Archive | November, 2011

Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 23 November 2011 by admin

There have been a whirlwind of events over the past several weeks, many opportunities to get our community together.

The next few days provide a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with close family and friends as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.

I remember at my parents’ Thanksgiving table my father always pointed out that Thanksgiving had its underpinnings in the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Regardless of how large or small our gathering was, we would all embrace one another shoulder to shoulder (Think Hinei Matov) as Dad recited the blessings including the Schechyianu (see Laura Seymour’s column for more about incorporating Jewish elements into your Thanksgiving celebration).

One thing we’ve added in our home, as we have hosted 30-plus family and friends over the last several years, is the “Prayer for our Country.”

From the TJP family to yours, A healthy, happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday.

Kaplan AZA members gather at Hillcrest High 50th reunion

Members of Kaplan AZA who gathered for lunch during the Hillcrest High School 50th reunion were back row from left Joe Schackman, Alan Eisenberg, Joel Rubin, Gary Freed, Martin Golman, Dr. Michael Friedman, Dr. Rene Koppel, Max Friedman, Fred Bennett; bottom row, from left, Dr. Larry Goldblatt, Richard Fine, Dr. Steven Levy, Richard Stern, Rik Knopf, Bunky Garonzik, Dr. Shelby Wyll, Alan Kuper and Larry Silver

Martin Golman was kind enough to share a photo with us from a Kaplan AZA luncheon that was held the weekend of Oct. 14-15 celebrating the Hillcrest High School 50 year reunion. The highlight of the Kaplan Gang reunion was a good and welfare of memorable stories.

Museum of Biblical Art showcases new painting, Israeli architect

There are exciting thing going on at the Museum of Biblical Art, across from Northpark Mall in Dallas.

Last weekend, the museum dedicated a painting, “Tree of Life” from Maya Eventov, one of Canada’s most successful artists. The mixed media painting captures the deep symbolism of the tree of life described in the book of Genesis. Eventov, who happens to be the cousin of Dallas’ Myra and Phil Migicovsky, is best known for her popular landscape paintings sold in fine art galleries throughout the world.

Born and raised in Russia, Eventov was formally trained in Leningrad. “In this painting, I have taken the shards of broken pottery discovered in Israel from ancient battles and they are incorporated in the painting at the roots of the tree of life to invoke a symbolism and connection to Israel. The Stars of David are repeated and hidden in the leaves of the tree.” Art Historian and Museum Curator Scott Peck said, “Her work is emotes feeling and sentiment. Eventov uses rich colors that are thickly painted to create deep and sensual textures, evoking spiritual reality.”

An exhibition of Eventov’s paintings opened November 19 at Galerie Zuger located at 1215 Dragon Street in Dallas. A formal museum dedication of the “Tree of Life” painting was held on Saturday Nov. 19.

Also at the museum, the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest region and Bnai Zion will present esteemed architect, Ganit Mayslit Kassif, on Wednesday Nov. 30 at 1:30 p.m.

The architecture firm Mayslits Kassif Architects, co-owned by Ganit and her husband, transformed the neglected port of Tel Aviv, Israel into a vivacious, breathtaking waterfront multiuse development.

The Tel Aviv port was primarily an operational docking port until its abandonment in 1965. Today, the port’s regeneration is considered one of the most influential public spaces in Tel Aviv, and houses various restaurants, shopping centers, and bars drawing natives and tourist alike.

The museum of Biblical Art is graciously providing a lunchtime lecture by Kassif that will be open to the public. The lecture will primarily focus on the revitalization of the port of Tel Aviv, as well as the general style of architecture that can be found in the “White City” of Tel Aviv.

With the recent creation of a devoted gallery space to Israeli artists, the visit by Kassif is a new broadening of the museum’s vision as it continues to encourage the arts produced within Israel.

Kassif will also be visiting the campus of the University of Texas-Arlington as well as the University of Houston. The lectures will provide a brief outline on the urban history of Tel Aviv, and will focus on some recent projects of Mayslit’s Kassif Architects.

Challenging the sharp contrast between private and public space, the projects will expose the search for contemporary public spaces, which serve as vital urban living rooms and become a fertile social and cultural ground.

VistaCare participates in National Hospice Month

VistaCare Hospice, part of the nationwide family of Gentiva home health and hospice companies, joins in celebrating National Hospice Month. Every November, this observance honors hospice workers — including nurses, aides, social workers and administrators — who make a remarkable difference in the daily lives of patients and their families.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating the achievements of the hardworking employees of VistaCare Hospice during National Hospice Month,” said Elise Power, executive director. “Every American family has faced the challenges that go along with caring for loved ones facing a terminal illness. November is a time to recognize and applaud the people who work so hard every day to help improve the lives of patients and families by working with them in the comfort of the patients’ own homes.”

Hospice services involve providing expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support to patients primarily in their homes or other type of residence. It is designed to ensure each person’s right to die pain-free and with dignity, and see that patients’ families receive the support necessary to encourage this type of care.

While hospice services continue to increase across the country, some common misconceptions that may prevent timely access to this important end-of-life care still exist. The annual celebration of National Hospice Month serves to educate Americans about hospice service and dispel myths about it.

Patients, family caregivers, physicians and other referral sources who wish to learn more can contact Vistacare at 214-231-3914.

Luterman named international president of International Association of Hebrew Free Loans

Mazel tov to Susan Candy Luterman of Dallas who was elected president of the International Association of Hebrew Free Loans at its annual conference in Montreal in September.

Susan is a third generation member of the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Abraham Samuelsohn, and her father, Yale Candy, both of blessed memory. She became involved in 1993 and in 2001 became the first woman to be president of the Dallas organization, which was founded in 1935.

Susan is the daughter of Florence and Yale Candy, granddaughter of Sadie and Abraham Samuelsohn and niece to Martin Samuelsohn, all of blessed memory. She has been married to Allen N. Luterman, also of Dallas since 1964. Susan and Allen have two children, Stephen Luterman and Adrea Luterman and three grandchildren. She was a wholesale jeweler by trade, designing diamond jewelry.

