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Jewish day schools claim awards in annual private school art contest

Posted on 04 May 2017 by admin

Submitted report

Hundreds of students and their families were on hand last month for the crowning of the area’s top middle school artists at the 34th Annual Private School Art Invitational. All three of Dallas’ Jewish day schools showed themselves to be accomplished and competitive in the arts.
Students participated from dozens of Metroplex schools, including Greenhill School, Parish Episcopal School, The Hockaday School and St. Mark’s School of Texas. Akiba Academy hosted this year, having more than 200 pieces of student art hung in their lobby for three weeks.
From Akiba, Adam Eber earned honorable mention in the sixth-grade, three-dimensional division. Ari Blumberg was an honorable mention candidate in the seventh-grade, three-dimensional division. Gabriela Schwarz-Mullins also received honorable mention in the eighth-grade, two-dimensional division.
Chavy Rothstein from Levine finished in third place in the sixth-grade, two-dimensional division.
From Torah Day School, Eliyahu Nathan won the fifth-grade, two-dimensional division. He also earned second place best of show in the two-dimensional division. Batsheva Tropper was an honorable mention selection in the seventh-grade, three-dimensional division.
— Submitted by Malkie Ozeri

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Yom HaZikaron, Yom HaAtzmaut approaching

Posted on 27 April 2017 by admin

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

Members of the North Texas Jewish community will have their hearts and minds with Israel this week as Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut are celebrated in the greater Dallas and Fort Worth area.
Observance of Yom HaZikaron starts on the evening of April 30 and lasts until the evening of May 1. The Israeli Memorial Day was established in memory of those soldiers that lost their lives in the struggle for Israel’s establishment, while it also honors those who have lost their lives while serving in the Israeli Defense Force.
Because of its proximity to Yom HaAtzmaut, sometimes the holidays are celebrated as one in the United States. However, the Jewish communities in Dallas and Fort Worth have set up individual events for Yom HaZikaron.
Congregation Ahavath Sholom in Fort Worth (at 4050 South Hulen St.) will hold a service at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
According to a press release, children from all over Tarrant County will help lead a service that will commemorate and honor the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terror.
This program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth & Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation.
Cafe Israel and The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas are hosting an event at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30, at Congregation Anshai Torah (5501 West Parker Road, Plano).
The evening will be dedicated to sharing stories of the fallen and will honor those who gave their lives defending Israel through various readings. This year’s ceremony is focused on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.
The program will be held in both Hebrew and English.
Yom HaAtzmaut is Israel’s Independence Day and commemorates the May 14, 1948, establishment of the Jewish state.
Yom HaAtzmaut officially falls on May 1 and 2 this year, but will be celebrated on May 7 by local organizations in Dallas and Fort Worth.
In Fort Worth, Congregation Ahavath Sholom will hold an event starting at 11:45 a.m. with the theme “50 Years of Jerusalem.”
Guests can enjoy a free Israeli lunch and an entertaining show featuring musical guest, Noam Agami.
There will also be opportunities to take pictures at the Kotel and other important Israeli locations. An art exhibit will feature Israel- and Jerusalem-themed art from local artists and community religious schools.
In Dallas there will be an event from noon to 4 p.m. at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center. It’s a communitywide event funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas.
There will be family-friendly activities, another concert by Noam Agami (at 3:15 p.m.), and activities led by Israelis from Zman HaGalil.
Zman HaGalil is a small business consortium (similar to a chamber of commerce) for more than 35 entrepreneurs across Western Galilee, Dallas’ Partnership Region. The May 7 activities will include leather stamping, a chocolate-making workshop and wine tasting.

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Texas anti-BDS bill makes another step toward law

