Archive | July, 2018

Moses’ memory tricked him at the wilderness

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Memory can be a tricky thing. I know that when I recall past events, I don’t always get all the details correct. Sometimes I don’t manage to get any of the details correct.
It’s like that song from Gigi (if I remember correctly), where two of the characters are reminiscing back and forth: “We met at 9. We met at 8. I was on time. No, you were late. Ah, yes, I remember it well.” The emotional memory was strong and accurate, even if the details were completely off. And that’s what makes memory so tricky because we might vividly remember how we felt, even though we don’t recall an accurate memory of events as they occurred.
This week, we start the fifth and final book in the Torah, Devarim, which is conveniently the name of both the book and the portion. The entire book is Moses’ recollection and final charge to the Israelites whom he has led for the past 40 years. There we were about to cross over the Jordan River, and Moses was preparing for his own death. So, Moses began to recount the events that led them to that moment in our history and leave final instructions for our own benefit and relationship with God.
But this is where the tricky memory part comes in. In recounting how the 12 spies entered the Land of Israel to scout out the land, Moses blames the People of Israel for him not being allowed to enter the Land (Deuteronomy 1:37): “Because of you the Eternal was incensed with me too, and God said: ‘You shall not enter it either.’” Oh, yes, Moses remembered it well, if not accurately.
In actual fact, it wasn’t until sometime later, after the incident with the spies (see Numbers Chapters 13 and 14) and when they had arrived at the wilderness of Kadesh (see Numbers Chapter 20), that Moses is barred from entering the Land of Israel. Famously, Moses strikes the rock to bring out water for a thirsty and complaining people, instead of invoking God’s name to bring out water. And in response? (Numbers 20:12) “But the Eternal said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My sanctity in the sight of the Israelite people, therefore you shall not lead this congregation into the land that I have given them.’”
What an emotional blow it must have been to Moses that he had led the People of Israel for all that time, only to lose his temper and lose his chance to make it to the Promised Land. I understand and empathize with the emotional memory that they had provoked him and it was their provocation that made Moses miss out. But that wasn’t was really happened.
It is important, vital even, to remember where we have come from before we are able to move forward. It is equally important that our memories be as accurate as possible to the actual event. When we argue with each other about past events, it’s quite possible that both sides are experiencing completely accurate memories of how they felt, while simultaneously remembering the actual event differently. We might perfectly recall our feelings, while conflating them onto inaccurate recollections of events. After all, memory is a tricky thing.
Rabbi Benjamin D. Sternman is the spiritual leader of Adat Chaverim in Plano.

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Be fair and do the right thing

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Dear Families,
To create a better world, we need fairness or justice. Sometimes, it seems as if things just aren’t fair for everyone. We need a world in which people are judged equally and have the same opportunities. This is not something we can do alone, but it is something we can achieve together. Sometimes, it means standing up for what is right even if that is difficult.
Text of the Week
Yehoshua ben Perachyah says, “Make a teacher for yourself; acquire a friend for yourself; and judge everyone favorably. —Pirkei Avot 1:6
• Why do we need a teacher? The harder question that the mishnah advises is about “making” a teacher for yourself. What does that mean?
• Friends are important in life. How do we get friends? What does it mean to be a friend? The mishnah in Hebrew actually says to “buy” a friend? Why would the rabbi suggest that?
•Judging everyone favorably is what our value of the week is all about. Why is it hard to judge people fairly? Why do we judge others at all?
• The three parts of the mishnah combine to tell us something important. Why put these three ideas together? How do they help us make a better world?
Value of the Week
Fairness (Mishpat)
Fairness and justice are ideas that are hard to understand. Justice means that people get what they deserve, and fairness is about it doing the right thing for everyone. Judaism tells us that G-d practices justice but is also merciful. That means that we try to balance doing the just thing in a kind way and understanding the needs of others.
When you are just and fair, you treat each person as an individual. Fairness also means that every person’s rights are protected. We do not want people taken advantage of or treated differently because of their sex, race or religion.
Things to do
• Don’t make a quick judgment — find out the truth and act on it. Think for yourself.
• When you are just, you admit your own mistakes and accept the consequences.
• Stand up for yourself and for others. Don’t let others act like a bully or cheat or lie. This take courage.