The International Association of Hebrew Free Loans was founded in 1982, to bring the various free loan organizations together to network, help and learn from each other. Based in Los Angeles, California, the association has over 40 free loan member organizations, from cities in the U.S.A , Canada, Israel, Argentina, and Australia. For information about International, please visit their website at

Jewish Republicans to meet Sunday, Nov. 27

The Republican Jewish Coalition, North Texas Chapter will host a 2012 Presidential Election Season Primer, Sunday Nov. 27 at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., the group will review the positions of the presidential candidates. There is no charge and the community is invited to attend.

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Use Thanksgiving to discuss family values

Use Thanksgiving to discuss family values

Posted on 23 November 2011 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Thanksgiving is upon us, a time during which we’re surrounded by family and friends. Because this holiday is so family focused, it’s a perfect time to talk about family values.

Now, these days, we tend to want that quick answer — the brand or the jingle — that tells us how to live our lives. We’re told, incessantly, to “Just Do It” or “Have it Your Way” or even to “Eat Mor Chikin.” We live in a society in which shortened attention spans and sound bites are the norm.

But our sages also understood that not everyone had the patience, the time or understanding to sit through long lectures or statements. They, too, attempted to condense important statements so everyone could understand them.

In paraphrasing Genesis Rabbah 24:7 we can see the sages’ thought processes when it came to boiling down complex ideas into simple thought:

The rabbis ask, “What is the most important verse in the whole Torah?” Each had a different answer. Ben Azzai said the most important verse in the Torah is: “This book is the family history of Adam”. (Genesis 5:1) Rabbi Akiva said that the most important verse is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) Rabbi Tanhuma added: “In the image of G-d were people created.” (Genesis 1:27)

All of these are important, but is there a winner? Which one speaks to you?

Along these lines, the JCC staff recently examined 20-plus Jewish values and had a discussion and debate similar to the long-ago sages. Now, we aren’t rabbis by any stretch of the imagination. But we studied these values, what they represent to us at the J, and what they represent to us personally. The discussion was wonderful — in fact, discussions of this type are often more important than the decisions.

Here is a list of “Jewish Values.” To start a meaningful discussion, put them on cards and, with your family (or the people you work with), pick the three that will serve as guiding principles in your lives. Remember, there is no wrong answer!

  • Tzelem Elohim — Image of G-d
  • Kavod — Respect
  • Emet — Truth
  • Rachamim — Compassion
  • Hakhnasat Orchim — Welcoming Guests
  • Shem Tov — A Good Name
  • Shalom — Peace
  • Sayver Panim Yafot — Greeting everyone with a pleasant face
  • Anavah — Humility

After you have selected your “family values” take the next step: What does each value look like? How do we act to show respect? What does it mean that we have a welcoming home? What do we do to achieve a good name?

The wonderful thing about Judaism is it takes the big picture and turns it into action. If we can’t do it, how will we or anyone else know that this is what we stand for? Enjoy the conversations and perhaps even make a family T-shirt!

Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services and Lifelong Learning at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 23 November 2011 by admin

By Amy Sorter

Richardson’s Rich Rome at the bazaar

I’ve had a great time the past couple of weeks rubbing elbows with the Tarrant County Jewish Community. On Nov. 13, I participated in “Pampering for the Soul,” an event co-sponsored by the Chabads of Fort Worth and Arlington — in addition to getting my nails done (much needed), getting a neck and upper-back massage (also much-needed) and participating in a Pilates workshop by fellow ex-Evanstonian Zoe Stein Pierce (Go Wildcats!), I listened to a talk by Rivkah Block, rebbetzin at Chabad of Plano — who is, incidentally, one of my favorite people.

Though brief, it was fun catching up with Rivkie and learning what was happening on “the other side” of highway 360.

This past weekend was also a great deal of fun, as I participated in Congregation Ahavath Shalom’s jewelry bazaar and craft fair, where I hawked my hand-crafted jewelry and books.

Many thanks go to the CAS Ladies’ Auxiliary for setting up a terrific event — it was a lot of fun. I also want to thank those of you for stopping by to chat and to say “hello.”

CAS Ladies’ Auxiliary jewelry bazaar volunteers

Many of you mentioned Rene Wisch, of very blessed memory, and the wonderful columns she wrote for Texas Jewish Post. My thanks go to all of you for my attempts to fill her very large shoes and for sharing your memories of her.

Also, thank you for allowing me into your “reading space” on a weekly basis. I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, surrounded by plenty of friends and loved ones.

Jewish Learning — on locally and globally

Many thanks to Barbara Rubin, who sent me information about last week’s Global Day of Jewish Learning, which took place at the Jewish Federation of Tarrant County. On Nov. 13, a group met in the Federation’s conference room to learn about “Angels, Giants, and Nephelim in the Torah.”

A spirited discussion was aided by books, electronic media and checked with search engines and an electronic copy of the “Jewish Encyclopedia.” Judging from the photo, it seems as though everyone benefitted from this event and came away with a good deal of information.

B’nai B’rith and the senior Thanksgiving luncheon

On Nov. 17, the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith played host to over 100 seniors for its annual Thanksgiving luncheon at Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

Harry Kahn whips up lunch.

Guests were welcomed by Hedy Collins, and Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s executive director Mort House. CAS’ Rabbi Gary Perras led the blessing. Prime mover and chief cook for the annual event is dedicated volunteer, Harry Kahn, who reluctantly stepped out of the kitchen for a round of applause from the grateful seniors.

History in the making?

Chatting with many of you these past couple of weeks (see above!) helps me with story ideas. I have a couple — but I need your help.

Hollace Weiner, the extraordinary Fort Worth historian, tells me that the exhibit “Forgotten Gateway: Coming to America through Galveston” will open at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History on Dec. 17. Once it closes on April 1, 2012, that’s it — the exhibit will be gone.

