Archive | Around the Town

Freedom to create: the artistry of Izakil Goldin

Freedom to create: the artistry of Izakil Goldin

Posted on 20 May 2019 by admin

Photos: Submitted
Izakil Goldin’s “Wedding” is among the works on display in the Beth-El
Congregation board room through August.

 

From an early age, Izakil Goldin’s greatest desire has been to express himself creatively through painting and writing. But the first 23 years of his life in a village 70 miles from Minsk, in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, followed by 20 years in Minsk, offered little opportunity for him to do so.
His childhood memories include art, music, and literature along with recollections of his mother being an actress and doing voice impersonations.
But the majority of his memories of life in Russia are rife with restrictions indelibly marked in his mind. He describes it as “living on the moon,” with meager and often inedible food, extremely limited employment opportunities, and an “internal passport” that determined where people were allowed to go.
In 1979, when the USSR relaxed its visa policies toward Jews and an era of détente was underway, the Goldins (Izakil, his wife Lora and their 6-year-old son Jay) emigrated from the Soviet Union to the United States and settled in Richmond, Virginia. Years later their son Jay, a writer and assistant history professor, learned through a friend’s research how Soviet Jews were able to leave the Soviet Union legally. They were required to have an invitation or “visov,” a legally attested invitation from a near “relative” to join his or her family members. Few if any Jews had relatives in Israel, and there was no Israeli embassy in the Soviet Union.
Jews throughout greater Russia made lists of those who wanted to leave and took the lists to the Dutch embassy in Moscow, which sent names to the Israeli embassy in the Netherlands. Next, the names were sent to Israel. Then a few months later, the Soviet Jews who wanted to leave would get invitations from their Israeli “relatives.”
Letters from these “relatives” opened up a new world of possibilities for the Goldins. They allowed them to leave Belarus and connect to extended family members in Virginia, educational opportunities, and the assistance of Richmond’s Jewish Family Services. This organization helped emigres become acclimated to their new environment, and they found Izakil Goldin a lab technician job analyzing tobacco for Philip Morris.
Since 2011, the Goldins have lived in Fort Worth near their son Jay. Life in the United States has clearly been a source of numerous blessings for the Goldins. For Izakil, one of the greatest gifts has been his ability to pursue his love of the arts, specifically attending art classes at Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Museum of Arts.
Izakil delights in painting realistic landscapes, still lifes, and portraits with vivid colors and evocative details. His son Jay is “very proud of his father’s artistic ability and hopes that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to see his exhibit.”
Selected works will be on display in the Beth-El Board Room from May through August.

— Submitted by
Arlene Reynolds

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Fort Worth celebrates Karen Kaplan years of service

Fort Worth celebrates Karen Kaplan years of service

Posted on 25 April 2019 by admin

Photos: Kim Goldberg
Karen Kaplan’s three children were in attendance when the Federationhonored her with the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Spirit of Federation Award. Pictured from left, Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg, Michael Kaplan, Karen Kaplan, Meryl K. Evans and Elisa Kaplan Miller.

 

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County honored Karen Kaplan March 17 with the Manny and Roz Rosenthal Spirit of Federation Award for her years of service and commitment. The Champagne brunch was held at Congreation Ahavath Sholom. Kaplan has served as vice president and member of the Federation board multiple times, as well as president of Hadassah, program director for the Jewish Community Center and United Way volunteer, among others. Kaplan learned her commitment to community from her late parents Lilian and Sidney Raimey. Along with her husband, the late Al Kaplan, she instilled this same sense of community service to their three children, Elisa, Michael and Meryl.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

B’nai B’rith Interfaith Seder continues to grow

B’nai B’rith Interfaith Seder continues to grow

Posted on 18 April 2019 by admin

Photos: Jim Stanton
There were more than 350 participants at the B’nai B’rith Interfaith Seder April 9.

