Given the damage that Bernie Madoff caused in the Jewish world, the available reaction to his death was something other than suggestions that his memory be for a blessing. The more florid responses — in Yiddish and English — cannot be published in these pages.

Madoff, who was Jewish, died April 14, two weeks short of his 83rd birthday, in the prison hospital at the federal penitentiary in Butner, N.C., where he was serving a 150-year sentence.

Randi Cohn of Atlanta, who was among Madoff’s local Jewish victims, said, “It was overdue” when asked for reaction to his death. Cohn…


When Audrey and I toured our future home as prospective buyers, I peeked into the basement storage room.

There was so much stuff crammed into that space that the floor was impassable and the walls barely visible. No way I would allow that to happen, was my thought.

Now, after 28 years in that house, I refer to that same storage room as “the genizah.”

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My family history includes a more than passing acquaintance with the Cairo genizah, a repository of religious and secular paperwork…


Georgia’s revised voting law was the talk of the town April 20, from the state capitol in Atlanta to the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.

As Gov. Brian Kemp held a news conference to defend the law, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing followed party lines, with Democrats criticizing and Republicans backing the new law.

Kemp’s appearance was prompted by call from a coalition of African American churches to boycott Georgia-based The Home Depot, Inc., nationally for not publicly opposing the state’s voting law.

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Home Depot…


A simplified translation of the government- speak in Gov. Brian Kemp’s orders ending most COVID-19 related restrictions might read: Georgia, it’s time to eat, drink and be merry.

Indeed, as you read this, many of the constraints that Kemp imposed beginning more than a year ago already have been lifted or will be gone by the end of the month.

While public health experts don’t want to be seen as a bunch of killjoys, they do fear that opening too much too fast will send upward curves that were trending downward but have leveled off in recent weeks.

Get The…


Jewish students Kara Litwin and Sarah Martynov are pleased that the University of Georgia will employ the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism when it evaluates claims of discrimination.

Litwin and Martynov, both third-year students and co-presidents of the campus group Students Supporting Israel, authored a resolution — unanimously approved in January by the Student Government Association- asking UGA to adopt the IHRA standard.

The 38-word definition states: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. …


In the front yard and back, weeds have gained the upper hand against the grass. With each passing year, I become more of a bystander, not taking a side in this contest. The lawnmower likewise shows no favoritism. I prefer to take a more active role in the garden behind the house. The planting and caring for the crops reflects, in its own way, the view in Judaism and other religions, of spring as a time of beginnings, of births or rebirths, of possibilities and hopes renewed. Last year’s harvest was the best in the 20 or so years since…


ATLANTA ( JTA) — To the end of his life, the civil rights hero and later congressman John Lewis remembered the half-mile walk from his family’s farm in rural Pike County, Alabama, to the Dunn’s Chapel School.

There was no school bus for Black children; Lewis’ hike was short compared with the miles walked by many of his classmates. They were being educated in surroundings separate from whites, but hardly equal.

The school was a small, wooden, whitewashed building with a large window. An interior wall partitioned the space into two rooms, heated by potbelly stoves, burning wood that students…


The next time Georgians vote will be quite different than the last time.

A bill quickly signed into law Thursday night by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, after approval by the Republican-controlled legislature, makes major changes to voting procedures.

A lawsuit against the measures, which opponents have labeled “voter suppression,” was filed Thursday in federal court in Atlanta.

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The changes come after Democrat Joe Biden defeated incumbent Republican President Donald Trump in Georgia, and Senate runoffs in which Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock unseated…


To the 3-year-old girl next door I am “Mr. Dave” and my wife “Miss Audrey.”

This manner of children addressing adults — a Southern combination of being polite, showing respect and recognizing age — took some getting used to when I became the subject.

I grew up in the Chicago area and my wife in a smaller Illinois city along the Mississippi River. Our three Atlanta-born children, who range in age from 22 to 30, were not raised to use this honorific.

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So, when this…


As president of the Korean American Coalition Metro Atlanta, Sarah Park spent much of the past week fielding media requests for help in covering Tuesday’s shooting deaths of eight people — including six Asian women — at three Atlanta spas.

Park, who has ties to Jewish Atlanta, expressed gratitude for the support and empathy the community has provided. “The Jewish community understands the victim and the trauma and the history, how that plays among the community,” she told the AJT.

Assaults against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have escalated over the past year, particularly as the COVID-19 spread. AAPI leaders…

Dave Schechter

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