Archive | February, 2015

Bad ‘deal’; ISIS expansion

Bad ‘deal’; ISIS expansion

Posted on 19 February 2015 by admin

By Gil Elan

The Iranian nuke deal

elanforwebAs of this writing, more details are coming out about the “bad deal” negotiated between Iran and the U.S. that is supposed to be initialed, if not actually signed, March 24. As explained in this briefing last week, the “deal” assumes that with certain “restrictions” and “controls” Iran would require at least 12 months to reach “breakout stage.” That would enable it to construct a nuclear weapon.

According to reliable sources both here and in Israel, the so-called “deal” does not resolve in any way the fact that Iran was, according to reliable reports, including one by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, just 2-3 months away from “breakout” back in November 2013. It increases the number of advanced enrichment centrifuges Iran can assemble and operate and does not limit the quantities of enriched uranium Iran can stockpile. It does not address the weaponization program or the construction and testing of long-range missiles.

According to several Israeli and Arab sources, what Iran is “promising” in exchange for turning a blind eye on its nukes, is that it will “help” the U.S. led coalition against ISIS, and will not declare itself nuclear armed until spring 2017 (do the math…).

If, after Netanyahu addresses Congress March 3 (as of this writing it has not been changed), the kind of “deal” outlined above is still signed, then a regional Sunni coalition together with Israel may take the necessary action to do what the “deal” won’t — stop Iran from acquiring nukes.

The growth and spread of ISIS

In the past few days we have seen a video of the brutal beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS on the shores of the Mediterranean in Libya. This is clear proof that ISIS is expanding the territory of the Islamic State and now controls parts of Northern Libya.

Tuesday we learned from the police chief of the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi that ISIS fighters, having just captured that town, horrifically burned alive over 45 Shiite members of the Iraqi military forces. Claiming that “a compound that houses the families of security personnel and local officials were now under attack,” Col. Obeidi pleaded for help from the Iraqi government and the international community.

The huge significance of this town falling to ISIS is that the large Iraqi Ain al-Asad air base, where about 320 US Marine “advisors” are training members of the Iraqi army’s 7th Division, is just 5 miles away. The base itself was attacked by ISIS, including several suicide bombers, just last Friday. They were eventually repelled by Iraqi troops backed by U.S.-led coalition aircraft. This time, according to the Pentagon, no U.S. troops participated in the fighting.

But with ISIS reinforcements now swarming into al-Baghdadi, the next attack is just a matter of time.

It’s clear to me that rather than being “degraded and eventually destroyed,” ISIS is expanding, strengthening, and casting its dark Islamist jihadist shadow over more and more areas and people, while our leaders here and in Europe are debating what to call them…

Here’s my suggestion: devout Islamic Jihadists, who are following literally and precisely the clear and unequivocal orders given to them, both in the Quran and the Hadith, by whom they believe is the “perfect man” and the “final messenger” chosen by Allah, Mohammed.

In their ideology, they are continuing the conquests, proselytizing, enslaving and destruction that he started, and ordered to continue, exactly as they understand and interpret his very words.

They are not a mutation of Islam. In their eyes, and, historically they have a case, they are the original, conquering, subjugating Islam.

We are not at war with Islam. An overwhelming majority of Muslims around the world do not blindly follow all the original words of the Quran, or wartime sayings of the Prophet. They put them in historical context.

But until the Ulema, the collective spiritual leaders of Islam today, either very publicly change the texts or the context of some of the original passages…we will continue to be at war with the Jihadis.

And this will not be a three year war or 30 year war. It will only end when either:

1. One side accepts the superiority of belief of the other, or

2. All the Islamic schools of Jurisprudence rule clearly and irrevocably that Islam can and must live side by side with all other religions in peace, understanding and harmony.

Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.

Lt. Col. (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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Why stay Jewish?

Why stay Jewish?

Posted on 19 February 2015 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

friedforweb2I have a challenge for you. Imagine a Jewish young professional approached you and told you that for convenience, business, dating and general freedom the person is seriously considering opting out of considering themselves Jewish. Before doing so, the person decided to first ask around to see if there is any compelling reason to — despite the potential inconvenience — remain Jewish.

What would you say is the compelling reason to remain Jewish? Why, in fact, are you Jewish?

