Archive | September, 2010


Dallas Doings

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

Yavneh’s Justine Berman wins Sprint Youth award

Mazel tov to Yavneh Academy’s Justine Berman ‘12, the daughter of Leora Lurie and Peter Berman, who was selected as Dallas’ 2010 Sprint Youth Community Champion. As the recipient of this award, Justine has received a $2,500 grant from the Sprint Foundation, which she has chosen to share with the Equest Therapeutic Horsemanship, an organization that assists riders with over 100 physical, cognitive and emotional diagnoses and one that has been Justine’s passion for four years.

“We are very appreciative of the donation on Justine’s behalf to Equest,” said Ellie Grant, volunteer director for Equest. Grant added that “$2,500 might cover eight months of care for one of our horses, it might be a scholarship for six or more riders and it might be used to purchase saddles for hundreds of riders to use.”

“Justine gives of her time and energy far beyond the average teenager,” said Allyn Schmucker, Yavneh’s director of guidance. “Her heart is wide open to help those with special needs. She has won the respect of those in charge by her honest concern for the kids and their needs and her concern and care for the horses as well.”

“I’ve always loved horses and coming to Equest started as a one-summer project and that year I logged more than 300 hours,” said Berman, who has received the organization’s Rookie of the Year and other volunteer department awards. “I didn’t realize the impact it would have on me.

“So many of us take for granted our physical and mental functions, and to see the growth and development of the riders I work with makes me a better person,” said Berman, who assisted riders at the 2010 Texas Special Olympics. “You can see the progress of a rider in a year, some in a week, and whether it’s in their walking, their speech or otherwise, you see how they function better in everyday life.”

“Justine is an incredibly dedicated and devoted volunteer and we are so proud of her,” Grant said. “She has a very special way with people and animals, she’s worked with riders of all levels and she doesn’t shy away from any task or responsibility. Her heart and empathy set her apart from others, something very rare in such a young lady.”

CSI offers new ‘Love of Learning’ series

This year, 2010–11, marks two milestones for Congregation Shearith Israel. They will celebrate the synagogue’s 125+ years and Rabbi William Gershon’s 13th year with Shearith Israel. As many know, Rabbi Gershon’s passion is learning. He encourages learning in all aspects of Jewish life — from incorporating yoga with spirituality, to Jewish cooking, to Torah study.

To honor Rabbi Gershon, beginning this month, Shearith is proud to announce a yearlong speaker series, “Love of Learning.” One Shabbat morning each month, special speakers will focus on a variety of topics that incorporate Jewish learning. All guest speakers will deliver the d’var Torah during Shabbat morning services at CSI.

The next two sessions will be:

Saturday, Oct. 2 — “The Faces of Anti- Semitism Today” with Roberta S. Clark, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League

Saturday, Nov. 20 — “When the Danube Ran Red” with Zsuzsanna Ozsváth, the Leah and Paul Lewis Chair of Holocaust Studies and professor of literature and history of ideas at the University of Texas, Dallas.

Future guests include Jaynie Schultz, community leader and educator, Dec. 4; Mark Stolovitsky, head of the Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Jan. 22, 2011; and Mordechai Rosenstein, internationally acclaimed Jewish artist, Feb. 26, 2011.

Sukkah-building video online

A lot of Jewish households and organizations in Dallas have built a sukkah this week to mark the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Nobody documented it like David Duchin.

Duchin, a professional photographer and a member of Congregation Beth Torah, chairs the synagogue’s Sukkah Build, which is carried out each year by the Men’s Club. He also takes action photos and the annual “Mission Accomplished” portrait so the builders can show off their work.

This year he took a different tack. Without any fanfare, Duchin set up his camera to capture the whole process for a time-lapse photo video — one photo each minute until the bare patio became a complete sukkah.

You can watch the sukkah go up in a 90-second video, at

“This way we can tell who was doing the hard work and who was munching bagels,” Duchin joked.

