Archive | February, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Yavneh to re-join TAPPS

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

Yavneh Academy will once again be a member of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, starting with the 2013-14 school year, athletic director David Zimmerman said Thursday.

“It’s an incredible step forward for our program,” Zimmerman said.

The move came after TAPPS last fall amended its bylaws to state that schedules would be worked around religious observances. Jewish and Seventh-day Adventist schools will no longer have to worry about playing Friday night or Saturday day games.

The issue was called into question last year when Houston Beren Academy advanced to the state tournament. Beren originally told it would have to play or forfeit any Shabbat games, but a court ruling forced TAPPS to change the schedule. Beren eventually lost in the state final.

Yavneh will join TAPPS District 4-3A, Zimmerman said. That district includes Bullard Brook Hill, Dallas First Baptist, Dallas Lutheran, McKinney Christian and Richardson Canyon Creek.

Yavneh had previously been in TAPPS through the 1999-2000 season. The boys basketball team won two district championships and made the state quarterfinals three times. The school left because of the Shabbat scheduling problem.

See more in the March 7 issue of the TJP.

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Time to enter world of Pesach

Time to enter world of Pesach

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I’m beginning to clean my house for Pesach, as I have done every year since becoming more observant. I will eventually be changing over the dishes to the Pesach ones, covering my counters and more. Although I know I need to do this, I’m having trouble getting anything spiritual out of all this cleaning. Could you give me something to focus on that might help?

— Sonya L.

Dear Sonya,

friedforweb2To tell the truth, I think what’s bothering you bothers most women and their “male helpers” as well when going through the drudgery of Pesach cleaning. Jews traditionally bless each other this time of year are to have a Purim sameach (a joyous Purim, last week) and a Pesach kasher (a kosher Pesach). One Chassidic rebbe used to wish people a kosher Purim (it’s easy for Purim to be joyous, harder to make it proper and kosher) and a Pesach sameach (it’s often tough to bring Pesach in with joy with all the hard work getting there).

If we take a fresh look at the preparation for Pesach in the context of understanding what a Jewish holiday is all about, we will be able to adopt a new and redeeming perspective on Pesach cleaning.

The concept of a yom tov (holiday) in Judaism is quite different from that of the outside world. In the world at large, time is a continuum that moves in a straight line. We mark off times to represent days and dates, but those dates have no relation to the same date a year ago or many years ago. When one celebrates July 4, it is an important remembrance for events that took place more than 200 years ago. Those events, however, happened only then, and now we celebrate them on their anniversaries.

In Judaism, however, as explained by the Talmud and the Kabbalists, time is not a continuum; rather it is a cycle. Every date takes us back to the spiritual source of that date. If God chose a particular date to reveal the divine presence and the great light of the Shechinah onto the world, that light is still shining just as brightly when we return to that date of the year-cycle as it did the day He performed the miracles of revelation.

Those who have elevated themselves to higher spiritual levels clearly see and experience that light. But for most of us, that light is shining in a hidden way; that hidden illumination is the source of the holiness of the holiday.

This leads us to a very different outlook upon our holidays. A Jewish holiday is not only something you do, rather it’s a world that you enter. For example, to relive the feelings of love and Heavenly protection in the desert, we need to actually leave our homes and enter a different physical realm and mind-space and live in a sukkah for seven days. We don’t just observe Sukkot; we enter the world of Sukkot.

On Shavuot night, which comes seven weeks after Pesach, there is a custom observed worldwide for Jews to stay up all night studying Torah. Through this total immersion in Torah, we leave our worlds and enter the space of Sinai.

With Pesach as well, we are not enjoined only to observe Pesach but to transcend our world and enter into the world of Pesach. This is implicit in the statement of the Haggadah that every year, every Jew should see themselves as if they themselves are leaving Egypt. That’s only possible if you leave your familiar surroundings and enter a new world, the world of Pesach.

This is the deeper reason we need to clean our homes of the familiar foods, even sell them to a non-Jew through the rabbi, cover our counters and put out special tablecloths and dishes. We are no longer in our familiar homes but have left those homes behind for our new homes — our Pesach homes. In the new home we are empowered to enter a new mind space, the world of Pesach. With every cabinet you clean and every shmata you use up, you’re one step closer to entering the world of redemption.

