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JFS extends its umbrella over Priya Fund

JFS extends its umbrella over Priya Fund

Posted on 11 July 2019 by admin

Photo: Julia Shapiro Photography + Art
“We wanted to help people financially, even with a modest amount, and also raise awareness about the issues of infertility, to clear the stigma that often comes with it,” said Annie Glickman, who with her husband Rabbi David Glickman established Dallas’ Priya Fund, now also in Kansas City, Kansas. “I’m confident that the right pieces are coming together with the Fund moving to JFS where it will be nurtured from every angle.” (Left to right) Gavi, Rabbi David, Annie, Ellie and Daniela Glickman
Priya provides funding and focus for infertility issues

By Deb Silverthorn
Priya, be fruitful and multiply, is one of the first commandments in the Torah. The Priya Fund, established in Dallas in 2009, is a most significant way the Dallas Jewish community creates awareness of infertility issues, and supports costs for adoption, medical treatment, or surrogacy.
Now under the ever-widening umbrella of Jewish Family Service of Dallas, the Priya Fund will continue helping Jewish families.
“Over the years, JFS has brought expertise and services specific to the needs of the Jewish community that have both a deep impact in the lives of individuals and families, and those in line with our founding Jewish values as an organization,” said Cathy Barker, JFS CEO. “The Priya Fund, absolutely, is one of those services.”
Established as a fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, the Priya Fund has made 21 grants with close to $80,000 dispensed for at least 13 babies, including two sets of twins, allowing families to kvell.
The Priya Fund was established by Annie and Rabbi David Glickman (formerly of Dallas’ Congregation Shearith Israel) after their own struggle with secondary infertility. While their son Gavi, now 18 and a rising senior, was a toddler, the Glickmans hoped to expand their family. In the limelight of community, it was difficult managing the personal issue, while embracing their very extended “family.”
“We wanted to help people financially, even with a modest amount, and also raise awareness about the issues of infertility, to clear the stigma that often comes with it,” Annie Glickman said. “The silent suffering is so hard. I’m confident that the right pieces are coming together, with the fund moving to JFS, where it will be nurtured from every angle.”
Sari and Rabbi Adam Raskin (formerly of Congregation Shearith Israel and Beth Torah) offered a gift to the Glickmans to help in what they knew was an expensive prospect. After Ellie, now 13, and Daniela, now 10, were born, the Glickmans established the Dallas Priya Fund, grateful for the growth of their family.
“When Daniela was born, we requested that instead of gifts people share to the Priya Fund,” Annie Glickman said. “Since then, people have given in the spirit of weddings or anniversaries, of birthdays and births. The goal was to support all who need it in some way.”
In 2012, the Glickmans moved to Overland Park, Kansas, where David Glickman is the senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom. Annie Glickman is director of school services for The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning and of Priya: Growing Jewish Families in Kansas City. Priya, established there four years ago with more than $100,000 raised, has supported nearly two dozen families with 11 babies born.
Here, the Priya Fund’s transition from the DJCF to JFS will allow the organization’s complete menu of mental health and social services to support parents in their effort to grow Jewish families. In addition, JFS will be able to raise money for Priya, increasing the amount available to couples.
“Dallas Jewish Community Foundation manages funds, hundreds of them, but we don’t raise the dollars,” said DJCF’s Director of Philanthropic Advancement Mona Allen. “From start to finish, JFS will best serve couples through the processes and, while it will be a void to us, we’re always here for guidance.”
The Priya Fund is coordinated by Caryn Peiser, the mother of Elisheva and Rachel. Peiser’s spirit and soul roars with passion to help others create and build their own families.
“At JFS, everyone from the professional leadership to the part-time volunteers is part of a team, and working together on Priya is going to be an incredible effort,” Peiser said. “The mix of marketing and business development, combined with a need for care and delicate support, is the perfect place for me and I’m very excited.”
The wife of Gary and daughter of Estrella and Ruben Bengio, Peiser attended Akiba and Yavneh academies. The Dallas Jewish community is part of her backbone. She studied at Sharfman’s Seminary Bnot Torah in Israel and earned her bachelor’s degree in child learning and development, with a minor in business administration, from University of Texas-Dallas, just days before the birth of her second daughter.
“As a parent herself and by growing up and being an active member of the Dallas Jewish community, Caryn is a great advocate for the need for this funding by others,” Barker said. “She personally understands the desire to have a child and raise them in the Jewish faith.”
Jewish couples looking for support should contact Peiser to determine eligibility and complete an application. An advisory committee, of medical and Jewish community lay leaders, meets to review each application — the couples remain anonymous — then designates allocation of any funds.
Couples are required to provide a copy of a future invoice (e.g., in vitro, surrogacy, adoption) within 180 days to receive the funds. Funds will ultimately be distributed from the rabbi’s discretionary fund with whom the couple shares a relationship.
“We are eternally grateful for Priya’s support as we faced fertility challenges,” said Monique Roy Chuney, referred to the Priya Fund by a family friend. Chuney and her husband Ken, members of Congregation Anshai Torah, welcomed baby Max on May 24, 2018. “We are blessed with a special and amazing gift. Priya is a wonderful organization, and we are truly thankful.”
The amount that Priya Fund can grant has decreased over the years as the number of requests received increase. Grants are only for future treatments and, while funds are not provided to meet increasing needs per application review cycle, couples are eligible to re-apply and receive additional assistance.
“Beyond the financial burden, which is great for anyone, I will direct prospective families to emotional, spiritual and psychological support and other help. JFS’ clinicians really do reach every level of almost every need,” Peiser said. “That I have this very special role to provide outreach and find applicants, and donors, and to walk them through the process is something I’m very grateful for.”
Gifts that help others create families, truly are of the gifts of life.
For more information or to begin the application process, email cpeiser@jfsdallas.org or visit JFSDallas.org/priya. To make a donation to the Priya Fund, visit tinyurl.com/JFS-PRIYA-donation with notation in the “additional comments” that the gift be directed to Priya.

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Remembering Ross Perot’s relationship with Israel and the American Jewish community

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Remembering Ross Perot’s relationship with Israel and the American Jewish community

Posted on 11 July 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Photo: Screenshot
Ross Perot, a 1992 independent presidential candidate, delivers his concession speech on election night.

The two-time U.S. presidential candidate was a friend and a donor to various social causes.

