Archive | January, 2009

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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Imagine this: You are 80 years old, and you find out for the first time that you have a brother, 82, who lives just a stone’s throw from you.
It’s a true story about the aftermath of old-time, secretive adoptions. Imagine that you are almost 30 years old before you first learn that you were adopted as an infant — information you get from a friend of your (adoptive) father, not from your father himself, or from your mother. For almost a half-century, you play with the idea of finding out about your birth parents. You finally hire someone to do it for you, and he finds you a brother.
Friends in Park Forest, Ill., sent me this story, from a recent Chicago Tribune Sunday magazine, because they knew I’d remember the man who has experienced this reunion. Here’s my curious connection to him:
Lew Manilow’s (adoptive) father, Nathan, made millions as a housing developer after World War II. He partnered with Philip Klutznick, the well-known B’nai Brith stalwart and BBYO founder, in American Community Builders, which in the late 1940s carved out the town of Park Forest from the prairielands south of Chicago.
Unlike other early tract builders, ACB’s principals encouraged their first renters to incorporate and become self-governing. In his famous book, “The Organization Man,” William Whyte says that these developers handed their residents a club, and got hit over the head with it. Young people seized positions of community leadership they would have had to wait years to achieve in established towns, and began telling their landlords what they wanted. And getting it.
When Lew Manilow graduated from Harvard law, he joined his father in business. In 1963, I moved to Park Forest and began writing for its local paper. My office was in the town’s central business area, facing a circle turnaround for drop-off car traffic with a large grassy area at its center.
Another few years, and Nathan Manilow was gone. Lew, who later became a power in the Chicago arts scene, had the foresight to recognize a new trend: outdoor public sculpture. He installed “The Mohican,” a sizeable abstract piece by expressionist Mark di Suvero, on the grass in the middle of that turnaround. Adults shook their heads, wondering what it was. Kids climbed on it and swung from it. I got to watch this local circus every day.
Then the younger Manilow developed his own town south of Park Forest, unimaginatively called Park Forest South. And Illinois chose this place to site Governors State University, the newest branch of its higher education system.
I never really knew what caused the growing animosity between Lew Manilow and his neighbor to the immediate north. But someone said he’d threatened the government of Park Forest that his new town would bury the older one, a kind of stance I knew Nathan Manilow would never have taken. So one day, when I arrived at my office to find the grassy circle bare, I wrote a piece that wound up on the paper’s front page, calling the younger Manilow an “Indian giver” because he’d come like a thief in the night and reclaimed the Mohican. I also said, in print, “He’s not at all like his father. He must be adopted.” I had no idea at the time that this was indeed true!
Well, Park Forest South never engulfed Park Forest, which, sadly, was managing to run itself into the ground even before I left in 1980. But soon after, Lew’s town was renamed University Park, and Governors State became the site of a huge outdoor sculpture center full of abstract installations. Today, di Suvero’s Mohican is its centerpiece, a favorite of the many who come from all over to see this noted collection of public art.
Lew Manilow found his brother, Jack Shore, who didn’t know either that he had a brother, living in a nearby Chicago apartment. The Tribune called its story “Six Blocks of Separation.” The two old men are slowly getting acquainted with one another; their wives are realists, saying they’d better hurry up — how much time do they think they have?
Six blocks, six degrees. Or less. I was separated from, and connected to, Lew Manilow only by the Mohican. I’ve gone to see it since, looking good among its many impressive, abstract “friends.” Once I even flew over it in a glider. Upside down. It looked even better that way than it used to through the big plate glass window of my Park Forest office.
E-mail: harrietg@texasjewishpost.com

