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Polarizing president draws rare, broad Jewish support with Jerusalem declaration

Polarizing president draws rare, broad Jewish support with Jerusalem declaration

Posted on 14 December 2017 by admin

Metroplex, US organizations applaud action

 President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Dec. 6 and has said he plans to move the embassy at some point.

President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital Dec. 6 and has said he plans to move the embassy at some point.

By Sean Savage
JNS

It’s not often that the American Jewish community is united on issues pertaining to President Donald Trump, or on any political topics for that matter. But Trump’s Dec. 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and his expression of the intent to move the U.S. embassy to that city drew widespread support from Jewish organizations, dovetailing with the expected backing of Christian Zionist groups.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella body for 50 national Jewish groups, said it is “gratified that its decades-long policy calling for U.S. recognition of Israel’s capital in Jerusalem has now been realized.”
Sarah Stern, founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, told JNS that Trump’s decision is a “victory for pluralism and religious freedom,” noting that Israel has allowed unfettered access to Christian and Muslim holy sites since it took full control of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Stern dismissed concerns that Trump’s Jerusalem decision may ignite regional violence.
“If this is going to cause mass violence, it is not the fault of the United States,” she said. “It is the fault of the Arab world, which has not even recognized pre-1967 Israel in their textbooks, but teaches that all of Israel, even pre-1967 Israel, will one day be ‘Palestine.’ ”

Local and national response

Several Metroplex Jewish leaders and organizations were eager to voice their support.
“Jewish history provides a shining example for all of us on how to tackle difficult issues,” Temple Emanu-El President Mike Simms and its clergy wrote in an email. “Then as now, it’s important for us to embrace difficult conversations and to strive to engage with those with whom we may disagree passionately, and with respect and civility for each other’s views and experiences.”
The Shearith Israel clergy wrote to its membership, “We celebrate this important step in the fulfillment of the promise and destiny of our holiest city — but it is only a step. We must never rest in our endeavor to unite these two Jerusalems — the Jerusalem of earth and the Jerusalem of heaven. We must continue to advocate for recognition of our ancient ties to our capital, but we must also rededicate ourselves to pursuing peace, to rejecting and preventing violence …”
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County issued similar statements. The Dallas Federation’s statement read: “The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Jewish Federations of North America, our national organization which issued a similar statement earlier today, welcome this decision as it upholds our long-standing policy of encouraging recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We also welcome the affirmation by the President of a negotiated two-state future between the parties in which Israelis and Palestinians live side by side with secure and recognized borders.”
Congregation Ahavath Sholom Rabbi Andrew Bloom commented on Facebook, “It is time to rejoice upon the renewed recognition of Jerusalem’s importance and centrality to Israel. For thousands of years Jews around the world have claimed Jerusalem as their home, and now all of them can rest in the recognition that ‘The City of Gold’ is truly their/our own.”
American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris expressed hope that “other countries will value the clarity and wisdom of President Trump’s historic decision, and also recognize Jerusalem and relocate their embassies there.”
Harris also praised Trump for emphasizing in his Dec. 6 remarks that the announcement does not affect the role of the U.S. in navigating final status issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The administration’s commitment to advancing that peace process is most welcome,” said Harris.
Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed the Jerusalem announcement as a “significant step that acknowledges reality” and urged the Trump administration to push forward in peace negotiations.
“We recognize that this is an enormously sensitive and volatile issue, and we call on the administration to implement this new policy in a careful and thoughtful manner in consultation with regional leaders,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL’s national chair, and Jonathan A. Greenblatt, its CEO.
Dallasite Lillian Pinkus, president of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, said Trump’s decision “is more than an important benchmark — it is a milestone that corrects a historical wrong.”
Yet some Jewish leaders, while recognizing the importance of the Jerusalem move, said the timing was not right.
Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said that although the U.S. embassy “should, at the right time, be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” the Reform movement “cannot support (Trump’s) decision to begin preparing that move now, absent a comprehensive plan for a peace process. Additionally, any relocation of the American Embassy to West Jerusalem should be conceived and executed in the broader context reflecting Jerusalem’s status as a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.”
Reconstructionist Jewish organizations said they are “concerned over the possible impacts of the timing and the unilateral manner of President Trump’s decision for the U.S. to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital outside the framework of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.”

‘Tough, ultimately correct’

Boris Zilberman, a deputy director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, called Trump’s announcement a “historic step in U.S.-Israel relations and an important affirmation of Israel’s international standing as a co-equal.”
“President Trump made a tough but ultimately correct decision,” Zilberman told JNS. “While the move of the embassy will not happen immediately, the Trump administration is moving to make the move a reality in the very near future as they select an appropriate site.
“A more secure Israel,” said Zilberman, “is better placed to make tough decisions in the peace process, something (PA) President (Mahmoud) Abbas would be wise to consider as he calibrates his response.”

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New group putting Democrat back in Big D

Posted on 07 December 2017 by admin

North Texas Jewish Democratic Council aims to mobilize DFW

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

Janice Schwarz is a Jewish Democrat.
But unlike some, the longtime Dallas Democratic activist is proud to say it.
About 70 percent of Jews voted for former President Obama in 2012. Around 64 percent of Jews say they are Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study. Yet Jewish Republicans tend to be more outspoken about their partisan identity.
“They paint Jewish Democrats as anti-Israel, which they are not,” Schwarz said.

