Archive | July, 2009


Dallas Doings

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

Lee Allen to host Party With a Purpose, Aug. 10
For one of Lee Allen’s bar mitzvah projects, he is hosting a Party With a Purpose on Monday, Aug. 10 at Adventure Landing on Coit from 6 to 8 p.m. For only $16 per person, you get two attractions and 20 tokens (note, the attractions have to be used by the same person). You can choose among laser tag, putt-putt, go-carts or bumper boats. Youngsters and oldsters can play as long as they like, but the special price will only be available from 6 to 8 p.m.

It’s a great deal plus giving to a great cause, since Lee is raising money for MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger and for Ohel Ari, which sends care packages to Israeli soldiers serving in the field. Ohel Ari was created in loving memory of his cousin Ari Weiss, son of Rabbi Stuart and Susie Weiss, who grew up in Dallas.

Help Lee with his tzedakah project by telling your family, friends and neighbors to join in. RSVPs should be made to (since Adventure Landing wants to know how many are coming) but you can just show up and look for the Party With a Purpose table.

Jewish college students, take note!
It’s that time again! Time to see your friends and catch up on all the latest news!
College Ties will have its summer get-together in Dallas on Tuesday, Aug. 4. College students are invited to come mingle and shmooze at Starbucks at Preston and Frankford, 9–11 p.m. Catch up on all the latest campus news, find out who is where and how they’re doing. In state, out of state, overseas — all Jewish college students ages 18–22 are welcome!

College Ties is a local initiative to bring Jewish college students together during summer, fall and winter breaks. There is no set agenda; just gather and talk with your fellow students. Sign in by the region of the country where you attend school. Incoming freshmen to recent graduates are welcome.

For more information, or to be added to the e-mail list (or to the list of parents of college students), contact Susie Avnery,, 469-233-0222.

Tell your friends and spread the word!

Calling all ladies for a swap
Frocks and Frolics, a clothes and accessories exchange, will be hosted by Hadassah’s Professional Women’s Networking Group on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 7–9 p.m., at the home of Ruth Spirer, 7704 Turnberry Lane.
Here’s your chance to spice up your wardrobe while enjoying a fun ladies’ night out. Bring your gently used clothing and accessories: dresses, suits, sweaters, slacks, jackets, skirts, tops, coats, jewelry, handbags, shoes, etc. Clothes must be clean (dry-cleaned if applicable) and in excellent condition to swap.
There is an $18 cover fee (no other money will change hands). Cash, checks and credit cards will be accepted. Wine and cheese will be served.

Private rooms will be available to try on clothes. You can select the same number of items you bring.
Items that are left will be donated to “Attitudes and Attire,”

RSVPs are required and should be made with
Chairs for the event are Ruth Spirer,, 972-386-4519, and Nancy Gordon,, 972-720-9966.

Lights, camera, action!
Award-winning filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell were guest speakers at the University of North Texas’ prestigious Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference on Saturday, July 25.
In their award-winning documentary history about the Great State Fair of Texas, the Mondells take you on a journey through a corn-dog eating contest, a Ku Klux Klan rally in 1923, an Elvis Presley concert in 1956, a pig race and much more. “A Fair to Remember” takes you on a roller-coaster ride chronicling the history of the fair from its inception in 1886 to its destination today as the largest and longest-running one in the country. The fair remains an iconic and timeless tradition every year for Texans across the Lone Star State. A feast for the eyes and the imagination, “A Fair to Remember” captures the heart of Texas — big, spirited and brazenly proud!

The Mondells begin their trip using the same methods: interviews, research online and at the library and observation. Once the subject matter is gathered in their heads and on paper, the tools take them down different paths, but the common ground between storytelling in film and print might surprise you.
“A Fair to Remember” was the only Texas film chosen for the U. S. State Department’s 2009 American Documentary Showcase tour.

Previously honored with the 2008 Lone Star Emmy, a Silver Telly, a Cine Golden Eagle, a Silver Remi Award and as an Official Selection at the 2007 AFI Dallas International Film Festival, the film was directed and produced by Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell, and co-produced by Phillip Allen.

Yiddish books, records needed for archives
You just might have a treasure in your attic or tucked away in a corner of your garage or perhaps even stuck in the bottom corner of a seldom-used closet. We’re referring specifically to Yiddish books, a cultural treasure of the Jewish people.

Yiddish books once captured the imagination of millions of readers; today they are largely forgotten, gathering dust in cellars and attics across America.

But times are changing. Yiddish studies are on the rise, and students and scholars need books.
Also know that Jewish music is archived at the Judaica Sound Archives at Florida Atlantic University Libraries in Boca Raton, Fla. They have been collecting, cleaning and digitizing fragile vintage phonograph records — 78s and LPs — since 2002 and are creating a huge digital database of Jewish music. The Yiddish Book Center has supported their efforts from the beginning, having donated their accumulated collection of over 3,000 records in their first year, and continues to send them the records they receive.

