Jewish Food, Chanukah Wrapping: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Oct. 9

Around the South: Week of Oct. 9, 2015

“Rosenwald,” a documentary about a partnership between Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, and Booker T. Washington of Tuskegee Institute, will screen in the region this month (above). Through their efforts, 5400 “Rosenwald Schools” for blacks were built throughout the South from 1912 to 1933. An Oct. 10 screening in New Orleans is being coordinated by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, with Rosenwald’s great-grandson, Bill Hess, as speaker. The film will also be in Birmingham in late October.

Chabad of Huntsville announced the death of Devora Leah, infant daughter of Rabbi Moshe and Mushky Cohen, on Oct. 6. “Baby Leah was an angel who made so many people do mitzvos in her honor. She had a tremendous impact on the lives of so many thousands of people during the short time she was with us in this world,” they said. The funeral was scheduled to take place in New York. Memorials can be made to Chabad of Huntsville through Chabad of Alabama in Birmingham.

NECHAMA: A Jewish Response to Disaster, which spent a great deal of time in Louisiana and Mississippi 10 years ago, has been in touch with the Jewish communities of Columbia and Charleston, S.C., and a response team is on the ground working on emergency needs. Donation and volunteer information here.

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.

Michelle Bearman-Wolnek, executive director of Heart Gallery Alabama, is one of the 10 “smartest women in Birmingham” honorees at this year’s Smart Party 4.0, “social networking for social change benefitting the women’s fund.” The event will be at Iron City on Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m. The top fundraiser wins a trip to Seattle and a behind-the-scenes tour of Microsoft and Boeing headquarters. 

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, author of “Ally,” who spoke in Atlanta this week, said he does not support any attempt to close the Israeli consulate office in Atlanta.

Tablet magazine did a piece on the roots of mindfulness, how American Jews took a Buddhist spiritual practice and made it a phenomenon. New Orleanian Rodger Kamenetz is briefly referenced in the piece.

Last month, two Jewish Abrahams who are important to Alabama history were honored — Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Abraham Mordecai. Mordecai is regarded as the first white settler in what is now Montgomery and brought the first cotton gin to the state.

A writer says that the recent faculty of a Jewish day school in Durham, N.C. includes extremist anti-Israel activists and supporters of the boycott-Israel movement.

A few spaces remain for the Jewish Women’s Getaway at Ramah Darom in north Georgia, Nov. 1 to 4, hosted by Rabbi Analia Bortz of Atlanta.

Conexx: America Israel Business Connector will have its second annual golf tournament on Oct. 26 at The Standard Club in Johns Creek, Ga. Joel Neuman, immediate past chairman of Conexx, will be honored. Individual entry is $275, or $175 for those under age 35. Registration and lunch will be at 11:30 a.m., followed by a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Dinner, drinks and an award reception will be at 5:30 p.m. Sponsorships are also available starting at $500.

The team from Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica will be in Birmingham for recruitment and presentations on Oct. 11, starting with a religious school visit at Temple Emanu-El, then at the Friedman Family Foundation Jewish Food Festival at the Levite JCC.

Blount County, Tennessee, considered a resolution “condemning judicial tyranny and petitioning God’s mercy” because they do not agree with the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, and beseeching God “that He pass us by in His Coming Wrath and not destroy our County as He did Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighboring cities.” The vote on it was postponed this week.

The Nashville Jewish Film Festival opens on Oct. 13, with three weeks of offerings, including visits by “Deli Man” Ziggy Gruber and the host of Israel’s version of “Big Brother.”

Amy-Jill Levine will speak at several Christian and Jewish venues in Mobile as part of a Mobile Christian Jewish Dialogue program this weekend, including Springhill Avenue Temple on Oct. 9 and Ahavas Chesed on Oct. 10. Levine, a self-described “Yankee Jewish feminist who teaches in a predominantly Christian divinity school in the buckle of the Bible Belt,” is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of New Testament Studies, and Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences in Nashville.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces will have an event in Nashville on Oct. 12 at the Gordon JCC, with FIDF Southeast Region Executive Director Seth Baron as guest speaker. A similar event will be on Oct. 13 at the JCC in Memphis. The evenings also feature 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 programs are open to the pro-Israel community and are 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. 

