Deep South Jewish Voice actually began in 1990 as The Southern Shofar. Originally a struggling one-person operation, the newspaper became the only Jewish newspaper in Alabama in 1994. In 1999, the paper underwent a massive design change, changed its name, and included Mississippi. In late 2003, DSJV incorporated the communities of the Florida panhandle in its coverage area.
DSJV is one of the few independent, small-community Jewish newspapers that are supported solely by subscription and advertising, not by Federation allocations. Regularly, many articles first appearing in DSJV are picked up by other newspapers across the country including the daily secular press and AP.
The publication was recognized by the American Jewish Press Association in 1995 for excellence in investigative reporting; in 1996, 1997, 2000, and 2001, DSJV received the highest recognition among all Jewish newspapers in the country for excellence in editorial writing; in 1998 and 1999 DSJV received awards for excellence in commentary, and in 2000 won first place for excellence in news reporting. Larry Brook, the editor and publisher, has also served as 2nd Vice President of AJPA.
Deep South Jewish Voice serves a variety of communities in the Deep South from the Mississippi Delta to the Wiregrass, from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley, connecting them each month with news and features from their communities, the region, and around the world.
Lithuanian Jews have done what the Communists never dared to do: close the only synagogue in the country’s capital.
The synagogue in puy du fou tarif, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last September, was shut last week by Simonas Alperavicius, the community’s president, because of a dispute over the post of chief rabbi of Lithuania’s small Jewish community.
Alperavicius told JTA the step was a temporary measure intended to “show who is the master in the synagogue.”
The closing of the Vilnius synagogue establishes Lithuania as the latest battleground in a power struggle over who controls Jewish life in the former Soviet Union — and who gets to represent Lithuanian Jewry in negotiations with the government for the restitution of Jewish property.
Local Jews gather at the gates of the locked synagogue in Vilnius, Lithuania.
A group of Jewish Birminghamians celebrated their 80th birthdays together on May 22 at The Club. The tables had pictures of them from the 1940s, from their service in World War II. Celebrating together were Bob Anfanger, Fred Berman, Wally Cohen, Karl Friedman, G.G. Greenberg, Ralph Holzman, Norman Niren, Howard Schultz, Irvin Siegal, Bert Silman, Buddy Sokol, Melvin Sokol, and Irvin Wolf of Birmingham; Melvin Cohen of Bethesda, Md.; and Joe Kanter of Miani Beach, Florida. Anfanger and Siegal decided to plan the joint party at a time when the United States is dedicating a nationsl World War II monument in Washington. "It is wonderful and amazing that so many of the Birmingham veterans are still living and so are their wives," Anfanger said.
For the first time in almost two decades, an Israeli ambassador will visit Birmingham.
Daniel Ayalon will speak at the Birmingham Jewish Federation's annual award presentation. Jim Tolbert will receive the Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award at the June 22 event, which will be at Temple Emanu-El at 7:30 p.m.
The community is invited to attend. There is no charge, but tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained at the Federation office, (205) 803-1520, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ayalon's appearance is part of the Federation's Israel Emergency Campaign, which started again earlier this month. Launched after the latest round of Palestinian violence began in 2000, the campaign raised about $1 million from the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the area. The 2004 campaign began with a call-a-thon on May 19, and will continue through the summer.
Over $100,000 has already been raised.
Thanks to Reagan, who died Saturday at age 93 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s, the years 1981-1989 saw the consolidation of bipartisan support for the causes Jews held dearest: a secure Israel and the freedom of Soviet Jews.
It also saw the Republican Party become an acceptable option for Jews, ensuring that no single party could take the Jewish vote for granted.
“Historians will look back and say the Reagan years were the years the Jewish community looked back and tried the Republican Party on for size,” said Marshall Breger, Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community from 1983 to 1985. “That began the process of developing a comfort level which is now only coming to fruition. The Reagan administration turned the Jews into a two-party community.”
George Tenet broke with protocol and lent the once-vaunted credibility of the CIA to the pursuit of Middle East peace.
But to many in the Jewish community, Tenet’s legacy will be quashing a plan to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from prison.
When the Clinton administration brokered Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in 1998, Tenet, the director of the CIA, emerged as a key conduit, using the agency’s reputation as a stronghold of security knowledge to win cooperation from both parties.