The North Texas Jewish Democratic Council, which kicked off Oct. 29 at the home of Bob Franklin and Lenna Webb, seeks to make more people become like Schwarz, or at least get more Jews involved in local and state Democratic politics.
It is not that Jews are not active in politics. But currently no Democratic Jewish officials serve at the state level.
In fact, in the last cycle former Far North Richardson Democrats President Laura Irvin tried when she ran and lost against Koop. It was believed to be the only general election race featuring two Jewish candidates from both parties. Irvin has since moved to Ohio.
While that group includes a number of Jewish members, this club is different: a club created by and for Jews. (Schwarz said they would not turn away non-Jews, however.)
So there is another goal: increasing the local dearth of Jewish Democratic officials.
Plenty attended the event, including judges Carl Ginsberg and Mark Greenberg. Two candidates for office attended as well: Sam Johnson, who is running to succeed retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (who is not related), and Brian Chaput, who is running for Texas senate District 8. Both districts are in reliably red Collin County. The candidates expect an uphill battle.
But the candidates may have some help from a former Republican in the NTJDC leadership. Larry Strauss left the party after strong disagreements with President Donald Trump. With the help of his friend and Democratic activist Warren Harmel and the Dallas County Democratic Party, the duo met Schwarz.
“After the Republican Party, with a majority in both houses, had no plan in place and failed to unite in repealing and replacing Obamacare, I was so disgusted, I called the Dallas County Democratic Party and the North Texas Democratic Council was born,” Strauss said.
The club is the first of its kind in the region.
Another prominent Jewish Democrat, Marc Stanley of Dallas, spoke about his new group. The Jewish Democratic Council of America was launched in July after President Donald Trump refused to denounce a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one person dead.
The group succeeds the now defunct National Jewish Democratic Council. Stanley and former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost of Dallas served on that board until it folded this past year.
Stanley shared with the TJP on Tuesday, why he helped spearhead the Jewish Democratic Council of America.
“I have long been involved in Democratic Party politics, and felt that the Jewish community needed a strong formal voice in the party. This became particularly true as we saw Donald Trump, both during the presidential campaign and since taking office, pandering to anti-Semitic and racist groups. Unfortunately, we are seeing the fanning of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia — all of which are antithetical to my beliefs as a Jew. And, too many of the people inside and adjacent to this White House are a part of it. So many of the policies we see today in the White House and Congress go against the progressive beliefs that I and most other Jews hold dear.”
Stanley, a council member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and chairman of the Legacy Senior Communities, spoke about the JDCA’s goals.
“Through this new organization, we can ensure that lawmakers and candidates know where we stand, and that we support those with similar beliefs. Additionally, JDCA will fight for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, working to ensure that the Democratic Party strongly supports the Jewish state and that Israel continues to be the bipartisan issue it long has been.”
Stanley also told the gathering about the importance of mobilizing Jewish Democrats to impact the 2018 and 2020 elections and influence local and state elections.
They have reason to be interested. Statewide, Democrats consider a majority of the Republicans in the Dallas County delegation to the legislature top targets. Along with Linda Koop, Democrats are targeting Reps. Jason Villalba of Dallas, Rodney Anderson of Grand Prairie, Matt Rinaldi of Irving and Morgan Meyer of Highland Park. Republican State Sen. Don Huffines of Highland Park is also seen as vulnerable.
One opportunity under consideration is a candidate forum for competitive districts like Congressional District 32, represented by U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions. Democrats see the Dallas Republican, who defeated Frost, as a top target this cycle. Democratic candidate for president Hillary Clinton narrowly carried the district.
“It’s important to have Jewish Democratic representation. Democrats represent Jewish values,” Schwarz said.
They just need to get involved.
Contact Janice Schwarz at tamsterbath@gmail.com or 214-460-7283 for questions about the local group.

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Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Posted on 06 December 2017 by admin

See full story here at JTA.org

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Donald Trump signed a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but emphasized that he was not pre-empting negotiations over the final status of the city.

“It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said in a televised address from the White House, with Vice President Mike Pence standing behind him.

“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. I today am delivering.”

Trump in the proclamation also directed the State Department to start planning an embassy in Jerusalem. The U.S. Embassy is currently in Tel Aviv.

The president said the decision should not impinge on efforts led by his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, to bring about a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Trump said the proclamation does not presume the outcome of Jerusalem’s status in negotiations.

“We are not taking a position on any final status issues, including the boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who welcomed the announcement, has said repeatedly that Jerusalem will remain undivided as Israel’s capital. Palestinian officials hope to establish the capital of a Palestinian state in the city’s eastern sector.

Trump also made a point of urging the preservation of the status quo on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. The controlling authority on the Temple Mount now is the Muslim Waqf, and Jews are forbidden to pray on the site.

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Young virtuoso takes glass from gob to art

Young virtuoso takes glass from gob to art

Posted on 30 November 2017 by admin

According to the young man with an old soul, “A real artist always must want to do what they are doing. It can never be a job. There is always a feeling of joy, as if they are in harmony with the world.”

According to the young man with an old soul, “A real artist always must want to do what they are doing. It can never be a job. There is always a feeling of joy, as if they are in harmony with the world.”

