Archive | January, 2016

A&M subs Haifa marine research facility  for Nazareth ‘peace university’ campus plans

A&M subs Haifa marine research facility for Nazareth ‘peace university’ campus plans

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

Photo: Texas A&M Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young speaks with University of Haifa officials via web conference.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

In place of original plans to create a full “peace university” campus in Nazareth, Texas A&M University officials have instead decided to team up with the University of Haifa to establish a $5.5 million Mediterranean observatory.
This collaboration is fantastic news to many of the Jewish students who attend Texas A&M, said Matt Rosenberg, campus rabbi and executive director of Texas A&M Hillel.
Rabbi Rosenberg said Jewish students could soon have the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with Israel — with possible new programs that might provide undergraduate students the chance to study abroad and Hebrew classes that might be introduced on the Texas A&M campus.
Further, this collaboration could go a long way toward making a strong statement against practitioners of the divisive Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, Rabbi Rosenberg said.
“Those in the BDS effort try to divert people to not have anything to do with Israel — but this does the exact opposite,” he said. “This is going to be the pathway — it’s going to open up the door to more cooperation with Israel.”
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp discussed the change in direction with reporters at a news conference last month. He explained that Texas A&M leaders were uncomfortable with the amount of control officials there were seeking to have over the proposed Nazareth campus.
“I think we can say that we did everything that we could in good faith and good form or fashion to pursue that,” Sharp stated at the news conference. “ … We can’t put Texas A&M out there and not call all of the academic shots.”
Chancellor Sharp said this teaching and research partnership is a critical step for Texas A&M University on its way to becoming a $1-billion-a-year research giant.
“Who wouldn’t want to work with Israel — literally the subject of the book Start-up Nation — where innovation is not only necessary, it is valued?” he asked.
Sharp was not immediately available for follow-up questions. They were instead fielded by Chad Wootton, associate vice president for external affairs, who shared with the TJP copies of news releases about the subject that had been issued by the university.
Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, who signed the underlying “memorandum of understanding” between A&M and University of Haifa, described the project as a prime example of Texas A&M’s leadership in addressing the global challenges of today.
“It is this type of partnership among our faculty and their colleagues around the world at leading institutions, such as the University of Haifa, that will bring about knowledge needed for lasting change,” Young stated.
University of Haifa officials agreed.
“This collaboration with one of the biggest and best universities in the United States strengthens the role of the University of Haifa as the leading university in Israel in the field of marine sciences,” said Amos Shapira, president of the University of Haifa, whose comments were included in a release stemming from the news conference. “Our understanding on what is happening in the deep water around Israel’s shores is one of strategic importance because the sea is the future of the state of Israel and all of humanity.”
The new agreement will be known as the “Texas A&M – University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory.” The observatory will be located at the University of Haifa with access to critical Mediterranean coastal regions, while also drawing on instrumentation and analytical expertise of Texas A&M University faculty and their similar research initiatives in the Gulf of Mexico.
Morel Groper, adjunct associate professor at the University of Haifa’s Hatter Department of Marine Technologies, said in a telephone and email interview from Israel that the expected academic and research collaboration would elevate the teaching-through-research missions of both universities in a truly international manner.
“Scientists at the University of Haifa recognized the knowledge and experience currently existing at the Texas A&M University in the subject of ocean science in general and the development of ocean observatories in particular and were excited when the cooperation agreement between both Universities was initiated particularly the agreement to establish the ‘Texas A&M – University of Haifa Eastern Mediterranean Observatory,’ ” Professor Groper said.
Professor Groper said the observatory, a shore-based facility to be established at the University of Haifa, will receive and transmit data from two moorings in the Levant Basin of the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
University of Haifa officials and faculty were successful in receiving the first of these permissions among the many entities that share governance responsibilities in the Mediterranean Sea to allow this research, he said.
Starting this year, implementation is expected to involve as many as 20 faculty members from the two institutions. That number is expected to grow as the information is used in multi-disciplinary research, Groper said.
The observatory will compare information pulled from the Mediterranean with data collected in the Gulf of Mexico. It could be just as powerful as a full-on peace university, officials said.
The arrangement is expected to build on existing teaching and research in the Gulf of Mexico and capitalize on the oceanographic and atmospheric strengths of the two institutions.
The research it is expected to provide could help tackle some of the most pressing issues facing mankind, from climate change to natural disasters and food insecurity, Texas A&M officials said.
While separated geographically by half the planet, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea are viewed as similar bodies of water and thus provide unique opportunities for comparative analysis of their related impacts on the environment, industry and people of their regions.
The strategic and scientific venture connects common environmental interests of the two university sites through the monitoring and comparison of processes associated with two similar bodies of water — the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Led by faculty of the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University, the project will be multidisciplinary, drawing on expertise from various fields and disciplines.
“Understanding how the ever-changing oceans, biota and atmosphere affect humankind is one of the great global challenges of the next several decades, and scientists at both universities are addressing the challenge by sharing resources,” said Kate Miller, dean of the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University.
Dr. Tony Knap, director of the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group, professor of oceanography and Texas A&M University’s principal investigator for the endeavor, said the role that oceans play in storing and releasing heat, the consequent effects on sea level and precipitation on land and the relationship between water availability and energy all are key in “effectively managing the health, safety and financial well-being of our societies.”
Meanwhile, Rabbi Rosenberg said he hopes this collaboration leads to more and more involvement between the Texas A&M and University of Haifa.
“It could be phenomenal,” he said, “Students are excited to have this chance.”

