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Texas Hillel had an exciting year in 2017-18

Texas Hillel had an exciting year in 2017-18

Posted on 01 August 2018 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Texas Hillel
From left, Alex Engel, Henry Corwin, Zach Epstein, Sammy Hoffman, and Zach Leff made up the Texas team at National Hillel Basketball Tournament in April.

 

 

AUSTIN — The 2017-2018 year was an exciting year one for Texas Hillel, with perennial programs that have become a staple of Jewish life on campus, and new projects and opportunities that made their way to campus.

The year kicked off with a Welcome Week of events for both new and returning students. In addition to a First Day of Class Brunch, the annual Texans for Israel Falafel Dinner and Welcome Back Shabbat, the Labor Day BBQ showcased more than 30 student groups and projects that are part of the Hillel community, introducing students to the diverse ways they can get involved in Jewish life and pro-Israel activities.

As the year got under way, Hillel’s ongoing, regular programming commenced. This includes weekly Shabbat services and meals (which are free for students); the Jewish Learning Fellowship program, offered both at the Hillel building and in Greek chapter houses; frequent volunteer and social action opportunities in the community; and weekly Texans for Israel meetings and programs.

Fall semester highlights included High Holiday celebrations and programming, a memorable week in the Sukkah, traveling to Houston to volunteer for Hurricane Harvey Relief, the annual TAIPAC campus leadership dinner featuring a bipartisan congressional panel and the award-winning Hanukkah/Diwali dinner celebrating the Jewish and Hindu traditions’ festivals of light.

Some of the most impactful programs Hillel offers are travel experiences, both domestic and abroad. In 2017-2018, nearly 300 students traveled with Texas Hillel, from Birthright Israel over winter and summer breaks to alternative break trips to Poland, Argentina, Israel, New Orleans and Florida. These programs enabled students to travel with their fellow Texas students across the globe, exposing them to new ideas and experiences that, for many, are highlights of their college career.

The 20th Annual Israel Block Party took place in late March, featuring interactive educational booths showcasing Israel’s dynamic history and culture, and welcoming more than 1,500 students to celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday.

The TAIPAC cadre brought one of the largest student delegations in the country to the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the national Activist of the Year award.

The White Rose Society, a genocide awareness group, held its annual 10,000 Roses event, handing out roses on campus to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. The speaker, UT President Gregory Fenves, shared the story of his father, a Holocaust survivor who emigrated to America.

In April, Texas Hillel sent a team to the National Hillel Basketball Tournament in Maryland, finishing as the runner-up in the Tier 2 bracket in a field of over 40 teams.

Through the over 500 programs, large and small, offered by Hillel in 2017-2018, students explored their Jewish identities on their own terms, formed lifelong friendships, cultivated leadership skills, volunteered in the community, and learned about Israel. From thousands of students dancing to Israeli music on the East Mall, to a one-on-one coffee meeting on campus, Hillel is building community on campus and inspiring the next generation of Jewish leaders for the Texas Jewish community.

Attention is now focused on the arrival and return of students to campus this fall. If you or someone you know is coming to UT, please go to http://texashillel.org/tell-us-about-yourself/ or email Arielle Levy at alevy@texashillel.org so they can be welcomed to campus.

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Tina Epstein demonstrates The Art of Adapting

Tina Epstein demonstrates The Art of Adapting

Posted on 01 August 2018 by admin

Photo: Christian Ayala
Tina Epstein has been creating colorful masterpieces for three decades and, Parkinson’s be darned, her work and her spirit are brighter than ever.

 

 

By Deb Silverthorn

The colors of the rainbow combined don’t present the brightness, spirit and hue that comes from only a moment with artist Tina Epstein, the focus of Christian Ayala’s documentary debut, The Art of Adapting — Parkinson’s. The YouTube-debuted mini-documentary will screen Aug. 10-19 at the sixth annual Chain NYC Film Festival.

“From the moment we connected, I wanted Tina to have a voice. She was all in and I’m proud of what we created,” said Ayala, who filmed, edited and directed the nine-minute, 25-second piece, sharing producer credits with Giovanni Pantoja. “I went in with a broad scope, but the piece became specific. What I thought would be a four-minute spotlight became a legacy piece and more special than we could have planned.”

When Ayala, a Bishop Lynch High School and 2017 University of North Texas graduate, was looking to create a portfolio, he had no idea how it would form his future.

“I didn’t want to cross any boundaries,” said Ayala, with nearly 1,600 YouTube views, who hopes people will be inspired and educated by the film. He was excited about being accepted to next week’s Chain NYC Film Festival. “It was her suggestion to show the severity of her disease, and it’s powerful for the audience and empowering for her.”

Epstein, painting for years on canvas, wood and metal of Judaica and general themes, has seen requests for her work increase recently. For years, proceeds of her work supported organizations close to her.

French was the first language for Epstein, born in Madrid, to her Moroccan mother, Marie,  and her New Yorker father, David Luzzatto. Epstein’s family, including her brother, Marc, and sister, Francoise, followed her father’s Army and Air Force Exchange Service career to Morocco, New Jersey, Japan and Hawaii before settling in Dallas.

Epstein reflects, relates and credits the goodness of her life to meeting her husband of 32 years, Dallas native Leonard Epstein,  and to her children, Benjamin, Sarah and Sam. The couple, who met playing volleyball at the Jewish Community Center, are longtime members of Congregation Shearith Israel, and their children are graduates of Akiba and Yavneh academies.

“I’ve always had a joie de vivre, but truly Leonard and my children changed my world,” she said. “From Day 1, Leonard has cherished and encouraged every endeavor, and I absolutely believe I was put on this earth to have and nurture kids. I’ve been a wife and mother first, but everything I do has my whole heart.”

Epstein, who was confirmed at Temple Emanu-El and graduated from W.T. White High School and the University of Texas-Austin, found her artist niche after creating earrings when Benjamin was a toddler. After attending a ceramics class, she added that format, then painting.

A diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis gave Epstein her first challenges of severe pain in her hands. A minor tremor resulted in two years of testing, but no answers.  Parkinson’s was diagnosed in 2010 after she deteriorated in four months more than most patients do in 10-15 years. Her hands distorted by dystonia, she is primarily wheelchair-bound and a deep brain stimulator now helps her control the shaking she experiences.

One of Epstein’s doctors helped pull her through, aiding her to adapt to not being able to walk, paint and do so many actions she loved. So began her new frame of mind and, expressively appropriate, the title of Ayala’s production.

