Archive | October, 2017

Social reform’s costly price for Luther, MLK Jr.

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

Halloween isn’t the only occasion to be marked next Tuesday. Oct. 31 is a hugely important date for Christians of all denominations, and not just because it is — at least for Catholics — All-Hallows Eve.
And it is especially important this year, because it will mark the 500th anniversary of the day on which Martin Luther defied the Catholic church, leading to the breakaway movement that has resulted in an amazing number of differing Protestant denominations.
Look at that word! Just as Reform means to us, in Jewish terms, changes from past practices, “Protestant” encompasses the same idea of change. Luther was protesting many Catholic practices. And here’s the verbal similarity: His nailing of “95 Theses” to the main door of the principal church in Wittenberg, Germany, exactly 500 years ago this-coming Tuesday, was the beginning of what is called The Protestant Reformation. Protest first: Changes come after.
The 95 matters Luther complained about had to do with the reigning church leadership’s ways of permitting many things in his day. He was a priest himself, but he couldn’t accept for himself the actions of many others. He not only couldn’t condone them; after a while, he couldn’t even keep quiet.
Next Tuesday will be especially special for today’s Lutherans because, five centuries ago, their minhag — to use our Jewish term for way of worship — was the first of many non-Catholic Christian approaches to the worship of God through Jesus. And they have been preparing for this date for a long time. In fact, what has been termed “The Luther Decade” has been observed in many places, with 10 years’ worth of tours in Europe visiting locations important to their founder in addition to Wittenberg, plus ongoing study of his life. I’ve taken part myself, attending during those years as many as I could in the series of annual Luther Lectures offered locally — not just for believers, but for all who have been sufficiently interested.
Connect these dots, and you’ll find a similarity to Judaism: One of Luther’s main complaints against Catholic practice of his time was “indulgences” — priests enriching themselves by taking money from worshippers with the promise that these “purchases” would buy them spiritual rewards. And one of Jesus’ main complaints was about Hebrew priests doing non-sacred monetary exchanges on holy Temple ground. But I really wanted to hear more about my major concern: Luther’s attitude toward Jews, which was anti-Semitism raised so high, it might almost have reached the heights of heaven itself.
So the last lecture finally delivered what I had been hoping for since the series began. Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Haspel, a university professor from Thuringen, Germany, expounded on this provocative topic: “From Martin Luther to Martin Luther King, Jr.” And he didn’t skirt that most important issue. While drawing similarities, such as the fact that both Martins rebelled about laws — for the first, his church’s; for the second, his country’s — not being followed, Haspel found the biggest difference in the two men’s attitudes toward Judaism.
“Martin Luther was blatantly against Jews because he believed they had killed Jesus,” he said, while MLK drew his own beliefs from the prophets of Judaism. “Both used the word ‘righteousness,’ but Luther was concerned only with peace and justice in the church, to be granted by its princes; for MLK, justice and peace were interrelated, at home and abroad. His theological goal was social justice, with everyone living at peace in the ‘house’ that is One World.”
Both men paid dearly, differently, for their attempts to remake society in their own times, but it’s not hard to imagine this one possible point of convergence: Had MLK lived long enough for the opportunity to sum up his work, he might have echoed the words Martin Luther spoke as he was excommunicated after refusing to recant his beliefs: “Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.”

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Your tour guide through Genesis

Your tour guide through Genesis

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

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By Harriet P. Gross
Special to the TJP

Another Jewish year is unfolding.  We’ve said goodbye to our sukkahs; we’ve danced with our Torahs; we’ve joyously read the final words of Deuteronomy, then rolled the Holy Scroll back to its beginning: “In the beginning…”  The ongoing, everlasting study has begun again.
This would be a perfect time to begin our own personal study, according to Dallasite Nancy Reuben Greenfield, who has drawn a special roadmap for us.  Her third book, Tiptoe Through Genesis, is a unique approach that offers a simple — but far from simplistic — path to understanding Torah.
Greenfield is an eclectic writer.  She’d already published two books before this one: When Mommy Had a Mastectomy passes on the wise way she explained her own cancer to her two young children, while The Golden Medina is a novel that completes an unfinished manuscript left to her by her late father.  She credits the authorship of this one to Reuben and Reuben.
But Tiptoe is very different. For years, Torah has been the author’s chosen field of personal study, her passion and her inspiration. For many of those years, she’s been contributing weekly Torah portion summaries to the website My Jewish Learning (https://www.myjewishlearning.com/author/nancy-reuben-greenfield/). Her first volume in a series planned to “tiptoe” through the entire Torah is now available, but can only be accessed through TiptoeThroughTheTorah.com website.

