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Dallas Doings: Beth Torah, DATA of Plano

Posted on 19 December 2018 by admin

Beth Torah introducing two calming services

Congregation Beth Torah will kick off 2019 by experimenting with two new services: a contemplative Friday night service and a Saturday morning yoga minyan.
“We live our whole week racing from one activity to the next,” Rabbi Elana Zelony said. “By the time Shabbat arrives, our minds are still zooming at their weekday pace.” Zelony added that people need help to slow down, focus and savor the worship experience.
“The rabbis of the Talmud used to prepare themselves for prayer by meditating for an hour first,” Zelony explained. “Beth Torah is giving this tradition a modern interpretation.” CBT hopes that by creating opportunities for centering and calming worship the traditional prayers will become more accessible.
The Friday night contemplative service will create a quiet space for self-reflection and relaxation. Participants will begin their experience with a walking meditation surrounded by soft lighting and beautiful music.
During Kabbalat Shabbat, worshippers can choose between singing the Psalms that welcome the Sabbath or a seated meditation. Sermons will be rooted in Chasidic and Mussar texts. Chasidic texts explore spiritual revival, and Mussar texts focus on developing positive character traits. Services will conclude with traditional Ma’ariv prayers followed by refreshments.
The yoga minyan will be taught by Debbi Levy, who also teaches yoga classes at the JCC and Temple Emanu-El. Participants will start their Shabbat morning with an hour of yoga before joining the congregation for the Torah service and Musaf.
No prior yoga experience is needed. All ages are welcome, although children need to be old enough to focus and contribute to a calm environment. Participants should bring a yoga mat or towel for comfort and wear comfortable but modest clothing, as they will be in the synagogue.
The contemplative services will be held at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and March 8. The yoga minyan will be held at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 5, Feb. 2 and March 2. If the services are well received by the community, they will continue in the future.
For more information, please contact
“So many people are anxious and depressed today. Judaism is rich in traditions that help people cope with these emotions,” Zelony said. “By offering these two new services we can connect people to ancient wisdom through modern methods.”

—Submitted by
Jessie Taper

DATA of Plano expands

DATA of Plano, a community synagogue and Jewish education center, is expanding.
Established in 2001 and located in a shopping center on the southwest corner of Parker and Independence in central Plano, DATA of Plano has burgeoned from a small mom-and-pop style synagogue to an all-inclusive Jewish engagement center offering learning opportunities for Jews of all levels.
The current expansion project, which began earlier this fall, is slated to increase the capacity by at least 50 percent. The project includes the design and construction of an all-new dedicated children’s programming wing to house the Hebrew school and various other student programs. The plans also include an expanded sanctuary and social hall to accommodate the frequently overflowing crowds.

—Submitted by
Eli Nissel

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Dallas Doings: Andrew Goldstien, Mr. Rajunov, Bryan Rigg

Posted on 19 December 2018 by admin

Andrew Goldstein vies for Jewish Star Talent Search Top 6

Teen musician Andrew Goldstein, son of Dana and Jonathan Goldstein of McKinney, was selected as one of the top 12 in Jewish Rock Radio’s Jewish Star Talent Search.
The Jewish Star Talent Search is a competition organized by Jewish Rock Radio to identify emerging young Jewish artists in the North American Jewish community who have a passion and desire to impact the Jewish world. Many teens and young adults auditioned.
A panel of international celebrity music artists judged the auditions, selecting the 12 finalists based on their vocal and instrumental skill, overall performance skills and passion for impacting the Jewish world.
Six grand prize winners will be selected in a public vote that lasts through Dec. 17. The winners will receive a prize package designed to help launch their musical careers, including:
• Private mentorship from a nationally recognized Jewish celebrity recording artist.
• A professional studio recording session to record an original composition or a cover song from a preapproved list of Jewish music artists.
• International exposure highlighting winner artists on an exclusive Jewish Rock Radio show broadcasting the songs recorded by prize winners.
• An all-expenses-paid trip to attend the 2019 Songleader Bootcamp National Conference in February in St. Louis to receive coaching and skills training from the judges: Beth Schafer, Julie Silver, Rick Recht, Josh Nelson, Sheldon Low and Nefesh Mountain. Prize winners will also be featured and perform live at the conference.
Andrew, 14, started beat boxing at 7, playing guitar at 9 and wrote his first song — a Mi Chamocha setting — at 10.
“Our congregation and our Jewish community are lucky to have Andrew’s family as active and dedicated as they are. While music is Andrew’s expression, Judaism is his soul,” Adat Chaverim Rabbi Benjamin Sternman told TJP contributor Deb Silverthorn in June 2017. “He’s an absolute joy, always pushing for more. Given the opportunity, post-bar mitzvah, to study Torah with me, rather than in Hebrew class, Andrew does so wanting to learn more about Torah and its meaning.”
To vote, visit At press time, Andrew had garnered 1,030 votes.
Among the Jewish Star contest supporters are Dallasites Jarrod Beck, Kevin Pailet and Manuel Rajunov, according to the organization’s website.

