Archive | July, 2013

Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 18 July 2013 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I had a wonderful time Saturday night at the Trinity Valley School Class of 1983’s 30th reunion. A good portion of our class of 54 students showed at the Westover Hills home of Shannon and Dr. Trace Worrell, who were the warmest of hosts.

Hard to believe 30 years have passed for the Trinity Valley School Class of ’83. Pictured here at the TVS reunion July 13 are from left Linda Mesnik, Dana Cohen-Paine and Sharon Wisch-Ray. | Photo: Adam Sear

Hard to believe 30 years have passed for the Trinity Valley School Class of ’83. Pictured here at the TVS reunion July 13 are from left Linda Mesnik, Dana Cohen-Paine and Sharon Wisch-Ray. | Photo: Adam Sear

In truth, we haven’t changed all that much, and one thing that definitely hasn’t changed is Pishta’s (aka Mr. Seleny’s) ability to pinch cheeks and lovingly slap one’s face in just the way that only he knows how to accomplish. If you went to Trinity Valley during the Stephen Seleny era, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m referring to!

Of the four Jewish kids in our graduating class, three of us were able to attend and I’ll give you a quick update, as well as some news about some former class members.


Traveling the farthest was Linda Ravech Mesnik. Linda now lives in the Boston area and has been married to Peter for 19 years. They have three children, Amara, 17, Ben, 15 and Lizzy, 12. Linda, a physical therapist, is getting ready to start making the rounds with Amara as she begins to narrow her college choices. I’m happy to report that one of those choices is my own alma mater, Wash U. I sure hope she likes St. Louis. Linda, Peter and Amara recently returned from a week-long trip to England, while Ben and Lizzy enjoyed Camp Tevya in New Hampshire.

It was wonderful to see Linda and hear how her brother Jim Ravech and his wife, Kellie, and three daughters are doing. They live in Nashville, Tenn. Linda also spent time with her mom, Sarah Ravech who lives in Crowley now. Among other activities, they enjoyed a trip to the Modern Art Museum and its delicious brunch. Linda reports that her dad, Jack, seems to be enjoying the Florida sunshine where he recently moved.


Dana Cohen-Paine was also in attendance with her fabulous and attentive husband, Bill Paine. Dana is currently working at Scott and White hospital in Temple where she just completed a hematopathology fellowship. She is currently doing an additional year of pathology training there and commutes from her Plano home. Dana has four children, Kevin, 15, Jeffrey, 12 and Sarabelle and Samuel, 9-year-old twins. The kids were enjoying an evening out with doting grandparents Judy and Don Cohen during the reunion.


This writer attended the reunion solo. Husband Alex was kind enough to come to the 20th reunion, but I spared him this time around. He and our middle son Sam, 12, headed to Lake Texoma for some striper fishing, where they quickly caught their limit Sunday morning and enjoyed the unseasonably cool, rainy weather on the lake. Our Nos. 1 and 3 boys, Benjamin, 18 and Jimmy, 9, are down at Echo Hill Ranch enjoying the “Little Green Valley.” Benjamin will head to Aggieland, just one day after Sam’s upcoming bar mitzvah in August. Jimmy shared in a recent camp letter. “Dear Mom and Dad, I am having fun. Thanks for the c.p. [care package]. I am making money renting out the etch-a-sketch you sent me.” OK, not what I had in mind … but I’m sure his grandfather would be proud.


Missing in action and deeply missed was Michael Sheinberg. Michael, a neurosurgeon, has been enjoying the spectacular Northern California scenery since his Stanford days with a brief interlude for his residency at the University of Michigan. He and his wife Tricia are the parents of two athletic boys, A.J., 12 and Jake, 8.
Looking through the TVS photos reminded me of a few other members of the class from over the years.


Paul Jaffe was a member of the class from first through fifth grades. Paul, with his parents Frieda and the late Harold Jaffe and brother Steve, left Fort Worth in 1979 when they moved to Boca Raton, Fla. Paul graduated from the University of Florida with a B.S. in zoology and then earned his DVM from the
University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993. He married his wife Allison in 1993 and they have a son, Michael who is a rising senior. Michael is field goal kicker and punter on the varsity football team.


A member of the class for many years was Annette Klemow Smith. In an interesting twist, Annette has been teaching on Trinity Valley’s former McCart campus, which is now South Hills High School for the last 14 years. At South Hills High, Annette teaches food science courses and restaurant management. She is the senior sponsor and AVID coordinator. Annette and her husband Mitchell are the parents of Melanie, a senior at the University of North Texas and Courtney, a recent Country Day grad who will be headed to Norman, Okla. as an OU freshman this fall.


Also a part of the class many moons ago was Jeff Becker, who moved to Tampa, Fla. with his parents Bob and Jo Ann after middle school. Jeff returned to Texas to attend UT Austin, where he also graduated law school. He is a partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas where he practices trademark, advertising and brand management law among other areas of expertise. Jeff is married to Shelley (Lamark), and they are the parents of two sons, Ryan and Alec.

It has been great fun for me to see the Beckers as our sons play on the same baseball team in Dallas. I frequently get to catch up on the bleachers with former ourtowners, Shelley’s parents, Arlene and Lewis Lamark as well as Jeff’s parents Jo Ann and Bob Becker who recently moved back to the area to be near their children and grandchildren.


Behind the Pages: David Holiner

Posted on 18 July 2013 by admin


Free to live in a better world

Free to live in a better world

Posted on 18 July 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2This summer we study mitzvot through “mitzvah heroes.” Each week we remember — “We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us!”

