Archive | April, 2017

Texas House passes anti-boycott bill

Posted on 21 April 2017 by admin

JTA

The Texas House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill banning state entities from dealing with businesses that boycott Israel or its settlements.
The bill approved Thursday follows the state Senate’s approval of a similar bill in March by overwhelming numbers. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a reconciled version of both bills next month.
In statements, pro-Israel groups that lobbied for the bills praised its passage.
“The relationship between the Jewish state and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty – especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism,” Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel, said in a statement.
Josh Block, CEO of  The Israel Project, sounded a similar note.
“The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation – ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination – Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship,” he said.
The House bill requires that Texas maintain a list of companies boycotting Israel. Civil liberties groups have objected to such provisions in other states, saying they amount to a blacklist.
In some cases the lists, drawn from the media and other open sources, have proven inaccurate, including companies not boycotting Israel.
Liberal pro-Israel groups say that including prohibitions on boycotting settlements undercuts efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Texas would be the 20th state with laws or executive orders banning state business with BDS-compliant companies.

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Dallas Doings: Scouts, Conversation Project, Wiesenthal

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Attention: Scouts Religious Emblems Workshop

The Dallas Jewish Committee on Scouting will conduct a Religious Emblems Workshop from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, April 23, at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Road.
The following awards will be worked on at the event: Maccabee for Tiger Cubs and Cub Scouts, Aleph for Cub Scouts, Ner Tamid for Scouts and Venturers and Etz Chaim for older Scouts and Venturers.
Cubs should be able to complete the Aleph or Maccabee at the workshop. Because of service attendance requirements, Boy Scouts working on the Ner Tamid or Etz Chaim will not be able to complete them at this session but should only need to complete the attendance requirements after taking this workshop. Workbooks and application forms will be provided to all attendees. Cost is $5 per Scout attending.
The emblem itself, the certificate of achievement, and processing for them is $21, payable at the workshop to P.R.A.Y. for the Maccabee emblem. Applications for Aleph will be given to the parents to be sent in when requirements are completed. In order to register, please provide your or your Scout’s name, rank, unit number, and the emblem on which you will be working by filling out the form on the registration page at http://bit.ly/2o2ijbX.
Scouts should wear their full field uniform (Class A) and bring a pen or pencil and a spiral notebook. For more information, visit dallasjscouts.org.
The Dallas Jewish Committee on Scouting is also in search of host families for this year’s Tzofim Friendship Caravan. The annual Israeli scout delegation will be in the Dallas area from July 3-11. For more details contact Mark Zable at 469-774-0110 or caravan@DallasJScouts.org.

Harriet Warshaw, executive director of The Conversation Project, coming to Dallas

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end of life care.
Its mission is to help people have this conversation and make sure their loved ones know and respect their desires. Talking about end-of-life wishes won’t make a death any less sad, but it will alleviate the stress and potential guilt of the decision making process.
As a parent, having this conversation is a gift to children and as an adult child, it may calm parents’ fears and anxiety about end of life. There is a need to help clients express their wishes.

DAGS partnering with Conversation Project

The Dallas Area Gerontological Society (DAGS) is partnering with The Conversation Project for two free events.
The workshop at The Senior Source on Thursday April 27 from 10 a.m.-noon will focus on professionals who work with boomers and seniors. The workshop will discuss having this conversation from a values perspective, the importance of financial safety and security and how you can enhance your client experience by being the go-to person for an older adult.
This seminar is perfect for financial planners, real estate and insurance agents, health care workers, social workers, etc.
Details and registration are available at http://conta.cc/2oSMr9V.

Train the Trainer

The “Train the Trainer” seminar at Belmont Village is from 10 a.m.-noon Friday, April 28 and is geared toward volunteers who work with seniors. This seminar is perfect for Hospice, faith based or community volunteers. The seminar will discuss tips and learn about free tools, such as the starter kit and “How to Choose a Health Care Proxy” kit, and learn how to effectively help others begin to have the conversation.
Call Belmont Village to reserve your seat. 214-559-5402.
Seating is limited for all events.
— Laurie Miller

DHM/CET’s Wiesenthal performance enjoyed by many

 

