Archive | January, 2009

Around the Town with Rene

Tags:

Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

New Sankary computer lab to be dedicated at CAS Feb. 1
Susan Fine tells the TJP that a special ribbon cutting and dedication of the new Rose and Al Sankary Computer Lab will take place Sunday, Feb. 1 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen in Fort Worth, from 3 to 5 p.m. The public is invited.

The Computers, Audio-Visuals and Electronics (CAVE), established by a generous donation from Rose and Al Sankary, will benefit both children and adults, and are installed in four different facilities within the shul. All four rooms will be open to the public to explore.

The afternoon will begin with a presentation by Dr. Yoseph Yaacobi, chair of the CAS-CAVE Program Committee.

Everyone will then proceed to the computer lab for the affixing of the mezuzah on the doorpost, ribbon cutting and plaque unveiling. Free food will be served as the public explores the various facilities:
The Rose and Al Sankary Computer Lab is equipped with 13 new Dell computers assembled on elegant smart desks arranged in four rows. The room is equipped with a motorized screen and powerful projector, both controlled by a highly sophisticated, yet user-friendly, computerized podium. The wired and wireless Internet options, the centralized server, the sound system and the adjustable lights in the ceramic-tiled computer lab provide users with a state-of-the-art facility to enhance their learning and explore the Internet. Youth members of Kadima and USY will be on hand at the dedication to show various Jewish Web sites for genealogy and history.

In the Brachman Parlor, state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment has been installed. At the dedication, homemade documentaries will be shown of students from the religious school interviewing older members of the shul. Some members will also make professional presentations to showcase the potential of the equipment.

In the Run-Around Room, children are invited to see kids’ movies projected on a wide screen in a mini-theater setting, equipped with great surround sound.

In the Zale Auditorium, PowerPoint presentations will be shown on past and present members and special events from the history of the shul. Then, starting at 5 p.m., it’s Super Bowl 2009, shown on the 12-foot-wide screen with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems. Free hot dogs will be available. Bring your own beverages (no milk products, please) — and the public is encouraged to bring their lawn chairs or favorite lounge chairs. Regular chairs and tables are available, too.
For information, please call 817-731-4721.

Press notes
Happy birthday greetings to attorney Lewis Schwartz, who celebrated his 60th with wife, Dede, and family at a trendy Arlington restaurant. Joining in the festivities were mom, Rosalie Schwartz; sister Arlene and Jerome Levy and daughter, Jennifer of Houston; and Lewis’ children, Toby and Dana Schwartz and Danny Schwartz and friend, all of Austin. Add to my list of birthday celebrants, my pal, Gerry Brown.
Speedy recovery wishes to another of my good friends, Corrine Jacobson, recuperating from recent knee replacement surgery at Trail Lake Rehab.

It was good to see a familiar Fort Worthian, Hanna Hochster, at the Dallas Jewish Federation’s Women’s Event last week. The outstanding speaker, Brigitte Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian, wowed the audience when she said she was an only child, and her mother was 55 and her father, 61 when she was born.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Tags:

Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
For the Dallas Community LearningFest, I was asked to do a session on “Love and Logic” and to add a Jewish twist. We too often see “regular” parenting and “Jewish” parenting as two different things, but truly our hope is that we teach values and behaviors the same way. Those who know a little (or a lot) about “Love and Logic” always talk about choices. For example, we ask our sons, “Would you like to wear your blue kippah or your Mavericks kippah to synagogue?” — but wearing a kippah is expected, not a matter of choice. As our children grow, we want them to make positive choices in their Jewish life and we must prepare them to make choices.

I will soon be going down to Austin for their version of the LearningFest. The topic they asked me for is “How to be a Good Enough Jewish Parent.” We are all thinking about the same thing: How do we parent Jewishly? For the record, I am not the expert (unless raising three children, working with thousands of others, talking with hundreds of parents and making lots of mistakes makes me an expert)! However, I do read lots of books and do a lot of thinking. Here is a list of many of the books I use as resources to help answer a variety of questions. I have put them in order of the year published. Yes, I have my favorites but you may discover others to be yours. As always, feel free to call me (214-239-7110) or e-mail me (lseymour@jccdallas.org) with any questions.

Jewish parenting book resources
“To Raise a Jewish Child.” Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin. Basic Books, Inc., New York, 1977
“The Hadassah Magazine Jewish Parenting Book.” Edited by Roselyn Bell. The Free Press, New York, 1989
“40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People.” Joel Lurie Grishaver. Alef Design Group, 1993
“The Jewish Parents’ Almanac.” Julie Hilton Danan. A Jason Aronson Book, New York, 1994
“Parenting as a Spiritual Journey.” Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer. Jewish Lights Publishing, Vermont, 1996
“Becoming a Jewish Parent.” Daniel Gordis. Harmony Books, New York, 1999
“The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.” Wendy Mogel. Scribner, New York, 2001
“Can I Have a Cell Phone for Hanukkah?” Sharon Duke Estroff. Broadway Books, New York, 2007

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Tags:

Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

Shalom Rabbi Fried,
In a recent column you wrote that one should always tell the truth, even when adding some falsehood would be of benefit to the Jewish people (such as distributing true Holocaust material that had a mistake in it). You said this was the trait of Jacob, the trait of truth. If that was the case, how could Jacob have tricked his father into giving him the blessings with an entire show of deception?
Jean-Claude Z.

