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The Blue House will be restored, modernized

The Blue House will be restored, modernized

Posted on 28 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Mark Ford The Rosenfield House — or The Blue House — at the site where it was built in 1884, on the road, and now at its new location at 1419 Beaumont St., is like “a grand Lego house,” said developer Mark Martinek, who with Jay Baker is renovating the home.

By Deb Silverthorn

A change of address card is in order. The Rosenfield House, also known as the Blue House, has, over the past year, made its way from its original home, at 1423 Griffin St. in Dallas, to where it stands now, just blocks away, at 1419 Beaumont St. The fifth oldest home in Dallas continues to stand strong. What began in April 2017 became reality 10 months later, in May 2018.
The move enabled the architecturally and historically important house to be rehabilitated and re-used, and to fill in a vacant lot with other single-family homes.
“This is a great story of restoration magic and a confluence of people who came together to save this home,” said Debra Polsky, executive director of the Dallas Jewish Historical Society. “It’s the last of its kind in an area that was the heart of the Jewish merchant community. The Harrises, the Sangers and the Tychers lived there before moving north.”
The two-and-a-half-story Queen Anne-style house in The Cedars was built in 1885 for Jennie and Max J. Rosenfield. It was the model home for its subdivision, and within the confines of what was then the heart of the Jewish community.
These days, the home has local connections. Dallas’ Alex Ray (husband of TJP publisher and editor Sharon Wisch-Ray) is the great-grandson of the couple. The couple’s son, John Rosenfield, Jr., began his career with The Dallas Morning News in 1923 and served as its art critic for 41 years.
“My mother would’ve been beside herself knowing that her grandparents’ first home was still intact,” said Ray. “I want to personally thank the people who have brought it back to life and, when moving it, kept it in the neighborhood that my great-grandfather developed back in the 1880s.”
The Blue House was sold in 1889 and in 1897, and its last inhabitants owned the home from 1942 to 1980. Vacant for five years, it became the Trinity Center drug rehabilitation center. In the last decade, the property was used as a halfway home, then vacated. Time Warner acquired the home in 2015.
Jewish community member and journalist Robert Wilonsky saved the house; it was he who first saw bulldozers in front of the property, then called David Preziosi, executive director of Preservation Dallas. Katherine Seale, chair of Dallas’ Landmark Commission, addressed City Hall as the next step to halt Time Warner from demolishing the house to make way for an office and parking lot. Two-plus years later Time Warner stopped demolition, and paid for the building’s move.
“It was a great save and while we wish it could have stayed in place, it was the only residential home left there,” Preziosi said. “Now it’s in a neighborhood.”
“It’s in surprisingly good shape, with a good roof and strong foundation. This isn’t a fix-and-flip project, not a lucrative project, but one to save a bit of our history from demolition,” said Mark Martinek, who lives three blocks away, in a home built in 1902.
Lots of heart and hope for the home has been drawn from the hands of Martinek, whose “day job” is designing and building modernist architecture. This project, which was “modern” almost a century-and-a-half ago, is new again. “It’s been about three years since the property was sold, and we almost lost it. Instead, history reigns. I’ve always been working on a restoration of one sort or another, warehouse conversions to loft space and other homes.”
To make the move, the home was cut into sections and the main house was stacked like great shelves in five major pieces, the piers and the carriage house following. Once the new foundation was in place, the house was reassembled at its new lot. It was first built long before Facebook or even Polaroid pictures were popular, so there are few photos of how the house first stood. What needs to be reproduced is happening here in Dallas.
Martinek, who is partnering with Jay Baker on the project, is not on the clock for the house’s completion. The expense — and it’s grand — and the methodical care and trueness of the work are his priorities. The team is working with the pine trim and moldings, the stairways and historic windows, to reproduce what was. However, they are updating the wiring and plumbing. What the eye sees on the exterior will be how it was. Internally, this will be an energy-efficient and in-every-other-way-appreciated home of 2020, when move-in is likely.
Following the story has been documentarian Mark Birnbaum, also a Cedars resident, who, with Robert Wilonsky and other neighbors, first saw the excavator in front of the home. “The Blue House” is a docufilm in part about Dallas’ Jewish history. “I started out wanting to make a film that brings us back to the 1880s, to when Congregation Shearith Israel and Temple Emanu-El were still visible from the Rosenfields’ home.”
Birnbaum, who has won numerous awards including Preservation Education and Texas Media awards from Preservation Texas for his film “Restore,” is excited to have his film covering the Blue House, as it begins its second life in a third century.
“We are trying our best to recreate it back to its origin, with materials as best we can. Our first job was to literally move the building and put it back together — an amazing jigsaw puzzle of sorts,” Martinek said.

