Archive | January, 2014

Yavneh Bulldogs basketball claws its way to No. 2

Yavneh Bulldogs basketball claws its way to No. 2

Posted on 23 January 2014 by admin

Yavneh’s Varsity Bulldog Basketball team is ranked the No.2 small private school in Texas and the number nine Jewish high school in North America. Back row, from left, Assistant Coach Zack Pollack, Jonathan Ochstein, Noah Weiss, David Steinbrecher, Steve Levine, Ori Guttman, Grant Prengler, Zak Schultz, Lee Gelsky and Head Coach David Zimmerman; front row, from left, Jonathan Kravitz, Itai Guttman, Adam Schor, David Rudomin, Sam Kleinman, Adam Steinbrecher, Adam Karnett, Jason Epstein and Ethan Fisher.

Yavneh’s Varsity Bulldog Basketball team is ranked the No.2 small private school in Texas and the number nine Jewish high school in North America. Back row, from left, Assistant Coach Zack Pollack, Jonathan Ochstein, Noah Weiss, David Steinbrecher, Steve Levine, Ori Guttman, Grant Prengler, Zak Schultz, Lee Gelsky and Head Coach David Zimmerman; front row, from left, Jonathan Kravitz, Itai Guttman, Adam Schor, David Rudomin, Sam Kleinman, Adam Steinbrecher, Adam Karnett, Jason Epstein and Ethan Fisher.

Yavneh’s Varsity Bulldog Basketball team is scoring congratulations as it is now ranked the No. 2 small private school in Texas and the No. 9 Jewish high school in North America. With nine regular season games remaining and the Red Saracheck National Invitational Tournament at the end of March, the players and coaches are ready to dunk Yavneh’s record into the history books.

At press time, the Bulldogs sported a record of 22-4. Earlier in the year, the Bulldogs placed fifth in the Cooper Yeshiva High School National Invitational in Memphis and second at the Florence & Joseph Weiner Memorial Basketball Tournament in Baltimore.

“We have been through wins and losses both on and off the court and we are better for it. These experiences will make us a better team for the second half of the season but more importantly, I’m hoping that these become lifelong memories and friendships that will last forever for all of our students,” said Athletic Director and Head Coach David Zimmerman, who is in his second year at Yavneh. “We have received many gracious and beautiful emails and phone calls about how everyone loves Yavneh and our students. It brings a smile to my face, warms my heart, and brings me pride to know that our school is representing Dallas and our community so well.”

Zimmerman, assisted on the court by Zack Pollack and Dr. Max Ribald, also serves as Yavneh’s director of co-curricular activities, advising organizations including Students Against Terrorism, Points for Peace Basketball Tournament, Students4Students and Helping Hands for the Homeless. Zimmerman attended Solomon Schechter Academy (now Ann and Nate Levine Academy), Booker T. Washington High School and Southern Methodist University. A New York native, he moved to Dallas at age 5 when his father Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, arrived as senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El.

“Coach Zimmerman has put us in all the positions to do what we do and the experience my teammates have had is invaluable,” says Yavneh Varsity Basketball Bulldog co-Captain, Adam Karnett.

“Coach Zimmerman has put us in all the positions to do what we do and the experience my teammates have had is invaluable,” says Yavneh Varsity Basketball Bulldog co-Captain, Adam Karnett.

“Coach Zimmerman has put us in position to do what we do and the experience my teammates have had is invaluable. He’s brought a system to Yavneh that puts the team first, and the best part about coach is he truly loves and cares for every last one of us,” said Adam Karnett, co-captain of the Bulldogs alongside fellow graduating seniors, Itai Guttman and Sam Kleinman. Karnett and Kleinman have played for Zimmerman at the J, Levine Academy and Yavneh for more than a decade.

“We play with a team-first mentality and I don’t think there is a single player on our team that cares about personal stats,” said Karnett who, while not his priority to note, is in fact number three on the Bulldog record books for single game steals, No. 4 for career steals and No. 5 for career assists. “If we win that’s the only stat that matters to us. Coach’s passion for the game is so evident and clear and it’s obvious that his only dream for this team is not just to achieve success, but to be sure to enjoy the journey.”

“Coach trusts us on the court, and works us hard because all he wants us to do is succeed, not only as basketball players but also as great leaders in the Jewish community,” said Guttman, who holds Yavneh’s all-time record for blocked shots and is No. 2 in career rebounds. “We love winning, but it isn’t all about that. These guys are a second set of brothers and we laugh a lot. The success we’ve had is because we work hard together and we genuinely like being together.”

Zimmerman’s personal goal after coming to Yavneh was to build the reputation of the school and athletic programs so that it would become a household name nationally and statewide. Just one year later, there is a buzz about the school around the country and the state, and it’s not just about the athletic prowess, but also about the students and the people they are.

“Our number one goal is to get better. We’ve come a long way but we still have much to do,” said Zimmerman, noting that, after a 12-year break, Yavneh has returned to TAPPS (the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) as regulations including religious exemptions were provided to teams who do not participate in programming on Shabbat. “We’re hoping a good record in District will provide a chance to chase the ultimate dream of a state title. These are unbelievably lofty goals that at first seemed like pipe dreams, but because of our incredible administration, faculty, parents, coaching staff, and above all our amazing students, are beginning to become reality.

“TAPPS has given us something additional to look forward to, but we are all competitive and want to win regardless. I don’t make predictions, I play,” said Kleinman, Yavneh’s all-time career leader in assists and in a single game, and No. 3 on the Bulldog record books for single game steals. “I want this team to go down as one of the most complete teams in Yavneh history.”

The Varsity Bulldogs home game schedule continues on Jan. 27, 28 and Feb. 6, 11 (Senior Recognition Night) and 13.

Submitted by Deb Silverthorn, Yavneh Academy communications director and community liason.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Welcome home to Elisa and David Nudleman who recently returned from a once in a lifetime trip to China and Japan. They loved the whole trip but the highlight may have been scaling the Great Wall — not the usual section where the tourists go — it turned out to be a five-hour exhilarating walk.

Elisa and David Nudleman recentlty enjoyed their trip to the Forbidden City.

Elisa and David Nudleman recentlty enjoyed their trip to the Forbidden City.

The Nudlemans went on the trip by themselves and had a personal tour guide show them the sites.

Elisa is the daughter of Vicky and Sal Mitrani of Fort Worth. David is the son of Rhea and the late Paul Nudleman also of Fort Worth. Their son Cameron elected to stay home and relax after studying hard at UT Austin in the fall.

