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WE brings together local Jewish millennials

WE brings together local Jewish millennials

Posted on 25 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Rabbi Heidi Coretz
Last spring, WE came together to celebrate a Passover Seder with more than 30 participants gathering at Thanks-Giving Square in downtown Dallas. WE Shabbat, WE Learn and WE Social bring together members of Dallas’ millennial Jewish community.

By Deb Silverthorn

WE Jewish Dallas is coming together at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 — and on many occasions — for the community’s millennial spirit to shine. This week’s Sabbath blessings will be exchanged amid costumes, spooky drinks (BYOB) and dinner.
“Dallas’ millennial Jewish community is of natives returning and others making the Metroplex their home,” said Rabbi Heidi Coretz, director of SMU Hillel. “WE is, and we are, a bridge for them between college and the next step in their Jewish communal experiences.”
WE — which stands for We Engage — is open to Jewish adults ages 21-35, graduate students and working professionals all seeking Jewish community. Programs are, with Coretz’s support, created by, for and of the participants.
WE comprises young Jews gathering for friendship, learning and celebration, defined visually through the group’s logo created by WE board member William Taylor: a Jewish star, created of six puzzle pieces that interlock, as do attendees of WE’s programs — connecting and each finding a place, Coretz explained.
The WE Advisory Board comprises Lance Barnard, Isaac Feigenbaum, Zee Herrera, Hannah Kavy, Mindy Le, Marissa Mackler, Lisa Raizes, Richard Raizes, Oscar Schechter, Chad Sheinbein, Taylor, Aaron Tverye, Samantha Waldman, Marlo Weisberg and Trish Weisberg.
“Rabbi Coretz is more than a rabbi; she’s a Jewish mom minus the parenting. She’s loving and supportive and being with her is always a positive, fun and connective experience,” said Schechter, originally from Corpus Christi. One of WE’s founders, he’s an SMU graduate and Fidelity Investments network engineer. “Rabbi sponsors WE, making Shabbat, learning, activities — whatever we’re searching for — available. WE is creative, exciting and open.”
Programs are scheduled three times a month, each independent Events scheduled from now through February — WE Shabbat, WE Learn and WE Social — take place at SMU, at offices, venues and in the homes of participants and Rabbi Coretz. All events providing meals include vegetarian options.
2018 events have included a Passover Seder at Thanks-Giving Square, a WE Shabbat barbecue and a WE Shabbat + Tango with Spanish wine tasting, a night in the sukkah, and this Monday’s first Torah + Tacos dinner.
Future WE Shabbat events include this week’s WE Spooky Shabbat, a Nov. 16 WE Shabbat + Art (Nasher Museum picnic), Jan. 18 WE Shabbat + Tu B’Shevat, and the Feb. 8 WE Shabbat +D (at D Magazine).
Upcoming WE Learn programs, Torah + Tacos, are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Jan. 28 and Feb. 25.
WE Social nights are a Nov. 8 WE + Dali (at the SMU Meadows Museum’s Dalí’s Aliyah: A Moment in Jewish History), a Dec. 5 WE Chanukah + Wine (Total Wine will host), Dec. 23 WE Sound Bath + Social (at member Rachel Fox’s The Refuge meditation center), and a Jan. 6 WE Movie + Discussion.
“I’ve been away for seven years, and connecting through WE is one way I’m finding a sense of community,” said Feigenbaum, a Dallas native who attended Akiba Academy and Torah Day School of Dallas. Now director of business development at Sinai Urgent Care, he studied in Israel, New Jersey and New York. “We’re of varying careers and ages, and raised in all levels of Jewish observance. Who WE are is a generation excited about experiencing Jewish identity together.”
A grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, $10,000 for 2018-2019 and through the 2020-2021 year, and a gift from within the community makes it possible for most events to be free for participants.
“We are proud of our investment made by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’s planning and allocations committee to provide WE with a grant. This is in line with our overall outreach and engagement strategy of the next generation of philanthropists,” said Gary Wolff, Federation chief operating officer. “Additionally, this grant will complement the work of our Young Adult Division as it continues to focus on leadership and educating young leaders in our community.”
Joining the Federation in support are the family, colleagues and loved ones of Marion Sobol, of blessed memory, the first tenured female professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business.
“Anything to help our young people connect and keep to their roots was and would be meaningful to both Marion and me. Heidi, of whom I can’t say enough, has an exquisite talent of interfacing with young people,” said Sobol’s widower, Dick Helgason, professor emeritus in SMU’s Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems. They were married by Coretz in 2010. “We attended many Hillel programs, all of them successful and informative, and with our gift, we absolutely trust Heidi to continue her amazing work.”
Coretz and the WE board are beyond enthusiastic for the gifts, which “support this sacred work,” she said. “As the next generation of Dallas’ Jewish community leaders, our world’s community leaders, moves past Hillel’s undergrad programming, we hope to connect at this crucial time in their lives.”
For additional details of times and locations, more information or to RSVP for WE events or further contact, visit the WEJewishDallas Facebook page or wedallas.org.

