Museum to expand, hosts Purim party

ncma_menorahThe North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., Raleigh, N.C., announced that it will be expanding its Judaic Art Gallery, one of only two galleries devoted to Judaica in an American art museum. The gallery will close the week of Feb. 9 and reopen in June in an expanded space with new display cases and a larger selection of beautiful objects.

The idea of the project began last year with the curator’s wish to make some minor adjustments to the gallery installation. “All I was really looking for were a few tweaks,” recalled John Coffey, the Museum’s deputy director for art and curator in charge of the Judaic Art Gallery. But Chief Exhibition Designer Eric Gaard had another idea. Rather than just tweak the present installation, Gaard suggested a far more ambitious remake of the gallery, in answer to the steady growth in the Museum’s Judaic art collection. He proposed not only expanding the gallery into an adjacent space, but also replacing five of the Plexiglas display cases with larger, state-of-the-art glass cases. “I had envisioned these changes for the future,” said Coffey, “but I did not expect the future so soon!” Working with the Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery, Coffey and the Museum’s development staff secured the necessary funding for this project. A lead gift from the family of Michael and Lisa Sandman of Raleigh and contributions from the Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery, allowed for the project to move forward quickly.

During this time the gallery undergoes renovations, it will expand to 1,728 square feet — a 50 percent increase over the existing gallery. Decorative screens will divide the expanded space into three program sections: highlights of the Judaic art collection; objects related to the synagogue and the Torah; and objects related to Sabbath and festivals, the Jewish home, and the Jewish life cycle.

Because the gallery is expanding to accommodate future growth, in the short-term the new space will be too large for the existing Judaic art collection. Taking advantage of this opportunity, Coffey has arranged with the Jewish Museum in New York to borrow 12 Judaic objects from its encyclopedic collection. These loans will serve as placeholders for future acquisitions. And down the road, the Museum hopes to borrow Judaic treasures from the Israel Museum and other major collections, public and private.

“This represents a titanic leap forward for us,” says NCMA Director Lawrence J. Wheeler. “Finally, we will have a Judaic Art Gallery the size of our ambitions.”

In other news, The Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery will host an “I [heart] Purim Woks & Lox” event on Feb. 28, 7 p.m., in the West Building.

Enjoy dim sum-styled hors d’oeuvres, drinks, music, dancing and fun. This year the event coincides with the Chinese New Year. Attendees are encouraged to wear masks, costumes and other festive attire.

Cost is $65 per person plus tax. Advanced reservations are required due to limited space.

For those who want more, stay for the “I [heart] Purim After-Party,” which begins at 9:30 p.m. The museum especially invites young professionals to enjoy the high-energy event, complete with dancing, desserts, and drinks.
Cost is $25 per person until Feb. 22 and $35 afterward.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 919.715.5923.

About the image: Eastern European, probably Galicia (present-day Poland or Ukraine), Standing Hanukkah Lamp for a Synagogue, 18th century (dedicated 1770/71) with some 19th-century elements, copper alloy: cast, machine-turned, engraved, punched, partly gilded (eagle), H. 60 in., Gift of Thomas G. and Louise J. Coffey in memory of H. Arthur Sandman, 2013 (2013.4).

Dippold leaves post

tallidippoldOn Jan. 22, Talli Dippold is resigning as director of the Levine Sklut Judaic Library and Resource Center. She has been hired as director of Jewish Life at Queens University.
Debby Block will serve as an interim library director during the transition time. Her prior experience as the library’s assistant director will ensure that the day-to-day operations of the Library will be uninterrupted during the transition to a new permanent director.
During Dippold’s seven-year tenure as director, the library experienced programmatic and collaborative growth in the local Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Under her leadership the library established the Melton Adult Mini-School in Charlotte; developed as a renown resource for Holocaust education; grew its collaborations with local Jewish agencies, such as the Film Festival, JFS and Freedom Schools, among others; and successfully navigated the library’s transition into the digital age.

Dementia subject for lunch program

caregiversdementia“Communicating through Dementia – Healthy Steps for Families” will be presented on Aug.14, 11:30 a.m., at the Levine Jewish Community Center, Weinberg Senior Center, 5007 Providence Rd.

Barbara Drum, executive director of The Crossings at Steele Creek, will lead the interactive workshop. Participants will be able to learn the difference ways to talk with dementia patients; discover how to understand and interpret behaviors and moods; and try new ideas to re-direct difficult behaviors.

Drum, who had previously cared for her parents who suffered from dementia, will speak from her perspective and own personal experience.

A certified dementia specialist with 10 years experience in the senior living industry, Dunn counts helping families, friends and caregivers to understand dementia as one of her true loves.

New participants are welcome and the event is free and open to the public. However, reservations are required and space is limited.

A complimentary lunch will be provided by Brightmore of South Charlotte.

The session is presented in conjunction with Oasis, a beneficiary agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater Charlotte, and has community support through Jewish Family Services.

RSVP via email to or call 704.364.6594.

Future rabbis learn Arabic for peace building


Rabbinical students at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College were engaged in a progressive initiative earlier this year when they were taught Arabic as a way to learn about the similarities between Arabic and Hebrew and to find ways to bridge the divide between Jews and Arabs.

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, 1982, invited Dr. Barry Mann to teach the class, using their knowledge of Hebrew. Both languages, like the people, are cousins with many similarities. Mann learned Arabic during his sojourn in Israel.