Dear Jean-Claude,
The answer to your excellent question is found in a deep, profound concept in Jewish thought:
G-d tests an individual with the very trait which that person excels in or personifies. He does so to ensure that this person fulfills that trait truly for the sake of Heaven, and not just because it has become customary or ingrained in the person to be so. If the individual is prepared to forgo his precious trait when deemed necessary to do so to serve G-d, this shows that the ultimate goal of the person is the service of G-d rather than fulfilling that trait for its own sake.

An example of this is Abraham. His trait, the cornerstone and great motivating force of his life and all he did, was that of chesed, lovingkindness. It was precisely in that trait of chesed that the Al-mighty tested him. Abraham was first commanded to leave his home and parents to go to Israel. He was told to send away his son Ishmael, which ran contrary to his nature. And finally, as the greatest test of all, Abraham was told to perform an act which appeared to be completely barbaric, the antithesis of kindness, to sacrifice his own son. By fulfilling G-d’s will without question, pushing aside his ingrained trait of chesed, he confirmed that his pure intention when performing acts of chesed was to serve G-d. If that service would run contrary to his nature and his trait, serving G-d prevailed, and in that merit he became the patriarch of the Jewish people.
Jacob’s core trait was that of truth. Even the trait of truth could, potentially, become rote and second nature, rather than as a vehicle to serve G-d. Therefore, Jacob was tested precisely with that trait in which he excelled and developed as the centerpiece of his greatness.

Jacob was commanded by his mother, Rivkah, based upon her prophecy, to perform deception to receive the blessings. She was told prophetically that “the elder one will serve the younger one” (Genesis 25:23). The Midrash explains, further, that Rivkah saw that G-d prevented Esau from returning by untying all his trapped animals, to leave time for Jacob to fulfill this deception. The Midrash also says that Divine intervention caused Isaac to become blind in order for Jacob to carry out Rivkah’s plan. It was clear to Rivkah prophetically that the true recipient of the blessings needed to be Jacob, as only he was fit to be a patriarch of the Jewish people. In fact, he even bought that right from Esau with the lentils, making him the legitimate, legal owner of the birthright.

G-d hid all this from Isaac (he “blinded” him prophetically as well) to make possible the plot of receiving the blessings through deception. All this was to test Jacob if, indeed, he would forgo the trait of truth when it was necessary, based upon prophetic edict, that he do so. The Midrash relates that this deception made Jacob so weak that he couldn’t walk, and the angels had to help him get to his father. He, however, passed the test, showing his service of G-d was complete. In this way he received the blessings, and was not rebuked by his father. On the contrary, Isaac later told Esau, “He [Jacob] should surely be blessed” (ibid 27:33). In this merit, Jacob became a father of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at yfried@sbcglobal.net.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Tags:

In My Mind’s I

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Have you seen “The Reader”?

I did, on Christmas Eve at an annual evening for Jews who may feel a bit out of the season’s celebratory mode. “The Reader” didn’t draw a crowd like last year’s movie about female Jewish comedians, or the one the year before that dealt with cantors and traditional and non-traditional chazzanut.

No surprise. “The Reader” deals with the Holocaust, and some people don’t want such an “unpleasant” subject for holiday viewing — even on a holiday that really belongs to others. Some are tired of the many new books and films dealing with the Holocaust. Some are trying to avoid becoming depressed during a festive season.

I’ve been maintaining for a long time now that nobody can avoid the Holocaust as a film and story subject — nor should it, or any subsequent depression, be avoided. I truly believe the Shoah is the second seminal event in the life history of Judaism. The Exodus, of course, was the first. We’re still telling its tales and those of its aftermath after all these years, and we’re not done yet, because the Exodus is what gave birth to everything Jewish. Everything we are is its aftermath.

So it’s futilely wrong to say that we don’t want to read any more Holocaust books, or see any more Holocaust films, because the Shoah has likewise birthed what Judaism is today. No one can forget 6 million deaths and the loss of a whole Jewish culture. Nobody can fail to connect these with all that Jewish life has been since, and will become in the future.

So, I’ll ask you again: Have you seen “The Reader”?

I stress this particular film because it’s been interpreted and critiqued in such different, conflicting ways. Not the same kind of reality conflict raised by “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” which asks for a suspension of disbelief that those well-grounded in Shoah cannot accept, even for purposes of “art” and/or “making a point.” How could the little prisoner have been so robustly chubby, and had time and opportunity to sit near a fence, doing nothing? How did a German boy manage to get that close to the heart of a killing camp? And so on. Valid questions.

