Archive | Uncategorized

Dallas Doings: Points for Peace, Beacon of Hope luncheon

Dallas Doings: Points for Peace, Beacon of Hope luncheon

Posted on 23 March 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Get ready for P4P

Now that Tiferet’s very successful Chili Cook-off is a wrap, it’s time to look forward to the next big community event.
Students Against Terrorism will host its 15th annual Points for Peace 3-on-3 basketball tournament from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Aaron Family JCC. SAT is a student-run organization associated with Yavneh Academy of Dallas. Its goal is to demonstrate solidarity with Israel and provide support for victims of terror in Israel. The organization is committed to raising awareness in Dallas about the devastating effects of terrorism on Israeli citizens.
SAT began in March 2002, when six Yavneh Academy of Dallas high school students attended a Yeshiva University-sponsored leadership conference in Connecticut. It focused on active leadership and various ways to help combat terror in Israel. After the insightful and motivational conference, the students returned to Dallas to share their thoughts with other students. The result was the formation of Students Against Terrorism.
In 14 years the organization has raised $544,000 for victims of terror in Israel. This year, the goal is to raise $50,000 for Operation Embrace, which provides assistance to injured survivors of terror in Israel. With the guidance from social workers throughout Israel and Bituach Leumi (Israel’s National Insurance Agency), Operation Embrace helps all people who have been violated by random acts of terror and does not discriminate by race or religion.
The goal is to facilitate a brighter future and to help individuals who suffer with physical and emotional trauma to rebuild their lives. The $50,000 will allow Operation Embrace to provide victims of terror with therapeutic Shabbat retreats, therapeutic horse riding camp, social business-café, a rehabilitation training program for PTSD survivors in Sderot and individual assistance.
The 12 divisions of this year’s tournament are: grade 1-2, boys grade 3-4, girls grade 3-4, boys grade 5-6, girls grade 5-6, boys grade 7-8, girls grade 7-8, high school boys, high school girls, adult men, special needs and adult women. There will also be a 3-point shooting contest.
Registration is $30 per team and must be paid online and completed no later than Wednesday, March 26, 2017. Each team must raise a minimum of $200 in sponsorships that will all be donated to Operation Embrace. Teams will not be allowed to play without the minimum amount of sponsorships. All checks and money, excluding the registration fee, can be mailed in before Points for Peace or turned in on the day of the tournament.
All checks should be made payable to Students Against Terrorism, 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas, TX 75251. To sign up or donate, please visit us at points4peace.org, or email contact@points4peace.org.

Grant Halliburton Foundation holds Beacon of Hope luncheon

Popular lifestyle blogger and No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton spoke at Grant Halliburton Foundation’s eighth annual A Beacon of Hope Community Luncheon at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Presents the Beacon Of Hope 2017 Luncheon photographed Thursday, February 23, 2017 at The Dallas Renaisance Hotel. Photography by Bruce E. Maxwell.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Presents the Beacon Of Hope 2017 Luncheon photographed Thursday, February 23, 2017 at The Dallas Renaisance Hotel. Photography by Bruce E. Maxwell.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Presents the Beacon Of Hope 2017 Luncheon photographed Thursday, February 23, 2017 at The Dallas Renaisance Hotel. Photography by Bruce E. Maxwell.

Grant Halliburton Foundation Presents the Beacon Of Hope 2017 Luncheon photographed Thursday, February 23, 2017 at The Dallas Renaisance Hotel. Photography by Bruce E. Maxwell.

Steve Noviello of Fox 4 News emceed the event, and Co-chairs Heidi Perry and Kate Anderson kicked off the ceremony with words from the foundation.

Luncheon speaker Glennon Doyle Melton with Jacob Wisch

Luncheon speaker Glennon Doyle Melton with Jacob Wisch

The Grant Halliburton Foundation works to help families and young people recognize the signs of mental illness through a variety of avenues including education, conferences, collaboration and encouragement. The luncheon aims to bring focus to the vital work needed to educate the North Texas community on adolescent mental health and suicide prevention.

Katie Ray, Speaker Glennon Doyle Melton and Alyson Ray

Katie Ray, Speaker Glennon Doyle Melton and Alyson Ray

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Doings: Annual gala, BBYO

Dallas Doings: Annual gala, BBYO

Posted on 02 March 2017 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Levine’s featured models, artists at annual gala

Levine Academy students Bennett Towbin, 5, and Zachary Goldminz, 10, will be featured models and artists at the Children’s Cancer Fund Annual Gala, a NYC-themed “Broadway Nights and Runway Lights” event — the nonprofit’s 29th annual fundraiser for pediatric oncology research and treatment programs. The gala features live and silent auctions, a children’s fashion show, dinner, drinks and dancing to musical entertainment by DJ Lucy Wrubel. It will be held Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m. (Champagne reception), 7:15 (dinner and program), at the Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 N. Stemmons Fwy. A fashion show presented by Dillard’s and produced by RSC Show Productions will feature children who are undergoing treatment for cancer at Children’s Health in Dallas. The children, “models” for the fashion show, will be escorted down the runway by Honorary Event Chairmen Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, along with many other celebrities and sponsors.
Gala Event Chair Pamela Moayedi, will kick off the program with Aikman and Staubach, who will turn it over to CBS11 News Anchor Karen Borta, mistress of ceremonies.
Proceeds from the gala, slated to raise more than $1 million, go to Children’s Cancer Fund to support pediatric cancer research and treatment programs at Children’s Medical Center. Since 1982, Children’s Cancer Fund has donated almost $8 million to the cause. The Children’s Cancer Fund spring event is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer, hosting over 1,000 guests from North Texas and across the nation.
Bennett — Bennett Towbin, 5, was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 2½, and is in pre-K at Levine. He is the son of Laynie and Hal, and has a younger sister and a dog. He loves sports, including soccer and baseball, and he also enjoys playing with his toys and playing games. He would really like to be a team mascot when he grows up. His mom and dad are his heroes because he loves them so much.
“I am excited to wear special clothes and be onstage for everyone,” said Bennett. “I’m also excited about the Gala because everyone there wants to make a difference in kids’ lives.”
Zachary — Zachary Goldminz, 10, was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma at the age of 8, and is a fourth-grader at Levine. He is the son of Pamela and Jonathan and has a younger sister. He likes reptiles and has a leopard gecko, a crested gecko, two Jackson chameleons and a panther chameleon. His favorite subject in school is science, and he wants to be a professional swimmer and an oncologist when he grows up.

