Archive | April, 2014

Too close to home

Too close to home

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebWe never know when tragedy will hit close to home. Believe me! I was surprised, shocked, scared when I heard about the recent shootings on the campus of the Kansas City area JCC and one of its sister facilities, the senior residence called Village Shalom.

I have one last relative in the oldest generation on my father’s side of the family. My uncle Aaron — husband of Dad’s late sister Sophie — will be 100 on Memorial Day. He will celebrate that birthday, as he has his five most recent ones, where he lives: in Village Shalom.

Once there were 10 of us first cousins in that family, with branches in Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Now, one has already passed away, three have moved to California, my sister is in New York and I’m here in Dallas. Three remain in Pittsburgh. That leaves only one in Kansas City.

Cousin Faye was quick to reach Village Shalom as soon as the news broke, and just as quick to email the rest of us with reassurances of no harm to our loved one. Plus this additional message: “Sad day in KC. This story has already become international. Gun control and mental illness once again in the news.”

Aaron’s daughter Roslyn, one of the California cousins, checked in by phone, then posted: “All the staff at Village Shalom was organized, caring and professional. We are very grateful. But — such a senseless loss of life.” Cousin Faye echoed:

“Senseless death has become routine in our country. This cannot be accepted.”

I add, as she did not: “Certainly not in Aaron’s country.” He fought in World War II, and met Aunt Sophie while she was serving with the WAACs (No spelling error here; in the ‘40s, this branch of service was called the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps).

Family fun: they had to sneak around to see each other because she outranked him! Both were long active with the Kansas City Jewish War Veterans, and Aaron was a major factor in the creation of the city’s stunning JWV tribute and memorial: a glass wall in the JCC, etched with the names of all the area’s Jewish vets who have served in every war since our country’s beginning.

I guess we were all relieved, and rightly so, that no one inside either Village Shalom or the JCC itself was injured or killed. But it’s hard to be happy for ourselves when a demented anti-Semite charged onto their grounds and, outside the buildings, took the lives of three innocents.

While he was yelling his vile epithets and Heiling Hitler, he managed to kill two Methodists and a Catholic. What obviously didn’t matter to him was that both institutions serve the entire community, not just the Jewish one. William Lewis Corporon and Reat Griffin, his 14-year-old grandson, were anticipating their attendance at a non-religious musical program inside the J. Terri LeManno, 53, was on the way to visit her mother, a resident of Village Shalom.

The rampage of Frazier Glenn Miller (or Cross, as he has preferred to be called), long known as a racist, brought new overtones to our Passover table. Remember Amalek, the Hebrew hater immediately after the Exodus? Here he was again, thousands of years later, still pouncing on innocents. When we spilled our drops of wine this year, we thought of the suffering of these two modern families as well as the ancient Egyptians.

Paul is the oldest in my band of cousins; I am second. From time to time, he’ll remind me that we’re moving up, just about ready to take our places at the head of the family line.

The life of our own patriarch, Aaron, like that of many others, was preserved by quick action during this last attack. But we must stay on the alert for the Amaleks who walk among us. Ours is the sad, but necessary, task we share with all Jews today.

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A quarter century of service at Temple Emanu-El

A quarter century of service at Temple Emanu-El

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

By Rachel Gross Weinstein

Rabbi David Stern began his career at Temple Emanu-El right out of rabbinical school, eager to learn and grow as a rabbi. During the past 25 years, he has seen the synagogue, and the Dallas Jewish community, evolve into what it is today and is even more excited for the future.

Stern will be honored next weekend as he celebrates his silver anniversary at Temple Emanu-El. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Friday, May 2, with a Shabbat service where Rabbi David Saperstein will be the guest, followed by a congregational Shabbat dinner. It continues with a gala Saturday, May 3 and culminates with a groundbreaking for the renovations of the synagogue building at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, May 4 and a congregational lunch.

Rabbi David Stern greets President Barack Obama during the president’s historic trip to Temple Emanu-El last fall. His visit acknowledged Temple Emanu-El’s efforts in educating citizens about the Affordable Care Act. | Photos: Courtesy of Temple Emanu-El

Rabbi David Stern greets President Barack Obama during the president’s historic trip to Temple Emanu-El last fall. His visit acknowledged Temple Emanu-El’s efforts in educating citizens about the Affordable Care Act. | Photos: Courtesy of Temple Emanu-El

Although this milestone is not lost on Stern, he believes the success of the synagogue throughout the years is due to the collaborative effort of the staff and lay leaders.