Award-winning stage actor Tom Dugan performed his critically acclaimed one-man play, Wiesenthal which opened for one night only at the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Theater at Hockaday School. The event opened there due to a flooding issue at the Wyly Theatre on  April 5.
The performance was sponsored by the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance and was staged by ATTPAC. Wiesenthal was part of the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Off Broadway On Flora Series.
Wiesenthal depicts the final case of Simon Wiesenthal, nicknamed the “Jewish James Bond,” who devoted his life to bringing more than 1,100 Nazi war criminals to justice. Dugan won the 2011 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his portrayal of a 94-year-old Wiesenthal still actively searching for the highest-ranking living Nazi while giving a lecture to students.
Proceeds from opening night of this one-man play about Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal will support the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance.
Co-chairs for the April 5 benefit performance are Jen Goldstein, Jolene Risch and Yana Mintskovsky. Committee members are Jarrod Beck, Dana Carroll, Megan Hyman, Melanie H. Kuhr, Aviva Linksman, Mahra Pailet, Melanie Rasansky, Alice Skinner, Carrie Sternberg and Blair Wittneben.

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Around the Town: Passover celebration

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Submitted report

Every year Beth-El religious school students celebrate Passover  differently to create  new  memories of joy and alternate ways to see this beautiful  holiday.
Last year Beth El  kids learned many different Passover customs around the world. This year they celebrated: community, family, memory, history and nature  by celebrating the four names of Passover.  They divided the great Hall into four clear sections: Chag Ha Pesach (pascle lumb), Chag Ha Matzot  (matzah), Chag HaAviv (Spring) and Chag HaCherut(freedom). The students learned important  lessons, tasted the related food, danced, sang and       worked on a special project related to that name.
— Submitted by Ilana Knust

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Reading for my Boubby

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

My Boubby the Philosopher, of blessed memory for more than a half-century, hailed from Berditchev. Her mother died birthing her, and her father did as widowers with small children who needed care often did at that time — married a widow with small children who needed a breadwinner.
His new wife already had two daughters and wasn’t thrilled to acquire a third, so Boubby grew up much like Cinderella, with two overindulged stepsisters. But the marriage got her to America in time — although the ship’s manifest listed her as the family’s maid.
“In time” means she missed the pogroms and the Babi Yar massacre in her native Ukraine. That Jewish community was blasted to smithereens by Russian and Nazi persecution. Here, she led the life of a fairly typical immigrant woman: taking care of home and children and putting up with the foibles of her hardworking husband, while both observed their Judaism as they had learned it far from America. She never spoke of knowing any Ukrainians.
Now, just in time for Yom HaShoah, comes a new book that hopes to educate Jews about Ukrainians, and vice versa. Jews and Ukrainians: A Millennium of Co-Existence means to fill in gaps of knowledge and bridge years of misunderstanding. That’s a big order for just over 300 pages, but its ample size, attractive cover and profuse maps, photographs, and other illustrations qualify this volume for coffee-table status.
The two men who took on this daunting writing task have stellar qualifications. Paul Robert Magocsi chairs the Department of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto. Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies at Northwestern University. Magocsi has taught at both Harvard and Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Petrovsky-Shtern won the National Jewish Book Award in 2013 for The Golden-Age Shtetl: A New History of Jewish Life in East Europe. Magocsi has had some 800 publications focusing on East-Central European history; Petrovsky-Shtern is frequently interviewed by The Associated Press, National Public Radio, and even Al Jazeera about the current situation in Ukraine.
Advance publicity for this impressive undertaking clarifies what the volume is trying to do: It wants to introduce both today’s Jews and those of Ukrainian Christian descent to the great rabbinic scholars, Hebrew and Yiddish writers and major Jewish thinkers of past Ukraine;  It hopes to let them know that Jews developed the market economy which helped turn villages into towns and then into cities, and inspired Ukrainian social activism.
“Jews and Ukrainians, more often than not, were agents of somebody else’s colonialism, and both were victims of that colonialism,” it says. “Different socially and economically…quite often they were hideously turned against one another and commissioned to produce mutual hatred…” But the authors jointly explore some lesser-known efforts by both groups that managed to challenge the hatred, and tell of their results.
Because Ukraine is a part of the world that’s constantly in today’s news, the book’s presentation of both past and present is aimed at educating all people as well as Jews and Ukrainians. The University of Toronto Press, its publisher, says “an important moral factor” brought together the two authors for this major effort:  “They believe emphatically that Jews and Ukrainians know little about each other, and what they do know are common misconceptions…They are committed to overturning generalizations…Most people are unaware that ethnic Ukrainians and Ukrainian Jews have a common 1,000-year history…”
The two authors have different religious backgrounds: Magocski is Protestant, Petrovsky-Shtern is Jewish. But they share geographic roots:  Petrovsky-Shtern was born and raised in the Ukraine that was also the home of Magocski’s ancestors. They know, and want others to know, the millennium of history shared by ethnic Ukrainians and Ukrainian Jews.
My Boubby the Philosopher augmented and gave meaning to her repetitive daily life with ample doses of reading. The Bible was her favorite, but she would have loved reading this book. I’ll read it for her, in her memory.

