Archive | April, 2013

The art of Chagall

The art of Chagall

Posted on 18 April 2013 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
Jewish culinary historian and cookbook author Tina Wasserman will teach “Food & Art, Chagall Beyond Color” Tuesday, April 23 at the Central Market on Lovers Lane in Dallas. Reservations are required. | Photo: Courtesy Tina Wasserman

Jewish culinary historian and cookbook author Tina Wasserman will teach “Food & Art, Chagall Beyond Color” Tuesday, April 23 at the Central Market on Lovers Lane in Dallas. Reservations are required. | Photo: Courtesy Tina Wasserman

The art of Marc Chagall is on display at the Dallas Museum of Art, the only U.S. venue for the “Chagall: Beyond Color” exhibition. The show, which runs through May 26, offers more than 140 paintings, costumes, sketches, ceramics and sculptures, and will be the subject of at least two Jewish-themed programs.

“This exhibit is spectacular, a mix of watercolor and sculpture and costumes; it’s just so impressive,” said Olivier Meslay, the DMA’s associate director of curatorial affairs and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon curator of European art. “Chagall transformed his pieces, working almost until his passing at almost 98 years old. He was completely creative to the end of his life.”

Chagall, who was born in Vitebsk, Belarus, and flourished in France, also lived in New York and created theater designs in Mexico. With famed works in the Knesset and at Hadassah Hospital in Israel, he also painted the ceiling of the Opera in Paris.

Art critic Robert Hughes once referred to Chagall as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the 20th century.” He is well-known for his expressive use of color and his works in many media. The DMA exhibit includes pieces that retrace the chronology of Chagall’s time in Mexico and the American Southwest, including the influences on his work from the Mexican, Hopi and Zuni cultures.

The exhibit’s showpiece is a collection of costumes designed by Chagall for the production of the ballet “Aleko.” This is the first viewing of the costumes since the ballet’s run in Mexico City and New York.

“This is a very happy exhibit; Chagall’s work is about love and joy and he expresses that beautifully,” Meslay said. “It’s not often to see a collection that is so lively, and I believe this is a wonderful experience for all ages. These are pieces that will be new to most of our guests, and I’m excited to introduce a new side of the artist.”

Among the special programs taking place in conjunction with the exhibit is “Food & Art: Chagall Beyond Color,” a dinner and conversation led by Meslay and Tina Wasserman, the Dallas-based Jewish culinary historian and cookbook author. It is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 at Central Market’s Lovers Lane location.

“I’ve been to the exhibit and it is stunning, so different from anything of Chagall’s work that I’ve seen before,” said Wasserman who recalls visiting a Chagall exhibit in New York with her grandfather Jacob Rice. She remembers Rice writing the Hebrew down so as he’d be able to better replicate Chagall’s windows as he painted his own version. “I have those paintings in my home, and so this exhibit brings me great joy and invokes great memories on so many levels. It’s really everything I stand for.”

Wasserman’s menu for the evening includes a grilled salmon with a five-citrus peppercorn sauce, a nod to the fact that Chagall incorporates fish into his work. His father worked for a herring merchant and the connection of the Jews to the citrus trade in Europe.

The menu also features a beet humus, a tribute to Chagall’s Russian roots; a crustless goat cheese quiche, an homage to Chagall’s time in the south of France and his often painted depiction of goats; and a Mexican chocolate dish, noting the impact Jews had on the chocolate trade and the experiences Chagall shared in Mexico.

“Chagall’s Jewish connection was a great part of his identity and he linked that part of his culture to many of his pieces,” said Olivier Meslay, the Dallas Museum of Art’s associate director of curatorial affairs and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon curator of European art. | Photo: Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

“Chagall’s Jewish connection was a great part of his identity and he linked that part of his culture to many of his pieces,” said Olivier Meslay, the Dallas Museum of Art’s associate director of curatorial affairs and the Barbara Thomas Lemmon curator of European art. | Photo: Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

“It’s not always so easy to understand Chagall’s relationship to his Judaism,” Meslay said. “He was not so observant, but he was profoundly Jewish in his heart and his connection to his roots was deep. It was a great part of his identity and he linked that part of his culture to many of his pieces.”

The exhibit is so successful that more than 350 people have already sold out a “Chagall: Art & Religion” lecture with Meslay and Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi David Stern Thursday, April 25.

“I am very excited to be participating in the Chagall program,” Stern said. “I loved the exhibit — not only for its provocative beauty and vibrant color, but because it serves as a fascinating lens for considering the Diaspora Jewish experience in the 20th century.

“Throughout, his work reflects a tension and a dance between old country and new world, between nostalgic forms and fractured expectations,” Stern added. “Chagall loved the Bible, and mingled biblical images with barnyard animals, expressing his Jewish identity and orientation at every turn as part of a universal whorl of suffering, creation and love.”

