Archive | August, 2009


Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 20 August 2009 by admin

Dear Families,
This summer we focused on values that we could DO! At the J camps, all the children and the families got involved. There was a little learning, a little thinking and then a lot of doing! The value for this week is: talmud Torah, learning all the time.

The Jewish people are called “the people of the book.” That book is the Torah, but that means more than just the five books of Moses; it is all the Jewish literature and learning. Torah study is a guide for living a moral life. We read over and over, year after year, to find new insights. Each time we read Torah, we learn something new about how to live our lives. The Torah guides us in life, in our families, in our business.
The Sh’ma comes from the Book of Deuteronomy and tells us that we show our love for G-d through study. The Sh’ma tells us to talk about it “when you lie down and when you rise up….” When a child first begins to study Torah, the rabbis write on the child’s book with honey to show the sweetness of learning.

• The world stands on three things: on Torah, worship and deeds of lovingkindness. — Pirke Avot 1:2
• Judah ben Tema was fond of saying, “At 5, one begins the study of the Bible. At 10, the Mishnah. At 13, one takes on the responsibility of the mitzvot. At 15, one begins the study of the Talmud.” — Pirke Avot 5:21
• Do not say, “When I have some free time, then I’ll study.” You may never have that leisure. — Pirke Avot 2:5
• Make your home a regular meeting place for scholars. — Pirke Avot 1:4

Do something ‘Jewish unplugged’
Let the learning begin and read a Jewish book. There are hundreds to choose from for all ages. Need a suggestion? Contact Laura Seymour at

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

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Four Questions with Dallas headmasters

Four Questions with Dallas headmasters

Posted on 20 August 2009 by admin

Akiba Academy: Rabbi Zev Silver and Beverly Millican, co-directors of the Learning Center
Beverly Millican worked in the public school system for 27 years. She was a principal in Richardson for eight years and was curriculum director for math in Plano and Richardson ISDs for the same amount of time. She is beginning her sixth year at ­Akiba. Rabbi Zev Silver has been at Akiba for 15 years and was the Judaic studies principal for the past four years.

Q: What do you plan to focus on this year?

Silver: The focus is totally on the child and there is a tremendous respect we all have for each other. Students get Judaic and secular studies. The kids get a full perspective in all different things and that creates a synergy. The theme for this school year is truth, and it gets into a number of different areas. One area we will talk about is raising ethical children. What do we do as educators and parents to make children better people?

Q: How is enrollment different from last year?
Silver: It’s stable. We have hit our target number and it’s pretty much the same. The school has gone all out to make sure that every child who wants a Jewish education can get one. The school does a tremendous amount of work with families to make sure children can stay at our school. There are 330 students enrolled this year; about 100 of those are preschoolers. The nice part about it is that we have a very high retention rate. [Millican agreed.]

Q: What makes students at Akiba successful?
Millican: It’s about the critical thinking they are required to do. There are many ways for them to do their projects. It’s very open-ended and that’s the payoff. They spend so much time, and care about what they do. We transfer the responsibility to the
children; they become more thoughtful and think about whether something is the right thing to do. They understand that there is a bigger picture. I think that’s why we have very few discipline issues. We support the professional growth of the kids.

Q: What do you love most about your job?
Silver: This kind of Jewish school is very heterogeneous. We focus on academics. This is a unique setting … we are in growth mode and it is good to constantly be growing as educators, as students, as a school. Everything is exciting. We view our jobs as leaders of the school. It is all about the kids, and our taking the leadership of the school is giving a strong message.
Millican: I get here every day and I’m thrilled … the kids are enthusiastic, smart and dedicated to what they do and they are happy to be here. This is a happy place. There is always something going on and the kids are glad to see us. We all feed off each other and it’s a great place to learn and grow.
Akiba Academy is located at 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas. They can be reached at 214-295-3400.

Ann and Nate Levine Academy: Marion Peterson, head of school

Marion Peterson has worked in Jewish education for 20 years. During that time, she also worked in an Orthodox college prep program at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles and then founded a Jewish high school in Palo Alto, Calif. Peterson is beginning her first year at Levine Academy which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this school year

Q: What is your vision for the new school year?

A: A vision for a school is a sacred component of all strategic thinking and planning — and forms the basis of all decision-making for both governance and school leadership. As a school community, we are renewing our mission for Levine Academy and developing an organizational vision that will guide us for the next four to six years. … If we could create the school of our dreams and have the impact we most desire, what would we look like? That question is answered in relation to the following stakeholders in our school: our students, our teachers and staff, our parents, and our board. For this year, I have restructured our management team into leadership teams based on academics, advancement and school operations so that we address all
of the school’s needs in the most creative way using problem-solving and ownership as key components. Additionally, fostering and crafting a culture of growth and appreciation is critical to the development of any organization, especially for a school. That is what we are focusing on this year: professional development for staff; creative programming for students … in both Jewish studies and secular studies; what we want a Levine graduate to be, know, understand and do; outreach to the community at large to recreate partnerships; and perhaps the most important goal — to celebrate the good news of the Ann and Nate Levine Academy!

Q: What new programs are you implementing for this school year?

A: In our leadership team are three outstanding professional educators: Dr. Susie Wolbe, our K-8 principal; Sheryl Feinberg, our ECC director; and Wende

Weinberg, our director of Jewish Studies. We have met numerous times over the month of July and each one has a clear focus on “cutting-edge” programming and curriculum for our students. Here’s a quick snapshot: In the K-8 division, we are implementing Challenge Success through Stanford University, and Rachel’s Challenge to provide additional support in the areas of personal growth and development. Our IT department is expanding its scope to keep us on the cutting edge of technology, and there are always the yearly enhancements to enrich our curriculum. In the ECC division, we are implementing additional Jewish studies and Hebrew language so that our youngsters increase their exposure to the Jewish traditions and holidays. In Jewish studies, we are engaging in a curriculum renewal process that will include identifying what Levine wants our students to know, understand and be able to do in Jewish history, Tanach and Talmud.

Q: How has enrollment changed from last year to this year? What keeps it thriving and what can you do to increase enrollment?

A: Enrollment is stable for Levine Academy. Yes, for all independent schools, Jewish and non-Jewish in the area, enrollment is always a challenge, but Levine Academy is a recognized institution of learning.… Our families return and our new families join us recognizing the excellence of the education process … and the gentle warmth of love that each teacher provides for each student.

Q: What makes students at Levine Academy successful?

A: The focus on leadership and character development, as well as academic excellence, speaks for itself when you see our graduates. Our children are not perfect just because they attend a Jewish day school. They are your normal, typical children who make the normal, typical mistakes as do other children their same age. The difference comes in how we, as a school, deal with those mistakes. Our typical graduates are leaders in their high schools, service organizations, the arts, athletics, student publications … simply everywhere you look. I challenge anyone to find a more accomplished group of students anywhere. I do not believe they exist. Our school enables our graduates to reach their fullest potential. For that, we are very proud.
Levine Academy is located at 18011 Hillcrest Road, Dallas. They can be reached at 972-248-3032.

