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SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Nathan DeVera
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” says SMU student body president Nathan DeVera.

By Deb Silverthorn

Nathan DeVera is in the midst of a very busy senior year.
When he is not managing parliamentary procedure as Southern Methodist University student body president, he is the captain of SMU’s rugby team, president of the university’s Southern Gentlemen a cappella group and a Hillel Board member.
Not to mention completing requirements for the math and mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees and the mechanical engineering master’s degree he will receive next May – yes, a double major and a master’s degree in four years.
A student senator in his freshman year and student body vice president last year, DeVera has made himself present in student government throughout his college career.
Now, whether he is speaking at new-student orientations, encouraging extracurricular activities or just giving directions on campus, DeVera’s bright smile and great demeanor are one of the bright lights on the University Park college campus.
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” said DeVera, who regularly meets with students, faculty and the university’s leadership. “The renovation of our Hughes-Trigg Student Center, enhancing the on-campus housing experience and student body unification have all been priorities, and to be at the forefront of these changes is very rewarding.”
A Southern California native who was raised nearly his entire life in Las Vegas, DeVera is the son of Lorenzo, born in the Philippines, and Esther, born and raised in Israel.
“We couldn’t ask for more from Nathan and how he has taken his incredible work ethic and spread it across all he does, everything he gets involved with, while always being respectful and loyal,” his mother said. “Nathan has always been an over-achiever, cranking it up a notch, always consistent in his commitment to all he does. I admire him for all he does, and how well he does it all.”
DeVera’s first trip to Israel came in the summer of 2016 as a Birthright participant, during which he also visited with many members of his mother’s family. After a lifetime of family coming to the U.S. to be together, he now has his own memories of Masada, of the Kotel, of going to the markets in Tel Aviv and speaking Hebrew in the streets.
The former Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy (now The Adelson School) and The Meadow School student celebrated his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Las Vegas. His family also attended Temple Beth Sholom. DeVera, who came to SMU with a deep connection to his Jewish roots, quickly sought out the campus’ Hillel. He met director Rabbi Heidi Coretz and found programs and services that throughout his college career have allowed him to hold on to his heritage.
“I definitely appreciate the opportunities and programs that Rabbi Coretz and Hillel provides to our community, the Jewish community and the SMU community-at-large, because in addition to the social experience, there are many educational opportunities, whether they are teaching programs or the teaching of our community that comes because of its presence,” said DeVera. “Our community within the university community, which is diverse and has so many organizations, is proud and strong.”
“Nathan represents himself, his family and his People most honorably in how he respectfully handles himself and his role as a leader on campus” said Coretz, noting in her 15 years leading SMU’s Hillel, DeVera is only the second Jewish student body president – Taylor Russ was the first more than a decade ago. “Nathan brings talent, leadership, academic and now professional success to the table. He is an awesome example and a great friend to us all.”
With eight months until graduation, DeVera’s recent summer internship at Lockheed Martin resulted in an already signed contract to begin work next summer at Lockheed Martin Space as a project engineer with the navy’s fleet ballistic missile program.
“I really will be a rocket scientist,” DeVera said. “I had an incredible experience at Lockheed this summer, and I look forward to beginning my career.”

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SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

hoto: Courtesy SMU Hillel
From left, SMU Hillel Co-Presidents Marlo Weisberg and Jackie Malish join Hillel Director Rabbi Heidi Coretz in introducing students to the organization during the first week of school.

By Deb Silverthorn

In this season for celebrating, Southern Methodist University’s Hillel has its proverbial, albeit invisible, doors wide open, with its constant programming and its mission to enrich the lives of Jewish students.
Rabbi Heidi Coretz, beginning her 15th year as SMU’s Hillel director, brings her smile, spirit and student bonding to the holiday season, and year-round, providing community and connections.
Sushi in the Sukkah, taking place at 7 p.m. –Sept. 26; an Oct. 19 Shabbat dinner hosted by Shira Lander, SMU’s director of Jewish studies; and an Oct. 28 “Challaween” baking event are only the beginning of this year’s programming.
“We are here, we are available, we are excited and we are thrilled to have an incredible student board, wonderful activities, and really great opportunities for our Jewish community to come together,” said Coretz, who also serves as rabbi of Shir Tikvah in Frisco. “We are a small community, rumored to be 350 or so, but we are strong and we are one.”
Jewish life has flourished through the years at SMU. Hillel, an Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter and the university’s Jewish studies program provide academic, social and spiritual opportunities. Whether participants want to learn about Jewish life, faith and culture – or to make and keep friends, Hillel provides inspiration and support.
With more than 200 guests to more than 40 programs last year, Coretz is excited about the future. In addition to Sushi in the Sukkah and other October events, the Hillel calendar includes congregational invitations to students throughout the community; Interfaith programming, including a Passover Seder for nearly 100, a Bring Friends to Shabbat evening, and Yom Hashoah events; and leading the campus’ Good Deeds Day.
“Our campus is unique because, at least in my time here, there’ve been no anti-Israel, BDS or anti-Semitic rallies – perhaps one debate years ago is all I can recall. We are blessed that SMU is a great and respectful community,” Coretz said. “We work hand in hand quite often with the Office of the Chaplin, Multi-Cultural Affairs, the Perkins School of Theology and The Women & LGBT Center. SMU really is a family – widespread and diverse – but we are a family.”
Coretz and Hillel have become a home away from home.
“Heidi spends lots of time and has so much care helping us plan to make everything we do special, and for all of us it really is our ‘home,’” Hillel co-president Marlo Weisberg said. “She absolutely has our best interest at hand. I have so much love for this organization and am excited to be sharing it.”
Weisberg, from Charleston, West Virginia, is following in the footsteps of her sister, Trish, both as SMU Hillel leader and as a SMU Hunt Leadership Scholar.
Weisberg is co-president with Jackie Malish, the two joined in board service by Eliana Abraham, Sarah Crespo, Nathan DeVera, Adam Feldman, Solomon Guefen, Lauren Miller, Bibiana Schindler, Margo Schoenberg, Jake Waldman, Sam Waldman and Jordan Williams.
For more about SMU Hillel programming, visit smuhillel.com

