Genecov family to receive humanitarian award for work
By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP
It will be a family affair at the 2017 Ann Loeb Sikora Humanitarian Award event May 3 when the Dallas Jewish Historical Society honors Dr. Jeff Genecov, Julie Genecov Shrell and Dr. David Genecov.
Themed “Preserving our Past, Celebrating the Present and Ensuring our Future,” the reception and program, at the Communities Foundation of Texas Mabel Peters Caruth Center, will begin with drinks and light hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m.
As adults, the doctors David and Jeff Genecov, with their mother Sally in the middle, and Julie Genecov Shrell, have made their parents, and Dallas’ Jewish community, proud.
The award, established for the late Ann Loeb Sikora, honors individuals who emulate the humanitarian ideals by which she lived. A professional volunteer who received numerous awards for her outstanding community service, Sikora was the first woman president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, a founding member of the Dallas Jewish Coalition for the Homeless (now Vogel Alcove) and MAZON, a Jewish Response to Hunger. She served on the boards of the American Jewish Committee, the Community Council of Greater Dallas, the Council of Jewish Federations, Congregation Shearith Israel, the Home for the Jewish Aged — Golden Acres, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.
Photo: Genecov Family
Five generations of Genecovs have been raised in the North Texas area. The family of Ed and Sally Genecov is shown: (back row, left to right) Adam Genecov, Rob Shrell, Lisa Atlas Genecov, Dr. Jeff, Dr. David, Dr. Lisa, Michael, and Max Genecov; (middle row) Julie Genecov Shrell, Sally, Ed, Grandmother Bunny Freiden (Sally’s mother), Megan, and Matthew Genecov; (bottom row) Becca Genecov, Simone, Marissa and Gavin Shrell.
“We were fortunate to have the attention of Ann Loeb Sikora and to have benefited from her model of service to the community. In tribute, we look for members of the greater Dallas Jewish community who demonstrate the values of Torah, avodah and gemilut chassadim, the core pillars upon which the world stands,” said Debra Polsky, executive director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. “Jeff, Julie and David have looked into their communities, found needs to contribute to and they have taken actions that address those needs. All three are teachers, showing those in their orbits how to use knowledge, service and acts of loving kindness to benefit people in need. The DJHS could not have made a better choice than to honor these three who indeed learned from their parents how to repair the world.”
The honorees are the fourth-generation Texan descendants of Dr. Ed, of blessed memory, and Sally Genecov, who each served Dallas’ Jewish community, setting the example their children now live. He was the “orthodontist to the community” and she was one of the moms that neighborhood children could count on, always involved in their school and other activities and always there. Sally remains one to hug and hold by many of her children’s now adult friends — so many she’s known for much of their lives.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my children but I’ve been able to say that all of their lives. They’re good, kind, giving and always the ones to count on. There’s nothing more we could hope or want from them,” said the kvelling mother. “They’ve always been there for my husband and me, for their friends, for their community — professional and social — and each other.”
The Genecov family, which settled in Dallas in 1960, has made its mark. (Left to right) Sally, Julie, Jeff, Ed and David Genecov.
Dr. Jeff Genecov, husband of Lisa Atlas Genecov and father of Adam and Becca, was a member of BBYO’s Levi Eshkol chapter. A graduate of St. Mark’s School, UT-Austin — where he was a member of the Texas Cowboys — and Baylor College of Dentistry with a Master’s in Orthodontics, he followed in his father’s footsteps, and his practice. Jeff’s clinical expertise includes working with patients with facial deformities and cleft lip and palate.
“I’ve always followed a lesson from one of my dental school professors that ‘much is expected from those given (much)’ and that is just how we live,” said Jeff, whose family belongs to Congregation Shearith Israel and who, with his wife, sponsors scholarships at St. Mark’s and UT-Austin. “My parents, my teachers and mentors have set the bar for service. It’s never been a ‘have to,’ but a ‘want to.’ None of us do anything for accolades, but this is validation of our parents’ raising us right.”
Julie Genecov Shrell, the wife of Rob and mother to Gavin, Marissa and Simone, is a former Sally Blum Chapter BBYO member and graduate of W.T. White High School, UT-Austin and the Texas Realtor Leadership Program. With more than 30 years’ experience as a loan officer, Julie was named the best mortgage professional by both D Magazine and Texas Monthly. A co-founder of the Be The Difference Foundation and co-chair of Dallas’ Wheel to Survive cycling events — which has donated $2 million for ovarian cancer research and support — Julie, a six-year survivor, was honored with the MetroTex Association of Realtors Ebby Halliday Community Service award.
