Archive | November, 2014

Turkey, take 2

Turkey, take 2

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Annabel Cohen

As fast a Thanksgiving barrels toward us, it’s over. Days of preparation and planning and we’re exhausted from cooking and eating and visiting. On the other hand, what else is leftover are some wonderful memories and, hopefully, some great leftovers. The question most often raised is what to do with all all that turkey after you’ve eaten your limit. Here are some slow-cooker ideas that won’t keep you tied-up in the kitchen when there are so many other things to do over the long weekend.

On this week’s menu are a few thought-starters. If slow cooking isn’t your thing, make a salad — diced turkey, a little mayo, a little Dijon mustard, halved grapes, lightly toasted walnuts and some fresh chopped parsley. Add some salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

Turkey and Two-Bean Chili

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions, any variety
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 5 cups cooked turkey, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can (28 ounce) diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (about 14-ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (about 14-ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • Fresh chopped cilantro and scallions, garnish

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with cilantro and chopped scallions. Makes 6 servings.

Turkey Potpie

  • 6 cups 1-inch cooked turkey chunks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups ½-inch diced carrots
  • 2 cups peeled diced Idaho or russet potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped yellow or white onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup Sherry wine
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half a 17.3-ounce package), thawed

Toss turkey with flour and place in a slow cooker. Add all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT peas, and cook on low for 7-hours. Stir well. Add the peas and adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Transfer the mixture to an attractive 2-quart glass or ceramic casserole or baking dish. Top with the pastry, pressing it over the edge of the baking dish. Bake for 20-minutes or until the pastry is golden. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Pulled Barbecue Turkey

  • 6 cups shredded turkey meat
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1½ cups (12-ounces) good quality barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-hours. Keep warm until ready to serve. Serve on toasted buns or rolls. Makes 4 servings.

Turkey Curry

  • 4 cups 1-inch diced cooked turkey meat
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1½ cups chopped, peeled Granny Smith apples
  • 1 cup coconut cream, stirred
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup lightly toasted sliced almonds
  • Chopped cilantro, garnish
  • Lime wedges, garnish

Toss turkey with flour in a bowl.

Combine turkey with all ingredients EXCEPT almonds in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Stir in the almonds and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chopped cilantro and lime wedges, over fresh cooked rice, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

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Thanksgiving thoughts

Thanksgiving thoughts

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Gil Elan

elanforwebThanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, is the quintessential American national holiday. As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners this week, some of us will be debating whether (aside from our health, personal successes and loving families)…is there really anything to be truly grateful for this year? Let’s look at the Middle East.

Iran

Since I’m writing this Friday, Nov. 21, just three days before the Nov. 24 deadline to conclude the Iranian-P5+1 nuclear deal, and as reports from the last-minute negotiations in Vienna at this moment do not bode well, I can only speculate as to what may have happened Monday to be thankful about.

1. Did Iran agree to a “good deal” that will result in a complete and verifiable end to its nuclear weapons program? Now that would certainly be a reason to celebrate and give thanks.

2. Was a half-baked “bad deal” signed which would effectively leave Iran just weeks from nuclear “break-out” capability? Then thanks…but no thanks, nothing here to be grateful about.

3. Did the US and the P-5+1 negotiators agree to extend the deadline for the agreement once again — perhaps “sweetening the pot” for the Iranians by easing even more of the sanctions in the interim period without getting anything in return? This, of course, is the absolutely worst case scenario in my view, as well as that of most Middle East analysts, since it enables the Iranians to: continue to enrich Uranium, complete construction of the Arak Heavy Water nuclear reactor that will produce weapons-grade Plutonium, continue research and development of nuclear weapons at their secret facility in Parchin, and continue building and storing missiles capable of reaching Saudi Arabia, Israel and Europe together with ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) capable of hitting the US.

Israel and Jerusalem

The Third Intifada, as I wrote in this column two weeks ago, is not going to wind down any time soon. Last week saw a tragic escalation when two Israeli Arabs from East Jerusalem entered a synagogue in a West Jerusalem Orthodox neighborhood with carving knives, hatchets and a gun. They butchered to death four Orthodox Jews, several of them rabbis, and a Druze police officer who came to their help, wounding several more. The use of cleavers, knives and an ax is symbolic and very disturbing. The traditional battle cry in Arabic by Islamists and terrorists to kill Jews and Israelis, heard repeatedly in Jerusalem in the past weeks from Palestinian rioters and their leaders is: “Itbach al-Yahud” — literally “Butcher (or “slaughter”) the Jews.” Horrific crime scene photographs and witness reports confirm that that’s exactly what these terrorists did. The victims were slaughtered like animals and some were American citizens. Thankfully, the terrorists were killed before they could hurt more people.

The office of the president of the Palestinian Authority issued a mild condemnation against “killing of innocents on both sides” while Abu Mazen himself continued to praise the “holy martyrs” who are defending the “sacred Al Aksa” from the Zionist Aggressors” and called for many others to join them.

