Archive | February, 2014

Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

There are few good works in the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Jewish community that the Federation does not assist.

Federation touches every member of the Jewish community in some way.

Film festivals, Jewish Family Services, the PJ Library, Daytimers, Chanukah and Purim celebrations, scholars-in-residence are but a few of the Federations good works. The list could go on for some time.

Last week, I mentioned that the Federation held its major gifts event Feb. 9. I’d like to share a few of those snapshots now.

Campaign chair is Lon Werner, who looks forward to welcoming as many of you as possible to the 2014 Campaign Kick Off event at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23, at Colonial Country Club.

To RSVP, contact the Federation at 817-569-0892 or Maybe we’ll get to see your punim in a future TJP issue. I hope so!

Beverly Ross, Susan Jackson of UJA Toronto, Roz Rosenthal and Dr. Michael Ross | Photos: Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County

Beverly Ross, Susan Jackson of UJA Toronto, Roz Rosenthal and Dr. Michael Ross | Photos: Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County

Laurie Werner, Monica Braverman and Judie W. Greenman

Laurie Werner, Monica Braverman and Judie W. Greenman








Federation Campaign Chair and Vice President of Allocations Lon Werner and Federation President Jeff Hochster

Federation Campaign Chair and Vice President of Allocations Lon Werner and Federation President Jeff Hochster













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Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way

Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

The only thing vicious about the cycle(s) happening at Wheel to Survive, next Sunday, Feb. 23, is the passion, care and determination to support research and awareness of ovarian cancer. The third annual indoor cycling event, sponsored by the Be The Difference Foundation (BTDF), will ride on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Aaron Family JCC. The six-hour indoor cycling event features instructors cheering and coaching the participants on, as well as a silent auction and vendor fair.

Two years ago, 306 riders raised more than $305,000 in the event’s first ride, while the 2013 event raised $298,000. At press time, 280 participants had already raised $191,360 toward the goal of $300,000 for this year’s event. With administrative costs for BTDF entirely sponsored, 100 percent of the funds raised at Wheel to Survive will be donated to research and support — monies that the founders hope will reach $1 million by the end of 2014.

“When I was diagnosed, all I was, was scared, but as time went on and I did well with my treatments and my CA-125 (cancer marker) stayed low, I realized I needed to do something to help other women and especially to help my children,” said Julie Shrell, who founded BTDF and Wheel to Survive with fellow ovarian cancer survivors Jill Bach, Helen Gardner and Lynn Lentscher, shortly after hosting the 2012 event to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and the Clearity Foundation. “At first, all I wanted to do was protect them. As I finished chemo, I decided I needed to help raise money for better treatment, effective screening, awareness and a CURE! Through Be the Difference Foundation we’re able to do that year-round — Wheel to Survive is just one of many projects.”

Be The Difference and Wheel to Survive founders (left to right) Helen Gardner, Jill Bach, Julie Shrell and Lynn Lentscher are all survivors of ovarian cancer — determined to find a cure. With administrative costs covered by sponsorships, 100 percent of the monies raised by the Be the Difference Foundation, expected to pass $100,000,000 in just three years, are donated for research and programs. | Photo: Holly Kuper

Be The Difference and Wheel to Survive founders (left to right) Helen Gardner, Jill Bach, Julie Shrell and Lynn Lentscher are all survivors of ovarian cancer — determined to find a cure. With administrative costs covered by sponsorships, 100 percent of the monies raised by the Be the Difference Foundation, expected to pass $100,000,000 in just three years, are donated for research and programs. | Photo: Holly Kuper

Artie Allen, president of the JCC, is proud of his organization’s role as host sponsor. Allen will even be participating in the event with his son Nace, as they ride with the Hope Cures team.

“Many in our community have been affected by this terrible disease and it’s something we need to be behind, beyond sharing our facility and marketing support,” Allen said. “Wheel to Survive fits the mission of our organization like a glove.”

Dallas, however, is not the only city where Wheel to Survive is taking root. An Austin event will take place March 30 and rides were held last year in San Diego in October, and San Francisco in November — together raising $130,000.

Bach is immensely proud of the success BTDF has enjoyed.

“At my diagnosis all I could think about was surviving. I was concerned about not seeing my daughters graduate college, get married and have their own families. I wanted to cherish every day and hold every friend. It took a few years before I realized that I needed to give back and give a purpose to my illness,” said Bach, who has been in remission for more than six years. “I see the hope that organizations like those we support, give to women in the fight. Hope is so critical when it comes to a disease with such poor statistics for survival.”