Yavneh Academy: Don O’Quinn, head of school

Don O’Quinn came to Yavneh Academy 12 years ago. Before becoming head of school, he was a substitute physics teacher and acted as headmaster before assuming the role full-time. Yavneh Academy opened in 1993 and has 115 students enrolled for the 2009–10 school year.

Q: What new programs are being implemented this year?

A: We are modernizing our library by bringing in databases to model the library after St. Mark’s. There will be an ongoing research program in the library; Yavneh and Akiba are going to be collaborating with new software; there will be changes to the physics program; creative writing will be open to all grade levels; we will continue media production, which started last spring; and we plan to start collaborating with Yeshiva University for a teaching intern program. We want to move into the 21st century electronically, which will enable us to be more individualized …we hope the use of electronics will enhance learning.

Q: How has enrollment changed?

A: It has stayed stable. We had 116 students last year and have 115 enrolled so far this year. Our goal is to have 25 freshmen at the beginning of the year and we have 24 right now. We also offer tuition assistance. Yavneh gives kids the opportunity to get a solid Jewish education and study those things you credit to the Jewish culture, and at the same time prepare for a competitive university. Do everything for Jewish holidays … and celebrate Jewishness and the greatness of the Jewish faith. We are the only place in town that does that that is still college preparatory.

Q: How do you give students an all-encompassing education?

A: We keep kids busy. The school day starts at 8 a.m. with prayers and ends at 4:50 p.m. with prayers. Extracurricular activities are outside the school day. Every student has a language requirement and we offer Hebrew, Spanish and French. They also have three strands of Jewish studies. The second half of the school day is devoted to secular subjects. We have a heavy requirement in community service where students need to complete 130 hours. We get them involved in the community. What you produce with that kind of regime is a student who understands that they have to have a disciplined approach to what they are doing and get their responsibilities taken care of.

Q: What do you credit students’ academic success to?

A: Students are responsive to their learning needs. We tell every kid that a child is a gift from G-d. “G-d has a purpose for you and has given you the ability to achieve that purpose; it’s your job to discover those talents on your own. Yavneh’s job is to let you explore what your talents are going to be and to take you from childhood to adulthood.” There is a philosophy here that you have to develop the whole child. That means you help them discover what they are good at and make them comfortable in asking for help. They have a willingness to try new things. Most satisfying is watching the maturation, seeing them start in ninth grade and go forward to the future. They become young adults who are ready to move on.
Yavneh Academy is located at 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas. They can be reached at 214-295-3500.

Mesorah High School for Girls: Rabbi Avraham Zev Kosowsky, headmaster

After teaching for nine years at Akiba, Rabbi Avraham Zev Kosowsky accepted the headmaster position at Mesorah, where he is entering his seventh year. Forty girls are enrolled for this school year.

Q: What makes Mesorah High School unique?

A: Mesorah is the only Orthodox girls’ high school in Dallas. Our focus is on developing young Jewish women who appreciate their purpose in the world in every aspect of their lives. We encourage them to develop both spiritually and intellectually and show them how the two can be intertwined in careers, in family life and in their role in society.

Q: What is your vision for the new school year?

A: To integrate our academic, religious and extracurricular programs to maximize our students’ love of Yiddishkeit, thus strengthening their ability to combat the challenges facing teens today.

Q: What makes students at Mesorah successful?

A: Each staff member takes a vested interest in each student. The girls are invited to their homes on a regular basis for Shabbos meals, holiday-related activities or just to shmooze. Each student feels cared about and the staff is always available to lend an ear or a hand.

Q: How does it make you feel to know that you make an impact on students every day?

A: It is truly a team effort. I feel honored to be working with a team that is so dedicated and committed to helping each girl reach the end of her high school years a better person, ready to face whatever comes her way with confidence in who she is.
Mesorah High School is located at 12712 Park Central Drive, Suite B-190, Dallas. They can be reached at 214-490-1990.

Torah Day School of Dallas: Rabbi Yerachmiel Udman, headmaster

Rabbi Yerachmiel Udman is the founding headmaster of Torah Day School and is beginning his seventh year in that role. Before that, he taught at Akiba for 12 years. Rabbi Udman said Torah Day School was created to fill a void in the community and grew out of a desire for a different type of education — single-sex classes. Torah Day School currently has 303 students from 2-year-olds through eighth-graders.

Q: What is your vision for the new school year?

A: Our plan is to continue a lot of our wonderful things, and our goal is to maintain the programs we already have. One thing that’s exciting is that cooperative things have happened in the community between all of the day schools. We are happy to continue the teaching intern program where we bring in two girls who have finished teaching in Israel. We also plan to maintain our positive atmosphere toward Judaism, where children can learn and grow and become part of the school, community and Jewish people.

Q: How has enrollment changed from last year to this year?

A: Enrollment is similar. Overall, we have about 10 more students than last year. Our parents are committed to Jewish education and we want to work with families who are having trouble in this economy.

Q: How do you combine Jewish studies, secular studies and extracurricular activities?

A: We have high academic standards and have teachers who are sensitive to different needs. Students are given the opportunity to work at a level that’s challenging, but not frustrating. With the dual curriculum of Judaism and secular subjects, they are learning Hebrew texts and challenged to express themselves in Hebrew. Students here read Torah in third or fourth grade, and you don’t usually have that
kind of experience until you start reading Shakespeare. Don’t be scared by the price tag — we don’t want to sacrifice education. We have an intramural basketball program for fifth- and sixth-grade boys and a team for seventh- and eighth-graders. We offer a basketball league for girls and an optional Sunday learning program for fifth- to eighth-grade boys.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: I love children and am the father of 12. I love the excitement of seeing children grow. I have a great staff, and am very fortunate to have a job I really love that matches my own personality. I enjoy that my influence is exponentially compounded. If I can keep the teachers motivated, that impacts 300 children. I love that Dallas is at the forefront of Jewish education. Day schools are in, and I’m glad that people are not sacrificing the quality of education.
Torah Day School is located at 6921 Frankford Road, Dallas. They can be reached at 972-964-0090.

Texas Torah Institute: Rabbi Shlomo Pacht, head of school

Rabbi Shlomo Pacht earned a master’s degree in educational administration while pursuing his advanced smicha (Rabbinic Ordination). His advanced Judaic studies were done at the Rabbinical Seminary of America (commonly referred to as Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, after the renowned uncle of its founder). Rabbi Pacht moved to Dallas from New York in 1993. Texas Torah Institute (TTI) is a yeshiva high school and beit midrash program for boys.

