Archive | February, 2018

Zaidy was a hero in the 1918 flu epidemic

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

The current flu epidemic has hit us exactly 100 years after the one that decimated the world’s population following World War I. Then, it killed millions around the globe, and at least 670,000 here in the United States.
Virtually everyone alive today is either too young or too old to have individual, personal memories of that tragic time. My own uncle, who recently turned 95, was a toddler then, born after the misery as the next-to-youngest member of a very large Jewish family, of which there were many in those “olden days.” Among those families, there also were many that experienced at least one personal loss.
The great “they” theorize that a single sailor in the U.S. Navy, returning to shore after overseas duty, brought the flu home with him. But in the long run, while its origin is a matter of interest and some debate, it’s of less importance than the devastation it caused. We who live today were not even born then, or were immature enough to be fully aware, but many families carry sad memories of those lost ones to this very day. My own family is one of them.
I was born many years after the great epidemic, so I never knew my Aunt Ida. My mother was the oldest of 12 siblings; this sister was her family’s third, but first to die. As I learned over the years from many relatives (not just my mother), Ida was taken to a hospital — overcrowded, as all hospitals were at that time — so as not to infect other members of the family.
I know Ida’s basic, important dates because my Zaidy kept birth records on the back of my Boubby the Philosopher’s ketubah. She was on the list of the dozen as born on March 14, 1909; he also recorded her death date as October 24, 1918. A 9-year-old, doomed in the plague’s very first year, when the hospitals were already filled with the dying — and the dead…
When he got word of Ida’s passing, Zaidy went immediately to the hospital himself, to pick up her body for burial. But there was no time then, and not enough funeral professionals, to carry out all the pre-interment rituals we Jews think of as essential today. Tahara — the washing and dressing of the body — was suspended for the duration. Families were on their own…
When Zaidy arrived to take his daughter to the cemetery, he saw a dead baby boy lying next to her. Whose child was that? He wanted to know. But nobody knew. So many people had come in so quickly that the skeleton staff still on duty could only assume this little child had been brought in with, or perhaps by, a parent — or maybe even both parents — who had also subsequently passed away. Not a soul had even asked about him, much less come to claim him. So, my Zaidy did what he thought was right under those strange circumstances: He took that tiny body to bury with his own daughter. And he did.
There were no gravediggers then. There were only makeshift coffins of a sort. My Zaidy was physically strong, but I have no idea how he, or anyone else, could have been strong enough mentally or psychologically at the time to do what he did: He dug the grave himself, burying Ida and the unknown baby along with her.
So, every year, on the date of Ida’s yahrzeit, we say Kaddish not just for her, but also for that unclaimed little boy whose identity was never discovered.
This year’s flu is of epidemic proportions, but now we have better methods of preventing it, treating it, even curing it; our medical knowledge is much more advanced and personnel much better able to handle its victims — including those who must die. But circumstances were tragically different then, when my Zaidy became a hero — one known, however, only by his own family.

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Ahavath Sholom, FWISD reach agreement

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

As expected, members of Congregation Ahavath Sholom, on Sunday, overwhelmingly approved the sale of its vacant parcel of land, a little more than 6 acres, to the Fort Worth Independent School District. The FWISD Board of Education approved the land purchase at its Tuesday evening meeting on a 5-0 vote even though several members were out sick. The trustees authorized Superintendent Kent Scribner to execute a contract with Ahavath Sholom soon. The land will also need platting approval from the City of Fort Worth.

The land will be used “as the future home of a new elementary school to provide overcrowding relief at nearby Tanglewood Elementary,” a FWISD release said Tuesday.

“From the very beginning, we had hoped to arrive at a fair resolution that is amicable to all parties,” said Scribner. “We are pleased for our children that this agreement provides a path for us to move forward with our design and construction plans.”

The sale price of the property is $6.8 million.

“The synagogue was happy with the school’s offer and the Fort Worth Independent School District did give a fair value,” explained Ahavath Shalom board member Steven Brown, an attorney who spearheaded the negotiations for the synagogue.

