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Anshai’s Project 613 honoring Wende Weinberg set for Sunday, April 15

Anshai’s Project 613 honoring Wende Weinberg set for Sunday, April 15

Posted on 05 April 2018 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
Rabbi Zerach Greenfield became the agent of the families of Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, Rabbi Michael Kushnick and Gabbai Farzin Bakhshian on Sept. 10, when he was blessed to fulfill the mitzvah of writing Congregation Anshai Torah’s first Project 613 congregational Torah. The community is invited to celebrate the Torah’s completion and dedication from 4-6:30 p.m., Sunday, April 15, at Congregation Anshai Torah, 5501 Parker Road in Plano.

There will be dancing in the streets and spirit in the air from 4-6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15, when Congregation Anshai Torah welcomes home its first congregational Torah, Project 613, a gift written by the community, to honor Wende Weinberg, of blessed memory.
A procession with the Torah, to its home in the sanctuary’s ark, will be followed by the dedication and refreshments.
Since last fall, members of the congregation and the greater Jewish community have participated by donating words, verses, chapters and books of the Torah in the name of Wende, who served as rebbetzin since Anshai Torah’s inception. She was a religious school teacher and principal, and for 32 years a teacher of Judaic studies and program coordinator at the Ann and Nate Levine Academy.
“Moments like this continue to distinguish us as a congregation, growing from strength to strength, and incorporating each and every member of our wonderful family into the tapestry that defines Anshai Torah,” Anshai Torah Rabbi Stefan Weinberg said. “I look forward to sharing this extraordinary moment as we dedicate our new Sefer Torah- I know Wende’s presence will continue to be felt in our congregation through this amazing gesture.”

—Submitted by
Deb Silverthorn

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RoughRiders owner on deck at Legacy Willow Bend

RoughRiders owner on deck at Legacy Willow Bend

Posted on 05 April 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Bob Weinfeld
Frisco RoughRiders President Chuck Greenberg, left, will be interviewed by Bob Weinfeld (right) at the 3p.m., April 11, installment of “Getting to Know You” at The Legacy Willow Bend. In 2016, Greenberg bestowed a RoughRider’s jersey to Weinfeld, who threw out the first pitch in honor of his 90th birthday.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Legacy Willow Bend has hit a home run in booking Frisco RoughRiders owner Chuck Greenberg as the next guest at its “Getting to Know You….” interview series. The community is invited as Legacy “Mayor” Bob Weinfeld will welcome Greenberg at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, at the Legacy’s Chapel.
“Chuck’s become a great friend to us, to the Jewish Federation and to our community in many ways,” said Weinfeld, who has interviewed close to 60 guests since he began leading the series. “He’s been the keynote at a number of Shalom League awards banquets, and I know we’re going to have a great afternoon. I hope the community will come out to meet him.”
A Pittsburgh native, Greenberg was introduced to baseball by his aunt Flo, Dr. Florence Marcus, whom he believes was the first Jewish nurse, then one of Pittsburgh’s first Jewish female doctors. She took him to his first Pirates game at Forbes Field — with the Pirates beating the Chicago Cubs, 3-2.
From that moment, he remembers wanting to read, see and know everything about baseball, and that memory has followed him throughout his life.
“That’s one of the best things about walking around the Dr Pepper Ballpark (The RoughRiders’ home) is seeing the families, with so many young kids that we know are in for their first experience,” Greenberg said. “It’s often a flashback for me, and I know it’s the best moment ever for those kids and their parents, too. I love the part we provide helping to make those memories.”
While he played his share of the game, in high school and then at Tufts University, Greenberg knew a pro career on the field wasn’t his to be. Wanting to find another avenue into a sports-affiliated career, he went to law school at the University of Michigan. Early in his career, he was fortunate to meet hockey player Mario Lemieux. The two became friends with Greenberg representing Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins great and later owner.
It was through that relationship that Greenberg’s career as a team owner came to fruition. He moved to the Metroplex in 2010 and served as managing partner and CEO of the Texas Rangers, the team reaching its first World Series during his tenure. In addition to his RoughRiders, he’s also managing partner of the Myrtle Beach (SC) Pelicans and State College (PA) Spikes, and he serves on the Minor League Baseball board of trustees.
Greenberg, who has welcomed Legacy residents to the Dr Pepper Ballpark for tours and conversation, looks forward to visiting with the community at their “home field.”
“I believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I appreciate the ‘luck’ that I’ve enjoyed, and it’s fun to meet new people and to talk about my experiences,” he said. “That, and any time to share with Bob is an occasion to leap at and I appreciate the honor.”
“This is an amazing community, and the RoughRiders have been blessed to be a part of it as we start our 16th season. We take very seriously our role in making roughly three hours of memory-making the best around,” said Greenberg, looking forward to the 2018 season.
The son of Barbara and David, the brother of Joe and John, and father of Ben, Jack and Jeff, Greenberg says his parents were the best role models he could hope for. Raised with a strong sense of Jewish pride and identity, he celebrated his bar mitzvah and was confirmed at Pittsburgh’s Temple Emanuel, where he still returns to spend many of the holidays.
“Chuck’s a mensch of a guy,” said Weinfeld, who relishes the memory of being gifted a RoughRiders jersey by Greenberg and the chance to throw out the first pitch on the occasion of his 90th birthday almost two years ago. “I really think anyone who is a fan of great baseball, or a fan of great people, will get a lot out of our conversation.”