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Local teens make global impact through BBYO

Local teens make global impact through BBYO

Posted on 28 February 2019 by admin

Photo: BBYO
Ethan Freed (back row, far left) was elected Grand Aleph Gizbor (treasurer) and Kian Roy (back row, third from left) was elected Grand Aleph Mazkir (secretary) when BBYO held its annual International Convention in Denver Feb. 14-18.

By Elena Okowita

More than 120 teens from the BBYO North Texas Oklahoma region gathered with more than 3,000 Jewish teens from around the world at the organization’s International Convention in Denver over President’s Day weekend, Feb. 14 to Feb. 18. The convention featured seminars, as well as celebrities, business leaders, political figures and philanthropists from more than 36 countries. It was co-planned by local teen Aidan Jacoby, who is BBYO’s international vice president.
Jacoby, son of Karla and Eric Jacoby of Plano, described the planning process as a marathon, with lots of late-night phone calls, stressful meetings and management of close to 300 teens, However, once he stepped out on the stage during the convention’s opening ceremonies and saw the entire convention body for the first time, it was all worth it, Jacoby explained.
“Planning BBYO’s international convention provided me with the opportunity to grow as both a Jewish leader and a secular teen,” Jacoby said. “My time on calls, spreadsheets and documents ultimately paid off as I watched more than 6,000 people appreciate the hard work of our team.”
The “team,” as Jacoby refers to it, consisted of the IC steering committee made up of other BBYO teens from around the globe. This committee was led and supervised by Jacoby, who credited the convention’s success to this group.
“Their hard work made convention possible, and being able to celebrate with them after their programming was implemented was very rewarding,” he said.
Two North Texas teens — Kian Roy, son of Jenni and Gavin Roy of Dallas, and Ethan Freed, son of Dana and Larry Freed of Plano — were elected to the International Board for the 2019-2020 term.
Roy, who was elected Grand Aleph Mazkir, or international secretary, said his motivation to run stemmed from the opportunity to make an impact upon others. He is excited to act as a leader and role model for the next generation of Jewish teens.
“Being on the board gives me the opportunity to interact with teens and adults from all across the globe, while really learning how to successfully connect and build relationships with my peers,” he said. “My influence will hopefully inspire others to find their passion for Judaism, enhancing our Jewish futures while creating strong friendships with fellow Jews from around the world.”
In his new position, Roy will be responsible for coordinating the International Leadership Training Conference, a three-week summer session at BBYO’s Perlman Camp in Pennsylvania.
The session is full of leadership and Jewish enrichment,” Roy said. “Having the chance to build special moments and bond with all of the teens in attendance will be an amazing experience, and allow me to finish my term on board with one last special opportunity.”
Ethan Freed was elected to the position of Grand Aleph Gizbor, or international treasurer. Inspired by past members who continued to push him further into his BBYO journey, Freed is grateful and excited for the opportunities that are ahead.
“Past members of my chapter put their time and dedication into me, and I knew that I had to give back to the organization that gave me so much,” he said.
As the new treasurer, Freed plans on using his position to make a real and lasting impact on the organization.
“I plan on expanding the current monetary sources that BBYO has, to ensure that BBYO can continue to grow to countries that lack funds, so we can fight the 80 percent post-bar mitzvah drop-off rate,” he said. “Let’s show that being Jewish has never been about being; it has always been about doing.”
Dallas will host the International Convention next year. The city will welcome over 5,000 teens, guest speakers, stakeholders, and performers over the weekend of Feb. 13-17, 2020. With local leaders like Roy and Freed at the helm, IC 2020 is sure to continue its legacy of success and Jewish continuity.
There will be many volunteer opportunities to get involved with the planning of IC Dallas. Email Lory Conte, BBYO senior regional director, at LConte@bbyo.org to learn more!

