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JFGD convenes security session

JFGD convenes security session

Posted on 28 August 2019 by admin

Photo: JFGD
SCN National Security Advisor Doron Horowitz leads a security preparedness program for community leaders and first responders. The program, held at Congregation Shearith Israel, was convened by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Community Security Initiative.

Program focuses on preparedness and resiliency

Submitted Story
(Dallas) On Sunday, Aug. 18, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Community Security Initiative (CSI), in partnership with Congregation Shearith Israel, brought together more than 50 individuals representing local Jewish organizations from across the city, for an educational program. The program focused on preparedness and resiliency in emergency situations.
Bill Humphrey, director of community security for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD), convened members of local law enforcement and first responders. The inaugural tabletop exercise was part of its ongoing educational series to help elevate the planning, preparedness and response of local organizations, schools and synagogues.
The program was led by the Secure Community Network (SCN) Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer Patrick Daly as well as the National Security Advisor Doron Horowitz. SCN is the official Homeland Security initiative for organized Jewish communities. This served as the beginning of an increased culture shift, focused on enhancing safety, security planning, and infrastructure for Jewish organizations across North Texas.
“The High Holidays are around the corner. We need to plan, be diligent and stress-test those plans and be ready for anything,” said Bill Humphrey, JFGD director of community security.
“In addition to last week’s training, we plan to provide additional and ongoing educational programs on active shooter preparedness and it is my hope that everyone in the community will see the importance of it and participate,” he continued.
Founded in the summer of 2016, CSI is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas unrestricted annual campaign and the Korenvaes Family Foundation. Federation’s security initiative in collaboration with SCN creates and implements plans to ensure the safety and resilience of our community. Since its inception, the initiative has successfully planned and conducted an educational series for each of the area’s Jewish schools, synagogues and agencies.
“The work of the Community Security Initiative is important to set a culture of responsiveness and preparedness for our local Jewish community,” said A.J. Rosmarin, board chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “In today’s world we see security as a utility, just like water and electricity,” he added.
—Submitted by
Jamie Moore

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North Texas now has its own FIDF chapter

North Texas now has its own FIDF chapter

Posted on 28 August 2019 by admin

Photos: Holly Kuper Photography
Amy and Harlan Korenvaes hosted the FIDF North Texas Chapter opening meeting at their Dallas home.