Their second project is specifically concerned with ­Sephardic recordings — 78s, LPs, and CDs — some of which originated in pre-World War I Turkey or interwar Europe, and some in the U.S. and in Israel. The older records were produced in small runs.

The National Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit group working to save Yiddish culture. And they need your help! Check around your house, inquire among friends and relatives. In Dallas, you can call Miriam Creemer, 972-980-8981, for more information.

Yiddish books can be sent to the National Yiddish Book Center, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Building, 1021 West St., Amherst, MA 01002.

Yiddish and other Ashkenazi records can be sent to the Judaica Sound Archives. Shipping instructions and the address are available on their Web site,, or contact the director, Nathan Tinanoff, 561-297-2207 or

Kudos for Valerie Grossman
SMU tells the TJP that Dallas resident Valerie Grossman, daughter of David and Connie Grossman, was named to Southern Methodist University undergraduate honor roll for the spring 2009 semester. Valerie, a sophomore was included on the honor roll with high distinction for the fall 2008 semester, which requires that a student be in the top five percent of their school of record.

SMU’s fall 2008 enrollment included 6,110 undergraduate students. A private university located in the heart of Dallas, SMU is building on the vision of its founders, who imagined a distinguished center for learning emerging from the spirit of the city. Today, 11,000 students benefit from the national opportunities and international reach afforded by the quality of SMU’s seven degree-granting schools.

State Sen. Florence Shapiro to speak to fellow Republicans
The first speaker for the Dallas County Republican Party’s “Rise & Shine” breakfast series featuring potential candidates for the U. S. Senate will be State Senator Florence Shapiro. The seat is now held by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Shapiro, one of several local candidates interested in replacing Hutchison in either a special election or when the term expires in 2012, will address local Republicans at a breakfast on Aug. 6, at 1445 Ross Ave. on the 29th floor.

Upcoming participants include Texas Railroad Commissioners Elizabeth Ames Jones and Michael Williams and former Secretary of State Roger Williams.

Comments (0)


Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

Elliott Dlin to speak at FWISD Holocaust program
Posy McMillen tells me that Elliott Dlin, head of the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, will be the featured speaker at a special daylong program for teachers in the Fort Worth Independent School District on Monday, Aug. 3, at Congregation Ahavath Sholom. Dlin will speak at two morning sessions: “Historic Overview of the Holocaust: When, What, and How?” and “Why?” His afternoon discussion, following lunch, will focus on “Choices & Consequences,” a modular, adaptable curriculum. Also speaking at the morning session is Paul Kessler, a Fort Worth Holocaust survivor, who will give a testimony on his experiences. Participating in the afternoon program will be Kathy Chapman, director of education and programming at the DHM, who will lead a discussion of the film, “Pigeon.”
Teachers will break into small groups for interactive digestion and an analysis of the curricular pieces.
Birthday celebrations!

There I was at the beauty shop last week, sitting between Sarah Herman, who is celebrating her 99th this week (today, July 30) and a patron on my right who, believe it or not, is 105. I was the young kid in the middle, almost 87. Both Sarah and my new friend are sharp as a tack and an inspiration to me, as well as to all seniors.

Joining Sarah at a family gathering are her son and family, Morty and Dr. Barbara Herman; their son and his bride, Lee and Celina Herman, and their son Kyle Herman of New York; granddaughter, Kelley Herman Cunningham and two of her daughters, Aly, 13 and Andie, 12, of San Francisco. Unable to attend were Kelley’s husband, Joe and their two younger daughters, Georgia, 8 and Jackie, 6. Also celebrating with Sarah are great-nephew Marc and Jennifer Herman and their 12-year-old son, Jake, of Los Angeles.

“Sarah, enjoy many more simchas!”

Call this, if you will, something special for my contemporaries. There is nothing wrong with Leon Brachman’s memory. At Shabbat services this Saturday morning at Ahavath Sholom, he’ll celebrate his 89th birthday by chanting the same maftir he chanted at his bar mitzvah in Marietta, Ohio, long years back. The weekend will be special for Leon, since several of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be here for the special occasion. His youngest daughter, Wendy Fisher, who lives in Efrat, Israel, with her husband, Warren, will be unable to attend because of the recent birth of her granddaughter, Tuv Bracha; her parents, Maayan and Noam Pouchacho, are staying with the Fishers until they find a new home in Israel. However, Wendy’s family will be represented by her children: Elad, 18, who enters the Israeli Army in November; Eliraz, 17; and Bezalel, 16, a math whiz. Representing Debby Rice’s family will be her grandchildren, Max, Nathan and Miles Rice, of Chicago and her son, Todd, who lives in Miami. Todd, who has his own Improv company in Florida, will return there on Monday because he teaches Improv at the Fort Lauderdale Comedy Club.