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Moral repercussions from administering pain relief

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I recently came across an interesting moral dilemma. A terminal cancer patient in severe pain was on a very high dosage of opioids.
He requested more of the medication for pain control. The physician knew that increasing the dose of the medication would cause the cessation of breathing and the patient would die.
On the other hand, not increasing the medication would result in the continuation of severe pain and the patient would die several weeks later with great suffering. Essentially, administering the higher dose of pain medication would kill the patient; is this allowed?
Thanks,
Yuri L., M.D.

Dear Dr. Yuri,
Your question is a very difficult one to decide on a purely moral or philosophical basis, but one for which we have clear guidelines from our rabbinical leadership based upon principles taught in the Talmud.
We’ll start with a different situation: A patient has a condition which will only allow him to live temporarily (that is defined by Jewish law as surely dying within a year). A treatment is available that, if successful, will enable him to live for many more years; if not successful, it could kill him immediately. Jewish law teaches that the doctor may ethically and morally administer that treatment, and even should do so, although it runs the risk of killing the patient. One can and should run a lethal risk to potentially save the life of a patient.
The authorities apply this reasoning, albeit with a caveat, to a similar question to yours: if a patient is terminally ill, has no hope for recovery and is suffering great pain. To administer more painkiller will certainly relieve his pain, but may stop his breathing, causing him to die. In this case the risk we are taking is not to potentially cure the patient, but to relieve his pain and suffering. Would the above reasoning apply even in this situation?
Rabbi M. Feinstein ob’m ruled that not only can the doctor administer the medicine, but is obliged to administer the pain medication despite the risk. This is predicated upon the understanding that pain is not innocuous; it is not only a symptom of another condition. Pain is a condition in its own right; the suffering and despair it can cause could render the pain itself as a lethal condition. Every good doctor knows how profoundly the mental state and emotional well-being of a patient affect his overall medical condition and the mortality of his sickness.
We find a precedent for this in the laws of Shabbos, which require us to desecrate the holiness of Shabbos to save Jewish life. When a patient is deathly ill, one is even allowed to desecrate Shabbos to perform actions which will calm down the patient or make them more comfortable. This is true even when those actions do not directly affect the patient’s medical condition if they will improve his or her mental state. The Talmud considers the mental state to be directly related to the mortality of the condition.
Rabbi Feinstein concludes that a patient should never be allowed to suffer uncontrollably, even when by treating that suffering there is a risk of mortality. This however, is with two stipulations: The medication is given to control the pain and not to kill the patient. We are only allowed to take a risk to take the patient out of his or her suffering, not to administer a medication that would clearly kill the patient. Secondly, it must be administered by an expert in this area who will know how to manage the therapy in a way which will minimize the risk of the suppression of breathing; this is not an area to be trusted to a student or amateur.
Your situation would, then, not be permitted, as we never have the license to take the life of a patient. That is an area where we need to, as much as it pains us, entrust the suffering of the patient to the just judgment of God, Whose ways we do not always understand, but we well know we cannot switch roles with Him!

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Anne Frank exhibit holds tale for future

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

We are still reliving the Holocaust. What’s going on in Israel, and in France today, keeps reminding us.
There is probably no more poignant reminder than the Anne Frank story, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance reminds us once again with its new exhibit. Anne Frank: A History for Today has just opened, and will continue through May.
Millions of Jews suffered during the years before, during, and after the Holocaust. Six million died, a million of them children. Anne Frank continues to provide her face and her words as reminders. Because she was so young at the start of her ordeal, and morphed into a remarkably mature teenager during it, she is a bridge to our understanding of what happened to so many of all ages. Varied exhibits honoring her memory can be found virtually everywhere.
In 2013, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles opened a huge, permanent exhibition — 9,000 square feet, at a cost of $4 million. When you’re in the city, for a $15.50 admission fee, you’ll encounter an array of “films, touch screens, reproductions and artifacts,” according to Edward Rothstein, who reviewed it at its start for a headlined article in The New York Times’ Oct. 14 art section that year.
The critic applauded this exhibit for doing more than just repeating the heartbreaking story that we all know — or should know — already: it sets Anne firmly into a different context, that of actual history, by showing a copy of a letter that Otto Frank, her father, sent in April 1941 — well before the Franks finally went into hiding — to his American friend Nathan Straus, Jr., an heir to the Macy fortune, looking for help in getting U.S. visas for his family. “I would not ask if conditions here would not force me to do all I can in time to be able to avoid worse,” he wrote. “It is for the sake of the children.” However, his plea was defeated by State Department restrictions. Anne’s diary moves us sentimentally, but it does not provide us with history like this.
That’s why, as we again honor and learn from Anne Frank in our new local exhibit, we must visit the Holocaust Center’s other exhibits at the same time, to remind us of the searing, nonsentimental history of which that one young girl has become a symbol. And we must also look at France, and realize — in advance of whatever more might happen there tomorrow — that today we are witnessing sad new Jewish history as it’s currently being written.
Remember Denmark’s King Christian X, who wore the Yellow Star to show his solidarity with Jews forced by the Nazis to display this cruel badge of identity? When the chief rabbi of Marseilles recently advised his city’s Jews to stop wearing kippot because they might provoke anti-Semitic attacks, social media rose up in disagreement, urging everyone — not just Jews — to do the opposite; in one day, the world woke up, and for one day, heads were covered around the globe.
This is a touching tale of support, but history will remember it, if at all, only as a gesture. The reality is that thousands of Jews are leaving France for Israel. Their home country’s prime minister is pleading for them to stay, but to no avail; they are choosing the many present insecurities of our ancestral homeland in preference to what is happening in the land that has been their home for many, many years.
Remember: Our local Holocaust Museum is also our Center for Education and Tolerance, so it will offer many educational, tolerance-encouraging activities for children, families and adults during the remaining four months of its new Anne Frank exhibit. Please attend. But when you do, please view it not just as a sentimental sad story from our Jewish past, because it is a prescient piece of history.