 

Glassblower Waranch honing skill set for bright future career

By Shari Stern
Special to the TJP

In addition to “mind-blowing,” “breathtaking” might be the best way to describe Simon Waranch’s glassblowing work. Each of the artist’s glass pieces is a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind treasure.
The 2017 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts was on a freshman trip to Italy when, while in Murano, he became enamored with the art form of glassblowing.
“I went to a glass hot shop studio and watched glassblowers immersed in their art. The physicality mixed with the creative was me,” Waranch said. “I was hooked. I knew it immediately … (but) the one form of art Booker T. doesn’t teach is glassblowing.”
He found Carlyn Ray Designs and took classes at her studio, Dallas Glass Art. Ray invited him to be an apprentice.
“Simon came to my studio as a young art student in high school and after seeing glass, he fell in love,” Carlyn Ray said. “In the beginning, as he was developing his skills, what stood out to me was his awareness and sensitivity to his environment.”
Waranch was on her production team, assisting Ray with her work. After a year, Ray offered Waranch a position at her studio.
Today Waranch is a glassblower and instructor of the art form.
“I learned the skills through classes and on-the-job training,” Waranch said with pride. Today Waranch is in his first year at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Ray’s business work has three elements: Carlyn Ray Designs, Dallas Glass Art and a nonprofit educational component Art Reaching Out (ARO). The organization focuses on high-risk kids, especially young women. They are given instruction in glassblowing. Waranch has taught some of those classes.
The young man’s work is not sold at retail or wholesale, but is commission-based in fine art galleries, and can be seen at high-end installations, both residential and corporate. His first major installation is in the new Gardere Wynne Sewell LLB Law Offices on McKinney Avenue. On two floors, hanging from the ceiling down a hallway at varied lengths, are what Waranch calls “Mercury Drops.”
“Their fluidity is mesmerizing,” he said. “My inspiration for Mercury Drops was the Bean in Chicago.” The Cloud Gate Sculpture, also known as the “Bean,” is one of the highlights of Chicago’s Millennium Park, designed by artist Anish Kapoor.
“With Mercury Drops, I wanted to create an organic form that brought an unusual peacefulness in the setting and that attracted human interaction. Your eyes look up at an individual shape and mirror a perception of yourself from multiple points of view, sometimes distorted, sometimes accurate.”

His first major installation is in the new law offices of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLB on McKinney Avenue. On two floors, hanging from the ceiling down a hallway at random lengths, are Mercury Drops.

His first major installation is in the new law offices of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLB on McKinney Avenue. On two floors, hanging from the ceiling down a hallway at random lengths, are Mercury Drops.

In May, Waranch created a commission project for the Hotel Versey in Chicago, and in August he did a commission installation for a renovated Embassy Suites in downtown Baltimore. His organic work is not only interesting to look at from all angles, but also to touch. “All of my pieces are free-blown, not using molds,” he explained.
Ray continued, “At Dallas Glass Art, we teach both with encouragement but also if your goal is to strive to be a glassblower, we provide real-world life lessons into the process. These lessons Simon experienced with us and through taking various classes really helped him grow as a person and artist, and accompany his passion and drive to further learn glass. Simon has the drive, love for the material, and business mind to become a successful artist.”
The entrepreneur added, “Simon is an expressive and passionate person and has chosen the material of glass as his muse. He is developing his language to speak through this material, but the message is out. Simon is creating his path and sharing his milestones with Dallas as he develops his works of art. I am looking forward to seeing where the relationship of Simon and glass will go and what will emerge from this fiery passion.”
Regarding his future Waranch said, “My goal is to grow my business as well as my skills with glass. I want to be considered a maestro before I’m 25.” The 18-year-old continued, “I want to open up my own studio in Dallas within the next four to six years. I love what I do. I have found I am happiest when working with glass, and just as happy when someone purchases my glass. Glass pushes me as a person because there is always something new to learn.”
Waranch will have his first one-man show Dec. 2 at LMB Art Glass Design with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is in the Arts District at 1644 Irving Blvd., Dallas.
To enjoy Waranch’s work online, visit simonwaranch.com and lmbartglass.com/collections/simon-waranch. To contact the artisan, reach him at simonwaranch@gmail.com or by phone at 972-742-9055.

According to the young man with an old soul, “A real artist always must want to do what they are doing. It can never be a job. There is always a feeling of joy, as if they are in harmony with the world.”

According to the young man with an old soul, “A real artist always must want to do what they are doing. It can never be a job. There is always a feeling of joy, as if they are in harmony with the world.”

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Iconic death marks end of generation

Iconic death marks end of generation

Posted on 22 November 2017 by admin

Max Wider

Max Wider

Dear Readers,
I feel that it is appropriate, in the short space allotted me, to share my profound feelings of loss at the passing of my dear friend of 25 years, Cantor Max Wider (R’ Shemaryahu Yaakov Mayer) ob’m, who passed away in Dallas on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the age of 99.