“Chagall: Beyond Color” requires a special exhibition ticket that costs $16 for adults, with discounts for students, military personnel and seniors. DMA partners and children ages 11 and younger are free. To register for Wasserman’s class at Central Market, visit For tickets or other information about the Chagall Beyond Color exhibit and special programs, visit or call 214-922-1818.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 18 April 2013 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

This is not the first time I’ve found myself in this position, writing what I will always think of as my beloved mother’s Around the Town with Rene column.

Photo: TJP Archives Sharon Wisch-Ray, right, with her mother, the late Rene Wisch. | Photo: TJP Archives

Sharon Wisch-Ray, right, with her mother, the late Rene Wisch. | Photo: TJP Archives

After her death 2½ years ago, I wrote the column for awhile, but with handling Dallas Doings as well and my myriad other responsibilities here at the TJP and at home, I truly didn’t feel as though I was doing it justice. Amy Sorter was kind enough to step in and take the reins July 28, 2011 and has been doing an admirable job. In January, Amy told me that other responsibilities were going to prevent her from continuing the column long-term.

I contemplated a number of ideas … bringing in someone new from Fort Worth was one, and we had some very good candidates apply. For sentimentality sake, however, I couldn’t bring myself to make that change and take the column “out of the family” again. In fact, I think that’s just what’s been missing. So in an effort to evolve, I’ve come full circle.

My sister Linda, who many of you know, has agreed to take on the Dallas Doings column, something she did ably for more than two decades in the ’70s and ’80s.

And here I sit, literally in my mother’s chair, penning Around the Town with Rene. I wonder if this is how Jeanne Phillips felt when she assumed the mantle of Dear Abby?

When people ask me how long I’ve worked at the Texas Jewish Post, I usually answer 47 years. I was literally born in to this business Sept. 2, 1965. And like the dutiful daughter that I was bound to be, arrived well after that week’s deadline.

Here’s an excerpt from mother’s column dated Thursday, Sept. 9, 1965.

Dateline: Room 214, Harris Women’s Hospital

“It was only a few columns ago that we wrote about all the summer high school graduates and reminisced in general about the way a child fleets through one’s hands like a precious wind that one is unable to grasp. And to top it off we spoke about our own daughter, Linda, who was among the crop.

“These are the children who are really and truly ‘TJPost Babies.’ We’ve reported their births, their naming ceremonies, there confirmations, their engagements and now have made the full circle and reported some weddings and new citizens of our own TJPost readers.”

Of course back then, the TJP was in it’s own young adulthood — a mere 19 years old. Fast forward 47 years, and now in our 67th year, we have not only reported on these folks themselves, but on the lifecycles of their children and grandchildren. Trust me, it’s easy to get lost in some of these old volumes of the TJP and their vivid descriptions on Jewish life in Fort Worth at the time.

Mom continued,

“Well the doctor told us that it was unlikely that we’d have another child of our own and we took that for granted.

“Suddenly, oops, some stomach pains came creeping around the end of May and TJP’s Jaw insisted on an immediate visit to the doctor. ‘Mrs. Wisch,’ said the competent and compassionate Dr. Robert McDonald, one of the cities top gynecologists, ‘I have a surprise for you.’

“‘What is it?’

“‘Mrs. Wisch, I believe I hear two heartbeats.’

“‘Doctor! I’ve got a child going into college in September!’

“‘That’s just about when I think the baby will be born from what you’ve already told me. Sometime in September. Perhaps the latter part. But one never knows.’

“‘Well. Then to tell the ‘boss’ editor, publisher, father and director of the mint, my husband, Jimmy.’

“I’ve got a surprise for you I whispered after returning home from the doctor’s since I was confined to the house for serious leg complications.

“Jaw looked at me. I didn’t know if he was going to ask me if I had my column ready or who was going to replace me on the advertising staff. Instead he walked over, kissed me tenderly and said, I hope it’s twins. Don’t worry, You’ll be fine.”

From what my mother told me, from that moment, she had six months worth of pregnancy symptoms in the next three. I’m not sure how she didn’t realize she was pregnant after already having had four children. I think she was just too busy with work and family to notice. I guess, at age 42, she never considered it a possibility.

Her column continued from her Harris Hospital bed, and though it’s too long to reprint in its entirety, there are some priceless moments that capture the spirit of the time.

“Last Tuesday,(Aug. 31) night I felt horrible. I had the feeling something was going to happen. When Jim got up in the morning, and asked me what I was doing I told him I felt water gushing from me. ‘Call Dr. McDonald immediately,’ he ordered. Dr. McDonald’s nurse asked that I go to the hospital as soon as I could. Meanwhile, I knew that this was paper day, the day the Texas Jewish Post had to be ‘put to bed’ ready for printing and that Jimmy had already received several calls from the office that all the equipment had broken down.

“It was past 11 a.m. I’ll get Ruth Rapfogel, he said. She’ll get you down. It will be the first time that I haven’t. She’ll get you down. It will be proud. She’s always helped out with pregnancy carpooling. Ruth, for those of you who don’t know, is the wife of our dear friend, Dr. Irving Rapfogel. Ruth wasn’t home. But Bernice Rapfogel was. She came over immediately and drove me to Harris Women’s Hospital.

