Archive | Around the Town

No record set, but CAS takes a Hanukkah spin

No record set, but CAS takes a Hanukkah spin

Posted on 05 December 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Ahavath Sholom community
Rabbi Andrew Bloom, left, and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price light the first candle of Hanukkah at Congregation Ahavath Sholom’s community celebration Dec. 2.

By James Russell

Congregation Ahavath Sholom staff wanted to mark the beginning of Hanukkah by bringing the community together to break the unofficial record of spinning 1,300 dreidels at once. But, even with 400 people in attendance, they fell short — a yeshiva in New Jersey still claims the Guinness Book of World Records honor.
At least, Rabbi Andrew Bloom said, they can claim a record in Tarrant County.
Even if they fell short of their goal, the lighthearted evening marked another series of firsts for the congregation during the season.
“This was the first time we had the community dreidel spinoff,” Bloom wrote in an email. However, we have held other community Hanukkah events at the ‘shul,’ like the Lego Hanukkah menorah.” Students enrolled in the Learning and Engagement Center also dedicated a handmade tallis, and a different Lego menorah was also on display in the foyer.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price joined Irwin Raffel, a 93-year-old Army veteran who fought in the South Pacific during World War II, and Bloom in lighting the menorah. They were flanked by eager, sometimes interruptive children, excited to participate. The chocolate gelt handed out with the dreidels may have influenced their enthusiasm, too.
Other youth events include a de-escalation seminar and simulator Dec. 16 at the Bob Bolen Safety Complex in Fort Worth as part of a wider discussion of pikuach nefesh (saving a life). The center houses training spaces and headquarters for the city’s police and fire departments.
“Hanukkah celebrates both the courage of the Maccabees and the miracle of finding oil in the Temple that lasted eight days instead of one,” Bloom said. “In today’s modern society, it is a reminder and call to bring light through the example of personal strength, integrity and Jewish values to the larger and wider community.
“The coming together of the Jewish community as one and lighting the Hanukkah candles together is an example of the light of our community and the power of our unity. It is this coming together alongside of our many friends, that helped make the first night of Hanukkah so special.”

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Around the Town: Jewish Person of the Year, Sukkah Project

Around the Town: Jewish Person of the Year, Sukkah Project

Posted on 26 September 2018 by admin

Compiled By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Jewish Person of the Year dinner is Oct. 21

Plans are under way for the B’nai B’rith Isadore Garsek Lodge Jewish Person of the Year Award dinner. This year’s celebration will be held, from 6:30-9 p.m., Sunday Oct. 21 at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, 4050 S. Hulen Street.
Cost for dinner is $25 per person and tickets can be purchased from Rich Hollander, rich.d.hollander@gmail.net, 817-909-4353; Alex Nason, alexnason@charter.net; or Marvin Beleck, beleckmarvin@aol.com.
This year’s dinner is kosher. Wine and beer will be provided with ticket purchase.
Entertaining this year are The Vinyl Stripes, which plays rockabilly and music of the ’50s and ‘’60s.
Send nominations for Jewish Person of the Year to Isadore Garsek Lodge, 4420 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107.

Photo: Sharon Wisch-Ray
Angie Friedman serenaded an interpretive dancer (not pictured) as they went from sukkah to sukkah at the Sukkah Project at the Museum for Biblical Art Sunday.

 

News and Notes

Spotted at the Sukkah Project in Dallas Sunday were Marla and Foster Owens, Jan Ayers Friedman and Angie Berlin Friedman. Angie completed a sukkah hop as she went from sukkah to sukkah while serenading an interpretive dancer.