Former Cowboys quarterback and NFL commentator Troy Aikman takes a photo with Zachary Goldminz, who was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma two years ago.

Former Cowboys quarterback and NFL commentator Troy Aikman takes a photo with Zachary Goldminz, who was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma two years ago.

Another former Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach, takes a photo with Bennett Towbin.

Another former Cowboys quarterback, Roger Staubach, takes a photo with Bennett Towbin.

He is a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys as well as European “football” and would love to go to Spain one day to attend a real Madrid soccer game.
“My hero is a 5-year-old Ewing Sarcoma warrior named Claire, who inspired me to fight harder during treatment,” said Zachary. “I’m excited to meet celebrities at the Gala and raise money for cancer research.”
Children’s Cancer Fund brings together local celebrities, dignitaries, philanthropists, sponsors, and media personalities to serve as runway escorts for these young patients modeling in the fashion show. Honorary Event Chairs Aikman and Staubach have been involved for many years: Aikman for 20 and Staubach since the event’s inception 29 years ago. Additional celebrity escorts include current Dallas Cowboys players, cheerleaders, Dallas SWAT, Jane McGarry of WFAA, Miss Texas America and the Pink Heels Firefighters.
“When I was diagnosed with a tumor in 2009 at UT Southwestern, I was terrified about what would happen next. Thankfully my tumor was benign, but my fear was real,” said Gala Chair Pamela Moayedi. “My experience has made me so much more passionate about helping children in that kind of situation. I’m committed to supporting local research that saves lives, especially young kids.”
Individual tickets are $300 or $2,750 for a table of 10. Contact Children’s Cancer Fund at 972-664-1450 or visit www.ChildrensCancerFund.com/Gala for reservations and more information.
The finale of the show each year is a special time for all the children, both those currently battling cancer and young cancer survivors. As they join together onstage, they will be introduced by the evening’s special entertainment, DJ Lucy Wrubel.
“You have to see the look on these kids’ faces as they walk down the runway. It’s what inspires us in our work and in everything we do,” said Jennifer Arthur, CCF executive director of development. “They are fighters and survivors every day, but on that night, they’re stars and they’re shining brightly for their families, for the audience and for each other.”
Children’s Cancer Fund has created a special 2017 lookbook for the Gala, featuring the children modeling in the show. The lookbook includes photos as well as original artwork by these young cancer patients.
To purchase copies after the Gala, please call CCF at 972-664-1450 or visit www.ChildrensCancerFund.com.
Sponsors include: $100,000: Centurion America; $50,000: Texas de Brazil; $25,000: Jennifer Stroud Foundation; Marianne and Roger Staubach, Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Medical Center; $15,000: Emergency Physicians at Presbyterian Hospital; $10,000: Troy Aikman; Albertsons — Tom Thumb; $5,000: Belmont Icehouse; Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo, LLP; Fischer; The Kitchell/Leete Family; Fashion Sponsor: Dillard’s; Media Sponsor: CBS11; In-Kind Sponsors: ALBRITTON DAY; American Airlines; Belmont Icehouse; Elle Films; Gene and Jerry Jones Foundation; Gold Crown Valet; Hilton Anatole; Kendra Scott; Nomad Productions; Patty Foppen Photography; Picasso’s Pizza and Grill; RSC Show Productions; Salon Pompeo.
— Submitted by Elizabeth Lenart

Legacy Willow Bend welcomes BBYOers from abroad

The Legacy Willow Bend was honored to welcome student members from BBYO (formerly B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, now BBYO, Inc.) who recently visited the senior living community for a unique intergenerational event, which offered valuable interactions that positively impacted the lives of everyone involved.

Submitted photo A group of international BBYO participants with bottles of smiles, an idea created at a past convention

Submitted photo
A group of international BBYO participants with bottles of smiles, an idea created at a past convention

Forty-two high-school-aged students arrived at the community, where they divided into groups and spent time with each lifestyle group within the community. The students and residents participated in various activities and projects while getting to know one another. For many of the community’s Jewish residents, this visit was a special opportunity to share traditions and memories that are meaningful to them and learn from others from different countries and backgrounds.
The students participating in the activities at The Legacy Willow Bend were in Dallas for BBYO’s annual International Convention held in Dallas on Feb. 16-20.
— Submitted by Amy Jones

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Jewish community remembers music maker

Jewish community remembers music maker

Posted on 02 March 2017 by admin

‘Definition of mensch’ Feldman mourned in Feb. 27 memorial

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Hearts broken, hundreds joined to heal, to hold each other and to bid “shalom,” to Bruce Feldman, who would have turned 63 on March 7.
Feldman — the Jewish community’s teacher, friend, mentor, buddy and a member of every family he touched — died Feb. 25.
Congregation Anshai Torah was a standing-room-only sanctuary of love on Monday morning, Feb. 27, all remembering the treasured man.
Those Bruce brought under the chuppah and his b’nai mitzvah students — “900-ish” in 23 years of tutoring — helped fill the room, gazes engraved with pain. For his Kol Rina choir and congregation, the thought of praying without him is heart-wrenching. Childhood friends and family remembered the Dallasite who grew up at Congregation Tiferet Israel — serving as president, and helping start the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off — a teen leader in BBYO and throughout life. For the Level Ground and One Voice Outreach Choir and seniors at the Legacy, prayer will always ring with his passion.

Submitted photo Bruce Feldman was best known for his singing ability, but he also was the president of Tiferet Israel and helped start the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off.

Submitted photo
Bruce Feldman was best known for his singing ability, but he also was the president of Tiferet Israel and helped start the Dallas Kosher Chili Cook-off.