While at first uncomfortable filming, Epstein believes it a privilege to tell her story and encourage people to “go for it. Christian is a gifted storyteller through his lenses and an absolutely gentle soul. He’s a gift. Period,” she said. “I recognize I’m fortunate to have a handicap that allows me to continue what I love, but it’s most important that people do not take little things for granted.”

Epstein takes no moment for granted, little or big, including those spent dancing at Sarah’s wedding to Brian Fromm or traveling coast-to-coast this spring to see Benjamin receive his Ph.D. in biological engineering, Sarah obtain her master’s in family therapy and Sam begin as a computer programmer at Cisco Systems. Consideringly brightening her days is time spent with her canine pal Acher. “Every day is a blessing.”

“I can’t walk, but I get there. I can’t hold a paintbrush, but I’m still creating valued art. In the kitchen, cooking takes longer, but it’s still delicious and makes those I’m serving happy,” said Epstein. “I’ve adapted in almost everything I do, and I’ve learned it’s important for those I love to see and learn how I deal with this insidious disease with and dignity and determination.”

That determination includes playing bridge with friends of decades, her art, cooking and enjoying getting dressed up — every day an occasion for hair, nails and wardrobe to shine. “It’s the only thing I can control, and if I’m going to go through this life, I’m gonna look damned good in it,” she says.

“Adapt — it sounds simple; it’s not,” Epstein said. “But it’s more than keeping me alive, it’s keeping me living. It’s only too late if I don’t wake up one day!”

The Art of Adapting — Parkinson’s can be viewed at bit.ly/2v6FGCL. To contact Ayala to support the documentary and his work, email cjamesa20@yahoo.com or call 314-477-8995.

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Third Israel Today Symposium refreshes agenda

Posted on 26 July 2018 by admin

Speakers from the U.S., Israel and Canada will discuss a wide variety of topics at the third Israel Today Community Symposium, scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, at Temple Shalom.
Among the issues to be discussed are conflicts with the Arabs, two-state or one-state solution, the effect of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, cooperation between Jews and non-Jews regarding Israel, the West Bank, Syrian drones, a democratic Jewish state or a Jewish democratic state, Iranian nukes, technology and the Israeli economy. Other topics are the history of U.S./Israeli relations, Israeli missile defense, Israeli cybersecurity, Israeli energy exploration and desalinization technology, combating anti-Israel BDS activity and why Israel is so important to non-Jews.
New to the agenda are an updated look at historical events, support from pro-Israel non-Jewish communities and Israel’s contributions to the world. Exhibitors from local and international Israel advocacy organizations will be on hand to showcase Israel’s progress in technology and self-sufficiency.
“Israel is a complex subject,” Symposium founder Ken Glaser said. “This is the best way we’ve found to present information to people who seek knowledge about the modern State of Israel — past, present and future.”
The program will feature keynote speakers and breakout sessions. More than 500 attended last year’s event.
Supporting organizations include AIPAC, AJC, Bnai Zion, DATA, Hadassah, Hillel, Development Corporation for Israel/Israel Bonds, the Aaron Family JCC, the Jewish Community Relations Council, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Southwest Jewish Congress, Stand with Us, Texas-Israel Chamber of Commerce, and Congregations Adat Chaverim, Anshai Torah, Beth Torah, Nishmat Am, Shearith Israel, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom and Tiferet Israel.
Registration fee is $18, which includes a kosher lunch, snacks and drinks throughout the day. For more information, visit www.israeltodaydallas.org, or contact Anita Weinstein, 2018 Israel Today Community Symposium administrator, at anitaw4470@gmail.com or 214-403-1087.

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Presidents and their ties to Israel: Reagan to Trump

Presidents and their ties to Israel: Reagan to Trump

Posted on 26 July 2018 by admin

Photo: Yaakov Saar/GPO via Getty Images
President Ronald Reagan, left, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin at the White House, Sept. 9, 1981