Daytimers’ Update

Larry Steckler was kind enough to send a Daytimers update. Larry, the longtime companion of the late Barbara Rubin, has agreed to take on the programming and director responsibilities of the program, Barbara was so devoted to.

Sylvia Wolens Daytimers is a social, fun and learning organization founded by Sylvia Wolens that operates under the auspices of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Every month Daytimers offers an opportunity to share lunch with others and enjoy a special speaker or travel to some interesting local destination. Reunion Tower in Dallas will be February’s destination.

Larry reports that this will not just be about seeing what’s below from hundreds of feet in the air. It’s also about what’s below the surface. Get a glimpse into the history, events and people that made Dallas what it is and what it will be.

All the streets stretched out below you will come to life and share their stories. Aerial views of the city, interactive pop ups and photos give you an insider’s view of Dallas and its neighborhoods. Here, guests will be free to explore the city’s retail stores, sports venues, parks, entrainment and arts. You can also learn more about landmarks, skyscrapers and public transportation.

Attendees will get to operate the high definition camera mounted outside the tower and call the shots. Whether up close or far away, frame the city just the way you want. Zoom in on a building or landmark and get an up close and personal view of the places that make Dallas tick.

Daytimers will meet at the TRE station here in Fort Worth and travel to Union Station in Dallas. From there it is a short underground walk to the tower. Daytimers can either brown bag their lunch on the train or dine at one of the restaurants in the tower. Bottled water and a bag of chips will be provided to all attendees.

The plan is to take the 12:12 p.m. train from the T&P (12:16 from the ITC) Station which arrives at Dallas Union Station at 1:10. The group will return to Fort Worth on the Number 20 train. If you choose to stay later there are other later trains available. Larry reports he likes the T & P station, since parking there is free.

Cost for the excursion is $22 and includes admission to the tower and round trip train fare, bottled water and chips.

There are three ways to pay and reserve. Call, Larry Steckler at 817-927-2736 or Hugh Lamensdorf at 817-738-1428; mail your credit card information or check (Please include ZIP code and security code) to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109; or reserve for yourself at

Daytimers is supported by contributions from the community in addition to the Sylvia Wolens’ grant from the Federation. A new fundraising campaign has just begun and its chair Kenneth Baum has announced some exciting news.

“An anonymous donor has promised to match all contributions, up to $2500.” Should you choose to make a contribution now, its value will double. Contribute $25 and Daytimers will receive $50. Contribute $100 and Daytimers will receive $200. To contribute, send your check to the Beth-El Congregation and specify that it is intended for the Daytimers. The Daytimers thank you for your generosity.

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Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

By Ron Kampeas

(JTA) — Ariel Sharon, one of Israel’s last warrior statesmen, whose military and political careers were woven into his nation’s triumphs and failures, has died.

Sharon, 85, died Saturday, Jan.11,  at the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv after eight years in a coma. “He went when he decided to go,” said his younger son, Gilad, who has become the fierce guardian of his father’s legacy.

Ariel Sharon with the temple mount in Jerusalem’s old city in the background July 24, 2000. | Photo: Flash90

Ariel Sharon with the temple mount in Jerusalem’s old city in the background July 24, 2000. | Photo: Flash90

He was among the last of Israel’s founding fathers, fighting in every Israeli military conflict in the first three decades of the state.

As a military general, Sharon helped turn the tide of the Yom Kippur War with Egypt in 1973. As defense minister, he plunged his nation into the crucible of Lebanon in 1982, an engagement that nearly cut short his career after he was found to bear indirect responsibility for the massacre of Palestinian refugees at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.

But Sharon would rise from the ashes of that calamity to effect an astonishing about-face as prime minister, orchestrating the evacuation of thousands of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip after spending the bulk of his career championing the settlement enterprise.

As prime minister, Sharon began the construction of Israel’s controversial security fence in the West Bank. His overriding concern, Sharon always said, was to protect a nation built on the ashes of the destruction of European Jewry.

“I arrived here today from Jerusalem, the capital of the State of Israel, the only place where Jews have the right and capability to defend themselves by themselves,” he said in a May 2005 visit to Auschwitz to mark 60 years since the Holocaust.

He forged affectionate bonds with Diaspora Jewish leaders, interspersing his English with Yiddishisms and often urging them to emigrate to Israel.

“Sharon worked his entire life for the unity of the Jewish people,” said a statement from the Jewish Federations of North America. “He was closely engaged with Jewish communities around the world, and acutely aware of their needs and aspirations. In all his leadership roles, and especially as prime minister of the Jewish state, Sharon engaged with Jewish communities across the Diaspora.”

Lionized and scorned for his bluntness, Sharon was nicknamed “the Bulldozer” both for his tendency to disrespect boundaries and his legendary girth.

Ideological loyalties meant little to the man known in Israel simply as Arik. In 1973, he helped cobble together the Likud party from a coalition of interests that had little in common except that they had been frozen out of government for decades by the ruling Labor party.

A generation later, in 2005, he bolted Likud to form Kadima, a centrist party that attracted lawmakers from Likud and Labor, including his old partner and rival Shimon Peres.

As agriculture minister in the first Likud government, from 1977 to 1981, Sharon vastly expanded Jewish settlement in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas conquered in the 1967 Six-Day War. In 2005, he led the disengagement from Gaza, overseeing the evacuation of nearly 10,000 Israelis from 21 communities in Gaza and four settlements in the northern West Bank.

“Sharon did what no one on the left was able to do,” said Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of the progressive magazine Tikkun. “Split the right, marginalize the extremists who believe that holding on to the biblical vision of the Land of Israel is a divine mandate, and acknowledge that a smaller Israel with defensible borders is preferable to a large Israel that requires domination of 3 million Palestinians.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres pays his respects at the coffin holding former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, laid outside the parliament Jan. 12, where thousands came to pay their last respects. Sharon died at the age of 85 Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 after being in coma for eight years. | Photo: Miriam ALster/FLASH90

Israeli President Shimon Peres pays his respects at the coffin holding former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, laid outside the parliament Jan. 12, where thousands came to pay their last respects. Sharon died at the age of 85 Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014 after being in coma for eight years. | Photo: Miriam ALster/FLASH90

Born Ariel Scheinermann in 1928 to Russian-speaking parents in the village of Kfar Mala in the central part of prestate Israel, Sharon was known more for his impetuousness than his pragmatism for much of his career.

