Archive | April, 2015

Mind’s I: Family first

Mind’s I: Family first

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Passover’s traditional family gatherings may provide opportunities for learning besides those that take place at the Seder table itself.  Although I wasn’t physically present, I’ve heard about one such outstanding example from my own extended family’s Pesach celebration.
My son’s sister-in-law, her husband and two sons traveled from their Utah home for a holiday reunion in Pittsburgh.  During one of the days before the holiday began, older boy Asher — a recent bar mitzvah — approached my last living uncle — the youngest of my long-gone mother’s 12 siblings — as the two met for the first time.
“Would it be OK for me to interview you?” Asher asked Srol.  (That’s what we’ve always called my uncle, because his Hebrew name is Yisroel.) “I’m supposed to write a paper for school about the Great Depression.  Will you tell me what it was like?” Srol, now an unusually hale and hearty 93, was not just willing, but delighted.
“Of course,” he said.  “And — would you also like to know about bootlegging?”
Bootlegging — illegal home-brewing — was a money-making boon for many large, poor families during America’s Prohibition, which held sway in the decade preceding the devastating stock market crash of 1929. Srol was born in 1922.  How could Asher not be interested?
My own grandfathers were bootleg business partners during those years!  Dave the Plumber — my mother’s father (for whom my daughter is named) — already had the know-how and tools on hand to build the stills necessary for producing what was then  fondly known as “bathtub gin.”  Harry the Huckster — my father’s father (for whom, by the way, I am named!) — was the distributor, transporting filled bottles underneath the fruits and vegetables crammed onto his horse-drawn cart for daily peddling. The police were expected to make raids — usually half-hearted ones — on stills, and brief stays in prison were routine for bootleggers.
My own parents actually met during one of the latter. Although they were both attending the same high school, the two knew each other only by sight. But each already knew the other’s father because of the men’s “business connections.” Mom and Dad were introduced when both happened to be making paternal jail visits at the same time!
Ah, but enough of this reminiscing!  At some point, Uncle Srol realized that Asher was listening attentively but wasn’t writing anything down.
So he asked the boy, “Don’t you want to take some notes?”  To which Asher replied, “I don’t have to!  I have a very good memory, and I could never forget any of this!” Thus does essential family history pass from generation to generation, with the help of the holiday that best brings generations together!
My son is now the grandfather of two boys, one of whom — just approaching four — was able to say the Mah Nishtanah this year (with some prompting from “elders” like his big cousin Asher).  My uncle wore a World War II veteran’s cap — from a collection of several; he never leaves home without one — at the Seder table rather than a kippah.
Recently, as I finally faced the long-delayed but essential task of writing my own will, I asked my children to tell me what bits and pieces of family history they wanted to be sure would pass down to them. Among my son’s requests was his great-grandfather’s welding torch — the one that took part in the still-building of those long-gone days.
I’ve had that torch high on a bookshelf in my home office for many years; it’s a constant reminder of my own roots in a time when money was so short that many poor but otherwise honest fathers would break the law in order to better feed their large families.
A most potent lesson, indeed, to be taught to a new generation before it takes its seat at a bountiful Pesach table, where the father at its head will stand and invite all who are hungry to come and eat!

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Shabbat: Understanding the Omer

Shabbat: Understanding the Omer

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,
These days many of us are obsessed with counting, whether it is calories, steps or something else. We have always counted the days to different events or counted how old we are or any other “counts” we may be interested in. This brings us to the ritual of today — Counting the Omer. For those of you who have never heard of this, here is the scoop on Omer counting:
There is a special period between Passover and Shavuot called “sefirah” meaning counting. The practice is observed from the night of the second Seder until the eve of Shavuot. We are counting the days on which the Omer offering of the new barley crop was brought to the Temple — this connects the Exodus from Egypt to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Tradition has it that the Israelites were told that the Torah would be given to them 50 days after the Exodus. They were so eager about it that they began to count the days, saying, “Now we have one day less to wait for the giving of the Torah.” (Leviticus 23:15-16)
Throughout time, this period has been a sad one because of many massacres in Jewish history in the distant past and now, in modern times.
During this period, we observe by refraining from joyous events and other customs. The one “day off” is Lag B’Omer, which is the 33rd day.
As always, I have a new book to recommend from the Central Conference of American Rabbis: Omer — A Counting by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar. Rabbi Kedar writes in the introduction that “time, in the Jewish consciousness, is purposeful and directed, ripe with potential, and filled with meaning.
“Yet even as we look toward the future, counting each day forces us to acknowledge and appreciate the significance of the moment. Every day presents us with the choice to stay where we are, to revert to where we have been, or to progress toward fulfilling our destiny.” Her book gives us the blessings and the words to say — plus, something to think about each day.
Now if you are not into books (what a sad thing for “the people of the Book”), you can get an app to remind you when to count, what to say and a few thoughts. Sometimes you have to do a ritual to find the meaning – try it and you may find meaning for yourself and your family!
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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Yom HaShoah: Remembering those lost

Yom HaShoah: Remembering those lost

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

Photo: David Duchin/DSPN Photos Beth Torah members and guests took 15-minute shifts reading names of victims of the Holocaust.