tiptoe through genesis
Greenfield’s work is not word-for-word translation; rather, it is thoughtful adaptation that she calls “a verbal bridge, lovingly built for crossing over the fence of Torah…high enough to look over, and close enough to look within…” She follows each day’s parasha with a pair of questions designed to spark thoughtful conversation in families or other groups, among participants of all ages.  An example: Her very first text begins “In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth…Divine Presence hovered over the surface of the waters”; the questions she poses after this encourage exploration of God’s continuing creation(s), and how individuals may “hover” over matters themselves.
Now, as Greenfield prepares for book-by-book publication of the rest of Torah in her special format, the Tiptoe model is showing its worth as a teaching tool.  Susan Herzfeld has been using this approach for three years in Congregation Beth Torah’s Learning Center, and proven its success as an ongoing, yearlong creative project.  Director of Congregational Learning Beri Schwitzer says “We were looking for something exciting and engaging for our third-graders, and were enthralled with Nancy’s easy-to-understand and meaningful text.”
Every Sunday, Herzfeld’s class reads the week’s Torah portion in Greenfield’s simple language (before future appearance in book form, everything after Genesis can be downloaded free from My Jewish Learning) and, after discussion, the students write and illustrate their own interpretations on standard-size sheets of paper. The activity begins when Sunday school resumes each fall, and continues through May.  By that time, all the weekly sheets have been joined together and secured to dowel rollers, and the children have created mantles to cover their own completed Torahs, plus breastplates and finials to decorate them.  Then, during a special service of Consecration, they personally present them to their parents.  This project seamlessly and successfully integrates both art and writing exercises into the yearlong Jewish curriculum.  Herzfeld has become such a fan of Greenfield’s creativity that she calls it “Nancy’s gift to the world!”
Parents can do this at home with their children of any age. Begin with the children’s self-portraits and include a copy of each week’s parasha, using a new blank sheet for each child’s comments and illustrations for the week’s portion. Keep the sheets in order, using strong tape to hold them together. At the end of the year, each child will have a complete Torah of his or her very own.
A practical use has emerged as a surprise benefit:  When Carlie and Justin Ross were discussing her future bat mitzvah with their daughter Sarah, age 10, they first calculated its date, then turned to the Torah she had made to find what her portion would be!
But despite the commandment that every Jew should write a Torah, it’s not necessary to make a complete one to learn what it contains. Study will do that.  The Greenfield household began family Torah study when its children were very small. “My husband Richard and I were grieving the loss of his mother,” she recalls, “and we took comfort and gained insight from reading the beautiful poetry. It’s a joyful thing to do.  The surprisingly simple words have great depth and power. Torah is not mysterious, not beyond us; it’s a book for people of all ages, backgrounds and religions.”
The Greenfield children are long grown now.  Gabrielle, 22, is a student at the University of Maryland; Josh, 25, currently studies at a yeshiva in Israel, preparing to become a rabbi.
Now, as the yearly congregational Torah readings begin anew and religious schools gear up again, Greenfield is hoping that more young families will also try at home the study path she has found personally effective and enriching.  “You can take short passages from the daily Torah texts for group discussion or for personal meditation,” she says.  “The Tiptoe questions are real-life; there are no answers beyond the ones you provide!”
Greenfield’s true goal is “wanting more Jews to explore the richness of Torah in this easy and meaningful way.”  And now, with Simchat Torah behind us, the time is perfect to begin. Start with Genesis using the personalized approach found in her entries on My Jewish Learning, or in her already published book on Genesis (now available through Amazon for $7.99, or as a free Kindle download).

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Move over, swabbies: US Army has own navy

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

It’s no secret, but many people are unaware of the fact that our Army does indeed have its own navy.
Having a strong, efficient, modern army does not mean just manpower and weaponry. It also involves having the means to carry and deliver whatever the soldiers need, where they need it and when they need it.
That’s the job of the U.S. Army Transportation Corps (USATC). Their history includes the use of mules, horses and, for a brief time, even camels.
That’s right, camels! Brought to the United States in 1855 as an experiment by the U.S. Army to test their worthiness for use as a pack animal in America’s hot and arid Southwest.
But, you know, the Army’s camels are another story, perhaps worth telling at another time.
Sometimes you can find Army boats plying the rivers and lakes of our nation delivering supplies to nearby bases, but most of the Army’s larger vessels have their home base on either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, or are overseas on assignment.
The men and women of the Army Transportation Corps (ATC) serving on ships and boats, refer to themselves as Army Mariners.
Since the ATC carries the supplies and materials the troops need, many of these supply and repair vessels can be found at various times at overseas ports, such as Hawaii, South Korea, Japan, Spain and Israel, among others.
Just in case you are wondering what the difference is between a “boat” and a “ship” … most people guess correctly that it is size.
A boat too large and heavy to be lifted onto the deck or into the hold of a ship, is itself a ship.
The ATC operates hospital ships, various types of repair ships, coastal freighters, over 4,000 tugboats, mine vessels, plus many barges and assault boats.
As the number of American overseas military bases and installations greatly increased after World War II, the need for expansion of the Army’s Transport Command increased as well. It is estimated that the Army now has approximately 130,000 vessels; most are small, unnamed and simply have an assigned number.
The latest watercraft developed for the ATC is the Maneuver Support Vessel (MSV), which comes in various sizes, the largest allowing up to 24 huge Abrams Tanks, and having aft and stern (front and rear) ramps for loading and/or unloading.
Many people are unaware of the scope of the Army’s “navy” and young people seeking the possibility of learning a lifelong job skill or needing funds for college might do well to look into the MOS (Military Occupation Skills) available in the Transportation Corps from which a new recruit can choose before basic training.
On the other hand, for those families envisioning future doctors or lawyers, there’s the Medical Corps and the Judge Advocate Corps as well as the educational benefits that follow after discharge.
The military route is not for everyone, but be it the Army’s Transportation Corps or some other job specialty, these are choices open to young men and women who might otherwise be blocked by limited funds or not-so-perfect grades.
Admittedly, I’m probably influenced by my own life experience. The GI Bill allowed me to attend college after military discharge, providing career opportunities I would not otherwise have.
If it seems that I may have strayed somewhat from the original subject, keep in mind that the “Army’s navy” is a prime example of the great variety of occupational learning and work experiences available to young people seeking to improve their lives.

