Sunday, December 22, 2019
Chanukah begins on Sunday, December 22nd
Grand Menorah Lighting
The Birmingham community is invited to join us on Sunday, December 22nd from 4:30-6:00 pm for the 5th Annual Grand Menorah Lighting at The Summit in Saks Plaza. There will be music, a stilt walker, balloon artists, graffiti wall, bubble show, traditional Chanukah foods, and of course the Grand Menorah lighting!

This year Senator Doug Jones will be joining us and will be lighting the Shamash (helper candle) on the Menorah!

The Grand Menorah Lighting is a collaborative project of Levite JCC of Birmingham , Chabad Of Alabama , the Birmingham Jewish Foundation - Karl and Gladys Friedman LJCC Fund, and the Birmingham Jewish Federation.

“Our candidates have experienced first-hand the warmth and vibrancy that our community has to offer and they have all expressed their sincere appreciation.” – Lisa Engel
BJF CEO Search Continues As Federation Moves Into New Year
By Lisa Engel, BJF President

The search for a new Birmingham Jewish Federation CEO continues. We want to thank the many people in our community who have welcomed our candidates to date and for being invested in this important search process. Our candidates have experienced first-hand the warmth and vibrancy that our community has to offer and they have all expressed their sincere appreciation.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to announce a new CEO by the end of the year as we had hoped. The process has taken longer than anticipated but the Search Committee and Board are still actively engaged in finding an outstanding new CEO who is the right fit for our community. We are working with candidates currently in the pipeline and are receiving new resumes as well. 

In addition, our wonderful staff and board will continue to ensure that the Federation fulfills its mission as our long-time Executive Director Richard Friedman completes his tenure on December 31 st .
I know that our entire community joins me in thanking Richard for his 37 years of dedicated service and in wishing him well in the next phase of his life.
There is a lot to do and these meetings are an important step forward in our process. You will hear more about security as we work to make our community safer and more secure.
BJF Security Committee Status Report
In early December, the BJF Security Committee held a series of meetings as we continue to develop plans for security for our community and for our various agencies and institutions.  Joining us in our meetings was Stuart Frisch, the Regional Security Director for the Secure Community Network (SCN) based in Memphis, TN.

Over a two-day period, Members of the Security Committee and Mr. Frisch met with members of locally based law enforcement organizations (including representatives of the Birmingham Police Department – South Precinct (Commander Cochran), Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway, the Mountain Brook Police Chief Cook and others to update our contacts with local law enforcement of what we are planning to do and to engage them in our process. We were pleased to see that local law enforcement agencies share close and strong relationships with each other and with our community, and were happy to work with us as we develop our plans for community security.

We also met as a committee and with Federation leadership to begin to flesh out the process we will be undertaking and to review a proposed Community Security Road Map that Stuart prepared for our community prior to our meeting. We will use the Road Map as our guide to develop our security plans for the future, which will include evaluations of facilities and policies as we move toward developing a community-based security plan that will augment and improve on what our agencies are all doing already. The plan will also include training and coordination among the agencies.  

“The BHEC has been so appreciative of the strong support received these past few months, as we have been searching for new space,” says Fran Godchaux, BHEC Relocation Committee Chair and VP of Governance.
B'ham Holocaust Education Center Finds New Home
The Birmingham Holocaust Education Center (BHEC) has announced it will be temporarily relocating to Temple Emanu-El of Birmingham, AL, in December 2019. The LJCC will be home to the BHEC's archives and and rare book collection.

The Bayer Properties building has been home to the BHEC for the past 15 years, affording them the opportunity to support and grow their mission. The move to Temple Emanu-El is temporary, as a long-term strategy is underway to identify a permanent place to house their exhibits, library, and ever-expanding Holocaust and WW II archives, as well as a place to develop new exhibits and programs to encourage more people to join in keeping the history and the lessons of the Holocaust alive.

“Secretaries of State are key leaders in the U.S., and foster important public policy, while working closely with all branches of government and business,” said Nisha Abkarian, AJC Project Interchange Director.
Top Officials Visiting Israel
A bipartisan delegation of Secretaries of State from across the United States are currently visiting Israel with the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC) Project Interchange. The program features in-depth discussions on cybersecurity policies and practices at the state, local, and federal level as it relates to business services, election administration, and records management. Included in the delegation is Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.

The seminar is providing the state officials with a firsthand understanding of Israel and mutually-beneficial bilateral ties. During their visit, they are learning about Israel, known as the “Start Up Nation”; its vibrant democracy, diverse population, regional challenges, and economic and technological innovation, and the shared values between the U.S. and Israel.

Upcoming Community Events

Bingo, Raffle, Latkes and More!
Tuesday, December 25 from 6:30-8:30 pm at Knesseth Israel. Adults $18, Children 12 & under $10. For more information or raff le entry contact: or 205-969-5913.

Kosher Chinese Dinner
Wednesday, December 25 from 5-8 pm at Chabad of Alabama. All you can eat Kosher Chinese Dinner. RSVP before December 20: $20 per adult, $10 per child. RSVP December 21 and after: $30 per adult, $20 per child. Learn more

CARES Memory Café, featuring live music by Kat Fowler
Friday, January 10 from 1-2:30 pm. 3794 Crosshaven Drive. CARES Memory Cafe is a fun, friendly and FREE opportunity for dementia patients and their loved ones to socialize and enjoy live music and light refreshments. Cafes are sponsored by Collat Jewish Family Services, with support from the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Learn more

Little Scientist STEAM Series "Sensory Silliness"
Sunday, January 26th from 10:00-11:00 am at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School. We’ll be focusing on our sense of touch as we conduct science experiments and become little engineers. Learn more

Jewish History: From the Ancient Near East to the Present
Tuesdays: January 7 & 21, February 4 & 25, March 3 from 7:00 - 8:15 pm at Temple Emanu-El. This class introduces learners to the major events, personalities, and trends in Jewish history, from the ancient Near East to the present. Spanning three millennia and five continents, the class explores and investigates the origins of the Jewish people, its experience as an autonomous community and as a displaced minority in the Diaspora religious system and its foundational texts, as well as its encounters with different cultures and ideas. RSVP here