Archive | October, 2015

Celebrity chef to visit Shearith Israel

Celebrity chef to visit Shearith Israel

Posted on 29 October 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

Photo: Christine Ha Christine Ha will be the seventh high-profile guest at a SISterhood of Congregation Shearith Israel’s fundraising event.

DALLAS — Christine Ha, the first blind contestant on MasterChef and the winner of the show’s third season in 2012, will be the focus of the Shearith Israel SISterhood’s Major Fundraiser Event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.
This event in Kaplan Auditorium at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas, costs $75 per person and is open to the general public with advance reservations, said Cynthia Cohen and Dora Rudberg, fundraising vice presidents for the SISterhood’s board of directors.
“I really expect the largest crowd we’ve had in years,” Cohen said.
MasterChef is a competitive cooking reality show in the United States based on the original United Kingdom version of the show. It is open to both home and amateur chefs.
Christine Ha will be the seventh high profile guest to grace one of the SISterhood of Congregation Shearith Israel’s fundraising events.
Previous guests include Sandra Brown, bestselling author of romantic novels and thriller suspense novels; Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent; Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin and Jen Lancaster, who all write novels commonly categorized as “chick lit”; and Susan Stamberg, an award-winning radio journalist who is a special correspondent for National Public Radio.
In a Monday telephone interview, Ha said those who plan to attend can look forward to a really fun, big, event.
“I know the SISterhood is doing this to raise money for projects they do around the community,” Ha said. “I have heard it’s mostly a women’s event because it’s the sisterhood, but I also hear my coming has garnered more interest and they are going to have both men and women attending this time.”
Ha said her role is to teach those in attendance a little more about cooking.
“The bottom line is to inspire all sorts of people with my life and (the message is) to overcome any obstacle to achieve what you want in life,” Ha said. “I believe I will be doing a cooking demonstration and mingling with the guests and having a good time with everyone.”
Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served to guests during the fundraiser. The menu will be based on Ha’s cookbook recipes.
The evening will proceed as follows:

  • From 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Ha will conduct a book signing of her New York best-seller book, Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food.
  • From 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., dinner and dessert will be served. The food comes from Shearith Israel’s caterer, Spice of Life.
  • From 8 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Ha will deliver an inspirational speech.
  • From 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Ha will conduct a question-and-answer session with audience members.
  • At 9 p.m., a raffle drawing will be held.

Ha has had, at times, a very difficult life. When she was 14, her mother died of lung cancer — an illness that also claimed the life of her paternal aunt. Both were nonsmokers.
Then came her blindness. Ha suffers from neuromyelitis optica, in which a person’s own immune system attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord.
In 2004 she was diagnosed and gradually started losing her vision. She was almost completely blind by 2007.
She has, in previous interviews, described her vision “as looking at a very foggy mirror after a hot shower.”
She uses adaptive technologies to help her manage her life.
“She has technology that will read to her,” Cohen said. “She writes a blog and she cooks using talking thermometers. She has a fierce determination to accomplish things.”
Ha never formally studied cooking, but uses her enhanced senses — “taste, smell, how certain ingredients feel” — to cook. She said during the phone interview that losing her vision completely changed both the way she perceived the world and how she approached cooking food.
“I think that because I have lost my vision, my other senses have become much more in tune with the world around me,” Ha said. “For example, I am not distracted by how a plate looks when I taste food. Of course, this is not discounting the fact that appearance and presentations are important.”
Ha explained that the cooking process is different for her because sight generally is one of the first senses that takes in food — even before taste and smell.
“I don’t have that sense, that vision, so for me, it is about the textures that come with each bite,” she said. “It’s the temperature of the food, the aroma, the olfactory sense so connected to your sense of taste. … I dissect a lot of what I eat by those factors. These things integrate in my brain and translate into the creative stuff I do when I cook.”
Ha’s enhanced senses certainly have made her a formidable cook and competitor. She won seven times in both individual and team challenges during the third season of MasterChef.
She was announced the winner of the MasterChef competition on Sept. 10, 2012 and won $250,000, the MasterChef title and trophy, and a cookbook deal.
That cookbook, Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food — the one from which recipes will be modified for the Nov. 11 dinner — was released May 14, 2013.
Also in 2013, Ha began co-hosting the Canadian TV show Four Senses with Carl Heinrich, the winner of Season 2 of Top Chef Canada.
This cooking show caters to the visually impaired and airs on Accessible Media, Inc. (AMI) TV, a Canadian cable network.
AMI, incidentally, also is designed to make television accessible to the vision- and hearing-impaired.
Ha continues to enjoy a lot of forward career momentum. She announced on her blog and on Facebook in 2015 that she would become a judge on the third season of MasterChef Vietnam.
She had been a guest judge in the previous series, and a guest judge of U.S. MasterChef during Season Four.
This made her the first former contestant and winner worldwide to become a regular judge, and the third woman on the show.
Ha returned with Luca Manfé and Courtney Lapresi as guests for Season 6 of U.S. MasterChef.
She disclosed at the time she was the first chef and author to win the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award in 2014, which is given to people and organizations that “demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving quality of life for people with vision loss.”
Ha is a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance/MIS. She acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree for creative fiction/nonfiction during her time in the University of Houston’s 2012 Creative Writing Program.
All in all, the evening with Ha should be magnificent, Cohen and Rudberg said.
“Oh my God, she is the most amazing person with what she has accomplished in her life,” Cohen said. “You can tell Dora and I are pretty excited.”
Ha said it will be fun to share her chef perspective with an enthusiastic audience. Despite her huge success, she said she tries to stay as open as possible to new culinary experiences.
“There’s so much out there in the world of food,” Ha said. “Even though I went as far as I did in MasterChef … I feel I know only 10 percent of what there is to know about cooking.”
To inquire about the event, call the reservation hotline at 469-718-9843.