As we sit at our Thanksgiving tables remembering the Pilgrims and their leap of faith across the “pond” to escape religious persecution and establish this great country, we should also remember the young Jewish pioneers from the 19th century who also escaped persecution in Europe and Russia, and with a dream of returning to their ancestral homeland traveled great distances, at great risk and hardship. They, too established an “Old-New” country, a country that has absorbed millions of immigrants and despite attempts to this day by overwhelming forces to destroy it, is a modern, thriving, successful “light — unto-the- nations.”

Israelis — both Jews and non-Jews are proud of their country, though they will frequently debate the best ways for it to move forward.

Everyone in the world benefits from Israeli inventions and developments in medicine, high-tech, sports, environment and more.

Even countries that “hate” Israel secretly maintain ties with it and would love to mimic its success.

And most of all — we Jews, after 2,000 years of exile and persecution have our ancestral homeland back. Israel is strong, independent, confident…and is here forever.

So, YES! There is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion…And a happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Lieutenant Colonel (IDF res) Gil Elan is President and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East Analyst. Email: gil@swjc.org. Upcoming briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org. DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Calling all art lovers: Unique collection of art on display from Jerusalem’s Safrai Gallery

The Dallas Jewish community looks forward to welcoming Menacham Safrai, an Israeli art dealer, who is bringing more than 1,500 oil paintings, watercolors and etchings to Dallas Wednesday, Dec. 10 through Sunday, Dec. 14 at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. in Dallas. This is Safrai’s first showing here in 12 years.

The collection, which includes the work of world-renowned artist Marc Chagall, cannot be found at a private gallery or a prestigious museum; however it will be displayed and sold in Shearith’s Kaplan Auditorium. This show is open to the entire community and the art is available for sale at very affordable prices.

As part of the Shearith’s Cultural Arts Festival, the synagogue is hosting this exhibit of contemporary Israeli art. Proceeds from the show are a fundraiser for the congregation’s adult education, programming, Weitzman Family Religious School and the Family Center.

“This is a cultural event” gallery owner Menachem Safrai said. “When you talk about Israeli art, some people picture a portrait of a rabbi sitting at a table. But there’s really much more to it than that.” Safrai, whose grandfather established the gallery in 1935, brings the works in from Israel and unpacks and displays the artwork himself.

Israel is a nation of immigrants and its art reflects that diversity. The exhibit includes brightly colored abstract paintings, satiny watercolors and impressionistic images. “If Mohammed doesn’t come to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohammed,” Safrai said. “I’m bringing the mountain to Dallas, Texas.”

Raffle tickets will be available for purchase at The Gallery (SISterhood’s gift shop at Shearith Israel) and online, beginning Monday, Dec. 1. Four raffle packages will be given away at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 14. You need not be present to win. The prizes include a Diamond and Multicolor Stone Bracelet from Utay Jewelers, Hall Vineyards Wine Package, “Shop Dallas” Package and “Dine Around Dallas” Package. The packages are valued from $400 to $1,950.

The exhibit and sale will be open to the public from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 and 9:30 a.m.- 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14. There is no charge for admission.

For additional information about the event, visit www.shearith.org.

Idan Raichel comes to Congregation Shearith Israel

As part of the Cultural Arts Festival mentioned above, Shearith Israel will host renowned Israeli musician Idan Raichel at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 13.

Producer, keyboardist and composer Idan Raichel has become a global music icon since the unveiling of The Idan Raichel Project, a multiethnic tour de force that changed the face of Israeli popular music. The Project enchants audiences with entrancing fusions sung in Hebrew, Arabic and the Ethiopian languages of Amharic and Tigrit. Their latest album, “Quarter To Six,” has garnered international praise for its depth and scope. Raichel has collaborated with over 95 celebrated artists from around the globe including American neo-soul diva India.Arie, Mayra Andrade from Cape Verde, Marta Gomez from Colombia, Ana Moura from Portugal, German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, Vieux Farka Touré from Mali and many more. Over the past decade, The Idan Raichel Project has become the soundtrack of contemporary Israel.

You can learn more about this amazing musician, originally a keyboardist, who hails from Kfar Saba at idanraichelproject.com

The group has headlined in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, including New York’s Central Park summer Stage, Apollo Theater, Town Hall and Radio City Music Hall; Los Angeles’ Kodak Theater; the Sydney Opera House; Zenith and Bataclan in Paris; London’s Royal Albert Hall and many international festivals. They have also performed across Europe, South and Central America, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana and dozens of other countries for enraptured audiences of all backgrounds. And now you have the opportunity to check them out at this intimate Shearith Israel venue.

Tickets are available at shearith.org or israeldallascenter.org.

Can! Academy Education Foundation welcomes Denn as new Dallas board member

The Can! Academy Education Foundation recently announced the addition of Meyer Denn as a member of its board of directors. The mission of the Can! Academy Education Foundation is to establish an endowment supporting educational solutions through The Center for Cognitive and Mediated Learning Solutions.

