Archive | October, 2014

Beth Torah celebrates 40 years in Richardson

Beth Torah celebrates 40 years in Richardson

Posted on 23 October 2014 by admin

By Rachel Gross

Large enough to serve you, small enough to know you — this is the slogan of Congregation Beth Torah and the philosophy it’s followed since it started in 1974. In that time, the Conservative synagogue has prided itself on being participatory and egalitarian, while making a name for itself in the Metroplex.

Beth Torah will celebrate its 40th birthday with a “40 and Fabulous Birthday Bash,” at 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 1 at the synagogue, 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson. The evening will feature hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, a musical satire by Mark Kreditor, music by the Paul Utay Jazz band, a live and silent auction, dessert and more.

“We are hoping people will walk away saying this was a fun event,” said Nat Cohen, a past president who is co-chairing the party with his wife, Esther. They have been members at Beth Torah since moving to Dallas 30 years ago. “The synagogue feels rejuvenated and there is a lot going on. We feel like the future is bright and this is the perfect time to celebrate.”

Rabbi Elana Zelony became Beth Torah’s spiritual leader this summer and brings a fresh, exhilarated perspective, Cohen added, so that’s another reason why they felt this was a good time to commemorate this milestone.

Many attended Beth Torah’s groundbreaking in August 1981. The synagogue has been at the same building at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson since 1982. | Photo: Submitted by Liz Cox

Many attended Beth Torah’s groundbreaking in August 1981. The synagogue has been at the same building at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson since 1982. | Photo: Submitted by Liz Cox

The number 40 also is significant in the Jewish tradition, which makes the celebration even more meaningful.

“The number of 40 in the Torah is a sign of completion,” Zelony said. “It rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and then we wandered for 40 years and had to know what to do next. It’s a whole new phase for us. I am really excited to celebrate and looking to figuring out what the next 40 years will bring.”

Beth Torah built a permanent facility in 1982 and after dynamic growth, added an education wing in 1995. A multipurpose room was added to hold junior congregation services, celebrations, lectures and youth activities. The sanctuary has been renovated as well.

Going forward, the hope is to pay off the mortgage of the building, grow the number of young families and allow people to get involved in any way possible, which has been at the heart of Beth Torah during the past 40 years.

Esther Cohen, the former preschool director at Beth Torah, said what makes the congregation so special is the fact that is has always been accepting to anyone and its close-knit community.

“We are little, but mighty,” she said. “When you join a congregation like Beth Torah, people don’t make you get involved, but you realize there is a need and that’s the beauty of this synagogue. If you want to volunteer, there is space to do that and really make a difference. After 40 years, there is a transition from being young, to taking your place in the community, and that’s what Beth Torah has done.”

Beth Torah began with six founding families and has blossomed into a thriving shul of about 350 families. Patti and Howard Fields are one of those families and still belong there.

In 1974, there was no conservative synagogue North of LBJ Freeway and the founders were looking for a community to join, as most of them were transplants, Patti Fields noted. They had a vision for the future, but had no idea Beth Torah would grow into what it is today.

“We felt we were staring the next Conservative shul,” Patti Fields said. “We all became family for each other. We were young when we started Beth Torah and didn’t realize we were beginning something that would be around 40 years later. It’s wonderful that it turned out that way.”

Although there have been some transitions along the way with new rabbis, closing the preschool and other changes that have occurred, all of those have been done to make the synagogue better, according to Beth Torah President Alan Hoffman.

He is pleased with where the congregation is right now with the addition of Rabbi Zelony, its renewed energy and many new members that have recently joined.

“This celebration shows that the idea the founders had 40 years ago is still vibrant today,” Hoffman said. “Volunteers are really what has kept the shul running and every activity we do, except for education, is done by a volunteer. That’s what makes Beth Torah unique — when people look at our synagogue, they see it as a large family that helps each other. It’s fabulous getting to celebrate all 40 years together.”

Tickets for the birthday bash are $54 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Elaine Scharf at 972-307-3521 or

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Remembering through doing and learning anew

Remembering through doing and learning anew

Posted on 23 October 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebHow do you best remember a loved one who’s taken his permanent leave? I’ve been thinking about this a lot since my husband Fred passed away in early August.

The period from that to this, not much more than 10 weeks by actual count, sometimes seems like a few days, and sometimes like a few years. When things are much quieter at home than they used to be, time seems to drag on slowly. But when I see how much post-death work of all kinds still remains to be done, I can’t figure out how the days have flown by so quickly.

Somewhere during those few weeks, I entered the realm of “memories and regrets.” Whoever first coupled those two words knew how the mind works. Fred and I entered into this joint second marriage as two adults who had known each other for years and thought it would be very nice to grow old together while experiencing new things. Our “growing old” lasted for more than three happy decades, and we both learned a lot.

So I’ve decided to remember him by doing, alone, what was dear enough to his heart for me to have done with him, even if I wasn’t much interested. First case in point: Fred had marked on his calendar the date on which a member of our synagogue would be presenting a travelogue on his exploration of the Amazon. That day came during my shloshim, the 30 days of non-entertainment mourning for a spouse. But the rabbi I talked to said I wouldn’t be doing anything wrong in attending a program in memory of my husband — in effect, doing what he would have done because he could no longer do it himself. So after that, I went to the club year’s opening meeting of an organization we had both belonged to. Fred would definitely have wanted to go; I was definitely sure he’d have wanted me to go in his place, as well as my own.