Special programs for Lone Soldiers one focus for FIDF

By Samuel Weber

At a meeting Aug. 8, at the home of Amy and Harlan Korenvaes, the newly formed North Texas Friends of the IDF (FIDF) chapter demonstrated how its services impact the Lone Soldiers and native soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces. FIDF CEO Major General (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, joined some 60 FIDF supporters.
Also in attendance were Board Chair Yoram Avneri, Lone Soldiers Fay Goldstein and Rina Yaholam, and FIDF directors from North Texas, South Texas and the mid-Atlantic region.
More than $100,000 was raised during the event to support Lone Soldiers and native IDF soldiers.
The FIDF Lone Soldiers program is designed to support individuals who have chosen to work toward Israeli citizenship through service in the Israeli army. The process involves moving to Israel and attending programs to learn Hebrew. Additionally, Lone Soldiers are provided places to live, while they serve in the army. The program also provides the IDF with additional funding for 40 different programs, as a way of improving the soldiers’ quality of life, especially during Shabbat, when they have nowhere to go.In 2018, FIDF raised $140,000,000 for its programs, among them the Lone Soldiers program, which helps IDF soldiers visit their families, attend college and move on with their lives after their service to Israel.
North Texas has nine active Lone Soldiers. FIDF North Texas Director Kathi Ravkind Sebastian shared her ideas on the future of the North Texas chapter.
“I look forward to carrying out the vital work of looking out for the brave young soldiers who preserve and protect the freedoms of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world,” said Sebastian, before the meeting.
Avneri said that, meeting Klifi-Amir for the first time while both were attending a convention in Panama, he felt an instant connection with the Major General. The two discussed the lack of an FIDF chapter in North Texas; the original Texas chapter was based in Houston. That conversation led to the launch of the Dallas chapter, in hopes of spreading care to Lone Soldiers from yet another location.
“FIDF is the only body authorized by the IDF and Israel to collect and donate money to the IDF and Lone Soldiers,” said Avneri.
Miami-based Lone Soldier Fay G.(The IDF does not permit the use of last names in news stories) recounted her first experience with FIDF during her sophomore year of college. “As a leader in my pro-Israel campus community, I was invited as a guest to attend one of these meetings,” Goldstein said. The speaker, an IDF soldier, had held her attention. “I had no idea that, years later, I’d be standing in the same position, in the same uniform that she wore,” Goldstein recalled. Wearing the FIDF backpack that she was given, along with her uniform, Goldstein made aliyah at nearly 28 years old.
Fay G. currently is the head of social media communications of the IDF, managing the organization’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media networks. She said she is living her dream.
“I often think about that night in college,” Fay G. said, “I think about how different my life is now, than it was then, and to remind myself how it was all worth it. I think about how worth it it all is, because now instead of a dress at an FIDF gala, I wear the same uniform as that soldier.”
Joined by Lone Soldier Dallasite Rina Y., Fay G. referenced the code of ethics that every IDF soldier is required to carry with them at all times. Yahalom discussed how she had personally been helped by FIDF in the form of a new gym being built where she was stationed, which was funded as one of the projects undertaken by FIDF.
Klifi-Amir’s address displayed pride in both the IDF and FIDF, citing his 33 years of experience serving with the former. He also shared the differences between the parents of children in the IDF, as opposed to parents of Lone Soldiers.
“If I need to, I can drive or fly not too far to see my children,” said Klifi-Amir. “To me, the real heroes are their (Lone Soldier) parents.” Lone Soldier parents have to trust in their children to be successful and responsible in their service. “We want to make sure they feel that they are not alone,” Klifi-Amir said.
David Wallace, board member of the mid-Atlantic FIDF, as well as an ex-officer in the U.S. Air Force and the State Department, was the evening’s final speaker. “When I was back (in Washington), for the second time, the Washington Jewish Week talked about the FIDF gala . . . I bought my ticket, went to the synagogue,” he said. Wallace indicated that the gala spurred him on to his love of FIDF.
“I was always taught to support what you’re involved in making happen” Wallace said. “There’s only one Israel, and we have to support it, and I urge you to take that first step. Get involved, make that first commitment.”

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Israeli girl, 17, killed in West Bank terrorist attack

Israeli girl, 17, killed in West Bank terrorist attack

Posted on 23 August 2019 by admin

By Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A 17-year-old Israeli girl was killed and her father and brother were severely wounded in a bomb attack at a nature reserve in the West Bank.

Rina Shnerb of Lod, her father Eitan, a rabbi, and her brother Dvir, 19, were hiking at the Ein Bubin spring when they were attacked with an explosive device, possibly a grenade, hurled at them from a passing vehicle, according to reports by the Magen David Adom ambulance service and others.

The spring, which was named for a terrorist attack victim who died in 2015, is a popular destination for hikers. It is near the West Bank settlement of Dolev, east of Modi’in.

The Israel Air Force rescue unit, 669, evacuated the three wounded people from the scene of the attack while treating their injuries.

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Dallasite Richard Harris recalls 1969 Woodstock

Dallasite Richard Harris recalls 1969 Woodstock

Posted on 22 August 2019 by admin

Photo: Mark Goff – Wiki Commons
Richard Harris joined Swami Satchidananda when he welcomed the Woodstock audience with peace and prayer. (Harris is fifth from the right in white.)
Labor Day weekend festival the spot to reminisce

