Archive | March, 2019

A delicious way to delete your leavening

A delicious way to delete your leavening

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Dave Carlin
Ruota Del Faraone (Pharaoh’s Wheels)

By Tina Wasserman

The shelves in the supermarket have been moved around. The shamrocks from St. Patrick’s Day are gone, and bunnies abound. But this time the bunnies are not taking center stage. Passover coincides with Easter weekend, and Passover is big business for the supermarkets that are located in predominantly Jewish areas.
Before you can buy all those Passover items, room needs to be made in your kitchen and some ingredients need to be consumed before matzo meal, potato starch and Passover muffin mixes can fill the shelves. You can do this with some pre-Passover-themed recipes to reduce the bread and pasta in your home.
This idea first came to me when I studied Jewish cooking in Florence, Italy. Italian Jews in that city prepare a storytelling pasta dish the Shabbat before Pesach begins. Sauced pasta noodles are twirled into mounds to represent the waves of the Red Sea, and raisins and pine nuts are dotted throughout the dish to look like Pharaoh’s soldiers and horses drowning in the swirling waters.
Pot roast gravy makes this dish very easy to make, but I have included a recipe for a meat sauce to use when pot roast is not available.
Ruota Del Faraone
(Pharaoh’s Wheels)

½ cup raisins
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
6 ounces turkey sausage, cut into ½-inch rounds, or ground turkey or beef
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rendered chicken fat (or more oil)
2 large leaves of fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
4-inch sprig of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ cup white wine or 1 cup pot roast gravy
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces tagliatelle noodles
1 quart water
1 quart chicken broth or 1 quart additional water and 2 Telma chicken bouillon cubes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. If raisins are hard, soak them in warm water while you prepare the pasta.
2. If using leftover pot roast and pot roast gravy, skip to step #6.
3. To make meat gravy: Turn the burner on the stove to high and heat a 10-inch skillet for 15 seconds.
4. Add the olive oil and chicken fat to the hot pan, and heat for another 10 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium.
5. Add the herbs and stir once or twice to coat with oil. Add the meat and sauté in pan until meat is no longer pink.
6. Add the wine and cook 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
7. Meanwhile, in a 4-quart pot, bring chicken broth, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. When done, reserve ½ cup cooking liquid, then drain noodles in a strainer.
8. Add noodles and reserved cooking liquid to sauce, and gently mix in well. Add drained raisins and pine nuts; gently stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
9. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 2-quart oval casserole with a little olive oil.
10. Scoop up some noodles into a ladle. Using a fork, twist the noodles into a mound and place it in a casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles until you have lots of mounds that look like waves in the sea.
11. Combine the breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of olive oil; sprinkle over the top.
12. Place casserole in the hot oven and bake until breadcrumbs are lightly golden.
Serves 4.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• When frying with chicken fat or butter or margarine, always add oil for part of the fat, to allow frying at a high temperature with minimal splattering.
• Lately raisins have appeared to be very dry, possibly due to a bad raisin crop last year and use of older raisins to meet consumer demand. Soaking in some water or wine will make them more appetizing in dishes.
• Oil is added to pasta water for two reasons: to prevent the pasta from sticking together and absorbing too much of the sauce, and to create surface tension on the water so that the pot won’t boil over (if you haven’t added too much water to the pot)!

Orzo is closely associated with Greece and the Ottoman Empire, but it is actually a form of pasta that, in Italy, means “barley” because of its shape. This recipe can be made with any small pasta, barley or any other grain you want to use up before Pesach. With all the vibrant flavors in this dish, it is amazing how subtle the flavors are in the finished product. Makes a great side for chicken or fish.
Orzo with Dried Cherries

1 cup orzo
¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
Salt to taste
½ tablespoon hazelnut oil
¼ cup dried cherries or raisins
2 tablespoons lightly toasted, coarsely chopped hazelnuts or slivered almonds
1 scallion, thinly sliced

1. Bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add the saffron and orzo, and cook for 7-10 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain well. Place orzo in a serving bowl.
2. In a small bowl combine orange zest, juice and salt to taste. Whisk the olive oil into the juice mixture until it is incorporated.
3. Toss the dressing with the orzo; add the cherries, almonds and scallion. Serve at room temperature.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard can be added to the zest and juice before adding the oil to create an emulsion or thick, smooth dressing to coat the pasta.
• Pasta will break down and become soft and mushy if exposed to a high-acid ingredient for a prolonged period, so don’t add the dressing more than a few hours before serving.

Traditionally two challot are served on Friday night, but even one large challah often leaves leftovers. I developed this recipe as a way to use the leftovers, while creating a delicious dessert reminiscent of traditional babka with its crumb topping. Any leftover bread/breads can be used to make this dessert, so it is perfect before Passover cleaning begins (or anytime for that matter!)
Challah Babka Bread Pudding

1 one-pound raisin challah, preferably a few days old
8 ounces Israeli chocolate spread (Crème Chocolate or Nutella)
1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, plus additional for greasing pan
¼ cup light brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups milk (skim, 2 percent or whole, OK)

Topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, or slightly softened in the microwave
½ cup flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1. Butter a 2-quart oval or rectangular baking dish. Set aside.
2. Slice the challah into 1/2-inch slices.
3. Spread the chocolate filling over each slice of bread, and arrange in the casserole to fit evenly.
4. Melt the butter in a 2-quart bowl in the microwave. Add sugar to the melted butter, and stir to dissolve.
5. Add the eggs and remaining ingredients to the bowl; whisk to combine well.
6. Carefully pour egg/milk mixture over the bread slices. Gently press down on the bread slices to submerge them under the custard. Place a plate or bowl on top of the casserole to weight the challah down. Let sit for 30 minutes while you make the topping.
7. To make the topping, place the butter, flour and sugar in a 1-quart mixing bowl. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands, then fingertips, to evenly combine all ingredients and make a crumble. Spread on top of casserole and then bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8-12.

