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Be The Difference spins wheels for life

Be The Difference spins wheels for life

Posted on 14 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Alan Abair
From left, Jon Mize, Events and Corporate Partnerships manager with Be the Difference Foundation, is with organization past and current board members Darren Fishman, Julie Shrell, Lynn Lenschter, Lisa Hurst, Linda Bezner, Sheryl Yonack, Jill Bach and Gary Gardner, with perennial favorite rider and supporter, Roger Staubach. This year (not pictured), Atila Ali and Marissa Shrell have joined the board.

By Deb Silverthorn

The seventh annual Be The Difference Foundation’s (BTDF) Wheel to Survive indoor cycle event is returning to the Aaron Family JCC, Zale Auditorium Feb. 24. The ride helps raise funds for the foundation’s twofold mission: first, to increase the survival rate for women battling ovarian cancer; and second, to provide both hope for a cure, and a future in which ovarian cancer can be treated. More than $2.4 million has been donated to agencies helping those diagnosed with ovarian cancer since the ride launched in 2012.
In 2018, approximately 22,240 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed and 14,070 ovarian cancer deaths were expected in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about one of every 40 individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry has a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, compared to one in 800 of the general population, increasing the risk of certain cancers, including breast and ovarian in women and breast and prostate in men.
“This organization is where my heart, dedication, and appreciation are because my life, and many others, depends on it,” said Linda Bezner, who is co-chairing the event with Anne Baum. The two are leading a committee that includes BTFD’s Executive Director Shannon Albert and Events and Corporate Partnerships Manager Jon Mize, as well as Molly Aaron, Wendi Alston, Jill Bach, Jessica Buckman, Rose Kreditor, Lauren Lattman, Jeff Seutter, Lauren Shecht, Julie Shrell, Marissa Shrell, Simone Shrell and Sheryl Yonack.
Bezner said that in 2003, she felt twinges in the area of her ovaries. A visit to her gastroenterologist led to a CT scan — and the call.
Though the three-time cancer survivor had had a total hysterectomy and her ovaries removed years before the initial diagnosis, the scan showed an artery and her colon wrapped in an ovarian tumor. Surgeries, chemo and radiation followed, and then several years later the disease returned. These days, Bezner is six years into remission.
Baum, with whom Bezner became friends when their children, now 31, were in kindergarten together, stood by her through illness, and now through chairing Wheel to Survive. The friends first rode in 2014. “We rode as a team, ‘A Positive Spin,’ with my sisters-in-law and I found my place,” Baum said.
Dallas’ Jewish community, a tight-knit friendship of its own, stood by the organization, which has grown and expanded. In 2018, rides also took place in Austin, Boca Raton, Denver, Houston and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The founders of Be The Difference Foundation are Jill Bach, Lynn Lentscher, Julie Shrell and the late Helen Gardner. Bach is an almost 12-year survivor, who inherited the BRCA1 mutation from her father, who never knew he was a carrier before the testing.
Lentscher was the athletic “picture of health” but experienced painful and prolonged diarrhea, despite having had a hysterectomy. After palpating a mass and an elevated CA125 test, she agreed to have her ovaries removed, but woke up to a stage 3 diagnosis. She is now 21 years clear of ovarian cancer.
Shrell, who was diagnosed at 48, BRCA1 tested positive, but not for breast cancer, which her paternal grandmother had survived twice in 30 years. She is now counting eight years of clean health. Gardner, of blessed memory, passed away in 2014 despite her heroic battle, yet lives on through Be The Difference Foundation, and the organizations and people it supports.
Bach is BTDF’s board president. Other board members serving this year are Atila Ali, Linda Bezner, Gary Gardner, Lynn Lenschter, Julie Shrell, Marissa Shrell and Sheryl Yonack.
Ovarian cancer accounts for 2.5 percent of all female cancer cases and 5 percent of cancer deaths because of the disease’s low survival rate, with four out of five ovarian cancer patients diagnosed with advanced disease that has spread throughout the abdominal cavity. Women diagnosed with localized-stage disease have more than a 90-percent five-year survival rate.
“Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, and it is in the spirit of tikkun olam that we hope to repair this piece of the world, to help others, and to help eradicate this disease and to bring long life to all,” said Artie Allen, CEO of the JCC, which has hosted Wheel to Survive since it began. “We hope someday the disease will be gone and we won’t be needed … for this!”
Sisters Marissa and Simone Shrell, Julie’s daughters, created a “Why I Ride” wall to decorate Zale Auditorium, so that riders and visitors to the day are able to “meet” those who have survived, those who have not, and the riders who have been affected by the disease.
Vendors include Chocaloca Designs, Designs by Sarina, Kendra Scott Home, Linen Casa, Scout & Cellar and Your Queen Bead. A raffle and a silent auction with jewelry, sports, restaurant, and vacation packages will run throughout the ride.
Judy’s Mission Ovarian Cancer Foundation was the newest recipient to receive support from the 2018 Wheel to Survive in Houston. Judy’s Mission honors the memory of Judith Liebenthal Robinson by promoting awareness about ovarian cancer and its symptoms, calling attention to the need for early diagnosis and treatment, and funding research for the development of effective screening and treatment.
Executive Director Heidi Suprun said the grant will support its local Survivors Teaching Students program, in which survivors speak to medical students, allowing the disease to surpass the statistics, bringing true faces to the field. Close to home, Bach, Bezner, Lentscher and Shrell are among the volunteers participating at Dallas’ UT Southwestern.
Also receiving BTDF support in 2018 were the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, Lazarex Foundation, MD Anderson’s Ovarian Cancer Moon Shots Program and The Clearity Foundation.
“The rally of support for what we do is infectious — the drive for success, a gift,” Albert said. Having lost her partner to ovarian cancer, she brings personal passion to her role as BTDF’s executive director. “Our goal is to make a difference — a difference in lives and a difference in the fate.”
Wheel to Survive will take place 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at Aaron Family Jewish Community Center’s Zale Auditorium. A practice ride, free with Wheel to Survive registration, starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Cyclebar at Lakeside Market in Plano.
For more information, to donate, or to register for the 2019 Wheel to Survive, visit bethedifferencefoundation.org. Use promocode “TJP” for 25-percent discounted registration.

