Archive | May, 2019

Dallas Doings: Levine, JNF, AJC

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Levine plans Weinreb ECC classroom renovations

Levine Academy will hold a 24-hour campaign from noon May 23 to noon May 24 to raise money to renovate classrooms for toddlers through prekindergarten. Levine Academy parents Julie and Michael Zimmerman have agreed to match Levine’s donation goal of $65,000. The renovation of each classroom costs between $10,000 and $15,000 each. The full renovation is expected to be completed by the end of this summer, so every Weinreb Early Childhood student will return next August to learn and grow in an innovative learning environment creating a sensory, tactile and safe space for every learner to thrive.
From visual to hands-on learners, NorvaNivel USA and Levine Academy are creating a contemporary, student-centered learning environment to give every student the opportunity for success in school and, ultimately, life.
Pledges can be made ahead of time and will be posted during the 24-hour campaign. For more information, please contact Yael Twito, director of development, at ytwito@levineacademy.com or 972-248-3032, ext. 114.

JNF opens new Dallas office, City of Dallas declares May 8 Jewish National Fund Day

In celebration of the opening of its new office last week, The City of Dallas recognized May 8 as Jewish National Fund Day. The office will be staffed fulltime by Ellie Adelman, director of Dallas, and Dr. Galit Birk, Israel Programs admission director for Texas.
Ellie Solimani Adelman grew up in Dallas and blazed an adventurous global path before returning home to her Texas roots. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin she emigrated to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces, where she served in a female combat unit (Caracal) on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders. Upon completion of her army service Ellie joined Nefesh B’Nefesh, building their lone soldier program to help those like herself serving in the army without family in Israel. After seven years in Israel, work took her to Cape Town, Bangkok and San Francisco. Adelman is happy to be back in Dallas, where she worked previously for three years as the Young Adult campaign manager at the Jewish Federation.
A key part of JNF-USA’s Education Team, Dr. Galit Birk, a native of Israel, holds a doctorate in psychology and a master’s degree in human resources, and is responsible for Israel advocacy and education for schools and synagogues, recruiting students for JNF-USA’s Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI-JNF) as well as partnering with Texas universities in both Israel programming and recruiting for student programs to Israel. She is a former parent coach in private practice serving families in the Dallas area and then as pastoral care director at Temple Emanu-El Dallas.

—Submitted by
Adam Brill

AJC Dallas to host iftar dinner

AJC Dallas’ DFW Muslim Jewish Advisory Council will host its second annual iftar dinner at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson. An iftar is the meal with which Muslims break the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The evening will begin with brief remarks by Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Mike Costanzi and leaders from the Muslim and Jewish communities. After the brief program, there will be a call to prayer. Following the evening prayers, the meal will be served. There is no charge for dinner, but an RSVP is required before Monday, May 27.

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Freedom to create: the artistry of Izakil Goldin

Freedom to create: the artistry of Izakil Goldin

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Photos: Submitted
Izakil Goldin’s “Wedding” is among the works on display in the Beth-El
Congregation board room through August.

 

From an early age, Izakil Goldin’s greatest desire has been to express himself creatively through painting and writing. But the first 23 years of his life in a village 70 miles from Minsk, in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, followed by 20 years in Minsk, offered little opportunity for him to do so.
His childhood memories include art, music, and literature along with recollections of his mother being an actress and doing voice impersonations.
But the majority of his memories of life in Russia are rife with restrictions indelibly marked in his mind. He describes it as “living on the moon,” with meager and often inedible food, extremely limited employment opportunities, and an “internal passport” that determined where people were allowed to go.
In 1979, when the USSR relaxed its visa policies toward Jews and an era of détente was underway, the Goldins (Izakil, his wife Lora and their 6-year-old son Jay) emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States and settled in Richmond, Virginia. Years later their son Jay, a writer and assistant history professor, learned through a friend’s research how Soviet Jews were able to leave the Soviet Union legally. They were required to have an invitation or “visov,” a legally attested invitation from a near “relative” to join his or her family members. Few if any Jews had relatives in Israel, and there was no Israeli embassy in the Soviet Union.
Jews throughout greater Russia made lists of those who wanted to leave and took the lists to the Dutch embassy in Moscow, which sent names to the Israeli embassy in the Netherlands. Next, the names were sent to Israel. Then a few months later, the Soviet Jews who wanted to leave would get invitations from their Israeli “relatives.”
Letters from these “relatives” opened up a new world of possibilities for the Goldins. They allowed them to leave Belarus and connect to extended family members in Virginia, educational opportunities, and the assistance of Richmond’s Jewish Family Services. This organization helped emigres become acclimated to their new environment, and they found Izakil Goldin a lab technician job analyzing tobacco for Philip Morris.
Since 2011, the Goldins have lived in Fort Worth near their son Jay. Life in the United States has clearly been a source of numerous blessings for the Goldins. For Izakil, one of the greatest gifts has been his ability to pursue his love of the arts, specifically attending art classes at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Museum of Arts.
Izakil delights in painting realistic landscapes, still lifes, and portraits with vivid colors and evocative details. His son Jay is “very proud of his father’s artistic ability and hopes that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to see his exhibit.”
Selected works will be on display in the Beth-El Board Room from May through August.