Warm Buttered Wine Sauce (Optional)

1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons Shabbat Concord wine
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1. Melt butter in a 1-quart saucepan, over moderate heat.
2. Whisk the egg and the sugar together in a 1-quart bowl to a light lemon color.
3. Rapidly whisk some of the hot butter into the egg/sugar mixture, then whisk constantly while pouring the egg mixture into the saucepan.
4. Continue to whisk over moderate heat until the mixture thickens and the butter is completely absorbed into the sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
5. Whisk in the wine and the cinnamon. Pour over warm bread pudding.
NOTE: Sauce may be refrigerated for later use. Slightly rewarm sauce before using.
Tina’s Tidbits:
• This dish can easily be made pareve with the use of coconut milk or oat milk and pareve margarine or coconut oil.
• If using coconut oil, try using the unprocessed variety, which has a subtle coconut taste and adds to the flavors of the dessert.
• If making the sauce, liquor can be substituted for the Concord wine (I just thought it would be fun to have that slight grape taste) and you can eliminate the topping if you wish.

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From Texas to off-Broadway

From Texas to off-Broadway

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Preston Allen
Preston Allen

 

 

By Amy Sorter

The adage about New York is that, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. This is the case with North Texas native Preston Max Allen. A decade ago, Allen performed onstage and attended classes at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. These days, he is deeply involved with New York’s theater and musical theater scene as a writer.
Allen is the son of Congregation Beth Shalom Cantor Sheri Allen and Richard Allen, Texas Christian University’s Professor of Film, Television and Digital Media. He is the brother of Jeremy and Emily. Allen acknowledged he hasn’t yet “made it” in the Big Apple. He is, however, on his way, riding on the back of his eight-year-old creation, a musical dubbed “We are the Tigers.”
The thought process
Allen’s show opened in February 2019 at Theater 80, an off-Broadway house in New York City, and follows the Tigers, a bottom-of-the-barrel cheerleading squad. The team meets for its annual sleepover at the cheer captain’s house to plan strategy. Things take a bloody turn when some of the cheerleaders are stabbed to death by an unknown assailant. The remaining girls must figure out who is the knife-wielding slasher.
Allen wasn’t a cheerleader while making his way through middle school and high school at Fort Worth Academy, Arlington Heights High School and the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. He did, however, have a front-row seat to the ups and downs that young women undergo during their teen years.
Allen also had a front-row seat to something else. While the majority of musical theater actors in high school and college are women, many musical theater productions are light on strong roles for females. “I was cast in ‘She Loves Me,’” Allen recalled. “There were a lot of talented young women in this program who didn’t get cast, and that’s when it really hit me.” He decided that, if he was ever to write a full-length musical, it would be one that offered a plethora of roles for young women.
Speaking of young women, Allen is a die-hard fan of the television show, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Allen, in fact, is a die-hard fan of the horror genre, in general. So, a wish to create a viable, female-centric musical, combined with an homage to blood-and-guts slashers shows, led Allen to create his first drafts of “Tiger.”
Reading . . . after reading . . . after reading
The process of bringing a play or musical to the stage is long and arduous; “Tiger’s” path was no exception. Allen wrote and workshopped the show while attending Columbia College in Chicago. Following his graduation, “I quickly moved to New York,” Allen said. The purpose of that relocation was to continue working on “Tiger” with Raleigh Taylor, a high-school friend who was already settled in the Big Apple.
Allen would work on “Tiger” on and off over the next few years, with help and support from the Musical Theatre Factory (an organization dedicated to developing new theatrical works). “We’d do a reading once a year, I’d listen to the comments, make changes, then put it away until next year,” he said. While “Tiger” rested, Allen wrote and staged other musicals, including “Never Better,” “Agent 355” (with Jessica Kahkoska), “Carrie 2: The Rage, An Unauthorized Musical Parody” and “Bradical and The Pink Socks.”
Then, “Tiger” sharpened its claws in 2015. Allen met well-known theater and musical director Michael Bello, who liked the work. A year later, the show opened at the Hudson Backstage in Santa Monica, California, with Bello as director. “After the Los Angeles production, I put it to rest,” Allen said. “Then we had one more reading in 2017, to clean up the script.”
Fully expecting “Tiger” to snooze for another year, Allen ended up reworking it for a benefit performance. “We did a version that involved 24 women and a couple of men, who had been in earlier versions of the show,” Allen said. The right people were in the audience, they wanted to produce the show at Theater 80 and the rest, as they say, is history. Partnering with Bello and music supervisor Patrick Sulken, “we began discussions in September and October, began pre-production in November, and we opened in February,” Allen said.
Hear him roar
While actors sing, dance and are murdered in “Tiger,” Allen continues working on other projects. One show, “Never Better,” is what Allen dubs a “fairly serious musical about a college student who is diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Another show focuses on an all-female punk rock musical, concerning a lady spy during the American Revolution. “That one will be really fun,” Allen said.
The Theater 80 performance of “Tigers” closes April 1, though the show has yet to face a final curtain call. Allen is overseeing a “Tigers” soundtrack recording; the album is slated for an April 26 release. Other theater companies are interested in the property — “once we put the script back together again,” Allen said, with a laugh. Ultimately his dream is to see the piece staged in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Allen also indicated the show was written to be performed by high school and college theater programs. “The whole show isn’t murder, murder, murder,” Allen observed. “It involves these women, who they are, what they’re experiencing; they go through pretty normal and honest situations.”
With an overnight success that was eight years in the making, Allen still said there is a long road ahead before he’s “made it,” to get back to the New York adage. Long-lived musicals, he explained, tend to be from the pen of writers who have been produced before. “It’s a unique and challenging experience to be involved in an original musical, when I’m an unknown writer,” he said.

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Cathy Barker: hands-on leadership

Cathy Barker: hands-on leadership

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

A hands-on CEO, Jewish Family Service’s Cathy Barker appreciates that almost every day on the job allows the opportunity to connect with those receiving support. Barker is prepping meal deliveries with volunteer Nora Silverfield, JFS’ Kosher Home Delivered Meals Coordinator Lyz Worlein and volunteer Ina Gartenberg.

