Archive | October, 2012

Medical world, Dallas family loses gem in Dr. Andres

Medical world, Dallas family loses gem in Dr. Andres

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

The New York Times usually runs incredibly comprehensive obituaries. So I was doubly intrigued and more than a bit disappointed when I saw, on Sept. 30, its report on the passing of Dr. Reubin Andres at his home a week earlier.

The two reasons? First — the headline: The deceased was “an advocate of weight gain,” it read. In this day of obsessive concern over obesity, how could one not be intrigued by that? Second — the name: “Andres” belongs to Dallas, Texas, not Baltimore, Md., which the Times gave as the place of his death.

It turns out that there’s a good reason for the headline. Dr. Andres was a gerontologist who “gained his widest attention for arguing controversially that weight gain in older people increases longevity,” according to the Times. And, yes: way down near the bottom of the lengthy piece was what I was looking for. “Reubin Andres was born in Dallas to Harry and Chaya Ruchel Andres, who owned and ran a grocery store. The family’s first language was Yiddish,” it said.

What the Times didn’t say was that Chaya Ruchel was a Yiddish poet of some importance and that Harry set an unmatched standard of sympathetic service repeated by his son Dave, who took over the store and extended credit freely to everyone with real problems paying. When Dave himself passed away, he left behind a basketful of IOUs, none of which he had even tried — or ever intended — to collect.

Dave’s wife, Ruth, gives heart and soul to the Dallas Jewish community and to all the city’s needy, as did her late husband. She is especially active with the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, where much of the Andres’ past and poetry is archived.

The Times gives a nod to the kind of respect that Reubin, like all of his family, had for Judaism. Born in 1923, he matriculated at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University when he was only 16 years old, but “left in 1941, just short of a degree, because he would not fulfill the school’s religion requirement.”

However, his excellent academic record allowed him to enter Southwestern Medical School. Before his graduation he joined the U.S. Army, which afterward sent him as a control expert on venereal disease and malaria to Japan and Korea. Times reporting is very terse on this part of his life: “While there, he contracted malaria,” it says, “but recovered.”

Good thing, too. Reubin became clinical director of the National Institute on Aging. In that post, he was “asked to address a conference on obesity and mortality, and not knowing much about the topic, began investigating the literature.”

What he found was that life insurance company weight recommendations, passed on to doctors as virtual gospel, were too high for the early part of life, too low for the later; those who lived longest weighed up to 20 percent more than what was supposed to be ideal.

“Prevailing wisdom held that the most healthful way to age was to maintain the same weight throughout adulthood,” the Times reported. But Dr. Andres disagreed: “ … people should start thin, then gain about six pounds a decade beginning in their early 40s.”

The Andres obituary quotes from an actual interview he gave the Times back in 1985: “For some reason, the idea has grabbed us that the best weight throughout the lifespan is that of a 20-year-old. But there’s overwhelming evidence now that as you go through life, it’s in your best interests to lay down some fat. It’s not my contention that the fatter the better; it is my contention that the desirable range rises with age.” People have been arguing with him and his findings ever since.

They have not, however, disagreed in the least with his pioneering Type 2 diabetes research. This culminated in the development of his much-honored glucose insulin clamp, a vital element in today’s study and testing of new drugs and interventions for people with the disease.

Reubin Andres might have spent his post-Army life as a Dallas physician if he hadn’t left here to spend a year at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore; that’s where he found out that he liked research enough to make it his career, and so that city became home for the rest of his life …

… which ended with a heart attack on Sept. 23 of this year. He was 89 years old, leaving to mourn him his wife, a daughter, three sons, seven grandchildren and all of us in Dallas who respect and honor the entire Andres family.

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Noah’s wife was ‘Mother of Seeds’

Noah’s wife was ‘Mother of Seeds’

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

This is the week we read the story of Noah, which happens to be one of the favorite stories in children’s books on biblical tales.

There is so much that fascinates young children — mainly the animals and the jobs involved with caring for them. Thankfully, children don’t read what happened after the flood with Noah and his sons, but a lot of adults have also missed that part as well. If you are in that “boat,” try reading Genesis 9:18-28.

There are many lessons to be learned from the story and many questions, but the most-often asked is about “Mrs. Noah.” Who was she and what role did she play? In the Midrash on Noah (Beresheet Rabba 23:3) we learn, “Naamah was Noah’s wife, and why was she called Naamah? Because her deeds were neimim (pleasing).”

