Archive | June, 2010


Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 17 June 2010 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

This year, I asked our pre-K children, “What is a prayer?” They immediately started sharing different blessings. Even at age 4, they know the importance of blessings in Judaism — and we say a lot of them in a day at school! Blessings are a way of saying thank you to G-d for all the wonderful things we have in our lives. After we talked about all the blessings we know and use, I said to the children, “Blessings are an important way to say thank you to G-d, but what about asking G-d for something?” The children were sure that you couldn’t ask G-d for toys, but what if you wanted to go to the park with your friend and it was raining — could you pray to G-d that it would stop raining? Of course, the children agreed, because G-d makes the rain. That answer led to the question, “So what happens if it doesn’t stop raining? Does that mean that G-d isn’t listening?” The answer was amazing from such young children. “G-d was listening, but G-d probably knew that the trees and the flowers needed the rain more.”

Jewish prayer is both formalized and personal. Joel Lurie Grishaver said, “I learned to say brachot at the dinner table and I learned to pray on the ballfield.” There are times in our lives when spontaneous prayer is needed and bursts forth from us. However, Jewish prayer is formal in design, and in time and space. We pray at certain times and in Hebrew. The standard format for prayer is: Praise, ask, thank! During communal prayer, we ask as a community for very specific things. But, we should not forget to include our personal requests before ending our formal prayer.

Now there are many questions about prayer from children and adults: Does G-d hear? Does G-d answer? And, if not, why bother? Prayer is communication and communication builds a relationship. As we become comfortable with “talking to G-d,” we build our relationship with G-d. We become comfortable with the words of prayer and reaching out. Why is this important? As a musician, I have long understood the importance of practice. If we don’t practice, we will not be ready for the performance. If we don’t practice prayer, we are not ready when we need it.

Back to our children — each day at school, we say blessings, we pray and we talk about G-d.  They are so comfortable with “G-d talk” because they have a relationship with G-d. Isn’t it wonderful that they can understand that G-d might have other reasons for making the rain?  That is what faith is all about! I pray that our children will always have faith and a relationship with G-d.

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

Comments (0)

Pro-Israel solidarity rally draws more than 1,000

Pro-Israel solidarity rally draws more than 1,000

Posted on 17 June 2010 by admin

[nggallery id=54]
By Deb Silverthorn

From the youngest members of the community in strollers to a great number of seniors, more than 1,000 people sat, stood and cheered with signs, Israeli flags and an unbridled spirit on Sunday afternoon, June 13. The sanctuary of Congregation Anshai Torah was host to a Community Gathering in Solidarity for the State of Israel, sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas, in cooperation with JCRC member organizations.

“Throughout the year, the JCRC works hard to bring together those from different faiths and backgrounds, creating programming and projects of common concern,” said Marlene Gorin, executive director of the JCRC, who, with the help of many, including JCRC Israel Commission Chair Susie Avnery and Federation Program Associates Meghan Traxler, Marc Jacobson and Jeana Plas, coordinated the program. “It is only through truly getting to know each other that we can call on our interfaith community to stand with us in times like this. We must let those in Israel know — our friends and family, and we are all family — that we support them from afar and that we are here for them.”

Program participants included Stephanie Hirsh, JCRC chair; Alice Murray, president and CEO, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance; Jeff Rasansky, chairman-elect, JFGD; Ana Cristina Reymundo, editor, Nexos Spanish in-flight magazine/American Airlines and member of the AJC Latino Alliance on Immigration; Dr. Zev Shulkin, former member of the JCRC’s Israel Commission; Rabbi Stefan Weinberg. Congregation Anshai Torah; Rabbi Howard Wolk, community chaplain, Jewish Family Service, who led the Prayer for Israel; and Cantor Itzhak Zhrebker, Congregation Shearith Israel, who led the “Star-Spangled Banner,” “Hatikvah,” “Shir LaShalom,” “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” and a spirited audience singing “Am Yisrael Chai” at the end of the program.

“As its name suggests, the JCRC is the community relations arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, and it takes seriously its responsibility to coordinate, facilitate and build consensus for action on issues of communal concern as they relate to social action, public policy, Israel and other appropriate topics of local, national and international policy,” said Stephanie Hirsch, who sent regrets on behalf of Israel Consul General Asher Yamir, who was unable to attend. “While there may be times that we disagree on isolated issues with our brothers and sisters, we do not waver on our support for the security and survival of the state of Israel. Each time we are called to offer our support for Israel, we do so with pride and honor.”

“We are extremely fortunate that our work allows us to convene our community in times of crisis, celebration and commemoration and allows us to build, maintain and join coalitions to promote effective action and opportunities for community involvement,” Jeff Rasansky said. “Do not lose sight of why we are here; it is not to debate politics, not to discuss right and wrong, not to solve the Middle East crisis — but to stand united and strong for our homeland.

“As Jews, regardless of our beliefs or how we choose to connect to Israel, it takes an extremely narrow view back into our history, or even in just the last few weeks, to know and recognize that we are always at risk, whether it’s risk of hatred or risk of annihilation,” Rasansky said. “The presence of Israel provides a source of pride, comfort and security to every single Jew in the world. We know that if Israel does not exist, if others are successful in tearing or beating us down, continuing to spread false lies and untrue rumors, sooner or later, our lives will be different, less comfortable, less safe, and less secure.”

