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Theater company shattering stereotypes, boundaries

Theater company shattering stereotypes, boundaries

Posted on 22 June 2017 by admin

Group to celebrate Chisholm Trail at Fort Worth performance

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

Richard Allen stood in front of the audience at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in Fort Worth welcoming them to the Sunday matinee production of his newest musical, The Spirit of the Trail: A Musical Celebration of the Chisholm Trail.
Wearing a cowboy hat, plaid shirt and jeans, the New York-born, Emmy Award-winning professor of film, television and digital media at Texas Christian University was not just introducing a new show but his new theater company too.

Submitted photo The Orchard Theatre of Texas is a nomadic group which will perform in Fort Worth and other locations this summer.

Submitted photo
The Orchard Theatre of Texas is a nomadic group which will perform in Fort Worth and other locations this summer.

The show, directed by Jim Covault, the artistic director and executive producer of Orchard Theatre of Texas, combines songs from stage and screen, classic hits from the country charts and exciting new music written by local talent. Songs include a wide range of works from musicians ranging from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Toby Keith, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. There is original work too by Allen, actress and show standout Gigi Cervantes and Stephen Beatty.
Allen called it a “Western cabaret,” interspersing songs with real-life tales of the trail.
The Orchard Theatre of Texas, Allen told the audience, was “purposefully homeless.” Co-founded with Jim Covault, the acclaimed recently retired artistic director of Stage West, Orchard Theatre is a nomadic theater company with no home.
“We met and thought about a new theater company. We thought, instead of having a building, what if we don’t have a building? What if we stage productions in different venues?” Allen said.
With the nomadic theater company established, the next decision was a bigger issue. What would be their first show?
“We found out it was the 150-year anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. It was a perfect opportunity to create a musical revue celebration of the trail,” Allen said.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, the trail was the major route for livestock between Kansas and Texas. The trail was important to the city’s early growth, earning it the name “Cowtown.” It was only used during a brief period in the late 19th century but its legacy is still around. A real life re-enactment of the cattle drive, known as the Fort Worth Herd, occurs twice daily on East Exchange Boulevard in the Stockyards. Fort Worth Herd still appears twice a day on East Exchange Avenue.
“Our vision was a Ken Burns documentary with voices from the time period evoking the pioneering spirit,” Allen said.
Fort Worth, with its “cowboys and culture” slogan, had plenty of options to stage the revue.
The team ultimately decided on two venues. The National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum in the Cultural District hosted the company on the opening weekend. The next two weekends would take place at the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame in the Stockyards. The show will run at that location through July 9.
The Orchard’s future seasons will not just evoke the city’s past, however. The company is looking forward, too.
“We’re thinking we’ll have one play about Texas, or by a Texan; one play about cultural identity, such as Jewish identity or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identity; and one classic,” Allen said.
In fact, one upcoming production is explicitly Jewish. The two-performance fundraiser is a one-man musical revue starring Adam Roffman, associate rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel of Dallas. Roffman is a rabbi with a certificate in musical theater from the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre School in New York City. An Evening of Broadway Music, Memories and Musings, directed by Covault, recounts his own musical theater journey with scores from shows like Guys and Dolls, Sweeney Todd, Company and Little Shop of Horrors, among others. That will take place at Stage West in Fort Worth on Aug. 20 and 27.
“There is definitely nothing like this in Fort Worth. Maybe a few are in Dallas. But this is a concept mostly found on the East and West Coasts. For now we are finding spaces where performances are not typical but are fun. We mostly want to do these shows in smaller spaces.”
When it comes to getting an audience to fill seats, Allen has a simple reminder for Dallasites.
“It is not a terrible drive! Hopefully people will realize that!” Allen said. “But like an orchard spreading, we could go anywhere. We have no borders.”
General admission is $33 for evening performances and $28 for matinees. Seniors pay $28 for evening performances and $23 for matinees. Students pay $15.
Reservations and information about group discounts are available through the box office at 817-575-7984 or on the website at Orchardtheatre.org.