Texas Tatas to raise funds for Komen

On Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2, the Texas Tatas will be hosting a multi-family Pink Lemons-to-Aid stand and garage sale to raise money for Susan G. Komen. The Texas Tatas team is made up of 10 Dallas moms who will be walking 60 miles this November in the San Diego 3-Day For the Cure. Although the Tatas have exceeded their fundraising goals, they are committed to raising more money to help in the fight against breast cancer. Each team member has a unique connection to the cause, whether through the loss of a loved one or in support of someone who is a survivor. The team’s children, “The Tiny Tatas,” will be joining the cause by hosting their own Pink Lemons-to-Aid stand at the sale. The kids have supported their moms who have spent countless hours training for the big 60-mile walk and are thrilled to be a part of it. Making up the Texas Tatas are Sharon Blumberg, Julie Drinkwater, Robin Fishman, Jenny Horn, Mahra Pailet, Karen Saland, Lauren Savariego, Lori Stern, Dina Warshauer and Jennifer Winton.

Join the Teen Connection!

Metroplex teens are invited to join an exciting Jewish youth group called Teen Connection, sponsored by the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), the largest Jewish youth organization in the world. Membership is FREE and specifically coordinated for Jewish teens currently in seventh and eighth grades.

This program was developed because BBYO knew from experience that there was a need to provide youth of this age with an opportunity to meet other Jewish teens and to begin to develop lifelong friendships. Youth who take part in Jewish recreational programs are more likely to affiliate themselves with their Jewish peers as they mature into young adults.

Some Teen Connection activities that have been successful have included Whirly Ball and Laser Tag, field trips to the Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not, tie dying events, rollerskating, a Mavs game, and Group Dynamix, to name a few. The first event is scheduled for Sunday, October 3rd , at Pump It Up in North Dallas (Frankford location). For additional information, please call the BBYO office at 214-363-4654.

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

‘Dreams of Flight’ will take ‘Daytimers’ to new heights

Next event for “Daytimers” will be a trip on TRE and DART to Fair Park in Dallas for the exhibit, “Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space” at the Women’s Museum, Wednesday, Oct. 20. The group will leave the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center at 12:15 p.m., enjoy lunch on the train and transfer to the DART Green Line at Victory Park Station.

Lunch on the train will be catered by Subway. Guests have a choice of turkey on honey oat, chicken teriyaki on wheat, or tuna on Italian, with chips, cookie and bottled water. Trip, including train fare, lunch, bottled water and museum admission, is $15.

The exhibit at the Women’s Museum highlights the glorious achievements of the first female aviators and follows the path they cleared for the eventual inclusion of women in the space program.

Most Americans know about Amelia Earhart and that Sally Ride was the first female U.S. astronaut to enter space, but the stories of women who fought incredible prejudices between Earhart’s disappearance in 1937 and Ride’s re-entry in 1983 are lost in the murk of forgotten history. There were scores of female aviators who fought long, difficult battles to be accorded the same joy, privilege and excitement that men had been given when they were granted wings.

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Irv Robinson, 817-731-7447, or checks can be mailed to Daytimers, Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road, Fort Worth, TX 76109. There will be no payments accepted the day of the trip.

The Sylvia Wolens “Daytimers” is a program of Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

Be on hand to get the newest Haber thriller!

Dr. Julian Stuart Haber will be signing his recently published mystery/espionage thriller, “A Nail In The Body of Christ,” at the Arts Goggle for The Neighborhood Library at 1310 W. Allen St. in Fort Worth on Saturday night, Oct. 2, between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. On Oct. 3, from 3 to 5 p.m., he will sign the book at the awards party for Stage West on West Vickery Street. The plot begins in Morocco when al-Qaida threatens to put a nail in the body of Christ and a bullet into the heart of Israel. The Dallas FBI director retires to Port Aransas near Corpus Christi. However, an unusual friend and near-fatal accident force him out of retirement and into direct confrontation with a terrorist cell in South Texas. The action takes place in the above locations as well as in Italy, off the Somalia coast, Mexico and Costa Rica. The book is available on and, and you can get signed copies at the above events or purchase it for $16 at FreeLance Writers, 7001 Candlestick Court, Fort Worth, TX 76133.

The best little production at Casa Mañana

Casa Mañana is excited to bring back Fort Worth favorite Ruta Lee to star in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” Oct. 23–31 at Casa Mañana Theatre. Don’t miss the themed costume party following the 7 p.m. performance on Oct. 31.

