Sunday, July 5, 2020
T. Marie King is a modern voice for progressive change and a civil rights activist. She is a Birmingham native and will be joining the LJCC to talk about race as it relates to our children.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Race
Starting a conversation about race with your young child may sound like an impossible task. What do you tell them and what do you hold back? Where do you even start such an important conversation? Conversations about race and racism should start at a young age, however many of us don't know where to start.

T. Marie King will join Levite Jewish Community Center families virtually on Tuesday, July 7 at 8:00 pm to help them learn how to navigate conversations about race with their young children.

Have a question for T. Marie King? Please submit it through the registration site or to Katie Hausman prior to the event.

Pictured are Jameson and Anderson Kolodziej enjoying their PJ Library Camp - It's in the Bag!
PJ Library Presents: Camp - It's in the Bag!
It has been over four months since the world has been turned upside down by COVID-19. We know that it has been a time of stress as we help our children with e-learning, navigate social distancing, and juggle work, all while worrying about the state of our world. It has not been easy, we still have a while to go before we get through this, and yet we know that we have all become stronger. We are Zoom pros, we have learned patience (most days), we are trying new recipes, we are relying on so much less and somehow, we are all here and we will be ok!
The Birmingham Jewish Federation and Foundation hope that through PJ Library we have helped alleviate some of this stress. Our hope is that PJ books have brought your family together, that our monthly newsletters have been giving you resources for activities and story times, and that you know that you can always reach out to us if needed. Although we cannot have traditional programing for now, we can still enjoy PJ Library on other ways.
Recently, BJF staff delivered over 160 goody bags to our PJ Library families! Since we know that many camps are closed or opening at a limited capacity, we created “Camp - It's in the Bag!”, a sliver of summer camp for our young families to enjoy. Our camp bag includes everything that helps us reminisce about camp: s'mores, ice pops, color wars, tie dye, Shabbat, Israel, and more! Stay tuned for more creative programing for our young Jewish families!
PJ Library is a BJF funded program for families raising Jewish children (ages 0-8). If you would like more information about PJ Library, please email Florina Newcomb . PJ Library is also funded locally by the Andrew David Abroms Fund of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation.
The Jaffa Institute serves over 4,000 children and adults in Israel annually.
BJF Funded Israeli Agency Responds During Covid-19 Crisis
The Jaffa Institute is a social services agency that assists severely disadvantaged children and their families, without distinction of religion or national origin, from the impoverished communities of Jaffa, South Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and Bet Shemesh in Israel. The Parent-Child Center serves approximately 400 families annually and The Adjustment to Motherhood project, which has been funded by our community for the past 4 years through the BJF’s Israel-World Jewry Bureau, serves approximately 40 families annually.
Recently, Yechiel Marcus, The Jaffa Institute’s Director, sent us an update on how their programs were affected by Covid-19 and how they managed to continue vital services to their families.
During the period of two and a half months when the Coronavirus was spreading and all public gatherings were not allowed, the Parent-Child Center was working with a limited staff. In spite of that, Michal, the manager and the other available staff members, held 500 telephone talks with all of the families that have been involved recently in the Center. During that period of time the staff held 43 weekly therapy sessions by phone or Zoom with people that were in the midst of a therapeutic process with one of the staff. Michal felt it was important that all of the families would have someone to turn to in the case of an urgent need, so they established an emergency 24/7 hotline that operated during that time. The staff also posted various play and music activities on Facebook for parents to use with their children, as well as story hours in Hebrew and Arabic.
To learn more about BJF’s Israel World Jewry Bureau, Federation’s overseas allocations process, please email Florina Newcomb .
CJFS, with support from the Birmingham Jewish Foundation, is working to raise mental health awareness.
The Year of Mental Health
One in five adults is diagnosed with a serious mental health illness during their lifetime. Our community is not immune. The Jewish Mental Health Initiative 2020 is a collaborative outreach effort among a diverse group of Jewish organizations and congregations in greater Birmingham, funded by the Birmingham Jewish Foundation and Collat Jewish Family Services. The purpose is simple:

  • To raise awareness of mental health issues and their impact on our community
  • To reduce the stigma that is associated with mental illness and addiction
  • To connect those who are suffering to the resources that can help

As we have faced months of distancing and everyday challenges, this effort has become even more important. Outreach during the current pandemic has touched over 100 people through virtual programming such as Coping with Coronavirus and a Community Healing Service. Virtual counseling and resource referral is available on an individual basis through CJFS. For more information, call 205 879-3438 or email Marcy Morgenbesser .