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Focus on Diaspora history brings Tisha B’Av to light

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I know the day of Tisha B’Av is coming up soon, but I have never really succeeded in observing it properly because I have a lot of trouble trying to mourn over a temple I never saw or experienced and don’t feel its loss. Is there anything you can give me to hold on to which would add some meaning to someone like me?
Carlie S.
Dear Carlie,
You are referring to the upcoming fast day known as Tisha B’Av, meaning the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. This year the fast will be observed from Saturday night, July 21, and Sunday, the 22nd, until nightfall.
This is the Hebrew date on which numerous calamities have befallen the Jewish people throughout our history, most notably the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem. Each of these destructions opened a period of harsh exile for the Jewish people. The first destruction kicked off the 70-year Babylonian exile; the second began the bitter Roman exile, which continues until today.
The difficulty you are experiencing is, unfortunately, even felt by most observant Jews who, although they may outwardly observe the laws and customs of the day, have much difficulty in truly feeling the sadness and mourning mandated by the spirit of the day. Although there are Jews who are on a very high caliber of piety and scholarship and can truly appreciate the tremendous loss of the Temple and all it stood for, and mourn deeply over its loss, it’s difficult for most of us.
The very laws themselves, when observed properly, actually help a lot in getting into the spirit of the day. Fasting all day (starting Saturday night), sitting on the floor or a low stool until midday, reading from the Book of Lamentations and other dirges, and refraining from joyous activities and music all contribute to the feeling of mourning. The three-week preparation period before the actual fast, especially the minor-mourning customs during that time, serves as an important preparation to set the mood of the day.
The most important thing I find for myself is the focus on the entirety of Diaspora history. It’s not only the Temple itself we mourn over, but all the tragedies that have befallen our people subsequent to and as a result of the Temple destruction and the pursuant Diaspora of our people. The inquisitions, pogroms, blood libels, anti-Semitism at many levels, the unspeakable Holocaust and lately suicide bombings and more, which are all part and parcel with the loss of our lofty state and closeness to God, which we had with the Temple in Jerusalem.
Many of the dirges recited on Tisha B’Av refer to calamities that transpired during these later periods of Jewish history. Most notably two heart-rending dirges were composed by two leading sages of the last generation, reflecting the horrors of the Holocaust.
I, personally, spend much of my time on Tisha B’Av reflecting on and reading about the events and suffering of the Holocaust. I find this brings the day home to the heart in a way we can relate to it.
I also think about, on that day, the terrible “spiritual holocaust” we are presently witnessing before our eyes in America. We’ve lost 2 million Jews from our census charts in the past 20 years. This reflects a loss of 100,000 Jews a year, around 300 a day, for the last 20-30 years. Although this holocaust is happening with beautiful homes and cars rather than concentration camps and crematoria, the net result in loss of Jews to the Jewish people is no less catastrophic.
The more we can expose our fellow Jews in America to the beauty of our heritage and the Torah, we can turn back the present Tisha B’Av. In that merit, may it become a day of rejoicing with our final redemption and return to our Homeland.

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Women in clergy have made gains

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

One evening, I’m sitting at my desk with a list of five items to my right — all potential subjects of future TJP columns. To my left: two clippings from a recent Dallas Morning News.
Many years ago, when I was first offered the opportunity to become a columnist, I sent three samples to my managing editor, who got back to me thusly: “Can you keep this coming, every week, week after week, all year long?” My answer was a writer’s “no-brainer”: “That’s a valid question for an editor. But the columnist’s question is, ‘What should I write about first?’” (And I “columned” for that paper for almost a decade, until I came to Dallas.)
So now, to my right are those five subjects, fighting for me to write about them ASAP. But to my left are the reasons I’ve chosen a different topic for today: one woman who wanted to be a church leader but couldn’t, and another who wanted to be a synagogue leader and could.
Peggy Wehmeyer, a self-identified Evangelical Christian Dallasite, was the first person of either sex ever to be a religion correspondent on national network TV. But that wasn’t the career she’d wanted; her aim was to be a minister, a leader of a church congregation. Her religion, however, would allow her to lead groups of women only, not to influence men. It maintained that a woman’s highest calling came straight from God: Marry and have children.
About that same time, Ellen Lewis — one of the earliest ordained women rabbis, and the first ever to serve a congregation in our area — became Temple Emanu-El’s religious school director. But she also had some pastoral responsibilities, among them making visits to hospitalized Jews who requested them. She returned from such a “deployment” one day, madder than she’d ever been before, because when she had tried to turn her car into the parking lot’s clergy section, the attendant denied her entrance: he insisted that “Women can’t be rabbis.”
Just as Wehmeyer couldn’t be a minister. Her church wouldn’t let her preach to men; it maintained they would “obey” a woman only if they were too weak to do otherwise. Be like Sarah, she was instructed; God told her to listen to Abraham, she was told. (I wonder if the giver of that advice had ever read far enough into the Bible to notice what God said when Sarah urged Abraham to send Ishmael away and he was reluctant to do so: “Listen to her.”)
Wehmeyer is more content now because her own daughter is attending a Christian seminary that prepares women for full ministry. But we Jews have been ahead of that curve, even though some of our own are as reluctant to accept this as are some evangelicals — like the one I recently heard on the radio (I have a pre-set in my car that used to play my favorite music, but it’s now gone to full-time Christian broadcasting; I keep listening, because I learn so much): His “expert” opinion was that a woman can now preach, but not pastor. In other words, she can speak, but she can’t lead.
My second clipping shows the DMN’s recent editorial “thumbs down” to the Richardson church whose minister had circulated his views about “many dangerous ‘isms’” — including Judaism among them. Then, leading many in public opposition to Pastor Sheldon Gibbs III was Elana Zelony — not only an ordained Conservative clergyperson, but the only woman rabbi in North Texas (maybe even in all of Texas) to stand in her very own pulpit. She’s living the life of religious leadership she wanted, as Wehmeyer could not, although her daughter can.
Ages ago, when I was a young woman daring to say out loud that I would like to be a rabbi, I got this advice: “You can marry a rabbi.” Bad idea. But these two recent clippings illustrate changes, both profound and undeniable, in today’s religious leadership.