Contributed Report

Scores of people gathered to remember the Holocaust on Saturday and read the names of thousands of victims during Congregation Beth Torah’s 14th annual vigil.
Perhaps appropriately, the Remember the Names commemoration began in a darkened, intimate setting as the Saturday storms cut power at the Richardson synagogue for nearly 3 hours.
The 24-hour vigil, sponsored by the Beth Torah Men’s Club, brings a unique personal touch to the unfathomable tragedy by recalling individual victims, where they were born and when they died. Many of the names had never been mentioned in a public forum.
“I tried to whisper a prayer for each name read,” one person wrote on a wall that invited personal reflections during the vigil. “I hope their souls are somehow elevated by our remembrance.”
As a stream of visitors looked on, Beth Torah members and guests took 15-minute shifts all night Saturday and all day Sunday to read names of victims, whose scope went beyond European Jewry. Displays at the synagogue highlighted non-Jewish groups also targeted by the Nazis, including Esperanto speakers, gays and lesbians, and Albanians who sheltered their Jewish neighbors.
The readings were suspended Sunday morning to screen the documentary film Besa: The Promise, the moving story of how Muslim and Jewish Albanians protected their country’s Jews and refugees from neighboring countries during the Nazi occupation.
Doc Vrancini, executive director of the Dallas-area Albanian-American Cultural Center, spoke about Albania’s heritage of hospitality and religious harmony.
One of the vigil’s most moving portions occurred when Raye and Paul Koch, Beth Torah members now living in Germany, read names via Skype from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp — on the 70th anniversary of its liberation.
“There were no gas chambers here,” Paul Koch wrote in an email afterward. “Death came from starvation, exposure, beating and bullets.”
“We were moved that at least a few of their names were once again remembered and spoken,” he wrote, “and we were saddened that their stories likely remain untold. The power and importance of this vigil was made especially clear and real for us today: Never forget. Never again.”

Submitted by Michael Precker on behalf of Congregation Beth Torah

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Ask Rabbi: Snicker if you want, but bless your biology

Ask Rabbi: Snicker if you want, but bless your biology

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
My son recently came home from religious school after having learned that religious Jews recite a blessing after leaving the bathroom. Needless to say, the kids had a good laugh about it, and it became the subject of many jokes. I would like to say something to explain it to him so it would be taken seriously, but I’m not familiar myself with this blessing. Could you please fill me in?

— Rochelle W.

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rochelle,
The blessing you are referring to is commonly referred to “Asher Yatzar,” and has its source in the Talmud (Berachos 60b). It goes, with free translation, as follows:
Abaye said, when one comes out of a privy, he should recite the following: “Blessed is He who has formed mankind in wisdom and created in him many orifices and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory, that if one of them were to be ruptured or one of them blocked, it would be impossible for a man to survive and stand before You. Blessed are You that heals all flesh and performs wonders.”
This is considered one of the most profound of all blessings, in fact, the only blessing out of some hundred composed by the Sages, that mentions the “Throne of Glory.” That is, for one reason, because this blessing is a fulfillment of the verse “from my own flesh I will see God.”
By focusing on the amazing wonders involved in the digestive and ensuing processes, one continues to focus on the myriad miraculous bodily processes involved in every facet of our lives and God’s intervention in this amazing laboratory called our body.
Your question reminds me of an article I once saw (now available on www.torah.org) by a physician who, like his peers, used to joke about the Asher Yatzar blessing as an elementary student in yeshiva. It wasn’t until medical school, witnessing the terrible consequences of even minor aberrations in the structure and function of the human body, that he began to understand the appropriateness of this short prayer.
He began to realize how many things had to operate just right for the short trips to the restroom to run smoothly.
He began to remember how silly the posters inscribed with the blessing posted outside the restroom had seemed to him and his friends. But after seeing patients whose lives revolved around their dialysis machines, and others with colostomies and urinary catheters, he realized how wise the rabbi had been to compose words of thanks for our bodies to be working properly and to be in a good state of health.
He began to relearn the blessing. It became for him an opportunity to thank God, not only for the workings of the excretory organs, but for his entire body and good health. After all, the blessing refers to the catastrophic consequences of the rupture or obstruction of any bodily structure, not only those of the urinary or gastrointestinal tract. This includes obstruction of the coronary artery, the commonest cause of death in industrialized countries some 16 centuries after the blessing was composed.
You also call to mind a story I once heard about an anti-Semitic minister who approach one of the Czars of Russia, entreating him to incite pogroms against the Jews.
The Czar told him to go to the Jews’ schools and see what they teach their children, then he would make his decision. The minister went to a “cheder,” kindergarten, where he heard the rebbe teaching his students the blessing Asher Yatzar after leaving the bathroom. He knew he had his ammunition, and, returning to the Czar, told him these Jews teach their children about bathrooms in their own schools.
The Czar, incredulously, asked if he was serious. Upon the positive response, the Czar said that if the Jews have laws that govern their actions even in a bathroom, these are very holy people, and he must protect them!

