Archive | September, 2011

New Year’s foods from around the world

New Year’s foods from around the world

Posted on 29 September 2011 by admin

By Laura Seymour

The Jewish New Year is different, yet in some ways much the same, as the way other cultures celebrate a new beginning. One way in which we are all similar is that food plays a big part in celebration. A great book by Rahel Musleah titled “Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah” is filled with stories, recipes and a seder with different foods and blessings. From the book, here are a few New Year’s food customs around the world:

  • The Japanese eat buckwheat noodles to symbolize long life. Children try to swallow at least one whole noodle for good luck.
  • Black-eyed peas and collard greens are popular in the American South on New Year’s Day because they symbolize prosperity.
  • Latin Americans and those of Spanish descent eat 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve for a lucky, fruitful year.
  • In Greece, it’s a tradition to eat vasilopita, a cake baked with a coin inside. The person who bites into his piece of cake and find the coin is said to be blessed with good luck.
  • During the Persian New Year, a table is set with seven items, all starting with the Farsi letter “seen:” Green vegetables, garlic, vinegar, dried fruit, a hyacinth flower, coins, and a snack made from flour and sugar.
  • The Chinese enjoy cookies, oranges and orange-inspired dishes that symbolize sweetness and good fortune, as well as “pot stickers,” dumplings that look like ancient Chinese coins.

All of these make apples and honey plus round challah seem a little boring. But Jews around the world do add some different foods such as dates and pomegranates. In India, Jews eat green beans similar to the rubia mentioned in the Talmud. There are so many traditions and rituals in Judaism that make our religion come alive. Many of us are “gastronomic Jews” — we relate to Judaism through the foods we eat. That is a good beginning, but let’s be sure to learn and share the reasons for the traditions with our children. The taste of Judaism will be richer.

Laura Seymour is director of Jewish Life and Learning at the Aaron Family JCC.

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 29 September 2011 by admin

Over the years Dallas Doings has been written by a number of folks. In the early days, there was Claire, in the ’70s and ’80s, my sister Linda Wisch Davidsohn was the scribe. More recently, my mom Rene Wisch put the column together every week. While I have been putting the column together since mom’s death last November, I feel as though I haven’t found the right voice for it. In the early days, Dallas Doings reported on many social happenings in our community, as the Dallas community and the TJP has grown, it has been a place for short items about community members and organizations. As we start the New Year, I am going to take a stab at writing the column in my own voice. I hope you’ll send me your news. E-mail me at L’Shanah tovah!

Helpful at the Holidays

I just received Luah Hashanah, the United Synagogue’s newly redesigned and user-friendly guide to prayers, readings, laws and customs for use both in synagogue and at home. Now I’ll know exactly which prayers to say and when to say them at our holiday and Shabbat tables, as well as understand more of the nuances of the service when at shul. The book is a joint project by United Synagogue and the Rabbinical Assembly, edited by Rabbi Miles B. Cohen and Leslie Rubin. This year’s edition costs $19.95. You can find it here: I have been smiling all day after baking my first-ever challahs in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. I schlepped my trusty mixer and ingredients to my niece and Akiba Early Childhood Director Jordana Bernstein’s home, and we made some batches of dough together Monday night. As the hour was late, I took my dough home to rise and shape into the traditional round challot for yontif. The only problem was that, I’ve never made it before. I was thrilled when at close to midnight I surfed to YouTube and was able to find instruction from Dallas’ own Tina Wasserman on how to make the perfect “crowns” for my holiday table. Tina is a former food columnist for the Union of Reform Judaism’s Reform Judaism magazine, and the author the amazing cookbook “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora.” Tina is still active as a cooking instructor and guest lecturer throughout the United States. To learn more about her visit and to learn how to braid the perfect round challah visit

Akiba Academy Goes Social

Akiba Academy recently launched their new social media pages. As part of the school’s continued efforts to stay connected with parents, friends of the school and the Jewish community of Dallas, Akiba fans can now “Like” and “Follow” events and follow exciting Akiba happenings through Facebook and Twitter. Each of the new social media pages will provide Akiba fans exclusive content and insights into the day-to-day at the school, ranging from Shabbat Schmooze in the Preschool, to Akiba Cougar Sports and Akiba Community Education (ACE) Program updates. These pages can accessed by visiting and clicking on the Facebook and Twitter icons located at the bottom of the website’s home page.

News and notes

June Penkar tells me that the JCRC’s Evening of Learning, originally scheduled for Oct. 3, has been postponed until after the High Holy Days. Stay tuned to this column for a new date. On Oct.18, the Jewish Women’s Circle will present Sushi in the Sukkah at 6704 Starbuck Drive in North Dallas. Rabbi Faivish Vogel of London will speak. Cost is $10. To RSVP, contact In a recent Dallas Doings column we shared with you Charlie Gelfand’s story as a Civil Air Patrol volunteer. Unfortunately, we had a typo in his phone number. If you’d like to learn more about the CAP contact Charlie at 972-467-2525.


Marla Cohen

Dr. Lorin Berland

Dr. Lorin Berland was recently honored with the prestigious award for Outstanding Contributions to the Art and Science of Cosmetic Dentistry by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In addition, all of the dentists at Dr. Berland’s state-of-the-art, multi-specialty dental practice in the Arts District of Downtown Dallas were voted among Texas’ Top Dentists — Dr. Berland for Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Mark Margolin for Periodontics and Implants and Dr. Sarah Kim Kong for General Dentistry.

For the third time, Marla Cohen, editor of the Rockland Jewish Reporter in New York has won the top national prize for quality Jewish writing. The Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish journalism are distributed annually by the American Jewish Press Association. Cohen won the first place Louis Rapaport Award for excellence in commentary for newspapers with a circulation under 15,000. AJPA recently held their annual convention from June 28-30 in Dallas at the Westin Galleria Hotel at which time the awards were announced. Cohen previously won the first place Rockower Award in 2006 and in 2008 for her commentary columns. She was also elected to the AJPA national board at the convention. Cohen is the daughter of Miriam and the late Sidney Cohen of Dallas. She lives in New City, NY, with her husband and two children.

Honorable Menschen

Aron Ido is raising money for the Berry Children’s Trust.