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‘Kvelling’ for Obama

‘Kvelling’ for Obama

Posted on 21 January 2009 by admin

By Ron Kampeas and Eric Fingerhut

WASHINGTON (JTA) — It was a week dedicated primarily to marking the election of the first African American president in U.S. history, but the ongoing ceremonies were punctuated by several Jewish moments, wrinkles and parties.
Barack Obama’s supporters said it was a historic week for all Americans, and especially Jewish ones, to take pride in.
The sentiment was captured by David Axelrod, a newly appointed White House senior adviser and President Obama’s longtime strategic guru, during an appearance at the Jewish Community Inaugural Reception held the night before Tuesday’s midday inauguration.
Axelrod, who until recently has been shy about talking about his Jewishness, told the crowd of 800 that he was there “to do a little kvelling,” and then spoke movingly about feeling a rush of gratification when he saw Jews voting for Obama in overwhelming numbers. Axelrod also reached back into his own family story to illustrate the “promise” of Obama’s election.
Recalling how his father and grandparents fled Bessarabia after their home was blown up in the pogroms, Axelrod said they “weren’t just looking for a place of safety, they were looking for a place of promise and opportunity.”
“They were drawn to America — America was that beacon,” he said, and the inauguration “would have been a great affirmation of that” idea.
“Not just that we elected Barack Obama, but that their son will be 20 feet from the Oval Office, and have a chief of staff named Rahm Emanuel,” Axelrod said to cheers.
Obama has surrounded himself with several key Jewish advisers, but no rabbis were tapped to give prayers at the inauguration, as Obama followed in the path of several of his recent predecessors in turning to Protestant clergymen. But three rabbis — one Reform (David Saperstein), one Conservative (Jerome Epstein), one Orthodox (Haskel Lookstein) — were slated to offer prayers at a Wednesday service, a move that left some observers impressed with the Obama team’s attention to the nuances of Jewish communal life.
But the inaugural was not without Jewish flourishes: During his invocation, Pastor Rick Warren recited (in English) the opening declaration of the Sh’ma prayer. In addition, one of California’s two Jewish senators — Democrat Dianne Feinstein — served as the emcee and Itzhak Perlman took part in an ensemble performance shortly before the swearing-in.
And, according to a source, there was a sizable contingent of American Jews at the Obama family’s private church service before the inauguration. Emanuel and Saperstein were present, as was Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s representative in Washington who attended Harvard Law School with Obama. They were joined by several Jewish supporters, including Lee Rosenberg, Lester Crown, Jim Crown, Alan Solow and Rabbi Jack Moline. Also there was First Lady Michelle Obama’s cousin, Rabbi Capers Funnye, the leader of a black Jewish congregation in Chicago.
***
The lead-up to the inauguration was packed with Jewish events, the headliner being the bash attended by Axelrod Monday night. The event, an hors d’oeuvres and drinks reception at the Capital Hilton in downtown D.C., was sponsored by nine organizations — the National Jewish Democratic Council, the United Jewish Communities, the American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, AIPAC, NCSJ: Advocates on Behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia and the Jewish federations of New York, Chicago and Washington. It was not an official inaugural event, but organizers said that prominent Obama supporters encouraged Jewish communal leaders to follow the lead of other ethnic groups by privately sponsoring such a gathering.
“You were all shareholders,” Axelrod said, and “you’re going to be our partners as we move forward and try to fulfill the commitments we have made.”
Elie Wiesel also spoke, praising Obama’s “absolute passion for human decency,” while calling the new president “a friend to the Jewish people.”
Wiesel has high expectations for the new commander-in-chief. He said he was “convinced” that Obama “will bring an end to the tragedy in Darfur” and utilize “his energy and passion” to bring about “peace in the Middle East.” The Nobel laureate added that Obama’s election makes him think that his son and daughter will one day be “celebrating the first Jewish president of the United States.”
Actress Debra Winger, who campaigned for Obama in Virginia last fall, kept her remarks very brief, saying she hoped “all our prayers are answered.”
A short speech was wise because the excitement meant many partygoers wanted to chat more than listen to speeches. Earlier in the evening, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) twice had to ask the crowd to quiet down, and it took a very loud demand by someone in the crowd to finally achieve silence for Wiesel — as well as Axelrod.
The hall was filled with rabbis, Jewish leaders and virtually all of what one might call “official Jewish Washington.” Michael Lieberman, the ADL’s Washington counsel, counted seven former summer interns in the crowd. But some tickets were made available to the public, so some came long distances simply to celebrate the new president.
***
One of Obama’s pitchmen to the Jewish community during the campaign was Tony Lake, the Clinton administration national security adviser who in recent years had converted to Judaism. Lake’s “Jew by choice for Obama” stump speech was a poignant way for an old foreign policy hand to make the pro-Israel case for a greenhorn senator from Illinois.
Lake all but disappeared after the campaign. He made a re-appearance Monday night, not at Washington’s main Jewish event, but at the Arab American Institute dinner eight blocks away. Institute President Jim Zogby warmly praised Lake’s insights as a foreign policy that was heavy at a time when American Jews and Arabs routinely worked together to try and make the Oslo peace process work.
It was an odd, nostalgic note at an Arab American Institute event otherwise fraught with the aftermath of the Gaza Strip war. An official of Anera, the Palestinian relief group, described the devastation in the area. Its 17 staff and office were unharmed, and were beginning to distribute food and medicine to Gaza residents.
Most jarring, perhaps, was the Al-Jazeera English set-up in a corner of the Fairmont Hotel ballroom. Producers from the network pulled over passers-by for comment on U.S. foreign policy. More than once, their voices rose above the natural crystal-clinking party din.
***
Three Jewish Congress members from South Florida — Ron Klein, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler — co-hosted an inauguration reception Monday at the Library of Congress. One couldn’t escape the impression that the crowds on the second floor of the library’s Thomas Jefferson Building were pretty much evenly divided between African Americans and Jews — Obama’s most resilient constituencies in the southern part of the Sunshine State.
Wasserman Schultz arrived late, but she was popular, constantly thronged by constituents. Much was made of her ‘do — Wasserman Schultz is famed for her curls, which she flaunted during a Sunday event organized by the National Jewish Democratic Council — but she opted for the straight look for Inauguration Day. Some didn’t recognize her when she walked in.
***
While much of Washington was partying Sunday and Monday, the leaders of the Jewish Grassroots Action Network were working.
About 25 leaders of the group assembled an “action plan” laying out how they will go about choosing issues, and advocating for them, over the next four years. Then they partied Monday evening, with about 100 guests attending a kosher inaugural ball, complete with a klezmer band, at D.C. synagogue Tifereth Israel Congregation.
The organization grew out of a Jews for Obama group — running the gamut from unaffiliated to Orthodox — that formed during the campaign. President Yocheved Seidman said she hopes to continue the activism that animated so many people over the last year, although she acknowledged that it is much easier to get people excited about a campaign rather than policy.
Obama “throughout the entire campaign said we can’t do this alone,” Seidman said, and her group hopes to advocate for issues that the president is pursuing when they advance Jewish values.
She said the organization will decide over the coming months on which areas they hope to focus and hopes to have a conference in Washington later in the year.
Assisting the group was Rabbi Yosef Blau, a spiritual adviser at Yeshiva University and president of the Religious Zionists of America. Blau, who wrote an influential article in The Jewish Week last spring encouraging Jews to respond to Obama’s effort to reach out to the community, said he was helping the group to frame its issues around traditional Jewish values, from providing jobs to offering health care.
Blau didn’t endorse Obama, but noted in an interview — and later in a speech to the ball attendees — that he found similarities between “Obama’s sensibility and Jewish sensibility” on fighting evil. He noted that in the August forum at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church, Republican candidate John McCain said the United States must defeat the evil represented by the Iranian regime. Obama said that while the U.S. must contain Iran, “only God can defeat evil” — a point Blau found to be “consistent with Jewish tradition.”
***
“I danced with Barack at the National Synagogue,” exclaimed Debra Kirsch late Sunday night.
Actually, it was only a cardboard cutout of the president-elect, but Kirsch was one of a couple of hundred people who celebrated Obama’s inauguration at a Washington shul Sunday night.
The National Jewish Inaugural Ball at Ohev Sholom-The National Synagogue was the brainchild of Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, who wanted to give Jews a place to celebrate in a Jewish setting.
Herzfeld noted Sunday night that it was an “inaugural ball according to Jewish law,” with kosher food and men and women dancing separately to a klezmer band.
Howard Gutman of Bethesda, Md., an early member of Obama’s finance committee and a trustee of the inauguration, predicted that as the new president gets to know the city, “I can just about guarantee that Barack Obama will come to this shul one day soon” because Herzfeld is such a dynamic presence in the city.
A promised toast from actor Louis Gossett Jr. didn’t materialize — the Academy Award winner couldn’t make it — but Obama campaign Jewish outreach and Middle East staffer Dan Shapiro did offer a toast to the “wonderful inspiration” that Herzfeld had for the event — and to the future.
Shapiro said that everyone feels this time is “full of possibility for our country, for our community, full of possibility for a safe Israel, for a better future than we have had.
“There’s a lot of work to do, and we need everybody’s help to get it done,” said Shapiro, who is likely to get a foreign policy position in the Obama administration.
Other toasters included Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver and “the only Jewish legislator in North Dakota,” Eliot Glassheim. The latter said that he gets to recite a prayer in Hebrew once a year at the North Dakota House of Representatives, and “the whole Legislature is dumbstruck and they love it.”
Former New York Knick John Starks was a no-show, but spotted in the crowd were Bahrain Ambassador to the United States Houda Nonoo (who is Jewish), former AIPAC staffer and current trial defendant Steve Rosen, and “Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” filmmaker Aviva Kempner.
***
Walking into the Science Club in downtown Washington early Sunday evening, the sign at the entrance said that the J Street inauguration party was “underground.”
“Underground” referred to the section of the bar in which the bash was taking place, not the organization. The fairly new “pro-Israel, pro-peace” group has been under fire from some Jewish leaders — particularly URJ President Rabbi Eric Yoffie — over its criticism of Israel’s Gaza operation. But there were plenty of young Jewish adults who were willing to offer strong support for the newest voice in the D.C. pro-Israel community.
Dan Scarvalone, 22, who recently finished a stint as an Obama campaign organizer, noted that Judaism has always encouraged a “multiplicity of viewpoints” and “American Jews are tired of hearing one viewpoint” on the Israel issue.
“The fact is, Israel’s not a perfect state,” he said. “I respect Eric Yoffie,” he said, but argued that J Street hadn’t “crossed the line” in its criticism of the Gaza operation.
Of course, some of the 75 or so revelers were more interested in a place to celebrate the inauguration than Middle East policy. As one partygoer said when asked why she was there, “My housemate’s friend works for J Street.”
J Street had a wine-and-cheese party earlier in the day for its top donors and the members of Congress it endorsed. Singer Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary fame, also stopped by and performed.
***
Israel, the Palestinians, the Irish — they all got the Bono shout out at the inauguration festivities. Martin Luther King’s dream, Bono declared from the Lincoln Memorial, was “not just an American dream — also an Irish dream, a European dream, African dream, Israeli dream and also” — dramatic pause — “a Palestinian dream!”