By Jackson Richman

(JNS) Two-time U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot died in Dallas on Tuesday at the age of 89 after a battle with leukemia.

Beside for becoming a self-made Texas billionaire, he was known for calling for balancing the budget, opposing the outsourcing of U.S. jobs and advocating for reducing the national debt, in addition to supporting abortion rights and gun control.

But Perot, who in 1992 won 18.9 percent of the popular vote, or 19,741,065 votes–the largest percentage for a third-party candidate in modern presidential elections, even though he did not receive an electoral vote—was not so widely known for his stance on the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Support for Israel was not a big issue in 1992, when Ross Perot had his big moment. [It] was just a given, as it should be,” historian Gil Troy told JNS.

Regardless, the Zionist Organization of America mourned his passing. “Perot expressed strong support for Israel,” ZOA national president Mort Klein told JNS.

Klein noted that during the 1991 Gulf War, which the Electronic Data Systems (EDS) founder opposed, “Perot insisted that ‘Israel has been our friend during the recent war, and you stand by your friends. It’s just that simple.’ ” They were remarks that Perot, who sold EDS to General Motors for $2.5 billion several years prior, made at an American Jewish Committee dinner in New York, his first comments to a Jewish crowd after declaring his candidacy.

Perot added, “Israel is a beacon in its part of the world in terms of its democratic government. It is a role model to the others there,” urging the United States to strengthen Israel economically.

“Israel is a beacon in its part of the world in terms of its democratic government. It is a role model to the others there.”

“History may have turned out better if Ross Perot had won the 1992 presidential election,” said Klein. “We might have avoided having Bill Clinton pressure Israel to agree to the disastrous 1993-94 Oslo Accords, which brought the [Palestine Liberation Organization] and PLO arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat into Judea and Samaria, and resulted in Palestinian-Arabs murdering and maiming 10,000 innocent Jews throughout the next years and decades.”

On June 15, 1992, New York Times columnist Leslie Gelb wrote about the then-U.S. President George H.W. Bush losing credibility in the Jewish state:

“Israel may be the only country in the world where leaders of all parties would like to see George Bush retired. Neither Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir nor the Labor Party leader, Yitzhak Rabin, nor other politicians I talked to this week will say that outright. But their feelings are unmistakable: They think that at best Mr. Bush does not place high value on Israel, and that at worst he would nail the old tail to the wall if re-elected.

“Ross Perot scares them too because they have no idea what or how he thinks, particularly about the Middle East. Word is just beginning to filter back here about Mr. Perot’s staff rebuffing contacts by American Jewish leaders. Israelis know little about Marilyn Berger, the former reporter who is now the Perot Mideast adviser. But they are uneasy about Don Hewitt, her husband, whose CBS news program, ‘60 Minutes,’ has done some hard-hitting features on Israel.

“Bill Clinton, with good ties to the Jewish community and with his positive rhetoric about Israel, is the beneficiary of all these considerations. But mainly, Israeli pols have been quite careful in talking about America.”

‘He admires the Jewish people’

Perot was also a financial donor to Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek Medical Center and was fond of then-Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Sharon.

“I know that he admires Sharon,” Morris Talansky, executive vice chairman of the American Committee for Shaare Zedek, told Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) in 1992, mentioning that Perot had visited Israel.

“He admires the Jewish people, and he certainly admires Israel and is a very warm friend of the hospital,” said Talansky.

Perot was close friends with Morton Myerson, who worked with him at EDS and later at the information-technology services firm Perot Systems.

During the 1992 campaign, however, it was publicized that two Orthodox Jews—Reggie Dallaire and Nancee Haft—were fired from EDS during the early 1980s and 1985, respectively, with the former being relieved for wearing a beard and the latter for being absent from work during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

Perot and Meyerson said they didn’t know about the Dallaire case, and Meyerson told JTA that he himself did not know about Haft’s case, which happened the year after EDS was sold to GM.

“We had a policy of not discriminating against anyone based on religion, race, color or sexual orientation,” Meyerson told the outlet. “Since I am Jewish, I vigorously enforced that policy.”

In a 1992 interview with ABC News, Perot said, “In terms of your inference of discrimination, please don’t lose sight of the fact that the great builder of EDS happened to be a Jew, Mort Meyerson.”

Perot gave the biggest single donation to a new cultural hall in Dallas, contingent upon it being named for Myerson. The Meyerson Symphony Center opened in September 1989.

Two years earlier, Perot was honored with the Raoul Wallenberg Award “for his personal courage in the dramatic rescue of his [two] American employees being held captive in Iran” during the Iranian hostage crisis from November 1979 to January 1981, according to the website of the Raoul Wallenberg Award Committee of the United States. The award is known for the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust.

“The things he did were just incredible,” said Perot of Wallenberg upon accepting the award. “He had to go up against [Adolf] Eichmann … he had nothing but gall, bluff, brains, wits, creative ability.”

In 1996, Perot ran under the Reform Party banner, winning 8 percent of the popular vote—more than 10 points lower than four years before. Clinton won re-election.

Perot is survived by his wife, Margot; their five children; a sister; and 19 grandchildren.

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North Texas well-represented on Team USA for Maccabi Games

North Texas well-represented on Team USA for Maccabi Games

Posted on 03 July 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Rebecca Weiss
Rebecca Weiss of Rockwall will compete in juniors swimming at the Maccabi Games in Mexico City July 5-15.
Yavneh basketball will have heavy presence in Mexico