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Tycher closing book on 2017 Spring Read

Tycher closing book on 2017 Spring Read

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Just as the pages turn for readers of the Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest, so does the events calendar.
At 7 p.m. April 26, author Janis Cooke Newman will discuss A Master Plan for Rescue at the Aaron Family JCC.
“A Master Plan for Rescue is a demonstration of how storytelling is so much a part of life and of each person’s own story,” said Diane Calmenson, a Tycher Library ambassador. “The friendship that develops between the two main characters is sweet and significant. For the Tycher Library, it is important that we’re able to share such a treasure, the Spring Read, (which is) an opportunity to bring the community together.”

Janis Cooke Newman

Janis Cooke Newman

Cooke Newman’s first book, The Russian Word for Snow, a memoir about adopting her son from a Moscow orphanage, was written as the book about adoption she couldn’t find for her own family.  Her second book was Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln. She is the founder and curator of Lit Camp, a nonprofit juried writers’ conference and a writing program at the San Francisco Writers Grotto.  Having published many travel articles, which have appeared in the Dallas Morning News and other periodicals, Cooke Newman is anticipating her first trip to Dallas.
“I’ve heard great things about the BookFest and I’m excited to be included,” she said.  “I was prompted to write this book while in Washington, D.C., doing research for Mary. I went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and learned about the voyage of the St. Louis, a German ocean liner and how there were close to 900 Jews with visas headed for Cuba. Close to shore, the president of Cuba announced they were no longer welcome and the ship headed up the Atlantic, but President Roosevelt also wouldn’t permit entry. The ship returned to Europe where, while Belgium, France and England each allowed some entry, most on board perished during the war.”
Set in 1942 New York and Berlin, A Master Plan for Rescue, named a Best Book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle, is the story of a Jack, a young American boy who struggles to cope with the death of his dear father and Jakob, a German-Jewish refugee as he mourns Rebecca, left behind in Berlin. As their stories intertwine, an unlikely friendship is born, and together they embark on a dramatic adventure that changes the course of both of their lives forever.
“I didn’t know about the raging anti-Semitism here and I knew my next book had to have a character who was on that ship and from that experience,” said Cooke Newman who took seven years to write Jack’s tale, working through the writing from the point of view of a 12-year-old boy. She finally realized she could write in the style of him looking back on life — rather than in the moment.
“I’ve never been a 12-year-old boy, but my son was just that when I started writing this book.” TYCHER SPRING book cover
Cooke Newman brings much of Jack to life through the stories of the New York City-based childhood her own father, George as well as the experiences of her son Alex.
“The Dyckman Street apartment is where my dad lived and I’ve been on that roof and the radio shows that Jack listens to, he told me about,” she said. “The fantasy meets reality world that a 12-year-old boy lives in, I was living with my own son and I wanted to capture that.  How would someone feel to lose the person most important to them — how, through his eyes?”
The Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Tycher Library presentation of A Master Plan for Rescue closes the 2016/2017 Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest.
“There’s lots to talk about on this book; so many characters, the love story, the sad and redemptive moments, and so it really is a great book club choice,” said Cooke Newman.  “Each of the characters has a disability, or a talent, providing so much texture.  I’m really excited to meet those who’ve read the book, and even those who haven’t – yet – and to connect with your community.”
Liz Liener, who chaired BookFest for a fourth year, and who is looking ahead, says “we are looking forward to many wonderful opportunities for this next year and, as always, we greatly appreciate the generosity of our sponsors.”

 

******

Tyc

her Library Spring Read Series

The 2016/2017 season opened with a sold-out crowd of more than 500 who welcomed author Daniel Silva who shared his The Black Widow followed by authors Nancy Churnin (The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game), David Eliezrie (The Secret of Chabad), Jessica Fechtor (Stir: My Broken Brain and the Meals that Brought Me Home), Nancy Sprowell Geise (Auschwitz #34207), Shep Gordon (They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food and Rock ’n’ Roll), Roger Horowitz (Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food), Jo Ivester (The Outskirts of Hope),  Dr. David Patterson (A Genealogy of Evil: Anti-Semitism from Nazism to Islamic Jihad), Susan Ronald (Hitler’s Art Thief),  Liliane Richman (The Bones of Time), Chanan Tigay (The Lost Books of Moses), and Gavriel Savit (Anna and the Swallow Man).
Preparing for the coming year, Rachelle Weiss Crane, producer of the Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest, is among those who will attend the Jewish Book Network conference in May.  Already set, for Dec. 4, is Martha Hall Kelly, author of Lilac Girls, an event that will be a joint presentation of BookFest, Dallas Holocaust Museum Center and Tycher Library.
For more information or to register for the Tycher Library Spring Read, visit jccdallas.org/main/bookfest.

