Archive | May, 2014

Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 22 May 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Laurie Blum was honored as a “Mother of the Year” by Easter Seals May 7. The award was presented at the annual “Hats Off to Mothers” luncheon at Colonial Country Club, where more than 250 people gathered to celebrate.

“Hats Off” to Easter Seals Mother of the Year awardee Laurie Blum, far right, pictured with her family, from left, daughter Elizabeth Savetsky, husband Marvin Blum and granddaughter Stella Savetsky. | Photo: Courtesy of Marvin Blum

“Hats Off” to Easter Seals Mother of the Year awardee Laurie Blum, far right, pictured with her family, from left, daughter Elizabeth Savetsky, husband Marvin Blum and granddaughter Stella Savetsky. | Photo: Courtesy of Marvin Blum

There was a video tribute to Laurie narrated by her husband Marvin, son Adam Blum of Austin, and daughter Elizabeth Savetsky of New York. Also attending as the main guest of honor was granddaughter Stella Savetsky of New York.

Accepting the award, Laurie spoke about her recipe for happy motherhood, offering “Life Lessons from My Kitchen to Yours.” She recognized the key people in her life who make her life rich and sweet, including her mother-in-law Elsie Blum, her three sisters, her sister-in-law Lea Ann Blum, and all her girlfriends.

Laurie’s main tribute went to her mother Aimee Kriger who worked tirelessly throughout her life doing one-on-one charity, setting an amazing example of generosity and kindness for Laurie and her three sisters.

Laurie was honored to promote the cause of Easter Seals, which for 75 years has been providing hope and opportunities to advance the independence of individuals with disabilities and other special needs.

Congratulations to Laurie!

‘Beaufort’ next installment of the CAS Showtimes Film series

Congregation Ahavath Sholom will show the seventh film in its 2014 SHOWTIMES Film Series, “Beaufort,” at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, June 1 at the synagogue, 4050 S. Hulen St.

“Beaufort” takes place in the year 2000, the year of the Israeli Defense Forces withdrawal from Southern Lebanon. This film describes the soldiers’ feelings and fears, and explores their moral dilemmas in the days preceding the end of the 18-year Israeli conflict with South Lebanon. “Beaufort” has been compared to the U.S. film “Hurt Locker.”

This film is sponsored by the Southwest Jewish Congress (SWJC), and CEO, Lt. Col. (res.) Gil Elan, will lead the discussion after the showing of the film. Elan, whose Middle East Briefing appears in the TJP every week, spent many years in the IDF and he knows firsthand the Beaufort story, and CAS very fortunate to have him coming to lead the conversation about the film. His insights will be invaluable.

All of the Showtimes Film Series films are free, so are the refreshments. Everyone in the community is invited Please mark your calendars now!

Thank you to committee members Michal Bloom, Liz Chesser, Bootsie Coggan, Hedy Collins, Kim Goldberg, Lisa Laudato, Foster Owen, Dr. Jane Pawgan, Debby Rice, Reggie Rog, Jayna Sosland, Jim Stansbury, Sheila Stocker, Roz Vaden and Stephanie Zavala.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s 2014 Showtimes Film Series is funded by Congregation Ahavath Sholom as well as the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, and their help is appreciated.

For more information please call Congregation Ahavath Sholom at 817-731-4721.

See you at the movies!

Lil Goldman ELC celebrates 20th consecutive year of formal accreditation

As of April 21, Lil Goldman Early Learning Center received official notification that its longstanding accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has been formally approved for renewal.

Accreditation is determined through a careful analysis a school’s curriculum, assessments, professional development, communication and financial legitimacy. The Lil Goldman Early Learning Center received exceptional remarks in every category, some of which are included below for your enjoyment.

The Lil Goldman Early Learning Center is one of only two preschools in the Fort Worth area to receive accreditation from SACS. SACS is also the accreditation held by the beloved Horned Frogs of Texas Christian University.

Kudos to everyone who assisted in pulling the document together directly or indirectly as collaboration is crucial for success.

Some of the comments from the SAC included:

“The school is commended for its timely and effective manner.”

“Lil Goldman Early Learning Center has proved its effective acceptance of outside direction and the ability to work quickly and seemingly happily in order to achieve continued improvement for all stakeholders of the teaching/learning process.”

“The strategies implemented to meet the needs for the Required Action are impressive. The school is commended for the strategies implemented…Good Job Lil Goldman.”

“AdvancED is proud of the school and its affiliation with the AdvancED Accreditation Process.”

The Lil Goldman Early Learning Center is proud to be accredited by such a highly esteemed association; Cheers to another 20 years!

Larry Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence a success

Community members turned out to hear this year’s Larry Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Jonathan Adelman, at Beth-El Congregation May 15. Adelman spoke about Israel’s relationship with the world outside of the Middle East and the United States. He focused on Israel’s relationships with Russia, China and India. It was an insightful presentation with a lively question and answer period after the talk. Attendees were also treated to a dessert reception with more one-on-one time with Adelman.

