Archive | March, 2009

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

Mazel tov
Mazel tov to Marcie Levine Goldberg on the bat mitzvah of her daughter Ilana Lynne last weekend, in Northfield, Ill., outside of Chicago. Ilana is the granddaughter of Beatrice and the late Irv Levine. Ilana, an avid cyclist and basketball player, treated her friends and out-of-town company to Le Tour Ilana, a cycling-themed afternoon party. Very poised, she nailed her Torah portion and delivered a cohesive d’var Torah on faith in modern times. Out-of-towners included Ilana’s aunts Vivian Reeves, Faye Sight, Robin Steinberg; uncle Tommy Sight; cousins Stephen and Mark Reeves, Sara, Zachary and Brian Sight, Margot Hershman and Sonny Steinberg. Also enjoying the simcha were former Fort Worthians Denise and Michael Kleinman and Sharon Wisch-Ray along with 8-year-old son Sam Ray.
Calling all seniors
JFS seniors had an exciting Purim with lots of delicious hamantaschen baked by the CAS Ladies Auxiliary, a fun Megillah reading and an exciting Lil Goldman Preschool children’s parade. They felt so lucky to be invited to Congregation Ahavath Sholom to see the children and join with the school’s festivities. There were princesses, transformers, kings, superheroes and lots of other costumed children. The school even honored the mitzvah of shalach manot and presented the seniors with a giant paper hamantasch filled with wonderful treats.
The JFS seniors’ next event, besides a trip to the Omni Theater to see “Deep Sea,” will be the annual Passover seder. B’nai B’rith International is once again treating the senior community to a wonderful seder on April 2 at 11:30 a.m. at Beth-El Congregation. The community is invited to join in. Please call Elsa at the JFS office, 817-569-0898, to make your reservation.
The JFS seniors program meets Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beth-El Congregation. Fun, games, prizes, coffee, snacks and delicious dairy lunch are provided daily. Transportation can be arranged as well as groups for poker and mah jongg. For more information, contact Hedy Collins, JFS seniors program director, at 817-296-3709.
Bakers extraordinaire for the shul’s annual hamantaschen were Ava Beleck, Jodi Berger, Bessie Bodzy, Lynell Bond, Ceil Canter, Ann Cobert, Dina Harari, Miriam Labovitz, Annette Smith, Marla Owen, Nancy Stansbury and Graciela Zeilicovich.
Dr. David Nelson to be CAS scholar in-residence, April 3–4
Congregation Ahavath Sholom will welcome Dr. David Nelson, Rosenthal Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Texas Christian University, as the scholar-in-residence during the Shabbat weekend of April 3–4, 2009. Dr. Nelson will help the community prepare for the upcoming Passover holiday with his presentation on “The Ethics of Exodus and the Future of the Jewish People.” He will begin his program during Friday night services on April 3 and continue the presentation during Saturday morning services the following day. The entire community is welcome to attend this timely and relevant program. For more information, please contact the Congregation Ahavath Sholom office at 817-731-4721.
Save these dates
Friday, March 27: Ahavath Shalom’s Shabbat dinner. Contact the shul at 817-731-4721 for reservations.
Thursday, April 9: Beth-El Congregation’s second-night seder. Reservations required, 817-332-7141.
Tune in to women’s wellness
Cheers and good health on Monday, April 6, 7–9 p.m.! Beth-El’s Women of Reform Judaism have a fun, informative evening planned for women to learn basic nutrition tips and how to take care of one’s mental self.
Guest speaker Elisabeth Anderson, a nutrition therapist from Harris Methodist Hospital, will discuss strategies for a healthy diet, eating smart and a key step toward eating and weight loss/maintenance, diet vs. exercise.
Beth-El member and clinical psychologist Debra Dayton will discuss a variety of topics including: the women’s movement and what is meant by empowerment; today’s media images of girls; what women need to know to grow their mental selves; women communicating with women; over- and under-functioners.
There will be a Q&A along with healthy snacks.
Get well soon
Speedy recovery wishes to Rene Wisch, who has been in Baylor Hospital at Dallas over the past week. At press time, Rene was planning to be discharged, hopefully in time to receive her TJP at her Dallas home. Of course, we knew she was feeling better when she asked daughter Sharon to send some pages down to the hospital on Tuesday for her to proof and finesse.

