Archive | April, 2016

Emanu-El rabbi preps for next post in Carolina

Emanu-El rabbi preps for next post in Carolina

Posted on 28 April 2016 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

Submitted photo Temple Emanu-El Rabbi Asher Knight will take the reins at Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina.


DALLAS — On July 1, Asher Knight will take the next big step in his rabbinical career.
Knight, who has been working as associate rabbi of Dallas’ Temple Emanu-El for the past nine years, is set to become the new senior rabbi of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He succeeds Temple Beth El Rabbi Judy Schindler, who held her post at Temple Beth El for a little under two decades.
Daniel Utley, a recent graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, is set to replace Knight as Temple Emanu-El’s associate rabbi, also July 1.
Knight discussed his rabbinical plans for the immediate future by phone.
On one hand, Knight said, he looks forward to his new job because Temple Beth El is at the cutting edge of the Reform Judaism movement.
But on the other, he said he’s really and truly going to miss Dallas.
“This is a bittersweet moment,” Knight said. “It has been the most incredible of opportunities to work with the clergy team, staff and lay leaders in our congregation. I feel so appreciative and respectful of this community.”
Knight’s wife, Ana Bonnheim, also a rabbi, is director of Year Round Programs at URJ Greene Family Campus — where she has worked since 2008. She will not continue in the position with the move. The couple have two children, Micah, 4, and Jonas, 8 months.

‘Star of the Reform Judaism Movement’

Rabbi Knight’s colleagues say he is considered a star in the Reform Judaism movement.
“It’s a cliché, of course, but our loss certainly is the gain of the Charlotte congregation,” said Mike Sims, Temple Emanu-El vice president and chair of Sh’ma Emanu-El, the synagogue’s small groups initiative. “From my perspective, Rabbi Knight is one of the leading lights among younger rabbis in the nation.”
Rabbi Knight holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from University of Denver and a Masters of Hebrew Letters and Rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Temple Emanu-El, incidentally, is the largest synagogue in the Southwest United States and the third largest in the Union for Reform Judaism.
In Dallas, Rabbi Knight is well-known for the leadership roles he has taken in social justice efforts.
These include a community garden for a low-income neighborhood and the creation of a food pantry.
There also is an initiative to provide free legal services to migrants seeking refugee status or asylum and a durable medical equipment exchange program that refurbishes, restores and recycles items such as hospital beds and wheelchairs.
The New York Times interviewed the rabbi in 2014 about the violence and exploitation facing migrant children arriving in Texas and other border states from Central America. He offered notable observations.
“We’re talking about whether we’re going to stand at the border and tell children who are fleeing a burning building to go back inside,” Rabbi Knight told the news organization.
Rabbi Knight told The Times that leaders of more than 100 faith organizations in his city had met to discuss how to help.
He observed that in his own congregation, some were comparing the flow of immigrant children to the Kindertransport — a rescue mission in the late 1930s that sent Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Britain for safekeeping.
“The question for us is: How do we want to be remembered, as yelling and screaming to go back, or as using the teachings of our traditions to have compassion and love and grace for the lives of God’s children?” Knight posited.
Knight’s wisdom is very well-known and respected by many, including Barbara Hyman — a member of the Temple Emanu-El board of trustees.
Hyman has worked closely with Knight on Just Congregations, the Temple’s social justice advocacy program, and on Sh’ma Emanu-El.
“As you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about Rabbi Knight’s departure — thrilled for him and the opportunity, sad for me personally and for Temple Emanu-El,” she said. “I’ll miss his passion for social justice, and his vision of Temple Emanu-El as a congregation of small groups. I know he’ll be a wonderful senior rabbi. Temple Beth-El is a lucky congregation, and Charlotte is a lucky community.”
Rabbi David Stern, senior rabbi at Temple Emanu-El, agreed, describing Rabbi Knight as a “mensch of the first order.”
“We will miss him greatly,” Rabbi Stern said. “But we know the gifts he brought to us at Temple Emanu-El — intelligence, contentment and vision — will be a blessing to all who are privileged to be part of his congregation in Charlotte.”

