Archive | Featured

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

‘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.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Leslie Schultz, visionary philanthropist and matriarch, dies at 78

Leslie Schultz, visionary philanthropist and matriarch, dies at 78

Posted on 01 March 2018 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Leslie Schultz, 78, a major influence on the landscape of Jewish philanthropy in Dallas, nationally and internationally, died Feb. 24, of a heart attack at Presbyterian Hospital in
Dallas.
Her sudden death left the Dallas Jewish community in a state of shock; there are few organizations that have not been touched by her generosity, leadership and vision.
Schultz was known as a passionate supporter of Jewish education who cherished her family above all.
The Dallas Jewish community gathered Monday, Feb. 26, at Tiferet Israel to celebrate the life and mourn the death of Schultz. Tiferet Rabbi Shawn Zell and Chabad of Dallas Rabbi Mendel Dubrawsky conducted the funeral service.
Mrs. Schultz was eulogized by her son, Andy; daughter, Jaynie; son-in-law, Ron Romaner; several of her grandchildren, Ben, Dalya and Micah Romaner, Zak and Gaby Schultz; and by letters from Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Each of Mrs. Schultz’s grandchildren stood on the bimah together as their cousins spoke.
The speakers’ sentiments reinforced what has been evident in her life’s work: Leslie Schultz was devoted to family, tzedakah, education and community.
Jaynie Schultz read her brother, Andy’s, letter. “She skillfully marinated the components of family most important and community second on the list with the magical brilliant mind. …She created family, she built community, and she passed these morals and values on to her children and especially her grandchildren, whom she loved so much.”
Jaynie explained that the family found many interesting things her mother had left behind, including a 100-page autobiography that had taken her seven years to write and a letter written Aug. 8, 1972, that said “to be opened upon my death.”
In her own hand, Mrs.
Schultz wrote, “My dearest children… What I want to leave you is a feeling of family, each of you belongs to the other, although you will have your own wives, husbands and children, you began together as family…”
Jaynie spoke about how her mom — after she supported and gave confidence to her husband, Howard, when he started his accounts-payable auditing firm — grew into a businesswoman and entrepreneur in her own right. She bought property at Renner Road and Central Expressway, later selling that to EDS. She parlayed that into 450 acres in rural Wise County, where she built a conference center for small businesses, Garrett Creek Ranch.
Jaynie worked side by side with her mom, both at Garrett Creek and on her educational and philanthropic endeavors. She explained that her mother was creative, willing to experiment with new ideas and not afraid to fail.
“My mom firmly believed that money was a tool given to her by G-d and she should use it wisely. She used to say that the more they gave away the more they made.”
Jaynie recounted a story when her mother read about a dance program that didn’t have enough money for costumes, and Leslie promptly outfitted all the girls.
Jaynie emphasized the remarkable relationship between her mother and father. “My dad was her entire life, her hero, her lover and her closest friend. After him, came her family, then her friends and the entire work. She gave all of herself, she held nothing back. She knew with full confidence that we would take great care of her husband, hold each other tightly and find new ways to make the world better.
Ron Romaner, Jaynie’s husband, added, “Through her dedication and support of Jewish education, she ensured that she and Howard would forever dwell among us.”
He read a letter from Sacks, former chief rabbi of Great Britain and Torah scholar, who compared Leslie to Queen Esther. “Leslie was a towering personality who did so much for Jewish education and Jewish pride in Dallas,” he wrote.
“She had been inspired by her parents and had, in turn, inspired her children and that Jewish life in Dallas was blessed by them all. By their Jewish action and pride, their commitment to Jewish education and their sheer determination to make the world a better place.”
Sacks recounted Leslie’s words when she accepted the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, “We are each of us angels with one wing, we can only fly when we embrace one another.”
Grandson Ben Romaner compared his grandparents to a three-legged stool. He said his grandmother stood for family, tzedakah and community. “And like any three-legged stool it cannot stand without all three legs working in balance and harmony.”
He explained that his grandparents’ example working tirelessly for the Jewish people instilled in him the responsibility to serve his community that he will pass on to his own children and grandchildren. He recounted that one of the oldest family traditions was that every family celebration, including large family reunions, included a meeting in which charitable causes would be identified and donated to.
Dalya Romaner echoed her brother’s remarks and highlighted Leslie’s vision.
Although Leslie had left letters and instructions on how to stay together as a family, Dalya said it was leading by example that ingrained her qualities in her children and grandchildren. “What she didn’t realize was in her actions, she taught us everything we needed to know.”
Grandchildren Zak and Gaby Schultz, and Micah Romaner, all recounted fond memories of Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, family reunions and time spent together.
Dubrawsky concluded with a eulogy of his own. He admired Leslie and Howard’s relationship, their teamwork and complementary nature. He said he wasn’t sure if he had adequate words to eulogize Leslie Schultz, his close friend and mentor. She was “A woman whose kindness and philanthropy reached not only our community not only our city our state our country, but overseas, Israel and Argentina and touched and made a difference in the lives of thousands,” he said.
The word mensch literally translates to person in English. “Leslie was the essence of the word mensch.”
Following the funeral service, a special ceremony was held at the Schultz Rosenberg Campus of Yavneh and Akiba Academies. Akiba students in grades 4-8, Levine Academy eighth-graders and all Yavneh Academy students lined the sidewalks of the campus and recited psalms as a community. The entire family got out of their cars and participated in the prayers. The 100-plus car procession exited the campus named for Leslie and her family and headed to the Beit Olam Section of Hillcrest Memorial Park, where she was laid to rest.
Leslie Schultz is survived by her husband of 55 years, Howard Schultz; her children. Jaynie (Ron Romaner) Schultz, Dan (Joni) Schultz and Andy (Kathryn) Schultz; and 10 grandchildren, Ben, Dalya, Zak, Gaby, Adina, Sam, Micah, Abigail, Max and James.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Jill Biden to keynote JFS Woman to Woman event