The event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation with financial assistance from the Larry Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence fund. Kudos to the planning committee: Arnie Barkman, Rhoda Bernstein, Stephanie Dubinsky, Louis Schultz, and Len Schweitzer for picking such a wonderful speaker and planning a beautiful reception.

CAS Religious School ninth-12th graders volunteered at Tarrant Area Food Bank as part of their tzedakah project last moth. They have been working hard to raise money for the “Backpacks For Kids” Program. Pictured from left, front row: Ted Herman, Hannah Stansbury and Nancy Stansbury; second row, from left: Misti Berman, Sarah Silverberg, Molly Karten, Mona Karten and Cantor Shoshana Abrams Kaikov; back row, from left, Cody Berman, Isaac Landy, David Saul, Scott Berger and Ben Berger. | Photo: Courtesy of Cantor Shoshana Abrams Kaikov

CAS Religious School ninth-12th graders volunteered at Tarrant Area Food Bank as part of their tzedakah project last moth. They have been working hard to raise money for the “Backpacks For Kids” Program. Pictured from left, front row: Ted Herman, Hannah Stansbury and Nancy Stansbury; second row, from left: Misti Berman, Sarah Silverberg, Molly Karten, Mona Karten and Cantor Shoshana Abrams Kaikov; back row, from left, Cody Berman, Isaac Landy, David Saul, Scott Berger and Ben Berger. | Photo: Courtesy of Cantor Shoshana Abrams Kaikov

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 22 May 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

The occasion of a bar or bat mitzvah is truly a pinnacle in a young person’s life. Fortunately, I’ve been blessed to watch many in my own family, as well as friends cross the threshold into young adulthood and comprehend the true mitzvah of it.

Zach Bernstein pictured with his dad Josh was the top fundraiser on the Feisty Devils MS 150 bike team, raising more than $6,200.

Zach Bernstein pictured with his dad Josh was the top fundraiser on the Feisty Devils MS 150 bike team, raising more than $6,200.

That being said, I’d like to share the following with you, not because he is my grandson, Zachary Bernstein, but because his efforts were unselfish and his tenacity unwavering. Zach’s thoughts appear below:

“Wow!!! We did it!!  I was nervous and uncomfortable at first, but as the race went on, I got more used to my surroundings and kept pedaling on!! My dad and I ended up biking 43 miles in the race. We biked to the second rest stop, took a van to the fifth rest stop and then biked into the finish at the Texas Motor Speedway. It was very hard to do the 43 miles, but knowing that I raised so much money for such a good cause with your help was my motivation for me to go as far as I did….Thanks to your donation, I became the top fundraiser on my team, the Feisty Devils. I ‘took down’ the previous top fundraiser, who is the captain of the team, and became the top fundraiser. There are over 80 people on the Feisty Devils; so being all the way at the top is very hard. I also got the award for the most inspirational rider.

“On behalf of everyone living with multiple sclerosis, thank you for your generous donation in support of my Bike MS fundraising!  Not only did your donation help me exceed my fundraising goal of $5,000, it helped support cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every dollar helps.  Every person makes a difference.”

Early in January, Zach’s uncle, Jed Bernstein, obm a seemingly healthy 42-year-old, passed away without warning. Jed’s participation in the MS Race was legendary. Zach made a promise, along with his dad, Josh Bernstein, to be a participant in the race in Jed’s memory. Zach succeeded in raising approximately $6,200. In addition to this writer, he is the grandson of Eli Davidsohn and Mel and Barbara Bernstein. Congratulations to Zach for fulfilling his mitzvah project and for being a true mensch.

Dallas leaders attended the JCCA Biennial March 28-April 1 in San Diego, California. Pictured left to right: Scott Cohen, Kenny Goldberg, Sherry Goldberg, Neil Beckerman, Angela Horowitz, Jack Baum, The J’s President Artie Allen and Jay Liberman. | Photo credit JCCA

Dallas leaders attended the JCCA Biennial March 28-April 1 in San Diego, California. Pictured left to right: Scott Cohen, Kenny Goldberg, Sherry Goldberg, Neil Beckerman, Angela Horowitz, Jack Baum, The J’s President Artie Allen and Jay Liberman. | Photo credit JCCA

JCC receives multiple awards at JCCA Biennial convention

The Jewish Community Center of Dallas (The J) has returned from the JCC Association (JCCA) Biennial with three awards in excellence. As the name implies, the JCCA Biennial is a national gathering held every two years as an opportunity for lay leaders and staff alike to learn about innovative JCC programs and services, receive leadership education, share best practices within the industry and to build a lasting sense of camaraderie among colleagues. This year’s event was held March 28-April 1 in San Diego.

During the Biennial, The J was recognized for three excellence awards. The first was for “Programmatic Excellence and User Engagement” for its Parents Showcase Week, which provides parents and children with an opportunity to present and share their special activities at the J — including events ranging from preschool time to pool activities. The second award was for “Push Media,” given for its innovative new e-blast, “The J HOTBOX Weekly” that keeps members up to date on the breadth of the center’s programs, courses and activities. Lastly, it was recognized for its “J Idol” Fundraiser. Inspired by reality show talent competitions such as “American Idol,” this event highlighted local amateur talent, while raising funds for the organization and providing the community with an entertaining and engaging evening.