Knight and Reform Judaism

It is the people, staff and clergy at Temple Beth El that remain at the cutting edge of the Reform movement, Rabbi Knight asserted.
“I will be applying what I learned in Dallas to the next stage of my rabbinate,” he said.
There is a bit of a size difference between congregations: Temple Emanu-El consists of 2,500 families and Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina numbers at 1,140 families.
“It’s about half of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas,” Rabbi Knight estimated.
Temple Beth El has what is considered to be the largest congregation in the Carolinas, Rabbi Knight said.
Temple Beth El is located on 54 rolling wooded acres known as Shalom Park. Shalom Park brings together the Charlotte Jewish community’s resources.
Brought together under a shared dynamic to share resources at Shalom Park are a synagogue, a conservative shul, a Jewish Federation, a day school and a preschool, the rabbi said.
“They are using space in a unique and collaborative way,” he added.
Mike Sims said with Knight’s departure, he would be taking a strong voice for social justice and relationships with him.
“It’s going to be on us to carry on Rabbi Knight’s work,” Sims said. “He is a hot ticket — a great thinker, a great pastor  and a great teacher. But we all grow up and we all leave home and it is both wonderful and sad when that happens.”
Sims said he has known Knight for the entirety of the time he has lived in the Dallas area.
“I was on his search committee,” Sims said. “He and I have worked hand and glove on projects.”
Mike Rosen, a member of the leadership team for Sh’ma Emanu-El, has known Knight for quite some time. This new rabbi position is a great opportunity, Rosen said.
“I am happy for him but sad about him,” Rosen said. “I am really happy because this is such a great opportunity for him and his family. But while I am sad to see him leave, I also understand this is the opportunity … this is his opportunity to be the lead rabbi. This is a very big opportunity: To move on and have his own congregation.”
Knight is an appealing rabbi because he is bright, engaging, compassionate, and caring, Rosen said.
“There are times when I really can’t keep up with him, sitting in meetings with him all the time and bouncing back and forth from one issue to another,” Rosen said. “I start thinking, ‘What was it we were talking about?’ And then at midnight I get a long email from him outlining everything that was discussed.”
Helping others in that regard is just who Knight is, Rosen said.
“He really cares about the issues,” Rosen said.

Farewell

Rabbi Asher Knight said he has truly loved his experience in North Texas.
“I have so loved the unity in Dallas and with the people in Dallas,” he said. “I will always hold this place in my heart. But at the same time, the opportunity to be senior rabbi is an incredible opportunity.”
Rabbi Knight said Temple Emanu-El is a place where anything can happen because of the quality of the leadership and staff and clergy.
“My hope is to take that sense of hope and possibility there — of people really working together collaboratively  — and apply it to the work I do with the congregation in Charlotte,” he said. “It has been truly the greatest joy to serve Temple and it will always be with me.”

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Dallas Doings: Young adults and DJCF, uniting against anti-Semitism

Dallas Doings: Young adults and DJCF, uniting against anti-Semitism

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Photo: Lara Bierner Photography Hans Heppe (Honorary Consul Federal Republic of Germany), Matthew Ladin, Patrick Jackson (Honorary Consul of Sierra Leone) and Tina Wasserman count the 10 Plagues at the AJC Diplomatic Seder last week.

Photo: City of Plano On Monday, April 11, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere joined the AJC Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism Campaign. At the signing are (front row, from left) Associate Director of AJC’s Department of Regional Offices Kim Kamen, Mayor LaRosiliere, Anshai Torah Past President Michelle Meiches; (back row, from left) Anshai Torah Rabbi Michael Kushnick, AJC Dallas Regional Director Joel Schwitzer, Dr. Mitch Moskowitz, Adat Chaverim Rabbi Ben Sternman.