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Crafting Sukkot memories – literally

Crafting Sukkot memories – literally

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

Some families mark their children’s physical growth with a mark on the pantry door, for the Silverthorn family, it is the by the span of their palms on the family’s fingerprints sukkah walls. From left are Barbara Schulman, Deb, Marie, Eric, Blake, Whitney and Jonah Silverthorn, Sidney Loftin, Emilie Silverthorn and Kyle Vannguyen.

By Deb Silverthorn

Impressions – they last, and last, and for our family that means many things, including the impressions made by hundreds of family and friends since we built our first sukkah 27 years ago. It is the impressions of palmprints and fingerprints on our hearts, of all of the colors of the rainbow, emblazoned on the three walls that make our fall holiday home.

Every year, in addition to “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David,” we are blessed to share dinner with our many friends and family who have come once or for whom a lulav and etrog shake is a perennial favorite. No longer here in person, but of our blessed memories, we’re still able to share meals with Poppie J. Brin and Dayani, with PawPaw Moses, Buzzy, Poppa Don and Gail, with Irwin, Barbara, Scott and with Mr. Levitz, with Lola and Richard.

 

Hundreds of handprints provide a special touch for the Silverthorn family sukkah – created of a paper plate with whatever color(s) acrylic paint, palms down, then spread on the sukkah wall, autographed and dated.

 

At our children’s simchas, bnai mitzvot and now a wedding, we added the touch – literally – of many who aren’t able to travel for the holiday, but who are always with us despite any distance. A paper plate with whatever color(s) acrylic paint, palms down, then spread against the wood or tarp, prints then autographed and dated, the children in our lives have added their prints year in and year out – their hands, and hearts, getting larger – spreading wider.

Indelible ink – indelible memories. Sukkot, the holiday of the harvest that always harvests our spirit.

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1979 Teen Tourists planning April reunion

1979 Teen Tourists planning April reunion

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Audrey Essenfeld Pincu
At the Dead Sea with the 1979 Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Teen Tour, from left, Audrey (Essenfeld) Pincu, Anne (Leventhal) Wechsler and Jana (Pink) Kusin floated without a care.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Jews crossed the desert for 40 years, and it’s been nearly 40 since the 1979 Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Teen Tour participants made their own crossings of Israel’s deserts, swam in her seas, climbed her mountains and lived amongst her people.
A reunion is set for the evening of April 13 at the Clubs of Prestonwood, The Creeks, for the 65 young adults and eight staff members for who the memories remain.
“As a 16-year-old, the Teen Tour was a lot of fun and an incredible summer,” said Sally Waxler Oscherwitz who, with Audrey Essenfeld Pincu, is organizing the gathering. “As an adult, I realize it was one of the Federation’s greatest gifts to each of us.”
While Pincu and Oscherwitz look forward to seeing those with whom they can connect, memories live on of their friends Nathan Levy and Daniel Vaiser, who have since died.
“We were a very close group, and to lose friends so early in life is hard. To remember and celebrate together is a gift,” said Pincu, who still calls Dallas her home. “There are many within our group who remain in touch; a group of girls who go to dinner, occasional get-togethers when people come to town, and of course, within our synagogues and in the community, people see each other and the memories come to life in a blink.”
For six who were there, it was a summer of love: three marriages stemming from the spirit of the Sinai, the heart of the homeland. Ruth Solomon and Mark Schor met as counselors, he a Dallas representative, she a Sabra. Vicki Small knew she was going to marry Paul Friedman after spending the summer together, he telling her she had the “most beautiful brown eyes” at the tour’s orientation. Marcia Prager and her future husband, Larry Levine, met on Teen Tour, and began dating when they met again as students at the University of Texas.
“I’ve been to Israel 10 times and the summer of ’79 definitely stands out. I’ve stayed in touch with a number of the participants and there are lots of wonderful memories, and crazy stories,” said Gary Grove, then a Federation employee who led that summer’s Teen Tour, now a psychiatrist in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Reflecting on water shortages and medical maladies, a confluence of issues while at Gadna (an IDF program that prepares young people for service), friendships that were built, praying at the Kotel and snorkeling at Sharm El Sheikh, his own 25-pound weight loss and few hours of sleep each night, Grove’s memory bank is filled.
“I’m so excited about this reunion and I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I really look forward to being there,” he said. “From hostels to hotels, to staying at kibbutzim and sleeping under the stars in the Sinai, it was a summer of impression, I think, for everyone who took part.”
The teens were on the road from June 25-Aug. 4, 1979, arriving in Jerusalem and never skipping a beat to Tiberias, Safed and Herzliya, to Nahariya, Haifa, the Druze village, Tel Aviv and the Sinai. From fishing villages to Eilat, from Masada and Ein Gedi, to the Knesset, Yad Vashem and much more, the travelers’ feet hit the ground running, stopping (maybe) to rest.
“We got together 10 years ago, and it was like no time had passed. Staying in touch, reaching out to one another is easier with social media but there’s nothing like reconnecting in person, with hugs and toasting one another,” said Oscherwitz, a Scottsdale resident for 26 years.
While many of the group has remained in touch, most participants having made DFW-area their home over the years, organizers are still trying to contact tour members Susan Aaron, Melanie Aarons, Miki Ablon, Rebecca Aronowitz, Lisa Brender, Jay Brenner, David Brothman, Roger Katz, Sarah Levin, Libbi Schwartz, Jim Shorter, Barry Sklaver, Victoria Solomon and adult tour advisors Susan Bell and Bev Cohn.
For more information or to share contact information, or for participants who wish to share photos for a slideshow, contact teacher624@hotmail.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at