But very different, I think, from those raised by “The Reader.” A local reviewer has seized upon the centrality of reading throughout this film, and made what I consider a fatuous leap of, and to, cause and effect: Hitler burned books before he burned bodies. True. But Hitler did not burn bodies because he burned books. And Hitler’s Germany was full of literate people who knew the values of both books and people, but somehow managed to throw those values away and go on with the burning anyway. The questions raised by this film cannot be answered with a single, pat statement.

I consider a national reviewer equally wrong for not finding any questions in the film at all, but asking only a single one about it: Are we supposed to be moved by the idea that one unrepentant Nazi finally learns to read? I can’t accept that as the central idea of “The Reader” at all.
Here are some of my questions: Wasn’t lack of literacy what held back this German woman in her post-war life? May we assume that she was also held back pre-war, for the same reason? Wasn’t her shame over this lack what caused her ultimately to accept responsibility for a monstrous Nazi act? May we not assume that this same shame magnified her culpability, while allowing others to minimize theirs? How can we judge when we know so little? Shouldn’t we also be judging the man who knew her secret, but withheld the telling of it?

Of course, there’s no resolution here, no real answers to any of these questions. It’s “just” a story. But such a story challenges us to ask unanswerable questions and strain for answers. Like the many new Holocaust memoirs and fictions flooding today’s market, new films such as this one are posing new questions. We think the Shoah has already taught us everything about horror, but we are wrong. There’s a legacy of more subtle horrors waiting, begging to be explored. After more than a half-century, that exploration is now beginning. It’s a vital part of our current, always developing Jewish life.
So, I ask again: Have you seen “The Reader”? If you have, or when you do, please let me know what you think.

E-mail: harrietg@texasjewishpost.com

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Doings

Tags:

Dallas Doings

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

Emanu-El teens go to D.C.
Recently, a group of Reform Jewish high school students from Temple Emanu-El in Dallas joined more than 200 teenagers from across the country to participate in a unique opportunity in Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to voice their opinions to their members of Congress. Twenty-one participating students visited the offices of Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and of Representatives Pete Sessions and Kenny Marchant.

The teens learned to look at social justice and public policy issues through Jewish eyes by participating in the Bernard and Audre Rapoport L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, an intensive four-day seminar sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). The RAC is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis.

This unique opportunity enabled students to hear from experts both inside and outside the Jewish community as they thoroughly examined contemporary issues such as poverty, health care, the environment and Israel against a backdrop of Jewish texts and values in a variety of interactive formats.

The students spent the final day of the program on Capitol Hill participating in the advocacy process firsthand by meeting with members of Congress and their staff. This hands-on advocacy presented the students an extraordinary opportunity to put their four days of learning into action.
Additionally, the group toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and participated in a unique candlelit Havdallah service on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

RAC Program Director Rabbi Michael Namath says of the L’Taken seminar, “This program allows students to discover the connection between Judaism and social justice. At the end of the four days, the participants understand the Jewish mandate to be a part of social and political change.”
Taking part in the spectacular trip were Louis Abramowitz, Sam Banks, Adam Bates, Haley Bender, Dylan Brown, Corey Cox, Abby Diamond, Jillian Fisher, Jonathan Fine, Toby Finegold, Ben Fleisher, Ryan Kline, Kate Michaels, Katie Ray, Michaela Rollins, Spencer Sandfield, Emily Satinsky, Jacob Stern, Kellen Wall, Molly Weinstock and Sophie Williams. The students were chaperoned by Rabbi Asher Knight.

Texas woman to be featured in ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on Feb. 2

Texan Tamara Welch will be featured in one of the Dallas episodes of the “Antiques Roadshow.” Welch has an antique Bible that was the property of her great-great-grandfather, who was a rabbi in Russia. The piece dates back to the mid-19th century and has a magnifier to read the tiny text. Miniature bookmaking is a craft that goes back centuries and requires very complex production values. This Bible was printed in Warsaw, Poland and was valued at $1,000.

Welch said this Bible has been in her family all of her life, and although she was only able to look at it as a child, she feels blessed to have it now. She said it means a great deal to her family, holds great symbolism and is a part of history.

“I am so excited to have this featured on the show,” she said. “Antiques are more than just furniture; they are pieces of history, living things that someone else once enjoyed. This is very precious and special to me.”
Look for Tamara on the Feb. 2 episode on channel 13 at 7 p.m. to catch a glimpse of the Bible and learn more about her story.

Jewish Journeys at the J take off!
Laura Seymour, TJP columnist, tells the TJP that Sunday, Jan. 11 was the first of “Jewish Journeys at the J” for grandparents (and grandfriends) and their grandchildren to explore the Jewish holidays with her. Through crafts, songs, games and food (the best part), memories were shared and new ones were made. This first experience was all about Shabbat — participants made challah covers, tzedakah boxes, candle holders, wine cups, spice boxes and more, plus singing songs and enjoying matzah ball soup.
Next month, on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 1:30, the group will experience Tu B’Shevat together with planting and, of course, tasting at a mini-seder. This program is open to the community; it is for children ages 4–8 years and grandparents any age. The fee is only $5 for the couple. Please register in advance. For more information, contact Laura Seymour at 214-239-7110 or lseymour@jccdallas.org.