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JFS honors CEO during April event

JFS honors CEO during April event

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Comedian Maniscalco to perform; Fleisher to receive award


Photo: Courtesy Michael Fleisher & Jewish Family Service, Greater Dallas The Fleisher Family; Ben, Johanna, Rebecca, Martha and Michael have been a team in their respect and commitment to JFS for almost a quarter of a century.  “I could never have done my job without the love and support of my family,” Michael said.  “They deserve so much for their support and encouragement and they are the reason for my success and for so much of the greatness that comes to those we serve.”

Photo: Courtesy Michael Fleisher & Jewish Family Service, Greater Dallas
The Fleisher Family; Ben, Johanna, Rebecca, Martha and Michael have been a team in their respect and commitment to JFS for almost a quarter of a century. “I could never have done my job without the love and support of my family,” Michael said. “They deserve so much for their support and encouragement and they are the reason for my success and for so much of the greatness that comes to those we serve.”

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

The Jewish Family Service will present a majestic evening of laughter and love to honor CEO Michael Fleisher on Thursday, April 27.
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will entertain, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, with a VIP sponsor dessert reception after the show.
“With its roots in the Jewish community and with Jewish Federation as its most valued partner, Jewish Family Service has and always will bring together the Jewish people in our community,” said Gilian Baron who is co-chairing the event with her husband Steve, Fonda and Jay Arbetter, Beth and Larry Konig, Melissa and Bart Plaskoff, and Paige and Marc Sachs.

“My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave,” says Michael Fleisher, who will be honored April 27 at JFS’ Just For Show at the Majestic Theatre.  “My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”

“My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave,” says Michael Fleisher, who will be honored April 27 at JFS’ Just For Show at the Majestic Theatre. “My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”

“We’re thrilled to present this magnificent night to honor both JFS, a source of help and a means by which we provide help to others for more than 66 years, and our dear Michael, the face and brilliant conductor of that work for 24 of those. He is an amazing man who has bettered tens of thousands of lives through his dedication, so deserving of gratitude and praise. He will be missed!”
The Just For Show event provides an opportunity to celebrate the work of JFS and the people that make it happen with Maniscalco, whose comic views on life connect with all ages, providing the entertainment. The sellout comedian at comedy clubs throughout the country, and also a popular choice for large corporate events, was named the 2016 Just For Laughs Comedian of the Year and was included on People magazine’s fall 2016 Ones To Watch list.
With an outstanding reputation in the broader Dallas community, both within the agency and its extensive donor and volunteer bases, and in the diverse groups of people it serves, JFS brings together people of all backgrounds, faiths, races, ages and religions.
“Just For Show is a night for our community to support and celebrate that mission, and Michael’s invaluable role in fulfilling it,” Baron said. “The deep commitment of all these people to helping others in need is a true inspiration and we hope the Just For Show event gives others the chance to learn more about JFS, have fun together, and share in that feeling of making a difference.”
At the heart of JFS is the work of the Jewish tenet of tikun olam, repairing the world.  There isn’t a piece of paper, a stroke of a pen, a phone call, or a decision made by Fleisher during his tenure that hasn’t resulted in the betterment of someone, or many people’s lives.  Leading the organization that provides wrap-around social and mental health services to those in need regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or ability to pay, Fleisher has done so with his whole heart.
“The cornerstone of how we operate, the great specialization and expansion of how we serve our community, as a distinguished agency and the continuum of comprehensive care we provide in one place, is something I could not be more proud of,” said Fleisher. “People come to us with multiple concerns and here, they are able to be serviced by so many incredible professionals and supported by a wealth of volunteers — from ages 2-102, who together form a team that can’t be beat. We are a nationally accredited organization with constant growth and that is what has, does, and will always make JFS a place where anyone — almost 11,000 lives touched each year — can come to get quality care.”
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of Bernice and Daniel and brother of Cary and Lisa, Fleisher is a graduate of the University of Vermont and Case Western Reserve School of Applied Social Sciences. He started his career as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital and then at the JFS in Cleveland, Ohio. He met his wife Martha, now an attorney at Southern Methodist University — first at a picnic, he remembers the bright yellow helmet — it took the two awhile to connect. That “while,” turned into over 30 years of marriage and produced a family of service-mindedness by children Ben, Johanna and Rebecca.