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Cantor’s concert at Methodist church aims for unity

Posted on 13 September 2018 by admin

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

A city reckoning with its deep racial and economic inequities may need more than Jewish music to bring it together. But a cantorial performance at a Methodist church scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday, organized by a Jewish Fort Worth couple, at least will bring the community together for one afternoon.
Karen and Kal Silverberg organized the upcoming Community Concert for Peace shortly after the cantorial search committee of Congregation Ahavath Sholom, of which Kal serves on the board, selected Andres Levy as the visiting cantor for the High Holidays. Levy, who is making his Texas debut, is chanting the liturgy for High Holiday services..
But the community concert is at the neighboring Arborlawn United Methodist Church, 5001 Briarlawn Drive. The large church located near both Ahavath Shalom and Congregation Beth El in southwest Fort Worth recently expanded its facilities to include a larger worship hall. The church was one of the first venues the couple approached.
“They were amazingly receptive,” Kal said. “They are well-known for music appreciation in the community.” The church has hosted performances by the Fort Worth Symphony, Fort Worth Civic Orchestra, Texas Boys Choir and others. “The sanctuary is bright and inviting with great acoustics, and new. They would also like to bridge a lot of gaps. We are inviting everyone we know from any facet of what we do.”
By introducing Jewish music to the community, the couple hopes the concert will break down barriers among believers and non-believers of all identities.
“We wanted to be in a nonthreatening, informal and comfortable place where [attendees] may go to a concert any way,” Kal said. “By ‘nonthreatening,’ we mean someone who is not Jewish or affiliated with a synagogue would not feel uncomfortable by going into an unfamiliar place. It’s simply not getting uncomfortable with the unknown. We want the concert to be accessible to all.”
Levy’s biography is diverse enough to promote conversations about diversity. Born in Chile, he now lives in Buenos Aires. He was trained as an architect but has devoted his career to singing. He has performed internationally, including for the past 16 years as a traveling cantor during the High Holidays, in California, Florida and North Carolina. He will sing traditional songs in Hebrew and Ladino. But he also will perform songs, including in English, in more familiar styles, such as Broadway and Big Band.
“We’re broadening the perspective of what Jewish music is,” Karen said. “It is a great opportunity to bring together the greater Fort Worth community, which is not always at peace with one another, for a combined fun, artistic event. We’re talking about community peace, not elsewhere in the world, and coming together for a chance to do something we all enjoy.”
Kal also considers the concert an advancement of the synagogue’s mission.
“Ahavath Shalom means ‘lover of peace.’ It is a continuation of our mission and our very name to extend to this community and a concert for peace,” he said.
Advance tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for children. Tickets at the door are $25 for adults and $12 kids. VIP tickets are $180. Tickets and underwriting opportunities are available online at AhavathSholom.org/concert.

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Barry Schneider elected JWV national commander

Barry Schneider elected JWV national commander

Posted on 29 August 2018 by admin

Submitted Photo
National Commander Dr. Barry Schneider

 