“There isn’t a single day in the past 25 years that has been about me,” he said. “I am a dialogic thinker and collaborative worker and Temple Emanu-El is a place that has that environment. I feel really grateful to be celebrating 25 years. The weekend celebration is representative of the wonderful relationship I have with the congregation, and it’s a celebration of the congregation’s future. It’s retrospective in looking back, but also all about the future. We have accomplished so much, but there is still so much more to do.”

Social justice, teaching, Israel and making connections with people have been an important part of Stern’s time at Temple Emanu-El. Over the years, the congregation has been at the forefront of social justice activities in the city, along with high-caliber Jewish learning and Israel programming. He is also proud of the relationship between Temple Emanu-El and Vickery Meadow.

Even with many accomplishments, there have also been some challenges for Stern and Temple Emanu-El — like changes in worship, new ideas and the evolution of the Reform movement — but he said all of those have been beneficial. These challenges allow for more growth in the future, he said.

“There is so much important, sacred work ahead of us,” Stern said. “There is a big agenda with bringing people to authentic connections with each other, and for the social justice work that’s still before us. This is still a city and nation that needs healing. I believe profoundly that the Jewish tradition impels us to participate in that. We also still have a long way to go in Jewish learning, Jewish literacy and helping 21st century Reform Jews be knowledgable, be in committed Jewish practice. We cannot look back and say we are done. The work is as urgent as it was when they first founded Temple Emanu-El in 1872 and I am excited about it.”

Stern said he was originally attracted to Temple Emanu-El because of its rich history, and the opportunity to work with Rabbi Shelly Zimmerman, who was the senior rabbi when he arrived in June 1989. After seven years, he was appointed as the senior rabbi in August 1996.

Rabbi David Stern interacts with the youngest congregants of Temple Emanu-El’s Early Childhood Education Center.

Rabbi David Stern interacts with the youngest congregants of Temple Emanu-El’s Early Childhood Education Center.

Prior to coming to Temple Emanu-El, Stern served as an intern at the Central Synagogue in New York City. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Dartmouth College, has a masters in Jewish Education and Hebrew Letters and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Stern grew up in New York and knew since he was 5-years-old that he wanted to be a rabbi, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Being present in people’s lives during the happiest and saddest times is the most rewarding part of the job, he said.

“I am constantly stimulated and uplifted and there is always something meaningful and interesting that happens,” he said. “The best part for me is the mix of being present with people during significant moments in their lives, teaching and learning and the counseling. The public stuff is the part that shows, but that’s not where the real work has been. That’s been in meeting with the family before a funeral, meeting with a couple before the wedding or really getting to know the bar mitzvah kid. It’s an honor everyday to continue the legacy of leadership at this congregation and to feel I have a place in that is really humbling. I really love my job.”

In addition to his rabbinical duties, Stern participated in a study mission to Darfur in 2005, served as rabbi-in-residence for an American Jewish World Service Study mission to Nicaragua last year and leads yearly trips to Israel. Locally, he serves on the boards of Community Homes for Adults, the Dallas Jewish Coalition for the Homeless and the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.

Suzi Greenman has seen the impact of Stern’s work firsthand over the years. Her family has been part of Temple Emanu-El since it was founded and she was the president when Stern became senior rabbi.

“Rabbi Stern never ceases to amaze me,” she said. “He is a very caring pastor and there is nobody that is more attentive. The other thing that sets him apart is that he has a great sense of humor and a great attitude about life and it’s contagious. We are very fortunate that he has been with us for that long.”

Current Temple Emanu-El President Scott McCartney has been involved at the synagogue for the past 12 years and completed his conversion with Stern, who also officiated at both of his daughters’ bat mitzvahs.

He said Stern has not only been an amazing rabbi, but a fantastic teacher and brilliant leader in the Dallas community.

“His 25th anniversary says a lot because he has made Dallas and Temple Emanu-El his home,” McCartney said. “He is prominent in the national Reform Jewish circle, yet he is a guy who teaches Talmud every Wednesday and works hard with bnai mitzvah kids everyday. To know him as a rabbi is a real blessing. He is a compassionate, funny and all-around great guy.”

Rabbi David Stern is all smiles with his wife, Rabbi Nancy Kasten, and their children, Jacob, Nina and Lili in approximately 2001.