The best so far involved a Dallas Symphony Orchestra concert (after shloshim, of course). When DSO first announced its Beethoven festival, I had been thrilled to see that my very favorite piece of classical music, his Kreutzer Sonata, was on the bill. Fred had never even heard of it, but said he’d be happy to go with me to experience it for himself. I bought two tickets, and we both had a thrilling afternoon. Also on the symphony’s seasonal list, but coming quite a bit later, was a performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, which happened to be Fred’s very favorite piece of classical music. I knew its themes, which weren’t favorites of mine, but I said I’d be happy to go with him and listen for what I might have missed. Of course, life torpedoed our joint plan. I hadn’t yet ordered our tickets before he died. So I bought one for myself and sat in the Meyerson alone, transformed, because I was listening to that music with new ears — those of my late husband.

A coda to this musical story: Andrew Schast, who played the concerto that day, said that his teacher, David Arben, pleading for his life in a Nazi concentration camp, told the guards that he should be spared because he had been a child prodigy who could make glorious music. To prove this, he played the Beethoven Concerto, and so avoided certain death. Fred would have treasured this poignant anecdote.

So now, continuing my quest for living memories, I’ve bought Dallas Theater Center single seats for two plays in the new season. I will watch Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” for myself, and I will watch Moliere’s “School for Wives” for Fred. The regret that we can do no more together is somewhat eased by the fact that I’m a former wife enriching my own life by continuing to learn from my late husband…

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Hildring Drive East between South Drive and Altura Road has always been a nice place for a Sukkah hop (Though, I think the most spectacular sukkah belonged to the Frieds on Sarita!).

On the East side of the street, lived the Beckoffs (now the Kahns) the Rapfogels (now the Moseses) and Beckermans (later the Hoffmans). The Gernsbachers and Imbers later joined the folks on the East side. On the West side of the street lived the Nogen/Stantons, the Bloombergs and the Wisches.

I have some great memories. I remember being Doris Kahn’s, of blessed memory, “Israeli slave for a day,” when the Ahavath Sholom youth group set out to help folks prepare for Passover. All I can say is there were a lot of dishes to tote at the Kahn house.

Ruth and Irv Rapfogel were two very dear friends to us, and their clock collections was something to behold.

There are too many memories to enumerate from the Beckerman family, and I was young when they moved, but a favorite was their 70s classic bumper pool table in David’s study, and also the quick lesson that I learned a tender age that when Greta is right she’s right and when she’s wrong she’s also right.

When the Hoffmans moved in after the Beckermans moved to California, I loved visiting with Sandy. She was a hoot and there was nothing like hearing her say “How You?” in her serious Texas drawl.

The Gernsbachers and our beloved Toni of blessed memory, shared just about every Wisch family event.

And, although the Imbers moved in after I left for Dallas, they kept a watchful eye on my parents.

Fond memories too, of babysitting the Nogen children and playing tag with the Bloomberg boys in the front yard.

Helen and Judd Beckoff and their children — Ivan, Robert, Judy and Barbara — were also dear friends of the family. Barbara and her sister Judy were recently in Fort Worth to visit their old stomping grounds. Barbara was kind enough to remind me of their backstory and what everyone is doing now.

The Beckoffs moved to Fort Worth in 1951 from Brooklyn, New York for a job opportunity for Judd. They lived here until 1973 and then moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, when Judd opened a branch of A.G. Edwards, a stock brokerage firm. He had been running the Fort Worth office for many years.

The Beckoffs lived in St. Pete until 1988 when Judd passed away. Helen relocated to El Paso soon after Judd died to be near son Robert and his wife Leslie. Robert and Leslie have a daughter Jordan who lives in Boston. She graduated from Smith College and got a graduate degree from Emerson.

Ivan Beckoff lives in Denver and is retired from the printing business.

Judy Beckoff lives in Los Angeles with her husband Alan. They have two children, Eric, 30 and Jill, 25.

Barbara has lived in LA since 1982. She and husband Andrew and will celebrate their 30th anniversary in December. They have two daughters, Jessica, 20 goes to Bard College in Rhinebeck, New York where she is studying art history. Elisabeth, 17, is a senior and busy applying to colleges and is interested in art and film.

Belated happy birthday to matriarch Helen Beckoff, who celebrated her 95th birthday Sept. 7 in El Paso.

From left, Ruthie Bogart Currie, Barbara Beckoff Leigh, Susan Wisch and Judy Beckoff Nussenblatt (standing) enjoy dinner at Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth earlier this month. Barbara and Judy were in town visiting their favorite childhood haunts.

From left, Ruthie Bogart Currie, Barbara Beckoff Leigh, Susan Wisch and Judy Beckoff Nussenblatt (standing) enjoy dinner at Del Frisco’s in Fort Worth earlier this month. Barbara and Judy were in town visiting their favorite childhood haunts.

Happy Birthday Esther Rosen

When attending the Big Hearts Patron Party in Fort Worth two weeks ago, Paula Rosen mentioned that her mom Esther celebrated her 94th birthday Sept. 10.

Esther Rosen shows off some of her new clothes she received for her 94th birthday last month.

Esther Rosen shows off some of her new clothes she received for her 94th birthday last month.

Esther has been living at Seven Acres in Houston for the past three years.

Her son Jay and his wife Linda live in Houston just minutes away and her grandson Zach is also in Houston. Paula joined Esther in Houston to celebrate this joyous day also.