— Submitted by
Arlene Reynolds

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Emor: Kohanim set example for education

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Laws related to the Kohanim (Priests) occupy much of the Book of Vayikra (Leviticus). Hence, the rabbis refer to Leviticus as Torat Kohanim — the Torah (Laws) of the Priests. While both this week’s Torah and Haftorah portions follow this theme, they seem to introduce a dissimilitude.
Ezekiel, the prophet, seems to assign different responsibilities to the Kohanim, ones that seem to contradict the Torah.
The last verse of the Haftorah states that Kohanim may not eat the beast or fowl that dies on its own, or is torn to pieces.
Do these regulations pertain only to the priests? Surely, every Jew must refrain from eating meat not ritually slaughtered, or nonkosher meat. Did Ezekiel mean that the priests were to be the religious professionals? Was it to be their sole responsibility?
Indeed, there were periods in Jewish history when the Kohanim stood out as guardians of Jewish tradition. Aaron tried to resist attempts to make an idol at Mount Sinai. Mattityahu led the rebellion of the Maccabees against the Greek-Syrians and the Hellenists.
Yet there were times when the Kohanim led and inspired the people away from God. The prophets railed against the priests during the First Temple. The House of Tzadok, mentioned in this week’s Haftorah, was the backbone of the Sadducees, who sought to undermine Jewish life during the Second Commonwealth.
Yes, the Kohanim were to lead by example. But, by no means were they to be the sole practitioners of Jewish observance. Rather, this was the responsibility of all.
In this week’s portion of Emor, the Kohanim are directed to educate their young. Only then could they inspire the people. Likewise, educating the young is necessary for all segments of the Jewish nation. It is not merely for Kohanim or professionals, but for everyone.
Parents today must often make decisions about their children’s well-being. The most important decision a parent must make about a child’s education is — to which high school to send him or her.
More important than a day school education is a high school education. We know, both statistically and anecdotally, that the high school years make the biggest impact on a youngster. No boy or girl is immune to outside values and pressures. A child must have a rich reservoir of Jewish values to draw from as he or she begins to make critical lifestyle decisions. We are accustomed to our young people receiving a college education, and beyond. Jewish education and the ability to instruct its values in life cannot lag behind.
Studies show us that a child who receives a Jewish education through high school is more likely to live a Jewish life, and far less likely to intermarry.
If a Jewish high school education is followed by a year of study in Israel — then the intermarriage rate drops drastically.
In a time when, painfully, the rates of intermarriage and assimilation are above 50 percent, investing in a Jewish high school education is a modest price, indeed.
Rashi explains that the adult Kohanim were warned to educate their new generation of Kohanim. Nowadays we are all Kohanim — “And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We must all make this commitment.
While there are certainly no insurance policies for the future, a Jewish high school education is certainly the closest we can get to assure a vibrant Jewish future.
We are fortunate that in Dallas we have several Jewish high schools from which to choose. We must allow our sons and daughters to benefit from these Jewish opportunities.
Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Wolk is community chaplain at Jewish Family Service and rabbi emeritus of Congregation Shaare Tefilla.