Three weeks ago, it looked like the synagogue would move forward with a lucrative deal with 4050 Hulen Partners, which wanted to build an upscale retirement community on the property. However, the interests of what was best for Fort Worth, its children and everyone involved prevailed, Brown said. He reiterated many times that everyone was pleased that Ahavath Sholom and the FWISD were able to come to terms.

“We will all be good neighbors,” Brown explained. “This school is right in the middle of all of the churches. The churches have been there for a long time. So, the setting of the school in the middle of all of the religious organizations is quite unique.”

Co-chairs Rhoda Bernstein and Murray Cohen, Marvin Beleck and Naomi Rosenfield joined Brown on the Focus on the Future Committee that worked on the issue for the past 1½ years.

“It was a real team effort,” Brown said, “And, we finally brought it to fruition.”

Elliott Garsek and Ahavath Shalom Rabbi Andrew Bloom were other key members of the team.

Garsek and his law firm Barlow Garsek & Simon were instrumental to the negotiations, serving as consultants and representing Ahavath Sholom throughout the process, Brown said. Garsek’s roots at the synagogue run deep. He grew up there, and his father, Rabbi Isadore Garsek, served as Ahavath Sholom’s spiritual leader from 1946 to 1979 and as rabbi emeritus until his death in 1985.

Bloom’s involvement with Mayor Betsy Price’s Faith Based Cabinet, Compassionate Fort Worth, Read2Win at Westcliff and the Task Force on Race and Culture, which he co-chairs, also helped.

Bloom’s passion for making Fort Worth a better place for all people and the relationships he’s built across the city demonstrated Ahavath Sholom’s goodwill in action, Brown said.

The rabbi tipped his kippah to Price.

“The mayor was a tremendous help in facilitating the betterment of the synagogue, the school board and the community,” Bloom said. “She saw that partnership and the continuing partnership of the synagogue, city and school board with tremendous vision, and she was willing to see where it would go together. She understood how to make it tremendously beneficial for all of us.”

Bloom said he is looking forward to the synagogue looking inward and assessing where it needs to go from here with the proceeds from the land sale.

“The next steps are for us to send out RFPs and get advice on whether or not it makes sense to renovate or rebuild,” Focus on the Future Committee Co-chair Bernstein said. She explained that there has been a strategic plan in place for the building, with Rebecca and Stuart Isgur chairing that committee.

Though it will have the proceeds from the sale of the land, the synagogue will most likely have to have some kind of capital campaign to raise the balance.

“It’s an exciting time,” Bernstein said. “Hopefully this will be an exciting process that everyone in the congregation can get behind. We do not have time restraints. We to take the time to make it happen and to do it right.”

One person who has wanted some change for the building for many years is Bernstein’s 99-year-old father, Lou Barnett, a past Ahavath Sholom president. Bernstein said that even five or six years ago, her father was talking about the synagogue doing something with its vacant land.

“Dad is one of the very few of his generation who is still with us. He’s been wanting to see this happen and had the vision long before Murray and I started working to make it reality three years ago.”

Bloom said it may have been fortuitous that the timing of the deal coincided with Parashat Shekalim.

“In the Torah this past weekend, we read about the half shekel and how each person complements each other to make it a full shekel,” Bloom said. “The school board, the city and ourselves are all complementing each other, and in the end, it works out for the betterment of everyone.”

 

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Beth Torah names Robyn Rose Torah Fund Honoree