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Keep composure, tambourines in tough times

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

Music, song and dance are often an outgrowth of happiness and inner freedom. The creativity enables a person to escape the straits of this world and inspire the listener.
An ancient circular percussion instrument comprising a wooden frame with skin stretched around it and small jingles called “zils” — the tambourine — has accompanied light and joyous song over the ages.
In his famous song, Bob Dylan chooses a man playing the tambourine as the figure, the inspirer. The song begins with a tired and numb individual, still awake at the crack of dawn, calling out the chorus: “Hey Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me; in the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you.
The dreamy atmosphere progresses in intensity until the narrator is finally freed by the tambourine man’s song and declares:
“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
“Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
“With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
“Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”
The beautiful consonance on “s” in the last stanza — “silhouette, sea, circle, circus and sands” — whispers the noise of ocean waves to the listener. The relentless rhyming, bardic imagery mixed with American energy leaves the meaning of the song a mystery.
Jumping from pop-culture to sacred scriptures, in this week’s Torah portion we encounter our ancient song of freedom, one of the 10 pre-eminent songs in the history of Israel, where an experience of salvation finds expression in music and verse. In this case, the inspired poetry is preceded by fear, not weariness. There are no allusions to psychotropic drugs — but there is plenty of prophecy and intensely embroidered imagery. And here, the muse is not Mr. Tambourine Man — it’s a tambourine woman.
“Miriam the prophetess … took the tambourine in her hand; and all the women followed her with tambourines and dances. And Miriam called to them: Sing to God…” (Exodus 15:20-21)
An obvious question arises when you consider the situation: The Jewish people had suffered in Egypt for 210 years. At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan, the last of the 10 plagues visited the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. Pharaoh’s opposition was shattered, and he virtually chased the Israelites out of the land. They left in such a hurry that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise.
The Jewish people thought they were freed from the shackles of Egyptian exile, about to fulfill the promise, the dream of redemption. Then everything changed. Behind them they saw an Egyptian army, racing closer. In front, they saw mammoth waters. They were trapped, facing death at the foot of the sea.
The spectacular scene that unfolded — the splitting of the Red Sea, walking through the dry sands surrounded by still walls of water while their enemy’s chariots were thrust deep beneath the waves — is the masterpiece of all miracles. Within a normally divisive people emerged unparalleled unity, the memory of a common past, an inspired present, and a shared fate. A spirit of prophecy permeated their being as words of intense joy and wonder were sung in perfect unison. The image was engraved in history, known as the Song of the Sea. The biblical passages, read this week, were inserted into our daily prayer service.
But wait a second…where, in all of this tumult, did these tambourines come from?
The commentaries explain that the women were so certain that God would eventually perform miracles that they packed the tambourines and took them out of Egypt. Simple enough. Yet hidden in this tiny explanation is a powerful message about faith and trust, best illustrated by the leading figure, Miriam.
The name Miriam means “bitterness,” because at the time of her birth the Jewish people entered the harshest phase of exile and pain. The commentaries further relate how she asserted herself through the years, campaigning to ignore Pharaoh’s destructive decrees, never giving up trust in the promise of redemption, and encouraging her people to likewise remain hopeful. As her baby brother Moses was placed in a basket at the banks of the Nile, “she watched from afar, to see what would become of him.”
When facing difficult times, being strong is only the first step. Having faith is a greater test of character. And trusting, despite appearances to the contrary, is exceptional — especially to the point of planning your celebration in the midst of crisis. So the above verses, telling of tambourines and dance, also convey the extent of these women’s resolve and vision; they made sure they’d be ready to rejoice when and however the deliverance came. This is one reason the Talmud notes that “in the merit of the righteous women, our ancestors were saved.”
The broader lesson is that, both personally and collectively, we must have a vision of the better future and keep our eyes, mind, and heart open. Sometimes the answer to prayers comes from the last place you’d expect. Be ready to celebrate when your opportunity suddenly arises.