By Deb Silverthorn

According to Cathy Barker, everyone who comes to the organization has a story to tell. “And we’re honored to be part of that story,” she said.
Barker, the new CEO of Jewish Family Service, spent the last eight years as the organization’s chief operating officer, chief development officer and assistant executive director, before taking the leadership reins.
“I get things done, not by me doing all of the work myself of course, but by empowering our team, getting them excited about what we’re doing, giving them the resources needed to be successful,” she said. “Then, I can step out of the way while what we do helps those who need us.”
The daughter of Donna and Robert Brunkenhoefer, Barker, along with her siblings Blake, Craig, Donna and Brad, was raised in Corpus Christi. She met her husband, Don, while the two were students at Texas A&M. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology, then attended Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she received her master’s degree.
She began her career as a licensed professional counselor in both hospital and private practice settings before embarking on 20-plus years of leadership in the nonprofit sector leading local and national social service and mental health organizations.
Barker and her husband have two sons, Dalton and Riley, both current Aggies. Outside of the office, Barker enjoys exercising, watching Aggie and Cowboys football, dinner and time with friends and family, and attending concerts of the bands of the 80s.
To Barker, raised Catholic, it is the values one learns and lives that make the human being. Serving, as JFS does, the greater community without regard to race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, she believes strongly in values held close to those of the Jewish faith.
“I’m proud to have been successful at building a new source of unrestricted operating support (The Resale Shop), identifying and securing new grant revenue streams through community partnerships by bringing services to underserved areas of the community, and by engaging board members so they can see, firsthand, their efforts at work in the lives of others,” Barker said.
Barker’s years working with nonprofit organizations have helped her gain insights into the JFS’ current projects, programs and grants. Additionally, “I’m able to help engage others in our thinking at all levels,” she said. “I genuinely care about our staff and donors and know about their lives and what’s important to them.”
During her time with JFS, Barker worked with former CEO Michael Fleisher to lead strategic objectives that increased operational and program effectiveness through staff recruitment and retention. She also worked to identify and implement process improvements, resource development and fiscal management of the agency’s almost $8 million budget, its three service locations, The Resale Shop’s two locations and 94 staff members.
“Michael and I worked very together closely and we clicked and complemented each other’s strengths and goals,” Barker said, noting that together, they hired much of the staff who has remained on board, a strong team developing toward the future. “We were able to finish each other’s sentences and our beliefs, values, and concept of the culture of and for JFS were aligned.”
Assured and secure in Barker’s role is Michael Kaufman, president of JFS’ board of directors. He first joined the board just before Barker came to the organization, worked with her on many projects including The Resale Shop, and he’s seen her grow into the role.
“Cathy is an incredibly committed leader who works hard and to whom our staff responds,” he said. “She’s an essential part of JFS’ future and the agency’s seamless continuance, since Michael’s retirement, is due in great part to her focus, care and and concern.”
Through JFS’ 150 unique services and its more than 1,600 volunteers, serving more than 28,000 hours last year alone, it is all that happens each day within the agency’s walls of which Barker is proud.
“I didn’t know where the path would take me, but after my own life experiences, I wanted to be part of healing others and I’ve found that in a career of varying roads,” said Barker, who worked in a psychiatric hospital, founded Turning Point Counseling Services, was executive director of Family Services of Plano, and worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County, among other nonprofits, before arriving at JFS.
“I landed at JFS in 2010, and I’m grateful to be home where so much of what we do happens truly around the clock,” she said.

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JFGD names its new president & CEO

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas has named Mariam Shpeen Feist as its new president and CEO. Feist will start her role Aug. 1. Currently she serves as the Federation’s senior vice president and chief development officer, a post she’s had since August 2012, when she came to Dallas from her role as senior development manager at World ORT. Feist is the second woman to lead the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas in its 108-year history.
“Our community is so fortunate to have Mariam as our Federation’s next president and CEO. Mariam’s relationship and connection to this community the past seven years is very deep and she will help elevate our Federation to its next level of success. Our entire board of directors at Federation are very excited to welcome and support Mariam through this transition,” said Mark Kreditor, board chair.
A.J. Rosmarin, incoming Federation board chair, who was on the search committee, explained that the comprehensive search culminated in the committee realizing that the best person and fit for the job was already right here in Dallas.
“My goal was to find the best person available for the position because Dallas is a great place to live with a strong Federation serving Jews in need locally, in Israel, and throughout the world as it has for 107 years. We are on a great trajectory, and I’m confident Mariam is the right person,” Rosmarin said.
Feist’s experience in the field of nonprofit fundraising is extensive, spanning more than 33 years. She began her career at the UJA-Federation of Greater New York in its Women’s Division. While at UJA, she was awarded a work-study scholarship to Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work. After receiving her M.S.W., Feist joined the staff of the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. During her 13-year tenure, she served as its Women’s Division director, Campaign director and assistant executive vice president.
In 2002, Feist was hired as the development director for Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, formerly Akiba Hebrew Academy, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. After just one year, she was promoted to director of Institutional Advancement, overseeing its board of trustees, annual fund, endowments and capital campaign. In 2007, Feist joined the Development department of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network as its director of Major and Planned Gifts. In 2010, she joined the newly formed campaign team for World ORT as their senior development manager. In 2012, Feist joined the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas as the Chief Development Officer, and in 2014 assumed the role of senior vice president & CDO.
In addition, Feist has served as a consultant to other nonprofits including Hillels of Greater Philadelphia and Pennsylvania Hospital Women’s Auxiliary. She presents at national conferences, and serves as a mentor to those in the fundraising field.
Past Federation Board Chairs Dan Prescott and Cindy Sweet Moskowitz led the Federation’s search committee. “Cindy and I want to thank the search committee for providing us nine months of their time and contributions to a very thorough process. The search was international in scope and we fielded inquiries from all over the world. We are delighted to have found our CEO from our community, and having exposure to Dallas and our generous donors will undoubtedly serve her and the Federation well,” said Prescott.
Moskowitz added, “We were especially impressed with Mariam’s passion for and experience within the Federation movement as well as her dynamic vision for the future of this community. She has worked tirelessly with lay leaders to develop our core business to a position of great strength and we are excited to be on her team as she takes on this new role as our professional leader.”
Feist’s affinity for Jewish communal involvement comes naturally; her parents set a stellar example. Her late father, Harold Shpeen, DDS, served as president of the boards of the JCC, Bureau of Jewish Education, Senior Housing and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey. He was on the national board of JCCA, formally JWB. Her late mother, Judith Goodman Shpeen, served as Board Chair of the URJ Camp Harlam.
Some highlights of Feist’s seven years as senior vice president and CDO include:
•increasing the Federation’s unrestricted Annual Campaign each year,
•engaging more leadership,
•bringing back Pacesetter missions and the YAD Event,
•implementing ONE Night,
•focusing on affinities, next-gen leadership and stewardship,
•invigorating the culture of pride-filled giving,
•transforming the Jewish Women’s Philanthropy Center,
•rolling out new programming,
•creating an atmosphere of transparency in both the Federation’s Case for Giving and the planning and allocations process.
“Mariam’s experience and deep relationships in our community will be invaluable as she leads our community forward. Our entire professional team is excited for her as she becomes our new CEO,” said Bradley Laye, Federation president & CEO.
Feist and her husband, Bob, reside in Far North Dallas and have two sons, Jacob and Max, both students at University of Missouri.