“Soon the news was out. Rene Wisch was at Harris Hospital. She was going to have a baby.”

The column continues for some time. It is a gift to me to be able to read almost exactly what was going through my parents’ minds when I was born. Of course, the TJP is an historical record for all of us.

Around the Town with Rene was the heart of the TJP for as long as my mom was alive. Mom had a gift of making everyone feel comfortable. She never met a stranger. She touched people and impacted their lives in a way that is difficult to articulate in words.

Suffice it to say, she was easy to talk to, warm, dedicated and hard-working. She was a tremendous judge of character. I’d consider myself lucky if I had even one of her many qualities and gifts. I hope that I can share your news with mom’s ease and grace. I don’t know if I will do the job that she did, but I’ll aim to try.

I mentioned that I feel as though I’ve come full circle. Our oldest son, Benjamin, is a senior in high school himself and preparing to head to Texas A&M in the fall. Middle son Sam is earnestly preparing for his bar mitzvah in August; an announcement in the TJP will be forthcoming. When he’s not playing baseball, he plans to work in the TJP office this summer answering phones and calling folks for New Year greetings. I warn you now. Sam is a gifted up-seller.

Finally, when our youngest son, Jimmy, was born on May 16, 2004, he caught me a little off-guard by arriving a full month early. As my mother did before me, I finished my work from my hospital room and got the TJP safely to bed that week.

We love to share our readers’ news. Send it to me however you feel comfortable: email at; snail mail to me at 7920 Belt Line Road #680 Dallas, TX 75254 or give me a call at 817-927-2831. I look forward to talking to you.

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Picking up the torch

Posted on 18 April 2013 by admin

By Linda Wisch Davidsohn

It has been almost two decades since I had the pleasure of writing “Dallas Doings.” My journey as a columnist began in 1971, when I moved to Dallas with my adorable daughter, Amy, a precocious 6-month-old.

Previously, the column had been entitled “Dallas Doings” by Clare, (aka Mildred Moore) who nurtured the column through the ’50s and ’60s. My late uncle, Chester Wisch, manned the TJP’s Dallas office, and upon Clare’s retirement, thought that the venue might be a wonderful opportunity for me to meet new friends and satisfy my writing “itch.”

Everything he wished for me — as far as writing the column was concerned — came to fruition. I met and made amazing friends, who supplied me with a steady stream of news, and joined organizations. I soon learned that my nose for news was alive and working well.

Throughout the ’70s, my family increased with the birth of Reuben (1973), Jordana (1974) and Ethan (1978). Those were my “Wonder Bread” years. I was a mom with a busy schedule, chauffeuring the children to activities following their days at Akiba Academy and later to Solomon Schechter Academy (now Ann and Nate Levine Academy).

My nose for news was getting stronger, and I seldom lacked topics for my column. My beloved Mom, Rene, coached me throughout the years stating that “names make news.”

When I wasn’t writing the column, or exploring the methodology of cooking chicken 365 different ways, I tried my hand at selling advertising. Dad’s mantra was “tell ’em and sell ’em.” My siblings and I became part of the Texas Jewish Post at a very early age. As a matter of fact, I’ve been told that I “cut” my baby teeth on the previous week’s issue, and that the hum of the Addressograph was my bedtime music.

Part of our responsibility was to work alongside our parents, uncle and Nana. Dad (who ran the linotype and wrote remarkable columns, sold advertising, directed plays and possessed a plethora of other talents); Mom (who wrote remarkable columns, sold advertising, ran the Addressograph, was an outstanding hostess and had a sunny disposition — an outstanding role model for all of us ), Uncle Chester (ran the folder on paper day, managed the Dallas office on all the other days and sold advertising); and our indomitable Nana, known to many customers as “Miss Betty” (sold advertising as well as being one of the most amazing cooks I ever knew).

In 1992, I made a conscious decision to return to nursing. The “kids” were growing up and going away to school. I was growing up as well. Over the years, I had several opportunities to fill in as guest columnist for Mom — but not too often. She was strict about her deadlines — rarely missing a column — and I recall her writing “Around the Town with Rene” prior to leaving for the hospital while in labor with my sister, Susan.

Much has happened since the ’90s — I am now the “Mimi” to nine — Rosie, Zachary, Shea, Tessa, Jessie, Micah, Josephine “Joey,” Shaya and Isabella Renee, the progeny of Amy, Reuben and Jordana.

Several days ago, while visiting one of my favorite places, Central Market, Deborah Jacobs Linksman serendipitously stopped to chat. Debbie and her husband, Wayne, had been cleaning their attic. They decided to bring down their old trunks from their camp days to see what treasures lay inside. When Debbie opened her trunk she found the Nov. 9, 1978 edition of the TJP, which featured a two page-plus article about her father, Mike Jacobs. The article was written by my late father. I began to think about memories — and the treasures that they hold.