His bravery in the battle for Jerusalem in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence made the infantry unit commander the stuff of legend at the age of 20. He took a bullet to the stomach and, when all seemed hopeless, ordered the soldiers who were able to retreat. He eventually crawled to safety.

Five years later, Sharon led a raid on the Jordan-ruled West Bank town of Kibya in retaliation for a terrorist attack that killed an Israeli mother and her two children. The raid killed 69 Palestinians, half of them women and children. Sharon claimed he hadn’t known there were people in the homes he was blowing up, but the stain marked his subsequent military and political careers.

In the 1956 war with Egypt, Sharon captured the strategic Mitla Pass in the Sinai Peninsula after defying orders not to advance. During the 1973 war, he again challenged his superiors who feared crossing the Suez Canal was a risky maneuver that would incur too many losses. But Sharon prevailed, leading his forces across the canal and trapping an Egyptian army unit, a move many consider a turning point in the conflict.

His penchant for insubordination making it unlikely he would ever secure the top military job, Sharon quit the army in 1972 — returning only to fight in the Yom Kippur War — and launched his political career. His ability to keep an unruly coalition in line helped Likud leader Menachem Begin win the 1977 elections, ending the hegemony that Labor leaders had enjoyed since the founding of the state.

Sharon was rewarded with the agriculture portfolio, ostensibly because of his farming roots, but also because he turned the ministry into a cash cow for the settlement movement. After another hard-fought Likud victory in 1981, Begin could hardly deny Sharon the prize he had sought for so long: the Defense Ministry.

A year later, in June 1982, Sharon launched Israel’s invasion of Lebanon to push back Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization from its mini-state in southern Lebanon. The invasion rankled both the Reagan administration, which had brokered a mostly successful cease-fire with the PLO nine months earlier, and Sharon’s government colleagues.

On Sharon’s orders, the army breached the 40-kilometer line the government initially said was its goal, pursuing the PLO all the way to Beirut, where it laid siege to the city.

“If he gets the chance, he’ll surround the Knesset with his tanks,” Begin once reportedly joked of Sharon.

The Lebanon war also would give birth to one of the darkest stains on Sharon’s career — the September 1982 massacre of hundreds of Palestinian refugees by Israel’s Lebanese Christian allies. A state commission subsequently cleared Sharon of knowing in advance of the massacre, but held him indirectly responsible, asserting that he should have anticipated and prevented the carnage.

The commission recommended Sharon’s dismissal, and by the beginning of 1983 he was gone from power. The exile would not last long, however. Sharon rebuilt his reputation, this time as a careful nurturer of alliances. He was an architect of the national unity governments that lasted until 1990.

When Likud returned to power in 1996, Sharon became national infrastructure minister and later foreign minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Americans and Palestinians alike said they appreciated Sharon’s role as an elder statesman who would make sure Netanyahu kept his word. Sharon was critical in achieving the 1998 Wye River Accords that kept the peace process alive through the rest of Netanyahu’s term.

In 1999, Labor’s Ehud Barak ousted Netanyahu, who temporarily retired from politics, and Sharon became head of the Likud. The following year, Sharon visited the Temple Mount accompanied by a large escort of security officers, inflaming Palestinians and — some have charged — helping to provoke the second intifada.

The uprising derailed Barak’s efforts to accelerate peace talks and Sharon was overwhelmingly elected prime minister in February 2001. In a flash, the sidelined statesman and disgraced defense minister, the soldier once marked as brilliant but uncontrollable, was in charge. His contemporaries who kept him back were dead, retired or marginalized.

Sharon and President George W. Bush, who assumed power at the same time, had an affinity dating back to 1998, when Sharon hosted the then-Texas governor on a helicopter flight across Israel and the West Bank. Their friendship culminated in Sharon’s greatest diplomatic triumph: the 2004 White House letter recognizing some of Israel’s largest West Bank settlements as realities on the ground and dismissing the demand for a “right of return” of Palestinian refugees to Israel.

In 2005, Sharon carried out one of the most astonishing moves of his career, abandoning his longstanding support for Israeli settlements by evacuating thousands of settlers from Gaza and relocating them inside Israel proper. Months after the disengagement was completed, he broke from Likud, much of which had opposed the operation, and formed Kadima.

His appetites, like his personal ambition, knew few bounds. He routinely feasted on grilled meats on Jerusalem’s Agrippas Street, famous for its late-night eateries. He had gallstones and kidney stones removed, suffered from gout and, at 5 feet, 7 inches tall, was extremely obese.

In December 2005, Sharon was rushed to the hospital after aides noticed impairment in his speech. He was released two days later having suffered a mild stroke. Weeks later, in January 2006, Sharon suffered a second stroke that left him in a vegetative state from which he would never recover.

Here, too, Sharon defied expectations, holding on for eight more years, fed by a tube but breathing on his own. About a year ago, scientists reported that Sharon had exhibited brain activity in response to external stimulation, a finding that suggested he might have regained some ability to comprehend what was going on around him.

His medical condition began deteriorating significantly in recent days, prompting renal failure followed by a decline in organ function.

Throughout his career, Sharon’s motivations were a subject of considerable speculation. How could the man who had cleaned Gaza of terrorists as southern commander in 1971 and helped sire the settlement movement wind up endorsing the 2003 road map for peace and evacuating thousands of settlers?

As a soldier and statesman, Sharon always maintained an acute sense of the possible and the improbable. And unlike some Likud colleagues who were ideologically wed to the notion of Greater Israel, Sharon showed himself capable of putting strategic considerations above other loyalties.

“The Palestinians will always be our neighbors,” the man who once bridled at the mere mention of the word “Palestinian” told the United Nations in September 2005. “They are also entitled to freedom and to a national, sovereign existence in a state of their own.”

Sharon is survived by two sons: Gilad, 46, who has been a keeper of his father’s flame, tending the family farm and publishing a compilation of his father’s writings in 2011, and Omri, 49, who served in the Knesset from 2003 to 2006 and carved out a niche as an environmentalist. Omri Sharon quit because of a corruption probe and served a four-month prison sentence in 2008.

Sharon’s first wife, Margalit, died in an automobile accident in 1962. Two years later he married her younger sister, Lily, who died of cancer in 2000. A son, Gur, from his first marriage died in a shooting accident in 1967.

Matthew Berger and Ben Sales contributed to this report.