The Be The Difference Foundation, created to help women increase their chance of survival of ovarian cancer, focuses on raising awareness and money to fund programs, and to provide research dollars toward a cure.

“The response has blown me away and I feel like we are doing something,” said Shrell, in remission since April 2011. “What frustrates me is that women are still being diagnosed at late stages, doctors don’t suggest BRCA testing, friends have died and statistics haven’t changed.”

Ovarian cancer affects one in 70 women and currently more than 70 percent of ovarian cancer patients will die, with less than 50 percent surviving more than five years after diagnosis. Because symptoms are indistinct and slight, many patients are diagnosed at later stages. While there are mammograms for breast cancer, PSA testing for prostate cancer, colonoscopies for colon cancer, there is no reliable early detection test for ovarian cancer.

The funds raised by the Be the Difference Foundation support The Clearity Foundation, which works with molecular profiling, providing patients, at no cost to them, with information to determine the most appropriate treatment or clinical trial. Donations also support the Ovarian Cancer Research Center Immunotherapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania and the Gynecology Research Laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York.

The Ovarian Cancer Research Center focuses on developing therapies which boost the body’s own ability to fight cancer, with research focused on comparing ovarian cancers with T-cells to cases of ovarian cancer without T-cells. The Gynecology Research Laboratory at MSKCC centers on investigating the genomic basis of ovarian and uterine cancers for the purpose of improving prevention and control of these diseases.

“The greatest challenge I ever faced has been the greatest gift I’ve been given. I wish I wouldn’t have had cancer, but 14 years later, I feel blessed to have had a challenge which defines who I am today,” said Lentscher, who was given a less than 40 percent chance of survival at diagnosis. “I had to decide if I wanted to live or die and how I would live until I died. It’s become very transparent that God wanted me to help other people through similar journeys.”

“We love to hear the stories of lives touched by Be the Difference, and it’s very gratifying to be a part of Wheel to Survive,” said Chris Hawes, director of Strategic Communications and Media at Medical City, with Medical City’s Next Chapter the event’s title sponsor.

Diagnosed in 2009, with a life expectancy of five years, Gardner is one of those touched by her organization’s work.

“No matter how difficult this cancer journey has been, there have been many blessings,” Gardner said. “I’m six weeks away from five years, and still the blessing that stands out is how many people have stepped up to help be the difference, and I thank you all for joining me on this journey.”

The journey continues, the finish line sure to be crossed by the women of Be The Difference Foundation and all who support them. Wheel to Survive may be a room filled with bikes that go nowhere fast, but the riders and their hearts, are riding miles down the road to a cure.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit

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Pork: not kosher from the inside out

Pork: not kosher from the inside out

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi,

I’ve often wondered, if there are many animals which are forbidden by Jewish dietary laws, such as horses, dogs, cats and many others, then why is pork considered the classic symbol of traif? Is there something more traif about pork than all the others?

— Shawn P.

Dear Shawn,

friedforweb2Sorry, I can’t resist! There was once a rabbi and a priest having breakfast together; the rabbi was having scrambled eggs and the priest, bacon and eggs. The priest suddenly exclaimed, ‘you know rabbi, this bacon is so delicious! The Lord gave us the pleasures of this world to enjoy them, not refrain from them. When are you finally going to taste some bacon?!’ The rabbi replied, ‘at your wedding, Father!’

The Torah gives two signs that signify if an animal is kosher: that they chew their cud and have split hooves. All animals lacking these two signs are traif. The Torah further cites four examples of animals which present only one of these two signs: The camel, hyrax and hare all chew their cud but do not have split hooves, and are therefore not kosher. The pig is the opposite, it has split hooves but does not chew its cud, and therefore also not kosher (see Lev. 11:1-8).

The early Sages noticed this distinction between the pig and the first three animals; what does this teach us about these animals?

They explain that the “kosher sign” of the first three, chewing their cud, is internal. Internally, they are kosher but externally they are not, and therefore cannot be consumed as we need both. The pig, however, is internally not kosher; its very essence is traif; it is only on the outside that it presents itself with the appearance of being kosher.