In 1980, I had the pleasure of going to Israel on a Jewish National Fund trip with the entire Jacobs family — Mike, Ginger, Mark, Reuben, Andy and Debbie. Mom watched my four children — ages 9, 7, 6 and 2. Ethan was still in diapers and Dad was at a meeting in Washington. Mom developed pneumonia while I was away, and with Sharon’s help, Ethan was no longer in diapers when I returned.

Mike and Ginger made certain that the trip exceeded all of the participants’ expectations. Mike took our group through Yad Vashem. I am a “reader” and had read multiple books about the Holocaust. I thought that I “understood.”

Nothing that I had read or watched on television prepared me for the solemn and emotionally charged moments of viewing the detritus of the Holocaust through Mike’s eyes. He is one of my heroes. I will never forget that trip and having the opportunity to be there with Mike and Ginger. I hoped that I would one day visit Israel and Yad Vashem again with my parents and children.

I did not return to Israel with my parents or children. However, in 1991, while visiting Miami and Boca Raton with my parents and children, I had the opportunity to visit the Miami Holocaust Museum. I will never forget that either — that trip may have been one of my last columns of my previous tenure.

For those of you who have not seen the museum and the sculpture rising from the surrounding waters, the clenched fist and outstretched arm that has bodies hanging on so majestically, tenuously holding on for dear life. If you find yourself in Miami, I urge you to go. It is a powerfully charged emotional moment — and one I will never forget, having shared that with my parents, children and siblings. To me, it is a metaphor for the tenacity and strength of our Jewish legacy.

So, thank you, Debbie (and Wayne) for opening your trunk of memories and allowing me to share my own. How fitting that this conversation took place shortly after Yom HaShoah. By the way, Debbie mentioned that Mike and Ginger are still actively involved in sharing his experience, strength and hope to multiple audiences (you can read more about Mike’s participation in the Legacy Holocaust Series on page 19 of this week’s issue).

I hope that all of you will share your own memories, simchas, events, accolades, treasures and/or thoughts with your TJP family. We can cover a great deal of ground together.

It feels good to put my writer’s cap back on. When Sharon asked me to “pick up the torch,” I was flattered and touched. I hope that all of you will dig through your “treasure chests” and share your “finds” with us.

In the meantime, feel free to contact me via email at

Have a great week. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Friendship built on Shakespeare

Friendship built on Shakespeare

Posted on 18 April 2013 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebHow ironic. A few weeks ago I wrote about Rabbi Daniel Grayber’s dilemma: Judaism’s lack of procedures for how one might mourn the loss of a treasured friend. And here I am now, wishing for the same kind of advice as I mourn a dear friend who wasn’t even Jewish.

Marj and I worked at the same suburban newspaper chain in the Chicago area, but for a long time, we were barely acquainted. I was on the editorial side; she, a woman far ahead of her time with college degrees in chemistry and math, was the company’s computer maven. After years of lab work and teaching, she jumped bravely into the new technology and made our newsroom America’s first to go from old Royal typewriters to IBM Selectrics and the wonders of CompuScan. We writers followed her, kicking and screaming all the way, but were very grateful later.

After an ugly divorce, Marj decided to indulge herself in a special experience — going to North America’s major Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, Ontario. She loved to drive, so the 500-mile trip was nothing to her. But she found the experience itself lonely; she wanted someone to discuss the plays with, before and after seeing them.

So the next spring, she called me, cold, saying she didn’t really know me, but she knew my writing and figured I’d enjoy the Stratford experience, too. Did I want to go with her during the coming summer?

I did, and our trips became an annual ritual: seven plays in five days, enhanced by wine-and-cheese picnics before them and Tim Horton’s doughnuts and coffee following. After I moved to Dallas, I’d fly to Chicago and meet her at the airport for the drive. Later, she retired to Boulder, Colo., but she’d drive to Chicago, and our routine continued. Once we even made our separate ways to Cedar City, Utah, to experience that state’s renowned Shakespeare Festival together. But far too soon, the aging began, and those play-going days were over.

In 2006, Marj’s hearing was almost gone. Her eyesight soon followed, but somehow she continued to correspond. Then she began going through old files, sending me clippings and copies of her treasures: a poem by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, words to an inspiring song about America by Irish immigrant Denis McCarthy, her favorite quotes from Christian philosopher Frederick Buechner.

I continued to send notes in large print; she would make some difficult phone calls in response. And she sent me a pewter pendant inscribed with the flower illustrating this quote from Hamlet: “There’s rosemary. That’s for remembrance.” It crossed in the mail with the identical one I sent to her …

Not too long ago, Marj’s son moved her to a nursing home in Loveland, closer to his family; that’s where she passed away. He told me, when he delivered the news, “I know how much she valued your friendship. Her trip to Canada with you was always the highlight of her year.”

