Archive | October, 2017

Columbus Day not what it used to be

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

In case you may have forgotten, the reason we didn’t get our mail this past Monday was that it was Columbus Day, a national holiday since 1937. It doesn’t seem to be as popular as it used to.
I remember being a young teenage-member of the New York Naval Cadets proudly marching in the Columbus Day Parade. We were taught back then that Columbus was a hero.
Hearing the crowd’s applause, I felt proud honoring the man who “discovered America, proved the Earth was round, not flat, and brought advanced European civilization to the primitive people of the new world.”
That is what our history book said, what I was taught in school in the 1940s, what I believed to be true, and what I still read in textbooks issued by the Dallas I.S.D when I began teaching in 1961.
By the 1970s, however, scholarly research was revealing Christopher Columbus as a mariner whose primary ambition was personal wealth and power, and the willingness to use unspeakable cruelties against the native peoples in order to achieve those goals.
While Columbus’ voyages did contribute toward a more accurate view of the then known world (larger than most thought), he was not the first to discover it. Leif Erickson beat him by 500 years, but Columbus did a better job of informing Europe of his findings.
Columbus did not prove the world was round. Enough voyages by various explorers and mariners occurring many years before 1492 had already shown that to be true. Only a few ignorant people may have believed the earth was flat when Columbus sailed.
Finally, the only advanced items of European civilization he brought were armor and weaponry with which he used to conquer, intimidate, punish, torture, decimate and enslave the native peoples.
Some recent articles present the possibility that Columbus may have been a Marrano (a Jew pretending to be Catholic), but his inhumane treatment of native peoples would indicate otherwise.
If my Italian-American friends need a national Italian hero, there are so many to choose from (Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caesar, writers, artists, etc.) In fact, I just read in The New York Times that over 100 Italian-American authors marched as a group in Monday’s Columbus Day parade, celebrating their heritage.
The discussion about replacing Columbus Day began in 1977 during an International Conference of Indigenous People. More evidence from scholarly research revealed the true nature of Christopher Columbus and his horrific mistreatment of Native Peoples.
While it is unlikely that Columbus Day will ever be entirely eliminated, its popularity is on the decline. On the other hand, local Indigenous People’s Day observances now number almost 50 across the country and are on the increase.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Reality TV star to speak at Legacy event

Reality TV star to speak at Legacy event

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Corcoran to keynote Legacy’s Yes! Event

Submitted report

Reality television star, real estate mogul and self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran will be the featured speaker at The Legacy Senior Communities annual Yes! Event fundraiser, at 11:30 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, (2301 Flora St, Dallas, TX 75201). Corcoran became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country after borrowing $1,000, quitting her job as a waitress and starting a tiny real estate company in New York City. That company grew into a $5 billion real estate business. Today, best known as one of the “Sharks” on ABC’s hit TV show, Shark Tank, Corcoran uses her finances and business acumen to invest in startup companies and guide them to success. Corcoran is passionate about helping businesses, and she is a brilliant identifier of opportunity and talent.

SHARK TANK - Barbara Corcoran is a

SHARK TANK – Barbara Corcoran is a “Shark” on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” (ABC/Patrick Ecclesine)

This year’s event will benefit The Legacy Senior Communities Financial Assistance Fund, which will provide charitable support to future residents of The Legacy Midtown Park, the organization’s rental continuing care retirement community currently under development in Dallas, to help supplement the cost of their care and provide the extra amenities that enrich the quality of their life. In addition, the fund assists seniors using assisted living services that include help with bathing, grooming, dressing, transportation, recovery from illness, and transition from a hospital stay back home, through The Legacy at Home, the organization’s Medicare-certified, not-for-profit home health agency. The Legacy Senior Communities has provided care to seniors and their families in the Greater Dallas area for more than 60 years. The event committee consists of co-chairs Carol Aaron, Dawn Aaron, Sandy Donsky, Linda Garner, Zona Pidgeon, Jody Stein and Karla Steinberg.
“A community is judged by the way it cares for its elders, and I feel it is our collective responsibility to provide a wonderful lifestyle and exemplary care to Jewish seniors in Greater Dallas,” said Carol Aaron, co-chair of The Yes! Event committee. “We encourage everyone to step up and help us continue to not just meet but exceed the needs of seniors and their families now and in the future.”
“Our Financial Assistance Fund provides charitable support for residents who rely on us for care or extra services that enrich their lives,” said Andrea Statman, director of development for The Legacy Senior Communities. “We are appreciative for the community’s continued support, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to hear from a dynamic individual like Barbara Corcoran while raising funds to support our mission.”
The Yes! Event will also include the presentation of the third annual Carmen Miller Michael — Legacy Senior Communities award. The award pays tribute to Carmen Miller Michael, who was dedicated to improving the quality of life for people dealing with the issues of aging, mental health and cognitive challenges.
“We will honor a truly inspirational individual and trailblazer who shares our commitment to serving others, and we will hear from a motivational entrepreneur during this captivating event,” said Marc R. Stanley, chair of the board of trustees of The Legacy Senior Communities. “We are thankful to all of our donors whose support assists us in providing thriving communities and high-quality care. We find it truly rewarding to provide Jewish seniors with dynamic and enriched lives.”
A ticket for the event is $200. Various sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information about the Yes! Event and sponsorship opportunities, please visit The Legacy Senior Communities Yes! Event page: http://www.theyesevent.com/.
“We are proud of the positive impact we have on the lives of seniors and their families, both in our community and through our home health agency,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “As we grow and anticipate serving even more seniors with The Legacy Midtown Park, our new rental continuing care retirement community expected to open starting in the fall 2019, we know that these fundraising efforts will allow us to extend our mission even further.”
— Submitted by Amy Jones