Rabbis Stefan Weinberg and Michael Kushnick led a meaningful service. Kol Rina serenaded their friend’s soul, their solemn sound with one voice, deafeningly silent. Bruce’s children Liz and Eric, and their cousins Jen Bagesse and Gary Feldman, eulogized him.
“My Pops, the most charismatic, likable, and jovial person, pulled me through no matter what,” said Liz, married to Andy Chapel and the mother of Livi, Sophia and Henry, her memory bank full of painting Dad’s toes, making ankle bracelets and more. Finding her own voice through Bruce’s love of music, their duets she will miss. “He had a magical gift to make everything special.”
Liz and Eric spoke of Bruce’s kvelling as a grandfather, a role he treasured, calling time with his grandkids “a transfusion.” Weekend dates for oatmeal and a side of muffin — so simple, so lasting. The two promising to honor their father’s love of Jewish learning — she promising to learn Shacharit, and he to lead the Passover Seder — both wishing he’d give play-by-play lessons rather than their running the bases alone.
“Dad had an ear like no one and a photographic memory for the classics of the ’50s to ’90s and even modern-day rap,” said Eric, the husband of Erica and father of Levi, whose “Camp Dad” memories include pet shop visits, playing basketball, baseball card shows, travels, Dave & Buster’s and making movies.
“Dad was charming, spontaneous, and he helped me navigate through life, making everyone feel like they were the most important person on the planet.”
For Bruce’s wife Lori, his children and grandchildren, his mother Sylvia, mother-in-law Marilyn, stepchildren David (Rachel), (Erin), and Brett (Kat), brothers Marvin (Pam) and Herschel, sister Joan and grand extended family, the tentacles of the community hold you close.
“Bruce’s personality was infectious. It’s a terrible thing to not see his bright, shining face, to not share his bear hugs,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “This week’s Torah portion, Terumah, has God saying, ‘You shall bring gifts to me from everyone whose heart moves him.’ Bruce was defined by that love, giving of himself to all. That virtue must move us all to focus on the memories and finding something good to do to honor the man who taught us to smile, laugh and enjoy Judaism.”
At an almost full shul minyan Monday night many recalled stories — each person certain they were Bruce’s best friend, his closest confidant, the “one.”
Bruce once said, “It’s important we nurture and teach our kids about their faith and heritage. There’s one chance to instill this feeling and it’s important they connect and keep the feeling and spirit, hopefully forever.” Bruce was credited with connections and spirit throughout our community.
Upon learning of his death, community members filled Facebook with tributes. “Profound and deep impact.” “Changed our lives for the better.” “Guardian on earth.” “Bruce had a force of personality.” “The definition of ‘mensch.’ ”
May your name — and your awesome nicknames — be a blessing. One grand, Jewish, funny, musical, sports-loving, celebration-living, amazing blessing.
Memorials can be made to Levine Academy, Congregation Anshai Torah, or your favorite charitable organization. Those wishing to share messages, including tributes to Bruce pulled from his students’ b’nai mitzah speeches, can send them to the family at brucesbnaimitzvah@gmail.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Film Review: What to watch before new year arrives

Film Review: What to watch before new year arrives

Posted on 22 December 2016 by admin

Photo: Amazon Prime If you're not in the mood for a run to the movies, try out The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.

Photo: Amazon Prime
If you’re not in the mood for a run to the movies, try out The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.

As I’m writing this, the temperature is in the teens and I have no idea what the thermometer will read this Sunday.
But I do know a place you can go Dec. 25 where the weather is always perfect — your local movie theater, of course! And there is something for everybody to enjoy. My choices are listed below (in no particular order):

La La Land

A modern take on the Hollywood musical from Damien Chazelle, the Academy Award-nominated writer and director of Whiplash. Ryan Gosling is a devoted jazz musician and Emma Stone, an aspiring actress who sing and dance themselves into our hearts. The opening number is a joy to watch! I always wondered what folks did in L.A. when caught in an endless traffic jam. Now I know.

Passengers

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt star in an exciting sci-fi thriller directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) about two passengers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods malfunction. Sounds very bleak, but the story is actually told with a great deal of humor and has a wonderful message about humanity and solitude. Are some of the futuristic plot devices contrived? Of course, but strap yourself in and go along for the ride.

Jackie

Living in Dallas, we often believe we know everything about what happened that tragic day and in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. See it from a very different perspective. Natalie Portman deftly captures first lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s breathless speech patterns and mannerisms to a “T.” Surely an Oscar nomination is in her future.

Lion

Lion, directed by Garth Davis, is the true story of a 5-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home. Living with his adoptive parents in Tasmania, he sets out to find his lost family 25 years later. A truly stunning performance by Sunny Pawar as the young Saroo. Lion manages to be sad and uplifting, all at the same time.

Sing

Even if you don’t have kids, you’re going to want to see and experience Sing. A koala bear named Buster Moon (voiced by Matthew McConaughey) has one final chance to restore his theater to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition. The animation is brilliant and the soundtrack will have you humming all the way home.

On TV

If Sunday is a little chillier then normal, you may decide to stay home, break out the microwave popcorn and do a little binge watching. That’s what Netflix is for. I have a few recommendations that will keep you busy for hours on end.
If you haven’t seen House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, you’d better play catch-up before the fifth season is released in February. The Majority House Whip (Spacey) takes you on a long political journey as he exacts his vengeance on those he feels wronged him. And if you think the November election was rough, watch Frank Underwood in action. Even the soundtrack (by Jeff Beal) is smashing!
Were you a fan of Downton Abbey? Trick question — who wasn’t! Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is back on TV in Good Behavior as Letty Raines, a Southern gal (with a deep accent to match) who’s a thief and con artist just released from prison. She’s attempting to go straight, but instead meets a man who derails her plans. He’s charming and handsome; so what if he’s an assassin? Before you know it, they are enmeshed in a dangerous and seductive relationship. All episodes can be watched on demand on TNT; new episodes at 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you’re in luck! The Man in the High Castle is an Amazon series and season two has just been released. Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, this sci-fi drama, set in 1962, depicts an alarming premise: What if the Nazis had won the war?
So start a tradition. Go to the movies or stay home. Consider it your Hanukkah gift to yourself.
Susan Kandell Wilkofsky is the secretary of the North Texas Film Critics Association and a co-founder of 3 Stars Cinema.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Celebrating Anshai Torah with ‘Diamonds and Dice’

Celebrating Anshai Torah with ‘Diamonds and Dice’

Posted on 20 October 2016 by admin

Photo: Courtesy Bruce Katz Congregation Anshai Torah’s men’s a capella group, Kol Rina, will be toasted at the Nov. 5 Diamond’s and Dice party at the synagogue. Pictured (front Row from left) Stuart Rosenfield, Ron Friedman, Rusty Cooper, Harry Benson, Bruce Feldman, Merv Ginsburg and Rabbi Stefan Weinberg; (standing behind the front row, from left) Jeff Romick, Rob Shrell, Joel Futterman, Matt Kurtzman, Eric Berman, Jim Schwartz, the late Larry Kramer, Bruce Katz, Howard Goodman, Ron Nevelow and Lorin Subar (not pictured) Roy Ehrlich and Carl Uretsky.

