Archive | June, 2009

JCC senior art class amazes audience with their talent

JCC senior art class amazes audience with their talent

Posted on 18 June 2009 by admin

Every Thursday morning, a dedicated group of very creative seniors meets at the Aaron Family JCC art studio. Fifteen artists of varied levels comprise this energetic group. Many of the students are beginners, having little or no past experience with drawing or painting. As long as one is not afraid to try, one can accomplish a lot in this class. Local artist Veronique Jonas volunteers each week and helps keep students motivated by suggesting colors and techniques to improve their paintings. She always has friendly advice and artistic tips to enhance each painting. Each student works at his/her own pace.

For the recent JCC Senior Art Exhibit, some artists did one painting, while others showed up every day and filled an entire wall with their creations. Most of the artwork in the exhibit was inspired by calendar or magazine photos, but other pieces were commissioned by family members. These artists love creating special pieces to pass on to their sons and daughters.

One very talented participant, Paul Bierbriar, says, “My favorite genre is art deco and modern contemporary.”
Some of the paintings are for sale, with donations made to the senior department. If you are interested in joining the art class, please contact the JCC senior office at 214-239-7119. It is free for JCC members.

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 11 June 2009 by admin

Chili cookoff awards $1500 to Yavneh’s S.A.T.
Yavneh Academy of Dallas’ Students Against Terrorism is the recipient of a $1500 award by the Tiferet Israel Kosher Chili Cookoff. Event co-chairs Jay Abrams, Diane Benjamin, and Janet Bubis, presented the award to Students Against Terrorism president, Aaron Liener, and the organization’s Points for Peace Basketball Tournament president, Brittney Herson, at Yavneh’s May 17 commencement ceremony. In presenting the donation, Benjamin cited the organization’s commitment to community, to Israel, and to leadership. S.A.T. has raised over $350,000 in the past seven years, supporting children and adults whose lives have been changed due to acts of terrorism.

The student-run organization, started in 2002, has made donations to programs including Camp Koby, a camp for children; purchased half of a Magen David Adom ambulance (the Dallas Jewish Community contributed the other half), and given monies to the Malki Foundation which is dedicated to providing special care for disabled youth.

For more information about Students Against Terrorism, or other Yavneh programs, contact 214-295-3500 or e-mail

Beth Torah Men’s Club elects officers for ’09-2010 year
Well-known Dallasite Mike Precker is the new president of Congregation Beth Torah’s Men’s Club. Elected Vice Presidents are: Alan Hoffman, President Elect; Alan Koenigsberg, Membership and Programs, Michael Carr. Others are Secretary, David Mandell; Treasurer, Stanton Zeff and Immediate Past President, Rusty Dworkin.

In the past year, the CBT Men’s Club increased its membership to 100 and won the Quality Club Award from the national Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs for its breadth of service projects and programming for the synagogue and the wider community.

“Our goals are simply to continue this great legacy —  and to hang out together more often,” Precker said.

Iliza Shlesinger to appear at Addison Improv
Iliza Shlesinger winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2008 will appear at the Addison Improv the weekend of June 19th. A former Greenhill graduate from Dallas, she currently resides in Los Angeles. She’s the daughter of Barbara and Fred Shlesinger and Ronnie and Randy Antik.

Nurse follows in founder’s tradition
Barbara Moses, a registered nurse, has taken over the reigns of the Dallas Chapter of Hadassah, having been elected its current President. She follows in the footsteps of Hadassah’s founder, Henrietta Szold, who was a nurse as well. Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, was founded in 1912. The current National President of Hadassah, Nancy Falchuk, is also a registered nurse.

Ms. Moses was employed at UT Southwestern for 20 years. In her most recent position there, she was Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine.

In 2001, Ms. Moses was selected, along with 14 other local women, to participate in the Hadassah Leadership Academy (HLA), a unique program developed by the National Organization of Hadassah, to prepare new leadership. Five other members from the same HLA class are either serving on the 2009-2010 Board of the Dallas Chapter or in other responsible positions.

Having lost three full-time staff members and its office in the wake of the Bernie Madoff scandal, the Dallas

Chapter of Hadassah has landed on its feet. An anonymous donor is providing the rent for their new office, located at Hillcrest and Arapaho, near the Albertson’s (6959 Arapaho Rd., Suite 571).
In her acceptance speech, Ms. Moses quoted Michelle Obama’s exhortation to the graduating class at Merced University – “Dream Big.” “And you should, too!” Barbara told the Hadassah membership, “After all, you have Moses now at the helm to lead the Chapter to the Promised Land.”

Learn effective coping strategies to deal with tough economy
A Free Workshop, “A Leap of Action, Shearith Israel’s Response to the Economic Crisis, will be held on Wednesday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. at the CSI Douglas location

Theme of the workshop is “Claim YOUR Visibility: Now is the Time Not to Hide, but to Make YOUR Mark.”
Those attending will learn some practical as well as cost-effective strategies to help raise your visibility when you can’t see the “Pot of Gold” at the end of the Rainbow. You can take an uncertain time in your life and turn your dreams and passion into fruitful and prosperous experiences. Come prepared to share your ideas and get some on the spot coaching to propel yourself or your business to the next level.