Beth Torah names Robyn Rose Torah Fund Honoree

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
from submitted reports

Robyn Rose has been named this year’s Torah Fund Honoree by the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Torah. Her choice as the 25th annual awardee marks double milestones for the annual event of 2018: It’s the first time two family members have received this award — and the other is Robyn’s mother, Esther Cohen, the first woman ever to be so honored!
As Robyn receives her well-deserved applause, there will also be special recognition of Esther, who stood in that same place when the event made its debut back in 1994. Both have outstanding histories of service to Sisterhood and the Congregation.
The Cohen family moved from Montreal to San Antonio for husband and father Nat’s job relocation in 1979, moving again to Plano in 1984, and immediately becoming active at Beth Torah. Nat is a past president of the Congregation; Esther founded and directed its first preschool, and has shared the Sisterhood presidency with her daughter for the past three years. Both women have also served long terms on the Beth Torah Board.
While excelling in speech and debate at Plano Senior High, Robyn was also Beth Torah’s United Synagogue Youth president, and then was active in Hillel at Emory University. After returning to Dallas with a business management degree, she worked in sales for a hotel company and continued her synagogue involvement as its BBYO advisor and founder of a young singles’ social group. She later earned her MBA at UT/Austin, where she wrote the business plan for the Greater Austin Sports Foundation. And she was granted a “pay-per-call” advertising patent 10 years ago!
Coming back again to Dallas, Robyn was in marketing with Verizon when she spearheaded a major singles’ event for the JCC. But it wasn’t there that she met her future husband: That happened “on a blind date,” she says, “set up by his grandmother and an old friend of my family. Both women were living in the same San Antonio retirement home!” After marriage to Hunter Rose, she founded a young couples club at Beth Torah. Today, Hunter is active in its Men’s Club, co-fielding a team in the annual Kosher Barbecue Competition and working on the event’s publicity.
Son Dylan, born in 2003, became a bar mitzvah at Beth Torah; younger daughter Ilana is now anticipating her bat mitzvah there. Both are active in the synagogue’s youth programs, Dylan in USY, Ilana in Kadima, and in the shul’s Learning Center. Dylan attends Plano ISD Academy High School, Ilana is at Schimelpfenig Middle School, and their father advises on communications and websites for both.
The Roses live in Plano and have two area Ben and Jerry’s; Robyn also consults with businesses, advising on communications, internet marketing, website building and on-line advertising. Together, the family enjoys murder mysteries, board games, vacation travel, and their two dogs: Shihtzu “Matzah” and Maltipoo “Dreidel.”
This year’s Beth Torah Sisterhood Torah Fund Luncheon (milchig) will begin at noon on Sunday, March 4, at the Crowne Plaza, 14315 Midway Road, Addison. Cost to attend is $40 per person, plus an $18 minimum deductible contribution to the Torah Fund, which supports, through the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism, five programs for the training of rabbis and Jewish educators at institutions in New York, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, and Potsdam, Germany. Donations at levels of $180 (Benefactor) and $200 (Guardian) also cover luncheon costs for family members.
Following long tradition, last year’s Torah Fund Honoree, Stacey Clark, is in charge of this year’s event; all past Honorees make up her committee. For further information and reservations, contact Torah Fund Chair Elaine Scharf, 972-307-3521, ebscharf@verizon.net.

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Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