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

DJCF reaches out to young adults

Tackling student debt while managing living expenses and trying to save for the future isn’t easy.
This is a common reality faced everyday by many young working Jewish professionals in Dallas, and has inspired the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation to take action to help change this trajectory. After hosting a focus group of peers, Jaycee Greenblatt, director of New Initiatives, realized this was an area that needed to be addressed.
During the meeting, it became even more apparent that it wasn’t a mere few battling financial challenges.
“Not only do I feel that this is extremely needed from a personal finance education perspective, but it’s vital for our community to realize the importance of the Millennial/young adults’ role in the future of the community,” said Vanessa Lustig, an attendee and director/manager of sales and marketing at Spectrum Diamonds.
Greenblatt explains that the DJCF’s goal is simply to inspire philanthropy; however, a gloomy future may lurk ahead if we don’t do something to combat the financial strains currently weighing on the younger generation. Greenblatt questions how anyone can make room for philanthropic endeavors when they are barely affording their current lifestyle. Some of the challenges expressed by the focus group included educational or school debt, unaffordable rent, lavish wedding obligations, health-related issues, and donating.
Other concerns expressed by young families included the concern around affording a Jewish education for their children, synagogue dues, camp expenses and a down payment for a house. The strains only seem to become more challenging when considering the idea of creating a family, which may be why many young professionals have chosen to wait longer to start a family of their own.
Lustig believes that “while we are young and not making a lot of money now, 10 to 20 years down the road this generation could be in a completely different financial situation and could be in a place to make a large financial investment in this community’s future.”
Acting as the fiduciary and philanthropic arm of the Dallas Jewish community, the DJCF’s agenda for a new financial literacy workshop series is to share the expertise of the DJCF board, committees, and professional staff.
There are numerous financial experts who help guide the organization, and the DJCF wants to harness and expose their expertise to the future generation.
The first workshop, “The Art of Budgeting, Saving, and Tackling Debt,” launched Tuesday, March 29 and was led by Corey Metz, a seasoned financial professional specializing in life insurance and estate planning.
Metz has worked in the insurance industry for 20 years serving individuals and business owners in Dallas and around the country. He has also been a featured speaker at several industry events nationwide and recognized as a “Four Under 40” in Advisor Today (portraying four top advisers and community leaders nationwide under 40 years of age). “Corey was engaging, informative, and real with the full conference table full of young professionals in our 20s and 30s,” said Hilary Blake, assistant district attorney at the Dallas County district attorney’s office. “We discussed everything from 401(k)s to stocks to student loans and credit card debt to how to save, apps and budgeting techniques that can help everyone regardless of our current financial position.”
The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27, and will focus on how to navigate medical insurance benefits and related health care bills. Understanding the health care system can be daunting, and speakers will focus on providing information on how to save time and money when it comes to health care spending.
The featured speakers will be Matthew Prescott, a Benefits Advisor from Marsh & McLennan Agency, known locally as Prescott Pailet Benefits, and Michael A. Waldman CEBS, president of the employee benefits division at Waldman Bros.
“This new ongoing program is sure to make our community more knowledgeable, financially sound, and bring our young professionals together,” said Blake. “Whether we like it or not, money plays a pivotal role in our lives and why not have an opportunity, regardless of one’s individual situation, to be surrounded by peers and be able to learn and ask questions with subject matter experts?” says Lustig. For the DJCF, creating a program to help empower Millennials through financial independence is a perfect fit.
If you are a young professional interested in learning more about these workshops, please contact Jaycee Greenblatt at jgreenblatt@djcf.org.
— Submitted by Mona Allen

Keeping up with AJC Dallas

On Monday, April 11, Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere joined the AJC Mayors United Against Anti-Semitism Campaign, joining over 300 U.S. mayors by signing on to the AJC statement. More than 80 million people from 48 states are represented by these mayors. Recently, this initiative was expanded to Europe, where over 70 mayors representing 45 million people have already signed.
AJC Board Member Mitch Moskowitz made the connection for AJC with the mayor’s office. Also present at the signing were Rabbi Benjamin Sternman of Congregation Adat Chaverim, Rabbi Michael Kushnick and Past President Michelle Meiches of Congregation Anshai Torah and AJC staffers Kim Kamen and Joel Schwitzer.
Currently, Mayor Mike Rawlings of Dallas and Mayor Betsy Price have also signed the statement.
Later in the week, AJC held its inaugural Diplomatic Seder at the home of Maddy and Mark Unterberg. AJC leaders welcomed friends from the consular corps, representing 10 different countries including Sweden, the Ivory Coast, Peru, Morocco and more. It is our hope that this will become a cherished annual tradition for members of the consular corps and AJC leaders alike.
Toward the close of the evening, consuls made remarks on their thoughts on the experience. Their comments were deeply moving and emphasized the importance of the bridges AJC builds to governments of the world through diplomatic advocacy.
Jose Octavio Tripp Villanueva announced that he will be leaving Dallas in the coming months. He will remain in the Mexican Foreign Service, taking on an ambassadorship. He shared with Seder attendees that his new post will be in the Middle East, and that he has requested Israel as his first choice. Tripp spoke passionately about the importance of AJCs work in teaching him about how much heart the Jewish community has and expressed his appreciation for its work with the broader Latino community in Dallas.
— Submitted by Joel Schwitzer

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More than $40K raised at Points for Peace basketball tournament

