Archive | July, 2012

Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 19 July 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Every so often, we hear about a play or musical with a strong Jewish theme. And, being the Jewish newspaper of record in North Texas, we’ll occasionally cover that play or musical with a background piece.

In that spirit, we say Casa Manana’s Apprentice Program cooked up something interesting this year: A performance of the musical “Parade,” which will run July 27-29.

The musical was written by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown, and is a dramatization of the 1913 trial of Leo Frank, a Jewish factory manager in Atlanta who was convicted of raping Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee. This is a somewhat odd topic on which to base a musical, but the show won several Tony and Drama Desk awards.

At any rate, it’s impressive that the Apprentice Program is taking the brave step to examine this particular slice of history (as it deals with racism, anti-Semitism, bigotry and a whole host of other issues). Look for a more in-depth article about this particular production in an upcoming issue.

Speaking of theater

An enthusiastic audience watches the Kids Who Care performance at the July 11 Daytimers luncheon. In the foreground are, from left, Joe Coggan, Mary Frances Antweil, Barbara Weinberg and Kathie Morris, grandmother of one of the teens in the show. | Photos: Courtesy Daytimers

Kids Who Care gave a special performance for those in attendance on July 11 at the monthly Daytimers’ meeting. All who attended had a great time — and we have the pictures to prove it. Incidentally, the full show, “Bridge to Freedom,” will be performed July 26-29 at the W.E. Scott Theatre, 3505 W. Lancaster Ave. in Fort Worth.

And speaking of artifacts

Last week, it was mentioned that the Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth opened its “Dead Sea Scrolls & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures,” which will run through the middle of January, 2013.

It seems as though Congregation Ahavath Sholom is also brushing up an artifact. Though it isn’t thousands of years old, much like the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Golden Book is an interesting history of Jews in Fort Worth and those affiliated with CAS.

The Golden Book, created in 1926 at Jerusalem’s Bezalel School of Arts and Design at a cost of $500, has an ivory and bronze cover and parchment pages. For $250, benefactors’ names were placed on those pages, which contained background images of CAS’ Taylor Street location, as well as the Hebrew Institute, which at one time contained Ahavath Sholom’s Talmud Torah, gymnasium, kitchen and auditorium.

The Golden Book was used as a fund-raising tool, with those funds intended to underwrite a free Jewish education for Fort Worth youth.

Kids Who Care performer Ben Feld, son of Rusty and Luann Feld, reads a number from “Freedom Bound” during a performance at the Daytimers luncheon July 11 at Beth-El Congregation.

The Golden Book is still in use (Diana Krompass now inscribes names on the pages). With only 63 pages of the 250-page book being used, there is room for plenty more. Furthermore, woodworking expert Mike Reznikoff plans to refurbish the mahogany cabinet in which the Golden Book rests and have it ready by the High Holy Days.

The cost of refinishing this historic piece will be covered by donations from the local B’nai B’rith lodge, the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, CAS’ board of directors and Jewish Women International.

As CAS prepares for its 120th anniversary, it’s fitting that this “artifact” be placed in a refreshed case.

Happy birthday!

In July, we celebrate (America’s independence) and we mourn (Tish B’Av). We also take time to issue birthday wishes to the following. If I missed anyone, please let me know.

Karen Alpert, Harriet Anton, Harry Bailin, Donna Beckman, Nathan Berman, Izzy Bloomberg, Marshall Brachman, Sherryl Clark, Sheila Cooper, Reuben Cristol, Katrina Diaz, Sandra Freed, Joyce Gerrick, Gary Howard, Ruthie Hamill, Marilyn Hyer, Suzanne Herman, Benjamin Isgur, Avraham Kaikov, Mordecai Kaikov, Stephen Karten, Tobi Kestenberg, Marcia Kurtz, Linda Landy, William Landy, Anna Lax, Carmen Lederman, Aaron Levy, Melissa Morgan, Rita Myers, Lisa Neuman, Peggy Norris-Louis, Carol Paul, Don Peska, Nancy Rakoover, Tammie Rhinehart, Carole Rogers, Neil Rosenzweig, Barbara Rubin, Maxine Schwartz, Dmitriy Shturman, Daniel Tirsun, Florence Weisblatt, Paul Weisblatt, Cookie Wise, Rachel Yaacobi, Yoseph Yaacobi and Daniel Zeilicovich.

It’s not too late …

… to give blood. But spots are going fast at Congregation Beth Israel’s blood drive, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at 6100 Pleasant Run Road in Colleyville. For information, call 817-581-5500 or email

And finally

We’re still seeking news. If you just got back from a really cool vacation, or got together with relatives locally, let us know. Drop a line to

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Dallas Doings

Posted on 19 July 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

For the past several years, we have been very fortunate here at the TJP to have some very talented summer interns, and this year is no exception. We’ve had two outstanding young women on board throughout the summer, and I want to take a second to introduce you to them and thank them for their yeoman service.

Molly Aaron is a vibrant incoming senior at Parish Episcopal School. She comes from a long line of University of Texas alums and hopes that next year at this time she will be awash in burnt orange.