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Recipes that are great for lovers on Tu B’Av

Recipes that are great for lovers on Tu B’Av

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Photo: Dave Carlin
Chicken Salad Veronique with Avocados

By Tina Wasserman

A good grape harvest in midsummer was cause for celebration in ancient Israel, promising an abundance of fruit to make wine, raisins and sweet syrup for the coming year, as well as the vine leaves to be brined and stuffed with meat, vegetables and rice.
Because the harvest began on the 15th of Av (the fifth month in the Jewish lunar calendar), the celebratory holiday was named Tu B’Av (Tu means 15). In time, the festival also came to celebrate love and its pursuit. The Talmud describes how unmarried girls, rich and poor alike, would dress in plain white clothing and sing and dance under the full moon in the vineyards surrounding Jerusalem (Ta’anit 30b–31a). Many betrothals ensued.
Today, the grape harvest is still celebrated in Israel, and many Israeli couples choose to get married on Tu B’Av for the “luck” it may bestow. Consider it the Jewish Valentine’s Day.
This Tu B’Av (July 26), I hope you spend the day with someone you love and enjoy these recipes that give thanks for the fruit of the vine, as well as pay homage to the No. 1 food of love: chocolate. I’ve thrown in some pretty pink for love, as well.
Chicken Salad Veronique
with Avocados
This cold salad, featuring Israel’s summer bounty, is perfect for a hot summer’s day. French recipes titled Veronique signify the inclusion of grapes. This one is a snap if you ask the deli person to cut the meat into half-inch thick slices (No. 35 on some slicers).

8 ounces cooked chicken or smoked turkey
1½ avocados, ripe but firm
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups seedless red grapes, sliced in half
1 cup mayonnaise, or as needed
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 good pinch of dried summer savory or thyme
1–2 tablespoons sweet vermouth or red wine
Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

1. Cut the chicken into half-inch cubes and transfer to a medium sized bowl.
2. Slice the full avocado into half-inch cubes and place in a small bowl. Add about ¾ of the lime juice. Toss gently to coat the avocado cubes.
3. Mix in the halved grapes with the chicken.
4. Stir the mayonnaise in a small bowl to make it smooth. Add ketchup, savory and sweet vermouth. Mix well to form a smooth sauce.
5. Drain the avocado cubes. Using a rubber spatula, gently toss the avocados with the chicken and grapes.
6. Carefully blend in the mayonnaise mixture so that you don’t break up the avocado chunks.
7. Thinly slice the remaining avocado half, place in another bowl, and coat with the reserved lime juice or any extra residual juice from the drained avocado cubes. When ready to serve, arrange the slices over the top of the prepared salad and sprinkle with toasted almond slices.
Serves 3-4.

Tina’s Tidbits:
•Whenever you’re mixing ingredients that include soft fruits or vegetables, use a rubber spatula; it will prevent the food from being nicked or mashed.
•Although mayonnaise appears smooth from the jar, it is imperative to stir it first before adding any liquids to prevent the mixture from looking curdled.
Wine Jelly and Frosted Grapes
What better way is there to relax on a hot summer’s night than with a cheese board, wine jelly (a wonderfully sweet counterfoil to strong and earthy blue-veined or chevre cheeses) and a good bottle of wine (preferably from the wine country in northern Israel)?

2 cups of red wine (preferably Shiraz or Zinfandel)
4 whole allspice berries
1 3-inch stick of cinnamon
3 cups of sugar
1 3-ounce pouch of liquid fruit pectin

Frosted Grapes
1 lightly beaten egg white (foamy, not in peaks) or ¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1. Combine the wine and spices in a 2-quart saucepan. Heat the wine over medium heat until it is warm but not simmering. Turn off the heat and allow the spiced wine to steep for 30 minutes.
2. Add the sugar and then heat to a rolling boil. Stir constantly for about a minute, until the sugar is totally dissolved.
3. Add the pectin. As soon as the mixture returns to a rolling boil, stir for exactly 1 minute to activate the pectin and then pour the jelly into a clean, 16-ounce glass mold or rectangular dish or two or three 6-ounce ramekins.
4. Cool at room temperature for about a half-hour or until close to room temperature and it begins to solidify.
5. Cover dish(es) loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
6. Unmold the jelly onto a plate and decorate with frosted grapes by tossing the grapes in slightly beaten egg whites or wetting them under water and then rolling them in a small dish with the sugar and then dry them for about 15 minutes or until crusty.
Serves 15-20.