The rabbis cite a verse which compares Esau to the “pig of the forest.” Esau presents himself as being righteous, excelling in honoring his father, tithing foods that don’t require tithing such as salt, but inside he harbors a hatred toward true holiness and to Jacob who represents holiness and sanctity in every aspect of life. The Sages remark that Esau, like the pig, holds out its paw and proclaims: “look at me, I’m kosher!” In reality, however, he’s rotten to the core. The Amalekite nation, which the Talmud places as the forefathers of the Germans, trace back to the lineage of Esau. It was the most cultured of nations, the most polite and polished on the outside that gave birth to the Nazi fascists who committed the most heinous of crimes ever known to mankind as a result of their hatred for us deep inside.

The rabbis further explain that the Jews were destined, from the time of creation, to suffer four exiles among the nations. The first three — the Babylonian, Persian-Median and Greek exiles — correspond to the first three animals mentioned above. These three were clearly and obviously idolatrous nations. They are linked to the state of the Jews of that time. The three cardinal sins — idolatry, murder and illicit relations — were at the root of the Temple’s destruction and subsequent exiles. These were clear and open sins, and they were subjugated to nations which were openly sinful.

The reason for the second Temple destruction and subsequent exile was far less clear; the true reason was hidden, since on the surface the Jews seemed to be very observant. Only through prophecy did we learn that their deep-down hatred for one another was the reason for the destruction. That’s why the fourth destruction was by the hand of the Edomites, the great grandchildren of Esau, the pig. They claimed to be righteous, and gave birth to Western civilization, of which many claim to be the “real Jews,” extending their “kosher hoofs,” but with something rotten to the core; the core which has brought pogroms, crusades, inquisitions and the unspeakable holocaust.

Your question comes at a great time. March in Dallas is “Kosher Month” where you can join the entire Dallas Jewish community to learn more about kashrut! Just check out and join the fun!!

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 power of Jewish camp

The power of Jewish camp

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2The time of the year has come for me to talk about camp. I must be honest — I do think the J camps are the best (what kind of director would I be if I didn’t think that?). However, Jewish camp is such a powerful experience that I am ready to say it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as it is a Jewish camp (and it is accredited by the American Camp Association so that you know the safety and quality are proven). There is a great book telling of important studies on the significance of camp: “How Goodly Are Thy Tents — Summer Camps as Jewish Socializing Experiences” by Amy L. Sales and Leonard Saxe. Let the studies and the authors speak:

  • “A community’s unity, strength and continuation depend on its capacity to socialize new members – to build commitment to the group and to transmit its knowledge and values to each succeeding generation. Socialization is thus critical to the Jewish enterprise which is based in community.”
  • “Jewish tradition says that the study of Torah is equal to all of the other mitzvot because it leads to them all. So, too, is fun equal to all of the other purposes of camp because it leads to them all. … these purposes also include immersing children in Jewish life, inspiring them to greater identification with the Jewish people, and instilling in them the joy of Judaism.”
  • “If children come to associate Jewish life with sweetness — the smell of pine trees, the closeness of friends, laughter in the bunk — what they practice and learn at camp will remain with them for a lifetime.”
  • “At the camps we visited, Judaism was ‘in the air.’ We found it in everyday ritual practices, in Shabbat and in the symbolism that defines the physical environment of the camp as Jewish space. When Judaism is in the air, as it is at many camps, children take it in as effortlessly as breathing.”

If reading these words have not convinced you of the wonder, joy and importance of a camp experience, let me tell you stories of the memories and friendships from former campers and staff members. At the camp I grew up at, my husband and I were the 13th camp marriage (the first between former campers) and at Camp Chai, we boast of six or seven camp marriages so far. The experiences connect us to community and it is especially wonderful when that community is our Jewish community. Camp traditions come from Jewish traditions and then live on in our camper’s homes and hearts.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady

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

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Two saints’ backstories

Two saints’ backstories

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebTomorrow is Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine’s Day, of course. There was a time when Jews were a bit skittish about this “holiday,” but if you had little children in school, how could you keep them from the requisite exchange of “heart-y” cards? And now — it’s romance for everyone, isn’t it?

Well, the back-story is not all hearts and flowers. In a time when the Roman Emperor Claudius was persecuting the Catholic Church, he prohibited young people from marrying because he needed lots of soldiers for his wars and believed that single men would be better fighters because they had no wives and children to worry about. Valentine, a priest at that time, performed defiant, secret Christian marriages; he was caught, imprisoned, tortured and finally sainted for keeping the faith.

But there is another saint who was a real romantic, and with a sort of Jewish connection: none other than Santa Claus: Jolly Old Nicholas himself!