Mr. Rajunov goes to the White House

Manny Rajunov of Frisco attended the afternoon Hanukkah reception at the White House Dec. 7. Rajunov is the AIPAC Dallas Executive Council chair.
Rajunov explained that for him, an immigrant from Mexico and a Jew, being at the White House was an impactful experience.
“When you are there, in the moment, you realize how fortunate we are to live in a country where Jews are as openly accepted as Americans while, at the same time, we as Jews have returned to our homeland in Israel to build a vibrant and dynamic society that, in partnership with America, has become a true ‘Light unto the Nations,’” Rajunov said. “The U.S.-Israel relationship was in full display that night, and I was very proud of it.”
At the earlier Hanukkah reception, President Donald Trump recognized eight Holocaust survivors, remarking they had experienced “evil beyond description.”
At both ceremonies, Trump mentioned the deadliest attack in American Jewish history at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 Jewish worshippers were killed by a lone gunman during Shabbat-morning services Oct. 27.
He said that in the shooting’s aftermath, “we reaffirmed our solemn duty to confront anti-Semitism everywhere” and that we “must stamp out this vile hatred from the world.”

Bryan Rigg to speak at Beth Torah breakfast

Bryan Rigg, author of “Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers,” will be the guest speaker at the Congregation Beth Torah Men’s Club breakfast Sunday, Dec. 16.
Rigg, a veteran of both the Israeli army and U.S. Marine Corps, has written several books based on his groundbreaking examination of Jews who fought for Germany in World War II. He also wrote the upcoming “Flamethrower,” the story of Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, who won the Medal of Honor at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
Everyone is welcome at the lox-and-bagel breakfast, which begins at 9:30 a.m. and costs $10; $5 for students.
Beth Torah is located at 720 W. Lookout Drive in Richardson.

—Submitted by
Michael Precker

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Dallas Doings: Schultz, Hadassah

Dallas Doings: Schultz, Hadassah

Posted on 05 December 2018 by admin

Photo: JFGD
Recently returning from Israel as part of the Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellows program were: front row from left, Peta Silansky (Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas), Lisa Kramer Morgan (Akiba Academy), Andi Bonner (Akiba Academy), Pam Karpel (Levine Academy), Adriana Meyerovitz (Akiba Academy) and Dafna Rubinstein (JCC Dallas); back row, Ari Bar-Ilan (tour educator, Giant Leaps), Dani Meyerovitz (Akiba Academy), Dan Tatar (iCenter), Josh Goldstein (JCC Dallas), Daniel Taylor (JCC Dallas), Lynda McInnes (Levine Academy), Julie Wilkofsky (Levine Academy), Yael Twito (Levine Academy) and Tara Ohayon (JCC Dallas).

Schultz Educational Leadership Fellows tour Israel

The Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellows latest cohort recently returned from a 10-day immersive Israel experience Oct. 8-18.
This fourth cohort of Schultz Fellows — a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education — includes a combination of administrators, faculty members and lay leaders from Akiba Academy of Dallas, Ann & Nate Levine Academy and the Aaron Family JCC.
Representing Akiba are Andi Bonner, Adriana Meyerovitz, Dani Meyerovitz and Lisa Kramer Morgan. Levine educators are Pam Karpel, Lynda McInnes, Yael Twito and Julie Wilkofsky. The JCC sent Josh Goldstein, Tara Ohayon, Dafna Rubenstein and Daniel Taylor. In addition, Dan Tatar of the iCenter and Peta Silansky of the Federation participated.
The opening ceremony in Israel allowed the Fellows to leave the hustle and bustle of their daily lives back home, immerse themselves in the experience, mark the importance of the next few days in Israel and sanctify the moment for themselves and in memory of visionary philanthropist Leslie Schultz, of blessed memory.
The group prepared for several months by exploring the culture of Israel education and the infusion of Israel throughout their institution’s learning environment through shared cultural values. The Israel experience mirrored their learning and provided an opportunity for the Fellows to gain insights and varied perspectives of Israel.
Thoughtful relationships were formed as they connected with educational leaders in Dallas’s Partnership Region of the Western Galilee. The programming and speakers motivated and inspired the group with their educational strategies and value-based initiatives, which are being implemented daily to motivate and guide their youth.
The Fellows delved into the question of how you effectively and responsibly share diverse narratives and perspectives with our learners.
“You can’t put your heart in Israel until you put your feet in Israel,” Morgan said.
Exploring communal and individual values was enhanced by meeting former NCAA and Israeli professional basketball star Tamir Goodman. He shared and introduced his vision of engaging Jewish youth through sports. He talked about how keeping his dedication to his values was a priority throughout his career.
Leading by example, staying true to core values and overcoming obstacles are just a few of the lessons learned by this group of leaders.
“We are grateful for this immersive leadership training and Israel education that will benefit the Dallas Jewish community well into the future,” Adriana Meyerovitz said. “We eagerly look ahead knowing that all that we’ve learned can be effectively applied, thereby capitalizing on the vast potential of our vibrant community.”
For more information about the Schultz Fellows, contact Silansky
The Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellows is made possible by the Schultz Family Foundation.