Esther received lots of flowers, clothes and cards from her nieces and nephews from Fort Worth.

Everyone celebrated with cake and Esther’s favorite ice cream.

Daughters Diane and Lynn will be traveling from Phoenix and Virginia this month to visit!

“We are so blessed to be able to celebrate this milestone birthday with our mother,” said Paula.

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Not to miss exhibit closes this weekend

Not to miss exhibit closes this weekend

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebYou’re almost too late to catch an important exhibit, “Uptown’s Pike Park: Little Jerusalem to Little Mexico, 100 Years of Settlement.” This joint venture of the Dallas Mexican American Historical League and our own Dallas Jewish Historical Society will wind up its stay at the Latino Cultural center Saturday.

Both Jews and Hispanics lived about a century ago in what’s now the pricey city area just north of downtown, when it was a haven for poor newcomers. The Jews came first; maybe their neighborhood would have been called “Little Israel” if there had been an Israel then. Its initial settlers were runaways from European pogroms and other hardships, hoping to make a new and better life for themselves. And so they did.

More affluent Jews — primarily those with backgrounds in Germany and Austria — built their more upscale housing on or near South Boulevard and Park Row. It’s worth another trip southward to see those large, well-preserved homes, now occupied mainly by African-American elites, just a few short blocks from Fair Park. But eventually, both richer and poorer Jews made their moves northward. That’s when Little Jerusalem became Little Mexico.

There isn’t much “stuff” to be seen in this exhibit. I liken it to Ginger Jacobs’ bus tours of Old Jewish Dallas, where you got to many spots that used to be important and was once there but isn’t any more. But you don’t have to rely solely on imagination to visualize “Frogtown” (pet name for the area in question because of its croaker-filled boggy creek) in this current exhibit; there are plenty of vintage sepia photographs with explanatory text, and videos of some folks who grew up there recalling those olden days.

There was a time of mixture as Mexicans began moving in, but it eventually became an all-Latino area. When the Dallas Morning News featured the exhibit, it quoted Joaquin Sanchez, now 69, telling of his parents buying a house from a Jewish family in 1943 for $1800 — “a lot of money then.” And it highlighted Charlie Villasana, 84 years old and still doing business as a wholesaler in what was once his family’s food store, a property that is now appraised at more than $641,000. His mother’s home, he said, sold in the 1990s for a million dollars.

That community was important to its residents back then, and for some, remains so even now. The late Anita Martinez was a local child who grew up to be the first Mexican-American elected to the Dallas City Council. On the Jewish side, the children and grandchildren of grocery store owner Herschel (later Harry) Andres continue to preserve and develop property in the area where he settled back in 1906.

Now here’s the kicker: Everyone at the opening reception was wearing a button proclaiming “Keep Pike Park Alive.” That’s the area where public housing dubbed “Little Mexico Village” still stands. And that park, object of the Latino community’s vigorous preservation initiative, is named for a Jew! He was Edgar Pike, a long-ago jeweler related by marriage to the Sanger Brothers retail family. Find more of this and other stories while you can at the Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak Street.

Also, a very important historic exhibit’s opening now awaits if you are traveling soon to central Europe: the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will unveil its long-anticipated core exhibition in Warsaw on three upcoming days: Oct. 26-28. That Sunday is being called “Jewish Community Day.” Donors will be recognized Monday and the official opening ceremony Tuesday will feature both Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski and Reuven Rivlin, president of Israel, plus a host of other Polish officials, representatives of many Jewish organizations, scholars and museum professionals from around the world. I hope this place, and its promise of educational importance, will long endure.

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Turn, turn, turn

Turn, turn, turn

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Parents and Children,

seymourforweb2So often I write about books that MUST be read, and as a confirmed “biblioholic” I will always speak to the power of books. Children’s books in particular hold a special magic in their simplicity and quiet power.

There is also a special magic to music. Each summer at camp, I marvel at the songs that become the favorites — why these songs? Is it the tune or the words? What can we learn from singing a song?

There is wonderful Jewish music available for children and adults — these are perfect for “Carpool Judaism.” Sing the songs and then talk about them. (Email me for suggestions:

Often we combine the book with the music. As we enjoy our fall holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah (my personal favorite), I have a great book and a great song for you. During Sukkot, we read from the Book of Ecclesiastes — a very heavy book but a must read and discuss by grown-ups. However, this book is part of our American culture thanks to Pete Seeger who wrote in 1961 a tune called “Turn, Turn, Turn” (recorded by the Byrds in 1965). And, yes, there is a children’s book titled “Turn! Turn! Turn!” with a CD and everything.

Here are the words to remind those of us old enough to remember the song, and those who come to camp who sing it every summer. Sing it and share it (and read the Book of Ecclesiastes — it is definitely a book for pondering!)


CHORUS: To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under Heaven.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep. CHORUS
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together. CHORUS
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late. CHORUS

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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The Yom Kippur-Sukkot-Simchat Torah connection

The Yom Kippur-Sukkot-Simchat Torah connection

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi,

The question was raised in our religious school about why we celebrate Simchat Torah at the end of Sukkot and not on the holiday of Shavuot.

If Shavuot is the time traditionally accepted to be the day of the giving of the Torah, shouldn’t we dance with Torah scrolls on Shavuot? Why on Sukkot, which is when we celebrate the Jews sitting in booths in the desert — something entirely unrelated to the giving of the Torah?