Chronology of Sharon’s life

By Ben Sales and Naomi Segal

(JTA) — A timeline of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s life.

1928 — Born Ariel Sheinerman in Kfar Malal, near Tel Aviv.

1942-48 — Member of the Haganah, the pre-state Jewish fighting force.

1948 — Wounded while serving as an infantry commander in Israel’s War of Independence.

1952-53 — Studies history and Oriental studies at Hebrew University.

1953 — Founder and commander of the Unit 101 anti-terror force, which carries out raids in retaliation against Arab attacks. One raid by Unit 101 leaves 69 dead in the Jordanian-controlled West Bank village of Qibya and draws international condemnation.

1954-57 — Commander of a paratroop brigade that captures the strategic Mitla Pass during the 1956 Sinai War with Egypt.

1957 — Attends Camberley Staff College in Great Britain.

1958-62 — Studies law at Tel Aviv University.

1964-65 — The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Yitzhak Rabin, appoints him to be chief of staff for the Northern Command.

1967 — During the Six-Day War, commands an armored division in the Sinai Desert and directs a battle that successfully recaptures the Mitla Pass and the corridor to the Suez Canal.

Ariel Sharon, left, chats with former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion during a bus tour of Israeli army installations in 1971. | Photo: GPO via Getty Images

Ariel Sharon, left, chats with former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion during a bus tour of Israeli army installations in 1971. | Photo: GPO via Getty Images

1969-73 — Heads the IDF’s Southern Command. After August 1970, focuses on fighting Palestinian terrorism in the Gaza Strip.

1973 — Retires from the military to pursue political career and works at establishing the Likud Party. With outbreak of Yom Kippur War, returns to active military service to command an armored division that crosses the Suez Canal.

1973-74 — Elected to Israel’s eighth Knesset, under the Likud banner.

1974 — Proposes that Israel negotiate with Palestinians toward the establishment of a Palestinian state in Jordan.

1975-76 — Appointed special defense adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

1976 — Forms the Shlomtzion Party. The party wins two Knesset seats, but soon merges into the Likud.

1977-81 — Minister for agriculture and chairman of a ministerial committee for settlement under Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Considered a patron of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, Sharon advocates establishing a network of Jewish settlements.

1981-83 — Appointed minister of defense by Begin.

April 1982 — Carries out last phase of Israeli evacuation from northern Sinai as part of peace agreement with Egypt.

1982 — With Sharon as defense minister, Israel invades Lebanon in Operation Peace for the Galilee.

1983-84 — Resigns as defense minister but remains as minister without portfolio after a government commission finds Sharon indirectly responsible for the September 1982 massacre of Palestinians by Lebanese Christian forces at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

1984 — Files a libel suit against Time magazine over article on Sharon’s role in the Lebanon war. A New York jury eventually rules that the article was defamatory but did not have malicious intent.

1984-90 — Serves as minister for industry and trade in national unity government.

1990-92 — Named minister for construction and housing in a Likud-based government formed by Yitzhak Shamir. Continues to encourage development of settlements in territories and oversees vast construction effort to create housing for massive wave of immigration from former Soviet Union.

1991 — Objects to Madrid peace conference under Shamir.

1996 — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu creates national infrastructure portfolio for Sharon in new Likud-led government.

1998 — Becomes foreign minister following resignation of David Levy; helps negotiate Wye River accord.

1999 — Netanyahu resigns as Likud leader and appoints Sharon as caretaker. Sharon later wins the position outright in a party vote.

July 2000 — Prime Minister Ehud Barak is left without a parliamentary majority when Shas, National Religious Party and Yisrael Ba’Aliyah leave the government over the Camp David summit.

Sept. 28, 2000 — Sharon visits the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and Palestinian riots erupt, marking start of second intifada.

December 2000 — Barak’s resignation forces new elections for prime minister. Sharon becomes the Likud Party candidate.

2001 — Sharon wins prime ministerial election in a landslide, garnering 62 percent of the vote to Barak’s 38 percent. He forms a unity government with the Labor Party.

2002 — After escalation of Palestinian suicide bombings in the second intifada, Sharon launches Operation Defensive Shield and Operation Determined Path. Sharon also begins construction of a separation barrier between the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

January 2003 — Sharon wins a second term as prime minister, and Likud doubles its Knesset faction to 38 seats.

December 2003 — Sharon surprises his base by announcing disengagement plan, wherein Israel would withdraw fully from the Gaza Strip, relocating almost 10,000 settlers.

July 2004 — Sharon sparks controversy by calling on French Jews to make aliyah due to rising anti-Semitism in France.

November 2004 — Yasser Arafat dies. Sharon says he will meet with the new Palestinian leadership but continues advancing his disengagement plan.

July 2005 — The IDF executes the disengagement plan, encountering widespread civil disobedience but little violence from settlers.

November 2005 — Facing opposition from the Likud due to the disengagement, Sharon breaks off from his party and forms the centrist Kadima Party ahead of the 2006 elections. Sharon’s allies in Likud, as well as several Knesset members from other parties, join Kadima.

January 4, 2006 — Sharon suffers the second of two strokes in quick succession, leaving him in a vegetative state.

January 11, 2014 — After eight years in a coma, Sharon dies from multiple organ failure at age 85.

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Flower Mound’s ‘Year of the Bible’

Flower Mound’s ‘Year of the Bible’

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebHave you noticed that Mayor Tom Hayden of Flower Mound unilaterally declared 2014 “The Year of the Bible?” Not surprisingly, this semi-official proclamation has raised voices and eyebrows throughout the Dallas Metroplex.

I say “semi-official” because Hayden was quick to point out, as criticism began to roll in along with some kudos that his directive was not enacted by the town; it was just his own way of “encouraging the community to discuss the Bible.” To make this happen, he’s created a program that takes readers through both the Old and New Testaments (very Christian concepts, these!) in one year, using the popular Protestant King James version of Holy Scripture as his guidebook (You may inspect this, if you like, at

However, Hayden chose to make his pitch at a meeting of the Flower Mound City Council, which at the very least gave the impression that his words were endorsed by his town’s governing body. The Anti-Defamation league was quick to jump right in on behalf of us Jews and the many others who don’t use that particular Bible as life’s guidebook, calling Hayden’s action “religiously divisive…highly inappropriate [and] likely unconstitutional.” According to ADL, “As a public official, he has both a moral and legal duty to equally serve his constituents of all faiths or no faith.”