Jill Biden to keynote JFS Woman to Woman event

Posted on 22 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Dr. Jill Biden, an educator and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, will be the featured speaker at Jewish Family Service’s Woman to Woman luncheon Wednesday, April 25, at the Hyatt Regency Dallas.
The fundraising luncheon is open to women and men. A silent auction and registration will begin at 10 a.m., with lunch and the program slated for noon.
Former WFAA-TV news anchor Gloria Campos will be master of ceremonies at the event.
“We created the Woman to Woman Luncheon to teach the community about, and raise money for, JFS, and the luncheon has been an incredible resource for both,” said Ethel Silvergold Zale, co-chair and JFS’ first lifetime trustee and founder of the biennial event in 2004. “It is a vital contributor to JFS’ budget and it’s so rewarding to see what we have all become. It was an idea, and a purpose, and all of JFS’ staff and volunteers and staff make every day of support a reality.”
JFS’ almost-150 programs served close to 13,000 people in 2017. Its services include:
Individual and family counseling
Family violence intervention
Diagnostic assessment
Play therapy and a special needs resource team
At-risk youth intervention
Addiction counseling
Employment services and financial coaching
Emergency assistance and food pantry
Two resale stores
Transitional housing
Independent living services for older adults and the disabled
Chaplaincy
Support groups
Volunteer services
“People come to us at some of the lowest or most trying times of life and they put their trust in us to be there,” said JFS’ Chief Executive Officer Steve Banta. “The Woman to Woman Luncheon engages the community to help make sure that we are. Many of our programs don’t sustain themselves and this fundraiser is critical to the overall support of JFS.”
The event provides substantial support for services promoting lifelong self-sufficiency and well-being for anyone in need regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or ability to pay.
“Making this all happen are our co-chairs who are all giving souls and ambassadors of JFS to their own corners of our community,” said Banta. “They share JFS in everything that they do.”
Other co-chairs are Susan Frapart, Linda Garner, Sherry Goldberg, Julie Liberman, Beverly Rossel, Monica Susman and Laura Weinstein. Honorary co-chairs are Paddy Epstein, Ann Kahn, Lisa Kleinman, Ann Rosenberg and the JFS staff.
Garner said the co-chairs are looking forward to Biden’s talk.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Biden as our special guest for this very not political, but very fun, funny, uplifting and great get-together,” Garner said. “Dr. Biden’s life stands for all we do through JFS: breast cancer, education, mental health, military and veteran support and more. We walk the same walk she does and I’m certain what she has to share will be a message that resonates with all of us.”
Biden is a mother and grandmother, a lifelong educator, a proud Blue Star mom, and an active community member. As the nation’s second lady, she worked to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families, to highlight the importance of community colleges to America’s future, and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention, all while continuing to teach English full-time at a community college.
Inspired by her granddaughter, Biden also wrote the book Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops, a story through a child’s eyes of what family life is like when a parent is away at war.
Participants in the event’s raffle, silent auction and live auction have a chance to win: tickets to Ellen; seven nights at a four-bedroom home in Cabo San Lucas; a Cartier watch; art pieces; shopping, sports, restaurant and entertainment packages; and more. Raffle tickets, $25 for one and $100 for five, can be purchased in advance by calling JFS. Prize winners do not need to be present.
Tickets for the expected sellout event are available in sponsorships available at jfsdallas.org/woman, or by calling 469-445-0616 or emailing kstrull@jfsdallas.org. Individual seats, if space permits, can be secured online beginning March 1. For information or to purchase raffle tickets in advance, call 972-437-9950.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Fundraiser helps Glauben celebrate 90th birthday