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33 attend leadership conference in Washington, DC

33 attend leadership conference in Washington, DC

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

Back row, left to right: David Goldfarb, David Alexander, Ben Weinstein, Aaron Kaufman, Ryan Kahn, Ryan Milstein, Scott Mellman, Brian Finkelstein, Jay Post Middle row: Rachel Alexander, Shauna Milstein, Kimberly Kahn, Laura Weinstein, Natalie Mellman Bottom row: Julia Kaufman, Danielle Mann, Mollye Finkelstein, Nicole Post, Katrina Gross, Geoff Gross, Josh Mann

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com


Nearing the end of a special 18-month period of education and skills building, 33 people — including 15 couples — traveled to a retreat in Washington, D.C. last month to learn as much as they could about leadership.
And there definitely was a lot of knowledge to be had at the nation’s capitol.
“We learned about our past as a nation and toured and learned things about our leaders,” said Laura Weinstein, a co-chair of the Leadership Development Group, who attended the retreat with husband Benjamin. “It was interesting because we saw what our past leaders had predicted for our future. Some of these predictions actually came to life.”
Those on the trip were part of the Leadership Development Group, a program specifically for young adults run through the Young Adults Division of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
Federation staffers Laura Silvis Feinberg and Marcy Kahn attended the trip on behalf of the JFGD.
In addition to Laura Weinstein, other co-chairs included David Goldfarb, Katrina and Geoff Gross, and Shauna and Ryan Milstein.
Also on the trip were Lindsay and Corey Freedman, Kimberly and Ryan Kahn, Julia and Aaron Kaufman, Jennifer and Evan Lipp, Danielle and Josh Mann, Natalie and Scott Mellman, Nicole and Jay Post, Andree and Philip Postel, Jenny and Michael Walters, Marilyn and Jason Werner, Rachel and David Alexander, and Mollye and Brian Finkelstein.
Three members of the Leadership Development Group, Shiva and Jarrod Beck and Kerri Goldfarb — David Goldfarb’s wife — were unable to attend the retreat, Laura Weinstein said.
The Leadership Development Group exists as a forum for experiences that offer group opportunities to learn about the work the Federation does for the community and Israel. Participants commit to a year and a half of Federation activities and involvement.
The D.C. retreat kicked off with a presentation by Dr. Erica Brown, a writer and educator who was scholar-in-residence for the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and a consultant to other Jewish organizations. She lectures on various subjects of Jewish interest.
Weinstein said Dr. Brown is an inspiring, engaging leader whose presentation helped the group shape their whole weekend in D.C.
“We learned about our past as a nation as we toured and collected quotes from presidential leaders,” she said. “It was interesting because our past leaders made forecasts for the future — which is now. So we compared some of the predictions they had. Some of the issues from the past are still relevant now.”
Marcy Kahn was quick to offer her own high praise for Dr. Erica Brown’s contributions.
“She led us on a most meaningful and inspiring tour of the monuments and historic sites, viewed through a Jewish lens, and focused on leadership,” Kahn said. “In addition, we had the opportunity to participate in a briefing from White House staff at the Eisenhower Executive Offices, and hear from a Holocaust survivor at the Holocaust Museum. The weekend was a fantastic culmination of this 18-month program for our emerging community leaders.”
While in Washington, the group met with David Litt, special assistant to the president of the United States and senior presidential speechwriter; and Matt Nosanchuk, associate director in the Office of Public Engagement and White House liaison to the American Jewish community.
The group visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, met with Holocaust survivor Marty Weiss, and heard his personal story.
Other stops included the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and a briefing at the Eisenhower Executive Offices.
Weinstein said the national Holocaust museum was of great interest to the group because of the planned changes to the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.
“The Holocaust survivor told us his life story, which was incredible,” she said. “Along the way we learned a lot about our own leadership, talked about Jewish values in general, and reflected on our own values. What makes us Jewish leaders?”
As the group was preparing to depart Washington, Dr. Brown returned and did a wrap-up session with them titled “Speak Up.”
This 18-month training period, by the way, started in August 2014 and ends in February.
Goldfarb said he is enthusiastic about the chances these trips afford participants. He described it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“This … is a real-life opportunity to meet people in the other communities, and to give them a stepping stone that helps them get more involved — to learn more about the system and all its moving parts,” he said.
The Leadership Development Group has existed in Dallas for decades and has generated dozens of community leaders.
“It started in the 1970s — or perhaps even further back,” she said. “We have 20 couples who have participated in each class,” explained Laura Silvis Feinberg.
By being a part of the group, members learn — through great focus and involvement — about the vital work the Federation does for the local community and Israel.
Involvement consists of visiting agencies such as CHAI, Jewish Family Service and The Legacy at Preston Hollow, learning about the planning and allocations process, and committing to activities and involvement.
Daniel J. Prescott, JFGD board chair, did not attend the Washington trip but said his past experience as a member of the Leadership Development Group was “transformational.”
“I can’t tell you how much I learned,” Prescott said. “It set me on the path for future leadership in the community.”
Several people who attended the December retreat said they found it inspirational.
Weinstein said she and others concluded there is much to accomplish with the leadership skills they honed on the trip.
“There has been change but not enough change,” she said. “This lit a fire in our group to come back and create change in the community on a different level.”