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WE brings together local Jewish millennials

Posted on 25 October 2018 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

WE Jewish Dallas is coming together at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26 — and on many occasions — for the community’s millennial spirit to shine. This week’s Sabbath blessings will be exchanged amid costumes, spooky drinks (BYOB) and dinner.
“Dallas’ millennial Jewish community is of natives returning and others making the Metroplex their home,” said Rabbi Heidi Coretz, director of SMU Hillel. “WE is, and we are, a bridge for them between college and the next step in their Jewish communal experiences.”
WE — which stands for We Engage — is open to Jewish adults ages 21-35, graduate students and working professionals all seeking Jewish community. Programs are, with Coretz’s support, created by, for and of the participants.
WE comprises young Jews gathering for friendship, learning and celebration, defined visually through the group’s logo created by WE board member William Taylor: a Jewish star, created of six puzzle pieces that interlock, as do attendees of WE’s programs — connecting and each finding a place, Coretz explained.
The WE Advisory Board comprises Lance Barnard, Isaac Feigenbaum, Zee Herrera, Hannah Kavy, Mindy Le, Marissa Mackler, Lisa Raizes, Richard Raizes, Oscar Schechter, Chad Sheinbein, Taylor, Aaron Tverye, Samantha Waldman, Marlo Weisberg and Trish Weisberg.
“Rabbi Coretz is more than a rabbi; she’s a Jewish mom minus the parenting. She’s loving and supportive and being with her is always a positive, fun and connective experience,” said Schechter, originally from Corpus Christi. One of WE’s founders, he’s an SMU graduate and Fidelity Investments network engineer. “Rabbi sponsors WE, making Shabbat, learning, activities — whatever we’re searching for — available. WE is creative, exciting and open.”
Programs are scheduled three times a month, each independent Events scheduled from now through February — WE Shabbat, WE Learn and WE Social — take place at SMU, at offices, venues and in the homes of participants and Rabbi Coretz. All events providing meals include vegetarian options.
2018 events have included a Passover Seder at Thanks-Giving Square, a WE Shabbat barbecue and a WE Shabbat + Tango with Spanish wine tasting, a night in the sukkah, and this Monday’s first Torah + Tacos dinner.
Future WE Shabbat events include this week’s WE Spooky Shabbat, a Nov. 16 WE Shabbat + Art (Nasher Museum picnic), Jan. 18 WE Shabbat + Tu B’Shevat, and the Feb. 8 WE Shabbat +D (at D Magazine).
Upcoming WE Learn programs, Torah + Tacos, are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19, Jan. 28 and Feb. 25.
WE Social nights are a Nov. 8 WE + Dali (at the SMU Meadows Museum’s Dalí’s Aliyah: A Moment in Jewish History), a Dec. 5 WE Chanukah + Wine (Total Wine will host), Dec. 23 WE Sound Bath + Social (at member Rachel Fox’s The Refuge meditation center), and a Jan. 6 WE Movie + Discussion.
“I’ve been away for seven years, and connecting through WE is one way I’m finding a sense of community,” said Feigenbaum, a Dallas native who attended Akiba Academy and Torah Day School of Dallas. Now director of business development at Sinai Urgent Care, he studied in Israel, New Jersey and New York. “We’re of varying careers and ages, and raised in all levels of Jewish observance. Who WE are is a generation excited about experiencing Jewish identity together.”
A grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, $10,000 for 2018-2019 and through the 2020-2021 year, and a gift from within the community makes it possible for most events to be free for participants.
“We are proud of our investment made by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’s planning and allocations committee to provide WE with a grant. This is in line with our overall outreach and engagement strategy of the next generation of philanthropists,” said Gary Wolff, Federation chief operating officer. “Additionally, this grant will complement the work of our Young Adult Division as it continues to focus on leadership and educating young leaders in our community.”
Joining the Federation in support are the family, colleagues and loved ones of Marion Sobol, of blessed memory, the first tenured female professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business.
“Anything to help our young people connect and keep to their roots was and would be meaningful to both Marion and me. Heidi, of whom I can’t say enough, has an exquisite talent of interfacing with young people,” said Sobol’s widower, Dick Helgason, professor emeritus in SMU’s Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems. They were married by Coretz in 2010. “We attended many Hillel programs, all of them successful and informative, and with our gift, we absolutely trust Heidi to continue her amazing work.”
Coretz and the WE board are beyond enthusiastic for the gifts, which “support this sacred work,” she said. “As the next generation of Dallas’ Jewish community leaders, our world’s community leaders, moves past Hillel’s undergrad programming, we hope to connect at this crucial time in their lives.”
For additional details of times and locations, more information or to RSVP for WE events or further contact, visit the WEJewishDallas Facebook page or wedallas.org.

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All Fired Up

All Fired Up

Posted on 25 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship
The Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship will feature a hot dog eating event, sponsored by the Texas Jewish Post, a pickle eating contest sponsored by Restland Funeral Home, the Elliot’s Hardware Kids Que cooking contest, music and activities for all ages. Admission is free and open to the public.