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Texas anti-BDS laws are hitting unintended targets along coast

Texas anti-BDS laws are hitting unintended targets along coast

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

By Ron Kampeas
JTA

WASHINGTON — On May 2, Israel’s Independence Day, Texas state Rep. Phil King stood smiling as Gov. Greg Abbott signed King’s bill banning the state from doing business with boycotters of Israel.
“Anti-Israel policies are anti-Texas policies, and we will not tolerate such actions against an important ally,” Abbott said of the bill that overwhelmingly passed the Legislature.
Less than six months later, King had to explain why his signature pro-Israel policy was not an anti-Texas policy.
City officials in Dickinson, a suburb of Houston hard hit by Hurricane Harvey, required any applicant for relief grants to verify that he or she “(1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.” The American Civil Liberties Union took notice and loudly objected. Observers noted the queasy-making optics of a pro-Israel policy standing in the way of hurricane relief.

File photo Gov. Greg Abbott displays the anti-BDS bill he had just recently signed into law. The bill is causing problems in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as Dickinson is requiring residents to sign a pledge disavowing the movement in order to receive federal grants.

File photo
Gov. Greg Abbott displays the anti-BDS bill he had just recently signed into law. The bill is causing problems in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, as Dickinson is requiring residents to sign a pledge disavowing the movement in order to receive federal grants.