Happy cleaning.

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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JCCA board adds Dallas’ Allen, Baum

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

Aaron Family JCC president Artie Allen and past chairman Jack Baum have been appointed to the JCC Association board of directors. Their two-year terms will run through January 2015.

JCCA is the continental umbrella organization for the Jewish Community Center movement, which includes more than 350 JCCs, YM/YWHAs and campsites in the United States and Canada. JCCA offers a wide range of services and resources to help its affiliates to provide educational, cultural, social, Jewish identity building, and recreational programs for people of all ages and backgrounds.

This is the first time two people from Dallas are serving on the national board since Ynette Hogue and Kenny Goldberg did it 12 years ago, according to Allen. This will allow he and Baum to learn about what other JCCs across North America are doing, Allen said, and shows that Dallas is a major player in the Jewish communal world.

“It allows the Dallas Jewish community to have prominence on the national scene, and it gives us a feeling of credibility,” he said. “It’s also an opportunity to bring back to Dallas the best of the best of what’s being offered all over North America. I am happy to be involved and hope to make an impact nationally as well.”

Baum, a successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and technology industries who is also a vice chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas board, believes his and Allen’s elections to the JCCA board signify the national organization’s recognition of the Dallas center.

He said he is looking forward to gaining perspectives from other JCC leaders.

“I think we’re very well represented,” said Baum, who recently stepped down as federation chair-elect because of time constraints. “We have done some innovative things at our level, and I think the JCCA was looking for our positive influence on a national level. It helps our community to have ears on the national stage.”

The innovations, he added, include the renovated Sherry and Ken Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, the Naturescape and programming enhancements.

Being on the board will also allow Allen and Baum to share best practices, and learn about programs, strategies and visions at other JCC’s, Allen said.

Allen has worked in the Jewish communal world for over two decades and has been president of the J for the past seven years. His passion for making an impact on the Jewish community is what drives him every day.

“I have been a JCC professional for 25 years and working at the local level is amazing,” Allen said. “Being part of establishing Jewish journeys and watching them evolve has been and continues to be my passion. Sitting on the national board means so much to me because this is who I am and what my life’s work is. This is a tremendous honor.”

Most of all, Baum is looking forward to helping the Dallas Jewish community continue to flourish.

“I’m eager to take on this meaningful role on the national stage that can no doubt help our community,” Baum said. “I look forward to exploring new ways to build our community by creating new entry points, or engaging in our JCC Maccabi Games and supporting health and wellbeing initiatives or working to develop innovative programming for active adults/seniors and all of our members. It really comes down to helping our community grow together.”

Added JCCA president/CEO Allan Finkelstein: “We are very pleased to welcome Artie Allen and Jack Baum to our board. We know [they] will be valuable additions as the JCC movement meets the challenges of the next decade.”

TJP managing editor Dave Sorter contributed to this story.

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20th Kosher Chili Cook-off could be biggest

20th Kosher Chili Cook-off could be biggest

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

The Kosher Chili Cook-off has been the “meat” of the Dallas Jewish community since 1994, providing a way for people of all streams of Judaism to come together for an afternoon of fun and camaraderie, while also enjoying the food for which Texas is famous.

The 20th edition of the event will take place from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, March 10 at Tiferet Israel Congregation, 10909 Hillcrest Road. Fifty teams are expected to compete this year in the beef, turkey and vegetarian categories, according to Neal Stollon, who is co-chairing the cook-off with Ed Jerome.

This year’s cook-off is anticipated to be the biggest ever, Stollon said, and that’s because of the community support and committed volunteers.

“This is really all about the people and the community,” he said. “Twenty years is a nice milestone, but if we can make the chili cook-off bigger and better than before with more teams and activities, that’s what really matters. We are trying to provide a fun and memorable afternoon to the Jewish community. The fact that the community supports this is heartfelt, and I believe everyone can recognize that they are part of something unique.”

Although new teams and vendors come aboard each year, Stollon believes the chili cook-off is also about honoring the legacy of the event.