By Deb Silverthorn

Saucy and spirited is what guests of the Fourth Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship can expect from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, in the Sunnyland Patio Furniture parking lot on the northwest corner of Coit and Spring Valley in North Dallas.
“This is a day of the best of our community coming together, BBQ greatness and an overall terrific experience,” said Brian Rubenstein, co-chair of the event with Sandy Dorf. “We had 1,200 people in 2015 and more than 1,800 last year. We’re excited about the growth and the enthusiasm for this really wonderful day.”
Presented by the Men’s Club of Congregation Beth Torah, the championships are open to the public with free admission, a large kids’ zone, silent auction, vendors, entertainment featuring Counterfeit Radio and food for sale by Dallas’ Texas Kosher BBQ and JoeBob’s Kosher BBQ from Austin.
Beef ribs, brisket, chicken and turkey will be judged for 12 teams (registered at press time), with participating chefs traveling from Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York and elsewhere. The competition, emceed by KLUV radio host Jody Dean has three sets of judges and awards; the Kansas City Barbecue Society(KCBS) Official, Celebrity Awards and the People’s Choice.
KCBS-certified judges mark ballots in double-blind rulings of appearance, taste and texture, with awards for all four meats, also crowning the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion, who share a $500 prize. Winners will be announced and trophies presented at about 3:30 p.m.
Celebrity judges Jill Grobowsky Bergus (Lockhart Smokehouse), Gabriel Boxer (the Kosher Guru), Vicki Nivens (Hard Eight BBQ), John Tesar (Knife Dallas) and Daniel Vaughn (author and first barbecue editor at Texas Monthly) determine a second contest, and a third set of judges, composed of attendees participating in the People’s Choice program, will determine those awards and announce the winners at 2 p.m.
While the event is not centered on tasting entrant recipes, a limited number of $5 passes for People’s Choice Awards, either brisket or turkey, will be available after that judging at 2 p.m.
“Brian and Sandy are so on the ball there are never any surprises and this is a well-prepped event,” said Jennifer Shiflett, she and her husband Bill both Master Certified Judges representing KCBS, the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts, with over 20,000 members and the sanctioning body of over 500 barbecue contests worldwide. “The meat is well-sourced and extraordinary measures are taken to produce such great product. The meat here year in and year out is just phenomenal and the event supreme.”
Teams arrive empty-handed – other than recipes and ruach — with ingredients provided. Seasonings, herbs, meats and all utensils, smokers and grills are delivered to team captains, with Golden Barrel Molasses, Imperial Sugar, Manischewitz broths, TexJoy and others sponsoring the pantry.
Among participants are the 2017 Grand Champion Stan Kotlyar and 2016 Grand Champion Rabbi Mendel “RaBBi-Q” Segal, who is credited with creating the first kosher barbecue championship in Kansas City. He’s now the owner of Backyard BBQ and Brew in Surfside, Florida.
“I was an extreme hobbyist, and when I realized there was no kosher barbecue championship, I wanted to create the benchmark. I’m very proud,” Segal said. “I’m excited to be coming back to Dallas, the organizers have built a great program. For me, success is about the right temperature – it’s ready when it’s ready. Every piece of meat is different, but I do this every day.”
Competitors actually begin Thursday in cooks’ meetings, preparing, trimming and seasoning their meats, before packaging them for refrigeration over Shabbat. On Saturday night, once three stars are out, smokers and grills are set up.
For Kotlyar, of Hartsdale, New York, says while he’s very competitive and focused, some of the best of the event is the up-all-night smoking of the meats, visiting and making friends with other participants.
“We’ve earned a reputation, and some of the best pitmasters, professional and amateur, from around the country will be here,” said Dorf, himself certified as a KCBS Master Judge. “It’ll be barbecue at its best, and even more important it will be our community at its best.”
In addition to Congregation Beth Torah, proceeds from the event will benefit CHAI; Community Homes for Adults, Inc. The American Red Cross will collect blood donations, and food for the North Texas Food Bank will be accepted – a free raffle ticket distributed for every five items brought in.
The Elliott’s Hardware-sponsored Kids Que contest will have 10 aspiring chefs cooking chicken legs, the youngsters 7-15 having access to a full pantry and, with parental supervision, creating their own barbecue masterpieces.
Throughout the day, numerous other contests will take place, including a hot dog-eating event, sponsored by the Texas Jewish Post, and a pickle-eating contest, sponsored by Restland Funeral Home.
“It’s an absolute mitzvah to be a part of this event, making sure the end result is a kosher event – one that most can’t possibly know the intricacies involved in its coming together,” said Rabbi David Shawel, director of kosher supervision at Dallas Kosher. “To sit back at the end of the day and smile at what we’re able to help bring to our community, from the kashrut to keeping kashrut and sharing kehillah, community, is very special.”
“Kish echad b’lev echad, like one man with one heart, the Jewish People stood at Mount Sinai,” Shawel said. “When we stand together as a community, celebrating kashrut and our People, there’s nothing like it.”
For more information, to register for Kids Que, eating contests or to pre-order food, visit dallaskosherbbq.com.

 

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Sessions, Allred spar at Temple Shalom debate

Sessions, Allred spar at Temple Shalom debate

Posted on 24 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Lisa Rothberg
Temple Shalom Rabbi Andrew Paley and Colin Allred, Democratic challenger for the District 32 seat

By Dave Sorter

About the only things that U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Colin Allred, his Democratic challenger for the District 32 seat in the Nov. 6 election, agreed on during Sunday’s debate at Temple Shalom was that this year’s midterms are about more than Republicans and Democrats, and that the U.S. embassy in Israel should be in Jerusalem.
But even on that issue, they disagreed on the process by which it got there.
The candidates discussed numerous topics in their last face-to-face encounter before early voting started Monday. The debate was organized by Temple Shalom, AJC Dallas and the Jewish-Latino Alliance, with Sam Baker, host of KERA radio’s “Morning Edition,” serving as moderator.
About this year’s move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Sessions voiced his full support. “It was a very bold move by the president (Donald Trump), by the (then-) secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and by (United Nations Ambassador) Nikki Haley,” the 11-term incumbent said. “I have been supportive of this for years.”
While Allred agreed that “we all recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” he believes the embassy move “should have been done as part of a comprehensive two-state solution that moves us closer to peace,” he said. “When you do something unilaterally in a way that can be provocative, you can see the kind of reaction it can cause.”
Both candidates also expressed opposition to the BDS movement that has spread worldwide, with Allred, a Dallas lawyer and former Baylor and NFL football player who worked in the Obama administration, also using this point to advocate for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
“I oppose efforts to boycott, divest and sanction,” he said. “Israel is the only nation in the region that shares our commitment to human rights. We must continue to provide aid for Israel to defend itself.”

