By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn
In the newspaper business, we never know where our stories may come from or lead. Every daily activity, encounter and telephone conversation is a possibility for the “nose” to sniff the fragrance of a potential story. And, for my friends out there, please know that I would never write about or print anything without permission.
While speaking with my friend and former “carpoolee,” Akiba alum Gila (nee Rosenstock) Appel of Dallas, she mentioned that she and her husband, Noah, and their three children Daniela, Ari and Gabriela recently returned from a fabulous bar mitzvah weekend in Miami.
The Appels attended the bar mitzvah of Benjamin Horn, son of former Dallasite and Akiba alum Jenny (nee Savarriego) Horn, and husband, Jonathan Horn at Temple Menorah in Miami, Fla.
Gila was thrilled when she realized that the synagogue’s cantor was Joey Fox, also an Akiba alum.
It was a wonderful reunion for Gila, Joey and Jenny as well as Edith Esquenazi, Jenny’s cousin and Akiba alum who attended the simcha with her children, Emily and Albert of Celina.
Sharon (nee Degani) Blumberg, also an Akiba classmate attended the Saturday evening Havdallah service with her husband, Marc, and children Sam, Ari and Ayla. Also attending from Dallas were Benjamin’s grandparents, Sara and Sam Savarriego and Lisa (nee Stern) and Carlos Ido and children.
Benjamin will be entering eighth grade in the fall. His hobbies include the Brazilian martial art of Ju Jitsu, and playing lacrosse. He also enjoys surfing, mountain biking and skiing.
For his mitzvah project, Benjamin collected toiletries for the homeless and also volunteered at the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, Colo.
Prior to the weekend festivities, Benjamin’s paternal grandfather, Leon Horn, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to his seventh grade class.
It is a small world after all. Good wishes to the Horn and Savarriego families on their simcha.
When Amy, Reuben and Jordana entered Akiba Academy (and later, Ethan), we had the privilege of carpooling with the Fox Family. Beverly and Eddie (z’l) were the parents of five children: Julie, Deena, Laura, Vicki and Joey (now Cantor Joel Fox).
Carpools were lively, as you can imagine — with tons of singing, fidgeting, schmoozing and the like. Beverly and Eddie’s generosity knew no bounds — quick to open their home, share family stories and perform mitzvot.
Cantor Joel “Joey” Fox grew up in Dallas in an enthusiastic home filled with a love of Judaism and music. As a young boy, he demonstrated a great deal of interest in music, singing and piano. Fox, the youngest child of Beverly and the late Rabbi Eddie Fox, was a student at the old Akiba Academy on Churchill Way.
While a youngster, Fox and several female classmates formed a musical group called Der Kinderlach. Encouraged by Eddie, Joey and ensemble spent many hours entertaining the elderly at Golden Acres and other venues. His early activities included performing in theater groups, playing the piano and participating in synagogue choir.
At age 14, Joel and his family moved to Israel. After completing his studies at the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, Joel attended the Israel Institute of Cantorial Art where he studied with internationally-known cantors such as Naftali Hershtik, Eli Jaffe and Moshe Stern. From 1989 until 1992, Fox served in the Israel Defense Forces as a member of their acclaimed Rabbinical Army Choir.
In 1992, Joel moved back to the United States and became the cantor at the Jacksonville Jewish Center in Jacksonville, Fla. In 1998, he served as chazzan at Shomrei Torah in West Hills, Calif. and from 2003 to 2012 was cantor for Ahavath Achim in Atlanta.
Throughout his career, Fox has traveled and given concerts across the globe for a variety of audiences, as an accomplished pianist and entertainer. Cantor Fox has served at Temple Menorah in Miami, Fla. for the past year. He is an internationally-known performer and entertainer whose repertoire includes English, Hebrew, Ladino and Yiddish songs in a variety of original and traditional arrangements.
For additional information on Cantor Fox’s achievements, there are a host of YouTube videos featuring Joel solo or performing with his children Arianna, Daniella and Michael — once again passing the torch L’dor v’ Dor.
