Archive | April, 2012

Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 05 April 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Hopefully, your cleaning is done, the soup is made, matzah balls are rolled and the brisket is in the oven or cooling on its heels in the fridge. From all of us here at the TJP, we wish you a joyous and kosher Pesach as you embrace your families and retell the story of our exodus.

Stern and Gutow among 50 most influential American rabbis

Rabbi David Stern, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu El, moved up two notches in Newsweek’s list of the 50 most influential American rabbis. Stern settled in this year at No. 20. According to Newsweek’s sister publication, The Daily Beast, Stern is “considered one of the leading lights of the Reform movement,” and he “has been helping Rick Jacobs (#7) on the URJ transition team and continues to work on the RVI with Peter Rubinstein (#3). An active proponent of Christian-Jewish dialogue, this year he took a congregational delegation to Israel along with members of a Baptist church. His community-organizing efforts have focused on providing medical equipment to needy neighborhoods and establishing a community garden to stock a food pantry. He is also an outspoken advocate for women’s reproductive rights and the work of Planned Parenthood amidst the often-hostile Texas political climate.”

Also with Dallas roots, Reconstructionist Rabbi Steve Gutow landed at No. 38. Gutow is the president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the umbrella organization for our own JCRC and those around the country. According to the Daily Beast “Gutow’s progressive politics have garnered allies among liberal Christians and African-Americans; he’s been influential in smoothing tensions between Jews and Presbyterians over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.”

Among the criteria used to determine America’s top 50 rabbis were their impact on Judaism and beyond the Jewish community; the size of their constituencies; their social/political influence; and their media presence, Abigail Pogrebin wrote in The Daily Beast.

Pogrebin, along with Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of Time Warner Inc., and Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corp., selected this year’s list. The first list appeared in 2007. Topping the list this year was Rabbi David Wolpe, of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, who moved up from No. 2 a year ago

Fifth annual Zweig family end-of-school-year bash scheduled for April 15

More than 200 bowlers are expected to converge on Sunday, April 15, at the 300 Dallas Bowling Center, 3805 Beltline Rd. in Addison, for a day of fun and to raise funds for the Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen (GGFD) Education Fund and the Special Needs Partnership of Jewish Family Service. The fifth annual end-of-school-year bash’s goal is to attract interest and generate funds so educators can be trained about working with children who have learning differences.

Standing from left are GGDF board members, Nancy Stanley, Laurie Steinberg, Kimberly Ross, Sy Saffran, Hilary Stern, Reuben Elovitz, Stephanie Elovitz, Jill Sedacca, Roberta Saffran, Andy Dropkin and Brian Zweig. Seated are Louis and Robin Zweig.

Pizza and drinks will be served, and trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top bowlers across age groups. Also included will be a silent auction for valuable prizes.

During the past five years, the GGFD Fund has raised more than $250,000, gifting 15 grants to Jewish Family Service, area schools and institutions. Louis Zweig with his wife, Robin, founded the GGFD Education Fund in honor of their son, David, who has Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by social interaction difficulties and behavioral issues.

Participants are encouraged to arrive early to select their game balls and shoes. The event is open to the public and admission is $18, which includes bowling fees, shoes and food. Each AZA/BBG chapter or teen youth group that signs up will be eligible to compete for all the trophies and prizes.

Kreditor and Shor head to Beantown for marathon

Alan Shor and Mark Kreditor are running the Boston Marathon on April 16 to raise money for charity. “It’s the only way I would ever get a number to the Boston Marathon and raising money is a lot easier than qualifying for the Boston Marathon,” says Kreditor, who along with Shor ran the New York City Marathon a few years ago. They are very excited to share another destination marathon together. “Mark and I have known each other for many years and experiencing these races has given us many hours to solve every problem the world has ever known,” says Shor, past chairman of the Aaron Family JCC.

Mark Kreditor and Alan Shor are gearing up for the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon reserves a limited number of non qualifying slots for philanthropic fund raisers and Shor and Kreditor are no strangers to the Dallas-area philanthropic playing field. Kreditor serves as co-chair of the Federation annual campaign as well as vice president of development at Yavneh Academy. This will be Kreditor’s 13th marathon and Shor’s third, but there is only one Boston Marathon and besides it’s Kreditor’s “bar-mitzvah marathon,” so Shor has to stay long enough with him at the start to at least hear his d’var Torah.

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JFS Women-to-Women Luncheon

JFS Women-to-Women Luncheon

Posted on 05 April 2012 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

Marlee Matlin has overcome several challenges in her life — from the loss of her hearing at 18 months old, to the highs and lows of being a Hollywood actress, to the unexpected challenges of being thrust into the spotlight as an ambassador for the deaf community. On Monday, April 16, as the keynote speaker for the Women-to-Women luncheon hosted by Jewish Family Service (JFS), Matlin will share her story.

“Marlee is a living example of someone who has been deaf almost her whole life and is a wonderful role model,” said Ethel Zale, event founder. “We always want a speaker who is philanthropic and has merit as a human being, and that’s what Marlee is. She shows that nothing can hold you back in life.”