There is more legend than known truth about this priest who became a bishop and finally a saint. Historically correct fact, however, is that he was born in today’s Turkey, and even as a boy began performing what people then perceived to be wonders. But here is his most important story, one about good works rather than miracles: Nicholas was not a poor man; he came from wealth, but he never kept much for himself. A sort of hobby of his was giving it away to make sure that poor families had enough dowry money to marry off their daughters. One snowy winter night, he delivered three bags of gold to a needy couple with three daughters, and it’s believed he made his delivery by tossing them down the chimney!

This tale traveled far, and when Nicholas was canonized, people began giving each other presents in his name on Dec. 6, his designated Saint’s Day. So the idea of Christmas gifts may be as much in memory of this beloved priest as it is of the Magi who gave their gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Baby Jesus.

Now, here’s the Jewish part: In dark European times, when Jews’ opportunities to earn money were few, they were often allowed (sometimes even required) to take on tasks that the Catholic Church barred its members from performing. Money-lending was one of them, as everyone who has read Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice” well knows. Jews were commandeered to do this, and did so frequently by taking items in pawn. All sorts of things were brought for monetary exchange, and of course had to be held for a period of time in the off chance that their owners came back with funds to redeem them. Most often, however, the pawnbroker would retain those things. But — what to do with them then? If they were bolts of cloth or articles of clothing, he could make things from them. And this was the start of our people’s prowess in the needle trades, which accounts for the many subsequent years of Jewish dominance in ladies wear!

Ah, but what about Nicholas? Well, it’s now time to remember about his golden generosity. Somewhere along the line, those shopkeepers adopted his three bags full as their symbol, and until most recent times, pawn shops were marked by three gold-colored balls, either hanging from a pole outside the store’s door or painted on its front window. And the Catholic Church, which assigns certain titular “responsibilities” to every saint, long ago named good-hearted Nick as the Patron Saint of Pawnbrokers!

Maybe if we start thinking about this today, we can remember it next winter, and use the information to help diffuse the annual December Dilemma. But for now: Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

(BTW: The birthday of my mother, of blessed memory, was Dec. 6 — a good Catholic day for presents. But more appropriate for such a Jewish balabusta would have been July 26, the day of Anne, Patron Saint of Housewives!)

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

There’s something about the February chill in the air — it reminds me of an ice storm 36 years ago that paralyzed the city for almost a week, wreaking havoc with traffic, families, school, work and just about anything one could think of.

My situation was only a bit unique. On Feb. 7, 1978, I was nine months pregnant with my fourth child, Ethan, (though his sibs were certain that he was a Jessica). We braved the icy roads from Richardson to drop the two older children and carpool at Akiba, then on Churchill Way.

We navigated Central Expressway to visit my obstetrician, Jay Beck, who assured me that I would definitely have a baby by noontime. I was dropped off at the hospital where I thought that I would be settling in for some R & R prior to the magic of the epidural.

Jordana, almost 3 ½, was home with strep throat, so Eli went through the icy and dicey Central Expressway to check on her.

The morning shift left and the afternoon shift appeared for duty. The only thing happening in my room was the beautiful maze of icicles and hazy patterns that one sees when they are trying to accomplish a task. (Fortunately, my column had been done).

The night shift appeared and I was wondering what was holding up the works. All the first time moms had already received their “bundles of girl and/or boy.”

At about 10 p.m., Dr. Beck came in, after spending part of the evening watching a Marlena Dietrich movie in the physician’s lounge, to let me know that he was stopping the epidural, and we were going to get serious about this “party.” It seemed as though, Ethan was lying transverse.

To make a very long story short, the party continued until almost one in the morning. I had forgotten my party hat, tiara and crown — but I did what mothers for eons have been doing — and I had an Ethan after watching almost four shifts change. I don’t change my clothes that often in a day. (His initials are END, and I think that my friends knew early on that there was standing womb only). Ethan was born Feb. 8, 1978. The ice storm was so severe that Dr. Beck, many of the staff and patients were stuck at BUMC for almost one week.

Ethan has entertained all of us for years. I want to wish him a happy 36th, and let him know what a blessing he is to those who know and love him. His heart is pure; he is a man of depth and integrity and wit; he is kind to people and animals; and he is a loving husband, to his wife, Emily and their two dogs, Ramona and Dually.

Ethan and Emily enjoy their life in Portland, Oregon where Ethan is a chef and Emily is an animal rights attorney for The Oregon Humane Society. She has worked tirelessly with district attorneys all over Oregon to fight for animal rights and to hold perpetrators accountable for domestic violence acts against animals.