Please email your answers to me directly or through the TJP. I’m looking forward to your responses before I offer mine! (And I look forward to sharing those that will benefit 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 yfried@sbcglobal.net.

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Righteous Among the Nations: The Late Jeanne Coiffier

Righteous Among the Nations: The Late Jeanne Coiffier

Posted on 19 February 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
TJP Staff Reporter

DALLAS — If the wife of a French farmer had not hidden Charles Teichman’s family from the far-reaching clutches of the Nazi Party, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance board executive committee member believes he might never have been born.

Teichman, 68, said he continues to be astonished by the valor and bravery shown by the late Jeanne Coiffier — who concealed Isak and Blina Teichman and their sons Simon and David in her Northern France basement in the early 1940s from French police seeking to deport Jews to Hitler-controlled Germany.

Coiffier, who died in November 1991 at age 78, was posthumously awarded the title of “Righteous Among The Nations” by Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem at the Holocaust Memorial in Paris Jan. 14.

Dallasite Charles Teichman and his brothers Simon and David, both of whom still live in Paris, were on hand Jan. 14 to honor the late Jeanne Coiffier, who saved their family from being deported to Nazi Germany. They are pictured here with Coiffier’s daughters. | Photos: Submitted by Charles Teichman

Dallasite Charles Teichman and his brothers Simon and David, both of whom still live in Paris, were on hand Jan. 14 to honor the late Jeanne Coiffier, who saved their family from being deported to Nazi Germany. They are pictured here with Coiffier’s daughters. | Photos: Submitted by Charles Teichman

Teichman and his family were there.

“I remember meeting Jeanne Coiffier after the war and I asked her, ‘Why did you take in my family?’” Teichman said during a phone interview last week. “She looked at me and said, ‘It was the right thing to do.’ She didn’t really think she was doing anything exceptional, but her actions proved she was quite exceptional.”

For Teichman, this recognition was the only good news he has heard coming out of France lately. He has been greatly disheartened by the current trend of violence against Jews there. Four hostages were killed at a kosher supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, 12 people were murdered at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and a police officer was executed in Montrouge, all at the hands of Islamic terrorists the week of Jan. 7.

In response, roughly 2 million people convened in Paris for a rally of national unity Jan. 11, with nearly 4 million others joining similar demonstrations across France. “Je Suis Charlie” — the French phrase for “I am Charlie” — became the consistent slogan of support at both the rallies and on social media.

But in the words of Albert Einstein, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Teichman is of a similar mind, bothered that more concern was not specifically shown for the Jewish victims during these rallies.

“Millions of French people marched in the streets of French cities to show their refusal to give in to terror,” he said. “They all became ‘Charlie,’ if only for a day. Very few became Jews.”

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared, “France without the Jews is not France,” but when synagogues were attacked there last summer, the only demonstrators were Jews, Teichman said.

“Millions of French people stayed home,” he said. “So, I wonder… what will become of my relatives, of my friends.”

Ultimately, Teichman said, this tragedy underscores the importance of the heroism of Jeanne Coiffier.

Pictured are (from left) Charles Teichman’s daughter, Alysa; Teichman; wife, Joanne; and son, Jake.

Pictured are (from left) Charles Teichman’s daughter, Alysa; Teichman; wife, Joanne; and son, Jake.

LEFT: Even posthumously, the honor bestowed on Coiffier is significant, Teichman said. RIGHT: Jeanne Coiffier was proclaimed “Righteous Among The Nations” by Yad Vashem.

LEFT: Even posthumously, the honor bestowed on Coiffier is significant, Teichman said.
RIGHT: Jeanne Coiffier was proclaimed “Righteous Among The Nations” by Yad Vashem.

Coiffier’s husband Emile was a prisoner of war in Austria during the time she concealed the Teichmans in the basement of her farm house between July 1942 and August 1944.

The Teichmans lived in that basement until the liberation of occupied Paris.

This was not an easy time in the Teichman family’s history. Originally from Eastern Europe, Isak and Blina Teichman fled anti-Semitism there, arriving in France in the early 1930s. The couple settled in a small house in Drancy near Paris — near a future internment camp. Isak was one of the founders of the first synagogue in Drancy. Their children, Simon and David, were born in 1934 and 1935, respectively. The brothers still live in Paris, although some of their children and grandchildren have moved out of the country.