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com


DALLAS — More than 200 people participated in the 12th annual Points for Peace 3-on-3 basketball tournament, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Yavneh Academy’s Students Against Terrorism (SAT) sponsored the event.
“It was basically play, play, play,” explained Risa Mond, SAT co-president and a Yavneh senior directing the event.
There was a raffle held during the event, with money going to the beneficiary, Mond said.
Each team was required to raise a minimum of $200 to participate.
Although the exact number wasn’t known at press time, officials said more than $40,000 was raised and will be donated to “One Family Together,” an Israel-based program with Big Brother and Big Sister programs for young children working their way through experiences with terror.
Yavneh Academy senior Steve Levine, co-president of SAT, said the organization really came together to give to the cause.
“(The tournament) went smoothly and we are really lucky and grateful for that,” Levine said.
The origins of the group trace back to March 2002, when six Yavneh students attended a Yeshiva University–sponsored leadership conference in Connecticut.
The event focused on active leadership and various ways to help the situation in Israel, and the students returned to Dallas with much motivation and insight to share with other students.
The result? The formation of Students Against Terrorism — and, ultimately, events such as Points For Peace.
Levine said participating in SAT has given him satisfaction and the courage to “come out of his shell” to discuss important issues with people.
“It is all fun, all competitive and for a good cause,” Levine said. “We are in it together. People love Points for Peace. They mark it on their calendars. … Our first year we had five teams and now we have 55. With the donations and funds we are raising, we are growing and growing.”

 

*****

3-on-3 winners

1st and 2nd graders, boys and girls: Sharks
Liam Oster, Aiden Haviv, Coby Feinstein, Brendan Eber
3rd and 4th grade boys: The Warriors
Sam Rael, Joseph Schwartz, Ilan Modrykamien, Jacob Blank
3rd and 4th grade girls: Fury
Eden Behr, Alyssa Feldman, Natalie Emmett
5th and 6th grade girls: Sweet Shots
Hallie Sternblitz, Mia Ness, Claudia Hurst, Sydney London
5th and 6th grade boys: Ballers
Noah Ohayon, Yosef Drizin, Hillel Baynash, Aaron Bard
7th and 8th grade boys: Even
Yoav Even, Alex Witheiler, Grant Bulmash, Hayden Jacobs
7th and 8th grade girls: JLSS
Liel Guttman, Jessie Lampert, Sophia Weinstein, Sophia Gonzalez
Winner High School Girls: Ballin Nuts
Emily Weisfeld, Mikaela Read, Tess Salinaro, Mary Margaret Roberts
High School Boys: Butter
Jonathan Ochstein, Seth Applebaum, David Steinbrecher, Ty Bennett
Adult: Decker
Dima Chernikov, Thomas Dodson, David Viger, Cameron Krantz

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Huge significance of 2 small Red Sea islands

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Last week the Egyptian government announced that it was handing over sovereignty of two small, uninhabited islands in the Red Sea, Tiran and Snafir, to Saudi Arabia, and is planning, together with the Saudis, to build a bridge between the two countries.
In exchange, according to reports, the kingdom and Saudi firms are expected, among other things, to:
Invest over $20 billion in Egypt
Provide about $1.5 billion for developing northern Sinai
Fund the causeway connecting Sharm-el-Sheikh and Saudi Arabia
Supply Egypt’s energy needs with a long-term loan at 2 percent interest
Since the 1800s, these islands have changed ownership several times, leaving the current status in a bit of a gray area.
In 1950, the Saudi government handed over both islands to Egypt because at the time Egypt had the military capability to “protect” them from Israel.
Both islands, at the mouth of the Gulf of Elat Aqaba have a combined area of only 44 square miles and are 5 miles from Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Both islands are arid and uncultivated with yet unexplored possible natural resources.
The big significance Tiran has is its strategic position — it forms the narrowest section of the Straits of Tiran, which is the only passage from the ports of Eilat in Israel, and Aqaba in Jordan, to the Indian Ocean and South Asian markets.
This strategic significance played a disastrous role for Egypt when, on May 22, 1967, President Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the blockade of the Straits of Tiran.
Perceiving this as an act of war, Israel launched attacks on Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, starting the Six-Day War. This led to the loss of Arab land to Israel and the death of some 20,000 Arab soldiers.
Egypt regained the Sinai Peninsula, including the two islands, after the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
Tiran is included as part of the 1979 Camp David peace treaty, signed in Washington by Egypt and Israel, that guarantees freedom of Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran.
Both islands are uninhabited and only Tiran has a handful of international peacekeeping troops, mostly American and Egyptian soldiers. Many beaches on Tiran are mined.
The Saudi government now has to agree to abide by the same Camp David Accords with regard to guaranteeing safe passage for Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran.
Egypt, it seems, made an excellent deal: It receives an outstanding economic lifeline in exchange for territories that it probably does not technically own.
Israel was told in advance about the Saudi-Egyptian deal, and gave its approval, sort of. Israel’s concerns are mainly the fact that the current instability in the Saudi kingdom could lead to an overthrow of the somewhat fragile regime and the establishment of a hostile (to both Israel and the U.S.) government of either radical Islamist extremists like ISIS, or a pro-Iran group. Either way would create the risk of the Straits of Tiran being again blocked to Israeli commercial and military shipping.
Another concern is the planned bridge or causeway. Obviously it would be highly beneficial to the Egyptians and Saudis, but what threats will it pose down the road, to Israeli, Jordanian and American ships sailing beneath it?
All told, if the various agreements stand the test of time, at least at the moment it looks like a good deal. If nothing else, it brings together the interests, and reinforces relations, between the four moderate, anti-Iran and anti-Islamic terrorism powers in the Middle East: Egypt, Saudi Arabia (assuming the new 9/11 disclosures don’t shake the boat too much…), Jordan and Israel.
That makes the islands significant.
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