Five teams that have either never been at the Chili Cook-off before or haven’t participated in many years will spice up the competition this year. Those are the Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Camp Young Judaea,, the Kleinman Brothers and YJAM/The Dallas Fighting Maccabees.

Not only is the community aspect of the event important, but people also enjoy the friendly competition between the teams, Jerome said.

“There is a certain element of competition that people find exciting, and it’s really fun,” he said. “I love the community nature of the cook-off and that it’s an opportunity for everyone to come, for organizations to represent themselves and for people to socialize.”

In addition to some new vendors, a Carter BloodCare mobile lab will be available for people to donate blood. All of the money raised will benefit Tiferet Israel, the Moishe House, the Dallas Jewish Historical Society and the ALS Association.

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society is excited to be a beneficiary and to be participating in the cook-off for the first time in many years, executive director Debra Polsky said. Not only will they cook chili, society members hope to interview people that day to add to its archives.

“We are thrilled to be recognized and participate in this wonderful community event,” Polsky said. “I believe it’s one of the few events that unites the entire community. The Chili Cook-off is part of Dallas Jewish history and we are happy to have an opportunity be part of that.”

This is also the first time in 15 years that Camp Young Judaea in Wimberley will participate in the Chili Cook-off, according to assistant camp director Yael Kahalnik Twito. CYJ also participated in Houston’s version of the event last year.

CYJ is looking forward to becoming more of a presence in Dallas, and the Chili Cook-off is a great way to make that happen, Twito added.

“That’s really important to us and we are anxious to take part in this event,” she said. “It’s also nice for the camp families who live in Dallas to volunteer at the booth and feel like they are really part of their own community.”

There are explicit rules of kashrut that will be followed. For example, teams need a Dallas Kosher rabbi to check their ingredients, and the rabbis are usually available at about 8 a.m. the day of the event. The winners are announced toward the end of the day.

Admission to the chili cook-off is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 3-10. For information, call 214-691-3611 or visit

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Holiday stories’ deeper meanings

Holiday stories’ deeper meanings

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2The Jewish year is filled with markers — some we celebrate, some we commemorate. The rhythm of Jewish life flows through the holidays especially. As the Jewish educator of the Aaron Family JCC’s Sherry and Ken Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, I get to celebrate and commemorate again and again as I move from classroom to classroom.

Purim has passed — what a great holiday. Too often, we focus on the costumes and the food — hamantaschen certainly is a wonderful part of the holiday. However, there is so much more.

In preparation for Purim, I spent two weeks telling the story to toddlers through our seniors and many groups in between. Of course, there are parts of the story that we don’t tell the children (sex and intrigue wait until we get older, and we are never too old for sex and intrigue). However, as well as telling the stories, we must always talk about deeper meanings even with little ones.

Today, the news is filled with stories about bullies, and bullying is certainly not new nor confined to the young. The Purim story is a perfect story to talk about standing up for yourself and, especially, for others. We focus on the important value of ometz lev, usually translated as courage. But the actual words mean strength of heart.

Courage is about knowing what is right in your heart and acting on it, even (or especially) if you are afraid. Being brave does not mean you have no fear, it means you have conquered your fear. Esther didn’t say yes to Mordecai right away — she had to gather strength and make a plan.

The rhythm of our Jewish life moves quickly into Passover. We begin preparing immediately, it seems, as the hamantaschen leaves the store shelves and the matzah takes its place. Again, we have the message of courage, along with many others. Planning for Passover is more than the cleaning and the food. It is about telling the story and learning the messages.

Leave the grocery store and go to the bookstore — find a new Haggadah, read the book of Exodus, get “America’s Prophet” by Bruce Feiler on your iPad or phone. Create a new tradition for learning at your Passover seder.

As Jews, we are believers in story and memory and through both we form our lives and our new memories. Keep the story going.

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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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

One of Dallas’ favorite sons, Marc Stanley, is in the news again. The national Jewish community and political leader will receive the Tikkun Olam Award from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs at its annual Plenum, March 10 in Washington.