The Leap of Action Series is a response to these uncertain and trying economic times. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught that Judaism does not take a leap of faith, but rather a leap of action. May our collective Leap of Action bring our community closer together and provide needed support in the coming months.
Congregation Shearith Israel is at 9401 Douglas Ave, 75225 (enter the doors facing Walnut Hill Lane.)

This program is free and open to the community but reservations are required as space is limited. Contact Jo Reingold at or 214-361-6606.

Online auction benefitting the Samaritan Inn, led by Beth Torah bar mitzvah student Evan Katz
For his mitzvah project, Evan Katz is helping the homeless through a donation drive benefitting the Samaritan Inn. Evan is raising money and gathering paper products, gift cards, and volunteers for The Samaritan Inn through local events and an online auction that runs May through June 2009. The Samaritan Inn, established in 1984, is the only homeless shelter in Collin County, Texas. With the financial crisis going on in America’s economy, housing values are plummeting, and more and more people are losing their jobs and homes. The Samaritan Inn is a special place that not only shelters the homeless, but also provides a comprehensive program that helps people obtain jobs, get back into the real world, regain housing, and engage in their own lives.

Residents mostly come to The Samaritan Inn by referral, and have to apply for acceptance into the shelter by passing a drug test. Throughout the course of one to three months, staff members assist the residents work through an individual action plan to gain new skills and independence. These vocational skills help them in their career search. The Samaritan Inn provides three meals a day, personal hygiene products and facilities, clothing if necessary, and use of the computer lab. With over 130 residents weekly, costs to accommodate these residents can definitely add up.

Evan’s goal is to raise $2,000 for the shelter and help the homeless rebuild their lives. In order to reach his goal, Evan needs your help! To find out more information about the online auction or to bid on one of the many items, please visit the website at For additional information on what you can do to help Evan achieve his goal, please contact him at

Zales new store opening to benefit Autism Speaks
Zales, a leading specialty retailer of diamonds and other jewelry, announces the grand opening of its new store at NorthPark Center by supporting Stephanie’s Day and Autism Speaks.

To commemorate the new store opening, Zales is partnering with Stephanie’s Day, a resource fair at NorthPark Center for children with special needs. Stephanie’s Day was created by CBS 11/TXA 21 President and General Manager Steve Mauldin, whose daughter Stephanie has autism. The goal of Stephanie’s Day is to provide resources for children afflicted with disorders such as autism to reach their full potential.
In honor of Stephanie Mauldin, Zales will be donating a portion of proceeds from sales June 11 – June 14 to the Dallas chapter of Autism Speaks.

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that typically lasts throughout a person’s lifetime. One in 150 individuals is diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Autism impairs a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others, and is associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors, such as obsessively arranging objects or following very specific routines.
Zales is passionate about helping Autism Speaks find treatments for this condition. The money raised through this effort will support the Dallas chapter of Autism Speaks’ efforts to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders; fund research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism; and advocate for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 11 June 2009 by admin

Sound of Music Shabbat at Ahavath Sholom
“Halleluyah! Praise God in His Sanctuary…praise Him with lyre and harp; praise Him with drum and dance; praise Him with organ and flute; praise Him with clanging cymbals; praise Him with resonant trumpets. Let all souls praise God. Halleluyah!” (Excerpt from Psalm 150)

If you’ve been feeling that the spirit is missing from your Shabbat celebration, plan on being at Congregation Ahavath Sholom on Friday, June 26 for the “Sound of Music” Shabbat. Concert musicians Eduardo Rojas and Edgar Valenzuela will join Chazzan Javier Smolarz and Rabbi Baruch Zeilicovich to bring music and joy to your Kabbalat Shabbat service. If music and song were the choice of King David and the Jews of Jerusalem, why not the Jewish community of Fort Worth? Come find what you’ve been missing!

Adult education at Colleyille’s Cong Beth Israel
Congregation Beth Israel (CBI) has embarked on an adult education program for the summer on Sundays. Starting June 14, at 11 a.m., there will be discussions on how to better assist interfaith families. June 21 at 11., the Jewish meditation class, will discuss the history of Jewish meditation and how it can impact one’s personal and spiritual life. This class will also be held on June 28 at 11a.m. Also on June 28th at 10 a.m., the agenda will include a class on “Making Sense of Jewish Prayer” The discussion will center around the nuts and bolts of what each prayer is about and how you can actually pray to God when you’re praying in a language you do not understand.

For additional information or to sign up to attend any of these classes, please contact Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker at 817-581-5500.