Denn is the executive director of the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. He was born and reared in Bay City, Texas. At age 18, he became the youngest person in the state’s history to be elected to a city council position. Denn completed a degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin. He furthered his education at the Rothberg School for Overseas Students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Meyer has always been a strong advocate for education,” said Robin Hutchison Gordon, president and CEO of Can! Academy Education Foundation. “He brings a unique skill set to the Foundation and we look forward to his ideas and expertise.”

On Saturday, Nov. 14, Plano’s Adat Chaverim held a kugel cook-off. Pictured are the winners and judges. Top row, from left, Donna Tanner (judge), Rachel Gross (judge), Ari Elliat, Tim and Michelle Montgomery; bottom row, from left, Mark Dolt and Hayley Keller | Photo: Hope Diamond

On Saturday, Nov. 14, Plano’s Adat Chaverim held a kugel cook-off. Pictured are the winners and judges. Top row, from left, Donna Tanner (judge), Rachel Gross (judge), Ari Elliat, Tim and Michelle Montgomery; bottom row, from left, Mark Dolt and Hayley Keller | Photo: Hope Diamond

Dallas Hebrew Free Loan to present Dr. Brent Sasley, Sunday, Dec. 14 at The Clubs at Prestonwood, The Creek

Metroplex area residents who are interested in Middle East Politics may wish to attend the DHFLA’s annual meeting, at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 14 at The Clubs at Prestonwood, The Creek 15909 Preston Road, Dallas.

Brent Sasley will address “The Israeli Electorate, Shifting Right?” Dr. Sasley is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he teaches Israel, Middle East politics and international relations. He moved to Texas from Canada in 2007, and currently lives in Arlington with his wife, Yael, and three children, Arielle, Samara and Shai.

Sasley has published papers on the decision-making behind the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israeli foreign policy, Turkish foreign policy and the role of emotions in world politics. He recently completed a manuscript on explaining Israeli politics. The book will be launched in 2015 in conjunction with Oxford University Press, and is intended for university and college audiences. He is a frequent contributing writer for American, Israeli and international media.

In addition, new board members and officers will be elected during a short business meeting.

The slate of DHFLA officers for 2015 includes Iris Young Sheppard, president; Charles Skibell, vice president; Myron Schwitzer, vice president; Dorothy Wolchansky, vice president; Harrsion Goldman, vice president, finance; and Alison Fisher, Secretary. Board members elect are: Fonda Arbetter, Ron Baron, Stuart Beck, Jonathan Blum, Howard Denemark and Jaycee Greenblatt.

There is no charge for attendance for DHFLA members; however, guests are $18. DHFLA asks that RSVPs be submitted by Wednesday, Dec.10 or by contacting the office 214-696-8008 or dhfla@sbcglobal.net.

Tina Wasserman will engage young chefs, families at Temple Shalom Dec. 14

Temple Shalom has announced that well-known Dallas chef and author, Tina Wasserman, will be featured at a hands-on cooking class to teach children (ages 2+) how to cook. It takes place from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14.

The group is limited to 20 families, who will be treated to preparation and cooking Hanukkah favorites together. Extra attention and focus will be placed on teaching young children kitchen safety, good health and how to enjoy the kitchen experience. This is the first time that Tina has offered this service to a synagogue in the DFW area. Reservations must be confirmed by Dec. 5 to youngfamilies@templeshalomdallas.org.

Cost of the event is $18 for the entire family or a $36 special price that includes a copy of Tina’s latest cookbook “Entrée to Judaism For Families.” Payment can be made by paypal to brandywayne@hotmail.com.

Wasserman is the author of the highly successful cookbook “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of The Jewish Diaspora.” A respected and renowned cooking instructor, who lives in Dallas, Tina’s hands-on approach to all facets to food (that also happens to be kosher) and its preparation have appealed equally to her non-Jewish and Jewish students for 40 years. Trained in nutrition and education, Tina received a bachelor’s in science from Syracuse University and an M.A. from New York University. She has spread her excitement and love for the how and why of cooking to her students in her own cooking school as well as many schools and community centers throughout the United States.

Andres Lecture Series features report on Texas Jewish bank robber ‘Shayna Punim’ Stone

At the kickoff event of the Andres Family Lecture Series, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 4, at the JCC, genealogy researcher Karen Franklin will share the story of “Shayna Punim” Stone, who walked into a bank in Frost, Texas, said “stick ‘em up” and was immediately shot dead. Buried in an unmarked grave in a Christian cemetery, David Stone lay undiscovered for decades, until a family member in Dallas began research into his family history. On Friday, Dec. 5, a memorial service will be held, allowing a Star of David to be added to a new marker at the cemetery in Frost, Texas.

Mazel tov

Millie and Irv Holtzer of Dallas were kvelling last weekend when great-grandson Tyler Winton was called to the Torah as a bar mitzvah as Congregation Shaare Tefilla.