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Fairmont’s new kosher kitchen debuts deliciousness

Fairmont’s new kosher kitchen debuts deliciousness

Posted on 14 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Rabbi David Shawel
“This is a blessing in so many ways, and the enthusiasm to produce excellence by everyone involved is something we’re happy to be a part of,” Rabbi David Shawel, Dallas Kosher’s director of supervision, said of the DK/Fairmont Hotel partnership.

By Deb Silverthorn

Dallas’ Jewish community is now being served deliciousness — specifically, kosher deliciousness — from the kitchen at the Fairmont Dallas hotel. Kosher meals are available for events involving

as few as 50 guests, or as many as 1,000 diners.
The Fairmont is creating meat, fish, and pareve menus to tempt any foodie’s tastebuds. A kosher wine list is also available.
“There is no reason to be limited in what we can serve our guests — everything we do is high-level and exquisite, a luxury menu,” said Sher, a Sabra who, after serving in the Israel Defense Forces, became an executive chef. Sher moved with the Fairmont hotels to Dallas three years ago, wanting to elevate the dining experience for all, including the kosher community.
“Previously, we couldn’t commit to an event more than six months in advance because of the requirements,” he said. “But now, with this tremendous change, we can walk in, turn on the lights, and be cooking. The camaraderie in our kitchen, and our relationship with Dallas Kosher, is fantastic.”
The Fairmont’s kosher kitchen, in its first week open, fed more than 250 guests of the American Jewish Congress and another 530 for the Texoma Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), when it held its 2018 Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award Luncheon, Nov. 15, and was able to avail itself of the kosher menu.
“We’ve had events at the Fairmont for 28 years and this was seamless,” said ADL Texoma Director of Development Kerri Aikin Rosenberg.
The Fairmont is also the site of this year’s Schoenbrun luncheon and its Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award Dinner. “It was delicious, and everything about it was made very easy for us, the client,” Rosenberg said. “We look forward to many events in the future.”
Chad Mendelman, Fairmont’s director of catering and conference services, indicated that the kosher kitchen is the hotel’s next step in providing the best dining presentation. “Our best is now elevated and there’s little we can’t do,” said Mendelman, who arrived in Dallas last fall, bringing 10 years of his service with Fairmont hotels in Australia, Canada and San Francisco to the company. “We think out-of-the-box about how to modify recipes to meet kosher laws, but nothing we do is compromised at all, allowing us to serve intimate parties and mass meetings and celebrations.”
The Fairmont — which for more than two decades has turned a kitchen kosher every now and then, kashering appliances and utensils for events as they come — can now serve a more elaborate menu to greater-sized guestlists, and without the extensive planning that was needed previously. Having added new plates and silverware, two convection ovens, a flattop stove, a grill, fryer, sinks and dishwashers, work tables, a meat-slicer and more, there is little the hotel’s culinary experts can’t create.
“To lose the labor-intensive hours, really days, to turn a kitchen is priceless. Before, we had to clear a kitchen, kasher everything, prep for whatever the menu; now, so much of that is cut out and it makes a difference all around,” said Dallas Kosher’s Director of Supervision Rabbi David Shawel. His DK team helped coordinate and supervise the kashering of everything related to the Fairmont.
During Passover and Hanukkah, the hotel hopes to expand the menu, exploring options of meals to go and other new opportunities to serve the community.
“Dallas Kosher has had a wonderful relationship with the Fairmont and we appreciate the significant investment that was made to create this beautiful kitchen,” said Meira Naor, executive director of Dallas Kosher. “The new equipment, the staff which is knowledgeable, educated, dedicated to kashrut, and which has experienced little turnover in our years together, is something we’re so happy to be a part of.”
Seemingly, the Fairmont, and Dallas Kosher, and the many cooks in the kitchen, are the right combination of ingredients for our community.

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JCRC holds Jewish advocacy day in Austin

JCRC holds Jewish advocacy day in Austin

Posted on 14 February 2019 by admin

Photos: Courtesy JCRC Dallas From left, JCRC Executive Director Anita Zusman Eddy, State Senator Nathan Johnson, JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin and Jeff Kitner