A recap of the Person of the Year dinner
Being at the B’nai B’rith Person of the Year Dinner at Ridglea Country Club last Sunday night was like old home week or a family reunion for this scribe. It was so good to see and greet so many friends and loved ones, We had the opportunity to at least say “Hi to Irv Robinson, Debby Rice, Shirley and Earl Givant, Rita and Ted Hoffman, Kal Silverberg and his two loving children, Stephen and Sarah, Harry Kahn, Greta Beckerman, Ann Bogart, Gerry Brown, Miriam Labovitz, Fannette Sonkin, Adele Hartman, Horty Deifik, Marcia and Stan Kurtz, Drs. Nancy and Al Faigin, Sherwin Rubin, Marvin Beleck, Robert Chicotky and his son, Brandon, who is associated with the Southwest office of AIPAC; Rebecca Isgur, Rabbi Baruch and Graciella Zelicovich and Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger. And there were many I didn’t have the chance to greet, but I remember seeing a large group of honoree Laurie Werner’s family her husband, Lon and his dad, Mort Werner; parents, Madlyn and Lou Barnett, sister and brother-in-law, Rhoda and Howard Bernstein and aunt and uncle Ruthie and Milton Hamill, and there were many more. My congratulations to Laurie on this well-deserved honor and recognition. Laurie joins the distinguished roster of past B’nai B’rith honorees which also included her husband, Lon; parents, Madlyn and Lou Barnett and uncle, Leon Brachman, a two-time honoree. Charlie Friedman who has served as the dedicated Scholarship Chairman for many years made the exciting announcement of the scholarship winners, Sara Lavi, daughter of Linda and Eby Lavi and Stephen Silverberg, son of Karen and Kal Silverberg. Both are outstanding teens, soon off to college. As always, Jeff Kaitcer did a great job of keeping the program on track. After doing a great job leading the Lodge,

Foster Owen turned the gavel over to Alex Nason. And the most welcome talk “on Israel” given by James Gurland, who has auspicious credentials, was most heartening and gave us all hope for Israel’s future.

Dr. Carole Rogers enjoys some family time
It was a special family weekend for Carole Rogers… addition to her entire family meeting in Austin for a family bar mitzvah, her mother, Anita Dellal of Verona, N.J.; grandmother, Lil Lieberman of Tamarack, Fla., who is 93 years young and brother-in-law, James Gurland of West Caldwell, N.J., came to Fort Worth. This was Carole’s grandmother’s first time here and she couldn’t have had a better experience. On Thursday night she met the Monday night Mahj Jongg group Mary Frances Antweil, Pat Davis, Ruthie Hamill and Roz Rosenthal as well as Sara Betty Gilbert and Gail Granek for dinner at Piolas. After the bar mitzvah in Austin, Lil came back to Fort Worth on Sunday and spent the evening at the B’nai B’rith Person of the Year Award Dinner. She heard Carole introduce James Gurland, Carole’s brother-in-law, who is the Director of the New Jersey Region of the Weitzman Institute. James gave an interesting speech about the extensive technology going on in Israel saying “what used to be a land of milk and honey is now the land of labs and money.”

Carole’s grandmother could not have had a better time. From Bruce Weiner pulling out her chair for her, to Foster Owen saying he could have listened to James talk even longer, she was just kvelling. Lil went on and on about the warmth and caring of the Fort Worth Jewish community. Even though she misses her granddaughter after one visit here, she now knows why Carole wouldn’t live anywhere else.

Rabbi Ned Soltz set to retire
Stuart Snow, president of Cong. Beth Shalom tells the TJP after nine years as spiritual leader of Cong Beth Shalom and 36 years as an ordained rabbi, Rabbi Ned Soltz will retire on June 30 as Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Shalom.

To commemorate this occasion a tribute dinner will be held in his honor on Sunday, June 21. Expected is a large attendance of well- wishers and friends. A special commemorative program for the dinner as well as his last Friday evening and Saturday morning service on June 26 and 27 will be published and distributed to all those attending. The program will be bound, signed by the board of directors and presented to Rabbi and Mary Soltz as a token of their gratitude and appreciation for his service to Beth Shalom and their community.

The dinner menu sounds delectable: hors d’oeuvres, salad, salmon in puff pastry served on a tomato coulis, roasted asparagus, rolls and butter, wine, dessert and coffee.

Reservations are $25 per person and should be made by June 15th, either by check sent to Cong. Beth Shalom, 1212 Thannisch Drive, Arlington, TX, or by calling 817-860-5448.

Rabbi Soltz, and his Mary, will be missed.

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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 11 June 2009 by admin

His name made the nickname inevitable:  “Tiller the Killer.”  But Dr. George Tiller was killed himself on May 31.  Not in Women’s Health Care Services, the Wichita, Kan. clinic where he performed late-term abortions, but in Reformation Lutheran Church. Shot point-blank in the head as he ushered at Sunday morning services.

We Jews stand at varying places in the ongoing pro-life/pro-choice debate.  But Berenice Kleiman of Cleveland is one outspoken Jewish defender of Tiller.

“I met him 10 years ago, when he saved the life of someone very close to me,” she writes.  “She carried a fetus with a terrible abnormality that had only been diagnosed through a late-term ultrasound.  Other specialists, including pediatric neurologists, recognized that this child had no chance at life.  One suggested that this young woman would benefit by holding the baby in her arms at full-term and watching it die.  Others cringed, but said they were powerless under current pressures to offer an alternative.”

Mrs. Kleiman is a friend of one of my cousins who “introduced” us by e-mail, and we’ve corresponded ever since.  There’s no one in the world more pro-life than Berenice, who literally wrote the book about her own related issue: “One Stroke, Two Survivors” is the true story of how, after her husband Herb had a devastating stroke, she brought him home instead of consigning him to an institution as recommended by everyone, and has made his rehabilitation her own life’s work ever since.