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Bar Mitzvah boy seeks treasures for his project

Bar Mitzvah boy seeks treasures for his project

Posted on 29 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

One person’s “stuff” being another’s treasure is the theme of 13-year-old Jonathan Pershes’ Treasures Mitzvah Sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at 16007 Ranchita Drive in Dallas. Proceeds will benefit the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS).
“Remembering those who survived the Holocaust and those who didn’t is important to me,” Jonathan said. “People donating their treasures, that aren’t trash but that they don’t need anymore, will help support programs that honor our history and make a difference in the present.”
Jonathan is the son of Clifford and Michael Pershes, a member of Congregation Anshai Torah and a seventh-grader at Levine Academy.
The sale of books, home goods and decor, and clothing (all sizes, in good condition) will accompany the sale of homemade lemonade and challah — a welcome taste for many, given Passover will have just ended.
“Reading and learning about the Holocaust in school is one thing, but to spend time with a survivor and to get to know her makes it real and relatable,” said Jonathan, who has spent time with Dallas resident Magie Furst, a Dallas Holocaust Museum volunteer of 18 years. “Magie’s history is amazing, and I appreciate her helping me understand what it was like to be a child during that time.”
Born in Germany, Furst, her mother and brother, Dallas’ Bert Romberg, escaped to Great Britain via the Kindertransport after their father died and Kristallnacht occurred. HIAS helped place her in a boarding school, and she later worked for a dentist before the family came to the U.S. in 1945. In New York, she met and married Harry Furst, of blessed memory, with whom she built a family of children, Richard and Robin, and grandchildren, Augie and Manie.
“It’s important to talk about that part of my life, and I’m tickled pink that Jonathan respects our time together. I appreciate his wanting to share and preserve that,” Furst said. “I kept a diary every day of the war and was always aware of what was going on even though it could take weeks to hear news. Again now, we’re living with so much anti-Semitism and it’s shocking how many people have no idea. I have to talk. We have to talk.”
“We’re deeply moved Jonathan chose to include the Dallas Holocaust Museum in his bar mitzvah celebration,” said DHM President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins. “Young people like Jonathan are Upstanders who serve as examples for us all. His gift will help support the Museum’s mission to teach the history of the Holocaust and to advance human rights combating prejudice, hatred and indifference. We congratulate his whole family on this special occasion and wish him the very best in years to come.”
“I was so pleased to hear about Jonathan’s support. His choice of beneficiaries shows his awareness of the inextricable link between these amazing organizations,” said Frank Risch, chair-elect of the Dallas Holocaust Museum and a HIAS board member. “He’s indicated his understanding that if only America and the rest of the free world had more readily accepted Jewish refugees at the time, the horrors of the Holocaust could have been inflicted on far fewer.”
HIAS helps vulnerable refugees of all nationalities and religions build new lives and reunites them with their families.
Others coming first isn’t a singular bar mitzvah project to Jonathan; it’s the way he lives every day. He volunteers, alone or with family and friends, his “Mitzvah Bro Posse,’ with the Austin Street Center, Chabad’s Friendship Circle, the Dallas Food Bank, Jewish Family Service, Palm Spring’s Well of the Desert and others in the community.
“Jonathan, Yonatan, means gift from God. We thank God every day for this incredible present and that’s who he’s always been,” said his father, Michael. “We’re always proud of him, but still amazed at the transformation that is now happening from boy to young man.” Michael added that Jonathan’s middle name, Simon, honors a revered uncle who lived to 104.
Outside of school and volunteering, Jonathan’s rarely happier than when he is playing basketball for the Chai Force basketball league or the Levine Stallions, bicycling, playing video games or cooking with his parents.
“Jonathan never ceases to amaze us with his ability to connect and emphasize with others, adapt to challenging situations and his endless love for animals, basketball and the way he and his friends make serving others ‘their thing,” said his father, Clifford. “It’s our hope that Jonathan will look back at his bar mitzvah with great success and accomplishment and that one day, God willing, he’ll share this experience with his children.”
Prepping to score high at his May 5 bar mitzvah, at which he’ll welcome friends and family including his grandparents Pat and Scott Jimeson, Alice and Mike Kearney, Bob and Ellie Pershes, Pat Defreitas and aunts Shannon and Heather Defreitas and Mer Pershes, Jonathan is making mEMORies (for Parashat Emor) throughout the community, the one he’ll soon join as an adult in its eyes, an example to his peers, those whom he follows and those next in line.
To donate items to the Treasures Mitzvah sale, or to make a financial contribution for Jonathan to share on this occasion, email pershesfamily@gmail.com or call 917-531-6576 for drop-off or pickup arrangements.

