Archive | Around the Town

MCA honors Alfred Saenz at 68th annual award dinner

MCA honors Alfred Saenz at 68th annual award dinner

Posted on 13 March 2019 by admin

From left, honoree Alfred Saenz, Cheryl Kimberling, Philip Lamsens

 

On Monday, March 11, the Multicultural Alliance held its 68th annual award dinner. Honoree Alfred Saenz received the organization’s most prestigious award for displaying a commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion and understanding.
The funds raised through the dinner support valuable programming, which provide opportunities for people to dialogue and connect around experiences related to culture, race, religion and identity.

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Riddlesperger provides political analysis to PrimeTimers

Riddlesperger provides political analysis to PrimeTimers

Posted on 06 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Jacqueline Bzostek
From left, Roz Rosenthal, Mary Francis Antweil, Jim and Harriet Bressert

By Nicole Hawkins

When James Riddlesperger told the PrimeTimers group he was going to speak about President Donald Trump’s recent national emergency declaration, he heard grumbling and laughter.
Although it was a divisive topic, the TCU political science professor knew it was important to discuss with the monthly meeting of seniors at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.
The U.S.-Mexico border wall, 2020 elections and former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke’s future were only a few of the many topics discussed at PrimeTimers’ Wednesday meeting.
Jackie Bzostek, coordinator of PrimeTimers, said the group was founded in 2002 out of a “stated need” for community and programming from seniors who had free time during the day. It is a program of Beth-El Congregation with support from the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.
Bzostek said her goal since taking the helm of the group last year is “to provide an environment that’s upbeat and pleasant and comfortable.”
The persistent laughter and chit-chat heard among attendees, and the pristine tablecloths and baby’s breath displayed on each table, showed the fruits of Bzostek’s labor.
This month’s speaker was award-winning political science professor and frequent political contributor to state and national news outlets, James Riddlesperger.
“I’m kind of glad to talk to people who remember the ’60s and ’70s,” Riddlesperger, who has taught at TCU since 1982, said during his speech. “My students don’t even remember Bill Clinton as president.”
Bzostek said members of PrimeTimers represent a wide range of opinions, political affiliations and backgrounds.
“My vision for (PrimeTimers) has been to provide a variety of programs for different people,” Bzostek said.
“(It’s) always a very eclectic group,” Beth-El member and former colleague of Riddlesperger’s, Karen Anisman, said.
Speakers in the past have included authors, fine arts professors and rabbis.
Board member of PrimeTimers, Edythe Cohen, said Riddlesperger’s speech made her realize that members of the group need to “get involved” in politics.
“None of us are active enough,” Cohen said.
“Judaism calls us to do what we can to make the world a better place,” Bzostek said. “Sometimes politically there are opportunities to do things that make that happen.”
During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, an attendee asked Riddlesperger his opinion on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s recent remarks that have been characterized as anti-semitic by many politicians and citizens throughout the country.
“She has a steep learning curve,” Riddlesperger responded.
However, Riddlesperger said that, as he saw it, “it wasn’t necessarily anti-Semitic, it was anti-AIPAC.”
“We need to tone down our rhetoric and we need to talk with each other,” Riddlesperger said.
Attendee Ray Brown, who has degrees in political science and history, said he continues to learn about society beyond his formal education, which is why he came to PrimeTimers’ most recent meeting.
“I still have a lot to learn,” Brown said.
Bzostek said if seniors in the community have a suggestion for a speaker at an upcoming meeting they’re welcome to attend and join the planning committee.
The next PrimeTimers meeting will take place at noon March 20 at Beth-El Congregation in Fort Worth.

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JFS senior program receives Sixty and Better award

JFS senior program receives Sixty and Better award

Posted on 14 February 2019 by admin

 

Photos: Courtesy JFS
Hedy Collins of JFS Senior Program displays the Sixty and Better award.