A number of Levine Academy students have been working hard in recent weeks to do the right thing. Aron Ido, a sixth grader, has invested in the future of the Berry kids. After coming home from three weeks at Greene Family Camp this summer, where kids his own age were talking about the tragic accident in early July that claimed the lives of Robin Perlo Berry and Joshua Berry and left sons Peter and Aaron with spinal cord injuries, Aron got a great idea. He decided to take the money he was given by his grandparents for vacation and bought rubber bracelets. He is selling these bracelets for $5 and all the money raised will be given to the Joshua and Robin Berry Children’s Family Trust. To date, Aron has raised close to $800. He is the son of Sheri and Leon Ido. Incidentally, Peter and Aaron Berry returned to Houston’s Beth Yeshuran Day school on Monday Sept. 19, joining little sister Willa. The boys spent two months of spinal rehab at Shriners Hospital in Chicago.

Levine Academy second grader Rebecca Hoffman shared her golden tresses with Locks of Love recently.

Second grader Rebecca Hoffman recently donated her golden locks to Locks of Love, an organization that uses human hair to make wigs for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy and diseases like alopecia.

Finally, seventh grader Aaron Minsky, son of Jolene and Jayson Minsky, is putting together an interesting mitzvah project in support of the Friends of the IDF. Aaron is hosting “Shots of Appreciation,” a free-throw shooting contest on Oct. 9 from 3-5 p.m. at Levine Academy. Aaron homes to raise enough money to purchase a plasma TV for the recreation room of the IDF battalion adopted by the Dallas Jewish community. An $18 minimum donation is required to participate and children as young as 6 can participate. For More information or questions e-mail Aaron at

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Finding meaning in Rosh Hashanah

Finding meaning in Rosh Hashanah

Posted on 29 September 2011 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried,

I attend services annually for Rosh Hashanah, and enjoy participating in the prayers and hearing the shofar. However, I sometimes feel that I’m missing some perspective, which weakens my connection. I feel that if I had a perspective and a goal to concentrate on, that would give more meaning to the time I’m spending in synagogue. I’d appreciate your input. Shanah Tovah.

— Dennis B.

Dear Dennis,

I can only tell you what I will be thinking about this Rosh Hashanah with the hopes that this can provide you with a richer, more meaningful experience.

I have been struggling. On one hand, I’m trying to focus on the joy of the High Holy Day season with all its potential for growth and a meaningful experience. At the same time I have been very preoccupied by the concerning events transpiring in the Middle East and throughout the Jewish world.

The decibel level of anti-Semitic rhetoric has risen exponentially over the past years in Europe, reaching a crescendo in recent European newspapers, parliamentary motions and in the streets with hate crimes against Jews on the rise. This hatred is all painted white under the “acceptable” guise of anti-Israelism or anti-Zionism. This has led to a renewed confidence in Arab terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, that know they can rely on the world community to turn a blind eye to their stockpiling of deadly ammunition. This has contributed to the Palestinian Authority’s confidence in its efforts to attain a unilaterally proclaimed state, with all its ensuing riots and renewed terrorist violence. The widely applauded “Arab Spring” has unleashed the most ominous powers of Muslim fanaticism, putting the few hallowed peace treaties with our neighbors surrounding us into danger. All this with the proverbial elephant in the room: The specter of a nuclear Iran. To say the least, our land and people are in a very fragile and precarious position, both in the Middle East and internationally.

We are far from immune to this danger in America. Just look at the Hate Israel campaigns going on in so many American universities. The billions of dollars flowing from Saudi Arabia to open Middle East and other programs, educating a generation of Americans in their perspectives, pose a grave future threat to American support of Israel. Dearborn and other towns have become America-hating Muslim strongholds.

We cannot forget the rampant apathy and assimilation of American Jewry, and the dwindling number of American Jews to the tune of some 100,000 per year.

There is, however, a hidden, other side of this equation: The God factor. On Rosh Hashanah we coronate the Almighty as the King of the universe. The shofar blast is our proclamation that He is our sovereign and master of the entire world. There’s no power or force that has the strength to stand up to the will of God. An all-powerful, omniscient God has the power to turn around any situation, regardless of how dangerous or ominous it may be. Rosh Hashanah is a day of confidence and hope for a bright future. This is why we eat and enjoy delicious meals on Rosh Hashanah, despite it being a day during which our futures are judged. This is not something someone would do he had a life-or-death court case later that day! But we do this because of our trust in the ultimate power of God and His love for the Jewish people. We know He is waiting for our prayers, our repentance and acts of kindness and mitzvot to find a reason to judge us favorably. When the world his holding in balance, Maimonides writes that it could just be that one act done by one individual can tip the world onto the side of good: what each of us does really can make a difference!

Let’s focus on elevating ourselves this Rosh Hashanah so that our prayers will be answered and peace and prosperity will reign in Israel.

May you and all the readers, and our people everywhere be signed and sealed in the Book of Life, a life filled with good health, livelihood, nachas and peace in Israel and throughout the world.

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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Around the Town

Posted on 29 September 2011 by admin

As we move through the first days of Tishrei, we have a great opportunity to reflect, to pray, to think about how best to atone … in short, to become better people than we were last year. This is the great beauty of the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: We have the opportunity to right our wrongs and to reflect.

Along with these reflections comes a request. I’ll be traveling a great deal next week (but back in time to observe Yom Kippur, of course). As such, if you could forward any items to me for Around the Town ASAP, I’d be forever grateful. As always, my e-mail address is

I said it last week, but I’ll repeat it here: Shana tova, may all of you enjoy a sweet year. I will look forward to interacting with you and getting to know you much better.

Create for the cure …

Congregation Ahavath Sholom is sponsoring a Create for the Cure event, which will take place 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the shul’s sukkah. As part of this event, renowned sculptor Gary Rosenthal will combine various metals with fused glass to create his outstanding pieces. The community is invited to participate in this mitzvah by assembling the glass pieces Rosenthal will use to create those sculptures. Participants will be provided with easy-to-assemble kits (and will be able to purchase the completed sculptures at a discounted price). The cost is $18 per participant, with all proceeds benefitting breast cancer research. RSVP required by Sept. 30, call 817-731-4721 for more information or to reserve your spot.

Chabads and JLI …

When I ran information last week about Jewish Learning Institute’s upcoming courses for the year, I received a very nice response from Rabbi Dov Mandel with Chabad of Fort Worth/Tarrant County. He tells me that costs for the JLI courses differ between Chabad of Arlington and Chabad of Fort Worth, so those interested may want to check directly with the Chabads for more information. He also tells me that this is the first year Chabad of Arlington will have the JLI programming.

I say “great” and “congratulations” to Chabad of Arlington. I have a personal interest in the JLI program — while living in North Dallas, I frequently attended these programs at Chabad of Plano and found them enlightening and very informative. What I liked best about the programs was the interactive component: Many times during our sessions, questions and comments would be posed by participants that shed a whole new light on different experiences we had when it came to Judaism. I will look forward to continuing that education with Chabad of Fort Worth.