Rabbi Zev Silver, accepted to prestigious AVI CHAI Day School Leadership program
Rabbi Zev Silver, Akiba Academy’s head of school, is among a select group of 10 day school leaders who will be sponsored by the AVI CHAI Foundation to attend the “Leadership: An Evolving Vision” program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
The foundation’s sponsorship is part of the AVI CHAI Leadership year-long program conceived to enable day school leaders to apply what they learned at Harvard more effectively in their schools. Over the past 12 years, AVI CHAI has sponsored almost 360 principals from across the spectrum of Jewish day schools to attend one of the one-week summer institutes offered by the Principal’s Center at Harvard University.
Sponsorship preference is given to seasoned Judaic educational leaders with significant decision-making responsibilities. AVI CHAI sponsors professional development programs for principals with the intent of ensuring that more schools are headed by effective and Jewish-inspiring leaders — thus advancing and sustaining quality Jewish education over the long term.
Dr. Beverly Millican, assistant head of school, stated that “Rabbi Silver serves as Akiba’s instructional leader by setting the vision and keeping us focused on it. As a staff, we appreciate that Rabbi Silver stays current on educational literature and methodology and discusses it with us. The Harvard program will be an opportunity for him to sharpen his skills, and share his own experiences in developing academic excellence with the other leaders.”
Israel Scout Friendship Caravan will arrive in Dallas next month
One of the most exciting times around our household decades ago was the arrival of the Israel Scout Friendship Caravan. My late parents always opened their homes to exchange students, Israeli Scouts and visitors from Israel.
I remember fondly how excited Amy (Davidsohn Doty) and her siblings were when we began hosting scouts. Amy was about 7 years old, and longed for the day that she could participate in the activities with the Caravan as a peer.
Our hosting experience lasted for over 20 years and I still think of all of the young Tzofim who touched our lives and hearts. Hosting was an enriching experience — and one that is unforgettable for anyone who participates in it.
The Israel Scout Friendship Caravan is coming to Dallas and will perform at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 14 at the Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas. The public is welcome.
While in Dallas, the caravan will also perform at several summer day camps, a senior living facility and local and national Boy Scout offices, in addition to the citywide performance at the Jewish Community Center.
Each Friendship Caravan consists of five male and five female Tzofim (Israel Scouts) who are entering their senior year of high school. There are four caravans that travel throughout North America each summer as emissaries, sharing their lives in Israel through song, dance and story.
Participants are chosen after undergoing an extensive auditioning and interviewing process, ensuring that above all, they are true representatives of Israeli culture and spirit.
The Friendship Caravan typically reaches over 35 states, including 250 camps, community centers, churches, senior homes and schools, performing for an audience totaling nearly 100,000 people. The Caravan has been coming to Dallas for over 30 years.
Each teen in the Friendship Caravan, like all 100 delegation members visiting North America, is a member of the 60,000 member strong Tzofim Movement which, in turn, is part of the International Scouting movement. The Tzofim Movement is the only non-political and non-sectarian youth movement in Israel.
For more information on the Scouts go to www.israelscouts.org and click on Tzofim Friendship Caravan.
For more information on the Scouts’ visit to Dallas, please contact David Abrams at 214-669-3033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary 256 JWV Auxiliary 256
Child Welfare chairperson Jeanie Tolmas, along with Sandra Cantor, delivered numerous end-of-the-school-year gifts to be used as prizes at the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center’s Awards Day celebration.
Educational games for each grade level, a scooter and helmet, as well as other much needed items were donated by the JWVA to help them during this exciting time of year.
Their membership recruitment brunch took place on June 2. The champagne brunch, which was planned and executed by membership chairperson, Lynn Teitlebaum, was the highlight of the morning.
Following the brunch, the ladies added nine new members to their roster.
From June 6-9, the ladies hosted their national president, Arlene Lodgen, along with her husband, Steve, from Boston, who visited the Auxiliary for a weekend of productive meetings, great meals and sightseeing around Dallas.
One of the highlights of having them here was the JWVA’s annual Grant-A-Wish for a veteran at the VA Hospital on June 7, planned by past president and VA liaison, Dottie Garment. We’ve heard that the recipient was very happy to have his wish granted by the JWV Auxiliary.
The consensus of the members was that “it meant so much to everyone having our national president along for the presentation and for the tour of the VA Hospital and the Fisher House.”
Also noted was that the group always receives an extremely warm welcome at the VA Hospital.
For additional information about joining the JWVA 256 in all their charitable endeavors, please contact Lynn Teitlebaum at 972-233-8937. New members are always welcome.