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Appreciation and gratitude extend to our pets

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Dear Families
At the Early Childhood Center, we always talk about a wonderful Jewish value that is sometimes hard to explain to young children. This is hoda’ah, translated as appreciation, gratitude, being thankful.
Since this can be a difficult concept for youngsters to grasp, we focused on their interests. And, through a Jewish lens, I told them that caring for animals is a mitzvah. This, in turn, led into how we care.
I took an idea from Joel Lurie Grishaver and Nachum Amsel’s “You Be the Judge: A Collection of Ethical Cases and Jewish Answers,” and the follow-up: “You be the Judge 2: A Collection of Ethical Cases and Jewish Answers.”
The young children became a bet din, a Jewish court of law, to decide the case: “Does Shabbat Have to Go to the Dogs?” The situation is common in many families; feeding the family pet is the responsibility of the children. In this situation, Josh forgot to feed the dog before Shabbat dinner, and as the family sat to pray and eat, the dog was barking. Grandma said to feed the dog after the blessings and dinner. Cousin David, on the other hand, said the dog should be fed before the blessings and before the family eats.
You be the judge: Should the dog be fed before the family eats? Or afterward?
Here’s what the sages said. A mitzvah, tzar ba’alei hayyim, forbids cruelty to animals. Not feeding animals is cruel. In the Torah, we read about Rebecca, who was kind to the camels. Then there is Moses, who brought water from the rock for the people and the animals.
According to Maimonides: “The sages made it a practice to feed their animals before they tasted anything themselves.” Rashi, in the Talmud, added, “One may even delay ha-motzi in order to feed animals.” Many rabbis have agreed that pets are our responsibility, which includes feeding them since they cannot get their own food.
In short, caring for animals is important and must come even before we take care of ourselves. It is a mitzvah and responsibility.
Getting back to the teaching, as my lesson was about gratitude and showing appreciation, I brought it back to being thankful for our pets. Then, one voice piped up, saying: “I’m thankful my mom feeds our dog!”

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The Omer: countdown between Passover and Shavuot, explained

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Dear Rabbi,
In our Haggadah which we used for our Seder this year, it says, “On the second night of Passover, we begin counting the Omer.” No one attending our Seder had previously heard of this practice. Could you give us some insight?
Sincerely,
Mark

Dear Mark,
The Jewish people’s journey toward nationhood began on Passover. The Exodus redeemed them from physical slavery and subjugation, but they still lacked a national identity and purpose. This was conferred upon them only later, when the Jewish people heard the words of God at Mount Sinai (Exodus Ch. 19-20). In those moments, the newly formed nation obtained its spiritual identity and national calling through the Torah, and the redemption was complete.
This world-altering event, the revelation of the Torah to the Jews at Mount Sinai, took place on the seventh day of the Jewish month of Sivan, in the year 2448 (1313 BCE). Every year, the anniversary of that revelation is celebrated as the festival called Shavuot.
The Torah emphasizes the link between Passover and Shavuot through the commandment of “Counting the Omer,” or Sefiras HaOmer. We count the days and weeks from the second day of Passover until the festival of Shavuot. We begin the counting only on the second night of Passover, not on the first, so as not to detract from the celebration and joy of the Exodus, as noted in Sefer Hachinuch mitzvah 306.
Sefiras HaOmer refers to the Omer offering of newly harvested barley that was brought to the Temple in Jerusalem on 16 Nissan, the second day of Passover, as outlined in Leviticus.
Leviticus also notes that, in contrast to the Passover offering of barley, the offering on Shavuot was bread made from wheat flour. What is the significance of this change from barley to wheat?
The Sages explain that barley is often used as animal fodder, while wheat is predominantly for human consumption; bread is an exclusively human food. Thus, as we count from Passover to Shavuot, we also mark our spiritual progression from slavery to our material, animalistic passions, to the increasingly human realm of free will, intellect and attachment to God. Through the counting of 49 days, we count our elevation, day by day, into the realm of Torah life and our growth as a mensch.
The Kabbalists also explain that the 49 days of counting, comprising seven weeks of seven days, represent the epitome of the physical world. The number seven in Judaism represents physicality. The multiple of seven times seven is the epitome of that concept.
The Jews had sunk to 49 levels of impurity during their sojourn in Egypt. Egypt, itself, was at the level of 50, the point of no return. The Jews needed to leave immediately at that point, because to tarry any further endangered them to sinking to the point of no return. Hence, there was no time for the bread to rise, leading to matzo.
The rising of the bread, the chametz, represents the inclination to haughtiness and evil. By leaving with great alacrity to fulfill God’s command they stopped the “rising of the bread,” the inclination toward evil, in its tracks.
The following 49 days were devoted to growing and acquiring positive character traits, one by one, day by day. At Day 49, the Jews had perfected themselves and freed themselves of the 49 levels of impurity, and were ready to receive the Torah. On Day 50, they entered the spiritual realm, which transcends the physical, the square multiple of seven, into the realm which is diametrically opposed to the negative “50” of Egypt. This is the world of Sinai, of Torah, of the Almighty. This is the real purpose of our redemption on Passover; hence it begins with, and connects to, the Haggadah.