Tina’s Tidbits:
•Keep the sugar-coated grapes in the refrigerator once the sugar has hardened. The same process that keeps your refrigerator “frost-free” also keeps the interior as dry as possible, a necessity on hot, humid summer days.
Hungarian Cherry Soup (Meggy Leves)
Hungarians use sour cream in many recipes because it is readily available. If you would like to make this pareve, you could use soy or coconut creamer.

16-ounce bag frozen sweet cherries with juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1½ cups water
1/3 cup dry red wine (Zinfandel or shiraz would be good)
½ teaspoon almond extract

Habaras (Thickening Mixture)
¾ cup sour cream
3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar, according to taste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. Combine the first seven ingredients in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes until cherries are tender and flavors have combined.
2. Remove 12 cherries and set aside.
3. Pass the cherries and liquid through a food mill to puree. Alternatively, blend the mixture in a blender or in a processor until mixture is fairly smooth. Return pureed cherries to the pan along with the reserved cherries. Re-heat as you make the Habaras.
4. In a 1-quart bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugar and flour together, combining well.
5. Whisk some of the soup into the sour cream to thin it, then add all of the mixture into the pot of soup.
6. Simmer soup for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Serves 4-6.
Tina’s Tidbits:
•Sour cherries (the traditional type for this recipe) are very hard to find. However, the frozen, sweet variety is not that sweet and will adapt in any recipe calling for tart cherries.
•Powdered sugar not only subtly sweetens this soup; it helps thicken it as well because it contains 3 percent cornstarch.
Molten Mocha Cinnamon Chocolate Cookies
How can you talk about love without chocolate? From the beginning of its consumption (when Montezuma was purported to drink 50 cups of chocolate flavored with chili a day to feed his libido) to boxes of chocolates given to lovers, the theobromide in chocolate has wooed many a person to thoughts of love.
These cookies are perfect for summer. Not only can you have them on hand to bake at a moment’s notice, but also transporting these cookies to a summer picnic will slightly warm them up to their original gooeyness.
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon instant espresso
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup semisweet chocolate, either chips or chopped ¼-inch pieces

1. Combine the 10 ounces of chocolate and the butter in a 1-quart glass bowl. Microwave this mixture on high for 1 minute. Stir. Place bowl back and microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove, stir until all chocolate is melted and set aside.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and lemon colored. Add the espresso, cinnamon and vanilla and beat to combine.
4. Add the chocolate mixture to the mixing bowl and beat until all egg mixture is incorporated.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix only until there is no flour visible. Stir in the chopped chocolate or chips. Remove beaters and scrape down sides of bowl. Refrigerate in bowl for 15 minutes.
6. Using a 1-tablespoon portion scoop or a rounded measuring spoon, place dough onto a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.
7. Freeze dough uncovered until very hard. When frozen, remove individual dough balls to a zip-lock freezer bag and freeze until ready to bake.
8. To bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place frozen mounds of dough onto a lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are crisp but very soft to the touch. Cookies will harden a little as they cool.
9. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes if you want them to be hot and gooey; longer if you want them to hold their shape a little better.
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies

Tina’s Tidbits:
• Baked cookies may be refrigerated and then re-heated in a microwave for 20 seconds on high. However, cold, baked cookies are like a cross between a cookie and a truffle and quite delicious.
• Gluten-free flour can easily be substituted for the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

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BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Aaron Family JCC
From left, Dallas BookFest Chair Liz Liener, author Daniel Silva, BookFest producer Rachelle Weiss Crane and Dallas Morning News writer Michael Granberry — here in 2016 — will reunite at 7 p.m. Monday to present Silva’s recently released book The Other Woman. Tickets are available online or at the JCC.