Others who want to join me, or who want to attend Chabad at Arlington’s inaugural program can find information at; Chabad of Arlington; or Chabad of Fort Worth;

Hadassah Happenings …

The Fort Worth Chapter of Hadassah has some interesting events coming up; the first taking place on Saturday, Oct. 29. This is the “Champagne & Chagall at SiNaCa: A Hadassah Happening!” which will start at 7:30 p.m. and will take place at SiNaCa Studios at 1013 W. Magnolia Ave. in Fort Worth. The cost is $10 per person, $18 per couple. No contact information on this just yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

Also under the category of “time flies when you’re having fun,” Hadassah will be celebrating a century of existence in 2012. To get into the spirit of things, the Fort Worth chapter is offering a $100 lifetime/associate enrollment to Hadassah until December of this year. This is a good deal — after Dec. 31, the price for these enrollments goes back up to $360 per person. Questions? Contact Debby Rice at 817-346-2944 or

Live, from the 92nd Street Y …

“Andy Borowitz Presents — The Funniest American Writers With Alec Baldwin, Calvin Trillin and More” will be broadcast live from New York’s 92nd Street Y beginning at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Hear the simulcast at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Road in Fort Worth. Borowitz, who has been called “one of the funniest people in America” by CBS News Sunday Morning, will be joined onstage by an all-star cast of the best American humorists. The topics? Literary humor and a look at the new Library of America collection Borowitz edited entitled “The Fifty Funniest American Writers,” which examines American humor writing from from Mark Twain and James Thurber to David Sedaris and The Onion. For more information, contact Louis Schultz at 817-292-1586 or e-mail him at

Hell hath no fury …

… and in Fort Worth, hell actually had a half acre — which is near where the Fort Worth Convention Center is located. Actually, the area of lower Main Street, south of 9th Street and running to the then T&P Railroad’s depot (present day near Main and 15th Street) was a red-light district known as “Hell’s Half Acre” back in the late 1800s. Hopefully my directions are clear enough here, but the point of this history lesson is that the Daytimer’s October event will feature author Richard F. Selcer, who wrote a book about this few square blocks of Fort Worth. Mr. Selcer will be introduced by another well-known Fort Worth historian, Hollace Weiner. The event will take place at noon, Wednesday Oct. 12 at Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Rd. in Fort Worth. Lunch will be catered by Ming Wok, and choices are beef lo mein, chicken with vegetables or tofu with vegetables; egg roll is included. Cost is $9 including lunch or $4 for program only. For reservations, call Barbara Rubin, 817-927-2736, or mail checks to Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Rd., Fort Worth, TX 76109, or make your reservation at

Chess for a good cause …

As his Bar Mitzvah project, Isaac Narrett is hosting a chess tournament on Sun., Oct. 15 at Beth-El Congregation to benefit the Jewish National Fund Trees for Israel. This is a “non-rated” tournament, and beginners to advanced players of all ages are welcome to turn out (sponsors are certainly welcome as well). This is a highly worthy cause and certainly a unique bar mitzvah project. Questions? Contact Marcy Paul, 817-921-9204 or Isaac at

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Ready, Set, Cycle

Ready, Set, Cycle

Posted on 29 September 2011 by admin

JCC to host ovarian cycle ride

By Deb Silverthorn

Helen Gardner, Julie Shrell and Jill Bach are cycling for their lives, and all others affected by ovarian cancer. This threesome is chairing the February 19, 2012 Ovarian Cycle Ride to Change the Future. To register to ride or to make a donation, visit | Photo submitted by JCC

Wheels are spinning, legs are pedaling and “donate now” buttons are being proudly displayed as the Dallas JCC prepares to host the first-ever Ovarian Cycle Ride to Change the Future. Training for the Feb. 19, 2012 ride — with the mission to raise funds for and promote awareness of ovarian cancer — begins Saturday, Oct. 1, with the event’s first training ride.

“It’s time for us to bring awareness to our guests and to the greater community on what they can to do to help find a cure and to pay closer attention to themselves and those they love,” said Jon Mize, director of fitness and wellness at the Aaron Family JCC, of the February event.

The indoor spin-cycling event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Furthermore, the event is climate controlled and has restrooms nearby, allowing for participation by experienced as well as novice riders.

“It’s not just about ovarian cancer. Cancer — in all of its forms — is consuming our population,” Mize said. “As a fitness and wellness facility, being a part of the awareness campaign is where we need to be.”

Training rides with JCC instructors, (free with a $40 registration to the event), are Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 in addition to the one taking place in October.

Official training dates for the Ride to Change the Future are Jan. 14, 15, 21, 28, 29 and Feb. 4, 11, 12.

Membership at the JCC is not required to participate in the training or the Feb. 19 event, which will take place in the JCC’s Zale Auditorium.

Spin bikes will be available for all riders through the J’s own spin-cycling program, with additional bikes, as necessary, borrowed from local agencies.

Riders may participate on their own, with a $500/rider fundraising minimum, or they may form a team with up to six participants, each with a $250 donation minimum.

“This ride hit a note with us here at the J. This is a very important program and we are very interested in participating in national programs that fit our mission of fitness and wellness,” said Artie Allen, president of the Aaron Family JCC.

The Ride to Change the Future is the first fundraising event sponsored by the JCC in which all donations are made to an outside organization. “This is for the greater good of our community; a national issue and one that has, and continues to have, a great local impact,” Allen added.

Chairing the event are Jill Bach, Helen Gardner and Julie Shrell, whose stories of struggle and survival are very different.

“I had no symptoms [of ovarian cancer] and I was diagnosed at Stage 4, I’m really very lucky,” said Bach, a member of Congregation Shearith Israel, and the wife of Alan and mother of Alicia and Michelle.

Bach, diagnosed in 2007 after being checked for a “cough,” just celebrated four years of remission. That cough led to a chest x-ray which, in turn, revealed issues with one of her lungs. Those issues were later found to be large fluid build-up caused by ovarian cancer tumors found in the lining of her lung.

With no family history of any cancer, and annual exams for general and gynecological health that were always clear, Bach couldn’t have been more surprised.

“I’ve had surgery, chemo and more surgery. I tested positive for the BRCA gene and that’s important for my daughters to know,” she said. “I’m alive for a purpose and I want to make the most of that.