 

*****

 

What you might win:

Raffle prizes:

  • Chef’s Culinary Basket
  • Five DSM tickets for Bridges of Madison County and valet parking
  • Dinner for eight in the Private Dining Room at Hilton Park Cities
  • Spice of Life Cooking Class for six

Among the silent auction Items:

  • Abacus Night in the Kitchen to include a $100 dinner for two
  • Two All Access Passes to the Dallas Opera, Manon final dress rehearsal, including a backstage tour with Opera Orchestra Clarinetist Danny Goldman
  • Several “Dining in Dallas” certificates
  • Pampering for Men and Women
  • One Night and Breakfast at  Renaissance and Hilton Park Cities
  • Carolyn’s Cuisine catered dinner and wine for 10
  • Theater tickets

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LearningFest adds fall courses

LearningFest adds fall courses

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

Photo: JFGD Rabbi David Stern, of Temple Emanu-El, presents his program during LearningFest last spring.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com

LearningFest, sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education, is switching seasons this year.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend the 2015 iteration of this acclaimed educational event, which takes place Oct. 30, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
LearningFest 2015 presents five scholars-in-residence. They will speak individually at five area synagogues Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31 —  and then under the same roof from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.
The speakers include Mickey Gitzin at Temple Shalom; Rabbi Josh Feigelson, Ph.D., at Temple Emanu-El; Rabbi Joe Wolfson at Shaare Tefilla; Rabbi Charles Sherman at Anshai Torah; and Rabbi Bentzion Klatzko at Dallas Area Torah Association of Plano.
And no, there is not a misprint on your calendar. Yes, there are two LearningFests this year.
“I know we just had our LearningFest in March, but we decided to expand that to two,” explained Meyer Denn, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education. “We’re doing another so we can kick off our new cycle of LearningFest.”
Denn said a recent inventory of the event indicated that spring, close to summer, is when the educational year is winding down. Fall, on the other hand, is when the rabbis and teachers are kicking off their educational programming, which makes LearningFest much more timely — to encourage people to learn and engage with Jewish educators in the community.
“We’re taking a different look at LearningFest,” Denn said. “It made a lot more sense to move to the fall.”
Because there will have been, in effect, two LearningFests this transitional year, the current format is a bit different, he explained.
Basically, it wasn’t practical to have a second traditional LearningFest with the multiple educational opportunities so soon after the spring event, Denn said.
So, this year’s program was designed to allow five synagogues to have individual programs, and then come together in one streamlined program on Nov. 1.
“We decided to offer our synagogues, our temple partners, the opportunity to apply for funding to bring the scholar-in-residence of their choosing here and spend Shabbat with them,” he said.
However, LearningFest will revert to its much larger original format next fall, with 50-plus speakers and related classes, he said.
“We’ll go back to the more robust, traditional format,” Denn said.

‘A more comfortable time’