By Ron Kampeas
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Israel turns 70 this year.
And no relationship has been more important than its on-again, off-again friendship with the United States and its presidents.
In this series, we describe the U.S.-Israel friendship through portraits of 13 of those presidents, from Harry Truman to Donald Trump.
Part II, featuring Ronald Reagan to Trump, is below. Part I, from Truman through Jimmy Carter, was published in the July 5 issue of the TJP.
Ronald Reagan: A cold warrior who cared — and sold spy planes to the Saudis
When Ronald Reagan cowed the Soviet Union into winding down the Cold War — his successor, George H.W. Bush, formally ended it — a key component of his animus toward Moscow was the treatment of its Jews.
“He was someone who was truly committed to overturning the Communist system and gaining freedom for all people, but he had a particularly soft spot in his heart for Soviet Jewry,” Mark Levin, a longtime advocate for Soviet and Eurasian Jewry, told JTA in 2004 when Reagan died.
When Theodore Mann, the chairman of the National Conference on Soviet Jewry, returned from a visit to the Soviet Union in 1981, the first call he received in his law office was from Reagan.
“He wanted to know all about the trip,” Mann said in 2004.
On Reagan’s watch, in 1986, the Soviets released Natan Sharansky, the prisoner of conscience who spent nine years in Soviet prisons. Reagan’s ties to the pro-Israel community extended back to his Hollywood days as an actor and union leader. As California governor in 1967, he headlined a pro-Israel rally at the Hollywood Bowl.
Reagan won over the wary with his avuncular affect.
“This man cared,” Shoshana Cardin, who led a number of Jewish organizations, once said of Reagan, but his persuasive powers could also be a sharp-edged weapon.
In 1981, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbied hard against a proposed sale of AWACS spy plans to Saudi Arabia. Reagan met with Jewish senators one on one and threatened to unleash dual-loyalty charges if they voted against him.
“It is not the business of other nations to make American foreign policy,” the president said. The Reagan administration in 1981 joined a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor.
After Israel’s Christian allies in Lebanon massacred Palestinians in 1982, Reagan sent U.S. troops into Lebanon — against advice from Israel.
He and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin exchanged barbs, and Begin famously chided Reagan for treating Israel like a “banana republic.” Reagan secretly planned to surprise Begin with a peace plan that would have pulled Israel out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Under pressure from Reagan, Israel allowed PLO leader Yasser Arafat to safely leave Lebanon.
On Reagan’s watch, authorities arrested Jonathan Pollard, a civilian Navy analyst who was a spy for Israel, and Israeli figures were caught up in his administration’s efforts to trade arms to Iran for the release of U.S. hostages in Beirut, and then funnel the proceeds to right-wing militias in Central America. In his final months in office, a lame duck beyond political pressures, Reagan established ties with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
To the chagrin of even his closest allies, Reagan went ahead with plans in 1985 to visit Germany’s Bitburg cemetery, where 40 members of the Nazi Waffen SS were buried.
“It is precisely because you have so impressed us in the past with your deep understanding of the need to keep the meaning and memory of the Holocaust alive that we have been so keenly disturbed by your plans,” Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust memoirist, said in a telegram to Reagan.
George H. W. Bush: The patrician advocate for Jews in distress and the Madrid peace talks
George H.W. Bush was involved in Soviet Jewry advocacy since his days as ambassador to the United Nations under President Richard Nixon. As Reagan’s vice president, his responsibilities included efforts to free Jews in distress — not only in the former Soviet Union but in Ethiopia and in Syria.
Bush quarterbacked Secretary of State George Schultz’ confrontation with the Soviets over Russia’s captive Jews and was instrumental in persuading the Syrian dictator, Hafez Assad, to allow young Jewish women to immigrate to the U.S. so they could marry within the faith. As president, he gave the nod to the Marxist Mengistu regime in Ethiopia that led to Operation Solomon, the mass airlift to Israel in 1991.
Following his success in the 1991 Gulf War, Bush convened the multilateral Arab-Israeli peace conference in Madrid. It was marked by his tensions with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. But in retrospect, Bush was as tough on the Arab interlocutors, and just the fact that Saudi Arabia, Gulf states and North African countries sat at the table with Israel led to Israeli diplomatic inroads in those countries.
Pro-Israel activists will never forget — or forgive — when Bush said he was “one lonely guy” facing off against “thousands of lobbyists on the Hill.” He was referring to lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, who in 1991 were pushing back against his pledge to suspend loan guarantees to Israel unless it froze settlement building.
But lacking Reagan’s easy charm, the patrician Bush couldn’t get away with the tough-guy talk and instead sounded self-pitying and mildly anti-Semitic. His secretary of state, James Baker, didn’t help things when he reportedly dismissed the prospect of Jewish protestations by saying, essentially but much more crassly, “To hell with them — they don’t vote for us anyway.”
After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Iraqi strongman pelted Israel with missiles. Israel itched to respond, but Bush insisted that Israel take it on the chin so he could assemble as broad a coalition as possible to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Israel complied, and its leaders were stunned when in the war’s aftermath, Bush used American actions to protect Israel during the war as leverage to get Israel to Madrid. It seemed galling because Israel had been reluctant to accept the assistance in the first place.
Bill Clinton: The ‘chaver’ who brought Israelis and Palestinians together — up to a point
“Shalom, chaver,” Bill Clinton said at the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and those two words encapsulated the intimate passion Clinton felt toward Israel: He was a friend, one close enough that he wanted to bid goodbye to a man he saw as a mentor in his language.
Clinton’s relationship with the American Jewish community was similarly intimate. Unlike George H.W. Bush, he was an adept retail politician and made it a point to win folks over. The pro-Israel community, likewise, understood that this was a president who responded best to friendly overtures. AIPAC named as its president Steve Grossman, a Massachusetts businessman and early Clinton backer. In 1995, over cigars on the White House balcony, Grossman talked Clinton into imposing the first sanctions on Iran related to its nuclear program.
Clinton, in his first term, had the luck of working with an Israeli administration whose peacemaking agenda matched his own. In what one reporter called “a triumph of hope over history,” Clinton brought Rabin and Yasser Arafat, the PLO chairman, to the White House to shake hands on their first agreement on ending their conflict.
Yet to the consternation of the Palestinians, Clinton would never get ahead of Israel. Although the Oslo track clearly was destined toward statehood for the Palestinians, Clinton did not articulate that outcome until his last weeks in office. In 2000, after the Camp David talks ended without a deal, Clinton broke with protocol and blamed Arafat for the failure.
After Rabin’s assassination in 1995, Clinton thought it important enough to preserve his friend’s legacy that he blatantly electioneered on behalf of Rabin’s successor, Shimon Peres. Rattled by a series of deadly terrorist bus bombings, Clinton pushed Middle East leaders into convening a summit against terrorism starring Peres. It didn’t work. Benjamin Netanyahu was narrowly elected to his first term in office, and the U.S.-Israel relationship turned rocky.
