Archive | Featured

Yavneh falls short of TAPPS state title in 2OT, 46-39

Yavneh falls short of TAPPS state title in 2OT, 46-39

Posted on 03 March 2017 by admin

Photo: Ron Romaner Griffin Levine (right) hugs Our Lady of the Hills’ Chandlin Hale after the conclusion of the double-overtime game. Levine averaged 18.6 points per game during the season, including 14 in the state championship game.

Photo: Ron Romaner
Griffin Levine (right) hugs Our Lady of the Hills’ Chandlin Hale after the conclusion of the double-overtime game. Levine averaged 18.6 points per game during the season, including 14 in the state championship game.

Staff report

The Yavneh boys’ basketball team had the speed, but Our Lady of the Hills had the size.
Yavneh played from behind through most of the game before falling short in its first-ever TAPPS Class 3A state championship in double overtime, 46-39, at Abilene Christian.
The game time was changed from 1 p.m. to 10 a.m. to accommodate Yavneh’s trip home before Shabbat.
Luke Schultz, a 6-foot, 9-inch center, dominated the paint for Our Lady of the Hills and collected 14 rebounds and 12 points. Yavneh’s quick guards managed 12 assists and 12 steals — the Hawks had zero in both categories.

Photo: Ron Romaner Yavneh’s Pierce Bell drives toward the hoop during the TAPPS Class 3A state championship.

Photo: Ron Romaner
Yavneh’s Pierce Bell drives toward the hoop during the TAPPS Class 3A state championship.

Griffin Levine scored 14 points to lead Yavneh, while Noah Rubinstein had eight rebounds.
“The truth is it’s tough to come up a little short,” Head Coach David Zimmerman said. “It’s been such an unbelievable year. I really hope that the boys see it that way because I know the school does and the community does. As the days and weeks and years go by, we’ll be looking back and remember the whole season and the journey and the bus rides and plane trips, not the final score.”
Both teams played championship-caliber defense. Yavneh shot 30 percent for the game, while the Hawks shot 44. Yavneh exerted excessive energy on the defensive end, mainly guarding the Hawks’ interior size. That may have carried over into their shooting legs.
The Bulldogs trailed at halftime, 16-15, and appeared content to shoot jump shots and 3-pointers. Much of that decision was because of Hawks center Schultz. That unwillingness to drive inside led to a 28-23 deficit at the end of the quarter.
But the Bulldogs were able to negate some of Schultz’ effectiveness by keeping him away from the low post.
“We neutralized him as well as anyone this year,” Zimmerman said of the Montana State signee.
Then the Bulldogs pushed the tempo behind Levine. Levine made an assist, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 28 and then a jumper to take a two-point lead with 2:20 left. Yavneh and the Hawks exchanged 3-pointers and a pair of turnovers. Our Lady of the Hills scored a layup with 49 seconds left to tie it and a Levine turnover right before the end of regulation stopped any chance for a game-winning shot.
In the first overtime, both teams played very conservatively. The Hawks ran off 2 minutes before turning the ball over. Then Yavneh followed suit with an over-and-back violation, giving the Hawks one last chance. The Hawks got to the rim but missed the layup as the buzzer sounded.

Photo: Ron Romaner

Photo: Ron Romaner

Photo: Ron Romaner

Photo: Ron Romaner

In the second overtime, Luke Schultz’ size became a factor again. The center grabbed offensive rebounds, made a basket and free throws to give the Hawks a 40-33 lead. Yavneh battled back and made it 42-39 on a Rubinstein basket, but the Hawks made their free throws down the stretch to reach the final score of 46-39.
“I could not be prouder of these student-athletes and their coaches for the incredible positive energy and pride that they brought to our school community all season long,” said Dr. David A. Portnoy, head of school for Yavneh.
Beyond that, Portnoy said he was “very grateful that TAPPS and the other teams involved accommodated our religious needs to be back for Shabbat in Dallas.”
Yavneh (31-4) will graduate Zach Epstein, Noah Rubinstein, Daniel Chernikov and Liad Guttman. Freshman Jonah Eber and junior Levine, who were both major players in the run to the state tournament, should return.
“We’re losing three seniors who gave so much,” Zimmerman said. “We’re losing size but anytime you can return a top player like Griffin (Levine), the future is bright. Our tournament experience is going to bode well for us.”

Photo: Ron Romaner Rosie Bernstein, left, and Megan Lacritz

Photo: Ron Romaner
Rosie Bernstein, left, and Megan Lacritz

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Yavneh boys 1 win from state title

Posted on 02 March 2017 by admin

Staff report

The Yavneh boys’ basketball team won their TAPPS Class 3A state semifinal, 55-40, and will play for a state championship at 1 p.m. Friday in Abilene.

The Bulldogs (31-3) defeated Dallas Covenant, which hails from the same District 3. Yavneh trailed, 15-8, after the first quarter but closed the first half on a 16-7 run for a 24-24 tie at halftime. Yavneh pulled away in the third quarter and kept space in the fourth for the victory.

Yavneh will face Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills (26-6) in the 3A state final. Our Lady of the Hills defeated Beaumont Legacy, 46-37, in the other semifinal.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Jewish Communities Day at Texas Capitol promotes Jewish values, policy priorities

Jewish Communities Day at Texas Capitol promotes Jewish values, policy priorities

Posted on 02 March 2017 by admin

By James Russell
Special to the TJP

Photo: Senate media Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick meets with participants of the Jewish Communities Day at the State to show his support for the anti-BDS bill.

