Alabama denounces BDS: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, Feb. 19

Above: Birmingham’s Temple Beth-El participated in the World Wide Wrap during the daily minyan on Feb. 7, presenting the fifth grade students with their own sets of tefillin. 

Around the South: 
Week of Feb. 19, 2016 

Alabama’s Legislature unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, reaffirming Alabama’s support for Israel.

The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson has received a challenge grant commitment, a 1:2 match of up to $500,000. The ISJL’s campaign to access the grant by raising $1 million goes through March 20.

The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration is presenting “Natchez at 300: A River Runs By It,” including a Feb. 26 concert at 6:30 p.m. at Temple B’nai Israel. “Music at the Temple: An Evening of Jewish Music” features Alvin Shelby, musician and singer-songwriter and David Goldblatt, professor of music, Alcorn State University. This eclectic concert will feature works that reflect a diverse heritage. The event will include ancient Jewish chants, Classical works based on Jewish texts, prayers and songs from Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Israel as well as modern Jewish forays into folk music, Jazz, Rock and Gospel. There will be an introduction and remarks on history of Temple B’nai Israel by Terri Tillman. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.

A symposium on Feb. 19 and 20 will discuss work by Mississippi State University archaeologists at Khirbet Summeily, Israel, and what the work contributes to understanding the kingdoms of David and Solomon.

Nelle Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” died on Feb. 19 in her hometown of Monroeville. Twenty years ago, the Monroeville group that does a stage version every spring was invited to perform in Jerusalem, their first performances outside of the U.S. Here is our 2014 piece on the documentary “Our Mockingbird” by Birmingham native Sandra Jaffe.

Tablet has an article where they follow Rabbi Gabe Greenberg as he does a kashrut supervision at Café du Monde in New Orleans.

Jon Cleary, who will be featured at Touro Synagogue’s JazzFest Shabbat on April 29, won his first Grammy, for best regional roots music album.

Pensacola native Ari Kaiman, a veteran of Ramah Darom, was named rabbi of Shearith Israel in Atlanta.

A feature on Jackson’s Reva and Ellis Hart, who just celebrated the 73rd anniversary of their first date and will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary in August.

Registration is open for American Hebrew Academy’s prospective student weekend, March 18 to 20 in Greensboro, N.C. The academy is an international pluralistic Jewish college prep boarding school.

The George Lindsey Film Festival at the University of North Alabama will include an Israeli film, “The Self Deception Artist” by Maya Zaydman, screening at 11:30 a.m. on March 4. The film is about off-beat Israeli musician Yehu Yaron, who sets out to record a new album, an ambitious all-out magnum opus. His songs and lyrics tell his story out-loud. They are lit with the light of his newly founded family. All the while, his declining health lingers about (he is diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis), shedding darkness into his home and music.

Gulf Coast Bank is doing its 4th annual Community Rewards program, with $50,000 going to the 10 non-profits that get the most online votes. The only group in the Jewish community participating this year is Hadassah in Baton Rouge.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga will have an Israeli wine tasting on Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Cultural Center. The $36 admission includes five kinds of Israeli wines and appetizers. The Exclusive Wine Club, which is $54, includes two additional Israeli boutique wines. Admission to ages 21 and over.

Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer will speak at Baron Hirsch in Memphis on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.

New Orleans Chef Alon Shaya and Domenica will be featured on Food Network’s “Top Five Italian Restaurants in the U.S.” on Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Central.

Filming has wrapped on “Denial” at Emory University. The upcoming film dramatizes Emory’s Deborah Lipstadt and her libel trial in Britian, brought on by Holocaust denier David Irving.

Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, is having a “breakout season” with the Sacramento Kings. In July 2014 he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, but almost immediately thereafter was waived, and went to Sacramento.

Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will welcome Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El for Shabbat services on Feb. 20 at 10:30 a.m., with Rabbis Dana Kaplan and Joel Fleekop, and the Springhill Avenue Temple Choir. A lunch will follow.