District 32 incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions, Republican, his wife Karen Sessions and Temple Shalom Rabbi Andrew Paley

Said Sessions: “BDS is a realization that there are those who oppose Israel. Nikki Haley has spoken very clearly about this. I have worked repeatedly with the Jewish community, with young people, with the State of Israel and the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The distance between Collin County and where we are here (North Dallas) is the distance between Israel and its enemies to the north, to the east and to the south. This is why Republicans have funded the Iron Dome.”
Sessions, in his opening statement, criticized Allred for opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran.
“My opponent, in the Dallas Morning News, unequivocally opposed any effort against the Iranian nuclear deal because he felt it could unravel our agreement with North Korea,” he said. “He’s for giving billions of dollars’ worth of cash for them to do with as they would choose. He’s for the Iranians, the people who shout, ‘Death to America, Death to Israel.’ I’m for America, the Americans and for our ally, Israel.”
Allred conceded that “the Iran deal is not perfect. What it was, was a diplomatic solution to an extremely difficult problem. We had two choices: We could go down the road to diplomacy…trust, but verify…like President Trump is doing with North Korea. Now, we have given Iran the ability to pursue nuclear weapons, which would increase the threat to Israel.”
The candidates also had many differences on topics not related to Israel.
On health care, Sessions touted his health-insurance proposal, which would allow people to keep insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), or choose another avenue “that moves someone up. The kind of insurance someone at AT&T, or Mary Kay, or Southwest Airlines has” and would cover pre-existing conditions. There would be no mandate.
Allred said “it’s times like these I’m thankful for Google” because he learned that Sessions voted more than 50 times to repeal the ACA, including eliminating requirements for covering pre-existing conditions. He supports a single-payer system and accused Sessions of playing “cynical politics” for advocating a plan “that has never gotten a vote.”
The two also disagreed on the need for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Sessions said that “people who live on the border have unanimously asked for protection. We need to have operational control of our border.”
Allred responded, “That is the wrong solution, a waste of money, ineffective and a sign and a signal that will hurt our international standing. We do need to secure our border, through a bipartisan solution that would provide a high-tech means for security, and open a pathway to citizenship for those who are here. There are too many hardliners in Congress unwilling to work with those in their own party.”
Sessions, in response, said for the first of many times in the debate that Allred was “trying to have it both ways. He’s ignoring the men and women on the front lines begging for us to secure the border. Sixty days ago, we had two bills…both had pathways to citizenship, and not a single Democrat voted for either of them.”
The candidates also had their differences on:
• Sexual assault and the #MeToo movement in the wake of the hearings concerning Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Allred said Congress needs to take action to clean up its own house. Sessions, without mentioning the names of Kavanaugh or his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, decried the process that took place and Sen. Dianne Feinstein for keeping the accusation to herself.
• Social Security: Allred criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for intimating that the budget deficit was caused by the Trump tax cuts and would be made up for by tapping into Social Security and Medicare reserves. Sessions said his opponent was wrong, that McConnell said ways must be found to secure Social Security and Medicare, and that the tax cuts added 4 million jobs that are enriching the Social Security trust fund.
• Gun violence: Sessions said programs that address mental health and opioid abuse are the answer, while Allred said the answer is universal background checks and closing loopholes that allow people who, for example, are on the terror watch list to buy guns.
The debate was co-chaired by Adam Lampert for AJC, Edward Retta for JLA and Mike Hirsh and Larry Schoenbrun representing Temple Shalom. The co-sponsors were joined by a broad range of community partners that helped promote the debate, mostly from the Jewish and Latino communities, in addition to a number of non-Jewish houses of worship.
Early voting continues through Friday, Nov. 2, with most locations open this Saturday and Sunday. Election Day polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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Challah Bake helps raise dough for cancer fight

Challah Bake helps raise dough for cancer fight

Posted on 15 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Marcy Rhoads
Hundreds of men and women of all ages participated in the 2017 Great Pink Challah Bake, and registration is open at bit.ly/2IHdSLK for the 2018 edition on Oct. 24, part of the The International Shabbos Project. The event will also provide information and BRCA gene testing.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Great Pink Challah Bake has all the right ingredients to create an evening of memory, health education and deliciousness for Shabbos tables throughout the community. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family JCC for a night of flour, fun, friends and family.
“We’re all so busy, and on Shabbos, we change from humans ‘doing’ to humans ‘being,’ disconnecting from everything but those around us,” said Marcy Rhoads, chair of the event. “We energize and let go. At the Pink Challah Bake, we’ll get into the mood, into the spirit and prepare something holy, delicious and filled with love to nourish our families and their souls.”
The Challah Bake is part of The Shabbos Project, which takes place Oct. 26 and 27.
“The Shabbos Project, which began in 2013 in South Africa as a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from across the world together to celebrate and keep one complete Shabbat, brings together neighbors, families and strangers – who become strangers no longer,” Rhoads said. “The Challah Bake is a kick-off to something so very special.”
The evening, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is co-sponsored by Sharsheret, a national nonprofit supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer, and Myriad, a leader in genetic testing, molecular diagnostics and companion diagnostics. Myriad will offer educational resources and BRCA screening before the baking begins at 7 p.m.
Partners for the event are congregations Ohev Shalom, Ohr HaTorah and Shaare Tefilla, Jewish Family Services, Levine Academy, Nafshi Wellness and the Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas.
As part of this year’s Shabbos Project, community members may help determine personal benefits from genetic testing by taking Myriad’s Hereditary Cancer Quiz at hereditarycancerquiz.com before the Challah Bake.
In less than a minute, the questionnaire recommends or not, moving forward. Dallas-based obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Alejandro Singer will be conducting preview screenings at the event, and for those for whom recommendation is made, on-site 28-gene Myriad myRisk Hereditary Cancer test will be performed.
For those meeting medical society guidelines, most insurance companies cover genetic testing at 100 percent. Once testing is completed, participants will be notified with an opt-out if payment is denied meaning no unexpected costs.
As Ashkenazi Jews register in a higher risk category, they should be aware of family history. BRCA screenings and annual mammograms for women with a family history of breast cancer – and with the consultation of personal doctors — for women 35 and older are encouraged, Myriad literature states. Those interested in testing should bring their medical insurance information.
“Knowledge is power, and we hope through events such as these we can provide knowledge, testing and answers. For many, and for men it’s just as important as women, this testing is life-saving,” Myriad spokesman Ron Rogers said. “We recommend everyone speak to their physicians, that physicians bring the conversation and questions to their patients, and that family history be a conversation. The power of genetics and testing can make all the difference.”
The Challah Bake will open with a video message by Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, and a montage about the history of the Shabbos Project and Challah Bake.
Participating groups of friends and family are encouraged to RSVP together, and each table will have enough ingredients for each person to make their own challah dough. Rebbetzin Ruckie Sionit, of the Sephardic Torah Center will direct how to make the challah and explain the significance of making challah together and the power that it generates as Jewish women.
“I’m honored to participate in this inspiring evening, as making challah is a special mitzvah given to women and has been passed down over the generations, through the upheavals and migrations of Jews throughout the world,” Sionit said. “Separating challah while we are preparing it enforces our faith in the Almighty, ultimately opening the gates of blessings into our homes.”
While waiting for the challah to rise, Nikki Friedman, co-director of the Nafshi Wellness organization that integrates Jewish and holistic principles to enhance emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness, will speak about the power of positivity and self-care. Also, Beth Broodo, Jewish Family Service program director and clinician for breast cancer support services, will share her personal experience and information about JFS’ related services.
Once the challah has risen, bakers will braid the dough, sing songs and dance in the spirit of Shabbos – the challahs to be taken home to bake.
“On a Kabalistic level, Shabbos is a time and space that was created by G-d for us,” Broodo said. “Lighting the candles, families enjoying challah and celebrating Shabbos together can move mountains spiritually.”
Online registration is available at bit.ly/2IHdSLK. Tickets are $5, and all supplies are included. For more information, or to register to participate in a Shabbos Project, visit dallasshabbatproject.com