All in Dallas should know that there was a giant among us — who is no longer with us. You might wonder, why would I feel so sad at the loss of someone who lived to such a ripe old age?
The answer to this struck me as I stood next to him the previous night in the hospital and he opened his eyes widely, looking at me, and I told him we would recite the vidui (confession, as one does on Yom Kippur and before passing). He winced upon hearing the suggestion, but I said it with him. And then he perked up when I said we would recite the Shema; his eyes opened widely for nearly the last time.
The profound sense of loss struck me as I stroked his arm and gazed into those eyes. Those were precious eyes which beheld the grandeur of European Jewry before the war. Eyes which saw the giant Chassidic rebbes of a generation long gone. He received his rabbinical ordination from his beloved rebbe, the world-renowned holy man and sage Rav Yoel Teitelbaum of Satmar, at the young age of 16. Endowed with a beautiful voice, Max (who went by the name Yankov Mayer) led the rebbe’s prestigious choir on the High Holy Days in Satmar.
He would share with me untold numbers of stories and Torah thoughts of the great Chassidic masters, always with the details of their yichus, where exactly this or that rebbe fit into the Chassidic family tree. He would tell of great rebbes he traveled to see and speak to throughout Europe, often in summer resorts where they would congregate. His thoughts were never far from his own dear rebbe, whose picture adorned the wall of his office.
Those eyes were the same eyes that painfully witnessed the murder of his first wife and children by the accursed Nazis, as well as the demise of hundreds of thousands of his beloved brethren during his years in Auschwitz. The stories he shared abounded and wrench the heart. He once said he learned to be a mohel to fulfill the mitzvah of bris on his own sons, then broke down crying saying they were all taken from him. Max’s unforgettable, heartfelt rendition of Yizkor on Yom Kippur for all those murdered in the war ripped the hearts of all of us and will remain with all who heard it forever.
He told me that he rescued 100 Jews in Auschwitz, and I always wondered what that meant. One morning an older Chassidic Jew with his son were visiting our shul. After shul he and Max saw each other, and began to hug and kiss each other and cry. I asked him who is this Jew? He replied tearfully and full of emotion, “He’s one of my hundred!” I approached this Jew and asked him what Max did for him in Auschwitz, and he replied, “You wouldn’t believe it — he got us everything! We didn’t know how he did it; he smuggled us food, matzo on Pesach, a shofar and so on, you wouldn’t believe it!”
When I looked at those eyes in the hospital, I realized that these are the eyes that had become my eyes, to see a world that is no longer. Those eyes were a window into previous grandeur… to its destruction … and to heroic survival and rebuilding from those ashes. Eyes that had the herculean inner strength to rebuild a beautiful Jewish family with his beloved wife Lily, a family true to his legacy and to a Jewish future.
After the war Max served as a cantor, mohel, teacher and shochet (kosher slaughterer) in Texas. He once told me about a very special day in his life. The renowned sage, Rav Yosef Kahaneman of Ponovizh, who often traveled to America to raise funds for his system of yeshivos, made it his practice to refrain from eating meat in America, not knowing whose shechita (ritual kosher slaughter) he could rely upon. Once, while in Texas, someone told him there is a young shochet he could indeed rely upon — R’ Yankov Mayer Wider. The revered rav tested him on the laws of shechita (“oif the ganzta Simla Chadasha”), checked his chalaf (knife), and, satisfied, partook of his meat. “That was the happiest day of my life!”
Max contributed generously to the institutions of Satmar and many other Torah institutions throughout the world.
When, at the age of 96, Max needed to be in the hospital for Rosh Hashanah due to a heart event and extreme weakness, his son Simon asked me to go to comfort him and talk to him despite his determination to be in shul. After Rosh Hashanah I asked him if he blew shofar in the hospital, to which he replied, “Of course!” I then asked him if, due to his weakened state, he blew the minimum requirement of 30 blasts or the entire 100 blasts. To that he looked at me with complete bewilderment, as if I fell off the moon, “Of course 100 koilos (shofar blasts)!”
The determination to do the right thing — despite enormous difficulty — for someone who had survived what he survived … wasn’t even a question!
May he be a meilitz yosher, pray on high, for his beloved wife and family and for us all. May we all strengthen ourselves in our Torah studies and observance in his merit, and may his memory be a blessing for us all. We will sorely miss him. His loss, in my mind, marks the end of a generation.

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Texas Liberators honored with ceremony, project

Texas Liberators honored with ceremony, project

Posted on 22 November 2017 by admin

Photo: Mark Umstot (From left) Liberators Bill Kongable, Bireny Havey, Gerald Powell, Chet Rohn and Herb Stern attend the ceremony.

Photo: Mark Umstot
(From left) Liberators Bill Kongable, Bireny Havey, Gerald Powell, Chet Rohn and Herb Stern attend the ceremony.