Ten Dallas lay leaders attended the Biennial along with JCC President Artie Allen. The leaders included: Board Chair Scott Cohen, Jay Liberman, Neil Beckerman, Jack Baum, Angela Horowitz, Sherry Goldberg, Doug French, Mona Allen and Kenny Goldberg. All had positive feedback about the opportunity to learn about the future of JCC culture.

“The Biennial proved to be a valuable experience for both staff and lay leadership,” said Liberman. “Collaborating with JCCA staff and leadership of JCCs throughout the country, we gained valuable perspective on our beloved Aaron Family JCC. We return better equipped to evaluate current programs and practices, but also with new ideas and visions for the future.”

Baum agreed adding, “I have been to multiple JCCA Biennials as well as other Jewish nonprofit conferences. This one was the first to exceed my expectations. The learning from the facilitators as well from each other was priceless. I would recommend attending the next JCCA Biennial to any Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders. I thought the J Talks sessions captured the spirit of all that the conference aspired to convey. They were outstanding.”

Among the highlights of lecturers, guest speakers and various education workshops was a presentation from Dr. Ron Wolfson author of “Relational Judaism: Using the Power of Relationships to Transform the Jewish Community.”

“My favorite part of the conference was the opening plenary address by Dr. Wolfson [explaining what] ‘Relational Judaism’ can do for Jewish communities across the globe,” said Sherry Goldberg, who has been attending biennials for 30 years. “ [He also] spoke of how important relationships are in life, and how the relationships we build and nurture will be the key to bringing people back to those facilities and programs that brought us together in the first place. It was a wonderful lesson to communicate to our JCC communities!”

Following on the heels of the Biennial, further details about the upcoming JCC Maccabi Games were announced, including the selection of Dallas lay leader Steve Schneider to join the Sports Advisory Council (SAC), the national committee responsible for the athletic competitions at each of the JCC Maccabi Games.

“The SAC selects the sports, creates the format and rules for the competitions and oversees the games, with a focus on the Jewish values and Olympic spirit that make the JCC Maccabi Games such an exciting and inspirational experience for everyone involved,” explains Schneider. “I have admired their work for many years, especially the emphasis on inclusiveness, fairness and compassion, which are some of the most important Jewish values, not just in sports competition but also in life. It’s an honor to be asked to serve on the SAC at the national level, and I am proud that the JCCA continues to recognize the Dallas JCC as a valued partner and a source of people who can help make a meaningful contribution to the Maccabi Games and to the national community.”

The 2014 JCC Maccabi Games will be held in three host communities: Boca Raton, Fla.; Cherry Hill, N.J.; and Detroit. The J will send 100 local athletes to the games in Boca Raton held August 10-15, 2014 as it prepares to host the 2015 games in Dallas.

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Never too late

Never too late

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2As we get ready for school to end and camp to begin, music fills the air. “Pomp and Circumstance” may be the song of the day, but for camp kids it’s time to practice those great camp songs to get in the mood.

“The Cat Came Back” may be a favorite song but there are songs that we sing that teach us important lessons.

This song is one of many with the words from Pirke Avot 1:14. The song helps us understand the meaning of Hillel’s words. We begin by taking each part alone and ask why this question is asked.

  • If I am not for myself, who will be for me? What does it mean to take care of yourself first? Why is this the first message given?
  • If I am only for myself, what am I? What is our responsibility for others? Why is it important to care for others?
  • If not now, when? Why do we put things off for another day? It is important to act today for ourselves and for others.
  • Last question: why did Hillel put these three questions together?

‘Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li’ by Debbie Friedman

Im ein a-ni li mi li.
Uch’she ani l’atzmi ma ani
V’im lo achshav eimatai
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Hillel was a Rabbi and he taught us what to do.
The first part of his lesson said: you must be true to you.
You have to like yourself if you expect that others should.
Having self-respect is something special, something good. CHORUS
 
Myself is something special, it’s the place I have to start.
But Hillel said we must make room for others in our heart.
Yes, love yourself but care and share — don’t lock the others out.
Caring for yourself and others is what life’s all about. CHORUS
 
Life is short, the time flies by, and just before you know.
Today becomes last week and then a long, long time ago.
Hillel said: Do what you must — act now, today, don’t wait!
Decide what is important — do it now, it’s not too late. CHORUS

This Mishnah is important to learn and remember throughout life — in school, children strive to succeed and learn for their future, but at camp we learn that as important as “myself” is, we are all part of community!

This is true throughout our lives!

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Now that Mother’s Day has officially passed, it makes me wonder why every day isn’t Mother’s Day?

It’s not just the cards, flowers and commercialism of the holiday — but my thought is that those of us who are mothers have earned our “stripes and stretch marks” and it would be nice to be recognized daily, monthly, quarterly or at any time for surviving the boot camp of colic, diaper changes, high fevers, teenage angst, etc.

The job of being a “mom” is never over, and the older one’s children get, the harder the questions become, and we turn to listening instead of answering.

