Archive | March, 2011

Purim Punims

Purim Punims

Posted on 31 March 2011 by admin

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 31 March 2011 by admin

Enjoy Aaron Kaplan’s music online

The music of Aaron A. Kaplan, internationally acclaimed symphonic film composer, was featured earlier this month on the No. 1 classical music Internet radio program in the world with over 30,000,000 listeners.

The broadcast can be found at Classical Discoveries Internet Radio,

The podcasts are broadcast over your computer at “classical-discoveries.” The program features music from world-class symphony orchestras, bands, choral groups, composers and artists from around the world. Sandy Hedgecock hosts the very popular Classical Music Discoveries podcast series.

The podcast of the program can be enjoyed at the following link:

Aaron A. Kaplan, besides being a composer, is an orchestrator, pianist, songwriter and performer. Aaron’s unique style spans many musical genres and includes sweeping melodic themes, violin and piano concertos and orchestra compositions with choir. His music has had both national and international acclaim and can be heard on radio, television and film.

Kaplan has produced four CDs; his latest is “Musical Portraits.”

His most recent film is the full-length documentary “Roots of War, Road to Peace,” which was broadcast on the public television network.

Kaplan’s award-winning song, “We’re Coming Home,” was selected as the best religious and Jewish song of the year in the United States, and has been recorded and broadcast both in this country and overseas.

He is currently working on a musical scheduled to premiere within a year. Aaron was one of only two composers in the United States invited to create an original composition for the premiere of his work to be performed by the honored International Modern Symphonic and Chamber Music Festival in Eastern Europe. His works also have been performed by the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra and in the Meyerson and Eisemann symphony halls. He has been featured in many national and international publications.

Among the works performed are: “Birth of a Nation,” “Three Sides of the Heart,” “N’Shama” (written for Classical Music Discoveries), “Rhapsody,” “Symphonic Fantasy,” “To Be in Love,” “Melissa’s Day Off,” “We’re Coming Home,” “Kay’s Theme,” “Road to Tijuana,” “TV Show Spoof,” “Sports News Theme Spoof,” “Bayit Yashan” (Hebrew version of “We’re Coming Home”), “The Star of David.”

Akiba Academy announces 2011 Inspire! honorees

At press time, Akiba Academy announced the honorees for this year’s edition of the Inspire! Gala and Auction, to be held Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. at the Westin Galleria of Dallas. Aptly themed “Women Who Inspire!”, this year’s event will spotlight five women who embody that service spirit: Sharon Blumberg, Pam Fine, Carole Ann Hoppenstein, Cheryl Pollman and Helene Schussler. For over ten years now, Inspire! has brought the Jewish community together to raise vital funds for the school while enjoying a night of great food, fun and camaraderie. In what has traditionally been one of the high points of the event, guests can bid on one-of-a-kind items in a live auction. A silent online auction, starting late spring and culminating the night of the event, will also be featured.

Over the years, the gala has celebrated the contributions of individuals who have made a profound impact on Jewish education and inspired our community.

3 Stars Cinema will screen ‘The American’ with Norman Mailer

3 Stars Jewish Cinema, in conjunction with the Dallas International Film Festival, will screen “The American” with Norman Mailer at Mockingbird Station in Dallas. Showtimes are Sunday, April 3, at noon, and Monday, April 4, at 4:15 p.m.

You know the name. Perhaps you’ve read his novels. You may have even voted for him in a mayoral election, but what you know about Norman Mailer only scratches the surface. Filmmaker Joseph Mantegna delves deeper and will enlighten you with a fascinating glimpse into the life of this controversial but brilliant writer who lived life (according to his assistant) as a “literary rock star.”

“The American” was winner of the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Orlando Film Festival and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Artistic Director Bart Weiss will host a Q & A after the screening.

Tickets are free for 3 Stars members; you must e-mail your RSVP by April 2 to Be sure to specify which date you have selected. For those who are not yet members, tickets can be purchased online for $10 each at

The Dallas International Film Festival has included 3 Stars Jewish Cinema as a community partner for the fourth year in a row.

Special discount for ‘Cabaret’

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance invite you to purchase tickets for the upcoming production of “Cabaret” at a greatly discounted price. The DHM/CET, along with the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, was offered this special discount by the Dallas Theater Center for this production in the new Wyly Theatre.

Performance dates are April 22 through May 22 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center/Wyly Theatre. The special 25 percent per ticket discount can be obtained using discount code DHMCET.

As the community partner for this musical, the museum will offer insight into the history behind the popular production, which takes place in pre-World War II Germany. Each performance will be followed by a “Stay Late” conversation in which cast members will discuss topics like history and theater with the audience.