Clinton grew frustrated at what he said was Netanyahu’s predilection for introducing out-of-left-field demands after talks on an issue had wrapped up for the day. In one instance during the 1998 Wye River negotiations to advance the Oslo process, Netanyahu asked Arafat to assassinate a Gaza Strip police chief. In another, during the same talks, he asked Clinton to release Jonathan Pollard, the civilian Navy analyst who was caught spying for Israel. (Clinton was ready to do it, but his intelligence chiefs were outraged and threatened to quit.)
Clinton learned his lesson by the 1999 elections and kept out — kind of. His two campaign advisers, Stanley Greenberg and James Carville, traveled to Israel to advise Netanyahu’s challenger, Ehud Barak, and Barak won.
George W. Bush: Launching a war on terror, and making the case for democracy
The 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 seemed for Israelis to be a turning point in U.S. foreign policy, burying once and for all the American realist strain that posited engagement with bad actors as a dirty but necessary statecraft. George W. Bush’s “with us or against us” approach to the war on terrorism, his very coinage of the term “war on terrorism,” was music to the ears of Israelis who for years had said that partners in peace must renounce absolutist demands and absolutist means to achieve them.
Bush extended his outlook to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Relaunching the peace process with his “road map” in 2002, one explicit condition was that he would no longer deal with Yasser Arafat, who had steered his PLO factions into participating in the bloody second intifada.
“The Jewish community started to see a resolve for promoting peace by motivating the Palestinians to take good actions rather than starting with Israeli concessions,” Jay Lefkowitz, a former Bush White House policy adviser, told JTA in 2004.
The same year, Bush made history when he recognized some Israeli claims to the West Bank. His vision of a new Middle East borrowed much from Natan Sharansky’s 2005 book, A Case for Democracy.
Bush also never demanded that Israel hew to standards he would not: Once the United States launched targeted killings against suspected terrorists, the Bush administration put an end to State Department statements condemning Israel for doing the same.
In his second term, during Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah, Bush overrode his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, who was pressuring Israel to end the war before it was ready to do so.
“It is important to remember this crisis began with Hezbollah’s unprovoked terrorist attacks against Israel,” Bush said at the time.
Fred Zeidman, a Jewish Texas businessman and a longtime Bush backer, told JTA in 2004: “If there has ever been a thing that was not politically expedient, it was the way he handled Israel.”
Ariel Sharon was elected Israeli prime minister just about the same time Bush became president, and the two already were close: Two years earlier, Sharon had taken Bush on a helicopter tour of Israel to make tangible how small and vulnerable the country was. There was talk that Sharon would be to Bush what Yitzhak Rabin was to Bill Clinton: a wizened, war-tested father figure and mentor.
That didn’t quite work out, perhaps because Bush already had two competing father figures — his actual father, who unlike Clinton’s was alive, and his vice president, Dick Cheney. In any case, by 2005, the honeymoon was over. Bush had agreed not to press Israel on settlements as long as the growth remained “natural,” but Bush administration officials had concluded that the growth was anything but natural. A Texas summit in April of that year between the two leaders turned sour: Sharon, unlike most other leaders, was not invited to spend the night at Bush’s ranch, and instead was ensconced in a Waco hotel. About all the leaders could agree on was that Israel would withdraw its settlements and troops from the Gaza Strip that summer. By the time of the 2009 transition to the Obama administration, Bush administration officials were so frustrated with Israel they treated the “natural growth” agreement as null and void.
Also irritating the relationship was the raid in 2004 by federal agents on AIPAC’s offices in pursuit of evidence of espionage charges that years later proved groundless.
A tireless democracy promoter, Bush insisted on Palestinian elections in 2006, which Israel correctly feared would bring about a Hamas victory. (It didn’t help that Rice, on multiple occasions, likened what she witnessed in the West Bank to her upbringing in the Jim Crow South.)
Bush also rejected Sharon’s advice to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq and get out, again pinning his hopes on Iraq to set an example as an Arab democracy. Instead, a long U.S.-led occupation went south and set the stage for the rise of Iran in the region — and ultimately dampened American enthusiasm for involvement in the Middle East. Israelis complained privately that Bush’s focus on Iraq was giving Iran a free hand. Adding salt to the wound, Bush denied an Israeli request in 2008 for permission to fly through Iraqi airspace to hit Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons facilities.
He remained beloved nonetheless and delivered a speech at the Knesset in May 2008 marking Israel’s 60th anniversary.
“You have raised a modern society in the Promised Land, a light unto the nations that preserves the legacy of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob,” Bush said to applause. “And you have built a mighty democracy that will endure forever and can always count on the United States of America to be at your side.”
“Such statements about the State of Israel have never been spoken before by a U.S. president in the Knesset,” marveled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Barack Obama: Acts of friendship and diplomatic pratfalls
Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential hopeful, did something few before or since have accomplished as a speaker at AIPAC’s annual conference: In 2008, the then-U.S. senator from Illinois received a standing ovation for talking about something that had nothing to do with Israel.
“In the great social movements in our country’s history, Jewish- and African-Americans have stood shoulder to shoulder,” he said.
Obama seemed to herald a return to an alliance long troubled, in part because of differences over Israel and increasing African-American sympathies for the Palestinians. Candidate Obama sought out the council of Israel’s then-opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and a range of pro-Israel figures in the United States on the threat posed by Iran and on the means to achieve peace. As president, he expressed affection for the state — and for the Jewish community — in ways that suggested his belief in the U.S.-Israel alliance stemmed from his perspective as a black man.
“To a young man like me, grappling with his own identity, recognizing the scars of race here in this nation, inspired by the civil rights struggle, the idea that you could be grounded in your history, as Israel was, but not be trapped by it, to be able to repair the world — that idea was liberating,” he told the Adas Israel congregation in Washington in May 2015, the first address by a president to a Jewish congregation. “The example of Israel and its values was inspiring.”
Obama put an end to the linking of loan guarantees to Israel’s spending on settlement construction and increased defense assistance to Israel to the unprecedented level of $38 billion over 10 years, making permanent hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to Israel’s anti-missile programs. He authorized assistance to Iron Dome, the short-range anti-missile system that has proven critical in Israel’s three wars since 2009 with Hamas on its border with the Gaza Strip. In 2011, when Israeli diplomats were trapped inside the Cairo embassy by rioters, Obama made their extraction a priority. “This was a decisive and fateful moment,” Netanyahu said. “He said ‘I will do everything I can,’” he said, referring to Obama. “And so he did.”