Posted on 27 April 2017 by admin

House passes bill by 131-0 margin

By Sean Shapiro
Special to the TJP

Israel-Texas relations got a bit stronger last week.
After several months of hard work by community members and organizations across the state, Texas legislators have reached the final steps in the lawmaking process that would make it illegal for the use of state public funds for companies that are involved with Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is a global campaign attempting to increase political and economic pressure on Israel through boycotts, divestment of investments and international sanctions. One of BDS’ target goals is delegitimizing the State of Israel.
“This legislation serves to protect the bond and preserve the relationship between Israelis and Texans,” said Jesse Stock, Texas coordinator for the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, in his testimony on behalf of the legislation. “Israeli technology has saved American lives on the battlefield, it powers our cellphones and computers, it puts food on our dinner tables, and it protects us right here in Texas from enemies abroad.”
Texas would be the 20th state to create such a law against BDS and Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the legislation within the coming weeks. House Bill 89 passed by a 131-0 margin last Thursday. This came roughly a month after the companion bill, Senate Bill 29, was passed by a 25-4 margin.
“It’s been pretty clear that our legislators place a priority on Texas relationship with Israel,” Joel Schwitzer, from the AJC Dallas Regional Chapter, said. “It’s a very significant partner with Texas, the relationship has always been quite strong, and Texas stood with its ally and made it very clear they plan to continue to do so with this action.”
In the house there were 12 members who were present but didn’t vote (including the speaker, who typically votes only in case of a tie on an issue), while seven representatives were absent on the day of the vote.
“This is really rewarding,” said Daniel J. Prescott, the board chair for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “In a time in the work where virtually nothing has complete support, the support for Israel and this bill passed without a vote against it in the House. It really sends a message how strong this bill and law will be.”
The bill now goes back to the state Senate for reconciliation and then heads to Abbott for final approval.
“This isn’t a surprise,” Bradley Laye, president & CEO for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, said. “We have been working to fight BDS on several levels, not just in the legislature. This is a strong statement that we are making the right strides and the state of Texas is going to stand with us on this.”
Back in early November it was announced that State Representative Phil King (R-Weatherford), would sponsor the House bill, while State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) would sponsor and introduce it in the Senate.
At the time King declared it was “going to be a very bipartisan bill,” and added, “We’re going to get a lot of Democrat support as well as Republicans. This sends a strong statement that Texas stands with its friends in Israel.”
He was right, and it rallied members of the Jewish community together during the process.
In mid-November the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas hosted a meeting with representatives and leaders from more than a dozen local Jewish organizations. They discussed and laid out plans to promote and support the bill, and it created a united front all working toward one goal.
Over the following months hundreds of phone calls, emails, and even faxes were sent to legislators in support of the bill and twice in February a large contingency of people, representing several groups, made the trip to Austin to support and rally for the bill.
“This was a great moment for our community,” Prescott said. “Everyone came together across so many organizations. In a time when there are so many differing opinions on things, this was something that everyone was on board for and really showed how important it was to stand with Israel.”
The final steps for the bill to become a law lie within the legislature, but the community leaders and those who have worked to promote the bill are encouraging people to thank their representatives for their support of Israel and representing the views of their constituents.
“That’s what I would suggest to anyone who wants to continue helping with the process,” Schwitzer said. “The legislators listened to the people and confirmed this was an important issue and something Texas needed to do. So if someone is looking to do more, send an email or call to thank your representative and let them know we appreciated their efforts.”
There is also hope that Texas could set an example for other states. Throughout the process several people referred to Texas as an “example state” and one that could help push similar legislation in other states.

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A family’s commitment to service

A family’s commitment to service

Posted on 27 April 2017 by admin

Genecov family to receive humanitarian award for work

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

It will be a family affair at the 2017 Ann Loeb Sikora Humanitarian Award event May 3 when the Dallas Jewish Historical Society honors Dr. Jeff Genecov, Julie Genecov Shrell and Dr. David Genecov.
Themed “Preserving our Past, Celebrating the Present and Ensuring our Future,” the reception and program, at the Communities Foundation of Texas Mabel Peters Caruth Center, will begin with drinks and light hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m.

As adults, the doctors David and Jeff Genecov, with their mother Sally in the middle, and Julie Genecov Shrell, have made their parents, and Dallas’ Jewish community, proud.

As adults, the doctors David and Jeff Genecov, with their mother Sally in the middle, and Julie Genecov Shrell, have made their parents, and Dallas’ Jewish community, proud.

The award, established for the late Ann Loeb Sikora, honors individuals who emulate the humanitarian ideals by which she lived. A professional volunteer who received numerous awards for her outstanding community service, Sikora was the first woman president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, a founding member of the Dallas Jewish Coalition for the Homeless (now Vogel Alcove) and MAZON, a Jewish Response to Hunger. She served on the boards of the American Jewish Committee, the Community Council of Greater Dallas, the Council of Jewish Federations, Congregation Shearith Israel, the Home for the Jewish Aged — Golden Acres, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas.

Photo: Genecov Family Five generations of Genecovs have been raised in the North Texas area. The family of Ed and Sally Genecov is shown: (back row, left to right) Adam Genecov, Rob Shrell, Lisa Atlas Genecov, Dr. Jeff, Dr. David, Dr. Lisa, Michael, and Max Genecov; (middle row) Julie Genecov Shrell, Sally, Ed, Grandmother Bunny Freiden (Sally’s mother), Megan, and Matthew Genecov; (bottom row) Becca Genecov, Simone, Marissa and Gavin Shrell.

Photo: Genecov Family
Five generations of Genecovs have been raised in the North Texas area. The family of Ed and Sally Genecov is shown: (back row, left to right) Adam Genecov, Rob Shrell, Lisa Atlas Genecov, Dr. Jeff, Dr. David, Dr. Lisa, Michael, and Max Genecov; (middle row) Julie Genecov Shrell, Sally, Ed, Grandmother Bunny Freiden (Sally’s mother), Megan, and Matthew Genecov; (bottom row) Becca Genecov, Simone, Marissa and Gavin Shrell.

“We were fortunate to have the attention of Ann Loeb Sikora and to have benefited from her model of service to the community. In tribute, we look for members of the greater Dallas Jewish community who demonstrate the values of Torah, avodah and gemilut chassadim, the core pillars upon which the world stands,” said Debra Polsky, executive director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. “Jeff, Julie and David have looked into their communities, found needs to contribute to and they have taken actions that address those needs. All three are teachers, showing those in their orbits how to use knowledge, service and acts of loving kindness to benefit people in need. The DJHS could not have made a better choice than to honor these three who indeed learned from their parents how to repair the world.”
The honorees are the fourth-generation Texan descendants of Dr. Ed, of blessed memory, and Sally Genecov, who each served Dallas’ Jewish community, setting the example their children now live. He was the “orthodontist to the community” and she was one of the moms that neighborhood children could count on, always involved in their school and other activities and always there. Sally remains one to hug and hold by many of her children’s now adult friends — so many she’s known for much of their lives.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my children but I’ve been able to say that all of their lives. They’re good, kind, giving and always the ones to count on. There’s nothing more we could hope or want from them,” said the kvelling mother. “They’ve always been there for my husband and me, for their friends, for their community — professional and social — and each other.”