By Deb Silverthorn

The pages of the Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest begin turning with Daniel Silva, in conversation with Dallas Morning News arts writer Michael Granberry, at 7 p.m. Monday at Congregation Shearith Israel.
The Other Woman, the first of the 2018-2019 BookFest, offerings, continues the tale of legendary art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon who serves as the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. The fast-paced, twist-filled modern spy thriller taps into the dangerous mounting tensions between Russia and the West.
The July 17 release takes place in a village in the mountains of Andalusia, where a mysterious Frenchwoman begins work on a dangerous memoir. It is the story of a man she once loved in the Beirut of old, and a child taken from her in treason’s name. Long ago, the KGB inserted a mole into the heart of the West. The mole stands on the doorstep of ultimate power, and Allon is lured into the hunt for the traitor after his most important asset inside Russian intelligence is brutally assassinated. His quest for the truth will lead him backward in time, to the 20th century’s greatest act of treason, and finally to a climax along the banks of the Potomac River.
“My parents Carol and Richard were teachers and readers, and as a child, I fell in love with adventure stories,” said the award-winning Silva, who has had 20 titles reach No. 1 on The New York Times best-sellers list. “I was a well-read child, and the blend of literary and commercial technique I enjoyed are definitely influences that have come into my books.
“I am a student of Russian and Soviet history and I love writing about this new cold war in which we find ourselves. Given the events of the last few months in Syria and the United Kingdom, and in our own domestic politics as well, I think it was almost preordained that this year’s novel deal with the subject of Russia.”
He describes his main character Gabriel as not just a “brilliant intelligence operative, he’s one of the world’s finest art restorers as well and, as a result, I have many readers who might not pick up a book of espionage.”
His books translated into more than 30 languages, the Allon series — the character originally set for one book, The Other Woman the 18th — is now in development with MGM/TV to become a television series.
A Florida resident who was raised in Michigan and California, Silva is married to CNN journalist Jamie Gangel, with whom he shares daughter Lily and son Nicholas. A literary fan of Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway, Silva began his career with United Press International in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf.
It was years later while working as an executive producer for CNN that he pushed forth to become a novelist, and he hasn’t looked back.
Silva’s books — his first, The Unlikely Spy, two Michael Osbourne novels and the 18 Gabriel Allon series entries — are written in pencil by the journalist-turned-novelist on yellow legal pads. He generally begins writing each year on the Tuesday after Labor Day and hoping to finish by the following April Fool’s Day, immersing himself from mind to paper without an outline, his preference not to take many days off as his characters weave their way seemingly to events of today.
“I’m a huge fan who has read all of Daniel’s books — The Other Woman over a weekend. It is incredible, he doesn’t disappoint, and he always leaves me ready for his next book,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, the JCC’s Israel engagement/Jewish living director and producer of BookFest. “Michael Granberry was terrific when Daniel was here in 2016, and when the opportunity presented to bring them together again, we jumped. They’re an incredible duo and because of their popularity we’ve moved this event to Shearith Israel.”
Said Granberry: “Daniel does his homework and he knows the world of art and international affairs and his books are terrific. I’m thrilled to have the chance to welcome him back to BookFest. He’s really built a remarkable franchise. Very well-read and diverse in his interests, he keeps his work interesting to a wide audience. Any one question can lead to so many levels of discussion and it’s a privilege to interview him.”
The 2018-2019 BookFest continues in the fall with:
• Alexandra Zapruder, Twenty-Six Seconds, Oct. 9.
• Mohammed Al Samawi, The Fox Hunt, Oct. 17.
• Mitch Albom, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Oct. 18.
• Rev. Michael Waters, Stakes Is High, Nov. 1.
• Nancy Churnin, Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, Nov. 4.
• Marilyn Rothstein, Husbands and Other Sharp Objects, Nov. 28.
• Martin Fletcher, Promised Land, Dec. 6.
• “Tal Keinan, God is in the Crowd, Dec. 10.
• Father Patrick Desbois, In Broad Daylight, Feb. 6.
• Jenna Blum, The Lost Family, and Pam Jenoff, The Lost Girls of Paris, Feb. 12.
For more information or to register for events or sponsorship opportunities, visit jccdallas.org/main/bookfest or call 214-239-7128.

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JWV Bloom Post honors Sol Wald

JWV Bloom Post honors Sol Wald

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Photos: Ilene Zidow
Post Commander Steve Krant, left, and Sr. Vice Commander Jim Walsh, right, flank Sol Wald and hold his citations and Supreme Medal of Merit coin.

 

Sol Wald, a spry 98-year-old World War II veteran and longtime (55+ years) member of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, was honored for his many contributions to the local and national organization at the Post’s monthly Bagels & Lox breakfast at the JCC on June 24. Sol, a former National Deputy Americanism chairman, led the gathering with a strong and proud voice in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to open the meeting. He was presented with JWV’s “Supreme Medal of Merit Coin” for his years of dedicated service to his community as well as the Post. Many of his durable designs and devices — from bolo ties and pocket emblems to Poppy Drive stands and storage lockers — are still in use today. Daughter Janice and sons David and Edwin attended the award presentation; Janice and Edwin came from out of town.

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Teammate keeps heart attack patient ‘staying alive’

Teammate keeps heart attack patient ‘staying alive’

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Submitted photo
Mark Stromberg, left, says he owes his life to teammate Brooks Alkek, right.