Posted on 15 February 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

“My name is Moniek Glauben. Glauben means ‘believe’ and that is what I held on to for so many years,” said Max Glauben, who celebrated his 90th birthday last month. His age only a number, Glauben celebrated in a most millennial manner, hosting a “Max’s Birthday Fundraiser” social media campaign to support his Max Glauben Holocaust Educational Foundation.
At press time, $1,146 had been raised in only a couple of weeks. “I want people to believe in something, hopefully in themselves,” he said, “because then you have something to hold on to.”
Glauben was just 10 when World War II started. At 13, he was sent on a boxcar to Majdanek and then to Budzyn, Mielec, Wieliczka and Flossenburg before being liberated by a Jewish soldier while on a death march to Dachau. Glauben lost most of his family during the war — except for two aunts that he found, in the United States, more than 40 years later.
“I’ll never say no to speaking because I want to honor and respect my family,” said Glauben, who served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War before making Dallas his home. “When we were together in the ghetto, as horrible as it was, we could hold each other. In the camps, there was no one. I speak for my parents, Faiga and Isaac, my brother, Heniek, and the rest of the 6,000,000 Jews and the 5,000,000 non-Jews. They have no voice. Myself and the other survivors are their voices.”
Glauben’s family is extended now to four generations — he and his wife, Frieda, members of Congregation Shearith Israel, who have been married for almost 65 years, are the parents of Barry (Michelle), Phillip (Linda) and Shari (Norm) Becker; the grandparents of Alec (Ellen), Blake, Delaney, Hayley, Madison, Ross (Stacey) and Sarah (Brett); and the great-grandparents of Natalie Golman.
Glauben has logged thousands of miles telling his story. The lifetime board member of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance speaks there regularly, and also to organizations, synagogues, churches and schools around the city, state and beyond. On Jan. 26, he spoke at Hutto High School near Austin for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Dallas Holocaust Museum, Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association, and the March of the Living are among organizations reaping the benefits of Glauben’s foundation through his lecture honorariums and the sale of Plagues of the Soul: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Max Glauben, a documentary. With no employees and no overhead or expenses (other than tax preparation), the foundation receives 100 percent of all donations. Glauben does not want to earn anything from his story.
“Max has dedicated his life to illustrating the horrors of his experiences in a way that inspires inclusivity and tolerance,” said Lisa Siegel, who made a birthday donation. “His foundation is based on these principles which have been the centerpiece of his life and will ensure that his stories continue to be told as only he can tell them — with humanity, compassion, and the sparkle in his eye that draws us in.”
Her family’s donation was a token of their respect and love for Glauben.
“Max has been a gift to our family, sharing the most special of moments in our children’s lives,” Siegel said. “He was there when Rachel and Evan participated in the March of the Living, and he and Evan share a birthday. We’re fortunate to call him our friend.”
Glauben has chaperoned March of the Living Dallas, to Poland and Israel, 12 times since 2005, the first time he returned to Poland in 60 years.
“Standing at Auschwitz — the ovens, ashes and the barracks — they can’t talk. I can, and I must tell my stories and of those no longer able. When we stand near thousands of pounds of human ashes, I’m thankful to be alive and I say Kaddish,” said Glauben, whose experiences include visits to 38 Mila St., his childhood home in the former Warsaw Ghetto. “You can talk about the Holocaust and learn from what’s in museums, but it’s like watching a play without scenery. The March of the Living fills in the scenery.”
“Not only does Max give of himself physically and emotionally but his generous support has allowed several students to experience the trip in this life changing journey,” said Pam Hochster Fine, March of the Living’s Dallas director. “Without his help, and that of others, many students would not have this meaningful and lasting opportunity.”
Glauben has remained close to many of the marchers, and he believes the experience is lasting. “The love for their heritage and the respect they have for their Judaism is strong,” he said. “They’re proof the devil didn’t accomplish what he planned. I hope those I help will someday, when they have careers and families, give money and time to share themselves.”
Often asked if he feels hate, Glauben said “Hating eats on a person and doesn’t allow us to function. I came to this country as an orphan and people provided for me, and Hashem and angels and the souls of my departed family guided me. I’ve learned to forgive, but we must never forget.”
To donate to the Max Glauben Holocaust Educational Foundation, visit bit.ly/2BkN6a8 or email moniekg@aol.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