—Submitted by
Jon Cronson

Dallas Hadassah slates two events

Dallas Chapter of Hadassah will present a program at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10, to learn about miracles created through the collaboration of Hebrew University and Hadassah.
Guest speaker is Ambassador Yossi Dahl, Hebrew University vice president of advancement and external relations. Games, songs, door prizes and Hanukkah snacks will be featured.
The chapter will install its 2019 board and present the Sarah Mendel Susman Award from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec.13, at The Bonaventure, 5200 Keller Springs Road. Incoming president is Elise Power. Contact or 214-691-1948 to RSVP or for information on either event or for a ride to the events.

—Submitted by
Shirley Frankl

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Dallas Doings: Waldman, Breast Cancer, JWV

Dallas Doings: Waldman, Breast Cancer, JWV

Posted on 26 September 2018 by admin

Compiled By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Waldman receives award for corporate citizenship

IMA Texas President Steve Waldman recently was recognized by D CEO Magazine’s Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards for Leadership Excellence. The inaugural award received more than 300 nominations and recognized winners in 11 different categories.
“Our community can benefit from strong leaders, and I want to pay it forward,” Waldman said. “I think we are sent here for a purpose and that we all have an obligation to make the world a better place.”
Waldman was recognized by the publication for his many community efforts, including his work helping raise more than $70 million for a capital campaign benefiting the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance. With an estimated 900 hours of volunteer leadership, Waldman’s support to the museum will help the organization double its annual visitor attendance and mission impact.
Waldman has also given his time to the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, Texas Friends of Rabin Medical Center, Congregation Shearith Israel and the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas. He has also participated with the Lone Star Chapter of the National MS Society.
At IMA of Dallas, which employs nearly 100 associates locally, he’s made community involvement part of the company’s DNA, exemplified most recently when 584 service hours were donated to the Dallas Zoo.
“I’m honored to be an inaugural recipient of D CEO Magazine’s Corporate Citizenship Awards,” Waldman said. “I would encourage everyone to find a cause they believe in and volunteer.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Program

Temple Emanu-El will host a program on screening, prevention and the early detection of breast cancer, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the synagogue, 8500 Hillcrest Road in Dallas.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the event is free and open to the public.
Panelists for “Breast Cancer Awareness: What Everyone Needs to Know,” are Dr. Archana Ganaraj (breast surgeon, Texas Breast Specialists, Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas), Stacy “Sam” Utay (board-certified genetic counselor specializing in cancer genetics at Medical City Dallas), Dr. Joanne L. Blum (breast oncologist and head of the hereditary cancer program at Baylor, Scott & White Hospital), and Meredith Grossfeld (patient).
For information, contact Celia Saunders at

Photo: Paul Licker
From left, Jewish War Veterans Post 256 Senior Vice Commander Jim Walsh, Leon Rubenstein and JWV Commander Steve Krant during an event at which Rubenstein was presented with a Distinguished Medal of Merit for his fund-raising efforts on Sept. 23.

JWV Update

World War II Navy veteran Leon Rubenstein, a longtime member of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA, was presented with a Distinguished Medal of Merit medallion and a certificate for his extraordinary fund-raising efforts benefiting Dallas-area hospitalized and homeless veterans.
The Sept. 23 ceremony, conducted by Commander Steve Krant, took place during the post’s monthly “Bagels & Lox” breakfast meeting at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.
Rubenstein, who saw action aboard a Navy destroyer in the Pacific, and two other World War II veteran Post 256 members were recognized by Dallas Jewish Film Festival hosts during the Sept. 15 screening of “GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II.”
Also recognized were Maury Schermann, a veteran of the Army Air Corps, and former Air Force Captain Dick Lethe, a fighter pilot during the Korean conflict.
The audience gave the trio a round of appreciative applause.
The post was a community partner for the screening.

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Kollinger continues his love affair with food

Kollinger continues his love affair with food

Posted on 29 August 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy of Waylon Tate
Jeffrey Kollinger is happiest in the kitchen.