“There was no way I could be credible on issues of security,” said Edward Walker, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Israel at the time. “We needed a guy like George to bring the parties around to the point that they could even talk to each other.”
Tenet, who has served as director of the CIA since 1997, resigned his post Wednesday, citing personal reasons. President Bush made the announcement Thursday, saying he would miss Tenet and praising him for his work.
Leaders of three Jewish religious denominations say they appreciate President Bush’s solid support for Israel but also want the United States to broker a peace accord.
The leaders of the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements joined Christian and Muslim counterparts Tuesday in urging Secretary of State Colin Powell to increase U.S. engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to name a new envoy. Orthodox Jews were not represented at the meeting with Powell.
The meeting was a reminder, just two weeks after Bush was feted at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, that strong support for Israel is not enough for many Jews. They want U.S. engagement in the process, too.
As airplanes rev their engines in the distance, the rabbi from Kansas City stands on the balcony of his airport hotel room holding a Torah scroll in his arms, and welcoming his latest convert to Judaism.
Rabbi Jacques Cukierkorn is on a mission to convert people to Judaism in Spain, the land of the Roman Catholic Inquisition where untold numbers of people have some Jewish ancestry.
But the Reform rabbi’s efforts aren’t exactly appreciated in Madrid, where the active Jewish population numbers about 5,000 and all but one of the synagogues are Orthodox.
“We can’t be like the Catholics and think that with a drop of water you’ve become Jewish,” says Jacobo Israel Garzon, president of Madrid’s Jewish community.
Cukierkorn’s latest series of ceremonies was conducted during a layover at Madrid’s Barajas International Airport following correspondence courses with the candidates that take at least one year to complete.
In total, Cukierkorn has converted 20 Spaniards to Judaism — most of them in Madrid, where there is no Reform temple.
He also has performed dozens of conversions in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador and the United States, and has written a guide to Judaism to help potential Spanish-speaking converts.
“There’s nothing I can do as a rabbi that is more transcendent than conversions. This has a future impact on Judaism,” Cukierkorn told JTA in an interview in the café of the airport hotel.
Norbert Dikales, 75, walked down a pathway that goes 30 feet below ground and descended into a nightmare.
For the first time in his life this week, Dikales, of Bethesda, Md., was visiting the notorious Belzec death camp in Poland, where his parents and most of his family were killed. They were among an estimated 600,000 Jews exterminated there between 1942 and 1943 in the most brutal Nazi killing camp outside of Auschwitz.
Dikales went to Belzec to attend the opening ceremony Thursday of a new $5 million memorial to mark the murders, and he descended into the site on a walkway behind some 400 Israeli army officers.
“I wish my parents could have seen this,” he said in a phone interview from Belzec, his voice breaking.
The ceremony drew about 1,000 people, including Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski, top officials from Israel, Germany and the United States, and several hundred Holocaust survivors and their families.
The opening of the memorial not only opened a new chapter for the once-ignored site, but — for now — ended a highly charged debate over the memorial’s construction.
The three-hour ceremony, broadcast live on Polish TV, capped a multiyear battle over whether the 600-foot pathway Dikales and others walked down desecrates the remains of the dead.
The ramp, and the trench dug to construct it, cut through an area suffused with bone shards and ash, left over from when the Nazis burned their victims in an attempt to hide the murders of Jews deported from the nearby region of Galicia.
Ariel Sharon’s Gaza withdrawal plan overcame a key hurdle with its passage in the Israeli Cabinet this week, but there are more obstacles ahead.
The version of the plan the Cabinet approved by a vote of 14-7 Sunday was a withdrawal in principle, but the Cabinet did not vote on actually dismantling any Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip or West Bank.
“Israel is taking its future in its own hands,” Sharon said after the vote. “Israel has no intention of waiting any longer for the Palestinians to rein in terror and incitement.”
The first person to be convicted under Australia’s new anti-terrorism law was sentenced this week to nine years in prison for conspiring to blow up the Israeli Embassy in Canberra.
But Jewish figures and some Australian journalists are calling the sentence ridiculously light.
Jack Roche, 50, got a reduced sentence that will make him eligible for parole in just three years. Though the crime carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, Judge Paul Healey gave Roche reduced jail time Tuesday for cooperating with authorities.
On Wednesday, the full-page headline on the sentencing in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph read, “What a Joke.”