Tickets may be purchased directly through ATTPAC box office at 214-880-0202 or online at using the special discount code given above. For more information on this event, please visit

Lend a helping hand on Karen Leynor Mitzvah Day

On Sunday, April 10, Congregation Beth Torah will hold its annual Karen Leynor Mitzvah Day of volunteer service at the synagogue and offsite. Volunteers are still being sought. Please contact Marilyn or Larry Guzick at 972-490-1013 or to volunteer or for questions. On that day, Beth Torah will also have a Social Action Food Drive kickoff, its biggest food drive of the year. Please donate non-perishable foods. Bring in hotel toiletry items. Deposit in wooden pantry on left inside the shul entrance. Help Beth Torah reach its goal of 2,000 items. For questions, please contact Leslie Dworkin at

Free health care advance directives for seniors

On National Healthcare Decisions Day, Friday, April 15, the J invites seniors to take advantage of a free community service. HealthBridge In-Home Care and the Miller Law Firm will present an informational session on health care advance directives.

The goal is for all adults with decision-making capacity to have both the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their future health care decisions.

Your decisions matter; however, others need to know your wishes in order to honor them. There are no wrong answers when thinking about health care choices and completing an advance directive.

Come discuss, decide, document your wishes. Take advantage of this complimentary service to ensure that your loved ones will know and follow your wishes. All necessary documents and notary services will be furnished. Aaron Miller, elder law attorney, will be present to answer questions. Refreshments will be provided.

The session will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas. For more information, please call 214-739-2737.

News and notes

Rabbi Sholey Klein of Dallas Kosher will speak on “The Best Pesach Products You Can Find.” The talk, for men and women, will take place Wednesday, April 6, at 8:15 p.m. at Congregation Ohr HaTorah, 6324 Churchill Way in Dallas.

Save the date: Get fired up for camp!

Join the Jewish Federation at a rally for Jewish summer camp on Sunday, May 15, 4–5:30 p.m., at Valley View Park in Dallas. There will be a sing-a-long, refreshments and craft activities. Join your camp friends and get ready for the summer! For more info, e-mail Miranda Winer at

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Around the Town

Posted on 31 March 2011 by admin

Purim gala rocks at Ahavath Sholom

After almost a year of planning, Zale Hall rocked at Ahavath Sholom on Purim as over 200 revelers gathered to celebrate with a costume gala ball. Following hors d’oeuvres and the reading of the Megillah (Book of Esther) the party swung into high gear with a delicious dinner catered by Elsie Blum, Maria Loya and the Ahavath Sholom Catering Committee, dancing to live music and a white elephant auction. Other activities during the evening included a fortune teller, a stilt walker, mask making and a caricaturist. One of the highlights of the evening was a performance by an exotic belly dancer. Thanks go out to Committee Chair Dr. Harold Malofsky and his entire committee: Marcia Malofsky, Suzie Herman, Barbara Schuster, Ben Herman and Dr. Dennis Schuster.

Everyone had a great time and is looking forward to Ahavath Sholom’s next big event!

Beth-El’s Purim bash: something for everyone

“It is said, in the month of Adar to be happy” — and happy and joyful they were at Beth-El Congregation.

Purim was a blast! Beth-El’s Purim celebration for all ages began with one of those great MRJ (Man of Reform Judaism) dinners. Everyone enjoyed the feast with lovely background music and each other’s company. The children were involved in costume making, face painting, a clown and Purim trivia.

After dinner it all began. The rabbi dressed as Achashverosh, told the story from his point of view in five different sections and between each section attendees did line dancing , enjoyed jokes, danced the hora, sang “Lean on Me,” had a costume parade contest and most important, listened to the chanting of the Megillah.

After the Megillah reading the DJ invited everyone to dance, dance and dance some more.

Purim at Beth Shalom

The CBS Theatre (CBS standing for Congregation Beth Shalom) proudly presented a fabulous Purimshpiel written by Cantor Sheri Allen with lyrics based on popular Broadway hit songs, on Saturday, March 19. The cast of characters colorfully adorned in costumes belted out tunes and performed brilliantly to a packed-house audience who responded with the appropriate boos, hisses and “groggering.”

Debra Kaplan wowed the house with her rendition of “I Am Vashti” sung to the tune of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” and Phil Landsberg, a one-man orchestra, trumpeted cues to all the singers. Randy San Antonio created a “Praybill” mimicking the Broadway version of Playbill complete with lyrics to the songs of the 10 chapters of the Megillah which Cantor Allen so beautifully chanted.

Beth Shalom extends special thanks to the cast of characters: Richard Allen, Debra Kaplan, Stuart Snow, Hy Siegel, Marian Feld, Phil Kabakoff, Cameron Lizun, Randy San Antonio, Sherwin Rubin, Phil Landsberg, Ryan Silverberg, Jessica Silverberg, Ean Robertson, Hailey Posner, Kendall Posner, Dylan Jeffreys, Hannah Jeffreys, Arielle Sasley, Kailey Kaplan, Zachary Mikulencak.

A delicious barbecue dinner preceded the service, which was also followed by a hamantaschen dessert reception. Beth Shalom is grateful to Stephanie Posner, Lynda Friedensohn and Angela Markson for organizing the gastronomic feast.

A modern, meaningful twist on the seder

A Passover seder should inspire us to change our lives, educate us about our traditions and connect us as a family and as a people. On April 10, 3:30–5 p.m., Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker will lead “Modern Seder 2011” at Congregation Beth Israel, 6100 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville. Attendees will receive the gift of a new Haggadah; knowledge and comfort in planning their own seder; and fun, exciting, delicious ideas and recipes. This interactive program is designed for individuals and families, third grade and up. The free event is made possible by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Please RSVP to by Monday, April 4.

