Archive | July, 2015

Time to open old book, return to ‘Ragtime’ era

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

We have recently lost two more Jewish luminaries, one each in two worlds of entertainment — the written, and the theatrical.
Both died on the same day — Tuesday, July 21. E.L. Doctorow, the writer, was 84. Theodore Bikel, the actor/singer, was 91.
Full disclosure: I haven’t read enough of Doctorow. But that’s the good thing about reading, and good books: They’re always waiting for you, whenever you want them.
His obituary said that the boy who became a writer announced his intention at age 9, when he realized that he wanted more from a story than to find out how it would end; he wanted to know how the creator of the story got him, the reader, into that kind of mental involvement: “How is it that these words on the page make me feel the way I’m feeling?”
I wonder if my late husband ever knew Doctorow. They were born in New York in the same year, and both attended Bronx High School of Science at the same time, graduating in the same class. But Fred never mentioned him to me. I guess they were interested in different things and ran in different crowds. I have a lot of diplomas and such that were Fred’s, but unfortunately, not a copy of his Bronx Science yearbook.
Doctorow’s Ragtime made it out from between covers and onto the stage, but I can’t find any evidence that Bikel ever appeared in it. Most of us know him best as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, of course, even though he had important roles in so many other live, film, and televised productions. He was never stereotyped; he took advantage of his size and the accent he never lost (probably never wanted to lose it!) that enabled him to effectively play a range of characters from a Russian submarine captain, to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, to the singing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.
I was one of his folk song fans, catching every live Bikel concert I could — which was pretty often, since I lived in Chicago at the time the folk music craze was at its height, and he was riding its crest. I don’t know how many languages he could actually speak, but he sang effortlessly in more than 20 of them. And as someone who had lived in Israel while it was still Palestine, he had a stunning repertoire of Hebrew melodies. Plus, of course, a parallel songbook in Yiddish. And with these, a great sense of humor.
Audiences always sang along at Bikel concerts, and sometimes there was even banter between seats and stage. One night, I heard him lisping through a funny song about — what else? — a poor peasant bemoaning his life in some poor shtetl, after which a woman down front called out loudly, “Aha! I can tell from your accent that you are a Litvak, not a Galitzianer!” To which Bikel responded, in beautiful, rolling, gruff, throaty Austrian-English, “Madam, it is not I who am a Litvak. It is your ear which is a Litvak!”
My Boubby the Philosopher never read Doctorow — not as far as I know — but she did love Bikel’s Jewish records, almost as much as she valued those weekly half-hours of TV that were sacred to her. I Remember Mama was one of them: “Just like me,” she would say, “only Norwegian.” And of course, the other was The Goldbergs, starring Molly of the same last name.
Some people think the days of great Jewish writers and entertainers are over, but I don’t agree. There are lots of Jewish comedians today, just a different breed (think Sarah Silverman!); lots of Jewish musicians, though very few of the old folk-singing kind; and lots of Jewish writers of all sorts.
I read many of their current books today, but now I think I’ll go back and read some more of Doctorow as well.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Around Town: Transplant, Maccabi, new patio

Around Town: Transplant, Maccabi, new patio

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Photo: Phil Kabakoff Mike Kapin (right) was part of the Beth Shalom Brotherhood who created a brick patio at the Arlington synagogue.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

When the Maccabi Games roll into Dallas on Sunday, a number of kids from the Fort Worth and Tarrant County area will be participating as part of the Team Dallas Delegation.
Bob Goldberg tells me that Maya Bloom, Isaac Narrett, Jared Imber, Samantha Simon, Bennie Sudbury, Philipp Prostok and Ryan Silverberg are part of the Games and all recipients of $750 scholarships from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to register (www.jccmaccabigames.org/registration) for the Opening Ceremonies of the Games, which will be held at SMU’s Moody Coliseum in Dallas. No one will be admitted without proper credentials issued fr

om the JCC system. The festivities kick off at 7 p.m., but I have been briefed that with construction in the area, you should add extra time to park and get settled.
If you haven’t been to a Maccabi Games in the past, I assure you your heart will swell with pride as you see hundreds of Jewish teen athletes and their delegations march into the Coliseum.

Bone marrow transplant

Also, as you may have read on Page 2 of this week’s issue, their will be a bone marrow registry/drive for 7-year-old Hallie Barnard, who is suffering from an extremely rare blood condition.
Hallie, like most Jews, is more likely to find a match from within the Jewish community. Did you know that there is only one national bone marrow registry regardless of which organization sponsors a bone marrow drive? The Hallie’s Heroes Prospective bone marrow donors must be in good general health and between the ages of 18 and 55. A free swabbing kit can also be ordered online at www.deletebloodcancer.org. For more information, call Amy Roseman at 646-530-2911.

Beth Shalom’s Brotherhood

The men of Congregation Beth Shalom’s Brotherhood have been busy this summer.
Under the guidance of project manager Phil Kabakoff and chief foreman David Markson, and with the participation and muscle of Congregation Beth Shalom’s Brotherhood, a brick patio was created at the back entrance of the Arlington synagogue’s sanctuary.
With bricks from its demolished walkway and driveway, the project was completed over the course of several Sundays. There is still more work to be done, namely the addition of beautifying landscaping and a privacy fence, but the patio looks great and the CBS Brotherhood is proud of their accomplishment.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Maccabi: Plenty of work before ‘Game on, y’all’

Maccabi: Plenty of work before ‘Game on, y’all’

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Photo: Sharon Wisch-Ray Volunteer chairs Melissa Ackerman (seated) and Myra Prescott with volunteer and host mom Debbie Weinstein looking on