“We are proud to be honoring someone as deserving as Marc with the Tikkun Olam Award,” JCPA president Rabbi Steve Gutow said. “Tikkun olam, Hebrew for ‘repairing the world,’ is a Jewish concept that Marc has embodied in his work for the JCPA and in so many other endeavors. A devoted leader of the Jewish community, he is also a national advocate for social justice and policies to care for our most vulnerable.”

Stanley serves as chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council and co-chair of the Foundation for Jewish Culture. In addition, he is an officer of the JCPA, and was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in June 2011. He was also appointed by Governor Ann Richards to serve as chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority.

In Dallas, Stanley serves as a vice chair of the Legacy Senior Living Communities and sits on the executive committee of the Dallas Jewish Community Relations Council. Stanley works as a trial lawyer and has also served as president of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association and the Texas Trial Lawyer Association. As chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, he has blogged extensively about Jewish and political issues for The Huffington Post and other forums.

“Both here in Dallas and in Washington, I’ve seen the impact of Marc’s commitment to social justice,” former JCPA chair Andrea Weinstein said. “This award is a tribute to his leadership and impact in shaping our national dialogue and the action of the Jewish community. I am proud of my friend and the example he is setting.”

David Steirman of San Francisco will also receive the Tikkun Olam Award this year.

The JCPA Plenum is the largest yearly meeting in the Jewish community relations field in the U.S., according to a JCPA statement.

Emanu-El Party Expo cancelled

If you are like me and have a simcha looming in the near future, then you were looking forward to Temple Emanu-El’s annual party expo, which had been scheduled for Sunday, March 3.

Unfortunately, the Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood has canceled the event for this year. For information, contact, Jeff Light at

Honorable Menschen

Celebrating the 100th day of school is a tradition at many schools. At Torah Day School of Dallas, kindergarteners are given an assignment to create a project for the 100th day by placing 100 objects on a poster board that can be hung on the walls. Some kids put 100 toothpicks, 100 stickers, 100 flowers and more.

Torah Day School of Dallas kindergartner Jacob Rhoads works on his tzedakah poster commemorating the 100th day of school. | Photo: Marcy Rhoads

Torah Day School of Dallas kindergartner Jacob Rhoads works on his tzedakah poster commemorating the 100th day of school. | Photo: Marcy Rhoads

This year Jacob Rhoads, son of Marcy and Dale Rhoads decided to collect $100 for tzedakah. His project was called “100 days of Tzedakah.” He contacted his family, friends and even posted on Facebook to see if he could collect the money that he would then donate to his school.

He spent many days reaching out, and he reached his goal. On the 100th day of school, he went to the principal’s office — not because he was in trouble, but to give him the $100 he had collected.

Lori Palatnik’s incredible gift

Dallas Area Torah Association will host its fourth annual Wine Tasting Event at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 3 at its new Far North Dallas Center, 7130 Campbell Road, #204.

Lori Palatnik, founding member of the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project, will give her most requested speech, “Why I Donated My Kidney to a Stranger.”

All proceeds from this event will go to support the annual DATA Women’s Mission to Israel, slated for June 16-26. Each year, a new group of Dallas-area Jewish women join other Jewish women from all over the world in Israel for a 10-day, Birthright-like trip, connecting them to their roots and their Jewish identities.

Since 2009, JWRP has brought more than 2,500 women from 40 cities and seven countries to Israel, most visiting Israel for the first time.

The cost to attend the wine tasting event is $36 per person. Contact Rabbi Shlomo Abrams at  214-724-1007 or to attend. Sponsorships are still available and include dinner with  Palatnik before the event.

The DATA Far North Center is located at at the Southeast corner of Campbell and Hillcrest roads, behind Natalie’s Kitchen.

Herzl Lifesaver Luncheon reservations due

As we were going to press, Rose Biderman sent us an urgent reminder that payment is due March 4 for your reservation for the Herzl Lifesaver Luncheon at the Legacy of Willow Bend, 6101 Ohio Drive in Plano. Cost of the lunch is $18.

The luncheon will include a raffle, door prizes and entertainment by Eli Davidsohn. The annual Lifesaver Luncheon supports the medical research at the Hadassah hospitals in Israel.