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Sunday high school opens Sept. 30

Sunday high school opens Sept. 30

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy DeReKH
“We’re excited to have teens from throughout our own congregations and those who aren’t affiliated come together to learn and grow, to build friendships and an understanding of where they come from, who they are, who they can, should, and will be as the next generation of Jewish leaders in our community,” said Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Michael Kushnick, far right, with, from left, Beri Schwitzer and Rabbi Elana Zelony (Congregation Beth Torah), Rabbi Adam Roffman and Sarah Lipinsky (Congregation Shearith Israel) and Sharon Wechter (Congregation Anshai Torah). DeReKH is open to all teens in grades 8-12.

By Deb Silverthorn

DeReKH, the Dallas Regional Kehillah High Sunday school for eighth- to 12th-graders, is a collaboration among congregations Anshai Torah, Beth Torah and Shearith Israel. It will open Sept. 30 at Anshai Torah in Plano.
The Hebrew word for “pathway,” DeReKH is meant to be a kehillah, a community of more than 100 bright, committed participants dedicated to building a vibrant Jewish future for the next generation.
The program, which is open to the community, will run from 10 a.m. to noon each Sunday through May. Faculty includes Rabbis Michael Kushnick, Adam Roffman, Ari Sunshine, Stefan Weinberg and Elana Zelony, and longtime Jewish educator Evan Bernstein. Along with the rabbis, the participating congregations’ religious-school directors, Sarah Lipinsky, Beri Schwitzer, and Sharon Wechter, are coordinating the program.
“We’re inspired by the tradition that synagogues are places where people can feel secure and comfortable,” said Anshai Torah’s Kushnick. “We’re excited to have teens from throughout our own congregations and those who aren’t affiliated come together to learn and grow, to build friendships and an understanding of where they come from, who they are, who they can, should and will be as the next generation of Jewish leaders in our community.”
DeReKH will build on the strong foundation of each of the congregations’ existing high school programs. Students will study a diverse curriculum that explores core areas of Jewish identity and belief.
“Learning doesn’t stop in the eighth grade — not in math or science and not in Torah, Hebrew or the studies of our culture,” Shearith Israel’s Roffman said. “Our ability to understand changes as we grow. These years are critical to be involved in learning not what to think about Judaism, but how to think as a Jew. Learning to see the real world through a Jewish perspective helps teach our teens to make Jewish choices into adulthood — not just about ritual observance, about everything.
“We’re thrilled to bring a larger combined group of wonderful students together for this authentic experience in Jewish learning,” Roffman added. “This is an opportunity to learn with rabbis and teachers in addition to those in our home shuls, and we each have an immense respect for one another and the richness of our experience.”
Each week begins with brunch, followed by core and elective curricula offering comparative religion, arts, athletics, digital media, Jewish cooking, Holocaust studies, Talmudic stories, Modern Hebrew, current events and popular culture and more. Eighth-grade students will learn together, with ninth- through 12th-grade students separated for their core classes, then intermingled for electives.
“Bringing the kids together in one building is important for them to know and to have each other. By the teachers, staffs and rabbis of the three congregations coming together we are modeling the importance of community — we are community and we are one,” Anshai Torah’s Wechter said.
All connected to the program strongly believe that as important as the educational component is, so too the social connection is paramount in bringing together young adults from various congregations and those whose families are not associated.
Teens will participate in hands-on tikkun olam opportunities. The program will also provide sessions on Jewish college prep, Israel advocacy, Jewish “big ideas” and Zionism. Special programming will allow them time with leaders shaping the future of Jewish Dallas.
“DeReKH is going to be fun, it’s going to be learning, it’s going to be laughing, and it’s going to be doing all of that together with the best education we can provide,” said Shearith Israel’s Lipinsky. “This is a new direction and new leadership for our teens’ best interests and growth in so many areas and we are all very excited to begin.”
DeReKH’s eighth-graders will learn about combating social and economic injustice, and about southern Jewish culture and history in the Lower Ninth Ward and French Quarter of New Orleans.
In 10th grade, they will walk the path of their great-grandparents through the gateways of Ellis Island to the streets of the Lower East Side and experience the newest innovations in Jewish communal life on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
As seniors they will join their peers from across the country and across the world on the March of the Living, re-enacting the rebirth of the Jews from the ghettos and the gas chambers to the streets and the sanctuaries of Jerusalem in the Promised Land.
“Coming together, we’re bringing our best and sharing with our students, rather than competing. Together is always stronger and in our Bible Belt, to realize and know the community that is your common ground, where people ‘get’ you, is helpful,” said Beth Torah’s Zelony. “In these formative years, when teens are awakened emotionally and facing ethical decisions of their own for the first time, it’s important to have, in addition to their parents, a strong core to lean on and learn from.”
“We want to scream our enthusiasm and energy for DeReKH from the rooftops. We want to fill the Jewish toolboxes of our teens and provide them with the wherewithal to last their lifetimes,” said Beth Torah’s Schwitzer. “We want to give an education, help fulfill each child’s Jewish journey and do that as a partnership. The planning and coordinating of this has been a dream. Our whole team couldn’t be more ready or more excited for the bonding, enriching, and uniting that is coming to our community.”
The DeReKH registration form is available at bit.ly/2MKIhhi. For more information, email info@derekhdallas.org.