Photo: Senate media
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick meets with participants of the Jewish Communities Day at the State to show his support for the anti-BDS bill.

From left) Rivae Campo; Jaziah Masters, staffer for State Representative Helen Giddings (D-Dallas); Susie Avnery; and Alice Barnett met for a small advocacy session in the representative’s office.

From left) Rivae Campo; Jaziah Masters, staffer for State Representative Helen Giddings (D-Dallas); Susie Avnery; and Alice Barnett met for a small advocacy session in the representative’s office.

 House Speaker Joseph Straus meets with high-level representatives from each Federation. (From left) Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Board Chair Daniel J. Prescott, Rob Shoss, Robert Simon, Speaker of the House Straus, Kevin Epstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Bradley Laye and Executive Director of the JCRC Anita Zusman Eddy.

House Speaker Joseph Straus meets with high-level representatives from each Federation. (From left) Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Board Chair Daniel J. Prescott, Rob Shoss, Robert Simon, Speaker of the House Straus, Kevin Epstein, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Bradley Laye and Executive Director of the JCRC Anita Zusman Eddy.

Jewish organizations from across Texas descended upon the Texas Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 22, for their biannual Jewish Communities Day at the State: Mission to Austin advocacy day.
The event was organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. It brought together 150 people from every Jewish Federation of Texas: Greater Dallas, Austin, Greater Houston, Fort Worth & Tarrant County, San Antonio and El Paso. The Community Relations Council (CRC) of San Antonio, Texas Hillel, Chabad at UT, Texas A&M Hillel, and Hillels of North Texas, also participated.
Attendees focused on three issues: access to early childhood education for all children, support for social services and Federation agency partners and legislation prohibiting the Texas State government from contracting or investing in businesses currently boycotting or planning to boycott Israel. They heard from longtime legislative observers, policy wonks and state officials.
Speakers included Harvey Kronberg, publisher of the nonpartisan online publication Quorum Report. (Editor’s note: The author of this article is a Quorum Report writer.) Marnie Glaser, executive director of Early Childhood Education for the Texas Education Agency (TEA), discussed the significance of high-quality early childhood education, which has been shown to narrow achievement gaps while improving lifetime outcomes for all students. Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, gave an overview of state and federal legislation that would cut funding from social service programs and echoed the attendees’ social service priorities,
But the anti-BDS bills were seen as key priorities among advocates and legislators.
House Bill 89 by State Reps. Phil King, R-Weatherford and Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and Senate Bill 134 by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, are part of a national trend targeting the BDS movement.
King told the group he is optimistic about the bill’s passage but legislators must know it is a priority among their constituents. The bill has the backing of leaders of both Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus, who is Jewish.
Even if the state’s top officials support the bills, Dallas JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin agreed with King: Advocacy is important. And not just to pass this bill or other priorities.
“It makes a significant impact on our state legislators when they see such a well-attended program, with participation from Jewish communities throughout Texas. Our Jewish Communities Day at the State is an occasion for all of us to show our support for Israel, as well as our concerns about issues that impact all of us who live in Texas. Anti-BDS efforts, increasing access to high-quality early childhood education and support for the social services provided by our Federation partners, Jewish Family Service, Legacy Senior Communities and CHAI are issues that are important to the Jewish community as well as our broader communities throughout the state,” Rubin said in a statement.
Their attendance was not just acknowledged in personal meetings but on the House floor as well.
Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, acknowledged attendees with a resolution declaring Feb. 22, “Texas Jewish Communities Advocacy Day.”
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Board Chair Daniel Prescott and other Jewish Federation joined Villalba on the floor for the resolution.
Prescott noted, “It was a great honor to stand with Representative Villalba as he recognized our Jewish Communities Day at the State. Numerous state representatives approached me afterward to express their support for Israel and the Jewish community.”
Seth Kaplan, Day at the State chair, also noted, “We appreciated the support and participation of all the Jewish Federations and many Jewish organizations and agencies throughout Texas. As the only full-time JCRC in Texas, our Dallas JCRC is pleased to have served as the planning and coordinating entity that brings together all the Jewish communities in Texas for this critical advocacy program.”
The Dallas JCRC continues to work with other local and statewide organizations to advocate for and support the Texas anti-BDS bill currently under consideration in the current legislative session.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Yavneh transformed into international stage

Yavneh transformed into international stage

Posted on 23 February 2017 by admin

BBYO IC participants flood school with diversity of nations

By Jori Epstein
Special to the TJP

Photo: Becky Nurko Yavneh Sophomore Sammy Nurko (second from left) and his brother Yavneh Senior Jonathan Nurko (not pictured) hosted three teens from Uruguay for five days prior to IC.

Photo: Becky Nurko
Yavneh Sophomore Sammy Nurko (second from left) and his brother Yavneh Senior Jonathan Nurko (not pictured) hosted three teens from Uruguay for five days prior to IC.