Support for Israel Does Indeed Make Strange Bedfellows On Feb. 4, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council held a joint reception in Washington to welcome the new Israeli Ambassador, Ron Dermer, to the United States. Pictured from left are NJDC Chairman Marc R. Stanley, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ambassador Ron Dermer. | Photo: Courtesy of Marc Stanley

Support for Israel Does Indeed Make Strange Bedfellows
On Feb. 4, the Republican Jewish Coalition and the National Jewish Democratic Council held a joint reception in Washington to welcome the new Israeli Ambassador, Ron Dermer, to the United States. Pictured from left are NJDC Chairman Marc R. Stanley, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ambassador Ron Dermer. | Photo: Courtesy of Marc Stanley

Plano middle school performs Holocaust play

Frankford Middle School will present a production of “Korczak’s Children” at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, in the PISD’s One Act Play Competition at McMillen High School.

Daniela Appel, Victoria Ardelean, Jackson Benjamin and Jordyn Parks are among the performers in “Korczak’s Children” based on true events in the life of Janusz Korczak during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland. Korczak dedicated his life to taking care of orphaned children. Steffa was his assistant and caretaker of the children.

The cast and their families had the opportunity to hear Holocaust survivor and frequent speaker Max Glauben last week.

Appel, who plays Steffa in the play, said “Max told us everything we wanted to know. He came from the same area the play is set, making us better understand what the Jews of Poland went through, and especially our characters. He told us about what life was like for Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and in the concentration camps.”

The play will last approximately one hour. McMillen High School is located at 750 N. Murphy Road, in Murphy.

Pearce Theater presents ‘Beauty and the Beast’

J.J. Pearce’s Theater Department is one of the best, and I have always enjoyed attending productions there.

Sources tell me that there is still time to catch one of the Pearce Theater’s performances of “Beauty and the Beast.” Among the many talented actors in the play are a number of students from the Jewish community including: Bryce Ericksen (Maurice), Molly Bamberger (Mrs. Potts), Sydney Kane (Babette), Rachel Prengler (Silly Girls), Blake Reisman (Wolf), Blake Berger (Gaston’s Gang), Danielle Solman (Gaston’s Gang), Emily Pearson (Furniture), Sami Laner (Town person), Claire Greenberg (Wardrobe Understudy), Lee Allen (D’Arque Understudy), Molly Selz (Townspeople) and Sara Greenspan (Assistant Director).

We hear that tickets are selling fast. Four performances remain: at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21 and Saturday, Feb. 22 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23. Reserved seating is available at

Temple Shalom to host health care workshop

“Everywhere I go, everyone I talk with has questions,” about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, remarks Debra Levy-Fritts, vice president and chair of Tikkun Olam activities at Temple Shalom. “We want to educate the public as the enrollment deadline approaches. There is no doubt that this change has been rocky, but there is good in it for the uninsured and for those who struggle to afford insurance they currently have in place. Self-employed individuals and business owners want to know if their costs could go down, if dependents can be covered more affordably, for instance. I hear any number of questions just going about my day, and that is why we wanted to provide an opportunity for our neighbors and members to learn about the law and apply if they would like to do so before March 31, 2014 — the deadline before penalties begin for those without coverage.”

From 1-4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, a day to “Learn & Apply” for health care coverage is being sponsored by Temple Shalom and Dallas Area Interfaith, in partnership with Be Covered Texas, The Community Council of Greater Dallas, Methodist Hospital System, Foremost Family Health Centers and Parkland Health and Hospital System.

Activities will include educational sessions in English and Spanish, crafts for children and sessions with navigators and certified application counselors. Temple Shalom’s Senior Rabbi Andrew Paley frames the event as part of the Temple’s mission. He said: “Extending health care to those in need is part of Jewish tradition and what people of faith are called upon to do. Many of us have seen what can happen with insurance denials of coverage, lack of care, and the impact that can have on families. We hope this effort will result in access and over time, increased health and well-being for all. Our partners have been amazing to work with, our volunteers are enthusiastic and it is going to be a great day.”

Appointments can be made by calling 214-449-1393 or emailing

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Around the Town

Posted on 13 February 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County held its Major Gifts event Feb. 9 at the home of Laurie and Lon Werner. Lon is this year’s campaign chair. He and Laurie are native Fort Worthians and quick to share how often they have seen the Federation’s good works in action. The 2014 Campaign Kick Off  event will be held at 7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 23 at Colonial Country Club, 3735 Country Club Circle in Fort Worth. Dubbed Golda Meir — One Night Only, the evening will  feature actress and Chautauqua scholar Joan Wolfberg Rosenblum as Golda. This is a one-night only opportunity.