By Leah Vann
The dates for the Pan-American and European Maccabi games have been set, and Dallas will send some of its best ballers to compete in both.
Of the 22 participants from Texas, Dallas will send four basketball players, one basketball coach and one swimmer as a part of the Maccabi USA team to both the Pan-American and European Maccabi Games this month.
Maccabi USA, a multi-sport organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic committee, fosters an athletic environment that goes beyond the game, providing a community for Jewish teens to connect. It is both a sponsor of the USA teams traveling abroad this summer, and the annual JCC Maccabi Games in North America.
David Zimmerman, athletic director for Yavneh Academy of Dallas, will travel with the under-16 basketball team as its assistant coach.
“When I started at Maccabi in 1999, it really was an East Coast-West Coast deal, where all the Jews were, and the head office is in Philadelphia,” Zimmerman said. “Part of me getting involved, being originally from New York, was I really wanted to expose it to people from around the country. Here in the Southwest, we have an unbelievably supportive community. We’re really putting Dallas on the map.”
Zimmerman has been involved with Maccabi as a coach at the national level, but this will be his first international appearance. The International Youth Maccabi Games are hosted every four years in Israel, while the Pan-American and European Maccabi Games take place every two years around the world, being held in Israel every four years. In 2017, Israel hosted the 20th World Maccabiah. This year, the Pan-American games will be held in Mexico City, July 5-15, and the European Games will be held in Budapest, Hungary, July 28-Aug. 7.
The first Dallas-area basketball athlete to attend the games in Israel was Griffin Levine, a Yavneh basketball player who now plays for the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Levine’s USA team went on to win gold in 2017. The games in Israel host a formal tryout in a designated city, but the Pan-American and European game players and coaches are recruited remotely, through word-of-mouth and exchanging highlight videos.
Jonah Eber, an incoming senior at Yavneh Academy, will travel with the under-18 basketball team to Mexico City. Eber said he was recruited after playing for Team Dallas in Irvine, California, last year. The team’s coach for this year saw him play, and asked if he would be interested.
Eber is no stranger to success on the court, as a member of Yavneh’s state-championship team in 2018. In Texas, the picture of Eber wearing a kippah with a Star of David carved in his hair made The Dallas Morning News as the team neared its championship. At Maccabi, Eber expects this to be the norm.
“I think it’s important. It’s getting the best kids together who have a good amount in common, and getting to know other people from other countries who have the same passions as we do,” Eber said. “I always wear my kippah when I play, and there’s definitely a sense of pride and honor representing Team USA, but there’s a lot of pride in honor and representing Texas’ Jewish community.”
Eber travels with his younger cousin, Benjamin Rael, who will play under Zimmerman on the under-16 team in Mexico City. Rael hasn’t competed in the Maccabi Games before, but is also a Yavneh basketball player. He learned about the opportunity through Zimmerman.
“I’m a big guy on winning, so I’m excited to win,” Rael said. “I think it says something about us, our religion, and we’re not different. We can do whatever anyone else can do, we have as many opportunities as anyone else.”
Unlike Rael and Eber, Jason Prager has turned to the Maccabi games for years as his sole source of Jewish community. Prager represented Team Dallas for the past two years in California and Alabama at the national games, and will not only compete in Mexico City this year, but also in Atlanta on Team Dallas.
Prager said that the Maccabi Games usually hosts group outings, where members of different teams will explore the area they’re in. This can include going to amusement parks or seeing the sights outside of the tournament. He’s excited to travel out of the country for the first time, while experiencing the same community atmosphere he remembers from previous games.
“It’s super-easy to make friends, and I think that’s a lot different than just regular basketball tournaments,” Prager said. “I met boys and girls through basketball, and we watched soccer and baseball games. It’s an environment that is safe and fun for teenagers to talk and meet people.”
Prager grew up in Plano, but moved to Frisco for high school. Going to high school in a place without a large Jewish community was a change. His mother encouraged him to try out for the Maccabi games during his freshman year.
“I play a lot of competitive basketball, so it’s hard for me to find time to go to a longer summer camp,” Prager said. “In Frisco, there’s really no Jewish people. There’s nobody I can really relate to.”
The Maccabi games have inspired Prager to transfer from Frisco Centennial to Yavneh Academy this fall. He’ll be playing under his future head coach, Zimmerman, and with teammate, Rael at the Maccabi Games.
Yavneh Academy has been to the state finals for three years in a row. In 2018, they were named co-state champions after the team that won the tournament was disqualified. Part of the recent success, Zimmerman thinks, is because of the growing interest his athletes have to be more competitive through the Maccabi Games.
“We’re the only Jewish school in 3A classification,” Zimmerman said. “We are the minority in the Metroplex, and through athletics we are able to build up that reputation and camaraderie with neighboring Christian schools. Before I started coaching Maccabi, we couldn’t get out of the preliminary rounds.”
Zimmerman came to Yavneh in 2012 for the same reasons as Prager. He grew up coaching and playing basketball at the JCC, then went to Southern Methodist University for college, where he served as an assistant coach. He’s coached at all levels, including other high schools, including St. Mark’s. He found, however, that there was nothing like coaching kids that share the same faith.
“Getting to coach people from your own faith and try to see them through life — I think that that’s what really speaks to me,” Zimmerman said. “Sports is a great way to do that because it’s a universal language.”
Rockwall’s Rebecca Weiss, juniors swimming, will be the North Texas-area’s lone female representative at the international games in Mexico City.
Grant Bulmash, a rising senior at Greenhill School, completes the Dallas contingent as the final basketball player traveling to the Maccabi Games, competing in Hungary starting on July 28. Bulmash elected to play in the Budapest games because it works better with his AAU basketball schedule this summer. He’s been playing in the Maccabi Games for four years at the national level on the JCC’s Team Dallas, but never internationally.
“I heard about [Maccabi USA] a few years in, but not initially,” Bulmash said. “It’s really important because Jewish athletes in general are sometimes overlooked.
Bulmash, like Eber, was recruited at the games last year in California.
“Not only do I get to represent Dallas, but the entire U.S.,” Bulmash said. “I’m really excited to have an opportunity to win a gold medal.”
As North Texas athletes travel across the globe this summer to compete on the international stage, Zimmerman hopes that they keep in mind why continuing this tradition remains important.
“In our current climate, it’s really important to have teenagers who are hearing the same things we’re hearing and for them to be able to become friends and have relationships with people from all around the world. What we’ll find is we have a lot in common,” Zimmerman said.

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Young Jewish adults to gather in Austin for L’Chaim

Young Jewish adults to gather in Austin for L’Chaim

Posted on 27 June 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

L’Chaim City Limits will attract folks from all walks of Jewish life
Photo: Michelle Bach
From left, Adam Edelson, Hayley Glauben, Adam Sandgarten, Mitchell Robbins and Philip Ben Shabat were among those gathered in Dallas earlier this month for a happy hour co-sponsored by L’Chaim City Limits and Moishe House.