They all cradled the same coffee cups, debated the same sports teams and music groups, the boys even donning the same kippot.
But as 179 Jewish teens from 29 countries outside the U.S. flocked to Yavneh Academy of Dallas Feb. 14, the day was anything but typical. A teen from Berlin led a traditional Shacharit service in one hall. Students packed a classroom in meditation upstairs. Still more circled in the library for a musical service that fittingly ended with a rendition of Matisyahu’s One Day lyrics.
All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for, for the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
They’ll be no more wars
And our children will play
The international teens came from France and Uruguay, Switzerland and Moldova, Georgia (the country) and Latvia. All were in town for the 93rd annual BBYO International Convention, where thousands joined at the Hyatt Regency from Thursday through Monday.image IMG_4736-1
First, the international attendees joined Yavneh.
“This idea kind of morphed from a conversation this summer to follow up,” said Rabbi Meir Tannenbaum, Yavneh’s principal of Judaic studies who works for BBYO in the summers. “I realized it’d be great to bridge them.”
The day’s programming spanned activities nearly as diverse as its audience, from sports to TED talks, cooking to music.
One Yavneh classroom transformed from its usual home for Exodus analysis and Julius Caesar readings to a theater stage. Its actors hailed from Austria, Israel, Serbia, Bulgaria and Lithuania.
Yavneh’s math classroom shifted from filling whiteboards with calculus problems to penning slam poetry pieces to paper. Poems ranged from Spanish to English, Hebrew to French. In some cases, Google Translate bridged linguistic gaps. Other times, students encouraged peers to perform in their native languages.
“It’s in French,” one boy said, hesitant to share his reading.
“Perfect,” another student told him.
“Just express yourself,” a third chimed in.
He did, reading verses of how he feels “a little richer when I say I’m Jewish/I have a lot of things on my heart, do Yom Kippur with hunger.”
The experiences expressed were common among the otherwise diverse teens — a unity in diversity paradox that became the theme of the day.
Yusuf Gurkan, one of nine teens visiting from Turkey, said he wanted to come to Dallas for international convention (IC) after attending a BBYO summer camp. The trip so far hadn’t disappointed.
“In Turkey we don’t have so many Jews our age so it’s really good to see more people here,” said Gurkan, 16. “I’ve never seen this much Jews together in my life.”
Sixteen-year-old Erika Kleiman, in town from Buenos Aires, Argentina, agreed. She’d been to the U.S. before, visiting Disney World in Orlando with her family. But even the self-described happiest place on Earth didn’t compare to what this trip meant to her.
“IC is like a dream for everyone,” Kleiman said. “I really love it, like I can meet everyone and see the different cultures and communities.”
It’s those interchanges, Tannenbaum said, that the school aimed for when planning the exchange day.
“The mission at Yavneh is for our kids to feel Judaism come alive to them,” Tannenbaum said. “To feel it be more than just text study, more than just history. Having them experience this with 170 Jews who are strong enough to identify as Jews even in their countries that aren’t necessarily so hospitable to Jews…is such a great opportunity.”
As the teens mingled, sang along to Matisyahu lyrics and prayed together, they were part of something bigger.
“Listening to someone lead services from Berlin — yeah, he has a German accent but it’s the same words and the same tunes,” Tannenbaum said. “We’re the same even though we’re different and I think that’s the greater message today: You’re not alone. Wherever you are there are Jews and you really have much more in common than you have different.”
David Schapiro, who led that same morning service he usually leads at school in Berlin, agreed.
“This is what Judaism’s about,” Schapiro said. “You can go anywhere and you feel at home because the people are like you there.
“It’s so cool.”
In Polish and Turkish, Italian and Romanian, Spanish and Hebrew, the message was the same.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

‘Really, really fun:’ BBYO IC brings energy, international flair to Dallas

Posted on 23 February 2017 by admin

By Jacob Kamaras
JNS.org

DALLAS — My interview with Aaron Mantell and Danielle Wadler, two teens from New York’s Long Island region, is drowned out by a parade of chanting students passing us by.
Welcome to the BBYO International Convention.


Until this point, my experience at the Jewish pluralistic teen movement’s convention in Dallas largely consists of navigating a venue whose every inch is lined with teens, and giving up on any notion of using the hotel elevators. But now I understand and feel the true nature of this gathering of 5,000 people — including 2,500 Jewish teens — from 48 U.S. states and 30 countries.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but it always ends up being really, really fun. Like you get past the overwhelming, and you get used to a thousand people screaming at you all day,” says Wadler, 17.
“It’s really impressive. It’s always mind-blowing. These people fly around the world to get here and have the most energy I’ve ever seen in teenagers,” says Mantell, 16, assessing his peers.
The enthused BBYO delegates who interrupt my talk with Wadler and Mantell, en route to the convention’s opening ceremony Feb. 16, are just the tip of the iceberg. The festivities are nothing short of the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games. The numerous American and international delegations outfitted with hats, capes and athletic jerseys, while they chant fight songs. Pop music blasting from the loudspeakers. Students dancing and singing. Picture a rock concert, summer camp color war and high school football game, all put together and multiplied by 10. It’s hardly my first major Jewish conference, but the energy is incomparable.
“I have not been in a room in my entire life with so many teens, so much energy and so much hope. Thank you for the hope! We need this gathering!” Jewish Theological Seminary Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen says at the opening ceremony, apparently agreeing with my sentiment.
But the BBYO convention is about more than energy and hope — it’s about vision and resolve. For five days, the student-led youth organization and its delegates come to hear prominent speakers at plenary sessions and hold smaller breakout discussions, sharpening their leadership skills and grappling with hot-button issues facing both the Jewish community and society at-large. The ultimate goal, according to this year’s convention tagline, is “Changing the Game.”
“The theme of the conference comes from our desire to put teens in control of their own destiny, to let them know that not only can they shape the Jewish community, but they can shape the world,” Matt Grossman, BBYO’s CEO, tells JNS.org. “In so many teen settings, they’re listening to adults tell them what they can do and what they can’t do, and they’re bound by different rules. Here, we put them in charge, we tell them that the future is theirs, and they respond in very powerful ways.”