Where do we go from this? Go directly to a wonderful children’s book titled “A Prayer for the Earth — The Story of Naamah, Noah’s Wife” by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. The story tells that God asked Naamah to save each plant on earth in order to begin the process of regrowth when they waters have gone down.

The story takes off with Naamah collecting all the seeds from all the plants — those for eating and those for beauty. She then sets them, each in their own pot, in a spot on the ark. The story continues with Naamah caring for all the plants and then, upon leaving the ark, she begins to plant in all directions.

God sees all that Naamah has done and says, “Because of your great love for the earth, I will make you guardian of all living plants, and I will call you Emzerah, Mother of Seed.”

What do we take from this wonderful midrash?

First, we share the story to remind all that it wasn’t just about Noah — his wife had a very important job and, whether she is listed in the Torah with a name, she is given two names in midrash.

Second, and very important for us today, is the message that just as God made Naamah/Emzerah the guardian of all living plants, we are all guardians of our earth. With that comes great responsibility — think about how you and your family can be guardians of the earth.

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

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 18 October 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

As any parent knows, there’s always a sense of satisfaction when one’s child is called to the Torah as a bar or bat mitzvah. The same holds true when a Jewish organization reaches the golden age of 13 years old.

One Tarrant County synagogue is celebrating such a milestone — Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville will celebrate its 13th birthday/bat mitzvah during the weekend of Nov. 9-10.

Events will include a congregational bat mitzvah, complete with Kiddush lunch, a huge celebratory party — and presentation of a new Torah.

More information will be forthcoming, but if you have any questions or if you’re interested in volunteering to help, contact Nancy Finfer at Many congratulations, CBI.

An interesting journey

While a child’s journey toward becoming a bar or bat mitzvah is fascinating, so is an individual’s journey from Christianity to Judaism. Such was the journey of evangelical Christians Jack and Sally Parisi.

Jack, who was at one time pastor of an Evangelical church in Oklahoma, began a search for the roots of his faith in the Old Testament. That journey’s endpoint was the couple’s conversion to Judaism in 1998.

Fourteen years later, Chabad of Arlington is presenting “A Pastor’s Journey to Judaism” at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Arlington Sheraton, 1500 Convention Center Dr. The cost is $20 for advance tickets and $25 at the door; sponsorships are available.

For information, visit

Recapping Gumbo in the Sukkah

Angie Kitzman from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County writes that this year’s “Gumbo in the Sukkah” event, which took place Oct. 3, attracted 100 parents and children from around Tarrant County.

Diners enjoy the savory gumbo and the spiritual sukkah during Gumbo in the Sukkah Oct. 3. More than 100 people attended the event. | Photos: Angie Kitzman

Following a brief service conducted by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel (complete with shaking the lulav), people schmoozed and laughed over bowlfuls of Barry Goldfarb’s gumbo (meat and vegetarian were available).

Also on the federation’s “thank you” list for this event: Stephanie Posner, the event chair, and Jennifer Siegel, who created the table centerpieces, and the many community volunteers who helped set up, serve, direct parking and clean up after the event.

Mazel tov Elsie Blum …

… who received Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s President’s Award on the first day of Rosh Hashanah.

Barry Goldfarb cooks up some gumbo for the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County’s Gumbo in the Sukkah event Oct. 3.

The award was presented by synagogue president Murray Cohen, and recognizes Blum’s leadership, accomplishments, dedication to the Jewish community and support.

Past awardees include Louis Barnett, the late Al Sankary, the late Leon Brachman and Sam Reznikoff.

A Fort Worth faith-based event

The folks at Congregation Ahavath Sholom are inviting the community to participate in “Connect with the Community,” which takes place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, at Casa Manana, 3101 W. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth.

The event will allow participants to meet the members of Mayor Betsy Price’s Faith Leaders Cabinet as well as the opportunity to listen to faith choirs from around Fort Worth (the CAS Children’s Choir, under the direction of Cantor Shoshana Abrams, will perform).

In addition, jackets for CAS’ winter coat drive will be collected at the event.

Tickets are available, but seating is limited. For information call 817-731-4721.

And speaking of events

The B’nai B’rith’s outstanding person of the year celebration will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen.

Goga Denisov will provide music for entertainment with dinner consisting of kosher Russian food and wine.