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Accepting what life hands you

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

My sister turned 80 years old Saturday, May 11. She was born in 1939, four days ahead of Mother’s Day that year. I guess my mother was hoping for a holiday baby who arrived a bit early — the way I felt when my daughter, who the doctors predicted would be born on Valentine’s Day, made an earlier appearance and is instead a February Groundhog. Well, the old saying is correct: Babies are born on their own schedules.
My sister’s life has not been easy. She is bipolar, something my doctor-father identified very early in her life. Along with that identification came my new and continuing job: As the almost-five-years-older sibling in a family that would have no other children, my role became more caretaker than simply “big sister.” In one way or another, even when we have lived far apart, this relationship has continued. It has not been easy for either of us.
I mentioned before that I was immensely privileged to be on the board of an Illinois mental health center when Elizabeth Kubler-Ross M.D., famed author of “On Death and Dying,” became our medical director. I learned about lithium from her. Because of that, my sister was one of the first to be treated with it and described its effects this way: “I don’t have to be cleaning out drawers all the time anymore!”
The drawer cleaning, of course, took place during her manic phases. During the depressions, she would sleep. She was a young woman of immense intelligence and strength, and through it all, a respected teacher of high school history, with specialties in subjects as diverse as Mary Queen of Scots and American trade unions. She never missed a day. But during those depressive times, I had to go from my home to her apartment to drag her out of bed and make sure she would get ready for school. After her college graduation, she had followed me to Chicago so that this would be possible.
My sister has overcome enough of what is a true, but much misunderstood, disability to live an almost normal life. She has three college degrees, including an MBA. She married and has two daughters, both respected professionals. But her behavior is erratic. Currently, she will not speak to one of them; nobody knows why.
My sister has also overcome immense physical problems: two bouts with breast cancer, and a recent major heart valve replacement. That difficult surgery was made even more difficult because the effects of radiation rendered opening her chest impossible; the operation involved threading up through a vein in her leg. She was told in advance that there were no guarantees; this was an elective procedure. But if she elected not to have it, she should go home and make her end-of-life plans immediately. So, she took a chance, survived the operation and came through the long, long rehab that followed.
My sister is now, and always will be, in an assisted-living facility. I talked to her on her birthday. She is not happy. But she gave herself a party, inviting many people she has known for the past 30 years to come and have cake with her. The beautiful cake was a gift from the daughter she still does not speak to.
I write all this to tell you, as I remind myself, that life is always what we get, but never always what we want. I am older than my sister, and healthier than my sister, and still — after all these years, and despite the physical distance between us — remain her primary caretaker. I have lived the role assigned to me almost 80 years ago. I do not complain, because I grew up with our doctor-father’s maxim: “Take whatever life hands you, and do the best you can with it, because that’s all there is.”
This advice has served me well for more than eight decades. Today, I pass it on to you.