There was a hard edge to Obama’s embrace of the alliance: Israel’s military might and intelligence savvy provided the pressure that Obama sought to leverage Iranian compliance with his demands that it roll back its nuclear weapons program. Under Obama, Israel and the United States are believed to have worked together to create the computer virus that crippled Iran’s uranium enrichment capability in 2010. Israelis unhesitatingly said military and intelligence cooperation was closer under Obama than any of his predecessors.
Beyond the secret relationships, there were plenty of firsts: Obama was the first president to conduct formal Passover Seders in the White House; the first to mark Jewish Heritage Month in May with a party; the first to deliver a speech at the Israeli Embassy, marking Holocaust remembrance; the first, in 2016, to hold multiple Hanukkah parties to accommodate demand. (Multiple Christmas parties have long been a thing.) He may have been the first, in 2011, to structure a speech to a Jewish audience, the Union for Reform Judaism, around a d’var Torah.
But Obama’s relationship with Israel suffered from the flaw of every good friend who is certain he “gets” you: He doesn’t truly get you.
Before Obama was elected, he told a group of Jews, “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” The implication was that Netanyahu’s party was a nuisance — especially awkward after Netanyahu would return to office just weeks after Obama was inaugurated.
The conversation between Obama and Israelis — Netanyahu, in particular — seemed susceptible to pratfalls, however good the intentions on both sides.
Obama addressed the Muslim world in a 2009 speech in Cairo, and said Holocaust denial was corrosive and counseled acceptance of Israel; he was lacerated because it seemed to some that he predicated Israel’s existence on the Holocaust. The next year, Vice President Joe Biden landed in Israel for a let’s-be-friends trip; within hours the mood was soured when a midlevel Israeli bureaucrat announced, apparently to Netanyahu’s surprise, that there would be new building in eastern Jerusalem.
And the next year, in 2011, Obama outlined a Middle East policy that for the first time included a formal American endorsement of a longstanding Israeli demand that a Palestinian state be demilitarized. Whatever goodwill that may have garnered was squashed by Obama’s inclusion of the 1967 lines as the basis for a Palestinian-Israeli border. Netanyahu subsequently lectured Obama on Middle East history in the Oval Office.
Nothing frustrated Netanyahu and his advisers more than repeated assurances from Obama and his cohort that they knew what was good for Israel, particularly heading into the Iran nuclear deal in 2015.
“To friends of Israel, and to the Israeli people, I say this: A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous to Israel, to America, and to the world than an Iran that benefits from sanctions relief,” he said in a 2015 speech on the deal, which swapped sanctions relief for a rollback in Iran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu decried the deal as a deadly one, saying its “sunset clauses” removing some restrictions simply delayed for a few years Iran’s nuclear weapons. He arranged with the Republican leadership in Congress to speak out against the deal in a joint meeting, infuriating Obama and prompting a rift between Israel and Democrats that persists until this day. AIPAC threw itself into trying to stop the deal, intensely lobbying lawmakers to kill it and other Jewish organizations to speak up against it.
The pattern — an act of friendship followed by a diplomatic slapdown — persisted until the end of the Obama presidency. His administration’s two final Israel-related acts were signing the deal with Israel that guaranteed unprecedented levels of assistance — and then letting the U.N. Security Council adopt a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements. Notably, it was the first time that Obama failed to stop a Security Council resolution that Israel opposed — his predecessors allowed through multiple such resolutions.
Obama was adamant to the end that he had Israel’s best interests at heart. Four days before he left office, he told Israel’s Channel 2, “I believe it would be a moral betrayal for the world not to protect and secure a homeland for the Jewish people.”
Donald Trump: Following through on his Israel promises
Donald Trump, the unlikeliest of Republican presidents, has gotten a reputation for unpredictability. But if he is consistent on one thing, it is his campaign promises. He tends to keep them.
On Dec. 6, 2017, he made good on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” Trump said. “Today, I am delivering.”
Trump not only delivers, he delivers with a vengeance. Recognizing Jerusalem and setting a schedule to move the embassy would have been enough for his Jewish base, but Trump accelerated the process and the embassy opened in May, albeit in temporary quarters.
The same goes for his other Israel-related pledges. Trump promised to block Israel-hostile actions at the United Nations; his ambassador to the body, Nikki Haley, has been perhaps the most proactively pro-Israel envoy since Daniel Patrick Moynihan under Gerald Ford. Haley has forced the United Nations to withdraw reports critical of Israel and stopped a Palestinian from assuming a senior position in the body because the same courtesy has yet to be afforded to an Israeli.
Similarly, Trump said he would reconsider the Iran nuclear deal; he has scrapped it.
“With President Trump, I have fewer disagreements,” Netanyahu said when he was asked to compare his interactions with Obama and Clinton. “It’s fair to say I don’t have any disagreements.”
Trump wants to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks and has entrusted the task to a team of three, all with solid pro-Israel ties, led by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish.
In the second year of his presidency, Trump is bolder and more confident in his role, and is distancing himself from the foreign policy mavens who insist the United States must ensure stability worldwide. For example, he plans to pull out from Syria the 2,000 or so troops there training and advising U.S.-friendly rebel forces.
“It is very costly for our country, and it helps other countries more than it helps us,” Trump said in April of the U.S. presence in Syria. “I want to get out, I want to bring our troops back home.”
That’s not a prospect Israel relishes. Russia has joined with Iran and Hezbollah — both deadly enemies to Israel — in propping up the Assad regime in Syria. Israel is adamantly opposed to a long-term Iranian presence in Syria, and to an emboldened Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that launched a war against Israel in 2006.
Now that Syria’s civil war is winding down, the absence of a U.S. presence would give Russia, Iran and Hezbollah more room to consolidate their presence there. Already the prospect of an Israeli conflict not just with Iran but possibly with Russia is looming in Syria.
Trump’s base on the isolationist right has made it eminently clear it wants out of Syria, and Trump is being responsive. The same loyalty to his base could explain the horror he has stirred among American Jews with his failure to condemn — and at times his seeming encouragement of — white supremacists.
The most searing moment was last August, when it took Trump days to unequivocally condemn the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, an event that culminated in a car-ramming attack on counterprotesters that killed one. Trump said there were “very fine” people on both sides, drawing rebukes from across the Jewish spectrum — including, unprecedentedly, from AIPAC and even the Republican Jewish Coalition.