“Roche pleaded guilty of conspiring to kill people. Three years in prison seems an extremely light sentence,” said Stephen Rothman, head of the Sydney Jewish Community and a lawyer.
Temple Beth El 256.236.9249 (Reform)
Beth Shalom..334.826.1050 (Unaffilliated)
Temple Emanu-El........205.933.8037 (Reform)
Knesseth Israel........205.879.1664 (Orthodox)
Temple Beth-El........205.933.2740 (Conservative)
Temple Emanu-El........334.792.5001 (Reform)
Temple B'nai Israel.......256.764.9242 (Reform)
Temple Beth Israel........256.546.3223 (Reform)
Temple B'nai Sholom........256.536.4771 (Reform)
Etz Chayim........256.881.6260 (Conservative)
Temple Emanu El........205.384.6051 (Reform)
Springhill Avenue Temple........334.478.0415 (Reform)
Temple Beth Or........334.262.3314 (Reform)
Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem........334.281.7394 (Conservative/Sephardic)
Mishkan Israel Congregation........334.875.4439 (Reform)
Temple Emanu-El........205.553.3286 (Reform)
Fort Walton Beach
Temple Beth Shalom........850.862.6086 (Reform)
Temple B'nai Israel........850.522.8685 (Reform)
B'nai Israel Synagogue........850.433.7311 (Conservative)
Temple Beth El........850.438.3321 (Reform)
Congregation Beth Israel........228.388.5574(Conservative)
Congregation Beth Israel........601.624.5862 (Reform)
Temple Adath Israel........662.843.2005 (Reform)
B'nai Israel........662.329.5038 (Reform)
Hebrew Union Congregation........662.332.4153 (Reform)
Ahavath Rayim........601.283.2614 (Orthodox)
Congregation B'nai Israel........601.545.3871 (Reform)
Beth Israel Congregation........601.956.6215 (Reform)
Temple Beth El........601.834.2674 (Reform)
Congregation Beth Israel........601.483.3193 (Reform)
Congregation B'nai Israel........601.445.5407 (Reform)
Congregation Beth Shalom........meets in private homes
Temple B'nai Israel........662.842.9169 (Reform)
Anshe Chesed Congregation........601.636.7531 (Reform)
Birmingham Jewish Federation........205.879.0416
Collat Jewish Family Services (Bham)........205.879.3438
Levite Jewish Community Center (Bham)........205.879.0411
Beis Ariel Chabad House........205.970.0100
National Council of Jewish Women
Birmingham Jewish Foundation......205.871.7799
Or Hadash, Humanistic Judaism Cong. (Bham).......205.967.5348
Hillel at Ole Miss (Oxford)........601.232.7404
Hillel at Southern Miss (Hattiesburg)........601.266.5000
Hillel at University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa)........205.348.5271
Hillel at Auburn University (Auburn)........334.821.9499
Jewish Federation of Montgomery........334.277.5820
Mobile Jewish Welfare Fund........334.343.7197
Pensacola Jewish Federation........850.434.7992
Alabama Holocaust Commission Website
Museum of the Southern Jewish Experience (Utica, MS).601.362.6357
B'nai Echod, Huntsville Singles Group.........256.533.2738
Birmingham Jewish Singles Group.......205.933.8289
Jewish Children's Regional Service........800.729.5277
American-Israel Chamber of Commerce........404.874.6970
American Israel Public Affairs Committee........770.333.8626
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith........404.262.3470
B'nai B'rith District Office........800.394.8108
Consulate General of Israel........404.875.7851
Israel Government Tourist Office........800.472.6364
Jewish National Fund........404.633.1132
Southern Hadassah Zionist Youth Commission........800.733.0637
Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Women's American ORT
Cohn Early Learning Center (Preschool)
3960 Montclair Road Birmingham AL 35213
N.E. Miles Jewish Day School (K-8)
4000 Montclair Road Birmingham AL 35213
Camp Barney Medintz - (Atlanta JCC)
Camp Coleman - (Reform)
Ramah Darom - (Conservative)
Henry S. Jacobs Camp - (Reform)
Camp Judaea - (Hadassah)
Camp Blue Star - (Non-Denom.)
Camp Darom - (Orthodox)
From the Mississippi Delta to the Wiregrass, from the Gulf Coast to the Tennessee Valley, we cover
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