On Jan. 28 Hedy Collins accepted an award on behalf of the Jewish Family Services Senior Program. The award was presented to Hedy by Sixty and Better, formally known as Senior Citizen Services.
One aspect that made the morning special is that those in attendance were able to listen to Evelyn Siegel share words of wisdom with warmth and humor. Evelyn and the Jewish community have a long and important history with Sixty and Better.
The agency was started with a grant from National Council of Jewish Women and its founders were Evelyn Siegel and Roz Rozenthal. Among the first board members were Ellen Mack, Amy Stien and the late Rosalie Schwartz.
In attendance were Dr. Carole Rogers, Jewish Family Services director, as well as Steve Katten, attorney and Sixty and Better board member; attorney Karen Johnson; and Evelyn Siegel’s son Terry, all three of whom are extremely active volunteers.
Sixty and Better provides meals to 25 senior programs in Tarrant County. The Jewish Family Senior Program is one of the partner agencies. Jewish Family Services runs a daily senior program which takes place at Congregation Beth-El.
In addition to a meal, the JFS program provides socialization and activities such as exercise and bingo.
Sixty and Better also offers more than just a meal to their partner programs.
At no cost to the programs the organization offers health and wellness classes designed to improve the physical and mental well-being of older adults. The classes include Aging Mastery, A Matter of Balance, and Health For Me Chronic Disease Management.
The entire Tarrant County Community is thankful to Evelyn and her friends for having the foresight to start this agency. And of course, the Jewish community is grateful to Hedy and her staff for running the daily program.
Jewish Family Services is also grateful for financial support provided by the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.

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Around the Town: Alkek, Birthright

Posted on 06 February 2019 by admin

Alkek will lead meditation session at Beth-El

Beth-El Congregation will hold Shabbat Out of the Box at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Featured will be Jewish meditation and yoga with Brooks Alkek. Alkek was raised in Dallas and combined his own extensive Jewish education with travels in India, Nepal and throughout Asia. He earned his yoga teaching certification from Dallas Yoga Center. The purpose of the session is to “engage your body, and spirit, infusing Torah and Shalom on every level,” according to the Beth-El bulletin.
Alkek was featured in a TJP article July 19, 2018, that detailed his heroic efforts when he saved the life of his soccer teammate, Mark Stromberg. Stromberg went into full cardiac arrest on the soccer field and Alkek performed extensive, life-saving CPR while everyone waited for paramedics who had gone to the wrong field. You can read the full story at https://bit.ly/2SdfvbV.

Birthright Info Session

If you are 27 to 32 years old and have not been on a Birthright Israel trip, you have an opportunity to go to Israel with young professionals from all around Texas. There will be an information happy hour at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at The Flying Saucer, 111 E. 3rd St. in Fort Worth. RSVP to Lance Friedensohn, l.friedensohn@tarrantfederation.org or 817-569-0892.

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Ratner’s PT goal: Treat the whole person

Ratner’s PT goal: Treat the whole person

Posted on 24 January 2019 by admin

Physical therapist Jen Ratner and her team at Ratner Center for Physical Therapy and Wellness. Ratner will hold an open house at the center from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31.

If you go to Jen Ratner for physical therapy, don’t be surprised if she asks questions about much more than what hurts.
Ratner says she tries to treat more than patients’ physical symptoms — she wants to treat the whole person at her Fort Worth clinic, Ratner Center for Physical Therapy and Wellness.
“Here, you’re not a number, you’re a person,” Ratner said. “We take pride in taking care of each person as an individual and working toward their own individual goals.”
Ratner said her goal is to treat each patient in all aspects of life. Physical and emotional health often overlap, she explained, and therefore the therapists at her center want to get to know their patients in order to help them to the best of their abilities.
“Every person is on their own journey,” Ratner said. “My saying that has gotten me through opening the clinic and doing this whole process has been ‘trust your journey.’
“I firmly believe that people need to trust their journey, and part of trusting their journey is trusting their therapist,” Ratner said.
Ratner Center for Physical Therapy and Wellness opened in November 2018 in Fort Worth and has been growing rapidly since.
Ratner says what makes her practice different is that she combines a multitude of different treatments, including soft-tissue therapy, dry needling and laser treatment, to help her patients back to health.
“The more tools you have in your tool box, the more things you’re able to offer people to get them better,” Ratner said. “When something doesn’t work, you go to another tool, you pull that out of your tool box and you continue to move forward until you find the right thing that’s going to help that person heal.”
Ratner’s passion for her work is apparent in the way she speaks of her patients and her practice.
“There is no better feeling at night than going home and knowing that you impacted somebody’s life for the better,” Ratner said.
Ratner’s own health and fitness journey began after she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This diagnosis inspired her to treat not only her patients’ physical needs, but also their overall wellness.
“When I decided to open up this clinic, I decided very quickly that we needed a wellness component,” Ratner said.
Ratner has brought on a certified strength and conditioning specialist to ensure her patients who finish treatment will continue their health and fitness journey. Ratner also hopes to integrate nutritional services into her practice in the future.
“The idea of this center is to really work on the whole person,” Ratner said.
“My goal is to help people get back to life,” Ratner said. “It’s to help people that can’t do something that they want to be able to do and to be able to accomplish that goal.”
Ratner said there hasn’t been any step of that way in which she hasn’t prayed that everything goes as planned. She said the Jewish community has supported her every step of the way.
“The Jewish community has been a tremendous support for me,” Ratner said.
Ratner Center for Physical Therapy and Wellness will host an open house with wine and hors d’oeuvres from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31. The center is located at 5500 Overton Ridge Blvd., Suite 228, in Fort Worth. For information, call 817-295-1255 or visit ratnerpt.com.