By Ben Tinsley
btinsley@live.com

RICHARDSON — Dallas attorney Mark Stromberg beat astoundingly — frighteningly — narrow odds when he survived a recent heart attack that came on as he prepared to play in a Mother’s Day 2018 soccer game.
Stromberg, 57, said he owes his life to teammate Brooks Alkek, who performed extensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him when Stromberg went into full cardiac arrest on the field of this 9 p.m. game at Richardson’s Breckinridge Park.
“I was told I was lost several times,” Stromberg said. “I was pretty lucky.”
Alkek’s quick response to Stromberg’s heart attack allowed him to survive the eight minutes it took a delayed ambulance to arrive at the field and begin care on Stromberg, friends and witnesses said.
After stabilizing Stromberg, the ambulance took him to a Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center in the vicinity.
Stromberg said he didn’t realize how bad his condition was when he started feeling faint on the soccer field that day.
“All of a sudden, I passed out and didn’t remember anything until I woke up in the hospital,” he said.
Stromberg’s heart attack was one of Alkek’s most harrowing experiences, Alkek said.
This is Alkek’s account of what happened: Before the game began, Stromberg warmed up with their team. The two play in the “Over 40 League” in the North Texas Premiere Soccer Association (NTPSA).
About the time of the warmup, Stromberg started not feeling well. So, he went to sit on “the bench” for a bit in the hopes of feeling better.
“Our game commenced,” Alkek explained. “But less than 30 seconds later, the goalkeeper yelled ‘Stop the game’ and we were puzzled. We turned around when we heard him say, ‘Mark has collapsed!’”
Alkek said he looked over at the bench and saw Stromberg bent over backward on the bleachers.
“I knew every second counts in a situation like that, and I was on the far side of the field,” Alkek said. “But I got to him before anyone else and sat him up. It looked like a seizure, but I suspected cardiac symptoms. So I hugged him and picked up and turned him around. He had been really tense. His muscles tensed up and he relaxed.”
With help from others checking Stromberg’s pulse, Alkek immediately started performing CPR on Stromberg — 100 compressions a minute.
“I was doing it to the tune of Staying Alive,” Alkek said. “It was ‘Staying Alive, Staying Alive, bum, bum, bum, bum Staying Alive. …”
Alkek said he asked another player from the team to support Stromberg’s airway.
“So he cradled Mark’s head and I said ‘No, you’re supposed to tilt his forehead,’” he said. “I showed him how to keep the airway open and I continued compressions.”
The ambulance took what Alkek described as an “eternity” to get to the scene.
“We were at a sprawling park and there are a couple of complexes of field and I believe they went to the wrong complex at first,” Alkek said. “We were on Field 18. As I was doing CPR I could hear the sirens for quite awhile.”
Alkek said he was trying to calm his own breathing and use his own body efficiently so he could push himself to keep up the compressions on Stromberg as long as they were needed.
“Eventually, the paramedics got there and hooked him up to defib (a defibrillator), he said. “They shocked him until they got a rhythm.”
But things got scarier with the patient before they got better. Stromberg’s heart stopped again.
“They prepared to shock him and I pulled his wedding ring off and they shocked him again,” Alkek said.
When Stromberg was stabilized, the paramedics put Stromberg in their vehicle and left for the hospital.
“I don’t know how long he had been without oxygen, and I heard his ribs breaking when I was doing compression,” Alkek said. “I know that’s a part of CPR, but I didn’t know what to think at the time.”
Alkek said the emotional impact of helping Stromberg truly hit him when he climbed into a vehicle to follow the ambulance to the hospital.
“I got pretty emotional — I got weepy,” he said with a laugh. “At that point I took the opportunity to call my mom for Mother’s Day. I was feeling very sentimental.”
A member of the patient’s medical team could not immediately be reached to elaborate on the medical situation.
Reached after he had left hospital care, Stromberg said several times he could very well have died if not for Alkek. He said a cardiologist friend provided him with some grim statistics to back that belief up.
“If you have a cardiac arrest of some kind outside of a hospital and it doesn’t somehow stop itself, your chances for survival without complications are 1 or 2 percent,” he said.
The heart attack survivor said he woke up in the hospital “with a very sore chest.”
As Alkek indicated, his aggressive CPR injured Stromberg’s sternum and left Stromberg with broken or sore ribs.
But that means the CPR was performed correctly, Stromberg said.
“If you are not hurting the person, then you are not helping them,” Stromberg said.
When Alkek arrived at the hospital to see how the patient was doing, members of the ER staff shook his hand and told him how improbable it was that Stromberg survived.
Stromberg ended up staying in the hospital that Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday before he was released. He returned to work May 25.
The entire incident has reinforced to Stromberg the strong importance of needing to know CPR.
“My life was saved by CPR and it is important people learn the most updated information about CPR because they may be called on to save somebody,” he said.
The 57-year-old patient has a 19-year-old son who is a sophomore at Texas A&M and a 21-year-old daughter who is a senior at the University of Texas.
He said he is lucky the 50-year-old Alkek, a resident of Addison, was there to help.
“The guy who saved my life, we have history,” Stromberg said. “My mother knows his mother and his mother knows my wife’s mother and … it’s all in the family.”