When I asked what I could do that would best honor her memory, he said, “Her greatest legacy will be that those who were touched by her life will continue to practice the principles of her life: non-violence, and dignity and respect for all people … ”

Marj lived these ideals through lifetime, active involvement in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). So I mourn by dedicating a brick in her memory at its Juliette Fowler Home in Dallas, a residence for seniors of modest financial means. To honor its 120 years of service, a new prayer garden will feature a wall of dedicated bricks, with all the money they raise funding perpetual support for those residents who have no resources left at all. I’ve inscribed mine to “Marjorie Collins, a True Friend.”

The other irony: I pass the Fowler Home every time I drive to and from Samuell-Grand Park for performances of Dallas’ own Shakespeare Festival.

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Torah has parenting tips

Torah has parenting tips

Posted on 18 April 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2The Torah is an amazing book for so many reasons for so many people. For me, one of the most amazing things is how, at every stage in our life or every situation we are in, the Torah has something to say.

You think you are experiencing something new? The Torah says, “Been there, done that.” Another wonderful message from Torah is that it does not “preach” — we learn how to do the right thing by watching our “heroes” mess up.

Just recently, something came my way through an interesting website listing chapter and verse from the Book of Genesis on what you can learn about parenting. It was so neat and easy, I had to pass it on. Get out your Torah and check out these verses. It may help or not, but it will inspire conversation.

21 Parenting Tips I Learned from Genesis By Lisa Port White

1. Children will do things you tell them not to do (2:17).

2. They will blame each other (3:12).

3. You will curse at them, or perhaps want to (3:17).

4. Not all siblings get along all that well (4:8).

5. Children babble and make a lot of noise (11:19).

6. Your children may have to go off on their own journeys (12:1).

7. You may love your children so much that you put yourself at risk (19:26).

8. Do not, under any circumstances, let your children get you drunk so they can have sex with you even if they think it is the end of the world (19:32).

9. It’s possible to become pregnant even if you aren’t expecting it (21:2).

10. Be careful whom you invite to your weaning party (21:9).

11. Listen to your partner, even if you disagree with him/her (21:12).

12. It’s hard to watch your children suffer; keep your eyes open and look for the well (21:19).

13. You might sometimes want to kill your offspring, but keep your eyes open and look for the ram (22:13).

14. Don’t play favorites (Rebecca and Isaac re: Jacob and Esau; Jacob and Joseph).

15. Stay out of your children’s negotiations (25:33, 27:8-10).

16. Sometimes children have to struggle on their own (32:25).

17. Sometimes children change their names (32:29).

18. Sometimes siblings reconcile after long-standing acrimony (33:4).

19. Sometimes siblings want to avenge the honor of their sibling: this should be tempered (34:25).

20. Sometimes it is not only the child who feels as though s/he has been abandoned in a pit of despair (37:24).

21. Family is hard, but love is strong, forgiveness is powerful, and redemption is possible (45:4; 50:24).

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

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Birth marks Priya success

Posted on 12 April 2013 by admin

By Dave Sorter

The Nov. 28, 2012 birth of Ari Olukhov was certainly a joyous moment for his parents, Shira and Dimitri Olukhov of Dallas. And it was almost as joyous for those connected with a Dallas Jewish Community Foundation fund designed to help infertile couples.

Ari’s birth was the first success story to blossom from Priya: A New Fund for Jewish Reproduction of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. The fund has given $23,500 to five couples since its inception in 2009, including the Olukhovs and one couple whose conception efforts are in progress.

“In the Jewish nation, births are under the replacement level,” said Marna Edenson, the foundation’s senior director of programs and scholarships. “It is the lowest of any socioeconomic group in the nation.”

Priya was the brainchild of Annie Glickman and her husband, Rabbi David Glickman, former associate rabbi at Congregation Shearith Israel in Dallas and now senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Overland Park, Kan.

“My husband and I experienced some secondary infertility issues,” said Annie Glickman, who is still actively involved with Priya. “When our son was born, it was a very painful process. I thought if I ever was able to have another child, I would want to give back.”

So when the Glickmans’ daughter, Dani, was born in February 2009, it was time to get things started.

“I encouraged people to make donations to the fund instead of giving us baby gifts,” Annie said. “We were able to get seed money.” Since then, several couples have done the same thing for wedding anniversaries and the birth of children. At least one bar mitzvah boy has asked for donations to the fund instead of gifts.

The Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas played a big role in forming the fund, which emphasizes the commitment to help folks from all streams of Judaism, Edenson said.

“Families must identify as Jewish and live in the Dallas area,” she said. “They must be affiliated with a congregation of any denomination. The Glickmans knew it had to include all streams. The applicants must also have a plan for Jewish education.”

Added Annie Glickman: “Since one of our goals is Jewish unity, one thing in the Jewish community we can all agree on is we want to have more Jews.”

And there is one more Jew in the world thanks to Priya.

Shira and Dimitri Olukhov were married in November 2007 and moved to the Dallas area from New York in April 2009. They had been trying to have a baby for several years with no luck, Dimitri said, and sought advice.

They attend Congregation Ohr HaTorah, and Rabbi Aryeh Feigenbaum and others suggested they apply for a Priya grant.

