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Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program at UTSW important resource for Jews

Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program at UTSW important resource for Jews

Posted on 24 May 2018 by admin

Photos: UTSW
Dr. Theo Ross in her UTSW lab. An oncologist, she wrote the book, A Cancer in the Family.

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

UT Southwestern’s Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program wants to do for pancreatic cancer what colonoscopies did for colon cancer: Catch it before it’s too late. This multi-disciplinary team of gastroenterologists, radiologists, surgical oncologists and geneticists want to help people who are at high risk for the disease. This is of particular interest to the Jewish community, which has a higher incidence of pancreatic cancer than the general population.
The background
It is widely known that people who carry mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancers. In fact, 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews, both men and women, carries a BRCA gene mutation — more than 10 times the rate of the general population, according to the National Cancer Institute (cancer.gov) and Sharsheret (sharsheret.org).
However, what is not common knowledge in the Jewish community are the other cancers influenced by BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations. Among them is pancreatic cancer. Rare, but particularly deadly, pancreatic cancer represents only 2 percent of all cancers. Yet, it is responsible for 40 percent of all cancer deaths, according to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, making it the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths each year.
What makes it so difficult to treat is that people often do not feel symptoms of the disease until it is advanced and aggressive.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect and diagnose for the following reasons:
• There aren’t noticeable signs or symptoms in the early stages of pancreatic cancer.
• The signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer, when present, are like the signs and symptoms of many other illnesses.
• The pancreas is hidden behind other organs such as the stomach, small intestine, liver, gallbladder, spleen, and bile ducts.”
While having a BRCA1 mutation raises your risk of pancreatic cancer by only about a couple of percentage points (to 1-2 percent), a BRCA2 mutation can increase that lifetime risk to 5-10 percent for people who have the mutation, explained Dr. Theo Ross, a professor of Internal Medicine and the director of the Cancer Genetics Program in the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Care Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is a member of the program’s multidisciplinary team as well.
Ross explained that in addition to the BRCA mutation, family history is key. “If you have a first-degree relative with pancreatic cancer or two others with pancreatic cancer, such as a cousin… you have a familial risk.” These are the folks who could be screened in the Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Clinic for precancerous cysts and followed closely thereafter.
Time to get tested
Ross stresses the importance of genetic testing for all members of the Jewish community. “The number of people that have a BRCA mutation and know they have a mutation is a small percentage,” she said. “Maybe 15 percent of people with the mutation know about their mutation. If they don’t know, they don’t know about the pancreatic cancer risk.” Ross encouraged people to get tested even if it’s with one of the at-home tests to start. One such test is available at Color.com. Color’s BRCA Test sells for $99. The test can be ordered by your private physician or an independent physician belonging to an external network. The company sends you a saliva collection kit and prepaid return label for you to send your sample back in. Ross says the test is solid. However, it’s important to review your results with a genetic counselor. And, she says, just because you test negative for BRCA1 or BRCA2 doesn’t mean you are in the clear. There are many genes that influence hereditary cancer syndromes. If you see patterns in your family, even if you test negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, it’s important to discuss your family history with a genetic counselor.
She became interested in genetics when she was in medical school and started putting two and two together: The number of people in her family who had cancer was alarming. Still, it took years for Ross to ultimately discover she is a carrier of the BRCA1 mutation herself. She discovered this only after she survived melanoma, one of the many cancers enabled by the BRCA mutations. She tells her story in her 2016 book A Cancer in the Family: Take Control of Your Genetic Inheritance. The book, which is now available in paperback on Amazon and from other resellers, is a resource guide for everyone and anyone who is concerned about their cancer risk. Despite the technical topic, it is easy to read.
The program
UT Southwestern’s Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program was launched in 2016. Dr. Nisa Kubiliun, the director of the program, believes it is poised to make a difference in the lives of those who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer. “Back in the day, nobody realized that pancreatic cysts were a significant cause of pancreatic cancer. They were largely ignored,” she explained. Over time, pancreatic cysts can evolve into tumors.
“When we started, we thought there were people who had pancreatic cysts and needed to be monitored,” she said. Kubiliun said that watching the progression of precursors to pancreatic cancer is a relatively new process. She believes that pancreatic cancer probably develops over the course of many years, but people have only been watching cysts recently.
“Our greatest opportunity is to prevent pancreatic cancer in the first place,” she says. By monitoring changes in the pancreas over time, surgeons can remove a cyst or precursor lesions of the pancreas that look troublesome before they actually turn into cancer.
Kubiliun says the program is growing rapidly, much under the auspices of its benefactor Jewish community member Nancy Wiener Marcus.
“I met Nancy shortly after we launched the program. From the minute I met her she’s been a force for really catapulting the program into the next stratosphere. She’s gone to incredible lengths to get the word out to the community. Her energy, her passion and her desire are inspiring.”
Currently the program is seeing about 20 new patients per week. Kubiliun explains what a good candidate for the program is: anybody with a strong family history of cancer; anybody with a history of pancreatic cancer or cysts of the pancreas; and anyone with a known genetic mutation.
A referral from a physician is not necessary. “They can simply go to our website (https://utswmed.org/conditions-treatments/pancreatic-cancer-prevention/) or call (214-645-8300) and say, “I need to be seen, can I be evaluated?” Kubiliun said they have never turned an individual away. “There is no downside for reaching out and asking us to take a look at your medical history,” she says.
One such person who joined the program is glad she did. Suzanne Calibretti, who is BRCA positive, was being screened with MRIs when the team noticed a change in her pancreas over time. “She was at the step right before it becoming cancer,” said Dr. Kubiliun. “Had she not had that operation, had she not had that pretumor removed, it would have been a completely different ball game. I can’t emphasize enough the greatest opportunity is to prevent pancreatic cancer in the first place.”
The mensch
If you’ve ever met Nancy Wiener Marcus, then you know she has a heart of gold. About five years ago, Marcus wanted to do something important for her 70th birthday. “I wanted to give some money toward something to help and I wanted it to go toward pancreatic cancer.” Initially, Marcus gave an endowment in honor of her own UTSW gastroenterologist Dr. Mack Mitchell for a fellowship. “That way it could go toward learning about the pancreas and other GI problems,” she explained.
However, Marcus felt the urge to do more and later was introduced to Dr. Kubiliun over lunch one day.
“What do you need?” Marcus said she asked Kubiliun. “It was pulling at me. I needed to do something else. You have to be doing something to make this world a better place.”
Initially, Marcus was going to provide $5,000 for a freezer for storing cells. “By the time I got home, I’d decided I’d start a fund of about $100,000 to get this thing (the Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program) going.
Marcus is passionate about getting the word out about the program. “My goal is to bring awareness and knowledge to our community. Most doctors don’t know this program even exists. And the Jewish community members don’t know that if they have a mother or aunt who had pancreatic cancer, they can go get tested and see where they are on the spectrum, so they can be followed and detect and do something before it gets into full-stage pancreatic cancer.”
Marcus hopes to bring an education program to the Jewish community in November during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.
“I keep asking myself, what else can I, Nancy, in my own little way be doing to bring about awareness and knowledge to our community so we can arrest the rapid growth of this disease?”
Marcus emphasized that being able to give the money has been a blessing, but if people don’t know about the program, “What’s the point? We need people to get people to take care of themselves and their family.”
A case in point
Many in the Dallas Jewish community know about Jamie Lambert, now 48. The TJP covered her story in November 2016, 16 months after her diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and her Team Jamie Facebook page has about 750 followers.
“The cancer diagnosis in July 2015 was not the first health scare. In July 2014, her gallbladder was taken out and she was discovered to have pancreatitis. She never really recovered.
“She went to the doctor a year later, worried when her body started turning yellow. An ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) found something, and led to a biopsy.
“‘(The doctor) comes in the room, and he says, ‘You have pancreatic cancer,’ Lambert said. It was adenocarcinoma. ‘And he walked out of the room. We knew you don’t live when you have pancreatic cancer.’
“She found an oncologist she liked, Dr. Michael Savin at Medical City, who later closed his office in March and moved to Portland. Savin didn’t have good news.
“‘I was given six months, 12 months to live,’ Lambert said.
“Her stage 3 cancer was too far along for a Whipple surgery, a common method for dealing with pancreatic cancers. But it’s hard to find the disease in time. It was a devastating blow.”
The UTSW Pancreatic Cancer Prevention Program didn’t exist when Jamie was diagnosed. And in fact, a virtual expert on pancreatic cancer today — as many people become when they are afflicted with a dangerous disease — she didn’t know about the program until the TJP shared it with one of her sisters.
Lambert would have met the criteria to be followed, having had pancreatitis and a mother and grandmother that had breast cancer. Interestingly, neither she nor her sisters tested positive for BRCA mutations; however, as Dr. Ross stated earlier, those are not the only mutant genes responsible and testing genes like PALB2 for mutations is key.
Dr. Kubiliun explains that when someone develops pancreatic cancer so young, at age 45, and has a positive family history of cancer, it’s even more important that her first degree blood relatives are followed by a program like the one at UT Southwestern. Now that they know about it, those wheels are set in motion.
In the meantime, Lambert, who has been living with pancreatic cancer for about three years, is going about living her life with her husband Kevin and their three children. “I take care of my kids, pick them up from school, exercise and try and connect with other people who are going through what I am going through.” Jamie, who undergoes chemotherapy twice a month, lives every day to its fullest. “Life’s too short not to,” she says.