Global expansion

In an increasingly borderless world, one of the hallmarks of both the 2017 BBYO convention and the organization’s growth trajectory in general is international expansion. This year’s gathering saw delegates from Austria and Poland for the first time.
“The power of the BBYO movement comes from the connectivity that exists between the teens, and a lot of that connectivity starts (at the convention),” says Grossman.
Fittingly, the youth movement’s top leaders — “International N’siah” Ellie Bodker of the BBG women’s order, and “Grand Aleph Godol” Aaron Cooper of the AZA men’s order — have spent their gap year between high school and college visiting BBYO communities in North America and around the world in order to strategize on growth and inspire the local chapters.
Cooper, 18, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is particularly moved by seeing BBYO’s operations in Hungary, whose estimated Jewish community of 100,000 is down from 800,000 before the Holocaust, but is thriving.
“Seeing our program there, and seeing that it’s been so successful, and it’s only been there for a year…I think is super-beautiful and amazing and something we take pride in,” Cooper tells JNS.org. “It’s amazing to see us be a part of vibrant Jewish communities…but also the ones that still have the remnants of awful tragedy lurking in the back of their heads.”

An Israeli perspective

The need for Jewish connectivity can also exist in places where one might not think such connection is lacking. Daniel Segal, 18, a youth leader for Maccabi Tzair, an Israel-based sister organization to BBYO, explains that the 25-30 different youth movements all cater to specific populations — except Maccabi Tzair, whose pluralistic nature mirrors BBYO.
Segal reflects that starting in third grade, Maccabi Tzair taught him “how to manage working with people,” and by eighth grade, he was “not only part of a team, but the head of teams, and that position gave me skills for life.” Today, he oversees the efforts of 60 youth coordinators and 200 Maccabi Tzair program participants from third to 12th grades.
“The fact that you have many Jews (in Israel) doesn’t mean it’s not necessary for them to get informal education after school,” Segal says.
“We help them meet Judaism in a way that is proper to their life, where they can relate to it in a non-religious way,” echoes Noga Vieman, a Maccabi Tzair staff member.
Before their international leadership tenures are complete, Bodker and Grand Aleph Godol Cooper — who will attend Brown University with the intent of later pursuing a law degree — hope to help BBYO meet its goal of surpassing 20,000 members around the world.
“It’s a special moment in Jewish history that 2,500 young people from across the globe can come together (at the convention) and celebrate what it means to be Jewish,” says CEO Grossman. “This is a place where they can be hopeful, they can be bold and they can be community-builders.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Shepton sophomore known  for ‘making world better place’

Shepton sophomore known for ‘making world better place’

Posted on 16 February 2017 by admin

Staff report

More than 1,000 family members, friends and classmates mourned Samantha Remy Sacks at her funeral Tuesday morning, Feb. 14, at Temple Shalom.
The 16-year-old Shepton High School student died in a car accident late Friday, Feb. 10. Lilly Davis also died in the crash and another friend, Kendall Murray, was critically injured.
In addition to Rabbi Andrew Paley, three of Samantha’s friends, her parents Julie and Jeff and sister Sydney eulogized Samantha, who was known as one of those people that lit up a room.
Samantha was in the top 10 percent of her sophomore class and aspired to become an orthopedic surgeon. She was infatuated with bones from early childhood and had been scheduled to attend a medical program at Harvard this summer.

Samantha Sacks

Samantha Sacks

A gifted athlete, Samantha was the captain of her volleyball team. She loved the beach, shopping, and being with family and friends and was known for her effervescent personality. The phrase, “Love as much as you can in one lifetime,” was one that she not only said, but embodied, encouraging people to end conversations with “I love you,” in case they didn’t have the opportunity to say it again.
“I was her older sister, but I looked up to her and wanted to be just like her,” said her sister Sydney.
Susan Schildcrout read Samantha’s mother’s remarks. Julie shared a life of love, laughter and crazy over-the-top fun with her daughters. She enjoyed planning Halloween costumes with Samantha, each year more elaborate than the one before, and packing her the perfect lunch.
Her father, whose eulogy was read by close friend Sam Schildcrout, said that Samantha’s twinkle in her eye captured his heart from the moment he laid eyes on her.
Each person who shared reflections about their relationship with Samantha — friend, mother, father and sister — considered her their best friend and emphasized the joy she brought to each of them and the world around her.
Interment followed at Hillcrest Memorial Park. Donations may be made to ‘Memorial Fund for Samantha Sacks’ c/o Guaranty Bank & Trust, 16980 Dallas Parkway, Suite 110, Dallas, TX 75248.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (2)

Dallas, soldiers can ‘Stand Together’

Dallas, soldiers can ‘Stand Together’

Posted on 16 February 2017 by admin

Paratrooper, performer featured in Feb. 19 event at Hyatt Place

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Dallas’ Jewish community can support Standing Together from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Hyatt Place Dallas.
Elite Israeli Defense Force paratrooper and Standing Together Assistant Director Ari Fuld, and former IDF soldier and performer Noam Agami, are the featured guests for an evening filled with networking, schmoozing, tales of the IDF, music and support.