I try very hard to practice “restraint of pen and tongue,” but it is not always easy.

Now I find myself in a “middle-aged” boot camp with a new group of questions from the youngest generation in my family, and the answers come more cautiously and tempered to simply satisfy the curiosity of each of the nine grandchildren.

I may have broken a sweat a couple of times, but I haven’t had any complaints from their parents yet.

Irv Munn recognized as Five Star Wealth Manager

Good wishes to Irving Munn, a Certified Financial Planner™, who has been named as a recipient of the 2014 Five Star Wealth Manager award.

Five Star Professional partnered with Texas Monthly Magazine to find wealth managers who satisfy 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria that are associated with wealth managers who provide quality services to their clients. Fewer than 4 percent of the wealth managers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were selected. Award winners will appear in the August issue of Texas Monthly Magazine.

Award selection for nominated wealth managers are based on satisfying the following criteria: credentialed as an investment advisory representative, a FINRA-registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards, and accepting new clients.

Other criteria considered are one and five-year client retention rate, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served, and education and professional designations.

This award is bestowed by an independent third party organization not affiliated with Raymond James.

Irv is the president of Munn & Morris Financial Advisors. The firm is comprised of a team of private wealth managers that help high net worth individuals manage and coordinate their financial affairs.

Irv said, “The key to long-term growth is to avoid large losses. Our proprietary investment process incorporates an exit strategy to make the portfolio conservative when there is a strong indication of a significant market downturn. We also deploy tactical modifications designed to improve performance by over-weighting asset classes that are currently outperforming.”

Irv received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his master’s degree from the University of Texas. He is also a CPA, but recently sold his accounting firm to devote more time to financial planning. He has been a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services for 16 years.

Munn & Morris Financial Advisors is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Securities are offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.

Munn & Morris Financial Advisors is located at 14180 Dallas Parkway, Suite 530, Dallas. For further information, contact Irv Munn at 972-692-0909 or imunn@munnmorris.com.

Legacy Preston Hollow cited by national magazine

Kudos to The Legacy Preston Hollow, recently named one of the best nursing homes in the country for 2014, by U.S. News & World Report.

The list is based on a review of community scores determined by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The three main categories considered are health inspections, nurse staffing and quality measures. Nearly 16,000 nursing homes across the United States were evaluated and only 3,800 made the cut.

JWVA to host annual membership brunch June 1

The ladies of the Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary will host their annual membership drive brunch at the beautiful Belmont Village Senior Living Sunday, June 1, 2014.

The event includes a champagne brunch sponsored by Belmont, entertainment and a door prize. The brunch is by invitation only.

For additional information about the organization or questions regarding membership, please contact Lynn Teitelbaum at 972- 233-8937 for an invitation. The ladies are looking forward to seeing a lot of new faces and expanding their membership.

DJCF annual scholarship reception will be held May 20

The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation 2014-2015-scholarship reception will be at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 20 at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.

Scholarships, ranging from $500 to $10,000, will be awarded based on financial need, academic merit, involvement in extracurricular activities and community service. Some scholarships are university specific, but most allow study at the college or university of the recipient’s choice.

More than $132,000 in scholarships funds will be awarded and the community is invited to attend.

Please RSVP by May 16 to Natasha Shovar at nshovar@djcf.org or 214-615-9351.

Save the date

*Matthew Kalman, foreign correspondent from Jerusalem, will speak on “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: Combating the War Against Israel’s Right to Exist,” at the annual meeting of AJC, American Jewish Committee, at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 29. The event will be held at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Avenue, Dallas.

*On June 1, the Texas Friends of Rabin Medical Center will be hosting its third annual tribute evening at the Winspear Opera House, honoring Ron Haddock, executive chairman of AEI Services, LLC.

Upstander Speaker Series starts tonight, May 15

Award-winning author and journalist Philip Gourevitch is the inaugural speaker at the three-part Upstander Speaker Series presented by The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.

The program is part of the organization’s continuing commitment to inspire people to think about the consequences of their choices by remembering and teaching the Holocaust and other genocides.

Gourevitch will speak on Rwandan Genocide, from 6:30- 8 p.m., tonight, May 15 at SMU’s Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 31140 Dyer Street, Dallas. Admission is $10 and free for DHM/CET members and SMU students.

The Upstander Speaker Series, held throughout the year, will feature outstanding speakers who will offer remarkable stories of courage, reconciliation and the power of simple human dignity. While the speakers’ backgrounds, experiences and stories are unique, they all share the message of hope.

Gourevitch is a nationally known journalist and author whose award-winning book, “We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families,” is considered one of the best accounts of the Rwandan genocide and its consequences. In his lecture, Gourevitch will examine how 20 years later, many survivors and perpetrators of the genocide are living peacefully side by side.

The fall lecture will take place in September and feature speaker Dorothy (Dori) Budd, local author of “Tested: How Twelve Wrongly Imprisoned Men Held onto Hope.” Budd is a former child sex crimes prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office.

The winter lecture will be in December and feature Harry Wu, director of the Laogai Research Foundation and the author several books including “Bitter Winds,” a memoir of his years of imprisonment in the Chinese labor camps.