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A Jewish touch to Thanksgiving

A Jewish touch to Thanksgiving

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Parents and Children,

seymourforweb2Thanksgiving is upon us and the messages of this day are many. The importance of being thankful and the value of expressing those thanks are crucial lessons for our children to learn. Here are a few thoughts to make your Thanksgiving both Jewish and American. Don’t forget to say the Shehecheyanu!

Make Kiddush and ha-Motzi on Thanksgiving.

I am honored to quote my favorite Jewish educator, Joel Lurie Grishaver, from his book “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People.”

“It is important to treat Thanksgiving as a Jewish ritual meal and thereby blend Jewish and American values into a single expression. Thanksgiving has always had its own rituals…we had never thought to make it Jewish — we had never thought to remember that when the Pilgrims were gathering that first fall harvest in their new land, they went back to the Bible and found their own way of bringing the Sukkot ritual alive. Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Pilgrim version of a creative Sukkot celebration — add the popcorn and cranberries, take out the lulav and etrog, and you get the picture. The moment I figured out that Thanksgiving wasn’t just an American holiday, my world changed. I was no longer involved in a thousand discussions about Jewish American or American Jew. There was no question of priorities — the answer was simple. From then on, I’ve made Kiddush before eating turkey. Kiddush adds another dynamic — it shows not only a melding of food, but of spirit.”

‘Molly’s Pilgrim’ by Barbara Cohen

Now that you’ve heard the “adult thinking part,” add the story of Molly’s pilgrim to your traditions. The book was written in 1983 (yet could certainly be written today in our community) and tells the story of Molly who has moved from Russia and the children make fun of her for her differences. The school assignment is given to make a doll Pilgrim for a display. Molly tells her mother that Pilgrims came to this country to worship God as they pleased. Molly’s mother makes Molly’s pilgrim dressed as a Russian woman. Not surprising, the children make fun until their teacher understands, “Listen to me, all of you. Molly’s mother is a Pilgrim. She’s a modern Pilgrim. She came here, just like the Pilgrims long ago, so she could worship God in her own way, in peace and freedom. I’m going to put this beautiful doll on my desk where everyone can see it all the time. It will remind us of all the Pilgrims are still coming to America.” There is also a video available!

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family JCC.

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Rabbis’ deaths hit close to home

Rabbis’ deaths hit close to home

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I have been just heartbroken since the indescribable massacre of four rabbis in a Jerusalem synagogue. I feel so helpless, to see people bloodied in their tallis and tefillin, like images of the Holocaust which I had naively thought belonged to a bygone era. One of the things that makes it so painful is feeling so far away. How can I feel more connected and what can I do? It’s pretty hard to be happy on Thanksgiving Day with all this happening.

— Sheila R.

Dear Sheila,

friedforweb2I’m sure we’re all in the same boat; I, too, have spent the last days mourning, especially as more stories and information keeps coming in. My experience has been somewhat the converse; this has struck way too close to home. One of the rabbis murdered was a revered, beloved teacher in my son’s yeshiva in Jerusalem. Another was the husband of my daughter’s life coach and mentor. Another studied in the same yeshiva I studied in and was a close friend of several members of our community. All in a neighborhood I know well.

One thing we should all do is to find out more about the lives of those lost; to not allow them to be just another number. A Jewish historian once said that we should not say “six million Jews were killed in the holocaust,” rather “a Jew was killed six million times.” Each of those six million was an entire world and six million worlds were destroyed. Four more Jewish worlds have been crushed, together with the worlds of those around them — their wives, children, grandchildren, students and the thousands of Jews touched by these unique individuals. These four rabbis were, indeed, some of the unique individuals of our generation.

I will focus on one of them, Rabbi Twersky ob’m. Although very humble and unassuming, he was considered by many to be one of the foremost rabbinical scholars of our generation. He was the scion of Jewish nobility; from his father’s side he was of the great Chernobyl Chassidic dynasty, related to the renowned Twersky giants of our generation. From his mother’s side he was of Lithuanian Jewish nobility, the grandson of the renowned Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik. He fused together those Chasidic and Lithuanian worlds in the profound depth and breadth of his scholarship, making him one of the most colorful and multifaceted scholars of the rabbinic world today. At his fingertips were all of the vast volumes of the Talmud and its many commentaries, all of Midrash, Scriptures, authorities of Jewish Law, as well as the esoteric writings of Kabbalah and the Chasidic masters. This did not come about simply by osmosis; it was known by those close to him that Rabbi Twersky slept a mere three and a half hours per day and ate only a few morsels of food, the rest of the day and night was spent immersed in the profound writings of Torah. My son related it was well-known in the yeshiva that any matter one was studying, no matter how obscure, could be discussed with “The Rebbe” and he would always be well-versed in that source and could explain all difficulties. Over his decades as a teacher in the yeshiva, he taught thousands of students, but even those who did not study directly under him were profoundly affected by the holiness and purity of his very presence. When he entered the study hall, the hundreds of students would be inspired by the aura of his presence to the extent that any idle chatter would cease and all would raise the intensity of their studies. One could feel the awe of the Al-mighty on his face and his every action.