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Unsung heroes take spotlight at DJCF meeting

Posted on 11 October 2018 by admin

By Amy Sorter

They are the backbone of nonprofit organizations throughout the Dallas area; they are, in fact, one of the reasons why many of those organizations operate efficiently. Each day, these employees’ behind-the-scenes skills, passion and dedication quietly benefit both the agencies for whom they work, as well as members of the community. Yet, because they are largely out of sight, they might not be recognized, thanked, complimented or honored.
To the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation (DJCF), these folks are “unsung heroes.” On Monday, Oct. 29, at its annual meeting, the DJCF will bring 13 of these nonprofit employees out of the shadows and honor them through the first Unsung Heroes Awards presentation.
The DJCF’s mission is to support the community by developing and maintaining resources from donors and community members. Through fund and individual directives, the DJCF distributes those resources to education, human services, arts and faith-based organizations of all sizes throughout Dallas. As such, acknowledging staff members working with nonprofit agencies was a natural fit. The awards were open to agencies with employed staff, and response to the inaugural program was overwhelmingly positive.
“For the nonprofits out there, we know there is someone in the background, who gets things done, but who never gets noticed,” said Mona Allen, the DJCF’s director of philanthropic advancement. “We wanted to acknowledge those unsung heroes, and felt it would be a great way to recognize a driving force in these organizations.”
Those “driving forces” work for large and small organizations, which run the gamut from synagogues, to educational institutions, to community agencies. The nominees’ duties also vary – they are maintenance and front-office workers, as well as leaders, educators and administrators. The one thing members of this group have in common are the accolades coming from those who nominated them. Words such as “tireless,” “dedicated,” “enthusiastic” and “compassionate” consistently pop up in the nominees’ descriptions.
The honorees will receive a special surprise at the event. Furthermore, the award will help bring these organizations into the open, and demonstrate how their actions and activities benefit not only the Jewish community of Dallas, but the Dallas metro, as a whole.
Presenting the unsung heroes to the community at the DJCF’s annual meeting made sense, Allen noted. The event’s goal is to demonstrate the good taking place throughout Dallas, and to provide a source of inspiration to attendees. The 2018 annual meeting will focus on presenting the Sylvan T. Baer Foundation’s 2018 grants, and will also officially launch DJCF’s scholarship opportunities for Jewish and non-Jewish college and university students during the 2019-2020 school year. Finally, DJCF new officers and board members will be installed during the event.
Allen explained that, at one time, the annual meetings were similar to regular meetings. The organization’s leadership would meet behind closed doors to install a new board and discuss further business. But somewhere along the way, the DJFC believed that opening board meetings to the public would “show constituencies and the rest of the community who we are and what we are doing,” Allen said. This thinking has resulted in an annual meeting that has become an important event, complete with socializing, lavish deserts and compelling and moving presentations.
The DJCF opened its annual meeting to the public in 2016 to a handful of attendees. In 2017, more than 200 attended. “These meetings are geared to become a source of inspiration for our community,” Allen said. “We try to do what we can to make you feel good about living in Dallas, and living in the Jewish community.”
This is where the Unsung Heroes program provides a good fit for the event. As these employees are honored for their dedication, loyalty and effort, “it provides recognition and a spotlight on the organizations they work for,” Allen said. “It also sends a powerful message to the community, about the good these agencies do.”
The Dallas Jewish Community Foundation’s annual meeting, which is sponsored by the Texas Jewish Post, will take place at 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas. The event, which will include pareve desserts catered by Taste of the World caterers, is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by logging on to www.djcf.org or calling 214-615-9351.

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Funding Goal Reached, The Legacy Midtown Park begins work

Funding Goal Reached, The Legacy Midtown Park begins work

Posted on 04 October 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy of The Legacy Senior Communities
The Legacy Midtown Park Site.