King, a Republican whose district includes Fort Worth, immediately started making calls to track down the Dickinson officials who drafted the contract.
“It’s a complete misunderstanding of the statute,” he said in an interview after what had been for him a surprisingly busy Friday, after the ACLU’s objections made news. The office of Larry Taylor, a Republican who sponsored the law in the state Senate and whose district includes Dickinson, also was fielding questions about the law last Friday.
If Dickinson is indeed misunderstanding the law, the case nevertheless brought to the fore misgivings about the measures passed in more than 20 states targeting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement aimed at Israel. Critics say they may impinge on free speech rights and create a backlash by making it seem the government is using the law to suppress one side in a political debate.
A federal law prohibiting compliance with or support of a boycott of Israel is facing stumbling blocks.
Opponents of the laws say the Dickinson case, and one in Kansas, where a teacher trainer who supports a boycott of Israel is refusing to sign a state contract that includes an anti-boycott clause, prove their point.
“In addition to being mystifying — what do home repairs in Texas have to do with a country more than 7,000 miles away? — this requirement is clearly unconstitutional,” Brian Hauss, an ACLU staff attorney wrote in a blog post.
The ACLU, which says it takes no position on boycotts per se, is leading a campaign to stem the tide of anti-BDS laws.
“The First Amendment protects the right of Americans to participate in political boycotts, a right explicitly recognized by the Supreme Court in a case that concerned an NAACP-organized boycott to protest white supremacy in Port Gibson, Mississippi,” Hauss wrote.
Defenders and sponsors of the law say that like many laws, the anti-BDS statutes are undergoing birth pains.
“These are new laws, they’ve been passed in the last couple of years and not everyone is going to immediately understand what they’re supposed to do,” Eugene Kontorovich, a legal scholar who helped draft many of the laws, said in an interview.
The Israel Project, among an array of national groups that advocated for the laws, said it was reaching out to officials on a case-by-case basis to make sure the laws are understood.
“We’ve been in touch with legislators when issues have come up; we’ve spoken with attorneys and legislators in various states,” said Jacob Millner, the Midwest director for The Israel Project.
The controversies over Dickinson and the Kansas case come at a critical time for a congressional bill that would extend 1970s laws targeting the Arab League boycott to those who comply with boycotts initiated by international organizations like the European Union or United Nations. The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, which has support from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, also would expand the prohibited boycotts to those that target only settlement goods. Violators who do participate in boycotts face fines and, in some cases, imprisonment.
AIPAC wants broad bipartisan backing for the bill, but only 14 of the Democratic caucus’s 48 members are co-sponsoring the legislation. Notably, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — who in the past has assiduously courted the pro-Israel community — dropped her co-sponsorship after representations from the ACLU and pro-Palestinian activists.
Sen. Ben. Cardin, D-Md., the lead Democratic sponsor of the bill, said the law is sound, but he is open to some revisions to make it clearer that it does not undercut free speech.
Dickinson City Management assistant Bryan Milward told JTA Oct. 20 that the city was applying the law correctly.
“Because our application also functions as a contract, it was included in there,” he said.
King said that was simply not the case.
“My understanding of what Dickinson is doing is they have private funds being distributed for a grant program for individuals,” he said in the interview. “The law has nothing to do with private funds; it has nothing to do with individuals.”
A reading of the law bears out King’s bafflement: It refers only to for-profit “companies” as the targeted boycotters, and goes to lengths to define “company” as not applying to an individual. It also lists six specific government “entities” that are required not to do business with the targeted companies: five retirement systems and the school fund. Dickinson’s grant program, with funds raised from private individuals, would not qualify. A survey of other hurricane-afflicted local authorities in Texas by Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian news site, found no other such requirement.
Laws have unintended consequences and even when misapplied can backfire on their drafters’ intent, said Rachel Lerner, the senior vice president for community relations at J Street. The liberal Jewish Mideast lobby opposes BDS, but sees the anti-BDS laws as infringing on free speech. Pro-Israel groups should stick to advocacy to counter BDS and avoid legislative bids to stop the boycotts, says J Street.
“You’re pursuing a strategy that’s out of your control how it’s implemented,” Lerner said. “It’s like using a cudgel for an issue; it’s the wrong tool. It’s not good for the Jews or Israel that people think that they can’t have a roof over their head if they boycott Israel.”
The New Israel Fund, another liberal group, said in a release that the Texas case proved the anti-BDS laws were “just plain wrong.”
The Jewish Federations of North America will feature a session at its General Assembly in Los Angeles next month on how to pass such laws. The session, featuring three lawmakers who put forward such bills, is still very much on, said Ethan Felson, the director of the JFNA-affiliated Israel Action Network.
“These laws are necessary, they’re effective and they need to be enforced appropriately,” he said in an interview. “These are laws that take a stand against discrimination, as drafted they do not infringe on individuals’ liberties.” (Also still on at the G.A.: a session on how best to assist Houston, post-Harvey.)
The case in Kansas may be stickier to defend: The state’s law does include “individuals” who boycott Israel as targets.
“The state shall not enter into a contract with an individual or company to acquire or dispose of services, supplies, information technology or construction unless such individual or company submits a written certification that such individual or company is not currently engaged in a boycott of Israel,” the measure says.
The law led the state Department of Education to send to Esther Koontz, who had completed a course on training math teachers, a form titled “Certification Individual or Company Not Currently Engaged in a Boycott of Israel.” Koontz, inspired by her Mennonite church, was boycotting Israel and would not sign the document. The ACLU filed a lawsuit on her behalf in a federal court.
Kontorovich said that in the Kansas case, it was Koontz and the ACLU who were misconstruing the statute: Koontz would still have the right to boycott Israel as an individual as long as she did not boycott it as a contractor — an unlikely scenario, he said, for someone who trains Kansas math teachers in how to improve their teaching skills.
“She’s a consumer boycotter, she’s trying to bootstrap that onto the commercial boycott” banned by the law in order to make a federal case, he said. “Her personal and her business relationship cannot be conflated.”
Hauss of the ACLU, who is representing Koontz, said the Kansas Education Department was enforcing exactly what the Kansas law, enacted this summer, prescribes.
“It seems to me that they’re enforcing the statute as written,” he said. “These laws are meant to do precisely the thing the Supreme Court has said is prohibited, which is to suppress the right to boycott.”
Also seizing on the Kansas and Texas cases to illustrate the pitfalls of the laws is Jewish Voice for Peace, a group that supports BDS. Its government affairs liaison, Rabbi Joseph Berman, calls the federal bill and the Kansas law “an anti-democratic attempt to silence a nonviolent movement for equality for Palestinians and a just peace for everyone in the region.”
Peggy Shapiro, the Midwest director of StandWithUs, a pro-Israel group that has advocated for the laws, said that opponents were cherrypicking cases in order to make the laws look bad.
“The fact that people want to generalize one or two outliers, their intention is not to expose the errors but to undermine the ability to prevent discrimination against Israel,” she said.
It has yet to be seen whether Dickinson and Kansas are anomalies, or whether there are other controversies in the offing. In its survey of Texas towns, Electronic Intifada found that Galveston, Austin and San Antonio extend the ban to include companies bidding to make uniforms and organize programming for 4-year-olds.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the director of T’ruah, a rabbinical human rights advocacy group, said the laws were likely to continue to backfire. She said the focus of pro-Israel advocacy should be on Israel’s government and its practices.
“The way to increase support for Israel is not to shut down dissent but make Israel a place we can be more proud of, and central to that is ending the occupation and making Israel a more democratic state,” she said.