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‘Buddy’ Cohen celebrating his 106th birthday

‘Buddy’ Cohen celebrating his 106th birthday

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Wishing “to 120” isn’t so farfetched, as the birthday wishes are flowing for Dr. Bernard “Buddy” Cohen who turns 106 — yes, 106 — on March 29.
That’s 38,609 days, 5,512 weeks, 1,272 months and 1,311 full moons. When Cohen was born, there were 46 stars on the American flag, a first-class stamp cost two cents, the average annual salary was between $200 and $400 and the average life span for a man was 48.4 years.
Now with 50 stars on the flag, stamps at 50 cents, an average annual salary of $57,617 and the life span — well, Cohen has clearly surpassed any findings and beyond. Seemingly the only constant is the smile and twinkle in Cohen’s eyes.
“What is … is,” says Cohen, the son of Sam and Nell and brother of Lazar and Marvin, all of blessed memory. “If you can do something, do it. If not, it’s just ‘what is … is!’”
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lived until moving to Dallas in 1995, Cohen grew up in the home shared by his immediate and extended family. The household of nine was close — Sam and Moise, brothers from Romania, married to New York native sisters Nell and Etta, living together from the time they married until their passing. Cousin Pearle — the only girl — got her own room while the gents, including cousin Leonard, slept on the porch.
Moise and Sam founded Cohen Bros. as a mercantile shop, then a men’s clothing store. While the next generation carried the store for a while, it’s now Sugar Ray’s Sweet Shop, the Cohen Bros. name still marking the now-historical monument.
Cohen grew up at Beth Israel Congregation, then and still the only synagogue in Jackson, the foundation for Cohen’s Jewish life despite having a rabbi only for the High Holidays. A stellar student, at age 16 Cohen started at Hebrew Union College, intending to someday serve his hometown.
Serve he did, but not as rabbi. Cohen soon realized the clergy wasn’t his calling, instead pursuing a career as a dentist. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University’s Dental School, Cohen cared for his community — the whole community — as a president of the Mississippi Dental Association and one of few offering dental care to black patients.
After serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, Cohen signed on as a medical officer, serving Naples, Italy, to the Austrian border. During his tenure from 1939 to 1946, he earned a Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement in ground operations against the enemy. Upon his return, Cohen reopened his dental practice, not retiring until his 80th birthday.
Cohen attributes his longevity to healthy living. His wife, Ann, a dietitian, always created healthy meals, which followed his 4 p.m. happy hour glass of white wine and chocolate. Cohen also made walking a priority since his eye surgeon recommended it 50-plus years ago. Cohen still gets his blood flowing every day, even medaling at the 2009 Dallas Area Senior Games.
“My dad’s attitude is why he’s here. He doesn’t complain and he never brought issues home from the office,” said daughter Harriet Cohen. “He left work at the door and was always a teddy bear at home.”
The Cohens held high expectations for their daughters: the priority to remember who they represent. “There were few Jews in town and everybody knew the Cohens,” said daughter Marilyn Rothstein. “Our parents always reminded us to act proud and polite. We were representing our family and the Jews.”
Cohen provided insight to the end of World War I, growing up through the Great Depression, World War II, and life during the civil rights movement.
“We had a small congregation but we were close,” he said. “I remember us being the only Jews in school. Even though it was public school there was daily chapel and prayers. My brothers and I would sing the days of the week in our heads.”
Cohen recalls the 1967 bombing of their congregation and the rabbi’s home. There were no injuries, but the moment lasted. For Cohen, a bar mitzvah in 1925 wasn’t in order, but he made up for it in 1985, when Rabbi Richard Birnholz welcomed him as an “adult in the Jewish community,” still at Beth Israel Congregation.
“I remember Buddy’s pride and enthusiasm, and his defined Southern ‘twang’ as he read Torah, reaching his goal to celebrate his bar mitzvah. Today I wish him the same blessings of long life and good health. It seems he’s achieving both, but I pray again that he should continue to have joy and nachas,” said Birnholz, a Dallas native, coincidentally raised at Temple Emanu-El and serving Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa since 1986.
Cohen’s constant smiles are attributed to the doting love and care by family he’s blessed to be near: children Marilyn (Stan) Rothstein, Harriet Cohen and Debbie (John) Wills; grandchildren Josh (Lisa), Neal (Paige) and Daniel Rothstein, and Laura Wills, Erica (David) Bashover, and David (Shayna) Wills; and great-grandchildren Abby, Chavy, Gabe, Hilary and Maya Rothstein.
Cohen’s been a Dallas resident since after the passing of his beloved Ann, whom he met at a dental convention and to whom he was married for 49 years. The Legacy at Willow Bend is now his home and second family, and Temple Emanu-El’s congregation and clergy stir Cohen’s spiritual soul.
“I love seeing them do what they do every week, what they did in our chapel for many years, celebrating the blessing of family and Shabbat’s beauty,” said Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Debra Robbins, who often leads services at The Legacy. “Buddy’s deep love for family and his abiding devotion to Jewish life inspires me. We’re blessed to offer blessings for him birthday after birthday and it’s clear, not only has God blessed him, but we are blessed as well.”
“Knowing our family lived together and raised their children together, we’ve always had a sense of being there for each other,” said Debbie Wills. “We’re lucky to be close, to see Dad often and the next generations now too. L’dor v’dor. That’s what it’s all about.”