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Left-wing group protests Shabbat speech by ex-Israeli soldier at UT Chabad

Left-wing group protests Shabbat speech by ex-Israeli soldier at UT Chabad

Posted on 25 February 2019 by admin

 

By Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Members of a Jewish left-wing group protested a speech by a former Israeli soldier who spoke following Shabbat morning services at the Chabad Jewish Center at the University of Texas in Austin.

About a dozen protesters from the Austin chapter of IfNotNow sang protest songs and carried signs reading “Occupation is not moral” and “Moral combat? Moral disaster” as they protested in front of the center Saturday morning.

Chabad Rabbi Zev Johnson charged in a blog post that the protesters took photos and videos of people entering the Chabad, including his young children, encouraged his children to join their protest, and prevented guests from entering the building. IfNotNow denies his version of events.

IfNotNow in a statement also objected to Chabad characterizing their actions as disrespecting Shabbat.

“We know our actions were only mischaracterized because we spoke out against the Israeli occupation,” the statement said.

“Why is IDF propaganda allowed in our communal spaces, let alone following Shabbat morning services? That is the real outrage here, not a bunch of Jews standing outside the building singing ‘Olam Chesed Yibaneh’ (We Will Build This World with Love),” the group also said in a tweet.

The soldier, Leibel Mangel, an American-born motivational speaker, spoke at lunch following services about visiting Auschwitz with his survivor grandfather, who he said stood up to the SS officer and physician Joseph Mengele during his internment there. He also spoke about his experience of being one of the soldiers to discover the bodies of three Israeli teens kidnapped and killed by Hamas in 2014, according to Johnson. He also led a discussion about morality in combat.

IfNotNow charges that Mangel “uses the Holocaust as a way to justify the occupation. There is no denying the very real trauma that the Holocaust has left on our community; yet, our historical trauma should not be exploited to justify the oppression of Palestinian people.”

Johnson said the protesters “lied about the what was discussed, and exploited our Jewish community for cheap photos on social media.”

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A Jewish guide to the 2019 Oscars

A Jewish guide to the 2019 Oscars

Posted on 21 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures
Ruth Bader Ginsburg chats with her granddaughter, Clara Spera in “RBG.” The film is is up for best feature documentary. It’s directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

 

By Gabe Friedman

(JTA) — The Oscars are a mess. Hollywood’s biggest night still does not have a host, with Kevin Hart withdrawing over past homophobic tweets. That seemed to have reminded celebrities who were potentially interested in the gig that it’s one of the toughest in showbiz (some want to believe Whoopi Goldberg is secretly hosting).

But there has been more drama: the possibility of a new category for best popular film elicited strong emotions and eventually was scrapped; plans to present some awards during commercial breaks to shorten the rather lengthy ceremony were protested by some prominent people, among them Martin Scorcese and Brad Pitt; and a decision to buck tradition by not inviting back some 2018 winners as presenters was widely derided.

Scott Tobias, writing in The Verge, said the Academy Awards show “will almost certainly be a fiasco of epic proportions.”

But there’s always hope. While many expected the recent Grammy Awards to be a disaster following pre-ceremony drama involving performers like Ariana Grande, postmortem reflections were much kinder.

The list of Oscar nominees this year lacks the epic Jewish themes and connections present in most years, but there are still interesting story lines to many of them and the show must go on. Here’s your Jewish guide to the 2019 Academy Awards:

And the big nominees are …

* Rachel Weisz is one of the favorites to win best supporting actress for her role in “The Favourite.”

* Perennial nominees the Coen brothers are up for best adapted screenplay for their Western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”

* Past nominee Eric Roth is nominated in the same category for co-writing “A Star is Born.”

* The documentary “RBG,” on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is up for best feature documentary. It’s directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

* “A Night at the Garden,” about a massive Nazi rally held in New York City in 1939, is nominated for best documentary short.

* The hit “Shallow,” from “A Star is Born,” is up for best original song. It was co-written by Mark Ronson, the star producer who had a bar mitzvah.

Spike Lee gave us a Jewish cop.

The veteran director talked to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about his best picture-nominated “BlacKkKlansman,” in which a Jewish detective helps a Colorado town’s first black cop infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. “We did not want [it] to become another black-white kind of buddy film, which has been done a million times,” Lee said.