In addition, Dr. Alice Viroslav, a member of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America and chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of San Antonio will speak.

To RSVP, contact the Federation at 817-569-0892 or

Hear from Holocaust survivor Edith Eger this Saturday

Holocaust survivor and inspirational speaker Dr. Edith Eva Eger will speak at 10 a.m. Shabbat Services Saturday, Feb. 15 at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville. She will share her story of overcoming adversity to create a fruitful life. This event is for the entire community, with students in sixth grade and above encouraged to attend.

A native of Hungary, Eger was just a young teenager in 1944 when she experienced one of the worst evils the human race has ever known. As a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, she and her family were sent to Auschwitz, the heinous death camp. Her parents lost their lives there.  Toward the end of the war, Eger and other prisoners were moved to Austria. On May 4, 1945 a young American soldier noticed her hand moving slightly amongst a number of dead bodies. He quickly summoned medical help and brought her back from the brink of death.

After the war, Eger moved to Czechoslovakia where she met the man she would marry. In 1949 they moved to the United States. In 1969, she received her degree in Psychology from the University of Texas, El Paso. She then pursued her doctoral internship at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Eger is a prolific author and a member of several professional associations. She has a clinical practice in La Jolla, Calif. and holds a faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego. She has appeared on numerous television programs including Oprah Winfrey and was the primary subject of a holocaust documentary that appeared on Dutch National Television. She is frequently invited to make speaking engagements throughout the United States, Mexico and abroad.

Last chance to see Chagall gems

Three paintings by Marc Chagall are part of a visiting exhibit at the Kimbell Museum. One of them, “The White Crucifixion,” shows Jesus on the cross with a tallis wrapped around his loins and scenes of the Holocaust all around him.  The painting is Pope Francis’s favorite work of art.  Also in the show is Chagall’s famous “The Praying Jew,” which shows a man wearing the tallis and tefillin that belonged to the artist’s grandfather. A third Chagall oil is titled “The Birth.” The Chagall paintings have not received any publicity, for the exhibit was overshadowed by the opening of the Kimbell museum’s new building. Moreover, the title of the visiting exhibit is “The Age of Picasso & Matisse: Modern Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago.” This is the last chance to see these riveting, historically significant works by Marc Chagall.

WRJ donor brunch set for March 2

Rosalind Franklin was called the “dark lady of DNA.” A brilliant biophysicist, she was the daughter of aristocratic British Jews. When her ancestors first moved to England in the 18th century, they anglicized their surname from Frankel to Franklin. The family traced its lineage to King David. Rosalind’s great-uncle served in the House of Lords. Her grandfather’s country estate, Chartridge, had a shochet on staff. At St. Paul’s Girls School, where daily church services were compulsory, she and the other Jewish students were sent into a separate room where they did their homework and joked that these were their “Jewish prayers.”

Learn about this Jewish version of “Downton Abbey” from acclaimed local actress Myra Schussler, who will re-enact the life of Rosalind Franklin at the March 2 WRJ Donor Brunch at Beth-El Congregation. For reservations to the Beth-Elton Abbey brunch, call the Temple at 817-332-7141. High Tea apparel, meaning hats and gloves, are optional.

News and notes

• Sixth-grader Samantha Simon, daughter of Cindy and Robert Simon, played Ms. Nelson in Fort Worth Academy’s production of “Ms. Nelson is Missing.” The play was presented before winter break.

• Ahavath Sholom is working with the Dallas JCC to have Fort Worth and Tarrant County kids participate in the 2014 JCC Maccabi games, which will be held in Cherry Hill N.J. and Boca Raton, Fla. in August. Tryouts are available for 14U boys basketball, 16U boys basketball, 16U girls basketball, 14U boys soccer, 16U boys soccer, girls soccer, lacrosse, baseball, volleyball, flag football, table tennis, tennis, star reporter, swimming, dance, tennis and swimming. To see a tryout schedule and download a parent packet visit, and click on the Maccabi Games link. Time is of the essence. Organizers need to know how many kids will be going by the end of February, so that they can secure grants to defray the cost. If you have any questions, please call Naomi Rosenfield at 817-246-3908.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 06 February 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

It seems fitting to be writing about Ahavath Sholom’s Chevra Kadisha in this week’s column. Tomorrow is Adar 7, a day on which many Chevra Kadishas are recognized for their selfless service to the community. Adar 7 is significant because it is the day that God performed the duties of the Chevra Kadisha and buried Moses.