By Shari Goldstein Stern

Some babies are born with a silver spoon. Some are born with a 14-karat ladle. Could anyone argue that if you can make a living doing what you love, it’s a keinehora? Such is the case with chef and entrepreneur Jeffrey Kollinger, who not only adores his work but gets to eat it, too.
With more than 30 years of experience in culinary design, event creation, catering and restaurant management, Kollinger has worked with Houston’s, Brookhaven Country Club, Arcadoro/Pomodoro and the Fairmont Hotel. He spent 10 years at the Mansion on Turtle Creek working, learning from and channeling Dean Fearing.
And he’s also a cancer survivor.
Kollinger is a founder and CEO of Innovative Hospitality Group (IHG). This is the parent company of Managed Food Services, which provides food services to office buildings, The Spice of Life Catering and Tillman’s Bishop Arts (formerly Tillman’s Roadhouse). He will contribute his time and gourmand skills as celebrity chef at a benefit supporting this year’s Love for Kids fundraiser, Palette to Palate.
The event is billed as “Stetsons & Stilettos II” and will take place from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Longhorn Ballroom in Downtown Dallas.
“Jeffrey contributes his name and background,” said Sandy Huffman, Love for Kids chair of the board-president and Palette to Palate event adviser. “He has qualities of what every chef should be. He has the image of a celebrity chef. A big personality. Everyone loves him.”
Kollinger’s interest in volunteering again for this year’s event is largely due to his affection for kids. “Putting a smile on kids’ faces is humbling,” he said. This gives him an opportunity to do what he loves best while helping kids who need the help.
His own kids are Clayton, 14, and Ryan, 12. Only Ryan is a foodie who enjoys cooking. Kollinger’s wife, Melinda Segal Kollinger, said, “Why would I cook when I’m married to a chef?”
“Cheffrey,” as his family likes to call him, said, “We’ve got two killer pets. Rocko is a chocolate Goldendoodle. Rowdy is a Whoodle (Wheaten Standard Poodle). They each weigh 80 pounds. They’re both gorgeous, and they follow us everywhere. They sleep on whatever parts of the bed they darn well feel like.”
Kollinger is a native Dallasite who attended the Greenhill School before transferring to a boarding school in Boston. He graduated from Hillcrest High School before attending The University of Texas at Austin and Southwest Texas State.
“I know I had food in my DNA from the beginning,” Kollinger said. “I was a foodie my whole life. My parents had a big dining table seating 14 where they would serve big dinner parties. I always loved food and everything food-related.”
Kollinger loved to cook from an early age. “I loved making sandwiches of all types and I called them ‘sammys,’” he reminisced. “Now I include sammys on my catering menu for casual events.”
Kollinger is the CEO of The Spice of Life Catering, a high-end catering company that has impressed DFW businesses for more than 36 years, accommodating large galas, corporate retreats and intimate gatherings. A few of the well-known names Spice of Life has served include Mark Cuban, Pat and Emmitt Smith, Craig and Ambassador Kathryn Hall, George Clooney and some presidents. Other affairs have been catered for government agencies; the city of Dallas; mayors; The Weitzman Group; nonprofit agencies; and many more well-recognized businesses and businesspeople.
“I’m so humbled by opportunities I’ve had to work with so many interesting people and events,” Kollinger said.
In his most recent role, Kollinger purchased the iconic Tillman’s Roadhouse in Oak Cliff, where he serves as CEO. Tillman’s is a staple in the historic Bishop Arts District. To more accurately describe the trendy location, the restaurateur changed the name to Tillman’s Bishop Arts and it offers an inviting, relaxed atmosphere with impeccable food and cocktails. He is currently looking to expand the brand to other locations.
“Tillman’s attracts a blend of all generations who enjoy the thriving new community in and around the area,” Kollinger said. “The menus speak to different generations with a compelling palate. Younger patrons want a lot of taste but not a lot of food,” he explained.
No campfire is needed for the Tableside S’mores. Everything Kollinger serves is from scratch, even the marshmallows and graham crackers that accompany the dark chocolate bark. Not your overnight camp s’mores.
Repeat patrons begged Kollinger to bring back their beloved Tater Tots, which he eliminated because they weren’t up to his standards. The carry-over morsels were reincarnated Cheffery-style as Goat Cheese Truffle Tater Tots with Jalapeño Lemon Garlic Aioli. A menu favorite, they are cooked to order, served as a baker’s dozen and have a serious following.
“Chic cuisine” is the way Kollinger describes the menu with items like Pecan Crusted Okra served with Three-Olive Remoulade. For Restaurant Week this year, Tillman’s menu included items like Shiner Bock and Roast Brisket Soup and Tillman’s “Famous” Chicken-Fried Steak, which is made with filet mignon.
Kollinger has his finger on the pulse of Dallas’ Jewish community. He runs the kitchens at Congregation Shearith Israel; he sits on the boards of Shearith, Greenhill, and others; he caters events for Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas; and he’s one of the area’s go-to guys for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and other special events. Between his restaurant and services, he employs about 50-60. Of that number, Tillman’s has a staff of 15. It’s not unusual for Spice of Life to serve as many as 2,000-4,000 at an event. They once served 10,000.
Kollinger earned the Taste of Dallas 2018 Award for Best Dish in Dallas; and Culturemap Tastemaker Awards for being among the top 10 chefs in Dallas in 2018. Spice of Life won the 2016 Best of Carrollton award and has been recognized by Consumer Choice Awards; D Weddings’ list of caterers; and Dallas Business Journal’s Largest Metroplex Catering Companies. Kollinger is a frequent guest on WFAA’s Good Morning Texas.
The chef was diagnosed with and recovered from metastatic malignant melanoma stage 4 tumor thrombus and was put on an experimental drug. He was out most of the year while Melinda took a sabbatical from work to take care of him.
“I’m lucky to come back,” Kollinger said. “I love every day. I have a happy home life. I’m so grateful for my great wife and children. I’m happy because I survived when I shouldn’t have. I’m humbled by being here. I’m humbled by the trust clients have in me.
“I’m living my true passion. I never get tired of cooking. My good fortune is to make my living this way. I’m so fortunate my work lets me be and flourish in my life. With the most wonderful family anyone could hope for, I’m a fortunate guy all the way around.”
For additional information on Palette to Palate and Love for Kids, contact, or visit
For more information on Spice of Life and Tillman’s Bishop Arts, visit:,

