on Oct. 2. For those who prefer no meat, a spinach lasagna will be served.

Chabad of Mobile will have Sushi in the Sukkah, Oct. 1 at 5:45 p.m. in Daphne.

Montgomery’s Temple Beth Or will have a Sukkot outdoor service on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m.

Beth-El in Pensacola will have its Shabbat Under the Stars on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. There will also be a Young Jewish Pensacola Dinner and Game Night Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. Contact the office for location.

Chabad of the Emerald Coast in Destin will have Sukkot Under the Stars on Sept. 27 (call for location). Services will be at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. Falafel in the Hut, an Israeli-style Sukkot experience, will be on Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Beth Shalom in Fort Walton will have its Sukkot service on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Chabad of Baton Rouge will have a community-wide Sukkah party on Sept. 30 at 5 p.m.

Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge will decorate the Sukkah on Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dairy potluck at 6 p.m. and services at 7 p.m. The Brotherhood will host a Simchat Torah deli dinner on Oct. 5 at 6 p.m., followed by services and Consecration at 7 p.m.

B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have a Sukkot family barbecue on Sept. 27 at 11:45 a.m., and Shabbat Dinner in the Sukkah on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., following the 6 p.m. service.

Northshore Jewish Congregation in Mandeville will have a Sukkot cookout with grillmaster John Valentino, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. Burgers and hot dogs provided, bring sides (no dairy). Reservations requested.

Anshe Sfard in New Orleans will have Study with a Buddy Night in the Sukkah, Sept. 30 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., as the first in a continuing education series. English source sheets will be provided, and those without a study buddy can be matched with one. The evening’s study will be Talmudic sources describing the meaning of Sukkot. Anshe Sfard in New Orleans will have a Simchat Torah Second Line, with the first line being a Torah instead of a band. Services will start on Oct. 5 at 7:15 p.m., followed by the Second Line to The Avenue Pub for pre-paid drinks. The procession will then return to Anshe Sfard for the Torah reading, jambalaya and local craft beer. Reservations and contributions are encouraged for the bar tab.

Chassidic soul band Zusha will be at Beth Israel in Metairie for the end of Sukkot. Their self-titled debut EP reached No. 9 on Billboard’s World music chart. They have played to sold-out audiences in New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco and Jerusalem. Guitarist Zachariah Goldshmiedt told Huffington Post that they seek to promote the joy in Judaism. “Chassidic teachings are about being happy, being truthful. We want to reconnect to what it means to be a person, and our music is coming to bring back the raw emotion of what everything is about.” There will be a Hoshana Rabbah service and concert at Beth Israel on Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. Beth Israel in Metairie will also have a sukkah build and dinner on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., a “Burgers, Beer and Blackjack” men’s event on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., a “Pot and Painting” women’s event on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., Shabbat dinner in the sukkah at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 following the 6 p.m. service, Sukkah Hop on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m., and a Simchat Torah buffet dinner on Oct. 5 at 7:15 p.m. Reservations are required by Sept. 25 for the Oct. 2 Shabbat dinner.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a Sukkot picnic on Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m., bring your own dinner.

Chabad Uptown will have Sukkot Under The Stars for Young Jewish Professionals, dinner and drinks on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

Chabad of Louisiana will have SukkahFest 2015, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. The event features a large sukkah, food, shaking the lulav and music from Ben Schenck and the Panorama Jazz Band.

JNOLA will have Safari in the Sukkah at Audubon Zoo. The family event on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. will be in the Dominion Room, and area rabbis will be there to explain Sukkot rituals. Some of the zoo’s friendlier animals will attend. A light, kosher dinner will be served. Cost is $5 per family.

Shir Chadash in Metairie will have Sukkot services and dinner on Oct. 2 starting at 6:15 p.m. Dinner reservations are taken through Sept. 30, and are $12 for adults, $6 for ages 6 to 12 and free for 5 and under.