Legacy at Willow Bend to host ‘Dementia Awareness 411’
Dementia Awareness 411, a support group that meets the first Tuesday of every month in the assisted living community of The Legacy at Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, has scheduled informational meetings at 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 3, March 3 and April 7. These will be held in the third floor sunroom, assisted living.

Dementia Awareness 411 provides information, support and resources for families and caregivers who are dealing with dementia issues. The support group is free and open to the public. Family members of those affected by Alzheimer’s may also attend. Please call Becky Perry at 972-468-6236 for more information. Refreshments will be served.

JCC announces 2009 Maccabi Team Dallas tryout schedule
The JCC invites teen athletes to try out for its 2009 Team Dallas for the Maccabi Games. Please note the following guidelines:

Athletes must try out for a sport to become a part of Team Dallas. They can try out for as many sports as desired, but can compete in only one sport.

The J encourages athletes to participate in their best sport(s).
For sports with multiple tryout dates, they must come to at least one of the dates, but are welcome to attend both. Attending both allows coaches better evaluation.

Athletes must be ages 13–16 by July 31, 2009 to participate.

All tryouts will take place at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road, unless otherwise noted.

The tryout schedule is as follows:
Boys’ Basketball: 13–16 – Feb. 11, 7–9 p.m.; Feb. 18, 7–9 p.m.
Boys’ Baseball: 13–16: Feb. 8, 1–3 p.m.; Feb. 15, 1–3 p.m.; Feb. 24, 1–3 p.m. at location to be announced
Boys’ Soccer: 13–16: Feb. 8, 2–4 p.m.; Feb. 22, 2–4 p.m.
Swimming: 13–16: Feb. 4, 7–8:30 p.m.; Feb. 15, 2–3:30 p.m.
Girls’ Volleyball: 16 Under: Feb. 10, 7:30–9 p.m.; Feb. 11, 7:30–9 p.m.; Feb. 16, 7:30–9 p.m.
Girls’ Basketball: 16 Under: Feb. 18, 7–9 p.m.; Feb. 23, 7–9 p.m.
Tennis: Feb. 8, 1–3 p.m.; Feb. 15, 1–3 p.m.
Dance: Feb. 15, 4 p.m.; Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 22, 4 p.m.
Table Tennis: Feb. 4, 7:30–8:30 p.m.; Feb. 11, 7:30–8:30 p.m.

The exact age groups for the boys’ basketball, baseball and soccer teams have not yet been determined. Any boy between the ages of 13 and 16 should try out. The decision to take either a 13–14 or 15–16 team will be based on attendance and interest at tryouts.

If you have any questions, please contact Jon Mize, 214-239-7147, jmize@jccdallas.org, or John Nuss, 214-239-7186, jnuss@jccdallas.org; or visit www.jccdallas.org.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Levine fifth grade launches prayer chains for 11-year-old student

Levine fifth grade launches prayer chains for 11-year-old student

Posted on 29 January 2009 by admin

By Rachel Gross
At Levine Academy, every class in the lower school is required to do a mitzvah project. This year, the fifth-grade class dedicated their project, called Sasha’s Prayer Chain, to former Levine student and friend Sasha Okhotskiy.

Okhotskiy is a fun-loving 11-year-old who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2006. During that time, the third-grade class at Levine Academy made a “Prayer Wall for Sasha.” Each prayer was written on a template that looked like a siddur, and the collection was posted in the halls with a large banner.
After Sasha’s cancer returned in 2008, the fifth-grade class decided to do something similar, this time with chains. Each three-link chain could be purchased for a minimum of $5. Every participant decorated his or her own and then wrote a special prayer for Sasha. All proceeds from the mitzvah project go to the Sasha Okhotskiy fund, assisting with medical expenses and whatever the family needs.
The chains, which are not only wonderful pieces of art but also a great way to honor Okhotskiy, are currently being displayed on the first floor of the school. Each one has its own unique flair and words of hope for Sasha.

Olga Okhotskiy, Sasha’s mom, said she is grateful for the support that they have received from the community during this rough time.

“They are angels. This is the second time they are doing this and the whole school is holding Sasha in their spirit,” she said. “Sasha reads every prayer and it makes him very happy. It’s amazing how everyone at the school has become our family … and all of the support we get is very important.”
Lynn Fellhauer, a Levine parent who helped to spearhead both the Prayer Wall and Prayer Chain, said everyone wanted to help Sasha and they decided this was a great way for the community to reach out to him.