Michael Fleisher at the start of his 24 year career at JFS Greater Dallas, was intent on making a difference.

Michael Fleisher at the start of his 24 year career at JFS Greater Dallas, was intent on making a difference.

“A major factor in our moving to Dallas, my 23-year tenure at JFS, and all the developments that have taken place, is Martha’s belief in the mission of JFS and the importance of family, her dedication to, support of and caring for her children, our parents and me,” said Fleisher — also calling his beloved the more “always the more quickly perceptive of the two of us.  Her committed work ethic, and her high social and moral values that permeate everything she does, are qualities that can be traced to and found in everything that has been our Dallas experience, including and especially JFS. It cannot be appreciated enough.”
Fleisher insists JFS’ future holds great opportunity to grow and develop current services and introduce new areas of concern.
“JFS continues to be an exciting place as we partner with health care, religious, education and other centers,” he said. “My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave, and it’s difficult to think about doing so. My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”
For Ethel Zale, an honorary co-chair with Linda and Dave Garner, who have worked with Michael since his association, it is a bittersweet bid adieu, albeit a professional one.
“Michael greatly inspired me over 20 years ago when we first worked together on the design of the JFS building at (the intersection of) Montfort and Arapaho (roads),” she said, noting no project — or aspect of JFS — has ever been too small or too trivial for his full touch and commitment.
“I learned of the enormous work that JFS does and I wanted to be involved with this great organization and this wonderful leader,” Zale said. “We all wish Michael health and happiness and fulfillment in the future and, while he has been the heart and driving force of JFS and we will miss his devotion and part in every endeavor, he has left a strong foundation and JFS will continue its success in all its causes.”
Cost for the evening include a drink ticket and kosher snacks for $150. There are a limited number of young adult seats available at $75.
For more information, visit jfsjustforshow.org.

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DFW raises $334K to fight ovarian cancer

DFW raises $334K to fight ovarian cancer

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Be The Difference surpasses $2M in donations after Wheel To Survive event

Photo: Alan Abair The Feb. 26, Wheel to Survive had 380 riders raised $334,229 (at press time), allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.

Photo: Alan Abair
The Feb. 26, Wheel to Survive had 380 riders raised $334,229 (at press time), allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Be The Difference Foundation’s Wheel to Survive has done more than just survive, it has thrived.
So does the promise for ovarian cancer patients.WTS followup - Huthnance Family
The Feb. 26 ride, held at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, had raised $334,229 at press deadline, allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.
“We raised $35,000 over our goal for this year and, five years later, our spirit is still fresh,” said Jill Bach, an ovarian cancer survivor of 10 years this month, who co-founded BTDF with Helen Gardner, of blessed memory, Lynn Lentscher, and Julie Shrell to raise money to support the awareness of, and hopeful cure for, ovarian cancer.
“We are just as invigorated now as we were with our first ride and all of the participants, those who helped in the planning, our cycling instructors, and really everyone, (created) a feeling of community and responsibility.”

(left to right) Wheel to Survive board members Jill Bach, Lynn Lentscher, Gary Gardner, Lisa Hurst, Sheryl Yonack, and Julie Shrell at the 2017 Wheel to Survive at the Aaron Family JCC (not pictured Darren Fishman and Missy Quintana).

(left to right) Wheel to Survive board members Jill Bach, Lynn Lentscher, Gary Gardner, Lisa Hurst, Sheryl Yonack, and Julie Shrell at the 2017 Wheel to Survive at the Aaron Family JCC (not pictured Darren Fishman and Missy Quintana).