L’Chaim — community life for NextGen Jews is alive
By Deb Silverthorn
Many l’chaim toasts will be raised, to the lives of Jewish young adults gathering from around the United States and the world, for a weekend of fun and networking at the first “L’Chaim City Limits (LCL)” in Austin.
During the weekend of July 19-21, young adults ages 21 to 40, representing all branches of Judaism and levels of observance, and those unaffiliated, are invited to share in programming created by Judaism United.
“We are bringing in the spirit of Shabbat through a weekend filled with Judaic and social aspects, with people from at least seven cities, in three states, across five venues in Austin,” said Scott Eiseman, a Judaism United founder and chair of L’Chaim City Limits.
Judaism United’s mission is to unite those of Jewish background through events, social networking and leadership conferences. The group has ambassadors in a number of cities. In Dallas, it is Michelle Bach connecting the dots and directing her community to the organization.
“L’Chaim City Limits is a great weekend to make friends, create relationships and to even network professionally, all while exploring the awesome city of Austin,” said Bach, a graduate of Levine and Yavneh academies. She mixes her Jewish life both socially and professionally, as a resident at the Dallas Moishe House, by attending events at many of the young Jewish professional organizations and as a development associate at CHAI, Community Homes for Adults, Inc.
“Early in our careers, with most of us not yet married or with families of our own, many of my generation aren’t yet affiliated with a congregation,” Bach said. “Judaism United is one more way that we can build our own community and this weekend it will be built of young Jews from around the country.”
Bach helped host an LCL Happy Hour, that had many in the crowd making rooming and travel plans for the upcoming event. “People seem very excited and I think we’re going to have a good group from here,” Bach said.
The event will begin Friday with a Kabbalat Shabbat minyan led by Rabbi Mendy Levertov, followed by a meet and greet.
“I’m very proud of Judaism United and its cause, and I’m looking forward to bringing in Shabbat for this first big event,” said Levertov, who, with wife Mussy, leads Chabad of Austin’s Young Jewish Professionals. “Shabbat services will be high-energy with zmiros (song) and dance, and, I assure you, with lots of meaningful fun.
“We need more nuance-layered events, with learning and connecting, with spirituality and casual fun and this weekend is just what that is,” he added.
The evening’s Shabbat dinner at Stubbs Bar-B-Que will begin with a candle-lighting and kiddush led by Rabbi Daniel Septimus, a former University of Texas Hillel director.
“Austin is energizing, and with the growing population our Jewish community, is growing. It’s a cool, unique, even ‘weird’ — and that’s a compliment — place with incredible appeal,” said Septimus, CEO of Shalom Austin, the city’s Jewish Federation, Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service and Jewish Foundation. “The goal to bring together the next generation of Jews through a weekend of networking in the heart of Austin, with the heart of Shabbat. It’s something I’m excited to be a part of.”
An after-party at Maggie Mae’s on 6th Street will follow dinner. All meals throughout the weekend will have certified kosher options available.
Shabbat morning service options and a Judaically themed yoga session taught by Isaac Stock will be offered on Saturday morning. In the afternoon, a BYOB pool party will take place at the Connection Apartments on Oltorf Street. Saturday night, a spirited Havdalah service will be led by LCL committee members at the Native Hostel, Bar & Café on 4th Street, followed by dancing and complimentary drinks.
On Sunday, there will be a farewell brunch and representatives from Chabad, Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation and Moishe House will provide information on their organizations.
“There’s really going to be something — many parts of the weekend — for everyone,” said Mikey Korn, an Austin Moishe House resident who, with Bach, Eiseman, Alan Yancelson and the participating rabbis, has planned a weekend to remember. “Building community is part of my Jewish journey and it’s what has brought us together.”
The weekend is partially sponsored by a grant from Reality, a Schusterman initiative which, in part, invests in efforts to improve public education in the United States, strengthen the Jewish people and Israel, and address the needs of marginalized individuals and communities.
“Bringing young Jews together has for a number of years been a goal and I’m committed to Judaism United, to LCL and I hope many other opportunities in the future,” Eiseman said. “We are a strong generation, a strong Jewish generation, and I want to bring as many of us together as we can.”
Weekend passes and tickets for individual events are available. A block of rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn, 500 N. Interstate 35, is being held until three days before the event. Request Judaism United rate for the discount. To register, or for lodging and other information, visit lchaimcitylimits.com.

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Jewish community hit hard by June 9 storm

Jewish community hit hard by June 9 storm

Posted on 20 June 2019 by admin

Aftermath of high winds wreaks havoc for many
Photo: Courtesy Temple Shalom
Temple Shalom’s Alpha and Hillcrest campus was a pecan orchard before the synagogue was built. Many of the majestic pecan and oak trees were toppled by the June 9 storm.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
A quiet Sunday afternoon, June 9, quickly turned treacherous when a violent thunderstorm whipped through the Dallas area about 2 p.m. Although winds ranged from 50 miles per hour to more than 70 miles per hour, outdoor sirens did not sound.
Flash flooding occurred rapidly as the banks of creeks and culverts crested, sending water into streets in many residential neighborhoods in North Dallas and making them difficult to pass.
There were no serious injuries to Jewish community members, though many lost power and trees, and sustained damage to their homes. The JCC and several synagogues were affected throughout the week. Many members of the Jewish community were observing Shavuot when the storm hit, and those who are shomer Shabbat were prevented from dealing with the aftermath of the storm until after dark on Monday, when the holiday ended. In some areas, residents were without power until Wednesday evening and into Thursday morning.

Camp starts a day late at the JCC

Perhaps the organization with the most challenging set of circumstances was the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center. The J was closed for Shavuot Sunday and Monday, and lost all power from the storm. Summer camp was supposed to start Tuesday, but because of the power outage, it was postponed.
JCC CEO Artie Allen explained that the J has lost power to one system or the other in the past, but this was the first time that it lost power to all its systems simultaneously.
From the pools and whirlpools to the exercise equipment and HVAC, each system had to be checked out methodically.
Camp was able to start Wednesday and all other programs resumed Wednesday.
In terms of damage to the property, Allen said the J lost a significant number of trees in the natural play areas and sustained damaged fences around the campus.
“We’ve had a tree service out there basically since the storm,” he said.
As things seemed to be approaching normal, the J lost power again to its fitness area Friday afternoon because of continued work by Oncor in the neighborhood.
“Because Shabbat was approaching we decided to go ahead and close for the rest of the afternoon,” he said.
Allen said that, interestingly, the J is served by two transformers, so part of the facility can be up while another can be down.
Allen lauded Oncor for quickly responding the J’s needs.
“We were very pleased with the response that we received from Oncor. They were very helpful. Obviously they couldn’t get the power on as quickly as we would have liked, but they were really amazing for us to work with.”
Allen said that Oncor understood the need that the JCC had to be back up and running, given the range of people it serves from toddlers in camp to seniors depending on hot meals.
“I believe the JCC was up and running two days before the rest of the neighborhood was up and running.”