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Continuing the intermarriage conversation is crucial

Continuing the intermarriage conversation is crucial

Posted on 08 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

When Tevye told his daughter Chava, “As the good book says, ‘Each shall seek his own kind.’ In other words, a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?” Chava responded, “The world is changing, Papa.”
Tevye may not have felt so in that moment, but last month at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, a panel shared how the world is changing on the issue of intermarriage during the program “Modern Love, Interfaith Relationships: The Heart of the Matter.”
“The moral is our lives must be balanced. The fiddler could have fallen and so too can a family without balance,” said JCC Performing Arts Director Alise Robinson, who is preparing for the March 8-25 production of Fiddler on the Roof Jr., which inspired the program.
Joining Robinson were Josh and Charlotte Kahn, Jane Larkin, Jaynie Schultz, Joy Schwartz, Rabbi Dan Utley and Rabbi Shira Wallach. All agreed there isn’t one model of intermarriage, or of any marriage. For each of the panelists, having the conversation is critical to helping those involved build Jewish homes.
“The more this conversation is part of society, the more programs, education and support will be introduced,” said Schwartz, the moderator of the event. She earned a master’s degree in management and organizational behavior and counseling. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern. “These issues aren’t different from others of conflict, but they add another layer.”
Schwartz, who leads the Navigating the Religion Decision program, which is open to the community and hosted at Temple Emanu-El with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, says there’s no real answer but for couples to work together.
So has been the reality for the Kahns, who for nearly 30 years have shared lifecycle, milestone, and holiday discussions as they wrestle with their interfaith marriage. The two have raised their family, with four children, to respect and honor both sides of their family tree.
“When we married, there were few interfaith couples. We’ve had a very interesting journey but we’re fortunate,” said Josh. “No marriage can coast. Not one of two Jews and not intermarriage. Marriage isn’t easy, and you never know until you’re in the moment.”
What can be a charged topic lies within our own limbic systems and isn’t realized until the conversation is opened, said Larkin, director of small groups and community engagement at Temple Emanu-El.
“We haven’t done a good enough job of sharing resources in our community, and we want to change that,” said Larkin, author of From Generation to Generation: A Story of Intermarriage and Jewish Continuity. “Working with interfaith couples is my passion, and we’re here as the ‘big C’ in Community.”
All of the panelists noted the importance of the conversation and involvement of both partners. Everyone’s Jewish journey evolves. and someone finding a partner that isn’t Jewish doesn’t mean a Jewish home is lost or unimportant. “We’re one way growing up, another after we have children, another as empty nesters into our senior years. We grow and so do our voices,” said Larkin.
“Our job as a Jewish community is to welcome our non-Jewish families and we want to share the beauty of who and what we are,” said Jaynie Schultz, who teaches the Interfaith Grandparents Discovering Judaism class, a partnership between InterfaithFamily and the Schultz Family Foundation, for non-Jewish relatives of converts or those in interfaith relationship families raising Jewish children. “We’re not here to proselytize but to let them know we want them in our lives.
“It’s interesting to think about where Tevye and Golde’s family could be if Chava and Fyedka had their voices heard, not lost,” said Schultz. “It’s our obligation to welcome families of those raising Jewish families, all Jewish families.”
Temple Emanu-El’s Utley noted that the role of faith and religion, even if they are different religions, is important. “You have to make a faith decision for your family because children are too young,” he said. “You can learn and appreciate and respect the similarities and differences, and still celebrate holidays with the non-dominant (religiously speaking) family, but choosing — there must be a choice.”
Utley said almost always a Jew choosing to marry a non-Jew should not be considered a reflection on how he or she was raised. It isn’t that someone went to day school or didn’t, or kept Shabbat or didn’t; not turning those couples away is a resounding refrain and is key. “We’re a peoplehood, we’re Israel, we’re a lifestyle,” he said.
Congregation Shearith Israel’s Wallach spoke to what used to be a black-and-white issue: Interfaith marriage can’t be condoned.
“Now I’ve experienced an important paradigm shift that we live in shades of gray,” she said. “There are interfaith families who are present at every event, keep a kosher home, and teach their children how to live Jewishly. There are plenty of endogamous couples who coast through their Jewish journeys, rarely engaging deeply.”
Recognizing the conversation is important and exciting, Wallach said; it’s also painful when “a Conservative rabbi who a couple loves and trusts can’t marry them, and it’s painful when Jewish parents assume that their kid’s choice to marry a non-Jew is about rejection of their upbringing. It’s not.”
The Conservative movement has spent years discussing the issue. While its clergy doesn’t perform interfaith marriages, they are always asking themselves: How can families who make the choice to bring Judaism into their homes be honored? How can values of welcoming be demonstrated so these families feel comfortable in the community? How can families be given safe spaces to have these conversations and explore what Judaism offers?
“Boundaries create holiness; we separate milk and meat, Shabbat and the rest of the week. Even God created the universe by separating light from darkness. Boundaries are how we know who we are but sometimes, these boundaries shift,” Wallach said. “It’s painful when truths we expect to be eternal begin shifting and we have to accept and celebrate a new reality. The truth is we’ll all be better for it. Judaism is meant to challenge us so we can make thoughtful choices every day.”

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25th Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off fi res up March 18