“My name is Moniek Glauben. Glauben means ‘believe’ and that is what I held on to for so many years,” said Max Glauben, who celebrated his 90th birthday last month. His age only a number, Glauben celebrated in a most millennial manner, hosting a “Max’s Birthday Fundraiser” social media campaign to support his Max Glauben Holocaust Educational Foundation.
At press time, $1,146 had been raised in only a couple of weeks. “I want people to believe in something, hopefully in themselves,” he said, “because then you have something to hold on to.”
Glauben was just 10 when World War II started. At 13, he was sent on a boxcar to Majdanek and then to Budzyn, Mielec, Wieliczka and Flossenburg before being liberated by a Jewish soldier while on a death march to Dachau. Glauben lost most of his family during the war — except for two aunts that he found, in the United States, more than 40 years later.
“I’ll never say no to speaking because I want to honor and respect my family,” said Glauben, who served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War before making Dallas his home. “When we were together in the ghetto, as horrible as it was, we could hold each other. In the camps, there was no one. I speak for my parents, Faiga and Isaac, my brother, Heniek, and the rest of the 6,000,000 Jews and the 5,000,000 non-Jews. They have no voice. Myself and the other survivors are their voices.”
Glauben’s family is extended now to four generations — he and his wife, Frieda, members of Congregation Shearith Israel, who have been married for almost 65 years, are the parents of Barry (Michelle), Phillip (Linda) and Shari (Norm) Becker; the grandparents of Alec (Ellen), Blake, Delaney, Hayley, Madison, Ross (Stacey) and Sarah (Brett); and the great-grandparents of Natalie Golman.
Glauben has logged thousands of miles telling his story. The lifetime board member of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance speaks there regularly, and also to organizations, synagogues, churches and schools around the city, state and beyond. On Jan. 26, he spoke at Hutto High School near Austin for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, and the March of the Living are among organizations reaping the benefits of Glauben’s foundation through his lecture honorariums and the sale of Plagues of the Soul: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Max Glauben, a documentary. With no employees and no overhead or expenses (other than tax preparation), the foundation receives 100 percent of all donations. Glauben does not want to earn anything from his story.
“Max has dedicated his life to illustrating the horrors of his experiences in a way that inspires inclusivity and tolerance,” said Lisa Siegel, who made a birthday donation. “His foundation is based on these principles which have been the centerpiece of his life and will ensure that his stories continue to be told as only he can tell them — with humanity, compassion, and the sparkle in his eye that draws us in.”
Her family’s donation was a token of their respect and love for Glauben.
“Max has been a gift to our family, sharing the most special of moments in our children’s lives,” Siegel said. “He was there when Rachel and Evan participated in the March of the Living, and he and Evan share a birthday. We’re fortunate to call him our friend.”
Glauben has chaperoned March of the Living Dallas, to Poland and Israel, 12 times since 2005, the first time he returned to Poland in 60 years.
“Standing at Auschwitz — the ovens, ashes and the barracks — they can’t talk. I can, and I must tell my stories and of those no longer able. When we stand near thousands of pounds of human ashes, I’m thankful to be alive and I say Kaddish,” said Glauben, whose experiences include visits to 38 Mila St., his childhood home in the former Warsaw Ghetto. “You can talk about the Holocaust and learn from what’s in museums, but it’s like watching a play without scenery. The March of the Living fills in the scenery.”
“Not only does Max give of himself physically and emotionally but his generous support has allowed several students to experience the trip in this life changing journey,” said Pam Hochster Fine, March of the Living’s Dallas director. “Without his help, and that of others, many students would not have this meaningful and lasting opportunity.”
Glauben has remained close to many of the marchers, and he believes the experience is lasting. “The love for their heritage and the respect they have for their Judaism is strong,” he said. “They’re proof the devil didn’t accomplish what he planned. I hope those I help will someday, when they have careers and families, give money and time to share themselves.”
Often asked if he feels hate, Glauben said “Hating eats on a person and doesn’t allow us to function. I came to this country as an orphan and people provided for me, and Hashem and angels and the souls of my departed family guided me. I’ve learned to forgive, but we must never forget.”
To donate to the Max Glauben Holocaust Educational Foundation, visit bit.ly/2BkN6a8 or email moniekg@aol.com.

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The month of Adar is the time for us to learn how to increase happiness

