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Kohn, Clark fine-tune kosher comfort food

Kohn, Clark fine-tune kosher comfort food

Posted on 23 May 2019 by admin

The Market, at 13534 Preston Road in North Dallas, is open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; until 4 p.m. on Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.



By Deb Silverthorn

Two parts heart and soul, and grand dollops of culinary expertise by Jordona Kohn and Stacey Clark, are the ingredients to Dallas’ newest kosher eatery, The Market, in North Dallas.

“At The Market we’re providing delicious food in a comfortable and family casual location. We couldn’t be more excited to share with our community,” Kohn said. She was grateful for the full house on the restaurant’s opening day — Mother’s Day — and all tables turning in the restaurant’s first week.

“Everything is good, and good for you, but we’re not afraid of butter,” Kohn added. Clark, meanwhile, calls the menu healthful, not health food, with dishes served as they were designed to be eaten.

The duo look forward to pop-up menus and hosting family and study groups, simchas and other social gatherings. The offerings are kosher, but both women note that, while they create and serve kosher food, what they have isn’t your typical kosher restaurant.

“There are wonderful kosher restaurants in the area,” Kohn said. “We’re happy to join the lineup with our own unique flavors and flair.”

The partners were introduced by Sharon Michaels, who knew both, and figured the team would be a sure thing.

“These two are great and we’re blessed to have them,” Michaels said. “It’s not just good kosher food, it’s great food. They have amazing skills and talent and couldn’t be kinder. I can’t wait for them to succeed, and they will!”

“I love feeding people in times of joy, the holidays and even in sadness. A good meal always comforts, and food heals (almost) anything,” Clark said. “Jordona and I are opposites in many ways but it’s why we’re a perfect match.”

Kohn, a Hollywood, Florida native raised in New York, is the daughter of a restaurateur, granddaughter of a kosher butcher, and great-granddaughter of a chicken farmer. “While most kids were outside, I was with Bubba Faye making soups and rugelach,” she said. She is married to Justin, and the couple are parents to Arianna Faye, Ezra and Gaby.

With a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, when the couple moved to Dallas, Kohn enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts. Despite not being able to taste the many nonkosher offerings, she graduated as class valedictorian.

Kohn worked at Baylor Hospital, climbing the ladder, but her kashrut devotion meant she couldn’t taste what she prepared. She then worked with the Dallas Kosher-supervised Simcha Kosher Catering’s food truck, as well as being executive chef with A Taste of the World. She also hosts kosher cooking demonstrations at Whole Foods Market.

Clark, born in New York and raised around the world, comes to the business with an accounting background, and always turned to the kitchen for respite. She is married to Henry; their family is complete with son Kevin and his wife Taylor and Clark’s two nieces, Eleah and Anna, raised as her own daughters.

Breakfast at The Market, served alongside fruit or hash browns, includes a pesto omelet, Morty’s Scramble — a nod to Clark’s father (lox, eggs and onions), a DIY omelet bar and a variety of home-boiled and baked bagels and other bread choices with a schmear. Already favorites are the avocado toast served with two eggs and a lime crème, the Market Gravlax Plate with in-house cured salmon and buttermilk pancakes with berry compote.

Alan Press, who ordered a DIY omelet with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, peppers and mushrooms and then an avocado toast to go, said the presentation was incredible and everything was cooked “just beautifully.”

Breakfast is served all day and the lunch menu, debuting soon, will include soups, paninis and toasted sandwiches with mixed greens or house-fried chips and a variety of salads with homemade dressings.

“Lunch was amazing and the latte is delicious,” said Heather Behr, having lunch with friend Marni Rael, the two women swooning over an avocado toast and pesto omelet, finishing the meal with a shared chocolate bobka. “Literally every bite is excellent.”

For Rebecca Sklaver, lunching with Rivka and Stera Goldschmidt, it was baked salmon and Greek salad — to the other women’s tuna salad and gravlax plate — to which she gave praise. “The salmon is out of this world, really just baked to perfection.”