Nobody had a good answer, and we were hoping you could help us.

— Zachary D. & Leah L.

Dear Zachary and Leah,

friedforweb2To answer your question we have to get to the core of the celebration of Sukkot.

Moses, after receiving the tablets on Shavuot, smashed them upon observing the Jews worshipping the Golden Calf. He then ascended Mount Sinai 40 days later, on the 1st of the month of Elul, for an additional 40 days and nights to repent together with the Jews down below and request the Torah be returned to them. After 40 days and nights, God answered, “I have granted you atonement you as you requested,” and instructed Moses to carve out a second set of tablets like the first ones which were given by God. That special day, the day God accepted our repentance, was the first Yom Kippur.

This reveals to us a little-known fact: although the first set of tablets and the giving of the Torah was indeed on Shavuot, the Torah we now have is the “second edition” of tablets given on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur doesn’t conclude with only being a day of atonement; the bottom line is that it’s a day of receiving the Torah.

Sukkot is a week of remembrance of the booths our ancestors sat in while in the desert. The Talmud explains that it is, more importantly, a reminder of the Clouds of Glory — the miraculous clouds which protected the Jews from heat by day and lit their way by night. Those clouds, which accompanied the Jews from Pesach when they left Egypt, disappeared when they sinned with the Golden Calf and caused the Shechinah, or Divine Presence of God, to be concealed. After Yom Kippur, the Jews were commanded to build the Mishkan, a portable temple, to be a place for the Shechinah to return to. After four days of preparation, they began building the Mishkan on the fifth day the Clouds of Glory returned. This was an incredible day of rejoicing for the Jews as God was clearly revealing that their teshuvah, their repentance on Yom Kippur, was fully accepted.

Sukkot, which begins on that fifth day after Yom Kippur, is a remembrance not of the Clouds of Glory which appeared when they left Egypt, rather a commemoration of the Clouds that came back after atoning and receiving the Torah on Yom Kippur.

We now see how Sukkot and Yom Kippur are inextricably interwoven; one is a celebration of the other’s accomplishments. The only thing separating the two is the few days necessary to prepare the “four species” and build a sukkah. At that point, we continue the closeness we achieved on Yom Kippur — replacing the tears of repentance with tears of joy and rejoicing in receiving the Torah. The Talmud relates that in the Temple in Jerusalem on Sukkot, during the wildly joyous celebration called Simchat Beit Hasho’eyva, the songs sung were songs celebrating the Jews’ teshuvah, repentance, that were performed and accepted on Yom Kippur. It was that teshuvah which merited us again to receive the Torah. That joy is our “Joy for the Torah” or Simchat Torah.

I have often mentioned in this column that if Jews are going to bring their family to synagogue twice a year, rather than going on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, better to bring them on Simchat Torah and Purim! Let the families experience the joy of Judaism!

There’s no better time to dance with the Torah than on Simchat Torah at the end of Sukkot! Best wishes for a joyous holiday to you and all the readers!

Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch Davidsohn

Jill Saffran Sedacca’s practice relocates … a conversation with the pediatrician

One of the most important decisions parents face is choosing a very qualified pediatrician to care for their newborn or children. There are multiple qualities to consider — but a few that I have found important both as a mother and nurse — such as the desire for the physician to grow along with my children and the physician’s availability to treat my infant, toddler (yes, mine were once toddlers — and even teens) and teenagers with kindness and respect, and to treat my questions and/or concerns seriously.

Yes, motherhood is hard — and we’re all faced with tough choices, but the right pediatrician, such as Dr. Jill Saffran Sedacca, can help make the joyous journey of parenthood much easier.

Jill, the daughter of Roberta and Sy Saffran and mom to Max, 16, (a student at Booker T Washington) and Joshua, 14, (a student at The Greenhill School), has been practicing Pediatrics since 1995. Her initial office opened in Plano.

Born in Queens, New York, Jill’s family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Jill lived from ages 7-11. The Saffran family then made Dallas their home when Jill was 11 years old. Jill is a graduate of JJ Pearce High School, and Tulane University where she was a member of SDT Sorority. She attended medical school at UTMB — Galveston, and did her internship and residency at the prestigious Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

During our interview, Jill was engaging, soft-spoken, a good listener and easy to talk to. Her passion for her profession was palpable as we spoke. I asked her why she chose pediatrics — and she replied that “I’ve always loved kids and I baby-sat quite a bit, and loved anatomy. It seemed like a good fit for me. I felt that it would offer me a more stable career, and that it would allow me the flexibility to be with my children as they grew.”

Dr. Jil Sedacca is flanked by sons Max, left, and Joshua.

Dr. Jil Sedacca is flanked by sons Max, left, and Joshua.

Jill opened her new state-of the-art Casa Linda office (9540 Garland Road, Ste. 410) at the end of August. It has been a labor of love for her. As a solo practitioner, she sees patients from newborns to age 18. Office hours are Monday — Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most insurance plans are accepted. Jill said that she “loves the location, and that her “entire staff came with her to the new office” which is conveniently located next to an Urgent Care center and allows her immediate access to X-Rays and other minor emergency services. She also had many patients follow her to the new location.

While we were talking, I asked Jill to tell me some of the favorite parts of her profession. She stated that she loves watching her patients grow from newborns through different stages — and reassuring moms and dads that the crying stages don’t last forever. Additionally, Jill enjoys counseling parents to help them get through difficult times. She is also devoted to working with families who have children with special needs.

