Archive | November, 2010


Dallas Doings

Posted on 24 November 2010 by admin

Make an IMPACT this Chanukah

When you think of Chanukah, what comes to mind? Candles, presents, latkes, dreidels, celebrating with family and friends? The IMPACT Poverty and Hunger committee at Congregation Shearith Israel would like you to also think about those in our community who are in need. You can find our “Chanukah in the Home” information highlighting eight projects you can do to help others at Let’s shine the light of Chanukah into our community.

Temple Shalom to hold Consecration Class service, Dec. 3

Temple Shalom invites the community to join them for erev Shabbat services, including a Chanukah celebration and consecration, on Friday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. The names of the children in the 2010–11 Consecration Class are: Brooklynn Bier, Tristan Block, Kaplan Brady, Madeline Browne, Timothy Brownlee, Alexis Cano, Seth Cano, Noah Coggan, Benjamin Cooper, Abigail Elliott, Bennett Feigenbaum, Jordan Feigenbaum, Tova Fink, Dawson Gilreath, Lindsay Gothard, Miles Grossman, Gillian Hill, Jade Hiller, Sydney Kahn, Benjamin Kaplan, Kayla Kaye, Haley Kirschner, Juliet Klatsky, Samuel Mandell, Steven Mendelsohn, Molly Mittman, Abbie Mount, Andrew Nagel, Sara Nagel, Jacob Parker, Robert Plotkin, Katie Morgan Ross, Abigail Roth, Jacob Sanders, Tova Sibaja, Alexandra Starr, Samantha Toppel, Jesse Vanston, Megan Wartell, Avery Wren and Lacey Yoss. Teachers are Shelley Byers and Thelma Victor; Ozrim (helpers) are Stefanie Butnick, Ari Disraeli, Lydia Gerard and Jackie Guida. Everyone is also invited to Molly Paley’s bat mitzvah service at Temple Shalom the following morning, Saturday, Dec. 4, at 10:30 a.m.

Back by popular demand: ‘The Yankels’

Charlie is a washed-up ex-major league baseball player sentenced to mandatory community service for a drunk driving conviction. An upstart team of yeshiva students have the chutzpah to join the Collegiate Baseball League and are desperately in need of a coach (is this a match made in heaven?). As these unlikely partners join together in their crazily ambitious quest to win the championship, the lines between teacher and pupils become blurred. Charlie learns what it takes to be a mensch and in the process finds redemption. On Saturday evening, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. at the Aaron Family JCC, 7900 Northaven Road, Chabad Heritage Club and the Aaron Family JCC are bringing back, by popular demand, the movie “The Yankels,” a Jewish smorgasbord with something (including a wonderful soundtrack) for the entire family to enjoy. The film co-stars Don Most of “Happy Days” and was named Best Comedy at the 2010 Hollywood International Family Film Festival. It was shown in Dallas earlier this fall at the 14th annual Jewish Film Festival. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Michal Shapiro, or 972-248-4332.

Rosie Siegel celebrates 10th birthday by collecting donations for JFS Food Pantry

When Rosie Siegel, daughter of Lisa and Charles, began thinking about her 10th birthday and how she wanted it celebrated, she decided that two things were important to her: swimming with her friends and helping those less fortunate. Voilà and happy birthday! Rosie celebrated with friends and family at a JCC swim party to which she asked her pals to bring food items for donation to the Jewish Family Service Food Pantry. Starting her eleventh year off right, Rosie helped deliver the items to JFS, helping to stock the pantry herself.

“I felt so good after dropping off the food at the pantry,” said Rosie, a fourth-grade student at Akiba Academy. “I got a firsthand look at the how a simple gesture of kindness can help those who aren’t as lucky as I am.”

Chabad of Dallas hosts ‘farbrengen’ for Kislev 19

Chabad of Dallas invites the community to join them for a farbrengen, an evening of inspiration and learning, on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 8 p.m., to celebrate the birth and development of Chassidism. Hear from rabbis as they discuss, analyze and give over the history behind the Chassidic movement and what makes it special.

The 19th day of Kislev is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Dovber, the Maggid of Mezritch, in 1772, and the anniversary of the release from capital sentence and imprisonment of his disciple, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, in 1798. It is celebrated as a holiday amongst Chabad Chassidim.

The gathering will take place at Chabad of Dallas, 6710 Levelland Road in Far North Dallas.

CJE welcomes teachers from Akko, Israel to Dallas, Dec. 3–7

Israel @ the Center, a new initiative of the Center for Jewish Education (CJE) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas that focuses on Israel engagement, will host a delegation of two dozen Israel teachers from Akko Dec. 3–7. They will participate in several days of programming involving many synagogues and schools.

Highlights include a community event directed toward grantees and families of the One Happy Camper program. This will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Congregation Anshai Torah in Plano. On Monday, Dec. 6, there will be a community Chanukah party at Congregation Beth Torah in Richardson from 6 to 8 p.m. The teachers will prepare a program and a light dinner of latkes and sufganiot.

On Sunday, Dec. 5, the educators will be in residence at the religious schools of Temple Emanu-El, Congregation Kol Ami, Beth Torah, Nishmat Am, Adat Chaverim, Anshai Torah and Shearith Israel.

For more information, contact Miranda Winer at 214-239-7168 or

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Around the Town

Posted on 24 November 2010 by admin

CAS holds ritual burial for worn-out sacred objects

On Sunday, Nov. 14, students and adults of all ages from Congregation Ahavath Sholom joined Rabbi Gary Perras at the congregation’s cemetery in order to bury their old and worn-out ritual objects. Holy objects which have become worn and unusable are disposed of by burial in a sacred place, usually a Jewish cemetery. The place where these objects have been hidden away is called a genizah.