Molly was captain of the junior varsity cheer squad her freshman year, and varsity captain her remaining three years of high school. Molly is a passionate volunteer at CHAI House. She dreams that one day she will have made such a contribution to the organization that one of the community residences will be named after her.

Molly is a member of the Teen CONTACT board, with which she spreads awareness of problems faced in school and community environments. She is the president of the Amnesty International Club at her school, a student ambassador and the public relations coordinator for the peer counselors. Molly says she enjoys romantic walks to the fridge and top-down car rides with country music blaring.

Molly is the daughter of Dawn and Todd Aaron, the sister of Morgan and Bennett Aaron and granddaughter of Carol and Steve Aaron of Dallas and Barbara and Norman Schneidler of Houston.

This summer, Molly has been instrumental to the TJP’s success in a number of ways. A computer whiz, Molly helped compile the data for this year’s “Guide to Jewish Life” with efficiency and accuracy. She has also helped with several back office projects.

Perhaps Molly’s greatest talent is her eye behind the camera lens. You may have seen her terrific fireworks pictures in last week’s TJP, as well as her outstanding pictures from various day camps around town.

It has been a true pleasure to have her here this summer.

After spending 15 years at Greenhill School in Addison, Elizabeth Fields decided to leave her close-knit family and venture up east to Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. A rising senior, Elizabeth has been extremely busy academically, pursuing a double major in English and creative writing with minors in Near Eastern and Judaic studies and Hispanic studies.

In her free time, Elizabeth heads an organization at Brandeis called Brandeis Buddies, an after-school program that seeks to build friendships between Brandeis student volunteers and adults with developmental disabilities who work on campus.

Additionally, Elizabeth has held several positions on Brandeis’ Student Union, most recently serving as the coordinator of university committees and as a senator of her dorm’s quad.

Elizabeth, daughter of Julie and David Fields, sister of Andrew Fields and granddaughter of Helaine and Gerald Ray and Bobbie and Leo Fields, hopes to pursue a career in writing. Her favorite things to write are fictional short stories because she enjoys exploring the lives of other people.

This is Elizabeth’s third summer interning for the TJP. She says she just cannot get enough! You can read one of Elizabeth’s many amazing stories on Page 11 of this week’s issue.

ATID now enrolling

Academy for Torah in Dallas is now enrolling current juniors and seniors in high school for its 2012-2013 academic year. ATID meets on Sunday mornings at Levine Academy (the southwest corner of Frankford and Hillcrest in far north Dallas) and begins with breakfast at 10:15.

Afterward, teens are engaged in thought-provoking discussion and debate from rabbis, community educators and other guest speakers. Among the highlights last year was a talk delivered by Israeli Lone Soldier, Jules Kramer, son of federation president/CEO Susan and Brett Kramer, and students from UT-Austin who discussed being Jewish on college campuses today.

Though sponsored by the community’s three conservative shuls, Plano’s Anshai Torah, Richardson’s Beth Torah and Dallas’ Shearith Israel, ATID is open to all 11th- and 12th-grade students regardless of affiliation.

Cost for members of congregations Anshai Torah, Beth Torah, or Shearith Israel is $545 if paid in full by Aug. 1; $595 if paid in full by Oct. 1. For non-members, the fee is $645 if paid in full by Aug. 1 and $695 if paid in full by Oct. 1.

ATID is run by well-known Dallas educator and former Grinspoon Steinhardt award-recipient Gail Herson. Gail tells me that if your teen is uncertain about whether or not ATID is for them, they can come to an introductory class for free. For information, contact Gail at 972-248-3032 or

Synagogue news

• Richardson’s Beth Torah Congregation will hold an ice cream social for its Chai Lights group at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 12, at the synagogue, 720 Lookout Drive. Chai Lights is Beth Torah’s group for couples and singles ages 55 and above. In addition to making your own sundaes, Shawn Mash, a clinical hypnotherapist and handwriting analyst will entertain.

Make reservations by sending $5 per person attending (made out to Chai Lights) to the Beth Torah, 720 Lookout Dr., Richardson, TX 75080 no later than Wednesday, Aug. 1. For information, contact Beverly and Larry Broman at

• Temple Shalom will begin an adult b’nai mitzvah class from 7-9 p.m. on Mondays beginning Aug. 20.

Taught by Cantor Don Croll, no previous Hebrew or Torah knowledge is required. A b’nai mitzvah service is planned for May 2013.

Cost is $180 per student for temple members.

For information, or to register by Aug. 15, contact Debbie Massarano, director of lifelong learning, at

News and notes

• Allyson Beth Bazarsky of Dallas was among the 256 graduates awarded the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) at the college’s 121st commencement.

The ceremony was held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, June 3.

Bazarsky is the daughter of Judy and Howard Bazarsky of Dallas. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Wilkes University in 2007 and a Master of Science degree in neuroscience from Tulane University in 2008. Bazarsky is continuing her medical training in neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, S.C.

• Rachel Wolfson will graduate from Tel Aviv University next month with master’s degree in security and diplomacy. She has studied at TAU since making aliyah in April 2011. Rachel moved to Israel for her aliyah experience and attended Ulpan in Haifa prior to beginning her studies at Tel Aviv University.