By Shari Stern
Nostalgic Texans eager to dig up their tie-dye T-shirts and flower crowns can enjoy some of the original greats at the Texas International Pop Festival on Labor Day weekend. The festival, set for Saturday, Aug. 31, through Sunday, Sept. 1, at Lake Park Golf Course in Lewisville, welcomes back artists like Chicago, ZZ Top, Grand Funk and Edgar Winter.
The festival may not be Woodstock, but Dallas resident Richard Harris believes it will still bring back the same savor of the storied festival he relished at 17 years old in 1969.
Harris, a recent graduate of the High School of Music and Art in New York, was studying yoga with famous 1960s guru, Swami Satchidananda. Swami’s highly-regarded work for the Integral Yoga Institute earned him an invite to the Woodstock Festival, where he would open with a blessing of peace to the 400,000-person crowd gathered in Bethel, New York.
But blocked roads delayed Swami’s arrival, and some of the performers were unable to get to the site.
As time wore on, Harris remembers that festival promoters encouraged musicians to start playing. Richie Havens, slated as the fifth act, went first.
“After playing everything he knew, he started improvising with his now-famous song, ‘Freedom,’” Harris said. “When he was finished, the Swami had arrived by helicopter.”
Then, Harris, along with his 25 fellow yogis, went onstage with the Swami and became a part of history.
Gazing at the crowd from the stage was a unique opportunity for Harris. He chatted with Havens, while miles of traffic and pedestrians headed toward the grounds, where they had, at one point, stomped over the fence, tearing it down so there were no longer tickets necessary to get in.
“It was like two different events: There was the concert and there was Woodstock Nation,” Harris said.
Friends, families and kids formed ‘tribes’ that set up camp on the grounds near each other.
“I was able to soak in the entire experience, and not just the music,” Harris said. “That’s what made it special. It was living together with people you just met and forming bonds.”
Harris chronicled his experience. “[Woodstock] was a cultural touchstone,” he wrote. “Half a million young people were there, they lived in peace for three days without any visible form of security. They cooperated to share food and shelter.”
The baby boomer still gets emotional when he says, “Woodstock was the epitome of the ’60s, and expressed true values. It was about acceptance and diversity, freedom to express yourself and be yourself in an honest way with music as an integral part.”
Now, Harris will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the same music when Texas celebrates the 50th reunion of the Texas International Pop Festival, featuring some of the same music he heard 50 years ago.
“When I was onstage, I knew that this was going to be one of the most momentous and historical events of the ’60s,” Harris said. “I will never forget it.”

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Be The Difference Foundation modeling hope with fashion show

Be The Difference Foundation modeling hope with fashion show

Posted on 22 August 2019 by admin

Photo: Julie Shrell
“We’re excited to celebrate life and our survivors and raise money to keep making a difference — that’s what we do,” said Lynn Lentscher, right, co-chair with Sheryl Yonack (left) joining Deborah Montonen of Mary Crowley Cancer Research, the beneficiary of the Sept. 26 Runway for Hope luncheon and fashion show.
Survivors will walk runway for ovarian cancer research

By Deb Silverthorn
The Be The Difference Foundation’s first Runway for Hope fashion show and luncheon, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Arlington Hall in Dallas, will celebrate flair and fun, benefiting Mary Crowley Cancer Research.
“We’re excited to celebrate life and our survivors and raise money to keep making a difference — that’s what we do,” 21-year ovarian cancer survivor and Event Co-chair Lynn Lentscher said. “With Mary Crowley Cancer Research, we’re raising hope and creating awareness to quick and personal responsibility for women facing this insidious disease.” Joining Lentscher as co-chair is Sheryl Yonack and as honorary chair, Elizabeth Gambrell.
Lentscher, Jill Bach, Helen Gardner and Julie Shrell founded Be The Difference Foundation in 2012.
Runway for Hope will feature fashions from Nordstrom and Kendra Scott with former Channel 5 sports anchor Scott Murray and Nordstrom’s Nicole Aarons as emcees. Your Queen Bead and Kendra Scott pop-up shops will be open, along with raffle items for bid and complimentary gift bags from Drunk Elephant.
Yonack and Shrell designed a custom necklace for the event. The bronze-veined turquoise piece with a pavé coin component will be sold at Runway for Hope and during a Kendra Gives Back event from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at Kendra Scott/Preston Center. A donation will be made to Mary Crowley Cancer Research on all sales, and purchases at the Kendra Gives Back event will receive a 10-percent discount.
“We’ve lost mothers and grandmothers, aunts, cousins, daughters and friends. There must be a cure,” said Yonack. “Runway for Hope may raise the dollar that makes that difference. It’s why we’re here.
“Ovarian cancer is the fifth-largest killer of women and it needs to no longer be a quiet disease,” she added.
An estimated 230,000 women live with ovarian cancer in the United States. Of those 230,000 women, 70 percent are expected to die. Through Be The Difference Foundation’s Wheel to Survive indoor cycle, and other events, more than $2.6 million has been donated to agencies for research, growth, support, education and awareness.
Runway for Hope will feature 12 models, currently battling or in remission from ovarian cancer, who will be pampered and readied for the event by Johnny Rodriguez the Salon.
“Ovarian cancer hits women of all ages,” survivor Kezhal Dashti said. “I promised myself that, if I came out alive, I would tell my story and help others. It’s more common than people realize and unfortunately, its diagnosis is often delayed.”
Lauren Shecht’s diagnosis also came after many consultations. After her mother and aunt both had breast cancer, she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene and thought a double mastectomy proactive. Two years later symptoms arose and, through numerous doctors later during exploratory surgery, was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer.
“That was with my caution,” said Shecht, whose children were 3 and 6 at the time. “It changes your whole life, your whole plan.”
After sixteen months in remission, cancer returned along with another eight months of chemotherapy. “People don’t realize how many young women are affected,” said Shecht, whose friends and family created the “L Team,” riding many years and raising many dollars in Wheel to Survive. “I’m excited for Runway for Hope, to get dressed up and feel pretty. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like me and this is a wonderful occasion and cause to share in.”
Patients like Dashti, Shecht and thousands of others depend on treatments and trials like those through Mary Crowley Cancer Research, which has received $400,000 in grants from Be The Difference Foundation. Its mission is to expand treatment options for all cancer patients through the investigational vaccine, gene and cellular therapies.
“We’re an independent agency making things happen quickly and our personal touch is beyond measure,” Mary Crowley Cancer Research Vice President and Chief Development Officer Deborah Montonen said. “We’re thrilled to have the support of Be The Difference Foundation. The more we collaborate, the more we enhance our agency’s visibility. The more we help, the more lives we save.”
Saving lives — that’s always in fashion.
For details, tickets and sponsorships, visit bethedifferencefoundation.org/events.