Jeff

The Genecov family, which settled in Dallas in 1960, has made its mark. (Left to right) Sally, Julie, Jeff, Ed and David Genecov.

The Genecov family, which settled in Dallas in 1960, has made its mark. (Left to right) Sally, Julie, Jeff, Ed and David Genecov.

 

Dr. Jeff Genecov, husband of Lisa Atlas Genecov and father of Adam and Becca, was a member of BBYO’s Levi Eshkol chapter. A graduate of St. Mark’s School, UT-Austin — where he was a member of the Texas Cowboys — and Baylor College of Dentistry with a Master’s in Orthodontics, he followed in his father’s footsteps, and his practice. Jeff’s clinical expertise includes working with patients with facial deformities and cleft lip and palate.
“I’ve always followed a lesson from one of my dental school professors that ‘much is expected from those given (much)’ and that is just how we live,” said Jeff, whose family belongs to Congregation Shearith Israel and who, with his wife, sponsors scholarships at St. Mark’s and UT-Austin. “My parents, my teachers and mentors have set the bar for service. It’s never been a ‘have to,’ but a ‘want to.’ None of us do anything for accolades, but this is validation of our parents’ raising us right.”

Julie

Julie Genecov Shrell, the wife of Rob and mother to Gavin, Marissa and Simone, is a former Sally Blum Chapter BBYO member and graduate of W.T. White High School, UT-Austin and the Texas Realtor Leadership Program. With more than 30 years’ experience as a loan officer, Julie was named the best mortgage professional by both D Magazine and Texas Monthly. A co-founder of the Be The Difference Foundation and co-chair of Dallas’ Wheel to Survive cycling events — which has donated $2 million for ovarian cancer research and support — Julie, a six-year survivor, was honored with the MetroTex Association of Realtors Ebby Halliday Community Service award.
“Involvement in our schools, community, and professional worlds was something we saw from our parents and something they always taught us to do — mitzvah hours were ‘what we did,’ and we each married people with the same ideals. Dad’s love for his industry — of which he was a pioneer — went beyond to organizations, in volunteering, and in teaching, and we’ve followed that example,” said Julie, whose family belongs to Congregation Anshai Torah.
“When we were little, our dad always said we three had to look out for each other and we’ve always remembered that and really lived that, and I couldn’t hope for more supportive brothers.”

David

Dr. David Genecov, the husband of Dr. Lisa Genecov, and father of Matthew, Max, Megan and Michael, is a specialist in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery. David is a graduate of St. Mark’s School of Texas, UT-Austin and the UT-Health Science Center, San Antonio. He completed residencies at West Virginia University and Wake Forest University. Trained at the International Craniofacial Institute, he is now its owner and director. David teaches at Baylor College of Dentistry, volunteers as a physician instructor and assists in fundraising for Smile Train.
“With family history on both sides from as far back as the 1870s, being a Texan is in our DNA. This award is a family honor for us, and all who came before us. The giving and service that we do is how we were taught to live and it is the teachings of Judaism for our people to continue,” said David, whose family belongs to Shearith Israel — unable to imagine being honored without his siblings. “As a child, I’d stand by my dad as he gave lectures and watch the slides of children with facial anomalies and I was inspired then to follow in so much of what he was devoted to.”
All three honorees credit their spouses and children with supporting them, saying they wouldn’t be able to share in any of what they do alone.
Their parents, who were married for 51 years before Dr. Genecov passed away in 2009, met on a blind date in Los Angeles. Sally was a native and he was serving in the Navy. After a time in New York, where Dr. Genecov finished his training, in 1960 the couple settled in Dallas, not far from the Fort Worth stomping grounds where the family’s patriarch was raised. Dr. Genecov was a president at Congregation Shearith Israel, the couple coached and cheered at the JCC, and there were the San Gabriel Drive block parties and memories made for all on the “Sally G,” at Lake Texoma.
“We had three weddings in 14 months, and then four grandchildren in a year, followed by five more,” said Sally, who worked in her husband’s office. “Each of our children and their families has brought us nothing but joy.”
“Jeff, Julie, and David are three individually amazing people, worthy of this respect in their own right, who happen to be siblings. They each have made important and meaningful efforts but it’s exquisite to know the support they each have for one another and all they care about,” said Laurie Judson, co-chairing the event with her own sister Susan Zetley and their mother Janet Hershman.
“The Genecov family is grand in the history of our community, as are all who live here,” said Judson, a friend of Shrell’s since they were teens, also one of many baby boomer orthodontia patients of the honorees’ father. “You can be of a multigenerational Dallas-based family, or have moved here yesterday — we are all a part of the future which is the beginning of our history.”
For more information, or to RSVP, call 214-239-7120 or email info@djwhs.org.