Photo: Courtesy Bruce Katz
Congregation Anshai Torah’s men’s a capella group, Kol Rina, will be toasted at the Nov. 5 Diamond’s and Dice party at the synagogue. Pictured (front Row from left) Stuart Rosenfield, Ron Friedman, Rusty Cooper, Harry Benson, Bruce Feldman, Merv Ginsburg and Rabbi Stefan Weinberg; (standing behind the front row, from left) Jeff Romick, Rob Shrell, Joel Futterman, Matt Kurtzman, Eric Berman, Jim Schwartz, the late Larry Kramer, Bruce Katz, Howard Goodman, Ron Nevelow and Lorin Subar (not pictured) Roy Ehrlich and Carl Uretsky.

Submitted report

It’s a sure bet that the Nov. 5 “Diamonds and Dice” Casino Party at Congregation Anshai Torah will be a winner.
Friends and family will gather to hear music and more; to honor Kol Rina; to celebrate the congregation at large; and to raise funds for its programming and general support.
From 8-11:30 p.m., the craps will be shooting, the cards will be played and the general community is invited to share in the fun.
“We have a great congregation and we’re so excited about this great evening to celebrate all that we are,” said Kim Velevis who is co-chairing the event with Leslie Krajmalnik. “We’re going to have craps and roulette tables, games of Texas Hold ’Em and so much more.  It’s going to be a really fun evening.”
In addition to the casino games, there will be light snacks  to nosh on and a cash bar.  A silent auction, featuring sports and travel packages including a week in Breckenridge, Colorado, and a stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, as well as items for all ages, and a casino raffle will be held. At the end of the evening, players can trade in their “winnings” for prizes.
The tribute to Kol Rina will include the presentation of a commissioned piece of art created by Anshai Torah member Traci Laizerovich.  The heart, and brain-child of Congregation Anshai Torah Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, Kol Rina started 11 years ago with an occasional presence at a Friday night service.
“I recognized the need to inject our prayers with a good dose of the energy, harmonious sound and ruach (spirit) that a group such as Kol Rina might be able to produce,” said Rabbi Weinberg, himself a member of the group. “The journey of the men who comprise Kol Rina has been astounding and, while I imagined Kol Rina would lead us toward a more spiritual prayer experience, they continue to exceed my expectations.”
Kol Rina’s participation at Congregation Anshai Torah’s services is a soulful definition reflecting its translation as a “sound of rejoicing.” Members Harry Benson, Eric Berman, Rusty Cooper, Roy Ehrlich, Bruce Feldman, Ron Friedman, Joel Futterman, Merv Ginsburg, Howard Goodman, Bruce Katz, Matt Kurtzman, Ron Nevelow, Stuart Rosenfeld, Jim Schwartz, Rob Shrell, Lorin Subar, Carl Uretsky, Rabbi Stefan Weinberg, those who have retired of the choir Jonathan Goldstein, Andrew Goulston and Gil Wolfe and, now of blessed memory, Ted Gruen and Larry Kramer, bring harmony to Friday night, Saturday morning and holiday services.
The group rehearses most Sunday mornings, creating memories and melodies for themselves and their congregation’s members. “We most definitely are a brotherhood and while we have many different reasons for participating, we all enjoy singing and we all love Jewish music,” said Bruce Katz, who recently handed over the director’s baton to Matt Kurtzman. “The rabbis allow us liberties with many of the prayers and that allows us to share our expressions of fun and interests while keeping to the liturgy.”
Whether sharing their voices to an audience of 75 or 300, the group’s harmonious variations of Adon Olam; be it to the tune of Sweet Georgia Brown, Under the Boardwalk, or even Take Me Out to the Ballgame, are always received with smiles.
“I could not have imagined the sense of ownership that would develop amongst the participants and we have grown from a small group of singers to a cadre of musicians,” said Rabbi Weinberg. “We don’t just perform, we sing with our hearts and souls, the Hebrew texts that have inspired our people in every generation.”
Kol Rina has performed at hundreds of b’nai mitzvah Shabbat services at Congregation Anshai Torah and in the Dallas community and at many luncheons, afternoon and evening services.  The group has produced a CD; performed at the Men’s Events of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and Community Yom HaAtzmaut assemblies; as well as at a Unity Church Sacred Global Music Festival; at the Legacy at Willow Bend; and other community events.
Memories created, notes hit — high and low — Kol Rina, the “Voice of Joy,” is just that.
To RSVP for the Nov. 5 Diamonds and Dice event, provide sponsorship or donate prizes for the raffle or silent auction, call 972-473-7718.
Submitted by Deb Silverthorn on behalf of Anshai Torah

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Around The Town: Multicultural Alliance

Posted on 02 June 2016 by admin

Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Three members of the Fort Worth Jewish community were honored April 19 when the Multicultural Alliance held its 65th annual awards dinner.
Marvin Blum, Arnold Gachman and Marcia Pozez Kurtz were feted for their supp

ort of MCA, formerly known in our area as the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The group formally changed its name in 2007.
“We wanted to acknowledge those within the Jewish community who have held steadfast in support and participation and who also provided leadership in our transition from the National Conference of Christian and Jews to the Multicultural Alliance, Cheryl Kimberling, MCA president, told the TJP.
Before the dinner, Kristin Vandergriff, chief of staff in U.S. Representative Kay Granger’s office, presented a letter of congratulations from the congresswoman’s office to the three honorees before the dinner.
Some highlights from the honorees’ vitae were described in the event program:

Marvin E. Blum, honoree

Marvin Blum makes significant contributions to his community in so many ways and the Multicultural Alliance is but one of the many boards where he devotes time and effort.
The group is honored that he has such a longstanding relationship with the Multicultural Alliance where he has served in numerous leadership roles and attended Camp CommUNITY as an adult adviser.
A native Fort Worthian and Paschal High School graduate, Marvin earned his BBA with highest honors in accounting from the University of Texas, where he graduated first in his class. Additionally, he received his law degree with high honors from the University of Texas School of Law, where he graduated second in his class and was named the Prentice-Hall Outstanding Student in Taxation.
Marvin, founder of The Blum Firm, P.C., is known for creating customized, cutting-edge estate plans. New York’s Worth magazine named Marvin to its prestigious list of “Nation’s Top 100 Attorneys.”
He was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. He has been a key leader in the nonprofit and arts communities and has inspired others to serve by demonstrating a culture of community engagement.
The group will celebrate the wonderful contributions of Marvin and thank him for his dedication and valuable leadership to the Multicultural Alliance today and through a very critical, tumultuous, and pivotal phase.
Marvin and Laurie and their family embody the spirit of the Multicultural Alliance and diligently work to build inclusive communities.