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

We must look in mirror after latest shooting

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

On Sept. 11, 2001, I got up, went downstairs, put on a pot of coffee, turned on the TV — and watched our once safe country fall apart.
On the morning of Oct. 2, 2017, my routine was the same — except that I watched our country killing itself. This time, we don’t have foreigners to blame; we have one of our own.
The shooter holed himself up on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, murdered more than 50, injured more than 500. An American shooting at Americans. Not a minority of any kind, unless you consider lovers of good old country music a minority.
What’s happened to us? We’re not a nation united any more.
But some say we’ve never been. We started separating ourselves from the natives who owned this land before us. As those early white settlers became our majority, they continued to separate themselves from others who came along later – those in flight from potato famines and pogroms, those unwillingly chained. Some newcomers fought their way up educationally and economically to become “almost” first-class citizens. But many who didn’t have been relegated to a virtually permanent underclass.
Then silently, almost without anyone noticing, that old white majority found itself becoming the minority. Over its years of “ownership,” it had been stomping on Blacks, Jews, immigrants — and it’s still trying to do the same. All these “others” have been maligned, marginalized, kept down, denied access. And those who’ve somehow managed to access anyway have either been held up as unusual individual successes or accused as groups of trying to take over the country.
But —  country music!  Why?  Basically, a middle-class white preference. A crowd shot at by one of its own!  I grew up with “Wabash Cannonball; I might have been there myself. What’s happened to us?
Today, almost everyone seems to hate or fear someone else.  Some who haven’t yet decided whom to hate make ISIS the symbol of threat.  But Pogo was right: “We have met the enemy, and they is us.”
I heard a doctor explain the old battlefield “triage” process: Walk among the victims, assessing each. Leave alone those who are so far gone that nothing can be done. Also leave alone those who can survive for a time without treatment. First help those in the middle. You save the ones you can; the others are war’s collateral. And this is our very own war. We must all somehow get in that middle, in order to save ourselves.
I stood with worldwide Jewry on the recent Day of Atonement. Having made my personal peace as best I could with those I somehow offended during the past year, I came to synagogue ready to ask Almighty God to forgive us as a people for whatever offenses we had committed against that Greater Power. And then I read this brief commentary accompanying  one of those penitential prayers: “We cannot imagine a different future unless we keep in mind our past…” We have no power unless as Americans together we confront our prejudices. Only a united population can make this a united country. We are all responsible for remembering our national past, admitting the sorry parts of it, and truly pledging to do better in the future. Removing statues will not let us forget our great national struggle with ourselves, no more than plowing under the killing sites after World War II — as some Germans actually wanted to do! — would have permanently buried the Holocaust.
Columbine High School. Sandy Hook Elementary School. Churches in Birmingham and Charleston. A baseball field outside Washington. An ordinary street corner in Dallas. A country music festival in Las Vegas. A grudge and a gun is all it takes.
If America can’t do this most difficult of all work, that of remembering and atoning, we will continue to kill. And be killed: not by ISIS, but by ourselves…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Adam and Eve: the first ‘we’