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Around Town: History of Fort Worth weddings, a cappella, FUNdraiser

Around Town: History of Fort Worth weddings, a cappella, FUNdraiser

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

This photo is from the 1945 marriage of Fannette Bronstein, a war bride, with her groom, Norm Sonkin, in his Navy uniform and is typical of the era. Photo: Hollace Weiner

The Beth-El Archives Committee is gathering material for an exhibit called “Under the Chuppah: 100+ Years of Weddings in Fort Worth.”
The exhibit will look at changing trends in bridal gowns, chuppahs, ketubahs, invitations and newspaper coverage of marriages. The committee is asking brides and grooms to select one photo from their weddings to be included in a Fort Worth Wedding Album.
If you were married by a Fort Worth rabbi or belonged at any time to a Fort Worth congregation, you can be included in the exhibit. Many of the photos already submitted feature something Jewish — for example, the bride and groom standing under the chuppah, signing their certificate, or dancing the Horah.
Other pictures speak to a particular era. The oldest photos submitted are from the 1890s. Please submit a print or a color photocopy of the pictures and bring them to the office at Beth-El Congregation or contact Hollace Weiner at hollaceava@gmail.com or Eileen Pink at epink21@hotmail.com.

A cappella is hot — and it’s coming to Fort Worth

Six13, an a cappella group, is coming to Fort Worth to perform at a free concert presented by B’nai B’rith at 2 p.m., Sunday, May 31 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 6050 South Hulen.
The high energy six-man contemporary pop group’s Jewish songs are anchored by a thumping beatbox, intricate arrangements and soulful harmonies. Their songs range from dance tracks to rock anthems backed by hard-hitting “drums.” The members of the New York based group sound like a full band while using nothing but their voices.
The concert is free but tickets are required for admission and are available at all area synagogues.
The concert, a gift to the Tarrant County Jewish community, is presented by B’nai B’rith Isadore Garsek Lodge 269, with support from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County and the Dan Danciger/FWHDS Supporting Foundation.
Putting on the free show for community was the brainchild of Rich Hollander, who is active in many area Jewish organizations. “When I first saw their Chanukah video, a parody of Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off, I knew they would be the perfect group to perform at a family concert. And then a few months ago when I heard Uptown Funk, their Passover parody song that went viral, I knew we had made the right decision.”
The group, which has performed all over the world, mix Jewish favorites with clever parodies of today’s hits. Along the way there are laughs, sing-alongs, demonstrations and words of Torah.
Another way to get tickets for this unique Jewish family concert is by connecting with B’nai B’rith President Harry Kahn at 817-319-4796 or Rich Hollander at 817 909-4354.

CBS FUNdraiser

Congregation Beth Shalom (CBS) will hold its FUNdraising extravaganza at 7 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at the synagogue, 1212 Thannisch Drive in Arlington.
In the past, CBS has had very successful galas that featured both live and silent auctions.
“We discovered the favorite auction items seem to be centered on food. With that in mind, we are planning our very first ‘A Taste of Beth Shalom,’” said event chair Stephanie Posner.
The live auction will feature gourmet dinners and desserts. The silent auction will include restaurant gift certificates, appetizers, fresh baked challahs and an assortment of other food-related items.
A dinner featuring a sample of the entrees that will be part of the “Live” auction will start the evening. Everyone will have an opportunity to try the main dishes prepared by CBS donors in the hopes that it will create a bidding frenzy.
Tickets for the dinner are $22 per person. To reserve tickets or to get more information, please contact CBS at 817-860-5448, or call the event chair, Stephanie Posner, at 817-675-4353. You can also reserve your spot and pay online for your dinner tickets online  at bethshalom.org/civicrm/event/register?id=375.