Q: What new programs are you implementing for this school year?

A: We’re expanding and improving many of the programs already in place. We’ve had college courses available for advanced seniors; we’d like to increase the offerings and broaden that program. At the same time we’re offering an advanced Judaic track for seniors who want extra Torah study and can handle that level. We’ve brought in Rabbi Moshe Tropper to join our staff. He will be teaching some of those higher-level Judaic courses plus taking on some of the administrative responsibilities that grow as our school expands. We’ve hired three new secular studies teachers…. Our teachers meet at the end of each school year to evaluate the year’s performance, and again before the beginning of each year to work out an “improvement plan” to make sure we continue to grow in every way possible. We received the highest possible ratings and a strong commendation when our school was evaluated last year by SACS, the largest accrediting agency of private schools in the country. The list of schools accredited by SACS is a who’s who of educational excellence, and we were proud to join their ranks.

Q: How has enrollment changed, what keeps it thriving and what can you do to increase enrollment? How many students are currently enrolled at TTI?

A: We opened in fall 2003 with eight boys. Not only has our enrollment grown significantly every year since then, but the number by which it increased has gone up every single year. We are currently slated to open, with G-d’s help, on Aug. 31 with 47 boys in the high school and 23 boys in the post-high-school beit midrash program. There are about 10 more applicants who would like to come, but whom we cannot consider at this time because we don’t yet have the facilities to accommodate them. We have done almost no advertising in the last two years and yet have seen a staggering increase in applications from across the U.S. and as far away as Canada and Mexico. When you stick to the basics and make sure to stay focused on the primary objective — well-rounded, well-educated young men — the results speak for themselves. I think that when we came there was less awareness of what a yeshiva is, and people were skeptical of what sounded like an outdated, closed-minded approach. Now, people are seeing the results of those early years, and are beginning to appreciate the incomparable value of a firm grounding in our heritage — for education and for life. This is the only institution of its kind in the state (and in the Southwest) and people want the opportunity we offer. We have boys from Houston and San Antonio and have gotten calls from Austin as well. Not only have we brought Dallas into the limelight of Texas, but even in the broader yeshiva world we’ve established a reputation of excellence,
and the Dallas Jewish community has gained a lot of positive publicity.

Q: How is Texas Torah Institute unique?

A: As much as we try to innovate and remain current with educational resources and social currents, the core of our program is deeply rooted in traditional Torah education. Judaism is different from any other religion in that it contains within it the guidelines for application and adaptation to all circumstances, all situations. When Hashem gave us the Torah at Sinai, he also taught us how to safeguard it, how to teach it and how to preserve it for future generations. Torah is the key to successful Jewish life in Dallas, Texas, just as it was the key to the success of our ancestors over 3,300 years ago … we use Torah as a basis and guide for all our educational programs and philosophies. We use the same Torah texts and same delivery methods for those lessons which we received from our mentors, and they from theirs. At the same time, we know our boys will need to function in contemporary society, and need a solid secular education as well. We apply the same work ethic and moral code to our pursuit of these subjects as we do to everything else.

Q: Why do you think is it important for students to get a Jewish day school education?

A: Staying so firmly rooted in the past is what enables us to constantly adapt and innovate for the present. I found personally that my background in Torah education, perhaps more than anything else, enabled me to succeed in a challenging graduate program, and gave me the tools for success as a husband, a father and a member of society. Also, by establishing a clear understanding of G-d’s creation and our role in it, we’re able to provide stability, meaning and perspective which our children so desperately need, as the world becomes more complicated and confusing.
Texas Torah Institute is located at 17738 Davenport Road, Dallas. They can be reached at 972-250-4888.

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

Beth Torah to host Zion Oil at Bnai Zion open meeting
John Brown expects to discover oil and gas in Israel!
The above is a headline that nobody ever thought they’d see, but is very likely to happen within a short period of time.
John Brown, founder and chairman of Zion Oil & Gas (NYSE Amex “ZN”) was an entrepreneur in Michigan who sold a multi-million dollar tool company when he heard the calling. In 2000, Mr. Brown divested himself from his business and directed his efforts to finding oil and gas in Israel, based on the interpretations of the Bible with God’s blessings to Joseph and the nation of Israel.

After several years of exploration, Zion Oil and Gas is closer than ever to a major discovery. They have just brought into Israel, from Turkey, the largest oil rig ever to come into the country, with the capability of drilling to 25,000 feet. With permits to explore a combined total of over 330,000 acres, which includes the area between Netanya and Haifa and from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River, the company has gone ahead and set up a charitable foundation in Israel to contribute a percentage of future production income to the people of Israel.

The story of this incredible journey from beginning to current status can be heard firsthand from the man who took it from a dream to reality.
The Texas region of Bnai Zion and the Adult Education Committee of Congregation Beth Torah proudly present to you John Brown, the man with a vision, on Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Beth Torah. Admission is free and open to the public.

Additionally, Martin M. van Brauman, involved with Zion Oil & Gas and a board member of the Texas region of Bnai Zion, will share his personal views as someone who recently participated in a Bnai Zion Israel mission and who is intimately involved with the exploration and structure of Zion Oil and Gas and the establishment of the foundation in Israel.

For more information on what promises to be a most exciting, informative event, please contact Avrille Harris-Cohen, director of Bnai Zion at 972-918-9200 or at

Yavneh Bulldogs named Jewish Hoops All-Americans
Congratulations are in order! JV Elite announced Honorable Mention for Yavneh Academy’s Bulldog Elan Kogutt ‘11. He and fellow Bulldog Jordan Prescott ‘12 were named runners-up for National Player of the Year at their grade levels to the Jewish Hoops All-American team. Founded in 2003, JV Elite, Inc.’s mission is to enhance Jewish basketball in North America and Israel.

“We are very excited that other coaches around the country recognized what we already knew, that Elan and Jordan are among the best Jewish players in America at their grade levels,” said Yavneh’s Athletic Director Chad Baruch. “We expect great things from them in the future. This also is a great recognition for their teammates, particularly 2008–2009 Captains William Zalstein ‘09 and Miles Pulitzer ‘10, who had so much to do with their success.”

Fourteen coaches from around the country and a Jewish Hoops America representative cast their votes. Jewish Hoops America has compiled weekly rankings of the top 25 high school teams across the United States and Canada, and has honored outstanding players and coaches, for the past three years.

Yavneh Academy, Dallas’ only co-ed Jewish high school, offers a college preparatory education for grades nine to 12 that combines Torah-based learning with a top secular program. The dual curriculum is enhanced by its sports program, which includes the Bulldog and Lady Bulldog Basketball teams, volleyball, tennis and soccer teams, as well as extracurricular programs including Mock Trial; the local, state and national award-winning Bulldog Print newspaper; a theater and music program; Students Against Terrorism; Uniting Students of Dallas; HELP-Helping Everyone Live Peacefully; and the Hashinui environmental organization.