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Tiferet’s 26th Kosher Chili Cook-off ready to get cookin’

Tiferet’s 26th Kosher Chili Cook-off ready to get cookin’

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Tiferet Israel
Last year’s panel will judge this year’s chili as well.

Staff Report

The chief chili cook-off committee is finalizing plans for Tiferet Israel’s 26th Annual Kosher Chili Cook-off set for Sunday, March 31, on the synagogue’s campus, 10909 Hillcrest Road near Royal Lane. Gates open at 11 a.m., rain or shine.
This year’s event has some exciting new features in addition to some of the tried and true favorites for all ages. Musical entertainment will be provided by three bands.
The Side Gig Band plays a broad spectrum of Pop and Rock from the ‘70s to NOW — from Clapton, Green Day, Queen and The Doobies to Jon Mayer and Ed Sheeran. Ron Nevelow, Bruce Katz, Ron Friedman, Rob Shrell, Rusty Cooper and Joel Futterman will entertain and open the music for this year’s Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off with style!
The Mazik Experience was created to continue the Mazik Brothers Band’s 14-year run playing at Tiferet’s Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off, and their legacy as the “sound of the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off.” After the loss in 2018 of its leader, Jim Schwartz, the remaining Mazik Bros., Rusty Cooper, Rob Shrell and Joel Futterman, waited for the right musician/friend and opportunity to present itself. They asked Eric Spomer, a talented musician and performer for 40 years, to step into the role of singer and guitar player with Rusty to honor the heritage of Jim Schwartz and the Mazik Brothers along with its many fans. Playing mainly ‘60s and ‘70s classic pop and rock, attendees are likely to know and sing along with everything they play: Beatles, Eagles, Billy Joel, Rolling Stones, Springsteen and more. This will be the 15th year that the original band members perform at Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off!
Windy City
While this will be Windy City’s first appearance at the Chili Cook-off, David Judson, Jim Rosenthal and Bob Rosen are no strangers to the event, having made prior appearances with the Mazik Brothers over the years.
David, Jim and Bob have played together in various bands and configurations over the past 15 years. Common to all of their pasts was that they each had played in “horn” bands when they were younger. The three started discussing how great it would be to play the music of Chicago. After they played together, they began the search for other members. They added trombonist John Williams and keyboards, trumpet, saxophone, a vocalist (to sing the Robert Lamm/ Terry Kath parts) and, most recently, Ken Eger to sing the extremely-difficult Peter Cetera parts.
“We are very excited to be playing at the Kosher Chili Cook-off,” said Jim Rosenthal, the band’s drummer. “We’re hoping for great weather, as this is our first outdoor show.”
More activities and entertainment
While the music has been a central feature of the cook-off for many years, there is something for everyone.
Other activities and highlights include:
•Book reading and crafts by the PJ Library
•A special chili cook-off puppet show by the Pitzel Puppet Players, Gail Mabel and Naomi Sanit
•Music and singing for children by Music Together
•Professionally managed rides and games by Amusement Management International, with choices appropriate for little children through teens
•Balloon and face painting artists,
•Home Depot will offer opportunities for young folks to do wood craft projects under the supervision of Home Depot personnel
•Meet Dallas Police officers and see inside a police car
•BBQ sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs prepared by Texas Kosher BBQ
•Popcorn and cotton candy prepared by the JCC
•Local vendors selling a variety of personal and food items
•Raffle for sports and art items
•Split the Pot Raffle
•Information from local charitable organizations
In conjunction with this year’s event, the Recovery Resource Council, which recently merged with The Council on Alcohol & Drugs, will hold a Drug Takeback. This will be a great opportunity to gather up expired, unused, and unwanted prescription or over-the-counter medications (human and animal) for safe and proper disposal. The drop-off event helps to keep these types of drugs out of the water supply and from being used by unauthorized users. Medications can be dropped off in their original containers or — with the exception of liquids — in a plastic baggie. All of the medications dropped off will immediately be placed into a container and, at the end of the event, taken directly to the Drug Enforcement Agency to be destroyed. Please note, needles (any sharps) or inhalers (any combustibles) will not be accepted at this event. However, needles and EpiPens can be placed in a plastic container (such as a detergent or milk bottle); tape the lid securely, and write the word “needles” or “sharps” on the container and then place it in your normal trash bin.
The judges
While entertainment is a key feature, the main attraction is the chili competition. Kosher Chili Cook-off Judges: Judging at a chili cook-off is no easy task. It takes a special kind of person (palate and stomach) to taste and discern between dozens of chili recipes in one day. An all-star team of judges has been empaneled for the 26th Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off. In alphabetical order, they are:
David Feder
David Feder and his family have been a part of Tiferet Israel for 55 years. He’s been involved in the food business in one form or another for half of that time, having been a noted chef in Dallas and Austin, a food writer (including for The Dallas Morning News and The Dallas Times-Herald). Later he taught food science and nutrition at UT Austin before becoming a full-time journalist. Now residing in the Midwest, he has worked for a number of magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, LightStyle and First, and also wrote “The Skinny Carbs Diet Book” (Rodale Press, 2010).
Chef Michael Mrugala
Chef Mike has been in the industry for over 43 years and has worked for the Olive Garden for over 14 years. He runs the entire kitchen operation at the restaurant on Northwest Highway. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, Texas Chefs Association and a FMP from the National Restaurant Association, CFBE from the American Hotel and Lodging Association along with being a Certified ServSafe Instructor & Registered Servsafe Examination Proctor and a National Registry of Food Safety Professionals Test Administrator/Proctor. He teaches culinary arts at Tarrant County College.
Pete Nolasco
A native of Texas, Chef Pete is the Chef Owner of Chef Pete Catering and Ice Carving in Dallas and has worked in the best of Dallas restaurants and hotels for many years such as Hyatt Regency Hotel DFW, The Four Seasons Hotel, Sambucca Jazz Café, The Italian Club of Dallas and more. Chef Pete is also an artist and has received many awards and accolades for his ice pieces and his teachings of the art of ice carving. The director of the Dallas Chapter Texas Chef Association, he is a member of the Epicurean World Master Chef Society. Chef Pete was awarded the Best Caterer in Addison, Texas, in 2013. He has traveled with the Epicurean World Master Chef Society to Limerick, Ireland, and won the gold medal in healthy food competition.
Kim Schroeder
Native Texan, Kim Schroeder has been in the food service industry her entire career. She worked at the Dallas Market Center as a director for 10 years and has been the Retail Food Service associate director at the University of North Texas for the past 14 years. Kim is happily married for 19 years with one daughter. When not working, Kim likes to travel and host parities.
Tom Schroeder
Tom was born in Connecticut, but moved to Texas as soon as he could. He has been an executive chef for 34 years. A Johnson & Wales University graduate, he opened the OPUS restaurant at the Meyerson Symphony Center in 1993; then, was the chef at the World Trade Center, Dallas, for 15 years. He is the senior executive chef for the Baylor Scott & White Healthcare System.
Cook-off tips
Winners for the cook-off beef (First, Second and Third) and veggie (First) categories are announced in the late afternoon.
There is also a People’s Choice category that all attendees can participate in choosing their favorite chili. Simply cast your vote at the booth of your choice by placing your token in the team’s ballot box. Each paid admission includes a single ballot for the People’s Choice award.
Recommended parking is at the Jewish Community Center, which is five minutes away. Free shuttle buses will be in place for the entire event. There is also local parking in the neighborhood.
Admission is $12 for adults and $6 for children 4 to 10 which includes a free hot dog. Children 3 and under are free.
For more information, visit http://kosherchilicookoff.us/.