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Around the Town: Kornbleet Scholar, Israeli wine tasting

Around the Town: Kornbleet Scholar, Israeli wine tasting

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Housekeeping

In last week’s Around the Town column a couple of errors were brought to my attention.
First, the Federation’s correct number is 817-569-0892.
Second, there is no cost for the dinner in Colleyville on Friday night, Feb. 5. The gentlemen of the Congregation Beth Israel Brotherhood are sponsoring the evening. We regret the errors.
Fort Worth to host PARTNERSHIP2GETHER meetings
Bob Goldberg tells me now is the time to “Be a ‘PART’ of PARTNERSHIP2GETHER!”
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County has joined PARTNERSHIP2GETHER (P2G), connecting it with the Western Galilee Region in Israel. P2G is a joint program of the Jewish Agency and Jewish Federations of North America, promoting relationships through cultural, social, medical, educational and economic programs. These programs are dedicated to connecting people and making a difference for Jews in Israel, America and worldwide with the goal of strengthening our global Jewish identity.
From Jan. 21 to 26, the Federation will host more than 45 guests from Israel, Budapest and the 13 U.S. cities that make up its Central Area Consortium.
The meetings include both volunteer and professional leadership focused on evaluating and creating programs that connect with Israel through the task forces of medicine, education, arts, community and resource development.
The Tarrant County community is invited to join the Federation at 9:45 a.m. this Sunday morning, Jan. 25 in the Great Hall at Beth-El for a P2G information session. You will have the chance to learn about Partnership, view a new photo exhibit titled The Peoples of the Western Galilee, and participate in Mayor Betsy Price’s week of compassionate service.
P2G participants will experience the unique culture of Cowtown. Activities include a special Tu B’Shevat seder event at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, a kosher barbecue prepared by competitive barbecue expert Chad Herman, a night at the Fort Worth Rodeo and Stock Show, as well as opportunities to attend services, visit various congregations and meet with community members.
Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg notes, “We have been blessed with great leadership from Milena Razack, our steering committee volunteer coordinator, and our local P2G committee will be well represented at the meetings by Mona Karten, Stephanie Zavala, Marcy Paul, Nancy Schwartz, Karen Telschow Johnson, Kim Goldberg, Audrey Nacass, and others.”
To contribute to Fort Worth Compassionate Service, for the benefit of the children at the United Community Centers, please donate new crayons, pens, markers, rulers, tape, scissors and other basic school supplies. These can be dropped off at Beth-El Great Hall or at the Federation office throughout the week.
For more information, contact Bob Goldberg at 817-569-0892 or visit www.tarrantfederation.org.

Kornbleet Scholar talk is Jan. 26

Claudia Camp

TCU biblical scholar Dr. Claudia V. Camp is this year’s Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence. Dr. Camp will present “Women in the Book of Numbers” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road. A dessert reception will follow the free lecture.
Claudia V. Camp has taught at TCU since 1980 and is currently the John F. Weatherly Professor of Religion.
She was an undergraduate religion major at Duke University, earned an M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School and obtained a Ph.D. in Biblical studies at Duke. She teaches an introductory course, “Thinking About the Old Testament,” and upper-level courses in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible that include “Love and Sex in the Biblical World” and “Religion and the Search for Meaning in the Old Testament.”
She has also taught the Religion Department’s Senior Seminar, as well as courses in women’s studies and in the Brite Divinity School Ph.D. program. She has received the Dean’s Award for Research and Creative Activity Award and the award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar, AddRan College, Humanities Division.
Camp’s research has focused on feminist interpretation of the Bible, as well as methodological issues in biblical interpretation more generally. In addition to numerous essays, she has authored two monographs and co-edited five essay collections, which include:

  • The Fate of King David: The Past and Present of a Biblical Icon. Essays in Honor of David M. Gunn, 2010
  • Constructions of Space II: The Biblical City and Other Imagined Spaces, 2008
  • Constructions of Space I: Theory, Geography, Narrative, 2007
  • Wise, Strange and Holy: The Strange Woman and the Making of the Bible, 2000
  • Setting the Table: Feminist Theologians in Conversation, 1995
  • Women, War and Metaphor: Language and Society in the Study of the Hebrew Bible, 1993
  • Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs, 1985

She is currently at work on two major projects — a monograph analyzing the role of gender ideology in the rise of the biblical canon and a feminist commentary on the Book of Numbers — and planning future publication on gender and identity formation in the Hebrew Bible.

Israeli wine tasting

Ahavath Sholom’s Ladies Auxiliary will host an Israeli wine tasting event at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 at Classic Wine Storage & Services, 2915 Riverglen Drive in Fort Worth.
Seating will be limited and the $25 per person couvert includes tasting eight wines from Israel in addition to cheese, crackers and small desserts. Wine will be available for purchase at the event with pickup the next day.
Reservations must be prepaid on Eventbrite at bit.ly/1T22vhs or checks made out to Ladies Auxiliary can be dropped off or mailed to the Ahavath Sholom office (4050 S. Hulen St.) or mailed to LaJean Sturman, 6204 Whitman Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76133.