At the outbreak of war, the stateless Isak Teichman joined the Foreign Legion and was dispatched to fight in North Africa, according to an English translation of the Jeanne Coiffier award.

Isak Teichman was discharged from service in June 1940. Upon his return home he took refuge at the Coiffier farm, joined later by his wife and children, who fled their home in Drancy because of an impending raid of which there was advance knowledge.

Living at the farm in secret with Coiffier and her two daughters was difficult for the Teichmans.

While they were being hidden, the Teichmans discreetly helped their benefactor with work on her garden — but Jeanne Coiffier never requested any financial compensation, according to the text of her award.

“The children, for safety, [did] not go to school,” according to the award.

Charles Teichman was born in Drancy July 12, 1946. He was named “Charles” after a cousin who was arrested in Drancy and deported to Auschwitz.

Teichman said that the fact he even exists now as a naturalized American citizen is testament to the good intentions of Jeanne Coiffier.

“Because of her actions, [my family] did not join the 76,000 Jews from France who ended in Auschwitz, never to come back,” Charles Teichman said.

The recent violence against Jews brings to mind the March 2012 shootings in the cities of Montauban and Toulouse in the Midi-Pyrénées region, he said. Seven were slain and five others injured during gun attacks on French soldiers and Jewish civilians. The gunman responsible was later shot and killed after a 30-hour standoff with authorities.

Teichman said while he experienced the torment of anti-Semitism in France when he was younger, it was nothing like the current wave of violence against Jews.

“When people start dying, it is a sign things are really getting bad,” he said.

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Take the ‘Shehechiyanu Challenge’

Take the ‘Shehechiyanu Challenge’

Posted on 19 February 2015 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2It’s Rosh Chodesh Adar — a favorite month of the Jewish year begins today. We get ready for Purim; however, there are so many things to be happy about in the month of Adar and in the whole year.

Having a month that is focused on happiness and joy is a gift, and it was a great idea of our sages to give us a double dose during the “leap” year. But this year we only get one Adar so let’s make it special.

In Judaism, we make things special by reciting blessings. Of all the many blessings, the one we should say the most often is the “Shehechiyanu.” Although traditionally there are very specific times to say it, we can use it whenever we are thankful for a special moment.

One of the new PJ Library Books is “I Say Shehechiyanu” by Joanne Rocklin. This beautiful book reminds us that the blessing is not only for first time happenings but also when something happens again after a long time.

The book takes us through the Jewish year of special things as well as things that are part of everyday life. Those everyday moments can and should be made special — every moment has something sacred to remind us of the gifts of our lives!

Another wonderful “Shehechiyanu” book is an e-book by Rabbi Jamie Korngold, aka Adventure Rabbi. “Kids Can’t Say Shehechiyanu But They Can Feel It” is a short book with pictures of “Shehechiyanu” moments and it is fun having it on your phone or iPad.

Of course, being in the world of apps, we can find anything on our phones. Make your own “Shehechiyanu” book: Take a picture every time you want to capture that moment and put it in a special album. You will have those moments to remind you of the wonders of your days. We can combine the beauty of our tradition with the technology of the day and create sacred space digitally. Perhaps our teens might even get into this habit!

Daily blessings and marking sacred moments is, of course, good for our soul but we know that it is also good for our physical self. Feeling thankful and marking the thankful moment with a blessing enhances the experience. Take the “Shehechiyanu Challenge” — find special moments in your everyday life.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Why Netanyahu MUST speak to Congress

Why Netanyahu MUST speak to Congress

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Gil Elan

elanforwebAs more information about the supposed upcoming “Bad Deal” between the P5+1 countries and Iran over the radical Islamic State’s nuclear weapons program, due to be drafted by March 24 and finalized in June, leaks … no … gushes out, the importance of Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Bibi to address Congress, and Bibi’s acceptance, becomes more imperative. Here’s why:

1. Disagreeing strongly with both the U.S. negotiating tactics at the table (concede more and more without any budge from the Iranians), and a constantly retreating goal line (from “zero nuclear weapons capability” to accepting a nuclear weaponized Iran that can, in what is probably an unrealistic fantasy of someone advising the president, be somehow “contained”), Germany, France, the UK, China and Russia have quietly taken a back seat in the talks.