The Legacy Senior Communities reached its $15 million philanthropic campaign goal in the largest capital campaign in its history.
The donated funds will help build The Legacy Midtown Park rental continuing care retirement community in Dallas. The organization also closed on the financing for the community, and construction is underway.
The urban and contemporary retirement community will be part of the Midtown Park development in North Dallas between Meadow Road and Royal Lane near North Central Expressway. The community will have 184 independent living apartments and the highest quality of care in 51 assisted-living apartments, 36 memory-care residences and 54 suites for short-term rehabilitation or long-term care. Once completed, the community will create approximately 350 new jobs.
“I remember when we first started talking about creating this community and am so thrilled to witness this historic day in our organization’s history,” said Marc R. Stanley, chairman of The Legacy Senior Communities’ board of trustees. “We promised to build a rental retirement community with independent living and all levels of care on one campus, and we are ready to fulfill that commitment.
“I am so excited that The Legacy Midtown Park will meet the needs of our seniors and their families in a stunning campus that will provide a sense of connection, togetherness and engagement. Our seniors will have access to all the amenities they deserve and receive exemplary care. I am honored to be a part of this project, and I thank everyone, especially our generous donors, talented staff and loving volunteers who helped us reach this day.”
Carol Aaron, co-chair of the capital campaign committee and chair of the board of directors of The Legacy Midtown Park, also expressed her excitement.
“The Legacy Midtown Park is being built for the community by the community, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who helped us reach this milestone,” she said. “I feel a tremendous sense of pride as I watch our vision become a reality. We have an opportunity to provide a sense of comfort for families and meet the needs of our entire Jewish senior population now and in the future.”
Located on 10 acres in the Midtown Park development, The Legacy Midtown Park will be the only Jewish-sponsored rental retirement community in Dallas, though it is open to all faiths. With multiple dining options; a fully equipped fitness, aerobics and aquatic center; and cutting-edge amenities, The Legacy Midtown Park will create the lifestyle desired by seniors today and for years to come. The Legacy at Home, the organization’s not-for-profit home health care agency, will provide home health care, personal assistance and hospice services for both residents and seniors in the surrounding area.
“The Legacy Midtown Park will help us extend our mission, expand our services and broaden our reach by allowing us to serve more seniors and their families in the manner that best meets each family’s needs,” said Melissa Orth, president and CEO of The Legacy Senior Communities. “We are creating a dynamic environment where seniors will have meaningful relationships, innovative programming, outstanding care and a deep commitment from our entire team. We are tremendously excited for what the future holds, and I cannot wait to positively impact the lives of so many seniors and their families.”
“I would like to personally thank our capital campaign co-chairs Carol and Steve Aaron and Marion and Bennett Glazer, as well as our vice-chairs Sharon and Chuck Levin and our committee members. We would not be here today without their dedication and the generosity of our donors who share our deep commitment to Jewish seniors and their families,” said Andrea Statman, director of development for The Legacy Senior Communities.
Construction on the different levels of living will begin concurrently across The Legacy Midtown Park campus. The community expects to open its long-term care and short-term rehab in the first quarter of 2020, with independent living, assisted living and memory care preparing to open in late 2020.
The Legacy Senior Communities will extend its capital campaign to give everyone in the community the opportunity to be a part of building this campus for Dallas Jewish seniors. At this point, the organization will also focus on raising necessary dollars for The Financial Assistance Fund to potentially be a safety net for seniors who need help.
For information about The Legacy Midtown Park, contact Dana Hanks by calling 972-468-6208 or emailing dhanks@thelegacywb.org.
For information about donating, contact Statman at 972-468-6161 or astatman@thelegacysc.org.
Submitted by Amy Jones on behalf of the Legacy Senior Communities.

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2018-2019 JCC BookFest; A Real Page Turner

2018-2019 JCC BookFest; A Real Page Turner

Posted on 26 September 2018 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
The 2018/2019 Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest are “Twenty-Six Seconds” (10/9), “The Fox Hunt” (10/17), “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” (10/18), “Stakes is High” (11/1), “Irving Berlin – The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing” (11/4), “Husbands and Other Sharp Objects” (11/28), “Promised Land” (12/6), “God is in the Crowd (12/10), “In Broad Daylight” (2/6), “The Lost Family” and “The Lost Girls of Paris” (2/12), “Unconditional Love – A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today” (3/6), and “Memento Park” (4/3).