25th Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off fi res up March 18

Posted on 08 March 2018 by admin


By Deb Silverthorn

Some 43 teams from the Dallas Jewish community will stir the pots for the annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 18, at Congregation Tiferet Israel. The Cook-off is celebrating its 25th year.
The Cook-off, whose title sponsors are the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Key-Whitman Eye Center and the Marsh & McLennan Agency, is recognized as the premier event in the area for bringing the North Texas Jewish community together.
“The Cook-off is not only the oldest continuous Kosher Chili Cook-off event in the world, but one of the largest,” said Tiferet Israel President Ed Jerome. “It has evolved into an integral rite of spring on the Dallas Jewish calendar.”
“We are so happy to welcome back the many teams who’ve been here year after year and also the newcomers — the prizes are up for grabs,” said Jay Abrams, who has co-chaired the event with his wife, Janet Bubis, since 2009. “It’s a lot of work, yes, but it’s so much fun. From Saturday night’s last-minute details until we open the gates, it’s lots of nerves — but when the public comes in, it’s the best day ever, every year.”
“A quarter of a century is an incredible milestone, a silver anniversary of high order because the foundation of the Mishkan was of silver brackets,” said Rabbi David Shawel, Dallas Kosher’s director of supervision. “It could definitely be argued the Cook-off is a significant part in the foundation of our Jewish community. I hope God blesses the event’s leaders, participants and all who attend, and always I pray the unity we feel that day should last all the days following.”
Just 12 teams competed at the initial event, founded by Jack Baum, Mark Kleinman and Dan Prescott. Attendance was 600. In recent years, the teams have tripled and the attendees have grown into the thousands.
The Aaron Family JCC, Akiba Academy, Congregation Shaare Tefilla, Congregation Shearith Israel, Dallas Kosher, and Jewish Family Service teams have competed every year since the contest began, returning to round out year 25.
“I’ve attended or helped out for most years since the cook-off’s inception,” said Henry Litoff, who, with Alistair and Lauren Lyon, won 2017’s top prize after placing second on three occasions. “I enjoy competing because it represents the most important thing about our community, and that is the ability to come together to enjoy an event together as whole.”
Litoff, competing unaffiliated with any group, previously helped represent Moishe House, which, led by his brother Austin, won in 2013 and 2016 and earned the People’s Choice prize twice. “This year my brother and I aren’t going head-to-head as I’m competing in the vegetarian category, so hopefully we can both win first place. Of course, I can’t share our recipes, but having grown up together we share sensibilities and traditions around food and its preparation.”
Tiferet Israel has shared proceeds of the event with nonprofit organizations from throughout the community for many years. While in previous years there have been two or three beneficiaries, it was determined this year that JFS’ Harvey Relief efforts was the place to share.
“Our partnership with the Kosher Chili Cook-off is so special because it demonstrates how our community continues to rise to the occasion and support us in meaningful ways. Even now we’re still providing support for those individuals staying long term in Dallas to help them get back on their feet,” said JFS CEO Steve Banta. “The outpouring of support for JFS’ Harvey Relief efforts was beyond imaginable, and none of this would be possible without the power of the Dallas community.”
This year’s judges will share their flair for the kitchen, their love for chili and their heart for anything Texas community as they begin testing fare from each of the teams. The judges — David Feder, Craig Ford, Dotty Griffith, Danny Hall, Michael Mrugala, Kim and Tom Schroeder, and Kara Sewell — are executive chefs at local restaurants, hospitals and universities, journalists and cookbook authors.
Awards will be presented at about 3 p.m.
In addition to chili samplings, barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, falafel, corn, popcorn, cotton candy and Dippin’ Dots will be sold. There will be raffles and activities for children, including Home Depot-directed wood craft projects. Community organizations and vendors will have booths, and the Mazik Brothers and the R&R Band will play throughout.
Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 4 to 10 (including a free hot dog), with children 3 and younger admitted free. Parking with a free shuttle to and from the event will be at the JCC. For more information, call 214-691-3611 or visit kosherchilicookoff.us.

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Churnin is churning out children’s books

Churnin is churning out children’s books