Rachel attended Akiba Academy, Booker T. Washington High School of Visual and Performing Arts and earned her Bachelor of Arts from University of Texas-Austin. (You can read about another talented Wolfson, Rachel’s sister, Deborah, on Page 19 of this week’s issue.)

Rachel makes her home in Tel Aviv where she is employed as an English-language content developer for an Israeli arm of a international Internet company. Her parents are Steve and Kerrie Wolfson, and in addition to sister Deborah, she has a brother, Avi.

• Dr. Keith I. Robins was recently honored by the Pediatrics Society of Greater Dallas with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his 40 years of service to the children of Dallas.

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Jews have always kept hope alive

Jews have always kept hope alive

Posted on 19 July 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

We continue our exploration of tikkun olam. The Hebrew word tikkun means to “fix” or “heal” something that is broken; olam means “world.”

Tikvah, the mitzvah of hope, has been an important value for the Jewish people throughout many horrible times in history. We live with the conviction that things will be better. The words of “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem, remind us that we are still here as Jews because our ancestors never gave up hope.

Elie Wiesel said, “When all hope is gone, Jews invent new hopes. Even in the midst of despair, we attempt to justify hope.”

Mitzvah hero of today’s world: Anne Frank

On Anne Frank’s 13th birthday, she received a book with blank pages — a diary. She wrote about all kinds of things, but especially about the changes in her life when her family went into hiding.

Her father had prepared a few rooms in the back of his office building. The family lived in hiding for two years, yet Anne’s diary was filled with hope. Friends of the family risked their own lives to help the Frank family survive.

Anne wrote, “I am filled with joy … I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you. Look at these things, then you find yourself again, and God, and then you regain your balance.”

In our ancestor’s footsteps: Jeremiah

One of the earliest tragedies faced by our ancestors was the destruction of the Temple in 586 B.C.E. by King Nebuchadnezzar and his troops. It was a time of grief and despair for the Jewish people, and many went into exile.

The prophet Jeremiah lived through these events, and he criticized the Jews for bringing the bad things on themselves. Yet Jeremiah also gave a strong message of hope. He was confident that life would return to normal. Jeremiah told the people not to feel abandoned and that Jerusalem would be restored.

Jeremiah spoke in God’s name: Houses, fields and vineyards shall again be purchased in this land. I will bring them back to this place and let them dwell secure. They shall be My people, and I shall be their God.

The information for this summer’s weekly themes comes from “Jewish Heroes Jewish Values — Living Mitzvot in Today’s World” by Barry L. Schwartz, published by Behrman House, Inc., 1996.

Family talk time

  • A hope for something is like a wish, and there are lots of things that we wish/hope for — even some things we know we will never have. Let each family member share what they hope for and why.
  • What is the difference between having a dream and working toward your dream? Do some things just happen without work? Is it important to have a dream, even if it seems a long way off?
  • Why is hope important? Have you ever hoped for something that seemed really impossible? What does it mean to have hope even when things seem really bad? How can we hope at those times?

Laura Seymour is director of youth and camping services at the Aaron Family JCC.

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She’s a hero

She’s a hero

Posted on 19 July 2012 by admin

By Deb Silverthorn

Lauren Stock has some special birthday wishes for those turning 18 years old. Not only does she like to send birthday greetings to those reaching that milestone age, she’d like to send an invitation to register to save a life through the National Marrow Donor Program.

Lauren’s the one to do it. The 12-year-old was honored last month by TurningPoint2012, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service, with the GenerationOn Excellence in Leadership and Service Award. She accepted her award from afar; she was spending her fifth summer at Camp Sabra in St. Louis, so she could not attend the conference in Chicago.

12-year-old Lauren Stock, second from left, and her family, father Aric, left, brother Matthew and mother Karen have made it a family affair to educate the community about the need for bone marrow donors. | Photo: Courtesy Karen Stock

The rising eighth-grader at Greenhill School recognized the need for bone-marrow donors four years ago, after her mother, Karen, was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma. Lauren founded High School Heroes to educate students on how they can make a difference and save someone’s life when they turn 18.

On a student’s 18th birthday, she sends an e-mail that includes a brief version of her story, why they should register and a link to a website explaining how they can register.

“My mom getting sick changed my world and really made me want to make a difference,” Lauren said. “The most important thing I learned while my mom was sick was how many people want to help. I thought about how I could make a difference by getting others involved.

“There are so many people who need a match, and it’s so easy to sign up. I want kids to know that from a young age, they might be able to save someone’s life,” said Lauren, who registered 20 percent of Greenhill’s Class of 2012 and also spoke to Hockaday School students. “It just takes a few minutes and a one-time cheek swab to get registered, but you stay on the list until you are 55.”

Lauren hopes her High School Heroes forum will find her speaking at schools and organizations throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond.

Adults who work with her have high praise for Lauren’s efforts.

“The pinnacle for a child Lauren’s age is to see how she took a trial in her life and turned it in to lemonade,” said Sally Rosenberg, director of service learning and community service at Greenhill. “You could have heard a pin drop in the room as she spoke to our students, who gave her their full respect.”

Amy Roseman agreed. She is a Dallas donor recruiter for DKMS, the world’s largest donor registration organization, who helped Lauren coordinate her efforts.