“Rabbis all play a part in the applications because they’re working with the couples,” DJCF executive director Meyer Bodoff said. “The committee reviews the applications, and if it can make an award, it will. It’s all anonymous,” including the people on the committee.

The Olukhovs got a grant.

“We did IVF (in-vitro fertilization),” Dimitri said. “Before IVF, we tried other treatments. We had some specialists, some of the best specialists here. They suggested the IVF procedure, but they said it was so expensive. The rabbis said we could get a little help from Priya.”

One cycle of IVF costs more than $10,000 and can go much higher, depending on the type of treatment. Many couples have to make several attempts before getting pregnant or giving up.

Luckily for the Olukhovs (and Priya), Shira got pregnant on the first try. Nine months later, a bouncing baby Ari came into the world.

“It was an amazing day,” Dimitri said. “It’s hard to describe. There were so many emotions.”

Annie Glickman shared in those emotions, overjoyed that the fund she helped to create had a successful pregnancy.

“When I found out the couple was pregnant, my eyes were filled with tears,” she said. “When you find out someone is pregnant, you think b’sha’ah tovah,” a blessing that wishes for a successful pregnancy. “I’m so excited for them. This is the ultimate reward. I feel likes we helped someone achieve their goals.”

Dimitri Olukhov is, obviously a big fan of Priya.

“I think it’s good from two perspectives,” he said. “First, it’s a helpful organization looking to help people who need its services. Second, it’s a great way to help, to give back.”

And, he is trying to pay it forward.

“I was having lunch with somebody, and they’ve been trying to get pregnant,” Dimitri said. “So I suggested they think about Priya.”

This kind of fund is unique, both Glickman and Edenson said.

“I think this might be the only fund of its kind in the United States,” Glickman added. “I’d like to see more success stories. I look forward to continue working with Priya. I’d like to start something similar with the foundation here in Kansas City. I think every Jewish foundation should have a fund.”

Other couples helped by Priya will certainly conceive and give birth in the future. But for now, the first success story is a happy, healthy 4½-month-old.

“He’s certainly keeping Shira awake,” the father said. “Ari is healthy, thank God. I can’t complain.”

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Many heroes came from liquidation

Many heroes came from liquidation

Posted on 11 April 2013 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebFor us, April is more than the “cruelest month,” as the poet says, because we Jews find it filled with celebrations as well as commemorations. Yes, Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, followed quickly on Pesach’s happy heels, and next Monday we’ll join Israel in honoring all its fallen soldiers and terrorist victims on Yom HaZikaron. But what a contrast: The day after will be Yom HaAtzmaut, the joyous observance of the nation’s independence.

Our local calendar gives us many opportunities to mark all these special dates as a community. I took part last Sunday, as I do annually, in reading the names at Congregation Beth Torah, where living voices recall aloud those whose own were forever stilled by Nazi evil. But happy frolics also await our gathering together to wave the blue-starred white flag and sing a lusty “Hatikvah.”

I hope you’ll also remember with me another important date that doesn’t always show up on our Jewish calendars: April 19 this year will mark seven decades since the Germans began to liquidate the Warsaw Ghetto. They chose Passover eve of 1943 for starting their killing work, but ultimately birthed many heroic legends.

You’re probably already familiar with a few of them: Mordechai Anielewicz, ghetto resistance leader. Janusz Korczak, physician-orphanage director who refused to leave “his” children and accompanied them to death in Treblinka. Emanuel Ringelblum, who left behind a chronicle of the gruesome ghetto experience.

You may also know of Polish-Catholic Irena Sendler, the 2007 Nobel Prize nominee whose story has made it to the big screen. This social worker went undercover in the ghetto and has been credited with smuggling out and saving the lives of well more than 2,000 Jewish infants and children. Of course, she has been enshrined in Yad Vashem among the Righteous Among Nations.

But there are many others who also risked their own lives for those of ghetto Jews without ever becoming as well known as Irena. One of my favorite organizations, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, knows who they were and reminds us that “We should remember both the Jews of Warsaw who stood their ground and fought the Germans and those not of the Jewish faith who chose to save Jewish lives.”

JFR provides us with the names of many other Righteous Gentiles that we may come to recognize as well. Among them: Alexander Roslan, who took three young Jewish brothers from the ghetto into his own home and raised them with his own children. Helen Bakala, who pretended to be a janitor so she could bring food into the ghetto. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, who took part in the ghetto uprising and was later made an honorary citizen of Israel.

Jan Peczkis, billed on Amazon’s Listmania as “a scholar and thinker,” emphasizes active resistance even more strongly than the JFR. He reminds us that “Poles fought alongside Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising… also supplied 770 firearms and thousands of grenades and other explosives to the Jews, trained Jewish fighters and mapped the sewers for combat purposes.”

For those of us who prefer to get such information directly from Jewish sources, he suggests reading David Wdowinski, Chaim Lazar Litai, Elaine Landau, Michal Borwicz, and Dawid Moryc Apfelbaum. An ambitious list, indeed.