By Arlene Nisson Lassin
Special to the TJP

On Thursday, Nov. 9, right before Veterans Day, and the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a poignant afternoon unfolded on the floor of the Texas Senate in Austin. Six Texas-based veterans of World War II, now aged from 92 to 96 years old, and 28 families of other veterans around the state were honored in a ceremony in the Texas Senate Chamber. Included in that group was Chester “Chet” Rohn, of McKinney, now 93 years old.LowRes_TexasLiberators_Austin_122 (1)
Coordinated by the Texas Holocaust and Genocide Commission (THGC), all of these men were involved in the liberation of Nazi concentration camps at the end of the war. Survivors from the Holocaust were on hand to present special medallions to all the veterans and their families for their heroism in being part of that liberation. In all, 335 Liberators throughout Texas have been identified, and more than 200 were sent invitations to attend the special ceremony. Although 20 of these men are still alive, due to health reasons only six could personally attend.
Over 700 people packed the Senate Chamber for the ceremony, including many families from the Dallas area.
Fran Berg from Dallas is one of the commissioners on the THGC and chaired this event. She and her family attended to accept the medallion on behalf of her late father-in-law Lee Berg, of Dallas, a camp Liberator.
“Holocaust education is ethics education,” Berg said in her remarks. “My father-in-law was one of the Texas Liberators of Dachau. He never spoke of the war, except to share his testimony one time on videotape 50 years after the war… He compartmentalized his memories. He tried to forget. I use him as an example because I know that many families in this room have had the same experiences, and as difficult as they (memories) may have been, they are also a gift. While Nazis sought to destroy lives and eliminate memory, the Texas Liberators are the true victors, for they leave us all with a memorable legacy of human-kindness after shattering, and hope after despair.”
For the survivors on hand, including Rabbi Sidney Zimelman of Fort Worth, the act of presenting medallions to the men who set them free brought closure and a chance to say thank you.
Several second-generation survivors handed medallions to second-generation family members of the veteran Liberators. One notable second-generation family represented the late Reverend Wilson Canafax of Fort Worth, who liberated Elie Wiesel, and whose son Elisha sent special remarks to give personal thanks.
State Senator Don Huffines was another of the Dallas area second-generation family members to receive a medallion. His late father James Huffines was one of the Liberators.
Florence Shapiro, former state senator from Dallas and chair of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, was on hand and gave opening remarks. Her mother and late father were survivors, and she lost many members of her own family in the Holocaust.

Photo: Mark Umstot (From left) Danielle Berg, Mark Berg (whose father Lee Berg was the Liberator), Fran Berg, Jared Berg and Molly Berg stand beside a monument to the Liberators.

Photo: Mark Umstot
(From left) Danielle Berg, Mark Berg (whose father Lee Berg was the Liberator), Fran Berg, Jared Berg and Molly Berg stand beside a monument to the Liberators.

Tracking down the Texas Liberators from World War II and getting their testimony was an ambitious project taken on by THGC some years ago. It is just now going live and available to all, including educators and students who are studying this part of U.S. history. Find comprehensive information on this project and resources at http://texasLiberators.org/.
In the educational component, Peter Berkowitz, commissioner and former chairman of the THGC, was a man on a mission. Berkowitz was upset when he found out his grandson did not learn about the history of the Holocaust in his high school history classes. Although the Holocaust is mentioned in some history curricula, it was never part of the official curriculum for students all over the U.S., like Berkowitz’ grandson, who take Advanced Placement (AP) US History.
Around 2014 the THGC, based in Austin, and the U.S. Holocaust and Memorial Museum (USHMM) decided to combine forces to add Holocaust study to existing AP U.S. and World History courses taught throughout the United States to high school students. At first, there was pushback from the AP people on adding to the existing curriculum, but eventually, in 2016, with curriculum written by THGC, it was added to U.S. History. USHMM wrote the World and European History Curriculum addition. (Explanation of the AP History project is at another online site, http://theLiberatorproject.org/)
The liberation of concentration camps by American troops was the focus of the additional history material, and THGC involved Texas Tech University, whose faculty and students took on this project to create resources including eyewitness testimony from Liberators. The Texas Liberator project, commissioned by THGC and led by Dr. Aliza Wong, associate dean of the Honors College at Texas Tech, includes two-hour videos of 21 Texas Liberators, where each veteran gives eyewitness testimony on the conditions they found as they liberated the concentration camps.
The expanded project now includes the taped interviews; a book titled The Texas Liberators, with photos and written testimony; a museum exhibit at Texas Tech; and an interactive application that students can use in the classroom. The application allows visitors and students to walk through the Dachau death camp at liberation with narratives by the Liberators. All are available on the first website (TexasLiberators.org).
For many of the soldiers, including a majority who are not Jewish, it was impossible to put into words the horrors they witnessed during the liberation of the camps, and they could not speak of it for many decades. In the Dallas area alone, 32 veterans were identified as camp Liberators, many identified by family members after an online survey was circulated to veterans and families of veterans.LowRes_TexasLiberators_Austin_415 (1)
“Many of these veterans lives were forever changed by the scenes of inhumanity,” said Peter Berkowitz. “Most could not speak of what they saw in the camps but when we approached them and they did speak about it, all of their stories were similar. All of them were still haunted by the sights of emaciated people, and so many innocent victims, civilians’ deaths.”
Three of the videos included in the 21 are testimonies from Dallas-area men: John Jack Reynolds, Lee Berg and Melvin Waters. Many of the men speak with tears in their eyes, overcome by emotion at the memory of what happened to people in the camps.
The narratives are to help students better engage with and relate to what can seem like unbelievable stories of horror and cruelty to a group of human beings in the Holocaust.
“If you ever heard the term dead man walking, that describes what we saw,“ said the late Wilson Canafax in his taped testimony.
Another veteran, William Dippo, added that what he saw and the condition of the people in the camps was worse than anything he ever saw on the battlefield.
Other resources are available to visitors, educators and students as well on the website.