Jill is on staff at Doctors Hospital at White Rock. She is Board-Certified by The American Board of Pediatrics, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Dallas County Medical Society. She also enjoys working with the Gladys Golman-Faye Dallen Special Needs’ Fund of the DJCF. She and her boys are members of Congregation Shearith Israel. Jill’s hobbies include spending time with Max and Joshua, reading, working out at The J, as well as singing and performing as time allows.

Jill is available to speak at preschools, health-fairs and other events. For additional information, regarding appointments or to contact Dr. Sedacca for a speaking engagement or presentation, call 469-804-3507.

I had some personal thoughts as I put my pen down on my notepad. We are so lucky to live in a country where women have the freedom to pursue their dreams and achieve success when the dream is realized.

I also felt a bit nostalgic. I remember the days many, many years ago when I needed my pediatrician’s advice on a multitude of situations and “emergencies.” Now, I gaze from afar as my grown children are interacting with their pediatricians and facing their own challenges as parents.

Speaking with Jill was a pleasure. If my children were young, I have no doubt that she would have been be a perfect fit for my children.

Dallas teen Sam Horowitz launches YouTube fashion advice show ‘Sam Says’

Local teen Sam Horowitz, son of Angela Horowitz and Gary Horowitz, catapulted to Internet stardom last summer when his bar mitzvah party opened with Sam performing a lively dance routine with eight backup dancers to Jennifer Lopez’s “Dance Again” as part of his birthday celebration. The smile-inducing video caught the attention of the general public and national media alike — and went viral. Sam has since made appearances on “Ellen” and “Good Morning America,” as well as local programs including “D: The Broadcast.”

Sam Horowitz

Sam Horowitz

Sam’s love for entertaining is matched by his passion for fashion. Sam, an impeccably-accessorized young man attended Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2013 in New York City and is a go-to consultant for friends and family. The blue-eyed budding entertainer has been a fashion fanatic since the tender age of 3 and knows more about designers and styling than most adults.

The 14-year-old clotheshorse has taken his natural talent and launched a Web series called “Sam Says!” — a weekly program where Sam delivers the latest fashion news and trends from all over the world. He shows viewers how to make fashion fun, fabulous and unforgettable!

The series intro was recently shot in Los Angeles and the first eight webisodes will be filmed in Dallas at popular hotspots including Animal Crackers, Celebrity Bakery, Clothes Circuit, Gregory’s, The Shak, Tootsies , and Neiman Marcus. Sam will also include Stanley Korshak, Cowboy Cool, Costume World, Second Evolution, Vintage Martini, Abi Ferron, G Wear and the JCC in additional episodes.

Sam’s upbeat personality and flair for performing make him the perfect host and stylist to help people achieve their fashion goals, whether it’s shopping for fall trends or dressing for a special occasion such as day to eveningwear or homecoming. The teen style guru is obsessed with shoes and counts Dolce & Gabbana, Armani, Versace and Giuseppe Zanotti among his favorite designers. Sam has a winning smile that lights up his entire face. The smile is contagious, for as a viewer, it travels through my computer and warms my heart.

The premiere of “Sam Says!” aired at 4 p.m. CST, Sunday, Aug. 24. Viewers can subscribe to the channel to watch the show every week, and ask Sam their most pressing fashion questions. Additionally, viewers can invite friends to join!

A Dallas native, Sam has been performing since age 3. Prior to his rise to YouTube fame, Sam got a taste of acting with numerous roles in productions for the Jewish Community Center and Richardson Company Theatre, a commercial for McDonald’s and a Barney video. In 2010, he learned Yiddish in order to sing a solo for a crowd of 1,000 at a fundraiser for the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance attended by the mayor and other officials. Most recently, “The Daily Beast” and WFAA-TV interviewed Sam. To ring in 2014, he danced for a crowd of 35,000 at the Big D New Year’s Eve event in Dallas. Sam was also cast in the 2014 full-length feature film “Son of Sam.” Sam is a freshman at Parish Episcopal School. He manages to balance his schoolwork by completing it immediately to achieve his responsibilities in filming “Sam Says.”

Sam is the brother of Sydney and Max Horowitz who have appeared on his show. He is the grandson of Carol and Steve Aaron, Jay Horowitz and Sue Horowitz.

Sam’s publicist is Joanne Yurich of The Y Group.

For additional information on Sam and Sam Says, visit:

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Read a good book

Read a good book

Posted on 16 October 2014 by admin

By Rachel Gross

When the Dallas Jewish BookFest begins next week, the community will have the chance to celebrate the written word by meeting authors, learning their stories and having meaningful discussions.

The annual event, which is presented by the Aaron Family JCC, starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22, with the Tycher Library Community Read. Author Pam Jenoff will discuss her newest book “The Winter Guest.” It will continue with five more events through Nov. 20, and then three additional ones in January, March and April, ending with the Tycher Library Spring Read with David Laskin.

“We want to have a variety of experiences for different types of readers and we think we have accomplished that with our lineup,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, director of Israel engagement and Jewish learning at the J and who runs BookFest. “If you are interested in history, we have something here, if you are interested in Israel, we have that and we have plenty of fiction for those who like that.”

Each year, Crane attends the Jewish book council conference in New York to scope out different Jewish authors and books with Jewish content to see what will be good for BookFest. All but one of the authors this year is Jewish, and all of the books have something to do with Judaism.