Sisters Connect, a regional Sisterhood event for congregations in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, will take place at B’nai Zion in Shreveport on Feb. 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga is crowdfunding a $20,000 campaign to replace two vehicles that were torched two weeks ago. The vehicles were used for transporting meals to home-bound community members, and taking seniors to appointments.

A New Orleans BBYO reunion weekend is being planned around the theme of reconnect, renew and rebirth — reconnecting with old friends and renewing those relationships, while supporting the rebirth of BBYO in New Orleans. The weekend begins with Shabbat services and an oneg at Gates of Prayer, Feb. 26 at 6:15 p.m. The main reunion event will be on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Southport Music Hall in Jefferson, with food and an open bar. Admission is $65, $75 after Feb. 16. Because of the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, the Feb. 28 coffee and beignets meetup has been moved to New Orleans Coffee and Beignets on Veterans in Metairie at 10 a.m. For registration or volunteer information, visit here.

The historic Temple Beth Tefilloh in Brunswick, Ga., is hosting a Jewish Food and Culture festival on March 20 at the Morning Star Marina, in the courtyard near the Coastal Kitchen and Raw Bar, on St. Simons Island, Ga., just off the Causeway. There will be music, dancing and a mock wedding. Proceeds will benefit the Temple’s restoration fund for its historic building. Admission to the event is free.

The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana is administering the Goldring first-time camper incentive grants of up to $1,000. The grants are available to those in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the Florida panhandle attending a sleepaway Jewish camp for the first time.

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

Birmingham’s Knesseth Israel is holding a fundraising raffle, with 500 tickets available at $100 each. The winner will have the option of a Jewish or Christian tour of Israel for two, or $5,000. The tours include airfare. The winner will be drawn at a reception on May 12, one need not be present to win.


Mobile’s Jewish community will have a joint Shabbat service on Feb. 26 at 6 p.m., at the Stallworth House, 1604 Springhill Avenue. Following the service, David Sorkin, the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Jewish History at Yale University, will speak on Jewish Identity in the 20th and 21st Centuries. A reception will follow. The evening is sponsored by the University of South Alabama, USA Foundation, Ahavas Chesed, Springhill Avenue Temple, Mobile Area Jewish Federation and Mobile Christian-Jewish Dialogue.

In conjunction with the Extemporaneous Theater Company, Birmingham Hadassah is producing a night of comedy, “Latke vs. Hamentashen: The Great Debate.” The program will be Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Friedman Center on Overton Road. Latkes and hamantashen will be served following the debate. Cost is $18 for adults and $10 for students. Proceeds benefit the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower to complete the underground Surgical Center at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. 

The highly-popular Temple Beth Or Jewish Food Festival and Treasure and Collectible Market in Montgomery opens at 9 a.m. on Feb. 28. Over the years, thousands have attended the festival, where most of the dishes are hand-made by Beth Or members. Admission and parking are free, and hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You Belong in Birmingham will have a Krav Maga class on Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m. at the Levite Jewish Community Center. Reservations are requested by Feb. 26. The class is $11.

The animal blessing that Mobile’s Springhill Avenue Temple had scheduled at Dream Acres Equine and Animal Sanctuary for Feb. 27 has been postponed because of a horse illness.

The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center opens its Holocaust in Film Series on Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. with “Karski and the Lords of Humanity,” at Emmet O’Neal Library.

Chabad at Alabama will have a Hawaiian Shabbat, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. They will also have a BLT every other Sunday at noon — bagels, lox and tefillin, starting on Feb. 21.

You Belong in Birmingham will have a Jews and Brews gathering on Feb. 26, starting with a potluck dinner and Shabbat services, followed by drinks at Avondale Brewery.