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Storytellers must tell and writers must write. Nancy Churnin is doing both at top speed, releasing three books this year, with another on the horizon and two more already published. Churnin is filling bookshelves to reach children, and she couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s really happening. For so long I’ve wanted to tell stories of those who inspire me and who I hope will inspire,” said Churnin, a Plano resident and theater critic for The Dallas Morning News. “I know lives can be changed by children who believe and everyone I write about has been a life-changer.”
Charlie Takes His Shot, published in January by Albert Whitman & Company, is about Charlie Sifford, who was the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour. Featured in the story is Jewish lawyer Stanley Mosk (later a California Supreme Court judge), who helped Sifford fight to play on the Tour.
Available for pre-order is Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, to be published this June by Creston Books. The book focuses on the journey of a 5-year-old refugee arriving at Ellis Island who became the grateful patriot, penning God Bless America and donating the song’s earnings to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
“Now’s the time to remember that we’re a nation of immigrants,” said Churnin, a native New Yorker with degrees from Harvard and Columbia. “I read in schools, and children are connecting because the ‘coming to America’ part is their story too. Today’s headlines are of dreams coming true. I couldn’t be prouder to give hope to the lyricists, writers, doctors and business leaders of tomorrow.”
“No songwriter started with less and gave more than Irving. His ability to overcome adversity, utilize his God-given gift and leave an everlasting legacy is an inspiration,” said Mark Kreditor who for many years has taught a Jewish 20th Century Music and Arts class through the JCC’s Melton School. He helped Churnin with the Berlin book. “I’m moved by Nancy’s interest in Irving Berlin’s story. He was my father’s favorite, and one I’ve been teaching for years. It’s important we use any opportunity to tell his story to the next generation.”
Kreditor shared with Churnin how Berlin used cantorial melodies he learned from his father, a former cantor in Russia, melding them with the sounds of his new country. One example: the last three notes of God Bless America match the last three notes of the Shema.
“It’s unlikely, knowing this, that you’ll ever not think of one, when hearing the other,” Churnin said. “Whenever I read the words to God Bless America, I see a prayer that could be in any siddur. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
The books about Sifford and Berlin continues Churnin’s streak of picture book biographies. Her others are 2016’s The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game and 2017’s Manjhi Moves a Mountain.
The William Hoy Story, illustrated by Jez Tuya, is about the deaf baseball player who influenced the game with hand signals. It has been translated into Japanese and was named to the 2016 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids list, among other honors.
Manjhi Moves a Mountain, illustrated by Danny Popovici, introduces Dashrath Manjhi, who, with a hammer, chisel and determination, carved through the mountain separating his village from schools, markets and a hospital. A Junior Library Guild and Silver Eureka honoree, it’s on the Children’s Book Council Showcase and is an Every Child Reader 2018 Children’s and Teen Choice Awards finalist, voting open from March 1 to May 6 at everychildareader.net/choice/.
Still coming this year is The Queen and the First Christmas Tree. Next year will come Martin & Anne, the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank — both born in 1929, both lives cut short because of prejudice.
Churnin, wife of Michael Granberry and mother of Ted, Sam, David and Josh, creates teacher workbooks and projects for each book. The William Hoy project requested letters to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and more than 1,000 requesting his induction have been received. With Manjhi, students submit how they’ve made a difference moving mountains in their communities.
Churnin is requesting readers share how, like Sifford, they’ve given peers a “shot.” Regarding Berlin, readers are posting about their immigrant culture, or that of a friend, or a recipe, activity or tradition.
“As a child I learned about historical figures who played important roles and I’m fascinated with sharing these stories,” said Churnin, who will sign books at the Dallas Book Festival at the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library on April 7, and who looks forward to returning to the JCC Bookfest for yet-to-be-scheduled events. “I hope I’m encouraging them to read and to live their dreams.”
Churnin’s books are available at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com and at the Barnes & Noble at Dallas’ Lincoln Park, many autographed by the author.