Rabbi David Stern is all smiles with his wife, Rabbi Nancy Kasten, and their children, Jacob, Nina and Lili in approximately 2001.

Looking ahead, Stern’s goal is to continue building on what he, the other staff and lay leaders have done in the past, and making the temple and the Dallas Jewish community even stronger.

He believes this will happen by connecting with people, making a big synagogue feel smaller and providing the opportunity for people to have authentic relationships with each other.

“The end game for me is to open people’s hearts to the possibility of God,” he said. “Now more than ever, when our lives are so fragmented, if someone as a result of being part of this community has a sense of spiritual connection to something beyond themselves, and whether its through Shabbos, private prayer, meditation or whatever they want that’s the whole ballgame. If people feel connected, they will have a reason to be part of a religious community. I never want this to be about me, but what this community means for people. The glory for me is that it’s humbling because I do my work with great people every day.”

Tickets for the celebration gala are $180 each and the other weekend events are free. For more information or and RSVP, call 214-706-0000 ext. 138 or visit www.tedallas.org.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

When the Yavneh Bulldogs returned to the TAPPS conference this year, they created a successful season of memories. Coach David Zimmerman was named District Coach of the Year.

“It brings Yavneh great pride and joy to know that we have so many players that have been recognized by other schools who appreciate them, as much as we do. It is a great honor for these students who represent the best that Yavneh has to offer,” said Coach Zimmerman.

Among the Yavneh Bulldog TAPPS 2013-2014 3A District 4 Honorees are the following categories: Girls’ Basketball — Talia Klein (2014), Academic All State, First Team All-District; Alexandra Lavi (2015), Academic All State, Second Team All -District; Jacquie Mitzner (2017), Second Team All-District. The Yavneh Bulldogs boys basketball team were district champions. Recognized players included Sam Kleinman (2014), Second Team All-State, First Team All-District and also MVP of the District; Adam Schor (2014), Academic All-State, First Team, All-District; David Rudomin (2014), Second Team All-District and Defensive Player of the Year in the District; Itai Guttman(2014), Academic All-State, First Team All-District; Steve Levine (2016), Second Team All-District. In Boys’ Soccer, Jason Epstein (2014) was named All-District Newcomer, and in Girls’ Volleyball, honorees were Dania Tanur (2014), First Team All-District; Risa Mond (2016), Second Team All-District. Michelle Friedstadt (2014) and Jenna Katz (2017) received Honorable Mention All-District. Congratulations to all the Yavneh athletes who make Dallas proud.

Yavneh’s TAPPS honorees are, from left, Jason Epstein, Michelle Friedstadt, Dania Tanur, Risa Mond and Jenna Katz.

Yavneh’s TAPPS honorees are, from left, Jason Epstein, Michelle Friedstadt, Dania Tanur, Risa Mond and Jenna Katz.

Yavneh TAPPS honorees, from left, include Jacquie Mitzner, Alexandra Lavi, Adam Schor, Talia Klein, Sam Kleinman, David Rudomin, Gary Levine, Itai Guttman and Coach David Zimmerman

Yavneh TAPPS honorees, from left, include Jacquie Mitzner, Alexandra Lavi, Adam Schor, Talia Klein, Sam Kleinman, David Rudomin, Gary Levine, Itai Guttman and Coach David Zimmerman

Jewish War Vets dual event to highlight IDF at JCC’s Israeli Independence Day program

Post Commander Art Kaplan, of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Dallas Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans, will provide special opportunities at the upcoming 2014 Yom Ha’Atzmaut Israeli Independence Day activities May 6, to watch two Israeli-made movies about the Israeli Independence Forces (IDF) and to also write short notes and letters to troop members, which will later be sent to the IDF.

“Michael Levin, A Hero in Heaven” is the true story of an American Jewish teenager who decides to make aliyah in 2003, joins an elite paratrooper unit, and dies three years later, while fighting in Lebanon.

“Follow Me — The Yoni Netanyahu Story” is the exciting tale of the heroic rescue of innocent airline passengers threatened with death at Entebbe, the airport in Uganda July 4, 1976. It profiles the tragic death of Yoni Netanyahu, older brother of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Yoni was the solitary military fatality at this historical and amazing rescue mission.

While these films are being shown, writing materials will be available in the event that those attending wish to write short notes to the IDF.