Some concerned common folk followed suit with letters to local newspaper editors that deserve to be quoted here, at least in part.

Rich Latta of Fort Worth: “It’s truly unfortunate that there are so many Christians in this country who just can’t seem to comprehend the value of keeping church and state separate…Surely [Tom Hayden] isn’t so ignorant as to not know how un-American his actions were. He clearly serves his god over his country…”

Louis DeGiulio of Flower Mound: “As an elected leader, the mayor may not point to a religious document and publicly declare its supremacy…A mayor cannot promote one religion over any other, even if he believes that the United States was founded on the principles contained in the Bible.”

But even with hearts in the right place, some people will get things wrong! Alix Jules, who coordinates the DFW Coalition of Reason, said the proclamation “ignores our Jewish, Hindu, Muslim and secular families who are also working on living and instilling moral values in our daily lives — without the Bible.” But Hindus have their sacred Vidas, Islam has its Quran, and we Jews have our Torah (plus much else!). I wish this person had emphasized that “a rose by any other name…”

Mayor Hayden certainly does not have exclusive knowledge of how to read a sacred text in a specific period of time; we Jews have been doing this for centuries, reading Torah in prescribed portions from beginning to end throughout the world on certain days of every year. Then there is Daf Yomi — studying one page of Talmud per day in the actual or spiritual company of many others. And now, Reform Judaism provides by email its daily “Ten Minutes of Torah,” with thought-provoking commentary by rabbis, cantors and Jewish educators. We should also remember that Catholics honor a version of the Bible differing in many ways from that of King James, reading specific portions of it at very specific seasons of the year.

I recall that when Tom Hayden first made his announcement, he said he hoped his “Year of the Bible” would encourage people to read it, and then added a few words on Jesus — learning more about and getting closer to him. To me, this seems to be stepping dangerously near outright proselytizing. But in the days following that specific reference disappeared, replaced by a wish that Flower Mound residents would consider the Bible’s teachings and principles. What he most desires, the Mayor has said, is for God to bless his town.

I guess we all know which God’s blessings he is hoping for.

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The meaning behind ‘Tu B’Shevat’

The meaning behind ‘Tu B’Shevat’

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

Since being a child in Sunday school I have celebrated Tu B’shevat, singing the songs of Tu B’shevat Higia and other songs and eating fruits with my children, but I’ve never had the opportunity to understand it as an adult…I’m actually clueless as to what it really means (as I realized after an embarrassing encounter with a gentile co-worker who asked me to explain it to her). Could you please offer some updated information?

Marcie W.

Dear Marcie,

friedforweb2The word “Tu B’Shevat” means the 15th day of the month of Shevat. (The word “Tu” is an acronym for the Hebrew letters Tet and Vav, which spell the word “Tu” and have a total numerical value of 15). The Mishna says that this date is one of the four Rosh Hashanah days of the year. Besides the Day of Judgment we famously know as Rosh Hashanah, there are three other days which are considered the beginning of the year with regards to the growth of animals, vegetables and grains, Tu B’Shevat being one of them.

Tu B’Shevat is the beginning of the Jewish year with regards to the cutoff date to when performing the mitzvah of tithing the trees in Israel. One can tithe from the fruit of one tree for the other trees if their fruit began to ripen during the same year; one cannot tithe from fruits of one year to the next. This date also affects which fruits are considered to belong to the seventh, Sabbatical year in Israel, depending upon if the fruit began to ripen before or after Tu B’Shevat of the Sabbatical year (giving the fruits a different status if they do or do not belong to the Sabbatical year). Why this date was designated for the above determination has to do with the cycle of rainfall; most of the rain for the year in Israel falls before Tu B’Shevat.

Although this day is referred to as a Rosh Hashanah, the designation applies only to the above indicated matter; the day is not marked by a prohibition from work nor is it observed with festive meals or in the prayer service. It is, however, invested with a festive sense; we do not recite solemn prayers (tachanun, or eulogies, or Av Harachamim if it falls on Shabbos). It is customary to eat fruits which are ascribed to the Land of Israel; some do a “Tu B’Shevat Seder” filled with fruits and nuts. It is also customary to eat a “new fruit” in order to recite the joyous Shehechiyanu blessing.

One unique prayer recited by many on Tu B’Shevat is the prayer for a beautiful and kosher etrog (citron fruit) for the mitzvah of lulav on Sukkos, since the beginning of the maturation of those fruits is said to begin on Tu B’Shevat. My wife Miri has adopted the custom (and recipe) of the great Rebbetzin Tzeinvirt (wife of my late mentor, R’ Yosel Tzeinvirt ob’m) to make etrog jam to give out in shul on Tu B’Shevat. This is to provide people the opportunity to recite a prayer for a beautiful new etrog while partaking from the past year’s etrog.

Tu B’Shevat was always a special, joyous time for me to visit my Rebbe, R’ Yosel and the Rebbetzin, to receive some jam and their blessings, which they always showered upon us, especially on Tu B’Shevat. R’ Yosel would always say, “Tu B’Shevat is a type of joyous Rosh Hashanah not only for trees, but for us all, for the Torah compares a person to a tree. We, like the trees, need to continue to grow in our Torah and mitzvos, put down deeper roots, and extend our branches out to reach out to others. Our studies, teaching and our actions should ‘bear fruit’! Since all that we do is compared to the bearing of fruit, Tu B’Shevat is a special time for us to be blessed to indeed produce many, sweet fruits from all we do!”

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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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 16 January 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Cong. Beth Torah Sisterhood names Shirley Strauss 2014 Torah Fund honoree Feb. 9

My colleague, Harriet Gross, recently shared that Congregation Beth Torah Sisterhood is proud to name Shirley Strauss as its 2014 Torah Fund honoree. Shirley will be recognized at the synagogue’s annual Torah Fund brunch at Noon Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Addison Crowne Plaza Hotel, 14315 Midway Road.

The Conservative synagogue will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding, and this year’s Torah Fund theme, “Family,” is especially fitting since Shirley and Larry Strauss were the 13th family unit to affiliate with the congregation. Awaiting the birth of their first child when they moved to Dallas, Shirley spotted a newspaper article about Beth Torah’s startup. As an original member of the fledgling sisterhood, she has been an active, staunch supporter of all its many programs and projects ever since.

That first Strauss child, Brian, now 41, is a Conservative rabbi, serving Congregation Beth Yeshuran in Houston. The couple’s two younger sons are Brad, 38, who works for AT&T in Dallas, and Brandon, 31, a Houston attorney.