A James Baldwin adaptation gave us Dave Franco in a yarmulke.

“If Beale Street Could Talk” — “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel — is also up for best picture. One of the film’s most moving scenes involves a Jewish landlord played by Dave Franco.

‘Roma’ brought up Mexican-Jewish history (sort of).

Alfonso Cuaron’s period piece “Roma” is favored to win at least a few Oscars on Sunday night, including best picture. It is set in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City in the 1970s; not mentioned in the film is that it used to be one of the city’s centers of Jewish life.

A Nazi documentary angered Fox News.

The aforementioned “Night at the Garden” made headlines when Fox News declined to run a 30-second ad because of its “disgraceful Nazi imagery” (that’s a little like not running a commercial for breast cancer prevention because of sexual content). CNN and MSNBC later ran the ad.

‘Black Panther’ offered a moment to reflect on black-Jewish relations.

The blockbuster superhero flick, which broke box office records and Hollywood assumptions about race, is based on the original Marvel comic — created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (born Stanley Lieber and Jacob Kurtzberg) at a crucial juncture in the civil rights movement. The film is nominated for seven awards, including best picture.

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Unconditional love, from 1 grandparent to all others

Unconditional love, from 1 grandparent to all others

Posted on 21 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Harvey Wang
“Grandparents are the hinges of history, reaching back to our own grandparents, reaching forward to our grandkids,” said author Jane Isay, who will speak on March 6 at the Aaron Family JCC.

 

By Deb Silverthorn

The greatest of loves — of grandparent and grandchild — has lightheartedly, with a sprinkle of truth, been explained as the love between two generations who share “a common enemy.” A morning of understanding the best of this relationship will take place March 6, at the Aaron Family JCC, with family expert and “Unconditional Love: A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today” author Jane Isay.
The program, cosponsored by the Aaron Family JCC’s Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer Dallas Jewish BookFest and the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, is free and open to the public.
“When the grandkids come, the tic-tac-toe game of life gets played in 3-D. There’s nothing like it.” said Isay, grandmother of four who treasures the bond and hopes to help others glean the most they can. “Regardless of proximity, whether you see the kids twice a year or every week, the love crosses the generations. Grandparents are ‘Switzerland’ — always a safe place.”
Isay, who has edited nonfiction books for more than four decades, discovered Mary Pipher’s “Reviving Ophelia,” and commissioned Patricia T. O’Connor’s bestselling “Woe Is I” and Rachel Simmons’ “Odd Girl Out.” She also edited classics, including “Praying for Sheetrock” and “Friday Night Lights.” Before publishing “Unconditional Love,” she wrote “Walking on Eggshells,” about parents and their adult children; “Mom Still Likes You Best,” regarding adult siblings; and “Secrets and Lies,” about family secrets and revelations. “I learned a lot from my authors,” Isay said.
For many grandparents, a grandchild offers a second chance to become the parent they maybe didn’t have the time or the energy to be when raising their own children, the opportunity to turn missed moments into wonderful memories.
Drawing on her personal experience, dozens of interviews and psychological research, Isay explores the realities of today’s multigenerational families, identifying problems and offering solutions to enhance love, trust and understanding between grandparents, parents and grandchildren. She also provides practical advice from when to get involved, when to stay away, and how to foster strong relationships when separated.
“Using an authoritative yet friendly tone, respectful of all three generations involved, and startlingly deep insight into the impact of the past decades of social and economic change on family life, Isay shows the reader how to navigate the new choreography of grandparenting and enter into a dance of grace and delight,” said Wendy Mogel, gracing Isay’s book cover. Mogel herself is the author of “Blessing of the Skinned Knee,” “The Blessing of a B Minus” and “Voice Lessons for Parents.”
“I heard Jane speak at a Jewish Book Council event and she was absolutely engaging. Her book is for every grandparent — the new and the seasoned. It’s really written for all family relationships,” said Rachelle Weiss Crane, JCC director of Israel engagement and Jewish living. “We’re excited to partner with our Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center, and to make a daytime event possible.”
“Grandparents are ‘it’ in the eyes of our children and that is the greatest blessing. We have grandparents running carpool, volunteering in classrooms, and touching their grandchildren’s lives every day. It is beautiful,” said Tara Ohayon, director of early childhood education at the Goldberg Family Early Childhood Center.
Ohayon went on to say that her parents, Helen and Bill Sutker, played an integral role by caring for her own four children. “We love having both generations in the building to share the learning, Shabbat mornings, the Jewish connections, and the bubbies and zaydes so hands-on in the daily care — the fun and the responsibilities.”
Isay is the daughter of Rose N. Franzblau, a New York Post human relations columnist, and the late Abraham Franzblau, a former dean of Hebrew Union College who also practiced psychiatry.
After years of editing at Yale University Press and in New York publishing, it was time for Isay’s next calling. Her two sons were then busy building their own lives in their twenties; she, working to develop the next step of relationship with her now adult children, couldn’t find a book to help her through. “I decided to leave the corporate world and write it myself,” said Isay, whose late husband, literary agent Jonathan Dolger, sent out “Walking on Eggshells.”
Days later, right after her first grandchild was born, Isay got the go-ahead. “My writing and my family have grown together,” the author said. “I now have four grandchildren and four books — and I’m incredibly proud of all of them.”
Isay might not have known her own grandparents — all had passed before she was born — but she is, academically and of the heart, experienced in the ties of grandparents and grandchildren. Friends of her mother filled in the “you are perfect no matter what you do position,” she said. “It’s not the blood, it’s the love,” that builds the connection.
The author, known as Grandma Jane, said she is not the “cheerleader at all events close” to her grandchildren, but the “be there, share experiences, and make Grandma’s special chicken close.”
“Grandparents are the hinges of history,” she said, “reaching back to our own grandparents, reaching forward to our grandkids.”
Jane Isay will speak at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 6, at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas, 7900 Northaven Road The event is free; RSVPs are necessary. For more information, visit jccdallas.org/event/jane-isay.