For more information about Yavneh Academy, call 214-395-3500 or e-mail

Blondes vs. Brunettes game supports Alzheimer’s
Jay and Janet Finegold have good reason to be proud of their daughter Erin. Last year Erin did an amazing thing — she developed the inaugural Blondes vs. Brunettes (BvB) powder-puff football game in Dallas to support the Alzheimer’s Association in honor of her grandmother Mimi Schendle. Thanks to those who were supporters of Erin and her project, BvB blew past its initial goal of $20,000 and raised an amazing and unprecedented $62,600 in two short months. This year, the goal is to raise over $75,000, and she can’t do it without your help.

BvB Dallas is a personal but fun way for young professionals to raise awareness, funds and support to help eradicate this grave disease by donating to the Greater Dallas Area Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Thirty five beautiful, courageous Blondes, 35 beautiful, courageous Brunettes (our favorites) and 30 lucky male “coaches” have each committed to raise $500 in order to participate in this fun but important event.

Mimi succumbed to 10 years of suffering from Alzheimer’s on Mother’s Day last year, so Erin’s efforts in raising money and having a successful event has become even more meaningful for her and her family. Of course Erin, the ultimate party-planner, is in her element! The Finegolds are so proud of her initiative, organization and determination in chairing BvB Dallas.

Join Erin and her family this Saturday, the 15th, for the big game day. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. at SMU’s Westcott Field, with the pre-game show at 7.
Help Erin and her teammates reach their goals. You will be supporting a great cause!

Donations are tax-deductible. If you give $25 or more, you receive free admission to the game and tickets will be available at the gate for $25 each. Visit for tickets and info. Or, you can send a check to: BvB Dallas, c/o Erin Finegold, 4144 N. Central Expwy., Suite 750, Dallas, TX 75204.

Beth Torah Men’s Club lauded
Congregation Beth Torah’s Men’s Club brought home two top awards from July’s national convention of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs in Philadelphia. For the second straight year, they won the Quality Club Award, which recognizes a select group of synagogue men’s clubs around the country for superior programming and leadership. “It’s no accident that this coincides with both years of Rusty Dworkin’s presidency,” said incoming Men’s Club President Mike Precker. “It’s a great tribute to his vision and hard work.”
The national federation also honored Jeff Markowitz with its Ma’asim Tovim (Good Works) award, acknowledging his service to the synagogue and the Jewish community. Jeff is a former Men’s Club president who has been very active in the synagogue and its youth programs for many years. With Ed Matisoff, Jeff initiated and spearheaded the annual Remember the Names program, a 24-hour vigil honoring the victims of the Holocaust. “We’re thrilled, but not surprised, that Jeff’s many achievements and his passion for Jewish life have earned this great honor,” Precker said.

Markowitz, David Kalmeyer and Dave Gerstein represented Beth Torah at the biannual convention. Precker said the honors inspire the new board to build on the Men’s Club legacy. “We’re not in this to win awards,” he added. “We’re in this to enhance synagogue life with a helping hand, meaningful programming and fellowship that builds bonds in our community. But is the recognition nice? Heck, yes, and we’re grateful.”

Leonore Brodsky is recognized for high academic achievement at Smith College
Leonore Elizabeth Brodsky, daughter of Drs. Cynthia Schneidler and James Brodsky of Dallas, was designated a First Group Scholar and was named to the Dean’s List at Smith College for the 2008–09 school year. The Dean’s List recognizes those students with grade point averages of 3.333 or above. First Group Scholars are further acknowledged for their particularly high level of achievement, and they generally represent the top 10 percent of the class.

Leonore graduated from Shelton High School and is a double major in Spanish and education at Smith. She is an elected officer in Franklin King House and will serve as a freshman adviser. Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s best liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 55 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the United States.

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

Memories of ‘The Kluggers’
Milton Mintz was kind enough to send me the accompanyingphoto that I found especially interesting and which brought back so many memories to me. First of all, Milton addressed the picture of “The Kluggers” to “Dear Rene (High Command)” — which was what my hubby, Jimmy Wisch, called me. I always enjoyed the salutation because if there ever was a high command in the Wisch household, it was Jimmy. He was our kingpin and, willingly and lovingly, our lord and master. I think Jimmy had three loves in his life: his family, the TJP, and his poker game and buddies, “The Kluggers.” In case you’ve never heard of “The Kluggers,” it was a group of diehard poker players that, close to 60 years ago, got together weekly to test their luck and play the game.

Most times my memory is better than my forgettery, and yet there are always other times when there’s a blank in what I remember and what I would like to remember. But I do recollect some of the old-timers that played in the early days of “The Kluggers.” They’re all gone now but I do recall the late Jake “Pop” Gachman, Jake Luskey, Abe Applebaum, Ernest Friedson, George Weinstein, Sam Laves, Morris Antweil, Doc Antweil, Sidney Raimey, Irv Leva, Sid Klemow, Gary Baum, Allen Klotzman, Louis Luskey, Max Shapiro and Gary Luskey. Then there are those who for one reason or another have dropped out of the game: Irv Robinson, Milton Hamill, and Shuggie Cohen. Bernie Appel, among others, fills in every once in a while. In the meantime, “The Kluggers” become history each week at host Milton Mintz’s Franklin Park abode; along with veteran player Paul Nudleman, David Beckerman, Al Sankary, Mike Singer, David Canter and Easer Rovinsky participate.

And I know, inadvertently, I’ve missed a few good guys!

Designer eyewear show comes to Fort Worth
On Sunday, Aug. 30 from noon until 4 p.m. you will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with famous designers like Anne Klein, Ferragamo, Prada, Versace and many others when Congregation Ahavath Sholom, in conjunction with Pearle Vision, hosts its premier Eyewear Trunk Show. Event Chair Alex Nason points out, “This will be a great opportunity for the Fort Worth community to see the latest styles of eyewear from the industry’s top designers all in one place. With hundreds of frames on display there will be something for everyone at a variety of price points.” Trunk Show special offers include $50 off complete pairs of prescription glasses and — for the kids — a complete pair of Nickelodeon kids’ glasses (frame and single-vision plastic lenses) for the unbelievably low price of only $99.

“The timing of the Trunk Show couldn’t be better,” adds Co-Chair Debby Rice. “As parents prepare to send their children back to school, new glasses often top the list of things to buy. The Eyewear Trunk Show will be one-stop shopping for glasses for the whole family.”

Eyewear professionals will be on hand to help with the selection and fitting of glasses, and refreshments will be available. Nason and Rice agree that “there is value to the community in providing this service especially at this time of year.” Pearle Vision agrees and is donating 20 percent of the profits earned at the event back to Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Stop by and see how buying new glasses can be fun, economical and of benefit to the community all at the same time.