 

*****

 

Family service

Genecov family members have influenced or helped support many organizations. Here’s a list of some of their involvements:

Jeff

Recognized by D Magazine and Texas Monthly, he’s held leadership positions with the American Association of Orthodontics Foundation, the Dallas Chapter of Alpha Omega Jewish Dental Fraternity, the North Texas Chapter of Smile for a Lifetime Foundation and the Texas Association of Orthodontics.  Jeff has served on the boards or committees of the American Jewish Committee; CHAI: Community Homes for Adults, Inc.; Congregation Shearith Israel; Dallas BBYO Youth Commission; Friends of the Northaven Trail; and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas like his siblings and parents before them, raising funds for several dental and medical causes. He and his wife were among the co-chairs of The Big One Federation trip to Israel. Jeff is the president of the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists and an assistant clinical professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.

Julie

Julie has been involved with LearningFest, Junior League, and local networking organizations, and she’s a volunteer with the Ovarian Cancer National Research Alliance’s “Survivors Teaching Students” and the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, speaking with newly diagnosed patients.
A member of the Women’s Council of Realtors and the Realtors in Action Committee, she serves on the Center for Jewish Education’s advisory committee.

David

Recognized by Bnai Zion Foundation, D Magazine, Dallas Hadassah, Texas Monthly, and the DFW Alliance for his service for health care excellence, he has served on the boards of Congregation Shearith Israel and the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, and is currently a St. Mark’s School trustee.

 

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Zachor: Remember

Zachor: Remember

Posted on 27 April 2017 by admin

Yom HaShoah observed in the Metroplex

Staff report

AdatChaverimYomHaShoahSeder FWObservance ReadingoftheNames
Many observances of Yom HaShoah took place Sunday, April 23 around the Metroplex.
New this year were two Yom HaShoah seders (see tjpnews.com for the April 20 story) at Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound and Adat Chaverim in Plano.
The Fort Worth and Tarrant County Jewish community welcomed Holocaust survivor and activist Ben Lesser to their annual observance, while the Dallas Jewish community observance at Temple Emanu-El featured  a special presentation by Israeli Scouts and the Temple Emanu-El Choir.
Children of local Holocaust sturvivors gave testimonies of their parents’ resistance to the Nazi regime in the midst of unspeakable evil.
Congregation Beth Torah held its annual Reading of the Names 24-hour vigil.

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Texas House passes anti-boycott bill

Posted on 21 April 2017 by admin

JTA

The Texas House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill banning state entities from dealing with businesses that boycott Israel or its settlements.
The bill approved Thursday follows the state Senate’s approval of a similar bill in March by overwhelming numbers. Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to sign a reconciled version of both bills next month.
In statements, pro-Israel groups that lobbied for the bills praised its passage.
“The relationship between the Jewish state and the Lone Star State is built upon shared values, including a rock-solid commitment to standing up for liberty – especially when it is threatened by radical Islamic extremism,” Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United For Israel, said in a statement.
Josh Block, CEO of  The Israel Project, sounded a similar note.
“The people of the Lone Star State and Israel share an unbreakable bond based upon mutual values, and by passing this legislation – ensuring that taxpayer dollars do not fund discrimination – Texas has reaffirmed this important friendship,” he said.
The House bill requires that Texas maintain a list of companies boycotting Israel. Civil liberties groups have objected to such provisions in other states, saying they amount to a blacklist.
In some cases the lists, drawn from the media and other open sources, have proven inaccurate, including companies not boycotting Israel.
Liberal pro-Israel groups say that including prohibitions on boycotting settlements undercuts efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Texas would be the 20th state with laws or executive orders banning state business with BDS-compliant companies.

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JFS honors CEO during April event

JFS honors CEO during April event

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Comedian Maniscalco to perform; Fleisher to receive award


Photo: Courtesy Michael Fleisher & Jewish Family Service, Greater Dallas The Fleisher Family; Ben, Johanna, Rebecca, Martha and Michael have been a team in their respect and commitment to JFS for almost a quarter of a century.  “I could never have done my job without the love and support of my family,” Michael said.  “They deserve so much for their support and encouragement and they are the reason for my success and for so much of the greatness that comes to those we serve.”

Photo: Courtesy Michael Fleisher & Jewish Family Service, Greater Dallas
The Fleisher Family; Ben, Johanna, Rebecca, Martha and Michael have been a team in their respect and commitment to JFS for almost a quarter of a century. “I could never have done my job without the love and support of my family,” Michael said. “They deserve so much for their support and encouragement and they are the reason for my success and for so much of the greatness that comes to those we serve.”

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

The Jewish Family Service will present a majestic evening of laughter and love to honor CEO Michael Fleisher on Thursday, April 27.
Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco will entertain, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, with a VIP sponsor dessert reception after the show.
“With its roots in the Jewish community and with Jewish Federation as its most valued partner, Jewish Family Service has and always will bring together the Jewish people in our community,” said Gilian Baron who is co-chairing the event with her husband Steve, Fonda and Jay Arbetter, Beth and Larry Konig, Melissa and Bart Plaskoff, and Paige and Marc Sachs.