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.


Nancy and Allen Meisler will speak about the 10th anniversary of Birmingham’s Mitchell’s Place, a comprehensive center for the treatment of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders, at the Temple Emanu-El Shabbat service on Oct. 9 at 5:40 p.m. The Meislers founded the center, which has an Early Learning Program starting at age two as well as speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA services, psychologists, psychiatrists and many other services for children. It was named to honor their son Mitchell, who was diagnosed at age two.

The annual Friedman Family Foundation Jewish Food Festival returns to Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center on Oct. 11, and is adding a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. The 13th annual festival will feature numerous Jewish delicacies, including brisket, smoked whitefish, stuffed cabbage rolls, falafel, Israeli salad, corned beef sandwiches, matzah ball soup, kugel and more. There will also be several local vendors and a kid’s zone, and live music. The festival will be on Levite Field from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Jewish Federation of Huntsville and North Alabama will have its Campaign Kickoff on Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. at Temple B’nai Sholom. Guest speaker will be Linda Scherzer, former Middle East correspondent for CNN and Israel Television. She will speak on “Israel: Prerequisites for Peace.”

On Oct. 20, the Atlanta office of the Anti-Defamation League will co-host a lunch discussion, “Anti-Semitism and Extremism in Europe,” at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center. The 11:30 a.m. event will feature a panel including two diplomats stationed in Atlanta, French Consul General Denis Barbet and German Deputy Consul General Thomas Wülfing. The event is free, but registration is required by Oct. 17. Send RSVPs to (404) 262-3470.

Birmingham Hadassah will have its annual Bubbe Club meeting on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m., at the Friedman Center for Jewish Life on Overton Road. The program will be “Up Close and Personal with Vinaigrettes,” with Susan Green of the Birmingham Bake and Cook Company. Inspired by the season, the discussion will be sparked by a seasonal salad of mixed greens with almonds and dates, tossed in a tangerine vinaigrette with a honey-drizzled goat cheese crostini. Bubbe Club dues are $25 and includes a listing of all grandchildren in the Hadassah Directory.

The 7th annual Levite Jewish Community Center Mah Jongg tournament in Birmingham will be held on Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Friedman Center for Jewish Life. Registration is $30 and includes a kosher lunch and prizes. Proceeds benefit the Roz Feigelson Circle of Life Knitting Society.

Families with preschoolers are invited to the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School’s Kids Club, celebrating holidays monthly with crafts, stories and singing. The next Kid’s Club will be Oct. 18 at the Day School, starting at 10:30 a.m.

The Temple Beth Or Guest Author Series in Montgomery will feature Tuvia Tenenbom, whose recent book, “Catch the Jew!” uses humor, charm and a skewer to explore life in Israel and in the Palestinian Authority. He spent seven months assuming identities from Tobi the German to Abu Ali, to get the unvarnished inside experiences. The book is a best-seller in Israel. The program will be Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

The Temple B’nai Sholom Sisterhood will participate as a team in the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run in Huntsville, on Oct. 17. Funds from the run are used to buy equipment related to the detection of breast cancer for Huntsville’s and Madison’s hospitals, plus other services. Registration is available here

On Oct. 25, the Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood in Birmingham is hosting “Sisterhood Fashion Show and Tablescapes — It’s All About Style.” The event is open to the community and includes a fashion show produced by Gus Mayer and jewelry by Regina. The 10 a.m. brunch and mimosas program is $18 for members, $25 for non-members. Reserve by Oct. 16.

The Temple Beth-El Men’s Club in Birmingham is having its annual golf tournament on Oct. 18 at Highland Golf Course, with a luncheon following. Registration is $118, or $472 for a foursome. Proceeds go toward youth programming.

The Eastern Shore Havurah will meet on Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. for lasagna, movie and dessert, at Westminister Village in Spanish Fort.