Three Stars Cinema and the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance screened the HBO documentary “Fifty Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. And Mrs. Kraus” as their joint, pre-Yom HaShoah film offering. In 1939, Philadelphia Jews Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus were another breed of heroes; they used their brains, wealth, influence, friends, and just plain chutzpah to transplant an entire group of Jewish kids from Vienna to their hometown. A happy irony of Judaism is that even as we commemorate, we have brave people and their worthy accomplishments to celebrate.

So enjoy all of April — remember that Lag B’Omer also awaits.

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Keep drinking ‘unsold’ liquor

Keep drinking ‘unsold’ liquor

Posted on 11 April 2013 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

Because of interest in this question, we shall repeat a column from a few years ago. If you remember it, I applaud you. (And repetition is a good thing.)

Dear Rabbi Fried,

We have recently become observant, this being our first Passover kept according to strict Jewish law. We never heard about selling the “chametz” to a non-Jew before, all we knew was not to eat bread. We also learned that whatever leavened products not sold to a non-Jew are forbidden even after Passover, which was a real shocker to us.

This leads to our question: We have a significant amount of scotch and bourbon from years past. Some of it consists of rare, limited-edition bottles passed down from our parents to be used for simchas and special occasions. Since this is made from barley and wheat hops, it would constitute chametz, which was not sold all the years before we became observant. So, we’re a little afraid to ask, what is the status of all that schnapps we own?

— Marc and Stacie N.

Dear Marc and Stacie,

friedforweb2Congratulations on your new level of observance. I trust you had a very meaningful Pesach this year, given your heightened sensitivity to many of the subtleties heretofore unnoticed, which reveal the true richness and depth of this beautiful holiday experience.

Generally speaking, you are correct in your understanding that leavened items owned by a Jew and not sold to a gentile for Passover become forbidden for consumption after Pesach. This is actually a rabbinical law, under the category of k’nas (penalty), for the transgression of a Torah law. The Torah prohibits not only the consumption of leavened grain products on Passover, but the ownership of those foodstuffs as well.

This applies to all of the five species of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats. This is outlined in the Torah’s statements: “For a seven-day period you shall eat matzah, but on the previous day you shall nullify the leaven from your homes … For seven days, leaven may not be found in your houses … ” (Exodus 12:15, 19). “No leaven of yours shall be seen throughout your boundary for seven days … ” (Deuteronomy 16:4).

The simple meaning of these verses is that one must eliminate all leavened products from their homes completely during Passover, beginning with the day preceding the holiday. The Talmud, however, explains that the prohibition is only upon leavened products, or chametz, owned by a Jew. Chametz owned by a gentile is permitted to be in the home of a Jew during Pesach, provided it is in a separate area marked as a reminder not to consume of that food.

This opens up the possibility of one owning storehouses of leavened products and not having to dispose of them as one can sell them to a gentile. The nature of that sale is complicated and not relevant to this discussion, but it is performed by most rabbis for those who request of them to be their messenger to sell their chametz before Pesach.

However, all leavened products do not necessarily have to be sold. Some authorities hold that “schnapps” is a rabbinical, not Torah-level, transgression on Pesach. This means that although it should be sold, if it was not, it is not forbidden after Pesach. This has to do with the nature of the production of schnapps, as well as its mode of consumption, based on Talmudic discussions beyond the scope of this article.

Since now you are trying to fulfill these laws, you are revealing that you do not take them lightly. The only reason you did not fulfill this law previously was out of ignorance, not malice. This, coupled with the opinions that schnapps is not a Torah-level transgression, frees you from this penalty. Therefore, you may continue to use your schnapps; it is still considered kosher. Going forward, whatever is left by next year should be sold with the rest of your chametz.


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 April 2013 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

We’ve now kicked off April, appropriately dubbed the month of “three Yoms.” The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County points out that this is a period of “remembrance, honoring and celebration” both locally and throughout the national and international Jewish community.

Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day — is done. Next on tap is Yom HaZikaron, honoring Israeli soldiers and terrorist attack victims. A community-wide Shabbat service will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen St. in Fort Worth.

This will be followed about a week later by Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s birthday. This year’s community celebration — honoring Israel’s 65 years of existence — will take place 1-4 p.m. Sunday, April 21 at Congregation Beth Israel, 6100 Pleasant Run Rd. in Colleyville. The celebration will include plenty of food (Israeli cuisine, of course), speakers, dancing and a special event in conjunction with Those registering for will be entered to win two round-trip tickets to Israel.

For information, check out the federation’s website at

Another celebration

Chabad of Fort Worth and Tarrant County has been in existence for 10 years — and the organization plans to celebrate June 2 with a gala dinner, auction and guest speaker Rabbi Edward Garsek, son of longtime Congregation Ahavath Sholom Rabbi Isadore Garsek and wife Sayde Maye, both of blessed memory. The younger Rabbi Garsek, who recently stepped down after 37 years as rabbi at Congregation Etz Chayim in Toledo, Ohio, grew up in Fort Worth.