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AIPAC and other Jewish groups join Democratic lawmakers in criticizing Israel’s decision to ban Tlaib and Omar

AIPAC and other Jewish groups join Democratic lawmakers in criticizing Israel’s decision to ban Tlaib and Omar

Posted on 15 August 2019 by admin

Photo: Laura E. Adkins for JTA/Getty ImagesIsraeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, said Reps. Rashida Tlaib, center, and Ilhan Omar, right, provided an itinerary that “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.”

By Josefin Dolsten

This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Israel’s decision on Thursday to ban Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from entering the country has quickly prompted a wave of impassioned responses from across the Jewish community.

Pro-Israel groups, including AIPAC, and prominent Democratic lawmakers are already objecting to the move.

AIPAC’s statement, along with others from establishment Jewish groups, criticized Omar and Tlaib’s support for the movement to boycott Israel. But like others who have their differences with the two House reps, AIPAC said that Israel should nonetheless allow sitting members of the United States Congress to enter the country and see it for themselves.

“We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib’s support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib’s calls for a one-state solution,” the organization tweeted, referring to the boycott Israel movement. “We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand.”

Israel announced on Thursday that the Muslim congresswomen, both Democrats, would not be allowed to visit ahead of a planned trip this Sunday. Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, had previously said Israel would not bar any members of Congress.

But Israel’s decision came shortly after President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel “would show great weakness” if it let in the two congresswomen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the decision on Tlaib and Omar, saying he received their itinerary a few days ago and that it “revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy.” The itinerary said the destination was listed as Palestine and included no visit with any Israeli officials, he said.

Tlaib, D-Mich, and Omar, D-Minn., are supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. Under Israeli law, BDS supporters can be prevented from entering the country. They have also at times invoked what critics call anti-Semitic tropes in criticizing the Jewish state.

Here are reactions from other Jewish groups, the United States Embassy in Israel and prominent lawmakers. JTA has asked several Republican lawmakers for comment, including Reps. Lee Zeldin of New York and David Kustoff of Tennessee, as well as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

THOSE WHO LIKE THE DECISION

The Republican Jewish Coalition threw its support behind Israel’s decision, noting that the country recently welcomed a congressional delegation of 70 lawmakers from both parties. The RJC said Netanyahu welcoming that delegation shows that this decision “has nothing to do with American partisan politics.”

The right-wing Zionist Organization of America praised the ban in a statement from its president, Morton Klein, and chairman, Mark Levenson. The pair said that the congresswomen “should not be given the opportunity to further delegitimize and harm all of us.”

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman wrote on Twitter that he supports the decision, saying that the lawmakers’ trip itinerary showed the visit “is nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine.”

THOSE WHO DISLIKE THE DECISION

AIPAC (See above.)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center‘s associate dean and director of global social action slammed Tlaib and Omar., calling them ” unapologetic anti-Semites.” But Rabbi Abraham Cooper also added in a statement that “the first instinct of Israeli officials to let them into the country was [the] right one.”

The American Jewish Committee‘s CEO, David Harris, wrote on Twitter that “Israel faced a tough choice,” but that it “should’ve taken the high road & let these Members of Congress in, no matter how vile their views.”