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CJE leader Denn, family headed to Israel

CJE leader Denn, family headed to Israel

Posted on 10 May 2018 by admin

Photo: Meyer Denn
The family will spend the next year in Israel on sabbatical, living and loving the land in person.

By Deb Silverthorn

It’ll be a fond, albeit emotional, farewell for Meyer Denn and family at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 24, at the Aaron Family JCC’s Mankoff Center.
Fulfilling a dream, Denn, outgoing director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education (CJE), and his family will take a Sabbatical year in Israel — following their hearts to share the land, lore, and links to their heritage. With careers of teaching the core of the Jewish people at the core of this couple, Denn and his wife, Marni, look forward to having history come to life for their children Sydney, Jordan and Xander.
“We’ve wanted this gift for our children, and we’re so blessed to live in a time of miracles when the Jewish people have returned and are prospering in our country,” said Denn, who hopes to work in Diaspora affairs, education and engagement, and also share the country with tourists (“Come on Texans,” he says).
Denn was born in Wharton, Texas, and raised in Bay City. An involved Young Judaean in his youth and active in communal politics from early on, as a high school senior Denn ran for and won a seat on the city council. With a Bachelor of Arts in history and Judaic studies from UT Austin, he moved to Los Angeles where he served as executive director of the Pacific Jewish Center.
In 1997 he moved to Israel, working for the Jewish Agency and as a licensed tour guide. After returning to Los Angeles, where he pursued a bachelor’s degree in literature, a master’s degree in education and an MBA in nonprofit management from the University of Judaism, he reconnected with Marni, and his future was solid.
Since Denn’s arrival in Dallas, the then JED, Jewish Education Department of the Federation, has transformed into the center of our community, now the CJE.
“Meyer has brought together all walks of Jewish life, making what everyone cares about, something everyone cares about. He’s given the Federation a new credibility and a relationship with every institution in town,” Jaynie Schultz said. “Learning has become bigger than only for our children — education has become accessible and joyful for all ages.”
Ten years ago, Denn told the Texas Jewish Post that “as I’m meeting with rabbis, heads of school, teachers and lay leaders of the community, I’m finding an enthusiasm that is contagious and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s beautiful.” Ten years later, that sense of community and his commitment to understanding and enhancing it is his legacy.
“My role is to promote all types of Jewish education: day school, congregational, through organizations and agencies, and to bring crisp and new ideas through which we can partner,” Denn said.
“There was enough happening in our Mankoff space before Meyer, and he has brought it to life,” said Joy Mankoff. “Ron and I wanted more than a ‘room,’ we wanted learning, and a spirit for learning, and from the first time we met Meyer there was a click. He’s made that spirit contagious.”
Federation President and CEO Bradley Laye credits Denn with significant contributions. “The CJE has become the central convener and leader of major Jewish educational initiatives,” said Laye. “Meyer’s vision, creativity and of course his sense of humor, along with a stellar team of professionals, has made the CJE successful.”
Brought to Dallas as an enthusiastic and passionate visionary with the sharing of a new breadth of Jewish education and Jewish life, he’s opened many doors to help members of the community explore their Jewish identity.
Denn helped formulate numerous professional development opportunities for the community’s educators including the attendance of 200 early childhood educators at the National NAEYC Conference, bringing the Conscious Discipline philosophy to the community, sending 24 educators to Israel as part of the Schultz Israel Educator Fellows to teach Israel in the classroom, and the funding of scholarships for three community educators to receive master’s degrees from the Simmons School of Education at SMU.
Almost 2,300 children receive free books through PJ Library and thousands participated in LearningFest programs. The Night to Celebrate Jewish Education events hosted several distinguished speakers, all of whom also addressed area day schools.
The CJE supported strongly the growth of the Special Needs Initiative into becoming the Special Needs Partnership at Jewish Family Service and through Incubator Incentive Grants, CJE invested nearly $100,000 to seed new and innovative programs.
Technology grants for early childhood educators, Shabbat Scholars-in-Residence and this spring’s 13 Reasons Why NOT: Turning the Tide of Teen Suicide are additional examples of the impact Denn and his department has had on the community — the full list able to fill pages.
“I’m most proud that we’ve created an environment for every Jewish perspective in our diverse community to have a seat at the table of Jewish educational discussion and vision and that they show up and participate,” said Denn. “Today, our institutions engage and collaborate in impressive and meaningful ways and there’s a respect and trust that’s been built which continues to develop between our communal institutions.”
Denn believes his staff and all he’s worked with are positioned to maintain the department’s strengths. “We’ve constructed an educational landscape and brought the community’s leadership to understand how to serve its constituents,” he said.
“Meyer helped build up and promote those here who teach, those who support education, and those who want to learn,” said Helen Risch. “He’s upped the scale and helped us realize what we can achieve. We owe him and with his guidance, and the understanding, talent, and experience that we now hold, we’ll only continue to grow.”
Denn and his wife moved to Dallas in 2008 with their daughters and with the imminent debut of their son that fall. Akiba Academy, where Marni taught for years, has been their children’s academic home. With Sydney now headed for high school, the season was right for a family adventure of a lifetime.