Retired businesswoman combines Torah and yoga in fresh way

How does a retired beading store owner and baalas teshuvah — a woman who became an observant Jew as an adult — fill her days?

For years, Linda Hoffman, whose business, Beadworks, was at the corner of Campbell and Coit Roads, practiced yoga daily. After her retirement in 2010, she continued with her yoga, but added Torah study, something she hadn’t had much time for until then. Over time, the two practices meshed in her mind. She realized that each week, something in the Torah portion made her think of a yoga posture — and the yoga postures began reminding her of bits of Torah.

In the yoga classes she taught in her home, she began discussing these relationships. Her students, most of whom were not religiously observant, began to ask questions, and Hoffman began digging deeper into Torah to seek answers to the questions.

The result — Hoffman’s new book called “Parsha and Yoga.” Each weekly Torah portion has its own brief chapter, with an important explanation of the element of the portion, which includes a simple lesson that is applicable to all of our lives, whether we are Orthodox, Reform or not even Jewish. This is followed by a description of the relevant yoga pose and a sketch to help do the pose properly.

“ ‘Parsha and Yoga’ provides life lessons through the study of the weekly Torah Parsha and yoga,” Hoffman explains. “We develop our soul by becoming the best ‘me’ that we can be using the tools of the mind and the body that were given to us. The physical practice of yoga enhances the way we live with wisdom, insight, discernment, mindfulness and acceptance. At the same time, all phases of human life are represented in Torah. It is a living Torah, relevant today to our lives and relationships, as much as it was when given at Mount Sinai. Torah is the foundation of ethics and morals for most cultures in the world.

Hoffman continues to say that “the concentration needed to do the yoga poses and the adaptability of each pose to the level of the student led me to a connection of yoga to the Torah. Just as we understand Torah at the level of learning we have reached, so we can practice our yoga at the level of flexibility and strength of our body.”    Many commentaries are timeless; however, they can also feel remote from our lives. Hoffman wanted to depict the living Torah. Unlike other books about Parsha and yoga, this one does not delve into yoga’s philosophical aspects. The yoga poses are used as kinesthetic enhancements of the Torah lessons.

Kinesthetic learners, in particular — those people for whom movement and memory are aligned — will enjoy this book and will find their understanding of the weekly Torah portion strengthened. Other learners will also enjoy the book. The clarity of the Torah commentaries and the relevance of their lessons make this a book to reach for to every week, and the addition of the yoga poses helps us remember the lessons long after the book has been closed.

“Parsha and Yoga” is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. A weekly blog www.parshaandyoga.com, is available.

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Responsibility for one another

Responsibility for one another

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Parents and Children,

seymourforweb2Responsibility — Achrayut is so important for it is really about community and being a part of something bigger than just yourself. We are interdependent in this world and that connection makes us strong. Each of us must speak out for the others — we are responsible for one another: Am I my brother’s keeper? YES!

Achrayut is also about taking responsibility for your own actions and choices. Responsibility is about keeping our promises, being honest and fair, and admitting our mistakes and showing our willingness to make things right.

Those who think they can lie without others are wrong. But those who think that others can survive without them are even more in error.

— Hasidic Folk Saying

In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.

— Ann Landers

Here are some questions to talk about with your families:

What does it mean to be responsible? What things are you responsible for: at home, with your friends, at school or at camp?

Think of a time when you have been blamed for something someone else did. Why didn’t that person take responsibility for their actions?

When you are on a team, you are responsible to that team — what happens if you cannot go to a game? Should you choose to go to a party instead of the game? If God is the owner of the earth, what is our role?

As you go through your days with your children, continue using the word “responsibility” (use the Hebrew as well) — no matter how young your children are, it helps to hear the words and to use them.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 24 April 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Hats off to Harry Kahn and The Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith who once again served the Jewish Family Services Senior Program and the senior Fort Worth community a wonderful Passover meal. Rabbi Ralph Mecklenberger of Beth-El Congregation led the service and Rabbi Andrew Bloom from Congregation Ahavath Sholom participated as well.

Debbie Gold Vest and her dad Dr. Harvey Vest, new to Fort Worth, enjoy the senior Passover Seder. | Photos: Courtesy of Hedy Collins

Debbie Gold Vest and her dad Dr. Harvey Vest, new to Fort Worth, enjoy the senior Passover Seder. | Photos: Courtesy of Hedy Collins

The meal was delicious, the Seder was meaningful and enjoyed by more than 100 people that were in attendance. A special thank you to the volunteers that served and helped clean up, took pictures, as well as the B’nai B’rith volunteers.