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Golden New Year’s for gymnast

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

By Brian Bateman
brianb@tjpnews.com

While many Dallas-area teen athletes were enjoying fireworks and New Year’s Eve around their family and friends, one group of Dallas athletes were competing for the United States in Chile at the Pan-American Maccabi Games.
Gymnast Sarah Weisberg brought home team gold, while soccer player Max Weinstein also competed at the Olympic-style Jewish teen event.
“It was a great event,” Weisberg said. “I highly suggest going to these. I’m going to try out for the one in Israel (Maccabiah).”
Weisberg brought home team gold on the first day of competition. Her performance on the bars and floor routine were good enough to qualify her for the individual competition on Day 2. She took silver in both.
The Shepton High School freshman is a level 10 gymnast, which requires plenty of time in the gym. Getting a chance to visit another country and culture gave her a unique experience she wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“She practices 36 hours a week as a level 10 gymnast, so there’s not much time for a lot else,” mother Grace Weisberg said.
It was a great experience for both Weisbergs.
“We had a huge opening ceremonies in their soccer stadium. The president of Chile was there and they had a video from (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” Grace Weisberg said. “It was really meaningful to have everyone in the group stand up and sing Hatikvah.”
Weisberg had competed against many of her U.S. teammates around the nation, but wasn’t familiar with them.
“I was only texting one girl, Tory. We kind of knew each other through our coaches.”
Now, she knows plenty more, and will likely get to see them around the nation as she competes nationally.
It was a good outing for Weisberg, who spends 5½ hours in training every day.
Weisberg was able to attend the opening ceremonies, but had to miss the closing ceremonies to make her flight.
It was a bit of a bummer, but Weisberg has plans to see a few more Maccabi Games, and maybe she’ll get to stick around for the end.
“I hope I get to go,” she said. “We have tryouts (for Maccabiah in Israel) this December.”
She hopes more Metroplex teens will join next year.
“It was amazing,” she said. “Meeting all the new people. Competing with all the new people. We had a lot of stuff at the place we competed. We also toured, went to beach, had a New Year’s party, and Shabbat one night.”
The next Team USA-involved Maccabi Games will be the 20th Maccabiah, July 4-18, 2017 in Israel. Over 9,000 athletes from more than 75 countries are expected to compete.

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Dallas Doings: College Hillel, Levine Academy

Dallas Doings: College Hillel, Levine Academy

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Calling all soon-to-be college students

Community members who are thinking about college or interested in Jewish options on campuses they already plan to attend are invited to a free community event Sunday, Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This informative session will take place in Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas.
Attendees will be able to visit one-on-one with school representatives about their college and the Jewish options and lifestyle on campus. This is a great opportunity for people to see many different colleges at one time while learning what each institution has to offer.
There will also be opportunities to find out about scholarships offered from the universities, as well as the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, which offers scholarships to Dallas Jewish teens.
“Jewish education is one of our core values and something The J prides itself on,” said Artie Allen, The J’s president. “By hosting a Jewish College Fair, we can ensure that the next generation maximizes their connection to Jewish values whether they continue their studies in Dallas, in Texas or beyond.”
University organizations represented at the College Fair include: University of Oklahoma Hillel, University of Alabama Hillel, Dallas Hillel, North Texas Hillel, University of Texas Hillel, Texas A&M Hillel, Michigan State Admissions, Maryville University Admissions, TCU Admissions, Washington & Lee Hillel, Mizzou Admissions, and Arizona State.
For more information contact Scott Braswell at sbraswell@jccdallas.org or 214-239-7127.

Bonnheim named first recipient of Levine Academy Alumni Achievement Award

Bonnheim

Mazal tov to Rabbi Ana Bonnheim, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, A Solomon Schechter School Class of 1995, who has been selected as the recipient of the school’s first Alumni Achievement Award.
Committee chairs Julie Kern Wilkofsky and Loren Jacobson announced the selection following an exhaustive review of remarkable candidates, submitted by the Solomon Schechter/Levine community-at-large.
“The committee was in total agreement on the purpose of this award. We wanted to recognize and celebrate our amazing alumni while highlighting the solid foundation that Solomon Schechter/Levine Academy gave them then, and continues to give students today,” commented Wilkofsky.
After nominations poured in, it became clear that a decision was going to be arduous so the committee invited additional alumni members to be part of the review process. Rabbi Bonnheim emerged as the unanimous award winner. “The most enlightening part of this process,” added Julie, “was seeing how proud the community is of our alumni, and learning about the truly amazing, world-enriching initiatives that are led by Levine alumni in the U.S. and abroad.”
Ana Bonnheim graduated from Levine Academy, then known as Solomon Schechter in 1995, and attended Dartmouth University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion, cum laude. She was ordained as rabbi from the Hebrew Union College in 2008, where the subject of her thesis was Israel v. the Nations: In Search of an Ethical Approach to the Ideology of Land and Ethnicity in the Bible.
Also in 2008, Rabbi Bonnheim was awarded the Women of Reform Judaism Centennial Prize, given to the graduating student who most contributes to the expansion and development of the role of women in Judaism. She is currently the director of Year Round Programs at URJ Greene Family Camp, where she has worked since 2008.
“Levine Academy is a foundational part of who I am,” said Rabbi Bonnheim upon notification of her selection. “I spent nine years under the nurturing guidance of teachers. One of Levine’s greatest impacts on me are those relationships, some of which continue to this day. It was at Levine I learned to read and then developed my love of reading and writing in middle school. I learned to ask questions about the world at Levine — whether in social studies or in the science classroom. I learned to live life on Jewish time. It wasn’t until years later, when I was in college, that I began to appreciate how grounded I felt Jewishly. These seeds were planted at Levine and nurtured by my family and many mentors. I feel a sense of great gratitude for my years at Levine.”
Rabbi Bonnheim is married to Rabbi Asher Knight of Temple Emanu-El and they have two children. She is the daughter of Beverly and Dr. Malcolm Bonnheim of Dallas.