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Dear Families,
Over the High Holidays, I look for a good book to read in preparation for my favorite holiday — Simchat Torah!
As the “Torah with Laura” teacher, I need to keep up with new (and traditional) ways of exploring the Torah. Over the days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (even occasionally during services), I read Bruce Feiler’s new book The First Love Story – Adam, Eve and Us. If all you read is the book cover, you will be hooked:
“Since antiquity, one story has stood at the center of every conversation about men and women. One couple has been the battleground for human relationships and sexual identity … history has blamed Adam and Eve — but especially Eve — for bringing sin, deceit and death into the world.”
For those of us hooked on Torah and finding the messages for our lives, this book makes you relook at this first story. Today, as we deal with horrible happenings from hurricanes to mass shootings, this story of love and connection are crucial to reevaluating what is important. It doesn’t matter how or if you believe the “realness” of the Torah stories, you can’t deny the lessons. The story of Adam and Eve begins when G-d says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Do not go any further as the next line is often where the problems begin.
Let’s look at the message of needing others as the important lesson. Today as we spend more time without real connection to people (because our phones and computers allow us to communicate without looking in the eyes of the one we are talking to), loving and caring happens from a distance.
As the camp director, I see the pros and cons of technology for our connections to others. We are not going to get rid of those devices and to even think that is crazy — but we can put them down to have real communication. Let me share another book that you must read: Braving the Wilderness — the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown. Feiler and Brown both focus on the need for belonging and we begin our understanding of belonging first with our family and then it expands outward but only through being together. Here is a quote from Brown’s book: “We’re going to have to learn how to listen, have hard conversations, look for joy, share pain, and be more curious than defensive, all while seeking moments of togetherness.”
My hope is that you will pick up one or both of these books as we begin our cycle of Torah reading on Simchat Torah and connect more this year. Feiler says at the end: “We need Adam and Eve as our role models. And they’ve earned it. In a world dominated by I, Adam and Eve were the first we. They were the first to say we are better off as an us than either of us is as a me.”
Reach out to form more communities of belonging — together we can make a better world this year.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship returns Oct. 29

The National Cuisine of Texas meets the Dietary Laws of the Bible in the Third Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship, a daylong festival for the entire community, Sunday, Oct. 29.
Popular KLUV radio host and Texas Radio Hall of Famer Jody Dean returns to host the competition, which is sanctioned by the world-renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). Dallas Kosher, the organization certifying that local food and facilities adhere to Jewish dietary law, will supervise every aspect of the event.
The Men’s Club of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson is organizing the championship benefiting the synagogue and Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), which provides group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Submitted photo WingSpan Theatre’s production of The Occupant will run through Oct. 21.

Submitted photo
WingSpan Theatre’s production of The Occupant will run through Oct. 21.

Four of Dallas’ leading culinary personalities – John Tesar, Tim Byres, Kent Rathbun and Jill Grobowsky Bergus – will be celebrity judges for the competition. Rathbun will lead a cooking demonstration as well, while Byres and Tesar will sign their latest books.
Last year’s championship drew more than 1,600 barbecue lovers for a day of smoking, grilling and family fun. Brian Rubenstein, co-chair of the championship, says he expects a bigger crowd and teams from across the country to show off their barbecue skills as the event continues to grow.
“We’ve put Dallas on the kosher barbecue map, and we’re drawing interest from all over,” he said. “And we’re proud to bring the joy of kosher barbecue to the community as a whole.”
The competition will be held Sunday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of Sunnyland Patio Furniture, at the corner of Spring Valley and Coit roads in Dallas. The festivities will include music, silent auctions, a kids play area, hot dog and pickle eating contests – and, of course, barbecue. Admission is free, with plenty of free parking on-site.
The Beth Torah organizers recently won a national Gold Torch Award for community outreach from the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs for staging the championship and encouraging other clubs around the country to do the same.
Kosher barbecue competitions have one obvious difference — no pork — but there are other distinctions. To ensure adherence to dietary laws, the Men’s Club provides all grills, smokers, utensils, condiments and spices – as well as the four meats in competition: chicken, turkey, beef brisket and beef ribs.
Because no work can be done or fires lit on the Jewish Sabbath, teams prepare the meats Thursday night, then start cooking after sundown Saturday.
As in all KCBS competitions, the society’s judges will award official trophies for all four meats, as well as crown the grand champion and reserve grand champion, who will share $500 in cash. But on the main stage, the celebrity judge panel will award its own set of prizes.
“We’re really honored to have these great chefs joining us,” Rubenstein said. “We all have a passion for great barbecue, and this will be a day to share that passion with the whole community.”
— Submitted by Michael Precker