“This is it, it’s the life we have and you have to make the best of it. Thank God I’m able to be there to raise hope, and to raise money,” said Gardner, a member of Temple Emanu-El and the wife of Gary and mother of Brent and Karis. Gardner, who had surgeries, participated in a clinical trial in Florida and underwent radiation, now awaits upcoming chemotherapy treatments.

Not feeling “right” less than 12 months after a regular checkup in 2009, Gardner went back to her doctor who recommended a colonoscopy, “just to rule things out.” Before that appointment date arrived, Gardner, a marathon runner, biker and self-proclaimed healthiest person around, found lymph nodes where she shouldn’t have felt anything.

“My only connection to this is my Aunt Shirley who was diagnosed in her forties,” Gardner said. “Thank G-d she’s celebrated thirty-something birthdays since then. We’re strong and sitting at home ‘waiting’ isn’t an option.”

Meanwhile Shrell, long associated with Congregation Anshai Torah and Congregation Shearith Israel, and the wife of Rob and mother of Marissa, Simone and Gavin, was diagnosed last October with Stage 3C ovarian cancer, during a hysterectomy prompted by a CA-125 blood test.

Surgery, chemotherapy, and “a stronger will than could be imagined,” said Shrell, have her readying to bike her way to raising money for the cause. “This year I celebrated my son’s bar mitzvah and kvelled at my daughters’ high school graduations. Moments like those should never be missed and I’m lucky I was diagnosed when I was and that I had the support team, medically and the ‘village’ of my friends and family, to help me through it all.”

Each of the event’s chairs proposed the relationship between Ovarian Cycle and the J, “a perfect storm with a synergy that is perfect for us,” said Mize, whose staff will donate their time for the training and the day of the event. “Anyone can ride a bike, or learn how, and we’re excited to have riders of all levels.”

Bach, riding with “Teal Riders,” Gardner with “Cancer Sucks” and Shrell with “Wheel to Survive,” are hoping for all teams’ donations to reach a minimum of $100,000.

Monies raised for the six-hour Ride to Change the Future will benefit ovarian cancer research through donations to Ovarian Cycle, Ovarian Cancer Research Fund, and the Clearity Foundation.

The Clearity Foundation seeks to improve treatment outcomes in recurrent and progressive patients by providing diagnostic services that determine their molecular profile. Having this profile may help patients select an appropriate clinical trial or other treatment.

The Clearity Foundation also provides financial support for profiling work for those who are unable or not covered by insurance.

Not all ovarian cancers are the same and not all treatments are the same,” Shrell said, adding that women really need to listen to their bodies and to share any concerns with their doctors. “We’ll be out there fighting for them all.”

“For myself, remission is around the corner — I’m betting on it. Jill, Julie and I have brought together our experiences and our goals,” Gardner said. “Early detection, cures, and better treatment — that’s what this program is all about.”

For more information, email or to donate, or register to ride, visit

Deb Silverthorn, now a sponsor of the event’s “G&E’s Biker Chicks & Jonah” team, was inspired by the women interviewed as well as a friend who lost a most courageous battle. As you finish reading, she hopes you are encouraged to make a difference for those who fought, those who are fighting, and the generations we pray and we ride for that we hope will never have to fight at all.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological cancer affecting one in 70 women. Today more than 70 percent of ovarian cancer patients will die of their disease, compared to less than 20 percent of breast cancer patients.

When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92 percent.

Unfortunately, symptoms are vague and subtle so most patients are diagnosed at later stages and less than 50 percent will survive longer than 5 years after their diagnosis.

Symptoms of ovarian cancer, which can be vague and not always gynecologic include:

  • A swollen or bloated abdomen or increased girth
  • Persistent pressure or pain in the abdomen or pelvis
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary concerns, such as urgency or frequency
  • Change in bowel habits with constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Any woman may have these symptoms for reasons not related to ovarian cancer. But if these symptoms are new and unusual, and persist for more than two weeks, a woman should see her doctor. Prompt attentions may lead to detection of the disease at its earliest stagy and with its best prognosis.

Factors that may increase the risk of ovarian cancer:

  • Personal or family history of cancer (especially ovarian or breast cancer)
  • Testing positive for either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
  • Age over 55
  • No pregnancies
  • Menopausal hormone replacement therapy
  • Endometriosis

Information provided by

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 22 September 2011 by admin

JWV Auxiliary makes an impact around the community

Teddy Bear ‘bearers’: l-r Scottish Rite Hospital employee, Sandy Kuntz, Ros Polakoff, Mickey Warsaw, Jo Reingold, Ellen Feibel, Marcy Kramer-Kahn, Fran Bergman, Deanna Kasten and President LuAnn Bergman.

“These girls are at it again,” reports Publicity Chairman, Diane Benjamin, “as the ladies of the Post #256 Jewish War Veterans Auxiliary (JWVA) continue their many acts of loving kindness that just doesn’t quit!”

The recent “Hot Dog Social” held at the Richardson Senior Center brought together the JWVA and the JWV for a delightful afternoon of song, food and camaraderie as JWV Harlan Holiner entertained to the delight of all!

The JWVA is actively involved in fundraising, such as the semi-annual Poppy Drives which allows them to give to the VA hospital and other medical facilities, its ongoing gifts to veterans in need. The JWVA’s volunteers help with the annual homeless veterans’ Thanksgiving dinner at the VA hospital. They sponsor and conduct the bingo games at the VA hospital, secure and deliver gently used clothing for the much needed VA hospital’s Clothes Closet, supply musical instruments for the VA’s band and more.

A recent visit to the Scottish Rite Hospital and Children’s Medical Center allowed these gracious ladies the opportunity to bring bushels of teddy bears to the many grateful children at these lifesaving facilities, as a part of their Child Welfare program.

Mickey Warsaw helped to gather her exuberant teddy bear bearers: President Luann Bergman, Fran Bergman, Jo Reingold, Marcy Kramer-Kahn, Roz Polakoff, Deanna Kasten, Sandy Kuntz and Ellen Feibel.

Past president of the JWVA, Dottie Garment, continues her valuable volunteer work as she helps to gather handmade lap blankets donated by JWVA members for distribution at the VA hospital.

For more information on how you can be a part of this vibrant team of strong USA patriots, please contact LuAnn Bergman at 214-320-3712.

Levine Academy students qualify for Duke Talent Identification Program

Levine Academy’s seventh grade Duke Talent Identification Program qualifiers: front row from left, Sophie Bernstein, Isabella Pailet, Ben Schachter, Jake Hoffman and Josh Rudner; standing from left Stasia Itkin, Liat Levkovich, Jenna Katz, Marlee Fleisher, Mira Fradkin, Zach Rudner, Noah Rubinstein, Jonathan Nurko, Adam Subel and Zev Burstein

Mazel tov to 15 Ann and Nate Levine Academy seventh graders who have qualified to participate in the 2011-12 Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP).