Herut is the mitzvah of seeking freedom, which began with the Israelite’s escape from slavery in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. Since that time, we have been told to remember and tell the story.

Judaism understands that freedom does not mean the chance to do whatever you want — it means the chance to live and work for a better world.

A special mitzvah that goes along with Herut is Pidyon Sh’vuyim or freeing of captives. It is our responsibility to help Jews who are held captive whether from the Soviet Union, Ethiopia or other places of oppression.

Mitzvah Hero of Today’s World — Natan Sharansky

Anatoly Sharansky was born in Russia where Jews could not practice Judaism, nor could they leave the country. Sharansky became active in the movement to gain freedom for Jews and for all those suffering under the Communist regime.

Due to his work, he was denied an exit visa, harassed by the KGB and imprisoned. He became the best known Jewish dissident.

Sharansky’s wife, who changed her name to Avital when she arrived in Israel, worked for his release. In November 1985, President Reagan convinced Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev to let Sharansky go to Israel.

When Sharansky arrived in Israel, he kissed the Western Wall and said, “Baruch matir asurim. Blessed is the One who liberates the imprisoned.” He changed his name to Natan — a gift from God.

In Our Ancestor’s Footsteps — Alfred Dreyfus

Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) was a Jewish army officer in France who was accused of passing military secrets to the Germans in 1894. In spite of all kinds of errors in his trial, he was found guilty and sent to Devil’s Island Prison. Finally, in 1904, a new court reexamined the case and declared that the evidence was unsubstantiated and that Dreyfus was innocent.

Theodor Herzl was a journalist covering the case. He was so upset by the anti-Semitism that had caused this that the “Dreyfus Affair” prompted Herzl, the Father of Zionism, to begin his quest for a Jewish state.

Finish these Statements:

Natan Sharansky fulfilled the mitzvah of Herut by:

Alfred Dreyfus fulfilled the mitzvah of Herut by:

I can fulfill this mitzvah by:

Family Talk Time

  • We all know the story of the Israelites in Egypt who were slaves until Moses came along. The people came to Mt. Sinai and received the Torah — a book filled with rules. Did that mean we were no longer free? How can you be free if you have to follow rules?
  • Find out about one of your camp friends who is from Russia. Why did their family come to Dallas. What does freedom mean to them?
  • The mitzvah called “Pidyon Sh’vuyim — freeing of captives” is about a responsibility we have to help others gain their freedom. What are some ways we can do this mitzvah today?

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


Gold rush

Gold rush

Posted on 18 July 2013 by admin

9 North Texans head to 19th Maccabiah

When the 19th Maccabiah Games commence in Israel on Thursday, July 18, Team USA will have 26 representatives from Texas, nine from the Dallas area. Since Maccabiah’s inception in 1932, American athletes have been a major delegation. However, this year America will send its largest contingent yet with 1,132 Jewish athletes and coaches. The games, ranging from basketball to chess, will continue through July 30. Not only has Maccabiah, dubbed the Jewish Olympics, become an elite sporting competition, but also it is an environment where Jews worldwide can convene to experience our homeland. The nine athletes from the DFW Metroplex are featured here. -Compiled by Rachel Goodman

Rebecca Brown

BrownAge: 26
Sport: Open Equestrian — Athlete
City: Dallas

Bio: Following in her mother’s footsteps, Rebecca has been riding since the age of 3. By age 7, she was competing in dressage competitions and by 10 she had completed a First Level dressage test at a recognized show in Dallas. She has been competing ever since and has also bought and sold horses.

Earning a BS in Finance from James Madison University – College of Business and George Mason University – School of Management, she is now an instructor at her mother’s horsemanship school. Through her own venture RB Riding, Brown trains horses, teaches riders and sells horses for clients. She is one of only 10 equestrians representing Team USA.

Becky Brown

Age: 60
Sport: Open Equestrian — Coach
City: Dallas

Bio: Becky Brown will be the dressage coach for USA’s Open Equestrian team, giving her the chance to coach her daughter, Rebecca.

In 1973, she traveled to England and studied at the Talland School of Equitation in Cirencester and earned her British Horse Society Instructor’s certification. Since graduating from Texas Tech University in 1976, she has been a major name in Dallas area dressage. She is past president of The Dallas Dressage Club and Therapeutic Riding of Texas. Currently, she is a local dressage judge and eventing coach. In 2012, she was awarded the USEA Cornerstone Award, honoring those instructors who have taught over 20 years and shown excellence in teaching and producing excellent riders nationally. Brown runs the Becky Brown School of Horsemanship in Dallas.

When speaking about the Games, Brown said, “I am honored to have been chosen to coach at the Maccabiah Games. I never would have been able to travel to Israel without this opportunity. I am thrilled to be able to experience and learn about my heritage and at the same time represent the USA at an international competition!”

Joel Cohen

CohenAge: 45
Sport: Masters 35+ Soccer — Athlete
City: Dallas

What made you want to play in the Maccabiah games?
“In 1985, I watched the finals of the men’s Maccabiah Games soccer between Israel and Holland. After that game, the leading scorer threw his boot into the stands. I caught it, and kept it for years until my mother threw it out. After that game, I told myself that I wanted to appear in the Games too.”