The experience began with a brief explanation from the rabbi and responsive reading led by Brian Kaye and Shayna Kisin students from the fifth-grade religious-school class. It was moving to see the children sitting next to their parents and grandparents, absorbed in the concept of showing respect to holy objects. In America, old prayer shawls are usually not buried, but saved by the chevra kadishah (Jewish burial society) for those Jewish men in the community who don’t have their own tallit. It should be noted that at different times and in different places, pious Jews would be buried with sacred books. After the lesson in the Kornbleet Chapel everyone went outside to say goodbye to their friends: the holy books and papers. The children especially were excited to participate in depositing the old scrolls, Chumashim and prayer books into the deep hole. After the burial, the older students and members went back to the chapel for a lesson in Jewish burial and the grieving process while the younger members returned to the shul for the rest of their lessons. Most of the participants, both young and old, agreed that it was a unique and memorable experience that most had never before experienced in their lives.

Dr. Ronald Flowers gives ‘Daytimers’ a school lesson

An overflow crowd came to “Daytimers” to hear Dr. Ronald B. Flowers, emeritus professor of religion at Texas Christian University, talk about “Going to School — with the State Board of Education.”

He explained how the religious right planned as early as the 1980s to take over local elected offices, and how the State School Board came to be populated with a majority of conservatives bent on putting their own spin on what is included in the textbooks of Texas. Issues that they especially targeted were the teaching of evolution, the role of Christianity in the founding of our republic and the teaching of the Christian Bible in public schools. He particularly remarked how they had, several times, overturned the recommendations of teachers’ panels on the curriculum needs of the students. He strongly recommended that interested persons check with the Texas Freedom Network, which follows the work of the State School Board closely.

More than 20 years ago Dr. Flowers spoke at the national convention of the National Council on Religion and Public Education on the subject of “They Got Our Attention, Didn’t They?: The Tennessee and Alabama School Book Cases,” so he has long been an expert in this field. The attentive audience questioned him on possible court cases and what effect their decisions will have on textbooks throughout the nation.

Dr. Flowers has a popular following in the community, and a dozen members of the West Side Unitarian Church came to hear him.

Emcee for the day was Irv Robinson, and Dr. Flowers was introduced by Len Schweitzer. Roz Rosenthal and Rosanne Margolis greeted guests at the door. Newcomers to the community, Shana and Yale Gancherov, were introduced.

Next event for the “Daytimers” will be a musical film, “Dudu Fisher in Concert from Israel,” Wednesday, Dec. 15, at noon, at Beth-El Synagogue. Fisher, who played the role of Jean Valjean in “Le Miz,” will do several songs from the show, in addition to favorites in Hebrew, Yiddish and even Ladino.

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.

‘Chanukah Cookie Craziness’

Girls ages 4–11, join the girls of Alton Silver BBG for a “Chanukah Cookie Craziness” afternoon of cookie decorating, games and Chanukah surprises! This fun event will take place Sunday, Nov. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., at Emily Englander’s home, 1300 Washington Terrace, Fort Worth. Parents, enjoy the free time to shop for Chanukah on your own. The teens will be in charge of all the fun, and there will be adult supervision. Space is limited to the first 15 girls. For more information, please contact the Tarrant County Jewish Federation, 817-569-0892 or

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News feed, indeed!

Posted on 24 November 2010 by admin

The Search for Beshert

By Tamar Caspi Shnall

Facebook has changed the dating world as we know it. Not only do you get to “publish” who you’re dating, but you can track every step from “in a relationship” to “engaged” to “married.” Of course, those news feeds include break-ups too. So it was a shocker when I found out that two separate friends of mine broke off their respective engagements via the networking Web site.

What’s more awkward is when the Facebook news feed informs me my ex-boyfriends have moved on. It doesn’t matter how long ago a relationship ended, who ended it or how it ended — it’s never easy to learn that your ex has met someone new. It’s even harder when your entire mutual world finds out about it along with you. And of course it was an entirely other level of devastating because at the time my status was still listed as “single.”

Facebook was how I found out my ex Mark* was selling his business and moving to a small town on the opposite coast. After a quick look at his profile page, I was able to quickly figure out he was moving to be with a girl — a non-Jewish girl. For some reason that irked me because this is the same guy who told me that one of the reasons he loved me so much was because I was Jewish, active in the community and shared the same values. I guess those qualities didn’t mean so much to him after all.

Facebook was also how I learned another ex got hitched. Suddenly, Greg’s profile went from “single” to “married” and I didn’t even know he was dating anyone! After a phone call to a mutual friend, I found out he broke up with me for the woman who is now his wife. A few months later he proposed and they were married not long after. Greg was the same guy who told me he wasn’t ready to get married because he had recently broken off an engagement. The same (and might I add, informative) mutual friend informed me that Greg didn’t think the pre-wedding relationship classes required by most rabbis were necessary. Great foundation for a new marriage, right?

The kicker was the engagement announcement posted by Sam. Sam and I met on JDate a few years ago while he was in the process of moving to town. We spent hours talking on the phone but just before we met I decided, unbeknownst to Sam, that he shouldn’t move to a new city and immediately enter a new relationship. Thus, the first date was excruciatingly awkward and ruined any hope of a future.

I felt as though I could make any guy commit, just not to me. All a guy has to do is date me and the next thing you know they’ve found their beshert — with the next girl. So I decided to look at it with a positive spin: I had done three mitzvahs. I broke Mark’s heart, turning him off to all Jewish girls and driving him to find Kristen. I was Greg’s rebound from his broken engagement, readying him to meet and marry Sharon. And I pushed Sam away and into the arms of Lisa. I feel like I was instrumental in bringing three couples together and I was rewarded with my beshert not long after. And you bet I got a secret thrill when I changed my Facebook status along the way!