Still time to catch The Occupant

For anyone interested in theater, Occupant is a must-see – a seldom-performed play by America’s prolific, much-honored Edward Albee. For Jews, there’s an additional incentive: this is the playwright’s onstage biography of America’s famed Jewish sculptor, Louise Nevelson.
Its static setting is the afterlife. There are only two characters: Nevelson herself – able to reflect on all her earthly years. since the “action” takes place 20 years after her death — and The Man, an unnamed interviewer making notes on her self-told biography, a likely stand-in for Albee himself. Here is one artist learning about the life of another.
Nevelson was born Leah Berliawsky in 1899 near Kiev, Russia. When the family immigrated, Maine became home, and Leah became Louise. Always a self-directed “free spirit,” she nonetheless bowed to woman’s usual roles of her time, marrying young and (not what she ever wanted) becoming a mother. Neither husband nor son held the center of her life; its sole core was art.
In a way her history parallels Albee’s, which may be why he wrote “Occupant.” Both had many false starts, failures before successes, and long troubled, nonproductive years (he: alcoholism; she: depression). But both eventually emerged as recognized artistic icons. In this play, as we learn Nevelson’s life, we are party to much of Albee’s as well.
Everyone knows Albee, but few know this play. Here’s a chance to see it as part of WingSpan Theatre’s current season, which salutes him. Occupant will be onstage at Dallas’ bathhouse Cultural Center through Oct. 21, with tickets no more than $20; tonight is “pay what you can.” For further information and to make reservations, call 214-675-6573, or go to www.wingspantheatre.com.
— Harriet Gross

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Yavneh boys’ soccer earns 1st ever playoff win

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Bulldogs defeat Longview Christian, 5-1, face St. Mary’s

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

The Yavneh Academy boys’ soccer team continued its historic season with a 5-1 win against Longview Christian.
It was the first playoff victory in program history.
“Very proud of the boys, they worked so hard for this,” Yavneh coach Alan Sandler said. “They’ve worked very hard this season and really worked hard, I’m very proud of what this team had done.”
Max Weinstein and Elisha Klein each scored a pair of goals, while Ofek Reef had the other goal as Yavneh improved its record to 12-1 this season. It was the third time Yavneh had reached the playoffs, but the first time they weren’t ousted immediately.
“It was a great way to start the playoffs,” Weinstein said. “My teammates gave me great passes and I put the ball in the net. It felt really good to get going that way and now we still have our goal of winning state.”
Yavneh took control of the game early and had a 3-0 lead before Longview Christian countered to make it 3-1.
“Their best player scored a very nice goal,” Sandler said. “But our team didn’t stop, they did a good job of responding and made it 4-1 and then 5-1.”
Yavneh will now play Longview St. Mary’s Catholic for a trip to the TAPPS state tournament next weekend.
St. Mary’s Catholic has a 6-3 record and opened its playoffs with an 8-1 win against Denton Calvary.
“It should be a good game,” Sandler said. “We know they’re a good team and we’re a good team. It should be a match that really tests our team, but they should be ready.”
The game time has yet to be finalized, but it will likely be played Monday to account for the Jewish holidays — Wednesday night through sundown Friday  are Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. Shabbat starts Friday night and ends sundown Saturday — and the fact that St. Mary’s Catholic can’t play Sunday.
“We’re still working out the details, but we’ll play Monday most likely,” Sandler said. “That will give either team enough time to prepare for the state tournament the next weekend.”
Yavneh has been passing tests all season.
Sandler said it has a talented roster that passes the ball well and controls possession.
“I really like how the team plays smart,” Sandler said. “They listen well and they play together very well as a group. We control the play and make sure the ball is always moving. The team does a good job of being that — a team — and making sure everyone is involved in the play.”
The team started off strong early in the season, and that momentum carried over into the first district title in school history.
Now that same feeling has rolled into the playoffs.
“We had a nice start and I think we got hot from that,” Weinstein said. “After that we’ve gotten better as a team, and we’re a real close group. It’s been fun, and as a team I think we can keep getting better.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

BookFest brings rich, engaging lineup

BookFest brings rich, engaging lineup

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

The Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest brings to Dallas’ “People of the Book” authors, works of fact and fiction, prose and power.  Beginning Oct. 26 it’s a series of stories and histories.

Submitted photo This year’s BookFest begins Oct. 26.

Submitted photo
This year’s BookFest begins Oct. 26.