More information on the Upstander Speaker Series and details about the individual lectures can be found at www.dallasholocaustmuseum.org.

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Bowl-a-thon raises $72,000

Bowl-a-thon raises $72,000

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

One of the most impactful family programs benefiting the North Texas community for the past seven years is the Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Special Needs Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and the Special Needs Partnership of Jewish Family Service.

On Sunday, April 27, more than 200 bowlers participated in the annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bash benefit hosted at Bowlmor Dallas in Addison. “The turnout was amazing and everyone had a fantastic time bowling, competing, winning and donating to a great cause,” said Co-Founder Louis Zweig. This year’s tournament and silent auction raised $72,000 that will help fund dedicated resources and startup programs for schools. It will also fund educational seminars and training days to further develop classroom and teacher strategies for learning differences such as autism/Asperger’s syndrome, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other learning differences and neurological disorders.

The Fund is a 501 C 3 organization housed within the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation and during the past seven years it has raised more than $400,000.

The GGFD Fund focuses on children with different forms of autism, ADD/ADHD, dyslexia and other neurological disorders. If supporters were 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, 12700 Hillcrest Road, Suite 201, Dallas, TX 75230.

For more information on the Gladys Golman/Faye Dallen Special Needs Fund, please contact Louis Zweig at lzweig@glazers.com.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Udman and his family came out to support the 7th Annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bowling Bash Sunday, April 27. Pictured from left, back row: Hudi, Yerachmiel, Binyomin; middle row: Laya and Leeba; front row: Goldie, Fraidy and Rina. | Photos: Courtesy of Levenson PR

Rabbi Yerachmiel Udman and his family came out to support the 7th Annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bowling Bash Sunday, April 27. Pictured from left, back row: Hudi, Yerachmiel, Binyomin; middle row: Laya and Leeba; front row: Goldie, Fraidy and Rina. | Photos: Courtesy of Levenson PR

The top three “Over 18” bowlers, from left, Jonathan Cohen, Jeff Zlotky and Brian Zweig.

The top three “Over 18” bowlers, from left, Jonathan Cohen, Jeff Zlotky and Brian Zweig.

Community Homes for Adults (CHAI House) residents enjoyed a fun afternoon at the 7th Annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bowling Bash Sunday, April 27. Pictured from left are Lisa Cooper, Morris Tauben and Josh Garner.

Community Homes for Adults (CHAI House) residents enjoyed a fun afternoon at the 7th Annual Zweig Family End of School Year Bowling Bash Sunday, April 27. Pictured from left are Lisa Cooper, Morris Tauben and Josh Garner.

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Alan Dershowitz’s Dallas Dialogue

Alan Dershowitz’s Dallas Dialogue

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebAlan Dershowitz blew into Dallas for one evening at the end of April. He did not enter like Yankee Doodle “riding on a pony,” but he just as well might have because he evoked that kind of stir among the legal community gathered to hear what he had to say.

The event was offered by SMU as part of its Roy R. Ray Endowed Lecture Series, which is devoted to legal matters. This most recent was held at the Belo Mansion downtown, where the Dallas Bar Association is headquartered. Start time was set at 6 p.m. for the convenience of the many attorneys officing nearby.

I’m no lawyer; I went to hear whatever Dershowitz had to say, no matter the topic. My husband is; he wanted to hear what Dershowitz had to say on the evening’s topic: Constitutional Law and Interpretation. The program was billed as a dialogue on this subject between Dershowitz, distinguished Harvard Law School professor, and Lackland Bloom, Jr., a similarly distinguished professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

The bios of both men as described in the program booklet were filled with distinguishment. (No such word, you say? Well, now would be a good time to make it up!). But Dershowitz, as the “visiting fireman,” rated significantly more ink.

A notable excerpt referred to his receiving the ADL’s William O. Douglas First Amendment Award back in 1983 for “compassionate eloquent leadership and persistent advocacy in the struggle for civil and human rights.”

Elie Wiesel made that presentation with these words: “If there had been a few people like Alan Dershowitz during the 1930s and 1940s, the history of European Jewry might have been different.”

There was also a bit of humor: Dershowitz “has been the subject of two New Yorker cartoons, a New York Times crossword puzzle and a Trivial Pursuit question. And a sandwich at Boston’s Fenway Park has been named after him — pastrami, of course.”

One of the first things Dershowitz did was tear apart that old saw about sticks and stones hurting one’s bones, but names — never. There’s plenty of hate speech about today that hurts many people plenty, he said; but with the “N-word” and a few others virtually already banished from the American English vocabulary, and with growing intolerance of vocal Holocaust deniers, there’s now enough common law to invite some real legislation.

Although he didn’t overemphasize either his Judaism or Israel, one of the main items Dershowitz hit home about was Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s attitude on matters of religion.

Reminding the audience that Scalia has said he would leave the Court if his vital Catholicism should come into serious conflict with a matter before it, Dershowitz spoke against him on a subject that has already been considered by the High Court: when, if ever, should a criminal’s death sentence, handed down after a fair jury trail, be reconsidered.