(*all names have been changed)

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 November 2010 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I am confused regarding your position concerning artificial insemination. In your column of Nov. 4 in this paper you discussed the question of embryo donation and its relation to sperm donation, implying that artificial insemination would be permitted for the husband and wife themselves. In the letters to the editor, however, Rabbi Adam Raskin seemed to take issue with your complete rejection of artificial insemination. Perhaps I misunderstood your comments; could you please clarify?

Mitch W., M.D.

Dear Dr. Mitch,

Although the letter you refer to seems to take issue with my supposed stance on artificial insemination at large, I believe it was only addressing the specific issue of donor insemination where I mentioned the opinion of many authorities that this would be a type of adultery by the spirit of the law.

Concerning the larger issue of artificial insemination as an infertility treatment as is commonly performed with couples that cannot conceive naturally, I, of course, wholly support that. It is one of the modern miracles of medicine which grants the precious gift of parenthood to couples that would have, just a generation ago, remained barren.

The biggest concern with that treatment, especially in Israel, is the practice of some doctors to mix a “booster” into the father’s sperm when his own sperm is weak. This “booster,” in fact, is simply other healthy sperm from the sperm bank, which is what usually will actually impregnate the mother. An organization has been created as a type of “vaad hakashrut” to control oversight of this and other applicable infertility treatments, such as IV fertilization. When this concern is accounted for, and when the semen is properly procured according to halachah, this procedure is a tremendous blessing.

That which Rabbi Raskin claims, that to use a donor is not adulterous because there is no physical contact and it is by consent, shows that he must not have seen the many halachic proofs cited by a number of contemporary sages that the impregnation of a married woman by the semen of another man has an adulterous aspect to it, although I also mentioned that it is not technically adultery because of the lack of contact. An act which is adulterous in nature is not excusable in Jewish law even by consent of both spouses.

Although Rabbi Raskin cites the conclusion of Conservative Judaism that the surrogate mother is considered the mother for all questions of the child’s Jewish stature, the traditional Jewish sources are inconclusive on this issue. Hence, the opinion of the leading halachic sages of this generation is that this issue remains unresolved, necessitating a conversion out of doubt if a surrogate situation is presented.

Rabbi Raskin maintains that Jewish tradition supports a couple who chooses to go this route. There is certainly no “Jewish tradition” to support that opinion. His quote of “adding a Jewish soul is considered as having created an entire world” (the correct actual wording is “saving” a Jewish soul) does not support the dubious creation of a doubtful Jewish soul. Finally, his allusion to my insensitivity to the plight of a couple in this situation contradicts my mention of the couple’s tremendous pain and difficulty, citing my own prior situation enabling me to empathize with them.

Obviously, no family should make a life decision of this magnitude based on a newspaper column; they need to work it through with their rabbi, who can account for the human side of the equation as well. Our purpose here is to bring forth the issues as they are, to understand the timeless, unchanging and profound instructions as given in the “manufacturer’s instruction manual” better known as the 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 24 November 2010 by admin

By Laura Seymour

Dear Families,

Hopefully you are reading this over Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and friends. It is the perfect time to talk about family values. Today we are looking for the quick answer — the brand, the vision, the jingle — that will tell us how to live our lives. “Just Do It” or “Have It Your Way” are great examples or those slogans that we all remember. However, our sages did the same thing! They wanted to give all of us the message of how to live our lives. Let me paraphrase Genesis Rabbah 24:7 to show you the thought process:

The rabbis ask, “What is the most important verse in the whole Torah?” Each had a different answer. Ben Azzai said the most important verse in the Torah is: “This book is the family history of Adam” (Genesis 5:1). Rabbi Akiva said that the most important verse is: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Rabbi Tanhuma added: “In the image of G-d were people created” (Genesis 1:27).

Was there a winner? Which one speaks to you? Recently, the JCC staff looked at 20-plus Jewish values and had a similar discussion and debate. We aren’t rabbis but we were looking at what values represent us at the J and what values we personally live by. The discussion was wonderful — in fact, it is the discussion that is often more important than the decision. Here is a list of “Jewish values.” Put them on cards and, together with your family (or the people you work with), pick the three that will serve as guiding principles in your lives. Remember, there is no wrong answer!

•Tzelem Elohim — Image of G-d

•Kavod — Respect

•Emet — Truth

•Rachamim — Compassion

•Hachnasat orchim — Welcoming guests

•Shem tov — A good name

•Shalom — Peace

•Sayver panim yafot — Greeting everyone with a pleasant face

•Anavah — Humility

Now after you have chosen your “family values,” take the next step. What does each value look like? How do we act to show respect? What does it mean that we have a welcoming home? What do we do to achieve a good name? Judaism takes the big picture and makes it action-based — if we can’t do it, how will we or anyone else know that this is what we stand for? Enjoy the conversations! And perhaps even make a family T-shirt!

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

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Chanukah  2010 | Events In The Metroplex

Chanukah 2010 | Events In The Metroplex

Posted on 24 November 2010 by admin

Thursday, December 2

Chabad of Plano/Collin County’s Community Menorah Lighting

6:15 p.m.