“My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave,” says Michael Fleisher, who will be honored April 27 at JFS’ Just For Show at the Majestic Theatre.  “My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”

“My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave,” says Michael Fleisher, who will be honored April 27 at JFS’ Just For Show at the Majestic Theatre. “My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”

“We’re thrilled to present this magnificent night to honor both JFS, a source of help and a means by which we provide help to others for more than 66 years, and our dear Michael, the face and brilliant conductor of that work for 24 of those. He is an amazing man who has bettered tens of thousands of lives through his dedication, so deserving of gratitude and praise. He will be missed!”
The Just For Show event provides an opportunity to celebrate the work of JFS and the people that make it happen with Maniscalco, whose comic views on life connect with all ages, providing the entertainment. The sellout comedian at comedy clubs throughout the country, and also a popular choice for large corporate events, was named the 2016 Just For Laughs Comedian of the Year and was included on People magazine’s fall 2016 Ones To Watch list.
With an outstanding reputation in the broader Dallas community, both within the agency and its extensive donor and volunteer bases, and in the diverse groups of people it serves, JFS brings together people of all backgrounds, faiths, races, ages and religions.
“Just For Show is a night for our community to support and celebrate that mission, and Michael’s invaluable role in fulfilling it,” Baron said. “The deep commitment of all these people to helping others in need is a true inspiration and we hope the Just For Show event gives others the chance to learn more about JFS, have fun together, and share in that feeling of making a difference.”
At the heart of JFS is the work of the Jewish tenet of tikun olam, repairing the world.  There isn’t a piece of paper, a stroke of a pen, a phone call, or a decision made by Fleisher during his tenure that hasn’t resulted in the betterment of someone, or many people’s lives.  Leading the organization that provides wrap-around social and mental health services to those in need regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or ability to pay, Fleisher has done so with his whole heart.
“The cornerstone of how we operate, the great specialization and expansion of how we serve our community, as a distinguished agency and the continuum of comprehensive care we provide in one place, is something I could not be more proud of,” said Fleisher. “People come to us with multiple concerns and here, they are able to be serviced by so many incredible professionals and supported by a wealth of volunteers — from ages 2-102, who together form a team that can’t be beat. We are a nationally accredited organization with constant growth and that is what has, does, and will always make JFS a place where anyone — almost 11,000 lives touched each year — can come to get quality care.”
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of Bernice and Daniel and brother of Cary and Lisa, Fleisher is a graduate of the University of Vermont and Case Western Reserve School of Applied Social Sciences. He started his career as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital and then at the JFS in Cleveland, Ohio. He met his wife Martha, now an attorney at Southern Methodist University — first at a picnic, he remembers the bright yellow helmet — it took the two awhile to connect. That “while,” turned into over 30 years of marriage and produced a family of service-mindedness by children Ben, Johanna and Rebecca.

Michael Fleisher at the start of his 24 year career at JFS Greater Dallas, was intent on making a difference.

Michael Fleisher at the start of his 24 year career at JFS Greater Dallas, was intent on making a difference.

“A major factor in our moving to Dallas, my 23-year tenure at JFS, and all the developments that have taken place, is Martha’s belief in the mission of JFS and the importance of family, her dedication to, support of and caring for her children, our parents and me,” said Fleisher — also calling his beloved the more “always the more quickly perceptive of the two of us.  Her committed work ethic, and her high social and moral values that permeate everything she does, are qualities that can be traced to and found in everything that has been our Dallas experience, including and especially JFS. It cannot be appreciated enough.”
Fleisher insists JFS’ future holds great opportunity to grow and develop current services and introduce new areas of concern.
“JFS continues to be an exciting place as we partner with health care, religious, education and other centers,” he said. “My role here has always been exciting and challenging and it would never be a good time to leave, and it’s difficult to think about doing so. My heart will always be with the people of every aspect of the organization.”
For Ethel Zale, an honorary co-chair with Linda and Dave Garner, who have worked with Michael since his association, it is a bittersweet bid adieu, albeit a professional one.
“Michael greatly inspired me over 20 years ago when we first worked together on the design of the JFS building at (the intersection of) Montfort and Arapaho (roads),” she said, noting no project — or aspect of JFS — has ever been too small or too trivial for his full touch and commitment.
“I learned of the enormous work that JFS does and I wanted to be involved with this great organization and this wonderful leader,” Zale said. “We all wish Michael health and happiness and fulfillment in the future and, while he has been the heart and driving force of JFS and we will miss his devotion and part in every endeavor, he has left a strong foundation and JFS will continue its success in all its causes.”
Cost for the evening include a drink ticket and kosher snacks for $150. There are a limited number of young adult seats available at $75.
For more information, visit jfsjustforshow.org.

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DFW raises $334K to fight ovarian cancer

DFW raises $334K to fight ovarian cancer

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Be The Difference surpasses $2M in donations after Wheel To Survive event

Photo: Alan Abair The Feb. 26, Wheel to Survive had 380 riders raised $334,229 (at press time), allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.