Proud to be an American

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
As we put the finishing touches on this week’s paper and prepare to ship it off to the printer, I can’t help but think what a great day it is to be an American. It’s been a great week, for that matter; keep in mind, our week at the TJP begins on Wednesdays — as we start preparing the following week’s issue — and ends on Tuesdays — when we put the current issue to bed.
We all watched last Thursday as US Airways’ plane crash survivors safely exited the aircraft after heroic pilot and North Texas native, Chesley B. Sullenberger III, set the plane down carefully on the Hudson River.
“Sully,” who was born in Denison and now lives in California, began his aviation career as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. I thought to myself that a strong, well-trained military pays dividends in many ways.
I was also struck last week by the quick response of the citizens on the ground. Of course it is what you wish for, what we hope our children will grow up to be — the kind of people that will rush to another’s aid in a crisis situation. I was proud of those New Yorkers last week. They often take a bad rap, but let’s face it, when called into action they show some serious hustle.
This morning I awoke feeling patriotic and excited for how the day would unfold. I was thinking back to inaugurations that I had watched in school as a child and the indelible mark they made on me. I thought about what today would mean to my own three boys, ages 4, 8 and 13. Are they aware that they will watch history as President Obama is sworn into office as our first black president? Do they realize that a mere 60 years ago, this seemed like an impossibility?
I remember at the old TJP office in Fort Worth, my dad had an old black-and-white TV in his office with rabbit ears so he could always be abreast of any breaking news. Whenever Dad watched the news, which seemed like all the time, he would always say that he was working. “This is my business,” he would say.
I was relieved when I came to work and realized that I could watch the inauguration live on my computer thanks to streaming video (I can’t seem to get those old TVs to work right anymore). Everything was working great until my connection was lost. I rushed downstairs to the lobby to watch the swearing-in and President Obama’s speech. Several people had gathered. It was curious to me to see who chose not to stay and watch history unfold. Too much work? No interest? Citizen of another country? While I watched the multi-cultural quartet of Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Gabriela Montero and Anthony McGill perform “Air and Simple Gifts,” I could feel the tension build among my co-watchers as we waited for President Obama to be sworn in. As he completed his oath of office, I couldn’t help but want to start singing “Siman Tov and Mazel Tov.” I was truly excited, and I believe our new president is the quintessential symbol of what a great country this is. I thought of Herzl’s words: “Im tirtzu ain zo agada” — “If you will it, it is no dream.” Good luck, Mr. President.

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Dallas Doings

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

Over 90 attend Dec. 7 Chabad Chanukah ‘Fun-Shop’ in Frisco
Chabad of Plano/Collin County hosted a Chanukah “Fun-Shop” in Frisco on Sunday, Dec. 7, to prepare for Chanukah. Rabbi Yehuda and Esther Horowitz guided the 50 children who attended in making their very own Chanukah menorahs. The children also participated in the process of pressing olive oil, beginning with pitting the fresh olives. The program, attended by a total of 90 participants, concluded with dinner.

Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce dinner, Feb. 5
The Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce invites the community to attend their Gala Dinner at the Westin Park Central Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 5.

A private VIP reception at 6 p.m. will be followed by registration and bar at 6:30.
The 7 p.m. program will feature David Wiessman, executive chairman of Alon USA. You will hear the inspiring story of Mr. Wiessman, whose business provides over 4,000 jobs in America and supports numerous organizations — from his humble beginnings working in his father and uncle’s gas station to running a $6+ billion group of companies.

Wiessman’s company was formed in August 2000 after Alon Israel Oil Co., Ltd. purchased the downstream assets of Atofina Petrochemicals, Inc.

David Wiessman has over 25 years of oil industry and marketing experience. In 1976, after serving in the Israeli Air Force, he became CEO and majority shareholder in Bielsol Group, a privately owned company that owns and operates gasoline stations and real estate in Israel.

In 1993, he acquired Alon Israel. The next year he became CEO and president of Alon Israel Group, moving it from a zero percent market share to more than a 20 percent market share today, making it one of Israel’s leading enterprises. Alon Israel has pioneered retail outlets in Israel’s gas stations, opening up commercial centers, supermarkets and roadside restaurants. Alon Israel’s “Super Alonit” convenience stores were the first stores to be operated in Israel, while the company also operates fast-food outlets and Segafredo cafés.
Alon Israel holds the Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in Israel.
Bring your Jewish treasures to the Intrafaith Luncheon!

The Annual Sisterhood Community Intrafaith Luncheon on Sunday, Jan. 25, will feature a unique program that will interest all Sisterhood members and their guests. Patterned after the popular TV show “Antique Roadshow,” those attending are invited to bring their Jewish treasures to the luncheon for an expert’s insight into its monetary worth and its artistic history.