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Around the Town: JWV, Beth Shalom

Around the Town: JWV, Beth Shalom

Posted on 16 January 2019 by admin

Photos: Submitted by Phil Kabakoff
The Jewish War Veterans Martin Hochster Post #755’s 2019 officers are, from left, Kim Factor, post bugler; Rabbi Sidney Zimelman, chaplain; Phil Kabakoff, judge advocate; Will Kutler, junior vice commander; Nana Atkens, commander; Mike Bumagin, senior vice commander; Michael Ross, quartermaster; and Fred Korngut, officer of the day. Linda Landy, adjunct, is not pictured.

JWV Martin Hochster Post #755 installs 2019 officers

The Martin Hochster Post 755 of the Jewish War Veterans of Fort Worth installed its 2019 officers Sunday, Jan. 6, at Beth El-Congregation.
Assuming their new duties were Commander Nana Atkens, Senior Vice Commander Mike Bumagin, Junior Vice Commander Will Kutler, Judge Advocate Phil Kabakoff, Quartermaster Michael Ross, Chaplain Rabbi Sidney Zimelman and Adjunct Linda Landy.
The post awarded the Morton Herman Service to Veterans Award to Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. JWV National Commander Barry Schneider of Fort Worth presented the honor. Price was recognized for the following reasons:
• Closely backing and supporting Naval Air Station and Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth.
• Interacting with the USS Fort Worth (participated in ceremonies and interaction with commander, officers and crew).
• Participating in ceremonies and interacting with Charlie Company, a Vietnam-era veterans group adopted by the City of Fort Worth.
• Member and past president of Texas Mayors of Cities with Military Bases (founding member together with the City of Fort Worth).
• Participating in Memorial Day ceremonies at Mount Olivet Cemetery and the National Military Cemetery.
• Sponsoring initiatives with homeless veterans to get them housing and settled. Price’s latest endeavor was The 100-Day Challenge, an initiative to house 100 veterans in 100 days, culminating Dec. 21, with 181 veterans housed.
The first recipient of the Morton Herman Service Award to Veterans was State Sen. Wendy Davis in 2010. Those who followed were Judge Brent Carr (2011), Stevie Hansen (2012), Nikki Hatley (2012), Rep. Pete Geren (2013), Rep. Kay Granger (2014), Valerie Groll (2016), Councilman Jungus Jordan (2016) and Admiral Woody Beal (2017).
Two World War II veterans, Stan Kurtz and Irwin Raffel, were recognized. And veterans who had passed away in the last year — Arvie Cooper, Earl Givant, Ted Hoffman and Harry Kahn — were remembered with a moment of silence.

Congregation Beth Shalom adult ed series continues

Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington will welcome Rabbi Juan Bejarano-Gutierrez when its Adult Education Speaker Series continues at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27. He will speak on “A History of Spanish and Portuguese Jews.”
Bejarano-Gutierrez is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas, from which he earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. He studied at the Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland and received a Master of Arts degree with distinction in Judaic studies. His master’s thesis focused on Jewish Identity in the Second Temple Period.
He completed his doctoral studies in 2015 at the Spertus Institute of Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago. His doctoral dissertation “Complex Identities: Christian and Jewish Attitudes Towards Conversos” was accepted in September 2015.
He also studied at the American Seminary for Contemporary Judaism and received rabbinic ordination in 2011 from Yeshivat Mesilat Yesharim.
Bejarano-Gutierrez served as the assistant editor for HaLapid, the quarterly publication for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies, from 2011-2012. He also served as a board member and treasurer for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies from 2011-2013.
Bejarano-Gutierrez served as the volunteer rabbi of Chavurah Zohar Yisrael, a traditional Jewish community with rotating services, serving South Dallas and Northeast Dallas counties, with a special focus on helping Hispanics of Crypto-Jewish ancestry.
A prolific writer, he is also the author of multiple books, including “Secret Jews: The Complex Identity of Crypto-Jews”; “Crypto-Judaism, The Rise of the Inquisition: An Introduction to the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions”; and “What is Kosher: An Introduction to the Laws of Kashrut.”