Hedy Collins, JFS senior director said, “It takes a village!! Thank you so much for everyone’s hard work and dedication in making the JFS Senior Program such a success.”

Honorable Menschen

The JFS Senior Program has been fortunate that Leah Gilstrap, who will celebrate her bat mitzvah this weekend, adopted the senior program for her mitzvah project. Last summer, Leah supplied fresh produce to seniors that she grew. It was organic and delicious.

Armen Cherkasov and Leo Faynbaum at the senior Passover Seder.

Armen Cherkasov and Leo Faynbaum at the senior Passover Seder.

Leah has made supplying the seniors with healthy food her mission. At Purim, the seniors were treated to sugar free hamantaschen and unbelievably, Leah raised fresh chickens for Passover. Every senior that wanted one was given a clean, ready for the pot — feet and all — chicken.

The seniors were so excited and thank Leah for her time and generosity. Many thanks to Leah’s parents, Mary and Guy Gilstrap as well for their help with all Leah’s endeavors and for raising such an unbelievable daughter and human being. Mazel tov to Leah and her folks on her bat mitzvah this weekend.

Around-the-Town2

Among the many activities Leah Gilstrap, center, engaged in with Fort Worth seniors is Bingo.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 17 April 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Ethel Gruen Honored at Yeshiva University Dallas Convocation

Good wishes to Dallas philanthropist and prominent member of our local Jewish community, Ethel Gruen, who was honored at a special March 19 reception at the Dallas home of Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg.

As a Yeshiva University benefactor, Mrs. Gruen received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from YU President Richard M. Joel in recognition of her contributions to the university. Her late husband, Ronald, (z’l”) received an honorary degree from Yeshiva at a 2004 Dallas convocation.

Joel stated that “Tonight, we again celebrate the ways in which the Yeshiva University and Gruen legacies have intertwined. Your contributions as Yeshiva University benefactors, primarily through the Ronald and Ethel Gruen Endowed Fund for the Advancement of Secondary Jewish Education, and most recently toward our high schools, have ensured that more young men and women emerge better prepared to fulfill their Torah-informed mandate to matter in the world.”

Throughout the years, Gruen has been actively involved in various local philanthropic ventures, including the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Akiba Academy of Dallas, Hadassah, Pioneer Women, Chabad of Dallas and B’nai B’rith.

President Joel continued to say that “Ethel, you have busied yourself with the sacred work of the Jewish people. As a true aristocrat of the spirit, you comport yourself not with a crown on your head, but with nobility in your heart.”

President Richard Joel presented Ethel Gruen with an honorary doctorate at the reception at the home of Ruth and Steven Rosenberg March 19. Pictured from left, Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Ethel Gruen and YU President Richard M. Joel. | Photo: Yeshiva University Yeshiva University

Yeshiva University President Richard Joel presented Ethel Gruen with an honorary doctorate at the reception at the home of Ruth and Steven Rosenberg March 19. Pictured from left, Ruthy and Steven Rosenberg, Dr. Herbert C. Dobrinsky, Ethel Gruen and YU President Richard M. Joel. | Photo: Yeshiva University

7th Annual End of School Year Bash scheduled for April 27

The Seventh annual End of School Year Bash, sponsored by Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Special Needs Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation (GGFD), promises to bowl a perfect game for the Texas special needs community.

More than 200 bowlers are expected to converge from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 27 at Bowlmore Dallas, 3805 Beltline Road in Addison, for a day of fun and fundraising. Pizza and drinks will be served, and trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top bowlers across age groups. Also included will be a silent auction for valuable prizes.

Participants are encouraged to arrive early to select their game balls and shoes. The event is open to the public and admission is $18, which includes bowling fees, shoes and snacks.

The seventh annual End of School Year Bash is presented to attract interest and generate funds to train educators on how to better teach and work with children with learning differences. During the past seven years, the GGFD Fund has raised more than $350,000, gifting dozens of grants to Jewish Family Service, area schools and institutions to train religious, preschool and day school teachers to enable children with learning challenges to be successful because “every child deserves a quality Jewish education.” Louis Zweig, and his wife Robin, founded the GGFD Fund in honor of their son, David, who has Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by social interaction difficulties and behavioral issues.