 

A diverse group of over 350 Tarrant County religious, political, civic and community leaders gathered for the B’nai B’rith Community Seder Tuesday, April 9.
The second annual lunchtime Seder, the largest ever held in Tarrant County, was presented by the Fort Worth-based B’nai B’rith Lodge to strengthen relationships with the Jewish community and non-Jewish Tarrant County friends and neighbors.
B’nai B’rith Lodge members, under the direction of Terri Hollander, prepared the meal. The organization underwrote the entire cost of the free Seder and provided Haggadahs and kippahs for all attendees.
According to B’nai B’rith Lodge President Rich Hollander, “The event gave a glimpse of Jewish tradition to the rest of Tarrant County. The more knowledge we have of each other’s traditions and practices, the more open we will be to each other’s communities.”
The Seder, held this year at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, was led by Rabbi Andrew Bloom. Talya Galaganov sang the traditional Seder songs.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price welcomed the overflow crowd and spoke about the importance of unity and freedom of religion.
Ahavath Sholom President Jerry Stein greeted the attendees and read a passage entitled “From Slavery to Freedom.”
Community leaders read Passover passages from the Haggadah.
Jim Lacamp, a local business leader, read an explanation of the Four Questions and Jaime Hernandez of CUFI (Christians United for Israel) read the traditional Four Questions in Spanish.
One of the highlights of the seder was the singing of the Four Questions by young students from the Lil Goldman Early Learning Center.
Rabbi Bloom connected the Passover story to this year’s theme of modern-day homelessness and slavery in Tarrant County.
Bruce Frankel, executive director of DRC, a Fort Worth organization that works to end homelessness, spoke about homelessness in Tarrant County. And Stephanie Byrd, executive director of Unbound Fort Worth, spoke about human trafficking in Tarrant County.
Fort Worth Mayor pro tem and City Council District 7 member Dick Shingleton read the moving poem by German pastor Martin Neimoller, “Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Matt Brockman, from the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, read a special cowboy prayer for the event.
B’nai B’rith included the Jewish Family Service’s Senior Program, as well as residents of B’nai B’rith Housing and local Jewish seniors. More than 90 seniors attended.
B’nai B’rith, the oldest Jewish organization in Tarrant County, is already making plans to present a City Seder again next year.
—Submitted by
Jim Stanton

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Around the Town: TCU, Israel

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

TCU to host David Price celebrating rare book collection

TCU Mary Couts Burnett Library and The Program in Jewish Studies at Brite Divinity School
Will present a special program celebrating the rare Judaica books collection when Professor David Price speaks on “Christian Hebraism and the Survival of Judaism: Two Perspectives,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in the Gearhart Reading Room of TCU Library
David H. Price, professor of Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, History, and History of Art at Vanderbilt University, has written widely on the history of early modern Europe. His current research projects pertain to Christian-Jewish relations during the period 1500-1789, as well as to the Bible in Renaissance visual art.
After receiving his Ph.D. from Yale University, Wright has been a professor at Yale, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of books and articles on a variety of topics, including Renaissance theater, Latin poetry, Renaissance visual art, the English Bible and the history of Christian-Jewish relations.
Among his recent books are “The Works of Hrotsvit of Gandersheim” (2015), “Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books” (2012), and “Albrecht Dürer’s Renaissance: Humanism, Reformation and the Art of Faith” (2003).
Generously supported by the Louis and Frieda Cristol Endowment for Academic Programming in Jewish Studies
All interested are invited to tour the rare Judaica collection before the lecture. Please meet at the East entrance to the library at 5:50 p.m. Free parking is available at non-reserved TCU lots after 5 p.m.
—Submitted by
Hollace Weiner, Fort Worth Jewish Archives

Centuries-Old Hebrew Books on Display at TCU

An exhibit of 500-year-old Jewish books and Talmudic tractates will be on display at Texas Christian University April 2 through May 22 in the Special Collections section of the campus library.
These rare books, exquisitely illustrated and printed in Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin, were among a trove of 10,000 books that the university purchased from an aging Cincinnati scholar in 2001. At that time, TCU’s Brite Divinity School was establishing a Program in Jewish Studies and acquired the books as the core of its Judaica collection.
The exhibit, which is free to the public, is opening in conjunction with a guest lecture at 7 p.m. April 2, from Vanderbilt University Prof. David H. Price. He will speak in the library’s Gearhart Reading Room on “Christian Hebraism and the Survival of Judaism: Two Perspectives.” The Louis and Frieda Cristol Endowment for Academic Programming in Jewish Studies is sponsoring the lecture.
The Judaica exhibit includes a tractate from the Talmud dealing with the holiday of Shavuot. It was published in Venice in 1526 by pioneer printer Daniel Bomberg, a Christian whose template for laying out multiple Talmudic discussions on the printed page is still followed.
Another Bomberg manuscript in the exhibit is Yalkut Shimoni, a midrashic anthology on the bible. This artistically printed piece of literature from the Bomberg press was published in Venice in 1566.
Also in the display are works in Latin by Johann Buxtorf, a 17th-century Swiss scholar of Hebrew. Although a Protestant, Buxtorf was dubbed a “Master of the Rabbis.” Among his books in the exhibit is a thesaurus of Hebrew terms.
The director of the Jewish Studies Program at Brite is Dr. Ariel Friedman, the Rosalyn and Manny Rosenthal Associate Professor of Jewish Studies. The rare books, gathered by the late Rabbi Israel Otto Lehman, was purchased by the program’s founding director Dr. David Nelson.
—Submitted by
Hollace Weiner, Fort Worth Jewish Archives