You were supposed to play in the 1989 games, what happened?
“About two weeks before the tournament, on a Friday afternoon in Ramat Chen when playing in a pickup game, I headed a ball that was traveling extremely fast. The powerful impact knocked me out, and I started hearing ringing in my right ear. I first went to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, but the doctors couldn’t figure out the problem. I then went to a Harvard trained doctor in Ramat Hasharon, who diagnosed it as a rupture of the cochlea. I lost 70 percent of the hearing in my right ear. He operated on me at Herzliya Hospital, but it didn’t improve the hearing loss. As a result of that operation, I wasn’t allowed to even walk in the Opening Ceremonies, given his fear that some athlete would, in a joyful mood, inadvertently hit my right ear, and the operation would be damaged.”

What does it mean to be playing in this Maccabiah?
“I’m excited, 28 years after I caught that boot, and 24 years after my freak header/hearing loss injury, to play in the Games.”

Alan Rosenthal

RosenthalAge: 18
Sport: Open Cycling — Athlete
City: Dallas

What are you most looking forward to during this experience?
“I am most looking forward to meeting other cyclists like me and not just from across the country, but from around the world really. It’s always exciting and fun to meet people who share the same passion as I do.”

How and when did you become involved with cycling?
“I’ve been racing my bike competitively for the past four years. My freshman biology teacher got me hooked on the sport and I’ve been racing my bike ever since.”

Who is coming to cheer you on during the Games?
“My family, at least part of my family, will be going to Israel to cheer me on: my parents, my brother and my grandmother will be there. But I don’t plan on seeing them much because I will be with the team most of the time.”

What physical and mental exercises have you been doing to prepare yourself?
“I’ve been riding as much as possible and participating in as many races as possible. I’ve been doing endurance rides and intervals and stuff like that to get ready for the Games.”

Eldad Block

BlockAge: 38
Sport: Masters 35+ Soccer — Athlete
City: Plano

How have you prepared yourself for these games?
“I have been playing my whole life. I play in three different leagues throughout the year. [I’ve been] playing soccer three times a week, weightlifting and endurance training four times a week.”

What are you most looking forward to during this experience?
“Playing against other powerhouses in the soccer world to see how we match up against them.”

Have you ever been to Israel before?
“[This is my] 42nd time … Israel feels like home to me.”

Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of the TJP?
“Wish us luck!!!! GO USA!!!”

Avi Edwards

EdwardsAge: 35
Sport: Masters 35+ Soccer — Athlete
City: Richardson

What are you most looking forward to during this experience?
“Aside from the falafel on Ben Yehuda, I am looking forward to the overall experience of Jewish pride I know I am going to be feeling throughout the two weeks. It is beyond amazing that every four years, Jews from across the world successfully come together to compete representing their respective countries, but at the core of it, we are all Jews. I know that commonality will connect us even beyond the fact that we’re all athletes.”

What physical exercises have you been doing to prepare yourself for the Games?
“I have been following a six-week fitness training regimen provided by my coach as well as playing in pick-up games and scrimmages where possible. It’s important in a team sport to keep my personal skills sharp so I can contribute when we’re all together.”

How do you feel about going back to Israel?
“This is my fourth trip to Israel. My first was a two-month trip with Camp Ramah back in the summer of 1995. It was amazing to experience just about everything Israel had to offer. My next two trips were six and eight years ago, both 10-day trips and it was amazing to see not only how much had changed, but also several of the sights and locations that have been the same for hundreds, even thousands of years. My anticipation for this trip has me overflowing with pride and excitement, being for such a different purpose and as part of such a unique group. I know there are very few people who will have the honor of participating in a Maccabiah and it means the world to me to be one of those few.”

Ophir Bernstein

BernsteinAge: 20
Sport: Open Wrestling — Athlete
City: Allen

Bio: Wrestling seems to be in the Bernstein DNA. Ophir’s father, Evan, wrestled for Team USA in the 1981 Maccabiah Games and then for Israel during the 1988 Olympic Games after making aliyah. Then, Ophir’s older brother, Eden, wrestled for Team USA during the 2009 Maccabiah games, winning silver. Now Ophir is carrying on his family legacy.

In 2011, he won the Texas High School State Championship at the 171 lb. weight class and was also voted the Outstanding Wrestler of the State as a senior at Allen High School. He ended his final season with 44 wins and 0 loses, ranking him eighth in the nation.

A rising junior at Brown University, he qualified for the NCAA Wrestling Championships in both his first and second year. Last summer, he also wrestled for the Israel National Team at the European Championships. Currently, he is ranked 20th in the nation in Division I Wrestling.

Samuel Waranch

WaranchAge: 16
Sport: Juniors Chess — Athlete
City: Dallas

Bio: A rising junior at Greenhill School, Waranch has played in over 150 chess tournaments throughout the United States and has been nationally ranked in chess many times over the last eight years.

In 2010, he represented the United States in the Pan American Games in Argentina where he did very well.

In addition to chess, Waranch also plays soccer and participates in Lincoln Douglas debate at Greenhill School.

About the Maccabiah Games, he said, “I am honored to be able to represent the United States in such a way. Being a part of this group of Jewish athletes is such a great opportunity. I am really excited.”

David Holiner

HolinerAge: 22
Sport: Open Tennis — Athlete
City: Dallas

How long have you been training for tennis?
“I’ve been training for tennis since I was 6-years-old. I got serious once I was probably about 11 or 10 and I got to about sixth in the country in juniors and No. 1 in Texas. Then I came to the University of Texas to play on a tennis scholarship. And I just got to the finals of the NCAA tournament, which was pretty big for me, and so that made me an All-American which has always been my tennis goal. But probably my other goal in tennis, besides winning a National Championship, is to win a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games, so I’ve been training very hard.”