Shelley Glazer, co-chair of the Center for Jewish Education, said fall is a more comfortable time for this kind of event.
“I think the fall is a good time for people to renew their interest in going to classes,” she said. “Hopefully, they can come to this event and find a speaker with a topic that resonates with them and gets them excited about continuing their learning.”
The event itself is a great opportunity to have the community come out and experience an increased Jewish awareness, she said.
“Hopefully, they will continue to include that aspect in their lives so they can grow and be more involved Jewishly,” Glazer said.
The event, a year or two shy of a decade in existence, has always been popular.
“People look forward to it each year,” Denn said.
Speaker topics and times include:
• Mickey Gitzin, executive Director of Israel Hofshit-Be Free Israel, will speak at Temple Shalom, 8500 Hillcrest Road, at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30 as well as 9:10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 31.
The first event will be a wine and cheese reception, after which Gitzin will offer an Introduction and Overview of Israel Hofshit-Be Free Israel. His topics will include “The Struggle for Jewish Pluralism in Israel.”
Gitzen appears under the same roof as his fellow scholars at Congregation Anshai Torah, 5501 W. Parker Road in Plano, from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.
His topic: “Jewish and Democratic — How to Balance the Two While Being Progressive on Both Fronts.”
He posits: “This unique and often frail definition of Israel’s public nature is a continued point of discussion: Can these two natures exist together? Throughout the years, the so-called ‘status quo’ has come to embody the modus vivendi of this definition, but this often comes at the expense of both the democratic as well as Jewish nature.”
• Rabbi Josh Feigelson, Ph.D., appears at Temple Emanu-El for a Shabbat service in the Olan Sanctuary at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30.
He also appears Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Topics include “The Torah of Leonard Bernstein: Learning From a Musical Rebbe,” “Do We Deserve the Land of Israel? Do We Need To?,” “My Radical Father: Seeing Ourselves in Abraham and Isaac” and “Does the Holocaust Matter Anymore?”
Rabbi Feigelson will appear at Congregation Anshai Torah from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 1. His topic: “A Theology of Questions: How Our Questions Shape Our Experiences of God and Community.”
He posits: “Asking questions is a quintessentially Jewish activity. Yet what kinds of questions do we ask? And how do our questions shape our sense of ourselves, each other, and the Divine?” Drawing on his work as founder and director of Ask Big Questions, Rabbi Feigelson helps us consider “the questions that animate our lives, and how asking bigger, more beautiful questions can lead us to a richer life.”
• Rabbi Joe Wolfson appears at Shaare Tefilla, 6131 Churchill Way, Dallas, starting at 6:20 p.m. Friday. Oct. 30, and at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Topics include “Abraham’s Diverse Ways of Worshiping God,” “Living A Commanded Life vs. Living A Moral Life,” and “The Binding of Isaac Viewed Through a Contemporary Israeli Lens.”
He will speak at Congregation Anshai Torah on Sunday, Nov. 1 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. The topic: “Responding To Crisis: Two 1st Century Talmudic Models for Thinking about Zionism in the 21st Century.”
He posits: “From a Jewish perspective, the first and 20th centuries share more in common with one another than the intervening 1,800 years. Both have at their heart the rupture of a long-enjoyed status quo and the need to adapt to utterly different circumstances.
“We will trace the lives and thought of two of the outstanding rabbinic figures of the 1st century and use them as models for thinking about the challenges and opportunities that confront our own generation.”
• Rabbi Charles Sherman first appears at Congregation Anshai Torah in Plano at 6:30 p.m. and following Friday night services after dinner Friday, Oct. 30.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, he speaks at 9:30 a.m. His topics: “Lessons From A Life of Faith,” “The Blessings of a Special Needs Child” and “Shabbat in God’s Image.”
He will appear at Congregation Anshai Torah from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1.
His topic: “Discovering Joy after Heartbreak.”
His background: “Thirty years after his son Eyal suffered a brain-stem stroke that left him quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator for each breath, Rabbi Charles Sherman shares his search for joy and understanding. He uses his family’s personal experience to ponder questions that all of us at one time engage. How can I maintain my balance, hope, and optimism in the face of some of the ‘bad stuff’ in life? What does it mean to laugh after periods of long sadness? Can I ever be happy again?”
• Rabbi Bentzion Klatzko appears at DATA (Dallas Area Torah Association) of Plano, 3251 Independence Pkwy., Plano, at 6:20 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. He appears Saturday, Oct. 31, at 10:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
His topics: “How to Get Out of the Box,” “Don’t Hold Back! Q&A for Adults!” “Jews: Purple Jacket People,” “Judaism as a Relationship,” “Q&A With Teens” and “10 Commandments for Raising Extraordinary Children!”
Rabbi Klatzko will will appear at Congregation Anshai Torah from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Nov. 1.
His topic: “Does Judaism Need Saving? Engage Ourselves by Understanding What Judaism Really Is!”
He posits: “We all value Judaism, its ancient traditions, beautiful ceremonies, and festive holidays. Which begs the question, why have the bulk of American Jewry, and particularly our university students discarded so much of what Judaism has to offer? Is the issue with the product or is it with the packaging? Can we come up with a solution before it’s too late? In this presentation, we will see how we can answer these questions by developing an entirely new perspective on Judaism.”
To inquire about LearningFest 2015, contact Karen Schlosberg, administrative assistant, by phone at 214-239-7131 or by email at kschlosberg@jfgd.org.

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Terrorist attacks down; severity of each rises