The students are Sophie Bernstein, Zev Burstein, Marlee Fleisher, Mira Fradkin, Jake Hoffman, Stasia Itkin, Jenna Katz, Liat Levkovich, Jonathan Nurko, Isabella Pailet, Noah Rubinstein, Josh Rudner, Zach Rudner, Ben Schachter and Adam Subel.

In addition to being currently enrolled in the seventh grade, a student must have scored in the 95th percentile or higher on an accepted sub test or total battery/composite of a grade-level standardized achievement test to qualify.

The Duke TIP helps educators and families determine how advanced their students’ abilities truly are and what level of educational challenge is appropriate. Eligible seventh graders are invited to take either the ACT or SAT college entrance exams, which furthers insight into their abilities and also provides them with valuable benefits and resources.

Fifty-eight percent of Levine Academy’s seventh grade class qualified for the Duke TIP this year.

Akiba Academy’s Fall Open House on Oct. 5

Akiba’s Open House will feature campus tours and teacher presentations where visitors can learn more about the entire Akiba experience.

Akiba Academy of Dallas will host its annual Fall Open House on Wed. Oct. 5 at the school, located at 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas, TX 75251. The program will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m.

All potential students, their parents and other community members are cordially invited to attend. The Open House will feature campus tours and teacher presentations where visitors can learn more about the Akiba experience.

In addition, faculty, staff and current students will be on hand to answer questions about day-to-day life as a student at Akiba Academy.

Akiba is a Modern Orthodox school for children pre-kindergarten through eighth grade that offers a stellar dual-curriculum program, with exceptional general and Judaic studies for motivated students that wish to excel. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Akiba develops ethical and responsible members of the Jewish people and American society, knowledgeable about and committed to their Jewish heritage and the state of Israel.

The school also provides opportunities for students to develop their intellectual, artistic and physical abilities with music programs, fine arts, drama, languages, sports and much more offered through discovery and other enrichment programs.

“Akiba Academy of Dallas is an exceptional school where students can learn and grow,” said Akiba’s Head of School, Rabbi Zev Silver. “We are thrilled to be able to open up our doors and showcase to parents and students the entire Akiba experience.”

For additional information about Akiba Academy or to RSVP to the Open House, contact the Admissions Department at 214-295-3419 or at

Torah Day School preschoolers learn how sweet it is

Torah Day School’s Morah Daniela’s preschool students view bees at work.

The students of Torah Day School invited some “sweet” guests into their school last Thursday.

The Collin County Beekeeper Association’s 2011-2012 Honey Princess, Shannon Rylee, came with her collection of bees for a pre Rosh Hashanah program.

Preschool classes through fourth grade were fascinated with the presentation.

“I learned so many new things” said first grader Yaakov Adlerstein. “I knew bees made honey, but I didn’t realize that the girl bees did all of the work.”

Ela Levy also in first grade was excited to learn that bees also make candles.

The Collin County Beekeeper Association is a group of volunteers that train children as young as twelve years old how to keep bees.

“This was a great way to bridge science and discovery with something that is so symbolic for Rosh Hashanah,” said Suri Cohen, Pre – K teacher. “We are always looking for opportunities to tie science, into our units and the bee presentation is always fascinating.”

Kever Avot at United Jewish Cemetery this Sunday

Rabbi Howard Wolk, JFS community chaplain and Rabbi Yitzchak Cohen of Congregation Nishmat Am will lead memorial services (Kever Avot) at United Jewish Cemetery at Restland at 9:15 a.m. this Sunday, Sept. 25. Families and friends with loved ones at the Mount Zion, Mount Sinai or Nishmat Am Gardens are encouraged to attend.

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Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Shalom From the Shabbat Lady

Posted on 22 September 2011 by admin

Finding the star within this Rosh Hashanah

Every Jewish holiday is filled with rituals and traditions. For some, Rosh Hashanah means synagogue and shofar; for most, it also means apples and honey. For our family, the following wonderful story is part of our holiday celebration. It is included here in somewhat shortened version — please credit Peninnah and Rachayl as you make it as long or short as your storytelling skills allow.

The Apple Tree’s Discovery by Peninnah Schram & Rachayl Eckstein Davis

In a great oak forest where the trees grew tall and majestic, there was a little apple tree. One night the little apple tree looked up at the sky and saw the stars in the sky, which appeared to be hanging on the branches of the oak trees.

“Oh, God, oh God,” whispered the little apple tree. “How lucky those oak trees are to have such beautiful stars hanging on their branches. I want more than anything in the world to have stars on my branches! Then I would feel truly special.”

God looked down at the little apple tree and said gently, “Have patience, little apple tree.”

Time passed. Tiny white and pink apple blossoms appeared on the branches of the little apple tree. People walked by the little apple tree and admired its beautiful blossoms. But night after night, the little apple tree looked up at the sky with the millions, and millions of stars and cried out, “Oh God, I want more than anything in the world to have stars in my tree and on my branches.”

And God looked down at the little apple tree and said, “You already have gifts. Isn’t it enough to have shade to offer people, and fragrant blossoms, and branches for birds to rest on?”

The apple tree sighed and answered simply, “Dear God, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but that is not special enough! What I really want more than anything in the world is to have stars on my branches!” God smiled and answered, “Be patient, little apple tree.”

The seasons changed again. Soon the apple tree was filled with many beautiful apples. And still, when night came to the forest, the apple tree looked at the stars in the oak trees and called out, “Oh God, I want more than anything in the world to have stars on my branches! Then I would feel truly special.”

And God asked, “But apple tree, isn’t it enough that you now have such wonderful apples to offer people? Doesn’t that make you feel special?”

Without saying a word, the apple tree answered by shaking its branches. At that moment, God caused a wind to blow. From the top of the apple tree an apple fell. When it hit the ground, it split open. “Look,” commanded God, “look inside yourself. What do you see?”

The little apple tree looked down and saw that right in the middle of the apple — was a star. And the apple tree answered, “A star! I have a star!”

And God laughed a gentle laugh and added, “So you do have stars on your branches. They’ve been there all along, you just didn’t know it.”

Epilogue: Usually when we cut an apple, we do so by holding the apple with its stem up. But to find its star, we must turn it on its side. Likewise, if we change our direction a little bit, we too can find the spark that ignites the star inside each of us Look carefully, look closely, and you’ll find that beautiful star.

Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center in Dallas.

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Honey Do’s

Honey Do’s

Posted on 22 September 2011 by admin

Kosher Honey: It’s what’s for Rosh Hashanah

Finding the kosher-certified sweet treat in the area is easy

By Penelope Ruekberg

Konrad Bouffard, founder of Round Rock Honey | Photo: Courtesy of Round Rock Honey

Rosh Hashanah begins this year at sunset on Sept. 28. Along with the traditional blowing of the Shofar to welcome the New Year, many Jewish families will be eating sweet foods in hopes of a sweet year to come.

Since ancient times, honey has had an important place on the Rosh Hashanah table. Dipping apples in honey, baking it into cakes or using it in place of salt on challah reinforces the history of the holiday. Though limited types of honey were available during biblical times, there is a wide range of honey being produced and sold today.

If you keep a kosher household or strive to do so on the holidays, you can find certified kosher honey easily in the Dallas area. Rabbi Shlomo Abrams and his wife Hudy of DATA Far North Dallas and Becky Udman, preschool director at the Torah Day School of Dallas, purchase their honey at the Tom Thumb store at Coit and Campbell Roads.

The Albertson’s at Hillcrest and Arapaho Roads and many area Whole Foods and Central Markets carry kosher honey. Though many of these honeys are manufactured by large national companies such as Gefen and Manischewitz, locally made honey can be found around Dallas.

Burleson’s honey, founded in 1907, is kosher certified and one of the largest Texas honey producers. Located in Waxahachie, it originally produced honey from its own hives and distributed it locally. The company sources raw honey from many different areas across the country, and it is blended and tasted before being packaged and distributed. Burleson’s offers a Clover Blended honey as well as a natural brand with a more robust flavor. The honey is available at most Tom Thumb, Kroger, Albertson’s, Brookshire Grocery and Walmart stores as well as most Costcos in the DFW area. The company’s website at offers information on honey as well as a recipes.

Round Rock honey is smaller and completely local, with wildflower honey coming exclusively from the company’s own hives. “Producing wildflower honey is difficult, but it’s more important to focus on quality than on quantity,” said Round Rock Honey founders Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard.

As a smaller producer, Round Rock Honey has been severely impacted by the drought in Texas. “Our honey production this year (in terms of quantity) is not good,” Bouffard said. “The upside is that the honey has more complexity flavor-wise. Like wine, it has more ‘notes’ now than ever before.”

Round Rock honey is generally available at:

• Dallas Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and most Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• McKinney Farmer’s Market at Chestnut Square: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Coppell Farmer’s Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Grand Prairie Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Keller Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Uptown Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
• Rockwall Farmers Market: Every Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.

For more information on the company, visit

Another source of Texas honey is RangeHoney™. Based in Weston, the company offers honey and honey-based products including candies, sauce and salsa, in case you’re preparing a Texas style Rosh Hashanah feast! Information can be found on the company’s website at

As an aside, 100 percent pure, raw honey is generally considered kosher. However, most honey purchased in grocery stores has been processed with non-kosher flavorings added. Be certain that the product is certified as kosher.

Whether you want your honey kosher or raw, blended or single source, there are plenty of options to usher in the New Year with this sweet treat.

How dipping apples in honey originated

By Sybil Kaplan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Among the familiar customs of Rosh Hashanah is the dipping of apple pieces in honey — but what is its origin?

King David had a “cake made in a pan and a sweet cake” (II Samuel 6: 15, 19) given to everyone. Hosea 3:1 identifies the “sweet cake” as a raisin cake.

Honey also may have been used in the cake, but the honey of ancient eretz Yisrael was made from dates, grapes, figs or raisins because the land at the time had no domestic bees, only Syrian bees. To extract honey from their combs, it had to be smoked. Still, honey was of importance in the biblical times because there was no sugar.

During the Roman period, Italian bees were introduced to the Middle East, and bee honey was more common.

The Torah also describes Israel as “eretz zvat chalav u’dvash,” the land flowing with milk and honey, although the honey was more than likely date honey, a custom retained by many Sephardic Jews to this day.

Today, Israel has some 500 beekeepers who have some 90,000 beehives that produce more than 3,500 tons of honey annually. Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is the largest producer of honey — 10,000 bottles a day.

According to an article from a few years ago, the average Israeli eats 125 apples and 750 grams of honey a year, mostly around the High Holy Days.

Among Ashkenazim, challah is dipped in honey instead of having salt sprinkled on it for the blessing, then the blessing is given over the apple, “May it be Your will to renew for us a good and sweet year,” which is dipped in honey.

Dipping the apple in honey on Rosh Hashanah is said to symbolize the desire for a sweet new year. Why an apple? In Bereshit, the book of Genesis, Israel compares the fragrance of his son, Jacob, to “sadeh shel tappuchim,” a field of apple trees.

Scholars tell us that mystical powers were ascribed to the apple, and people believed it provided good health and personal well-being.

Some attribute the using of an apple to the translation of the story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit that caused the expulsion from paradise.

The word honey, or “dvash” in Hebrew, has the same numerical value as the words “Av Harachamim,” Father of Mercy. Jews hope that God will be merciful on Rosh HaShanah as He judges us for our year’s deeds.

Moroccans dip apples in honey and serve cooked quince, which is an apple-like fruit, symbolizing a sweet future. Other Moroccans dip dates in sesame and anise seeds and powdered sugar in addition to dipping apples in honey.

Among some Jews from Egypt, a sweet jelly made of gourds or coconut is used to ensure a sweet year and apples are dipped in sugar water instead of in honey.

Honey is also used by Jews around the world not only for dipping apples but in desserts. Some maintain in the phrase “go you way, eat the fat, drink the sweet,” sweet refers to apples and honey.

Sybil Kaplan is a journalist and food writer in Jerusalem.

Chicken with Honey Fruit Sauce

  • ¾ cup apricot jam
  • 1½ cups orange juice
  • 1½ cups red wine
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons cold water
  • 6 ounces apricots
  • 6 ounces prunes
  • 3 to 4 pounds cut-up chicken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking dish. Place chicken parts in dish. Set aside.

Place apricot jam, orange juice, red wine, ginger, garlic powder, thyme and honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to reduce to 3 cups.

Stir in corn starch and water and blend. Add apricots and prunes. Pour over chicken. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Makes 6 servings.

Poppyseed Honey Dressing

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Beat honey, mustard and vinegar in a bowl or shake well in a jar with a lid.

Add oil and poppy seeds and shake some more. Use in a salad with mixed greens and fruit such as grapefruit. Makes about 1 cup.