Join hundreds as Chabad of Plano/Collin County shares the message of the Festival of Lights. New giant balloon menorah, music and games with DJ, light-up menorah necklaces, magazine and gelt for the kids. Kids, bring in a menorah that you made, and you will have a chance to win a Shops at Willow Bend gift card. Two age groups with prizes for each category, ages 3-8 and 9-13. First place, $50 gift card; second place, $25 gift card. Bring your menorah with you to the mall by 6 p.m. the day of the event. Please do not put your name on the menorah; a card with your name will be provided for you. No charge, no RSVP necessary.

Info: 972-596-8270,

First Floor near Macy’s

The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano

Friday, December 3

Shaare Tefilla Chanukah Family Dinner Extravaganza

5 p.m.

A memorable family fun-filled evening, beginning at 5 p.m. with a public menorah lighting, followed by tefillah, Kabbalat Shabbat and a delicious catered dinner. Payment must accompany all reservations. $18/adult, $9/child.

Info/RSVP:, 972-661-0127

Congregation Shaare Tefilla

6131 Churchill Way, Dallas

Temple Emanu-El Chanukah Celebration

6:15 p.m.

At 6:15, Shabbat services and third night congregational candlelighting in the Olan Sanctuary; don’t forget to bring your own chanukiah and four candles. At 7:30, congregational dinner and Chanukah crafts and sing-a-long in Tobian Auditorium. Adult dinner (ages 11 and up), $10; children’s dinner (ages 3-10), $5; children’s dinner is free for ages 2 and under. Also, adult latke bar and brew (ages 21 and up), in Pollman Hall, $10. Complimentary child care available during services for children ages 3 months to 5 years, and during dinner and activities for children ages 3 months to 3 years, by RSVP only. This is also the official kickoff of the 2010 Chanukah mitzvah project benefiting Vickery Meadow. Please bring a new, unwrapped gift ($5 or less). Gift collection starts at the Chanukah celebration and continues through Friday, Dec. 17; please register and volunteer by Tuesday, Nov. 30 at

Info: 214-706-0000

Temple Emanu-El

8500 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Anshai Torah Shul Chanukah Dinner

6:30 p.m.

Following Kabbalat Shabbat services, the shul will have its traditional Chanukah dinner. Festivities will include games, sing-a-long, food and fun. Prepaid reservations required by Nov. 29; $12/adult, $4/child (ages 4-10); children age 3 and under, free.

Info/reservations: Debbie Butvin, 972-473-7718,

Congregation Anshai Torah

5501 W. Parker Road, Plano

Ner Tamid Dairy Pot Luck Dinner and Services

6:30 p.m. Dinner, 7:30 p.m. Services

Annual Congregation Ner Tamid candlelighting service for the third night of Chanukah.

Info/location: 972-416-9738,

Ner Tamid Chanukah
Shabbat Dinner and Services

6:30 p.m.
Annual dinner and candlelighting service. $15/person; please RSVP.
Info/RSVP:, 972-416-9738
Hilton Garden Inn
4090 Belt Line Road, Addison

Temple Shalom Chanukah Celebration and Consecration

6:30 p.m.

Come celebrate Chanukah with Temple Shalom’s Consecration Class of 2010-2011. Everyone is also cordially invited to Molly Paley’s bat mitzvah on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 10:30 a.m.

Info: 972-661-1810

Temple Shalom

6930 Alpha Road, Dallas

Beth Shalom Congregational Chanukah Dinner and Service

6:30 p.m.

Congregational dinner, followed by erev Shabbat and Chanukah service led by Cantor Sheri Allen. Please call for details.

Info: 817-860-5448

Congregation Beth Shalom

1211 Thannisch Drive, Arlington

Latkes and Vodkas

7:30-11:30 p.m.

An unbelievable Shabbat and Chanukah celebration! Please join for Shabbat services beforehand, then enjoy a special kosher dinner complete with latkes and unlimited vodka. Sample the new Ghost Vodka or other mixings from well-known Mixologist Caterina Miltenberger, known as the “Liquid Chef.” Please bring toiletries to donate to the Austin Street Shelter. Any size toiletries will be accepted, including hotel/travel size. If you contribute, your name will be entered in a raffle to win fabulous prizes. Cost $15, prepayment required. Please RSVP. This event is sponsored by YPs @ CSI and co-sponsored by Glazers Distributors.


RSVP: Joyce, 214-939-7342

Congregation Shearith Israel

9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Saturday, December 4

Ohev Shalom Chanukah Party and Shabbat Sit-Down Lunch

Following Kiddush

Enjoy a delicious festive meal. $18/person, $36/family. Must prepay by Nov. 25; your payment is your reservation; there will be assigned seating with limited space. Price increases to $25/person and $54/family after the deadline.

Info/RSVP by Nov. 25: Jackie Shafron,, 214-882-3495

Pay online by Nov. 25 at:

Congregation Ohev Shalom

6821 McCallum Blvd., Dallas

Kol Ami Eighth-Grade Chanukah Dinner and Program

5:30 p.m.

Congregation Kol Ami’s eighth-graders and their parents will have a Chanukah dinner at 5:30, followed by a program on “Understanding Bullying” by Roberta Clark of the Anti-Defamation League from 6:30 to 8. Afterward, the eighth-grade band will rehearse in the sanctuary for their Dec. 5 performance.

Info: 972-539-1938

Congregation Kol Ami

1887 Timber Creek Road, Flower Mound

2010 Tarrant County Community Chanukah Celebration

6 p.m.

At 6 p.m., menorah lighting at Ahavath Sholom/Jewish Federation, followed by latke supper ($5/person minimum donation requested) at Beth-El. At 7:30, concert by Rabbi Neal Katz, songleader and Jewish musician from Tyler who has recorded four CDs of his music.