Photo: Alan Abair
The Feb. 26, Wheel to Survive had 380 riders raised $334,229 (at press time), allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Be The Difference Foundation’s Wheel to Survive has done more than just survive, it has thrived.
So does the promise for ovarian cancer patients.WTS followup - Huthnance Family
The Feb. 26 ride, held at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, had raised $334,229 at press deadline, allowing the organization to give away its $2 millionth dollar this year.
“We raised $35,000 over our goal for this year and, five years later, our spirit is still fresh,” said Jill Bach, an ovarian cancer survivor of 10 years this month, who co-founded BTDF with Helen Gardner, of blessed memory, Lynn Lentscher, and Julie Shrell to raise money to support the awareness of, and hopeful cure for, ovarian cancer.
“We are just as invigorated now as we were with our first ride and all of the participants, those who helped in the planning, our cycling instructors, and really everyone, (created) a feeling of community and responsibility.”

(left to right) Wheel to Survive board members Jill Bach, Lynn Lentscher, Gary Gardner, Lisa Hurst, Sheryl Yonack, and Julie Shrell at the 2017 Wheel to Survive at the Aaron Family JCC (not pictured Darren Fishman and Missy Quintana).

(left to right) Wheel to Survive board members Jill Bach, Lynn Lentscher, Gary Gardner, Lisa Hurst, Sheryl Yonack, and Julie Shrell at the 2017 Wheel to Survive at the Aaron Family JCC (not pictured Darren Fishman and Missy Quintana).

There were 380 riders who made pledges of a minimum of $250 each, some for the first-time and others who have been spinning their wheels for each of the five rides. Throughout the years, BTDF has expanded to include events in Austin, Houston, Lubbock, the Bay Area of Northern California, and, for the first time this year April 30 in South Florida, with Jill Bach, daughter Alicia, Jon Mize, and Lisa Hurst there to represent.
Marcy Kammerman instigated the April 30 Florida ride in Delray Beach, which runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. She first rode in Dallas in tribute to her friend Kathy Mansfield, of blessed memory. At press time, Kammerman and co-chair Stacey Krone, whose mother Jeri is now in the throes of the disease, already have 61 riders and more than half of their $50,000 raised.
All funds raised at Wheel to Survive rides will be directly pledged to programs at the Clearity Foundation, the Lazarex Cancer Foundation, Dr. Doug Levine’s work at the Gynecology Research Lab at the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center, the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center, the Moon Shots Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the Ovarian Cancer Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Lisa Mize, the wife of BTDF’s Wheel to Survive Jon Mize and member of the Jumping Jacks team, has ridden for all of the hours of each of the rides in the last year.
“I see how hard Jon works and how much he cares, how could I not support him?” she said. “I see the 110 percent that happens each day and I’m here riding for all those who cannot.”
Supporters and riders, young and older, filled the gym with spirit and spinning spokes.
“Every day is an absolute blessing,” said Bernice Bach, Jill’s mother-in-law who came in from Atlanta to ride with the Teal Riders, raising close to $4,000 herself.
Bach’s husband Alan and daughter Michelle also spun in support.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Jill and everyone and I’m so excited to be a part of this. What an amazing day.”
As in previous rides, the last hour of the event was dedicated to survivors and those who have lost their battle to the disease. In addition, survivors were present and speaking to the crowd before each hour began, telling their stories of strength, community, bravery and optimism.
“A powerful moment is an understatement when reflecting on standing at the front of the ride with the other survivors – a stage of brave women,” said Shrell, whose husband Rob, daughters Marissa and Simone, brothers David and Jeff all pushed spokes for the cause. “All levels of survivorship; newly diagnosed, many times diagnosed, in remission, are all so strong and inspiring. The awareness of this disease and what it can do to us, to our families, is our priority. It’s why we’re here and there needs to be more of us surviving. The numbers haven’t changed – more than 15,000 women die every year from ovarian cancer, the percentages greater for Ashkenazi Jews — and we need, we must make the change happen. This is a sorority we never wanted to be a part of and so we ride in memory of those who are gone, in honor of those in the midst of it all.”
Joining Shrell, Bach and Lentscher were Jessica Baxter, Linda Bezner, Joanne Burlou, Kathy Drescher, Athene Harmel, Charlotte Huthnance, Mimi Kogutt, Nancy Phillips, Lauren Shecht, Holly Tomlin and Karen Wyll and survivor, Mandy Ginsburg, who spoke in memory of her mother and aunt who both passed away from the disease. For all, it is hoped this is the last ride needed — that a cure comes through and ends the pain, worry, strains and loss.
Wheel to Survive is just one of many projects of BTDF, the organization just signing on to volunteer at the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, speaking with newly diagnosed patients.
“The clinic reached out to us and we all believe it’s important to share our experiences and we want to make such a connection in each of the cities where we have rides,” said Bach who, with Linda Bezner, Joanne Burlou, Lentscher and Shrell, has committed to once-a-week support at the hospital.
“There aren’t many survivors of this disease, but we are here, and we are hope.”
For information on future Wheel to Survive rides, to participate in person, as a “virtual rider,” or to make a general donation, visit bethedifferencefoundation.org or email info@bethedifferencefoundation.org.