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

Temple Shalom Sisterhood luncheon and fashion show to take place March 27
The Temple Shalom Sisterhood is proud to present “Shabbat Blooms: Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show” honoring Woman of Valor Juli Burreson. The event will take place at the Prestonwood Country Club, 15909 Preston Road, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The fashion show will feature men and women, ages 25 to 85, presenting the latest spring fashions from Stein Mart. Temple Shalom’s Rabbi Andrew Paley will be one of the models. There will also be silent and live auctions, where guests can bid on items like restaurant gift certificates, airline tickets, hotel passes and even a trip to Disneyland. Proceeds will go toward Temple Shalom and Jewish Family Service.
Renee Rubin, event co-chair, said this event has been going on since 1982. She said the main goal of the luncheon and fashion show is to bring people together to honor someone great from the community.
“This is really fun and festive and brings together many different groups in the temple and the community to highlight the strength of the sisterhood,” she said. “It shows the power of women and what the sisterhood can do.”
Reservations are still being accepted. The cost is $50 per person, $40 for people 30 and under and for those 70 and over. To RSVP, please call Allison Harding at 972-965-7279.
Shaare Tefilla holds Purim banquet with a Chinese twist
On Purim day, Tuesday, March 10, nearly 300 people fulfilled the mitzvah of enjoying a Purim se’udah (festive meal) at various homes throughout the Congregation Shaare Tefilla community. In an effort to add to the Purim mystique, each guest family was assigned to a specific host home, but did not find out who else would be joining them until they arrived. Through pre-arranged planning, everything needed for each banquet was provided by either Shaare Tefilla or delegated to one of the guest families, including fun Purim skits, songs and games, a thought-provoking d’var Torah (words of wisdom from the Torah), freshly baked hamantaschen and even delicious kosher Chinese food imported straight from New Jersey.
The Chinese food was delivered frozen and required an extended period of time to defrost and heat up. But, in the true spirit of Purim, what may have otherwise been a disaster — hungry guests waiting for food — was transformed into a blessing — the opportunity to spend more time rejoicing with friends and family. According to Shaare Tefilla’s Assistant Rabbi Jay Weinstein, who coordinated the Shaare Tefilla Purim Seudah Program, “This turn of events actually fulfilled the goal of the home hospitality Purim se’udah, as one of the themes of Purim is strengthening our relationships with our fellow Jews.” One lesson learned by all was that we never really know what lies in store for us; meanwhile we can treasure good times with family and friends, and trust in HaShem.
The Purim Seudah Program was designed in such a way that anyone in the community could host or attend, regardless of their personal kosher observance, and it was successful. “This was the best Purim se’udah I have even been to,” said Akiba eighth-grader Eli Schramm, who was a guest with his family at the home of Jordana and Josh Bernstein.
Stan Levenson newly elected Urban League board chairman
Stan Levenson was sworn in as the new chairman of the Urban League of Greater Dallas board of trustees at its 2009 Annual Meeting Luncheon. The Urban League is an affiliate of the National Urban League, the oldest and largest community-based movement in the country. Levenson has served as a board member for nine years.
“Stan brings a substantial depth of experience in virtually all marketing communications and public affairs practice areas and a very strong understanding of Dallas and its issues,” said Dr. Beverly Mitchell Brooks, Urban League president and CEO. “We look forward to his leadership as the League continues to expand its programs and services throughout Dallas County and move individuals and families to self-sufficiency.”
Levenson is chief executive officer of Levenson & Brinker Public Relations and a recognized public relations professional. He is formerly executive vice president of Bozell & Jacobs Inc., where he was in charge of the Public Relations, Promotion and Retail Services Division. He, his wife Barbara and Bill Hill founded Levenson, Levenson & Hill in 1984. Since merging with Brinker Communications in 2004, Levenson and Brinker Public Relations operates collaboratively with The Levenson Group of advertising and marketing agencies.
Levenson’s commitment to his community, through the numerous charitable organizations he supports, is far-reaching. He has served as senior public relations consultant for the City of Dallas’ Economic Development Department which was responsible for co-chairing the Southern Dallas marketing communications program; two-term chairman of the Communications Committee of the Greater Dallas Chamber; a member of the board of directors of the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society; on the Visiting Nurses Association of Texas; and as program chairman for the opening of the Museum of African American Life and Culture.
In 2004, Levenson co-chaired the public relations committee for the Dallas Arts Gala, a citywide tribute to performing and visual arts in North Texas. He is currently a board member of the North Texas Commission and is an active member of the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee as well as the prestigious President’s Advisory Council for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, the organization responsible for designing and building the new Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre in the Dallas Arts District.
New board members installed at the event were Nafeesa M. Belcher, JC Penney; Jesse L. Crawford, Verizon Operations; and Annette Green, Brinker International.
Key to a joyful Sabbath:
SMU’s José Bowen to visit Temple Shalom with jazz band
Temple Shalom will host José Bowen’s Jazz Shabbat Service at its Friday evening worship on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. Bowen will be joined onstage by a six-piece jazz ensemble.
Cantor Don Alan Croll and the Temple Shalom adult and youth choirs, under the direction of Bob Brooks and Lynn Metrik, and the Meadows School of the Arts Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Rosharra J’Nae Francis, will also share the stage.
Bowen is dean of the Meadows School of the Arts and professor of music at Southern Methodist University.
“How wonderful to become acquainted with such a personality as José Bowen, knowing that he is a committed Jew who shares his musical talent with his people. This Jazz Service is quite a composition, encompassing all the different rhythms that fall under the idiom we call jazz, including blues, gospel and Latin rhythms too,” Cantor Croll said. “Most important is the space he gives professional jazz instrumentalists to improvise … kind of like a traditional cantor!”
In over 30 years as a jazz performer, Bowen has appeared in Europe, Israel and the United States with Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, Liberace and many others. Bowen’s compositions, conducting and playing are featured on numerous recordings and his latest CD, “Uncrowded Night,” features his playing with the José Bowen Quartet. He has written a symphony (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1985), a film score, and music for Hubert Laws, Jerry Garcia and many others. Bowen’s Jewish music is also widely performed. (Last year Temple Emanu-El performed his Klezmer Shabbat Service.) Other CDs with Jewish content include “The Garden,” a song-cycle for soprano and tenor based on the first four chapters of Genesis. Featured on the CD is “Voices from the Annex,” with texts based on the words of Anne Frank.
“We’re jazzed to have José Bowen bring to our community a very special Shabbat,” Cantor Croll said. “We hope everyone will join us for this wonderful musical evening.”
Temple Shalom is located at 6930 Alpha Road, Dallas. For further information, please contact Cantor Croll at dcroll@templeshalomdallas.org or 972-661-1810.
Z-Pilates Showcase at the J
Are you looking for a new exercise plan to help make your New Year’s resolution come true? Well, the perfect workout awaits you with Z-Pilates at the J Sports and Fitness Center.
Z-Pilates is based on six fundamental principles, which include breathing, center, concentration, control flow, movement and precision. Pilates strengthens joints and muscles, creating better balance and circulation. It also helps improve posture, enhances flexibility, tones and lengthens muscles and relieves stress.
The Z-Pilates Showcase will take place on Sunday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to noon, and Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 4 p.m.
The showcase, led by Pilates Instructor Zohar Tong, will feature mini mat and “Magic Circle” class, followed by four different apparatuses: the Reformer, Trapeze Table, Wunda Chai and Spine Corrector. Five lucky winners will receive a coupon for a private half-hour Pilates session with Tong.
To make a reservation for the free event, contact Zohar Tong at 214-239-7114. Space is limited.
Of interest at AFI festival
Next week’s AFI Film festival will feature “Adam Resurrected,” the intense story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient of a psychiatric asylum for Holocaust survivors in 1961. Adam has flashbacks to when he was a cabaret comedian who cheated death through learning to amuse a Nazi officer by behaving like a dog. The Hebrew title of the film, “Adam Ben Kelev,” literally means “Man, Son of Dog.” It was first released in Germany in 2009. This movie is based on the 384-page novel written by Yoram Kaniuk and Seymour Smickes, published in Israel in 1968. Directed by Paul Schrader, the film stars Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe and will screen at the AMC 15 at Northpark Mall on March 29 at 3 p.m. and March 30 at 7:45 p.m.