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Grace Goldman’s daffodils make memories blossom

Grace Goldman’s daffodils make memories blossom

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

As the next generation blossoms, many are taking it into their own hands to help the world bloom. That’s exactly what Fort Worth Country Day School senior Grace Goldman is doing by planting a daffodil garden.
“We had a butterfly garden in the lower school, and a veteran’s garden in the middle school, and I thought it was time to include the upper school,” said Goldman, who brought The Daffodil Project to her campus.
Am Yisrael Chai, an Atlanta-based nonprofit Holocaust education and awareness organization, developed The Daffodil Project in 2010 by planting 1,800 bulbs. An estimated 465,000 bulbs have been planted throughout the United States, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Israel and the Netherlands since then.
The program provides the first 250 bulbs at no cost, and the participating organization must plant another 250 within two years. Some plant many times that amount. In addition to empowering Holocaust education, the program, open to schools, congregations and organizations, supports projects helping children suffering humanitarian crises in Darfur, Rwanda and Southern Sudan.
“We chose these daffodils because they’re the shape and color of the Jewish star that was worn by so many Jews who perished, and for those who escaped with their lives,” said Andrea Videlefsky, president of Am Yisrael Chai and founder of The Daffodil Project. “It was a sign meant to designate those who should die, and we’re planting these as a designation of blossoming life and a future for the Jews.
“Daffodils blossom for a short while, just as the lives of the Jewish children were short, but these come back each year and allow us each year to remember those children, and all who died. We hope to plant at least 1.5 million, one for each of those children.”
The Daffodil Project addresses issues of hatred and bigotry that Videlefsky says seemingly can be found everywhere. “We want to create spaces of peace and tolerance, of understanding, against the injustices we see around the world today,” she said. “It’s important for everyone to remember to take a stand — and not stand by.”
Goldman, daughter of Elliot and Heather and sister of Grant, plays field hockey, soccer and golf at Country Day. She will attend Wake Forest University in the fall.
A member of the Link Crew peer mentor program, she is a student ambassador and a member of the art and diversity clubs. She is also involved in many service organizations.
“While the garden was a way to expand on the curriculum and ensure our remembrance of the event, it is also a way for me to honor my great-grandmother’s memory,” said Goldman, who with her father led an assembly for her classmates, explaining her heritage and why the Daffodil Project was so important to her.
Goldman’s great-grandmother Blanche was a survivor of Auschwitz who was sent to a labor camp rather than the death camps. Because her fingers curved outward, she spent her days assembling munitions and her nights knitting for a female SS officer.
“I’m glad Grace found she could relate to this story and that she has made this a project and priority,” said Goldman’s grandmother and Blanche’s daughter, Rachel. “She’s a leader, always initiating goodness.”
Learning of her great-grandmother’s history, Goldman was further inspired when reading Elie Wiesel’s book Night, and then by Wiesel’s courage.
Goldman first proposed her project to her English teachers, suggesting it as a partner to Night, required reading at her school. Important to her was the connection between the reading of the book and her own personal story. She thought her classmates would be further inspired by the personal association.
Goldman connected Am Yisrael Chai with her school’s administration, and then worked with the school’s grounds supervisor to determine an appropriate space and plan forward.
“Grace and her family have always been involved in our school and this deep dedication to her own heritage has benefited us all,” said Eric Lombardi, Fort Worth Country Day head of school. “She made it happen and did so in her wonderfully high-energy way, bringing our school community together with a worldwide effort. We are very proud.”
A commemorative plaque at the site includes Wiesel’s words: “How can a person not be moved by compassion? And above all, how can anyone who remembers remain silent?”
“Daffodils are resilient; they come back every year,” said Goldman. “I hope the memory of those who perished will too.”
For information on planting your own garden, visit daffodilproject.net.