Apple and Honey Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 3 cups grated, unpeeled apples
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy creamer or pareve whipping cream
  • ½ cup honey or honey substitute

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a bundt pan.

In a mixer or food processor, blend flour, baking soda, salt, sugar or sugar substitute, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add apples.

Add eggs, vanilla, oil, non-dairy creamer or whipping cream, and honey and blend slightly. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before removing from pan.

Sweet treats for a sweet New Year!

By Annabel Cohen

Whenever I hear ABBA’s song “Honey, Honey,” I think about Rosh Hashanah. Nature’s sweetest natural product comes ready to go, right from the hive and is THE honorary New Year holiday food.

Sweets filled with honey, apples (or fruits of any kind) dipped in the golden stuff, put the wishes for a zeesen yar or sweet year right where the mouth is.

The following recipes use honey and other ingredients traditional to Rosh Hashanah. The apples and honey used when celebrants enter a home are, as aforementioned, the most symbolic of the holiday. These are often combined with flour and oil, nuts and cinnamon and served as delicious finales to sweet and savory meals. A simple pear cake is the just right, not-too-sweet finale — perfect with that cup of coffee. Or if you feel that no meal is complete without chocolate, a simple no-bake chocolate tarte is just the thing. And a honey cake — sticky and sweet — is always apropos. Honey, honey, how you thrill me! But if it doesn’t thrill you as much, use agave syrup or brown-rice syrup in place of the honey.

This year when you prepare your holiday meal, know that what you are serving leaves impressions not just on your immediate family but on future generations, because what you cook may become a family tradition.

If you haven’t yet established a personal traditional dessert, try one of these. Maybe you’ll be remembered as the one who made the best Rosh Hashanah sweets; the sweets that were a cut above the rest.

Pear, Honey Pecan Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups very ripe Bartlett pears, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, or Bundt pan or tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, salt, ginger and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, honey, oil, eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until uniform.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat until uniform. Add pears and nuts, mix until uniform.

Transfer to prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (45 to 50 minutes for a 9 x 13-inch pan) or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve with whipped cream (add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of pear brandy to the whipped cream) or drizzled with chocolate sauce, if desired. Makes 12 or more servings.

My Favorite Honey Cake
This is my personal favorite honey cake — spicy, dark and heavy with a complex and distinct coffee flavor.

  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup honey, any type (except very dark honey)
  • 1½ cups strong coffee
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel or zest
  • 1 cup raisins, any kind

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a Bundt pan or other tube pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and oil. Add the sugar, honey, coffee and juice; beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated and a thick batter is formed. Stir in the grated peel and raisins.

Transfer the batter into prepared pan and bake for 70 to 90 minutes, depending on your oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool at least 20 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate. Let cool completely before sprinkling with powdered sugar, if desired. Makes 20 servings.

Rugalach with Cherry Pecan Filling


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (optional)
  • 2½ cups flour


  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups pecans
  • 2 cups cherry jam or preserves (pureed in the food processor if there are whole cherries)


  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • Sugar for sprinkling over the rugalach
  • Honey, on the side, for drizzling over the rugalach

Make dough: In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese and sugar. Beat until smooth with an electric mixer. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Transfer dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap and form into a ball with floured hands. Wrap the dough and chill for 2 or more hours, up to 2 days.

Make the filling: In a food processor, combine sugar, cinnamon and pecans and pulse until nuts are ground fine (do not over-process).

Make the rugalach: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Place one piece of the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a large ball. Flatten the ball into a disk. Roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8-inch in thickness or less (thinner is better). You may need to rub a bit of flour on the rolling pin to prevent sticking.

Place the preserves in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute or more, until melted. Brush the dough with the melted preserves and sprinkle with ¼ of the ground-nut mixture.

Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 wedges, like you would a pie. Begin rolling each rugalach from the wide part of the triangle toward the point. Shape the rugalach into a slight crescent shape by turning the points toward each other. Place the rugalach on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining triangles.

Continue making rugalach until the baking sheet is filled, leaving about ½-inch between them. Brush egg wash over the crescents and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Serve with honey on the side. Makes 48 large rugalach.

No-Bake Chocolate Almond Tarte with Chocolate Honey Crust


  • 2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (such as “Famous” brand)
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine (½ stick), melted
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  • 1 cup non-dairy whipping cream (such as Rich’s Whips) or heavy whipping cream
  • 12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Spray 9-inch diameter tart pan with removable bottom or pie plate with nonstick spray. In a food processor, combine graham crackers with butter and honey, process until fine crumbs form. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom of tart pan. Chill until ready to use.

Heat cream and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted. Add cocoa powder and almond extract; stir until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate mixture over crust. Sprinkle almonds over the filling. Chill at least 1 or more hours. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before removing from tarte pan (or serve from pan). Cut into thin wedges. Makes 12 servings.

Apples and Honey Crisp


  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon apple brandy (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup oats, instant or other
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (homemade or ice cream topping)

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, toss all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Spread in an 8-cup or slightly larger attractive baking dish (this is the dish you will serve the crisp out of — I like to use a soufflé dish for this).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon; stir well. Drizzle in the butter and stir in until incorporated. Sprinkle the topping over the apples and bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Heat the caramel sauce slightly and drizzle over the crisp. Serve the crisp warm or at room temperature. If you’d like to serve the crisp in individual dishes, spoon carefully into dessert bowls or large wine glasses and drizzle the caramel sauce over. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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Around the Town

Posted on 22 September 2011 by admin

The doings in the Jewish community are somewhat light this week for obvious reasons. The upcoming High Holy Days provides us with a golden opportunity to step out, to mingle with others in our community and to reflect on where we’ve been … and where we’re going. There is almost a mystical feeling about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the 10 Days of Awe in between. The U’netaneh Tokef recited during the Day of Atonement with its powerful verse: “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur it is sealed … ” sums up this period of prayer, reflection and atonement.

Shanah Tovah to all.

From the Daytimers …

Barbara Rubin tells us that the Daytimers had a great time during their Sept. 15 trip to the Genghis Khan exhibit at the Irving Art Center. They were fortunate enough to witness a performance by two wonderful Mongolian dancers.