B’nai B’rith to hold mini-Passover luncheon at Beth-El, April 12

The Isadore Garsek B’nai B’rith Lodge cordially invites the community to their annual mini-Passover luncheon on Tuesday, April 12, at 11:30 a.m. at Beth-El. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Cherkasovs. Jewish Family Services will provide transportation at 10:30 a.m. for seniors who live in the B’nai B’rith apartments. If you wish to attend, please RSVP no later than April 5 to Elsa at Jewish Family Services, 817-569-0898.

CBI ‘First Seder Together’ will match hosts and guests

Congregation Beth Israel announces “First Seder Together,” a project which will match seder hosts with seder guests within the CBI family. Nobody should be without a home to go to for the seder, so won’t you consider taking part in this meaningful program and opening your home on the first day of Passover, Monday, April 18?

If you would be willing to host, or if you would appreciate being a guest at a seder, you are invited to send the information requested below to Congregation Beth Israel, 6100 Pleasant Run Road, Colleyville, TX 76034. Please respond by Monday, April 4, in order to be considered for this program. Matching will be based on participation, so CBI cannot guarantee a match.

For all participants, CBI needs to know: name; address; home phone; cell or work phone; e-mail; temple program interests, if any; guest or host?

For guests: number of seder guests; names of guests; ages of guests; special considerations.

For hosts: number of seder guests you can host; age range of seder guests you can host; special considerations.

Please contact Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker at 817-581-5500 if you have any questions about this wonderful opportunity.

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The Search for Beshert

Posted on 31 March 2011 by admin

The List

By Tamar Caspi Shnall

When you’re looking for something, you usually won’t find it — it’s when you’re not looking that you often stumble upon what you’re looking for, in this case, love. But how would you know you’ve found love if you don’t know what it is you’re looking for? That’s why one day a long time ago I made a list of qualities I wanted in a man. People make fun of me for this list, but I made it when I was 16, and interestingly enough not much changed since then. I wrote down a few physical attributes and dozens upon dozens of social, mental and emotional characteristics. The only thing that was altered were the priority rankings I gave each item. As I got older, “Jewish” took the top spot and “successful” dropped down a few notches. I was still adamant about wanting a tall man, but his having a head full of hair didn’t really factor in as much anymore. Conversation and humor climbed higher, while the ability to cook or clean lost some points.

Everyone — my mom, my sister, even some friends — told me I was being ridiculous, but I held steadfast to this list for more than 10 years and for good reason. Time and time again I was blindsided by good looks or pedigree and lost sight of what was important: intelligence, the way he treats his mom and what kind of future he’s looking for. Every time I got burned by a smooth-talker, I would resort to my list and tell myself I wouldn’t let it happen again. When I met my husband, I mentally checked off the categories he satisfied, and wasn’t surprised that my intuition and confidence that I knew what I was looking for led me to a man who does indeed meet most of my criteria.

It may not be necessary to actually write down what it is that’s important to you in a mate, but it may help to keep you on the right path. Be careful though; you don’t want to make a list too narrow so that no one can possibly meet your qualifications or too broad so that every Tom, Dick and Harry (or rather Shmulik, Yankele and Moishe) fits the bill. A list is there only to keep you from falling for those suave players who don’t have your best interests at heart — and to help you get back on the horse after you inevitably get burned in the dating game.

Timing is everything when it comes to finding your beshert, but if the right man comes along at the wrong time how will you know before it’s too late? The qualities that are of utmost importance to you — not how much he loves football or if she plays video games, but rather his loyalty or her dedication to raising a Jewish family — should be ingrained into your subconscious. Lowering your standards — removing an item from your list or adjusting its value — should be done only after years of trying really hard to find that special person. The older you get, the more you may be open to dating a man who’s been divorced or a woman who has a child; you may be willing to relocate or willing to explore camping and mountain climbing.

To me, giving up on finding true love was not an option, but re-evaluating what true love meant changed with each failed relationship. You can learn more and more about yourself with each relationship, and knowing who you are and what you want means, hopefully, you’ll be able to recognize someone who meets your standards when he or she comes along.

Tamar Caspi Shnall recently married a Dallasite but has 15 years’ worth of dating advice to share! If you have any dating dilemmas you can e-mail her at:

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 31 March 2011 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I was visiting an Orthodox synagogue this past week, and after the silent Amidah everyone sat down and put their heads on their arms, like a sleeping position. I have never seen that before. What is the reason they did that?

Josh K.

Dear Josh,

The prayer you witnessed is called Tachanun, meaning “supplication of compassion”; it is also called nefillat apayim or “falling on the face.” This is a prayer of particular intensity and expresses a unique level of closeness to G-d, through which we literally “fall on our faces” immediately after the silent Amidah prayer by sitting down and resting our faces upon our arms to recite the prayer. The Talmud teaches that when one places their head upon their arm in submissive prayer after the Amidah, this intense, heartfelt prayer will be accepted by G-d and will achieve powerful results (Bava Metzia 59a).