Shirley was born in the small town of Duncan, Okla., where “most of the Jews were members of my family,” she says. She was an OU senior when she met Larry, an Air Force veteran working in Oklahoma City after his return from service in Japan. They married a month after her graduation.

Larry, who will introduce his wife at the event, has served as president of both the congregation and its Men’s Club. However, Shirley has always preferred to work behind the scenes, focusing her efforts for synagogue and sisterhood on membership, adult education and her very favorite — fundraising. Shirley says “That’s my passion! I love making those phone calls, especially for Jewish causes.” Her contribution to the community was publicly recognized when she was named the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Campaigner of the Year in 2012. Other organizations that benefit from her work include the Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association and Bnai Zion.

In Dallas, Shirley worked with Larry in the electronics business he founded. Since retirement, they have made four mission trips to Israel, two with the Federation and two with Bnai Zion.

Everyone who enters Beth Torah passes through the foyer dedicated to the memory of Shirley’s mother, Henia Schiff, a Holocaust survivor who lost her entire immediate family in Poland. She came to Oklahoma to join her American relatives, and later married one of her cousins — Shirley’s father, now 90.

The Strausses pass through that foyer every Friday evening as regular attendees at Erev Shabbat services. They’re absent only when vacationing in Nevada, which they do often enough to have joined another shul there.

Among those planning to attend as Shirley is honored will be the three Strauss sons, their wives and the eight grandchildren who will say the HaMotzi together before the meal. Cost of the dairy brunch is $36; a minimum donation of $18 per person is required in support of the Torah Fund. Donors of $180, $360 and more receive special recognition in the form of the annual Torah Fund pin, which this year represents the 2014 theme of “Mishpacha.”

Further information is available from Elaine Scharf, 972-307-3521,, who is also taking reservations.

Torah Fund events are held annually by sisterhoods in the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism. Contributions benefit four institutions that train the movement’s rabbis, cantors and educators: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York; Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Los Angeles; Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem; and Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires.

The forthcoming event will be Beth Torah Sisterhood’s 21st annual Torah Fund brunch; the first was held in 1994 recognizing Esther Cohen, who continues her synagogue involvement today as co-president of the sisterhood. Following this sisterhood’s long-standing tradition, all previous honorees make up the brunch planning committee, with the most recent serving as chairs. This year, the committee is headed by Roberta Lazarus and Marilyn Guzick, who were jointly honored in 2013.

The J and Habitat for Humanity announce 2014 Building Together T-shirt contest

The J and Habitat for Humanity have come together once again to encourage artists, professionals, youth amateurs and teens 16 years or older to submit their design for a T-shirt. If a contestant is under 16 years old, they may still participate with an entry submitted on their behalf by a parent or guardian.

Entries must be received by Sunday, March 2 no later than 5 p.m.

Designs must not be larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. You may use any medium: from paints, photography and colors, to digital designs, etc. All graphics should be designed for a single-sided, centered screen-printed placement, and use of 4 or fewer colors is ideal. Each person’s preferred T-shirt color will be considered. All artwork must be original. All other work will be disqualified.

There is no charge for participation in the challenge.

Individuals may submit one design, via email to Jaycee Greenblatt, as a pdf or high-resolution jpeg (300 dpi or higher to be able to print in decent quality). If you are submitting a pdf, it must be a vector art/line art file not to exceed 5MB in size, or mail design along with the official entry form to: Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, C/ O Jaycee Greenblatt, 2800 N. Hampton Road, Dallas, TX 75212

This project is in conjunction with the communitywide Habitat build that will begin in April.

For additional information and official entry forms, contact Abbii Cook at The J at 214-239-7189.

Beth Torah Preschool to host casino night fundraiser

The Congregation Beth Torah Preschool is hosting its second annual casino night Saturday, Feb.1, the night before the Super Bowl.

The football-themed fundraiser, titled “Jerseys & Jokers,” benefits the Richardson synagogue’s preschool and kindergarten program, which serves children 18 months and up.

The casino party, which begins at 7:30 p.m., includes food, prizes, a poker tournament and an auction. Tickets begin at $25, and the public is welcome.

Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson, near the crossroads of Central Expressway and the Bush Turnpike. For more information or to register, call the synagogue at 972-234-1542 or log on to

NCSY took a group of a dozen Dallas teens to NCSY’s Yarchei Kallah in Stamford, Conn. for a week of learning and fun over winter break. Here the group is in Manhattan. Back row from left, Daniel Granat, Tommy Erlich, Meir Epstein, Michael Zetune, Ilana Kovach, Abigail Torbatian, Valerie Lopez, Eden Torbatian, Galit Rothschild and Daniel Butbul; front row, from left, Aaron T. Leeder and Rabbi Michel Lomner.

NCSY took a group of a dozen Dallas teens to NCSY’s Yarchei Kallah in Stamford, Conn. for a week of learning and fun over winter break. Here the group is in Manhattan. Back row from left, Daniel Granat, Tommy Erlich, Meir Epstein, Michael Zetune, Ilana Kovach, Abigail Torbatian, Valerie Lopez, Eden Torbatian, Galit Rothschild and Daniel Butbul; front row, from left, Aaron T. Leeder and Rabbi Michel Lomner.

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Creative ways to be charitable, thankful

Creative ways to be charitable, thankful

Posted on 09 January 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Friends,

seymourforweb2Did you get as many solicitations for donations at the end of the year as I got? The requests bother me on many levels, as well as make me feel bad that I can’t give to all that I wish to support. I know that the Jewish way of thinking about tzedakah is that intent and motivation are not the most important part — giving, no matter how you do it, is a mitzvah — a COMMANDMENT (that means you don’t really have a choice)! We do not have a choice to give (in fact, the sages say that even a poor person should give what he can) but we do have a choice about who to give to and how much. How does your family make that decision?

Beginning this month, our kids at the J began saving their tzedakah dollars for Habitat for Humanity. We decorated our own tzedakah boxes (so great to have lots of tennis ball cans from our Tennis Department). Each child also took home a “Tzedakah Giving Calendar” with questions to discuss at a family dinner. The calendar is wonderful — each day has an amount to give based on your home: for each room in your house deposit 25 cents, add 25 cents for each room that is carpeted, if you have a backyard add $1 and on through the 31 days of January. The wonderful part is not the money that each child will collect but the gratitude they will feel with their home and everything in it.