Camp Gan Israel
returns for 6th summer

CGI, camp for Tarrant County Jewish kids, will be returning for its sixth summer. Set to begin June 22, CGI, focuses on creating a warm, safe environment for kids to learn and explore through tried experiential techniques.
“Our motto is ‘A summer of fun…. a lifetime of memories,’ and together with our dedicated staff and counselors we work to create the best camp in the area,” says Rishi Gurevitch, CGI director.
New programs in store for this summer include the Sabra Pioneer Traveling Program, which is open exclusively for kids entering seventh and eighth grades and will take campers on exciting trips in the DFW area. Younger campers are able to enjoy iCamp, a special program allowing campers to create their own custom funshop program. Together with their parents, campers can choose between such subjects as dance, karate, music, magic, art, and sports, and learn from professionals in their chosen field. Camp will also have regular swimming and biweekly field trips.
Some 35 campers attended CGI last summer and camp officials expect that with the addition of the Sabra Pioneer traveling camp, even more area kids will be joining. To meet the demand, camp has already increased its staff for the coming year.
“The counselors are at the heart of creating the CGI camp experience,” Gurevitch said. “We’re so excited to be bringing such a talented and caring group to Arlington this year as well.”
For more information visit www.arlingtonchabad.org/camp or contact Rishi Gurevitch at  817-933-2877 or camp@arlingtonchabad.org.

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Dallas Doings: Israel, safe rooms, Ahava reception

Dallas Doings: Israel, safe rooms, Ahava reception

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Diane and Jerry Benjamin’s thoughts on trip to Israel

Rav Jeff and Naomi Schrager

Megan and Brian Hodges

Dr. Steven and Lauren Davidoff

Kim and Rob Velevis

Diane and Jerry Benjamin are active and tireless community leaders. Recently, Diane shared the following in her own words:
Our recent trip to Israel was breathtaking! After a most spectacular 29th annual Allied Mission to Israel with the Jewish War Veterans, Jerry and I delayed our return to Dallas in order that I might see, firsthand, the incredible Bnai Zion Medical Center.
As President of the Texas Region of the Bnai Zion Foundation, I eagerly anticipated this personal “mission” to be the highlight of our trip! Indeed, it was as Jerry and I viewed this leading medical facility, in Haifa, that was recently rated, by Israelis as the No. 1 mid-sized hospital in Israel, since it serves northern Israel — remarkably, not only as it has for the past 90 years, but most certainly, presently as it faces the concerns of instability in this virulent part of our globe!
Amazing as the trip was, while we were visiting the various departments in the hospital, the Director General, Dr. Amnon Rofe, noticed with his caring gaze that Jerry wasn’t well.
He immediately summoned the Chief of the Emergency Facility, Dr. Michael Kafka, to examine Jerry, who was immediately admitted as a patient to the Bnai Zion hospital.  Had we not been at the hospital during this very time, it was predicted that in another half hour, Jerry would’ve had “no breath at all!”
Now that we are back home, Jerry has learned firsthand about the Bnai Zion hospital from a patient’s point of view. There is no better spokesperson than Jerry Benjamin to get firsthand information about the Bnai Zion Medical Center, since he was a recipient of the hospital’s lifesaving efforts!
While Jerry was hospitalized, I also had the opportunity to take a day trip to visit yet another one of the Bnai Zion Foundation’s incredible facilities, the Ahava Village for Children and Youth, in nearby Kiryat Bialik. Ahava Village is a residential center for children ages 6-18 removed by court order from abusive home situations.
Composed of apartments, educational facilities, and recreation areas, one of which was donated by Alon Carmel, the founder of J-Date, who, himself, is a recipient of this life-saving facility, this site has given to its over 250 current children and many from its inception in 1935, the loving customized care, education and training that has nurtured so many.
The different kinds of therapy and range of activities that help children overcome past traumas and persevere with hope, was personally witnessed by me as I was given this special tour by Yoav Apelboim, the executive director of Ahava Village.

Building safe rooms

The Israeli government recently mandated that Ahava must build a safe room for each of the apartments by the end of the year.
As I noticed, Ahava is not only threatened by its close proximity to the enemy — targeted refineries in Haifa Bay; however, Ahava is only 30 miles away from Lebanon, where anticipated military threats by Hezbollah are a major daily concern. For, as Dr. Rofe stated, “not a question of ‘if’ but, ‘when,’” hence, it is clearly our directive to act now!