Send your check to Sunny Shor, 7806 Royal Lane, #120, Dallas, TX 75230 or call 469-206-0648.

Smart Cookies

The Lakehill Preparatory School Debate Team recently attended the YMCA’s 66th annual Texas State Youth and Government Conference held at the state Capitol in Austin.

Two Lakehill teams participated in State Affairs Forum, in which teams take a pro or con stance on a key issue and engage in rounds of legislative debate. Clayton Drazner, Gaby Gonzalez and Jacob Graff drafted a proposal against the requirement of a passport to vote. Their team finished third in the state. John Devine, Matt Graff and Cris McCarty drafted a proposal against the privatization of the postal service. Their team finished second in the state. Devine, Drazner, and Gonzalez were awarded Distinguished Delegate medals.

Sponsor Jamie Thorne confirmed that she was very proud of her debaters, calling them the “winningest” delegation at the state conference.

Thorne says it looks like the team will again be invited to attend Minnesota’s State Model U.N. conference in March. For two years, Lakehill has been sponsored by the White Rock YMCA to serve as the pilot group representing Texas.

Send your news to me at

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Purim prayer offers guidance

Purim prayer offers guidance

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebThe Gallimaufry Lady, my Catholic friend in Arkansas, has sent me a Purim prayer. It came too late for me to pass on before the holiday last weekend. But instead of saving this tidbit — and some others — until next year, here they are now. Let’s look ahead and enrich the way we’ll see the celebration when it comes around again.

The prayer arrived just in time for me to pray on Purim. It began with instructions to first read Esther 4:13 — the part where Mordecai tells his cousin, now the queen, that she won’t have a better fate than any other Jew if she doesn’t use her exalted status to step in and save her people from Haman’s nefarious plot. It’s to be offered for Esther and other women who need guidance in difficult situations (and don’t we all, at least from time to time?)

“Dear God, help this woman to live life to the fullest, to excel above her expectations, to shine in the darkest places. Protect her at all times, lift her up when she needs You the most, and let her know that when she walks with You, she will always be safe.”

I like this because it’s down-to-earth and real, while we most often think of Purim as fanciful and theatrical, with carnivals and costumes and outrageous behavior, including overindulgence in strong drink and the outside possibility that if we eat enough poppy-seed hamantaschen, we might fail a drug test.

Taking Purim itself seriously can inspire a lot of serious thought. One example: The late Sephardic Rabbi Haim David Halevy opined that all the Jews in the 127 provinces of King Ahasuerus’s empire knew their Queen was Jewish, but not a single one gave away the secret. That’s amazing enough to be the “miracle” underlying the holiday.

And in his commentary several years ago, our own community rabbi, Howard Wolk, cited some other rabbinic sources that actually make comparisons between Purim and Yom Kippur — in reverse. Such as: on Purim we feast, but we fast the day before, while on the Day of Atonement we fast, but it’s a mitzvah to feast the day before. And on Purim we masquerade — some as characters in the holiday story, others in unrelated costumes — but on Yom Kippur, some of us also “masquerade” as Jews, Rabbi Wolk reminds us, by going to synagogue for this one day only, in the entire year.

And maybe there’s a relationship between the names? Does PURim, the festival containing the word for the lot-casting that Haman used to set his Jew-annihilating date, have something in common with Yom KipPUR, when our fates are sealed for the coming year?

My own question about Purim is the one posed by God’s instruction that we should blot out the name of Amalek, Haman’s ancestor who attacked the weakest Jews after they crossed the Red Sea, while remembering it forever. How can we do both at the same time? How is it possible not to remember Haman as we’re working so hard to drown out the sound of his name during the Megillah reading?

