Temple Volunteers – Christmas Wrapping

Temple Volunteers – Christmas Wrapping

December 27, 2012

For the past several years, members of Temple Emanu-El have volunteered all day (from 9 am to 6 pm) on Christmas Eve, to relieve members of the Christian community from their commitment to wrap holiday presents, at a very special gift wrapping table inside Dothan’s Wiregrass Mall, so that our neighbors can be with their families that day.

On December 24, 2012, twenty three members of our congregation were honored to volunteer at this wrapping table, helping to raise several thousand dollars for The House of Ruth, a vitally important local non-profit agency that provides a shelter and supportive services for battered adults and their children escaping such abuse.

Giving back to and serving our greater local community – this is a key value of Dothan’s Jewish community.

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Hanukah 2012 at Temple Emanu-El

Hanukah 2012 at Temple Emanu-El

December 27, 2012

On Friday, December 14th, a record turnout of 101 members of Dothan’s Jewish Community celebrated Hanukah at Temple Emanu-El.

During the afternoon, volunteers cooked 285 latkes and prepared the social hall for the big event.

At sundown, Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith lead a short Shabbat Evening Service, followed by candle-lightings, and a fabulous potluck meal.

It was a fantastic afternoon and evening experience. Temple Emanu-El truly is both a house of worship and place of celebration.

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Sold! Temples Annual Goods and Services Auction

Sold! Temple’s Annual Goods and Services Auction

December 10, 2012

On Saturday night December 8th, Temple Emanu-El celebrated the Annual Bill Nomberg Memorial Hadassah Goods and Services Auction that benefits both Hadassah and the congregation.

After lighting our Hanukah candles and enjoying a relaxed dinner together, the seventy-five attendees from both the synagogue and greater community raised their hands to bid on the seventy items up for auction.

The results ? Again, another fabulously successful fundraiser.

High spirited and great fun !

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Fifth Annual City of Dothan Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Fifth Annual City of Dothan Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 21, 2012

On Wednesday evening November 20th, Temple Emanu-El was deeply honored to host Dothan’s fifth annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

The local faith community’s congregations participating in the service included: Buddhist, Presbyterian, Jainism, United Methodist, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim.

Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mark Saliba welcomed the 200+ attendees, then each congregation’s leader read from his/her faith tradition’s sacred texts. The service concluded with a community offering, collecting donations for the Wiregrass United Way Food Bank.

We then enjoyed a warm and wonderful “oneg” coffee/dessert hour.

This was an awesome event; the synagogue’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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Standing in Solidarity with Women of the Wall

Standing in Solidarity with Women of the Wall

November 15, 2012

Dothan’s congregation is deeply concerned about the continued verbal and physical harassment experienced by Israel’s Women of the Wall, most recently Anat Hoffman’s arrest on October 16th.

Anat was arrested while conducting a Rosh Chodesh prayer service at The Wall, with 250+ women, in honor of Hadassah’s centennial birthday. Anat was handcuffed, denied contact with her attorney, strip searched, and ordered to lay on a bare floor in a tiny jail cell.

On the occasion of Rosh Chodesh November 15th, men and women of Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El prayed together, wearing tallit, reciting the Shma out loud, in support of Women of the Wall.

Congregants signed a letter of solidarity; that letter and a photograph of the our men and women praying the Shma during the morning t’filah service was then emailed to Anat Hoffman and other outlets in the Jewish world.

Today we prayed the following during t’filah: “May G-d’s presence be manifest in Jerusalem, establishing peace in Jerusalem’s gates and in the hearts of all who dwell there.”

Ken yehi ratzon.

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ADL Associate Director Visits Dothan

ADL Associate Director Visits Dothan

November 8, 2012

Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region Associate Director, Shelley Rose, visited Dothan on November 7th and 8th.

The evening of November 7th, Ms. Rose had an informal discussion with congregants at Temple Emanu-El entitled “Religion in the Schools.”
This was a fascinating and very timely conversation about current trends and case law on religious activities taking place in the southeast region’s public schools.

Then, on November 8th, Ms. Rose produced a day-long event “Holocaust Education for Public School Teachers.” This outstanding presentation was hosted/sponsored by Troy University, with 70 teachers in attendance from throughout Alabama.

We thank Troy University for sponsoring Shelley’s two-day visit as part of their “Year of the Holocaust” initiative.