Lee returns to star as Miss Mona Stangley in this 1978 Tony Award-nominated hit stage play turned cinema classic. Set in fictional Gilbert, Texas, “Whorehouse” tells the story of Stangley, proprietor of the famed Chicken Ranch, as she and local sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, played by Ed Dixon, fight to keep the doors open to the century-old brothel.

Lee’s first Casa Mañana appearance was in 1964 in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.” Some of her other shows at Casa Mañana include “Funny Girl,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Steel Magnolias” and “Hello, Dolly!” She also has appeared on TV in “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Mork and Mindy,” “Three’s Company” and “The Love Boat.”

Dixon also has ties to Casa Mañana. He received his equity card at Casa Mañana 41 years ago in a production opposite Lee. Since then he has been a fixture on Broadway for over 30 years, appearing in 10 Broadway productions. He was seen in the revival of “Sunday in the Park with George.” His other Broadway credits include “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “Les Misérables” and Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”

Following the 7 p.m. Oct. 31 performance, Casa Mañana will host a themed costume party at 9:30 in the Grand Lobby at Casa Mañana Theatre. The party will include dancing to the music of Professor D, a costume contest with a $100 grand prize and a cash bar. Patrons who attend a performance of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” can come to the party for free with their ticket stub.

Casa Mañana’s production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is directed by Michael Susko and choreographed by Josh Rhodes. Susko has directed several regional productions including “Les Misérables,” “The Producers,” “All Shook Up” and “Hello, Dolly!” Rhodes was assistant choreographer for the original Broadway production of “The Drowsy Chaperone” and directed and choreographed Casa Mañana’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Additional cast members include Joe Sturgeon as “Melvin P. Thorpe,” Liz Mikel as “Jewel,” Paige Wheat as “Angel,” Melissa Farmer as “Shy,” Amber Guest as “Doatsey Mae,” Neil Rogers as “Senator” and “Rufus,” Greg Dulcie as “Edsel” and “Bandleader,” and David Coffee as “CJ” and “Governor.”

Ensemble cast members include Lindsay Gee, Grace Neeley, Christine Zavakos, Aubrey Adams, Tami Mostert, Maranda Harrison, Christopher J. Deaton, Babakayode Ipaye, Michael Anthony Sylvester, C. Nicholas Morris, Bryan Lewis, Michael Borges and Judah Gavra.

This production is an exclusive limited engagement at Casa Mañana Theatre in Fort Worth. Performance dates are Saturday, Oct. 23 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 24 at 2 and 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 30 at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 31 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. is a student preview night with cast talkback following the show, open for students, faculty and staff with valid school ID for $10. This show is not suitable for all audiences; parental discretion is advised.

Tickets for “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” are on sale now and can be purchased by calling the Casa Mañana Theatre box office at 817-332-2272. You can also visit the box office at 3101 West Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth. Ticket prices are $40 to $65, depending upon seating location. For more information, visit

Two local women cited as tops in their fields

Mazel tov to Tricia Haber, who was selected as a 5 Star Top Wealth Advisor in Texas in Texas Monthly magazine’s August issue. Karen Johnson was selected one of the Top Attorneys in Tarrant County for the November issue of Fort Worth magazine.

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In His Image: Things I learned on a road trip from Dallas to New York

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

By Rabbi Herb Cohen

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — When I left Dallas on July 27, I began driving to New York with my son Ezra, hauling a 4×8 trailer filled with items to drop at my children’s homes in the Northeast before my aliyah to Israel. On the way, we stopped off in Memphis and Nashville to enjoy the music scene in those cities. We had a wonderful time with one another, bonding on a road trip as only a father and son can. All was going well until we hit the proverbial bump in the road. In Salem, Va., our 1999 Toyota Corolla broke down, requiring a new engine and a skilled mechanic who could install it in a timely way.

Ezra and I were perplexed. How could we get to New Jersey in time for Shabbat with our cargo? Ezra, a rabbi himself, realized that he would have to reschedule some important meetings scheduled for Thursday and Friday. We both kept looking for messages from God, for life lessons, which we could learn from this challenging ordeal.

Our car limped into the parking lot of a Quality Inn. I had absolutely no idea how we were going to deal with our problem. The trailer company, which posts an emergency number, was not responding and the local trailer companies had no vehicles available for a one-way trip. Ezra and I slept restlessly.