House-baked specialties include banana bread, challah (water and egg), pastries, brown-butter chocolate chip and other cookies, cakes, bobka and Bubba’s Rugelach from Kohn’s family recipe. The Challah Challah Club allows customers to register for challahs that will be ready for pickup at requested times each Friday. The challahs will be prepped and prepaid, allowing guests to make a quick stop for pickup. Bobkas and other items will also be available for pre-order.

Delectables for little ones are available, and allergy and special requests including gluten-free, egg-white and Cholov Yisroel options are available. The Market serves many locally-sourced and organic ingredients.

Drinks include Fort Worth-based 5AM DRIPs, lavender vanilla and goldenmilk (with turmeric) lattes, espressos, affogatos and staple favorites. Juices, milk, Stacey’s Iced Tea, housemade lemonade and sodas are available too.

“We met at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and we’re now pretty much family,” said Ashley Davis, co-owner of 5AM DRIP. “Jordona and Stacey follow our business ideas and our dream, and the look and feel of The Market is something we’re thrilled to be a part of.”

The owners credit designer Ariella Mizell Bush and J.M. Construction for the restaurant’s unique décor. Bush transformed the space, a former jewelry store, into their eatery vision with a community table at its center, bar stools and tables for two and more.

The partners are proud.

“We’re in the right place,” Kohn said, “and this is the right time.”

The Market is at 13534 Preston Road in North Dallas. For more information, visit, call 469-677-5424 or follow on Facebook and Instagram @themarkettx.


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 or text CHAItix to 51555. For more information about Community Homes for Adults, Inc., call 214-373-8600.


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

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 or by calling 214-615-9351. For additional information, visit


Walk4Friendship will celebrate buddies

Walk4Friendship will celebrate buddies

Posted on 01 May 2019 by admin

Danielle Fuhrman and Anna Brindley share one of many afternoons together. The two friends will participate in the upcoming Walk4Friendship.
Photo: Courtesy Friendship Circle of Dallas



By Deb Silverthorn

The Friendship Circle of Dallas invites the community to walk the walk, of the talk they talk, beginning at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 19. The event, the first Walk4Friendship, is a two-kilometer walk launching at Flagpole Hill, 8100 Doran Circle, near White Rock Lake.

After the walk will be a carnival that is open to the public, at no charge. Included will be bounce houses, crafts, a bubble truck, a petting zoo, a magician, a face-painting artist, a photo booth and more. Kosher food and drinks will be available for sale.

“This is about creating friendship and support, not at all about a physical race,” said Leah Dubrawsky, director of the Dallas Friendship Circle, an organization that pairs individuals with those who have special needs. “Everyone around us is a friend, and we’re honored to be able to provide events and programming to help build relationships, share creativity and kindness, and bring people together to share in wonderful experiences.”

Friendship Circle, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 1994 and is run by the Chabad movement. The organization encompasses more than 80 groups in 60 cities around the world, allowing children and young adults with special needs to enjoy the company of teenage and young adult volunteers in a full range of social activities. Friendship Circle enriches the lives of all participants through mutually advantageous interactions, creating lasting friendships, strengthening both the Jewish and greater communities.

The Dallas chapter welcomes participants ages 5-18 and buddy volunteers from eighth grade through high school. The group hosts a winter camp, sports, science and Torah-related crafts fun, Shabbat and holiday-related programming, yoga, drum circles and field trips to locations throughout the community. A Sunday Circle group meets twice monthly, and some participants buddy up and visit more regularly.

“When I first met with Leah I was moved by her passion and dedication to expanding the Friendship Circle. The concept of my son connecting typical teens with special needs kids on a regular basis, really resonated with me,” said Cynthia Christnagel, the mother of 12-year-old Miles, who has cerebral palsy. “Our son is wheelchair-bound and non-verbal, and because of his disabilities, he doesn’t have many opportunities to build relationships with his typical peers. Friendship Circle offers Miles a warm and wonderful group of friends with diverse abilities.”