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Herman Wouk, legendary author who brought Judaism into the mainstream, dies at 103

Herman Wouk, legendary author who brought Judaism into the mainstream, dies at 103

Posted on 17 May 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Herman Wouk in 1975 (Alex Gotfryd/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

By Rachel Gordon

BOSTON (JTA) — Herman Wouk, the bestselling Orthodox Jewish author whose literary career spanned nearly seven decades and who helped usher Judaism into the American mainstream, died Friday at the age of 103.
His agent confirmed the news to The Associated Press.
Wouk was the author of two dozen novels and works of nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Caine Mutiny” from 1951, which was a fixture on best-seller lists for two years, and the best-selling “Marjorie Morningstar” from 1955. Both books were later adapted for the screen.
His novels “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” both became successful television miniseries. By the mid-1950s, Wouk’s popular and financial success as an American Jewish novelist was unmatched.
Even more unusual for a writer of Wouk’s celebrity was his Orthodox observance and treatment of Jewish religious practice in his writing. Wouk embodied the new postwar possibilities for American Jews and his writing was both cause and effect of the normalization of Judaism within the larger American Judeo-Christian tradition.
When he appeared on the cover of Time in 1955, the magazine described Wouk’s blend of worldly success and Jewish religious observance as paradoxical.
“He is a devout Orthodox Jew who had achieved worldly success in worldly-wise Manhattan while adhering to dietary prohibitions and traditional rituals which many of his fellow Jews find embarrassing,” the article said.
At the time, Wouk’s fame seemed like an incredible feat for an Orthodox Jew. Unlike other Jewish novelists, who had focused on Jewish immigrant culture and tended to portray religious Judaism as foreign and exotic, Wouk made Jewish religious observance appear mainstream in his books. Scenes of a Passover seder and a bar mitzvah service became scenes of middle-class American life in “Marjorie Morningstar.”
None of this escaped criticism. With the exception of “The Caine Mutiny,” reviews of Wouk’s works were typically mixed. Both Jewish and mainstream reviewers expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of his writing, his conservative outlook on politics and sex, and his treatment of Judaism. Some rabbis even criticized Wouk for mocking Jewish observance — though in the coming decade, Philip Roth’s fiction would radically change their perspective on what counted as literary denigration of Judaism.
Meanwhile, fellow Jewish novelists like Roth, Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer viewed Wouk as conforming to middle-class American values that prioritized marriage, family, religion and service to country. Not only did he stay married to the same woman for more than six decades, but Wouk expressed pride in his military service, for which he received a U.S. Navy Lone Sailor Award. Wouk in turn saw the others as bowing to fashionable literary trends of rebellion and shocking readers.
From his debut novel, “Aurora Dawn,” in 1947, to his last book, “Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author” — published in 2015 when he had reached a century — Wouk wove themes central to the American Jewish experience throughout his work. Even “The Caine Mutiny,” a less Jewish novel than later works, included Lt. Barney Greenwald, who gives a moving speech in defense of a lieutenant who helped keep Greenwald’s Jewish mother from being “melted down into a bar of soap” by the Nazis.
Set in the 1930s and ’40s, Wouk’s fourth book, “Marjorie Morningstar,” heralded a new era for American Jews. The novel followed the journey of a New York Jewish protagonist no different from any other bright and beautiful young woman of the era, an image further cemented by Natalie Wood’s portrayal of Marjorie in the 1958 film version.
Not since the 1927 film “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson, had a movie shown Jewish religious scenes. But unlike “The Jazz Singer,” Marjorie and her religion were not exoticized — Jewishness was portrayed as middle class and American. With Marjorie, Wouk had succeeded in making a story about Jews into an American story.
Marjorie also marked a turning point in his writing career. With confidence that he had readers who would follow him to less popular subjects, Wouk’s fourth book, his first work of nonfiction, took on the subject of Orthodox Judaism. Published in 1959, “This Is My God” was a primer about the Jewish religion intended for both Jewish and non-Jewish readers.
As other American celebrities would do, Wouk used his fame to draw attention to his little-understood religion. Serialized in the Los Angeles Times, “This Is My God” introduced readers to such Jewish particulars as the laws of kashrut and family purity and the holidays of Sukkot and Shavuot. The book showed, through anecdotes from Wouk’s glamorous Manhattan life, that it was possible to be both a modern American and Orthodox.
At a time when Jews still encountered quotas at universities and discrimination in hiring and housing, Wouk’s example provided inspiration. “This Is My God” became a popular bar mitzvah and confirmation gift for young Jews of all movements.
Born in the Bronx borough of New York City on May 27, 1915, Wouk was the second of three children of Esther and Abraham Wouk, both immigrants from Belarus. Abraham Wouk began work as a laundry laborer and found financial success in the laundry business. Herman spent his early years in the Bronx receiving basic Hebrew training from his grandfather. His childhood included the teasing and bullying that was common for bookish boys in rough neighborhoods.
From an early age, Wouk found a haven in reading, family and Judaism. After graduating from the public Townsend Harris High School, Wouk entered Columbia University, where he served as editor of its humor magazine. He also took courses at Yeshiva University.
Upon graduating, Wouk briefly abandoned his religious lifestyle when he became a radio dramatist, writing for the comedian Fred Allen. Although the work was lucrative, Wouk felt a void in a life without Jewish learning and religion, and he eventually returned to his previous level of observance.
In the coming years he would reside in the Virgin Islands, New York’s Fire Island, Washington, D.C., Manhattan and Palm Springs, California — and in all those locales he was involved in setting up Jewish study and prayer groups.
Following Pearl Harbor, Wouk joined the Navy and served in the Pacific, where he was an officer aboard two destroyers, participated in eight invasions and won several battle stars. Wouk also started to write “Aurora Dawn” while aboard ship. After Wouk sent part of a draft to one of his former Columbia professors, the professor connected Wouk with an editor, and a contract followed.
While his ship was being repaired in California, Wouk met Betty Sarah Brown, a graduate of the University of Southern California and a civilian Navy employee. After her conversion to Judaism, the couple married in 1945 and had three sons. Betty, who died in 2011, would eventually become her husband’s literary agent.
Wouk is survived by two sons, Nathaniel and Joseph, and three grandchildren. His oldest son, Abraham, died in a 1951 swimming pool accident.
(Rachel Gordan is an assistant professor of religion and Jewish Studies at the University of Florida, where she is the Shorstein fellow in American Jewish culture.)