The cost for the evening is $25 and add-ons are available: $10 extra buys you limitless shots of vodka, while an additional $10 buys you caviar.

Contact Harry Kahn, 817-926-6566;; Alex Nason, 817-346-3991, or Marvin Beleck, 817-921-2438, to make reservations or for more information.

Craig Taubman on tap

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County is sponsoring a concert by Craig Taubman at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth.

The family-friendly event is the Federation’s “thank you” to the community for its support — and it’s free.

Taubman is known, among other things, for his “Friday Night Live,” music composed for monthly special services at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

Questions? Interested? Contact Angie Kitzman at 817-569-0892 or at

A reminder

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, please don’t be shy about sharing. Sharing anything. If you’re in Tarrant County (or are an “outlier” of this area) and have news including awards, birthdays, fun vacations, family visits, etc., etc., etc. I’m here at

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Service is not all or nothing

Service is not all or nothing

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Author’s note: With the completion of the holidays, we return to my dialogue and exchange of letters with the famed singer Matisyahu. Here he responds to my last answer to him that the entire prayer service is like a symphony composed by a great maestro that a musician would never change:

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I don’t believe you can say the prayer service is an equal comparison to a Beethoven concerto. The listeners, not necessarily the musician, are the ones who benefit from the playing of the whole concerto vs. the musician stopping. Prayer is about the “musician” and God.

As a side note, I struggle with this every single night. What happens when I’m singing “Jerusalem” or “One Day” and something inside me goes dead? Do I fake it and continue for the sake of the listeners, or do I have the artistic integrity to stop. On some level, it is a job: People paid money to hear those songs and maybe they are not so sensitive to even know what is happening with me. I owe it to them to get past my own shortcomings. On the other hand, it feels like Moshe hitting the rock. How can I speak to the rock when I’m too busy hitting it to get water?

— Matisyahu

Dear Matisyahu,

I, as a layman and not a musician, would humbly suggest that any musician who plays a piece with real integrity and feeling — as you mention in your struggle, that the musician needs to live the music himself and not play simply for the sake of the listeners — is a key beneficiary of that music.

The musician achieves a level of joy and ecstasy to have brought a piece of music, in its entirety, from notes on a page or thoughts in their mind to something real, tangible, alive and breathing. His or her personal emotion, thrill and delight spill over to the listeners. The musician would be lacking in their own personal accomplishment if they felt they only played half the symphony.

It is true that prayer is between the one praying and God, and the sages have actually said “tov ham’at bekavanah,” better to say a little with true focus and passion than a lot without thought and feeling, as God “desires the heart.”

The key source in the Torah for the mitzvah to pray is from the verse “ … and you should serve God with your entire heart” (Deuteronomy 11:13). A prayer uttered without the heart is not really a prayer. Conversely, any prayer at all, the recitation of even one blessing recited with kavanah, feeling and thought, is embraced, dear and beloved in the eyes of the almighty.

This being the case, the supplicant would nevertheless need to know that by reciting merely a portion of the prayer service he or she is only touching on a part of the symphony.

Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin (1749-1821) writes that a mitzvah without kavanah is like a body without a soul. That being said, he adds that this does not disqualify a mitzvah completely when it is bereft of kavanah; even such a mitzvah is considered a service of God provided the performer of the act at least knows he or she is performing a mitzvah.

The very act itself contains holiness within it and is, by its very essence, a service of God. Therefore, he concludes, even when one doesn’t feel like doing a mitzvah at a particular time, better to do it than not to, as it still has a positive effect on the person and the universe — even though that it doesn’t even compare to the same act with concentration, focus and emotion.

This is why I usually advise people to place their main focus upon one blessing, verse or section of the prayers at a time and recite the rest even with less concentration. In this way, they will eventually be able to concentrate on more and more, ultimately to get the entire symphony. In the meantime, the rest of the prayers are not a hollow act; they also have merit.

Again, I stress this is not a reason not to recite only a portion of the service. The prayers and blessings, like the rest of Torah and Judaism, are by no means an “all or nothing” deal. I am simply putting it into context.

I think the lesson of Chaim Volozhin answers the struggle you mention; although you may feel at times you are playing without your soul in it, you still know you are playing something that brings either enjoyment or inspiration, or both, to the listeners.

That’s enough to uplift what you are doing from being a hollow act to being something positive, something that you owe to them and that only you can provide, even though it might not be your very best. It’s still your very best at that moment.