By Deb Silverthorn

The next chapter of the Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest opens Oct. 9 with events featuring some of 2018’s best new releases and their authors. Unless otherwise noted, all events begin at 7 p.m. and are hosted at the Aaron Family JCC.
“Our visiting authors will educate and entertain audiences with events you won’t find anywhere else,” said BookFest chairperson Liz Liener, in her sixth year as lay leader. “We’re blessed to provide these programs and are honored to once again think of Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer, of blessed memory, to whom BookFest is dedicated, as we devote our efforts.”
This year’s BookFest, which opened on July 23 to a sold-out audience for “The Other Woman” author Daniel Silva, interviewed by Michael Granberry, is partnered by the JCC with the AJC Dallas, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, Congregation Anshai Torah, Shearith Israel, Congregation Shearith Israel’s SISterhood, Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, Israel Bonds, JCC Dallas’ Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Center for Jewish Education, Jewish Community Relations Council and Tycher Library, and the Jewish Book Council.
Leiner; Rachelle Weiss Crane, the JCC’s director of Israel engagement and Jewish living; and a team of volunteers read many titles and participate in a week of introductions to more than 250 authors presenting their books through the Jewish Book Council in New York.
“In addition to our venturing out, Dallas has earned a reputation as a strong festival with great crowds and we now have authors asking to come to us and we are thrilled. Mitch Albom, Nancy Churnin, Martin Fletcher, and Daniel Silva are all returning and we’re happy to welcome them ‘home,’” said Weiss Crane.
Alexandra Zapruder visits Oct. 9 with her “Twenty-Six Seconds.” Fifty-six years after her grandfather Abraham Zapruder captured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy – on what he thought would be a home movie — the author tells the story of the film and its journey, demonstrating how one man’s unwitting moment in the spotlight shifted the way politics, culture, and media intersect, bringing about the larger social questions that define our age.
On Oct. 17, Mohammed Al Samawi brings “The Fox Hunt” to Congregation Anshai Torah, describing his escape from Yemen’s brutal civil war with the help of a daring plan engineered on social media. To protect himself and his family from death threats, Al Samawi fled to what became the heart of a civil war, his online contacts responding to his appeal, working across technology platforms and time zones, to save him from deadly forces.
Mitch Albom and “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven” arrive on Oct. 18. Of this sequel to “Five People You Meet in Heaven,” Albom says it is the “natural story about Eddie going from meeting five people to being one of five for somebody else.” Albom explores the accident that took Eddie’s life, what Annie lost, and how, in the wake of her trauma, she has no memory of the accident.
Pastor, activist, and community leader Rev. Michael Waters, with Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Adam Roffman, comes to BookFest on Nov. 1 bringing his “Stakes is High,” blending his hip-hop lyricism and social justice leadership. Weaving stories from centuries of persecution against the backdrop of today’s urban prophets on the radio and in the streets, Waters speaks on behalf of an awakened generation raging against racism and fueled by the promise of a just future.
At 2 p.m. Nov. 4, Dallas Morning News writer Nancy Churnin visits with Mark Kreditor to discuss her book, “Irving Berlin – The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing.” The two will provide visual images and live music of the musician, a refugee from Russia forever remembered as the master behind 1200-plus songs including “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “A Pretty Girl is Like A Melody,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz” and “White Christmas.”
On Nov. 28, at Shearith Israel, Marilyn Rothstein talks about her “Husbands and Other Sharp Objects,” the story of Marcy Hammer readying to get herself unhitched – while everyone else is looking for a commitment. Her boyfriend wants to get serious and her soon-to-be ex-husband wants to reunite. When her daughter announces her engagement, Marcy finds planning the wedding while seeing her divorce through a trial – and trying to make everyone happy, proving seemingly impossible.
The Tycher Library Community Read, Martin Fletcher’s “Promised Land,” presents Dec. 6. The story is the saga of two brothers and the woman they love, a triangle set against the tumultuous founding of Israel.
Tal Keinan and “God is in the Crowd” come to BookFest on Dec. 10. Keinan’s book analyzes the threat to Jewish continuity. He writes of the Jewish people concentrated in America and Israel, having lost the subtle code of governance that endowed Judaism with dynamism and relevance in the age of Diaspora.
On Feb. 6, Father Patrick Desbois introduces “In Broad Daylight – The Untold Story of How the Murder of More Than Two Million Jews Was Carried Out.” Debois’s book documents the murder of 1.5 million Jews in Ukraine during World War II and how nearly a decade of his team’s efforts, drawing on interviews of 5,700 neighbors to the murdered Jews, and visits to more than 2,700 extermination sites, wartime records and the application of modern forensic practices to long-hidden grave sites.
On Feb. 12, Dallas’ Andrea Peskind Katz, of the Great Thoughts Great Readers website, will interview both Jenna Blum about “The Lost Family” and Pam Jenoff about “The Lost Girls of Paris.” Blum’s novel creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family and the haunting grief of World War II. Jenoff’s book shines the light on the heroics of the brave women of the war and their courage, sisterhood and the strength in surviving its hardest circumstances.
On March 6, Jane Isay brings “Unconditional Love – A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today.” Drawing on personal experience, dozens of interviews and the latest findings in psychology, Isay shows how grandparents can use perspective and experience to create lasting bonds that echo throughout a grandchild’s life.
The Tycher Library Spring Read closes out April 3 with Mark Sarvas and his “Memento Park,” a book of family and identity, art and history, and the unanswerable question of ‘how to move forward when the past looms?’ Sarvas’ Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting he believes was stolen from his family in Hungary, during WWII. To recover it he must repair his strained relationship with his father, uncover family history, and restore his own connection to Judaism with a narrative as much about family history and father-son dynamics as about the nature of the art.
Liener, who has loved to read since childhood, says chairing the BookFest is a gift to her – the chance to read books and meet authors she might not otherwise as well as giving her the the opportunity to bring them to the Dallas audience.
“BookFest introduces the best of the best to our community and introduces attendees to a diverse group of authors and styles,” she said. “We remain the only festival in the area focusing on Jewish authors and books with Jewish content, and every year our schedule is filled with especially wonderful events – this year, we raise the bar again.”
Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door except for the Dec. 6 “Promised Land,” Feb. 6 “In Broad Daylight,” March 6 “Unconditional Love” and April 3 “Memento Park,” which are free; and the Oct. 18 “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven,” which is $30 in advance and $40 at the door, including a signed copy of the book. For more details or to order tickets, call 214-739-2737 or visit jccdallas.org/special-events/bookfest/.

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SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

SMU student president DeVera has packed senior year

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

Photos: Courtesy Nathan DeVera
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” says SMU student body president Nathan DeVera.