“To see Lauren’s passion, to watch her get up and speak, is really inspiring. Lauren’s reaching out to teens, even before they reach the 18-year-old milestone, this is how lives will be saved,” Roseman said. “She has taken a difficult time in her family’s life and turned it in to something really amazing.”

Lauren’s mother, now healthy and bubbling with pride over her daughter’s commitment, found a donor with many coincidences. Karen’s donor, Keith Alpern, who provided her April 2009 transplant, registered to donate 13 years earlier while a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where Karen and her future husband, Aric, met.

Alpern also met his future wife, Liz, at the university. Little did any of the parties realize a connection until Aric’s brother, Adam, in Chicago, posted family holiday cards together on a mantelpiece.

“The difficult part about my being sick was what I thought the impact would be on my family,” Karen said of her concern for Lauren, Aric, son Matthew and their extended family. “When I look back, what I see now is the positive of all of this, and I’m really so proud.”

Lauren is reaching the right age group, her mother said.

“Young people are the best matches and people talking is the best public relations possible,” said Karen. “When I was first sick, Lauren wanted to raise money for the cause, but she realized that what is really needed is donors. Lauren was going to do whatever she could.”

Lauren, who has been dancing at the Texas Ballet Theatre since she was 2 and played on Greenhill’s softball team, found her first “audience” for this cause among her friends. She visited all Lower School classrooms at Greenhill four years ago while her mother was awaiting a donor. Lauren passed out information and asked all the students to go home and have their parents register. That was just the start.

“There is a reason they call those who connect a ‘miracle match,’” said Andy Cohen, a longtime participant in many areas of Dallas’ Jewish community. Some 23 years ago, he first went with his wife, Karen, to be typed for the National Marrow Donor Program. Just six months later, Karen was matched to a 37-year-old woman living in Seattle.

Andy was matched in 1998 to an 11-year-old boy in California and, in 2004, to a 49-year-old man with leukemia, for whom he harvested blood stem cells.

“My giving blood-producing cells is certainly a gift for the recipient, though in my mind, I receive every bit as much benefit as the recipient does. At the end of the day, what truly matters is what each of us has personally done in our lifetimes to make a difference to another human being.”

Lauren, who will celebrate her bat mitzvah in August at Temple Shalom, has only begun to make her mark as a “member of the Jewish community,” she said.

For information or to schedule a High School Heroes program, email To register to donate, visit or contact Roseman at

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Dallas Doings

Dallas Doings

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Sharon Wisch-Ray

Emily Levinstone of Dallas is attending the Washington National Opera Institute at American University, a competitive pre-professional training program in the vocal arts.

Emily, the daughter of Helene and Richard Levinstone and Michele and Scott Kline, is a junior at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She was selected out of hundreds of teenagers worldwide to receive one of 28 positions in the rigorous three-week program.

Since June 25, she has joined fellow aspiring musicians in Washington to learn the craft from opera professionals. Highlights of the training program include master classes with artists such as Harolyn Blackwell and Richard Stilwell, daily private voice instruction and a variety of courses intended to develop skills.

The institute concludes Saturday, when the students will perform on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, an event that will be streamed live on the Kennedy Center’s website. To see Emily’s live performance, log on to at 6 p.m. Saturday. If you’d like to view it after Shabbat, the performance will be archived for future viewings.

Emily, a mezzo-soprano, is a classical voice major. She discovered her passion for performing classical music while attending Camp Interlochen Arts Vocal Soloist Studies program last summer.

In addition to daily instruction in acting, movement, Italian diction, opera history and music theory, institute students receive individual vocal coaching and mentoring. Workshops on auditioning, vocal health, résumé preparation, professionalism, self and peer critique, and goal-setting are presented by experienced artists and scholars. Instructors include singers who have international careers and WNO’s artistic and administrative staff.

Keep the graduates coming

Another graduate that came to our attention recently is Kyle Cohen. Kyle graduated from Richardson High School on June 3. He is the son of Naomi Cohen of Dallas and Yossi Cohen of Dallas. Grandparents are Richard and Sara Levine of Dallas, Peter and Zehava Reynolds of Arlington and the late Pinchas Cohen of Israel. He is the brother of Michael and Alexandra Cohen.

Kyle was founder of the RHS Game Design Club and was active in other school clubs, such as one devoted to anime. Kyle’s personal interests are in trading card games, computer games, American history, earth and space science and philosophy.

Kyle’s past community service endeavors included helping at the Dallas Public Library and donating hair to Locks of Love.

Kyle plans to attend community college.

It takes a village

During the summer, we often play host to visitors from Israel. Last week we mentioned the hospitality of all those hosting scouts from the Tzofim caravan.

This week, we’d like to acknowledge the host families of the Kefiada participants who arrived in Dallas from our Partnership region in Northern Israel on June 29. You’ll learn more about these young men and their involvement at JCC camps in a future TJP issue.

In the meantime, hat’s off to Jolene Risch-Minksy and Jayson Minsky, Debbie and Bruce Katz, Iris and Andy Sheppard, Kathy and Steve Schneider and Heather Shickman — and their families — for opening their homes and hearts to these young Israelis.