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Dallas Doings: Yavneh, Shearith, Anshai, Beth Torah

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Yavneh Academy names 2018-2019 Schultz Scholars

Yavneh Academy of Dallas has announced its Schultz Scholars for the 2018-2019 academic year. The seven students include two graduating seniors, three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman whose academic achievement and co-curricular leadership exemplify the best of Yavneh Academy.

This year’s Schultz Scholars are
• Jordyn Behr, freshman, daughter of Heather and David Behr
• Sarah Frydman, sophomore, daughter of Regina and Aaron Frydman
• Tia Einhorn, junior, daughter of Shuly and Craig Einhorn
• Yosef Weiss, junior, son of Simma and Shelley Weiss
• Reece Parker, junior, son of Andrea Kleinman-Parker and Jason Parker
• Zachary Bernstein, senior, son of Jordana and Josh Bernstein
• Jared Notelovitz, senior, son of Vivienne and Gavin Notelovitz

Shearith will honor Carol Aaron April 7 at Torah Fund brunch

Congregation Shearith Israel SISterhood will honor one of its lifelong members, Carol Aaron, at its Torah Fund Brunch at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, April 7, at the synagogue, 9401 Douglas Ave.
Carol has been active at Shearith Israel as a lay leader and generous benefactor. A philanthropist, volunteer extraordinaire and all-around go-getter, she is known for her love of family (she is the mother of Dawn and Todd Aaron, Nicole Blue, Angela Horowitz and Doug French, Erica and Craig Robins and Tracy and Clay Aaron) and her passion for ensuring the future of Dallas’ Jewish community. Most notably, she and her husband Steve Aaron provided the naming gift for the Aaron Family JCC (Jewish Community Center). She has also served the JCC as vice chair and as chair of major fundraising.
Most recently, Carol has been deeply involved with the Legacy Midtown Park project as co-chair of its capital campaign committee and chair of its board of directors.
“The Legacy Midtown Park is being built for the community by the community, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped us reach this milestone,” she said last summer, when The Legacy Midtown Park broke ground. “I feel a tremendous sense of pride as I watch our vision become a reality. We have an opportunity to provide a sense of comfort for families and meet the needs of our entire Jewish senior population now and in the future.”
She has been deeply involved with the Federation of Greater Dallas as well. She has served as the pacesetter chair, campaign chair, president and chair of the 100th Anniversary Celebration.
Aaron has served on boards and advisory committees for many organizations, including: CHAI, The Legacy Senior Communities, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Solomon Schechter (now Levine Academy), Jewish Medical Center in Denver, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, and Shearith Israel.
She received the Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award in 2004, the BBG Alumna of the Year Award in 2009, and the Husband and Wife Humanitarian Award from the Dallas Holocaust Museum.
According to the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism website, “The Torah Fund campaign began in 1942 as a scholarship fund. In 1963, it merged with the Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall campaign that provided housing for undergraduate students. In time, the campaign identified needs and raised funds for specific projects, including:
•Women’s League Educational Pavilion (Kripke Tower)
•Women’s League Seminary Synagogue
•Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall Renovations
•Goldsmith Hall
•Residence Hall at the American Jewish University
•JTS Quadrangle
•JTS Library Bookshelves
•Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies Garden
For the past several years, funds raised by Torah Fund have gone toward scholarships to all the schools. There are continuing opportunities for sisterhoods and individuals to provide support to all five institutions through Torah Fund. Thousands of dedicated volunteers have contributed to the spiritual, aesthetic and material well-being of these educational communities by supporting Torah Fund projects.”
Cost of the New Orleans-style Jazz Brunch is $36 plus a minimum donation to the Torah Fund Campaign. To RSVP, visit www.Shearith.org.