Leon will be honored at the Shabbat Kiddush at CAS following services and at a celebration that evening at his home.

Happy birthday greetings to our celebrants!

Sherwin elected to Women Cantors Network board
Cantor Robbi Sherwin of Austin and Crested Butte, Colo., was elected as the newest board member of the 300+ member Women Cantors Network (WCN) at their annual meeting in June in Ridgefield, Conn. Sherwin has been an active member of the 28-year-old international organization since 2002. Along with Abby Gostein of Austin and Cantor Francyne Davis Jacobs of Houston, Sherwin chaired the 2008 WCN conference in Austin, which brought 80 women cantors to Texas, a historical first. The conference included a standing-room-only concert of the cantors singing original commissioned pieces of the organization, as well as the acclaimed Jewish band, Sababa, of which Sherwin is a member. With over 500 in attendance, it is believed to be the largest Jewish concert in Austin’s history. Sherwin, who has extensive experience writing and publishing feature articles on Jewish music, was elected to the position of newsletter editor.

Cantor Kathryn Wolfe Sebo, of Cleveland, Ohio, is the president of the WCN. She said: “I am delighted that Cantor Robbi Sherwin is joining the Women Cantors Network board as our newsletter editor. She is smart, enthusiastic, talented, and I know she’ll be a great source of energy and ideas for our quarterly newsletter.” Sebo continued: “Robbi and her Texas co-chairs presented an amazing conference in June of 2008 and I’m excited to experience all the wonderful contributions she will add to our organization as a board member.”
Sherwin serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Butte in Crested Butte, and is in high demand around the country as an artist/scholar-in-residence and energetic Jewish musical artist. A graduate of Southwest High School in Fort Worth, she is the daughter of Felice and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ken Sherwin. She is a multi-award-winning published musician, and her music is sung, recorded and performed around the world.

‘Daytimers’ head to Winstar Casino
The “Daytimers” are heading to Winstar Casino, Wednesday, Aug. 19, in a luxurious restroom-equipped bus. The bus will load at the Beth-El Congregation parking lot at 7:45 a.m., and depart at 8 a.m. Minimum number for the bus is 40 people; maximum, 55. Cost is only $5 per person and must be paid in advance.
WinStar World Casino offers world-class gaming, entertainers and cuisine. With the recent expansion, it is Oklahoma’s largest casino and one of more than 50 businesses owned and operated by the Chickasaw Nation. Winstar World Casino offers Blackjack, 3-Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Pai Gow Poker and Mini Baccarat on the casino floor. Texas Hold’em and Omaha can be found in the luxurious Poker Room. The hundreds of slots, starting as low as one cent, feature every kind of game.

The group will board the bus to return at about 4:15 p.m. Information that is required in advance for Bus Manifest is: Name (as it appears on your driver’s license), Address, Phone, Date of Birth, and Do you have a Winstar Player’s Card?

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Sylvia Wexler, 817-294-1129, or $5 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.

Comments (0)


In My Mind’s I

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Today is Tisha B’Av. Last evening began our intense, annual daylong period of fasting, remembrance and mourning.

Most of us know that both of the Jerusalem Temples were destroyed on the same date (in different years, of course) — the ninth of the Hebrew month Av. But when I was growing up in a Conservatively-oriented home, Tisha B’Av belonged to the fervently Orthodox. We gave it a nod in Sunday school, and that was about all. As recently as the year 2000, Herman Wouk, a traditionalist himself, still pronounced it “a neglected observance.”

“There are some who even say that it is out of date,” he continued. “For those who do keep it up, this holy day is hard going. Services are protracted, the liturgy is loaded with difficult medieval poetry, and more punishing even than Yom Kippur is the twenty-four-hour thirst of a midsummer fast…”

Yet long before Wouk wrote those words in “The Will to Live On,” his book of personal reflections on Jewish survival, I had joined a handful of others who gathered each year on the eve of Tisha B’Av to sit on the floor in front of our synagogue’s bimah, reading the Book of Lamentations by candlelight.

Now, those holy hours belong to more of us than ever, no matter the Jewish streams in which we swim. Historian Jonathan Sarna, a leading modern Reform movement voice, awards Tisha B’Av a full chapter in his book “A Time to Every Purpose”; he titles it “Antisemitism.”

No wonder! Here’s some of the distress our tradition says occurred on that fateful date over many years and centuries: God decreed that none of the Israelites who left Egypt would live to enter the Promised Land; Bar Kochba’s brave revolt against the Romans ended in defeat; Jews were expelled first from England, then later from Spain; and the first Holocaust death camp murders took place at Treblinka.