“Three hundred or so were gathered to voice their support for the Hamas-led Gaza government; the signs they held were striking and chilling,” said Dr. Zev Shulkin, who spoke of witnessing pro-Palestinian activists protesting at Dealey Plaza last week. “Zionism equals terrorism, Zionism equals racism. Another had the word Zionism on one side and a swastika on the other,” he said. “These were all on display in downtown Dallas as cars drove by honking, businesspeople and civic leaders walked by on their way home from work.

“One can dismiss their viewpoints as extreme or choose to ignore them, a fatal mistake. The answer is we stand across the street and celebrate Israel,” Dr. Shulkin added. “We celebrate the ability of our oppressed people to defend themselves, something we have been unable to do until very recently. We celebrate the greening of lands that have been deserted for millennia. We celebrate Nobel Prize winners, medical, agricultural and technological innovations. We celebrate a thriving economy that seeks better ways to utilize solar energy to achieve petroleum independence. We celebrate women’s rights and democracy, and while the protesters stand across the street and hurl insults and spew hate, we stand proud of what our little country, our little strip of land, has created.”

“I was born in Mexico; I am an immigrant and the daughter of parents who worked as a dishwasher and a housekeeper. My mother used to call herself a ‘toilet scrubber,’ but if you knew her you would call her wise, imaginative and kind. My father, whose fingers I saw bleed from the hot water and the winter cold, was strong, honest and he held our family together; he was our patriarch,” Ana Cristina Reymundo said. “The sun shines on all, on good and on evil, on the poor and the rich. The sun doesn’t hide its light. And neither should we.

“What do Jews and non-Jewish Latinos have in common? Family is central to our identity. We say familia, you say mishpachah,” Reymundo said. “I find the term family value an odd one because for you and me, family is the core of our identity and transcends the individual to a community and to a people.

“We too have experienced a diaspora,” continued Reymundo, who also sits on the board of trustees of the American Immigration Council and the board of advisers of the Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT. “Like you, we have a connection to a land other than the U.S. and we understand the tug of a homeland on our heart. We immigrate in search of a better life for ourselves and our children; we do not forsake our traditions or customs and, like you, we pray for the peace and prosperity of our homeland. And like you, we have enriched culturally and economically the lands that have become our new homes, and we have often faced aggression, bigotry, violence and sometimes exploitation. We are a natural ally; reach out to us.”

Questioning whether or not there is there a parallel between the recent flotilla incident and the Arizona anti-immigrant law, Reymundo suggested, “Perhaps, as both incidents have galvanized folks on both sides of the issue.

“This law is touted as a border security response but the anti-immigrant and specifically the anti-Mexican rhetoric from supporters of the measure demonstrate how easily bigotry can be disguised in a cloak of legitimacy,” she said. “There are those who would pass human rights resolutions against Israel, all the while committing the most egregious violations themselves. It behooves us to keep in mind that discrimination can be institutionalized and this great nation of ours has a history of race-based discrimination. Let us also understand that a right not defended is not a right at all, for it cannot defend us.

“We either defend our rights or we waive them. And we must teach our children that it is the duty of each successive generation to defend those rights,” Reymundo said. “We CANNOT allow any law to sanction discrimination against any group. State-sanctioned discrimination gradually desensitizes the citizens. Given enough time, it will lead to extermination. We stand with you as brothers, sisters, allies. Where one is not free, no one is free. We are here; reach out to us.”

“We are dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and to teaching the moral and ethical response to prejudice, hatred and indifference, for the benefit of all humanity,” Alice Murray said. “We teach of being Upstanders and that means standing up — as we are today for Israel. Each year we welcome more than 50,000 guests, more than 90 percent of whom are not Jewish; students from public and private schools, tourists and others who come to learn. They all care.”

“Hatred isn’t a Jewish subject,” Murray, an Irish Catholic who has devoted herself to the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance’s mission, said through tears. “When any one person is threatened, the whole of humanity is threatened.”

Rabbi Weinberg, speaking on behalf of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas and as host rabbi, noted that Sunday was Rosh Chodesh and that we should be out celebrating. “‘Zeh hayom asah Adonai, nagilah v’nismikha bo — this is the day that G-d made, let us rejoice and be happy on it.’ But it is not our prerogative; Israel needs us. We need each other. And, we must be resolute in our stance.

“The past few weeks have weighed heavily on our souls. Israel has been under verbal attack. The nations of the world have been lining up against her,” Rabbi Weinberg said. ”The American Jewish community has not been left off the radar. The streams of video seem to defy all logic and reason and facts don’t matter. Pictures don’t even matter. Anything to support one’s view of the world, skewed or not, is all that seems to raise everyone’s blood pressure. We are entangled in a PR war and we are losing that war. Everything Israel does, can be and is used against her. Everything we can do, can be used against us.