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Jewish Legacy Giving Program secures 54 commitments in first year

Posted on 15 June 2017 by admin

Staff report

A new legacy giving program in Fort Worth and Tarrant County has secured 54 legacy gift commitments to the community in its first year. The commitments are a part of a collaboration between the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) to preserve vibrant Jewish life for future generations by ensuring the long-term financial health of Jewish community organizations. Nationally, HGF has helped its partners to secure more than 14,000 commitments, valued at more than $500 million.
Through Life & Legacy, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County partnered with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation to help start a communitywide legacy giving program, creating a shared goal for the organizations to work toward.
“We all strive to make the world a better place — through our children, our good deeds and our generosity. We are incredibly grateful to all of our donors who have committed to leaving a legacy gift and helping to secure our community’s future.” said Bob Goldberg, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County.
As a part of the collaboration, the Federation, in turn, partnered with local congregations Ahavath Sholom, Beth-El, Beth Israel, and Beth Shalom as a part of the two-year program that provides coaching, training and incentive grants to ensure that legacy giving becomes a normal part of the philanthropic culture of the community.
“Providing Jewish communities with proven tools and training to help them secure their long-term financial goals is absolutely vital.
Through the Life & Legacy program, I’m hopeful that we will be able to help sustain vibrant communities that allow future generations to enjoy our rich Jewish culture and heritage,” said Harold Grinspoon, the founder of HGF.

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Around the Town: Donorpalooza, Daytimers

Around the Town: Donorpalooza, Daytimers

Posted on 08 June 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

CAS Donorpalooza

Last month, the Ahavath Sholom Ladies Auxiliary held a unique fundraiser: Donorpalooza.

Submitted photo Carole Rogers brushes up on painting at Painting with a Twist Donorpalooza.

Submitted photo
Carole Rogers brushes up on painting at Painting with a Twist Donorpalooza.

The event featured four programs on three different days. On Tuesday, May 16, Lynell Bond Norman, Hedy Collins and Carol Paul hosted mah jongg at Lynell’s home. On Wednesday, May 17, Marla Owen and LaJean Sturman hosted Painting with A Twist at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. Sunday, May 21, began with a brunch at Blue Mesa hosted by Stephanie Zavala and Katrina Diaz. Donorpalooza wrapped up Sunday afternoon with Game Night hosted by Stephanie Dubinksy, Ava Beleck, Linda Lavi and Debby Rice at the Lavi home. The funds raised will go toward supporting the Ahavath Sholom Gift Shop, its kosher kitchen and its religious school.

B4 you do anything, register for bingo with the Daytimers

The Daytimers June 14 program will feature bingo. Lunch is at noon; games start at 12:30 p.m. at Beth-El Congregation. Each Daytimer will receive two free bingo cards. There will be costume jewelry for the first winner of each game and lottery ticket prizes for additional winners. Lunch will be baseball style, featuring hot dogs, sauerkraut, potato salad, cole slaw, mustard, ketchup, iced tea, hot coffee, cookies and chips.
Cost for lunch is $6, but the bingo is free. Call Larry Steckler, 817-927-2736, to make your reservation.

 

 

 

 

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Learning from the Oracle of Omaha

Marvin and Laurie Blum and family headed to Omaha May 5-7 for the 52nd annual meeting of Berkshire-Hathaway. They heard Warren Buffett give advice on investing and on living a productive life. Pictured from left are Barry and Diane Wilen from Hollywood, Florida; David and Linda Usdan from Memphis, Tennessee; Adam Blum from Austin; and Marvin and Laurie Blum from Fort Worth.MEB BRK 2017

 

 

 

 

 

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92 years young

Happy birthday wishes to Pearl Holland (center), who celebrated her 92nd last month. She is pictured celebrating with her fellow nonagenarians Joyce Slagle (left) and Rachel Greenstein (right). Also celebrating with Pearl are Joy Schroeder and Celya Holland.SlagleHollandGreensteinWEB

 

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Around the Town: Multicultural Alliance award dinner

Around the Town: Multicultural Alliance award dinner

Posted on 01 June 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Multicultural Alliance holds annual award dinner