Synagogues deal with storm aftermath

Several synagogues lost trees in addition to power and made adjustments to their Shavuot services.
At Temple Shalom, at the corner of Hillcrest and Alpha Road, many pecan and oak trees were damaged. Because of the downed power lines on the opposite side of Hillcrest and Alpha, the temple was without power until Tuesday.
“While there was only minor damage to our buildings, we suffered significant loss of trees. Our campus was a pecan orchard before the land was purchased in 1969, and there are dozens of mature pecan and oak trees throughout. An estimate of the cost to remove and remediate is not yet available but will be quite substantial,” Shalom Executive Director Steve Lewis shared with the TJP via email.
Further south at Hillcrest and Royal Lane, Tiferet Israel lost one tree in addition to its power for 30 hours.
“We were lucky and really only had minor damages. We were without power for 30 hours, so we lost the contents of our refrigerators and freezers. Services had to be held outside Monday for Shavuot, which was actually really lovely,” said longtime Tiferet office manager, Jennifer Williams.
Williams said the Tiferet community was grateful for their luck.
For Congregation Shearith Israel, at Douglas Avenue and Walnut Hill Lane, the power was out from Sunday through Wednesday. The synagogue held Shavuot services outdoors Monday. It lost all of its food in its kosher kitchens and kept people out of the office for a few workdays. A large tree crashed down, narrowly missing the stained-glass windows in the Aaron Sanctuary.
The Shearith Israel Cemetery on Dolphin Road was also affected by the storm. Two trees were toppled and the gate was knocked off its hinges.
A helping hand
Other synagogues that were not as hard-hit were quick to lend a helping hand to the community.
Temple Emanu-El sent “an email to all members letting them know we had power and that we welcomed them to stop by at any time to recharge their devices, have a cup of coffee and be greeted by our friendly, welcoming staff and the larger Temple community. As always, we were there to support them,” explained Connie Dufner, Emanu-El communications director.
She added that “many members did stop by the Tycher Gathering Space to recharge, read and have some coffee. Others set up mobile workspaces in our adult learning spaces. Being a hub for our members was exactly the role envisioned by our renovation and expansion of 2015-16, and we were happy so many chose to hang out for a bit at their Jewish home.”
Shaare Tefilla Executive Director Robyn Mirsky said that after Shaare’s power was restored late Tuesday afternoon, they offered the use of the internet to whoever needed it.
“Several people did take us up on the offer and it was nice to see everyone working together.”

Surveying the damage

Near Shadybank Drive, for example, the creek that runs down Meadowcreek crested and water was knee-high in some alleys. Water was as high as the wheel wells of some cars during the height of the storm.
As soon as the storm passed, it was evident that the Jewish community was hard-hit with regard to power outages and downed trees.

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Whipping up a Father’s Day fiesta

Whipping up a Father’s Day fiesta

Posted on 14 June 2019 by admin

Rustic fajita skillet meal with steak and chicken

Cocktails to dessert —and in between, fajitas, Margaritas, pronto!

By Tina Wasserman
Father’s Day is synonymous with grilling, but Dad doesn’t have to do the cooking that day. He should be sitting back, enjoying friends and family, and drinking a cold Margarita or beer. So, here I am going to give you all the tools and tidbits to make a great fajita dinner.
Traditionally, fajitas are a Southwestern/Mexican peasant food made from a cheap, but flavorful, cut of meat.The fajita meat is skirt steak, and skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle (which lies between the abdomen and chest cavity). It’s a long, flat piece of meat that’s flavorful but rather tough. Since the diaphragm is located across the belly of the cow, the cut of meat is called “fajita,” which means belt.
Growing up in New York, skirt steak was referred to as “Romanian Tenderloin.” But one thing skirt steak isn’t, is tender! The trick to making this cut a wonderful addition to your menu is to make sure you marinate the meat to tenderize it a little, and then you must slice it against the grain before serving. This task is actually quite easy, because the skirt steak is a very flat, rectangular piece of meat with a definite muscular grain going crosswise. Slicing the meat at a 45-degree angle will break the sinews and provide a much more tender chew. If you want to taste skirt steak as Romanian Tenderloin smothered with garlic, you’ll have to go to New York, where it is often served with a syrup jar filled with rendered chicken fat to pour on your steak and mashed potatoes with gribben — don’t ask!
Skirt steak is very popular in Japan, and for years a very high percentage of the U.S. supply was shipped there. As a result, it is not readily available in all markets, and when it is available, it’s not so cheap anymore (especially if it’s kosher meat). Other cuts of beef can be substituted, but it will not have the same texture or flavor, and of course, you can make chicken fajitas or vegetarian ones as well.
Fajitas
Many recipes are available for fajita marinades. My recipe uses the fresh flavors of Southwestern cooking, eliminating overbearing elements. Many marinades for fajitas, both homemade and store bought, use soy sauce. Avoid these products if you don’t want your finished product to taste more Teriyaki than Southwest. I prefer to use Worcestershire sauce for that additional “kick.”
11/2 pounds skirt steak or boneless chicken breast
¼ cup peanut or corn oil
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (omit salt if using kosher meat)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin or to taste
Flour tortillas
Pico de Gallo (see recipe)
Guacamole (see recipe)