She said that the Prayer Wall made such a positive impact on him the first time, she knew the chains would do the same. She added that she was amazed at how everyone united to help Sasha and this truly shows how everyone feels about him.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to feel like they are contributing and for kids to learn about tzedakah,” she said. “It makes us feel like we are doing something and gives us a purpose. Everybody is excited about it and we feel like we are making a difference for Sasha and his family.”
Susie Wolbe, Levine Academy K-8 principal, said doing a mitzvah project like this shows kids how something so small can make a big difference.

“Sasha and his family need prayers and wishes,” she said. “It’s important that kids are making a difference in someone’s life. It’s so easy to get tied up in your own life and own world, but you need to know what’s going on in the world beyond you. There are so many ways that each person can help and we want the kids to realize that they have the power to change the world.”
To purchase a prayer chain or make a donation, please visit www.hopeforsasha.com.

Basketball tournament ‘hoops, hollers,’ raises money for Sasha Okhotskiy

For Sasha Okhotskiy, getting to participate in a basketball tournament in his honor made him very happy. He sprinted into the Levine Academy gym with a giant smile on his face knowing he would have fun and see his friends.

On Monday, Jan. 19, three bar mitzvah students — Kevin Chaiken, Griffin Olesky and Grant Prengler — hosted Hoops for Sasha as part of their mitzvah projects. Their goal was to raise money for Sasha Okhotskiy and his family, and that objective was achieved. About 30 kids attended the basketball tournament.

Okhotskiy jumped right into the fun, running, dribbling and shooting. There was a sense of euphoria in the air, knowing this was all done for him. When asked how he felt about the whole event, he said there were no words to describe his feelings.

The three boys said they wanted to do this because they knew how much it would mean to Okhotskiy. Prengler is a student at Levine and knew about Sasha’s illness from the beginning.
“I go to school here and Sasha’s story made me feel for him,” he said. “I’m a big basketball fan, so I wanted to do something I love for someone in our community.”

Chaiken and Olesky attend Greenhill School, but heard about Okhotskiy from Prengler. They know how important it is to assist people in the community and felt this was a good thing to be a part of.
“They told me about him and I thought it would be a good thing to help with,” Chaiken said. “It’s always good to help people and this is a great experience.”

“I really wanted to help Sasha because he is going through a tough time,” Olesky added. “This is a good thing to do.”

Olga Okhotskiy was also in attendance to watch her son play. As soon as she walked into the packed gym, she was enveloped with hugs from other parents.
She said doing something like this is a great way to lift Sasha’s spirits and let him know that everyone in the community is there for him. After the tournament, Sasha got a glimpse of the prayer chain, which brought an even bigger smile to his face. To know how much the community loves him brings him much joy and comfort.

“The chance for him to come and play is great,” she said. “They say people heal faster when they have positive attention and influences around them. This helps keep his spirits so high and optimistic.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Doings

Tags:

Dallas Doings

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

Next Temple Emanu-El Couples Club event, Jan. 25
It was a fun evening on Dec. 7 when the Temple Emanu-El Couples Club celebrated an early Chanukah in the Tobian Auditorium. Highlighting the event was a mystery gift exchange among members, along with a delicious dinner and latkes. Music was provided by Eli Davidsohn, who led a sing-along of Chanukah songs.
The next Temple Emanu-El Couples Club evening at the temple on Jan. 25 will feature a variety of table games and a pot luck dinner of appetizers, salads, desserts plus a main entree provided by the Club.
Guests are invited to attend. If interested, please call Carole and Barry Cohen at 972-867-0079.
Anyone interested in joining the Club (for ages 50+) is invited to call Elaine and Bernie Weil, 972-377-6557, or Renee and Buddy Gilbert, 972-239-0022.

‘Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides’ at Dallas Holocaust Museum this Sunday
The Foundation for Pluralism, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, the Memnosyne Foundation, the Dallas Peace Center and the World Muslim Congress are collaborating on an event to commemorate the Holocaust and genocide on Sunday, Jan. 25, 5 until 7:15 p.m. at the Dallas Holocaust Museum, 211 N. Record St.

The event will include speakers; prayers; a partial viewing of a documentary; keynote speech by Bryan Mark Rigg, Ph.D., historian and author; and a display of images of the horrors humans have inflicted upon other humans throughout history. The goal of the event is to create awareness of the inhumanity in all of us, and discover and create solutions for peaceful co-existence. “STATIONS TWO: An Interactive Public Artwork” will be introduced and guests are welcome to participate in this first-time display in Dallas. This important piece follows the blessing and signature of Rev. Desmond Tutu on “STATIONS ONE.” The 4-foot wooden version of the 6-foot cube features inscriptions and actual voice recordings of forgiveness. This box will be sent to Rwanda in mid-February and played for the people to hear voices of reconciliation on an international platform.

Imam Zia Shaikh, an Islamic scholar, will be the emcee for the evening. His presence is significant as he will be the first imam to participate in a Holocaust Museum event, according to sources. Given the current situation in Israel and Gaza, the creators of this event wish to embark on a goodwill-nurturing mission. Mike Ghouse is chairperson of the event.