On this subject, Scalia had quoted St. Thomas Aquinas, who declared that it was not a sin to execute an innocent man if he had been found guilty through proper procedures; Dershowitz stressed that Aquinas said it was not a sin to execute a guilty man ONLY if it was not known at the time of execution that the man might be innocent. (Let’s pause at this juncture to remind ourselves that the word “catholic,” with a small initial “c,” means being all-inclusive, useful and fair to everyone…)

I do wish Dershowitz’s appearance here in Dallas had come a bit later than April 28. I would love to have heard him render in person his opinion of the May 5 Greece versus Galloway decision that will now allow sectarian prayers at public meetings — as long as such prayers don’t coerce participation from those in attendance who are not adherents to the faith of those who offer them. The Court’s vote was a tight 5-4, with Justice Scalia on the razor-thin majority side.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Kornbleet Scholar Jonathan Adelman will speak on Israel

Tonight at 7 p.m. at Beth-El Congregation, professor Jonathan Adelman, the 2014 Kornbleet Scholar, will speak about Israel’s position in the world outside of the United States and the Middle East.

A full professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, Adelman has been made an honorary professor at both Peking University and People’s University in Beijing.

Having received four degrees from Columbia University, he has written or edited 12 books. In the last year he has written nine op-eds on the Middle East, China and Russia, five of which appeared on CNN.com (three on Fared Zacharias’ blog) and the other four on the websites of the Huffington Post, Forbes, UPI and Reuters. In the last two years he has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News. He also is working on two books, one of which will be entitled “Crushing the Revolution: The Role of the Military in Revolutionary.”

2014 Sulam graduates and their teachers, back row, from left, Chad Herman, Rabbi Andrew Bloom, President Dr. Murray Cohen, Sonny Brister, Jodi Berger and Katrina Diaz; front row, from left Martis Herman, Rhoda Bernstein, Stephanie Zavala, Shirley Ben David, Elizabeth Chesser and Penny Brister. | Photo: Michel Bloom

2014 Sulam graduates and their teachers, back row, from left, Chad Herman, Rabbi Andrew Bloom, President Dr. Murray Cohen, Sonny Brister, Jodi Berger and Katrina Diaz; front row, from left Martis Herman, Rhoda Bernstein, Stephanie Zavala, Shirley Ben David, Elizabeth Chesser and Penny Brister. | Photo: Michel Bloom

Rising leaders at Ahavath Sholom complete Sulam

Mazel tov to recent Sulam leadership training graduates. Sulam is a six week intensive course initially structured by the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and adapted by Congregation Ahavath Sholom. This program is based upon Jewish text and deals with all aspects of leadership. Sulam refers to “Going up the Ladder” and each participant will be involved in a specific role at the synagogue. Instructors were Rabbi Andrew Bloom and Rhoda Bernstein.

Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut observed

Hundreds of people stood in solidarity with Israel at the community Yom HaZikaron memorial service held at Congregation Ahavath Sholom May 3.

The flag-lowering ceremony, conducted by IDF representatives, led into an indoor service with beautiful music and remembrances.

Special thanks to Michal Bloom, Shoshana Howard, Rivka Marco, and Dorit Schwartz for planning such a meaningful morning.

Kudos also to Cantor Shoshanah Abrams-Kaikov, Monica Braverman, Eliza Williams, and the youth choirs of Congregation Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El Congregation for the beautiful music, and to all the clergy and participants that took time from their day to be a part of the observance.

This service was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial assistance from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.

Immediately following the Yom HaZikaron service the mood became more festive as Tarrant County Jews of all ages celebrated Israel’s 66th birthday across the street at Beth-El Congregation.

Karen Johnson, Ruth Levitz, Jay Feinberg, Klila Caplan, Dina Lindell, Nancy Blount, Murray Cohen, Robert Simon, and Ben Feld opened the festivities with a ceremonial candlelighting. These individuals were chosen for their ties to and support of Israel.

The end of the candlelighting signaled the beginning of lunch and the rest of the afternoon’s events.

Benji Lovitt, Israeli comedian from Dallas, kept the adults in stitches while kids played gaga and matkot and made t-shirts and bracelets.

The afternoon ended with an Israeli wine tasting presided over by Gilad Atlecevitz.

Special thanks to Ilana Knust, Will Kutler and Gilad Atlacevitz for planning the festive afternoon. This celebration was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.

Save the date: June 8 the twin cantors will perform at CAS

Congregation Ahavath Sholom will present “The Twin Cantors in Concert” at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 8 in the Barnett Sanctuary at the shul. The first in a series of performing arts celebrations at Ahavath Sholom, the concert will celebrate the melding of art and Judaica.

Share in this special gift to the community — a delightful concert featuring twin sisters, Congregation Ahavath Sholom Cantor Shoshana Abrams-Kaikov and her twin sister, Cantor Elisa Abrams Casuto of Congregation Beth Shalom in Wilmington, Del.

The sisters’ repertoire will be a Jewish musical journey around the world Ladino, Yiddish, Israeli and English. There will be a special appearance by the CAS Children’s Choir will also be featured.

