Archive | December, 2019

Beck shares JAFI’s critical mission after trip to Israel

Beck shares JAFI’s critical mission after trip to Israel

Posted on 10 December 2019 by admin

Photos: Submitted by Shiva Beck
Jarrod, Shiva and Lily Beck at the Kotel in October.
The Jewish Agency’s importance to the Jewish people explained

By Shiva Beck
From Oct. 27 to 30 my husband Jarrod and I, along with our daughter, were set to spend three days at the Jewish Agency for Israel (Jewish Agency) Board of Governors (BOG) Meeting in Jerusalem. Nearly 14 hours into our 18-hour journey, the question crossed my mind as I nursed my 4-month-old, Lily: Why am I doing this? It’s a long flight, especially with a baby.
My thoughts turned to the challenges my family endured. I was born in Shiraz, Iran, the youngest of five children, a few days before the 1979 Islamic Revolution. My family had lived in Shiraz for 2,500 years. As Iran is and was an Islamic country, my family had experiences being a minority in their native country, which not only instilled in us gratitude for living in the United States, but also a unique understanding of the difficulties — the anti-Semitism and the instability — that Jews living as minorities outside of the United States face. My family immigrated to the United States at the end of 1979.
I also thought about David Ben-Gurion. He proclaimed Israel’s independence May 14, 1948, in his role as chairman of the Jewish Agency. He then became Israel’s first prime minister. I knew that this was an organization worth my time even if it meant leaving my two older children (ages 3 and 1) in Dallas because this is the organization that would help secure my children’s future as Jews in the Diaspora and fuel their connection to my homeland Israel.
The Jewish Agency, in its 90th year, has launched a 10-year plan. As Isaac Herzog, chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency, stated “We will work to provide concrete solutions to the challenges facing the Jewish people — mending the rifts among our people, building a two-way bridge between Israel and world Jewry, encouraging aliyah and providing security for Jews around the world.”
The Jewish Agency’s commitment to aliyah and ensuring the safety of Jews worldwide means that the Jewish Agency receives requests for program funding and security assistance from Jewish people and sites around the world (outside of North America).
Additionally, the Jewish Agency rescues Jews around the world and brings them to safety in Israel. While most of that work is not public for security reasons, the Jewish Agency rescued the last of Yemeni Jews in the past two years.
Nearly two months ago, as Jews all over the world were going to synagogue for one of the most sacred days of the year, Yom Kippur, another synagogue was targeted by hate. This one in the small town of Halle, Germany. Although there were 55 worshippers inside the synagogue, the terrorist was not able to gain access to inside the synagogue. Two bystanders were killed, but it could have been a lot worse. The main difference between this outcome and that of the synagogue in Pittsburgh was that a few years ago, the synagogue in Halle had applied for a small grant from the Jewish Agency to install security cameras and steel doors. Those security measures were approved and funded recently. As a result, the lives of the 55 people inside the synagogue were saved.
Another major focus of the Jewish Agency over the next decade is connecting Jews worldwide. It does this through the myriad organizations and programs that the Jewish Agency funds and supports, including youth programs such as MASA and Onward Israel, Partnership, the Twinning program (in which students from Jewish day schools spend a semester in Israel, living with host families, and subsequently, children of those host families come to the United States and spend a semester in the Jewish day schools), Birthright, and Amigour (which houses Holocaust survivors and other seniors, who have made aliyah over the past 70 years), to name a few. Additionally, the Jewish Agency trains and sends emissaries (shlichim) to various communities throughout the world, who build relationships with the local community and serve as a liaison to Israeli culture.
The third area of focus, in its 10th decade, is giving a voice to the Jewish people and impact on Israeli society. The Jewish Agency’s BOG comprises the most diverse Jewish body of people — it is made up of 120 members, with World Zionist Organization (WZO) comprising 60 of those members (i.e., the president of Hadassah, president of WIZO–Women’s International Zionist Organization, B’nai Brith, the leaders of the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox movements are all represented within WZO), 36 members coming from the Jewish Federations of North America, and 24 members from Keren Hayesod.
The Jewish Agency holds a unique title as the only convening body that interacts with Jews worldwide and with representatives of the State of Israel all within the same organization. With these members, the Jewish Agency tackles the most important issues to Jews everywhere. For example, it is the Jewish Agency that has been working to reach an agreement with the Israeli government to create an egalitarian section of the Wall, in which men and women pray together. It is the Jewish Agency that is working to change which marriages outside of Israel are accepted by the State of Israel. The Jewish Agency gives us a voice in the discussion and is the conduit to effect change in Israel and in Jewish communities worldwide.
I am honored to be a member of the Jewish Agency’s BOG and not only represent Jews in the Diaspora, but also lend a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Jews that have left their native countries in hopes of a more tolerant society. And, I’m proud to be part of an organization that is looking out for all Jews, whether they are in Israel, or in the Diaspora and to know that on a moment’s notice, if a Jew needed to be rescued from anywhere in the world, the Jewish Agency has the resources and tools to complete such a mission.
The Jewish Agency is able to do this work because of its historic partnership with JFNA. The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas invests approximately 34% of its annual campaign to Israel & Overseas, with approximately $1.3 million of such funds going to the Jewish Agency. As members of the Jewish community in Dallas, it is incumbent on us to not only support the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas in its work, but to also ensure that the work it does in Israel and Overseas is continued. We should all be proud to be part of the Jewish people, who have created an organization like the Jewish Agency that interfaces directly with the Israeli government to look out for the interests of Jews wherever they are in the world and to have a contingency plan for them. To save one life is to save the world.
The Jewish Agency also connects Jews worldwide by bridging the diversity of identities, interests and religious streams in the Jewish world. They do this through a myriad of programs, including their shlichut program (sending emissaries to different parts of the world), MASA, and Onward Israel. Finally, the Jewish Agency brings the diversity of voices in the Jewish world to Israeli policy and law makers and to the Israeli society at-large.