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Dallas Doings: Hillel, Eli Block, Pam Rollins, Stephanie Blumenthal

Posted on 24 August 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Hillels of North Texas welcomes UNT Hillel staff

Hillel at the University of North Texas expects to grow substantially this year as Hillels of North Texas invests more resources into its programs, student engagement and staff. This summer, with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Hillels of North Texas hired Jen Weintraub to serve as full-time engagement associate for Hillel at UNT.
Weintraub is originally from Los Angeles and is the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. She has been a strong advocate for Jewish campus life since her time at Manhattanville College in Westchester, New York, where she started Hillel on her campus as part of Hillels of Westchester. After graduation, she worked with many Hillels through StandWithUs, teaching her peers about Israel.
She is thrilled to join Hillels of North Texas and the Dallas Jewish community. “I am so excited to be bringing my background of Israel education and engagement to UNT Hillel,” she said. “I am looking forward to an amazing year.”
Having a full-time engagement staff devoted to the UNT campus is an important step in Hillels of North Texas’ growth.
“Because UNT Hillel is a community without a physical building, our focus is on engaging students and building relationships wherever that may be to support them through this transformational time and create their own Jewish paths,” Executive Director Melissa Duchin said. “Hiring incredible staff to work with students and student leaders is a key component to our success.”
Also this summer, Hillels of North Texas installed UNT alumnus Stephen Falk as its board chair. Falk met his wife, Michelle, at UNT Hillel when they were both undergraduates, and now they live in Far North Dallas with their three young children.
“I’m honored to lead this organization that has given me so much,” Falk said. “With Jen joining the staff, Hillel will have an even greater impact on students in the Mean Green Family.”

— Submitted by
Melissa Duchin

Meet the author: Plano native releases book on mysticism

Rabbi Eli Block of Chabad at Legacy West, a Plano native and son of Rabbi Menachem and Rivkie Block, has just written his third book, An Inner Perspective.
He will present the book at a meet the author event at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at Chabad of Plano. No RSVP is necessary.
Released by Kehot Publications, the publishing arm of Chabad, the book is a collection of essays adapted from the mystical writings of R. Levi Yitzchak Schneerson (1878-1944), father of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of blessed memory.
R. Levi Yitzchak was the rabbi in the Ukrainian city of Yekaterinoslav (now known as Dnipro), a major industrial center on the banks of the Dnieper River. For his refusal to halt his religious activism under communism, he was exiled for five years to a remote town in Kazakhstan, where he contracted an illness and died at age 66.
He was known as a master kabbalist, and he wrote continuously throughout his exile. At times, he resorted to writing on the margins of books with ink prepared by his wife, Chana, from local plants, due to lack of paper. Most of his work was lost in the chaos of World War II, but some material was salvaged and brought to New York, where it was published in the original Hebrew by Kehot.
An Inner Perspective is the first English adaption of these dense texts. The book is available for purchase at, and will be available at the event.