The Anti-Defamation League likewise said that “while we absolutely disagree with the pro-BDS positions of Reps. [Omar and Tlaib], keeping them out is counterproductive.”

The executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, Halie Soifer, said in a statement that banning lawmakers ” is counterproductive and plays into President Trump’s goal of politicizing support for Israel.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement that the move “is a sign of weakness, not strength” that “will only hurt the U.S.-Israeli relationship and support for Israel in America.”

In a statement, the co-chair and CEO of the Democratic Majority for Israel, said Israel’s decision was “both wrong and unwise.”

The liberal Israel policy group J Street decried the decision in a statement, saying Trump’s tweet urging Israel to ban the members “illustrates that this decision is motivated purely by politics and ideology.”

Dan Shapiro, who served as ambassador to Israel under President Barack Obama, criticized Israel’s about-face and wrote on Twitter that there would be “zero harm in letting them come learn, see (even if they had an agenda). Reversal harms Israel’s standing in US, boosts BDS.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called on Netanyahu to reverse the decision. He tweeted that barring Tlaib and Omar “is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy.”

On Twitter, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called banning the congresswomen “a shameful, unprecedented move” and urged the Jewish state to allow Tlaib and Omar to enter.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and Speaker of the House, said in a statement that “Israel’s denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great State of Israel.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a tweet the decision “undermines the ability for our two allied countries to have the frank, open and, at times, difficult discussions that we must have in order to ensure Israel remains a secure and democratic nation.”

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said she was “saddened” by the decision and urged Israel to reconsider in a tweet.

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said he was “extremely disappointed” by the move.

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Israel confirms it is banning Tlaib and Omar from entering country

Israel confirms it is banning Tlaib and Omar from entering country

Posted on 15 August 2019 by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., right, and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., attend a rally with Democrats in the Capitol to introduce the “Equality Act,” which will amend existing civil rights legislation to bar discrimination based on gender identification and sexual orientation on Wednesday, March 13. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Josefin Dolsten

(JTA) — Israel’s deputy foreign minister confirmed that Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar will not be allowed to enter the country.
“We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle this is a very justified decision,” Tzipi Hotovely told Israel’s public broadcaster Kan.


The statement came shortly after a Washington Post report claimed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was weighing banning the two Muslim congresswomen, both supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. Under Israeli law, BDS supporters can be prevented from entering the country.
Tlaib, D-Mich., and Omar, D-Minn., are outspoken critics of Israel and both at times have been criticized for relying on anti-Semitic tropes in their criticism. They were scheduled to visit the Jewish state on Sunday.
Shortly after the Post report, President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that Israel “would show great weakness” if it let in the two congresswomen.
Israel’s envoy to Washington, Ron Dermer, said last month that the country would not deny entry to any member of Congress.
The president has repeatedly attacked Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, and Omar, who was born in Somalia, at times invoking rhetoric widely described as racist.

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Coming in hot: 10 new ways the Federation is here for good

Coming in hot: 10 new ways the Federation is here for good

Posted on 14 August 2019 by admin

Photo: JFGD
New Cabinet members with Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Affinities Director Janine Zaltsman Reutter: from left, Jared Eisenberg, Andrew Miller, Zaltsman Reutter and Bobby Gibbs