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com

DALLAS — Want to attend the opening ceremonies of JCC Maccabi Games on Sunday, Aug. 2? Event officials are insisting you get registered and credentialed ASAP.
“The Games are open to anyone who wishes to be there — but security will be tight,” explained Cathy Brook, a vice chair of administration.
With over 5,000 people expected to attend the Opening Ceremonies and Parade of Athletes of the JCC Maccabi Games on Sunday, event officials are insisting absolutely everyone — attendees and volunteers — head to the nearest computer and make sure their names show up on the official registered list.
“It’s really important that all the people involved in the games — all the host families and volunteers and staff — do so,” Brook said. “And again, it is open to everyone, but you have to register as a spectator on our website.”
The JCC Maccabi Games run Aug. 2-7. Athletes from around the world are coming to Dallas in compete in sports such as baseball, basketball, dance, tennis, swimming golf, boys and girls soccer, table tennis and girls volleyball.
This is the second Maccabi event in Dallas. The first took place here in 2005.
The list of 2015 Dallas Maccabi’s who, what, when, where, why and how is daunting —  340 host families, 300 local athletes, 40,000 bottles of water, 4,500 pounds of ice, 1,000 volunteers, 1,000 visiting athletes, and 300 coaches and delegation heads. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“It’s like putting together a 5,000-piece puzzle, piece by piece,” said 2015 Dallas Maccabi Games Co-chair Ruthie Shor. “Now we’re down to the last couple of hundred pieces.  Now, our first delegation drive Thursday at the J at 4 p.m.  … So, here we go on this amazing journey.”
2015 Dallas Maccabi Games Co-chair Dan Prescott said the process of organizing this event started two and a half years ago.
“There have been thousands and thousands and thousands of volunteer hours put in by hundred and hundreds of volunteers plus staff,” Prescott said. “We still have a lot of work to do with the final details right now. But the level of commitment from the volunteers, the chairs, everybody that has been here has been yeoman’s work. There have been tremendous details, difficult work but what makes it easy is the incredible level of volunteerism.”
Organizers seem to be exerting (in their own way) efforts reminiscent of the actual Maccabi game participants. According to event literature, Maccabi participants will focus on the Jewish values of Rachmanus, or compassion, during the competition; tikkun olam, repairing the world, during the community service project known as “JCC Cares;” and amiut  Yehudit, Jewish peoplehood, during unique experiences that strengthen their connection to each other, their communities, and Israel.
The overall object is to transcend the Games — which have offered over 100,000 Jewish teens a unique life experience since 1982. It is to strengthen the entire community, empower the next generation of leaders and celebrate values and traditions.
Meanwhile, Co-chair Shor said she hopes this Herculean effort of organization has brought the community closer together — a sentiment shared by Steve Schneider, vice chair for athletics.
“This is something I believe in deeply,” Schneider said. “These games are a wonderful experience for the athletes and the coaches and visiting delegations but also a tremendous community building opportunity for Dallas. We have partners like the Hockaday School, Greenhill School, Parish Episcopal School, Episcopal School of Dallas, Akiba Academy and Richardson High School as well as private businesses like Prestonwood Country Club and Sportsplex at Valley View.”
Schneider said the incoming delegations will see excellent facilities and the fact that the Greater Dallas community is committed to supporting these games.
Hopefully, Schneider said, the entire experience, will build positive relationships between everyone — and entities — involved.
“What makes these games so special is not just the competition but the competition within the framework of Jewish values, sportsmanship and compassion,” he said. “You can only have one gold medal in a peak sport but everyone can be a champion.”
2015 Dallas Maccabi Games Co-chair Wendy Stanley said one of the most remarkable things accomplished during this organization process is the recruitment and organization of a superlative steering committee to move the process along.
“Really, our greatest success was to organize that top notch steering committee allowing us to succeed in all of our planning,” Stanley said. “This has been the nuts and bolts of the game — spending time planning and picking  and receiving. I have learned firsthand the level of detail involved in planning something this large. No one could imagine the level of detail involved.”
Together, Cathy Brook and Cheryl Weitz are both vice chairs of administration overseeing housing volunteers and registration.
Brook said efforts right now constitute the final push.
“We are getting our 4,000 slots for our 1,000 volunteers all completed.… That’s a really important number,” she said. “We have also had 340 families who have offered to host (teens) during the games — and are in the final stages of matching all visiting athletes to homes in Dallas.  We will kick off the whole games on Sunday at Moody Coliseum.”
Brook and Schneider said there is a lot of excitement in the air.
“It’s spine tingling,” Schneider said.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