On Wednesday, Jan. 30, more than 150 individuals from Jewish communities throughout Texas traveled to the Texas State Capitol for Jewish Communities Day at the State: Legislative Mission to Austin (Day at the State), organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
Jewish communities from across the state participated in the event, including the Jewish Federations of Greater Dallas, Austin, Greater Houston, Fort Worth & Tarrant County, and San Antonio. Partners also included the Community Relations Council (CRC) of San Antonio, Hadassah – Greater Southwest Region, Torah Day School of Dallas, Texas Hillel, Chabad at UT, Hillels of North Texas, and SMU Hillel.
Jewish Communities Day at the State: Legislative Mission to Austin is a bi-annual event, coinciding with the Texas State Legislative session every two years “The Day at the State program was an opportunity for Jewish communities throughout Texas to come together in order to make a valuable impact in Austin during this legislative session by showing our support for Israel, as well as expressing our concerns about other issues that affect all Texans. Issues important to the Jewish community include anti-BDS legislation, increased safety and security of children in day care centers, and support for social services provided by our Federation partners — Jewish Family Service, Legacy Senior Communities, the Jewish Community Center, and CHAI. We are looking to our state senators and representatives especially from the Dallas area to be receptive and supportive of these important initiatives. Based on our interaction Wednesday, including a meeting with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, it was a successful day for our greater Jewish community,” said A.J. Rosmarin, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas chair-elect .
The Day at the State program began with a legislative briefing by Harvey Kronberg, editor of the nonpartisan online publication Quorum Report, followed by speakers on the various advocacy issues: support for Israel, support for social services and Federation agency partners, and support for access to quality early learning and child care safety for all children.
Regen Horchow Fearon, board chair of Early Matters Dallas, discussed the importance of high quality early learning and need for increased safety and security of child day care centers. Lisa Brodsky, CEO of Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), discussed the need to support quality services and programs to instill a capacity for independence and self-sufficiency among Texan adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Toba Hellerstein, CEO of the Texas-Israel Alliance, shared facts about Israel as a global leader in water management and innovation, and how Israeli technology can be used to help Texas in solving water challenges.
“The JCRC is grateful to all the speakers and participants who joined us in Austin on Jan. 30,” said Dallas JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin. “Their participation, enthusiasm and commitment in educating our legislators and advocating for issues important to the Jewish community is what made the day a true success.”
Representative Phil King (R- Weatherford) met with the group following the passing of House Resolution 111 that morning, affirming Israel’s achievements in water management and the Israel-Texas Water Initiative. The resolution was crafted at the request of the Dallas Jewish Community Relations Council and the Texas-Israel Alliance. Rep. King also discussed the follow-up bill to the Texas anti-BDS bill, which was passed last legislative session and prohibits the State of Texas from contracting with any company that engages in boycott, divestment or sanctions against Israel. The follow-up bill this session is intended to tweak the existing anti-BDS law and to make some clarifications on enforcement of the existing law. This year’s bill notes that the anti-boycott statute is a commerce issue and not an infringement on any individual’s free speech rights. The new bill also eliminates applicability to sole proprietorships to show that this is not about individual content, but rather about government contracts using taxpayer funds.
During the Day at the State program, the Dallas JCRC arranged advocacy meetings with legislators from both political parties. Small (two- to four-person) groups met with individual legislators or staff during the afternoon. There was also a meeting and photo with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, which led to his inviting the entire group on an impromptu tour of the Lieutenant Governor’s office and official Capitol residence.
“I learned so much at the Jewish Communities Day at the State program,” commented Dawn Strauss, Day at the State co-chair. “I left Austin feeling invigorated, proud and excited to be a part of the Dallas Jewish community. This mission was an amazing opportunity to have our voices heard and to make an impact in Austin.”
Adam Segall, Day at the State co-chair, added, “We appreciate the support and participation of the Jewish Federations and many Jewish organizations and agencies throughout Texas. As the only full-time Jewish Community Relations Council 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.”

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Best Foreign Language Films: 5 new Oscar nominees

Best Foreign Language Films: 5 new Oscar nominees

Posted on 07 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Caleb Deschanel, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
Sebastian Koch as Professor Carl Seeband

By Susan Kandell Wilkofsky

I thought I’d try something a little different this week and give a brief synopsis of the contenders for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Unfortunately, Israel’s submission “The Cakemaker,” the bold drama focused on a German-Israeli love triangle, was eliminated by the Academy in the first round of cuts. ‘Tis a shame! I think it could have been a contender.
The five finalists are listed below in no particular order.
“Roma” from Mexico, which was written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity,” “Y Tu Mamá También”), is thought to be the front-runner in this category after winning Best Picture and Best Director at the Golden Globes. And it picked up nominations for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Foreign Film. That’s quite an accomplishment!
Taking place in Mexico City in the early 1970s and set in a middle-class neighborhood, the film is centered on the domestic servant of a doctor’s family. It’s a very realistic portrait of her increasing responsibility as she cares for the family’s children amid domestic strife and political upheaval. This very personal film shot in glorious black-and-white is really quite powerful, although it could have been a wee bit shorter as it clocks in at two hours and 15 minutes.
But “Roma” doesn’t register the longest screen time of the five nominees. That award would go to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s psychological drama “Never Look Away,” Germany’s entry for Best Foreign Film. At three hours and eight minutes, the film covers a long expanse of time as a young artist escapes to West Germany, still tormented by his childhood under the Nazis and the GDR-regime.
“Shoplifters,” from Japan and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, was last year’s winner of the Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or. It depicts a dysfunctional, loosely gathered family of petty thieves and grifters living below the poverty level. The family is upended when the young son is arrested and secrets are revealed. What defines this family? The power of love and not blood will test the bonds that bind them together.
“Capernaum” (Chaos), the Lebanese entry for Best Foreign Language Film, directed by Nadine Labaki, packs a powerful punch and will most certainly give “Roma” a run for its money. The winner of the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, “Capernaum” tells the heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story of Zain, a young Lebanese boy who sues his parents for the “crime” of giving him life. Existing on the margins of society, he flees his negligent parents and survives on the streets using only his preternatural wits for protection. The film manages to weave a heart-wrenching tale with a thread of optimism. It is, in a word…stunning!
“Cold War,” Poland’s entry this year, was directed by Paweł Pawlikowski, who is back with another commanding film (remember “Ida”?) — this time an impossible love story set against the backdrop of the Cold War in the 1950s in Poland, Berlin, Yugoslavia and Paris. A music director falls in love with a singer and tries to persuade her to flee communist Poland. Like “Roma,” it was shot in black-and-white and, at 88 minutes, captures your attention both visually and musically. Besides being nominated for Best Foreign Film, “Cold War” has picked up a Best Cinematography nomination and a Best Director nod for Pawlikowski. All well-deserved!
So there it is. Who will you root for? Well, first, you can try and see as many as you can before the Oscars are televised on Feb. 24. Below is a listing of where they can be screened. Four of the five are available locally.

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Financing summer camp

Posted on 06 February 2019 by admin

Let’s face it. We all want to send our kids to an enriching, Jewish summer experience. However, sometimes these programs aren’t in a family’s budget. Many synagogues have scholarships and stipends available for programs within their respective movements. The Aaron Family JCC has a camp scholarship program and BBYO has scholarships available for most of its programming.
The following are three additional resources to consider.

Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association

The Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association offers a Jewish Heritage Loan which includes, among other Jewish experiences, Jewish summer camp. The DHFLA recognizes that Jewish camp is an essential experience in the formation of a strong Jewish identity. Whether students attend day school or public school, if their families are affiliated or not, have disposable income or they are on a tight budget, DHFLA wants all Dallas Jewish children to have this valuable experience. Overnight camp in particular is very impactful, but can be quite costly. DHFLA offers a $3500 loan and generous terms. With three years to repay the loan, payments begin one month after loan receipt and are payable in equal monthly installments.
The Jewish Heritage Loan was created to enhance the Jewish experience of members of the Dallas Jewish community. The loan may be used to cover expenses that help connect to one’s Jewish identity such as a trip to Israel, bar/bat mitzvah celebration, youth group conventions, etc. For more information, call 214-696-8008 or visit the DHFLA website at http://dhfla.org/apply-for-a-loan/jewish-heritage-loans-rules-guidelines/.

Dallas Jewish Community Foundation

The Essie and Reuben Rosenbloom Jewish Overnight Camping Fund of the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation is a special, need-based scholarship to assist Dallas Jewish children entering grades 3-8 in the fall of 2019 who otherwise would not have an opportunity to attend Jewish overnight camps. Since the creation of this fund, more than 300 campers from Dallas, Denton or Collin counties have been able to attend camp. The unique feature of this scholarship fund is that both the applicants AND the review committee are anonymous, meaning the committee reviews the applications after all personal information has been redacted and members of the committee are known only by a select group of DJCF staff members. Even the DJCF chairman of the board does not know who the committee members are. This high level of confidentiality is to ensure the families can maintain their pride while requesting scholarship assistance. To be eligible to apply for a scholarship, a family must demonstrate financial need and the eligible camp must be a nonprofit overnight residential camp affiliated with a Jewish organization in the United States. DJCF welcomes all applicants who fit the need, age criteria and eligibility requirement. Repeat applicants will be considered, with priority given to first-time campers. The application will close March 6, with notification in early April. For the application and more information, visit www.djcf.org.

Jewish Children’s Regional Service

Southern Jewish families seeking financial assistance to send their children to Jewish overnight camp, and families in search of funds to pay the costs of undergraduate college education, have a special friend in the Jewish Children’s Regional Service (JCRS), the oldest and only regional Jewish children’s social service agency in the United States.
Primary qualifications to apply, and receive consideration for assistance, are relatively simple. First, the family must live within the seven-state service region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. The family must also provide requested financial information and documentation, as the primary factor in approving any amount of aid is financial need.
The overnight camp scholarship deadline for the summer of 2019 is Feb. 15, and the undergraduate college aid application for fall 2019 is May 31. Applications received after those dates will be considered, but will fall into a lower range of priority than those received by the published application deadlines.
JCRS typically receives 450-500 applications, each year, just for these two programs, and has provided annual funding to approximately 450 of the applicants. In all seven JCRS programs, combined, more than 1,600 unduplicated Jewish youth receive annual funding, and more than 1700 are served. Many youth served are from single-parent or grandparent-led families, or possess family members with serious health, mental health, unemployment or disability concerns.
The JCRS website, www.jcrs.org, contains information on all of the JCRS programs and provides applications that can be sent electronically back to the JCRS office. The headquarters address is P.O. Box 7368, Metairie, LA 70010-7368 and phone is 800-729-5277 or 504-828-6334. The $1,600,000 annual budget of JCRS is supported primarily through general donations, as well as from the annual income that results when dedicated scholarship funds are created by donors, past aid recipients and JCRS “success stories.”

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DATA’s Young Jewish Couples gets Richardson home

DATA’s Young Jewish Couples gets Richardson home

Posted on 06 February 2019 by admin

Photos: Courtesy YJC
Rabbi Moshe & Rivy Segal and their children, from left, Gedalia, Shaya, Avi Esther and Chaim

By Leah Vann
Special to the TJP

Elevated costs of living have young Jewish couples scrambling for more affordable places to live, but they don’t want to sacrifice the camaraderie that comes with living in a Jewish community.
As one of the founders of the Dallas-area Young Jewish Couples community in 2014, Rabbi Avi Honigsfeld recognized the need and wanted to help.
“This past summer, Rabbi Moshe Segal and I moved to Richardson.” Honigsfeld said. “We bought a residential house that we turned into our synagogue community center and we’ve been open since the summer. Since the summer we’ve had 10 families who have moved into the community already and we hope that it becomes the new No. 1 choice for many young couples in term of affordability and comfortability.”
The project, Dor L’Dor, is an initiative to keep the next generation of Jewish families connected to the Dallas Jewish community. It will also establish Richardson as its own branch of the Dallas Area Torah Association.
Honigsfeld and Segal fundraised through word-of-mouth to buy the residential house in March 2018 and turned it into a Jewish community center.
The first step in establishing the community center was certifying it as a commercial property to host weekly DATA classes and Shabbat services. In its next step, the community center will receive a Torah. To make the Richardson community accommodating to all branches of Judaism, Honigsfeld hopes to build an eruv by this summer, a boundary that surrounds the Jewish residential areas, permitting carrying within it that would normally be forbidden for Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath.
The Richardson synagogue and community center, located at 1900 Forestwood Drive, is just 15 minutes away from the current Dallas-area eruvs, near Jewish day schools and kosher eateries. The cost of housing is a fraction of the cost of current predominantly-Jewish areas of Dallas.
The Dallas-area Young Jewish Couples community has been raising money for the project, and has almost reached their $100,000 goal to build the eruv and help grow the community center’s programming.
The Torah’s arrival will culminate with a family-friendly celebration open to all Dallas-area Jews from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Yale Elementary, 1900 E. Collins Blvd., Richardson.
“The whole Jewish community should be proud of it and take part in celebrating,” Honigsfeld said. “Everyone should take part in the expansion of Dallas Jewry. We now have a fully functioning community open every Shabbat and the rabbis and community members are happy to welcome them and host them. It’s on the map now.”
For more information about Young Jewish Couples, contact Rabbi Avi Honigsfeld at 214-987-3282 or visit www.dallastorah.org/yjc.

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Starting from Skratch

Starting from Skratch

Posted on 06 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy NTO/BBYO
Brooks Butler, a member of BBYO’s Eamonn Lacey AZA, has had a number of gigs with Skratch, including working a Chanukah festival at Levine Academy where he worked a latke and donut bar.