Anshai will hold annual Miriam’s Cup and Men’s Steak & Scotch programs

Congregation Anshai Torah is getting ready for the 10 plagues, the 40-years in the dessert, the four questions and four cups of wine (plus one each for Eliyahu and Miriam) with its annual Women’s Miriam’s Cup and Men’s Steak and Scotch events. All women of the community are invited Thursday, April 4, and men Thursday, April 11, both events beginning at 7 p.m. at Congregation Anshai Torah.
“Pesach is one of the most celebrated holidays on our calendar and as we celebrate our freedom of slavery,” said Rabbi Michael Kushnick, “we are blessed to come together to deepen our relationships, and enhance our communication, with each other and the holiday.”
At the Miriam’s Cup, Talia Kushnick and Adina Weinberg will make a toast (Pesach pun apologies) to the cups of wine that flow through the Seder. The what they represent and why we share them, beyond “because we do.”
“This event has become a great opportunity for women to learn and socialize together all in preparing for Pesach, a holiday that so many of us love to celebrate,” said Talia Kushnick. “We can take our ancient traditions and make them come alive for our families today. Judaism is rich and we want to help each person find their own connection, and to make it relevant for their home and family — to help our lives in Texas, in 2019, connect to our history.”
“In addition to being a fun time to be together, Talia and I want to share the traditional and some alternative understandings of the wine we all share at our Seders,” said Adina Weinberg. “This is a busy time for everyone and in the midst of shopping, cleaning and cooking, it’s important to exhale — and take it in, and enjoy and understand why we are celebrating.”
During the Steak & Scotch, Rabbi Stefan Weinberg and Rabbi Michael Kushnick will preview the Seder for the men, also providing insight to the texts of the holiday. Dinner and drinks provide the background, the rabbis the foreground for home Sedarim.
Both events include dinner, drinks and dessert. For more details or to RSVP, call 972-473-7718 or emailreceptionist@anshaitorah.org.
—Submitted by
Deb Silverthorn

Congregation Beth Torah offering Chocolate Hebrew course

Congregation Beth Torah is offering a new session of Chocolate Hebrew, the innovative crash course in reading Hebrew, beginning Saturday night, March 30.
Chocolate Hebrew, which is open to the community, uses a nonthreatening, fun and multisensory approach to take the mystery out of the Hebrew alphabet in just 13 hours of classes over two weeks. It is taught by Ruth Precker, the only teacher in Texas trained and authorized to teach the course.
The cost is $200. For more information, call Beth Torah at 972-234-1542 or log on to www.hebrewdallas.com.
—Submitted by
Michael Precker

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Around the Town: TCU, Israel

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

TCU to host David Price celebrating rare book collection

TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library and The Program in Jewish Studies at Brite Divinity School
Will present a special program celebrating the rare Judaica books collection when Professor David Price speaks on “Christian Hebraism and the Survival of Judaism: Two Perspectives,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in the Gearhart Reading Room of TCU Library
David H. Price, professor of Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, History, and History of Art at Vanderbilt University, has written widely on the history of early modern Europe. His current research projects pertain to Christian-Jewish relations during the period 1500-1789, as well as to the Bible in Renaissance visual art.
After receiving his Ph.D. from Yale University, Wright has been a professor at Yale, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of books and articles on a variety of topics, including Renaissance theater, Latin poetry, Renaissance visual art, the English Bible and the history of Christian-Jewish relations.
Among his recent books are “The Works of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim” (2015), “Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books” (2012), and “Albrecht Dürer’s Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation and the Art of Faith” (2003).
Generously supported by the Louis and Frieda Cristol Endowment for Academic Programming in Jewish Studies
All interested are invited to tour the rare Judaica collection before the lecture. Please meet at the East entrance to the library at 5:50 p.m. Free parking is available at non-reserved TCU lots after 5 p.m.
—Submitted by
Hollace Weiner, Fort Worth Jewish Archives

Centuries-Old Hebrew Books on Display at TCU

An exhibit of 500-year-old Jewish books and Talmudic tractates will be on display at Texas Christian University April 2 through May 22 in the Special Collections section of the campus library.
These rare books, exquisitely illustrated and printed in Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, were among a trove of 10,000 books that the university purchased from an aging Cincinnati scholar in 2001. At that time, TCU’s Brite Divinity School was establishing a Program in Jewish Studies and acquired the books as the core of its Judaica collection.
The exhibit, which is free to the public, is opening in conjunction with a guest lecture at 7 p.m. April 2, from Vanderbilt University Prof. David H. Price. He will speak in the library’s Gearhart Reading Room on “Christian Hebraism and the Survival of Judaism: Two Perspectives.” The Louis and Frieda Cristol Endowment for Academic Programming in Jewish Studies is sponsoring the lecture.
The Judaica exhibit includes a tractate from the Talmud dealing with the holiday of Shavuot. It was published in Venice in 1526 by pioneer printer Daniel Bomberg, a Christian whose template for laying out multiple Talmudic discussions on the printed page is still followed.
Another Bomberg manuscript in the exhibit is Yalkut Shimoni, a midrashic anthology on the bible. This artistically printed piece of literature from the Bomberg press was published in Venice in 1566.
Also in the display are works in Latin by Johann Buxtorf, a 17th-century Swiss scholar of Hebrew. Although a Protestant, Buxtorf was dubbed a “Master of the Rabbis.” Among his books in the exhibit is a thesaurus of Hebrew terms.
The director of the Jewish Studies Program at Brite is Dr. Ariel Friedman, the Rosalyn and Manny Rosenthal Associate Professor of Jewish Studies. The rare books, gathered by the late Rabbi Israel Otto Lehman, was purchased by the program’s founding director Dr. David Nelson.
—Submitted by
Hollace Weiner, Fort Worth Jewish Archives

