Happy Hanukkah 2015

Happy Hanukkah 2015

December 22, 2015

On Friday, December 11, sixty+ members of Dothan’s Jewish Community celebrated Hanukkah at Temple Emanu-El.

During the afternoon, volunteers cooked 250 latkes and prepared the social hall for the big event.

At sundown, Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith lead a short service that included a skit, everyone brought their menorahs for the candle lighting blessings.

Then we enjoyed the fabulous potluck meal.

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

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Eighth Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

Eighth Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service

November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks With a Greatful Heart

On Tuesday evening November 24th, Dothan’s eighth annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service was celebrated at St. Columba Catholic Church.

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

Mayor Mike Schmitz welcomed the large audience of several hundred 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 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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Temple Honors Holocaust Survivor Ann Rosenheck

Temple Honors Holocaust Survivor Ann Rosenheck

November 3, 2015

On Monday, November 2nd, Ann Rosenheck visited Dothan, speaking to an audience of 100+ synagogue and general community members, at Temple Emanu-El.

After her personal presentation, Ann was presented a Proclamation by Dothan’s Mayor Mike Schmitz, honoring her as as a Righteous Friend of the City. Then, the attendees enjoyed a dessert and coffee hour in the Temple’s Social Hall.

Here’s some background on Ann Rosenheck, published in a recent Dothan Eagle Newspaper article.


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.

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.

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Dothan Cost of Living, Lowest in Alabama

Dothan Cost of Living, Lowest in Alabama

September 2, 2015

This morning’s headline in our local newspaper, The Dothan Eagle, announced that Dothan’s cost of living is now the lowest in the Alabama.

Said another way, our town’s cost of living is 15% below the national average !
Here’s the article.
Posted on Sep 1, 2015

by Ebony Davis

When the decision came for Newville native Bettye Baum and her husband to retire after leaving the Dothan area with the Air Force for Riverside, California, in 1971, she said she couldn’t have been happier to return home.

She said family, a house and cost of living made the choice to come back an easier one. She is among several residents who either opted to locate here or who have always lived here for the benefits of the lower costs of living than other areas. According to the 2015 Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), which measures living costs in 271 urban areas nationally and eight in Alabama, Dothan’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had the lowest cost of living in the state.

Melia McKean, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce communications director, said the Dothan MSA came in at 85 percent for its total index, which means the cost of living for the Dothan area is 15 percent below the national average.

C2ER, formerly known as the American Chamber of Commerce Research Association, considered in the study relative price levels in consumer goods and services, such as groceries, utilities, transportation and health care. The study also considered miscellaneous goods and services like haircuts, newspaper subscriptions, clothes and beer and wine.

State and local taxes were not considered, according to C2ER.

Baum, a retired registered nurse, said utilities and gas prices are considerably lower in Dothan than what she experienced in California. She said the couple considered retiring in North Carolina, which is her husband’s home state, because of its recommendation as a top place to consider for retirement.

“In the end, Dothan won, so I’m so happy to be back home with some of my family and old classmates that also left and returned,” she said.

“The (Rose Hill) senior center here is a lot like what we had in California, and the mayor is so nice. I can’t say the traffic is any better, but the fuel is.”

Norman Cummings said he left Dothan in 2007 after living here 52 years, but returned back from San Antonio.

“I worked three jobs in San Antonio to live the life I wanted,” he said. “I come back here (to Dothan), and I work one job. This is the place to live to raise a family and have kids.”

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Congratulations Liana on Your Bat Mitzvah

Congratulations Liana on Your Bat Mitzvah

June 29, 2015

Liana was called to the Bimah on Saturday morning June 27th, celebrating her Bat Mitzvah.

Congratulations Liana on a job well done ! Rabbi Lynne Goldsmith, your family, and over 100 congregants in attendance were so very impressed with your Torah and Haftorah reading, and your personal remarks.

Then, of course, there was the joyous celebration, plenty of food, lots of hugs and handshakes.

Mazel Tov !

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