Arnold Gachman, honoree

The contribution of active and civic-minded people is priceless and there is no better example of a life lived in community engagement than Arnie Gachman. His sense of involvement and service in our community is apparent by a desire to positively impact and benefit others more remote than his family and friends.
In the early 1960s Arnie’s grandfather, Jacob Gachman, a Russian immigrant, suggested he become involved with the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ), the predecessor of the Multicultural Alliance. Having witnessed the growth and the deepening mission and rebranding of the organization, Arnie has been involved with the Multicultural Alliance in multiple capacities for almost 50 years, serving as presiding chair and an interfaith dialogue co-facilitator.
Past president of Gamtex Industries, a 105-year-old family-owned Fort Worth company, Arnie commits an enormous amount of time and energy to organizations that he holds dear.
Currently, he serves as chair of trustees of Baylor All Saints and Baylor Hospitals, board member of Sammons Transplant Institute at Baylor University Medical Center, Board of Governors of the Fort Worth Club, vice president of Beth-El Congregation and AddRan College of the TCU Board of Visitors. He is immediate past chair of the University of North Texas Health Science Center Foundation and a member of the UNTHSC advisory board. He received the Person of Vision Award from UNTHSC in 2012. He also serves on the Health Benefits Advisory committee.
Arnie and Harriette and their family live and support the mission and respect the principles that are promoted by the Multicultural Alliance.

Marcia Pozez Kurtz, Lifetime Achievement Award

Born in Topeka, Kansas, Marcia is the third of four siblings. Her household nearly doubled in 1939 when her father obtained immigration visas for two cousins and two aunts from the country known today as Belarus. Marcia’s full household in Kansas and the Holocaust deepened her empathy and concern for others.
Marcia moved to Fort Worth in 1959 with her late husband, Larry Kornbleet, to work in the family shoe business. New to Fort Worth and anxious to meet people, she immediately became involved with NCCJ. She participated in the interfaith dialogue sessions, and later served as a co-facilitator. In 1991 she married Stan Kurtz and quickly involved him in the organization and program opportunities.
The talents and community contributions of Marcia Pozez Kurtz are wide and varied. She is a fundraiser, gourmet chef, organizer and philanthropist. Her family foundation, the Gates of Chai, has sponsored lecture series and visiting scholars at both TCU and Brite Divinity School. For many years, the Gates of Chai foundation has made it possible for multiple voices to participate in the Multicultural Alliance Seminarian Interfaith Retreat.
Individually, and as president of Gates of Chai, Marcia has supported a wide variety of organizations over the years, including:
Anti-Defamation League, Fisher House-Veterans Affairs, Jewel Charity, Cook Children’s Hospital, Baylor All Saints Health Foundation, My Possibilities, Hadassah, Guardianship Services, Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Safe Haven, and Beth-El Congregation. Additionally, she and her family funded the Kornbleet Memorial Chapel at the Congregation Ahavath Sholom cemetery.
Marcia’s care and concern are legendary. All who know her are in agreement that she quietly lives the mission of the Multicultural Alliance.
Dinner chairs for the event were Jonathan Suder and Joan Trew.
In addition to Dr. Cheryl Kimberling, MCA staff includes Adena Cytron-Walker, vice president of programs.
The MCA is dedicated to building inclusive communities and minimizing prejudice and discrimination. Staff and volunteers craft workshops and presentations customized to specific goals and needs of any organization. Among the other MCA programs are:
People’s Art Collaborative featuring Ayesha Ganguly — People’s Art Collaborative Speaker: A dynamic three-hour workshop that encourages awareness, reflection, and dialogue about critical issues through art creation. Topics include: Human Trafficking, Diversity & Identity, Refugee Crisis and Body Image.
MCA Table Talk featuring Glenda Thompson — MCA Table Talk Speaker: Strangers or friends gather around a table for a shared meal and a moderated conversation of personal storytelling. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and create friendships or deepen existing relationships. The time together offers hospitality and friendship.
Interfaith Dialogue: Connecting communities of faith and spirituality, individuals participate in sessions that will enrich their own faith tradition, all the while learning about the traditions, experiences, and practices of the religions of others.
Seminarian Interfaith Retreat — Sharing Our Faith Traditions: The four-day interfaith retreat is designed for seminary students who attend religious graduate institutions. The goal is to help prepare outstanding seminarians for their future roles as religious leaders in an interfaith and pluralistic society.
Camp CommUNITY (June 27-July 1): Formerly known as Anytown Texas, this leadership camp has been pivotal in changing lives of high school students since 1982. Delegates acquire knowledge, confidence, and techniques to become civic-minded and responsive leaders by creating a more understanding and inclusive environment. Spots are still available for 2016.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