Press note

Chabad of Fort Worth will host a Shabbat dinner and lecture with Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at the Sonnenschein Chabad Jewish Center.
Shurpin’s topic is “the Jewish View on Reincarnation.” There is no cost to attend, but a reservation is required at rabbi@jewishcowtown.com or 817-263-7701.

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‘Legacy of Lena Pack’ on display at Beth-El

‘Legacy of Lena Pack’ on display at Beth-El

Posted on 10 January 2019 by admin

Photos: Submitted by Arlene Reynolds
Lena Pack’s “Three Musicians” and “Grandma” are among her works of art on display in Beth-El Congregation’s boardroom through the end of April.

“The Legacy of Lena Pack” marks the beginning of Beth-El Congregation’s 2019 Art Exhibit program. Pack was a Bedford painter, sculptor, colorist, printmaker and art teacher; her art will fill the walls of the Beth-El boardroom through the end of April.
Beth-El Congregation will host a combined Shabbat service with Congregation Beth Shalom at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, followed by a reception for many of Pack’s friends and admirers to view the exhibit.
Pack, who died in 2016 at age 88, was both a congregant and a longtime religious school teacher at Arlington’s Beth Shalom. Raised in New York City, she was the daughter of an engraver and attended a high school for the visual arts. Later, while working at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, she met and married a Jewish man, Isaac Pack. Widowed at a relatively young age, she subsequently converted to Judaism and worked as a travel agent and a nurse.
Upon retiring, she took up art and moved to Bedford in the early 1990s to care for her ailing sister. Although she was a painter, sculptor and printmaker, painting was her primary form of visual expression and way to tell a story. Inspired by family, friends, Judaism and her travels, her paintings were signed L.I. Pack, the “I” in memory of her husband, Isaac.
For nearly three decades, her work was showcased at numerous galleries in Texas, culminating with displays at her studio in the Stock Yards Rodeo Plaza Art Gallery. There, she sold her collages, drawings and intensely colorful canvases. For admirers with little money to spend, Pack turned reproductions of her work into note cards.
Pack’s many friends each have several of her works of art in their homes. “Her identity was synonymous with her art,” close friend Christine Posnock said.
In an artist’s statement, Pack said of herself: “Painting has always been my primary visual expression…Fantasy, childhood, mythology, and primitive innocence are all grist for my imaginative mill…I am compelled to embody texture on canvas and to explore that fascination with sculpture, collage, print making and fabric art…I fortify my colorist approach with strong design elements. The content is determined by my feeling for the subject. When the feeling has been truly expressed, it is evident to all. Ultimately, my responsibility is to be true to my vision.”

— Submitted by
Arlene Reynolds

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Christmas Mitzvahs plentiful in Tarrant County

Christmas Mitzvahs plentiful in Tarrant County

Posted on 02 January 2019 by admin

Photo: Phil Kabakoff
On Christmas Eve, Jason Kabakoff, Carol Pock, Roy Aldaba and Barry Goldfarb were among the Congregation Beth Shalom members who provided a complete dinner for everyone at the Arlington Life Shelter.