On April 20, the Multicultural Alliance held its annual award dinner at the Fort Worth Club. Honored this year were Dr. Basheer Ahmed and Robert Fernandez. The MCA presented Joan Kline with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ayesha Ganguly and Adena Cytron-Walker

Ayesha Ganguly and Adena Cytron-Walker

 
A board certified psychiatrist, Dr. Basheer Ahmed offers his medical expertise beyond the usual boundaries to unite communities. In 1995, when Muslim refugees from Bosnia arrived, there were no social service organizations to assist with the issues confronting Muslim refugees and immigrants. Basheer convened 35 community leaders representing interfaith religious establishments, healthcare institutions, corporate entities and nonprofit organizations. As a result, the Muslim Community Center for Human Services (MCC) was established. Today, MCC provides medical and social services to patients irrespective of race, religion or country of origin.
In 1963 the Fernandez family fled Cuba and arrived in Miami. The First Congregational Church sponsored Robert Fernandez and his family’s relocation to Fort Worth.

Ahmed

Ahmed

Arriving as a 6-year-old, Robert recognized the generosity of the church members and was profoundly impacted. He made a childhood vow that if possible, he wanted to be the person who made the difference in someone’s life. Within these five decades, the breadth and depth of his community and civic involvement is unparalleled. He has played a major role in over 60 organizations and nonprofit boards, affirming his commitment to make a meaningful difference.
The community contributions and life interests of Joan Kline are wide and varied. She is a business woman, education specialist, radiological technologist, community activist and parent of nine children. Seeking a safe street and playground was her first initiative that parlayed her community service to over 50 boards and organizations. Caring for all children is her passion. Her desire is that each person will live in a community that is inclusive and welcoming.

Kline

Kline

Fernandez

Fernandez

Adena Cytron-Walker was recognized by MCA Presiding Board Chair Dr. John Forestner, for her 10 years of service as the vice-president of programming.

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Around the Town: Annual meeting, award, caricatures

Around the Town: Annual meeting, award, caricatures

Posted on 18 May 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Federation annual meeting to feature national board chair

The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County will convene its 81st annual meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at Beth-El Congregation. Richard Sandler, chair of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America, will be the featured guest speaker.
JFNA brings together 148 Federations and 300 Network Communities to maximize impact as the central address of North American Jewry. Ranked among the top 10 charities in the world, JFNA collectively raises over $900 million through the Annual Campaign each year and distributes over $2 billion from foundations and endowments.
Sandler is the past chair of the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. Joining Sandler will be JFNA National Campaign Chair and Fort Worth native Harold Gernsbacher.
Federation President Lon Werner will present the “State of the Federation.” JFS Chair Alden Karotkin will provide an update on JFS’ services. Other items on the agenda include: honoring board members completing their terms; election of the 2017-2018 board of directors and officers; and election of the 2017-2018 Jewish Family Services Committee. A dessert reception will follow the meeting.

Newest recipient of the Sylvia and Jerry Wolens Award

The announcement of this year’s Sylvia and Jerry Wolens Award winner is surely to be a highlight of next week’s Federation meeting.

Lisa Rein

Lisa Rein

Lisa Rein will be presented with the prestigious award Thursday. Lisa takes an active role as a director of the Federation. She solicited donors for present and future gifts through her service on the Annual Campaign team and the Life & Legacy endowment development committee. Lisa was a member of the 2015 Federation leadership program that traveled to Israel and has been a strong advocate since. A person of integrity, Lisa is a dedicated member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington and she is grateful to call it her congregational family and spiritual home, with Cantor Sheri Allen as its leader. Lisa is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial. She is the proud parent of two children, Rachel and David, and has been happily married to Michael for 31 years. Mazal tov Lisa!

Richard Baratz: a ‘portrait’ of artistic talent

“Find something that you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
Familiar advice for finding one’s life’s work and very appropriate for caricaturist and multitalented artist Richard Baratz, whose passion for drawing is among his earliest, treasured memories. “From a very early age, I picked up something to draw with on anything handy, and at age 10, I began art school,” Baratz said.
For the next three months, Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation will showcase his work in “Capturing the Famous and the Familiar.”
Diverse, creative and eclectic aptly describe his decades of artistic creation, including scenes of New York, cowboys and the Old West, and Judaic art, both cultural and religious, executed in watercolor, pastel, pen and ink, and various types of mixed media.