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JNF meet-and-greet focuses on changing organization’s image

JNF meet-and-greet focuses on changing organization’s image

Posted on 16 November 2017 by admin

(From left) Carly Bierman, Chantal Itzhakov, Ilene Bierman. Deborah Gaspar, JNF Reception Co-chair Fonda Arbetter and Marcel Solman

(From left) Carly Bierman, Chantal Itzhakov, Ilene Bierman. Deborah Gaspar, JNF Reception Co-chair Fonda Arbetter and Marcel Solman

By Aaron Greenberg
Special to the TJP

DALLAS — What’s your image of the Jewish National Fund? For most Jews, it’s the iconic blue box and raising money to plant trees in Israel.
“Most people think you put money in a tin can for trees, but it is so much more,” said Fonda Arbetter, a JNF supporter who helped host an informational gathering at the home of Fredell and Allan Shulkin on Nov. 2, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
Founded in 1901, JNF played a key role in building the infrastructure and purchasing the land that would become Israel. Yet its North Texas presence has fallen off over the years, leaving mostly memories of blue boxes.
JNF’s local, regional and national leadership is trying to update its image, spread the message of the organization’s current goals and generate excitement and support in the Metroplex.
Current and potential supporters got a chance to meet with and hear from some of those leaders, as well as the Jerusalem Post’s Gil Hoffman. JNF Chief Development Officer Rick Krosnick and Southwest Senior Campaign Executive Chuck Caughey spoke, and Southwest Executive Director Reagan E. Weil was also on hand.
“It is evident this community wants JNF to be active here,” Krosnick said afterward. “At last night’s event, the age of the people spanned from early 40s to 80, and our message of JNF being a big tent for the Jewish people resonated with them.”
Hoffman, the featured speaker, is the chief political correspondent for the Post. While he talked more broadly about Israel and his experiences, he touched on some of the key problems JNF is working to address.
“JNF is Israel beyond the conflict, what’s beautiful about Israel, and that’s why I like speaking for it,” he said. “It highlights the consensus we can be proud of.”
He told a story about how his son wanted to see the country’s biggest playground. It’s an indoor playground — because of rocket fire across the Gaza border — built by JNF in Sderot.
And that’s the part of the country people need to focus on, he said.
“The key to Israel’s future is settling the Negev,” Hoffman said. “If we don’t settle the Negev, we’re in trouble.
“People think that Israel is successful now, but they don’t realize the gap between the haves and have-nots is one of the widest in the world. Those have-nots require immediate assistance.”
The cost of living in the center — the economic hub of the land — is rising fast. Real estate prices in Tel Aviv have surpassed Manhattan, Krosnick said.
As a result, JNF has focused on the Negev and Galilee. Krosnick said this is a chance for younger Jews, who might think the work of building Israel is done, to get involved.
“We have raised more than $461 million from 400,000 donors in just the last four years,” Krosnick said. “Those dollars are supporting our vision to build the Negev and Galilee so all of Israel’s citizens can have the best quality of life for the next 70 years.
“We must create the conditions to support 500,000 Israelis moving to the Negev and 300,000 Israelis to the Galilee. This is the only solution to help the economic climate where the average Israeli, who is tethered to the expensive center, can find a better quality of life to support their families.”
Krosnick mentioned projects like the building of health care facilities and homes for farmers along agricultural corridors, such as the border with Jordan. Many young people have left these communities that provide most of the nation’s exports, but now they are interested in coming back. JNF has increased the housing stock by 30 percent.
JNF’s seven areas of work include community building, water solutions, disabilities and special needs, research and development, education and advocacy, forestry and green innovations, and heritage site preservations.
Arbetter said she saw these in action throughout the land. Although she had gone to Israel three times before, she saw the relationship between the nation and JNF in a new way.
“Jay (her husband) and I took a private tour two years ago, but we saw things with JNF we never could with a private guide. You have to do both to get a good overview,” she said.
“We got to see actual projects that JNF was in charge of. If you are with JNF, Israelis treat you like royalty.”
Arbetter became involved after meeting Alyse Golden Berkley, president of the board for the Los Angeles area, at a wedding.
“She told me what she and her family did in Israel, and I thought that was very cool,” Arbetter said.
When she went on a JNF mission to Israel this year, there were Jews from across the U.S., but she was the only one from Texas. She’s hoping to help spread the message enough so that things change.
Arbetter said Dallas is very involved with AIPAC, Jewish Family Service and the Federation, and she’d like to see the local community embrace JNF the same way.
“What I experienced in Israel, I wanted to share with my friends and acquaintances in Dallas,” she said.
Caughey has been working over the past year to build up interest in the region. He said he sees an opportunity, and cited the organization’s complete focus on Israel, and how 86 cents on every dollar goes directly to the cause.
About 100 people attended, and had a chance to hear about JNF’s work from Arbetter, in addition to the professional speakers.
Krosnick said the format, where people hear speakers and mingle, has given JNF a chance to really tell its story.
He also mentioned that there are programs for high school and college students who want to get involved, as well as those for young professionals.
“JNF is here for the long haul, and we have a long-term vision to connect our friends in the Dallas area to Israel as lifelong partners of the land and people of Israel through Jewish National Fund,” he said.