Dr. Tiller’s “specialty” — if there can be said to be such a thing in the world of abortions — was anencephaly, a severe and always fatal birth defect in which the top of the skull is missing, and the brain itself severely affected.

“He reached out to my loved one,”  continues Berenice, who declines to publicly name or give her relationship to that very close “someone” she’s talking about.  “He ended pregnancies that should not have existed.  He was a courageous, committed physician dedicated to saving the lives of young women carrying terrible aberrations and mistakes of nature.  Other doctors, intimidated by the vast consequences, shied away from this duty.  Dr. Tiller was crucified both legally and in final death because of the extreme views of others who are unable to accept that nature does make terrible mistakes….”

Dr. Tiller died on May 31, but this was not the first time he had been shot.  Back in 1993, a woman named Shelley Shannon got him in both arms, later claiming in her own defense that what she had done was not immoral, not a crime at all, given the person she had done it to.  (She was, however, sentenced to more than a decade in prison anyway.)

George Tiller, born in 1941, had first planned a career in dermatology —  a medical field unlikely to get him into the kind of controversial hot water in which he swam for virtually all of his professional life.  But on the premature death of his own father, also a physician, the young doctor felt compelled to step in and save what for him was a “family practice” in two senses of the phrase.  The specialty that inevitably killed him was an outgrowth of what he encountered in his own early office experiences.

Berenice Kleiman attributes Tiller’s death to “the weaknesses of others in the medical establishment and the mendacity of the media, who inflame passions by labeling him and the few others in his field as ‘baby killers’ — those physicians who are actually life preservers, allowing young women to move on and have the families they so dearly want.”

In death, “Tiller the Killer” has become the latest lightening rod in an ongoing, increasingly passionate debate.  I myself maintained, long ago, that while I couldn’t speak for any other woman, I’d never be able to undergo an abortion myself.  Today I wonder, what did I really know about how I would behave under certain circumstances?  I was one of the fortunate ones who was never tested…

It’s too late now to save George Tiller, but his work will go on: his Wichita clinic reopened last Monday after a full week of mourning for its downed founder.  But as Scott Roeder moves toward trial for his crime, which has been denounced by so many, even the director of the National Right to Life Committee, my correspondent Berenice Kleiman makes a final plea:

“If nothing else comes from this, let’s flush ‘baby killer’ from our vocabulary and substitute a less noxious term.  Such as ‘obstetrician.’”

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 11 June 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I have been both upset, confused and scared by many comments I’ve been hearing from President Obama and members of his administration, particularly Hillary Clinton. It seems that Israel is quickly being painted into a corner, or worse, a stranglehold, with no one of significance coming to her defense. That explains my upset and fear. My confusion comes from my belief in God, and not understanding what he is trying to do to allow Israel to get into this predicament. Your thoughts would be most welcome.
Charles Z.

Dear Charles,

You can be sure that what you are feeling is being felt by many. Many add to the list the feeling of betrayal by a president who vowed to have utmost respect to Israel and even to finally move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, a Jerusalem that he now seems to be set on separating. The recent Cairo address to the Muslims of the world only solidified all these feelings in the hearts of many.

What is truly happening, one would need to be a prophet to know, and, sadly, I’ve never received my degree in prophecy (which would have jeopardized our status as a “non-prophet” organization). I can, however, share with you my personal thoughts and feelings on the issue.

In many Jewish sources, especially those based upon the Kabbalah, the final reign over the world before the coming of Messiah will be that of the offspring of Ishmael. Prophetically, there are four kingdoms that are said to rule over the Jews over the course of world history: Babylon, Persia-Media, Greece and Rome. We presently are still in the midst of the Roman exile which began with the destruction of the second Temple in 70 C.E. and endures until today.

All the above four share the common denominator that they were defined kingdoms. They occupied a specific, definable area, and their wars and exiles were clearly defined. Ishmael, however, doesn’t have kings or kingdoms per se in the Torah, but chieftains and rulers. This is predicated on the prophecy that “his hand will be upon everything” (Genesis/Beresheet 16:12). This “non-kingdom” of Ishmael, the patriarch of the Arab and Muslim world, will be an undefined one, which will spread throughout the world, causing far greater fear and havoc than all the previous four combined, (Kabbalistic writings). We are beginning to see the fulfillment of this frightful prophecy.

I’m sure you’ve seen the recent sobering e-mail which circulated throughout the world of the numbers and percentages of Muslims in Europe today.

To see Israel painted into a corner further prepares the stage for the final redemption. The prophets all foretold of the Jews’ eventual return to G-d, Teshuva. The Talmud explains that this will happen when the Jews profoundly realize they have nobody to rely upon other than G-d. As long as they feel they can rely on a particular nation, their reliance upon G-d is not complete.

The Torah says of the Jews “Behold, it is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers/Bamidbar 23:9). I will never forget a full-page New York Times ad which listed on one side of the page all the hundreds countries of the world allowed full status in the UN security council, many of which I have never heard of. On the other side of the page was listed all the countries not allowed that hallowed status; the entire list was: Israel. The above verse in Numbers could not have resounded louder!
May we recognize our separate status and existence, and live it to the fullest extent it was intended. That will speed up the time we will be recognized by all as the Chosen Nation!

Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at

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JCC’s Bagel Run draws dozens

JCC’s Bagel Run draws dozens

Posted on 11 June 2009 by admin

By Lisa Rothberg

The 23rd Annual Bagel Run was a tremendous success. Threatening rain on  Saturday caused the event’s planners to worry, but come Sunday morning May 17, the skies parted and what a glorius day it was for our annual race.   The day began with a large group of volunteers setting up water stations and marking off the course for runners.  Other volunteers set up tables with all types of bagels and spreads for the runners and their cheering sections.  Sonny Hacker came as he does each year to prepare the awards table ready for after the race.  With all of this going on, great music was playing on the sound system as people registered, and stretched, preparing for the run. Bagel Run Chair Mark Kreditor made sure he kept everyone informed with important race announcements. Immediately following the fun run, the Bagel Run began.  Professionally timed and managed by RunOn, there were 325 runners who participated in either the 5k or 10k runs.  Winners were:

Overall Female: Elizabeth Meraz Time: 19:48
Overall Male: Schaffer Ochstein Time: 17:43
Over Female 10K: Kim Rogers-Tracy 21:15
Overall Male 10K: Max Rosenfeld Time: 19:06

Congratulations to all our runners! It was a fantastic day.

For a complete listing of results please check out our website at

We look forward to the next Bagel Run.  Thanks to all that participated.

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 04 June 2009 by admin

BBYO is having a pool party!
Attention! Incoming ninth-graders are invited to attend the BBYO Intake Luau Pool Party on Monday, June 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., at the JCC pool.
Bring swimsuit, towel, and registration forms (forms also available at the party).
Contact Tracy Davis for further questions: 214-363-4654 or
Kate Popa earns Girl Scout’s highest honor, Gold Award
Congratulations to Kate Popa, who has earned the highest award one can earn in Girl Scouting, the Gold Award. She was honored last Sunday, May 31, by the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Council at a Gold Award Presentation Ceremony. The ceremony was held at the Mesquite Convention Center.
To qualify for the award Kate needed to complete many requirements, one of which was a project that took a minimum of 65 hours to complete. Because of her love for animals Kate decided to do a project for Plano Animal Services. She made capes for the dogs at the shelter to wear. The purpose of the capes was to call attention to some of the dogs that were waiting to be adopted and might otherwise be overlooked. Each had a message on it such as “Adopt Me,” “Take Me,” “Hug Me,” “Love Me,” etc. They were made from very colorful material that had been donated to the project, and a total of 50 capes were constructed by Kate and the many volunteers who assisted her with the project. Her favorite part of the project was knowing she was helping the dogs waiting to be adopted. The plan was to make the dogs more appealing and she definitely achieved that goal.
Kate, who began researching her project a year and a half ago, received the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Council’s approval last spring, and then did most of the project work last summer. The project was completed in fall 2008.
Kate was also honored on May 17, at a Gold Award and Bridging Ceremony hosted by Girl Scout Service Unit #155 in Plano. In addition to being acknowledged for her achievement of reaching the Gold Award, she bridged from Ambassador Girl Scout to Adult Girl Scout that afternoon. A statewide Gold Award Ceremony is scheduled for June 8 in Austin. Unfortunately, Kate will not be able to attend that ceremony since it conflicts with graduation day for Plano Senior High School.
Kate earned her Girl Scout Silver Award in 2005 as a Cadette Girl Scout, and her Bronze Award in 2003 as a Junior Girl Scout. She earned the Girl Scout Jewish Awards, the Bat Or as a Junior and the Menorah Award as a Cadette. She was also the recipient of the Girl Scout Medal of Honor for lifesaving in 1998.
Kate, the daughter of Carole and Marius Popa and the sister of Jonathan, will attend college in the fall. She is currently an Ambassador Girl Scout in Troop 976 and is looking forward to continuing her Girl Scout experience as an Adult Volunteer.
AJCommittee annual meeting and presentation, June 14
American Jewish Committee’s annual meeting, 7 p.m. Sunday, June 14, will feature a presentation by Eran Lerman, director of AJC’s Israel/Middle East Office in Jerusalem. The installation of new board members and officers will take place at this meeting.
For additional details, call AJCommittee at 972-387-2943 or e-mail

Hadassah mah jongg  get-together set for June 11
For those who enjoy mah jongg, from mavens to beginners, you’ll be glad to know that Dallas Hadassah will host an informal mah jongg get-together the second Thursday of each month, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Legacy of Willow Bend.

This is not a tournament, nor are there any fees to play. Rather, two dedicated Hadassah members and mah jongg mavens, Susie Avnery and Linda Marcus, stepped forth to offer their time and talents for this monthly event.

Each table will set their own standards, whether to play for money or to just play for fun and friendship.

You don’t have to be a Hadassah member to play. Coffee and refreshments are served and it’s a very comfortable, congenial setting.

I plan to be there. Mark your calendar on June 11 for Hadassah mah jongg. I know I will!