There were 380 riders who made pledges of a minimum of $250 each, some for the first-time and others who have been spinning their wheels for each of the five rides. Throughout the years, BTDF has expanded to include events in Austin, Houston, Lubbock, the Bay Area of Northern California, and, for the first time this year April 30 in South Florida, with Jill Bach, daughter Alicia, Jon Mize, and Lisa Hurst there to represent.
Marcy Kammerman instigated the April 30 Florida ride in Delray Beach, which runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. She first rode in Dallas in tribute to her friend Kathy Mansfield, of blessed memory. At press time, Kammerman and co-chair Stacey Krone, whose mother Jeri is now in the throes of the disease, already have 61 riders and more than half of their $50,000 raised.
All funds raised at Wheel to Survive rides will be directly pledged to programs at the Clearity Foundation, the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Dr. Doug Levine’s work at the Gynecology Research Lab at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, the Moon Shots Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Ovarian Cancer Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lisa Mize, the wife of BTDF’s Wheel to Survive Jon Mize and member of the Jumping Jacks team, has ridden for all of the hours of each of the rides in the last year.
“I see how hard Jon works and how much he cares, how could I not support him?” she said. “I see the 110 percent that happens each day and I’m here riding for all those who cannot.”
Supporters and riders, young and older, filled the gym with spirit and spinning spokes.
“Every day is an absolute blessing,” said Bernice Bach, Jill’s mother-in-law who came in from Atlanta to ride with the Teal Riders, raising close to $4,000 herself.
Bach’s husband Alan and daughter Michelle also spun in support.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Jill and everyone and I’m so excited to be a part of this. What an amazing day.”
As in previous rides, the last hour of the event was dedicated to survivors and those who have lost their battle to the disease. In addition, survivors were present and speaking to the crowd before each hour began, telling their stories of strength, community, bravery and optimism.
“A powerful moment is an understatement when reflecting on standing at the front of the ride with the other survivors – a stage of brave women,” said Shrell, whose husband Rob, daughters Marissa and Simone, brothers David and Jeff all pushed spokes for the cause. “All levels of survivorship; newly diagnosed, many times diagnosed, in remission, are all so strong and inspiring. The awareness of this disease and what it can do to us, to our families, is our priority. It’s why we’re here and there needs to be more of us surviving. The numbers haven’t changed – more than 15,000 women die every year from ovarian cancer, the percentages greater for Ashkenazi Jews — and we need, we must make the change happen. This is a sorority we never wanted to be a part of and so we ride in memory of those who are gone, in honor of those in the midst of it all.”
Joining Shrell, Bach and Lentscher were Jessica Baxter, Linda Bezner, Joanne Burlou, Kathy Drescher, Athene Harmel, Charlotte Huthnance, Mimi Kogutt, Nancy Phillips, Lauren Shecht, Holly Tomlin and Karen Wyll and survivor, Mandy Ginsburg, who spoke in memory of her mother and aunt who both passed away from the disease. For all, it is hoped this is the last ride needed — that a cure comes through and ends the pain, worry, strains and loss.
Wheel to Survive is just one of many projects of BTDF, the organization just signing on to volunteer at the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, speaking with newly diagnosed patients.
“The clinic reached out to us and we all believe it’s important to share our experiences and we want to make such a connection in each of the cities where we have rides,” said Bach who, with Linda Bezner, Joanne Burlou, Lentscher and Shrell, has committed to once-a-week support at the hospital.
“There aren’t many survivors of this disease, but we are here, and we are hope.”
For information on future Wheel to Survive rides, to participate in person, as a “virtual rider,” or to make a general donation, visit bethedifferencefoundation.org or email info@bethedifferencefoundation.org.

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Guest column: Texas economic policy longterm solution for Israel

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Israel, like Texas, is a nation of cowboys.
It is a land of entrepreneurial spirit, determination, and a deep love for freedom.
But Israel is also a country under attack. Hostile neighboring governments, jihadist terrorist groups, and Europe’s anti-Israel outpouring continue to threaten the small, democratic state.
We can ask our government for political and security policies which support Israel. But there’s a problem with government: Administrations cycle in and out. Sometimes our government does right by us, but sometimes it falls dangerously short. So how do we keep Israel safe, regardless of which politician happens to be in power?
In Texas, our business leaders are the pillars of our communities. As such, our business leaders have the ability — and indeed the great opportunity — to flex their muscles and serve as the vanguard for Israel. My mission as executive director of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce is to make this opportunity a reality.

Companies standing against the BDS

When Texan business leaders choose to work with Israeli companies, they not only benefit from incredible innovative solutions, but also they also take a stand in making our Lone Star state’s long-term economic and strategic partners.
Texas’ role here is critical because in addition to the countless wars and terrorist groups dedicated to Israel’s demise, there is also an increasingly popular international anti-Israeli movement called Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS).
BDS is a Palestinian initiative which seeks to vilify Israel and encourage international companies, academic institutions and even musicians to boycott Israel. It has gained momentum worldwide, and even seeped into the mainstream politics of Europe.
State legislators, including Rep. Phil King, are doing their part to pass legislation which penalizes companies engaging in the BDS movement. But while this legislation is an important step, our business leaders can do even more. With an overwhelming amount of critical technology coming from Israel, our companies are literally inundated with opportunity. The challenge for them is in identifying how to access it.