Dr. Arthur Feldman, executive director, the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Arts in Tulsa, Okla., will speak on “The Treasures in Our Attics: Antique Judaica.” Anshai Torah Sisterhood will be hosts for this year’s event, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Congregation Anshai Torah is located at 5501 West Parker Road in Plano.
Advance reservations, postmarked on or before Jan. 15, are $18, or $20 afterward.

Learn about BBYO Israel travel for teens
The community is invited to attend an Israel Travel presentation on Sunday, Jan. 25, at the ­Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, from 1 to 3 p.m. The program will be conducted by Lane Schlessel, international director of travel programs for B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), Inc., and representing Passport 2 the World agency.

BBYO offers something unique for Jewish teens: travel programs on all five continents. It offers the most affordable Israel programs of any Jewish youth movement. All of BBYO’s three-week, four-week and five-week Israel-based trips are nearly $1,000 less than a trip of comparable length sponsored by other youth groups and trip programs. BBYO trips are open to all teens; nearly half the teens participating are not BBYO members. BBYO’s flexible schedules offer departure dates throughout the summer, with varying program lengths ranging from two weeks to six weeks.

BBYO programs cover worldwide destinations — Israel, South Africa, Costa Rica, England, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Western U.S.A., Belgium, Czech Republic, Holland, Hungary and Croatia. Camp P2I is BBYO’s three-week kibbutz-based experience focusing on Hebrew language, service and ties with Israeli youth.

BBYO’s Ambassador to Bulgaria program is scheduled for June 28 through July 5, a week of exploration, education and service. Teens can become a part of a close-knit group of North American and Bulgarian teens committed to instilling hope within a Jewish community with a remarkable past; spend days cheering up orphans, making lasting friendships with local Jewish teens and touring a country that once gave so much to the Jewish people. The Bulgaria Ambassador experience can also be connected to a number of other Passport trips in Europe and Israel.

Other trips include:
ILSI (three weeks) — BBYO’s members-only leadership program that mixes enrichment and experiential touring

Israel Journey (three weeks) — the most popular touring-based Israel experience that covers everything from the Golan to the Red Sea

Trek Israel (three weeks) — experience Israel through the beauty of the land on this outdoors-based trip
Euro-Israel Journey: Spain (four weeks) — spend a week touring southern Spain and Gibraltar, and then on to

Israel for the Israel Journey experience
Euro-Israel Journey: Central (four weeks) — spend a week in Budapest, Prague and Vienna, and then on to

Israel for the Israel Journey experience
Bulgaria Extension (one additional week) — spend a week in Bulgaria doing service and touring with local

Jewish teens before arriving in Israel
Israel Extension (one additional week) — spend an extra week in Israel living on a kibbutz and doing a community service project

Passport Program brochures are available in the BBYO office by calling 214-363-4654. If you have any questions about summer 2009 trips with BBYO’s Passport, please contact info@passport2theworld.org or 1-800-698-1002.

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Around the Town with Rene

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

JEA honors the Weiners
Fort Worth’s Jewish Education Agency honored Jerry and Sylvia Weiner for their many years of service to the Jewish community in Fort Worth with the second annual Bubbe and Zayde Dinner. The Shabbat service and dinner, held Jan. 9 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth, is a “thank you” to all the bubbes and zaydes who have supported the Jewish Education Agency, the Hebrew Day School and the community in general, according to JEA President Hal Ratner.

“Volunteering is sometimes a thankless job,” Ratner said. “The dinner was started last year to honor community volunteers Rose and Al Sankary. This year, the Weiners were selected by the JEA’s Fundraising Committee in recognition of their longstanding commitment to the Hebrew Day School.”

Sylvia Weiner served as volunteer librarian for the Hebrew Day School, amassing and cataloguing a collection of over 4,000 children’s books. Her friend Viqui Litman toasted Sylvia’s “divine spark.”
“Sylvia can bring order out of chaos,” Litman said. She also fondly remembered Sylvia’s “gusto” for fundraising during the community Purim carnival.

“Sylvia would dive into the cotton candy machine,” Litman said. “By the end of the carnival, she’d be covered in pink shmutz from head to toe to raise money for the Hebrew Day School.”
Dr. Al Fagin spoke to honor Jerry, and their longtime friendship, which began when the Fagins were new to Fort Worth. Both couples have children close in age, and the friendship began when Al and daughter Jennifer heard Jerry and Melissa Weiner out in their backyard. Fagin recalled a door-to-door search to find the family with the kid about the same age.

Over a hundred people attended the Bubbe and Zayde Dinner, including daughters Melissa Weiner and Jennifer Rosser, Jennifer’s husband Rob, and children Ethan, Cameron, Benjamin and Alexander.
The Bubbe and Zayde Dinner is a fundraiser for the JEA. Jerry Weiner had generously offered to match all donations to the JEA made in the Weiners’ honor by Friday, Jan. 16. JEA Board Member Dr. Nancy Fagin responded with a call to all those who know the Weiners to take advantage of “Jerry’s matching funds.” For more information or to pledge, call Paddy White at 817-737-9898, or lilgoldmanearlylearningcenter@msn.com.

Prof. Stephen Berk, Kornbleet scholar-in-residence, to speak
A distinguished historian, Stephen M. Berk will be the honored guest at this year’s Larry Kornbleet Memorial Scholar-in-Residence event, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Professor Berk will speak on “From Persia to Iran, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad: Iran, the Jews and the World.” A program of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Stephen Berk’s lecture is free and open to all.
Berk is professor of history at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He is the former chair of the Department of History, director of the program in Russian and Eastern European studies and faculty advisor to the Jewish Student Organization. He has written “Year of Crisis, Year of Hope: Russian Jewry and Pogroms of 1881–1882” and “Our People Are Your People: American Jewry and the Struggle for Civil Rights 1954–1965.” He has been a consultant to the Wiesenthal Holocaust Center and made a set of six audiotaped lectures on the Holocaust that have been sold across the country. He has lectured throughout the United States and Canada.

Professor Berk is frequently consulted by newspapers and by television and radio stations including the BBC. He holds the Florence B. Sherwood Chair in History and Culture. In 1996, he received the prestigious Holocaust Memorial Award from the Holocaust Survivors and Friends Education Center.
A dessert reception will follow Professor Berk’s lecture.

Baylor All Saints receives major gift in support of Joan Katz Breast Center
Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth announced recently that a local Fort Worth couple, Dick and Mary Lowe, have donated $1 million to the All Saints Health Foundation. The Lowes are prominent Fort Worth philanthropists, and their generous gift was made in honor of Dr. Alan Johns and Dr. Anita Chow in support of the Joan Katz Breast Center.

The Joan Katz Breast Center will be located on the first floor of the new Physician Pavilion on the Baylor All Saints campus and will offer comprehensive breast services on one campus.