— Submitted by
Rabbi Menachem Block

Pam Rollins named Mussar Institute president

Pam Rollins, professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, has been elected president of The Mussar Institute (TMI) board. A researcher and educator, Rollins has spent the past 35 years dedicated to understanding, identifying and treating children on the Autism Spectrum.
She has practiced Mussar since 2009 and facilitated TMI courses at Temple Emanu-El.
“We are honored that Dr. Rollins has taken on this important role,” said Steven Kraus, executive director of The Mussar Institute. “She is an extraordinary leader who brings expertise in both education and Mussar at a time when our organization and worldwide reach is growing. As demand for our facilitator training, in particular, is increasing, we deeply value her guidance.”
Rollins’ history with Mussar began in 2008 when she was given Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis’ book on the Jewish spiritual path of Mussar. “When I read it, I was immediately excited about the idea of living Mussar in an authentic way,” she said. “To do that, I needed to create a spiritual community at my synagogue, and by coincidence, Alan was coming to speak to our congregation for Selichot.”
To start a study group after Morinis’ visit, Pam turned to The Mussar Institute for facilitator training and a curriculum. She lauds TMI resources with supporting her in leading a high-quality group with “people who would become my family over the next eight years. It changed my life.”
Rollins joined the TMI board four years ago and focused on resources and education for TMI facilitators. Among her goals as president are to expand and deepen the reach of The Mussar Institute across all affiliations.
“One of the beautiful and rare aspects of The Mussar Institute is that you are able to attend events where you study with people from all affiliations,” she said. “Our annual Kallah is a wonderful example of this.
“Looking back, as a little girl growing up in an Orthodox school in Providence, Rhode Island, I sat behind a mechitza. I remember being jealous of the boys. I truly felt, as a little girl, that I wanted to be up in the front. I find it really humbling to be a part of leading Jewish people on this amazing path.”
Rollins is a four-time gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders and was the lead author for the Robots4Autism social skills curriculum. She conducts research in developmental pragmatics, early social communication and autism spectrum disorder. Rollins earned her bachelor’s degree from Boston University, her master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, and her Ed.D. from Harvard University.

— Submitted by
Debra Pinger

Stephanie Blumenthal awarded scholarship to leadership conference

Stephanie Blumenthal was one of 23, 2018 Rising Through the Ranks scholarship recipients nationwide awarded by the Radio Advertising Bureau. The scholarship allowed Blumenthal to attend the BMI seminar at its Nashville office. The course focused on management and sales techniques, including problem solving, recruiting, difficult conversations, hiring and firing, personal brand building and the role of today’s radio manager. Stephanie, a senior account executive at Entercom, was the only one chosen from Dallas.
On the move: Bnai Zion Foundation to host dedication at new Dallas office
Bnai Zion Foundation’s Texas Region has moved its offices to the eighth floor of the North Dallas Bank Tower, 12900 Preston Road at LBJ Freeway. In celebration of this new space, the Texas Region board of directors invites the community to a Chanukat Habayit (dedication) from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29.
To officially dedicate the new space, the board will affix a mezuzah to the front door of Suite 808, accompanied by a short blessing. Immediately afterward, attendees will celebrate in the building’s second-floor conference room with light refreshments.
RSVP by emailing or visiting

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Dallas Doings: Hadassah @ 100, Ruti Zisser

Dallas Doings: Hadassah @ 100, Ruti Zisser

Posted on 16 August 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Dallas Chapter of Hadassah celebrates 100th birthday

Members will celebrate the Dallas Chapter of Hadassah’s 100th birthday, as well as those of the Hadassah Medical Organization, the Hadassah School of Nursing and the Hadassah Department of Ophthalmology, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Schultz Rosenberg Campus.

Before Israel became a state, Hadassah sent two nurses there from the United States to stem the tide of infant and mother mortality and blindness from trachoma. Thus, Hadassah initiated a countrywide system of health care with a fully equipped medical unit in 1918.

Today, Hadassah is still translating advanced research into practical medicine. This research is shared throughout the world and is used in the United States and worldwide. In Dallas, Hadassah doctors are treating patients for multiple aclerosis and  Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Hadassah continues to build bridges to peace through medicine and has been recognized with a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The Shulkin family will be honored for their dedication to health care and the Dallas community. Dr. Kemp Kernstine from the UT Southwestern Medical Center will share how he is involved in pioneering robotic surgery.

For information, to be a table host or event sponsor, or to purchase tickets, contact the Dallas Chapter of Hadassah at 214-691-1948,, RSVPs are requested by Oct. 5, as seating is limited.


Photo: Courtesy Ruti
Israeli clothing designer Ruti Zisser will be on hand at the exclusive Bnai Zion shopping event at her NorthPark store.


Ruti shopping event will benefit Bnai Zion

Ruti’s Northpark Mall location will open its doors to Bnai Zion supporters from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 5, for an exclusive private shopping event.

Ruti, a clothing brand created by Israeli-American fashion designer Ruti Zisser, offers a collection of women’s clothes. Zisser will be at the event and will speak to attendees about how she became a successful fashion designer.

Twenty percent of the evening’s sales will benefit Bnai Zion Foundation’s projects in Israel.