Attending Friendship Circle events for a little over a year, Miles seldom misses a Sunday Circle and he also attended winter camp. He has formed special friendships with typical teens, who engage him and take the time to connect with him.

“Friendship Circle’s impact on the community cannot be underestimated and seeing the bonds between kids with special needs and those without, is truly heartwarming,” Christnagel said. “It gives me faith in future generations, and the power of inclusion.”

Friendship Circle’s “I-Volunteer” program partners with Intown Chabad in Dallas’ Uptown area to create volunteer and social occasions for those of all abilities. The group made shaloch manot for Holocaust survivors, had a paint night, and hosted an evening of pizza and karaoke.

Additionally, the group hosts mom’s night out events, along with Teens on the Town, offering age-appropriate events.

“Friendship Circle allows me the opportunity to help amazing Jewish kids in our community and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Tom Oster. As of press time, Oster was the walk-a-thon’s leading fundraiser, having raised $2,022.

A 15-year-old sophomore at Yavneh Academy of Dallas, Oster first registered to volunteer with Friendship Circle Dallas after his bar mitzvah. Every Sunday, with classmate and volunteer Elisha Klein, Oster visits his buddy. Sometimes they share time at home, other times they’ll go out.

“I’m excited for the walk because it is a way for me to get my family and friends involved in helping the community,” Oster said. “With relatively little effort, everyone can make a change in people’s life. It becomes part of each of us and we can actually enjoy the time, and make an impact, all at once.”

To date, $25,646 has been pledged to Walk4Friendship participants. The funds support community members with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other emotional, physical and cognitive challenges. Donations from the event, as well as sponsors such as CD Wealth Management, Diamonds Direct and the Texas Jewish Post, allow Friendship Circle programs to be offered free or at a limited cost.

“In these times, in all times, it’s important that our community be friendlier and welcoming and open-hearted to all of our members. We’ve seen both volunteers and our friends come out of their shell, communicating and participating in ways they haven’t before,” Dubrawsky said. “Friendship Circle allows anyone who wishes to get involved in a warm, caring program.”

To register or to make a donation, visit For general Friendship Circle Dallas information, go to


Men’s study group celebrates 20-plus years of Torah

Men’s study group celebrates 20-plus years of Torah

Posted on 18 April 2019 by admin

Photos: Mark Fisher
“I have students who quote Socrates and Plato in discussions of Torah and it isn’t only the students who learn something each week,” said Rabbi Deon Nathan (left), leader of the Tuesday morning men’s Torah study group.