Dr. Barry J. Schneider was elected National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA at the 123rd Annual National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
Barry is a retired Air Force Major with 20 years of active military service. His assignments included: NORAD IG Team; Combat Crew Commander; Instructor Crew Commander and Standardization Evaluator for both Titan II and Minuteman Strategic Missile Weapon Systems; Commander of the 44th Strategic Missile Wing Headquarters Squadron and the Chief Administrative and Logistic Services at the Morocco US Liaison Office United States Embassy in Rabat, Morocco; Commander of the 57th Fighter Interceptor Headquarters Squadron in Keflavik, Iceland; and Commander of the 7th Combat Support Group Headquarters Squadron in Texas. He graduated from the Squadron Officers school, Air Command & Staff College, Command Staff Officers course and Defense Institute for Security Assistance Management.
Barry worked for the Fort Worth Independent School District for 16 years serving as a central office administrator in the Human Resources Department and became a Certified Records Manager. He completely revamped the procedure for maintaining and preserving employee records for the FWISD. He served as a board member of the Texas State Library Records and Archives Commission.
In 1994, Barry joined the Jewish War Veterans, Martin Hochster Post 755 in Fort Worth and became a Life Member. He is also a life member of National Museum of American Jewish Military History (NMAJMH). He served as Post Commander from 2005 to 2007 and received the Post Member of the Year Award in 2007. He served as Department Commander for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma (TALO) from 2012 to 2014 and National Executive Committee member from 2014 to 2016. He developed and organized two JWV Posts in Oklahoma City and Shreveport, Louisiana, in 2013 and a new Ladies Auxiliary in Fort Worth in 2016.
Barry has served as chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Committee, chairman of the Scouting Committee, vice chairman of the Youth Achievement Committee, Convention Committee member, Personnel Committee member, Resolutions Committee member, Awards Committee member, NMAJMH Representative and the JWV Representative at the annual Jewish Warrior Weekend at Texas A&M 2017 and 2018. Barry has been a lifelong Boy Scout. As a youth, he earned the Eagle Scout award and the Ner Tamid Jewish religious emblem. As an adult, he served as assistant district commissioner for BSA Transatlantic Council in Turkey and Morocco. He was awarded the Silver Beaver award for sustained exemplary service and the Shofar Jewish religious award for service to Jewish Scouting. Barry was selected to serve as a staff leader at several National Jamborees working in the Jewish emblems booth, director of the kosher kitchen and teaching Reading Merit Badge.
The Jewish Community is paramount to Barry. He was selected as the B’nai B’rith Jewish Person of the Year for Fort Worth and Tarrant County in 2010. He has served as president of Temple Beth Shalom in Arlington; president of Fort Worth chapter of B’nai B’rith; Campaign chairman and president of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County; president of Men’s Club Congregation Ahavath Shalom; vice president of the Tarrant County Hebrew Free Loan Society; and vice president of the B’nai B’rith and Tarrant County Senior Housing complex in Fort Worth.
Also, Barry has served as a board member of the Fort Worth Jewish Day School and the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Jewish Family Services. In addition, he serves as Fort Worth Citizens on Patrol with the police department. Barry was a founding board member of the Orchard Theatre of Texas, a nonprofit professional theater offering innovative and classic productions.
Barry earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State College in 1967, an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from South Dakota State University in 1976, an M.A. in Management from Webster University in 1986 and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 1996.
Barry was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He was married to Dolores (Finkelstein) for 49 years. Dolores passed away in 2015. They have two children, daughter Myla and son Eric, and two grandchildren. Myla and her husband Gary have two children, Eli and Coby.
Mazal Tov, Barry!

Submitted Photo
Rabbi Sidney and Vivian Zimelman

Added congratulations

Also, at the Jewish War Veterans National Convention, Fort Worth Rabbi Sidney Zimelman was named National Chaplain. He was appointed by National Commander Barry Schneider. For the past four years, he has been the chaplain of the four-state TALO and of course is the chaplain of the Martin Hochster Post 755.
As reported in the TJP in 2011 by Amy Sorter, Zimelman, 85, “has a long and colorful history — he was born in Poland and lived in Canada and Maine before entering a yeshiva in Brooklyn. In addition to receiving a bachelor’s degree from Yeshiva University and receiving his ordination and Doctor of Divinity at the Jewish Theological Society of America, Zimelman served his country as a chaplain in the United States Air Force base in Japan during the Vietnam years.
“Zimelman came to Texas after serving as rabbi at Congregation Agudat Achim (Schenectady, New York) and Congregation Adath Israel (Cincinnati, Ohio). After retiring from CAS in the late 1990s, Zimelman ended up at Temple Beth-El, though lives in the Overton Park area of Fort Worth. Now he serves as a rabbi on cruise ships from time to time. He is married to Vivian, is the father of Elana, Robin, Shari and Alyssa and has 10 grandchildren.”

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Around the Town: McCoy, Boys Choir

Posted on 24 August 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Save the date: Oct. 25 McCoy will lecture as Kornbleet Scholar

Yavilah McCoy, CEO of Dimensions Inc. in Boston, will be the 2018 Kornbleet Scholar. Ms. McCoy will speak on “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the American Jewish Community” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth. As a Jewish woman of color, educator and activist, McCoy has spent the past 20 years working extensively in multifaith communities and partnering specifically with the Jewish community to engage issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. A dessert reception will follow the lecture.

Know a boy who likes to sing?