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Fred Nathan: from educator to author

Fred Nathan: from educator to author

Posted on 21 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Deb Silverthorn
“It was time for me to do something I never had time to,” said Fred Nathan, who penned “Diversions” and “Explosions.” “I’ve always written to escape, opening chapters, but I never had enough time to complete them. Now, I wanted to finish a dream.”

By Deb Silverthorn

Dallas’ own Frederick “Fred” Nathan, a lifelong educator, has put pen to paper once again, releasing his second novel, “Diversions.” Nathan’s first book, “Explosions,” was released in 2013.
“I spent my career teaching, and I still do some of that, but it was time for me to do something I never had time to,” said Nathan, who still studies history and politics.
“Diversions,” with a strong pro-Israel stance, follows a terrorist cell, deeply embedded in American society, that carries out a massive attack. This cell kills and maims hundreds, almost claiming the president as one of its victims. The horrific attack, which followed previous failed attempts by this same group, emboldens its leader to plan a larger, multifaceted attack directed at the heart of America’s leadership.
The expanding web of terror ensnares a brilliant high school senior, a quiet loner with a strong sense of justice, and a lone terrorist seeking revenge on his former colleagues. The Anti-Terrorist Task Force is charged with uncovering the plot and destroying the terrorist cell. In an effort to divert the task force from uncovering his real objectives, the cell leader plans additional, smaller, but nonetheless devastating attacks.
“Explosions,” meanwhile, tells the story of an Islamist cell deeply embedded in the U.S., led by a sociopath and lead operative who is extraordinarily successful in carrying out his missions. A master of explosives and disguise, he most believably passes himself off as a beautiful young woman as he prepares for the plot to realize on July 4.
“I was head of school at the Beren Academy in Houston on 9/11 and the police came in and said we needed to be on lock-down, that we were vulnerable,” Nathan said. “It brought home how real the possibility of terrorism was, how it had touched so close. Since then we’ve seen and heard of other terrorist plots, and we can only imagine those that have failed. Still, in telling my stories, there are Muslim characters who are heroic, because in life and in my fiction, I don’t want to place labels.”
A Dallas resident since 2002, Nathan grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Yetta and Abraham Nathan, of blessed memory, and the brother of Harvey and Wallace. He has been married to his beloved Esther for 55 years; she is the former director of Dallas’ then Department of Jewish Education (now the Center for Jewish Education). The couple’s family includes children Alysa (Eric) Segal, Tamar (David) Halberstam and Aaron; and grandchildren Avrumi and Sholom Tzvi Halberstam and Becca, Brian, Dan and Joshua Segal.
Nathan served as head of school at the Ann and Nate Levine Academy for six years, and was honored with a Doctor of Pedagogy by the Jewish Theological Seminary, a Life Achievement Award by the Board of Jewish Education in San Francisco and a Merit Award for Exemplary Leadership by the University of Judaism in Los Angeles for his accomplishments in Jewish education.
Taking a job teaching while he was in school redirected his mother’s dream for him to become an attorney; he believed that education was something he was meant to do. A product of Jewish day schools, NYU and Yeshiva University’s graduate schools, Nathan has, from the time he was 23 years old, had education at the core of his resume.
Nathan still teaches at Kehillat Chaverim, and is involved in, and a regular Torah reader at, Congregation Anshai Torah, where he is a member. While he works on the future pages of stories still to be told, he hopes for his books to be optioned for film or television. From friends and strangers alike, the reviews for his books are good.
“Fred is an incredible writer and these first two read like he’s written 30. I hope he’ll do more,” said Gary Solomon, a longtime friend and discerning reader, who had a first read while Nathan was still making edits to the first book. “He weaves a great story together in a really nice manner and held my interest. The books are a fast read and I found I could not put them down.”
General reviews on Amazon also provide five of five stars. Readers call the book an easy read, a gripping, well-crafted and action-packed novel in which Nathan describes characters in detail, uniquely weaving characters’ paths together. Reviews credit both of Nathan’s books as being well written and full of suspense, with logical thinking, believability, and the mirroring of the possible intrigue in life today.
“I’ve always written to escape, opening chapters but I never had enough time to complete them,” Nathan said. “Now, I wanted to finish a dream.”
Fred Nathan’s books are available on Amazon.