Two tzedakah challenges for your family: first, if you would like to take part in the JCC Habitat for Humanity Collection, email me at and I will send you the Tzedakah calendar and family questions. Second, create your own calendar with items like “if your family goes to the movies, add 75 cents” and “if you bring in a pizza for dinner, put in 25 cents” and “put in $1 if you have an iPad,” etc. Fill your tzedakah box with gratitude.

Laura Seymour is director of Camping and Youth Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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Remembering a rabbi and his simcha

Remembering a rabbi and his simcha

Posted on 09 January 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

friedforweb2I would like to take this opportunity to share a short glimpse into the life of a very special, very beloved and dear mentor of mine who was recently snatched away from us in his prime — Rabbi Asher Zelig Rubinstein ob’m of Jerusalem. I have been in a state of shock and mourning since receiving the devastating call from my son, Elazar, in Israel last Saturday night after his returning from Rabbi Rubinstein’s funeral. Many of my old friends from around the world have joined an email chain of students to exchange stories and inspiration we have gained from this special person over the years, all of us savoring another morsel or story reflecting his greatness and how we can emulate him. This is a man that, without his inspiration, there’s no question that I would not be who I am today, something which many others can attest to as well.

He was a big man, well over six feet tall with a booming voice and beaming smile; everything he did in his life was BIG, with greatness!

Two key points keep emerging out of the many comments and stories being told and shared. One was his legendary simcha, a joy and zest for life which permeated through everything Reb Asher (as he was affectionately known) did, and was truly contagious, imbuing simcha in all those around him. His prayers, recited with his booming voice and with such joy and concentration, would invariably elevate the pitch of the prayers of the entire Yeshiva. When he would recite the Kiddush at the Yeshiva Shabbos meal, standing so tall and holding the cup high, his eyes closed with concentration and face radiating joy throughout the room, Shabbos became a joyous experience never to be forgotten.

He was especially renowned for his “bentching,” the grace recited after a bread meal. So many of us remember being affected by his profound concentration and simcha in each and every word of that prayer usually rushed through by most. The rebbetzin told me yesterday on the phone that she can’t believe how many people are paying shiva calls and talking about her husband’s bentching! Her sons found and printed out a sheet from the holy Zohar, a kabbalistic statement about the incredible effects one has on the entire universe by reciting the bentching with concentration, and they have been giving it out at the shiva. It helps ward off evil decrees and helps greatly with one’s livelihood. We all have decided this is a way to remember him, to work on our concentration and joy in our bentching.

Another point which keeps emerging is the tremendous love and respect Reb Asher had for each and every one of his students, even many years after leaving the Yeshiva. In the words of Mrs. Rubinstein, “many rabbis fulfill the Torah’s message to treat your students like your children, but my husband went one step beyond that; he viewed every student like his ONLY child!” She said I could have no idea how much joy he had from each student, how he prayed for their success, how much nachas he felt when they had success.

I personally can attest that not only did I feel like a son, but my children felt like grandchildren. They joined him for Shabbos meals, he joined all of our simchas. Although he couldn’t afford it, Reb Asher flew to Dallas from Israel to attend my daughter Tsippi’s wedding. By him it wasn’t even a question; although I couldn’t afford to fly him in, of course he’s coming! At my grandson’s recent bris in Israel he was the “resident Zaidy,” serving as the grandfather till the end, taking pictures with and schmoozing with all my children. Many others have similar feelings; when one’s heart is big enough they seem to have unlimited capacity to extend love to others in a way that each one feels like they’re the special one with the unique connection that no one else has.

May we glean a little from his ways and may he continue to pray for our success and receive nachas from what we do from his new vantage point on high.

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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The perspectives of wives of rabbis

The perspectives of wives of rabbis

Posted on 09 January 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebWay back when I was in grade school, I knew I wanted to be a rabbi when I grew up. But I never told anyone, because the idea of that career for a girl was preposterous so many years before equality for women became a reality. When I got into college, I did confide my dream to a few trusted friends, all of whom had the same response: You can marry a rabbi.

Well, I almost did. But it’s a good thing I didn’t, because I would have driven the poor man crazy! Today, I envy women rabbis, but I’m intensely interested in the lives of rabbis’ wives. And in the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned a lot from the writings of two of them.

The first: 13 years with a husband who was the assistant rabbi of a large Conservative congregation in an urban area. The second: for longer than that, still married to the senior rabbi of a large Reform congregation in a major city.

The first woman is bitter. She, like I, had contemplated the rabbinate for herself, but she too had found her dream unthinkable, even a decade and more after me. On the first Shabbat in her new rebbetzin role, the senior rabbi’s wife whispered this warning: “If you wear the same outfit to services every week, people will say, ‘We pay her husband enough so she should vary her wardrobe.’ But if you wear different outfits, people will say ‘We must be paying her husband too much.’ You can’t win.”

Says the new rebbetzin, “So began my descent into the underbelly of organized religion. My journey showed me that behind the façade of morality often lurk some ugly truths about people … After weekly Sabbath services, the very people who had just spent several hours in prayerful devotion felt no qualms about approaching me concerning the length of my husband’s sermon (too long and boring, or too short and shallow) or the clashing of his tie with his shirt.”

The second woman is 180 degrees removed from the first. After reading the other wife’s words, she commented, “How different two people’s experience of a common reality can be. One rebbetzin is left cold by her superficial interactions with community members, while I feel warmed by the depth of connections I have with the members of my community … Living one’s life in the front row can be a challenge, (yet) I know from sharing my life with my husband that the work rabbis do is sacred work. And because we who marry them share in our spouses’ daily routines and rhythms, we find ourselves in life’s midst as well. I feel privileged to be warmed by a web of relationships. I feel fortunate and proud to be a rabbi’s wife.”

Rebbetzin No. 1 never adjusted to the demands of her role, while Rebbetzin No. 2 has no hesitancy to tell people who criticize her husband’s sermons or his shirt-and-tie combinations, “Please call on him at his office.” Maybe that attitude makes all the difference?

One other rebbetzin whose feelings I’ve learned about in-depth was married to the spiritual leader of one of those downtown congregations that exist in big cities almost solely for the convenience of businessmen who need a nearby place to pray during their work week. Of course, this couple had to live near their shul, but the wife ultimately divorced her husband, not because of being a rabbi’s wife — which she had always wished to become — but because she could not handle Shabbat and holiday isolation; living too far away to walk to any other shul, or to share these occasions with family and friends. She found it impossible to give up the joys of Jewish social interaction.