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

Each new month in the Jewish yearly cycle brings a unique energy, opportunity for growth and responsibility. This week we entered a new month called Adar.
Aside from the obvious association with the holiday of Purim and all the festive vigor that surrounds it, there is a flavor that immediately strikes at the onset, as expressed in the Talmud (Taanit 29a): “When Adar arrives, we increase in simcha (happiness).” We find similar biblical commands saying, e.g., “you shall rejoice in your festival (Deuteronomy 16:14)” — there are joyous dates on the calendar, but none of them affect the entire month.
When looking at the Torah, a clear, action-related directive makes sense. Instructions to experience specific emotions are more puzzling. In the famous daily declaration of the Shema, for example, we encounter the verse “You should love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all your soul and with all your might.” Telling someone what to experience seems like a vain instruction — either you feel it or you don’t.
Dealing with this famous dilemma regarding love, the commentaries explain that properly fulfilling the first verse — “Hear, O Israel” (mindful meditation on the pervading oneness of the Creator, within all details of the universe and beyond) — will automatically lead to the following verses, arousing a sense of closeness. But what about telling someone to be happy (and, furthermore, increasing that feeling)?
Simcha versus ‘being happy’
The ongoing quest for happiness in our lives has never been so widely discussed. During more difficult periods in history, people just plowed forward; minds were more occupied with simply surviving. Today, in the age of the millennials, with all freedoms, privileges, efficiency, spare time and luxuries, there seems to be more awareness of this inner void, which can create an obsession with finding purpose and how to achieve happiness in our life. Speakers and books on the topic are in high demand.
Before getting into how to increase in happiness, let’s first examine this discrete emotion — simcha. The intent here, in a short piece, is not to offer a superficial definition or recipe, but to explore the emotion as it appears in Jewish literature.
While pop culture offers step-by step recipes, “The Five Stages of Happiness,” the actual emotion of simcha may be less contrived, more natural and simple. Culturally, it’s often expressed in spontaneous dancing, singing, drinking, eating and the continuum of celebrations in Jewish life.
From Jewish perspective, happiness is a necessity, but not a mitzvah per se. To be sure, there are famous statements and songs like “serve Hashem with simcha,” but Jewish joy, positivity and gratitude are set components of daily life, a must-have if you want to have a successful spiritual life.
There is a simple gratitude that begins immediately upon awakening — “Modeh ani lefanecha” — the short phrase uttered immediately as we open our eyes each morning. As we shift from dream state into consciousness, sensing our soul re-invigorating the body. It’s a humble gratefulness for receiving life — experiencing the start of the day like a newborn baby entering the world. Then, as we move through the day, our mental faculties more alive, we can experience a gratitude born of reflection — e.g., the wonderment of the underlying intricacy and harmony in the human body, realizing how every organ must function perfectly, just for us to breathe, walk around and digest.
But the feeling of gratitude is not simcha, though it can definitely open the door for that emotion to evolve. Put differently, gratitude and peacefulness are more like calm water; they are reflective sensations. Eastern philosophies and popular guides preach techniques that create this inner calmness. The person seems to be wise, controlled and at ease in a turbulent world. But is that happiness? True happiness is more like igniting a fire inside, an electric energy, aliveness as the soul springs up and expands inside us. It doesn’t give clever answers to hypnotized listeners — but it heals them.
Happiness can be hard work
That definition of joy may not be as easy to picture, or as appealing. People often only want a warm bath to stop the soul from shivering. This superficial notion of “happiness” or tranquility is more like an attempt to soothe the chaotic self, covering struggle with a soft, smooth energy, like a spiritual sedative marketed with a nice smile. Simcha is something else entirely. It often requires focused strength and toil, effort that other paths may not require.
There seems to be an inherent clawing and agitation in Judaism, that actualization of self and world which is inherent in our mission statement. Hasidic sources view happiness more like a prerequisite for divine connection, a battle tool against the inner opponent that seeks to weaken and distract us from our purpose, rather than a pleasurable drug, or an end in itself. It’s not enough just to “be,” or to make a list of what you’re grateful for. Simcha is of a different anatomy — our war on complacency — where happiness and status quo are mortal enemies.
There is a certain fight of the spirit than comes after battling darkness, bursting through concealments to connect with God regardless of surrounding circumstances. (This form of joy, a light shining from darkness, is connected to Purim.) The culmination of joy in this month is a perfect dialogue between soul and body. Usually, the emphasis on eating is a most base instinctive desire, a lack of refinement that pulls one away from spiritual sensitivity. But on Purim, the two opposites merge: The body celebrates the soul’s victory.
Takeaway
The feeling of simcha that permeates this entire month may be general and undefined — unlike the day of Sukkot, or celebration of freedom during Passover. The upshot is that everyone must ask themselves, since now is the season of happiness, how do I increase it?
For some, it may be studying extra subjects in Torah that are particularly uplifting. For others, this may mean treating themselves to a certain pleasure that they don’t normally have an opportunity to embrace. Or, they give extra effort to be in a better mood for the sake of the environment, such as making others smile. But the simple awareness of this time period means that we have to position ourselves to dig within to find that increase in joy.
Rabbi Dan Lewin is the director of the nonprofit Maayan Chai Foundation. He hosts the Sinai Cafe, a series of weekly Torah study at the Aaron Family JCC and in the community. For more information visit www.maayanchai.org.