The Chevra Kadisha is a group of volunteers that see to it that a deceased member of the Jewish community is cared for and buried according to Jewish law. Their service begins from the minute they are notified that someone has passed away and incudes guarding the body, ritual cleansing and subsequent dressing for burial.

In Fort Worth, there are second and some third generation members of the Chevra. Ahavath Sholom held its Chevra Kadisha dinner Jan. 24. At that dinner, Morty presented members of the Chevra with letter jackets. He shared the story behind the jackets which were presented in memory of his late brother Don Herman and the late Bernard Rubin, whose brother Jack also serves on the Chevra. Don and Bernard died in their early sixties but were on the Chevra from their twenties as was Bernard Rubin’s father.

Don and Bernard always referred to the Chevra as the “Team,” and on more than one occasion, they jokingly said they needed letter jackets for the team.

This year Morty did just that. He designed, fitted and had letter jackets made for all of the members of the Team.

Morty tells me that the guys really love their jackets and wear them as their winter jacket. If you look closely you will see they have the name of Ahavath Sholom on the left hand side with a Magen David in the middle and the words Chevra Kadisha underneath and the name of the member on the other side.

The men’s Chevra currently has 13 members, but there is always room for more of these dedicated volunteers. Anyone out there who might want to participate can contact Glen Garoon at or 817-229-4224.

Some members of “The Team”: Morty Herman, Lon Werner, Dan Sturman, Jack Rubin, Israel Saffir, Phil Sawyer, Earl Givant, Ed Bond, Ken Sherwin and Will Kutler

Some members of “The Team”: Morty Herman, Lon Werner, Dan Sturman, Jack Rubin, Israel Saffir, Phil Sawyer, Earl Givant, Ed Bond, Ken Sherwin and Will Kutler

‘The Yankles’ is next installment of CAS Film Series

Congregation Ahavath Sholom will show the fourth film in its 2014 Showtimes Film Series, “The Yankles,” at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 9.

The movie is about a washed up, ex-Major League ballplayer, who gets a second chance at life and love by managing a Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva baseball team. “The Yankles” shows a group of Yeshiva students who have not participated in organized sports in high school attempt to make it in the collegiate baseball league. The film makes fun of the situation, not of them personally! It has you rooting for the underdog and celebrating their victories. This is a great film to take your children to and teach them a lesson on sportsmanship! There never is a dull moment and it will keep you laughing throughout.

The theme of the evening will be baseball, and in this spirit, the Men’s Club of Cong. Ahavath Sholom will serve free hot dogs with all the trimmings. Cold drinks and popcorn will be served as well. All Showtimes Film Series films are free and everyone in the community is invited. The program will begin right after the evening minyan.

The Congregation Ahavath Sholom Showtime Film Committee has done a great job planning and putting on the films. They look forward to seeing you at the film showings. Thanks to committee members Liz Chesser, Elizabeth Cohen, Kate Cohen, Foster Owen, Dr. Jane Pawgan, Debby Rice, Reggie Rog, Jayna Sosland, Jim Stansbury and Riki Zide. Special thanks to Cong. Ahavath Sholom Men’s Club and its president, Sonnie Brister, for all their help.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s 2014 Showtimes Film Series is funded by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and their help is so much appreciated. For more information please call Congregation Ahavath Sholom at 817-731-4721.

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Grab a teddy bear, cling to Jewish values

Grab a teddy bear, cling to Jewish values

Posted on 06 February 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2This week at the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, I used teddy bears to talk about respecting differences as we played with many different bears.

There is so much to learn from a cuddly bear!

Teddy bears give comfort to children and to adults — they are good listeners. When children play with teddy bears, they are embodying Jewish values.

We began simply by talking about teddy bears — and it is always better to talk while you are holding a special bear.

Before you read further, run and get a teddy to hug.

Here are some additional Jewish values that go along with teddy bears so the next time you hug a teddy think about this (and you are never too old for a teddy bear!):

Ahavah: Love

There are many kinds of love. Ahavah is a Jewish value that teaches love and respect for other people and all of God’s creations.

Dibuk Chaverim: Cleaving to friends

This value goes beyond having friends to developing relationships with trust and devotion.