36 years of Levine Academy

Ann and Nate Levine Academy will celebrate 36 years of excellence in Jewish education Sunday, April 3 at the InterContinental Dallas Hotel, when it will honor founder Rabbi Ed Feinstein and present Rabbi Bonnheim with her award.
The musical guest that evening will be Levine alum Josh Goldberg. Many surprises are planned to highlight the significant contributions of the numerous community members, past and present, who helped make Levine Academy the educational establishment that it is today.
For more information about Levine Academy’s 36th Anniversary Gala, visit www.levineacademy.org/36, or contact Melissa Gendason, director of advancement, at 972-248-3032, extension 114.

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Taking care of earth our task

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

Dear Parents and Children,
Jan. 25 — the 15th of Shevat — is the wonderful holiday of Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees.
Most of us have memories of collecting money to plant trees in Israel at this time of year and we continue to plant especially on this “birthday.” There are so many wonderful ways of teaching our children to appreciate the wonder of nature and to learn that the Jewish people have been ecologists and environmentalists since biblical times — commanded by God to care for our earth.
The Torah tells us how the world was created but then goes on to tell us how to protect and preserve the earth. A very important Jewish law is bal tashchit – do not destroy! The Torah tells us we must not destroy and we must not waste. Here are some wonderful Jewish texts on taking care of the earth. (These are taken from Listen to the Trees — Jews and the Earth by Molly Cone: a wonderful resource filled with quotations and stories!)
Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai used to say: “If you have a sapling in your hand and you are told that the Messiah has come, first plant the sapling and then go welcome the Messiah.” (Avot de-Rabbi Natan 31b)
It is forbidden to live in a town in which there is no garden or greenery. (Jerusalem Talmud, Kodashim 4:12)
When you besiege a city for a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. You may eat from them, but you must not cut them down. (Deuteronomy 20:19)
Whoever destroys anything that could be useful to others breaks the law of bal tashchit. (Babylonian Talmud, Kodashim 32a)
The whole world of humans, animals, fish and birds all depends on one another. All drink the earth’s water, breathe the earth’s air and find their food in what was created on the earth. All share the same destiny. (Tanna de Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 2)
Some special things to do for Tu B’Shevat
1. Plant with your children: Parsley grows well indoors, so start now and you will be ready for Passover.
2. Have a Tu B’Shevat seder! There are many new Tu B’Shevat Haggadot but you can create your own. The 16th-century tradition includes the following:
Four cups of wine: First, enjoy white wine for winter; second, have pink (a little red mixed with a little white) for the first sprouts; third is light red as the first fruits ripen; fourth is all red when all is in full bloom and we give thanks.
Four fruits: first — fruits with outer shell that we cannot eat, but the inside is all delicious (almond); second — fruits with pits, eat all but inside (dates); third – entirely edible (fig); fourth — grains (bread).
With each say a blessing, be sure to taste a new and different fruit for the Sheheheyanu, end with hamotzi and enjoy a delicious meal together.
3. And don’t forget to enjoy nature and read lots of books outside.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.

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Anshai Torah hosts scholar-in-residence

Anshai Torah hosts scholar-in-residence

Posted on 14 January 2016 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Brous