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Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas to host annual Super Sunday phone-a-thon

Posted on 21 February 2019 by admin

DALLAS — The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas will host its annual Super Sunday event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 3, at the Aaron Family JCC Zale Auditorium in Dallas. This event is presented by Park Place Dealerships and is the Jewish community’s largest fundraising phone-a-thon, offering volunteers the opportunity to work together to raise money to meet vital needs of the community. Leading the charge and serving as event co-chairs are Michael Carr, Micole Pidgeon-Cobert and Andrew Cobert, Shirley and Larry Strauss and Roberta and Stephen Toback.
“From those who never miss a Super Sunday, to newcomers ready to get involved, we’re looking for team members who can join us for the big game,” said Micole Pidgeon-Cobert, Super Sunday co-chair. “The incredible energy of Super Sunday, along with the feelings of connection and compassion that one receives when helping, whether making calls or answering the call, will make for a day our volunteers and our community won’t soon forget.”
Super Sunday offers four hours of volunteer opportunities. Volunteers are needed to make phone calls to close gifts and to help thank current Federation donors as part of its “thank-you” initiative. Snacks and raffle prizes will help add to the excitement of the day. Super Sunday volunteers can sign up easily at www.jewishdallas.org/supersunday.
“This is a great day for our caring neighbors, including our teens, to work together for the well-being and security of the most vulnerable among our extended Jewish family in Dallas, in Israel and overseas,” said Larry Strauss, co-chair of the event. “Teen volunteers can receive credit for community service hours and it’s a fantastic way to experience the vibrant diversity of our Jewish community, to see your friends and meet new ones.”
The event will provide incentives for each of the Federation’s partner agency volunteers in many ways including presenting MVP trophies to the agency, synagogue and individual who wins the most points throughout the day. Points are earned by closing gifts; the more volunteers closing gifts for the partner agency the more points they can score. The whole day will be an energy-filled, friendly competition bringing the community together.
“Come volunteer with us or answer the call and fulfill the mitzvah of tzedakah while giving back to our Dallas Jewish community,” said Mark Kreditor, board chair, Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. “When we all work together we can strengthen our community for generations to come.”

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Will Israel be the fourth country to land on the moon?

Will Israel be the fourth country to land on the moon?