Is this your first time going to Israel?
“This is my third time going to Israel, I’ve been two other times. I went to Israel for the first time for the Maccabiah Games back in ’09, which was a great experience, and I went on Birthright last summer. So this is my third time going and I love going to Israel — it’s like a second home to me so I’m very excited.”

What made you decide to play in the Games?
“I heard about it when I was younger. I played the American ones and I won that one — the American Maccabi Games — when I was around 12. So, I didn’t realize that there was a bigger one and once I found that out I was hooked. I had to go do it, I was excited to do it and I went four years ago and did the Maccabiah Games [in Israel]. And I told myself that I would do it again that I had so much fun, and if I’m not crippled in four more years ill try to do it again.”

If you are interested in participating in the next Maccabiah: Maccabiah takes place every four years, the summer after the summer Olympics. Visit to find more information on specific sports and age groups. Team USA begins accepting applications for all positions around two years out. To make sure you are staying on top of Maccabiah’s recruiting schedule be sure to like them on Facebook — Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel — and follow them on Twitter @maccabiUSA.

Dallasite Joel Cohen heading to Israel for Maccabiah Games

Soccer player joining team after enduring some injuries

By Rachel Goodman

On Thursday, July 18, Joel Cohen of Dallas will embarked on a journey that has been 28 years in the making. On that day, the 19th Maccabiah Games, held in Israel every four years, will commence and Cohen will make his country proud by participating in the games after encountering some hardships over the years.

Cohen’s journey to this point began in 1985, when he was just a young spectator at the finals of the Maccabiah men’s soccer division, in which Israel defeated Holland.

“The leading scorer that game threw his boot after the game in the stands. I caught it, and kept it for years until my mother threw it out,” Cohen said. “After that game, I told myself that I wanted to appear in the Games too.”

Between classes at Washington University in St. Louis, Cohen managed to find time to train for the next games. While studying abroad at Tel Aviv University during his junior year, he managed to find his way into the next Maccabiah.

“Given the inability to try out for the U.S. team, but having played for TAU that year as the only American, I was nominated by the coach that year to play in the games,” Cohen said. “There was that ‘Rest of the World’ team that was created in light of the ban on South African players (ironically, I grew up there). So I was chosen to play on the team as the U.S. representative.”

What seemed like Cohen’s dream coming to fruition quickly turned tragic just two weeks before the games. While playing in a pickup game of soccer in Ramat Chen, Cohen headed a ball speeding at an extremely high velocity. Immediately following impact, he heard ringing in his right ear, which continued through the next day.

Cohen first visited the doctors at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, but they could not determine what was wrong. He then went to a Harvard trained doctor in Ramat Hasharon, who diagnosed it as a ruptured cochlea.

“I lost 70 percent hearing in my right ear — the doctor operated on me at Herzliya Hospital, but it didn’t improve the hearing loss,” Cohen said. “As a result of that operation, I wasn’t allowed to even walk in the Opening Ceremonies, given his fear that some athlete would, in a joyful mood, inadvertently hit my right ear, and the operation would be damaged.”

While his chance to play in those games was crushed, Cohen did not give up hope. A few years ago, he noticed a Masters soccer division on the Maccabi USA website.

Although at 45 he would be one of the oldest attempting to play for the Masters 35+ team, Cohen decided to tryout. Despite having the skill, making the team did not come easy to him.

Making it through the first round of tryouts in New Jersey during September 2012, he was asked to attend the second tryout camp held in Phoenix during November. While there, Cohen once again was unable to evade injury.

“A teammate fouled me pretty harshly (would have been a Red card if in a real game), and I couldn’t walk that night, nor leave my hotel room,” Cohen said. “The next two days, I was hobbling, but given the strong desire to play after the 24/28 years [since first deciding to play and the ear injury], I played through so much pain while on one leg.”

Even while hurt, Cohen led the camp in assists that weekend with three. After 24 years, Cohen was once again an athlete on a Maccabiah team.

The struggle did not end there, though. While at another Maccabiah camp in New York City, Cohen was kicked in the back of the calf during a scrimmage.

“I’m still surviving,” Cohen said.

Next week, Cohen will finally take to the field at the 19th Maccabiah games. His journey to this point has been an arduous one, but one that has given him the will to succeed.

Even at 45, Cohen sees more Maccabiah games in his future. As a former TJP intern in 1990, he is surely making this publication proud.


Justice helps repair the world

Justice helps repair the world

Posted on 11 July 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2This summer, we study mitzvot through “mitzvah heroes.” Each week we remember — “We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us!”

Tzedek is the mitzvah of doing justice. The words tzedek and tzedakah appear almost 300 times in the Torah. Jewish tradition teaches that justice and compassion are two of the most important qualities for people to survive and live together peacefully.

Leviticus 19, also called the Holiness Code, says that being holy is being just.

Elie Wiesel told the following story: A man who saw injustice in his city protested against it every day. One day someone asked why he continued to protest since no one was paying attention. The man answered, “In the beginning I thought I would change people, but now I continue so people will not change me.”

Mitzvah Hero of Today’s World — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated with honors from Columbia Law School, not one law firm in New York would hire her because she was a woman. She became a pioneer in the fight for women’s legal rights and argued six landmark cases on behalf of women before the Supreme Court.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court. Upon accepting the nomination, she spoke of her background. “I am very sensitized to discrimination. I grew up at the time of World War II in a Jewish family. I have memories as a child … seeing a sign in front of a restaurant: ‘No dogs or Jews allowed.’ I have a last thank-you … to my mother. I pray that I may be all that she would have been had she lived in an age when women could aspire and achieve, and daughters are cherished as much as sons.”