Ruti was founded in 2009 when, after years as a tech executive, Zisser struck out on her own. She strives to create pieces that are classic, sophisticated and designed to flatter a woman over the age of 35 without sacrificing comfort. Ruti states that her designs “must be practical. Eighty percent of my collection are clothes that I wear every day. Twenty percent of my collection is aspirational — it’s for the woman I daydream of being.”

Bnai Zion Texas Board Member Summer Pailet is chairing the event. RSVP early to be entered into a raffle (prize to be determined and must be present to win). For those unable to attend in person, visit and enter promo code BNAI to benefit Bnai Zion Foundation and receive 3 percent off full-priced items.

RSVP by emailing or visiting Drinks and light refreshments will be served.

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Dallas Doings: Eagle Scout, Strauss, Emily Cobert, Wolens, Farber

Dallas Doings: Eagle Scout, Strauss, Emily Cobert, Wolens, Farber

Posted on 01 August 2018 by admin


Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Photo: Courtesy Weiss Family
Ephraim Weiss’ Eagle Scout Court of Honor will take place Aug. 19. For his Eagle Scout project, he built a shulchan for DATA of Richardson.



Ephraim Weiss, Eagle Scout

Ephraim Weiss, son of Drs. Simma and Shelley Weiss, earned the Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) June 3.  Ephraim completed the necessary requirements for skills, camping, leadership and merit badges, in addition to focusing on character growth and personal development.

Ephraim’s achievement will be formally recognized at a Court of Honor on Aug. 19.

He earned 45 merit badges and qualified for four Palm degrees beyond Eagle. To supplement his leadership skills, Ephraim attended a National Youth Leadership Training course, developed by the BSA with the U.S. Air Force Academy and various corporate trainers. His scouting peers elected him to the Order of the Arrow, scouting’s honor society, and he completed a Shomer Shabbos Ordeal before formal induction into the Order.

Ephraim’s scouting experience, through Troop 570 (Spring Creek Elementary), demonstrated his accomplishment of scouting goals in the general society, while adhering to his priority of keeping the laws of kashrut and Shabbat. Ephraim demonstrated the value of maintaining his religious practices through all his everyday activities, including scouting. The other scouts — Jews from different backgrounds, as well as non-Jews — supported his efforts and respected his observance.

One requirement before earning Eagle centers on a project to benefit the community. Ephraim built a solid wood shulchan, or table, used to read Torah in the synagogue. The structure incorporated some wood from the old Shaare Tefilla sanctuary (its new building is under construction). It sports a cabinet beneath, and the top can be set at different angles. The shulchan sits in its new home, the brand-new DATA of Richardson shul. This shulchan thus connects two shuls and brings the Dallas Jewish community closer together.


Photo: Courtesy Strauss Family
Rabbi Brian and Lisa Strauss and their children, Joshua, Noa and Ari


Brian Strauss assumes  senior rabbi duties at Houston’s Beth Yeshurun

Rabbi Brian Strauss officially became the senior rabbi of Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston Aug. 1. Beth Yeshurun is the largest Conservative synagogue in the United States with more than 2,000 families.

Strauss grew up in Dallas and attended Hebrew school and had his bar mitzvah at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson. He was the first graduate of Beth Torah to become a rabbi.

Strauss graduated from Berkner High School and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, where he was the president of the campus Hillel and a member of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Upon graduation, Strauss attended the Zeigler School of Rabbinical Studies in Los Angeles and was ordained in 2001. Upon being ordained, he joined Beth Yeshurun as assistant rabbi.

Strauss serves on the Texas State Commission on Holocaust and Genocide. He is also a member of Rabbis Without Borders, sponsored by the National Jewish Center for Learning & Leadership.

Strauss replaces Rabbi David Rosen, who had been the senior rabbi at Beth Yeshurun since 1996 and, along with Rabbi Jack Segal, will become the rabbi emeritus.

Strauss is married to Lisa Shapiro Strauss, a Plano native and a practicing attorney. They have three children, Joshua, Noa and Ari.

Shearith welcomes back Emily Cobert to Texas

Fort Worth native Emily Cobert, daughter of Scott and Ann Cobert, is spending the summer as the rabbinic intern at Congregation Shearith Israel.

Cobert decided to become a rabbi at age 13, during her bat mitzvah training. She was inspired by her tutor, Cantor Sheri Allen, who showed her how Judaism can be relevant to modern life. During high school, Cobert became an active member in the United Synagogue Youth group, engaging with the Fort Worth and Dallas Jewish communities.

She attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she double-majored in Jewish studies and psychology. She was active at Hillel, working as the Shabbat intern to coordinate creative Shabbat services and meals, and on the student Hillel board to help strengthen students’ involvement and connection to Judaism and the UT Jewish community.