“Our goal for the program is to be a resource for every family with a child who has special needs and every teacher and staff person in the Dallas Jewish Community,” said Michael Fleisher, CEO of Jewish Family Service.

“With these efforts, students with special needs will reach their full potential through classes and activities that are inclusive, interactive and meaningful for all participants. Our objective is to ensure that every school, synagogue and organization can participate and succeed. We are very proud to be a partner of the Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Special Needs Fund, who has provided invaluable leadership to this effort, created momentum, provided essential funding and made an overall positive impact,” said Fleisher.

The need for awareness and resources in support of children with special needs continues to grow. Schools seek the ability to foster growth for students in their schools with special needs, and to recruit students whose needs are not being met with their current schools.

Sponsorship opportunities are encouraged and are available at different levels for groups of team attendees: Title Sponsor ($10,000); Presenting Sponsor ($5,000); 300 Sponsor ($3,000); 7-10 Split Sponsor ($1800); Gold Sponsor ($1,000); Silver Sponsor ($500); and Lane Sponsor ($250).

“We believe that one out of every 10 children have some sort of learning difference that is not properly addressed by preschools, day schools and religious schools,” said GGFD Fund co-founder, Louis Zweig. “We are focused on programs and resources that not only help the teachers, but also the parents and other students that are impacted with learning differences.”

Past recipients of GGFD grants include: Jewish Family Service, Congregation Shearith Israel, Tiferet Israel, Jewish Community Center Preschool, Anshai Torah, Congregation Beth Torah, Temple Emanu El, Temple Shalom, Akiba Academy, Levine Academy, Torah Day School, Adat Chaverim, Kol Ami and Shir Tikvah.

Title sponsors include Louis and Robin Zweig and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Presenting Sponsors are Dr. Jonathan and Andrea Bard. Among those included in the 300 additional sponsors are Jim Beam Spirits Co., Ruth Robinson/Robinson Family, Glazer’s Distributors, Lidji, Dorsey and Hooper, and Waldman Brothers. Martin and Susan Golman are 7-10 Split sponsors. Gold Sponsors include Jeff Chapman and family, Kenny and Sherry Goldberg, Stan and Barbara Levenson, Michael and Jane Hurst, Kahn Mechanical, Kirschner/Bookatz Foundation, Patrón Spirits Company, Jon and Kimberly Ross and Family, Beverly and Cary Rossel, Leslie and Howard Schultz, Jeff and Dolores Staffin, Shelly and Barbara Stein, Rob and Linda Swartz, David and Sandra Veeder, Dr. Brian and Lori Zweig and Harold and Ida Ann Zweig.

The GGFD Fund focuses on children with different forms of autism, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other neurological disorders.

If supporters are unable to attend the event, but wish to contribute, tax-deductible contributions of any size can be sent to: Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Education Fund C/O Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, 7800 Northaven Road, Dallas, TX 75230. The GGFD Grant Process for the next school year starts May 1. Submissions should be sent to Lzweig@glazers.com by July 1.

Diana Ross to headline Vogel Alcove’s Annual Arts Performance Event, April 23

Marion and Bennet and Glazer, Marianne and Staubach and David Weinreb are co-chairing the Vogel Alcove’s 23rd annual Arts Event at at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 23 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. This year’s event, presented by McKool Smith, features the iconic Diana Ross with a symphony accompaniment. Bennett Glazer is CEO of Glazers Distributers. Roger Staubach is the executive chairman for Jones Lang LaSalle, an NFL Football Hall of Fame member, SuperBowl MVP and two-times SuperBowl Champion. David Weinreb is the CEO of the Howard Hughes Corporation.

This is the Vogel Alcove’s largest fundraising event of the year, raising roughly half of the organization’s operating budget. This event has been touted as the 11th most powerful event in DFW by www.dvwmostpowerful.com.

Ross joins an impressive history of headliners including Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Kenny Loggins, Michael Bolton, Liza Minnelli, Johnny Mathis, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Marvin Hamlisch, Ray Charles and Itzhak Perlman.

The concert is soldout. For information about sponsorships are available and more information can be obtained by calling Vogel Alcove at 214-368-8686 or visiting www.vogelalcove.org/artsevent.

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Matzah Mania

Matzah Mania

Posted on 17 April 2014 by admin

Children and parents learned the art of making matzah just in time for Passover at the Matzah Bakery held from March 31 through April 6. The Aaron Family JCC and Chabad of Dallas partnered for this program that was held at the J.

