September 25, 2020
7 Tishri 5781
Dear Friends:
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!
On Sunday evening, Jews around the world will attend Kol Nidre services, albeit virtually. Kol Nidre is my favorite holiday of the year. I equate it to the Jewish version of Christmas Eve’s Midnight Mass. The sheer beauty of the music coupled with the emotional conversation with Hashem by the cantor moves me like no other experience ever has in Judaism. The potential exception of dunking in the male mikvah in Tzvat.

I remember vividly my first Kol Nidre – it was 1984 and I was seven years old. It felt so special for a variety of reasons. First, we left my little brother home with a babysitter and I was “old enough” to go out at night with my parents, second it was the first time I had attended synagogue or anything for that matter dressed up in my sport coat, tie and penny loafers and third it was the most beautiful chanting I had ever heard done by our cantor Emil Berkovitz, of blessed memory. To this day I can still close my eyes and hear his voice, a beautiful wail to G-d asking for forgiveness and to be inscribe in the book of life, not once but three times. Later, in college I would be lucky enough chant Kol Nidre at Hillel.  This was another cherished and meaningful experience that contributed to my love of Judaism.

This year however is different – first I am no longer seven!  Nora is approaching six and I hope that next Kol Nidre we will be experiencing her first service in one of the great sanctuaries of our city.  Sunday evening, we aren’t gathering as a communal family to ask to be inscribed in the book of life, we will do it alone – and for the first time – I am OK being alone with my own thoughts, prayers and struggles. 

The one thing I left out when recounting the Kol Nidres of my youth was the excitement of seeing our friends and family in synagogue. I have wonderful memories of seeing men, women and children dressed in their finest clothes greeting one another with wishes for a sweet New Year and to be inscribed in the Book of Life.  I can also close my eyes and smell the Aqua-net that permeated the air from the ladies who had visited the beauty shop that morning I am not going to lie, I will miss all of that as well, but this year there will be no distractions. 

This year, I will zoom into services, distraction free, and pray for forgiveness and inscription like I have never done before. I will pray to live through the virus that has taken so many, I will pray for forgiveness for all the negativity that my voice has contributed to this year, and for forgiveness to those I have wronged. It will be potentially the most meaningful Kol Nidre that I have ever experienced, because when you are alone, you have more time for self-examination. And this year, maybe we all need a little more alone time for the self-reflection that is the true driver of this holiday.

Wishing you a peaceful Shabbat, a meaningful fast, and G'mar Chatima Tovah,

Agency Spotlight
The Levite Jewish Community Center
Amplifying Voices

The Levite Jewish Community Center has partnered with the Tucson JCC in Tucson, AZ to host a series, entitled "Amplifying Voices," on the intersection of Black and Jewish identities. 

The first event is on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 6 pm with author Marc Dollinger. He will discuss his book "Black Power, Jewish Politics: Reinventing the Alliance of the 1960s." In January, the LJCC, along with Birmingham activist T. Marie King, will be hosting a virtual Civil Rights Tour of important sites in Alabama. 

To register for the program, please email Shaina Wolinsky at
The Levite Jewish Community Center has teamed up with the Marcus JCC of Atlanta on their award-winning book festival called "In Your Living Room Live." 

The book festival -- featuring authors such as Harlan Coben, Jodi Piccoult and more -- is coming to your living room through Zoom. The LJCC is so excited to offer this amazing opportunity to hear from best-selling authors -- all from the comfort of your home. All you have to do is click on the event you would like to attend to register and you will receive a confirmation email with Zoom information. 

Happy Zooming and reading! 

In The News
Shanah Tovah from
the Temple Beth-El Foundation!

Learn about how the Temple Beth-El Foundation is preserving the stories of the past and sustaining our future in our 

Click on the annual report cover to read the flip book online.  

(Printed copy available upon request. Email Temple Beth-El Foundation Executive Director Cathy Fingerman.
Club J All Day!
Club J All Day is a virtual school alternative child care option for kids in all local school districts. Kids bring their school work to Club J where they are supervised by teacher assistants. Kids also have the opportunity for physical activity, arts and crafts, and more as a way to break up the day.

We are so proud of the LJCC Club J All Day program; and, there is still space available to join!

High Holidays at Home:
A PJ Library Family Guide
For the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Making Things Right), many families normally go to synagogue. This year, to stay safe, many are staying home. For this unusual new year, PJ Library is offering you and your family an opportunity to explore ways to connect with the High Holidays at home.

We hope this guide can support your Jewish New Year journey during this year and in the future, as your family continues to grow and celebrate. Let’s begin our new year together!
PJ Library has this Sept. and Oct. "In the Bag"
Understanding American
Jewish-Israel Relations
Join us for a special, virtual program with Rabbi, Dr. Daniel Gordis
Community Programs
Visit the community calendar for more details!
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