I’ll get more into the exhibit in my next column, but Hollace wondered why there couldn’t be a story about Fort Worth Jews whose ancestors came through Galveston? My answer? Of course! Hollace was nice enough to give me a couple of names for reference. I also had a really great chat with Meredith Neff on Sunday (whose ancestors came through Indianola). But if you are a third- or fourth-generation Jew whose family came through the port of Galveston or Houston, or Indianola, let me know.

As for the second story, the above-mentioned Zoe Stein-Pierce also mentioned an idea I thought was kind of neat. We all have relatives, or know people who have relatives, or who know PEOPLE, for that matter, who live in Israel.

Zoe tells me that a great uncle of hers settled in Israel back in the day when Israel was Palestine — and had interesting stories to tell the family about the land at the time. I like this thought — we have a great deal of knowledge about what life was like after our Jewish homeland achieved statehood.

But what happened in the early part of the 20th century and beforehand? I’d love to know. Does anyone out there have any grandparents, great-grandparents, long-lost cousins, friends or whomever who resided in Palestine before 1948? To repeat: Let me know! I can be reached at

And speaking of B’nai B’rith …

This is the final, FINAL reminder — and if you miss it, then you haven’t been paying attention to this column during the past several weeks! Any changes to the B’nai B’rith Community Directory of Tarrant County MUST be gotten to Alex Nason by Nov. 23. Contact him at 817-346-3991 or

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Ten members of the community to hoof it up at annual JCC fund-raiser

Ten members of the community to hoof it up at annual JCC fund-raiser

Posted on 23 November 2011 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

The Aaron Family Jewish Community Center (the J) is a gathering spot for the entire Jewish community, regardless of affiliation. Each year, this its goal is to host fun, innovative events to engage the community. On Saturday, Dec. 3, of the second season of “Dancing with the Stars” will be geared to do just that.

Ten dancers will compete this year: Shawn Alhadef, Peter Fonberg, Brian Glaser, Amy Harberg, Bruce Katz, Mark Kreditor, Dan Pidgeon, Stephanie Prescott, Sury Sacher and Barbara Stein.

The contestants were selected from the community at large, and represent various age groups, synagogues and programs. Each of the community “stars” are paired with a dancer from Studio 22, where Marc Cuban and Emmitt Smith trained for their appearances on the TV show. All of the participants chose a local Jewish organization to dance on behalf of, and the competition’s winner will receive $1,000 on behalf of that organization.

The J launched this event last year as its annual fundraiser partly because of the “Dancing with the Stars” television show’s popularity. In addition, the St. Louis Jewish Community Center had a great deal of success by hosting a similar competition. Last year’s sold-out crowd and fund-raising success convinced event organizers to bring it back for a second year.

“We like to make the J fundraiser innovate and fun each year,” said event co-chair Wendy Stanley, who also co-chaired the program last year.

“‘Dancing with the Stars” is so popular on TV and we believe we have our own community stars who have been so generous with their time and should be recognized,” Stanley said. “They are the number one key ingredient to the success of this event. They spend so much time practicing and work really hard. We have another great lineup this year.”

The winners are selected by the judges’ decisions and through popular vote. This year’s judges are commentator Phyllis George, Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus and Ben Rogers of the “Ben and Skin Show” on ESPN radio. In addition to the competition, the evening will include dinner, an open bar and non-competitive dancing.

“We are excited to have this program again and it’s unique because it includes the entire community,” commented J President Artie Allen. “The dancers work so hard and volunteer so much time. This is a fabulous event.”


What: Dancing with the Stars Season 2
When: Saturday, Dec. 3; Event begins at 7:30 p.m. and the show beings at 8:45 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency Dallas, 300 Reunion Blvd.
Cost: Individual tickets are $200 each and sponsorships are available
Info: Kerri Aikin, 214-239-7103,,

Meet the Dancers

The dancers shared their thoughts about why they chose to participate, which organizations they chose to support and why an event like this is so important.

Shawn Alhadef, dancing on behalf of the Berry Family Fund: “I thought it would be wonderful to dance for the Berry Family because they need so much support. I have family friends who are related to them, and thought it would be a nice way to show that I care. I am excited to participate in this.”

Peter Fonberg, dancing on behalf of Jewish Family Service: “JFS does wonderful work and anything I can do for it is important. Also, as far back as I can remember, the J has always been a focal point in my life. It was a lynchpin for my youth and I will do whatever I can do to continue supporting the J.”

Brian Glaser, dancing on behalf of The Teen Travel Camp at the J: “I believe in the J as the place to “grow up” Jewish in Dallas. I did, and still have best friends from those days,” he said. “Tween trek, as they called in in my years as a young kid, was a memorable time for forming those friendships and growing up. I like the idea of providing an opportunity for one kid go to camp, that may not otherwise afford it, and travel and bond with new friends that he or she may have for a lifetime.”

Amy Harberg, dancing on behalf of Jewish Family Service: “JFS is a fabulous organization that helps so many people. The counseling department especially speaks to me because of my background in that area. ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is a great way to support the J and is a fun way to get everyone together.”

Bruce Katz, dancing on behalf of Congregation Anshai Torah: “Anshai Torah does a lot for the community and my family is very involved. My wife is past president and I am the director of the Kol Rina Men’s Choir. I am looking forward to participating in this. The J touches the entire Jewish community and always brings people together for common causes.”

Mark Kreditor, dancing on behalf of The Florence Melton Adult Mini School at the J: “I have become a student and this is a wonderful way for me to show empathy for all of the wonderful students of Melton. I wanted to support Melton because my wife is a student of the program and I have taught in it.”

Dan Pidgeon, dancing on behalf of the The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance:
“I chose to dance for the Dallas Holocaust Museum to bring more awareness of the truly great exhibits in Dallas. It is even more important that we have actual survivors, willing to relive their stories, for the sole purpose of making sure we never forget. Jews and non-Jews alike can enrich the human experience by being involved in the DHM.”

