January 28, 2022
26 Shevat, 5782
Dear Friends–
Shabbat Shalom!

This past Wednesday was my third week of Yiddish class at the Levite Jewish Community Center and I am loving it! Not only am I able to add more words to my repertoire, I have made new friends with people who share my love of “Yiddishkite” (Jewishness). Hearing these Yiddish” words brings back wonderful memories of family members. I can close my eyes and see my immigrant great grandmother, Mary, dancing with my grandfather at one of our family weddings and hearing her sing “Tumbalalika”. I think this class is just what I needed to start my year – a reminder of who I am and where I come from.

Most of us are of Eastern European or Germanic descent. We look similar, have similar traditions, know a “bissel” (little) bit of Yiddish and know how we got to Birmingham. Today, however, Jewish immigrants look very different. 

Currently, the State of Israel is resettling more than 5,000 Jews from Ethiopia. This is in addition to the 97,000 Ethiopians who have immigrated since the 1980s. These Jews do not look like most American Jews, they don’t share many of our traditional customs. Yiddish is as foreign to them as English. (It should be noted however, that Israel is a multicultural society and indeed a melting pot of Jews of all stripes from all over the world!)

Yet, the fact remains, that they are still our brothers and sisters and need our help. Much like the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Societies of the past, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) along with The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) have made the financial commitment to help these lost tribes of Israel return to their homeland and begin anew.

On November 28, 2021, the Government of Israel approved the decision to bring an additional 3,000 Jewish from Ethiopia to Israel this year. JFAI is ready for their arrival and has officially started Operation Zur Israel. New Ethiopian immigrants will be welcomed at absorption centers and will receive a full range of services and programs in order to successfully integrate into Israeli society.

Federations across the country have been asked to raise a cumulative $5 million towards these efforts. The Birmingham Jewish community has historically been at the forefront of helping Jews across the globe engage in better lives. I sincerely hope that you will join us in leading the way again. If you would like to contribute to these efforts, you may visit our donation page and select Ethiopian Aliyah from the pull-down menu or you may contact The Birmingham Jewish Foundation about making a recommendation towards these efforts from a donor-advised fund. We will be collecting funds through the end of February.

I was thrilled that so many people tuned in to The Birmingham Jewish Federation’s Annual Meeting last Sunday. More than 300 people viewed the one-hour program honoring Rhonda z”l and Eric Siegel, David Sher, and Carlie Stein Somerville and learned about our plans for the year. If you missed it you may click here to view.

As always wishing you a restful Shabbat and a productive week ahead.


Agency Spotlight
Spotlight On Our Future:
Hillel Connections
Hillel Connections is a program designed to attract Jewish college students to Birmingham, allowing them opportunities to develop personal, mentoring, and professional relationships with our community at large. An eight-week immersive summer internship program enables them to envision living in Birmingham as a young professional, and to consider looking for employment opportunities here after graduation; BJF feels this is a cornerstone of ensuring our Jewish future.

We are grateful to the Birmingham Jewish Federation, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, The Grafman Endowment Fund of Temple-Emanu-El, the Levite Jewish Community Center, and several visionary individual donors who have invested in our future by previous and current support of this program. Of the 20 students that have completed the program, 4 continued to work during the following school year, seven currently live in Birmingham, and seven are still in school or in post-grad programs and have expressed interest in returning (with the potential to bring at least 3 Jewish significant others with them).

Each week, we will “showcase” student(s) interested in joining our HC 2022 summer program; EMPLOYERS are needed to offer summer internships. Please review and reach out if you can help NETWORK on behalf of these talented students. They are bright, efficient, and willing to work!

If you know of a potential employer for these students, please have them reach out to us at hillel.connections@gmail.com or text Roxanne at (205) 907-2531. A detailed resume and further information can be provided if that would be helpful before you make the contact.

Prospective Intern Information

Alanna G. is a Junior at the University of Alabama from Atlanta, GA. She is majoring in Marketing with a minor in International Business. She is a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, and Delta Sigma Pi, a co-ed business fraternity. She is also actively involved with Bama Hillel and serves on the student board as secretary. This past summer she lived and worked in Tel Aviv with a start-up travel company. She is interested in a marketing position related to the travel industry.

Clay S. is a UA Junior from Princeton, NJ with a GPA of 3.99. He is a Finance and Marketing Major with a minor in Global and Cultural Perspectives, and he is finishing his first year in the Accelerated Master’s Program in Marketing. He has managed payroll for >2000 graders of AP exams plus met time and budget expectations. He is an Ambassador for UA Honors College, the treasurer of Delta Chi, and a Hillel Intern. Marketing and/or Finance opportunities are desired
Upcoming Programming
Mardi Gras in Jewish New Orleans
Sunday, January 30, 2022, 12 PM
Full Circle Grand Opening
and Ribbon Cutting
Thursday, February 3, 2022, 12 PM
Join us for the grand opening and ribbon cutting at Full Circle's brand new storefront! Full Circle is an upscale resale women's boutique that employs
 young adults with developmental disabilities.

Thursday, Feb 3 at 12:00 PM
2902 Linden Ave, 35209
The BHEC Presents:
Holocaust in Film 2022
Select dates listed below
LJCC Movie Night: Kiss me Kosher
Wednesday, February 09, 2022, 7:00 PM
Jewish NYC in BHAM:
Tenement Museum Tour
Sunday, March 13, 2022, 3:30 PM
Jewish Roots of Sports Gala
Save the Date – Sunday, March 27, 2022, 6 PM
CJFS Annual Hands Up Together Event
Honoring the Bearman, Krell, and Wolnek Families
Save the Date – April 26, 2022
Community Programs
The Federation and Foundation have been having issues with our post office box. Please send all correspondence to our physical address at 
The Birmingham Jewish Federation