By Deb Silverthorn

Gleaning the benefits of learning and earning for themselves while meeting the mitzvah of helping others are Dallas’ Skratchers: on-demand workers between the ages of 14 and 19. Now, Skratchers are not only putting pocket money away for themselves, but also partnering with organizations to spread support.
“A part-time job was almost a given when we were teenagers and I wanted to find a way to give my young daughters that same formative experience. First jobs helped us gain important soft skills,” said co-founder and Skratch CEO, Scott Bennett. “The demand of students’ schedules often makes it difficult for them to find steady part-time work.”
Skratch is a mobile app, available on the App Store and Google Play, designed to connect teens to paying jobs (gigs) in their neighborhoods; services are available in more than 100 Dallas Metroplex zip codes. The company is planning to expand to Austin, San Antonio and Houston this year. Created as a community-driven marketplace and an opportunity engine, it helps teens make some extra money, “scratch.” Using application technology, Skratch allows its teens and sponsors to post, schedule, send/receive payment, rate/review and complete gigs.
There are myriad gigs that highlight teens’ talents and abilities, including pet care, creative arts, sports coaching, academic mentoring, game play, media, technology, event support, in-home family assistance and tutoring. The app also offers an option to “create-your-own” gig. Teens, who earn $10 to $12.50 per hour, are not permitted to transport sponsors or children or operate power tools, and an adult over 18 must be present during the duration of the gig.
The app, which debuted in 2016, was created by Ronen Akiva, also the company’s chief technical officer, who worked as a photographer during his teens, and Bennett, who worked in retail and as a summer camp counselor as a teen. The two hold the strong belief that teens need opportunities to work in order to understand the value of earning their own money.
Skratch’s in-house team also includes Adam Stern, chief financial officer; Lindsay Feldman, director of partnerships; Jessica Shannon, marketing communications specialist; Amanda Diep, user and community specialist; Jason Alvarez-Cohen and Vaibhav Malhotra, software engineers; and Stephen Goldblatt, creative consultant.
“A lot of the BBYO members are interested in attending BBYO conventions, summer programs, Israel and travel trips. Skratch provides them a platform to earn money for these experiences, opening up more opportunities for their leadership development,” said Lory Conte, BBYO NorthTexas Oklahoma Region senior regional director. Sponsors can specifically hire BBYO members, and Skratch will donate 20 percent of each gig to BBYO without affecting the teens’ earnings.
“BBYO focuses on teen leadership development, and Skratch’s mission for teens to gain valuable work experience aligns with our organization’s goals,” said Conte. “We’re a community-focused organization, and teen leaders have partnered with numerous community agencies over the past few years. These partnerships are diverse — some are event-based, some are engagement-based — all with the goal of supporting and growing our local community. Both BBYO and Skratch are all-in for setting the younger generation up for success.”
As a community-centric platform, Skratch also partners with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County, YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, Cornerstone Senior Living Crystal Creek, and First United Methodist of Richardson. Skratch is also a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber. Small businesses are encouraged to utilize the app to solve short-term, project-based work. The company co-brands with Artkive, an app and service that helps preserve and celebrate a child’s artwork, and sponsors opportunities to Membership Toolkit, which allows organizations to save money on annual membership fees.
“A partnership with BBYO enables reliable teens to offer exemplary service to members of our community. The workforce landscape for teens looks bleak, since 1978 our nation has experienced a 40-year decline of teens working. Parents often comment how hard it is to know where to direct teens to find and secure consistent work. As a mother of two teenagers, I can appreciate the need to develop first work skills and the opportunities the app delivers,” said Feldman. “With Skratch, teens have skin in the game; they learn how to network their skills and can contribute to their weekly spend.”
Robert Roseman is a senior at Parish Episcopal School, a member of BBYO’s Eamonn Lacey and beau to its Fannie Sablosky chapters. Gigging with Skratch for two years, and a member of its teen board, he’s watered yards, created Excel spreadsheets, and taken photos for his sponsors.
“I don’t always know how much school or outside responsibilities I’ll have in any week. I like Skratch’s flexibility because when I’m available, I open the app and see who needs help,” said Roseman, who was honored last year with a Skratch Friday Night Lightning award, nominated for his involvement in school and in his community. “It’s incredible that Skratch supports BBYO, and the impact of giving back to the community is a great example.”
For Ebby Halliday Realtor Renee Rubin, having the opportunity to hire Skratchers to help her keep her adopted stretch of Preston Road clean is appreciated. “I love that I can find responsible help and that by using Skratch, the kids are earning money, and so is BBYO,” said Rubin, whose sons are former BBYO members.
“I work with them, and these teens are mature and they care about doing a good job,” said Rubin. “I appreciate the fact that I can help them, and BBYO, while they are helping me serve my community.”
For information about becoming a Skratcher, or to request service, visit skratch.co or download the free app on the App Store or Google Play. To partner with Skratch, email lindsay@skratch.co.

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JFS shows gratitude to devoted volunteers

JFS shows gratitude to devoted volunteers

Posted on 06 February 2019 by admin

2019 Outstanding Volunteer Geetha Rajendran is flanked by JFS Community Engagement staff members, Kristen Jackson and Jamie Denison. Among her many activities, she creates centerpieces for JFS’ Centerpieces for Tzedakah program.

By Deb Silverthorn

Jewish Family Service will present a massive Thank You party for its 1,604 volunteers who, in 2018, provided 28,454 hours of service through individual and group efforts. Kudos and appreciation will be given from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Temple Shalom. Kosher refreshments will be served and the festivities are open to the public.
“Our volunteers are a critical extension of our staff by providing support in serving our clients, either directly or indirectly, enabling us to do more for the community,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker. “With volunteers who can do data entry, deliver meals, shop with clients in our pantry or pick up donated food around town, the agency can redirect funds we would have had to spend hiring additional staff and instead it goes to serving our clients. We are extremely grateful to each and every one of them for their ongoing dedication to our mission and the community we serve.”