World takes next step toward ‘Master Plan’ of history

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
Can you please explain the meaning of Shabbat Nachamu? I heard in a class that there are three weeks of Haftarah portions leading up to the day of Tisha B’Av and then seven weeks of portions of comforting, starting with Nachamu.
Why would there be so many more weeks of comforting, and how could we be comforted immediately after the destruction of our people? Could you please provide some explanation or meaning to this period; it would be appreciated!
— Rhonda W.
Dear Rhonda,
What you are referring to is this coming week’s Haftarah, from the Book of Isaiah (40:1-26), which commences with the famous prophetic phrase, “Be comforted, be comforted My people, says God!”
Isaiah who prophesied the destruction of the Temple and the subsequent exile of the Jewish people, exhorts the Nation to not give up hope.
They need to know that despite the dismal times ahead, there is destined to eventually be a better future. Still, despite knowing there will be a bright future, it is quite difficult to be “comforted” when we are surrounded by utter darkness and everything is caving in around us. It takes a lot more thought, trust and contemplation to get to a level of comfort with that than it does to focus upon the impending destruction; hence many more weeks of introspection and meditation were instituted — the seven weeks of consolation, more than the three weeks established to focus upon the destruction itself.
We can take this a step deeper. The word nachem is usually translated as comfort or consolation. In fact, these translations are not precise; the literal meaning is to be able to take a different look at the same set of circumstances. It is a paradigm shift in the perception of what has transpired.
The Talmud relates the story of Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues confronting the place where the Temple once stood, after its destruction. The Rabbis, upon seeing a fox walking on the spot of the former Holy of Holies, burst out crying, while Rabbi Akiva laughed. Shocked, they inquired as to the reason for his laughter; he asked them why they are crying.
Why are we crying? This is the holiest spot in the world, where even the holiest Jew would not have permission to enter it besides the High Priest on Yom Kippur, and now a fox is walking there; why shouldn’t we cry?
Rabbi Akiva went on to show them that it was precisely that fox which was the fulfillment of the prophecy of destruction that leads to the next prophecy of the eventual redemption and rebuilding of the Temple; hence it’s a reason for him to rejoice. The Rabbis told Rabbi Akiva that he has brought them to nechama: to see what is a tragedy in a different light, though the lens of the first step of redemption.
This was a paradigm shift of the highest order.
There are many examples throughout rabbinic writings which teach us how to look at this tragedy through both lenses: the lens of the tragedy that it is, and, concurrently, the lens of the silver lining and the revelation of God behind the scenes even when He seems to be completely hidden. The second lens teaches us, and comforts us, with a new depth of perception as to the deep, unbroken connection between God and the Jewish People.
We recently witnessed the signing of an accord with the murderous regime of Iran, which most of us fail to wrap our Jewish minds around how the entire civilized world, including and led by our own country, could do.
We shudder at the implications for Israel and the rest of the world. We would be nearly blind if we did not notice that the date of signing the accords was delayed, again and again, until it fell out during the ominous three-week period leading up to Tisha B’Av.
Alas, despite our fear of what this entails, we cannot help but notice that the Al-mighty, by shifting this event to this period of time, is waving at us and letting us know that He is fully aware of what is transpiring; this is the next big step in the Master Plan of history being led from Above. This is our nechama, our paradigm shift, to join Rabbi Akiva and know that we are in good hands.
Rabbi Yerachmiel 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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Maccabi Games: Reunion for coaches

Maccabi Games: Reunion for coaches

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Photo: Scott Green Scott Green (third from left) will bring his New York delegation to Dallas for the Maccabi Games.

By Brian Bateman
brianb@texasjewishpost.com

Zimmerman

With a clipboard in hand, then-20-year-old David Zimmerman was barely older than the players in his Maccabi coaching debut.
He was so young that Maccabi instituted a rule the following year, requiring coaches to be at least 21.
Zimmerman’s career grew from there — he has worked on coaching staffs at SMU, Levine Academy, St. Mark’s, Episcopal School of Dallas, the ABA’s North Dallas Vandals and his current position with Yavneh. What he didn’t know was how many of the players he coached would return — as coaches themselves.
There’s the 14-and-under Blue coach Ian Ribald, who lit up high school scoreboards during his prep playing days.
Then there’s fellow 16-and-under Blue coach Dmitriy Chernikov, who played for UT-Dallas.
Don’t forget Chad Albert, a 16-and-under Silver coach, and Konstantin Chernikov, who coaches the 16-and-under White squad.
That’s a strong start to a coaching tree for anyone, but there’s one more player that’s been itching to return to Texas: Scott Green.
“When I coached him in Maccabi, he would come up with everyone’s imaginary box scores,” Zimmerman said. “He was always into scouting, looking at brackets. Even as a player, he was like an assistant coach. Some players show up and read the scouting report before the game, but with Green, he already knew.”
So, it’s no wonder that Green found his way into coaching. The Texan-turned-Yankee’s 92nd Street Y 16-and-under team returns nine of 10 starters from last year’s Detroit Maccabi championship squad.
Watch out, Team Dallas!
“We’ve never coached against each other, so it’ll be really exciting,” the New York 92nd Street Y 16-and-under coach said. “It would be really nice for him to be impressed with how well we play.”
Green won’t see Zimmerman in pool play, but there’s a good chance both teams will advance into bracket play.
Green’s 92nd Street Y squad has played together for years, and those bonds have paid off when the team pushes its already fast tempo. Spacing, speed, and plenty of 3’s are guaranteed to put opponents’ hands on hips.
“We’re not so big or so tall, but when we’re playing well, we’re super-confident. Almost irrationally confident,” Green said.
This year marks their fourth Maccabi Games as a team, and Green has been playing his squad in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournaments in preparation for the Dallas Games.
Zimmerman didn’t coach Green in prep school sports, but many of Green’s friends played for him, and Green went to school with Zimmerman’s sister. Green’s first taste of Zimmerman’s coaching style came at the JCC’s youth Peanut League, and the friendship formed from there.
“We’ve kept in touch since then,” Green said. “He’s a really smart guy. He’s got good insights that he’s learned to share with me.”
Green attributes last year’s Maccabi championship run in part to Zimmerman’s advice.
Two years earlier, Detroit hit a shot at the buzzer to sink Green’s team.
In the semifinals, the team stayed even with Detroit until overtime, when Green called for the tip-and-hold. The team won six straight tip-offs in overtime and eventually won by one point.
And then in the title game, the squad faced a Philadelphia team that had won by 19 in round-robin play.
“I spoke to (Zimmerman) the night before, asking his advice. He was super-helpful,” Green said.
As for what tactics Green used from Zimmerman? That’s a coaching secret.
“Scott and all these coaches … it’s flattering to think they’re in some tree of mine,” Zimmerman said. “They’ve done most of the heavy lifting themselves, but seeing them in action, it’s like I’m a proud papa.
“But the idea of coaching against them, it ages me. It’s like, ‘What in the world? I’ve been in this a little too long.’”
A native New Yorker, Zimmerman moved early in life to Texas, and it didn’t take long for him to fill his chest with some Lone Star pride. He felt that Dallas-area Jewish basketball teams were overlooked for more traditional centers of athletic dominance.
“Back then, the mantra was all the Jewish athletes were on the East and West Coast,” he said. “I wanted to show that there are plenty of athletes here.”
Green and the rest of the team started reversing the trend, winning games and grinding away at the coastal bias.
But what really gave Zimmerman a kick was when Texas-born Green headed to the Big Apple.
“It took a Dallas boy to go and coach those New Yorkers,” Zimmerman quipped.
If the New Yorkers hadn’t bought into Green’s style, they have now. Green has coached his squad since it was formed four years ago, and “all the families are totally committed,” he said.
“We go and watch their high school games. Nine of 10 kids’ parents are coming to Dallas.”
Green, who works full-time in finance at a research health care company, is especially excited to see his family and show the kids around DFW.
“We’ll go to Episcopal. That’s a gym where I played,” he said. “I want to show them where I grew up, the gym I played in and the JCC.”
If he has his way, plenty in Dallas will see his squad, too — maybe with gold medals hanging around their necks.
“There’s a reason why you coach these guys when they’re younger. They just get it,” Zimmerman said.
“You would hope they pick up my good habits and add something to it.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Maccabi: Orthodontist choreographs Team Dallas’ dance routine