Evan Bibbo | Photos: Courtesy of the J

Evan Bibbo | Photos: Courtesy of the J

Zalman Dubrawsky of Chabad of Dallas explains the art of making matzah to preschoolers at the J.

Zalman Dubrawsky of Chabad of Dallas explains the art of making matzah to preschoolers at the J.

A matzah masterpiece by Olivia Bedocs.

A matzah masterpiece by Olivia Bedocs.

Wyatt Gair, Peyton Campbell and Avi Levy work hard on their matzah.

Wyatt Gair, Peyton Campbell and Avi Levy work hard on their matzah.

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The scoop on Counting the Omer

The scoop on Counting the Omer

Posted on 17 April 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2Passover can be overwhelming — too many Jewish things to do. Can we do them all? Good question but the better question is why do them? Many mitzvot “make sense” — we get it so we are more comfortable in doing them. Some seem more like ritual that we question why and whether to do them. The wonderful thing about “free will” is that we get to choose, but the reality is that for every choice there is a consequence. Many people don’t worry about the consequences as much as they should but that is another lesson.

Most of us have had our seder or seders and we are either “keeping Passover” or not. No one should judge another but we must judge ourselves — why follow one law and not another?  How do we follow a tradition or ritual? Why do it? This brings us to the ritual of today: Counting the Omer. Do we do it because we know it and understand it and believe it is something we should do? Do we not do because we have never heard of it or because we have chosen not to do it? These are really the important questions. However, for those of you wondering what it is I’m even talking about, here is the scoop on Omer counting:

There is a special period between Passover and Shavuot called “sefirah” meaning counting. The practice is observed from the night of the second seder until the eve of Shavuot. We are counting the days on which the Omer offering of the new barley crop was brought to the Temple — this connects the Exodus from Egypt to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Tradition has it that the Israelites were told that the Torah would be given to them 50 days after the exodus. They were so eager about it that they began to count the days, saying, “Now we have one day less to wait for the giving of the Torah.” The Torah text for this is Leviticus 23:15-16.

Throughout time, this period has been a sad reminder of the many massacres in Jewish history in the distant past and now in modern times. During this time period we observe by refraining from joyous events and other customs. The one “day off” is Lag B’Omer, which is the 33rd day.

Now you know the background but the question remains on adding this ritual to your lives. I recommend Google — find the commentary both ancient and modern. See what meanings have been given. Sometimes you have to do a ritual to find the meaning. Try it and you may find meaning for yourself and your family!

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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A confluence of faiths

A confluence of faiths

Posted on 17 April 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebHere we are, just a short time away from Yom HaShoah, the day commemorating the extraordinary suffering of our people in modern times. When I saw the film “Torn,” I was reminded again about the extraordinary suffering of Jewish parents who gave away their children in order to give them the gift of life.

In “Torn,” a mother entrusts her infant son to neighbors. “Keep him,” she says. “You can raise him Catholic. He might even grow up to become a priest.” And he did. He didn’t learn he was born Jewish until, long after committing to serve the Church, his adoptive father made a deathbed revelation. The priest, indeed, became “torn” between his two faiths.

I thought again of him when I saw “The Jewish Cardinal.” This film tells of Aaron Lustiger, son of a Holocaust survivor father and a mother swept away in a Nazi “action” while her husband had gone off to seek safe haven for their son. This boy also became Catholic, but by choice: He knew he was a Jew, but opted for his adopted faith. As Jean-Marie rather than Aaron, Lustiger became “like Jesus,” he said: a born Jew ultimately serving another faith in its highest places.

“Torn” makes me think about Holocaust Remembrance Day; Lustiger’s story resonates for me now, in the middle of Pesach, with echoes of both Chanukah and Purim.

As an American Jewish child during World War II, I knew nothing of the European Shoah. At Chanukah , we lit candles, spun our dreidels, ate latkes and sang holiday songs, among them “O Hanukkah,” whose English lyrics incorporate the rhyming “menorah” and “hora.” But in those days, my Boubby the Philospher taught it to me in Yiddish: “Oy Chanukah — a Yontov, a shayner, a lustiger, a freilicher…”

Wait a minute! “Shayn” means “pretty”! “Freilich” means “happy”! And “Lustig,” meaning “fun,” is the German root of the Jewish Cardinal’s surname! Long before him, that word had crossed cultures and passed into Yiddish, so Father Lustiger is grammatically related to our happy, laugh-filled Chanukah holiday!