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Why Seder is still important

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I know it’s the eleventh hour, but I’m leading the Seder for the first time and some of the participants will be Jews going to their first Seder ever, and I’m nervous they shouldn’t be bored and turned off from the whole experience. I’m tempted to skip most of it for that reason, but I don’t feel right doing that since every other year I’ve gone through the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions?
Flustered but Hopeful
Dear Hopeful,
I prefer to address you by that name, because I don’t consider you flustered; your question is a very reasonable one; and hopeful is a good place to be!
In fact, I would wager that most Jews who have observed the entire Seder many times are still grappling with the same question. They’re wondering how to make it relevant, not necessarily for others, but for themselves.
Repeating what sounds like an outdated story about a nation in antiquity doesn’t sound any more exciting for most people than studying ancient Greek history in high school. Especially when it’s topped off by those delicious matzos and horseradish…mmm mmm!
The key word, I believe, in making the Seder meaningful, is Relevancy. You need to go into the Seder with the attitude that every word of the Haggadah is truly relevant to our lives, today.
Once those ground rules have been established, now the game is to figure out just how each statement in the Haggadah can make a difference in our lives. When you go around the table and let everyone have a turn in reading a paragraph, tell them the ground rules. Ask them not only to simply read that paragraph, but to try to think of a way that paragraph impacts the Jewish people and/or our individual lives today. This will change the focus of the Haggadah completely; we’re not reading ancient history, we’re learning pertinent lessons for live from a timeless source!
This attitude is predicated upon two foundational precepts upon which the Haggadah is studied and observed. One is, the author of the Haggadah had all types of Jews and all periods of the Jewish experience in mind, making it relevant to all Jews and all times. That is one reason we begin the Haggadah with the intro that the Torah speaks to the four sons.
The wise son represents the learned, scholarly Jew. The wicked son exemplifies the Jew who has rebelled against the teachings of his youth. The simple son epitomizes the average Jew who hasn’t exactly rebelled, but is not that knowledgeable either. The son who doesn’t know what to ask characterizes the Jew who is so far away that he or she doesn’t even know what to ask.
This preamble is to let us know there is a path to explain the Haggadah which will be meaningful and satisfying to each and every category of Jew; one just needs to delve deeply enough into the soul of that Jew and the soul of the Haggadah to find that path, the path to the Jewish heart. There is a way to make this story relevant to one and all!
Secondly, the Haggadah states that it is an obligation upon every Jew to see himself or herself as if they themselves left Egypt. This is quite a hefty responsibility, especially given that none of us has ever endured slavery, or built a pyramid. (I have a theory; the reason so many Jews are involved in pyramid schemes is because way back in our history we built pyramids!)
To understand this we turn to the more mystical side of Judaism, the Kabbalistic sources, which teach that the same Light of the Divine Presence that was revealed the night of Passover over 3000 years ago in Egypt is actually being revealed again, year after year, on the night of Pesach.
Even today in 2016 in Dallas there is a Divine Illumination which accompanied the Jews so long ago being revealed, which is the deeper side of how the Jewish calendar works. The obligation to feel we are leaving Egypt today means we are supposed to find ways to tap into that light and allow it to illuminate our souls.
When we focus on the relevancy of the story of Pesach, especially by seeing the very real threats around us such as from Iran, Europe and more, and to see how the Al-mighty continually delivers us from those threats and keeps us alive, we can feel and experience the night of Pesach in a very real, meaningful and relevant way. Am Yisrael Chai!
Best wishes for a joyous and meaningful Pesach to you and all the readers!

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Friends, family laud Goodman for his career

Friends, family laud Goodman for his career

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Photo: Ben Tinsley Albert Goodman, who has been diagnosed with ALS, spoke at a gathering at the Aaron Family JCC’s Senior Room.