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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
Yes, it is March but I’m ready for camp! When you are a camp director, “ready for camp” has lots of meanings, but for me it is planning, hiring, that good stuff. My favorite job is the song book. We take out songs we don’t sing, put in new ones and practice.
The Jewish songs we sing have important messages. I take pen in hand (or computer on lap) and write something to sing. You probably remember “Sippin’ Cider,” a “repeat after me” song. Here is the Book of Genesis in song. If you need the tune, call me at 214-239-7110.
The Book of Genesis
(tune: ‘Sippin’ Cider’)
In the beginning … G-d made the world. He knew He could … and it was good.
In the garden of Eden … each had a mate. Except for Adam … so sad his fate.
So G-d made Eve … out of Adam’s bone. And told them both … “Take care of your home.”
G-d made this fruit … He said, “Don’t eat!” But the snake said why? … so Eve did treat.
For disobeying … you now must go. You will have kids … your food you’ll grow.
They had Cain and Abel … Cain killed his brother. Next they had Seth … they needed another.
After years and years … G-d found a great guy. Said “Build an ark … before I open the sky.”
Noah built the ark … and the animals came. For forty days and nights … it rained and rained.
The flood waters went down … in the sky a rainbow.
A sign of G-d’s promise … to destroy the world no more.
Along came Abraham … clay idols he did break. Said there’s only one G-d … for heaven’s sake.
G-d asked Abraham … should he destroy a bad city? But Abe said “No … on the good have pity.”
Abe was the first Jew … with Sarah his wife. Finally they had Isaac … it was a pretty good life.
Isaac got a wife … Rebecca was her name. They had twin boys … but they were not the same.
Jacob tricked his brother … and he fooled his dad. His mom said “Go … Esau’s awfully mad.”
Jacob went and got a wife … in fact he got four. Learn about this story … there’s a whole lot more.
Jacob’s favorite son was Joseph … that made the other brothers mad. They got rid of him so neatly … but poor Jacob was so sad.
In Egypt Joseph rose to fame … telling dreams was his game. Pharaoh made him number two … There was not a thing he couldn’t do.
The brothers came for food … Joseph gave them what he had. Didn’t tell who he was … but asked about Ben and Dad.
They came a second time … brought Benjamin too. Joseph tested then forgave them … they moved to Egypt the whole crew.
Jacob’s life was almost over … he gave a blessing to each son. Switched Ephraim and Menasha … he was still the tricky one.
The people grew and grew in Egypt … Joseph’s end was very near. “When you leave this land please take me … my bones must not be left here.”
The book of Genesis is finished … things are good for every man. But the story’s just beginning … there’s much more in G-d’s plan.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
Thank you for answering my question last week concerning the sitra ahara. I have one more question, if I may:
Do I have an alternative open to me that is not a gift from God? I am thinking, in this regard, about the concept of free will, and whether or not such a thing is possible, if every alternative I have traces back to God. I understand that I have choices, but I see none that were not granted to me by God, including my infamous ability to be contrary.
Thank you.
Janice W.