Texas Boys Choir will launch its first community satellite choir, TBC @ TeSA, at Texas School of the Arts this fall. TBC @ TeSA is an after-school program offering boys in grades K-6 from any school an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of music literacy and healthy vocal technique, while also performing two to three times per year with the Grammy® award-winning Texas Boys Choir. The satellite choir will rehearse after school from September to May at Texas School of the Arts in Edgecliff Village, under the instruction of Dr. Jason Bishop, TBC artistic director, and Rachel Campbell, music director at Texas School of the Arts. Rehearsals begin Sept. 11 according to the following schedule: Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for grades K-3 and Thursdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. for grades 4-6.
Boys need not be students at TeSA in order to participate. Music teachers are invited and encouraged to recommend boys who may benefit from this experience. For more information on tuition, rehearsal schedule or registering for an audition, visit texasboyschoir.org/join/tesa. The deadline has been extended to Sept. 4.
For more information, email info@TexasBoysChoir.org.

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Horowitz blends architecture and sculpture

Horowitz blends architecture and sculpture

Posted on 01 August 2018 by admin

Photo: Robert LaPrelle
Etty Horowitz and her sculpture, Man with a Book, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 2017

 

By James Russell

Fort Worth artist Etty Horowitz and landscape architect Kevin Sloan have, for the past seven years, carefully designed a public art monument welcoming visitors to Fort Worth. The sign spelling out Fort Worth was slated to greet visitors at Interstate 30 and Eastchase Boulevard, next to Pantego Bible Church on the city’s far east side.

“It is almost as if they would see the Hollywood sign,” Horowitz said of the public art commission made from readily available materials, such as bricks from Fort Worth-based Acme Brick, steel and other materials part of the city’s identity, and placed atop recycled traffic barriers.

Envisioned as an old road to the west, it, unfortunately, after years of community meetings and conversations about the city’s identity — should it include cowboy hats and longhorns? –– hit a few of its own barriers along the way. The latest came when the Texas Department of Transportation recently halted the project, citing plans to expand the highway onto the land. As of a year ago, the project is no longer considered a “designated gateway,” instead a “monument, landscape and art” project greeting drivers from the north at State Highway 121 west of Maxine Street and east of Beach Street.

The challenge now is fitting the original plan situated on a hill onto a flat and narrow surface.

So, now, the Israeli-born artist may have to redesign the project. As she waits, however, she still has plenty of other commissions to work on.

Horowitz was trained as an architect and has created public art installations for the past 20-plus years; her architectural background drew her to building sculptures.

Among her latest is a set of life-size abstract sculptures at the new Boulder Draw Park in Frisco. The black-and-white cartoon-like statues are flat but three-dimensional. Completed in December 2016 and abutting James R. Newman Elementary School, the 10 sculptures were commissioned by the city of Frisco. The doodles also include a family of three, two boys with a ball and others. They were installed in 2017.

Typically, when people consider public art, they think about a single monumental work. The works may be grand, but they are not interactive. In some cases, sculptures in parks also distract from the natural environment. Horowitz convinced Frisco city officials that the best design would be human-sized, black-and-white sculptures designed for interaction.

“When they are human-size, people can interact with them,” she said.

The one-inch thick metal statues were designed and fabricated on a computer as part of her practice of incorporating technology into her work.

The doodles were inspired by Alexander Calder’s doodle drawings, as well as the works of Julian Opie.

The doodle figures are interactive and spark conversation.

“We are in a digital time,” she said. “Sculpture has advanced in so many ways, with now different ways to make bronzes.”

Public art is inherently interactive. Horowitz wants to bring art to the people in public spaces, where people are more likely to see it. Public art, like a building, is an inherent part of the built environment.

The final work is as interactive as the process for her. She interacts with people during the process, too, with other architects, engineers and fabricators. “It’s a team effort,” she said.

For another project commissioned by the Fort Worth Public Art commission, Horowitz met with neighborhoods in southwest Fort Worth for input on a sculpture for the Chisholm Trail Community Center. Ocean of Grass is a prominent feature made of steel tubes placed in front of the metal entrance of the otherwise average brick and mortar community center. At the entrance of the center, the intertwining and twisting stainless steel tubes look like prairie land. The design was the result of hearing neighbors talk about the region’s vast prairie.