“We’ve asked our kids to learn what they can about Judaism and to learn Hebrew, to have diverse experiences, and develop meaningful relationships,” said Denn. “We’ve been blessed here and we’ll never lose touch of our Dallas family. Learn Jewish. Think Jewish. Do Jewish. It’s what we’ve taught, what’s been learned, and it’s the key to goodness for everyone within Jewish Dallas’ grasp.”
Given that home is where the heart is, the Denns will always be home, wherever they go. Shalom y’all — it’s just the beginning.
The goodbye is co-chaired by the Mankoff, Risch, and Schultz families and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education.
There is no cost to attend, but RSVPs are requested by email to kschlosberg@jewishdallas.org. Anyone wishing to share stories, photos or well-wishes should email them to jaynie@jaynieschultz.com, and anyone wanting to share in a donation to the family can send such to the Denn Fund at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, 7800 Northaven Road, Dallas, TX 75230.

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Wende Weinberg’s sefer Torah comes home

Wende Weinberg’s sefer Torah comes home

Posted on 03 May 2018 by admin

Photo: Amy Palmer Gogan
(clockwise from front) Wende Weinberg’s sister Debbe Waterman Katz, Larry Elkus, Jefry Weinberg, and Laureen Waterman carried the chuppah while Steve Berman carried Wende’s Torah down Parker Road in Plano. More than 300 people made the journey from the Weinberg’s home, to Anshai Torah, where another 200-plus Anshai friends and family members awaited the Torah’s arrival.

By Deb Silverthorn

“This isn’t just an ordinary day,” Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg said, and April 15 wasn’t, as the congregation welcomed its Project 613 Torah, dedicated to its beloved Wende Weinberg, of blessed memory.
“It’s Rosh Chodesh Iyar, in which we celebrate the 70th birthday of the State of Israel. We all know who would be leading that celebration,” the rabbi said, speaking of his late wife, who loved Israel, celebrations and everything with a Jewish turn. “This is a unique day, a day of sanctity like none else. This sefer Torah, the source of everything we are as a people, is literally our eitz chayim hee. It is our tree of life. We cherish it, we embrace it, we respect it and we admire it.”
More than 70 percent of Anshai Torah’s membership, as well as members of the community at large, participated in the Torah’s writing. Fulfilling the 613th commandment, young and old felt the touch of the quill, the touch of the sofer (scribe).
“I’ve worked with many congregations in the past 25 years, and at Anshai I experienced something special,” said the sofer, Rabbi Zerach Greenfield.
“This was the love for a rabbi and his family, and a rabbi’s love for his congregants. I observed caring and warmth generated not only to the synagogue, but from the congregants to each other,” Greenfield added. “I experienced that warmth personally as I felt I became a part of the synagogue family, and I thank everyone for the experience. I hope this encourages and inspires many to a love of Torah and mitzvot.”
The Torah’s cover is embroidered “Hanoch l’naar al pi darko” (educate a child in such a way that he or she will thrive).
“Today we mark the completion of the Torah that was written in Wende’s memory, in honor of her legacy of being a teacher; of using those words of the Torah to teach children, to inspire adults, and to perpetuate our Jewish tradition,” Weinberg said, the message embodying everything about his wife, the mother of Adina, Danielle (Gilad) and Jordana, and the grandmother of young Ariel Zev. “There couldn’t have been anything more appropriate than to have begun our procession at our home from which we walked, together, to the synagogue every Friday night and Saturday.”
The journey to the ark was made by hundreds, with Steve and Judy Berman, Larry Elkus, Debbe Katz, Lauren Levin, Bruce Waterman, Laureen Waterman, Alla and Jefry Weinberg, and Marcy and Sandy Wohlstadter carrying the chuppah and the Torah. Once arrived, Michael Pincus served as master of ceremonies. Anshai Torah’s past presidents, Harry Benson, Richard Berry, Andy Cohen, Rusty Cooper, Andrew Farkas, Barney Goldberg, Debbie Katz, Philip Leibowitz, Michelle Meiches, Cindy Moskowitz, Howard Rubin, Warren Rubin, Neil Rubinstein, Josh Socolof, David Stanley and Carl Uretsky, led the next steps of the procession.
Gerry Romanik, escorted by Noah Feldman, Janet and Robert Behringer, Dot and Basil Haymann, and Nicole and Michael Roy, carried in Anshai Torah’s existing Torahs, while Levi and Nadav Kushnick brought in the Torah’s crowns. With the grace and strength of their mother, Adina and Jordana Weinberg carried in Wende’s Torah under a chuppah carried by Marcy Kahn, Jay Post, Andrew Silver. Barrett Stern and David Balis, and Alisa and Shayna Rubinstein served as Hagba’ah and G’lilah, lifted and dressed the Torah, as the Levine Academy Show Choir and Anshai Torah’s a cappella choir Kol Rina sang.
Eli Davidsohn’s musical ruach provided the backdrop for hearts bursting in song, dance and pure joy.
“From inception, our goal was to get as many people to participate in writing this Torah as possible and as we looked into the crowd of over 500, we knew that we succeeded,” said Nicole Post, who co-chaired Project 613 with Pam Goldminz. The committee also included Mojgan and Farzin Bakhshian, Jaime and Michael Cohen, Jonathan Goldminz, Jeanette and Michael Pincus, Jay Post and 72 honorary co-chairs.
Post and Goldminz joined Greenfield, Marcy Kahn, Gerry Romanik and Weinberg in sharing their hearts, memories and blessings on the occasion. “This experience will have a lasting impact on us as a committee, and Anshai Torah as a congregation,” said Post.
On April 28, Jasmine Herlitz’s voice rang out for the first reading of Wende’s Torah. “Wende was beautiful and so is her Torah,” said the bat mitzvah. “It was an honor to be the first to be able to read from what will always be a part of her.”
It was as though her blessings truly reached the heavens — and delivered right back.