Keep an eye out for your mailed invitation.

Questions? For information, contact Chabad directly at 817-263-7701 or email

Seder for seniors

More than 100 seniors enjoyed the B’nai B’rith Senior Seder recently, hosted by Jewish Family Services. At least 20 volunteers made the luncheon a success, says Hedy Collins, senior program director at JFS.

Cantor Shoshana Abrams, left, of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger of Beth-El Congregation led the recent B’nai B’rith Senior Seder. | Photo: Hedy Collins

Cantor Shoshana Abrams, left, of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger of Beth-El Congregation led the recent B’nai B’rith Senior Seder. | Photo: Hedy Collins

Hedy tells us that Harry Kahn and his “chefs extrodinarie” and the volunteers who plated, served and cleaned up.

“It takes a village, and I am so glad that we have that here in Fort Worth,” Hedy concluded.

She really gets around

“She” meaning Roz Rosenthal. The last time we reported on her whereabouts was at the Women of Reform Judaism’s donor brunch. More recently, Roz popped up on the conductor’s stand at a Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra rehearsal, where she took the baton (and was given a standing ovation, according to what Carole Rogers tells us).

Roz won the opportunity to conduct this fine collection of musicians at a recent silent auction fundraiser for the symphony.

A scholar comes to town

And that scholar is Rabbi Moshe Edelman, who will be Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s Scholar-in-Residence between April 25-28.

Edelman, who was formerly on staff of the United Synagogue, created and directed that organization’s department of leadership development for 17 years. He’s also coordinated work of the United Synagogue’s standards committee, which mediates and arbitrates disputes.

Other positions he holds include rabbi in residence for HAZAK Week of Learning for Mature Adults and consultant to a variety of congregations in areas including membership, fundraising, strategic planning and development of missions and visions.

Edelman will speak on topics including “The Quest for Spirituality: Jewish T.M.” and “Israel, Non-Jews, Conversion and Messiah: Book of Ruth.”

The community is welcome to attend Edelman’s talks at the synagogue, 4050 S. Hulen in Fort Worth. For information, log onto

Meanwhile, at Beth-El

The synagogue will host the 92nd Street Y at 7:15 p.m. this coming Sunday, April 14. The topic will be “The Future of God: The Merging of Science and Religion,” with speakers Andrew Zoli and David Eagleman.

The community is invited, and a contribution of $3 is requested.

CBI is at it again

With another community blood drive. This one will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, May 19 at the synagogue, 6100 Pleasant Run Rd. in Colleyville. Save the date — and remember, no caffeine before donating.

And the last word

This will be my very last word, as this is my final “Around the Town” column. Beginning next week, TJP publisher Sharon Wisch-Ray will take over writing it, which is fitting, given she is the daughter of Rene Wisch, of blessed memory, the icon of this column. I will continue writing articles for the TJP, however.

In the meantime, thank all of you for your support, stories and news. I’ve enjoyed it. And send all your news, notes and pictures to Sharon at or call her at 817-927-2831.

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Time to connect with Israel

Time to connect with Israel

Posted on 11 April 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2Passover is over, but the story doesn’t end. The three pilgrimage holidays are all connected, and we are “walking” toward Shavuot. Sukkot is the third of these festivals.

However, between Passover and Shavuot, we have a few “new” holidays. Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, followed by Yom HaZikaron, Day of Remembrance for those who died defending Israel, and then Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. These are all important dates that teach us that remembering our history is crucial to our survival as a people.

Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, is a day with lots of celebration. This year, we hope everyone will be at the Aaron Family JCC to celebrate with all the Jewish organizations in town. There will be something for everyone plus food, music and fun. It is definitely an afternoon for the entire family, so come to the J from 4:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 16 and be ready to celebrate Israel.

Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron are both somber times, yet we remember that the state of Israel was born out of the horror of the Shoah and through the fighting of the Israeli soldiers. These are events in our community for older children and teens with their families and give us a wonderful opportunity to talk with our children about Israel.

For very young children, it is difficult to conceive of another country far away — most do not even understand Dallas or Texas or the United States. It is important, however, to build that connection to the land of Israel for our children. There is a wonderful story that I remember each year at this time:

“There was a little boy out in the field holding tightly to a string that went way up into the clouds. He kept his eyes looking up and his hands on the string pulling gently. A man came by and asked what he was doing. The little boy answered that he was flying a kite. The man asked how he could know since he could not see the kite in the clouds. The little boy answered, ‘I know because of the tug.’ Israel is far away, but we can always feel that tug at our heart to know it is there.”

We sing “Hatikvah” together, and the words and music touch our hearts. For many of us, the words in Hebrew simply connect us to a land that speaks a language we are not conversant in, so here are the words in English — remember the yearning and the hope.

“As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

“With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

“Then our hope — the 2,000-year-old hope — will not be lost:

“To be a free people in our land,

“The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

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

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