  1. Marinate the steaks or chicken breast in the oil, garlic, lime juice and seasonings, at least 4 hours or overnight. If it’s 4 hours or less, marinate at room temperature, otherwise refrigerate.
  2. A half-hour before cooking, start your grill. Soak 1/2 cup of mesquite chips in water.
  3. 15 minutes before cooking, add the mesquite chips to the fire.
    *See Tidbits
  4. Grill meat over a hot fire 3-5 minutes per side, or until medium-rare.
  5. Slice into thin strips on the diagonal and serve on flour tortillas with the Pico de Gallo and guacamole.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• The most important thing to remember when making fajitas is never buy meat that is pre-sliced. Your meat needs to be grilled whole and then sliced to preserve its flavor and moisture content. Besides, grilling little slivers of meat is a daunting task and will feed the fire gods many little morsels as you are trying to turn and retrieve the pieces off your grill grate!
• Never marinate beef and chicken in the same bowl. The flavor and color of the meat will alter the taste and color of the chicken.
• If your grill doesn’t have a wood chip pan or smoker box, place the soaked chips in a foil packet and punch holes in it to let out the smoke. Place in the far corner of your grill and proceed with the recipe. Remove when grill is cold and discard.
Portobello Mushroom Fajitas
Sometimes you need a vegetarian option that is just as meaty and delicious. Here is the answer you will love that can be eaten alone or added to the meat in your tortilla.
4 portobello mushroom caps, stems cut flush with caps
1/2 cup beer
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Rinse and pat dry the mushrooms. Scrape out the fins on the underside of the mushroom and discard.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a shallow, non-reactive bowl and marinate the mushrooms for 15 minutes to 1/2 hour.
  3. Grill over hot coals for 4-5 minutes starting with cap side down and turning halfway through cooking time.
  4. Slice into 1/4-inch strips. Serve as above with accompaniments.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• Removing the fins from the portobello prevents the mushroom from bleeding black into your dish. This is especially important when you are mixing these mushrooms into a casserole or rice dish.
Fresh Pico de Gallo
If pressed for time, you can always buy premade pico in local supermarkets, but it will not taste as fresh and vibrant.
1 pound red ripe tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ small can of chopped green chilies
1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  1. Seed the tomatoes and chop into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine with the remaining ingredients and allow to sit for 1/2 hour before serving.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• To seed a tomato, cut in half horizontally. Hold tomato half by the skin and gently squeeze it over the sink. Give a downward shake and all the seeds should fall out.
• It is much easier to cut a tomato with a serrated knife and from the inside, rather than the skin side.
• Pico de Gallo means “comb of the rooster.” Care should be taken to cut the tomato and onion in perfect dice, as they will be visible in this uncooked salsa.
Guacamole
I know, it’s dangerous teaching guacamole in the Southwest, but here’s a recipe for those who generally buy the ready-made version.
2 ripe avocados
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
¼ cup canned Rotel tomatoes or picante sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 or more cloves of garlic, finely minced (or garlic powder)
½ cup finely chopped onion

  1. Mash the avocados, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Store with the avocado pit in the mixture to prevent browning.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• Ideally, the avocado will be ripe when you buy it. If the little step piece comes out easily, then it is ripe.
• If avocados are not ripe enough, put them in a paper bag on your counter and within two days they will be perfect!
Pralines
These are the hard, crunchy variety that you find at Mexican restaurants, rather than the soft, chewy kind.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups pecan halves

  1. Combine the sugars, butter, milk and corn syrup in a heavy 2-quart saucepan and cook at a low boil for 15-20 minutes. Stir constantly.
  2. Cook the mixture until it forms a soft ball when a small amount is dropped into a glass of water that contains a few ice cubes to make it very cold.
  3. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
  4. Add the pecans and remove from the heat. Stir to coat the pecans.
    Pour the mixture by spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet or parchment paper and allow to cool.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• Stirring a sugar mixture while it is boiling creates a crystalline structure when it cools. This is why instructions often tell you to never stir fudge while it’s cooking if you want it to be very smooth.
Frozen Margaritas
1 cup tequila
½ cup Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
1 6-ounce can frozen limeade

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender container and add ice cubes to fill the container. Blend until thick and smooth. Serve in salt-rimmed glasses if desired.

Tina’s Tidbits:
• If you really want your Margarita to be blue, try adding Blue Curacao instead of Grand Marnier.

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Plano City Council candidate distances herself from Ilhan Omar

Plano City Council candidate distances herself from Ilhan Omar

Posted on 30 May 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Ann Bacchus
Ann Bacchus, who is running for Plano City Council Place 7, has been accused of supporting Ilhan Omar after attending a fundraising event Nov. 2. “I am not aligned with Ilhan Omar in any form or in any way. I went to one event. There was a picture taken. I don’t appreciate that she’s put Islam under attack. We [Jews and Muslims] are both under attack.”

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

According to Ann Bacchus, Plano City Council Place 7 candidate, she has nothing but admiration and support for the Jewish people and Israel, and the proof is her record of the last 20 years.
Bacchus spoke with the TJP by phone Sunday, May 26.
“If I’m elected, you will never find that I did anything or will do anything to hurt the Jewish community or the Muslim community or any community,” the candidate said.
Ann Bacchus, a native of British Guyana who has lived in Plano 20 years, will face opponent Lily Bao, a Chinese immigrant, in a runoff Saturday, June 8. Early voting is underway.
In the last several weeks, several members of the Jewish community have questioned Bacchus’ ideology after learning she attended a fundraiser Nov. 2 for then-candidate Ilhan Omar before the midterm election. The freshman Democrat won her House seat and represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District.
Since the election, Omar, more than once, has tweeted anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic tropes, which led to a U.S. House resolution March 7 condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hate including Islamophobia.
Rumblings of Bacchus’ alleged anti-Semitism began to surface in the last few weeks.
“We first heard (from) a number of other people that she had participated in a fundraiser for Ilhan Omar,” said Eric Fine, who lives in Bacchus’ area of representation. “We wanted to make sure that it happened — that it was real and that it happened.”
Fine and others, set out to get clarification from Bacchus and her campaign.
They posted on Facebook, both Bacchus’ page and their own pages. They reached out to Bacchus’ campaign.
It seemed to them that Bacchus was ignoring their requests, and posts on her page asking for clarification were being deleted.
Their frustration and suspicion grew.
“I wrote to her on her Facebook page because I saw other people would write and she would ‘like’ it and respond to them. Then my posts ended up disappearing. Ann Bacchus responded and replied to every other question on her page, but deleted mine,” said Arona Ackermann.
She explained that she had no preconceived notions about Bacchus and started to do some research.
“I looked at every public offering I could find about who she is and what she stands for. I was heartened to see that she was interviewing adults and children alike, that she was getting her hands dirty. I saw she went to the Chabad of Plano Eva Schloss event. Then I put that together with this image that has gone around with her and Ilhan Omar at the same event.”
Bacchus explained her attendance at the event to the TJP.
“My reason for going to Ilhan Omar’s event was because she was a woman and a refugee… that resonated with me.”
Bacchus said that she doesn’t support Omar’s ideology.
“I am not aligned with Ilhan Omar in any form or in any way. I went to one event. There was a picture taken. I don’t appreciate that she’s put Islam under attack. We (Jews and Muslims) are both under attack.”
When asked if she supports BDS, Bacchus responded.
“You don’t separate Israel from the Jews. I would not support any boycott.”
Bacchus believes that her opponent Bao has used her attendance of the Nov. 2 to incite criticism against her.
“I think my opponent is using this, because there’s nothing else. I have more broad base than any other person.”
She explained that she believes the Bao camp has created collages of material that are being circulated about her that she has had nothing to do with.
When asked if she had anything to do with promoting Bacchus as anti-Semitic, Bao said, “No.”
Bao denied any involvement in producing or distributing anti-Bacchus literature.
“We run positive campaigns. I intend to represent all residents of the city when I get elected. I believe my love for Plano and Texas as well as my vision of ‘family, freedom and prosperity’ will be recognized and cheered as we work even harder to let the voters know who I am and what I will do for them,” Bao added via text.
Bacchus said that her history of involvement in Plano speaks for itself.
“I hope that people are able to look at the person themselves and see what they’ve done. There are many of us who go to an event especially if it’s for a woman. I went to the event because I was invited by another friend. People should look at me and see what I have done. You cannot come up with anything on me until you come up with the fact that I attended this one event.
“I think Lily and her supporters are trying to separate me from my Jewish supporters and the Jewish community, but what she doesn’t realize is that my support didn’t just happen because of an election. It’s happened because of years of making Plano better.”
Barry Hersh said, if true, he’s relieved to hear what some of Bacchus’ answers were. He was frustrated after his posts in relation to the Nov. 2 event on Bacchus’ Facebook page were taken down or called “fake news.”
“I wish I’d known that she was a supporter of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said. I probably would have campaigned for her.”