Info: 817-332-7141

Congregation Ahavath Sholom: 4050 S. Hulen, Fort Worth

Congregation Beth-El: 4900 Briarhaven, Fort Worth

Shearith Israel Chanukah Party

6:30-8 p.m.

Enjoy music, food, and fun as we celebrate Chanukah. We’ll start with candlelighting and song and will enjoy lite snacks, music, arts and crafts and Candy Bar Bingo. Adults will enjoy each other’s company. Cost in advance (by Tues., Nov. 30): $5/individual, $18/family. Cost at the door: $7/individual, $23/family.


Registration: 214-361-6606

Congregation Shearith Israel

9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Menorah Lighting at Starbucks

7 p.m.

Menorah lighting presented by Chabad of Dallas.

Info: 972-818-0770


Preston at Frankford, Dallas

Anshai Torah Community Kumsitz

7:30 p.m.
Congregation Anshai Torah hosts visiting Israeli Delegation of Teachers Community Kumsitz for camp-age families. Refreshments served.
Info: Bob Westle,, 972-473-7718
Congregation Anshai Torah
5501 W. Parker Road, Plano

‘Aladdin Jr.’

7:30 p.m.
J Youtheatre presents a special Broadway Junior adaptation of Disney’s popular animated movie. Tickets: students, $10 in advance, $14 at door; adults, $12 in advance, $16 at door.
Info: Judy Cohn, 214-239-7115
Tickets:, 214-739-2737
Zale Auditorium, Aaron Family JCC
7900 Northaven Road, Dallas
Also Sun., Dec. 5, 2 p.m.

DJHS Chanukah Party

8-11 p.m.

Kinky Friedman will be the headline attraction for this Dallas Jewish Historical Society fundraiser. He will play music, read excerpts from his books and chat with the audience. Also performing music and comedy will be the Mazik Bros., Mark Kreditor, Fred and Barbara Shlesinger, Jim Rosenthal, Lilly Stafford and Eddie Tan. Tickets, $100 each, include catered Chanukah fare by Spice of Life Catering; cash bar available. RSVP required.

Info/RSVP by Dec. 1: Debbie Tobias,

Congregation Shearith Israel

9401 Douglas Ave., Dallas

Sunday, December 5

Temple Emanu-El Brotherhood Community Coffee

9 a.m.
“The Fall Elections: Impact on National Policy; Did the Tea Party Make a Difference?”  No cost.
Info: Stephen Shore,
Temple Emanu-El
8500 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

Shalom Sesame

10-11:30 a.m.

Can Grover find the missing menorah? And what happened to the latkes? JCC Association and Aaron Family JCC invite you to join over 100 JCCs across the continent as Middle East meets West with some very special — and occasionally furry — guests from a new Shalom Sesame series set in Israel from the creators of Sesame Street. Come enjoy this free communal viewing of this delightful film about Chanukah and give your kids and grandkids a holiday treat. “Chanukah: The Missing Menorah” finds Grover in a tizzy when his special friend Anneliese van der Pol (“That’s So Raven,” the Broadway musical “Beauty and the Beast”) gets caught in a game of tag with a chicken and loses her special menorah — just as Chanukah is about to begin! Can her friends find the missing menorah in time? Guest appearance by Debi Mazar.

Info: Rachelle Weiss Crane,, 214-239-7128

JCC Tween Game Room

7900 Northaven Road, Dallas

Ohev Shalom Kids’ Chanukah Party

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Sufganiot, music, arts and crafts, for children ages 2 and up. Contributions are appreciated.

Info/RSVP: Marcy Rhoads,, 214-403-8714

Congregation Ohev Shalom

6821 McCallum Blvd., Dallas

Beth Torah Latke Fry-Off and Chanukah Extravaganza

Noon-3 p.m.

Registration now open for team fryers and pre-purchase of pizza lunches.

Info/registration: Jodi Cortez,

Congregation Beth Torah

720 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson

Annual CBI Chanukah Hoedown

3-6 p.m.

Please join Congregation Beth Israel for its annual Chanukah hoedown, with hayrides and face painting for kids, an exciting raffle and auction presented by the Sisterhood and delicious food cooked by the Brotherhood. There’s something for everyone to bid on, including toys, gifts, wine, jewelry, gift certificates and lots more, so bring your cash and checkbook. $11/adult member, $9 child member (ages 3-12); $13/adult non-member, $11/child non-member (ages 3-12); children under age 3 are free. You may pay at the ranch.

Info: 817-581-5500, 817-379-5717

Rocky Top Ranch

660 Keller Smithfield Road, Keller

Chanukah Celebration

4-5:30 p.m.
Chanukah storytelling, music and crafts for children, featuring Rabbi Wendy Pein of Adat Chaverim. All children will receive a free gift. Free and open to the public.
Info: 972-491-5917
Market Street
1929 Preston Road, Plano

Light up the Night!

5 p.m.

All are invited to join in for a grand menorah lighting presented by Chabad of Arlington. Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck will light the Chanukah Torch; there will be live music, hot latkes and donuts, arts and crafts for the kids, a toy drive to benefit Israeli terror victims. Free admission; sponsorships available at $100 or $180.


Veterans Park

3600 Arkansas Lane, Arlington

Magen David Chanukah Party

5 p.m.

Chanukah party and lighting of the fifth candle. Refreshments and sufganiot, surprises for the children, Chanukah songs. Please fill out online form if you would like to attend.

Info: 972-386-7166


Congregation Magen David

7314 Campbell Road, Dallas

Nishmat Am and Café Israel Family Chanukah Party

5-7 p.m.