With all of Rabbi Twersky’s holiness, scholarship and piety, his students, family and neighbors knew him as someone who had two feet on the ground, and was completely involved in the lives of those around him. He was as great in his being a “mensch,” a caring, good person, as he was in his esoteric knowledge of Torah sources. I saw a video of him dancing with little children at weddings and other simchas, and stories abound about his loving and caring for students and all; many hundreds feel they lost their adviser and spiritual father.

The space allotted doesn’t permit continuing to expound on the amazing qualities of the other three martyrs; suffice it to say the Jewish people have lost four of its finest. Let us sanctify their memories by adopting some of their holy ways. Let us be kinder, more sensitive individuals to those around us. Let us all adopt a mitzvah or extra Torah study we might not have performed otherwise, and this will be a blessing to their memories.

I would add to this list the very special, dedicated Druze policeman who also lost his life defending our people and bravely prevented even heavier losses, may his memory be a blessing. May all the mourners be comforted and those still fighting for their lives be cured, and may we soon know the end of the spilling of Jewish blood with the coming of Moshiach, speedily and in our days.

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 27 November 2014 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Artist Julie Lazarus to exhibit her menorah paintings at Beth-El

Artist Julie Lazarus, who has exhibited her paintings, prints and glass sculptures from California to Italy, will present a special Hanukkah exhibit of her menorah paintings in the Art Alcove at Beth-El Congregation. The exhibit officially opens Friday, Dec. 5, with a reception following Shabbat services.

Menorah Painting by Julie Lazarus | Photo: Courtesy Julie Lazarus

Menorah Painting by Julie Lazarus | Photo: Courtesy Julie Lazarus

Lazarus’s menorah paintings — created with oil paints on paper — are abstractions in which the menorah, while recognizable, looks kinetic, as if in motion. “These paintings are about light, movement, color, and the love of the holiday,” says Lazarus, who has been painting menorahs, on and off, for the past 30 years. “The feeling I have when I am making these paintings is of watching the Hanukkah candles burn, watching the interplay of light and color on the table.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Long Island, Lazarus has a masters in painting and print making from the University of Tulsa. Since 1996, she has been working collaboratively in Venice with glass-blowers to transform her two-dimensional paintings into 3-D. Closer to home, Lazarus’s work is shown at Fort Worth’s William Campbell Gallery and at San Francisco’s Micaela Gallery.

When Beth-El constructed its present building in 1999, Lazarus chaired the art and Judaic symbolism committee. When the synagogue was completed, she gave the congregation more than a dozen paintings from her menorah series. Some of these colorful abstracts hang in the corridor leading to the rabbi’s study. Others brighten the secondary-school hallway in the Education Wing.

The menorah exhibit will remain on display through the end of February. Lazarus and her husband, Peter, moved to Fort Worth in 1985. Their three children — Al, Carl and Anna — grew up at Beth-El and remain congregants at the Temple. Anna and her husband, Jeff Caplan, have two children — Maya, 4½, and Gabe, 7 — who attend Beth-El’s Religious School.

The tradition of a designated “art space” at the temple dates back to the early 1990’s when a corner of the parlor at the old synagogue became a rotating space to showcase fine art by members of the local Jewish community.

Chabad to host private kosher wne tasting Dec. 7

Friends of Chabad of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Chabad of Fort worth will host a private, kosher, wine tasting from 4-7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 7, at the home of Orly and Bentzi Baynglass in Colleyville.

Wine selections, pairings and instructional demonstration will be orchestrated by Sommelier Zsolt Varga. Paired hors d’oeuvres will be designed and prepared by Chef Aaron Boardman. All wine and hors d’oeuvres will be strictly kosher (wines will be mevushal). Seating is limited, so please RSVP early.

There is no cost for the event, but donations are encouraged. RSVPs are required; please contact Eric Palmer at 972-523-6931 no later than Wednesday, Dec. 3 with the name and number of attendees.

Texas A&M Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Matt Rosenberg and Cindy Simon | Photos: Courtesy Angie Kitzman

Texas A&M Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Matt Rosenberg and Cindy Simon | Photos: Courtesy Angie Kitzman

Hillel Fair

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County hosted its first Hillel Fair Nov. 16. It was well-attended by students, parents and Hillels alike. Hillel representatives from The University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Christian University, University of Houston, University of North Texas and The University of Texas were on hand to introduce themselves, answer questions and hand out Hillel swag. Diane Kleinman spearheaded the program. Speakers were Rebecca Gerbert, Rachel Rudberg, Monica Braverman and Eli Holley. The Beth-El Brotherhood for catered.

LEFT: Jared and Jill Imber RIGHT: Event Chairwoman Diane Kleinman and Fort Worth and Tarrant County Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg

LEFT: Jared and Jill Imber
RIGHT: Event Chairwoman Diane Kleinman and Fort Worth and Tarrant County Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg

This event was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation and the FW Community Council for Hillel, Inc.