This year, Rabbi Shawn Zell warned his Tiferet Israel congregants that as Jews, we must always beware of benevolent rulers. “The Jews of Esther and Mordecai’s Shushan were hallucinating if they thought the open society that prevailed with Ahasuerus as king was a guarantee they had absolutely nothing to worry about,” he said; “Even an all-accepting monarch often has a ‘Haman’ lurking about. To think otherwise is delusional … ”

Which reminds me to remind Rabbi Zell and all of you to read “The Dwarf,” a brief novel by Par Lagerkvist, Sweden’s 1951 Nobel Prize winner for literature. A mini-monster in joker’s cap and bells, the title figure in this little book undermines a kingdom and then, when his work there is done, moves on to another, assuring us — as he does so matter-of-factly at the end of the story — that “Every king needs his dwarf.” An excellent cautionary tale for pre-Purim reading, even (or maybe especially) this far in advance of next Purim.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 28 February 2013 by admin

Beth-El Congregation students visited Temple Beth El in Corsicana to learn about this history of Texas Jews. Attendees included, seated from left, students Jake Hyman, Mark Mowry, Mitchell Gorsd, Avery Simon, Megan Kalpin, Isaac Narrett, Alexa Sankary and Ryan Goldstein, and speakers Babette Samuels of Corsicana and Hollace Weiner, Beth-El historian. Student Bryce Kleinman is standing on the bimah. | Photo: Ilana Knust

Beth-El Congregation students visited Temple Beth El in Corsicana to learn about this history of Texas Jews. Attendees included, seated from left, students Jake Hyman, Mark Mowry, Mitchell Gorsd, Avery Simon, Megan Kalpin, Isaac Narrett, Alexa Sankary and Ryan Goldstein, and speakers Babette Samuels of Corsicana and Hollace Weiner, Beth-El historian. Student Bryce Kleinman is standing on the bimah. | Photo: Ilana Knust

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Last fall, I had the opportunity to attend Beth-El Congregation’s religious school opening. At the time, the synagogue’s education director, Ilana Knust, spoke passionately about the need for Jewish children to understand their roots in America, the topic around which the 2012-2013 religious school curriculum is based.

In recent weeks, Ilana took the children to visit the historic Temple Beth El in Corsicana. Though the Jewish population in Corsicana has sadly dwindled, the Beth-El students did meet and chat with Babette Samuels (age 85), who filled them in on some of the interesting history of Jews in east Texas.

The synagogue building itself is also something to see, given its unusual architecture and the fact that it has been designated a national historic landmark.

“As this is part of our religious school theme this year, we looked into the story of how groups of Jews believed in America’s promises of freedom, tested their limits and expanded America’s horizon,” Knust explained.

In addition to visiting the synagogue, the students also saw the Corsicana Hebrew Cemetery (established in 1875), where historian Hollace Weiner shared stories about the first Jewish settlers in Texas.

Welcome back

Debbie (Stryer) Levine and husband Larry Levine just returned from what seems like a really cool trip — a weeklong vacation in St. Augustine, Fla.

While there, they spent time with friends in Sebastian, Fla. Also on the agenda was a lot of sightseeing, eating and walks on the beach. “It was definitely a good time,” Debbie writes.

BBG seeks adviser

Alton Silver BBG has a deal for you.

Seriously, this organization needs an adult adviser who can help oversee and schedule one or two activities per month and help the girls plan such activities.

You won’t be going it alone, either — the Fort Worth chapter is part of the North Texas/Oklahoma region. The regional office will assist you with support and training.

If you’re interested, contact Angie Kitzman at the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County at 817-569-0892 or

A message from the JWI

Jewish Women International will meet at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 6 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven in Fort Worth.

Guest speaker will be Carole Rogers of Jewish Family Services, who will talk about the fact that “Getting Old is for Other People.”

And the last word

Do you have great photos? Have you done cool things recently? If so, send that news along to me at

I’d love to put it in “Around the Town.”

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 21 February 2013 by admin

Sande Markman, a resident at Windsor Senior Living, celebrates her 90th birthday with family and friends at a dinner party hosted by her family. | Photo: Ilene Brill

Sande Markman, a resident at Windsor Senior Living, celebrates her 90th birthday with family and friends at a dinner party hosted by her family. | Photo: Ilene Brill

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I am looking forward to speaking at the Professional Women’s Group of Hadassah at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 28 in the conference room at 7920 Belt Line Road, where the TJP is located in North Dallas.

I have done a number of these presentations over the years, and they are always fun for everyone involved.