Kefiada is an exchange program between the partnership consortium and our Partnership region in the Western Galilee. In the past, Dallas college students have traveled to Israel to spend four weeks volunteering at camps there. This year, Israeli students have come to our area to volunteer in our summer camps.

Prescott a Jewish hoops all-American

Recent Yavneh Academy graduate Jordan Prescott was named second-team Jewish all-American by Jewish Hoops America.

Recent Yavneh Academy graduate Jordan Prescott, a second team Jewish all-American, drives to the hoop during a game last season. | Photo: Deb Silverthorn

The honor makes Prescott one of the top 10 Jewish day school players in the nation. He is one of only two players from the southern states to make the list.

“Jordan’s versatility is really remarkable and this honor is well-deserved,” said former Bulldogs coach Chad Baruch, who coached Jordan throughout his Yavneh career and who himself was a finalist for National Jewish Coach of the Year. (See a story about Baruch’s departure from Yavneh on Page 5.) “He was our best ball-handler, best scorer and either our best or second-best rebounder, which is a pretty amazing feat for a guy who is only 5-foot-10.”

Prescott, who averaged more than 20 points per game is second on the list of Yavneh’s all-time scorers with 1,771 career points. He also holds the school’s assist record with 384 in his varsity career.

“Jordan can shoot the 3-pointer, drive the ball to the basket, post up, and score in transition,” Baruch said of Prescott. “He was just a very complete offensive player and almost impossible to contain. I am very pleased that coaches across the country recognized the exceptional season he had.”

Prescott, who will attend the University of Texas at Austin in the fall, also scored points off the court at Yavneh.

“When the rabbis in ‘Ethics of the Fathers’ said, ‘Be sure to greet all with a friendly face,’ they were certainly talking about Jordan,” said Rabbi Meir Tannenbaum, associate principal and director of Judaic curriculum. “He is always the first to greet our visitors and newcomers with a warm smile and a friendly word. He has also grown from a shy timid freshman, trying to establish a name for himself, into one of the leaders of the school.”

A former volunteer at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, Prescott has also served the global community by volunteering in Fiji, through Rustic Pathways summer programs, for which he helped build a school and teach English to local children.

A member of Congregation Shaare Tefilla and B’nai B’rith Youth Organization’s Lewis chapter, Prescott’s skills developed through his role as co-captain of the Bulldogs, and through his leadership roles with student council, Students Against Terrorism, the Bulldog Print, Mock Trial, Uniting Students of Dallas and as a Yavneh student ambassador.

“Yavneh gives its students experiences they couldn’t get anywhere else,” said Prescott, son of Stephanie and Dan and brother of Ethan and Alex. “The support that I received from the administration and the ability to lead programs has given me experiences that I can take anywhere.”

Cinema Emanu-El under way

Cinema Emanu-El’s 2012 season began Tuesday with a showing of the “Bubble.” There series will continue Tuesday, July 17, when guests will be treated to a showing of the film “Anita.” In the aftermath of a deadly bombing in the Jewish community of Buenos Aires, Anita finds herself lost and alone. Her unique circumstances and triumphant spirit will capture your heart as she touches an eclectic array of strangers on her journey home. Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen will lead the post movie discussion.

The film, “La Rafle,” will be shown on Tuesday, July 24. This is the true story of the French Vichy regime’s mass imprisonment and disposal of 13,000 Parisian Jews in the summer of 1942. Rabbi Adam Allenberg will lead the discussion about this movie.

The film festival will conclude on Tuesday, July 31, with the movie “The Matchmaker.” This film is a coming-of-age story set in 1968 Haifa, still in the shadow of the Holocaust. It reflects the unique mosaic of Israeli life just after the Six Day War, and effortlessly draws audiences into its charmingly eccentric world. Cantor Richard Cohn will lead the post-film discussion.

All films begin at 7 p.m. and the cost is $4 per show or $12 for a season pass. Free popcorn, candy and soda will be served at each showing. Temple Emanu-El is located at 8500 Hillcrest Road in Dallas.

For information and to register, contact Nancy Rivin at 214-706-0000 or, or visit

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War gets personal

War gets personal

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Dave Sorter

Barbara Edes wanted to make sure her brother was not forgotten while he is serving with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. Youths involved with the Aaron Family JCC made sure that wouldn’t happen.

Aaron Family JCC group-exercise instructor Barbara Edes cycles while students sign a banner supporting her brother, Sgt. Steven Faul, and his fellow soldiers who are serving in Afghanistan. | Photos: Courtesy Barbara Edes

Edes, a group-exercise instructor at the J, watched her brother, Sgt. Steven Faul, leave in April from his western Pennsylvania home for his third deployment overseas. The first two were in Iraq.

“I wanted to keep awareness of my brother and these guys and girls who are fighting over there while we’re enjoying our freedom here,” Edes said. “Our membership took ownership of the project.”

Edes contacted the first sergeant of Faul’s company who provided her with the names of the 90 soldiers in the unit, and various J programs have recognized them all.

“I contacted the preschool director (Tara Sutker Ohayon) and asked if the teachers might be interested in making banners and posters,” Edes said. “Each class created a banner and sent them to the unit, showing their support.”