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Shooting near kosher market in New Jersey leaves multiple dead, wounded

Shooting near kosher market in New Jersey leaves multiple dead, wounded

Posted on 10 December 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

The emergency scene near a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., after it is shot at on Dec. 10, 2019. Source: Screenshot.

(JNS) Several people, including one police officer, were killed on Tuesday afternoon near the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City, N.J.

Two suspects, three citizens and one officer were killed. Others were injured and taken to a local hospital.

According to Chabad.org, the store is located next to a small synagogue and school, said Rabbi Shmuel Levitin, who directs Chabad Young Professionals of Hoboken and Jersey City with his wife, Esta, and frequents the market.

The store owner had left moments before the shooting began to pray the afternoon Mincha service at the synagogue and was unable to return, said Rabbi Moshe Schapiro, co-director of Chabad of Hoboken and Jersey City, who has been in touch with him.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it is responding to the situation. Nearby schools, including a Catholic one, are on lockdown. Residents and businesses have been taking cover, reported The New York Times.

Several shots fired pic.twitter.com/FyknpxCqwG

— Keldy Ortiz (@KeldyOrtiz) December 10, 2019

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Jersey City Police Department, especially with the officers shot during this standoff, and with the residents and schoolchildren currently under lockdown,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “I have every confidence in our law-enforcement professionals to ensure the safety of the community and resolve this situation.”

“Just seeing the news out of Jersey City—please avoid Martin Luther King Drive until further notice. Thank you to the first responders who arrived on the scene,” tweeted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).

Just seeing the news out of Jersey City—please avoid Martin Luther King Drive until further notice.

Thank you to the first responders who arrived on the scene. https://t.co/iWLODLyA2M

— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) December 10, 2019

“Closely monitoring the active shooter situation in Jersey City. For folks in the area, please continue to avoid Martin Luther King Drive for now—it’s not safe. Grateful for the first responders who quickly arrived on the scene, and praying for the officers shot in the standoff,” tweeted Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Closely monitoring the active shooter situation in Jersey City. For folks in the area, please continue to avoid Martin Luther King Drive for now—it’s not safe.

Grateful for the first responders who quickly arrived on the scene, and praying for the officers shot in the standoff. https://t.co/vEaI5fYP7Z

— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 10, 2019

At least one U.S. politician wasted no time connecting the unfolding situation to the calls for gun control.

“Terrible news in Jersey City today as two gunman shot and injured one police officer near Martin Luther King Drive. Gun violence is my top priority! We’ve already passed bills and I am pushing my gun buyback bill to get these guns off the street,” tweeted Rep. Donald Payne Jr., whose district includes Jersey City.