Photo: Ari Fuld Standing Together Assistant Director Ari Fuld says, “This is not about providing a ‘favor’ to the soldiers, but these are all of our sons and daughters.” Fuld, a reservist who is an elite paratrooper, will be in Dallas this weekend.

Photo: Ari Fuld
Standing Together Assistant Director Ari Fuld says, “This is not about providing a ‘favor’ to the soldiers, but these are all of our sons and daughters.” Fuld, a reservist who is an elite paratrooper, will be in Dallas this weekend.

“We are so excited to introduce Ari, Standing Together and Noam to the community and I promise everyone who attends is in for a very special experience,” said Dallas resident Hilary Bernhardt, who has coordinated Fuld’s visit to Dallas with Benji Gershon and Linda Leftin. It was a social media connection of her mother-in-law, on the other side of the world, that put things in motion. “It’s come together in a whirlwind as my dear sweet mother-in-law, Lynette Bernhardt, saw a post by Ari that he was coming to the States. She is a fan of his Facebook page and blog and she follows him with great passion and interest. Mind you, she’s in South Africa but she called my husband about the post and said we ‘must’ get him here. Long story short, we’re able to share this very special man, with a very special mission, with our community and I promise those who attend will have an incredible opportunity.”
Fuld, a New York native who was raised in an observant Zionist home by his parents Mary and Rabbi Yonah Fuld, also was influenced by his grandmother Esther Varga, of blessed memory. Varga, who survived being sent to five camps during World War II, made an impact that set the impetus for her grandson’s first visit to Israel for the summer when he was just 16. While he recalls vivid dreams, as a child, of himself in an IDF uniform, it was every part of that first trip that brought Israel to him like a magnet, as though he were stepping into his own dreams.
“My grandmother was 5 foot 3 inches tall, and a gentle woman, but filled with energy about Israel being our home,” said Fuld, who will share stories about his experiences in the IDF, including an incredible miracle that took place while fighting with his unit in Lebanon. “I climbed mountains I was attached to, and when we visited holy places I felt so connected, and at Har Herzl, the national cemetery, it stuck me like a knife. I needed to be here and I knew this would be my life.”
Fuld returned to Israel to study for a year after graduating high school. After a chance interview by CNN while visiting the Kotel, during which he became very emotional, he called his parents and told them he couldn’t miss the opportunity to help and protect Israel. “There was no one in Europe to protect my grandmother and the others; I needed to do that.”

Quarter-century of service

His service — now a quarter of a century — has included work as a paratrooper and now reservist. Fuld still gives his wife Miriam, whose own family made aliyah when she was 9 years old, and children Tamar, Naomi, Yakir, and Natan, a goodbye kiss and a prayer like that which he gives on Shabbat evening. Treasuring his time in the service, he says he can’t imagine the day when his service is over.
“I never want to not be beneficial to my country.”
Fuld’s dedication and career at Standing Together makes it possible for the nonprofit organization, founded in 2003 by David Landau, to donate minifridges and microwaves for hospital rooms of wounded soldiers. The group has also presented wounded soldiers with personalized bathrobes, emailed Rosh Hashanah greeting cards, and given mobile cellphone charging units, treats, pizzas, warm clothes during the winter and ice cream parties in the summer, as well as having Independence Day barbecues, Chanukah doughnut parties, challahs, Purim mishloach manot packages at army bases and checkpoints and much more.
“Ninety-six percent of all donations to the organization are used to support the soldiers,” said Fuld, who writes a blog and each week posts updates about Israel, a Friday Torah lesson and more. Standing Together minimizes costs with a predominantly volunteer staff, by e-newsletters rather than traditional mailings, and employing modern social media marketing strategies.
“The only way I would come to the company is to know that the work we do, and the money we raise, indeed supports the soldiers. I’ve been there, am still there as a reservist, and I know what it means when others show support. What it means — is everything!”