“It’s both exciting and meaningful to be part of a program that focuses on Jewish books and authors that educates and entertains our community,” said JCC BookFest Chair Liz Liener, in her fifth year as lay leader.  “Named for Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer, of blessed memory, a wonderful woman who was beloved and respected by her family, friends, and community for the exemplary life she led and her love of life throughout, the BookFest shares books, and authors, who carry her spirit.”
Partnering with the JCC this year are Baylor Scott & White Health, Congregation Anshai Torah, Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, the J’s Lieberman Family Wellness Center and Tycher Library, the Women of Reform Judaism at Temple Emanu-El, and the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth.
“We’re honored to have so many community partners on board allowing us to engage audiences with fun and laughter as well as some very serious topics,” said JCC’s Director of Israel Engagement and Jewish Living, Rachelle Weiss Crane.  “Our program has a wonderful reputation and it’s very exciting to, in addition to our extensive review and search each year, to have the industry reaching out to us wanting to come to Dallas.”
A week of meeting with or listening to more than 250 authors presenting their books through the Jewish Book Council in New York, resulted in the culling of the year’s catalogue. Liener, Weiss Crane, and a team of dedicated volunteers read many titles, their combined efforts narrowing the tally to 10.
Nicole Krauss’ Forest Dark opens the series at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26.  Krauss weaves a tale about personal transformation interweaving the stories of an older lawyer and a young novelist — whose transcendental search leads them to the same Israeli desert.
The Tycher Library Community Read, Beneath a Scarlet Sky, will be at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30. Based on the true story, Mark Sullivan’s best-seller, which will be made into a feature film is based on the life of Pino Lella, an Italian teenager who during WWII is forced by his parents to enlist as a German soldier which they believe will keep him out of combat.  After he is injured, he’s recruited to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, simultaneously spying for the Allies inside the German High Command, ultimately helping to save the lives of many Jews.
At 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Temple Emanu-El, author Maggie Anton will speak about her famed Rashi’s Daughter’s series, Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice, Enchantress, and the recently released What the First Rabbis had to say About You Know What.
I Wrote That One, Too…: A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney is featured at 7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 13, with Congregation Anshai Torah a capella Kol Rina choir members Bruce Katz and Rusty Cooper moderating author Steve Dorff’s musical and book-sharing visit. Dorff chronicles his 40-plus years as the writer of numerous Top 10 hits for artists including Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers, Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston as well as television scores and his forthcoming Broadway musical Josephine
Martha Hall Kelly and her debut novel Lilac Girls are scheduled at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 4,.  In her debut novel, the author brings to life New York socialite Caroline Ferriday who has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon; Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager who senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement; and German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, who is hired for a government medical position finding herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.
The new year brings The Widow of Wall Street author Randy Susan Meyers to a free event at 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 11, at Congregation Anshai Torah.  Community member and Great Thoughts website book reviewer Andrea Peskind Katz will lead the discussion with the bestselling author about her story of the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.
Ten Dollars to Hate author Patricia H. Bernstein comes to BookFest at 7 p.m. , Thursday, Feb. 1, bringing the story of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s, the most “successful” incarnation since its inception in the ashes of the Civil War, and the first prosecutor in the nation to successfully convict and jail Klan members.
Paula Shoyer’s The Healthy Jewish Kitchen has all the ingredients of a great night beginning at 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 26.  Shoyer dispels the notion that healthy can’t be delicious connections to our ancestor’s kitchens, using only natural ingredients, offering a fresh, nutrient-dense spin on cooking, offering more than 60 Ashkenazy and Sephardy classic recipes.
Israel’s 70th anniversary is celebrated early through the presentation of Angels in the Sky at 7p.m., Wednesday, March 7. The gripping story is of fewer than 150 volunteer airmen from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, and South Africa arrived — many WWII veterans, one-third of whom were not Jewish — who flew, fought, died, and, against all odds, helping defeat five Arab nations, during Israel’s war of independence protecting the fledgling Jewish state.
The BookFest closes with a chapter of history that began in Dallas as Alexandra Zapruder arrives at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 12, with her Twenty-Six Seconds.  Fifty–five years after her grandfather Abraham Zapruder captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the author tells the story of the film, and its journey, demonstrating how one man’s unwitting moment in the spotlight shifted the way politics, culture, and media intersect.
Events are at the Aaron Family JCC unless otherwise noted and tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at thedoor except for the  Oct. 30 Beneath the Scarlet Sky and the Dec. 4 Lilac Girls events which are free of charge.  For more details or to order tickets, visit jccdallas.org/main/bookfest/

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Pearlman credits 3D mammogram with diagnosis

