Israel Thanks Alabama; New Rabbi for Shir Chadash: This Week in Southern Jewish Life, April 15

Above: Hilik Bar, deputy speaker of the Knesset, addressed a joint session of the Alabama Legislature on April 7, thanking the state for its continuing support of Israel, dating back to a first-of-its-kind resolution in 1943 calling for the establishment of a Jewish state. He also spoke at the Alabama-Israel Leadership Gala near Decatur on April 9, a gala fundraiser for the Alabama-Israel Task Force partnership with the Israel Leadership Institute in Sderot. 

Around the South: Week of April 15, 2016

Shir Chadash in Metairie announced Rabbi Deborah Silver will succeed Rabbi Ethan Linden.

The Institute of Southern Jewish Life in Jackson is set to embark on this year’s Passover Pilgrimage, visiting 16 communities during the holiday.

NECHAMA concludes its flood relief deployment in the Shreveport area.

JazzFest Shabbat will be on April 29 at Touro Synagogue in New Orleans, featuring Grammy winner Jon Cleary, and it’s the event’s 25th anniversary.

Passover Seders are not far away, and the reservation deadline in many communities is this week. Here’s a list of Seders in the region

Over 40 North Carolina rabbis have expressed opposition to HB-2, the controversial new law in that state that “weakens the legal protections of our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender brothers and sisters.”

Two 16-year-old girls from a South Florida Chabad community were found safe after wandering off from a class trip to Orlando.

After posting a picture of himself in Jerusalem, Mississippi’s Morgan Freeman stood up to the Israel-haters who went on the attack.

The Forward has “A New Orleans Seder, Israeli Style,” featuring Alon Shaya and his Passover menu.

Christians United for Israel will have its second annual Eastern Regional Forum, an all-day learning event at The Church at Chapelhill in Douglasville, Ga., west of Atlanta, on April 21. Speakers include Pastor Dave Divine, CUFI Georgia state director and pastor of the Church at Chapelhill; Pastor Jay Bailey of Solid Rock Church, CUFI Region 6 director; CUFI Outreach Coordinator Kasim Hafeez; CUFI national Diversity Outreach Coordinator Dumisani Washington; CUFI Eastern Regional Coordinator Pastor Victor Styrsky; and CUFI Watchman Project Director Erick Stakelbeck. Topics include “Radicalized Islamic Terrorism and How It Threatens the U.S,” “My Journey from Anti-Semite to Zionist,” “Destroying the Myths of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict,” “Anti-Semitism and the Battle Against Israel on College Campuses” and how churches can stand with Israel. Pre-registration is required and is $10. Registration is on the website.

Emily Nomberg, a junior at The Altamont School in Birmingham, announced that she has committed to play lacrosse at Rollins College after high school graduation. She is a three-year starter for Mountain Brook High School, and was named to the All-State team last season as a defender. This past year, Nomberg played travel lacrosse for X-TEAM, a national team led by Crista Samaras and coached by Michelle Ruth, among others. The Rollins College Tars, located in Winter Park, Fla., play in the Sunshine State Conference, and are currently ranked fourth in the latest IWLCA DII Coaches Poll. She will play either defense or mid-fielder when she joins the Tars team in the fall of 2017.

The National Council of Jewish Women in New Orleans applauded the Louisiana Senate for passing an equal pay for women bill; it now goes to the House.

Hebrew Union College announced its 2016 graduating class.

Tupelo native Jonathan Cohen, former director of the Henry S. Jacobs Camp in Utica, will receive the Doctor of Jewish Nonprofit Management degree, honoris causa, from the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management, at the Los Angeles graduation on May 16 at Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills.

The next Taste of Jewish Memphis weekend, which seeks to recruit 100 new families to Memphis, will be May 20 to 22.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Southeast will have its 2016 Atlanta Gala on May 2, honoring the Lone Soldiers of the IDF. Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of the British Army, will be the keynote speaker.

PJ Library has launched a new program for ages 9 to 11, PJ Our Way. Through JCRS, New Orleans is a pilot community. Those elsewhere who attend Jacobs Camp or Ramah Darom will also be able to enroll.