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com


DALLAS — Many friends and extended family members gathered Sunday to honor beloved Dallas writer-photographer Albert Goodman, who has been diagnosed with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
More than 100 people crowded into the Senior Room of the Aaron Family JCC for two hours to celebrate the life of Goodman, whose malady — the progressive neurodegenerative disease otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure.
Goodman’s old friend, Mark Schor, was one of the first to take the podium at the celebration Sunday.
“Albert has been a very important part of our lives,” Schor said. “We are all kind of heartbroken over this.”
There was much laughter, but for many it was tinged with sadness. It wasn’t that long ago that Goodman was just “one of the guys,” playing in the 2014 Christmas Day Classic recreational football game.
The landmark 50th anniversary of that game was celebrated at the Texas Theater. Goodman played numerous times.
“Two years ago he was like everyone else,” Schor said of his friend. “But now he has to sit in his fancy wheelchair. Two years ago he was master of ceremonies at one of our events. But now? He is down. No one knows what the future will bring. No one knows what lies ahead.”
Goodman’s loved ones lauded him for his career — which extended from Washington, D.C. to Israel to Hollywood to the Dallas area.
“We’ve loved his writing, his books, his screenplays, his photography and his stand-up comedy,” Schor said as the ceremony began. “We’re going to laugh today and we are probably going to share some tears today.”
But Goodman defused many tears a few times wielding his outrageous trademark humor.
Despite having difficulty being heard, Goodman managed to bring the house down Sunday by using a microphone.
“I know the question you’re asking yourself,” Goodman asked the audience with a smile. “’If I came today, does that mean I won’t have to come to the funeral?’”
The laughter in response to Goodman’s comment was explosive. It was so loud that it was difficult to hear anything in the room for a few seconds.
Later, after the audience quieted, Goodman hit them with another zinger:
He said anyone outside a 10-mile radius of the cemetery didn’t have to attend his funeral.
The Sunday group celebrating Goodman was composed of childhood friends but also included close friends and entertainment types he worked with in California a few years back.
“I love Albert Goodman” was said more than once — actually, more than several times — during this special tribute Sunday afternoon.
There were photographs placed around the room in honor of Goodman’s work. As a writer and photographer he worked in the advertising, television, and film industries.
Albert Goodman has been married to his wife Maida for 26 years. They have three sons, Adam, Merv and Grant.
All but Adam were present at the event. Adam communicated with his father and with people in the audience by Facetime message.
Maida Goodman said the feeling of love at the gathering was amazing.
“He is a very blessed person,” she said of her husband. “This is evident by the many people who have offered their love and support. It’s incredible. We have been very blessed and I wanted to thank everyone who is here.”
As grim an idea as it may seem, the party was held so Goodman could hear the things that normally would have been said about him at a funeral, Schor explained.
“Have you ever been to a funeral?” Schor said. “If you have, you know all the nice things people say about you after you are dead and he wanted to hear that. We are doing it now because we don’t know how much longer he will be able to get out and speak.”
Goodman was diagnosed with ALS less than a year ago, friends said.
It is unknown how long it will take for ALS to run its course, said Schor, who is a career and executive coach. Schor said it is expected to last between three to five years — although no one knows for absolutely sure.
“I live by him so I am with him a lot,” he said. “I have known him since I was 16 and he was 14.”
Schor said Goodman is famous for the kind of humor he showed at the gathering, “which permeates everything.”

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‘4 girls’ within every woman

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Dear Families,
For many, Passover is the Seder, but indeed it goes on for the full week and as we eat our various matzo delicacies, it is a good time for us to continue to think about the meaning of Passover.
You can be overwhelmed by the number of websites and pieces of information available to us on everything Jewish. I have the wonderful job of sharing learning of Passover (and all the holidays) with my JCC family from the toddlers to the seniors. Therefore, I continue to look for new and different things to present to challenge our learning and experiencing.
Many of us are comfortable with our traditional Seder, only adding a few things very carefully. And many of us are out there bringing in wild and creative and sometimes strange things to add. May I suggest that wherever you are on the continuum of how to do Seder, before Passover ends (or even after preparing for next year), find something new to think about and talk about. In that endeavor, I bring you a little piece by Ruth Berger Goldston, a psychotherapist in Princeton, New Jersey, and a former chair of the National Havurah Committee.
As we teach our children the story of Passover and the story of our people, let us remember that each child is unique.
Four girls dwell within us.