DFW’s Buchanan ready to skate for Israel

DFW’s Buchanan ready to skate for Israel

Posted on 08 February 2018 by admin

By Jori Epstein
Special to the TJP

Aimee Buchanan isn’t the only local figure skater you’ll find gracefully arching in a layback spin.
But as the 24-year-old Buchanan transitions from her signature arched back to a low crouch, she’s the only local elite skater whose silver Magen David necklace bounces happily with the revolutions. The only skater at Euless’ Dr Pepper StarCenter executing the feat with “ISRAEL” printed in bold, capital letters across her shoulder blades.
Buchanan is the only North Texas athlete who will represent Israel at the 2018 Olympics, which begin tonight.
“It’s very special to literally have my country’s name on my back,” Buchanan said. “I think it just shows that it doesn’t really matter where you’re originally from or what your heritage is. You can be who you are and do what you want all over the world.”
Her next destination to make that statement: Pyeongchang, South Korea. Buchanan is one of seven figure skaters who will compete for Israel in the 10-country Olympic team event on Sunday (Saturday night DFW time). All seven train in North America.
Buchanan smiles when retelling the story of how she wound up on Israel’s national team. She grew up in the Boston area and never visited Israel before her 2014 trip to formally make aliyah. But as Buchanan honed her skating skills as a teenager, she realized Israel would offer more international competition assignments than she could hope to chase on Team USA. In return, Buchanan would help put Israel on the skating map.
She headed to Israel at age 20 with a letter from her rabbi confirming both maternal grandparents were Jewish.
Within six weeks, Buchanan was an Israeli citizen.
Mazel tovs greeted her throughout the country, she says. Her mom, Wendy, received Facebook messages from friends she hadn’t heard from in 20 years. “Thank you” and “fantastic” were common themes as friends and family learned Buchanan would represent the Jewish state. And Buchanan saw an opportunity.
“To really stand with all the struggles that Israelis and all the country of Israel has been through,” Buchanan said. “To be able to stand strong and show the world it’s not just a country struggling — they’re people.”
Wendy Buchanan said she only imagines what Aimee’s late grandparents, who were active in the Jewish community and Jewish causes, would say.
“It would’ve meant a lot to them,” Wendy Buchanan said. “For sure they’d have tears in their eyes. Like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is really happening? You’re doing it? You’re doing it for Israel?’
“They’d be beyond excited and happy.”
Aimee Buchanan said she grew up connected to Judaism but not always knowing why she celebrated which traditions. She went to services on the High Holidays and attended Hebrew school for a few years, before sports and rink time became too demanding. She says she wonders frequently what it would have been like to celebrate her bat mitzvah.
“But at the same time knowing how much I would have had to do for it, I see both sides,” she said.
Olympic dreams, Buchanan realized, require sacrifices.
So, she’s grateful the same skating career that sends her as far as Oberstdorf, Germany and Zagreb, Croatia, also now is bringing her back to her roots.
She’s learning what it means to represent Israel on the international stage.
Sometimes, competing for Team Israel means not competing on Yom Kippur, as Buchanan found out when a competition’s ladies’ free program coincided with the holiday last September. Other times, competing for Team Israel means removing country skating gear outside rink walls and sporting security detail at European meets that other countries don’t need.