2. All “negotiations” (i.e., capitulation to Iran’s demands) in recent weeks have been conducted between Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

3. A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal notes that “Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 29: ‘Nuclear talks with Iran began as an international effort, buttressed by six UN resolutions, to deny Iran the capability to develop a military nuclear option. They are now in essentially bilateral negotiation over the scope of that capability through an agreement that sets a hypothetical limit of one year on an assumed breakout. The impact of this approach will be to move from preventing proliferation to managing it.’”

4. And while the White House seems certain that a regime of inspections and threats of sanctions or military action are more than enough to “manage” or “contain” a nuclear armed, radical and unpredictable Islamist Shiite regime, whose leaders call day in and day out for the destruction of Israel and eventually the “Great Satan” America, after dominating all regional Sunni regimes, everybody in the neighborhood knows that “this American dog won’t hunt.”

5. The WSJ editorial concludes: “Our own view is that Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make almost any concession to get one. In any case Mr. Kissinger’s concerns underscore the need for Congressional scrutiny and a vote on any agreement with Iran.”

And this is EXACTLY why Bibi must be allowed to present the facts about the “bad deal,” together with updated Israeli intelligence reports on the Iranian program to Congress, before the March 24 meeting between Kerry and Zarif.

Congress has the duty to know and the American public has a right to know.

A power-hungry, fanatically Jihadist, expansionist-driven and longtime terrorist-supporting Shiite theocracy with nukes is a threat not only to Israel and Saudi Arabia, but to every man, woman and child in the world that will refuse to bow to their dictates.

There will be plenty of time for egos, insults, protocols, legacies, election campaigns and the rest of the everyday meaningless minutiae later. But not now!

Now is the time to let Bibi Netanyahu present Israel’s existential message to Congress.

Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.

Lt. Col. (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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Free will is a game changer

Free will is a game changer

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

friedforweb2Two weeks ago, we explained how we change ourselves through prayer and consequently cause a change in the outcome of our situations. We essentially have transformed ourselves into “someone else” other than the one originally decreed upon.

I share with you a response I received, as well as a question on the response written by the original questioner:

Rabbi Fried,

Your response is thought-provoking and enlightening, raising a new question. I had learned that it was general knowledge in Leah’s community that she would marry Esau. Therefore she could challenge this assumption through prayer. Had she married Esau, the impact could have been to everyone’s betterment. Isn’t getting approval to change the master plan, like the “butterfly effect,” changing things in ways not imaginable? (Not always for the good!)

— Shimon

Rabbi Fried,

Is this man correct? Can we ask to “change the master plan”? Or is this really the same question as before; therefore same answer?

— Hadassah B.

Dear Hadassah,

I believe you are correct in your question. I never, in fact, stated that one could “change the master plan,” only that one could change their role in that master plan. Allow me to explain by way of showing a seeming dichotomy within our belief system.

We believe that God has a master plan, which guides how history should play out. The outcome of that plan is the revelation to the world of the Oneness of God and that He is the Master of the Universe in a way which will be accepted by all. We will then see how all things which transpired over the course of history, from the best to the worst, all somehow work into that plan. We will understand how our perception of those events, as they transpired, were like looking at one small, isolated piece of a large puzzle. On its own it may make no sense or even seem contradictory to some other pieces we have already seen. Only after the puzzle is finished can one see the entire picture and perceive not only how that piece fits it, but that without it the picture would be incomplete. At the time of the final revelation of the Oneness of God, all the pieces of the most puzzling puzzle of all, the events of Jewish and world history, will be pieced together in a way that all will stand back, astounded in wonderment, over the greatest picture of all!

This would seem to imply we don’t really have a lot of choice in the outcome of our lives, as we are all pieces of a larger puzzle. On the other hand, one of our core beliefs is that of free will, which opens the playing field to unlimited choices in our lives. We believe that free will goes to the very core of our existence; it is the most important facet of our being that flows out of our creation in the “Image of God.” This apparently seems to contradict the notion of a master plan!