B’nai B’rith volunteers from across Tarrant County prepared and served breakfast and lunch to 125 homeless men, women and children who gathered at Fort Worth’s Beautiful Feet Ministries on Christmas Day. Volunteers also sorted and distributed gifts and clothing.
Marvin Beleck supervised the kitchen crew, which arrived at 7:30 a.m. to scramble eggs, grill sausage patties and brew coffee. Jim Stanton coordinated donations of clothing and toys, a year-round endeavor.
Fort Worth’s B’nai B’rith lodge has performed this Christmas Day mitzvah for the past 35 years. Congregants from Congregation Ahavath Sholom, Beth-El Congregation and Congregation Beth Israel donated clothing and served as volunteers.
To become involved in this effort, or any of the other activities of B’nai B’rith in North Texas, reach out to Alex Nason at anason53@gmail.com or Rich Hollander at rich.hollander@axcelora.com.
The Tarrant County chapter of B’nai B’rith, one of the most active chapters in the country, puts on nearly a dozen activities throughout the year, as well as a monthly breakfast meeting that all are invited to attend.
“We are helping others, enjoying our company and marching through our 150th year in operation here in Tarrant County,” Nason said.
The night before, Congregation Beth Shalom again provided a complete Christmas Eve Dinner for everyone at the Arlington Life Shelter. Beth Shalom members supplied all the food and decorations, and served the meal.
Those helping with the meal were Phil, Cookie and Jason Kabakoff; Roy and Lani Aldaba; Ben and Fran Weiger; Carol Pock; Brett, Hannah and Dylan Jeffries; Robyn Thorn; Cherryl Clark; Barry Goldfarb; Leslie Udes; Lee Schulman; Jay Hatler; and Pam Sudbury.
“We would also like to thank all those who donated food and donations to make this year’s event a great success,” Phil Kabakoff said.

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Centenarian’s secret: Good wine, cigars and cognac

Centenarian’s secret: Good wine, cigars and cognac

Posted on 19 December 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Barnett Family
Lou Barnett at 100

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

The secret to long-life is simple, Fort Worth’s Lou Barnett said a few days before his 100th birthday Nov. 22.
“Good wine, good cigars and good cognac,” he explained with a twinkle in his eye.
Barnett is not your average 100-year-old. He reads almost a book a day often into the wee hours of the morning (He was making his way through John Grisham’s “The Reckoning” at the time of the interview). He lives in the home he built with his wife in 1950. His has been a full and rich life
Born on Nov. 22, 1918, and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, to Molly and Max Barnett, his parents were first-generation Americans and his father worked as a “warehouse man and shipping clerk,” according to Barnett’s autobiography.
The Great Depression hit the family hard, and they struggled. In high school, Lou worked on a government student program for low-income people and made about $12 per week. His mother did piecemeal sewing work from home.
When it was time for college, Barnett was offered a half-year semester scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, because he wasn’t sure how he would pay for future tuition — or food, for that matter — he enrolled at Northeastern University in Boston. He augmented his Northeastern education by taking “as many chemistry courses around Boston as I could.” Ultimately, he graduated from Northeastern with a double degree in engineering and management.
Barnett was drafted into the National Guards of Massachusetts in October 1940. His time in the Army was short, as he developed an ulcer and was discharged. He began to contemplate a career in plastics.
In the early ’40s, he met the love of his life, Madlyn, of blessed memory.
“My cousin called me. He was dating Rowena Kimmel and he said, you’ve got to meet this girl [Madlyn], and that was it. We had a telephone romance and she came up to visit me. We had cats and dogs, and she got fleas, and then she asked me to marry her, so I did.”
They married on May 5, 1946. Theirs was a love affair that spanned 66 years and was filled with family, fun, hard work and philanthropy.
“It was great luck. We had a lot of mazel,” Barnett said. “God moves in mysterious ways; we had a hell of a ride.”
At the time, General Electric was the only plastic company in the Boston area. Initially, he wasn’t able to work in the plastics division because he hadn’t finished his degree yet. He took a job as an expediter for the division that made turbines and other power trains for ships and submarines.
Barnett would frequently visit the plastics group in building No. 75, hoping a job would open up. Finally, one did in the engineering group and laboratory. There, he learned how to run machine tools, lathes and milling machines, and also how to run a plastics press and to operate laminators.
The Barnetts moved to Fort Worth in 1946 to join Madlyn’s family there. They started their family, first Laurie, then Eliot, followed by Rhoda.
By 1952, Barnett’s sister Ruthie and husband Milton Hammil, and brother Stanley and wife Myra also had moved to Fort Worth — as did his parents.
Barnett started his business, Loma (for Louis and Madlyn), in 1948 with one rented model of a molding machine. His first order was for plastic fishing lures. In that first year, Loma’s profit was slightly over $1,000, according to Barnett’s autobiography. In 1962, the company was producing 157 plastics articles and using more than 1 million pounds of raw plastics each month.
By 1965, Loma had grown by leaps and bounds, and Barnett had many firsts to his credit. They were:
• Plastic roll-top bread box.
• Plastic wax paper and paper towel dispenser.
• Oval-shaped wastebasket.
• First wastebasket to incorporate “feet.”
• Wastebasket with decorative imprinting embossed on it.
• Plastic picnic basket including dinnerware and eating utensils.
• Plastic clothes hamper.
• The first polyethylene “boat-like” baby bath, followed by a complete line of stylized nursery accessories including the covered diaper pail.
• The first plastic outdoor trashcan.
Many members of the Fort Worth Jewish community worked at Loma, including the late Irv Levine, Barnett’s childhood friend from Malden, who became Loma president after Loma was sold to Standard Oil of Ohio in 1966. Milton Hamill, who was married to Barnett’s sister Ruthie, moved to Fort Worth and worked for the company. So did Barnett’s father and his brother Stanley.
Barnett attributed his success to those friends and family who supported him.
“You don’t do anything by yourself. The self-made man in my book is not in my vocabulary. People help you,” he said
Barnett reminisced about some of his favorite memories over the years.
“You look back, my God, I don’t know what happened,” when discussing how fast his life has gone by
He is known for a number of unique hobbies, and he talked about a few of them.