Some new things have been put in place for this year’s event as well. The Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Foundation is the title sponsor and there are more community partners than in years past.

The keynote event is also unique. On Nov. 4, best-selling author Rabbi Joseph Telushkin will discuss his book, “The Rebbe,” a biography of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who turned the Chabad-Lubavitch movement into what it is today.

“I have seen Joseph Telushkin before; he is amazing and it’s huge that he is coming for BookFest,” said Chair Liz Liener. “We have a good product and we just want to get more people in. Every year is so different and this is going to be a great season.”

In addition to the books and authors, one community agency is a beneficiary of the BookFest. This year, all proceeds raised at the event Jan. 14 will go to scholarships for students to go on March of the Living, an educational trip to Poland and Israel.

Partnering with different organizations makes BookFest even more significant because it shows that it’s truly an event for the entire community, Crane and Liener said.

Ann Rosenberg, the mother of the late Margot Rosenberg Pultizer, said it was important to her to sponsor BookFest because of its wide appeal and the impact it makes on people.

“I think BookFest is great for everyone and the JCC does such good work with it every year,” she said. “I like to sponsor different causes and knew this is good for the community. People enjoy reading and there is such a wide variety for everyone.”

The best part of BookFest is the fact that folks get to meet authors and hear unique stories, Crane said.

“People always come for the well-known authors, but sometimes there is a hidden gem that everyone misses,” Crane said. “We have a good mix of that this year and the books and authors are very interesting.”

“The authors talk about what inspired them to write these words that inspire us, and that’s really cool. We really get an inside view,” Liener added. “A lot of writers can write well and a lot can speak well, but often can’t do both. All of these authors can, which is really nice.”

Schedule for the 2014 Dallas Jewish BookFest

BookFest1WED., OCT. 22

‘The Winter Guest’ by Pam Jenoff
7 p.m.

Life is a constant struggle for impoverished 18-year-old Nowak twins Helena and Ruth as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. Their precarious situation worsens when Helena discovers Sam, a Jewish-American paratrooper wounded in the forest above their village and hides him in an abandoned chapel. As she nurses him back to health, she finds herself drawn into his covert mission and running from hidden dangers even closer to home.

Event is the annual Tycher Library Community Read.

BookFest2TUES., OCT. 28

‘The Harem Midwife’ by Roberta Rich
7 p.m.

Hannah and Isaac Levi, Venetian Jews, embark on a new life in 16th century Constantinople. Isaac establishes a silk workshop, while midwife Hanna plies her in trade in the opulent palace of the Sultan Murat III tending to women. One night, she is summoned to the palace to examine Zofie, a poor Jewish peasant who was abducted and sold into the sultan’s harem. The sultan favors her as his next conquest and wants her to produce his heir, but Zofia longs to return to her village. Will Hannah risk her life and livelihood by lying to protect this young girl, or will she do her duty as a midwife to the Imperial Harem?

BookFest3TUES., NOV. 4

‘The Rebbe’ by Joseph Telushkin
7 p.m.

In this biography, Telushkin offers a captivating portrait of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a figure in Jewish history who defied conventional boundaries and turned his movement, Chabad-Lubavitch, into the most dynamic and widespread Jewish organization today. Readers will learn how the Rebbe became the world’s first ambassador for Judaism, influencing American-Israeli policies, leading clandestine operations to rescue Jews in the Soviet Union and pioneering Jewish outreach.

Co-sponsored with Chabad of North Texas

BookFest4TUES., NOV. 11

‘In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist’ by Ruchama King Feuerman
7 p.m.

Isaac, a haberdasher for the Lower East Side, moves to Israel to repair his broken heart and becomes the assistant to an elderly kabbalist. There, Isaac meets Tamar, a newly-religious young American hipster on a mission to live a spiritual life with a spiritual man. Into both of their lives comes Mustafa, deformed at birth, a janitor who works on the Temple Mount. When Mustafa finds an ancient relic that may date back to the First Temple, he shares it with Isaac. That gesture sets in motion a series of events that lands Isaac in the company of Israel’s worst criminal riff raff, puts Mustafa in danger and leaves Tamar struggling to save them both.

BookFest5MON., NOV. 17

‘The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street’ by Susan Jane Gilman
7 p.m.

This book follows narrator, Lillian Dunkle, a conniving and profane millionaire ice cream maker who immigrated to the Lower East Side as a child and toiled for every penny she earned. Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans 70 years and is inextricably linked to the course of Jewish immigration and American history itself, from prohibition, to World War II, to the disco days of Studio 54. Yet Lillian Dunkle is a complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. When her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building is at stake.

BookFest6THURS., NOV. 20

‘The Harness Makers Dream’ by Nick Kotz
7 p.m.

This is the story of Ukrainian immigrant Nathan Kallison’s journey to the United States in search of a brighter future. At the turn of the 20th century, over 2 million Jews emigrated from Czarist Russia and Eastern Europe to escape anti-Semitic law. Seventeen-year-old Kallison and his brothers were among those who escaped persecution by leaving their homeland in 1890. Faced with the challenges of learning English and earning wages as a harness maker, Kallison struggles to adapt to his new environment. He moves to San Antonio, where he finds success by founding one of the largest farm and ranch supply businesses in South Texas and eventually running one of the region’s most innovative ranches.