New Orleans Touro Synagogue’s clergy will host brown-bag lunches in the sukkah at noon. Rabbi Alexis Berk will host on Sept. 29, Cantor David Mintz will host on Sept. 30 and Rabbi Todd Silverman will host on Oct. 1. After services on Oct. 2, there will be Shabbat Sukkah: Vintage Wines and Harvest Moon in Bowsky Garden. Touro Synagogue will also hold Simchat Torah in the Park, Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m. at Danneel Park, featuring the Panorama Jazz Band. The day will start with a brunch picnic, followed by dancing and celebrating with Cantor Mintz and the band at 10:15 a.m. At 10:45 a.m. the Torah will be unrolled, with Rabbi Berk and Rabbi Silverman going through the entire Torah in 10 minutes. After the Torah ceremony, there will be free time to enjoy the park.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have Sukkot text study for all levels, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. In addition, every evening there will be Sukkot Under the Stars starting at 6:30 p.m., hosted by the Brotherhood on Sept. 27, Sisterhood on Sept. 28, the Dodd and Gold families on Sept. 29, and Carla and Adam Jacob hosting younger adults on Oct. 1. A “Walking, Talking Torah” family service and Sisterhood dinner will be Oct. 2 at 6:15 p.m.

B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a Many Celebrations Harvest Shabbat Dinner on Oct. 2 at 6 p.m. for Sukkot, Simchat Torah, the monthly Simcha Shabbat and Consecration. Reservations are requested by Sept. 25, and are $10 for adults, $6 for ages 3 to 12. Rabbi Jana DeBenedetti will be in the sukkah for those who want to bring dinner on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Gulfport’s Beth Israel will have a First Friday Family Fun Shabbat Meets Sukkot, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m., followed by pizza in the sukkah. There will also be a Simchat Torah dinner and service on Oct. 5 at 5 p.m.

Chabad of Southern Mississippi will have a family Pizza in the Hut Sukkot party, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. The Simchat Torah celebration will be Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Beth Israel in Jackson will have Pizza in the Hut, Sept. 27 at 5:30 p.m., followed by outdoor services. Simchat Torah will be on Oct. 4 with a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m. and services at 6:15 p.m. Dinner reservations are requested.


Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El is introducing a Children’s Sukkot Camp for infants and school-age children, offered to any Jewish family where parents have other obligations on days when the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School is closed for the holiday, or parents who want to attend services, or who just want to provide a Sukkot experience for their children. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 28 and 29, and Oct. 5 and 6, there will be Jewish learning experiences, including a children’s service, an opportunity to sing in the adult service, monitored free play and games, and holiday-specific activities. Reservations are $35 for full day, $20 for half-day. Drop-ins are welcome if there is space available. Contact the office to sign up.

Ricky Ian Gordon, a famed Jewish composer, will hold a discussion of two of his chamber operas, “Orpheus and Euridice” and “Green Sneakers” on Sept. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Birmingham. Both operas will be presented next spring as part of Opera Birmingham. The conversation will touch on the inspiration for the two operas, how he settled on the unique combinations of voices and instruments used in these works, and the composition process. The event is free, but reservations are appreciated.

A memorial service will be held for Max Cooper at the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham on Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. Cooper was Alabama’s largest McDonald’s franchisee, and is credited with popularizing the Big Mac “two all beef patties” jingle, the Ronald McDonald character and developing the concept of playgrounds at the restaurants, as well as the extra value meal. He also was a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer.

Shaliach Arad Lerner will speak at Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple’s 6 p.m. service on Sept. 25 about “recent events on the Temple Mount.”

Chaplain Michael Horwitz is in the process of organizing “Torah Triage: CPR from an Ancient Text,” a bimonthly program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. It will be co-sponsored by the UAB Department of Pastoral Care and Temple Beth-El. The plan is for it to be a 45-minute to one-hour lunch session, starting in October.

The traveling exhibition “Darkness into Life: Alabama’s Holocaust Survivors Through Photography and Art” begins an eight-month run at Vulcan Park and Museum in Birmingham on Sept. 25. Originally created in 2007, the exhibit combines paintings of the recollections of Holocaust survivors in Alabama with present-day photography and stories of how the survivors rebuilt their lives. The paintings are by Mitzi Levin and the photography is by Becky Seitel. The exhibit will be displayed through May 16.

Birmingham’s Temple Emanu-El will welcome Julian Resnick to its Shabbat service on Sept. 25 at 5:40 p.m. A South Africa native, Resnick moved to Israel in 1976, and has served as an Israeli emissary in San Francisco, London and New York. Over the last five years he has guided three Friendship tours in Israel of Christians and Jews from Birmingham.