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Shark Tank star headlines Yes! Event

Posted on 09 November 2017 by admin

Real-estate mogul, self-made millionaire Corcoran guest speaker at Legacy Senior Communities annual event

Submitted report

The Legacy Senior Communities hosted its Yes! Event fundraiser and welcomed reality television star, real estate mogul and self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran as the guest speaker. Corcoran became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country after borrowing $1,000, quitting her job as a waitress and starting a tiny real estate company in New York City. That company grew into a $6 billion dollar real estate business. Today, best known as one of the “Sharks” on ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank, Corcoran uses her finance and business acumen to invest in start-up companies and guide them to success.
Proceeds from this year’s event benefit The Legacy Senior Communities Financial Assistance Fund, which will provide charitable support to future residents of The Legacy Midtown Park to help supplement the cost of their care and enrich their quality of life. In addition, the fund assists seniors using personal assistance services (which include help with bathing, grooming, dressing, transportation, recovering from illness and transitioning from a hospital stay back home) through The Legacy at Home. The Legacy Senior Communities has provided care to seniors and their families in the Greater Dallas area for more than 60 years. The event committee consisted of Co-chairs Carol Aaron, Dawn Aaron, Sandy Donsky, Linda Garner, Zona Pidgeon, Jody Stein and Karla Steinberg.
“We are a mission-driven organization dedicated to making sure Jewish seniors in Dallas have the care they need and the lifestyle they deserve,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “We are excited about serving seniors in the future at The Legacy Midtown Park, our rental continuing care retirement community under development in Dallas. The generosity of our donors will help us provide charitable care to future residents of our vibrant and state-of-the-art community.”
Marc R. Stanley, chair of the board of trustees of The Legacy Senior Communities, added, “We are committed to developing incredible communities where seniors lead full and dynamic lives and to provide the highest quality of care and services through The Legacy at Home, our Medicare-certified home health agency,” said “We rely on our donors to help us accomplish our mission, and I want to personally thank everyone who has supported us and continues to support us each day.”
This year’s Carmen Miller Michael Award award was presented to Adlene Harrison, the first Jewish and first female mayor of Dallas. It was the third time, The Legacy Senior Communities has presented the award which pays tribute to Carmen Miller Michael, who was dedicated to improving the quality of life for people dealing with the issues of aging, mental health and cognitive challenges. The award was created to pay tribute to a member of the Greater Dallas community who displays the special qualities that Carmen Miller Michael possessed: a pioneering spirit and an unshakeable sense of justice and compassion. Harrison was chosen because she is a fiercely independent individual whose perseverance and dedication to others continues to inspire those around her. Harrison has been an integral component of The Legacy Senior Communities since she became a part of the Friends of Golden Acres auxiliary board, which was responsible for raising money and providing special programs during the 1960s.
“We were thrilled to honor Adlene at our event, and she is a true example of a pioneering spirit,” said Andrea Statman, director of development for The Legacy Senior Communities. “Our organization is focused on positively impacting the lives of seniors, and we are grateful for the longstanding generosity shown by individuals, foundations and businesses in our community. The fundraising efforts from this year’s event will help us extend our services to even more seniors, and we are committed to providing excellence to those we assist.”

 

Legacy sponsors:

Developer $15,000: Carol & Steve Aaron
Broker $10,000: Dawn & Todd Aaron/Tracy & Clay Aaron/Nicole Blue/Angela Aaron Horowitz/Erica & Craig Robins; D2 Architecture; Leo & Rhea Fay Fruhman Foundation; Mr. & Mrs. Harlan Korenvaes; Marsh & McLennan Agency – Kevin and Mahra Pailet/Dan and Stephanie Prescott/Stuart and Myra Prescott/Travis and Mitzi Sartain; Karla & Larry Steinberg; Gilian Baron/Susie Carp/Marion Glazer/Cathy Glick/Lisa Goldberg/Beth Konig/Lisa Lieberman/Elaine Pearlman/Lisa Rudner/Lisa Zale
Agent $5,000: Sandy & Howard Donsky; Linda & David Garner; IMA | Waldman; Beverly & Cary Rossel; Marilyn Rothstein; Wendy and Marc Stanley; David Weinreb; Bonnie & Jeffrey Whitman
Buyer $2,500: Dean Maddelena/StudioSix5; Irma Grossman/Lois Wolf; Raelaine & Paul Radnitz; Kahn Mechanical Contractors; Phyllis & Joe Somer; Sharon Levin; Barbara Stein; Texas Jewish Post; Susan & Steven Wilkofsky
Underwriter $1,000: Lisa Albert/ Tricia Gold, M.B. & Edna Zale Foundation; Jim Beaman/Southwest Bank Mortgage; Frankie & Jerry Michaelson; Janet Beck; Carol & Stuart Morse; BERNBAUM/MAGADINI Architects; Melissa Orth; Candy Brown; Ruthie & Jay Pack; Francis & Julius Coleman; Laurie & Todd Platt; Fran & David Eisenberg; Helaine & Gerald Ray; Michael & Linda Ellentuck; Helen & Frank Risch; Marilyn Fiedelman: Ruthy & Steven Rosenberg; Julie Ray Fields; The Rubin Family Foundation/Julie & Jay Liberman; Dena Klein Frankfurt; Mr. and Mrs. Howard Schultz; Friedman & Feiger, LLP, Laurie Ginsberg/Stephanie Ross, Debbie & Eric Green; Rita Sue & Alan Gold; HBR Technologies/ The Romick Families; Ynette & Jim Hogue, Judy Perl Worldwide Travel; Mindi & Michael Kahn; Carol & Mark Kreditor; Ruth Levy; Liz & Robert Liener; Rhonda & Fraser Marcus; Bobbi Massman/Roz Goldstein; Helene Shalom; Ruthie and Alan Shor; Renee Stanley; Star Companies/The Pidgeon Family; Rhona Streit; The Belaire Group; Iris & Dennis Topletz; Maddy & Mark Unterberg; VITAS Healthcare; Janice Sweet Weinberg; Andrea Weinstein; Gerardo & Helga Weinstein; Donna Arp Weitzman/Dot Haymann; Ethel Zale