The Jewish Federation of Chattanooga is holding a five-kilometer Night Run Chattanooga on April 16 to support coexistence among Christians, Jews and Muslims through soccer. The “glow event” night run and one-mile walk on the Riverwalk will begin at 9:30 p.m. at the Manker Pattern Tennis Club.

An anonymous donor has pledged to match up to $25,000 in contributions to the University of Alabama Hillel by May 31.

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.

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. 


Vanderbilt’s Amy Jill Levine will visit Huntsville this weekend for a series of events at Temple B’nai Sholom and area churches.

It looks like construction on the 16-story high-rise apartment building planned for next door to Temple Beth-El in Birmingham is about to get started.

“The Lost Key,” a film about how a sexual relationship can transcend the physical and become spiritual, will be screened at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center on April 17 at 10 a.m. A discussion will follow with Rabbi Yossi Friedman, whose father was the filmmaker.

For A-Day Weekend, the University of Alabama Hillel will have a Sunday brunch, April 17 at 11:30 a.m.

Chabad at the University of Alabama will have a Mexican Shabbat, April 15 at 8 p.m. Services start at 7:30 p.m.

There will be a special screening of “Rosenwald,” a documentary about philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, at a place that is building a Rosenwald-style school. The April 24 screening at the Burritt Museum’s Baron Bluff in Huntsville is being sponsored by Margaret Anne Goldsmith. A special invitation to the 2 p.m. screening has been issued to North Alabama alumni of the Rosenwald Schools. Later this year, the Burritt Museum is slated to break ground on the Burritt Community School, a replica Rosenwald school, which will be a field trip destination for fourth graders to learn about one-room schoolhouses and education in the early 20th century.

Sam Tenenbaum will be signing his book, “The Unmasked Tenor: The Life and Times of a Singing Wrestler,” April 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Barnes and Noble at the Summit in Birmingham. The signing is part of the Spring Southern Writers Festival.

Theatre LJCC’s “Alice In Wonderland” continues at Birmingham’s Levite Jewish Community Center, with performances on April 16 at 7 p.m. and April 17 at 2 p.m.

In conjunction with the ongoing exhibition of “Darkness Into Life,” which chronicles the lives of Holocaust survivors who then made a new life in Alabama, Vulcan Park and Museum will host a performance of “A Slippery Slope: The Consequences of Hate.” The musical includes original poetry and scores by Deborah Layman, vice president of the Birmingham Holocaust Education Center, and Alan Goldspiel, chair of University of Montevallo’s Department of Music. The performance by The Seasoned Performers will include readings from personal testimonies of Holocaust survivors. The music and readings together are used to parallel the struggles of Alabama’s Holocaust survivors and the Civil Rights Movement. The performance will be on April 21 at 5:30 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $8 for Vulcan members and $10 for non-members.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation is doing a March to Passover as part of the Annual Campaign, trying to raise as many “new” dollars through new gifts and increases by Passover, April 22. A grant from the Birmingham Jewish Foundation matches those gifts dollar-for-dollar.

Collat Jewish Family Services is seeking volunteers to serve as substitute teachers in its ESL program. Classes meet on Monday and Wednesday mornings, but volunteers will not need to volunteer for all of those dates. No prior teaching experience required. Substitute teachers will facilitate reading aloud and lead discussion of articles on various topics. For information, contact Amy Peetluk here, or 879-3438.

Florida Panhandle 

From March 31 to April 3, the Pensacola Opera performed “Out of Darkness,” a three-chapter work bearing musical witness to those who were caught up in the Holocaust — but there is still one more chance to see it. Temple Beth-El in Pensacola will host a free performance on April 17. There will be a wine and cheese reception at 6:30 p.m. and the performance at 7:30 p.m. The work, commissioned by Music of Remembrance and first performed at MOR Holocaust Remembrance Concerts in Seattle, is by composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer.

A 2016 Days of Remembrance ceremony will be held April 20 at 10 a.m. at the Naval Support Activity Panama City Long Glass Conference Center. Reservations are due on April 15 by emailing here. U.S. citizens whose names are on his list should be able to drive in after showing photo ID. Foreign nationals will have to fill out forms. Doors open at 9:30. The first video presentation will begin at 9:45, and the official start is 10 am.