Save the Dates

  • Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.-Hanukkah party at Ahavath Sholom.
  • Jan. 15 at 7 p.m.-The Kornbleet Scholar at Ahavath Sholom.
  • Jan. 24 at 6:30 p.m.-Havdallah Sing-In at Beth Shalom.
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Reimagining the Yellow Star

Reimagining the Yellow Star

Posted on 27 November 2014 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

grossforwebBecause we are Jews in America, when we sit down today to slice our Thanksgiving turkeys, the knives will be directed at those roasted birds instead of at us. But American Jews in Israel cannot take that for granted.

Is there any good we can make come from something as bad as the recent synagogue massacre of Jews at prayer by a marauding band of killers shouting glory to a god of gore that is beyond our comprehension?

Bradley Laye, our Dallas Federation President and CEO, brought home some thoughts and a challenging idea from the recent AIPAC National Summit. Let the whole world get a brand-new look at the State of Israel in a brand-new way, he suggests, by reclaiming something very old and very disturbing in its connotations: the hated Yellow Star that branded with cruelty and death so many hapless, helpless Jews during the Nazi era, and even in centuries before.

Chances are great that those who dealt cruel death to our fellows in Israel so recently are themselves unknowing beneficiaries of Israeli ingenuity and know-how. So, what if the Yellow Star could be repurposed as a marker of exciting, beneficial things made in the Jewish homeland?

“Let’s add our Yellow Star to the works of our people,” Bradley suggests. Imagine every cellphone in the world bearing a Yellow Star! Contemplate every car on the road (for virtually all use machine tools manufactured at ISCAR — located in our Partnership 2Gether Region of the Western Galilee) decorated with a Yellow Star! Throngs of life-enhancing, life-saving prescription drugs from Teva Pharmaceuticals, each marked with a Yellow Star!

I tried out this arguably radical idea on a couple of random “victims.” The gag reflex kicked in the moment they heard “Yellow Star,” but receded quickly when the magnitude of Israeli accomplishments in manufacturing, irrigation, security and technology was suddenly visualized as bearing what was once a badge of shameful inferiority, transformed into a sign of productivity that already benefits much of the world, even if many of those who use Israeli products aren’t aware of it. A productivity that could be employed and enjoyed by the rest of our planet, if only all counties would choose this path. The new Yellow Star could be an inescapable advertisement for the very real accomplishments of our Jewish State.

We Jews — at least in America — are noisy and opinionated with each other, but have a distinct tendency to avoid making waves with those who are not Jewish. We defer. We accept. We acknowledge our minority status in silence. And when things are bad, we tend to sit still and wait for them to get better. But that doesn’t always happen. How many of our brothers and sisters in 1938 Germany were sure their country’s policies would soon go back to the benevolence in sway before Hitler, until they heard the shattering sounds of breaking glass on the evening now remembered as Kristallnacht? Across the centuries, around the world, we have carried out to the utmost that old saw, “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” and accepted ever-increasing unacceptable conditions, often culminating as it did with the Nazis, who not only ordered the wearing of the Yellow Star as an unmistakable sign of inferiority, but forced those who had to wear them to make their Yellow Stars themselves.

Can we remake those Yellow Stars again, now, for a bigger, better, transformed and transforming purpose?

Bradley told me, “This idea was meant to be more thought-provoking than real. It’s not my intention to start a campaign to reclaim the Yellow Star as a sign of strength.and innovation. I just took the idea that there is real contribution from Israel to the world, while the world ignores that side of Israel The Yellow Star is a response to that.”

Please think about this today, as you slice your turkey and give thanks.

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Learning from others

Learning from others

Posted on 20 November 2014 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2A week ago, all Jewish early childhood teachers in Dallas were given a gift: Schools were closed for three days so that we could attend the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Conference which was held here. Every teacher from every school is grateful to our families for affirming the importance of our continued learning. The various sessions were amazing. The Jewish Early Childhood Network presented at the conference and the Sherry & Ken Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center hosted a special evening to share our journey.

I attended some wonderful sessions but one impacted me as a Jewish educator. The session was led by three people in the field of researching “faith formation of young children.” All three identified as Christians and we can and must learn from all people (Ben Zoma in Pirke Avot: “Who is wise? One who learns from all people.”) Here are some thoughts:

  • Theoretical Ideas from the researchers: James Fowler says that faith is formed in stages similar to Piaget. John Westerhoff speaks of the phenomenon of faith versus stages — hmmm? Vygotsky teaches the importance of thought and language for shared understanding.
  • Doubting or questioning is part of faith development, yet our American culture is often afraid of questions.
  • Children, even before they can speak, learn from experiences and exposure makes a big difference in their faith formation.