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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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

With the High Holy Days and Simchat Torah behind us, the next-up celebration is … no, not Chanukah. Before that is the B’nai B’rith’s Isadore Garsek Lodge’s outstanding person of the year celebration, which will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen.

Goga Denisov will provide music for entertainment, and the dinner will consist of kosher Russian food — Sophia Nason and Polina Kuptsin are providing the recipes — with wine for good measure.

The cost for the evening is $25 and add-ons are available: $10 extra buys you limitless shots of vodka, while an additional $10 buys you caviar.

This is a terrific opportunity to show your support for the Jewish community (and to toast several l’chaims as well). Questions? Want to make reservations? Contact Harry Kahn, 817-926-6566;; Alex Nason, 817-346-3991,; or Marvin Beleck, 817-921-2438,

If you’re over 50 years of age …

… and live in the northeast corner of Tarrant County, does Congregation Beth Israel have a deal for you.

Seriously, the synagogue will host its first meeting for those 50 years of age and older at 2 p.m., Sunday Oct. 14, at CBI, 6100 Pleasant Run Road in Colleyville.

Topics on the agenda include determining a name, asking Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker a lot of questions and “a nosh and a schmooze,” according to the invitation. If you’re interested in attending, RSVP to Sandy Silverman by Friday, Oct. 12, by emailing

If it’s election season

It must be time for a visit from political expert Jim Riddlesperger, who will offer his insights on the upcoming general election at the next Daytimers’ event at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven in Fort Worth.

Sylvia Wolens Daytimers members waiting for Cantor Bruce Ruben to sing are, from left, Barbara Weinberg, Avette Covitt, Sonya Stenzler, Idelle Luskey, Barbara Schuster and Hortense Deifik. The Daytimers’ next meeting will feature a discussion of the 2012 election and will take place at noon, Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Beth-El Congregation. | Photo: Courtesy of Sylvia Wolens Daytimers

If you have questions or want to make a reservation, contact Barbara Rubin at 817-927-2736, or Hugh Lamensdorf, 817-738-1428, or make reservations online at

Doing anything on Oct. 31?

Consider mixing it up and attending a séance to contact Jewish musician and escape artist Harry Houdini, a tradition that has been going on ever since he died on Oct. 31, 1926.

This year the official Houdini séance is coming to Fort Worth, thanks to the efforts of local resident Arthur Moses (a lifelong Congregation Ahavath Sholom member who is well-versed about Houdini). A Houdini retrospective will take place before the séance, and a “meet and greet” with other séance table participants is planned for afterward.

Seating is limited.

Houdini was born in Hungary as Erich Weiss, and his family moved to Appleton, Wis., when he was 4 years old.

The event will take place at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31 at the Masonic Center, 1100 Henderson St. in Fort Worth. Scott Wells, a nationally known medium and magician will conduct the séance.

Cost is $35 per ticket. VIP seats are available for $100, and include a private reception at 7 p.m. For information, visit You can also purchased tickets at Magic Etc., 2007 N. Forest Park Blvd. or Ajax Glass Company at 6200 Southwest Blvd., both in Fort Worth.

A November heads up

Yes, it’s almost November — and among the many activities taking place that month will be a free performance by Craig Taubman and Band at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road. The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, with financial help from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation, is sponsoring the event. This is a “mark your calendar” note — as I get more information about this event, I’ll pass it along.

A reminder

I’ll say it once again, “Around the Town” is news about you folks out there. Please don’t be shy about sharing. If you’re in Tarrant County (or are an “outlier” of this area) and have news, please send it along. My email address, as always, is

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When the past binds with the future

When the past binds with the future

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Everyone has a favorite holiday and it comes as no surprise to those who know me that my favorite is Simchat Torah. What biblioholic would not love a holiday that celebrates a special book?

Judaism is a wonderful religion that has so many facets and entryways. Some love the rituals, some love the spirituality, some love playing basketball at the Aaron Family JCC — however we define our Jewishness, we add that to our identity.

For those of you who love the intellectual connection with Judaism and God, Simchat Torah is your holiday — and for those who love all and any of the other ways, Simchat Torah still is your holiday). We celebrate the cycle of reading the entire Torah coming to an end and beginning again with ritual, song and dancing together — this is the best holiday to go to synagogue.