“Involvement in our schools, community, and professional worlds was something we saw from our parents and something they always taught us to do — mitzvah hours were ‘what we did,’ and we each married people with the same ideals. Dad’s love for his industry — of which he was a pioneer — went beyond to organizations, in volunteering, and in teaching, and we’ve followed that example,” said Julie, whose family belongs to Congregation Anshai Torah.
“When we were little, our dad always said we three had to look out for each other and we’ve always remembered that and really lived that, and I couldn’t hope for more supportive brothers.”
Dr. David Genecov, the husband of Dr. Lisa Genecov, and father of Matthew, Max, Megan and Michael, is a specialist in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery. David is a graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas, UT-Austin and the UT-Health Science Center, San Antonio. He completed residencies at West Virginia University and Wake Forest University. Trained at the International Craniofacial Institute, he is now its owner and director. David teaches at Baylor College of Dentistry, volunteers as a physician instructor and assists in fundraising for Smile Train.
“With family history on both sides from as far back as the 1870s, being a Texan is in our DNA. This award is a family honor for us, and all who came before us. The giving and service that we do is how we were taught to live and it is the teachings of Judaism for our people to continue,” said David, whose family belongs to Shearith Israel — unable to imagine being honored without his siblings. “As a child, I’d stand by my dad as he gave lectures and watch the slides of children with facial anomalies and I was inspired then to follow in so much of what he was devoted to.”
All three honorees credit their spouses and children with supporting them, saying they wouldn’t be able to share in any of what they do alone.
Their parents, who were married for 51 years before Dr. Genecov passed away in 2009, met on a blind date in Los Angeles. Sally was a native and he was serving in the Navy. After a time in New York, where Dr. Genecov finished his training, in 1960 the couple settled in Dallas, not far from the Fort Worth stomping grounds where the family’s patriarch was raised. Dr. Genecov was a president at Congregation Shearith Israel, the couple coached and cheered at the JCC, and there were the San Gabriel Drive block parties and memories made for all on the “Sally G,” at Lake Texoma.
“We had three weddings in 14 months, and then four grandchildren in a year, followed by five more,” said Sally, who worked in her husband’s office. “Each of our children and their families has brought us nothing but joy.”
“Jeff, Julie, and David are three individually amazing people, worthy of this respect in their own right, who happen to be siblings. They each have made important and meaningful efforts but it’s exquisite to know the support they each have for one another and all they care about,” said Laurie Judson, co-chairing the event with her own sister Susan Zetley and their mother Janet Hershman.
“The Genecov family is grand in the history of our community, as are all who live here,” said Judson, a friend of Shrell’s since they were teens, also one of many baby boomer orthodontia patients of the honorees’ father. “You can be of a multigenerational Dallas-based family, or have moved here yesterday — we are all a part of the future which is the beginning of our history.”
For more information, or to RSVP, call 214-239-7120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Genecov family members have influenced or helped support many organizations. Here’s a list of some of their involvements:
Recognized by D Magazine and Texas Monthly, he’s held leadership positions with the American Association of Orthodontics Foundation, the Dallas Chapter of Alpha Omega Jewish Dental Fraternity, the North Texas Chapter of Smile for a Lifetime Foundation and the Texas Association of Orthodontics. Jeff has served on the boards or committees of the American Jewish Committee; CHAI: Community Homes for Adults, Inc.; Congregation Shearith Israel; Dallas BBYO Youth Commission; Friends of the Northaven Trail; and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas like his siblings and parents before them, raising funds for several dental and medical causes. He and his wife were among the co-chairs of The Big One Federation trip to Israel. Jeff is the president of the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists and an assistant clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.
Julie has been involved with LearningFest, Junior League, and local networking organizations, and she’s a volunteer with the Ovarian Cancer National Research Alliance’s “Survivors Teaching Students” and the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, speaking with newly diagnosed patients.
A member of the Women’s Council of Realtors and the Realtors in Action Committee, she serves on the Center for Jewish Education’s advisory committee.
Recognized by Bnai Zion Foundation, D Magazine, Dallas Hadassah, Texas Monthly, and the DFW Alliance for his service for health care excellence, he has served on the boards of Congregation Shearith Israel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, and is currently a St. Mark’s School trustee.