Terrible news in Jersey City today as two gunman shot and injured one police officer near Martin Luther King Drive.

Gun violence is my top priority! We’ve already passed bills and I am pushing my gun buyback bill to get these guns off the street.https://t.co/qtqLjgxyiY

— Rep. Donald Payne Jr (@RepDonaldPayne) December 10, 2019

The White House said that U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed about the situation.

Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman/CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations expressed solidarity “for the Jewish community and all the residents of Jersey City, where it appears members of the community were wounded by gunfire, as were members of the police force responding to gunfire from active shooters. We do not know at this point if the kosher supermarket from which they were firing was an intended target. We pray for the safety of all those involved.”

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Israel sets a March 2 election date if government isn’t formed.

Israel sets a March 2 election date if government isn’t formed.

Posted on 09 December 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

View of a voting notes at a voting station in Jerusalem, during the Knesset Elections, on September 17, 2019. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

By Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Blue and White and Likud parties can agree on something: a date for Israel’s third election in less than a year.

That will be March 2, they said, if a new government cannot be formed. Israeli lawmakers have until the end of the day Wednesday to form a coalition government or move to another election. They’ve have had two weeks to get together and find 61 colleagues to agree to support a candidate for prime minister.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White head Benny Gantz previously were unable to form a government.

The Knesset must vote to support the election date agreed to Monday by the parties, the top vote-getters in the balloting from April and September. Israel’s parliament is expected to vote to dissolve itself on Wednesday night.

March 2 is a Monday. Elections are generally held in Israel on Tuesdays, but the Tuesdays in March include a holiday and remembrance days.

Also Monday, Blue and White’s Yair Lapid, who holds the party’s No. 2 slot, announced that he would give up a rotation agreement for the prime ministership that originally brought his centrist Yesh Atid party into Blue and White.

“If there are elections, we’ve decided that this time there won’t be a rotation agreement,” Lapid said. “We will go together, all of us, a large and united Blue and White behind Benny Gantz, our candidate for prime minister.”

The move is seen as helping the party in the potential election.

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The J be. Event: 13 years and counting!

The J be. Event: 13 years and counting!

Posted on 05 December 2019 by admin

Only day after an EF-3 tornado caused significant damage to the beloved JCC and the surrounding neighborhood Sunday, Oct. 20, the J City Limits committee arrived at the J. It was obvious to the committee that the facility would not be a usable venue for the 13th annual be. Event the following Saturday night. The J planned for a show-stopping evening, modeled after the highly successful music festival, Austin City Limits. With the “show must go on” attitude, the committee and professional team from the J began scouring the city for venues that could host the event on short notice. The options were severely limited when miraculously Congregation Shearith Israel stepped in to save the day. Shearith welcomed the J with open arms. After much coordination, Kaplan Hall was transformed into a music festival and the Oct. 26 event became magical.
The community came together and experienced joy after the storm; they were treated to great music and danced the night away. “The JCC has a special role in the community in times of joy and sorrow. This is one of the reasons this event had to happen. One of the tenets of our mission statement is to bring the community together, and we did just that.” said Artie Allen, CEO of the Aaron Family JCC.
The be. Event, which was chaired by Anita Chanon, Marion Glazer, Lisa Lieberman, Pam Pluss, Lauren Savariego, Jody Stein, Karla Steinberg, Natalie Waldman and Karen Weinreb, is the JCC’s largest fundraiser, and proceeds of the event benefit year-round programming and services. Featured acts included Emerald City’s Party Machine and the tribute bands A Hard Day’s Night and Journey Unauthorized.

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It’s raining diapers in Big D

It’s raining diapers in Big D

Posted on 05 December 2019 by admin

During its 9th annual Diaper Shower in October, Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas collected more than 84,000 diapers and 64,000 wipes for those in need.
While the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families, it does not cover the cost of diapers or wipes, and it is reported that one in three mothers are in need of support in providing their children with products. The Diaper Shower also collects adult incontinence items for those in need.
In addition to receiving online donations, satellite collection sites were Akiba-Yavneh Academy Early Childhood Center, Ann & Nate Levine Academy Early Childhood Center, Anshai Torah, Athleta–Preston and Royal, Congregation Shearith Israel, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Goldberg Early Childhood Center at the JCC, MacArthur OBGYN, MacArthur Pediatrics, Mary Kay Inc., PJ Library Birthday Bash, Speech TX and Team Networking. Event co-chairs were Cathy Glick, Julie Liberman and Beverly Rossel.