The answer is, we have free will to decide what our role will be in the master plan. We may choose to be one who directly contributes to building the foundation for the eventual revelation of the Oneness of God in a positive way through positive actions. We may also choose to be a cog in the system by showing how one should not be, the consequence of our actions being the futility of going against that One-ness and His will. One way or the other, everyone contributes to that final revelation. Some will be, at the end, very proud of their contribution and others, sadly, eternally shamed for their sort of contribution. Only God, in His unlimited wisdom, is able to transform whatever we do into a piece of that great puzzle and make it become part of the big picture, for better or worse. Leah, by changing herself through her prayers, was able to become a player in the game whose contribution to the master plan is one that will bring her, and the world, eternal joy.

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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A Jewish prayer for all cowboys and cowgirls

A Jewish prayer for all cowboys and cowgirls

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
TJP Staff Reporter

FORT WORTH — Bulls. Horses. Stetsons. Cowboys. Cowgirls. Rodeo clowns. American and Texas flags. Dirt-stained jeans. Cotton candy. Corn dogs. All the related pageantry and accoutrements of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (FWSSR).

For second-time visitor Michal Bloom — wife of Fort Worth Rabbi Andrew Bloom — the rodeo was still a relatively new experience Saturday night. But she said it was just as delightful as her first time there — and Will Rogers Coliseum was an excellent place for her husband to promote a message of inclusiveness.

Rabbi Andrew Bloom, of Fort Worth’s Congregation Ahavath Sholom, was on hand to deliver the first Jewish prayer EVER at the beginning of the last night of the rodeo. He had been invited to do so as part of a new FWSSR inclusiveness program in which representatives of different faiths offer public, one-minute prayers just before rodeo events.

Longtime FWSSR public address announcer Bob Tallman visits with Rabbi Andrew Bloom prior to the first Jewish invocation at the sold-out event at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Feb. 7. | Photo: TJP/James Coreas

Longtime FWSSR public address announcer Bob Tallman visits with Rabbi Andrew Bloom prior to the first Jewish invocation at the sold-out event at Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Feb. 7. | Photo: TJP/James Coreas

The rabbi’s wife and the two accompanying congregants from Congregation Ahavath Sholom couldn’t have been more thrilled to be there.

“I am from Israel and so for me this is double excitement,” Michal Bloom said. “I hope that as a result of this, the Texas community will start to embrace the Jewish voice — and that the Jewish voice will be heard, not just in the rodeo but in other main events in Texas and in the United States.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has said Rabbi Bloom was the ideal person to deliver the prayer and described him as a “remarkable advocate for the role faith communities can play in a community.”

The 46-year-old rabbi said in a previous interview that he crafted his prayer to be as “diverse, pluralistic and inclusive” as possible.

Bloom readied himself for his prayer Saturday night, going through his notes near the central podium where longtime FWSSR rodeo announcer Bob Tallman is positioned during rodeos.

Behind him in the stands sat wife Michal Bloom as well as Stephen and Valerie Kaye, who are friends and congregants of Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Many more in the community and from the Ahavath Sholom congregation had wished to attend, but the last night of the rodeo was completely sold out. The stands were so full it seemed there was no elbow room.

“This is such a neat experience — for him and the congregation — to be part of this,” Stephen Kaye said from his seat, glancing out at the huge crowd. “I’m originally from Lubbock and I’ve been to a few of these — but not on the last night and certainly not when history is being made.”

Stephen Kaye’s family is from Poland. His wife Valerie’s family is from Austria-Hungary — but they have solid ties to the Jewish community of historic Fort Worth.

“My great-great-grandfather came over and settled into Fort Worth after starting out in New York,” Valerie Kaye explained. “They told him come to Fort Worth so he did and settled here. My family eventually moved from Fort Worth to Houston because the only Jewish butcher in Fort Worth was leaving for Houston. So they followed him to Houston.”

The future Rabbi Bloom and his future wife first met when the two were attending the State Teachers College — Seminar Hakibutzim in Israel.

Andrew Bloom is a New Jersey native who grew up in Maryland and served in the Israel Defense Forces. He went on to attend rabbinical school at The Schechter Institute for Judaic Studies in Jerusalem, the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Israel branch. He has been a rabbi for more than a decade — the past four years of which have been spent at Congregation Ahavath Sholom.