Cooking and Entertaining

Barnett explained how he became a gourmet cook and author of two cookbooks. It started out of necessity.
“When we got married, we moved to Boston. When Madlyn burnt water. I knew I was in trouble, so I started to cook. Grandma Brachman sent her to Fannie Farmer’s cooking school; it didn’t help. So, in order to survive, I had to start cooking.”
He has several favorite recipes, among them his sought-after salami.
“There’s one recipe that everyone in the family still makes that I never wrote down, and that was salami. You cut the salami in eighths. You dip it in soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Make an extra one, because they’ll eat ‘em up.”
His great-granddaughter, Mia, started eating them at age 2.
“It was easy and, Oh My God, if I made two they wanted four, and I used to serve them before a meal.”
As a New Englander, fish also was a mainstay.
“I also made a poached salmon and cucumber. To make good fish, leave it alone. Good fish in itself is excellent,” he advises.
There have been cooking mishaps from time to time. For one party, Barnett served peanut soup.
“Oh boy. I’ll never hear the end of that. I made some peanut soup, which was atrocious. We had a big crowd of people around. Everyone spilled it on the grass. And a few days later, the grass died.”
He and Madlyn loved to entertain their family and friends.
“We had a couple of hundred sometimes at a party around here. It was wild, and the kids came along and we had a ride with them….It goes by fast.”

Wine and cognac

It’s no secret that Barnett has always enjoyed wine and cognac. He partially attributes reaching 100 to the pair. He is a member of the distinguished Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, the order that has 12,000 Chevaliers worldwide.
He explained that he learned about wine while traveling to France on Loma business.
“I was in France an awful lot. I had a guy who must have been a German Jew, and he was in Paris and I would report to him as the Loma representative, and I got into the wines pretty quick.”
Barnett keeps a wine cellar in his home office. He likes to drink Pinot Noir. “It’s a good wine and goes with everything,” he said.
He also enjoys cognac.
“I like to drink cognac. I drink it with everything. I’ve drunk enough to float a battleship.”

Going to the Dogs

With his constant companion, yellow lab Casey, 10, at his side, Barnett explained he was always a dog lover, He developed a passion for raising, showing and judging them.
“I always had dogs. I took it as an escape hatch. It was wonderful to get away from the business, the family and the kids That was my real escape: judging dog shows all over the world.”
He also raised dogs both as pets and for show. “I’ve had some great ones,” he said.
His German Shorthaired Pointer Columbia Rivers Jeep was a six-time Best in Show champion.
The family’s first pet was a German Shepherd named Prince Rex King.
“We went to Leon [Madlyn’s brother] and Faye’s, and my daughter Laurie was afraid of dogs. I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to have a kid who’s afraid of dogs.’ Madlyn was not too keen on dogs. Our next-door neighbor had German Shepherds. He got me a German Shepherd pup. I take the pup and ring the doorbell of my house, and Madlyn comes to the door, and I shoved it into her arms and said, ‘How can you be afraid of a little piece of fur like this?’ Laurie named the dog Prince Rex King, who grew into the biggest Shepherd the Barnetts ever had.