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Fire sweeps through Simcha Kosher Catering

Fire sweeps through Simcha Kosher Catering

Posted on 23 May 2019 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Simcha Kosher Catering

 

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Lowell Michelson is often the guy people turn to in their time of need. On Tuesday, May 14, the owner of Simcha Kosher Catering became the recipient of an outpouring of support when a seven-alarm fire swept through his Farmers Branch headquarters starting about 7:45 p.m.

“Obviously, I’m in shell shock,” Michelson told the TJP Tuesday. “All I could think about was the service to the community that I owe. I had jobs to go out starting Wednesday morning.”

Michelson’s lifelong friend, Harry Schick, came to the scene as the fire burned and asked, “What can I do?”

“Will you please call Shaare Tefilla — Jacques Ohayon is the volunteer who oversees the kitchen and the rabbi — to see if we can use their facilities?” Michelson responded.

Shortly after, Michelson got a call from his fellow kosher caterer and longtime friend, Chaim Goldfeder, owner of the Kosher Palate and Texas Kosher BBQ.

“He felt terrible, and said ‘What can I do?’”

Goldfeder loaned Michelson equipment and a van.

In addition to dealing with the trauma of watching his business burn down, Michelson had to stay focused on his obligations for the week — a full complement of catering jobs, The Star on Wednesday, the Federation Pacesetter lunch on Thursday, a bris on Friday morning, Shabbat dinner on Friday night, a Kiddush lunch on Saturday and another bris on Sunday. He also had his regular hotel and hospital clients for which he provides Dallas Kosher-certified meals.

“We’ve made it, we are fully functioning and full speed ahead,” he said.

Michelson said he couldn’t have done it without the “amazing” Dallas Jewish community.

In particular, he is grateful to Shaare Tefilla’s Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky; its executive director, Robyn Mirsky; and its lay leadership.

“I’m usually the one helping. It’s not easy for me to ask for help,” Michelson explained.

He added that his staff has been there every step of the way. “They’ve all jumped in.”

The fire starts

The fire began about 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 14. A three-person team representing Beth Torah’s Kosher BBQ competition was inside the premises waiting for Michelson to arrive when they smelled smoke. Michelson was en route to the meeting from a 250-person event for HaYovel Israel at Glenn Beck’s Irving studio, when Brian Rubinstein phoned him to say, ‘Your building is on fire.’” The trio had already called 911.

At first, Michelson wasn’t too concerned. He thought it was probably in the kitchen and knew that they had the latest in fire suppressant technology to deal with commercial kitchen grease fires.

As he approached the area, he could see black smoke billowing. When he arrived, he was surprised to learn that the fire had started in the warehouse.

“It was a perfect storm,” he said.

Michelson explained it officially hasn’t been determined how cotton rags, towels and aprons accidentally caught fire. Next to the textiles was a wooden shelf, which was adjacent to many cardboard boxes and wicker baskets. The fire caught and spread quickly through the 12,000-square-foot building.

It took three ladder trucks — seven in all — and close to four hours for firefighters from Farmers Branch, Carrollton and Addison to extinguish the flames.

The building has been deemed a total loss and structurally unsound.

Michelson said he is grateful to be properly insured and his agent, Barney Schwartz, has been helping him to navigate what comes next.

“We’ve already purchased a lot of new equipment and plates,” Michelson said.

Because the event Simcha was catering Tuesday night was so large, they were able to salvage a lot of their dishes, serving pieces and utensils and on-site catering equipment.

Business as usual

A week after the fire, Michelson says he’s providing his customers with the service they deserve and trusted him with.

“We’ve made it,” he said, though he’s not sure what will come next.

“The best analogy I can use is that this is like a baseball game. It’s only the first inning, and I’m not sure how this game is going to turn out. Today I’m in the second inning.”

One thing he is certain of is that he won’t be letting his clients down.

“I have a wedding this weekend for 350 people and they are going to have everything they need. Everything that’s promised.”

Michelson reiterated that he wouldn’t be in this position without the community’s support.

“We’re business as usual,” he said. “And we owe it to an amazing community and staff.”

 

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CHAI commemorates 36 years of service

CHAI commemorates 36 years of service

Posted on 17 May 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Community connections are a huge part of CHAI’s success. As part of his Bar Mitzvah project, Daniel Weinstein (lighting candles) and his mother Krista (in black) prepared a festive Shabbat dinner for CHAI residents of the Levy House residents.