Bnai Zion Foundation to host
annual Ahava dessert reception

Diane continues by saying that in light of this directive, “the Bnai Zion Foundation will host the Annual Ahava Dessert Reception at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14 at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. Shane Stein and Brett Lazarus, two outstanding Dallas community leaders, will serve as the chairmen.
Honorees have been carefully chosen based upon their humanitarian efforts locally and within the Jewish community. The honorees include Dr. Steven and Lauren Davidoff, Brian and Megan Hodges, Rav Jeff and Naomi Schrager, and Rob and Kim Velevis.
The honorees are aware of the immediate needs of Ahava — to equip the safe rooms by the end of 2015 to protect these children with the windows sealed tightly and closed with steel shutters so no nerve gas can permeate the rooms; highly sophisticated air filtration system to blow oxygen and clean air throughout the rooms; double-reinforced concrete walls and a steel door which is also totally sealed against any microbes or harmful toxins which could harm our children.
To learn more about this event and to understand why your support is critical to Ahava, please make your reservations to attend and support the Bnai Zion Foundation’s Ahava Youth Village project, which can become your personal mission, as well.

Contact Avrille Harris at 972-918-9200 or visit website at www.bnaizion.org.

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Yom HaShoah: Long journey to find father’s story

Yom HaShoah: Long journey to find father’s story

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

Photo: Angie Kitzman Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker speaks to the Beth Israel audience on Yom HaShoah. The featured speaker was Anna Eisen, who wrote a biography about her father’s experiences in the Holocaust.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com

COLLEYVILLE — To audible gasps at points from a Congregation Beth Israel audience, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor shared her father’s harrowing wartime journey and her return with him to Poland years later to explore and write about that past.
Anna Salton Eisen’s April 15 presentation — in recognition of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day — revolved around her personal mission to dig through the defenses of her father, George Salton, and learn about his life experiences during the Holocaust.
“He raised my brothers as if the Holocaust had never happened,” she said. “But I wanted — I needed — to know more.”
It took some time and much personal exploration, but the two of them would journey to Poland with family members, and ultimately weave his memories into the book, The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir, first published Sept. 4, 2002.
Eisen and her family helped found Colleyville Congregation Beth Israel. She is a former docent at the Dallas Holocaust Museum and a former interviewer for the Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education — the nonprofit organization established by Steven Spielberg in 1994 after he completed the Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List.
The story Anna Eisen told was her father’s, but from her own perspective — that of someone who originally had no idea what her father had experienced because he did not want to talk about it.

Disturbing images

As a child of some 8 or 9 years old, Anna Eisen came across some watercolor paintings in a drawer in her childhood home. They contained disturbing images of death and destruction, and she wondered who could paint such images.
The artist was Lucjan Lucek Salzman, the Holocaust survivor who would change his name after the war to George Lucius Salton.
“It was not until I was an adult that I would learn it was my father,” Eisen said to the Congregation Beth Israel audience.
Until such movies as 1993’s Schindler’s List made many Holocaust victims more comfortable discussing their experiences, Anna Eisen was in the dark about the horror of her father’s childhood in Tyczyn, Poland — which was shattered in September 1939 by the terror and violence under the German occupation.
George Salton’s attorney father was not allowed to work and his family suffered deprivation and hunger, forcing him to his own devices to provide for them — sometimes by such rudimentary means as splitting wood and digging potatoes.
George Salton, 14, and his family were forced to march to the Rzeszów Ghetto. Anna and Herman Salzmann were sent in boxcars to Belzec (where 600,000 Jews perished in its gas chambers in less than 12 months) while George and his older brother Manek were left behind to labor in work camps.
Manek managed to escape, but George Salton was imprisoned at Rzeszów and for three hellish years worked his way through 10 concentration camps, including Rzeszów, Płaszów, Flossenbürg, Colmar, Sachsenhausen, Braunschweig, Ravensbrück, and Wöbbelin.

Liberation

Eventually, the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division liberated him and 49 others from the Wöbbelin concentration camp near Ludwigslust, Germany, on May 2, 1945.
George Salton spent another two years in various German displaced persons camps, and was eventually able to find his relatives and emigrate to New York.
But he never heard from any of his family — including Manek.
After changing his name, George Salton began life again in the United States. Despite never having finished fifth grade before he was caught up in the Holocaust, he ended up earning degrees in physics and engineering and pursuing a successful career in the U.S. Department of Defense and in private industry.
Eisen said she helped her father write the book with the initial intention that it would be primarily for family. But she realized during the process that it should be read by many more.
And as the book gained momentum, important developments started taking place:
Eisen met a woman who lived 10 minutes from her Colleyville home, whose late father, Ignatz Waks, had been in all 10 concentration camps with her father.
Also in Colleyville, Eisen met Jim Megellas, one of the American veterans of the 82nd Airborne who liberated her father.
Additionally, a book editor turned out to be the daughter of another soldier who helped liberate George Salton.
Then Eisen came across even more astonishing news: The brother that his father thought had died, Manek, might be alive. He was spotted that way in a 1946 photo.
So she and her family took great pains to contact the brother. But after many unsuccessful attempts they learned that Manek had died some time ago.
According to one account, Manek was searching for a newborn abandoned on a doorstep in a small Polish town when he was slain.
“Through a door, a gun was pointed and he was shot and killed,” Anna Eisen said.While in Poland, father and daughter visited many places, including Płaszów, the concentration camp featured in Schindler’s List. Tyczyn, the town where George Salton was born, is now the location of memorials and learning centers for survivors of the Holocaust.