G’milut Chasadim: Acts of loving-kindness

These deeds go beyond simple kindnesses to spelling out the real-life moments in which we need to take care of each other.

Tza’ar Ba’alei Chayim: Kindness to animals

According to Jewish law, we must always treat animals kindly because they are God’s creatures.

B’tzelem Elohim: Created in the image of God

This does not mean that we look like God or that God has a body or face. People are created with the ability to reason and know good from bad. When we talk about each person being created in the image of God, we must remember to pay attention to what is holy about each person and to model our behavior after that of God.

History of the teddy bear

Teddy Roosevelt was the President of the United States about 100 years ago. One day (in 1902), he went on a bear hunt but could not find any bears to hunt. Finally, a friend brought him a baby bear but Teddy Roosevelt would not hurt the bear cub.

A Jewish couple in New York, Morris and Rose Michtom, heard about Teddy and the bear. Rose sewed a stuffed bear and called it Teddy’s Bear. After that, everyone wanted a Teddy Bear. Morris and Rose gave all the money from selling their teddy bears to tzedakah to help others.

Teddy bears may not be created in the image of God, but each one is unique and very special. If we practice each of the Jewish values with our teddy bears, it is good practice to help us treat all people (and animals) with the same respect and love.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Rabbi Ed Feinstein’s food for thought

Rabbi Ed Feinstein’s food for thought

Posted on 06 February 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebA friend from long ago, now far away but still a faithful TJP reader, saw our notice of Anshai Torah’s recent Scholar-in-Residence weekend and wrote to me:

“I just loved Rabbi Feinstein when I was in Dallas. I shall never forget his insight and interpretation of the week’s Torah portion the first time I heard him at a Shabbat service. And at his ‘Joys of Jewish Learning’ classes, his knowledge — and his quest for more knowledge — along with his wit, gave me so much. Since I’m not in Dallas now, you must go for me.” So of course, I did.

I signed up for the Friday “Lunch and Learn” that opened the weekend. There, I was just one of many past admirers Hailing the Conquering Hero on this return visit, along with a gaggle of younger folk eager to find out for themselves what the buzz was all about. And of course, they did.

Ed Feinstein, who cut his rabbinic teeth right here in Dallas, eased into business the way I remembered: He just spoke. No notes. Introductory memories of his own youth, both poignant and humorous, led seamlessly into our people’s history. We were laughing while we listened to truth.

Disconnection is the hallmark of Judaism, he said. When bad things happen, we make good things come out of them. This is why Jews, and Judaism, have endured. After Egypt and slavery came the Exodus and freedom. After the Romans destroyed our Temple came Rabbinic Judaism, replacing sacrifice with Torah study and learning. After the Holocaust came Israel…

Then came the crusher: We’re still telling our children that the reason we want them to go to synagogue and Sunday School is because of that death and destruction, he told us. But that alone won’t move them to be Jews. Remembering is certainly necessary, but past agonies by themselves cannot sustain us; they do not compel belief in those who come after. Of course we must remember Egypt and the devastated Temple, but we are not Jewish because of them; we are Jews today because of what our people were able to create to follow them. We must do the same with the Holocaust: look back, but look ahead. Find its new reasons for new generations to hold onto and love Judaism.

In his years as senior rabbi of California’s Valley Beth Shalom — one of the largest, if not THE largest, of our country’s Conservative congregations — Feinstein is seeing a modern-day “disconnection” of sorts: Into our faith communities come more and more men and women who are not Jewish by birth or (at least not yet) by conversion, but who have chosen to live Jewish lives, who marry Jewish spouses and raise Jewish children. He’s become vocal about making more meaningful, “insider” places for them: Perhaps, he posits, rabbis may need to sanctify the marriages of couples in which non-Jewish spouses-to-be are such committed people.

And what about God? The Feinstein picture is parental. Just as we raise our children with love and support toward growing independence, so does God raise us. When our children are on their own ways, we do not stop being their parents; we continue to love, and support and encourage them to be and do the best they can. And so does God continue to be that force for us, all of our adult lives. The rabbi taught us that day from Talmud: What we need to learn, and to live by, is not high up in Heaven or across far seas, to be fetched and brought to us by others. That wisdom is already in our Jewish minds, our hearts, our mouths…

From the mouth of Rabbi Ed Feinstein came solid food for thought, a big banquet of ideas accompanying the tasty menu offered at what might have been even better named a “Lunch and Learn Much.” To my corresponding friend: Thanks for “ordering” me to go.

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