Dear Janice,
Free will is considered to be, in Judaism, the very foundation of mankind and what separates man from other animals that operate instinctively, without real choices. There is discussion among the commentaries as to what level of free will the first man, Adam, had. On one hand, Adam had profound clarity as to the existence of G-d and the fulfillment of His will, which would seem to eliminate his ability to choose freely between right and wrong. How many people, for example, would bite into that ham sandwich if G-d Himself were sitting at the table watching? On the other hand, Adam couldn’t have been bereft of free choice because that would essentially render him a robot, leaving no purpose in his creation.
To reconcile this dilemma, they explain that the first man had free choice; we see, in fact, that he used it to sin. But his free choice was very different than ours. His choices, at that time, were like solving a math problem. There’s no “evil inclination” to mess up on a math problem, but mistakes can be made nonetheless. For reasons beyond the scope of this column, Adam made an “honest mistake,” but a fatal one nonetheless.
After eating the forbidden fruit, things became very different. Now the choices are not purely intellectual, but clouded by lusts and desires. After the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, we have what is called a yetzer hara, or internal inclination to evil, which struggles with our yetzer hatov, our inclination to do good.
Just as no two faces are alike, no two people are dealt the same hand of cards in the struggle between good and evil. Every individual possesses character traits different from every other who ever did, or will, live.
Judaism teaches that there are arenas in our lives where we are to use our free will, and areas within which we have no control. We can’t choose to have high intelligence or the lack of it. We can’t control if we’ll be large or small, or our looks. We can’t even choose which character traits we have or lack. What we can choose is what to do with the traits that we do have. The Talmud says that if one was born with the inclination to be a murderer, he shouldn’t try to uproot it, as his nature will eventually get the better of him. He should, rather, direct those feelings to use them in a positive way, to fulfill a mitzvah. He can become a kosher ritual slaughterer, or perhaps a mohel.
Everything truly does revert back to G-d, but G-d Himself wanted that we should have free choice. One reason this is so essential to our very creation and being is that G-d wanted to create man in His image. This is difficult to understand, since we believe that G-d has no physical “image.” The Kabbalistic sages explain this as referring to G-d’s spiritual image. The Torah is specific when it says that man was created in the image of “E-lohim,” that Name of G-d referring to His power and dominion over creation. G-d’s desire was that we should be in His image in regard to that power and control over the world. Now that we have that power, it’s up to us to use it to perfect the world, to perform tikkun olam, and not to destroy it!
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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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Do you know that some colors have special meanings in Judaism? Well, I didn’t, either, until Chana Bracha Siegelbaum of Israel made a local stop to tell a group of women about them.
Her presentation, “The Torah Way of Colors,” is typical of what’s taught and learned at Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin (Wellsprings of Jewish Learning), the center of holistic Torah education Rebbetzin Siegelbaum founded a dozen years ago southwest of Jerusalem. She began with a quote from the Zohar: “Come and see. There are colors which are seen, and there are colors which are not seen.”
White, she said, is the color of Abraham, whose element is the water that spreads out without boundaries, just as he reached out with hospitality for all. White evokes chesed, kindness and purity and innocence; it is the color that serves all others.
Isaac’s color is red and his element is fire, symbolic of severity and strength — like someone with fire burning within him, someone willing to give himself up as a sacrifice. This is the color of gevura, power.
Air’s color, green, belongs to Jacob, balanced between solid ground and his wrestling angel. Air, which holds within itself both water and fire, represents the balance and splendor — tiferet — of the world.
So our Patriarchs possessed traits corresponding to the three foundational elements of earth. But the earth itself — ah, said Rebbetzin Siegelbaum, that is the ultimate, the end, the purpose, the goal of all. Earth’s color is the blue of royalty, the shade of the sky at night just before the stars come out. And the possessor of that blue is David.
“Blue calms us,” she said. “But all colors influence the way we think and feel. If you are nervous, stay away from red. If you can’t make decisions, white is clarifying. Green is nourishing and healing; it equals growth — but if you are angry, pull weeds! Color can heal. Color is light, and light is the manifestation of creation….
“With our limited vision, we see just a small part of the color spectrum. But HaShem opens our eyes. The Zohar talks of colors that can be seen and not seen. Sometimes we don’t even see the ones that can be seen. But to Moses, all the colors were revealed.” She likened this revelation to the super-sensory experience of being able to see sounds and hear colors: “Our Fathers saw the colors that are seen, but only Moses saw the ones that are not seen.”
Her conclusion: “We should appreciate what God gave us, be aware and be tolerant of others who wear different colors, so that we become a rainbow that gives HaShem’s life back into the world. When we can see the colors that are seen, maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of the colors that are not seen.”
The appropriate way to follow up this lesson was with a colorful mini-fashion show, and here were designs by Tzniut from the custom-made collection of Neshama Gabay, who came from San Antonio to present them. There were a few long dresses and skirts, but mainly head coverings — pashmina shawls and scarves, crocheted caps in a Joseph’s coat array of hues embellished with beaded floral motifs, snoods of shimmering woven fabrics, hats of midnight velvet with a sparkle that inspired one woman to title the entire display “Jewish bling!” Fifty percent of everything sold was donated to the Rebbetzin’s school, which is currently raising funds to build permanent buildings, comfortable quarters for women of all ages who want to attend its seminars, tend its gardens and take advantage of creative art and music opportunities.
Midreshet B’erot Ayin’s programs are not for Israeli women only; in just a few weeks, Dallasite Alyssa Harris, who has worked as a chef and food stylist, will be going to Israel to study there. She first learned about Rebbetzin Siegelbaum’s efforts during her local studies with Rav Hanan Schlesinger of the Community Kollel.
“I’m from an unaffiliated secular background,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in yoga and meditation, and have been seeking spirituality. This seems a good fit.”
Fittingly enough, Ms. Harris was wearing a long skirt of many colors that seemed to echo the words the soft-voiced Israeli visitor brought to her rapt American audience: “The colors in our eyes are white, black, blue, brown, green, even red — the blood in the veins that run through them.” The rebbetzin herself wore, as she always does, her favorite sky blue, the royal color of lofty purpose on earth.
E-mail: harrietg@texasjewishpost.com

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Annual Kosher Chili Cookoff will celebrate its ‘Sweet Sixteen’ with 40+ teams and lots of goodies at Tiferet Israel this Sunday

Annual Kosher Chili Cookoff will celebrate its ‘Sweet Sixteen’ with 40+ teams and lots of goodies at Tiferet Israel this Sunday

Posted on 20 March 2009 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
More than 40 teams — representing synagogues, day schools, youth organizations, camps, learning centers and more — have signed up to sizzle and serve more than 1,500 pounds of kosher meat at the 16th annual Tiferet Israel Kosher Chili Cookoff, Sunday, March 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spicy, sweet or vegetarian, there’s certain to be a tongue-teaser for all.