Briefing on Israel

Gidon Ariel, founder and CEO of Roof Source, an organization dedicated to promoting respectful relationships between pro-Israel Christians and Jews, will brief the Tarrant County Jewish community on Interfaith relations, Israel elections and other topics at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen St.
Gidon made aliyah from Queens, New York, when he was only 14 years old. He spent close to a decade in advanced Jewish studies institutes (Yeshivas) and the Israeli Army. After 20 years in the Tank Corps, today he is a Reserve Officer in the IDF Spokespersons Office. A pioneer in Jewish-Christian relations, Gidon is a seasoned Hebrew and Judaism instructor and public speaker.
Gidon is a delegate to the Central Committee (the Merkaz) of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party and he ran for the Maale Adumim City Council. He is married with five children, and they live in Maale Hever, a suburb of Hebron in the West Bank, where he moved with his family in 2012.
The program is free, but please RSVP to Debby Rice, at 817-706-5158 or rice.debby@gmail.com.
Co-sponsors of the program are The Fort Worth Chapter of Hadassah, Southwest Jewish Congress, The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Congregation Ahavath Sholom and the Martin Hochster Post of the Jewish War Veterans.

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The number 8: higher and completely distinct

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

There is a song that children love which has traditionally been inserted at the end of the Passover Seder called Echad Mi Yodea (“Who Knows One?”) But what does this have to do with relating the story of the Exodus from Egypt? Perhaps this popular poem, all about numbers, snuck into the Haggadah because Passover is the ripest time for Jewish education, to impart to the child (and to ourselves) a Torah worldview. Reciting “Who Knows One?” instills a natural association with One God — and likewise, some meaningful content associated with each number in the song.
A name and a number
This week, the number eight is emphasized, as the parasha title, Shemini, means “the eighth”—after the opening words “and it came to pass on the eighth day.” It’s the only Torah portion whose name is a number. And in certain years (outside of Israel), we read this portion a total of eight times.
This eighth day to which it refers follows last week’s instructions to complete a seven-day inaugural process of the Mishkan (sanctuary). The day after was set aside for inducting Aaron and his sons into priesthood, as they began their service. It was also the day on which the presence of God was revealed — when the Shechinah began to reside amongst Israel.
One of the primary commentaries on the Torah, Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, known as the “Kli Yakar,” is bothered by the phrase “shemini.” Labeling something the “eighth” in any sequence implies a common feature with the previous seven. The events of this day, however, were not a continuation of a previous seven, but the beginning of a new process. If so, he questions, why was this called “the eighth”? — it should have said something like “the following day” or “the day of revelation.”
Sevenths and eighths
In his answer, rich with insights, he explains that the Torah uses the term “the eighth day” to highlight its extraordinary quality — a day of revelation. He continues to elucidate how the number eight, which often appears in the Tanach in conjunction with the number seven, carries certain connotations: In Jewish thought, the number eight signifies something supernatural, a superior divine disclosure, while the number seven signifies the natural experience and ordinary processes. (The Hebrew word shemini, eight, also shares a root with shemen, which means fat or expanded.)
(This is a recurring theme: There are seven musical notes in any given scale. Our weekly cycle consists of seven days. The symbolic seven-stringed harp of the first two Temples stands in contrast to the eight-stringed harp in Messianic times, when the entire world will reach a higher consciousness, “for the earth shall be filed with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the seabed.” Interestingly, the infinity symbol we use takes the form of a sideways eight.)
The Kli Yakar commentary goes on to explain how the numerical association even manifests in Jewish law where the mitzvah of circumcision supersedes the prohibition of forbidden labors on Shabbat; a brit milah is associated with eight while Shabbat is associated with the number seven — “and the rule is that the sacred takes precedence over the mundane.”
Grades of holiness
While his question on the Torah’s usage of “eighth” is probing, there are two apparent difficulties with his answer provided. First, how can he claim that the seventh day, Shabbat, is part of the mundane? After all, throughout the Torah and prophets we find references to how this spiritual day of rest is permeated with holiness (i.e., “And God blessed the Shabbat day and made it holy,” Exodus 20:11). These verses — which are found in the Kiddush (from the same Hebrew root word as “holy)” — clearly stress the sanctity of the day.
The commentaries clarify that the expression “seven refers to the mundane” is only relative. The “day of rest” is indeed elevated above the other six days in its purpose — it is the completion of the natural order, the holy element within creation. But the number eight signifies a level that is beyond creation — not just higher, but completely distinct.
In other words, there are two general grades of holiness: There is a finite holiness that still has a relationship to the natural order. We can draw down and access this level with our actions — by refining the world through mitzvot. Then there is a more transcendent holiness, too potent to be incorporated within the physical realm (except for certain occasions).
Thus, we can speak of progressive stages: the raw, seemingly ordinary, existence of material; the perfection or holiness reached within the world (reflected by number seven); a holiness that transcends this world, a signal of the world to come (reflected by number eight).
If so, it seems that the Kli Yakar didn’t really answer his question, but instead made it stronger: The number eight is completely beyond the natural order which is controlled with a cycle of seven, and the eighth day was likewise disconnected from the previous seven, a unique occurrence bound up with the infinite.
But his succinct commentary is perhaps addressing an important existential question: How much of what we end up with in life is earned, and how much is due to factors beyond our effort, what we’d call a blessing or a gift? (A relevant subject in physical, economic and spiritual pursuits.)
Gifts and rewards
A reward, such as salary, is usually commensurate with the achievement — the person’s effort and capabilities — and so is in proportion to the quality of the invested. A gift, however, is not an outgrowth of one’s effort, but based on the kindness of the giver. Yet, in certain contexts, there may be a strong connection between the recipient’s actions and the decision of the giver to present that gift.
In our biblical extract, we are being taught a rule that pertains to holiness. There can be a process whereby the cause-and-effect are inherently distinct components, but at the same time specific actions are necessary to trigger remarkable results, “a gift.” Or from a different angle, in a relationship with God — or the global interaction between human effort and divine response — we must put in work, but what we receive in return far surpasses the boundaries of our capabilities and achievements. In numerical symbolism, the level of eight is infinitely higher than seven — so we can never earn eight — yet only when the process of seven is complete does the level of eight arrive.
This theme plays out in many aspects of our lives. Perhaps the best example is a marriage, which entails components of seven and eight. Seven represents our effort, beginning before marriage and continuing throughout. It is also our love and appreciation for a spouse. Eight is the deeper and eternal love, the connection which reaches way beyond any conscious appreciation. The ultimate goal of Jewish marriage — “finding your bashert” — is to transition from seven to eight and uncover the element of eight.
Two souls join in this world, brought together through an unfathomable intricate series of events over generations. On the one hand, a successful marriage can be perceived as a product of all the personal developments and preparation: the investment in trying to understand the way the other person operates and be in tune with their feelings and build a meaningful life together. But in the end, the fruits of their efforts — a sacred bond, the children created and legacy left — stem from a power beyond the boundaries of any joint effort, “the gift” that belongs to the realm of eight.
Takeaway
Whether in personal growth, in a relationship, career goal, or in our spiritual pursuits, we all face challenges and struggles. At times we may feel that the next higher stage is impossible or out of reach. One message from this week is that we must first recognize our task, the responsibility of fixing and refining our part through natural means, a process signified by seven. But when we do our job to attain perfection, we then uncover a force way beyond us that comes into our lives. This is the gift of “the eighth day.”
Rabbi Dan Lewin is director of the nonprofit Maayan Chai Foundation. For information, visit www.maayanchai.org.