Sephardic and Chassidic Jews preface this prayer with the recitation of the vidui, confession of wrongdoings (the source being the Zohar). This is followed by the recital of the 13 attributes of G-d’s mercy expressed in His forgiving of sin, utilizing the closeness of the Amidah to achieve atonement.

On Mondays and Thursdays, the days we read the Torah, there is a lengthy prayer inserted before the “falling on the face,” called Vehu Rachum or “He, the merciful one.” This is a heartfelt plea to forgive the Jewish people their wrongdoings, end our duress in exile and return us back to our homeland with the rebuilding of the Temple. Mondays and Thursdays are considered, in Jewish tradition, to be days especially endowed with G-d’s mercy. Therefore we add extra supplications to tap into that outpouring of compassion.

I once read an account of life in the renowned Yeshiva of Mir in Poland before the war. The author offers a moving description of the recitation of this special insertion, showing how the entire week revolved around the emotions expressed during this exceptional prayer. (Sadly, in today’s world of “life in the fast lane” and the hurry to get to work, many synagogues rush through this prayer with little thought or emotion.)

The act of “falling on the face” is based upon the actions of Moses, Aharon and Joshua in the Torah who fell on their faces to beseech G-d’s mercy at times of national calamities. It is an expression of submission to G-d’s will, while conveying the belief that G-d’s mercy can be invoked even in the face of the most heinous crimes, achieving salvation. This submission is expressed by the falling on the face, as if to expose our necks to offer ourselves to G-d much like Isaac did while on the altar, bringing eternal merit to the Jewish people.

Another reason is the “return back to earth” after we soared the highest heights while reciting the Amidah prayer. During the Amidah every one of us stands before the heavenly throne and has a “private audience with the King.” After being in such lofty heights one cannot simply step back into the world, much as after leaving the king’s inner chamber one needs to spend time in the royal entry hall before walking into the street. A diver needs to come up slowly and decompress before coming up from the depths lest he contract the bends. When soaring down from the dizzying heights of Heaven with our Amidah prayer, we put our heads on our arms for that downward flight to be able to face the world once more.

Our prayer services, when recited with the proper focus and understanding, are wonderful opportunities for personal growth on a profound level.

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 31 March 2011 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

Before we know it, Passover will be here and we will search our homes for chametz and get ready to search for the afikomen. One of our favorite activities at camp is going on Scavenger Hunt, which is a little like getting ready for Passover. Here are a few Jewish Holiday Scavenger Hunt ideas; you don’t need to find “things” — you need to gather information from your team members. (If you do this without writing, it is a great Shabbat activity.)

•Name 6 Jewish holidays and the food that goes with it.

•The Book of Ecclesiastes has the words to a song that was written by the birds many years ago. Find the passage in Ecclesiastes or sing the song by the birds.

•Name all 10 plagues from the Passover story.

•List what G-d created on each day of creation from the book of Genesis.

•To build the ark, Noah had to measure in cubits. Find out how long a cubit is and measure each team member’s “cubit.”

•When the Israelites wandered through the desert, they got something special to eat and they got double for Shabbat. What do we eat to remind us of this special food?

•Names are very important and most of us have a story that goes with our name. Find out the story of your name and share it.

Add more things to your Scavenger Hunt — try a hunt where you list everything in your house that identifies it as a Jewish home. Create your own Torah Scavenger Hunt — you don’t need to walk but you do need to explore the text. Games are fun ways to learn for all ages.

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

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 24 March 2011 by admin

Three amazing women inducted into Temple Emanuel-El WRJ/Sisterhood Hall of Fame; aunt and niece honored together

Recently Temple Emanu-El’s Women of Reform Judaism honored May Sebel, Sylvia Silven and her niece, Cheryl Pollman.

May Sebel, a former religious-studies student and graduate of the Melton School, has volunteered extensively in Dallas and also in San Diego, Calif., where she resided for many years. She currently serves on the board of the Dallas Furniture Bank.

Sylvia Silven, a social worker and teacher of languages who retired from Greenhill School of Dallas, has devoted many volunteer hours to Temple Emanu-El and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Cheryl Pollman, upon retiring from law practice, launched a second career of extensive volunteer work in the Jewish community and the community at large. She is the past president of National Council of Jewish Women.

Want to go to Israel?

Deborah Fisher tells the TJP that there are three great Partnership programs going on that can get you to Israel this spring/summer. If you are 19–26 years old, and would look to volunteer at a summer camp in Israel, the Partnership with Israel has a great program for you, Kefiada in Israel, from June 27 through July 21. Are you a doctor, nurse, physical therapist, healthcare professional or hospital administrator? Do you want to go to Israel? Then, the ERG XI is for you. A course in hospital management of a mass casualty event at the Western Galilee Hospital–Emergency Response Group will run from May 27 through June 2. Another option for doctors is a Medical Externship. Physicians can spend one month at the Western Galilee Hospital. For more information about any of the Partnership programs, contact Deborah Fisher at or 214-615-5250.