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Elaine Pearlman looks to be the picture of health. In fact, the 56-year-old Dallas wife and mother of two, has always been a fanatic about eating right, exercising, getting enough rest and all the other ingredients of “picture-perfect” health. That’s why her diagnosis of Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma in February 2017 was a shock.
“I went in for my routine mammogram, 3D. They found something and they called me back,” she explained. It was the second year that Pearlman had the more advanced screening mammogram (see story on Page 9). The previous year’s test didn’t pick anything up.
For Pearlman, the next few days were a whirlwind of activity. Her gynecologist, Dr. Brian Cohen, proactively scheduled a biopsy for her the same day that she went back for a second film.
“On Friday, Feb. 10, I got a call that I had breast cancer. I was in California going to my niece’s bat mitzvah. We were stunned. Sitting in the car, numb. The doctor who did my biopsy had said he didn’t think it was anything. I’m so healthy. I have no breast cancer in my family anywhere. I’m so healthy. I wasn’t that worried  because I’m so healthy.”
What Pearlman knows now is that cancer doesn’t discriminate and while she was healthy in her habits and took exquisite care of herself, she didn’t know at the time that she was positive for the BRCA2 (pronounced BRACKA) genetic mutation.
After her diagnosis things moved very quickly. By the next week, she had been scheduled for a lumpectomy and met with oncologist Dr. Joyce O’Shaughnessy of Texas Oncology.
This was an important step that Pearlman credits to her dear friend Laura Miller, former Dallas mayor. Miller’s first battle with breast cancer was well-documented by Miller herself. Now, she is facing a second bout with the disease 18 years later.
“Laura set an appointment up for me before I even had my surgery. I’m so glad I went to Dr. O’Shaughnessy because she wanted specific tests done on my tumor at the time of  my surgery — a very specific ONCO test. You only have one opportunity to have that test and it’s at the time of surgery,” said Pearlman
By having the ONCO test, Pearlman learned what type of tumor she had and what types of treatments it would be most receptive to.
It was a several week process to wait for the ONCO score to come back. A time in which Pearlman was recovering from surgery and learning as much as possible about her diagnosis. During that time, the question came up about whether she should have genetic testing for BRCA.
“I want to stress that so many doctors, my oncologist and another oncologist who’s a friend didn’t think I needed to get a BRCA test. I was 55 at the time and they said I would have presented with breast cancer before now. They said, ‘Be safe, have it, but it’s unlikely you have it.’ We do the BRCA test. And lo and behold I’m BRCA2+.”
One in 40 Ashkenazi Jews —men and women — carries a BRCA mutation. That’s more than 10 times the rate of the general population.
After a seven-week or so wait, Pearlman learned that chemotherapy would not add a significant benefit to her prognosis. The toxicity of the treatment outweighed any potential benefit, so chemo wasn’t a good option. She was put on Arimidex to suppress hormone production.
Pearlman’s knowledge of having the BRCA2 mutation influenced next steps. In April she had a bilateral mastectomy. In July, she had reconstruction.
“On Sept. 8, I had my ovaries and tubes out. With my BRCA2 mutation my risk of ovarian cancer was 20 percent. It’s higher with BRCA1, 44 percent. I had to have them out before the end of the year.”
Despite four surgeries in a little over six months and a serious breast cancer diagnosis, Pearlman still looks to be the picture of health, and she is very positive about her future.
She attributes her outlook to a number of Jewish soul traits and a strong support network.
“I have a strong support system. My doctor, my husband,  my cancer buddy Laura Miller, my friend Cynthia Shipper as well as my other dear friends have kept me sane. Also, I want to show my kids that you can’t just fall apart in a bad situation.”
Pearlman stressed the importance of having a cancer buddy who could understand what she was going through. She has had Laura Miller, but she realizes others might not have a go to person who is knowledgeable and can advocate and support them through the breast cancer process.
While recovering at Medical City from her bilateral mastectomy, a hospital volunteer brought her a package and a beautiful pillow from an organization called Sharsheret. She had heard of the organization before from her friend Lizzy Greif. It supports Jewish women diagnosed with breast cancer or at genetic risk for breast cancer and their families. Greif has lost two sisters — Margot Pulitzer and Sheri Rosenberg — to breast cancer.
Upon further investigation, Pearlman learned Sharsheret can be that “cancer buddy” for any Jewish woman who needs support.
“Sharsheret will do everything. I’ve never heard of such a thing but they are amazing and they will fill in whatever gaps you need at every stage,” Pearlman explained.
She was so inspired by the organization’s good works that she has trained to be a member of its peer support network. “Whoever calls me, I’ll be there for them.”
Pearlman said she met a wise, observant Jewish woman while in Aspen between surgeries. She had shared her story and the woman asked her, ‘so now you have your diagnosis, what are you going to do with your time here? BRCA sounds a lot like bracha. Maybe it’s a blessing to know… to make an informed decision.’”
In that light, Pearlman stresses to everyone she meets the importance of having a 3D mammogram. She feels certain that a 2-D test would not have caught her tiny but very serious tumor.
“People ask me all the time, what I need. I tell them I don’t need soup, I need you to get a 3D mammogram this year.”
She added, “In Judaism, we say when you save one life, you save the world. I am so fortunate to be here and feel good and four surgeries later I have a voice and I want to use it. I feel so strongly that people should know about Sharsheret and that people should know about their own bodies and what they need to do to be aware.”