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CHAI commemorates 36 years of service

CHAI commemorates 36 years of service

Posted on 17 May 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Community connections are a huge part of CHAI’s success. As part of his Bar Mitzvah project, Daniel Weinstein (lighting candles) and his mother Krista (in black) prepared a festive Shabbat dinner for CHAI residents of the Levy House residents.

By Deb Silverthorn

The good works of Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), will revolve through Dallas’ skyline at Reunion Tower, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. The community is invited to celebrate “Living the CHAILIFE,” commemorating the organization’s double chai year 36 years of providing programs and services that enable adults with intellectual disabilities to live as independently as possible.

“I couldn’t be more excited for our guests to enjoy, to have fun, and for our supporters, staff and CHAI clients and residents to come together,” said David Romick, president of CHAI’s board of directors.

The event, which will take place on the Geo-Deck and Cloud Nine of Reunion Tower, will have roving entertainers, an interactive experience, and a menu created by Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant. Beverly Rossel and Ricki Shapiro are the event’s co-chairs, working with Development Chair Beverly Goldman, Romick, CHAI CEO Lisa Brodsky and CHAI Development Staffers Michelle Bach and Patsy Goodman.

“We are taking our celebration to the top. Reunion Tower is a very special place and we have so many wonderful surprises and plans for the evening,” Goodman said, noting that raising money and exposure for CHAI are what allow the services to continue. “There will be treats from the time guests enter the elevator (bring your smartphones) and they will continue as we take over the of the Tower.”

Established in 1983, CHAI is a nonsectarian, nonprofit corporation under Jewish auspices that provides programs and services to enable adults with intellectual disabilities to live full, rich lives in a safe environment and to participate meaningfully in the community.

“My hope is for CHAI to grow and to serve more,” said Romick, whose son Barry is a CHAI resident. “Our community has too many waiting for services — and, with the support of our community, CHAI will be able to provide high-quality care for more people like my son.”