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Abraham continued to face his challenges

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

In Parashat Lech Lecha, Avram, whose name will be changed to Abraham, becomes the central figure in the Torah’s narrative when God tells him to go forth to the land of God’s choosing. God promises Avram wealth, land and children; all he has to do is accept that God is God. Our rabbis tell us multiple stories of Avram’s realization that there’s one God and now God is talking with him and guiding him. He would have been excited to go! He had no way to know that following God would lead to such difficulty.
He arrives in Canaan only to find that there was a famine in the land … a disappointment, maybe, but manageable. After some time in Egypt, his nephew Lot gets kidnapped. Avram gets a small army together and rescues him, but this is not a quiet life. And in spite of God’s promises, Avram and Sarai have still not been blessed with any children yet. Avram must be thinking — I did what I was supposed to, so what’s going on? This isn’t the way it was supposed to happen.
Then, adding insult to injury, when making another covenant with Avram, God calmly explains: “Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years… As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; You shall be buried at a ripe old age.” (Genesis 15:13) That’s right — Avram is told that he will live a long and healthy life, but his descendants — they get to look forward to generations of slavery.
Following God hasn’t led Avram to a life of ease. It’s been one challenge after another. And if that’s not enough, the portion concludes with another covenant between God and Avram. This time, after his name is changed, Abraham is told that he has to circumcise himself at the age of 99 — along with Ishmael, and his entire household. So, when God tries to reassure Abraham that he and Sarah will still have a child together when Sarah can clearly no longer have a child, Abraham falls on his face laughing. He responds, “O that Ishmael might live by Your favor!” (Genesis 17:18), or in other words, “That’s a good one, God.”
Is it any wonder that Abraham is laughing at God? Our rabbis talk about how Abraham was tested. He doesn’t have commandments to follow, except for circumcision. Instead, he gets tests. Time and again, promise after promise, Abraham was tested. He was tested by nature, he was tested by society, he was tested by family, and he was tested by God.
Abraham’s laughter and response to God demonstrates that even Abraham can doubt. Even for Abraham, life can be overwhelming. And when God comes with one more reassurance that Abraham no longer believes to be reality, the promise of Sarah having a child — he would have been justified in yelling at God. Instead, he laughs. And when God tells him again that it will happen, he listens and follows through with the circumcision.
This is why Abraham is such a good role model. In spite of the anger or despair, in spite of the hopelessness that he may have felt, he gets up every day, affirms the life he has been given, and faces the challenges that await. And because God knows this, God says that Abraham shall be a blessing. He shall be a blessing, not because of the challenges that he faced, but because he continued to face them, appreciating life all the while. That’s inspiration for us all.
Charlie Cytron-Walker is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville.

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Glauben tells life story to American Airlines

Glauben tells life story to American Airlines

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

By Aaron Greenberg
Special to the TJP

Seventy-five years ago, Max Glauben survived the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto and several Nazi concentration camps.
Last week, Glauben, who is short of stature but full of energy and humor, stood before a crowded room and recounted his journey to an audience mesmerized by his story. That, in itself, is not unusual. Glauben often speaks to groups and is listed as one of the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s survivor speakers.
This audience at American Airlines headquarters, however, included a very diverse group of employees from throughout the company, as well as CEO Doug Parker and several executives.
“There are a lot of people who came up to me and said they’d never heard something like this before,” said Aaron Herstein, president of the Jewish Employee Business Resource Group at American (JEBRG), which hosted Glauben’s appearance.
“It’s really important to show to our company what’s happened in the past and how it affects us now,” Herstein said, “and to show that American Airlines as a company is supportive of everyone.”
JEBRG members and company officials worked with Deborah and Mark Fisher, employees, who are longtime friends of Max and his wife Frieda, to bring Glauben to speak.

