Dothan’s First-Ever Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Dothan’s First-Ever Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 24, 2008

On Sunday evening November 23, Dothan’s First United Methodist Church hosted the city’s first-ever Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. The faith community’s congregations participating in the service included: Buddhist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim, and the Spiritual Enrichment Center.

Dothan’s Mayor Pat Thomas welcomed the 155 attendees, then each congregation’s leader read from his/her faith’s sacred texts, and a community offering was collected on behalf of the Wiregrass United Way Food Bank.

Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith was honored to provide the sermon and the event closed with a community Prayer of Thanksgiving.

Truly, this was an awesome event; the church’s sanctuary was filled with music, words of respect and inclusion, as well as a celebration of our community’s differences and commonalities.


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Panama City Congregation’s Religious School Visits Dothan

Panama City Congregation’s Religious School Visits Dothan

November 19, 2008

On Sunday November 16, the students and teachers from Temple B’nai Israel of Panama City spent the day at Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El.

The two congregations are working closely together to produce joint educational programming twice each year (autumn in Dothan and spring in Panama City).

Sunday’s school day in Dothan was awesome, attended by an aggregate of 27 students and 11 teachers as well as our region’s education fellow from the Institute for Southern Jewish Living, Shelby Denney.

The program included four modules on famous Jews around the world: in literature; sports; history, and; the arts. Then, we all enjoyed a delicious pizza luncheon.

This initiative is proving to be an important opportunity for the two congregations’ continued cooperation, mutual support, quality education, and fun.


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Temple Annual Bill Nomberg Memorial Hadassah Auction

Temple Annual Bill Nomberg Memorial Hadassah Auction

November 4, 2008

On Sunday night November 2, Temple Emanu-El hosted the annual Hadassah goods and services auction benefiting both Hadassah and the congregation.

After enjoying a relaxed dinner together, the twenty-five families in attendance raised their hands to bid on the 84 items up for auction, raising funds for Hadassah and Temple Emanu-El.

Truly, this was a very successful Dothan Jewish community event, high spirited and fun !


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Family Relocation Project Progress Report

Family Relocation Project Progress Report

October 15, 2008

On October 15, 2008 Dothan’s daily newspaper (The Dothan Eagle) published an article describing the very positive and exciting status of our organization’s Family Relocation Project.

The article details the huge response to our project, the challenges faced by our prospect families,and our city’s/congregation’s strengths that promise to help meet those challenges.

We are confident that this vital initiative will succeed as we now move several dozen prospect families through the project’s due diligence.

Please click here to read the entire story:
http://www.dothaneagle.com/news/article_00f88cae-2a48-5f15-95e5-0d0953eb8ad0.html


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Rabbi Kenneth Kanter Visits Dothan

Rabbi Kenneth Kanter Visits Dothan

October 10, 2008

On October 8, Rabbi Ken Kanter made an impromptu visit to Dothan. He stopped at Temple Emanu-El to visit Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith. They were then joined at a lunch by the congregation’s president Dr. Barbara Minsky, her husband Leon, and Rabbi Goldsmith’s husband Robert.

This was warm and wonderful opportunity for Rabbi Kanter to reconnect with his former student (Lynne) and congregants (Barbara and Leon).

Please enjoy the attached photos and Rabbi Kanter’s bio, below.

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Kenneth A. Kanter serves as Director of the Rabbinical School for the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. In June of 2005, Rabbi Kanter concluded thirteen years as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Micah of Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Rabbi Kanter received his B.A. degree in Jewish and American History from Harvard University in 1974. At graduation he received the British Royal Society for the Arts Medallion “To the Outstanding Student in the Arts at America’s Outstanding University.” While a rabbinical student, Kanter served pulpits in Sherman, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Melbourne, Australia. He received his Master’s degree in 1979, was ordained in 1980 and in June, 2005, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Kanter served for ten years as Rabbi of Chattanooga’s Mizpah Congregation where among other civic responsibilities, he chaired the Chattanooga Human Rights/ Human Relations Commission. Previously he served as Assistant Rabbi at Congregation Ohabai Sholom, in Nashville, Tennessee and as Jewish Chaplain at Vanderbilt University. Kanter is a popular lecturer and author of books, journals and articles focusing on the Jewish contribution to American popular music from the 1840’s to the 1940’s. His first book, The Jews on Tin Pan Alley, was published in 1982. He contributed to several journals in the field of Jewish history and religion. Kanter’s second book to which he contributed, Jewish-American History and Culture, was published in 1992.

