April 30, 2021
18 Iyar 5781
Dear Friends:
Before beginning my Shabbat message I want to wish a refuah shleyma - a speedy recovery- to all those who have been injured and send comfort to those who lost family members at last evening's Lag B'Omer tragedy in Israel.

Shabbat Shalom. Can you believe it’s the last Shabbat in April? I am not sure where the first half of spring went, but we are well on our way to summer, and I for one am looking forward to it! I want to thank all of you who reached out last week to set up coffees, lunches, dinners, and walks with me. It’s wonderful getting to spend one on one time with each of you. It truly is one of the best parts of my job!

A little over a year ago there was an anti-semitic incident that occurred in our community with High School students painting a swastika on the back of one of their peers. From that, the Mountain Brook School System assembled a Diversity Council composed of various stakeholders from across our community, on which I serve. We meet to talk about antisemitism and how the Mountain Brook Schools can be more diverse and welcoming to all students and staff regardless of race, religion, or orientation. I am pleased to report that under the chairmanship of Dr. Al Cohn and the Principal of Crestline Elementary, Christy Christian, many strides in addressing these issues have been made. Below is an excerpt of an article that was shared with Mountain Brook School families. I think it is equally important to share with our community as well.

April 14, 2021 — The Mountain Brook Schools Diversity Committee in December presented five recommendations to the school district to help it more effectively achieve one of its primary strategic goals. 
That goal is to develop or enhance structures and practices to ensure the school district honors individual differences, diversity, and the dignity of all, and that all members of the school community are treated with respect.
MBS has begun to implement the Diversity Committee’s recommendations over the past few months and on Tuesday, April 6, provided an update to committee members about the recent progress. 
“Our school district is dedicated to enhancing how we honor and respect diversity and remains grateful to everyone who is helping lay the foundation for long-term growth,” MBS Superintendent Dr. Dicky Barlow said. “While we are putting critical pieces into place, our work is only just beginning.” 
Each Mountain Brook school has already formed its own diversity committee that will develop programming to enhance students’ experiences and create opportunities for them to interact and partner with diverse communities and people. The school-based diversity committees consist of teachers, school leaders, parents, and students, with one or two committee members serving in leadership roles. 
“Our school diversity committees are currently conducting school audits to determine where their schools are with regard to culture, climate, and where they feel like we need to steer that conversation in year one,” said MBS Director of Student Services Amanda Hood, who serves as a liaison between the school district and Diversity Committee. 
Additionally, the school district has started to develop partnerships with local and national organizations as resources for professional learning, student training, and parent support. 
Close to 500 MBS employees have already completed anti-bias training through the Anti-Defamation League. Before the start of the 2021-2022 school year, all employees are required to complete the training. 
“The anti-bias training is really about the lens through which you see the world that has been formed by your upbringing, experiences, and communities you’ve lived in,” Hood said. “It really pushes you to stand back and reflect on how those things have shaped your opinions, thoughts, and lens.”
Principals and school-based diversity committee leaders are also completing leadership training through the Anti-Defamation League and are preparing to implement the ADL’s No Place for Hate program on their campuses next school year. The No Place for Hate program equips schools to build learning communities of inclusivity, respect, and equity.

"Local school diversity committees will establish a minimum of three genuine, authentic, interactive experiences that will occur in their schools to start important conversations and enhance culture," Hood said. 
Furthermore, school district leadership will consider recommendations from students who are part of the Diversity Committee's student subcommittee.
“Right now we have a general code in our student handbook about bullying, intimidation, and harassment,” Hood said. “But our students recommended that our school district look at this more closely."
I hope you are pleased at the progress that is being made in the Mountain Brook School System that serves so many of our children. And while positive changes are taking place, we are still alerted to antisemitic incidents happening frequently in other schools both public and private in Birmingham. Please know that the Federation, when appropriate, is working with organizations across the city along with our partners at the Anti-Defamation League to further address these issues.

Wishing you a restful Shabbat and a week of peace.
2021 Annual Campaign
See your Federation dollars at work!
Agency Spotlight
Yom Ha’atzmaut at N.E. Miles
Jewish Day School

At the Day School, Yom Ha’atzmaut was celebrated with an afternoon full of exciting activities to celebrate Israel. The afternoon started with  falafel, served with hummus, fruit & vegetables.  All students went to a petting zoo, monitored by Ms. Carter, where they got to play with Lolo, the bunny; Bob, the bearded dragon; Truffles, the guinea pig; and last, but not least, Phineas the ferret. There was socially distanced Israeli dancing and Israel - themed arts and crafts. K and Grade One ran relay races with balloons. Grades two through eight played thrilling water games, which included a water balloon toss.  The Upper Schoolers made salt maps of Israel and decorated the school with banners of Israel’s flag. We finished off the day with delicious popsicles. Happy  Birthday, Israel! 

A Collaborative Article from the 4 / 5 Class
Upcoming Programming
PJ Library: It's in the Bag!
Monday, May 3rd @ 8 PM
Complexities and Trends
in the Jewish Nation
Thursday, May 6th @ 11 AM
Please join the Birmingham, Greater New Orleans, and Lehigh Valley Jewish Federations for a pop-up lunch and learn program as we hear from Iris Posklinksy, Head of Partnership in the North Region of the Jewish Agency for Israel, – on Thursday, May 6th, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. CDT. 
Iris will lead us through a discussion of the Complexities & Trends in the Jewish Nation including:

  • Demographic data and what it means – what is the future of the Jewish Nation?
  • Changes and Challenges in Israel - Diaspora relations.
  • Israel as common denominator to a partisan issue.
  • Trends in Jewish Philanthropy.

This event is jointly hosted by the Rosh Ha'ayin Partnership2Gether Steering Committee, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, the Birmingham Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Federation of Lehigh Valley, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel's Partnership2Gether program.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Life After Life Without Parole
Tuesday, May 4th, 2021 at 12PM
Spring Pop-Up Shop
Full Circle is doing a pop-up shop at the LJCC on May 16!

Join us anytime from 10 AM-3 PM at The Levite Jewish Community Center for a spring pop-up shop!
Summer Kick-Off
Sunday, May 23rd at 6:30-9 PM
The Birmingham Jewish Federation, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Beth-El, and Keneseth Israel invite you to a Summer Kick-Off Party! This event is open to all incoming 8th-12th graders in the Birmingham Jewish Community. Join us at the LJCC outdoor pool for kosher BBQ, DJ Platinum, and fun!
The BHEC is Hiring
The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC) is seeking an Executive Director. The Executive Director is a key management leader with overall operational responsibility for overseeing the strategic planning, programming, revenue development, and day-to-day administration of the organization. The ideal candidate will require experience in the following areas, including a strong track record in fundraising and resource development, marketing, and community outreach. The position reports directly to the Board of Directors.

To read more, you can visit their website here.

If interested, please send resume and cover letter to abrahamschuster@gmail.com or glynnis.levitt@gmail.com
Community Programs
The Federation and Foundation have been having issues with our post office box. Please send all correspondence to our physical address at 3966 Montclair Road, Birmingham, AL 35213
The Birmingham Jewish Federation