Receiving JFS honors are

Leadership Award — Diane Laner
Outstanding Volunteer — Geetha Rajendran
Spirit of JFS Award — Lydia Varela
Spotlight Award — Jeff Sebert
Pro Bono Award — Dr. Jim Reisman
Resource Development Award — Sherry Goldberg
Future of JFS Award — Laura Weinstein
Kids with Heart Award — Jonah Schwarz-Mullins and Hunter Wartell
Klein Intern of the Year — Varsha Danda
Rookie of the Year — Robert Levy
Special Recognition — Janet Bubis, Jim Doyle, Dawn Kauffman and Jeri Lyn Sebert
Community Partners of the Year — Apartment Association of Greater Dallas and Young Men’s Service League/Dal-Rich Chapter
Seniors in Service — Mike Becker, Lucille Klein and Martin White
Team Award — Transitional Housing.

“I had come to JFS as a child but getting involved in the food pantry was the first time it was my project. JFS does an incredible job of making its clients feel appreciated and I respect that,” said Jonah Schwarz-Mullins, a senior at Yavneh Academy and one of two Kids with Heart Award recipients. In addition to stocking and other responsibilities, Schwarz-Mullins spearheaded a fundraiser for JFS’ Food Pantry truck, helping to raise more than $100,000. “The food truck is able to pick up donations from restaurant and retail vendors, including fresh produce which couldn’t be managed previously.”
Diane Laner, recipient of the Leadership Award, as well as a member of the Transitional Housing volunteers earning the Team Award, started working with JFS by delivering Passover and High Holiday meals and packages to homebound residents. She now serves on the JFS board of directors. Laner’s ears perked up during a discussion about fulfilling and decorating apartments of the organization’s Transitional Housing program.
The team of 16 included those who were handy with tools, design, ideas, access and most of all, said Laner, with care. Most didn’t know each other when they began, but together they built safety.
“We have furnishings and appliances, bedding, art and toys where there are children. We’ve created spaces that are home — without the feeling of temporary shelter,” she said. “From couches to tissue boxes, as a team we used social media, our personal contacts, whomever we could connect to, and each unit is lovely. The residents really feel safe and proud to live there.”
Awards will be given to those with milestone years of service. Honorees for five years are: Stanley Assa, Barbara Churchman, Cantor Don Croll, Ellen Feibel, Lindsay Feldman, Susan Kanter, Eve Kaplan, Lucille Klein, Lisa Kravitz, Mickey Kurzman, Lauren Margolies, Jana Milstein, Eda Narasov, Mahra Pailet, Myra Prescott, Rupa Rajopal — of blessed memory, Bradley Rossel, Stacey Siegel, Rossi Solomon, Judy Sommer, Melissa Steiner, Michael Stulmaker, Ed Weitz and Carol Wigder; for 10 years: Judy and Howard Bazarsky, Linda Blasnik, Sheryl Fields-Bogen, Eric Goldberg, Tobe Goldberg, Barbara Gollman, David Greenberg, Janet Kaner, Sue Mintz, Jody Pearson and Laurie Platt; for 15 years: Geane Glaser, Cara Mendelsohn, Karen Sosland and Caren Tate; and for 20 years, William Ogelsby.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award for Young Adult Silver (175-249 hours) will be given to Greg Begun, Abby Brand, Varsha Danda, Sara Hirani, Morgan Hurst, Esha Kothapalli, Maddie McBride, Marilyn McWhorter, Saipranav Ramesh, Aneesh Roy and Jaidyn Thomas. The Adult Silver (250-499 hours) will be awarded to Gilian Baron, Jim Doyle, Michael Kaufman, Lisa Kleinman, Julie Liberman, Geetha Rajendran, Barbara Schwarz, Roger Sellers and Ted Tobolowsky. The Adult Gold Awards (over 500 hours) will go to Anne Leiman and Bradley Rossel.
“Whether our volunteers are serving clients in the food pantry, being advocates for our [child] clients, delivering meals to homebound members of our community or fulfilling any other need, they are giving our clients the dignity, respect and hope they need to get through life’s tough times to become self-sufficient,” said JFS Community Engagement Manager Kristen Jackson. “Our agency would not be nearly as effective without their support. They are truly the heart of JFS.”
The volunteer awards event was planned by Kim Chapman, Julie Gothard, Weezie Margolis and Laura Weinstein. The difficult task of narrowing the many volunteers to those specifically honored was determined by a nominating committee including Janis Gail, Michael Kaufman, Weezie Margolis, Harriet Sebert, Betty Spomer and Lydia Varela.
“So many people came through to help. It’s amazing how if you try to make a difference, people will help you with the dream,” said Schwarz-Mullins. “Because of my experience with JFS, I hope to always find ways to make a difference in my community.”
Last year alone, more than 1,600 other community members felt the same way. “Our village is a great one — our villagers make it so.”
To RSVP (no charge), email kjackson@jfsdallas.org or call 972-437-9950. For general information, donations, or to learn about volunteering opportunities, visit JFSDallas.org.

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DHFLA dedicated to helping local Jewish community