Now as you read this, I wonder if you have a similar response as I did. We Jews don’t usually talk about “faith formation” — we do talk a lot about identity. Is that the same? Our Jewish learning for children is about the rituals and practices — even the focus on learning Hebrew is often decoding rather than understanding. This is true for many of us who did not grow up in a Jewish Day School setting and for our children today who attend public schools. Where does faith (where does God) fit into our practice of Judaism?

Just ideas to think about for all of us — no answers from me! The speakers shared a metaphor that resonated: Take a tree — it was a tree when it was small and it is still a tree as it grows big and tall. The tree does not lose its “treeness.” However, when you cut the tree and look at the rings you can see years of growth and years when there may have been a drought. It is the same with us and our connection to our Judaism and to God: some years are filled with growth in connection and belief and some years we step back and struggle. Yet we are still Jewish. I hope this all gives you some thoughts to ponder.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Shabbat app is not kosher

Shabbat app is not kosher

Posted on 20 November 2014 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I have seen a lot of hoopla around a new app for cellphones called the “Shabbos App” for texting on Shabbat. The company website claims that they have resolved any halachic issues and its use does not constitute any defilement of the Shabbat. I have recently begun keeping the Shabbat myself, and this idea looks enticing to me, but at the same time sounds a little weird. I would rather not rely on what I see online and would like to know what you feel about this innovation; is it something I can feel comfortable using?

— Roslyn S.

Dear Roslyn,

friedforweb2You have touched a raw nerve in me; I have been deeply shaken up by this matter ever since it was first sent to me some weeks ago. I will try my best to verbalize the way I feel about this.

This issue needs to be reflected upon on multiple levels by competent authorities of Jewish Law. Firstly, the halachic or technical issues of Jewish Law which arise. The second issue which needs consideration is, assuming it passes all technical hurdles, if the use of this app measures up to the spirit of the law. Lastly, what are the ramifications toward the future? Are there valid grounds for concern that this new innovation could create a slippery slope which may result in the desecration of Shabbos sometime in the future?

Let it be said that the halachic authorities heartily welcome innovation and have no aversion to the utilization of new technology with regards to any area of halacha, providing it passes the above three specifications. My mentor, the esteemed Rav S.Z. Aurbach ob’m was widely acclaimed as the world’s foremost authority in the laws of Shabbat, medical halacha and most other areas of halacha in the last generation, and he was on the cutting edge of innovation in a vast number of areas of Jewish law. The IDF, as well as hospitals and other technology based entities throughout Israel, are in constant use of innovations which gained R’ Aurbach’s approval, in consultation with leading scientists and engineers.

I will offer you my humble opinion on the above three questions with regards to this app; my opinion has circulated in the other kollels of the U.S. and I have received the approbation of scholars throughout the country.

It is not within the purview of this column to discuss complicated Talmudic and halachic issues. Let it suffice to say that the creators of this app claim its permissibility based upon the opinion of my mentor, Rav Aurbach ob’m. This is in regards to the completion of a circuit on Shabbat; that it would not constitute a “temporary act of building.” I, personally, heard from R’ Aurbach a number of times that as a matter of practical halacha he considered the completion of a circuit to be considered an act of building. Under the halachic guidelines which define that “melacha,” or category of creative activity on the Shabbat, to complete a circuit is to create a working unit which did not exist previously. This is with regards to the use of electricity in a situation where it would not constitute lighting a fire; even so the completion of an electric circuit is its own issue. Therefore, I disagree with the authors and consider it a distortion of the truth to connect R’ Aurbach’s name to allow this. Other issues involved would need more space to discuss.

The second issue is with regard to the spirit of the law of Shabbat. Many activities, which are technically permitted on Shabbat, were forbidden by the sages under the category of “mundane activities.” Shabbat is a day which was given to us by the Al-mighty to immerse ourselves in spirituality and holiness. For that, we need to “disconnect” from our normal weekday activities. In the Shabbat songs we proclaim Shabbat as “mi’ein olam haba,” a miniature of the “next world.” This tells us that Shabbat is not something we just do or perform like most mitzvot. Shabbat is a world we enter; by stepping out of this world and climbing up into the next corridor, into the gates opened by Shabbat. As long as we hold onto that which keeps us connected to all that we are used to, through physical connectedness and can’t let go of that connection, we will never be able to immerse ourselves in the otherworldly space of Shabbat.

Lastly, with regards to these types of innovations, I heard R’ Aurbach proclaim that such things will undoubtedly lead to an eventual destruction of our observance. We are all, unfortunately, well-informed as to the widespread addiction that so many, especially young people, have to their cell phones and texting. This innovation is clearly looking for a loophole to continue this behavior into the Shabbat, sending a subtle, (or not so subtle) message that this technology trumps all, even the holiness of Shabbat, and we begin to slip down the slope to oblivion. And I proclaim to the authors of this app: Leave our Shabbat alone! It has protected us for thousands of years, don’t tamper with it and transform it into some new-fangled expression of modern technology. It is in the merit of Shabbat kept properly that we will be redeemed from our exile; let it be soon!