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Jill Biden to keynote JFS Woman to Woman event

Jill Biden to keynote JFS Woman to Woman event

Posted on 22 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Dr. Jill Biden, an educator and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, will be the featured speaker at Jewish Family Service’s Woman to Woman luncheon Tuesday, April 25, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
The fundraising luncheon is open to women and men. A silent auction and registration will begin at 10 a.m., with lunch and the program slated for noon.
Former WFAA-TV news anchor Gloria Campos will be master of ceremonies at the event.
“We created the Woman to Woman Luncheon to teach the community about, and raise money for, JFS, and the luncheon has been an incredible resource for both,” said Ethel Silvergold Zale, co-chair and JFS’ first lifetime trustee and founder of the biennial event in 2004. “It is a vital contributor to JFS’ budget and it’s so rewarding to see what we have all become. It was an idea, and a purpose, and all of JFS’ staff and volunteers and staff make every day of support a reality.”
JFS’ almost-150 programs served close to 13,000 people in 2017. Its services include:
Individual and family counseling
Family violence intervention
Diagnostic assessment
Play therapy and a special needs resource team
At-risk youth intervention
Addiction counseling
Employment services and financial coaching
Emergency assistance and food pantry
Two resale stores
Transitional housing
Independent living services for older adults and the disabled
Chaplaincy
Support groups
Volunteer services
“People come to us at some of the lowest or most trying times of life and they put their trust in us to be there,” said JFS’ Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta. “The Woman to Woman Luncheon engages the community to help make sure that we are. Many of our programs don’t sustain themselves and this fundraiser is critical to the overall support of JFS.”
The event provides substantial support for services promoting lifelong self-sufficiency and well-being for anyone in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or ability to pay.
“Making this all happen are our co-chairs who are all giving souls and ambassadors of JFS to their own corners of our community,” said Banta. “They share JFS in everything that they do.”
Other co-chairs are Susan Frapart, Linda Garner, Sherry Goldberg, Julie Liberman, Beverly Rossel, Monica Susman and Laura Weinstein. Honorary co-chairs are Paddy Epstein, Ann Kahn, Lisa Kleinman, Ann Rosenberg and the JFS staff.
Garner said the co-chairs are looking forward to Biden’s talk.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Biden as our special guest for this very not political, but very fun, funny, uplifting and great get-together,” Garner said. “Dr. Biden’s life stands for all we do through JFS: breast cancer, education, mental health, military and veteran support and more. We walk the same walk she does and I’m certain what she has to share will be a message that resonates with all of us.”
Biden is a mother and grandmother, a lifelong educator, a proud Blue Star mom, and an active community member. As the nation’s second lady, she worked to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families, to highlight the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention, all while continuing to teach English full-time at a community college.
Inspired by her granddaughter, Biden also wrote the book Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops, a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is away at war.
Participants in the event’s raffle, silent auction and live auction have a chance to win: tickets to Ellen; seven nights at a four-bedroom home in Cabo San Lucas; a Cartier watch; art pieces; shopping, sports, restaurant and entertainment packages; and more. Raffle tickets, $25 for one and $100 for five, can be purchased in advance by calling JFS. Prize winners do not need to be present.
Tickets for the expected sellout event are available in sponsorships available at jfsdallas.org/woman, or by calling 469-445-0616 or emailing kstrull@jfsdallas.org. Individual seats, if space permits, can be secured online beginning March 1. For information or to purchase raffle tickets in advance, call 972-437-9950.

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Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

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

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