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JWV Bloom Post honors Sol Wald

JWV Bloom Post honors Sol Wald

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Photos: Ilene Zidow
Post Commander Steve Krant, left, and Sr. Vice Commander Jim Walsh, right, flank Sol Wald and hold his citations and Supreme Medal of Merit coin.

 

Sol Wald, a spry 98-year-old World War II veteran and longtime (55+ years) member of the Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256, Jewish War Veterans of the USA, was honored for his many contributions to the local and national organization at the Post’s monthly Bagels & Lox breakfast at the JCC on June 24. Sol, a former National Deputy Americanism chairman, led the gathering with a strong and proud voice in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to open the meeting. He was presented with JWV’s “Supreme Medal of Merit Coin” for his years of dedicated service to his community as well as the Post. Many of his durable designs and devices — from bolo ties and pocket emblems to Poppy Drive stands and storage lockers — are still in use today. Daughter Janice and sons David and Edwin attended the award presentation; Janice and Edwin came from out of town.

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Teammate keeps heart attack patient ‘staying alive’

Teammate keeps heart attack patient ‘staying alive’

Posted on 20 July 2018 by admin

Submitted photo
Mark Stromberg, left, says he owes his life to teammate Brooks Alkek, right.

By Ben Tinsley
btinsley@live.com

RICHARDSON — Dallas attorney Mark Stromberg beat astoundingly — frighteningly — narrow odds when he survived a recent heart attack that came on as he prepared to play in a Mother’s Day 2018 soccer game.
Stromberg, 57, said he owes his life to teammate Brooks Alkek, who performed extensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him when Stromberg went into full cardiac arrest on the field of this 9 p.m. game at Richardson’s Breckinridge Park.
“I was told I was lost several times,” Stromberg said. “I was pretty lucky.”
Alkek’s quick response to Stromberg’s heart attack allowed him to survive the eight minutes it took a delayed ambulance to arrive at the field and begin care on Stromberg, friends and witnesses said.
After stabilizing Stromberg, the ambulance took him to a Baylor, Scott & White Medical Center in the vicinity.
Stromberg said he didn’t realize how bad his condition was when he started feeling faint on the soccer field that day.
“All of a sudden, I passed out and didn’t remember anything until I woke up in the hospital,” he said.
Stromberg’s heart attack was one of Alkek’s most harrowing experiences, Alkek said.
This is Alkek’s account of what happened: Before the game began, Stromberg warmed up with their team. The two play in the “Over 40 League” in the North Texas Premiere Soccer Association (NTPSA).
About the time of the warmup, Stromberg started not feeling well. So, he went to sit on “the bench” for a bit in the hopes of feeling better.
“Our game commenced,” Alkek explained. “But less than 30 seconds later, the goalkeeper yelled ‘Stop the game’ and we were puzzled. We turned around when we heard him say, ‘Mark has collapsed!’”
Alkek said he looked over at the bench and saw Stromberg bent over backward on the bleachers.
“I knew every second counts in a situation like that, and I was on the far side of the field,” Alkek said. “But I got to him before anyone else and sat him up. It looked like a seizure, but I suspected cardiac symptoms. So I hugged him and picked up and turned him around. He had been really tense. His muscles tensed up and he relaxed.”
With help from others checking Stromberg’s pulse, Alkek immediately started performing CPR on Stromberg — 100 compressions a minute.
“I was doing it to the tune of Staying Alive,” Alkek said. “It was ‘Staying Alive, Staying Alive, bum, bum, bum, bum Staying Alive. …”
Alkek said he asked another player from the team to support Stromberg’s airway.
“So he cradled Mark’s head and I said ‘No, you’re supposed to tilt his forehead,’” he said. “I showed him how to keep the airway open and I continued compressions.”
The ambulance took what Alkek described as an “eternity” to get to the scene.
“We were at a sprawling park and there are a couple of complexes of field and I believe they went to the wrong complex at first,” Alkek said. “We were on Field 18. As I was doing CPR I could hear the sirens for quite awhile.”
Alkek said he was trying to calm his own breathing and use his own body efficiently so he could push himself to keep up the compressions on Stromberg as long as they were needed.
“Eventually, the paramedics got there and hooked him up to defib (a defibrillator), he said. “They shocked him until they got a rhythm.”
But things got scarier with the patient before they got better. Stromberg’s heart stopped again.
“They prepared to shock him and I pulled his wedding ring off and they shocked him again,” Alkek said.
When Stromberg was stabilized, the paramedics put Stromberg in their vehicle and left for the hospital.
“I don’t know how long he had been without oxygen, and I heard his ribs breaking when I was doing compression,” Alkek said. “I know that’s a part of CPR, but I didn’t know what to think at the time.”
Alkek said the emotional impact of helping Stromberg truly hit him when he climbed into a vehicle to follow the ambulance to the hospital.
“I got pretty emotional — I got weepy,” he said with a laugh. “At that point I took the opportunity to call my mom for Mother’s Day. I was feeling very sentimental.”
A member of the patient’s medical team could not immediately be reached to elaborate on the medical situation.
Reached after he had left hospital care, Stromberg said several times he could very well have died if not for Alkek. He said a cardiologist friend provided him with some grim statistics to back that belief up.
“If you have a cardiac arrest of some kind outside of a hospital and it doesn’t somehow stop itself, your chances for survival without complications are 1 or 2 percent,” he said.
The heart attack survivor said he woke up in the hospital “with a very sore chest.”
As Alkek indicated, his aggressive CPR injured Stromberg’s sternum and left Stromberg with broken or sore ribs.
But that means the CPR was performed correctly, Stromberg said.
“If you are not hurting the person, then you are not helping them,” Stromberg said.
When Alkek arrived at the hospital to see how the patient was doing, members of the ER staff shook his hand and told him how improbable it was that Stromberg survived.
Stromberg ended up staying in the hospital that Sunday, Monday and part of Tuesday before he was released. He returned to work May 25.
The entire incident has reinforced to Stromberg the strong importance of needing to know CPR.
“My life was saved by CPR and it is important people learn the most updated information about CPR because they may be called on to save somebody,” he said.
The 57-year-old patient has a 19-year-old son who is a sophomore at Texas A&M and a 21-year-old daughter who is a senior at the University of Texas.
He said he is lucky the 50-year-old Alkek, a resident of Addison, was there to help.
“The guy who saved my life, we have history,” Stromberg said. “My mother knows his mother and his mother knows my wife’s mother and … it’s all in the family.”

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How Kavanaugh may affect Jewish issues

How Kavanaugh may affect Jewish issues

Posted on 12 July 2018 by admin

Photo: The White House
U.S. President Donald Trump nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh, shown with his family, for the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday.

 

