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From Buffalo to B’ham: Get to know Esther Schuster during Southern Jewish Voices

Esther Schuster, who was at the helm of Collat Jewish Family Services for nearly two decades before retiring in 2011, will be the featured guest of the inaugural session of The J’s new Southern Jewish Voices program on Thursday, September 29, at 6 p.m.

A core element of the program is that sessions will be recorded and archived for the benefit of future generations.

Esther’s 30 years in Birmingham as a social worker, mother, and member of Temple Beth-El will give her plenty to talk about when she’s interviewed by Beth-El’s Director of Engagement Margaret Norman in front of a live audience.   

Having downsized from Cleveland’s Jewish population of 80,000 when she moved to Birmingham in 1982, the Buffalo, New York native has fond memories of her boyfriend “bringing home every Jew he knew” for her to meet. She connected with the “amazing women” on the Jewish Family Services Committee before going on to help found what is now CJFS, where she learned to marvel at the generosity of Birmingham’s Jewish community.

Along the way she acquired a farm, discovered mahjong, and has grown to consider cooking a “love/therapy/religion” — actually saying these words as brisket aroma wafted through her Mountain Brook home. 

Esther is a true Southern Jewish Voice. Come enjoy listening to her with us.

Southern Jewish Voices is made possible by a grant from the Alabama Humanities Alliance.