"The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community." synopsis
[T]BE Involved Book Club
The [T]BE Involved Social Action Committee is excited to announce its second book club event discussing “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James H. Cone. Temple Beth-El invites you to join us via Zoom on Sunday, July 12 at 4 pm for a discussion led by Dr. Matthew Levey, professor of history, Birmingham-Southern College. The event is limited to 25 people in order to have a meaningful discussion. Spaces are expected to fill up fast, so register today. 
Here’s what says about the book: “In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.”
Community Programs & Announcements

The Great Mitzvah Race
Monday, July 6 - Friday, July 17. Join the LJCC for The Great Mitzvah Race. During this two-week-long competition, a new challenge will be posted on the LJCC's Facebook each day. You will have one day to complete that challenge. Each challenge is worth a different amount of points -- collect the most points and you could be the winner of a very cool prize! You must send photo proof of you completing the challenge to Shaina Wolinsky in order to collect your points. Challenges can be completed as an individual or as a family. As an added bonus you can help the community by making face masks. Any face masks that you make during the mitzvah challenge will count as 1 point when donated to the LJCC. May the best mensch win!

CARES Virtual Support Group
Mondays at 1:30 pm and Thursdays at 7:30 pm via Zoom. To help dementia caregivers cope with stress, Collat Jewish Family Services’ CARES respite program is now offering its free Virtual Support Group twice weekly. The group is led by CJFS professional staff. Register now

Archives at Home: The Dr. Werner Knurr Collection
Thursday, July 23 from 7:00-8:30 pm via Zoom. Holocaust survivor Dr. Werner Knurr joins BHEC archivist Rachel Lopez to tell the story of his family’s escape from Nazi Germany through the rare and unique collection of artifacts he has generously donated to the BHEC. From a comfortable life in Aurich, Germany, to hardships endured under the Nuremberg Laws, and finally to building a new life in Montgomery, Alabama, there is much to be learned from the Knurr family’s experiences. Register here

Mishkan HaNefesh - Temple Emanu-El's New High Holy Day Prayer Book
August 5, 12, and 19 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. Come and learn about Temple Emanu-El's new High Holy Day prayer book, Mishkan HaNefesh, in this three-class series. This prayer book gives us a wealth of resources for finding new meaning in these High Holy Days. Through updated translations, readings, and poetry, as well as easily accessible transliteration and new liturgical innovations, Mishkan HaNefesh breathes new life into High Holy Day services. RSVP here

Hands Up Together - Date Rescheduled
Thursday, August 13 from 5:30-6:00 pm via Zoom. Collat Jewish Family Services’ 2020 Hands Up Together event honoring Marjorie Perlman has been rescheduled as a virtual event. Sponsors and ticket holders will receive information via postcard and email about how to join this Zoom event. For more information, contact Elaine Witt .

*Virtual* L'Chaim 2020
Sunday, August 23 from 2:00-3:00 pm live online. L’Chaim will be inspiring as ever, and for everyone’s safety and enjoyment will be a live virtual event this year. Join the BHEC as they recognize our honorees Susan and David Silverstein . Learn more

Financial Assistance Available for Jewish Community Members
Thanks to a grant from the Greatest Needs Fund of the Birmingham Jewish Federation’s COVID Relief Campaign, Collat Jewish Family Services is offering financial assistance to Jewish community members who are facing financial insecurity because of job loss, caring for family or other issues. Confidential assistance is available to members of the Birmingham Jewish community who need help with rent or mortgage payments, utilities, prescription costs or other needs. To learn more, please email CJFS Clinical Director Marcy Morgenbesser LICSW, or call 205.879.3438.
Support our Local Agencies and Synagogues with Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile, a website operated by Amazon lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. Please visit: If you have an existing account, you use the same account on AmazonSmile. All of our Birmingham agencies and synagogues are listed on Amazon Smile and you may choose one of them as the beneficiary of your purchases.