“We are thrilled and always proud to be the host home of the Tiferet Kosher Chili Cookoff and, as this is the beginning of the 120th year of Congregation Tiferet Israel, this great event is a grand kickoff to a year of celebrations,” said Diane Benjamin, who returns as co-chair of the event, this year with Janet Bubis and Jay Abrams by her side. “On the 22nd we’ll have six hours where the entire Jewish community is together and all-inclusive, engendering camaraderie in a festive atmosphere — all of us, under the common helm of the DK, the Vaad Hakashrus of Dallas, for fun, great food, great music and a great time. Hineh ma tov u’ma nayim — how wonderful it is for brothers to gather together.”
Judges for the “Sweet Sixteen” celebration of the Tiferet Israel Kosher Chili Cookoff include Doris Coats (previous Terlingua International Chili Championship winner), Harriet Gross (TJP columnist and freelance writer), Michael Sweet (a Jewish War Veteran who cooks at the Veterans Administration) and Fred Washington (in memory of former Chili Cookoff judge, Duke Rudman). “We welcome back a couple of judges, and a couple are here for the first time. They have their work cut out for them,” said Harry Kabler, judging co-chair with Ann Margolin.
The Dallas Kosher, the Vaad Hakashrus of Dallas, supervises all aspects regarding the kashrut of the event. “Every detail is extremely important; from the initial meetings with chairpeople to educating the teams about kosher and coordinating the mashgichim [supervisors],” said DK’s Rabbi David Shawel. “We give a kosher primer to everyone involved that informs the participants of the appropriate kosher certification symbols and where to purchase additional ingredients.
“On the day of the event, we require that our mashgichim start the cooking process by lighting the propane burners. We inspect every single ingredient to be used, and new metal and glass utensils are immersed in a kosher mikvah prior to use.” said Rabbi Shawel. “Serving thousands of people kosher food is a great thing and we take great pride in knowing we help facilitate unity and shalom within our community by certifying the Tiferet Israel Chili Kosher Cookoff as a kosher event.”
In the past 15 years, more than $70,000, a portion of the proceeds of the profits, has been given to local charities. This year, JFS’ Career Services Group, the Life and Fire Safety Clowns from Lewisville, and Yavneh Academy of Dallas’ Students Against Terrorism have been chosen as the beneficiaries.
“We are so excited and proud to be among the beneficiaries of the Kosher Chili Cookoff,” said Aaron Liener, SAT president and Yavneh Academy senior. “Students Against Terrorism is all about community — our community here raising funds and awareness for our community of brethren who are suffering from the effects of terrorism. To be honored by a landmark organization, so dedicated and so much a part of Dallas’ Jewish community, is very special to us. Their support of SAT sends a strong message of community respect for us and we appreciate that very much.”
Students Against Terrorism, an organization founded by students at Yavneh Academy of Dallas, is the parent organization of the Points For Peace Basketball Tournament that will be held on March 15. The group has raised more than $250,000 in seven years through the annual tournament, the sale of “StandStrong4Israel” bracelets, learn-a-thons and other programs.
“We are so thrilled and honored. The Chili Cookoff always has a knack for having its finger on the pulse of developing support for the needs of our community,” said Michael Fleisher, executive director of Jewish Family Service, whose programs have, of late, seen significant increases across the board. “There isn’t anyone in our community who doesn’t know someone who has been touched by the recent stresses in the economy. The investment in services, to help people return to self-sufficiency, is an investment that couldn’t be more timely.”
“Fire safety is immeasurable and repetition is key, and each year we create a new program produced by a number of our reserve firefighters and some of their family members,” said Lewisville Fire Department Division Chief and Public Education and Emergency Management Public Information Officer Steven Carter. The LAFS team travels to schools, businesses and community events to bring the messages of fire safety to the residents of Lewisville. “Our clowns, a number of whom will be at the Cookoff, have an incredible passion to teach and a professionalism that is unequaled. The gift from this event will certainly help us to do more, help more and reach further into our community.”
Sponsorship opportunities are still available at the Habanero Pepper Level ($10,000), the Cayenne Pepper Level ($5,000), the Jalapeno Pepper Level ($2,000), the Poblano Pepper Level ($1,000) or the Bell Pepper Level ($500), as well as the sponsorship of individual event needs. Each level comes with tickets to the event, signage on the commemorative T-shirt, food coupons and other benefits.
In addition to entertainment by the Mazik Brothers, there will be a silent auction, a tent filled with vendors, and activities for kids of all ages, including a climbing wall, bounce house, pony rides, basketball hoops and a monster slide. The Jewish War Veterans Post 256 will participate in the opening ceremonies of the day. Transportation trolleys will run to and from the Jewish Community Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those wishing to park off-campus.
“We’re excited to have been involved with the Cookoff for so many years and, this year, to co-chair with Diane,” Abrams said. “It’s a great community event which brings us together from one end of the spectrum to the other. Really, it’s the most inclusive day of the year in the Jewish community.”
Congregation Tiferet Israel is located at 10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas. Tickets are $10/adults, $5/children ages 3–11 (includes a free hot dog). Children under 3 years old are free. For more information, call 214-691-3611.