New Orleans/Louisiana 

The Jewish Endowment Foundation of Louisiana will have its annual event on April 17 at noon, at the Westin Canal Place in New Orleans. Betty Meyers will receive the Tzedakah Award, James Spiro will receive the Young Family Award for Professional Excellence and the Helen Mervis Jewish Community Professional Award will go to Wendy Goldberg. Former Congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan will be the guest speaker. For reservation information, visit here.

The New Orleans Section of The National Council of Jewish Women will have its Spring Gala, An Evening on Lake Pontchartrain, on April 16 at La Maison du Lac. There will be live music by Eddie Veatch and his Guys who perform everything from “Blue Room” to “Bayou Blues.” The Patron party begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner, dancing and celebrations from 7 to 9:30 p.m. General tickets are $100, with patron levels starting at $200. Underwriter levels range from $1,000 to $5,000.

The New Orleans JCC will host an in-person NPR interview with Marian Berkett, the state’s first female lawyer. She will share lessons learned over the last 103 years. Retired Judge Miriam Waltzer will introduce her. Lunch will be available at the noon program on April 21. Reserve here.

Tulane’s Jewish Studies department will have its inaugural Jewish Studies Colloquium, “Kol Minei Dvarim — All Different Things” on April 17 from 12:30 to 6 p.m. The colloquium will feature Seth Applebaum, Bellarmine University; Shaina Hammerman, Independent Scholar; Kateřina Čapková, Institute of Contemporary History, Prague; Gennady Estraikh, New York University; Tony Michels, University of Wisconsin-Madison. It will be at Rodgers Memorial Chapel and is free and open to the public.

Jewish Family Service of New Orleans will hold the 31st Annual Passover Food Distribution on two dates: April 17 and 20. The program is a collaboration of donors, staff, board members, synagogues, New Orleans-area Jewish agencies and volunteers who provide over 130 deliveries of Passover food and ritual objects to individuals and families in need in the community. Those who know a family in need, or wish to volunteer or contribute, visit the website or call (504) 831-8475 for more information.

The Chabad Center in Metairie is holding a community Shabbat dinner, April 15 at 8 p.m., with a 7:30 p.m. service. Reservations are required.

On April 17 at 4 p.m. B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will host a talk by Rabbi Mark Glickman, interim rabbi of Beth Shalom in Baton Rouge. He will discuss his new book, “Stolen Words: The Nazi Plunder of Jewish Books,” the little-known story of how the Nazis collected and warehoused a vast number of Jewish books once they determined that book burnings were ineffective and drew negative attention.

Israeli-born pianist Tal Zilber will be in concert at Gemiluth Chassodim in Alexandria on April 17 as a tribute to Ruth Anne Bindursky. The free concert at 3 p.m. is part of the Temple concert series sponsored by the Fuhrer-Bindursky Fund, and will be the first since Bindursky’s death on Dec. 29, 2014. Together with her brother and sister, she established the fund in 1988.

Red River Radio in the Shreveport area will air a series of Passover-related broadcasts this month. “Why This Night” with Rabbi Ismar Schorsch will air on April 17 at 6 p.m. “The Passover Story with the Western Winds” will air on April 20 at 7 p.m., followed by “Passover Dreams” on April 21 at 7 p.m. “A Musical Feast for Passover with Itzhak Perlman” will be on April 25 at 1 p.m. “Passover — A Time To Cross Over” will be on April 26 at 2 p.m., and “The Four Cups: A Celebration of Passover” will be on April 27 at 2 p.m.

Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a JazzFest Shabbat service on April 29 at 8 p.m., featuring Klezmer clarinetist Seth Kibel, accompanied by Sean Lane.

Jewish Community Day School and JNOLA will have a Family Chocolate Seder on April 17 at 2:30 p.m. at JCDS. Local clergy will lead a chocolate and kid-friendly version of the Passover Seder. After the Seder, there will be Passover-themed activities in the JCDS classrooms. RSVP.


Beth Israel in Jackson will have its 4-person scramble golf tournament on April 30 at Deerfield Country Club, with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and a shofar start at 1 p.m.

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