Maccabi: Orthodontist choreographs Team Dallas’ dance routine

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Part of the Dallas dance squad practices with Dr. Carlos Nurko (center). Since Nurko moved to the U.S., he has provided instruction through many organizations inAlabama; San Antonio; and Dallas/Fort Worth. Photo: Carlos Nurko

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com, @bentinsley

DALLAS — Many people in the Metroplex area know Dr. Carlos Nurko as that hard-charging Metroplex orthodontist who works to protect the smiles of children from overbites and underbites.
Glancing at the doctor’s Facebook profile, one might learn of his interests in running, soccer, photography, Latin music and contemporary art. Likewise, Dr. Nurko’s LinkedIn profile would list those as being 3D imaging,  new orthodontic technologies and dental services for underserved children.
But unless you truly know the 48-year-old Mexico native, his mad passion for dance might not immediately be evident.
As it turns out, Dr. Nurko is making good use of those skills as the official choreographer for the Team Dallas dance routine in this year’s Maccabi Games, Aug. 2-7.
“I was very happy to be invited to choreograph Israeli dance for this competition,” Dr. Nurko said. “I have been involved in Jewish dancing, Israeli dancing, for many, many years. I have a lot of love for this way of committing to be a Jew that is so identified with Israel.  It is important to teach the younger generation and help these kids learn and love their Jewish roots.”
The coaches for the dance team are Heather Cordova and Dalit Agronin. Agronin said Nurko was great with teaching the Israeli dance number.
“He really understood the movements and the Israeli folk dance culture and I believe the girls not only learned the movements but really enjoyed it and got a sense of the Israeli culture,” she said. “He taught the movements to the girls step by step until they understood and once they caught on he would go back and make changes if he felt it was necessary.”
After Dr. Nurko finished choreographing the piece he went back one by one over the dance and made sure the dancers fully understood the movement, she said.
Dr. Nurko said the 12 female dancers of Team Dallas — who range in age from 12 to 15 — have backgrounds in dancing. But this will be their first head-on experience with a venue such as the Maccabi Games.
The doctor said he has already spent 10 hours coordinating this team. The costumes for their routine are on loan from the JCC of Mexico City, which is where Dr. Nurko — an orthodontist for over 20 years — was born and raised.
Dr. Nurko’s father, Boris, worked as an emergency medical technician and his mother, Flora, as a dentist in Mexico. He said he first started dancing in sixth grade.
“I went to a Jewish school in Mexico City, where the curriculum included Hebrew and Jewish and Israeli dancing,” he said.
In addition to his medical training over the years, Dr. Carlos Nurko danced with Anajnu Veatem, the oldest Jewish dance company in Latin America, and participated as a dancer and choreographer until 1993, when he moved to the U.S.
Since moving to the United States the doctor has provided dance instruction to children, teenagers and adults through several organizations in Birmingham, Alabama, San Antonio, and here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area.
As a member of the North Texas Hispanic Dental Association, he has helped protect the smiles of many children by coordinating  an annual Zumba dance event for the past three years to raise funds to provide dental care to underserved children in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Each of those years, the event has raised  more than $2,000 for the Happy Tooth/El Diente Feliz fund. This money will be used to provide care for young patients. The group will hold another such fundraiser early next year.
Despite his highly diverse level of activity, Dr. Nurko somehow finds the energy to put as much as he can into his dancing — hopefully helping others in the process.
Awhile back, the doctor taught some of those skills to students at Dallas’ Levine Academy.

Expressing prayer in dance

“Dr. Carlos Nurko …  has a true passion for Israeli dance and he has volunteered his time this trimester to allow our students to express prayer through dance,” Wende Weinberg, director of Jewish Studies and Programs, said in a statement on the Levine Academy website dated February 2014. “They have learned about the history of Israeli folk dance and have seen how dance can also express emotion. Students have analyzed and learned dances to several tefillot, as well as some of the more familiar Israeli folk dances. Both minyanim have added a new element to our students understanding and we are grateful to the Rabbis and Dr. Nurko for their time and interest in sharing their joy with our students.”
It should be pointed out that Dr. Nurko has a history with the Maccabi Games. He  participated as a gymnast in the games in Israel representing Mexico in 1985.
“I used to like to do the vault,” he explained. “I can still do a cartwheel now but not much else.”
There are further family connections to the event. Dr. Nurko’s oldest son Jonathan, 16, participated in the Maccabi Games last year in Boca Raton, Florida. His youngest son Sammy, 14, is returning to the Maccabi Games this year playing soccer.
As part of the Maccabi experience, Dr. Carlos Nurko said he and his family will be hosting three children from Mexico.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Doings: Bnai Zion, chair-elect, ESPN, yoga and BBYO