Mitzvah Day at Kol Ami

Congregation Kol Ami of Flower Mound will celebrate Mitzvah Day, a community-wide day of service, on Sunday, April 10. The theme of this year’s Mitzvah Day is tzedek, which is the Hebrew word for righteousness. The goal is do righteousness for a more just world and perform tikkun olam through effort and time. On Mitzvah Day, people transcend being just congregants; they become members of the Tzedek League. Plan to be part of the Tzedek League; plan to be part of Mitzvah Day. To join in on Mitzvah Day at Congregation Kol Ami, contact Michael Fripp at

Participants will meet at CKA, 1887 Timber Creek Road, at 9 a.m. for a free breakfast. After breakfast, they will break up into mitzvah teams in order to perform tikkun olam, to help to repair the world. There will be on-site mitzvah teams that will do activities at CKA and there will be teams that go out into the community. Everything from creating care packages for the elderly to repairing bicycles for children — there is a mitzvah activity for everyone! Make the world a better place! Join CKA for Mitzvah Day.

Miriam’s Seder to pay tribute to the late Debbie Friedman

The sisterhoods of Adat Chaverim, Congregation Anshai Torah, Congregation Beth Torah, Congregation Shearith Israel, Temple Emanu-El and Temple Shalom will co-sponsor Miriam’s Seder on Sunday, April 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. This year’s event, which includes a seder and dinner, is a tribute to the late singer and songwriter, Debbie Friedman, and will feature local female clergy, educators and songleaders, using the Ma’yan Passover Haggadah. The cost is $36 per person if you bring your own Ma’yan Haggadah, or $46 per person including purchase of a new Ma’yan Haggadah. For more information and to make reservations, please contact Cynthia Cohen at 214-769-9069 or

Bake matzah at the J

The Matzah Bakery at the J will be open Monday, April 4, through Sunday, April 10, jointly sponsored by Chabad of Dallas and the J. Learn the art of making matzah just in time for Passover. This is a wonderful hands-on experience for everyone! Cost is $3 per JCC member, $5 per non-member; special rates and times are available for groups of 10 or more. The highlights will be Family Time from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on April 10, and Youth Time with Abbii for kindergarten through grade six, that same day from 3 to 5 p.m. For more information and to make reservations, please contact Rachelle Weiss Crane, 214-239-7128 or

‘Jews and Baseball’ promises to be a home run at the J

The Jewish Community Center of Dallas is delighted to present a one-time screening and Dallas premiere of “Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story,” narrated by Dustin Hoffman, on Sunday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the Zale Auditorium at the J, 7900 Northaven Road. Preceding the film, at 6 p.m., attendees can partake of a special “All You Can Eat Ballpark Buffet.”

Tickets at $15 for adults, $12 for youth 12 years and under, may be purchased online at or by calling 214-739-2737. The deadline for reservations is April 6.

“‘Jews and Baseball’ knocks it out of the park,” claims Newsday. “Irresistible to baseball fans, Hebraic or otherwise,” writes Time Out New York. “A warm and enthusiastic documentary,” says K. Turan of the L.A. Times.

“Jews and Baseball” is truly a love story that has special meaning in the lives of American Jews. More than just a film about sports, this is a story of immigration, assimilation, bigotry, heroism, the passing on of traditions and the shattering of stereotypes brought to life through Dustin Hoffman’s narration and interviews with dozens of passionate fans, writers and especially baseball greats such as Yogi Berra, Bob Feller and Sandy Koufax. Fans including Ron Howard and Larry King connect the stories of baseball to their own lives and to the turbulent history of the 20th century. Their stories are interwoven with never-before-seen film clips and photos of great Jewish players, unforgettable games and the broad sweep of American history.

Make your reservation now!

‘Gated Grief’ author Leila Levinson to visit Dallas Holocaust Museum

After the death of her father, a World War II U.S. Army doctor and concentration camp liberator, Leila Levinson discovered a concealed box of shocking photos he had taken of a Nazi slave-labor camp. She learned that he had suffered a breakdown after treating the camp’s survivors, and she was compelled to seek out and interview dozens of other World War II veterans who also liberated Nazi concentration camps. Still traumatized by the unimaginable horrors they found, many of them revealed for the first time their painful experiences. Levinson’s book, “Gated Grief,” is a groundbreaking portrait of trauma’s legacy which reveals that unspoken memories continue to imprison and haunt World War II veterans and tells how the emotional scars affected their loved ones as well, including the author and her family.

Levinson will visit the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance and make presentations on Wednesday and Thursday, April 6 and 7. The 5:30–7:30 p.m. event on April 6 is open to members and their invited guests, with registration and a museum self-tour at 5:30, an author presentation at 6 in the DHM Theater and an in-depth Q&A and book discussion at 7. The session on April 7, from 2 to 4 p.m., is open to the public, with free admission for military personnel; registration and a museum self-tour will take place at 2, followed by an author presentation in the DHM Theater at 3. Admission is free for Circle of Remembrance members, $10 for Upstander members and $15 for non-members. There is parking available in the museum lot at the northwest corner of Houston Street and Pacific Avenue. The museum is located at 211 North Record St., Suite 100, in Dallas.