“We cannot win this war alone,” Rabbi Weinberg added. “We need our president and his cabinet. We need our congressmen. We need our fellow clergy. We need our friends in different ethnic demographics, and we need students to engage students. We need Jewish soccer moms to educate other moms and we need Jewish men on the golf course to tell our narrative. We need to support the JCRC and our Federation, we need to support AIPAC and AJC and every organization that is politically involved. We need to educate ourselves and tell our story with pride. We need to take back the initiative and lead with resolve. We are the inheritors of an extraordinary legacy. In spite of a history far too often punctuated with powerlessness and wandering, we have always kept our focus on the spiritual dimension of life. It has been our people’s greatest gift to the world.”

“I am so proud of our community, of Jews and non-Jews who came together in an afternoon of magnificent support,” said Gary Weinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “We don’t support terrorism, we won’t support terrorism and today was about getting that message out, loud and clear.”

Dallasites in strong numbers have always made pilgrimages to Israel and, in just the last months, there have been Federation-sponsored missions, congregational tours and individual family simcha visits. Students of middle school, high school and college have traveled on Birthright-sponsored tours, the March of the Living and Levine Academy’s senior class tour, and more than half of Yavneh Academy’s graduating seniors will spend a year studying, working and traveling throughout the country. “Next to getting on a plane and landing in eretz Yisrael, coming together here in our own community is tops,” Weinstein said.

“I think the local support is important because it shows a true microcosm of support where you know who the people are and it puts a face on them,” said former Dallas resident Roma Yee in an online interview from Israel, as she  finishes three years of service as a combat soldier in the Israel Defense Forces. Having made aliyah, Yee will begin studies at Hebrew University in the fall. “The idea that if I come and visit and hear ‘We are behind what you are doing and proud of you,’ gives me an incentive to continue what I am doing, whether it’s serving in the IDF or just living my day-to-day life here.”

In closing, referring to next week’s Torah portion of Balak, Rabbi Weinberg spoke the words of the prophet Micah: “‘Umah doresh mimka, ki im asot mishpat v’ahavat chesed, v’hatznea lekhet im Elohecha — What does the Lord require of you? Only to do justice, to love goodness and to walk modestly with your G-d.’ May we always express this voice of justice with clarity, passion and dignity.”

For information about how to become involved with the Jewish Community Relations Council, call 214-615-5254 or visit the Web site at For information on the community’s other organizations, call the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas at 214-369-3313.

Comments (1)


Dallas Doings

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

Temple Emanu-El Couples Club installs new officers

At the recent 21st anniversary of Temple Emanu-El Couples Club, Nelda and Stan Golden installed the new slate of officers for 2010.  New Officers are Joan and Malcolm Shwarts, presidents; Jeanne and Ronnie Isaacson presidents elect; Elaine and Bernie Weil and Linda and Bernie Goldman, co-vice presidents (Social); Blanche and Sol Weinberger and Sarah Yarrin and Jack Repp, co-vice presidents (Membership); Carole and Berry Cohen, secretaries; Sandra and Dan Gorman, treasurers; Renee and Buddy Gilbert, parliamentarians; Joyce and Jerry Zellman, sunshine; Frances Sue and Morton Schneider, publicity; Edie and Paul Singer, historians.

Everyone enjoyed dinner catered by Maggiano’s, and the music provided by Norma Valles.  The Couples Club is a social club with the purpose to have an opportunity to make new friends and reconnect with past acquaintances.  Couples with one person 50 or older interested in joining this club should call the membership vice presidents at 972-934-9681 or 214-361-0486.

Tzvi Eliezer Rich named winner of Artscroll drawing contest

Mazel Tov to Torah Day School of Dallas 8th grader, Tzvi  Eliezer Rich, son of Rabbi Yaakov and Susan Rich who has been named the winner of Artscroll’s worldwide drawing contest.

The contest requirement was to think of a possible new book for Artscroll, and to create a book cover for it.  Tzvi Eliezer chose to illustrate a cover for a book on the Holocaust called “Survivors: 50 Stories about People Who Survived.”

Artscroll’s Web site says that “The response to ArtScroll’s Write, Draw, and Win contest, for grades 1 – 8, was stupendous! With more than 1,260 creative and imaginative entries, from more than 100 schools around the world, it was a tough call for the judges – but we tried hard to pick the best of the best. We should all be proud of the great talent of the students in our schools.”

Ann and Nate Levine Academy offers cheerleading to youngsters

Cheerleading. Not a typical extracurricular activity at a Jewish day school—unless your school is Ann and Nate Levine Academy. This past school year, as part of its extensive Educare Program, (and through the summer months, as part of its Speciality Camp) Levine Academy offered its Lower School girls the opportunity to be part of a Cheerleading Squad. Under the experienced direction of Rhonda Adams, owner of PowerKids Sports & Fitness, and with the help of Levine Academy parent and teacher Nadine Gold and Levine Academy student Mikayla Lewison, the girls met once a week after the regular school day to learn cheers and choreography, and to prepare for the pep rallies they would lead throughout the sports seasons. Having started off with just eight girls in September, the squad swelled to 27 by the end of the year. It became such a favorite extracurricular activity that Levine Academy decided to continue the program through the summer in the form of a summer cheerleading camp. The word spread quickly to non-Levine Academy students who snapped up many of the 30 spaces; two of the three summer camp sessions are now full, with many children on the waiting list.