Fresh Faces at Federation

Submitted Story

Hot on the heels of a busy spring season, the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas (JFGD) didn’t slow down over the summer. From its new board chair to its 2020 campaign kick-off to its Connecting | Dallas launch, it is here for you and here for good. Here’s how.
In early June, A.J. Rosmarin was formally installed as board chair. Rosmarin has served in philanthropic roles in the Dallas Jewish community for nearly 40 years and his service extends to Israel, where he is on the board of the Friends of the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya. His leadership at JFGD began in 2006 when he co-chaired the Annual Campaign. Rosmarin’s leadership helps to guide the Federation as it enters a new era.
Effective Aug. 1, the Federation welcomed Mariam Shpeen Feist as president and CEO. Feist was formerly the Federation’s Senior vice president and Chief Development Officer and is only the second woman to lead the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas in its 108-year history.
“My goal was to find the best person available for the position because Dallas is a great place to live with a strong Federation serving Jews in need locally, Israel and throughout the world,” said Rosmarin. “We are on a great trajectory, and I’m confident Mariam is the right person.”
Feist has more than 33 years’ experience in fundraising. She has held roles at the UJA-Federation of Greater New York, the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network and World ORT. She began her tenure at JFGD in 2012 as chief development officer (CDO) and assumed the role of senior vice president and CDO in 2014.
Part of an elite group within Jewish nonprofits, Feist is also a member of the CEO Onboarding Program at Leading Edge. The Leading Edge program provides CEOs with a supportive peer network at nonprofits in the American Jewish community and beyond. The diverse cohort represents 14 major national and local organizations across the country and includes federations, JCCs, social service agencies, advocacy organizations and denominational leaders.
This month the Federation also announced its new executive director of the Center for Jewish Education (CJE), Rabbi Mordechai Harris, who now serves as the Federation’s primary education representative to the Jewish educational community. He comes to Dallas with his wife, Nisa, and their three daughters. Harris was most recently the director of the Center for Jewish Living and Learning in Memphis, Tennessee.
New ways of connecting
New members to the Dallas Jewish community can reach out to Connecting | Dallas. The Federation recently rolled out Connecting | Dallas to assist and connect Jews to everything Jewish in Dallas. Led by Peta Silansky, this new initiative helps Jews find their place in our vibrant community. Connect today at connecting@jewishdallas.org or 214- 615-5250.
The safety of the Jewish community has long been a priority of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. The Federation’s Community Security Initiative (CSI) is responsible for convening, preparing and equipping Jewish organizations with the information and education needed to be safe and secure through training sessions and programming. CSI continues to launch new programs to help meet this goal. Initiatives planned for the incoming campaign year include Run Hide Fight, Shul Watch/School Watch, Cyber Security and more.
One meaningful way to connect with the community is at the Shabbat table. The Federation is now a host of OneTable. OneTable empowers those who do not yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to find and share the Shabbat experience by connecting together to build one that feels authentic, sustainable and valuable. It is available for young adults, ages 21-39, who do not yet have children. To join or host OneTable Shabbat, visit onetable.org and select “find a dinner” or “become a host.”
Starting in 2020 the Federation will launch another connection opportunity: Honeymoon Israel. Honeymoon Israel is a Jewish organization that provides trips to Israel for couples with at least one Jewish partner. Each trip includes 20 diverse couples from the same city — couples with one Jewish partner, couples where both partners were born Jewish and couples where one partner is converted/Jew by choice.
Soon couples in the Dallas area will be invited to apply for Honeymoon Israel via the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. JFGD is excited about this new adventure and the opportunity to help connect couples with an integral part of Jewish heritage.
Continuing to lead
National Young Leadership Cabinet is the premier leadership and philanthropic program within The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and throughout the Jewish world. Cabinet comprises approximately 300 men and women, ages 30 to 45, from across the United States and Canada who are deeply committed to shaping a bright future for the Jewish people in North America, Israel and around the globe.
National Young Leadership Cabinet is a six-year journey with a variety of destinations, all of them reached by stronger, more vibrant leaders.
In April, three Cabinet members traveled to St. Petersburg and Moscow to learn about the work Federation does overseas (Jonathan Rubenstein reported on this trip in the Aug. 1 issue of the TJP). At the end of July the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas Affinities director, Janine Zaltsman Reutter, joined seven Cabinet members for a retreat in Toronto. More than 250 young adults attended the retreat, which is a four-day leadership program with inspiring speakers, learning opportunities and relationship building aligned around shared values and a common, collective purpose.
“The retreat helped me articulate why I care about Federation giving in the context of my overall charitable agenda, and I can proudly say I am now all-in,” said new Cabinet member Bobby Gibbs.
New Cabinet members include Jared Eisenberg, Bobby Gibbs and Andrew Miller. Current members Jonathan Rubenstein, Ophir and Sharron Laizerovich, Alex More, Jay Post, Eric Axel, Sean Dalfen, Ryan Milstein, Jacob Ratner, Seth Weisblatt and Dana Lipp continue in their NYL Cabinet tenure.
Here for you and here for good
In October the Federation will kick off its Annual Campaign. This year’s tagline connotes the Federation’s commitment to the community, the organization’s mission and its longevity. JFGD is “Here for you. Here for good.”
Soon yard signs will be visible at Jewish community landmarks throughout the Dallas area.
—Submitted by
Amy Principe
Digital and marketing manager of the
Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas

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Rabbi Robbins debuts ‘Psalm 27’ book

Rabbi Robbins debuts ‘Psalm 27’ book

Posted on 14 August 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
Since 1991 Rabbi Debra J. Robbins has been leading from the bimah, teaching and helping the families of Temple Emanu-El through lifecycle events. Here, Rabbi Robbins’ joy and smile matches that of the bride during the wedding ceremony of Lindsay Sureck to Scott Chiu.