By Deb Silverthorn

The good works of Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), will revolve through Dallas’ skyline at Reunion Tower, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2. The community is invited to celebrate “Living the CHAILIFE,” commemorating the organization’s double chai year 36 years of providing programs and services that enable adults with intellectual disabilities to live as independently as possible.

“I couldn’t be more excited for our guests to enjoy, to have fun, and for our supporters, staff and CHAI clients and residents to come together,” said David Romick, president of CHAI’s board of directors.

The event, which will take place on the Geo-Deck and Cloud Nine of Reunion Tower, will have roving entertainers, an interactive experience, and a menu created by Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant. Beverly Rossel and Ricki Shapiro are the event’s co-chairs, working with Development Chair Beverly Goldman, Romick, CHAI CEO Lisa Brodsky and CHAI Development Staffers Michelle Bach and Patsy Goodman.

“We are taking our celebration to the top. Reunion Tower is a very special place and we have so many wonderful surprises and plans for the evening,” Goodman said, noting that raising money and exposure for CHAI are what allow the services to continue. “There will be treats from the time guests enter the elevator (bring your smartphones) and they will continue as we take over the of the Tower.”

Established in 1983, CHAI is a nonsectarian, nonprofit corporation under Jewish auspices that provides programs and services to enable adults with intellectual disabilities to live full, rich lives in a safe environment and to participate meaningfully in the community.

“My hope is for CHAI to grow and to serve more,” said Romick, whose son Barry is a CHAI resident. “Our community has too many waiting for services — and, with the support of our community, CHAI will be able to provide high-quality care for more people like my son.”

He said that CHAI has provided various services for Barry and family since he was 15 years old. “For the last eight years he has been a resident and the quality and care he is provided can’t be compared,” Romick said. “I got involved and I love what I see, I love the community involvement, and my service for CHAI is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The CHAI management team is always open to recommendations and wanting only to make the organization better.”

CHAI services include room and board for 29 residents at its Bauer House, Levy House I and II, Miller House I and II, Todd House, Toub House and Yale House. Also available are health care and specialized therapy assistance, financial counseling and training, transportation, medical and therapy appointments and medication supervision, synagogue participation, volunteer opportunities, social activities, entitlement (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security) shopping and bill pay assistance, resident documentation and family communication and support.

The organization’s programming includes the Wolens Program Services, which provides support services to CHAI residents, as well as to individuals living independently in the community or with loved ones. Life Skills trainers assist with activities of daily living such as social skills, budgeting, shopping, health and wellness and more. Supported Employment provides clients assistance with job search, resume building and on-the-job coaching. Club CHAI has regular social outings, while CHAI Connects offers support, education and mentorship to family members of CHAI residents and clients, or potential residents and clients.

CHAILIFE Co-chair Ricki Shapiro’s son Joel is a CHAI client who can live independently because of the support of many of CHAI’s programs. To Joel and the Shapiro family, CHAI means everything.

“The beauty of CHAI is the wide spectrum of services it provides and the people it has offering them,” she said. “For almost every family the greatest concern is what will happen to our family member when we are not here. CHAI answers that question with safety and security and a sense of family for every client and resident.”

To RSVP for the event, visit chaidallas.org/special-event or text CHAItix to 51555. For more information about Community Homes for Adults, Inc., call 214-373-8600.

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Local Chabads hold Poway solidarity event

Local Chabads hold Poway solidarity event

Posted on 09 May 2019 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

When a gunman entered Chabad of Poway, California, on April 27, the last day of Passover, his expressed mission was to kill as many Jews as possible. His hatred claimed the life of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who is credited with jumping in front of the synagogue’s rabbi to shield him from the gunman’s bullets. The gunman injured three others: Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein; Noya Dahan, 8; and her uncle, Almog Peretz.
Chabad of North Texas held a Community Event in Solidarity with Chabad of Plano, Wednesday, May 1, at Chabad of Dallas.
In addition to honoring the memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, the event framed what the Jews can do after this horrific tragedy. The overarching message was that in response to hatred against Jews, there really is only one response: Do Jewish and “Continue to be a Light unto the Nations.”
Rabbi Mendel Dubrawsky, the first Chabad rabbi in Dallas and North Texas, was pained as he discussed what had transpired. He said he wondered if he would have been as quick-thinking and brave as his boyhood friend “Sroel,” the rabbi who while injured shepherded his congregants to safety. In the process Rabbi Goldstein lost a finger on one hand and sustained severe damage to the other hand.
Rabbi Dubrawsky explained that living a Jewish life is based on three pillars: Torah study, prayer and gemilut chassadim, acts of loving kindness.
Ultimately, Dubrawsky said, that all people are created in God’s image, b’tzelem Elohim.
“Living as an example of btzelem elohim, being created in the image of God, means living a holier life, means defining the world around you, means bringing light and brightening up the dark which opposes and is the greatest threat to evil, to stone-cold evil.”
Rivkie Block, rebbetzin of Chabad of Plano, paid tribute to Lori Gilbert-Kaye and the life of tzedakah that she led that seemed effortless and natural to so many.
“We are gathered here, to take part in snatching back the light that evil sought to take, and choose holiness, mitzvot, in particular acts of tzedakah in her memory. Not only for Lori’s soul, but for our nation and indeed the entire world,” Block said.
She outlined several actives one can do “snatch back the light” (see box).
With regard to the community’s security, Mark Kreditor, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, spoke on behalf of the Federation.
He discussed the critical mission of the Federation to support Jewish education, social services, support for Israel and Jews around the world as well as “the new normal” — keeping the community safe.
“I am here to tell you your Federation has been involved with educating and supporting every community partner through our Community Security Initiative, funded largely though your support of our annual campaign and by select donors. Our goal is to increase the effectiveness of our local security efforts across our community with all the local law enforcement agencies. Through your support we are now part of the national security apparatus of the Jewish Federation movement called Secure Community Network (SCN).”
He concluded by hoping for a return to life as it was before the shootings at Tree of Life in Pittsburgh and Chabad of Poway as well as praying for the speedy recovery of the injured.
“I am here tonight representing your Federation to provide love, support, resources, and most importantly, vigilance as we together as a community pray for a return to our old normal.”
Also participating in the program were Rabbi Peretz Shapiro; Uptown Chabad’s Rabbi Zvi Drizin, who led a brief prayer service; and Linda Johnson, who lit two memorial candles in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye as well as the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

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