He said that CHAI has provided various services for Barry and family since he was 15 years old. “For the last eight years he has been a resident and the quality and care he is provided can’t be compared,” Romick said. “I got involved and I love what I see, I love the community involvement, and my service for CHAI is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The CHAI management team is always open to recommendations and wanting only to make the organization better.”

CHAI services include room and board for 29 residents at its Bauer House, Levy House I and II, Miller House I and II, Todd House, Toub House and Yale House. Also available are health care and specialized therapy assistance, financial counseling and training, transportation, medical and therapy appointments and medication supervision, synagogue participation, volunteer opportunities, social activities, entitlement (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) shopping and bill pay assistance, resident documentation and family communication and support.

The organization’s programming includes the Wolens Program Services, which provides support services to CHAI residents, as well as to individuals living independently in the community or with loved ones. Life Skills trainers assist with activities of daily living such as social skills, budgeting, shopping, health and wellness and more. Supported Employment provides clients assistance with job search, resume building and on-the-job coaching. Club CHAI has regular social outings, while CHAI Connects offers support, education and mentorship to family members of CHAI residents and clients, or potential residents and clients.

CHAILIFE Co-chair Ricki Shapiro’s son Joel is a CHAI client who can live independently because of the support of many of CHAI’s programs. To Joel and the Shapiro family, CHAI means everything.

“The beauty of CHAI is the wide spectrum of services it provides and the people it has offering them,” she said. “For almost every family the greatest concern is what will happen to our family member when we are not here. CHAI answers that question with safety and security and a sense of family for every client and resident.”

To RSVP for the event, visit chaidallas.org/special-event or text CHAItix to 51555. For more information about Community Homes for Adults, Inc., call 214-373-8600.

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DJCF to hold scholarship reception May 22

DJCF to hold scholarship reception May 22

Posted on 16 May 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Photo: Courtesy Dallas Jewish Community Foundation
Benjamin Galichia (left), recipient of the Gerardo and Helga Weinstein scholarship of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, and scholarship donor Helga Weinstein meet one another at the 2018 Dallas Jewish Community Foundation scholarship reception. Guest Margarita Solis, center, looks on.

Recipients, donors
make meaningful
connections

By Deb Silverthorn

Some students will get an early start to their 2019-2020 school year, beginning Wednesday, May 22. On that day, more than $130,000 of higher-education scholarships will be awarded to eligible students in Collin, Dallas and Denton counties by the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation. The awards will be announced, for the first time, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.

“We take great pride in the administration of this unique program and its anonymous applications that ensure fair evaluation,” said DJCF Director of Philanthropic Advancement Mona Allen. “The scholarships were created by fundholders who care deeply about education, and we take seriously our charge to find the best candidates — those who will someday shape our community.”

The DJCF program, along with the Southwest Community Foundation, has grown to more than 37 funds. To determine their eligibility, students file a general application, which is then put into a pool for whichever scholarship(s) they are eligible to receive. In addition to general need, there are special scholarships available to students studying in Israel, at Southern Methodist University, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and for those from Texas towns with two or fewer congregations.

“The reception is a wonderful coming together to share the importance of higher education,” Allen said. “After navigating the selection process over the past months, the wait is finally over.”

The impact of the scholarships on recipients goes far beyond the provision of tuition and supplies. It has, in many ways, returned several recipients as supporters.

“I feel fortunate to have been on both sides of the process,” said Seth Kaufman, a Richardson High School alumnus and former DJCF scholar. Kaufman earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Texas, then a law degree from SMU.

“I had the honor to meet and grow to respect my benefactor Martin Samuelsohn,” said Kaufman, who is assistant vice president, senior legal counsel and the lead attorney for corporate social responsibility at AT&T, as well as a DJCF committee member for 10 years. “Serving on the committee, and reviewing the amazing students now coming through, I’m grateful to return and give back to the program with my time.”

Being nice to everyone because you never know whom you’ll sit next to at some time and place in the future is a sound practice. Lauren Leahy, for one, made a good impression in 2002, as a recipient of a $20,000 Toyota Community Scholars award, bestowed by Karen Polan, who, at the time oversaw Toyota’s scholarship program.