To RSVP or purchase a book in advance for $24.95, please contact Nicole Gray, or call 214-741-7500. For more information, visit

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Around the Town

Posted on 24 March 2011 by admin

Beth-El kids do Purim mitzvot

Beth-El Congregation Sunday school teacher Rivka Marco has taken her fourth-grade class to the Mollie and Max Barnett Apartments for the past six years during Purim, to perform gemilut chasadim and fulfill one of the four mitz­vot of Purim. Her students collected dried fruit, tea, cookies and candies for mishloach manot, assembled the baskets and then on Purim, the students and parents delivered the goodies to Jewish seniors at the assisted living center.

The students were surprised how the seniors reacted to the small gifts and the visit.

“I felt like I was doing a real mitzvah,” Kaylie James said.

“I was nervous when we started,” Julie Kalpin said, “but it was a lot of fun.”

All the residents were grateful for the Purim goodies. Some spoke very little English, but managed to communicate with the fourth-graders. One man had the Megillah in Russian, and shared a little reading. Other residents responded with gifts of cookies, candy and fruit — another mitzvah for Purim.

Seth Front to speak on Jewish culinary history at CAS brunch

Guest speaker Seth Front will present “A Culinary History of Jews in America, Based on the Astrological Signs of the Delicatessen” at the annual donor event of the Ladies Auxiliary of Congregation Ahavath Sholom. This fascinating lecture will take place Sunday, April 3, at 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Front founded the Jewish Zodiac and uses an interactive lecture to weave the social history of the Jewish delicatessen using the 12 most iconic deli foods as guideposts. These food symbols comprise Mr. Front’s Jewish Zodiac, which can be found online at

Find the answers to “How did Broadway entertainers help popularize deli, and how did deli culture help ease Jewish entry into mainstream American society?” “What factors brought the decline of the deli and how can our original comfort food adapt to a more health-conscious America in the 21st century?” And the most important information of all: “Who has the best pastrami sandwich in the country?”

Come join in this informative and entertaining luncheon. Donation to the CAS Ladies Auxiliary of $50 includes lunch and entertainment by Mr. Front as well as door prizes and camaraderie. The Ladies Auxiliary of CAS maintains the kosher kitchens, runs the gift shop and supports the religious school as well as the synagogue with funds and support. Please help with their endeavors by joining our organization and attending this major fundraiser of the year.

Please make reservations by March 31 to Joann English at CAS, 817-731-4721.

Haiti, health and Zionism

On March 31, Dr. Mitchell Schwaber, director of the National Center for Infection Control of the Israel Ministry of Health, will speak about his experiences in Haiti, and how his work is a reflection of his personal view of Zionism. A dessert reception will follow.

The event is sponsored locally by B’nai B’rith Isadore Garsek Lodge and Yad B’Yad/HaShomer, and nationally by the American Zionist Movement (AZM). AZM is the U.S. affiliate of the World Zionist Organization. It will be held at 7 p.m. at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, and there is no charge.

CAS invites community to rare  Torah scroll exhibit

On Sunday, April 3, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St., Fort Worth, will have on display all of the books of the Jewish Bible in scroll form. This collection of scrolls, made available by The Christian Heritage Foundation, is one of only two such collections which are accessible to the public.

As part of the presentation, two scribes, Rabbi Avi Bloomenstiel, Sofer of the South, and Garry Zimmerman will show how the parchment and ink are prepared as part of a living tradition which is at least 3,000 years old.

For additional information and to schedule a visit, please call 817-731-4721.

Multicultural Alliance honors Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger

On Thursday evening, April 28, the Multicultural Alliance, formerly known as the National Conference of Christian and Jews, will honor Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger at the Multicultural Alliance Annual Awards Dinner. The event begins at 6:30 with a host reception, followed by dinner and program at 7 at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth. To purchase tickets, contact the Multicultural Alliance at 817-332-3271.

Rabbi Mecklenburger joins a stellar group of past honorees of the Multicultural Alliance. The Multicultural Alliance President, Dr. Cheryl Kimberling, stated, “We are so delighted to honor Rabbi Mecklenburger on our 60th anniversary. No one bridges the past, present, and future of The Multicultural Alliance like Rabbi Mecklenburger.”

The Multicultural Alliance is celebrating 60 years of service to the Tarrant County community. The mission is to promote inclusion, diversity and understanding while working toward eliminating bias, bigotry and oppression. The Multicultural Alliance brings people together for educational opportunities and shared experiences. Examples of their programs include Camp CommUNITY, interfaith dialogues and workshops.

Rabbi Mecklenburger has been involved with the Multicultural Alliance for over 25 years. He has served in a multiplicity of roles including board membership both locally and nationally, resource scholar, interfaith dialogue facilitator and participant. In 1988 Rabbi Mecklenburger served on the national board of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. At a board meeting, he learned of the seminary interfaith program and brought the concept to the area. The four-day retreat, “Seminarians: Sharing Our Faith Traditions,” is designed to prepare future ministers, priests, imams and rabbis for their roles as religious leaders in an interfaith, pluralistic, harmonious society.