In the early morning, as I was drinking a cup of coffee in the lobby of the motel with a troubled look on my face, one of the hotel workers, a woman perhaps in her 70s, asked me if everything was all right and I shared with her my dilemma. She then drove me to her own Toyota serviceman, who told me that he could have a replacement engine for me in a week. When I returned to the motel, another employee of the hotel, Mike Fulcher, the accounts manager who had become aware of my problem, came to my hotel room and told me that he could secure a 1999 Toyota Corolla engine by the next day and that he had a superb mechanic who could install it immediately. Moreover, all this could be done at a reasonable price.

Not having any alternative, I agreed to Mike’s plan. Mike drove me to the local bank so I could get the necessary cash to pay for the engine and the mechanic. He then chauffeured me to the man who would order the engine so that I could pay him in advance before he ordered it. After that, he drove me to the shop of “Fast Eddie,” the mechanical whiz who would install the engine so I could make the deal with him as well. The entire process took three hours and Mike had driven close to 100 miles. Ezra and I marveled at Mike’s efforts on our behalf and felt that God was orchestrating our rescue from behind the scenes. We had a sense that we were experiencing our own Purim story. We had moved from despair to optimism; and it happened in the town of Salem, for which the Hebrew equivalent is shalom, peace.

Miraculously, the car was fixed the next day and we continued on our road trip. We were amazed and grateful for our good fortune, at our extraordinary rescue arranged by God’s providential hand. Most important, we were impressed by the kindness of strangers.

The belief in the kindness of strangers was reinforced by the good people I met in Salem. They reminded me that all men are created in God’s image. This is one of the fundamental ideas in this week’s Torah portion. It is a profound statement that asserts and confirms our common humanity. As John Donne, the 17th-century English metaphysical poet, once said: “No man is an island.” We are all connected. This is a valuable message to keep in mind as we navigate our human relationships each and every day.

Rabbi Herb Cohen made aliyah from Dallas this summer. He can be reached at

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I’ve often been bothered by something I have noticed on Simchat Torah in synagogue, that people who are not dancing are sitting. I know that when a Torah scroll is removed from the ark, say at a regular Shabbat service, everyone stands in honor of the Torah. It was once explained to me that whenever the Torah is moving from place to place, we stand in honor of the Torah. Why is it that on Simchat Torah, when the Torah is being moved from place to place as part of the celebration, people are sitting in its presence?

Marvin J.

Dear Marvin,

Many years ago I posed this exact question to my mentor, the late Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Aurbach of Jerusalem, the leading halachic decisor of the past generation in Israel. He smiled, indicating he, too, had bothered by this question in his youth. He said that he had observed rabbis far greater than anyone in our generation who also sat during the seven hakafot, when the Torah is being taken around the circle of dancing and celebration on Simchat Torah.

Rav Aurbach then replied, cryptically, that in his opinion the answer is the following: The need to stand for the honor of the Torah scroll is only when the Torah is taken from its stationary place and moved from place to place. On Simchat Torah, the entire synagogue is its place!

To me, this was a very profound analysis of what Simchat Torah is all about, as well as an important message for our lives as Jews. We often look at the Torah as something foreign to the world we live in, and in many ways it is foreign to our society. We try to add in a little bit of Torah and Judaism, here and there, deep down knowing it’s not the central theme of our lives. In a sense, we are taking the Torah out of the ark, out of its place, and moving it into our lives a bit until we return it back to its place.

On Simchat Torah, the real celebration is that everywhere is the Torah’s place. Torah is, for those who choose to make it so, central to our lives, and it permeates every area of our existence “…because they [the words of Torah] are our lives and the length of our days…” (Siddur/Prayerbook).

When the Tablets were given to us at Mt. Sinai, the Torah says that they could be read from either side (Shemot/Exodus 32:15). This was a great miracle, because letters cut all the way through stone should be readable only from the front; in the back they would be backwards. What was the point of this miracle, what lesson was G-d teaching by doing so? R’ Samson R. Hirsch explains with a penetrating message. Often Jews feel that Judaism is something “to do” in synagogue or on holidays, rendering it a religion. But Judaism is not only a religion; it is a way of life. There are mitzvot which apply to every area of business, domestic, family and community life. Whichever way you turn, there are mitzvot which show us how to live our lives Jewishly and infuse them with holiness. That is the message of the Tablets: Whichever way you turn them, they can still be read.