They liked them so much, the first sergeant asked for one to keep in his office, she added.

Meanwhile, banners with the names of the soldiers — 70 on one; 20 on the other — hang on the walls of the J’s Fitness Center and in the cycling center, respectively, Edes said.

The children got into it once they realized one of the people they were supporting was Edes’ brother.

“They got excited once they saw the personal connection because it meant a little more something,” she said.

One of the posters created by JCC preschoolers was a U.S. flag, with troops’ pictures as the stars.

And they found that one other soldier in the company, Pvt. Dakota Hay, is from Dallas.

The banners aren’t the only effort JCC programs are making to support Faul, Hay and the rest of Delta Company. For example, those participating in the Teen Travel Camp are making cards for the troop.

“Before camp started (J communications director) Lisa Rothberg came to me and informed me that Barbra has a brother who is stationed over in Afghanistan,” said Abbii Cook, Teen Travel Camp director. “When Lisa told me, I tried to think of something the teens could do to give back, even in a small way. I decided that the teens making cards for the soldiers would be a nice thing that we could to for them to let them know we are thinking about them and appreciate all that they do for us.”

So, about 80 teenagers entering grades 7-9 will make cards for the soldiers.

“The nice thing is that Barbra gave me a list of all the soldiers’ names so the teens get to make personalized cards,” Cook said. “I think that it is very important for the teens to pause and take time to remember that huge sacrifice the soldiers are making for us.”

Edes applauded the J and its staff for their efforts.

One of the banners hanging in the Aaron Family JCC showing support for troops in Afghanistan.

“The JCC has been very supportive,” she said. “They’ve rallied around me.”

So has Edes’ other employer, Larry North Fitness at Cityplace, where she is a group-exercise director.

“I asked my brother what they wanted, and he said beef jerky,” Edes said. “So I asked Larry if we could have a fundraiser. Larry is friends with 7-Eleven CEO, Joe DePinto, and the corporation got a huge care package together.”

Edes and her neighbors also bake a lot of treats to send overseas, as well.

“They’ve been showered pretty good in the last month,” she said.

As much as Edes appreciates the support her brother and his fellow soldiers have been shown by the J and Larry North Fitness, she hopes they won’t have to continue doing so for very much longer. Faul is expected to come home in January, and his sister prays he’ll remain stateside.

“This is the third time I’ve watched my brother go overseas,” Edes said. “I hope it’s the last time.”

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Mourning state of Judaism

Mourning state of Judaism

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried

Dear Rabbi Fried:

I would like to inquire about the three weeks of mourning being observed by Orthodox Jews. Why need we mourn something that happened so long ago? I always thought Jews don’t mourn the loss of a loved one forever; we accept God’s will and eventually move on. Why is this different?

— Jonathan P.

Dear Jonathan,

The period you are referring to, known as the “Three Weeks,” is based upon a verse in Lamentations that mentions the mourning period “Between the Borders.” This is the three-week period between the 17th of the Jewish month of Tamuz and the 9th of the month of Av, known as the fast day of Tisha B’av. It began on Tuesday, June 29, and ends at nightfall Tuesday, July 20. During this time, we mourn, among other things, the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem, both on the same Jewish date of Tisha B’av.

The destruction of the Temples is the focal point of our subsequent exile and dispersion among the nations of the world. It punctuates the downfall of the Jewish people from its greatness to becoming the punching bag of the nations.

This event also epitomizes the spiritual distance we created between us and the Al-mighty, from the Shechinah or Divine Presence. The Temples stood as “God’s dwelling place” among our people. Our understanding is that all subsequent calamities that have befallen our people are outgrowths of the distance between us and God, which was finalized by the destruction during this period.

During this period, we are not simply mourning what happened “once upon a time,” although that’s a part of it. We are not merely bereaved over the loss of that edifice called the Temple, as terrible as that loss was on its own right. We mourn the physical distance between most of us and Israel, the spiritual remoteness between the Jews and the Shechinah.

We continue to mourn all the pogroms, inquisitions, expulsions we have suffered over the years. We mourn the Chemelnitzki massacres, the unspeakable holocaust, the suicide bombings of Israeli cafes and buses that plague us until today. We also mourn the “silent holocaust” transpiring right in our midst: the complete assimilation of hundreds of thousands of Jews right in our front yards.

To understand this a bit deeper: the Talmud says, “Any generation in which the Temple was not rebuilt it is as if they destroyed it.” This means there were certain misdeeds and sins that brought about the destruction of the Temple. The second Temple’s destruction relates most directly to us as we currently are living in the exile wrought by its annihilation.

The Talmud cites the reason this Temple was ruined: hatred between fellow Jews. Combining this with the previous statement, we learn that if the Temple has not yet been rebuilt in our generation, we still harbor a level of loathing between one Jew and the next, which would be sufficient to have the Temple destroyed if it would have been standing today.

Hence we have a more profound understanding of the mourning of this period. We lament the present state of our people: lacking the love and understanding and brotherhood that make us the Jewish community that we should be.