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Home run anniversary #45 for Temple Shalom Softball League

Home run anniversary #45 for Temple Shalom Softball League

Posted on 05 December 2019 by admin

Photos: Alicia Shwarts
Spring League Champs, front row, from left, Eddie Tann, Rick Halperin, Tim Murray, Tommy Baer, Thomas Kulcak and John Miller; back row, Jason Murray, Rony Batagower, Ryan Driggers, Brian Osgood, Kyle Crouse and Robbie Franklin.

By Deb Silverthorn
Temple Shalom’s Brotherhood Softball Shalom League will complete the cycle of its 45th year beginning at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at its awards breakfast at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road in Dallas.
“We started as members of Temple Shalom’s Brotherhood. Now we’re a brotherhood of our community,” said Bob Weinfeld, who, with Jack Borenstein, Murray London, Les Taub, the late Steve Chown and the late Seymour Kaplan, founded the league in 1975.
“We started with six teams. Now there are 20 in the spring, with 240 players, and 16 in the fall with 192,” said Weinfeld. The league’s 26 games are played at Plano’s Heritage Yards. “I’m proud of the league and proud of the bonds it has built,” Weinfeld added.
“Seventy-five percent of our league plays year-round, and from scouting and the draft to banquet, it is year-round,” said Wayne Casper, whose son Kyle has played, younger son Logan waiting from the sidelines to age-in. This year the league expanded the leadership team, and Casper — in his 10th year as commissioner — welcomed Vice-chairs Matt Roth and Andrew Williams. “Our retention rate is high and we’re fathers and sons, two generations with a third on the horizon. This league is special.”
Player registration for 2020 is open until Jan. 19, with rosters filled with men from around the city, ages 18 to “very senior,” said Weinfeld, 93. Retired from playing at 69, Weinfeld manages the Pirates, his team since the Shalom League began.
Awards will be given to championship teams — the Mariners, coached by John Miller (Spring) and the Tin Cups, coached by Scott Greenberg (Fall), division winners Larry Silverman’s Rangers and Andrew Williams’ Diamondbacks (Spring) and David Buhrow’s Bats and Scott Greenberg’s Tin Cups (Fall).
The seasons’ Hall of Fame inductees, MVPs, Rookies of the Year, “Mr. Shalom” — the league’s top teammate, the Susan Tooch–most supportive fan award and the recipient of the Phyllis Unell Temple Shalom Brotherhood and Softball League Scholarship will be announced.
The celebration welcomes Tom Grieve, who began his career with the Washington Senators in 1966. He played for the Cardinals and Mets, but mostly with the Senators, who later became the Texas Rangers. After retiring, Grieve was the Rangers’ director of group sales, assistant director and director of player development. Known as “Mr. Ranger,” he is readying to begin his 26th year as the Rangers’ television analyst.
“I’m honored to return to this really incredible group,” said Grieve, who, like most, can’t say “no” to Weinfeld, this his “many-eth” awards visit. “My career has been too good to be true and to tell stories about what I love is a joy.
“The game doesn’t change. People rooting for their teams, enjoying great ballparks and making memories,” said Grieve. “For the Shalom League, it’s the same. I doubt there’s another league with more passion, professionalism and ability to seep into its community.”
Featured during the breakfast will be a screening of second-generation player and documentarian Randy Kramen’s latest segment of his documentary, “Temple Shalom Softball,” with interviews and re-enactment clips from the league’s third through seventh years.
“I started the documentary in 2014, inspired by my dad’s love of the game. It’s a tribute to those for whom Sunday morning softball is a way of life,” said Kramen, whose father Martin and brother Marc have been a part of the league for many years.
Regardless of win or lose, or who’s on first, the Shalom Softball League is about respect, fun, and a gratifying sense of comradeship.
“I’ve loved this game since I was 6 years old. I’ve been with these Pirates for 45 years and my goal is to hit 50. When I make that, heck, I’ll extend another 12,” said Weinfeld. “We’re all out there having fun and playing the game most of us have loved all of our lives.”
To RSVP ($5 for the public, free for league participants and Shalom Brotherhood members) event, email robert.weinfeld@tx.rr.com or call 214-440-2542. For league details, visit shalomleague.org and to support the documentary, email shalom.softball.documentary@gmail.com.

