August 21, 2020
24 Av 5780
Dear Friends:
Shabbat Shalom!
One of my favorite Broadway shows is Fiddler on the Roof. Last year, Joel Gray brought to the stage a production all in Yiddish, and through my Apple Music Subscription I was able to download the album. Listening to these songs that I had known for years in English, now being sung in the tongues of my great-grandparents was very moving. I remember as I was listening to Nisimlekh-Veniflo’oys (Miracle of Miracles) and realizing in that moment what a true miracle it is that I, as a Jew, am alive in 2019, living in America, able to fully embrace my heritage and chase my dream of being of service to my people. After all, it was just four generations ago that my Nanny (my mother’s grandmother) would take her cholent to the village baker to put in the “big oven” in Bialystok before Shabbos. What a miracle that the whole family would be in America before the darkness in Europe took place.
This week as I dropped my one and only off at the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School for her first day of kindergarten, I silently thanked Hashem for many more miracles. I said thank you for the miracle of fatherhood and Nora, I said thank you for the miracle of remaining healthy during this pandemic, I said thank you for the miracle of the existence of her teachers who come to school each day during this time and I said thank you for bringing us to a community with a Day School that has gone above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of not only my child, but for the other 50 plus children that will join her this year.
I am a big believer in miracles. In fact, I believe they happen every day, you just have to look for them. Our health, families, jobs, homes, food on our tables – all miracles during these unprecedented times. Even Zoom is a miracle and because of it more than 75 households were able to see and hear the JCRC program last night with Rabbi Miller. Last week I encouraged us all to be more kind to each other, if that happened this week, that too is a miracle in my book.
As we head into Shabbat, look around and savor the miracles around you. I promise you if you look hard enough, you’ll find quite a few.
Wishing you a restful Shabbat, a week of peace and a lifetime full of miracles.


P.S. Please remember to join us for The Birmingham Jewish Federation Annual Meeting on Sunday, August 30 at 4:00 p.m. live on

This week’s Yasher Koach goes to David and Susan Silverstein. A big YK and congrats on being this year’s Birmingham Holocaust Education Center’s L ’Chaim honorees.
In the News
Join JCRC and David Harris for a Virtual Program
PJ Library Helps BJF Connect
 Jewish Families and Celebrate Jewish Life
Grants will strengthen social connections and increase opportunities for Jewish experiences and learning across the United States and Canada
Birmingham area families raising Jewish children will now have more opportunities to participate in Jewish life, thanks to a grant recently awarded by PJ Library®, the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides free books to families raising Jewish children all over the world.

The Birmingham Jewish Federation received $7,500 to expand this year’s "Its in the Bag" program, which will see to the delivery of fun and informative at home programming for young families.  This is a brand new initiative for Birmingham that allows for virtual and hands off programming to help our young Jewish families stay engaged safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.   The program goes alongside with the books that are sent to homes every month.  

Tracy Newman, director of community engagement for PJ Library, says “these grants reflect incredible creativity and flexibility in how our implementing partners are approaching our work during this unprecedented time. All funded grants showcase PJ Library’s best practices on engaging families in Jewish life while adapting to the current realities of virtual and social-distancing modalities.”  
The 15 winning grant proposals were chosen through a competitive process open to organizations implementing PJ Library across the United States and Canada. A survey of 800 participants in previous grant-funded projects showed:
  •  85% of families connected socially during the programs
  • 64% of families followed up with the social connections afterward
  • 76% of families sought out or attended other Jewish programs
  • 99% would recommend the programs to friends
We are grateful to our PJ Library Alliance partners who have joined the HGF in funding these engagement grants.  Locally, PJ Library is funded by the Birmingham Jewish Federation and the Andrew David Abroms Fund of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation.  For more information about PJ Library or the “Its in the Bag” program please contact BJF Programs Director Florina Newcomb at
A Historic Diplomatic Breakthrough
This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region. All three countries face many common challenges and will mutually benefit from today’s historic achievements.

Delegations from Israel and the United Arab Emirates will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual. Benefit. Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East's most dynamic societies and advanced economies will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation, and forging closer people-to-people relations.

As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President's Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world. The United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible and will work together to achieve this goal.

Click here to read the full article.
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!
Community Programs
Visit the community calendar for more details!
The Birmingham Jewish Federation