(Not to omit those ancient Temple destructions — the First by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, the Second by the Romans in 70 CE.)

A couple of local commemorative events show how Tisha B’Av is being claimed, and reclaimed, by all Jews today. First: Instead of lamenting together in their individual synagogues, the area’s Conservative Jews joined together last night for some communal moments of prayer, learning and understanding.

And second: This morning, Rabbi Howard Wolk takes all interested men, women and teens on “A Walk Through Jewish History” at Chabad of Dallas. Here, everyone across our religious spectrum can access an authoritative but understandable analysis of the day’s Kinnot — not just Biblical Lamentations, but those elegies and dirges so cavalierly dismissed by Wouk as “difficult medieval poetry.”

Perhaps most interesting and forward-looking: Today, some 30 synagogues across the country are screening a new documentary, “The Third Jihad,” from the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit that aims to educate all Americans on national security issues, with major focus on the threat of radical Islam. Here’s a very different way to honor the memories of our people’s past tragedies: by lifting up our sad and downcast eyes to face similar possibilities in the present, so that perhaps we can avert them in the future. It’s a film that encourages commemoration through a forward focus.

“This year, while American Jews participate in Tisha B’Av programming, wars rage in Iraq and Afghanistan, and two serious nuclear threats hang in the balance,” says Raphael Shore, Clarion Fund’s managing director. “Here is a wakeup call to the American public that radical Islam does not discriminate — the same radicals who wish to harm the Jewish people also wish to destroy Western freedoms and American society as we know it. Only educated Americans can insure that history does not repeat itself….”

A devout Muslim, Dr.M. Zuhdi Jasser, narrates the tale of how the FBI discovered a manifesto calling for a cultural undermining of the United States from within. In the film, experts on both Islam and security are interviewed, including Professor Bernard Lewis, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator Joseph Lieberman and CIA Director R. James Woolsey. All agree that no American can afford to ignore the spread of this radical fundamentalism in our shared country.

Judaism is at least as much about education as it is about community and memory. No synagogue in our area is showing “The Third Jihad” today. But we don’t have to wait until next Tisha B’Av to see it and learn from it. When these holy hours are over, why not take a look at


Comments (0)


Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,
I know the day of Tisha B’Av is coming up soon, but I have never really succeeded in observing it properly because I have a lot of trouble trying to mourn over a temple I never saw or experienced and don’t feel its loss. Is there anything you can give me to hold on to which would add some meaning to someone like me?
Carlie S.

Dear Carlie,
You are referring to the fast day known as Tisha B’Av, meaning the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av. [Ed. note: This year, Tisha B’Av began last night and continues today, Thursday, July 30, until dark.] This is the date that numerous calamities have befallen the Jewish people throughout our history, most notably the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem. Each of these destructions opened a period of harsh exile for the Jewish people. The first destruction kicked off the 70-year Babylonian exile; the second began the bitter Roman exile which continues until today.

The difficulty you are experiencing is, unfortunately, one felt by even most observant Jews, who may outwardly observe the laws and customs of the day, yet have much difficulty in truly feeling the sadness and mourning. Although there are Jews who are on a very high level of piety and scholarship and can truly appreciate the tremendous loss of the Temple and all it stood for, and mourn deeply over its loss, that doesn’t apply to most of us.

The very laws themselves, when observed properly, actually help a lot in getting into the spirit. Fasting, sitting on the floor or a low stool a large part of the day, reading from the Book of Lamentations and other dirges and refraining from joyous activities and music all contribute to the feeling of mourning. The three-week preparation period prior to the actual fast, especially the minor mourning customs during that time, all serve as an important preparation to set the mood of the day as well.

The most important thing I find for myself is the focus on the entirety of Diaspora history. It’s not only the Temple itself we mourn over, but all the subsequent tragedies which have befallen our people subsequent to, and as a result of, that destruction and the pursuant Diaspora of our people: the inquisitions, pogroms, blood libels, anti-Semitism at many levels, the unspeakable Holocaust and, lately, suicide bombings and more. These are all part and parcel of the loss of our lofty state and closeness to G-d which we had with the Temple in Jerusalem. Many of the dirges recited on Tisha B’Av refer to calamities which transpired during these later periods of Jewish history. Most notably, two heart-rending dirges were composed by two leading sages of the last generation, reflecting the horrors of the Holocaust. I, personally, spend much of my time on Tisha B’Av reflecting on, and reading about, the events and suffering of the Holocaust. I find this brings the day home to the heart in a way we can relate to.

I also think about, on that day, the terrible “spiritual holocaust” we are presently witnessing before our eyes in America. We’ve lost 2 million Jews from our census charts in the past 20 years. This reflects a loss of 100,000 Jews a year, around 300 a day, for the last 20 years! Although this holocaust is happening with beautiful homes and cars rather than concentration camps and crematoria, the net result in loss of Jews is no less catastrophic. In some ways it’s even worse: The Jews who were killed in Auschwitz and Treblinka died as Jews; many of our brethren are being lost in America by exiting their status as Jews.