Sometimes Horowitz does not just listen. She talks, too.

Last summer, officials with the Kimbell Art Museum approached her to speak as part of its The Artist’s Eye series. Moderated by Kimbell staff, artists and architects relate their works to a work in the general collection. Horowitz discussed the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian’s influence on her work. She chose Abstraction, an oil painting that is part of his grid painting series of black, white, red, yellow and blue horizontal and vertical lines.

Her interest in the work highlighted the relationship between art, architecture and outdoor sculpture. She also mentioned Louis Kahn, the late Jewish architect who designed the Kimbell’s iconic first building.

She described the work from an architect’s point of view, looking at the composition and balance. “When you study art, you are looking at the principles of design,” she said.

She created a plastic sculpture, Man with Book, similar to one of the Frisco sculptures, and brought it to the museum, where it is displayed and installed outside the museum near the water.

Horowitz is working on two new pieces of sculptures: a set of works small enough to fit on an easel and smaller sculptures of the doodle figures. The smaller doodle figures stand at about 1 foot. They are intimate enough where you still interact with them. The new work is appropriate for gallery or museum spaces spaces, yet still interactive.

The miniature doodle has taken on all sorts of colors. “When it is black with holes, this is a skeletal structure. It’s routine. Then the colors are inserted, perhaps according to the day. One day, they could be blue; on another day, pink. They are serious but fun, whimsical and intuitive,” she said. “I love to work intuitively. Every time I think more than I should, the result is not good.”

She added, “Along my artistic life, abstract figures have always been there. I go back to them. I am a social person and like being with people,” she said. “I chose architecture as a profession because it is a field for people, where you are providing a service for people.”

 

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‘Voices & Visions’: art paired with thought

‘Voices & Visions’: art paired with thought

Posted on 20 June 2018 by admin

Submitted photo
Some images from the “Voices and Visions” exhibit, pairing contemporary artists and designers with powerful quotes from Jewish thinkers. The exhibit was created by Beth-El’s Art Committee and can be viewed through the end of August.

 

Beth-El’s Art Committee has curated a unique display that pairs contemporary artists and designers with powerful quotes from Jewish thinkers. The exhibit can be viewed in the Temple Board Room from June through the end of August and is open to the community.
“Voices and Visions” was inspired by the Container Corporation of America’s “Great Ideas” series. Launched as an ad campaign in the 1950s, the Container Corporation paired famous quotes and graphic design, and published images monthly across the United States. In a short time, the campaign moved away from advertising and become an art phenomenon.
In 1993, a collector and appreciator of “Great Ideas,” Harold Grinspoon, founded the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, a North American Jewish nonprofit organization with the goal of enhancing Jewish community life in North America. In late 2012, “Voices and Visions” released its debut Masters Series, a collection of 18 images that pairs leading figures of contemporary art and design with powerful quotes from Jewish thinkers.
Among Grinspoon’s many other highly regarded programs is the PJ Library, which provides U.S. Jewish children with age-appropriate books highlighting Jewish holidays, values, Bible stories and folklore. There is also an Israeli version of the PJ Library, Sifriyat Pijama, which gifts books in Hebrew each month to more than 100,000 preschoolers in about 4,000 preschools throughout Israel.

— Submitted by
Arlene Reynolds

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Son’s bar mitzvah paved O’Desky’s cantorial path