Laurie Miller on radio show
Laurie Miller was on the “Coping with Caregiving” radio show on Saturday, May 16, discussing the benefits of in-home non-medical care.

The seven-year-old program, which features four guests, is broadcast live from 5 to 6 p.m. Central time. Laurie’s interview was part of the 5 p.m. segment.

If you missed the live broadcast, you can listen on-demand to the online archive. The program host, Jacqueline Marcell, is an eldercare advocate, international speaker and author of the best-selling book “Elder Rage.”

Legacy at Willow Bend architect receives Dream Home Award for architectural design
Dream Home Awards recently presented the Best in Multi-Family Living–Southern United States Award to DiMella Shaffer, architect of The Legacy at Willow Bend. The award was presented for the architect’s original design of the retirement community.

“Building an award-winning senior living community requires an immense amount of foresight, care and collaboration among everyone involved with the project,” said Michael Ellentuck, president of The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. “Our primary goal when looking for an architect to design The Legacy was to provide our members with an environment that inspired new heights of growth and self-discovery, and we feel that DiMella Shaffer more than exceeded those ambitions.”

The Dream Home Awards are presented to companies and individuals who assist in creating America’s dream homes and set new standards of excellence in the nation’s building industry. The competition is open to interior designers, architects, builders, remodelers, communities and trade contractors.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment and look forward to many other recognitions for design excellence of The Legacy at Willow Bend in the future,” said Peter Shaffer, principal of DiMella Shaffer.

The Legacy at Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, is situated on a 28-acre site at Spring Creek Parkway between Preston Road and Ohio Drive. It offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site. The community features 103 independent living apartment homes, 12 custom independent living villas, 40 assisted living apartment homes, 18 memory support suites and 60 private skilled health care suites. The Legacy at Willow Bend is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit retirement community owned by parent company, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. The only Jewish-sponsored life care retirement community in Texas, it is open to people of all faiths. For information, call 972-468-6208, or visit

Chabad-Plano’s Camp Gan Israel adds Sports Camp, new activities
Camp Gan Israel and Chabad of Plano/Collin County is expanding its Jewish-themed summer experiences this year, with the creation of a new Sports Camp for children entering grades two through six in the fall.

The Sports Camp will run concurrently with Camp Gan Israel’s traditional program for girls ages 5 to 12 and boys ages 5 to 11. The camps will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., June 29 to Aug. 7, at the Lang Chabad Center, 3904 W. Park Blvd. in Plano. Sports activities will take place at the Jackson Elementary School gym, about a five-minute drive from Chabad.

The Gan Israel Sports Camp will focus on learning the fundamentals of basketball, soccer, baseball, kickball and floor hockey, with a different sport taking the spotlight each week. Lori Campbell, a coach at Wyatt Elementary School in Plano, will lead a program focusing on skill development and technique, with ample opportunities to scrimmage and play games.

“This is an alternative for some of the boys — some girls, but mostly boys — who wanted more sports along with the entire CGI experience,” said Camp Coordinator Tia Sukenik.

Campers will swim twice per week, go on all trips with those in the traditional CGI program and participate in the camp Shabbat party to provide a well-rounded Jewish experience.

The traditional camp will include sports, but also features crafts, theme/dress-up days and weekly field trips. Older campers may take part in activities geared specifically toward them, including new activities such as yoga, pottery, GaGa and archery.

CGI also focuses heavily on Jewish heritage and a love for Israel. Sukenik said that this year’s theme will be

“Around the World,” with activities focusing on different countries, their Jewish culture and Jewish heroes.
Jewish themes are incorporated into activities, with songs, stories, games, challah baking and the Shabbat party comprising a major facet of the curriculum.

“Combined with educational programs and discussions, these activities bring to life the beauty and values of our rich tradition,” said Rabbi Menachem Block, camp director.

For information, call Chabad at 972-596-8270, e-mail or visit

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 04 June 2009 by admin

Shavuot at Ahavath Sholom
This past weekend, a very busy one at Congregation Ahavath Sholom, started Thursday night with the Tikkun Leyl Shavuot when attendees participated in sessions led by the synagogue executive director, Garry Kahalnik, and Rabbi Alberto “Baruch” Zeilicovich. The study sessions lasted well into the wee hours of the morning and were punctuated by delicious dairy treats provided by the synagogue’s catering committee, a team of caring volunteers led by Committee Chair Elsie Blum. Friday morning services continued the Shavuot celebration.

On Friday night, the fun went on, starting with an authentic Persian Shabbat dinner lovingly prepared under the supervision of Mrs. Ezat Lavi, mother of Ahavath Sholom’s own Ebby Lavi. The food was delicious and served as a great introduction to the Shavuot/Shabbat/Confirmation service led by Carly Karten, Stephanie Mintz and Madison Moses, the 2009 confirmation class. The girls shared their views on various topics with a full house of congregants. The service was followed by an elaborate oneg in honor of the confirmands featuring many mouthwatering, home-made baked goods.