The more we can expose our fellow Jews in America to the beauty of our heritage and the Torah, we can turn back the present Tisha B’Av. In that merit, may it become a day of rejoicing with our final redemption and return to our homeland!

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

Comments (0)


Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 31 July 2009 by admin

Dear Families,
Each summer we focus on values that we can DO! At the J camps, all the children and the families get involved. There is a little learning, a little thinking and then a lot of doing! Get involved with us this summer. The value for this week is: v’ahavta l’reyacha, loving one’s neighbor.

Rabbi Akiva said that the most important mitzvah in the entire Torah is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) Rabbi Hillel said it a little differently: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the entire Torah — all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a) Look at Rabbi Akiva’s comment first. What does it mean to love your neighbor? What if we don’t really like our neighbor? Does this mean we need to love every person? How can we be commanded to love? What are we supposed to do?

On the other hand, Rabbi Hillel also told us how to treat others but he goes at it a little differently than Akiva does. Hillel doesn’t tell us to love but rather not to do anything hateful. Which is easier? Can we do both?
Hatred stirs up strife, but love draws a veil over all transgressions. — Proverbs 10:12

Whoever destroys a single life, it is as if that person had destroyed the entire world.
— Mishnah Sanhedrin 37

When love is strong, we can lie on the edge of a sword.
— Mishnah Sanhedrin 72

The sages told us a leader is one who turns an enemy into a friend. Is this something you can do? How can you make an enemy into a friend?

How can you show a neighbor that you “love” him/her?

What should you do if a friend is doing something that could hurt him? How do you tell him to stop? What if he doesn’t listen?

Do something ‘Jewish unplugged’
Jewish ethics speaks of a group of actions called gemilut chasadim — deeds of lovingkindness. This is similar to, but not the same as, “random acts of kindness.” The rabbis say that we must not be random in our kindness. Being kind is something we should think about and act on every day. So practice kindness and don’t make it random.

Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.

Comments (0)

Summer Days at the J!

Summer Days at the J!

Posted on 30 July 2009 by admin

Competition makes everyone a winner!

By Laura Seymour

Maccabiah at Camp Chai means more than competition — there is always a story that challenges campers to work together as well as to compete. Contests range from sporting events to creative songwriting and even cleaning up. At the start of the week, the children began looking for clues and a map that would lead to a treasure left by Camp Chai campers from the past. Maccabiah became the way to get the clues and find the treasure.

Teams were colored Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow. Kids and counselors were dressed in their team colors from head to toe! This spirited group could not wait for the games to start. Campers began with the traditional tug-of-war, competed in swimming events, created a commercial for a charity and then raised money for that cause — and even got points for bringing food to donate to the Jewish Family Service Food Bank. Throughout the day, clues pointed to pieces of the treasure map. After announcing the winning squad (the Blue Team!), Camp Director Laura Seymour read the final clue, which led to the treasure on the roof of the JCC. The message in the treasure box was, “The best treasures of Camp Chai are your friends and your memories. You may leave camp, but camp will never leave you.” And every camper received a chai necklace. All at Camp Chai were winners!

Camp Chai musical enthralls audience

By Jared Cohen

Campers portrayed a “tale as old as time” for the audience at the Jewish Community Center. This year’s summer musical at Camp Chai charmed the audience with magical talent.

“Beauty and the Beast Junior,” directed by Jessica Barnett, contained a cast of over 30 campers, ranging from second to sixth grade, as well as several teenage staff members. Children who weren’t in the production also helped by building the set and props. Their collaborative efforts included making a working invention for Belle’s father, Maurice. A great deal of work had to be done. Brooke Fein, who played one of the Narrators, said, “Though it was a really tough show, we knew we could do it thanks to Jessica’s encouragement. She believed in us!”

This is the sixth summer of directing the camp musical for Jessica, who just completed her Bachelor of Arts in theater from the University of Southern California.

Jessica’s goal this summer was to teach theatrical concept to the campers. “I really wanted to do something artistic with young children,” she explained. “Even at a young age, I knew these campers could grasp intricate theater concepts. However, these children exceeded my expectations.”

The entire set and costumes were black and white except for Belle, the one who broke the spell set on the castle and townspeople. Along the way, Belle used colored set pieces to symbolize that she and the beast were falling in love. Once the spell was broken, the audience was spellbound by the colorful costumes.

The performance was a great experience for everyone. Sarah Balis, who portrayed Cogsworth, said “I can’t believe this is my last show. I will miss it so much!” Junior counselors, who were performers in Jessica’s first camp show, also assisted with the production. Megan Spinhirne stated, “I’ve had a great time working on both sides of the spectrum. And now I really appreciate all the work that goes into these shows.”