Stephanie Prescott, dancing on behalf of the Tennis Department at the J: “I chose to participate in Dancing with the Stars because I thought the event was so much fun last year and I wanted to try something totally out of my comfort zone. I have played on a tennis team at the J for years and have watched the program grow substantially and involve people of all ages from kids to seniors. I hope the evening is a big success, all the dancers have a great time and enjoy their performances.”

Sury Sacher, dancing on behalf of Congregation Shearith Israel: “When I was presented the opportunity to do something that would benefit both the J and Shearith Israel, I was all about it. Though dancing has never been a forte or a passion, I have accepted the challenge knowing that it is not about me. I would say the J and Shearith are the two most important places in my life and are the epicenter of so many of our lives in the community.”

Barbara Stein, dancing on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas:
“I am happy to participate in this event and support the J, which I consider to be a true gem that serves our whole community. The Federation is the umbrella that serves all of our schools and organizations. It enriches and enhances Jewish life in Dallas and literally saves the lives of Jews in Israel and around the world.”

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

By Amy Sorter

If you’ve paged through this issue’s special section, you obviously understand the theme is to “Buy Israel.” I highly encourage everyone to put this idea in the forefront of your mind, and buy Israel between Nov. 28 and Dec. 4 — and beyond.

Not to be a bummer, but we are living in extraordinarily trying times — it seems as though Israel is getting the blame for just about everything wrong in the Middle East.

The best way to support Israel is to invest in it through the purchase of consumer goods and other investments (though check with your financial planner if you are thinking about buying Israeli stocks or bonds). Buying Israeli-made goods sends a message of support for our Jewish Homeland and, as mentioned throughout this issue, Israel produces a lot of things, from linens, to foodstuffs, to wine, and so on.

Mazel Tov!

Congratulations and many blessings to Seth and Jodi Weisblatt of Dallas, and their new baby daughter. Seth’s father, Herb Weisblatt, and grandmother Florence Weisblatt live in Fort Worth, and own Sam’s Furniture in Haltom City.

Consider the Synaplex Shabbat

On Nov. 18, Friday night services will take place, as usual, at 6:30 p.m. at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Rd. But following services will be “Film and the Holocaust,” Israeli dancing, a creative art program and a program about how to pickle foods. The programs will conclude with a huge family oneg. This looks like a lot of fun for all ages — and something different to try. The event is free (as is the meal), but an RSVP MUST be made to the Temple office by calling 817-332-7141 or logging on to

Daytimers regaled

On Nov. 9, the Daytimers welcomed Paul Boller, TCU professor emeritus, who regaled those present with his World War II experiences. The 94-year-old vet (he’ll be 95 in December) said he’d learned Japanese during the war, and used this skill to help save the lives of Japanese civilians.

LEFT: Paul Boller regaled the Daytimers with his World War II experiences. CENTER: Edythe Cohen served as the emcee for the November Daytimers program. RIGHT: Rich Morris is the commander of the Martin Hochster Post of the Jewish War Veterans. | Photos: Len Schweitzer

He found some of the leaflets he prepared (that were dropped on Hiroshima before the bomb) in a Pacific War museum, and said those were probably the only copies left in the world.

He also talked about his recruitment into Intelligence Service under Admiral Nimitz, and his attempts to converse with Japanese officers during their surrender. Boller also sold copies of some of his books; “Presidential Anecdotes,” “Presidential Campaigns,” and “Presidential Wives,” all of which have seen time on the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Emcee for the day was Edythe Cohen, and Rosalie Schwartz and Ethel Schectman greeted the guests at the door.

The veterans were introduced by Rich Morris, Commander of the Fort Worth Chapter of the Jewish War Veterans.

Two retired Generals, Gen Tom Bessant and Brigadier General Nathan Vail, were guests of Fannette Sonkin.

Dr. Boller was introduced by WWII Vet Dr. Irvin Robinson, who was also Dr. Boller’s host for the day.

The next “Daytimers” event on Wednesday, Dec. 14 will be “A Sentimental Journey,” a music program. It will take placed at noon at Congregation Beth-El, 4900 Briarhaven Rd in Fort Worth. Lunch will be catered by Pak-a-Pocket.

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817 927-2736 or Irv Robinson, 817 731-7447, or mail checks to Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. You can also reserve online at

Monthly JWI meeting

Ina Singer phoned to remind everyone that the December Jewish Women’s International meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at Beth-El Congregation. Breakfast will be served and Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger will discuss Chanukah.

Last chance to get that shopping done

Plan to stop by Congregation Ahavath Sholom at 4050 S. Hulen from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20 to get most of that Chanukah shopping out of the way. CAS’ Ladies Auxiliary has done a wonderful job setting up vendors from throughout the region.

In addition to well-known national vendors, local and regional vendors will be present as well. Proceeds from the bazaar benefit CAS, so you’re doing two nice things when you support vendors at this event.

And finally …

Time is running out if you want to get your changes into the B’nai B’rith Community Directory of Tarrant County. The Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith is in its last stages of editing this directory, so NOW is the time to make any changes. Get them in to Alex Nason by Nov. 23. Contact him at 817-346-3991 or

We’d love to hear from our readers! E-mail your news to

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

Many of our community’s leaders are among those taking the Food Stamp Challenge (see page 5 of this week’s issue). Among them are Rabbi Nancy Kasten, Rabbi Heidi Coretz, JCRC Director Marlene Gorin, and Andrea Weinstein. It’s not too late to join the project as well. You can read more about Dallasites who are participating at

It was with great pleasure that I attended a celebration last month for Sam Raden’s 100th birthday. You can read more about Sam’s celebration on page 14 of this week’s issue. One thing that we didn’t mention there, was how blessed we are to be among the Raden’s friends. The Radens met the Wisches when my mom, Rene, was in the hospital with the birth of her first child, my sister Linda, and Bernice was recovering from the birth of her youngest, Buddy. My understanding is that Bernice was toward the end of her stay, and mom had just begun hers. They formed a quick bond in those 24 hours, learning among other things that they shared a similar name — mom’s maiden name was Radin, they shared the same wedding anniversary, March 26 — and alas, they both happened to be Jewish. I’m not sure if that’s what they did back in those days at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth — put the Jewish patients together — but for whatever reason a life-long, committed friendship was born along with those two babies. When the TJP was in its infancy, I’m told that Sam and Bernice spent many hours helping to roll and bundle papers for the mail. This took place in my parents’ spacious efficiency apartment across from the old Beth El Congregation. Shortly thereafter, the Radens moved to Dallas where they’ve lived now for over 60 years and have remained cherished family friends. Mazel tov to Sam and all the Radens on this incredible milestone.