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75 years ago, a boy escaped a death train

75 years ago, a boy escaped a death train

Posted on 26 April 2018 by admin

Photos: Amanda Harris
Mary Pat Higgins, Linda and Mervyn Sacher, and Veronique and Hylton Jonas

 

By Ben Tinsley
btinsley@live.com

Seventy-five years ago, 11-year-old Simon Gronowski jumped off a Nazi deportation train heading from Belgium to the deadly gas chambers of Auschwitz.
“I jumped and I escaped and I ran all night into the woods,” said Gronowski, now 86.
The 11-year-old barely escaped the Nazis with his life on that day, April 19, 1943. His mother and sister, unfortunately, later died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Last week, on the 75th anniversary of his escape, Gronowski shared his incredible story of survival with several reporters and an audience of about 50 at the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance. Later in the day, he gave a second, museum-sponsored, presentation at Congregation Shearith Israel.
Gronowski, his mother, Chana and his sister, Ita, were apprehended by the Gestapo at their Brussels home in February 1943. Gronowski’s father, Leon, was in the hospital when the Gestapo raid took place, and his presence went undetected. Gronowski’s mother told the Gestapo she was a widow.
Over 1,600 Jews were being transported to Auschwitz on the train on which Gronowski and his mother were placed. (Gronowski’s sister was on a separate transport.)
Gronowski said he still remembers hearing the members of the Belgian Resistance stop the train in an attempt to rescue the Jews on board.
There was a brief shootout before the train started moving again, he said.
The members of the Resistance were unable to reach Gronowski’s boxcar to free the people inside before the train started moving again.
However, heartened by the efforts of the Resistance, the deportees in Gronowski’s boxcar pried open the boxcar door so they could escape. Gronowski’s mother, also heartened, gave her young son 100 francs and urged him to jump from the train and run to safety.
Chris Kelley, a representative of the museum, said Gronowski’s mother was trying to convince him to escape by himself because she had very little chance of joining him.
“It was too far of a jump and it was far more important to her that her son be saved,” Kelley said. “There were 231 Jews who jumped from that train and he is one of the last survivors of the group.”
Kelley said this entire incident stands as one of the best examples of the Jewish people standing up during the Holocaust. It also is said to be the most significant rescue action taken by resistance fighters during World War II.
Only 5 percent of 25,602 deportees from the camp survived the Holocaust. Of the 116 deportees who were freed, Gronowski was the youngest.
“This was an 11-year-old kid who had to go into hiding for the rest of the war — but he survived,” Kelley said. “This is history that comes alive. This is history that moves us forward.”
After Gronowski’s escape from the Nazis, a Belgian police officer helped him return to Brussels.
The child survived the war by hiding.
Despite Gronowski’s tragedies, his story and positive outlook on life visibly moved Mary Pat Higgins, president and CEO of the museum. and members of an audience of 50 listening to his story last week.
“I do not bring to you a message of sadness — but one of hope and happiness,” Gronowski said to the museum audience. “Life is beautiful. Every day matters and I am happy — even more so because I met you.”
Gronowski told the audience he refuses to become jaded.
“Even today, there are people in the world who suffer,” he said. “I am keeping my faith in the future, because I believe in human goodness.”
His comments led to a standing ovation from the museum audience.
After the war, Gronowski became a lawyer and an amateur jazz musician, and was featured in Transport XX to Auschwitz, the only documented rescue attempt of a Nazi death camp during the Holocaust.
He co-wrote a French children’s book about his life experiences, titled Simon The Child of the 20th Convoy. He is also a regular public speaker.
His story is considered to be of great importance at a time that public memory of the Holocaust seems to be fading.
This month, a national survey released for Holocaust Remembrance Day disclosed that many Americans, particularly millennials, do not have basic knowledge of what happened during World War II.
As many as 66 percent of Americans ages 18-34 could not identify Auschwitz when asked. Furthermore, 31 percent of adults and 41 percent of millennials who were questioned thought 2 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, even though the actual number was at least 6 million.
Gronowski, meanwhile, said he has tried his best to live up to his words of hope.
There was one incident that took place in 2003, after Gronowski made public his identity as the 11-year-old who escaped the Nazis.
One of the former Nazi guards at the facility where Gronowski and his mother had been held before being placed on the Auschwitz train approached him begging for forgiveness.
“He heard about him (Gronowski) in the news,” Gronowski’s grandson, Romain De Nys, 24, explained
Gronowski forgave him.