  • WISE GIRLS: At times, we are wise girls, strong and confident in what we know and in who we are, curious and eager to learn more, seeing clearly through tangled and complex dilemmas and able to make wise and appropriate decisions for ourselves and on behalf of others. Yet, as wise girls, we risk growing complacent in our knowledge, smug in the “superior” wisdom of the status quo, and so caught up in the pursuit of learning and producing that we neglect others around us and our own well-being.
  • WICKED GIRLS: At other times, we are wicked girls: angry, rebellious, critical, and negative. We set ourselves apart from our community, feeling, perhaps that we don’t belong and not understanding that it is we, not others, who place ourselves on the outside. Yet it is as wicked girls that we are able to see our world from another perspective, to see that sometimes “the Emperor wears no clothes,” and to speak up and criticize what is wrong and what is unjust.
  • SIMPLE GIRLS: At times, we are simple girls, relaxed and playful, enjoying life without questioning, analyzing, or examining deeply, loving others with passion that cannot be expressed in words, and being loved in return without any logic or reason. Yet, as simple girls, we risk missing the color and texture of our complex universe, and we may forfeit the opportunity to contribute to tikkun olam, the repair and healing of the world.
  • GIRLS WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO ASK: At other times, we are girls who don’t know how to ask, we don’t understand, we find that we cannot speak the language of the people in our company, we are struck dumb by a profound or strange new experience, or we are fearful because nothing like this has ever happened to us before. If we can remain silent, and tolerate our fear and our inability to speak for a while, we may discover worlds of riches we couldn’t possibly have imagined. But if our fear paralyzes us, if we lose confidence and withdraw from the world, or if it is fear of others that silences us, we truly need to be brought out from our slavery “by a strong and mighty arm.”

 

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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Around the Town: Yom HaShoah, Greene Family Camp

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Paul Kessler will keynote Yom HaShoah observance May 4

The Fort Worth and Tarrant County Jewish community will observe Yom HaShoah at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 4 at Beth-El Congregation. Paul Kessler was born in Slovakia and lives in Fort Worth.
He was 5 years old when the Nazis entered the country. He and his mother were saved and hidden by courageous farmers. Paul will speak about the lessons of the Holocaust and to encourage everyone to stand against hate and prejudice. There will also be a memorial service for the millions of Holocaust victims led by the Fort Worth and Tarrant County rabbis and cantors. Program Co-Chairs Charlotte Ray and Howard Rosenthal invite you and your teenagers to join the community for this very important remembrance.
The event is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation and the Multicultural Alliance.
— Submitted by Angie Friedman

Pleasant experience at Greene Family Camp

Earlier this month, April 8-10, Beth-El congregants headed to Greene Family Camp in Bruceville for an amazing experience for body and soul. The theme of the weekend was “If Not Now When? Making Time for Myself and Others.”
About 115 people registered together with Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, Rabbi Jordan Ottenstein and Temple President Laurie Kelfer.
Ilana Knust shared that it was very powerful for many to disconnect from their devices and the outside world and rediscover Shabbat friends and Jewish spirituality in nature.
The weekend began with a spirited Shabbat dinner and service and closed Shabbat with a beautiful Havdallah service, campfire, and friendship circle.
In addition to Shabbat meals, Shabbat services in song and Havdallah, folks participated in nature walks, field activities, sports, and the ropes course, yoga, art projects and cooking classes, song sessions, an adult social/ wine and dine, a kid social with karaoke and more.
— Submitted by Ilana Knust

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Frogs newest addition to Seder