In Our Ancestor’s Footsteps — Jewish Supreme Court Judges

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is one of the most recent Jewish justices and the first Jewish woman justice. However, many great American Jews have served the United States as lawyers and judges.

Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish Supreme Court justice, serving from 1916 to 1939. He was nicknamed “The People’s Attorney” because he was an advocate of social and economic reforms. He was also a leading Zionist and Brandeis University is named in his honor.

Benjamin Cardozo served on the Supreme Court from 1932 to 1938. The school of law at Yeshiva University is named after him. Felix Frankfurter served from 1939 to 1962 and helped create the American Civil Liberties Union. Arthur Goldberg and Abe Fortas served in the 1960’s and Stephen Breyer was named to the Court in 1994.

Finish these Statements:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fulfilled the mitzvah of tzedek by:

The U.S. Supreme Court Justices fulfill the mitzvah of tzedek by:

I can fulfill this mitzvah by:

Family Talk Time

  • Sometimes kids say that something a parent, teacher or coach decides isn’t fair. What does it mean to be fair? Think of some examples and then think of a way to decide what is fair.

For example, when sharing a piece of cake, one person gets to cut and the other gets to choose the piece.

  • Why is it so hard to be a judge? What does it mean to be “impartial?” What would make it difficult to judge someone? Can we judge ourselves? Why or why not?
  • Making sure there is justice in the world is not the same as making sure there are judges. What is justice all about? Some people say that life isn’t always fair — is that fair?

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


Dallas Doings

Posted on 11 July 2013 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Israeli Friendship Scout Caravan’s Performance Sunday, July 14

Caravan Eden will visit Dallas July 11-17. This is the 40th anniversary performance of the caravan, whose visit includes an extremely busy schedule and opportunities to build strong relationships with their host families and people throughout the Dallas area. Like many other pro-Israel events, the number of people attending shows is utilized as a benchmark of the strength of the local community.

Caravan Eden’s most impactful performance will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 14 in the Zale Auditorium of the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas. The event is certain to entertain children and adults of all ages.

Hillcrest High School set to kick off 75th anniversary celebration

For as long as I can remember Hillcrest High School was a popular and exciting place to spend one’s high school years. Established in 1938 as Vickery-Hillcrest High School, Hillcrest will celebrate 75 years during its Homecoming Weekend Oct. 4-5. The activities will focus on Hillcrest’s history and alumni, and will offer everyone a chance to gather and show their Panther Pride.

The 75th anniversary will kick off with the Homecoming parade on Friday evening at 5 p.m., as classes from the 1940s through the 2000s will march in the annual “Parade of Classes” prior to the Homecoming football game vs. Thomas Jefferson High School. On Saturday, alumni will be welcomed back to their school for the anniversary event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the campus.

All alums are urged to participate in the Homecoming parade and walk with their classmates in the Parade of Classes. The tailgate party in the Franklin Field parking lot will begin immediately following the parade, with soft drinks and food available for purchase.

On Saturday, alumni are encouraged to bring their children and grandchildren for picnics, face painting, a bounce house and food from some of Dallas’ best food trucks. There will also be pick-up basketball and softball games in which alumni can participate.

“We are incredibly proud of Hillcrest, and we want the halls of Hillcrest High School to be filled with alumni on October 5th,” said Linda Cullum Tunnell, a member of the class of 1962 and co-chair of the 75th Steering Committee with her classmate, Christy Bednar. “Moreover, Franklin Field will rock the night of the 4th when we cheer for the Panthers against TJ.”

For additional information, contact

Texas Longhorn David Holiner named Tennis All-American

Good wishes to David Holiner, son of Dr. Joel and Wendy Holiner, and grandson of Ethel and Harlan Holiner. David is a senior at the University of Texas in Austin and a star player on their varsity tennis team. David was successful at the recent Division I NCAA Double Championships in Urbana, Ill. David, along with his tennis partner, Chris Camillone, gained entrance into the 32 team tournament due to placing as the highest-seeded pair in the Big 12.

David and Chris took down four SEC powerhouses and three Top 5 seeds en route to the National Championship match by beating the No. 1 seeded doubles team from Tennessee in the second round, earning All American Honors. They became the first Longhorn doubles team to advance to the NCAA doubles championship since 1995. Holiner will be a senior next year and bears the responsibility and expectations for leadership of the team. He hopes to take the experience and the momentum from this season into next year: “I feel like my confidence is really high. I have so much motivation. I know what it takes to get there. I feel that I will not only improve myself and my team, and lead by example.”

Holiner and Camillone stated that they will cherish the memory of having accomplished something unexpected and spectacular as they leave their legacy as one of the most successful doubles pairs in Longhorn Tennis history.

As far as summer plans, David will travel to Israel and represent the U.S. in tennis competition at the 2013 Maccabiah Games.