“We met in Israel, moved to Jerusalem for rabbinical school, jumped to England and New Jersey and now we’re here,” Michal Bloom explained. “The feedback we have had about this prayer was fantastic. People called from Dallas and all over and were tremendously excited to have a Jewish voice at a special event like this.”

This is the text of the prayer the rabbi offered at the rodeo:

  • God in Heaven and on Earth, we are taught in the Book of Genesis that “all men are created in Your image” (Genesis 1:27) and it is in this light that I offer this evening’s prayer. Let us pray:
  • We ask You, our Creator of the heavens and the earth, to bless these United States, the great State of Texas, and the city of Fort Worth. We ask that you bless our mayor and all of our local, state and national representatives along with our business and communal leaders.
  • May your loving presence shine forth protecting and blessing the soldiers of these United States along with all other first responders who guard our lives and freedoms.
  • It is in this light that we ask that You bring a complete recovery to Sgt. Shane Drake of the Fort Worth Police Department and all other emergency personnel who have been injured in the line of duty.
  • God in heaven, we ask that you bless all the attendees here tonight, us, our families and all good people everywhere.
  • Bless the participants of this rodeo with success and safety, both those who will perform and compete this evening and those who work behind the scenes.
  • We further ask that You bless the animals of this great rodeo so that no harm befalls them.
  • And God in heaven, may You guard our coming and going now and forever more. Amen!

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

There is nothing like a trip to Israel to leave one spiritually refreshed (physically tired) and more than a little excited to be Jewish.

Our recent trip to Israel included more than a few Fort Worth connections. On the trip were Felice (nee Antweil) and Harold Leidner. In addition to Felice and Harold, former ourtowners Susan Wisch and Neil Beckerman were on the pre-mission trip to Budapest as well as the Israel trip. (You can read about the Budapest trip on Page 10, by yet another Fort Worth connection Jeff Kitner, whose grandparents were the late Libby and Leon Kitner.) Rounding out the contingent were Harold Gernsbacher, Leigh Gernsbacher and Braden White, Leigh’s boyfriend. It was nice that all of us with Cowtown roots (with the exception of Neil Beckerman) shared Bus 4.

A certain star of the week was Harold Gernsbacher. Harold was his most energetic and animated self when we toured the Western Galilee, Dallas’ partnership region. A member of the board of governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Harold serves under the direction of JAFI Chair Natan Sharansky as the international co-chair of Partnership2Gether. According to its website, “The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether peoplehood platform (P2G, previously known as Partnership 2000) has become the paradigm for successfully partnering global Jewish communities directly with Israeli communities — the majority of which are in national priority areas.

“Communities share ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success; and empower one another to generate waves of change. But the impact of these projects go far beyond the community level — each of us has the opportunity to become directly and personally involved.”

Our journey to the Western Galilee began when all 150 mission members boarded a private train that left Tel Aviv at 6 a.m. and arrived at our destination at approximately 8 a.m. At that point, the group split up into their big experiences, exploring the region in a very personal way. Among the options were: heading to the beach at Nahariya and Rosh Hanikra and experiencing some drills of one of the Partnership programs for at-risk youth, a helicopter tour of the borders and security installations, hiking through the hills of the Galilee and experiencing the food and wine of the region. It was a day that culminated with a dinner in 2,000-year-old Crusader’s Hall in Akko followed by entertainment from some of the area’s most gifted children and young adults. In the middle of the day, we stopped at the Western Galilee Hospital. We heard from its general director, Masad Barhoum, M.D., who happens to be the only Arab medical director of an Israeli hospital. He was very grave, as he explained to us that there had been fighting near the border with Lebanon, and two Israeli soldiers had been killed. They were expecting further casualties and his remarks were brief. For many it was the first news they’d heard about the “situation” at the border that was about 15 miles away. In typical tourist-to-Israel fashion, at no time did we feel insecure about our safety.

We were given a tour of the hospital’s underground facility. In the event of an attack the entire hospital, some 500+ beds, can be evacuated to the underground hospital. There are also facilities for the staff members’ children and families, so that in the event of a crisis, everyone is safe and the staff can go about their business of healing ALL people, without worrying about their own family’s safety.

Those of us who knew her were particularly touched by the children’s ER waiting room, which is dedicated to the late Toni Gernsbacher.

