August 28, 2020
8 Elul 5780
Dear Friends:
Shabbat Shalom!
I remember one of the first movies I saw with my grandma Rose, of blessed memory, was the movie Avalon. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie, it is based on Barry Levinson’s life in Baltimore and follows the assimilation of a Jewish family (all brothers) as they work their way from wallpaper hangers in the tenements to the next generation owning family businesses and moving to the suburbs. It was 1990, I was 13 years old, and I remember watching my grandmother and her sister watch the movie as if their own life story was being told in front of them on the silver screen.

One vivid memory of the movie was how “family meetings” were showcased as a pivotal part of this Jewish family’s life. The brother’s families would gather each Sunday and put a portion of their earnings into the family “pot”. Over the years the monies brought family over from Europe, bought a television for someone’s 50th anniversary and helped the next generation start a business. My family never had those meetings, maybe because by the time my generation was old enough, there were no more cousins to rescue and the ties of the old country that had bound the first generations were gone.

Fast forward 30 years and I have found myself in the midst of a new family – the Jewish Community of Birmingham. So, in that vein, I want to invite you all to our “family meeting” for The Birmingham Jewish Federation this Sunday at 4:00 p.m. live streaming on No registration required.

Although the format of this family meeting is different, the sentiment going back to the old family meetings remain the same. During this virtual gathering you will hear from our community agencies, honor two remarkable women for their service to our community, receive an update on our current “pot” (the annual campaign) and learn how the Federation is continuing to evolve to meet the needs of our family. I look forward to having you all tune in and join in my first family meeting with y’all.

As we head into Shabbat, I have yet another request. (I know, I keep asking for something each week). As you prepare to tune into our family meeting on Sunday, let us all remember and pay homage around our dinner tables to the first generations who came and built this community so that these meetings would be possible today and for the generations to come. 

Wishing you a restful Shabbat and a week of peace.

B’ Shalom,

Yasher Koach to Isa Dorsky the recipient of this year’s Joanie Plous Bayer Young Leadership Award and Fran Godchaux the recipient of this year’s Susan J. Goldberg distinguished Volunteer Award tune in Sunday at 4:00 p.m. on to watch the ceremony at the BJF annual meeting.

In the News
Chabad offers free online shofar-blowing courses before the High Holy Days

Due to their communal nature, many of the rituals of the High Holy Days will be difficult to keep when forced to stay at home.

As the High Holy Days approach, a new free on demand online course from can teach you and your family how to properly blow the shofar, as well as associated laws, customs and mystical intentions.The course, called "The Sound and the Spirit," was made due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will likely keep many Jews at home for the High Holy Days rather than going to synagogue.

Taught by Rabbi Chanoch Kaplan, executive director of Chabad of NW Berfen County in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, the course takes up just 30 minutes per week, and is free to sign up. The lessons are all text-based and specifically developed for online, interactive study.

Join us for n interfaith discussion on "Hate and Racism; What Our Faiths Teach Us".
Tuesday, September 15th at 7:30 pm
The Jewish Community Relations Council and the LJCC invite you to join us
for an interfaith discussion on "Hate and Racism; What Our Faiths Teach Us".

Moderated by Bethany Slater, Director of Programming and Jewish Education, Temple Beth El.  
The JFNA's Communal Kvell
Federations from across North America will be coming together for a program filled with inspiration, storytelling and entertainment.  This event will serve as an inspiring Kick Off for the Campaign Year and it will get people geared up to join us for JFNA’s first virtual GA!

Be inspired by how our Jewish community stepped up during the current crisis, at home and around the world. You and countless others have made this day possible. So what are you waiting for? Register for the event here!
Jewish Lessons for Surviving a Pandemic
Check out AVITAL SANDLER-LOEFF's article on Jews perseverance through uncertain times.

"It’s fitting then that today is World Humanitarian Day, which recognizes the accomplishments of those involved in international aid work. Jews, Jewish organizations, and Israel are key players among the important constellation of humanitarian actors who engage in global acts of tikkun olam. 
Similarly, the Jewish community and Israel have in many ways been at the forefront of efforts to respond to the impact of coronavirus and the interventions we have engaged in, both among ourselves and for others, hold three important takeaways for our collective future and the ongoing fight against this modern plague and its widespread devastation...

Tackling the challenges of our future can seem daunting in the face of all we have lost thus far to the pandemic. And yet as a people, Jews have developed an expertise in healing recent wounds while confronting new risks and shaping a better tomorrow.

We should be proud of that legacy and carry it forward in efforts to heal the entirety of humanity. Our collective recovery from this global crisis calls for such acts of hope and innovation, some good old-fashioned chutzpah, and a New York state of mind. "

Community Programs
Visit the community calendar for more details!
The Birmingham Jewish Federation