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How Kavanaugh may affect Jewish issues

How Kavanaugh may affect Jewish issues

Posted on 12 July 2018 by admin

Photo: The White House
U.S. President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh, shown with his family, for the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

 

By Josefin Dolsten

(JTA) — President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a Republican establishment favorite who has worked in the George W. Bush administration, has triggered reactions from Jewish groups ranging from furious to relieved.
Progressive groups raised flags about the pick, saying Kavanaugh’s record shows he would be a threat to reproductive rights and separation of church and state, while an Orthodox group said it was happy about his record on religious liberty.
Trump announced on Monday evening that he was nominating Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement at the end of July.
Within an hour of the announcement, the National Council of Jewish Women released a statement saying it was “incensed” by the choice and helped organize an opposition rally in front of the Supreme Court.
Other progressive groups, such as the Workmen’s Circle, a Jewish organization with roots in the labor movement, denounced Trump’s pick, while the centrist Anti-Defamation League said it was wary that the nominee’s judicial record “does not reflect the demonstrated independence and commitment to fair treatment for all that is necessary to merit a seat on our nation’s highest court.”
On Tuesday, Jody Rabhan, who directs NCJW’s Washington operations, said that Kavanaugh, like the other candidates considered by Trump, was “terrible on the issues that we care about.”
“The assumption based on his record and his ruling is that he would further push the court in the direction of using religion as an excuse to discriminate, not to mention the incredible horrors that could be, should he end up on the court, around reproductive health rights and justice,” Rabhan said.
Many on the left are concerned that a Trump appointee could join a conservative majority in taking away abortion rights and overturn Roe v. Wade, which Trump made a campaign promise.
In 2006, Kavanaugh said he would respect Roe v. Wade, but Rabhan said that did not assuage her concern.
“Trump has said that overturning Roe v. Wade is a litmus test for anybody on his shortlist for the Supreme Court, and he has made anti-abortion (views) a litmus test for folks he’s nominated to lower courts,” she said. “We’ve seen it, so we believe him.”
Rabhan and others cited a case, Garza v. Hagan, in which Kavanaugh opposed a detained undocumented immigrant minor’s right to obtain an abortion. In that 2017 case, the government had mandated that the teen could leave her detention center to have an abortion. Kavanaugh vacated the order, postponing the abortion for another week-and-a-half, until a court ultimately ruled in her favor. Kavanaugh dissented, writing that the government had betrayed its “interest in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.”
Marc Stern, the general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, said most of Kavanaugh’s legal record was “unremarkable,” but that his opinion in the Garza case was “disturbing” and raised questions.
“It’s not clear to us what that means exactly,” Stern said. “Does he believe that immigrants have lesser constitutional rights than everybody else? Does he think that teenagers don’t have a right (to an abortion)? … Does he mean only that the government has a right not to participate and you’re sort of on your own?”
The AJC has not taken a position on the nomination, and Stern said it was studying Kavanaugh’s record, specifically with regard to issues of immigration law, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and reproductive freedom. He said that Kavanaugh’s opinion in Newdow v. Roberts, a case presenting a challenge to prayers at the presidential inauguration and the phrase “so help me God” in the presidential oath, offered “some glimmer of hope” for those supporting separation of church and state. Though the challenge by the plaintiff, an atheist opposing the prayers, was dismissed, Kavanaugh said he did have standing to sue.
Stern does not think Kavanaugh would radically shift the court. Although Kennedy was a swing vote on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, he often was reliably conservative.
“On separation (of church and state) issues, he will read the principle more narrowly than AJC would like,” Stern said. “But from what little he’s written, it doesn’t appear that he’s going to be writing in a whole different vein than where the court as a whole has been — but that’s a guess.”
Agudath Israel of America, a haredi Orthodox organization, has not yet taken an official position on the nomination, but its Washington director, Rabbi Abba Cohen, called Kavanaugh “ a very impressive candidate.” Cohen was happy about Kavanaugh’s rulings related to religious freedom based on an initial overview of the judge’s record. Agudah and other Orthodox groups favor rulings that would exempt religious groups and individuals from generally applicable laws that clash with their beliefs.
“We’re gratified that he’s given due deference to religious liberty and that he has been supportive of a greater involvement of religious organizations and institutions in society,” Cohen told JTA.
Cohen cited Kavanaugh’s opinion in a case relating to contraceptive care exemptions for religious groups, Priests for Life v. HHS. The appeals court agreed that religious employers did not have to provide contraceptives, but had to file a form telling the government they were not doing so. Kavanaugh in his dissent argued that the filing requirement violated the plaintiffs’ religious freedom.
“We support that position, we think that’s giving proper deference to religious rights, and we don’t think that’s in any way a retreat from the rights of others, so that’s one area we are pleased about,” Cohen said.
During his time in private practice, Kavanaugh took on pro bono cases, including that of a Reconstructionist synagogue, Adat Shalom in Bethesda, Maryland, which was facing challenges from its neighbors in constructing a building. In 2000, a U.S. District Court sided with the synagogue, saying a permit issued to the congregation was consistent with the Establishment Clause. The synagogue confirmed to JTA that it was represented by Kavanaugh but did not return a request for further comment in time for publication.
The Reform movement and the Orthodox Union both told JTA that they were studying Kavanaugh’s record before deciding whether to take a position on his nomination.