Posted on 31 May 2018 by admin

By Hollace Ava Weiner

It’s a rare person who can chant from parchment texts and translate high-tech data. Monica O’Desky, who will become an ordained cantor June 2, is just such a person — a Torah scholar and a software engineer who operates an IT company called Netunim, which is Hebrew for data.
O’Desky kept her Texas computing company running while she commuted the past three years to classes at Hebrew College near Boston.
“It was a bit of a schlep,” she says. “I got up around 5 a.m. and worked before I got started on my studies.” O’Desky’s combination of ancient and modern skills culminated with her master’s thesis: a computer program (already being utilized) that teaches musical interpretations of Hebrew liturgy.
The toggling of high-tech and Torah texts is not Monica’s only innovation. A longtime member at Beth-El, she organized a volunteer choir, Shir Halleluyah, in the 1990s that fueled her hunger to learn about Jewish music and understand why and when specific melodies are chanted. In the 2000s, Monica started a Saturday morning Torah study group, which still meets religiously at 9 a.m., whether or not she’s in town. More recently, she orchestrated the formation of Klezzoup!, a troupe of local musicians who perform Yiddish melodies on brass, strings and woodwinds.
“We have a strong talent pool here,” says the 62-year-old Chicago native who grew up in Toledo and moved to Fort Worth in 1982 as a single woman with $200 in the bank and a master’s degree in technical writing. She landed a job at the local medical school, wrote its five-year academic computing plan, got married and gave birth to a son, Eli Holley.
O’Desky’s journey back to the future began 16 years ago, when Eli began studying for his bar mitzvah under the guidance of Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger and Sheri Allen, then a soloist and now a cantor.
“My son and I were a reverse l’dor v’dor,” she said, using the Hebrew phrase that means from one generation to the next. “Eli announced he wanted a bar mitzvah, and I studied with him. The more we studied, the more I was fascinated by the cantillation, the interpretations and the history.”
When she was growing up in Toledo, O’Desky, an alto with a broad musical range, loved to sing but stopped performing when a tonsillectomy damaged her vocal cords. As a mom, she began chanting Hebrew prayers with Eli, then soloed at Shabbat services and accepted invitations to lead bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies.
Encouraged, she auditioned for choral groups and joined the Fort Worth Symphony Festival Chorus in performances of Chichester Psalms, Beethoven’s Ninth, Carmina Burana and George Takei’s Sci-Fi Spectacular. At the American Airlines Center in Dallas, she was in the choral backup twice when legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli performed. (“What a thrill.”)
When New York Cantor Bruce Ruben, director of the School of Sacred Music at Hebrew Union College, came to Beth-El to chant during the High Holidays in 2009, he urged O’Desky to audition for cantorial school.
“He was keen for me to audition at HUC, the Reform seminary, but I discovered we were not a good fit. It wasn’t academic enough for me. I’m a researcher, a scientist at heart. I want to know why.” She wanted more than a Reform Jewish school of music. “I heard about Hebrew College in the Boston area and came to take their Ta Sh’ma, their ‘look-and-listen’ session. The school had just launched a three-year cantorial ordination program wrapped around a master’s in Jewish education.”
That fit O’Desky’s vision. She was one of only three applicants accepted.
“The school is pluralistic,” she explained, “meaning it covers all streams of Judaism, not just Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. I fell in love with the program, the people and the idea.”
The main obstacle was Hebrew. She knew the basics because she had gone to Hebrew school while growing up in Toledo. But for cantorial school, applicants need to be at “Hebrew 4 level,” comparable to four semesters of liturgical Hebrew. O’Desky was at level 2.
“That’s like reading Beowulf in English,” she sighed. “When you learn a language in your 50s, it’s an adventure. I wouldn’t have made it without Batya Brand,” the Israeli-born educator and sage who formerly headed the Fort Worth Hebrew Day School. When Brand moved to New Jersey, the pair studied on Skype.
To further bone up on Hebrew, O’Desky enrolled in Hebrew College’s Masters in Jewish Studies program, a rabbinical track. “We studied the same things as rabbinical students — Talmud, Mishnah, Hebrew and lifecycle events (doing weddings, bar mitzvahs, funerals, baby namings).”
Because cantorial students have no classes during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they go to work. Abilene’s Temple Mitzpah hired O’Desky in 2016 as “kol bo,” meaning “cantor, rabbi, Torah reader, sermon giver, you name it.” The High Holidays stint turned into a year-round position, with Monica commuting 150 miles from Fort Worth to Abilene every four to six weeks. She got rave reviews from the Abilene Reporter-News for her interfaith work in West Texas.
She has also been a weekend scholar-in-residence at Longview’s Temple Emanu-El, an East Texas congregation. On several occasions, she led events for the Texas Jewish Historical Society, which considers her an honorary member.
What’s next now that O’Desky has earned the title of “cantor” and two more master’s degrees? She plans to slow down, catch her breath and see what comes along. Her son, Eli, now 28, has a master’s in government and conflict resolution from Israel’s Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. He joined the Texas National Guard and is assigned to an overseas intelligence group.
O’Desky resumed using her maiden name in January. “It felt right to be ordained as Monica O’Desky,” she said. Although the surname has an Irish lilt, it was derived from her family’s roots in the Black Sea port of Odessa.
“The story goes that when my father’s brothers came to America. Too many Ukrainian Jews were pouring in. So, they made themselves an Irish name for a better chance. So here we are.”
A newly minted Jewish cantor with an Irish rhythm to her name.