Texas A&M Hillel rabbi to visit Dallas Wednesday, July 17

An email from Ben Deutsch, student president of Texas A&M Hillel, shared that Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, A&M Hillel Rabbi and executive director, and the newest Aggie, will visit Dallas Wednesday, July 17, on his DFW tour. Rabbi Matt will welcome all former, current and prospective students and interested friends and families to visit with him at the Blue Mesa Grill in Addison, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Soft drinks and appetizers will be served, and a cash bar will be available for those 21 and over. For additional information about the event, feel free to contact Ben Deutsch at or Rabbi Matt directly at

Real estate firm expands market-leading financing expertise across Texas

As part of its commitment to become the nation’s leading capital markets provider in commercial real estate, Jones Lang LaSalle recently announced the firm has acquired Quadrant Realty Finance (QRF) in Dallas. The debt and equity origination team is led by Randy Fleisher and includes five additional experts and staff. The acquisition allows JLL to strategically expand its platform, adding a significant financing practice in North Texas that will complement the firm’s strong overall capital markets expertise across the state and the entire Southwest. The price was undisclosed.

“Interest rates remain at near-historic lows and the wider net currently being cast by lenders is contributing to one of the most favorable financing environments commercial real estate has seen since the Great Recession,” said Jay Koster, president of Jones Lang LaSalle’s capital markets. “This is the ideal climate to respond to increasing client demand in the financing arena, and the ideal time for us to acquire significant new talent. Randy and his colleagues have a proven track record that will make an immediate impact for our clients.”

Fleisher joins JLL as a managing director, leading the new finance team and partnering with Tom Fish, Tom Melody and Mike Melody, executive managing directors and leaders of the firm’s financing efforts within capital markets. He and his team add significant complementary debt and equity origination expertise to the Dallas branch of the firm, which has had a lengthy and robust presence in the market from the days of The Staubach Company to its merger with JLL. Fleisher has more than two decades of commercial real estate experience, including the origination, structuring, placement and closing of debt and equity investments.

Prior to QRF, Fleisher was a managing director and executive vice president at CBRE, consistently recognized as one of that firm’s highest producing employees. He began his career as an attorney with the law firm of Monk Goodwin in Winnipeg, Canada, practicing real estate and commercial law.

Fleisher holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Manitoba, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance, Investment and Banking from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s in Real Estate and Finance from the University of North Texas.

Randy is married to Lisa and the father of Marlee and Jonah. He is active in the Jewish community and is on the board of Camp Ramah, has served on the board of Shearith Israel and is a past president of  Levine Academy.

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Rabbi’s audience with pope reinforces proud ties

Rabbi’s audience with pope reinforces proud ties

Posted on 11 July 2013 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebI have never in my life been prouder of being both a Pittsburgh, Penn. native and a long-time Conservative Jewish synagogue member.

This is because on the last Monday of last month, Alvin Berkun, rabbi emeritus of Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation, was at the Vatican, meeting with Pope Francis. There, he (again!) brought to the pontiff’s attention to a unique venture: the Catholic-Jewish Educational Enhancement Program (C-JEEP) that’s been going on under the religious radar in my home city for 11 years.

It’s actually quite simple: Once a month, rabbis teach the religion classes at all Catholic high schools in the Pittsburgh diocese, and “Catholic educators come to our synagogues to talk about changes in Catholic-Jewish relations,” said Rabbi Berkun, a past president of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly. It’s a no-fuss model, there for replication in any venue that can handle such a grass-roots relationship effort.

Rabbi Berkun and 29 others, all members of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations, went to Rome to speak directly with the pope. Their group has been dialoguing with the Vatican since 1970 — also largely under the radar — but I was happy to see that the Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh’s oldest daily paper, gave the recent meeting some well-deserved feature coverage. And I’m leaning here somewhat heavily on information gathered by reporter Ann Rodgers for this update, although I’ve known both Tree of Life and Rabbi Berkun’s interfaith efforts myself, for many years.

“Dear elder brothers and sisters – Shalom,” were Pope Francis’ welcoming words to the IJCIC delegation, the same words favored by the late Pope John Paul II in his greetings to Jews. Rabbi Berkun honors the connection, since that pope showed respect for Jews and Judaism. But he emphasizes an important timeline change: before he became pope, John Paul II was a priest in post-Holocaust Poland with few Jews, while the former Jorge Bergoglio, before being seated on the Throne of Peter, was involved with a thriving Jewish community in Argentina.

“This pope’s life intersected with all [the] rabbis in Buenos Aires,” said Rabbi Berkun. “He could have absented himself from those relationships, but they were very important to him.”

We all know that the mills of understanding between Judaism and Catholicism grind exceedingly slow. Talking with the then-Cardinal Bergoglio when the same dialogue group met with him some nine years ago, Rabbi Berkun first told the now-pope that Pittsburgh is the only diocese in the whole world to have a program like C-JEEP. The pontiff-to-be was interested then, but so far, the little Pennsylvania seed of mutual understanding hasn’t taken root and sprouted elsewhere. So the rabbi is concerned that this special message remains “elevated” — only ordained clergy know about it, not the many ordinary believers. He’s hoping that now the message may get through to everyone.

The Catholic Church’s condemnation of anti-Semitism became official with Nostra Aetate, translated as In Our Time, a Vatican document of 1965 issued by Pope Paul VI. Pope Francis reaffirmed it during his recent time with the IJCIC leaders, when he emphatically declared that “Due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic!” To which Rabbi Berkun commented on June 24, “The church has clearly adopted [Nostra Aetate’s] principles — thus my audience today, and the tremendous progress in interfaith relations in Pittsburgh. On the eve of its 50th anniversary, I would like to see the Pope’s promulgation and implementation to the believer in the pew. He surely believes anti-Semitism is a sin. His flock, especially in Europe, has to hear him say it again and again.”

One more fact: Rabbi Berkun studied under the late, great Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who actually helped in the drafting of Nostra Aetate. So maybe soon, from these illustrious mouths — one past, one present — to God’s ears, more good will come. But even now, Pittsburgh and the Conservative Movement have reason to be proud.