DHFLA dedicated to helping local Jewish community

Posted on 31 January 2019 by admin

By Nicole Hawkins

The Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association’s motto is “a hand-up, not a handout.” The organization has stayed true to this ideal since its founding in 1935.
The association currently has nearly $1 million in loans out in the community and hopes to double that amount in the next few years, according to the organization’s new director of development, Suzanne Luftig.
The association provides interest-free loans ranging from $500 to $25,000.
Newly installed Board President Helen Waldman explained that the premise for Hebrew Free Loan Associations can be found in Shemot 22:24, which commands Jewish people not to charge interest on loans or act as creditors. The Torah portion where this can be found, Parashat Mishpatim, will be read in synagogues across the Metroplex this Shabbat morning, Feb. 2.
Luftig explained that donating to the association fulfills the mitzvah of lending with no interest, as well as fulfilling the obligation for every Jew to donate to at least one free loan fund in their community.
Waldman said the money lent to borrowers is not a donation, but rather a helping hand to those in need in the Jewish community. That loan, once repaid, will then be used to help others.
“The Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association is unique in that any money donated is recycled in perpetuity,” Luftig said. “When someone makes a donation, they are investing in the Dallas Jewish community. The money is loaned out, repaid and loaned out again and again.A donation to DHFLA touches so many lives,”
DHFLA programs include loans for adoption, infertility treatments, higher education, emergency funding, general assistance, health care, Jewish heritage loans and loans for special needs treatment including therapeutic, adaptive and health care related costs.
During the recent government shutdown, the free loan association lent $7,500 to Rob and Freya McKenna, who are employed by the federal government.
“When the government shut down and we were both furloughed, our first concern was how we were going to pay our mortgage and feed our children,” the McKennas said in a statement to DHFLA. “Dallas Hebrew Free Loan Association gave us a sense of relief and a hope that we could get through the shutdown while still maintaining financial security.”
Waldman was proud that DHFLA was able to offer a loan to furloughed workers. “Those are the types of things we want to be here for — emergencies,” she said.
The majority of the organization’s current loan portfolio are those contributing to higher education.
The association offers consolidation loans, in which the organization pays the borrower’s student loans up to $25,000, and the borrower subsequently pays back DHFLA without interest. The organization also offers loans for students currently in college for up to eight semesters.
The association’s Jewish heritage loans are especially unique. They provide funds for those in the Jewish community who are becoming more attuned to their Jewish roots but can’t necessarily afford the costs that come with that commitment, according to DHFLA’s website.
Luftig explained the heritage loans can be used toward programs such as Birthright trips to Israel, bar and bat mitzvah expenses and the purchase of a tallit and tefillin.
The goal of DHFLA is “to be there for our fellow Jews in times of need and help them accomplish their goals in a respectful way so we can help the Dallas Jewish community help themselves,” Luftig said.
DHFLA is operated primarily by volunteer members of the Dallas-area Jewish community and is funded through tax-deductible memberships and donations.
The organization’s hope for the future is to double its investment capital so that more loans can be granted to help members of the Jewish community thrive, Luftig said.
DHFLA is a membership organization in which members pay $36 annually to support the organization and all its efforts.
Four people are on a waiting list to receive consolidated student loans and, therefore, the organization’s goal is to raise money in order to expand the loan base, Luftig said. “We appreciate the $36 donation just as much as the $36,000 donation.”
Luftig added that DHFLA is “infusing the organization with new energy” through a new president of the board, newly installed board members and the addition of her position as director of development.
Anyone who would like to donate to DHFLA or become a member can visit the website at dhfla.org or call the office at 214-696-8008.

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JFS celebrates Special Needs Awareness Month

JFS celebrates Special Needs Awareness Month

Posted on 31 January 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
Volunteer Ynette Hogue led Anshai Torah Religious School students, from left, Zane Zientz, Matthew Dubner, Sawyer Baumel, Jonah Makler and Asher Laynor, in JFS’ Inclusion Experience last year. Throughout February, JFS, along with members of organizations in the community, has created a calendar of learning, prayer, fun and activities — with a number of inclusion workshops such as this one held in 2018. The programs, which are open to all, honor Special Needs Awareness Month and Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month.

