The Torah from Dixie Book
The following article was taken from the Atlanta Jewish Times, February 19, 1995
Beth Zarefsky Jewish Times Intern
As a student at Yeshiva University in New York, 19-year-old Benyamin Cohen learned that Yankees needed to learn a thing or two about Jews in the South.
"A lot of people have misconceptions about the Jewish community in Atlanta," he says. "In fact, some people don't even know one exists."
As a remedy, Mr. Cohen and roommate Michael Alterman created Torah from Dixie, a newsletter discussing the weekly Torah portion. Contributors have to pass one litmus test: They must be Atlantans.
Torah from Dixie "gives the Atlanta Jewish community a place on the world map," Mr. Cohen says. "Second, it serves to educate the Jewish people."
The four-page newsletter, now in its 10th week of publication, is distributed across the United States and in Israel. "I think people are realizing the Jewish prescence in the South," says Mr. Cohen, who has since moved back to Atlanta.
Mr. Cohen's displeasure with other newsletters focusing on the weekly parashah was another reason to create Torah from Dixie. "I saw these and I thought I could do better. [The newsletters] catered only to a certain crowd. Only the Orthodox could understand them. Each article [in Torah from Dixie] teaches a lesson and these lessons can be taken and used in everyday life."
This isn't Mr. Cohen's first publishing venture. He was a creator of a weekly newspaper at Yeshiva Atlanta, the Orthodox-oriented community high school.
Circulation is up, from 200 the first week, to 900 in the most recent edition. A subscription is free. "I don't want to chrage anyone, because you can't charge for Torah," Mr. Cohen says.
Publication is made possible largely through what Mr. Cohen describes as "two sizable donations."
"That's running out," he says.
Mr. Cohen is excited about the success of his newsletter. "The most important thing is that we are spreading the word of Judaism," he says.
This article was printed in the Atlanta Jewish Times almost 2 years ago and since then Torah from Dixie has grown considerably.