Dallas Doings: Bnai Zion, chair-elect, ESPN, yoga and BBYO

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Yoga Spa Splash adds a refreshing twist to summer workouts at the J. Take a free class Aug. 12.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

Bnai Zion honorees announced

The Bnai Zion Foundation “is in full steam ahead mode,” boasted National President David Eisenberg at a recent Bnai Zion board meeting, “as we prepare for our annual Texas Region Gala,” which will be held at the Westin Galleria on Nov. 8.
Diane Benjamin, president of the Texas Region, stated, “We anticipate a sold-out event, as this year’s honorees are extremely well respected by all who know of their many deeds of loving kindness, here in Dallas and in Israel.”
This year’s recipients of the coveted awards, according to chairman of the gala, Shirley Strauss, will be Dr. and Mrs. Hyman Tolmas, who will be the recipients of Bnai Zion’s Distinguished Humanitarian Award; Pastor Rafael Cruz, who will receive Bnai Zion’s America-Israel Friendship Award; and Anh Vo, owner of the popular “Jewish institution” known as Cindi’s NY Deli and Restaurants, who will receive Bnai Zion’s Community Service Award.

Shapiro chair-elect of Holocaust Museum board

The Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance recently made two announcements about changes to its board of directors.
Former Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro has been nominated as chair-elect of the board, while Dr. Nicholas Pournader has been named as the museum’s newest board member.
“We are so pleased to welcome these new additions to our board and look forward to Senator Shapiro’s and Mr. Pournader’s leadership and insights in the continued development of our museum,” said Mary Pat Higgins, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance president and CEO. “Their backgrounds and breadth of knowledge will be invaluable as we grow the museum and build a new permanent home.”
Prior to her service in the Texas State Senate, Senator Shapiro served on the Plano City Council for 11 years and as the mayor of Plano for two years.
She was elected to the Senate in 1993 and served until her retirement in January 2013. Throughout her career she was known as an advocate for children, whether through her chairmanship of the Senate Education Committee or her work advocating for the rights of sexual assault victims, particularly those who were children.
Today, Senator Shapiro serves on many boards including Communities Foundation of Texas, ATT Performing Arts, Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU and Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Engagement at University of Texas among others. The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Shapiro graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a B.S. in secondary education.
Shapiro will succeed acting Chair Stephen Waldman in 2017. Prior to being nominated as chair-elect, Shapiro served as vice president of the museum’s board since 2013.
Pournader, one of the tech and telecommunications industry’s leading strategists, is currently a managing director at Pournader & Company. He has previously served as COO and CFO at Grant & Eisenhofer, where he led the global securities litigation firm from 2003 to 2011. Prior to 2003, Pournader served as senior vice president at Oracle Corporation, Siebel Systems and SunGard. Pournader graduated with a B.A. in English and an Executive MBA from Oklahoma City University, and holds a Ph.D. in management and organization development from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.
He is a concert violinist and fan of the arts.
For more information on the museum or its board, visit dallasholocaustmuseum.org.

Munn named Five Star Wealth Manager for 3rd straight year

Irv Munn, a Certified Financial Planner, has been named as a recipient of the 2015 Five Star Wealth Manager award.
This is the third consecutive year that Munn has received this award. Five Star Professional partnered with Texas Monthly Magazine to find wealth managers who satisfy 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria that are associated with wealth managers who provide quality services to their clients.
Fewer than 4 percent of the wealth managers in the Dallas/Fort Worth area were selected. Award winners will appear in the August issue of Texas Monthly Magazine.
Award selections for nominated wealth managers are based on satisfying the following criteria: credentialed as an investment advisory representative, a FINRA-registered representative, a CPA or a licensed attorney, actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards, and accepting new clients.
Other criteria considered are one- and five-year client retention rate, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served, and education and professional designations. This award is bestowed by an independent third-party organization not affiliated with Raymond James.
Munn is the president of Munn & Morris Financial Advisors. The firm is comprised of a team of private wealth managers that help high-net-worth individuals manage and coordinate their financial affairs. Munn said, “The key to long-term growth is avoiding large losses. Our proprietary investment process incorporates a strategy to make the portfolio conservative when there is a strong indication of a significant market downturn. We also deploy tactical modifications designed to improve performance by overweighting asset classes that are currently outperforming.”
Munn received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his master’s degree from the University of Texas. He is also a CPA, but sold his accounting firm several years ago to devote more time to financial planning. He has been a registered representative with Raymond James Financial Services for 18 years.
Munn & Morris Financial Advisors is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Securities are offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.

ESPN’s Mark Elfenbein to kick off Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast series

Mark Elfenbein, a longtime popular presence on Dallas sports talk radio, will be the guest speaker at the year’s first Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast Sunday, Aug. 2. Elfenbein, who now works for ESPN 103.3 FM, will share his thoughts on the upcoming Cowboys season and the rest of the Dallas sports scene.
As always, the day starts with the award-winning lox-and-bagel breakfast, and the public is welcome. The breakfast starts at 9 a.m. and costs $10, $5 for students. Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Dr. in Richardson, near the crossroads of Central Expressway and Bush Turnpike.

The J invites community to try mixing flow yoga, ‘singing’ bowls, aqua-cardio pilates

Summer is here and so is the notorious Texas heat, but the fitness team at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas’ Lieberman Family Wellness Center The J is offering a new way to stay fit while keeping cool: Yoga Spa Splash. Taking place every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 7900 Northaven Road, Yoga Spa Splash begins outdoors poolside as the sun fades away with 30 minutes of flow yoga accompanied by the sounds of “singing” crystal bowls. It’s a chance to find peace and balance at the end of a busy day before taking a plunge into the pool for 30 minutes of refreshing, heart-pumping, aqua-cardio Pilates.
“Yoga Spa Splash is a very special class designed for your mind, body and spirit,” said Terri Arends, The J’s group fitness director. “There’s a unique experience that comes from being outside practicing yoga while listening to the calming sounds of the ‘singing’ crystal bowls that pairs perfectly with getting into the water for aqua-cardio Pilates. Many of our participants have told us that it is the perfect way to shake away the stress of the day while accomplishing a very thorough full-body workout.”
The class is open to ages 14 and older. Non-members of The J are invited to try a complimentary Yoga Spa Splash class Aug. 12. 
To reserve a space for a class or for more information, please contact Terri Arends at 214-239-7137 or tarends@jccdallas.org.