Leahy received one of the 100 scholarships out of 10,000 applicants, and attended SMU, going on to receive her Harvard Law School degree. She’s now the chief legal officer and general manager of Express Business, at Pizza Hut, LLC.

Polan, who last year retired from Toyota after 25 years, and who was one of the company’s early Plano pioneers when it moved to North Texas, worked in human resources and staff development, customer and community relations and strategic planning.

“Good ‘carma’ delivers good karma, we said, and part of my job was to deliver that karma in the form of scholarships,” Polan said. “We delivered needed resources, knowledge and funds in the form of scholarships, but rarely heard the rest of the story, how students progressed.”

Flash forward almost 20 years, and Polan and Leahy, strangers at a committee meeting of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education & Tolerance, on whose board they both sit, exchanged pleasantries. Polan mentioned her history with Toyota, and Leahy was amazed.

“Through the years I’ve shared my story with individuals I’ve met from Toyota and here was someone who really touched my future,” said Leahy, who, long connected to human rights support, finds the Museum’s work touching her core. “I’m now proud to be on the corporate side of giving. Pizza Hut hosts a number of its own scholarship and educational opportunities.”

“We could only hope the grants were well spent and that awardees found a future and success,” Polan added. “It took nearly two decades for me to have something come full circle but it has, and what a special relationship it has become.”

Polan, a North Texas transplant of just nearly four years, is in awe of the overall generosity of Dallas’ Jewish community and the general community. As a member of the DJCF Scholarship Committee, she read and scored more than 100 applications.

“You never know how far your gift will go or how full your heart can be of joy. The generosity and the collaboration between corporations and individual donors here makes me very proud to call this home,” she said. “My passion has always been about education, and after some connections, I was invited to serve at the Museum. It’s my goal to help expand its mission to advance human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference.

“How incredible — through this service — to reconnect with Lauren, someone so appreciative and who made the most of the scholarship,” she continued. “Now, not only an incredible professional, but one who has chosen to give back, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The 2019-2020 College Scholarship Reception will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 22, at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. The event is free but an RSVP is requested by visiting djcf.org or by calling 214-615-9351. For additional information, visit djcf.org.

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Anti-Zionist imam delivers opening prayers in the US House of Representatives

Anti-Zionist imam delivers opening prayers in the US House of Representatives

Posted on 10 May 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Omar Suleiman giving an opening prayer for a session of the House of Representatives, May 9.(Screenshot from YouTube)

WASHINGTON (JTA) — An imam who has wished for the end of Zionism, called for a third Intifada and likened Israel to Nazi-era Germany delivered the opening prayer for a session of the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.
Omar Suleiman, the founder and president of the Dallas-based Yaqeen Institute, an organization that describes itself as a resource about Islam, referred to recent attacks on houses of worship — which has included synagogues in the United States — in his opening remarks.
“Let us not be deterred by the hatred that has claimed the lives of innocent worshippers across the world, but emboldened by the love that gathered them together to remember you and gathered us together to remember them,” Suleiman said in a short prayer after being introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Suleiman has a long record of incendiary social media statements about Israel, as compiled two years ago by Petra Marquardt-Bigman, a researcher, and posted on the Algeimeiner Jewish news site. He has on multiple occasions wished for a third Palestinian Intifada, or violent uprising, likened Israeli troops to Nazis, and has wished for the end of Zionism, calling Zionists “the enemies of God.” He is a backer of the boycott Israel movement.
Suleiman’s congresswoman, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, invited him to deliver the prayer through a standard form on the webpage of the Office of the Chaplain of the House, according to a congressional official.
Pelosi’s office is looking into how and why Johnson invited Suleiman, an official told The Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., who is Jewish, said in a statement that inviting Suleiman to deliver the opening prayer was a “terribly bad call.”
Suleiman in 2016 was at the scene of an anti-police shooting, in which five policemen were slain. He delivered a prayer at a memorial service a week later appearing on a stage with Texas’ two Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, then-President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.
READ MORE:
Tennessee judge posts links on Facebook saying Jews should ‘get the f*** over the Holocaust’
Farrakhan speaks of ‘satanic Jews’ in talk at Catholic church
Dutch soccer fans beat Jew and sing song praising Nazis

-Ron Kampeas

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