Activities for children and adults; hot dogs, Israeli sufganiot and much more. Candlelighting and Chanukah sing-a-long. $10/adult, $5/child (ages 2 and up); $35 maximum per family. Please RSVP.

Info/RSVP:, 972-618-2200,

Infinite Bounds Gymnastics & Day School

6300 Independence Pkwy., Plano

Adat Chaverim Family Chanukah Dinner

5:30 p.m.

Please call for details.

Info: 972-491-5917

Adat Chaverim

6300A Independence Pkwy., Plano

Beth El Binah Chanukah Party

6 p.m.

At Diane Litke’s house (see contact info for location). Annual BEB congregational election and meeting will take place at the beginning of the party. Latkes provided; please bring a dairy dish or dessert to share, and please bring menorahs to light.

Info/location:, 214-521-5342, ext. 1784

Menorah Lighting at NorthPark Mall

6 p.m.

Presented by Chabad of Dallas.

Info: 972-818-0770

NorthPark Mall, Dallas

TDSD Chanukah Gala 2010

7 p.m. (VIP reception at 6)

Torah Day School of Dallas will honor Congressman Pete Sessions with the Ahavat Yisroel Award, and Shai and Judy Robkin as Grandparents of the Year. Buffet dinner, dessert and Chinese auction, 7 p.m.; dessert and program at 8; auction drawing at 8:45. Couvert, $125/person or $250/couple.

Info: Rabbi Yisroel Katz, 972-964-0090;

Westin Park Central Hotel

12720 Merit Drive, Dallas

Monday, December 6

Anshai Torah Early Childhood Chanukah Dinner and Party

5:30 p.m.

Come join the fun as we light the chanukiah. Anshai’s Israeli Partnership will lead us in song, crafts and games. Dinner includes chicken nuggets, latkes and dessert. $8/adult, $4/child. Celebration is for all shul families (siblings too) and friends with children age 5 and under.

Info/RSVP: Faith Retsky, 972-473-7712,

Congregation Anshai Torah

5501 W. Parker Road, Plano

Chabad Fort Worth Annual Chanukah Bowl

6-8 p.m.
Menorah lighting, dreidels, hot latkes, light dinner, chocolate gelt for the kids. $12/person, maximum $50/family. Please RSVP.
Info/RSVP: 817-263-7701,
Citiview Bowling
6601 Oakmont Blvd., Fort Worth

Community Chanukah Party

6-8 p.m.
In conjunction with Israel @ the Center, of the Center for Jewish Education of the JFGD. Light dinner of latkes and sufganiot will be served.
Info: Miranda Winer, 214-239-7168,
Congregation Beth Torah
720 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson

Tuesday, December 7

Shearith Israel Chanukah Visit to Legacy Preston Hollow

3-4:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to help celebrate Chanukah with true treasures of our community, the residents of Legacy Preston Hollow. Join in for a meaningful holiday visit.

Info: Glenn Geller,, 214-282-7620

The Legacy at Preston Hollow

11409 N. Central Expwy., Dallas

Temple Emanu-El Choir’s Annual Chanukah Concert

6 p.m.

Concert includes the Temple Emanu-El Choir, Zamarim Youth Singers, Cantor Richard Cohn, Ralph Stannard conducting and Clarece Candamio at the piano. Come one, come all!

Info: 214-706-0000

Dillard’s Court at NorthPark, Dallas

Wednesday, December 8

A Great Miracle Will Happen Here

5:45 p.m.

At the conclusion of the first Learning Center class session, feed your body and soul for a miraculous price of $8. An opportunity for the Learning Center family to join for a Chanukah dinner surrounded by lights of joy and hope. Bring your own chanukiot and Chanukah candles, and raise your voice in singing when the fifth- and sixth-grade students light the shul chanukiah.

Info/RSVP by Dec. 1: 972-234-1542

Congregation Beth Torah

720 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson

Tiferet Israel Annual Chanukah Dinner

6 p.m.

$5/person, $20/maximum per immediate family. Reservations required.

Info: Debby Rubin,,

Tiferet Israel Congregation

10909 Hillcrest Road, Dallas

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 18 November 2010 by admin

Abbii Cook is named new youth director at J

Abbii Cook has been named the new youth director at the JCC. Cook grew up in Kansas City, but has lived in eight states in her life. Most recently, Abbii lived in New York, where she worked at Hillel–The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life at Hofstra University. After graduating from the University of Arizona with a BA in Judaic studies and communication, she spent a year working at the American Hebrew Academy, the only pluralistic Jewish boarding school in North America, located in Greensboro, N.C. At a very young age she discovered her love of tikkun olam (community service) and that passion has only grown over the years. She has been fortunate to travel with students to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, as well as to Israel and to Nicaragua to help build a school. Abbii is very excited to be a part of the JCC team and to have the opportunity to combine her passion for working with Jewish youth and community service, and she looks forward to meeting everyone!

One of Cook’s first orders of business will be “Totally Cool J Game Day” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Kids in grades K–6 can enjoy flag football, crafts, swimming and more. Cost is $40 for J members and $50 for non-members. Extended care is available. Kids should bring a kosher sack lunch, tennis shoes, swimsuit and towel.

She is also in charge of winter break camp with fun activities, games and trips. Camp runs from December 20-31. Cost is $50 per day for J members and $65 a day for non-members.

For more information and to register, contact Abbii at 214-239-7189 or

Beth Torah auction is this Saturday night

Congregation Beth Torah is hosting an auction of art, Judaica, and sports and music memorabilia on Saturday night, Nov. 20. All proceeds are going to help pay off the synagogue’s mortgage.

Several hundred pieces of art are being supplied and auctioned by State of the Art, a New York–based company that stages art-sale fundraisers around the country.