Dallas-area rabbi hopes readers use her book in daily life

By Deb Silverthorn

Gather. Settle. Bless. Read. Write. Sit. Forgive. Remember. Celebrate. These are the directions, guidelines, reflections and recommendations of Rabbi Debra J. Robbins, in her new book “Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27.”
“We are the recipients of these beautiful words and I want people to do more than just read them,” Rabbi Robbins said. “Use them toward the spirited work we’re called on (to do) at this season. This is an invitation to read Psalm 27, traditionally read every day from the beginning of Elul to the end of Sukkot, carefully and meaningfully.”
At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, Rabbi Robbins will share an introduction to the practice of her book in celebration of the book’s launch. Books will be available for purchase and Rabbi Robbins will sign copies.
In addition, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26, Rabbi Robbins will lead participants in personal reflections on repairing the soul and repairing the world during the High Holidays. She’ll conclude the High Holiday season at the sukkah luncheon at noon on Thursday, Oct. 17, to review the holiday season and consider practices moving forward. All events will be held at Temple Emanu-El, where Rabbi Robbins has served since 1991.
Rabbi Robbins was inspired to write “Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27” by her own introspection. With encouragement from others and realizing the process she developed for herself could be meaningful to others, she spent two years transforming her experience beyond the bimah and the classes she’d taught.
“This practice is built on the premise that anyone can do (almost) anything for five minutes,” Rabbi Robbins said. “With ‘Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27,’ we read, write and then sit still and let it settle — each for just five minutes.”
With lessons learned from her participation in the Institute for Rabbinical Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Robbins recommends finding the depth and possibilities of one phrase within a prayer and connecting to it.
Rabbi Robbins finds joy in seeing her book’s dedication to her parents, Judith and Norman Robbins, of blessed memory, “with gratitude for the gift of life and the blessings of their legacy that continue to unfold,” just above the Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication details.
The Newton, Massachusetts native, raised at Temple Israel in Boston, received her undergraduate degree at University of California, Berkeley and was ordained at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. There she met her future husband, Larry, and the two are parents of their son, Sam. Their golden retriever, Baskin, rounds out the family.
“My mother was a teacher who inspired me to enjoy writing, learning and teaching and my father was a great source of solace and strength,” said Rabbi Robbins. “I realized, as a rabbi, I could write, read and teach and I absolutely love what I do.”
Rabbi Robbins has served on the boards of Jewish Family Service of Greater Dallas and Family Gateway and is a founding chair of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas’ Vaad HaMikvah. She is former vice-president for leadership and mentor for the ethics committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and president of Reading Village, helping teens become leaders through literacy in Guatemala. She is also a member of the Women’s Rabbinic Network.
The book’s pride-filled foreword is written by Temple Emanu-El Senior Rabbi David Stern. “She translates the ancient word into the language of human experience and, in doing so, illuminates both.”
Stern says, “(Psalm 27) oscillates between doubt and hope in a way that reflects the truth of our human condition. Psalm 27 knows our pain and our joy.”
Cantor Richard Cohn, at Temple Emanu-El for almost a decade before becoming director of the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music at HUC-JIR, wrote a composer’s commentary to accompany the singing practice he created for the book, “Kaveih el Adonai, Wait Hopefully for Adonai.” A link to the composition is included.
“How do we move step-by-step toward a strengthening of the heart that lifts us in hope toward an awareness of the holy?” wrote Cantor Cohn, who sings the composition with Cantor Amanda Kleinman, raised at Congregation Tiferet Israel and Temple Emanu-El, and now Senior Cantor at Westchester Reform Temple in New York. “Repeating the melody again and again can deepen and expand our understanding of the journey.”
“I am grateful to everyone who has been a part of this book and to Temple Emanu-El for affording me the time and space to work on it,” said Rabbi Robbins, reflecting on the psalm’s last phrase. “‘Wait for Adonai — Fill your waiting with hope in Adonai; Let your heart be strong and of good courage and wait hopefully for Adonai.’
“This is a challenging time to repair ourselves and the world, and it takes great courage for us,” Rabbi Robbins said. “I hope this book provides a true opportunity for readers to find that courage.”
To register for the free workshops, open to the public, visit participate.tedallas.org/psalm27workshops. “Opening Your Heart with Psalm 27” is available at Temple Emanu-El’s Judaic Treasures, on Amazon and at psalm27ccarpress.org. Cantor Cohn’s “Kaveih el Adonai, Wait Hopefully for Adonai” can be downloaded at psalm27ccarpress.org.