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

While this past week there was a slight reduction in the number of terrorist knife attacks against Israelis, we are also seeing a worrying trend with the deadly use of firearms, explosive devices (including car bombs), an uptick in rock and Molotov cocktail throwing against Israeli cars on roads in Jerusalem and the West Bank, the attempted bombing of a Jewish kindergarten, and the participation of another Israeli Arab citizen in the terrorist attack in Beer Sheva this past Sunday.
Also — despite attempts by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and the Palestinian security forces to “lower the flames” — it’s clear now that he is not only losing control over the street and his own Fatah movement leadership in general, but over Hamas and extreme Islamist preachers, both in the West Bank and Gaza, in particular. The rhetoric and incitement, as well as the glorification of the “holy martyrs” who were killed during the attacks, both over the airwaves and through social media, is growing and going viral.
Even ISIS has joined the social media frenzy — with detailed instructions and videos on how to kill “Jews” with a knife.
Here is a partial list of recent events:
Oct. 1: An Israeli settler couple — Eitam and Naama Henkin — were shot dead in front of their four children, including a 4-month-old infant, as they drove in the West Bank. Israel later arrested five Palestinians it said were part of a Hamas cell that carried out the attack.
Oct. 2: Israel deployed hundreds of troops in the West Bank to find those that killed the Henkins.
Oct. 3: A Palestinian stabbed two Israeli men to death and injured a mother and toddler before he was killed by police in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Oct. 4: A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli teenager before he was shot by police.
Oct. 5: Two Palestinian teenagers were killed in violent protests against Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
Oct. 7: A 19-year-old Palestinian stabbed a soldier while taking his weapon in the southern town of Kiryat Gat. The suspect then fled into a residential building, where he followed a local woman into her apartment before police forces arrived and shot and killed him.
Also, a Palestinian woman stabbed an Israeli man, who then shot and wounded her. Another Palestinian was wounded by police after he attempted to run over an officer at a West Bank checkpoint, and a Palestinian attacker stabbed an Israeli man outside a mall in central Israel.
Oct. 8: A soldier shot and killed an Arab attacker after he stabbed four people with a screwdriver in Tel Aviv, and two Israelis were injured in separate Palestinian stabbing attacks elsewhere.
Oct. 9: The unrest spread to the Gaza border. Seven Palestinians were killed in violent protests there with Israeli soldiers. A Palestinian was shot and killed after attacking police with a knife in the West Bank.
In an apparent revenge attack, an Israeli stabbed Palestinians and two Arab Bedouins, injuring them in southern Israel.
Oct. 10: Palestinians carried out two stabbing attacks in Jerusalem before being shot dead by police. Two Palestinians were killed near the Gaza border fence in renewed clashes there.
A Palestinian stabbed and injured two Israelis in Jerusalem.
Oct. 11: Two Palestinians were killed in an airstrike that followed rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.
A Palestinian, 13, was killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank.
An Israeli Arab woman stabbed four Israelis in Afula in northern Israel. She was wounded by security forces and captured.
A Palestinian terrorist detonated a gas canister bomb in her car, injuring an officer and herself near Jerusalem.
Oct. 12: Two Palestinian teens stabbed two Israelis, including a teen riding a bicycle, injuring them seriously. One of the Palestinian attackers was killed after rushing at officers with a knife.
A Palestinian attacked a soldier on a bus in Jerusalem before being shot and killed.
Oct. 13: Two armed Palestinian men boarded a bus in Jerusalem and began shooting and stabbing passengers, killing two Israelis, including a 78-year-old grandfather.
Another terrorist rammed a car into a bus station before stabbing bystanders, in near-simultaneous attacks Tuesday. Three Israelis and two attackers were killed. Several other Israelis were injured in the bus attack.
There were also two Palestinian stabbing attacks in the central Israeli city of Raanana that injured five, including one seriously. Emergency services said several of the wounded were in serious condition.
A Palestinian was killed in clashes in the West Bank. The Israeli military said he was shot as he threw a firebomb at a vehicle.
Oct. 19: An Israeli citizen from the Bedouin community entered the central bus station in Beer Sheva with a knife, killed a soldier who was waiting for a bus, took his rifle and started shooting. He managed to wound several people, including security personnel, before he was neutralized and killed.
Unfortunately, during the event an Eritrean citizen, in Israel for work, was mistakenly identified as a “terrorist” by a security guard and was subsequently killed by an angry lynch mob.
Oct. 20: A 57-year-old father and grandfather was on his way to a doctor in the city of Kiryat Arba near Hebron when his car was stoned by Palestinians. He was killed by a passing truck as he got out of his car to check the damage.
While Israel has already taken numerous measures to quell the current wave of violence, more has to be done. This is no longer an issue of who can pray on Temple Mount. It has become a Palestinian national return to their original and ongoing narrative of “throwing the Jews to the sea.”
Israel has the tools and capabilities of stopping it, and as far as I know is now considering which, and in what severity, to use.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.
Lt. Col. (IDF res) Gil Elan is president and CEO of the Southwest Jewish Congress, and a Middle East analyst. Email: gil@swjc.org
Upcoming briefings and SWJC events are listed at: www.swjc.org
DISCLAIMER: Opinions are the writer’s, and do not represent SWJC directors, officers or members.

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Think you know everything about topic? Turn page and find out

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

Dear Families,
We have enjoyed so many holidays at the beginning of the year and now we are back in our “regular” schedule of weekly Shabbat.
The month of Cheshvan has begun — a month with no Jewish holidays, except of course Shabbat.  That means time to learn and read!
As a confirmed biblio-holic, I can’t stop myself from reading and especially buying books so this article I am sharing by Geoff Mitelman hit home. I hope many of you can relate and if we need to start a 12-step group for book buyers, I’m in. Read, share and then check out all the great authors coming to the J for the Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish Bookfest!
How Many Unread Books Do You Own? By: Geoff Mitelman
There are definitely times when I feel like I am single-handedly keeping Barnes and Noble in business. It was very dangerous when I lived walking distance from a store, because I’d go there several times a week, and almost always came away with at least one book in my hand.
I realized that as much as I love reading books, what I truly love is owning books. When I look at my overflowing bookshelves in my house and my office, I smile.
I had always wondered why that was the case, until Rabbi David Wolpe shared this thought from A.E. Newton a few weeks ago: “The buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity.” So perhaps the many, many unread books on my shelves are not simply gathering dust. Perhaps all those unread books are there to help me to nourish my soul.
How so? First, unread books remind me that even if I gain some modicum of knowledge and insight, there will always be more to learn. In fact, Jewish learning even intentionally makes it impossible for us to learn everything — every tractate of the Talmud, the great collection of law and learning, begins on Page 2, never on Page 1. Why? To teach us that we should never assume that we have found all the answers.
Similarly, owning dozens (or hundreds) of unread books is a very physical reminder that there is always more wisdom being added to the world. It is both inspiring and humbling to know that whatever we learn, there will always be new facts, new interpretations, and new ideas to discover.
Second, a library filled with unread books gives us the freedom to go browsing in the comfort of our own home or office — and we often overlook the value of browsing. As author Leon Wiseletier wrote beautifully in a piece in The New Republic:
When you search, you find what you were looking for; when you browse, you find what you were not looking for. Search corrects your knowledge, browsing corrects your ignorance. Search narrows, browsing enlarges. It does so by means of accidents, of unexpected adjacencies and improbable associations…(and) serendipity is how the spirit is renewed…
Too often, we search only for the information we need. We type in a Google search, and are very happy when we find the answer we’ve been looking for. But searching is limiting — we have to know in advance what we’re looking for. Browsing, in contrast, opens up our horizons, and helps us develop connections or inspirations that we may have otherwise missed.
So if you, too, have books that are now lying horizontally on top of other books because your shelves are too full, that’s a good thing. They are reminding you that wisdom and knowledge are an ever-expanding enterprise, and they are giving you the opportunity to come across insights you may have otherwise missed.