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Community shines at J’s be. the Voice

Posted on 09 November 2017 by admin

Submitted report

This past Saturday, the Aaron Family J pulled off yet another night to remember: be. the Voice took place Nov. 4 at The Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum.  The “be.” fundraiser helps to raise money to support year-round J programs and services.
The be. the Voice event featured five group acts — the Heartbreakers, J Zen, Jew Kids on the Block, The Hot Shots and the Rockin’ Rabbis — and a surprise performance from CEO Artie Allen.
The winner of the be. the Voice of the J was the Jew Kids on the Block, benefiting the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education & Tolerance.

 

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Annual barbecue event rousing success

Annual barbecue event rousing success

Posted on 02 November 2017 by admin

‘99 Percent Kosher’ wins chicken, beef, overall reserve titles at kosher championship

Event Chairs Sandy Dorf and Brian Rubenstein with members of 99 Percent Kosher, winners of the Grand Reserve Champions Trophy: from left, Dorf, Ilan Felner, Ralph Landau, Rubenstein, Ajay Patel, Jason Wise and Ellis Shwarts

Event Chairs Sandy Dorf and Brian Rubenstein with members of 99 Percent Kosher, winners of the Grand Reserve Champions Trophy: from left, Dorf, Ilan Felner, Ralph Landau, Rubenstein, Ajay Patel, Jason Wise and Ellis Shwarts

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

The team may have been called “99 Percent Kosher,” but they were 100 percent winners at the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship on Sunday, Oct. 29.
The team consisting of Ilan Fehler, Jason Wise, Ellis Shwarts, Ajay Patel, and Ralph Landau was judged to have the best chicken and beef ribs, while they finished second in the brisket category and third in turkey.
That combination crowned 99 Percent Kosher as the Overall Reserve Champion by the panel of judges.

Event chair Brian Rubenstein is flanked by “Celebrity’s Choice Turkey Winners” Jim Liston, left and Jeff Kort of Meat-Fire-Mishpacha.

Event chair Brian Rubenstein is flanked by “Celebrity’s Choice Turkey Winners” Jim Liston, left and Jeff Kort of Meat-Fire-Mishpacha.

“We were confident in some of the things, but there were a couple where we were surprised they won,” the team members said while celebrating. “Last year it was just two of us; this year it was five of us. So I guess the more of us the better.”
Having five team members made it easier to take the team picture with all their winnings. With four individual categories and the reserve champion plaque, they needed all five team winners to hoist their hardware for official photos.
“It’s exciting,” the group said, while holding their trophies. “We had a great time and being able to head home with this makes it even better.”
Wholesalekosherwines.com, a team based out of New York that wasn’t around for the award ceremony since they had to catch a flight, was the grand champion. That team was chosen as the brisket winner, while it also placed second in turkey and chicken, while claiming third in ribs.
The event was supervised by Dallas Kosher and was sanctioned and officially judged by the Kansas City Barbeque Society, which shared scorecards and comments with each of the teams after the results were announced.
Celebrity judges were Jody Dean, KLUV 98.7 FM morning radio host; Jon Tesar, chef/partner of Knife; Tim Byres, chef/owner of Smoke; Kent Ratbun, chef/owner of Abacus and Jaspers; and Jill Grobowsky Bergus, co-owner of Lockhart Smokehouse.

Dallas Kosher’s Rabbi David Shawel Photos: David Duchin, dspnphotos.com

Dallas Kosher’s Rabbi David Shawel
Photos: David Duchin, dspnphotos.com

The team named Rubbed and Ready won the turkey competition and took third in brisket. E&J Carolina was also on the winners’ stand with second-place finish in ribs and a third-place finish in chicken.
Altogether, the third annual championships were a success.
Steven Weinberger, one of the official judges, said he was impressed by the overall barbecue by all the teams.
“They all did a great job; it was difficult to separate many of the teams,” Weinberger, who is from New York, said. “This was my first time to Texas and the barbecue lived up to expectations; in fact it was even better. I hope to come back again.”
Weinberger also won an award himself as he participated in the pickle eating contest. Contestants had four minutes to eat as many pickles as possible, and Weinberger blew by the competition as he took home the pickle trophy.
“I’m a bit of a pickle aficionado,” he said. “I guess I needed to add a pickle trophy to my collection at home.”
If the food wasn’t enough — and it was — there were other attractions that kept attendees busy. There was a silent auction, local organizations had booths, and there was live music from Counterfeit Radio that kept people tapping their foot throughout the event.
Co-chairs for Sunday’s event were Brian Rubenstein and Sandy Dorf.
“We hope everyone who came out this year will come back next year, and anyone who could not make it this year, be sure to join us next year on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018,” Rubenstein said.

“Rubbed and Ready” Turkey category winners, from left, Hunter Rose, Matt Stiffelman, Dylan Rose, Jared Elad with Event Chair Brian Rubenstein

“Rubbed and Ready” Turkey category winners, from left, Hunter Rose, Matt Stiffelman, Dylan Rose, Jared Elad with Event Chair Brian Rubenstein

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