There was a place for everyone at this summer’s production. Whether on or off stage, each member of the cast and crew played a crucial role in the success of the show!

Jared Cohen is a former Camp Chai counselor and theater assistant.

[nggallery id=30]

Comments (0)

Contact us

Posted on 29 July 2009 by admin

(972) 458-7283 – phone

(972) 458-7299 – fax

Dallas Office

7920 Belt Line Rd., Suite 680

Dallas, TX 75254

Fort Worth Office

P.O. Box 12087

Fort Worth, TX 76110

(817) 927-2831

Comments (3)


Dallas Doings

Posted on 24 July 2009 by admin

Mike Jacobs recognized on CAF Veterans Wall of Honor
Prominent Dallas community leader Mike Jacobs came in for added and well-deserved honors when the CAF Airpower Museum in Midland placed a permanent recognition plate on their Veterans Wall of Honor. The brushed aluminum plate will be inscribed “Mike Jacobs, Holocaust Survivor (1939-1945).”
Mike’s life has been fraught with pain, hardship, despair, freedom, love, success and family, as well as accolades for his everlasting perseverance from an appreciative community.

He was born in September 1925 in the small Polish town of Konin, a town whose Jewish community dated back to 1397. Given at birth the name of Mendel Jakubowicz, he later changed it to Mike or Michael Jacobs.
On Sept. 1, 1939, the Nazi Army invaded Poland. Two months later, he and his entire family were herded into cattle cars and moved to the ghetto in Ostrowiecz. His parents, two brothers and two sisters were murdered in the Treblinka death camp. Another brother, Reuben, was later killed while fighting the Nazis with the partisans.

After being a prisoner at the camp Ostrowiecz, he was transported to Auschwitz and Birkenau, both in Poland, and then to Mauthausen-Gusen II in Austria, where he was liberated by the American Army on May 5, 1945. Refusing to remain in a DP (displaced persons) camp, he worked as a shopkeeper in Western Europe, studied physical education in Germany and taught sports to Jewish refugees and German children before receiving his papers. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 with the assistance of the Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society). At the end of the war, he worked for the U.S. Armed Forces.

Jacobs has volunteered extensively as a lecturer and has spoken to thousands — students and adults alike — at high schools, churches, civic groups and universities. His book, “Holocaust Survivor: Mike Jacobs’ Triumph over Tragedy,” was published in 2001. He is founder and past president of the Holocaust Survivors in Dallas and is founder of the Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies.

In 1953, Jacobs married his life’s partner, the former Ginger Chesnick, a native Dallasite. They are parents of four children: Mark, Debbie J. Linksman (Wayne), Andy and Reuben. They are also the proud and loving grandparents of Debbie and Wayne’s daughters: Rivka, Leeza, Sarah and Aviva.

A leader in the scrap industry, Mike started Jacobs Iron and Metal Company in 1954, which has evolved in recent years into The Jacobs Group.

Still involved with many organizations within the Jewish community, he continues to be an enthusiastic speaker whenever called upon.

Mike has been a major force in the development of the soccer program in Dallas, and he has many warm memories of the sport, which is near and dear to his heart. After arriving in the United States in 1951, he organized, managed and coached the first soccer team at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas. Through the years, he has been an active participant in soccer events. He became the first registered referee with the U.S.S.F.A. in the area in 1956, and some 10 years later became a professional referee. He has refereed 14 international games as well as many domestic and cup games on all levels. Installed in the North Texas Hall of Fame in July 1976, he also tossed the coin to start the soccer competition at the International Maccabi sports competition in Dallas on Aug. 1, 2005.

The Veterans Wall of Honor at the CAF Airpower Museum has been dedicated to support the operations of this celebrated historic museum by giving permanent recognition to all veterans who served their country in any of the U.S. or Allied armed forces.

The Veterans Wall of Honor is prominently displayed there. Each year, the CAF Airpower Museum hosts a banquet to induct seven individuals into the American Combat Airman Hall of Fame. This year, Mike Jacobs was chosen as one of the select seven.

Rabbi Adam Raskin becomes new president of Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas
Congratulations to Rabbi Adam Raskin, spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson, who has succeeded Shaare Tefilla’s Rabbi Ari Perl as president of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Dallas (RAGD).
“Dallas is blessed with a very talented, inspired rabbinic community,” Raskin said. “We do not meet to make halachic [Jewish legal] decisions. Our purpose is to be a resource to the Dallas Jewish community, and to partner with local agencies to make Jewish life in Dallas even more compelling.”