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3D project ensures Glauben’s memories will live on

3D project ensures Glauben’s memories will live on

Posted on 29 August 2018 by admin

Photo: McGuire Boles
Heather Maio-Smith, managing director at Conscience Display, a collaborator with the USC Shoah Foundation on the holographic project, adjusts a microphone before taping of Max Glauben begins.

By Deb Silverthorn

Nineteen cameras, a crew of a dozen-plus, five days and 40 hours of filming are all needed to make sure that one man, Dallas’ own Max Glauben, tells his story, his history and his whole heart to generations to come.
The University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, Glauben and the Dallas Holocaust Museum are creating a holographic exhibit today, about the past, that will last long into the future.
“I know it is my story, but the crew I worked with should get the glory because they are something else, some very special people. That it is in their souls to be sure that our stories are heard and that our testimonies are preserved for years to come, educating the public, is a gift,” said Glauben, who was interviewed last week. “I was mesmerized at the process and can’t even fully express the appreciation I have to be a part of this. It’s truly beyond honor.”
Glauben, the 19th subject in the Dimensions in Testimony initiative, will premiere next spring in a 2D testing format at the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s current space, and then in its full 3D experience at the Dimensions in Testimony Theater at the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum when it opens in September 2019. In the intimate theater, museum visitors will also have access to 17 other interactive testimonies of Holocaust survivors from around the world, as well as a survivor of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in China.
“It took me no time to want to participate,” said Glauben, who saw the project in place at Dallas’ Museum of Biblical Arts with survivor Pinchas Gutter of Toronto. That exhibit will run through the end of this year. It is available only in a few museums at this point.
The idea was first envisioned by Heather Maio Smith, managing director of Conscience Display, which creates exhibitions of survivors.
Glauben was just 10 when World War II started and 13 when he was sent on a boxcar to Majdanek, then Budzyn, Mielec, Wieliczka and Flossenburg before being liberated by a Jewish soldier while on a death march to Dachau.
He has shared testimony and developed new generations as witnesses to his tale to tens of thousands as an almost-weekly fixture at the Dallas Holocaust Museum. He has traveled across the country and served as a chaperone for Yavneh Academy’s March of the Living group 13 times. For him, he is speaking for his parents, Faiga and Isaac; his brother, Heniek; and the rest of the 6,000,000 Jews and the 5,000,000 non-Jews who died.
“I’m even more of an open book than I was because one topic brought about another, and the answer to one question had me remembering something I hadn’t talked about before,” said the 90-year-old Glauben. A longtime member of Congregation Shearith Israel, he and his wife of 65 years, Frieda, are parents of Barry (Michelle), Phillip (Linda) and Shari (Norm) Becker; grandparents of Alec (Ellen), Blake, Delaney, Hayley, Madison, Ross (Stacey) and Sarah (Brett); and great-grandparents of Natalie. “What we created is ‘conversations’ I’ll be having with the children and grandchildren of the youngest people I am meeting with now.”
During last week’s taping, Glauben answered 1,500 questions about his life before, during, and after World War II, such as “what did the Holocaust mean,” “what does it mean all these years later,” “what does God mean to you” and “do you feel hope for the future.” The project will be produced by USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies along with the Shoah Foundation, the nonprofit founded by director Steven Spielberg in 1994.
“Max, ‘our Max,’ is something else — he’s just so very special and anyone who has ever spent even a minute with him knows that. He never stops for a minute and now, with this technology, he never will,” said Dallas Holocaust Museum President and CEO Mary Pat Higgins. “His responses were phenomenal and incredibly moving and to see his memory at work is something we all envied. These are subjects, really difficult times, and memories of close to 80 years ago, and yet he held strong and fulfilled the mission we all have.”
Higgins, who was present for much of the filming, said everyone involved could feel the gravity with which Glauben understands the opportunity and the responsibility to impart wisdom that he feels — and that he lives. His answers were deliberate, thoughtful and sincere, but all given with his own brand of personality and heart, with the twinkle that is always in his eye, with the consciousness of the moment and with his ever-positive impact.
“Whatever I can share and whoever I can reach so that this is a better world because some of us gave testimony, that’s why we’re doing it,” said Glauben, one of many who has left a letter placed in a time capsule for the new building. “Maybe something I say will change a heart from hate, from ignorance, from evil. It’s about making sure people know what happened. People need to hear and know that it did happen — and that it should never happen again. Never again.”