“Mary and Dick have chosen to invest in a very significant project. The Joan Katz Breast Center will be a place of hope and healing for breast cancer patients in our community,” said Freddy Jones, president of All Saints Health Foundation. “Our hospital and foundation are extremely appreciative of their commitment and extend our sincere gratitude for such a meaningful gift.”

The Joan Katz Breast Center will serve the community and surrounding areas by providing help to men and women diagnosed with breast cancer. Services will be available for every aspect of treatment from screenings to patient and family support groups. Named in honor of breast cancer survivor Joan Katz, the Center will serve patients and their families by facilitating coordination between multiple specialists and services. Patients of the Center will be guided by a nurse navigator who will assist them from initial diagnosis through final treatment and follow-up.

“It gives Mary and me great pleasure to honor Alan and Dr. Chow with a gift to the Breast Center. Alan’s care, compassion and commitment have earned him respect from his peers, nurses and hospital staff,” Dick Lowe said. “Dr. Chow’s dedication toward treating breast cancer is unsurpassed in our community. Having a physician who is so knowledgeable gives us a great sense of security.”

The not-for-profit Baylor All Saints Medical Centers serve more than 100,000 people annually through two hospitals, numerous primary care physician centers and practices, a rehabilitation and fitness center and a variety of medical specialties. Programs of excellence in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology and women’s services form the heart of the hospitals’ services. All Saints joined Baylor Health Care System in January 2002. All Saints Health Foundation, a separately incorporated not-for-profit organization, raises and manages charitable funds to support Baylor All Saints Medical Centers. For fiscal year 2008, Baylor Health Care System reported an estimated $429.5 million in community benefit, which includes providing care for charity patients and patients enrolled in government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the unreimbursed costs of medical education, research and community programs. For a physician referral, call toll free 1-800-4BAYLOR(422-9567) or log onto www.baylorhealth.com.
Community ‘JCC Without Walls’ week, Jan. 25–31

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will present “JCC Without Walls,” a week of varied events and speakers, from Jan. 25 through 31. The schedule is as follows: On Sunday, Jan. 25, at 9:30 a.m.: Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, will speak on “Raising Your Child to Be a Mensch,” at Beth-El Congregation

The remainder of the schedule follows:
9:45 a.m.: Melton classes, at Ahavath Sholom
2 p.m.: “B’nai B’rith Health Insurance for Seniors,” at Ahavath Sholom
4:30–6:30 p.m.: Pool open at Benbrook YMCA
4:30–8:30 p.m.: Gym open at Benbrook YMCA
Monday, Jan. 26:
7:30 p.m.: David Saul, “Was Jesus a Rabbi?” at Beth-El Congregation
Tuesday, Jan. 27:
7 p.m.: Mandy Dossey, archivist for Dallas Jewish Historical Society, “Jewish Genealogy,” at Beth-El
Wednesday, Jan. 28:
6:30 p.m.: “Long-Term Care” panel, at Beth-El
8 p.m.: “Caring for Parents with Chronic Illness,” at Beth-El
The above two presentations feature Kathy Dorsey, long-term care specialist; Danielle Kunkle, Medicare supplement specialist; Kim Olmedo, geriatric care manager; and Steve Katten, attorney
Thursday, Jan. 29:
7 p.m.: Rabbi Sidney Zimelman, “Maimonides: Insight into Genius,” at Ahavath Sholom
Saturday, Jan. 31:
4:30–6:30 p.m.: Pool open at Benbrook YMCA

All events are free and open to the public. Please RSVP to the Federation office at 817-569-0892 for the pool and basketball tournament. YMCA rules: First 50 reservations for the pool will be honored. If you are interested in entering a team in the basketball tournament, make your reservation ASAP.
“JCC Without Walls” is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School.

Press notes
Speedy recovery wishes to Corrine Jacobson, recuperating from recent knee replacement surgery.
Happy birthday greetings to Greta Beckerman celebrating a special birthday occasion.
Barbara Weinberg has the chore of once again ordering the new mah jongg cards for our local “mavens.” Since the deadline is getting close, we suggest you send your checks, made out to Barbara Weinberg, 4600 Westlake, Fort Worth 76132, as soon as possible. The standard card is $8 and the larger card is $9. I always order a few extras to have on hand, As you know, Fort Worth Hadassah benefits from our local order to Barbara.

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

Shalom Rabbi Fried,
I am looking to you for some insight and wisdom regarding the attached piece on the Holocaust that I received from my sister-in-law, which is obviously being circulated throughout the world. [Author’s note: This question refers to a Holocaust e-mail with graphic pictures, combined with misinformation that England has decided to discontinue any mention of the Holocaust from their school textbooks.]
After reading it, I forwarded it to several of my family and friends, and received a reply from my cousin, who said some of the information is a hoax. As a result, I feel that before I shared the piece with anyone, I should have verified that the content in its entirety is/was accurate. It would not be my personal intent to mislead or misinform anyone.
I would appreciate it if you would please offer your thoughts.
Rochelle P.

Dear Rochelle,
I understand your question to mean that if there is important, truthful information in the e-mail concerning the Holocaust, and that information is important to disseminate, would it still be appropriate to disseminate if it is coupled with false information? Would the good accomplished outweigh the negative of misleading people, albeit unintentionally?

The Jewish view on these types of issues is a resounding no. We are not permitted to disseminate falsehood even for a higher purpose. This is for a number of reasons.
Firstly, on the practical side, it won’t work. People will eventually figure out that there’s a falsehood mixed with the other information, and end up discrediting even the true information. Furthermore, they’ll probably discredit the provider of the information as well. There’s an old Yiddish witticism which says, “If you tell the truth you don’t need to remember what you said.”

Secondly, from a Torah perspective: The Torah says “Mid’var sheker tirchak,” which means “From words of falsehood distance yourself” (Shemot/Exodus 23:7). This seems to be a strange wording for a commandment. There is no commandment to “distance ourselves” from non-kosher food, or nearly any other prohibition. Why, when referring to falsehood, does the Torah use this expression?
There are two reasons. One is that lies are very easy to tell, and falsehood is everywhere. The Talmud points out that the word sheker, or lie, is spelled shin kuf reish. These three letters appear together in the Hebrew alphabet (in a different order). This shows us that lies are “very close to us,” and it’s so easy to fall for the inclination to lie. Emet, however, which means truth, is spelled aleph mem tav, which appear as far apart as possible in the alphabet (beginning, middle and end). This, says the Talmud, teaches us that truth is distant and one must search for truth. For this reason, we need to stay as far as possible from falsehood, as it pervades society and our lives.