Congregation Anshai Torah opens its doors to the Dallas Jewish community and welcomes IKAR’s Rabbi Sharon Brous the weekend of Jan. 29 for the Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence weekend of learning, prayer and community. The theme of the scholar in residence weekend is “Excavate, Reanimate, Rejuvenate: Pathways to the Jewish Future.”
“Arnie Sweet, of blessed memory, was a fond admirer of Jewish scholarship and he had tremendous respect for the intellect; he was always learning, always growing, and thrived on the exercise of his mind. As each of us strives to continue along our lifelong intellectual journey, this weekend of learning is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful human being,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg. “Most assuredly due to the profile Arnie characterized, Anshai Torah’s Scholar-in-Residence program continues to bring our Jewish community together, welcoming Jews from across our Jewish community to the Anshai Torah sanctuary.”
Rabbi Brous is the founder of the Los Angeles-based IKAR, a leading-edge Jewish community that seeks to inspire people across the religious spectrum and is reverberating across the country.
The “Weekend with Rabbi Sharon Brous,” presented by Janice and Art Weinberg, Cindy and Mitch Moskowitz, Cathy and Joel Brook, and many sponsors will feature a Lunch and Learn at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 29 with Rabbi Brous discussing “Game Changers: An exploration of failed and successful models of leadership in Biblical and Rabbinic text. What can we learn from them about social and communal change today?” That evening, at Kabbalat Shabbat services, keynote address and dinner beginning at 6:15 p.m. she will address “A Community of Edgers: What we see when we view the world from the margins,” and “Getting Back to the Heart of the Matter: When religion in the public square is so often seen as hate-filled, exclusionary, narrow-minded and even violent, how can we reclaim a soulful, purposeful, inclusive vision of religious life?,” followed by a special session for young adults.
At Shabbat morning services beginning at 9:30 a.m., Rabbi Brous will share thoughts on the “Amen Effect — I Can’t Heal You but I Can See You: Reclaiming the power of community — how saying amen to someone’s Kaddish could change both of your lives,” and after a Kiddush luncheon “The Virtue of (Dis)unity: How Big Is the Jewish Tent?: An exploration of traditional Jewish texts and ideas around unity and community,” with a question-and-answer session to follow. Saturday evening, a dessert reception will be held for sponsors and synagogue leadership at a private home.
“Each weekend has left its many participants with a wealth of memories, insightful thoughts, and inspiration, all waiting for next year’s speaker to be introduced. This year’s distinguished guest is indeed dynamic, charismatic, and outspoken,” said Rabbi Weinberg of Rabbi Brous, who has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading rabbis by Newsweek/The Daily Beast and among the 50 most influential American Jews by the Forward. In 2013 she topped The Daily Beast’s list, which credited her with reanimating Jewish community and re-energizing prayer at a time of growing disaffection and declining affiliation. She sits on the faculty of the Hartman Institute-North America, Wexner Heritage and REBOOT, is a Senior Fellow at Auburn Theological Seminary, and serves on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and rabbinic advisory council to American Jewish World Service. “A highly sought-after teacher, we are exceedingly honored to welcome her to Anshai Torah!”
Fusing piety and chutzpah, tradition and imagination, activism and spiritual practice, Rabbi Brous and her congregation seek to reclaim the essence (the ikar) of Judaism and to help redefine what it means to be Jewish.
“IKAR’s mission is to bring imagination and creativity into a very old idea — the idea that human beings ought to live in full dignity, driven by a profound sense of purpose and grounded in holy community,” said Rabbi Brous, who in 2013 blessed President Obama and Vice President Biden at the Inaugural National Prayer Service. “It’s important to not take any level of knowledge, experience, or observance for granted and to meet the great spiritual and intellectual challenges among us all. I understand that all in the room are learned in many different ways and each voice needs to be ‘heard’ and needed to create a powerful conversation.
“What is beautiful about visiting as a scholar-in-residence is that I can share across the country, responding to the issues of American Jewry and address the need for an infusion of creativity and a sense of purpose. Congregation Anshai Torah is on a growth trajectory and is a most purposeful place and I’m so looking forward to share Shabbat with its ‘family.’”
“Especially in light of Rabbi Brous’ influence with the young unaffiliated Jewish population of Los Angeles we look forward to welcoming our young Jewish population of the Metroplex and we extend a special welcome to all young Jewish men and women who are seeking a connection to our Jewish community,” said Rabbi Weinberg, noting that Friday evening, after dinner, there will be a program for the Gesher constituent, young adults ages 22 to 35. “We look forward to being exposed to her wisdom and insights — learning from her, growing with her, and experiencing her inspirational and motivating approach to Jewish life.”
Recognizing the disconnect of so many, Rabbi Brous says the rejection isn’t of discipline, gratitude, or the idea of God, but of the 20th-century framework of those ideas.
“The problem isn’t Judaism but the ‘container’ that holds it. We must realize how to share and perpetuate Jewish ideas to the impulses and needs of the next generation,” said Rabbi Brous. “The reality is that the model of our ancestors’ Jewish life just doesn’t resonate. I hope to awaken and affirm a connection to our core Jewish ideas and to inspire empowerment.”
It is that empowerment that event chair Warren Harmel, who worked with Barrett Stern and a team of many, hopes to provide. “Rabbi Brous’ energy and viewpoint is important in our environment and we hope young adults will join their parents and grandparents in this meaningful weekend to return and rejuvenate and find relevance in her incredibly important messages.”
Since its inception Anshai Torah has introduced many of the Jewish world’s outstanding teachers and thinkers. The Arnie Sweet Scholar-in-Residence weekend has hosted Rabbis Danny Gordis, Yitz Greenberg, Yossi Klein Halevi, Donniel Hartman, and Ed Feinstein, a who’s who in the Jewish world of influence.
“Arnie would be proud of the top thinkers and shakers in Judaism that have come to speak. The more he learned, and he learned all of his life, the more it meant to him. He’s definitely still with us through this program — a symbol of appreciating who and what we are,” said Janice Sweet Weinberg, who recently welcomed her first great-grandson, Sahar Bellman, born in Israel. “It’s my hope for my family, and for all of our people — our extended family — that the rich tradition that binds us will forever support us. Rabbi Brous definitely speaks to all of us including the younger generation and how they perceive Judaism and how it reaches their hearts. We’ve come too far to have a disaffected future and when I hear Rabbi Brous’ messages, I am more than confident that we are, and will be, a stronger people.”
For information or to RSVP for any of the events (child care will be provided Friday night and Saturday morning) call 972-473-7718 or email receptionist@anshaitorah.org. There is a $30/person charge for congregation members, $38/person for nonmembers, and $8/child for dinner on Friday night; there is no charge for Friday lunch or services, or Saturday’s events. Reservations are required for all events. For sponsorships, contact Warren Harmel at warrenharmel@gmail.com.
For more information, visit anshaitorah.org. Congregation Anshai Torah is located at 5501 W. Parker Road in Plano.

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