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 12 March 2009 by admin

Aaron Noble and Garrett
Cohen win scouting awards
Congratulations to Aaron Noble, son of Aida and Sam Noble, and Garrett Cohen, son of Rhonda and Todd Cohen, who were the co-recipients of the Larry Landa Memorial Award. They were honored at the annual Scout Shabbat held at Congregation Tiferet Israel on Feb. 13. Aaron is an eighth-grade student at Franklin Middle School; Garrett is a tenth-grader at Richardson High School. The Larry Landa Memorial Award is presented each year to a Boy Scout from Troop 729. This scout is selected by his fellow scouts as the one who best exemplifies the ideals that were cherished by Larry Landa, who unselfishly gave his time and energy, over and over again, to help his fellow scouts. Troop 729 has been giving this award to worthy scouts since 1958. Additionally, the Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood has sponsored the troop since 1919. It is a privilege that there were two worthy scouts for the award this year. Visit www.troop729.org for more information and upcoming activities.
Sharon Shalet chosen as
community outreach director at Windsor Senior Living
Windsor Senior Living has named Sharon Oran Shalet a member of their marketing team as community outreach director. Sharon was the former director of sales and marketing for The Legacy at Willow Bend. She joins Van Ly, director of sales and marketing, formerly of Sunrise of Hillcrest. Windsor Senior Living, located on LBJ Freeway between Hillcrest and Coit Road, will offer independent living, assisted living and memory care. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 972-354-4444 or just drop in.
Rachel Andres helps African women with solar cookers
Rachel Andres and the humanitarian project she founded were featured in the Sunday, March 1 issue of the national Parade magazine.
“The Simple Tool That Saves Women’s Lives,” by Dr. Ranit Mishori, told how a sun-powered stove, made of foil and cardboard, is benefiting thousands of African women by allowing Darfur’s genocide refugees to stay within the Chad camps where they now live, protected from outside dangers.
These women have traditionally cooked for their families over open fires, and “are particularly vulnerable to attack and rape when they are out getting wood,” according to Rachel, who directs Jewish World Watch’s Solar Cooker Project. And safety is not the project’s only benefit. Sun cooking is cleaner and faster; it helps the environment while giving women more time for their families and for other activities, such as learning to read. Some even earn money by making cookers and teaching others how to use them.
The cookers cost only $15 each, and Jewish World Watch has already donated more than 40,000 to Chad. According to the article, some 300 other humanitarian and religious organizations have joined the effort, raising over $1.6 million to spread solar cookers throughout other parts of Africa and into Asia and India as well.
Rachel Andres and her world-changing work have been honored with a major grant from the Bronfman Foundation. Learn more, including how to participate, at solarcookerproject.org.
Talk show host Dennis Prager comes to Plano March 25
Often called “America’s Moral Compass,” Dennis Prager’s honest, thoughtful approach towards politics, society, religion and life in America today have earned him accolades from listeners and media professionals alike. His nationally syndicated show airs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. daily on News Talk 660 KSKY.
Through his books, “Happiness is a Serious Problem” and “Think a Second Time,” and his weekly “Happiness Hour,” Dennis has touched thousands of people with his common-sense approach to finding happiness in life. Widely sought after by television shows for his opinions, Dennis has appeared on “Larry King Live,” “Hardball,” “Hannity & Colmes,” “CBS Evening News,” “The Today Show” and others.
On Wednesday, March 25, DFW-area listeners and fans will have the opportunity to hear Dennis Prager speak in person on “Happiness: Its Pivotal Role in the World and in Our Lives.”
Prager is one of the world’s experts on happiness and is coming to Plano to address three aspects of this elusive but vital subject: how happiness shapes world events — more than even economics; how happiness shapes our lives; and how we can stay upbeat in the midst of the current economic crisis and the specter of international terror.
“An Evening with Dennis Prager” will benefit Chabad of Plano/Collin County, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational and social programs for families and children across Collin County. Guests of honor are James and Kim ­Erickson, and proceeds will go toward the Elan Aaron Children’s Scholarship Fund.
The talk will take place at the Collin College Spring Creek Conference Center, Spring Creek Campus, 2800 East Spring Creek Pkwy., Plano, on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket prices are: general admission: $26 in advance, $32 at the door, or $55 for admission and post-lecture dessert reception with Dennis Prager (advance sales only). Tickets can be purchased through www.myeasytix.com, or by calling their toll-free number at 866-726-3581.
The program is sponsored by Chabad of Plano/Collin County and News Talk 660 KSKY.
JFS connects with Sharsheret on breast cancer support
Dallas’ Jewish Family Service is the first agency in the country to take advantage of a new program offered by Sharsheret, the ­nationwide support system for young Jewish women with breast cancer. It provides on-site consulting on how to establish culturally sensitive support groups, and trains group facilitators for them.
Sharsheret Supports, a fledgling initiative of the organization’s already extensive education and outreach program, sent Shera Dubitsky, the organization’s clinical supervisor, to Dallas to work with social worker Beth Broodo, JFS support group leader. Ms. Dubitsky presented a seminar to the JFS board and staff on the unique needs of Jewish women and their families affected by breast cancer, then conducted a clinical training session especially for staff. She and Mrs. Broodo also co-facilitated a breast cancer survivors group with 22 participants, and a JFS support group.
Broodo expressed appreciation to Sharsheret’s headquarters in Teaneck, N.J.: “Thank you so much for sending Shera to Dallas. She touched a lot of hearts and made a huge difference. She made us laugh and cry, and we love her and love Sharsheret.”
Sharsheret, meaning “Links,” was founded seven years ago to address the unique concerns of young Jewish women with breast cancer, and links individuals in an extensive system of personal support. More information is available at www.sharsheret.org.