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Sooner or later, big fish will be on hook

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

I love salmon, but not the “real” kind.
I grew up with parents who had lived through the Great Depression; fresh fish was only for holidays. Salmon came in a can. I must say, it was quality: only Bumble Bee brand. But that was cheap food in those olden days.
Family members sometimes seize on old memories as we/they age. Only one of my mother’s many siblings is left, but he remembers my love of canned salmon.
When I visit Pittsburgh, he stocks up in advance for my enjoyment. Always red Bumble Bee, of course, not cheap pink. I don’t think I knew pink salmon existed before I moved away.
When my son was a bar mitzvah in Chicago, I looked at the shul caterer’s list for the post-service buffet lunch and asked her to please add salmon salad. I didn’t know I had to specify red! When this big bowl of pink stuff appeared on the table, none of my family would touch it. Including me.
From time to time, when I haven’t been “back home” for a while, Uncle Irv will send me some Bumble Bee red by priority mail, as a special gift. He always lets me know in advance, so I can be looking out for package delivery. After a recent call, when he said six one-pound cans were on the way, my mouth started to water.
But when his package arrived (left by my front door since I wasn’t home when the carrier made his delivery), I knew right away that something was wrong. First, the box had obviously been opened and clumsily re-sealed. Second, it didn’t weigh nearly 6 pounds. So I opened it, and found a great deal of crumpled newspaper, two pairs of very cheap women’s bedroom slippers, and one can of salmon.
The people at my local post office weren’t very cooperative when I brought back this mutilation to file a complaint about tampering. No, the package hadn’t been insured, but it was obvious that the contents had been vetted for priority mailing. Yes, I know that paper is heavy, but not so much when it’s just a few sheets balled up for filler. I had to get evidence from the post office where it was mailed, they said. So I did. That post office told my uncle he had to get evidence from the post office where it had arrived, which he did. What was obvious, but what nobody at either station wanted to own up to, was that this package had always and only been in postal workers’ hands from mailing to delivery, so someone in the system had to have been responsible.
So I enlisted the help of my congressman’s local office, which quickly expedited a refund of the cost of five one-pound cans of red salmon plus priority mail postage. This achievement immensely upped my enthusiasm for the work of our elected public officials. But United States Postal Service workers are not elected …
But justice prevails!  Pittsburgh’s chief postal inspector has been jailed, on grounds of making more than a bit too much of his inspections. His crime was opening boxes that intrigued him, all of them priority mail packages in one particular post office, the one at which my uncle had mailed my salmon.
Over a long period of time, this crook had been taking whatever he pleased for himself and threatening the workers there that they’d be fired if they ratted on him.
Well, despite chancing the possible loss of livelihood, somebody finally bit the bravery bullet and told, proving that not even a high honcho in the USPS can get away with criminal activity forever.
Of course, I wish he’d choked to death on that pilfered Bumble Bee. But since he didn’t, I hope his jailhouse menu features lots of cheap pink salmon! (I recycled the newspaper and gave the slippers to Goodwill. Wonder whose box they came from…)

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Volunteering gets easier, TCU lectureship