And the cholent winners are …

My first experience with cholent was as a youngster many years ago at an Ahavath Sholom Shabbaton. Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew that is brought to a boil before Shabbat and then allowed to slowly cook overnight, thus conforming to the prohibition of cooking on Shabbat. Eaten for lunch on Shabbat, cholent is made with meat, potatoes, onions, beans and barley, but variations and secret ingredients are common.

Ohev Shalom Cholent Competition winners (l to r): Lou Calmenson, Ben Calmenson and Lane Harris. | Photo: Courtesy of Ohev Shalom

Ohev Shalom recently tested the culinary strengths of its members with its second annual cholent cookoff. The final cook-off in the second annual Ohev Shalom Cholent Competition was a “hotly” contested battle among three groups of men, with the team of Lane Harris, Louis Calmenson and Ben Calmenson voted the best of the best. Other finalists included the teams of Aaron Yurowitz and Hillel Rodin, and Jeremy Cassius and Mark Esquenazi.

Ohev Shalom’s Cholent Competition began two years ago as a project of the Men’s Club. Each week during the year, a different team prepares cholent for the congregation to enjoy at the Kiddush following Shabbat morning services. Favorites are remembered and online voting determines the top three teams.

“Our cholent cook-off adds much camaraderie among the members and visitors to our shul,” says Rabbi Aryeh Rodin. “It provides a platform for the men to prepare the cholent at shul with their secret ingredients that please the palettes of the participants. In this program, everybody is a winner.”

Irv Munn named to 2011 Executive Council of Raymond James Financial Services

Irv Munn has been named to the 2011 Executive Council of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding client service and exemplary professional growth. Executive Council honors are presented only to those financial advisors who have demonstrated an extremely high level of commitment to clients through personal and professional integrity. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Irv has qualified for this recognition.

In addition to Irv’s recognition, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. recently earned praise from prominent industry media, such as Fortune magazine, SmartMoney and The Wall Street Journal. SmartMoney recently named Raymond James the best full-service broker in its 2011 Annual Broker Survey, for the third time in four years. The results were based on many factors, including client satsifaction and user-friendliness of account statements.

Naturman is at the Improv

Rabbi Israel Lashak and NCSY (National Conference for Synagogue Youth) invite you to attend its seventh annual “Evening of Laughs” featuring the comedy of acclaimed comedian Dan Naturman, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Improv Comedy Club 4980 Beltline Road in Dallas.

Dan Naturman began performing stand-up comedy while a student at Fordham University School of Law. After graduating, he decided to turn his back on law and devote himself to comedy full time. His legal education did not go totally to waste however, as his New York State Bar Association membership gets him discounts on rental cars. Dan’s charming self-deprecating style has since made him a hit with comedy club audiences across the country. He was the favorite of celebrity judges Drew Carey and Brett Butler on Last Comic Standing 2 and has made several appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. He can also be seen on his own Comedy Central Presents half-hour special.

To purchase tickets or place an ad in a commemorative journa, call 972-934-9143 or e-mail

Getting your kindergartener ready for first grade

Ann & Nate Levine Academy will host First Grade Preview / Open House on Wednesday, Dec. 7th at 8 a.m. The program will be at the school, located at 18011 Hillcrest Road in Dallas.

All parents and families with Kindergarten-aged children are invited to attend. The First Grade Open House will be geared toward those families looking to learn more about Levine Academy. The events will include campus tours and presentations, including opportunities to ask staff and faculty about the day-to-day experience of Levine Academy students.

Levine Academy is an inclusive Conservative Day School for children 3 months through eighth grade. The school, associated with the Schechter Day School Network, strives to inspire a passion for learning and graduate confident, ethical, Jewish citizens and leaders. The school has been a leader in offering a broad education to the Dallas Jewish community since 1979.  Levine Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

For more information about Levine Academy or to RSVP to the First Grade Preview /Open Houses, contact Mireille Brisebois-Allen at 972-248-3032 or

Pop Up Art Show to feature works by Yakovetic

The world’s greatest mother-in-law, Jane Ray (yes, she belongs to me) is perhaps the world’s biggest “Gone with the Wind” fan, having even travelled to Atlanta recently for the reading of some of Margaret Mitchell’s lost pages of the book. I’m sure she’d find the upcoming event this Saturday night at the Fairmont Hotel of particular interest. Storyopolis Entertainment and Ross Akard Gallery will host a “Pop Up Art Show” featuring works by renowned artist Yakovetic. At 8 p.m., the event will premier a new painting entitled Sons of the South, immortalizing “Gone With the Wind” actor and legend Patrick Curtis who will be on hand for the unveiling. Curtis played Melanie’s baby in the film in an uncredited role.

The Yakovetic Fine Art Collection features Signature Series Limited Edition giclées signed by film cast members. Also showcased are original works inspired by The Wizard of Oz from Yakovetic Productions artists Phillip Graffham, Bridget McCarty, and T.J. Novy.

Storyopolis Entertainment (SE) is an art collector’s paradise. SE is now home to the popular illustrated art from The Story Book House and the highly acclaimed contemporary art from The 4th Wall Gallery. This combined collection can be viewed and purchased at:

SE owner Matt Abramowitz has over 15 years experience in the art and children’s book industry. He continues to take customers beyond the pages of children’s picture books by showcasing some of the world’s most distinctive authors and illustrators. Be sure to catch the future “Pop Up Art Shows” with partner Bryan Embry of the Ross Akard Galleries.