The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center will have rededication of its library, Oct. 11 at 3:30 p.m. Librarian and historian Mark Skinner will discuss the importance of special collections libraries, and summer intern Melissa Young, a PhD candidate at the University of Alabama, will present her summer research on the experiences of local Holocaust survivor Dora Nesselroth.

Springhill Avenue Temple will have its “First Annual Blessing of the Pets” in honor of Helen Small. All members of the Jewish community are invited. The event will be on the Temple’s front lawn on Oct. 18 at 11:30 a.m. (rain date is Oct. 25). All pets must be on a leash or in a crate or box because of the busy street.

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.

The next event for the L’Chaim League in Montgomery will be a tour of the High Ridge Spirits Distillery in Union Springs. This tour highlights the illegal moonshine trade that once existed in that area, which now houses a legal distillery. This tour is followed by lunch at Red’s Little Schoolhouse in Grady. The group will meet at the Temple Beth Or parking lot on Oct. 14 at 9 a.m., and reservations are requested.

A new Havrutah study group is forming at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center. Starting Oct. 12, the new study group will meet at 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of the month. Havrutah is a classic Jewish way of learning in pairs. Topics will range from the current week’s Torah portion, to current events, to whatever happened in the day as it relates to the spiritual text.

“Torah Triage: CPR from an Ancient Text,” a bimonthly program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, begins on Oct. 13. It will be co-sponsored by the UAB Department of Pastoral Care and Temple Beth-El. Chaplain Michael Horwitz will lead the sessions on “Torah for the intelligent skeptic” at the West Pavilion Conference Center, room B. It will meet at 12:15 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Contact Horwitz for more information.


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.

The Temple Beth-El Sisterhood in Pensacola will have “Mensches in the Mafia,” with Rabbi Joel Fleekop leading a discussion about the Jewish Mafia and its surprising contributions to Jewish life. The Oct. 21 event will be at 11:30 a.m. at Ever’mans.

B’nai Israel in Panama City will have Havdalah at the Beach, at Richard Selzer Park, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m., followed by a group dinner outing.

The second annual Temple B’nai Israel Sisterhood Rummage Sale is taking place in Panama City on Oct. 16. Furniture, clothes, housewares and other items can be brought to B’nai Israel on Oct. 4 or 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plastic bags, boxes and clothes hangers are also needed. The sale will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 16.

New Orleans/Louisiana 

The Gates of Prayer Sisterhood in Metairie will have “Girls Hanging Out for the Girls” as its opening program on Oct. 11 at 10:30 a.m. There will be Bra Pong, Bra-decorating stations, Mammo-grahams and bra-fitting services by SOMA. Cost is $10 for members, $18 for non-members. Bring two bras — one to decorate and one to donate to the New Orleans Women’s Shelter.

Jewish Children’s Regional Service will hold its annual Gift Wrap-a-Thon on Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Goldring-Woldenberg Jewish Community Campus in Metairie. Volunteers are needed to wrap thousands of gifts that will be distributed to Jewish children in the region this Chanukah. Pizza and refreshments will be served at the Wrap-a-Thon, and the Saints game will be televised.

A pioneer of Jewish rock music will be in concert in New Orleans on Oct. 18. Rick Recht will perform at a free family show at Touro Synagogue at noon. There will be a community lunch at 11:30 a.m. with a suggested donation of $5. The Touro Religious School students will join him on stage. Recht plays over 150 concerts a year and is the national music spokesman for PJ Library. He is also the founder and executive director of Jewish Rock Radio, which is available online and on an app. 

Shir Chadash in Metairie will have a congregational family retreat at the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, Oct. 23 to 25. A bus will leave Shir Chadash at 2 p.m. on Oct. 23 and leave camp at 1 p.m. on Oct. 25.