‘Big Tent’ rabbi speaks at Emanu-El

‘Big Tent’ rabbi speaks at Emanu-El

Posted on 25 February 2016 by admin

By Ben Tinsley
bent@tjpnews.com

Kerry Olitzky

DALLAS — Several hundred people attended Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky’s Feb. 18-21 appearances as the 2016 scholar-in-residence for the Rabbi David Lefkowitz Memorial Lectureship at Temple Emanu-El.
The rabbi is executive director of Big Tent Judaism, a national, independent, transdenominational organization reaching out to unaffiliated Jewish families and those who are intermarried.
Rabbi Olitzky, named one of the 50 leading rabbis in North America by Newsweek, is a well-known author widely lauded for his encouragement of inclusiveness.
He covered a variety of related topics during the weekend, ranging from a special Thursday evening session geared to individuals and families navigating recovery to Shabbat services to a Sunday morning talk on how to nurture Jewish grandchildren.
Many of those in attendance Thursday evening were there because they were well aware of the rabbi’s published work in the field.
“They wanted to engage with me — somebody they have been engaging with for a long time through my writings,” Rabbi Olitzky explained. “Our work and our organization is very altruistic and we sow our seeds as an advance team for the Jewish community. We are not a membership organization. We see ourselves as a conduit for engagement. We want people to be excited and interested about Judaism and the Jewish community and find their own path to engagement.”
The rabbi said he covered a lot of areas on a variety of topics this past weekend, based on their needs and various topics on which he currently is working.
“Because they have read some of the things I have written about, they chose topics that reflected the needs of the institution,” he said. “For instance, on Thursday night it was about recovering from drug addiction and alcoholism and other areas. On Friday it was ‘Why Be Jewish’ and on Saturday it was about ‘Beginning A New Jewish Narrative.’”
In a February 2013 submitted article to eJewishphilanthropy.com, the rabbi provided several answers to the question, the first and foremost of which was “As a Jew, the collective story of the Jewish people becomes my personal story.”
The rabbi is an author of many books and a co-author of others. He penned New Membership & Financial Alternatives for the American Synagogue: From Traditional Dues to Fair Share to Gifts from the Heart with his son, Rabbi Avi S. Olitzky. The book was published by Jewish Lights Publishing.
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is well-known for his particular focus on interfaith work and recovery and his pioneering work specializes in the area of “Jewish 12-step spirituality.”
Mindful of the ongoing expansion at Temple Emanu-El, the rabbi said he was fortunate enough to speak to the program staff this past weekend.
“They have a task force on engagement that is working in concert with the development of their building expansion to try to figure out how a large institution is able to reach not only its membership and remain intimate with that membership, but also emerge as a community institution serving way beyond its membership,” he said.
Olitzky said he hopes members of the synagogue begin to think about subjects he brought up and take some of the ideas he presented.
“The people were responsive and they were appreciative, and the indicator will be whether they felt the various points I made are valid and whether they are willing to implement some of the things I talked about,” he said.
On the subject of intermarriage, he said there is much to be clarified about the topic.
“If you would have asked me 10 years ago what was the biggest challenge facing the American Jewish community, I would have responded, ‘intermarriage,’ ” he said. “But today I would say ‘engagement.’”
People continue to get married — but not increasingly with rabbinical clergy. Rather, he said, it is by the next-door friend or the neighbor with a license for a day.
In other words, he said, rabbis in particular are increasingly being left out of the lifecycle events of Jews.
“People are getting married later if at all,” the rabbi elaborated. “But the current synagogue model assumes a traditional trajectory of life stations.”
Rabbi Olitzky said he felt turnout was good during the weekend.
One takeaway from the weekend event is, “The wisdom with which we respond to the challenges of our day will determine the future landscaping we leave to our children.”
“I think that’s the biggest takeaway for the Dallas Jewish community — the future is in your hands,” he said. “What you make of it is all up to you.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Around the Town: Kornbleet Scholar, Israeli wine tasting

Around the Town: Kornbleet Scholar, Israeli wine tasting

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Housekeeping

In last week’s Around the Town column a couple of errors were brought to my attention.
First, the Federation’s correct number is 817-569-0892.
Second, there is no cost for the dinner in Colleyville on Friday night, Feb. 5. The gentlemen of the Congregation Beth Israel Brotherhood are sponsoring the evening. We regret the errors.
Fort Worth to host PARTNERSHIP2GETHER meetings
Bob Goldberg tells me now is the time to “Be a ‘PART’ of PARTNERSHIP2GETHER!”
The Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County has joined PARTNERSHIP2GETHER (P2G), connecting it with the Western Galilee Region in Israel. P2G is a joint program of the Jewish Agency and Jewish Federations of North America, promoting relationships through cultural, social, medical, educational and economic programs. These programs are dedicated to connecting people and making a difference for Jews in Israel, America and worldwide with the goal of strengthening our global Jewish identity.
From Jan. 21 to 26, the Federation will host more than 45 guests from Israel, Budapest and the 13 U.S. cities that make up its Central Area Consortium.
The meetings include both volunteer and professional leadership focused on evaluating and creating programs that connect with Israel through the task forces of medicine, education, arts, community and resource development.
The Tarrant County community is invited to join the Federation at 9:45 a.m. this Sunday morning, Jan. 25 in the Great Hall at Beth-El for a P2G information session. You will have the chance to learn about Partnership, view a new photo exhibit titled The Peoples of the Western Galilee, and participate in Mayor Betsy Price’s week of compassionate service.
P2G participants will experience the unique culture of Cowtown. Activities include a special Tu B’Shevat seder event at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, a kosher barbecue prepared by competitive barbecue expert Chad Herman, a night at the Fort Worth Rodeo and Stock Show, as well as opportunities to attend services, visit various congregations and meet with community members.
Federation Executive Director Bob Goldberg notes, “We have been blessed with great leadership from Milena Razack, our steering committee volunteer coordinator, and our local P2G committee will be well represented at the meetings by Mona Karten, Stephanie Zavala, Marcy Paul, Nancy Schwartz, Karen Telschow Johnson, Kim Goldberg, Audrey Nacass, and others.”
To contribute to Fort Worth Compassionate Service, for the benefit of the children at the United Community Centers, please donate new crayons, pens, markers, rulers, tape, scissors and other basic school supplies. These can be dropped off at Beth-El Great Hall or at the Federation office throughout the week.
For more information, contact Bob Goldberg at 817-569-0892 or visit www.tarrantfederation.org.

Kornbleet Scholar talk is Jan. 26

Claudia Camp

TCU biblical scholar Dr. Claudia V. Camp is this year’s Kornbleet Scholar-in-Residence. Dr. Camp will present “Women in the Book of Numbers” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road. A dessert reception will follow the free lecture.
Claudia V. Camp has taught at TCU since 1980 and is currently the John F. Weatherly Professor of Religion.
She was an undergraduate religion major at Duke University, earned an M.Div. at Harvard Divinity School and obtained a Ph.D. in Biblical studies at Duke. She teaches an introductory course, “Thinking About the Old Testament,” and upper-level courses in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible that include “Love and Sex in the Biblical World” and “Religion and the Search for Meaning in the Old Testament.”
She has also taught the Religion Department’s Senior Seminar, as well as courses in women’s studies and in the Brite Divinity School Ph.D. program. She has received the Dean’s Award for Research and Creative Activity Award and the award for Distinguished Achievement as a Creative Teacher and Scholar, AddRan College, Humanities Division.
Camp’s research has focused on feminist interpretation of the Bible, as well as methodological issues in biblical interpretation more generally. In addition to numerous essays, she has authored two monographs and co-edited five essay collections, which include:

  • The Fate of King David: The Past and Present of a Biblical Icon. Essays in Honor of David M. Gunn, 2010
  • Constructions of Space II: The Biblical City and Other Imagined Spaces, 2008
  • Constructions of Space I: Theory, Geography, Narrative, 2007
  • Wise, Strange and Holy: The Strange Woman and the Making of the Bible, 2000
  • Setting the Table: Feminist Theologians in Conversation, 1995
  • Women, War and Metaphor: Language and Society in the Study of the Hebrew Bible, 1993
  • Wisdom and the Feminine in the Book of Proverbs, 1985

She is currently at work on two major projects — a monograph analyzing the role of gender ideology in the rise of the biblical canon and a feminist commentary on the Book of Numbers — and planning future publication on gender and identity formation in the Hebrew Bible.

Israeli wine tasting

Ahavath Sholom’s Ladies Auxiliary will host an Israeli wine tasting event at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 at Classic Wine Storage & Services, 2915 Riverglen Drive in Fort Worth.
Seating will be limited and the $25 per person couvert includes tasting eight wines from Israel in addition to cheese, crackers and small desserts. Wine will be available for purchase at the event with pickup the next day.
Reservations must be prepaid on Eventbrite at bit.ly/1T22vhs or checks made out to Ladies Auxiliary can be dropped off or mailed to the Ahavath Sholom office (4050 S. Hulen St.) or mailed to LaJean Sturman, 6204 Whitman Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76133.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Dallas Doings: College Hillel, Levine Academy

Dallas Doings: College Hillel, Levine Academy

Posted on 21 January 2016 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray
sharon@tjpnews.com

Calling all soon-to-be college students

Community members who are thinking about college or interested in Jewish options on campuses they already plan to attend are invited to a free community event Sunday, Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This informative session will take place in Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road in Dallas.
Attendees will be able to visit one-on-one with school representatives about their college and the Jewish options and lifestyle on campus. This is a great opportunity for people to see many different colleges at one time while learning what each institution has to offer.
There will also be opportunities to find out about scholarships offered from the universities, as well as the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, which offers scholarships to Dallas Jewish teens.
“Jewish education is one of our core values and something The J prides itself on,” said Artie Allen, The J’s president. “By hosting a Jewish College Fair, we can ensure that the next generation maximizes their connection to Jewish values whether they continue their studies in Dallas, in Texas or beyond.”
University organizations represented at the College Fair include: University of Oklahoma Hillel, University of Alabama Hillel, Dallas Hillel, North Texas Hillel, University of Texas Hillel, Texas A&M Hillel, Michigan State Admissions, Maryville University Admissions, TCU Admissions, Washington & Lee Hillel, Mizzou Admissions, and Arizona State.
For more information contact Scott Braswell at sbraswell@jccdallas.org or 214-239-7127.

Bonnheim named first recipient of Levine Academy Alumni Achievement Award

Bonnheim

Mazal tov to Rabbi Ana Bonnheim, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, A Solomon Schechter School Class of 1995, who has been selected as the recipient of the school’s first Alumni Achievement Award.
Committee chairs Julie Kern Wilkofsky and Loren Jacobson announced the selection following an exhaustive review of remarkable candidates, submitted by the Solomon Schechter/Levine community-at-large.
“The committee was in total agreement on the purpose of this award. We wanted to recognize and celebrate our amazing alumni while highlighting the solid foundation that Solomon Schechter/Levine Academy gave them then, and continues to give students today,” commented Wilkofsky.
After nominations poured in, it became clear that a decision was going to be arduous so the committee invited additional alumni members to be part of the review process. Rabbi Bonnheim emerged as the unanimous award winner. “The most enlightening part of this process,” added Julie, “was seeing how proud the community is of our alumni, and learning about the truly amazing, world-enriching initiatives that are led by Levine alumni in the U.S. and abroad.”
Ana Bonnheim graduated from Levine Academy, then known as Solomon Schechter in 1995, and attended Dartmouth University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion, cum laude. She was ordained as rabbi from the Hebrew Union College in 2008, where the subject of her thesis was Israel v. the Nations: In Search of an Ethical Approach to the Ideology of Land and Ethnicity in the Bible.
Also in 2008, Rabbi Bonnheim was awarded the Women of Reform Judaism Centennial Prize, given to the graduating student who most contributes to the expansion and development of the role of women in Judaism. She is currently the director of Year Round Programs at URJ Greene Family Camp, where she has worked since 2008.
“Levine Academy is a foundational part of who I am,” said Rabbi Bonnheim upon notification of her selection. “I spent nine years under the nurturing guidance of teachers. One of Levine’s greatest impacts on me are those relationships, some of which continue to this day. It was at Levine I learned to read and then developed my love of reading and writing in middle school. I learned to ask questions about the world at Levine — whether in social studies or in the science classroom. I learned to live life on Jewish time. It wasn’t until years later, when I was in college, that I began to appreciate how grounded I felt Jewishly. These seeds were planted at Levine and nurtured by my family and many mentors. I feel a sense of great gratitude for my years at Levine.”
Rabbi Bonnheim is married to Rabbi Asher Knight of Temple Emanu-El and they have two children. She is the daughter of Beverly and Dr. Malcolm Bonnheim of Dallas.

36 years of Levine Academy

Ann and Nate Levine Academy will celebrate 36 years of excellence in Jewish education Sunday, April 3 at the InterContinental Dallas Hotel, when it will honor founder Rabbi Ed Feinstein and present Rabbi Bonnheim with her award.
The musical guest that evening will be Levine alum Josh Goldberg. Many surprises are planned to highlight the significant contributions of the numerous community members, past and present, who helped make Levine Academy the educational establishment that it is today.
For more information about Levine Academy’s 36th Anniversary Gala, visit www.levineacademy.org/36, or contact Melissa Gendason, director of advancement, at 972-248-3032, extension 114.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

Eagle Scout’s project brings chemotherapy patients kindness, care — and warm blankets

Eagle Scout’s project brings chemotherapy patients kindness, care — and warm blankets

Posted on 04 December 2015 by admin

Photo: Gavin Shrell Gavin Shrell is working to complete 100 blankets to donate to Texas Oncology: Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas with friends, family, and community Nov. 20. (Back row, left to right) Mike Reily and Richard Hutchins, and (front row) Denise Reily, Gavin Shrell, Alan Presburger, Max Levy, Juan Elizondo, Sally Genecov, and Donovan Reily were among those creating warmth and caring. Gavin Shrell’s Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project continues with a blanket-making event Thursday, Dec. 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store at Preston and Forest Lane in North Dallas.