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Saving lives: turning the tide of teen suicide

Saving lives: turning the tide of teen suicide

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

To save a life is to save the world, says the Talmud, and an upcoming symposium on teen suicide will share how everyone can help save lives.
“13 Reasons Why NOT — Turning the Tide of Teen Suicide Through Positive Mental Health” will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, and is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education (CJE) and Jewish Family Service.
High school and college students, parents and family members, educators, practitioners, youth directors and advisors, rabbis, and community leaders are invited to the free event, which requires advance registration.
“Teen suicide and suicide in general has touched our community, and it’s touched hard — the only way it can,” said CJE Executive Director Meyer Denn. “Our youth directors asked for help and we responded, hoping the community will absorb all our experts will share.”
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports 44,965 completed suicides each year — 123 suicides per day — in the United States, though it estimates a higher number.
“The web is wide, and between our mission of education and JFS’ mental health expertise, this will be a significant afternoon. We adults need to learn to listen and our children need to learn to talk,” Denn said. “It’s emotional, but I know everyone will leave surer and more settled.”
After speaking with Efrem Epstein, founder of Elijah’s Journey, which focused on pikuach nefesh (saving lives), Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying G-d’s name) and simcha (happiness), Denn knew it was clear that his idea of youth and adults learning together hadn’t been done — but was necessary.
“Education is primary in society, but we don’t teach coping skills or cultivate resiliency. Our children and our adults need to know they can talk to those around them,” said Josh Rivedal, an actor, author and founder of The i’Mpossible Project and Changing Minds, who will present the keynote to start the symposium. “This program isn’t therapy or judgment; I promise laughter and smiles. I’ve been in crisis and I believe no one is beyond saving.”
Rivedal’s keynote will be “Kicking My Blue Genes to the Curb,” his 15-character, seven-song one-man show that ends with his father’s suicide. The comedic, yet poignant, true story is designed to create an emotional connection between attendees and send the message that suicide is preventable.
Afterward will be a question-and-answer period regarding everything from signs and symptoms of depression and suicide, to how to help oneself or a friend.
Then will come separate tracks for teens and college students, and adults. No adults except JFS clinicians will be allowed in the student workshops.
Rivedal will present two sessions for the student track:
“How to Make Lemons into Lemonade” is an interactive workshop based on the story of his mental health and how developing coping skills saved his life. This program is designed to help students eliminate unhealthy coping skills, prepare for change and avoid burnout.
“How to Live Mentally Well and Crush It in High School and College” presentation will help students develop empathy, self-compassion and healthy habits, teach how to unstick when stuck, deal with reframing failure, inform about entering the job market and more.
Yeshiva University Dean of Students Chaim Nissel will address adults during the breakout sessions.
“We’re doing gatekeeper training to recognize who may have such thoughts but won’t typically ask for help,” said Nissel, who is also with the American Association of Suicidology. “Anyone can be a gatekeeper. Each of us has the chance to give the sense that life has meaning. If this isn’t in your home, it may be next door or down the street.”
Nissel’s conversation of “Keeping Families Safe” is meant to help participants better understand suicide and the risk factors. Participants will learn to recognize verbal and behavioral clues of suicide and how to respond to suicidal statements. He will also exploring common myths of suicide and discuss strategies to prevent suicide attempts and completions.
Joining Nissel will be:
JFS’ Ariela Goldstein, leading “You’re Only Human: How Life’s Traumas Impact Suicide in the Family.”
Janet Henson, who will present “Lost In Translation: How to Communicate With Your Child about Important Life Choices Including Suicide.”
Dr. Mike Ligocki, speaking on “Mean Girls (and Boys): Bullying and Its Impact on Suicide.”
Yolanda Swope, who will discuss “When Bad Things Happen to Good People — Factors that Contribute to Teen Suicide.”
“Our kids go through much and the number of completed suicides by teens is growing — growing in our community — this isn’t ‘somewhere else,’” Henson said. “Being able to answer ‘what do I do when I have this thought,’ or ‘how do I help my friend,’ and ‘who do I call,’ before a ‘moment,’ is critical.”
Nissel will also lead a morning section for clinicians, which is Continuing Education-credit eligible, and a midday section for rabbinical leadership.
Nissel will conduct the closing session to the entire group: “Saving One Life — Saving the Whole World,” designed to further reduce stigma associated with suicide and mental illness, and review the importance of social and familial support with the goal of creating better support networks for those in need.
The program is sponsored by Dallas Jewish Women International, David and Lorraine Hoppenstein Charitable Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, Helen and Frank Risch, and the Schultz Family Foundation. Several other Jewish community organizations and schools are serving as partners.
“We’ve used television to
babysit, social media to get information, and we fight back rather than dialogue, becoming a reactive rather than proactive society,” said CJE Program Coordinator Karen Schlosberg. “We need this information because it does take a village, the whole village. Dallas is an incredible village, and on this day we’ll become a greater one.”
“I believe that everyone should attend and that everyone who does, will learn something, will grow and will care,” Nissel said. “That’s what we Jews do. That’s what humans do.”
Visit jewishdallas.org/cje/whynot to register for this free event or call Karen Schlosberg at 214-239-7131 for more information.