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 12 March 2009 by admin

Tarrant County Women
celebrate Jewish Women’s
History Month
Have you been looking for new ways to enhance the spirit of the Jewish holidays in your home and at your table and make it the place your family and friends can’t wait to be? Then, please join in on Tuesday, March 31 for a wonderful day for women, as Beth-El Congregation and the home of Dolores and Barry Schneider will be the venues for a “Celebration of Jewish Women’s History Month.” The program, featuring Rita Brownstein, is a special opportunity to attend either of two fabulous events, a luncheon or a decadent dessert buffet in the evening. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m., and the dessert buffet begins at 7 p.m.
Rita Brownstein, a former art director for House Beautiful and Good Housekeeping, has combined her love of Judaism and creative talents in the book “Jewish Holiday Style: A Beautiful Guide to Celebrating the Jewish Rituals in Style.” She has spoken to Jewish groups across the U.S. and has appeared in holiday specials on the Food Network and the Discovery Channel. “Jewish Holiday Style” will be available at a significant discount at both events.
The event is open to all women in the Tarrant County Jewish Community. In addition, the evening program is also open to younger women (12 and older). Cost for the luncheon is $20 per person. Cost for the dessert buffet is $10 per person. Please make your reservations by March 23, as no late reservations will be accepted.
Dolores Schneider, chair, Linda Hoffman and Marilyn Englander, the committee for the event, are very excited to bring this special program to our community.
For more information or to make a reservation, please call the Federation office at 817-569-0892 or mail your check payable to The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County to 4049 Kingsridge Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. Note: No solicitation will occur at these events.
The program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.
Garry Kahalnik joins staff at Congregation Ahavath Sholom
The officers, board of directors and members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom are pleased to welcome Garry Kahalnik, the newest member of the synagogue’s staff. Garry began his tenure as executive director of the congregation on Feb. 9. He brings to the position many years of management experience in several different industries. In addition, he brings with him a lifetime of involvement as a volunteer in the Jewish community. Most recently, he was the interim executive director at Tiferet Israel Congregation in Dallas and is serving as immediate past president of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, having completed a successful two-year term as the congregation’s President. “I am so excited to be a part of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and the Fort Worth Jewish community,” Kahalnik said. “This is my dream job. I am able to leverage my management skills with my experience as a lay leader in a Conservative synagogue and, in doing so, help strengthen the Ahavath Sholom family, the Tarrant County Jewish community and the Jewish people. I look forward to a long and mutually successful relationship at the shul.”
‘Daytimers’ to learn
about computers
Wednesday, March 18, the “Daytimers” will hear David Vaughan of Computers Made Easy. David is the instructor-in-residence at the new Annette and Sol Taylor Technology Center at Beth-El. He will tell the group about things they can do with digital cameras, the very basics of using a computer and the Internet, how to use e-mail, or shop on eBay.
David Vaughan opened Computers Made Easy a year ago with the hope of teaching senior citizens how to navigate the tech world, from laptops to cell phones. Once they understand how computers can help them with everything from staying in touch with their grandchildren to pursuing a favorite hobby, Vaughan said, their lives change. “They feel more connected to society, so they don’t shut themselves in. They get out more,” Vaughan said.
The store, tucked into a corner of the Westcliff Shopping Center not far from Texas Christian University, was recently named the 2008 Small Employer of the Year by the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
“I always wanted to open a business in this exact spot because I grew up around here when it was [former Fort Worth Mayor] Bob Bolen’s Toy Palace,” said Vaughan, who was motivated to start his business because so many older relatives were asking him for computer help. “So it always had fond memories.”
There are already various computer classes available at Beth-El. For information, classes and dates, contact Beth-El Congregation at 817 332-7141.
The noon luncheon will be catered by Rosa’s Café, and guests have a choice of beef burrito, Mexican plate (taco and enchilada) or cheese enchiladas. 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 now 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.
Get some basic nutrition tips, April 6 at Beth-El
A fun and informative evening for women featuring basic nutrition tips and guidelines on caring for your mental health will take place Monday, April 6, 7–9 p.m., at the Beth-El Congregation Great Hall, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth.
Elisabeth Anderson, nutrition therapist from Harris Methodist Hospital, will discuss strategies for a healthy diet; eating smart; and diet or exercise: a key step toward healthy eating and weight loss/weight maintenance.
Beth-El’s own Debra Dayton, a clinical psychologist, will speak on the women’s movement and what is meant by empowerment; today’s media images of girls; what women need to grow their “mental selves”; women communicating with women, support systems like WRJ; over-functioners and under-functioners; what women need to grow, such as teaching their men, the importance of being useful and of respect.
A Q & A session will answer all of your burning questions, and yummy, healthy snacks will be provided.
Please RSVP to Linda Hochster at 817-294-7738 or Roberta Gerrick at 817-637-0795.
Henry L. Luskey named to
Barron’s ‘Top 1000
Financial Advisers’
Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management Group (GWMG) announced recently that Henry L. Luskey, senior vice president and financial adviser in the firm’s Fort Worth office, has been named to Barron’s first annual list of America’s “Top 1000 Advisers: 2009 State-by-State.”
The “Barron’s 1000” is a select group of individuals who are screened on a number of criteria. Among factors the survey takes into consideration are assets under management, revenue produced for the firm and quality of service provided to clients.
“I am extremely proud that Henry L. Luskey is representing Morgan Stanley on this list,” commented Victor Medina, branch manager of Morgan Stanley’s Fort Worth office. “This listing recognizes an elite group of top professionals who are dedicated to providing clients with exceptional wealth management services.”
One of the largest businesses of its kind in the world, GWMG provides a range of wealth management products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions. These include brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, credit and lending, cash management, annuities and insurance, retirement and trust.
Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. The firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 600 offices in 37 countries. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit www.morganstanley.com.
Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 12 March 2009 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
When asked what Jewish books every family should have, the No. 1 answer is a Tanach, the Jewish Bible, which contains the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. The No. 2 “must have” is Pirke Avot, a tractate of the Talmud that is filled with sayings of the sages. Each one makes for great discussion and learning for all ages. This one is an important one for each of us to teach and remember:
“Rabbi Meir says: Do not look at the jug, but at what is in it; there is a new jug filled with old wine, and an old jug that does not even contain new wine.” — Pirke Avot 4:27
Here are a few discussion starters for your family:
Rabbi Meir was a wonderful teacher who really learned from all people. When his teacher was called a heretic, Rabbi Meir was said to have the ability to “take the fruit and discard the peel.” What does that mean? Can we really learn from all people? Talk about how this relates to respect for all people.
This mishnah seems very simple but says that we need to look very carefully. What does it mean to not look at the jug but at what is inside? How do we do this all the time in our daily lives? Talk with your children about how we sometimes are fooled by the way things look on the outside. What are some examples?
What does it mean to have a new jug with old wine? Is that what you would expect? Why or why not? Why would a new jug have old wine in it?
The mishnah then says “an old jug that does ‘not even’ contain new wine.” Why such strange words? What could the old jug contain?
Which would you choose — the old jug or the new jug? Why?
Is this mishnah the same or different from this common saying: “Do not judge a book by its cover”?
Of the many jobs I have at the JCC, the one that gives so much joy is Habima Theatre. Twenty adults with developmental disabilities began practicing in January for our Sunday, May 3 production. This year we are performing an adaptation of “Oklahoma!” This group of actors proves that we must “look on the inside” — so mark your calendars for May 3!
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 12 March 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I am a convert, working on a doctorate in Spertus College’s distance learning program, right now doing a paper on Jewish mysticism, learning and hearing about things I never heard of before. Last night as I was reading about the sitra ahara, it seemed to me that some power is set up contrary to G-d. I have read one author who indicated that, in Judaism, it was possible to view free will as ultimately an illusion, but usually when I’ve tried to discuss it with people they just freak out, like you’ve uttered the worst heresy possible, like the whole enterprise would come tumbling down without that concept. I don’t know if I’m being heretical or if they are confused.
Thanks for your help.
Janice W.