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Changing face of Holocaust education

Posted on 20 April 2017 by admin

Giving Jewish voices credence dramatically changes lesson told

Submitted report

Holocaust education in Dallas is changing.
Traditionally, the Holocaust has been taught through the pictures and propaganda left behind by the Nazi perpetrators, ignoring their unwavering mission to dehumanize the Jews. The Jews in turn are presented as the eternal victims, helpless in the face of the oncoming force of Nazi hatred. The focus is the huge number of people lost: faceless, nameless bodies fed to the fires.
The timeline starts in 1933 and ends in 1945, as if their victims had no existence outside of the barbaric cruelty the Nazis dealt them.
“By allowing the Nazis to tell our story,” says Dr. Deborah Fripp of Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound, “we have unwittingly allowed them to continue their agenda of dehumanization and to make us feel eternally victimized.”
Now there is a new narrative, telling the story from the Jewish point of view. This new way of teaching uses the documents, the pictures, the literature, the art, and the music that the Jews left behind, as well as the testimony of the survivors. The story begins before the rise of the Nazis and continues beyond the liberation of the camps.
A narrative based on the Jewish point of view is possible because the Jews in the Holocaust left behind documents to tell what really happened. They knew that if they did not document what was happening, then their story would be left to the perpetrators to manipulate.
“When we tell the story from the Jewish point of view,” says Fripp, “we see a different story than the one we are used to. It is a story of people who held onto their humanity and their Judaism in the face of chaos and terror.”
This new narrative starts before the war, turning the victims into living people with stories to be told. Students see that these were regular people who met the oncoming terror and chaos as best they could. People who strove to hold onto the things that were most important to them. For some that meant underground schools and synagogues; for others, that meant theaters in the ghetto and poetry study groups in the camps.
The old narrative ended in 1945, leaving the survivors as nameless near-corpses in the camps and as terrified children cowering in hiding places or lying about their identities. The new narrative continues after the war, and students come to understand the path their ancestors took from victim to survivor. Students see how the survivors stepped out of the ashes and the bunkers, found a way past the anger and the sorrow, and rebuilt their lives. Students also come to understand that anti-Semitism did not stop at the end of the war. The continued anti-Semitism in Europe after the war drove many survivors back to what had been concentration camps and then on to Israel and America. They come to understand that anti-Semitism continues even today.
Fripp learned about this new narrative while attending a seminar at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, along with Violet Neff-Helms, a teacher at Kol Ami. When they returned, they designed and implemented a comprehensive new Holocaust education program for Kol Ami based on this new narrative. The following year, Kol Ami received a grant from the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to bring the program to other Dallas synagogues. So far, Adat Chaverim, Temple Shalom, and Temple Emanu-El are implementing or planning programs, with more to come.
Fripp and Neff-Helms have also developed a new way to commemorate and celebrate Yom HaShoah: a seder ceremony that commemorates the events of the Holocaust, akin to the commemoration of the Exodus in the Passover Seder. “This Holocaust Seder aims to recognize that once again evil people tried to kill us, but they failed.” Fripp says. “We are still here.”
More about the education program can be found at www.TeachTheShoah.org and about the Seder at www.HaShoahHaggadah.org.

 

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Yom HaShoah Seder
Congregation Kol Ami will host a Yom HaShoah Seder at 6 p.m. Sunday, April 23. It is a special ceremony developed by Deborah Fripp and Violet Neff-Helms. Dinner will be provided. Ages 13 and older
Contact Fripp for more information at deborah.fripp@verizon.net or 972-239-0839.

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An incredible Holocaust escape story, proven by science

An incredible Holocaust escape story, proven by science

Posted on 19 April 2017 by admin

By Tom Tugend
JTA

LOS ANGELES – A one-hour TV program airing next week on PBS links an incredible Holocaust escape story to advanced scientific techniques.

“Holocaust Escape Tunnel,” a “Nova” production to be shown April 19, sheds new light on the attempt by 80 imprisoned men and women — mostly Lithuanian Jews — to make a break for freedom in the face of Nazi bullets. The show documents the application of scientific methods to verify what would otherwise be a nearly unbelievable story.

The documentary is set in and around Vilna, the Yiddish and Hebrew designation for Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. At its peak, before World War II and the Holocaust, Vilna was known as “The Jerusalem of the North” and described as the focal point of Jewish civilization, with famous yeshivas, rabbis and scholars. As the film notes, the city boasted a Jewish population of some 77,000, had 105 synagogues, the largest Jewish library in the world and six daily Jewish newspapers.

The vigorous Jewish life in Vilna started to decline in 1940, when the Soviet Union absorbed Lithuania. It was almost completely destroyed after German armies attacked Russia in 1941, quickly conquering Lithuania.

Within a year Nazi bullets – in the days before Auschwitz-type gas chambers – killed most of the Jews and tossed their corpses into huge pits in the nearby Ponar Forest, initially dug by the Soviets to store fuel and ammunition. One pit alone held 20,000 to 25,000 corpses.

In late 1943, with Russian armies advancing from the east and partisans attacking German supply lines in surrounding forests, Hitler’s headquarters in Berlin decided to cover up the monumental massacre by ordering that all the bodies be cremated.