By Deb Silverthorn

Rumor has it that the true breakfast of champions starts at 7 a.m. every Tuesday. At that time, a community men’s Torah study group gathers at the Dallas Area Torah Association (DATA) offices on Forest Lane in Dallas. Whether a dozen or four attendees show up on any given morning, the conversation and learning are guaranteed to be spirited, engaging and meaningful.
“This program is a good example of where the movements can meet and learn for the benefit of b’nei Yisroel. I think that it is refreshing to have a program for Reform and Conservative Jewish men that is taught by an observant Orthodox rabbi. It proves that we CAN all get along,” said Mark Fisher, a member of Temple Shalom, who has been attending the class almost since its inception. “Our Dallas Jewish community is very special and we’d love to have more men join us in this really incredible opportunity.”
The class, taught for the last four years by Torah Day School of Dallas CFO and COO Rabbi Deon Nathan, takes place at DATA, but is an unaffiliated program. Participants come from congregations throughout the community and the class — for which there is no charge — is open to men of all ages. The coffee and baked goods (provided by Rabbi Deon’s wife and daughters) deliver a bit of extra get-up-and-go for the early meeting time. But, for most who stop in on their way to work, the inspiration the class provides is more energizing than any caffeine pump.
“The intellectual power of the men in the room is impressive. There are lawyers, and doctors and businessmen in the class — members of the boards of many organizations — but if not for this class, they might never cross paths,” Nathan said. “I have students who quote Socrates and Plato in discussions of Torah, and it isn’t only the students who learn something each week. More often than not, I too become the student.”
Nathan, a Dallas native and the son of Sandy and Michael Nathan, was a member of the first class of Yavneh Academy, before transferring to Rabbi Oscar Fasman Yeshiva in Skokie, Ilinois. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Judaic Studies from Hebrew Theological College in Chicago before moving to Israel. During his 13 years in Israel, he earned his MBA in International Business at Bar-Ilan University and worked in private banking and with Israeli startups. Nathan is a certified mohel, sofer STAM (scribe), shochet and mashgiach kashrus (kashrut supervisor). He is the husband of Yehudit and father of seven.
“Somehow the class always hits notes of politics and religion, but the conversations are open and honest and always of the utmost respect,” Nathan said.
First spearheaded by Joel Shickman, of blessed memory, and Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Elon Sunshine (no relation to CSI’s current senior rabbi), the group met at a coffee shop. Throughout the years, the learning has been led by many rabbis, including Bill Gershon, Joe Menashe, Adam Raskin and Yoni Sonnenblick.
Nathan provides the group with articles and readings that test the state and future of progressive Judaism, and the group often challenges his observant beliefs in the laws, as they apply to modern Jews.
“I had somewhat of an interest in religious school as a child, but in the last 30 years or so I’ve had a new appreciation for learning more extensively,” said Morton Prager, a member of Temple Emanu-El, who has also studied under that congregation’s rabbis Levi Olan, David Stern and Sheldon Zimmerman. “This class has allowed me to study books of the Bible that aren’t the ‘go to’ or of regular review, and from start to finish, we just keep going and we just keep learning.”
Prager spent much of his career as a medical researcher and a professor of medical ethics and philosophy to medical students, and retired only at the age of 92. He said he enjoys the company of the mix of men in the class.
“We argue and interpret and discuss the modern interpretations,” he said. “We might not always agree, but the conversation is always respectful.”
Many of the students have remained constant throughout the two decades. The group began with study of the weekly Torah portion, but soon embarked on a long-term journey, and completed reading the entire Tanach — Torah, Prophets and Writings — word by word, first in 2012.
They are now revisiting the Prophets and studying Samuel I. Participants say that, even though the material is the same, a new leader means different discussions.
“It’s amazing as we read through how humans haven’t really changed in 3,000 years; issues of trust, of tribes and families,” said Fisher, the group together celebrating simchas and suffering great losses. “We’ve learned to study in new ways together. The beauty of Judaism is to share issues and imperfections and to understand that our religion is a guidebook by which to live a more meaningful life.”
For information on joining in the class, email or or call 214-923-5101.


Ribald’s Please Visit Me 613 brings visitors to those in need

Ribald’s Please Visit Me 613 brings visitors to those in need

Posted on 18 April 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Monica Ribald
Monica Ribald founded Please Visit Me 613 in memory of her mother, Helena Stein Tenenbaum, left. Tenenbaum, with her mother, Esther Chana Sandlarz, both of blessed memory, taught Ribald that a smile is a gift that can be opened over and over.