As you read this, Simchat Torah will have passed but not the excitement, hopefully. Let’s not ever forget the message of Simchat Torah. Here it is from David Ackerman, senior vice president of the JCC Association and director of its Mandel Center for Jewish Education

“The moment we finish V’zot Habrachah and complete the annual cycle of Torah reading, we turn back to Genesis, the beginning of the Torah, and start the cycle anew. This is a return to the past, to the beginning of the Jewish (and the world’s) story. Recalling the past stabilizes us while we catch our breath.

“The very next thing we do, though, is read the Haftorah, the prophetic selection, from the book of Joshua, Moses’ successor. Joshua is the future, the next adventure of the Jewish people as they enter the land. So on Simchat Torah, when we are light-headed from circling around V’zot Habrachah, and from dancing in circles with the Torah, we clear our heads by looking first to the past, and then to the future.

“Simchat Torah teaches no moment is isolated in time. We are always connected simultaneously to our past and to our future.”

May we continue reading and learning for today and generations to come.

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

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Luther’s anti-Semitism  could describe Hitler’s

Luther’s anti-Semitism could describe Hitler’s

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

I can’t swear to this on a stack of anyone’s Bibles, but I do believe I was the only Jew present in Fellowship Hall of Dallas’s Northway Christian Church for a recent lecture on “Martin Luther and the Jews.”

The speaker was Hans Hillerbrand, emeritus chair of Duke University’s religion department, whose areas of special expertise are the Protestant Reformation and the history of modern Christianity.

Background: Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a monk conflicted in his Roman Catholic faith. It was at the University of Wittenberg, where he was a theology professor, that on All Saints Day 1517, he famously nailed a list of 95 points critical of the church to the chapel door. Ultimately he was excommunicated, but his “Protests” gave rise to many new churches, the first of which bears his name.

However, along with the fame he gained as a reformer, Luther was also famous for his anti-Semitism. The American Luther Research Center, a new organization with Texas/Louisiana roots, presented Hillerbrand’s lecture as part of its current “Luther Decade,” the 10 years leading up to 2017, when Protestant churches everywhere will formally mark the Reformation’s 500th anniversary.

I learned a lot from Hillerbrand and the historic context into which he set Luther’s anti-Semitism, which has been a foremost theological topic — as well as an embarrassment to Protestants of good will — since World War II. In Luther’s own time, however, “His anti-Jewish remarks were 16th century commonplaces,” the speaker said.

In 1523, Luther actually stated publicly that Jesus was born a Jew, emphasizing a kinship that had existed from the start between Jews and Christians. But what he really wanted was conversion to his faith (although not of Jews only; once his “true testament” had been proclaimed, Luther thought atheists and Catholics, too, would accept its newly reformed beliefs). However, at the time there were widespread rumors of many Christians actually converting to Judaism, which “made him go ballistic,” Hillerbrand said.

Then, in order to suppress the idea that the Messiah had not yet come, Luther advocated the burning of synagogues and Jewish books, and the forcing of Jews from professional and business pursuits into manual labor.

Sound familiar? Surely Hitler drew precedent and strength from these earlier ideas and proclamations of Luther, and put them to use in the largely Lutheran Germany of his own time. Hillerbrand himself draws connections between Luther’s pronouncements and the Holocaust.

“Maybe Luther was very sick, or maybe he was edited,” the speaker opined. “But his self-assurance left no room for uncertainty. In 1517, Christians knew virtually nothing about the Jewish religion. Luther didn’t write on the basis of personal expertise. He used stereotypes that were pervasive Christian sentiment of the time, when Jews were on the margins of society, yet still perceived as a threat. To Luther, Jews were a constant reminder of the lack of persuasiveness of his Christian message.”

For a long time, Luther’s views on the Jews were lost within his voluminous writing on other topics, much of which was against other Christians. By the 19th century, emancipated Jews were enjoying full participation in German society (freedom that helped birth Reform Judaism). But when his 16th century anti-Jewish treatises were republished in 1929, “Luther became very big,” the speaker said.

Throughout the centuries, according to Hillerbrand, there have been two kinds of anti-Jewish sentiment: the theological and the cultural. The first represents a repudiation of Judaism as a religion, which has led to punishment of Jews for non-acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah. The second musters unflattering anecdotal personalizations of Jews: they eat garlic and thus give off an unpleasant odor, for one example.