Briefing on Israel

Gidon Ariel, founder and CEO of Roof Source, an organization dedicated to promoting respectful relationships between pro-Israel Christians and Jews, will brief the Tarrant County Jewish community on Interfaith relations, Israel elections and other topics at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 South Hulen St.
Gidon made aliyah from Queens, New York, when he was only 14 years old. He spent close to a decade in advanced Jewish studies institutes (Yeshivas) and the Israeli Army. After 20 years in the Tank Corps, today he is a Reserve Officer in the IDF Spokespersons Office. A pioneer in Jewish-Christian relations, Gidon is a seasoned Hebrew and Judaism instructor and public speaker.
Gidon is a delegate to the Central Committee (the Merkaz) of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party and he ran for the Maale Adumim City Council. He is married with five children, and they live in Maale Hever, a suburb of Hebron in the West Bank, where he moved with his family in 2012.
The program is free, but please RSVP to Debby Rice, at 817-706-5158 or rice.debby@gmail.com.
Co-sponsors of the program are The Fort Worth Chapter of Hadassah, Southwest Jewish Congress, The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Congregation Ahavath Sholom and the Martin Hochster Post of the Jewish War Veterans.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

‘Hans & Sophie’ to debut in Fort Worth

‘Hans & Sophie’ to debut in Fort Worth

Posted on 28 March 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy of Illana Stein
At the Alliance Jewish Theatre conference in Philadelphia last fall are, from left, Yoni Ven, Deborah Yarchun, Illana Stein, Jeremy Aluma, Arianne Barrie-Stern. Yarchuan and Stein, who were selected to be participants at the conference, collaborated with Sean Hudock on the script of “Hans & Sophie.” The play, which Stein is directing, will debut in Fort Worth March 30.

By Nicole Hawkins
Special to the TJP

The true story of two young students who sacrificed their lives leading an underground resistance against the Nazi regime has been told for decades, but now it’s being re-imagined into a production set to run in Fort Worth the last weekend of March.
“Hans & Sophie” tells the story of German siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, initially part of the Hitler youth, who had a change of heart and went on to lead a nonviolent grassroots movement against Hitler’s regime called The White Rose. They were executed as a result. The play is inspired by the siblings’ personal letters, coded correspondences and diaries.
The play was co-created by director and Fort Worth native Illana Stein, playwright, and Austin native Deborah Yarchun and actor Sean Hudock. The trio wrote the play together, with Yarchun leading the writing process.
“Hopefully this true story and the work we’ve done to bring it to life onstage will touch audiences in a way that inspires action and resistance toward present-day leaders whose abuse of power has led to systematic oppression of others,” Hudock said.
“Hans & Sophie” received a residency with the Drama League in New York City, which is when Stein said she, Hudock and Yarchun transformed “Hans & Sophie” from a sketch into a play.
The shows in Fort Worth will be the first time the play is performed in front of an invited audience, and Stein said she and her fellow playwrights look forward to receiving feedback from Fort Worth audiences in order to adapt the production for its run in New York.
“There’s a vibrant Jewish community in Fort Worth along with a great artistic community,” Stein said. “So it’s a great place to bring this kind of story to.”
Yarchun said it’s important to show audiences characters who stood up against hate crimes and hateful rhetoric like Hans and Sophie, especially with its rise in society today.
“They understood [hateful rhetoric] on a deep level and chose to speak against it,” Yarchun said.
Stein said she finds it inspiring that horrible tragedies like the one portrayed in “Hans & Sophie” can lead to young people standing up and fighting for what they believe. Stein’s cousins were students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when 17 students and faculty members were killed in a mass shooting last year. The activism seen from students in Parkland after the tragic loss of their peers and teachers reminded Stein of the bravery shown by Hans and Sophie as they resisted Hitler’s regime.
“They chose to fight against something that they thought was atrocious,” Stein said. “I find it very inspiring that it’s the youth that spoke up.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here