I wonder if our local rabbis’ wives might care to weigh in on their experiences, and their feelings about their very special roles in the religious communities within our larger Jewish community?

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 09 January 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Warm wishes to Adrienne and Phil Strull who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary Dec. 27 surrounded by their children and grandchildren. One of our favorite things to do is to give a shoutout to those celebrating important milestones. You can send them to the TJP at

Celebrating their “Diamond” anniversary Dec. 27 are, front and center, Adrienne and Phil Strull. Overjoyed to celebrate the 60th milestone with their parents are from left, Eric and Margo Strull, Valerie and Jeff Newberg and Keo and Brian Strull.

Celebrating their “Diamond” anniversary Dec. 27 are, front and center, Adrienne and Phil Strull. Overjoyed to celebrate the 60th milestone with their parents are from left, Eric and Margo Strull, Valerie and Jeff Newberg and Keo and Brian Strull.

Challah baking with JET

JET (Jewish Education Texas) hosted a challah baking class for the first event of its brand new program “Jewish Women’s Corner.”
Hosted by Roxy Diamond and Adina Wachsman, at the home of the Wachsmans, the women had a ton of fun. They discovered the power of the Jewish woman while learning the meaning of the mitzvah of challah and how to make it.

Jewish Women’s Corner was created to bring together Jewish women in their late 20s to early 40s, of varied backgrounds, to connect, grow, learn, socialize, laugh and recharge. The get togethers will feature great activities, meaningful discussions and delicious food and drinks.

JET is continuing to expand its programming while maintaining its mission of providing learning and connecting opportunities for young Jewish families in informal settings. No membership is required to enjoy the programming that JET provides.

JET is an unaffiliated organization open to Jewish families regardless of affiliation, financial capabilities or religious backgrounds.

To be informed of future “Jewish Women’s Corner” programs, email For more info on other JET programs, visit

At the Wachsman home last week participants enjoy learning the art and mitzvah of baking challah at JET’s Jewish Women’s Corner.

At the Wachsman home last week participants enjoy learning the art and mitzvah of baking challah at JET’s Jewish Women’s Corner.

New date for Ladino program

The First International Day of Ladino was marked with programs around the world Dec. 5, 2013. However the one planned in Dallas on that date was foiled by the infamous ice storm. It has been rescheduled for 23:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 12, at Southern Methodist University’s McCord Auditorium in Dallas Hall. As before, the event is sponsored by the Nate and Ann Levine Endowed Chair in Jewish Studies of Southern Methodist University, and was organized by native Ladino speakers Rachel Amado Bortnick, founder of Ladinokomunita (the online forum in Ladino) and Dina Eliezer, educational director of Congregation Shearith Israel.

Ladino, the Spanish-based language of the Sephardic Jews, has survived a sojourn of more than five centuries since the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. The program on Jan. 12 will include video clips, a short lecture on the past, present and future of Ladino, a folkloric tale, Ladino songs by Raquel P. Gershon and more. The most senior of the Ladino speakers in Dallas, Edith Baker, born in Bulgaria, and Alegra Tevet, born in Greece, will be honored. The honorary consul of Spain, Janet Kafka, will greet the audience.

In Israel this year, a committee in the government-supported National Authority for Ladino and its Culture (NALC), decided to designate the last day of Chanukah as the International Day of Ladino, to occur annually on the same date around the world. The president of the NALC is Yitzhak Navon, the fifth president of the State of Israel and a native Ladino speaker. The largest celebration of the First International Day of Ladino was in Israel, with 1,000 people attending the daylong program of lectures, music, a theatrical play and more at Bar-Ilan University Dec. 5. Jewish communities around the world — in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Mexico, Spain, and several cities in the U.S., had special programs on that date as well. The program this weekend at SMU is going to be “bigger and better” than the one which was canceled, according to Bortnick.

The public is invited free of charge.

Another ice storm makeup at Beth Torah Jan. 19

Pete Delkus, chief meteorologist for WFAA and one of the most popular media personalities in Dallas, will be the guest speaker at Congregation Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast at 9 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 19 at the shul, 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson.

Delkus was originally scheduled to visit Beth Torah in December, but the appearance was delayed, ironically, by the ice storm that struck Dallas.

Everyone is welcome at the monthly lox-and-bagel. The cost is $10 and $5 for students.

Herzl Hadassah meets  Jan. 13

Home Health Care will be the topic at the Herzl Group of Dallas Hadassah at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 13 in the conference room at the JCC, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas.

In addition to learning more about the Legacy at Home, the program will include a discussion on “Understanding Your Medicare Benefits for Skilled Rehab and Home Health Care.” Featured speakers are Lindsay Feldman, Pam Duhon and Elizabeth Mason.

This important information-filled meeting will be of value to members and guests and all are invited.

Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Registration at Yavneh

Yavneh Academy will host its 2014 Zach & Maddie’s Mitzvah Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Registration from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17, in Pollman Hall at the Schultz Rosenberg Campus at 12324 Merit Drive in Dallas.  Maddie White, for whom Yavneh first dedicated its annual drive seven years ago, has strength and spirit that have never waned. She has required a number of surgeries and the transfusion of hundreds of pints of plasma, whole blood and platelets. Today, despite a hospitalization earlier this fall, Maddie is a thriving eighth grader who is doing great.

Yavneh Academy hosts its Zach & Maddie’s Mitzvah Blood & Bone Marrow Drive Jan. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Email or call 972-839-6916 for information. Shown, Maddie White and Zach Guillot, in whose merit Yavneh’s hosts this annual event.

Yavneh Academy hosts its Zach & Maddie’s Mitzvah Blood & Bone Marrow Drive Jan. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Email or call 972-839-6916 for information. Shown, Maddie White and Zach Guillot, in whose merit Yavneh’s hosts this annual event.

Yavneh again dedicates its drive to the merit of 9-year-old Zach Guillot, a schoolmate of Maddie whose family belongs to Temple Emanu-El. Zach has spent much of the last year in Seattle, still battling his disease — superhero that he is — strong in heart and soul. Zach’s fight against AML leukemia has been an example of living each day, for hanging on to belief, and for appreciating every moment.

Carter BloodCare will lead the blood drive and Delete Blood Cancer we will be registering prospective bone marrow donors.

Walk-ins are welcome. Email Deb Silverthorn at or call 972-839-6916 to make an appointment.

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