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Around the Town: Goldman Dinner, WWII Info

Posted on 24 May 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Annual Goldman Dinner
honors youngest daughter

Beth-El’s Men of Reform Judaism’s (MRJ) annual Mickey Goldman Spaghetti Dinner was held March 25 with one of the largest turnouts in the event’s history. The 2018 honoree, Carol Minker, Goldman’s youngest daughter, brought a large contingent of family and friends from near and far to help her celebrate.
The Mickey Goldman Spaghetti Dinner is legendary. Mickey, who died 45 years ago, would prepare spaghetti sauce from scratch and provide a family meal “with all the fixin’s” for the congregation. After he passed away, the Men of Reform Judaism continued the traditional dinner in Mickey’s memory. Thirty-three years ago, the MRJ added an honoree to the celebration — the person who most exemplifies Mickey Goldman’s spirit.
Twenty-six Goldman family members gathered in Fort Worth for a weekend-long reunion/celebration to remember their dad, grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as to celebrate Minker, who has helped her dad’s spirit live on through her own good works. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
In her remarks, Minker said how overwhelmed she was to see so many family and friends at the gathering. She was especially proud that her children, Melissa and Scott, and their families were in attendance.
With regard to her husband, she added, “Richie… has carried on the good deeds of Mickey Goldman by not only serving as president of Beth-El, but also he continues to work behind the scenes to help Beth-El move forward. Without his love and constant support, I would not have been able to do half of what I have done to carry on my mother’s and father’s legacy.”
In closing, Minker summed up her hopes for those in attendance which captured the spirit of her father. “Take a little bit of Mickey Goldman with you too, and each week, show compassion to someone in need, offer a kind word to a complete stranger and make someone feel better by doing a random act of kindness.”
Congratulations, Carol, for continuing the legacy of your mom and dad. The Fort Worth Jewish community and community at large are the beneficiaries of your service.