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The story of second-graders and the two bears

The story of second-graders and the two bears

Posted on 05 April 2018 by admin

Every little girl dreams about her dream wedding. The beautiful flowers, perfect dress, a room full of friends and the perfect delicious cake. Of course, they dream about the perfect partner too — big brown eyes, a cute button nose, perfect white fur and 12 inches tall. Well, when you are a teddy bear planning your wedding at Temple Shalom Religious School, that’s what you dream about.
Earlier this year, second-graders in Tamara Farris’ class got to plan, organize and throw what organizers believe is the biggest teddy-bear wedding of all time — at least at Temple Shalom. Some kids dressed in their finest clothes. Others came in their favorite pajamas — since it was also monthly spirit day at Temple Shalom.
Boys and girls worked with Farris and her Ozrim assistants to write an original ketubah with all the “important rules of marriage:” Live a happy and healthy life, celebrate birthdays, take care of each other when sick, stay together, take care of the kids, be kind and honest, and use money wisely. These second-graders seem very wise at such a young age.
After writing the Ketubah was finished, it was time for the party planning. Hanging decorations, coloring beautiful doilies for the chuppah, decorating cupcakes for all the guests and even learning the traditional bottle dance from “Fiddler on the Roof.” The entire class stayed focused and on task all morning.
Rabbi Ariel Boxman and her assistant, “Rabbi Bear,” officiated the special ceremony. After both bears exchanged vows, it was time for the breaking of the glass. The wedding party and guests all practiced crushing plastic cups and even discussed the meaning of this symbolic tradition.
“The kids had such a good time making a ketubah, decorating their own wedding (cup)cakes, and designing their own chuppah,” Farris said. “As usual, I learned more from them than they learned from me.”
After the ceremony, it was time to hit the dance floor. Guests danced to “Love Shack” and a variety of other love-themed songs, as they practiced the bottle dance and showed off their best dance moves. Of course, the wedding party and guests had to pose for photos with the bride and groom, and then it was time for the highlight of the afternoon — the wedding cupcakes.
When the kids were asked if all the planning was worth it, they all shouted “yes!” What was their favorite part? You guessed it — the cake.
“The second-graders are having a wonderful time this year learning about Jewish lifecycle events,” Boxman said. “Even though it will likely be years before they have their own Jewish wedding, they now have an idea of what it may be like. The learning was joyful, experiential and memorable.”

— Submitted by
Lisa Rothberg

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Interfaith Seder honors King’s vision of inclusion, justice

Interfaith Seder honors King’s vision of inclusion, justice

Posted on 29 March 2018 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

What do a Jewish rabbi, Catholic priest, Protestant minister, Muslim imam and Hindu priest have in common?
They were all active participants during the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Jewish Community Relations Council Interfaith Seder on Thursday, March 22. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax and DFW Salvation Army Commander Jonathan Rich were among the local officials who read passages from the Haggadah.
More than 500 people gathered at Congregation Shearith Israel for the sixth annual program. This year’s theme honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago April 4.
The Seder was led by Rabbi Elana Zelony of Congregation Beth Torah and Most Rev. Edward J. Burns, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas. Using a Haggadah created specifically for the evening, attendees were treated to the key symbols of the Seder (The Four Cups of Wine; Four Questions; Blessings over the Karpas, Matzo and Maror; the story of the Exodus; The Four Children; The Ten Plagues; singing of Dayenu, the Hillel Sandwich; and, of course, a sumptuous, kosher festive meal).
Throughout the Haggadah, there were passages relating to topics important to Dr. King and consistent with the JCRC’s mission of community outreach, legislative relations, social action and Israel initiatives. For example, during the Four Questions, the following question was read in unison by the gathering: “How does our faith encourage us to address our society’s struggle with discrimination and injustice?”
Concord Church Senior Pastor Bryan Carter answered, reading from the Interfaith Seder Haggadah, “The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King offered this sentiment: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.’ As we consider how the criminal justice system disproportionately impacts people of color, we ought to be reminded that we are called to work together despite our racial, cultural or religious backgrounds.
“We must be true neighbors to one another. When we recognize people fighting against injustice, we are to stand with them, especially in times of distress, even though it is not the most popular action. When we witness others being battered and bruised by the system or battered and bruised altogether, we must be there to lift our neighbors out of the brokenness into a place of hope. If this is replicated all around us, together as people of faith, we can bring transformation to a system that is long overdue and leave our children and grandchildren with a better world.”
Following dinner, JCPenney Chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison spoke about what Dr. King meant to him and his family growing up in the small, segregated town of Brownsville, Tennessee.
“As a young black man growing up poor in the South, Dr. King had a significant impact on my family,” Ellison said. “When we didn’t have future aspects that looked bright, the words of Dr. King gave us hope and inspiration. I’m standing here tonight as chairman and CEO of a Fortune 500 company in large part because of the sacrifices of Dr. King and so many others.”
Ellison spoke about his unconventional journey to the top of corporate America and the example of hard work and faith modeled by his parents. His father worked three jobs, too proud to accept government assistance; his mother was a hotel housekeeper. As he closed his remarks, Ellison commented on what impressed him most about the evening.
“This is truly a wonderful event, and I’ve never been anywhere and seen the diversity of faith and religion represented in one room as openly and passionately as I have tonight.”
Melanie Rubin is board chair of the JCRC. Cyd Friedman and Byron Sanders were co-chairs of the Interfaith Seder, which was presented by the Texas Jewish Post.