BBYO invites teens to new member sign-up day

We are so fortunate that Dallas has an active BBYO presence. After taking the summer off, BBYO is ready to get back into full swing in August.
If your child is entering high school, or already in high school and not involved in BBYO, Sunday Aug. 16 is their chance to sign up. BBYO will hold its new member sign-up day at 1 p.m. for boys and 2 p.m. for girls in the BBYO wing of the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road.
Please allow 15 minutes for the process.
BBYO dues are $75 per year or $149 for a lifetime membership and must be paid in order to register. Dues can be paid by calling the BBYO office at 214-363-4654 or registering online at b-linked.org, or sending a check made out to BBYO to the BBYO office (7900 Northaven Rd., Dallas, TX 75230). A Medical Consent and Waiver Release must be completed and submitted to the BBYO office.
Teens are allowed to sign up with a friend or friends; however, all must be present to sign up together. They may sign up with a maximum of three friends who are not currently registered for a chapter (in other words, your child plus three friends for a total of four kids). Teens are guaranteed placement together only if all of the sign-up cards match (meaning that the names on the sign-up card match with the people presently signing up). A legacy is a person signing up to be in the same chapter as a brother/sister (who must be a current, paid member).
If your child is signing up alone and your membership dues are paid, you may call the BBYO office to sign up over the phone and you do not need to attend for the sign-up Aug. 16. Please call the BBYO office at 214-363-4654 by Aug. 12 to make arrangements to sign up.
After you have registered, Aug. 16, the chapter advisor will notify parents to give you instructions for the chapter pick-up Aug. 23.
For questions, please feel free to contact Tracy Davis Levi (tlevi@bbyo.org or 214-363-4654).

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

JINSA travels US, assesses own report on alleged Israeli war crimes

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com


FORT WORTH — A task force of retired United States generals visited Israel in December — investigating the tactics and strategy of the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
On July 22, two members of that group, retired Lt. General Richard F. Natonski and retired Major General Michael Jones, joined Professor Geoffrey Corn at the Fort Worth home of Julie and Dick Abrams to explain to more than 20 area residents the implications of this independent assessment of soldier conduct during the 2014 Israel-Gaza Conflict. The report was solicited by JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
Harris Vederman, director of National Outreach for JINSA, explained to the audience the context of the meeting.
“We are traveling around the country,” Vederman said. “We were in Florida yesterday, Texas today and California tomorrow on a domestic tour talking about what happened during the 2014 War in Gaza by Israel.”
The task force investigation was a direct response to a report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council after they investigated allegations of war crimes during Operation Protective Edge.
This report — perceived as one-sided and anti-Israel by critics — was nicknamed “Goldstone II,” alluding to the controversial and highly criticized Goldstone Report, the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict established in April 2009 by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
This wasn’t the first time the JINSA report has been publicized in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. JINSA chief executive officer Dr. Michael Makovsky shared this same general task force report with a group in Dallas on May 20.
As Dr. Makovsky did at his presentation, Lt. General Natonski, Major General Jones and Professor Corn provided the July 22 Fort Worth audience with copies of “2014 Gaza War Assessment: The New Face of Conflict,” which originally was released on March 9 in the Pentagon, Washington D.C., and in New York.
The report, heavy on hard facts and damning conclusions, absolutely pulls no punches.
“Commissioned and supported by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), this Task Force closely studied the evolution of Hamas’ strategy and Israel’s response, based on primary source research and discussions with senior Israeli, Palestinian and United Nations (U.N.) officials,” the report states.
According to the report and contrary to accusations of widespread unlawful military conduct, the task force members observed that Israel systematically applied established rules of conduct that adhered to or exceeded the Law of Armed Conflict in a virtually unprecedented effort to avoid inflicting civilian casualties — even when doing so would have been lawfully permitted.
“However, it is the conclusion of this Task Force that Israel’s military restraint unintentionally empowered Hamas to distort both the law and facts for their own purposes to the ultimate detriment of civilians’ safety, for which Hamas bears sole responsibility,” the report states.
And then there is the problem of the manufactured negative perception of Israel.

One of the more dangerous tactics used during Operation Protective Edge was to propagate misinformation using websites and social media accounts, the report shows.
The message they sent out: Israel was the aggressor. Israel was responsible for the deaths of innocent civilians.
It was believed by many but was completely a lie.
“Disinformation was coupled with restrictions on journalist movements within Gaza effectively preventing them from providing coverage of Hamas’ indiscriminate firing against Israeli civilians and locating its military firing positions, weapons, ammunition and military facilities among Gazan civilians,” the report states.
Hamas, according to reports, supported false claims against the IDF by distorting stories and images to serve their organization’s narrative and by manipulating stories in the international media.
Elaborating on the report, Professor Corn said the IDF held itself to very high legal standard during the war. Corn was previously the U.S. Army’s senior law of war expert in the Office of the Judge Advocate General and chief of the Law of War Branch in the International Law Division.
“They didn’t just give lip service to these rules,” Corn said. “They committed themselves to following the law as best they could under very difficult situations.”
But Hamas did exactly the opposite, the professor said.
“They exploited the IDF’s respect for the law,” Corn said.
Major General Michael Jones, who served as chief of staff, U.S. Central Command, discussed with the audience the menace of “hybrid adversaries,” or “nonstate actors” who use concepts and capabilities traditionally associated with states. Hamas and ISIS are clear examples of this, he said.
Additionally, other nonstate groups are receiving sophisticated weaponry and operating like conventional armies — as illustrated by the 2014 Gaza War, which saw nonstate actors operating from heavily populated urban environments, a problem expected to continue.
“The nature of conflict has changed and continues to change,” Major General Jones said.