Each person was tasked with learning enough of the language so that a presentation could be done in Arabic as part of a final “testing” of knowledge and understanding.

In addition to rabbinical students, graduates and community members also participated.

To learn more, visit to see how the class unfolded.

Haiku and win a free machzor

reconachzorThe Reconstructionist Press has announced a haiku contest for the High Holidays.

Enter to win a copy of the Reconstructionist Kol Haneshamah machzor by creating a short verse creation written especially for the High Holidays.

Two separate contests are being held, one for adults and one for youth, ages 8-16.

To submit a haiku, “like” the Reconstructionist Press on Facebook at and post the verse on the Facebook page.

Deadline is Aug. 22. Winning haikus will be posted on Facebook.

No purchase is required.

Six graduate from RCC

RRC Logo copy

Six rabbinical students received smichah (ordination) from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College during the spring commencement ceremony.

Those graduates are Danielle Parmenter, Ilanit Lauren Goldberg, Nicholas Renner, Ellen Jaffe-Gill, Malka Packer and Tamara Ruth Cohen.

To learn more about these new rabbis, visit

Asheville welcomes Keshet exec

Idit_Klein-200x277Idit Klein, executive director of Keshet, the leading national organization working for the full equality and inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life, will be heading to Asheville, N.C., for two events.

Theme for the presentations will be “Risk and Responsibility: A Professional Gay Jew’s Take on Activism and Leadership.”  It is a joint program of the Asheville JCC’s GLOW (Gay and Lesbian+ of Western North Carolina), Congregation Beth HaTephila and Congregation Beth Israel.

Join her on June 27, 7:30 p.m., for services at Congregation Beth HaTephila, 43 N. Liberty St. Klein will share her journey from secular Israel to Orthodox day school to the LGBT rights movement.

And, on June 28, 12:30 p.m., she will be at Congregation Beth Israel, 229 Murdock Ave. Following a Kiddush luncheon, hear her reflections on her journey from secular Israel to Orthodox day school to the LGBT rights movement.


Wildacres to host B’nai B’rith Institute of Judaism


B’nai B’rith has announced that it will hold its 2014 Institute of Judaism from Aug. 11-14 at Wilcacres Retreat, 1565 Wildacres Rd., in Little Switzerland, N.C.

In its 67th year, this program offers participants the opportunity for individuals to confront, explore, and clarify questions about Judaism in an personal, national, and global context.

Each day features four lectures plus evening entertainment and kosher meals, in addition to casual discussions on the patio.

On the third evening, the Tennessee Schmaltz Klezmer Band will perform. Their repertoire blends traditional klezmer music with southern Appalachian and jazz.

Religious services are available. For those who wish to enjoy the local scenery, hiking is right at the back door.

Free tennis lessons, a Wednesday afternoon movie, noshes and evening services with dinner beforehand help to create a great educational and fun vacation option.

Currently, the lecture leaders are:

Bob Moog, former chair and professor of Political Science at North Carolina State University. His topics are: The Turkish Model of “Post-Islamism,” and Turkey’s Relationship with Israel; Israeli-Palestinian Peace in the Light of the Arab Awakening; and Democratic Difficulties in the Arab World.

Ariel Eldry, rabbi at Temple Beth Shalom, Cary, N.C. His topics are: Jewish Communities in Argentina and Spain; Things You Do Not Expect to Read in the Bible; and Israel: Separation of Religion and State (or the Lack Thereof).

Michael Barnett, professor of International Affairs and Political Science at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. His topics are, The Two-State Solution, and why it Won’t Happen; Are American Jews Becoming Distant from Israel; and American Jews: Liberal at Home and Progressive Abroad.

Scott Davis, anaward-winning public television producer, storyteller, playwright, and collector of Jewish short stories from the turn of the 20th century, will provide an evening of Jewish storytelling.

For more information, email Bill Carr, chair, at or visit





Museum to hold Purim festivities

The North Carolina Museum of Art, 2110 Blue Ridge Rd., in Raleigh, N.C., will hold an “I ♥ Purim: Kings + Queens” on March 22, 7-10 p.m., in its West Building.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery and features an evening of food, music, dancing and entertainment to celebrate Purim. Kings and Queens will enjoy tapas-style hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and a specialty cocktail. Crowns, masks and other festive attire are encouraged, but costumes are not required. They will cap off the evening with a high-energy Purim After-Party geared toward young adults. Dance the night away with drinks and desserts.

Tickets are $65 per person for the party and $25 per person for the after-party. Proceeds benefit the Judaic Art Fund.

Advanced reservations are required.

Registration is available via phone by calling 919-715-5923 or online.

info: Mary Blake, 919-664-6807.

Pets need your help

Animal Medical Hospital (AMH), 2832 Monroe Rd., is holding a pet food drive through partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank.

The hospital said they are participating in this effort because recently, there has been an increase of animals surrendered and euthanized due to owners not being able to afford food.

AMH’s goal is to raise 500 pounds of food by Dec. 18.

“Providing food for these pets can save their life and keep them in the arms of their loved ones,” they said.

They are asking its team members, clients and the community to donate unopened dog and cat food (wet or dry). Red bin receptacles are located in their front lobby. Toys, treats and leashes are also being accepted. All items will be donated to non-profit shelters, rescue groups, foster pet homes and pet owners facing financial difficulties.

AMH is appreciative of any support they receive for this worthy cause.

For more information, visit