The mission of the Foundation for Pluralism is to encourage individuals to accept the otherness of, and develop an open mind and an open heart toward, their fellow beings. “If we can learn to accept and respect the God-given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge,” Ghouse adds.

“This event has a potential to turn a local community gathering into a symbol that can help heal others past our own borders. With this choice comes the opportunity to give an image not just to the people of Dallas, but to others in our great nation, and inspire others toward tolerance.” Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk, a Dallas leader and co-founder of Memnosyne Foundation, aAdmission is free and open to the public; seating is limited. Guests may RSVP to confirmattendance@gmail.com. The event is being underwritten by The Memnosyne Foundation and supported by the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, World Muslim Congress, Dallas Peace Center, the Foundation for Pluralism, Today Marks the Beginning and the Universal Peace Federation.

Further information may be obtained by calling Mike Ghouse at 214-325-1916, or visiting www.foundationforpluralism.com or www.holocaustandgenocides.org.

Tycher Library to hold used book sale, Jan. 25–Feb. 1
Tycher Library will hold their first used book sale in the Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning, Jan. 25 through Feb. 1. (This is the same week as the Dallas Jewish LearningFest, which will be held at the JCC.)
Books on all subjects, some new and many in “almost new” condition, will be available.
Joan Gremont said, “If you have used books, in good condition, Judaic or non-Judaic (NO prayerbooks), we would love to include them in our sale. Please drop them off at the library, and if you need help, call us and we will help you bring them up.”

Donations can also be dropped off downstairs at the JCC. For more information, contact Joan Gremont, 214-239-7132 or jgremont@jfgd.org.

Chabad chalks up another successful celebration
It was an exciting time for Chabad of Plano/Collin County when they hosted their fifth Community Menorah Lighting Celebration in The Shops at Willow Bend on Dec. 22.

An 8-foot-tall menorah, constructed of close to 6,000 pieces of Duplo Legos, built by the boys and girls of the Chabad Hebrew School, was lit during the ceremony.

Mr. and Mrs. Cirque entertained the crowd with a high-energy juggling show leading up to the menorah lighting ceremony. Following the show the Giant Lego Menorah was lit, accompanied by traditional blessing and songs. Music by Eli Davidsohn and Mikey B. of Dallas Party added to the festive spirit of the evening.

Special guests addressing the crowd were Dr. Cary A. Israel, president of Collin County Community College, and Octavio Ortiz, general manager of The Shops at Willow Bend.

“The large turnout at the menorah lightings shows that people want to get together to celebrate Chanukah as a community,” said Rabbi Menachem Block, executive director of Chabad of Plano. “Lighting the menorah in the heart of Plano allows us to share Chanukah’s universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and the light of goodness and kindness over darkness. It is for this reason that Chabad of Plano joins thousands of Chabad centers across the globe that are staging similar public displays of the menorah.”

Several mah jongg tournaments around Dallas; CSI’s is Feb. 22
While I’m not a real “mah jongg maven” (expert), I do enjoy the game and play strictly for fun and companionship. In the last month, I’ve played in two tournaments, the first at Levine Academy and the second, last Sunday, hosted by Temple Shalom Sisterhood. Both were staffed with gracious moms and members. For me, it was an entertaining Sunday afternoon well spent with proceeds benefiting both a fine school and a dedicated Sisterhood. I’ve already marked my calendar for Shearith Israel Sisterhood’s Mah Jongg Tournament on Feb. 22.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (1)

Tags:

Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

Many locals among guests at Jacob Wiese’s recent
bar mitzvah in Houston

From the start to the sentimental farewells, Jacob Rubin Wiese’s recent bar mitzvah in Houston will be remembered as one filled with love, caring, music, warmth and tradition. Dozens of ourtowners attended the recent simcha at Brith Shalom Synagogue in Houston. Jacob is the son of former Fort Worthian Janice Rubin and Charles Wiese. He is the grandson of Barbara Rubin of Fort Worth and Sherwin Rubin of Arlington and great-grandson of early Fort Worthians, the late Gertrude and Bennie Rubin.
Fort Worth guests included Ellen and Bernie Appel; Sara Baker; Cari, Steve and Bradley Chatman; John Eastman; Karen Kaplan; Drs. Bruce and Etta Miller; Debra and Morton Rubin and their son Ben; and Allen and Elaine Schuster. Dallas guests included Susan Held; Bernice and Sam Raden; Buddy and Irene Raden; Ella, Kevin, Jennie and Aiden Ross; Robert and Felicia, Rachel and Mark Rubin; Joel and Frances Steinberg; and Larry, Karla and Oliver Steinberg.

