Compiled by Sharon Wisch-Ray

Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship returns Oct. 29

The National Cuisine of Texas meets the Dietary Laws of the Bible in the Third Annual Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship, a daylong festival for the entire community, Sunday, Oct. 29.
Popular KLUV radio host and Texas Radio Hall of Famer Jody Dean returns to host the competition, which is sanctioned by the world-renowned Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS). Dallas Kosher, the organization certifying that local food and facilities adhere to Jewish dietary law, will supervise every aspect of the event.
The Men’s Club of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson is organizing the championship benefiting the synagogue and Community Homes for Adults, Inc. (CHAI), which provides group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Submitted photo WingSpan Theatre’s production of The Occupant will run through Oct. 21.
Submitted photo
WingSpan Theatre’s production of The Occupant will run through Oct. 21.

Four of Dallas’ leading culinary personalities – John Tesar, Tim Byres, Kent Rathbun and Jill Grobowsky Bergus – will be celebrity judges for the competition. Rathbun will lead a cooking demonstration as well, while Byres and Tesar will sign their latest books.
Last year’s championship drew more than 1,600 barbecue lovers for a day of smoking, grilling and family fun. Brian Rubenstein, co-chair of the championship, says he expects a bigger crowd and teams from across the country to show off their barbecue skills as the event continues to grow.
“We’ve put Dallas on the kosher barbecue map, and we’re drawing interest from all over,” he said. “And we’re proud to bring the joy of kosher barbecue to the community as a whole.”
The competition will be held Sunday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of Sunnyland Patio Furniture, at the corner of Spring Valley and Coit roads in Dallas. The festivities will include music, silent auctions, a kids play area, hot dog and pickle eating contests – and, of course, barbecue. Admission is free, with plenty of free parking on-site.
The Beth Torah organizers recently won a national Gold Torch Award for community outreach from the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs for staging the championship and encouraging other clubs around the country to do the same.
Kosher barbecue competitions have one obvious difference — no pork — but there are other distinctions. To ensure adherence to dietary laws, the Men’s Club provides all grills, smokers, utensils, condiments and spices – as well as the four meats in competition: chicken, turkey, beef brisket and beef ribs.
Because no work can be done or fires lit on the Jewish Sabbath, teams prepare the meats Thursday night, then start cooking after sundown Saturday.
As in all KCBS competitions, the society’s judges will award official trophies for all four meats, as well as crown the grand champion and reserve grand champion, who will share $500 in cash. But on the main stage, the celebrity judge panel will award its own set of prizes.
“We’re really honored to have these great chefs joining us,” Rubenstein said. “We all have a passion for great barbecue, and this will be a day to share that passion with the whole community.”
— Submitted by Michael Precker

Still time to catch The Occupant

For anyone interested in theater, Occupant is a must-see – a seldom-performed play by America’s prolific, much-honored Edward Albee. For Jews, there’s an additional incentive: this is the playwright’s onstage biography of America’s famed Jewish sculptor, Louise Nevelson.
Its static setting is the afterlife. There are only two characters: Nevelson herself – able to reflect on all her earthly years. since the “action” takes place 20 years after her death — and The Man, an unnamed interviewer making notes on her self-told biography, a likely stand-in for Albee himself. Here is one artist learning about the life of another.
Nevelson was born Leah Berliawsky in 1899 near Kiev, Russia. When the family immigrated, Maine became home, and Leah became Louise. Always a self-directed “free spirit,” she nonetheless bowed to woman’s usual roles of her time, marrying young and (not what she ever wanted) becoming a mother. Neither husband nor son held the center of her life; its sole core was art.
In a way her history parallels Albee’s, which may be why he wrote “Occupant.” Both had many false starts, failures before successes, and long troubled, nonproductive years (he: alcoholism; she: depression). But both eventually emerged as recognized artistic icons. In this play, as we learn Nevelson’s life, we are party to much of Albee’s as well.
Everyone knows Albee, but few know this play. Here’s a chance to see it as part of WingSpan Theatre’s current season, which salutes him. Occupant will be onstage at Dallas’ bathhouse Cultural Center through Oct. 21, with tickets no more than $20; tonight is “pay what you can.” For further information and to make reservations, call 214-675-6573, or go to
— Harriet Gross

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