There are numerous precedents in Jewish law prohibiting the use of falsehood to gain even spiritual goals. Those goals would be considered to be tainted by the falsehood with which they were attained. This would include attempting to promulgate the ugly truths of the Holocaust to a world increasingly full of deniers, by combined use of erroneous information.

It would be permitted to forward such an e-mail with an explicit qualification that there are some erroneous facts within. I would not, however, recommend doing so, as such a header will already cast a pall of suspicion on the entire message.

The path of the Jewish people is that of “Give truth to Jacob” (Micah 7:20). The Al-mighty is called “The G-d of truth.” His Word to the world, the Torah, is called the “Torah of truth” (Malachi 2:6).
In a world of Holocaust deniers, Arabs falsifying information and rewriting history, we need to be distinguished by the integrity gained by representing truth.

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.

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Shalom from the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

Dear Families,
This past weekend, we had the first of a new program at the J called “Jewish Journeys” for grandparents and grandchildren ages 4–8. The Sunday afternoon experience is to create and share Jewish experiences between generations. Hopefully, this program will grow because Jewish grandparents and their grandkids have so much to learn from one another.

Jewish educator Joel Lurie Grishaver wrote a piece titled “10 Attitudes of Highly Effective Jewish Grandparents: Patterns for Enhancing and Sustaining Your Grandchildren’s Jewishness.” Here is a brief outline of his suggestions:

1. Ask the right question: Don’t ask “Do you want your grandchildren to be Jewish?” — rather ask “What kind of Jews do you want your grandchildren to be?”
2. Be “Auntie Mame”: This wonderful aunt gave two gifts — first, exposure and freedom to explore wonderful new worlds, and, second, total attention to talk and process them.
3. Be a curator: Collect, preserve, catalog, exhibit and then bequeath the family artifacts — this includes family recipes, stories and memories.
4. Be Scheherazade: Write letters and tell stories.
5. Be there in times of pain: One of the treasures grandparents have at their age is the ability to handle pain and deal with the difficult things in life. Be available — that is the key.
6. Be a community center: Be the place where great things happen.
7. Don’t be the pope and the poperinna: Be the place where holidays happen but let your children create holidays at their home.
8. Do not play tug-of-war: self-explanatory!
9. Live locally, support globally: Support, volunteer, get involved and show your grandchildren the joy of being part of the community.
10. Be all you want them to be: Be the best Jew you can be — keep learning — show them how it’s done.
Being a grandparent is a wonderful time of life. Give your grandchildren the gift of your love of Judaism. And what if you aren’t a grandparent? These hints can be done by aunts, uncles, friends and even parents!

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

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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

A bad holiday season for commercial enterprises is well behind us. A good thing, too! But Next Chapter Press, a Florida book publisher, has found the silver lining in that down-market time. The company recently conducted a poll whose results tell us there might be hope: Some Americans — many, in fact — actually value gifts with real values attached more than, and even instead of, those usual, anticipated material items and “traditional” trinkets.

For example: While 48 per cent of our fellow citizens reported spending less on holiday presents in 2008 than in 2007, a resounding 84 per cent ranked things bought with money as a poor second in the gift-giving department. The favorites of these folks: Experiences that brought their families together topped their lists, followed by something thoughtful and personal that they’d never have thought of themselves — not necessarily anything at all from their annual, dream-filled “wish lists.”

One of Next Chapter’s authors, Jennifer Liu Bryan, explained: “History shows us that American families bond during tough economic times. The gifts people most enjoy are spending time together, sharing memorable experiences and creating traditions.”

Well, at my house, we have created our own new tradition for Chanukah. On the last night, when eight family members around the table were happily complaining about having eaten too many you-know-whats, I broke out the Jones Chanukah pack, with cane-sugar-sweetened soda in four holiday flavors: Latke, Applesauce, Jelly Donut, and Chocolate Coin — all with a valid rabbinic seal of approval, of course. I passed out little liqueur cups and we poured out tastes in turn.

The Latke flavor was what you might expect from a soda infused with a try at potato pancake taste: just awful! But who cared? The fun was in downing our little thimblefuls together, raising the glasses with a hearty “L’chaim!” beforehand. Then things improved, on a steadily upward climb until we reached that delicious chocolate peak — another “L’chaim!” preceding each new swig, of course. Meanwhile, the cat played with the dreidel enclosed in the package, and the out-of-town grandsons packed up the decorative empties to take home with them, for what they plan as a permanent display.

Asking before the onset of the December shopping season, Next Chapter sought the answer to this question: Considering the current economy and your own personal financial situation, do you plan on spending more, about the same or less on holiday gifts this year than you would normally spend? Less than 4 per cent admitted that they would lay out more, while almost 48 per cent said less, most definitely less. Holding the line were some 45 per cent who thought their costs would be the same.

But while over a fifth of the respondents said the best gift they ever received was something they’d asked for and truly expected to get (and I might honestly put myself in that category, remembering my joy when I opened a much desired multi-drawered jewelry box and a much requested pair of black leather dress gloves with inside-seam stitching, back at Chanukah 1963 — and I still enjoy both of them to this day!), almost 61 per cent reflected on the past and realized that something totally unexpected had really been the very best.
About 52 per cent of our friends and neighbors who celebrate Christmas said that reading together as a family was their best holiday experience of all. While most of us Jews probably don’t read the tale of the Maccabees together at Chanukah the way those others share their nativity story, we do sing a lot! And as People of the Book, we can surely agree with this statement from the Web site readaloud.org: “Reading aloud as a family will not only deepen bonds during the holidays; studies show it also improves children’s reading ability — and that is a gift that will last a lifetime!”

So let’s look ahead to Purim, and not just dress up, sing and distribute mishloach manot — but also read the Book of Esther at home, out loud, together, as a family.
(For the record: Next Chapter Press publishes illustrated, family-oriented books focusing on the history of American families; its most recent offering started out as a little story destined for distribution at a family reunion and turned into a happy holiday tale for children which has inspired may other families to write down their own memories. Its survey was conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, a national polling research company which asked the questions of 1,000 individuals across the United States.)

E-mail: harrietg@texasjewishpost.com

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North Texas stands with Israel

North Texas stands with Israel

Posted on 14 January 2009 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
From start to finish, the sentiment in the packed room was am Yisrael chai, as more than 1,300 people gathered at the Aaron Family JCC’s Zale Auditorium last week to show their support for Israel.
The evening was co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, the Rabbinical Association of Greater Dallas and countless other constituent community organizations. It was one of many similar pro-Israel meetings and rallies held across the country last week in the wake of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.