Touring Auschwitz

They  traveled to Auschwitz, where more than a million Jews were killed … and where the boxcars drove on tracks and led Jews to death in gas chambers.
Along the way, they walked on human ashes. And saw millions of shoes abandoned by the people killed in gas chambers.
“Poland is covered with extermination camps, concentration camps and ghettos,” she said. “It is a map of the destruction of our people.”
Bob Goldberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, thanked Anna Eisen for sharing her story — which was followed by many audience questions and comments.
“It’s incredibly powerful and kind of knocks the wind out of us a little bit,” Goldberg said. “It’s amazing when you realize in the scope of history that it wasn’t that long ago.  … It is incredibly important as we lose our survivors that we have people who can continue to share this history so it doesn’t happen again.”
Today George Salton is a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Before she began her presentation, Anna Eisen lit and placed a candle on the Yom HaShoah Memorial menorah, as did Holocaust survivor Tova Feldman.
Feldman, a member of the congregation, survived a labor camp where she was imprisoned in 1942. She escaped the camp with her parents and four siblings and hid for nine months in the woods, according to her biography listed in the program.
She and her family were captured three weeks before the war was over and released — ultimately emigrating to Israel.

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Yom HaShoah: Liberation marks true victory in WWII

Yom HaShoah: Liberation marks true victory in WWII

Posted on 23 April 2015 by admin

Editor’s note: Cassie Gross, a senior at Yavneh Academy of Dallas, writes a first-person account of Tiferet Israel’s 70th anniversary of concentration-camp liberation Thursday.

By Cassie Gross
TJP Intern

Photo: Paula Nourse Maggie Furst (right) was one of many Jewish children rescued on a Kindertransport headed to the United Kingdom.

Photo: Paula Nourse Mary Pat Higgins, the Museum’s president and CEO, introduced the event.

Following the crowds into Congregation Tiferet Israel, I was suddenly struck by the thought that almost every other person in sight was likely a Holocaust survivor or an American soldier who had helped liberate a concentration camp.
Over the course of the Yom HaShoah proceedings, as we commemorated victims of the Holocaust and honored the strength of the Greatest Generation, I noted the absence of my own generation, the children of the children of the survivors. As the lone 18-year-old, I basked in the knowledge that if ever there could be a more humiliating defeat for history’s most barbaric monsters, it would be this: Those whom they tried to so brutally crush, came out tonight to celebrate in a golden-lit room, singing songs of hope and happiness together as a community, as a family. I wish my peers could have been here to experience this with me.
Tonight (Thursday) was also the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps, marked by the testimony of three Texan-Americans who were witnesses to the vicious inhumanity of the camps: Albert Binko, Melvin Waters and Sam Kogutt. Speakers testified to the bravery of these soldiers who put their lives on hold to join the American army. They helped free the starved and scarred survivors of the concentration camps. Only decades later could these soldiers speak of what they had seen.
Mary Pat Higgins, president and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust Museum, quoted survivor Victor Frankl on how though they were no longer captives, no longer being tortured or tortuously awaiting their own deaths, the survivors had not yet found true liberation. “Though they may have been free of fear of death, they were not free of fear of life,” Higgins said. “They could not grasp freedom.”
But as we know, not only did they eventually grasp freedom, they embraced it. They conquered their haunting memories as they emigrated to the Americas, Israel, various parts of Europe and the Middle East. There they built new lives for themselves, careers and families.
But they, and we, will never forget the millions who perished in the Holocaust. Tiferet Rabbi Shawn Zell expressed his belief that the murdered reside in heaven now, watching over the living, not at all bitter for their loss.
“We look up (at them) in sadness, but they look down with joy,” Zell said.
And when Eli Davidsohn’s deep but clear, rumbling voice cried out words of hope and defiance throughout the ceremony, in Yiddish, in Hebrew and then in English, it was as though all the lost loved ones of the Shoah were singing through him. Even in death, their spirits cannot be hushed.
In Partisan Song, the first melody of the evening, Davidsohn chanted, “This song was written with our blood and not with lead, it’s not a little tune that birds sing overhead. This song a people sang amid collapsing walls, with pistols in hand they heeded the call.”
The call being, as repeated at the end of each chorus, “We are here.”
Indeed, tonight, the survivors were here. But they won’t always be. When my parents, children of survivors, are ready to pass on the responsibility of “Never Forget,” will my generation be ready to receive it?
While high school seniors are currently in Poland on the March of the Living, there are many in younger grades that could have been here tonight to experience the humbling and awe-inspiring stories of the survivors and liberators. Yom HaShoah is a time not only to reflect on those who have perished, but to appreciate the courage and resilience, in the face of the most horrific adversity, of the survivors. This is a lesson for people of all ages.