The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra has one Alabama appearance on its upcoming U.S. tour. The orchestra will perform at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. The tour features conductor Dmitry Yablonsky, and Danielle Akta on cello. The program includes Tchaikovsky’s “Khojaly Requiem,” Saint-Saens’ Cello Concerto and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2. The orchestra will have just performed in Tallahassee on March 3, and some members of the orchestra are expected to attend services at Beth Shalom in Auburn on March 4. Rabbi Elliot Stevens of Temple Beth Or in Montgomery said their Israeli son-in-law, Yonah Zur, will be performing as one of the lead violins.

The Madison Square Mall Theater in Huntsville will be screening five Academy Award-nominated films not available elsewhere in the state, including an Israeli film that is up for an award. The Free2Be Safe Anti-Violence project has partnered with the theater to screen “Son of Saul,” “Brooklyn,” “Spotlight,” “Room” and “Big Short” from Feb. 19 to the Academy Awards on Feb. 28. A $40 donation to the project here entitles one to a VIP ticket for all five films.

The N.E. Miles Jewish Day School Kids Club and PJ Library will have a “Shalom Y’all Morning.” Parents and children ages 0-4 are invited at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 21 at the Day School for a morning of yoga, singing and more. Contact the NEMJDS to RSVP.

Bais Ariel Chabad Center in Birmingham will have a Mexican Shabbat on Feb. 19. Services are at 5:30 p.m., followed by a Mexican dinner at 6 p.m. Reservations are $18, $10 per child and a maximum of $54 per family.

Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have its annual Neighbor Night Shabbat service on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

There will be a Henry S. Jacobs Camp presentation at Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile after religious school on Feb. 21, with pizza and a bounce house.

On Feb. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m., Birmingham’s N.E. Miles Jewish Day School will have an evening honoring the memory of Paul Miller. Students and volunteers will spend the evening organizing the books in the school library. All past students and friends of his are invited to join current families and students in third grade and older. Those in attendance will write notes and share pictures for a special memory box. Dessert will be provided.

Chabad of Mobile will hold a Ladies Night Out, a social tea event exploring the secrets of the Jewish woman. The Feb. 23 event will be at 7 p.m. at Blacksher Hall. There will be a dessert buffet as Bina Goldwasser gives a presentation on spirituality, femininity and the evolving role of the Jewish woman. Pensacola’s Lorie Weekley will do a makeup and skin care demo. Reservations are requested but not required.

Young Interfaith Married Members of Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile are invited to a Feb. 20 happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m., place TBA.

Because of the importance of the makeup of Federal courts, national NCJW wants to spread the word about a panel, “Serving Justice Through Diversity,” on Feb. 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Baker Donelson office in Birmingham. Coordinated by the National Bar Association and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, the event features keynote speaker Congresswoman Terri Sewell, along with NBA President Ben Crump and Judge U.W. Clemon, among others.


Sidnie Crawford, an internationally-recognized scholar of the Dead Sea Scrolls and textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will speak in Pensacola. On Feb. 25, she will speak on “What Do the Dead Sea Scrolls Teach Us about the Bible?” at the University of West Florida. The 6:30 p.m. program will be at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts, with a 6 p.m. reception beforehand. The event is free and open to the public. Her lecture is sponsored by the Pensacola Jewish Federation, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, UWF Department of History and UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology. On Feb. 26 Temple Beth-El will host a lunch and discussion with her at noon.

New Orleans/Louisiana

Touro Synagogue will have its annual gala, “Dining with the Stars,” on Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The dinner and specialty cocktails will be served by a selection of New Orleans personalities, with the celebrities competing with each other to earn the most tips to benefit the congregation. The dinner is being catered by Alon Shaya. Tickets are $125 per person, $90 for those under age 35. Patron tickets are $225, underwriters are $500. Reservations are requested by Feb. 12.

The Jewish Federation of Greater New OrleansSuper Sunday 2016 will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. Volunteers at the Jewish Community Campus in Metairie will contact members of the community to invite them to “write our community’s next chapter” for the 2016 Annual Campaign. The Super Sunday goal is $160,000. Volunteer opportunities are also available on Feb. 23 and 24.