Dear Janice,
Whew, that’s some question!
First, let’s discuss the meaning of “sitra ahara,” which literally means “the other side.” This is the term used in Kabbalistic literature referring to the spiritual “forces of evil” in the world. These are not forces which G-d created directly. They are, rather, a manifestation of the free will which G-d allowed to have room to exist when He created the world at large. G-d purposely created the world imperfect, as we have discussed in this column in the past, to leave room for us to perfect the world. By the same token, we have the choice to use those imperfections in the wrong way. Instead of using those imperfections as a vehicle for our growth and perfecting the world (tikkun olam), often man has developed them in their own right, giving the imperfections a life of their own, and turning the “potential for evil” into “forces of evil.”
Now that these forces have a life of their own, exercising our free will for the good becomes more difficult; now we need to defeat the forces of evil that we, ourselves, created.
We must always remember, however, that our ability to create these forces is G-d-given, part of our ultimate ability to exercise our G-d-granted free will. We are G-d-like in being “creators” as G-d is a Creator. Our ability to do so, and these forces, exist only to the extent that G-d wants them to. Neither we, nor these forces, have any power whatsoever against G-d Al-mighty Himself. That is implicit in the very name by which we refer to G-d, “All Mighty.”
According to Mysticism/Kabbalah, even the forces of evil are allowed by G-d to exist, as they ultimately fit into His master plan. Thus they actually are, in a hidden way, serving the will of G-d.
I’ll offer a short parable as food for thought: A group of people were locked in a room, for a long time, with little light. A second group was locked in a room that was totally dark. When they were finally released, the first group didn’t rejoice so much at being in the light, as they had artificial light all along. The second group, however, rejoiced greatly in the brilliance of the newly-found light.
In a way, the stronger the forces of evil are in this world, the deeper the world resides in darkness. Eventually the Al-mighty will release us from the darkness and reveal the awesome light of His Presence. The darker the backdrop of darkness/evil, the more we will exult in the revelation of that great luminescence. Although we don’t desire evil and are commanded to eradicate evil (i.e. the mitzvah to destroy Amalek, which is the epitome of evil in this world), to the extent it does exist it is not in contradiction or competition with G-d.
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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