Submitted photo Max Glauben with Doug Parker

Submitted photo
Max Glauben with Doug Parker

The Glaubens spent a good part of the day at American. After an executive luncheon, Max came out to a sixth-floor meeting room to speak. A number of additional chairs were required at the last minute to seat all those attending — something several employees said they didn’t recall ever seeing before.
Glauben was introduced by Maya Leibman, executive vice president and chief information officer, and Deborah Fisher.
Leibman related what Glauben said to her beforehand during a discussion of issues with technology: “I may get frustrated, but I never give up.”
The Fishers befriended the Glaubens at Shearith Israel. Deborah Fisher said her children see Max and Frieda as grandparents, especially since their own relatives live out of town.
Glauben does not write his speeches down, just some of the important names and dates, many of which he learned or verified years after his Holocaust experiences.
He related his upbringing in Warsaw, and how his family lived where the ghetto would be established, and were made to build the walls around it. They hid in bomb shelters during the destruction of the ghetto and were discovered afterward by the Nazis.
Glauben was very young, but had luck on his side when the camp officials decided who would be put to work and who would die. They thought he was two years older, and he looked larger next to his small father, whom he stayed close to.
“I am mechanically inclined and could perform the duties I was assigned,” he said, which included work at an aircraft factory.
He went from camp to camp, ending up in Germany. In April 1945, as the Nazi regime was in its final days, Glauben was taken on a death march. The dangers included a trip back and forth on a boxcar through Allied fire, killing hundreds.
Despite years in the ghetto and camps, he survived the war, his spirit unbroken. He was liberated by an American unit and spent two years in Nuremberg, where he became a mess sergeant for Polish soldiers guarding German prisoners of war. As an orphan, he was eligible to get a quota waiver and come to the U.S., which he did in 1947.
Glauben has often traveled to Europe since, including five times to Germany and 12 times on the March of the Living. It’s meaningful to him to watch young people get a sense of the brutality he lived through years ago. As he puts it, his speeches have no “scenery.”
“But if you go to Europe and see where these things happened, you see reality, see the magnitude,” he said.
He related the way the Majdanek camp stuns visitors. There’s a mushroom shape in the distance, he said. It takes some effort to get there, and the view is shocking.
“You look in the center and there’s a mound of 7 tons of human ashes and bone. The kids who see it break down,” Glauben said.
Still, he takes a positive approach to how he wants the lessons applied.
“I believe that we as Holocaust survivors should deliver our testimony in a way that does not create the same hate that was applied to us,” Glauben said.
He added that “today’s youth is the finest element of humanity that has ever lived in this world,” citing the way they’ve been given more freedom, the push to end bullying and the easy access to computers and information.
When Glauben finished speaking, he received thunderous applause. Instead of a question and answer session, he took some time to chat and take photos with several people. He then went to a table to sign copies of his DVD, Plagues of the Soul.
Glauben remained quite animated afterward, walking and talking with some of the executives and posing for more photos. Despite having just listened to a tale from one of the most difficult chapters in human history, they seemed to have an extra bounce in their steps thanks to his upbeat presence.
Herstein related how Glauben easily found ways to connect with the execs over lunch, and made people smile throughout the day talking about airline points, technology and whatever came to mind.
“It was funny, he always has something to say. He knows a lot about a lot of different things.”
American Airlines prides itself on diversity, and JEBRG is one of more than 20 employee resource groups covering different groups by ethnicity, age, race, religion and more. The company’s Diversity Advisory Council has placed in the top 25 each of the past nine years for the Association of ERGs & Councils, out of 1,300 applicants. It is the only one to stay in the top 10 each year.
Brooke Peterson, senior specialist in corporate communications, said the airline believes in establishing a safe space for employees. ERG members are given a chance to share some of their personal life with those who share a background or interest.
“Our objective is to create an inclusive environment so they can come to work as their authentic self,” said Mike Waldron, managing director for diversity and talent.
Two members of each ERG serve on the advisory council, and there are chapters not only in the Metroplex, but throughout American’s worldwide presence.
Anila Jivanji, senior specialist for inclusion and diversity, said the groups are very active, mentioning upcoming events such as a Diwali dinner Nov. 1, and an Inclusion Works Summit Nov. 3 featuring three Paralympians.
JEBRG was established as the American Airlines JERG in 1997, and US Airways formed its group, JHG, in 2011. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim ERGs meet at times for a gathering called Abraham’s Tent, the next of which is Nov. 28, dealing with the role of Abraham in each religion. A Hanukkah party will be held Dec. 14.
This kind of atmosphere makes for a good fit for someone like Glauben, who preaches being an upstander rather than a bystander. He said it was important speaking to a diverse group.
“It enlightens the public, listening to somebody that has been there, of what kind of tragedy it really was,” he said afterward. “It becomes reality in their mind, rather than hearsay.”