Posted on 21 April 2016 by admin

I never thought I’d be writing about frogs for Pesach. But they seem to be the latest rage for amusing kids at the Seder table.
In a way, I guess that if you have to involve children through a plague, frogs are the natural choice. Some of the others are just too grisly to mention, like water turning to blood and firstborn being slain. Cattle disease and boils would be hard to play with, and insects like lice and flies and locusts aren’t even so “cute” to look at.
We might actually sit through thunder and lighting, and possibly even experience darkness if a storm shuts down our electricity, but we don’t invite them to sit on our tables (although Martha Stewart has somehow managed to turn every plague into a toy of sorts — just Google her to see them for yourself).
I got into this during my recent hometown trip. I paid a ritual visit to the flagship store of Pittsburgh’s most-beloved supermarket chain — which happens to be the privately owned venture of a local Jewish family that heavily supports both its city and its faith. As such, this “Giant Eagle,” in a central location convenient to the metropolitan area’s several large Jewish enclaves, draws enough customers to have all of what we see in Dallas’ Preston-Forest Tom Thumb, only more, and larger!
So when I walked in the main door, the first thing I saw — before even getting close to the extensive kosher foods departments — was FROGS! A huge display, front and center, featured Pesach dishes for kids, and books, and many amusements still good fun for the whole week after keeping peace and quiet at the Seder table. But most of them were frog-themed: stuffed animals and finger puppets and other what-have-yous.
I would have none! I haven’t been lucky enough to entertain small children at my Seder table in years, but when there were some, it was long before this frog era, which seems to have exploded recently into very big business. And we managed quite well — thank you! — with other diversions, many of which revolved around how to steal and hide the afikomen.
That’s right! Steal and hide! For those of you of later eras (as most of you are — I understand that), kids of my generation and some that followed used to wait until Zeide or whoever was at the head of the table got up from his cushioned chair to wash his hands, and that’s when they grabbed and did away with that essential closing act of the Passover drama. Of course, the patriarch of the evening allowed plenty of handwashing time because he knew what the children were all about — that was part of the game. Later, when he had moaned long enough that he couldn’t find it, but he needed that matzo to finish the Seder, it was returned to him for payment — gelt, of course, carefully negotiated, but to be handed over only when it was kosher to touch money again. (Believe me — no one was ever allowed to forget those written-in-advance promissory notes.)
This custom phased out a long time before the idea of grownups hiding the afikomen for kids to find came in. But I have good memories. So I bypassed the frogs in favor of two modern miniature Seder plates for my two great-grandsons to enjoy at their other Boubby’s table. For two-plus Gingy, a round cloth version with a pocket in back to store the six soft “stuffed” foods that sit on their appropriately pictured places. And for 5-year-old Lex, a heavy cardboard magnetized one that features little knobs on the food pieces to encourage some real dexterity in young fingers.
I won’t be there to see if anyone brings frogs to the table. But although I’m sorry that I’ll have to miss that Seder, I may actually be glad to be here instead of finding out!

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How owner of Cindi’s made bridge between Asian, Jewish communities

Posted on 14 April 2016 by admin

When I attended the Jewish War Veterans/JWV Auxiliary meeting on a recent Sunday morning, it was with no idea that I’d witness a welcome, growing intergroup connection in the Dallas area — and that I might even be a part of it.
I arrived early for the 9:30 a.m. breakfast and took a seat at one of the many round tables set up in the JCC’s Senior Lounge. A few coats on chairs marked spots that people had informally “reserved,” and one of them was soon occupied by a young Vietnamese man named Anthony Tran. He is editor/publisher of Asia World, a glossy quarterly publication originating in its office on St. Paul Drive in Richardson — the very heart of the Dallas area’s Asian community. With him was a “no nonsense — this means business!” camera; he had come to learn about JWV and take some pictures for his paper. Why? Because of Ahn Vo.
You may not know her by name, but you surely know her by sight. She is the owner of Cindi’s, the entrepreneurial woman who took an old deli, retained its Jewish flavor and food offerings as she improved them and everything else, and has expanded to four other “New York style” restaurants and bakeries from the original spot near the JCC that so many of us have come to love.
Keeping the Jewishness was Vo’s smart plan from the start. And making other connections with our community must have been part of her plan as well. Tran learned much about her when she recently received our local Bnai Zion Foundation’s 2015 Community Service Award.
You may not know of Vo’s support to the Asian community, and how it extends to our Jewish community as well. And you may not know the story behind all her extraordinary business success and generosity. But you should.
Anh Vo was one of the Vietnamese “boat people” who fled her native country in 1979. She landed in America with little in the way of money, English language skills, or knowledge of its culture. But she was a fearless, fast learner. Tran covered the Bnai Zion event for his paper and wrote this: “Vo credits her success to her ‘willingness to make mistakes and to continually move forward.’ I see her as an immigrant refugee who is living the American dream because she made it come true herself.”
Avrille Harris, director of Bnai Zion’s local office, also made another important connection; she reminded attendees that it was especially fitting at this event, which raised thousands for Israel, to remember that the Jewish State rescued 66 boat people stranded at sea when other countries refused them entry, offering them citizenship as well as physical safety.
And it was at this event that another Jewish connection came to light for Tran: He learned that Anh Vo has welcomed Jewish War Vets and Auxiliary members to sit outside her original restaurant twice a year, every year, as they solicit contributions for red poppies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. These Poppy Day collections raise the money that JWV uses to support the Dallas VA Hospital and the veterans there. The post had also honored her recently for that, as well as for her yearly donation of turkeys to feed those vets at our JWV’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
So Tran came to this recent meeting to find out more, and to take pictures. It turned out to be an especially good day because it made another learning connection for him: Guest speaker that morning was Gil Elan, who writes regularly for the TJP, giving an update on the state of terrorism and the Middle East.
The March News Carrier, JWV’s monthly bulletin, announced the meeting Tran attended with a report on Vo’s good deeds in support of the post. I’ve mailed a copy to him, and we’ll be keeping in touch. We can both thank Anh Vo for getting our journalistic cooperation started.

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