Sorry, mom Ray, if it wasn’t for Jacob’s bar mitzvah this weekend, I’d love to take you down to the Fairmount Saturday night.

And to my nephew Jacob

Mazel tov on your bar mitzvah weekend, it’s going to be a fabulous, and I know you are well-prepared and ready to shine.

Send your news to me at

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Still time to take the Food Stamp Challenge

Still time to take the Food Stamp Challenge

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

By Conrad Giles and Steve Gutow

We have decided to take a journey. We will take the Food Stamp Challenge and live for one week on an average SNAP (food stamp) benefit of $31.50 per week. We are organizing and encouraging others to join us.

Yet we hear one question again and again: Why?

We have heard the statistics. Poverty rates are climbing and millions of people are out of work, out of food or without homes. To be more specific, 45.2 million Americans in July alone filed for SNAP benefits; more than half were children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that more than 48 million Americans struggle to find adequate food and experience the bitter reality of hunger. Looking at the devastating numbers alone can be dehumanizing.

We are taking the Challenge to experience and remind ourselves of what hunger feels like in our nation of plenty.

Studies and reports describe the pervasiveness of hunger in America, but they don’t convey the humanity of those caught in its wake. Hungry children suffer from impaired development and poor performance in school. Tens of thousands of adults, possibly millions, endure illnesses caused by the vestiges of hunger and malnutrition. Some who struggle with hunger resemble the iconic young man crouched in the corner of a subway portal with a simple sign: “No food, no job, no home.” Others suffer from hunger out of sight of the outside world. They are our neighbors and members of our own Jewish communities who have fallen on hard times. They have been caught and protected by the most vital of our national safety net — one that provides food. The average SNAP benefit for these families, children and seniors is just $31.50 per week per person — roughly $1.50 per meal.

Hunger is an urgent challenge for millions of Americans, and before Congress considers cutting SNAP benefits, we are asking citizens across this nation to go further than knowing the statistics. We are asking them to understand the realities of hunger. We urge you to join us on our journey.  Visit to learn more about the Food Stamp Challenge and register to join us.

The Food Stamp Challenge has attracted support from religious, political and community leaders from across the country. But this is not just a Jewish effort. We are being joined by a number of leaders from the wider faith community. They are bearing witness to the growing number of Americans facing hunger in our towns and on our streets. Members of Congress and other statewide and local civic leaders also will be taking the Challenge. This is a nationwide effort to raise awareness and break through the sterile statistics.

As Jews, we have just finished the High Holy Days with the powerfully poetic closing of the gates of Heaven and our fates sealed by God. But Yom Kippur is a beginning not an end. Our work to better ourselves and our world is begun anew each year, and to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually we fast. We are warned by Isaiah on Yom Kippur, however, that the fast is not “a day for men to starve their bodies” or “to lie in sackcloth and ashes.” Rather, the fast is about “sharing our bread with the hungry and satisfying the famished creature.”

The Food Stamp Challenge, like the fast on Yom Kippur, is meant to teach us to feed hungry people and to imbue ourselves with a more complete understanding of the quality of life of those in need.

Hunger in America is not just about numbers. It is living without security or energy. It is living on the edge. These  truths about hunger are not gleaned from statistics. And they are truths we need to share with each other, and importantly, our leaders. We are living in a political world. We will need to put all the pressure we can on members of Congress and the administration to show the “derech eretz” to do the right thing.

Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow are the chair and president, respectively, of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

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The greatness of Reb Nosen Tzvi Finkel and the void he has left

The greatness of Reb Nosen Tzvi Finkel and the void he has left

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

Last week Klal Yisrael shed a tear. More than 100,000 Jews gathered in Jerusalem Nov. 8 to pay their last respects to one of the premier leaders of our generation: Rabbi Noson Tzvi Finkel. Rabbi Finkel was dean of the renowned Mir Yeshiva of Jerusalem, and he tragically left this world at age 68 due to a sudden heart attack.

I share this with you because his funeral brought an abrupt halt to his story; a story so strange and unexpected that it was surreal, making this great man a legend in his own time throughout the Jewish world. We would be sorely remiss if we didn’t pay tribute to a figure that who one day will be regarded by historians with awe and marvel. I also feel that the message of his amazing life is one that can truly inspire and uplift us all.

Many have said that Rabbi Finkel was the foremost builder of Torah in our generation; during his 20-year tenure, he built the Talmudic academy of Mir into the largest yeshiva in Israel and perhaps the world with more than 6,000 scholars learning in its halls of study. Through his vision, passion and travels throughout the Jewish world, he inspired others to join him, even during tough financial times, to provide support for the training of so many scholars and future Jewish leaders. Rabbi Finkel built the mammoth buildings and the infrastructure to support scholarship and greatness to the extent that it transformed forever the look of the center of Jerusalem. All this was accomplished in addition to a dizzying schedule of classes and seminars, which he delivered to some of the greatest Jewish scholars in the world.

All of this is amazing enough. But what makes his life even more amazing is that Rabbi Finkel accomplished all of the above despite suffering from advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease for close to a quarter of a century.

The disease often affected him so powerfully he could barely talk. He would have to be carried to the car, and from there to the plane in Tel Aviv, where he would fly to the next parlor meeting for the Yeshiva in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto and elsewhere; so long as he could continue obtaining support for the continued building of the Yeshiva!

I had the privilege of witnessing his discourses first-hand; as he spoke to the entire scholarship body at the Yeshiva, he had to grasp tightly onto a pole on one side and the lectern on the other to prevent his body from gyrating too much during the lecture. He was clearly in tremendous pain, but didn’t flinch for a moment as he delivered a brilliant, profound hour-long Talmudic discourse.