The Rabbinic Association is currently involved in plans to become incorporated and to approve bylaws. The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas generously funds a part-time administrative assistant to coordinate communication and organization for the RAGD. Rabbi Raskin hopes even more Dallas-area rabbis will get involved in the association. “Denominationalism is really not our concern. We work together as leaders of our Jewish community, and for the benefit of all Dallas Jews. The camaraderie is really very special, and I look forward to the RAGD becoming an even greater presence in our community,” Raskin said.

Harry Kabler: on call for JWV Post 256
Harry Kabler is not only a man for all seasons, but he’s a man that’s on call for all who need his help.
And, his help is gratefully accepted by the Dallas Jewish War Veterans Post 256. Every year, Post members visit all the cemeteries where their comrades are at rest and change out the flags on the graves. Since most of the JWV members are past the age of the hurrahs, they have garnered the help of the Boy Scouts to “assist them.” The kids perform the task enthusiastically.

The JWV, formed in 1876, is the oldest veterans’ organization in America. Bernie Dworkin, a dedicated member of Post 256, tells the TJP, “We are dedicated to attending to our deceased comrades and letting the country know that Jews do not sit at their stores or businesses during times of conflict but are on the firing line with the other members of the American military. We have a sergeant from the Confederacy buried at the Hall Street cemetery. Our comrades are never forgotten.”

Dworkin added, “Harry Kabler is the one that gets all of us together and lines out the where and how. He is and has been a tireless worker for Post 256.”

Comments (0)


Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 24 July 2009 by admin

Bnai Zion to honor Posy McMillen at Nov. 1 event
If you haven’t as yet had the opportunity to meet Monica “Posy” McMillen, I’m sure most of you are at least familiar with her name. She’s a longtime dedicated supporter of not only our Jewish community, but Israel, as well. A well-known teacher extraordinaire, Posy will be recognized by the community and selected by the Texas Region of Bnai Zion Foundation as one of their main honorees for their ninth annual gala, scheduled for Nov. 1, at the elegant Westin Park Central Hotel in Big D. Before you have any qualms about not crossing over the Trinity to Dallas, rest assured, round-trip transportation will be provided at no fee. RSVPs (for bus and the dinner) can be made with Texas Region Director Avrille Harris Cohen, 972-918-9200 or e-mail

“Posy,” as she is called by all who know and love her, has a most impressive resume. Of Mennonite Christian origins, taught early in her youth the love for Israel and the Jewish people, she authored and teaches a 22-week course titled “Anti-Semitism and the Church.” She has also done several 13-week courses on traditional Judaism: “Judaism 101,” “The Jews in Their Land: 169 BCE to 1917 CE,” “Jewish Holidays and Their Significance in Christianity,” “Hebraic Footprints in the New Testament,” “The Jewish People in the First Century” and “Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Judea.”

In 1997, Posy served as chairman of the Anne Frank in the World: 1929–1945 International Exhibition, which was held in Fort Worth, and chaired it again in October and November 2002. In 1998, she was awarded a grant to study in an intensive four-week (180-hour) Holocaust study program at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. She has served on the Program Committee for the Dallas Holocaust Museum and is on the Speakers’ Bureau for the National Unity Coalition/Voices United for Israel.

Posy has twice been vice president of education for Fort Worth Hadassah and was vice president of fundraising. At present, she is serving as representative of the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County on the Texas Coalition for Holocaust Education.

She is the founder of the Fort Worth branch of Yad B’Yad (Hebrew for “Hand in Hand”), an organization of reconciliation between Christians and Jews that she started in 1998, and head of a pro-Israel activist group called HaShomer (“The Guardian”). Posy has also taught several times for the Tapestry of Jewish Education program at the Jewish Community Center in Austin.

A graduate of Indiana University, Posy is a native of Fort Wayne, Ind. She is the recipient of many honors, including the Israel Freedom Award (2002) from Israel Bonds, Four Chaplains Award (2002) from the Fort Worth Jewish War Veterans, and American Eagle Award from B’nai B’rith (2007) for her work in the Jewish community, and is a member of many organizations that have benefited from her leadership and advocacy.
Bnai Zion is delighted to have this righteous Christian as its next honoree, as we are all the beneficiaries of her remarkable contributions to our world. Bnai Zion, founded in 1908, has provided over 100 years of aid in both Israel and the United States with its far-reaching humanitarian, nonpartisan projects and causes, focusing on improving the human condition. The world-renowned Bnai Zion Medical Hospital in Haifa, Israel, serves as the medical teaching arm of the Technion, Israel’s answer to our own MIT. Bnai Zion’s volunteers hope to secure funds to help the Bnai Zion Medical Center continue its life-saving work.

Press notes
Former ourtowner Toni Gernsbacher was host to a group of friends and kinfolk at a delightful weekend retreat, in celebration of her 50th birthday, at the Lake Austin Spa.