For questions, call Congregation Ahavath Sholom at 817-731-4721.

More sign up for ‘Daytimers’ trip to Winstar Casino
The “Daytimers” are heading to Winstar Casino, Wednesday, Aug. 19, in a luxurious restroom-equipped bus. The bus will load at the Beth-El Congregation parking lot at 7:45 a.m. and depart at 8. The group has far passed the minimum 40, and is getting close to the 55 limit for the bus. Cost is only $5 per person and must be paid in advance.

Announced last week were Mark Abramowitz, Adele Arensberg, Bob Clemmer, Abe and Lee Cohen, Ellie Cooper, Roberta Corder, Yetta Gresky, Shirley Herman, Ted and Rita Hoffman, Alex Hoffman, Cookie Kaftan, Peter and Carmen Lederman, Rosanne and Bill Margolis, Peggy Norris, Sandy Richard, Rosalyn Rosenthal, Barbara Rubin, Seyman Rubinson, Rosalie Schwartz, Howard and Laura Seltzer, Ina Singer, LeRoy and Rhoda Solomon, Fanette Sonkin and Sonja Stein. New attendees include Bettye Baccus, Kaylynn Dubinsky, Mimi and Hal Klotz, Sheryl Levy, Roz Micklin, Sal and Vicky Mitrani, Evelyne Neimand, Esther Rosen, Danny Russakov, Rose Sankary, Dr. Louis Schultz and Carol Schwartz.

The group will board the bus to return at about 4 p.m. Information that is required in advance for bus manifest is: Name (as it appears on your driver’s license), Address, Phone, Date of Birth, and Do You have a Winstar Player’s Card?

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or $5 checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.

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

News and notes
Annette and Mitchell Smith and daughters Melanie and Courtney are just back from a fabulous Hawaiian vacation. It’s good news that Harry Kahn’s sister, Annie, a Chicago resident and frequent visitor here, is recuperating after her recent illness. Harry and pal Rich Hollander postponed their trip to Israel for after the High Holy Days so that Harry could be with Annie in Chicago. It couldn’t happen to nicer people than grandparents Suzie and Ben Herman and great-grandmother Gerry Brown, walking on air since the birth of twins, Lillian and Asher, to their children, Sean and Sarah Herman of Dallas. Carmen and Pia Lederman are thrilled with the birth of their grandson Joseph Paul Rodriquez, who delighted his parents with his arrival on June 5. Joseph Paul weighed in at a just-right 7 lbs. 4 oz. Rabbi Baruch and Graciela Zeilicovich shared their annual vacation retreat in Aruba with their parents, Mrs. Clara Zeilicovich of Israel and Argentineans Isaac and Carlota Lev-Vainstein. Anniversary couples who came in for recognition at Shabbat services at Ahavath Shalom last week included Shirley and Earl Givant, Rita and Ted Hoffman, Marian and Julian Haber and Lee and Abe Cohen. Mazel tov to all!

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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Name: Leah Fay Blum. Age: 14. Description: Outgoing, athletic, friendly. Died: Suddenly, on July 22.
A tree limb — 51 feet long, four feet around — fell more than 30 feet with no warning. And it killed her.

Leah was having a happy time at a camp near Morgantown, W.Va. A camp owned and operated by the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh, Pa. A camp with a century-long history of happy, healthy summers. It’s the camp I went to as a child, that I later returned to as a counselor.

Today’s site is different from when I knew it; the camp moved to this more countrified location in 1972. It had begun as a fresh-air getaway from crowded city neighborhoods for immigrant mothers and their children, sponsored by a venerable old-time settlement house; as the immigrants acculturated and their babies grew, it morphed into a kids’ camp. But in those “olden days,” the setting wasn’t rural and woodsy. Everyone was housed in long wooden bunk buildings that resembled an army base or a prison: boys’ accommodations in a straight line on one side of a flat central rectangle, girls’ the same, facing the others. At one of the short ends: the central dining hall, administration building, nurse’s quarters. In front: the flagpole, for daily raising with the Pledge, lowering with “Taps.” At the other end, counselors’ sleeping quarters. Very spare, utilitarian, almost barren.

Yet it was beautiful! No one had ever been unhappy there. No one had ever died there…

The settlement house, long gone, was founded by a wealthy family and named after one of its women, Irene. The camp was named after another, Emma. Its formal name is still Emma Kaufmann Camp. But informally, it’s now what it always was: “Emma Farm.” That barren square had no animals, but it was still a “farm” for those to whom it represented a bit of country living.

Today, it’s referred to as “EKC,” as in the news story that announced Leah Blum’s death. On its Web site: “EKC’s emphasis is placed on Jewish values, informal education, Shabbat celebrations….” All just the way things always were.

But some things changed with the venue. Now there’s a special Teen Village for kids at the upper end of the 7-to-16 camper age range; those who will be in ninth and 10th grades when they return to school in the fall are the privileged ones. Leah, who had just graduated from middle school, was among them this summer. She had been on her eighth-grade basketball team and sang in the chorus. She had many friends. She was looking forward…

Teen Village features tents arranged in little quartets: six or so campers in each of three, staff members in the fourth. Every “quad” is separated from the others by woodsy, green space. There are many trees, tall old trees. Healthy trees. The local sheriff, inspecting the scene afterward, noted that it had rained there earlier that day. But, “Believe me,” he was quoted as saying, “it was not enough to break off a 4-foot-round tree limb.” That limb flattened two tents when it fell, but harmed no one except Leah.

The people who saw freed her, quickly reached the camp’s medical staff (there’s more than a nurse on site these days) who gave first aid, called 911. Leah was rushed to the nearest hospital, and there she died.

It’s a tribute to her, and EKC, that none of the other 380 campers wanted to go home after the tragedy. They cried, but they stayed. One mother said “It could have been any one of our children. My daughter lives in a tent, too. But I knew they wouldn’t want to leave. They are there with their support system — their friends, their peers, counselors they have known and loved for years.” Immediately, 90 per cent of the camp’s scheduled activities resumed. Grief counselors, quick on the scene, took care of the other 10 per cent.

I didn’t know Leah. I don’t know her family. But I know Temple Emanuel in Pittsburgh, so I can picture her funeral service. The last time I was there was years ago, about the time Leah Blum was born. The occasion was the wedding of a first cousin, once removed. She has her own children now; the oldest isn’t much younger than Leah was at the time of her death.

I salute the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and its reporters Michael Fuoco and Victor Zapana for their sensitive, compassionate coverage of this sad story.


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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
Recently a non-Jewish friend asked me why someone would want to convert to Judaism. Although I could think of a lot of reasons, I’m not sure which one was the best. What would your answer be?
Thank you,
Courtney R.