Submitted photo Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

Submitted photo
Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

Submitted photo Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

Submitted photo
Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

Submitted photo Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

Submitted photo
Richard Baratz will showcase his caricatures during the next three months at Fort Worth’s Beth-El Congregation.

In addition to his primary career as a currency engraver for the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving, Baratz has served for more than 40 years as the caricaturist for Sardi’s, a 90-year-old New York City institution, which he describes as “a magnetic and exciting mecca for stage and theater professionals.” And, since 1995, he has also been the artist for the Bob Hope Cultural Center’s McCallum Theater in Palm Desert, California.
As Sardi’s fourth resident and longest-tenured artist, he has created more than 1,000 caricatures of Broadway stars, writers, directors and producers as well as other celebrities who have frequented the legendary restaurant.
Well-known in the New York theater district, Baratz, a Brooklyn native who studied at New York’s School of Visual Arts and the American Art School, relocated to Keller more than a dozen years ago. Since then, he created the majority of the caricatures from photos emailed to him by Sardi’s current owner, Max Klimavicius.
“Baratz’s engraving background brings a rich look to his work,” said the late Vincent Sardi, Jr. Specifically, cross-hatching used in engraving gives a three-dimensional look to caricatures, which have evolved to feature less exaggeration of features and greater emphasis on flattering, identifiable portrayals.
With decades of interacting with a great array of Broadway talent, both onstage and behind the scenes, Baratz has amassed some treasured memories. Among his favorites are Katharine Hepburn and Tom Hanks, both of whom he worked with in person. He brought Hepburn a dozen roses and found her “charmingly old-fashioned and solicitous of his welfare.” More recently, he flew to New York to caricature Tom Hanks, whom he termed “a regular guy and everybody’s friend.”

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Around the Town: New scholarship, Daytimers

Around the Town: New scholarship, Daytimers

Posted on 11 May 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

New scholarship at UT Law School

Marvin Blum and his law school classmate Talmage Boston recently established a scholarship at UT Law School, where they forged their friendship more than 35 years ago. Marvin shared the story, first published by the Texas law school, with the TJP:

Submitted photo Marvin Blum (left) and Talmage Boston established a scholarship at the University of Texas’ law school.

Submitted photo
Marvin Blum (left) and Talmage Boston established a scholarship at the University of Texas’ law school.

“Law school classmates and best friends Marvin Blum and Talmage Boston, both Class of 1978, came together to create one of the first Endowment for Excellence Scholarships in Law. This is their story. ‘Not only did we get a great education, but we made incredible friendships that have stayed with us our entire lives.’ That’s how Talmage Boston ’78 starts a conversation about his time at Texas law. ‘Friendships were forged amidst the daily adventures in and out of Townes Hall.’
“Boston, a successful commercial trial and appellate litigator at Winstead in Dallas, was always passionate about his law school years, but after graduation he wasn’t always a consistent donor. Then he got a chance to know Dean Ward Farnsworth.
“‘We found ourselves together at a UT football game.’ There, the two of them discussed not only a shared love of sports, but also the big challenge facing the law school in the new era of higher tuition and reduced support from the legislature: the lack of scholarship funds to compete with peer institutions. ‘The need was clear: outstanding students were going elsewhere.’ Boston began to turn the challenge — and the opportunity — over in his mind. That’s where Marvin Blum came in.
“‘My years at law school were years of relationships and memorable moments. The Class of ‘78 had a magical chemistry,’ recalls Blum, founder of The Blum Firm. the largest estate planning firm in Texas. A big part of that chemistry for Blum was his friendship with Boston. ‘At law school, a lot of what you learn is outside the classroom. Our business is a people business. The value of emotional intelligence and empathy is what prepares you for success in life. The person I learned most from was Talmage.’
“Boston was confident Blum would be open to his big idea: that they partner for a $100.000 Endowed Scholarship in Law. But the naturally conservative Blum wasn’t initially convinced. ‘My initial gut reaction was actually to say ‘No.’ Boston wasn’t deterred. ‘I said, “This is important for us. This endowment will be a testimony to our abiding friendship, which was cemented in law school.”’
“Blum began to see the opportunity in a new light. ‘After law school, I took a bold step in opening my own firm. In a way, it was Talmage’s boldness that inspired me to believe I could do that. A scholarship to honor our friendship? That was an easy “Yes.”’
“Both men have legacy on their minds. ‘The two things that matter the most are relationships and making memorable moments,’ muses Blum. ‘You can’t buy those with money, really, but you can foster it for other people with your resources.’
“Boston wants to repay his debt to the school by supporting the next generation of students. ‘The economic circumstances couldn’t have been better for all of us when we were in law school, and that was a factor in why we thrived. We had the energy and desire to give it our best every day for three years. The scholarship is an expression of our desire to give back to the institution that has given us so much.’
“Blum sums it up this way: ‘At Texas Law, we planted an acorn and it grew. It’s time now to plant another acorn.’”