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The need and the knead combine in twisting tale

The need and the knead combine in twisting tale

Posted on 12 July 2018 by admin

Photos: Strand Releasing
Tim Kalkhof in The Cakemaker (2017)

 

By Susan Kandell Wilkofsky

The Cakemaker is a little like a savory soufflé — delicate and delectable, but very fragile.
One ingredient — secrecy — threatens to deflate the finely honed confection.
The funny thing about reviews is that they often reveal too much about a film. If you read enough reviews, you’ll be familiar with the entire story — so, why bother seeing it at all? But this film is different. How different? Even the filmmakers chose to put one of the early plot tangents into the trailer. Spoiler alert: Don’t read past this paragraph if you’d like to be completely surprised by the initial premise of The Cakemaker. But even if you view the trailer, there are plenty more delectable and surprising moments to come.
Thomas (Tim Kalkhof) is a skilled pastry chef who runs a shop in Berlin. It’s here that he meets Oren (Roy Miller), an Israeli engineer who travels frequently to Berlin for work.
Despite the impediments in their way (Oren is married), they embark on an intense and intimate affair. Their relationship ends abruptly when Thomas discovers that Oren has been tragically killed in a traffic accident in Israel.
Seeking to assuage his grief, Thomas travels to Jerusalem in search of answers. The truth is, I’m not sure that even Thomas knows why he journeys to Israel; to become part of his partner’s life even after his death? Is he just curious? Oren’s wife, Anat (the always wonderful Sarah Adler), owns a small kosher café, and Thomas begins frequenting the shop. One day, he impulsively inquires about a job, and before you can say “mandelbrot,” Thomas is washing dishes. As the oven heats up, so does a romance between Anat and Thomas. But as Thomas becomes more intimately involved in Oren’s family, the secret become harder to suppress.
Just like the delicious pastries prepared by The Cakemaker, writer and director Ofir Raul Graizer, in his first feature-length film, is like a master chef, knowing just how to blend the right ingredients in perfect measure. Graizer took a smidge of religion, a pinch of German/Jewish relations, a dose of bisexuality and a dollop of mourning and produced a beautiful human drama — devoid of preaching and judgments. There are no labels here, just an extraordinary love story about two lonely people and their need to connect.
The outstanding soundtrack by Dominique Charpentier adds to the tender drama. Perhaps my only criticism was the epilogue. So when the film is over, you might have to find a little café, order some strudel and discuss.
I had the opportunity to speak with Grazier by email. Here is an excerpted conversation with the talented writer/director.
Susan Kandell Wilkofsky: I am so pleased to “talk” with you today. Ready?
Graizer: Thank you for this interview. I am so happy the film opens in Dallas. I’ve never been there but maybe one day I will. Shoot.
SKW: I read that this story was inspired by real-life events. Can you elaborate on that?
ORG: The narrative is derived from a story of a friend of mine. a man who led a double life and died. To create the woman and the secret lover (the other side of the triangle), I took things from my own life. Religious father, secular mother, Jerusalem and Berlin: two of my favorite cities, growing up as gay in a macho patriarch society and my great love for cooking and baking. I put my life into the story. I know these streets, these alleys, these kitchens. I lived in them.
SKW: The film takes place in two locales that you are familiar with — Israel and Berlin. Were you also familiar with baking? Are you a baker?
ORG: I bake, but I am not a professional baker. I even teach cooking in a culinary school, but only as a side hobby. Food is something very personal and basic for me, something of the everyday, of home, not of fancy waiters or special uniforms.
SKW: I also read that the film will be remade in the U.S. How much input will you have on that film? Are you directing?
ORG: I won’t direct it, but I am involved in the writing of the first version. I don’t know where it will go from there.
SKW: What’s next for you, Ofir? Whatever it is, if it’s half as good as The Cakemaker, it’ll be wonderful.
ORG: I’m now working on different scripts in the hope that one of them will be produced soon… One story is about a clerk who develops an obsession for a painting; the other of a man who returns to his homeland after 10 years of absence to bury his father. I hope one of these will be made in the near future.
I look forward to the U.S. remake — with perhaps Matt Damon in the title role. He resembles Tim Kalkhof, but might have to gain a few pounds for the job. Perhaps he should start eating some Black Forest cake.

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