 

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22nd Jewish Film Festival features wide variety

22nd Jewish Film Festival features wide variety

Posted on 24 August 2018 by admin

Bye Bye Germany will be shown at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley.

By Deb Silverthorn

The curtains at Studio Movie Grill Spring Valley will soon part for the 22nd annual Jewish Film Festival of Dallas, produced by the Jewish Community Center of Dallas with support from the Office of Cultural Affairs/City of Dallas, and presented by Pegasus Bank.
Screening throughout September are The Testament (Sept. 4), The Cakemaker (Sept. 5), Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (Sept. 8 and 26), GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II (Sept. 12 and 16), Bye Bye Germany (Sept. 13), Shelter (Sept. 15), Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel (Sept. 17), The Body Collector (Sept. 20), The 90-Minute War (Sept. 22), and The Last Suit (Sept. 27).
“In watching close to 100 films this year, some in English, many in their original language with subtitles, we searched for outstanding artistic value and relevance with something for everyone,” event chair Brenda Marcus said. “They all have strong values of courage and bravery, and they are spectacular.”
The Testament tracks a dedicated Holocaust historian working to prevent the desecration of a mass Holocaust gravesite to make way for road construction. Examining testimonies of Holocaust survivors who could be witnesses to the massacre, he finds his own mother’s testimony, which she refuses to discuss. Dr. David Patterson, the Hillel A. Feinberg Chair in Holocaust Studies, Ackerman Center at UT Dallas, will lead the talkback.
The Cakemaker traces the bond between a gay German baker and the Jerusalem-based widow of the man they both loved, which is formed when his Israeli lover dies and he goes to Israel to learn more. The portrait of grief raises an array of social and religious questions. Post-screening discussion will be led by Congregation Shearith Israel Rabbi Adam Roffman.
Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is about the legendary entertainer — a Puerto Rican, Jewish, African-American who was driven toward the American dream in a time of racial prejudice. The film, spanning his life from childhood and including the Rat Pack, has interviews with Billy Crystal, Kim Novak and Jerry Lewis. Beri Schwitzer, director of congregational learning at Congregation Beth Torah, leads Saturday evening’s discussion.
GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II tells the experiences of 550,000 Jewish Americans. Veterans unknown and famous, including Mel Brooks and Henry Kissinger, narrate their fight for their nation and their brethren in Europe, while struggling with anti-Semitism within their ranks. Sara Abosch Jacobson, chief education, programs and exhibits officer at the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, will speak after Sunday afternoon’s showing.
Bye Bye Germany, a dramedy, features a former concentration camp survivor who sees his scarred homeland as one of opportunity. He recruits Jewish traveling salesmen in a scheme selling overpriced linens to guilt-ridden Germans, also facing interrogation by an American military intelligence officer about his past as an alleged Nazi collaborator. The film was inspired by the screenwriter’s family history in an engaging salute to the nearly 4,000 European Jews who chose to remain, reclaiming their lives.
Shelter is the story of a Mossad agent who reluctantly accepts a mission at a safe house in Berlin. The thriller trails her as she protects a Lebanese informant recovering from identity-changing surgery and the two develop a fragile but special bond.
Heading Home is based on Israel’s underdog national team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. With several Jewish American professional baseball players, most of whom had little exposure to Judaism, the team discovers the pride of representing Israel on the world stage. They travel from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where they are heroes, and on to Seoul, where they hope to win. Consul Omer Checkek-Katz, of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southwest, leads the post-screening conversation.
The Body Collector, the highest-rated series in Dutch television history, is a true-life drama following an investigative journalist fighting to reveal a prominent art collector as a Nazi war criminal and the price he must pay during his search for truth and justice. Stonewalled by bureaucrats, he refuses to go down quietly.
The 90-Minute War is a satirical comedy revolving around how, after decades of strife and failed peace talks, the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority agree to end the intractable problem with a winner-take-all soccer match. One 90-minute game will decide who remains in the Holy Land. As the two managers prepare for the game of their careers, nothing is easy.
The Last Suit is about a senior refusing to bend to family pressure for him to move into assisted living. He goes to Poland in search of the friend who nursed him back to health when he returned from Auschwitz, hoping to fulfill a 70-year-old promise. Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, Leah and Paul Lewis Chair in Holocaust Studies at the Ackerman Center at UT Dallas, leads the screening’s talkback.
With the festival comes the 2019 Jewish Film Festival of Dallas’ Emerging Filmmaker Prize. Applications of short films will be accepted from Sept. 3 to March 1 for the contest held in memory of the late Dr. Peter Marcus, who co-chaired the festival with wife Brenda for eight years. Filmmakers don’t have to be Jewish but pieces must reflect aspects of Jewish life. Prizes are $500 and a screening of the winning film next year. Applicants must be under 25 and enrolled or recent graduates of middle school through post-graduate programs.
Film schedules, trailers, and ticket sales are available at bit.ly/2M6wVUA. To order tickets by phone, contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at 214-239-7128.
Jewish Film Festival of Dallas Emerging Filmmaker Prize information and applications are at bit.ly/2AVDC6O. For donations, visit bit.ly/2ORFqAt.