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Oct. 20 tornado damages South of Forest Eruv

Oct. 20 tornado damages South of Forest Eruv

Posted on 05 December 2019 by admin

Photos: Shirley Rovinsky
Rabbi Deon Nathan inspects the South of Forest eruv for damage as utility workers look on.

$8,255 needed to fix destruction caused by twister

By Shirley Rovinsky
Special to the TJP
For those who live in the devastation area of the recent tornado, experiencing the loss of homes and properties, our hearts go out to you. As the community begins the long journey toward healing — while not on the same level — the South of Forest Eruv is in the midst of the destruction area and has sustained major damage.
As the tornado tore through North Dallas it also destroyed perimeters of the eruv, which covers a six-mile area. Part of the west perimeter damage extends from Royal Lane south, past St. Mark’s School to Mimosa. Part of the east perimeter extends from Mason Dells to Northaven behind the homes on Valleydale. This part of the eruv had used the fences along the spillway which are no longer there.
The utility company, approved by Oncor Electric, has been busy repairing lines for homes and businesses and is now able to address the eruv. I worked with this company when construction began on the eruv in 2015. They are now replacing the wiring and have extended payment for 30 days.
The cost for the repair is $8,255.00.
The reconstruction is being supervised by Rabbi Deon Nathan, who also checks the eruv weekly to ensure it is “up” and kosher. He is working closely with the utility men indicating where the wires need to be placed on each of the poles. It has been a pleasure to work with both Rabbi Sholey Klein and Rabbi Nathan these past four years to keep the eruv up and running.
I am reaching out to friends and members of the community to consider a contribution.
The South of Forest Eruv is a 501(c)3 and all gifts are deductible and will receive a letter for tax purposes. Contributions may be sent to: The South of Forest Eruv in care of Shirley Rovinsky, 7023 Northaven Road, Dallas, TX 75230-3504. If you have any questions, please call 214-739-6181.
The South of Forest Eruv has been a vision that came to fruition not only for my own family but also for others in the area who use an eruv as well. As the volunteer administrator, I emphasize that it is only through the generosity of community that the South of Forest Eruv continues.
Those in the community who use it every Shabbat and holiday, thank you in advance for any consideration.

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Rosanna Zielke creates hand-painted wearables

Rosanna Zielke creates hand-painted wearables

Posted on 04 December 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
“My pieces are made of natural silk, one of the most exquisite and elegant fabrics ever used for fashion,” said artist Rosanna Zielke, whose wearable fashions will be featured at the Aaron Family JCC’s Hanukkah Hoopla on Dec. 8 and year-round at etsy.com/shop/RosannaSilkScarves.
Wrap yourself, or gift others 1-of-a-kind scarves