 

 

*****

What’s Jewish about Breast Cancer

Sharsheret will present What’s Jewish about Breast Cancer and Ovarian Cancer, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the home of Elaine and Trevor Pearlman, 5404 Park Lane in Dallas. Speaking that evening are Sharsheret’s Executive Director Elana Silber and Director of Navigation and Support Services Shera Dubitsky.
“We’re looking to attract women of all ages to talk about what’s Jewish about breast and ovarian cancer,” said Silber. “In the Jewish community this is an urgent  situation because of the genetics piece.”
Silber explained that 1 in 40 Jews of Ashkenazi descent — both men and women — carries a BRCA gene mutation compared to 1 in 500 in the general population significantly increasing the risk for hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers. A woman who carries a BRCA mutation has up to an 80 percent chance of developing breast cancer and an up-to-40-percent chance developing ovarian cancer. The goal of the presentation will be to educate and answer any questions people have.
Silber explained that Sharsheret essentially offers wrap-around resources for everything related to being Jewish with breast cancer or an increased risk for breast cancer.
“Everything we do is free, confidential. Women can remain anonymous. Everything is convenient. We understand that women are busy. One of our fundamentals is to get you the information when you want it how you want it. Women and their families are accessing our programs by phone by email, by live chat, on Facebook, by texting. We are wherever you are.”
Elaine Pearlman and Lizzy Greif are co-chairing the Oct. 25  program. It is free and open to the community, but an RSVP at www.sharsheret.org/dallas is required for planning purposes.
To learn more about Sharsheret or access its free, confidential services visit www.sharsheret.org or call 1-866-474-2774.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Defining everything Simchas Torah is about

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I’ve often been bothered by something I have noticed on Simchas Torah in synagogue, that people who are not dancing are sitting. I know that when a Torah scroll is removed from the ark, say at a regular Shabbos service, everyone stands in honor of the Torah. It was once explained to me that whenever the Torah is moving from place to place, we stand in honor of the Torah.
Why is it that on Simchas Torah that the Torah is being moved from place to place as part of the celebration, that people are sitting in its presence?
— Marvin J.
Dear Marvin,
Many years ago, I posed this exact question to my mentor, the late Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach of Jerusalem, the leading halachic decisor of the past generation in Israel. He smiled, indicating he, too, had been bothered by this question in his youth. He said that he had observed rabbis far greater than anyone in our generation who also sat during the seven hakafos, when the Torah is being taken around the circle of dancing and celebration on Simchas Torah.
Rav Aurbach then answered cryptically that in his opinion the answer is the following: The requirement to rise in honor of the Torah scroll is when the Torah is taken from its stationary place and moved from place to place. On Simchas Torah, the entire synagogue is its place!
To me, this was a very profound analysis of what Simchas Torah is all about, as well as an important message for our lives as Jews. We often look at the Torah as something foreign to the world we live in; in many ways it is indeed foreign to our society. We try to add a little bit of Torah and Judaism here and there, deep down knowing it’s not the central theme of our lives. In a sense, we are taking the Torah out of the ark, out of its place, and moving it into our lives a bit until we return it back to its resting place.
On Simchas Torah, the real celebration is that everywhere is the Torah’s place. Torah is, for those who choose to make it so, central to our lives and permeates every area of our existence. “because they (the words of Torah) are our lives and the length of our day” (Siddur, morning prayers).
When the Tablets were given to us at Sinai, the Torah says that they could be read from either side, (Exodus 32:15). This was a miracle because letters cut through stone should only be readable from the front, in the back they will be backward. What was the point of this miracle? R’ Samson R. Hirsch explains: Often Jews feel that Judaism is something “to do” in synagogue or on holidays, rendering it merely a “religion.” Judaism is not only a religion; it is a way of life. There are mitzvos which apply to every area of business, domestic, family and community life. Whichever way you turn, there are mitzvos which show us how to live our lives Jewishly and infuse them with holiness. That is the message of the Tablets; whichever way you turn them they can still be read.
This is the joy and celebration of Simchas Torah, that we live the Torah in every facet of our lives.
I often say that if you’re going to take the family to synagogue twice a year; instead of it being Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, make it Simchas Torah and Purim! Show the family the joy of being Jewish!
Wishing you and all the readers a joyous, meaningful Simchas Torah.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Holocaust Museum breaks ground on new facility