“Martin Luther was heir to both traditions, and his convergence of them was the problem,” concluded the speaker. “The historical impact cannot be wished away, or washed away.”

Interestingly, this seminar was held in a non-Lutheran church whose members call themselves “Disciples of Christ.” An old co-worker, very dear to me, belongs to this denomination, and over the years I’ve shared many religious experiences with her. So I had a hard time keeping myself from rising at the end of this conference to proclaim, “I’m a Jew, but some of my best friends are Disciples.”

However, since I chose not to do it, I’ll never know if the German-born Hillerbrand would have appreciated the irony in this reversal of many prior Christian comments. I’m sure, however, that Martin Luther himself would not have been amused.

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Inventing to cure

Inventing to cure

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

Making lives better for breast cancer patients is Dr. Gail Lebovic’s ultimate goal, and she has accomplished that through the use of medical devices she has invented.

The Frisco resident specialized in breast cancer treatment for almost 20 years and always tried new techniques during surgery to help her patients recover more easily. However, she knew she could affect even more women with the creation of certain medical devices.

“As a surgeon, I spent most of my time figuring out ways to help my patients during surgery and how to do better surgery. That’s when I thought I would be able to develop medical devices,” she said. “The products I’ve invented are about making the recovery process easier for women and giving them a better quality of life. Working with patients one on one was amazing, but being able to develop a device that will help millions of people is even more rewarding.”

Lebovic has already invented many devices being used, two of which are:

  • The MammoPad, a foam pad that serves as a cushion between a woman’s breast and the mammography machine, resulting in a warmer, softer, more comfortable mammogram.
  • The SAVI device, which delivers treatment from inside the breast, directing individualized radiation where it is needed most. With that product, radiation can take place in only seven days compared to six weeks, according to Lebovic.

Now, as founder and chief medical officer of Focal Therapeutics, she has launched a new device called the BioZorb tissue marker, a device that provides radiographic marking of soft tissue sites. The BioZorb device is placed when surgical tissue is removed, such as during breast surgery, and its three-dimensional array of marker elements can help make images of the site.

In creating new devices, she and her Focal Therapeutics engineering team work on everything from researching products, to talking with doctors, to packaging and launching the products.

“I have been fortunate that what I have created has been successful and are available for women,” she said. “Over 30 million women have had mammograms with the MammoPad. To me, that’s mind-boggling, and it makes me feel that all of my work has been worthwhile. My job is challenging but fun, and I know I am helping people.”

It can take anywhere from two to five years to fully develop devices and get them on the market, Lebovic said.

Lebovic was an attending surgeon at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., from 1993-2004 and later served as associate director of the Lee Breast Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After moving to North Texas in 2005, Lebovic was director of women’s health care at the Cooper Clinic.

She just finished her two-year term as president of the Frisco-based American Society of Breast Disease. However, for her job with Focal Therapeutics and the creation of her other medical devices, she often travels to speak about her products and educate people.

Although Lebovic isn’t a practicing doctor anymore, she still knows her work is vital. According to statistics, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

If creating new technology can allow women to have a better recovery and quality of life after breast cancer surgery, that’s the most meaningful, Lebovic said.

“It’s amazing to launch a clinical product and realize that I am touching the lives of millions of women,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to see such dramatic changes in the field of breast cancer research and surgery from the 1980s until now. Although we have learned a lot, there is still a lot of work to be done to find a cure, so my work never ends. It’s exciting to develop new things and help so many people.”

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 11 October 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I have heard many wonderful stories of Forest Avenue High from the best mother-in-law ever, Jane Ray. Forest was a centerpiece of South Dallas’ Jewish life from 1916-1956.

Student of Merit: Yavneh Academy senior Elie Schramm, right, son of Eric and Bonnie Schramm, earned Commended Student status in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. Head of school David Portnoy, left, presented the certificate to Schramm. | Photo: Deb Silverthorn

The school’s active alumni association will hold its annual all-school reunion at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Doubletree Hotel, 4099 Valley View Lane in Dallas, near the Galleria.

Cost is $35 per person. Call 214-696-3844 or 214-724-3844 for further information or to make reservations.

Take a Jewish culinary journey with Tina Wasserman

Noted chef and cookbook author Tina Wasserman will present “Beyond Brisket and Bagels,” a presentation about the history of Jewish cooking and its effect on world cuisine, from 7:30-9 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas.