Saturday morning services led by Harry Kahn, Dr. Javier Smolarz, Emily Cobert and Nancy Stansbury were outstanding and a wonderful Kiddush luncheon was sponsored in memory of Calvin Taub and in honor of Shirley Givant’s birthday, the Religious School Teachers and Harry Kahn, president of the congregation.
Sunday morning was the last class of this year’s Religious School program, which culminated in an awards program and a hot dog barbecue picnic. The question remains, “What can be done for an encore?” Stay tuned!

Former resident Rose Rubin receives 2009 SSSA Distinguished Service Award
Congratulations to former Fort Worth resident Rose Rubin, who is the recipient of the distinguished Southwestern Social Sciences Association Award. Rose has served the SSSA for more than 30 years in many capacities. She is the quintessential Southern lady and the epitome of efficiency and competence. She has been a mentor to many women in the association and elsewhere, for she came into the academy at a time when very few women were represented in the professoriate, especially in the discipline of economics.

Rose served for eight years as the secretary-treasurer of the Southwestern Economics Association before becoming its president in 1991–92. She served on the SSSA Budget and Financial Policies Committee, the Site Selection Committee, the Editorial Policies Committee and the Long-Term Planning Committee of the Social Science Quarterly. She was treasurer of the SSSA for four years before being elected vice president in 1998 and became SSSA president in 2000. Afterward, she served on the Executive Committee, the Executive Council and the Selection Committee for the SSQ publisher. She has served on the boards of many other associations in economics.

Rose is retiring this year from her professorship in the Department of Economics at the Fogelman College of Business and Economics at the University of Memphis, where she was the department chair for several years. She is a graduate of Wellesley College, holds an M.A. in economics from Emory University and received her Ph.D. in economics from Kansas State University. She completed post-doctoral work at Johns Hopkins University in health care finance.

Professor Rubin’s areas of expertise and research are in the economics of health and aging. She is the co-author of two books, “Expenditures of Older Americans” (1997) and “Working Wives and Dual-Earner Families” (1994), as well as several dozen refereed academic articles in economics, health policy, medical, gerontology and social science journals. She has recently (2009) co-authored “A Handbook for Widows” with ourtowner Corrine Jacobson to provide practical and financial advice to those recently widowed.
Rose has received a National Science Foundation Grant, several AARP Andrus Foundation grants, a State of

Texas TARP grant and a National Academy of Social Insurance grant, as well as several faculty grants from various institutions. She has been a Robert Wood Johnson fellow at the Johns Hopkins University, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute and a research fellow at the Urban Child Institute in Memphis, Tennessee.
Rose Rubin is most deserving of the 2009 Southwestern Social Sciences Award, and we are pleased that she is being honored.

‘Kids Who Care’ to bring show to Daytimers
The next looked-forward-to program for the “Daytimers” will be a presentation by the audition musical theater company, “Kids Who Care.” Founding Director Deborah Jung will bring 50 members of the current “Kids Who Care” resident company. Kids from across the Metroplex, ages 6–18, are part of this audition musical theater company and perform 30 to 40 times each year in the Metroplex and across the country. They will present their original musical; “Let My Heart Sing,” Wednesday, June 10, at noon at Beth-El Synagogue.

Whether singing on the American Airlines Wish Flight, a Girls and Boys Club in Chicago or New York’s Lamb’s Theatre off-Broadway, “Kids Who Care” fills any room with fresh energy and hope. The group will be introduced by Sylvia Wexler, whose granddaughter Kim Garoon had a starring role with the company before she left for college. The “Kids” will brown-bag picnic with the “Daytimers,” and some members have expressed interest in bringing their grandchildren to the event.

Lunch will be catered by Boopa’s Bagel Deli. Guests will have a choice of turkey and hummus on sesame bagel, chicken salad on honey wheat bagel, or cream cheese and lox on pumpernickel bagel, plus chips, cookies, coffee or tea. Boopa’s is a favorite bagel supplier for the community, and people may order bagels delivered with the lunches by calling Boopa’s at 817-232-4771. Lunch is $9, or guests may attend for program only for $4 person.

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Congregation Beth-El with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

Carole Rogers back from visit to Albuquerque
Dr. Carole Rogers, director of Jewish Family Services, just got back from a conference in Albuquerque and had a chance to visit with former ourtowner Rebecca Victor. Rebecca has made friends in New Mexico, plays mah jongg and even taught some of the youngsters for a while. However, she still misses Fort Worth and wanted to make sure everyone knows she says hello.

Carole and Rebecca met for dinner at a wonderful restaurant, The Savoy. Rebecca’s daughter, Ellen Victor Diamond, and Mary Frances Antweil’s daughter, Julie Silverman, both of whom reside in Albuquerque, joined in the festive evening. Rebecca was as kind and warm as always and looked terrific wearing a stunning diamond necklace her children gave her for her 90th birthday.

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In My Mind’s I

Posted on 04 June 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

With yearly summer Shakespeare festivals starting up again, I start thinking, “What’s in a name?” Most particularly, in a Jewish surname?