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5 Israeli answers to California’s drought

5 Israeli answers to California’s drought

Posted on 22 April 2015 by admin

Recycling toilet water and 4 other Israeli answers to California’s drought A faucet and toilets are seen in a classroom in the ecological village in Nitzana, Israel. Students there learn about desalination and on how to save water. (Chen Leopold/Flash 90)

By Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — For help facing its worst drought in centuries, California should look to a country that beat its own chronic water shortage: Israel.
Until a few years ago, Israel’s wells seemed like they were always running dry. TV commercials urged Israelis to conserve water. Newspapers tracked the rise and fall of Lake Kinneret, Israel’s biggest freshwater source. Religious Israelis gathered to pray for rainfall at the Western Wall during prolonged dry spells.
However, the once perpetual Israeli water shortage appears to be mostly over. California’s water supply, meanwhile, is at record lows, prompting restrictions on household use and leading farmers to deplete the state’s groundwater reserves. From water recycling to taking the salt out of the plentiful seawater, here are five ways that Californians can benefit from Israel’s know-how:

1. Israeli cities recycle three-quarters of their water.
Israeli farms don’t just use less water than their American counterparts, much of their water is reused. Three-quarters of the water that runs through sinks, showers, washing machines and even toilets in Israeli cities is recycled, treated and sent to crops across the country through specially marked purple tubes. According to the Pacific Institute, which conducts environmental research, California recycles only 13 percent of its municipal waste water.
Israel also encourages recycling by giving reused water to farmers tax-free.
“If you take water from the city you don’t pay a tax, but if you have a well and you take that water you pay a lot of money for every cubic meter,” said Giora Shaham, a former long-term planner at Israel’s Water Authority. “If you’re a farmer in Rehovot and you have water that doesn’t cost money, you’ll take that water.”
2. Israel gets much of its water from the Mediterranean Sea.
Israelis now have a much bigger water source than Lake Kinneret: the Mediterranean Sea. Four plants on Israel’s coast draw water from the sea, take out the salt, purify the water and send it to the country’s pipes — a process called desalination.
The biggest of the four plants, opened in 2013, can provide nearly 7 million gallons of potable water to Israelis every hour. When a fifth opens as soon as this year near the Israeli port city of Ashdod, 75 percent of Israel’s municipal and industrial water will be desalinated, making Israelis far less reliant on the country’s fickle rainfall.
Desalination costs money, uses energy and concerns environmental activists who want to protect California’s coast and the Pacific Ocean. One cubic meter of desalinated water takes just under 4 kilowatt-hours to produce. That’s the equivalent of burning 40 100-watt light bulbs for one hour to produce the equivalent of five bathtubs full of water.
But despite the costs, San Diego County is investing in desalination. IDE Technologies, which operates three of Israel’s four plants, is building another near San Diego, slated to open as soon as November. Once operational, it will provide the San Diego Water Authority, which serves the San Diego area, with 50 million gallons of water per day.
“It’s a carbon footprint, but the technology is advanced enough that the cost of the process is lower than it used to be,” said Fredi Lokiec, IDE’s former executive vice president of special projects. “The environmental damage done because of a lack of ability to provide water to residents and agriculture because of the drought, because of overdrawing of groundwater, also has a price.”
3. Israelis irrigate through pinpricks in hoses, not by flooding.
No innovation has been more important for Israel’s desert farms than drip irrigation. Most of the world’s farmers water their crops by flooding their fields with sprinklers or hoses, often wasting water as they go. With drip irrigation, a process pioneered in Israel 50 years ago, water seeps directly into the ground through tiny pinpricks in hoses, avoiding water loss through evaporation.
Four-fifths of all water used in California goes to agriculture, and California’s farmers have been draining the state’s groundwater as rain has stopped falling. But as of 2010, less than 40 percent of California’s farms used drip irrigation, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Netafim, a leading Israeli drip-irrigation company, says the practice cuts water use by up to half. Netafim spokeswoman Helene Gordon told JTA that 90 percent of Israeli farms use drip irrigation.
“It can’t be that there’s such a huge water shortage, and they’re talking about a shortage of drinking water, and on the other hand they pour huge amounts of water into the ocean that could be used for agriculture,” said Avraham Israeli, president of the Israel Water Association, which advises Israeli water companies on technology development.
4. Israel’s government owns all of the country’s water.
Israel treats water as a scarce national resource. The government controls the country’s entire water supply, charging citizens, factories and farmers for water use. Residents pay about one cent per gallon, while farmers pay about a quarter of that.
In California, though, many farms drill from private wells on their property, drawing groundwater as rain has thinned. Some have even begun selling water to the state. State regulations to limit groundwater use, signed last year, won’t be formulated until 2020.
“Technology is not good enough,” said Eilon Adar, director of Ben-Gurion University’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research. “You have to change some of the regulation. You have to impose more limitations on water. California’s local consumers have to give up some of their rights.”
Adar and Israeli, however, both noted that adopting Israeli-style regulations in California would be near impossible, as some of California’s water rights holdings are more than a century old.
But government ownership doesn’t solve problems for all of the region’s residents. The Israeli human rights NGO Btselem says the West Bank suffers from a water shortage due to unequal allocation of the state’s water. According to Btselem, Israelis receive more than twice the amount of water per capita as Palestinians in the West Bank.
5. Water conservation is drilled into Israeli culture.
When an ad appeared on Israeli TV in 2008 showing a woman whose body crumbled to dust because of that year’s water shortage, a parody Facebook group suggested skin lotion. But the ad was just the latest iteration of an Israeli ethos to save water wherever possible.
Kids are taught to turn off faucets and limit shower time. Israelis celebrate rain — at least at first — rather than lamenting it. Lake Kinneret’s daily surface level shows up alongside weather reports in the paper.
In 2008, at the height of a decade-long drought, Avraham Israeli, the Israel Water Association president, dried out his lawn and replaced it with a porch to save water.
Israelis’ close attention to rainfall and drought comes from an education and culture that teaches them the importance of every drop in an arid region. With no end in sight for California’s drought, Adar said Californians would do well to adopt a similar attitude.
“You take an 8-year-old boy, you pump into their head that they have to save water as a scarce national resource,” he said. “In 10 years’ time, they’re 18 years old and they get it. It’s in their blood.”