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Courage is more than physical strength

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

Dear Families,
The Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center at the Aaron Family JCC celebrates a different Jewish value each month. Not only are each of our values important ones, but they also help us learn how we should act and connect us with our history.
Our value for this month is “courage — ometz lev.” The most interesting thing about the Hebrew phrase is that it translates as “strength of heart.” It is not just about being strong in a physical way but doing the right thing when it is hard. More than that, it is also about doing something new and different.
Here are a few sections from an article titled “Giving Ourselves Permission to Take Risks” by Elizabeth Jones. The article was written primarily for early childhood, but it is really a message for all of us.
“Courage, as we’ve learned from the Cowardly Lion (from The Wizard of Oz), is a virtue that is hard to sustain. New experiences are often scary; we don’t know what will happen next or what we should do. Yet all new learning involves risk. We learn by doing — and by thinking about the past and the future.
“Risk is inevitable; it’s a requirement for survival. The challenge is to name it, practice it, enjoy the rush of mastery and bear the pain when pain is the outcome.
“A child who climbs may fall. But a child who never climbs is at much greater risk. Fall surfaces under climbers aren’t there to prevent falls, only to make them less hard. And hugging doesn’t make the pain go away, but it does make it more bearable.”
We chose this value as we get ready for Purim. We go beyond the great fun of the holiday with dressing up, giving gifts and tzedakah, plus telling the story to much noise of our graggers. There is the important message of “ometz lev — courage” that Queen Esther must display.
Having courage does not mean that you are not afraid, but that you must step up and do the right thing (and sometimes the scary thing) even when you are afraid. As you plan your costume and your gifts, think about doing something that scares you — it will help you grow.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

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UT Chabad House connects students to Judaism

UT Chabad House connects students to Judaism

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

For University of Texas at Austin students away from home for holiday time, or those who just want a place to hang out and enjoy a Shabbat dinner, Chabad House is the place to go.
The Johnson family has been celebrating its 10th anniversary running the UT Chabad House. The combination of this with the relaunch of several student boards, an expanded staff and an influx of new students interested in Chabad’s program, has brought an exciting energy to Chabad.
“Despite how large the organization is, people really connect with it as their home,” said Zev Johnson, the rabbi of the UT Chabad House.
The new energy has resulted in some historically high turnout at Chabad last semester. For the first night of Rosh Hashanah, Chabad hosted 220 students, the most ever. Chabad also made sure another 360 heard the shofar blasts in various dorms, Greek houses and in the streets of Austin. In total, Chabad created about 755 holiday experiences.
“I enjoyed celebrating the New Year with the Johnson family, along with my new sisters and friends at Rosh Hashanah services and meals,” freshman Nikki Nissan said. “It was truly impactful when those around me shared their perspectives on what Rosh Hashanah is all about and their wishes for the new year.”
Chabad also offers students a place to come for Shabbat. Student organizations are often involved with planning Shabbat dinners, giving them opportunities to be leaders in the community. For example, Alpha Epsilon Phi members organize Pink Shabbat, which brings awareness to breast cancer.
“(Pink Shabbat) helps me feel like I’m not alone and that everyone is supportive of one another,” said Morgan Chapman, a junior AEPhi member from Dallas.
Students can also connect to their Judaism by learning more about it through the Sinai Scholars Society. Every week, students attend a class, where they study a different topic.
One senior student from Dallas, Adam Steinbrecher, said he joined to learn more about Jewish law.
“My impression thus far is the forum has served as a platform to deal with real world issues and understand different viewpoints,” Steinbrecher said. “Rabbi Zev’s leadership is instrumental to the learning process because he challenges the class to engage and debate the issues with each other, rather than immediately supplying the textbook answer.”
For students who want tikkun olam opportunities, Chabad offers volunteer programs. This includes the TLC program, where students can help deliver matzah ball soup to sick students, as well as Loaves of Love, where students bake challah for senior citizens in the Austin community.
Last semester, Chabad gave students a chance to help with hurricane relief in Houston. On Sept. 3, Chabad took nearly 60 students and recent alumni to Houston, where they cleared out destroyed homes and organized supplies at shelters.
“I went because one of my friends (involved in ZBT and Chabad) told me about it, and it sounded like a good way to give back to the community,” freshman Alex Herschmann said. “What was most meaningful was seeing the sense of community even in times of tragedy.”