Volunteering gets easier, TCU lectureship

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

Joan Katz

Rozanne Rosenthal

It seems like it was just yesterday when hundreds of Volunteer Center constituents gathered last October at the Omni Hotel at the Big Hearts of Fort Worth breakfast Award. The TJP, along with Junior League of Tarrant County and Donna Arp Weitzman, were the honorees at the early morning breakfast.
Now, armed with a new name VolunteerNow, two distinguished members of the Fort Worth Jewish Community will be honored at this year’s fête, at noon, Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the Omni.
VolunteerNow will honor Joan Katz and Rozanne Rosenthal with the VolunteerNow Lifetime Achievement Award for their community leadership, volunteerism and collective legacy of impact on the Fort Worth community.
Joan is a civic leader, engaged volunteer and active philanthropist in Fort Worth who leads from the heart and her passion for her family, community and service to others.
Accomplished in breast cancer education and advocacy, she herself is a four-time cancer survivor. Joan is the co-founder of Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth with her friend, college roommate and fellow Big Hearts of Fort Worth honoree, Rozanne Rosenthal. Together they helped grow this affiliate from a start-up nonprofit into a leader in Tarrant County breast cancer education and support services.
Since 1992, Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth has raised over $22 million with more than $18 million in local programs and $4 million in national research grants. They also grew the signature Komen Race for the Cure from the first Tarrant County race of 1,800 participants to an annual event attracting many thousands. In addition, Joan is very involved with the Joan Katz Breast Center at Baylor All Saints Medical Center at Fort Worth Hospital.
Her impact on the community extends to other causes that are personal to her, including The Gladney Center for Adoption, Trinity Valley School, Junior League of Fort Worth, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Jewel Charity, El Tesoro de la Vida, Beth-El Congregation and The Learning Center of North Texas. She has been honored both individually and with her husband for her community service work by the Fort Worth Metro Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals with the Ketchum Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser.
Joan is also a past honoree of the Outstanding Women of Fort Worth award. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. She serves others with a message of hope.
Rozanne K. Rosenthal, an educator and Fort Worth civic leader, has devoted much of her life to community building, philanthropy and volunteerism.
She is active in a number of nonprofit organizations including Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth, Jewel Charity, Trinity Valley School, Baylor All Saints Hospital at Fort Worth, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Beth-El Congregation and Fort Worth Modern Art Museum. Rozanne has been honored for her leadership and volunteerism, including the 1998 Unsung Hero Award awarded by Mitsubishi and PBS.
She chartered Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth in May 1992 in honor of her friend and fellow Big Hearts of Fort Worth honoree, four-time cancer survivor Joan Katz. Together they helped grow this affiliate from a startup nonprofit into a leader in Tarrant County breast cancer education and support services. Since 1992, Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth has raised over $22 million with more than $18 million in local programs and $4 million in national research grants. They also grew the signature Komen Race for the Cure from the first Tarrant County race of 1,800 participants to an annual event attracting many thousands.
In 1995, the National Susan G. Komen awarded her with its Outstanding Volunteer award. Among her other honors is the Elizabeth B. and W. A. Moncrief, Sr. Award, which she shares with her husband, presented by the All Saints Health Foundation, and the Legacy of Giving Award presented to the Rosenthal Family by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
Rozanne is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, College of Education, and is an active alumna and supporter of the University. Of her many accomplishments, activities and jobs, she is most proud of her family — husband Billy, her children and her grandchildren, who both support and inspire her.
Co-chairs for the event are Hilda McDuff and Sharon Stufflebeme. Scott Murray will serve as master of ceremonies. For more information about the luncheon, visit www.volnow.org.

TCU to hold Gates of Chai Lecture Series

On Thursday, Nov. 5, TCU will welcome Bishop Brian Farrell and Rabbi David Rosen for the 18th Annual Gates of Chai Lectureship. The program is called “Celebrating 50 Years of Catholic-Jewish Dialogue: In honor of the anniversary of Nostra Aetate, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions.”
Bishop Brian Farrell is the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He previously served as director of the Novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ in Connecticut. He was awarded a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1981 and began work in the Secretariat of State in the Vatican in October of the same year.
In 2002, he was appointed Titular Bishop of the titular see of Abitinae and Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He was ordained a bishop in 2003 by Pope John Paul II.
Rabbi David Rosen is international director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee and its Heilbrunn Institute for International Interreligious Understanding.
Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and a past chairman of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (a broad-based coalition of Jewish organizations representing world Jewry to other religions), he serves on the leadership of various international interreligious bodies.
Rabbi Rosen received a papal Knighthood in 2005 for his contribution to Jewish-Catholic reconciliation and in 2010 he was made a Commander of the British Empire by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II for his work promoting interfaith understanding and cooperation.
The evening will be moderated by Dr. Sharon E. Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
The program is sponsored by the Gates of Chai Lectureship in Contemporary Judaism.

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Amid attacks, Israelis continue life as usual

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

Dear Readers,
It has been quite an experience spending the past two weeks in Israel, with the nearly daily unspeakable tragedies transpiring.
Every few hours I have been, with great trepidation, checking Arutz7 with the knowledge that it most probably won’t be the best of news.
Stabbings, shootings, ramming cars into bus stops, and more. The one time I took the light rail to the Old City to visit the Wall I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder and surveying the other passengers, thinking … Does that person look suspicious? Everywhere you look you see groups of police or IDF, stationed at every major corner and on every bus.
Then comes the silver lining … The buses and trains are full! The train has few empty seats! The streets and malls are packed! The resilience of the Jewish people and their faith in God is mind-boggling. Life goes on and nobody will allow these murderers the courtesy of stopping their lives.
In the synagogues and yeshivos extra prayers and psalms are being recited, the services are conducted with extra fervor and prayers emanate from hearts broken with the collective pain for those who have been lost and those of their families who have been left behind.
Although nobody thinks this situation is stopping any time soon, the Jews of Israel live with the complete faith in the eternity of the Jewish people.
May we soon experience our final redemption and the end of our trials and tribulations.