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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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 20 November 2014 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Holocaust survivor, shares her Holocaust story at Adat Chaverim Friday, Nov. 14

Mrs. Anneliese Nossbaum, was the guest speaker Friday evening during services. The following Sunday morning, she spoke to more than 175 Adat Chaverim students and their parents. During her talk, she shared pictures of her childhood and artifacts including a metal hair brush and soap dish that belonged to her during her internment. Attendees said that “it was an incredible experience for our students and parents to learn firsthand about her upbringing.”

Anneliese Nossbaum shown here with Rabbi Ben Sternman, spoke at Adat Chaverim Friday, Nov. 14. | Photo: Adat Chaverim

Anneliese Nossbaum shown here with Rabbi Ben Sternman, spoke at Adat Chaverim Friday, Nov. 14. | Photo: Adat Chaverim

Nossbaum a Holocaust survivor, grew up in Bonn, Germany. She was 12 years old when her internment by the Nazis began. For the next four years of her young life, she was forced to perform slave labor in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) ghetto. She was then deported to Auschwitz/Birkenau, and then Mauthausen, where the American Army liberated her and 80,000 other prisoners in early May 1945.

Anneliese is on the road of perpetual remembrance. She is a well-known lecturer and has brought her experiences to high school and college students, to private and governmental organizations in her immediate area, as well as internationally traveling to Germany and Austria. Her complete lecture has been incorporated in a German book (Frauenleben im NS-Alltag). English excerpts have been published in various American publications. She is the mother of two children and grandmother of four.

Nossbaum currently resides in Philadelphia.

Graham Silberman of Diamond Doctor presents their corporate sponsorship check of $90,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Diamond Doctor is the presenting sponsor of the Federation’s Men’s Event 2014-2016. Accepting the check is Bradley Laye, President & CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and Cindy Sweet Moskowitz, board chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. | Photo: JFGD

Graham Silberman of Diamond Doctor presents their corporate sponsorship check of $90,000 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Diamond Doctor is the presenting sponsor of the Federation’s Men’s Event 2014-2016. Accepting the check is Bradley Laye, President & CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and Cindy Sweet Moskowitz, board chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. | Photo: JFGD

DJCF scholarship process open for 2015/2016 school year

The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation scholarship process is open for the 2015-2016 academic year. Students of any and all faiths are encouraged to apply. The DJCF awards at least 35 college scholarships each year based on financial need, academic merit and involvement in extracurricular activities and/or community service.

Scholarships range from $500 to $10,000. Some are university specific; however, most allow study at the college or university of the recipient’s choice. Specific awards are available for students studying medicine, law, education, fashion merchandising, or Jewish studies, and the DJCF has a host of scholarships that are for students in any field of study. The awards are open to high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students. Fortunately only one application is needed for the myriad scholarships since questions are designed to allow the DJCF to consider an applicant for every scholarship for which he/she may be eligible.

Eligibility requirements and the application can be found at www.djcf.org. For questions, or additional information, please contact scholarships@djcf.org or 214-615-5268. The application process closes Feb. 17, 2015.

Dallas Israel Bonds Chair Kenny Goldberg and other members of the Israel Bonds regional leadership recently met with Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer on his visit to Houston, where he expressed his gratitude of the Southwest Region’s considerable investment in Israel. Pictured from left are Dallas Chair Kenny Goldberg, Houston Chair Steve Finkelman, Ambassador Ron Dermer and National Campaign Chair Fred Zeidman. | Photo: Marc Nathan Photography

Dallas Israel Bonds Chair Kenny Goldberg and other members of the Israel Bonds regional leadership recently met with Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer on his visit to Houston, where he expressed his gratitude of the Southwest Region’s considerable investment in Israel. Pictured from left are Dallas Chair Kenny Goldberg, Houston Chair Steve Finkelman, Ambassador Ron Dermer and National Campaign Chair Fred Zeidman. | Photo: Marc Nathan Photography

Kenny Davin Fine and The Tennessee Texans in Concert

Kenny Davin Fine, the world’s only “Physician-Musician on a Mission,” returns with his Health ‘n’ Music Tour to The Lakewood Theater in Dallas (1825 Abrams Rd) Saturday, Nov. 22. The evening will stimulate both sides of your brain with the latest scientific information, creativity and entertainment. This special event will begin at 6 p.m. with a gluten-free dinner, followed at 7 p.m. by a health lecture by Dr. Fine about “The Gluten Truth 2014 & The FinerHealth Revolution.” During his talk, Fine, an academic gastroenterologist, will unveil his new health plan that includes “6 Tenets of the FinerHealth.” A pioneer in gluten intolerance research, he launched the popular gluten sensitivity and gluten-free diet habits.

The evening will culminate from 8-10 p.m. with a rocking, high energy concert starring Kenny Davin Fine and his band, The Tennessee Texans, performing songs from his latest CD, “Son of the Heart.” The cost for the dinner, which includes a copy of the CD, is $25. The lecture and concert are free of charge. For dinner reservations, call 972-686-6869.

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