This is the joy and celebration of Simchat Torah.

I have often quoted one of America’s outreach leaders who tells audiences, if you’re going to take the family to synagogue twice a year, instead of it being on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, make it on Simchat Torah and Purim! Show the family the joy of being Jewish!

Wishing you and all the readers a joyous, meaningful Simchat Torah.

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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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 30 September 2010 by admin

Dear Families,

Everyone has a favorite holiday, and it comes as no surprise to those who know me that my favorite is Simchat Torah. What biblioholic would not love a holiday that celebrates a special book? Judaism is a wonderful religion that has so many facets and entryways. Some love the rituals, some love the spirituality, some love playing basketball at the J — however we define our Jewishness, we add that to our identity. For those of you who love the intellectual connection with Judaism and G-d, Simchat Torah is your holiday (and for those who love any or all of the other ways, Simchat Torah is still your holiday). We celebrate the cycle of reading the entire Torah coming to an end and beginning again with ritual, song and dancing together — this is the BEST holiday to go to synagogue!

Joel Lurie Grishaver, in “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People,” lists going to Simchat Torah services as one of his “40 things.” The chapter questions, “If we could only do one holiday, which would it be?’ Grishaver uses this argument for Simchat Torah: because the refuseniks in the former Soviet Union, who had to choose one holiday to celebrate, chose this one. He goes on to say that there are three reasons: (1) Simchat Torah is pure celebration; (2) Simchat Torah says that Torah is the center of our Judaism; and (3) Simchat Torah raises those two insights together into a community arena.

So what can you do with your family? First, go to the synagogue of your choice and celebrate. Second, make sure you have at least one book of Torah at home with interesting commentary. Third, keep the learning going — you do not need to be a Torah scholar, in fact you do not need to read Hebrew, to learn from the Torah stories. Today we have Internet access to Torah, we have music, we have children’s books — start where you are comfortable. Begin the cycle of learning with Simchat Torah and never stop. As a rabbi with a very funny name (Rabbi Ben Bag Bag) said in Pirke Avot 5:26: “Turn it and turn it; for everything is contained in it.”

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

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

Bowlers roll strikes (and gutter balls) to help the community

Bringing together Jewish young professionals isn’t as hard as you would think! Who doesn’t enjoy a game (or two or three) of bowling? Over 55 people each week did just that as part of the second summer season of the Battle of the Jewish YPs: Young Professionals Bowling League.

The league kicked off its inaugural season last summer and consisted of teams from various synagogues and Jewish organizations in the area. The top teams donated their prize money to various nonprofit groups. “It’s a great way to meet new friends, raise some money for important Jewish charities in town and have fun all at the same time,” said Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein, one of the co-chairs of the league. “We all have fun and it’s nice to bowl with other young adults who are enjoying an evening with friends while benefiting so many great organizations.”

Last autumn, the league had its first fall season and put their prize money toward nearly 250 toys and books for the Santa’s Helpers toy drive. Bowlers brought additional toys to help out the cause as well.

“This has been a great opportunity for all of the YP groups to get together, have a chance to meet each other and do something great for the community,” said Brad Schweig, league co-chair. “But for this summer’s league, we wanted to up the ante and do something great for the entire Jewish community.”

So this summer, in order to raise that ante, each team was given the opportunity to bowl on behalf of their favorite Jewish organization. Some chose their synagogue or favorite organization; others selected a volunteer project or a charitable cause.

The summer league ended up with 10 teams supporting Congregation Anshai Torah, Congregation Beth Torah, Dallas Jewish Historical Society, JCC’s Tycher Library, Jewish Family Services Food Bank, Magen David Adom, North Texas Hillel, Shearith Israel’s Mazon Program, Temple Emanu-El’s Vickery Meadows Project and Temple Shalom YPs.

Each week, teams earned $10 for their organization by having the highest score (with handicap) and highest score scratch (without handicap). The top men’s and women’s bowlers (with and without handicap) received $3 for their organization. The worst teams also got $4 each week for their organization so that EVERY team, no matter how good or bad they are, had a chance to help their group.