By Deb Silverthorn
Special to the TJP

Far North Dallas resident Gavin Shrell is wrapping up his Eagle Scout requirements with kindness, care and warmth to chemotherapy patients of Texas Oncology:  Presbyterian Cancer Center Dallas.
Gavin is raising funds and making blankets. From 4 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store at Preston Road and Forest Lane, Gavin along with family and friends will meet to assemble flannel swatches creating blankets for those undergoing cancer treatments. This will be the third and final of his blanket-making endeavors.
For Gavin, warmth and concern for cancer patients comes from personal experience and heartache — too young to know the consequences of disease, Gavin ties each knot on every cozy comforter in memory of his friend Sasha Okhotskiy, who died in 2009, and in honor of his own mother’s successful battle against ovarian cancer, which began in 2010. For his bar mitzvah project, Gavin collected Legos to donate to a project of his Tigers Baseball team, the toys given to the play area at Children’s Hospital where Sasha had been treated.
“We finished 36 blankets in get-togethers on Nov. 18 and 20, and with some people doing them on their own, including my family who helped out over the Thanksgiving holiday. I think between the event on the 10th, and the help others are giving in their free time, I’ll get all 100 finished,” said Gavin, a member of Congregation Anshai Torah and former Ann and Nate Levine Academy and RISD student who plans to reach his goal of donating 100 blankets by his 18th birthday Jan. 26.
“I wanted to honor my friend and my mom and help people going through this disease,” said Gavin, the son of Julie and Rob Shrell and brother of Marissa and Simone, who is a senior at Yavneh Academy with plans to participate in Young Judaea Year Course next year. “It’s cold and uncomfortable and anything I can do to help make a difference.”
A member of Boy Scout Troop 1077 since he was in the third grade, Gavin looks forward to earning the rank of Eagle Scout. “I’ve enjoyed campouts, learning how to use guns and knives — safely — and to prepare for survival scenarios,” he said. “I have just a few badges left to complete and this project, and I know I’ll be glad when I realize this goal.”
The requirement for the Eagle Scout Leadership Service project is to find a beneficiary, propose a project which would benefit the beneficiary and get their approval, plan the project and document the planning such that another person could complete the project without the candidate, solicit and organize additional persons to help execute the project, execute the project, and complete the project report and record the number of total hours spent by the candidate and others — usually 50-100 hours.
The project must be more than fundraising, although it is usually necessary to raise funds or solicit contributed materials, and the project may not be only performing labor on tasks which the beneficiary would have performed or paid to have performed anyway.
“I have known Gavin since he joined Scouts around seven years ago and through that period he has grown and matured very considerably. Nationally, fewer than 5 percent of the boys who join Scouts attain Eagle,” said his Scoutmaster, Richard Hutchins.
“We’ve definitely encouraged and supported Gavin and he’s learning that if you do the work, you get the honor. This is a very personal project, for all of us, and it is absolutely an example of the caring, sweet, and kindhearted person that Gavin is,” said Julie Shrell. She noted that in addition to the passing of her son’s classmate, Gavin also lost Lynn Shaw, a J.J. Pearce High School theater teacher whom he was close to, and her father — Gavin’s grandfather, Dr. Edward Genecov — all to cancer, within two weeks. Just a year later, Julie would receive her diagnosis, only months before Gavin’s bar mitzvah — a lot for anyone, especially a preteen, to manage. “Through his efforts I think he has also gained an acceptance of what we went through, and a comfort in realizing we have passed it.”
“It means so much to do something good and Gavin’s great heart is so obvious through his actions. He doesn’t do anything for the recognition; mostly he’s an ‘under-the-radar’ do-gooder,” said Rob Shrell, echoing his wife’s prideful voice. “I don’t know if he realizes how many people love being with him, because of his goodness and sense of others — it’s just who he is.”
Texas Oncology at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where Gavin’s mother received her chemo treatments, provides chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other vital services to its patients. While the number varies, there are approximately 200 new patients receiving services each month; Gavin’s project intends to serve at least half of those.
“We forget that even when it isn’t cold outside, chemo patients often require blankets to keep them warm during their treatments,” said Margaret Rhoads, nurse manager at Texas Oncology, regarding the first such offer to the practice. “This is a wonderful project and a very useful one as well and we are glad to certainly support Gavin every step of the way.
“Gavin certainly is a chip off the old block — interested in making change and giving of his heart,” said Rhoads. “Because we don’t have the facilities to wash blankets and reuse them, we are grateful for the support and will use these blankets in baskets we give our new patients as they begin their care with us. Each blanket will be a gift for the patient to keep, care for, and bring to their sessions. It’s really very special that this young man has taken the interest, care and time to put this all together.”
A head lifeguard at the Aaron Family JCC, president of his sophomore class and a member of Young Men’s Service League, Gavin is a member of BBYO’s Ruben Kaplan AZA chapter, for which he served as shaliach (vice president of Jewish education and philanthropy), moreh (vice president, new members), and beau to Reba Wadel BBG.
“Gavin is a caring person, committed to what he believes in,” said Sherrie Stalarow, senior regional director of the North Texas Oklahoma Region of BBYO, Inc., which selected Gavin as one of few participants in the region’s Young Leadership class a few years ago. “He continues to grow as a person and a leader, and I am extremely proud of his dedication and what he has been able to achieve.”
Contributions for the materials for the project are being collected privately and through a GoFundMe page created by Gavin. Each blanket is 4 feet 5 inches wide by 4 feet 7.5 inches. The sheets of flannel are cut to a pattern, with fringes tied all around. Gavin has chosen materials that include designs of Jewish stars, anchors, vibrant colors, Native American prints and more.
With every fiber of the fleece, and every fiber of his person, Gavin’s project will soar, just as the eagle does, leaving those who witness the moment in awe.
For more information about participating on Dec. 10 or otherwise between now and mid-January, call 972-757-7188 or email here. To donate to Gavin’s project, visit http://bit.ly/1jv5QXy.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here