“We’ve had very successful auctions at Beth Torah before, and several factors made us think it’s time to do it again,” said Mike Precker, president of the Beth Torah Men’s Club, which is organizing and underwriting the event.

“The company recently added sports and music memorabilia, which really broadens the appeal, and we’ll have a great selection in every price range. Plus, the timing is perfect for Chanukah, and paying down our mortgage is a cause near and dear to our hearts.”

There’s no admission charge for the auction, and the Men’s Club is providing refreshments. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Torah, 720 W. Lookout Drive, Richardson. For more information, call the synagogue at 972-234-1542.

Legacy at Willow Bend staff member wins award at Alzheimer’s conference

Monica Waweru, certified nurse aid at The Legacy at Willow Bend, recently won the Mary and Neil Anderson and Mildred Oppenheimer Caregiver Award at the Alzheimer’s Association R.J. Price Caregiver Conference awards ceremony.

Unknown to Waweru, staff members at The Legacy at Willow Bend nominated her for her amazing and dedicated work with the residents in memory care at The Legacy. Waweru was surprised as she walked up to the stage to accept her commemorative plaque.

“It was touching to see Monica’s reaction as she received the caregiver award,” said Sheila Campos, director of assisted living of The Legacy at Willow Bend. “She has an uncanny ability to win the trust and cooperation of our Alzheimer residents. She treats them as if they were her own mother or father, which makes her an amazing nurse aid and a valuable team member.”

“It is people like Monica who make The Legacy at Willow Bend such an outstanding facility for people like my brother Jack,” said Eleanor Sprowl, sister and guardian to an Alzheimer resident at The Legacy. “I am thrilled to hear of her award as she is certainly deserving of it.”

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

DATA of Plano Sisterhood invites ladies to its first event of the year, a kitchen shower

Mazel tov to DATA of Plano! They are now in their new building for services, and the DATA of Plano Sisterhood is taking this opportunity to have its first event of the year: a kitchen shower on Saturday night, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m. Join in and help make the new shul kitchen a happy place. (Ladies only, please.)

There will be a beautiful and unique Fondant cake decorating demo by Tatiana during the event (check out for a preview). DATA of Plano is registered at Walmart, and anyone who brings a kitchen gift will be eligible to win a free Fondant cake by Tatiana, to be redeemed some time after the event.

See the new shul, shmooze with old and new friends and maybe you will win the Fondant cake prize.

For more information, please call 214-929-7884. DATA of Plano’s new facility is located at 3251 Independence Pkwy. (southwest corner Parker and Independence) in Plano.

Learn how to bake challah!

Ladies, come to DATA of Plano on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and learn how to bake challah with Devorah Zakon. Come one, come all — bring a friend or two. This hands-on, fun and free event is open to all women in the community. Please bring one or two new, inexpensive cooking utensils or bakeware that can be donated to Chai House.

DATA of Plano is located at 3251 Independence Pkwy., at the southwest corner of Parker and Independence.

The event is presented by Younger Set, a campaign division of young married women ages 42 and under within the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. By joining the Council of Younger Set, you can attend events that fit your lifestyle and schedule, help others, meet new friends and feel good about getting involved in your Jewish community.

For more information about this event or Younger Set in general, please contact Robin Stone,

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Around the Town

Posted on 18 November 2010 by admin

Hadassah of Fort Worth marks another successful event with Dr. Maria Sirois

An intimate gathering of 50 women of all ages from around the Metroplex came to Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth on Sunday, Nov. 7, to attend Hadassah of Fort Worth’s “A Community-Wide Women’s Celebration II — Continuing the Journey: A Women’s Retreat with Dr. Maria Sirois.” No one left disappointed.

The small-group break-out format worked perfectly, allowing participants to share and discuss individually and then reconnect within a larger group on key aspects of flourishing and coming to understand how one’s own personal growth is absolutely necessary for themselves and the world around them.

“We all long to have a river of nourishment rushing through, and to be that river for others, we must first love and honor ourselves,” Dr. Sirois explained.

Hortense Deifik, a longtime Fort Worth resident and past president of Hadassah’s Fort Worth chapter who also attended Dr. Sirois’ first program last year, noted: “Dr. Sirois pointed out to every woman their individual worth, and by doing this, we recognized how important we are to perform good and rightful deeds in the causes that need attention. I’m so grateful that Hadassah has brought her to Fort Worth. Hadassah is as important and relevant today as it was 50 years ago.”

Beth-El Boomers have a night out with dinner and a play

Jim Stanton tells the TJP, “The Congregation Beth-El Boomers had another successful event this month. They kicked off the evening with a dinner in Sundance Square, then enjoyed ‘Bright Ideas’ at the Circle Theatre. After the play the group joined the director and cast for wine, dessert and conversation.

“For their next event, on Saturday, Feb. 5, the group will be going out for dinner and then a Fort Worth Brahmas hockey game.”

Enjoy the music of Rabbi Neal Katz at the Chanukah celebration!

Come celebrate the fourth night of Chanukah at Beth-El Congregation and enjoy the music of Rabbi Neal Katz from Tyler. Neal has been a songleader and Jewish musician for over 18 years and has recorded four CDs of his music. His newest, “Be a Light — Chanukah Songs for Grown-Ups” features the hit song “On the Air.” He is a wonderful teacher and storyteller, and looks forward to celebrating Chanukah with the Tarrant County community.

The event will take place Saturday night, Dec. 4, beginning with a 6 p.m. menorah lighting; participants will walk across the street to light the outdoor chanukiot and say the blessings at Ahavath Sholom and the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. This will be followed by a latke supper prepared by the Beth-El Brotherhood (requested minimum contribution of $5 per person). The evening will continue with the concert at 7:30.