Following graduation, Cobert moved to New York City to pursue her master’s in Jewish education with a concentration in Jewish day school education at the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). This gave Emily many opportunities to teach in various Jewish communities.

Cobert recently finished her second year of rabbinical school at JTS. She spent the past year studying in Israel, learning and growing as a future rabbi. At Shearith, she is teaching an adult education class about the Birkat Hamazon (prayer after the meal), leading services, delivering short sermons and observing the rabbis as they officiate lifecycle events. She’s also enjoying spending time with family and catching up with friends at her family’s new home in McKinney.

Cobert will return to New York at the end of August to continue with her third year of rabbinical school.

Wolens re-elected as chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission 

Former state Rep. Steven Wolens has been re-elected chairman of the Texas Ethics Commission. Wolens was originally nominated to the Commission by Speaker of the House Joe Straus. The Commission is composed of eight commissioners, four Republicans and four Democrats, all appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.

The Ethics Commission oversees compliance with laws concerning political contributions and expenditures, political advertising, and personal financial disclosure of state elected officials and employees, judges, certain county and municipal officeholders, and candidates for those offices, as well as lobby registration reports and activities.

Wolens served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives for 24 years, authoring landmark legislation covering partnerships and limited liability corporations, ethics reforms, antitrust laws and electric deregulation. Texas Monthly magazine named him one of the “Ten Best Legislators” in Texas on six occasions.

Steve is a principal in the Dallas McKool Smith law firm representing governments on tax matters and businesses in commercial disputes.

Steve and his wife, former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, have three children and are members of Congregation Shearith Israel.

Farber joins Shalom as youth adviser

Kaelah Farber joined Temple Shalom in June as youth adviser and North Satellite coordinator.

The Wisconsin native will help plan and execute youth-group programs; assist Rabbi Ariel Boxman, the director of lifelong learning; and teach first-grade Sunday school, in addition to facilitating events at Shalom’s new Plano location.

Farber attended Milwaukee Jewish Day School and JCC Rainbow Day Camp for a decade; sang from the Torah for her (and her sisters’) bat mitzvah; and was confirmed at Congregation Beth Israel of Milwaukee.

After graduating from high school, Farber lived in Israel for four years through various kibbutz ulpan programs, volunteering, working and traveling. She moved to Dallas last summer and is enrolled at Collin College to complete her studies to receive a bachelor’s degree in K-6 education.

Farber served as assistant kindergarten teacher at Congregation Shearith Israel during the last school year.

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BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

BookFest kicks off with author Daniel Silva

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

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

By Deb Silverthorn

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

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Dallas Doings: JCC Flag Retirement, Anna Wernick, Joli Reiman

Dallas Doings: JCC Flag Retirement, Anna Wernick, Joli Reiman

Posted on 11 July 2018 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray


Photo: Steve Krant
Busy burning: JCC staff member Ed Cantrell (center) adds a worn flag as Post Project Officer Dick Lethe (foreground) and Post Adjutant Harry Hermann assist.

JWV Bloom Post 256 retires American flags

Members of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA conducted a formal Flag Retirement on the campus of the Dallas JCC on Flag Day (June 14). Following a brief ceremonial reading and the playing of Taps, the team followed U.S. Flag Code to dispose of more than 1,500 flags gathered from individuals, businesses, and local cemeteries that were torn, faded, worn or otherwise unfit to continue being displayed. The JWV Post has offered this service to the Dallas-area community for more than six years.

Another smart cookie

Anna Wernick recently graduated from Yavneh Academy. Following a gap year at Midreshet Torah V’Avodah, Anna will attend University of Michigan. She is the granddaughter of Diane and Jerry Benjamin and Mary Stevenson and Bernie Greenberg.

Photo: Courtesy Reiman family
Joli Reiman will perform at the Sounds of Lewisville concert, at 7 p.m. July 17.

After contest win, Joli Reiman to take Lewisville stage

Joli Reiman, daughter of Melissa and Michael Reiman of Plano, recently won a singing contest called Be the Next Challenge. As the winner, Joli will be the opening act for the Sounds of Lewisville concert. The program is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17, at the Wayne Ferguson Plaza, 150 West Church St. in Lewisville. She will open for a national touring ABBA tribute band, Dancing Dream. This is a free concert and attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for their comfort. Well-behaved pets on a leash are allowed. Kids are also welcome.
In addition, Joli just released some of her original songs from her EP, Teen Chronicles. You can find her new originals on iTunes or Spotify under Joli Hope.
Follow Joli on social media and online at Instagram, @jolihopemusic, and on YouTube, Joli Hope Music or
Joli is the sister of Chyler. She is the granddaughter of Marcia and Jim Walsh of Richardson and Gloria and Dr. Lionel Reiman of Dallas.

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