By Suzi Brozman | email@example.com
How would you feel if, like a number of Atlanta Jewish families, you could afford only one meat meal a week?
As a chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s participation in the Hunger Walk, Dr. Dan Appelrouth learned more about this problem than he ever wanted to — so much, in fact, that he resolved to do everything in his power to alleviate it.
In the nine years since then, he has raised and contributed more than $162,500 to groups he had grown to admire, including the Jewish Family & Career Services Kosher Pantry, Yad L’Yad, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and the JF&CS Moas Chitim fund, which distributes Passover food to those who can’t afford it.
He raises the money by giving benefit concerts and selling his three compact discs, the first recorded at the suggestion of his vocal coach in 2005. Because his Hunger Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, any donations are tax-deductible.
Getting the ability to take online donations was crucial, Appelrouth said. “Once we could do that, the donations have more than doubled.”
A love of singing motivates Appelrouth’s performances, some in front of large audiences, others at the Jewish Tower, the Cohen Home and the Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, and even shows for individuals with major health problems.
“I’m always on the lookout for new places to sing,” he said.
He has been singing since college and started taking serious singing lessons while in medical school, training to become a rheumatologist. Now he has been at it for 49 years. He will sing for any group, even if there’s not a big budget.
As a doctor, he’s aware of the worth of music, not only for the sick and injured, but also for newborns and even babies in utero. “Music touches the soul,” he said. “It helps people heal, and we know with newborns, when they hear classical music, especially Mozart, it helps with right brain development.”
He also knows that nutritious food is more than a luxury. “It’s interesting,” he said, “and painful that summer is the most difficult time because there is no school, so free breakfasts and lunches aren’t available to children.
“We have to educate people. It could be your next-door neighbor. People live beyond their means, then they’re ashamed, so they don’t tell anyone. Don’t kid yourself. There are many hungry Jewish people living below the poverty line, and the number is always growing.”
Appelrouth’s coach/accompanist is Judy Cole, who is responsible for the musical arrangements of the musicians at his concerts. This year he has added more musicians, including a violinist, for a show focusing on Broadway tunes.
And he has brought back his two sons, who joined him in a concert some time ago. One son, Jed Appelrouth, just earned his doctorate after 10 years of study at Georgia State, all the while growing his business, Applerouth Tutoring, whose services include preparing high school students for the SAT and ACT. Jed now lectures all over the country, has written two books, and is an artist and singer.
Son David is the assistant rabbi and director of education at the Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre in Toronto. Married with four children, David sings and plays the piano and saxophone.
You’ll be able to sing at the concert, too, during a Nat King Cole medley, with the words printed in the program.
Who: Dan Appelrouth
What: Concert for hunger relief
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, May 31
Where: Young Israel of Toco Hills, 2056 LaVista Road
Admission: Voluntary donation, with a minimum of $10 requested