The Tycher Library team was the first-place team this season and got a $150 bonus for their charity in addition to the $102 they raised each week. MAZON ended up in second place and received a $100 bonus in addition to their $30.33 weekly payout. In last place was Just Jews (playing for the Jewish Family Services Food Bank), who got a $50 bonus simply because they came out each week, had a good time and realized that sometimes it pays to roll gutter balls. In the end, the league raised over $600 for the various synagogues, charities and organizations.

And while many enjoyed helping their organizations or improving their bowling skills, most just enjoyed the experience. “The league was an amazing networking experience. I just moved to Fort Worth knowing nobody,” said Ilan Fehler, “and now I have over 50 new friends.”

For more information the league, additional events or future leagues, contact the event organizers: Brad Schweig ( and Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein (, or visit the group, Battle of the Jewish YPs: Young Professionals Bowling League on Facebook.

DJHS to present author Bryan Stone

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society (DJHS) is pleased to present another in its Harold A. Pollman Lecture Series. Professor Bryan Stone will be the guest speaker on Sunday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m., at the Aaron Family JCC. Stone will talk about his new book, “The Chosen Folks: Writing About the Jews of Texas” — why he wrote it and what it has to say about Texas Jewry that earlier books did not — as well as providing anecdotes from it.

An associate history professor at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Stone received his doctorate in American studies and civilization from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. His dissertation, “Jews and the Real and Imagined Frontiers of Texas,” planted the seeds for his new book. In his fascinating work, Stone delves into old mythologies about the supposed Judaism of some early Texas pioneers, refuting some claims and providing provocative insight into the Jewish experience in Texas.

Additionally, Stone contributed a chapter about the state’s earliest Jews to “Lone Stars of David,” edited by Hollace Ava Weiner and Kenneth D. Roseman, and also wrote the entry on Texas in the recent republication of the “Encyclopaedia Judaica.” He has also published articles about Kinky Friedman and Edgar Goldberg, the founder of the Texas Jewish Herald (Jewish Herald-Voice) of Houston, the state’s oldest Jewish newspaper.

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society’s Pollman Program will be held in the Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center, 7900 Northaven Road, Dallas. This program is part of a continuing series graciously sponsored by Harold Pollman for the purpose of bringing to Dallas national experts on topics of interest to the Dallas Jewish community. Admission is free and the program is open to the public. Reservations are required for planning purposes. For more information, call 214-239.7120 or e-mail the Society at

The Dallas Jewish Historical Society serves as a repository for artifacts, personal papers and records of individuals, organizations and businesses, documenting the contributions and growth of the entire Dallas Jewish community.

Wednesdays with Wallerstein for Women begins Oct. 6

You asked for it, you got it! So many ladies have asked to be part of Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein’s Wednesday night shiur broadcast from New York, that the Shafron family is “bringing” him to Dallas. Every Wednesday night beginning Oct. 6, at 8:30 p.m., all women are invited to come be part of Rabbi Wallerstein’s shiur by viewing it online with a group of friends at the Shafron home, 6630 Shell Flower Lane in Far North Dallas. There is no charge. For more information, please e-mail Jackie Shafron,

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Around the Town with Rene

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

CBI Sisterhood dinner: ‘Noche en Espana’ (A Night in Spain’)

Don’t miss one of the most popular events of the year! Congregation Beth Israel Sisterhood will hold its seventh annual gourmet fundraising dinner, “Noche en Espana” (“A Night in Spain”), on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. All proceeds go toward improving CBI’s kitchen. It will be a wonderful evening of food, wine and friends, a four-course dinner party with a menu of Spanish cuisine. NETTY will provide babysitting at CBI that evening as their own fundraiser.

The event will be at the home of Diane and Bruce Prager, 1317 St. Albans Path, Southlake.

For those who have not yet responded to say you’ll be coming to this incredible social event, it is filling up quickly, so reserve your spot now! Please e-mail Lisa Wax,, in addition to sending your check for $45 per person. Checks must be received by Friday, Oct. 2; they should be made payable to CBI Sisterhood and sent to Lisa Wax, 1607 Sleepy Hollow Court, Westlake, TX 76262. Please contact Lisa with any questions at 817-742-1242.