Dallas Holocaust Museum breaks ground on new facility

Posted on 12 October 2017 by admin

Aerial Map

By Harriet P. Gross
Special to the TJP

Four-hundred chairs were set up under the huge white tent, soon to be filled by folks who came crowding in an hour or more in advance of the 10 a.m. start time — to have coffee, chat and offer congratulations. The occasion was Tuesday’s dedication ceremony, a celebratory prelude to breaking ground for the forthcoming new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.
The first rows of seats were reserved for the many who had helped make this longtime dream a soon-to-be reality. Among them were 24 of the Dallas/Fort Worth area’s 53 Holocaust survivors, hidden children, and refugees who had escaped in time from the European Jewish hell of World War II. Those  attending were assigned companions to provide transportation and look after their individual charges. Later, they helped pin on each a small golden circlet centered with a torch, symbolic of hope.
The stated theme of the event was “L’Dor V’Dor – From Generation to Generation.” But, not surprisingly, “Upstander” was the most-used word of the day. In recent years, the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance has popularized it in programming and publicity, stressing the power of those who take action in the face of wrongdoing rather than simply being bystanders — those who watch but do nothing.
Mary Pat Higgins, who as president and CEO has led this major expansion effort, gave a brief history of the institution, which began with a 1977 meeting of survivors. Their desire to honor lost family and friends, and the entire 6 million of Hitler’s victims, led to establishment of the first Holocaust Center. Located in the lower level of the Jewish Community Center, it was later moved to the present quarters on Record Street in downtown Dallas.
This location has provided increased visibility and the broadening of its mission, which Higgins called “the heart of what we do: teaching the past in order to understand the present.” Recent attendance stands at 200,000 visitors annually, with 36,000 students touring and learning from docents and survivor speakers.
Because of this emphasis, young people were heavily featured in the day’s program. “Unlimited,” a Skyline High School vocal ensemble, opened the event with the Hebrew Al Shlosha D’Varim and closed it with a rendition of Journey in Peace, while students from Dallas’ Ann Frank Elementary School, identified by their white and blue shirts, aided the survivors and their mentors.
Sarah Terrace, a teacher at South Grand Prairie High School, told how visits to the museum “help to increase each student’s capacity for understanding and courage for Upstander action, both personally and in the community where they live.” Standing beside her was one of her students, Frances Osato Imarhia, who said “It’s one thing to hear about the Holocaust, but another to see the reality. We keep stories of the survivors in our minds and in our hearts, to stand up – not stand by and do nothing.”
Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings echoed the importance of retelling those stories and declared that the new facility “will be good for our whole city, building muscle to help us deal with moments of hate.” He drew generous applause as he presented Higgins with a City Council Proclamation declaring Oct. 10, 2017, as Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Day. But even wilder applause awaited Frank Risch, co-chair of the institution’s Building a Foundation of Hope campaign, when he announced that it has not only reached its $61 million goal, but already exceeded it, and is now well on the way to raising additional funds.
“Four years ago, we started a campaign to triple (the museum’s) current capacity,” he said. “Now we’re heading toward $10 million more, for scholarships, programs, educational resources — always to keep on telling the story. We’ve got to tell the story — it’s more important now than ever.” He too emphasized the “Upstander” theme, stating that “Hatred is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned.”
Board member and major campaign donor Nate Levine, who has recently become a museum docent himself, brought some in the audience to tears and got a standing ovation with a story of Upstanders — three young boys who had opened a boxcar carrying Jews to a death camp, thereby saving 231 lives. And Board Chair Florence Shapiro spoke of growing up with survivor parents who taught her the importance of learning from the past in order to change the future – of being a bridge between the two. “We are all on that bridge,” she said, “from darkness to brightness.”
Such forward-looking hope had been put forth in the day’s Invocation, given by the Most Reverend George Kelly of the Dallas Catholic Diocese. Rabbi David Stern of Temple Emanu-El chose a current holiday metaphor for his closing blessing, likening the day’s big white tent – a fragile, temporary shelter – to the traditional sukkah. After this, he said, “We will build. May our conscience and commitment rise with this new building.”
Two of those who have a most direct involvement with the building-to-be attended the days’s event: Julie Chesledon and Norm Scrivner represented Pacific Studio of Seattle, Washington, where they are now at work designing 22 Holocaust and Human Rights exhibits for the planned Museum as it approaches the start of construction.
Everyone enjoyed a light brunch before leaving that tent, which for this dedication ceremony occupied much of  the former parking lot where the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum will stand. The actual groundbreaking took place after the tent was removed; the new structure is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here