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Kosher Palate brings deli, BBQ, more

Kosher Palate brings deli, BBQ, more

Posted on 23 August 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Chaim Goldfeder
Chaim Goldfeder, the pitmaster behind Texas Kosher BBQ since 2014, is proud to be opening the Kosher Palate at the northwest corner of Belt Line and Coit.

By Deb Silverthorn

Dallas’ taste buds are about to explode to a fuller palate, with the opening of Kosher Palate at the Northwest corner of Belt Line and Coit roads. When the restaurant opens this week, owner Chaim Goldfeder and chef Ali Pruett will provide a full deli, prepared foods and dry goods, refrigerated and frozen to-go items and more.
The Kosher Palate will feature a barbecue pit, a cook line with fryers, ovens, griddles and grills and a reputation long in the community.
“We’re doing ‘Southern Haimesh,’ kosher comfort food with a southern twist,” said Goldfeder, who as the owner of Texas Kosher BBQ has been serving up kosher barbecue and other foods in the area since 2014. He has been catering for private and community clients.
In readying the space, Goldfeder asked future customers to complete and share a survey (bit.ly/2Hkk0qB) that investigates shopping preferences and habits and product desires, in exchange for a 10 percent discount on their first purchase.
The new restaurant, which will also host a party room to serve up to 40, will offer prime rib and sea bass, salads, kugels, soups, appetizers and baked goods. The deli will provide pastrami and corned beef sandwiches made with housemade meats, barbecue brisket, chopped beef, fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, 50-day whiskey-aged ribeye, smoked short ribs and more. The full kosher grocery will have fresh checked lettuce and herbs, as well as meats and Cholov Yisroel dairy products.
“We are so excited to add another wonderful restaurant to the community as we continue shining as the southern beacon of kosher food,” said Meira Naor, executive director of Dallas Kosher. “The Kosher Palate will bring new flavors and, from a ‘good ole Texas breakfast’ to whatever your taste buds desire, the menu goes on and on. It’s good for us, for the community and for visitors from afar.”
The Kosher Palate is developing a mobile app and full website, both making online ordering as easy as a “click here,” and a text to let the customer know when their order is almost ready. Both curbside pickup and home delivery will be available.
Ready to place their first orders are Hadassah Browns and Lauren Nise, both of whom have had Goldfeder cater meals for them.
“Chaim’s heart comes before his business, and at the end of the day he always wants to do the right thing,” said Browns. Her family’s favorites include hot pastrami that she says melts in your mouth. “The Kosher Palate is his dream, and I’m so happy for him to be able to make a living using his talent, and for all of us who can go there to eat, or to pick up almost anything at any time.”
For the Nise family, it’s the smoked chicken, chicken and mushroom barley soups and brisket that are at the top of the request list. “Everything about a restaurant of Chaim’s sounds great, and I’m happy to outsource the cooking to a professional,” Nise said. “When I want to know what I’m serving will be yummy, I trust Chaim and Ali — they’re just always that good.”
Goldfeder and his wife, Miriam, who moved to Dallas in 2000, are the parents of Eli, Nechama and Shlomo. Goldfeder remembers his start in the kitchen as a pot washer at Milk and Honey Bistro in Baltimore.
Matching Goldfeder recipe for chopping skills is Chef Pruett. The two have known each other for many years, and she offered to help out during Hurricane Harvey relief when Goldfeder worked with a team that included A Taste of the World, Dallas Kosher, Simcha Kosher Catering and many volunteers that served over 40,000 donated meals.
A Bartlesville, Oklahoma native, Pruett loves cooking in Dallas where the citizens support restaurants. “I’ve worked all over, from the Dallas Country Club to Mignon and the Mansion on Turtle Creek and as a personal chef,” she said. “Dallas people love to eat, and they love to eat good. That’s exactly what we’re going to serve up, with no corners cut. And with kosher, something people know adds to the goodness — never a compromise.”
With Goldfeder’s meat expertise and Pruett’s signature dishes, including a mashed yucca with honey poblano chicken, or corn salad, she believes Kosher Palate will have customers coming back again and again.
“We’ll have so much, and all of it delicious, that it’ll take a long time before someone would have to start over on the menu,” said Pruett. “People eat with their eyes, and we’ll appeal there first and then fill you with greatness. Chaim and I are so alike and so different, but we both want and create perfection. We work really well together and I couldn’t be more excited.”
Pruett, Goldfeder, their current clients and the community in general couldn’t be more ready.
Kosher Palate will open at 7989 Belt Line Road, Suite 154. For more information, call 469-601-1002 or visit the restaurant’s Facebook page at Kosher Palate or kosherpalatetx.com.