But life for the French-born Lustiger was not always full of happy laughter. Although he rose in the priesthood to become Archbishop of Paris and a personal adviser/confident to Pope John Paul II, many Jews and Catholics alike questioned his self-proclaimed dual identity. (An old Yiddish proverb reminds us that no one can dance at two weddings at the same time; Lustiger must have realized that himself when, refusing his father’s deathbed request of his only son, he was able go to the cemetery, but found himself unable to say Kaddish.)

The Jewish Cardinal died himself in 2007, by then on no better terms with the Pope than he had been with his flesh-and-blood father. But this high-level Catholic alienation is what makes me think of Purim. Lustiger became the key figure in a major Church-related Polish-Jewish controversy; he was the one who insisted most effectively that the nuns who had set up a convent on Auschwitz soil should be moved elsewhere. Yes, nuns pray for everyone, he acknowledged. But what the Jewish Cardinal called “the world’s largest Jewish cemetery” was not the place for a Catholic house of worship that would, by its very nature, damp down the necessary, sacred emphasis on the atrocities committed there.

So I see Lustiger as a latter-day Esther. His own Jewish conscience was his Mordecai, reminding him that perhaps he had been raised to high estate in the Church for this very task, something only he could take on and successfully complete.

We know hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, we can trace what seems inevitable after the fact: A Jew becomes a Queen, a Jew becomes a Cardinal; neither can deny the responsibility life foists upon them. Esther saved her people. Jean-Marie, nee Aaron, saved his people’s collective memory. And his last request was that Kaddish be said for him — at Auschwitz.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 17 April 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Chag Sameach! We are putting the paper to bed a day early, in advance of Passover, but I am eagerly anticipating the reunion of the Wisches, Bogarts, Beckermans and Levines later. Joining us at our Seder table will be my sisters Susan Wisch and Judy Wisch as well as dear friends, Greta Beckerman, Neil Beckerman, Heidi and Michael Kirby, Ruthie and Larry Currie and son Michael Mooney, and Robin Levine Steinberg and her kids, Margot Hershman and Sonny Steinberg. Such a treat to have him nearby. Also thrilled to have my in-laws, Jordan Ray, Jane Ray, Janice Moss, Orlene Roth; cousins Barry Pierce and Richard Kahn and their daughter Sydney, as well as Maria and Scott Christiansen. Hope your time with family and friends this holiday is an enjoyable one as well.

Stephanie Berlin Loovis receives BBG Advisor of the Year Award

ATT3Mazal Tov to Stephanie Berlin Loovis, daughter of Gail and Larry Berlin of Arlington, who was presented with the International BBG Advisor of the Year Award at the 2014 International BBYO Convention in Dallas held in mid-February. Stephanie is an a alumna of Alton Silver BBG and the advisor of Sally Blum BBG in Dallas.

Planting seeds of tikkun olam

CAS Religious School Students recently planted vegetables in Gan Ahavath Sholom with Martis Herman, engaging in hands-on learning about tikkun olam (fixing the world) by caring for the environment and donating fresh vegetables to the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Yasher Koach!

Springtime planters at Ahavath Sholom are front row, from left, Jacob Levy, Lia Bloom, Jacqueline Herman and Dafna Schwartz; back row, from left Hili Dackman, Levi Dackman, Molly Zavala, Nadav Ninio, Samantha Ratner, Zachary Marks, Ofek Ben-David, Alon Schwartz, Ethan Bailey and Gabe Marks

Springtime planters at Ahavath Sholom are front row, from left, Jacob Levy, Lia Bloom, Jacqueline Herman and Dafna Schwartz; back row, from left Hili Dackman, Levi Dackman, Molly Zavala, Nadav Ninio, Samantha Ratner, Zachary Marks, Ofek Ben-David, Alon Schwartz, Ethan Bailey and Gabe Marks

Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s Ladies Auxiliary Annual Donor Lunch was held March 30 with columnist Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News. Pictured from left are Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Dave Lieber, Jody Berger, Ladies Auxiliary president and Dr. Murray Cohen, Congregation Ahavath Sholom president

Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s Ladies Auxiliary Annual Donor Lunch was held March 30 with columnist Dave Lieber of the Dallas Morning News. Pictured from left are Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Dave Lieber, Jody Berger, Ladies Auxiliary president and Dr. Murray Cohen, Congregation Ahavath Sholom president

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