Happy July anniversary greetings to Judie B. and Bob Greenman, their 45th on the 12th; Sharon and Bill Clark, their 20th on the 22nd; Carol and Ronnie Goldman, their 45th on the 26th; and Cynthia and Jeff Prostok, their 20th on the 29th. Happy birthday greetings to Bennie Luskey, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this Saturday at a luncheon at Cousin’s hosted by his children Jeanie and Henry Luskey and Dr. Gary and Rossi Solomon of Dallas. It will be a maftir weekend for Leon Brachman, who will celebrate his 89th birthday on Aug. 1, at the Shabbat service this Saturday at Ahavath Sholom, where he will chant the same maftir from his bar mitzvah in Marietta, Ohio so long ago. Leon will be honored, by family and friends, following the service at a Shabbat luncheon.

Mazel tov to all the celebrants.

Comments (0)


In My Mind’s I

Posted on 24 July 2009 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

While most people shop today on eBay and in more traditional venues, a very privileged few make astoundingly expensive buys at Bonhams, one of the world’s oldest and largest art and antique auctioneering firms.

In business since 1793, Bonhams recently sold an old ballet costume for 12,000 British pounds — something approaching $13,000 U.S.

Why would anyone want it? And at such a high price? Well, this item happens to be both artistic and historic. It was worn on May 13, 1912, when the Ballets Russes premiered “Le Dieu Bleu” at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

This year marks a century since Sergei Diaghilev first brought his Russian dance company to Paris. He attracted the time’s greatest artists to work with him on scenery and costumes, people like Picasso and Matisse. And Bakst.

Who? A Jew from the Russian Pale of Settlement, a young man who left his czar-run homeland for less army and more art in Western Europe. While Jean Cocteau was writing the story for “The Blue God,” and Michael Fokine was creating its choreography, Leon Samoilovich Bakst was dreaming up settings for the stage, and costumes for those who would dance on it.

All things Oriental were the rage in France then, and Diaghilev’s ballet fed the crowd: It was the story of an East Indian god who brings together two star-crossed lovers. The great Nijinsky himself danced the part of the god, and only God above would know what his costume would have brought at auction. It, however, no longer exists. Neither do any others from that ballet except the one recently sold at Bonhams, the colorful dress worn by a dancer in the corps de ballet. Collectors craved the Bakst design which strongly influenced Parisian fashion a hundred years ago.

This auction, held at one of Bonhams’ seven salesrooms in England, featured costumes and textiles only. It raised a total of almost 125,000 pounds, with the Bakst offering as star of the show.

Bonhams’ next big sale featured antique European glass. And although final figures from it aren’t yet available, the major item here also has a Jewish connection. It’s the “Field Cup,” a Venetian bowl dating back to the late 15th century and once owned by several Rothschilds: the Barons Alphonse and Edouard of Paris, and most recently the Baroness Batsheva of Tel Aviv. It takes its name from the original collector, Englishman George Field, born before the turn of the 19th century; he is supposed to have sold it to the first Rothschild owner during a major art exhibition in 1857. The recent auction price is said to be an astounding 220,000 British pounds.

Circling this large, footed, blue bowl is a gold band bearing the Latin inscription Tempore Felici Multi Nominantur Amici, which — loosely translated — means “People have lots of friends when times are good.” Jews, including the Rothschilds, have always known that.

So did Professor Curt Glaser, who back in 1933 held his own auction in Berlin. He sold his home furnishings, his extensive library and much of his private art collection as he prepared to leave Germany — another sale with potent Jewish echoes today.

Glaser had lost both his position as director of the Berlin State Art Library, and the state-owned apartment he lived in, because he was a Jew. He was smart to get out of the country. But he was not so smart in writing to his dear friend, the noted artist Edvard Munch, that “I am happy to unburden myself of my possessions.”

This single comment has caused the British Spoliation Advisory Panel (SAP) to recommend that eight valuable drawings sold at that auction, now nesting in London’s Courtauld Institute, should not be returned to the seller’s heirs.

The heirs say Glaser’s sale was due to Nazi persecution; Glaser wouldn’t have had to “unburden” himself of his belongings and leave Germany if he hadn’t been a persecuted Jew. German officials today agree, opining that the auction was in fact a distress sale to finance Glaser’s flight. But SAP maintains that Glaser had “mixed motives” for his departure, making any claims to his sold artworks “morally insufficient” to warrant returning them to his heirs today.

Glaser sold 1500 items at that auction. No footed blue Venetian glass bowl was among them, certainly not any with an inscription noting how many friends a man has during good times — and how few during the bad ones. Which, in this case, seem to have returned after more than 75 years.


Comments (0)

View or Subscribe to the
Texas Jewish Post

Advertise Here

Photos from our Flickr stream

See all photos

Advertise Here