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Yavneh, other Jewish day schools across U.S. join walkouts demanding action on gun violence

Yavneh, other Jewish day schools across U.S. join walkouts demanding action on gun violence

Posted on 22 March 2018 by admin


By Josefin Dolsten

NEW YORK (JTA) — Students at Jewish day schools offered prayers, lit candles and demanded change as part of a nationwide student walkout calling for gun reform in the wake of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Students around the country walked out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, to pressure Congress to approve gun control legislation and to honor the lives of the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The national walkouts came a week before the March for Our Lives, a protest organized by Parkland students in which their peers from around the country will descend on Washington, D.C. to call for stricter gun control.
Yavneh Academy of Dallas was among the many schools nationwide that participated. Yavneh Head of School David Portnoy explained that the senior class organized it on their own through social media and informed him about it that morning. All students and many of the staff, Portnoy included, participated in the 17 minutes of silence and reflection outside on the Schultz-Rosenberg Campus.
“While we often hear about student apathy and self-centeredness, let me assure you that this generation is passionate and poised to lead our communities at college campuses and beyond. Indeed, if you look at the way Yavneh students step up here on campus, and throughout the community, you have little to worry about, and much to be proud of.
“Our teachers and I were extremely moved by this show of independent student activism, and many of us had the opportunity to stand with them in prayer and reflection. Please know how mature and pensive our Yavneh students were and are, led by an outstanding Senior Class of 2018,” Portnoy wrote in the school’s e-newsletter.
At Golda Och Academy, a Conservative day school in West Orange, New Jersey, students organized a prayer memorial service ahead of the walkout. At the service, students and teachers spoke about the Parkland victims and lit a yahrzeit memorial candle. Each speaker was picked so that he or she shared some characteristics with the victim being talked about, such as being in the same grade or teaching the same subject.
Afterward, the overwhelming majority of students chose to participate in a walkout, where they carried signs, made speeches and sang songs.
Theo Deitz-Green, an 11th-grader and the president of the school’s student council, said he and other student organizers planned the event after learning about the Parkland shooting.
“There was a sense that, yes, it happened at a different school, but it could have just as easily happened at our school, we could have been the school experiencing that tragedy,” Deitz-Green told JTA over the phone.
“As we saw the Parkland kids start to speak out, there was a sense that something about the aftermath of this shooting had to be different. It was time not just for the country to change but for students to lead that change,” he added.
Another organizer, eighth-grader Sarah Farbiarz, was happy with how the event turned out.
“We worked really hard, so most of it seemed really powerful, and really moving, especially at the end when people were singing together. I thought that was a really great moment,” Farbiarz said.
The school was supportive of the students, said the head of the school, Adam Shapiro.
“From a school perspective we supported the desire of the students to carry out this program and make their powerful voices heard,” he told JTA in an email.
Earlier this month, Shapiro led a group of 139 heads of Jewish day schools who signed an open letter voicing their support for students organizing for gun reform after the Parkland shooting.
Students at Hannah Senesh Community Day School in Brooklyn also held a prayer memorial service. The service honored all victims of gun violence in schools. Students gave out note cards with the names of gun violence victims, lit a yahrzeit candle and prayed for the families of victims.
After the service, students had the choice to stay inside, walk outside the school or walk together with teachers to Brooklyn Borough Hall, where students from other schools gathered. The majority of students took part, said Annette Powers, the school’s director of communications and marketing.
Powers said supporting the walkout was “very much in line with our values.”
“We’re a school that really promotes the idea of social action and not just talking about issues but taking action to make a difference,” she said.
At the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, a pluralistic school in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, students gathered in a parking lot outside the school. They read about the lives of the Parkland victims and heard speeches from students and teachers.
“It was really an incredible sense of togetherness that all these people I’ve talked to about other issues where we might not agree, or just people that I don’t know very well, we all came together and stood together for this issue that we all feel so passionately about,” said Sophia Shapiro, a 10th-grader who organized the walkout together with 11th-grader Ruthie Cohen.
She emphasized that the walkout was only the beginning of action. Shapiro and Cohen are planning to find ways to keep their fellow students engaged on the issue, including by organizing students to contact their local representatives.
“Our message doesn’t end with this news cycle,” Shapiro said. “When this news cycle ends, our message will continue, and we will continue to fight for what we believe in.”
NFTY, the Reform movement’s youth group, urged members in public schools and day schools to march and share their participation on social media using the hashtag #JewsDemandAction.

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‘Buddy’ Cohen celebrating his 106th birthday