Visiting area schools

On Friday, Fuld will visit with the preschoolers at Temple Emanu-El and residents at The Legacy at Willow Bend. The community is invited Saturday morning when he will co-host the Shabbat Kulanu services at Congregation Tiferet Israel with Rabbi Meir Sabo, and at Congregation Shaare Tefilla, where he will speak after mincha services, which begin at 5:40 p.m.
The Sunday evening program is open and appropriate for guests of all ages and, while there is no charge, donations of $18 or more will secure preferred seating. All donations from the event will be used to purchase food trucks to support Standing Together’s programs that supply food, tools and gear to tens of thousands of IDF soldiers every year.
Sunday night, the program will open at 5:30 p.m. with an hour for registration, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and nonalcoholic drinks, and music by Noam Agami. Agami will then continue with a more formal concert that includes traditional Jewish and Hebrew songs, as well as those he played during his service in the IDF band. Dallas’ own Dr. Zev Shulkin will then speak about fighting the BDS movement and the importance of investing in the safety and security of Israel and its people, and, at 7 p.m., Fuld will speak about his own history and experiences in the IDF and the work of Standing Together.
“I travel around the world sharing our work, and I take what I do very personally. This is not about providing a ‘favor’ to the soldiers, but these are all of our sons and daughters,” said Fuld, the father of two whose parents and brothers Moshe, Doni, Hillel and Eytan have all since made aliyah, following his lead in returning “home.”
“Life isn’t about the clock, but about what you do with it.”
Agami, born in Israel and now a Dallas resident, performs at weddings, b’nai mitzvah celebrations, and other occasions including a concert of Israeli music last weekend at Valley View Mall.
“The work of Standing Together supports and matches how I feel about Israel and the soldiers there keeping the peace and keeping our country safe. I am proud to participate in a program for this group and I feel very connected to their message,” he said.
“It is important for all of us to support Israel in general and the IDF and its soldiers with our actions, our visits, our voice, prayers, and our donations,” said Gershon. “Helping the IDF soldiers, the men and women who keep our homeland safe — who keep our people safe — is something we must do. Sunday night will be a magnificent way to do most of that at once, and as a community.”
The Hyatt Place Dallas is located at 5229 Spring Valley Road in Dallas. For more information or to register for the event, visit DallasStandsWithTheIDF.Eventbrite.com. To follow Fuld and Standing Together online, visit StandingTogether.org and Standing Together 24/7 IDF on Facebook.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

BBYO IC comes to North Texas

BBYO IC comes to North Texas

Posted on 09 February 2017 by admin

By Aaron Greenberg
Special to the TJP

Delegates from last year’s North Texas region traveled to Baltimore to participate in the last international convention.

Delegates from last year’s North Texas region traveled to Baltimore to participate in the last international convention.

DALLAS — BBYO is coming to town in full force.
BBYO’s 93rd International Convention will take place downtown from Feb. 16 through Feb. 20, with more than 2,500 teenagers arriving, as well as huge numbers of staff, volunteers and guests. It will be the largest conference in the program’s history.
“We will transform the Hyatt so that it will look like BBYO headquarters,” said Sherrie Stalarow, senior executive regional director for the North Texas/Oklahoma region.
It is the fourth time the area is playing host; the previous years were 2007, 2010, and 2014. This year’s will be considerably larger, with about 750 more youths. About 200 teenagers from the Metroplex and Tulsa will represent the host region.
“Dallas is an ideal location for us as an international convention for a lot of reasons,” said Ian Kandel, vice president of AZA/BBG and the Teen Movement. “It is a hugely historic BBYO town with many three-  or four-generation members.”
“It’s great for our community, and we’ll have a lot of community leaders there,” Stalarow said. “It opens a lot of people’s eyes over what we’re doing and that we are here.”
The Global Pre-Week starts Feb. 9, with about 200 international guests arriving and staying at local homes.

Submitted photo The 2016-2017 IC Board, which includes Grand Aleph Shaliach of Dallas Jed Golman (last on right)

Submitted photo
The 2016-2017 IC Board, which includes Grand Aleph Shaliach of Dallas Jed Golman (last on right)

“It’s not easy to ask someone to host somebody for five days,” Stalarow said, crediting the community for stepping up with enthusiasm. “Our families have always felt so strongly about that.”
A number of summits will also be held in advance of the official opening, including executive meetings and a Membership Growth Summit. Then the rest of the teens and staff will pour in from around the country, about 5,000 people total.
One local teenager, Isabel Middleman, talked about how much she enjoyed being in the IC band last year.
“At opening ceremonies, teens from all over the international order are chosen to perform pop songs as the regions enter,” she said. “It was one of the best experiences of my life. I attend Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where I major in voice, so combining two things I am passionate about (music and BBYO) was very special for me.”
Region presidents ran out onto the stage with their region’s colors and mascot during the ceremonies, which was another thing she enjoyed.
After the opening ceremonies, the large scale of the event continues in different ways, allowing the organization’s members to address or work on big things together.
It includes a leadership training day Friday with more than 40 seminars spread out through the city. That includes the Dallas SPCA, Yavneh Academy, the AT&T Center, the IBM innovation center, Watermark Church, the Old Red Museum, Jewish Family Services, the North Texas food bank, and more.
“The last time we were in Dallas, we did one combined direct service program Friday,” Kandel said. “This year, there are 40 different paths toward leadership training or skill development. We are using the Dallas community far, far more than last time.”

Submitted photo A community service project in which teens participated in Baltimore

Submitted photo
A community service project in which teens participated in Baltimore

The Shabbat experience has also been expanded significantly, with several forms of services to make sure everyone is comfortable. Among those doing the planning is local teenager Jonathan Nurko, a student at Yavneh Academy and the 2015-2016 North Texas Oklahoma AZA president. He said he sees it as a way to give back after attending two conferences previously.
“I am sure that seeing these services impact so many people will leave me with a great capstone in BBYO and inspiration to continue serving my community in the future,” Nurko said.
On Sunday, many of the teens will engage in the elections process.
“I think it is so cool that we as teenagers have the opportunity to either run the organization on an international level or just partake in the election process,” Middleman said. “I love listening to the candidates’ speeches because everyone is so passionate about the organization.”
For those who choose not to partake in the elections, there are Maccabiah games at the Dallas JCC and sightseeing at places like the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Legoland Discovery Center, the Dallas Zoo, the Perot Museum of Science and Nature, the Fort Worth Stockyards, and Texas Motor Speedway.
Alumni will also be able to take part. A 50-year reunion will honor members from 1967 to 1970, and a young alumni event will be held Saturday night.
A number of major speakers and musical artists will be announced closer to the conference. There’s always a lot of anticipation and speculation ahead of time, Stalarow said, noting it plays into the whole atmosphere of the event.
“They want to be wowed off the bat, inspired and motivated,” she said.

Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, was a featured speaker and recipient of the STAND UP award.

Cornell Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP, was a featured speaker and recipient of the STAND UP award.

Teenagers who can’t make it to the actual convention have the opportunity to follow online and virtual reality glasses have been sent to 6,000 potential members.
A massive amount of work is done by the international organization to put on the conference.
“It’s sort of like built up in the air and landed gently in the community we are having it at,” Kandel said. “We want the community to continue to have a robust experience — conventions and meetings and service projects. We don’t want it to be a distraction.”
The host community is counted on to spread enthusiasm, to provide volunteers to assist the 350 staff members, and to host the international delegates. Stalarow said they will provide the eyes and ears.
Some of the local teens, including Middleman, are involved with planning. Last year, as regional president, she planned regional conventions and helped with some of the planning for hosting international teenagers at this year’s international convention. Once the convention starts, she’ll help host the alumni reunion.
“I think everyone will be impressed by our ‘Southern hospitality’ and how much Dallas has to offer,” she said.
When it comes to selecting locations, Kandel said BBYO looks at a city’s culture, business and industry, tourism, culinary education and academia. Dallas scores high on those, as well as its geography.
“The Jewish community is amazing,” Kandel said. “The institutions play so well together, and value the teen experience. So many have children in BBYO or are innovative in engaging Jewish teens. It is a real blessing any time we get to work with the Dallas Jewish community.”

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.www.jasondixson.com

Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.www.jasondixson.com

There are close to 1,000 teenagers in the host region, with the overwhelming majority — about 900 — in Dallas. The city has a long history with BBYO, going back to an AZA chapter in 1935. Originally, the Texoma region included all of Texas and Oklahoma. It split into Lone Star and North Texas/Oklahoma in 1984.
These days, local teens have their own weekly sports leagues, relationships with organizations like JFS and CHAI, and the Sweetheart-Beau dance. There are also special programs, like election-related programming for 2016.
Stalarow’s connection to the program, like many others in the region, is intergenerational. Her father was in a Dallas AZA chapter. And when she visits Jewish organizations or Federation meetings, the faces are familiar.
“I step in the room and see these were all teens in the program,” she said.
Stalarow has been involved in leadership since becoming an advisor in 1982. She advanced to assistant regional director in 1992 and regional director in 1996. She also ran CLTC, a summer leadership program, in Wisconsin for 19 years and has led BBYO’s involvement in March of the Living since 2000.
Stalarow said one of the reasons BBYO has succeeded is the way it opens itself up to all kinds of Jewish youth.
“Number one, we don’t adhere to any one form of Judaism. We’re everything,” she said. “We have teens who have never been affiliated and teens who are very observant.”
Her charges also have very different interests, but are able to explore and express their interests. She called watching them blossom “gratifying.”
“It’s a place where they feel comfortable. They can create their own personalities and not be judged for it,” Stalarow said.
Aside from local programming, there are also summer camps and global travel. Middleman said her favorite program has been the International Leadership Training Conference she went to over the summer. There was an exercise where people were asked to rate their happiness, then write a letter to someone they admire. Then they were asked to call that person and read them the letter.
“Everyone’s ‘happiness level’ went up, and the lesson was that making other people happy can make you happy,” Middleman said.
Nurko said the summer programs have helped him connect to Jewish teens from all over the country and the world, and that “I will always have a home in any city across America.”
That makes the nature of this month’s event all the more special to him. He attended the last international conference in Dallas, but was new to BBYO at the time, and not as involved.
“I saw the excitement, fun, and bonds that Dallas teens made with international teens. I have been looking forward to IC this year so that I can finally be a part of this exciting time,” he said.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Missing college student’s remains found

Missing college student’s remains found

Posted on 08 February 2017 by admin

Staff report

Brewster County and Alpine law enforcement confirmed Monday remains found in a shallow grave were those of Zuzu Verk, the Sul Ross State University student who has been missing since Oct. 11.MissingWomanWEB
Before identifying the remains, the police arrested Verk’s boyfriend Robert Fabian on Friday. Fabian, 26, faces a charge of tampering with evidence by concealing or hiding a corpse, a second-degree felony. Fabian’s bail was set at $500,000 on Monday. Additional charges are expected, Alpine police said.
“It’s a sense of relief, and sadness, sorrow, horror, you know … a lot of emotions run through and they’re opposite of each other in many ways,” Glenn Verk, Zuzu’s father, said to WFAA.
Chris Estrada, a friend of Fabian’s who, according to Alpine police, exchanged several phone calls with Fabian the night of Verk’s disappearance, was arrested in Phoenix on Monday on a similar charge. He had relocated to Phoenix after an unrelated DWI charge last month and is facing extradition back to Brewster County.
A Border Patrol agent found Verk’s remains in a shallow grave Friday near Alpine. A forensics lab matched Verk’s dental records to the body.
“To think that in such a shallow grave, that the animals or something wouldn’t have eventually dug the body out — (the suspects) weren’t thinking,” Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson said.
Verk, 21, was studying biology at Sul Ross State, and was a member of Congregation Kol Ami in the Coppell-Keller area.
According to the Alpine Police Department, Verk had gone on a date with her boyfriend the night of her disappearance, but further details weren’t clear. Fabian and Estrada were “uncooperative” in describing the events of that night, an Alpine police spokesman said, and only responded when legally forced to do so.
Sul Ross State planned a memorial service for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9. The family’s plans for a funeral were not available at press deadline.
Dodson said there are still people of interest in the investigation, including many in Fabian’s family.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Concern, fear as US changes refugee policy