Roslyn Weiss will present “The Transcendent God of Goodness,” a Judeo-Christian Studies public lecture, at Tulane on Oct. 22. Weiss is the Clara H. Stewardson Professor of Philosophy at Lehigh University, where she has been teaching since 1991. She is the author of books on “Plato’s Crito,” “Plato’s Meno,” the “Socratic Paradox” and most recently, “Philosophers in the Republic: Plato’s Two Paradigms,” along with numerous articles and presentations on the Hebrew Bible, Maimonides, and other medieval Jewish thinkers. The lecture will be at 7:30 p.m. at Rogers Memorial Chapel. It is open to the community.

A newly formed group, Horim B’NOLA, starts on Oct. 16 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans. Horim, or parents, will meet once a month during the school year to discuss the holidays, parenting ideas, and other Jewish customs that can be incorporated in the home. No prior knowledge is required. Classes will meet on Fridays from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The group is open to individuals of all faiths and is free and open to the community. Contact Liba Kornfeld, Director of Jewish Family Life, with questions and to RSVP.

Jewish Family Service of Greater New Orleans will consecrate its new office space on Oct. 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend. Sponsorships, including dedications for the mezuzot that will be affixed to each doorway as well as space-naming opportunities, are available. 

Jewish Community Day School in Metairie is holding an Open House for prospective students and parents every Thursday this month, at 9 a.m.

Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have a dinner and discussion on Oct. 14 to talk about the congregation’s goals for LGBTQ advocacy. There is a $10 suggested donation for the 6:30 p.m. dinner, and reservations are requested.

The Temple Sinai Brotherhood in New Orleans will host New Orleans City Council President Jason Williams for dinner and conversation on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. He will discuss the Oct. 24 elections, and the progress and challenges facing the city. The dinner is free to current Brotherhood members, $18 for all other Temple Sinai members. Reservations are requested to the office or emailing here.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will offer Beginners Hebrew, Wednesdays at 6 p.m., Oct. 14 to Dec. 16. The course is free.

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 Oct. 22, Nov. 12 and 19, Dec. 3 and 17 and Jan. 7 and 21.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will offer Chai Mitzvah this year. The national non-denominational initiative, founded in 2008, offers a core curriculum for learning how to lead an engaged and meaningful Jewish life. The nine-session course uses Jewish texts to explore contemporary issues on a range of topics, and is accessible to all levels of Jewish background. The class meets once a month on Saturdays at 9 a.m., starting Oct. 10 and going through May. Cost is $25 for course materials. 

Chai Mitzvah in Shreveport resumes on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. at B’nai Zion.

The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning starts its year on Oct. 13 at the Uptown Jewish Community Center. In a relaxed setting, without homework, tests or prerequisites, this pluralistic, interactive program provides spirited dialogue and meaningful study, leading to a deeper appreciation of Judaism — past, present and future. The first year curriculum focuses upon the ‘Rhythms of Jewish Living’ and the ‘Purposes of Jewish Living.’ The second year curriculum explores ‘Ethics of Jewish Learning’ and ‘Crossroads of Jewish History.’ For additional details, visit or contact Liba Kornfeld, Director of Jewish Family Life, at 897-0143. Students may register online here.

New Orleans Hadassah will have a Mad Hatter Tea Party and Silent Auction on Oct. 18 at the Pavilion of Two Sisters at City Park. This year’s champagne jazz brunch will highlight all of the great works of Hadassah and honor the memory of Libbye Katz Gordon. Funds raised will help continue and improve upon Hadassah’s breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiac disease, pediatric cardiology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and neurological diseases. In keeping with the theme, festive hats are encouraged. Music will be by the Or Shavaly Trio. The brunch will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $180, or $100 for age 36 and under, and are available here.

Rabbi Jordan Goldson is teaching a Taste of Judaism class at B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge, on Oct. 14, 21 and 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, the free outreach class is for Jews and non-Jews.


Federation Shabbat will be held on Oct. 16 at Beth Israel in Jackson, at the 6:15 p.m. service. Services will be led by Rabbi Wylen, and Douglas Bloomfield will be the guest speaker. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He has served as legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC, guiding strategy on Capitol Hill to obtain $3 billion in military and economic aid for Israel.

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