Daytimers to watch Chicago

When the Daytimers convene next Wednesday, May 17 at noon, they will be feasting ona Mediterranean style lunch from Mediterranean Market and enjoying the musical film Chicago.
The late Roger Ebert reported that Chicago continued the reinvention of the musical that starts with Moulin Rouge. Although modern audiences don’t like to see stories interrupted by songs, apparently they like songs interrupted by stories.
This movie is a dazzling song-and-dance extravaganza, with just enough words to support the music and allow everyone to catch their breath between songs. You can watch it like you listen to an album, over and over.
The movie stars sweet-faced Renee Zellweger as Roxie Hart, who kills her lover and convinces her husband to pay for her defense; and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, who broke up her vaudeville sister act by murdering her husband and her sister while they were engaged in a sport not licensed for in-laws. Richard Gere is Billy Flynn, the slick, high-priced attorney who boasts he can beat any rap, for a $5,000 fee.
This story, lightweight but cheerfully lurid, fueled Bob Fosse, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s original stage production of Chicago, which opened in 1975 and has been playing somewhere or other ever after.
Lunch will be catered by Mediterranean Market.
Lunch is $6 and includes a choice of lamb and beef gyro, chicken shawarma sandwich, tabula and hummus sandwich or falafel sandwich. There’s never a charge for the program, but a voluntary nominal contribution to support the continuation of the Daytimers programs is requested.
For reservations call Larry Steckler at 817-927-2736, leave your name, phone number and lunch choice on his voice mail, and he will call you back to confirm.

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Around the Town: Back from trip, lunch

Posted on 04 May 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Stryer, Levine back from Galápagos

Debbie (Stryer) and Larry Levine just returned from a 10-day expedition to the Galápagos Islands. It was an amazing experience that started out by going to the middle of the world in Quito, Ecuador.
From there on to the islands where the Stryers experienced nature at its finest. “There were so many animals and birds that can only be found on the Galápagos.
“From Blue Footed Boobies to iguanas, sea lions, penguins, dolphins, flying fish, huge 100-plus-year-old tortoises and many more. Pretty remarkable!
“It was an exhausting trip but so worth it,” Debbie said.

Enjoyable lunch out

Who doesn’t love a Costco combo meal?
Kincaid’s Hamburgers, a longtime favorite of Fort Worthians, has a tagline that says, “Where friends meet to eat.”
Well, it seems that Costco is also a place that many community members catch up with each other. Dr. Carole Rogers, director of Jewish Family Services, had hot dogs and a nice visit with Elsie Blum and Bootsie Coggan recently.
Just as they were about to finish, Cindy Simon came by and ordered yogurt for everyone. It was an unexpected but delightful get-together for everyone.
Memorial Day service honoring Jewish War Veterans
The Martin Hochster memorial Post 755 invites everyone to attend its annual Roll of Honor service at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 28, in the Kornbleet Chapel of Ahavath Sholom Cemetery, 415 North University Drive, Fort Worth. This service will honor the fallen Jewish veterans of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. By attending, you will remember the sacrifices made in defending our nation by our Jewish veterans. Jewish War Veterans has been honoring the congregants from all the synagogues for many years. They invite the families of the Jewish veterans to attend the ceremony that honors their loved ones. The guest speaker will be J. P. Hogan, Col. (Ret.) U.S. Army, executive vice president, Association of the U.S. Army for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Academic grant program