Former local residents who were also there were Bill and Davida Applebaum Avery; Dr. Alan and Sandy Rubin and their son Noah, who will become a bar mitzvah in October; and Stanley and Barbi Garsek Topek and their two sons, Jared and his wife, Tammy, and Seth and his wife, Lauren.
Other out-of-town guests included Jacob’s grandmother Helene Wiese of Southfield, Mich.; Mark and Susie Rubin Ballew, Tulsa, Okla.; Dr. Chuck and Beth Raden Brummer, Mountain View, Calif.; Bob Chmara, Southfield, Mich.; Judy Goldman, New York City; Dr. Amnon Goodman, San Francisco, Calif.; Sam Hudson, Austin; Harold Igdaloff, Los Angeles; Nancy Igdaloff and Monica Levin, San Francisco; Dr. Susan and Michael Igdaloff, Los Angeles; Marcia and Jay Menuskin, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Nina Rubin and Ron Vaughan, Fort Collins, Colo.; Paul, Jewel and Joshua Rubin, Roswell, Ga.; Robert Seidel, Austin; and Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, New York City.

Mazel tov to the entire Rubin-Wiese families.

Jan. 14 solidarity gathering draws packed house at Beth-El
On Jan. 14, a community-wide event to support Israel took place at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth.
The Great Hall was packed with people of all faiths who came to show their support and to listen to a briefing from Gil Elan, Southwest Region executive director of the American Jewish Congress and former Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces. Gil talked about the reasons for the operation and the outlook for the next 48 hours. He described briefly the history of Gaza since 1949 and how Hamas took over brutally in 2007, forcing out the moderate Fatah. He stressed the fact that Israel would not agree to a cease-fire without a guaranteed way to stop the smuggling of arms across the tunnels along the Philadelphi route in southern Gaza. He talked about the money, people and ammunition being sent from Iran to support the Hamas forces in Gaza through the tunnels, and showed how Hamas uses private homes to access the tunnels and to store ammunition. Gil answered many questions from the enthusiastic audience despite the late hour.

Many families with children, dressed in Israeli flag shirts, attended the event.

Local attorney, Marvin Blum, named to Top 100 list
In its December 2008 issue, Worth magazine, a New York photo publication edited for high-net worth individuals and their advisors, named Marvin Blum to its prestigious annual “Top 100 Attorneys” list. Board certified in estate planning and probate law and a CPA, Blum is the founding partner of The Blum Firm, P.C., a specialty law firm with offices in Fort Worth and Dallas, devoted exclusively to estate, business and tax planning for individuals and closely-held businesses. Having devoted more than three decades to practicing law in FortWorth, Blum said, “I am so honored to be included among this select group of attorneys.”
Worth’s “Top 100 Attorneys” list honors those lawyers across the United States who possess the rare combination of skill, experience and listening ability that allows them to counsel clients on their most critical, personal decisions. From the hundreds of nominations received from the magazine’s readers, financial advisors, accountants and other professionals working and interacting with the attorney nominees, the final selections are a result of a year of exhaustive research by the magazine’s editorial staff. “The detailed process is designed to ensure that those we honor are really the leaders in their respective fields,” explains Worth’s Senior Features Editor Emily DeNitto.

In addition to the national recognition he received by Worth magazine, Blum has been honored by Texas Monthly as a “Top 100 Super Lawyer” for the state of Texas and has been consistently chosen by his peers as one of Tarrant County’s top attorneys in tax law and in trusts, estates and probate.
WRJ Donor Brunch set for Feb.1
For some years now, Beth-El Women of Reform Judaism have chosen Sundays for their annual Donor Brunch. The dedicated committee of Leigh Schultz, Laurie Barker James, Hollace Weiner, Carolyn Bauman Cruz, Margie Zentner and Linda Hochster selected Feb. 1 for this year’s event, which they promise will bring a little bit of New Orleans and jazz to brighten your day. Mark your calendars from 10 a.m. to noon, as WRJ offers you splendid food, an opportunity to win some wonderful raffle items, and the Mario Cruz Trio!
The menu includes a real “taste of N’awlins,” including chicken etoufee in bread bowls, mufaletta, red beans and rice, and bread pudding with bourbon ice cream from a popular local caterer.
Mario Cruz, bandleader, composer and tenor saxophone player, was born and raised in Fort Worth. A TCU graduate and a member of UNT’s famed 1 O’Clock Lab Band, Cruz moved to New York, where he toured and recorded with an impressive list of some of music’s biggest luminaries, including Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker and Linda Ronstadt. Mario was featured in the horn section for Bruce Springsteen’s Tunnel of Love world tour. He has arranged and composed many pieces of music that were performed and recorded, including one piece by the Fort Worth Symphony. He recently moved back to North Texas, where he’s currently performing with his group.
Silent auction items include priceless experiences, like a day in the kitchen with Louise Lamensdorf at Bistro Louise. Additionally, there will be more tangible items including jewelry, autographed books, a stationery basket from Susie’s Personalized Creations, Judaica and more.
Tickets are $30 for non-Beth-El members. The money raised at WRJ’s only major fundraiser goes to support Beth-El’s religious school and to scholarships for Beth-El students to attend Greene Family Camp.
Tickets will not be sold at the door for this event. Please contact Laurie Barker James ASAP at 817-994-4781 to purchase tickets in advance. There is a deadline for ticket purchase.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Tags:

Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
Every day the news is filled with what is happening in Israel and Gaza and I am sure many of your home conversations are on the subject as well. Many years ago there was an article by Sharon Estroff, who is an internationally syndicated Jewish parenting columnist, award-winning Jewish educator and mother of four, titled “How to Tell Kids About the Mideast Conflict.” She writes about researching the topic of talking about war with kids, and the guidelines are about easing anxiety of images in the media (the fighting is far away) and talking about the bad guys that the army is fighting. However, she reminds us that our relationship to Israel makes this a different topic. Our children have been waving blue-and-white flags, learning Hebrew and singing “Hatikvah” since preschool — Israel is part of who we are! This is not a distant war! Here are some of her ideas:
•Give the good with the bad. Yes, there is violence in Israel right now but there are also people swimming, laughing and playing. There are bad people in the world but most people are kind and caring.
•Reassure that adults will protect them. This is key in many areas of our children’s lives. Adults are doing everything in their power to keep them safe.
•Keep living. Bad things happen but life goes on. Fear will not stop us from living.
•Provide historical perspective. The Jewish people and Israel have had many tough times but we have prevailed.
•Pray. Build Jewish pride. Communicate strength. Give children the knowledge that they are strong!
•A final idea is to look for ways to do something — send cards, raise money, talk to others. Do not hide from the news but be there to talk and explain. Let your children talk and question.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Tags:

Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I was reading the weekly portion for this coming Shabbat, and was bothered by the famous story of the burning bush. Why would God reveal himself to Moses for the first time in a lowly bush, rather than something more fitting for His honor, like a tree or a mountain?
Thanks,
Shoshana W.

Dear Shoshana,
Your question is right on — the ­Midrash relates that a Gentile scholar posed your question to R’ Yehoshua ben Korcha. The answer is that G-d wanted to show Moshe, from their very first encounter, that He would stick by the Jews even in their lowest times. Rashi comments on that verse (Shemot/Exodus 3:2), “G-d spoke from a bush and not from another tree, to show that ‘I am with them in their times of pain.’” G-d’s love for the Jews will take Him to the worst places in our exiles, and will not totally forsake us even when we have sunk to the lowest spiritual levels, similar to the lowly bush.

The point of the encounter was, as the verses relate, to let Moshe know that G-d had heard the Jews’ cries and had seen and felt their pain in their servitude to Egypt.

What did Moshe do to merit this revelation? The answer lies in a previous verse: “It happened in those days [of slavery] that Moshe grew up and went out to his brethren and observed their burdens…” (ibid 2:11).

Although Moshe was living in the palace and his Jewish identity was not known by Pharaoh, he knew who he was, and went out to feel the pain of his brethren. Rashi comments that he “put his eyes and heart to feel their pain.” He put his shoulders to the plow and helped the Jews in their slave labor. During that incident he killed an Egyptian who was striking a Jew, causing Moshe to flee for his life.

Later, as a shepherd for Jethro, Moshe was running after an escaped sheep, and came across the burning bush. The Midrash explains that since Moshe had “gone down” from his lofty place in the palace to care about the suffering of fellow Jews, he merited the vision of the bush where G-d reveals that He, too, goes down from His lofty place to be with the Jews. It was precisely the job of shepherd, like the forefathers before him, that helped train him in his mission to care about every Jew, as the shepherd cares for every sheep. This is the hallmark of a truly great leader, emulating the care of the Al-mighty for each individual, not just collectively for the entire klal. In the merit of Moshe’s caring for each Jew and the entire Jewish nation, he was chosen as our historic, eternal leader.

This caring would remain Moshe’s trademark for the next 40 years of his leadership, casting aside his own honor and going down to the people. Time and time again, when the Jews performed their most heinous crimes, Moshe was there for them, falling on his face before the Al-mighty in prayer and beseeching their forgiveness, often at great personal cost to himself.

Moshe’s feeling for the pain of fellow Jews was manifest in the war with the Amalekites (Shemot 17:8-17). Moshe stood on the mountain to pray for the Jews fighting in the valley until he became tired, and asked for a rock to sit upon to continue his prayers. The Talmud asks, couldn’t they bring him a chair to sit upon? The answer, says the Talmud, is that Moshe refused to sit on a comfortable chair as long as Jews were in the trenches at war. He was “with them in their troubles.”

This trait of Moshe is one of the cornerstones of the mussar movement, based upon the Mishnaic statement of “hanosei b’ol im chaveiro,” or “carrying the yoke with your friend,” making his load into your own load. This is an important lesson to remember when our brethren are in the trenches fighting in Gaza, and Jews nearby are under siege. We need to “put our eyes and hearts” to “be with them in their troubles,” offering them our prayers and any other way we can to assist them. May we merit a true and lasting peace in Israel and throughout the world.

Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at yfried@sbcglobal.net.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here