The cheerleading program is more than just cute uniforms, pom-poms, and megaphones. It is part of an overall approach to make physical activity – and all of the benefits derived from it – part of a child’s everyday life. “Cheerleading is a wonderful way for children of this age to cultivate such skills as strength, hand-eye coordination, balance and agility,” stated Adams. “And just as important, it is a great way for the girls to build self-confidence and self-esteem. It gives me such pleasure to see so many girls go from being too shy to perform at the first pep-rally to being front and center at the last pep-rally.”

Cheerleading is just one of the many exciting enrichment programs that Levine Academy offers to its students. This past year, children in the Early Childhood Center could attend such classes as drama, gymnastics, cooking, science, music, ballet, and martial arts. Beck Lower School students had the opportunity to participate in yoga, drama, art, music, sports, chess, computer, ballet, and improvisation. The school year culminated in the First Annual Educare Spring Review and Recital where the ballerinas, musicians, martial arts masters, and cheerleaders showed-off their talent. While no space is available for the June cheerleading camps, there are still a few spots available for the camp that runs from August 2 – 6. Contact Rachel Nicholas, camp director, at 972-248-3032, ext. 143 if you are interested in attending.

Comments (0)


Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

Senator Wendy Davis honored by JWV Post 755

Jewish War Veterans Post 755 will honor Senator Wendy Davis at 10 a.m. on Sunday June 13 at Congregation Beth El with an award for her legislative efforts on behalf of all veterans.

The event will include an instillation of officers, a talk by Senator Davis, a silent auction to help the group fund its many charitable works for veterans and a breakfast prepared by Congregation Beth El Brotherhood. Admission is free and all veterans, whether they served in peace or war, are welcome together with their wives or significant others.

Talented artists to highlight TCU piano festival

Dr. Tamás Ungar, executive director of TCU’s Piano Texas International Academy & Festival, tells the TJP that there will be some amazing Jewish talent at this year’s festival. Lilya Zilberstein, one the most sought after pianists in Europe, is making a rare visit to the United States and will be performing at 7:30 p.m on Saturday, June 12 at the Pepsico Recital Hall on the TCU campus. Alexander Kobrin, winner of the 2005 Cliburn Competition, will be featured in a recital at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 27. Finally, Yoheved Kaplinsky, from Juilliard School, is one of the festival’s most important guest teachers. Tickets are $25. Discounts are available for seniors, music teachers and students. To purchase tickets visit or call 817-257-7456.

Dr. Howard S. Hochster takes on new roles at Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Center
Howard S. Hochster, MD has recently been appointed professor of medicine in medical oncology, medical director of gastrointestinal oncology, and associate director of clinical research at Yale Cancer Center. Hochster joins Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven from New York University School of Medicine and the NYU Cancer Institute.

“Dr. Hochster’s clinical and leadership experience and national reputation in gastrointestinal oncology will greatly benefit patients at Smilow Cancer Hospital. In addition to his clinical responsibilities, I am grateful to have his expertise in the role of associate director of clinical research as we continue to increase clinical trial opportunities for our patients,” said Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, Jr., Director of Yale Cancer Center and Physician-in-Chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

Hochster concentrates his clinical research on the study of new treatments, and combinations of therapies, for patients with advanced and relapsed colorectal cancer. He has been a leader in translational research in development of targeted agents for GI cancers, and expects to continue and expand this work at Yale Cancer Center. He has led national, pivotal clinical trials in the use of Bevacizumab and Cetuximab in colorectal cancer, and maintenance Rituximab for the treatment of low-grade lymphoma.

Previously, he was professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine in the divisions of Medical Oncology and Clinical Pharmacology. He has been director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at the NYU Cancer Institute and served as director of the NYUCI Clinical Trials Office for six years. He has also served as the principal investigator for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) at NYU for the last 16 years.

Hochster is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society for Internal Medicine, American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and American Association for Cancer Research. He is the chair of the colorectal cancer track for the 2010 ASCO annual meeting. He currently serves on an NIH study section as a permanent member. He also serves as the associate editor for the journal Gastrointestinal Oncology, and on the editorial board of Current Colorectal Cancer Reports and has served as ad hoc reviewer for every major oncology journal.

Hochster was president of the New York Cancer Society from 2004-2006. He is active in numerous charitable efforts, including director of the Chemotherapy Foundation and a scientific advisor to the Israel Cancer Research Foundation. He is a board member of Team Continuum, which raises funds for assistance to cancer patients through marathons and triathlons.

Hochster graduated from the Yale University with BS and MS degrees in chemistry and received his medical degree from Yale School of Medicine. He completed his residency in internal medicine at New York University – Bellevue Hospital and his fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at New York University Medical Center. He was subsequently awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and worked at the Jules Bordet Cancer Institute in Brussels, Belgium to study clinical pharmacology and early clinical drug development.

Hochster expects to be available for patient consultation and oncologic care at the Yale Cancer Center in July.