Posted on 21 February 2019 by admin

Photo: Courtesy of SpaceIL SpaceIL co-founders, from left, Kfir Damari, Yonatan Winetraub and Yariv Bash insert a time capsule into their spacecraft.

 

By Ben Sales

(JTA) — He’s spent eight years trying to land a spacecraft on the moon, but when Yonatan Winetraub stood on the launchpad this month at Florida’s Cape Canaveral, he was still in shock.

“I stood right next to the rocket, and it’s pretty big,” Winetraub said in a phone interview Wednesday. “In the video, you don’t see how big the rocket is and how powerful it is. But when you stand up close it’s pretty powerful.”

If Winetraub sounds like a kid marveling at the thought of space travel, that’s because he kind of is. He and two friends, all in their 30s, are on the verge of doing something extraordinary: They intend to make Israel the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon. Only the United States, the Soviet Union and China have done it.

Winetraub and his partners, Kfir Damari and Yariv Bash, aren’t doing it with billions of dollars from a superpower government. In 2011 they co-founded SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit that has a budget of $100 million — a pittance in the space biz. If their mission is successful, it would be the first time any private spacecraft landed on the moon, at lower cost and with a smaller craft than previous landings.

“Kfir, Yariv and myself sat in a bar in a suburb of Tel Aviv and thought, ‘Why not get to the moon?’” Winetraub said at a news conference Wednesday. “I always thought we’re going to get to the moon, but now it’s actually happening, and it’s quite incredible.”

SpaceIL’s squat, circular, three-legged craft is roughly the size of a compact car: 5 feet tall, 6 1/2 feet in diameter and weighing about 1,300 pounds, most of which is fuel. At 8:45 p.m. Eastern time Thursday, barring bad weather or unforeseen problems, the craft will launch into space from Florida hitched to one of Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. Winetraub called it the “Uber of space travel.”

More like UberPool, the car pool option: Whereas Apollo 11’s 1969 trip to the moon took three days, SpaceIL’s will take about two months. That’s because it’s riding shotgun on another rocket and cannot propel itself directly to the moon. Instead it has to use orbiting to align itself, only meeting up with the moon at the beginning of April.

About four minutes after launch, the SpaceIL craft, named Beresheet — Hebrew for “Genesis” — will separate from the rocket. It will send a first communication to SpaceIL’s ground control in the central Israeli town of Yehud and go into orbit around the Earth. Over the course of about a month-and-a-half it will hurtle through space at a maximum speed of more than 22,000 miles per hour. Its thrusters will push the craft in progressively wider and wider orbits around the Earth, and closer to the moon’s orbit.

Then it will enter one of the riskiest steps of the mission.

Once it gets near the moon, the craft must suddenly slow down enough to be pulled into orbit around the moon. If it goes too fast, it will pass right by, speeding directly into space. Then, after about a week of traveling around the moon, the craft will slow down again, dropping toward its landing spot on the Sea of Serenity. About 16 feet up, it will cut the engine entirely and free-fall to the moon’s surface, making a soft landing.

SpaceIL’s founders are confident that the mission will be successful. But Winetraub acknowledged that it’s fraught.

“There are many things that can go wrong and only one thing that can go right,” he said. “You really can’t test everything. The atmosphere is different on the moon, the gravity is different on the moon, so you have to have some simulations, some educated guesses about how it’s going to work.”

There were early hiccups. At the news conference, Winetraub wanted to show an inspiring video about the history of moon landings. Except the sound wouldn’t work. Then the sound came on, but the screen went blue.

“Can we have the sound?” Winetraub asked, chuckling. “The sound is more difficult than getting to the moon. We’ll give it one more try.”

To even reach this point was an unlikely journey for SpaceIL, whose story is a quintessential Israeli startup tale. It was founded to compete in Google’s Lunar XPrize, a contest to see who could build the first private spacecraft to reach the moon. The co-founders submitted their application right at the deadline, Dec. 31, 2010, and went through a few failed experiments before building the right craft.

The first model was the size of a Coke bottle. When that didn’t work, the team made the craft the size of a dishwasher. Now they’re up to a car.

“It is rocket science,” Winetraub said, explaining the difficulty. “If it doesn’t work the first time, that’s OK, but the second time around you expect it to work, so that was hard. We did it again and the design you now see on the launchpad is the third or fourth iteration.”