Around the Town

Posted on 11 July 2013 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Summer updates from the Jewish Education Agency

Lil Goldman’s Early Learning Center has hosted summer Camps Gan and Shalom for pre-school through middle school-aged children.

Every year, exciting new themes are added and this year is no exception. As the second half of camp begins, the pre-school campers can look forward to a “World Tour,” “Yucky and Wacky Week,” “Lego Duplo Building Expo,” “Artful Antics” and a “Hawaiian Hullabaloo” while school-aged campers are gearing up for “Artful Expression,” “Mad Science,” “Baking Wars,” “Trip Out” (this includes a field trip every day of the week except Fridays) and “Camp Fit” (come join for yoga, dance parties and more!), in addition to various afternoons spent swimming at Lockheed Recreation Center.

It may be summer, but Lil Goldman ELC teachers don’t miss a beat. Their dedication is obvious in every smile on each camper’s face.

Camp Shalom coordinators Katrina Diaz and Sarah Sinofsky pulled off an amazing Shabbat Service in which Jewish War Veterans were honored during the patriotic season.

At this Friday’s July 12 preschool Shabbat service, there will be a special ceremony to honor Becca Sankary Bodzy and the memory of her beloved parents, Rose and Al Sankary. Refreshments will follow and a special unveiling of a memorial plaque will take place.

The Lil Goldman Early Learning Center and Camp Gan and Camp Shalom invite the community to stop in and say hello as it embarks on its 60th anniversary. There is a lot to celebrate!

Curriculum enhancements at Beth El Religious School

Ilana Knust, Beth El Congregation Religious School director, shared that the curriculum of the Beth El Congregation religious school is undergoing modifications based on the input of the students and teachers.

“We are very proud of our religious school of nearly 200 students in Fort Worth, but especially we are proud of the impact the students had on this upcoming year’s curriculum. We met with our younger and older students, and received constructive feedback which we are incorporating into our curriculum next year to make our school a more meaningful place for our students. In addition, the teachers worked countless hours with me to make the curriculum more in depth, but still engaging and interactive.”

Knust explained that a key element that students are asking for is to be more knowledgeable and to be able to fully explain their Judaism to their friends. They want to experience Judaism outside of the Temple and do more tikkun olam projects.

Knust says that she hopes the changes will increase Jewish knowledge and the sense of community, understanding, ownership and pride in our heritage.

Among the changes will be more Torah, more Talmud and more Jewish history at every level. Also, there will be more long-term tikkun olam projects, special mitzvah projects for every class and many field trips related to the curriculum.

Her enthusiasm for the changes are evident and she explained that the theme for the Beth-El Religious school this year.

Following the words of Isaiah 42:6, “You shall be a light unto the nations,” this year’s religious school theme is, “Seeing the light of the Torah, and being the light.”

“As a community here at Beth-El Religious School we are faced with the challenge of Jewish literacy, and we are hoping that by searching into Jewish books we will increase our passion and enthusiasm for Jewish learning and doing and let students see the light of Torah in order to become the light of Torah,” Knust said. “By adding depth to Jewish learning, we will inspire ourselves and each other to see the beauty and relevance of Torah today. We must understand that Torah is not merely a body of rules to live by, but a powerful spiritual channel to communicate directly with God and understand G-d’s will on both a personal and universal level.” Knust invites the community to come checkout the Beth El Religious School.

Arlington’s Camp Gan Israel kids take lesson to heart

Last week’s theme at Camp Gan Israel in Arlington was all about heroes. The kids had a chance to meet many everyday heroes such as police officers, firefighters, Israeli soldiers and many more.

After hearing the tragic news about the 19 Arizona firefighters who perished earlier in the week, the children honored their memory by personally thanking Arlington firefighters for their service in the community and delivering special made cards to be taken to the families of the Arizona firefighters.

The cards express the children’s sentiments of gratitude for their service and words of encouragement to the firefighters’ family members during this difficult time. About 30 kids ranging in age from two to 12 participated.

Don’t forget …

At 6:30 p.m., Sunday, July 14 Ahavath Sholom will screen the fourth film in its summer series, “Arranged.”

The movie is about the unique friendship that develops between two young women, an Orthodox Jew and a devout Muslim. They find that they share much in common, including going through the process of arranged marriages, despite their cultural differences.

This film is eye opening and very interesting. Cantor Shoshana Abrams and Dr. Jane Pawgen will lead the discussion that follows.

Also, at noon on Wednesday, July 17, the Daytimers will be entertained by Kids who Care at Beth El Congregation. Both are programs not to be missed.

We would like to hear from our readers! Send your news, simchas and anything else on your mind to me at or Sharon Wisch-Ray, 7920 Belt Line Road, Ste. 680, Dallas, TX 75254. Or, you can always give me a jingle at 817-927-2831.


The meaning of Tisha B’Av

The meaning of Tisha B’Av

Posted on 11 July 2013 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I don’t fully understand what you wrote last week that “any generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt it is if they destroyed it.”

I learned that the reason the Temple was destroyed was because the Jews transgressed the three cardinal sins. I haven’t experienced that the Jews of our generation are guilty of those cardinal sins; how does the lack of the rebuilding of the Temple make us liable for those sins?

Furthermore, is there some direct correlation between those sins and the Temple for them to be the reason for its destruction?

— Morris B.