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Tina Epstein demonstrates The Art of Adapting

Tina Epstein demonstrates The Art of Adapting

Posted on 01 August 2018 by admin

Photo: Christian Ayala
Tina Epstein has been creating colorful masterpieces for three decades and, Parkinson’s be darned, her work and her spirit are brighter than ever.

 

 

By Deb Silverthorn

The colors of the rainbow combined don’t present the brightness, spirit and hue that comes from only a moment with artist Tina Epstein, the focus of Christian Ayala’s documentary debut, The Art of Adapting — Parkinson’s. The YouTube-debuted mini-documentary will screen Aug. 10-19 at the sixth annual Chain NYC Film Festival.

“From the moment we connected, I wanted Tina to have a voice. She was all in and I’m proud of what we created,” said Ayala, who filmed, edited and directed the nine-minute, 25-second piece, sharing producer credits with Giovanni Pantoja. “I went in with a broad scope, but the piece became specific. What I thought would be a four-minute spotlight became a legacy piece and more special than we could have planned.”

When Ayala, a Bishop Lynch High School and 2017 University of North Texas graduate, was looking to create a portfolio, he had no idea how it would form his future.

“I didn’t want to cross any boundaries,” said Ayala, with nearly 1,600 YouTube views, who hopes people will be inspired and educated by the film. He was excited about being accepted to next week’s Chain NYC Film Festival. “It was her suggestion to show the severity of her disease, and it’s powerful for the audience and empowering for her.”

Epstein, painting for years on canvas, wood and metal of Judaica and general themes, has seen requests for her work increase recently. For years, proceeds of her work supported organizations close to her.

French was the first language for Epstein, born in Madrid, to her Moroccan mother, Marie,  and her New Yorker father, David Luzzatto. Epstein’s family, including her brother, Marc, and sister, Francoise, followed her father’s Army and Air Force Exchange Service career to Morocco, New Jersey, Japan and Hawaii before settling in Dallas.

Epstein reflects, relates and credits the goodness of her life to meeting her husband of 32 years, Dallas native Leonard Epstein,  and to her children, Benjamin, Sarah and Sam. The couple, who met playing volleyball at the Jewish Community Center, are longtime members of Congregation Shearith Israel, and their children are graduates of Akiba and Yavneh academies.

“I’ve always had a joie de vivre, but truly Leonard and my children changed my world,” she said. “From Day 1, Leonard has cherished and encouraged every endeavor, and I absolutely believe I was put on this earth to have and nurture kids. I’ve been a wife and mother first, but everything I do has my whole heart.”

Epstein, who was confirmed at Temple Emanu-El and graduated from W.T. White High School and the University of Texas-Austin, found her artist niche after creating earrings when Benjamin was a toddler. After attending a ceramics class, she added that format, then painting.

A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis gave Epstein her first challenges of severe pain in her hands. A minor tremor resulted in two years of testing, but no answers.  Parkinson’s was diagnosed in 2010 after she deteriorated in four months more than most patients do in 10-15 years. Her hands distorted by dystonia, she is primarily wheelchair-bound and a deep brain stimulator now helps her control the shaking she experiences.

One of Epstein’s doctors helped pull her through, aiding her to adapt to not being able to walk, paint and do so many actions she loved. So began her new frame of mind and, expressively appropriate, the title of Ayala’s production.

While at first uncomfortable filming, Epstein believes it a privilege to tell her story and encourage people to “go for it. Christian is a gifted storyteller through his lenses and an absolutely gentle soul. He’s a gift. Period,” she said. “I recognize I’m fortunate to have a handicap that allows me to continue what I love, but it’s most important that people do not take little things for granted.”

Epstein takes no moment for granted, little or big, including those spent dancing at Sarah’s wedding to Brian Fromm or traveling coast-to-coast this spring to see Benjamin receive his Ph.D. in biological engineering, Sarah obtain her master’s in family therapy and Sam begin as a computer programmer at Cisco Systems. Consideringly brightening her days is time spent with her canine pal Acher. “Every day is a blessing.”

“I can’t walk, but I get there. I can’t hold a paintbrush, but I’m still creating valued art. In the kitchen, cooking takes longer, but it’s still delicious and makes those I’m serving happy,” said Epstein. “I’ve adapted in almost everything I do, and I’ve learned it’s important for those I love to see and learn how I deal with this insidious disease with and dignity and determination.”

That determination includes playing bridge with friends of decades, her art, cooking and enjoying getting dressed up — every day an occasion for hair, nails and wardrobe to shine. “It’s the only thing I can control, and if I’m going to go through this life, I’m gonna look damned good in it,” she says.