In all it was an amazing trip, and I know as those of you prepare for your upcoming trips to Israel this spring and summer you will come back as enthusiastic and … tired as me.

On top of the world at Tel Aviv’s tallest building, Azrieli Towers, from left, Alex Ray, Sharon Wisch-Ray, Susan Wisch and Neil Beckerman | Photos: Sharon Wisch-Ray

On top of the world at Tel Aviv’s tallest building, Azrieli Towers, from left, Alex Ray, Sharon Wisch-Ray, Susan Wisch and Neil Beckerman | Photos: Sharon Wisch-Ray

LEFT: Felice and Harold Leidner on top of Azrieli Towers RIGHT: Leigh Gernsbacher and Braden White at Masada

LEFT: Felice and Harold Leidner on top of Azrieli Towers
RIGHT: Leigh Gernsbacher and Braden White at Masada

LEFT: Harold Gernsbacher talks Partnership2Gether in Akko. RIGHT: The emergency department at the Western Galilee Hospital is dedicated to the memory of the late Toni Gernsbacher

LEFT: Harold Gernsbacher talks Partnership2Gether in Akko.
RIGHT: The emergency department at the Western Galilee Hospital is dedicated to the memory of the late Toni Gernsbacher

CAS Religious School prospective family day, Feb. 22

Thinking of sending your child to religious school? Ahavath Sholom will hold a prospective family day beginning at 9:45 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 22. Education Director Cantor Shoshana Abrams Kaikov will facilitate a brief informational orientation for families over breakfast followed by classroom visits. You and your child(ren) will be welcome to sit in on and interact with classes.

CAS Religious School strives to offer experiential, nurturing, hands-on, exciting, rich and vibrant Jewish learning that will inspire students for a lifetime. Ahavath Sholom’s faculty of energetic and passionate educators is committed to providing its students with a world-class Jewish education by means of a cutting-edge curriculum that creatively and rigorously equips students for meaningful Jewish journeys.

You can RSVP to Cantor Abrams Kaikov by phone 817-731-4721, ext. 113, or email cantor.abrams@ahavathsholom.org. Ahavath Sholom is located at 4050 South Hulen in Fort Worth.

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Walkin’ the walk

Walkin’ the walk

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

seymourforweb2There are so many lessons we strive to teach our children, but we forget about the struggle we ourselves have with those important lessons and values. So how do we practice justice and fairness and strive to eliminate hatred and prejudice based on the teachings of Judaism? A pretty tall order!

How do we teach our children and ourselves? Through our texts and by our example!

Fairness is a word that is really about justice (or mishpat in Hebrew). Judaism has the message of justice deeply implanted in the spirit of Jewish life. The Torah is filled with laws and examples of how to make a fair judgment and the importance of being fair and just.

You shall not render an unfair decision: Do not favor the poor nor show deference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus)

Only to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. (Micah)

Rabbi Hillel said, “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” This is a very easy way to understand how to treat others. However, being fair isn’t always easy or simple. Fair doesn’t always mean the same!

Try these conversation starters with your children:

  • Have you ever been treated unfairly? How did it make you feel?
  • Do you think it is fair that older children get to stay up later and do more things than younger children? Why or why not? Do you think it is fair that boys get to do things that girls don’t get to do? Why or why not?
  • Some families have a rule that if there is a piece of cake to share, one person gets to cut it and the other gets to choose the first piece. How is this a fair way to divide the cake? Can this system be used in other areas?

Stories work well for discussions too: A young boy came to a woman’s house and asked if she would like to buy some of the berries he had picked from his father’s fields. The woman said, “Yes, I would and I’ll just take your basket inside to measure out 2 quarts.” The boy sat down on the porch and the woman asked, “Don’t you want to watch me? How do you know that I won’t cheat you and take more than 2 quarts?” The young boy said, “I am not afraid, for you would get the worst of the deal.” “How could that be?” she asked. The boy answered, “If you take more than 2 quarts that you are paying me for, I would only lose the berries. You would make yourself a liar and a thief.” Talk about the meaning of this story with your family.

Shalom … from the Shabbat Lady.