The next Osher Lifelong Learning Institute class at the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham will be a wine tasting forum, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m., led by Foster Smith of Foster Wine. Reservations are $7.

New Orleans/Louisiana 

Jewish War Veterans, Post 580 of New Orleans and the New Orleans Jewish Community Center will have a special program on Jews and Basketball, featuring Lew Shuman, television producer, director and director of broadcasting for the Celtics, Sixers and Pelicans. It will be Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. at the Metairie location. There will also be a special guest from the Pelicans. Color Guard veterans and active duty personnel will present colors and are encouraged to wear uniforms or JWV caps.

The series of Jewish ethics classes for professionals continues at Touro Synagogue on Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m. with ethics for physicians and health care providers. Rabbi Alexis Berk will lead the session on how to bring Jewish ethics to professional lives.

There will be an oneg following the 9:45 a.m. service at Shir Chadash in Metairie on Sept. 26 honoring Sara Stone on her 100th birthday.

The Greater New Orleans Section of National Council of Jewish Women will celebrate nature during Sukkot with a program about City Park. In an event that is open to the community, City Park CEO Bob Becker will speak about the park’s history, including its Jewish connections, and discuss details of its post-Katrina renaissance. The event will be on Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Reservations should be made by Sept. 26. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or by sending a check to NCJW, 6221 S. Claiborne Ave., Suite 208, New Orleans, LA. 70125.

As part of the NCJW opening event on Oct. 4, the group is partnering with Girls on the Run to collect gently-worn shoes for a Funds2Orgs campaign. Funds2Orgs will pick up the shoes that Girls on the Run and NCJW collect. They will then pay GOTR for each bag of shoes, and the shoes are distributed to individuals living in 26 developing nations around the world.

The seventh annual JCC Super Sprint Triathlon will be held on Sept. 27, at the Uptown JCC in New Orleans. Heats begin at 8:30 a.m. Triathlon participants will swim 17 laps (.25 miles) in the pool, cycle 6.2 miles on a stationary bike, and then run 2.2 miles down St. Charles Avenue. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers. Triathlon experience is not necessary. Registration is $40 for members and $60 for non-members. Individuals must sign up before Sept. 23 to be eligible to compete.

The next 92nd Street Y program simulcast at Temple Sinai in New Orleans will feature Harold Kushner and Rabbi Peter Rubenstein, discussing “Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life.” They will be joined by Rachel Cowan, author of “Wise Aging.” The program will be Sept. 30 at 7:15 p.m.

Jessica Greenberg will share the story of her grandfather, New Orleanian Harry Nowalsky, at the National World War II Museum on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. As a young Jewish American GI, Nowalsky was instrumental in resurrecting the Jewish community of Berlin by helping to reopen the first synagogue in postwar Berlin. Through her research, which includes her grandfather’s photos, documents, and letters, Ms. Greenberg will tell of her discoveries of her grandfather’s role and how he helped in the adoption of a German Jewish orphan who would receive “Visa #1” to enter the United States after the war. Jessica’s research and journey culminated in connecting with and meeting this Holocaust survivor 70 years later. In appreciation of his work and assistance, the American Joint Distribution Committee held a banquet in Nowalsky’s honor, and the Jewish community of Berlin presented him with a large collection of Judaic objects, which had been hidden at the beginning of the war. These items will be on display at the Museum on Sept. 30. Reserve here.


The Beth Israel Congregation Ensemble will perform at “Singing Together Jackson,” an evening hosted by Working Together Jackson. The group is a coalition of religious and nonprofit organizations in the Jackson area that is working to achieve community change, as part of the organizations’ common call to justice. Jackson’s Beth Israel has been a member for several years and is part of the executive board. The event will be on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., at St. Andrews Cathedral.

After the 6:15 p.m. service on Oct. 2, Jackson’s Beth Israel will welcome Senator David Blount of Jackson to share information about Proposition 42 in the upcoming November election. Proposition 42 will create a pathway for fully funding public school education under the current MAEP formula. Blount will speak with congregants in the Social Hall about the details of the proposition, how it is worded on the ballot, the process to vote on the initiative and what is passage will mean for the children of Mississippi.

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