Hard at work on the concert are committee members Mary Frances Antweil, Laurie Blum, Dr. Murray Cohen, Kim Goldberg, Marcia Kurtz, Ebi Lavi, Debby Rice and Michelle Youngblood.

The concert, sponsored in part by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and Congregation Ahavath Sholom, is free and open to the community.

For more information, please call 817-731-4721.

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Halachah and removing life support

Halachah and removing life support

Posted on 15 May 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear readers,

Since this question was submitted, the subject of the question has been disconnected from life support and passed on. We, nevertheless, present the question in the merit of the ethical lessons therein.

Rabbi Fried,

I am sure you have heard of the situation of the woman, Marlise Muñoz, in Fort Worth who is brain dead, but the hospital is keeping her alive since she is pregnant. Key facts in the situation are:

Mrs. Muñoz suffered what the doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism in November.

The doctors say she is brain dead.

Mr. Muñoz said his wife was clear that she would not want to be kept alive in those circumstances.

In November, when the event occurred, she was 14 weeks pregnant. The fetus still has a beating heart at 20 weeks old.

It is possible that when the woman stopped breathing and suffered oxygen deprivation, the fetus did too. The fetus could be in poor health, and if the baby is born alive, then it may have suffered debilitating brain damage which would lead to severe mental retardation and other physical problems.

The hospital claims the Texas Advance Directives Act is requiring them to keep the woman’s body alive since she is pregnant, others disagree and claim they are misinterpreting Texas law since she is already dead by legal definition.

My questions are:

What is the halachic position on this?

Can a body be kept on life support to keep a fetus alive?

Is there a point in the life of the fetus when the body must be kept alive (from 2 weeks of the first sign of pregnancy to term at 38 weeks)?

Can the family intervene and at what point does one party overrule the other: hospital, family, legislature and even the deceased person’s medical power of authority?

— Steve F.

Dear Steve,

friedforweb2The halachic position on this question is complicated for a variety of reasons. I subscribe to the position of my mentors that brain death does not constitute death; rather the cessation of cardio-pulmonary activity (This is unlike the official position of the Chief Rabbinate in Israel, and is a major debate in the halachic world). According to this, the existence of a fetus is a moot point; she would not be allowed to be detached from the ventilator by virtue of her own life.

The same mentors, however, concur that although they feel brain stem death is not the definition of death for a Jew; the gentile world is free to define the time of death as they see fit (for reasons out of the scope of this discussion). Therefore the question becomes relevant for a gentile under Torah law even given my halachic worldview. This is because Texas law defines brain stem death as a definition of death even when cardio-pulmonary activity continues artificially. (This is assuming the situation of brain death could be determined absolutely, something which is very questionable).

The Talmud states that if the death penalty is meted out to a pregnant woman, the court need not wait until she gives birth to carry out the penalty. (Arachin 7a, based upon a verse that the fetus, until birth, is considered “part” of the mother). The halachic authorities derive from this that one need not withhold the death of the mother in order to preserve the fetus. This leaves room for debate that although we do not need to keep her alive for the sake of the fetus, would we be allowed to do so? This needs much thought and a ruling, but it would seem that it is improper to do so since this would probably cause undue continued stress and pain to the mother. (The medical world recognizes the existence of pain to a brain-dead patient in many situations, and calls for the administering of anesthesia while harvesting the organs, something which, to me, casts aspersions on the concept of brain death).

Your final question is quite complicated to answer. The rule of thumb in halachah is that nobody has any say in allowing an act which would constitute, according to Jewish law, the cessation of life; this would be considered an act of murder. Whether to continue to artificially cause life to go on, or the delaying of death, is a different question which depends upon the situation and whether this can be accomplished by the lack of acting rather than performing an act.

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 yfried@sbcglobal.net.

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Why the bonfires on Lag B’Omer?

Why the bonfires on Lag B’Omer?

Posted on 08 May 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

In temple religious school, our teacher said that in Israel many people light bonfires on Lag B’Omer. She couldn’t really give the reason why they do that. Could you please explain the significance of lighting bonfires on Lag B’Omer?

— Whitney T. and Zachary W.

Dear Whitney and Zachary,

friedforweb2Next Saturday night and Sunday, May 17-18, mark the day on the Jewish calendar called Lag B’Omer. The day Lag B’Omer means the 33rd day of the “counting of the Omer,” a mitzvah we have discussed and explained last week. “Lag” means 33, as the numerical value of Lamed is 30, and that of Gimel is 3, hence Lamed Gimel of the Omer is the 33rd day of counting.

This day is significant on the Jewish calendar for two reasons. One, it is the day that the plague which took the lives of Rabbi Akiva’s 24,000 students came to an end. For this reason it is a day of happiness and rejoicing. This does not, however, explain why Jews around the world mark that rejoicing by lighting bonfires (Jews usually rejoice by eating!).

There was a second occurrence on this day. Lag B’Omer is the day that marks the passing of one of Rabbi Akiva’s greatest students, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, in the second century CE. Rabbi Shimon is most widely known as the author of the Zohar, the principal Kabbalistic text.