Tina, author of “Entrée to Judaism,” will lead participants on a culinary journey around the world and across the ages, from Spain to India, from Russia to Tunisia, sharing the histories and recipes of the great Diaspora communities and the many wonderful ways they have told their stories through food.

What we eat says so much about who we are and from where we come. Do you like your matzah brie sweet or savory? Is your chicken soup matzah ball or mulligatawny? Wherever Jews have settled, they have adapted local tastes and ingredients to meet the needs of Shabbat and kashrut, creating a rich and diverse menu of flavors and styles, all still Jewish.

This is not a hands-on cooking program, but there will be some delicious food to taste that night! There is a discounted admission if tickets are purchased in advance. Register at, or contact Lindsay Gray at 214-939-7303.

RikuDallas to hold annual workshop

Linda Kahalnik tells us that RikuDallas has scheduled its 2012 Israeli Dance Workshop for Oct. 25-28.

Ohad Attia, who is traveling here from Israel, will be the guest instructor. Ohad choreographed his first dance “Koko Jumbo” when he was 18 and danced with the Karmon dance group under the direction of the legendary Yonatan Karmon.

Ohad has many years of experience dancing and teaching both line dance and salsa. Today, he leads and programs and Israeli dance sessions in the Haifa area and Tel Aviv, as well as teaching at dance camps and workshops around the world.

Ohad’s recent dance creations include Ha’chiaim, Bishvilech, Boi La’Goren, Rikud Hashvatim, Simanim Shel Ohavim (which earned second place at the Karmiel dance competition in 2010), Perach Ba’aviv, Torero, Milim and At Lo Mevina. His energy is as contagious as his smile.

A full weekend of Israeli dance is planned for all who want to participate. To register or for more information, contact Linda Kahalnik at 972-867-7780 or

Berg receives Dedman Award for Ethics and Law

Mark S. Berg received the 12th annual Robert H. Dedman Award for Ethics and Law for his dedication to ethics in business and the law Oct. 2, from the General Counsel Forum at the Belo Mansion in Dallas.

The forum and the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University established the award in 2001 to honor the late Robert H. Dedman for his commitment to ethics. This award pays tribute to an in-house attorney who has demonstrated the highest ethical standards during his or her career.

Berg has served public companies for the past 15 years as chief legal officer and joined Pioneer Natural Resources Company in April 2005 as executive vice president and general counsel.

He serves on Pioneer’s management committee and oversees all legal and compliance activities at the company. Similar to his approach throughout his career, Berg places a priority on building a strong legal department at Pioneer with responsibility and accountability for the company’s operations and compliance functions. He also shares a deep commitment to Pioneer’s culture of respect and ethical behavior.

Berg has had a distinguished career, beginning in 1983, with the Houston-based law firm of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. He served as a partner and a leader of the firm’s energy, project finance and Asia practice groups from 1990-1997. He joined American General Corporation, a financial services company, in 1997 as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.

After the sale of American General to American International Group in 2001, Mark was appointed senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Hanover Compressor Company, which specializes in natural gas compression and processing.

Berg received a Juris Doctorate, with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law, and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in public policy from Tulane University. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and also serves as chairman of the board of Dallas CASA, a non-profit agency of volunteers who serve abused and neglected children.

Berg lives in Dallas with his wife, Fran, and children, Jared and Danielle.

The Robert H. Dedman Award Dinner is a premier annual event of the DFW Chapter of the General Counsel Forum. Dinner proceeds and scholarship contributions fund The Forrest Smith General Counsel Forum Scholarship, presented to a student at SMU Dedman School of Law to further promote ethics and law.

Mazel, mazel to Blanche Weiberger

Blanche Weinberger celebrated a special birthday weekend last month.

Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and in-laws joined her from all over the country — San Antonio, Austin, Florida, California, Washington, Kansas City, New Orleans and New York.

Sadly, Blanche’s brother Jacob Kassed passed away just a few weeks before her celebration.

CJE presents Houdini program Sunday

Escape artist Harry Houdini’s connection to Judaism and a magic show will highlight a “Jewdini” program from 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, at the Mankoff Center for Jewish Learning at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven in Dallas.

The Center for Jewish Education, a programming arm of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, is organizing the event.

Houdini was born as Erich Weiss in 1874, and was the son of an orthodox rabbi.