Dear Courtney,
First I would ask, what is your motivation? If it is to try to find good reasons to reach out to Gentiles to convert, that runs contrary to Jewish custom, which is to dissuade Gentiles from converting. The Talmud and ­Midrash learn this from Naomi’s attempt to dissuade her daughter-in-law Ruth from converting to Judaism. Only when she saw that, despite her attempts, Ruth remained adamant in her desire to convert, did she accept her to go through the conversion process.

The reason for this is twofold. One is to ensure the dedication of the conversion candidate. If, despite repeated discouragement, the potential candidate is not dissuaded, this speaks a lot for their commitment to follow through and continue to observe the many requirements incumbent upon a Jew throughout their lives.
Secondly, this stems from the worldview of Judaism vis-à-vis the Gentile world. Unlike most religions which maintain that the only ticket to heaven is through conversion to their religion, Judaism affords a portion in the next world to Gentiles as well. As long as a Gentile observes the seven “Noahide Laws,” he will attain bliss in heaven (albeit not in the same “box seats” as the righteous Jews). Better to remain an observant Gentile, having to observe only seven laws, than risk becoming an un-righteous Jew, missing out on some of the 613 mitzvot!

Furthermore, Judaism, the Torah, was presented only to the Jews at Sinai to become the Chosen People, charged with the mission of being a light among the nations. We are to lead and inspire by example for the rest of the world to become cognizant of G-d’s Presence and all that entails. G-d’s plan and purpose was not to have the entire world Jewish, rather that there be a world of leaders and followers in His footsteps. (Or, as one rabbi put it, if the whole world was Jewish, who would buy retail?).

When, however, we ascertain that a Gentile is truly sincere in his or her desire to join the Jewish people, we inform them of the unique and intimate loving relationship that the Al-mighty has forged with “My son, My firstborn son, Israel” (Exodus 4:22).

We explain to the potential convert that when the Jewish people stood at Sinai, they were endowed with unique souls, fit to become receptacles for the intense spiritual energy of the Torah they were about to receive. When one converts, the moment of conversion becomes the convert’s own, private Sinai experience. At that moment, the Al-mighty is said to endow the convert with one of those unique souls that, present at Sinai, are awaiting their opportunity to join with a mortal person and enter the stage of history as a Jew. This affords the recipient the possibility of transcending the shackles of this world and connecting to a higher essence, living a life of complete holiness and purity.

There have been converts throughout Jewish history who have attained the highest level of scholarship and greatness. Take, for example, the renowned convert from Roman nobility, Unkelos Ha-Ger, whose commentary to the Torah has become part of Jewish law for Jews worldwide to study along with the weekly Torah portion. If one is sincere, the sky is the limit!

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

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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

Dear Families,
Each summer we focus on values that we can DO! At the J camps, all the children and the families get involved. There is a little learning, a little thinking and then a lot of doing! The value for this week is: hiddur p’nai zaken, honoring the elderly.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav said, “The prosperity of a country is in accordance with the treatment of its aged.” How do we treat older people today? We are definitely not as sensitive as Judaism expects us to be. Leviticus 19:32 says, “Rise before the aged and show respect to the elderly.” We are to treat older adults with respect — we should remember that wisdom is gained through life experience. There is so much for us to learn from a senior adult.

The first Jewish home for the aged in the United States was established in St. Louis in 1855. However, most seniors live in their own homes for as long as they can. At the JCC, seniors come daily for activity and involvement in all sorts of programs. We need to take the opportunity to learn from our seniors.

Do not reject us in our old age; do not abandon us when our strength has left us. Even in old age with gray hair, do not abandon me until I have declared Your strength to the next generation, Your might to everyone that has yet to come. — Psalm 71:9-10

Even in old age righteous people will continue to bear fruit; they will be full of vigor and strength. — Psalm 92

• The Book of Job (12:12) states that “with the aged comes wisdom, and length of days brings understanding.” Do you agree?
• Pirke Avot 4:25 says: Elisha ben Abuya said, “When a person learns something while still a youth, it is similar to ink written on new paper. When a person learns something as an old person, it is like writing with ink on paper that has already been erased.” What is that telling us?
• Talk about how the elderly are viewed on TV and in the movies. Is it positive or negative? Why?

Do something ‘Jewish unplugged’
Judaism is a historical religion; our history is our story. Today we can watch movies that share our history. Find a Jewish movie (there are lots, from cartoons to much more serious subjects). Watch together and talk about it. The generations may have different perspectives to share.

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

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Guess who made a match in Israel?

Guess who made a match in Israel?

Posted on 13 August 2009 by admin

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By Deb Silverthorn

Ahava, the Hebrew word for love, could have been the subtitle of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas 1979 Teen Tour Reunion. The 30th anniversary event brought together close to 40 of the original 60 or so participants in the program. Amongst the memory makers at the June 20 event at Two Rows Restaurant in Addison were Vicki and Paul Friedman, Marcia and Larry Levine, and Ruth and Mark Schor, all of whom met through the Teen Tour and subsequently married.

Ruth Solomon and Mark Schor were madrichim (counselors) on the 1978 program — Mark, a W.T. White graduate; Ruth, from Israel. In the year that followed, a lifetime ago without Facebook and e-mail, the two exchanged snail-mail letters across the Atlantic. “I would write to Ruth and, because her English wasn’t too strong at the time, she and a friend would translate them together and the friend would help her write back,” said Mark, then a North Texas University graduate student. “When I made arrangements to return on the ‘79 tour, she did the same.”

Ruth, the longtime director of the Learning Center at Congregation Beth Torah, came to visit Mark in Dallas, and on Nov. 24, 1979 the two were married. Parents of Julian, Aviv (who as little ones returned with their parents when Mark led the Teen Tour in 1989 and 1992) and Adam, the couple had a special time attending the reunion. “For us to grow further into our adulthood over 30 years was one thing, but when we walked into the restaurant, and saw a room full of 16-year-olds now 46, it was something else,” Mark said. “Once we looked into their eyes, though, we saw the kids who witnessed our courtship and with whom we shared a great summer. It was really beautiful.”

When 16-year-old Vicki Small went on the 1979 Teen Tour, she went with jitters created at a pre-trip orientation. “We all sat around in a circle and did an icebreaker where we had to talk about the person next to us,” said the future Mrs. Paul Friedman, who now lives in Rochester, Minn. “When it was Paul’s turn to talk about me he had one thing to say: ‘She’s got the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen.’ I went home that night and told my mom I’d met the man I was going to marry.”

Perhaps forethought, perhaps wishful thinking — but in fact Vicki and Paul did marry in 1985 and go on to create a family that includes Lindsay, Hannah and Maddy. The family has lived in Rochester for 15 years and has been instrumental in the building of the new B’nai Israel Synagogue and Dan Abraham Jewish Cultural Center.