By Josefin Dolsten

(JTA) — President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a Republican establishment favorite who has worked in the George W. Bush administration, has triggered reactions from Jewish groups ranging from furious to relieved.
Progressive groups raised flags about the pick, saying Kavanaugh’s record shows he would be a threat to reproductive rights and separation of church and state, while an Orthodox group said it was happy about his record on religious liberty.
Trump announced on Monday evening that he was nominating Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge in Washington, to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy upon his retirement at the end of July.
Within an hour of the announcement, the National Council of Jewish Women released a statement saying it was “incensed” by the choice and helped organize an opposition rally in front of the Supreme Court.
Other progressive groups, such as the Workmen’s Circle, a Jewish organization with roots in the labor movement, denounced Trump’s pick, while the centrist Anti-Defamation League said it was wary that the nominee’s judicial record “does not reflect the demonstrated independence and commitment to fair treatment for all that is necessary to merit a seat on our nation’s highest court.”
On Tuesday, Jody Rabhan, who directs NCJW’s Washington operations, said that Kavanaugh, like the other candidates considered by Trump, was “terrible on the issues that we care about.”
“The assumption based on his record and his ruling is that he would further push the court in the direction of using religion as an excuse to discriminate, not to mention the incredible horrors that could be, should he end up on the court, around reproductive health rights and justice,” Rabhan said.
Many on the left are concerned that a Trump appointee could join a conservative majority in taking away abortion rights and overturn Roe v. Wade, which Trump made a campaign promise.
In 2006, Kavanaugh said he would respect Roe v. Wade, but Rabhan said that did not assuage her concern.
“Trump has said that overturning Roe v. Wade is a litmus test for anybody on his shortlist for the Supreme Court, and he has made anti-abortion (views) a litmus test for folks he’s nominated to lower courts,” she said. “We’ve seen it, so we believe him.”
Rabhan and others cited a case, Garza v. Hagan, in which Kavanaugh opposed a detained undocumented immigrant minor’s right to obtain an abortion. In that 2017 case, the government had mandated that the teen could leave her detention center to have an abortion. Kavanaugh vacated the order, postponing the abortion for another week-and-a-half, until a court ultimately ruled in her favor. Kavanaugh dissented, writing that the government had betrayed its “interest in favoring fetal life, protecting the best interests of a minor, and refraining from facilitating abortion.”
Marc Stern, the general counsel of the American Jewish Committee, said most of Kavanaugh’s legal record was “unremarkable,” but that his opinion in the Garza case was “disturbing” and raised questions.
“It’s not clear to us what that means exactly,” Stern said. “Does he believe that immigrants have lesser constitutional rights than everybody else? Does he think that teenagers don’t have a right (to an abortion)? … Does he mean only that the government has a right not to participate and you’re sort of on your own?”
The AJC has not taken a position on the nomination, and Stern said it was studying Kavanaugh’s record, specifically with regard to issues of immigration law, religious liberty, separation of church and state, and reproductive freedom. He said that Kavanaugh’s opinion in Newdow v. Roberts, a case presenting a challenge to prayers at the presidential inauguration and the phrase “so help me God” in the presidential oath, offered “some glimmer of hope” for those supporting separation of church and state. Though the challenge by the plaintiff, an atheist opposing the prayers, was dismissed, Kavanaugh said he did have standing to sue.
Stern does not think Kavanaugh would radically shift the court. Although Kennedy was a swing vote on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage, he often was reliably conservative.
“On separation (of church and state) issues, he will read the principle more narrowly than AJC would like,” Stern said. “But from what little he’s written, it doesn’t appear that he’s going to be writing in a whole different vein than where the court as a whole has been — but that’s a guess.”
Agudath Israel of America, a haredi Orthodox organization, has not yet taken an official position on the nomination, but its Washington director, Rabbi Abba Cohen, called Kavanaugh “ a very impressive candidate.” Cohen was happy about Kavanaugh’s rulings related to religious freedom based on an initial overview of the judge’s record. Agudah and other Orthodox groups favor rulings that would exempt religious groups and individuals from generally applicable laws that clash with their beliefs.
“We’re gratified that he’s given due deference to religious liberty and that he has been supportive of a greater involvement of religious organizations and institutions in society,” Cohen told JTA.
Cohen cited Kavanaugh’s opinion in a case relating to contraceptive care exemptions for religious groups, Priests for Life v. HHS. The appeals court agreed that religious employers did not have to provide contraceptives, but had to file a form telling the government they were not doing so. Kavanaugh in his dissent argued that the filing requirement violated the plaintiffs’ religious freedom.
“We support that position, we think that’s giving proper deference to religious rights, and we don’t think that’s in any way a retreat from the rights of others, so that’s one area we are pleased about,” Cohen said.
During his time in private practice, Kavanaugh took on pro bono cases, including that of a Reconstructionist synagogue, Adat Shalom in Bethesda, Maryland, which was facing challenges from its neighbors in constructing a building. In 2000, a U.S. District Court sided with the synagogue, saying a permit issued to the congregation was consistent with the Establishment Clause. The synagogue confirmed to JTA that it was represented by Kavanaugh but did not return a request for further comment in time for publication.
The Reform movement and the Orthodox Union both told JTA that they were studying Kavanaugh’s record before deciding whether to take a position on his nomination.

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Traxler pedaling through Northeast for AIDS cure

Traxler pedaling through Northeast for AIDS cure

Posted on 12 July 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Jordan Traxler
“You could feel his passion and care and want to help all along and it was so much more than an activity – his heart is in this fight to end AIDS and I couldn’t be more proud by his side,” said Steffani Bailin of her son, Jordan.

By Deb Silverthorn

Jordan Traxler is spinning his wheels, and every push is one toward finding a cure for AIDS. From Sept. 21 to 23 Traxler will hit the road for the 24th Northeast AIDS Ride Cycle for the Cause, with a personal goal to raise $10,000.
“AIDS isn’t the death sentence it once was, but there’s no reason for HIV to still be around; it’s not easy. Helping, raising money, raising awareness — that is easy,” said Traxler, now training with his team, Team YL (Young Leaders), beginning with early morning rides. The group is preparing for the September event by participating in smaller charity rides, including New York’s June 10 Pride Ride.
“We’ll ride 275 miles from Boston to New York, passing through more than 50 cities, and during every mile I know I’ll be thinking about the people we are helping,” Traxler said about the Northeast ride. “To know that my hometown is behind me again, helping me push through, is absolutely appreciated.”
Cycle for the Cause is a program of the New York City-based The Center: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, for which Traxler serves on the Young Leadership Council. Funds raised provide HIV testing, programming, care and support to those who are HIV positive. With more than 1.2 million Americans living with HIV and an estimated 50,000 more to be diagnosed this year alone, it is hoped the 2018 ride will raise enough money to prevent more than 78,000 HIV transmissions.
Traxler, who joined the ride three years ago as a crew member, took away “best dressed” honors and raised almost $8,000 last year, his first on the road. “I hadn’t been on a bike since I was 10 years old, but I trained for weeks, for hours at a time,” he said. “The experience is physically challenging but emotionally unbelievable.”
At the finish line, with arms wide open, was his mother, Steffani Bailin.

 

“Every dollar helps. Bunches of $5, $10, or $50 donations help,” said Jordan Traxler who is raising funds by riding in the 24th Northeast AIDS Ride Cycle for the Cause to help find a cure for AIDS. “I want to make a change, and there’s no such thing as a small change in this fight – every bit makes a big difference.”