Born in Hartford, Conn., Rabbi Mecklenburger graduated magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati and received advanced degrees from Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institution of Religion. He was ordained in 1972 and served congregations in San Francisco, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich., before his move to Fort Worth to serve the Beth-El Congregation as senior rabbi in 1984.

In addition to his congregational duties and his involvement with the Multicultural Alliance, Rabbi Mecklenburger has been involved with community affairs locally and nationally. Rabbi Mecklenburger is an adjunct faculty member at Brite Divinity School, TCU. He has been vice chairman of the United Way of Metropolitan Tarrant County, and has served on the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission. He has chaired the Jewish Family Service Agency and was vice president of the Dan Danciger Jewish Community Center. He serves on the boards of the Chisholm Trail Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Day Resource Center, the Jewish Federation and Jewish Family Services agency. He chairs the Advisory Committee of the UTA School of Social Work and is a member of the downtown Rotary Club.‘

Daytimers’ to tour Acme Bricks on April 13

The next event for “Daytimers” is a tour of the Acme Brick Company art collection, Wednesday, April 13, at 11 a.m., followed by lunch. Most of the 27-piece collection was developed especially for the architecturally beautiful building. The collection includes bronzes, oils, iron and brick sculptures, photographs and mixed media.

Following the docent-guided tour, the group will have lunch on the beautiful patio overlooking the Trinity River trail (weather permitting) or inside in the Acme Brick café. Lunch will be catered by Pak-a-Pocket. Guests have a choice of Turkey Pastrami Pocket, Chicken Shwarma Pocket, or Baba Ghanoush (eggplant) Pocket, plus chips and cookies. Cost is $9 each including lunch, or $4 for only the tour.

To reach Acme Bricks from Beth-El, take Highway 183 to Bryant-Irvin Road. Turn right. Just before you reach Vickery (it’s on the south side of the river), turn right. The street on the left is River Park Drive; to the right is the unnamed Acme Brick Plaza. It is 1.2 miles from Beth-El. There is plenty of visitor parking.

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Irv Robinson, 817-731-7447, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.

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

CBI Sisterhood to hold annual spring fashion show

Congregation Beth Israel Sisterhood will hold its annual spring fashion show on Sunday, April 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Ooh La La, 408 South Main St. in Grapevine. Ladies, come to this fantastically fun and fashionable fundraising event! Delicious lunch will be catered by Tastefully Yours. Price is $20 per person. There will be a 10 percent discount on all purchases at Ooh La La and a 10 percent donation to CBI Sisterhood. Please send your check for $20 (made out to CBI Sisterhood) to: Lisa Wax, 1607 Sleepy Hollow Drive, Westlake, TX 76262. For more information, please e-mail

Shabbaton weekend at CBI, April 8–9

Congregation Beth Israel will have its first Shabbaton — a weekend filled with prayer, conversation and, of course, food and fun for all ages — April 8–9. This weekend is dedicated to CBI’s membership and will focus on how to build the congregation within the community. CBI is 160 families strong now, with much diversity. This is your opportunity to meet other families and participate in planning for CBI’s future.

You are encouraged to attend all of the activities, but the two days are designed so you can join in at your convenience.

The weekend will start with a Friday night family service at 6:30. Saturday morning service will be followed by a luncheon. During the day there will be special activities for children and topical discussion for the adults. Come open the conversation and share what you want CBI to be in the future and how everyone together can build a strong Jewish community. There will be a break at 3 p.m., then dinner will be at 6, followed by Havdallah, fun and games.

If you have questions or want to share ideas, please e-mail Julie Marks,

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Ask the Rabbi

Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 24 March 2011 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I have recently completed the year of mourning and Kaddish for my father, and am left with a profound feeling of emptiness now that it’s finished. I know I can no longer say Kaddish, but is there anything more that I can do or is that it?

Morris N.

Dear Morris,

I know exactly how you feel from experience; saying Kaddish for a loved one keeps a feeling of ongoing connection, and when it ends there’s an overwhelming feeling of disconnect, like the emptiness which you expressed. On one hand we, as Jews, believe that mourning should not go on forever. We have a year to mourn but we accept G-d’s will and move onward with our lives. On the other hand, we yearn to remain connected in some way. For many, the once-a-year connection of the yahrzeit doesn’t seem enough and we desire a more ongoing bond than that.

One special way to maintain that tie is through the study of Mishnah. For millennia Jews have remembered their loved ones through learning Mishnah, especially within the first 30 days of the loss and throughout the first year. The letters which spell Mishnah in Hebrew, mem shin nun hey, are the same letters, in different order, which spell the word neshamah, or soul. This is because the Mishnah has a very special connection to the soul, and greatly elevates the soul of both the learner and the one in whose memory it is learned.

By studying the Mishnah every day in your father’s memory you can maintain a very special and meaningful connection. Before the learning you can say, “This study should serve as an ‘iluy nishmat’ (or to elevate the soul of) my father” (using his Hebrew name, son of his father’s Hebrew name). This can be done forever.