The XPrize shut down without a winner last year, but along the way SpaceIL received enough funding to keep going. It’s working in partnership with Israel Aerospace Industries, and its donors include the U.S. billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, South African-Israeli billionaire Morris Kahn and Canadian-Israeli real estate mogul Sylvan Adams.

The mission has also become a kind of cause celebre. Buzz Aldrin, who knows something about getting to the moon, tweeted his best wishes Wednesday. His Apollo 11 mission landed on the lunar surface nearly 50 years ago.

“If the #SpaceIL mission is successful this Thursday, Israel will become the fourth country to land an aircraft on the moon,” he wrote. “Good luck, Beresheet!”

The spacecraft will raise an Israeli flag once it reaches the moon. It will carry a time capsule with the entire Bible printed in microscopic text on a coin, along with hundreds of other documents compressed onto small discs: dictionaries, encyclopedias, and Jewish and Israeli texts like the Israeli national anthem and the traditional Jewish prayer for travelers.

The mission also will include scientific research. In partnership with NASA and The Weizmann Institute, an Israeli university, the craft will test the moon’s magnetic field in addition to taking photos and video. After two days the craft will be shut off and the mission will be complete.

But SpaceIL doesn’t think its work will end there. The organization also hopes to inspire Israeli kids to go into science and engineering by showing them that space exploration is achievable. Its educational programs have already reached a million children, whom SpaceIL engages by asking them to help solve certain problems the craft might face, like how to stabilize with fuel sloshing around inside. The craft’s time capsule also will include drawings from Israeli kids.

And SpaceIL is hoping to engage the Israeli public in the mission. There is even a Spotify playlist of Israeli songs appropriate for the launch featuring “Space Shuttles” by the Israeli singer Berry Sakharof.

“It’s the first Israeli spacecraft, but hopefully not the last,” Damari, another co-founder, said at the news conference.

When kids ask him if the craft will return, he says, “We tell them no, it stays there with the time capsule and all sorts of interesting things inside. It’s your job to reach the moon and bring it back.”

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Nearly 100 French Jewish gravestones vandalized with swastikas on day of marches against anti-Semitism

Nearly 100 French Jewish gravestones vandalized with swastikas on day of marches against anti-Semitism

Posted on 19 February 2019 by admin

TOPSHOT – A picture taken on February 19, 2019 in Quatzenheim shows svastikas painted on graves at a Jewish cemetery, on the day of a nationwide marches against a rise in anti-Semitic attacks. – Around 80 graves have been vandalised. The damage was discovered on Tuesday morning at a cemetery in the village of Quatzenheim, close to the border with Germany in the Alsace region, a statement from the regional security office said. (Photo by Frederick FLORIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

(JTA) — Almost 100 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in France were discovered vandalized with swastikas hours before the start of marches Tuesday against the recent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the cemetery in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim, near the border with Germany, on Tuesday afternoon and promised that his government would take action.

Local Jewish community representatives joined Macron as he stood in front of the graves vandalized with blue spray-painted swastikas and observed several moments of silence, The Associated Press reported.

The French president is scheduled to hold a moment of silence with other French leaders on Tuesday evening at the Holocaust memorial in Paris.

French police reported last week that anti-Semitic acts in France rose by 74 percent in 2018 over the previous year, and a wave of anti-Semitic incidents centered on Paris has swept the country in recent weeks, spurring 14 political parties to urge a protest rally in response. The parties, including Macron’s La République En Marche!, and the CRIF Jewish umbrella group called on French citizens to rally Tuesday in Paris and several other French cities in demonstrations under the banner “No to anti-Semitism.”

In response to the cemetery vandalism, Israel’s immigration minister, Yoav Galant, in a tweet called on French Jews to “come home” and immigrate to Israel.

“The desecration of the graves  in the Jewish cemetery in France is reminiscent of dark days in the history of the Jewish people,” he wrote.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement Tuesday called the vandalism “shocking” and said French and European leaders must take a strong stand against the “plague” of anti-Semitism.

– Marcy Oster

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Be The Difference spins wheels for life

Be The Difference spins wheels for life

Posted on 14 February 2019 by admin

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

By Deb Silverthorn

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

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