Concern, fear as US changes refugee policy

Posted on 02 February 2017 by admin

With history in mind, Jews join airport protests of Trump’s directive

DULLES, VA - JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

DULLES, VA – JANUARY 28: J.D. People protest and welcome arriving passengers at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, January 28, 2017. The protest follows the executive order of President Donald Trump to bar all refugees coming to the US and Muslims from seven countries. (Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By Ron Kampeas
JTA

DULLES, Va. — The Israeli-born high-tech millionaire gathered his family after turning on CNN. The rabbi who leads an interfaith group got a text from a Muslim friend. The corporate lawyer was tracking a pro-bono email list she’s on.
Within a few hours, all of them had descended on Dulles Airport, about 25 miles outside of the nation’s capital.
They were among the thousands of Americans who met at major international airports across the country Saturday to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries. In the plight of those refused entry, many Jews saw something akin to what their forebears endured as they attempted to flee Nazi-occupied Europe.
Some noted cruel irony in the president’s order coming down Friday, which was International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Dallas Holocaust Museum responded to the president:
“As part of our mission, we host an annual commemoration for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, established by the UN to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,” a press release read. “We appreciate the comments of the president to remember the 11 million who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazi regime in the Holocaust, but we believe it is critically important to recognize and acknowledge that, at its core, the Holocaust was a genocide against the Jewish populations of Germany and those countries and territories occupied by the Nazis.”
Trump’s directive blocks for 120 days all refugees from entering the country, with an indefinite ban on those from Syria, and prevents for 90 days entry into the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Chava Brandress, a corporate lawyer, said she belongs to a pro-bono legal listserv, and her email “began exploding” Saturday afternoon with tales of foreign nationals being detained after landing at Dulles.
“I felt, ‘I can’t understand how this is happening again,’” said Brandress, 36, recalling how Jews, fleeing Nazi persecution, were turned away from U.S. shores.
At Dulles and the many other major airports where crowds gathered, protesters sang and chanted. They erupted in cheers when a New York judge placed a temporary stay on Trump’s refugee ban — a ruling that prevented scores of refugees and other foreign nationals held by U.S. passport control in the wake of the executive order from being deported.
Hundreds also came together outside the Brooklyn Federal Court House, where Judge Ann Donnelly granted the emergency stay, with some chanting “Never again” and holding signs that read “Never Again! Never is Now!” Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued the case, said afterward that he had never seen such a public show of support in his two decades in the field.
At New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, protesters packed sidewalks and a parking structure outside Terminal 4. They carried placards slamming the executive order and chanting slogans such as “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here.”
At the international terminal of Los Angeles International Airport, Rabbi Suzanne Singer of Temple Beth El in Riverside, California, voiced opposition to the executive order with hundreds of others. She traveled some 70 miles to be there.
“It’s an absolute outrage that we are keeping people from coming here for refuge,” Singer said. “My mother was a survivor from Auschwitz. As Jews, we know what it’s like to be persecuted.”
“It’s certainly not Jewish values; it’s not American values” to ban people based on religion.
Also at the Los Angeles airport protest was Gabriel Lobet, 18, who just hours earlier had been teaching a Hebrew school class about a Torah portion in which Abraham welcomes a stranger in his midst.
“A core value of my Hebrew school years, and being a bar mitzvah, is that we were strangers, immigrants in a new land,” Lobet said.
“The Dallas Holocaust Museum remembers a time when the United States and other countries denied entry to Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis,” the museum said in the previous statement. “While recognizing today’s different circumstances, we call on our elected officials and citizens to remember that many in the Middle East, both Christian and Muslim, seek refuge because they are targeted by their regimes, ISIS and other actors for persecution and in some cases elimination.
“The ongoing refugee crisis requires the U.S. to balance the security of its citizens with the expectations of refugees, asylum seekers and economic migrants to be treated with compassion and respect as they seek refuge in the United States. The U.S. government has a vetting process to make sure that citizen security remains paramount. We encourage our government to complete the vetting of all refugees as quickly and efficiently as possible to minimize their suffering as they seek a better life in the United States of America.”
At Dulles International Airport, Tal Zlotnitsky’s sign read “Our Jewish family stands with Muslim refugees and Muslim Americans.”
Zlotnitsky, 43, his wife, Miri, and their son, Jacob, 14, had seen the protests at Dulles on CNN and joined. He said he came to the United States from Israel when he was 12. He overstayed his visa and now ran a data analysis firm.
“If we give up our core ideals,” he said, “that’s how the terrorists win.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here