Match made in heaven

Israel is a very small country, but an incredibly innovative one. Since Israel is so small, its incredible technology seeks international markets and capital. And, as it so happens, Texas is in desperate need of the very technology at which Israel most excels.
Perhaps most emblematic of this economic overlap is in the arena of water. Israel is the world’s No. 1 leader in water technology. In fact, it is a desert country whose water ingenuity turned it into a net water exporter. In Texas, water shortage issues are systemic and the public authorities are demanding technological solutions in areas like water desalination and water conservation. Thousands of industrial sites in Texas also have significant water needs, notably oil and gas downstream water treatment.
Take a moment and think of any water issue you might encounter, and you can bet your bottom shekel an Israeli company offers a solution.
And, if you forgot about Stuxnet, remember Israel is also a world leader in cybersecurity technology. Beyond military applications, cybersecurity technology is a necessity in the private sector as well. Financial institutions require data protection solutions, and critical infrastructure in the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) is suddenly vulnerable to remote attacks.
Israel is also a world leader in technology related to energy, biotech, and agriculture. You see, Israel is still the land of milk and honey, but these days the cows moo in binary code.
Just as anti-Israeli, pro-BDS groups have used economics to go to war with Israel, Texas can use economics to defend Israel. Indeed, how better to fight the BDS movement than by intentionally doing the contrary: Increasing trade and investment with Israel. Israel needs not only the capital, but the opportunity to become a critical partner throughout our economy. We know that politics follows the money, so let’s make sure that the money always leads us back to Israel.
The opportunities for Texas companies are endless, and the mission of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce is to help our business community access all that Israel has to offer. Let’s show the nation, and even the world, that supporting Israel is not only our obligation as Americans, it is our great pleasure as capitalists.
Toba Hellerstein is CEO of the Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce.

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Shabbat’s importance easily forgotten among ‘moral commandments’

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

The man sitting across from me at the pizza shop was a religiously liberal individual for sure, but also very much a person who wore his Judaism on his sleeve and whose life was dedicated to promoting Jewish values as he understood them. We were meeting to get to know each other and to share our personal stories and communal goals with each other.
In between bites of pizza he shared with me his philosophy on Jewish practice, one he knew I stood in strong opposition to. “I follow the moral commandments of the Torah,” was the way he put it. It was code for, “only part of the Torah remains relevant in this day and age.” “Thou shalt not kill” and “love your neighbor as yourself” still led the moral way, but the dietary laws of kashrut or the command to don tefillin daily had long ago lost their spiritual value and resonance in daily Jewish practice.
“What about Shabbat?” I asked him. “Do you consider Shabbat a moral commandment?”
I knew he did not keep the laws of Shabbat and was curious as to what he would say about the place of this most central of commandments.
“Hmm… I can’t say I’ve thought about that one,” he replied, “but, I don’t think that I would categorize Shabbat as a moral commandment.”
It was hard for me to fathom, but in but one short statement, uttered after a short moment of consideration, Shabbat, the fourth of the Ten Commandments, had been wiped clean from my friend’s Jewish hard drive, and so, he believed, should it be discarded from the rest of the Jewish people’s national consciousness.
I couldn’t help but wonder if my pizza-mate recognized the ramification of his philosophy. He was surely aware of what the great Hebrew essayist Achad Ha’am (1856-1927) had to say on the subject: “More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.” And as Judith Shulevitz writes so beautifully in The Forward (“Remember the Sabbath,” 2010), “What he (Achad Ha’am) meant goes well beyond Jewish survivalism. He meant that the regulation of time through the laws of the Sabbath gave the Jews the chance to regroup in communities at the end of every week, and that regrouping sustained their Jewish identity.”
Even if Shabbat were to be categorized as a ritual commandment alone, does the Shabbat not act, then, as a sort of Jewish preservative, ensuring that the totality of the Jewish world-vision remain intact?
What did he think would become of a Jewish people for whom the Shabbat had become nothing more than a piece of national nostalgia, something a modern Jew could read about in history books or glimpse in old broadcasts of Fiddler on the Roof?
More than that, it felt important at that moment to illustrate the fruitlessness of an endeavor to categorize the Torah’s commands into those that had moral bearing and those that did not. For as much as the Torah itself groups certain commandments as “chukim” (commandments whose rationale is hidden) and certain commandments as “mishpatim” (commandments whose rationale is obvious), the Torah never suggests that any of its commandments are free of moral constitution.
It would be the mitzvah of the Shabbat, then, that would serve as the example for my lunch date that robust moral DNA lies in every one of the Torah’s commandments, both the “chukim” and the “mishpatim.”
“Imagine the newly freed slave-nation that was the early Israelites,” I implored my lunch-mate to consider.
“They had been long been indoctrinated by their Egyptian taskmasters that their sole worth lied in their economic contributions to society. A man who worked long hard hours building storehouses for the Pharaoh had worth, but a sick or elderly individual confined to their bed was not worthy of the sustenance it took to keep them alive.
“The command to rest on the seventh day of the week, was not only an invitation to dedicate a day of the week to the more important things in life, like faith, family and self, it was a national re-education of sorts. The Sabbath was God’s way of letting His people know that their worth was not tied to their workload or any other metric of personal productivity. The fact that they were endowed with a divine soul, created in the image of the Almighty Himself, was reason enough for every person to be treated with respect and worthy of honor.”
“If that’s not a mitzvah laced with great moral instruction for mankind,” I said, “I don’t know what is.”
My friend shrugged. “I had never thought of it that way,” he said.
I don’t know if the lesson I shared that day changed my friend’s mind or perspective on Judaism’s place in the modern world, but it’s a point that needed to be said and must continue to be shared in a world increasingly adrift from the commandments.
To contact Rabbi Yogi Robkin email him at yrobkin@dataofplano.org.