Historic photographs shown at ‘Daytimers’ luncheon

An amazing collection of photographs by Calvin Littlejohn, from the 1930s to the 1990s, was flashed on screen at the “Daytimers” September luncheon. Bob Ray Sanders, columnist and vice president for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, has edited the collection of 70,000 images into a book, “Calvin Littlejohn:  Portrait of a Community in Black and White.”

Sanders recalled Littlejohn as having “captured much of the social, religious, educational and family life of African Americans in Tarrant County.” At the time Littlejohn worked, mainstream newspapers wouldn’t publish pictures of black citizens, and white photographers wouldn’t take pictures in black schools. In Fort Worth, Littlejohn began what would become a lifelong career of serving the community.

The images are from the Calvin Littlejohn Photographic Archive at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The Littlejohn collection includes approximately 70,000 film negatives and 55,000 prints.

Sanders was ably introduced by his friend, former co-worker and local historian, Hollace Weiner.

Next event for “Daytimers” will be a trip on TRE and DART to Fair Park in Dallas for the exhibit “Dreams of Flight: A Journey through Air and Space” at the Women’s Museum, Wednesday, Oct. 20. Trip, including train fare, lunch and museum admission, is $15.

For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or Irv Robinson, 817-731-7447, 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 Beth-El Congregation with financial support from the Jewish Federation.

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The Search for Beshert

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

Hung up on phone calls

By Tamar Caspi Shnall

In this day and age it’s hard not to make a phone call. I accidentally call people all the time when I forget to lock the keypad on my cell phone. Still, I get more e-mails from women asking why men don’t call than any other type of question or complaint.

If you’re at a Jewish singles event or on J*Date and ask someone for their phone number, then why wouldn’t you use it? You’re both there, which means you’re both single and looking, and both took the time to make sure you looked your best and spent time talking to each other. So why no phone call? An obvious answer: He was asking you for your phone number as a way to end the conversation. Alas, that is not an explanation most women think of or want to accept. Is it possible his conquest was complete after getting the digits? Could be. Did he suddenly suffer a case of amnesia? Doubtful. Maybe he dropped his phone into a cup of water while he was hugging someone and lost all his numbers? Shockingly, this is an actual excuse I once heard. Or could it be his ex-girlfriend was at the event, got jealous watching him talk to an attractive woman, realized she still had feelings for him and now they’re back together? Again, it’s happened to me, but this one is a rarity. Who really knows? Women are left to ponder the possibilities for endless eternity.

An even worse scenario: He already made the first phone call to ask you out; now you’re on a great date, had a really nice kiss at the end of the night, he told you he’d call you … and then nothing. ­Really? Don’t be that guy. Come on, call if you say you’re going to call, otherwise don’t say you’re going to call. It’s simple. One excuse I hear from men is that women like to talk a lot and they don’t want to get stuck talking on the phone forever. Instead, they’d rather text or instant-message. If you really like someone, then take the time and make the effort to place a phone call. It doesn’t have to be a long one. You can even start off the conversation by saying you’re busy but want to make plans to get together. But no, men would rather text “what r u up 2?” Seriously? You’re going to ask a girl out via text message? This has happened to the majority of my friends, and more often than you’d think.

A text or instant-message does not take the place of a phone call. Period.

Women are not innocent. We are just as guilty about not returning phone calls. Sometimes we’ll give a man our phone number just to get the guy to go away — sound familiar? So when the phone rings and we don’t recognize the number on the caller ID, we let it go to voicemail and then never return the call. It’s not nice and it’s just as bad as not making the phone call to begin with.

If you like someone, it doesn’t matter how busy you are at work, how sick your grandmother is or where you’re traveling. You can make up any excuse in the book, but the simple fact is, if you were interested you would call, and if we were interested we’d call back. Once you can grasp that concept, dating will get a whole lot easier.

Tamar Caspi Shnall recently married a Dallasite but has 15 years’ worth of dating advice to share! If you have any dating dilemmas, you can e-mail her at:

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

Dear Rabbi,

We are not observant, but have observant relatives who have a conference in Dallas and are staying with us over the next week. They have asked us to erect a sukkah to sit in on the holiday. We have a general idea of what a sukkah is, but not the specifics, and would appreciate if you could fill us in and tell us why it is that we do this. Thanks!

Martin and Jeanette W.