“We’ve always made sure to be connected to the Jewish community, even here where it’s very small, and we’ve done so on purpose,” Vicki said. “Our daughter Hannah spent part of her high school career at the Eisendrath International Exchange, a high school exchange program in Israel, and our Maddy committed to a bat mitzvah project by working with ‘A Package from Home’ (, which sends letters and supplies to Israeli soldiers. Our oldest, Lindsay, went on Birthright in January and, while it’s new, is now dating someone she met through that program. Who knows what her future will bring?

“The camaraderie of climbing Masada, of being in the Dead Sea, of praying at the Kotel — this was an amazing part of our life. That we share it together forever, and had the chance to ‘go back’ in memories with so many friends, was something very special.”
Marcia Prager was a year younger than her future husband, Larry Levine, but the two first traveled together on Teen Tour and later had their own reunion at UT-Austin, where they began dating. Married in 1985, the couple also has three children: Jennifer, who has participated in Birthright Israel; Lindsay; and Carly.

“When Jennifer went on Birthright I couldn’t help but reminisce about our Teen Tour,” said Marcia, who coordinated the reunion with Steve Berger, Deborah Hacker Lashefsky and Larry Taub.

“It was an incredible summer with great people and a great experience. A few people had stayed in touch through the years but it was really cool for those who were able to come together with people living all over the country including Dallas, Minnesota, New York, Phoenix and San Diego. I can tell you it won’t be another 30 years before we do it again!”

“I believe that a trip to Israel is one of the strongest factors in the continuation of American Jewry,” Mark Schor said. “To have Jewish people come together in marriage as a result of a trip to Israel is an added mitzvah.”

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 06 August 2009 by admin

JCC Senior Dance Night, Aug. 19
By popular demand, the JCC, in partnership with The Temple Emanu-El Couples Club is repeating a Senior Dance Night on Wednesday, Aug. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m., in the Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family JCC. This event is open to the public. Cost is $5 per person and includes a free ballroom dance lesson, live music and light refreshments.
Celebrate summer and meet new friends at the JCC! For more information, contact Anna or Heather at 214-239-7119 or visit the JCC Web site, Temple Emanu-El members may also contact Temple Emanu-El Couples Club Presidents Buddy and Renee Gilbert, 972-239-0022.

Tiny Treasures at CSI
On Sunday, July 26, at Congregation Shearith Israel, 40 adults, toddlers and babies had brunch together. The babies are part of CSI’s new class of Tiny Treasures. The Tiny Treasures ceremony honors and celebrates families whose babies were born from August of the preceding year to the end of July of the current year. Each year the families are asked to come to a special service on a Saturday morning in the sanctuary. This fall the program will occur on Oct. 31, Parashat Lech Lecha. Family and friends are encouraged to join in as the youngest members of the synagogue are invited to the bimah.
At the brunch, CSI Rabbis David Glickman and Joseph Menashe welcomed the families; Young Families Program Director Esther Wolf explained to them a little about the service. Young families enjoyed good food and the companionship of others who are going through the same joys and stresses of a new baby.

Five-star Legacy at Willow Bend receives OK from Texas Dept. of State Health Services
The Legacy at Willow Bend has received a deficiency-free inspection rating in assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The community opened in April 2008, and is the only new health services facility in Collin County to be deficiency- and complaint-free in the first year of operation. In addition, the community is a five-star rated Medicare facility.

“With over 340 admissions to date, our community has successfully operated without a single complaint to the Texas Department of State Health Services,” said Michael Ellentuck, president of The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. “This feat is remarkable, and we will continue to provide the highest level of care available in Collin County.”

The inspection process lasted three full days and included a four-person survey team from the Texas Department of State Health Services. The survey team observed care practices by The Legacy at Willow Bend staff; met with residents and their families; reviewed medical charts; tested staff members on emergency evacuation plans; reviewed operational and admissions policies; evaluated staff requirements and training; and more. In every category inspected, The Legacy at Willow Bend was found to be in complete compliance with state and federal requirements.

While receiving deficiency-free inspections in assisted living and memory support is not unusual in an ongoing operating community, this was the first survey of The Legacy at Willow Bend.

“The community opened with an entirely new set of staff members, policies, procedures and practices, so to accomplish deficiency-free results across all levels of care is outstanding,” said Lisa Samuels, health services administrator of The Legacy at Willow Bend.

The mission of the Texas Department of State Health Services is to ensure the health and well-being of Texans by monitoring health services and practices, and providing comprehensive health-related information and resources. For more information, please visit

The Legacy at Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, is situated on a 28-acre site at Spring Creek Parkway between Preston Road and Ohio Drive. It offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site. The community features 103 independent living apartment homes, 12 custom independent living villas, 40 assisted living apartment homes, 18 memory support suites, and 60 private skilled health care suites. For information, call 972-468-6208, or visit

New interfaith program at Congregation Beth Torah
A free, interfaith effort called “Connecting Our Faiths” has set Sunday, Aug. 16, 3 to 5 p.m., for the first of a new program series in North Dallas, to be held at Congregation Beth Torah, 720 Lookout Drive, Richardson.
Topic will be “How Abraham Is Viewed in Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” Speakers include Rabbi Adam Raskin of the host congregation, Rev. Doug Skinner of Northway Christian Church and Imam Muhammad Shakoor of Masjid (mosque) Warith D. Mohammed. The day’s “added attraction”: Rabbi Raskin will show everyone the Torah scrolls after the program.

“Connecting Our Faiths” also offers a South Dallas program series, which began on the evening of July 26 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Duncanville. The topic was the same as the north program, with Christian emphasis on the Mormon faith, since this marked the first Mormon participation in ongoing COF programming. Presenters included Rabbi Murray Berger, now serving Temple Mizpah in Abilene; President Barry Smith of the host church; and Imam Shakoor. The “added attraction”: Individuals from the host church’s Family History Center gave tours and told attendees how they can trace their own family histories.

Further information on the “Connecting Our Faiths” series is available from Alexis Yancey, 214-335-4744, or

Dallas program wins grant to fight childhood obesity
Food + Fun = Fit, a multicultural, bilingual program, for Dallas preschoolers that teaches healthy food choices and promotes fitness, has been awarded a $10,000 grant by General Mills Inc. The program is a project of the Greater Dallas Section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW,, a progressive women’s organization that advocates for women and families. It is part of the HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youth, curriculum at six schools in the Dallas and Richardson school districts.

“More than 20 percent of Dallas children between 2 and 5 have a body mass index that is nearly double what it should be,” said NCJW President Cheryl Pollman. “Statistics tell us that this may very well be the first generation of children who are likely to have shorter life spans than their parents. This should be unacceptable to our community.”