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Firefighters lauded after tour as Israel’s first responders

Firefighters lauded after tour as Israel’s first responders

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

Those volunteers who could make the ceremony listen to the speech before the presentation.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com


ARLINGTON — Thirteen firefighters from fire departments across the country were honored last week for their service to Israel during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.
The firefighters were joined by very enthusiastic family members and colleagues — including appreciative Israeli officials — during the special Oct. 15 ceremony at the Arlington Fire Training Center.
These firefighters were sent to Israel through the Emergency Volunteers Project (EVP), a nonprofit organization created a few years back to train American firefighters in Israeli firefighting methods.
Billy Hirth, an Arlington firefighter, was one of the 13 people who helped provide first response service to Israel last summer. Also volunteer EVP director of operations, Hirth was quoted quite a bit by the American and Israeli media about his experiences in Israel and the hard work of EVP members.
At the Oct. 15 ceremony, Hirth told audience members he was proud to see the colleagues, friends and family in the room to provide support.
“I’m appreciative of this,” he said. “But I’m more appreciative of the fact we have so much common bonding here — the love of Israel. That is what it is all about.”
EVP recruits volunteers from both Jewish and Christian communities to work alongside other emergency teams in the quest to help Israeli civilians.
Before volunteers depart for Israel, they undergo specialized training programs in order to work with Israeli equipment and understand Israeli procedure.
During the ceremony, EVP General Director Adi Zhavhi noted that there were a lot of unknowns when the program first was established.
“The Emergency Volunteers Project was like a dream — something no one believed could happen,” Zhavhi said. “I didn’t believe I would be here with over 100 people in a room saluting firefighters and having Israeli fire chiefs flying — from Israel — to thank them.”
Indeed, there were several Israeli fire officials in the room to pay tribute to their colleagues, referring to them as “brothers” several times.
After an impromptu prayer by Rabbi Levi Gurevitch of Chabad of Arlington, the audience in the packed room watched several videos and media clips documenting the impact of the help provided to Israel.

Roll call

A few of the firefighters from out of town couldn’t make the ceremony. But the complete roster of those who volunteered during Operation Protective Edge includes:

  • Battalion Chief Jeff Miller: Mesquite Fire Department.
  • Firefighter Joe Baker: Mesquite Fire Department.
  • Driver/Engineer Scott Harrell: Mesquite Fire Department.
  • Firefighter Billy Hirth: Arlington Fire Rescue.
  • Fire Investigator Scott Schultes: New Paltz Fire Department.
  • Apparatus Operator Tony Santoro: Rockwall Fire Department.
  • Chief Rick Nessner: Combine Fire Department.
  • Specialist John Nickles: Austin Fire Rescue.
  • Firefighter Bret Holland: Myrtle Beach Fire Department.
  • Firefighter Rimon Reshef: New Hyde Park Fire Department.
  • Firefighter Ben Arnold: Los Angeles Fire Department.
  • Firefighter Robert Katz: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
  • Firefighter Jason Goldstein: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Bob Goldberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, noted that these firefighters who dedicated their time and skill to the EVP effort “share a moral compass” with all who love and defend Israel.
Zhavhi agreed.
“I would say that we achieved good goals,” he said. “We helped save lives in Israel.”

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Nashville conference, great rating at Legacy Willow Bend

Nashville conference, great rating at Legacy Willow Bend

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharonw@texasjewishpost.com

Rosalind Benjet and TJP columnist Harriet Gross have teamed up for a presentation to the Southern Jewish Historical Society, which will hold its 40th annual conference Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Theme of the event is “Jews and the Urban South.” Inspired by this year’s earlier Dallas Jewish Historical Society event honoring six women who made their marks in local politics, Roz and Harriet have concentrated on the trio who were Dallas mayors to create a paper with PowerPoint presentation entitled “They Made It Big in Big D!” They have gathered information in personal interviews with Adlene Harrison, Laura Miller and friends of the late Annette Strauss, as well as from archival sources, and want to thank DJHS for its cooperation and assistance in providing them with oral histories, photographs and PowerPoint assistance.
This same team, with Roz as primary researcher and Harriet as main writer, made an initial presentation to the SJHS two years ago in Birmingham, Alabama, during its 50-year commemoration of civil rights events. That paper cited Rabbi Levi Olan and Stanley Marcus as the two Jews who made early major contributions to desegregation efforts in Dallas. The two women met when both were working toward advance degrees at UT-Dallas.
The forthcoming conference will feature an early bus tour of Nashville’s Jewish sites before the opening address by Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos on the school’s outreach to Jewish students and the Nashville Jewish community. Professor Gary Zola, of Hebrew Union College/American Jewish Archives, will be guest speaker at the dinner following Erev Shabbat services at Congregation Ohabai Sholom.
Shabbat morning services will be held at the Ben Schulman Center for Jewish Life/Vanderbilt Hillel, where University of Miami Professor Ira Sheskin’s keynote address will follow lunch. His topic will be “The Changing Demographic Profile of Jews in Southern Cities, 1950 — Present and Future.” A Havdallah reception that evening at Congregation Sherith Israel will feature a concert of Jewish music in many styles, with Saul Strosberg, the synagogue’s rabbi, on keyboard.
Full information on the Southern Jewish Historical Society and this conference is available on the SJHC website: www.jewishsouth.org/upcoming-conference.