Co-sponsored with the Dallas Jewish Historical Society

BookFest7WED., JAN. 14

‘Measure of a Man’ by Martin Greenfield
7 p.m. at the Schultz-Rosenberg Campus, 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas

For the first time, Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield tells his incredible life story. Taken from his Czechoslovakian home at the age of 15, arrested for being a Jew and transported to the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz with his family, Greenfield came face to face with “Angel of Death” Dr. Joseph Mengele and was divided forever from his family. After arriving in the U.S. and sweeping floors at a New York clothing factory, Greenfield founded America’s premier custom suit company. Still working at his Brooklyn factory, Greenfield continues to dress A-listers of Washington D.C. and Hollywood.

Co-sponsored with the March of the Living

BookFest8TUES., MARCH 31

‘The Green Bubbie’ by Ruth Pinkenson Feldman
7 p.m.

A Green Bubbie is an energy-efficient model of grand parenting. The secret is to know how to nurture those who are growing right in front of you. And if you’re lucky enough to meet a Green Bubbie, she will become the “accidental relative you meet on the road to finding yourself.”

Co-sponsored with the Sherry and Ken Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center

BookFest9THURS., APRIL 30

‘The Family’ by David Laskin
7 p.m.

In tracing the roots of his family, Laskin captures the epic sweep of the 20th century. This is a personal, dramatic and emotional account of people caught in a cataclysmic time in world history. A century and a half ago, a Torah scribe and his wife raised six children in a yeshiva town at the western fringe of the Russian empire. Bound by their customs and ancient faith, the pious couple expected their sons and daughter to carry family traditions into future generations. But the social and political crises of our time decreed otherwise.

Event is the annual Tycher Library Spring Read.

All events take place at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas, unless otherwise noted. Registration is required for each event and most are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The Community Read and Spring Read, along with the evening of Nov. 20, are all free. The cost for Rabbi Telushkin is $18 in advance or $20 at the door, or $10 with a student ID, for the event only if purchased by Nov. 3. The advance package event and book cost is $36 by Oct. 26 and the book only is $25. For more information and to register, visit or contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at 214-239-7128, or

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 09 October 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch Davidsohn

Good wishes to Waldman Bros who recently celebrated their Jubilee Year — 75 years in the insurance industry and most recently in the financial services industry.

Waldman Bros has been a household name for more than seven decades. They have served the Dallas community tirelessly and tailored their services to meet every client’s individual needs. It seemed as though they built their business by creating relationships.

I was fortunate to have met both Bill and Erwin Waldman when I was considerably younger, and watched them cater to their clients. Their agency was and still is a household name.

Later, as my children grew, I grew to know Steve and Jackie, since our daughters, Jordana and Melissa, were members of the JJ Pearce Cheerleading Squad.

Congrats to Waldman Bros on this auspicious occasion. May they continue to grow from strength to strength. Read on to learn more about how Waldman Bros has evolved over the years.

A Rich 75 Year History

Much has changed in the last 75 years. The United States has seen 13 presidents come and go, with other important milestones including the beginning and end of World War II, man landing on the moon, The Cold War, The Gulf War and the emergence of the Internet, among many others. Regionally, North Texas has seen booms of oil, technology and real estate rise and fall, and rise again. In Dallas, one of the fastest growing metro areas in the country, job growth continues to outpace the nation.

In the midst of all of this change and momentum, one thing that hasn’t is Dallas-based stalwart Waldman Bros, LLP, a unique integrity-first organization that provides personal and commercial insurance, employee benefits and financial services. While the business has evolved, its focus on building long-term relationships with each and every client has remained steadfast. As businesses come and go, it’s rare for a family-owned operation to survive and thrive the ups and downs of the turbulent Texas economy. A standout operation that has remained a stable force for their clients and the community is Dallas-based Waldman Bros.

Their journey from a small family-owned business to one of the areas mainstays demonstrates the opportunity Texas and the city of Dallas presents to those who not only have a vision, but are committed to seeing it through to fruition.

After the family moved to Dallas from New York by train in the early 1900s, Abe and Rosa Waldman brought children Morris, Sam and Sadie (Charles, William and Erwin were born after) and made Texas their home because of its warmer climate. The company began in 1939 when Charlie Waldman encouraged his brother Bill to enter the insurance business. Over a lunch meeting 10 years later, the insurance agency was formalized when Erwin, Charlie and Bill Waldman met to further expand the business. Under the business name of Waldman Bros, a name appropriate to the family siblings, Bill and Erwin successfully grew the insurance agency to a thriving organization.

In the early 1970s, Erwin’s son, Steve Waldman, and son-in-law, Howard Cohen, joined the company and have been an integral part of Waldman Bros’ success ever since. After joining Waldman Bros and continuing the company’s success, Steve and Howard brought on Scott Cohen, Todd Chanon, Michael Waldman, Martin Golman and Andy Dropkin as partners to further enhance Waldman Bros’ offerings and capabilities. Today, Steve serves as chief executive officer and Howard is the company’s chairman of the board.

Following in their fathers’ and grandfather’s footsteps, the third generation of Waldman Bros has emerged within the company. Starting in the early 1990s, Erwin’s grandsons, Scott Cohen and later, Michael Waldman, continued the growth of the company and are both recognized nationally as industry leaders in their respective fields. Scott’s focus is wealth management, whereas Michael’s is employee benefits for the corporate and nonprofit world.