JCRC Chair Alan Greenspan opened the evening. He lauded Israel for protecting its citizens from Hamas rockets. “The only reason more of them [Israeli children] are not dead is that Israel has built bomb shelters and an early warning system.” Greenspan pointed out a key difference between the way Israel and Hamas treat their people. “Hamas uses its humans as shields for its soldiers. Israel uses soldiers as shields for its humans.”

In addition to Greenspan, Rabbi Ari Perl, Rabbinic Association chair; Rabbi Howard Wolk, JFS Jewish community chaplain; Rabbi William Gershon, Congregation Shearith Israel; and Rabbi David Stern, Temple Emanu-El, shared their insights into the conflict. Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker of Shearith Israel and Cantor Don Alan Croll of Temple Shalom led the musical parts of the program.
Rabbi William Gershon animatedly drove home the point of the essence of the current crisis in Gaza. “Israel is fighting for its right to exist … our right to live on our land … for all children in every generation…. This is a fight for the existence of the Jewish people. We will live on our land, and we will not capitulate to those who want to destroy us.”

Earlier in the evening, John Sharp, former state of Texas comptroller, discussed the importance of Israel and the United States being strong allies. “This country has no better ally on the planet than the state of Israel. The fact that this nation gave Gaza back…. That they waited 10 years…. Any rational person in the world should be standing by the state of Israel.”

More than just Jewish people turned out in support of Israel’s operation in Gaza. “I am a Catholic, from Spain,” said Florentina Roman, who was in attendance with her husband. “I grew up in Morocco, and heard about tonight from my son. I told him we have to support Israel.”

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Around the Town with Rene

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 07 January 2009 by admin

Bubbe and Zayde dinner to honor the Weiners, Jan. 9
It’s not too late to RSVP for JEA’s annual Bubbe and Zayde Dinner. Help them honor their Bubbe and Zayde for 2009 Sylvia and Jerry Weiner, longtime community leaders. The event will be held this Friday evening, Jan. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

Bring your family and grandparents, and spend an evening with the most important people in our lives!
Call 817-737-9898 now to reserve your place at the family table for a very special dinner.

Beth-El Film Festival features movies for adults, kids
Beth-El’s Film Festival committee has covered all angles in their series of movies to be shown during January and February. On each evening — Jan. 10, Jan. 24 and Feb. 7 — separate films for children and for adults will be shown simultaneously.

Saturday, Jan. 10 promises to be a stellar evening. The 6:30 p.m. dinner will be a tasty Middle Eastern meal catered by Pak-a-Pocket. Fee is $10 a person for ages 12 and older, $5 for children ages 3 through 11 and free for youngsters under 3. Reservations for dinner are a must, but you are welcome to the free film with or without dinner. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Adults will enjoy “The Band’s Visit,” the heartwarming and poignant winner of the Cannes Film Festival. It’s the mesmerizing and witty story of strangers in a strange land. A fading Egyptian police band arrives in Israel to play at the Arab Cultural Center. When they take the wrong bus, the band members find themselves in a desolate Israeli village. With no other option than to spend the night with the local townspeople, the two distinctly different cultures realize the universal bonds of love, music and life. Set against a breathtaking desert landscape, this cross-cultural comedy proves that getting lost is sometimes the best way to find yourself.

At the same time, the film for kids of all ages is “The Point,” an animated story of an unusual kingdom in which everything and everybody is pointed — except for a young boy named Oblio. Despite his round head, Oblio has many friends. But an evil count, jealous that Oblio is more popular than his own son, says that without a pointed head, Oblio is an outlaw. Along with his faithful dog Arrow, Oblio is exiled to the Pointless Forest. There, he has many fantastic experiences (including encounters with a three-headed man, giant bees, a tree in the leaf-selling business and a good-humored old rock). From his adventures, Oblio learns that it is not at all necessary to be pointed to have a point in life. The music was composed and performed by Harry Nilsson (“Me and My Arrow”), who also wrote the story.

The annual film festival is made possible by Beth El’s Endowment #2 and a grant from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Stuart Isgur, CLU, elected to NY Life Chairman’s Council
Fort Worth insurance executive Stuart Isgur, CLU, has been elected a member of the 2008 Chairman’s Council of New York Life Insurance Company. Members of the elite Chairman’s Council rank in the top three percent of New York Life’s elite sales force of approximately 11,000 licensed agents.
As a Chairman’s Council member, Stuart was invited to attend the annual meeting in Madrid, Spain.
Stuart has been a New York Life agent since 1984 and is associated with New York Life’s Fort Worth General Office.

Stuart and Rebecca are the proud parents of a wonderful family: two sons and their spouses, Benjamin and Shoshana and Jeremiah and Lesley; and five fabulous grandchildren, Dorothy, Aviva, Isaac and twins Elijah and Leia.

New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings from all four of the major credit rating agencies. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investment Management LLC provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s Web site at www.newyorklife.com for more information.

Tour group is brought home safely from Israel
Naomi and Mark Rosenfield (coordinators of the trip to Israel that just returned) brought their group home safely. Among those on the tour led by Rabbi Baruch Zeilicovich were Carol-Ann Schwartz and her cousin; also, Sam Reznikoff, Jodi Berger, Phyllis Gordon, Jen and Hal Ratner, Nancy Spiegel and son David, Louise and Judd Vermillion and Linda and Ebi Lavi.

‘Daytimers’ to hear airman and author, Fiske Hanley
The January program for the Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” will feature Fiske Hanley, who is the historian for the 504th Bomb Group. He will talk about his book, “Accused American War Criminal,” on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at noon at Beth-El Congregation.

Hanley, a Fort Worth native and a Texas Tech graduate, is a 43-year General Dynamics employee and a member of the Lockheed Martin retirees’ association, and recently completed his book. He was a flight engineer on a B-29 flying mission over Japan’s Shimonoseki Straits in 1945. His plane was shot down, and he was one of only two survivors of his B-29. The book describes his treatment by the Japanese Kempei Tai secret police while he was a prisoner of war in Japan. He considers his story of survival as a “special prisoner” while awaiting trial and execution as a modern miracle.

Kept in overcrowded, filthy dungeon cells in Tokyo, across the moat from the emperor’s palace, the special prisoners were beaten, tortured, starved and continually threatened with death. They were not treated as prisoners of war but were designated special prisoners to be tried and executed for the killing of innocent women and children. While awaiting trial they were considered subhumans, starved on half-POW rations, issued no clothes or basic hygienic needs, allowed to suffer and die from torture, beatings, wounds and lack of medical treatment. Fortunately, Fiske Hanley was rescued at the end of the war in spite of orders from Japanese leaders that all the special prisoners were to be executed.