JWVA installs officers for 2013

LuAnn Bergman, immediate past president of the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary, shared that the group has new officers, which were installed Jan. 27 at the Wyndham Dallas Suites.

Past president Ethel Holiner installed Jo Reingold as the new president. The following members also were installed: Dottie Garment, executive vice president; Rosalie Budnoff, programming vice president; Phyllis Rifkin, fundraising vice president; Lynn Teitelbaum, membership vice president; Flora Robin, treasurer; Marcy Kramer-Kahn, recording secretary; Sandra Cantor, chaplain; Shirley Crane, historian; Sabra Klein, conductress; and Deanna Kasten, corresponding secretary. Doc Gibbs entertained at the luncheon.

The JWVA sponsors several programs, including Packages for Troops; bingo at the VA Hospital on the fourth Sunday of each month; the VA Clothes Closet, a place within the VA Hospital where veterans can go to get the clothing they need for job interviews, etc. free of charge; the annual Grant-A-Wish for a veteran in hospice at the VA Hospital; the semi-annual Poppy Drive; and the Teddy Bear Drive to collect bears to be donated to Children’s Medical Center and Scottish Rite hospital.

The large clothing donations from JWVA members and their families earned the auxiliary the title of sponsor on the door of the Clothes Closet. The group also takes a quarterly trip to Choctaw Casino for some gambling fun.

Incidentally, the latest issue of the National Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary newsletter saluted the Dallas affiliate and the “Packages for Troops” program, which sends necessities and goodies to Afghanistan and has been recognized by the troops themselves. A flag was flown on Mission KA 300 “Red Handed 97” in the women’s honor, and the flight crew sent a framed flag certificate to the group. The current national newsletter features a picture of Kramer-Kahn, initiator of the program, and Bergman showing the impressive certificate.

If you would like to join in the fun of helping the veterans, their families and the community, please contact membership vice president Lynn Teitelbaum at 972-233-8937.

Business Scene

William B. “Bill” Finkelstein, was recently named the office managing member at the Dallas office of Dykema, a national law firm. Finkelstein is a member of the firm’s corporate finance department and business bankruptcy practice. He succeeds Darrell Jordan.

Finkelstein focuses his practice on providing general business and strategic advice to clients in a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing, metals recycling, jewelry, retail, medical-dental equipment and real estate.

In addition to providing general business advice, Finkelstein also focuses his practice on counseling clients on commercial transactions, acquisitions and minimizing insolvency risks in structuring business transactions, representing clients in acquisitions of businesses and assets from troubled companies, and representing official committees in bankruptcy cases.

He also has substantial experience representing businesses, investors and financial institutions in workout transactions, restructurings, bankruptcies and litigation. He has represented lenders, exporters and importers, and technology-based firms in a variety of commercial litigation and insolvency matters

Previously, Finkelstein served as a law clerk for then-Texas Supreme Court Associate Justice Thomas M. Reavley. Finkelstein is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Association of Commercial Finance Attorneys. He is also a member of the Dallas Board of Israel Bonds and the Jewish Federation Greater Dallas, and serves on the advisory board of the University of North Texas Jewish Studies Program.

He received his juris doctor, cum laude, graduating second in his class, from Baylor Law School and a B.A. from the University of Texas.

More Business: Get networking

The Jewish Business Alliance continues to grow. The Jewish business networking group now meets at Savour on the N. Dallas Parkway at Frankford. JBA is a networking group of business professionals who meet the second and fourth Thursday of each month for lunch. Business members of the community are invited to attend.

If you want more information, contact Mark Lowey at 214-558-2727 or

Mazel Tov Mike Friedman

I have had the pleasure of serving on the University of North Texas Jewish Studies Advisory Board with Mike Friedman and know first-hand of the depth and breadth of his knowledge and his hands-on approach to community service. Mike will be honored tomorrow, Feb. 22, with the UNT’s Outstanding Alumni Service Award at the 2013 Annual Alumni Awards Dinner.