Wanted, information
on WWII Soldiers KIA

During World War II, Fort Worth mourned five Jewish soldiers killed in action. The Fort Worth Jewish Archives has a great deal of information about two of the young men, but very little about the other three.
Perhaps publishing the few facts we have unearthed will lead to readers who recall these casualties. An honor roll scroll listing 226 Jewish GIs from Tarrant County has a gold star next to their names, indicating their wartime deaths.
• TEC4 Richard H. Burt, 19, died in Belgium Sept. 8, 1944, a day after being wounded in battle. A native of Los Angeles, Richard Burt was a graduate of Fort Worth’s Poly High School. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Burt, and sister, Elaine, lived at 3505 Rosedale. His brother, TEC5 Warren Burt, served with an armored unit in France. When Fort Worth’s B’nai B’rith lodge held a memorial service to honor fallen soldiers, Richard Burt’s name was on the handbill publicizing the service.
• Staff Sgt. Walter C. Sanders, 19, died June 26, 1944, in Italy. He was a nose gunner with the 449th Bomb Group that was based in Italy and flew missions into contested skies over Hungary. Walter Sanders’ parents, Henry and Francoise Becker Sanders, lived at 1103 S. Henderson. The soldier’s remains were repatriated in December 1948 and placed in a mausoleum at Greenwood Memorial Park. A Jewish chaplain officiated at his funeral. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he was survived by his son and namesake, Walter Charles Sanders Jr. The soldier’s name is on a yahrzeit plaque at Beth-El Congregation.
• TEC5 Saul Mark, 30, lived in Terrell in Kaufman County. His family was affiliated with Congregation Ahavath Sholom. He is buried in Ahavath Sholom’s cemetery next to two fellow soldiers, Alvin Rubin and Harold Gilbert. The trio have identical tombstones. Each grave marker is embedded with a photo of the deceased. Mark was survived by his mother, Ester Rachel Mark, an immigrant, who died in 1953, and his father, Russian-born Sam Mark, who resided at 4813 Hildring Drive when he died in 1963. The soldier had two brothers, Phillip Mark and Hymie Mark of Dallas, and four sisters, Ann (Louis) Cohen of Fort Worth; Rose (Walter) Baross of Dallas, Fannie (Jake) Alexander of Irving, and Mollie Mondkowiez of Los Angeles.
• Alvin Rubin, 22, and Harold Gilbert, 22, were sons of well-known Jewish mercantile families that came to Fort Worth in the late 19th and early 20th century. The city’s Rubin-Gilbert AZA chapter was named in their memory. The Gilbert family donated to the archives all correspondence related to Harold’s death on a troopship torpedoed as it crossed the English Channel on Christmas Eve 1944. Flight Officer Alvin Rubin was in the cockpit of a B-24 that crashed on take-off from Dakar, French West Africa, March 25, 1944.
— Submitted by
Hollace Weiner

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Around the Town: Israel @ 70 Gala, Art Salon: Len Schweitzer

Around the Town: Israel @ 70 Gala, Art Salon: Len Schweitzer

Posted on 16 May 2018 by admin

Compiled by: Sharon Wisch-Ray

Event Committee: Naomi Rosenfield, Rivka Marco, Diane Kleinman, Rich Hollander, Rachel Yaacobi, Shoshana Howard, Monica O’Desky

A night to celebrate Israel

Some 300 people attended the Israel@70 Gala. The celebraton was sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Foundation of the Jewish Federation, the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation, Harold Gernsbacher, Ben and Suzie Herman, Jeffrey and Linda Hochster, Rich and Terri Hollander, Isadore Garsek Lodge of B’nai B’rith, Stuart and Rebecca Isgur, Sam and Diane Kleinman, Monica O’Desky, Mark and Naomi Rosenfield, Sendara Title, and Tarrant County B’nai B’rith Housing. Members of the Host Committee were Julie Berman, Rabbi Andrew and Michal Bloom, Marc and Jane Cohen, Rabbi Charlie and Adena Cytron-Walker, Al Faigin, Robert and Phyllis Fenton, Red and Julie Goldstein, Bill and Noreen Houston, Ben and Shoshana Isgur, Karen Kaplan, Teddy and Shirry Knitel, Kurt and Ilana Knust, Ebi and Linda Lavi, Harold and Marcia Malofsky, Corey and Neta Mandel, Dale and Posey McMillen, Marcy Paul, Michael and Beverly Ross, Robert and Cindy Simon, Cheryl Visosky and Rabbi Brian and Mimi Zimmerman.

Art Salon: Len Schweitzer

As part of the The Global Lens of Len Schweitzer, an exhibit featuring his landscape photography from his worldwide travels on display at Beth-El Congregation since February 2018, the Temple will hold an Art Salon from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, in the Boardroom.
Having recently returned from revisiting Scotland — one of his favorite venues — Schweitzer will share his impressions of the snow-covered Northwest Highlands, set in a landscape of open moorlands. He will also discuss and answer questions about the approaches, techniques, and processes he uses to capture the varied, evocative works featured in his exhibit.
Art salons date back to Paris in 1667 as an opportunity for artists, art lovers and others to gather, network and exchange ideas about art. Beth-El began holding its Art Salon in 2015.

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