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Changing face of Holocaust education

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Giving Jewish voices credence dramatically changes lesson told

Submitted report

Holocaust education in Dallas is changing.
Traditionally, the Holocaust has been taught through the pictures and propaganda left behind by the Nazi perpetrators, ignoring their unwavering mission to dehumanize the Jews. The Jews in turn are presented as the eternal victims, helpless in the face of the oncoming force of Nazi hatred. The focus is the huge number of people lost: faceless, nameless bodies fed to the fires.
The timeline starts in 1933 and ends in 1945, as if their victims had no existence outside of the barbaric cruelty the Nazis dealt them.
“By allowing the Nazis to tell our story,” says Dr. Deborah Fripp of Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound, “we have unwittingly allowed them to continue their agenda of dehumanization and to make us feel eternally victimized.”
Now there is a new narrative, telling the story from the Jewish point of view. This new way of teaching uses the documents, the pictures, the literature, the art, and the music that the Jews left behind, as well as the testimony of the survivors. The story begins before the rise of the Nazis and continues beyond the liberation of the camps.
A narrative based on the Jewish point of view is possible because the Jews in the Holocaust left behind documents to tell what really happened. They knew that if they did not document what was happening, then their story would be left to the perpetrators to manipulate.
“When we tell the story from the Jewish point of view,” says Fripp, “we see a different story than the one we are used to. It is a story of people who held onto their humanity and their Judaism in the face of chaos and terror.”
This new narrative starts before the war, turning the victims into living people with stories to be told. Students see that these were regular people who met the oncoming terror and chaos as best they could. People who strove to hold onto the things that were most important to them. For some that meant underground schools and synagogues; for others, that meant theaters in the ghetto and poetry study groups in the camps.
The old narrative ended in 1945, leaving the survivors as nameless near-corpses in the camps and as terrified children cowering in hiding places or lying about their identities. The new narrative continues after the war, and students come to understand the path their ancestors took from victim to survivor. Students see how the survivors stepped out of the ashes and the bunkers, found a way past the anger and the sorrow, and rebuilt their lives. Students also come to understand that anti-Semitism did not stop at the end of the war. The continued anti-Semitism in Europe after the war drove many survivors back to what had been concentration camps and then on to Israel and America. They come to understand that anti-Semitism continues even today.
Fripp learned about this new narrative while attending a seminar at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, along with Violet Neff-Helms, a teacher at Kol Ami. When they returned, they designed and implemented a comprehensive new Holocaust education program for Kol Ami based on this new narrative. The following year, Kol Ami received a grant from the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to bring the program to other Dallas synagogues. So far, Adat Chaverim, Temple Shalom, and Temple Emanu-El are implementing or planning programs, with more to come.
Fripp and Neff-Helms have also developed a new way to commemorate and celebrate Yom HaShoah: a seder ceremony that commemorates the events of the Holocaust, akin to the commemoration of the Exodus in the Passover Seder. “This Holocaust Seder aims to recognize that once again evil people tried to kill us, but they failed.” Fripp says. “We are still here.”
More about the education program can be found at www.TeachTheShoah.org and about the Seder at www.HaShoahHaggadah.org.

 

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Yom HaShoah Seder
Congregation Kol Ami will host a Yom HaShoah Seder at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 23. It is a special ceremony developed by Deborah Fripp and Violet Neff-Helms. Dinner will be provided. Ages 13 and older
Contact Fripp for more information at deborah.fripp@verizon.net or 972-239-0839.

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