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How to handle Halloween

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

Dear Parents and Children,
The beginning of the school year is filled with so many wonderful beginnings. For a Jewish school, we add all the holidays that come one upon the other without a minute to spare. We have been so busy! And now, the holidays have ended, ALMOST…
Each year, I make sure to comment on a very special “American” holiday. Oct. 31 is a holiday that we do not celebrate at most Jewish schools. Halloween is not a Jewish holiday and although the religious aspects of the day have been long forgotten, Halloween is the eve of All Saints’ Day, which also was called All Hallows’ Eve.
All Saints’ Day had its origins in 837 CE when Pope Gregory IV ordered the church to celebrate a day in honor of all saints. Over time, the holiday focused on witches, death, skeletons, etc. Today, however, the day is very much an American experience for most of us. The roots of the day have long been lost yet the debate among Jews continues.
Rabbi Daniel Gordis, in his wonderful book Becoming a Jewish Parent (which I highly recommend), raises a number of issues but says: “In the final analysis, what we do about Halloween may not be important. How we think about it, how we talk about it, and what our kids’ reactions to the issue tell us about their identities — those are the crucial issues about which we ought to think and speak very carefully.” Rabbi Gordis questions: “If not participating is going to make our kids resent being Jewish, are we doing enough to fill their lives with positive Jewish moments, with a deep sense of identification, with supportive and loving Jewish community?” We want our children to have a positive Jewish identity and we, the adults in their lives, need to think and plan for wonderful Jewish moments to create memories and reasons to be proudly Jewish.
How you choose to handle this holiday is a family decision but I do have my yearly recommendation. On Nov. 1, RUSH to every store that sells costumes and get great ones for dress-up and especially for Purim — our time to dress up!! The sales are fantastic!
Shalom…from The Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family JCC.

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Texas tennis team claims national championship

Texas tennis team claims national championship

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

Members of the Texas Team had a confident feeling heading into the Ladies 40 & Over 40 Nationals this past weekend in Orlando.
“I thought our team was gonna win it; we had really good players heading into that, some of the best,” Wendy Holiner said. “Really exciting and a little nervous, but we were ready.”
And they were right.
On Sunday, Texas defeated New England in the finals, completing a successful season as national champions.

Submitted photo Texas defeated New England to win the national championship.

Submitted photo
Texas defeated New England to win the national championship.

“It was so exciting, and we worked very hard for the win,” Linda Leftin said. “Being able to celebrate and win a national championship, it was incredible.”
The team is based out of Oak Creek Tennis Center in Carrollton, and passed each test throughout a difficult, but winning, regular season. The team finished second in their pool with an 8-2 record, and qualified for sectionals.
“The Dallas area has so many good teams, so you had to be your best every week,” Leftin said. “But doing well against those teams, you knew that you could do well against anyone. So we had a good feeling about bigger tournaments after we went through the league here.”
From sectionals the team advanced to state competition and represented the entire Dallas area. At the state championships the team went a perfect 2-0 in flight play, then defeated Fort Worth 5-0 in the semifinals.
“Representing all of Dallas was very big,” Leftin said. “We know how many good teams there are, and that gives you some confidence and pressure at the state level.”
The state championship against Austin was a close 3-2 victory, and one of the best matches of the season.
“That came down to a tiebreak and it was so close,” Holiner said. “Austin always has one of the best teams, so it really wasn’t a surprise that it was close. In the end our team did a great job and just qualifying for nationals was exciting.”
That set the stage for a confident group to finish their march to a national championship in Orlando.
“It was such a great setting,” Leftin said. “The facilities were wonderful, and as a team we knew what we needed to do and played well. Winning (Sunday) was a wonderful feeling, but the whole weekend was great.”
Texas went undefeated in pool play and then battled the Midwest team in the semifinals before beating New England in the championship match.
Nycole Vu captained the team, and the roster also included Danna Bond, Cheri Prichard, Michelle Fitch, Roz Erlewein, Bea Demel, Laura Pyle, Leftin, Stefani McQueary, Holiner, Maureen McCaffrey, Elizabeth Shaw and Rebecca Bridges.
“We enjoyed the entire weekend, we all ate together as a team and a lot of us stayed at the same hotel,” Holiner said. “We have a lot of camaraderie as a team, and I think that really showed. We wouldn’t have won a national title without that type of team atmosphere.”

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Around the Town: Hochster named Person of Year

Around the Town: Hochster named Person of Year

Posted on 26 October 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Jeff Hochster named B’nai Brith Isadore Garsek Lodge Person of the Year

Fort Worth’s best kept secret is out of the box as Jeff Hochster was lauded as the B’nai B’rith Person of the Year at Beth-El Congregation Sunday, Oct. 22.
Hochster is well-known for his philanthropic and volunteer efforts. In 1982 he received the Federation’s Young Leadership Award, headed the Federation’s annual campaign and served as Federation president. He has served on the board of Ahavath Sholom as well as being its vice president. Jeff Kaitcer, master of ceremonies for the evening, introduced Hochster as this year’s winner calling him, “a mensch, a man with an unwavering and uncompromising Jewish heart. those two attributes and qualities are the foundation of his Jewish involvement.”
Hochster is the CEO of Panhandle Slim and often donates new merchandise to charitable endeavors. He is married to Linda and has two children, Jamison and Audrey, and two stepchildren, Brent Jones and Jenny Goldman; and he is grandfather of eight.