‘Buddy’ Cohen celebrating his 106th birthday

Posted on 15 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Wishing “to 120” isn’t so farfetched, as the birthday wishes are flowing for Dr. Bernard “Buddy” Cohen who turns 106 — yes, 106 — on March 29.
That’s 38,609 days, 5,512 weeks, 1,272 months and 1,311 full moons. When Cohen was born, there were 46 stars on the American flag, a first-class stamp cost two cents, the average annual salary was between $200 and $400 and the average life span for a man was 48.4 years.
Now with 50 stars on the flag, stamps at 50 cents, an average annual salary of $57,617 and the life span — well, Cohen has clearly surpassed any findings and beyond. Seemingly the only constant is the smile and twinkle in Cohen’s eyes.
“What is … is,” says Cohen, the son of Sam and Nell and brother of Lazar and Marvin, all of blessed memory. “If you can do something, do it. If not, it’s just ‘what is … is!’”
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, where he lived until moving to Dallas in 1995, Cohen grew up in the home shared by his immediate and extended family. The household of nine was close — Sam and Moise, brothers from Romania, married to New York native sisters Nell and Etta, living together from the time they married until their passing. Cousin Pearle — the only girl — got her own room while the gents, including cousin Leonard, slept on the porch.
Moise and Sam founded Cohen Bros. as a mercantile shop, then a men’s clothing store. While the next generation carried the store for a while, it’s now Sugar Ray’s Sweet Shop, the Cohen Bros. name still marking the now-historical monument.
Cohen grew up at Beth Israel Congregation, then and still the only synagogue in Jackson, the foundation for Cohen’s Jewish life despite having a rabbi only for the High Holidays. A stellar student, at age 16 Cohen started at Hebrew Union College, intending to someday serve his hometown.
Serve he did, but not as rabbi. Cohen soon realized the clergy wasn’t his calling, instead pursuing a career as a dentist. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University’s Dental School, Cohen cared for his community — the whole community — as a president of the Mississippi Dental Association and one of few offering dental care to black patients.
After serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, Cohen signed on as a medical officer, serving Naples, Italy, to the Austrian border. During his tenure from 1939 to 1946, he earned a Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Achievement in ground operations against the enemy. Upon his return, Cohen reopened his dental practice, not retiring until his 80th birthday.
Cohen attributes his longevity to healthy living. His wife, Ann, a dietitian, always created healthy meals, which followed his 4 p.m. happy hour glass of white wine and chocolate. Cohen also made walking a priority since his eye surgeon recommended it 50-plus years ago. Cohen still gets his blood flowing every day, even medaling at the 2009 Dallas Area Senior Games.
“My dad’s attitude is why he’s here. He doesn’t complain and he never brought issues home from the office,” said daughter Harriet Cohen. “He left work at the door and was always a teddy bear at home.”
The Cohens held high expectations for their daughters: the priority to remember who they represent. “There were few Jews in town and everybody knew the Cohens,” said daughter Marilyn Rothstein. “Our parents always reminded us to act proud and polite. We were representing our family and the Jews.”
Cohen provided insight to the end of World War I, growing up through the Great Depression, World War II, and life during the civil rights movement.
“We had a small congregation but we were close,” he said. “I remember us being the only Jews in school. Even though it was public school there was daily chapel and prayers. My brothers and I would sing the days of the week in our heads.”
Cohen recalls the 1967 bombing of their congregation and the rabbi’s home. There were no injuries, but the moment lasted. For Cohen, a bar mitzvah in 1925 wasn’t in order, but he made up for it in 1985, when Rabbi Richard Birnholz welcomed him as an “adult in the Jewish community,” still at Beth Israel Congregation.
“I remember Buddy’s pride and enthusiasm, and his defined Southern ‘twang’ as he read Torah, reaching his goal to celebrate his bar mitzvah. Today I wish him the same blessings of long life and good health. It seems he’s achieving both, but I pray again that he should continue to have joy and nachas,” said Birnholz, a Dallas native, coincidentally raised at Temple Emanu-El and serving Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa since 1986.
Cohen’s constant smiles are attributed to the doting love and care by family he’s blessed to be near: children Marilyn (Stan) Rothstein, Harriet Cohen and Debbie (John) Wills; grandchildren Josh (Lisa), Neal (Paige) and Daniel Rothstein, and Laura Wills, Erica (David) Bashover, and David (Shayna) Wills; and great-grandchildren Abby, Chavy, Gabe, Hilary and Maya Rothstein.
Cohen’s been a Dallas resident since after the passing of his beloved Ann, whom he met at a dental convention and to whom he was married for 49 years. The Legacy at Willow Bend is now his home and second family, and Temple Emanu-El’s congregation and clergy stir Cohen’s spiritual soul.
“I love seeing them do what they do every week, what they did in our chapel for many years, celebrating the blessing of family and Shabbat’s beauty,” said Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Debra Robbins, who often leads services at The Legacy. “Buddy’s deep love for family and his abiding devotion to Jewish life inspires me. We’re blessed to offer blessings for him birthday after birthday and it’s clear, not only has God blessed him, but we are blessed as well.”
“Knowing our family lived together and raised their children together, we’ve always had a sense of being there for each other,” said Debbie Wills. “We’re lucky to be close, to see Dad often and the next generations now too. L’dor v’dor. That’s what it’s all about.”

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Continuing the intermarriage conversation is crucial

Continuing the intermarriage conversation is crucial

Posted on 08 March 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

When Tevye told his daughter Chava, “As the good book says, ‘Each shall seek his own kind.’ In other words, a bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home together?” Chava responded, “The world is changing, Papa.”
Tevye may not have felt so in that moment, but last month at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, a panel shared how the world is changing on the issue of intermarriage during the program “Modern Love, Interfaith Relationships: The Heart of the Matter.”
“The moral is our lives must be balanced. The fiddler could have fallen and so too can a family without balance,” said JCC Performing Arts Director Alise Robinson, who is preparing for the March 8-25 production of Fiddler on the Roof Jr., which inspired the program.
Joining Robinson were Josh and Charlotte Kahn, Jane Larkin, Jaynie Schultz, Joy Schwartz, Rabbi Dan Utley and Rabbi Shira Wallach. All agreed there isn’t one model of intermarriage, or of any marriage. For each of the panelists, having the conversation is critical to helping those involved build Jewish homes.
“The more this conversation is part of society, the more programs, education and support will be introduced,” said Schwartz, the moderator of the event. She earned a master’s degree in management and organizational behavior and counseling. She is also a Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern. “These issues aren’t different from others of conflict, but they add another layer.”
Schwartz, who leads the Navigating the Religion Decision program, which is open to the community and hosted at Temple Emanu-El with a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, says there’s no real answer but for couples to work together.
So has been the reality for the Kahns, who for nearly 30 years have shared lifecycle, milestone, and holiday discussions as they wrestle with their interfaith marriage. The two have raised their family, with four children, to respect and honor both sides of their family tree.
“When we married, there were few interfaith couples. We’ve had a very interesting journey but we’re fortunate,” said Josh. “No marriage can coast. Not one of two Jews and not intermarriage. Marriage isn’t easy, and you never know until you’re in the moment.”
What can be a charged topic lies within our own limbic systems and isn’t realized until the conversation is opened, said Larkin, director of small groups and community engagement at Temple Emanu-El.
“We haven’t done a good enough job of sharing resources in our community, and we want to change that,” said Larkin, author of From Generation to Generation: A Story of Intermarriage and Jewish Continuity. “Working with interfaith couples is my passion, and we’re here as the ‘big C’ in Community.”
All of the panelists noted the importance of the conversation and involvement of both partners. Everyone’s Jewish journey evolves. and someone finding a partner that isn’t Jewish doesn’t mean a Jewish home is lost or unimportant. “We’re one way growing up, another after we have children, another as empty nesters into our senior years. We grow and so do our voices,” said Larkin.
“Our job as a Jewish community is to welcome our non-Jewish families and we want to share the beauty of who and what we are,” said Jaynie Schultz, who teaches the Interfaith Grandparents Discovering Judaism class, a partnership between InterfaithFamily and the Schultz Family Foundation, for non-Jewish relatives of converts or those in interfaith relationship families raising Jewish children. “We’re not here to proselytize but to let them know we want them in our lives.
“It’s interesting to think about where Tevye and Golde’s family could be if Chava and Fyedka had their voices heard, not lost,” said Schultz. “It’s our obligation to welcome families of those raising Jewish families, all Jewish families.”
Temple Emanu-El’s Utley noted that the role of faith and religion, even if they are different religions, is important. “You have to make a faith decision for your family because children are too young,” he said. “You can learn and appreciate and respect the similarities and differences, and still celebrate holidays with the non-dominant (religiously speaking) family, but choosing — there must be a choice.”
Utley said almost always a Jew choosing to marry a non-Jew should not be considered a reflection on how he or she was raised. It isn’t that someone went to day school or didn’t, or kept Shabbat or didn’t; not turning those couples away is a resounding refrain and is key. “We’re a peoplehood, we’re Israel, we’re a lifestyle,” he said.
Congregation Shearith Israel’s Wallach spoke to what used to be a black-and-white issue: Interfaith marriage can’t be condoned.
“Now I’ve experienced an important paradigm shift that we live in shades of gray,” she said. “There are interfaith families who are present at every event, keep a kosher home, and teach their children how to live Jewishly. There are plenty of endogamous couples who coast through their Jewish journeys, rarely engaging deeply.”
Recognizing the conversation is important and exciting, Wallach said; it’s also painful when “a Conservative rabbi who a couple loves and trusts can’t marry them, and it’s painful when Jewish parents assume that their kid’s choice to marry a non-Jew is about rejection of their upbringing. It’s not.”
The Conservative movement has spent years discussing the issue. While its clergy doesn’t perform interfaith marriages, they are always asking themselves: How can families who make the choice to bring Judaism into their homes be honored? How can values of welcoming be demonstrated so these families feel comfortable in the community? How can families be given safe spaces to have these conversations and explore what Judaism offers?
“Boundaries create holiness; we separate milk and meat, Shabbat and the rest of the week. Even God created the universe by separating light from darkness. Boundaries are how we know who we are but sometimes, these boundaries shift,” Wallach said. “It’s painful when truths we expect to be eternal begin shifting and we have to accept and celebrate a new reality. The truth is we’ll all be better for it. Judaism is meant to challenge us so we can make thoughtful choices every day.”