The day is not known as the “day of his death” by the Kabbalistic sages, but rather “the day of his joy.” This is due to the unique circumstances of his passing. On Lag B’Omer, R’ Shimon’s home was filled with students. He requested that all leave, besides his son and one student. The Zohar tells that when everyone left and the door was closed, his home became surrounded by fire, similar to the fire which burned on Mount Sinai when the Torah was given to the Jews. Rabbi Shimon then began to speak for hours, revealing the innermost hidden secrets of Kabbalah to his selected listeners who recorded his remarks. All these Kabbalistic, mystically profound ideas poured out of Rabbi Shimon with a joy and ecstasy above anything they had ever witnessed before. The fire was like another day of Sinai because the understanding of the innermost parts of the Torah was being given.

The Sefirah, or Heavenly trait, which is revealed on Lag B’Omer is called “Hod ShebeHod,” or the Beauty within the Beauty. This is referring to innermost beauty of the Torah, which was revealed by Rabbi Shimon on that day. When he finished, his soul, saturated with such an elevated holiness, could no longer stay within his physical, limiting body, and so his soul returned to its Maker. He said this should not be a day of sadness due to his passing, rather a day of joy for the revelation of the words of Torah which he taught.

For this reason bonfires are lit in Israel and throughout the world, reminiscent of the fire of Sinai surrounding the home of Rabbi Shimon on that day. Especially in Meron, the city of his burial, bonfires abound.

I sincerely hope you continue with your learning for many more years, and come to the true understanding of the Torah and its beauty.

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 yfried@sbcglobal.net.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 08 May 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

I am looking forward to Mother’s Day Sunday, when I head to the Rangers game with Benjamin, Sam and Jimmy.

They think they are the lucky ones!

Wishing all of you mamalas a wonderful day with your families.

Yom HaShoah observance

More than 100 people joined together at Congregation Beth Shalom for the Annual Yom HaShoah observance. Dr. Julian Haber gave a thought-provoking talk about two American liberators. Some of our local teenagers had the opportunity to speak with Holocaust survivors.

The program was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation and the Multicultural Alliance.

Tarrant County teens speak with Holocaust survivors as other members of the community look on.

Tarrant County teens speak with Holocaust survivors as other members of the community look on.

Daytimers will meet Wednesday

The Sylvia Wolens Daytimers will gather at noon, Wednesday, May 14 to lend an ear to Louise Lamensdorf. She will relate her experiences in becoming a noted Fort Worth chef and restaurateur. She will also be preparing a special luncheon for those who attend. The Daytimers program operates under the auspices of Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation, with support from the Jewish Federation. It provides weekday activities for those who are not comfortable or able to drive to evening activities. To join the mailing list, drop a note to daytimersFW@aol.com.

Dr. Bobby Brown signed autographs for Daytimers when he spoke at the monthly get-together in April.

Dr. Bobby Brown signed autographs for Daytimers when he spoke at the monthly get-together in April.

I am a bit behind on my reportage of last month’s Daytimers get-together submitted faithfully by Larry Steckler.

Hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks got more than 75 Fort Worth Daytimers into the spirit of the game as Dr. Bobby Brown, raconteur par excellence, spun more than an hour’s worth of his entrancing personal baseball experiences. Dr. Brown, a retired Fort Worth cardiologist, played baseball for the New York Yankees while studying medicine and earning his medical degree. He then went on to become president of the American League and later a vice president of the Texas Rangers.

Hugh Lamensdorf was the master of ceremonies for the day and Irv Robinson introduced Dr. Brown. Handling the incoming crowd at the door put Jacque Robinson and Lee Cohen to work. Edythe Cohen made sure that the crowd at the food table found everything they needed. As Bobby Brown related story after story about the people he played and roomed with, the entranced audience roared with delight as he offered up his personal interactions with baseball diamond stars that included Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra and Bob Feller. Dr. Brown also included several fascinating personal medical experiences along the way. There is not room here to include even a small sampling of his humor, but be aware, if you ever have the opportunity to hear him speak, do not miss it.

Some in the audience wore baseball-themed clothing to keep the mood alive. Dr. Brown autographed some baseballs, baseball caps, and whatever else folks presented for his signature. It was a truly exceptional event.

Press notes

Glimpsed May 1 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas were Susan Gilbert, Gail Granek, Joan Katz, Jeanie Luskey, Susan Luskey, Sandra Luskey, Rozanne Rosenthal, Roz Rosenthal, Selma Sherman and Dr. Carole Rogers.

They were in Big D for the JFS Dallas Woman to Woman Luncheon featuring Bette Midler. The Divine Miss M, was at her salty best and it was a fun afternoon for the 1,400-plus attendees in support of Jewish Family Service.

At the AIPAC breakfast held at the Intercontinental Hotel Sunday, it was great to see Elaine and Jim Stanton, Ellen and Bernie Appel, Bob Goldberg, and Kal and Karen Silverberg. I’m sure there were more among the 1,100 folks that gathered in support of Israel.

Seeing y’all sure brightened this writer’s day.

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