While in Nashville, Rabbi Kanter served in numerous civic and communal roles. He was Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt University’s Divinity School, founding chairman of the Metropolitan Nashville Human Relations Commission, president of the Covenant Association (Nashville’s Clergy Association), chairman of the NCCJ, chair of the Mayor’s Religion Task force, President of the Nashville Board of Rabbis, and a member of the Rotary Club of Nashville. Rabbi Kanter also served on various boards including Family and Children’s Services, Nashville CARES, the CASA Advisory Committee, Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, the Country Music Foundation, the Mental Health Association and the Board of Trustees at the Jewish Federation of Nashville. He is an alumnus of Leadership Nashville and served on the Alumni Board of Trustees. Kanter was selected as one of 40 subjects in the recent book What Matters Most-Intimate Interviews with Notable Nashvillians. He is married to Wendy Koplow Kanter, a nationally recognized Warm Water Relaxation Massage Therapist.

Education
Doctor of Divinity, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, 2005
Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters, HUC-JIR, 1980
B.A. Harvard University, 1974. Majored in American and Jewish History
Academic emphasis on American cultural history, especially American popular music.


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CNN Correspondent Visits Dothan

CNN Correspondent Visits Dothan

October 3, 2008

On September 19, 2008 CNN Correspondent John Zarrella and his videographer Jerry Simonson spent the day in Dothan to gather information for a story about Dothan, Temple Emanu-El, our organization, and the Family Relocation Project.

John and Jerry spent 90 minutes at the Temple to tour the facility and interview Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith.

Then, Jewish Community Services executive director Rob Goldsmith provided a tour of Dothan and was interviewed, followed by an interview of Dothan’s Mayor Pat Thomas.

The final stop was Larry & Laura Blumberg’s home. John and Jerry interviewed Larry as well as Daryl and Loretta Shapiro and Marty and Abbie Margolies.

The day concluded with a warm and wonderful Shabbat evening dinner hosted by Larry and Laura.


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Associated Press Publishes Article – Relocation Project

Associated Press Publishes Article – Relocation Project

September 9, 2008

Wow ! On Monday, September 8, 2008, the Associated Press published an article and audio slide show profiling Dothan’s Jewish community, our Temple Emanu-El, as well as Blumberg Family Jewish Community Services and the Family Relocation Project. Immediately after publication of the article, we have received world-wide attention, significant press coverage, over 400,000 hits on our website, and hundreds of contacts from families interested in moving to Dothan to join our Jewish community.

If your family has contacted us about our Project – we ask that you please be patient.

Click here to read the article:
http://joi.org/bloglinks/Group%20dangles%20$50K%20for%20Jews%20who%20move%20to%20Ala_%20town%20-%20Yahoo!%20News.htm

Click here to view the audio slide show:
http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/_national/recruiting_jews/index.html


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Shalom Yall – Guest Article

Shalom Y’all – Guest Article

August 21, 2008

Although I grew up in the South, I admit that I have never been to Dothan, Alabama. I imagine it is a very nice town and I know that it has a Jewish community with a vibrant population and many Jewish communal institutions. The question that the community leaders in Dothan are asking is: How do you get people move to Dothan and help sustain the community? In other words, what will it take for people to move to Dothan, especially when the trend among young people is to move to the big cities.

That is where Dothan seems to have taken a page out of the JOI play book. We believe that if we want people to enter the Jewish community and its institutions then we have to provide them with incentives for doing so. In the case of Dothan, the Jewish Community Service of Dothan is offering $50,000 no interest grants as part of its Family Relocation Project. In today’s economy, that is indeed an incentive.

Families shouldn’t expect automatic entitlement to the JCS funds just because they are moving to town — there is an intensive vetting process to make sure recipients are committed to helping strengthen and grow Dothan’s Jewish community. One of the qualifications is the family must remain in Dothan for at least five years. This is a bold plan, and we look forward to following its progress — and measuring its success.

Posted by Kerry Olitzky August 4, 2008 on the website and blog of the Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI), reprinted with his permission.

The Jewish Outreach Institute honors Jewish values by promoting a more welcoming and inclusive North American Jewish community that embraces intermarried familes and unengaged Jews, and encourages their increased participation in Jewish life.

Dr. Kerry Olitzky is Executive Director of the JOI.

Please visit their website at: http://joi.org


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Interfaith Education – A Conversation About Jesus

Interfaith Education – A Conversation About Jesus

August 21, 2008

On consecutive Tuesdays, August 19 and 26, Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El and Evergreen Presbyterian Church are hosting an interfaith class on the subject of Jesus.

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith and Reverend Joseph Johnson are leading the discussion of issues such as: (1) what is the Trinity; (2) was Jesus man or God or both; (3) what is the Jewish interpretation of the Messianic texts in Hebrew Scriptures ?

The first class was well attended; the audience of 45 addressed many of the questions of mutual concern, delving into history and scripture, all the while respecting each of our faith traditions.

This class promises to be another success in a series of such community Dothan interfaith events in which Temple Emanu-El is pleased and honored to be a major partner.


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