Your question is correct. We truly don’t practice open-ended grief for the loss of a loved one. We accept God’s judgment as true and just; we mourn for a period of time and then move on with our lives.

The bereavement of these three weeks is different: the reason for the loss is alive and well and needs to be dealt with. Its purpose is to wake us up and take notice of our situation, and hopefully rectify our circumstances in a way that is redeeming. In this case, going out of our way to build love, trust and respect for our fellow Jews would be a great start. Who knows, it just might tip the scale.

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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‘Jarlo’ keeping Esperanto alive in Dallas area

‘Jarlo’ keeping Esperanto alive in Dallas area

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Harriet P. Gross

Earl “Jarlo” Bills is issuing us this challenge: Inteligenta persono lernas Esperanton facile kaj rapide, which means “An intelligent person learns Esperanto easily and quickly.” In Esperanto, of course.

Bills is a local, vocal proponent of this international language, created 125 years ago. He first found it in a Dallas library stack of old books when he was a college freshman in the early ’70s. Already a language student (French major, Spanish and German minors), he had no trouble teaching himself a tongue whose vocabulary is drawn mainly from European ones. But its ideas, he tells us, transcend geography:

“‘Esperanto’ means ‘the one who hopes,’ and its philosophy is la interna ideo: a belief that people from all backgrounds, countries and religions have the capacity to get along, if they can find a way to communicate.”

Should we be surprised that the father of this idealistic undertaking was Jewish? “Jewish ideals still run high in the Esperanto community,” Bills says. “Especially the idea that beliefs and practices don’t have to all be the same in order to be valid and worthwhile. This applies both to language and to religion and is the foundation of the interna ideo.”

L.L. Zamenhof was a young doctor, married and practicing in Warsaw, when he published the first Esperanto book, “The International Language,” in 1887 — an enterprise financed by his father-in-law. Soon after came Volapuk (Wordspeak), a second language that never caught on because the man who dominated it wouldn’t let other people create words.

“This was Zamenhof’s gift to the world,” says Bills. “He never made decisions about how the language evolved; he believed it could not be the province of one.”

To this point, he appends a warning for those trying to keep the “Star Trek” language alive and viable today: “Klingon must learn from Esperanto!”

Bills beats his resounding language drum even more loudly now since Esperanto USA, which unites local clubs under a national umbrella, held its most recent convention the last weekend in June at the University of Texas at Dallas. (The Universal Esperanto Association, headquartered in Rotterdam, will meet next year in Reykjavik, Iceland.)

“Of the 60 people attending, four were identifiably Jewish,” reports Bills, “which suggests that Jewish participation in the U.S. movement is roughly proportional to the Jewish percentage in the general population.”

One of those four himself, Bills is a six-year member of Congregation Beth Torah, where he’s a service leader and a mean guitarist for the synagogue’s monthly “Joyful Noise” Shabbats.

“In the early years, many of the movement’s leaders — still revered today by Esperantists — were Jews. However, the Communist and Nazi persecutions changed that,” Bills explains. Zamenhof himself had died in 1917; still, “His family was specifically targeted by Hitler, and were arrested immediately when the German army entered Warsaw.”

But early on, Zamenhof the Jew bequeathed a most unusual gift to the Christian world. By himself, he rendered the Tanach into Esperanto; later, when Esperantists in London translated the New Testament, they combined the Zamenhof translation with their work to form a complete Christian Bible. That makes this Esperanto “hybrid” the only Christian Scriptures in the world to use a Jewish translation of the “Old Testament.”

And “Esperantists would never change this,” Bills emphasizes. “Zamenhof’s translation is definitive and immutable. It is a model of Esperanto form and usage, and Esperanto dictionaries quote it extensively to illustrate both.”

Bills speaks extremely seriously about this, but shows a more humorous side when relating his own early Esperanto experiences.

“I subscribed to some periodicals, and then I took out an ad for pen pals,” he recalls. “I had 27 responses — all from behind the Iron Curtain. I picked a guy in Tallinn, Estonia, who wanted rock n’ roll albums. But when I sent them, they were censored. So I routed them to someone in Helsinki, and from there they were forwarded to the Soviet Union — my modest contribution by corruption to the fall of Communism,” he laughs, adding, “I also sent blue jeans.”

Want to learn more? Attend a local Klubo de Norda Teksaso meeting, 5-7 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month in the upstairs community room of Central Market, 5750 East Lovers Lane in Dallas. Or visit the Esperanto conversation circle, 3-5 p.m. every month’s first Sunday in the common room at Classic Residence, 5455 La Sierra Drive in Dallas. You’re an inteligenta persono who’ll be bonvenon (welcome).

Further information? E-mail, or call Jarlo (Earl in Esperanto, of course) Bills himself, 469-585-1049.

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Around the Town

Around the Town

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Amy Wolff Sorter

Congregation Ahavath Sholom is preparing to roll out the red carpet for its new cantor, Shoshana Abrams, who will lead her first Shabbat this weekend.

In addition to overseeing CAS’ musical endeavors, Abrams will take on the synagogue’s educational component. To that end, parents of religious school students are invited to “Coffee with the Cantor” at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 15, in Brachman Parlor. Attendees will learn about Abrams’ plans for the religious school and will have the opportunity to make suggestions and ask questions.