Originally presented in 1974, this award honors individuals who have provided exceptional volunteer service to UNT. In addition to the advisory board for the Jewish Studies program, Mike, a 1974 graduate of UNT, serves on the board of its alumni association and, as well as on numerous other boards. They include the Plano ISD board of trustees, the Cancer Foundation for Life, Jewish Family Service, The Legacy Senior Communities and Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association.

We would love to hear from our readers. Send your news to me at or by snail mail to me at 7920 Belt Line Road, Ste 680, Dallas, TX 75254.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 21 February 2013 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Congregation Ahavath Sholom has been around for a long time — 120 years, to be precise. I’ve mentioned in previous columns that the organization will host a huge anniversary party on Saturday, March 2 at the synagogue, 4050 S. Hulen in Fort Worth.

This is a community-wide event (free to members, with non-members paying $60 per person) and will include a lot of entertainment, a lot of food, gaming for prizes and live and silent auctions. The funds raised will benefit CAS’ Legacy Fund, which assists with youth education and other areas.

CAS has been one of the important pillars of the Fort Worth Jewish Community (see story, Page 9), not to mention the oldest Jewish organization in the area, and this event provides a good opportunity to not only schmooze and have a great time, but also to support an institution that isn’t a whole lot older than the incorporation of the city of Fort Worth itself.

To make reservations or if you have any questions, call CAS’ office at 817-731-4721 or email

Also, I know many readers out there are descendants of CAS’ original founders (or descended from those who might have known the original founders). If you’re one of those, please share your stories. I can be reached at Furthermore, if you have simchas you’re celebrating, or any other news, feel free to reach out to us so we can write it up for this column.

Speaking of history

Synagogue designs and architecture have their own history, which is one of the topics that will be touched upon at “Biblical Influences on Modern Synagogue Art and Architecture,” which takes place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

The topic presented by the panelists — noted architects David R. Stanford, Gary M. Cunningham and Lynn Milstone — is synagogues. More specifically, the panel will examine ancient worship places around the world and compare those with contemporary architectural practices. Local sculptor Etty Horowitz will also be on hand to serve as the program’s moderator.

The event is free to the public, but space is limited. Call 817-731-4721 for more information or to make your reservation.

And speaking of more history

Jane Guzman Pawgan chimed in with some more interesting Texas history at the Daytimers’ event Feb. 15. Pawgan’s topic centered on Miriam Ferguson, wife of the beleaguered Texas governor James Ferguson, who was impeached in 1917.

Daytimers Kenneth Baum and Rosanne Margolis greet Rose-Marie Schweitzer. | Photos: Sylvia Wolens Daytimers

Daytimers Kenneth Baum and Rosanne Margolis greet Rose-Marie Schweitzer. | Photo: Sylvia Wolens Daytimers

Miriam, known as “Ma” Ferguson, stepped ably into her husband’s shoes, running for, and winning the 1924 Texas gubernatorial race.

Guzman shared this information (including Ma Ferguson’s opposition of the Ku Klux Klan as her campaign slogan) to the folks who were present. Others helping during the event included Bill Margolis (who introduced Pawgan), Kenneth Baum and Rosanne Margolis, who greeted the guests at the door, and Edythe Cohen and Louis Schultz, who oversaw the buffet table. Emcee for the day was Irv Robinson.

The next Daytimers event will involve a virtual tour of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and will take place at noon, Wednesday, March 13 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven in Fort Worth. Lunch will be catered, and the cost is $9 ($4 if you want to skip lunch).

To make a reservation, grab your credit card and call Barbara Rubin at 817-927-2736 or Larry Steckler at 520-990-3155.

Movie night continues

Beth-El Congregation will present the final film of its film festival, “My First Wedding.” The film will be shown, free of charge, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 at the synagogue, 4900 Briarhaven.

Next up at CBI

Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville offers its “Good Food, Good Learning, Good Community” event, which involves a dinner, a minyan service and an interesting speaker. On Wednesday, March 6, the speaker will be Ron Bernstein, the Jewish National Fund Israel Emissary for the Southwest.

Dinner is served at 6 p.m., the service takes place at 7 p.m., with Bernstein going live at 7:30 p.m. The event takes place at the synagogue, located at 6100 Pleasant Run Road For information or to make reservations, call 817-581-5500.

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