By Deb Silverthorn

“Hello” and “how are you” are among the first words we learn. And, how to find those in need of a “hello” and more is what is behind Please Visit Me 613 (PVM613), created by Monica Ribald.
“I started Please Visit Me 613, because I know of so many people who are homebound because of illness or age or for many circumstances that don’t allow them the ability to get up and out,” Ribald said. “It could be someone who’s a patient, or it could be to spend time with a caregiving family member or friend. They need attention, too.”
Ribald says those she visits have limitations of illness, disability, or for whatever reason no transport, and they are without engagement. Living for company on the weekends, or for when “it’s convenient,” makes for long and lonely days. People wait – and wait – and wait, alone.
“My mother became very hard of hearing in her later years and people stopped visiting with her because it was difficult,” Ribald said. She recalled her friend, Gail Stolovitsky, who always made time to stop in. The visits brightened her mother’s day and kept her cheerful. That someone else besides Ribald and her husband cared was huge. It is in memory of her mother, Helena Stein Tenenbaum, that Please Visit Me 613 was founded.
“It isn’t really difficult, you just have to be creative sometimes in how you communicate with someone. We all need communication,” Ribald said. “There’s nothing worse than being alone. Nothing.”
A New Yorker through and through, Ribald moved to Dallas in 1977 with her husband Max. Ribald’s personality is even brighter than her artwork, which includes the illustrations for Helen Waldman’s book “Polly’s Pipers” and many privately commissioned drawings and paintings.
The mother of Chad (Risa), Yanki (Marrisa), and Itzy (Ilana) and the grandmother of Adam, Anna, Ari, Ariella, Charlotte Grace, Claire, Dasi, Efrat, Eitan and Esther, Ribald is the “Jewish Bubbie” defined: not just to her own grandchildren, but to every student — of any age — who has ever crossed her path, and that includes the thousand-plus children who came through her art classes at Akiba and Yavneh academies.
“I taught my students to draw, to paint, and I taught them about art, artists and about art history. But, I taught them — I hope — more about people and caring,” Ribald said. “You can’t be a good teacher and just teach your subject. You have to teach kids that others matter. Those are the most important lessons I think I ever gave.”
“Do unto others” might not be among the top 10 commandments, but built within our 613 commandments, it rings true many times. Bringing conversation and laughter, or just being with someone, for whatever length of time, does good for the person visiting, and the visitor.
“Monica underscores the connectiveness we have as Jews, the sense of responsibility we all have,” said Rabbi Howard Wolk, the community chaplain at Jewish Family Service. Ribald has been friends with Wolk since the two were in their early teens. “We all left Egypt together and we need to remember that, on many levels,” Wolk said.
Ribald and Wolk agree PVM613 is a project that could connect through the wide spectrum of services JFS offers to its clients and volunteers. “I’m certain that as word gets out, people will appreciate a source to go to whether a person wants to visit, or be visited,” Wolk said. “I hope we will work together.”
Ribald is excited to share PVM613 with the community and hopes others will sign up to go out. She already has a core making their way to homes, hospitals, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities, many of whom have had personal experiences leading them to want to participate.
Sarah Diamond sets out to brighten someone’s day in the memory of her grandmother, Lily. “My grandmother lived with us in her last years and it was so important, to her and to us, that someone be there to hear her stories, to learn her history, to know about her life,” Diamond said. “It gives meaning to their lives, and believe me, we can learn a lot from them.”
There are no parameters or rules to the visitation. It is whatever works and for however long, and however often a schedule allows.
“I was raised to care. It’s just that simple and it’s really easy, and there are so many people here who have no one, no family close. Or they do, but their families are busy, so essentially, they’re alone. A visit can be 15 minutes or it can be hours,” Ribald said.
“It doesn’t really matter how long someone goes in, or what you bring with you except for a smile,” she added. “You have to bring a smile because a smile, a warm caring spirit, is a gift that is opened, over and over.”
To register either as a Please Visit Me 613 visitor, or on behalf of someone who would appreciate a visitor, email


JFS’ new food truck increases its offerings

JFS’ new food truck increases its offerings

Posted on 11 April 2019 by admin

Photos: JFS Dallas
An artfest, inspired by Jonah Schwarz-Mullins, took place at Jewish Family Service Food Pantry last summer, raising more than $6,000 to support the organization’s new truck.