Dear Martin and Jeanette,

The Torah states, “And you shall dwell in sukkahs for seven days; every resident of Israel shall dwell in sukkahs, in order that your generations should know that I brought them out of Egypt…” (Vayikra/Leviticus 23:42). One opinion in the Talmud is that this is to remember the actual booths the Jews lived in when leaving Egypt. The other view is that we sit in this temporary dwelling to remember the miraculous Clouds of Glory which protected us from the sun and the elements over our 40-year sojourn in the desert.

The details of building a kosher sukkah are many, and an entire tractate of Talmud is dedicated to it, but we’ll mention a few key points. Please feel free to contact me for more details at the e-mail address below.

1. You should have at least three walls attached to each other, with no openings at the corners. The walls should ideally be of wood or some other strong material that doesn’t move. If using a cloth prefab sukkah, the walls need to be secured in a way that they don’t move with a breeze.

2. A wall of your house could be considered one of the walls if you attach the sukkah to your home. This is as long as there’s no overhang of six feet extending from that part of your house.

3. The roof should be of natural, cut branches and leaves; bamboo is a favorite and easily found. You could also use cut wood, such as 1-by-2s which you can purchase from any lumber yard. The main rule of thumb is to have more covered than open area in the roofing. Also, the roofing needs to reach all the way to the walls, with no open areas between the walls and branches. Some use wooden or bamboo mats specially constructed for sukkah use, which you could inquire about from a local Jewish bookstore or online if you so desire.

4. The roofing (called schach, or “covering”) should not be tied down, or resting on metal supports. We put wood supports across the walls, upon which rests the covering.

5. The sukkah needs to be under the open sky, i.e. not under any trees, roofs, etc.

6. It is customary to decorate the sukkah with colorful pictures with Jewish themes. Many also hang decorations from the roof. This is a great opportunity to get the kids involved in coloring the pictures and decorations and hanging them — they get to see their masterpieces displayed prominently!

Again, many specific questions could arise; you can consult a rabbi when they do.

This is a wonderful opportunity for your family to build your first sukkah, which is such a beautiful and joyous mitzvah. Sukkot, of all holidays, is referred to as “our time of joy” (Siddur, see also Vayikra/Leviticus 23:40). Especially when you will shake the “Four Species” in your sukkah (which I’m sure your relatives will bring with them), it’s a specially joyous time for the whole family.

Best of luck building, and a joyous, meaningful holiday to you and all the readers.

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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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 24 September 2010 by admin

Dear Families,

Being Jewish means enjoying great holidays and most of them have great “stuff.” At the J Early Childhood Center, we have been blowing the shofar with abandon but now we get the best fun — building a sukkah! Children love forts and the sukkah is such a special one to share with family and guests. The important Jewish value of hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests, is practiced at Sukkot in a very special way. The tradition of ushpizin, begun in the 16th century, involves inviting a different Biblical guest each night of Sukkot using special words of welcome to honor the ushpizin (guest).

According to the Midrash, the shelter of sukkot was available to the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness solely as a result of Abraham’s offer of hospitality to the three strangers who appeared to tell Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child. That is a great explanation, but the real message is that we should always show kindness and proper hospitality to others.

Here are the Biblical ushpizin for each night and a topic for family discussion:

ABRAHAM was told by G-d to take his long-awaited son Isaac, and bind him to a sacrificial altar. Have you ever been asked to “sacrifice” something that was very dear to you?

ISAAC had to choose between two sons for his inheritance. Have you ever had something that couldn’t be shared and you had to choose from among your friends?

JACOB wrestled with G-d’s angel and in the morning changed his name to Yisrael. What new name would you call yourself if you could?

JOSEPH received a beautiful coat from his father that made his brothers very jealous. Have you ever been jealous of something a friend had? Has someone ever been jealous of you?

MOSES was convinced of G-d’s presence by the Burning Bush. Did something unusual ever happen to convince you of something you weren’t sure of before?

AARON was the brother of Moses, the Jewish people’s greatest leader. Do you ever feel you live in your brother’s or sister’s shadow?

DAVID was chased by King Saul, who thought that David was after his throne. Have you ever been bothered by someone who thought you wanted something they had?

Now that you know the Biblical guests to invite, think of others you would like to invite into your sukkah and the questions you might ask them.

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

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