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The first Jew in Texas — before it was Texas

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Before there was Mexico, there was New Spain, formed by the conquests of the Indians by the Spanish conquistadors in the New World.
The names of Pizzaro, Coronado, Cortez, Verrazzano, DaVaca and Balboa are just a few conquistadors you may recall from your history classes.
You might not have read of Luis de Carvajal, an adventurer seeking to offer his ship, crew and services to New Spain’s growing Spanish government. Born Jewish, Carvajal claimed he was a “converso,” a Jew in 14th- and 15th-century Spain or Portugal who converted to Catholicism.
Carvajal made an impression on the Spanish viceroy by capturing more than 70 Englishmen who had been marooned on a beach after a shootout with the Spanish fleet. After he received his captain’s commission, Carvajal was sent to punish native Indians who had mistreated Spanish shipwreck victims on Padre Island. On this mission, he became the first Spaniard to cross the Rio Grande.
Each successful venture seemingly emboldened him further, eventually leading to a grand plan, presented in Spain to the king’s appointees overseeing the Indies.
Carvajal’s plan was to develop and build mines, and to connect ports across New Spain, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific coast. The crown, impressed with his plan, gave Carvajal a ship, manpower and supplies. He loaded the ship with many family members, who were also conversos.
Though Carvajal always sent glowing progress reports about village settlements, conflicting reports also surfaced of slave raiding and the sale of hundreds of Indian captives. Additionally, village, road and port development was not progressing as Carvajal had claimed.
Added to the charges of working with slave trade renegades, he was accused of heresy by not revealing that members of his family, conversos like himself, were secretly practicing Jews.
Carvajal was tortured, and confessed to being a Jewish heretic. He also named his mother, brothers and sisters, all of whom were eventually executed.
Carvajal, meanwhile, was imprisoned in 1590. Once he realized there would be no escape, he began to write a miniature religious memoir, titled “Memorias.” The 3-by-4-inch, 180-page treatise was completed before Carvajal was burned at the stake at 30 years old.
Though his morality was questionable and his life ended violently, Carvajal is credited with being the first Jew in Tejas (Texas), as well as author of the first book in the New World, written 20 years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock.

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Study of grandparents’ Jewish involvement

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Dear Families,
In November, the Jewish Grandparents Network began the first national study of Jewish grandparents. Thanks to outreach from 17 national organizations and Jewish Federations, nearly 8,000 responded to the survey.
Here are some of the results, courtesy of eJewishPhilanthropy.com.
• Joyful Transmitters (20 percent) — love being grandparents and feel it’s important to transmit Jewish values and beliefs.
• Faithful Transmitters (16 percent) — want their grandchildren to have a strong connection to Judaism and to marry Jews.
• Engaged Secularists (23 percent) — engaged grandparents, but don’t model Jewish involvement for their grandchildren.
• Wistful Outsiders (20 percent) — want to be more involved with their grandchildren, but family dynamics get in the way.
• Non–Transmitters (20 percent) — not Jewishly-engaged nor interested in passing on Jewish practices to their grandchildren.
We will definitely be hearing more about this study, but I want to challenge us all to read the groupings above, and remove the words “grandparents” and “grandchildren.” What if we generalized these into how we approach our own Judaism and our own role in passing on our tradition? Does it matter if we are parents, teachers, students, workers? Where do I fit in my commitment to Judaism, and do I have a role in the continuation?
Perhaps we can use the terms to view how we live our Jewish lives — am I a joyful individual with a strong connection to Judaism? How does engagement look to myself and those around me? If I am a wistful outsider, how can I get inside? And, are the “non-transmitters” also not living Judaism – is the term “just Jewish?” What is my commitment today whether I am a grandparent, parent or “just a regular person” living my day-to-day life? Where does being Jewish fit into my definition of who I am?
This type of survey creates many questions that only each of us can answer for ourselves. Additionally, as we prepare for Passover in just a few weeks, these might also be good questions for discussion, to add to our favorite four.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

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