By Deb Silverthorn

On the road again, Jewish Family Service is on the road again, again and again. Its new, 26-foot refrigerated food pantry truck is making the rounds three times a week, collecting boxes and pallets of food from throughout the Metroplex.
“The truck is an absolute game-changer. We had offers from many stores to provide us with food but we just didn’t have a way to get it here,” said Cathy Barker, JFS’ CEO. Barker noted that previously, it was up to volunteers and employees to pick up donations. As a result, time and vehicle space constraints limited significant intake. “Now, we’re regularly collecting pallets of food, of produce that requires refrigeration, and all kinds of goods; that allows us to distribute it to the many who need it,” she said.
JFS’ Food Pantry, an affiliate of the North Texas Food Bank, provides food for nearly 60 qualifying families a day who have cleared the intake process for support — close to 4,500 individuals, in 20 ZIP codes. Clients come to the food pantry to shop, as they might at a grocery store. However, pantry clients pay nothing, and have access to the full scope of wraparound services, including employment and financial coaching, emergency financial assistance and much more.
The truck, donated by a group of individuals, now makes its way to organizations and synagogues that hold food drives throughout the year. In addition, Costco, Target, Walmart and many restaurants are expanding the amount of provisions to the community.
The JFS Food Pantry provides meats, dairy, frozen foods and fresh produce, all from local sources, as much as possible. Kosher products are available, and in the next weeks, items for those celebrating Passover are on the shelves.
“I started volunteering at JFS to meet my required mitzvah hours for school but I quickly learned to respect the many ways everyone there helps so many thousands of people and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Yavneh Academy senior, Jonah Schwarz-Mullins, the son of Janice Schwarz and Ed Mullins. Schwarz-Mullins, who was honored in February as one of JFS’ Kids with Heart Volunteer, spearheaded an artfest, which raised more than $6,000 for the truck.
While he himself is not an artist, many of Schwarz-Mullins’ family members are. He collected donations from them, other artists, and others willing to donate the art from their homes. The artfest took place on June 26, 2018, at the JFS Food Pantry, so donors could see firsthand where their support was going.
Meanhile, the truck’s driver is supported by David Goldberg, Randy Fleisher and their families.
“I’m so excited this has come together and that we are on the road, and on the road representing our community helping others,” Goldberg said. He takes pride that the truck is labeled as “Jewish Family Service — A Partner in Hunger Relief.” “Rather than letters that some might not recognize, it is important that our greater community understand what it is that our Jewish community does to support those beyond our own,” he said. “We are all, our own.”
For more than a year, after volunteering in the food pantry, Goldberg noticed there was little to no fresh produce available. He would buy and deliver hundreds of dollars’ worth of onions, potatoes, apples or oranges.
“I’ll never forget the wide eyes and ‘can I have more than one’ request of a man, for oranges,” he said. “More than one orange was a luxury — something most of us don’t think about.”
“Our food pantry client numbers are increasing, 20-25 percent in the last year alone, and it’s incredible for us to be able to react when we get a call from a store with items to donate,” said JFS’ Food Sourcing Coordinator Marilynn Wohlstadter. “The driver is bringing back more than we ever could have hoped to recover previously, and the truck has extremely increased both the volume and selection we can.”
The food pantry is open, by appointment only, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Those wanting to donate dry and canned goods, meat, fresh produce and other perishables can deliver to JFS from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays.
For more information, to donate or to make an appointment, call 972-437-9950.


Cathy Barker: hands-on leadership

Cathy Barker: hands-on leadership

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

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

By Deb Silverthorn

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


Dallas Doings: Yavneh, Shearith, Anshai, Beth Torah

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Yavneh Academy names 2018-2019 Schultz Scholars

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

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

Shearith will honor Carol Aaron April 7 at Torah Fund brunch

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

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

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

Congregation Beth Torah offering Chocolate Hebrew course

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


Before, after NYC Half, Ruttenberg a winner

Before, after NYC Half, Ruttenberg a winner

Posted on 21 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Ruttenberg family
“She took the plunge to participate alone and represent our chapter and we really appreciate her,” Leah Dubrawsky, director of Friendship Circle of Dallas, said of Shira Ruttenberg.