“Erich Weiss could have stayed in Budapest, attended Yeshiva and become a rabbi like his father,” said Linda Blasnik, librarian of the Tycher Library. “Luckily for generations of children, he moved to America, changed his name to Harry Houdini and became the world’s greatest escape artist.”

This free event is appropriate for all ages, but tailored for ages 6-12. The program offers children an opportunity to learn how to become an escape artist, a magic show, a photo booth, discovery stations and much more.

For information, contact, Tycher Library director Nina Golboro and or 214-239-7132. RSVP’s are encouraged but not required.

Survivor Glauben to speak after film

Dallas Holocaust survivor Max Glauben will speak following the screening of his film “Plagues of the Soul” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

The 30-minute film will be followed by a 45-minute lecture and question and answer session with Glauben in the theater of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, 211 N. Record St. in Dallas.

Glauben is well-known to the Dallas Jewish community. He was born in 1928 in Warsaw, Poland, and attended an ATID school until his education was interrupted in 1939, when he and his family were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto.

He lived there for three years until the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. After the Nazis destroyed the ghetto, he and his family were transported via boxcars to the Majdanek gas chambers and crematoriums, where most of his family perished.

Only Max and his father were selected for slave labor at the Budzyn Concentration Camp. After three weeks, his father was killed. Max was sent to the Mielec, Wieliczka and Flossenburg concentration camps.

On April 23, 1945, while Max was on a death march to Dachau from Flossenburg, he wasliberated by the United States Army. In December 1947, at age 19, he came to New York, then later to Atlanta.

He was drafted into the United States Army in 1951. He received basic training at Fort Hood, where he served his two-year tour of duty during the Korean War. In 1953 he received an honorable discharge and settled in Dallas, where he married Frieda Gappelberg.

Glauben worked at Nieman Marcus and Southwest Toys until he became a partner at Imperial Garment Supply and National Embroidery Inc. He retired at the age of 75.

He is an active member of Congregation Shearith Israel and a life member of its brotherhood. He was honored by Shearith Israel in February 2011 at its Torah Fund event. In 1989, he received Hadassah’s Myrtle Wreath Award for his humanitarian work on behalf of the Holocaust.

A member of the Jewish War Veterans, he is an associate member of the Dallas Chapter of Hadassah and a life member of the board of directors of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, of which he is a founding member.

He continually lectures on the Holocaust in schools, churches, colleges and various organizations and institutions.

Always available to educate others on the Holocaust, Max has accompanied Yavneh Academy students for many years on their March of the Living trip each spring.

Max and Frieda have two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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BREAKING NEWS: Netanyahu announces early Knesset elections

Posted on 10 October 2012 by admin

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced early national elections.

In a news conference Tuesday evening, Netanyahu announced that elections for the 19th Knesset will take place about eight months early. Though a date has not yet been announced, it is expected that the vote will be held in early 2013, most likely in February. Elections were originally scheduled for October 2013.

A February election will be four years since the last Knesset election. The Knesset will return on Oct. 15, after which the government likely will pass a resolution to dissolve.

Netanyahu held meetings last week and on Tuesday with the heads of the other parties in his government coalition to decide whether to work to pass the 2013 budget or go to early elections. If the government cannot agree on a budget, it is grounds to go to elections.

Going to elections without an approved budget means the ministries will operate on the 2012 budget allocations. A new budget would have seen deep cuts in many ministries.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Netanyahu said: “Today, I finished a round of consultations with the heads of the coalition parties and I came to the conclusion that it is not possible at this time to pass a responsible budget. We are on the threshold of an election year and, to my regret, in an election year it is difficult for parties to place the national interest ahead of the party interest. The result of this is liable to be a budgetary breach and a massive increase in the deficit, which would very quickly put us in the situation of the crumbling economies of Europe. I will not allow this to happen here.

“At this time, in light of the two great upheavals around us, the security and the economic, my obligation as prime minister is to put the national interest above everything and therefore, I have decided that the good of the State of Israel requires going to elections now, as soon as possible,” Netanyahu said.

“The country has actually been in election mode for over six months, which is unhealthy and should be stopped as soon as possible,” opposition Labor Party head Shelly Yachimovich said.

“The public must remember that Netanyahu is going to elections in order to immediately afterward, pass a brutal and difficult budget that will harm the life of almost every citizen in the country, except for the very wealthy,” she told reporters.

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