Getting its pre-High Holiday groove on, the Atlanta Scholars Kollel hosted 250 in the new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center lobby and auditorium in City Springs Sept 5.
“I started this 15 years ago with the purpose of bringing the community together,” said Adrian Grant, sponsor and chair emeritus of the event. “We reach out to everyone, regardless of degree of observance or affiliation. The week prior to Rosh Hashanah is an appropriate time to get us in the spiritual frame of mind.”
A favorite ritual of the evening is the creativity and talent of the Kollel rabbis’ skit. From Dunwoody to Brookhaven and other areas in between, the rabbis took the stage in navy jackets and bowties takings bows as the Atlanta Shofar Orchestra. Their instruments were gigantic twisted rams’ horns, which hit the shrillest “Tekkiah” ranges. Each poised rabbi approached the podium and explained his role.
They oversee programs for high schoolers, Emory University students, investment clubs, women’s studies and Israeli groups, along with other learning opportunities and trips.
The guest speaker was New York attorney Harry Rothenberg, known for his high-profile catastrophic litigation in severe injury and death cases.
An energetic and rapid talker, Rothenberg was enthralling as he revealed his history of living a visibly Jewish life through Harvard Law School, private practice and the courtroom.
Openly Jewish means, for starters, wearing a kippah and not working on Jewish holidays, he said. “I cringe when Jews do something wrong. Each one of us represents all the Jewish people. I feel my Judaism really stands for something.” The audience certainly enjoyed his humor as he recounted tales of trying to get a recalcitrant witness to remember the name of a bus line, working with a client who couldn’t make a decision (ever), and gloating in front of the defense lawyer when the judge himself showed up wearing a kippah. His best line was, “I may not be good at math, but I can calculate 30 percent of any number.” (His fee of the settlement).
Adding to the flavor of the event was the kosher spread by Added Touch Caterers: Chicken shawarma, tangy beef meatballs, mini vegetable fajita tacos and guacamole, BBQ beef brisket tacos, a medley of blanched haricots vert, English peas, sugar snap peas, baby spinach, fragrant quinoa salad, fruit skewers and biscotti.
Mingling during the buffet, Eric Miller admitted that his wife signed him up for the upcoming Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project tour to Israel through a Kollel program.
Stephen Filreis also has benefited from ASK programs. “I’ve learned with a full range of Kollel rabbis … too numerous to mention, … all wonderful.” ■