It’s also our hope to have an article about Abrams in the next issue of TJP. Stay tuned …

Interesting mode of transportation

Jetti Cole tells us that her son, David, participated in a Taglit Birthright Israel trip. He traveled a great deal throughout Israel, and Jetti says he met a lot of new people and had a great time.

David Cole got to ride a camel with an Israeli soldier. | Photo: Birthright Israel

He even rode a camel; apparently he hitched a ride on one with an Israeli soldier who was traveling with the group. This probably wasn’t the most comfortable ride of his life, but from the picture, David doesn’t seem to mind.

Reed & Rachel Part II

Last week we mentioned that Rachel Baylin and Reed Cohen will wed in August. We also mentioned that Reed is Elizabeth and Murray Cohen’s son (and Kate’s brother).

What we didn’t mention is that Reed has another relative in the Metroplex — he’s the grandson of Shirley Cohen, formerly of Fort Worth and now a Plano resident.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, mazel tov to the family; may this upcoming union and celebration be a blessing for all involved.

Get your scrolls on

The Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary (4616 Stanley Ave. in Fort Worth) just opened a new exhibit, “Dead Sea Scross & the Bible: Ancient Artifacts, Timeless Treasures.” The exhibit features fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and other articles of interest. It’s the first comprehensive exhibit of its kind in Texas, and one of the largest ever presented in the United States.

This is because 12 of the fragments that are being displayed have been, until now, in private collections — one fragment of Genesis on loan from the Kando family of Bethlehem is believed to be one of the largest fragments ever to be displayed.

Other objects displayed include part of a Gutenberg Bible from the 15th century, a genuine Bedouin tent from Jordan and ancient coins and household objects from the Qumran excavation.

There’s some pretty cool hands-on stuff as well — there is a simulated Qumran dig site where visitors can learn how to excavate authentic 2,000-year-old pot shards, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.

The exhibit will run through Jan. 13, 2013. Tickets are on sale online for $25 (less for students and senior citizens). For information, log onto or call 877-789-0876.

Congregation Beth Israel …

… is still needing blood donors. The Colleyville synagogue has partnered with Carter Blood Care from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 22, at 6100 Pleasant Run Road. Those giving blood will receive a gift certificate for a pint of Blue Bell ice cream and well be entered to win other prizes such as Rangers seats or a bed-and-breakfast getaway.

Though walk-ins are happily welcome, it’s suggested that those interested make an appointment. For more information, call 817-581-5500 or email

Keep the news coming

Have a summer trip, great camp experience, way to beat the heat? Whatever your news, please send it to me at I’ll be looking for it.

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Always remember the past

Always remember the past

Posted on 12 July 2012 by admin

By Laura Seymour

We continue our exploration of tikkun olam. The Hebrew word tikkun means to “fix” or “heal” something that is broken; olam means “world.”

Zikaron, the mitzvah of remembrance, has always been a sacred responsibility. Ever since we became a people, we have been commanded to remember. The philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We remember our past by retelling our history, by observing the holidays and rituals, by saying Kaddish for those who died and by naming our children after those in the past. The Torah uses the term “remember” more than 200 times.

Mitzvah hero of today’s world: Steven Spielberg

In 1947, a Polish Jew named Leopold Pfefferberg vowed to make the story of Oskar Schindler famous. One day in 1980, Australian writer Thomas Keneally happened to stop in the Los Angeles luggage store where Pfefferberg worked. In a short conversation, Pfefferberg “sold” the story to Keneally.

In 1982, a proposal for a screenplay was brought to Steven Spielberg. At the time, Spielberg had little connection with his Jewish roots, but finally, a decade later, Spielberg was ready to make the movie. Spielberg learned and connected to his Judaism through a film of remembrance.

He stated, “The film is a remembrance for the survivors, for my mother’s generation and the people who should learn more. I am doing service, for the first time, to my Jewishness.”

In our ancestor’s footsteps: Moses

One line in the Torah sums up the importance of memory: “… and there arose a new king who knew not Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8)

If Pharoah had only remembered how Joseph had saved Egypt from famine, perhaps the Jews would not have been slaves and the whole story of Exodus might never have happened. But Pharoah did not remember Joseph, and Moses came forth to take the Israelites out of Egypt.

The Torah uses the term “remember” more than 200 times, and throughout the story Moses reminds the Israelites to remember that they were slaves and to remember to follow God’s commands.

The information for this summer’s weekly themes comes from “Jewish Heroes Jewish Values — Living Mitzvot in Today’s World” by Barry L. Schwartz, published by Behrman House, Inc., 1996.

Family talk time

  • With your whole family together, let each person tell of a special memory they have of each person in the family. Think of a way you can keep these memories — maybe a family memory book or video.
  • The rabbis say that “we were all at Sinai.” Pretend you are standing at Mount Sinai with Moses and tell what you “remember” happening.
  • Play the game of telephone, in which one person whispers something to the next and then passes it on. What happens? How are our stories changed when we tell them over and over? Do you have any stories that you remember word for word? Talk about how to pass on memories.

Laura Seymour is director of youth and camping services at the Aaron Family JCC.

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