“It is not your duty to complete the work. Nor are you free to desist from it.” (Pirke Avot)

Dale Marvin Schwartz did his duty and left a legacy for those who continue the work.

The attorney praised for his advocacy on behalf of immigrants, in support of civil rights, and to clear the name of Leo Frank, died Aug. 27, one week after his 79th birthday.

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Schwartz was “a giant in the Atlanta Jewish community,” said Temple Kol Emeth Rabbi Emeritus Steve Lebow, who…


At this point in his life, Professor Irwin S. Bernstein did not need to be standing in front of a classroom of University of Georgia psychology students. After a distinguished career, the 88-year-old expert in primate behavior was a “retiree-rehire,” who had returned to teach two classes.

Bernstein became national news by suddenly re-retiring during a class on Aug. 24 — after a student refused to wear a mask, despite his explaining why it was critical for his health.

In keeping with the policy directives of Gov. Brian Kemp, the University System of Georgia mandates neither vaccination nor masks. USG…


An abiding memory of my father-in-law’s funeral will be our sons shoveling damp, clay soil until their grandfather’s grave was level with the surrounding grass.

The older one did not feel right leaving that task to someone outside the family. So, after other mourners had drifted away, he and his brother picked up the shovels. The day was hot, 90 degrees-plus, with few clouds in the sky and little breeze. The lone cemetery worker said that in more than 25 years he had seen only one other family finish filling a grave. His backhoe remained in the parking lot.

It…


When COVID-19 vaccines became available in January, Jewish HomeLife gave its approximately 625 employees until June 1 to be fully vaccinated.

When only 60 percent were vaccinated at the beginning of May, the deadline was put off “until we had a chance to educate, to alleviate fears, help everyone get on board with it,” said Shari Bayer, chief marketing and communications officer for JHL, which operates senior residences and provides home health services.

In mid-August, with 91 percent of its staff vaccinated, Jewish HomeLife reset the deadline for Oct. 4. …


Drive west on Interstate 20 from Atlanta for about two hours, take exit 132 and follow Montevallo Road southwest, and you come to Mountain Brook, Ala.

Danny Cohn, CEO of the Birmingham Jewish Federation, estimates that 60 to 70 percent of the roughly 5,000 Jews who live in the metro area reside in Mountain Brook and nearby Homewood.

Southern Jewish Life magazine recently recounted that “… when families started moving ‘over the mountain’ into the suburbs in the 1950s, there was an ‘unwritten understanding’ that Jews moved to Mountain Brook but ‘did not’ move to neighboring Vestavia. …


Writing this column had me stumped.

I wanted to reflect on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and also express a measure of exasperation with certain segments of society and government over their response to the resurgence of COVID-19. The challenge was finding a connection between seemingly disparate subjects.

Then I remembered the master’s thesis written by my former colleague, Jamie McIntyre. On Sept. 11, 2001, McIntyre was CNN’s military affairs and Pentagon correspondent, and I was the national news desk’s liaison with the Washington bureau. …


More than four decades have passed since Rabbi Devon Lerner (whose first name then was Beverly) delivered her first sermon at The Temple.

She remembers there being a large crowd that Friday night, on July 13, 1979. “I have very fond memories of my experience there,” Lerner said. She served as assistant rabbi at The Temple for two years, until leaving to lead a Reform congregation in Richmond, Va.

She is believed to have been Atlanta’s first female rabbi.

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Reform Judaism in America began ordaining…


Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner remembers being told, just several years ago, that “it was fine for women rabbis to serve the community as teachers or assistant rabbis, but not in senior leadership positions.”

Shuval-Weiner, the senior rabbi of Temple Beth Tikvah, is now president of the Atlanta Rabbinical Association, the first woman to hold the post. Elected this spring, she succeeded Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal, the senior rabbi at Congregation Ahavath Achim.

As for being a “first,” Shuval-Weiner told the AJT: “I think it speaks to the value placed on and growing acceptance of women religious leaders here in Georgia. Since arriving…


The public knows Deborah Lipstadt as an internationally renowned scholar of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

If the U.S. Senate confirms her nomination by President Joe Biden to be the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, professor Lipstadt of Emory University will add the title “ambassador” to her resume.

Lipstadt’s new portfolio would take in anti-Semitism anywhere in the world, except by statute, in the United States.

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The Senate Foreign Relations Committee website does not yet list a confirmation hearing date. The AJT did not…


The night before leaving Maine, I became a bit wistful. As another year’s visit to “Camp Schechter” came to an end, I wished we were staying longer.

My wife is right: I am more relaxed there than anywhere else.

The setting is idyllic: two simple cabins, in a woods, just steps from a lake, in an area less frequented by tourists. What makes this place special can be found in photographs displayed in the larger, green cabin — successive generations in the same surroundings.

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That…

Dave Schechter

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