Yale Cancer Center is one of a select network of 40 comprehensive cancer centers in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute and the only one in Southern New England. Bringing together the resources of Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale University School of Medicine, its mission encompasses patient care, research, cancer prevention and control, community outreach and education.

Dr. Hochster is the son of former ourtowner Hanna Hochster and the late Martin Hochster.

We would like to hear from our readers! Send all your news to

Comments (0)


In My Mind’s I

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Two Shabbats in Israel!  So very different: from what I’m used to here at home, and from each other…

On the first, our tour group (123 of us, traveling tandem in three buses, with staggered arrivals at points of interest so everyone saw everything, just not in the same order) welcomed the Sabbath with a simple Kabbalat Shabbat service before a traditional dinner in our Haifa hotel.

Our three tour guides were equally knowledgeable and personable; Israel expects that of those formally entrusted with showing the country to visitors. But our guide was everyone’s service leader that evening. Not only a true historian, he also proved himself an effective lay rabbi. (I’d like to see him as a weekend scholar-in-residence for our entire community. What an interesting variation he’d provide on the more usual formats! If anyone has enough frequent flyer miles to bring him here, we’d all be in for a treat. Any possibilities?)

His introduction to Shabbat crossed the Judaic spectrum, as did our group; Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, avowedly secular, even alienated—all felt included and at home. The meal that followed was the same, starting with a choice of three appetizers: gefilte fish, chopped liver, a spicy Israeli eggplant concoction. Delicious!

Prayerbooks were available in every denomination, and our guide knew just how to keep everyone “on the same page,” even with all the different page numbers!

The next day, I strolled Haifa’s almost deserted streets for an hour on my way to the small, Masorti, Moriah Synagogue. Its building, tucked back and up from the street behind an enclosed children’s play space, was a bit difficult to locate, but was well worth it! Inside the bright, glass-walled sanctuary were about 50 worshipers, but they represented every age, from the very old to the energetic young rabbi to the tiny baby named at the bima that  morning. Both siddur and chumash were familiar to me, as were the sung prayers—although some of their tunes were brand-new.

The second week: Jerusalem! We had a group Kabbalat Shabbat at the Western Wall that disappointed many in our group; we had already visited the Kotel during the week, when the area was busy but not jammed, and some folks expected to see thousands on Sabbath evening, but they were the ones who hadn’t reckoned with Shavuot; if they’d gotten up early enough several  days earlier and walked to the Wall, they’d have been among the gigantic throng gathered after the holiday’s night-long study sessions. (Probably because of that, the Yeshiva bochers did not dance the Torah in at 6:54 p.m., the official start of our Israeli Sabbath; I felt sorry for the first-timers, who really missed the sight of a lifetime…)

The next morning, early, we walked to the Great Synagogue. I ask some of you to forgive me for this, but that experience reinforced my long-ago choice to move away from Orthodoxy toward a more egalitarian Conservative Judaism. After the three-flight climb up to the women’s balcony of that magnificent structure, I was dismayed to find there was no way, from that height, to view the entirety of the huge, incredibly beautiful stained-glass window backing the Ark. And when the Ark itself was opened, I had to strain for any view at all of the 25 or so silver-crowned Torahs within. The sanctuary is vast, and looking down on the proceedings gave the women worshipers a virtually top-of-their-heads view of the men doing all the “important” things while we struggled to see. It was also difficult first to find, then to follow the service with the scarce, mismatched prayer books available to us in our upstairs aerie. For me, this was like being in a beautiful but hands-off museum; I vastly preferred the hamish accessibility of the week before little Moriah, where the new mama cradled her baby girl while chanting an aliyah!

We had been amply warned in advance that if we wanted a fresh Shabbat lunch, we should stay away from the hotel’s dining room, since everything there had been prepared many hours before—including the coffee. All the strictly kosher restaurants were closed but many in our group took advantage of one not-so-strict bistro with a far more relaxed take on the Sabbath. I was told later, after I’d eaten my cold caprese salad, that the veal meatballs were delicious. But so was my mozzarella, paired with the tiniest of locally grown tomatoes!

Comments (0)


Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

For the past couple of months, my colleague at work has been listening to Christian pop music. She has her own iPod so everyone can hear; it doesn’t interfere with work productivity at all. Over time, I have grown to enjoy it and even sing along! My conscious is telling me this is not okay. Any advice would be appreciated.

-Feelin’ that Jewish Guilt

Dear Feelin’ Guilt,

In Judaism, music and song are considered one of the most powerful forces that exist to affect the hearts of human beings. The entirety of Torah is referred to as a song. When Moses was commanded to write the first Torah scroll, he was told “So now, write this song…” (Deut. 31:19).  This literally is referring to the following portion (Ch. 32) which is an actual song, but is further referring to the entirety of Torah. This is part of the reason why the Torah scroll is not read in the synagogue like a book, rather the reader chants the Torah like a song. Every word of the Torah is accompanied by a note to be sung.

This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, the entirety of the Torah comprises a giant symphony. Every detail represents a type of musical instrument, each one necessary for the wholeness of the great concerto.