By Deb Silverthorn
With winter approaching quickly, artist Rosanna Zielke brings out the warmth of the colors of the rainbow in sheaths of magnificent design. Her handmade accessories are available at holiday festivals throughout the community including the Aaron Family JCC’s Hanukkah Hoopla from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, and year-round on Etsy. Each is one-of-a-kind, and one in a million.
“I’ve had some clients use their purchases as art to hang on the wall, or across a table, but most reply they wear them over and over and that there are always many compliments,” said Rosanna, whose decades-long career brings together her talent in the form of scarves, shawls, ties and other handmade specialties. “It makes me so happy to see my pieces being worn or used for everyday enhancement.”
A native of the Soviet Union, Rosanna earned degrees in economics and fine arts before making her way to the United States more than 40 years ago. She arrived in Maryland after a long process, joining the onslaught of Jews who escaped the then-USSR amidst religious persecution and more. The artist first worked in the U.S. as a graphic designer for a magazine in Washington, D.C., and at the New York Stock Exchange for more than 25 years. In Texas she’s taught art classes one-on-one and for groups.
She began with oil paintings based on her personal life experience and found her way to the smoothness of silk as her canvas. During a trip to Leon, France, the now-retired Rosanna came upon a boutique with what she thought of as the most unique creations, silk and velvet — combined — with painted designs.
“Because I do each piece, one at time, there are some variations in the color and design but that makes each one unique, each one ‘yours’ alone,” said Rosanna, the mother of two who delights in her only granddaughter, who moved to Dallas 14 years ago with her husband Mark. “That’s the beauty of the handmade process.”
Rosanna, who is inspired by nature and design, by lines and scenes, loves to create herself, but also to take a client’s ideas and notions and bring them to life. Visions of stars and flowers, of religious and holiday symbols, personalized or with shapes galore coming together can be found on her screens in myriad color palettes.
Each piece takes between two and four days from start to finish, from laying out the design to painting, drying, steaming and washing. Her designs, all of which are washable, are created of natural silks with non-toxic silk dyes, lasting permanent colors.
“My pieces are made of natural silk, one of the most exquisite and elegant fabrics ever used for fashion. Vivid and softly draping, they are an excellent accessory for women’s dresses, office outfits, and casual wear and special occasion,” said Rosanna. “Excellent gifts for any occasion. I create affordable, indulgent luxury that never goes out of style.”
At holiday festivals around the community, Rosanna provides discounted pricing. For those ordering online at etsy.com/shop/RosannaSilkScarves, she provides free shipping.
Inspiration on silk, the gift of one’s art, spirit and soul — created and produced in BigD.

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Acks’ handcrafted wood pieces serviceable, beautiful

Acks’ handcrafted wood pieces serviceable, beautiful

Posted on 04 December 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
“Even when I’m in my workshop, they’re usually shooting hoops or coloring close by. The kids love watching things happen,” said Michael Acks, who creates cutting boards, menorahs, tables and more through his M&A Woodcraft with children Caroline and Blake looking on, and “helping.”

By Deb Silverthorn
There are thousands of slivers that Michael Acks brings together in his cutting boards, lazy Susans, menorahs, pencil boxes and more. Shades of the artist’s heart, and shades of wood cuttings, make for stunning and utilitarian results.
“You never know what you ‘know’ how to do until you try. I wasn’t a woodworker but that’s changed, and it’s become something people are appreciating and I love it,” said Acks, first inspired by a piece his wife Ashley saw in a store.
Acks, who also makes shoe benches, entry tables and other special requests, turned a section of his garage into his workshop, where he designs and builds his creations of cherry, mahogany, padauk, walnut, wenge and other cuts — myriad colors and grains. While his wife and children play in the yard nearby, checking in on dad, or in the evenings after the house has quieted, Acks spends between two and 10 hours on most pieces.
“I started with the learning tower which lets kids stand by while an adult is cooking or working. Whatever they’re doing, they can be part of the action,” said Acks, who sold more than 100 towers in two months. After a recommendation, he posted the stepstool to Facebook. Voila, the birth of M&A Woodcraft Custom Woodworking.
“I’ve started a couple of menorahs that will be meaningful to the families they go to,” said Acks, who, if requested, can personalize his work, engraving in many fonts, Hebrew lettering too. “One hundred percent realizing the art that I’m making becomes part of a family, keeps me creating.”
It is said that Thomas Jefferson invented the lazy Susan because his daughter complained she was always served last. At the Gross house, Amy and Brad have found dinnertime more peaceful as their children Ethan and Hailey swing their 36-inch monogrammed poplar-wood centerpiece to whatever dish or condiment they need.
“Now, ‘I can do it’ means they can ‘do it,’ getting whatever they want themselves,” said Amy, whose functional centerpiece has the couple’s initials lasered in and filled with an almost-silver epoxy. “We have big family dinners with no — OK, fewer — passing spills. It’s useful and beautiful.”
Acks, from Cleveland, Ohio, is the son of Cherie and Harvey and brother of Jamie. He has been married to the former Ashley Cobbel for nine years; the two met on JDate. Dallas was Ashley’s home and a year after they were married, they made their way back to Big D. Michael’s sister, then his parents, made Dallas home too — Ashley’s parents Geanine and Gary rounding out the close family ties.
Not allowing distance to disconnect, Acks keeps close ties to his alma mater, Purdue University, serving as vice president and treasurer of the governing board of the school’s Hillel. Raised at Cleveland’s Park Synagogue, in youth groups and religious school, Acks found connection, something he hopes his children will too.
The Acks bought their home, walking distance from Congregation Anshai Torah. Their children Blake and Caroline are products of the congregation’s preschool and Michael serves on the congregation’s IT and security committees.
Acks is a project manager for the business strategy firm Slalom Consulting. In his spare time, he plays on the Direwolves, a Stars recreation league hockey team.
“Family is most important to me and I love sharing everything with them,” said Acks. “Even when I’m in my workshop, they’re usually shooting hoops or coloring close by. The kids love watching things happen.”
For more information, or to order, email mandawoodcraft@gmail.com or visit the M&A Woodcraft Facebook page. To guarantee receipt for Hanukkah, orders must be placed by Dec. 8.