— Submitted by
Saelah Maya Zighelboim

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J to host Fiddler Family Sing-Along Feb. 19

J to host Fiddler Family Sing-Along Feb. 19

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
from submitted reports

 

 

Since 1964, Fiddler on the Roof has left audiences singing some of its most memorable songs including Matchmaker, Matchmaker and Sunrise, Sunset. On Monday, Feb. 19, the whole family is invited to The J for a free sing-along to this iconic movie musical. The event is a precursor to the J Performing Art Space (JPAS) production of Fiddler on the Roof JR. featuring two different casts of children and young adults ages 6 to 18 years old running March 8-25.
The Fiddler on the Roof Sing-Along will be held 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19, at The J, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. The film begins at 5:15 p.m. and lyrics will be subtitled on the screen. Admission is free and light dinner fare from Kosher Fresh will be provided, however, RSVP is required at http://bit.ly/2ssETOn to ensure space.
Fiddler on the Roof JR. is a witty and poignant tale about the struggle of one father to maintain his religious convictions in the face of a changing world with the help of his family and five daughters. Central themes in Fiddler on the Roof JR. revolve around traditional ways being shaken by new thinking, longstanding beliefs being challenged by young minds and families needing to decide between acceptance and rejection. These are the same issues that are challenging our world today. It’s a current reminder of today’s times and how each and every one of us are affected in some way or another, no matter our religion or ethnic background.
“At its core, Fiddler is about tradition and how tradition shapes our families and our lives,” said Alise Robinson, director of The J Performing Arts Space. “It is a story that captures the essential human longing for love, community, success, freedom, family and meaning.”
Fiddler on the Roof JR. will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8; at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 10; at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11; at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 22; and at 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in Zale Auditorium. Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for children and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/2BuFBxE.

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Though it tries to deny: a historical perspective on Poland’s Holocaust guilt

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

Poland has been in the news lately, denying that it was responsible for the Holocaust.
Some years ago, my wife, Deanna, and I took a trip to Central Europe, which included a trip to Auschwitz.
As we walked from room to room, we gaped at the stacks of prisoners’ shoes, eyeglasses, and other personal items that were displayed.
Photographs of victims were hung on the walls. We saw the ovens, yet at no time did the Polish guide use the word “Jew” to describe the victims.
As she was about to leave us, I had to ask, “Weren’t these Jews that were killed?” “They were Polish…Some were Polish Jews. Many were Polish political prisoners,” she brushed us off.
In reality, we know that almost all the victims were Jewish.
We also know that the Polish government’s officials and citizens were complicit in the roundup, capture and transport of local Jewish inhabitants in order to gain favor with their Nazi invaders.
Many tens of thousands of Polish citizens collaborated with the Nazis, burning a barn-full of 1,500 Jews in Jedwabne, spying on and betraying hiding places of others in order to be rewarded by the Nazis.
Even after the Holocaust camps’ liberation, when some Jews attempted to return home, many were attacked, causing some to migrate to Israel.
Yes, many Poles were involved in the attacks and the killings of Jews, but there were also Poles who hid and rescued Jews at the risk of their own lives.
Yad Vashem in Israel has memorialized those Polish Gentiles for their attempts to save Polish Jews.
This past summer, while President Trump was in Europe, he had an opportunity to try to dissuade the Polish president from pushing for a new law that makes it illegal to blame Poland for any aspect of the Holocaust, but he failed to do so.
Poland’s Holocaust Denial Law threatens three years in prison for anyone accusing Poland of being responsible for the Holocaust.

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