Another reason is that music goes straight to the heart. In Judaism, the heart is the place where the physical and spiritual aspects of a human being fused into one existence. The expression of that dual existence is in the power of speech, which was launched at the moment of the combination of soul to body. The zenith of speech is song, which draws upon the deepest connection of body and soul within the heart. This we learn from the classical commentary of Rashi, explaining the profound, prophetic song sung by Moses and the Jews upon witnessing the splitting of the sea. “Then Moses and the Children of Israel sang this song…” (Ex. 15:1). “Then,” says Rashi, means they harnessed a wellspring of emotions and thoughts from their hearts to sing this song. The theme of that song is the fusion of G-d’s presence and providence to the mundane world, which is the cosmic mirror of the same fusion within the heart of man, the microcosm of the universe. The source for such a song is within the depths of the heart, and hence goes directly into the hearts of the listeners; heart to heart.

The Kabbalistic teachings are the most profound explanation of the deepest connection between the Shechina, Divine Presence, and the physical world, the “heart” of the universe. This is why R’ Eliyahu of Vilna (18th century), one of the greatest Kabbalists of all time, proclaimed that only one who has the deepest understanding of music can truly understand the Kabbalah.

Maimonides explains that the prophets, to reach the level of connection necessary to reach prophecy, would play or listen to music. David played for King Saul to bring him to those levels, and later King David wrote an entire book of Psalms, prayers through music. The sages teach that Messiah will teach us the “eighth tone,” which will radically change music to become a Divine connection.

This explains why nations have national anthems, and armies march into battle amid musical accompaniments. Music has a profoundly influential, as well as defining affect. Rock music, with its heavy emphasis on base notes, actually brings out the more physical side of a person.

You should not underestimate the affect Christian music can have upon your Jewish soul. I would not attribute this to “guilt,” rather to a recognition your soul has that it is being watered by a source that doesn’t jive with its essence, and will probably, if continued, have an effect you don’t desire.

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

Comments (0)


Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

Dear Families,

As we are getting ready for camp, we are making lists and learning the names of all our campers. It is interesting to note the “popular names” and the changes over time. This summer at camp, we are seeing a lot of the following: Sam/Samuel/Samantha, Hannah, Benjamin/Ben, Jacob, and Noah. Names are important, but they must be more than simply labels. Parents spend a great deal of time choosing the names for their children and rightly so—your name stays with you forever. We honor family members by giving our child a name of a relative. In the Sephardic tradition, one names after a living relative while in the Ashkenazic tradition, one names after someone who has died. We hope that our child will exemplify the good qualities of that special person.

Today, many families are choosing Biblical names. And speaking of names in the Bible, how many do you know? It is a fun game with kids to see how many you can list. Now for the real challenge—how many women in the Bible can your family name? An important question is: “Why are so few women named?” Being named in the Bible means importance; women were not always valued. Try naming the women of the Bible, and then discover their stories and the lessons you can learn from them. Here is a short list: who do you know? Where can you find out about them? Simple; go to the Bible and discover really great women. Who knows, maybe someday there will be little girls named Shifra and Puah?

Familiar: Eve, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Esther, Hannah! Less Familiar: Leah, Ruth, Deborah, Naomi, Abigail, Dina, Tamar. Do you know these women? Lilith, Bilhah, Zilpah, Yocheved, Tziporah, Delilah, How about Naamah and Jezebel?

Let’s learn about the wonderful women in our Jewish history. As you read and learn about them, remember the historical time period; women were not as lucky in times past. Their choices and actions were limited. All of this gives us so much to learn about and talk about. Hooray for the many “Women of Valor!!”

Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady

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

Comments (0)

Candy and Ike Brown honored by National Jewish Health

Candy and Ike Brown honored by National Jewish Health

Posted on 10 June 2010 by admin

[nggallery id=53]

Candy and Ike Brown received the National Jewish Health Humanitarian Award in front of 175 guests at the  Bella Sera benefit cocktail party in Dallas on May 5 at VILLA-O.  The event raised $136,000 to support the world-renowned National Jewish Health, known worldwide for treatment of patients with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, and for groundbreaking medical research.

Bella Sera Co-Chairs Rozalyn and Robert Colombo, Pat and Paul Fulchino, Debbie and Eric Green, Laurie and Todd Platt and Barbara and Sheldon Stein were surprised and delighted by a $50,000 gift made that evening by Nancy and Richard Rogers in honor of Allan Zidell, who was a National Jewish Health Trustee for 20 years. He attended with Donna Fadal and his children, Michael Zidell and Lisa Zidell, and grandchildren Amanda Zidell and Shauna and Ryan Milstein.

Other special guests included National Jewish Health Board of Directors member Burt Tansky and his wife, Rita, and National Trustees Tammany and Rob Stern, Jimmy Jackson and Bill Shaddock.

“We are grateful to all our friends who came out tonight, especially to Ike’s parents, Shirlee and Bernard Brown, Ike’s brothers, my sister and our sons, all of whom travelled to be here,” said Candy Brown. “We’re also so thankful to Allan Zidell for introducing us to National Jewish Health, which is doing such important work for people in Dallas and throughout the country.”