This event is sponsored by Congregations Ahavath Sholom and Beth-El of Fort Worth, Beth Israel of Colleyville and Beth Shalom of Arlington, as well as by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Y’all come on down!

Get some hot ideas for the kitchen

Don’t forget to join Holly Clegg, daughter of Ruthie and Jerry Berkowitz, on Tuesday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. at Costco on Bryant Irvin Road. Holly will be signing copies of her new book, “Too Hot in the Kitchen.” You can pick up a few for Chanukah gifts and get some Thanksgiving shopping done as well.

‘Jewish Believe It or Not’

It’s not too late to join Rabbi Gary Perras for his new adult education class, “Jewish Believe It or Not,” which began Nov. 17. Participants will examine Jewish beliefs and superstitions about life after death, heaven and hell, the eternal soul, resurrection of the dead, angels and demons, Satan, divine providence, miracles, the evil eye, etc. The class will meet every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at Ahavath Sholom.

Speedy recovery

At press time, speedy recovery wishes to Morty Herman, Merri Sadow, Elizabeth Vann Stenzler, Rhoda Stryer and Edythe Cohen.

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Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 18 November 2010 by admin

Dear Rabbi Fried,

In Genesis 21:9 the Lord said for Abraham to look at the stars: “See if you can count them. As many stars as there are up in the heavens, so many will be the children of your family.” The Lord also promised that Ishmael will have many children and God will make of him a great nation. In conclusion God promised that both Isaac and Ishmael will be the fathers of great nations. My question is that today there are 12 million Jews who came from Isaac and over 1 billion Muslims that came from Ishmael! What happened? If Isaac inherited the covenant, why is there such a huge difference in the numbers of descendants today? Why are there so many more Muslims than Jews?

Joel B.
Dear Joel,

Your question as to the very small size of the Jewish people was raised by the great Spanish Jewish philosopher R’ Yehudah Halevi in his epic work “Kuzari” (1140 CE). There the king of the Kazar nation discounts the Jews as not being worth talking with, due to their downtrodden status and smallness of number.

I don’t think you are asking to explain the sociological reasons the Jews are so small; those reasons abound: persecution and murder of the Jews, assimilation, etc. I understand you are asking why G-d would allow those reasons to persist if He truly wanted the Jews to be “as the stars of the sky.”

Truthfully, the Torah itself elucidates this strange fact of history. “Not because you are more numerous than all the peoples did G-d desire you and choose you, for you are the fewest of all the peoples. Rather, because of G-d’s love for you and because He observes the oath that He swore to your forefathers did He take you out with a strong hand…” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). We see that G-d Himself considers us “the fewest of all the peoples.” Why is this so? How does this fit with “like the stars”?

The commentators explain with the example of the fruit of a tree. The purpose for which the farmer grows the tree is its fruit, but the fruit is very small compared to the roots, trunk, branches, leaves and peel, all which exist for the part the farmer loves most: the succulent fruit.

The Jewish people — who are to be a “light among the nations,” the ambassadors of G-d’s teachings at Sinai where He revealed the purpose of creation — are like the fruit of the largest tree of the world. They are also compared to the heart, which, although relatively small, pumps the lifeblood throughout the entire body.

The Jews are built upon quality, not quantity. As Mark Twain noticed, “…the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race … the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of … extravagantly out of proportion to his bulk. His contributions to … literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers….” (Harper’s magazine, September 1899). The contributions of the Jews to the world, their positive impact, are “as numerous as the stars,” like a nation of hundreds of millions. The more than 1 billion Muslims don’t even begin to have a small percentage of the Nobel prizes won by those few, measly Jews!

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 18 November 2010 by admin

Dear Families,

The holiday of Thanksgiving is upon us and the messages of this day are many. The importance of being thankful and the value of expressing those thanks are crucial lessons for our children to learn. Here are a few thoughts to make your Thanksgiving both Jewish and American. Don’t forget to say the Shehechiyanu!

I am honored to quote my favorite Jewish educator, Joel Lurie Grishaver, from his book “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People.” He says to make Kiddush and Hamotzi on Thanksgiving. “It is important to treat Thanksgiving as a Jewish ritual meal and thereby blend Jewish and American values into a single expression. Thanksgiving has always had its own rituals. …we had never thought to make it Jewish — we had never thought to remember that when the Pilgrims were gathering that first fall harvest in their new land, they went back to the Bible and found their own way of bringing the Sukkot ritual alive. Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Pilgrim version of a creative Sukkot celebration — add the popcorn and cranberries, take out the lulav and etrog, and you get the picture. The moment I figured out that Thanksgiving wasn’t just an American holiday, my world changed. I was no longer involved in a thousand discussions about Jewish American or American Jew. There was no question of priorities — the answer was simple. From then on, I’ve made Kiddush before eating turkey. Kiddush adds another dynamic — it shows not only a melding of food, but of spirit.”

The most important thing is to continue being thankful after Thanksgiving. Our rabbis tell us to say 100 blessings everyday. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to think of 100 things that we are thankful for? There is a wonderful camp song that was written by the director of the UAHC Goldman Union Camp, Rabbi Ron Kotz. It is called “The Na Na Song” and the words (beyond “na na”) are: “Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shenatan lanu hizdamnut l’takein et haolam — Blessed are You, Eternal G-d, Ruler of the universe, for giving us the opportunity to mend the world.” Add this to your daily blessings and do your part to make the world a better place — start this Thanksgiving (and if you want the music to the song, send me an e-mail:

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

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