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

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 12 February 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Golden wedding anniversary for Susan and Allen Luterman

Susan and Allen Luterman on their wedding day ... and 50 golden years later | Photo: Luterman Family

Susan and Allen Luterman on their wedding day … and 50 golden years later | Photo: Luterman Family

Mazal tov to Susan Candy Luterman and Allen N. Luterman, who will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Feb. 14, 2015, at a luncheon hosted by their daughter, Adrea Luterman.

Susan and Allen were married at Congregation Tiferet Israel, co-officiated by Rabbi Levi A. Olan of Temple Emanu-El, a very close friend of the family. Both Susan and Allen were raised in Dallas.

The daughter of the late Florence and Yale Candy and granddaughter of the late Sadie and Abraham Samuelsohn, Susan attended Highland Park High School, University of Oklahoma and SMU.

Allen is the son of the late Katherine and Isadore Luterman and grandson of the late Sarah and Zelek Luterman. He attended Hillcrest High School, University of Texas and graduated from SMU. Allen is in commercial real estate.

The Lutermans have two children, Stephen Luterman and Adrea Luterman, and three grandchildren.

From left, Kehillat Chaverim members Rebecca Bradley, Mike Raboy, Alan Bach and Jeff Buch | Photo: Courtesy of Joel Roffman

From left, Kehillat Chaverim members Rebecca Bradley, Mike Raboy, Alan Bach and Jeff Buch | Photo: Courtesy of Joel Roffman

Kehillat Chaverim welcomes new Torah

Joel Roffman tells us that “With reverence and gratitude, Kehillat Chaverim will welcome its newest addition during Shabbat services Feb. 14.”

No, not a new congregant or a new baby, but a second Torah.

The Torah will be marched into the shul to songs of joy and revelry just before it is read from for the first time.

Kehillat Chaverim is a lay-led congregation that offers all who attend a chance to participate in services at their own level of comfort. It gathers on Shabbat and major holidays, celebrating Judaism and worshiping in an egalitarian and traditional manner.

The shul’s practices are guided by the Conservative branch of Judaism, with both men and women conducting portions of the service and participating in all Torah honors.

Several active and capable congregants lead services, which include a full Torah service and a d’var Torah. Shabbat morning services are held in a beautiful dedicated space, beginning at 10 a.m. and ending around noon. Services are followed by a kosher Kiddush lunch.

The congregation is close to the intersection of Hillcrest and McCallum in the Far North Eruv. Visitors are welcomed. Call 214-476-4053 or 972-380-5690 for more information or send a note to info@kehillatchaverim.org.

Mazal tov to Kehillat Chaverim, and may you continue to grow from strength to strength.

Renner-Frankford branch of Dallas Public Library to feature Marsha Goodman-Wood

The bat mitzvah of her niece Rebecca Michaels this coming weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity for acclaimed D.C. performer Marsha Goodman-Wood to perform in the Dallas area.

The fun music stylings of Goodman-Wood will be on display at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Renner Frankford Branch Library, 6400 Frankford Road in Dallas.

Goodman-Wood’s website outlines her bona fides: “DC-based singer/songwriter and music teacher Marsha Goodman-Wood is known for getting kids singing and dancing at her shows, setting little toes to tapping with original melodies that mix generous doses of science and positive social messages into songs that are just plain fun. Her quirky, smart compositions take on topics from astronomy (answering the age-old question ‘Why Can’t You Dance on Jupiter?’) to nonconformity (‘Sheep Don’t Wear Shoes’) to biology (‘The Penguin Song’). Her tunes and stories are sure to please children and grownups alike. Marsha takes inspiration for her lyrics straight from the creative kids she’s raising and teaching. A mother of three, she brings to her performances a parent’s eye for connecting with audiences, along with a music teacher’s sensibility for what works to move kids of all ages.”

The concert is free and open to the public and most suitable for families with elementary school-aged kids.

Camp Scholarships now available at the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation

The Essie and Reuben Rosenbloom Jewish Overnight Camping Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation was established to provide scholarships for children and teens in the Greater Dallas Metropolitan area who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend Jewish camps.

These scholarships are based solely on financial need. All applicant information will remain strictly confidential.

The summer camp scholarship applications are now available for Summer 2015 — please visit www.djcf.org for more information and click on Changing the World tab. Applications are due no later than March 26, 2015.

For questions contact rosenbloomscholarship@djcf.org or call 214-615-9351.

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