To understand a bit deeper, the Talmud says “bra kara d’avuhun,” or the son (or daughter) is a “leg of the father.” This statement has certain legal ramifications, but for our purposes we can focus on the terminology of a “leg” of the father. The reason the rabbis used this term is to hint that the father, or mother, continues to “walk” in this world, even after they have left it, through the mitzvot performed by the children and grandchildren they left behind.

This concept is punctuated by an emotional story told at a seminar in Israel. Leah and her husband, secular Israelis, were sent with their young family to New York to serve at the Israeli consulate. When on a trip to upstate New York, due to a downpour their car slid off the road and down the mountain, landing on a large rock. Leah, thrown from the car next to her husband, was awoken by screams of “Ima!” from her three children still in the car, precariously teetering on the rock. The older two were able to climb out the broken window, but the baby was belted in on the far side of the car; she was afraid to reach in lest the car fall off the rock. Leah closed her eyes and cried “Dear G-d, please give me my baby,” and when she opened her eyes, somehow the baby was miraculously in her hands. She got down and again fainted.

Leah woke up in a hospital, hearing that her husband didn’t make it. She kept going over and over again in her mind how the baby got into her hands, and all she could come up with was that it was a miracle. Leah resolved at that moment to return to Israel and enroll her children in a religious school to thank G-d for that miracle.

The younger children had no problem adapting to the new school. The older boy Itzik, however, was a different story. His fourth-grade class was far along in the study of Mishnah, something he had never done before. A big test was coming and every day, as the test got closer, he made more trouble about going to school. Leah’s saying that “the rabbi understands, you’re new at it,” didn’t help; after all, he was a kid and embarrassed. The day of the test finally arrived, and Leah dreaded that fight. Itzik came out of his room with a smile and said, “Bye Ima!” She asked, “Where are you going?” He said, “To school!” “But today’s the big test!” “I know, I’m going to do great!” “But how do you suddenly know it?” Itzik replied, “Last night while I was sleeping I was walking down a long road, and I saw Aba. He hugged me and I told him I’m in a new school where they study Mishnah. He said ‘I know, the day we went into that school they put me into the Garden of Eden, and the Mishnah you’re learning is what they teach me there.’ I said, ‘Aba, if you know it, could you teach me?’ He said ‘Sure,’ and we sat down next to the road and he taught me.” Leah, teary-eyed, ended the story by saying, “My Itzik got 100 on the test!”

Studying Mishnah, or any part of Torah, will certainly bring your father nachat in the spiritual world where he is living and give you the feeling of connection for which you yearn.

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

Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 24 March 2011 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

How about a little Jewish trivia to play at the dinner table? Asking questions is a Jewish thing — we are known to answer a question with a question. Trivia gives us the opportunity to test our knowledge of Jewish details. After you can answer these, make up your own — get deeper than one-word answers. Try to stump your family members. After Purim, I am still hearing our preschoolers talk about Zeresh (do you know who that is?) — they will definitely win the Jewish trivia contest! Good luck!

1. Which holiday celebrates the Jewish New Year?

2. With which “helper candle” do you light the other candles on a Chanukah menorah?

3. In which garden did Adam and Eve live?

4. According to the story in the Book of Genesis, how many days did it take G-d to create the world?

5. Which prophet was swallowed by a large fish?

6. Who was the young shepherd who killed a giant named Goliath?

7. To whom did G-d speak from a burning bush?

8. What was the departure of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt called?

9. Which holiday comes from the Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts”?

10. Where did Moses receive the Ten Commandments?

11. Who had his hair cut by Delilah while he slept?

12. Who was given a coat of many colors by his father, Jacob?

13. What was the name of Adam and Eve’s third son?

14. What do you call the pointer used to read the Torah?

15. In English, what is the first word of the Sh’ma?

16. What word is said after a blessing?

17. Who was Moses’ sister?

18. Near the end of the Passover seder, for whom is a door opened?

19. How many stars must appear in the sky as a sign that Shabbat has ended?

20. What is the first book in the Torah?

21. What is the Hebrew word for charity?

22. What does the word “rabbi” mean?

23. In the Book of Genesis, whose wife turned into a pillar of salt?

24. What is the word for the seven days of mourning after a funeral?

25. What is the Hebrew name given to a Jewish prayer book?

26. What is the Hebrew word for the canopy used in marriage ceremonies?

27. What does the word Havdallah mean?

28. Which holiday is known as “The Feast of Weeks” and comes seven weeks after Passover?

29. Who was Abraham’s wife and Isaac’s mother?

30. On which Jewish holiday do people plant trees?

31. The ancient walls of which city fell down when Joshua shouted and people blew shofars?

32. Which person in the Bible was also known as Israel?

33. Who succeeded Moses and led the Jewish people back to Canaan?

34. What are the two official languages of Israel?

35. Which book of the Bible is read during Shavuot?

36. What other name was Esther known by?

37. What is Israel’s basic unit of money?

38. What was the name of Moses’ wife?

39. How many daughters did Jacob have?

40. What was the language spoken by many Eastern European Jews?

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

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