Travel

The Barnetts loved to travel, and Lou traveled the world both for business and pleasure.
Among his favorite places to travel were Italy, Acapulco and Israel.
“I love Italy. Spent a lot of time there. Acapulco. Spent a lot of time down there. That was our escape. Acapulco was wonderful in those days.” The Barnetts took active vacations.
“I fished Mexico quite a bit,” he said
Everyone got into the fishing act, especially son Eliot and Madlyn, who caught a huge sail fish in Acapulco.
“We were goers. We didn’t sit. I have a doll from every place we went.”
Often, the Barnetts visited synagogues when they traveled.
“I visited a synagogue in Aruba. It had a sand floor.” He noted that every Jewish community he ever visited had one thing in common. “A Love of God — that’s the concept of all of them. Like Maimonides said ‘If I’m not for me, then who is for me, and if not now, when?’”
Perhaps the place has loved the most is Israel, where he and Madlyn first visited in 1961. Madlyn, like her mother, Ella Brachman, before her, and her children after her, had a passion for Hadassah.
“I’ve been in Israel maybe 50 times. I had a love affair with the country and the people. I set up many clients. Some are still going. There was a Formica-type plant in Israel that I helped start.” Barnett became involved in Israel’s plastics industry, consulting, educating and advising.
During his travels to Israel, Barnett met some of the country’s early leaders.
“Hell, I knew them all. From Golda Meir. She loved to smoke cigarettes. Chain smoked.
“She was quite a lady, oh boy. She was smart and she was decisive. She was probably the best ‘man’ Israel ever produced.”
Others he met and spent time with were David Ben Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin, Levi Eshkol and Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek.
“Teddy Kollek used to come up to my suite and take a nap. Teddy was a real force,” Barnett said.
In his memoir, Barnett said he probably has spent more than two years of his life in Israel. He loved to walk Jerusalem and was known for walking around the pool of the King David Hotel every morning while he read the Jerusalem Post.
One of his favorite hangouts was a restaurant and bar called Finks.
“They made goulash. It wasn’t too kosher, but it was delicious,” he said.
Barnett said he was proud to have been able to support Madlyn and now his daughters, Laurie and Rhoda, in their passion of Hadassah. The family not only volunteers their time for the organization, but also supports the hospital financially.

Philanthropy

Barnett has been extremely philanthropic, especially to Hadassah and Northeastern University. His philanthropy seems to always be innovative and have far-reaching effects.
He and Madlyn supported Hadassah in many ways, most recently through the Madlyn Barnett Healing Garden in the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Tower at Ein Kerem in Jerusalem. One of the first many years ago was the Ella Brachman Rehabilitation Garden at Mount Scopus campus, also in Jerusalem.
The Barnett institute of Chemical and Biological Analysis at Northeastern University was founded in 1973. “Today, with over 50 scientists and a $8 million endowment, the Institute is recognized internationally as one of the premier centers for cutting-edge research and advanced training in analytical chemistry for biomedical applications,” the Institute’s website states. “The Barnett Institute’s close ties to the Boston medical industrial communities, along with an active program of spin-outs and licensing technology, provides for many ‘real life’ applications of research advances which have led to more than 1000 published papers and 75 patents.”
Barnett is proud of the Institute’s accomplishments. “We have graduates, docs and post docs in 39 countries. We do a lot of work with genomes and have uncovered some interesting bio markers that are being used all over the world in marking the defect of a gene.”
Children, Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren
Barnett’s greatest joys are his children, Laurie and Lon Werner, Sheryl and Eliot Barnett, and Rhoda and Howard Bernstein. “It’s been a wild ride,” he says. The family has Shabbat dinner most Friday nights with his children, their spouses and niece Debby Rice. It’s dinner and “Wheel of Fortune,” followed by a cigar (preferably an Hoyo de Monterrey) for Barnett.
He has a very special relationship with his six grandchildren: Jeffrey and Jason Werner, Matthew and Emily Bernstein, and Nathan and Jessica Barnett
He loved to be silly with his grandkids, and they loved him for it. One favorite tradition was “Downtown.”
For Downtown, he would pick up the grandchildren.
“We’d play Petula Clark’s “Downtown” and go to the Fort Worth Club. We used to steal some bread from the Fort Worth Club, wrap it in a napkin and go to the part and feed the ducks. They would come, and the kids would go crazy.”
His advice to grandparents everywhere:
“You have to go to them. You have to be with them, raise them and do silly things with them.”
Today, his family has grown further and his heart has grown fuller. Grandson Matthew Bernstein married Natalie, and they have a daughter, Maddison. Grandson Jason Werner is married to Jessica, and they have two children, Mia and Blake.
Barnett’s face lights up at the mention of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “The fact that all the kids are coming in is a blessing,” he said. “They’re coming here for my birthday, so I can spoil them a little bit.”