For hundreds of years, when people lived in isolated small groups, nobody had a last name. Who needed one? Adam and Eve didn’t; neither did their children or grandchildren. When there were more people, they were often identified by some outstanding personal feature, like red hair (Roth means red, so today’s Rothman probably had a red-headed male ancestor way back when); by location of home (Kirk means church, so someone with that name came from a family that once lived near one); especially by whose sons or daughters they were. Every culture and ethnic group has a prefix or suffix to form this kind of name: Spanish, de; Italian, di; Hebrew, bar or bat; Arabic, ibn; Irish, O’; Scottish, Mc; Icelandic, dotter; and so on.

We Jews still have lots of these today: Jacobson, Levinson, Mendelsohn, etc.

Jews in Austria, Russia and Poland were ordered to take last names as far back as 200 years ago, mainly to make sure they’d pay their taxes; some of our families have had the same last names since then! Some who originated in France, Anglo-Saxon areas and Iberia — home of Sephardic Jewry — have names dating to the 16th century.

Names describing the physical characteristics of heads of households, or their occupations, have stayed with families for years, like these: Hoch = tall; Klein = small; Shein = good-looking; Schwartz and Weiss = black and white, maybe dark-haired or dark-complexioned, blond or fair-skinned, respectively; Kurtz = short; Gross = large. Since that’s my name, I’m extremely conscious that it and many others also belong to people who aren’t Jewish in the least. (Remember: Hitler had a prime Nazi with what we’re prone to consider a very Jewish name: Alfred Rosenberg — who, ironically, was a chief proponent of the “Master Race” myth!)

However, there’s no mistaking the true Jewishness in the names Cohen and Levi, or variations of both; the first indicates that someone, somewhere, was a priest or perhaps later, a rabbi, while the second denotes a Temple servant of some kind. And be sure to ask any Cantors you know if they can (still) sing!

Other occupational names abound. Schmidt is the same as Smith; both always indicate the making of something: Goldsmith or Goldschmidt might have a history in jewelry; Cooperschmidt or Coopersmith may have preceded the folks who fashioned Revere Ware’s copper-clad pots and pans (but — careful! Cooper can also be a barrel!). The English word is wright, as in Boatwright, Cartwright, Housewright and the like (this is, by the way, the reason that a person who writes plays is a playwright, not a playwrite!); macher is the German.

Holtzman is someone who has a woodworking background, while Eisenman works with iron. And a Fisher (or Fischer) is just that. Schuster and Schneider are German and/or Jewish equivalents of Shoemaker and Taylor; purely Jewish is Malamed or its many variable spellings, always indicating a teacher.
When I was a youngster and met for the first time my distant cousins the Hanovers, I thought that was the most unusual Jewish name I’d ever heard. I didn’t know then how many modern names identify the cities and countries where people’s ancestors once lived. Think of Berlin or Berliner, Danziger, Oppenheimer, Breslau or Breslauer, Mannheim, Krakow or Crakoff, Warsaw. I guess when I was a kid who knew nothing of German geography, I probably thought folks called Hamburger or Frankfurter were named for meaty things to eat!

Now, a bit more about those “taxing” names: At certain times, and in certain places, Jews were allowed to pick the names they wanted — if they could pay for them. Money talked, and sometimes bought Gluck (luck), Rosen (roses), Lieber (lover), Koenig (king) or maybe even better, Koenigsberg (the king’s mountain). Cheaper names might have some relationship to a geographic location, like just plain Berg, or Wasserman (someone living near water), or Kirsch (there’s Kirk — church again, in a more Jewish form).

But someone who couldn’t afford anything was in trouble: He got an assigned name, usually something not very pretty. How about Kocker (a chopper)? Or Esel (a donkey)? Don’t know anyone with those names? That’s because those families got rid of them as soon as they could!

But how about this one: Ochs (an ox)? At least one family that got it, kept it. And despite this, they hit the headlines in America — as owners of the New York Times!


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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 04 June 2009 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Readers,

As I prepare for the holy day of Shavuot in the holy land of Israel, I would like to share a few thoughts. It’s hard to describe the joy of performing my own son’s wedding in Israel, just a few days before the day of receiving the Torah.

As we discussed under the chuppah, the first chuppah for the Jewish people was, according to our tradition, when the Al-mighty held Mt. Sinai over the heads of the Jewish people, thereby cementing our matrimony with G-d. The rules of that love relationship are outlined in the Torah.

In the blessing recited under the chuppah we thank G-d who forbade for us illicit relations, and permitted for us our wives through chuppah and kiddushin (matrimony). The terminology used in this blessing begs understanding: The word “forbidden” is asar, which literally means “tied”; “permitted” is hitir, which means “untied.” This terminology is found throughout rabbinic literature.

G-d gave us this world to enjoy. Nearly all pleasures created in this world are for us to partake of, albeit within the guidelines He prescribed. When we enjoy earthly pleasures in the prescribed way, we elevate that physical pleasure to a transcendental level, and it becomes part of our eternal spiritual state. Those pleasures are permitted, “untied” from their earthliness and able to soar to the heights when we enjoy them properly. Certain pleasures, however, remain asur or tied down to this world, as they have no way of being sanctified, such as forbidden foods or relations.

A wedding is a time, from the chuppah and onward, to elevate an entire household and all that transpires within. Especially in a place of holiness like Israel, the potential is amazing! May we all merit to be there soon!

Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at

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