Competing for Israel means getting to choreograph a routine to Barbara Streisand’s Avinu Malkeinu rendition. It also means the same program that sends Israeli crowds “crazy loving it” each year at nationals might draw disapproval from European judges.
Judges at one meet in Poland didn’t explicitly attribute Buchanan’s lower-than-normal point total to Hebrew.
“But everyone always says that the artistic scores suffer being from Israel,” Buchanan said. “Because not everyone loves the country.”
The slight only motivated Buchanan to skate stronger, better and more gracefully as the country’s ambassador.
“It shouldn’t matter who you’re skating for,” she said. “Your skating is your skating.
“The country is who you are, not what you’re doing.”
Ahead of Pyeongchang, both Buchanan and her mom are realistic. Israel, after barely scoring enough points to qualify for the team event, is not going to medal against a more talented pool.
But Buchanan’s Olympic berth alone, and the chance to wear Israel jackets and show off her Magen David silver charm to Olympic crowds, is special already. She didn’t expect to qualify after a bursa sac in her ankle drastically reduced her competition schedule in 2017.
She learned on a December trip to Israel that despite the setback, she was an Olympian.
“I was like, ‘OK, now I need to salvage the year and turn it around,’” Buchanan said. “I was over-the-moon happy.”
As Buchanan readies for her Olympic debut in Pyeongchang, her mom thinks back to a game they used to play when Aimee was new to skating, just 5 and 6 years old.
Wendy was careful not to train her daughter, choosing not even to learn the difference between a cheated and clean jump because “that’s between her and her coaches — not her and her mother.”
But the one game Wendy would indulge in was telling Aimee how close to each spin’s start her daughter would land.
“Mom, how far did I go?” 5-year-old Aimee would ask at their local Massachusetts rink.
“You made it to Boston,” Wendy would say of a small veer off path.
“You ended up in Europe,” the refrain came if her landing distance widened.
Twenty years later, Aimee did make it to Europe, as well as to Israel and to Euless, Texas, with her skating.
She’s also now made it to the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Camp Impact changes lives for the better

Camp Impact changes lives for the better

Posted on 07 February 2018 by admin

By Ben Tinsley

btinsley@live.com

Special to TJP

Melissa Rodriguez, a senior Communications Studies major at the University of Texas at Arlington, said Camp Impact has changed her life for the better.

What started out as a week of summer escape for this 23-year-Grand Prairie girl quickly evolved into a life mission for her. At age 4, she was one of the youngest campers at the camp. Now, many years later, she is its arts and crafts director.

“I became who I am because of this camp,” Rodriguez said. “The camp has changed my life. The camp IS my life. There’s no other way to explain it.”

Camp Impact is made possible through efforts from the Jewish teenage leadership of Dallas and Tarrant County — although not all members of this hard-charging leadership are Jewish, said Lance Friedensohn, camp director.

Each summer, the camp invites roughly 125 underprivileged or homeless campers to attend the camp, at no charge.

Camp Impact provides disadvantaged children from Arlington and Grand Prairie with swimming, sports, arts and crafts, science experiments and even cooking classes.

According to its literature, the camp helps break “cycles of despair, neglect and violence” that many campers have to face daily. The organization provides activities to children ages 4-12.

Additionally, Camp Impact promotes social responsibility to both campers and counselors and staff. Camp Impact counselors range from high school freshmen to graduating seniors.