“Seeing Jordan come in from the ride, especially the 100-plus miles of the second day, was incredibly emotional. You could feel his passion and care and want to help all along, and it was so much more than an activity. His heart is in this fight to end AIDS, and I couldn’t be more proud by his side,” said Bailin, who will return to cheer on her son in September. “This kid, my kid, has cared about people all his life and always wanted to do good, something we started together when he was very young. Now he’s a man, a professional, and it’s awesome to watch the mature Jordan still finding ‘doing good’ a priority. L’dor V’dor.”
That generation-to-generation resolution is important to the younger Traxler, “Guncle Jordan,” as he sets the example now for his niece and nephew, Lily Mae and Oliver Lee, children of his sister and best friend, Meghan.
Memories flood as both Traxler and his mother recall bringing food to Jewish Family Service’s Food Pantry and serving sandwiches or handing out coats to homeless people in downtown Dallas. On those occasions, the son would remind his mother to “look everyone in the eye, see the people we’re helping,” she said.
Traxler credits Congregation Anshai Torah’s Rabbi Stefan Weinberg with a lesson that still rings in his heart and mind. “He taught us that everyone is one decision away from being homeless, and the scary part is the decision might not be our own. I’ve never forgotten those words.”
Celebrated as the first bar mitzvah at Anshai Torah’s Parker Road location, where as an Eagle Scout he made it his project to build a retaining wall, resurface a playground and construct park benches, Traxler now makes New York City’s Central Synagogue his place of worship.
Traxler is an alumnus of Plano West Senior High School and a former member and president of BBYO’s Eamonn Lacey chapter. He graduated in three years from SMU’s Cox School of Business and made New York home — the “perfect place for me. The city is alive 24-7 and you can taste the energy,” said Traxler, who works in a senior marketing position for the Safilo Group.
“Jordan has always been driven to seek out projects and activities that would challenge his leadership skills as well as provide his peers an experience that would prove impactful,” said Traxler’s father, Ron. “I believe in my heart the influences by Jordan’s mom and family unit assisted in making him a fine citizen and a true friend to community. He is a loving, caring, compassionate family man who understands the value of giving of himself to society.”
“I’ve met so many people and everyone has a story — a mother, brother, sister, or cousin who has died. Every dollar helps. Bunches of $5, $10, or $50 donations help,” said Traxler. “I want to make a change, and there’s no such thing as a small change in this fight. Every bit makes a big difference.”
To support Traxler in his mission, visit support.cycleforthecause.org/jtraxy.

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County judge briefs Jewish leaders on many issues

County judge briefs Jewish leaders on many issues

Posted on 12 July 2018 by admin

Photos: JCRC
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins stands with members of the Jewish community and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.

 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins updated a group of Jewish community leaders about family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, early childhood education, health care and fighting poverty during a June 26 meeting.
The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas was host to the event.
“As Jews and as people of moral conscience, we understand the importance of treating all people with dignity and compassion. We are well aware of the humanitarian concerns along our borders and applaud Judge Jenkins’ efforts to meet the needs of children and keep families together,” JCRC Chair Melanie Rubin said to open the meeting. Rubin acknowledged Jenkins’ efforts in promoting quality early learning for all children. Leadership from various Jewish organizations were present at the briefing, including the Federation, National Council of Jewish Women, Temple Emanu-El, Temple Shalom, Congregation Anshai Torah and others.
“We are grateful that Judge Jenkins is an avid advocate for quality early learning,” said Rubin. “He appreciates the long-term effects this can have on a child’s growth and development, and how this serves as an important part of alleviating poverty and supporting a vibrant economy in our county.”
Since taking office in 2011, Jenkins has led the responses to public health emergencies, has made efforts to increase health coverage in Dallas County, and serves on many multi-agency boards and commissions, including Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas and the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce. Jenkins spoke about various initiatives in the county, including Dallas County Promise, a transformational effort between school districts, colleges, universities, workforce and communities to increase college completion.
The campaign guarantees tuition-free college to graduates of Dallas County high schools who apply for federal financial aid, regardless of income or GPA. The campaign is part of a national, nonpartisan initiative to build broad public support for funding the first two years of higher education for hard-working students, starting in America’s community colleges.
“More than 9,300 students are currently engaged with the Dallas County Promise campaign,” Jenkins said. “Completing all steps of the pledge, including filling out FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) forms, means their tuition for college can be underwritten, and they will graduate debt-free. This helps them start their career with the best chance for success. What we want to do, ultimately, is help lift people out of poverty.”

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Cinema Emanu-El begins Tuesday, July 10

Cinema Emanu-El begins Tuesday, July 10

Posted on 05 July 2018 by admin

There’s nothing better during the summertime than a good flick. Temple Emanu-El will present its popular film series, Cinema Emanu-El, at 7 p.m. Tuesdays, July 10, 17, 24 and 31, in the Tobian Auditorium. This year there will be a bonus film “Spielberg,” on Aug. 7. A discussion will follow each July movie.
Ticket options are $50 for a reserved seat for each film, $18 for a four-film season pass and $5 for individual screenings. The Aug. 5 film will screen at no charge. To RSVP for the program, visit participate.tedallas.org.cinema. For more information, contact Becky Slakman, 214-706-0000, ext. 125.
Here is this year’s thought-engaging and thought-provoking line-up.

Tuesday, July 10 | Maktub

Discussion led by Cantor Vicky Glikin

After criminals Steve and Chuma become the sole survivors of a terrorist attack at a restaurant in Jerusalem, they decide to change their ways and become flesh-and-blood angels. They go on a journey of fulfilling wishes for people who write requests on paper and put them between the sacred stones of the Western Wall.

Tuesday, July 17 | Joe’s Violin & Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

Discussion led by Cantor Leslie Niren

The short film Joe’s Violin follows a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor’s violin donation during an instrument drive that changes the life of a 12-year-old girl from the Bronx.
Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas is a musical documentary about the amazing story of a group of Jewish songwriters who wrote the soundtrack to Christmas.
Join Temple’s g2g group for a special dinner at 5:45 p.m. Cost is $14. Visit https://participate.tedallas.org/g2gcinemadinner to RSVP.

Tuesday, July 24 | Forever Pure

Discussion facilitated by Rabbi Daniel Utley

Follow the Beitar Football Club in Jerusalem as it deals with racist outrage from fans in 2012 after signing two Muslim players.

Tuesday, July 31 | Remembrance

Discussion facilitated by Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman

A Polish man rescues a Jewish woman during the chaos of World War II, but they become separated until a chance encounter over 30 years later in New York reunites them. At 5:45 p.m., feel free to B.Y.O.D. (bring your own dinner). Emanu-El will provide the wine and beverages.

BONUS FILM: Tuesday, Aug. 7 | Spielberg

This documentary follows the life and career of director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is a bonus film to the 2018 Cinema Emanu-El lineup and is free of charge.

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