By Deb Silverthorn

Nathan DeVera is in the midst of a very busy senior year.
When he is not managing parliamentary procedure as Southern Methodist University student body president, he is the captain of SMU’s rugby team, president of the university’s Southern Gentlemen a cappella group and a Hillel Board member.
Not to mention completing requirements for the math and mechanical engineering bachelor’s degrees and the mechanical engineering master’s degree he will receive next May – yes, a double major and a master’s degree in four years.
A student senator in his freshman year and student body vice president last year, DeVera has made himself present in student government throughout his college career.
Now, whether he is speaking at new-student orientations, encouraging extracurricular activities or just giving directions on campus, DeVera’s bright smile and great demeanor are one of the bright lights on the University Park college campus.
“It is an honor to lead and serve my school community and to amplify the student voice,” said DeVera, who regularly meets with students, faculty and the university’s leadership. “The renovation of our Hughes-Trigg Student Center, enhancing the on-campus housing experience and student body unification have all been priorities, and to be at the forefront of these changes is very rewarding.”
A Southern California native who was raised nearly his entire life in Las Vegas, DeVera is the son of Lorenzo, born in the Philippines, and Esther, born and raised in Israel.
“We couldn’t ask for more from Nathan and how he has taken his incredible work ethic and spread it across all he does, everything he gets involved with, while always being respectful and loyal,” his mother said. “Nathan has always been an over-achiever, cranking it up a notch, always consistent in his commitment to all he does. I admire him for all he does, and how well he does it all.”
DeVera’s first trip to Israel came in the summer of 2016 as a Birthright participant, during which he also visited with many members of his mother’s family. After a lifetime of family coming to the U.S. to be together, he now has his own memories of Masada, of the Kotel, of going to the markets in Tel Aviv and speaking Hebrew in the streets.
The former Milton I. Schwartz Hebrew Academy (now The Adelson School) and The Meadow School student celebrated his bar mitzvah at Chabad of Las Vegas. His family also attended Temple Beth Sholom. DeVera, who came to SMU with a deep connection to his Jewish roots, quickly sought out the campus’ Hillel. He met director Rabbi Heidi Coretz and found programs and services that throughout his college career have allowed him to hold on to his heritage.
“I definitely appreciate the opportunities and programs that Rabbi Coretz and Hillel provides to our community, the Jewish community and the SMU community-at-large, because in addition to the social experience, there are many educational opportunities, whether they are teaching programs or the teaching of our community that comes because of its presence,” said DeVera. “Our community within the university community, which is diverse and has so many organizations, is proud and strong.”
“Nathan represents himself, his family and his People most honorably in how he respectfully handles himself and his role as a leader on campus” said Coretz, noting in her 15 years leading SMU’s Hillel, DeVera is only the second Jewish student body president – Taylor Russ was the first more than a decade ago. “Nathan brings talent, leadership, academic and now professional success to the table. He is an awesome example and a great friend to us all.”
With eight months until graduation, DeVera’s recent summer internship at Lockheed Martin resulted in an already signed contract to begin work next summer at Lockheed Martin Space as a project engineer with the navy’s fleet ballistic missile program.
“I really will be a rocket scientist,” DeVera said. “I had an incredible experience at Lockheed this summer, and I look forward to beginning my career.”

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SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

SMU Hillel planning wide range of programming

Posted on 20 September 2018 by admin

hoto: Courtesy SMU Hillel
From left, SMU Hillel Co-Presidents Marlo Weisberg and Jackie Malish join Hillel Director Rabbi Heidi Coretz in introducing students to the organization during the first week of school.

By Deb Silverthorn

In this season for celebrating, Southern Methodist University’s Hillel has its proverbial, albeit invisible, doors wide open, with its constant programming and its mission to enrich the lives of Jewish students.
Rabbi Heidi Coretz, beginning her 15th year as SMU’s Hillel director, brings her smile, spirit and student bonding to the holiday season, and year-round, providing community and connections.
Sushi in the Sukkah, taking place at 7 p.m. –Sept. 26; an Oct. 19 Shabbat dinner hosted by Shira Lander, SMU’s director of Jewish studies; and an Oct. 28 “Challaween” baking event are only the beginning of this year’s programming.
“We are here, we are available, we are excited and we are thrilled to have an incredible student board, wonderful activities, and really great opportunities for our Jewish community to come together,” said Coretz, who also serves as rabbi of Shir Tikvah in Frisco. “We are a small community, rumored to be 350 or so, but we are strong and we are one.”
Jewish life has flourished through the years at SMU. Hillel, an Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter and the university’s Jewish studies program provide academic, social and spiritual opportunities. Whether participants want to learn about Jewish life, faith and culture – or to make and keep friends, Hillel provides inspiration and support.
With more than 200 guests to more than 40 programs last year, Coretz is excited about the future. In addition to Sushi in the Sukkah and other October events, the Hillel calendar includes congregational invitations to students throughout the community; Interfaith programming, including a Passover Seder for nearly 100, a Bring Friends to Shabbat evening, and Yom Hashoah events; and leading the campus’ Good Deeds Day.
“Our campus is unique because, at least in my time here, there’ve been no anti-Israel, BDS or anti-Semitic rallies – perhaps one debate years ago is all I can recall. We are blessed that SMU is a great and respectful community,” Coretz said. “We work hand in hand quite often with the Office of the Chaplin, Multi-Cultural Affairs, the Perkins School of Theology and The Women & LGBT Center. SMU really is a family – widespread and diverse – but we are a family.”
Coretz and Hillel have become a home away from home.
“Heidi spends lots of time and has so much care helping us plan to make everything we do special, and for all of us it really is our ‘home,’” Hillel co-president Marlo Weisberg said. “She absolutely has our best interest at hand. I have so much love for this organization and am excited to be sharing it.”
Weisberg, from Charleston, West Virginia, is following in the footsteps of her sister, Trish, both as SMU Hillel leader and as a SMU Hunt Leadership Scholar.
Weisberg is co-president with Jackie Malish, the two joined in board service by Eliana Abraham, Sarah Crespo, Nathan DeVera, Adam Feldman, Solomon Guefen, Lauren Miller, Bibiana Schindler, Margo Schoenberg, Jake Waldman, Sam Waldman and Jordan Williams.
For more about SMU Hillel programming, visit smuhillel.com

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