Legacy Willow Bend receives deficiency-free inspection

Photo: Legacy Willow Bend From left, Pam Duhon, Marilyn Israel and Laura Levy are proud of The Legacy Willow Bend’s deficiency-free inspection rating by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

The Legacy Willow Bend life care community in Plano has received an extremely difficult-to-obtain deficiency-free inspection rating in its Health Care Center as well as in its assisted living and memory support levels of care from the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).
The organization reviews a lengthy and stringent set of rules and regulations to ensure that physical plant and facility operation requirements are met. Assisted living inspections occur every two years, and DADS has inspectors from a number of professional disciplines, including registered nurses, social workers, nutritionists, pharmacists, architects, engineers and Life Safety Code specialists. Marilyn Israel, the executive director of The Legacy Willow Bend, is proud of the community’s team for this accomplishment, and she was touched by the positive feedback provided by the residents who interacted with the surveyors.
“One of most significant aspects of the thorough survey is the resident input that includes levels of satisfaction with care, therapy programs and culinary experiences at The Legacy Willow Bend,” said Israel. “We deeply value the perspective of those whom we serve, and our residents and families express their gratitude for the care we provide on a regular basis. To know they shared those sentiments with the state surveyors is truly meaningful to us.”
DADS is one of five agencies which operates under the Health and Human Services Commission. The inspection for the Health Care Center involves an in-depth process that spans three days with a team of multiple surveyors. They observe all facets of patient care by The Legacy Willow Bend staff including nursing care, staffing ratios, food service, infection control, medication management, medical records, staff qualification and all aspects of providing quality care. The survey done for the assisted living and memory care departments encompassed one day and explores the same elements.
Other elements evaluated include billing documentation, admissions policies, the process the human resources department follows for hiring and the background and licensure checks that are done with every employee as well as verifying education levels of the staff. Because The Legacy Willow Bend provides memory care, the community is held to a much higher education standard and is required to provide several hours of dementia-specific training. The staff members attend at least 12 hours of dementia-specific training each year. In addition as part of the inspection, surveyors test staff members on everything from their medical skills to emergency evacuation plans and hold meetings with residents and their families for feedback.
A review also was done on operational policies and medical charts as well as staff requirements and training, among other aspects. In every category inspected, The Legacy Willow Bend was found to be in compliance with state and federal requirements. Currently, The Legacy Willow Bend serves 47 residents in assisted living and 16 in memory support. More than 325 people have been served in The Health Care Services Center this year so far.

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B’nai B’rith names Hollander Person of Year

B’nai B’rith names Hollander Person of Year

Posted on 22 October 2015 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@texasjewishpost.com

Rich Hollander shows off his new plaque at the Mira Vista Country Club dinner.


FORT WORTH — It appeared like Rich Hollander was presenting an award rather than receiving one.
Hollander was called up to the podium at the Mira Vista Country Club dinner ceremony Sunday night to receive the “2015 Jewish Person Of The Year” award.
This is easily one of the most prestigious accolades B’nai B’rith’s Isadore Garsek Lodge No. 269 has to offer. And the identity of this award recipient is kept secret until presented.
But it was absolutely no secret how huge a B’nai B’rith fan Hollander is.
Saying virtually nothing about himself, Hollander took the opportunity to sing its praises, noting how B’nai B’rith International is committed to combating anti-Semitism and bigotry and protecting the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
B’nai B’rith is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world, he said.
“It’s the oldest Jewish congregation of any kind,” Hollander said. “It’s older than the shul. Older than the temple … Ours is one of the top 10 active chapters of B’nai B’rith in the country.”
Hollander, originally from New York, has a wife, Terri, and two children. He is involved with the congregation at Ahavath Shalom and has held numerous leadership positions within B’nai B’rith.
As his demeanor indicated, Hollander is a die-hard B’nai B’rith member — attending nearly every function and volunteering services whenever needed.
He has coordinated programs, helped raise funds, and generally been an incredibly spirited member.
Plus, according to the introduction speech read by Harry Kahn, master of ceremonies, and others, Hollander is an excellent bagel maker.
Rabbi Andrew Bloom gave the invocation, effectively starting the ceremony.
At the end of the ceremony, Hollander accepted his award in full recruit mode.
He urged the dinner attendees to apply to join the lodge if they haven’t already.
He pointed out B’nai B’rith is a leader in humanitarian aid for the Jewish community throughout the world.
“We want you to have the opportunity to wake up in the morning after one of our events and feel tired — and know that is a good thing,” Hollander said. “It’s the kind of tired you feel when you’ve had a worthwhile day.”

Moving from water shortage

Hollander’s award was preceded by guest speaker Daniel Agranov, the deputy consul general of Israel to the Southwest United States. He discussed how Israel has moved away from its water shortage.
“Today I want to tell you the remarkable story of Israeli independence — not the regular independence — independence from water,” he began.
In recent years, Agranov noted, Israel overcame its much-publicized water shortage through a program of conservation, desalination and reuse.
“It was a very impressive project,” Agranov said during his presentation. “… We are very strong, have a strong economy and with your help we will continue. We have a surplus of water and I don’t think we will have a problem in the future.”
Incidentally, Agranov, whose post is in Houston, was deeply affected by recent flooding there. He and his family had to relocate to a hotel while their home is being repaired.
At the end of his speech, Agranov was asked by audience members his take on the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
“I try to speak about different stuff other than the conflicts but you always go there,” he said, kidding. “… We see a lot of incitement from the other side. For over 100 years they have claimed we are trying to ‘destroy the mosque.’… There are a lot of misconceptions and a lot of lies. There is no other way to call what comes from the Palestinians.”
Bottom line, Israel is ready to defend itself, Agranov said.
“You need two for tango,” he said. “You can’t dance without that other partner. … But we are strong. I can tell you that very proudly. I don’t think anything can destroy us.”

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