Though a brilliant speaker with an almost insane schedule, the Rosh Yeshiva never minimized his stature as the paradigm Torah educator, always expressing the utmost fatherly love to his students, which numbered in the hundreds. He would worry about their eating, bring regards from trips abroad and be there to advise them. He was my advisor and a very close one: I’ll never forget sitting with him while relating the growth of DATA and the community. While I spoke, he listened carefully, a huge smile on his face, tears of joy welling up in his eyes.

Though he was the dean of the “Harvard of Yeshivot,” the elite academy of the world, Reb Noson Tzvi was humble in his dealing with others. Some years ago, he addressed a large group of American high school students who were participating in a summer program in Israel. The students were nervous, wondering if he spoke English, wondering what message he might delivery. They were stunned to silence when he entered the room and gripped the lectern, clearly in pain.

Then he smiled. “Is anyone here from Chicago?” he wanted to know. A tall boy in the front row said he was. R. Finkel continued: “Do you study in the Academy (referring to a modern, co-ed Jewish high school in Chicago)?” The boy answered in the affirmative, and the Rabbi said, “So did I. Do you play on the basketball team?” The tall boy said yes, and the very tall Rabbi said, “So did I, I played center.” That exchange with the boy and his following talk — which, incidentally, didn’t leave a dry eye in the room — was that he started off just like the rest of them, and look at what he became! If he could do it, so could everyone else in the room. And with that he left, leaving an indelible impression that would last a lifetime.

He did the same to the larger Jewish world. May his impression be lasting, his name be a blessing and may we follow in his footsteps to powerfully actualize our potential Jewish greatness.

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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American Jew or Jewish American? Thanksgiving makes no distinctions

American Jew or Jewish American? Thanksgiving makes no distinctions

Posted on 17 November 2011 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Thanksgiving is almost upon us and the messages of this day are many. The importance of being thankful and the value of expressing those thanks are crucial lessons for our children to learn. My favorite Jewish educator, Joel Lurie Grishaver, has some suggestions about how to combine the sacred and the secular — or rather, how one can place Jewish tradition with an American holiday. His thoughts can be found in his book “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People.” He writes, “It is important to treat Thanksgiving as a Jewish ritual meal and thereby blend Jewish and American values into a single expression. … Thanksgiving has always had its own rituals. … We had never thought to make it Jewish — we had never thought to remember that when the Pilgrims were gathering that first fall harvest in their new land, they went back to the Bible and found their own way of bringing the Sukkot ritual alive.”

In other words, Grishaver points out that Thanksgiving can be considered a “Pilgrim” version of Sukkot; that is Sukkot without the lulav and etrog and with the cranberry sauce and popcorn. The American Thanksgiving offers blessings for the harvest — so does Sukkot. Eating al fresco, as one does during Sukkot might be stretching things a little, however — November, even in Texas, can be quite chilly. But as Grishaver writes:

“The moment I figured out that Thanksgiving wasn’t just an American holiday, my world changed. I was no longer involved in a thousand discussions about Jewish American or American Jew. There was no question of priorities — the answer was simple.”

As a result, making Kiddush before eating turkey make a lot of sense, as does reciting the motzi for the breaking of bread. Grishaver writes, and I agree, that Kiddush adds another dimension to the American holiday in that it melds spirit with the food.

Now, Grishaver’s words might be a little too sophisticated for young minds to comprehend. This is where Barbara Cohen’s book “Molly’s Pilgrim” can help. The story is based on a true experience in Cohen’s family that occurred around the turn of the century. The main character is Molly, whose family immigrated from Russia and found themselves in Winter Hill, N.Y. In this small town, third-grader Molly is the only Jewish girl, and she is mercilessly teased by the other girls.

When Molly’s teacher, Miss Stickley, decides that for Thanksgiving, each child should design a pilgrim or Indian for a class diorama and present it to the class, Molly’s mother suggests the pilgrim be dressed as a Russian immigrant. Much like the pilgrims, Molly and her family also came to America seeking religious freedom and freedom from persecution. Though the other kids deride Molly for her “pilgrim,” Miss Stickley points out that Molly’s doll is very appropriate for the holiday.

“Listen to me, all of you,” Miss Stickley says to her class. “Molly’s mother is a Pilgrim. She’s a modern Pilgrim. She came here, just like the Pilgrims long ago, so she could worship God in her own way, in peace and freedom. I’m going to put this beautiful doll on my desk where everyone can see it all the time. It will remind us all the Pilgrims are still coming to America.”

Clearly, Thanksgiving is more than eating a lot of turkey and stuffing, as delicious as that may be. It’s a teachable holiday during which many comparisons can be drawn.

Whatever your family traditions, remember to recite the Shehechiyanu, an important prayer thanking God for ensuring we are around for special occasions.

Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services and Lifelong Learning at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 10 November 2011 by admin

For years I have attended Truck Time at Congregation Shearith Israel, sometimes with all three of my boys. This year I will be with family celebrating my nephew Jacob Wisch’s bar mitzvah, but you should definitely check out the scene on Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. rain or shine at Shearith, 9401 Douglas Avenue.

Tickets are $5 per person and children under 2 are free.

Earlier this week Truck Time was prominently featured on Good Morning Texas, when Stevens Transport and World Wear Project brought their vehicles to publicize the event and Louis Okon shared an antique fire truck with the audience.

Learn about OU and its Hillel on Nov. 13

For those of you thinking about where your soon-to-be high school graduate may go to college next year, the University of Oklahoma might be an option. OU Hillel is hosting an event this weekend for prospective students, parents, and alumni to showcase Jewish life at OU. You can learn about Hillel, and what it is like to be a Jewish student at the University of Oklahoma.

According to OU Hillel’s Jason Oruch, there are about 300-400 Jewish students currently enrolled. Oruch says that at the event, how Hillel provides opportunities for students to be a part of the Jewish community and to grow as student leaders will be highlighted. There will be snacks free t-shirts and scholarship information about OU. The gathering will be this Sunday at the JCC from 3 to 5 p.m.