As the official historian of the 504th Bomb Group, Hanley has also written “History of the 504th Bomb Group.” He will be introduced by his longtime friend and co-worker, Bill Margolis.
Lunch will be catered by Jason’s Deli, and guests have a choice of breast of turkey, chicken salad or tuna salad. New luncheon cost is $9. Guests may attend for the program only for $4. For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Jewish Federation, 4049 Kingsridge Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. “Daytimers” can accept Discover cards in addition to MasterCard, Visa or American Express. Each card must include the mailing ZIP code and the three- or four-number security code from the card.

The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Congregation Beth-El with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

Seniors get snuggly blankets from the Reynolds family
Michelle Reynolds, the Reynolds family and Michelle’s mother, Bernice Etcoff, generously donated their time and money to create fleece blankets for the Jewish Family Service Senior Program participants. They were all different and each more beautiful and colorful than the next. Shuggie Cohen’s blanket even had a golf theme — his favorite sport! What a warm and snuggly Chanukah the Reynolds family made for the seniors. A big thanks for their time and thoughtfulness. Come join — the JFS program meets daily at the Temple or call Hedy Collins for more info, 817-296-3709.

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Dallas Doings

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 07 January 2009 by admin

JWV banquet and installation, Jan. 17 at Crowne Plaza
An important reminder: The Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans and its Ladies Auxiliary will hold its 2009 annual gala banquet and installation of officers at the Crowne Plaza Park Central Hotel, 7800 Alpha Road, on Saturday, Jan. 17, starting at 6:30 p.m. Members and guests who have not yet purchased their tickets should contact Jerry Benjamin at 214-368-5225.
Herzl Hadassah welcomes speaker, JFS’ Michael Fleisher
Herzl Hadassah is pleased to announce that Michael Fleisher, executive director of Jewish Family Service, will be their guest speaker at their Wed., Jan. 14 meeting. Come at 10:15 a.m. to the Senior Assembly Room at the Aaron Family JCC to learn about all the services offered to senior citizens as well as families. Workshops, individual and family counseling, including support groups for women, are but a few of the many services available.

Coffee and desert will be provided by Herzl. Bring your own sandwich, visit with friends and hear about Herzl’s plans for the coming months.

New Torah scroll at Beth Torah
Congregation Beth Torah welcomed a new Torah scroll on New Year’s night in a moving, joyous celebration at D/FW Airport.

More than 50 congregants were on hand as the Torah completed its journey from Jerusalem, arriving at Terminal E on a Continental flight from Newark.

“It was a moment none of us will soon forget,” Rabbi Adam Raskin said. “With singing and dancing and l’chaims as well, we welcomed this new sefer Torah into our community.”
The Torah is a combination of two scrolls that were created in Belorussia more than a century ago and survived the Holocaust. It was purchased by Beth Torah members Jeffrey and Alisone Kopita and donated to the synagogue in honor of their children, Lilly and Phillip.

Eli Davidsohn, Beth Torah’s resident accordionist, provided the music as members celebrated in the baggage claim area.

“There was a palpable sense of Jewish pride in the airport as people of all ages danced, clapped and sang in concentric circles around the Torah,” Rabbi Raskin said. “The policemen were clapping, American soldiers passing by watched in amazement and everyone sensed the excitement.”
The Torah is smaller than most and will be used by Beth Torah’s youth. The synagogue plans a formal ceremony completing and dedicating the Torah after the High Holy Days this year.
“The more we study this Torah, learn to chant it on Shabbat and weekdays, dance with it on Simchat Torah and, most of all, make its mitzvot the center of our lives, the more we will honor it and its forebears,” Rabbi Raskin said.

Synaplex Shabbat to take place Jan. 10 at CSI Douglas
You will be welcome at Shearith Israel’s Synaplex Shabbat this Saturday morning, the 10th, at CSI Douglas. Join them for this special occasion, where you can choose how to celebrate your Shabbat experience. Attend services, or choose from various offerings for young families. The complete list of activities, including yoga and a running session, can be found at www.shearith.org. It is also Shabbat school for the religious-school families, so there is truly something for everyone.

All are welcome so tell your friends to come and enjoy a baked potato bar Kiddush at noon!

The schedule includes:

10–11 a.m.
“Immunizing Our Children, How Far Do We Go?” — Noted pediatrician and author Dr. Gary Morchower will review the immunizations that children receive and the controversy surrounding them.
“Sign to Speak” — Learn signs for communication and prayer in this fun class for parents, toddlers and preschoolers facilitated by Michelle Beck and Diane Lifshen.

11 a.m.–noon
Garineem — A Shabbat service and story time for families with young children.
Noon
Congregational Kiddush features a baked potato bar.
Come see how much fun Shabbat at Shearith can be!

‘Job Interviewing 101’ at JFS
The Employment Resource Group will present a session on “Job Interviewing 101: A Career Coach’s Guide to Practical and Winning Interviewing Techniques.” Valerie Pelan will speak on Tuesday, Jan. 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Jewish Family Service, 5402 Arapaho Road (one block east of Dallas North Tollway).
In her presentation, “Job Interviewing 101: A Career Coach’s Guide to Practical and Winning Interviewing Techniques,” Valerie Pelan will teach participants to prepare effectively for job interviews, develop better strategies by understanding the three things to do in an employment interview, anticipate and handle the three questions interviewers ask to screen candidates out of their candidate pool, discover three types of skills that interviewers evaluate during interviews and better understand the purpose of behavioral interviews to prepare for them more effectively.

Valerie Pelan is president and founder of Integrated Focus, and is an executive and leadership coach. She has a passion for supporting executives, managers, professionals and individuals to improve their execution, situational effectiveness and political savvy and to overcome limited thinking.
Valerie has, for over 20 years, held a variety of leadership roles in product management, strategic marketing, global sales, performance coaching, global team development and organizational change management. Her experience gives her a unique perspective on the challenges facing leaders and their teams to achieve results in today’s impersonal, highly competitive, global and fast-moving business environment.

For further information, call 972-437-9950. The program is free. No advance registration is necessary.

Emilie (left), Blake (center) and Jonah Silverthorn (children of Eric and Deb Silverthorn) participated in the building of the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade “Stars of Life” float, honoring organ donors, recipients and medical professionals involved in transplantation. The Silverthorns’ maternal grandmother, Barbara Lippel Schulman, was the only woman, and nurse, of 14 medical professionals honored for their exceptional contributions to organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. In her 50th year of nursing, Barbara and her husband J. Brin live in Los Angeles, Calif. | Photo: Deb Silverthorn

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