Other report conclusions:

Hamas violated the law of armed conflict and exploited misunderstanding of its requirements to undermine Israel’s perceived international support and moral standing.

  • The IDF has a systematic method of determining a strike’s desired military effect, selecting the required combination of weapons and fusing needed to achieve that effect, assessing potential collateral damage, and weighing that risk against military necessity. This method is similar to that of the U.S. military and reflects good-faith commitment to LOAC compliance.
  • The conduct of the Israel Defense Forces during battle was an “admirable case of restraint,” according to the study.
  • Hamas appears to have pursued “unrestricted warfare,” defined as the ability to blend technologies with military actions and political-influence activities, seeking victory not on the battlefield but through pressure on Israeli decision-makers.

Task Force members included Natonski; Jones; retired General Charles Wald, USAF; retired Lieutenant General William B. Caldwell IV, USA; and retired Major General Rick Devereaux, USAF.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

7-year-old won’t be slowed by bone marrow plight

7-year-old won’t be slowed by bone marrow plight

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Photo: Barnard family More than $7,000 was raised for DBA, Diamond Blackfan Anemia, at the finish line of the Hallie’s Heroes 5K sponsored by 7-year-old Hallie Barnard’s Ryan Elementary.

If it’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, then Hallie Barnard is the greatest of athletes.
The 7-year-old is looking to find a bone marrow match, and will speak at the opening ceremonies of the Dallas-hosted JCC Maccabi Games this Sunday.
“It’s so nice that people want to help me and I hope we find a match soon,” said Hallie, a piano-playing gymnast who loves to read and do arts and crafts. “Even if we don’t find a match for me, I think we could find a match for someone and there’s a lot of people who need one.”
Hallie Bea as she’s known, the daughter of Elyse and Jesse and big sister of Breece and Celia, was diagnosed as an infant, one of 800 children worldwide with Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, a rare condition where the bone marrow is unable to make sufficient red blood cells. Hallie, born three weeks early and at 5 pounds, was first thought to be petite like her mother. When she was 18 days old the family dog “screamed,” alerting Hallie’s parents to the fact that their “napping” baby girl was blue. At the hospital it was thought she might have acid reflux.
In her first year Hallie suffered many colds that lasted longer than considered normal, she was slow to gain weight, and she had trouble sleeping.
At her one-year well-check, she appeared anemic to her pediatrician. A series of blood tests changed the Barnards’ life in an instant.
A healthy red-blood-cell count would have been around 11-15. Hallie’s score was a 4. After many “could be” diagnoses and six weeks later, Hallie was diagnosed with DBA, and the medical trek from the family’s home in Virginia to Boston Children’s Hospital became routine. With only four hospitals in the United States specializing in this horrific disease, the family moved to Dallas in 2010, where Dr. Zora Rogers and her team at Children’s Health Dallas care for 21 DBA patients.
“We left our home, our family, our jobs to save Hallie’s life — there was no choice, we needed 24/7 expertise,” said Elyse, who cares for her children at home, while her husband, a former Marine who served in Iraq, works at a Target distribution center. In the last year the family was joined by Aunt Alisha (Myers), Jesse’s sister who moved to Dallas to follow a medical field career path, inspired by Hallie’s fight.
The Barnards soon connected in Dallas with the help of Elyse’s former college roommate Lindsey Lieberman, who worked at SMU along with Rabbi Heidi Coretz, director of Hillel of Dallas.
“I love Rabbi Heidi so much and she’s my friend,” said Hallie. “After one of my really big doctor visits, Rabbi Heidi and her daughter Hannah and me had sushi and frozen yogurt and we did art and had facials and we did our nails. She always smiles and I really, really love to be with her.”
“Overall, Hallie is a beautiful person inside and out, a wonderful daughter, big sister and friend. She inspires everyone who meets her and she is so humble. It doesn’t take much for her to jump for joy,” said Rabbi Coretz, also the rabbi at Shir Tikvah of Frisco, where the Barnards have found a home. “She appreciates every gift and experience and she loves her Judaism and her Temple family.”
Hallie, who is most appreciative of all who do the mitzvah of registering as a bone marrow donor, pays it forward on her own.
When she lost a tooth, she asked the tooth fairy for $1 for each of her siblings; for her birthday she wanted dog toys for animals needing to be adopted; and she has donated 10 inches of hair to Locks for Love. This child is a doer for others, in her own way, and she isn’t one to stop.
Not only does Rabbi Coretz empathize and serve as clergy for the family, she is a fervent supporter of the bone marrow registry, she herself called on twice as a perfect match (unable to donate due to privately held issues of the recipients).
“As Jews, our highest calling is to save a life and my life would be blessed tremendously if I could have this opportunity,” said Rabbi Coretz, who sang Shehechiyanu. Meanwhile, I help others register and I’m a regular platelet donor.”
In February of this year, four DBA patients died. “It took us weeks to ‘come out from under the covers,’” Elyse said. “We want to advocate for Hallie and her life while she’s well. The appreciation we have for the support from everyone can’t be underestimated!”
The Barnards have been supported by Debbie and Steve Vinson, owners of the Chick-fil-A in Hurst, who are hosting their fifth bone marrow drive (9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. July 30 at 460 Grapevine Hwy.) in Hallie’s honor.
In February the Vinsons hosted a Sing Away DBA Challenge, raising $1,000 to support research through the Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, Inc.
In August, Hallie will start second grade at Ryan Elementary, and in May, her school sponsored a Hallie’s Heroes 5K run which had 216 runners raising over $7,000, also for the Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation, Inc.
“Hallie’s donor will likely share her Jewish heritage so it makes sense, during this exciting time that the Dallas community is hosting Maccabi, for us to raise awareness for those in our community who have a need,” said Amy Roseman, donor recruitment coordinator, Delete Blood Cancer DKMS, noting there is only one national registry and, once registered, prospective donors remain filed until they are 61 years of age.
“Only 2 percent of Americans are registered and it is my hope that the 2015 Maccabi games will provide community, strength and hospitality for the athletes as well as a donor and second chance at life for Hallie. Every parent would want the community to do the same for their child, and this is all about the essence of community!”
“Community is at the center of Maccabi from the first recruiting of our steering committee to the last farewell to our athletes and coaches from around the world. To help Hallie, and others in need of bone marrow transplants, is to live our Jewish value of hineini — I am here. We are all here and ready to help,” said Dafna Rubinstein, a Maccabi 2015 Housing co-chair who in 2012 became a bone marrow donor, 10 years after registering to do so. “As we welcome young athletes from around the world, to engage in spirit and sport, what better gift and way to make the world a better place than to help one of our own.”
Following the success of last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — hoping to bring awareness, and fundraising, to their cause — Hallie’s Heroes started a Sing Away DBA challenge, featured on the Hallie’s Heroes Facebook page, open for all to like. There are many participants, including Hallie singing the Marine’s Hymn. Her own self-assigned fight song is Rachel Patten’s Fight Song, and she hopes to have new visitors to her page, and that all of her Hallie’s Heroes will visit her Facebook page to post their own challenges, photos of them swabbing and registering for deletebloodcancer.org, and to find out about related drives and events.
“I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion and all those things I didn’t say … ” are the lyrics from the Rachel Patten song. “This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song. … And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”
There’s a lot of fight left in the pixie body of Hallie Bea and all she needs to win her battle is a little pixie dust — in the form of a perfect match.
Prospective donors wanting to help Hallie, and any of the 14,000 prospective patients in need of a match, will be able to register, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at SMU’s Moody Coliseum, where the ceremonies will be held. All prospective donors must first receive free Maccabi spectator or other credentials by signing up at dallasmaccabi.org.
The Hallie’s Heroes Bone Marrow Registry Drive will take place at SMU’s Moody Coliseum on Sunday, Aug. 2, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Prospective bone marrow donors must be in good general health and between the ages of 18-55. A free swabbing kit can also be ordered online at www.deletebloodcancer.org. For more information, call Amy Roseman at 646-530-2911.
All prospective donors for this event must first register online for Maccabi spectator or other credentials at dallasmaccabi.org.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Big Al’s Smokehouse gives athletes kosher taste of Texas