Please remember that the Fort Worth B’nai B’rith Chapter offers two academic grants of $1,000 each: one for academic achievement and one for BBYO participation. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 30, 2017. Eligibility period is for high school seniors graduating between December 2016 and June 2017. Applicants must be accepted to an accredited college or university. For more information, contact your rabbi or Dr. Barry Schneider at dr_barrys@yahoo.com for application.

Additional grant available

The Jewish War Veterans (JWV) of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma is offering a $1000 grant to relatives of active or deceased JWV members. Applications must be postmarked no later than May 30, 2017. Eligibility period is for high school seniors graduating between December 2016 and June 2017. Applicants must be accepted to an accredited college or university.
Contact Dr. Barry Schneider at dr_barrys@yahoo.com for applications.

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Around the Town: Yom HaShoah

Around the Town: Yom HaShoah

Posted on 27 April 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Tarrant County’s Yom HaShoah

Holocaust survivor and author Ben Lesser participated Sunday, April 23, in Tarrant County’s Yom HaShoah observance to share his story of survival and ensure the world never forgets the lessons of the Holocaust. The program was held at Beth Israel in Colleyville.
Ben also spoke to junior high school students on Monday, April 24, in Princeton, Texas, to share his family’s story and encourage the students to join his grassroots anti-hate, anti-bullying campaign, I-Shout-Out.IMG_2657
“The souls of our dear departed ones, all 6 million of them, are crying out to the world in a single word — zachor — which means to remember,” Ben said. “As we honor those lost on this National Holocaust Remembrance Day, we must also educate others so the lessons of the Holocaust will inspire today’s children to recognize, combat and ultimately extinguish the hatred that breeds genocide.”
Born in Krakow Poland in 1928 to a family of seven, Ben and his older sister, Lola, were the only family survivors of Hitler’s Nazi regime. During five years of living hell on earth, Ben was fortunate to survive several ghettos; four concentration camps, including the notorious Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau; two death marches; and two death trains. He is the only living survivor of the notorious Dachau death train that brought him to the concentration camp three days before American liberation.
Lesser has made it his life’s mission to share his story, launching The Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, to ensure the world never forgets the lessons of the Holocaust. He founded I-Shout-Out, an interactive, grassroots, anti-hate campaign to put an end to intolerance by promoting supporters to speak up and out for those who cannot. The goal of the campaign is to garner 6 million shout-outs, one for each of the 6 million voices that were silenced by the Holocaust. By shouting out, participants in the campaign will sign the I-Shout-Out virtual wall, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come to confront intolerance.
“The Holocaust and other tragedies all stem from the same base of intolerance. If people had exhibited tolerance and confronted Hitler’s hate, my family, along with the 6 million others, could have been saved, instead of destroyed,” Lesser said.
I-Shout-Out is powered by Zachor Holocaust Remembrance Foundation. The Zachor Holocaust Remembrance is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charity. Its websites are www.i-shout-out.org and www.ZachorFoundation.org; Twitter: @I_Shout_Out; Facebook: IShoutOutCampaign.
At the event at Princeton High School, Ben urged every student to join him in his I-Shout-Out effort by signing onto the online campaign and speaking up for what they believe in. Shouting out sends a unified message that individuals are not alone and upholds the fundamental values of respect that human beings deserve.
“At his very root, Hitler was a bully who was allowed to spread his message of hate across Europe because of those who did not take a stand,” Lesser said. “I have come to understand that so much of what happens in life is a result of seemingly simple human choices. We can choose not to hate. We can choose not to use hateful speech. Together, we can create a more peaceful and tolerant world.”
Recent studies indicate nearly one out of every five school children between the ages of 12 and 18 experiences bullying, an aggressive, harassing behavior of another individual. As he speaks to school groups and community organizations across the country, Ben challenges students and adults to join the I-Shout-Out campaign to raise awareness of the bullying epidemic that affects these hundreds of thousands of children each day.
Lesser’s story of courage, determination and achievement is detailed in his memoir Living A Life That Matters: from Nazi Nightmare to American Dream and is used in classrooms across the country to educate school children on the lessons of the Holocaust. To learn more about Lesser’s story of survival, visit zachorfoundation.org. To learn more and participate in the I-Shout-Out challenge, visit i-shout-out.org.