Founded in 1899 as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health remains the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to these disorders. Since 1998, U.S. News & World Report has ranked National Jewish Health the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation. National Jewish Health provides preeminent care for patients throughout the country, including 940 Texans in the last three years. In addition to direct care for Texas patients, last year National Jewish Health physicians consulted with 214 Texas physicians about their patients, and trained 67 former National Jewish Health fellows who now practice medicine in Texas.

For more information about Bella Sera or National Jewish Health, contact Amy MacGregor Hoffmann at 800-423-8891 ext. 1080, or by e-mail at

Comments (0)


Dallas Doings

Posted on 03 June 2010 by admin

Levine Academy teacher honored with the Waldman Teacher Excellence Award
For 17 years, Levine Academy Math Teacher Susie McEwen has stayed in the background. Not one to call attention to herself, even though she is one of the most qualified and respected teachers at Levine Academy – as well one of the students’ favorites – she was pushed into the limelight on May 18 as she was presented with the Waldman Teacher Excellence Award. “Susie McEwen is the essence of what a professional teacher should be. Her solid teaching skills are beyond compare; this is an individual who thinks ahead, sees the details as well as the big picture, and puts on her thinking cap to find solutions,” stated Levine Academy K-8 Principal Dr. Susie Wolbe. “She is constantly trying to better the school for the students, teachers, and parents. What a huge contributor to our community!”

This award, established by the late Sadie and William Waldman in 1988, honors teachers who exhibit a commitment to the school, a passion for education, and a love of children. It has become the most coveted and prestigious award bestowed upon a teacher at Levine Academy. The award was presented by Mrs. Andrea Weinstein, daughter of William and Sadie Waldman, and her grandchildren Levine Academy students Sam Weinstein ‘14, Sofia Weinstein ‘16, and Max Weinstein ‘15. Mrs. Weinstein’s granddaughter and Levine Academy alumna Elizabeth Weinstein also attended the ceremony.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, Susie moved to Dallas after graduating from Texas Tech with a degree in secondary education in mathematics and journalism. She first took the public school route, in Duncanville and Richardson, teaching everything from science and health to yearbook and newspaper. After a nine year retirement to raise her children, she resumed her teaching at Akiba Academy and Yavneh Academy for a year and then, fortunately, at Levine Academy ever since. “I love teaching at Levine Academy,” stated McEwen. “I love the small classes, the students, and the people I work with. We really are like a family. We all take care of each other.” When asked why she chose to teach at a Jewish day school, McEwen took a few moments to reflect on that question and then stated that sometimes you don’t know why, but your heart and your gut tells you this is where you need to be. She added, “Few people know this, but years and years ago my grandmother became very ill with tuberculosis. Not having very much money and very few resources where she lived, she went to Denver where she was treated for free at the Jewish Charity Hospital. Years later, I found letters she had written about how fantastic the doctors and staff were to her and her great appreciation for the care and respect she received. It almost seems meant to be that I ended up at a Jewish day school. The Jewish community embraced her in her time of need and now I, too, am embraced by this wonderful community.”

BBYO Intake Pool Party this Saturday

Dallas BBYO will host its annual Intake Luau Pool Party from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 5th. Incoming ninth graders are invited to  the Aaron Family JCC outside pool, 7900 Northaven Road. The event is free and will be held rain oe shine. Everyone should bring a towel.

To register for BBYO visit  For more information, contact Tracy Davis at the BBYO Office 214-363-4654 or

The Legacy at Willow Bend welcomes Author Lawrence Fischman

The Legacy at Willow Bend recently welcomed author Lawrence Fischman as the first of a three-part speaker series hosted by the senior living community. Bob Weinfeld, a member of The Legacy at Willow Bend and chairman of the book club, introduced the Dallas trial and appellate lawyer-turned-author to the members of The Legacy.

Fischman read from the prologue and chapter one of his book entitled “The French Artillery Office,” which is a fictional work involving Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Watson during the late 19th century “Dreyfus Affaire” in France. The lecture was followed by members’ questions, and a copy of “The French Artillery Office” was added to The Legacy at Willow Bend library.

“The members enjoyed hearing about Lawrence’s recent book,” said Weinfeld. “Many have been fans of Sherlock Holmes stories since childhood, and the interesting combination of fiction with actual events in France make for a compelling story.”

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. The Legacy at Willow Bend 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 healthcare suites.

The Legacy at Willow Bend is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by parent company, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. The Legacy at Willow Bend, the only Jewish-sponsored life care retirement community in Texas, is open to people of all faiths.  For information, call (972) 468-6208, or visit

News and Notes

Casie Squires the grandaughter of Bob and  Idella Partegas had a rare opertunity to meet Shimon Peres while in Tel Aviv. She went to Israel on assignment for the David Project.

Casie, a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, is originally from Houston, and now lives in New York City where she works for the David Project.

Mazel tov to Jonathan Nathan who recently graduated from Texas Tech Medical School. He is the son of proud parents Bassim and Karen Nathan, brother of Daniel and Todd, grandson of  Nadjia Nathan and Herb and Shirley Kresh.