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Holocaust Survivor Visits Dothan

Holocaust Survivor Visits Dothan

October 29, 2012

On Sunday October 28th, Ann Rosenheck visited Dothan, speaking to an audience of synagogue and general community members, at the Troy University Dothan Campus.

Here’s the article published on the front page of today’s Dothan Eagle newspaper as well as some additional photographs taken at this very special event, including Ms. Rosenheck pictured with Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith (in the red jacket).


Holocaust Survivor Shares Story

Holocaust survivor Ann Rosenheck shares her experiences with attendees at Troy University Dothan Campus Sunday afternoon.

By: Lance Griffin | Dothan Eagle
Published: October 28, 2012

Ann Rosenheck, Holocaust survivor, leaned forward in her chair on the stage of Troy-Dothan’s Sony Hall and spoke to the near-100 people who came to hear about her experience.

“I love America,” she said. “The freedom of religion. The freedom of speech. Just the ability to be a juror on a jury. You don’t know how fortunate you are.”

But Rosenheck does.

Plucked from her home in Czechoslavakia in 1944 and separated from her parents by Angel of Death Josef Mengele himself, Rosenheck kept the audience entranced for more than an hour as she took the crowd from Auschwitz to Dachau and spoke in painful detail about how she escaped death more than a half-dozen times over 15 months before American soldiers liberated the death camps.

“Normally, what happened would not have happened. But, what can you say other than it was God’s doing,” Rosenheck said of her unlikely journey of survival.

Rosenheck’s family was rounded up in the late winter of 1944 in Rachov, Checkoslavakia, when she was 13. They were given 20 minutes to prepare to be taken to a railroad station for transport to one of Adolf Hitler’s forced labor camps.

The family eventually arrived at Auschwitz. The men were quickly separated from the women and children. Word began to circulate through the crowded rail car that children under 17 and adults over 38 were being separated for execution or experimentation.

“My mother told me, she said, ‘When they ask, you are 17,’” Rosenheck recalled.

After her father was separated from the family, Rosenheck said Josef Mengele approached the group of women and children. A cane was in his hand. He began to separate the young and weak.

Mengele became the most infamous SS physician of the Holocaust due to his inhumane experimentation on those held captive at Auschwitz.

“There were five of us in a row,” Rosenheck recalled. “Mengele and another were selecting, some over here and some over there. I said I was 17. I was put in a group and I later found out the people in the other group were taken out and gassed.”

Rosenheck’s parents did not survive.

Despite being beaten more than once and given little to eat, Rosenheck survived at Auschwitz due to the kindness of strangers.

“In Auschwitz, when you took a step you never knew if it was going to be your last step,” she said.

She eventually became part of a group that was transported to a munitions factory in Germany, then later to another concentration camp known as Dachau in early 1945.

“We knew something was happening. There was always very little food, but then it got even worse. Their supply lines were being hurt. The Americans were closing in,” she said.

A Yugoslavian political prisoner who was also a physician told Nazi guards that Rosenheck had symptoms of Typhoid Fever and needed to be segregated from the rest of the prisoners. It was a ploy to remove Rosenheck from the guards’ sight. On April 28, the physician and a few others smuggled Rosenheck out of Dachau and onto a train.

The next day, American soldiers stopped the train and liberated the prisoners along with those still in Dachau.

“It was beautiful,” she said.

Rosenheck eventually settled in Miami. She volunteered at the Miami Holocaust memorial for 21 years. In an incredible twist, a female SS guard at Auschwitz wound up as her neighbor in their Miami condominium.

“I forgave her,” Rosenheck said. “She and her husband were very nice to me and my husband when he got cancer. We are supposed to forgive.”

She never told the woman she knew who she was.

Rosenheck’s appearance is part of a year-long Holocaust emphasis at Troy-Dothan. Future events include a film series, Holocaust education workshop for area history teachers and an art exhibition by Holocaust survivors.

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Consecration and Simcha Torah – Wow!

Consecration and Simcha Torah – Wow!

October 15, 2012

On Friday evening, October 12th, Temple Emanu-El celebrated both Consecration and Simcha Torah.

Congratulations to our three adorable consecrants: Brannon, Charlotte, and Eli.

Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith lead us in a special Simcha Torah service and then the congregation enjoyed a fabulous Oneg.

It was a truly special Shabbat in Dothan.

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