By Deb Silverthorn

February is all about love and, through Jewish Family Service, much love is being spread to the special needs community. It is designated as Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month, and Jewish organizations worldwide are making an effort to raise awareness and foster inclusion for those with disabilities and those who love them. JFS, servicing all in need regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, adds the moniker, Special Needs Awareness Month.
“Our goal is for our community to realize that awareness leads to understanding, that understanding leads to empathy, and that empathy leads to compassion,” said Lorraine Friedman, director of JFS’ Special Needs Partnership and Programs. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus on those themes this month, spreading a little more kindness and being a little more open-minded and open-hearted?”
The calendar of care begins with Inclusion Experience afternoons, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at Temple Emanu-El and then from 12 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. In addition, the program will be shared with the students of Akiba Academy’s Middle School Feb. 25 and 26. The Inclusion Experience features experiential learning of auditory and sensory processing, fine and gross motor, speech, language and reading skills including dyslexia and ADHD.
A new chapter opens at 6:30 p.m. with CHAI-5 Book Club’s initial readings Feb. 5 and 19, and then every other Tuesday thereafter. Members will have their own copies of the books and Friedman first, then volunteers, will read them aloud. The first choice shared will be “Because of Winn-Dixie,” with the film screened afterward.
“We’ve wanted to present a book club for a while. This is the right time and Lorraine, with JFS, who has written books, is the right person to partner with,” said CHAI’s Community Relations Manager Kathy Minor Schneider. “We’ll have great discussions, and this will be a meaningful program.”
Friedman will direct a PERK (Parents Empowered Raising Kids) panel from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at JFS. Six parents of young children, teens, college students and adults will share experiences and offer advice of how to traverse life’s path in many areas.
To prepare for Shabbat, CTeen, Friendship Circle and Yachad Dallas invite teens to participate in an inclusive challah bake beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Chabad of Dallas.
There will also be an added dose of shalom in next month’s Shabbat services. On Friday, Feb. 8, Anshai Torah will host Yehuda Kohn, founder of Bet Elazraki Children´s Home, a residential school in Netanya for at-risk youth. Services will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. Chabad of Dallas and Friendship Circle will also share dedicated services and a dinner with sensory-friendly activities, beginning at 6:15 p.m. Congregation Beth Torah welcomes the members of CHAI (Community Homes for Adults, Inc.) and the community for inclusive morning services and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
Party with the Partners, which will celebrate all abilities, opens its doors from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Congregation Shearith Israel with sensory-safe events including karaoke (with the microphone off), dancing, art, basketball, beading projects, bingo, cookie decorating and more. Friendship Circle, Jewish Family Service and Yachad Dallas joining Shearith Israel will be the first time the community’s four agencies centered on those living with special needs will come together. The event, which celebrates people of all needs, is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, allowing the fun at no charge.
“We’re so excited to throw a party and celebrate all those in our community who we love,” said Sarah Lipinsky, Shearith Israel’s director of education, excited about the program she’s worked on for some time. “These members of our community are so special and it is our responsibility to make their lives better. As Jews, we’re commanded to care for one another, and I’m thrilled to partner with each of the groups in our community who are committed to doing just that.”
The curtains rise for screenings of “My Hero Brother” and “The Other Dreamers,” recommended for ages 13 and up, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane and Central Expressway.
“My Hero Brother” shares the story of young people with Down syndrome trekking through the Himalayan Mountains with their siblings. During their journey of a lifetime, they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts surface and friendships develop. “The Other Dreamers” follows four disabled children who fall in love, get hurt, dance, compete and live their lives exactly like their non-disabled peers — with the addition of a wheelchair.
For teachers, an “It’s About Ability” program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at JFS. Differentiated Learning focuses on allowing teachers to meet the needs of students with differing abilities by changing the content that students learn, the process by which they retain the information, how they demonstrate knowledge of skills and with whom and where learning happens.
“While the special needs movement is a year-round process, February has become a focal point to highlight the challenges of people with special needs, and to build broader community awareness of these challenges, and to take additional steps to make our community inclusive and engaging. Through Special Needs Awareness month, we bring our community together,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker.
For more events and RSVP details, visit tinyurl.com/JFS-special-needs-february. To volunteer at the Inclusion Experiences or the CHAI-5 Book Club, grades nine through adults, contact Lorraine Friedman at 972-437-9950 or email lfriedman@jfsdallas.org.By Deb Silverthorn
February is all about love and, through Jewish Family Service, much love is being spread to the special needs community. It is designated as Jewish Disabilities and Inclusion Awareness Month, and Jewish organizations worldwide are making an effort to raise awareness and foster inclusion for those with disabilities and those who love them. JFS, servicing all in need regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay, adds the moniker, Special Needs Awareness Month.
“Our goal is for our community to realize that awareness leads to understanding, that understanding leads to empathy, and that empathy leads to compassion,” said Lorraine Friedman, director of JFS’ Special Needs Partnership and Programs. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all focus on those themes this month, spreading a little more kindness and being a little more open-minded and open-hearted?”
The calendar of care begins with Inclusion Experience afternoons, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at Temple Emanu-El and then from 12 to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. In addition, the program will be shared with the students of Akiba Academy’s Middle School Feb. 25 and 26. The Inclusion Experience features experiential learning of auditory and sensory processing, fine and gross motor, speech, language and reading skills including dyslexia and ADHD.
A new chapter opens at 6:30 p.m. with CHAI-5 Book Club’s initial readings Feb. 5 and 19, and then every other Tuesday thereafter. Members will have their own copies of the books and Friedman first, then volunteers, will read them aloud. The first choice shared will be “Because of Winn-Dixie,” with the film screened afterward.
“We’ve wanted to present a book club for a while. This is the right time and Lorraine, with JFS, who has written books, is the right person to partner with,” said CHAI’s Community Relations Manager Kathy Minor Schneider. “We’ll have great discussions, and this will be a meaningful program.”
Friedman will direct a PERK (Parents Empowered Raising Kids) panel from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at JFS. Six parents of young children, teens, college students and adults will share experiences and offer advice of how to traverse life’s path in many areas.
To prepare for Shabbat, CTeen, Friendship Circle and Yachad Dallas invite teens to participate in an inclusive challah bake beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Chabad of Dallas.
There will also be an added dose of shalom in next month’s Shabbat services. On Friday, Feb. 8, Anshai Torah will host Yehuda Kohn, founder of Bet Elazraki Children´s Home, a residential school in Netanya for at-risk youth. Services will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. Chabad of Dallas and Friendship Circle will also share dedicated services and a dinner with sensory-friendly activities, beginning at 6:15 p.m. Congregation Beth Torah welcomes the members of CHAI (Community Homes for Adults, Inc.) and the community for inclusive morning services and lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.
Party with the Partners, which will celebrate all abilities, opens its doors from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Congregation Shearith Israel with sensory-safe events including karaoke (with the microphone off), dancing, art, basketball, beading projects, bingo, cookie decorating and more. Friendship Circle, Jewish Family Service and Yachad Dallas joining Shearith Israel will be the first time the community’s four agencies centered on those living with special needs will come together. The event, which celebrates people of all needs, is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, allowing the fun at no charge.
“We’re so excited to throw a party and celebrate all those in our community who we love,” said Sarah Lipinsky, Shearith Israel’s director of education, excited about the program she’s worked on for some time. “These members of our community are so special and it is our responsibility to make their lives better. As Jews, we’re commanded to care for one another, and I’m thrilled to partner with each of the groups in our community who are committed to doing just that.”
The curtains rise for screenings of “My Hero Brother” and “The Other Dreamers,” recommended for ages 13 and up, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Studio Movie Grill at Royal Lane and Central Expressway.
“My Hero Brother” shares the story of young people with Down syndrome trekking through the Himalayan Mountains with their siblings. During their journey of a lifetime, they deal with physical and emotional challenges, unresolved conflicts surface and friendships develop. “The Other Dreamers” follows four disabled children who fall in love, get hurt, dance, compete and live their lives exactly like their non-disabled peers — with the addition of a wheelchair.
For teachers, an “It’s About Ability” program will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at JFS. Differentiated Learning focuses on allowing teachers to meet the needs of students with differing abilities by changing the content that students learn, the process by which they retain the information, how they demonstrate knowledge of skills and with whom and where learning happens.
“While the special needs movement is a year-round process, February has become a focal point to highlight the challenges of people with special needs, and to build broader community awareness of these challenges, and to take additional steps to make our community inclusive and engaging. Through Special Needs Awareness month, we bring our community together,” said JFS CEO Cathy Barker.
For more events and RSVP details, visit tinyurl.com/JFS-special-needs-february. To volunteer at the Inclusion Experiences or the CHAI-5 Book Club, grades nine through adults, contact Lorraine Friedman at 972-437-9950 or email lfriedman@jfsdallas.org.

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