Jews digging a trench in which they were later buried after being shot in Ponary, Poland. (Courtesy of Yad Vashem)

Jews digging a trench in which they were later buried after being shot in Ponary, Poland. (Courtesy of Yad Vashem)

The Germans ordered the region’s surviving Jews, along with some Russian prisoners of war, to first chop down large trees in the forests, cut them into planks, form huge layers of wood, spread the bodies between the layers and then set them aflame. Methodically, the Germans formed 10 “burning brigades,” each consisting of 80 prisoners, mainly Jewish.

After a day’s work, the “burners” were held in pits and their feet shackled. One such unit, consisting of 76 men and four women, decided it was duty bound to pass on the truth to the world and future generations.

The prisoners freed their legs by

cutting the shackles with a smuggled-in file and, for the next 76 days, using only spoons and their hands, carved out a 2-by-2-foot-wide tunnel extending 130 feet.

April 15, 1944, the last day of Passover, was set for the escape. As the first prisoners left the tunnel, guards opened fire and killed almost the entire group. But 12 made it out and cut through the wire fence. They joined a detachment of partisans commanded by the legendary Abba Kovner.

At the end of the war, all but one of the escapees were still alive and eventually settled elsewhere, mainly in prestate Israel and the United States.

Among the thousands, if not millions, of post-Holocaust remembrances, the story of the Vilna escapees was met with widespread skepticism even by the future wives and children of the 11 survivors, said historian Richard Freund, who is prominently featured in the documentary.

The skepticism was fueled by the absence of any physical evidence of the alleged tunnel. Lithuania — already beleaguered by charges of its wartime collaboration with the Germans — showed little enthusiasm for further investigations.

In recent years, however, with a change of attitude by a new generation of Lithuanians, their government was ready to seek the truth about the Holocaust and invite outside experts to participate in the endeavor.

The infamous

The infamous “Burning Pit” used by the Nazis to burn the remains of their Jewish victims in order to rid themselves of all evidence. (Ezra Wolfinger for WGBH)

An initial contact was Jon Seligman, a leading researcher with the Israel Antiquities Authority. Freund, of the University of Hartford, also was interested — he had directed archaeological projects at the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland, as well as at six ancient sites in Israel. In 2014, the two scholars decided to cooperate on the project, spurred by their similar ancestral descent from Vilna Jews. A third member of the documentary team with Jewish roots in Eastern Europe was Paula Apsell, the senior producer for “Nova.”

Seligman and Freund had initially set their sight on exploring the fate of the Great Synagogue of Vilna, once the center of Jewish worship and scholarship, which had been destroyed by the Germans. The Soviets later razed the remains and built a school there.

The two scholars — backed by other experts and teams of young volunteers — made some dramatic discoveries at the Great Synagogue site, but also were intrigued by reports on the escape tunnel.

In approaching the latter, the project leaders ruled out using the traditional method of digging into an archaeological site with spades and machines.

“Traditional archaeology uses a highly destructive method,” Freund told JTA. “You only have one chance to get it right and you can’t repeat an experiment. Additionally, in our case, we were determined not to desecrate the site and victimize the dead a second time.”

Instead, the teams used two noninvasive techniques that are widely employed in gas and oil explorations. One approach was through Ground Penetrating Radar, or GPR, which uses radar pulses to return images of objects found beneath the earth’s surface. The results were analyzed in Los Angeles by geophysicist Dean Goodman, who developed the GPR software.

In the second approach, called Electrical Resistivity Tomography, or ETR, scientists investigate sub-surface materials through their electrical properties. The same technique is widely used in medical imaging of the human body.

Thanks to these techniques, in 2016 the investigators were able to scientifically confirm the existence and dimensions of a wartime escape tunnel, as JTA reported at the time. The New York Times listed the feat as one of the top science stories of the year.

One of the successful tunnel escapees was Shlomo Gol, whose son Abraham (Abe) was born in a displaced persons camp in Munich, Germany. The elder Gol died in 1986 at the age of 77, and his son will be 68 in July. The family initially immigrated to Israel, then moved to the United States.

Abe Gol, who lives in Pembroke Pines, Florida, told JTA that friends recalled his father as a young man being full of life and a natural leader. However, the father young Abe knew “withdrew within himself” and did not speak of his experiences.

The little he learned of his father’s past came in two ways: One was the annual reunion, on the last day of Passover, held by escapees who had settled in Israel. At dinner, when shots of vodka loosened tongues, the men talked of the past, paying no attention to the boy listening in.

In later years, Gol discovered that his father had kept a written record of his past, which the son translated into English. One small recollection from the diary: the persistent stink from the combination of kerosene and tar the prisoners had to pour on the wood pyres to fan the flames.

At the time of the tunnel’s discovery, Seligman of the Israel Antiquities Authority wrote, “As an Israeli whose family originated in Lithuania, I was reduced to tears on the discovery of the escape tunnel at Ponar. This discovery is a heartwarming witness to the victory of hope over desperation. The exposure of this tunnel enables us to present not only the horrors of the Holocaust, but also the yearning for life.”

With the deaths of the last eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, Freund said, historians will have to rely increasingly on yet unknown scientific and technological advances to preserve and enlarge our knowledge of the great tragedy of the 20th century.

“Holocaust Escape Tunnel” will air April 19 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times; 8 p.m. Central time. Check your local PBS station for details.

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