Deeply rooted in the Dallas community, Waldman Bros recently celebrated its 75th anniversary. Since its establishment, Waldman Bros has focused on providing clients with expert counsel to protect their personal and business interests, in addition to securing and expanding wealth. As the firm enters its eighth decade, it continues to grow in size and scope while still maintaining personalized service and dedication to the success of each client.

The company remains dedicated to providing its knowledge and experience to help clients achieve their insurance and financial goals.

Company Evolution

CD Wealth Management was recently formed in response to regulatory restraints impacting Waldman Bros. The separation of the Investment Advisory and Wealth Management Practice ensures that these services operate independently.

CD Wealth Management, through principals Scott Cohen and Andy Dropkin, will offer Investment Advisory and Financial Services for families, corporate executives, closely-held businesses, people in transition and not-for-profit institutions. Waldman Bros will continue to provide personal and commercial insurance, as well as financial services and employee benefits. Both entities will continue to work together to ensure exceptional service and quality choices for clients and partners. This move represents the ongoing advancement of Waldman Bros as the firm celebrates its 75th year of operation.

Giving Back

Following the example put forth by the firm’s founders, Bill and Erwin Waldman, both firms strongly believe in supporting the community around them. Their teams are heavily involved in the local community and regularly support a wide variety of charitable and civic causes while many of their members hold nonprofit leadership positions, with three partners receiving the designation of CAP®, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy through the American College

In 2014, the company has already participated in more than 20 charity events, either through sponsorships, donations or volunteer participation. These charitable contributions benefit countless communitywide organizations including, but not limited to, Jewish education and advancement, social services, medical research and advocacy, and many others. More recently, Waldman Bros and CD Wealth Management participated in the 27th annual Erwin Waldman memorial golf tournament hosted by the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

Specific to charitable organizations, Howard Cohen is a national trustee of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Foundation, a trustee of National Jewish Health in Denver and is a past chairman for Camp Better America.

Steve Waldman is a past board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and currently serves as board chair of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.

Scott Cohen is in his second year as chairman of the board of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas. He also serves as a board member of the Da Vinci School.

Michael Waldman is a past president of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. He currently serves as vice president of the Greenhill Alumni Board and board member of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.

Currently the president of Congregation Shearith Israel, Todd Chanon is a past president of Jewish Family Service and is a current board member. Martin Golman is a past president of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas and currently serves on the executive board of Gladys Golman Faye Dallen Education Fund. Andy Dropkin, a vice president of the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas, is a current board member of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.

Waldman Bros and CD Wealth Management can be contacted by clicking on the Contact Us pages at and

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Holiday prep: why the effort?

Holiday prep: why the effort?

Posted on 09 October 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I have been observant for about three years now, and am still in the learning process. While preparing for the Sukkot holiday, I can’t help but be bothered by the amount of effort we need to put into preparing for the holidays.

For Sukkot, my husband put many hours into building the Sukkah and I put even more hours into cooking the holiday meals. Pesach takes such an effort to put away the all-year dishes and take out the Pesach utensils, besides all the cooking!

I enjoy the beauty of the Yom-Tov, but why must it be such a huge effort? I know I’m not the only one with this question, and I would appreciate some insight.

— Elisheva B.

Dear Elisheva,

friedforweb2I agree, you’re not the only one with this question. Every aspect of Jewish life contains underlying meaning. If we need to put so much effort into a holiday, there’s got to be a reason.

The Kabbalists have taught us a profound insight into the Jewish holidays. A holiday is not just something we “do” or “observe.” Rather, a holiday is a gateway for us to leave the world we normally live in and enter a different, spiritual world. In that other world we enter, we have the opportunity to join our ancestors and relive the miraculous occurrences that they witnessed.

One example of this is Pesach. The Haggadah states: “In every generation, it is incumbent upon every Jew to see themselves as if they themselves left Egypt.” This teaches us that there’s a deep memory in the Jewish soul of the leaving of Egypt. The mitzvos we do are subliminal suggestions to awaken those memories. It’s sort of a time machine to take us into the world of the Jews leaving Egypt.

When we turn over the house, removing the usual dishes and bringing out the special ones and gotten rid of many of the normal foods, we have left our homes and surroundings and entered another world. This helps us to enter another spiritual world, the “world of Pesach.”

The same thing applies to Sukkot. We literally leave our homes and enter the Sukkah (It’s the only mitzvah we do with our entire body!). By us building this dwelling and living there for the entire week, we leave our normal surroundings and enter the world of ’s presence that the Jews experienced in the desert so long ago. The higher connection to God we experienced on Yom Kippur we continue with joy on Sukkot.

The festive meals are a key factor in this celebration. All the hard work invested into preparing those meals becomes part of the spiritual experience of the holiday. All the food eaten in that “other world” becomes part of the participants’ spiritual estate forever. Although it might not feel so spiritual standing in the kitchen and peeling potatoes, in fact that is no less part of the holiday than shaking the lulav or blowing the shofar. Every stroke of the peeler counts as another mitzvah in the World of Truth.

The Talmud says that it was in the merit of the righteous women in the Egyptian exile that Jews were redeemed. Without a doubt our final redemption will come in the merit of the generations of righteous Jewish women, as yourself, who have dedicated themselves to do whatever it takes to ensure the continued observance of our holidays the way they have been observed for thousands of years (And, of course, what’s a Jewish event without food?!).

May you and the readers continue to grow and learn to find the treasures and beauty hidden within our rich tradition. Best wishes for a Chag Sameach, a joyous Sukkot holiday!

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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