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

There were 30,678 runners registered to participate in the 2019 United Airlines half-marathon Sunday morning, and the lone ranger representing Friendship Circle of Dallas was 16-year-old Shira Ruttenberg.
Starting at 7:30 a.m. in Brooklyn, Shira, who trained four times a week, traversed the city in the NYC Half. Across the FDR Memorial Bridge, to 42nd Street, she crossed the finish line in Central Park 13.1 miles later, her heart even more full.
“This is my first real race and I’m really excited,” said Shira before the competition. She had family and friends cheering her on.
“I loved all of the energy at the start of the race. Seeing the people cheering us on along the route was amazing. It was so fun seeing my mom, sister, cousin and Mendy (Leah Dubrawsky’s brother) along the route.”
Surpassing her goal, she hopes to raise more, At presstime, with $2,287 Shira is in fifth place of all Friendship Circle, International participants. The majority of the money she raised will support Friendship Circle of Dallas.
“I love what Friendship Circle stands for and I’ve absolutely made a lot of friends, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun in the program,” said Shira, who serves on the Friendship Circle of Dallas board. “For the past two years, I have enjoyed music classes, baking, arcades and so much more with my friends in the ‘Circle.’”
Team Friendship, of the Friendship Circle, International, affiliated worldwide with Chabad Lubavitch, runs the miles every day of the year, spreading their mission that every individual is deserving of love, respect, and most importantly, friendship. Around the world, the Friendship Circle brings happiness and companionship to children and adults with special needs by celebrating their individuality, as well as bringing energy, support, and peace of mind to their families.
The Friendship Circle of Dallas hosts programs and activities throughout the year. On May 19, the Dallas chapter will host its first Walk 4 Friendship, and Shira has raised more than $2,000 to participate in that event.
“Shira is awesome and she comes from a cool family who all care,” said Leah Dubrawsky, director of the Dallas Friendship Circle. “She took the plunge to participate alone and represent our chapter, and we really appreciate her support and all we’ll be able to share with our teens because of her fundraising. She’s really a very special person.”
The Columbus, Ohio native is the daughter of Abigail and Yoni, and sister of Aliza. The family are members of Chabad of Dallas and Shira is a camper of Camp Stone in Pennsylvania. A sophomore and Student Ambassador at Fusion Academy, Shira participates with Yachad/The National Jewish Council for Disabilities and the Dallas Chapter of the National Council of Synagogue Youth.
In her free time — rare for this busy teen — she enjoys baking, reading, traveling, ice skating and swimming. In the summer, she will travel to Israel as a part of Yad b’Yad, Yachad’s inclusive leadership experience.
Shira began making mitzvahs as a second-grader at Akiba. She helped spearhead collections, which Judy and son Jacob Wisch delivered to the community of Joplin, Missouri, after its devastating tornado. She’s has shared in many food drives for the homeless, for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, and she regularly delivers homebaked goods to the police and fire departments near her home.
“Her father and I have always taught the girls from when they were little that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected,” said Abigail. “Shira is the first one to bake cookies or a challah and bag it up with a pretty ribbon for her teachers ‘just because.’ Her heart is always in the place of giving.”
Shira, who began fundraising and training for the half-marathon last summer, sent a letter to friends and family, used social media, and turned to her school for support.
“Shira has shared her passion for Friendship Circle and we are so excited and thrilled to have been able to help her reach, and surpass, her goal,” said Tanya Goforth, head of school at Fusion Academy. “Supporting her through this absolutely meets the compassion and tolerance education that Fusion Academy provides. Beyond the academics, we absolutely believe and want to support our students to be better and more caring human beings.”
Shira loves what Friendship Circle stands for.
“Everyone needs a friend, and Friendship Circle reminds us that we are like a circle with no beginning or end; everyone is welcome and accepted,” she said. “I just want to share that message.”


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