Jonathan received his bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from SMU, his master’s degree in Hospital/Business Administration from Texas Tech, and his most recent accomplishment, an M.D. from Texas Tech Medical School. He will be doing his residency at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Comments (0)


Around the Town

Posted on 03 June 2010 by admin

June 10: ‘Kid s Who Care’ brings show to ‘Daytimers’

Next event for the “Daytimers” will be a presentation by the audition musical theatre company, “Kids Who Care.” Founding Director Deborah Jung will bring 50 members of the current “Kids Who Care” Resident Company. Kids from across the Metroplex, ages 6-18, are part of this audition musical theatre company and perform 30 to 40 times each year across the Metroplex and across the country. They will present their original musical; “Let My Heart Sing,” Wednesday, June 10, at noon at Beth-El Synagogue.

Whether singing on the American Airlines Wish Flight, a Girls and Boys Club in Chicago, or New York’s Lamb’s Theatre off Broadway, “Kids Who Care” fills any room with fresh energy and hope. The group will be introduced by Sylvia Wexler, whose granddaughter Kim Garoon had a starring role with the company before she left for college. The “Kids” will brown bag picnic with the “Daytimers,” and some members have expressed interest in bringing their grandchildren to join us for the event.

Lunch will be catered by Boopa’s Bagel Deli. Guests will have a choice of Turkey & hummus on Sesame Bagel, Chicken Salad on Honey Wheat Bagel, or Cream Cheese and Lox on Pumpernickel Bagel, plus chips, cookies, coffee or tea. Boopa’s is a favorite bagel supplier for the community, and people may order bagels delivered with the lunches by calling Boopa’s at 817-232-4771. Lunch is $9, or guests may attend for program only for $4 person.

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

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

JWV Post 755 remembers veterans on Memorial Day

Jewish War Veterans Post 755 conducted Memorial Day services for veterans at the Kornbleet Chapel at Greenwood Memorial Park, Ahavath Sholom Cemetery on Sunday, May 30. Gordon England, former Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of the State Dept. and the first Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security was the guest speaker. A role call of all Fort Worth Jewish veterans who have passed away was read.
Post Chaplain, Rabbi Sidney Zimelman will conducted the Hebrew memorial portion of the service. Kim Factor played Taps. On Thursday May 27, members of the Post placed American flags on the graves of all the Jewish members of our community who served their country at the Beth El and Ahavath Shalom sections of the cemetery as well as at Hebrew Rest and in Arlington.

Mazel Tov

Grandmother Sonja Stein of Fort Worth, and Aunt Sandra Stein of Livingston, N.J. recently returned from a three-week visit to Israel where they got acquainted with the family’s latest addition.

Guy Ayden Gannot was born April 29, 2010 to Michelle (Stein) Gannot and Shay Gannot of Ramat Hasharon, Israel. Guy weighed in at 7 lbs. Both Michelle and Guy are doing great.

Casa  Mañana announces 2010-2011 Broadway season

Casa Mañana’s 2010 – 2011 Broadway season at Casa Mañana Theatre has a great show for everyone. The 2010 – 2011 season includes: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” Sept. 11 – 19, the entertaining “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” starring Ruta Lee, Oct. 23 – 31, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s dynamic “Evita,” Feb. 5 – 13, 2011, and the irresistible hit “Hairspray,” Aug. 13- 21, 2011.

The season kicks off with the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music, Sept. 11 – 19. When Maria proves too high-spirited for the religious life, she is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval Captain. Through her music and singing, she soon wins the children’s trust and their father’s affection. Maria and the Captain find themselves falling in love, but world events take precedent as Austria comes under the control of the Nazis. On Sept. 19, there will be a  sing-a-long version at 7 pm. This show is suitable for all audiences.

Ruta Lee returns to Fort Worth to star in the 1978 Tony Award-nominated hit stage play turned cinema classic “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” Oct. 23 – 31. Set in fictional Gilbert, Texas, “Whorehouse “tells the story of Miss Mona Stangley, proprietor of the famed Chicken Ranch, as she and local sheriff Ed Earl Dodd fight to keep the doors open to the century – old brothel. This show is not suitable for all audiences, parental discretion is advised.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit Broadway musical “Evita” brings to life the dynamic, larger-than-life persona of Eva Peron, wife of former dictator Juan Peron. The story follows Eva from her young, ambitious beginnings to the enormous wealth and power she gained. Featuring the popular song, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” this moving and inspiring musical is not to be missed Feb. 5 – 13. This show is suitable for most audiences, parental discretion is advised.

Good Morning, Baltimore! It’s 1962, the ‘50s are out and change is in the air. Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, has only one passion – to dance. After winning a spot on a local TV dance program, she is transformed from outcast to teen celebrity. But can she vanquish the program’s reigning princess, win the love of heartthrob Link Larkin, and integrate a television show without denting her ‘do? Only in “Hairspray,” August 13 – 21, 2011. This show is suitable for most audiences, parental discretion is advised.

Season Tickets for Casa Mañana’s 2010 – 2011 Broadway season at Casa Mañana Theatre are on sale now. To subscribe, call the Casa Mañana box office at 817-332-2272, or visit the box office at Casa Mañana Theatre, 3101 W. Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth. Season ticket packages start at $120 per person. For more information, visit

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here