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Sports: Greenhill forward to take game to Harvard

Sports: Greenhill forward to take game to Harvard

Posted on 22 April 2015 by admin

By Brian Bateman
brianb@texasjewishpost.com

Hayley Isenberg became the first Greenhill player to score 1,000 career points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Photo: Isenberg family photo

Greenhill School has seen several future professional and college athletes walk through its doors, but this year, the Hornets witnessed a first on national signing day.
Hayley Isenberg committed to play for Harvard, making her the first female in school history to play basketball for a Division-I school.
“I always wanted to go to a good academic school,” Isenberg said. “Basketball is very important to me.”
She was just as important to Greenhill’s basketball team. The 6-foot-2 forward was named the school’s MVP for the past two seasons and earned first-team all-conference honors in the Southwest Preparatory Conference, as well as first-team status on the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches’ large private-school list. That’s after earning the TABC player of the year award in 2013-14.
“She’s a phenomenal talent, but what sets her apart from talented basketball players is that she is a phenomenal leader that always puts team before herself,” Greenhill coach Darryn Sandler said.
In her time as a Hornet, Isenberg set records in single-season blocks (111) and charges taken (36), and became the first Greenhill player to score more than 1,000 points and pull down 1,000 rebounds in a career, according to Sandler.
She finished with 1,253 points and 1,002 rebounds.
Isenberg, who attends Congregation Shearith Israel, led the Hornets to a 23-3 regular-season record and a top seed in the SPC Winter Championships. They finished 25-5 overall.
“We’ll definitely miss what she does on the court, but it’s the little things that will be difficult to replace,” Sandler said.
Harvard went 14-14 and 7-7 in the Ivy League last year, ending the season on a four-game winning streak. Isenberg hopes she’ll have a chance to help improve upon that record right away. Her 6-2 frame allows her to play in the post on occasion and her 3-point ability makes her a threat from outside.
With no other forwards recruited alongside her this season, Isenberg will have only the depth chart keeping her from playing time.
Isenberg said she liked the program — “It felt like a family,” she said — but was incredibly impressed with how honest coach Kathy Delaney-Smith was.
“She was extremely honest. A lot of times you don’t get an honest coach in college.”
Isenberg chose Harvard over Yale, Penn, Columbia and Division-III schools Washington, Amherst and Emory. Ivy League schools do not require athletes to sign national letters of intent.
Her last high school game will come May 21. She’s been invited to play in the TABC all-state game in San Antonio that day.

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