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Around the Town: BBBI, Preparedness, Tradition

Around the Town: BBBI, Preparedness, Tradition

Posted on 04 December 2019 by admin

Photo: TJP File
Clothing collected for last year’s Christmas Day mitzvah event, a B’nai B’rith tradition. This year new clothes such as overcoats, socks, sweatshirts, underwear, gloves, caps, shirts, etc. for men and women are needed, especially in large sizes. You can drop the items off at Ahavath Sholom, Beth-El or Beth Israel.

Beleck and Hollander receive BBBI President’s Awards for their leadership

Marvin Beleck and Rich Hollander of the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith were among the 30 leaders who were honored with the first President’s Awards at B’nai B’rith International’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., last month. The award was given for “doing heavy lifting for the B’nai B’rith in their communities,” said B’nai B’rith International President Chuck Kaufman.
“These are volunteers who do work without seeking recognition. They do the work just because it’s simply the B’nai B’rith thing to do. They did great work during the past 12 months. They had a great year,” Kaufman added.


Be prepared to act in case of active shooter

Tarrant County synagogues are working together to provide security awareness training at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth, 4900 Briarhaven Road.
You’ll learn what to do if you’re caught in an active shooter situation at work, shopping, restaurant, movie theater or even at services.
The workshop will led by Daniel Sherwin of Sherwin Safety Consultants. They conduct life-saving seminars for businesses and houses of worship and teach preparedness and survival techniques and tactics to help you make decisions that may save your life.
The Jewish community training is presented by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in cooperation with the Safety and Security teams at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Shalom and Beth-El Congregation.
It’s open to the entire community and is free. No need to RSVP. Just come to Beth-El for the 90-minute training session. It will be followed by a short breakout group for each synagogue.
You will leave with a common-sense plan for you and your family during the important first minutes of an incident before police arrive.
For more information, contact Jim Stanton at 817-307-9167 or Daniel Sherwin at 682-203-6486


B’nai B’rith Christmas Day tradition

Once again on Christmas, Jewish volunteers will serve meals and provide gifts for the homeless in Fort Worth.
Organized by B’nai B’rith, 60-70 volunteers show up every year from Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Congregation Beth Israel and Beth-El Congregation, to work together to help the homeless.
B’nai B’rith has a good supply of toys, but needs donated new clothes such as overcoats, socks, sweatshirts, underwear, gloves, caps, shirts, etc. for men and women. Large, extra-large and extra-extra-large are always in short supply. Drop off your donations in the collection boxes at the three participating synagogues.
If you are looking for an all-ages volunteer activity, you can participate at Beautiful Feet Ministries, a Christian mission that serves the poor and the needy on Christmas Day when volunteers take over to cook and serve a hot breakfast and a hot lunch, and distribute toys, clothing and toiletries. This project allows the mission staff to spend Christmas at home with their families.
Because of this project, 125-150 homeless clients have their day brightened when the Tarrant County Jewish community works side-by-side to help those in need.
Volunteers sort, package and deliver the gifts. Children are particularly helpful because they are able to tell adults which toys are most appropriate for kids their age. And it provides an opportunity for them to see the importance of helping others.
The gift distribution team starts at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day and is finished around 1 p.m., leaving plenty of time for Chinese and a movie.
Beautiful Feet is located at 1709 E. Hattie St. in Fort Worth. No need to register; just show up. If you have questions, contact Jim Stanton at 817-307-9167.

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