The grant will allow NCJW to continue the program. The first round, which began midway through the school year, included a variety of lifestyle education initiatives designed to be put into practice at home. Participants received pedometers and were taught how to keep track of daily steps to ensure a more active lifestyle. Other tools included music and encouragement for families to dance; notebooks with colorful, bilingual handouts; and cooking demonstrations with healthy recipes. The program culminated in a grocery tour, where each participant received $15 to purchase food from each of the four food groups. At a final get-together, students in the program were asked to bring a dish unique to their culture, prepared in a new, healthy way.

By summertime, parents were already beginning to see weight loss and a greater sense of well-being through increased physical activity. “Food + Fit = Fun provides a road map for the path to a healthier lifestyle for families,” Pollman said.
The General Mills Champions for Healthy Kids Program this year awarded a total of $500,000 in grants to 50 community-based organizations across the U.S. with programs that support young people in living healthy, active lifestyles. The Champions for Healthy Kids initiative is a partnership of the General Mills Foundation, the American Dietetic Association Foundation (ADAF) and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. Since 2002, General Mills has invested more than $18 million in overall youth nutrition and fitness programs that have served more than 3.5 million children nationwide.

Weinstein home chosen for Yard of the Month
Dr. Howard and Debbie Weinstein were ecstatic when their North Dallas home was chosen as July Yard of the Month. There is no doubt that Dr. Weinstein has a green thumb; gardening has been a labor of love for many years. The Weinsteins have lived in Dallas for 25 years and are members at Congregation Shearith Israel.

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 06 August 2009 by admin

Leon Brachman celebrates his 89th with family and friends
Last Saturday morning was exceptionally pleasant as I enjoyed the Shabbat service at Ahavath Sholom, hearing Leon Brachman recite his bar mitzvah maftir from 76 years ago as well as greeting so many dear friends.
Todd and I reminisced on the way back to our Dallas home — the crowning surprise was when, in front of our house, was a big sign saying “Yard of the Month.” It was a dream, or a wish, that I had often hoped for and this time, it was a reality, totally unexpected. At the Shabbat service, Rabbi Z spoke about love and passion, what each one takes out or brings into our lives.

Todd Jordan has the passion and love for what he does; he’s an accomplished talented landscaper, among all the many other attributes he has.

Thanks, Todd, for fulfilling one of the dreams of Rene Wisch.

That evening at the Brachman home, a large group of friends and family extended their good wishes to Leon. Among them were Laurie and Lon Werner, Rhoda and Howard Bernstein, Karen Kaplan, Rich Hollander, Rabbi Z, Martin and Ava Beleck, Linda and Eby Lavi, Marla and Foster Owen, Ellen and Bernie Appel, Cynthia and Burton  Gilbert, Sarabetty Gilbert, Horty Deifik, Roz Rosenthal, Barbara Rubin, Hollace and Bruce Weiner, Bessie Bodzy, Elsie Blum, Nancy and Jim Stansbury and so many more.

Noticeably absent were Leon’s neighbors, Greta and David Beckerman, who, with their daughter and family, Heidi and Michael Kirby and sons Daniel and Matthew, were in Andover, Mass., at the home of their daughter and family, Iris and Sid Newman, celebrating the college graduation of their granddaughter Jill Newman from U of Mass.

‘Daytimers’ are heading to Winstar Casino on Aug. 19
The “Daytimers” are heading to Winstar Casino, Wednesday, Aug. 19, in a luxurious restroom-equipped bus. The bus will load at the Beth-El Congregation parking lot at 7:45 a.m., and depart at 8 a.m. Minimum number for the bus is 40 people; maximum, 55. Cost is only $5 per person and must be paid in advance.

On last year’s Winstar trip there were five winners over $100. Three-fourths of the seats on the bus are already filled. Signed up so far are Mark Abramowitz, Adele Arensberg, Bob Clemmer, Abe and Lee Cohen, Ellie Cooper, Roberta Corder, Yetta Gresky, Shirley Herman, Ted and Rita Hoffman, Alex Hoffman, Cookie Kaftan, Peter and Carmen Lederman, Rosanne and Bill Margolis, Roz Micklin, Peggy Norris, Sandy Richard, Rosalyn Rosenthal, Barbara Rubin, Seyman Rubinson, Rose Sankary, Lewis Schwartz, Rosalie Schwartz, Howard and Laura Seltzer, Ina Singer, Leroy and Rhoda Solomon, Fannette Sonkin and Sonja Stein.

The group will board the bus to return at about 4 p.m. Information that is required in advance for the bus manifest is: Name (as it appears on your driver’s license), Address, Phone, Date of Birth, and Do you have a Winstar Player’s Card?
For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or $5 checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.

The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Congregation Beth-El with financial support from the Jewish Federation.
Sheri Allen is new part-time spiritual leader at Beth Shalom

Congregation Beth Shalom of Arlington has announced the hiring of Cantorial Intern Sheri Allen as its spiritual leader, commencing with services Aug. 14–15. A native of Chicago, Ill., Allen previously co-led High Holy Day services with (now) Rabbi Emeritus Ned Soltz the last two years prior to assuming her current position. She moved to the Fort Worth area 16 years ago with her husband Richard, a professor at TCU, and their three children. She has been involved with the Tarrant County Jewish community since.

Beth Shalom is excited about their future and the possibilities that it creates as Sheri brings her own skill set, ideas and energy to the pulpit.

The Sisterhood is sponsoring a free salad and potato bar dinner in Sheri’s honor on Friday evening, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. for all Beth Shalom members. Reservations are a must. Services begin at 7:30. Contact Executive Director Janet Aaronson in the Beth Shalom office at 817-860-5448, or by e-mail at

Cantorial Intern Allen will also lead services Saturday morning the 15th at 10 a.m. Torah study begins at 9. The community is invited to attend as they welcome Cantorial Intern Sheri Allen to Congregation Beth Shalom.

News and notes
Speedy recovery wishes to Ron Stockwell, Monica Braverman, Madlyn Barnett and Sandra Luskey, recovering from knee replacement surgery. Hal Radetsky, who has been recuperating from his recent illness in Dallas, will become a resident of the plush Legacy at Willow Bend in Plano. Barbara Rubin, who looks forward to entertaining her 13-year-old grandson, Jacob Wiese, is planning his entertainment during his weeklong visit. A canoeing trip, and the unique movie at the Kimball Museum, “Butchers, Dragons, Gods and Skeletons,” are on the agenda. Jacob is the son of Janice Rubin and Charles Wiese of Houston. Which reminds your scribe that Jacob’s granddad, Sherwin Rubin, is vacationing in Jamaica. Dr. Carole

Rogers, senior director at Jewish Family Services, is just back from a Florida visit with her grandparents.
Send us your news and photos: We would like to hear from our readers about their simchas, mitzvahs, honors, trips, guests, special events. Please send your news to or call Rene: 817-927-2831.

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