From l to r: luncheon Co-chairs Eileen Franklin, Dollie Thomas and Linda Garner; Ethel Zale, event founder; and Co-chair Sara Efune. | Photos: Submitted by JFS

Zale created the Woman-to-Woman luncheon in 2004 as a way to bring a diverse group of women together from across the greater Dallas area with the goal of promoting social awareness. The event takes place every two years and past speakers have included Susan Dell, Karen Katz, Joy Behar and Diane von Furstenberg. The luncheon generally attracts about 1,000 women.

Matlin made her motion picture debut at age 21 in “Children of a Lesser God,” in which she won the Best Actress Academy Award. She is also known for her roles in “The L Word,” “The West Wing,” “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Picket Fences.” She has penned an autobiography called “I’ll Scream Later;” is the national celebrity spokesperson for the American Red Cross and is on the boards of various charitable organizations including Easter Seals and The Children Affected by Aids Foundation.

Sara Efune, who is co-chairing the luncheon with Eileen Frankin, Linda Garner and Dollie Thomas, said Matlin is a prime example of the mission of JFS, an organization that promotes emotional health and self-sufficiency for anyone in need throughout the Dallas area by providing effective and affordable mental-health and social services.

“Marlee has had obstacles to overcome to be successful and she is a true inspiration,” Efune explained. “At each luncheon, we have an influential woman tell her story and I believe that’s important to share with the women in our community.”

Eileen Franklin has volunteered at JFS since 2005 and works in the JFS Food Pantry every week. She said she sees firsthand the impact JFS makes on people’s lives and hopes that by attending this luncheon, more people will be inclined to help.

“This event is an opportunity to raise funds and hopefully inspire people when they hear Marlee’s story,” she said. “JFS allows people to improve themselves and reclaim the independence they may have lost for any number of reasons like sickness, loss of a family members, special needs or violence. JFS is constantly growing, and we want people to help, whether it’s by volunteering or financially. I am looking forward to this luncheon motivating people to help.”

Tickets are $150 per person and sponsorships are also available. Raffle tickets are available for $25 each. The event will take place at the Westin Galleria, 13340 Dallas Parkway, Dallas. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. and the luncheon will begin at noon.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call 972-437-9950, or visit www.jfsdallas.org/woman.

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In Las Vegas, Jewish federations take a gamble on engaging young Jews

Posted on 05 April 2012 by admin

By Adam Soclof

LAS VEGAS (JTA) — In this city of betting and sin, the Jewish Federations of North America took a gamble.

Jewish federations from the United States and Canada collectively kicked in tens of thousands of dollars in subsidies to send 1,500 Jews aged 22 to 45 to the Venetian resort and casino in Las Vegas for last week’s TribeFest, a gathering designed to engage participants in Jewish communal life.

The question now is whether the gamble will pay off.

Marty Paz, the incoming campaign chairman of the Jewish Federation of Las Vegas, believes it will.

“I think everyone in this room can give $18 a year,” Paz said, describing how TribeFest could be a vehicle to cultivate a “habit of giving” among participants. A small request now for a cause that people care for, he said, “could later on, as they reach professional success, turn into hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

This was the second year that the umbrella organization for Jewish federations has organized TribeFest, and Jewish Federations CEO Jerry Silverman said last year’s event, also held in Las Vegas, resulted in some clear success stories.

In one case, he said, participants from San Diego began organizing social justice programming around food. In another, he pointed to a woman from Richmond, Va., Danielle Aaronson, who attended last year’s TribeFest and now is the young leadership director of her federation.

But event organizers stressed that TribeFest was neither a fundraising pitch nor a call for participants to be involved with their federations, per se, so long as they’re involved with the Jewish community.

“I think that each community has a responsibility to follow up,” said event co-chair Jason Rubinoff of Toronto.

The three-day retreat March 25-27 didn’t have a central theme. Rather, TribeFest tried a something-for-everybody approach.

Presenters ranged from Jewish celebrities — former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Rachel Dratch and Olympic gold medalist Lenny Krayzelburg — to two parents of children with genetic disorders who urged audience members to undergo testing for the 19 genetic diseases common to Ashkenazi Jews.

There also was a service component. Armed with 4,000 books donated by the PJ Library — an organization that promotes Jewish literacy by distributing free Jewish books to thousands of American Jewish households — 600 participants loaded onto buses early on a Monday morning to distribute books and read to local elementary public school students.

Participants cited a wide range of reasons for coming to TribeFest.

Some said they came to meet other Jewish singles. One lawyer toying with switching to a career in the rabbinate said she came to learn. An engineer from Houston who spent the last two years building an oil rig in Russia’s Far East came to socialize. A young federation professional from Delaware said she was seeking ways to strengthen messaging for her community’s campaign.

Sessions covered everything from dating tips to an election debate featuring representatives from the National Jewish Democratic Council and the Republican Jewish Coalition. During that session, billionaire Sheldon Adelson — the casino magnate who owns the Venetian and whose philanthropy portfolio includes both New Gingrich’s presidential campaign and Birthright Israel — briefly took the microphone to express his displeasure with President Obama.

Outside programming hours, TribeFest goers were granted drink specials and free admission to some of the most popular nightclubs on the Las Vegas Strip. A few also ventured their way to food and drink receptions hosted by partner organizations.

Federation officials haven’t figured out yet whether there will be a TribeFest next year, but they did announce a spring leadership conference for next March in Dallas.

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