Jeff Hochster

Jeff Hochster

Hochster joined an esteemed group of beloved community leaders and past recipients, including: 1951 David Greines, 1952 I.E. Horwitz, 1953 Sol Brachman1, 1954 Ella Brachman, 1955 Maurice Rabinowitz, 1956 Sophia Miller, 1957 Leon Brachman, 1958 Rabbi Isadore Garsek, 1959 Jerome Wolens, 1960 Louis Barnett, 1961 Dr. Frank Cohen, 1962 Rabbi Robert J. Schur, 1963 Dr. Abe Greines, 1964 I.E. Horwitz, 1965 Dr. Harold Freed, 1966 M.M. Goldman, 1967 Sidney Raimey, 1968 Ben Coplin, 1969 Leon Gachman, 1970 Sheldon Labovitz, 1971 Madilyn Barnett, 1972 Walter Nass, 1973 Herbert Berkowitz, 1974 Manny Rosenthal, 1975 Sam Weisblatt, 1976 Cecile & David Echt, 1977 Marcia Kornbleet Kurtz, 1978 Allen Wexler, 1979 Faye Berkowitz, 1980 Charles Levinson, 1981 Burnis Cohen, 1982 Sandra Freed, 1983 Sherwin Rubin, 1984 Bernard S. Appel, 1985 Leroy Solomon, 1986 I.L. (Buddy) Freed, 1987 Larry Kornbleet, 1988 Karen Brachman, 1989 Hortense Deifik, 1990 Ruby Kantor, 1991 Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger, 1992 Beverly Moses, 1993 Ron Stocker, 1994 Rowena Kimmell, 1995 Stuart & Rebecca Isgur, 1996 Miriam Labovitz, 1997 Harry Kahn, 1998 Leslie Kaitcer & Jeff Kaitcer, 1999 Dr. Michael Ross, 2000 Dr. Al Faigin, 2001 Lon Werner, 2002 Seymour Kanoff, 2003 Leon Brachman, 2004 Earl Givant, 2005 Al Sankary, 2006 David Beckerman, 2007 Hollace Weiner, 2008 Laurie Werner, 2009 Alfred “Shuggie” Cohen, 2010 Barry Schneider, 2011 Alex Nason, 2012 Dr. Carole Rogers, 2013 Marvin Beleck, 2014 Rich Hollander and 2015 Harry Kahn.

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Legacy names new president, CEO

Legacy names new president, CEO

Posted on 19 October 2017 by admin

Submitted report

Melissa Orth is the new president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities.
The not-for-profit organization is the parent company of The Legacy Willow Bend, the only life care retirement community in Plano; The Legacy at Home, a home health agency; and The Legacy Midtown Park, a rental continuing care retirement community under development in Dallas. Orth’s appointment is the result of a nationwide search and involved feedback from the search committee, executive committee, board, employees and other members of the Dallas Jewish community.

National Business Officers Association (NBOA), 2015 Annual Meeting, February 22-25, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts (Rodney Choice/www.choicephotography.com)

National Business Officers Association (NBOA), 2015 Annual Meeting, February 22-25, 2014, Boston, Massachusetts (Rodney Choice/www.choicephotography.com)

For the past 17 years, Orth served as the chief operating officer and chief financial officer of Greenhill School.
“Melissa’s talent, skill set and work ethic have enabled her to have great success in a variety of different industries. We are confident Melissa will bring the same energy and passion to The Legacy Senior Communities as she has with her prior employers and achieve great success with us,” said Marc R. Stanley, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Legacy Senior Communities.
“Those who have worked with Melissa in the past describe her as a compassionate and gifted executive who brings people together, solves problems, knows how to lead and understands when to listen. We are thrilled to have her join our organization, and we are confident that her skills and perspective will benefit our management team, associates, residents and families.”
During her tenure at Greenhill School, Orth supervised the management of campus operations, including facilities, human resources, technology, security, health services and purchasing. She also managed all financial operations and financial reporting. In addition, She managed the programming, design and construction of a significant expansion and renovation project at Greenhill School. Orth has an affinity for not-for-profit organizations, and prior to Greenhill School she served as vice president of finance for the American Heart Association, National Center. In addition, she has been active in many professional and civic organizations, including the National Business Officers Association, Dallas Women’s Foundation, Susan G. Komen Foundation, St. Philip’s School & Community Center and Planned Parenthood.
“For more than 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with strong mission-based organizations, and that is what initially attracted me to The Legacy Senior Communities,” said Orth. “The organization’s commitment to service, quality and excellence was immediately evident, and I am proud to join such a dedicated and compassionate community.
As an adult child, I understand and appreciate the importance of seniors living active, healthy and interesting lives, and I look forward to continuing to develop our innovative, creative and community building programming and initiatives. It is also important that we continue to expand our reach into the senior community to ensure our services and care are available to those who want and need what we provide, regardless of their ability to pay. It is critically important that our residents are intellectually stimulated and engaged, and that every person served by The Legacy Senior Communities receives the highest quality care and support.”
Orth graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kansas State University, and she is a certified public accountant.

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