As many as 60 counselors — 95 percent of them area Jewish high school students — participate. The camp is located in South Dallas just north of Interstate 20.

The all-volunteer camp was launched by Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington in 1996 as a three-day program. Friedensohn said he has volunteered since high school.

Many of the teenagers who participate as counselors to children in need also help raise funds for the $45,000 budget the camp needs each year, the director said.

It’s a day camp for campers but a full-time camp for counselors. The campers are there from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The counselors help plan the week’s events.

“Camp Impact is one week, one session,” Friedensohn said. “We go full throttle and then we’re done.”

Each summer the camp generally hosts more than 125 children.

“We try not to turn anyone away,” Friedensohn said.

Children are referred to the camp by social workers from local shelters such as SafeHaven of Tarrant County, the Arlington Live Shelter, Brighter Tomorrows and Title 1 Elementary schools such as Webb and Bonham Elementary.

“The counselors dedicate their year-round effects to fundraising,” Friedensohn said. “They also pay to come to this camp — to come work and volunteer.”

Counselor Rodriguez’s first experience with the camp came about because of her older sisters. At the request of her family, camp rules were adjusted to allow the very young Rodriguez to join them at the camp.

“My family lived in a small apartment complex in Grand Prairie, about a street away from where the camp picked us up,” Rodriguez said. “We kept going back, and every year we would experience something completely new — to us. Like, roller skating , swimming, cooking and many other things. We also learned about the importance of giving back to the community.”

By age 12, Rodriguez had attended the camp for nearly a decade, and was approached by camp officials about becoming a counselor. Her answer was, “yes!”

“I instantly fell in love with the kids,” she said, “I really knew what they were going through because it was the same stuff I experienced. … This has been part of my life for many, many years and as I’ve grown, I have seen myself more and more in a higher role. A bigger capacity. When I graduate college I want to be a member of the camp board of directors. And I have already talked with them about joining after graduation.”

Rodriguez is not Jewish. She is the child of immigrants and the first person in her family to attend college. Her life before Camp Impact was a flurry of law enforcement intervention, shelters and little outside support.

“The camp has literally been my support system throughout my college career,” she said. “My dad has been in and out of jail. We’ve lived from place to place. I didn’t want that life. I knew my only way to get out of the situation was to be like the people I knew at the camp. … To be somebody in life.”

While at the camp, Rodriguez said, she has received from her colleagues many of the affirmations about school and higher education that one normally receives from parents.

“These were the positive people in my life who made sure I was doing well in school and that I knew how to do well,” Rodriguez said.

Rachel Cooper, who is Jewish, is president of the Camp Impact board of directors and also helps run the camp as a co-director.

“I first started volunteering with Camp Impact at age 14, as part of the youth group with Congregation Beth Shalom,” Cooper said. “I started working there, and then as I grew up and … when the previous director stepped down and asked Lance to take over, I let Lance know I wanted to help him with the background and things blossomed from there. I hold this very close to my heart.”

Much like Rodriguez, Cooper believes her experience with Camp Impact at such a young age played a great role in molding her character.

“It really did help me — like 100 percent,” she said.

Mollie Sloter, 18, a Jewish Trinity Valley High School senior from Fort Worth, has also volunteered at Camp Impact for many years. She said she is applying for the position of “student director” this summer.

Sloter generally performs whatever tasks are needed and currently helps keep supplies together.

“My sister is a freshman who also (participates in) Camp Impact,” Sloter said. “There are a few other kids in the school who do it as well. I’m sure multiple freshman and a few eighth-graders will join us as first-year counselors.”

Getting each year’s camp prepared involves a lot of organization, shopping and flawless execution, Sloter said.

The camp, meanwhile, is becoming well-known for its yummy breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks, and the promotion of oatmeal as a dish to be enjoyed, she said.

“Lance’s mom is in charge of all the food, but she becomes ‘The Oatmeal Lady’ with a bucket of oatmeal,” Sloter said. “Even if kids don’t like it at first, she tells them this elaborate, ridiculous story about how oatmeal is good for them but it somehow got stolen … By the end of the week she has them loving the oatmeal.”

ONLINE: https://www.
campimpact.org/

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here