Beth Israel in Metairie will have a three-part series on “Truth, History and Difficult Episodes in Jewish Thought,” Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., starting on Feb. 24.

This month’s Jewish Community Day School Jewish Babies Club is scheduled for Feb. 26, 1 to 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor Beit Midrash, at the school in Metairie. Occupational Therapist Ellie Streiffer will lead babies, 3 months to 15 months in play activities that encourage development. She will also bring along ideas and toys babies may enjoy during their free time at home.

Inna Shtakser, Tulane visiting professor of Hebrew, will speak following the Shabbat service at Beth Israel, Metairie, on Feb. 26. Her talk, during the 7:30 p.m. dinner, will be “Striving for Secular Education Among the Russian Empire Jews.” Dinner reservations are requested by Feb. 24, and are $18 for members, $9 for children age 5 and up; for non-members it is $25 and $18, respectively. 

On Feb. 26, Touro Synagogue will host “Pitfalls and Problems in Interfaith Dialogue: How to Have a Real Conversation.” Following the 6 p.m. service, there will be a discussion with Michael Cowan and Adil Hussain Khan. Cowan is director of Common Good, a network of civil society organizations he founded after Hurricane Katrina. Khan is assistant professor of Islamic studies at Loyola University New Orleans.

There will be a celebration of JewCCY’s sixth anniversary on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., at Sector6 Extreme Air Sports in New Orleans. Open to grades 6 to 12, admission is $20 and includes all Sector6 activities, dinner and birthday cake. Advance registration is required.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a special blood drive on Feb. 26 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., for Hector Castellon Saybe, husband of one of their nursery school teachers. All blood types are needed.

B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a blood drive from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and a Fair Trade Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 21. As there will be a regional Sisterhood event that day, some discussions will focus on the effect of Fair Trade on women.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have Shabbat Unplugged on Feb. 19 at 8 p.m., a musical service with the congregational choir, multiple instruments and visual prayers.

Touro Synagogue will host “In Our Own Voice,” a presentation of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, during a 7 p.m. Shabbat dinner on Feb. 19. The dinner follows the 6 p.m. service. The program is two trained speakers sharing their stories of living with mental health challenges and achieving recovery.

Rabbi Mendel Rivkin will speak on “Joy: A Key to Liberation,” Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at The Red Shoes in Baton Rouge.

Chabad of Louisiana will present “The Art of Joy and Gratitude,” a workshop with Rabbi Eliyohu Rivkin from Chabad of Northridge in California. The Feb. 22 event at Uptown Chabad will start at 7 p.m. with registration and a dessert buffet, followed by the 7:30 p.m. workshop.

Pianist Alon Goldstein, cellist Amit Peled and clarinetist Alex Fiterstein, bound by their Israeli roots, formed the Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio in 2005. The Trio has appeared in concerts in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, and at numerous chamber music festivals. The Goldstein-Peled-Fiterstein Trio will perform at Tulane’s Dixon Hall on Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. in a New Orleans Friends of Music event. Tickets are $35 for adults, $18 under age 35 and $5 for students.

The next TGI Shabbat for Young Jewish Professionals will be Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at Chabad Uptown in New Orleans.

Beth Israel in Metairie will have an NCSY Shabbat with visiting students from New Jersey. They will lead services and do a d’var Torah at the 9 a.m. service on Feb. 20.

TRIBE Shabbat will be at Howlin’ Wolf on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

Temple Sinai in New Orleans will join St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church and St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in a three-part interfaith study, “The Book of Job: And You Think You’ve Got Problems?” The program will be on Wednesdays with dinner at 6 p.m. and the program at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $8 per session. The Feb. 24 session will be at St. Charles Ave. Baptist and March 2 at Temple Sinai.

A choir is being formed for the Shabbat evening service of Limmud weekend, March 18 at Gates of Prayer, and the community is invited to participate. There will be three rehearsals — Feb. 28, March 6 and 13, at 4 p.m. Participants must be able to attend at least two of the rehearsals. For more information, contact Tory May.

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