“Adapt — it sounds simple; it’s not,” Epstein said. “But it’s more than keeping me alive, it’s keeping me living. It’s only too late if I don’t wake up one day!”

The Art of Adapting — Parkinson’s can be viewed at bit.ly/2v6FGCL. To contact Ayala to support the documentary and his work, email cjamesa20@yahoo.com or call 314-477-8995.

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BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Aaron Family JCC
From left, Dallas BookFest Chair Liz Liener, author Daniel Silva, BookFest producer Rachelle Weiss Crane and Dallas Morning News writer Michael Granberry — here in 2016 — will reunite at 7 p.m. Monday to present Silva’s recently released book The Other Woman. Tickets are available online or at the JCC.

By Deb Silverthorn

The pages of the Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest begin turning with Daniel Silva, in conversation with Dallas Morning News arts writer Michael Granberry, at 7 p.m. Monday at Congregation Shearith Israel.
The Other Woman, the first of the 2018-2019 BookFest, offerings, continues the tale of legendary art restorer and assassin Gabriel Allon who serves as the chief of Israel’s secret intelligence service. The fast-paced, twist-filled modern spy thriller taps into the dangerous mounting tensions between Russia and the West.
The July 17 release takes place in a village in the mountains of Andalusia, where a mysterious Frenchwoman begins work on a dangerous memoir. It is the story of a man she once loved in the Beirut of old, and a child taken from her in treason’s name. Long ago, the KGB inserted a mole into the heart of the West. The mole stands on the doorstep of ultimate power, and Allon is lured into the hunt for the traitor after his most important asset inside Russian intelligence is brutally assassinated. His quest for the truth will lead him backward in time, to the 20th century’s greatest act of treason, and finally to a climax along the banks of the Potomac River.
“My parents Carol and Richard were teachers and readers, and as a child, I fell in love with adventure stories,” said the award-winning Silva, who has had 20 titles reach No. 1 on The New York Times best-sellers list. “I was a well-read child, and the blend of literary and commercial technique I enjoyed are definitely influences that have come into my books.
“I am a student of Russian and Soviet history and I love writing about this new cold war in which we find ourselves. Given the events of the last few months in Syria and the United Kingdom, and in our own domestic politics as well, I think it was almost preordained that this year’s novel deal with the subject of Russia.”
He describes his main character Gabriel as not just a “brilliant intelligence operative, he’s one of the world’s finest art restorers as well and, as a result, I have many readers who might not pick up a book of espionage.”
His books translated into more than 30 languages, the Allon series — the character originally set for one book, The Other Woman the 18th — is now in development with MGM/TV to become a television series.
A Florida resident who was raised in Michigan and California, Silva is married to CNN journalist Jamie Gangel, with whom he shares daughter Lily and son Nicholas. A literary fan of Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway, Silva began his career with United Press International in San Francisco, then on the foreign desk in Washington and finally as Middle East correspondent in Cairo and the Persian Gulf.
It was years later while working as an executive producer for CNN that he pushed forth to become a novelist, and he hasn’t looked back.
Silva’s books — his first, The Unlikely Spy, two Michael Osbourne novels and the 18 Gabriel Allon series entries — are written in pencil by the journalist-turned-novelist on yellow legal pads. He generally begins writing each year on the Tuesday after Labor Day and hoping to finish by the following April Fool’s Day, immersing himself from mind to paper without an outline, his preference not to take many days off as his characters weave their way seemingly to events of today.
“I’m a huge fan who has read all of Daniel’s books — The Other Woman over a weekend. It is incredible, he doesn’t disappoint, and he always leaves me ready for his next book,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, the JCC’s Israel engagement/Jewish living director and producer of BookFest. “Michael Granberry was terrific when Daniel was here in 2016, and when the opportunity presented to bring them together again, we jumped. They’re an incredible duo and because of their popularity we’ve moved this event to Shearith Israel.”
Said Granberry: “Daniel does his homework and he knows the world of art and international affairs and his books are terrific. I’m thrilled to have the chance to welcome him back to BookFest. He’s really built a remarkable franchise. Very well-read and diverse in his interests, he keeps his work interesting to a wide audience. Any one question can lead to so many levels of discussion and it’s a privilege to interview him.”
The 2018-2019 BookFest continues in the fall with:
• Alexandra Zapruder, Twenty-Six Seconds, Oct. 9.
• Mohammed Al Samawi, The Fox Hunt, Oct. 17.
• Mitch Albom, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, Oct. 18.
• Rev. Michael Waters, Stakes Is High, Nov. 1.
• Nancy Churnin, Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing, Nov. 4.
• Marilyn Rothstein, Husbands and Other Sharp Objects, Nov. 28.
• Martin Fletcher, Promised Land, Dec. 6.
• “Tal Keinan, God is in the Crowd, Dec. 10.
• Father Patrick Desbois, In Broad Daylight, Feb. 6.
• Jenna Blum, The Lost Family, and Pam Jenoff, The Lost Girls of Paris, Feb. 12.
For more information or to register for events or sponsorship opportunities, visit jccdallas.org/main/bookfest or call 214-239-7128.

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