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Around the Town: Passover celebration

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Submitted report

Every year Beth-El religious school students celebrate Passover  differently to create  new  memories of joy and alternate ways to see this beautiful  holiday.
Last year Beth El  kids learned many different Passover customs around the world. This year they celebrated: community, family, memory, history and nature  by celebrating the four names of Passover.  They divided the great Hall into four clear sections: Chag Ha Pesach (pascle lumb), Chag Ha Matzot  (matzah), Chag HaAviv (Spring) and Chag HaCherut(freedom). The students learned important  lessons, tasted the related food, danced, sang and       worked on a special project related to that name.
— Submitted by Ilana Knust

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Around the Town: Read2Win, teacher appreciation

Around the Town: Read2Win, teacher appreciation

Posted on 13 April 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Read2Win program

Rabbi Andrew Bloom recently shared his thoughts on Ahavath Sholom’s participation in the Read2Win program at Westcliff Elementary:
“In Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis we read that ‘man is created in the image of God,’ (Genesis 1:26) and from this we can interpret that since God is the God of creation, we as human beings are now partners in the ongoing creation/evolution of the world.

 (From left) Tarrant.Net Pastor Sultan Cole, Ahavath Sholom Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Westcliff Elementary Principal Sara Gillaspie, Sara Perez of Read2Win and KaKeycia Sims.

(From left) Tarrant.Net Pastor Sultan Cole, Ahavath Sholom Rabbi Andrew Bloom, Westcliff Elementary Principal Sara Gillaspie, Sara Perez of Read2Win and KaKeycia Sims.

“One of the essential elements of creation is an environment for education. For education is the foundation of both an individual’s and society’s future. Education is so important that the Talmud teaches us, ‘He who teaches a child is as if he had created it.’ (Talmud, Sanhedrin 19b) In other words, we are creators of the mind.
“Yesterday (March 30), 21 volunteers from Congregation Ahavath Sholom partnering with Read2Win and Westcliff Elementary School went through orientation in preparation for our volunteers to complement the ‘holy work’ that teachers do in the classroom by supplementing, reading and mentoring 44 first-graders on a weekly basis. Thus strengthening their literacy capabilities. We will begin our tutoring next week.
“There are 37 out of 83 elementary schools in the FWISD that participate in the Read2Win program and according to the Read2Win leadership ‘this is only the second or third time that the entire need of a school has been covered by a faith based organization at its initial training.’ This is something of which we should all be proud. I feel truly blessed to be the rabbi of Ahavath Sholom.
“Our entire congregation can continue to make a difference in the lives of a child and there will be additional exciting opportunities to partner with Westcliff Elementary on top of the Read2Win program.

 Ahavath Sholom members engage with Westcliff students

Ahavath Sholom members engage with Westcliff students

“I look forward to sharing those with you in the near future.
“I would like to add onto L’Dor V’Dor ‘from generation to generation’ to now include ‘from reader to reader.’ ”
— Submitted by Michael Linn

Teacher appreciation and Jewish pride go hand in hand at Beth El

At Beth El Congregation, Sunday, April 2, wasn’t only a Teacher Appreciation, but also a day of Jewish pride. The religious school held a  beautiful 45-minute ceremony where teachers marched onto the red carpet into the sanctuary and sat on the bima. Children gave them flowers, gifts and told them thank you in many languages.
After the ceremony, everyone returned to their classes, where the lesson centered on a very important question: Why should we be proud to be Jewish?” The day culminated in the Great Hall all together for a family Jewish identity project, which was a huge success. The Israeli artist Piven’s unique technique was a jumping off point to communicate Jewish ideas and Jewish pride.
— Submitted by Ilana Knust

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