TTI to dedicate Haymann Family Campus

Friends, supporters and community members will come together at) on Nov. 13, as they celebrate the dedication ceremony of Texas Torah Institute’s (TTI’s) new Haymann Family Campus. TTI, the only boy’s yeshiva high school and rabbinical college in Texas, opened in Dallas in the fall of 2003 with only eight students. The school now has almost 70 students enrolled in its seven year program.

Dot and Basil Haymann

TTI is an affiliate of the Rabbinical Seminary of America (RSA), the third oldest rabbinical school in the country, and is one of over 75 international institutions connected with the seminary. One of the Roshei Yeshiva (Deans) of RSA, Rabbi Dovid Harris, will be in attendance for the dedication ceremony.

The new 2.3 acre campus has been generously dedicated by Basil and Dot Haymann of Dallas. The Haymanns have been supporters of TTI for a number of years, recognizing the importance of training young Jewish men in Dallas to become future Jewish leaders.

The campus boasts a large study hall, kitchen and dining facilities, classrooms, labs and administrative space, and will enhance the learning experience for all TTI students.

The entire Jewish community is invited to share in this simcha which will be held at the new Haymann Family Campus, 6506 Frankford Road, on Sunday, at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Rabbi Yaacov Cohen at 972-250-4888.

Eleventh Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Lecture in Jewish Studies at SMU

An educational opportunity not to be missed next week, Nov. 17, is the Ann and Nate Levine Lecture in Jewish Studies. Zvi Ben-Dor Benite will speak on “The Truly Other Jewish World History: The Ten Lost Tribes between Jews and Christians.”

He will introduce the audience to a little-known but intriguing episode of Jewish and Christian history, recounting how in the early 16th century Pope Clement VII and the Ten Tribes (almost) defeated Islam and won the Holy Land.

Dr. Benite is professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and acting director of Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, New York University. An internationally renowned expert on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in East Asia and the Middle East, he is the author of two books and numerous articles.

His recent publication, “The Ten Lost Tribes: A World History,” upon which the talk is based, traces the enduring and colorful legends surrounding the fate of the ancient Israelite tribes that were exiled by the Assyrians in the eighth century BCE and vanished from the pages of history but not from popular imagination. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall on the SMU Campus (3225 University Blvd., Dallas).

For more information, contact Dr. Serge Frolov at 214-768-448 or

Herzl Hadassah news

“Things You Never Learned in Sunday School” will be the topic, delightfully told by Gail Stolovitsky, at the Herzl Hadassah meeting on Monday, Nov. 14. The meeting will begin promptly at 10 a.m. in the Senior Assembly Room at the JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.

All Hadassah members and guests are invited to attend. Coffee and desert will be served. Hadassah plans will be discussed and those who wish may bring a sack lunch and stay.

It’s not too early to think about school for 2012-2013

Akiba Academy of Dallas will host its first Parent Preview Evening on Nov. 15 at the school campus, located at 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas, TX 75251. The event’s program will begin promptly at 7 p.m.

All lower and middle school parents and other community members are welcome. The Parent Preview will feature campus tours and teacher presentations where visitors can learn more about the entire Akiba experience.

Akiba is a Modern Orthodox school for children pre-kindergarten through 8th grade that offers a stellar dual-curriculum program, with exceptional general and Judaic studies for motivated students that wish to excel. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Akiba develops ethical and responsible members of the Jewish people and American society, knowledgeable about and committed to their Jewish heritage and the state of Israel.

The school also provides opportunities for students to develop their intellectual, artistic and physical abilities with music programs, fine arts, drama, languages, sports and much, much more offered through Discovery and other Enrichment Programs.

“Akiba Academy of Dallas is an exceptional school where students can learn and grow,” said Akiba’s Head of School Rabbi Zev Silver. “We are thrilled to be able to open up our doors and showcase to the entire Akiba experience,” he added.

For additional information about Akiba Academy of Dallas or to RSVP to the Parent Preview, please contact the Admissions Department at 214-295-3419, or at

The CSI Professional Network tackles gender issues in the workplace

Author, trainer and professional salesperson Judy Hoberman will present “Selling in a Skirt” on Nov. 15. from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Shearith’s Douglas campus.

Judy Hoberman

As a former sales manager, trainer and veteran salesperson, Judy Hoberman has created a company that finally addresses the gender issues and differences that affect corporate America.

Her company, Selling in a Skirt goes beyond a standard training program — it presents a method, a philosophy and a way of life for the next generation of winning sales women.

Judy’s objective is to change the culture of sales teams so they are more effective at addressing the differences between men and women — both in the workplace with each other and in the field with their clients.

She is committed to helping women in sales to use their own gender-based talents to make more sales; to help male managers recruit, train, and retain female sales professionals; and to teach both genders how to sell to the lucrative female market.

Judy has created a suite of workshops, seminars and coaching programs that compliment her highly successful book.

Her 30 years in sales has given her both the knowledge and sense of humor about the gender differences that we should all understand and embrace instead of feeling unable to communicate.

Judy’s humorous stories about how men and women sell, manage, recruit and supervise differently will enlighten you in learning how both genders can support each other’s successes in a more productive way.

The event is free for congregants and prospective members, $5 at door for guests. RSVP to or 214-939-7318.

Rock ‘n’ Roll pioneers to appear at Beth Torah

The Big Beats, a pioneering Rock ‘n’ Roll band with a five-decade legacy, are joining forces for a rare reunion show at Congregation Beth Torah.

The concert, sponsored by the synagogue’s Chai Lights group, is set for Saturday night, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m.

The band was formed in 1957 and became the first rock ‘n’ roll group signed by Columbia Records. A smash hit appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand show launched The Big Beats on 20 years of concert tours with such superstars as Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Gene Vincent, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin.

The original band members — C.W. Kendall, Jr., Bobby Rambo, Earl Slocumb, Billy Mitchell and Larry Randall — reside in North Texas and occasionally reunite for a great show.

Tickets are still available to catch their classic, but still thrilling act. For more information, call the synagogue at 972-234-1542. Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Dr. in Richardson.

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