Big Al’s Smokehouse gives athletes kosher taste of Texas

Posted on 30 July 2015 by admin

Photo: Dallas Kosher “Mike,” an employee at Gold Metal Recyclers, helps Rabbi David Shawel (not pictured) to make a barbecue grate fit for kosher use. Ken and Neil Goldberg at Gold Metal Recyclers, as well as Dan Prescott, helped on this project, according to Dallas Kosher.

By Brian Bateman
brianb@texasjewishpost.com

Big Al’s Smokehouse has served brisket, chicken, sausage and plenty of other Texas barbecue to thousands of hungry Dallasites for more than 40 years.
Clearly, the Inwood Road-based shop has made a name in the Dallas community to stick around since 1973, but when the Dallas Maccabi Games came calling, the restaurant had to change its tune.
Big Al’s, traditionally a nonkosher smokehouse, has become a kosher enterprise this week as the caterer for the Games, the second such time Big Al’s has done so.
“This is his way to help the community,” said Lauran Plaskoff-Weiner, part of the fourth generation of the family-owned business. “He wanted to do this again. Our task is to feed these athletes helpful, delicious, kosher meals.”
Big Al’s catered in 2005 during Dallas’ inaugural hosting of the Games.
Dallas Kosher, the local kosher certification group, has been in charge of transforming Big Al’s.
“We have spent many, many hours in meetings and consultation for the Games,” Executive Director Miranda Winer said. “We’re very pleased to be able to (certify food) and give guests a place to consume kosher food.”
When Big Al’s first catered in 2005, there were two dietary requirements: kosher food, and a vegetarian option.
But today’s varied diets mean many more options for the athletes, including gluten-free food.
Every meal, Plaskoff-Weiner said, will be gluten-free or have a gluten-free alternative.
“It means extra lines and special meals.”
Big Al’s has taken a few lessons learned from the previous experience for this year.
“We have a pit that we use; it’s a 1,000-pound barbecue pit,” Plaskoff-Weiner said. “We had to remove all the racks and the rotation in the rotisseries. Last time (for Maccabi), we heated over coals.”
That process left a giant reminder that lasted several years in the parking lot: melted asphalt.
“We had to replace all the metal,” she said.
This time, they’ve bought new racks.
The process doesn’t end there. Big Al’s had to rework its supply chain to accommodate the Games.
Big Al’s usual supplier is a Fort Worth-based kosher-certified meat company, but the logistics, including the larger quantity of food required, made Big Al’s look for a new group.
It took them six months, but eventually the supplier turned out to be in their own backyard: A.D. Rosenblatt.
“It turns out there was a local kosher meat supplier here, and the COO just happened to be the father of one of my good friends,” Plaskoff-Weiner said.
Big Al’s will serve 1,300 people twice a day for four days. The menu includes fajitas, hamburgers/hot dogs cooked on-site at a nightly outing — and barbecue, of course.
“More than half of us (who worked in 2005) are still working here,” Plaskoff-Weiner said. “We’re really looking forward to giving them a taste of Texas.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here