Dear Morris,

friedforweb2On the day of Tisha B’Av (which we observe this year beginning Monday night, July 15, and ending the following night), we mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the same Hebrew date of Tisha B’Av, the ninth of the month of Av.

The Talmud cites the reason given by the prophets of why each Temple was destroyed. As you mentioned, the reason for the destruction of the Temple was the transgression of the three cardinal sins: idol worship, forbidden sexual relations and murder. This reason is cited only for the destruction of the First Temple. The Second Temple was destroyed for another motivation entirely. The Talmud is, in fact, initially perplexed why the Second Temple was destroyed, since the population was strongly observant, performed acts of kindness and studied Torah. The final analysis, as I mentioned last week, was because the members of that generation harbored an inner hatred for each other — they lacked true love for their fellow Jews.

Our generation is not liable for the three cardinal sins. We are not living in the aftermath of the destruction of the First Temple; rather we are denizens of the exile of the Second Temple. When the sages told us that if the Temple wasn’t rebuilt in our generation, it’s as if we destroyed it, we need to look at what caused the destruction and subsequent exile that we are living in today, that of the Second Temple. This is telling us we must still harbor a sufficient lack of love, or even hatred, of our fellow Jews to have caused the destruction of the Temple if it would have stood in our generation. Morris, I think you would not find to be too farfetched to entertain this thought. Looking at many interactions between fellow Jews, sadly, do not always reflect the love we hope and expect to see among members of the same family.

The precise definition in the Talmud for the Jews’ downfall at the time of the destruction was “sinat chinam,” or “hatred for no good reason.” This punctuated a deep level of disconnect; of every man for himself, and of looking at each other as foreigners rather than family. With that attitude of division and detachment, it did not take much for fights and hatred to flare up. How true that rings today!

The Temple was the dwelling place among the Jewish people of the Shechinah, or Divine Presence of the Almighty, in this world. It was His “royal palace,” the site where Jews and gentiles alike could come and feel the Kingdom of God. The sages tell us “there is no king without a nation.” If the nation is not united, they are not really a nation but a bunch of individuals; there’s no honor in reigning over a bunch of disconnected individuals. Put another way, God is not only our King, but our Father. A father enjoys visiting his children when they’re all together in a loving way. If, when he comes to be with them, they are all fighting and not showing any love, he will cut his visit short, not wanting to dwell in that situation.

When the Jewish hearts disconnected from each other, God disconnected from the Jewish people. He no longer had a purpose or desire to dwell among them. The Talmud teaches that “Shalom,” “peace,” is one of the names of God. When there is Shalom among Jews, God dwells among them. When there is enmity between them, He distances himself from them.

If we can use this period to focus upon the positive traits of our fellow Jews (including, believe it or not, our spouses, children and other family members) and can kindle in our hearts a love for our fellow Jews, we may be well along the path to rebuilding that Temple and welcoming the Shechinah back into our midst.

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


Strive for courage, strength

Strive for courage, strength

Posted on 04 July 2013 by admin

By Laura Seymour

seymourforweb2This summer we study mitzvot through “mitzvah heroes.” Each week we remember — “We are standing on the shoulders of the ones who came before us!”

Ometz Lev, the mitzvah of courage, literally means “dedication of the heart.” When our heart is set, we have the inner strength to overcome fear and doubt. This is not only the soldier kind of courage, but rather the courage that we have because we have trust in G-d. It also means the power to have endurance, persistence and the strength to be a good person.

Mitzvah Hero of Today’s World — Hannah Senesh

Hannah Senesh was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1921. As a teenager, Hannah was very active in Zionist activity and in 1939, she moved to a kibbutz in Palestine. World War II broke out and Hannah was very worried about friends and family. In 1943, she joined the Palmach, the Jewish army in Palestine. The Palmach planned a raid to help Jews escape from the Nazis. They would drop soldiers behind enemy lines. Hannah volunteered and was the only woman chosen to go on the raid. Soon after landing, she was captured and tortured to divulge plans and codes. Hannah refused to speak and was executed by a firing squad. Word of Hannah’s bravery and strength spread to all the Jews. She remains in the hearts of all Jews and is remembered through her poetry for her bravery.

“I wounded another not knowing both ends of an arrow mar.

I too was hurt in the battle and shall bear a scar.”

In Our Ancestor’s Footsteps — Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai

There is in Rome the famous Arch of Titus showing Romans in 70 C.E. triumphantly parading spoils from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that they had just destroyed. It is one end of the story of the time that the Romans conquered Israel. This could have been the end of Judaism, but it wasn’t because of the bravery and wisdom of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai.

While the Romans laid siege against Jerusalem, ben Zakkai had a plan. His followers pretended he was dead and carried him outside the city gate in a coffin, but ben Zakkai arose, went to the general who granted ben Zakkai one request: “Give me Yavneh and its sages.” The small academy of Yavneh became the spiritual center of the Jewish people and a new type of Judaism survived which allowed Judaism to flourish wherever the Jews would go.

Finish these Statements:

Hannah Senesh fulfilled the mitzvah of Ometz Lev by:

Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai fulfilled the mitzvah of Ometz Lev by:

I can fulfill this mitzvah by:

Family Talk Time

  • Let each family member talk about a time they did something that took courage. Remember, it doesn’t always have to mean physical courage. Does having courage mean you are never afraid?
  • When we talk about strength, we usually think of physical strength. What does it mean to be strong in other ways?
  • Some people talk about “strong families.” What makes a strong family? How can you make your family stronger? Does being part of the Jewish religion or community help you be stronger? How and why?

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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