Awards, Honors and Organizations

Barnett has been feted numerous times. With his wife, he received the Prime Minister’s Medallion for dedicated effort on Israel’s behalf, and the B’nai B’rith Gold Medallion for Humanitarianism. He was named Jewish Man of the Year by the Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith.
Texas Christian University has awarded him an honorary doctor of science, and Northeastern awarded him an honorary doctor of engineering. He is a past president of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Congregation Ahavath Sholom, where he celebrated his second bar mitzvah at age 83.
He has served on numerous boards within the Jewish community and the community at-large on local, national and international levels.

What’s the Secret to a Great Life?

When asked what the secret is to a great life like his he replied,
“The word is LIVE a great life. Do things. Don’t sit on your butts and wait for them to come to you. Just go out there and do as best you can. No matter how much money you have or whatever, go out there and do something. We all can to the extent of our capabilities, so why not do it instead of letting someone else do it? Do it yourself.”
His thoughts about being 100? “It’s old,” attributing his milestone to “great luck, mazel and genes.”
He added, “If you’re lucky, you get there; if you’re not lucky, you don’t get there. It’s a relative term. It’s a measurement of what? Your Life? OK…Would I do it over again? You bet. Why change what ain’t broke?”

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Ahavath Shalom fetes Elsie Blum for 68 years of service

Ahavath Shalom fetes Elsie Blum for 68 years of service

Posted on 13 December 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Linda Lavi
From left, Linda Lavi, Ava Beleck, Elsie Blum, Marla Owen and Daniel Sturman helped organize a tribute to Blum at Congregation Ahavath Shalom Shabbat services on Dec. 1.

Congregation Ahavath Sholom honored Elsie Blum for her 68 years of service to the shul at Shabbat services, Dec. 1. Linda Lavi, Ava Beleck, Blum, Marla Owen and Daniel Sturman coordinated the event.
Marvin Blum, Elsie’s son, paid tribute to her from the bimah.
“Picture in your mind a 19-year-old girl who had never lived outside her parents’ loving home, who moves to Fort Worth from Montgomery, Alabama, as a new bride,” he said. “She was raised by parents who set an example — they were deeply dedicated to their synagogue, and their home and their hearts were always open to the community.”
Blum said his mother came to Fort Worth 68 years ago knowing nobody but her husband, Julius, but she followed her parents’ example “and this shul became her family.”
She started her service to the synagogue as treasurer of the Hebrew School. She became the first woman on the Ahavath Shalom bima when she started a Yom Kippur tradition of speaking about the importance of Jewish education and to raise funds to run the Hebrew School. Her “Lady Bird Johnson-style Southern drawl” is still remembered, her son said.
For 52 years until Julius’ death, the Blums did almost all of their volunteer work at the shul, Marvin Blum said. “They were involved in almost everything going on up here.”
Afterward, her son said, “I often said that Mama remarried — she married the shul. She threw herself into her work up here with a fervor, seven days a week, more than a full-time job.”
She would help staff plan events and review catering events and Shabbat lunch, her son said. Elsie would “meet with families who were celebrating life events, plan menus and do the pricing for the events,” her son said.
“No task was beneath her,” he added. “She’d wash tablecloths, set tables, polish silver, you name it.
Marvin Blum also spoke about his mother’s life after her husband’s death: “When Daddy died, Mama became a role model for how to pick up the pieces of a broken heart and move on with your life,” he said. “I often said that she should write a how-to book on ‘How to be a Widow.’”
Two years ago, Blum scaled back on her work at CAS after son Irwin died, to run the family business, a distributor of meatpacking supplies.
“Once again, she became a the role model to show us how you have to go on with your life,” Marvin Blum said. “She told me it doesn’t ease the pain, it still hurts every single day, but you have to be resilient and keep on living.”
Elsie Blum said that she has been blessed with a long life, privileged to stand under the chuppah with grandchildren and witness great-grandchildren living a beautiful Jewish life.
“This shul is in my ‘neshomah,’ she added. “Whatever I have accomplished has been a labor of love. I am the beneficiary. Anyone who gives of himself for a good cause gets back far more than he gives. I have never sought to be honored. When one lives with a purpose, it makes life meaningful.
“It is my prayer that my beloved Ahavath Sholom will grow from strength to strength and serve as a source of inspiration for the entire Fort Worth community, l’dor v’dor — from generation to generation.”

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