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25th Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off fi res up March 18

25th Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off fi res up March 18

Posted on 08 March 2018 by admin


By Deb Silverthorn

Some 43 teams from the Dallas Jewish community will stir the pots for the annual Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 18, at Congregation Tiferet Israel. The Cook-off is celebrating its 25th year.
The Cook-off, whose title sponsors are the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Key-Whitman Eye Center and the Marsh & McLennan Agency, is recognized as the premier event in the area for bringing the North Texas Jewish community together.
“The Cook-off is not only the oldest continuous Kosher Chili Cook-off event in the world, but one of the largest,” said Tiferet Israel President Ed Jerome. “It has evolved into an integral rite of spring on the Dallas Jewish calendar.”
“We are so happy to welcome back the many teams who’ve been here year after year and also the newcomers — the prizes are up for grabs,” said Jay Abrams, who has co-chaired the event with his wife, Janet Bubis, since 2009. “It’s a lot of work, yes, but it’s so much fun. From Saturday night’s last-minute details until we open the gates, it’s lots of nerves — but when the public comes in, it’s the best day ever, every year.”
“A quarter of a century is an incredible milestone, a silver anniversary of high order because the foundation of the Mishkan was of silver brackets,” said Rabbi David Shawel, Dallas Kosher’s director of supervision. “It could definitely be argued the Cook-off is a significant part in the foundation of our Jewish community. I hope God blesses the event’s leaders, participants and all who attend, and always I pray the unity we feel that day should last all the days following.”
Just 12 teams competed at the initial event, founded by Jack Baum, Mark Kleinman and Dan Prescott. Attendance was 600. In recent years, the teams have tripled and the attendees have grown into the thousands.
The Aaron Family JCC, Akiba Academy, Congregation Shaare Tefilla, Congregation Shearith Israel, Dallas Kosher, and Jewish Family Service teams have competed every year since the contest began, returning to round out year 25.
“I’ve attended or helped out for most years since the cook-off’s inception,” said Henry Litoff, who, with Alistair and Lauren Lyon, won 2017’s top prize after placing second on three occasions. “I enjoy competing because it represents the most important thing about our community, and that is the ability to come together to enjoy an event together as whole.”
Litoff, competing unaffiliated with any group, previously helped represent Moishe House, which, led by his brother Austin, won in 2013 and 2016 and earned the People’s Choice prize twice. “This year my brother and I aren’t going head-to-head as I’m competing in the vegetarian category, so hopefully we can both win first place. Of course, I can’t share our recipes, but having grown up together we share sensibilities and traditions around food and its preparation.”
Tiferet Israel has shared proceeds of the event with nonprofit organizations from throughout the community for many years. While in previous years there have been two or three beneficiaries, it was determined this year that JFS’ Harvey Relief efforts was the place to share.
“Our partnership with the Kosher Chili Cook-off is so special because it demonstrates how our community continues to rise to the occasion and support us in meaningful ways. Even now we’re still providing support for those individuals staying long term in Dallas to help them get back on their feet,” said JFS CEO Steve Banta. “The outpouring of support for JFS’ Harvey Relief efforts was beyond imaginable, and none of this would be possible without the power of the Dallas community.”
This year’s judges will share their flair for the kitchen, their love for chili and their heart for anything Texas community as they begin testing fare from each of the teams. The judges — David Feder, Craig Ford, Dotty Griffith, Danny Hall, Michael Mrugala, Kim and Tom Schroeder, and Kara Sewell — are executive chefs at local restaurants, hospitals and universities, journalists and cookbook authors.
Awards will be presented at about 3 p.m.
In addition to chili samplings, barbecue sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, falafel, corn, popcorn, cotton candy and Dippin’ Dots will be sold. There will be raffles and activities for children, including Home Depot-directed wood craft projects. Community organizations and vendors will have booths, and the Mazik Brothers and the R&R Band will play throughout.
Admission is $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 4 to 10 (including a free hot dog), with children 3 and younger admitted free. Parking with a free shuttle to and from the event will be at the JCC. For more information, call 214-691-3611 or visit kosherchilicookoff.us.

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