After the High Holy Days, this group will be in full swing once again. The next event, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 12 will feature author-historian Richard F. Selcer, who will discuss “Hell’s Half Acre: The Life and Legend of a Red-Light District.” Hell’s Half Acre was located at the site of the present Fort Worth Convention Center. During the late 1800s, the Acre attracted many well-known knaves such as Timothy Courtright, Luke Short, Sam Bass, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Etta Place, along with Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch. Courtright, who led a very short but exciting life, rose to become the city marshal. He was popular with the people of Fort Worth, but obviously tolerated, or even assisted, operations in the Acre. He’d often be found gambling with the locals in the Acre. Courtright later spent significant amounts of time chasing stagecoach robbers, including the famous Sam Bass.

Selcer was able to trace much of the area’s growth and change by reading Fort Worth city council minutes (all of which still exist), court documents and news reports in the local Fort Worth Gazette and Fort Worth Democrat newspapers.

In addition to some pretty nifty history, participants will also receive a catered lunch, courtesy of Ming Wok. Meal choices are Beef Lo Mein, Chicken with vegetables and Tofu with vegetables, plus an egg roll. Cost is $9 including lunch or $4 for program only.

For reservations, call Barbara at 817-927-2736, or mail checks to Beth-El Congregation, 4900 Briarhaven Rd., Fort Worth, TX 76109, or log onto

Bring your game …

For his bar mitzvah project, Isaac Narrett is hosting a chess tournament on Sun., Oct. 15 at Beth-El Congregation to benefit the Jewish National Fund Trees for Israel. This is a “non-rated” tournament, and beginners to advanced players of all ages are welcome (sponsors are certainly welcome as well). Questions? Contact Marcy Paul, 817-921-9204 or Isaac at

Create for the cure …

In addition to the High Holy Days, this time of year is when various events to remember and fight against breast cancer take place. There are Walks for the Cure, Runs for the Cure — and even a Ride for the Cure, in which owners of horses ride a certain distance to raise funds to fight this awful disease.

Now, Congregation Ahavath Sholom is sponsoring a Create for the Cure event, which will take place 7-9 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11 in the shul’s sukkah.

As part of this event, renowned sculptor Gary Rosenthal will combine various metals with fused glass to create his outstanding pieces. The community is invited to participate in this mitzvah by assembling the glass pieces Rosenthal will use to create those sculptures. Participants will be provided with easy-to-assemble kits (and will be able to purchase the completed sculptures at a discounted price). The cost is $18 per participant, with all proceeds benefitting breast cancer research. RSVP required by Sept. 30, call 817-731-4721 for more information or to reserve your spot.

Daughters of Abraham start fall meetings …

Daughters of Abraham are warm, friendly women of three faiths — Jewish, Christian, and Muslim — who get together monthly to promote better understanding and friendships between the faiths. This seems like a very cool group. An evening chapter has been meeting for three years and recently had its first meeting of fall. This chapter meets the third Tuesday of each month at alternating locations; Corrine Jacobson has information about this chapter and she can be reached at 817-294-7844. There is also a daytime chapter that needs Jewish women, as some have relocated to other communities. Interested? Call Bernice Friedman at 817-561-0683 or Janice Lord at 817-492-8249.

News from the Chabads …

The Chabad of Fort Worth/Tarrant County and the Chabad of Arlington are gearing up to teach this year’s Jewish Learning Institute courses. This year’s schedule will include “Fascinating Facts: Exploring the Myths and Mysteries of Judaism,” “Money Matters: Jewish Business Ethics” and the “Art of Marriage.” Each course runs six weeks at a cost of $85 per course. Discounts are available for early registration and for those taking all three courses. For more information, log onto or contact the local Chabads directly — Chabad of Arlington; or Chabad of Fort Worth;

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Ask the Rabbi

Ask the Rabbi

Posted on 22 September 2011 by admin

Synagogue or park?

Dear Rabbi,

I know we don’t confess to rabbis but I have a confession! Even if I can read some of the prayers on Rosh Hashanah I still don’t understand what I’m saying.

To tell you the truth, I’d rather take a quiet, reflective walk in the park this year on Rosh Hashanah than spend all those hours in synagogue saying a bunch of words that don’t mean a whole lot to me anyway. (I’m not a member anywhere anyway).

Do you have any suggestions?

— Marc B.

Dear Marc,

I’m quite confident that your words echo the sentiments of many. The prayers are meant to be a powerful, relevant and meaningful experience. Sadly, our distance from the original Hebrew, coupled with a lengthy synagogue service, can be intimidating to say the least and is often a tremendous letdown for individuals seeking a spiritual experience.

As a matter of fact, according to local studies some 80 percent of Dallas Jewry doesn’t even enter a synagogue or temple over the course of the High High Holy Days!

I will offer a few words of advice that can perhaps alleviate your challenges and help you get more from the service and this meaningful time of year.

Keep in mind that five minutes of prayer said with understanding, feeling and emotion means far more than hours of lip service.

Don’t look at the prayer book as an all-or-nothing proposition. Try looking at each page or each prayer as a self-contained opportunity for reflection and inspiration. If a particular prayer doesn’t speak to you, move on to the next one. Don’t expect to be moved by each and every prayer.

Read the prayers at your own pace, thinking about what you are saying, without being so concerned where the congregation is reading. You don’t need to always be “on the same page” with everyone else! If a particular sentence or paragraph touches you, linger there for a while, chew it over and digest it well, allowing the words to caress you and enter your soul.

Apply that prayer to your own life and situation and use it as a connection to God. If you’re really brave, close your eyes for a few minutes and meditate over those words.

Don’t let your lack of proficiency in Hebrew get you down; God understands English. Like a loving parent, He can discern what is in your heart in the language you express yourself.

By sitting in the synagogue, (as opposed to the park), you join millions of Jews in synagogues around the world. You are Jew, and by joining hands with fellow Jews you are making a powerful statement about your commitment to Judaism and your place in Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people.

The Midrash teaches us that “there’s no King without a Nation;” only when we join together, as a congregation of Jews to coronate the King on Rosh Hashanah, then do we build a kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

If you’re not affiliated with a synagogue and are looking for a comfortable place to pray that doesn’t require much background, I am happy to inform you of the “High Holiday Learner’s Services” that are taking place in multiple locations throughout the Metroplex.

DATA is conducting these interactive, explanatory services, which take place mostly in English. The services rely on a fresh, new approach; they combine ongoing explanation, discussion and camaraderie with other bright, interested Jews who are seeking to add meaning and understanding to their High Holy Day experience. Holiday meals and child care are also available to remove those concerns and help you make the most of the day.

Feel free to contact me at my e-mail address and I can advise you where there is a High Holiday Learner Service closest to you.

With best wishes for a healthy, meaningful and joyous Rosh Hashanah to you and all the readers, with peace in Israel and for all of Klal Yisrael and the world.

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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