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Dallas duo starts clothing line to ‘do guud’

Dallas duo starts clothing line to ‘do guud’

Posted on 14 August 2019 by admin

Photo: Jon Abramson
“I believe more than ever people want to align themselves with brands that stand for positive social causes,” said Leon Jacobson, left, with GuudWEAR co-founder Matthew Ladin. The GuudWEAR co-founders are hands-on designing and creating their fashion line, a percent of which will support nonprofit agencies. “For us, that’s owning a brand that stands for something more.”

Socially inspired startup will benefit homeless shelter

By Deb Silverthorn

The mitzvot of tzedakah and tikkun olam are the fabric of Leon Jacobson and Matthew Ladin, and it’s laced in the tapestry of their company GuudWEAR.
GuudWEAR is a socially inspired company whose founders aim to “do guud” by helping locals transition out of homelessness. In July, the Dallas-based GuudWEAR began taking pre-orders through its Kickstarter offering, with special rewards to participants, running through Aug. 22. Regular sales will follow.
“I believe, more than ever, people want to align themselves with brands that stand for positive social causes,” co-founder Jacobson said. “For us, that’s owning a brand that stands for something more. In taking in the values my parents and siblings instilled in me, I’ve always wanted to be a social entrepreneur.”
The exclusive line, initially hand-pressed by Jacobson and Ladin, is done by a labor-intensive process, curating designs from the streets of Dallas. Both men say their homes look like art and science experiments gone wild: inks, molds, designs and fabrics taking over.
Designs available include the “Bullseye,” from a weathered manhole cover in Highland Park; “Sunrise,” found on a path near SMU; “Griffin,” discovered and molded off an advertising sign base in Lower Greenville; and “Texas,” modeled after a Deep Ellum sewer cover. Shirts are made in a variety of colors, sizes and styles. In the future, the company plans to add bags, hats and sweatshirts to the line.
GuudWEAR’s team is also environmentally mindful from apparel to packaging. Their mantra makes people, planet and profit a priority. A minimum of 7 percent of each item sold will be donated.
Dallas is the second-fastest growing metropolitan city in the country with employment rising at double the rate of the U.S. average and homelessness increasing at 9 percent. It’s where GuudWEAR begins its journey.
“It’s humbling to know we have such dedicated groups and individuals willing to give their time, talents and treasures to help the less fortunate and Dallas’ most vulnerable citizens,” CEO of Austin Street Center Daniel Roby.

From left, Daniel Levitt, Spencer Lieman, Danielle Diegel and Daley Epstein in GuudWEAR’s founding fashions now available at guudwear.com.


Austin Street Center, an emergency shelter in Dallas, will be the first beneficiary officially adopted by GuudWEAR.
“This partnership will certainly benefit our organization through social awareness, growth in our volunteer core and increased philanthropic support,” said Roby. “Together, we’ll be steps closer to ending homelessness throughout our communities.”
Jacobson, a North Dallas native who grew up at Congregation Shearith Israel, is the son of Errol and Esme and brother of Marc and Loren. He graduated from Ann & Nate Levine and Yavneh academies, and is a former member of BBYO’s David Berger chapter.

Daniel Levitt and Daley Epstein sporting initial designs by GuudWEAR.


Ladin, the son of Linda Ladin and the late Ken Williams, is from Hurst. Since celebrating his bar mitzvah at the age of 29 at Temple Emanu-El, Ladin feels closer to the religious side of his Judaism, not just the cultural. He continues studies at The Intown Chabad and Dallas Area Torah Association and has served eight years on the board of the American Jewish Committee. He’s currently a full-time information technology consultant.
“My mother always made it a point for us to give to others, regardless of what we had,” Ladin said. “Our Thanksgiving table was open to anyone who needed a seat and I’ve never forgotten my responsibility to giving to others. Through GuudWEAR we want to provide funds, to share awareness and to hands-on volunteer where we’re needed. Through GuudWEAR we’ll keep doing good.”
Do guud. Look guud. Wear guud. To order, or for more information, visit guudwear.com

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